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Stop Sizewell C anti nuclear campaigners taking their fight to London, and the UK government

Campaigners fighting to stop a new nuclear power station being built on
the Suffolk coast have taken their battle to Number 10 Downing Street.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s spending review and Budget, the Stop Sizewell C
group visited key locations in the capital with its message and campaign
video on a digital Advan.

 East Anglian Daily Times 20th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry ecstatic about costly UK’s nuclear policy, but in reality it is a low priority for the government

UK Net Zero Strategy puts nuclear as a low priority, Nuclear Engineering 

22 October 2021  ”………………………………. Detail on plans for nuclear

The 368-page report itself does not include much about plans for nuclear. “The net zero economy will be underpinned by cheap clean electricity, made in Britain,” it says. “A clean, reliable power system is the foundation of a productive net zero economy as we electrify other sectors – so we will fully decarbonise our power system by 2035, subject to security of supply. Our power system will consist of abundant, cheap British renewables, cutting edge new nuclear power stations, and be underpinned by flexibility including storage, gas with CCS, hydrogen and ensure reliable power is always there at the flick of a switch….

By 2035 the UK will be powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply, the report notes. One of the key policies listed there is to: “Secure a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament, and launch a new £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, retaining options for future nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors, with a number of potential sites including Wylfa in North Wales.”

The report says that, “in the past year, we have already taken important action on climate change, delivering on the commitments in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan”. With respect to nuclear, it recalls that the government  committed to delivering new and advanced nuclear power, including:

  • Pursuing large-scale nuclear projects, subject to value for money;
  • Legislating for a new financing model for nuclear projects;
  • A £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund to enable up to GBP215 million for Small Modular Reactors; and
  • £170 million for a R&D programme on Advanced Modular Reactors.

…………….. The only detailed mention of nuclear is in the Power section (10 pages) of Chapter 3 on “Reducing Emissions across the Economy”. It constitutes just  one of 14 listed key commitments, to “Secure a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament whilst taking measures to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects as we work towards our net zero target.”

There are 43 numbered paragraphs in the section. Nuclear is mentioned in paragraph 2 (subsection “Progress to date”) as follows: 

“On delivering new and advanced nuclear power, we have committed to reaching a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant this parliament, subject to value for money and approvals. We are in negotiations with the developer on Sizewell C project in Suffolk. We have since taken further steps.”

Nuclear is the subject of three small paragraphs in the sub-section “Policies and proposals”:

38. We also need to increase our nuclear capacity, which is why we said in the Energy White Paper that we will aim to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to the point of final investment decision by the end of this Parliament, subject to clear value for money and all relevant approvals. In December 2020 we announced the start of formal negotiations on Sizewell C and those negotiations are ongoing. To facilitate a decision this Parliament, we plan to establish the Regulated Asset Base model to fund new nuclear projects at a low cost of capital, saving consumers money.

39. The government will also take measures to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects as we work towards our net zero target. This will include consideration of large-scale and advanced nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and potentially Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs). As part of this, we are announcing a new £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to provide targeted support in relation to barriers to entry. Further details of how this fund will operate will be published in 2022 alongside details of a roadmap for deployment that takes into account value for money.

40. We are also providing funding for a SMR design through our £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund and are progressing plans for an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator in the early 2030s. Whether large- or small-scale projects, there remain a number of possible sites available for these options, including Wylfa in North Wales.

Industry reaction

The strategy was, nevertheless, enthusiastically received by the nuclear industry. Nuclear Industry Association Chief Executive Tom Greatrex said: “It is very welcome to see the government commit new money to the development of nuclear projects and set out its intention to bring Sizewell C to a Final Investment Decision. We need to invest quickly to clean up the grid by 2035 and ensure our energy security, so we look forward to seeing details of this new fund, money for SMR deployment and legislation for Regulated Asset Base financing coming forward soon.”

A US consortium led by Westinghouse and Bechtel immediately released a statement that was widely reported by the Welsh media. It noted: “We welcome the publication of the Government’s net zero strategy today and are pleased to see that nuclear power features prominently throughout the proposal as an intrinsic part of achieving the UK’s net-zero goals……………

October 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Mini nuclear reactors claim to be the cheap, effective, action for reaching net zero carbon emissions: UK and others are buying this!

Mini nuclear reactors vie for key role in UK’s push to hit climate targets, 21 Oct 21, SMRs promise huge cost savings over traditional large-scale plans, Ever since the Wylfa nuclear power plant on Anglesey stopped generating electricity in December 2015, communities on the Welsh island that are supportive of atomic power have been waiting for its revival. This week that likelihood increased when the UK government named a site near where the old reactors are being decommissioned as a possible location for a new large-scale plant or the first place in the UK to host a new technology under development, known as small modular reactors (SMRs). 

One of the big selling points of SMRs is that they promise huge cost savings over traditional large-scale reactors. Rolls-Royce, the UK engineering group which is leading a consortium to produce a UK design, expects the first five SMR reactors to cost £2.2bn each, falling to £1.8bn for subsequent units. The government’s decision this week to give nuclear a central role in its net zero emissions strategy has given fresh impetus to replacing Britain’s existing reactors, which are all due to be retired by the end of 2035. Ministers committed a total of £505m in funding to the nuclear initiative, which calls for a mix of large plants, SMRs and other emerging technologies.

More than £200m of that funding is soon expected to be channelled into the consortium led by Rolls-Royce. It has been seeking private match-funding so it can submit its SMR reactor design to the extensive regulatory approval process before the end of the year. Wylfa had been earmarked for a new plant under British plans to build a new generation of large-scale reactors, financed mainly by the private sector, that dates back to 2006. But successive governments have struggled to attract private capital to these projects, where cost-overruns are commonplace because of the engineering risks in such complex structures.

So far work has only started on one: Hinkley Point C in Somerset and costs have spiralled with the latest estimate put at £23bn. The developer behind the proposed Wylfa plant, Japan’s Hitachi, pulled the plug last year after failing to reach a financing agreement with the UK government, although a US consortium is trying to resurrect it.

The UK is not alone in pushing smaller reactors. Other governments around the world looking to tap nuclear power to meet their challenging decarbonisation targets are also showing interest in the technology. Along with the promise of much lower build costs, the smaller power plants are also attractive because of their footprint. The UK, for example, has a limited number of sites suitable for large plants.

France, one of the world’s leaders in nuclear engineering, this month announced €1bn in funding for state-backed utility EDF to develop its own SMR technology by the early 2030s. The technology is similar to existing pressurised water reactors that are used in nuclear power plants today. But the key difference is that the small, modular design would allow the parts to be built in factories ready for quick assembly at the chosen location. This, SMR advocates argue, not only cuts costs and the long lead times but also avoids many of the construction risks that bedevil larger plants………..

……. Rolls-Royce is tight-lipped about its SMR fundraising but Tom Samson, who heads the consortium, said he was in talks with a “number of interested investors and developers in deploying the technology”. If the design gets regulatory approval, a process that can take up to five years, Rolls-Royce believes it could complete its first 470 megawatt SMR plant by 2031. After that it expects to build two units a year.  

At 470MW the plant would have a generating capacity similar to some of Britain’s earliest reactors but would be about seven times less capable than the proposed next large-scale plant in the UK: Sizewell C on England’s east coast.  

………. Among those other options are what the UK dubs “advanced modular reactors”. One of the most viable designs looks to be a high temperature gas-cooled reactor. The technology is being tested in a number of countries, including Japan. The government set a target this week of having the first advanced modular reactor demonstrator in Britain “in the early 2030s”. But analysts question whether any of these technologies would be commercialised in time to help the UK reach its 2035 target for a carbon neutral grid.  

 Moreover, some environmentalists argue a big challenge is the UK’s lack of experience with modularisation manufacturing techniques that are key to their economics. “We have never done it,” said Tom Burke, co-founder of E3G, a climate think-tank, arguing that modularisation would require a “very large factory” that could only be funded with a long line of orders.  

Burke questioned how it would be possible to secure those orders when the first SMR is, as yet, unproven. But Rolls-Royce’s Samson remains unfazed. In contrast to future large atomic plants, which are likely to require a financing model that will be underpinned by British households through their energy bills, modularisation promises a radical shift in funding nuclear power. He conceded that government backing would be needed to help finance the initial manufacturing set-up and first orders but insisted private capital would ultimately pay for the bulk of the fleet. “This is an important transition for us.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

West Lothian halving its carbon emissions through energy conservation and renewables

West Lothian has nearly halved its carbon emissions in eight years,
building on the 40% cut it achieved after declaring its climate emergency
policy in September 2019. The report added: “There are a number of direct
actions that have contributed to our emissions reductions including the
implementation of energy efficiency projects, replacing street lighting
with low energy LED equivalents, investing in renewable and low carbon
technologies such as biomass boilers and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and
reducing the volume of waste being sent to landfill.”

 Edinburgh Reporter 19th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Large windfarm development off the coast of Suffolk

Leading utility Iberdrola announces new investment plans at today’s
Global Investment Summit. Leading renewable energy utility Iberdrola is set
to invest an additional £6bn in its offshore wind farm development off the
coast of Suffolk, the company confirmed at today’s Global Investment Summit
hosted by Boris Johnson. Speaking at the Summit, Iberdrola’s chairman and
CEO Ignacio Galán announced a new £6bn investment in offshore wind
projects, in addition to the £10bn already being invested by the company
to double renewable generation capacity between 2020 and 2025. The £6bn
investment will go towards Iberdrola subsidiary ScottishPower’s East Anglia
Hub, a wind farm development off the coast of Suffolk, consisting of three
wind farms: East Anglia ONE North, East Anglia TWO and East Anglia THREE.

 Business Green 19th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt teams up with Bill Gates – (coyly – no public mention of nuclear)

Government teams up with Bill Gates and top corporates to catalyse wave of
green [?] tech investment. Prime Minister announces £9.7bn of inward
infrastructure investment, as government launches new £400m public-private
clean tech innovation fund.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning used
the Global Investment Summit as a curtain-raiser for the government’s
much-anticipated Net Zero Strategy, announcing almost £10bn of new foreign
investment in a wave of primarily low carbon infrastructure projects.

The government confirmed a new package of 18 deals worth £9.7bn, which are set
to ramp up investment in a host of clean infrastructure projects, including
offshore wind, hydrogen development, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and
green homes.

Meanwhile, Johnson shared a virtual stage with billionaire
philanthropist Bill Gates to announce the UK government has teamed up with
Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst clean tech venture to each invest
£200m in a new fund for supporting cutting edge clean tech projects. “The
world’s top investors have seen the massive potential in the UK for growth
and innovation in the industries of the future,” Johnson said. “The
fantastic £9.7bn of new investment we have secured today will power our
economic recovery, creating thousands of jobs and helping to level up
across the country.

 Business Green 19th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s ”low carbon” strategy relies too much on unproven technologies – what we need is energy conservation

Finally, we have a plan to reduce emissions, but much of it rests on
technology that is yet to be tested at scale. The PM confidently claimed
that we will be flying and driving everywhere, guilt-free, with
zero-emission technology.

This optimism – based on a techno-centric,
market-driven vision of the future low carbon society – is what
underlines the entire net zero strategy. Take for instance the reliance on
greenhouse gas removal technologies that remain untested at scale. Between
now and 2050, the government envisions removing and storing more carbon
than we currently emit from all our homes today.

It would of course be a
mistake to dismiss out of hand the possibilities that these technologies
offer, but to have them play such a central role in our strategy is a
gamble. To make it work would require careful planning. A similar reliance
is placed on hydrogen, which the strategy foresees us using a tremendous
amount of, though we barely have any production facilities in the UK today.
None of this is impossible, but climate change offers very little slack for
policymakers to try to fail, so getting it right the first time is

The headline-grabbing announcement of a £5,000 subsidy for heat
pumps distracts us from the lack of investment in insulation and making our
homes warmer. At the New Economics Foundation, we estimate that the scale
of finance committed by the government in decarbonising our leaky housing
stock is less than a quarter of what is actually needed by 2025. That is
why we launched a campaign called the Great Homes Upgrade, calling on the
government to retrofit 19m homes by 2030. Without an investment of at least
2% of GDP annually, the strategy could well remain a non-starter, but the
chancellor has an opportunity to fix that in his upcoming budget and
spending review.

 Guardian 19th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

ALL UK energy can be obtained from renewables – Prof Mark Barrett

How we can get ALL our energy from renewables – a talk by Professor Mark
Barrett- talk slides published! Professor Mark Barrett from UCL has given a
talk about how ALL UK energy can be supplied by renewables. He focused on
heat in particular.

 100% Renewables 18th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

The value of energy efficiency in UK’s emissions reduction programme

 Improving the energy efficiency of homes in deprived areas would cut seven
million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, a Times investigation can reveal.
Despite much of the housing being older, insulating leaky boilers,
replacing inefficient lighting and installing solar panels in the poorest
30 per cent of neighbourhoods in England and Wales would be about as cost
effective as making the same improvements in the richest areas. It would
also reduce energy bills for those struggling the most. According to
analysis of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), for every £1,000 spent
in poorer parts of the country, 166kg of CO2 would be saved. Boris Johnson
has put both levelling up the country and a commitment to improving the
environment at the heart of his premiership.

 Times 24th June 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s ”Net Zero” climate strategy fails to give concrete commits to reduce energy use, promote renewables.

