EDF

[Machine Translation] Review of forgings at Le Creusot: EDF discovered 1,063 anomalies and 233 nonconformities on 23 reactors. Following the discovery of numerous irregularities at Creusot Forge, now Framatome, EDF continues its review of the parts installed in its reactors. A first report was published in September 2017 . A second assessment has just been posted . EdF makes a count of compliance discrepancies by distinguishing “non-conformities” that relate to an internal requirement to the manufacturer of “anomalies” relating to the regulatory or customer’s external requirements. Some anomalies are similar to falsifications, according to the ASN. There are now 1,063 anomalies and 233 nonconformities out of 23 reactors only. Others are expected.

Nuclear Transparency 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

EDF has just revised upwards the number of defects affecting its reactors. The latest count of the company reports 1,063 ” anomalies ” (553 more than September 2017) and 233 ” non-conformities ” (103 more) on the equipment of 23 of its operating nuclear reactors. Added to this are 95 anomalies and 16 non-compliances on Flamanville EPR equipment revealed in September 2017. These results are the result of EDF’s checks on all equipment manufacturing records from the plant. du Creusot (26732) and installed on its reactors. EDF released this second wave of results on Thursday 22 February.

Thursday Blog 24th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Nuclear Weapons

Rae Street has been arrested, travelled the world and camped out on an RAF base – all in the name of peace. The campaigner has spent almost four decades fighting to raise awareness of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. Former teacher Rae, 80, has protested outside NATO headquarters and embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the U.S to promote a message of nuclear disarmament. She was even part of the famous Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp – an anti nuclear protest which spanned almost 20 years. But it was a visit to Hiroshima – the city where the United States detonated a nuclear bomb during WWII – that Rae was convinced the fight to eradicate nuclear weapons was so vital.

Manchester Evening News 25th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Saudi Arabia

“Saudi Arabia plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion … and is not interested in diverting nuclear technology to military use.” In March, Saudi Arabia plans to announce who will be awarded the multibillion-dollar contract for the construction of the nuclear reactors; one of the possible contenders is U.S.-based Westinghouse (which is owned by Toshiba). According to The Washington Post, this “poses a thorny choice between promoting U.S. companies and fighting nuclear proliferation. If the administration wants to boost the chances of a U.S. consortium led by Westinghouse, it may need to bend rules designed to limit nuclear proliferation in an unstable part of the world. That could heighten security risks and encourage other Middle Eastern countries to follow suit.” Some are arguing against the weakening of these standards, saying that it’s not worth it to trade the safety risks associated with nuclear material for possible short-term economic gains.

Seeking Alpha 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

UAE

The UAE is due to commission the Arab world’s first nuclear power reactor this year. Of the four nuclear reactors with a capacity of 1400 megawatt (MW) each at Barakah in Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, the first one is getting ready and the remaining three reactors will go online by 2020. The state-run Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) said in January that Unit 1 is currently undergoing commissioning and testing, prior to regulatory review and receipt of the Operating Licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

Gulf News 25th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Renewables – solar

Dave Elliott: The UK may be doing reasonably well on green power, but it is not making much progress on green heat. What about solar heating? The familiar roof-top solar heat collector, with a flat glass plate on top of a box with pipework for cooling water, has been upgraded over the years to more efficient evacuated tube and focused solar and hybrid PV/Thermal variants. These systems can offer cost effective no/low carbon heating in some locations and are mostly scalable, suitable for a range of small or large scale applications. And you can store solar heat for use later and also use it to drive cooling systems. All in all, it’s an energy source with multiple attractions. STA’s Leonie Greene says ‘One of the largest solar thermal schemes in the world, in Silkeborg, Denmark, provides a fifth of the heat for the district heating for a town of 43,000’. She adds ‘Analysis by IRENA shows solar thermal could technically meet half of heat demand in the industrial sector. Indeed, half of industrial heat requirements are for medium to low temperatures, such as washing, drying, sterilizing and pasteurising. This makes solar thermal, which can do very hot process steam, well suited to sectors where heating needs are below 250C, such as paper, chemicals, tourism, pharmaceuticals and textiles. The farming industry also offers great opportunities’.

Environmental Research Web 24th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

The world’s first “energy positive” hotel is set to be built at the base of the Almlifjellet mountain in northern Norway; Svart, which takes its name from the nearby Svartisen glacier, will use 85 per cent less energy than a modern hotel in addition to producing its own energy. Designed by Oslo-based Snohetta architects and commissioned by tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, the circular hotel will provide 360 degree views of the nearby fjords.

Independent 24th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Fossil Fuels

Opec is heading for a final showdown with shale. Its grand alliance with Russia to cut output has revived its own fortunes temporarily by boosting prices but it has also cranked up drilling across America. That’s good for the world’s largest economy and biggest consumer of crude but bad news for some of the major producers in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Despite its own vast defence spending, the kingdom still depends heavily on US military power for its security and to protect the Strait of Hormuz: a narrow sea lane through which most of its crude and that of Iran is shipped to markets. Although the US Fifth Fleet is unlikely to suddenly sail away from the Gulf, a key pillar underpinning the reasons for it to remain has started to crumble. Freed from the need to secure access to Arabia’s vast stores of crude in order to guarantee affordable gasoline for America’s motorists, Washington may begin to care less about what happens in the politically volatile region in the future.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Electric Vehicles

As Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors rolled out their electric cars for the mass market in 2010, Japanese manufacturers placed enthusiastic bets on a surge in battery demand. But the electric vehicle revolution failed to materialise and much of their investments went sour. Nearly a decade later, China and other governments are driving a massive push for a future of electric cars as they try to shift consumers away from combustion engines. To capture the market for these vehicles, global carmakers from Volkswagen to Tesla are attempting to lock in supplies of raw materials that are needed to increase production of lithium ion batteries, which will power this electric revolution. Indeed, electric vehicle supply in China is expected to be one of the main drivers of global demand for lithium. By 2030, Goldman Sachs expects China to supply 60 per cent of the world’s electric vehicles, up from 45 per cent in 2016. However, the problem for all carmakers is that none of them have “proper long-term contracts” for supply of lithium, according to Simon Moores, founder of London-based Benchmark Minerals Intelligence.

FT 24th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Nuclear Finance

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, appeared before the House of Lords Economics Affairs Committee this week to give evidence on the economics of UK energy policy. Unsurprisingly a lot of attention was focused on future plans for nuclear power. In particular, the Secretary of State was grilled by the Committee on the financing of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and whether different funding models could have reduced the cost of the project, therefore lowering the levy that will ultimately be paid by consumers through their electricity bills. The Financial Times reported in January that the Japanese and British governments have been exploring options for the financing of another nuclear project, the proposed power plant at Wylfa in Wales. There are even rumours of direct Government financing being on the table. The Wylfa project is being led by Horizon Nuclear Power, a company owned by Hitachi (the Japanese industrial giant) with the remit to build their plants in Britain. They plan to use their advanced boiling water reactor technology to generate electricity, hence the interest of Japan. With both governments able to borrow at low interest rates, there is some merit in the idea of direct investment in energy infrastructure that is beneficial to the country but that is difficult to finance through the private sector due to extremely high up-front capital requirements and long payback periods. Greg Clark seemed not to reject this idea out of hand in giving evidence before the Committee, but he also did not accept that this would obviously have been a better funding model for Hinkley Point C. Although the guaranteed price for 35 years of £92.50 per megawatt-hour (indexed to inflation) paid to EDF for electricity generated from the plant seems generous, Mr Clark explained that by not directly investing in the plant the taxpayer has been insulated from any potential cost overruns in the construction of this vast project in Somerset. With the nuclear industry having a long and ignominious history of failing to bring new large power plants to fruition on time and to budget, the Secretary of State is right to be cautious. Ambitions for the deployment of nuclear power in the UK appear to be softening. The Government’s previous stated ambition of having 16 GW of new nuclear capacity brought online by 2030 appears to have been abandoned. “We have no particular target for the contributions of nuclear by that date”, said Mr Clark. He also sought to reassure the committee that any delays, or even the complete failure, of Hinkley Point C could be managed and will not result in the lights going out. The Secretary of State concluded the nuclear part of the evidence session by reaffirming his commitment to exploring the potential of small modular reactors, which Policy Exchange welcomes.

Policy Exchange 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 24 February 2018

EDF

The very nuclear-experienced EDF has, counter-intuitively, demonstrated almost uniquely in large-scale industrial construction and operation, a ‘negative learning curve” ie matters get worse, not better, with experience, in its nuclear fleet. Professor Arnulf Grubler, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, (where he is currently Programme Director of Transitions To New Technologies), has exposed this disastrous situation in his detailed assessment ‘The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing’, published in the internationally respected journal Energy Policy, in September 2010 (Volume 38, Issue 9, Pages 5174-5188).

David Lowry’s Blog 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

It’s not often that nuclear matters make me laugh out loud. But yesterday provided one such occasion, on reading of the latest announcement from EdF that a new ‘optimised reactor’ would be unveiled in 2020 at roughly half the price (£5.3bn) of the reactors currently under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset (each at £9.8bn). Laugh? I nearly cried. When Theresa May confirmed the deal with EdF back in 2016, she was persuaded by her civil servants that there really wasn’t a choice. That’s now patently absurd. Just two years on, reality on the ground keeps on demonstrating why this bunch of leaden-footed mugwumps just need to get out more and see what’s actually happening with renewables, storage, energy efficiency, smart grids and so on, both here in the UK (with 13 clean energy records smashed in 2017, making it “the greenest year ever” from an energy perspective) and all around the world. It’s just so embarrassing for our nation to be so ill-served by a generation of politicians so intransigently stuck in the past.

Jonathon Porritt’s Blog 19th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 24 February 2018