Toshiba

Toshiba has announced plans to sell Westinghouse, its bankrupt nuclear reactor business, in a move that could help rescue the stricken Moorside nuclear power plant project in Cumbria. The embattled Japanese conglomerate announced on Sunday that it would raise 600bn yen (£4bn) as it seeks to shore up cash to avoid being de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The funds will be used to guarantee any claims against Westinghouse, the US nuclear reactor business, which was meant to build the reactor for the proposed plant in Cumbria but filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Toshiba currently owns the NuGen project to build the nuclear plant but has said it is unable to fund it given the company’s enormous financial difficulties, which stemmed from having to write down billions after the collapse of Westinghouse. A sale of the US business, which aims to emerge from bankruptcy soon, may clear the way for a separate investor to take the NuGen project forward, although potential bidders have suggested they may rely on other reactor suppliers. Private equity giants Blackstone and Apollo are among those considering a bid for Westinghouse, while purported investors in the NuGen Moorside project include China General Nuclear.

Telegraph 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

New Nuclear

The approaching decade will be critical for the UK’s nuclear supply chain if it is to increase capacity and capability to meet the demands of the new nuclear build programme and the industry’s developers. This is according to a new report from EY, Creating confident investors and competitive advantage for the UK nuclear supply chain. The report is built on interviews with leaders across the nuclear industry on how to capture the opportunity of a new nuclear power build programme, in the UK and internationally, to deliver a world-class UK supply chain capability. The nuclear new build programme offers a significant opportunity for the UK supply chain to demonstrate capability and realise economic benefit. The Government estimates investment of more than £45bn will be needed to develop the first three nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point C, Wylfa Newydd and Moorside. Furthermore, the potential for new opportunities, such as SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) or international nuclear activities, provide an opportunity to upskill and increase the capacity of the UK nuclear supply chain. Chris Lewis, EY’s UK & Ireland Infrastructure Lead, commented: “This report calls for clarity on the need for nuclear power in our energy mix, and commitment between Government and Industry to invest in the UK capability. For the UK’s nuclear supply chain to capitalise on these opportunities, the industry needs to provide the pivot from an uncertain outlook. We need a model where the supply chain has the confidence from a clear pipeline of new build contracts, a unified industry championing the UK’s expertise and credentials, and investors are motivated and clear on the domestic and export opportunities.”

Politics Home 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Britain’s nuclear sector needs the government and industry to commit to the country’s nuclear capability in the critical next decade, a new report suggests. EY will publish a report today saying the government estimates investment of more than £45bn will be needed to develop the first three new nuclear power plants: Hinkley Point C, Wylfa Newydd and Moorside.

City AM 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Energy Live News 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Nuclear Regulation

The UK faces a race against time to fill vacancies for nuclear inspectors before it leaves the EU in March 2019, according to senior figures in the sector. The experts gave their advice to the governmental business committee at the beginning of the month and pointed out that a limited talent pool meant that Britain could struggle to meet its safety obligations in time for Brexit. Richard Harrington, who serves as the energy minister for the Tory government, was quick to downplay fears and claimed there was “plenty of time” to fill the vacant slots. However, to date, only four new inspectors have been hired, with experts estimating that between 10 and 12 new specialists will need to be recruited by 2019. If they are not, it could cause significant disruption to the UK energy industry.

Environmental Technology 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Radwaste

West Cumbria was ruled out as a site to bury nuclear waste 20 years ago because the geology was unsafe. The plan this time round is ten times as big and to include high level nuclear wastes, so not surprisingly Cumbria County Council said NO in January 2013. However, in order to build new nuclear plants the industry and government need to be seen to have a “final solution” to the problem, no matter if that “final solution” is dangerous to life in Cumbria and on planet earth. The ducks are being lined up. To soften the public up in West Cumbria deep mining is once again being promoted as a “good thing” no matter that it is for coal, the mining expertise and infrastructure is being aggressively put into place creating a “demand”. Companies like Eden Nuclear and Environment are sprouting up like toxic mushrooms and promoting their services: “Our team has undertaken work for a range of disposal facilities including the Geological Disposal Facility” (the one that is planned for Cumbria?)

Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Energy Costs

Centrica, which owns British Gas, said it would withdraw the Standard Variable Tariff (SVT) for new customers, instead offering a choice of fixed term competitive tariffs. The company said the move would increase engagement and choice, result in better deals and reduce average bills, and further protect vulnerable customers. Centrica chief executive Iain Conn said we “…need a fairer way to pay for the changing energy system by removing Government policy costs from energy bills. This will be fairer for everyone and especially those who struggle most with their bills. Politicians, regulators and energy companies acting together can do better than simply imposing a temporary cap or freezing household energy bills. Working in partnership, we can create a fairer, more competitive energy market for the long-term. We ask that the Government and Ofgem engage with us and other members of the industry to evaluate these proposals in the period up to March 2018.”

Energy Voice 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

World Outlook

The International Energy Agency (IEA) likes to see itself as a bit of a climate champion. It has often warned, for example, that governments would need to do more to avoid dangerous climate change. In practice though, the IEA is more of a barrier than a helping hand, and the reason is its flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook. The latest instalment was published today. Every year, the WEO maps out the future of energy, focused on a future where governments implement specific policies they have already planned, and no more: the so-called New Policies Scenario. Remarkably, the scenario falls short of even the formal emissions pledges countries have made (known as Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs – under the Paris Agreements. Instead, the IEA assumes only that “many countries make progress towards the achievement of their NDCs”. At best it’s a very selective reading of which policies to include. Governments and investors routinely look to the WEO when they make decisions, using it as their guide to the future. So power plants, pipelines and other infrastructure get built based on what the IEA says future demand will be.

Renew Economy 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Fukushima

Four engineers hunched before a bank of monitors, one holding what looked like a game controller. They had spent a month training for what they were about to do: pilot a small robot into the contaminated heart of the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant. Earlier robots had failed, getting caught on debris or suffering circuit malfunctions from excess radiation. But the newer version, called the Mini-Manbo, or “little sunfish,” was made of radiation-hardened materials with a sensor to help it avoid dangerous hot spots in the plant’s flooded reactor buildings. The size of a shoe box, the Manbo used tiny propellers to hover and glide through water in a manner similar to an aerial drone. After three days of carefully navigating through a shattered reactor building, the Manbo finally reached the heavily damaged Unit 3 reactor. There, the robot beamed back video of a gaping hole at the bottom of the reactor and, on the floor beneath it, clumps of what looked like solidified lava: the first images ever taken of the plant’s melted uranium fuel.

New York Times 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

China

Can China transform its energy economy? For the last 30 years rapid economic growth – based on heavy industry, manufacturing and construction – has been sustained by hydrocarbons. Coal remains dominant; what has changed is the volumes involved. In 1990, China used some 446m tonnes of coal. This year the figure will be around 2.8bn tonnes. In parallel, oil demand has grown with the dramatic expansion of car numbers. Oil consumption was 2m barrels a day in 1980. Now it is almost 12m b/d, making China the largest oil importer. But growth has come at a cost. China, as last week’s announcement from the Global Carbon Project reminded us, is the largest single source of emissions and suffering badly from the low level pollution that covers many cities in smog. President Xi Jinping has promised dramatic change – an energy revolution “to make the skies blue again”. The rhetoric is great but are the promises deliverable? A comprehensive study of the Chinese energy market published last week as part of the International Energy Agency’s new World Energy Outlook is a great place to start for anyone wanting to understand what is happening and what might happen next. China is building dozens of new nuclear plants – more than a third of the global total. Its nuclear industry is developing its own reactor technology, aiming to create a world-class export industry.

FT 20th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Israel

Israel Wants to Keep Aging Dimona Nuclear Reactor Operating Until 2040, When It Will Be 80. At this point, the Dimona nuclear reactor will be 80 years old. Similar designs in France were closed many years ago

Haaretz 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

France

The government has begun the development of the future road map of the energy transition, work that promises to be hectic with the constraint of fulfilling its promise of a clear trajectory on nuclear power. Announcing last week the postponement, after 2025, of the reduction of the share of nuclear energy to 50% of electricity production, Nicolas Hulot, Minister of the Ecological and Solidarity Transition, assured him: “in one year, we will have a totally planned scenario, we will be able to know how many reactors, when and on what criteria we will achieve this goal “. This one-year period corresponds to the time when the government has to draft the Multiannual Energy Program (EPP), a roadmap for the energy transition for the period 2019-2023.

Le Point 17th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017