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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UK may be getting Beautiful Nuclear Cathedrals! (Amber Rudd will be pleased)

Moorside: Developers launch competition to design visually beautiful nuclear power station

Their reward will be £25,000 each in prize money, Independent,  Chris Green  @cghgreen 7 Feb 16 “………Architects and landscape designers from across the world are being asked to come up with creative concepts for Europe’s largest new nuclear power station, Moorside in West Cumbria. Their reward will be £25,000 each in prize money – as well as a shot at creating something beautiful out of what many might regard as an industrial scar on the landscape.
cathedral nuclear
The two competitions, which are being backed by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Landscape Institute, have been created by Moorside’s developer, NuGen. The company has bought about 200 hectares of land near Sellafield and is looking for inspiration for a visitors’ centre and numerous other ancillary buildings which will adjoin the main site.

The shortlisted designs will be selected by an independent panel of architects, landscape designers and ecologists including Sir Terry Farrell, who created the MI6 building in London. Their challenge will be to come up with something striking and beautiful which can work around the sensitive construction of the site’s nuclear reactors.
Sebastien Ricard, a director at WilkinsonEyre architects who is currently involved with the multibillion-pound redevelopment of Battersea Power Station in London, said industrial buildings were increasingly regarded by architects as Rudd, Amber UKthe “cathedrals of the modern era” as they offered the chance to work with innovative technologies on a grand scale….
it is hoped that the winning plans will succeed in blending the site into its surroundings and perhaps even turn Moorside into a destination in its own right……http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/moorside-developers-launch-competition-to-design-visually-beautiful-nuclear-power-station-a6859311.html

 

February 8, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

The UK ghost ships with the deadly nuclear cargo

ship radiationGuarded from terrorists by Royal Navy sub and 50 commandos…the UK ghost ships with enough nuclear fuel for 80 missiles, Daily Mail, 

  • Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret ships will sail to Japan for plutonium
  • Precious 331kg load could make an incredible 80 nuclear warheads
  • Vessels are accompanied by military ships and armed with cannons

By MARK NICOL DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY 7 February 2016

Two top secret British ‘ghost ships’ carrying enough plutonium for a huge nuclear arsenal wend their way through the world’s oceans –guarded against terrorists by 50 commandos.

It may sound like a tantalising target for a villain in a James Bond film, but what is potentially the most dangerous secret mission in history is deadly reality.

Two vast container ships – the Pacific Heron and the Pacific Egret – left Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, last month on the first leg of their incredible journey.

Their mission is to sail to Japan to collect 331kg of plutonium – enough to make 80 nuclear warheads – which was leased by the UK to a Japanese research facility.

The ships are almost certainly shadowed by a Royal Navy submarine and surface vessels and are heavily armed with 20mm cannon.

They are sailing across the Atlantic before passing through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific on their way to Japan.

Their ultimate destination is a US nuclear storage facility in South Carolina, and the return journey to the American eastern seaboard from East Asia would normally again be made via the Panama Canal.

But this would leave the vessels vulnerable to attack – and their terrifying radioactive cargo could in theory devastate much of Central America.

So instead, they are likely to take the long and dangerous journey around the storm-lashed Cape Horn at the tip of South America, one of the most hazardous shipping routes in the world.

The Heron and the Egret, which each weigh about 6,700 tons when fully loaded, belong to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It is expected that each ship will be guarded by as many as 25 commandos.

Nuclear expert John Large told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The cargo is invaluable and part of a secret trade in fissile materials between the likes of the UK and US. The biggest risk is a fire or an external missile strike.

‘This is bomb-grade nuclear material and a terror group or rogue state would want to intercept it.’…..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3435476/Guarded-terrorists-Royal-Navy-sub-50-commandos-UK-ghost-ships-nuclear-fuel-80-missiles.html

February 8, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Britaion and Sweden rejecting UN panel’s finding on Julian Assange

 Assange,-Julian-1No release in sight despite UN panel decision. Julian Assange: ‘sweet’ victory soured by British and Swedish rejection  Founding WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained at Ecuador embassy, Guardian, ,, in Gothenberg, and  A UN panel may have found that Julian Assange is subject to “arbitrary detention” and called for him to be allowed to walk free, but the WikiLeaks founder remains exactly where he has been for the past 44 months – inside Ecuador’s London embassy and locked in a three-nation war of words.

