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UK’s nuclear waste cleanup operation could cost £260bn

“While we are clear about the current legacy of waste which already exists, a GDF would have to handle additional waste from new facilities being developed,” the NWService said. “The actual cost will … depend on the number of new nuclear projects that the UK develops in future and any additional waste from those stations.”

Cost of safely clearing waste from ageing power stations is soaring, say experts, Sandra Laville Environment correspondent

The cost of decommissioning the UK’s 20th-century nuclear waste could rise to £260bn as the aged and degrading sites present growing challenges, according to analysis presented to an international group of experts.

As the government pursues nuclear energy with the promise of a new generation of reactors, the cost of safely cleaning up waste from previous generations of power stations is soaring.

Degrading nuclear facilities are presenting increasingly hazardous and challenging problems. Ageing equipment and electrical systems at Sellafield, which is storing much of the country’s nuclear waste and is one of the most hazardous sites in the world, are increasing the risk of fire, according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. They require increasing maintenance and present growing risk. Last October a faulty light fitting started a blaze at a Sellafield facility which led to its closure for several weeks.

Analysis by Stephen Thomas, a professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, estimates the total bill for decommissioning the UK’s nuclear waste mountain will grow to £260bn.

Thomas told a conference of international experts the cost of decommissioning Sellafield had risen from to £110bn, according to freedom of information requests.

Other sites that need decommissioning are the 11 Magnox power stations, built between the 1950s and 1970s, including Dungeness A in Kent, Hinkley Point A in Somerset and Trawsfynydd in north Wales, and seven advanced gas-cooled reactors built in the 1990s, including Dungeness B, which closed last year, Hinkley Point B and Heysham 1 and 2 in Lancashire.

Deterioration of one of the Magnox stations, Trawsfynydd, which shut down in 1991, is such that substantial work is needed to make it safe, according to the NDA. “Work that would then need to be undone to complete reactor dismantling,” the agency said.

Thomas told the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group similar problems are expected at other Magnox sites. The timetable for decommissioning the old nuclear power stations has been abandoned, with no new timescale yet published.

The Nuclear Waste Service has said deferring decommissioning for 85 years from shutdown, which was previous policy, is not suitable for all the reactors because of their different ages and physical conditions. Decommissioning of some Magnox stations will have to be brought forward, the NWS has said

Attempts to speed up the decommissioning would only add to the growing bill, Thomas said, which he estimated had increased to £34bn.

In 2005, the cost for decommissioning and disposing of the radioactive waste from nuclear power stations built in the 1950s, 70s and 90s was put at £51bn.

Last year the NDA estimates rose to £131bn, and its latest annual report said £149bn was needed to pay for the clear up. But Thomas said rising costs meant the total bill was on track to reach £260bn.

Part of the soaring increase is the cost of building a large underground nuclear waste dump or geological deposit facility (GDF) to safely store the 700,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste – roughly the volume of 6,000 double decker buses – from the country’s past nuclear programme.

The mammoth engineering project was initially predicted to cost £11bn but the bill is now estimated to be up to £53bn because of uncertainty about where the site will be located, and the need to provide space for an unspecified amount of waste from the new generation of nuclear reactors which the government wants to build.

Four areas of the country are being considered for the GDF but no decision on where it will be located has yet been made.

“While we are clear about the current legacy of waste which already exists, a GDF would have to handle additional waste from new facilities being developed,” the NWService said. “The actual cost will … depend on the number of new nuclear projects that the UK develops in future and any additional waste from those stations.”

The cleanup of past nuclear waste will take more than 100 years, the NDA has said. Highlighting the challenges of the degrading and hazardous facilities, the authority said in its annual report that robots and drones were increasingly being used to carry out site inspections.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

How we got to an $850 billion Pentagon budget – “independent” think tanks are funded by weapons corporations.

