BRIDGWATER MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has vowed to fight any challenges to the Hinkley C project as a legal challenge is launched in Europe. He dismissed an objection from the Austrian government and says it will definitely go ahead. But campaigners fighting the Hinkley C project are adamant that Austria’s challenge is the final ‘nail in the coffin’ for the controversial project. The project has already seen a number of hold-ups and the Austrian government has filed a legal challenge against the European Commission’s decision to give the nuclear power project the green light. Campaign group Stop Hinkley has welcomed the potential challenge. Allan Jeffrey from the group said that for a wide variety of reasons he believed it would never be built. He said the group would like to see the government stop subsidising old industries and focus on helping renewable industries to grow.
Somerset County Gazette 7th July 2015 read more »
Action Alliance, a group of Greenpeace, Energieversorgung Filstal, Oekostrom AG and the German municiapilities of Aalen, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Bochum, Mainz, Mühlacker, Schwäbisch Hall and Tübingen, has announced its plans to file a plea for annulment with the Court of Justice of the European Union over the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in the United Kingdom.
Enerdata 7th July 2015 read more »
New energy minister Andrea Leadsom has given the strongest signal yet that the Government is looking to support a new era of factory-built, nuclear power stations – with a Newcastle company leading the way on their development in the UK. Amidst a growing sense of frustration and hand-wringing over the delays in the current nuclear programme, new hope has emerged that support is on the way for a home-grown generation of Small Modular Reactors (SMR). Newcastle company Penultimate Power, formed by long-standing nuclear power advocate Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy at Newcastle University, was created in 2012 to develop SMRs. It is the only UK company positioned to do so and wants to develop a manufacturing plant in the region and trial the world’s first SMR on land next to the existing Hartlepool nuclear power plant.
The Journal 9th July 2015 read more »
The company responsible for a nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire has been ordered to make safety improvements for a third year running. The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston remains under an “enhanced level” of regulation. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said the site remained under increased scrutiny over its continued use of “ageing facilities”. AWE said it was working to “focus on delivering safety improvements”. The regulator said although improvements had been made in the past year, it was still “seeking to secure confidence in safety improvements”. The ONR report said: “We judge that deteriorating programme performance has resulted in delays to new build assembly/disassembly facilities which has led to the need for extended use of current ageing facilities.” The nuclear safety watchdog said the plant also had a shortage of skilled personnel. Peter Burt, of the anti-nuclear weapons pressure group Nuclear Information Service, said: “Safety standards at many nuclear sites are improving, but AWE is just muddling along. “AWE is clearly unable to deliver the improvements. It is time for the MoD to cancel the current AWE management contract and bring the site under the control of a new, competent management team.”
BBC 8th July 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has published its model submission for members to respond to the Scottish Government‟s consultation on its implementation policy for the management of higher activity radioactive waste. The Scottish Government has launched a consultation exercise to seek views on its proposed Implementation Strategy for Scotland’s Higher Activity Radioactive Waste (HAW) Policy. The Policy only applies to Intermediate Level Waste, as there is currently no High Level Waste in Scotland. Spent Nuclear Fuel is still not classified as waste and continues to be transported to Sellafield for reprocessing or storage. NFLA remains concerned about the ongoing policy of transporting spent fuel in particular from Dounreay to Sellafield for safety and emergency planning reasons.
NFLA 7th July 2015 read more »
Advert for Chair: COMARE is responsible for the assessment of the science and subsequent advice to Government and the devolved authorities on the health effects of natural and man-made radiation and to assess the adequacy of the available data and the need for further research.
Public Appointments (accessed) 9th July 2015 read more »
A £910m blow to renewable energy firms and an end to a road tax incentive for lower-carbon cars were among the climate and energy announcements in today’s first Conservative budget since 1996. Chancellor George Osborne’s summer budget was widely expected to mention the levy control framework (LCF), which limits subsidies for low-carbon energy schemes. Well-placed sources and heavily-briefed political correspondents at the Telegraph and Financial Times had hinted at a review of the LCF budget. Instead, Osborne announced tax changes that will cost renewable energy generators £910m in 2020/21, a review of other green taxes faced by businesses and an end to the commitment to increase environmental taxes’ share of government revenue. Details of further departmental spending cuts will be announced in a spending review this autumn. Carbon Brief runs through today’s key announcements on climate and energy. Today’s offering from the Conservative government, unencumbered by its Liberal Democrat former coalition partner, contains little positive news for the UK’s low-carbon transition. The government says it will continue to “promote” low carbon investment and innovation. This language is clearly different language to that used elsewhere, where it talks of continuing to “support” other priorities. In fact, Osborne’sbudget speech says the government is against “unfair subsidies wherever we find them”. Coming soon after its decision to end certain support for onshore windfarms early, the augurs for the UK’s climate efforts hardly seem positive. Yet the budgetdocument says the government will “push for” a global climate deal later this year that keeps the 2C climate goal “firmly within reach”. Until the details of departmental spending cuts and expected climate policy reviews emerge, it will be hard to see if UK government action at home matches up to this ambition for the world.
Carbon Brief 8th July 2015 read more »
Chancellor Osborne’s UK Budget today contained no surprises for the oil and gas sector – merely confirming that the tax cuts announced in his March budget – are going ahead. But in a fresh blow for the sector, there was another bitter pill for the renewables sector in Scotland and England, with the removal of the climate change levy exemption. Osborne said: “Now we have a long term framework for investment in renewable energy in place, we will remove the out-dated Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable electricity that has seen taxpayer money benefitting electricity generation abroad.”
Scottish Energy News 8th July 2015 read more »
George Osborne has infuriated green energy producers and campaigners with a £910m-a-year raid on the renewable energy sector by changing a climate change levy (CCL) at the same time as providing more fiscal help for North Sea oilfields. RenewableUK, the lobby group, said the changes would cost green energy producers around £450m in the current financial year, and up to £1bn by 2020-2021. The move hammered the share price of power generator Drax which is in the process of converting stations from burning coal to burning wood pellets. The company lost more than a quarter of its stock market value as it said the move would cost it £30m this year and £60m in 2016. Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, described the budget as a “serious blow for the fight against climate change”, while Greenpeace said it showed the chancellor is out of step with the times. Doug Parr, director of policy at Greenpeace, said Osborne was now taxing clean-power schemes as if they were fossil fuel. “This will make it more expensive for business to buy electricity from renewable power. He is man out of step with the times,” he added. But the move to review the impact of energy efficiency measures on bill payers was welcomed by the EEF, manufacturing employers organisation. “Fifteen years of layering and tinkering with policy has left us with a vast patchwork of expensive, inefficient and incoherent policy drivers for decarbonisation,” said the EEF’s director of policy, Paul Raynes. “We urgently need to revisit the policy landscape to reduce costs, improve the business environment and better deliver on our policy objective of reducing emissions,” he added.
Guardian 9th July 2015 read more »
Shares in Drax, the power utility switching from burning coal to wood pellets, tumbled on Wednesday after a climate change tax exemption was abruptly scrapped.
FT 8th July 2015 read more »
Shares in renewable energy companies plunged on Wednesday after the Chancellor unexpectedly slashed their incomes by ending an effective subsidy scheme. Industry groups accused George Osborne of making a “punitive” and “retrospective” change after he announced that renewable power generators would no longer be exempt from the Climate Change Levy. The exemption currently results in an effective subsidy payment to renewables firms of more than £5 for every unit of green electricity they generate.
Telegraph 8th July 2015 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: The government says that it wants a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system. Unfortunately, week-by-week since the general election, and now with the budget, it has made statements or policy changes that take us further away from that goal, and put us increasingly out of step with the rest of the world. We have had the ending of subsidies for onshore wind farms – our cheapest low-carbon electricity resource – meaning that 250 cheap, clean, indigenous power projects will no longer be built. Reducing energy consumption is the cheapest way to reduce costs and carbon emissions, yet more than half of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s budget cuts are set to fall on energy efficiency measures, removing £40m from the £220m pot. On the other side, the government has presented powerful support for fracking and for nuclear, in particular pledging extortionate support for the Hinkley C power station that looks increasingly unlikely to be built, even as support is withdrawn from cheaper onshore wind farms that could be built now. This simply does not add up to a credible energy policy. It reduces the chances of meeting our various legal requirements, and presents serious political risk to investors, which in itself makes energy more expensive. As the Committee on Climate Change asked when presenting its latest progress report to parliament: what does the government intend to do to ensure its legally binding targets are met given that virtually all low-carbon measures are due to expire during its period in office? Energy policies and investment in much of the world have taken a fundamentally different turn, and Britain is not on board. We are going to be left entirely behind unless we start to embrace change and move with the prevailing tide.
Guardian 8th July 2015 read more »
Regulating companies on their environmental performance is not anti-business, the chairman of the government’s committee on climate change has said, but is what companies want as they seek clarity in making their investments. Lord Deben, former Conservative environment minister and now chairman of the committee set up to be statutory advisors to ministers on how to meet the UK’s emissions targets, said that as a businessman, he and others wanted clear and fair regulation on green issues. This is in contrast with the view of the Chancellor, George Osborne, who has described green rules as a “burden” on the economy.
Guardian 8th July 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Nuclear evacuees from the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha have protested over a government official’s comment that he thinks the safety of the town’s drinking water is “a psychological issue.” The whole town was designated as a no-entry zone after the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, but is set to have its evacuation order lifted on Sept. 5, as announced by Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yosuke Takagi on July 6 when he visited the town. After the announcement, he held a press conference where, in response to a reporter’s question he pointed out that radioactive cesium amounts in Naraha tap water are below the detectable level, and said, “People differ in how they think about radiation. I think whether you think (the water source is) safe or not is a psychological issue.” There is deep-rooted concern among town residents after sampling in July last year by the Ministry of the Environment found up to 18,700 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of soil at the bottom of the reservoir at the Kido Dam. That reservoir is the source of tap water for the town.
Mainichi 9th July 2015 read more »
US President Barack Obama believes the chances of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran is “less than 50-50” as negotiations between the parties missed yet another self-imposed deadline.
IB Times 9th July 2015 read more »
One by one, the deadlines have fallen by the wayside like skittles. First, the Iran nuclear agreement was supposed to be signed on June 30; when zero hour struck the negotiators decided they needed another week. D-Day for the deal was set for July 7, but the diplomats and foreign ministers closeted in Vienna shied away from the fence at the last moment, giving themselves another 72 hours and promising an outcome by Friday.
Telegraph 8th July 2015 read more »
Many critics claim to believe that a “good deal,” which would permanently dismantle the clerical regime’s capacity to construct nuclear weapons, is still possible if Mr. Obama would augment diplomacy with the threat of more sanctions and the use of force. Although these critics accurately highlight the framework’s serious faults, they also make a mistake: More sanctions and threats of military raids now are unlikely to thwart the mullahs’ nuclear designs. We will never know whether more crippling sanctions and force could have cracked the clerical regime. We do know that the president sought the opposite path even before American and Iranian diplomats began negotiating in Europe. But hawks who believe that airstrikes are the only possible option for stopping an Iranian nuke should welcome a deal perhaps more than anyone. This is because the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is tailor-made to set Washington on a collision course with Tehran. The plan leaves the Islamic Republic as a threshold nuclear-weapons state and in the short-term insulates the mullahs’ regional behavior from serious American reproach
Wall St Journal 8th July 2015 read more »
The United States Air Force (USAF) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have completed the first development flight test of a controversial update to a nuclear bomb that has been use since the 1960s. A ‘safe’ version of the the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb with no warhead was tested at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. The tests are designed to extend the lifespan of the nuclear weapon by upgrading some of its parts
Daily Mail 9th July 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Norway’s oil and gas firm Statoil plans to take the final investment decision in September on building a floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland, set to be the first of its kind in the world, a spokesman for the company said on Tuesday. Statoil, which has run a single floating offshore turbine for several years in Norway, is now planning to build five floating turbines, each with 6 megawatt capacity, off Aberdeen in an area where the water depth is around 100 meters.
Reuters 7th July 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Energy minister Fergus Ewing is to chair a green energy summit to discuss the impact of plans to end onshore wind farm subsidies. The UK government recently announced plans to scrap the Renewables Obligation scheme early. UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has said ending the scheme meant energy bills would not need to rise. But Mr Ewing has accused the Conservatives of ignoring Scottish concerns. About 130 businesses and communities will take part in the event in Glasgow.
BBC 9th July 2015 read more »
Renewables – small wind
The chief executive of a Glasgow-based wind turbine maker has called on the Scottish Government to take action to save the farm-scale wind power industry in the UK. Speaking ahead of today’s renewable-energy jobs crisis meeting between the industry and Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, Johnnie Andringa, Chief Executive of Gaia Wind said: “Farm-scale wind, one of the few sectors with a substantial, if shrinking, base of British manufacturers, is becoming a core element of the rural economy: “Farm-scale turbines are the embodiment of distributed energy (generation mostly for on-site use) and in many cases can be the difference between a rural business being feasible or not.
Scottish Energy News 8th July 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Sustainable Marine Energy is to focus on their development at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney following the success of their PLAT-O system off the south coast of England. The successful installation and subsequent electricity generation has boosted hopes that the cost of tidal energy is to rapidly decrease. The PLAT-O system was described by installers as “an extremely well designed system that enables low cost operations”.
Scottish Energy News 9th July 2015 read more »