Building a nuclear power plant is perceived as risky by credit rating agencies – and in some cases could lead to a ratings downgrade of the utility concerned, a senior analyst at US-based Moody’s told ICIS on Tuesday. The analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, said an unfavourable attitude towards nuclear power stemmed largely from the scale of investment required, together with future uncertainties surrounding power prices. “The risks are writ larger when you think of a nuclear project [than for other forms of generation], because construction and planning is that much more tortuous, construction risk is higher and from an operational point of they have a high fixed cost base,” the source said. The source added that Moody’s pays particular attention not only to nuclear power but to any large capital investment projects where the financial risk profile of a given utility may be affected by whether or not the project is completed on time and on budget. He noted that appetite for investment in nuclear power may have waned in recent years owing to the large sums of money utilities spent on other forms of generation assets in 2008-2009 – when power prices across Europe were considerably higher than their current level.
Heren Energy 27th Mar 2012 more >>
By the time any new nuclear plant could be built in the UK (estimated to be 2020 or later), the market for its electricity would be disappearing, according to new research. While the debate over the role nuclear should play in energy generation, both here in the UK and elsewhere (most notably Japan in recent months following the Fukushima disaster), a new report from Energy Fair suggests that even accounting for rising energy demand in coming years, the consumer demand for clean renewables will push aside nuclear. Labelling the nuclear market a high risk gamble, the new report entitled The financial risks of investing in new nuclear power plants identifies five main areas of risk for anyone considering investing in nuclear; market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk.
Green Car 27th Mar 2012 more >>
MPs and two of Britains largest trade unions are concerned only one type of design could be picked by nuclear power firms operating in the UK, potentially jeopardising jobs and energy security. The call comes as the nuclear group behind Horizon Nuclear Power is due to announce its chosen reactor design for a new plant at Wylfa, north Wales within the next month.
Energy Live News 27th March 2012 more >>
Westinghouse will split its nuclear power plant business unit into two distinct organizations – one to focus on the delivery of new plant projects to existing customers and the other to develop new plant opportunities globally.
World Nuclear News 27th Mar 2012 more >>
HAZARDOUS waste firm Augean is forecasting profits will more than double this year as it starts to take low level waste from decommissioned nuclear power stations. The Wetherby-based company recently won a court battle allowing it to take in low level radioactive material at its East Northants site in Northamptonshire, a former clay pit, despite local opposition. Now the group has signed an agreement with Low Level Waste Repository Limited to take in rubble from old offices, laboratories and ancillary buildings from redundant nuclear facilities across the UK.
Yorkshire Post 28th Mar 2012 more >>
Sellafield Ltd. said it would publish its initial Fukushima stress test report already three months old only when the Office for Nuclear Regulation publishes their assessment on the report. That assessment is expected soon, a spokesman for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said March 27. Although the European Unions post-Fukushima stress tests applied only to nuclear power plants (NPPs), the ONR ordered a similar review of all non-NPP facilities, including fuel manufacture, reprocessing, decommissioning and waste facilities.
i-Nuclear 27th Mar 2012 more >>
Documents to be released at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
Nuclear Security 27th Mar 2012 more >>
According to various sources, including the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), there are estimated to be almost 20,000 nuclear warheads in the world, with about half of them in Russia. However, IPFM warned that there is enough stockpiled weapons-grade nuclear material left over from decommissioned bombs and atomic-fuel plants to manufacture at least another 100,000 new nuclear bombs.
IB Times 27th Mar 2012 more >>
The synergies between nuclear safety and security were highlighted at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, where world leaders concluded that the right to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must not be hampered by measures to strengthen nuclear security.
World Nuclear News 27th Mar 2012 more >>
In his speech at the ongoing summit on nuclear security in Seoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt emphasised the importance of international cooperation in efforts to prevent uranium, plutonium and other radioactive material from falling into the wrong hands and being used for the production of nuclear devices or in acts of terrorism.
e-Gov Monitor 27th Mar 2012 more >>
One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials estimated, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant’s stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the number two reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a year ago. The data shows the damage from the disaster is so severe the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment, and decommission the plant. The process is expected to last decades. The other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape. The number two reactor is the only one officials have been able to closely examine so far.
Guardian 28th Mar 2012 more >>
Japan, the worlds third-largest oil consumer behind the US and China, has delivered the biggest upside surprise for consumption this year and it is unlikely to be its last as Tokyo replaces nuclear power. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) on Monday shut down another nuclear reactor for stress tests, leaving Japan with only one atomic power plant in operation. The one remaining reactor, Hokkaido Electrics Tomari, is scheduled to go offline on May 5 for maintenance. Since the Fukushima crisis, not a single reactor has come back into operation after undergoing stress tests introduced to examine the ability of nuclear plants to withstand earthquakes and tsunami similar to those that caused the Fukushima catastrophe, so the oil market is now assuming that Japan may need even more oil for electricity generation this year than the initially large quantities assumed.
FT 27th Mar 2012 more >>
Nuclear powers proponents frequently point out that it is one of the only low-carbon sources that can serve as baseload (always on) power. Baseload power is needed, they say, because renewable sources like solar are intermittent (the sun isnt always shining) and non-dispatchable (the sun cant be turned on and off at will). You need large, steady, predictable power plants if youre going to have all those flighty renewables involved. Believe it or not, Germans have heard this argument before. They just think its wrong. They dont think renewables and baseload are complimentary; they think theyre incompatible. In 2010, Federal Minister of the Environment Norbert Röttgen said: It is economically nonsensical to pursue two strategies at the same time, for both a centralized and a decentralized energy supply system, since both strategies would involve enormous investment requirements. I am convinced that the investment in renewable energies is the economically more promising project. But we will have to make up our minds. We cant go down both paths at the same time.
Grist 23rd Mar 2012 more >>
High-gain nuclear fusion could soon be a possibility according to new computer simulations. A series of computer simulations performed at Sandia National Laboratories revealed that a fusion reactor can release an output of energy that is greater than the energy fed into the reactor. The method being tested at Sandia appears to be 50 times more efficient to drive implosions of targeted materials to create the fusion reaction.
IB Times 28th Mar 2012 more >>
Britain was embroiled in a fresh diplomatic row with Argentina today after being accused of deploying nuclear weapons to protect the Falklands. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg blasted the unfounded, baseless insinuations at an international conference. Mr Clegg was forced to deny that Trident nuclear missiles were being carried aboard a Royal Navy submarine sent to the South Atlantic.
Daily Mail 27th Mar 2012 more >>
Express 27th Mar 2012 more >>
Telegraph 27th Mar 2012 more >>
Guardian 27th Mar 2012 more >>
REPUBLICANS have accused Barack Obama of planning to “cave” in to Russia over the controversial missile defence shield after the US president was overheard asking the Russians to give him “space” until after the November election. Obama was whispering to outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at yesterday’s nuclear summit in South Korea when, unaware the rogue mic was recording his words, he asked Medvedev to urge the incoming president, Vladimir Putin, to be patient.
The Week 27th Mar 2012 more >>