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28 May – deadline day for Hitachi over whether or not to proceed with UK Horizon nuclear power plant

Deadline day for Japan’s Hitachi over Wales £15bn Horizon nuclear plant  Sunday Times, 27 May 18   The fate of a £15bn-plus nuclear power station is set to be decided this week — and with it the future of Britain’s atomic renaissance.

The Japanese industrial giant Hitachi is due to decide tomorrow whether to proceed with Horizon, a twin-reactor plant on Anglesey, north Wales.

Hitachi’s decision has huge implications for industrial collaboration between Britain and Japan and the country’s nuclear power industry. The project hinges on winning financial support from Westminster.

This weekend, ministers are expected to set out their offer to Hitachi in a letter ahead of the crucial meeting. The proposal is expected to include UK taxpayers taking a direct stake in the plant, alongside Hitachi and the Japanese state, as well as guaranteeing loans.

In return, Westminster wants Hitachi…(subscribers only)


May 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar – huge solar-powered ship

Business Insider 26th May 2018, This huge seacraft is developed by Swiss company PlanetSolar, who wanted to
create a vessel which was environmentally friendly and produced
zero-emissions. Developed in 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the
largest solar-powered boat ever built. Its 500 solar panels can provide 120
kilowatts of energy, allowing the ship to travel around 5 knots.

May 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Britains big future nuclear power plans hang on government subsidising Hitachi

UK nuclear plans ‘risk collapse if Hitachi talks fail’–    Adam Vaughan 

Japanese group believed to be demanding direct financial support with consumers making up the difference. 

Britain’s hopes for a number of new nuclear power stations could collapse if the government and the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi fail to make a breakthrough on talks for a plant in Wales, a top nuclear lobbyist has warned.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, the firm’s chairman, met Theresa May earlier this month, to press the prime minister for financial support for two reactors at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey.

The company’s board is understood be meeting on Monday to decide whether it can proceed with the UK’s subsequent offer, believed to include a multibillion-pound loan.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the industry-backed group New Nuclear Watch Europe, said the outcome of the negotiations had huge consequences for other international firms hoping to build reactors in Britain.

“If Hitachi walk away from Wylfa that probably spells the end of new nuclear in the UK,” he said.

The 3GW plant at Wylfa by the Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power would be the UK’s second new nuclear power station after EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C, under construction in Somerset.

More are planned: EDF wants to build at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast, South Korea’s Kepco at Moorside in Cumbria and China’s CGN at Bradwell in Essex, with EDF’s help.

Hitachi wants to build abroad because of a moribund home market,

while the UK government sees nuclear as an important source of low-carbon power.

Despite the protracted discussions between the two parties, London appears to still be committed to making the economics of nuclear work.

“I sense there’s still a lot of political will to make new nuclear happen from government, and backbenchers seem to want it in their areas,” a Whitehall source said.

An industry source said the deal would work if the government offered some form of financial support directly, while energy bill payers footed the rest through a subsidy known as a contract for difference.

That would mean Hitachi receiving a guaranteed price of power, likely to be around £80 a megawatt hour, lower than Hinkley’s £92.50 but still nearly twice the wholesale cost of electricity.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is understood to be enthusiastically backing the project, while the Treasury, which would have to see an equity contribution or loan for the construction period on government books, is more sceptical.

Paul Dorfman at the Energy Institute at University College London said: “This would mean the hardworking UK taxpayer and energy consumer, who are labouring under ramping austerity, are being asked to stump up for an extraordinarily expensive nuclear plant just at the time that renewable costs are plummeting.”

Japanese media have reported the UK government’s loan for the project could be as much as £13bn, and put the total cost of the plant at more than £20bn, even more than Hinkley Point C. The details are understood to have been leaked by the Japanese government, not Hitachi, and the UK government has said it “does not recognise” the reports.

Greenpeace said the UK was wrongly pursuing a “dinosaur” technology and should focus on renewables, batteries and interconnectors to other countries.

Kate Blagojevic, the group’s head of energy, said: “It’s unacceptable the Japanese public are hearing about this before the British public, if what we’re hearing is true that over £13bn of British taxpayer money is going to a Japanese company to build a plant in Wales.

“It’s pretty outrageous the government hasn’t been upfront about what they’re proposing and why.”

A spokesperson for BEIS said: “These discussions are commercially sensitive and we have no further details at this time.”

A Horizon spokesperson said: “It’s no secret we’re in discussions with the UK and Japanese governments, and have been for some time, over support for our project. With these discussions still ongoing it is too early to comment on the specifics of what a future deal may look like.

“We’re confident, given the strategic importance of our project to both nations, we’ll reach a successful conclusion to these discussions in the near future.”


May 26, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Iran negotiating with Europe to stay in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Iran asks Europe what it can offer to keep it in the nuclear deal after U.S. pullout, WP, By Michael BirnbaumMay 25  Email the author

VIENNA — Iran will decide within weeks whether to stay in a faltering deal to restrain its nuclear program and is pressing Europe to compensate for President Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions, a senior Iranian official said Friday.

The official warned that Tehran could also pull out from a separate treaty that limits the spread of nuclear weapons.

The caution came ahead of the first talks involving all the remaining parties to the landmark 2015 deal since the United States pulled out this month.

An official report Thursday declared that Iran is still in compliance with the stringent controls on its nuclear program.

Iran has long declared that its program is limited to the peaceful generation of nuclear energy and production of medical isotopes. If it were to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the 1970 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and seek nuclear weapons, it could spark an arms race in the already volatile Middle East.

The United States and Israel have also warned that an Iranian nuclear weapons program would be countered with force……….

May 26, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

German government to compensate utilities over the phaseout of nuclear power

Germany To Compensate RWE & Vattenfall Over Nuclear Phase-Out, Clean Technica, 25 May 18      The German Government has passed a bill that gives the country the legal right to proceed with its phase-out of nuclear power but will open the door to companies like Vattenfall and RWE to receive compensation for their investment into nuclear power plants.

Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany made the unprecedented decision to close down all its nuclear power plants — the oldest eight power plants were closed immediately, while the remaining nine are scheduled to be turned off by 2022.

“A decision has been taken to shut down eight plants before the end of this year and they definitely won’t be reactivated. And the remaining nine will be shut down by the end of the decade,” Juergen Becker, deputy environment minister at the time, told Reuters. “Japan has shown that even if there is a minuscule occurrence, the residual risk is too high to justify the continuation of nuclear power (…) It is better to go for other energy services in a civilized country.”

In response, German utility RWE and Swedish power company Vattenfall sued the German government, arguing that they were due financial compensation for investing in a technology that, at the time, the German government was supporting, and that in suddenly reversing direction, the companies would suffer significant financial losses.

In December of 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court confirmed that the government’s decision to phase-out nuclear power was “essentially constitutional.” This week, the German Federal Government approved a bill which implemented the findings of the Court, giving the country the right to proceed with its phase-out but also allowing utilities to seek “adequate financial compensation for so-called frustrated investments they made in nuclear power plants between 28 October 2010 and 16 March 2011.”

“The bill passed today ensures that the accelerated phasing out of nuclear power plants, which was initiated in 2011, will be continued consistently and in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law,” said Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. “Each nuclear power plant will retain its current statutory cut-off date by 31 December 2022 at the latest of nuclear energy in Germany.” ……..

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Toxic radioactive mud dumping is a toxic issue for Wales

BBC 23rd May 2018 Plans to move mud from alongside the Hinkley Point nuclear site in Somerset
to a dumping ground off Cardiff Bay have been debated by AMs. It comes
after a petition to the assembly against the plans attracted over 7,000
signatures. Other online petitions gathered tens of thousands of
signatures. The assembly petitions committee took evidence on the issue and
published a summary of the evidence it had heard and requested the debate
in the Senedd.

As part of plans to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear
power station in Somerset – 300,000 tonnes needs to be dredged from the
seabed nearby. The developers are set to move it within weeks to a disposal
site off Cardiff Bay. Both developers EDF and Natural Resources Wales
insist tests have shown the sediment poses no risk but campaigners claim it
could be contaminated by discharges from the old Hinkley Point A and B and
argue the mud has not been adequately tested.

Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas said the issue illustrated that “we have so little control of our natural
resources, that we have to accept the spoil of a nuclear power station in
Hinkley Point”. He said that as a matter of principle it is was the Welsh
parliament that should decide what happens in Welsh waters.

The company behind Hinkley Point C – EDF – said the mud has been tested independently
to internationally accepted standards and shown to pose no risk to human
health or the environment. It has refused a Petitions Committee request to
pay for further sampling – arguing claims the mud is toxic are alarmist and
wrong, and that any sampling would yield the same results and would not
remove the petitioner’s objection about the testing process. Energy
Secretary Lesley Griffiths said Natural Resources Wales was satisfied there
was no risk from the dredged material to people, the environment, or the
wildlife that lives there. However, she said she has asked NRW to review
the way it communicated its decisions over this licence.

Independent AM Neil McEvoy, who met the demonstrators, dismissed the suggestion the mud
had been tested properly and described the situation as a “dereliction of
duty”. He said: “We have a Welsh Government allowing Wales to be dumped on
and the mud hasn’t been tested… The top soil was tested – [but] you’ve
got five samples only under five centimetres for 300,000 tonnes of mud.”

Anti-nuclear campaigner Tim Deere Jones, who submitted the petition, is
unhappy with the level of testing undertaken. He said: “What kind of
radioactivity is in the mud, how much of it is in the mud, if you dump it
into the Cardiff grounds which is a dispersal site – where will it disperse

Richard Bramhall is from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, chairman of
the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance and a former member of the government
advisory committee advising on the radiation effects of internal emitters.
“The idea that the average radioactivity in the mud is at a low level is of
no comfort at all to the people of south Wales,” he said. “The particles
will blow ashore and once they’re in your lungs that’s not a low dose.”

May 25, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Scotland’s ambitious target for 100% renewable energy

Scottish Government 24th May 2018 Scotland will become one of the first countries to achieve a 100% reduction
in carbon emissions, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.
The new Climate Change Bill will immediately set a target of a 90%
reduction by 2050, which the UK Committee on Climate Change (UK CCC) states
is currently “at the limit of feasibility.”

The draft Bill sets out that the Scottish Government intends to go further still and achieve a 100%
reduction in emissions, known as ‘net-zero’, as soon as possible.

Ministers will be legally required to keep the net-zero target date under
review by seeking expert advice on the issue every five years. The target
date will become legally-binding, subject to the consent of the Scottish
Parliament, as soon as there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the date
is credible and achievable.

As well as increasing long term ambition, the
new Bill also includes the most ambitious interim targets in the world, as
well as stretching annual targets for every year between now and 2050. This
means action will need to increase immediately, across every sector of the
Scottish economy. It will also require action by individuals, communities
and businesses – as well as government.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK short of funds for its £51bn nuclear defence programme

Nuclear defence programme to cost £51bn over next decade National Audit Office predicts total spending and warns of £2.9bn shortfall,    , Industry Editor   

The cost of building and maintaining the UK’s nuclear defence programme will add up to £50.8bn over the next 10 years, the UK’s public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office predicted a £2.9bn shortfall on the programme in that period, assuming the Ministry of Defence delivers the cost-cutting it has promised. The assessment is the first time the NAO has looked at the cost of the entire network of programmes, equipment and people needed for the UK’s nuclear deterrent between 2018 and 2028. As well as itemising completion of the current Astute submarines, the report looks at the costs of building the new Dreadnought class that will eventually replace the four Vanguard nuclear-armed boats from the early 2030s. The report showed that the top four suppliers — Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Babcock International and AWE Management — have won 97 per cent of contracts for nuclear defence………..

May 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Many years before massive nuclear power station could be built at Bradwell, UK

Maldon Standard 23rd May 2018 , THE site of the new nuclear power station at Bradwell is staggering in
size. Measuring the length of six football pitches, it sits on land near to
the existing station, now being decommissioned. The Standard was given
exclusive access to see how work was progressing at Bradwell B. EDF Energy
and the China General Nuclear Power Group have been carrying out early site
investigations into the site since December. Since then, the company has
been drilling and digging sampling holes and testing the soil. While work
is underway, the project is still very much in the beginning stage. Once
all groundwork is complete proposals for what the new power station could
look like will be drawn up. Then, a huge public consultation will be held,
alongside a generic design assessment, environmental assessment, and
nuclear site licence being sought. In short, we are many years away from
any station being built.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi’s build of Wylfa nuclear power station delayed – may never happen

Asahi Shimbun 20th May 2018 [Machine Translation] Hitachi announced plans to delay the goal of starting
nuclear power plans planned in the UK for about two years to 2027. The collection of funds necessary for the project is difficult, and reconsideration of sharing has started between companies that undertake design and construction.

The continuation of the project itself is increasingly uncertain.

In the plan, two nuclear reactors will be built on  Anglesey island in the UK. The goal of starting operation has been
announced as “early 20’s”.However, according to officials, the Hitachi side recently proposed a new goal “April 27” to companies and others involved in the plan. It is planned to decide whether to start construction in 2019,
but it seems to be assuming a case where this time is delayed.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, UK | Leave a comment

European Union remains committed to the Iran nuclear agreement, reassures Iran

Europe reassures Iran of commitment to nuclear deal without U.S, Alissa de Carbonnel 19 May 18 TEHRAN (Reuters) – The European Union’s energy chief sought to reassure Iran on Saturday that the bloc remained committed to salvaging a nuclear deal with Tehran despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the accord and reimpose sanctions.

Miguel Arias Canete delivered the message on a visit to Tehran and also said the 28-nation EU, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, hoped to strengthen trade with Iran.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the (nuclear) agreement the Europeans will… fulfill their commitment. And they said the same thing on the other side,” Arias Canete, European Commissioner for energy and climate, told reporters after talks with Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Salehi said it would be disastrous if EU efforts fail to preserve the 2015 deal, in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. “The ball is in their (EU leaders) court,” Salehi said. “We hope their efforts materialize.”

Since Trump’s announcement of the U.S. exit on May 8, EU leaders have pledged to try to keep Iran’s oil trade and investment flowing but admitted that will not be easy to do so.

Britain, France and Germany back the deal as the best way of stopping Tehran getting nuclear weapons but have called on Iran to limit its regional influence and curb the missile program……..

May 22, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

UK’s contentious new arrangement for nuclear safeguards, following exit from Euratom

David Lowry’s Blog 17th May 2018 , Brexit correspondent missed the main issue arising from the UK nuclear
regulator’s report leaked to Sky News. On July 13 last year, the UK
Government position paper on “Nuclear materials and safeguards issues,”
included the key proposal that the UK will: “take responsibility for
meeting the UK’s safeguards obligations, as agree with IAEA
(International Atomic Energy Agency).”

Currently “ safeguards” are applied in the UK under a ‘voluntary ‘trilateral treaty between the UK,
Euratom and the IAEA. It comprises 36 pages in total, opening with the key
element in the treaty stating in A r t i c l e 1(a) “The United Kingdom
shall accept the application of safeguards, in accordance with the terms of
this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material in facilities
or parts thereof within the United Kingdom, subject to exclusions for
national security reasons only (my emphasis)

The exclusion opt out is explained at Article 14 which reads in part: “If the United Kingdom
intends to make any withdrawals of nuclear material from the scope of this
Agreement for national security reasons …. it shall give the Community
(ie Euratom) and the Agency (IAEA) advance notice of such withdrawal…”

The ONR has been given unprecedented responsibility for policing a
diplomatically contentious new arrangement, which will increase suspicion
among member states of the 1968 nuclear nonproliferation treaty ( for which
the UK , as a co-drafter of the treaty text, is one of three depositary
states) – which ministers pray-in-aid whenever they discuss the rationale
for a UK nuclear safeguards system. However, ministers routinely
cherry-pick those parts of the NPT that suite their purposes: but the NPT
is an integrated diplomatic agreement, with its articles all relevant and

Cherry-picking is both diplomatically unwise, as it normalises
abrogation for other signatory nations, and undermines the very treaty for
which the UK is supposed to act as a protective depositary state!

May 22, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi’s nuclear export transfers risks to both Japanese and British people while companies get profits

Urgent Joint Statement: Hitachi’s nuclear export transfers risks to both Japanese and British people while companies get profits 

Responding to the upcoming meeting between Hitachi Chairman Nakanishi and Prime Minister May

Hitachi’s Chairman Nakanishi is reportedly going to visit British Prime Minister Teresa May on 3rd May to ask the U.K. government to take a direct stake in Wylfa Newydd nuclear power project in Anglesey, Wales. The report says Hitachi is going to ask not only for direct investment but also an assurance for a power purchase agreement(1). Hitachi’s struggle just shows the risks of the nuclear power project is simply huge.

In February, Mr. Nakanishi already expressed the view that the project would not happen without government commitment and stated “Both UK and Japanese governments understand that the project would not go on without the commitment by the governments”(2). To reduce the risk of the project, the project is said to be insured by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance(NEXI), 100 percent Japanese government owned export credit agency(3).

In addition to huge construction cost, nuclear projects are associated with various risks such as accidents, increased cost for tougher regulations, opposition from local people, radioactive waste management and so on. Risks are too huge to manage. Thus, it is clear that companies should decide to retreat from the project. While transferring risks of the project to people, it is unacceptable that the companies and banks take profits.

Electricity generated from Hinkley Point C nuclear power, which is currently under construction in UK will be purchased at £92.5/MWh, which is approximately twice as expensive as the average market price. National Audit Office of UK warned that this would increase ratepayers burden (4). If UK government gives an assurance for expensive price of electricity to Hitachi, the project will put more burden not only Japanese taxpayers with huge risks, but also British ratepayers with huge costs. For whose sake is this project? 

The project site for Wylfa Newydd is surrounded by pristine nature. Colonies of protected bird such as Arctic terns was discovered near the site(5). The National Welsh Coastal Path borders the land bought by Hitachi which is in an area of Otstanding Natural Beauty. The project would put a heavy burden on the social and economic infrastructure on the island rather than benefitting the local economy(6) .  

The Spokesperson from People Against Wylfa B, Dylan Morgan says;
“Don’t pour good money in to the bottomless black hole of nuclear power. This is an old fashioned, dirty, dangerous and extortionately expensive technology. The Fukushima triple explosions and meltdowns has and will continue to cost the people of Japan greatly. There is no end in sight for this continuing tragedy, which means that no new nuclear reactors are going to be built in Japan. It is unacceptable that Japan wish to export this deadly technology to another state in order to keep Japan in the nuclear club.”

TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is not over. Globally the cost of renewable energy decreases dramatically and energy efficiency is also improved. Exporting nuclear power is against that trend. This is morally and economically the wrong direction. Moreover, pouring public money to a handful of private companies without consulting the public or having discussion at a parliament is unacceptable.

Japanese government and companies should seek and promote nuclear phase out and sustainable and democratic energy systems based on thorough reflection on the lessons learned from the nuclear accident. We strongly oppose Hitachi’s Wylfa Newydd project. No money from Japanese and British taxpayers should be used to save this totally outdated and dangerously wasteful project. 

1. “Hitachi seeks assurance from UK’s May on shared stake in nuclear project” Nikkei Asia Review, 29th April 2018.
2. ”Committements by both UK and Japanese government necessary fro Hitachi’s nuclear project, says next chair of Keidanren” (In Japanese) Reuters, 13th Feb 2018.
3.“Japanese and UK government to support Hitachi’s nuclear project, loss may result in public financial burden (in Japanese)” Asahi Shimbun, 11th Jan 2018.
4. “Hinkley Point C” National Audit Office, 23th June 2017
5.“Plans for Welsh nuclear power plant delayed by concerns over seabirds” Guardian, 9th Apr 2018.
6.“Wylfa Newydd: Nuclear plant ‘increases homelessness risk’” BBC, 27th Mar 2018. 

Please sign the petition from HERE (via or here (for organizational sign-on)

Friends of the Earth Japan
Ayumi Fukakusa

People Against Wylfa B
Dylan Morgan

May 22, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Indian and Russian governments getting together to market nuclear power globally

PM Modi, Vladimir Putin May Discuss Energy, Nuclear Issues At ‘No-Agenda’ Summit
With China, reducing the tension on the border was important but with Russia, a trusted all-weather partner, increasing trade ties and stepping up defence and atomic energy cooperation could be on agenda

May 22, 2018 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

UK govt worried about nuclear security – wants to train security officers for overseas reactors

Contract offer to counteract global threat to nuclear sites, 20 MAY 2018 
The Government is so concerned about the global threat to nuclear power stations that it is seeking a company to provide security training to foreign operators.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a £6m tender for a private company to deliver what it calls a National Security Culture Programme. It is part of a wider push to make sure that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials are out of reach to terrorist groups or hostile states.

The successful company will be sent to overseas nuclear facilities to deliver training on attack prevention by helping organisations to increase security and better protect sensitive information. According to the tender documents, found by procurement company Tussell, the job will be aimed at overseas civil nuclear sites.

It will also cover a range of organisations, including those holding radioactive material, such as hospitals, and sensitive knowledge or information, such as academic or scientific institutions, as well as regulators and government departments.

The contract is expected to start in July 2018 and will run until March 2022. This work is the first external tender relating to the Government’s global threat reduction programme, hinting at the level of concern among top officials about the possibility of an attack on nuclear power plants.

Nuclear facilities have long been considered a target for groups looking to disrupt power supplies.

Last year, Britain’s nuclear power stations were told to tighten their defences against terrorist attacks after concerns were raised that terrorists had worked out how to bypass electronic security systems.

A spokesman for BEIS said the tender was part of “a continuing education programme about encouraging greater awareness of nuclear security issues and best practice overseas”.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment