An experienced nuclear country like the UK should aim to have nuclear accounting for around 50% of its energy mix, according to World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising. She was speaking at the Civil Nuclear Showcase conference in London on 27 February. Nuclear energy currently accounts for about 20% of the UK’s electricity production. According to the Final Report of the Industrial Strategy Commission published late last year, the UK urgently needs to replace its existing nuclear generating capacity because, of the existing fleet amounting to 8.9 GWe of capacity, all but 1.2 GWe will need to be retired by 2030. The commission said the government’s strategy should be driven by the long-term needs of the UK, which include decarbonising the economy, improving infrastructure, boosting export capacity and unlocking long-term investment. Rising noted that the UK is attracting international investment to deliver a new generation of nuclear power plants. EDF Energy plans to build two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, with China General Nuclear owning a 33.5% stake in the project. The two companies also plan to develop projects to build new plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex, the latter using Chinese reactor technology. Horizon Nuclear Power, which is owned by Japan’s Hitachi, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor at two sites – Wylfa Newydd and Oldbury-on-Severn. NuGeneration – the UK joint venture between Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie – plans to build a nuclear power plant of up to 3.8 GWe gross capacity at Moorside, in West Cumbria. Originally, it planned to use AP1000 nuclear reactor technology provided by Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba, but in December Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) was named as the preferred bidder to acquire 100% of the shares in NuGen, which could lead to a switch from the AP1000 to Kepco’s AP1400 reactor design.
World Nuclear News 28th Feb 2018 read more »