The much-vaunted renaissance of the British nuclear industry increasingly looks less a rebirth than an unsatisfactory assortment of stalling, disjointed projects. One by one, the UK’s established, privately-owned electricity utilities have abandoned the nuclear new build programme, to be replaced by state-owned utilities with state-level, bilateral agreements. The Hinkley Point C saga continues. It is now six years since EDF Energy announced its intention to develop the project, but, at the time of writing, it and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) are still awaiting State Aid clearance from the European Commission for a 35-year feed-in tariff with contract for difference (CfD) for the twin 1600MWe reactor project in Somerset. Even if the Commission approves the plans, there is still work to be done before EDF’s subsidiary NNB Generation can make a final investment decision to start construction of what would be Britain’s first nuclear power plant since Sizewell B in Suffolk was commissioned in 1995. Much of this hinges on the level of investment from Chinese nuclear utilities China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
Tim Probert 5th Dec 2014 read more »
EDF Chief Executive Officer Vincent de Rivaz said at a nuclear convention in Britain that financial difficulties pressing on project partner Areva would not derail the $25 billion Hinkley Point C power station project slated for Somerset in southwest England. There are legal matters yet to be cleared up before a probable construction start in the first quarter of 2015, de Rivaz said, but the largest concern has been the announcement in late November by Areva that said it would suspend its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016. The news sent its stock value sharply lower, as the company blamed delays at the Olkiluoto Island construction project in Finland and the service work slowdown in Japan for a significant disruption in cash flow. Areva’s financial situation cast a shadow of uncertainty on the Hinkley Point C European pressurized water reactors, a two-reactor project that had just had just been approved by the European Commission, which said that a 35-year price guarantee by the British government of $144.84 per megawatt hour did not constitute an illegal subsidy. At the British Nuclear Industry Association conference, de Rivaz said the French government, which is Areva’s majority shareholder, had agreed to support the company.
Nuclear Street 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Newly-merged engineering group Amec Foster Wheeler has landed the environmental services deal for the proposed new nuclear power station at Moorside, Cumbria. The project being developed by NuGen will be the largest nuclear new build project currently planned. Amec Foster Wheeler will carry out environmental impact assessments on the site, which is near to the Sellafield complex in West Cumbria. Amec Foster Wheeler will also provide specialised environmental consultancy support to prepare for the installation of the plant’s three Westinghouse reactors, which will generate 3.4GW of electricity when they are operational in 2026.
Costruction Enquirer 5th Dec 2014 read more »
A control room at a Scottish nuclear power plant has been dismantled and transferred to a museum. The panels from Dounreay will become a permanent exhibition at Caithness Horizons in nearby Thurso. The control room was used for the Dounreay Materials Testing Reactor (DMTR), which in 1958 became Scotland’s first operation nuclear reactor. The DMTR, which was housed in a steel pressure vessel nicknamed the Upturned Dustbin, was closed in 1969. Other materials and tools from Dounreay have been recycled or reused. The site is being decommissioned and demolished.
BBC 5th Dec 2014 read more »
The Environment Agency is investigating an incident at the Sizewell B nuclear power station in which a diluted chemical over-flowed from a tank and led to groundwater contamination.The chemical involved, sodium hypochlorite, is commonly used within a variety of industries to control bacteria in water systems.
East Anglian Daily Times 5th Dec 2014 read more »
An Areva Inc. subsidiary has won two contracts worth a combined $70 million for dry storage of used nuclear fuel. FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., based in Ohio, has chosen Areva TN to provide dry storage equipment and service at its Davis Besse nuclear plant in Ohio and its Beaver Valley plant in Pennsylvania. The used fuel will be stored on site.
Charlotte Business Journal 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
A new report, entitled “Russian Nuclear Industry in Review”, is authored by Russian environmental activist and academic Vladimir Slivyak; and provides an insider view into the workings of the Russian nuclear industry. The report is fourth in the series “Pay more with nuclear”, which examines the enormous costs involved in building, operating and decommissioning nuclear power plants. The Russian deal is being marketed as preferential because it includes Russian government funding, construction assistance and fuel cycle services. But the “Russian Nuclear Industry in Review” report shows fatal flaws with the concept and reveals the shady corners of the Russian nuclear industry.
Earthlife Africa 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Burying radioactive waste near Creighton (Canada) is a notion fraught with danger, cautions a leading anti-nuclear activist. Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, said the concept inherently carries daunting risks. “Things happen that you did not anticipate, and if this happens in a serious way with these high-level nuclear wastes, you have a very serious contamination problem on your hands,” said Edwards, a Montreal-based mathematician. In a phone interview, Edwards, 74, said he is most worried about two long-term possibilities: environmental contamination and the reprocessing of the waste to extract plutonium. “After, let’s say, the first 1,000 years, the main danger is not external radiation…it’s a question of leakage into the water system, leakage into the groundwater, into the surface waters and ultimately into the food chain,” he said.
The Reminder 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
New types of kettles that do not fur up with limescale could be developed following research that studied how stalagmites build up in caves. Scientists have created new models of how minerals build up from water, while attempting to model the accumulation of corrosive salts in nuclear waste. They believe their findings can help to improve the design of kettles to prevent them from furring up, and making them easier to clean.We were approached by the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield to solve the problem of predicting the shapes that precipitate from nuclear process solutions that can form in containment chambers.
Daily Mail 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Process Engineering 5th Dec 2014 read more »
In recognition of Ted Darby’s leadership in nuclear materials and contribution to marine reactor safety the University of Birmingham has appointed him to an Honorary Visiting Chair in Nuclear Reactor Materials in the School of Metallurgy and Materials. This coincides with a national resurgence in interest and need to underpin the nuclear new-build and life-extension programmes with nuclear materials expertise. Furthermore, there is growing interest in Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology. The University of Birmingham has correspondingly invested in materials irradiation and materials corrosion facilities and the present appointment marks the opportunity for the University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce to work more closely on research and education programmes that seek to match the growing national need.
Birmingham University 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Construction firm, Fluor has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to develop a number of energy projects. The MoU agreement is for cooperation on nuclear and renewable energy projects in Europe and China, including solar and wind projects.
PV Tech 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Construction firm Morgan Sindall has signed a deal with The S.M. Stoller Corp and Newport News Nuclear to offer a combined delivery capability to the UK nuclear market. The agreement will enable the three firms to bring processes and systems to market and collaboratively target nuclear new build and decommissioning projects across the UK.
Build 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Construction Enquirer 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Engineering support services group Redhall is to downsize its workforce as it refocuses the group on higher margin manufacturing particularly in the nuclear and oil and gas markets.
Yorkshire Evening Post 5th Dec 2014 read more »
David Lowry: One thing is largely absent from any discussion about the failure to strike a nuclear deal with Iran: the money swirling behind the diplomatic pillars of politics and international security. Almost no one talks about the fact that the U.S., UK, Russia, France, China and Germany (the so-called P5+1 negotiating team) either stand to make money or expand long-standing, lucrative nuclear business relationships with Iran by curtailing the purported pariah state’s nuclear ambitions. France, for example, has been in the uranium enrichment business with Iran for 40 years. Oddly, this arrangement never gets reported in the context of the nuclear negotiations with Iran. One would think it would be center-stage in any public diplomacy between Tehran and the West, but it isn’t. Let’s review what’s at stake in the talks: For Iran, a deal could lead to the end of economic sanctions, some dating back to the 1979 hostage crisis, and a reset for its diplomatic relationships. That, in turn, would open a market of nearly 80 million people to Western companies. Curiously, whatever qualms the French may have about Iran’s plutonium program, they seem to have no objection to Iran’s activities in uranium enrichment. Why? Well, possibly because Iran and France have been partners for over 40 years in a uranium enrichment company known by the French acronym Sofidif.
Who What Why 5th Dec 2014 read more »
The EU’s former top diplomat Catherine Ashton will continue negotiations with Iran on its contested nuclear programme after being named a special adviser by her successor, a statement said Friday.
EU Business 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Finland has approved plans for a nuclear power plant to be built by Russia’s Rusatom Overseas with an $8.7 billion price tag, even though there are worsening economic relations between Russia and the rest of Europe. The reactor will be built in northern Finland for the Fennovoima power company, and financed by Russia’s state-controlled Rusatom. It is scheduled to begin operation in 2024.
Russia Today 5th Dec 2014 read more »
The decision comes despite opposition from Finland’s Green party, which has accused prime minister, Alexander Stubb’s coalition government of subservience to Moscow. The vote was 115 to 74 in favour of the venture. The joint project also ignores EU calls for members states to curtail new energy deals with Russia, following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last spring. Fennovoima, the Finnish consortium leading the project, said work started at the Pyhäjoki site, on the Finland’s west coast, in mid-September. Construction of the nuclear plant is scheduled for 2018, with commercial operations expected to begin in 2024.
Guardian 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Sea Angel on the rise … The second turbine at Hunterston, the 7MW Mitsubishi SeaAngel turbine, is nearing completion with a tip height of 193.5 metres and a 167 metre rotor diameter. Once assembled it will be commissioned and then begin long term operational testing and assessment while generating electricity to the local network
Largs & Millport Weekly News 5th Dec 2014 read more »
People who live near fracking operations should be monitored for chemical contaminants and health problems, according to researchers who surveyed the risks posed by substances used in the process. Scientists in the US found that many of the 750 or so chemicals that are pumped into the ground at high pressure to fracture shale rock were associated with fertility and developmental problems.
Guardian 5th Dec 2014 read more »
Thousands of politicians, diplomats and campaigners are currently in Lima, Peru, for the latest round of international climate negotiations. News from the conference hall has so far been been fairly muted as negotiators ease themselves into the talks, due to conclude next Friday. But there have been some important developments. Here’s what we’ve learned from the Lima climate conference’s early stages.
Carbon Brief 5th Dec 2014 read more »