Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The EU consultation on state aid for the proposed new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C. Quick copy and paste submission. Closed 7/4/2014

 The consultation closed 7/4/2014.  THANK YOU to everyone who wrote in.

This is the submission done by Global 2000 ,which they say you are welcome to copy and paste  - Just add your name, email  address and the date at the end.  Send to stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu  
You don't have to send it all and if there are any other points you want to raise, the scruffily put together facts in my last blog might be useful. There are some good links there too.

To: EU Commission - Directorate-General for Competition
E-mail: stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu

Subject: Hinkley Point C
I am very concerned about the current plans of the UK government to make a new nuclear power plant possible by granting enormous support for it.
We would like to encourage the EU Commission to stick to its clear analysis, because we as CITIZENS/ NGOS/ BUSINESS in the UK do not want to be forced into paying a fixed high electricity price to EDF for several decades, with no chance of the possibly of making use of lower electricity prices.
It does not seem fair to me, that one type of energy receives this amount of support in addition to the fact that EDF would get this size of contract without even having had to win a tender, because EDF simply received this deal competition-free.
The supplier AREVA became known in the past years for having severe problems with the construction of its “flagship reactor” EPR on time: The ongoing cost increases! Delay of completion is ongoing both at Olkiluoto and Flamanville, so it cannot be expected that EDF would complete the EPR reactors at Hinkley according to schedule. The delay at the Finnish site Olkiluoto is already 5 years, Areva was reported as having left the construction site a month ago, so no new reliable date is known.
There are many more possibilities to secure the electricity supply for the UK. It does not enhance energy diversity and independent supply if the enormous amount of up to £17 billion in public subsidies is spent on two units of EPR.
We are convinced that the state aid for Hinkley Point C would be at the expense of other energy forms in the UK, because the money set aside for the support of low-carbon projects up to 2020 (counterparty body) will be spent mostly on the new NPP.
The Carbon Connect report[1] shows that the investors can expect bigger returns on the Hinkley project than with comparable projects thus proving that the Hinkley Point C project would not only receive state-aid, but to such a high level, that it is over-compensation.  Furthermore the EU Commission made clear that the existence of market failure need be doubted, because in Finland and in France the reactors were ordered without granting state aid as is now planned for Hinkley.   The UK government’s plan for the next NPP, is utterly incomprehensible to us, because the EU Commission characterized the chosen financing model (CfD – Contracts for Difference) with the following words:
…the CfD is conceived to entirely eliminate market risks from the commercial activity of electricity generation, for a period of time, the initial 35 years of operations of the plant.”
This is an extreme preference for one type of electricity generation, one specific project of one specific investor, which we believe the EU Commission will not see as compatible with the rules of the Common market.
First name:
Last name:


Monday, 24 March 2014

Your voice in the EU. about the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.UK

A few weeks ago, Global 2000, part of Friends of The Earth, Austria, contacted me about writing to the EU commission for competition.  They already have a brilliant, fast, submission  for people to send, but it's in German, so  here are some scruffy facts and a quick DIY guide for people I've put together in English. It would be lovely if lots of us wrote.
Update: "copy and paste letter" now available in next post  http://dandelionithappens-dendelion.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-eu-consultation-on-state-aid-for.html


The EU commission opened a public consultation  on March 7th for a month about the U.K. state aid case for the new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C. 

The EU Directorate- General for Competition would really like to hear from you!

The more people who write, the better; you don’t have to be an expert.  
…..  You can email them at  stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu  
 You have until April 7th to write and it’s an opportunity to tell them how the possibility of higher electricity prices will affect you, especially if you are running a business.      *Help on how to write at the end of the post! 

 Background:   The government would give EDF a strike price of £92.50/MWh … (around twice the current rate) for the electricity. This would be index linked and fixed for 35 years from the time the nuclear power plant is supposed to start production in about 15 years’ time.
This means  that householders’, businesses’, industries’, schools’… electricity bills might have to cover much larger energy costs than from renewables, as well as their suppliers’ costs.

