Letter: Stephen Thomas: Nuclear: when will we ever learn? SA should stop wasting time and resources and learn from the failures of developed countries. In 2010, the pebble bed modular reactor programme was ended after 14 years with no orders in sight. There followed numerous reports of imminent calls for tenders and calls for information from vendors, all leading nowhere until a court judgment in 2017 that the SA nuclear programme was illegal put a temporary end to this. But the SA government has released a new call for information from reactor vendors. If the outlook for the nuclear industry had suddenly got better, this would be understandable. But since 2017, everything has got worse. Of the four French evolutionary power reactors under construction in Europe, Olkiluoto (Finland) and Flamanville (France) are still two to four years from completion after 13 to 15 years of construction, and costs at Hinkley Point (UK), which only recently started construction, have increased by about 15% since 2017. Of the two Westinghouse AP1000 projects in the US, one was abandoned in 2017 because costs and schedules were increasing out of control. The utility executives involved are now facing criminal prosecution. At the other, costs are ballooning and it was recently reported that 80% of components failed their operational tests. The Korean design, previously seen as cheap on the basis of an order for UAE, is suffering major component quality problems in UAE and Korea, and after eight years of construction is still not ready. This design would need major and costly safety upgrades for it to be licensable in Europe.
Business Live 9th July 2020 read more »