Speaking Security Newsletter | Note n°173 | 16 September 2022, Stephen Semler


The Senate might vote on the fiscal year 2023 military budget this month. Or it might not; nobody’s sure. What’s for certain is that the bill the Senate considers will have at least as much as $850 billion for the Pentagon. In other words, we’re staring down a $72 billion year-to-year increase in military spending with this legislation: The FY2022 version of the same bill (National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA) licensed $778 billion for the Pentagon.

How we got to an $850 billion Pentagon budget

In March, Joe Biden proposed increasing annual military spending by $35 billion—to $813 billion—as part of his FY2023 budget request. In June, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) added another $37 billion on top of that before advancing the $850 billion bill to the House floor for approval.

This decision was reportedly a matter of course for the committee. According to one HASC member, there was “almost no debate” on dumping another $37 billion on top of Biden’s own proposed increase. An overlooked reason why the committee’s move was so automatic was the ‘expertise’ that made a $72 billion year-to-year increase seem appropriate or even natural.

Think tanks are said to be free from the ugly forces that bias in-house policy planning—namely, all the lobbying and campaign cash that encourage members of Congress to make decisions based on parochial interests and not the public’s. The problem is that establishment think tanks are corrupted by the same monied interests members of Congress are. In this case, we’re talking about the arms industry.

Every think tank represented in a House Armed Services Committee hearing to provide expert testimony from January 1, 2020 through September 16, 2022 that disclosed its donors received funding from military contractors (the one that didn’t disclose its donors was the hawkish American Enterprise Institute).

The result? Military contractors were able to launder their profit-driven interests through ostensibly non-political institutions, while powerful lawmakers on the HASC got their parochially-driven policy positions validated by ostensibly unbiased ‘expertise’.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Small modular reactors: What is taking so long?

Next-generation nuclear has long been just around the corner, but debate still rages over the silver-bullet credentials of small modular reactors.

By Oliver Gordon The growing urgency of the climate crisis and, more recently, the energy crisis has reawakened global interest in nuclear energy. Even the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk have waded into the debate to petition for a more prominent role for nuclear power in the transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. To that end, there is much expectation surrounding the development of small modular reactors (SMRs), a new generation of nuclear reactors that are being marketed as the solution to all of nuclear power’s previous shortcomings.

To that end, there is much expectation surrounding the development of small
modular reactors (SMRs), a new generation of nuclear reactors that are
being marketed as the solution to all of nuclear power’s previous

In fact, SMRs are not forecast to hit the commercial market
before 2030, and although SMRs are expected to have lower up-front capital
costs per reactor, their economic competitiveness is still to be proven in
practice once they are deployed at scale.

Nuclear reactors are extremely
complex systems that must comply with stringent safety requirements, taking
into account a wide variety of accident scenarios. The licensing process is
extensive and country-dependent, implying some standardisation will be
required for SMRs to properly take off.

However – beyond the perennial
oscillation of public acceptance of nuclear energy – there are still a
variety of challenges SMR technology needs to overcome before it can reach
commercial deployment. “The hardest is economics,” says M V Ramana, the
Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of
Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia,
Canada, and author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in
India. “Nuclear energy is an expensive way to generate electricity.”

 Energy Monitor (accessed) 21st Sept 2022

September 21, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry Beating Retreat at Bradwell? 21 Sept 22, Recent news received by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities from an Essex resident appears to indicate that the development of a new Chinese-backed nuclear power plant at Bradwell-on-Sea is at a halt.

Like Operation Sealion before it, this unwanted foreign invasion of Southern England seems also to have been indefinitely postponed.

The Bradwell B power station project has been led by majority shareholder, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a Chinese-state owned energy corporation, with junior partners, French-state owned EDF Energy. CGN owned 66.5% of the equity and EDF Energy the rest. CGN had proposed to install two of its own UK HPR1000 reactors designed specifically for the plant, and the design received approval from the Office of Nuclear Regulation only in February 2022.

