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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA Government quietly funding billionaires’ nuclear folly

Breakthrough Energy CoalitionThe Breakthrough Energy Coalition is Bill Gates again, and loaded to the hilt with his fellow billionaires all salivating at the prospect of old nuclear pots to mend. 

But given the Breakthrough Coalition is entirely “separate” and “private,” what is it doing even being mentioned in a government budget rollout?

Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget  CounterPunch, by LINDA PENTZ GUNTER  FEBRUARY 12, 2016 “……..Cut to page 19 of the Office of Management and Budget’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget document.  Here we find “clean energy,” a phrase no longer to be trusted at face value, having been purloined into meaning at times something quite the reverse.  For example, nuclear energy tends to hide beneath the “clean energy” mantel, muddling the message and undermining cause for optimism.

…….. let’s gerund away anyway and see what lurks beneath the section entitled, “Doubling the Investment in Clean Energy R&D.”  Here we learn that the U.S. Government indeed intends to double its current $6.4 billion investment in clean energy for 2016 to arrive at $12.8 billion by 2021.  A hefty chunk — $7.7 billion — will be given as discretionary funding to the Department of Energy in 2017 alone for “clean energy R&D.”

But for what, exactly?  “About 76 percent of the funding is directed to DOE for critical clean energy development activities, including over $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies,” the Budget document reads.  Just two billion dollars for energy efficiency and renewable energy combined?   That leaves $5.7 billion for something else that the DOE considers “clean energy.”  One of those claimants undoubtedly is nuclear power.

More clues to the likely destination of this unassigned mystery money can be found in a later section where the Budget document reveals that the $7.7 billion is actually earmarked as funding for the “first step toward the Mission Innovation doubling goal.”…….

there is only one logical explanation for this “fair and balanced” energy policy nonsense: corporate captivity.

To oversimplify: Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, emerged from Rahm Emanuel’s clamshell, and Emanuel invented Exelon and Exelon is today the country’s leading nuclear behemoth.  Exelon’s chief lobbyist in the early days was David Axelrod.  Team Obama was born in the country’s nuclear cradle, then.  Nevertheless, it’s high time that a U.S. president as committed to renewables as Obama, ceased tossing favors — aka our money— to his corporate nuclear cronies.

And so it goes on. Sitting on that Paris stage last December for the Mission Innovation announcement was Bill Gates, whose only energy agenda is tinkering around with nuclear unicorns, an exercise so devoid of relevance to the urgent battle to address climate change that every dime spent there is a dime wasted.  OK they are his dimes, trillions of them.  But think what he could really do for climate change if he spent his riches wisely.

Let’s follow the trail of budget breadcrumbs a little further.  The OMB goes on to say: “Mission Innovation is complemented by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a separate, private sector-led effort whose purpose is to mobilize substantial levels of private capital to support the most cutting-edge clean energy technologies emerging from the R&D pipeline.”

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is Bill Gates again, and loaded to the hilt with his fellow billionaires all salivating at the prospect of old nuclear pots to mend.  But given the Breakthrough Coalition is entirely “separate” and “private,” what is it doing even being mentioned in a government budget rollout?

What comes out of the Clean Energy R&D pipeline rather depends on what goes into it.   It would be good if that turned out to be a true renewable energy revolution and not more deadly radioactive effluent from an obsolete fleet of new nuclear power plants.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear. She also serves as director of media and development. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/12/radioactive-handouts-the-nuclear-subsidies-buried-inside-obamas-clean-energy-budget/

February 13, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Electricite De France (EDF) faces €100bn bill for upgrading ageing nuclear power stations

AREVA EDF crumblingEDF faces €100bn bill for upgrading ageing nuclear power stations, Ft.com  Michael Stothard in Paris , 11 Feb 16 French utility EDF is facing a €100bn bill for upgrading its ageing nuclear power stations at the same time as a new law could force it to close a third of its reactors, according to the country’s state audit office.

The report by the Cour des Comptes comes at a bad time for the world’s largest nuclear power generator as it scrambles to secure financing for a contentious £18bn nuclear project in the UK.

Unions and analysts have already raised concerns that EDF might be biting off more than it can chew with the proposed nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The utility is grappling with a large debt load as well as increased competition in its domestic market.

Shares in EDF, which is 85 per cent owned by the French government, have fallen 55 per cent in the past year, reducing its market capitalisation to €21bn. The group has net debt of ‎€37bn.

The audit office said on Wednesday that the cost of increasing the life expectancy of the 58 nuclear plants in France from their current 40 years would be €100bn during the 2014-2030 period.

This is well above EDF’s €55bn estimate for the 2014-2025 period. The difference is in part because the €100bn also includes EDF’s operating expenses over that period.

The audit office also said that a law passed last year to reduce the share of nuclear in French energy production from 75 per cent at the moment to 50 per cent by 2025 could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 EDF reactors.

The law was set to “jeopardise planned investments” by EDF and “force it to close a third of its plants,” with possible consequences for jobs, said the report. It suggested that EDF might have to turn to the state for compensation………

EDF has said it wants to keep all of its 58 reactors running. It said that it wants the reduction of the share of nuclear in the French energy mix from 75 per cent to 50 per cent in the law to come from growing demand.

But the Cour des Comptes said this kind of growth in demand was unlikely. “Only a very significant increase of electricity use or power exports could limit the number of closures, but experts do not expect this will happen,” it said. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/581cb61a-d00d-11e5-92a1-c5e23ef99c77.html#axzz3ztplMhin

February 12, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Confusion about financing of UK’s Hinkley nuclear power project

scrutiny-on-costsflag-UKnuClear News, No 82 Feb 2016,   Hinkley’s Troubles Continue ……..The original idea for financing Hinkley was for the promoters to put in £7.5bn in equity and then to borrow £17bn supported by UK Government Credit Guarantees (for which a premium would be paid). This £24.5bn total was made up of £16bn cost plus £8.5bn interest. Now the cost seems to have gone up to £18bn (or adjusted for today’s prices). But EDF Energy seems to be talking about largely funding this out of equity. EDF said on 21st October: “The project is due to be equity funded by each partner, at least during a first stage.” (19) Of course, there is no indication given by EDF of how long the “first stage” would last. However The Telegraph reported that EDF had originally been expected to use project financing for Hinkley, backed up by up to £16bn in UK Government guarantees via Infrastructure UK. But Mr Lévy announced in October a “radical change” to what he said was a “more efficient” option of delivering its £12bn share of the project from EDF’s own balance sheet. (20)

Under the deal agreed with the European Commission, the Flamanville EPR project must be up and running before the guarantees come into effect. And until that time, the shareholders must provide billions in ‘contingent equity’ to cover the bondholders’ risk, protecting UK taxpayers. And if it is not operating by 2020 the guarantees will expire. (21) What this means, according to The Ecologist, is that there is now a near-zero chance of these guarantees ever actually being taken up. This could be why EDF is now talking about funding the whole project through equity.
The Sunday Times reported that when the European Union signed off on the Treasury’s guarantee of Hinkley Point, it insisted it be conditional on Flamanville having “completed the trial operation period” and other operational milestones by December 2020. If Flamanville misses that deadline, EDF would be forced to immediately repay any loans that benefited from government support. (22) The date of earliest completion of the Flamanville reactor is 2018, and even that assumes that things go a lot better than they have so far.
Dr Dave Toke says there is no chance of Hinkley C being funded without the Government guarantees – EDF haven’t got anywhere near the money needed and it would be financially crazy to pay for it without the guarantees – so EDF cannot take the chance of going ahead without a firm loan guarantee. (23)
It is no surprise that employees and shareholders of EDF are up in arms about the prospect of a ‘final investment decision’ being taken by the EDF Board. This leaves people wondering about the motives of EDF in announcing that they are ‘restarting’ work on Hinkley C. EDF seems to want to carry on despite the increasing likelihood that the Hinkley project will destroy EDF as a going business. So why do they carry on with this apparent financial suicide? The answer according to Toke is that the leaders of EDF have two choices: abandon Hinkley C and effectively end EDF’s visions as being leaders of a world (or even French) nuclear resurgence or carry on spending money on Hinkley C and hope that the French Government will bail them out of any further difficulties. The first choice involves the certainty of loss of face and resignation, but the second choice involves a probability of disaster (and eventual resignation), but the faint hope that they still might win out. (24)
So EDF has told contractors at Hinkley Point to restart “unconstrained spending” in anticipation of the £18bn nuclear plant obtaining the final green light soon. By ‘unconstrained’ they mean ‘we’re going to go on as if a decision has been made’.” (25)

Sizewell A final investment decision on Hinkley is expected to trigger the launch of the next round of public consultation over plans for Sizewell C. (26) But if EDF is struggling to find its 66.5% share of Hinkley C, how will it ever find the 80% it is expected to put into Sizewell C? References ……http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo82.pdf

February 10, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Ukraine buying Western technology, plans to double its nuclear power

Buy-US-nukesThirty Years After Chernobyl, Ukraine Doubles Down On Nuclear Power, Radio Free Europe,  By Tony Wesolowsky February 08, 2016  Nearly 30 years after Chernobyl spewed nuclear dust across Europe and sparked fears of fallout around the globe, a strapped, war-torn Ukraine is opting for “upgrades” rather than shutdowns of its fleet of Soviet-era nuclear power reactors.

Kyiv is planning to spend an estimated $1.7 billion to bring the facilities, many of which are nearing the end of their planned life spans, up to current Western standards.

Ukrainian officials hope to further their energy independence from Moscow and potentially export some of the resulting electricity to Western Europe as part of an “EU-Ukraine Energy Bridge” that can further cement Kyiv’s ties with Brussels.

But can they allay fears, in Ukraine and beyond, that the plans will put Europe at risk of another Chernobyl?

The project has the backing of the West, including a $600 million contribution split evenly between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom, the EU’s nuclear agency…….

Most of the reactors came online in the 1980s, with the oldest — Unit 1 at the Rivne nuclear plant — generating power since December 1980, three years before the ill-fated reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl started churning out power……..

critics have their doubts.

They say Ukraine’s nuclear reactors should be shut down as soon as possible, noting that one of the reactors still churning out power is older than the unit that exploded at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986. They also raise doubts over whether the program will be carried out to the highest standards……..

The [Ukrainian] Nuclear Regulatory Commission is discussing the possibility of raising the extension period to 80 years.”

The upgrade work is just part of a bold plan to make Ukraine a major energy player in Europe beyond its decades-long role as a major transit country. In a state energy strategy document released in 2006 and covering the sector until 2030, Kyiv foresaw the construction of 11 new nuclear units.

Ukraine’s current financial straits could put such bold plans on hold. However, Kyiv appears to be moving ahead with intentions to make Ukraine part of the European power grid by 2017, a target set out by President Petro Poroshenko after he took office in mid-2014……..

Ukraine is also opening other doors with Western nuclear partners.

In November, Enerhoatom signed an agreement with the French engineering firm Areva “for safety upgrades of existing and future nuclear power plants in Ukraine, lifetime extension, and performance optimization.”

U.S.-based Westinghouse, which has been operating in Ukraine since 2003, signed a deal with Kyiv in December 2014 “to significantly increase” nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine until 2020.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the deal between Westinghouse and Kyiv by calling it “a dangerous experiment.”

Ukraine still depends on TVEL, a nuclear-fuel subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, for fuel at 13 of its 15 reactors, highlighting Russia’s continuing sway over Ukraine’s nuclear program.

Westinghouse has been challenging TVEL for a bigger cut of the nuclear-fuel market in Eastern and Central Europe, where Russian-designed reactors are the norm.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has offered significant loans for several Westinghouse projects in the region, and U.S. officials have lobbied governments to diversify away from dependence on TVEL, according to Statfor, a U.S.-based analytical center…….. http://www.rferl.org/content/thirty-years-after-chernobyl-ukraine-doubles-down-nuclear-power/27539152.html

February 10, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New Texas nuclear reactors not going to happen anytime soon, despite Fed approval

scrutiny-on-costsFlag-USAFeds approve new nuclear reactors near Houston Fuel Fix, February 9, 2016 | By  The federal government on Tuesday approved the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project nuclear plant southwest of Houston.

But the massive cost of the project coupled with cheap Texas power prices mean that NRG Energy and its partners have no plans to build the new nuclear reactors anytime soon, if at all.

The partnership is continuing to look for new U.S. investors to eventually move the stalled project  forward, said NRG spokesman David Knox. NRG said five years ago it wasn’t investing any more money in the expansion. Near that time, NRG estimated the project would cost about $14 billion with financing……..

The potential expansion project is through the Nuclear Innovation North America, or NINA, which is 90 percent owned by NRG and 10 percent by Toshiba. NINA owns 92.4 percent of the expansion. NRG has sought additional partners in the expansion since CPS Energy, once a 50 percent partner, reduced its stake to 7.6 percent.

After several years of review, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday it approved the issuance of the licenses to build two new nuclear reactors. The plant in Matagorda County already has two reactors. The South Texas Project, one of two nuclear power plants in Texas, opened in 1988, but is still one of the nation’s newer nuclear plants.

The project previously faced delays in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The NRC said Tuesday the new licenses would include the agency’s upgraded post-Fukushima safety requirements. http://fuelfix.com/blog/2016/02/09/feds-approve-new-nuclear-reactors-near-houston/

February 10, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Should Georgia’s electricity customers get hit with the ballooning costs of Vogtle nuclear power plant?

text-my-money-2Flag-USAAre our Georgia Power bills set to be nuked? Feb. 8, 2016 By Matt Kempner – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   Warm up your checkbook and get your debit and credit cards ready. Reckoning day is coming on the most gigantic construction project in Georgia and, in particular, on its blown budget.

This spring the expansion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant near Augusta was supposed to be finished, with the first of two new reactors cranking out electricity for businesses and homes all over Georgia.

Not going to happen.

It’s not going to happen next year either. Best case at this point is that it will be more than three years late. And consultants for the state worry even that timeline is wishful thinking.

But elected state regulators – members of the Georgia Public Service Commission, which most Georgians probably don’t even know exists – recently decided it’s now time to try to figure out if customers of Georgia Power should be forced to swallow all the company’s costs, including what looks like at least $1.7 billion in higher-than-expected expenses. That could send monthly power bills up in years to come.

The alternative is that Georgia Power and its shareholders eat some or all of the overage.

Guess which option Georgia Power thinks is right?

Critics of the Vogtle project have for years demanded tough analysis of Vogtle spending, rather than waiting to do so when the project is essentially completed…….

Company executives didn’t like a column I wrote last year. Or an earlier news story about last-minute pay-for-performance changes that boosted bonuses for leaders at Georgia Power and parent Southern Company. Or a story showing how Georgia Power morphed from giving assurances about its original Vogtle cost projections to expressing surprise that anyone would be surprised by the project’s surging costs and delays.

Tough questions are reasonable and prudent. Let’s hope the PSC treats Vogtle costs as a topic worthy of rigorous scrutiny, not a way to try to bolster support for its past decisions.

Find Matt on Facebook (facebook.com/mattkempnercolumnist) and Twitter (@MattKempner) or email him atmkempner@ajc.comhttp://www.myajc.com/news/business/are-our-georgia-power-bills-about-to-be-nuked/nqLhc/

February 10, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Creeping costs for Duke Energy’s proposed Lee Nuclear Station

Planning costs for Duke Energy’s Lee nuclear plant creep toward $500M, Charlotte Business Journal, 
Feb 3, 2016,  
Duke Energy’s pre-construction costs for its proposed Lee Nuclear Station are creeping toward the half-billion dollar mark with no clear indication when the company will decide whether to go ahead and build the project.

From July through December, Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE:DUK) has spent more than $21.5 million on Lee. That brings total spending to more than $471.1 million on the project since it was announced in 2007.

Even at the greatly slowed pace of spending in the last couple of years, the project costs are on track to exceed $500 million before the end of this year.

Duke expects to get a combined construction and operating license for the $12 billion-plus project from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission this year. But the company has declined to put any deadline on when it will decide whether to build the project or when it might go to the S.C. Public Service Commission for state authority to proceed with the project, which would be built in Gaffney…….

Of the total spent since the project was announced, more than a third of it, almost $173.8 million, is interest expense……. http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/energy/2016/02/planning-costs-for-lee-nuclear-plant-creep-toward.html

February 10, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Ambiguities in marketing nuclear reactors to India

flag-indiaNuclear ambiguities, THE HINDU, 7 Feb 16   India’s nuclear politics was in the limelight again last week, and not for the best of reasons. More than five years after it signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), India ratified the insurance pooling agreement, which pertains to civil liability in the event of a nuclear accident in any of the acceding countries. Prima facie, this was a good move, bringing to an end a game of will-they-or-won’t-they, which had cast India in poor light internationally and which sat uncomfortably beside three hard-fought nuclear landmarks — the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement (CNA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver, both passed in 2008, and India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA), which became law in 2010.

However, India’s CSC ratification does not clear the air so far as an important stumbling block to bilateral nuclear commerce is concerned: is CLNDA truly in conformity with the CSC, as Indian officials have repeatedly claimed, or does it cast a shadow of doubt on supplier liability, which is a matter of critical importance to U.S. nuclear corporations?
fighters-marketing-1
The ambiguity stems from two clauses of CLNDA, Sections 17(b) and 46. Under Section 17(b), liability for a nuclear accident can be channelled from the operator, which is the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, to suppliers of nuclear material, specifically if the accident is due to an act of the supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services.
Section 46 permits victims of a nuclear incident to sue the operator or the supplier for damages applying tort law, even though such proceedings would be beyond the scope of CLNDA and its liability cap, and thus exposing suppliers to unlimited liability. Both clauses are likely to raise suppliers’ cost of insurance cover, possibly beyond what is feasible commercially and within the confines of competitive energy pricing.
India’s CSC ratification is a reminder of the steep fall from the heady days of the announcement of the CNA a decade ago to the weak and unconvincing efforts by the Narendra Modi administration, followingU.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India, to persuade corporations such as General Electric-Hitachi and Westinghouse that they would not be liable in the event of an accident.
India’s reliance on contractual rules and parliamentary debates to explain away supplier concerns has been greeted with scepticism by representatives of U.S. nuclear corporations — first on the grounds that no rule can supersede constitutional statute, and second, as there are other, on-record views in Parliament that contradict those cited by the MEA……. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/nuclear-ambiguities/article8206363.ece

February 8, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing | Leave a comment

Problems for China’s nuclear power plans

China’s contested nuclear future The expansion of China’s nuclear power production faces some serious challenges, Asia and Pacific Policy Society, XU YI-CHONG, 5 Feb 16,  “……..to meet the target of 58GW nuclear power capacity in operation by 2020, China would have to more than double the size of the current nuclear capacity. This means at least another 40 reactors would have to be built. At present, China has 31 reactors in operation located in 16 sites, all along the coastline. An immediate challenge is where to put another 40 reactors. The nuclear industry in China does not think it is ready to build them in highly populated inland provinces, even though some provinces have been pushing for the central government to allow them to build nuclear power plants. Two related siting challenges are: firstly, it has become increasing difficult to get public acceptance of large infrastructure projects, especially nuclear power plants; and second, reactor models adopted and developed in China are all large-scale ones, with a capacity of 1000 MW each – the larger a unit is, the more land it needs, and the broader impact it will have.
The second issue is the reactor and its associated technologies. The nuclear fleet in China consists of reactors from all major producers – the American Westinghouse AP 1000, the French EPR 1400, Canadian Candu reactors, Russian VVER, in addition to two main branches of the Chinese models. Technology selection has been a serious issue in China from the very beginning as the more models one has, the more difficult to mature and standardise technologies of reactors and those of associated elements, such as the cooling system, turbine pumps, condensers, and many others. All that means it is difficult to reduce costs.
It also makes very difficult to regulate the industry. The fragmentation of China’s nuclear industry and rivalry among the major players has seriously undermined its capacity to develop a globally acknowledged brand name and accepted technologies. The recently approved Hualong reactor is supposed to be an advanced model and the product of collaboration between the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Corp (CGN) but the two are still fighting for position in Chinese nuclear development. ………
The efforts to develop a set of regulation have so far failed because of the disagreement among various government agencies, nuclear companies and the tension between the central and provincial governments. The fragmented regulatory authority, the rivalry among government agencies, and inadequate human capacity of regulatory agencies are the key factors undermining the governance and regulatory capacity in China.
Finally, China’s nuclear future faces the challenge of the energy reality: as the economy has been undergoing structural changes, demand for electricity has slowed down. Nuclear expansion may help China deal with some of the problems of air pollution and CO2 emissions, because its development will inevitably affect coal-fired thermal power generation – and this utilisation rate has already fallen dramatically. But traditional power companies, nuclear companies and those engaging in wind and solar power development are competing for market share, for resources, and for government attention and policy support, often backed by local governments and their industrial allies. The nuclear industry is a global industry: its future depends on its safe development not only in China but also elsewhere. Its safe development depends on technology maturity and effective regulation, both of which remain problematic in China. An aggressive overseas expansion of CNNC (in Argentina, Pakistan, and its ambition in Africa and Eastern Europe) and CGN (in UK, Thailand, Vietnam and others) adds only more uncertainties. – See more at: http://www.policyforum.net/chinas-contested-nuclear-future/#sthash.UfpPOfzS.dpuf

February 8, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, China | Leave a comment

Nuclear utility Vattenfall in crisis – third consecutive annual loss

doom and gloomNuclear tax and low prices continue to impact Vattenfall, World Nuclear News, 04 February 2016 Swedish utility Vattenfall has announced a loss of SEK19.8 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2015, its third consecutive annual loss. It attributed this partly to continued low electricity prices and unprofitable Swedish nuclear power reactors…….

Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall said, “The major challenge in 2015 continued to be the impact that today’s very low electricity prices have on Vattenfall’s profitability and the valuation of our assets. Unfortunately, combined with new regulatory requirements, this led to further write-downs, mainly on the values of Swedish nuclear power and German lignite in the summer.”

He added, “Continued falling prices and a nuclear tax corresponding to SEK0.07 per kilowatt-hour have put Swedish nuclear power in a critical situation…….http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Nuclear-tax-and-low-prices-continue-to-impact-Vattenfall-0402164.html

February 8, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage might or might not work for global nuclear salesmen

India Joins Nuclear Liability Pact, Opening Door to Foreign Reactor Investments http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2016/02/05/397765.htm By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Stephen Stapczynski | February 5, 2016  India’s decision to join a global treaty on nuclear accident liability may help it woo reactor suppliers, including Westinghouse Electric Co. and General Electric Co., that have been reluctant to sell technology to the nation.

The country ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, also known as CSC, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday. India’s current law allows operators to hold suppliers responsible for accidents, making international equipment makers hesitant to sign deals as the nation seeks to expand nuclear power capacity more than 10-fold by 2032………

India’s decision to join a global treaty on nuclear accident liability may help it woo reactor suppliers, including Westinghouse Electric Co. and General Electric Co., that have been reluctant to sell technology to the nation.

The country ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, also known as CSC, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday. India’s current law allows operators to hold suppliers responsible for accidents, making international equipment makers hesitant to sign deals as the nation seeks to expand nuclear power capacity more than 10-fold by 2032.

One Step

Ratifying the CSC is the latest effort the government has taken to ease suppliers’ concerns that they would be open to liability claims in case of a nuclear accident. Joining the treaty “marks a conclusive step in the addressing of issues related to civil nuclear liability in India,” the country’s external affairs ministry said in a statement Thursday.

In 2011, India capped suppliers’ liability, saying claims by the nation’s nuclear plant operator can’t exceed the amount of compensation paid by the utility. That was followed last year with the creation of a 15 billion rupees ($222 million) insurance pool to shield the operator, Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd., and the suppliers against claims. The government also last year issued a note explaining the law, including the sections that leave suppliers exposed to lawsuits.

No Modification

“The ratification is a very important step for the comfort of foreign vendors,” said Sekhar Basu, secretary at India’s Department of Atomic Energy.

Westinghouse Electric expects to reach a deal with India by the end of this year to provide at least six nuclear reactors, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Roderick said in December. France’s Areva SA signed an accord in 2009 to supply six 1,650-megawatt reactors at Jaitapur, a coastal town in India’s western province of Maharashtra.

“Ratifying the CSC is a step in the right direction towards unlocking the market potential for further nuclear development in India,” Jeff Benjamin, senior vice president of new plants and major projects at Westinghouse, said by e-mail. General Electric and Areva didn’t respond to requests for comment outside normal business hours.

The ratification doesn’t change the country’s existing liability laws, according to R. Rajaraman, emeritus professor of physics at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Physical Sciences.

“This will not lead to a re-think or a modification of our liability act,” Rajaraman said in an e-mail. “That would not be politically feasible.”

Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, didn’t respond to requests seeking comment. Calls to Jagdish Thakkar, a spokesman at the prime minister’s office, weren’t answered.–With assistance from Archana Chaudhary.

February 8, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing | Leave a comment

French waste group Veolia moving into nuclear clean-up business

flag-franceVeolia expands in nuclear waste clean-up with Kurion acquisition http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kurion-m-a-veolia-idUSKCN0VC0V4, 4 Feb 16 

French water and waste group Veolia (VIE.PA) said it bought U.S. nuclear waste clean-up company Kurion for $350 million as it chases a slice of a market seen worth $210 billion over the next 15 years.

Veolia said it expects the new business to contribute annual revenue of $350-400 million by 2020, including about $250 million from waste treatment and $100-150 from decommissioning nuclear installations.

money-in-nuclear--wastes

Kurion, which was one of few international firms involved in the early stages of the clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, currently has annual sales of about $100 million. Veolia generates about $20 million from cleaning up nuclear waste.

“Bringing Kurion and its employees into Veolia is going to enable us to develop a world-class integrated offer in nuclear facility clean-up and treatment of low-level radioactive waste around the world,” Veolia Chief Executive Antoine Frerot said.

Veolia plans to target the United States, Britain, France and Japan, which together amount to a market of $118 billion by 2030, and will focus on low-level radioactive waste, which represents 97 percent of the volume but just 0.1 percent of the radioactivity.

There are about 400 nuclear plants in operation worldwide, of which 100 to 150 will be decommissioned by 2030. Another 50 nuclear research centres will also have to be dismantled, Veolia said. Frerot said Veolia would focus on concentrating the waste to reduce its volume so that it can be stored safely, mostly in glass.

Kurion was founded in 2008 and and now employs over 200 people. Veolia had total revenue of 23.88 billion euros ($26.05 billion) in 2014.  (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)

February 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, wastes | Leave a comment

$4.7 billion the present cost [and rising] of building Watts Bar nuclear reactor

hungry-nukes 1Cost of Watts Bar nuclear reactor rises to $4.7 billion http://newschannel9.com/news/local/cost-of-watts-bar-nuclear-reactor-rises-to-47-billion BY WTVC FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH 2016 Rhea County — America’s first new power plant to be built in the 21st century may end up costing $200 million more than what it was budgeted last year.

The Tennessee Valley Authority directors voted in January to add $200 million more to the budget to the Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, raising the completion budget to $4.7 billion since work was revived on the Westinghouse pressurized rector in 2007.

Watts Bar spokesman Mike Skaggs says the cost rose in part because of delays in completion and extra flood controls and emergency equipment required to prevent an accident like what happened at Fukushima, Japan.

The price for the new TVA plant is still below the projected expense of reactors being built at Plant Vogtle in Georgia, which are projected to top $10 billion.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Georgia State panel to do detailed probe of costs of Nuclear Plant Vogtle

nuclear-costsState panel to review Plant Vogtle costs http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/2016-02-02/state-panel-review-plant-vogtle-costs  By Walter Jones ATLANTA, 4 Feb 16  — Electricity customers and the public will get a detailed look at what’s to blame for cost overruns in the construction of two nuclear reactors slated for power generation after a divided Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to begin its examination.The detailed probe of what Georgia Power has spent is expected to take 14 months to examine the delays that have added nearly $1 billion to the Plant Vogtle expansion.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

European Commission faces the astronomic future costs of nuclear power

Without lifetime extensions, around 90% of the EU’s existing nuclear reactors would be shut down by 2030. But even with lifetime extensions, 90% of existing nuclear electricity production capacity will need to be replaced before 2050. This will cost €350-500 billion, estimates the Commission.

The Commission admits that the costs of new-build projects “are in the high range” of what analysts expected. Hinkley Point C tops the charts with €6.755 per KWe (vs. a €5.290 per KWe average for a “first of a kind” twin unit). There is a “historical trend of cost escalation”, the Commission concludes.

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flag-EUEU paints challenging picture of Europe’s nuclear future, Energy Post. February 2, 2016 by 
 In a leaked draft document obtained by Energy Post, the European Commission outlines the investments in the EU nuclear industry that it believes are needed out to 2050. The document, originally announced for last year, but off the table again for February, paints a challenging picture for the European nuclear industry. €450-550 billion will have to be spent on new plants and lifetime extensions, costs of decommissioning and waste management are high, competitiveness is a challenge and nuclear’s share in the energy mix will decline from 27% today to 17-21%. Sonja van Renssen investigates.

The “Communication for a Nuclear Illustrative Programme” or PINC is a non-legislative document “periodically” produced by the European Commission, as required by the Euratom Treaty (article 40) that “provides an overview of investments in the EU for all the steps of the nuclear lifecycle”. The last PINC dates back to 2008 so the one currently under preparation will be the first since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. It “provides a basis to discuss the role of nuclear energy in achieving the EU energy objectives”………

Globally, nuclear-related investment needs are estimated at around €3 trillion out to 2050, with most of that money due to be spent in Asia. ……

Total investments in EU nuclear energy approaching three-quarters of a trillion Euros are needed from now to 2050, the Commission calculates….

Escalating costs of new-build

Without lifetime extensions, around 90% of the EU’s existing nuclear reactors would be shut down by 2030. But even with lifetime extensions, 90% of existing nuclear electricity production capacity will need to be replaced before 2050. This will cost €350-500 billion, estimates the Commission.

“Different financing models are being examined or used in several EU Member States,” the Commission notes, citing the UK’s Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C and the Mankala model in Finland. It does not give an opinion on state aid for nuclear, however, although this is fully within its remit. Then the understatement of the year: “Some new first of a kind projects in the EU, have experienced delays and cost overruns.” The Finnish Olkiluoto and French Flamanville projects are both at over three times their original budgets and years behind schedule.

The Commission admits that the costs of new-build projects “are in the high range” of what analysts expected. Hinkley Point C tops the charts with €6.755 per KWe (vs. a €5.290 per KWe average for a “first of a kind” twin unit). There is a “historical trend of cost escalation”, the Commission concludes. ……

Squeezing out lifetime extensions

The average age of the nuclear fleet in Europe is 29 years. By 2030, most of the EU’s nuclear fleet would be operating beyond its original design life. The Commission expects lifetime extensions of 10-20 years to require investments of €45-50 billion by 2050. Note that more than 80% of this would be spent from now to 2030. The post-Fukushima safety upgrades increase the cost of these lifetime extensions by some 5-25%, the Commission estimates……http://www.energypost.eu/exclusive-eu-paints-challenging-picture-europes-nuclear-future/

February 3, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, Reference | Leave a comment

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