10 Companies Appealing €100 Billion In Subsidies For UK’s Hinkley Nuclear Project http://cleantechnica.com/2015/07/23/10-companies-appealing-e100-billion-subsidies-uks-hinkley-nuclear-project/ by James Ayre
The relatively recent decision by the European Commission to approve roughly €100 billion in subsidies for the Hinkley Point C nuclear energy project in the UK is already being legally challenged, according to recent reports. The legal challenge is coming via an alliance of 10 companies — which includes various renewable energy suppliers and municipal utility companies, as well as Greenpeace Energy. The plea for an annulment of the approval is being made via the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Reportedly, according to the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the chances that the challenge will be successful are low. Based on recent events, one could argue that Germany is essentially the de facto head of the Commission, so that doesn’t seem to bode well for the legal challenge.
The challenge is being handled by Dörte Fouquet, of the Becker Büttner Held law firm. He commented on the situation thusly: “(The European Commission used) an incorrect evaluation benchmark because these British subsidies are an unlawful State Aid and not an investment aid. Moreover … there is no general failure of the energy market which could justify these proposed subsidies.”
For some background here, the subsidies call for the European Commission to provide £92.5/megawatt-hour (MWh) in support for 35 years to the 3.2 gigawatt (GW) nuclear project.
Figures provided by Greenpeace show that subsidies for the Hinkley Point C project will total some €108.6 billion over that period if inflation is taken into account (€53.7 billion without taking inflation into account). These subsidies are in addition to more than €20 billion in credit guarantees made by the UK.
That’s certainly quite a lot of state support for nuclear energy, is it not? And people are still claiming that it’s economically viable?
“This high level of subsidization means that Hinkley Point C can generate power at negative prices without suffering financial losses. Hinkley Point C lowers the wholesale price of power in the UK. Lower prices lead to an increased import of electricity from the UK to Germany. These imports lower the price of power in Germany, reducing the profits of its conventional and renewable power plants. This effect can lower the price of electricity in Germany by as much as 20 euro cents per megawatt-hour,” as Greenpeace put it in a recent statement.
The companies involved in the legal challenge are oekostrom AG, Greenpeace Energy, and Energieversorgung Filstal. The municipal utilities involved in the appeal are Bochum, Mainz, Schwäbisch Hall, Tübingen, Mühlacker, Aalen, and Bietigheim-Bissingen.
Group taking battle over nuclear waste burial plan to court http://london.ctvnews.ca/group-taking-battle-over-nuclear-waste-burial-plan-to-court-1.2419411 Scott Miller, CTV London June 12, 2015
Plans to build Canada’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility are heading to court.
A citizen’s group called Save Our Saugeen Shores has asked the Federal Court of Canada to put the project on ice.
They are appealing for a judicial review of the Joint Review Panel decision of May 7th, which recommended approval of the multi-million dollar project. Following six weeks of public hearings and months of deliberation a three-person panel recommended Ontario Power Generation be allowed to build an underground facility near Lake Huron to house all of Ontario’s low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.
If approved by the federal government, it would be Canada’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility.
Save our Saugeen Shores argues the Joint Review Panel erred in their decision because of “multiple legal errors, bias-tainted process, and its acceptance of evidence of, and reliance on, deceptive and unlawful conduct.”
Jill Taylor is president of Save our Saugeen Shores. She says “If the federal government is not prepared to respect its own environmental laws and processes, how can they expect Canadian industry and the Canadian public to do so?”
The federal environment minister has moved a deadline to make a final decision on the project until early December. The deadline was initially early September, before October’s federal election.
Save our Saugeen Shores wants the Joint Review Panel decision quashed and a new, more thorough process to be undertaken before allowing Ontario Power Generation to proceed with construction.
If built, 200,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste would be buried within 1.5 kilometres of Lake Huron on the Bruce Power site north of Kincardine. If approved by the federal Ministry of the Environment, construction could begin by 2018.
