EDF has indefinitely postponed its Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, England, as a new IEA analysis shows that its power will cost UK energy users three times more than it should, writes Oliver Tickell. A similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget – and may never be completed.
Ecologist 4th Sept 2015 read more »
The Government is being urged to intervene to speed up a final decision on when a new nuclear power station will be built in Somerset or leave the country facing the “very real prospect” of power cuts. Unite warned that the lights could go out in the coming years if a final investment decision is not made very soon on building Hinkley Point C. Energy giant EDF announced a delay in building a new nuclear reactor in northern France, saying it would have no impact on its planned new power station in the UK. But in later comments by Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF’s chairman and managing director, it emerged that the company was admitting that Hinkley Point C will not start generating power in 2023 as planned. A final investment decision is widely expected in October. Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: “This delay is very bad news for the UK as energy capacity is very stretched at present, as we have lost energy resources in recent years as old coal-fired stations are phased out. “Business and domestic consumers face the very real prospect of power cuts and the lights going out in the years to come, if the final investment decision on Hinkley Point – the first new UK nuclear power plant in decades – is not made very soon. “We have welcomed the important role that EDF Energy has played in its investment at Hinkley Point, so far, as part of the renaissance of nuclear power to meet the nation’s target for low carbon energy and nuclear build. However, a decision is desperately needed from the government. Energy secretary Amber Rudd needs to use her ministerial position to press potential investors for a quick decision on the necessary future investment, so that EDF can make a final investment decision before Christmas.
Western Daily Press 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Energy Voice 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Unite 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Mirror 4th Sept 2015 read more »
The unhappy saga of the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point just got even sorrier as French energy giant EDF admitted last night that it will be delayed until after its planned commissioning date of 2023. The scale of the delay is as yet unconfirmed, but any hold-up means that the new 3200MW station is unlikely to be generating in time to beat new EU emissions regs. That in turn will mean the closure of many of the UK’s existing coal-fired power stations, before Hinkley Point is ready to take over the load. With the margins of surplus capacity already running wafer thin, security of supply looks set to become at ever-greater risk. The government will have to find some other, doubtless very expensive, way to fill the gap. The delays are apparently due to a last minute hiatus over investment, being negotiated by EDF and Chinese backers the China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation. That the financing of such a massive project should still be unconfirmed at this very late stage is just one indicator of the contingent nature of the proceedings, but construction problems are also bound to add further delays even as things progress.
Management Today 4th Sept 2015 read more »
The Green Party has criticised the government for a ‘woeful lack of investment’ in renewable energy, as doubts are raised over the potential for nuclear power to generate the energy capacity needed in the next 10 years. Calling nuclear energy a ‘bad investment’, Green Party spokesperson Cllr Andrew Cooper called for further funding to ensure that more of Britain’s energy needs are met from renewable sources.
Green Party 4th Sept 2015 read more »
New Reactor Types
For years nuclear scientists have talked about a revival of molten salt reactors, which are powered by a liquid fuel rather than solid fuel rods, that will help spark the long-awaited “nuclear renaissance.” Recent developments indicate that this alternative nuclear power technology is finally making gradual progress toward commercialization.
MIT Technology Review 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: Listening to Jeremy Corbyn on an 8 minute Energy Desk video – he does talk about bringing energy generation back under social control – but not supply. When pressed, he talked in generalities and seemed fairly open to discussion about the best ways forward but he is clear that his basic principles and goals are: that we look after our planet, we make energy affordable and we don’t allow companies to ‘rip off’ consumers. As we know, in countries with large % penetration of renewable electricity, fossil fuels get displaced and peak prices come down – thereby reducing profits, and share prices of the fossil fuel generators. To the degree that there is vertical integration, this will also affect the parent energy companies as well. At the same time, in countries where governance supports renewable energy and energy efficiency policies all sorts of social innovation occurs. This gradually transfers ownership of generation from the conventional utilities to local authorities, individuals and communities – as well as reducing the proportion of the market supplied by the large companies – again reducing their profits.
IGov 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Comments on the CMA Energy Market Investigation – Provisional Findings and Possible Remedies. Catherine Mitchell, Bridget Woodman, Matthew Lockwood, Jessica Britton, Caroline Kuzemko and Richard Hoggett, Energy Policy Group (EPG), University of Exeter.
IGov 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world’s population. Now it’s essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. The International Energy Agency published a report yesterday that focuses on the rapid decline in the cost of renewable energy. More precisely, Projected Costs of Generating Electricity: 2015 Edition says that electricity costs from wind and solar have plunged, a word rarely used by international civil servants. On good sites around the world, renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels. Bizarrely, the IEA says that new nuclear is also inexpensive, a conclusion strikingly at variance with the rampant inflation in construction costs around the world. It may be that the absurd optimism over nuclear is influenced by the joint author of this report, the Nuclear Energy Agency. The report’s cost estimate of $50 a megawatt hour for nuclear electricity is one third of what the UK is proposing to pay at its planned Hinkley C nuclear power plant. solar PV costs are now little more than a quarter of the figure of just five years ago. We are living through a truly remarkable decline in the costs of PV, driven by the huge increases in the volumes of solar panels being installed. What the IEA said would take 20 years actually took five.
Ecologist 1st Sept 2015 read more »
French utility EDF has put back the start-up date of the EPR unit under construction at Flamanville by about one year while the cost of the project has now tripled from its original estimate.
World Nuclear News 3rd Sept 2015 read more »
Energy Business Review 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
The Japanese town of Naraha has lifted a 2011 evacuation order that sent all its 7,400 residents away after the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled by a tsunami that led to a meltdown and contamination. Naraha was the first among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the reactors into meltdown. The government says radiation levels in town have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts, and on Saturday lifted the four-year-old evacuation order.
Guardian 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Eskom supports South Africa’s plans to build more nuclear power stations because its benefits outweighed any cost concerns, the power utility’s acting chief executive said on Friday. In the midst of it worst electricity supply shortages, Africa’s most developed economy plans to add 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power in the next decade and a half, estimated by analysts to cost as much as $100 billion.
Reuters 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Saudi Arabia is satisfied with U.S. President Barack Obama’s assurances about the Iran nuclear deal and believes the agreement will contribute to security and stability in the Middle East, the country’s foreign minister said on Friday.
Reuters 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The potential loss of thousands of jobs will not be a factor when the government decides whether to implement its proposed heavy cuts to solar power subsidies, according to the chairman of a solar trade body who met energy secretary Amber Rudd on Wednesday. By contrast, recent government announcements on North Sea gas field development and the fast-tracking of shale gas exploration have highlighted the potential jobs created. In a highly unusual move, British Photovoltaic Association chair Reza Shaybani has published an account of the meeting in which he says Rudd told him the impact on jobs was not part of the consultation on the solar subsidy cuts. An analysis, based on government data, by Friends of the Earth estimates that 22,000 jobs could be lost by the proposed 87% cut in support for domestic solar electricity. A new ICM opinion poll for Cooperative Energy, published on Friday, found solar power to be the most popular source of electricity amongst the public, including among Conservative voters, and was supported by 10 times as many people as fracking. Ramsay Dunning at Co-operative Energy said: “The overwhelming picture from our poll is that the British public support renewable, and most importantly, community energy generation. Therefore the government’s decision to withdraw its support from the renewable sector is extremely disappointing and at odds with popular opinion.”
Guardian 4th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – Public Opinion
People would much rather have wind turbines near their house than fracking wells, a survey suggests. Asked if they would prefer a wind turbine erected or a shale gas well drilled near their home, 65% of more than 2,000 people polled favoured the turbine, with just 14% backing the shale gas operation. Despite recent moves by the Conservatives to curb onshore wind and other renewables while going “all out for shale”, Tory supporters were also more in favour of wind than shale, with 58% opting for a turbine and 23% for a well.
Guardian 4th Sept 2015 read more »