Archive for the ‘Nuclear power’ Category

Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


The aviation industry is on the ropes, so Rolls-Royce needs other work to try and remain profitable, and hopes nuclear can be part of the government’s green splurge.
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Development of mini nuclear power stations could be boosted by a £2bn government investment as the industry fights to stay afloat, says New Civil Engineer.

The aid plan could facilitate the design and construction of 16 sites by 2050, with work undertaken by a Rolls Royce-led consortium.

In January of this year, the consortium first announced plans to build the small modular reactors (SMRs) at former nuclear sites in Cumbria and Wales.

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As someone until last month involved with a renewables company, he would say that, wouldn’t he? The green jobs claim may also be over-optimistic, if Scotland’s experience is anything to go by.
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Ed Davey, who approved a nuclear plant in 2013, says the “economic case” is no longer there, reports BBC News.

Instead the new Liberal Democrat leader argues the government should invest more in renewable energy to help boost the economy.

“The economic case for nuclear power is not there any more,” said Mr Davey.

Energy firm EDF, which is behind the £20bn proposals, said the plant on the Suffolk coast would deliver low-carbon electricity.

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Proposed new nuclear plant, Anglesey [image credit: walesonline]


Unless this scheme is revived, the UK government is putting even more pressure on its ridiculous and damaging ‘net zero’ energy policy. The likely gap between future electricity supply and demand seems wider than ever.

H/T Hatter Eggburn
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Plans for a £15-£20bn nuclear power plant in Wales have been scrapped, reports BBC News.

Work on the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey was suspended in January last year because of rising costs after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK government.

Isle of Anglesey council said the company had now confirmed in writing it is withdrawing from the project.

Council leader Llinos Medi said: “This is very disappointing, particularly at such a difficult time economically.”

Hitachi shelved the scheme, the biggest energy project ever proposed in Wales, over funding issues.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


Could this be the British version of a ‘green recovery’? The government must or should know that ‘net zero’ policy based mostly on wind and solar power is not a workable option.
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A consortium of British businesses led by manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce has submitted proposals to Ministers to accelerate the building of a new fleet of mini nuclear reactors in the North of England, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

The plans, circulated in Whitehall ‘in the last few weeks’, could see construction of high-tech factories to build the small reactors begin by next year.

The consortium – which includes UK construction and engineering firms Laing O’Rourke, Atkins and BAM Nuttall – would use British intellectual property to build the reactors. It would work with partners from the US, Canada and France.

It has been estimated that exporting small nuclear reactor technology could be worth £250billion to the UK if the programme is successful.

Sources told The Mail on Sunday that the plan is ‘starting to resonate’ in parts of Government because it could boost the economy as the country recovers from the destruction wrought by the pandemic.

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They must be hoping to bludgeon people into accepting the ‘climate neutral’ nonsense if they keep spouting it for long enough. Any government that says “you can’t fly anywhere on holiday any more” isn’t going to last long.

The UK cannot reach net zero before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat, a report says.

But it warns that the British public do not look ready to take such steps and substantially change their lifestyle, says BBC News.

The report challenges the views of campaign group Extinction Rebellion.

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SMR transporter


The project aims to have the first power generated within 8 to 10 years, and more ex-nuclear sites are being considered. R-R already powers the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet.
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There is a “pretty high probability” that Trawsfynydd could be the site of the UK’s first small nuclear power station, says the company hoping to build it.

Engineering giant Rolls-Royce wants to build a network of mini-reactors, a third of the size of current stations, says BBC Wales.

It hopes to strike a deal with the UK government within the next year.

But it says the site of the old Gwynedd reactor ticks all the boxes to pioneer the technology.

If it goes ahead it would also be one of the first small modular reactors (SMRs) in the world.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


The plan sounds fairly low-key, suggesting they don’t expect great demand any time soon, even though electric cars are being heavily promoted in many countries. The report claims they’ll be competing with ‘low-cost renewables such as offshore wind’, but where are these supposedly low-cost installations, and why do they always need to be subsidised?
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Mini nuclear reactors could be generating power in the UK by the end of the decade, reports BBC News.

Manufacturer Rolls-Royce has told the BBC’s Today programme that it plans to install and operate factory-built power stations by 2029.

Mini nuclear stations can be mass manufactured and delivered in chunks on the back of a lorry, which makes costs more predictable.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


The battle to make nuclear power more practical and affordable steps up a gear.

NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) design has cleared the latest stage of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s review process, reports New Civil Engineer.

The reactor is the world’s first SMR to undergo design certification review by the NRC, after passing phase 4 of the review process. It is on track for approval by September 2020.

SMR supporters see the reactors as a safer, more affordable nuclear power option.

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Ringhals nuclear power site, Sweden [image credit: Vattenfall]


Or, theoretically at least, an equivalent amount of power from other so-called ‘green’ sources, requiring vastly greater amounts of non-renewable mined materials than are currently available – assuming they even exist on such large scales. Not to mention all the other practical difficulties of such dodgy ideas.

What makes achieving Net Zero by 2050 impossible is a failure to accurately understand the scale of the challenge and the absence of policy proposals that match that scale, says Roger Pielke Jr. @ Forbes (via The GWPF).

More than a decade ago, Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner characterized climate policy as an “auction of promises” in which politicians “vied to outbid each other with proposed emissions targets that were simply not achievable.”

For instance, among Democrats competing for the presidency in 2020, several, including Joe Biden, have committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Candidate Andrew Yang bid 2049, and Cory Booker topped that by offering 2045. Bernie Sanders has offered a 71% reduction by 2030.

One reason that we see this “auction of promises” is that the targets and timetables for emissions reductions are easy to state but difficult to comprehend.

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Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point


Another headache to add to the list for the UK’s struggling nuclear power ambitions, at a time when its coal-fired plants are closing fast.

China General Nuclear Power partnered with EDF to help fund a third of the £20bn cost of the nuclear power plant being built in Somerset, says Energy Live News.

A state-owned Chinese company which is funding part of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK has been placed on a US export blacklist.

The US Department of Commerce has placed China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) to its “entity list”, which effectively blocks US companies from selling products and services to the firm without written approval.

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In terms of original power sources (i.e. not electricity), the runaway leaders were petroleum and natural gas which between them took over two-thirds of the total share. Coal and nuclear were a distant third and fourth. Best of the rest was biomass at just over 5% of the total, easily more than wind and solar combined.

Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Overall total energy consumption rose to 101.2 quadrillion BTU (or “quads”), reports TechXplore. The prior record, set in 2007, was 101.0 quads.

Energy use went up by 3.6 percent from 2017, which also is the largest annual increase since 2010.

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Top down view of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, ca. 1964 [image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory]


H/T Discover Magazine

The Oak Ridge molten salt program operated in the mid-1960s but was terminated in January 1973. Could something like it make a comeback in today’s climate-obsessed world? One obvious selling point is the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel from traditional nuclear reactors.

Molten salt nuclear reactors may be the key to producing clean power without the dangers of a meltdown, says The Crux.
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Troels Schönfeldt can trace his path to becoming a nuclear energy entrepreneur back to 2009, when he and other young physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen started getting together for an occasional “beer and nuclear” meetup.

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Proposed new nuclear plant, Anglesey [image credit: walesonline]


Nuclear projects seem recently to have become an endangered species in the UK.

The future of the planned Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey is shrouded in uncertainty after Hitachi responded to a report that construction would be suspended by saying that “no formal decision” had been taken.

The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Hitachi plans to put the project on hold because funding negotiations with the UK Government have “hit an impasse”, says Wales Online.

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Proposed nuclear plant at Moorside [credit: in-cumbria.com]


This puts a large dent in UK electricity generation policy, which expects nuclear energy to supply a significant percentage of its ’emissions-free’ power alongside that from unpredictable part-time renewables like wind and solar.

The announcement is a major blow for the region, says TheBusinessDesk.com.

Japanese firm Toshiba has announced it is to pull the plug on the company set up to build a new £15bn nuclear power station in Cumbria.

The tech giant has announced it is winding up Manchester based NuGen, its UK-based nuclear arm, after efforts to sell the business failed.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


It looks as if the UK government has got cold feet about the small modular reactor concept, possibly under pressure from the ‘green’ lobby. Meanwhile subsidies for unreliable weather-dependent power generation continue, more or less unabated.

London 10 September: An important new briefing paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals that the government has kicked a key nuclear programme into the long grass, says the GWPF.

This follows an announcement last week by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on its small modular nuclear (SMR) competition, which outlined new funding for feasibility studies into a range of new nuclear technologies.

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Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point


One less headache for the UK government’s dogma-driven energy policymakers to grapple with, as renewables fanatics get the legal brush-off on this occasion.

An Austrian appeal against the UK Government’s funding for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been dismissed by the EU court, reports Energy Live News.

The European Court of Justice ruled the government’s contribution to the new nuclear plant in Somerset – being developed by French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power – does not violate EU rules.

The Austrian Government had sought to overturn the decision as it argued the support contradicted EU policy of backing renewable forms of generation.

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Ringhals nuclear power site, Sweden [image credit: Vattenfall]


Another example of the obvious inadequacy of part-time unpredictable wind power, and its consequencies for countries that insist on pursuing it. Relying on imports to avoid power shortages can’t be ideal for any country.
H/T The GWPF/Reuters

Sweden will have to import more electricity during winter as the country, a net power exporter to the rest of Europe, shifts from nuclear to wind, its grid operator said.

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Proposed new nuclear plant, Anglesey [image credit: walesonline]


They jokingly claim this will help to ‘supplement’ renewables which sometimes provide close to zero input to the electricity grid system. The reverse is much closer to the truth – renewables supplementing nearly everything else, but only when the weather and/or time of day allow it.
H/T AC Osborn

Ministers will this week reverse decades of opposition to investing taxpayer money in nuclear energy by agreeing to bankroll a £15bn-plus power station in Wales, says The Times @ the GWPF.

The government will commit to taking a direct stake in the Wylfa plant on Anglesey, planned by the Japanese industrial giant Hitachi, after more than two years of negotiations.

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Credit: Coal India Limited


A big vote of no confidence in the Paris climate agreement, by the world’s second most populous country. Political reality comes first: coal is much cheaper than nuclear.

India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds, says The GWPF. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation.

The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set an ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two-thirds.

The decision has enormous implications for expanding use of coal for electrical power generation and for release of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and for adding to India’s dire air pollution problems in its major cities.

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France’s President Macron at Davos


France’s virtue-signalling anti-coal pledge may sound grand, but as the report points out it ‘only has three power plants that burn coal’, providing 1% of its electricity. Another potential problem for France is the inflexibility of nuclear power, which is not suitable for rapid ramping up and down in response to changes in demand and/or short-term fluctuations in renewable energy. In February 2017 the German nuclear plant at Brokdorf was taken offline after the operation of the plant in “load-following” mode had contributed to unexpected oxidation of its fuel rods.

France failed to meet its global warming target, as The Daily Caller reports.

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