However, even before then, things were turning sour for the project. UK – China relations have been on a downward track for many months and Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith described Chinese investors as ‘not trusted vendors’ in Parliament. Giving substance to this sentiment, the Conservative Government passed the National Security and Investment Act, which entered into force in January 2022. This allows Whitehall ‘to intervene in certain acquisitions that could harm the UK’s national security’ such as civil nuclear power plants, and Ministers have frequently talked openly about their determination to terminate Chinese involvement in the Bradwell project.

Householders have now received letters that appear to indicate that the Bradwell B project team is indeed making a withdrawal from the site. Workers will soon be returning to fill in the exploratory boreholes they dug from 2018 to 2020 to conduct ‘early investigative surveys’ into ground conditions. Restorative work will take place from mid-September to make land available once more to enable local farmers to grow crops. And there is news that the project team will be ‘closing the current site compound’ and ‘removing the temporary site offices’ ‘by the end of the year’. Furthermore, there are no plans to ‘conduct further temporary ground investigation and load testing works’, for which planning approval has been granted, in 2023.

Commenting Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, said: “We do not know for certain if the Bradwell B project is finally dead and buried, but the fact that the project team is beating retreat from the site is a clear indication that no work will progress for the foreseeable future.

“Clearly Chinese involvement, which includes the bulk of the equity investment and the employment of a reactor specifically designed for this project, is as dead as the Dodo! It is unlikely that EDF Energy, which is already tens of billions of Euros in debt, will want to take on any further financial liability given its existing heavy involvement in both the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C nuclear power projects, and frankly the appetite of most private investors to back new nuclear projects is almost nil”.

For more information, please contact NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email on or telephone 07583 097793

September 21, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Wow! The nuclear lobby comes up with a new plan “to compel governments to make difficult decisions”

The solution that we have created  – the creation of a multilateral bank that will support nuclear investment and nuclear infrastructure all across the world – is a needed tool to achieve these objectives. 

The proposed International Bank for Nuclear Infrastructure (IBNI)will be based on the same model as the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, among others.

“What a multilateral can do, through the establishment, adoption and enforcement of country-level agreements, is compel governments to make the politically-difficult decisions.

Financing issues for nuclear under the spotlight

World Nuclear News, 09 September 2022 The financing of nuclear projects under current mechanisms faces many challenges, panelists at World Nuclear Symposium agreed. However, plans for a new multilateral bank specifically for nuclear infrastructure could help projects move forward.

I think we all share a vision that nuclear needs to play a major role in the attainment of [energy security, sustainable development, climate targets] policy objectives,” said Daniel Dean, chair of the International Bank for Nuclear Infrastructure (IBNI) Implementation Organisation Strategic Advisory Group.

“The more we make nuclear accessible, financeable and achievable in countries throughout the world, the more that nuclear will be considered as a viable option to achieve those carbon transition objectives. But we are talking about multiple trillions of dollars of investment to achieve this vision. That is a problem given the existing financing mechanisms, the existing commercial structures being utilised to deliver nuclear projects.

George Borovas, partner and head of nuclear at law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, who chaired the session, said the financing of nuclear projects is “an issue that is dear to my heart”. He said he has seen many such projects fail because of a lack of the right financial solutions……… You have to think about the financing solution up front.”

“General issues of public acceptance, reputational risk, potential controversies inevitably makes a lot of banks nervous, or at least cautious, about engaging with nuclear,” said Mark Muldowney of BNP Paribas…………..

Dean said nuclear must been considered from an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) perspective as an investor.

“We need to establish a better basis for the ESG status of nuclear and its role in terms of net-zero and its role in energy security,” he said. “That’s important as that will start to aggregate stability and actually say that nuclear is something that collectively financiers want to finance.”

 what you need for that assessment is for industry collectively to put together the case why nuclear makes sense – from a policy point of view that’s the government’s domain 

Dean said it is not just a financing issue. “It is a multidimensional problem that needs a multidimensional solution. The solution that we have created  – the creation of a multilateral bank that will support nuclear investment and nuclear infrastructure all across the world – is a needed tool to achieve these objectives. 

