Nothing formally prevents the nuclear industry from building new stations now, so ministers are seeking to give assurances about a new streamlined planning system and the likely future price of carbon, one of the key factors in the future economics of nuclear power. Ministers are not likely to bow – at this stage at least – to the nuclear industry’s call for a guaranteed minimum price for carbon, but will stress that they expect to see carbon prices harden after 2012 when the next phase of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme is due to come into force. The Commons statement tomorrow by the business secretary, John Hutton, will also set out how the government will limit future planning inquiries for the new stations so they cannot sprawl into a series of lengthy inquiries into the safety or economics of nuclear power. Most are likely to be constructed on the sites of existing stations.
Guardian 9th Jan 2008 more >>
The Cabinet has agreed in principle to approve a new generation of nuclear power stations, it has emerged. Business Secretary John Hutton will formally announce the decision in a statement to MPs on Thursday.
BBC 8th Jan 2008 more >>
FT 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Reuters 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Interactive Investor 8th Jan 2008 more >>
A new generation of nuclear power stations is due to be given the green light – a move likely to breathe new life into Lancashire’s Springfields Fuels plant.
Lancashire Evening Post 9th Jan 2008 more >>
A new nuclear era was ushered in yesterday as the government approved a multi-billion-pound programme to build new power plants – with East Anglia at the heart of ministers’ plans. The cabinet is understood to have agreed in principle – unanimously and without a formal vote – that Britain should have a new generation of nuclear power stations. Industry insiders confirmed Sizewell in Suffolk, which is already home to two power stations, tops the table of preferred sites for the first of the new generation.
East Anglian Daily Press 9th Jan 2008 more >>
THE nuclear industry will have to pay its “full share” of the costs of dealing with radioactive waste, Downing Street said last night as it prepared to announce a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Western Mail 8th Jan 2008 more >>
A FRESH legal challenge to a new generation of nuclear power stations is looming after pressure group Greenpeace said it was considering dragging the Government back to court.
Western Mail 7th Jan 2008 more >>
Nuclear power has high capital costs and low variable costs, so that its commercial viability depends critically on the cost of capital – the rate of return it must pay investors – and the price of electricity. Pessimists have claimed that liberalised markets, such as the UK’s, are too risky for new nuclear investment without special support. But is it correct that nuclear power is a risky and so financially costly choice? Nuclear power looks risky as its product, wholesale electricity, is sold in highly volatile markets. These price risks are set to increase for three reasons. First, if Europe is serious about the 20 per cent renewable energy target, wind generation will need to rise sharply – to perhaps 30-40 per cent of total electricity output by 2020 (which will require as much wind capacity as all our current generation capacity). If so, when the wind blows there will often be more output than demand, crashing the spot market with zero prices. At other times, prices will have to be much higher to give an annual average price high enough to pay the full cost of other generation.
FT 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Various letters in support of the decision: At last, Gordon Brown admits that we need to build new nuclear power stations if we are to keep the lights burning. It will be interesting to see where the skills will come from.
Telegraph 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Various letters opposing the decision, including one from the including one from the nuclear consultation group: It was suggested that our fears about radioactive wastes presenting a risk in perpetuity are scaremongering and that other countries, notably France, “seem to manage” their wastes quite nicely. The fact is that there is nowhere in the world – not even France – which has yet developed a proven or accepted method for the long-term management of these wastes. New-build would add an undefined and continuing burden of wastes, imposing incalculable risks on specific communities and future generations.
Guardian 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Letter from John Robertson MP: The argument for nuclear power, far from being redundant, is strengthened by the decisions taken by npower and other energy companies that will continue to increase prices and claim they have no choice but to compete in the world market for finite sources of energy. Nuclear power is a logical, safe and core source of energy that will reduce our dependence on imports and market fluctuations.
Herald 9th Jan 2008 more >>
The UK decision could light a beacon for the beleaguered nuclear industry in other parts of Europe, where opposition to the technology remains strong.
IHT 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Planet Ark 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Britain expects the cost of handling the waste and decommissioning of a new generation of nuclear reactors to add about one percent to the cost of power produced, a source familiar with government thinking said.
Planet Ark 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Reuters 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Greenpeace reaction to suggestions that the government will announce support for new nuclear power stations this week, Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Going for nuclear allows politicians like Gordon Brown to project the impression that they are taking difficult decisions to solve difficult problems when they are doing nothing of the sort. In reality new nuclear power stations simply will not solve our energy problems and that’s because there’s a lie at the heart of the government’s energy policy. Nuclear power can only deliver a 4 per cent cut in carbon emissions some time after 2025. That’s too little, and too late, while generations to come will be left with an expensive legacy of our nuclear waste to clean up. “
Greenpeace Press Release 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Greenpeace Briefing: The Case Against Nuclear Power, 8th Jan 2008. more >>
Factbox: New Nuclear Plants.
Forbes 8th Jan 2008 more >>
Jeremy Leggatt: Renewables markets are growing very fast overseas, both because of the subsidy policies of some governments (eg Japan, California) or their policy equivalents such as feed-in laws (eg Germany, Spain). Mass markets are inevitable now. The issue is whether UK plc will be a player, with strong domestic industries and domestic job creation, or miss out, having to import everything and support overseas jobs. As things stand we are set to miss out. But subsidies for renewables, or their policy equivalent, are not needed for long. Costs for renewables are generally falling, just as the costs of traditional power are rising. When the two trends cross for a particular technology, in a particular market, a mass market will emerge, and dynamic new industries with it. The timing for this is measured in years, not decades.
Guardian 7th Jan 2008 more >>
Critics of the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement on Wednesday urged two international groups whose approval is vital to the deal to take steps to ensure it does not undermine global nonproliferation efforts.
Reuters 9th Jan 2008 more >>
BRITISH Energy continued its rise ahead of a decision on whether to build a new fleet of nuclear power plants looms. Officially a decision will be made by the government tomorrow, but yesterday’s announcement from a Downing Street spokesman that no minister opposed new plants hinted strongly at the outcome.
Scotsman 9th Jan 2008 more >>
Portsmouth defence giant VT has gone nuclear. The company has moved away from its naval ship-building roots and entered into the nuclear clean-up market. VT Group is paying up to £75m to take control of the Project Services arm of state-owned British Nuclear Fuels. Project Services, which announced profits of more than £8m last year, specialises in nuclear decommissioning, a market currently worth £1bn a year.
Portsmouth News 8th Jan 2008 more >>