On the surface, the UK’s nuclear new build programme has a serene inevitability about it. But rising construction costs and low and volatile electricity prices are indications that plenty could go wrong. Evidence is emerging of rising costs of construction (see Figure 1). Also, there is concern about the electricity price’s volatility and low price. Wholesale electricity prices reached a peak of almost GBP 100/MWh in September 2008. Since then have been below GBP 40/MWh for much of 2009 and 2010. The behaviour of the electricity market is the result of its design compounded by the effects of multiple overlapping mechanisms put in place during the last 10 or more years. Unless there is wholesale reform of the electricity market, it seems unlikely that any new generation-dependent high capital cost, such as nuclear power, will be built. Capacity margins would be squeezed and new gas- fired generators built (see also pp10-11). This would be cleaner than coal, but still polluting, and would increase dependence on imported gas. It would leave the government’s energy policy in tatters.
Nuclear Engineering International 21st Feb 2011 more >>
David Fuller, Global Strategist at fullermoney.com, speaks to Proactive Investors in the third and last of a series on investing in the nuclear age. Here he refers to the current GDP supercycle, as described by Gerard Lyons at Standard Chartered, and says as a consequence demand for power will rise enormously. David also refers to the risks as he sees them.
Proactive Investors 21st Feb 2011 more >>
The unplanned Sizewell B outage due to a pressuriser leak cost the company profits of approximately EUR 180 million. UK output from subsidiary British Energy was 48 TWh, compared to 55 TWh in 2009. Its nuclear business in the USA has taken a beating. After nuclear new-build joint-venture partner Constellation Energy pulled out of an application for a US loan guarantee for a proposed EPR at the Calvert Cliffs site, EDF bought Constellation’s 50% share in the JV company UniStar for about EUR 140 million. However, it has also had to pay ten times as much (EUR 1.04 billion) for a one-off risk provision because of “major ongoing doubt on medium-term prospects of energy markets” there.
Nuclear Engineering International 17th Feb 2011 more >>
A plane crash could trigger a ‘significant radiological release’, according to an inquiry into the expansion of Lydd airport in Kent The risk that planes will crash into nuclear plants and release potentially lethal clouds of radioactivity is significantly higher than official estimates, according to expert evidence to a public inquiry. Studies submitted to the inquiry to expand Lydd airport in Kent, which began last week, cast doubt on assurances from the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that the dangers of accidental plane crashes are too small to worry about.
UTV 21st Feb 2011 more >>
Guardian 22nd Feb 2011 more >>
A landmark collaboration agreement for the development of excellence in skills for the global nuclear industry between the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and INPO (International Nuclear Power Operators) was announced today. The Skills Academy is the lead ‘skills for nuclear’ organisation for the UK, and has been successful in the establishment of industry agreed training standards for the UK nuclear industry. INPO integrates the training efforts of U.S. nuclear utilities through the National Academy for Nuclear Training. Both organisations will now use their expertise to enhance the skills development on an international level through the establishment of high standards and expectations for the nuclear industry training, education and qualifications.
Build 21st Feb 2011 more >>
Construction News 21st Feb 2011 more >>
EXPERTS from the Universities of Leeds and Huddersfield are to work with the nuclear industry to look at the future of power stations. They are part of a team looking at how nuclear power stations will age to help the electricity generators that run them plan for the future.
The Business Desk 21st Feb 2011 more >>
A controversial project to build the worlds largest nuclear power station in India could involve British companies, among them Rolls Royce and Serco, under plans to be discussed in Mumbai this week. A high-level British trade delegation will arrive today to discuss how companies can participate in building six giant reactors at Jaitapur on the west coast. This is the first significant sign of improved trade links between the countries after David Cameron signed a pact to share civil nuclear technology during a visit last July. The 13.5 billion nuclear park near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra province will have a capacity of 9,900 megawatts more than the combined output of eight Sizewell B power stations. John McNamara, a spokesman for Britains Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), which is helping to organise the delegation, said that the Jaitapur project was certainly of interest to its members, which include Rolls Royce, Atkins, Serco and dozens of other engineering groups. He said that the opportunity for British companies to participate in Indias ambitious plan to quadruple its nuclear power output by 2020 was exciting. The delegation will be led by Lady Barbara Judge, the former chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Keith Parker, the chief executive of the NIA. The Jaitapur project, which will more than double Indias current nuclear electricity capacity of 4,000 megawatts, has drawn fierce criticism from environmental groups, concerned that it is being built in an ecologically sensitive area in an earthquake zone and that villagers will be displaced by the development.
Times 21st Feb 2011 more >>
France’s nuclear policy council on Monday unveiled measures to streamline and unify a nuclear industry plagued by technical issues and public disputes that have tarnished its image abroad. Among a set of measures aimed at reshaping one of France’s most sensitive industries after the loss of a landmark deal in Abu Dhabi in December 2009, the council called on Areva to turn its uranium mining arm into a subsidiary, and cooperate with EDF and GDF Suez to develop a new reactor. The government holds over 80 percent of EDF’s capital and about 90 percent of Areva’s.
Yahoo 21st Feb 2011 more >>
Pakistan is on the verge of overtaking Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear power at a time when the country faces an unprecedented threat from extremists. American intelligence agencies believe that Pakistan now has more than 100 deployed nuclear weapons, an increase of nearly 40 per cent in two years.
Daily Mail 22nd Feb 2011 more >>