Britain and Sweden immediately rejected the UN report, which declared that Assange had been “arbitrarily detained” since his arrest in 2010 and during his lengthy stay in the embassy, where he sought asylum in June 2012. The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, described the findings as “ridiculous” and the Australian as a “fugitive from justice”.

However, the panel’s findings, leaked on Thursday and published in full on Friday morning, were a welcome victory for Assange, and a moment he intended to savour fully. At 4.01pm he emerged on to the balcony of the west Londonembassy to greet a crowd of several hundred supporters and journalists, pausing first, just briefly, to glance at the sky he has rarely seen for more than three years.

“How sweet it is,” said Assange, holding aloft a copy of the UN report while supporters shouted: “We love you, Julian!” It had been, he said, “a victory of historical importance”, and a decision reached after a process to which both Britain and Sweden had made submissions. “They lost. UK lost; Sweden lost.”

The Swedish government, however, has insisted the report changes nothing, and that it cannot interfere in an independent prosecutor’s ongoing attempt to extradite Assange for questioning over an allegation of rape dating from 2010, which he denies.

Meanwhile, for Ecuador – the Australian’s (mostly) willing host – the findings meant it was time for the two countries to allow Assange to walk free, and to compensate both him and them for the lengthy period he has been holed up in one of its few rooms……

After exhausting all his legal options in the UK and Sweden some time ago, there is no question that the report represents a boost for Assange’s legal team.

Reaching their conclusion by a three-to-one majority after a fifth member recused herself, the panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Assange’s “deprivation of liberty”, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and offer him compensation.

Assange, they found, had been unable “to access the full-intended benefit” of the asylum status granted by Ecuador, and “the continuing and disproportionate denial to him of such access … had become cumulatively harsh and disproportionate”.

In particular, the panel offered an excoriating critique of Sweden’s prosecution process, which they said had been in a state of “indefinite procrastination”. With Quito and Stockholm still unable to agree on arrangements to allow Swedish prosecutors access to the London embassy, Assange has yet to be interviewed over the alleged offences. Britain said on Thursday it was “deeply frustrated” by the deadlock.

But for all Assange’s jubilation, he remains in the embassy, the extradition warrant still stands, and Britain and Sweden remain adamant that the report changes nothing.

Assange also remains fearful of a potential future extradition to the US, where a secret grand jury has been looking into whether to prosecute him over WikiLeak’s publishing activities……..

the former chair of the UN working group, Mads Andenas, defended its finding, saying: “There is no doubt that the normal course of action for the Swedish authorities would have been to interview Assange in London. The extradition request was disproportionate…….http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/feb/05/julian-assange-sweet-victory-soured-by-british-and-swedish-rejection

February 8, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Sweden, UK | 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

Costly, not available for decades, but Germany steps forward in nuclear fusion development

How Germany took big step toward nuclear fusion  German scientists working on the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device started a series of experiments that could eventually prove the superiority of the stellarator-type fusion devices. By Corey Fedde, Christian Science Monitor Staff FEBRUARY 3, 2016 

Nuclear fusion power has been the dream of many since the 1950s and on Wednesday German scientists took one step closer to making it possible.
fusion reactor Germany
German scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, injected hydrogen into the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device and heated the gas into plasma for a moment, according to the press release.

The device will not produce energy from the plasma, but the experiment is the first of many that could prove whether the design is capable of being used as a power plant. If so, it could answer one of the many questions surrounding nuclear fusion.

Two different designs for fusion power plants have shown promise: the tokamak, such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor being constructed in France, and the stellarator. The Wendelstein 7-X is the world’s largest stellarator.

Only the ITER project, a tokamak, is thought to be able to produce plasma that supplies energy, according to the press release. The experiments begun Wednesday could prove that stellarator designs could produce comparable heat- and plasma-confinement.

Scientists working on the Wendelstein 7-X will perform similar experiments, heating gas to plasma and holding it in stasis, over the next four years, slowly increasing the temperature and the time of the discharges, according to the press release.

Eventually, in about four years, the Wendelstein 7-X will test its full heating power (20 megawatts) and discharges lasting 30 minutes………

Nuclear fusion is seen as a safe, efficient form of nuclear power and has been proposed as an eventual replacement for oil and fossil fuels, according to the press release.

But critics have pointed to the mounting cost of a technology that is still under development and likely remain unavailable for decades. Investments for the Greifswald fusion device have surpassed €1 billion over the last 20 years, CBS News reported.

The ITER project recently announced in November that it would take six years longer to construct than previously thought and would require additional funding from the €5 billion estimate in 2006. Science reports current estimates place the ITER project needing €15 billion.  http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0203/How-Germany-took-big-step-toward-nuclear-fusion

February 5, 2016 Posted by | Germany, technology | 4 Comments

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

France’s plan for 1,000 kilometers of road paved with solar panels

sunflag-franceFrance to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels http://inhabitat.com/france-to-pave-1000-kilometers-of-road-with-solar-panels/?newgallery=true by Lucy Wang In a major step forward for green energy, the French government has announced plans to installsolar photovoltaic panels on 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of road over the next five years. The goal is to supply renewable power to 5 million people—or about 8 percent of the French population. The solar roadways will use Wattway panels, a photovoltaic technology unveiled last October by the major French civil engineering firm Colas. According to Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy, the “Positive Energy” project will be funded by raising taxes on fossil fuels, a decision Royal says is “natural” given the low prices of oil.

 
Although France isn’t the first country to pave roads with solar panels—the Netherlands installed the world’s first solar panel-paved bicycle path in 2014—their plans for 1,000 kilometers of solarized roads are the most ambitious. According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, four meters (13 feet) of solarized road is enough to power one household’s energy needs, not including heating, while one kilometer (3,281 feet) can supply enough electricity for 5,000 inhabitants.
The solarized roads will be covered with Wattway panels, a technology that took five years to develop and can be glued directly on top of existing pavement. The panels harvest solar energy using a thin film of polycrystalline silicon. The seven-millimeter-thick strips are rugged enough to withstand all types of traffic, including the weight of a 6-axle truck, and provide enough traction to prevent skids.According to Colas CEO Hervé Le Bouc, the Wattway panels have been successfully tested on a “cycle of one million vehicles, or 20 years of normal traffic a road, and the surface does not move.” The panels have also withstood the snowplow test, though the company recommends operating the machines with “a bit more care” than on conventional pavement.
The locations for deployments have yet to be revealed. The fossil fuel tax is expected to bring in between 200 to 300 million euros ($220 to 440 million) of funding for the project. While there remain many concerns on solar road concepts, including safety and cost effectiveness, the project remains an exciting step forward in exploring the potential of renewable energy. Tenders for the “Positive Energy” initiative have been issued and tests on the solar panels will begin this spring.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste repositary still needed: reprocessing is no answer to radioactive trash problem

EU paints challenging picture of Europe’s nuclear future, Energy  Post. February 2, 2016 by  “……….Limited prospects for recycling nuclear fuel

France is the only country in Europe that is still working towards a fully closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors and advanced reprocessing technology. Other countries use open cycles.

France will be the only country to operate reprocessing facilities after 2018 (when those in the UK are shut down). The partially closed cycle that technology currently permits “is not expected to give a major reduction of the final disposal solution footprint in comparison to an open cycle”.

The future of recycled nuclear fuel is limited by the lack of fast-breeder reactors, more safety requirements, a higher risk of proliferation, lower competitiveness, and the fact that it still requires a final waste depository……. http://www.energypost.eu/exclusive-eu-paints-challenging-picture-europes-nuclear-future/

nuclear-chain-not-cycle

February 3, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, reprocessing | 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.

hungry-nukes 1


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

UK Hinkley Point nuclear plant project director quits

rat leaving sinking shipEDF project director for UK Hinkley Point nuclear plant quits, 7 News, Reuters February 3, 2016 LONDON – An executive of French utility EDF in charge of Britain’s first new nuclear power station project for 20 years is leaving to join U.S. energy company Entergy Corp , the U.S. firm said on Tuesday.

As an executive director at EDF’s British unit, EDF Energy, Christopher Bakken had been project director since 2011 for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in southwestern England.

He was responsible for the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the planned new nuclear plant………

Intractable problems at two similar nuclear plants under construction in France and Finland threaten more delays to EDF’s British plans.  https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/30718466/edf-project-director-for-uk-hinkley-point-nuclear-plant-quits/

 

February 3, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, employment, France, UK | Leave a comment

Germany’s costly nuclear waste dump correction

Environment state secretary Jochen Flasbarth, who described the situation in Asse II as “disastrous”, told journalists in Berlin that the current plan was to store the Asse waste, once retrieved, with the high-level radioactive waste for which the government is still searching a site…….

The Asse case shows how difficult it can be to undo a decision related to nuclear waste storage. It will take longer to retrieve the waste than it did to dump it

waste cavern Germany

text-relevantWhy Germany is digging up its nuclear waste, By  , EU Observer, WOLFENBUETTEL, GERMANY, TODAY, 2 Feb 16  “….. in hindsight, the Asse II salt mine should never have been used in the 1960s and 1970s as a site to dump nuclear waste, said Ingo Bautz of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection………To anti-nuclear activists, Asse is a prime example of government not listening to citizens’ concerns. “Incidents were predicted,” said Wolfgang Ehmke, activist in the Gorleben region.

But the waste had to be stored somewhere, so the voices that warned against selecting Asse II were ignored.

“The potential risks for the future were accepted,” Bautz said, during a recent press visit to the mine organised by Clean Energy Wire, a non-profit group supported by the Mercator and European Climate foundations.

Road signs, deep underground

Until 1978, low and intermediate-level radioactive waste was stored in Asse II, the only such site in Germany.

Ten years later, the operator of the mine discovered leaks of radioactive brine. But it was not until 2008, when media reported about it, that the leaks became public knowledge.

The German government took control of the mine and tasked the Federal Office for Radiation Protection with its decommissioning.

The office concluded that the risk of groundwater contamination was too big, and the only truly safe option was to retrieve all the waste from the mine and store it elsewhere. In all, 126,000 containers filled with contaminated clothes, paper and equipment were stored in Asse, the office said.

“This task is very difficult,” said Bautz, who joined journalists to travel into the mine, 658m below the surface.

The lift plunged to the bottom at 36km/h. Inside the mine, the temperature was about 30C even though it was freezing above ground.

The mine is so large that workers have to use cars to get around. In one tunnel an LED road sign typically found in residential areas tells drivers to watch their speed……..

Since the mine is over a century old, it needs to be protected against a collapse or flooding. It will also need another lift to use for retrieving the waste.

And because of safety regulations regarding evacuation, only 120 people can be down in the mine at the same time. Workers are monitored for any exposure to radiation……..

In 2011, the EU adopted a rule obliging each country that has produced nuclear waste to have policies on how to manage their waste. Last August, all member states were due to report about their national programmes for the first time.

Germany told the commission it planned to put “all types of radioactive waste in deep geological disposal facilities with the aim to guarantee isolation from the biosphere in the long term, thus ensuring the safety of man and the environment without any need for maintenance”.

Environment state secretary Jochen Flasbarth, who described the situation in Asse II as “disastrous”, told journalists in Berlin that the current plan was to store the Asse waste, once retrieved, with the high-level radioactive waste for which the government is still searching a site…….

The Asse case shows how difficult it can be to undo a decision related to nuclear waste storage. It will take longer to retrieve the waste than it did to dump it…….

This is second part in a two-part series about Germany’s nuclear waste. Part one was about how Gorleben refused to be the country’s permanent waste repository.  https://euobserver.com/beyond-brussels/132085

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

Electricite De France : 6 union board members will oppose Hinkley Point nuclear project

text Hinkley cancelledEDF’s union board members to oppose Hinkley Point – sources, Yahoo 7 News, Reuters February 3, 2016 By Geert De Clercq  PARIS – The six union members on EDF’s 18-seat board would vote against the French utility’s plans for two nuclear reactors in the UK, but other board members do not want to postpone the project, sources familiar with the situation said.

The unions want EDF to put off the 18 billion pound project to build two Areva-designed European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) at Hinkley Point in southwest England until it has strengthened its balance sheet and started up at least one of the four EPRs it has under construction elsewhere.

A united front of EDF’s unions opposing a major investment decision would be unprecedented, but the lack of support from other board members removes a major element of uncertainty for the plan.

“If the Hinkley Point project was put to the board today, the six union representatives would all vote against it,” one of the sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

EDF first announced Hinkley Point in 2013 and said in Oct. 2015 that Chinese utility CGN would take a 33.5 percent stake in the project, but it has not yet taken a final investment decision as it struggles to find financing.

On Monday, EDF’s dominant CGT union, which has three board members, called on the firm to postpone the project, saying EDF should prioritise upgrading its ageing nuclear fleet in France, start up the long-delayed EPR it is building in Flamanville, and design a new-model EPR reactor…….

A united front of EDF’s unions opposing a major investment decision would be unprecedented, but the lack of support from other board members removes a major element of uncertainty for the plan.

“If the Hinkley Point project was put to the board today, the six union representatives would all vote against it,” one of the sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

EDF first announced Hinkley Point in 2013 and said in Oct. 2015 that Chinese utility CGN would take a 33.5 percent stake in the project, but it has not yet taken a final investment decision as it struggles to find financing.

On Monday, EDF’s dominant CGT union, which has three board members, called on the firm to postpone the project, saying EDF should prioritise upgrading its ageing nuclear fleet in France, start up the long-delayed EPR it is building in Flamanville, and design a new-model EPR reactor……https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/30718719/edfs-union-board-members-could-vote-against-hinkley-point-sources/

February 3, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Increasingly, it’s the “back end” of nuclear power that will be astronomically costly

wastes-1EU paints challenging picture of Europe’s nuclear future, Energy Post. February 2, 2016 by  “…..Paying for the aftermathIt is the back-end of the fuel cycle – waste management and decommissioning – that is going to claim a rising share of investments in the years ahead. More than 50 of the EU’s 131 reactors are likely to be shut down by 2025, the Commission says. Member States are moving “from research to action” on geological disposal. The first facilities are expected to be up and running in Finland, Sweden and France between 2020 and 2030 (Finland is in the lead with a due date of 2023). Almost all other Member States are at the “preliminary studies” stage. Public acceptance remains a challenge. So does deciding who is finally liable for the waste.

The projected costs of long-term geological storage depositories run from less than half a billion in Slovenia and Croatia to over €20 billion in France, the Commission says. It all adds up to €68 billion, or nearly half of the total estimated waste management costs of €142 billion out to 2050. For these, the average result of €3.23 per MWh is more than double what was estimated in recent studies, the Commission notes. Over a third of the total costs are for France.

nuke-reactor-deadThe other half of the end-of-life equation, decommissioning, is largely unknown terrain. When a nuclear site is decommissioned, it is released from regulatory oversight. Given “the ageing status of the European reactors, the capability of the industry and regulators to develop safe and cost effective decommissioning programs will determine to a great extent the future of nuclear commercial power in Europe”. This includes greater transparency in cost estimates, it adds. The Commission comes up with a total cost of €126 billion for decommissioning out to 2050. Some will argue that real costs are likely to be far higher.

Estimates of decommissioning costs per unit also vary “significantly” between Member States, from €0.20 billion in Finland to €1.33 billion in Lithuania. Germany and the UK are at the high end (€1.06 billion and €0.85 billion, respectively) while France is at the low end (€0.32 billion). The estimates depend on technology, the size and location of the reactor, and dismantling strategy, the Commission says.

Experience is scarce: although 89 reactors had been permanently closed in Europe as of October 2015, only three had been fully decommissioned. All three were in Germany. Worldwide, only 13 more have been decommissioned; all of them in the US. The Commission suggests a “European Centre of Excellence” to exchange best practice might help. http://www.energypost.eu/exclusive-eu-paints-challenging-picture-europes-nuclear-future/

EU paints challenging picture of Europe’s nuclear future, Energy Post. February 2, 2016 by  Not the full picture

In theory, the money for waste management and decommissioning is being accumulated throughout reactors’ lifetimes, primarily through a fixed contribution based on electricity sales. In most Member States, regulators define the method for securing funds (some, such as Germany however, rely on commercial law to require companies to build up reserves in their balance sheets).

Of the €268 billion needed in the EU by 2050, there is already €150 billion in the bank. In other words, as of 2014, European nuclear operators had dedicated assets that would cover 56% of the total estimated nuclear end-of-life costs, for reactors that were 64% of the way through their lives. A “possible explanation” for the difference is that some Member States are anticipating lifetime extensions.

The Commission concludes that “as a reliable low carbon technology and a major contributor to security of supply”, nuclear energy “is expected to remain an important component of the EU’s energy mix”. Maintaining EU technological leadership, including through the nuclear fusion project ITER, is “essential”. But this does not make nuclear energy competitive or affordable, nor does it ensure it can play a useful role in an EU power system dominated by renewables, where flexibility is central.

There are a few other things the draft PINC does not (yet) do. It does not advise on the involvement of foreign firms in supposedly strategic energy projects (e.g. China in Hinkley Point C). It does not draw lessons from recent upheavals in the nuclear industry (e.g. Areva’s bankruptcy). It does not tackle liability, although a former PINC suggested setting up a harmonised system of liability and financial mechanisms in case of an accident. And finally, it does not discuss harmonising strategies for decommissioning funds – also suggested in the former PINC – beyond proposing a European Centre of Excellence. http://www.energypost.eu/exclusive-eu-paints-challenging-picture-europes-nuclear-future/

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

Behind the Russia – South Africa nuclear love affair

World Nuclear Association strategist Steve Kidd said that it was highly unlikely that Russia would succeed in carrying out even half of the projects in which it claims to be closely involved.

While a world nuclear report by two independent international energy consultants concludes that, “the lack of realism and overblown market expectations drive nuclear companies and traditional utilities into ruin”.

This may explain why rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly ‘credit positive’.

Over and above that, the project as it stands threatens our country’s sovereignty, since our energy supply will be solely in the hands of Russia, which Allister Sparks describes as a country with “one of the world’s nastiest dictatorships”

truthZuma, the Guptas and the Russians — the inside story RAND DAILY MAIL LILY GOSAM 02 FEBRUARY 2016  “………From Russia with love of all things nuclear   Russia is Zuma’s “preferred partner” for the 9 600 MW nuclear build, according to energy experts, analysts and journalists. He has had numerous personal negotiations (some undisclosed) between 2009 and 2014 with his Russian counterparts — Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev[13] — and within that time two agreements were signed (and both concealed from public scrutiny[14] [15] [16]).

Should the nuclear programme go ahead as Zuma and his benefactors have planned, Rosatom — Russia’s state-owned nuclear company — will build the nuclear power plants.

Rosatom consists of 360 companies, with 34 reactors in operation, and 29 under construction, including nine in Russia [M&G][17]. It is a nuclear mass production machine designed and dependent on worldwide nuclear energy expansion and domination[18].

Over the past five years, Rosatom has quietly cornered the market in nuclear energy, systematically seeking out agreements and contracts with roughly 30 nations interested in the installation of nuclear power plants. According to Global Risk Insights, Russian-built nuclear power plants in foreign countries become more akin to embassies — or even military bases — than simple bilateral infrastructure projects. The long-term or permanent presence that accompanies the exportation of Russian nuclear power will afford president Vladimir Putin a notable influence in countries crucial to regional geopolitics[19] [20]. Continue reading

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Reference, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

New doubts hang over future of Britain’s Hinkley Nuclear Plan

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKNew threat to Hinkley nuclear plant cash,Sunday Times, Danny Fortson 31 January 2016  BRITAIN could withdraw financial support for the controversial £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Somerset, if a similar plant being built by France’s EDF is not running by 2020, The Sunday Times can reveal.

The condition, attached to a Treasury loan guarantee, raises fresh questions about the future of Britain’s first new atomic power plant in a generation.

Last week EDF, which is 84% owned by the French state, postponed a board meeting in Paris to approve Hinkley Point, amid concerns about the heavily indebted company’s ability to fund the project. The plant will be financed by EDF and its Chinese partner CGN, with the backing of a 35-year contract to sell power to households at above-market rates.

The arrangement hinges on a Treasury agreement to guarantee up to 17 billion pounds in loans…. (registered readers only)  http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/energy_and_environment/article1662807.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2016_01_30

 

February 1, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

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