News

EPRs

EDF has claimed that a new nuclear reactor it is developing will be a better and cheaper version of the two it is building in Britain. The state-owned French energy group said that its “optimised” version of the European Pressurised Reactor being installed at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be unveiled in 2020 and was destined initially for the French market. A spokeswoman said that the optimised reactor would be between 25 per cent and 30 per cent cheaper than the existing version. It is scheduled to be available for use from 2030. The newspaper Le Monde reported that the new reactor could cost as little as 6 billion euros or £5.3 billion. The cost of the two reactors due to come on stream at Hinkley Point in 2025 is £19.6 billion. Any improvements in EDF’s reactors would raise more questions about the sustainability of the Hinkley Point C project and another power station at Sizewell, Suffolk. However, British experts derided the announcement of an optimised and cheaper reactor as a sign of the French company’s desperation. Paul Dorfman, founder of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said EDF’s claim that costs could come down “goes against all technological logic”. He dismissed the claim as a public relations exercise to avert a plunge in EDF’s credit rating and as an attempt to woo President Macron, who is strongly in favour of nuclear power.

Times 17th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

EDF

French energy utility EDF expects profit levels to make a comeback this year as the company posted year-end numbers that managed to cheer the markets even as earnings fell sharply. “2018 will be the year of the rebound on a solid basis. 2017 is the low point,” said Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive, who has been under pressure from rival companies in a newly deregulated energy market and from the French state to increase the nuclear giant’s use of renewables. “For the first time in years, our debt levels dropped in 2017. They fell by 4.4bn euros,” added EDF’s chief financial officer Xavier Girre.

FT 16th Feb 2018 read more »

EDF Energy’s UK earnings drop due to Brexit hit pound and falling energy use.

East Anglian Daily Times 11th Feb 2018 read more »

EDF UK profits hit by fall in sterling and nuclear prices. French state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote. Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros. EDF said the decline of the pound against the euro had cost it €608m. Revenues were depressed by lower home energy consumption among customers, with usage falling 1.9% due to “milder weather and rising energy efficiency”.

Guardian 16th Feb 2018 read more »

A rise in energy efficiency led to the biggest drop in UK electricity consumption in three years for EDF. Both domestic and commercial customers cut their electricity usage in 2017, leading to an overall drop of 1.9pc, while gas consumption fell 2.6pc as milder weather meant customers used their central heating less. Domestic energy use has been in decline nationally since 2010, despite a growing population and consumers using an increasing number of electrical appliances. Successive regulations in recent years, such as the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs, have forced appliance manufacturers to make their products less wasteful. Average energy consumption by fridges and freezers plunged by more than half between 1990 and 2016, according to official statistics, while “wet appliances” such as washing machines and dishwashers have improved more moderately.

Telegraph 16th Feb 2018 read more »

[Machine Translation] Nuclear: EDF production at its lowest since 1999.

Les Echos 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

Sellafield

An investigation has been carried out after a bottle containing uranium powder was spilled at a UK nuclear site. The incident took place at a drum filling area in the Sellafield power plant in England yesterday. A bottle accidently fell to the floor causing around 100-150 grams of uranium trioxide powder to spill out. The UK government says there was no personal contamination or ingestion by the operator and the contamination was contained in the immediate work area. The event has been rated 0 on the international nuclear events scale, meaning there are no safety implications.

Energy Voice 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

Radhealth

With bipartisan support, the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee recently passed a bill to revitalize low-dose radiation research. The bill, which would authorize an estimated $96 million in funding, has also garnered support from researchers and groups with opposing views on the seriousness of effects of ionizing radiation in the low-dose region, defined as being below 100 millisieverts—roughly the amount of radiation from 10 CT scans. Studies of excess cancers among survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have estimated a 1 percent increase in long-term cancer risk for adults receiving a dose of 100 millisieverts (the risk is higher for children), with the risk below that level declining in proportion to the dose. However, stakeholders and researchers with different hypotheses continue to debate whether or not downward extrapolation by dose magnitude—the “linear no-threshold” model deemed most reasonable by a National Research Council committee of experts—is the best way to estimate risk. Some experts argue that the cancer risk drops off more quickly than estimated at lower doses, while others say that the risk at very low doses might actually be underestimated by the linear no-threshold model. A small group of researchers insists that radiation has beneficial effects at low doses, with some claiming that conspiracies dating back to the 1950s held back the truth of this theory of radiation “hormesis.”

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 12th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

SMRs

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc says it will take 12 years to build its prototype small nuclear reactor in the U.K. “We’re giving ourselves time for the first one,” said Alan Woods, director of strategy and business development at the engineering firm. “The nuclear industry is full of promises and it always fails to deliver. So we have to make sure that we deliver the first unit on time and on budget.” Britain is one of several countries assessing the feasibility of building small modular reactors, or SMRs, as they seek cleaner options to coal-fired generation. SMRs are seen as a cheaper and more manageable alternative to giant projects such as the 20 billion-pound ($28 billion) Hinkley Point C in England, which has already run over budget and is several years behind schedule. Rolls-Royce needs as many as five years for the licensing and design assessment process, while construction will take another seven for its first 440-megawatt model, Woods said in an interview in Prague. Subsequent units would only take four years to complete. Rolls-Royce, one of the pioneers of SMR technology, could start the generic design assessment process at the end of the year. But that depends on the U.K. government finishing its current feasibility study. “We need the U.K. government to move forward with the formation of policy, and we need it to play an enabling role in things such as identification of sites,” Woods said. “The fact that they’re conducting an economic assessment is very positive.”

Energy Voice 16th Feb 2018 read more »

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is launching an effort to expand international cooperation and coordination in the design, development and deployment of small, medium sized or modular reactors (SMRs), among the most promising emerging technologies in nuclear power. Significant advances have been made on SMRs, some of which will use pre-fabricated systems and components to shorten construction schedules and offer greater flexibility and affordability than traditional nuclear power plants. With some 50 SMR concepts at various stages of development around the world, the IAEA is forming a Technical Working Group (TWG) to guide its activities on SMRs and provide a forum for Member States to share information and knowledge, IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov said.

IAEA 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

Thorium

Major pros and cons of thorium nuclear power reactor.

Energy Business Review 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

France – radwaste

Nuclear waste: the state must stop lying. Pointing out that the situation in which the nuclear industry has led France is particularly complicated. Why ? Because, while the other countries exploiting nuclear energy have to manage only one type of waste, the spent fuels leaving highly radioactive reactors, France is engaged in the way of reprocessing, which leads to create five types of waste, as we explained in detail this week minor actinides; plutonium, the used MOx, reprocessed uranium, spent uranium fuel. The situation is simplified because there are also graphite-gas fuels, depleted uranium, mine waste rock, and so on. But stay with these five types of waste, the most dangerous. As each has different radioactive and thermal characteristics, each calls for a particular solution. In other words, while, for example, the United States or Sweden has to manage only one type of nuclear waste – and there is no solution to it – France has five headaches. instead of one. Honesty would be to recognize it, rather than make the public believe that there is ” nuclear waste ” and that it will be enough to bury it to solve the problem.

Reporterrre 16th Feb 2018 read more »

The French atomic sector has multiplied the types of radioactive waste, by setting up a ” reprocessing ” industry which proves useless. The system is moribund, and, mezzo voce, the experts begin to envision its end.

Reporterre 15th Feb 2018 read more »

The storage of radioactive waste in ” swimming pools ” is excessively dangerous: risk of breach, attack, dangerous transport, etc. France is one of the few countries that has not opted for dry storage, which is much safer.

Reporterre 15th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

France

Fukushima: the former Japanese Prime Minister in March in Flamanville. Naoto Kan was Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He will be in France on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the accident. in Flamanville, in the English Channel, on March 15, 2018, hosted by the Antinuclear Information and Anti-Nuclear Committee (Crilan) and the Antinuclear Collective West, he will present a docu-fiction film, The Sun Cover , which retrace the first five days of the disaster. Naoto Kan’s lecture is scheduled at 8 pm on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Rafiot Hall in Flamanville. It will be followed by the screening of The Sun Lid and a debate.

La Presse de la Manche 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

China

Safety Problems Again Delay China’s Sanmen Westinghouse AP1000 Nuclear Energy Project. Nuclear energy proponents often cite the seeming ongoing support for nuclear energy in China and Russia when arguing that the western world is being left behind by its move away from the electricity generation modality. What they don’t tell you, though, is that the projects in question are in general running way behind schedule, and are repeatedly unnerving regulators due to the presence of unresolved “safety concerns.”

Clean Technica 15th Feb 2018 read more »

Is China rebooting a Cold War doomsday device? The device, which one weapons expert has labelled ‘highly immoral’, uses a special isotope to release huge amounts of radioactive fallout.

Daily Mail 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018

US

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) supports a moderate level of Department of Energy (DOE) research funding to make nuclear power safer and more secure—for example the agency’s program to develop accident tolerant fuels for nuclear reactors. Conversely, UCS does not support programs that not only would cost a lot of money, but also could make nuclear power more dangerous and less secure. That’s why the organization is troubled by a bill that was passed by the House of Representatives on February 13. The bill in question, H.R. 4378, authorizes the secretary of energy to spend nearly $2 billion over the next seven years to build what’s called a “versatile reactor-based fast neutron source.” As its name indicates, the primary purpose of this facility would be to provide a source of high-energy neutrons to help researchers develop fuels and materials for a class of advanced nuclear reactors called fast reactors.

UCS 15th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 February 2018