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UK government headed for huge costs, and a major row with China over Hinkley C nuclear power station.

The Government is likely to become responsible for a huge bill for building Hinkley C power station. This is despite an insistence by the UK Government since they signed a deal with EDF to build Hinkley C in 2012
that electricity consumers will not have to pay for cost overruns for the project.

Yet it is now looking increasingly likely that this will end up being the case. When the deal was signed in 2012 the Government agreed to pay a much higher than expected £92.50 per MWh (in 2012 prices), this
price to be paid by consumers in their electricity bills (over twice the price given to recent offshore wind projects).

The Government claimed that there would be no bail-out if the project experienced large cost overruns
since the risk was borne by the holders of the share capital, EDF and also the Chinese state nuclear company, CGN. CGN holds around one third of the equity in Hinkley C.

But now there are mounting pressures on the Government to ensure that, for political and security reasons, China (through CGN) is not allowed to build its own nuclear design at Bradwell in Essex. Yet CNG only agreed to finance Hinkley C (and also in a similar fashion the planned Sizewell C project in Sufflok) on the basis that it was going to get the chance to showcase its own ‘Hualong’ nuclear plant at Bradwell.

If China’s Bradwell ambitions are thwarted then they will certainly pull out of the Sizewell C project and also do as much as is legally possible to forshorten their risks and responsibilities at Hinkley C. The Government is likely to have to take on big liabilities in the case of Hinkley C – that is against a long succession of pronouncements by Government ministers over the past nine years. Some are even urging the Government to take over all of CGN’s shareholdings in Hinkley C.

But even if the Chinese company cannot reclaim the money it will have spent on the project so far, if CGN is denied the opportunity to build at Bradwell they are very likely to refuse to pay for any cost overruns at Hinkley C (as well as pull out of Sizewell C). This means that the UK Government will have to take on the liability of future cost overruns, and maybe end up in a major row with China about financial compensation.

 100% Renewables 28thy July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

French President acknowledges France’s debt to Polynesia, but no apology.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Paris owed “a debt” to
French Polynesia over nuclear tests conducted in the South Pacific
territory between 1966 and 1996, but stopped short of apologising.

 Daily Mail 28th July 2021

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-9833889/France-owes-French-Polynesia-debt-nuclear-tests-Macron.html

July 29, 2021 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Will British taxpayers end up bankrolling Sizewell C nuclear power project ?

 

The flagship of Britain’s new nuclear power fleet is under threat as the
Government prepares curbs on Chinese involvement in critical national
infrastructure. Whitehall sources admitted last night that the £23bn
Hinkley Point C project underway in Somerset could be jeopardised by plans
to block China General Nuclear (CGN) from future UK projects.

The Hinkley reactor, Britain’s first in a generation, is being partially bankrolled by
CGN as part of a wider deal with French company EDF to replace the UK’s
aging nuclear plants. Under Government proposals which have not been
officially confirmed, CGN’s involvement in subsequent planned projects, in
Suffolk and Essex, would end. Government insiders said that there are
concerns this could disrupt the linked deal under which CGN is developing
Hinkley, where work is already significantly advanced.

Ministers are preparing to introduce legislation to Parliament that would allow nuclear
power developers to recoup costs from household bills. This could spark a
significant backbench rebellion from MPs concerned about China if CGN is
involved. Industry sources also suggested that EDF would find it easier to
court pension funds and other institutional investors without the political
risk of a major Chinese state partner.

CGN owns about a third of Hinkley Point C and has a 20pc development phase stake in Sizewell C, with an
option to participate in the construction phase. Its own reactor design for
Bradwell is going through UK regulatory approval, with CGN hoping it can
then export this technology more widely. The Times reported last night that
the Government is considering buying an equity stake in Sizewell C as part
of its moves to replace CGN, reversing a long-standing wish to keep nuclear
build off the Government balance sheet.

 Telegraph 26th July 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/07/26/hinkley-nuclear-plant-risk-china-crackdown/

July 29, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) welcomes news that Chinese company may pull out of Bradwell project

The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has welcomed the news of the possible withdrawal of the Chinese project to build a gigantic nuclear power station at Bradwell but has struck a note of caution. ‘BANNG has campaigned against a new nuclear power station at Bradwell for the past 13 years’, said Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG.

The news that the Chinese company developing the site may be under pressure to withdraw comes as
little surprise and has looked on the cards for some while especially since CGN, the majority shareholder, announced a pause in the development in February.

We believe the Bradwell site is unsuitable, unsustainable and unacceptable – whoever proposes to develop it. We must remain vigilant and continue to oppose any further nuclear development at this site’. Quite aside from the Government’s concerns, BANNG has long argued that the project is doomed for other reasons, not the least of which has been the overwhelmingly hostile reaction of the communities led by BANNG around
the Blackwater.

Plans for Bradwell B were launched just as the Covid-19 pandemic broke and shocked the public by the sheer scale of the project and its devastating impact on environment, communities and wellbeing. The
development encountered strong local political opposition with Maldon District Council, which had for many years supported it, declaring its opposition and Colchester Borough Council Councillors unanimously declaring theirs. West Mersea Town Council is also opposed and others have consistently voiced concerns.

 BANNG 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C and Sizewell nuclear power projects could unravel, leaving France’s nuclear company EDF with huge debt.

It was never very likely that the government would allow a Chinese
state-owned company to build a nuclear power station in Britain. So news
that it is now looking for ways to remove China General Nuclear Power Group
(CGN) from future nuclear projects hardly comes as a surprise.

Under the terms of a deal struck in 2015 CGN was to take minority stakes in two
French-led new nuclear power stations, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C,
while taking a majority stake in a third, Bradwell in Essex, which would
use CGN’s own technology.

This deal, first agreed by the coalition government, was approved with only minor alterations by Theresa May after a review concluded that Britain’s robust regulatory and technological
safeguards were sufficient to protect against any threats to national
security. Whether or not that assessment was right, the political context
has since changed. The mood in parliament, particularly among Conservative
MPs, has turned decisively against China, making it inconceivable that any
government could allow China to build such sensitive national
infrastructure.

CGN was blacklisted from US government contracts in 2019
after being accused by the Trump administration of technology theft. That
has made it harder for France’s EDF to attract the infrastructure
investors that it needs to make Sizewell C financially viable. The risk is
that China does not take its rejection well and the entire three-part deal
unravels, with CGN withdrawing from Hinkley Point C in protest. That could
leave EDF with a further shortfall of up to £4 billion.

 Times 26th July 2021

 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-times-view-on-chinas-role-in-nuclear-plants-power-play-v70d2r76k

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Chinese company likely to be glad to abandon UK’s Hinkley and Bradwell nuclear power projects, as costs jump.

 China could quit UK nuclear projects if role threatened, experts warn.
Effort to remove state-owned CGN from Sizewell C said to leave Hinkley
Point and Bradwell developments exposed. China General Nuclear is likely to
walk away from the Hinkley Point C power station being built in Somerset if
the Chinese state-owned nuclear company is forced out of other future
projects in the UK, industry experts warned on Monday.

The company is already a minority investor in the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point nuclear power
station, which France’s EDF is building. One nuclear industry executive
warned that CGN could now reassess its involvement with Hinkley Point.

They pointed out there were four interlinked agreements between CGN, EDF and the
government dating to 2015: Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell and the
pursuit of regulatory approval for China’s reactor design.

Steve Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at University of Greenwich, said
CGN’s investment in Hinkley was designed to make a profit and also help
secure its plant at Bradwell. With both of those now in jeopardy, the
company could quit the UK, he warned.

The Chinese company is eager to getUK regulatory approval at Bradwell for its own Hualong One HPR1000 reactor in order to help market it in other countries. The reactor design is
currently going through the UK’s rigorous approval process with a
decision expected in the second quarter of next year.

 But Thomas pointed out that with Hinkley’s budget having jumped from
£14bn to as much as £22.5bn it was no longer clear whether the consortium
would make a profit. “I would have thought that would put it into
lossmaking territory,” he said.

“They may well be very happy for an
excuse to get out of it,” Thomas said. “If Bradwell is off the agenda
and Hinkley Point won’t make money, why stick around?” Alison Downes of
Stop Sizewell C, a pressure group, said the government’s position threw
EDF’s funding problems for the new plant into sharper relief: “The
simple fact is that Sizewell C won’t go ahead without new investors,”
she said.

 FT 27th July 2021

 https://www.ft.com/content/ada78301-0b2c-4bf5-bcd4-ea0cd55312ae

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, China, UK | Leave a comment

Floods threaten nuclear power stations: call for endangered reactors to be shut down.

Nuclear power plants threatened by floods, final shutdown required. In the wake of the devastating floods of recent days, the Munich Environmental Institute has called for endangered nuclear reactors in Europe to be shut down.

Due to the advancing climate crisis, the risk of operating nuclear power plants continues to increase. The flood situation in western Germany and the neighboring countries as a result of heavy rainfall is devastating.
The water levels in the rivers had risen quickly. People lost their livelihoods or their lives, their belongings have been destroyed.

 Sonnenseite 23rd July 2021

July 27, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear power firm could be blocked from UK projects

China’s nuclear power firm could be blocked from UK projects

Ministers looking at ways to exclude state-owned China General Nuclear from future UK involvement Guardian, 
Jillian Ambrose Energy correspondent 26 July 21 China’s state-owned nuclear energy company could be blocked from building a nuclear reactor due to rising security concerns over Chinese involvement in critical national infrastructure.

Ministers are reportedly looking for ways to move ahead with plans for EDF Energy to build the £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast without China General Nuclear (CGN), which owns a one-fifth stake in the project.

Whitehall sources have confirmed the report, first published in the Financial Times, which has emerged amid deepening concerns over China’s security risk after the Huawei scandal last year.

CGN holds a minority stake in EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, as well as the Sizewell C project, but it hopes to use the pair as a springboard to building a Chinese-designed reactor at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.

It has submitted its reactor design for scrutiny by the UK’s nuclear authorities, but industry sources have warned that even if CGN wins approval for its reactor, a Chinese nuclear plant within 30 miles of London would be “politically unpalatable”……… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/26/chinas-nuclear-power-firm-could-be-blocked-from-uk-projects

July 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Villagers in England very apprehensive about government plans for a nuclear waste dump.

Theddlethorpe nuclear waste proposal worries villagersm People living in a Lincolnshire village will be “shell-shocked” at proposals to dispose of nuclear waste at a nearby site, a resident has said. BBCRadioactive Waste Management (RWM), a government agency, confirmed last week it was in “early discussions” with the county council about the move

One of the potential UK sites for the waste is at a former gas terminal in Theddlethorpe, near Mablethorpe.

Villager Brian Swift said news of the proposal had emerged “out of nowhere”.

RWM’s proposal for a Geological Disposal Facility could mean nuclear waste from the UK being stored underneath up to 1,000m of solid rock at Theddlethorpe until its radioactivity has naturally decayed.

Steve Reece, head of siting at RWM, said while the firm was talking to the county council to see if it was interested in joining a local working group, “absolutely no decisions have been taken at this stage”……….  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-57973015

July 27, 2021 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Facebook blocks users from Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)’s website

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Facebook blocks users from Scottish CND’s website

Billy Briggs, 25 July 21

 The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is considering an official complaint to Ofcom after Facebook blocked users from accessing the peace organisation’s website. Anyone trying to access the official
Scottish CND site from its Facebook page in recent weeks has been advised the URL breaches “community standards”.

Scottish CND told The Ferret that many people have complained about not being able to access its website
via Facebook. The peace group thinks it may have been a “malicious complaint” or the perhaps the word “bomb” in the URL which is proving problematic.

 Ferret 24th July 2021

July 26, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Despite the rain, France’s nuclear reactors are still threatened by global heating.

Rhône production still threatened despite the rains. A heatwave and drought could still cause shutdowns of nuclear reactors along the Rhone by the fall, despite unprecedented rainfall in Western Europe in recent weeks which has replenished the flow of the river, said analysts Wednesday.

 Montel 21st July 2021

https://www.montelnews.com/fr/news/1240314/-la-production-du-rhne-toujours-menace-malgr-les-pluies



July 24, 2021 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons? 


Do Germany and the Netherlands want to say goodbye to US nuclear weapons?  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists By Michal SmetanaMichal OndercoTom Etienne, July 21, 2021
 Does stationing US nuclear weapons in Europe still make sense? As of 2021, there remain about 100 B61 nuclear bombs stored at military bases in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Turkey (Kristensen and Korda 2021). Deployed under NATO’s nuclear sharing policy, these air-deliverable weapons are supposed to serve as a tool of extended deterrence against Russia and assurance of European allies about the willingness of Washington to defend them with all means available.

Yet, there are new—and loud—voices on both sides of the Atlantic that question the need to continue this Cold War-era practice in the 21st century. While certainly not everyone agrees with the recent proposal by Harvard University’s Stephen Walt to “fold America’s nuclear umbrella” altogether (Walt 2021), many politicians in European hosting states advocate for at least an early removal of the remaining US bombs from their soil. Arguably, the debates over the future of US nuclear weapons in Europe are now of paramount importance given the attempts of the new US administration to balance its approach vis-à-vis Moscow (Squassoni 2021) and Europe’s ambition to seek strategic autonomy (Meijer and Brooks 2021)……… (subscribers only)  https://thebulletin.org/premium/2021-07/do-germany-and-the-netherlands-want-to-say-goodbye-to-us-nuclear-weapons/

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Progressive lawmakers join across the world in a Global Alliance For A Green New Deal.

 Labour MP Clive Lewis and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party join lawmakers from US, Brazil, EU and Costa Rica in new global climate justice campaign. Leading progressive lawmakers from the UK, USA, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the European Parliament are among those joining forces in a new Global Alliance for a Green New Deal today, in a bid to promote the case for “a rapid and just transition in response to Covid-19 and the climate and nature crises”.


The Alliance calls for the creation of “a new internationalism based on cooperation, collaboration and global justice” in order to address the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and coronavirus crises. It adds that a ‘Green New Deal’ should be placed at the heart of national and global Covid economic recovery efforts. Among the 21 founding politicians in the Alliance are British MPs Clive Lewis from the Labour Party and the Green
Party’s Caroline Lucas, who both co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal in the UK.

 Business Green 19th July 2021

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4034612/moonshot-moment-uk-mps-join-global-alliance-green-deal

July 20, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | 1 Comment

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrier aims to help workers to transition to renewable energy work

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior III ship is in Aberdeen Harbour as part of its Just Transition Tour. The campaign calls on government to train oil and gas workers for a smooth transition to renewable energy schemes. The 190-ft vessel will moor overnight in Aberdeen before heading for Wick with sights set on the 84-turbine Beatrice offshore windfarm sitting lying nine miles off the Caithness coast. The intrepid crew are keen to assess “the challenges and opportunities” facing the platforms’ workers.

Greenpeace UK’s oil campaign leader Mel Evans, head said offshore workers had their full support. He added: They have powered our economy through difficult times and they have plenty of transferable skills which will be vital to our transition to renewable energy. “Politicians must sit down with offshore workers and take urgent action to make the funds, retraining opportunities and jobs available to make Scotland’s clean energy transition a success.”

 Evening Express 18th July 2021

July 20, 2021 Posted by | employment, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Macron dithers on nuclear power investment as issue divides France.

 Macron dithers on nuclear power investment as issue divides France.
Emmanuel Macron has been a vocal supporter of nuclear power, insisting in December that the carbon emission-free energy was key to France’s green transition. But less than a year before presidential elections, the French leader is leaving the multibillion question of adding new reactors undecided as the issue becomes increasingly divisive.

An estimated €49bn by 2025 has been earmarked to extend the working lives of France’s 56 nuclear reactors, and Macron has yet to commit to any new reactor, beside the one that
state-owned company EDF is building in Flamanville, in the north-west.

 FT 19th July 2021

https://www.ft.com/content/137841f9-1c34-4b43-bcad-5923e27c1515

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Greece, politics | Leave a comment