The UK EPR is undergoing more design changes as part of the regulators generic design assessment (GDA) review, according to information from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The original four-year GDA review of the Areva EPR led already to a number of design changes, most notably the requirement for a hard-wired backup for the digital control and instrumentation (C&I) system (see iNM, May, 12). Since last year, Areva and EDF have been working to close out the 31 GDA Issues attached to the interim design approval granted in December. That process is also leading to some design changes, according to ONR. We have received a number of modification proposals to amend the EPR design to take account of the solutions proposed to some of the GDA Issues, ONR said in its latest quarterly report, citing two examples. There are two related design changes to the main coolant loop pipework and both improve the quality of inspection achievable during construction and through life, an ONR spokeswoman told i-NUCLEAR May 25.
i-Nuclear 25th May 2012 more >>
The approval process for EDFs planned Hinkley Point C nuclear reactors is three months behind schedule.
Building 25th May 2012 more >>
Electricite de France SA Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said spending in France will be a priority to maintain nuclear reactors and keep them safe. EDFs role is one of big public service, Proglio told shareholders at an annual meeting in Paris. The utility will develop industry in France and hire and train young people, he said. EDF also needs to move more quickly into international markets by selling atomic reactors and renewable energy abroad to countries like China, Proglio said today. Development in Italy, Poland and the U.K. will also come, he said.
Bloomberg 24th May 2012 more >>
There were two big pieces of nuclear news coming out of the UK this week. First, the government published plans to reform the electricity market, promising to hand over billions in subsidies to the nuclear industry to encourage them to build new nuclear reactors. Secondly, the government is working with French-owned energy giant EDF to extend the life of ageing UK nuclear reactors. Taken together, it shows that the government is quite prepared to put the interests of the nuclear industry above the safety and wellbeing of the public. The government says it remains optimistic that a fleet of new nuclear reactors will be built in the UK by 2025 without subsidy. Theyre the only ones who still pretend to believe this will happen. With one nuclear reactor costing a mind-blowing £7 billion, most energy companies and private investors want nothing to do with new nuclear.
Greenpeace 26th May 2012 more >>
Letter Dr Gerry Wolff: It is not true that “New nuclear facilities … are essential to meeting Britain’s future energy needs, because they provide carbon-free, always-on electricity generation to complement the natural intermittency of wind power” (leading article, 23 May). Nuclear power is certainly not “carbon-free”. Peer-reviewed research shows that the nuclear cycle emits between nine and 25 times as much CO2 as wind power. Most renewables provide a much more effective means of cutting emissions. And nuclear power is certainly not “always on”. Like all kinds of equipment, nuclear power plants can and do fail. And failure of a nuclear power station can be very disruptive on the grid because, normally, a largish chunk of power is lost without much warning. By contrast, the gradual and predictable variations in the output of renewables are much easier to manage. There is now a range of techniques which can ensure reliable, robust and responsive supplies of electricity from entirely renewable sources of power. If we are worried about this or that “energy gap”, we should certainly not try to fill it using nuclear power. In just one year (2010), Germany installed 8.8GW of photovoltaic solar panels, producing about the same amount of electricity each year as a 1GW nuclear power station but up to 8.8 times the peak output of a nuclear power station, because PV generates in daylight hours when demand is high.
Independent 26th May 2012 more >>
Letter Pete Roche: What makes you so sure the Government is right about electricity demand doubling because of switching to electric vehicles and heating? Germany, which is planning an entirely non-nuclear route, even with a similar 2050 objective of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases, expects electricity demand to be 25 per cent below present levels by implementing an energy-efficiency programme. Not only is energy demand reduction compelling from an economic point of view, because it is far cheaper than building new generating capacity, but it is also key to reducing CO2 emissions without driving thousands more householders into fuel poverty. In fact, the overall level of electricity demand may only have to increase moderately, given the potential for achieving significant energy demand efficiencies across all sectors of the economy, including those that are to be electrified.
Independent 26th May 2012 more >>
Letter: Whether we continue with nuclear power should be decided by an informed public. Nuclear power stations are subject to catastrophic failure; they are extremely expensive and likely to require subsidy; they produce dangerous waste with no agreed means of disposal and they have the same enrichment technology as for nuclear weapons manufacture. The power stations and temporary waste deposit storage are vulnerable to terrorist attack; they centralise “power” in the hands of elites; the fuel, uranium, will become increasingly scarce; they make poor countries dependent on rich ones and they draw funds from development of renewable energy. After the mega-disaster of Fukushima, we know that they can result in a virtually impenetrable state of denial.
Independent 26th May 2012 more >>
The UK faces two big energy challenges. The first is to build the infrastructure needed to meet future demand for power and heat. The second is how to do so while hitting the targets the country has set itself for cutting carbon emissions. While the coalitions energy bill, published this week, reconciles the two, it does so in ways that leave much to be desired. The model laid out in the bill jettisons too much of the liberalised market that has assured Britons low prices and secure supplies for 20 years. This is to be undermined by the governments desire to mandate how much of the UKs electricity should come from various sources by 2020. This involves setting minimum prices for power generated from different sources, such as nuclear, wind and solar. The precise level of these long-term contracts has yet to be set. Negotiating some of them might be fraught. In nuclear, there may be only one supplier the French group, EDF.
FT 25th May 2012 more >>
The publication of a draft Energy Bill this week represents the start of the process of one of the most significant pieces of reform that the Coalition will undertake during its time in power. The complexity and lack of detail around some of the specifics elements of the Bill means that is too early to predict if it will achieve its desired outcomes. However, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that it represents another important and welcome step in the reform of the electricity market that is required to attract the necessary investment in low carbon forms of energy, especially new nuclear.
British Chamber of Commerce 25th May 2012 more >>
Liberal Democrat Davey is the greenest member of the Cabinet, if past history is anything to go by. Yet last week he laid a draft Bill before Parliament that would lavish vast sums on a nuclear industry that he, and his party, had long opposed and which the Coalition has consistently insisted it would never subsidise. The “electricity market reform” provisions of the draft Energy Bill are so complex that only a handful of people are said to fully understand them. But among those outside government that have studied them, there is a remarkable consensus that they tilt the playing field sharply in favour of the atom at the expense of generating electricity not just from fossil fuels such as gas, but from renewable sources like the sun and the wind – while failing to address the importance of reducing demand through energy efficiency. Which is the polar opposite of what you’d expect from one of the few top politicians to have entered public affairs through the green movement.
Telegraph 26th May 2012 more >>
The Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, has visited the Gloucester headquarters of Horizon Nuclear Power. His visit follows the withdrawal of parent companies RWE and E.ON from the project at the end of March. Speaking ahead of the visit Charles Hendry said: Horizon Nuclear Power represents an extremely attractive investment opportunity. Horizons team is a prized asset. A group of very talented and experienced staff who have worked extremely hard over the past three years to make Wylfa and Oldbury two of the most attractive sites in Europe to invest in new nuclear. There has already been strong interest in Horizon and we are making the Governments commitment to new nuclear clear to interested parties.
Bdaily 25th May 2012 more >>
THIS week we have had some good news for Dungeness and the future of nuclear power on Romney Marsh. EDF Energy, the company that owns and operates Dungeness B, has confirmed that it is in talks with National Grid and the Government about extending the life of the station. This means, from where we are now, that Dungeness will be producing electricity for Kent for at least another ten years. This is good news for everyone who works at and with the power station. The Government has also published this week a draft energy bill which paves the way for the future investment needed to build the next generation of nuclear power stations. These new sources of nuclear energy will provide a large amount of the low-carbon electricity that this country will need in the coming decades. This bill has been welcomed by the energy companies that will build the new fleet of stations, and I will be urging them to look seriously at Dungeness. The Government has made clear that the “door remains open” to building a new power station there, but that any company taking proposals forward would need to satisfy the planning inspector that they could minimise and compensate for any loss of the protected habitats at the site.
Folkestone Herald 25th May 2012 more >>
The Springfields Fuels processing plant near Preston, Lancashire was the first in the world to make nuclear fuel for commercial power stations. The site has produced several million fuel elements and supplied products and services to over 140 reactors in 15 countries. A resurgence of demand for nuclear fuel has prompted Springfields to re-commission a previously moth-balled light water reactor (LWR) plant at the site, which is still the UKs main nuclear fuel manufacturing operation.
Factory Equipment 25th May 2012 more >>
A summary of the regime for authorising major infrastructure projects introduced by the Planning Act 2008 and amended by the Localism Act 2011.
Bircham Dyson Bell 25th May 2012 more >>
Fukushima update 22nd to 24th May.
Greenpeace 25th May 2012 more >>
Japan is leaning toward a policy of halving nuclear powers share of electricity supply from pre-Fukushima levels to about 15% by 2030, but will likely stop short of pledging the long-term exit strategy that many voters favor, experts said. That would be a victory of sorts for a nuclear industry that has been under fire since a huge earthquake and tsunami devasted the Fukushima atomic plant in March 2011, triggering meltdowns in the worlds worst radiation accident in a quarter century.
Japan Today 25th May 2012 more >>
The UN nuclear agency has found traces of uranium at Iran’s underground atomic site enriched to higher than previous levels and closer to what is needed for nuclear weapons, diplomats say. The finding by the International Atomic Energy Agency does not necessarily mean that Iran is secretly raising its enrichment threshold. The diplomats say the traces could be left during start-up of enriching centrifuges until the desired level is reached. That would be a technical glitch only.
Independent 25th May 2012 more >>
Iran has raised its potential capacity to make sensitive nuclear material by installing hundreds more uranium enrichment machines at an underground site, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report has said. The watchdog also said that satellite images show extensive activities at the Parchin military complex, some 20 miles southeast of Tehran, which inspectors want to check over suspicions that nuclear weapons-relevant research was done there. The activities could hamper the IAEAs inquiry, it said an allusion to what western diplomats have said may be Iranian efforts to remove incriminating evidence. Iran has denied pursuing a clear weapons capability. The IAEA report yesterday said inspectors had found traces of uranium particles enriched to up to 27 per cent at Irans bunkered Fordow site, compared with the 20 per cent level Tehran has officially reported to the IAEA.
Scotsman 26th May 2012 more >>
China plans to spend $27 bn (£17bn) this year to promote energy conservation, emission reductions and renewable energy. The country’s finance ministry said it wants to promote energy-saving products, solar and wind power and accelerate the development of renewable energy and hybrid cars.
Guardian 25th May 2012 more >>
A US company and an Iranian university have agreed to collaborate on nuclear fusion, the elusive technology that promises a limitless supply of clean energy. New Jersey-based Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Inc and Tehran’s Islamic Azad University will jointly design a fusion machine that “would be affordable to construct in industrializing nations”, according to a contract signed last weekend.
Guardian 25th May 2012 more >>
CHP/DH is at long last being taken seriously in the UK, being mentioned as a key option in the new DECC Heat strategy and also in the new Bioenergy strategy. But we have a long way to go the catch up.
Environmental Research Web 25th May 2012 more >>
A COLLEGE in Edinburgh is to install Scotlands largest solar roof as part of its aim to boost its eco credentials and save hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some 650 solar panels will be fitted to the roof of Telford Colleges main campus, in West Granton Road. The college says the solar roof will generate enough electricity to allow the campus to become self-sufficient in terms of power, and make extra money as the surplus is sold to the grid.
Scotsman 25th May 2012 more >>