In 2009, Ed Miliband, the then energy secretary, unveiled plans for the most ambitious expansion of nuclear power in Europe. It was a bold vision. Britain would build up to 12 new reactors, he said, on 10 sites stretching from Somerset to Cumbria. By the late 2020s about 30 per cent of its electricity would come from nuclear power up from 18 per cent now. That prediction is now looking wildly optimistic. The race for new nuclear in this country is at serious risk of unravelling, says Tony Lodge, a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank. One government insider says the lack of Chinese involvement in bids for Horizon nuclear is a serious blow for DECC officials who had been over the moon about Beijings interest. There is now a question mark over who will ultimately foot the bill for what are expected to be massively expensive infrastructure projects: the most advanced of them, EDF Energys plan to build a new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, could cost as much as £14bn, according to some industry estimates. There was still a chance that Westinghouses original partner Chinas State Nuclear Power Technology Corp could come into the consortium, these people say: and that another state-backed Chinese entity China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group could enter the picture. CGNP is currently in talks with EDF Energy on coming into Hinkley Point, and a deal could be reached by the end of the year, according to one person familiar with the matter. A relatively high strike price will be a signal to Hitachi and China Guangdong and all the other developers that they can make money out of this, says Tony Lodge. It could open the floodgates to investment. If it is too low, however, those floodgates could stay shut for good.
FT 5th Oct 2012 more >>
The government has bent over backwards to accommodate the nuclear industry. Yet despite promising billions of pounds of public subsidy, it seems unable to find anyone willing to build a nuclear reactor. Last year, the German utilities RWE and E.ON pulled out of new nuclear and put their consortium, Horizon, up for sale. Bidding closed last Friday. There were no credible offers. The Chinese – whom the government said would bankroll several bids – were nowhere to be seen. French reactor manufacturer, Areva, didn’t bid and Toshiba has put in a bid that industry analysts say it can’t afford. The most credible bid came from Hitachi. But the Japanese company has a major hurdle to overcome: getting its reactor design approved. That takes years; it hasn’t even started. Don’t expect to see a Hitachi reactor built on our shores any time soon.
Greenpeace 4th Oct 2012 more >>
Britain risks eroding support for nuclear power if it buries long-term waste near an existing processing facility without considering wider, potentially safer options. UK authorities are edging towards one region for long-term waste storage where planners have rejected sites twice partly on doubts over geological security and safety.The United States illustrated the risks of fixating on one area, after spending almost $15 billion assessing and developing Nevada’s Yucca Mountain only for President Barack Obama to shelve the plan two years ago and appoint a commission to review the issue, in that case following local opposition. The political attractiveness of the site in West Cumbria in northwest England, by contrast, partly rests on assumed local familiarity and support given its proximity to Sellafield, where much of the country’s nuclear waste is already held above ground. By focusing on public support, however, Britain may be drawn into protracted analysis of one site which ultimately is found to be geologically unsuitable for deep underground storage of nuclear waste, and a late exit from a massive engineering project whose discounted present cost is expected to be at least 3.7 billion pounds ($5.98 billion).
Reuters 5th Oct 2012 more >>
New energy minister Baroness Verma has said the Government “remains completely committed to a community-led and voluntarist approach” to the nuclear waste issue and praised the dedication and professionalism of the workforce on her first visit to West Cumbria today. She met management and members of the Sellafield Workers Campaign and also met Cumbrian council leaders to discuss the siting process for a geological disposal facility for nuclear waste. The minister also called for a continued and strong focus on decommissioning at Sellafield.
Whitehaven News 5th Oct 2012 more >>
DECC Press Release 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) has applied to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for a new authorisation to dispose of radioactive waste under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. SEPA will carry out a public consultation on DSRLs application, beginning today and closing on November 30, 2012. The consultation documents can be found on SEPA’s website,
DSRL 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Arevas bid to supply two new nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic has been disqualified, Czech utility CEZ said October 5. Unless Areva appeals successfully against the disqualification, that would leave Westinghouse and Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport as the two remaining bidders to supply the Temelin-3 and -4 reactors. CEZ has today informed Areva that they have in their bid failed to meet statutory requirements for building two new units of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant, CEZ said in a statement. Moreover, Areva has not fulfilled some other crucial criteria defined in the tender. Since the award procedure has been conducted in accordance with the Public Procurement Act, Arevas bid had to be excluded from further evaluation, CEZ said. CEZ said it informed Areva in detail about the specific grounds for excluding their bid. It said the reasons are both of a commercial and legislative nature and concern crucial requirements.
i-Nuclear 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Czech power group CEZ threw out Areva’s bid for a multibillion-dollar contract to expand the Temelin nuclear power plant, leaving U.S. and Russian firms to contest the country’s biggest-ever energy deal.
Reuters 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Last week the odd political dance between the US and Japan ended with Japan backing off of their plan to phase out nuclear power. The US claimed heavily that is was over proliferation issues but mentioned as an aside it would hurt the US nuclear energy sector. This seemed quite odd, why the US would be so worried about Japans civilian nuclear power program. The proliferation excuse was very flawed and made no sense. The US nuclear industry is apparently very dependent on Japan. The two major players in reactor design, fuel production and reactor maintenance are not really US companies. When Germany declared their nuclear phase out, Siemens announced they were closing their nuclear division to focus on other energy sectors. The US nuclear industry has openly admitted their domestic business is waning. If Japan ends their nuclear power program, Toshiba/Westinghouse, Mitsubishi and GE-Hitachi may either end their nuclear divisions or drastically cut them to meet actual demand. Both options would leave the US without a functional nuclear industry. With closer inspection it shows how dependent the US is on Japans nuclear power program to keep their dying industry on life support.
Simply Info 4th Oct 2012 more >>
OFFICIALS at Hinkley Point nuclear power statement have issued a statement ahead of planned protests tomorrow (Saturday) and Monday. Anti-nuclear protestors are staging a rally in Bridgwater town centre on Saturday and will attempt to occupy part of the site on the Somerset coastline on Monday. EDF Energy, which runs the existing Hinkley Point B and has applied to build a new nuclear power station at the site, said it is aware of the protests. Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C Construction Director, said: We respect the rights of individuals to peaceful and lawful protest, however, we are also mindful of the pressure these events can place on the local community with whom we have strong links.
This is the West Country 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Anti-nuclear campaigners have raised a 10 metre barn at the centre of a new protest camp at Hinkley point in Somerset. The camp, on common land at North Wick Moor, will be the base for a weekend of action in West Somerset, ending with a “mass trespass” at the proposed Hinkley C development site on Monday. About a dozen people entered the land in pouring rain at 2 am on Friday morning to establish the camp. Earlier this year southwest protesters occupied an abandoned farm on land owned by EDF, who want to build a new nuclear power plant there. The group, who called themselves “the barnstormers”, were evicted when the French company obtained a High court injunction against them in March.
Stop Hinkley 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Morning Star 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Jonathan Porritt: Theres going to be a lot going on down at Hinkley Point this weekend. The Stop New Nuclear Alliance is organising a mass trespass, as well as a day of action, a double die-in and various other activities most legal, some not. Sadly, I wont be joining them, as Im not in the country, but I do seriously hope that there will be many thousands taking part.
24 Dash 5th Oct 2012 more >>
The chairmans of Britains Energy Coast has received assurances at the highest level that plans for nuclear new build at Sellafield remain on track. The Rt Hon Brian Wilson, a former Labour energy minister, spoke out after The Sunday Times claimed that one half of the NuGen consortium was pulling out. The newspaper reported that Spanish company Iberdrola had told its partner GDF Suez it was withdrawing, leaving the £5bn Moorside project in serious doubt.
Cumberland News 5th Oct 2012 more >>
A planned nuclear power project touted as important to Britain’s energy future was dealt a blow this week when French and Chinese investors pulled out. The French engineering group Areva confirmed Wednesday it has dropped negotiations with Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture set up in 2009 to replace the existing twin, 40-year-old nuclear reactors at Wylfa on the Welsh island of Anglesey in a $13 billion effort.
UPI 5th Oct 2012 more >>
The Green Party attacked the appointment of controversial “fit for work” firm Atos to run nuclear industry IT systems today as “foolhardy in the extreme.” Atos has been criticised repeatedly for its controversial role policing the government’s back-to-work scheme, with people wrongly having their benefits slashed and being forced into employment despite being too ill to work. But in a press statement the firm announced today that it had secured responsibility for the delivery of “significant aspects of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA’s) IT services.” The five-year, £140 million contract covers Sellafield, Magnox, National Nuclear Laboratories and Low Level Waste Repository.
Morning Star 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Britain could be heading for higher electricity prices and energy shortages by 2015 according to Ofgem. Nine UK-based coal and oil fired plants with a combined generating capacity of 11.5 gigawatts are due to close by 2015, of which four are expected to cease generation next year. Energy UK, the industry body, said Ofgem was right to highlight the challenges it faces in the coming years.
Independent 6th Oct 2012 more >>
In a sign of how badly the UK needs new nuclear reactors, the energy regulator warned Friday that Britain faces a potential shortfall in electricity generation in the next three to four years. Electricity margins the amount of spare generation capacity on the system could fall to 4 per cent by 2015-16, from 14 per cent today, Ofgem said. The regulator said coal-fired generation was likely to close earlier than expected under EU environmental legislation.
FT 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Telegraph 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Times 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Senior figures in the energy industry called for urgent action to encourage investment in the sector, after the regulator Ofgem said the risk of power cuts would significantly increase by 2015.
Telegraph 15th Oct 2012 more >>
Fukushima crisis update 2nd to 4th Oct.
Greenpeace 5th Oct 2012 more >>
The United States has urged Japan to keep the amount of plutonium it stores at a minimum, following a recent shift in Tokyo’s energy strategy that aims to end atomic power generation in the country in the 2030s, several Japanese and U.S. government sources said Wednesday. Washington has aired concerns over the possibility of nuclear proliferation since Tokyo decided last month to continue to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, although such a decision is seen as inconsistent with the zero nuclear reliance target, they said.
Power Engineering 4th Oct 2012 more >>
FoE-USA TV Ad; Southern California Edison’s controversial plan to restart one of the damaged San Onofre nuclear reactors is rolling the nuclear dice — a dangerous experiment that gambles with the safety of millions in Southern California. The company plans to run a reactor at reduced power, despite the fact that Edison has made no repairs since the plant was shut down after a leak of radioactive steam eight months ago.
You Tube 5th Oct 2012 more >>
The United States has reportedly rejected an Iranian offer to phase out the most contentious elements of its nuclear programme in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions.
Telegraph 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Cross party consensus emerges only rarely in the tribal world of Westminster. So when politicians do tentatively edge towards agreement, there’s always a glimmer of hope that progress might be possible. When MPs return from recess, they will scrutinise the government’s plans for the green investment bank (GIB) under the enterprise and regulatory reform bill. The concept for the world’s first GIB was developed by the business and NGO alliance, Transform UK, and introduced by Alistair Darling in his final budget before being carried through by the coalition. The GIB has huge potential to leverage in a hefty proportion of the private sector investment needed for the UK’s low carbon economy to flourish. But, as I highlighted in 2011, there are serious doubts as to whether the GIB will a) be a real bank, and b) be green. The main concern is that the Treasury is ideologically opposed to a fully operational GIB, and given George Osborne’s hostility to the idea that there is a green route out of recession, it’s clear the battle won’t be easily won.
Guardian 5th Oct 2012 more >>