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Another Chernobyl? The Centrale Nucléaire de Tihange in Belgium was closed down a year ago after the discovery of 16,000 cracks in its reactor vessel. Now the government wants to start it up again. Photo: grotevriendelijkereus via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still

Dr Jim Green

30th January 2016

Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put. more...
Hinkley C as it would look, if ever built: 'like building a cathedral inside a cathedral', says one nuclear engineer. Artwork: EDF.

Unable to raise Hinkley C nuclear cash, EDF turns to French government

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

Just as EDF was due to make its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C, writes Oliver Tickell, another delay. In spite of incredibly generous subsidies, the company is unable to finance it. Its last hope is to persuade the French state to take a 10% stake in the doomed project. more...
Now many members of EDF's board and most employees are agreed with this protestor in wanting EDF to drop its doomed Hinkley C project. Site blockade in October 2012. Photo: GLOBAL 2000 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EDF's Hinkley C decision 'on a knife edge' as problems crowd in

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

The EDF board is meeting tomorrow to reach its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C. It was meant to be a rubber stamp but now it's anything but, as EDF's share price sinks to a new low, unions and employee directors harden their opposition to the project, and projects in France, Finland and China run way over time and cost with severe technical problems and safety concerns. more...
It was fun while it lasted, at least for some. But now the 'growth party' is over. And it's time for us to adjust the new reality. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Peak stuff: the 'growth' party is over. So what next?

Bennet Francis & Rupert Read

22nd January 2016

Over in Davos world leaders are desperately trying to find a 'fourth industrial revolution' to keep the 'growth' juggernaut rolling, write Bennet Francis & Rupert Read. But their efforts are doomed: the real challenge we face is to build a healthy, more equal society and a green, sustainable future for us all. more...
Installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai, China. Photo: Jiri Rezac / The Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China's renewables drive down CO2 emissions

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace Energydesk

21st January 2016

China's 2015 carbon emissions fell for the second year running, by an amount equal to all of Poland's, while total power consumption increased, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. Credit goes to the massive expansion in renewable energy, with a record-breaking 47GW of wind and solar capacity added. more...
EPR nuclear plant under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland in 2009 - the year it was due for completion. It may finally be ready in 2018 - or then, it may not. Photo: kallerna via Wkimedia (Public Domain).

EDF may sell €3bn stake in UK nuclear to fund Hinkley C

Terry Macalister / the Guardian & Oliver Tickell

8th January 2016

The cash-strapped French energy giant EDF may sell off profitable stakes in its in its eight existing UK nuclear reactors to raise money for the Hinkley Point C project. But with no example of the EPR design planned for Hinkley even near completion, it may all prove a risk too far. more...
Giant poster announcing the construction of the Yangjiang nuclear complex in China. Photo: panoramio via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear power too slow for China's low carbon switch

Zhang Chun / China Dialogue

5th January 2015

Nuclear advocates take hope from China's plan for 58GW of new nuclear capacity, writes Zhang Chun. But nuclear's share of China's power supply is in long term decline, and the target is likely to be missed as faster, cheaper, nimbler renewables surge ahead. more...
Coal mine in Datong, Shanxi province, one of China's main  coal mining provinces. Photo: Michael Chu via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China clamps down on coal mining

Kieran Cooke

4th January 2015

Beijing has called a halt to new coal mines and will close hundreds of existing operations, writes Kieran Cooke. The move reflects the slowing economy, falling energy demand, concerns over air pollution and climate change, and the massive rollout of renewables. more...
Minister Gregory Barker visits what was then the UK's largest rooftop solar array at Bentley Motors in Crewe, October 2013. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EU renews 70% 'solar tax' on Chinese PV

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The EU's decision to renew 'punitive' tariffs on imports of PV modules and cells from China will cost the EU's solar installers an extra £700 million, writes Oliver Tickell - just as the UK industry is reeling from 87% government cuts. more...
Will it all be in vain? Human Chain in Paris before the opening of the COP21, 29th November 2015. Photo: Jeanne Menjoulet via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Rich nations must pay the climate price, say G77 + China

Paul Brown

4th December 2015

'Pay up or there's no deal', a coalition of 134 developing nations have warned the rich industrial countries at COP21 in Paris - the ones that caused the climate problem in the first place. As Paul Brown writes, much more than the $64 billion so far pledged will be needed to get them on board. more...
Fools' gold? The Hinkley Point nuclear complex in Somerset, UK. Photo: TempusVolat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Luxembourg joins Hinkley C nuclear challenge

Oliver Tickell

20th November 2015

Luxembourg will join Austria's legal challenge to the UK's support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom. more...
Xioa Yan Kou Farm, China. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

From China to Europe, nuclear is losing the energy race to renewables

Paul Dorfman

10th November 2015

The UK-China plan for new nuclear build in England defy the evolving reality of 21st century power networks, writes Paul Dorfman. In China itself, the nuclear dream is hitting construction problems and delays, while wind and solar blossom at ever falling cost. But the phenomenon is global. Despite some governments' nuclear obduracy, renewables are winning the race hands down. more...

CHINA: 1/25 of 143
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The UK's nuclear deal with China comes with a quid pro quo: the City of London's lucrative access to Chinese financial markets, exemplified by the glistening towers of Shanghai's Pudong District. Photo: Allan Watt via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's nuclear deal with China is a boon for bankers - and no one else

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th November 2015

The UK's nuclear deal with China makes no sense, writes Jeffrey Henderson - unless you factor in the simultaneous agreement to forge lucrative links between UK and Chinese financial markets. Lucrative, that is, for the City institutions whose interests the British government so assiduously represents. As for the rest of us, our task is simple: to bear the ever-growing cost. more...
Smoke rises above the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukuzilla? China's nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe

Oliver Tickell

28th October 2015

China's plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China's seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids - wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. more...
Logging road and cut logs awaiting collecting in the Laos rainforest. Photo: Denis Smirnov.

Leaked WWF report: illegal logging in Laos 'a worst-case scenario'

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

22nd October 2015

Forests in Laos are disappearing at a ferocious rate under the impact of rampant illegal logging which accounts for 90% or more of the industry, with lucrative export markets in Vietnam and China, writes Chris Lang. more...
What's his plan? Xi Jinping portrait by thierry ehrmann via Flickr (CC BY).

Will Hinkley C ever be built? If so, China will exact a very high price

Oliver Tickell

22nd October 2015

China's nuclear investment into the UK raises more questions than it answers, writes Oliver Tickell. The £6bn committed is nowhere near enough to see Hinkley C to completion, and EDF has few options for raising the rest elsewhere. The only answer is more Chinese money, and it won't come cheap - not for Britain, nor indeed for France's vulnerable nuclear corporations. more...
Years late, billions over budget: construction of two AP1000 reactors at Vogtle, South Carolina, October 2011. Photo: Charles C Watson Jr / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

UK-China nuclear deal won't keep our lights on

Oliver Tickell

21st October 2015

The UK's plan to get China to build and finance new nuclear power stations is based on a wish and a prayer, writes Oliver Tickell. There is no reactor design, including new Chinese ones, that we can depend on to fill our impending power generation gap. This time, the last one out won't even have to turn out the lights. more...
Will China blow up the UK's nuclear bubble? The Sizewell nuclear site (A left, B right) where state owned Chinese companies are lined up a build another nuclear power plant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The UK-China nuclear deal is an existential threat to our nation's future

Dr David Lowry & Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

The UK is embarking on a reckless endeavour in its attempted nuclear union with China, write David Lowry & Oliver Tickell. China's investments will come at a high price, one that transcends mere money and the undoubted security risk inherent in its control of key elements of our energy infrastructure. At risk is the UK's very future as a sovereign, independent nation. more...
George Monbiot at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED Conference via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

China syndrome: meltdown time for pro-nuclear 'greens'

Jonathon Porritt

19th October 2015

The love affair of the 'pro-nuclear greens' with a failed technology has paved the way to the UK's destruction of its renewable energy industry, writes Jonathon Porritt, and to the imminent deal with Chinese parastatal corporations to build a new fleet of already obsolete nuclear power plants at massive cost to us all. more...
Smog Alert in Peoples Square, Beijing, China, on 15th February 2014. Photo: Lei Han via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China's smog kills over a million each year - but there's blue skies ahead

Oliver Wild, Lancaster University

19th October 2015

China's smog is an increasing cause of public discontent, writes Oliver Wild - and no wonder! New research shows that the country's air pollution is killing over a million people every year. Thanks to China's geography the problem is hard to solve, but the rapid rise of renewables and the slow demise of coal do offer the promise of cleaner, healthier future. more...
These anti-TPP protesters in Vancouver, Canada, are about to get their way. Now the text will have to be made public. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TPP agreement in 12 points - the fightback begins here

Nick Dearden

6th October 2015

The successful conclusion of the TPP talks is a huge blow for social and economic justice, writes Nick Dearden in his twelve point summary. But it's not over yet: the long secret text must now be made public. And there's every chance it can be defeated in an increasingly skeptical Congress. more...
When China General Nuclear Power Corporation (under its former name of China Guangdong Nuclear Power) built China's first nuclear power station at Daya Bay near Hong Kong, they left out reinforcement rods from the concrete base under the reactor. Photo: P

Serious issues for George Osborne on China's role in the UK's nuclear future

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th October 2015

George Osborne's silence over nuclear power in his conference speech yesterday speaks volumes, writes Jeffrey Henderson. Fresh from his trip to China to put together deals worth tens of billions with state-owned Chinese corporations to get Hinkley C and Bradwell nuclear plants built, he had nothing to say on the matter. Is it because too many serious questions remain unanswered? more...
EDF puts in place the reactor dome on the Flamville 3 EPR reactor in July 2013. But sadly it failed to make sure the reactor vessel that sits at its heart was up to scratch first. And it's not - it has serious metallurgical flaws that could end up sinking

Flamanville nuclear safety fail sounds death knell for Hinkley C

Oliver Tickell

2nd October 2015

Just as George Osborne is hoping to get China to invest billions in EDF's Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, news from EDF's Flamanville nuclear site threatens to sink the project. French regulators are to demand another lengthy round of tests on its flawed reactor vessel. And if Flamanville isn't working by 2020, £17 billion of UK finance guarantees for Hinkley C will collapse. more...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway / DeSmog.uk

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
The NK cement plant near Manpo, From across the Yalu River, Ji'an. Cement making is a major source of emissions in China due to the breakneck pace of construction. Photo: Caitriana Nicholson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

China's emissions 14% lower than IPCC thought

Eliza Berlage

20th August 2015

The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew. more...

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