Archive for the ‘Nuclear power’ Category


Having tied their own hands with the Climate Change Act, UK politicians are now locked in arguments about how best to implement unworkable energy policies. Intermittency of electricity supply is baked into the legislation.
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A Conservative minister has said “in the short run” the UK cannot afford net zero, reports Sky News.

Speaking at an event run by the Institute of Economic Affairs at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker told a packed room of party members that cutting net zero commitments this year would save households more than £1,500 amid the ongoing energy crisis.

“It’s time to have a sensible conversation about net zero,” Mr Baker urged.

He said that the government remains committed to net zero in the long term, but “the big problem that we’ve got is that renewables are intermittent”.

“The reality is that renewables are great when they are available, but they still require a lot of subsidies going in.

“So what we need is a gas to nuclear strategy. We are going to need gas as a transition fuel.”

But fellow Tory MP and panellist Bim Afolami disagreed with Mr Baker’s remarks, saying “we can afford net zero and we need to”.

He told the audience that “we need more nuclear” and “yes, we need gas as a transitional fuel as well”, adding: “But crucially, we need wind and solar.”

Mr Afolami continued: “We have some of the windiest coastlines in the world. Let’s use it. And most importantly, when there’s a war in Ukraine or anywhere else, we are not dependent on anyone else.”

Full report here.

Existing Sizewell B nuclear power station


The usual climate/energy malcontents don’t like it, but there’s not much they do like that anyone who values reliability of supply, i.e. most of the public, could or should have confidence in. The main question is: how many years will it be before any electricity is generated from it, assuming nobody pulls the rug away?
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Sizewell C has moved a step closer to starting construction after the Government today gave planning consent for the new power station in Suffolk, says Energy Live News.

Just a few days ago, the UK’s nuclear regulator said the licence application for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk met almost all requirements.

The Development Consent Order application was submitted in May 2020 and sets out the range of measures the project will take to mitigate the effects of construction and maximise the benefits for local communities.

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They don’t make them like that any more – we hope.

Spaceweather.com

July 9, 2022: Sixty years ago today, one of the biggest geomagnetic storms of the Space Age struck Earth. It didn’t come from the sun.

“We made it ourselves,” recalls Clive Dyer of the University of Surrey Space Centre in Guildford UK. “It was the first anthropogenic space weather event.”

On July 9, 1962, the US military detonated a thermonuclear warhead 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean–a test called “Starfish Prime.” What happened next surprised everyone. Witnesses from Hawaii to New Zealand reported auroras overhead, magnificent midnight “rainbow stripes” that tropical sky watchers had never seen before. Radios fell silent, then suddenly became noisy as streetlights went dark in Honolulu.

Above: ‘Nuclear auroras’ viewed from Honolulu (left) and from a surveillance aircraft (right) on July 9, 1962.

Essentially, Starfish Prime created an artificial solar storm complete with auroras, geomagnetic activity, and blackouts. Much of the chaos that night was…

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SMR transporter


Talk is moving to action in SMR world. The background of the present energy situation seems to favour it, given the ongoing reluctance to burn ‘fossil’ fuels.
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Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has confirmed that its small modular reactors (SMR) division is to locate its head office in Manchester, reports TheBusinessDesk.com.

Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR’s chief executive, made the announcement during a stakeholder event in Manchester, where the company’s senior leadership team gave an update on the project to deploy a fleet of SMR power stations.

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Sellafield nuclear site, UK


Newcleo aims to build new small reactors that can consume spent fuel, although its designs are said to be at an early stage. The report states that ‘The UK has the largest civil plutonium stockpile in the world’. Units could be smaller SMR’s than Rolls-Royce plans to offer, and also sealed ones suitable for ships. Similar types of proposal have happened before, but seem to have fizzled out.
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A nuclear power start-up is seeking to create clean energy out of 140 tonnes of waste plutonium stored in Cumbria as Britain scrambles to wean itself off fossil fuels, says the Daily Telegraph.

Newcleo hopes to use spent fuel deposited in Sellafield in a pioneering reactor design that will rival the small nuclear generators being developed by Rolls-Royce.

The proposals come as Boris Johnson seeks to usher in a nuclear revolution for Britain after vowing to triple capacity with eight additional reactors by 2050.

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The COP 26 climate jamboree has been and gone, and the BBC looks at some of the energy numbers as the UK government pursues its net zero obsession. One obvious and increasing problem is the erratic deficiency of wind and solar power at various times in every 24-hour period, requiring either massive, expensive energy storage capacity or acceptance of power gaps once gas power stations are removed from the system, or most likely both. Complaining about expensive gas, only to propose something yet more costly which doesn’t even generate its own power, lacks economic or any other sense. Nuclear is jogging along in the background but won’t be centre stage any time soon, if ever.
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The UK has committed to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2050, says BBC News.

Net zero is the point at which the country is taking as much of these climate-changing gases out of the atmosphere as it is putting in.

