The UK’s failing nuclear programme should be scrapped. That’s according to anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley, which has said Britain’s nuclear efforts are clearly failing to deliver and could only be achieved through huge public subsidies that the nation can’t afford. The group says ministers should instead focus on creating a wide renewable energy mix bolstered by decentralised micro-generation projects, energy storage and energy efficiency technology. It says these sectors are more cost effective, can be deployed faster and actually deliver low carbon climate change objectives, all without generating “thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive waste”. The group points to a number of international energy utilities, such as E.ON, RWE and npower, that have confidently announced their commitment to new nuclear power stations in the past but then had to pull out as they realise they cannot afford the huge levels of investment required. It also highlighted the fact that EDF, which is responsible for the development of Hinkley Point C, issued three profit warnings last year following a string of unplanned nuclear plant shutdowns. Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “If you look around the country you find local authorities and communities that are still finding ways to take control of their own energy and make the economic case to install renewables despite cuts in subsidies. “This contrasts with the vast level of public subsidy being offered or sought for new nuclear.” The ‘Brexit’ decision means the UK is going to leave the EURATOM Treaty which deals another blow to UK nuclear policy. The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) have declined to comment.
Energy Live News 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Letter: Dr Charles W Donovan Imperial College Business School, UK. As observed in your report “Demand for price discount puts nuclear plants’ viability in doubt”, the cost of capital is a crucial factor preventing nuclear power developers from lowering their prices. That, in turn, is due to their inability to access cheap commercial debt. Contrast their predicament to renewable energy developers, which have plentiful choices for long-term loans from commercial banks for roughly 80 per cent of total project costs. Markets are saying something important about the risks of these technologies. One must hope that the UK government policymakers are listening.
FT 21st Feb 2017 read more »
Representatives of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) recently met with the Leader and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council (CBC). It was confirmed that the Council maintains its opposition to new nuclear build at Bradwell, in accordance with the motion passed unanimously by Full Council in February 2008. It was also agreed that CBC would write to the Environment Agency (EA) to support BANNG’s opposition to the proposals in the EA’s latest consultation in relation to discharges into the Blackwater estuary of radioactivity and heavy metals, arising from the fuel element dissolution process at Bradwell. Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, said after the meeting: “It was good to continue BANNG’s close relationship with Colchester Borough Council and to re-affirm our common position in opposition to the development of any new nuclear power station on the Bradwell site.
BANNG 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Research is being carried out into a number of alternative options for a campus for workers constructing the Sizewell C nuclear power station. Current proposals for accommodation for 2,400 workers at Eastbridge, near Leiston, have been heavily criticised – with most councils and campaigners deeply unhappy at the location.
East Anglian Daily Times 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Drums of radioactive sludge from Sellafield’s Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) – the world’s oldest nuclear storage pond – have been processed in the site’s encapsulation plant for the first time. The waste is now ready for long-term disposal. Sellafield Limited announced the “momentous move” on 14 February. The first 500-litre drum of sludge had been transferred from the pond to the encapsulation plant in December 2016. Cement was then added to the drum, which was mixed with the sludge using a stirrer “much like a big food mixer”. Once the mixture had cured, a cement cap was added and the drum was sealed with a lid. The first drum was then transferred remotely to a storage facility where it will be kept until the planned national geological disposal facility is available.
World Nuclear News 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, has today announced that it has signed a deal with Horizon Nuclear Power, to provide it with innovative IT services as it grows into a world leading nuclear energy company. The three-year agreement will see Capgemini draw on its global expertise of work in the energy and utilities sector to develop a new Nuclear Centre of Excellence (NCoE). This will build on the success of Capgemini’s French NCoE, and become an exemplar for other New Nuclear Build (NNB) projects in the UK.
Energy Business Review 20th Feb 2017 read more »
EDF has taken over Workington’s metal recycling facility from Studsvik and has rebranded it as Cyclife. It is now looking to expand this operation and has received contracts from Sellafield. The company has taken on Sellafield’s mixed metals and pond skips recycling project, a contract managed by the site’s Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR). “The acquisition by the EDF Group has been very positive for the company and we’re looking to grow the business further during 2017. “The combination of international expertise and technology from France and Sweden means we are well-placed to meet the industry’s decommissioning challenges in the coming years.”
Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2017 read more »
Andy Blowers’ latest book, The Legacy of Nuclear Power, was launched at a packed Royal Asiatic Society in London on 11 January. The audience included academics, nuclear campaigners, media, government advisers as well as friends and colleagues Andy has known during his life as social scientist, county councillor, government adviser, nuclear company director and environmental activist. Speaking after the launch Andy said: ‘It was a wonderful occasion and very uplifting. After all these years developing this book it was great to have such a positive and moving reception’. Sponsored by the Open University (OU) where Andy is still involved as Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences, the launch was introduced by colleague and friend, Professor David Humphreys. He talked about Andy’s contribution as a founder member of the OU and his significant teaching and research in geography and environmental policy and politics. The lead speaker at the event was well-known environmentalist (or, as he prefers, campaigner for sustainable development) Jonathon Porritt, Director of Forum for the Future. In commending the book Jonathon stressed the emphasis on the infinite time-scales that nuclear power brings, extending its dangerous and unavoidable presence down the generations. He commented: ‘The nuclear industry invites us, all the time, to look forward – never look back. Andy Blowers’ compelling study shows why: its legacy, all around the world, is a shocking one, with no long-term solutions to the problem of nuclear waste in sight, and countless communities blighted in one way or another, by the nuclear incubus in their midst’.
