It seems the Brits have built a number of shoddy nuclear plants. The results may be electrical shortages this winter.
In theory, at least, Britain now has 10 operating nuclear power stations, stretching from Torness on the Firth of Forth to Dungeness on the south Kent coast. Each has two reactors, and ministers boast that they supply about one-fifth of the power that keeps the lights on.How did things get so bad over there? This is just a guess, but I think the environmentalists have had a ten year head start. Not to worry. Power blackouts are coming to America thanks to the Governor of Kansas.
The reality, as an Independent on Sunday investigation shows today, is very different. The majority of the power stations are in dire trouble, and their failure is leading to the most acute concern in years that the country may run short of electricity this winter.
Two of the 10 have been idle for almost a year, with both reactors out of action due to corrosion. Another two have had one of their reactors closed down for months. And yet another two are having to run both their reactors at less than three-quarters of their normal power for safety reasons.
And even that is not the end of it. Of the four that are still in good working condition, one is due to shut down permanently in two years' time, a second is partially closed for routine maintenance, and a third is facing safety questions following the discovery of flaws in similar reactors in Japan.
The meltdown of Britain's nuclear capacity is largely responsible for an alarming tightening of electricity supplies that is forecast to start at the beginning of November, as demand rises sharply for the winter, and to continue until at least the end of the month.
An independent nuclear analyst, John Large, said last night: "It's all in a pretty sad state. The reactors are starting to break up; they are becoming knackered. There comes a point when you simply have to turn the things off.
"We have been lucky for two years with mild winters, but if we have a cold snap then I can see the lights blinking off."
TOPEKA, Kansas, May 1, 2008 (ENS) - Kansas will not have two new coal-fired power plants at Holcomb in the western part of the state. Late Thursday night, the Kansas House narrowly sustained the third veto of a bill to allow the plants by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat.Given the happenings in America it might very well be that my guess about Europe is not far from the mark. Of course there is a consolation prize in all of this. Things are worse in California.
The vote in the House was 80-45, four votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor's veto.
Closely watched as an indicator of the mood of the Midwest on coal power, the battle between the governor and the Republican controlled Statehouse over Sunflower Electric's bid to expand its Holcomb Generating Station has absorbed much of this legislative session.
The fight began last October when Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby denied an air quality permit needed to proceed with construction because the two proposed 700 megawatt units would emit too much of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
It was the first denial of a coal power plant permit in the country based on climate change concerns.
Supporters of the new power plants in the Legislature passed a bill to allow the plants and strip the state agency of its power to block them. Governor Sebelius vetoed that bill and two more similar attempts.
H/T EU Referendum