Hinkley

UK Energy Policy is at a tipping point. Following the withdrawal of two Japanese giants – Toshiba and Hitachi – from nuclear projects at Moorside in Cumbria and Wylfa on Anglesey – it is now clearer than ever that it would be cheaper to build new renewable capacity rather than continue building Hinkley Point C. It’s now time to cut our losses and abandon the Hinkley Point C project altogether. Even Business Secretary, Greg Clark has recognised that “The cost of renewable technologies such as offshore wind has fallen dramatically, to the point where they now require very little public subsidy and will soon require none.” And the cost reductions for offshore wind are far from over. Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “It is time to scrap the welfare scheme for the dying nuclear industry called Hinkley Point C. Business Secretary Greg Clark has virtually admitted that nuclear power is past its sell-by-date. If Hitachi can’t make a profit with ‘significant and generous’ financial support from the Government, – its share price went up by 10% when Wylfa was suspended – and even EDF is getting cold feet despite the prospect of a £50bn bung from consumers – it must be time to get out of nuclear, cancel Hinkley and stop coming up with new ways of fleecing taxpayers and consumers to fund new reactors.”

Stop Hinkley 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Balfour Beatty has been appointed to deliver the £214m north and south 400 kV overhead line project on behalf of National Grid at Hinkley Point C.

Construction News 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Energy Live News 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Sizewell

Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) has criticized EDF’s plans to free more space on the site for the planned “B and C” development by moving some Sizewell B buildings and car park to other areas which would further impinge on the Suffolk Coast And Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). TASC’s Secretary, Joan Girling, said “it would appear that EDFE believe that by owning so much land in the Leiston-cum-Sizewell area that they can spread buildings, cars, lorries and anything they wish anywhere and everywhere in their land ownership to suit themselves. This does not constitute being a good neighbour and this consultation has proved that they are prepared to sacrifice precious amenities which are dear to the local community to achieve their goals.

TASC 30th Jan 2019 read more »

Sizewell C managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson has called on the nuclear industry to start repeating designs from other projects to drive down costs.

New Civil Engineer 30th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Wylfa

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Tuesday he hoped that a new financing model could be found for Hitachi to reconsider its decision to freeze a $28 billion (21 billion pounds) nuclear power project in Britain. “Obviously we are disappointed by the decision of Hitachi to suspend work on the Wylfa project, but we haven’t given up hope,” Hammond told lawmakers in Britain’s parliament. “They retain the site and we hope that the work that we’re doing on a possible alternative financing model may yet allow the project to go ahead.”

Reuters 29th Jan 2019 read more »

BBC 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

New Nuclear

On 17 January, the Japanese company Hitachi announced it was suspending work at the Wylfa nuclear power plant on Anglesey, Wales. Including the suspension of a second Hitachi project at Oldbury, and the decision in November 2018 for Toshiba to pull out of a proposed plant at Moorside in Cumbria, this news means that three planned nuclear plants have been suspended in as many months. The need for a new generation of power plants is important as older coal and nuclear plants approach retirement. Today the UK has 15 operating nuclear reactors, generating approximately 20% of electricity, and 14% of low carbon electricity. These reactors are mostly due to retire by 2030. At the same time, the Government wants to close all remaining coal plants by 2025 as part of decarbonisation commitments. As these ageing plants are coming to the end of their operating lives, new projects are struggling to get going. The Government’s 2017 Energy and Emissions Projections up to 2035 projected a growth in renewables, nuclear power (including after the Hinkley Point C project is complete) and imports. The figure below shows the projections of generation by technology for all power producers to 2035 (source: Updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2017, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.)

House of Commons Library 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

EPRs

Nuclear: the ASN points the risk of a new postponement for the EPR. The new president of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Bernard Doroszczuk, warns EDF and calls the sector to recover “around key skills.” After the episode of the EPR tank under construction in Flamanville (Manche), Bernard Doroszczuk and his college of commissioners will have to decide in the spring on the validity of welds not meeting the defined requirements. While EDF submitted its proposals for remedies at the beginning of December, if at the end of the investigation ASN considers the justification to be insufficient commissioning would have to be delayed.

Les Echos 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Decommissioning

The nuclear energy industry faces severe problems in 2019 – and beyond. Chief among them is the ageing of the global reactor fleet. The average age of the fleet reached 30 years in mid-2018 and continues to rise. The average lifespan of the current reactor fleet will be about 40 years, according to reasonable estimates. There will likely be an average of 8‒11 permanent reactor shutdowns annually over the next few decades. This will add up to about 200 reactor shutdowns between 2014 and 2040. Indeed, the International Energy Agency expects a “wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors” and an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning”. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) anticipates 320 gigawatts (GW) of retirements from 2017 to 2050 (that’s about 80 percent of the current worldwide reactor fleet). Another IAEA report estimates up to 139 GW of permanent shutdowns from 2018‒2030 and up to 186 GW of further shutdowns from 2030-2050. The reference scenario in the 2017 edition of the WNA’s Nuclear Fuel Report has 140 reactors closing by 2035. A 2017 Nuclear Energy Insider article estimates up to 200 permanent shutdowns over the next two decades.

Ecologist 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Trawsfynydd

This pilot study, led by the universities of Manchester and Lancaster will explore issues of community wellbeing and vulnerability as nuclear facilities move from operational to decommissioning status. Trawsfynydd in North Wales is the site of a nuclear power plant which brought employment and affluence to the area. The plant ceased operations in 1991, resulting in a reduction in the required workforce, and began a lengthy decommissioning process. At the same time, discussions regarding the location site’s suitability for the development of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) suggest that the site is facing an uncertain future. The lack of clarity surrounding the future of the site creates economic and social uncertainty for the Trawsfynydd community, with implications for individuals and their families, and the social and economic health and sustainability of the community in general. This study will examine the experiences and wellbeing of members of the community, seeking to understand how community members experience being part of the community, and what they see as its challenges and opportunities.

Dalton Nuclear Institute 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Rolls Royce

UK engineering icon Rolls-Royce, headed by ex-Arm CEO Warren East, is building an impressive case to become a global leader in delivering nuclear power on multiple fronts. It is not only in talks with the Chinese to provide control systems for a multi-billion pound power plant at Bradwell on the Essex coast but also is scaling its bid to start building low-carbon power Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) which would rely on a number of synergistic Rolls-Royce technologies. The development and operation of SMRs would also draw on a broad raft of existing skill sets within the UK company’s existing nuclear armoury. The SMR strategy and potential long-term payback dwarfs the amount Rolls-Royce could earn from supplying purely control systems to China’s CGN for Bradwell if the plant receives UK government go-ahead.

Business Weekly 28th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Energy Policy – Scotland

The Scottish Government will learn from the failure of Our Power as it continues to develop plans for a publicly-owned energy company, cabinet secretary Aileen Campbell has said. Our Power, the Edinburgh-based energy supplier, announced last week that it had ceased trading, having been set up four years ago. The not-for-profit company had been given loans totalling £9.5 million by the Scottish Government in a move to try and address fuel poverty. At the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton asked whether the Scottish Government could learn lessons from the volatility seen in the market following the collapse of 11 small energy firms over the last year. Communities and Local Government Secretary Ms Campbell said: “We’ll give that commitment to take any learning that we can from the experience that we’ve gone through with Our Power. “Of course, we continue to develop proposals that will deliver the ambition of a public energy company and we’re on track to deliver that ambition by the end of this Parliament.

Northern Echo 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019

Fusion

Last year, a panel of advisers to the US Department of Energy published a list of game-changers that could “dramatically increase the rate of progress towards a fusion power plant.” The list included advanced algorithms, like artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s a strategy that TAE Technologies is banking on: the 20-year-old startup began collaborating with Google a few years ago to develop machine learning tools that it hopes will finally bring fusion within reach.

The Verge 29th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 30 January 2019