Small Modular Reactors
Mini nuclear power stations in towns around the UK have moved a step closer after it emerged the Government is assessing suitable sites to push ahead with a build. The Telegraph understands that a team of experts working for Ministers is looking at possible locations for small modular reactors, which could be built by 2025. It follows money announced by George Osborne in the Budget earlier this year, giving the green light to develop the so called “mini-nukes”. The stations, which must be built near water for cooling and need to be close to the towns they serve, form a key part of the Government’s plan to cut carbon emissions and generate clean energy in the UK. But campaigners are warning the plans could mean communities have new power stations forced on them if suitable sites are identified nearby. The Sunday Telegraph understands that sites in Wales, including the site of a former reactor at Trawsfynydd, and in the North of England where ex-nuclear or coal-fired power stations were stationed are being looked at as possible options. Other areas including Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Oldbury, Sizewell, Sellafield and Wylfa are also thought to be possibilities. Small modular reactors are attractive because they can be built in factories and assembled on-site. They take less time to develop than conventional nuclear power stations but they produce much less power – meaning there must be more of them to generate sustainable energy and they must be built close to the communities they serve. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, also warned that the small reactors will fail because they will be overtaken by other technology before they can be built. “Rather than focusing on a plan that revolves around wishing nuclear power will work and things that may well not be operating for decades, the government should be focussing on what works right now. That’s homegrown, renewable power that is falling in cost, smart efficient buildings, and creating connectors with Europe so that we can import and export renewable power when we need to.”
Telegraph 2nd April 2016 read more »
The proposed 3,200MW nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset could be a defining step on China’s journey to becoming the world’s leading exporter of affordable civil nuclear tech. Julian Turner analyses the £18bn project and traces China’s ascendency as a purveyor of nuclear power. In October, the Chinese Government under President Xi Jinping fired the latest salvo in its battle with Russia for hegemony as the world’s leading exporter of affordable civil nuclear technology. The strategic investment agreement between China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and EDF Energy to build an £24.5bn, 3,200MW nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is part of a wider partnership that includes new nuclear facilities at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell, Essex. The Hinkley Point C deal attracted the most headlines, but for energy analysts a controlling stake at Bradwell – potentially the first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant in the West – is the real prize for President Xi Jinping and his government, and represents a significant milestone in China’s ‘go global’ strategy to export nuclear technology, including heavy components in the supply chain.
Power Technology 1st April 2016 read more »
As world leaders gathered to discuss security of nuclear facilities amid fears Islamic State jihadists could attempt to create a dirty bomb, he said terrorists will use “whatever materials they can get their hands on”. At the Nuclear Security Summit, which concluded in Washington yesterday with a “scenario-based session” focusing on the “threat from nuclear terrorism”, Britain offered its expertise to other countries to safeguard their own civil nuclear installations. Security at Sizewell B – where EDF Energy say its highest priority is the safety and security of the public, its staff, buildings and installations – was tested only a few months ago with a mock terrorist attack that was described as “credible, challenging and well-planned”.
East Anglian Daily Times 2nd April 2016 read more »
Paul Flynn MP: Cameron has lamely echoed Obama’s warning on nuclear terrorism. On the 18th of June 2015 I had a debate on nuclear power. The Tory minister’s response was woeful. She did not mention the dangers of nuclear terrorism. Hinkley Point C, she claimed would be a financial success. Her arguments are collapsing now. Older nuclear power stations were not built to withstand terrorist attacks by drones and all the means by which people could attack them.
Paul Flynn 2nd April 2016 read more »
The fourth Nuclear Security Summit will admit we are in a hole, but there appears to be no recognition that we need to stop digging. What often goes unsaid is that the likelihood of nuclear terrorism is considered extremely small. This erroneous perception accounts for government unwillingness to take even the most obvious steps to get us out of the hole we are in, or even to stop digging. North Korea calculated a decade ago that it was a good idea to build a plutonium production reactor in Syria, where terrorist groups abound. Next, security standards vary alarmingly from country to country, as do the capabilities of terrorists. And while much has in fact been done to meet concerns about highly enriched uranium in the civilian sector (that one is true), the argument calling plutonium useless is technical nonsense. Indeed, plutonium and its vulnerability to theft are increasing, and this alone promises soon to utterly change the calculation about the probability of nuclear terrorism. Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for reasons of waste management or recycling will not take place in the United States any time soon. But the same cannot be said of Japan or China. The Japanese reprocessing plant at Rokkasho will be separating more than 6,000 kilograms of plutonium annually – enough for more than a thousand nuclear weapons – when it begins operation. And France has contracted to build a similar reprocessing facility in China. The stark fact that the economics of reprocessing and mixed oxide fuel fabrication are horrendous should be a persuasive argument against them, independent of international security implications. But so far it has not carried the day. What should move the Obama administration to take on the diplomatic mission of pushing against reprocessing plants anywhere in Northeast Asia, however, is the equally stark fact that keeping to the current path will legitimize the use of plutonium.
Huffington Post 31st March 2016 read more »
One of the scientists who spoke at the Savannah River Site’s Citizens Advisory Board meeting in Augusta this week has proposed a new use for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site, if the MOX program is terminated. Dr. Edwin Lyman, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who is an expert in nuclear safety and security, published a blog Thursday that the MOX facility, which is still under construction, could become an international training center where nuclear security guards would be taught the skills they need to do their jobs effectively.
Aiken Standard 1st April 2016 read more »
Barack Obama was grim as he described the doomsday ¬scenario the world dreads – Islamic State as a nuclear power. The US President told the 50-nation security summit in Washington DC: “If these mad men ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they would certainly use it to kill as many people as possible. “The single most effective defence against nuclear terrorism is fully securing this material so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in the first place.” He did not say that the other most effective defence is to wipe IS off the face of the planet. And if that is to be achieved it will need the overwhelming firepower of Western boots on Middle Eastern ground to do it.
Mirror 3rd April 2016 read more »
City AM 2nd April 2016 read more »
The Earth collapses in on itself following an underground nuclear explosion in this harrowing video. Archive footage of an undated atomic test shows a shed and the surrounding land disappear as the ground collapses into a giant hole created by the enormous underground explosion.
Mirror 2nd April 2016 read more »
The US, Russia, UK, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea all possess nuclear arsenals.
Telegraph 2nd April 2016 read more »
In 1989, Amory Lovins noticed a typo in a report that turned Megawatt into Negawatt. It was so good that he ran with it, turning it into the unit of energy saved through conservation or efficiency. Now the Negawatt is back, as energy efficiency becomes all the rage again. In Europe, researchers are calling efficiency a “new fuel that by 2030 will be more important than oil,” writes the Climate News Network. Efficiency has been relatively low profile because it isn’t sexy like solar panels, which have become cheaper every year. In the same period, efficiency has not become significantly cheaper, and it’s not nearly as impressive a symbol. But there’s a problem with energy from renewables: the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow and there’s no good way to store their power. A new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEE), also shows that Negawatts are cheaper; as little as 4.5 cents kilowatts per hour. So if you want to wean a utility off fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, it’s less costly for the company to pay customers to get efficient than it is to build new solar or wind capacity. There’s another big benefit from efficiency: it reduces peak demand and the pressures on the power industry that might lead to what’s been called a “death spiral” for power utilities. Those companies have to maintain the grid and power plants for peak demand and cloudy days, all while selling far less energy when the sun is shining.
Environment Guru 30th March 2016 read more »