Archive for the ‘Nuclear power’ Category

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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Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point


Wasting vast amounts of money and selling consumers short seems to be par for the course in UK electricity generation, as this Phys.org report highlights.

Britain made “grave strategic errors” in its handling of the Franco-Chinese Hinkley Point nuclear project, a critical parliamentary report concluded Wednesday.

The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee stressed that consumers will pay a high price for construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, which was given the green light by the government in September 2016.

The £19.6-billion ($26-billion, 22-billion-euro) project, which is to be built by French energy giant EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), is highly symbolic of the UK’s nuclear renewal.

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‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Debatable claim in the headline, but the German ‘energy transition’ has certainly hurt electricity consumers as prices have shot up in the last decade, with fortunes being wasted on vain attempts to tweak the climate system.

As Bonn this week hosts the COP23 climate talks, a new report claims that Germany’s Energiewende programme “has made things worse for the climate”, reports PEI.

It says it has done this “by shutting down nuclear capacity and locking in dependency on coal for decades, despite hundreds of billions in investments and subsidy-schemes”.

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French nuclear power sites [credit: neimagazine.com]


There are artificial self-imposed targets, plans and even laws – and then there’s reality, if ‘keeping the lights on’ is a priority. Scrapping nuclear capacity implies either having something convincing to replace it with, or risking the wrath of the voters if/when things start to go wrong.

The French environment minister Nicolas Hulot says the government is postponing its move to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s power generation mix, reports PEI.

According to Reuters, Hulot says the grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to curb carbon emissions, if it went ahead with the cull of nuclear right away, reducing the share from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.

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Credit: ITER


A rosy picture of cheap renewables is put forward by Bloomberg, but they rely on ‘promises’ and ignore the true logistics of plastering the world with their Hollywood-style vision of wind turbines, solar panels and industrial-scale batteries. The extravagant claim is made that ‘the concept of the need for baseload generation is fading away’. How’s that going in Australia for example?
H/T The GWPF

The world’s biggest scientific experiment is on course to become the most expensive source of surplus power. 

With wind-farm campaigners starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand in Europe stagnating, the future of fusion research looks bleak.

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Chances are this will go down like a lead balloon with intermittent renewable energy suppliers, who are used to having electricity supply rules working to their own advantage.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is asking the federal agency that oversees the U.S. grid to issue a new rule to restructure electricity markets to fully compensate power plants for the reliability they provide, writes Michael Bastasch at Climate Change Dispatch.

Perry sent his policy proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday. The letter asks FERC to create an electricity pricing regime that allows power plants to recover the costs of providing baseload power. It will likely be seen as a lifeline to coal and nuclear power plants.

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Go-ahead for mini reactors as energy crunch looms

Posted: September 10, 2017 by tallbloke in Energy, Nuclear power
nuke-powerFrom the Sunday Times: By Alan Tovey

MINISTERS are ready to approve the swift development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to help guard against electricity shortages, as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned.

The new technology is expected to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the ongoing Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Industry players including Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs).

A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of £60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants.

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There are robust and reliable electricity supplies, or the other kind.

STOP THESE THINGS

Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

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Planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point


For some reason the UK has chosen to pay a lot more for its new nuclear power than anywhere else, using untried and complex technology, and now even the country’s own auditors are complaining about it. The fear seems to be that it could prove to be a vastly expensive pig in a poke.

UK government plans for a new £18bn nuclear power station have come under fire from public auditors, who call it “a risky and expensive project”, BBC news reports.

The case for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset was “marginal” and the deal was “not value for money”, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO said the government had not sufficiently considered the costs and risks for consumers.

The government said building the plant was an “important strategic decision”. The report comes nine months after the government granted final approval for the project, which is being financed by the French and Chinese governments.

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How Moorside might look [credit: in-cumbria.com]

Moorside no more? The UK doesn’t seem to be making much, if any, progress with its plans for new nuclear power plants, as the old ones head for retirement.

The GMB union has once again demanded that the government “stop faffing” and step in to save the Moorside nuclear development from falling apart, reports Utility Week.

The union made the comments after Utility Week reported yesterday that National Grid has shelved a multi-billion project to connect the proposed plant to the transmission network.

GMB slammed the government for “continued dithering” following the latest in a series of setbacks.

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