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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

New report shows that Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is not essential

Hinkley planHinkley Point C nuclear plant not essential – think tank, BBC News 26 Aug 16, The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is “not essential” for the UK to meet its energy and climate change targets, according to a think tank.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) also said opting for “established” approaches instead would save bill payers £1bn a year in total.

EDF Energy, which has agreed to back Hinkley, said the ECIU report did not offer “credible alternatives”.

The government is due to make a final decision on Hinkley in the autumn………

One of the report’s authors, former Npower chief executive, Paul Massara – who now runs North Star Solar – said: “You are looking at a deal which is two and half times the current price, it goes on for 35 years and effectively this report today shows we can transition to a low carbon, affordable secure option without Hinkley and that’s what we should be doing.”

Mr Massara said a more “flexible” cost saving approach was needed that “includes things like demand-side management, which means people can turn down their electricity demand and manage their demand, with smart meters and batteries which are going to come in the next five to six years”…….

In its report, the not-for-profit ECIU made the assumption that “the total annual cost of Hinkley will probably be about £2.5bn”.

It then calculated the cost of a basket of alternative measures to meet the country’s energy and climate change targets, and concluded that bill payers, both domestic and business, would end up paying a total of £1bn less per year for their energy if they were adopted than if Hinkley C were built.

‘Not essential’

The think tank’s alternative proposals include building more wind farms and gas-fired power stations than are currently planned and laying more cables connecting the UK grid with other countries.

“Our conclusion is that [Hinkley Point’s] not essential,” said ECIU director, Richard Black.

“Using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost,” he added……..http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37191222

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear industry in turmoil over botched contracts

judge-1flag-UKUK nuclear industry hit by fresh turmoil, Ft.com Gill Plimmer August 26, 2016  Britain’s nuclear industry has been hit by fresh turmoil after the government said it was planning to appeal against a ruling that it had botched a £7bn contest to clean up toxic power plants, while another company threatened to bring legal action.

A High Court judge ruled on July 29 that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had acted unlawfully in the way it awarded a contract to dismantle and make safe 12 of the UK’s first-generation nuclear power stations. The decision leaves the government agency exposed to multimillion pound claims for damages.

The initial court challenge was brought by Energy Solutions, the US-based company that lost the contract after managing the nuclear sites for 14 years, but on Friday another US contractor, Bechtel , said it would also take legal action. Other losing companies or consortiums, such as Ch2MHill and Serco, are expected to follow.

Bechtel is understood to be seeking compensation for the loss of future earnings but others may just seek to recoup bid costs, which are estimated at £15m per consortium……….

 The fiasco raises fresh questions over the way government entities hand out multibillion-pound contracts as well as casting further doubt on the UK’s nuclear industry at a time when the government is reviewing the £18bn Hinkley Point project.It has also prompted concerns over the future of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which was already under scrutiny after the government scrapped the outsourced management contract to run Britain’s biggest nuclear waste site — Sellafield in Cumbria.

John Clarke, chief executive of the NDA, announced this month his intention to retire next year………http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0c4e74e4-6b80-11e6-a0b1-d87a9fea034f.html#axzz4ITV1TlFn

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear station unnecessary – wind and solar can do the job faster and cheaper

poster renewables not nuclearflag-UKWhy Use Nuclear When We Have Wind and Solar Power? http://trendintech.com/2016/08/26/why-use-nuclear-when-we-have-wind-and-solar-power/  By T.Henry August 26, 2016  The Hinkley Point nuclear project has been a topic of discussion recently with the time getting closer for a decision to be made about the future of the project.  While once upon a time, nuclear power was thought to be the best form of renewable energy, with the recent developments in solar and wind energy, this isn’t the case any longer.  Cheap lithium-air batteries can also be used that are long life and can store five times the energy as the lithium-ion ones that are used today.
One of the main arguments against Hinkley going ahead is not its £18.5 billion price tag, but its constant power generation is no longer what we are looking for.  With the cost of renewables like wind and solar reducing daily and the ability to store extra energy produced, doesn’t it make more sense to invest in these forms instead of nuclear?  If the UK was to accelerate renewables, we could achieve 100 percent renewable power well before 2050 advises Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury.

There are already 1000 cities and 60 giant corporations across the globe that are committed to a 100 percent renewable supply.  Portugal showed how it could be done in May when it ran for four days on an only wind, solar, and hydropower.  Britain also made the headlines that same month as it produced more electricity via solar energy than coal-fired stations.  In Brussels, wind energy alone reached an installed capacity of over 430 gigawatts, which is more than the 382 gigawatts of nuclear.

Senior research fellow at the Energy Institute at University College London, Paul Dorfman, states, “Hinkley will not come online in time to help with the critical UK electricity gap or with our carbon emission commitments.  In fact, due to inevitable delays and cost overruns, Hinkley will block scarce resources going to necessary UK renewables, grid upgrades, and energy efficiency.  Don’t believe the hype: it’s not ‘nuclear and renewables’ – because of the sheer cost of nuclear, it’s ‘nuclear or renewables.’”

Even the people at The Economist have lost faith in Hinkley and headlined a recent article, “Hinkley Pointless”, pointing out that it makes much more sense to use the time and resources set aside for it to improve electricity storage. But, on the other end of the scale, Tom Greatex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association and former MP feels that we need to use all available technologies to meet our energy needs and that includes both renewables and nuclear.  Hinkley Point is projected to supply around 7 percent of the UK’s electricity needs with a look to more than double this by the mid-2020’s.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

UK figuring out how to get out of the Hinkley nuclear power deal

Hinkley planflag-UKHinkley Point nuclear power station: Whitehall officials ‘exploring ways UK could pull out of deal’ Theresa May’s administration called an unexpected halt to the project amid security and viability concerns, Independent Joe Watts Political Editor @JoeWatts_  Thursday 25 August 2016 Whitehall officials reviewing the massive Hinkley Point nuclear project are exploring how the UK might withdraw from the deal while minimising financial risk and damage to international relations, it has been claimed.

Westminster sources told The Independent civil servants are looking to see if there is any loophole, clause or issue in contracts yet to be signed that allow the Government to pull back without huge loss and while also saving face.

Ministers are acutely aware of the potential damage a withdrawal could do to relations with China, which is committed to pouring billions of pounds into the controversial project.

Former Chancellor George Osborne was an enthusiastic supporter of the £18 billion scheme, but since Theresa May’s arrival it is being reviewed by the new administration.  A Whitehall source said: “There is a working assumption of people in government that the civil service is looking for a way out, a legal loophole, a clause.

“They are looking for anything that will allow the Government to withdraw and also allow the Chinese to withdraw while also saving face.”

It was expected last month when the board of French energy company EDF voted to go ahead with Hinkley C power station that the British Government would give its approval.

Instead new Business Secretary Greg Clark announced he needed more time to make a decision.

It followed claims that the price promised for Hinkley’s electricity at £92.50 per MWh, more than double the wholesale price, was too expensive……..

EDF may also have problems fulfilling its end of any agreement. The company’s finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned earlier this year, fearing Hinkley could lead to the firm’s insolvency.
title=”24 August 2016 16:26 London”>A senior Government figure said: “The other thing no-one is talking about is what happens after the French election.

“Hollande is not going to be there and it is not clear whether Sarkozy or Juppe are committed to it.”

A spokesperson from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said: “No contract has been signed and it is only right that a new Government considers all component parts carefully before making a final decision.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hinkley-point-edf-nuclear-power-station-deal-how-uk-could-pull-out-a7207776.html

August 26, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear police physically unable to work to age 65

Civil nuclear police: Working to 65 ‘physically impossible’, BBC News, 24 August 2016  Representatives of 1,250 armed police officers who protect UK civil nuclear sites have challenged a rule forcing them to work beyond the age of 60.

While most UK police can retire at 60, Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers must work until 65 under a new law.The Civil Nuclear Police Federation says it will be “physically impossible” for officers in their mid-60s to protect the public from terrorism.

It has taken the case to London’s High Court to try to get the rule changed.

It argues its officers have the most physically demanding role in the police service and will not be able to maintain their standards of fitness and weapons proficiency into their 60s.

A government spokesperson said the Civil Nuclear Police Authority – which oversees the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) – was “considering how to implement changes and reforms”.

The changes were brought in as part of the Public Service Pensions Act………

Analysis By Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondentUnlike other forces that are in the headlines nearly every day – the Met, West Midlands and Greater Manchester Police, for example – you don’t hear a lot about the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

Much of its work goes unseen, guarding nuclear sites in remote corners of the UK and protecting material in transit.However, it is vital work, particularly at a time when the terrorism threat level is graded “severe” with an attack assessed as “highly likely”. That’s one reason why its officers are incensed – and baffled – by pension changes which mean they’d have to work until at least 65 before retiring……..http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37169994

August 26, 2016 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point’s nuclear weapons connection

peaceful-nukeHinkley’s Hidden History , 18 Aug 2016 Morning Star 
With the government decision over the new reactor at Hinkley postponed, text-relevantnuclear historian DAVID LOWRY reveals how the British nuclear power and weapons programmes were born together – and have yet to be separated  
THE first nuclear power plant on the Hinkley Point site in Somerset was built in the 1960s.

At the time, the United States, was intimately involved in the planning. Why was this?

The first public hint is to be found in a statement by the Ministry of Defence on June 17 1958 on “the production of plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear] power stations programme as an insurance against future defence needs” in Britain’s first-generation magnox reactor.

By chance, on the same day, France’s president Charles de Gaulle authorised a nuclear test to be held early the next year.

The site chosen was the Reganne oasis 700km south of Colomb Bechar in the Sahara Desert of Algeria.

France also used a magnox-style reactor at Chinon in the Loire Valley to make the plutonium explosives.

A week later in the British Parliament, Labour’s Roy Mason asked why the government had “decided to modify atomic power stations, primarily planned for peaceful purposes, to produce high-grade plutonium for war weapons” and “to what extent this will interfere with the atomic power programme?”

He was informed by paymaster general Reginald Maudling: “At the request of the government, the Central Electricity Generating Board has agreed to a small modification in the design of Hinkley Point and of the next two stations in its programme so as to enable plutonium suitable for military purposes to be extracted should the need arise…….

The headline story in the Bridgwater Mercury, serving the community around Hinkley was: “MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley.”

The article explained: “An ingenious method has been designed for changing the plant without reducing the output of electricity.”

The CND was reported to be critical, describing this as a “distressing step,” insisting: “The government is obsessed with a nuclear militarism which seems insane.”

Sadly, with the blinkered push to replace Trident today, not much seems to have changed in the 55 years since……

on July 3 1958, Britain and the US signed a detailed agreement on co-operation on nuclear weapons development, after several months of congressional hearings in Washington DC — but, significantly, with no oversight whatsoever in Parliament.

As this formed the basis, within a mere five years, for Britain obtaining the Polaris nuclear WMD system from the US, and some 20-odd years later for Britain to buy US Trident WMD, the failure of Parliament to at least appraise the security merits of this bilateral atomic arrangement was unconscionable……

Following further detailed negotiations, the Ango-American Mutual Defense Agreement on Atomic Energy matters (defence is spelled with an “s” even in the British version of the treaty, demonstrating the origin of the drafts), to give it its full treaty title, was amended on May 7 1959, to permit the exchange of nuclear explosive material for military purposes.
The Times science correspondent wrote on May 8 1959 under the headline: “Production of weapons at short notice” that “the most important technical fact behind the agreement is that of civil grade — such as will be produced in British civil nuclear power stations — can now be used in weapons.”……

And so it may be seen that Britain’s first civil nuclear programme was used as a source of nuclear explosive plutonium for the US military, with Hinkley Point A the prime provider.
Two decades later, Wales national daily, the Western Mail, reported on October 8 1984 that the largest magnox reactor in Britain, at Wylfa on Anglesey, had also been used to provide plutonium for the military.

Plutonium from both reactors went into the British military stockpile of nuclear explosives and could well still be part of the British Trident warhead stockpile today.

Subsequent research by the Scientists Against Nuclear Arms, published in the prestigious science weekly journal Nature, has demonstrated that around 6,700kg of plutonium was shipped to the US under the military exchange agreement, which stipulates explicitly that the material must be used for military purposes by the recipient country.

To put this quantity into context, a nuclear warhead contains around 5kg of plutonium so this is a very significant quantity.

What would Iran and North Korea make of this deliberate intermixing of civil and military nuclear programmes by one of the nuclear weapons superpowers which leads the criticisms of them for allegedly doing this very thing today?

Dr David Lowry is senior research fellow at the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-dabf-Hinkleys-hidden-history#.V7dqoFt97Gg

August 20, 2016 Posted by | history, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Foreign companies depend on UK nuclear success for their global marketing drive

marketig-nukesThe major hurdle for Horizon and NuGen is that they must sell their visions to global investors. Both developers say they will build their plants for less than the £18bn it will cost to build Hinkley Point, but they will not say by how much……

For Toshiba and Hitachi, building nuclear reactors in the UK represents a Buy-Japan's-nukes-2chance to boost their reputations — and the image of nuclear power more generally around the world

Energy: Generating criticism Kiran Stacey, Energy Correspondent, Ft.com 18 Aug 16  The UK’s ambitious plans to build six nuclear plants are raising concerns that it is losing control over critical infrastructure
In a field in a remote part of north-west Wales, a lone farmer cuts the grass, parcelling it up into hay bales which can be sold for a modest profit. His farm, and even the hill on which it sits, will soon be demolished by the Japanese-owned company Horizon — ground zero in an ambitious scheme to build one of a string ofnuclear power stations across the UK.

Wylfa, on the island of Anglesey, is one of several sites designated for the plants, which could cost up to £100bn and, if all goes to plan, will replace the UK’s ageing coal power stations. But despite the billions of pounds about to be poured into nuclear energy in Britain, only some is likely to stay in the UK. Of the six plants being planned, none will be owned by a British company.

For nuclear power groups from France, China, the US and Japan, the UK’s ambitious plans represent a ripe opportunity in an otherwise difficult global market. Following the meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011, several countries, including Japan and Germany, scaled back or cancelled their nuclear energy plans.

The lack of British participation in such a massive domestic programme has drawn opposition. Critics say the project represents yet another example of the country’s propensity to allow foreign companies and governments to profit from the UK’s most sensitive — and lucrative — infrastructure projects.

That critique appears to be shared by some in the UK government. When Theresa May, the prime minister, unexpectedly delayed the £18bn plant planned for Hinkley Point in south-west England, allies said it was over concerns about the involvement of two Chinese state-backed companies alongside France’s EDF, the state-backed utility. Some officials see the plant as a matter of national security, warning that the Chinese state could have the power to turn off a large chunk of Britain’s electricity supply.

Mrs May’s decision has caused consternation in Beijing, where officials had been reassured by the previous government’s unflagging support for the project. She will travel to China next month to steady bilateral relations, and is expected to make a decision over the project around the time of that trip…….

Made in Japan  At Wylfa, the Hitachi branding on the cranes involved in initial groundworks give a signal of how integral the Japanese company, which owns Horizon, is to every stage of the process. The entire station will be built in Hitachi City in Japan before being shipped over, piece by piece, to north Wales. Horizon has submitted its design to regulators for approval, and will only make the final decision to go ahead after it has funding in place and made the necessary planning applications.

At Moorside, in the northern county of Cumbria, a company called NuGen is developing another site over the road from Sellafield power station. NuGen is a joint venture of Japan’s Toshiba and Engie, the French utility, whose biggest shareholder is the French state. Its reactor has been designed by Westinghouse, the US industrial company, most of which is owned by Toshiba.

If Mrs May is worried about the Chinese being able to shut down Hinkley Point, she might be even more concerned with the plans of EDF, China General Nuclear Power and China National Nuclear Corp in eastern England. After the consortium develops another plant at Sizewell, in Suffolk, the Chinese groups are hoping to design and build the plant at Bradwell in Essex……..

One of the main motivations for EDF’s Chinese partners to invest in the UK is the stamp of quality they would gain as they market their Hualong One design internationally.

“With both the government and public opinion in favour of nuclear power, Britain is a very attractive market for building new nuclear plants,” a spokesman for Hitachi says.

The major hurdle for Horizon and NuGen is that they must sell their visions to global investors. Both developers say they will build their plants for less than the £18bn it will cost to build Hinkley Point, but they will not say by how much……

For Toshiba and Hitachi, building nuclear reactors in the UK represents a chance to boost their reputations — and the image of nuclear power more generally around the world…….. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8135630a-5a5d-11e6-9f70-badea1b336d4.html#axzz4HoS1C8dw

August 19, 2016 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Crown Estate recommends UK switching attention from nuclear power to offshore wind

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. Credit: Wikimediaflag-UKHinkley C’s future is in doubt. Let’s turn our sights to offshore wind
Falling costs and increased reliability mean this clean power now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix Guardian 15 Aug 16  
Huub den Rooijen Director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at Crown Estate

With the government re-examining the case for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, it’s a good time to reflect on recent breakthroughs in another low carbon technology: offshore wind.

Offshore wind is already meeting about 5% of the UK’s electricity demand, more than any other country globally, and is on course to meet 10% by 2020. The sector has undergone a sea change over the last few years, driven by rapid advances in technology, cost, and industry’s ability to deliver on time and to budget.

In fact, over the last three years, construction costs have come down by more than 40% in the UK alone. And by 2025, industry and government expect UK prices to be comparable with new gas generation at about £85 per megawatt hour (MWh).

In the Netherlands, there has been an even bigger step change. Although there are differences in terms of regulation, most would agree that after a recent offshore wind tender the Dutch are now going to be paying the equivalent of about £80 per MWh for their 700MW windfarm. That is significantly lower than Hinkley Point C at £92.50per MWh.

As active managers of the UK seabed, including awarding leases for offshore wind, we take a keen interest in this result. After all, the Dutch windfarm is only about 75 miles away from UK waters, and has very similar conditions like water depth, wind speeds, and distances to ports. If costs can be slashed in the Netherlands, geography tells us they can be slashed here too……..

As the Committee on Climate Change urges government to consider alternatives if there are delays to renewing our nuclear fleet, we should remember our seabed is a powerful energy asset.

At present, we have 2,200 wind turbines in operation and under construction, taking up less than 1% of our total seabed. National Grid estimates that nearly half of all power could be generated from our seabed by 2030 through offshore wind, combined with tidal power lagoons and strong electrical connections to our neighbouring countries.

We have an inexhaustible supply of reliable and clean power right on our doorstep, and competitively priced offshore wind now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/14/hinkley-cs-future-is-in-doubt-lets-turn-our-sights-to-offshore-wind

August 17, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

World’s biggest offshore windfarm on track in UK

Second phase of world’s biggest offshore windfarm gets go-ahead Multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two, 55 miles off Grimsby coast, would see 300 turbines span an area five times size of Hull, Guardian, , 16 Aug 16Plans for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire coast are to be expanded to an area five times the size of Hull after being approved by ministers.

The multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two would see 300 turbines – each taller than the Gherkin – span more than 480 sq km in the North Sea.

Fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby, the project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is expected to deliver 1,800MW of low-CO2 electricity to 1.8m UK homes. The development would represent a large boost to the UK’s wind energy industry, with Dong Energy pledging to invest £6bn in the UK and create more than 2,500 jobs……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/16/hornsea-project-two-windfarm-second-phase-grimsby

August 17, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

With Hinkley Big Nuclear in decline, the “Small Nuclear” lobby sees its chance

Don’t worry: British nuclear doesn’t have all its eggs in one basket, Weinberg Foundation August 11th, 2016 by Suzanna Hinson
Small nuclear salesman

Hinkley Point may be taking all the attention at present, but it is not the be all and end all of nuclear power in the UK. There is plenty more in the pipeline so, whatever happens in Somerset, progress can be made elsewhere. The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation aims to complete Generic Design Assessments for new reactors, the AP1000 and Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), during 2017.

NuGen, jointly owned by Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie, is progressing with plans to build an AP1000 at Moorside in West Cumbria. At present, they are carrying out site assessment surveys, including geophysical surveys, geological age dating and some borehole drilling work, which must be completed before construction can begin. AP1000 reactors, designed by Westinghouse, are being planned in multiple countries worldwide, with the first plants scheduled to come online in China this year. There have been some delays on these world-first reactors, but not as serious as those in France and Finland for the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) proposed for Hinkley…….

In addition to these planned sites, there is also ongoing research and development into the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors. The Government promised, in Autumn 2015, an investment of £250 million over 5 years to develop the reactors of the future. This includes a competition to decide which small modular reactor or reactors should be demonstrated in the UK. Advanced reactors have the potential to be cheaper, even cleaner and even safer than current designs, and have added benefits such as the potential ability to use up spent fuel and the plutonium stockpile. (Weinberg Next Nuclear will soon be publishing a report on how to manage plutonium)….http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/2016/08/11/dont-worry-british-nuclear-doesnt-have-all-its-eggs-in-one-basket/

August 14, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Queen Elizabeth’s Estate notes that renewable energy is cheaper than Hinkley nuclear

Crown estate wades into Hinkley Point nuclear debate https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/14/crown-estate-hinkley-point-nuclear-debate

Body says, with government reviewing £18.5bn project, benefits of renewables such as offshore wind should be looked at, Guardian, , 14 Aug 16, The crown estate has waded into the battle over Hinkley Point, pointing out that offshore windfarms are already being built at cheaper prices than the proposed atomic reactors for Somerset.

While not arguing the £18.5bn nuclear project should be scrapped, the organisation – still legally owned by the Queen – said that the government’s current Hinkley review makes it a good time to consider the advantages of other low carbon technologies.

The crown estate said that windfarms at sea will be on course to meet 10% of the country’s electricity by 2020 while Hinkley Point C is not expected to be constructed till the mid 2020s, to produce 7%.

“The [wind] sector has undergone a sea change over the last few years, driven by rapid advances in technology, cost and the industry’s ability to deliver on time and to budget,” said Huub den Rooijen, the director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at the crown estate.

“In the Netherlands, there has been an even bigger step change. In the busy time around the EU referendum, many people will have missed the publication of their most recent offshore wind tender.

“Although there are differences in terms of regulation, most would agree that the Dutch are now going to be paying the equivalent of about £80/MWh for their 700 megawatt windfarm. That is significantly lower than Hinkley Point at £92.50/MWh.”

The comments come after an unpublished report by the energy department shows that it expects onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost about £50-£75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. New nuclear is anticipated to be around £85-£125/MWh, in line with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh that the government has offered Hinkley’s developer, EDF.

Government data published last Thursday showed that renewables generated a quarter of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of this year. About half of that came from on and offshore wind combined.

The Hinkley project has been hit by controversies since it was first raised as a possibility by EDF more than nine years ago. There have been delays and concerns about the costs of the £18.5bn project. In recent days a new row has blown upabout the wisdom of allowing EDF’s proposed Chinese partner access to the UK energy infrastructure for national security reasons.

Den Rooijen said the government’s committee on climate change has urged ministers to consider alternatives if there are delays to renewing our nuclear fleet. “We should remember our seabed is a powerful energy asset. At present, we have 2,200 wind turbines in operation and under construction taking up less than 1% of our total seabed,” he said.

“National Grid estimates that nearly half of all power could be generated from our seabed by 2030 through offshore wind, combined with tidal power lagoons and strong electrical connections to our neighbouring countries.

“We have an inexhaustible supply of reliable and clean power right on our doorstep, and competitively priced offshore wind now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix.”

August 14, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley going down? Next glorious gimmick – Small Nuclear Reactors

Small nuclear salesman

UK set to continue developing baby nuclear reactors which may fuel Rolls-Royce jobs, This Is Money  By NEIL CRAVEN, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY, 14 August 2016 Britain is to forge ahead with plans to develop ‘baby’ nuclear reactors just two weeks after the Prime Minister threw energy policy into chaos by revealing there will be a shock delay to making a decision over Hinkley Point.

The announcement over whether to proceed with Hinkley in Somerset has been postponed until next month.

That allows new Premier Theresa May more time to consider concerns relating to the cost of the £25billion project and potential security risks posed by Chinese involvement.

This weekend the Government revealed it will shortly select preferred partners to construct Small Modular Reactors – which could help provide an alternative to Hinkley. They would be built using British factories and participation and could boost UK firms including Rolls-Royce.

Whitehall sources said the project, currently involving 33 engineering groups, would reaffirm Britain’s determination to be a ‘world leader’ in SMR production.

It is not yet clear whether the decision to develop the ‘baby’ reactors is linked to the Hinkley delay.

The Government has already earmarked £250 million to fund a five-year programme to develop SMRs and this autumn it is expected to announce the next phase including naming the lead companies to be involved.

Hinkley supporters fear an announcement could be timed to coincide with a final decision on Hinkley, drawing the sting if the Government decides to cancel the larger project……http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-3739075/UK-set-continue-developing-baby-nuclear-reactors-fuel-Rolls-Royce-jobs.html

August 14, 2016 Posted by | marketing, politics, UK | Leave a comment

France’s ruling socialist party calls for freeze on Hinkley Point nuclear development

text Hinkley cancelledflag-franceHinkley Point near melt-down as French socialist party calls for freeze, Telegraph,   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 9 AUGUST 2016 Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project is close to unravelling after France’s ruling socialist party threw its support behind dissident trade union leaders and called for a fundamental review of the high-cost venture.

The whole saga has now become freighted with politics and misunderstandings in a three-way jostle between France, Britain, and China, with no outcome in sight that can please everybody.

The French socialists warned that Hinkley threatens the financial viability of EDF, the state-owned energy giant AREVA EDF crumblingresponsible for two thirds of the £18bn funding and for limitless liabilities if it all goes wrong.

“The socialist party judges that a project of such importance, that involves the solidity and survival of the national energy group, makes it imperative to ask every question and raise every reserve before going any further,” it said.

It endorsed a furious complaint by the six trade union members on the EDF board, who said the final go-ahead for the project was rammed through in late July without full disclosure in a “governance scandal”, and that the decision is now “null and void”.

Brexit has further changed the landscape and brought matters to a head. “The whole relationship with Britain, whether political or economic, must be reviewed in light of its withdrawal from the EU, and a project as important as Hinkley Point cannot reasonably be exempted,” said the party………

 from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing  said Hinkley was a flagship project for China and was hailed at the time as a break-through into the Western nuclear market. “President Xi Jinping himself promoted the project when he was in London and it became bigger than a mere contract. It has taken on symbolic meaning at a political level,” he said…….

Nuclear power cannot easily be switched on and off. It is ill-adapted for use as a back-up source to cover lulls in renewable power. “In a world moving towards cheaper, flexible, decentralized power systems, investing in eye-wateringly expensive, always-on ‘base-load’ plants increasingly looks like a 20th Century solution for a 21stCentury problem,” said Richard Black from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

If the chief reason for continuing the project is to preserve good relations with France and China, the whole story is a textbook example of why it is hazardous to strike commercial deals with foreign state-owned companies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/09/hinkley-point-near-melt-down-as-french-socialist-party-calls-for/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | France, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Theresa May is advised that now is the time to get out of Hinkley nuclear project.

text politicsflag-UKHinkley Point: May told to pull the plug on nuclear project over China spying accusations THERESA MAY is being urged to quit the controversial Hinkley Point C project over Chinese spying allegations. Express By ZOIE O’BRIEN, Aug 11, 2016   A scandal has broken out in the US suggesting a Chinese man was attempting to recruit US atomic experts to steal technology secrets to help China’s nuclear power programme.

But the legal papers include the name of China General Nuclear Power (CGN), which holds a stake in the UK’s planned new nuclear power station – Hinkley Point C.

Szuhsiung Ho, a senior adviser to CGN, will appear in court next week to face charges. As a result the Prime Minister is being urged to pull the British project immediately.

May paused development last month over national security fears but now she is being told to scrap plans altogether.

Paul Dorfman, a senior research fellow at University College London, said the British prime minister does not have to offend the Chinese. He suggested she could blame poor reactor technology from France’s EDF.

He told the Guardian: “No other OECD country would let China into its critical nuclear infrastructure, given its history of nuclear weapon proliferation. May has already taken the diplomatic ‘hit’ for this, so what’s she got to lose?

“If government wanted to, it could avoid taking China to task on this by reframing the problem in the context of the failed French EPR reactor, which is three times over-cost and over-time where it’s being built in Finland and France.”

The Somerset power station has already caused huge debate with petitions and campaigns being launched to prevent its being built.

Now, spying allegations have caused huge concern in the UK. Angus MacNeil MP, the chair of the energy and climate change select committee, said there are now grave concerns about corporate integrity and must form a key part of the government’s current review of Hinkley.

He said: “I am not sure the Chinese have anything to steal from Britain in the way of nuclear secrets. That is after all why they are being brought in, but it does raise questions about how honourable the company is and whether it could cut corners on construction methods and issues like that.”……..http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/698965/Hinkley-Point-May-China-spy-fears-Somerset-project

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Time to pull the plug on unaffordable Hinkley Point nuclear power project

hungry-nukes 1flag-UKUK must pull the plug on the exorbitant Hinkley Point nuclear power project Do we submit to blackmail or do we risk losing Chinese trade? IBT,  By  , 11 Aug 16, “…..Today we’re witnessing a folly so shambolic, so expensive, so eye-poppingly spectacular that it puts all others in the shade. It goes by the name of Hinkley Point, the proposed new nuclear power station in Somerset. And it’s the misbegotten creation of our entire political establishment, with Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory MPs all complicit.

One of the few politicians who emerges with some credit from this unfolding disaster is our new Prime Minister Theresa May, who stunned everybody when immediately on entering Downing Street she refused to rubber-stamp the deal and instead ordered a review of the whole project. As we shall see, her reasons for delaying a decision were eminently sensible.

But what howls of anguish it has provoked. The French-owned energy company EDF, which will build Hinkley Point, is appalled. President Hollande’s government makes no secret of its displeasure. And now China, which is providing billions to finance the project, is weighing in with threats of dire consequences for Britain if the deal doesn’t go ahead.

August 9, 2016……It’s time to examine how we ever came to be in this mess. And for that we must go back to the last Labour Government and an Energy Secretary named Ed Miliband. Remember him?………

, it enthused the then Energy Secretary Ed Davey of the Lib Dems, “For the first time, a nuclear power station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer. This is an excellent deal for Britain and British consumers”.

Oh dear. Let’s examine the details of Mr Davey’s “excellent” deal……

then there’s the eye-watering expense of this scheme. Hinkley Point will cost at least £18billion and will probably end up costing much more. The sums are so huge that ministers could only persuade EDF to accept such a burden by allowing it to charge sky-high prices for the electricity it produces. British consumers will end up paying for the world’s most expensive electricity for decades.

And for what? The plant won’t be built for at least another eight years, even if everything goes to plan – a big “if”, given the record so far. And if ever it eventually runs at full capacity, it would provide power only for six million homes – a pitiful return for such a huge and risky investment.

Theresa May has every right to re-examine this whole misconceived project. And given the reaction of the Chinese ambassador, wouldn’t the rest of us be equally right to re-examine the wisdom of sucking up to the bullies of Beijing?  http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-must-pull-plug-exorbitant-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-project-1575151

August 12, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

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