Scientists for Global Responsibility Open Letter: We write on behalf of our membership of 750 scientists, engineers and others to welcome your decision to review the case for Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant (HPC). Our considered opinion is that the case against proceeding with HPC is very strong and the government should not sign the contract allowing construction to begin. Our opinion can be summarised by six main points, with key supporting information and references provided in the following pages: 1.The EPR technology is unproven and faces problems above and beyond those of other nuclear technologies; 2.The costs of the EPR are much higher than alternatives; 3.EDF’s financial position is too precarious for it to be relied upon to deliver the project; 4.There are alternative energy options which deserve higher priority, including energy conservation, infrastructure improvements and renewable energy; 5.The need for HPC to fill the role of a baseload plant is overstated; and 6.The security and environmental problems of nuclear power remain serious. Therefore we urge you to reject HPC and vigorously pursue alternative options.
SGR 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Ahead of a meeting between the prime minister and the Chinese Premier at this weekend’s G20 conference, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has written to Theresa May outlining why she believes Xi Jinping must be told that the UK government will not proceed with a new nuclear power station at Hinkley. In her letter to Theresa May, Molly identifies the huge costs of the project; safety issues associated with technical concerns over the proposed design; threats to energy security posed by the long delay in the construction of the Hinkley plant; and security concerns associated with handing over a national infrastructure to the Chinese government. Molly also draws attention to two ongoing legal challenges to the project, one from Austria and Luxemburg, appealing to the European Court of Justice over the Commission’s decision to grant state aid for the project; the other a further state aid challenge by a group of renewable energy companies in Germany. Molly has written to the European Commission questioning how Hinkley can proceed while these legal challenges are ongoing.
Molly Scott Cato 3rd Sept 2016 read more »
Xi Jinping has called for a deepening of “political mutual trust” with the UK amid a simmering row over Chinese involvement in Britain’s nuclear sector. In a 30-minute bilateral meeting on Monday afternoon, China’s president met with the British prime minister and, according to Chinese state media, told May that London and Beijing needed to “communicate and cooperate in various fields to achieve more stable and better development of their ties”. According to an account published by Xinhua, China’s official news agency, May “committed to actively deepening comprehensive strategic partnership and enhancing mutual understanding and trust”. Xinhua’s account of the meeting made no mention of the controversial £18bn ($23.5bn) Hinkley Point C project, which has threatened to derail the so-called “golden era” of UK-China ties since May delayed a final decision on its approval after taking office in July. UK sources said there was only an oblique reference to Hinkley Point C, the Chinese-backed nuclear project under review, and that Xi had told May he was willing to be patient about the government’s decisions in major projects. May’s decision to delay the project’s approval has been widely attributed to security concerns over Chinese involvement in sensitive sectors such as nuclear power.
Guardian 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Theresa May has said the UK’s relations with China are “about more than Hinkley” as speculation mounted that the Prime Minister could pull back from the symbolically important £18bn nuclear scheme. It has already emerged that security around the planned nuclear power initiative at Hinkley is an issue officials are reviewing, and that at least one senior member of Mrs May’s team has serious reservations about the project. At a G20 press conference, Mrs May said: “I’ve been clear that a decision about Hinkley will be taken later this month. But our relationship with China is about more than Hinkley, and if you look at the investment that there has been from China, in various other parts of the United Kingdom, other infrastructure and so forth in the UK, we have built a global strategic partnership with China.
Independent 5th Sept 2016 read more »
Theresa May will sit down with the Chinese delegation immediately after the G20 summit, to try to explain why security fears over Chinese finance behind the proposed EDF nuclear power plant, have led to her delaying the scheme. The meeting comes in the wake of news that the head of energy giant ScottishPower has waded into the row over Hinkley – telling the Daily Telegraph that the controversial subsidy deal for EDF’s proposed nuclear plant should be renegotiated because it is too expensive. Keith Anderson, the firm’s chief corporate officer, said the deal, provisionally agreed by the Government three years ago, no longer made sense in the light of lower gas and offshore wind costs.
Bristol Post 5th Sept 2016 read more »
The row over Hinkley has failed to pique the same interest—or concern—in China as it has in the UK. News coverage of Hinkley was relatively low in volume from the media. Commentators were, however, quick to make their feelings felt: in an opinion piece from Xinhua, the government’s mouthpiece, the author queried May’s “suspicious approach” towards Chinese investment in the project. Published only in English, the piece was clearly for British eyes. The accusations were more explicit than those from the ambassador. China “cannot tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win collaboration,” the piece read.
Prospect Magazine 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Following the recent transmission of the BBC 1 Panorama investigation into failings at Sellafied, there has been a lot of media coverage both at local and national level. Amongst those who were asked to comment was former Cumbria County Council leader and Cumbria Trust Chairman, Eddie Martin who spoke to Mike Zeller on Radio Cumbria.“I believe Sellafield should be and is the UK’s number one priority, never mind HS2 at £50billion… sort out Sellafield” ~Eddie Martin
Cumbria Trust 7th Sept 2016 read more »
When asked by John Humphrys, if last night’s Panorama report made him slightly more nervous, Laurence Williams (Emeritus Professor of Nuclear Safety and Regulation) responded: “I came on this programme to talk about nuclear waste management”
Cumbria Trust 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Ulster Unionist MLA Harold McKee has called on the Sellafield Nuclear reprocessing plant to respond to claims made by the BBC Panorama programme, in order to restore public confidence.
Belfast Telegraph 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Ulster Unionist Party 6th Sept 2016 read more »
The Government has been urged to demand the complete closure of the Sellafield nuclear site on the west coast of Britain after a BBC programme raised concerns about safety at the facility. The Panorama investigation was prompted by a former senior manager turned whistleblower who expressed fears about conditions at the site in Cumbria which is some 170km from the Irish coast. The programme alleged that radioactive plutonium and uranium were stored in plastic bottles at Sellafield, and the facility often did not have enough people on duty to meet minimum safety levels. Louth councillor Mark Dearey of the Green Party said the programme had again highlighted why Sellafield remained a source of alarm to people in Ireland. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the Government should demand the closure of Sellafield. His Louth constituency was “in the front line of any threat”. Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach said concerns raised in the documentary needed to be addressed immediately. In a statement, Minister for Energy Denis Naughten said Sellafield was “an ongoing concern” for him and the Government, and a detailed report on the matters raised in Panorama had been sought.
Irish Times 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Friends of the Irish Environment said the Government had taken its eye off the potential threat posed by the facility situated in Cumbria, England, just 170km from the Irish coast. Sinn Féin also said Ireland must demand the closure of the plant and oppose plans for new reactors on the site. The comments follow an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme in which a former manager at the plant turned whistle-blower gave a frightening account of understaffing at the facility, which he also described as being “dangerously run down”.
Irish Examiner 7th Sept 2016 read more »
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said a plan to decommission Sellafield must now come. The SDLP politician said the risks exposed by Panorama are the latest in a “litany of hazards” since Sellafield became a nuclear waste processing site. Ms Ritchie has previously spoken out about the discharge of radioactive material into the Irish Sea. Panorama outlined failures in terms of staffing levels, infrastructure and the condition of facilities at the site, with operational safety concerns also expressed.
Irish News 7th Sept 2016 read more »
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called for the closure of the Sellafield nuclear plant in England. Shocking revelations by the BBC’s Panorama programme last night showed dangerous, radioactive material stored in degrading plastic bottles. It also revealed that there is a lack of workers on the site on Britain’s Cumbria coast, and major risks of a major radioactive fire with devastating consequences right across western Europe. Mr Carthy said: “Sellafield, which is a dirty word in Ireland, a nuclear free country, is now a threat to all of Europe. It must be closed and there should be a halt to the construction of any further nuclear power plants near the Irish Sea. “The east coast of Ireland, particularly counties Louth and Meath, would be very directly threatened by any accident or fire at Sellafield.
Breaking News 6th Sept 2016 read more »
The Journal 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Panorama’s exposure last night of Sellafield safety failings, run-down infrastructure and under-staffing will rightly have shocked many national viewers but will not have come as such a surprise to locals and groups such as CORE who routinely monitor the site’s activities. Whilst many of the problems exposed – not for the first time – may owe their origins to the ‘bad old days’ and have been quietly festering for decades, the blame lies squarely with today’s owners and operators and their inability – despite the £Billions of taxpayer money pumped into site – to rectify what Panorama described as the most ‘basic mistakes’. Many of the failures are inexcusable – under-staffing of emergency and some operational services as a prime example – and the complacent and unconvincing explanations offered to Panorama by Sellafield, NDA and ONR were less than reassuring, smacked of familiarity breeding contempt and done nothing to boost public confidence in the site’s safety. ‘Rather than looking for scapegoats for the ‘intolerable’ state of the site, dismissing the whistle-blower as a disgruntled ex-manager (and no doubt the American NMP interviewees as suffering from sour grapes after recently being stripped of their clean-up contract) we would all be better served by Sellafield concentrating on its own somewhat obvious inadequacies and ongoing failures as exposed by Panorama rather than playing the blame game’.
CORE 6th Sept 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) All Ireland Forum calls on Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan to challenge the UK Government over shocking claims made by a high-level ‘whistleblower’ at the Sellafield site in Cumbria, which were aired on last night’s BBC ‘Panorama’ documentary. NFLA also calls on the Radiological Institute of Ireland to review its risk assessment on the impact of a major incident at Sellafield on Ireland given the allegations made. NFLA is also publishing today an overview of the wider issues of Sellafield reprocessing provided by independent radiation consultant, Dr Ian Fairlie.
NFLA 6th Sept 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) calls today for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Government and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to investigate the shocking claims made by a high-level ‘whistleblower’ at the Sellafield site in last night’s BBC ‘Panorama’ documentary. NFLA also publishes today an overview of the wider issues of Sellafield reprocessing provided by independent radiation consultant, Dr Ian Fairlie.
NFLA 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Last night’s BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain’s ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK’s ‘reprocessing’ of spent fuel into 50 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs – while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations.
Ecologist 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Sloppy working procedures at Sellafield outed by BBC Panorama have just underscored the risks posed by nuclear power. According to an investigation sparked by a whistleblower, parts of the nuclear facility are being operated below minimum staff levels, and radioactive materials are being inadequately stored in plastic bottles. The revelation comes as the government discusses the details of a major investment to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a project which has been severely criticised by nuclear experts and called “the most expensive object on earth” by critics. The new revelations about Sellafield call into question the safety of the site, and should make the government reflect on its risky and expensive nuclear programmes, including that of Hinkley Point C.
Canary 5th Sept 2016 read more »
The owner and operator of the UK’s Sellafield complex, together with the country’s nuclear regulator, have dismissed safety concerns raised in a BBC documentary investigating “the shocking state of Britain’s most hazardous nuclear site”.
World Nuclear News 6th Sept 2016 read more »
A petition calling for the reinstatement of an emergency towing vessel (ETV) for the Western Isles has been handed to the UK government. Until 2012, Scotland had two ETVs available for towing ships that had grounded or broken down on Scotland’s north and west coasts. One ship continues to operate out of the Northern Isles. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which manages ETVs, has ruled out reintroducing a second tugboat. Councillors on the Western Isles were among the organisers of the 1,500-signature petition. The islands’ local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has support from Orkney and Shetland island councils and local MPs and MSPs in its call for the reinstatement of a second ETV. They have said the grounding of the drilling rig Transocean Winner at Dalmore on Lewis in early August has highlighted the need for two tugs.
BBC 6th Sept 2016 read more »
The National 7th Sept 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Commitments to new climate change and energy efficiency measures have been welcomed by campaigners.WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Commitments to new climate change and warm homes legislation will provide opportunities to bring forward new policies that will put us on track for securing the full benefits of a zero-carbon future.”Money for energy efficiency in the First Minister’s post-EU referendum stimulus package is a welcome recognition that tackling cold homes can create jobs, boost the economy and cut our climate emissions.” Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the Government was right to prioritise a new climate bill and called for it to “set new targets f or 2020 and beyond, and pave the way for every sector of the economy to deliver carbon savings”. Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said: “It’s great news the government has decided to make tackling fuel poverty and driving up the energy performance of our homes a priority in the programme for government.
Herald 6th Sept 2016
Lang Banks: A commitment to ensure everyone in Scotland lives in a warm home and action to address fuel poverty should be priorities for the Scottish Government, campaigners said today. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will outline her Programme for Government for the upcoming term in Holyrood this afternoon and WWF Scotland has highlighted key areas expected to feature in the Programme that could create jobs, boost the economy as well as tackle climate change. Promised in the SNP’s manifesto, a Warm Homes Bill is needed to support the rapid growth of district heating and renewable heat in Scotland. With approximately 50 per cent of Scotland’s emissions coming from heating, WWF Scotland said this would bring clean and green warmth to thousands of homes and create new industrial jobs. Also with fuel poverty deadlines approaching and households wasting cash and carbon heating leaky homes, the charity argued that increased investment in energy efficiency is needed. A goal must be set to ensure no-one in Scotland is living in a cold & draughty home- meeting this would create 8-9,000 jobs spread across the country, with most of those in small and medium-sized businesses, it said.
Scottish Housing News 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to create a new £300 million US-style energy research agency to help combat climate change, Labour List has reported. The ‘Advanced Research Agency’ would attract the “best minds from the UK and across the world”. “It is crucial for both energy security and tackling climate change that we give the most serious investment and incentives to high-tech R&D,” Corbyn is quoted as saying. “My pledge to establish a dedicated Advanced Research Agency will help tackle the global social challenge of climate change and make fundamental breakthroughs in energy science. It will put the UK in the best possible place to take advantage of the rapidly growing global renewable energy market, forecast to reach $630 billion worldwide by 2030.” Corbyn described cuts to renewable subsidies since the Conservatives came to power in 2015 as “nonsensical” and a “damaging backwards step in our efforts to decarbonise our energy production”.
Edie 6th Sept 2016 read more »
More than 3.8 million switches took place in the first half of this year as people changed their energy supplier – around a million more than the same period last year. In the first half of 2016, around 1.6 million domestic customers switched gas suppliers and 2.2 million domestic customers switched electricity suppliers.
Scottish Energy News 7th Sept 2016 read more »
Thirteen Japanese nuclear reactors were constructed with steel from the same company used in a French power plant that’s under scrutiny for anomalies found in the reactor vessel’s structure. Six utilities used steel from Japan Casting & Forging Corp., they all said in separate statements on Friday. The steelmaker was identified by Japanese authorities last month as supplying steel to the Flamanville nuclear plant, developed by Electricite de France SA and Areva SA, where the French safety authority last year found weaker-than-expected steel. Japan’s nuclear regulators asked utilities last month to examine reactor parts manufactured by the same companies as the Flamanville facility. Utilities must now evaluate whether their reactor pressure vessels meet Japan’s standards and report the results to the Nuclear Regulation Authority by Oct. 31.
Bloomberg 2nd Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Many state schools with solar panels are set to be hit with a tax hike, according to government plans, but private schools, free schools and academies will not be affected due to their charitable status. Campaigners say the move will end the installation of solar energy for most schools. The government proposes to end an exemption for small solar panel installations (less than 50 kilowatts) and charge business rates on them from April 2017. The charity 10:10 has calculated this will cost schools more than Â£820 a year for the average 10kW installation and, combined with recent cuts to the subsidy paid for rooftop solar energy, make future projects risky or uneconomic. As recently as September 2015, schools could expect to pay back the costs of installation in five to eight years, but the new regime would mean payback times of at least 12 years and perhaps never, 10:10 says.
Guardian 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Scottish Enterprise has made a grant of £100,000 to Inverurie renewables business Current2Current to help fund the development of a tidal energy converter. The research and development grant is a contribution towards the £260,000 C2C needs to test a prototype ahead of moving onto the full development stage. The remainder of the cash has been put up by private investors.
Herald 7th Sept 2016 http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/14726589.North_east_renewables_business_gets_cash_boost_for_tidal_energy_converter/
Renewables – offshore wind
Power lines to connect up a huge proposed wind farm off the east coast of England have been approved by the Government, in a decision condemned as “disastrous” by the Tory-led local council. The turbines of the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm were granted planning permission in 2013, but the controversial cabling work was treated a separate application after delays in National Grid finalising the best place for them to connect to the electricity network. Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, on Tuesday granted planning permission for the connection, which will see a 35-mile stretch of cabling buried underground through Lincolnshire. Developers Innogy, the renewables subsidiary of RWE, and Statkraft said they now planned to seek subsidies to support the construction of Triton Knoll in an up coming Government auction due to be held early next year. The project is expected to involve up to 200 turbines with a capacity of up to 900 megawatts (MW), and will involve total investment of about £3bn over its lifetime, Innogy said, declining to disclose the cost of the actual construction work. But the planning consent for the onshore cabling was strongly criticised by Conservative-led Lincolnshire county council, which opposed the plans and has so far refused to agree the sale of some of its land to the developers.
Telegraph 6th Sept 2016 read more »
Demand response will form a “vital part of a secure, affordable and sustainable energy future” and shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a competitive alternative to the delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear project. That is the view of demand response solutions provider Flexitricity, which claimed that large nuclear projects don’t offer the flexibility of DR schemes – which should be explored to compliment the Hinkley project and deliver a “more economical, more secure, and greener” grid. The company has questioned the claims made last week by the union for energy workers GMB, which suggested that demand response schemes were “fanciful nonsense” and called on the National Grid – which is actively investing into demand response – to be stripped of its system operator role.
Edie 6th Sept 2016 read more »
A sudden failure at Spalding Power Station earlier this week led to Edinburgh-based Flexitricity delivering emergency demand response. Just after 3pm on Monday, September 5, Intergen’s 860MW gas-fired station, which provides enough power for around one million homes, stopped generating. At 3.06pm, two minutes after the initial failure, National Grid requested more power from Flexitricity, and the company immediately sent further start instructions to a mixture of standby and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators across Britain. Flexitricity’s demand side response network kicked in to respond within a second, reducing demand at its network of industrial partners to cope with the initial shortfall in supply.
Scottish Energy News 7th Sept 2016 read more »
Europe has met a landmark goal of slashing its energy consumption six years ahead of time, cutting greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to switching off about 400 power stations. In 2014, the EU’s 28 member countries consumed 72m tonnes of oil equivalent less than had been projected for 2020, according to a report by the EU’s science arm, the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The figure matches Finland’s annual energy use. Environmental campaigners described the achievement as “remarkable”. and “incredible” but the European commission was restrained. “Final energy consumption is currently below the 2020 target,” a spokeswoman for the commission said. “The EU-28 are also on a good pathway to achieving the primary energy consumption target for 2020 if current efforts are maintained.”
Guardian 7th Sept 2016 read more »