AUSTRIAN LEGAL ACTION COULD DELAY HINKLEY POINT NUCLEAR FOR THREE TO FOUR YEARS, Power Engineering 09/07/2015 By Diarmaid Williams
That timeframe is based on the average expectation associated with such cases, as confirmed this week by a legal expert who had been advising the Austrian government on the matter. It is less than the worst case scenario timeframe of five to eight years but that delay is not beyond the bounds of possibility as the subsequent decision could still be challenged.
Dr Dorte Fouquet, Partner, BBH Brussels who has been advising Vienna on the matter of their objection to Britain’s flagship nuclear power project on the basis of State Aid contravention told Power Engineering International, “From the publication on average statistics from the European Court in State Aid cases the duration can be on average between 31,5 und 50,3 months.”
Dr Fouquet quoted the information from the 2013 Annual report of the European Court of Justice, (pg. 186).
She had told an audience at Platts Power Summit in central London at the end of April that if Vienna pressed on with its challenge it could set back construction of the Hinkley Point C project for even longer than that average.
“Based on whether a party was unhappy with that, it could then go again before the European Court of Justice, which could also take years, though probably not as much as the first; this is based on average procedures.”……….
Greenpeace and utilities launch suit against Hinkley nuclear plant, Guardian 2 July 15
Nine German and Austrian utilities selling renewable energy join with green group to launch legal action against state aid for new nuclear power in UK. Greenpeace and nine German and Austrian utilities selling renewable energy said on Thursday they are launching legal action against state aid for a new British nuclear power plant, which was approved by the European commission.
Greenpeace and the others in the group said at a news briefing that the lawsuit would be filed with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the coming days, over the Hinkley Point C project in south-west England.
It would be based on the argument that billions of euros of subsidies for nuclear energy would distort prices in mainland European power markets, which are linked to those in Britain via a small French interconnector.
“We are complaining against these boundless nuclear subsidies, because from an ecological and macro-economic viewpoint, they appear senseless and bring substantial financial disadvantages for other energy suppliers, renewable energies and for consumers,” said Soenke Tangermann, managing director of the Greenpeace Energy co-operative……… http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/02/greenpeace-utilities-launch-suit-against-hinkley-nuclear-plant
UK government and EDF anxious about Austria’s lawsuit against state aid for Hinkley Point nuclear station
Government and EDF in talks over liabilities if Austria wins nuclear state aid appeal, Telegraph, Energy giant and Government yet to agree what would happen if Austrian challenge against state aid for Hinkley Point C is successful By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor 30 Jun 2015 The Government and EDF are in talks over who will pick up the costs if Austria wins its appeal against the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant once construction has begun.
Plans for the £16bn Hinkley Point plant received state aid clearance from the European Commission last year but Austria has vowed to challenge this, alleging that subsidies for the project constitute illegal state aid.
Although the Government and EDF both insist the appeal, expected to be lodged this week, has no merit, it is understood they are yet to agree on what would happen in the unlikely event Austria does win.Andrea Leadsom, the new energy minister, said on Tuesday she was “confident that the key investment decision on Hinkley C will happen soon, which will enable construction to start”.
But speaking on the fringes of the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference, Ms Leadsom also confirmed that the Government was “looking very closely” at the issue of how the project could go ahead with a state aid challenge ongoing.Austria’s state aid appeal is likely to hang over the project for at least a year and potentially as long as six years – during which time billions of pounds would be spent on construction.
The Government and EDF are believed to be targeting a final investment decision by October.A series of issues remain outstanding including EDF’s takeover of reactor-maker Areva’s nuclear business, deals with Chinese investors, and finalising contracts with the Government.
Writing on legal website Lexology, lawyers at Shearman and Sterling LLP wrote: “While the prospect of success is low, even a small chance of success creates additional risk for project financiers.
“In a worst-case scenario, where the Commission makes an adverse decision, the UK Government’s support scheme – including the strike price and guarantee – would be ruled unlawful and unenforceable, with any aid already received having to be repaid. A competitor or other party with standing could apply to the UK national court to enforce this.
“While this outcome is the least likely, it may have a severely adverse impact on investors in the Hinkley Point C project.”