In reaction to the government’s Net Zero Strategy, Rebecca Newsom,
Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, said “This document is more like a pick and mix than the substantial meal that we need to reach net zero. Extra cash for tree planting and progress on electric vehicles doesn’t make up
for the lack of concrete plans to deliver renewables at scale, extra investment in public transport, or a firm commitment to end new oil and gas licences.

There are only half-hearted policies and funding commitments to decarbonise our draughty homes at the speed necessary, and it fundamentally fails to grapple with the need to reduce our meat and dairy consumption to
stop global deforestation. With just eight years left to halve global emissions, the government can’t just keep dining out on its ‘ambitious targets’.

Until the policy and funding gaps are closed, Boris Johnson’s plea to other countries to deliver on their promises at the global climate conference next month will be easy to ignore.”

 Greenpeace 19th Oct 2021

October 21, 2021 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce ”small” nuclear reactors – not really small, not useful against climate change, but useful for military purposes

Answers to the energy and climate crises are needed NOW. These answers are available based on a comprehensive programme of developing renewable energy and energy conservation technologies.

Every pound wasted on nuclear power will be a pound taken away from faster and more effectivesolutions offered by renewable energy and energy conservation.

It is reported that the Tory government will restate its support on Monday, 18 October to buiding a fleet of modular nuclear reactors. The favoured reactor is the Rolls Royce SMR, namely ‘Small ModularReactor’. This term is very misleading as the Rolls Royce reactor would produce 450MW of electricity, which is more than the output of the old Magnox station at Trawsfynydd, and the same size as one of old big Magnox reactors at Wylfa.

It is known that Rolls Royce are asking for huge public subsidies to realise their nuclear ambitions. This movement towardsbuilding reactors to produce electricity is closely related to their wish to safeguard skills in the reactors they provide for submarines carrying nuclear weapons. Civil and military nuclear are two sides of the same coin. Rolls Royce claim they would like to build 18 SMRs.

How far will the government be prepared to go to fund a far from new technology and like larger nuclear reactors, is open to accidents and radioactive leaks, and produces poisonous and lethal radioactive waste.

Also mentioned is the possibility of Bechtel/Westinghouse trying to push the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor on the Johnson government to be developed at the Wylfa site.  This is the very reactor on the V.C.Summer site in South Carolina that
bankrupted Toshiba Westinghouse in 2017. That happened due to huge overspending and the project was abandoned 40% of the way into construction. It was therefore no surprise that the NUGen Consortium project to build three AP1000s at Moorside near Sellafield collapsed in 2018. Nobody was prepared to invest in it. Exactly the same fate as the Hitachi/Horizon plan at Wylfa. Johnson and his ministers in the Treasury and the Business,

Energy and Industrial Stratregy Department are missing the point entirely as they cling on to past imperial grandeur by blindly
promoting nuclear power. Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, extortionately expensive, and a threat to environmental and human health. Nuclear power will do nothing to tackle the present energy crisis, nor will it effectively counteract the effects of climate change., and we certainly cannot afford to waste the fifteen years needed to build large new nuclear stations

Answers to the energy and climate crises are needed NOW. These answers are available based on a comprehensive programme of developing renewable energy and energy conservation technologies. Every pound wasted on nuclear power will be a pound taken away from faster and more effectivesolutions offered by renewable energy and energy conservation.

 People Against Wylfa B 18th Oct 2021   

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

British government’s enthusiasm for mini nuclear reactors, led by Rolls Royce and 8 other organisations

Brexit Britain strikes historic £210m deal with Rolls-Royce to create nuclear reactors

BREXIT Britain is set to see its emissions slashed as the Government is poised to make a landmark deal with Rolls-Royce to fund a fleet of nuclear mini-reactors.

Express UK, By JACOB PAUL, Mon, Oct 18, 2021   The move is set to help Prime Minister Boris Johnson race to his target of zero-carbon electricity by 2035 in a move set to impress ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in less than two weeks time. Mr Johnson visited Rolls-Royce’s Bristol factory on Friday, where he was shown their state-of -the-art facility by their CEO, Warren East. A consortium led by Rolls-Royce had already secured £210million in backing from private investors for the small modular reactor (SMR) project, a sum that the Government is expected to match and even surpass.

Confirmation is expected before the spending review on October 27.

The consortium called UK SMR, is set to rebrand British engineering firm Rolls-Royce SMR under a request from the Government.   Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Match-funding for Rolls-Royce would be a huge signal to private investors that the government wants SMRs alongside new large-scale stations to hit net zero.

It would also show investors that the Government believes in nuclear as a green technology.”

 Government support will help with the consortium’s multi-billion pound plans to build 16 SMRs up and down the country………………  Rolls-Royce is also being advised by HSBC, which has helped it secure £210million from private investors, which was a condition set by the government for them to hand out at least the same amount of funding.

This move could also signal a possible U-turn  from the Government on their scheduled phasing out of nuclear power in the UK.

 13 nuclear reactors capable of producing 7.8GW of power currently produce around 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

But over half of that capacity comes from reactors that are scheduled to be replaced or halted by 2025.

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Clyde nuclear base emergency staff to strike from tomorrow over safety fears

Clyde nuclear base emergency staff to strike from tomorrow over safety fears, Herald Scotland, By Martin Williams  @Martin1Williams, Senior News Reporter  18 Oct 21,
 EMERGENCY workers at the home of Britain’s nuclear weapons on the Clyde are set to strike over “major safety concerns” after managers slashed firefighter numbers.

Action has been previously been given the go-ahead following a ballot of workers after managers proceeded with cuts to eight posts from the specialist fire safety crew at HM Naval Base Clyde, a reduction in strength of 15 per cent, with the a union describing it as an “an accident waiting to happen”.

Unite members working for outsourcing services firm Capita Business Services will now start strike action from Tuesday in a dispute over cuts to fire and rescue crew levels, and a lack of consultation………………

Workers believe the cuts impair the abilities of the onsite fire crews to do their jobs properly, particularly, in relation to incidents that would involve wearing breathing apparatus.

Capita has previously stated that they intend to mitigate safety risks due to the cuts through an investment in new technology to reduce fire risk”.

But workers have said they are not aware of any new technology which would address ongoing safety concerns……………………………

October 19, 2021 Posted by | employment, safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s grand energy plan – focus is on saving the nuclear industry

 ”Nuclear power is slow, dangerous and extortionately expensive. It will do nothing to address the current energy crisis, neither will it be effective to counter climate change”

Reviving nuclear power station projects such as Wylfa B on Anglesey and Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd is at the heart of the UK Government’s ambitions to attain net zero carbon emissions by 2035, government sources have said.

The UK Government is expected to reveal its new nuclear strategy in documents to be published next week, alongside a plan for how to pay for the new array of nuclear plants. US nuclear company Westinghouse is planning to revive plans for a nuclear power plant at Wylfa that was abandoned by Japan’s Hitachi in 2019, and the UK Government has indicated that it is keen to see the plan come to fruition.

Ministers are also expected to back smaller modular reactors which are being developed by a consortium led by Rolls-Royce. One of these is planned for installation in the now-decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear plant. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary who has been under fire from industry this week due to
the rising cost of energy prices, is to unveil the overarching ‘Net Zero Strategy’ paper on Monday.

According to the Financial Times, the strategy will have a “heavy focus” on Britain’s languishing nuclear power
programme. Under the plans, an energy levy on consumers by the UK Government finance the cost of producing the power before the nuclear energy plants are built. Kwasi Kwarteng has set a target of 2035 to reach
‘net zero’ based on nuclear power, renewables and carbon capture and storage.

Anti-nuclear groups have already criticised the plans, saying that the emphasis should be placed on green renewable energy instead. Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said: “We have an immediate crisis now. Building huge reactors at a nuclear power station take at least 15 years. “Nuclear power is slow, dangerous and extortionately expensive. It will do nothing to address the current energy crisis, neither will it be effective to counter climate change”

 Nation Cymru 16th Oct 2021

October 18, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear station – a white elephant that will irreversibly damage the environment

Campaigners protesting the building of Sizewell C have responded with
frustration to EDF’s £250 million package of funding to mitigate the
impacts of the proposed site. The biggest concern for those against the
project was the money put towards environmental causes – £78 million for
an independent environmental body to enhance the landscape of the area and
£22 million for investment in landscape impact mitigation and creation of
wildlife and habitat areas.

“It’s notable that by far the biggest sum –
£100 million – is for environmental projects,” said Alison Downes from
Stop Sizewell C. “This work will have to be ongoing for decades – through
the life of the station and potentially decommissioning – to make any
significant difference.”

“The environmental funding is simply a
recognition of the long term and irreversible damage they will do to the
environment,” said Pete Wilkinson of Together Against Sizewell C. “The
rest is a measure of the damage to this community EDF intends to inflict
for what will be a huge white elephant on our eroding, heritage coast.”

 East Anglian Daily Times 15th Oct 2021

October 18, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment