nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Wind power is beating nuclear power in UK

wind-nuclear-Wind farms outstrip nuclear power BBC News, By Roger Harrabin, 21 Oct 14 BBC environment analyst The UK’s wind farms generated more power than its nuclear power stations on Tuesday, the National Grid says.

The energy network operator said it was caused by a combination of high winds and faults in nuclear plants………Wind made up 14.2% of all generation and nuclear offered 13.2%.

It follows another milestone on Saturday, when wind generated a record amount of power – 6,372 MW, according to National Grid.

This formed nearly 20% of the the UK’s electricity, albeit at a time at the weekend when demand is relatively low………The government is offering more generous subsidies to nuclear than wind in the long term.

But Jennifer Webber, a spokeswoman for RenewableUK, the trade body, said: “Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests.

“All the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.” http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29715796

October 23, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s secret nuclear weapons deal with USA

secret-dealsflag-UKFlag-USANuclear weapons deal with US renewed in secret, UK confirms    Tuesday 21 October 2014 theguardian.com UK tables amendments to Mutual Defence Agreement

• Proper scrutiny and Commons debate needed The British government has just published amendments updating a treaty that goes to the heart of the UK’s special relationship with the US.

They relate to the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) first signed in 1958, which, according to the government, enables the UK and the US “nuclear warhead communities to collaborate on all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture”.

One amendment refers to potential threats from “state or non-state actors”. But the amendments are for the most part arcane and their significance cannot be understood in the absence of information which is kept secret.

The MDA does not have to be debated or voted on in parliament, as I have remarked before. Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.

Yet the matters covered by the treaty, which is renewed only at 10 year intervals, are hugely important. Successive British governments have made clear a proper debate on the issues involved would not be welcome.

“A debate on the renewal of the MDA would be used by some as an opportunity to raise wider questions concerning the possible renewal of the nuclear deterrent…and our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” notes an internal MoD paper, dated 2004. The paper was released only earlier this year through a freedom of information act request by the independent Nuclear Information Service……….

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) says the UK-US agreement flew in the face Britain’s commitments as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“It is appalling that David Cameron is signing secretive nuclear deals behind Parliament’s back. In no other area of government would such a sinister sidestepping of democratic process be tolerated.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/oct/20/nuclear-weapons-uk-us

October 21, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

France and nuclear power: the end of the affair is coming?

plants-downIs France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over? Oil Price, By Chris Dalby | Sun, 19 October 2014  French President Francois Hollande has promised to limit the growth of the country’s nuclear power, many older reactors have been targeted for decommissioning, and Greenpeace and other environmental groups have been relentless in their anti-nuclear campaigning. But until now, it seemed unlikely that France would ever truly rethink its love affair with nuclear power.

Last week, it did. On Oct. 10, France’s parliament voted to begin moving to undo decades of nuclear growth and to reduce its importance to the country’s energy mix. Over the next 11 years, France will reduce the amount of electricity coming from nuclear by one-quarter — from 75 percent to 50 percent. To do that, estimates are that as many as 20 of France’s 58 reactors would have to be closed.

The vote was part of a package of legal reforms in France’s long-awaited energy transition law, a main pillar of which was slowing nuclear power production and then maintaining it at the new lower level before progressively lowering it over the next 10 years.

The second pillar was removing bureaucratic hurdles that prevented renewable energy projects from getting off the ground. A trial period will see wind, solar, bio-gas and small hydro projects receive streamlined authorization in seven French regions.

A comparison of the contribution of renewables versus nuclear in France’s energy mix shows the massive disparity that the government is seeking to address. In June, France had 8,592MW of onshore wind installations and 5,095MW of PV, translating to 3.8 percent and 1 percent of the country’s energy needs. This compares to 63.2GWe of nuclear capacity.

The energy transition law aims to erase this imbalance. At 50 percent of national energy production, nuclear will remain the biggest source, but will be supported by a boosted renewables sector, with wind and solar levels similar to Germany’s…………

In March, around 60 Greenpeace protesters managed to spectacularly infiltrate Fessenheim in northeastern France, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant, which is set to be decommissioned in 2016. The activists deployed a huge banner on one of Fessenheim’s reactors, reading “Stop Risking Europe”, in support of their argument that France’s aging nuclear installations put all of Europe at risk, much like Chernobyl. Europe-Ecologie Les Verts (EELV), backed the protest at the time, widening a rift with Hollande’s Socialist Party that the energy transition law hopes to close……..

the pressure is on. Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are all abandoning nuclear power. Flagship nuclear firm Areva, which builds nuclear plants around the world, is not the profit-making juggernaut it once was. Nuclear is no longer as cost-competitive as it used to be compared to natural gas, wind and PV…….http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-Frances-Love-Affair-with-Nuclear-Over.html

October 21, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | 1 Comment

German govt sets up commission to seek solution to nuclear waste disposal

wastes-Gorleben-salt-mineflag_germanyWhere Shall We Store Our Radioactive Waste? Red Baron’s Blog, 18 Oct 14, From September 20 to 22, 2014 the Deutsch-Schweizer Fachverband für Strahlenschutz (Swiss-German Radiation Protection Association) held a symposium in Mainz dealing with the topic: Zwischenlager – Dauerlager – Endlager: Wohin mit unserem radioaktiven Abfall? (Intermediate, permanent and final storage: Where shall we store our radioactive waste?)

……….. the question is where can we find places to safely store material still presenting a hazard in more than 100,000 years? Such a choice not only needs our consent but that of future generations too. Germans stoke their Angst and trust their Bauchgefühl (gut feeling) so it will be difficult to reach the same general consent on a repository as in the case of the entry in and exit out of nuclear power.

The Federal Government has set up a commission of 33 persons to deal with the deposition of highly-radioactive waste according to the Standortauswahlgesetz(Law for selecting a site). The German government called scientists, members of environmental associations, representatives of the Churches!!, economy, trade unions, members of parliament and state governments into the commission to find a consensus on a site until December 31, 2015. In their initial sessions the members of the commission lost their time on points of order; so I doubt that they will meet the deadline set by the government…….http://mhoefert.blogspot.com.au/

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

Funds running out for completion of massively expensive cover over crumbling Chernobyl nuclear reactor

Funding woes delay new Chernobyl cover, DW 17 Oct 14  The casing around the ruined nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is crumbling, causing a renewed radioactive contamination risk. A new cover for the site is under construction – but the project is running out of funding. “There’s no precedent for this anywhere in the world,” Jochen Flasbarth said. “Of course there is uncertainty.”

The German Ministry of the Environment’s senior civil servant was talking about the New Safe Confinement – a new protective cover that is to be built over the stricken reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine: 100 meters high, 165 meters long, built at a safe distance from the still radioactive ruin.

The cover will slide over the reactor on rails. It will be three times as large as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome – if it is finished. But at the moment there is no money – that’s the “uncertainty” Flasbarth was talking about.

Chernobyl-tomb-14

There will be a shortfall of 600 million euros by the end of the year. Construction is proving to be more expensive than expected, and funding more difficult to obtain. A Ukrainian government construction freeze now threatens the project.

New containment, new money

Flasbarth, who is responsible for energy issues at his ministry, intends to speak with his counterparts from the G7 Group on Nuclear Issues in Bonn in mid-October. The G8 – as it was known before Russia was ejected from the group earlier in 2014 – had promised years ago to help Ukraine build the containment system. Now new money is required……….

The total damage has been estimated at 180 billion dollars. The area around the stricken reactor is still highly contaminated, and the concrete sarcophagus poured over the reactor in a rush after the accident has become unstable.

Years of effort

That’s why a French consortium has spent the last few years building the new protective cover. One part is finished, and a second is still being worked on. Meanwhile, Reactor 4 is crumbling – and threatening to expose 200 tons of highly radioactive material to the environment, including the destroyed fuel rods.

The removal of these materials can begin only when the New Safe Confinement is finished, which means over 30 years will have passed since the accident. No one now expects the construction to be finished next year as planned……..http://www.dw.de/funding-woes-delay-new-chernobyl-cover/a-17997493

 

October 18, 2014 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

With Fran ce’s nuclear reactors all too close, Luxembourg hands out iodine pill sto 500,000 residents

potassium-iodate-pillsLuxembourg hands out iodine pills over fears of French nuclear mishap TONY PATERSON http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/luxembourg-hands-out-iodine-pills-over-fears-of-french-nuclear-mishap-9802668.html   FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER 2014 A series of accidents at France’s controversial Cattenom nuclear power station has prompted the government in neighbouring Luxembourg to take the unprecedented step of issuing free iodine pills to its half a million citizens to help protect them in the event of a serious nuclear incident at the plant.  Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Treasury advised against getting Russian nuclear reactors, but Putin is pushing for the sale

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaVladimir Putin’s quest for a nuclear monopoly, Mail & Guardian, South Acfric17 OCT 2014 00:00 QAANITAH HUNTER  Somehow Russia has persuaded President Jacob Zuma into agreeing to a deal for a nuclear fleet that the treasury opposed. The Russians are coming. The nuclear deal with Russia is to dominate the agenda when the South Africa-Russia joint intergovernmental committee on trade and economic co-operation meets next month.

