News

Bradwell

The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has requested a long series of safety improvements to the proposed design of the Chinese HPR1000 (‘Hualong’) reactor proposed to be built at Bradwell in Essex. Previous experience suggests this could presage a big increase in costs for the plant which is likely to cost a lot more than similar plant built in China. The HPR100 design is based on one being built in China at by China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). CGN will own around two-thirds of the project, with EDF owning the remaining share. In a judgement issued last month the ONR rapped the CGN/EDF developers for the ‘slow’ development of the safety case and said that their ‘response revealed a number of potential shortfalls related to the status of the safety case planning and arrangements (including organisational)’. Most tellingly, the ONR has given the developers a large number of ‘follow-up’ points to which they need to adequately respond before they can be given the go ahead after the later stages in the ‘generic design assessment’ (GDA) process run by the ONR. Although the ONR has stressed that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the developer’s proposals, the evidence is that the sheer extent of ‘follow up’ point materials must severely question any financial estimates of the plant’s costs that have been based on the plant being built in China. This is the ‘Fanggchengang 3’ power plant being built in South China. This conclusion is based partly on the experience of the last GDA process which involved the approval of Hitachi’s ABWR plant which is earmarked for development in Wylfa. The construction of the Wylfa ABWR plant is now doubtful following reports that Hitachi cannot find investors. This failure has been ascribed, at least in part, to extensive cost increases racked up as a result of safety improvements needed for the plant. The cost of building the plant increased by more than a third after the ONR’s GDA was completed in 2017.

Dave Toke’s Blog 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

Wylfa

Hitachi’s funding talks for UK nuclear plant hit a snag. Clouds hang over $26bn project as Tepco and others reluctant to chip in. Hitachi is having difficulty persuading Japanese companies to share the burden of building a nuclear power plant in the U.K., raising the specter of a withdrawal from the project worth more than 3 trillion yen ($26.5 billion).

Nikkei Asian Review 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Hitachi Ltd. may have to delay its final decision, planned for 2019, on a nuclear plant construction project in Britain. By the end of this year, Hitachi hoped to select a company that will acquire an equity stake in a British nuclear business subsidiary that will operate the project. However, according to informed sources, it is now difficult to secure an investor by the year-end. Therefore, a final decision on the project will likely be delayed. This in turn could force a postponement of the start of plant operations, which is currently slated for the early 2020. Through the subsidiary, Hitachi plans to start constructing two reactors on the island of Anglesey in Wales as early as 2020. To reduce management risks associated with the project, Hitachi aims to lower its equity ownership of the subsidiary from the current 100 percent to less than 50 percent. But Hitachi’s negotiations with the British government on financial assistance to ensure profitability of the project have not been concluded, and the company has yet to start full efforts to invite applications for investment in the subsidiary, the sources said. With the total project cost estimated at ¥3 trillion, well over the initial plan, Hitachi agreed in June with the British government to start full-scale negotiations in order to get the project going.

Japan Times 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Japan Times 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Jiji Press 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

NDA

The government body given the job of cleaning up Britain’s old nuclear power stations has warned that taxpayers will have to help plug a looming multimillion-pound gap in its finances left by shrinking revenues. David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said revenues would fall more than 10% annually in coming years due to the end of an era of nuclear waste reprocessing. One plant ceased operations in November and another will stop in two years. The group has a £3bn annual budget to clean up 17 old nuclear sites around the UK, but earns £1bn a year from services including repurposing spent nuclear fuel. “I don’t think we can fill the hole completely,” Peattie said. He hopes to offset some of the losses by making better use of the NDA’s fleet of four ships that operate out of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The ships were used to bring spent fuel from as far afield as Japan back to the UK for reprocessing. Peattie also hopes to secure more non-nuclear work such as the non-food cargo it handles for Tesco using its rail business, which runs around 100 locomotives. The rail unit transports waste from nuclear power stations to be stored at the NDA’s biggest and most costly site, Sellafield in Cumbria. The final bill could also be reduced, said Peattie if the public accepted that not all old nuclear facilities would be returned to a pristine field of “buttercups and daisies”.

Observer 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

NPT

Hugh Richards is right to identify the need for a new global regime to control and reduce fossil fuel extraction and use. But he is misguided to think the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) is a suitable model. This treaty, signed in July 1968, with the UK, USA and USSR (Russia) as depositary states, has gained a huge membership ( over 190 countries signed up), but has been a disaster in non-compliance with its disarmament obligations, in particular the nuclear weapons states members, led by the UK.

David Lowry’s Blog 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

Utilities

SSE, npower scrap merger plans due to ‘challenging market’.

Energy Voice 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Telegraph 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Herald 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

Energy Policy – Scotland

Scottish state energy firm must be at ‘heart of policy-making’. A publicly owned energy company must be positioned at the heart of policy making, according to a Holyrood committee. Proposals are under consideration by MSPs on whether to establish a state-owned company that would supply household power.

Energy Voice 17th Dec 2018 read more »

THE publicly owned energy company promised by the Scottish Government must be placed at the “heart of decision-making”, according to an MSP. The SNP aims to establish a provider by the end of the current parliament in 2021 as part of moves to tackle fuel poverty. Setting out the plan in October last year, Nicola Sturgeon said energy would either be bought wholesale or generated in Scotland and then sold to householders at “as close to cost price as possible”. But as the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee delivers its recommendations, Gordon Lindhurst, its chair, has called on the Scottish Government to set out how it will deliver on its aims amidst high expectations on cost, impact and the environment. The Scottish Conservative MSP, who represents the Lothian region, said: “If a publicly owned energy company (POEC ) is to provide cheaper energy and tackle fuel poverty, it must sit at the heart of decision- making and market transition. “However, in an already crowded market place, we would like to see a clear mission statement on how the company plans to build a sustainable customer base, how it will operate, how it will align with existing initiatives, and what extra value it will add.” In a letter sent on Friday, the committee says a POEC must be positioned at the heart of policy making and be “sufficiently independent” from the Scottish Government to avoid breaking anti-competition rules. The advice, which follows evidence sessions and draws on research commissioned by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre on behalf of the committee, also said the company “would have to compete on equal terms with others” for any public sector contracts. It cites the example of Bristol Council, which struck a deal with an outside supplier rather than its own Bristol Energy initiative.

The National 17th Dec 2018 read more »

The Centre for Energy Policy suggested four overarching objectives that a Scottish POEC could have – creating new energy infrastructure platforms, accelerating wider energy system transformation, increasing engagement and participation in the energy system and reducing costs to consumers.

ITV 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

Japan

Japan’s nuclear export industry could be dealt a fatal blow if Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pulls out of a massive project to build four large power plants on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, as reports have suggested. The Sinop plant project in Turkey was seen as Japan’s best chance for an industry – battered and bruised after the 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima – to put together a workable export strategy that did not break the bank of potential international customers. Aside from Sinop, the Japanese industry has only one viable export project still upcoming: Hitachi’s bid to build two reactors on the island of Anglesey in Britain. And even that deal is looking shaky. There are worries that Hitachi might pull out of the British project. Chairman Hiroaka Nakanishi was quoted in the Times of London saying his company was “facing an extreme situation,” and that a final decision on whether to stay with the project or leave it will be made next year.

Asia Times 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

UAE

The UAE’s first nuclear power plant – currently under construction – is now more than 91 per cent complete, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on Sunday. Testing remains underway at the $24.4bn Barakah nuclear energy plant in Abu Dhabi, which has four units. ENEC revealed that the it has successfully completed the crucial Cold Hydrostatic Testing (CHT) at Unit 3 after incorporating the lessons learned from Units 1 and 2. Prior to starting the test, Unit 3’s nuclear steam supply systems were flushed with demineralised water, and the reactor pressure vessel head and reactor coolant pump seals were installed, a statement said.

Gulf Business 16th Dec 2018 read more »

There may be cracks in the containment building at the third unit at the Barakah nuclear power plant that South Korean companies are building in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The grease inserted into the concrete walls as a lubricant has seeped into voids on the outside of the wall. Shoddy construction work is likely to push back the schedule and increase costs. In an interview with American trade journal Energy Intelligence on Nov. 21, Christer Viktorsson, director general of the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), said that grease had been found on the wall of the third unit’s containment building last year

Hankyoreh 17th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

US

On August 3, 2018, a 100,000 pound thin-wall cask filled with deadly irradiated nuclear fuel got caught on a flange while being lowered into the steel-lined concrete vault of the waste storage site, known as an ISFSI (independent spent fuel storage installation). The cask got stuck on a ¼” guide ring for about an hour over an 18-foot drop. “It was a bad day…. And you haven’t heard about it,” said Fritch. “And that’s not right.” It was “a bad day” at a place where close to 3.6 million pounds of high level irradiated commercial nuclear fuel are being rushed into the sands of a fragile bluff, one and a half feet above the mean high tide, 108 feet from the sea, near an active earthquake fault, in a tsunami inundation zone, behind an inadequate sea wall. It was another “bad day” at the long troubled and now closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and its radioactive waste burial site on San Onofre State Beach, the iconic birthplace of California surf culture.

Beyond Nuclear 16th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018

Ghana

Professor Benjamin J. B. Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has said Ghana is s on course to owning a Nuclear Power Plant.

Ghana Business 15th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 December 2018