Nuclear waste – what will happen to it?

The United Kingdom, through Business Secretary John Hutton, has announced a program of updating and building nuclear powered electricity generators. EDF have agreed a price to buy the existing nuclear generator, British Energy and they are busy designing plans for the new power stations, which will take many years to complete. The Government has passed laws to streamline the planning process, that troublesome way that ordinary people and groups can have their say about nuclear and other developments in their own back yards, thus preventing these plans being implemented or delayed. Everything is in place for the new nuclear age, except one thing – where do we put the nuclear waste? Continue reading

Perfidious Albion and climate change

Targets, measured in expected outcomes, rather than actual measures are the world’s favourite way to attempt to slow down the pace of climate change, and the targets are different in different parts of the world. The world’s most populous fastest growing nations have virtually no targets, and the world’s less populous but highly developed countries have the most targets. Continue reading

Insulating the nation – who will pay for it?

The Government is intent on insulating the nation. They have announced what they describe as a £1 billion package which will help people save money on their fuel bills by loft and cavity wall insulation. That will take the United Kingdom’s spend on insulation to outweigh all other home improvement spends by a huge margin.

Up until now, the existing insulation schemes were paid for by the energy consumers who have a percentage added to their fuels bills.  Continue reading

Kingsnorth and a carbon sequestration competition

Kingsnorth’s proposed power station is not a carbon sequestration project. The government has chosen another way to get carbon sequestration technology. Mainly because it has nothing to do with carbon capture some environmentalists are suggesting that we should boycott the banks that are financing e.on’s new coal fired power station project at Kingsnorth. Continue reading

Windfall taxes on energy companies

Should the government impose windfall taxes in the energy companies?

The Business Secretary, John Hutton, will not answer the question save as to say that the government is looking at all the options. That is a hint that the windfall tax may be a possibility. The idea that is being strung up the flagpole to see if anyone will salute it, is that the energy companies – the electricity and gas suppliers and the oil companies should be relieved of some of their record profits by the taxman, who would, Robin Hood like, pay them over to people who cannot afford soaring energy bills. Continue reading

British nuclear power stations EDF and poor government energy policy

British Energy’s nuclear power stations are still under UK control – for the time being. The government wanted the company to sell its shares to Electricité de France (EDF) and this was being presented as a “done deal” when I criticised the principle of the government losing control of the nuclear generated electricity in this country to EDF which is owned by the French state.

The directors of British Energy have decided that the French offer undervalues the shares by around 30%. This was reported as killing the deal, but I doubt it. It will be worth the extra money to gain control of 25% of the UK’s future electricity supply with the Government now openly demanding that we build more and more nuclear power stations as a matter of urgency.

From the Government’s point of view the urgency is that the lights may go off in ten years without the nuclear energy; that simply shows the level of carelessness and incompetence embedded in the Government’s energy policy for the past eleven years.

Apparently the Government thought that EDF’s offer was excellent value for money. British Energy’s board, after discussing the bid with other shareholders thought differently. Unlike the Government the shareholders (the Prudential amongst them) had twigged that energy supply is inevitably going to become more and more profitable and this makes the shares more valuable that the Government thought.

John Hutton, business secretary is quoted as saying that this development is disappointing. Clearly he feels that it is more important to sell of British Energy and make a quick start on building nuclear reactors than to sell the nation’s shares in British Energy at a correct valuation. John Hutton, let me remind you is the Business secretary. This is a strange way to run a business – selling shares for less than they are worth. Did he take advice on the share value and if so why was the advice he got so different from the view of the value formed by the Prudential and other investing shareholders?

But that is a diversion. The real issue is do we want a quarter of our electricity generation (that is to say the only part of our energy generation not dependent on foreign imported fuel) to be in the hands of a foreign Government? Would the French permit it? I doubt it.

The Government wanted British Energy in the hands of EDF so as to enable the planning and building of new and as they regard badly needed power stations to be  undertaken quickly. The official line after this had been scuppered was that it would now take longer. there we have it; a demonstration of how powerless the Government is and the country will be when the real decisions are made about our national energy and power supplies not by the Government but by EDF and the Prudential.

UK’s nuclear energy will cease to be under government control

The UK’s nuclear energy will shortly cease to come under government control.

Centrica (the energy company which owns British Gas) is buying 25% of British Energy, the nuclear generating plant, from EDF. The UK Government owns 35% of British Energy, which is worth according to the price that Centrica paid for its shares, around £4.3 billion. Having sold 25% to Centrica, EDF will now buy the UK Government’s 35%, giving EDF (which stands for Electricté de France) control of the UK‘s nuclear generating industry which is expected to be expanded greatly if the unimaginative Secretary of State John Hutton has his way.

The astonishing thing about this is that the Government is so willing to dispose of an industry which it thinks critical to our energy future, and see it disposed of into foreign hands. Continue reading