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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UK conservatives realising that Hinkley Point Nuclear may well be unnecessary

text Hinkley cancelledIf wind and solar power are cheaper and quicker, do we really need Hinkley Point?, Guardian, , 21 Aug 16 Nuclear energy’s cost, and a focus on alternative technology, including research on a new generation of hi-tech battery storage, is leading observers outside the green lobby to question the project’s value.

Should Theresa May take the axe to the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear project, it will propel wind and solar power further into the limelight. And for renewable technologies to become really effective, Britain and the rest of the world need breakthroughs in electricity storage to allow intermittent power to be on tap 24/7, on a large scale and for the right price.

Cheap, light and long-life batteries are the holy grail, and achieving this requires the expertise of people like Cambridge professor Clare Grey. The award winning Royal Society fellow is working on the basic science behind lithium-air batteries, which can store five times the energy in the same space as the current rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are widely used today.

She is also focusing on sodium-ion and redox flow batteries; the latter store power in a liquid form, contained in vats or tanks that in theory can easily be scaled up to power-grid sizes.

“There has been an amazing transformation in this field. There is an explosion of interest and I am extremely lucky to have decided early on to concentrate on this area,” she says, although she is keen to play down the idea that a eureka moment is just around the corner.

She is also thankful for Hinkley – if only because of the government’s long-term funding deal with EDF Energy that it gave rise to. “It has put a price on [future] electricity in the market which is high, and this has potentially opened up further commercial space for new technologies such as batteries. But independent of Hinkley we do need better batteries and my chemistry will hopefully help find them,” she says.

The wisdom of bringing in the Chinese to help EDF, the French state-owned utility company, construct the proposed new Somerset reactors has been highlighted as a key factor behind the government’s reluctance to push the go button.

But ministers are also aware that, in the last 18 months, many experts in the field have concluded that the biggest argument against the plant is not that it is too expensive, at £18.5bn, but that the kind of “on-all-the-time” power it delivers is no longer what is required.

Even employers’ trade body the Institute of Directors said last week that it was right for the government to run the slide-rule over Hinkley again to see whether it really made sense.

City investment house RBC Capital Markets says no current minister starting from scratch today would ever agree to the deal George Osborne oversaw with EDF: a 35-year index-linked contract paying £92.50 per megawatt hour in 2012 money – double the current wholesale price of electricity.

But, more ominously for government, it adds: “We question whether such large-scale generation is needed in a rapidly changing and decentralising electricity market where the costs of renewables and storage are coming down.”

That is traditionally a message that has come from the leaders of the wind and solar sector – such as Jeremy Leggett, the founder of solar panel maker Solarcentury and a figurehead for the wider green industry.

He is delighted that others are picking up on arguments he has been making for years. “Finally the message is getting through that Hinkley, and indeed nuclear, make no sense today simply because wind and solar are cheaper. If we accelerate renewables in the UK, we can get to 100% renewable power well before 2050,” he says.

“The message is getting through on the feasibility of this too. One thousand cities around the world are committed to 100% renewable supply, some as soon as 2030. More than 60 giant corporations are committed to 100% [low carbon] supply, some as soon as 2020.”

Part of the growing confidence in wind and solar comes from experience. Portugal ran for four days on only wind, solar and hydro power in May, while solar power in Britain produced more electricity than coal-fired stations in the same month.

Dong Energy, the biggest investor in British offshore wind farms, says it is already possible to produce power with a subsidy of £85 per megawatt hour, and costs are dropping all the time.

The Global Wind Energy Council in Brussels claims that wind power alone reached 432.42 gigawatts of installed capacity at the end of 2015 – more than the 382.55GW of nuclear for the first time ever. But that wind capacity can be available on average only about 40% of the time, compared to 90% for nuclear.

Paul Dorfman, a senior research fellow at the Energy Institute at University College London, says for too long Hinkley has been justified by reference to immediate supply shortages that in fact can’t be met by nuclear. And he says that pouring money into new atomic power plants can only take investment away from renewables, whose costs are dropping, unlike those of atomic power.

