DAVID CAMERON is set to sign a landmark deal next month to allow China to build a prototype nuclear reactor in Bradwell, Essex. The plant would be the first Chinese-designed and operated facility in the West. It is the price Beijing has extracted in return for its agreement to help pay for two new plants to be built by France’s EDF Energy — one at Hinkley Point in Somerset and the other at Sizewell, Suffolk. The deal, part of a wide-ranging civil nuclear pact between Britain, France and China, may be sealed in October during the Chinese president’s state visit. Last week EDF admitted that Hinkley Point, Britain’s first atomic power station in two decades, will be hit with fresh delays. It was originally scheduled to open in 2017, but wrangling over how it will be funded has held up the start of work. Problems with the EPR reactor design have also stymied progress, and the company admitted last week it would not open before 2024. Whitehall officials are hammering out the final details of an agreement under which two of Beijing’s state power companies, China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear Corporation, will take a large minority stake in Hinkley Point. They would also be junior partners, and cover part of the costs, for a follow-on plant at Sizewell. EDF would lead the construction and operation of both sites. In return for Beijing’s support on those plants, EDF would sell its rights to a development site it owns at Bradwell. The French would become a minority partner and assist the Chinese through Britain’s approval process for a new reactor design, a process that is among the most arduous in the world. Beijing would then use that certification as a selling point as it bids to become the world leader in nuclear technology. The Chinese design is expected to be capable of producing one gigawatt of electricity — enough to power 1m homes.
Sunday Times 6th Sept 2015 read more »
The company behind Wylfa Newydd say they are successfully progressing their project as the planned opening of the UK’s first new new nuclear power plant in decades has been delayed. EDF has admitted Hinkley Point C in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023 as planned. The French power giant says it will provide a revised timetable for the £24.5bn plant when it takes a final investment decision on the project. But Horizon Nuclear Power, who are developing Wylfa Newydd, said their aim was still to be generating by 2025.
Daily Post 4th Sept 2015 read more »
The British attitude to the notion that nuclear power is not cheap after all is a bit like a child who first hears that Father Christmas does not, after all, exist. Disbelief, and in this case a belief that if only Father Christmas is nationalised, then it will still be true. The psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, in other words if a fact is uncomfortable to you, you believe that the fact is wrong. The belief that somehow nuclear power will be cheaper if somehow it is done differently here has been stoked by a recent IEA Report which says that British nuclear power, in the shape of the proposed contract for Hinkley C, is the most expensive in the world. In fact the IEA report is heavily reliant on a limited number of projections of costs, which in the world of nuclear power is a fantasy world in itself. However what is more apparent is that it is not so much that nuclear power is more expensive in the UK so much that it is only in the UK that something vaguely approaching a estimate of nuclear costs on the same basis as other energy technologies has been attempted. This is because of the need to make nuclear at least look like it was fitting into the contours of what passes for a competitive electricity generation market in the UK. Of course nuclear power looks expensive if you do it that way. because it is! (assuming you want to treat nuclear power on the same costing basis as other energy sources). Even this (Hinkley C) comparison is somewhat biased towards nuclear because other technologies don’t get 35 year contracts, and they don’t get a Government offer to underwrite 60 per cent of the projected construction costs. So, the Government’s declared price for Hinkley C is, in reality an underestimate of nuclear power costs compared to other energy sources. This is even more the case since the plant hasn’t even started construction yet.
Dave Toke’s Blog 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Below is the Response to DECC with regard to the ‘call for evidence’ on “Working with Communities” on Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes No Nuke Dumping believe There is no guarantee that a geological disposal facility can contain radionuclides long-term. We do not therefore support the context of this “call for evidence” as we believe it is scientifically, morally and environmentally un-sound to dispose of high–level radioactive waste in a GDF, under the terms of a Nationally Significantly Infrastructure Project(NSIP).
Radiation Free Lakeland 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Suddenly, the doomsday scenario of a nationwide energy blackout and power curfews on a scale not seen since the bleak winter of enforced economic hardship of 1979 becomes reality. This is the fear of experts like Anthony Price, director of Electricity Storage Network, who argues that policymakers have allowed the system to become too vulnerable to outages, which could cost the economy billions of pounds in lost output and productivity. His concerns were brought into sharper focus last week with the announcement that the Eggborough power station in Yorkshire would close in March 2016. The plant generates around 4pc of the UK’s electricity and its shutdown at the end of the winter will place a further squeeze on the safety cushion for avoiding a blackout across large areas of the country. According to analysts at the investment bank Jefferies, the closure of Eggborough will mean that over 16 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity – which is enough to provide electricity for a dozen large cities – will have been shut down over the last four years. At the same time, Britain has installed only 6,000 megawatts of new easily “dispatchable” generation capacity to meet any potential shortfalls that may arise. Further uncertainty is being caused by the potential delay of the landmark £24.5bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant. Originally earmarked to start producing electricity by 2023 its developer EDF has recently rowed back on the date for when the plant will actually open. Construction work on the nuclear facility is being held up by delays to taking a final investment decision on the project, which is vital to meeting the UK’s power needs beyond 2020. EDF and its Chinese investment partners have so far failed to secure additional funding for the project from investors. The scheme is also being bogged down by negotiations with the Government over potential subsidies and a protracted EU enquiry into state aid.
Telegraph 5th Sept 2015 read more »
The energy regulator Ofgem was accused of “binge-flying” for allowing its staff to make thousands of internal flights over three years. The regulator, which is overseeing an energy sector under pressure to cut its carbon emissions, has clocked up 3,361 single and return flights within the UK since April 2012, according to a response to a Freedom of Information inquiry. Many of the tickets logged by the regulator were for return journeys, so the actual number of flights is more than 4,500 – most of them between London and Glasgow, where Ofgem has its offices. The number includes flights booked for later this year.
Independent 5th Sept 2015 read more »
The CBI has issued a strongly-worded attack on the Competition and Markets Authority’s plan for price caps on energy tariffs, arguing it would actually leave consumers worse off and harm competition. A temporary price cap on energy suppliers’ standard tariffs was the most radical potential remedy put forward by the CMA in July after its year-long investigation concluded millions of households were paying too much for their gas and electricity due to a lack of competition. Under the proposal, households that failed to shop around would no longer remain indefinitely on suppliers’ expensive “standard variable” tariffs and would instead be rolled on to a new, cheaper “safeguard” tariff, with the price capped by either the CMA or regulator Ofgem. Roger Witcomb, chairman of the CMA’s energy market investigation, said this could effectively result in price cuts for the 70pc of households currently on the standard tariffs.
Telegraph 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Japan’s government has lifted a ban meaning people from the town of Naraha near Fukushima can return to their homes for the first time since the nuclear disaster. The town’s 7,400 residents have been prevented from going home for the last four and a half years since the accident – which left dozens of workers injured. Naraha became the first to get the order lifted among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the plant’s reactors into triple meltdowns in March 2011.
Daily Mail 5th Sept 2015 read more »
BBC 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Scotsman 6th September 2015 read more »
Convoy transporting Trident nuclear weapons on the Edinburgh bypass at 2.30 pm on Friday 4 September 2015. It was travelling from the nuclear weapon’s store at Coulport (next to Faslane) to the nuclear bomb factory at Burghfield in Berkshire. The most likely reason for the move is that the nuclear weapons are being upgraded.
Bin the Bomb 4th Sept 2015 read more »
THE roll-out of central heating districts across Scotland offers major commercial benefits to the Scottish business community, a report has found. Research by Scottish Enterprise has confirmed there are currently 9,886 properties connected to district heating schemes, which provide heating to buildings from a single source through insulated pipes, in Scotland. With a target to lift that to 40,000 homes by 2020, it highlights a major opportunity for Scottish businesses and investors. These range from companies that dig up the roads and build the infrastructure to firms in the supply chain, including technology providers. This commercial prospect is in addition to the environmental and financial benefits district heating is said to bring, as systems can be based on renewable technology suc h as biomass boilers. Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s ambitious climate targets mean we must drastically reduce the amount of carbon emitted by our society. District heating schemes offer an opportunity to do that, and also to reduce energy bills – particularly relevant when more than one in three Scottish households are living in fuel poverty.”
Herald 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Torrs Hydro is one of about 75 locally owned green energy projects across the country opening their doors to the public as part of the third Community Energy Fortnight, which runs from today until 20 September. “These projects allow the public to experience first-hand how communities can take control and go about owning, generating and saving energy,” says Will Dawson at Forum for the Future, which is running the event on behalf of the Community Energy Coalition, a network of environmental and sustainable energy groups. The projects on show will be demonstrating everything from how electricity is generated from cow poo in Wrexham, to obtaining energy from underground rocks at the Eden Project in Cornwall. The government’s proposals have clearly alarmed the community energy sector. “It may not have been the government’s intention, but our members are suffering very significant collateral damage from the raft of recent government announcements,” says Emma Bridge at Community Energy England, the trade body that represents more than 180 schemes. “These have already had a devastating impact on a large number of community hydro and solar projects in particular. Some have had to be shelved, others have been put on ice and many more are looking hard at their financial viability.” However, Bridge, who will be addressing delegates at a community energy conference in Oxford today, believes the sector will survive the government onslaught. “Our sector is robust enough to survive these challenges, not least because of the determination and dedication of the groups who develop community energy schemes. We will bounce back.”
Guardian 5th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave power
Scotland’s ambition to lead the world in marine energy suffered a setback last year when successive high profile pioneer companies either downsized or went out of business. Having invested so heavily – literally and rhetorically – in Scotland’s renewables capacity, the Scottish Government responded to the wave power setback with the establishment of Wave Energy Scotland a new offshoot of Highlands and Islands Enterprise “tasked with bringing together the best engineering and academic minds to collaborate on innovative projects that will accelerate the development of wave technologies.” The new methodology involves the funding, co-ordinating and sharing incremental stages of research from disparate R&D activities, focusing on specific pieces of the wave energy jigsaw. Careful verification processes will be imposed before the next stage of research is identified and funded. The new practical approach adapted by WES and its strong leadership gives confidence that politics will take a back seat. The lesson learned from the breaking of the wave of hype surrounding Scottish marine energy is that verifiable actions speak louder than words.
Herald 6th Sept 2015 read more »
In 1975, a brave young hippie put himself in the firing line of a Russian whaler’s harpoons off the Californian coast. In that moment, Greenpeace was born. Its founders have been fighting causes – and occasionally each other – ever since.
Independent 6th Sept 2015 read more »