News

SMRs

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC have agreed to collaborate in the development and licensing of an advanced small modular reactor based on Generation IV sodium-cooled reactor technology. The two companies hope to advance an aSMR design for global power generation with initial deployment in Canada, including the pursuit of a preliminary regulatory review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, based on earlier technology licensing success in the United States. This collaborative commercialization program will also work to confirm projected construction and operating costs and identify a lead-plant owner and operator for the joint aSMR. GEH and ARC Nuclear have each developed advanced reactor designs based on the EBR-II, an integral sodium-cooled fast reactor prototype which was developed by Argonne National Laboratory and operated successfully for more than 30 years at Idaho Falls, Idaho. These two reactor designs — GEH’s PRISM and ARC Nuclear’s ARC-100 — have been focused on different objectives. The ARC-100 is a 100 MWe aSMR designed for efficient and flexible electricity generation, while operating for up to 20 years without the need for refueling. In contrast, PRISM, which is designed to refuel every 12 to 24 months, has primarily been focused on closing the fuel cycle by, among other things, consuming transuranics.

Power Engineering 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Stakeholder Engagement

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today the results of a survey of NGOs, councillors and council officers who attend nuclear site stakeholder forums around England, Scotland and Wales. It also outlines its wider concerns and issues with the state of nuclear policy stakeholder engagement in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The survey contacted NGO and NFLA respondents of groups who attend both civil nuclear ‘Site Stakeholder Groups’ (SSGs) and defence nuclear ‘Local Liaison Committees’ (LLCs). The NFLA report also considers wider stakeholder engagement at the national level in the nuclear sector, giving four examples of good practice in the UK and Republic of Ireland in comparison with the inadequate level of scrutiny and discussion it sees in many existing nuclear stakeholder forums. The report encourages a fuller consideration and review of how nuclear stakeholder engagement takes place in the likes of Sweden and Finland, which is not just more exhaustive and ‘trust-building’ but also sees the government funding nominated independent groups to allow for a more rounded and complete view of radioactive waste policy.

NFLA 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Nuclear Free Wales

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum warmly welcomes and fully supports the ‘Aberystwyth Declaration’ made at a packed conference of like-minded groups calling for a step-change in Welsh energy policy. The conference was the second part of two major meetings held in Ceredigion around the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. On Friday March 10th the NFLA held its spring Welsh Forum seminar in Ceredigion County Council offices, Canolfan Rheidol. At this seminar a number of expert presentations were provided. Members were given: A detailed presentation by Rob Davies of People Against Wylfa B on its local concerns around the proposed development of the Wylfa B new nuclear reactor; An overview by Tim Deere-Jones of the NFLA’s submission to Natural Resources Wales / Environment Agency consultation on the environmental permitting for the proposed reactor design for Wylfa B, which will be published on Friday; An overview of the financial and other problems besetting the companies planning to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK by Linda Pentz Gunter of Beyond Nuclear USA; A positive presentation on how Councils were developing innovative decentralised energy projects around the UK. This presentation will be given to Anglesey Councillors at their upcoming full Council meeting next week.

NFLA 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Energy Policy

GB energy policy is dissolving into a muddled, mire of siloed, non-joined-up policy statements and calls for evidence. GB has to decide on the necessary institutional arrangements to deliver its GHG reduction targets, cost-effective, smart, flexible, secure energy system before it makes even more costly and time-consuming mistakes. We do not want to halt (or hinder) progress towards a sustainable energy system by undertaking a big review of GB energy policy, but we do want a clearer Government agreed institutional framework, and timeline, for taking GB’s energy policy forward – analogous to (but not necessarily the same as) the IGov Fit-for-Purpose GB Energy Governance Framework.

IGov 14th March 2017 read more »

Ministers have been accused by the SNP of “stacking the deck” against renewable energy and in favour of nuclear power. Callum McCaig, the party’s energy spokesman, suggested the Government was guilty of “inflating” the cost of greener energies such as onshore wind. But Industry Minister Nick Hurd said it was important to secure “diversity of supply” in the energy market to ensure the UK maintains energy security. Mr McCaig compared the strike price – the amount the Government has guaranteed to pay per unit of electricity generated – set for the new Hinkley nuclear power station with the price set for renewables. He said: “Our concern on Hinkley is that the Government appears to be stacking the deck in favour of nuclear power over much cheaper renewable energy. “The strike price for Hinkley was £92.50 in 2012 compared to a much lower £82.50 for offshore wind in 2015.

Aberdeen Evening Express 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Fukushima

SIX years after the devastating tsunami that destroyed their town and caused a nuclear disaster, residents of Fukushima, Japan, face the confronting choice of whether to return to the ghost town they once called home.

Asian Correspondent 15th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

US

The recent financial crisis facing Toshiba due to construction cost overruns at the newest nuclear power plants in the U.S. brought home the message: the nuclear power industry in the U. S. must change or become increasingly irrelevant. This latest financial crisis strikes an industry that already has undergone a radical slowdown since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, which followed stricter regulations and safety concerns among the public after the Chernobyl disaster in 1985 and the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. The increased cost of building traditional high pressure light water reactors comes at a time when natural gas prices have plummeted and grid-scale solar and wind are becoming price competitive. So with all the financial and environmental concerns – including the very real issue of where and how we should store spent nuclear rods – why should the world even want nuclear power?

Forbes 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

India

India’s solar power capacity has exploded over the past three years, growing from just 3,000 megawatts in 2014 to an installed capacity of 10,000 MW in 2017. And that’s just the beginning of the country’s solar ambitions, with a renewable energy target of 175 gigawatts as soon as 2022. India’s government is working to further its ambitious goal already, with more than 14,000 MW worth of solar projects in the works, and another 6 GW set to go to auction soon. India expects to add a total of 8.8 GW of further solar capacity in 2017.

Inhabitat 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

100% Renewables

Home battery company Moixa begun work on an energy systems project on the Isles of Scilly which will support the islands’ “path to full energy independence”. The Smart Energy Islands project, which has been partially funded, by the European Regional Development Fund, will see new platforms for home energy and electric vehicles developed to balance local supply and demand. Moixa’s chief technology officer, Chris Wright, said the project supports a “path to full energy independence” for the Scilly Isles and represents “the future of the grid”. “We should be investing in smart control systems that really enable scale,” he enthused.

Utility Week 15th March 2017 read more »

The Isles of Scilly are to be used as a test hub for smart energy technology in an £10.8 million project backed by the EU and Hitachi. The project will see rooftop solar panels and new energy management systems installed at 100 council-owned homes, about a tenth of the islands’ housing stock, with the households receiving discounted electricity. Ten of the homes will also be fitted with batteries or other technologies to help manage lags between supply and demand. A subsequent phase of the Smart Energy Islands project is expected to see electric cars deployed on the archipelago, with their batteries also used to help manage supply and demand. By 2025, the project aims to cut electricity bills by 40 per cent, meet 40 per cent of energy demand from renewables and for 40 per cent of vehicles on the islands to be either electric or low carbon.

Times 15th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Fossil Fuels

The prospect of “peak demand” for oil – an end to growth in global consumption – has been discussed in the energy industry for many years, without apparently coming much closer. But some of the world’s leading oil companies now see peak demand and sustained lower crude prices as a risk that they need to prepare for. Royal Dutch Shell has suggested the peak could come as early as the late-2020s. Statoil believes it could be between the mid-2020s and the late-2030s. Not everyone agrees. The International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries, thinks that unless there is much more intensive action by governments to tackle global warming, oil demand is likely to continue to grow out to 2040 and possibly beyond.

FT 15th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 March 2017

Toshiba

If Japan’s Toshiba Corp. parts ways with its embattled U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., the likely buyer may be a regional neighbor with global ambitions. Westinghouse would be a strategic fit in China or South Korea, which are developing their own reactors for export, according to analysts and academics. The region is also home to about half the world’s nuclear units under construction, while China is forecast to have the largest fleet fleet of reactors by the middle of next decade. Toshiba, which is suffering from a 712.5 billion yen ($6.2 billion) writedown on its nuclear division and selling assets to stabilize its balance sheet, has said it will consider selling Westinghouse to the right partner. The Tokyo-based electronics maker has a deadline of Tuesday to release results for the period ended Dec. 31.

Bloomberg 13th March 2017 read more »

Toshiba Corp Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said on Tuesday he expected the company’s U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse to attract interest from potential buyers given its stable fuel and services business. Speaking at a news conference, Tsunakawa sidestepped questions over whether a Chapter 11 filing for Westinghouse was a possibility, saying there were “various options” for the unit. Toshiba said earlier it would speed up looking at whether to sell a majority of Westinghouse, which has become the epicentre of Toshiba’s latest crisis and an expected $6.3 billion writedown.

Reuters 14th March 2017 read more »

Japan’s Toshiba failed to submit audited third-quarter earnings for a second time on Tuesday, gaining a one month extension as its expands a probe into problems at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse. With its financial woes only deepening, Toshiba said it would speed up looking at whether to sell a majority of Westinghouse even as it sought to reassure investors it could have a future without the unit or its prized memory chip business which has been put up for sale.

Fortune 14th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 March 2017