BANNG 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Suddenly believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing human co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues can now realistically plot the polar opposite: a new despotism rooted in rising isolationist nationalism and human conflict. The more we dig into how the demagogues and their supporters have organised their recent successes, in particular in using technology to manipulate voter beliefs on an industrial scale, the more terrified many of us find ourselves. Yet at the same time, tantalisingly, our visions of a better civilization, one appropriate for common security and prosperity among nations in the 21stcentury, seem more feasible today than they have ever been, at least in some of their component parts. In this struggle between two vastly different world views, a kind of global civil war seems to have broken out in the last 9 months or so.
Jeremy Leggett 20th Feb 2017 read more »
NuScale Power completed the full-scale upper module mockup of its small modular reactor (SMR) in March 2015. Last month, NuScale became the first company to submit a design certification application for an SMR to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Power Engineering 20th Feb 2017 read more »
A consortium of small modular reactor (SMR) developers and customers has issued a policy statement setting out the benefits of public-private partnerships to facilitate the commercialisation and export of US-designed SMRs. The SMR Start consortium, which was launched in January 2016, said SMRs were a “strategic option” for the US to meet the need for new generation capacity from the mid-2020s onwards. Commercialisation of new nuclear technologies involves large upfront first-of-a-kind costs and a relatively long timeframe to complete licensing and design activities, the consortium said. Investment of such amounts, over the timeframes required and without contractual commitments, presented a “unique challenge” to companies, the consortium said.
World Nuclear News 20th Feb 2017 read more »
Scientists believe they’ve found a viable way to extract uranium from the oceans, opening up a source of energy that could supply today’s nuclear power stations for 6,000 years. Researchers from Stanford University have developed a technique that, they believe, will give us the option to extract nuclear fuel from seawater.
Huffington Post 20th Feb 2017 read more »
A machine-vision based system for detecting cracks in nuclear reactors could help improve safety, while saving time and reducing the need for tedious and difficult work, according to civil engineers at Purdue University in Indiana, US. The technique is claimed to be more reliable than other automated inspection techniques and able to distinguish between cracks and harmless artefacts in the surface texture of the reactor casing. Inspection of nuclear infrastructure is vital to ensure its continued safe operation, and is particularly crucial because exposure to radioactivity can render metals more brittle as well as causing them to swell. Mohammed Jahanshahi, who led the Purdue research, points out that leaks at US nuclear reactors in 1996 and 2010, caused by cracks in valves and underground pipes, cost a total of almost $1bn to repair.
The Engineer 20th Feb 2017 read more »
The prolonged closure of a major French atomic reactor after an explosion this month probably costs EDF at least £1m a day, according to experts. The nuclear plant operator, which will spend £18bn building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation, shut unit 1 at its Flamanville plant after a fire broke out in the turbine hall. The company initially estimated it would switch on the reactor within a week, but later pushed the date to the end of March. Work begins this week on replacing damaged equipment. The unexpectedly long closure adds to the financial pressure on EDF, which last week reported a 6.7% decline in core earnings to €16.4bn (£14bn) in 2016. Closures of its French nuclear plants last year, partly for safety checks, have already cost the 85% state-owned company an estimated €1.3bn. Prof Neil C Hyatt, head of nuclear materials chemistry at the University of Sheffield, said the lost revenue from the reactor closure in Normandy could be £1m per day. Another expert said the cost of closure could be up to £1.8m per day, depending on energy market prices, and questioned why there was a delay.“It took operator EDF almost a week to progressively correct the original outage estimate from one day to 50 days. EDF has provided no information as to why the outage time went from a few days to seven weeks,” said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear energy consultant based in Paris. The 1.3GW reactor at Flamanville is one of a dozen of EDF’s French nuclear fleet currently offline, which the company said was usual for this time of the year. John Large the plant’s continued closure would also add to headaches at the French grid operator RTE, which warned of power cuts at the start of winter due to nuclear outages. “The continuing impact on the grid is likely to be significant, especially if a cold snap develops,” Large said.
Guardian 21st Feb 2017 read more »
The government’s plans to quit the Euratom treaty pose a fresh threat to the UK’s increasingly embattled nuclear new build programme, a new report has warned. Last month Brexit secretary David Davis confirmed its intention to pull out of Euratom, the European nuclear research agency that predates the European Union and its predecessors. The plans were included in explanatory notes to the Brexit Bill. The decision was criticised by Tom Greatrex, the chief exectuive of the Nuclear Industry Association, who said: “The UK nuclear industry has made it crystal clear to the government that our preferred position is to maintain membership of Euratom. The nuclear industry is global, so the ease of movement of nuclear goods, people and services enables new build, decommissioning, R&D and other programmes of work to continue without interruption.” Now a new study by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) says the government’s plans to quit the treaty could imperil fuel supplies, jeopardising energy security as well as threatening plans to build new nuclear reactors and decommissioning activities. The IME said the government should create a transitional framework for the nuclear industry instead and as well as create new nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs) with Euratom and non-EU trading countries ahead of leaving Euratom. In particular, nuclear goods, services and research activities should be part of any new trade deals negotiated with the US, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa.
Building 21st Feb 2017 read more »
Construction progress of taishan nuclear power generating units. As no nuclear power generating unit with EPR Technology been put into commercial operation taishan nuclear will requires longer construction time. Expected commercial operation of Taishan unit 1 and Taishan unit 2 are adjusted to second half of 2017 and first half of 2018, respectively.
Reuters 20th Feb 2017 read more »
China’s decision to approve its first new nuclear reactors in two years may need to wait for its success starting up the world’s first next-generation units. Plans to green-light eight reactors this year in the world’s fastest-growing nuclear market, announced last week, could depend on whether it’s able to complete some of the world’s most-advanced facilities, including Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 andAreva SA’s EPR. The first such reactors may come online as early as the first half, followed by new approvals, according to Karl Liu, an analyst at BOC International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong. “There are indications that Chinese policy makers want to wait for the AP1000s and EPRs under construction to come online and see how they do operationally before approving new projects,” said M.V. Ramana, a professor at the University of British Columbia. “I am not entirely sure that this plan will actually translate into reality.” China is seeking to be the first country to bring online either an AP1000 or EPR, so-called generation III+ reactors, which have suffered costly delays in the U.S. and Europe. The world’s second-biggest economy, and largest energy consumer, is aiming to boost its nuclear power capacity and develop its own next-generation technology for export. Construction delays for third-generation units are among reasons the Chinese government approved no new reactors last year, according to BOC’s Liu. “The country wants to wait until the first AP1000 reactor successfully starts commercial operations before approving reactors using the same or similar technologies,” he said. The National Energy Administration sees at least five units finishing construction this year, including what may be the first commercially operating AP1000, used for the Sanmen No. 1 reactor in Zhejiang and EPR for the Taishan No. 1 reactor in Guangdong, which China General Nuclear Power Corp. began building in 2009. Commercial operation of Taishan No. 1 is expected to begin in the second half of 2017, delayed from its original schedule start in the first half, Shenzhen-based CGN Power Co. said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Monday. That timeline “would be very challenging to achieve” given how long tests and fuel loading may take, Morgan Stanley analyst Simon Lee said in a research note.
Bloomberg 20th Feb 2017 read more »
The United Arab Emirates will soon be the first Arab state with a nuclear power program and the first to join the civilian nuclear club in more than a quarter of a century. Barring any delays, the country’s first reactor is scheduled to be operational by May 2017, after further inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the fuel is used only for peaceful purposes. So far, the project is on budget and on schedule. The remaining three 1,400 megawatt South Korean¬-designed reactors are under construction and will be gradually connected to the grid by May 2020.
Foreign Affairs 19th Feb 2017 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Atlantis Resources has installed the final turbine in the first phase of its tidal energy project, bringing the number generating electricity at the MeyGen site in the Pentland Firth to four. Each turbine is capable of providing up to 1.5 megawatts of power. The latest was an AR1500 model designed by Lockheed Martin. Atlantis said that the deployment took less than 60 minutes, which boded well for future installations and maintenance programmes. The turbine was commissioned at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult facility in Blyth before being deployed from MeyGen at the Nigg Energy Park, Inverness-shire. The first three turbines were built by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest; the first deployments took more than two hours. Atlantis said in November that the first turbine had been installed and was generating power from the fast-flowing waters off the north of Scotland. The power is connected to the grid onshore via a control building at Ness of Quoys in Caithness. Construction work on the next phase of MeyGen, for a further six megawatts, is expected to start this year. The project hopes to generate close to 400 megawatts eventually.
Times 21st Feb 2017 read more »
Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council have revealed plans to create a not-for-profit energy scheme to help combat fuel poverty and encourage poorer residents onto cheaper tariffs. The partnership has been in the works since December 2015 when the councils agreed to put out a joint tender for a suitable energy supplier. They are due to sign a memorandum of understanding agreeing to joint governance of the scheme and the appointment of a supplier, which has not yet been named. “This energy supply partnership scheme is designed to help people who are least able to meet their energy bills and are facing fuel poverty as a result,” said Leicester assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability Adam Clarke. In November last year, Liverpool City Council announced plans to form a community energy company offering the “white-labelled” tariffs of Robin Hood Energy, the municipal energy company set up by Nottingham City Council.
Utility Week 20th Feb 2017 read more »
GEOLOGISTS believe there may be reserves of oil and gas in areas around Scotland’s coast which have previously been dismissed. University of Aberdeen experts gave the view after examining oil in rock formations around Rockall – around 300 miles off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Previous attempts to find hydrocarbons in Rockall have been largely unsuccessful, with only one gas discovery out of 12 wells drilled. But geologists say past exploration has concentrated in the wrong areas.
Herald 21st Feb 2017 read more »
Scotsman 21st Feb 2017 read more »