Today, French energy expert Bernard Chabot takes a look at the available financial framework data for the two new reactors to be built at Hinkley Point. He finds the state loan guarantee played a crucial role in the agreement on the strike price. When an official strike price (a feed-in tariff) was proposed for a new nuclear plant in the UK a few weeks ago, my colleague Thomas Gerke and I published an article comparing the price of this future nuclear power to current solar and wind – an unfair comparison in a way because solar and wind will become cheaper over the next decade. In March, our guest author Bernard Chabot analyzed the situation in the UK to see what the strike price would have to be without a governmental loan guarantee. Now, it seems that the British government will be guaranteeing 65 percent of the loan, and China will also be investing. Today, Chabot takes a hard financial look at the basic information available and finds that the new strike price was only possible because of the loan guarantees. His original estimation of the cost of new nuclear was more than £0.10 per kilowatt-hour, not the £0.925 announced. In other words, the actual cost of this nuclear power is even higher than the strike price.
Renewables International 5th Nov 2013 read more »
EDF has struck an agreement with unions on the building of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. The deal with the GMB and Unite trade unions sets out the pay and terms of employment – including welfare facilities and training – for electrical and mechanical workers. It follows a similar agreement in June for civil workers on the project.
Energy Live 6th Nov 2013 read more »
International Business Times 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Hundreds of staff at a nuclear power plant have been told the site is to stay open for an extra five years. Hartlepool Power Station was due to close in 2019 but will now remain operational until 2024, owner EDF Energy confirmed. Almost 700 people work at the plant, which produces enough energy to supply almost 2.5 million homes. EDF said the extension was possible as the site remained safe and economically viable. It has also been confirmed that a new visitor centre will open at the plant.
BBC 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The station was at one time expected to shut down in 2009. Since then its life has been extended several times after permission was granted by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. The idea of building a new, replacement station was suggested by previous operators British Energy, but was opposed by environmental groups.
Northern Echo 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The overall radioactive impact of the Dounreay nuclear power complex on the environment has continued to fall, according to a new report. Samples of air, fresh water, grass, soil and locally sourced meat, fish, milk and vegetables are tested every year for contamination. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited said tests had shown a recent trend for a lessening impact continued in 2012. The site in Caithness is being dismantled and cleaned up. The radioactive impact of Dounreay and the UK’s other nuclear sites is set out each year in the annual Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) report. Samples of meat and fish are taken from rabbits, grouse and shellfish on the land and in the sea around Dounreay.
BBC 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The government’s nuclear safety watchdog has named the five UK sites that need the most regulation because of the safety problems they pose. They are the reprocessing complex at Sellafield in Cumbria, the nuclear bomb factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, the nuclear submarine base at Devonport in Plymouth and the former fast breeder centre at Dounreay in Caithness. These sites have been highlighted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in its 2013 annual report out today as requiring an “enhanced level of regulatory attention”. This is because of the radioactive hazards on the sites, the risk of radioactive leaks contaminating the environment around the sites and ONR’s view of operators’ safety performances, the report says. Sellafield was rated unacceptable in one inspection because a back-up gas turbine to provide power to the site in emergencies was “at imminent risk of failure to operate” because of severe corrosion. “Failure would reduce the availability of nuclear safety significant equipment, and also potentially injure or harm the workforce,” says ONR. The most serious safety problem at any nuclear site in the last three years occurred at Aldermaston in 2012. The discovery of corrosion in structural steelwork caused the closure of a top secret plant making enriched uranium components for nuclear warheads and fuel for nuclear submarines.
RobEdwards 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has today published the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s inaugural annual report, which provides information on the performance of the UK nuclear industry.
DECC 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has presented its view of safety and security standards across the nuclear industry in its inaugural Chief Nuclear Inspector’s Report. The report considers licensed civil nuclear and defence sites, the transport of radioactive materials and emergency planning. It also presents ONR’s judgement of how the UK is meeting its international responsibilities on nuclear safeguards, lessons learned from Fukushima and the nation’s nuclear research portfolio. We face significant technical challenges as a result of the operating environment. There are legacy radioactive waste facilities at Sellafield that do not meet modern engineering standards for nuclear plant. Regulation of those facilities is our top priority. ONR, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Government recognise that hazard reduction is a national priority. The civil nuclear reactor fleet is ageing, which presents challenges in ensuring that reactor plant continues to meet appropriate safety standards. Furthermore, the industry has signalled its desire to extend the operating life of the plant, hence ONR has put in place strategies to ensure that information is available to confirm the continued safety of those plants.
ONR 5th Nov 2013 read more »
ONR Quarterly News July to Sept 2013. In January, the Minister of State for Energy asked ONR and the Environment Agency to undertake a GDA of Hitachi-GE’s advanced boiling water reactor. The regulators are making progress on preparations to start the assessment phase. The timescale of this is largely dependent on Hitachi-GE’s plans to prepare the necessary safety, environmental and security documentation and submit them to ONR and the Environment Agency. This should allow us to complete our preparations and then start our assessment early in January 2014. We expect this assessment will last around four years.
