Archive for the ‘Nuclear power’ Category

The proposal to force older nuclear power plants to close in Switzerland has been rejected in a referendum. The five reactors that provide over one-third of electricity can continue to operate according to their economic lives.

Nuclear power plants in Switzerland (Nov 2016) (WNA)

Nuclear power is Switzerland’s second largest source of electricity, providing about 35% of electricity in 2015 and complementing 52% hydro to give the country one of the cleanest and most secure electricity systems in the world.

In 2010 there were active plans to replace the five current reactors based on a supportive referendum and confirmation by regulators that the sites were suitable. This program was scrapped by a National Council vote in June 2011, just four months after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, and Switzerland was put on a path to lose nuclear power when existing reactors retired in the 2030s and 2040s.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]

Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


With enough government backing SMRs could be a competitive alternative to unreliable renewables in the long term. PoliticsHome reporting.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be operating in the UK by 2030 and the Government has a crucial role to play in encouraging early investor confidence, according to a new report by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). 

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Hinkley what's-the-point?

Hinkley what’s-the-point?


The GWPF points out an inconvenient truth – that as more and more subsidised and prioritised renewables are injected into the UK’s electricity grid system, the tougher it must get for competing methods of power generation to turn a profit worth the cost and effort involved.

The UK government has, after some delays, given approval to Hinkley C nuclear power station. However, and in spite of subsidies intended to offset risks arising from renewables policy, it is still not clear that the project can actually make money. It remains to be seen whether EDF has the courage to proceed.

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Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]

Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]


The Independent’s headline may be an exaggeration, but nuclear power is not popular in Britain at present. The illusion persists in some quarters that Britain could run almost entirely on wind power, which is very far from being technically or financially realistic.

Three out of four Britons oppose the Hinkley nuclear power project that has just been approved by the Government, according to a poll.

A quarter (25 per cent) of the 2,028 people surveyed in the Populus  poll, conducted on 7-8 September, said they supported Hinkley, while nearly half (44 per cent) oppose the plans.

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

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


Utility Week points to a press report that shows untried French nuclear reactors are not the only game in town for the UK, as it increasingly struggles to ‘keep the lights on’.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) is close to investing in the £10 billion Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria, the Financial Times has reported.

Sources said progress has been made towards a potential equity stake for Kepco as well as possible role in construction. The company is 51 per cent owned by the South Korean government, which has set the target of becoming the world’s third largest nuclear reactor exporter by 2030.

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Hinkley Point, Somerset [image credit: conservativehome.com]

Hinkley Point, Somerset
[image credit: conservativehome.com]


Seconds out, round 10 – or so it might seem in the Hinkley nuclear struggle. Who kept who in the dark [pun intended]? PEI’s Diarmaid Williams takes a ringside seat.

Five of the 17 board members who voted to approve a decision by EDF to press ahead with the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in England are now seeking a court annulment of that decision.

The board members, all union representatives, say they were not provided with information that was crucial to their decision on the day.

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Small modular reactors [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]

Small modular reactors [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


Climate News Network reports on a possible alternative to the mega-sized nuclear plants of the last century.

The nuclear industry sees the UK as a springboard for its plans to expand in the next 20 years, especially as a pioneer in the deployment of a new breed of small reactors.

Despite the UK referendum vote to leave the European Union, the industry is confident that many small reactors will be built in Britain and that the country will become a showcase for the industry and an exporter of the technology. The ideal is for each town to have its own reactor.

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nuke-powerIn a surprise move, the UK govt has put the brakes on the Hinkley Point nuclear power contract. Yesterday, there was anticipation in the media that the directorate of EDF would approve the scheme. In the event, the vote was 10 to 7 in favour, though one director resigned beforehand.

Maybe the depth of the split on the EDF board has given the new UK government the jitters. In a brief two line statement this morning, the business secretary, Greg Clark, said the government would now examine all components of the deal and decide in the Autumn whether to go ahead, or not.

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Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia


Sanity went out of the window some time ago in the Western world’s ideas on electricity supply, and California’s leaders have been keen to lead that type of charge, in league with ‘green’ pressure groups, as Somewhat Reasonable points out.

“California’s largest utility and environmental groups announced a deal Tuesday [June 21] to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the state.” This statement from the Associated Press reporting about the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant should startle you.

The news about shutting down California’s last operating nuclear power plant, especially after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) had sought a 20-year extension of the operating licenses for the two reactors, is disappointing—not startling.

What should pique your ire is that the “negotiated proposal,” as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called it, is between the utility company and environmental groups—with no mention of the regulators elected to insure that consumers have efficient, effective and economical electricity.

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Small modular reactors [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]

Small modular reactors [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


A thousand or two of these and Hinkley Point C could be surplus to requirements. — PEI reporting.

A UK-based small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) development consortium has announced a co-operation agreement with the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) aimed at deploying its U-Battery technology in Poland.  

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credit: IB Times

credit: IB Times


This non-project (so far) must hold some sort of record for delays, doubts, cost increases and basic feasibility. PEI reports on the latest negative news.

The beleaguered Hinkley Point C project in western England is set to suffer another setback, with the unions involved in EDF reinforcing their opposition to the nuclear power plant project going ahead.

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Hinkley Point, Somerset [image credit: conservativehome.com]

Hinkley Point, Somerset
[image credit: conservativehome.com]


This could be yet another spanner in the works for the tottering nuclear power project that Britain’s political leaders seem so keen on. On the other hand a negative view from Greenpeace of nuclear power is no surprise.
H/T Power Engineering International

Legal opinion commissioned by Greenpeace suggests that any French government financial support to EDF to enable the company to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK would almost certainly be blocked by the European Commission.

The legal viewpoint is that the commission would not agree to government assistance as it would constitute a breach of state aid guidelines.

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Decision time? [credit: Bussolati]

Decision time? [credit: Bussolati]


Now EDF has to show it wouldn’t be sidelining renewable energy projects if it committed to building Hinkley nuclear plant, reports the Telegraph. Can it get any more farcical?

Hinkley Point C could still be postponed, French energy minister Ségolène Royal has said, in an apparent sign of division within the French government over the controversial nuclear project.

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Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]

Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]


The Hinkley Point nuclear saga rumbles on. Engineers reckon the design is out-of-date and needs replacing, as PEI reports.

EDF’s engineers have circulated a paper to all executives internally counselling against developing the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.

The white paper said that the “realistic service date was 2027” due to the size of the project, continuing design modifications to the European Pressurised Reactor system and the “very low” competency of French supplier Areva in making some of the large components.

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Could this be the UK’s last chance to be even slightly sensible about electricity generation?

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

Rolls-Royce is engaged in discussion with the UK government over the possibility of its expertise being used to develop small modular nuclear reactors as an alternative to larger projects such as the controversial Hinkley Point C plant.
The company argues that the mini reactors it is championing are a more viable medium-term solution to
Britain’s looming energy crisis, although the first crop of new large reactors will still need to be deployed.

NuScale SMR nuclear reactor

Rolls says its expertise gained producing power plants for the Royal Navy’s submarines means it’s ideally positioned to fill the gap in the UK’s energy requirement while larger projects are being developed.
Hinkley Point C was initially meant to start generating next year but has been beset with problems linked to design and financing arrangements.
Paul Stein, Rolls’s director of research and technology, said: “Traditional plants are bespoke projects and aren’t getting cheaper…

View original post 214 more words

Hinkley Point site [image credit: IB Times]

Hinkley Point site [image credit: IB Times]


More pain for UK nuclear plans as the finance issue erupts again and French unions claim the reactor design is still faulty. Analogies to sinking ships and rats spring to mind.

EDF has confirmed that its finance director has quit ahead of an expected final investment decision on the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Thomas Piquemal stepped down because he feared the project could jeopardise EDF’s financial position, according to reports.

EDF shares opened 8.2% lower on Monday. Last month, Chris Bakken, the director of the project that could produce 7% of UK electricity by 2025, said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities.

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Waiting...waiting... [credit: smh.com.au]

Waiting…waiting…
[credit: smh.com.au]


The seemingly endless saga of the UK’s attempts to get a new nuclear plant rumbles on ad infinitum, as PEI reports. This news comes as UK coal plants are closing at an ever-faster rate.

There are fears that final approval for the Hinkley Point C project in south western England may be delayed for another year, as the company’s board frets about seeking new investors for the project. The Financial Times reports that the company is concerned about being exposed if it doesn’t secure additional backing.

The nuclear power plant, originally set for a 2017 opening, has since been put back to 2025, but analysts now say the latest issue could push that date back even further. EDF has said repeatedly that final investment decision (FID) approval for the plant in Somerset, in the west of England, is “imminent”. Jean-Bernard Lévy, chief executive, said last week the decision was “very close”.
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End of an era where Britain can stand proud

Posted: December 30, 2015 by tchannon in Energy, Nuclear power

 

Image

(c) Ian Capper under CC

World’s Last Magnox Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down for Final Time

12/30/2015 | Aaron Larson

The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station—the last operating Magnox reactor in the world—came offline permanently on Dec. 30.

Located in Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales in the UK, the plant entered service in 1971. Originally constructed with two 490-MW units, only Reactor 1 has been operating since 2012.

The UK pioneered the Magnox design back in the 1950s. Its name comes from the magnesium-aluminum alloy used to clad the fuel rods. The reactors were pressurized, CO2-cooled, graphite-moderated units fueled with natural uranium. The design could also be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. The first of 11 eventual plants was the 190-MW Calder Hall facility in Cumbria, which opened in 1956. The Wylfa site was the largest of the Magnox plants.

http://www.powermag.com/worlds-last-magnox-nuclear-reactor-shuts-down-for-final-time/

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In limbo - Hinkley C [image credit: EDF]

In limbo – Hinkley C [image credit: EDF]


Something is not quite right with the UK’s nuclear power plans, as this Click Green exclusive shows. Anti-nuclear legal action by Austria and reports of serious technical issues can’t be helping the cause.

The UK’s nuclear watchdog has stopped safety inspections at the planned site of the Hinkley C nuclear power station after EDF Energy ordered a stop to all groundwork, ClickGreen can reveal.

Despite recently publishing a list of preferred suppliers for the £24 billion project, the French firm were in behind-the-scenes talks with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), during which they informed them of their decision to mothball the site.

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A Westinghouse reactor design proposal (Image Credit: Westinghouse)

A Westinghouse reactor design proposal
(Image Credit: Westinghouse)

Back to the drawing board for nuclear power, reports Nuclear Power Daily. Looks like the replacement for US coal power won’t be ready for a while yet.

The US government is offering millions of dollars for innovative ideas to design new nuclear reactors, the Department of Energy announced in a press release.

“We have been encouraged by recent interest in advanced reactor technology,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy John Kotek said on Friday. “The funding opportunity allows for multiple-year funding for up to two awards with a total of $40 million in DOE [Department of Energy] cost share per award.”

The Energy Department noted it was issuing the funding opportunity as an early step in increasing investment in nuclear advanced reactor technologies.

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