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Offshore wind leads, as UK’s renewable energy is on course to overtake fossil fuels

Business Green 16th Jan 2019,  Renewables are on course to overtake fossil fuels for the first time as the UK’s primary electricity source as early as 2020, according to the latest market forecast from EnAppSys. If current trends continue, the market analyst predicts growing renewable power sources such as wind and solar
will generate 121.3TWh of electricity over the calendar year of 2020, pushing ahead of declining coal and gas-fired power sources with a forecasted 105.6TWh of generation.

The forecast assumes current trends of declining fossil fuel generation and rising renewables generation continue at the same annual rate. In 2018, coal and gas fired power stations
produced a combined 130.9TWh, a 6.7 per cent fall from the previous year’s 140.3TWh, the report states.

Meanwhile, renewable sources delivered 95.9TWh last year, rising 15.2 per cent from 2017 – a strong performance bolstered by the UK’s increasing offshore wind capacity.
https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3069376/report-renewables-to-overtake-fossil-fuels-in-uk-energy-mix-in-2020

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January 17, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’ collapsing, as Hitachi ponders exit from Wylfa project

FT 13th Jan 2019 Nick Butler: Who could blame the board of the Japanese company Hitachi if
its members decide at their meeting this week to scrap plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on the North Wales island of Anglesey?

Hitachi has invested more than £840m in the project over the past six years. The technology has passed all the tests set by the UK’s nuclear regulator. But the company has been unable to get the government to put in place the clear and credible financial structure necessary to underpin the investment.

That failure has already led other investors to abandon the new plant planned at Moorside in Cumbria. Talk of scrapping the Wylfa project could be a bargaining tactic on the part of Hitachi but the reality is probably much simpler. Hitachi’s doubts have been well signalled during the
past few months and the company’s purchase of ABB’s power grid business at the end of last year gives it a range of investment choices.

Given Whitehall’s chronic indecision, the company is ready to use its capital elsewhere. Hitachi’s withdrawal would mark the collapse of the energy policy adopted in 2013 by the UK’s coalition government. Facing what were believed to be ever-rising energy prices  the policy plumped for new nuclear, promising that 35 gigawatts of new capacity would be on stream by the mid 2030s – more than replacing the first generation of nuclear plants, which would by then have reached the end of their useful lives.

Because the price of gas seemed doomed to keep rising, new nuclear would come to look highly competitive over time as well as reducing dependence on imports. Since then much has changed, and the assumptions which underpinned the old policy now look laughably wrong.

The costs of all forms of energy (apart from nuclear) have fallen dramatically and there is no shortage of supply. Electricity demand is down thanks to efficiency gains and new technology.

The contract for the first new nuclear station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which enjoys a guaranteed index-linked price for 35 years from the moment the plant is commissioned, looks exorbitant. The demise of Wylfa forces the need for a comprehensive review of energy policy.

Since the UK government is too busy preparing for Brexit to focus seriously on any other issue, the review should be conducted independently. Advances in energy technology offer more
possibilities each year. But those options will never be taken up unless the old outdated policy is scrapped and a more realistic approach put in place.
https://www.ft.com/content/7b33e9fa-1648-11e9-9e64-d150b3105d21

January 15, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

In Scotland, over 700 ‘safety events’ recorded at nuclear bases

More than 700 ‘safety events’ recorded at nuclear bases, News and Star,  19. More than 700 nuclear safety events have been recorded at Scotland’s nuclear bases since 2006, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed the figures in letters to SNP MP Deidre Brock.

A total of 789 nuclear safety events were recorded at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane and nearby Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport in the 12 years between 2006 and 2018.

Earlier the MoD disclosed 505 incidents had taken place at Faslane, where the majority of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet is based.   Now, a further letter shows 284 incidents took place at Coulport, where the nuclear warheads are stored and loaded onto the submarines, in the same period

………A Category A incident took place in 2008 when water overflowed from a now-decommissioned primary effluent barge.