…………………… The proposed IBNI will be based on the same model as the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, among others.

“What a multilateral can do, through the establishment, adoption and enforcement of country-level agreements, is compel governments to make the politically-difficult decisions.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment


Bruce Gagnon interview – 13 September 22, Youtube has removed Regis Tremblay’s videos – I suppose, for political reasons. This time he is interviewing Bruce Gagnon – long-time doughty warrior for preventing war in space. I wish I had time to transcribe it

September 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Russian state firm signs $9.1bn loan deal to fund nuclear plant in Turkey

Rosatom, which has been wiring money to Ankara to shore up Turkey’s depleted foreign currency reserves, signs deal with Gazprombank, Ragip Soylu, Antalya, Turkey, 16 September 2022

Russian state-owned company signed a $9.1bn loan deal with Gazprombank in August to fund the construction and development of Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear power plant, according to the official documents. 

In a public announcement on Wednesday, Rosatom Corp published the deal signed on 3 August, which opens a line of credit to finance Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, its subsidiary in Turkey………………………..

Bloomberg reported last month that Rosatom had decided to wire $15bn to Turkey for the construction of the $20bn Akkuyu nuclear power plant, citing officials who said that an initial $5bn had already been received…………………

The Turkish government is in dire need of foreign funding as a result of its rapidly evaporating foreign currency reserves.

Rosatom is expected to rapidly spend up to $2bn on overdue payments to subcontractors. The company told Bloomberg that it would indeed transfer some funds to Turkey, but an amount much lower than that declared by Turkish officials………….more

September 19, 2022 Posted by | marketing, Turkey | Leave a comment

Tepco to revise power prices for industry, factoring in nuclear restart

TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) (9501.T) said on Friday it will revise its pricing for high-voltage industry customers next year to reflect soaring costs, but will take into account the assumed restart of the No.7 unit of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told a news conference of the new pricing policy, including the impact of an assumed restart, although Japan’s nuclear regulator is continuing inspections after barring Tepco, operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, from restarting its only operable atomic power station last year due to safety breaches.

“We plan to revise the pricing scheme next business year as we can’t reflect soaring power procurement cost in the electricity price,” Kobayakawa said.

“But we are factoring in that the No.7 unit will be 75% operational next year, or operating nine months out of 12, in calculating the new electricity price to reduce the burden on customers,” he said, adding that the company itself is not forecasting the unit’s resumption next year.

“We do hope to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa as soon as possible, but we can’t say when it will happen,” he said.

Tepco plans to announce details of the new price scheme for industry customers by the end of this month……..

Tepco had been hoping to restart the world’s biggest atomic power plant, with capacity of 8,212 megawatts, in a quest to slash the utility’s operating costs.

But it drew criticism last year when failings at the plant came to light, including security breaches that led to an unauthorised staff member accessing sensitive areas of the plant.

Japan’s industry minister said at the time the plant would not be restarted any time soon.

September 19, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Fast transition to renewables will save the world up to $12tn (£10.2tn) by 2050

Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy could save the world as
much as $12tn (£10.2tn) by 2050, an Oxford University study says. The
report said it was wrong and pessimistic to claim that moving quickly
towards cleaner energy sources was expensive. Gas prices have soared on
mounting concerns over energy supplies. But the researchers say that going
green now makes economic sense because of the falling cost of renewables.

“Even if you’re a climate denier, you should be on board with what we’re
advocating,” Prof Doyne Farmer from the Institute for New Economic Thinking
at the Oxford Martin School told BBC News. “Our central conclusion is that
we should go full speed ahead with the green energy transition because it’s
going to save us money,” he said.

BBC 13th Sept 2022

September 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, renewable | Leave a comment

Russia’s uranium exports can continue – exempt from sanctions imposed on other commodities

The German government said Monday that it can’t stop a shipment of Russian uranium destined for French nuclear plants from being processed at a site in Germany because atomic fuel isn’t covered by European Union sanctions on Russia.

Environmentalists have called on Germany and the Netherlands to block a shipment of uranium aboard the Russian ship Mikhail Dudin — currently docked in the French port of Dunkirk — from being transported to a processing plant in Lingen, close to the German-Dutch border.

“We have no legal grounds to prevent the transport of uranium from Russia, because the sanctions imposed by the EU due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine exempt the import of nuclear fuel … to the EU from import bans,” said a spokesman for Germany’s Environment Ministry, Andreas Kuebler. Safety requirements for the shipment had been examined and foundto meet requirements, meaning German authorities had to approve it, he added.

Washington Post 12th Sept 2022

September 19, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Operator doubts German plan to keep nuclear plants on standby

Germany plans to delay closure of two nuclear power plants amid disruption to Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

Germany’s plans to delay the closure of two nuclear plants were thrown into confusion on Wednesday, with the operator of one saying the request to keep it on standby was not technically possible as the government said it had been misunderstood.

Berlin announced on Monday that it plans to keep two out of three remaining nuclear power stations on standby to have enough electricity through the winter.

The operator of one of the plants, E.ON, said on Wednesday that it believed it is not possible to put its Isar 2 facility in reserve mode beyond its scheduled closure at the end of 2022.

“We communicated on Monday evening that nuclear power plants are not suitable for reserve power plant operation for technical reasons,” said E.ON, adding it was in contact with the government on the issue………………………………

In January, the government called nuclear energy dangerous, objecting to EU proposals that would let the technology remain part of the bloc’s plans for a climate-friendly future. Its energy plan before was to switch off its remaining three nuclear power plants at the end of this year and phase out coal by 2030.

September 8, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear plant “will never get built” due to impossibility of raising finance for it.

 Sizewell C: UK tapping up Saudi and UAE investors as it struggles to bring in nuclear investment funds.

The UK is approaching foreign investors to fill a gaping funding hole in Sizewell C as the Government struggles to attract attention for nuclear investment, i can reveal.

In his final major policy speech as Prime Minister, this week Boris Johnson announced £700m in funding for the nuclear project in Suffolk, urging his successor to “go nuclear and go large and go with Sizewell C”. But the scheme, which is estimated to cost more than £20bn, is struggling to drum up interest amid a diminishing appetite for nuclear investments.

Barclays and Rothschild banks have been hired to help the UK fill the remaining stake, but i understands that negotiations have not yet begun between Barclays and potential investors, and investment is still in the preparatory stages. The UK has approached investors in the UAE, Australia and Saudi Arabia in a bid
to shore up financial support, sources told i. An industry source said the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) were “definitely interested” and had already visited the UK to discuss nuclear collaboration, with further meetings planned this month. A Government source confirmed that talks had taken place with ENEC and were set to continue. ENEC is thought to be keen to expand on the launch of the Barakah power plant in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s first nuclear site.

Another source said that Macquarie, an Australian bank, had also been approached by Rothschild and been given a presentation on Sizewell C.

A finance source said securing investment has proved “not as easy” as No 10 had envisaged and there were not many Western-based funds that would get involved with nuclear. Many investors are understood to be reluctant to invest in Sizewell C over economic considerations, and over ESG – environmental, social and governance – concerns, such as how nuclear waste is dealt with.

Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear energy expert at the University of Sussex, said that the “market has fled nuclear.” He added: “There is no nuclear being built without vast public subsidy. The market has said no to nuclear, because it’s completely uneconomic and doesn’t make financial sense. It’s hugely expensive, the learning curve is completely static, the renewable market is off the wall. Last year, 84 per cent of all new power capacity worldwide was renewable, but nuclear is nowhere.

Jérôme Guillet – who has worked in energy for 25 years and was managing director of renewable energy
financial advisory firm Green Giraffe – said that private investment in nuclear power was extremely hard to come by, with renewable energy now cheaper and the infrastructure faster to build. “Nuclear has just become too expensive,” because of the high safety and financing costs, he said. He added that investment was likely only to come from those already involved in nuclear, such as EDF, or those with political interest, such as Chinese companies – and that the funds may never be raised.

“My personal opinion is that this plant will never get built. The delays to Flamanville [a nuclear project in northern France] and Hinkley Point will push any decision into the future, and by the time it could be taken, enough offshore wind will have been built to make the question moot.”

 iNews 4th Sept 2022

September 6, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Exposure to ionizing occupational radiation affects over 24 million workers globally–en/index.htm

3rd International Conference on Occupational Radiation Protection, 5 Sept 22

Over 500 experts from all over the world are to exchange information and experiences on strengthening the protection of workers from radiation. 05 September 2022

GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization is co-sponsoring the third international conference on Occupational Radiation Protection , organized with the International Atomic Energy Agency and hosted by the Government of Switzerland.

The conference, which takes place 5 – 9 September in Geneva, will review international standards and recommendations on occupational radiation protection, progress over the past twenty years, and will identify priority actions leading to an improved global occupational radiation protection system.

While radiation exposure is commonly associated with those working in the nuclear field or dealing with radioactive sources, workers in other professions, such as miners, aircrew, researchers, and healthcare professionals can also become seriously affected if adequate measures are not taken.

Moreover, accidents in nuclear power plants can have catastrophic effects not only for the workers but also for communities and the environment. Strict preventive and control measures therefore need to be in place.

“It has been a constitutional objective of the ILO since its establishment in 1919 to protect the health of workers,” said Vic Van Vuuren, Deputy-Director General for Policy Officer in Charge. “Today, we are still a long way away from this objective. Work-related deaths and injuries including those caused by exposure to radiation take a particularly heavy toll, especially in developing countries, where national systems for occupational safety and health are not well established.”

“This conference will serve as an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience and set the course for further concrete progress in enhancing the radiation protection of workers in all industries and countries and in making working environments safer and healthier, notably though building a global preventative culture.”

In June 1960, the International Labour Conference adopted the Radiation Protection Convention, 1960 (No. 115) , and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 114) . The Convention applies to all activities involving the exposure of workers to ionizing radiation in the course of their work and provides that each Member of the ILO which ratifies it shall give effect to its provisions by means of laws or regulations, codes of practice or other appropriate means.

It is the only international legal instrument that addresses the protection of workers against radiation. The Convention has been ratified by 50 countries .

September 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear power for Britain – a “financial basket case “

Recent days have seen Government ministers blaming opposition parties for
the failure to deploy nuclear power in the UK. But the problem is not
politicians, not the Conservatives, Labour or anyone else; it is the
extreme difficulty of delivering nuclear power itself.

Financially, it is a basket case, and any other technology with similar problems simply wouldn’t
get past the lobbyists’ meetings with politicians. On August 7th Kwasi
Kwarteng produced a tweet blaming Nick Clegg and Labour for delays in
building nuclear power, saying: ‘Thanks to Labour’s 13-year moratorium
and Lib Dem blockers in the Coalition, we made no progress on nuclear.
Supply chains disappeared. Since 2015, we got Hinkley approved and Sizewell
C received planning consent last month. ‘

However, this explanation does
not stand up to serious analysis. In their 2005 manifesto the Conservatives
did not even mention nuclear power, referring instead to renewables and
energy efficiency as a means of protecting energy security. By the 2010
election both Labour and Conservatives were backing the idea of building
more nuclear power plant, but Conservatives ruled out giving nuclear
subsidies. Their manifesto said they would be ‘clearing the way for new
nuclear power stations – provided they receive no public subsidy’ .Of
course the Liberal Democrats were very much opposed to new nuclear power
before they joined the Coalition in 2010.

But then it was the Liberal
Democrat Energy Secretary of State Chris Huhne who proposed a new
electricity market reform consultation paper at the end of 2010. This
allowed, in effect, nuclear power to receive public subsidies under the
cover that this same subsidy would be available to other low carbon
sources. This laid the basis for the current contracts for difference (CfD)
regime which is funding Hinkley C.

But in practice the offer of a generous
CfD for Hinkley C proved not to satisfy the prospective nuclear generators.
This included EDF which was/is backed by the French state who wanted to
promote France’s new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design. The most
fundamental problem was that no major British political party was then
willing to underwrite cost overruns – this was seen as giving nuclear
constructors a blank cheque, which it is. Nevertheless this underwriting
has now, latterly, been given EDF for Sizewell C under the so-called
‘RAB’ arrangements.

100% Renewables 3rd Sept 2022

September 4, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Gambit Faces Long Odds Even With Sizewell Approval

The 24 gigawatt-target is “not viable if each project happens by negotiation that takes five to 10 years,”  said Luba Kotzeva de Diaz, managing director European energy & renewables at Lazard Ltd.

  • EDF’s Hinkley Point C is over budget and behind schedule
  • Government’s 24-gigawatt nuclear target seen as unrealistic

Bloomberg. By Rachel Morison, September 4, 2022 , The UK’s audacious push to triple nuclear power capacity inched forward with the promise of government funding for the Sizewell C station, but doubts remain about the government’s ability to greenlight enough projects by 2030 to meet that goal.

Considering it took about 10 years for Electricite de France SA’s plant to get this far, the government’s “go big” gambit on nuclear energy — to help wean the nation off Russian fossil fuels and reduce emissions — is seen as a long shot. And those odds may get worse for the successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

……….. The government wants to deliver eight new nuclear reactors this decade — needing approval at a pace equivalent to one a year. A construction program of this scale hasn’t been achieved on the continent since the French in the 1970s, prompting calls on leaders to find alternative paths for achieving energy independence and legally binding emissions cuts. 

“It will be extremely difficult for the government,” said Asgeir Heimisson, senior associate at Aurora Energy Research Ltd. “Investment would need to occur approximately every three years from 2022, requiring a total of about £180 billion of capital expenditure.”

That’s a challenge for the new prime minister, who will take over in coming days amid a recession spurred by record energy prices and an inflation rate set to hit 14% this winter.

By 2050, a 24 gigawatt-strong fleet of new reactors is supposed to provide stable backup for offshore wind, the most-advanced renewable technology in Britain. The near-term ambition here is massive, too: reaching 50 gigawatts this decade………………………………..

The Sizewell project still needs significant backing from private investors before a final investment decision is made. It would follow on from Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first nuclear plant in three decades. Progress at Hinkley is costing more and taking longer to build than planned, stoking concerns about whether the government is right to rely so heavily on the technology.

Financing is the biggest hurdle for new stations, with the price tag for Sizewell being £20 billion ($23 billion) at the start of this year, but materials costs have surged since. An overhaul of the financing mechanism is meant to attract more funds. The regulated asset base, or RAB, model is supposed to encourage private investors and dilute the construction risk shouldered by the developer and taxpayers.

The government’s £700 million investment is expected to form a 20% stake in the project, with EDF taking another 20%. Greencoat Capital LLC, one of the UK’s biggest managers of renewable-energy funds, is considering investing, founder Richard Nourse said in July. 

Sizewell represents a “glimmer of hope” for the nuclear industry, said Vince Zabielski, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC. “The investment shows promise, but the decision is about 10 years late.”

…………The 24 gigawatt-target is “not viable if each project happens by negotiation that takes five to 10 years,”  said Luba Kotzeva de Diaz, managing director European energy & renewables at Lazard Ltd. — With assistance by Ellen Milligan

September 4, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment