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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 100% Renewables 28thy July 2021

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 Telegraph 26th July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 BANNG 26th July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Times 26th July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 FT 27th July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*S

Facebook blocks users from Scottish CND’s website

Billy Briggs, 25 July 21

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

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

 Ferret 24th July 2021

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

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

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


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

 Business Green 19th July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

 Evening Express 18th July 2021

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

The Green Jobs Taskforce

Just Transition**

 The UK is currently not on track to deliver a commitment to host two
million green-collar jobs by 2030. But the economic recovery from Covid-19
presents a window to accelerate investment and build a robust skills
pipeline, according to the Green Jobs Taskforce report published this week.


The Taskforce was set up by the Government late last year, following
pressure from trade bodies, businesses and NGOs. Its purpose is to develop
recommendations for helping unemployed people into skilled jobs that
contribute to the net-zero transition and supporting those currently
working in high-carbon businesses to upskill and reskill.

Under an overarching call to ensure that the Net-Zero Strategy is published to time
ahead of COP26 and includes significant commitments on jobs and skills,
three themes are covered in the report: Scaling up investment in the
net-zero transition, building pathways into good green careers and
supporting a just transition for workers in the high-carbon economy.

 Edie 16th July 2021

https://www.edie.net/news/11/Six-UK-green-policy-stories-you-need-to-know-about-this-week/

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

Green energy suppliers protest at UK government’s funding plan to promote nuclear power, with residents exposed to nuclear cost overruns.

Green energy suppliers oppose bills surcharge for new nuclear plants, Critics warn the UK government’s plans could expose households to cost overruns.

Ft.com Nathalie Thomas in Edinburgh  Green energy suppliers are protesting at the prospect of having to add a surcharge to household bills to pay for new nuclear plants in Britain when their customers purposely choose not to support the divisive technology.  

UK ministers are aiming to introduce legislation in the autumn that would allow for a large nuclear power plant proposed for Sizewell on England’s east coast to be financed via a “regulated asset base” model. The scheme would see households help fund the construction of the £20bn plant via a surcharge on their energy bills, regardless of their supplier. 

Households already pay for a number of policy costs via their energy bills, such as subsidies for wind and solar schemes, yet a nuclear surcharge would prove particularly difficult to stomach for companies that offer their customers “100 per cent renewable energy” deals, which do not include nuclear power.
 Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity, the first company in Britain to have offered customers green electricity, told the Financial Times: “It’s bonkers we would all have to pay this subsidy for at least a decade of construction and not for power generated.”  

 “The government is reluctant to fund nuclear projects itself, so allowing Sizewell [C] to access the RAB [regulated asset base] system is simply dumping the cost on consumers — even those who have gone renewable, and that’s just unfair,” added Vince. 
 Kit Dixon, policy manager at Good Energy, the UK’s first supplier to offer customers 100 per cent renewable electricity, said that “we should be deeply concerned” by the nuclear industry potentially being offered such a deal to build expensive new plants “with little incentive to deliver on time or within budget”. 

“We’ve got to stop seeing customers’ bills as a sort of cash machine for folly projects,” said another energy chief executive who asked not to be named.  

…………………….Critics of the regulated asset base model warn that it would expose households to cost-overruns, which have proved common in the nuclear industry. 
 Environment groups oppose nuclear on the grounds that it is more expensive than technologies such as offshore wind and leaves a legacy of highly toxic waste that takes more than 100,000 years to decay.  

Bulb, Britain’s seventh biggest supplier by market share, also warned in a response to a consultation on the regulated asset base model that using the financing mechanism for nuclear plants “doesn’t protect customers who choose to be on a renewable tariff but adds costs to their bills for a technology they won’t directly benefit from”………..   https://www.ft.com/content/a12bc937-a91f-4341-ba3e-25d7f7edc6d2

July 19, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s pointless pursuit ofnuclear power, as renewable energy proving to be cheaper and faster.

Renewable energy, mainly wind and solar, is rising on the back of rapidly falling costs. So much so that the International Energy Agency, which has in the past been rather guarded about their potential, has switched over to seeing them as the main way ahead, supplying 90% of global electric power by 2050.

 Dave Elliott: No room for nuclear. As noted in an article in Regional Life, a local conservation e-magazine linked to a local anti nuclear group, the flat landscape of the Dengie peninsula in Essex is punctuated by a line of tall wind turbines, slowly turning and the massive grey-blue hulk of the
former Bradwell ‘A’ nuclear power station.

These two features it says graphically express the contrast between rise of renewable energy and the
demise of nuclear power, the past and the future of electricity generation.

Renewable energy, mainly wind and solar, is rising on the back of rapidly falling costs. So much so that the International Energy Agency, which has in the past been rather guarded about their potential, has switched over to seeing them as the main way ahead, supplying 90% of global electric power by 2050.

That is actually quite conservative compared to some projections for the UK: renewables are supplying over 43% of UK power at present and the Renewable Energy Association says that reaching 100% is possible by 2032 – indeed Scotland is already almost there.

All of which raises thequestion of why we are still pursuing nuclear power- which just about
everyone agrees is very much more expensive than wind and solar. The recent BBC TV documentary series on construction work at Hinkley Point C in Somerset made stunningly clear the massive scale and environmental footprint of nuclear projects like this. Especially notable was the vast amount of concrete that had to be poured- the production of which involves significant release of carbon dioxide gas.

That is one reason why nuclear plants are not zero carbon options, another being the fact that mining and processing uranium fuel are energy and carbon intensive activities.

By contrast, renewable energy systems like solar cells and wind turbines need no fuel to run, and, although energy is needed to make the materials used in their construction, the net carbon/energy lifetime debt is less than for nuclear- one study suggested nuclear produces on average 23 times more emissions than onshore wind per unit electricity generated.

The Government’s stated aim is to generate ‘enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030’. That means many more offshore wind farms, off the East coast and also elsewhere around the UK. With the other renewables also added in and more of them planned (we have 14 GW of solar capacity so far) it is hard to see what the nuclear plants are for – the 9 GW or so of old plants and the new 3.2 GW Hinkley Point C plant, much less any other proposed new ones.

The nuclear lobby sometimes argues we need more nuclear to replace nuclear plants that are being closed and also to back up renewables. It is hard to see how that could work, unless the new plants were flexible, and able to compensate for the variable output of the 30GW or so of wind and solar capacity we have at present. As yet there are no plans to run the Hinkley Point C plant that way, or for that matter, the proposed 3.2 GW Sizewell C.

In which case, adding more nuclear will mean that, at times of low demand, some cheap renewable output, or some low cost flexible gas plant output, would have to be curtailed. What a waste! All of this to keep the £22bn Hinkley Point, and any that follow, financially viable.

 Renew Extra 17th July 2021

 https://renewextraweekly.blogspot.com/2021/07/no-room-for-nuclear.html

July 19, 2021 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear colonialism

An Australian artist has accused a group of Conservative councillors of
using “bullying strategies” to silence and censor her work after an
installation she created to highlight Britain’s “identity as a colonial
nuclear state” was removed from a park in Essex. The councillors
threatened to “take action against the work” if it was not removed,
according to Metal, the arts organisation that commissioned and then
removed the installation from Gunners Park in Southend.

 

Guardian 17th July 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jul/17/not-in-this-town-artwork-about-britains-nuclear-colonialism-removed

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July 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK government plan – residents on the hook in advance for costly Sizewell nuclear plan that will be useless to combat climate change

A remote area on England’s east coast, halfway between the seaside towns of Felixstowe and Lowestoft, is set to become the centre of debate about Britain’s future energy security. UK ministers are aiming to bring
forward legislation in the autumn to support the financing of a 3.2 gigawatt nuclear power station in Sizewell, East Suffolk….

Ministers have been in formal negotiations with EDF about how to fund the proposed £20bn Sizewell C
plant since December, and the government and the French state-backed utility have had discussions about replacing Britain’s ageing nuclear reactors for years.

However, the question of whether Britain should build more large plants took on added urgency last month, when EDF closed the 1.1GW Dungeness B station in Kent seven years early. It also raised the prospect that other reactors may also be decommissioned ahead of schedule, owing to problems with their graphite cores……….

“If there was [a capacity issue], what good is Sizewell going to do given it won’t come on line until 2034
according to EDF?” asks Stephen Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich. Nuclear sceptics have long argued that money would be better spent on clean energy technologies, such as
offshore wind, and reducing electricity demand through measures including insulation.

Under a RAB model, consumers would pay towards a new plant through their energy bills long before any electricity is generated. Opponents of the model warn that consumers would also be on the hook for
cost overruns.

 FT 14th July 2021

https://www.ft.com/content/3f2bfc76-5b74-437c-8b18-67f9cde991af

July 15, 2021 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment