Energy policy is hanging by a thread after the only credible company left to build nuclear reactors in Britain increased the price by 40 per cent to £7 billion each, The Times has learnt. The soaring estimated costs could scupper the French state-backed EDF Energys project to build two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. It would also leave Britains nuclear programme and its energy policy in tatters. EDF Energy will decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with the £14 billion plan, but experts said that the rising costs and its parent companys deteriorating financial position made this less likely. EDF Energy has briefed its partner Centrica about the internal cost review, which makes it even harder for the owner of British Gas to come on board. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks, fuelled by briefings by Centrica advisers, that the British company will pull out of the joint venture, for which it would have to pay a fifth of the costs. It is understood that the rise in costs for Hinkley Point is based in part on EDF Energys experience in building its first third generation modern reactor in Flamanville, France. The facility was supposed to be completed this year but is four years behind schedule. Mott MacDonald, said that the UK supply chain had no experience in carrying out the requisite civil works, such as pouring concrete for a reactor base. He said that the £14 billion price for the reactors would put even more pressure on the Government to offer big subsidies for nuclear power to persuade EDF Energy to go ahead.
Times 7th May 2012 more >>
Five companies are reported to be interested in building a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. Groups said to be interested include American firm Westinghouse, owned by Japan’s Toshiba, a Chinese investor, U.S. power company Exelon and Middle Eastern investors.
ITV Wales 6th May 2012 more >>
BBC 6th May 2012 more >>
The shutdown of Japan’s last working nuclear power plant and the government’s failure to convince a wary public about restoring production at dozens of reactors leaves the world’s third largest economy facing another summer of severe power shortages.
Reuters 6th May 2012 more >>
Morning Star 6th May 2012 more >>
Last Thursday, General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of Russias General Staff, spoke with soldierly directness about NATO anti-missile defences in Eastern Europe. A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens, he announced, bringing back fond memories of the Cuban crisis. You may think the general spoke out of turn, but he didnt. In fact, he merely repeated the threat issued by President Medvedev last year.
NATO replied that under no circumstances would it wish to undermine the Soviet nuclear deterrent.
Daily Mail 6th May 2012 more >>
New moves to reduce subsidies for fitting solar panels on homes are jeopardising Britain’s hopes of hitting renewable energy targets and threatening thousands of jobs, David Cameron was warned last night. Some 400 senior figures in the solar energy industry said demand for panels has collapsed since the Government started slashing financial incentives for families that want to go green. In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, seen by The Independent, they protested that the sector faced a bleak future without dramatic action to demonstrate his support for solar energy. They said that more than 6,000 people working in solar energy had lost their jobs since last summer and 43 per cent of companies in the sector are planning redundancies.
Independent 7th May 2012 more >>
Onshore wind farms, recently under attack from leading conservationists for damaging the countryside, can bring significant economic benefits locally and nationally, as well as contributing to the fight against climate change, a new study claims. Onshore wind supported 8,600 jobs and was worth £548m to the UK economy in 2011, says the report, by consultancy BiGGAR Economics. Of this figure 1,100 jobs were created at local authority level, with £84m of investment.
Independent 7th May 2012 more >>
Government plans to impose green regulations on new homes could add tens of thousands of pounds to construction costs and strangle the housebuilding market, ministers have been told.
Telegraph 6th May 2012 more >>