The UK government would also give EDF a very large loan to help build the nuclear power plant as well as other benefits.  If they, later, build two more of the same design at a second site at Sizewell B in Suffolk, the strike price would fall to 89.50/MWh.
Meanwhile, the cost of solar and wind are falling and expected to go on falling, as are the costs of other low carbon renewable energies. 

 Solar energy:
 The STA  [The Solar Trade Association]  has asked for a strike price of £91/MWh in 2018 and expects this to fall to £86 by 2019, falling year on year thereafter, paid over 15 not 35 years and with no nuclear style small print permitting a possible increase in strike price once those terms are set.”
…Quote from  Seb Berry, head of public affairs at Solarcentury and board member of the STA.
 Why did the Government fix a higher strike price for 2019 than they asked for?
Wind energy
The European Wind Energy Association says onshore wind costs could fall to £48/MWh by the 2020s potentially making it the U.K.’s cheapest power source.
(Also from page 6 Item 7)

And that’s just mentioning two of the low carbon renewable energies!

The EU commission commented on the affordability of electricity from the proposed new nuclear plant:
“The measures, moreover, could hardly be argued to contribute towards affordability – at least not at current prices, when it will instead and most likely contribute to an increase in retail prices….”

Also, If you have any connections with the renewable power industry, or you know anyone who has….the  EU Directorate-General would especially like to hear from you and them.
 One of the points the commission made was:
The Commission notes in this respect that a support  mechanism which is specific to nuclear energy generation might crowd out alternative investments in technologies or combinations of technologies, including renewable energy sources,………”

 The NFLA,CNFE and Stop Hinkley Media release says:
Renewable technologies will be unfairly constrained by the size of the Levy Control Framework funds available, the bulk of which will probably be used up by Hinkley Point C after 2023, despite the fact that solar and offshore wind are likely to be cheaper by then.”

Expert opinions have already been submitted, but this truly is a public consultation.... Will you be able to export to Europe  if other countries are paying a fraction of our electricity costs by 2023?   If someone comes up with a great idea for a new renewable product are the funds going to be there to help?

This is a real chance for people power .... don’t  let’s waste it! You can ask the European Competition Commissioner  to declare the State Aid which the UK Government proposes to give to Hinkley Point C as illegal.

*How to write to the commissioner.
 There is a list of important points you might like to add in the media release  below. Use one point, or use them all, it doesn’t matter.

Your letter
The European Commission
The Directorate-General for Competition
State aid Registry
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
1049 Bruxelles/Brussel
first name *
Last name *
Email *                                                                                                               
Your Message
subject *
opinion *

There is more information on each of the points at
and  facts at  No 2 Nuclear Power
‘From “No Public Subsidy “ to “State Aid”’
and this is the link to the full EU document!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

See it, even read about it, don't miss it.

As I write this blog, it's around one o'clock in New York City, and it's around six o'clock in London. This means that if I were planning on what to do, if I were New York City this afternoon or evening, I'd perhaps have time to think about going to a film.. and if I was going to a film, I know where I'd be heading.
Today is the last day of the travelling Uranium Film Festival's stop over in the USA.
 Film after film by courageous, innovative and talented directors  have been shown over the past few days and culminate in an evening of three films, "08:15 de 1945", "In My Lifetime" and the film based on the famous book of the same name, "Quietly Into The Disaster"...
To find out more, go to the festival's website, http://www.uraniumfilmfestival.org/en/traveling-festival/usa-2014/new-york-city/wednesday-feb-19
 Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, a report which has taken two years to compile was launched by NIS, The Nuclear Information Service, and Medact. It states that over fifty (over one third) of British Universities have received funding from the Atomic Weapons Establishment. http://www.nuclearinfo.org/article/awe-aldermaston/atoms-peace-investigation-int-links-between-uk-universities-and-atomic 
I am so grateful for the people who keep showing us what is happening, when a whole lot of other people would rather they didn't!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Listening to the director of the film discussing it.

