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French court orders EDF to release risk analysis about Hinkley nuclear project. It’s not too late to stop it.

N2NP 19th Sept 2018 A court in Paris has ordered French utility EDF to release a risk analysis
report to the group’s works council (CEE) concerning its Hinkley Point C
nuclear project. The appeals court in Paris said the firm must communicate
the report within a month and must consult the CEE regarding the project
within two months.

In 2016, EDF refused to release all documents required
by the council for it to be able to issue its advice on the project,
triggering CEE’s legal action. The CEE say EDF failure to give elected
representatives of the staff objective, precise and complete information on
the technical and financial issues raised by the Hinkley project meant they
had not been able “to give a reasoned opinion on this project“.

Commenting on the news, Steve Thomas Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy at
Greenwich University and author of ‘Time to Cancel Hinkley?’ said:
“Some senior EDF management and some EDF trade unions have long been
concerned about EDF’s participation in the Hinkley Point C project.

The 3-year old report the EDF Central Works Council (CCE) has won access to
will show that EDF is well aware of these risks. The continuing delays and
cost overruns (more than 3 times over budget and 8 years late) at
Hinkley’s reference plant, Flamanville, significantly worse than when the
report was written, illustrate graphically the scale of the risk.

The Works Council see Hinkley as a financially risky project that will divert EDF’s
scarce finances away from the strategically more important task of
upgrading and life-extending EDF’s fleet of 58 reactors, many of which
are at or near the end of the 40-year design life.”

Stop Hinkley spokesperson, Roy Pumfrey says: “Even the long standing nuclear advocate,
former International Energy Agency boss, Nobuaki Tanaka, says nuclear power
can’t compete with renewables. He says it’s ‘ridiculously
expensive’ and ‘utterly uncompetitive’ Electricity consumers would
almost certainly still be able to make savings if the project were halted
now and the south-west were given the chance to develop sustainable energy
industries. Full construction start is still a year or more away so not too
late to stop it.”


September 21, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s fleet of nuclear submarines: infrastructure supporting it is no longer “fit for purpose”

‘Ticking time bomb!’ UK warning as nuclear bases ‘NOT FIT for purpose’

THE INFRASTRUCTURE for supporting the Royal Navy’s fleet of nuclear submarines is no longer “fit for purpose”, MPs have warned.  Sep 21, 2018 The Commons Public Accounts Committee said past decisions to delay maintenance at the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) 13 nuclear sites around the UK had created a “ticking time bomb”.

The warning came after the National Audit Office disclosed earlier this year that the MoD’s “Nuclear Enterprise” programme was facing a £2.9 billion “affordability gap”.

The committee chair Meg Hillier said that with the MoD already facing “challenges” over the delivery of its new aircraft carriers and a potential £20 billion shortfall in its equipment programme, there were “serious questions” over its ability to meet its national security commitments.

Over the next 10 years, the MoD is expected to spend £51 billion on the Nuclear Enterprise – maintaining and replacing the submarine fleet, including the Vanguard submarines which carry the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent…..

he MoD had deferred work on dismantling old submarines which had been taken out of service on “affordability grounds” and there was now a backlog of 20 vessels waiting to be disposed of, including nine which still contained nuclear fuel.

To date, the UK has never completely disposed of an old nuclear submarine and while work has begun on the first, it is not due to be finished until the mid-2020s.

The committee said work on de-fuelling the next submarine was due to begin around the same time, and that the disposals programme was expected to last “at least a couple of decades”.

Ms Hillier said: “I am particularly concerned that the infrastructure available to support the Nuclear Enterprise is not fit for purpose.

“The MoD admits that while it has previously put off dismantling submarines on grounds of cost, this is no longer acceptable on grounds of safety and reputation. The MoD needs to get on top of this quickly.”

September 21, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“I’ll fight tooth and nail” to salvage Moorside nuclear power project – says NuGen chief

NuGen chief vows to “fight tooth and nail” to salvage Moorside nuclear power project, News and Star , 21 Sept 18,  Tom Samson makes impassioned pledge at the second Cumbria Nuclear Conference  The boss of NuGen has vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to salvage the £15 billion Moorside nuclear power station in an impassioned speech to industry leaders gathered in Cumbria.

Tom Samson, chief executive of the company set to develop the plant in West Cumbria, also told around 150 delegates at the second Cumbria Nuclear Conference at Carlisle Racecourse on Friday, that he was fully behind using the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model to fund the “transformational” project.

In his first public address since NuGen made more than 70 staff redundant because of delays to a deal between current owners Toshiba and prospective buyers Kepco, he warned that the threat of winding up the company was “very real”.

With Toshiba’s exit from NuGen definite, Mr Samson stressed it was crunch time for a project that has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Cumbria and generate around seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs.

“My commitment to Cumbria is that I will fight tooth and nail to find a solution, and indeed a sustainable solution, we can depend upon with real determination to avoid a wind up of NuGen,” he said at the conference, hosted by Carlisle MP John Stevenson. “The deal with Kepco may still come to fruition, but we cannot just wait for them to make a decision. It is essential that this project (Moorside) goes ahead and we therefore have to consider alternative ways forward.”

Kepco is understood to have a deal for NuGen on the table but will not sign on the dotted line until it has undertaken a study in to the risks and profitability of applying RAB model to finance Moorside, which allows government regulators to ensure stable returns and finance through government support.

Delays to the deal led Toshiba to strip Kepco of “preferred bidder” status in August. Toshiba is now understood to be in talks with a number of other investors including Brookfield Asset Management, which bought Westinghouse from Toshiba at the beginning of the year for $4.6 billion.

But Mr Samson expressed his support for deploying the RAB model to finance NuGen, although he was keen to stress no firm decisions had been made on whether it would be used.

“I am convinced that the model which is now being proposed by the Government could provide NuGen with a viable path forward which puts NuGen in control of its own future,” he said……….

A recent report from the NIC recommended delivering just one more nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C – namely the Horizon Nuclear Power project at Wylfa Newydd – before pausing for around 10 years to gather evidence on how competitive renewable energy and battery storage projects are in comparison.

Mr Samson said NuGen was “deeply shocked” at the suggestion, which could further damage efforts to progress Moorside, and accused the NIC of failing to recognise the complexity of new nuclear projects and their vital contribution to providing a stable source of energy……….

The event – organised by John Stevenson MP to encourage greater collaboration in the nuclear sector – was sponsored by WYG, UCLan, NuGen and the Centre of Nuclear Excellence.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Engie warns on profit following Belgian nuclear outages

Engie warns on profit following Belgian nuclear outages, Bate Felix

  • Engie recurring net seen at low end of forecast
  • * Belgian reactor outages extended over concrete problems
  • * Shares recover following the profit warning (Adds Engie statement on earnings)
  • By Bate Felix PARIS, Sept 21 (Reuters) – French gas and power group Engie warned on Friday that the extended outages at its Belgian nuclear plants would push its 2018 net recurring income to the low end of its 2.45 billion-2.65 billion euros ($2.9 billion-$3.1 billion) forecast range.

It said the longer outages would result in a shortfall of around 250 million euros in core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and net recurring income……….

It said the longer outages would result in a shortfall of around 250 million euros in core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and net recurring income.

……..Engie said earlier that following the discovery of problems with the concrete in some of the nuclear plants operated by its Belgian unit Electrabel, it had decided to prolong the outages at its Tihange 2 and 3 reactors.

 Tihange 2 will now restart on June 1, 2019 instead of Oct. 31, 2018 while Tihange 3 will restart on March 2, 2019 instead of on Sept. 30, 2018.

Belgium’s nuclear power regulator said this week it had detected concrete degradation in two bunkers adjoining Electrabel reactor buildings……..

September 21, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority partnering with Japan Atomic Energy Agency

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2018 , The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has joined forces with the Japan
Atomic Energy Agency to share expertise in nuclear decommissioning and
radioactive waste management. The NDA – which is responsible for cleaning
up and decommissioning 17 sites in the UK including Sellafield in Cumbria
– has signed an agreement that will see skills, knowledge, research,
information and technology exchanged with the JAEA, Japan’s research and
development institute for nuclear energy.

JAEA’s work includes undertaking research and development work to support the decommissioning
and environmental restoration of TEPCO’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear Power station. It is also aiding the decommissioning of the Monju
fast breeder reactor and the Tokai Reprocessing Plant.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Japan, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Scottish peace campaigners pressing big financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapons

The National 20th Sept 2018 ,PEACE campaigners are urging Scots to force the hand of the country’s biggest institutions in a war against nuclear weapons as a bombshell report
is launched. With data drawn from annual results, official statements and
freedom of information reports, the paper reveals the extent to which major
Scottish bodies help fund the making of nuclear weapons.

Billed as a way to help “eliminate” the big-money devices, the document has been produced by
the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in conjunction with
similar organisations. It calls on bank customers, students and pension
holders to press major institutions into divesting their funds from
companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

These include Royal Bank of Scotland and the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme
(SLGPS), the largest fund of its kind in the country. It also claims that
success could help sink Trident, arguing: “If we can persuade Scottish
financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapons producers, this will
incentivise those companies to end their involvement with Trident and other
nuclear weapons programmes.”

September 21, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Government delayed scrapping potentially unsafe nuclear submarines in bid to cut costs

Independent 21st Sept 2018 Government delayed scrapping potentially unsafe nuclear submarines in bid
to cut costs, MPs told. Influential Commons committee tells Ministry of
Defence to put a stop to postponements after expert admits possible ‘safety
issue’. The government has delayed scrapping potentially unsafe nuclear
submarines because of concerns over costs, a new report from an influential
committee of MPs has revealed. 20 disused submarines are currently awaiting
disposal, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), including nine that
still contain nuclear fuel. But despite admitting to potential safety
risks, the government will only begin dismantling the next vessel in the
mid-2020s, while the total work needed to scrap the entire 20 submarines
will not be completed until at least 2045.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Five Out of 7 Nuclear Reactors in Belgium Halted – National Regulator (Sputnik) – Five out of seven reactors of the two Belgian nuclear power stations have been stopped, the press service of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN) confirmed to Sputnik Thursday.

“Five out of seven reactors have been stopped, the necessary technical work is being carried out,” the press service said.

Rectors 1 and 2 at Doel have been stopped over cooling system  leak.

READ MORE: Belgian Nuclear Plant Test Reveals ‘Abnormal’ Findings, Raises Safety Concerns

The AFCN said on Wednesday that the analysis of the concrete was being carried out at Doel 4 and Tihange 2, after the initial checks found that it was getting old.In July, specialists discovered the degradation of the concrete quality at Tihange 3, while previously similar problems were found at Doel 3. The latter has since been repaired and restarted.

The AFCN specialist declined to comment on the potential rise of electricity prices in the upcoming winter due to power deficit. The AFCN representative stressed that the regulator’s specialization was the security. Belgian Minister of Energy Marie-Christine Marghem said earlier in September that there would be no strategic reserve of electricity for the upcoming winter as the interior production and import possibilities would be enough.

The two nuclear power stations have a total capacity close to 6,000 megawatts and cover about 50 percent of the electricity used in Belgium, according to the plants’ operator Engie Electrabel.

The Belgian government is planning to shut down all of the reactors by 2025.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

UK: Labour parliamentarians raise concerns about Nuclear plant mud dumping

Nuclear plant mud dumping worries raised by Labour AMs , BBC News, 19 September 2018 

Two senior Labour AMs have raised concerns in the Senedd about the dumping of mud from a nuclear plant site into the sea near Cardiff.

Julie Morgan and Jane Hutt – both close to leadership frontrunner Mark Drakeford – said constituents had safety worries about dredging 300,000 tonnes of mud from Hinkley Point.

Dumping began last week. AMs were told the mud poses no risk to human health.

Campaigners have called for more tests, and are seeking an injunction.

Ms Morgan and Ms Hutt quizzed Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths following a topical question raised by independent AM Neil McEvoy.

The project to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset includes dredging mud and sediment from Bristol Channel near the sites of the decommissioned Hinkley Point A and B nuclear plants, and disposing of it just over a mile out to sea from Cardiff Bay.

Protestors want the licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) which permitted the dredging to be scrapped, amid worries the mud could be contaminated from discharges from Hinkley.  In the assembly on Wednesday, Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan asked why the dumping site was chosen “when it’s only two kilometres from the shore”, and what the benefits to south Wales were. ……..

September 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

EDF subsidiary NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd argued that mud dumping near Cardiff did not need an environmental impact assessment

Wales Online 17th Sept 2018 , Protesters seeking an injunction to stop the dumping of mud from Hinkley
Point nuclear power station off the coast of Cardiff have had their
application adjourned after the energy company behind the dumping admitted
it had given inaccurate information to the High Court.
In documents submitted to the court in Cardiff by NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd – a
wholly owned subsidiary of the French energy giant EDF – it was argued
that the dumping did not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA)
under European regulations.
However, the company’s barrister James
McClelland told the court that an environmental statement was made by the
company at the time it sought approval for the whole Hinkley Point C power
station in Somerset, the successor to two previous nuclear power stations
on the same site.
Dozens of peaceful protesters assembled outside Cardiff
Civil Justice Centre before the hearing, not all of whom were able to get
seats in the court room. Opponents of the dumping say they fear radioactive
particles present in the mud could pose a health threat. More than 100,000
people have signed petitions against the dumping.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Big companies including Facebook, Google and Microsoft not supporting EU’s plan for more ambitious climate change goals

Guardian 19th Sept 2018 Companies including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have failed to distance
themselves from a lobby group’s proposal to fight any effort by the EU to
set more ambitious climate change goals. A leaked document shows that
BusinessEurope, Europe’s biggest business lobbying group, will urge members
to oppose any moves by the European Commission to ratchet up the bloc’s
2030 targets for clean energy, carbon cuts and energy efficiency.

The commission is considering whether to set more ambitious goals in November
after a key international science panel report on meeting tougher global
warming targets is published in October, and before a UN climate summit in

But, at meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, BusinessEurope will ask
big companies to agree a “line to take” on the prospect of steeper carbon
cuts. If the commission’s measures have teeth, the group’s “advocacy and
communication strategy” recommends companies agree to fight them. “To
oppose the new increase of ambition, using the usual arguments of global
playing field, we cannot compensate for others, etc,” the document said. If
the commission opts for warm words and a political statement rather than a
material ratcheting up of the targets, the group suggests it should react
by being “rather positive”.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy of UK government on nuclear disarmament

David Lowry’s Blog 18th Sept 2018 , All this week the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog body, the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has held its annual (62nd)
General Conference in Vienna. On 17 September, the junior Foreign Office
minister Sir Alan Duncan, told the conference “We live in an increasingly
uncertain and dangerous world. We have seen the destabilising consequences
when States pursue nuclear weapons. And we have worked together to prevent
terrorists acquiring nuclear material”.
This statement makes a lot of sense, until it is put in the context of what his own British Government is
doing in wasting £205,000 m (£205 billion) of tax payers’ money of
replacing the Trident nuclear WMD system, which makes the faux concern over
nuclear weapons pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.
To put the scale of this gross hypocrisy in context, Duncan asserted in Vienna that he UK had
“already contributed £4.1 million this year to the Nuclear Security
Fund,” and urged all to “support the Agency’s work to help Member
States implement robust nuclear security regimes.”
This ‘do as we say, not as we do’ policy cuts zero ice with the vast majority of sensible
Governments, who want genuine global nuclear disarmament, not shameful
finger-wagging from countries bristling with deadly nuclear weapons like
the UK.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brexit has brought Britain to a standstill

Bloomberg 19th Sept 2018 , . “The country—as an
administrative entity—has virtually stopped working.” The energy issue
has been particularly badly hit. “There are the micro-processes of
government that are in turmoil because of the revolving doors of ministers,
and then there’s been the internal party fighting and squabbling, which
is then consuming all of the political oxygen,” says Mary Creagh, a
lawmaker for the opposition Labour Party and chair of Parliament’s
Environment Committee. “It means the normal decision-making of government
is not happening and has not happened for two years.”

September 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a ‘tool for control’

MEPs defy warnings from internet pioneers, civil liberties groups and commercial interests, Guardian,   Rankinin Brussels, Wed 20 Jun 2018 A European parliament committee has voted for legislation that internet pioneers fear will turn the web into “a tool for surveillance and control”.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, EUROPE | Leave a comment

French nuclear industry in turmoil, – inadequate welds at Flamanville nuclear reactor

Le Monde 16th Sept 2018 [Machine Translation] Nuclear: In Flamanville, the welds of the discord.
The manufacturing difficulties of the French EPR have cruelly recalled the pitfalls that threaten the tricolor nuclear industry: an extremely ambitious initial vision and implementation difficulties with heavy consequences.
At the beginning of the year, problems with essential welds at the Flamanville reactor will lead EDF to re-evaluate the costs and delays of the project. While the group’s management hoped to start in early 2019, it will be necessary to wait until 2020 to see the EPR be connected to the network.
The welding business illustrates bitterly the difficulties of the French nuclear industry, faced with its loss of skills and know-how. EDF has defined this new quality standard for the construction of the EPR and has not been able to enforce it to its own subcontractors In February, EDF discovered problems on thirty-eight welds, on sixty-six of the secondary circuit. This water circuit is the one used to evacuate steam to the turbine. It consists of four loops, associated with four steam
As a first step, the group explains that these pipes comply with the regulations but that they should have corresponded to the “high quality” standard, which is more demanding than the regulations in force. Specifically, EDF had defined this new quality standard for the construction of the EPR and was unable to enforce it to its own subcontractors. “Why did we need to create this new standard?”
But things got complicated a few weeks later. The extensive examination of the welds reveals that a large part of them do not comply with the standard required by EDF, or even the regulations required for pressurized nuclear equipment.
As a result, the group has to take back fifty-eight welds, knowing that a single weld represents eight weeks of extra work.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment