A radical plan to deal with Britains plutonium waste the biggest civil deposit in the world has come a step closer with a legal contract to test the feasibility of building an American nuclear fast reactor on the Sellafield site in Cumbria. Nuclear officials have signed a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of building an American-designed fast reactor to burn the plutonium waste on-site at Sellafield. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has overall responsibility for Sellafield and its 100-tonne plutonium-waste problem, has signed the deal with GE-Hitachi to see whether its Prism fast reactor can directly eliminate the plutonium waste rather than the alternative method of converting it into mixed oxide (Mox) fuel for conventional nuclear reactors. The deal represents a remarkable U-turn on the part of the NDA which has consistently said that its preferred option to deal with the plutonium waste at Sellafield is to build a second Mox fuel plant at Sellafield the first Mox fuel plant was closed last year after a catalogue of failures costing £1.34bn.
Independent 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
EDF Energy appears unlikely to take over the Horizon Nuclear Power project following the shock exit of two energy companies. Uncertainty surrounds the 120 jobs at Horizon at Gloucester Business Park after both RWE npower and E.ON pulled out of the joint venture to create some of the next generation of nuclear power stations.
Gloucestershire Echo 3rd Apr 2012 more >>
The Government is talking with global sovereign funds about buying into the UKs nuclear renaissance providing a huge boost to a pair of Lancashire firms. The Evening Post understands talks have taken place with funds in the Middle East and Far East about pumping cash into getting new power stations built across the country amid fears the new-build programme could stall due to a lack of cash. It could see a deal struck to secure new investment into Horizon Nuclear Power, the group bidding to build new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Angelsey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, which was rocked by the pull-out of German energy giants RWE and E.ON last week. That would be a major boost for Lancashire-based Westinghouse, one of two energy companies bidding to build reactors, which had hoped its AP1000 design could land a multi-billion pound deal to build the reactor at Wylfa ahead of the rival French Areva EPR reactor. The fuel for any AP1000 reactor built in the UK will be produced at the Springfields Fuels factory at Salwick, near Preston, securing up to 1,000 jobs for up to a century.
Lancashire Evening Post 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Moodys Investors Service said RWE and E.ONs decision last week to abandon plans to build new nuclear power plants in the UK was credit positive for the two firms. The companies decision to pull out of their UK nuclear joint venture, known as Horizon Nuclear Power, is credit positive for both German utilities, which can instead focus on investment in less risky projects, Moodys said in an April 2 statement. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, new safety measures and potential changes to reactor design have significantly increased the uncertainty around construction costs for new nuclear power facilities, Moodys said. Curiously, Moodys said the German withdrawal from the UK nuclear new build policy was also credit positive for EDF, which remains committed to building four Areva EPR reactors in the UK.
i-Nuclear 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
The news that nuclear giants RWE and E.ON are dropping plans to build any new UK reactors has sent a toxic cloud not only over Wales, but over the nuclear industry itself. So the torpedo that has just been launched at the majestic British nuclear ship by the sneaky German energy corporations has hit the most vulnerable part of the nuclear industry – its economic credibility. Among the wreckage, the unpalatable fact is that the electricity produced is not economic and that the scheme has only been kept going by increasingly exotic public subsidies and finance packages (read sub-prime crisis).
Guardian 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
German utility companies RWE and E.ON have pulled the plug on a joint project to build nuclear reactors at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The firms blame a shortage of cash following the German government’s decision last year to abandon nuclear power. “There is no doubt that the withdrawal is a symptom of a much wider post-Fukushima effect,” says Gordon MacKerron of Sussex University in Brighton, UK. Despite the drop-off in nuclear power generation, Germany’s decision may not mean a boost for European green energy . “Investment is stalling generally across the energy industry, including the major investment needed for offshore wind projects,” says Sue Ion of the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. The energy technology most likely to gain from any nuclear freeze in UK is gas turbines, says McKerron. With gas prices high, they cost a lot to run but they are cheap and quick to build.
New Scientist 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
The UK government is to substantially increase the third party liabilities of nuclear plant operators in the event of an accident, bringing them into line with previously agreed amendments to the Paris and Brussels conventions. The UK is party to both the Paris and supplementary Brussels convention (as amended in 1984), and domestic laws are embodied in the Nuclear Installations Act of 1965. The proposals aim to put the existing UK legislation in line with amendments to the conventions adopted in 2004. The government conducted a consultation on the implementation of the changes to the conventions between 24 January and 28 April 2011.
World Nuclear News 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
eGov Monitor 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Sheffield and Manchester Universities are spearheading a £4 million project to help UK firms play an increasing role in the civil nuclear industry. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded New Nuclear Build and Manufacturing programme NNUMAN aims to develop new manufacturing processes that enable British firms to out-compete foreign rivals and train a new generation of nuclear scientists and engineers.
Sheffield Star 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Senior figures from government and industry are gathering at Dounreay today to hear the sites new clean-up team set out their vision to accelerate the demolition of Britains second largest civil nuclear site. Three of the worlds biggest engineering and project management companies – Babcock International, CHM2HILL and URS – have come together to win the largest site closure contract ever let in the UK. Their aim is to complete the decommissioning of the site by 2022-25 and reduce the cost to the UK taxpayer by over £1 billion. The consortium, known as the Babcock Dounreay Partnership, officially took over Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd at the weekend. It will use the companys 950 staff and supply chain to clean up and demolish the remainder of the site.
DSRL 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Share Cast 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Scotsman 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority today publishes its business plan for 2012/13, setting out key clean-up goals for sites such as Dounreay to achieve.
DSRL 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Small Modular Reactors
Large, modern nuclear reactors can produce more than 1,000 megawatts worth of power, but cost around $7 billion to build. They must also pass vast amounts of safety procedures and certifications, especially after the Fukushima disaster last year. Babcock & Wilcox, a one-time builder of large pressurized water reactors as well as smaller ones suitable for the submarines, have suggested that reducing the size and capacity of nuclear reactors, to about 180 megawatts, could improve safety and reduce the cost. The reactors would be produced in a modular fashion, with all parts being assembled in a factory and then shipped to the required sites. B&W believe that the major hurdle facing the nuclear industry is the huge expense, and therefore financial risk, of constructing a reactor; an expense that would take years to earn back.
Oil Price 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling. The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency and defence contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia. “It’s pretty terrifying prospect,” said Chris Coles of Drone Wars UK, which campaigns against the increasing use of drones for both military and civilian purposes. “Drones are much less safe than other aircraft and tend to crash a lot. There is a major push by this industry to increase the use of drones and both the public and government are struggling to keep up with the implications.”
Guardian 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Hitachi has signed a concession agreement with the Lithuanian Energy Ministry for construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant in Lithuania. The deal will be officially concluded after the approval by the Lithuanian parliament which has been in session since last month. Lithuania is intending to build a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas in the northeastern part of the country, with the aim of having an operational plant in 2021.
Energy Business Review 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Nuclear Engineering International 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
Iran declared on Monday it will not be swayed from its nuclear “path” by sanctions, a week before talks with world powers that are increasingly seen as a last chance for diplomacy in its showdown with the West.
Middle East Online 2nd Apr 2012 more >>
IGas said it now believed the volume of gas in place was near 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf). If even 10pc of that were recoverable, it could equate to about a quarter of the UKs annual natural gas usage. The company is now seeking a partner with which to drill further and develop the shale resources. Andrew Austin, IGas chief executive, said the shale gas, added to the companys coal bed methane gas, could together power about 15pc of the UKs homes for 30 years.
Telegraph 3rd Apr 2012 more >>