Category A events have “actual or high potential for radioactive release to the environment of quantities in excess of IRR99 notification limits”.

……….In response to parliamentary questions from Ms Brock, the MoD also disclosed there have been 22 fires on its nuclear armed or nuclear powered submarines since June 2015.

“It’s a shocking record of accidents and incidents in places where the most dangerous weapons on the planet are,” Ms Brock said.

“We already knew that there were 505 nuclear safety events on board submarines while they were berthed at Faslane and now we find that there have been another 284 in other locations at Faslane and at Coulport where weapons are handled.”

She added: “One bad accident would be enough to wipe Scotland out and the safety record is appalling.

“Even the risks from the nuclear reactors on board submarines is too high – as the spillage from the effluent barge shows.”   https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/national/17355193.more-than-700-safety-events-recorded-at-nuclear-bases/

January 15, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

UK to use Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) funding for Wylfa nuclear plant, exposing consumers to financial risk?

Times 13th Jan 2019 Ministers will be forced to pioneer a new way of financing nuclear power after Hitachi walked away from a £16bn plant in north Wales. The suspension of the Japanese giant’s Horizon project on Anglesey, expected to be confirmed at a board meeting tomorrow, will force the government to lure investors with a financing method that would pile costs on to consumers, even before a plant has been built.
Ministers are expected to accelerate plans to introduce regulated asset base (RAB) financing, which is popular in the water and infrastructure sectors, for nuclear plants including the Horizon site. Hitachi’s mothballing of its scheme, which could cost about 400 jobs, will be a damaging blow to Britain’s energy policy.
In November, its Japanese counterpart Toshiba scrapped plans to build a nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria. Japan’s withdrawal from the UK market will kill the country’s ambitions to sell reactors around the globe.
It leaves Britain dependent on France’s EDF and the Chinese company CGN. Together they are
building the £20bn Hinkley Point power station in Somerset, and CGN has ambitions to build its own reactors on the Essex coast at Bradwell-on-Sea. Industry insiders said state-controlled CGN could swoop on Anglesey if Hitachi puts the project up for sale. Kepco of South Korea would also be interested.
The project’s collapse follows years of negotiations between Tokyo and London. Last summer Britain agreed to split the equity equally with the Japanese government and Hitachi. Ministers were keen to avoid a repeat of the deal struck with EDF, which guarantees at least £92.50 per
megawatt hour for Hinkley Point’s electricity for 35 years. The Horizon deal would have guaranteed about £75 per megawatt hour, falling to the £50s for future reactors on the site.
However, the Japanese government balked at the risk, and tried to pass the equity on to Japanese utility companies. That triggered nervousness at Hitachi, a conglomerate with interests from train manufacturing to power grids. Nuclear power makes up just 4% of its business.
Shares in Hitachi surged almost 9% on Friday amid speculation about Horizon being halted, despite the company having spent more than £2bn on the plans.
EDF is keen to use RAB financing for Sizewell C in Suffolk, its next UK plant. The funding method, which allows investors to earn a set return, has been used for a huge new sewer beneath London and Terminal 5 at Heathrow. However, the pre-funding formula passes some of the risk of cost overruns on to consumers, and their bills rise even before a project has been completed.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fce4e714-169e-11e9-9e09-701e9f424b2e

January 14, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Collapse of UK’s nuclear power plans as Hitachi Exit Follows Toshiba

U.K’s Nuclear Future Fades as Hitachi Exit Follows Toshiba, Bloomberg, By Lars Paulsson and Mathew Carr January 11, 2019, 

EDF’s atomic plants need to be replaced by new generation

Offshore wind could be the winner from withdrawal, RBC says

…….Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. will halt work on the Wylfa project and take a one-time charge as negotiations with the British government over funding stalled, the Nikkei newspaper reported. After Toshiba Corp.’s withdrawal from its Moorside plant in November, it leaves the nation with just Electricite de France SA’s Hinkley Point project underway and that’s been mired in controversy because of delays and the cost to the U.K. consumer.