ONR 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Irish homes could be forced into lockdown in the event of a major meltdown at a nuclear power plant in the UK, experts have warned. The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) predicted people could be forced to stay indoors for days were an accident to occur at any of the eight plants dotted along the west coast of Britain. Chief executive Dr Ann McGarry said while a potential accident would result in “no observable health impacts”, the socio-economic consequences would be much worse.
Belfast Telegraph 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on environment, community& local government, Brian Stanley TD, has today reiterated his demand to the government “to release their report into the threat from Sellafield.” Responding to a Dáil committee presentation on existing and proposed nuclear plants in Britain and their implications for Ireland, Stanley said: “Today’s presentation by Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland focused on, ‘the implications for Ireland of routine discharges of radioactivity from these existing nuclear plants and the potential impact on Ireland of an accident at these plants.’ But we are still waiting for the publication of the most recent report into the effects of an attack on Sellafield. To date it remains shrouded in secrecy.
Sinn Fein 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Response to an Open Letter on the Future of Nuclear Power by Dale Bryk, Sheryl Carter, Ralph Cavanagh, David Goldstein and Kit Kennedy NRDC Energy Program. The authors of this letter (and other nuclear energy proponents) are on the wrong track when they look to nuclear power as a silver bullet solution for global warming. To the contrary, given its massive capital costs, technical complexity, and international security concerns, nuclear power is clearly not a practical alternative. Instead, energy efficiency will always be the quickest, cheapest solution to our energy and climate challenges, and clean renewable energy is growing today by leaps and bounds. Inexplicably, Dr. Hansen and his colleagues ignore energy efficiency altogether.
NRDC Blog 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Politicians have been queuing up in recent weeks to interrogate the UK’s big six energy companies after a spate of bill hikes. Last week, energy bosses faced a group of MPs to justify their companies’ profits, while the government announced the 18th energy market investigation since 2001. And today, the Labour leader renewed his assault on the sector, saying the recent price hikes were down to a “broken market” and corporate greed. Companies regularly justify swelling household bills by claiming they have to account for rising wholesale energy costs. But a number of politicians and newspapers have disagreed. They point to data suggesting wholesale costs have increased by 1.6 per cent on average this year, while bills have increased by nearly 10 per cent, and have accused the companies of making excess profits. Digging into the data suggests the relationship between costs and profits isn’t as simple that criticism implies, however. While a wholesale cost increase might dent their supply profit margins, it could boost generation profits. Unmuddling the two parts of businesses is notoriously difficult, leading Miliband to today call for the supply and generation parts of the energy companies to be more obviously separated from each other. Were that to happen, it could lead to better (and hopefully easier) energy company scrutiny.
Carbon Brief 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The British public is up in arms over energy prices. Despite industry deregulation, six firms still hold 99pc of the market, and RWE nPower, Scottish Power, EDF Energy, Centrica, SSE and E.ON are free to set their prices at will – a right that all recently exercised, adding an average of 8pc to 10pc on to household fuel bills across the country. But one entrepreneur is attempting to shake the Big Six’s hold over the market. Stephen Fitzpatrick lambasts his rivals for their inflated prices, terrible customer service and opaque practices and explains how his independent energy firm, OVO Energy, is slowly gaining traction in the domestic market.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2013 read more »
When in doubt announce another review. In this case, the Energy Market Review – even though Electricity Market Reform, the already on-going process which is meant to sort out the energy industry problems, has not finished yet. What this new review should conclude is that 1 British energy prices are higher than they need be because the Government, Regulator and large energy companies, for different reasons, are collectively undermining competitive and innovatory forces from working their way through to lower energy prices; and that 2 higher energy prices are merely a symptom and it is the cause that needs to be addressed: Britain needs an overhaul in the way it makes decisions about energy policy, and then how it implements it. Sadly, this is not what the outcome of the review will say because it is to be led by the Regulator, one of the key supporters of our current system. The incumbents and institutions overseeing the current energy system have too many interests in maintaining it, and the Government has done nothing to change this. If the Government wants a sustainable, secure and economic energy system it has to put in places rules, incentives and institutions to deliver that. This means breaking the power of those with vested interests in the current system, and that includes Ofgem. A review led by Ofgem is just more of the same. Npower, for example, is owned by RWE which has just announced a change to its business model because of the 50% cut – yes, cut – in average wholesale prices in Germany since 2008. Renewable zero marginal cost electricity has brought the peak electricity prices tumbling down – wiping out the source of profit for these large companies. E.on, also German, has seen its income from conventional power fall by half since 2010. Renewable energy technology prices are tumbling as their volume manufacture increases and as they ‘learn by doing’.
IGov 6th Nov 2013 read more »
THE availability of cheap, instant energy has underpinned the development of our modern society. But certainties about energy that have existed for a generation are now changing rapidly, both nationally and internationally. So, we should not be surprised that energy issues, such as prices, costs and technologies, are rarely out of the news – or that those views on different ways of generating and using energy are increasingly strident. But the information provided by politicians and in the media is too often partial and misleading, designed to reflect a particular political or commercial viewpoint. They fail to provide a transparent debate about social costs and benefits of different forms of energy generation and use. And this matters, particularly in Scotland, where energy is a keystone economic sector. The recent political and media storm about “green taxes” provides a classic example. Regardless of one’s views about the sense of subsidising renewable energy generation, statements arguing that “green” (renewable energy) subsidies are the primary cause of the recent increases in energy bills are simply untrue.
Scotsman 6th Nov 2013 read more »
Energy regulator Ofgem can’t say what a competitive energy market looks like, its chief executive admitted on Tuesday, five years since it launched an investigation into competition in the sector. Andrew Wright, who is overseeing reforms to the household electricity and gas supply market, was asked at an Ofgem event to define what success would look like. “The cop out answer is we are just starting a programme of work… to answer that question,” he said.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The risk of power shortages this winter has been underestimated by ministers and the National Grid, with factory shutdowns and “politically unacceptable” price spikes more likely than had been feared, energy giant SSE has warned.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Public support for green energy remains high, with three quarters of people supporting the use of renewable power. But even more people are worried about future rises in electricity bills – and the government’s attempts to encourage more efficient use of energy doesn’t appear to be having much impact on public awareness. The polling may well already be out of date. Since it was carried out, four out of the ‘big six’ energy companies announced prices rises, the government announced a new – expensive- nuclear deal, a political storm broke out around energy bills, and David Cameron promised to ‘roll back’ some green energy subsidies in response. What effect has this had on public opinion? We’ll have to wait for the next survey to find out.
Carbon Brief 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The attitude of British billpayers to saving energy remains unchanged by the roll-out of the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme despite widespread concern over rising bills, according to the government’s own opinion poll. It found that 28% of people were giving a lot of thought to saving energy in their home, the same as in September 2012. The poll found that 84% of people are concerned about steep rises in energy prices in the future and that almost half the population is worried about paying their bills. Ministers pledged that the green deal scheme would improve the energy efficiency of 14m homes by 2020, thereby cutting bills, but since its launch in January just 57 deals have been completed.
Guardian 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Jordan’s plan to build its first nuclear plant with Russian help has stirred fresh fears and suspicions as experts called for the “dangerous” and “illogical” project to be abandoned. The government announced late last month that two Russian firms will build and operate a $10bn nuclear plant, including two 1 000-megawatt reactors.
News24 5th Nov 2013 read more »
In the unlikely setting of a bucolic French chateau complete with a pack of fox-hounds, former officials from Iran, Israel, China and the US have got together for a weekend of banquet-fuelled and ground-breaking discussions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
FT 6th Nov 2013 read more »
Iran’s top negotiator said on Tuesday that a framework deal with world powers on its nuclear programme was “possible this week”, although it would not be a disaster if there were a further delay.
Reuters 6th Nov 2013 read more »
Talks on a protracted row over Iran’s nuclear ambitions resume this week in Geneva, with Tehran announcing a visit by the UN atomic watchdog chief to try to clinch a deal.
Middle East Online 5th Nov 2013 read more »
U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano is expected to visit Tehran on November 11, Iranian state television said on Tuesday, a possible sign of progress in a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear arms research by Tehran.
Reuters 5th Nov 2013 read more »
A man who refused to leave when Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plants melted down is now caring for hundreds of abandoned animals in a wasteland. As fears of radiation grew following the meltdowns of March 2011, tens of thousands of people fled their homes, and the area was put into lock-down. Even now, more than two-and-a-half years after the disaster, those who enter must leave again before nightfall. But one man never left. Keigo Sakamoto, 58, started an animal sanctuary over a decade ago in Naraha, fewer than 12-and-a-half miles from the Fukushima plant.
ITV 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Renewable energy investment accounted for around a third of private sector investment in the UK energy sector last year generating investment equivalent to that required for six Olympic stadiums. The increasing role of green energy in the energy mix is highlighted in a new report from consultancy giant EY, which concludes there is a “quiet energy revolution” under way as a pipeline of clean energy projects is readied to replace the 27GW of capacity likely to be lost in the coming years as aging power stations are closed.
Business Green 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Wind farms, along with solar energy, could soon provide enough energy to provide for half the world’s needs, researchers say. The only problem is working out how best to build them. US scientists have worked out how to get 33% more power from an offshore wind farm – stagger the turbines rather than line them up in neat, orderly rows.
Climate News Network 6th Nov 2013 read more »
Published in 2007, The Sullivan Report – ‘A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland’ set out recommendations to drive forward standards and innovation. In recognition of the economic downturn and in support of ongoing and future work, Ministers asked the Panel to reconvene in May 2013 to revisit some of the original recommendations. This report is the findings of the reconvened panel.
Scottish Government 1st Nov 2013 read more »
The shortfall between what governments say they will do to cut greenhouse gases and what actually needs to be done by 2020 is growing steadily bigger, the UN says.
Climate News Network 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The chances of keeping the global temperature increase below 2C will “swiftly diminish” unless the world takes immediate action to escalate cuts in carbon emissions, the United Nations has warned.
Guardian 5th Nov 2013 read more »