They added that “investors may find insuring themselves contractually (e.g., via indemnities or similar means) difficult” and that “any provision seeking protection from the UK Government for such an eventuality could itself risk being struck down as unlawful State aid”…..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11709083/Government-and-EDF-in-talks-over-liabilities-if-Austria-wins-nuclear-state-aid-appeal.html
Tepco ordered to pay over suicide linked to nuclear evacuation, Japan Times, FUKUSHIMA 30 June 15 – Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday was again held responsible for a suicide linked to the 2011 nuclear crisis and ordered to pay damages.
The Fukushima District Court ordered Tepco to pay ¥27 million to the family of 67-year-old Kiichi Isozaki, who committed suicide in July 2011 after being forced out of his home near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and fell into depression.
It is the second time that a court has determined there was a link between the nuclear disaster and a suicide, and ordered the utility to pay damages.
In the latest ruling, presiding Judge Naoyuki Shiomi said the severe experiences Isozaki had gone through made him depressed and led to his suicide. But Shiomi said the disaster had a “60 percent” impact on the man’s decision to take his own life, given that he had diabetes, which may also have played a role.
Isozaki’s wife, Eiko, 66, and two other relatives had sought ¥87 million.
“The ruling aside, I really want Tepco to apologize,” Eiko Isozaki said after the decision.
Tepco issued a statement saying it will “thoroughly examine the ruling and handle the case sincerely.”………
Last August, the same district court ordered the utility to pay ¥49 million in damages to the family of a 58-year-old woman who burned herself to death after she was forced to evacuate from her home in a Fukushima town contaminated by the nuclear disaster.
Although more than four years have passed since the powerful earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, triggered the country’s worst nuclear crisis, suicides linked to the event continue as more than 100,000 people remain evacuated in and around Fukushima.
Sixty-nine suicides in Fukushima Prefecture committed by the end of May have been deemed linked to the earthquake-tsunami or nuclear disasters, according to the Cabinet Office. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/30/national/crime-legal/tepco-ordered-pay-suicide-linked-nuclear-evacuation/#.VZMNYBuqpHx
A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the ‘official’ ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby – reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain’s bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers.
At the end of last month the Veterans Appeals Tribunal Decision on the Case Jean Mahoney vs. Australian Repatriation Commission was published.
The result was a win for the appellant, setting aside of the earlier Australian government decision not to grant a pension to the widow of a veteran who worked among the ruins of Hiroshima and later died from metastatic colon cancer.
I was the expert witness in this case and persuaded the Australian Tribunal (in an expert report and with oral cross examination by telephone, Brisbane to Riga) that the radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) was not applicable to the kind of internal exposure to radioactive particles which her late husband, George Mahoney will have received. Continue reading
7,000 Tochigi residents seek compensation over Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan Times KYODO JUN 15, 2015 UTSUNOMIYA, TOCHIGI PREF. – Some 7,000 people living in Tochigi Prefecture sought compensation Monday worth ¥1.85 billion through an out-of-court settlement with Tepco over the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
In the first collective appeal by residents who have not been compensated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., 7,128 people from Tochigi, located some 100 km from the crippled plant, argue that they should be eligible for compensation even though they were not living in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The residents, who were living at the time in Otawara, Nasushiobara, and Nasu are also demanding an apology and the establishment of a fund to pay for decontamination work and health checks, their lawyers said. The combined population of the two cities and town stands at around 218,000.
The appeal was filed Monday with the Nuclear Compensation Dispute Resolution Center under an alternative dispute resolution system that enables quicker settlements with the participation of a third party that has expertise.
Burial of nuclear waste near Lake Huron subject of legal action The Canadian Press Jun 12, 2015 A review panel decision in favour of a plan to bury dangerous nuclear waste near Lake Huron was illegal and unreasonable, a citizen’s group argues in a new Federal Court application.
In asking the court to set aside the decision, the group says the panel that approved the Ontario Power Generation proposal failed to consider Canada’s international obligations, was biased, and violated the Canadian environmental rules.
“The (panel) erred in failing to require OPG to fully study accidents and malfunctions that would result in adverse effects to human health and safety and to the environment,” the application by Save our Saugeen Shores states.
“(It) erred in failing to require OPG to adequately evaluate the potential for reasonably foreseeable or unplanned events, singly or in combination, to produce significant short- and long-term adverse effects on the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem, home to 40 million people and containing 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water.”
Approval of the billion-dollar deep geological repository near Kincardine, Ont., along with any conditions currently rests with federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who has delayed making a decision until December — after the fall election………..
More than 150 communities — many in the United States — have passed resolutions against any storage of nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.
The federal court application argues Ontario Power Generation failed to take into account Canada and Ontario’s obligations to be “good neighbours” to the U.S. and individual states.
“No Canadian representative, whether formally or informally, notified the United States of the proposal,” the application states………Jill Taylor, president of Save Our Saugeen Shores, said the federal government cannot expect industry and the public to respect environmental laws and processes when it has failed to do so. The project is simply too risky, she said, noting last year’s failure at an American underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico.
“To risk contaminating (Great Lakes) water with nuclear waste that will remain highly radioactive for 100,000 years is unthinkable,” Taylor said. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/burial-of-nuclear-waste-near-lake-huron-subject-of-legal-action-1.3111403
Marshall Islands, site of largest-ever U.S. nuclear weapons test, sues 9 superpowers including USA, Boing Boing.net By Xeni Jardin , Jun 6, 2015 “The tiny nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is once again at the center of international activism, filing two lawsuits, one in US federal court against the United States, and one in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against all nine countries that possess nuclear weapons,” writes Robert Alvarez at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
The Pacific island nation is suing the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China for failure to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as called for by theNuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and also names India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel as defendants.
The Marshall Islands site known as Bikini Atoll was the site of the fabled Castle Bravo test, the USA’s first experiment of a dry fuel hydrogen bomb. Detonated on March 1, 1954, it was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States.
For many Marshall Islanders, this history remains part of personal and family memory.
Tony DeBrum, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), asked attendees at the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference how many of them had personally witnessed nuclear weapon detonations. He and his family had vivid memories………
Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands, then a trust territory of the United States, sustained significant damage and radiological contamination from 67 US atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. The US government exiled hundreds of Marshallese people so the Bikini and Enewetak atolls could be used to host ever more powerful nuclear weapons explosions. Residents of other islands, who were not relocated, suffered serious harm from radioactive fallout. By 1963, outrage originating with the Bravo explosion led to a global campaign that compelled the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom to ratify the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which outlaws nuclear weapons explosions in the oceans, atmosphere, and outer space. http://boingboing.net/2015/06/06/marshall-islands-sues-9-superp.html
Government denials about any cancer-causing fallout unravelled in the 1980s, when lawsuits uncovered internal AEC reports showing scientists and bureaucrats downplayed and distorted evidence. Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990, establishing a fund for downwinders with cancer and serious illnesses apparently linked to above-ground nuclear weapons testing. Compensation is capped at $50,000 per person.
The fund has disbursed about $2bn and is set to continue until first-generation downwinders have died out.
Hollywood and the downwinders still grapple with nuclear fallout,Guardian, Rory Carroll , 6 June 15 The US turned swathes of desert radioactive during the cold war and denied it, bequeathing a medical mystery that still haunts Hollywood and rural Mormon communities and raises the question: how much do you trust the government? “…………….Last week, half a century later, Rebecca Barlow, a nurse practitioner at theRadiation Exposure Screening and Education Program (RESEP), which operates from the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St George, now a prosperous little city with an airport, leafed through her patient records. “More than 60% of this year’s patients are new,” she said. “Mostly breast and thyroid, also some leukaemia, colon, lung.”
This is a story about cancer. About how the United States turned swathes of the desert radioactive during the cold war and denied it, bequeathing a medical mystery which to this day haunts Hollywood and rural Mormon communities and raises a thorny question: how much should you trust the government? Continue reading
German nuclear fuel duty is legal, says European court, World Nuclear News 05 June 2015 Germany’s tax on nuclear fuel conforms to European Union laws, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled yesterday.
Since January 2011, each gram of fissile nuclear fuel loaded into a German reactor has carried a levy of €145 ($161). The tax is expected to bring in about €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) in revenues annually.
