The French energy company which owns the two Scottish nuclear power stations has re-started lobbying the SNP. Paris-based EDF took over the Torness and Hunterston atom plants when it acquired the privatised operator British Energy plc after it went into financial meltdown over the vast costs of storing highly radio-active spent nuclear fuel for generations. At the same time, the Scottish nuclear lobbying campaign was closed. But this year, EDF sponsored a fringe meeting at the SNP national conference – where Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her plans to introduce a new Scottish Independence Bill. Paul Winkle, EDF’s Scottish Business Director, told the meeting that it is possible for the Scottish nuclear plants to have their working lives extended – subject to safety approvals. Torness (in East Lothian) is scheduled to close in 2030, while Hunterston-B, near Largs, is due to shut in 2023. He said: “The current life for Hunterston is 2023 and Torness is 2030, and that is based on our assessment of ageing mechanisms in those plants and being absolutely sure that when they are shut down they are still safe to operate. “But to go beyond that we will do assessments and it may be possible to make some small further extensions, but we will not operate them beyond when we are confident they are safe to operate. “Our current estimate is, with Hunterston, we get to a point where, if we go beyond 2023 there will be uncertainty. We will do more analysis in due course. Those dates are based on our best judgement.
Scottish Energy News 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Scotland’s nuclear power stations could be kept open beyond their current closure dates, a senior figure at EDF has said. Paul Winkle, EDF’s Scottish business director, said that there was a chance that the operating lives of the company’s plants in Torness in East Lothian and Hunterston in Ayrshire could be extended, but only if safety concerns were addressed. Mr Winkle stressed that the present closure dates for the nuclear stations — 2023 for Hunterston and 2030 for Torness — represented his company’s best estimates and that Torness in particular could be kept open for longer. If the working lives of Hunterston and Torness were to be extended, that would infuriate some in the SNP who want Scotland to become nuclear-free as soon as possible. It would, however, also provide ministers with a few more years of energy security, giving them more time to build up a reliable base load from renewable sources. A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said that ministers would welcome any extensions, as long as these could be done safely. She said: “We support life extensions for existing nuclear power stations where the environmental and safety requirements continue to be met. Extending the operating life of Scotland’s existing nuclear stations can help to maintain security of supply while the transition to renewables and cleaner thermal generation takes place.”
Times 19th Oct 2016 read more »
ENVIRONMENTAL groups have come out in opposition to attempts by the energy company EDF to persuade the SNP to extend the lives of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland has also dismissed claims by the energy giant that the only way for Scotland to meet its energy demands was to invest more in nuclear power. Instead, campaigners have emphasised the importance of renewables as the main source of economic growth, jobs and sustainability. Speaking to CommonSpace, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said: “Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended. “Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation. “From opinion polling, we know that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables. “The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030. “Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society.” Last month, WWF Scotland was among a number of charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) which protested the decision to give a g o-ahead to the new nuclear plant at Hinkley in Sussex. The main reason for campaigners objections to the Hinkley plant were the vast costs of construction and the better deals for customers if solar and hydro were invested in. They additionally argue that Scotland’s progress in renewables capacity warrants further development of wind, hydro, solar and tidal and a rejection of nuclear. WWF Scotland’s research showed that this year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. The Scottish government in turn has set a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.
CommonSpace 18th Oct 2016 read more »