Plans by French company EDF to construct a new large nuclear power station on England’s east coast have sparked new life into Britain’s debate about nuclear energy. Even if the facility will provide an estimated 7% of the UK’s electricity, local councils and activists have already started to organise in opposition, with one campaign group arguing the project would “escalate anxiety at a time when people have got a huge amount of others things to be anxious about”. Of course, there are valid arguments against specific projects. One could question their cost efficiency, specific safety measures, or environmental footprint. One should also, however, be honest in comparing the trade-offs with competing technologies. Nuclear beats coal and gas hands-down when looking at its carbon footprint. When it comes to renewable energy, there is the well-documented issue of renewables’ notorious lack of reliability, but the issues don’t stop there. Producing solar panels and wind turbines requires hazardous materials, and managing the resulting waste is a big problem. That’s not to say these energy sources should be completely absent, but a more balanced assessment would properly deal with the many downsides of nuclear energy’s competitors.
Euractiv 12th June 2020 read more »
National Grid has extended the contract it struck with EDF to reduce output from the Sizewell B nuclear station in a bid to keep the system stable over summer. The electricity system operator is having to work harder to balance the power system due to exceptionally low demand as a result of coronavirus. It agreed the contract with EDF last month and has now extended the deal until August. National Grid said the contract will be worth between £34m and £46m to EDF, depending on market power prices. The ESO has also created a new turndown service, which pays embedded generators to curtail output, and clarified powers to instruct distribution networks to disconnect generators as a last resort.
The Energyst 12th June 2020 read more »