The government should stick to its Coalition Agreement promise that new nuclear power should receive no public subsidy, a Lib Dem MP has said. Martin Horwood warned MPs that he did now know of a single nuclear power station anywhere in the world which had been completed on time and on budget without public subsidy. The MP for Cheltenham raised concerns over the transparency of negotiations currently ongoing between DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) and new nuclear suppliers to fix the strike price in advance of legislation on energy market reform. He urged the government to “pause” the process so that the Public Accounts Committee could examine whether the contract for difference being offered for new nuclear power generation offered genuine value for money.
Energy & Technolgy 7th Feb 2013
BBC 7th Feb 2013
That this House notes that both the Coalition Agreement and numerous ministerial statements have committed the Government to provide no public subsidy to new nuclear; further notes that negotiations are currently ongoing between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and new nuclear suppliers to fix the strike price in advance of the legislation on energy market reform; is concerned by wider issues of subsidy and transparency and in particular that this process pre-empts the legislation; is further concerned that new evidence suggests that this constitutes an unjustifiable subsidy to a mature industry; and therefore calls on the Government to pause the process so that the Public Accounts Committee can examine whether the contract for difference being offered for new nuclear power generation offers genuine value for money.
House of Commons Debate 7th Feb 2013
Caroline Lucas calls on the government to halt the nuclear contracting process in a Backbench Business debate on nuclear subsidy. Despite the pledge in the 2010 Coalition Agreement and in numerous ministerial statements since that there would be “no public subsidy” for new nuclear, it has become increasingly clear that the government’s introduction of a carbon price floor and other measures in its forthcoming Electricity Market Reform (EMR) will result in huge windfall handouts for nuclear generators. It’s time to ditch the doublespeak and state the obvious: this is a subsidy by another name.
Politics Home 7th Feb 2013
Rumours suggest that Tim Stone, KPMG’s former global head of infrastructure, has not renewed his contract as the Government’s expert adviser on new nuclear. The timing will fascinate nuclear’s many critics, given that the new build programme suffered a blow earlier this week when Centrica finally confirmed that it would not join EDF in pouring billions into building and operating a station at Hinkley Point. There was even an emergency debate held in the Commons, which looked to scupper the Government’s talks with EDF over the guaranteed minimum price the French giant will be paid for the electricity it will generate there. There are two ways of looking at this: either Mr Stone is leaving because he knows the programme is doomed, or he has achieved what he set out to do. The latter would mean that the Government and EDF have all but agreed what is known as a “strike price”, which means the French group gets the guaranteed return it needs to persuade shareholders that UK nuclear is worth investing in. I understand that is indeed the case, and that the strike price will be announced before Mr Stone leaves at the end of next month.
Independent 7th Feb 2013
Centrica’s exit from the new nuclear arena in the UK is good for investors, according to credit agency Moody’s. The decision not to take up a 20 per cent stake in EDF Energy’s new nuclear programme has been described by Moody’s as “credit positive because it removes the high investment and construction risks that would have resulted from the project”.
Utility Week 7th Feb 2013
To the surprise of absolutely no one who has been watching the company, Centrica pulled out of plans to build new nuclear power stations in the UK earlier this week. Centrica still owns the 20pc stake that it bought in British Energy, which owns the country’s existing nuclear power stations, and this remains a good investment. The lifespans of nuclear plants that are currently running have been extended and they are more reliable. This looks like providing a solid income stream for many more years. However, the big issue now is what Centrica’s management does to find future growth. A full strategy update will be provided alongside the company’s full-year results on February 27.
Telegraph 8th Feb 2013
It has been a really dreadful week or so for nuclear power. First Cumbria – realistically the only place in Britain ever likely willingly to take nuclear waste – put a stop even to investigations into whether it would be a suitable spot for a repository, throwing the building of new reactors into jeopardy. Then yet another parliamentary committee raised the lid on the shambolic scandal that is Sellafield. And finally – and worst of all – Centrica, pulled out of its partnership with EDF to build Britain’s first atomic power station in 20 years, writing off an investment of £200 million in the process. It’s curious, but for some reason, the energy battlefield is full of people touting silver bullets – whether nuclear power, shale gas or, indeed, wind. Such panaceas don’t exist, and even if they did we would be incredibly foolish to become dependent on just one source for something as important as our energy supplies. We will need quite a bit of everything; nuclear, gas and renewables, if we are to keep on the lights. Oddly enough there is not a silver, but perhaps a bronze, bullet that almost everyone ignores. Energy efficiency attracts few enthusiasts, but it makes every energy strategy easier: by the Government’s own figures, taking cost effective measures would mean that we could need 22 fewer power stations by 2020. Last week the Prime Minister, in a little-noticed speech promised, to make Britain the most energy efficient country in Europe. That would be quite an achievement; a whole list – including Germany, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands – do far better than we do at present. But even getting half way there would do far more to secure our supplies than all the exhortations of the nuclear, shale gas and wind true believers put together.
Telegraph 7th Feb 2013
Concerns over nuclear energy use have been eclipsed by energy price volatility, the global recession, political unrest and future climate frameworks as the top uncertainties for global energy leaders, according to the World Energy Council (WEC). WEC’s 2013 World Energy Issues Monitor is its latest annual assessment of the issues impacting the global and regional energy sector based on the views of energy leaders. It identifies the key uncertainties while highlighting the areas where action is most required to enable the sustainable supply and use of energy. The report is based on a survey of some 36 issues (including macroeconomic risks, geopolitics, business environment as well as energy vision) by ministers, CEOs and energy experts from over 90 countries. The results were used to measure their feelings of uncertainty and the need for action on the various issues.
World Nuclear News 7th Feb 2013
I’ve been very engaged in the Committee on the Energy Bill, which has been meeting four times a week for the past three weeks. To say this takes up your time is something of an understatement. Not only does it occupy pretty much all of each Tuesday and Thursday, but then there’s the preparation for amendments, of which a number put forward by me have been debated, and then there’s writing and putting them down, which if you’re the opposition means a resource base of you, your researcher, and if you’re lucky, a friendly pressure group to help out. I’ve been actively discussing Contracts for difference, decarbonisation targets, capacity and decapacity payments, investment instruments, conflicts of interest with the new system operator, a strategic power reserve and other matters, which is one reason why I haven’t posted much here for some time. If you really want to know what I’ve been saying during committee, then my researcher (the same one who has been doing much of the work on preparing amendments) has posted everything on my website. But something rather strange has just happened: the committee has ground to a halt (as of 3.30 Tuesday afternoon.) This is not to do with the fact that there isn’t anything more to discuss, because there is. What it seems to be about is that, according to the rules of the Committee, if the business on the order paper has been completed, then even if there are theoretically further sessions of the Committee available, any amendments or new clauses that haven’t been tabled at that point automatically disappear. And – how can we put this delicately – the government is in danger of screwing it up.
Alan Whitehead MP 6th Feb 2013
Letter from Leader and Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council to Ed Davey: The surface storage of nuclear waste at Sellafield needs – taking account of the Public Accounts Committee and the NAO report – considerable enhancement and investment. Such commitment would bring far more jobs in the foreseeable future than either Stage 4 or even Stage 5. We plead for such commitment but have received no assurance from DECC that it will happen.
Cumbria County Council 7th Feb 2013
Copeland MP Jamie Reed will be here to answer your questions live between 12noon and 1pm on Friday, February 8. Mr Reed will take questions on last week’s nuclear repository votes, the aftermath of the county council’s decision and his subsequent ‘campaign’ to take the Stage 4 issue forward.
Carlisle News and Star 7th Feb 2013
A senior Cumbria county councillor has resigned from its executive following a decision not to search for locations for a nuclear repository. Tim Knowles, who represents Cleator Moor North, has stepped down from his position as a member of the council’s cabinet following last week’s decision. It is understood Mr Knowles will continue to serve as a councillor. Reacting to the news, Copeland MP Jamie Reed said he was sad to see the cabinet lose its only member with an understanding and experience of policy making in the nuclear industry. “But it was impossible for Tim to remain part of a cabinet that votes against its own nuclear policies and which then expects to be taken seriously by the people of west Cumbria, the nuclear industry or national government. Meanwhile, energy minister Baroness Verma has said she will consider involving the police following allegations that councillors faced intimidation from anti-nuclear protesters.
Whitehaven News 7th Feb 2013
Politicians have hinted that the veto of plans for an underground nuclear waste site in west Cumbria may have brought the county to a political crossroads that could result in a merger of Copeland and Allerdale councils.
Whitehaven News 1st Feb 2013
Government response to the consultation on the amendment of the Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning (Finance and Fees) Regulations 2011.
DECC 7th Feb 2013
The House of Lords and the BBC has jumped on the bandwagon of a smear campaign against what it prosaically calls “anti nuclear campaigners” The content of the email looks like very small beer indeed for an internal message between friends which was never intended for public consumption. The email is from an anti-dump in the Lakes campaigner to other like minded people and rightly points out that councillors should be held liable for the decision whether or not to inflict a nuclear sacrifice zone on Lakeland. Meanwhile anti-nuclear campaigners have today witnessed the real villains pleading guilty to yet more crimes against Cumbria. This time it is for sending bags of radioactive waste to Lillyhall landfill. Apparently the “trust us” Sellafield team had the gizmo which checks the radioactivity stuck at zero.
Radiation Free Lakeland 7th Feb 2013
‘Too much uncertainty’ was behind Cumbria County Council’s decision to pull out of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process. The leader and deputy leader of the county council, Councillors Eddie Martin and Stewart Young, have written to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to outline their reasons behind last week’s ‘no’ vote to the search for nuclear waste repository site. Ahead of Mr Davey’s crunch meeting with Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Sellafield Workers Union representatives on February 13, the letter states: “In short, the cumulative evidence and arguments against proceeding to Stage 4 were and, indeed, remain considerable. We simply felt that there was too much uncertainty and we were unable to commit Cumbria, therefore, to years, if not decades, of such scientific, economic and environmental uncertainty.
NW Evening Mail 7th Feb 2013
Last week, Cumbria County Council voted to abandon plans to investigate building a nuclear waste dump in the Lake District. More than 50,000 38 Degrees members signed a petition opposing the dump; there were demonstrations, articles in the press and TV reports – and suddenly, the rest of the country had its eyes fixed on Cumbria. Thousands of us wrote to the council leaders urging them to listen to the public and scrap these crazy plans – and in the end, they heard us.
38 Degrees 7th Feb 2013
Allegations that Cumbria county councillors faced intimidation from anti-nuclear protesters may need to be looked at by police, energy minister Baroness Verma has said.Last week, the council voted against the latest stage in the development of the waste facility. A Tory peer claimed he had seen a “chilling” email saying anti-nuclear campaigners should “scare” councillors.
BBC 7th Feb 2013
New regulations on security at civil nuclear sites undergoing construction were laid before Parliament today. The new regulations extend the scope of security regulation set out in the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (as amended) and are due to come into force on 28 February.
DECC 7th Feb 2013
At a recent meeting on ‘Coastal Processes’ at Sizewell held at Snape Maltings on the of 29th February Colin Taylor (Environment Manager (Marine), New Nuclear Build, EDF Energy) stated that they had 150 years of data for the coastal processes at Sizewell. He also said that their ‘models’ can predicted what has happened in the past. I shall not go into this anymore in this blog although it was a bit disconcerting that he said that their models had lots of problems with storm surges and that ‘waves were a bit tricky’. If we put the numbers in this means that we would need nearly 30,000 years of data to have a 95% probability of seeing a 1 in 10,000 year event. As pointed out by Colin Taylor the coast of the UK has changed quite considerably over that period. In fact 10,000 years ago the UK was connected to the continent via a land bridge. Incidentally that land bridge may have been destroyed by a massive tsunami.
Peter Lux 7th Feb 2013
ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners are calling for a halt to proposals for a Sizewell C nuclear power station following the latest setback in Government plans to find a UK community willing to host a deep disposal site for radioactive waste. Cumbria County Council has voted not to allow the dump to be created within its county borders – despite the willingness of one of its district councils to pursue the idea. A search for a community willing to host the dump has now been restarted, but no other district in the whole of the UK has so far expressed any enthusiasm. Anti-nuclear campaigners say that without a long-term disposal option for nuclear waste, plans for Sizewell C and its sister plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset should be halted – even if the projects overcome their current investment problems.
East Anglian Daily Times 7th Feb 2013
Conditional support was given tonight (Tuesday) to proposals to build a new Sizewell C power station but Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet is also insisting that its development must bring real benefits to all its district’s communities. EDF Energy has submitted initial proposals for the construction of a new power station, the decision on which will be made by the Government, but is asking for views as part of the formal consultation process. Because of the scale and importance of Sizewell C, Suffolk Coastal has been working with Suffolk County Council to agree a joint response to the plans that reflect the views and needs of local communities.
One Suffolk 6th Feb 2013
The consortium that runs Sellafield is planning a boardroom shake-up in an attempt to retain its £1.6 billion-a-year contract, The Times has learnt. URS, the American company that is leading the consortium, has seconded Tony Price to the new post of executive director after criticism by MPs this week. It is understood that he is being groomed to replace Todd Wright, the managing director in charge of the site. Mr Wright is paid £1.2 million a year. His deputy, George Beveridge, who was seconded from Amec when the contract began in 2009, is also understood to be heading for the exit. An announcement on the changes could be made next week.
The Times 7th Feb 2013
The cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site is £67.5 billion – and there is no indication when that will stop rising. A report by the government’s Public Affairs Committee says deadlines have been missed, pushing vital decommissioning projects over budget. It adds successive governments have failed to tackle problems at the site and raises concerns that a reported £700m in savings could have been ‘overstated’.
Whitehaven News 4th Feb 2013
Sellafield unions have called for closer scrutiny of the management of the site to check their performance justifies their salaries. Their comments come on the day that MPs published a report highlighting that Sellafield clean-up costs have spiralled to £67.5 billion – and are likely to carry on rising.
Whitehaven News 4th Feb 2013
Sellafield Limited today pleaded guilty at Workington Magistrates’ Court to sending several bags of radioactive waste to the wrong facility. The company was prosecuted by nuclear regulators Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation after four bags of mixed general waste, such as plastic, paper, tissues, clothing, wood and metal, from normal operations in controlled areas of the site, were sent to Lillyhall landfill site, in Workington. The bags should have been sent to Drigg, Cumbria – a specialist facility that treats and stores low level radioactive waste. Sellafield found the error was caused by a new monitor which had passed the bags as ‘general’ waste making them exempt from strict disposal controls.
ONR 7th Feb 2013
NW Evening Mail 7th Feb 2013
ITV News 7th Feb 2013
Guardian 7th Feb 2013
A UK nuclear weapons factory failed to carry out adequate inspections to prevent corrosion inside one of its buildings, a report has said. The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire, halted work following a routine inspection by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The company subsequently discovered corrosion on several steel columns in its uranium handling facility.
BBC 8th Feb 2013
The Government is to plough up to £1 billion into projects to cut Britain’s reliance on overseas gas, as part of a drive by Conservatives in the Coalition to try and “reclaim” the green agenda. Under proposals to be announced later this year ministers will divert money currently earmarked to build a new gas fired power station into projects to cut electricity demand. The move will be portrayed by David Cameron as proof that the Conservatives are still committed to being a “green” Government despite plans to push ahead with fracking.the Department of Energy will announce plans to allow companies to “bid” for up to £1 billion in public funds to carryout large scale energy efficiency projects which would otherwise be uneconomic. Government sources suggested this could include replacing the entire stock of motorway lighting to efficient LED bulbs and retrofitting energy efficient technology to electricity intensive industries like steel and aluminium smelting.
Independent 7th Feb 2013
French industrial groups are up in arms as their once-celebrated nuclear-energy edge evaporates. After decades when their factories churned out everything from steel, glass and chemicals with one of the cheapest power prices in Europe thanks to the country’s 58 nuclear reactors, French companies’ competitive advantage is being whittled away as the U.S. embrace of shale gas cuts energy prices there and as Germany gives businesses fiscal breaks on electricity costs.
Bloomberg 7th Feb 2013
EDF has been acquitted on appeal from a charge of illegally hacking Greenpeace computers. The utility claimed it was also a victim of methods used by a company involved in monitoring the anti-nuclear group. As the operator of 58 nuclear reactors in France, EDF is periodically the subject of Greenpeace campaigns of many kinds, including repeated attempts to breach plant security. The utility had contracted specialists including Kargus Consultants to monitor Greenpeace activities, but certain Kargus workers went beyond EDF’s brief and gained illegal access to the computer of Greenpeace campaigns director Yannick Jadot.
World Nuclear News 7th Feb 2013
IRAN’S supreme leader has strongly rejected proposals for direct talks with the US on its nuclear programme. The statement posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website marked his first reaction to the idea of holding the talks, a proposal that had been floated for months and was reinforced last week by US Vice President Joe Biden.
Herald 8th Feb 2013
BBC 7th Feb 2013
French nuclear watchdog ASN has advised against the restart of two Belgian nuclear power units because, contrary to the conclusion reached by the units’ operator, existing evidence does not prove that the units are safe to restart. French utility GDF Suez, which operates all seven nuclear units in Belgium, including the units in question — 1,006MW Doel 3 and 1,008MW Tihange 2 — said in December that the dossier of results of inspections conducted on the units demonstrated that they were safe to restart immediately.
Argus 7th Feb 2013
Though plans to reboot Japan’s slumbering nuclear reactors have been progressing since the disaster, a panel of geophysicists working for the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is now warning that some of the plants that house them are still at risk of damage by earthquakes. Initial reports issued by the NRA panel last month indicate that at least some of the reactors sit above active seismic faults that put the facilities in danger should earthquakes strike again.
The Scientist 7th Feb 2013
An anti-wind farm group has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for mailing two “misleading” and “denigratory” brochures as part of a campaign against a planned development near Doncaster. The developer behind the two 2.5MW turbine project, Origin Energy, complained to the ASA after the group sent out one leaflet entitled “A guide to possible objections” that listed issues relating to the proposed wind farm and a second headed “NO NOW! NO to NORTON ORIGIN WINDFARM”, which outlined a number of objections to the project.
Business Green 7th Feb 2013
Generation (Gen) Community, supported by The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, aims to tackle fuel poverty in South Wales through community-owned renewable energy. Its community share issue is generating funds needed to install solar panels on homes in the Newport area. The scheme, which is set to close on February 25, has already raised more than £200,000 and saw its first panels installed at the end of January.
Telegraph 6th Feb 2013