Clean energy developer Shearwater Energy has identified “about 18 sites around the UK” that could be used as small modular reactor (SMR) power plants. Shearwater Energy director Simon Forster told NCE it is a “dynamic situation”, adding that the existing Wylfa Newydd site on Anglesey is the current front-runner. “We’ve been looking first and foremost at the existing nuclear sites and where they can be developed – can we develop on the footprint of the existing Magnox and AGR sites, for example?” he said. “We rank the sites in order of likelihood of happening. It’s no secret that Wylfa is at the top. We think that’s a great site.” Horizon Nuclear Power officially withdrew its planning application for a £20bn power station at Wylfa in January after funding challenges, and during a Welsh Affairs Committee evidence session last week Forster outlined his firm’s proposals to use both the existing Wylfa Magnox site – which is being decommissioned – and the Wylfa Newydd site. Shearwater proposes trialling 12 77Mw reactors on the Magnox site and has nearly completed a feasibility study. The company hopes to have definite costs and a construction schedule “this year” but Forster said the plant could generate 1Gw of power. On the Wylfa Newydd site, the firm proposes 10 BWRX-300 SMR reactors. It has submitted a proposal for this to GE Hitachi and a cost estimate to BEIS. Construction could start in 2025, and the project could generate power by 2028. Forster told NCE that other potential sites include Bradwell B in Essex, currently being progressed by CGN and EDF Energy and the decommissioned Oldbury site.
New Civil Engineer 30th Sept 2021 read more »
There are some innovations and advances taking place in the nuclear energy sector that may be able to bring the industry into the 21st century and make increased adoption more appealing for nations that are on the fence about nuclear power. One of the key advances in nuclear technology that is close to becoming a reality is the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), a smaller-scale version of nuclear reactors which would be mass-produced and assembled on-site, improving efficiency and making building new reactors far more cost-effective. The nuclear industry has also been hard at work finding ways to make the sector even safer. Some of the solutions are quite futuristic, from employing drones with radiation sensors to keep nuclear plant employees safe, to getting rid of humans entirely and replacing workers with robots equipped with machine-learning capabilities.
Oil Price 29th Sept 2021 read more »
As we head towards COP26, CND’s scientific adviser, Dr Ian Fairlie, addresses the claims that new forms of nuclear power production can be part of the solution to the climate emergency: “In recent months, the outpouring of pro-nuclear media stories and newspaper articles has been incessant and increasing in the UK. Not anywhere else in Europe, just the UK. This is partly due to leaks and promptings from UK government officials that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is considering direct government support for nuclear projects. It’s a bit of a feeding frenzy for the nuclear industry, so we should not take these stories too seriously, and should see what action, if any, actually transpires. It is also partly due to current concerns about the rising price of gas: people are looking to see if there are other cheaper sources of energy. However any new nuclear developments, if they ever occurred, would be decades away, and much more expensive than gas. Another issue is the concern over accelerating climate change, shortly to be addressed at COP26 in Glasgow in November. This is a serious matter and must be tackled but anyone who unwisely thinks that nuclear is a solution should google “uranium mining” and “nuclear wastes”. That said, I have received several queries as to whether small modular reactors (SMRs) and/or advanced nuclear reactors (ANRs) could help address climate change and global warming. The short answer is no, they are highly unlikely to help, partly because the nuclear industry has a relatively large carbon footprint compared to the renewables, and partly because of the inherent problems with SMRs and Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANTs). For those readers who wish to learn more, Pete Roche and I have written a six page report debunking the many myths of SMRs and ANTs – available here.”
CND 29th Sept 2021 read more »