The news that the Treasury are aiming to reduce the ROCs rewards for onshore wind by 25% is a potentially life threatening attack on the shorter term deployment of onshore wind (which is its intention). But should come as no surprise to those who have been following the increasingly nasty efforts by Treasury to intervene in the financing of renewables generally. Put bluntly, Treasury doesnt like all this subsidy flimflam for renewables and doesnt see why the market cant sort it all out. All of which makes its stance on Contracts for Difference increasingly difficult to fathom. At the same time as George Osborne is throwing banana skins in the way of renewable deployment, he is, apparently sitting back and doing nothing about the longer term (and potentially huge costs) of the CfD rollout. Not only will they get a special pre-contract contract enshrined in the new legislation, but they will, it seems get a far longer period for their CfDs than is currently envisaged for new wind. Prof Steve Thomas makes some reasonable assumptions about strike price and nuclear CfD longevity and concludes it will cost £155 billion over thirty years for about three conventional power stations-worth of electricity, assuming Hinkley C and Sizewell C get built. Rather a lot of subsidy, huh? The RO is going to be just over £3 billion per annum by 2015. Lets say that it peaks at about £5 billion per year a little after and then starts degressing. That equates to probably £100 billion over the same period for perhaps 30gigawatts installed, working at about 35% efficiency. Far more power for far less money.
Alan Whitehead MP 6th June 2012 more >>
A nearcertain winner for 2012 contest for most understated statement of the year. Turn to page 12 of the draft operational framework for Contracts for Difference. The document is talking about strike prices for CfDs.for nuclear generation the major issue will be whether there are enough competitors to allow competitive price discovery. DECC has got the future covered: on page seventeen, here they are again on that strike price :for nuclear projects the strike price will be determined through an administrative price setting process until the conditions are in place to move to competitive forms of price discovery. So there. Just wait until someone, at some stage down the line builds a nuclear power station and they turn out not to be called EDF. Then its game on.
Alan Whitehead MP 6th June 2012 more >>
Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment, believes that an escalation of nuclear power plants would not be considered in the US without the support of the federal government. This belief is not radical in the slightest, but what he highlights in his recent piece of research is that Nuclear Regulatory Commission imposed regulations could rapidly pose nuclear energy as uncompetitive compared to other traditional and renewable energy sources. This is not a new argument, but it is one, if shared by many in decision making positions, that could have a lasting effect on issues that could or could not propel the nuclear energy industry into the next phase of the energy renaissance–where renewables and traditional power sources compliment, rather than compete.
Nuclear Energy Insider 6th June 2012 more >>
Nuclear Skills (Subsidy)
Skills minister John Hayes announced that the Government is pumping £920,000 into the National Skills Academy for the nuclear sector today. The National Skills Academy for nuclear will expand its activities into nuclear manufacturing to deliver a more skilled workforce, with an increase of 3,500 learners taking NSA recognised programmes, including more than 500 apprenticeships.
The Manufacturer 6th June 2012 more >>
A nationwide programme to make homes more energy-efficient could help reduce fuel poverty and also boost the economy, campaigners have said. The Existing Homes Alliance is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a co-ordinated and fully-funded programme to improve the energy-efficiency of all homes. Alan Ferguson, chair of the Alliance, made the plea to Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil ahead of a statement in Holyrood on fuel poverty. Mr Ferguson, also director of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “In tough economic times it is vital that efforts to tackle fuel poverty are delivered efficiently, which is why we call upon the Cabinet Secretary to implement a coordinated and fully-funded national retrofit programme to install energy-efficiency measures in Scotland’s homes.
STV 6th June 2012 more >>
Scotsman 6th June 2012 more >>
Herald 6th June 2012 more >>
Dealing with asbestos contamination has caused a five month delay in work at EDF Energys Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project in Somerset, EDF has confirmed. Joint venture Kier Bam was expected to start major earthworks at the site this summer but client EDF has found extensive asbestos contamination in the soil at the site, which it said it does not expect to clear up until the end of the year. The soil became contaminated with asbestos during the construction of neighbouring nuclear plants Hinkley Point A and B in the sixties and seventies. EDF said major earthworks could not start until the asbestos had been removed from the soil.
Building 31st May 2012 more >>
BBC Newsround presenter, Joe Tidy, has been to Hinkley Point in Somerset to film a special edition of the popular childrens programme focussing on nuclear power. The programme is part of a series on energy in the UK and is due to be broadcast on Tuesday 12 June. The presenter was shown around by Brian Webber, an EDF Energy technical expert who has worked on all three sites the A station now being decommissioned, the operational B station and the Hinkley Point C project.
Build 6th June 2012 more >>
Unusual pathways by which radioactivity routinely escapes the confines of nuclear sites are well documented with one recent example to hit the headlines being the 6000 mile transportation of radioactive contamination by bluefin tuna from the polluted waters around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant to the coasts of North America. An even more recent case has however turned up very much closer to home at Sellafield. No stranger to unusual pathways for radioactivity – as 2000 Cumbrian feral pigeons and a host of seagulls will know to their cost – the sites latest victims have been identified as a number of swallows which, gorging on the mosquitos that flit over the waters of Sellafields radioactive storage ponds, have taken up residence in Sellafields transport section. As confirmed by the Environment Agency last week to a meeting of the Environmental Health Sub-Committee of the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group, the birds droppings from around their roost/nesting sites have been found to be radioactively contaminated. Whilst neither the contamination levels nor the number of swallows involved was provided, the Environment Agency told the Committee that measures were being taken by Sellafield Ltd to tackle the mosquito problem.
CORE 6th June 2012 more >>
UP TO 3,000 jobs could be created on Anglesey without the need for a Wylfa B plant, according to anti-nuclear protestors. People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) has released Maniffesto Mon after RWE npower and Eon announced its plans to find a new owner for Horizon Nuclear power. Dr Carl Clowes of PAWB said: Were showing here that its possible to create jobs on one hand and to meet the energy provision needs of the Island on the other, so why would anyone build Wylfa B, which would mean pollution and problems with housing.
North Wales Chronicle 6th June 2012 more >>
Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom is interested in entering the UK nuclear market and is beginning preliminary work to do so, officials said at AtomExpo. “We are monitoring the development of the British program closely and we will probably take part,” said Komarov. “Great Britain has the most ambitious program in Europe and we are of course interested in this market as a company that can provide the technology and also the funds … But to progress we need to do a lot of preliminary work, including licensing.” He said Rosatom was consulting various stakeholders but it was “premature” to talk of it joining any of the UK’s current new build consortia, rejecting any link with EOn and RWE’s joint venture Horizon which is entering a sale process.
World Nuclear News 6th June 2012 more >>
Steve Thomas: Francois Hollandes election victory is the latest blow to an industry struggling to revive the optimism of pre-Fukushima days. But the seeds of crisis were there well before Japans disaster. With the leaders of Germany and France two of Europes most powerful economies now firmly in the anti camp, the outlook for nuclear power on the continent more widely is distinctly ropy. But while there is little doubt that the crisis in Japan significantly worsened the chances of a nuclear-powered Europe, it did so mainly by exacerbating problems that were already there around cost, finance and public acceptance. Since a British nuclear revival was announced in 2005, the challenge has always been squaring commitments not to subsidise and to maintain a competitive electricity market with the need to give plant owners the certainty of income necessary to convince banks to back their schemes. EDF, the remaining serious developer in the United Kingdom, has more than enough to deal with back home in France, and financing anything other than a very secure investment across the channel looks more trouble than its worth. As the window when orders can be placed draws closer, negotiations between government and EDF are getting more pointed. And its looking less and less likely they will manage to sign contracts that are acceptable to the UK Treasury the contracts will have to be guaranteed by public funds and avoid falling foul of EU competition law.
China Dialogue 6th June 2012 more >>
Gerry Wolff: It is not altogether surprising that Eon and RWE should have dropped their plans to build new nuclear power stations in the UK. Apart from the particular reasons they may have had for this decision, it is clear that – for anyone – putting money into the building of new nuclear power stations is risky. Our new report describes five major areas of risk – market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk – any one of which provides good reasons for caution.
Utility Week 6th June 2012 more >>
Nuclear power use may have abruptly lost its appeal in 2011 because of Japan’s nuclear reactor disaster, but suffice to say, it is bound to stage a powerful comeback, thanks to the energy requirements of the emerging economies in the very same Asian continent where the world’s third-largest economy is located.
IB Times 7th June 2012 more >>
China has decided to go on full scale with its nuclear power programme in anticipation of a massive energy requirement from a growing and urbanizing population.
IB Times 7th June 2012 more >>
CHINA National Nuclear Power Co, the countrys biggest nuclear power developer, plans to raise money to help fund projects worth £17.6bn via what could be one of Chinas biggest initial public offerings (IPOs). It did not specify its fundraising target or IPO timing in a statement on the Ministry of Environment Protections website, but said the IPO proceeds would go towards five projects with a total investment of 173.5bn yuan (£17.6bn). The ministry said it had approved the IPO, which would also need the go-ahead from securities regulators.
City Am 7th June 2012 more >>
China has given the go-ahead to what could be the world’s biggest flotation. China National Nuclear Power, the biggest nuclear power developer in the country, said that the proceeds from its listing in Shanghai would help to fund the $27 billion cost of five new reactors. China wants to build 100 reactors in the next 20 years, more than any other country. Its ambitious programme is racing ahead of Western countries, such as Britain, that also want to expand their fleets.
Times 7th June 2012 more >>
Anthony Froggatt: In the space of a couple of decades, China has become a major player in the global nuclear sector. With by far the largest number of reactors under construction of any country in the world, and further reactors on order, it is seen as a vital market for uranium, a testing ground for new reactors designs and, increasingly, a potential partner for nuclear developments across the world. Fukushima has already had a significant impact on the Chinese nuclear sector and, more than 15 months after the accident, the moratorium on new construction starts remains in place. The questions are now, one, will future orders be placed at the pre-Fukushima rate? And, two, what new design safety standards are required?
China Dialogue 6th June 2012 more >>
As a fast-developing country, China needs energy to support its development, while controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Several years ago, a policy to actively develop nuclear power was adopted, setting a goal that the installed nuclear power capacity would reach 80 GW with another 25 GW under construction by the year 2020.
Nuclear Engineering International 1st June 2012 more >>
A key construction milestone was met June 5, 2012 at the Taishan nuclear power plant in China as the 420-ton vessel was lowered into the Unit 1 reactor building, after which it was installed in its final location in the reactor pit. This stage of construction was coordinated by the project manager, Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co., a joint venture owned at 70 percent by CGNPC and at 30 percent by EDF, with technical support provided by local Areva teams.
Power Engineering 5th June 2012 more >>
Letter Greenpeace Finland: Nuclear power remains a controversial and highly political issue in Finland as much for economic reasons as anything else. The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant has doubled in cost, and the relationship between TVO and Areva has turned litigious as each party tries to avoid paying its share of the 3bn overspend. The reactor is now six years behind schedule. As an alternative to nuclear, Finland has a high potential for wind energy due to the long Baltic Sea coast. The country also has an exceptional amount of forest biomass to replace existing fossil fuel-based production. According to the European Solar Radiation Atlas, solar radiation in southern Finland equals that of northern Germany, bringing the potential of solar power production roughly to the same level.
FT 7th June 2012 more >>
A senior Iranian official expressed hope that his country and the U.N. nuclear watchdog would soon seal a framework agreement on Tehran’s disputed atomic activities.
Reuters 6th June 2012 more >>
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused major world powers on Wednesday of looking for ways to “find excuses and to waste time” in talks over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.
Telegraph 6th June 2012 more >>
Germany’s gas consumption could rise markedly in the medium term as a result of the nuclear phase out it could impact prices across Europe say analysts, say analysts. Much depends, however, on whether Chancellor Merkel’s energy policy alias ‘Energiewende’ will ultimately work out.
Gas to Power Journal 6th June 2012 more >>
Soaring costs, licensing delays and technical problems are threatening to derail Germany’s non-nuclear energy strategy. New gas and coal-fired capacity is not sufficient to cover medium-term demand, and the country’s high-voltage grid networks still require huge investment. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bid to resolve key issues before the summer recess has already been hit by the departure of environment minister Norbert Rottgen.
Utility Week 6th June 2012 more >>
German magazine Der Spiegel published an investigative article in print and online on Monday, arguing that German officials were aware that the submarines they have supplied to Israel over the past several years are capable of launching nuclear warheads.
IB Times 6th June 2012 more >>
Its official: nuclear power will have a much smaller role in Japans energy future than was once thought. Since the meltdowns and gas explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, all of Japans remaining reactors have been shut down for inspections and maintenance. Last week the government offered a glimpse of their future, and that of the countrys nuclear power in general, when it published an outline of four ways to satisfy Japans future energy demands. One scenario recommends using a market mechanism to determine the nuclear contribution. Under the other three, nuclear power would supply at most one-quarter of Japans energy by 2030 and in one case, none at all.
Nature 6th June 2012 more >>
AN OFFSHORE wind farm opposed by US tycoon Donald Trump could help cut the cost of renewable energy production by Â£45 billion, MSPs have been told. Swedish electricity firm Vattenfall is facing strong opposition from Mr Trump over its proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeen. The project is now being considered by Scottish ministers. Jason Ormiston, a senior executive with the firm, told Holyrood’s energy committee yesterday that schemes such as the planned 11-turbine test site in the North Sea could help turn Scotland into a “world leader” in the renewable energy sector. However, George Sorial, vice-president of The Trump Organisation, responded with a strongly worded attack on the EOWDC plans, which he claimed would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds in subsidies for overseas developers.
Scotsman 7th June 2012 more >>
Herald 7th June 2012 more >>