As part of this promise, the government has a target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035, compared with 1990 levels.

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Offshore wind project in North Wales [image credit: northwales.com]


Even more expensive electricity, in pursuit of mythical net zero targets. The planned 25% contribution of nuclear power doesn’t give much confidence about where the other 75% should come from when it’s dark and not windy. Why the claimed ‘cheap renewables’ need not-cheap subsidies is not explained, and hydrogen isn’t cheap either.
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The Energy Security Strategy announced by government just under a fortnight ago “provides a clear, long-term plan to accelerate [the UK’s] transition away from expensive fossil fuel prices set by global markets [it] cannot control.”

That’s according to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who delivered a speech explaining his views on the new strategy and how he believes it can help shift the British energy market, reports Energy Live News.

“More wind, more solar, more nuclear – while also using North Sea gas to transition to cheaper and cleaner power,” was his succinct summary of the new strategy.

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Rolls-Royce’s revised reactor building design.


If anyone mentions nuclear waste, let’s remember the toxic waste from rare earth mining and from used batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.
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A Rolls-Royce design for a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) will likely receive UK regulatory approval by mid-2024 and be able to produce grid power by 2029, Paul Stein, chairman of Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactors, told Reuters (via Euractiv).

The British government asked its nuclear regulator to start the approval process in March, having backed Rolls-Royce’s $546 million funding round in November to develop the country’s first SMR reactor.

Policymakers hope SMRs will help cut dependence on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions.

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[credit: green lantern electric]


The small modular reactor contest looks to be getting underway. Whether the UK wants to be the ‘test bed’ as suggested remains to be seen, but something has to take the place of all the retired power stations. Part-time weather-dependent renewables can’t do that.
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A US energy developer linked to Elon Musk is in talks with the Government to build a fleet of small nuclear reactors across the UK.

Last Energy wants to build its first “mini-nuclear” power plant by 2025 and has identified its first site in Wales, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

The company intends to spend £1.4bn on 10 reactors by the end of the decade.

Last Energy’s end goal is to build “hundreds of plants” across the UK, sources close to the company said.

The proposals are a direct challenge to Rolls-Royce, which is racing to secure approval for its own British-made fleet of mini reactors.

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Sawing off the branch of the tree you’re sitting on seems an unlikely sort of energy policy. However, it’s now the approach being pursued in much of Europe and elsewhere due to an obsession with the output of failing climate models.
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London, 22 December – Net Zero Watch has warned EU leaders to reject last ditch attempts by campaigners to prevent the EU’s planned green taxonomy for gas and nuclear energy or face a political and economic disaster.

Despite Europe facing its worst energy crisis since the Second World War, campaigners are trying to prevent the EU from easing and encouraging the investment in desperately needed new natural gas and nuclear power plants and infrastructure, says Net Zero Watch.

Both low-carbon energy sources are included in the EU Commission’s proposed “taxonomy for sustainable activities” which is reported to be tabled at the end of the year.

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SMR transporter

Nuclear is a slow-moving game but signs of progress are emerging. The problems of intermittent wind and solar power are only going to increase in step with their share of the UK power supply, as the government has caved in to the ’emissions’ obsessions of the climate lobby.
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Reactor designer Rolls-Royce will announce that a consortium of investors will back plans for a new smaller nuclear reactor project, reports BBC News.

As part of its 10 point green energy plan, the government has already announced it would provide £210m in funding if that could be matched by private capital.

An announcement that money has been raised could come as soon as Tuesday.

Around 21% of Britain’s electricity supply is provided by nuclear power.

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modnuke

Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]

Plan or knee-jerk reaction to current events? At least it sounds better than the usual vacuous cries of ‘build more renewables’ as a viable route to future electricity supplies.
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The Government is considering ploughing more cash into mini nuclear reactors in an attempt to prevent further energy crises as Britain transitions to net-zero carbon emissions, reports the Telegraph (via VNExplorer).

Rolls-Royce could be in line for extra support for its small modular reactors as the current energy price crunch heightens the political focus on bolstering the security of the nation’s long-term electricity supply.

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COP26_2021Opponents of nuclear power, of which the most obvious would be rival industries like wind and solar power, must have a strong influence within the UK government if there really is a ‘no nuclear’ policy for the forthcoming climate show. Are they serious about trying to change the weather via energy policy, or not?
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Up to 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma’s COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office, says The GWPF.

Alok Sharma has come under fire for preventing a series of nuclear bodies from displaying exhibits at the COP26 climate change summit.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson’s minister in charge of the event, global nuclear industry leaders revealed that “every application” so far to put on nuclear-related exhibits or events at the UN summit had been rejected.

The move comes despite senior Tories insisting that nuclear energy, including investing in a new fleet of reactors, must form a significant part of Britain’s plans to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

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RR_SMR2

Rolls-Royce’s revised reactor building design.

An obvious problem here is that the latest nuclear ‘plan’ looks a long way behind the closure dates of most of the UK’s existing nuclear facilities. What happens in the meantime is anyone’s guess but a yawning gap in electricity production is on the horizon, if not nearer. The government can waffle about ‘carbon emissions’, but sensible people are likely to be more interested in their lights and appliances etc. coming on when required.
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The UK government has published a call for evidence setting out its suggested approach for building the first advanced modular reactor (AMR) demonstrator: part of its plan for a zero-carbon economy.

The plan proposes exploring high-temperature gas reactors (HTGRs) as the most promising route forward, says E&T.

The £170m AMR demonstration programme aims to explore the potential for AMRs to play a part in the UK’s energy future; it will be delivered by the early 2030s. it is part of a larger £385m package to accelerate the development of more flexible nuclear technologies.

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nuclear_battery

Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

‘Plug and play’ nuclear power in a box, or container, is the basic idea.
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We may be on the brink of a new paradigm for nuclear power, a group of nuclear specialists suggested recently in The Bridge, the journal of the National Academy of Engineering. TechXplore reporting.

Much as large, expensive, and centralized computers gave way to the widely distributed PCs of today, a new generation of relatively tiny and inexpensive factory-built reactors, designed for autonomous plug-and-play operation similar to plugging in an oversized battery, is on the horizon, they say.

These proposed systems could provide heat for industrial processes or electricity for a military base or a neighborhood, run unattended for five to 10 years, and then be trucked back to the factory for refurbishment.

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RR_SMR2

Rolls-Royce’s revised reactor building design.

As most of the UK’s existing reactors will have closed down by 2030, time for dither and delay is over, or should be. The percentage of reliable electricity on the grid system is already sinking too fast due to climate obsessions.

H/T The GWPF
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The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project has revamped the proposed mini reactors to increase their output.

The factory-built reactors will now generate 470 megawatts, enough to provide electricity to a million homes.

The project, launched in 2015, aims to bring ten mini nuclear reactors into use by 2035, with the first due to enter service around 2030.

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Sizewell-B

Existing Sizewell B nuclear power station

Being hooked on ‘carbon intensity’ beliefs can lead to many strange decisions. For example, lack of enthusiasm for nuclear energy sits alongside the boom in biomass burning, churning out vast amounts of supposedly unwanted carbon dioxide.
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If governments around the world continue to shut down nuclear plants, they risk driving the “single greatest loss of clean power in history”.

That’s the warning from industry associations including the Canadian Nuclear Association, FORATOM, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Nuclear Industry Association and the World Nuclear Association, who have penned a letter calling for world leaders to step up investment in nuclear infrastructure, reports Energy Live News.

The group states that unless policymakers unveil a raft of new spending on nuclear, progress on decarbonisation will ‘backslide’ and the carbon intensity of energy generation will begin to rise.

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


Germany wants to have reliable electricity but also pronounce itself to be virtuous and green, according to climate mythology at least. Something has to give. [Extracts only from the following article]
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The Bavarian village of Gundremmingen is so proud of its nuclear power station that its coat of arms is graced with a giant golden atom, says TechXplore.

But change is coming to the village, with the plant facing imminent closure under Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear energy following the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan.
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Gundremmingen is not the only German village facing big changes as the country strives to implement its energy transition strategy.

Renewables have seen a spectacular rise since 2011 and in 2020 made up more than 50 percent of Germany’s energy mix for the first time, according to the Fraunhofer research institute—compared with less than 25 percent 10 years ago.

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NuScale reactor (SMR) design [credit:
NuScale / Wikipedia –
click on image to enlarge]

All part of looking to invent a hydrogen power market in the UK, to help solve problems that are only known to exist in failing climate models.
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Combining wind power with a nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) could see energy production re-start at Wylfa in North Wales by late 2027 under plans presented by Shearwater Energy, says New Civil Engineer.

Shearwater has said that the proposal would involve construction of a wind-SMR and hydrogen production hybrid energy project, which it says would be located on a different site to the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, planned by Horizon, that stalled when Hitachi pulled support last year.

The Shearwater plant could provide 3GW of zero carbon energy and is also expected to produce over 3M.kg of green hydrogen per year for use by the UK’s transport sector.

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SMR transporter


RR has also linked up with American and Czech nuclear firms with a view to developing the international market. Hard to see how the government can get anywhere near its ‘net zero’ electricity targets without this technology. They keep saying ‘build back better’ so here’s an obvious chance to do that, as existing UK nuclear is being retired.
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A consortium led by the engine maker is hoping to secure a further £217m of funding from the government for the project, says Sky News.

A group led by Rolls-Royce has pledged to create 6,000 regional UK jobs within the next five years under plans to build 16 mini nuclear power stations.

The consortium said the jobs would help support the government’s “levelling up” agenda, with up to 80% of the power station components set to be made in factories across the Midlands and the north of England.

These components would then be sent on to existing nuclear sites around the country for rapid assembly.

The plans come at a crucial time for the UK amid rising unemployment caused by the pandemic.

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