……..The Nikkei report said the company’s board will make a decision next week and cited an unidentified executive saying the project isn’t being abandoned entirely and could be restarted in the future.

Toshiba said in November it planned to liquidate NuGeneration Ltd., its U.K. nuclear power developer, after failing to find a partner or a buyer for the Moorside project. In September, China General Nuclear said it may give upthe chance to operate a nuclear plant at Bradwell amid political sensitivities over Chinese investments, the Financial Times reported.

As the U.K. is running out of nuclear options, other technologies stand to benefit.

“We see offshore wind as increasingly viable,” said John Musk, utilities analyst at RBC Europe Ltd. Natural gas power will probably provide a significant amount of the baseload power not met by renewables……..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-11/u-k-s-nuclear-future-fades-as-hitachi-exit-follows-toshiba

January 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New danger for Julian Assange as Ecuador toes the USA line (and Australia won’t help him, though he’s their citizen)

More troubles for Julian Assange as Ecuador bows to pressure to extradite him following this letter, http://thewikidaily.com/more-troubles-for-julian-asange-as-ecuador-bows-to-pressure-to-extradite-him-following-this-letter/  We have been monitoring Julian asange’s asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in britain to outline the dangers the computer proggrammer and  wikileaks founder face in coming future and it seems alot have been happening lately than the mainstream media’s  are reporting.

Ecuador has begun a “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and citizenship as it looks to the IMF for a bailout, the whistleblowing site reports, with conditions including handing over the WikiLeaks founder.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted an image of the letter he received from the State Comptroller General on December 19, which outlines the upcoming examination by the Direction National de Auditoria.

The audit will “determine whether the procedures for granting  asylum and naturalization to Julian Assange were carried out in accordance with national and international law,” and will cover the period between January 1, 2012 and September 20, 2018.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since he sought asylum there in 2012. He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship last December in a bid to protect him from being extradited to the US where he fears he faces secret charges for publishing US government cables and documents.

WikiLeaks tweeted the news on Wednesday, joining the dots between the audit and Ecuador’s consideration of an International Monetary Fund bailout. The country owes China more than $6.5 billion in debt and falling oil prices have affected its repayment abilities.

According to WikiLeaks, Ecuador is considering a $10 billion bailout which would allegedly come with conditions such as “the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron,” for its role in polluting the Amazon rainforest.

Assange’s position has increasingly been under threat under Correa’s successor, President Lenin Moreno, with Ecuadorian authorities restricting his internet access and visitors.“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the US government,

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, SOUTH AMERICA, UK | 1 Comment

People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) has warned for years of the coming financial failure of Wylfa nuclear project

Wales Online 11th Jan 2019 , The campaigning group People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) said in a statement: “Should the news be confirmed at a meeting of the Hitachi Board next week
then it will be a relief for all of us who worry about the future of our
island, our country, our language, our environment and indeed renewable
energy.

PAWB has warned for years that the costs associated with the Wylfa
project would be likely to prove fatal to the project, but we were ignored.
“Consequently, millions of taxpayers’ money from the island, Wales and
the UK was invested to back Wylfa B. In addition huge political capital has
been invested, and there has been a failure to have a mature public
discussion about the project other than in terms of cash and jobs.

“The legacy of this, if the reports from Japan prove to be true, is that over a
decade has been wasted on Wylfa, with very little alternative economic
planning in evidence. Our young people have been promised jobs on very
shaky foundations. “Good land has been destroyed to create infrastructure
to back the project. It is time for politicians and officials from the UK
Government, the Welsh Government and Anglesey to admit that they were
wrong. “Wales is rich in natural resources which can be used to create a
vibrant and sustainable energy future, and above all else create more jobs
in less time than Wylfa would have done.”
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/hitachi-to-pull-plug-angleseys-15663299

January 14, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

‘Local Hero’ – a campaign to raise awareness of the environmental threat of planned Sizewell nuclear station

TEAGS 11th Jan 2019 Locals and campaigners create ‘Sizewell Hero’ – a tribute to the film
‘Local Hero’ – to launch a new online campaign, urging EDF to change
its approach. Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell [TEAGS]
today launched a new video and online campaign.

Made by local people, it is aimed at increasing awareness and concern about the impacts of the proposed Sizewell C&D nuclear power station to audiences beyond east Suffolk. EDF
launched its Stage 3 consultations on the twin-reactor development last
week. ‘Sizewell Hero, hosted on YouTube and Facebook, is a three-minute
homage to the award-winning 1980s film ‘Local Hero’, and shows a
company executive transformed and inspired by the beauty of Minsmere and
the coast at Sizewell to think again about the company’s plans.

The video is entirely a local initiative, starring Middleton actor Simon Bridge and
featuring other residents from Theberton and Middleton. The film was shot
and produced by Steve Sutton and crew from UK Aerial Photography Ltd, based
in Peasenhall. Permission to use the famous ‘Local Hero’ theme music
was kindly granted by Mark Knopfler’s management, Crockford Management
and the project was made possible by a grant from Lush Charity Pot. Stills
and ‘making of’ photos are available.
https://teags.org/sizewell-hero-video-and-online-campaign-launched/

January 14, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

UK will have to pile on costs to consumers, if new nuclear power is to go ahead

Energy ministers eye new formula to pay for Britain’s nuclear power plants
Japanese withdrawal leaves UK energy policy in tatters
Times,  John Collingridge, January 13 2019,  Ministers will be forced to pioneer a new way of financing nuclear power after Hitachi walked away from a £16bn plant in north Wales.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear energy renaissance derailed, as Japanese companies step back from nuclear investment?

Japan’s nuclear rethink could derail UK energy plans, https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/01/09/japan-uk-nuclear-plans-go-awry/, Doug Parr, 11 Jan 19,   Reports in the Japanese press claim Hitachi is set to suspend all work on Wylfa, its nuclear power project in Wales.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is in London this week, and it seems likely in his meeting with Theresa May that the Japanese-backed nuclear power plant in Wales will come up.

The Wylfa project, to be built by Hitachi and its subsidiary Horizon, is one of a clutch of planned nuclear power stations which the UK government has heavily prioritised for security of power supply, and meeting the country’s climate obligations.

Late last year another of the 6 major projects, the proposed Moorside plant in Cumbria, was effectively abandoned after Toshiba pulled out. And another has come under fire as questions are raised about security issues flowing from the Chinese builders.

These developments effectively illustrate that UK nuclear power policy is heavily dependent on overseas developers. What is less understood is that there are significant shifts underway in Japan which strongly suggest Hitachi’s projects may too be at risk.

‘Nuclear export superpower’   The most advanced of Horizon’s nuclear plans is a large power station to be built at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales.

In fact, with the collapse of Moorside, the Wylfa plant is the only nuclear project that could realistically be built before 2030, in addition to the plant already under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Japan, however, is reconsidering its nuclear export strategy. Because it keeps going wrong.

Until recently it had 3 companies interested in building nuclear power stations abroad: Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Hitachi.

These companies have experience building nuclear stations at home but since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, they have had to look elsewhere. Seeking to help these giants of Japanese industry to maintain their businesses, Prime Minister Abe reportedly wanted to turn Japan into a “nuclear export superpower”.

Misfires   Toshiba pulled out of Moorside last year because it had run up huge losses in building 2 nuclear plants in USA. One, the Summer project in South Carolina, was abandoned altogether despite it being nearly half-built. Toshiba has pulled out not just of Moorside, but of building new nuclear power stations altogether.

Meanwhile, another of Japan’s nuclear groups, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has also been struggling to get its international project off-the-ground. It had one nuclear power station in the offing, at Sinop in Turkey, following an agreement years ago between the two countries’ prime ministers. However it seems clear that MHI is preparing to leave the project amid its “ballooning costs”. This is the only nuclear power station project MHI had an interest in.

The last of the companies involved in Japan’s nuclear export push is Hitachi. It has one active overseas nuclear project in UK at Wylfa, North Wales, and one more speculatively planned at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

Hitachi, however, are reportedly be thinking of scrapping the project as its costs and risks become unmanageable. Hitachi could be looking at Toshiba’s near-bankruptcy and thinking ‘let’s not go there’.  According to their chairman the project was in “an extremely severe situation” as it struggled to attract investors, even though UK government may have promised as much as two thirds of the build cost.

Despite this already generous largesse (on behalf of UK taxpayers, not offered to any other energy projects) Hitachi are intending to come back to UK government and ask for more. It looks like no assessment of the risks by a private funder come back looking good, and the only way nuclear plants can be built is with government stepping into very risky projects that require taxpayers to shoulder the risk.

The aversion from private investors may not only be because of the rising costs, but also that the operating performance of the proposed reactor is pretty poor (albeit partly due to earthquakes). Notably Hitachi continues to be happy to spend many billions of pounds on power grid investments, but not its own nuclear reactor, which it wants UK taxpayers to fund.

Second thoughts  Unsurprisingly this tale is making many in Japan have second thoughts.

Major Japanese newspapers have opposed their own taxpayers lending supportto the Wylfa project, even though a home-grown company would be getting the benefits. And during the Xmas break, Japan’s third largest newspaper called for the nuclear export strategy to be abandoned. Another paper attacks the ‘bottomless swamp’ of nuclear funding in UK and remarks upon how few countries seem to be following the UK-style nuclear-focused policy.

Reportedly Japanese government has asked its development banks to fund the ‘nuclear export strategy’, and Wylfa in particular, but they don’t want to. It is quite difficult to see how Hitachi can manage the risks of this project without some home support, and support in Japan is ebbing away.

Few other countries will be stepping into the UK’s nuclear hole. The South Korean company KEPCO – that once might have taken over the Moorside project – is also finding exporting nuclear power tough to export, as ‘shoddy’ construction in a nuclear plant in United Arab Emirates, with attendant delays and extra costs, is showing.

For the UK, which has made a heavy bet on new nuclear to cover for retiring plants and make up a significant share of its decarbonisation targets, news from the other side of the world makes that bet look a dodgy one.

 

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

A nuclear cover-up? Britain removes from public access, files on atomic bomb tests in Australia

“To now withdraw previously available documents is extremely unfortunate and hints at an attempted cover-up.”

“worrying that properly released records can suddenly be removed from public access without notice or explanation.”

Review or ‘cover up’? Mystery as Australia nuclear weapons tests files withdrawn https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/11/australia/uk-australia-nuclear-archives-intl/index.html, By James Griffiths, CNN

More than 65 years since the UK began conducting secret nuclear weapons testing in the Australian Outback, scores of files about the program have been withdrawn from the country’s National Archives without explanation.

The unannounced move came as a shock to many researchers and historians who rely on the files and have been campaigning to unseal the small number which remain classified.

“Many relevant UK documents have remained secret since the time of the tests, well past the conventional 30 years that government documents are normally withheld,” said expert Elizabeth Tynan, author of “Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story”.

“To now withdraw previously available documents is extremely unfortunate and hints at an attempted cover-up.”

Withdrawal of the files was first noted in late December. Access to them has remained closed in the new year.

Dark legacy   The UK conducted 12 nuclear weapons tests in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in the sparsely populated Outback of South Australia.

Information about the tests remained a tightly held secret for decades. It wasn’t until a Royal Commission was formed in 1984 — in the wake of several damning press reports — that the damage done to indigenous people and the Australian servicemen and women who worked on the testing grounds became widely known.

Indigenous people living nearby had long complained of the effects they suffered, including after a “black mist” settled over one camp near Maralinga in the wake of the Totem I test in October 1953. The mist caused stinging eyes and skin rashes. Others vomited and suffered from diarrhea.

These claims were dismissed and ridiculed by officials for decades — until, in the wake of the Royal Commission report, the UK agreed to pay the Australian government and the traditional owners of the Maralinga lands about AU$46 million ($30 million). The Australian authorities also paid indigenous Maralinga communities a settlement of AU$13.5 million ($9 million).

While the damage done to indigenous communities was acknowledged, much about the Totem I test — and other tests at Maralinga and later at Emu Field — remained secret, even before the recent withdrawal of archive documents.

“The British atomic tests in Australia did considerable harm to indigenous populations, to military and other personnel and to large parts of the country’s territory. This country has every right to know exactly what the tests entailed,” Tynan said. “Mysteries remain about the British nuclear tests in Australia, and these mysteries have become harder to bring to light with the closure of files by the British government.”

Alan Owen, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, which campaigns on behalf of former servicemen, said “the removal of these documents affects not only our campaign, but affects the many academic organizations that rely on this material.”

“We are very concerned that the documents will not be republished and the (Ministry of Defense) will again deny any responsibility for the effects the tests have had on our membership,” Owen told CNN.

Unclear motives Responding to a request for comment from CNN, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said the withdrawal of the Australian nuclear test files was done at the request of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has ultimate responsibility over them.

The NDA said that “a collection of records has been temporarily withdrawn from general access via The National Archive at Kew as part of a review process.”

“It is unclear, at this time, how long the review will take, however NDA anticipates that many of the documents will be restored to the public archive in due course,” a spokeswoman said.

Jon Agar, a professor of science and technology at University College London, said the withdrawal “is not just several records but two whole classes of files, many of which had previously been open to researchers at the National Archives.”

“These files are essential to any historian of the UK nuclear projects — which of course included tests in Australia. They have been closed without proper communication or consultation,” he added.

Agar shared correspondence he had with the NDA in which a spokeswoman said some files would be moved to a new archive — Nucleus — in the far north of Scotland. Howevethe Nucleus archives focus on the British civil nuclear industry, and it is unclear why files on military testing would be moved there, or why those files would need to be withdrawn to do so.

Nucleus also does not offer the type of online access to its records as the National Archives does.

“Why not just copy the files if the nuclear industry needs them at Nucleus for administrative reasons? Why take them all out of public view?” Agar wrote on Twitter.

Information freedom In correspondence with both CNN and Agar, the NDA suggested those interested in the files could file freedom of information (FOI) requests for them.

Under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act, British citizens and concerned parties are granted the “right to access recorded information held by public sector organizations.”

FOI requests can be turned down if the government deems the information too sensitive or the request too expensive to process. Under a separate rule, the UK government should also declassify documents between 20 and 30 years after they were created.

According to the BBC, multiple UK government departments — including the Home Office and Cabinet Office — have been repeatedly condemned by auditors for their “poor,” “disappointing” and “unacceptable” treatment of FOI applications.

Commenting on the nuclear documents, Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, a UK-based NGO, said it was “worrying that properly released records can suddenly be removed from public access without notice or explanation.”

“It suggests that the historical record is fragile and transient and liable to be snatched away at any time, with or without good reason,” he added.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hitachi to post $2 billion special loss, will suspend UK nuclear power operations

Hitachi to suspend UK nuclear power ops, post $2 billion special loss https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/hitachi-to-suspend-uk-nuclear-power-ops-post-2-billion-special-loss/67484807

Hitachi is set to vote on the planned suspension at its board meeting next week, the Nikkei said without citing sources REUTERS  |  January 11, 2019, TOKYOHitachi has decided to suspend its 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) nuclear project in Britain and to post a special loss of about $2 billion for the year ending March, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday.

