Taxpayers could shoulder the multibillion-pound cost of civil engineering works for new nuclear power plants to make them easier to finance and reduce their impact on energy bills, the company seeking to build reactors in Cumbria has suggested. Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, proposed reviewing how the different elements of new nuclear plants could be “carved up in different way to allow the Government to take a role in some of the enabling infrastructure”. This could include funding major aspects of construction such as “the civil works”, he told a House of Lords committee. Mr Samson’s company wants to build three Westinghouse reactors at Moorside, near Sellafield in Cumbria, in a 3.8-gigawatt project he said was expected to cost up to £15bn. But financing presents a major challenge for the project, which is 60pc owned by Japan’s Toshiba and 40pc by France’s Engie, formerly GDF Suez. It has been in talks with potential investors for months about a deal. Lord Darling, the former Chancellor, suggested that instead of the “elaborate quasi-market process” used for Hinkley, resulting in an “extraordinarily high” subsidy price, it could make more sense for the Government to “just build nuclear power stations”. While Mr Samson said nationalisation would be an “extreme solution”, he opened the door to the Government taking a role in the non-nuclear elements of the project, saying this would be a “valid perspective”. Areas the Government could look to fund would include “potentially some of the common works, the sea water intake, the civil works”, he said. Civil works such as earth movement at Hinkley have stretched to several billion pounds and preparatory works for Moorside could be of a similar magnitude. NuGen is already lobbying via the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership for Government assistance in improving the transport infrastructure in the Cumbrian area to help support both decommissioning operations at Sellafield and the proposed construction site at Moorside. Ministers are reported to have commissioned a study earlier this year to consider alternative funding models, which also suggested the Government could take direct stakes in future projects.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2016 read more »
UK’s nuclear company NuGen, a joint venture between Japan’s Toshiba and France’s ENGIE, said Tuesday its planned 3,800-megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant in northwest England would cost far less than the Hinkley facility. Speaking before the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, NuGen CEO Tom Samson said he was aiming for the Moorside project in Cumbria, which would be bigger than EDF’s project, to roughly cost between “£13-£15 billion” ($16.1-18.6 billion). Samson added the company was making “strong progress” in constructing other AP1000 nuclear reactors elsewhere in the world. “The delivery certainty and the confidence comes with taking the lessons learned from our global experience and building it into a UK mindset – for delivery in this country.” NuGen and rival Horizon reportedly told the committee their projects would be cheaper and seek lower subsidies from the government than Hinkley Point C.
Kallanish Energy 4th Nov 2016 read more »
We at Cumbria Trust believe our members and followers expect us to post fact based articles and we are careful to check the veracity of stories the come to our attention. On Thursday, CT posted details of a story which was featured in the online publication “In-Cumbria”, concerning a recent speech made by Baroness Neville-Rolfe*. Whilst a lot of Julian Whittle’s in-Cumbria report is consistent with what she appears to have said, Cumbria Trust has located what it believes to be a transcript of her speech and it does not support the last part of his opening statement “The Government has underlined its commitment to the nuclear industry and reaffirmed plans for a nuclear waste repository, almost certainly in west Cumbria”. We expect that it is only a matter of time before West Cumbria once again becomes the target for the siting of a GDF. The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, when he was the Minister responsible for Energy back in December 2013, made it very clear that was what he wanted and hinted that the system was to be manipulated to make this easier to accomplish.
Cumbria Trust 5th Nov 2016 read more »
As Energy Secretary, he was a target for journalists wielding the Freedom of Information Act. Now, after being ousted from Parliament in the May 2015 general election, Sir Ed Davey has been forced to resort to using the transparency legislation himself – in an attempt to read a report he commissioned. But, in a dark twist, civil servants who just 18 months ago worked with him have rejected his FOI request asking them to publish a study on the true costs of different electricity sources. The former Lib Dem cabinet member has accused the Government of “an abuse of power” after it rejected his FOI request to publish the Frontier Economics study into the true costs of different electricity sources, which was submitted to ministers by the consultancy at the start of this year. Responding to Sir Ed’s requests, the Government acknowledged a public interest in publishing the report but said it would do so “in due course” when it could provide “sufficient context”.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2016 read more »
Scientific studies conducted following the Fukushima disaster revealed little by little the consequences of radioactivity on the living and particularly on wildlife. Although published, they are nevertheless rarely circulated. This is why I would like to put a spotlight on some of them and publicize various observations which we do not hear much about, to counter the silly optimism to always relativize the consequences of low doses on life. Any dose of radiation, however small it be, has effects on the living: the ionizing radiation breaks the DNA molecules.
Fukushima 311 5th Nov 2016 read more »
Midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, the San Onofre Nuclear Plant waits to be dismantled. After more than 40 years of protests, lawsuits and safety scares, its two concrete-encased reactors, jutting from the pristine California coastline, are powered down and its massive steam turbines, once deafening, are quiet. For the activists who fought to close the plant, the victory is bittersweet. The reactors will disappear, but 1,600 metric tons of radioactive waste remain. While some is stacked in steel-lined casks, and the rest is submerged in cooling pools, all of it is trapped in a political and regulatory limbo that keeps it from going anywhere anytime soon. And San Onofre isn’t alone: More than 76,000 metric tons of waste is stranded at dozens of commercial sites, just as the U.S. approaches a critical mass of nuclear-plant retirements.
Portland Press Herald 5th Nov 2016 read more »
The Canadian navy will be heading to the coast of British Columbia to investigate claims that a diver may have come across “the lost nuke” – a Mark IV bomb that went missing after an American B-36 bomber crashed in the region during the cold war.
Guardian 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 5th Nov 2016 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
He has splashed out tens of millions in his efforts to preserve the natural beauty of the Highlands. Now, Anders Povlsen’s love affair with Scotland appears to be ebbing after ministers backed a wind farm that he believes will scar the landscape and damage tourism. The Danish billionaire, who owns almost a dozen Scottish estates, is reviewing his investment plans after the Scottish government approved the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm in Sutherland a fortnight ago. Povlsen, who is poised to overtake the Duke of Buccleuch as Scotland’s largest private landowner, is upset with the decision, which follows years of negotiation by the Dane to buy his latest pile, the 18,000-acre Eriboll estate. The Creag Riabhach turbines, each up to 125 metres high, will be visible from several of Povlsen’s properties, including Eriboll. A spokesman for Povlsen said the billionaire is not against wind farms but disagrees with Holyrood’s latest decision to support a “wind factory” in the Highlands.
The Times 6th Nov 2016 read more »
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the global shift to clean energy is on today. Not 10 years from now. Not 50 years from now. Today. We’re already seeing the benefits too in a whole host of sectors. And those below are just for starters. Which highlights why—with the Paris agreement about to go into effect and momentum building for action across the planet—it’s critical for those of us committed to creating a sustainable future to support world leaders working to drop dirty fossil fuels and expand clean solutions today. Read on to learn more.
Ecowatch 2nd Nov 2016 read more »
This year we have been involved in an exciting and innovative heat storage project called EAST-HEAT (Edinburgh and Surrounding Towns Heat Energy Action through Thermal-storage). The project has received over £3 million funding from the Scottish Government, through the Local Energy Challenge Fund and more than £4 million of investment in solar panels from Edison Energy. The lead partner on the project is Sunamp, a small company based in East Lothian which designs and manufactures innovative heat storage ‘batteries’. Other partners include East Lothian Housing Association and Edison Energy, a solar company. The project has developed and tested the heat storage batteries in a variety of different situations, with the aim of increasing residents’ comfort and tackling fuel poverty. EAST-HEAT has involved various Castle Rock Edinvar properties, including sheltered housing developments at Balfour Court in Edinburgh and Salisbury View in Mayfield, and over 600 individual house and flats across central Scotland.
Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association (accessed) 6th Nov 2016 read more »
Scottish Labour has claimed a ban on fracking in Scotland would “send a message to the world”. The party’s environment and climate change spokeswoman is bringing forward a member’s bill calling for shale gas extraction to be outlawed. Environmental group WWF has welcomed the announcement, but the Scottish Conservatives’ energy spokesman Alexander Burnett branded opposition to fracking “short-sighted” and “dogmatic”. Labour MSP Claudia Beamish, who announced the contents of her bill yesterday, insisted her opposition to the controversial practice was based on scientific evidence. She said: “Scotland can send a message to the world by banning fracking. That’s why I am announcing my proposal on the day that the global Paris Climate Change Agreement comes into force. “This is about the kind of Scotland we want to leave our grandchildren. “The science is clear, we don’t need another fossil fuel and we need to transition to clean energy.” There is a moratorium in place on fracking in Scotland, but Ms Beamish said she hoped the SNP would support her bid for an outright ban.
Energy Voice 5th Nov 2016 read more »
A lot has happened since Nicholas Stern, then a permanent secretary at the Treasury, produced his landmark review of the impact of climate change 10 years ago. His work was quickly recognised as the definitive account of the economic dangers posed to the planet by global warming. Since then, global temperatures have risen to record levels. Arctic summer sea ice has continued to shrink, as have many major land-based ice sheets. Carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere in ever-increasing amounts. At the same time, low-lying coastal areas, such as south Florida and parts of Bangladesh, are experiencing more and more flooding as sea levels have risen. Scientists have begun to link extreme weather events to the planet’s changing climate, while animal and plant species are gradually moving towards the poles. So, a decade on, is Stern plunged in despair over our prospects? Not quite. While the picture is certainly grim, the world’s top climate economist still believes there are grounds for modest optimism.
Observer 6th Nov 2016 read more »
A GREENPEACE ship due to launch a campaign to combat plastic pollution of the seas has been refused permission to dock in the Port of Leith, Edinburgh. The operator, Forth Ports, has told the environmental group that it cannot bring the Esperanza in to the port this week because it is too busy. But activists are concerned that Greenpeace is being penalised for its high-profile and sometimes confrontational campaigning. Forth Ports has told the Sunday Herald that it has offered Greenpeace an anchorage in the Firth of Forth instead. But the group insists it has not received any such offer. The Esperanza is due to arrive in the Forth on Wednesday, but as yet Greenpeace says it has no permission to stay. The purpose of the visit is to support plans for a deposit and return scheme for drinks containers to cut plastic waste, and no direct action is planned. Greenpeace has made many potential enemies. It has protested repeatedly against the Edinburgh-based oil firm, Cairn Energy; another of its ships, Arctic Sunrise, has been banned from parts of the Clyde after protesting against nuclear weapons; it has also been a vocal opponent of fracking. “It’s bizarre to be stonewalled like this when we’re coming to highlight an issue of real concern to the public and critical importance to our environment,” said Willie Mackenzie, Greenpeace’s oceans expert.
Herald 6th Nov 2016 read more »