Even though the South African government insists it has not entered into the procurement phase for the nuclear fleet, it has become clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to sway President Jacob Zuma and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson into giving Russia the entirety of the deal.

Zuma and his most trusted Cabinet ministers went against the strict advice of the national treasury and his senior advisers when a nuclear energy “agreement” was signed with Russia last month.

Two sources who also advised against it revealed this week to the Mail & Guardian that an initial bid made by Russian nuclear company Rosatom last year was rejected by the treasury and a number of Zuma’s advisers. A third credible source who was close to the negotiations confirmed their version of events.

The treasury this week did not deny advising against the initial Russian proposal.

“Nuclear would be a substantial financial commitment and government can only make that kind of commitment after careful and thorough-going modelling and an affordability assessment,” said spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane.

He said they had yet to discuss how the treasury would pay for nuclear energy.

Exclusive rights
It has emerged that the Russians wanted exclusive rights to South Africa’s nuclear industry. This was substantiated by a statement made by Putin in March last year, ­following his visit to South Africa, saying his country did not want to merely build the nuclear plants but would bid to run the entire nuclear industry here.

South Africa plans to enhance its energy mix by creating 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2030.

The M&G spoke to three highly placed sources – all of them indicated that:

  • The initial Russian proposal was not affordable and the treasury rejected it;
  • The technology proposed was sub standard and dangerous;
  • It would exclude and be damaging to local industries; and
  • Even public servants who seemed loyal to Zuma had concerns about it.

One source close to the nuclear talks said the signing of the agreement was a result of about two years of courting by the Russians……….http://mg.co.za/article/2014-10-16-vladimir-putins-quest-for-a-nuclear-monopoly

October 18, 2014 Posted by | marketing, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

As UK’s nuclear energy gets billions of pounds subsidy, Europe’s citizen energy movement is growing

flag-EUCitizens’ energy movement calls for support as nuclear gets billions of pounds subsidy http://www.foe.co.uk/blog/citizens-energy-movement-calls-support-nuclear-gets-billions-pounds-subsidy Susi Scherbarth 15 October 2014 Last week the European Commission gave the UK the green light to billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley nuclear power plant, and the European Parliament approved a Spanish oil baron, Miguel Arias Cañete, as the EU’s next climate and energy chief.

This hardly bodes well when EU leaders are due to agree climate and energy targets for the year 2030 at a summit next week.

But against this, Europe’s citizens energy movement is providing reasons for optimism. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

UK plants turn down energy out put because of cracks developing

nuke-plant-sadflag-UKNuclear reactor heat turned down to stop boilers cracking  Two nuclear plants shut amid safety fears may be restarted at just 75pc usual power output to prevent more cracks developing, EDF says   Telegraph, By , Energy Editor 17 Oct 14, Power output at two UK nuclear plants will be curbed for up to two years in order to reduce the heat in their boilers and prevent cracks developing, EDF has announced.

The two twin-reactor plants at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool have been shut down since August amid safety fears following the discovery of cracks in one boiler structure at Heysham.

The ageing reactors are likely to be restarted in coming months at just 75pc-80pc of their usual output in order to prevent high temperatures causing further cracks, EDF said on Friday.

The move will further worsen the risk of power shortages this winter and next.

The temporary closure of the plants, which produce enough power to meet about 4pc of peak winter demand, has already forced National Grid to invoke emergency measures to bolster power supplies this winter, by paying mothballed power stations to fire up.

EDF warned in September that the reactors – initially expected to be shut for two months – would only be restarted gradually between the end of October and late December, once safety checks on each reactor’s eight boilers were finished.

On Friday it further revised the likely dates of the restarts. The restart of the reactor with cracks has been pushed back a month, from the end of November to the end of December. Two other reactors have been pushed back from the end of October to November 9, and the fourth reactor has been brought forward from November 30 to November 22………

The cracks at Heysham 1 are in a “boiler spine”. The Office for Nuclear Regulation said that the spine “supports the weight of an entire boiler and its failure could lead to water entering the reactor vessel”.

“The potential worst consequences of water entering the reactor vessel is an over-pressurisation of the reactor which could result in lifting of the reactor pressure relief valves. If this was to occur co-incidentally with fuel damage then there could be a direct path to the environment and a release of radiation,” it said……..

As well as firing up mothballed power plants, National Grid is also using emergency plans to pay factories to switch off on winter weekdays to ease demand to help ensure households’ lights are kept on. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11169625/Nuclear-reactor-heat-turned-down-to-stop-boilers-cracking.html

October 18, 2014 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Russia protects nuclear weapons stockpiles from cyber sabotage

computer-spy-nukeCyber security units to protect Russia’s nuclear weapons stockpiles RT.com October 17, 2014  The IT systems of all Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles will be protected by a new team of anti-hackers, the Defense Ministry said after a year-long “hunting season” for programmers.

Special units of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), responsible for the country’s nuclear weapons, will reduce the vulnerability, should it be found, in their brand-new information systems, according to the Defense Ministry’s spokesman……..http://rt.com/news/196720-russia-missile-forces-cybersecurity/

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Research into birth deformities in children of British nuclear veterans

flag-UKMiscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British   Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme.pdf – Google ドライブ Christopher Busby1* and Mireille 1 Escande de Messieres2 Environmental Research SIA, Riga, Latvia  2Green Audit, SY231 1DZ, Aberystwyth, Wales
*Corresponding author: Christopher Busby, 1117 Latvian Academy of Sciences, Academy Square, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia, Tel: +44 7989 428833; E-mail:  christo@greenaudit.org Received date: Apr 18, 2014, Accepted date: Sep 22, 2014, Published date: Sep 29, 2014  This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
anencephaly

Abstract  A postal questionnaire case-control study examined miscarriage in wives and congenital conditions in offspring of the 2007 membership of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, a group of ex-servicemen who were stationed at atmospheric nuclear weapon test sites between 1952-67. Results were compared with a veteran- selected control group and also with national data. Based on 605 veteran children and 749 grandchildren compared with 311 control children and 408 control grandchildren there were significant excess levels of miscarriages,
stillbirths, infant mortality and congenital illnesses in the veterans’ children relative both to control children and expected numbers. 105 miscarriages in veteran’s wives compared with 18 in controls OR=2.75 (1.56, 4.91; p=. 00016). There were 16 stillbirths; 3 in controls (OR=2.70 (0.73, 11.72; p=0.13). Perinatal mortality OR was 4.3 (1.22, 17.9; p=.01) on 25 deaths in veteran children. 57 veteran children had congenital conditions vs. 3 control children (OR=9.77 (2.92, 39.3); p=0.000003) these rates being also about 8 times those expected on the basis of UK

EUROCAT data for 1980-2000. For grandchildren, similar levels of congenital illness were reported with 46 veteran grandchildren compared with 3 controls OR=8.35 (2.48, 33.8) p=0.000025. There was significantly more cancer in the veteran grandchildren than controls.

Whilst caution must be exercised due to structural problems inherent in this study we conclude that the veterans’ offspring qualitatively exhibit a prevalence of congenital conditions significantly greater than that of controls and also that of the general population in England. The effect remains highly statistically significant even assuming a high selection bias in the responses and credibility is strengthened by the high rates of miscarriage reported by the  veterans compared with controls, a result which could hardly have been due selection effects……….Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme.pdf – Google ドライブ

October 15, 2014 Posted by | children, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain’s $27 Billion Bond Plan with EDF hailed as the beginning of big nuclear market

text-my-money-2flag-UKEDF $27 Billion Bond Plan Offers Nuclear Blueprint: U.K. Credit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-13/edf-s-27-billion-of-nuclear-bonds-seen-as-template-u-k-credit.html  By Sally Bakewell  Oct 14, 2014 Electricite de France SA’s plan to raise as much as 17 billion pounds ($27 billion) of bonds for Britain’s first nuclear project in two decades is being seen as a template for financing expansion in the industry.

EDF won approval from the European Commission last week to build the 24.5 billion-pound plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England, a year after agreeing to the project. The U.K. government will back the debt, which will be the nation’s largest bond offering on a single project, according to Deloitte LLP.

“The use of bonds with a U.K. government guarantee will be a highly influential template in the nuclear sector,”Kevin Magner, director for corporate finance in the government and infrastructure team at Deloitte, said by phone. “For projects of this sheer size which developers can’t finance on their balance sheets, they’re turning more to the bond market for large volumes of debt where the projects can achieve the necessary credit quality.”

Other nuclear projects that may follow include Hitachi Ltd.’s plan to build 5.4 gigawatts of plants at sites in Wales and south Gloucestershire, and a power station with as much as 3.4 gigawatts in west Cumbria being developed by a venture between Toshiba Corp. and GDF Suez SA, Magner said. The U.K. government announced a program in July 2012 to offer as much as 40 billion pounds in debt guarantees for infrastructure projects to lift the economy.

‘Big Market’

“There will be a big market for this debt since it’s guaranteed by the government,” Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear project is a really bad deal for the British consumer

nuclear-costs1flag-UKComment: Why is Hinkley a bad deal for the UK consumer? Energy desk 8 Oct 14 The world of energy is changing. The world’s largest private bank, UBS, has recently advised its clients that large centralised power stations (like Hinkley) are not the future – solar power, electric cars and cheaper storage batteries are. Meanwhile, tech leaders Google have invested $3.2bn in Nest, a smart home energy company.

Yet our energy policy in the UK seems stuck in the past, with government’s Electricity Market Reform seemed largely to be based on getting nuclear stations built – with a generous price for 35 years of supply for the proposed new 3.2GW EDF reactor at Hinkley which will  cost £24.5bn to build and open at the earliest in 2023.

Today the European Commission has decided to approve state aid subsidies for two reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset  – despite the Commission estimating the deal between UK government and NNBGeneco (a subsidiary of EDF) willcost up to £17.6bn in subsidies from the British energy billpayer.

However, according to my calculations the total (undiscounted) subsidy to Hinkley over its lifetime would be much higher at £37bn, with a £14 increase per household per year.

This is based a 35-year index-linked price  guarantee (‘strike price’) of £92.50 per MWh, which is is almost twice that of the UK wholesale electricity market price of around £50/MWh. This means that the British public funds the difference between the amount EDF will be paid and the market price – which at present seems unlikely to go up much.

Nuclear has been delivering power at the same real cost for over 50 years and it would require a huge level of optimism based on little evidence to suppose that historic flat-lining would be changed now.

Already, the cost benefits of learning from building a number of EPRs (the proposed reactor model for Hinkley) across Europe  seems to have disappearedbecause the price for Hinkley seems to be as big or bigger than the first plants in Finland and France.

In contrast renewable energy is on a downward price curve, in the case of solar very rapidly indeed, and subsidy may be justified in bringing a technology to its technological potential.

So, so many subsidies

Also part of the deal is a whole host of protections – implicit subsidies by any other name – that are specific to Hinkley, including:

  • Loan guarantees –  If costs overrun or the plant defaults the government (read billpayers) will cover the repayment of the first £10bn to investors.

  • There will be two re-negotiations of the strike price, 15 and 25 years after the plant starts to generate. At these two re-openers, the strike price might be increased following raises of operating costs, including increases in fuel costs and  maintenance.

  • And, another interesting detail is that the deal includes protection against curtailment (the plant stops running) in case of “the evolution of power systems”, according to the CEO of EDF. What this means is that if the energy mix changes to include more renewables, storage, and demand-side management, the plant will be given preferential grid access or payment for power (presumably at the strike price) that would otherwise have been produced. This curtailment risk cover is also understood to extend to changes in political decision making or changes in law based on environmental and safety reasons.

  • As a large generating unit, having 3.2GW on the Grid potentially going off at short notice requires the rest of the Grid to accommodate it andthese costs – £160m a year –  are being shared by everyone including renewable generators, not paid for by the Hinkley development.

In addition to all this – on top of of the Commission’s estimate and outside of state aid considerations – Hinkley will also receive other long-standing protections that are given to all nuclear plants. Firstly, limitations on liability in case of an accident up to £1.06bn – after which bill payers foot the bill (liability costs from Fukushima are around $100bn and rising). And secondly, planned subsidies of as much as £15.72bn for radioactive waste management from new reactors.

All of this adds up to the fact supporting Hinkley is not a cost-effective option for the UK power supply. As Professor Mitchell of Exeter University puts it in relation to the grid arrangements: “There is no justification for nuclear being exempted from paying the additional costs to the system other than to make nuclear look cheaper than it is relative to other sources of electricity.”

Renewables at a disadvantage

The Chief Technology Officer at Siemens has said that renewables developers would ‘give an arm and a leg, at least’ for the kind of terms being offered to nuclear in UK – yet even so, some renewables will be cheaper at a headline level than nuclear by the time Hinkley opens in 2023 at the earliest.

But most of the support for Hinkley is not available to low carbon generators like renewables, or not available at the same rate……….http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/analysis/comment-why-hinkley-bad-deal-uk-consumer

October 13, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Cut back nuclear power, champion renewable energy – France’s parliament votes

flag-franceFrench MPs back cut to nuclear energy reliance http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/10/us-france-energy-idUSKCN0HZ1LB20141010 (Reuters) - A law which fixes a target of reducing French nuclear power production from 75 percent of the country’s energy supplies to 50 percent by 2025 won approval from the lower house of parliament on Friday.

France, the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, has faced increasing costs because of the price of maintaining aging plants and tighter regulations after the Fukushima disaster inJapan.

It also wants to develop its own industrial champions in the renewable energy industry, which is still tiny compared to other European countries such as neighbors Germany or Spain.

Its much-delayed energy transition law, steered by energy minister Segolene Royal, is being reviewed by the national assembly under a fast-track procedure, to counter the thousands of amendments proposed by opposition MPs. Although the bill skirts the question of how the reduction in theshare of nuclear energy is supposed to happen — it does not single out any reactor for closure, for instance – it caps nuclear electricity capacity at the current 63.2 gigawatts.

That would force EDF, which operates all of France’s nuclear reactors, to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1.6 gigawatt next-generation Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

Royal said earlier this week the utility could choose to close another plant than Fessenheim, France’s oldest and the one Hollande had promised to shut down.

The whole bill is expected to be approved next Tuesday before being sent to the country’s upper house early next year, with the view to final adoption in the spring, in time for a high-profile climate conference hosted in Paris in 2015.

The bill also introduced a goal to halve the country’s energy consumption between 2012 and 2050, with a midway target of a 20 percent cut by 2030, thanks to tax rebates on insulation work and bonuses for electric car buyers.

France’s energy deficit — the difference between the money it spends on energy imports such as oil and gas and the money it earns on exports such as electricity — amounted to 66 billion euros ($83 billion) in 2013.

That compares with a wider trade deficit of 62.2 billion euros.

(Reporting by Emile Picy; Writing by Michel Rose; editing by Keith Weir)

October 13, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby strategy of sucking in buyers: Westinghouse financing new reactor sales

Buy-US-nukesWestinghouse offers to co-finance new nuclear reactors  12 October 2014  Czech News Agency

No decision on a new tender has been made but expansion remains possible Prague, Oct 12 (ČTK) — US-Japanese company Westinghouse Electric Company, which earlier took part in the tender to extend Czech nuclear power plant Temelin, has offered to co-finance the construction of new nuclear sources in the Czech Republic, Westinghouse CR head Pavel Janík has told the Czech News Agency.

Westinghouse’s offer has also been confirmed to ČTK by the ministries of finance and industry.

“I can confirm that the management of our company has sent such an offer. We are ready to hold talks with the Czech government about the models of nuclear plant construction financing which are used in the development of AP1000 plant projects in the USA and Bulgaria,” said Janík.

Westinghouse already uses similar models in Bulgaria and Britain.

Czech power utility ČEZ, the operator of Temelín, canceled the tender for the plant’s extension in April this year. The main reason was the government’s decision not to provide financial guarantees for purchasing prices of electricity from the extended plant.

The costs of Temelín’s completion were estimated at between 200 billion Kč and 300 billion Kč………

“The Industry and Trade Ministry welcomes this information (Westinghouse’s offer),” Miroslav Kyncl of the ministry’s press department said.

The other bidders in the canceled Temelín tender were Czech-Russian consortium MIR.1200 and France’s Areva. Areva was later excluded…….http://www.praguepost.com/technology/42037-westinghouse-offers-to-co-finance-new-nuclear-reactors

October 13, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

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