If you are in Washington DC or in New York City in the next couple of weeks, there is a rare chance to see some films you may not have come across.  You may also be able to hear several of the directors of the films discussing them as part of a panel about the theme they are in.
At a time when old fashioned copyright can be transformed into a form of modern censorship, when concealed censorship is probably as common as direct censorship in some countries...but at a time when, happily, there is so much protest against the disregard for individual privacy, liberty and the freedom to know... then this is perhaps a good time to find out from films, that history which governments would perhaps prefer we did not know.
This chance is being brought to the USA by the travelling Uranium Film Festival. The films are being shown at the Goethe-Institut, Washington DC from February 10th-12th 2014 and at the Pavillion Theater in NewYork City, from the 14th-19th February 2014.
One of the films to be shown is  "Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1". This is about the nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands in the 1950's and the subsequent treatment of the people of Rongelap. Another is "Tailings", about a 200 acre heap of toxic uranium waste.. just outside Grants, New Mexico where after 30 years of failed clean up, the waste has contaminated the air and the water.
Both directors will be on the panels for themed discussion and there are other excellent films to be seen and discussed.  More details are on the Uranium Film Festival website; the Washington and the New York City films are there with pictures and links to previews, and there is plenty of real information about all the films.
At last, some countries are waking up to the bright and powerful future of solar and wind power... If  ever there was a cogent reason why this is so utterly necessary... as well as being wonderful (!) I would suggest that you visit the website to find out...or better still, if you are in Washington or New York and can make it....see the films.

The London (U.K.) Underground strike.

Usually if there is something which is causing problems in a lot of people's lives, you hear complaints, grumbling, muttering. Having been out and about today in London... and queued for longer than usual at the bus stop, I didn't hear one complaint by people about the strike by underground workers... not one.
People weren't enjoying it and there was a lot of quiet information being offered on which bus to catch or how long the wait would be...but no complaints... Just a determined stoicism.
This backs up a survey done by the RMT, from which I quote:

Tube Users Oppose Ticket Office Closures

RMT Commissioned Survation to seek the views of Tube users to find out their views on Ticket Offices.
The survey of a thousand tube users demonstrated overwhelming opposition the proposals to close ticket offices. 
•         71% of tube users would be quite concerned or very concerned if ticket offices were closed down
•         52% of tube users had experienced being unable to buy tickets from a machine because it was broken
•         Tourists , essential to the London economy , are even more worried about ticket office closures with 81% either quite concerned or very concerned.
•         Amongst those who voted for Mayor Boris Johnson in 2012 56% said that they would be less likely to support a candidate for Mayor who acted to close ticket offices after pledging to keep them open.
•         78% of regular commuters said that they thought current fares are too high.

I personally think people are also very concerned about safety at tube stations and not finding help when they need it.
There is a leaflet put out by the RMT, "Why we are striking". It is downloadable from their website  as a pdf.  They are asking people to email London Mayor Boris Johnson mayor@london.gov.uk and Mike Brown, MikeBrown@tfl.gov.uk
For suggested text for an email visit www.rmt.org.uk/everyjobmatters

Sunday, 26 January 2014

If you want people to learn from history, it helps if you let the people living throught it, write it.

"What's the point of learning about history?"  I remember kids asking, and the stock answer always came back  "You can learn from it," or even "You can learn from the mistakes people made and not repeat them."
Well, that's fine, if people at the time are allowed to record history and later generations are allowed access to it. A shining example of learning from history is the collection of evidence from the accident at Chornobyl, papers from people who had the moral integrity and courage to collect and publish.
 The publication is Chernobyl, Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, and it has given the rest of the world a far better insight into what happens and goes on happening after a nuclear accident.
When I think of the nations involved, it is the honesty and bravery of these individuals that comes into my mind.  It isn't a criticism of what has happened; that is history.
We seem to be going through yet another period of governments thinking that enforced censorship is a good thing.  I find it strange that folk who purport to be elected by "the people" then seem to find it their duty to keep the truth from the very people who put them there to represent them.
There is a piece in nuclear-news by Ralf Nader, published in Common Dreams, which I found enlightening.
The United Kingdom, which I come from, doesn't exactly have an exemplary history of not putting the public in its own country, or overseas, at risk.  Anyone who has ever watched "Silent Storm" must be aware of this.... and this is just one episode in our nuclear history that we know about. 
In the USA, a rare film showing is about to happen. Film goers in Washington DC and New York City will be able to watch Nuclear Savage:The Islands of Project 4.1. The film director, Adam Horowitz will be at the panel discussion in Washington.. but you must register to see this film at the Goethe-Institut.
The film is one of many potent stories being brought to the USA by the International Uranium Film Festival, and I wonder how many U.S. citizens know about the testing of the nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, I mean, really know about the testing of nuclear weapons in these islands. The organisers of the festival have supplied some background reading for this film and even if you aren't in Washington DC or New York City, this is, to my mind, worth reading. You may then understand why you might not have seen it on your television screen.
The link is http://www.4thmedia.org/2014/01/11/media-coverup-of-impacts-of-u-s-nuclear-weapons-testing-on-native-people-in-the-pacific/
To find out more about dates and locations, go to the International Uranium Film Festival website and hover over the traveling festival tab to show the details. http://www.uraniumfilmfestival.org/index.php/en/
or go direct to the Goethe-Institut, Washington or the Pavilion Theater, New York, websites.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

King Canute, rolling waves and proposed nuclear power plants.

As we waited under the bus shelter, where an unkind wind occasionally blew a swirl of rain directly towards us, we discussed today's situation and past predictions.  It was, after all, the beginning of the new year, and the thoughtful lady with the furled umbrella, reminded me that in the eighties, when computerization came in, we were told that we would all have so much spare time that when the schools closed and the children went home, they would be opened again for adults to study.
"Well that didn't last, did it?" she said. We agreed that people mostly work longer hours and have less free time than they did in a 9-5.30 era.
I remember the media telling us that there was going to be so little work for us to do when computers took the dross out of office work, that a whole new leisure industry was going to have to be born to give us something to do in our spare time, because we were going to have so much of it.
Um.... they didn't quite get that one right.
The thoughtful lady's bus arrived, the bus driver docking the front wheels carefully in the large puddle, so as not to cause a wave when he drove into it. 
I've made a few predictions myself that have gone horribly wrong and I can't blame anyone else for doing the same.  However, we can learn by our mistakes.
The version of The King Canute story that I was taught, was that he was surrounded by courtiers who were vying to flatter him in 11th century style one-upmanship. In order to teach them a lesson, he had his chair placed on the shore as the sea was coming in and forbade the waves to wet him.... Of course the waves still rolled in and of course he still got soaked and hopefully it taught his courtiers what he was demonstrating to them.
I know I am not the first one to draw the parallel, but he was a king of England; this was an English sea that washed over him and now the waves are doing the same, but this time the threat is not to one man and his chair, but to an island and even a world, threatened by a technology that cannot be moved or dismantled for decades.
A few days ago, the former prime minister of  Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, who has switched from being pro nuclear to anti nuclear gave an enlightening interview,   http://nuclear-news.net/2014/01/13/japans-ex-prime-minister-koizumi-denounces-the-lies-of-the-nuclear-industry/
Currently, the British government is considering up to 50 new nuclear power plants  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/21/nuclear-plants-energy-plans
Meanwhile, in Fukushima, another coastal nuclear power plant, on a different island, water contaminated with radioactive isotopes such as Strontium 90 continues to be a horrible problem.  Anyone who has ever tried to stop water flowing from somewhere they didn't want it into somewhere they wanted it even less, may have some idea of how difficult it is to stop land water flowing into the sea and sea water flowing back into the land. The land doesn't stop at the sea edge does it?  It's just that the sea water comes up over it... King Canute knew this.
In Britain many coastal and riverside communities are still reeling from the floods. The Guardian  has a witness area for people to add their own photos and this is the link to the one I especially like.. for the words underneath! https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/52a028a8e4b0acc591790cd5/743301
The Environment Agency has a map showing river and sea levels. I was really impressed by it. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/default.aspx
I hope they can keep it going..  There are apparently going to be massive front line cuts in the department. However, one map that made news in 2012 is set in the future. This is the map showing  nuclear power plant sites at risk of flooding in Great Britain in 2080.
and http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/mar/07/uk-nuclear-risk-flooding 
As I understand it, usually, people have to wait around 100 years before they can fully decommission a nuclear power plant.
So will the workers wear radiation proof diving suits or what?