“Hinkley will definitely not come online in time to help with the critical UK electricity gap or with our carbon emission commitments. In fact, due to inevitable delays and cost overruns, Hinkley will block scarce resources going to necessary UK renewables, grid upgrades, and energy efficiency. Don’t believe the hype: it’s not ‘nuclear and renewables’ – because of the sheer cost of nuclear, it’s ‘nuclear or renewables’,” he argues……..https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/20/do-we-even-need-hinkley-point-smart-usage-windpower-hi-tech-batteries

August 21, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Britain dithers about Hinkley nuclear project, Beijing decries ‘China-phobia

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKflag-ChinaBeijing decries ‘China-phobia’ after Britain cools on Hinkley Point nuclear deal
China’s official news agency says postponment of new plant is groundless and warns Britain would be foolish to turn down stronger trade ties after EU exit 
, Guardian, 19 Aug 16, Britain would be foolish to turn its back on the “golden era” of relations with China, Beijing’s official news agency has claimed, dismissing concerns over Chinese involvement in the Hinkley Point nuclear project as “China-phobia”.

Since becoming Prime Minister last month Theresa May has stepped back from David Cameron and George Osborne’s energetic and controversial courtship of China, infuriating Beijing by postponing a final decision on the approval of the proposed £18bn ($23.5bn) nuclear power station.

In a letter to Chinese president Xi Jinping this week, May said she looked forward to “strengthening cooperation with China on trade and business and on global issues” and confirmed she would attend the G20 summit being hosted by the Chinese city of Hangzhou on 4-5 September……

In an article for the Conservative Home website,  May’s influential joint chief-of-staff, Nick Timothy, claimed Beijing was using economic opportunities to buy Britain’s silence over human rights abuses and said it was “baffling” that China would be allowed to play a role in such sensitive sectors as energy and communications……..

the Communist party controlled news agency, Xinhua,  hinted that future commercial opportunities with China would depend on approval of the Hinkley Point project, a final decision on which is now scheduled for the autumn…….

Earlier this month Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, said ties between the two nations had reached a “crucial historical juncture” in the wake of the Hinkley Point postponement. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/19/beijing-decries-china-phobia-after-britain-cools-on-hinkley-point-nuclear-deal

August 20, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear plant delay may see change in energy policy

 http://www.bdlive.co.za/world/europe/2016/08/18/britains-nuclear-plant-delay-may-see-change-in-energy-policy
BY AGENCY STAFF  AUGUST 18 2016 LONDON — Britain’s decision to stall a Franco-Chinese project to build its first nuclear power plant in a generation has fuelled speculation that the new government is reviewing its energy strategy to boost the role of renewables.

Prime Minister Theresa May has given no clear reason for delaying final approval of the Hinkley Point plant, with her spokesman saying only that it was “an extremely important decision that we have to get right”.

Critics cite the enormous cost of the £18bn project, as well as security concerns about the involvement of China’s major energy group CGN.

They also question whether France’s EDF energy giant can deliver on the latest EPR reactors, which have been plagued by delays and cost overruns at projects in France and Finland.

Others have asked if a nuclear plant is the best way to address energy needs during a time of advances in renewables, particularly wind power, a promising source of energy on an island nation.

Peter Williamson, professor of international management at the University of Cambridge, said the reasons for the project’s delay were “multiple and complicated”.”Not only the questions some people have raised about security but also the question of the economics and the high guaranteed price for the electricity.”

France’s EDF would be guaranteed £92.50 per megawatt hour produced by Hinkley Point over 35 years, but that is looking increasingly generous as energy prices fall.

There was also “the question of whether we should opt for a few large nuclear plants or consider new ‘mini-nuclear’ technologies, or other energy alternatives”, Williamson said.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Clean energy doesn’t require a nuclear renaissance

  http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2016/08/19/Clean-energy-doesn-t-require-nbsp-a-nuclear-renaissance/stories/201608170050 JOE CORNIBE
August 19, 2016 Edward H. Klevans (“Nuclear Power’s Time Has Come,” Aug. 12 Perspectives) praises New York state for providing clean energy credits to keep its otherwise uncompetitive nuclear plants running and finds “an overwhelming case for […] reliance on, and expansion of, America’s nuclear energy infrastructure.”

Market reality suggests a limited and temporary role for nuclear power. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced in June that it will phase out Diablo Canyon’s two nuclear reactors over nine years, because they’re too costly to operate and not necessary. Its output will be replaced entirely by efficiency and renewables, burning no fossil fuels, emitting no carbon  and costing $1 billion less (net present value through 2044) than continuing to run the high-performing plant (estimated savings according to the National Resource Defense Council).

PG&E agrees this will lower cost compared with relicensing Diablo Canyon because of “lower demand, declining costs for renewable power, and the potential for higher renewable integration costs if DCPP is relicensed.”

Reducing carbon is cheaper and more quickly achieved without adding additional nuclear capacity. This is because of opportunity cost: Money spent on expensive nuclear projects is not spent on efficiency and renewables, which, the Rocky Mountain Institute calculates, can displace “two to 20 times more carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times faster than new nuclear plants.”

The rapidly declining cost of renewables means other nuclear reactors will meet the same fate as Diablo Canyon as the world moves to safe, carbon-free energy. No nuclear renaissance required.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dr Helen Caldicott questions the American belief that a nuclear war is winnable

Caldicott,-Helen-4Anti-Nuclear Advocate Helen Caldicott: “America Still Thinks It Can Win a text-relevant
Nuclear War” 
JILL STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT, 18 Aug 16  I just attended the 31st annual national Veterans for Peace convention here in Berkeley and was truly inspired by the hundreds of vets who attended it, and by their organization’s heroic stand for peace.  As one vet put it, “Been there, done that — war doesn’t work.”

And while wandering around the grounds of the convention center before the festivities began, I ran into Helen Caldicott, an Australian doctor who has bravely spoken out against the use of nuclear weapons ever since the terrible days of America’s Cold War.  I’m not sure what I was expecting that she would look like — perhaps Super Girl in a cape?  But she was just an ordinary-looking person, like someone you would meet on the street.  Until she started speaking to an audience of 300-plus veterans.  And then her eyes flashed, her voice rang out like a warning bell and her passion came alive.

“I am a pediatrician,” she told us, “and if you love this planet, if you love the next generation of babies, you will change the priority of your lives — because right now, America’s top priority seems to be for us to come as close to nuclear war as we possibly can.” ……

as if all those mega-stockpiles of bombs we have now aren’t enough, “the government is currently planning to spend one trillion dollars more on replacing every single bomb, tank and missile we own.” And if that’s not scary enough for ya, America still thinks it can fight and win a nuclear war.  No no no and no!  The powers that be think that dropping 100 nuclear bombs on 100 cities will win the current war-de-jour for us.  “But all that will do is end life on earth.”

And the most scary part of all is that, “It could happentonight.  It could happen right now.  We are closer now to nuclear annihilation than ever, even closer than we were during the Cold War.  North Korea and Iran cannot end the world.  But the sociopaths in charge of our nuclear weapons can.  For instance, Clinton has never seen a war that she doesn’t like.” …….

Every single city in America is targeted by the Russians right now.  “Twelve H-bombs are targeted on New York City alone.  Every city in America is targeted with at least one nuclear missile.  And Russian cities are targeted the same way by America.  And all this insanity is at the mercy of human fallibility too.”

And fighting with Russia is crazy.  Continuing to stock Europe with nuclear weapons pointed at Russia is like waving a red flag at a bull.  It would be as if Russia was arming Canada with nuclear missiles aimed straight at Washington DC.  Not cool at all.  “The Russians will fight to the last person to defend themselves, just like they did against Hitler.  Putin is being set up as the evil one in this scenario, but it is the USA that is the evil one,” by even thinking that they can actually win a nuclear war. …..http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/helen-caldecott-america-still-thinks-it-can-win-a-nuclear-war

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Bill Gates is so misinformed about renewable energy and nuclear power

Gates and BransonWhy Bill Gates Is Hugely Misinformed About Renewables & Loves Impractical Nuclear, Clean Technica August 11th, 2016 by    There’s a problem in human logic that creeps in on a regular basis, and that I would say always has and always will. If someone is very successful in one area of business or life, we have a tendency to give their opinion too much weight in other areas. This happens even more so when someone is highlighted as “extremely smart” or “a genius.” Granted, with regards to some topics that are on the surface “outside of their areas of success,” but maybe have loose but important connections, we probably should give their opinion a bit more weight than the average human or humanoid. However, we have a tendency to do so far too much, and with topics that they really don’t have legitimate expertise in.

Regarding the broad topic of energy, a couple of notable people who get a lot of attention for their anti-renewables opinions are billionaire Bill Gates and highly renowned climate scientist James Hansen. I’ve illuminated their mistakes in logic in several articles, but I’ve never really known why these two people have been so anti-renewables and pro-nuclear in recent years.

Andrew Beebe apparently uncovered a (or the) key reason for Bill’s bias (h/t Greentech Media), and it’s surprisingly simple and superficial. In this piece, I’ll tackle that a little bit, highlight the huge underlying mistakes, and wax poetic write boringly about the role of media and genuine experts in spreading good information in a world of TMI (too much information).

The Curious Case of Bill Gates & Energy “Information” Andrew Beebe, in his efforts to decode the “energy bug” Bill Gates has in his logic, highlighted a key phrase that typically gets passed over: “The kernel of Gates’ mistake goes back to his reliance on ‘the top scientists.’ “……The future is solar- and wind-powered electric vehicles. If Bill Gates, Vaclav Smil, and James Hansen don’t see that, they need to read more CleanTechnica. The future isn’t even up for debate — the future is arrivinghttp://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/11/bill-gates-hugely-misinformed-renewables-loves-impractical-nuclear/

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Focus on Nuclear at World Social Forum

NUCLEAR FORUM AT WSF HIGHLIGHTS WASTE PROBLEMS , West Mount Magazine, By Byron Toben, 18 Aug 16 

Shake hands with the Devil, who, in George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 masterpiece Don Juan in Hell, points out that…

In the arts of Peace, Man is a bungler. But in the arts of war, man is a true genius.
Only he could invent the maxim machine gun, the submarine and (even now is seeking to unlock)
The hidden molecular energies of the Universe…

Note that this was written two years before Einstein (who later became a friend of Shaw) announced E=mc2 and the race toward an atomic bomb, culminating in Little Boy devastating Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by Fat Man doing same to Nagasaki three days later.

In the interim 71 years, much has transpired in nuclear arms growth, the expansion of nuclear plants for use for power and concomitant protest groups. Suffice it to say, nuclear myths of clean, safe and inexpensive have been gradually discredited and new plant construction has ceased. So the focus has shifted to nuclear waste disposal, which is no easy matter as the stuff has half-lives of thousands of years.

Professor Gordon Edwards (Hampstead, Quebec) head of the Canadian Coalition For Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) one of the key speakers at this nuclear forum, (which consisted of 12 workshops. the most numerous of the hundreds of other themed subjects at the recent World Social Forum) opined that we have left the nuclear age and are now in the nuclear waste age.

What are the industry’s plans to get rid of the waste? There are none. There are only plans to package it, transport it and dump it somewhere. But the packaging is inadequate, the transport doubly dangerous and no feasible mid or long-term dumps nominated.

Thus, by default, the best approach, for now, is to leave the waste in situ with constant monitoring.

Edwards even dislikes the term “disposal” as it implies a final solution. He prefers the term “abandonment”, which is dangerous as it leads to amnesia as to where burial sites may be and over time, loss of technical expertise or knowledge of geographic locations……abandonment requires institutional safeguards of regular inspection by trained personnel and funding to boot, which can persist despite political changes.

Other key participants ……

GUIDING SPIRITS (MOSTLY WOMEN)

Karen Silkwood, a nuclear union activist and whistle blower, whose mysterious death in 1976 spawned a movie about her. She had alleged corruption and lax safety standards at the McGee-Kerr facility in Oklahoma.Rosalee Bertell, a nun and mathematician, whose book No Present Danger documented the dangers of low level radioactive tailings, dumped mostly on native American lands.

Native lands were a target of nuclear waste producers, as all 50 states rejected such dumps and the selection of Yucca mountain was rejected as being in an earthquake one and near underground aquifers.

Many native persons have protested this practice. Two of note are the late Grace Thorpe (daughter of great Olympics athlete Jim Thorpe) and Winona La Duke, twice US vice presidential candidate for the Green Party with Ralph Nader.

Apparently, women are more prone to nuclear exposure ailments than men by a 2-3 times ratio.

CURRENT LAWSUIT

On the last day of this Nuclear Forum, a lawsuit was filed in federal courts to delay the pending shipments of dangerous nuclear waste by truck and barge, without public consultation on secret routes, mostly thousands of miles to South Carolina. Readers who wish to read the court document can contact me through this web site at info@westmountmag.ca    http://www.westmountmag.ca/nuclear-forum/?utm_source=Westmount+Magazine+Newsletter&utm_campaign=c961272cc5-2016-08-18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5b5eeef0cc-c961272cc5-94434617&ct=t%282016-08-18%29&mc_cid=c961272cc5&mc_eid=d8693ec04e

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

“Small Nuclear” companies keen to market their wares to UK government

SMR green paintedNuclear Developers Have Big Plans for Pint-sized Power Plants in UK, VOA News 18 Aug 16  “……NuScale, majority owned by U.S. Fluor Corp, is developing 50 megawatt (MW) SMRs using PWRs which could be deployed at a site hosting up to 12 units generating a total of 600 MW. The 50 MW units would be 20 meters (65 feet) tall, roughly the length of two busses, and 2.7 meters (9 feet) in diameter…..

Rolls-Royce Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stein said the first 440 MW power plant would cost around 1.75 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) but costs would likely fall once production is ramped up. “One of the advantages of the SMRs is that they cost a lot less (than large nuclear plants), and it is an easier case to present to private investors,” Stein said.

Costs, viability questioned  Critics, however, say there is no guarantee that SMR developers will be able to cut costs enough to make the plants viable.

“SMR vendors say factory production will save a lot of money, but it will take a long time and a lot of units to achieve what they are calling economies of mass production,” said Edwin Lyman, nuclear expert at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  “Factory manufacture is not a panacea. Just because you are manufacturing in a factory, it doesn’t mean you are certain to solve problems of cost overruns,” he said…..

But anti-nuclear green groups such as Greenpeace argue that with advances in renewable technology, such as offshore wind, Britain may not need any new nuclear plants.

This week Britain approved Dong Energy’s plans to expand an offshore wind farm project that could ultimately span an area of the North Sea more than twice the size of London and produce up to 4 GW of electricity, more than Hinkley Point……..

Britain said this year SMRs could play an important part in the country’s energy future, and committed 250 million pounds to research, including a competition to identify the best-value SMR design for the country.

NuScale, Rolls Royce and Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse were among 33 companies the government has identified as eligible for the competition. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has given no further details and had no further comment on SMRs. http://www.voanews.com/a/britain-nuclear-power/3470331.html

August 19, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK Tories waking up to the diseconomics of nuclear power

Parkinson-Report-UK Tories wake up to nuclear folly, as wind and solar found to be cheapest http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/uk-tories-wake-up-to-nuclear-folly-as-wind-and-solar-found-to-be-cheapest-92800 By  on 16 August 2016

The decision by the UK’s Tory government to put a hold on approval for the world’s biggest single energy investment – the Hinkley C nuclear plant – may have less to do with concerns about the potential role of Chinese state companies and more to do with the realisation that new nuclear is a horrendously expensive boondoggle.

The fact that the cost of wind and solar is falling and the cost of nuclear is moving in the opposite direction is of little surprise to anyone involved in the energy markets, even if the nuclear industry and its supporters wish it were not so. But it is news, apparently, to the Tories.

New data uncovered from a previously unheralded National Audit Office report shows that the UK government is now advised that the cost of wind and solar could be around half that of new nuclear by 2025 – between £50-£75/MWh compared to between £80 and £125/MWh for nuclear.

The Guardian reported that previous forecasts, made in 2010 and 2013, showed that the two renewable technologies were expected to be more expensive than nuclear or around the same cost by the time that Hinkley was built. This is the first time the government has shown it expects renewables to be a cheaper option.

The Hinkley Point nuclear project has already blown out in costs and relies on significant government guarantees and subsidies over and above the £92.50/MWh tariff it promises to pay should it ever get built. That tariff then rises with inflation over the course of the 35-year contract, meaning it could more than double in price by 2050, even as the cost of wind and solar fall even further.

“The [energy] department’s forecasts for the levelised cost of electricity of wind and solar in 2025 have decreased since 2010. The cost forecast for gas has not changed, while for nuclear it has increased,” the NAO said, with a degree of understatement. The detailed energy department findings have yet to be released…..

Before the Brexit vote, the UK Tories had appeared entirely smitten by new nuclear, despite the evident folly of the project, which had not just blown out in cost from £16 billion to £24.5 billion, but because of the falling price of wholesale electricity, would require a lifetime subsidy of £29.7 billion compared to original estimates of £6.1 billion.

As Bridget Woodman from the University of Exeter wrote recently, accommodating Hinkley meant that the UK government had to essentially redesign the electricity market over the past few years in an effort to create a situation where investment in a new plant looked attractive.

“Pretty much every major policy design has been geared towards creating a perfect environment for Hinkley Point C. That’s why it’s such a surprise to see the government has now stepped back – a bit – from the brink,” she wrote.

And what the UK government was proposing to build was in sharp contrast to what is being recommended. The head of National Grid, for instance, had last year called for a complete rethink about the nature of energy systems.

“The idea of baseload power is already outdated,” he told Energy Post.

“I think you should look at this the other way around. From a consumer’s point of view, baseload is what I am producing myself. The solar on my rooftop, my heat pump – that’s the baseload.

“Those are the electrons that are free at the margin. The point is: this is an industry that was based on meeting demand. An extraordinary amount of capital was tied up for an unusual set of circumstances: to ensure supply at any moment. This is now turned on its head.”

Those thoughts are now being echoed by other experts. David Elmes, the head of Warwick Business School Global Energy Research Network, wrote in the UK edition of The Conversation that the UK had painted itself into a corner, and needed to get over the idea that megaprojects were the solution to everything.

“Instead, it should think of a new mix between smaller and larger, be more joined up in considering consumption as well as supply and think more decentralised than central. That expands the industries, companies, institutions and government departments involved.”…… http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/uk-tories-wake-up-to-nuclear-folly-as-wind-and-solar-found-to-be-cheapest-92800

August 17, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Environmental concerns about the Olympic Games

text-cat-questionThis article looks at Brazil’ s environmental situation, particularly regarding the Amazon forest.

I wonder what concerns will be raised for the next Olympics – 2020 in Tokyo ?

 

Japan-Olympics-fear

2016 Olympic Games and the environment, Independent Australia  16 August 2016, Dr Anthony Horton questions how much consideration is given to environmental considerations when Olympic Games host cities are selected.

RECENT MEDIA ATTENTION on the parlous state of the environment in the vicinity of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games sites, and Brazil more generally, piqued my interest in researching the extent to which environmental issues are taken into account when deciding which city hosts the Olympic Games.

report entitled ‘The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental and Doping Issues’ published by the United States Congressional Research Service on 28 July 2016, highlights the environmental commitments made by the Rio de Janeiro Organising Committee for the 2016 Olympic Games and the assessment process that each city must successfully navigate in order to be awarded the right to host the Games.

This report was quite an eye opener for me and after considering the findings, I can only conclude that environmental concerns must be more heavily weighted in future decisions regarding which city hosts the Olympic Games…….

Based on the Congressional Research Service report and the Council on Foreign Relationsinteractive report, I cannot help but conclude that environmental concerns must be more heavily weighted in future decisions regarding which city hosts the Olympic Games. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/2016-olympic-games-and-the-environment,9359

August 17, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK: renewables far better value for tax-payers than nuclear is

UK green energy sector needs nurturing over nuclear, Guardian, Larry Elliott, 16 Aug 16, 

Technological advances mean the cost of renewables is coming down, representing far better value for taxpayers’ money 

ritain’s need for a coherent long-term energy strategy has been woefully neglected by governments of both left and right. One example is the furore over the plan for a new and hugely expensive nuclear power station atHinkley Point. Another is provided by the latest official statistics on the sort of energy the UK uses and where it comes from.

The good news is that Britain is consuming 17% less energy than it was in 1998, and more of what is used is coming from renewable sources. But don’t get too excited. Green energy has increased from 1% of the total to just 9%……

The way forward is obvious. Put energy policy at the heart of the new industrial policy. Technological advances mean the cost of renewables are coming down all the time, and they represent far better value for taxpayers’ money than Hinkley Point C. The government should use tax breaks, procurement and its ability to borrow long-term at historically low interest rates to nurture a new green energy sector. This should have been done years ago, but it is not too late. https://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2016/aug/15/uk-green-energy-sector-needs-nurturing-hinkley-point-nuclear

August 17, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A dirty, expensive, relic – nuclear power touted by the economically illiterate

radation sign dirtyPhelim Mac Cafferty: Nuclear is a dirty expensive relic, Brighton and Hove Independent  by  on August 12, 2016  I was relieved to hear the government delay its final decision on the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant. Nuclear power is a dirty, expensive relic from a bygone era. Construction costs are estimated by EDF energy at £18.5 billion, while the National Audit Office (NAO) estimates that the taxpayer could face up to £30bn in costs from top up payments. Costs for the whole project will be far higher, particularly when ‘disposal’ of radioactive waste is factored in. It seems it is one rule for councils to ‘tighten their belts’ but quite another for nuclear power or Trident……..

Nuclear isn’t a clean energy as many of its backers claim. Mining uranium results in waste rock which is toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Pollution from radioactive toxic waste hangs around for millenia. Waste is also created as a by-product of generating nuclear power itself. The Irish Sea is the most radioactively contaminated sea in the world with millions of litres of nuclear waste discharged into it daily from Sellafield. The fact that massive subsidies continue to be needed for the nuclear energy industry after over 60 years is testament to the rip off that is nuclear power. All this while the government continues to cut subsidies for renewables, particularly solar, arguing the industry must stand on its own two feet. 20,000 jobs have been shed in the fledgling industry as a result.
What is environmentally reprehensible is also economically illiterate. In Brighton and Hove, we have a considerable number of small and medium-sized energy, engineering and construction firms that would all benefit from a government investment programme in renewable energy. A major boost to our local economy and thousands of new jobs, it would simultaneously help us to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. This week scientists warned us we will miss global climate change targets so we have no choice but to abandon dated energy that threatens to make us the first species on the planet to consciously make itself extinct. The pressure continues to ensure the Conservative government abandon the white elephant that is Hinkley and provide energy for the 21st century by 21st century means. Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is convenor of the Green Group on Brighton and Hove City Council. http://brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/phelim-mac-cafferty-nuclear-dirty-expensive-relic/

August 13, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Don’t DELAY Hinkley Point C nuclear project – JUST SCRAP IT!

The Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor shouldn’t be delayed – it should be scrapped Hayden Wood, City AM, 10 Aug 16  Hayden Wood is co-founder of Bulb, a renewable gas and electricity supplier  “……the government should stop agonising and cancel the project. There is no commercial or environmental sense in investing billions into a project that is outdated before construction has even begun.

The UK government agreed a deal with EDF, the French energy company behind the project, which locks in the price of energy at £92.5 per MWh, indexed at 2012 prices for 35 years. This cost is more than 50% higher than the cost of new onshore wind projects at £61.10 per MWh today.

Not only does the deal look bad at today’s prices, but other renewable sources, such as solar, are experiencing such rapid efficiency improvements, they are expected to reach £50-60 per MWh by 2025. As the National Audit Office has stated: “the cost competitiveness of nuclear power is weakening as wind and solar become more established.”

Advocates of Hinkley Point argue the 3.2 GW of power, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s energy requirement, is necessary to manage the intermittency of solar and wind energy. But this reveals a misunderstanding of the rapidly changing energy market. The cost of energy storage has fallen rapidly in recent years.

Today lithium-ion battery prices are around 30% third of what they were in 2010.

By investing in storage technology and renewable energy sources like wind and solar that are cheaper than the large scale nuclear project, not to mention better for the environment, Britain could create an energy market that works better for consumers and the planet.

But the government has to make smarter investments in the future of energy. Hinkley Point C is not the answer. http://www.cityam.com/247271/hinkley-point-nuclear-reactors-shouldnt-delayed-they-should

August 12, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

New York will regret hasty decision to bail out upstate nuclear facilities

Not everyone is smiling about saving upstate nuclear facilities http://cnycentral.com/news/local/not-everyone-is-smiling-about-saving-upstate-nuclear-facilities BY JUSTIN PAGE THURSDAY, AUGUST 11TH 2016 The Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant was set to close in January, but Governor Cuomo announced it will stay open as part of a $110 million dollar agreement between current owner Entergy and Exelon – securing more than six hundred jobs.

Governor Cuomo made the announcement yesterday saying everyone in New York should be smiling, but not everyone is happy about the deal.

Jessica Azulay is a program director with the Alliance for a Green Economy and she feels the decision to save Fitzpatrick was made too quickly. “The public and the Public Service Commission never got the chance to look at alternatives and compare different scenarios to see what was in the best interest of all New York’s consumers and communities,” Azulay said.

She says alternatives like energy efficiency, wind, and solar are all better options for the environment and your wallet.”When you start comparing the cost of alternatives you can really see how much of a rip off the nuclear bailout really is for consumers if we’re trying to get to clean energy,” she said.

As far as the impact on the environment, Le Moyne Professor of Environmental Science Systems Lawrence Tanner says one issue is nuclear waste, and how to get rid of it.

“That’s the major problem with nuclear energy still, but for plants that have already been built and are operating, they generate electricity without generating any carbon,” Tanner explained.

However, the subsidies that are keeping upstate nuclear facilities in business will only last for 12 years, and aging plants like Fitzpatrick, aren’t built to last forever.

“We think the replacement should be happening now instead of paying a bunch of money to these nuclear operators just to be in the same situation,” Azulay said.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point and the fading nuclear power dream

The dreams of nuclear power fading with Hinkley Point, CARL MORTISHED, The Globe and Mail, Aug. 10, 2016 The future of nuclear power generation in Europe, North America and most of the developed world is being decided on an English coastal headland called Hinkley Point. Sadly, for the U.K., this is no great British engineering breakthrough; the technology of the new nuclear reactors is French and a third of the money is Chinese. Instead of celebrating a big foreign investment, the new post-Brexit British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has kicked into the long grass a £25-billion project that could deliver more than a tenth of Britain’s electricity for the next six decades.

It’s all gone wrong because of different perceptions of risk – political, financial or public and personal. Hinkley Point is iconic of everything that has gone wrong in the nuclear power industry since the first civil reactor, Calder Hall, began to deliver electrons into the U.K.’s electricity grid in 1956. There was huge excitement when the Queen signalled the start of the “atomic age” and the government promised electricity that would be “too cheap to meter.” Instead, electricity generated by nuclear fission has turned out to be very expensive, and the contract underpinning EDF’s investment in Hinkley Point has been struck at £92.5 per megawatt hour, twice the prevailing market price when the deal was done in 2012.

 That makes it sound like a great deal for French state-owned generator EDF and its Chinese partner, if not for British consumers. Unfortunately, no one at EDF headquarters is grinning. Instead, the company is split down the middle over the merits of a project whose escalating cost is reckoned by some to be potentially ruinous…………..

August 12, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

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