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Nuclear Test Risks Blowing Lid Off U.K.’s Plan to Keep Lights on

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Builders of the U.K.’s first nuclear plant in two decades are about to take a vital component and break it.

The 110-ton spherical steel lid was destined to sit atop a reactor at the Hinkley Point site in Somerset. Instead it will be sacrificed to test the strength of a part already welded in place at similar atomic projects in France and China.

The tests are essential after regulators found potential weaknesses in the steel used to contain radiation. The results may derail countries’ nuclear programs that are relying on the EPR reactors. They also threaten a generation of atomic plants that developer Areva SA has billed as the world’s safest.

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One station would cost the same as eight carriers, or two Crossrails, or forty new hospitals. So is new nuclear power really worth it?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cheap gas and new technology make the Hinkley Point power plant look expensive

David Cameron is about to sign you up to pay for one of the most expensive man-made objects in the world.

The proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset will cost an estimated £24.5bn, take a decade to construct, and tie British households into an astonishingly expensive electricity subsidies until 2060.

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UK nuclear strategy faces meltdown as faults are found in identical French project

Monday, April 20, 2015

A “very serious” fault has been discovered in a French nuclear power station which is at the heart of David Cameron’s strategy to “keep the lights on” in Britain in the next decade.

The future of two nuclear reactors planned for Hinkley Point in Somerset has been thrown into doubt by the discovery of a potentially catastrophic mistake in the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy.

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Luxembourg confirms opposition to Hinkley

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Luxembourg has confirmed that it will back Austria in filing a lawsuit against the European Commission for the decision to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C, casting fresh doubt over the UK’s first planned nuclear reactors in 20 years.

Monique Clement, Private Secretary at Luxembourg’s Department of the Environment told Power Engineering International, “Yes we are going to follow Austria. That’s the decision of the Luxembourg government.”

Asked what the rationale was for Luxembourg’s opposition, the spokesperson was not forthcoming.

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UK threatens to hit back at Austria over Hinkley Point legal challenge

Thursday, February 12, 2015

UK ministers are warning their Austrian counterparts that an arsenal of retaliatory measures will be launched if Vienna goes ahead with plans to challenge an EU state aid decision approving subsidies for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley point in Somerset.

A diplomatic cable from the Austrian embassy in London to Vienna, seen by the Guardian, says that the Foreign Office’s Europe director, Vijay Rangarajan, conveyed a message that “the UK will take in the future every opportunity to sue or damage Austria in areas that have strong internal political effects,” unless the lawsuit was dropped.

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Austria to launch lawsuit over Hinkley Point C nuclear subsidies

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Austria is to launch a legal challenge against the European Union’s (EU) decision to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C, casting fresh doubt over the UK’s first planned nuclear reactors in 20 years.

In October, the EU approved the controversial £17.6bn subsidy deal for the power station, which is expected to provide 7% of the UK’s electricity by 2023. David Cameron had previously hailed the subsidy deal between the French state-owned EDF and the UK government as “a very big day for our country”.

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Global nuclear decommissioning cost seen underestimated, may spiral

Monday, January 19, 2015

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - German utility E.ON's breakup has led to worries that funds set aside for decommissioning reactors will not suffice, but globally the cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain as estimates range widely.

As ageing first-generation reactors close, the true cost of decommissioning will be crucial for the future of the nuclear industry, already ailing following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and competition from cheap shale gas, falling oil prices and a flood of renewable energy from wind and solar.

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UK accused of hypocrisy over plans to limit enforcement of EU climate goals

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

British lobbying to reduce monitoring of EU countries’ action on climate change has sparked outrage among MEPs and environmentalists.

EU states agreed last October to cut their carbon emissions 40% by 2030, but a UK plan co-authored with the Czech Republic proposes that countries’ emissions cuts should only be overseen with a ‘light touch’ regime with a diminished role for Brussels.

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Austrians resist EU funding for UK's Hinkley Point nuclear project

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Austrian premier Werner Faymann will today (18 December) protest at the British inclusion of landmark nuclear energy projects – including Hinckley Point – within its list of infrastructure eligible for funding under the proposed €315bn Juncker investment plan.

The UK has listed several nuclear-related projects within the Juncker plan, a list of 2,000 projects drawn from across all member states, which will be considered for funding under the investment plan.

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Alarm after serious breakdowns at ageing Hunterston nuclear plant

Monday, October 13, 2014

One of the reactors at the ageing Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire has been plagued by two serious new breakdowns.

Two large gas circulators vital for cooling the reactor and preventing meltdown were damaged when the lubricating oil was mistakenly switched off. And on Thursday the reactor had to be shut down because its turbine generator was shaking more than it should.

These latest mishaps come after the discovery of two new cracks in the reactor's graphite bricks, as well as a rash of nuclear incidents across Scotland during the week.

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