nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

ICAN calls on Nobel Foundation to cease indirect nuclear arms investments

TRANSPARENCY CALL Nobel Foundation accused of indirect nuclear arms investments https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/transparency-call_nobel-foundation-accused-of-indirect-nuclear-arms-investments/43614160 The Swiss-based winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has called on the Nobel Foundation

external link to be more transparent about how it invests its money. This follows allegations that the body has indirectly invested in companies linked to the United States’ nuclear arms programme.

Last month, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaponsexternal link (ICAN) received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts in the process to bring about a global treaty to ban nuclear arms.

But the German NGO Facing Finance, together with Norwegian environmental organisation Framtiden and German television channel ZDF, have uncovered evidence that the Nobel Foundation has invested in an index fund that includes Lockheed Martin, Textron and Raytheon. All three companies have been active in US nuclear weapons manufacturing.

Geneva-based ICAN has its own investment tracker called Don’t Bank on the Bomb, which encourages investors to publicly divest from companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons. But this system looks specifically at financial sector investments, and does not reveal individual investors.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn called on the foundation to open its books more fully to public scrutiny.

“There are public reports that the Nobel Foundation has an ethical investment policy not to invest in weapons prohibited by international treaty, and we encourage the Nobel Foundation to be more public and transparent about how they implement this policy,” she said in an email to swissinfo.ch.

New direction

ICAN will officially receive the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10. Fihn said that ICAN would use the prize “to strengthen the work of prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons”.

In an emailed response to swissinfo.ch, the Nobel Foundation said it invested in funds rather than picking specific companies. Since the beginning of the year, it has changed its investment policy to find “more sustainable alternatives to our equity index funds”.

“Today, the Nobel Foundation has clear guidelines regarding ethics and sustainability. No new investments are made in funds that invest in companies that violate international conventions regarding, for example, land mines or cluster bombs, or who have investments in nuclear weapons,” Nobel Foundation Executive Director Lars Heikensten told swissinfo.ch.

“Our current investments are being investigated based on these guidelines. In addition, we have joined the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI), and have thereby incorporated environmental, social and governance factors into our investment decisions.”

He added that the foundation was “considering using our position to make active investments in sustainable projects and in this way, make a real difference”.

Advertisements

October 20, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Switzerland, weapons and war | 1 Comment

UK annual inflation pushes up the already high costs of Britain’s Hinkley and Sizewell nuclear power projects

Platts 17th Oct 2017, UK annual inflation hit 3% in September for the first time since March
2012, up from 2.9% in August, the Office for National Statistics said
Tuesday. Monthly CPI as published by the ONS is used as an input in strike
prices awarded to low-carbon projects under the Contracts for Difference
regime. One of the early commercial agreements was for the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station. LCCC data show the initial GBP89.50/MWh ($118/MWh)
strike price for the plant (2012 money) has risen GBP7.64/MWh to
GBP97.14/MWh. This initial strike price assumes a second EDF project at
Sizewell C proceeds. If not, the initial strike price rises to
GBP92.50/MWh. https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/uk-inflation-hits-3-in-september-strike-price-26822470

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Economically, the nuclear industry is in collapse

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 17th Oct 2017, Mark Cooper: In 2008, the “nuclear renaissance” hype was in full swing. South Carolina was one of the first states to hop on the bandwagon. Public
and investor-owned utilities rushed to sign a contract for two new reactors at the V. C. Summer nuclear station before the design for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors was finalized, to avoid the price run-up that was expected to occur when orders for dozens of reactors were signed.

There was no rush of orders, but there were 17 formal revisions before the design was
finalized, and perhaps many hundreds more made in a more informal manner.

Adecade later, the nuclear industry is in shambles. Billions of dollars were spent on the two now-abandoned reactors at V. C. Summer, and only two other reactors remain under construction, at a plant in Georgia. The South Carolina reactors were so far behind schedule and over budget that they
triggered the bankruptcy of the reactor vendor (Westinghouse), the near-bankruptcy of its corporate parent (Toshiba), and the resignation of the CEO of the utility (Santee Cooper) that owns 45 percent of the V. C. Summer project.

The nuclear industry’s collapse is stunning, but it should come as no surprise. This is exactly what happened during the first round of nuclear construction in the United States, in the decade between
1975 and 1985. History is repeating itself because of a dozen factors and trends that render nuclear power, new and old, inevitably uneconomic.
https://thebulletin.org/dozen-reasons-economic-failure-nuclear-power11196

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia

French nuclear giant EDF seeks business in Asia China and India loom large for the world’s largest nuclear power company, Nikkei Asian Review, TALLULAH LUTKIN and TOGO SHIRAISHI, Nikkei staff writers, 19 Oct 17,    PARIS — The world’s largest nuclear power company, Electricite de France, believes nuclear power still has a role to play in the future, despite forecasts suggesting the market is in getting precarious. According to one senior EDF official, there are still plenty of opportunities in nuclear plant construction — especially in Asia — that can complement renewable power sources……

State-owned EDF is determined to play a role in the growth of the nuclear power industry worldwide…..

For future projects, EDF has its sights on China, where most of the world’s new reactors are currently being built…..

In India, EDF’s nuclear ambitions should benefit from a combination of a growing economy still reliant on coal, a lack of access to electricity for millions of people, and an existing nuclear program, Ursat said.

The company also plans to jointly develop a plant in Turkey in cooperation with Japan, using a new reactor design, the ATMEA1, developed by French multinational Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. EDF’s close partnership with Mitsubishi is an indication of the importance of the Japanese market, Ursat said.

EDF is in the process of acquiring part of Areva, which is being restructured to save it from bankruptcy.  EDF will acquire Areva’s nuclear construction operations, renamed New NP, in December for between 1.25 billion and 1.875 billion euros. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is taking a 19.5% stake in New NP.

Ursat acknowledges that the nuclear power industry faces hurdles. “One of the challenges facing new projects is cost overruns,” he said. Thus, New NP’s primary objective is to “make new projects profitable, stay on schedule and lower costs.”……..

Projections by the International Atomic Energy Agency do not fully support EDF’s optimism, and vary significantly depending on circumstances. In the upper-end scenario, nuclear electricity generating capacity could increase from 391 gigawatts in 2016 to 874GW in 2050 worldwide. In the lower-end scenario, it would decline until 2040 before rebounding to current levels in 2050. Only three reactor constructions were started in 2016, down from 15 in 2010.

Moreover, some developed countries have decided to partly phase out nuclear power. France has announced its intention to close up to 17 nuclear reactors. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to cancel all plans for new nuclear power plants and “move toward a nuclear-free era,” something Germany is already pursuing. Both South Korea and Germany are looking to renewable sources as a replacement for nuclear power, rather than merely as a supplement.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are becoming more competitive. According to the International Energy Agency, auction prices for solar power will drop from over $150 per megawatt-hour in 2013 to $30 in 2020….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/French-nuclear-giant-EDF-seeks-business-in-Asia

October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees

IEEFA Brief: U.K. Government at Risk in Over-Budget Nuclear Project That Stands Incomplete, A Sensible ‘Plan B’ for Hinkley Point C Project in Somerset Would Avoid Extending Public Loan Guarantees   Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFAOct. 16, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — A research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis cautions the U.K. government against investing further in an unfinished nuclear project on the Bristol Channel in southwest England.

The brief — “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”— concludes that the Hinkley Point C plant, an over-budget and delayed 3,200 megawatt (MW) power project in Somerset, may never enter commercial operation.

Gerard Wynn, a London-based energy finance consultant and lead author of the brief, said problems surrounding the project reflect those affecting the nuclear electricity-generation industry broadly.

“The now-stumbling renaissance of nuclear power in Europe and the U.S. has been a story of delays and cost overruns, with a new generation of untested nuclear power designs proving much harder to build than anyone imagined and even the project developers admitting to high levels of risk,” Wynn said.

“European Pressurized Reactors are untested, and those under construction have been more expensive and take longer to build than expected,” Wynn said. “The history of recent nuclear projects makes it very likely, perhaps probable, that Hinkley will cost substantially more and take far longer to build than its advocates are claiming.”

THE BRIEF DRAWS PARALLELS BETWEEN HINKLEY AND COSTLY NUCLEAR PROJECTS that have faltered elsewhere, most recently in the U.S.

“The similarities between Hinkley, which is now finally under construction after years of delay, and other troubled European and U.S. projects, particularly the recently shelved V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, cannot be ignored,” the brief says. “Perhaps the most important similarity is in the question of what the project ultimately will cost.”

“Hinkley already is frequently described as the world’s most expensive power plant, with EDF estimating that the project will require £19.6 billion to build by the time it enters commercial operation, currently set for 2025. But others see higher costs, and any delays would inevitably lead to an increase in total costs. For example, the U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO), which advises on the use of public money, calculates that the public subsidy for the plant could top £30 billion, and says the government needs a Plan B.”

Wynn noted that rising costs “were the leading factor in the decision by SCANA Corporation and Santee Cooper, the two South Carolina utilities building the Summer facility, to cancel that project. Costs there soared from an originally estimated $11.5 billion to upward of $25 billion by the time the utilities said they would abandon the two unit, 2,200-MW project.”

Other parallels with struggling and failed projects in Europe and the U.S. include:

1. Untested technologies…….

2. Construction delays of five to nine years…….

3. Cost overruns ranging from 79 percent to 250 percent…..

4. Delays and cost overruns are causing technology vendors extreme financial distress…..

5. Internal turmoil indicates misgivings among those closest to the projects……

Full report here: “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”

Media contact: Karl Cates, kcates@ieefa.org917.439.8225

About IEEFA: The Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. http://ieefa.org/ieefa-brief-u-k-government-risk-budget-half-finished-nuclear-project-may-never-come-online/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Florida: PSC regulators say no to FPL nuclear fees without financial analysis

 Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Oct. 17, 2017 Without a required feasibility analysis to show that two new proposed nuclear reactors are a good deal for customers, Florida Power & Light Co. cannot collect costs incurred after 2016, the Florida Public Service Commission decided Tuesday.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Kobe Steel scandal and mismanagement is especially bad news for the nuclear industry

Kobe Steel Scandal Could Rattle Nuclear Industry http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Kobe-Steel-Scandal-Could-Rattle-Nuclear-Industry.html  

Kobe’s management admitted that its employees faked quality inspection reports on its steel and other metal products used domestically in automobiles, bullet trains and nuclear power stations. So far, corporate announcements have been vague, offering little clarity about the duration of the quality control lapses or, more important, the type of components involved.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.T) just announced that it replaced a Kobe-made piece of equipment, offering no other details. Kobe, however, is a major producer of nuclear power plants components. Even if quality control lapses did not extend to those operations, the onus may be on Kobe to prove its innocence.

 So what should we expect? If these QA/QC lapses began recently, it should have little or no effect on most of the nuclear assets in the United States. Most of them were built decades ago.

Plants under construction, however, or those recently completed are another matter. In the last period of nuclear new build in the U.S. (basically the 1970s), a relatively muscular Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took its safety responsibilities seriously, and woe to the builder that thought the rules excessive.

Unfortunately, a raging period of inflation only added to the nuclear builder’s troubles. Toward the end of the decade, the only appropriate choice for some would have been between cigarette or blindfold. Those safety requirements added to plant cost. And in an attitude that today would seem remarkable, that fact didn’t deter the NRC’s administrators.

If a nuclear power plant has to shut down due to concerns regarding the integrity of Kobe’s products, it’s needless to say it could get expensive. A typical 1,000 MW nuclear facility operating at full capacity can generate annual revenues of between $500 million and $1 billion.

Unlike a coal or natural gas fired power plant, shutting a nuclear plant down does little to reduce costs. Most nuclear costs are fixed, that is, they are spent before the thing is even turned on. Therefore, the plant’s owner will likely try to foist extraordinary expenses like these onto consumers (this is not possible in competitive markets). Or, power plant owners can stand on their rights and demand compensation from Kobe. While perhaps fruitful, it’s doubtful this process would be brief.

Thus, investors in nuclear power have reason for some near-term heightened sense of concern. Questions will be asked as to the provenance of equipment and components. Certain corporations especially under duress might adopt “truth on the installment plan” policies. All the negative news is eventually disclosed—but only after PR efforts downplay the likelihood of meaningful corporate impact.

What’s an investor to do? At this stage, with so little information available, we can’t judge whether Kobe’s latest news will make any financial difference to the nuclear industry.

But it underlines the need for trust and compliance throughout the manufacturing and operating process within the industry. And perhaps more standardization.

This is the second major QA/QC scandal involving a steel supplier of nuclear reactor components. Le Creusot Forge, now part of France’s Areva, was similarly accused of fabricating data for nuclear plant components.

We’re reminded here of the great bridge builder Roebling. When informed that his suppliers had short-changed him, he reportedly responded that he assumed they would—and designed accordingly.

Do today’s nuclear plant builders have the same dim view of human nature as Roebling? If not, the Kobe story should be regarded as serious until you hear otherwise.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

For Britain’s nuclear industry, Brexit changes everything – could be the death knell

Brexit Is a Game Changer for the British Nuclear Industry, Bloomberg, By, Jonathan Stearns and Nikos Chrysoloras, 

  • U.K. withdrawal from nuclear treaty mirrors EU-exit challenges
  • Going it alone signals higher costs for companies, taxpayers

To understand the implications of Brexit, it helps to go nuclear.

 Of all the international regulatory challenges created by the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, the atomic-energy industry may best encapsulate the decision’s bottom-line effect: more bureaucracy and costs for a country that has long fought to curb both within the EU.
 Untwining the U.K. from decades of centralized European supervision of nuclear material for civilian use mirrors the broader Brexit process. Each involves abandoning treaty-bound organizations, re-establishing links on less integrated terms and, in the meantime, creating uncertainty for everybody from executives to researchers.

“Brexit is a complete game changer for the nuclear industry in Britain, altering the regulatory environment, creating major complexity and leading the way to higher costs for businesses, the state and ultimately the British taxpayer,” said Simone Tagliapietra, a research fellow on energy at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. “It’s a huge, self-inflicted problem.”

 Brexit Microcosm

The EU’s nuclear framework is a microcosm of the Brexit hurdles because, like Europe’s single market and free-trade deals, it offers the U.K. benefits that the British government is keen to retain after the country withdraws from the 28-nation bloc in March 2019. Yet the act of leaving makes preserving those advantages difficult or even impossible.

With negotiations on the divorce terms stalled, numerous industries in Europe are stepping up calls for transitional arrangements that would maintain the status quo between the time of Brexit and the entry into force of any permanent agreements on future U.K.-EU ties.

While the EU’s national governments retain many of the policy powers associated with nuclear energy, the Euratom treaty creates a federal structure for some key elements. The centralized features include non-proliferation inspections, supply agreements with non-EU nations and research funding, all of which will fall on Britain to arrange for the first time in four decades.

When notifying its plan to withdraw from the EU, the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May also announced its intention to quit Euratom, which is governed by the bloc’s institutions. The move disappointed the U.K. nuclear industry, which had argued that post-Brexit Britain should stay in Euratom.

Risk of Disruption

Britain is a leading European nuclear nation, with 15 reactors accounting for about a fifth of domestic electricity production. The British atomic-energy industry employs more than 65,000 people and features companies ranging from plant operator EDF Energy and developer Horizon Nuclear Power — a unit of Hitachi Ltd. — to fuel producer Westinghouse Electric Co. and uranium enricher Urenco Ltd…….

The U.K., Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency are united under a single non-proliferation agreement. Under the three-party accord, Euratom helps carry out IAEA-mandated inspections on civil nuclear facilities in Britain to ensure that no material is diverted for atomic weapons.

In leaving Euratom, the U.K. will have to negotiate an inspection agreement of its own with the Vienna-based IAEA and beef up the national nuclear authority. Britain held an initial discussion with the IAEA on a new accord in September, according to the agency. The country also published draft legislation on Oct. 11 to create a domestic nuclear-safeguards system to replace provisions under Euratom.

Nuclear Accords

Post-Brexit Britain will also no longer be covered by cooperation accords that Euratom has with a range of non-EU countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the U.S. As a result, the U.K. will have to negotiate its own such deals, known as Nuclear Cooperation Agreements, or NCAs, including with the EU itself…….

The outlook for nuclear research in the U.K. is also hazy. As a member of the EU and host of a nuclear-fusion project known as Joint European Torus, the country sees 56 million euros ($66 million) a year directed from the Euratom research budget to the JET site in Oxfordshire where around 500 people are employed and about 350 scientists from Europe visit annually.

The funds for JET, which is a prototype for the world’s largest nuclear-fusion project called ITER in France, are part of a 1.6 billion-euro Euratom research budget for 2014-2018. Britain will have to negotiate access as of 2019 to this scientific network with the EU, which requires non-member countries participating in its research programs to make a financial contribution. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-15/brexit-takes-bureaucracy-to-the-atomic-level-for-u-k-industry

October 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Foratom, Europe’s nuclear trade body, wants a quick ‘Brexatom’ deal with UK

Europe’s nuclear trade body pushes for swift ‘Brexatom’ deal with UK, Telegraph,   11 OCTOBER 2017  

Europe’s nuclear trade body has said it sees no reason why the UK cannot quickly sign a nuclear deal with the EU after Brexit which mirrors agreements the bloc already holds with the US and Japan.

Foratom, which is based in Brussels and represents nearly 800 nuclear firms across the EU, said it “absolutely” wanted to maintain close links with the British nuclear industry, even after its departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

The government’s announcement that Britain will leave Euratom – a process dubbed “Brexatom” – is controversial, as it would force the country to establish its own nuclear safeguards regime and sign complex nuclear co-operation agreements with trading partners.But Berta Picamal, a member of Foratom’s executive office, said it was eager to set up a partnership that was “as close as possible” to the current regime as it would be mutually beneficial.

“It is in our interests to put in a regime as soon as possible that is as close as possible to the one we have,” she told the Telegraph.

“We are now analysing nuclear cooperation agreements that we have with third countries to see to which extent we can replicate what we have with the US or Japan with the UK.”

She added: “We do not foresee this not being solved, it’s not an option. Theresa May said she would cooperate on continued research and development projects. It’s key.”

Founded in 1957, the Euratom treaty oversees the international movement of nuclear materials, people and services through a framework which governs safety standards and research.

Though technically not part of the EU, Euratom is under the ultimate jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and requires the free movement of nuclear scientists between EU member states.

Both of these requirements are red lines for the British government, which has vowed to end free movement and direct jurisdiction of the EU over UK laws after Brexit.

Ms Picamal said it was crucial that any future deal guaranteed EU nuclear scientists access to European nuclear projects with facilities in the UK, such as the the Joint European Torus (JET) project in Culham, Oxfordshire……….http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/11/europes-nuclear-trade-body-pushes-swift-brexatom-deal-uk/

October 13, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Still more delay in Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant

French-backed Finnish nuclear plant delayed again https://www.ft.com/content/99922334-acc8-11e7-aab9-abaa44b1e130  High-profile power station likely to start production more than a decade late 
OCTOBER 9, 2017 by Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent A high-profile French-backed nuclear power plant in Finland has been delayed yet again, meaning it is likely to start production more than a decade late. Western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for more than two decades will now start production in May 2019 rather than at the end of 2018 as previously announced, according to the Finnish consortium behind the Olkiluoto-3 plant.

Using a similar European pressurised reactor to the one envisaged for the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point plant, the Finnish project — led by French reactor manufacturer Areva — has been regularly beset by delays and huge cost overruns. Olkiluoto-3 was originally meant to start production in spring 2009 and cost €3.2bn but the last price estimate was almost three times as high. “We are very disappointed by this additional delay. There is still substantial work to be accomplished in the project and it is essential that all the necessary technical, human and financial resources are allocated to the project,” said Jouni Silvennoinen, head of the Olkiluoto-3 project at operator TVO.

TVO is particularly concerned about the reorganisation of the French nuclear industry under which utility EDF has taken over the lead role for the development of Hinkley Point. The Finnish nuclear plant operator is worried that France will prioritise another much-delayed project locally in Flamanville over Olkiluoto. “The restructuring of the French nuclear industry must not compromise [that enough resources be directed to Olkiluoto],” Mr Silvennoinen said. TVO took the unusual step last month of complaining to the European Commission that French state aid for Areva was not enough.

Areva, along with its one-time partner Siemens, and TVO have sued each other for billions of euros in a long-running arbitration dispute. The International Chamber of Commerce tribunal made a partial award in TVO’s favour last year but did not specify how much the Finnish group might receive.
The most recent delay is only the latest in a series of problems behind nearly all new nuclear reactors being built in western Europe. Operators complain about a lack of expertise after few reactors were built following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Another Finnish project, Fennovoima, took the decision to go for Russian nuclear technology as manufacturer Rosatom has continued building power plants. But Fennovoima was forced this year to admit a delay of a year in obtaining its construction licence, an embarrassing setback for a project that had touted its ability to learn from the problems at Olkiluoto-3.
Flamanville is running at least six years late and three times over its original budget while Hinkley Point is under scrutiny both for its elevated and rising cost of £20bn and a guaranteed price for electricity that is well above the current wholesale level. TVO said Areva-Siemens had told it the first connection to the grid at Olkiluoto-3 would take place in December 2018 with the start of regular production forecast for May 2019.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Russia enthusiastic at the idea of selling nuclear technology to the Algerian nation

Russia Ready to Offer Nuclear Technologies to AlgeriaRussian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia is ready to offer Algeria its technologies and technical solutions if a decision is made to establish a national nuclear industry as well as to develop cooperation in other spheres.MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is ready to offer Algeria its technologies and technical solutions if a decision is made to establish a national nuclear industry, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Algerian news agency APS ahead of his visit to the country.

Russia is already preparing nuclear industry specialists for Algeria, the prime minister noted.

“At the same time, we are willing to discuss clean energy projects, namely wind and solar farms,” Medvedev added….. https://sputniknews.com/africa/201710091058060153-russia-offer-nuclear-algeria/

October 11, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia | 1 Comment

UK unions, formerly opponents of nuclear power, are now slow to understand the increasing role of renewable energy

Dave Elliott’s Blog 5th Oct 2017, The UK Trade Unions currently mostly back nuclear power.

In 2016, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady noted that the Hinkley project ‘will
be the largest construction project in the UK, creating 25,000 high-quality
jobs and 500 apprenticeships’.

It wasn’t always like this. In 1986, in
the wake of Chernobyl, the TUC backed a nuclear ‘moratorium and review’
policy. In the same year, the Labour Party had confirmed its 1985 anti
(civil) nuclear power stance, with a two thirds majority for phasing it
out.

The then quite dominant Transport and General Workers Union said it
was ‘clear and unambiguous in its position on nuclear power. We support a
halt to nuclear expansion and a safe and planned phase out of nuclear power
in this country.’

So what has changed? Well it’s taken nearly 30 years,
but renewables are now big (25%) growing, and creating jobs- with nearly
126,000 people employed in the UK renewable energy industry in 2017
according to the REA.

However, the unions still seem unsure, and some have
taken to recycling dubious statistics and arguments to try to undermine the
case for renewables. At its 2016 annual Congress the GMB Union’s National
Secretary, Justin Bowden, noted that‘over the last 12 months there were
46 days when wind was supplying 10% or less of the installed and connected
wind capacity to the grid’ and insisted that ‘until there is a
scientific breakthrough on carbon capture or solar storage, then nuclear
and gas are the only reliable shows in town which those advocating a
renewable energy-only policy have to accept.”

This doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. For over half of those 46 low-wind days
i.e. outside of winter, and for most of the nights, overall energy demand
would have been low, so a low wind input would not matter. When it did,
existing gas plants would have ramped up a bit more to provide the extra
energy needed e.g. as they do any way to meet daily peaks. As more
renewables come off the grid, other balancing measures can also be used, so
there is not really a problem. But inflexible base-load nuclear plants are
no use for this – they can’t vary output regularly, quickly and safely.
They just get in the way of the flexible supply and demand approach that is
needed.

http://delliott6.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/trade-unions-and-nuclear-power.html

October 9, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017

Small modular reactors won’t be able to compete with natural gas plants combined with renewables unless and until they get enough orders to justify building factories to manufacture them in a mass production environment.

Holtec Opens SMR Manufacturing Center in New Jersey

In September Holtec announced the grand opening of a $360M, 50 acre SMR manufacturing center in Camden, N.J. The firm was incentivized by the State of New Jersey to locate there with $260M in tax breaks.  According to Holtec the Camden plant will eventually employ up to 1,000 people……….

Dr. Singh, Holtec’s President and CEO, declared the factory to be “Ground Zero” for the renaissance of nuclear energy and heavy manufacturing in America.

“It will serve as the launching pad for the regeneration of manufacturing in the United States.”

He added, “We will build nuclear reactors here, and they will sail from the port of Camden to hundreds of places around the world.”

Is Holtec Headed for Ukraine to Manufacture SMRs for Europe & Asia?

The maturing of an American supply chain to support mass production of components for SMRs might develop, but not all of it may be in the U.S. Holtec International, is reportedto be in talks about planning to arrange the production of small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and for export to Europe and Asia.

The Interfax wire service report, which was not confirmed by Holtec, comes on the heels of the firm’s grand opening of a $360M nuclear energy component manufacturing center in Camden, NJ. It is the second report in three months providing details of Holtec International’s discussions with Energoatom. However, a spokesperson for Holtec declined to comment on these discussions as reported by Interfax.

The Intefax report quotes Energoatom National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine President Yuriy Nedashkovsky who said,

“There is a very interesting offer made by Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko  – to create a hub in Ukraine, distributing small modular reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the localization of production and a large number of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.”

According to Nedashkovsky, Ukraine’s Turboatom has already been involved in the project, as it has the required turbines in its production line.

“This project has already been developed conceptually. The launch of licensing procedures (in the U.S.) is expected next year, and an active phase of construction – approximately in 2023.”  Nedashkovsky added.

Talking of the long-term prospects, Nedashkovsky noted that the demand for small modular reactors after 2025 was estimated to grow over time.

Is the Ukraine SMR Story Ahead of Holtec’s Headlights?

What’s unclear is whether Nedashkovsky was speaking off-the-top-of-his-head, commenting officially on behalf of Holtec International, Continue reading

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese opposition party will phase out nuclear power – Japan nuclear stocks down

Japan nuclear stocks down on opposition party’s phase-out plans, https://www.ft.com/content/1d201ea0-a9a9-3ead-b6e5-b430b59ccedc by Edward White Japanese nuclear power companies were losing ground on Friday after the opposition party affirmed its intention to phase out nuclear energy by 2030. Kansai Electric was the biggest loser, down 1.1 per cent, followed by Tokyo Electric, which was down 0.8 per cent. Kyushu Electric and Chugoku Electric Power lost 0.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

That saw that utilities segment drop 0.6 per cent, dragging on the broader Topix index which was up 0.2 per cent in morning trading. Those same stocks had fallen around 5 per cent in late September in response to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, whose Party of Hope will challenge prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming snap election, declaring her support for phasing out nuclear energy by 2030.

That anti-nuclear policy was listed as part of a campaign platform released on Friday by the Party of Hope. Fifty nuclear reactors were shut down in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Despite public concern, Japan’s nuclear safety watchdog on Wednesday issued an initial approval to restart two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear generating site.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Westinghouse “committed” to developing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) BUT CAN THEY GET THE FUNDING?

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017  “…….Westinghouse Says It Remains Committed To UK SMR Development

(NucNet) Westinghouse Electric Company said last week it remains committed to developing a 225-MW small modular reactor (SMR) that the company believes will allow the UK to move from buyer to global provider of SMR technology.

The company said in a statement that more than 85% of its SMR’s design, license and procurement scope can be delivered by the UK. The fuel would be manufactured at its Springfields facility in northern England.

“This is a special offering that only Westinghouse, with UK partners, can deliver,” the statement said.

Media reports in the UK have suggested that ministers are ready to approve the development of a fleet of SMRs to help guard against electricity shortages as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned………

Westinghouse said it filed for bankruptcy protection in the US to protect its core businesses and give the company time to restructure for continuing operation.

It remains unclear where the company will get the capital to pay for development of the SMR, complete a Generic Design Review in the UK, and build a manufacturing center there to produce the reactors. https://neutronbytes.com/2017/10/04/smr-supply-chains-costs-are-focus-of-key-developments/

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, USA | Leave a comment