UK to face power shortfall because of ageing reactorsAll but one of Britain's ageing nuclear reactors, Sizewell B in Suffolk, will be closed down within 15 years because of concerns over their economic viability or safety, energy expert Laurence Williams warned. Professor Williams, a former chief inspector of nuclear installations, said there would come a point when it would be either uneconomic to continue operating the reactors, because of the extra maintenance needed, or they would become unsafe. As a result, the UK could have a 20% shortfall in power supplies unless replacement reactors come on stream in the 2020s.
The Independent | 2014, December 02nd
Finland plans to work with Russia despite EU sanctionsFinland's Parliament is poised to give the go-ahead to a controversial JV with the Russian state-owned company Rosatom to build a new nuclear plant. The JV is understood to have the support of a majority of MPs and to be backed by the coalition government led by PM Alexander Stubb. The green light will come despite calls by the EU for member states to suspend planned energy agreements with Russia, as part of a campaign of sanctions prompted by the Ukraine crisis.
The Guardian | 2014, December 02nd
E.ON spinoff alarms German politiciansMany questions remain open after E.ON, Germany's largest utility, announced that it will break itself up, spinning off its conventional power business into a separate company and focusing instead on wind and solar power. "The question of the responsibility for the costs of closing the plants and disposing of related nuclear waste is now more relevant than ever", said Oliver Kirscher, the Alliance 90/The Greens deputy faction leader in the German Bundestag. He stressed that the restructuring of E.ON must not be at the expense of taxpayers. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel welcomed E.ON's announcement as an "opportunity" for the firm and said he expects it to take its responsibilities in disposing nuclear waste.
| 2014, December 02nd
China's CGN hopes to raise 2.5 billion euro in IPOChina's nuclear power group CGN has launched an initial public offering in Hong Kong worth up to €2.5 billion. CGN, China's largest nuclear power plant operator, has already sold 40% of its offering to cornerstone investors. The company plans to use the new capital to help finance the purchase of additional shares in Taishan Nuclear Power, its joint venture with EDF. CGN will increase its holding in Taishan from 41% to 51%. Some of the proceeds (above 25%) will also be put towards new domestic projects. 10% of the sale could be directed towards overseas expansion.
Les Echos | 2014, November 25th
IEA's World Energy Outlook 2014 focuses on nuclear powerThe International Energy Agency (IEA) has released this year's World Energy Outlook (WEO), which identifies nuclear power as one of the few options available at scale to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Since 1971, it has avoided the release of an estimated 56 gigatonnes of CO2. According to the IEA's central scenario, global nuclear power capacity will increase by almost 60%, from 392 GW in 2013 to over 620 GW in 2040. However, its share of global electricity generation rises by just one percentage point to 12%. Almost 200 reactors (of the 434 operational at the end of 2013) are expected to be retired in the period to 2040. The challenge to replace the shortfall in generation is "especially acute" in Europe, the WEO said. The IEA estimates the cost of decommissioning nuclear plants that are to be retired in the period to 2040 at more than $100 billion.
Les Echos, La Tribune | 2014, November 13th
Japan: Kagoshima prefecture OKs restart of Sendai reactorsThe governor of Japan's Kagoshima prefecture gave his approval to the restart of two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant, marking the final hurdle for the restart, which is now likely to happen early next year. "We decided there is no other way but to accept", said Governor Yuichiro Ito at a news conference. The reactors, operated by Kyushu Electric Power, will likely restart next year as further operational checks need to be passed.
Les Echos | 2014, November 10th
Power companies hinder repository searchIn Germany, the law that rules the search for a new nuclear repository is being put to the test, particularly as regards the Gorleben site issue and whether it will continue to remain in the pool of potential sites. An expert consultation in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) is now to provide arguments in favour and against changing the law, which was only adopted after difficult federal-state negotiations in the summer of 2013 by the Bundestag. Recently filed complaints by power companies RWE and E.ON against the repository-law and a dispute between environmental groups are overshadowing the project.
Frankfurter Rundschau | 2014, November 03rd
European Commission points to hidden costs of Hinkley Point projectUK Chancellor George Osborne has been criticised by the European Commission for failing to reveal all the costs associated with building the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Although the commission approved the construction following a state aid investigation, minutes of the debate seen by The Independent revealed that there was "regret, expressed by some, that all the long-term costs for the British Treasury had not been integrated into the calculation of the cost of the project, for instance the cost of storing the nuclear waste or of dismantling the plant at the end of its lifetime".
The Independent | 2014, October 27th
European leaders agree on climate dealA climate change deal approved by European leaders on 24 October will give member states more flexibility over how they cut emissions. Under the deal, countries agreed to cut emissions collectively by 40% compared with 1990 levels by 2030. But a proposal from Britain that each member could choose how to meet its share of the target was also accepted. In practice, this means Britain could decide to cut emissions by building nuclear plants, rather than building more wind turbines. The deal also stated that 27% of the EU's energy should come from renewable sources by 2030 but that this would not be binding on individual member states. Another target for a 27% improvement in energy efficiency was seen as even weaker as it was made clear that this would be optional.
The Times | 2014, October 25th
Abadie named new head of France's waste management agencyPierre-Marie Abadie was appointed head of France's National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) and will replace Marie-Claude Dupuis. Mr Abadie was previously Director of Energy-Department of Climate and Energy at the Ministry of Ecology. Among the most pressing issues Mr Abadie will have to address is the Cigeo project of deep geological repository.
Enerpresse | 2014, October 24th
Luxembourg to hand out iodine pillsThe government of Luxembourg has taken the unprecedented step of issuing free iodine pills to its half a million citizens to help protect them in the event of a serious nuclear incident at France's Cattenom nuclear plant, located in the Lorraine region close to the Luxembourg border. The plant, which consists of four pressurised water reactors, went online in 1986 and remains one of France's most productive nuclear reactors. But a series of accidents have brought renewed demands for its early closure from France's neighbours.
The Independent | 2014, October 18th
Power source based on nuclear fusionLockheed Martin said its Shrunk Works department had made progress in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion. It would imply reactors to fit on the back of a truck capable of being deployed within a decade.
The Times | 2014, October 16th
Bids for Urenco expected by year-endBritain, Germany and the Netherlands have asked prospective buyers for their jointly-owned nuclear fuel enrichment firm Urenco to submit indicative bids by year-end. The governments, which each own a third of Urenco, have agreed to test the market's appetite for the world's second-largest nuclear fuel vendor before deciding whether to kick-start a privatisation process that could fetch up to €10 billion. Areva, Japan's Toshiba, a consortium led by former boss Patrick Upson and a number of private equity firms are expected to submit expressions of interests in December.
The Daily Telegraph 2d ed | 2014, October 10th
Nuclear plants could be offline until end of yearEDF Energy announced that the four UK nuclear reactors that have been shut down for safety reasons should be back online before the end of the year. "During the coming weeks, the teams will focus on completing the inspections and work to build a robust case for the safe continuing operation of the boilers", the company said.
The Guardian | 2014, September 05th
The EU Imports the Majority of its Energy NeedsThe European economy is dependent on energy imports. French energy dependence is lower than the EU average; 48.1% of French energy consumption came from imports in 2012, down from 51.7% in 2005. In Germany the figures are 61.1% in 2012, showing no change since Eurostat began collecting data in 2001. Denmark is the only EU member state that is self-sufficient for its energy needs, while Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus all had to import almost all of their energy.
La Tribune | 2014, September 03rd
Russia will export gas to ChinaVladimir Putin inaugurated a pipeline named "Siberia Strength" on Monday. The pipeline is supposed to help Russia export important gas volumes to China. Today, without a pipeline towards China, Russia gets most of its resources by selling hydrocarbons to Europe.
L'Agefi, Les Echos | 2014, September 02nd
Gas: Russia puts pressure before winterAlexander Novak, Russian minister for Energy, said that there was "a risk that the gas delivered by Gasprom for Europe was illegally taken by Ukraine for its own needs". Energy players have found alternatives to protect themselves from tensions this winter. For instance, they could reroute LNG cargos that go to Asia today.
Les Echos | 2014, September 01st
Half of Belgian nuclear capacity offlineGDF Suez is experiencing difficulties in Belgium. Two of its nuclear reactors, Tihange 2 and Doel 3, may remain offline until spring and may need to be halted permanently. Both reactors were first stopped in 2012 after finding indications of cracks in their core tanks. After reopening in 2013, the reactors were closed again in March of this year for further tests after inspections uncovered irregularities in the strength of the tanks. The interim results of the tests would show the tanks are weakened by the cracks and may need to remain closed until the spring of 2015 or may even remain shut permanently. Concerns are growing over a possible shortage of electricity in the country during the winter. Indeed, with another reactor, Doel 4, also closed because of damage to its turbine, more than half of Belgium's nuclear capacity is offline.
Le Monde | 2014, August 22nd
Russia leads the way in European nuclear projectsA report published by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) portrays a two-tier Europe. For the member states, it predicts in 2030 an installed nuclear capacity of between 62 GW and the current 122 GW. France's energy transition will play a key role, as it alone accounts for a half of installed capacity within the EU. But countries outside of the EU are driving the sector. While the nine non-EU countries surveyed by the WNA (including Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) total an installed capacity of 41 GW, the reference scenario anticipates strong growth to 71 GW by 2030. Russia, with its domestic nuclear programme and Rosatom's strong exports, mainly accounts for the progress. Rosatom is building two reactors in Belarus and has inked a contract to build two more in Turkey. Russia is also among candidates to build a reactor in Slovakia, the report notes. In the coming years, the finalisation of the two EPRs under construction by Areva and EDF in Finland and France, as well as "new reactors planned in Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and the UK will determine if the short-term decline expected in the European nuclear industry will be reversible", analyses the industry association.
Les Echos | 2014, August 13th
Assessing the cost of wasteFrance's National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) is currently undertaking one challenging task: estimating the cost of nuclear waste for the 100 years to come. The Andra is expected to submit its assessment of the costs attached to the Cigeo project of deep geological repository. The assessment is highly anticipated as it will determine the amount of subsequent provisions EDF and Areva will have to set aside, and thus impact the cost of nuclear power as a whole. For now, estimates range from €15 to €35 billion. The Andra is currently talking about those estimates with EDF, Areva and the CEA, before it submits them to the Energy ministry.
La Croix | 2014, August 05th
Citizens in favour of a state-controlled foundationWhile opposition and government lambasted the idea of a state-controlled foundation to take responsibility of the decommissioning of ageing reactors, a large majority of the German population has voiced its support to the idea, as shown by a recent survey. The clear majority was driven by the fear that some ailing energy companies might not be able to guarantee the dismantling of nuclear plants in the long-term. The four nuclear operators, E.On, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall, already offered to put their €36 billion provisions in a state-supervised foundation.
Handelsblatt | 2014, August 05th
Poma to build a funicular for France's Cigeo projectFrench company Poma was awarded a 15-year €68-million contract by France's National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) to build a funicular that will carry nuclear waste into the deep geological repository facility planned in Bure (Lorraine). Should the project (Cigeo) be finally approved by the French government, it will enter into service in 2025. The cable car will carry heavy nuclear waste packages 500 metres underground.
Les Echos | 2014, July 29th
Consider taking nuclear waste and get paidBritain's Department of Energy and Climate Change has unveiled plans to pay communities for considering whether to host nuclear waste in their areas. They would receive up to £1 million a year for five years if local people "engaged constructively" with officials. The payments would rise to £2.5 million a year for up to 15 years if boreholes were drilled to assess suitability. The overall payments by the DECC to communities could total £40 million. Final approval of sites would be subject to a "test of public support", yet to be decided.
The Times 2d Ed. | 2014, July 25th
European Commission unveils ambitious plansThe European Commission on July 23 unveiled ambitious proposals for energy savings. Under the current proposal, EU governments should improve energy efficiency by 30% compared with 2007 levels. Member states' leaders will say in October if they agree with this ambitious programme. On the whole, meeting the 30% target could cost €89 billion annually in upfront investments, the Commission said.
The Wall Street Journal Europe | 2014, July 24th
Concerns mount at Sellafield after take-over announcementUnions at Sellafield in the UK have expressed concerns about the future of the nuclear site, as URS, which heads the consortium leading the clean-up work, could be bought by California's Aecom. Already criticized when the consortium was granted an extension last year, the deal is now set to fall into what an industry source described as "yet more confusion" by URS's change of ownership, expected to be completed by the end of the year. Union leaders want to know what due diligence the government and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) are undertaking to ensure that Aecom is suitable to lead the Sellafield job.
The Independent | 2014, July 24th
Who will pay for the nuclear phase-out?Germany's federal government is concerned that the provisions in the billions of power companies, which are intended for the phasing out of nuclear power, will not be sufficient. The Ministry of Economy avoided any explicit mention as regards the taxpayers not having to pay for the dismantling of nuclear reactors. The letter solely stated that "under the current polluter liability" principle, full cost responsibility lies in the hands of businesses. Last May, the energy suppliers E.ON, RWE and EnBW had jointly proposed to transfer the remaining German nuclear power plants, together with the provisions, in a public foundation.
Frankfurter Rundschau | 2014, July 23rd
Japan's NRA clears Sendai 1 & 2Japan's nuclear watchdog gave safety clearance on July 16 for the restarting of two nuclear reactors in Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, recognizing their compliance with stricter regulations created after the Fukushima nuclear accident. The reactors approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) are Sendai units 1 and 2 in Satsuma-Sendai city, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company. The NRA will officially release its inspection report and conduct the final check at the site after posting the report on its website for public comment for a month. The ultimate decision now lies in the hands of local and national authorities, which will have to convince inhabitants. Meetings with Sendai's inhabitants are scheduled in October, making it impossible for the reactors to restart before this date.
Les Echos | 2014, July 17th
Sellafield is looking for expertsSellafield Limited is currently engaged in a search for specialist suppliers who would be able to assist with the clean-up and decommissioning work at the UK's historic nuclear site in Cumbria. The work will cover a 10 year period and is currently valued at £1.5 billion. The consortia chosen will work collaboratively with Sellafield Ltd. There is no guaranteed work or committed expenditure, but Sellafield believes that the rewards for chosen suppliers could be substantial. A European call for tender will be launched by the end of the year and suppliers will be selected in 2015.
Enerpresse | 2014, July 03rd
UK nuclear programme gains momentumPlans to build a new British nuclear power station in West Cumbria are moving forward with the announcement by Japan's Toshiba and France's GDF Suez that construction of the facility, through their joint venture NuGen, would begin in 2020, with the goal of having the first reactor operating in 2024. The £10 billion reactors will create up to 21,000 jobs and produce 7% of all UK electricity, in what is expected to be Europe's largest nuclear station. The reactors will use the Westinghouse AP1000 technology.
The Times | 2014, July 01st
ITER prepares for fusionAssystem is among the companies participating in the completion of one of the largest project currently taking place in France, the ITER experimental fusion reactor. Together with Egis Industries, Empresarios Agrupados and Atkins, the Group is part of the ENGAGE European consortium, in charge of architect engineering for the ITER facility. The delivery of the buildings is scheduled for 2016.
Le Moniteur des Travaux Publics et du Bâtiment | 2014, June 27th