The UK’s ambitious program to build more nuclear generating stations will begin with the massive Hinkley Point units. Yet, in a recent paper, Prof. Steve Thomas, a well-known energy economist in the UK, asked a question that had been on our minds, namely is it “Time to cancel Hinkley?” The timing of the paper and ensuing editorials coincided with record low prices for off-shore wind, £57.50 per MWh to be exact. The Guardian newspaper editorialized that this figure should “blow away the UK’s nuclear plans.” First, let’s put the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in context. The UK government first announced its nuclear power expansion program in 2006. The plan was to build five new nuclear generating stations, producing 16 GWs, to be on-line by 2030. The units planned are at Sizewell, Wylfa, Moorside, Oldbury and Hinkley. At the time the government cited two concerns with respect to the adequacy of national electric power generation. First, that “security of supply (was) jeopardized” and second, that by 2025 there would be a need to replace aging coal-fired and nuclear power generating plants. The ensuing decade was not kind to the assumptions of UK energy planners. The price of both renewables and natural gas dropped significantly. License extensions could keep most existing nuclear power stations running. And demand for power has fallen below expectations due to moderating economic trends and the dampening impact of conservation measures. In a world eager for low carbon, base load capacity, nuclear has attempted to re-brand itself as the low carbon option. But in countries facing stagnant or declining electrical demand, the need for new, non-intermittent base load power generating resources is diminishing as well.

Oil Price 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017

Emergency Planning

Residents living near the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset would probably live just as long if they stayed where they were in the event of a Fukushima-style nuclear disaster, rather than being evacuated to Bristol.

Bristol Post 30th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017


The British and Korean governments have agreed to greater collaboration on nuclear developments, fuelling speculation that a Korean company is about to invest in West Cumbria’s Moorside power station. Greg Clark, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, and Paik Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday in London. It promises greater collaboration in both the construction and decommissioning of nuclear power stations. The signing appears to have only been reported by World Nuclear News and Business Korea websites. State-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) has revealed it is in “working-level” talks to buy a stake in NuGen – which plans to build three new reactions in West Cumbria to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. Toshiba, NuGen’s current owner, has been exploring a range of options to fund the project after its then subsidiary Westinghouse Electric – due to supply three AP1000 reactors to Moorside – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business. Toshiba has been considering selling some or all of its shares in a development which could be worth around £15bn, and create 6,500 jobs during the peak construction stage and 1,000 when operational. China General Nuclear Power Corporation has also expressed an interest in Moorside but Kepco has emerged as the frontrunner in recent weeks, with the signing of the memorandum seen as an important step in preparing the way for Korean technology to be used in the UK’s new build developments.

Carlisle News and Star 30th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017


According to a report in The Times, Centrica CEO Iain Conn has reiterated his June statement that the company is open to bids for its 20 % stake in EDF Energy Nuclear Generation, which owns the UK’s fleet of eight nuclear power stations. In 2013 Centrica pulled out of a project to build new nuclear power stations in Britain with EDF.

Modern Power Systems 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017

Nuclear Accident

[Machine Translation] Ruthenium leak: Russian refugee activist in France tackles nuclear taboo in Russia. Today a Russian activist testifies about the living conditions around the nuclear site of Maïak. She is convinced that the ruthenium 106 found in Western Europe comes from a leak on this site.

France TV 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017


Two Japanese nuclear operators said on Thursday they will delay the restart of nuclear plants to check whether they have received compromised parts from Kobe Steel Ltd, which has admitted to widespread fabrication of data on products.

Reuters 30th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017

Saudi Arabia

The Trump administration is holding talks on providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia — a move that critics say could upend decades of U.S. policy and lead to an arms race in the Middle East. The Saudi government wants nuclear power to free up more oil for export, but current and former American officials suspect the country’s leaders also want to keep up with the enrichment capabilities of their rival, Iran. Saudi Arabia needs approval from the U.S. in order to receive sensitive American technology. Past negotiations broke down because the Saudi government wouldn’t commit to certain safeguards against eventually using the technology for weapons.

Propublica 29th Nov 2017 read more »

French state-controlled utility EDF intends to take part in a tender to build two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. Saudi Arabia, which wants to reduce domestic oil consumption, is considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear-fuelled power generation capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to international suppliers to build two reactors. With answers to the request due by the end 2017 or early 2018, a formal tender could be launched by mid-2018, but more likely toward the end of 2018 or early 2019, industry specialists say.

Reuters 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017


The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with X-energy to assess the US company’s small modular reactor (SMR). They will look at the potential deployment of X-energy’s Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular reactor in Jordan.

World Nuclear News 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017


A small modular reactor (SMR) could be in operation in Australia by 2030, according to Sydney-based SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd (SMR-NT). The country would be imprudent not to factor SMRs into its energy security plan, the company has told the body established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to implement energy security reforms.

World Nuclear News 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017

Local Energy

UK households wanting to cut their electricity bills this winter have more choice than before with the arrival of taxpayer-owned or backed energy companies. Angelic Energy in north London and Liverpool Energy Community Company are among a number of suppliers launched by local authorities this year to tackle what they see as unfair pricing by the big utilities. Some councils, such as Gateshead in the North East of England, have gone further by building their own power-generation, heat and electricity networks in an effort to reduce the carbon footprints of their facilities and generate revenue by selling power to local businesses. Creeping taxpayer involvement in an energy system that was privatised from 1990 is a trend that is likely to gather pace. The Scottish government will set out detailed plans this year for a public energy company. Nicola Sturgeon, first minister, told the Scottish National party conference last month that energy would be bought through the wholesale market or generated in Scotland and sold “as close to cost price as possible”. Without “shareholders to worry about” or “corporate bonuses” to pay, she said, the public energy company would offer a supplier “whose only job is to secure the lowest price for consumers”. Robin Hood Energy, set up less than three years ago with a £2m loan from Labour-controlled Nottingham city council, supplies more than 100,000 customers. The company is hoping to prove by the end of this financial year that it is possible to be profitable and offer households a cheaper alternative to the large private sector companies. Despite the challenges of operating in an increasingly crowded market, many local energy companies are nevertheless confident they will continue to grow. Sean Rendall, head of operations at Thameswey Group, set up in 1999 by Woking borough council in Surrey, said the company has drawn on council and private funding to build facilities in Woking and Milton Keynes. It has solar and gas “combined heat and power” engines that generate electricity and capture the heat created in the process. It has also installed pipes to transport hot water direct to council buildings and business customers, including retailers and a hotel. Thameswey also has a “private wire” network to bring electricity from its CHP engines to customers, bypassing the National Grid and local distribution networks altogether. This avoids network costs that typically account for about a quarter of ordinary energy bills.

FT 29th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 November 2017