That tax was imposed by the state as a consequence of an amendment to the 2002 Atomic Energy Act that allowed longer operating lives for German reactors. However, the government adhered to the new tax even though, in reaction to the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, it took away the longer lives and forced the early closure of older units. Power companies were quick to take the matter to court……..
The ECJ has now ruled that the duty on nuclear fuel is indeed compatible with EU law. It said, “By today’s judgement, the Court of Justice replies that EU law does not preclude a duty such as the German duty on nuclear fuel.”
The court rejected a claim that nuclear fuel must be exempt from taxation under the European directive on taxation of energy products and electricity. This directive exempts energy products subject to harmonized excise duty and used to produce electricity. The court noted that nuclear fuel is not included in the list of fuels set out in that directive. “In essence, the court rejects the idea that a duty cannot be levied at the same time on the consumption of electricity and on the sources from which it is produced which are not energy products within the meaning of the directive,” the ECJ said in a statement.
The ECJ also determined that the EU directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty does not preclude the German duty on nuclear fuel. It said Germany’s tax is levied on a fuel for electricity production and not levied on the consumption of the electricity produced. It therefore does not constitute excise duty or ‘other indirect taxes’ on that product within the meaning of the directive, the court ruled.
Germany’s tax on nuclear fuel does not also constitute state aid, the court said…….http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-German-nuclear-fuel-duty-is-legal-says-European-court-0506155.html
A nation-wide network formed in Japan, to sue government and TEPCO, over the Fukushima nuclear disaster
Plaintiffs suing over Fukushima nuclear disaster form nationwide network,Asahi Shimbun, May 26, 2015 By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer NIHONMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture–Ten groups of plaintiffs in lawsuits and other legal actions over the Fukushima nuclear disaster have joined forces to demand compensation and accountability from the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co.
The groups held a liaison conference, called Hidanren (coalition of nuclear accident victims), to mark its establishment in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 24. The network comprises 20,000 people.
Ruiko Muto, who heads a group pursuing criminal responsibility of TEPCO and government officials, expressed frustration over the developments since the nation’s worst nuclear accident unfolded in March 2011 at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
She called on the groups to work together to press their demands.
“So far, no one has been charged with criminal responsibility,” Muto said. “Few (of the affected) are receiving compensation that they agree with, and few have a clear vision of how to rebuild their lives.”
She also said evacuees are under growing pressure to return to their homes soon amid a government campaign to label their hometowns as safe. The goals set by the conference include: having authorities and TEPCO offer an apology and full compensation to the victims; restore the victims’ livelihoods and lifestyles; provide medical service coverage; and introduce measures to reduce radiation exposure among residents………http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201505260003
Feds asked to review proposed uranium mine http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/05/28/feds-asked-review-proposed-uranium-mine/28078145/ Associated Press RAPID CITY — A company that wants to mine uranium in western South Dakota and opponents of the plan have asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review a federal board’s mixed decision last month.Both parties’ petitions were filed Tuesday with the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which will rule directly on the petitions, the Rapid City Journal reported. Each side has been given 25 days to respond to the other’s proposal.
A year ago, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board gave a license to what’s now Azarga Uranium Corp. for the proposed mine near Edgemont. The license was put on hold after mine opponents, including the Oglala Sioux Tribe, raised questions about possible damage that would be done to nearby aquifers and cultural sites.
In late April, the board ruled in Azarga’s favor on five of seven challenges brought upon by the tribe and Consolidated Intervenors, a group that opposes the company’s plan to mine uranium using a method that involves the injection of oxygen-enriched water into the ground to free uranium and bring it to the surface. But it also said the company should make efforts to find existing drill holes at the site, and that the mine could put cultural sites at risk.
Powertech, which is now a subsidiary of Azarga, initially had the plan to use local groundwater to extract uranium from the Dewey-Burdock areas of Custer and Fall River counties.
Ex-Futaba mayor sues state, Tepco over Fukushima nuclear disaster Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 22 May 15 Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, filed a lawsuit against the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday for exposing him to excessive radiation since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
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