Hitachi is set to vote on the planned suspension at its board meetingnext week, the Nikkei said without citing sources.

The loss is expected to be 200 billion to 300 billion yen ($1.9 billion to 2.8 billion), it said.

Hitachi representatives could not be immediately reached for comment

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales

Hitachi set to cancel plans for £16bn nuclear power station in Wales Guardian, Adam Vaughan @adamvaughan_uk-12 Jan 2019

Move by Japanese firm would be blow to UK plans to replace coal plants and ageing reactors  The Japanese conglomerate Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales, leaving Britain’s ambitions for a nuclear renaissance in tatters.

An impasse in months-long talks between the company, London and Toyko on financing is expected to result in the flagship project being axed at a Hitachi board meeting next week, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The company has spent nearly £2bn on the planned Wylfa power station on Anglesey, which would have powered around 5m homes.

Another Japanese giant, Toshiba, scrapped a nuclear plant in Cumbria just two months ago after failing to find a buyer for the ailing project.

Withdrawal by Hitachi would be a major blow to the UK’s plans to replace dirty coal and ageing reactors with new nuclear power plants, and heap pressure on ministers to consider other large-scale alternatives such as offshore windfarms.

It would also mark an end to Japan’s hopes of exporting its nuclear technology around the world.

Hitachi and the UK and Japanese governments have been negotiating over a guaranteed price of power from Wylfa and a potentially £5bn-plus UK public stake in the scheme.

Talks have proved “tricky to find a solution that works for all parties”, industry sources said.

Unions said the prospect of Wylfa being cancelled was extremely worrying and losing two projects in such a short period “should set alarm bells ringing” about the government’s commitment to nuclear………

an insider said: “There has been a serious rift in Hitachi, and the group that said this is too large and risky an investment of Japanese capital have won out. They pointed to the uncertainty created by Brexit to say this was another reason to pull the plug.” ……….

Nuclear critics said a collapse of the scheme was not a disaster but an opportunity for a policy shift. Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, said: “We could have locked ourselves into reliance on an obsolete, unaffordable technology, but we’ve been given the chance to think again and make a better decision.”

Sara Medi Jones, the acting secretary general of CND, said: “With offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear it’s clear there is a clean and workable alternative. We just need the political will to make it happen.”

Just one new nuclear power station, EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C in Somerset, has been given the green light and begun construction. The French company and Chinese firm CGN both want to build more. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/11/hitachi-cancel-plans-nuclear-power-station-angelsey-wales

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe in UK to beg for more money for Wylfa nuclear project?

Unearthed 9th Jan 2019 Doug Parr: Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is in London this week, and it seems likely in his meeting with Theresa May that the Japanese-backed
nuclear power plant in Wales will come up. The Wylfa project, to be built
by Hitachi and its subsidiary Horizon, is one of a clutch of planned
nuclear power stations which the UK government has heavily prioritised for
security of power supply, and meeting the country’s climate obligations.

Late last year another of the 6 major projects, the proposed Moorside plant
in Cumbria, was effectively abandoned after Toshiba pulled out. And another
has come under fire as questions are raised about security issues flowing
from the Chinese builders.

These developments effectively illustrate that
UK nuclear power policy is heavily dependent on overseas developers.

What is less understood is that there are significant shifts underway in Japan
which strongly suggest Hitachi’s projects may too be at risk. The most
advanced of Horizon’s nuclear plans is a large power station to be built
at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales. In fact, with the collapse of Moorside,
the Wylfa plant is the only nuclear project that could realistically be
built before 2030, in addition to the plant already under construction at
Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Japan, however, is reconsidering its nuclear
export strategy. Because it keeps going wrong. Until recently it had 3
companies interested in building nuclear power stations abroad: Toshiba,
Mitsubishi and Hitachi. These companies have experience building nuclear
stations at home but since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, they have had to
look elsewhere.

Seeking to help these giants of Japanese industry to
maintain their businesses, Prime Minister Abe reportedly wanted to turn
Japan into a “nuclear export superpower”. Hitachi, however, are
reportedly be thinking of scrapping the project as its costs and risks
become unmanageable. Hitachi could be looking at Toshiba’s
near-bankruptcy and thinking ‘let’s not go there’. According to their
chairman the project was in “an extremely severe situation” as it
struggled to attract investors, even though UK government may have promised
as much as two thirds of the build cost.

Despite this already generouslargesse (on behalf of UK taxpayers, not offered to any other energy projects) Hitachi are intending to come back to UK government and ask for
more. It looks like no assessment of the risks by a private funder come
back looking good, and the only way nuclear plants can be built is with
government stepping into very risky projects that require taxpayers to
shoulder the risk.

The aversion from private investors may not only be
because of the rising costs, but also that the operating performance of the
proposed reactor is pretty poor (albeit partly due to earthquakes).

Notably Hitachi continues to be happy to spend many billions of pounds on power
grid investments, but not its own nuclear reactor, which it wants UK
taxpayers to fund. Major Japanese newspapers have opposed their own
taxpayers lending support to the Wylfa project, even though a home-grown
company would be getting the benefits.

 

And during the Xmas break, Japan’s
third largest newspaper called for the nuclear export strategy to be
abandoned. Another paper attacks the ‘bottomless swamp’ of nuclear
funding in UK and remarks upon how few countries seem to be following the
UK-style nuclear-focused policy. Reportedly Japanese government has asked
its development banks to fund the ‘nuclear export strategy’, and Wylfa
in particular, but they don’t want to. It is quite difficult to see how
Hitachi can manage the risks of this project without some home support, and
support in Japan is ebbing away.
https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/01/09/japan-uk-nuclear-plans-go-awry/

January 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Sizewell nuclear project – a monstrous folly that is shrouded in misleading information

TASC 9th Jan 2019 , TASC’s initial opinion of the EDF 3rd stage consultation is that it is
‘vague to the point of being misleading.’ Pete Wilkinson, the group’s
chairman, said today, ‘This is the last chance before the Development
Consent Order for people of east Suffolk to submit their views about how
the proposed EDF development will affect their lives.
‘The glossy  consultation brochure states baldly that, ‘An Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA) process is on-going and is being used to identify any
likely significant effects arising as a result of Sizewell C’ (emphasis
added). This renders the document premature and deliberately vague to the
point of being misleading.
How can people therefore judge whether they feel
the impacts are acceptable or not when the developer itself does not know
to what degree and in which areas the environment will be degraded?
Consultees are being asked, in effect, how they want the deck chairs
arranged on the Titanic. TASC believes we should not embark on the Titanic
at all and we encourage all those who agree with us to write to EDF, Dr
Coffey and Greg Clark, the government minister responsible for this
unnecessary monstrosity on our precious coast, to tell them so.’ TASC’s
opinion is that very little of significance has changed since the 2nd
consultation.
The “Road-Led” vs “Rail-Led” strategies appear to be
no more than a red herring to distract from the overriding fact that
Sizewell C will have a devastating and unacceptable impact on the Suffolk
coastal community. This is a rural area lacking in the type of
infrastructure needed to construct such a massive industrial complex. It is
this lack of major roads and railway lines that has made this area a mecca
for walkers, cyclists, bird watchers and those that just enjoy the peace
and tranquility of a beautiful landscape. There is no doubt that the
monstrous folly of Sizewell C will put all this, and the vibrant and
sustainable tourist industry that has developed around it, at risk.
http://tasizewellc.org.uk/index.php/news/242-sizewell-opposition-group-condemns-consultation-as-deliberately-vague

January 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment