The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation approves nuclear power plans for Wylfa, Anglesey. Now where’s the funding?

Plans for major nuclear power station in Wales win green light, Office for Nuclear Regulation approves design for new reactor at Horizon Nuclear Power’s plant at Wylfa, Anglesey, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 13 Dec 17Plans for a major new nuclear power station in Wales have taken a crucial step forward as UK regulators approved the project.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and two other government bodies gave the green light on Thursday for the Japanese reactor design for Horizon Nuclear Power’s plant at Wylfa, marking the end of a five-year regulatory process……

Attention will now turn to financing the Hitachi-backed project on the island of Anglesey, which was the site of Britain’s oldest nuclear plant until it closed two years ago.

During a visit by UK ministers to Japan last December, it emerged that London and Tokyo were considering public financing for Wylfa. This would be a significant break with the UK government’s previous approach.

Hitachi has already spent £2bn on development. Last week the consortium said it needed a financial support package by mid-2018 or it could stop funding development.

Japan’s Toshiba has bowed out of the race to build nuclear plants in the UK, confirming last week that a South Korean nuclear firm had been chosen to buy its venture to build a plant in Cumbria.



December 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

British parliamentarians worried that the UK nuclear industry will suffer as Britain leaves Euratom, in Brexit move

Independent 13th Dec 2017, Britain should retain as a close as possible a relationship with the European civil nuclear regulator after Brexit, a Commons committee has demanded ahead of a crucial vote on the issue. MPs on the committee warn that the impacts of leaving Euratom will be “profound”, putting the UK in a much weaker position to drive regulatory standards at a European level.

“We conclude that the Government should seek to retain as close as possible a relationship with Euratom, and that this should include accepting its delivery of existing safeguards requirements in the UK,” the report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee states.

The committee’s report comes as more than 100 MPs signed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, dealing with the
Government’s intention to leave Euratom after Brexit. They want the Prime Minister to guarantee protections for the nuclear industry.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Wikileaks ruled by UK tribunal to be a media organisation

Julian Assange welcomes UK ruling that WikiLeaks is a media organisation, WikiLeaks founder welcomes ruling by UK tribunal. IBT ,By Jason Murdock, December 14, 2017  WikiLeaks has been recognised as a “media organisation” by a UK tribunal in a ruling that flies in the face of claims by US officials who have branded it a “hostile intelligence agency”.

The anti-secrecy website – helmed by Julian Assange – has faced the ire of CIA director Mike Pompeo, who has compared its work to Hezbollah, Isis and al-Qaeda. Over the years, WikiLeaks has disclosed countless documents pilfered from the US government……….

The tribunal, in a section detailing the public interest for disclosing any withheld information, described Assange as “the only media publisher and free speech advocate in the Western world who is in a situation that a UN body has characterised as arbitrary detention”.

It added: “The circumstances of his case arguably raise issues about human rights and press freedom, which are the subject of legitimate public debate.”….

December 16, 2017 Posted by | UK, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Britain’s plans to become a leader in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

The government has announced up to £56m in funding for the development of
mini-nuclear plants. The money will be available over the next three years
to assess the potential of designs of advanced and small modular reactors
(SMRs). It will also support early access to regulators in order to build
the capability and capacity needed to assess and licence SMRs and will
establish an expert finance group to advise how small reactor projects
could raise private investment in the UK. The first round of funding
comprises up to £4m for feasibility studies and up to £7m to further
develop their capability. Should these efforts prove successful, up to
£40m will be made available for R&D projects to bring the technology into
the mainstream. The government said it wanted the UK to become a world
leader in developing the next generation of nuclear technologies.

Engineering & Technology 8th Dec 2017

December 11, 2017 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Horizon nuclear venture wants direct tax-payer funding for its Wylfa nuclear station project

Times 8th Dec 2017. Hitachi could stop funding the development of a new nuclear plant on
Anglesey unless the government agrees a viable financial support package by
the middle of next year, the head of the project has warned.

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of the Horizon venture, said that its Japanese
owners had already spent £2 billion and would not keep “throwing a
bottomless pit of cash at a project without some certainty it can get to a
successful conclusion”.

Horizon is in talks with the UK and Japanese governments about possible direct state funding for its proposed plant at
Wylfa Newydd. Ministers appeared yesterday to move closer to agreeing
direct funding as the Nuclear Industry Council, a joint industry-government
body that is co-chaired by Richard Harrington, the energy minister,
recommended looking at models including the government taking an equity
stake in projects.

The National Audit Office has said that such models
could significantly reduce the cost to consumers compared with Hinkley
Point C, Britain’s first new plant in a generation. In further nuclear
industry developments yesterday The Nuclear Industry Council set targets
for reducing the costs to consumers of nuclear plants by up to 30 per cent
by 2030. The head of the Nugen venture developing reactors in Cumbria said
that its proposed acquisition from Toshiba by South Korea’s Kepco, which
plans to use its own reactor design, could delay its first power until

The government announced a fresh review into ways of financing small
nuclear reactors, and £4 million funding for feasibility studies into
other early-stage technologies. Mr Hawthorne acknowledged that the
government as a whole was yet to be convinced on the idea of direct
financing, with the Treasury concerned about anything that would put a
plant on its balance sheet, but said time was running out. He told The
Times: “We have been saying we need to have some confidence that the basis
of a transaction exists and we need to see some documentary evidence of
that. By the middle of 2018, we need to have something tangible to show to
our shareholders that allows them to keep funding.”

December 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on Small Modular Nuclear Reactors as UK govt ploughs money into them , despite financial risks

Telegraph 7th Dec 2017, Ministers are poised to plough almost £150m into developing new nuclear
technologies even after the Government’s own investigation revealed deep
uncertainties about the economics of next generation reactors.

The Government’s plan to reboot its stalled nuclear ambitions by investing in
research and development has been mired by indecision and delay since it
promised in 2015 to provide £250m to help developers find new, cheaper
ways to invest in the low-carbon power.

Government provoked furtherconfusion today after issuing a flurry of funding announcements for small
modular reactors, known as ‘baby nukes’, alongside findings that they may
prove even more expensive than traditional nuclear plants.

The new reactors, being developed by industrial giants including Rolls Royce and
NuScale, will face another round of financial scrutiny by industry experts,
the Government said. But in the meantime as much as £460m has been
promised for new nuclear research and development by the end of the decade.

The money will come from the Government, Innovate UK, and the Research
Councils, a Government spokeswoman said. The research funding windfall
includes £86m to develop nuclear fusion technology and a further £56m
towards research and development of next generation nuclear reactors.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | 1 Comment

Electricity from Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) would be much more expensive than from ‘conventional’ reactors

Power from mini nuclear plants ‘would cost more than from large ones’
UK government study finds electricity would be nearly one-third pricier than it would from plants such as Hinkley Point C, 
Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 7 Dec 17, Electricity from the first mini nuclear power stations in Britain would be likely to be more expensive than from large atomic plants such as Hinkley Point C, according to a government study.

Power from small modular reactors (SMRs) would cost nearly one-third more than conventional large ones in 2031, the report found, because of reduced economies of scale and the costs of deploying first-of-a-kind technology.

The analysis by the consultancy Atkins for the Department for Business, Energyand Industrial Strategy said there was “a great deal of uncertainty with regards to the economics” of the smaller reactors.

However, the authors said such reactors should be able to cut costs more quickly than large ones because they could be built and put into service in less time.

Advocates have argued that the reactors could be built in factories and achieve savings through their modular nature.

While the report covers the technology being used by several of the international companies seeking government support, it does not apply to the design being pushed by businesses including Rolls-Royce.

A government source said nuclear companies had told officials that the cost of the technology had come down since the report, which was finished in July last year but only published on Thursday.

As revealed by the Guardian earlier this week, ministers confirmed that SMR developers would receive £56m of public funding for research and development over three years. A further £86m was announced for work on nuclear fusion.

Greg Clark, the business secretary, said the backing would help the nuclear sector compete globally………

The government also defended Britain’s need for new nuclear power in the face of falling renewable costs.

Richard Harrington, the energy minister, said the record low subsidies recently awarded to offshore windfarms emphasised the challenge for the French, Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies building the UK’s new generation of nuclear plants to be competitive on price………

green groups and politicians accused the government of talking down renewables.

Doug Parr, the policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Instead of downplaying the rapid advancement of UK renewables, the government should concentrate on the export opportunities for this UK success story.”

Caroline Lucas, the Green party co-leader, called the UK’s energy policy a mess. “Ministers are ploughing huge sums of money into supporting overpriced nuclear, while retaining a de facto ban on onshore wind and failing to give solar the support the sector needs,” she said…….

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors not economically viable, but UK govt is funding them anyway

UK government to release funding for mini nuclear power stations
Up to £100m expected to be announced in effort to make UK leader in technology and provide fresh source of clean power,
Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 4 Dec 17, The energy minister, Richard Harrington, is expected to announce support for the embryonic technology on Thursday, industry figures told the Guardian. The funding is likely to be up to £100m, one source said.

Small modular reactors provide about a tenth of the power of a conventional large nuclear power station, such as the one EDF is building at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. But their backers pitch them as a cheaper and quicker way to generate the new, low-carbon power the UK needs.

 Rolls-Royce has been publicly and privately lobbying the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over its SMR design, which it positions as an industrial opportunity for Britain that would generate thousands of UK jobs.

The firm argues that with electric cars likely to drive up future energy demand, the reactors will become a vital part of national infrastructure………

The funding is designed to help Rolls and other consortia, including the US companies NuScale and Terrapower and the controversial Chinese firm CNNC, undertake the research and development for a small nuclear power station to be built in the UK. It is not yet clear who will win a share of public funds, or how the pot will be carved up between the 33 participants in the SMR competition.

Government officials have repeatedly made it clear that developers will only get financial help if they can prove their SMR will be affordable and competitive with rival energy sources. The earliest an SMR is thought likely to be ready for deployment in the UK is around 2030………

The former energy secretary Lord Howell gave his backing to the reactors at a recent House of Lords event, where advocates and critics debated the technology.

“The obvious way forward is through the sequential construction of a new series of smaller modular reactors of the kind now being developed by Rolls-Royce in the UK, and also in China and in America,” said Howell.

However, energy experts said the case for SMRs was far from proved, especially given the falling cost of alternatives such as offshore windfarms………….

Paul Dorfman, a research fellow at University College London, said: “The real question the government must ask is this: given the ongoing steep reduction in all renewable energy costs, and since SMR research and development is still very much ongoing, by the time SMRs comes to market, can they ever be cost competitive with renewable energy? The simple answer to that is a resounding no.”

An energy industry source also questioned how credible most of the SMR developers were. “Almost none of them have got more than a back of a fag packet design drawn with a felt tip,” the source said……..

December 4, 2017 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to save UK’s troubled Moorside nuclear power plan?

Koreans save Cumbria’s Moorside nuclear plant,  , energy editor 2 DECEMBER 2017

The nuclear industry will clinch a multi-billion pound lifeline from South Korea this week alongside a government rescue deal.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) is expected to say it will join the beleaguered consortium behind Europe’s largest new nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria to help prop up the £15bn project. The early agreement will kick-start the process of securing final approvals from nuclear regulators and company bosses before a final decision is made early next year.

The Nugeneration consortium was plunged into chaos this summer as Toshiba, the project’s lead developer, faced financial ruin due to its troubled Westinghouse nuclear business which had planned to build the Moorside reactor. It was then left scrambling to find new project partners as French energy giant Engie abandoned Nugen after Westinghouse crashed into bankruptcy proceedings in the US.

Alongside the injection of Korean capital into the UK, Business Secretary Greg Clark is expected to underline government support for the sector in a flurry of pledges. Industry sources said it would be the Government’s “most ambitious and complex sector deal” undertaken to date.
The lifeline comes shortly after Mr Clark held talks with South Korea’s trade minister last month in which the pair signed a memorandum to strengthen plans to collaborate on new nuclear projects. The agreement was kept under wraps ahead of this week’s package of policies which will form the building blocks of a landmark sector deal for the industry in 2018.
There is likely to be “significant funding” to rescue Britain’s world-leading Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, which many feared would be forced to close in the wake of Brexit. Government will also break its silence over plans to develop small-modular nuclear reactors, or “mini-nukes”. Ministers hope the package of support measures could help reduce nuclear construction costs by between 20pc and 30pc, while cutting the cost of decommissioning by a fifth.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK: Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit calls for windfarms: wind energy now cheapest form of electricity

No new onshore wind projects have been given contracts in the UK since a
change of government in 2015. The few still being built were awarded
contracts beforehand.

Now, an independent think tank — the Energy and
Climate Intelligence Unit — is arguing that construction of new onshore
wind farms could save electricity consumers as much as £1.5 billion
(€1.7 billion/$2 billion) over five years. Onshore wind is now the
cheapest form of electricity generation and can deliver savings even when
taking into account the costs associated with managing variability.

The report notes that a Spanish auction in May 2017 delivered onshore wind at
€43/MWh ($51/MWh) and suggests that around 1GW in the UK could be
delivered by the 15-year contracts for difference (CfD) currently used at
£49.40/MWh ($65/MWh) or less.

This is lower than the current estimate for new gas-fired generation of £66/MWh ($87/MWh). Assuming an average load
factor of 0.31 for onshore wind in the UK, 1GW would deliver 2.7TWh of

The report estimates the costs of delivering 2.7TWh by other means,
including the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a recently-contracted
biomass project, offshore wind, combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and
small modular reactors (SMR). The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit
report compares the annual generation costs from these sources.

They rangefrom £166 million in the case of onshore wind and £198 million for
offshore wind, to £271 million for Hinkley Point and £308 million in the
case of the biomass plant. The estimates for wind include an allowance for
an “integration cost” of £10/MWh ($13/MWh). This covers the costs of the
measures needed to cope with variability.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Underground bunkers – a promising marketing opportunity for South Korean and UK businessmen

Bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch nuclear attack’ to help sell new ‘high street bunkers’  Mirror UK, 30 Nov 17    British bunker experts have been working alongside a Korean company on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war A bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch a nuclear attack’ to help sell ‘high street bunkers’.

The bunkers have been built to withstand a nuclear attack, by Kim Jong-un are now being sold on Seoul’s high street.

 British bunker experts Castellex have been working alongside the Korean company Chumdan Bunker System on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war.

A ‘bunker showroom’ has now been opened in downtown Seoul, in the same shopping area where people are buying clothes and cosmetics.   CBS owner Go Wan Hyeok says that demand from ‘petrified’ locals for affordable bunkers led him to set up in the busy retail district of Jangan-Dong – and wants to branch out to Europe and the UK within five years.

He said: “I’m wishing that he presses the button and shoots the bomb! 

“I think more people will be selling bunkers on the high street in the next five years but I’m the first in the world. I want to then open up showrooms in Europe and my friends in the UK.”……

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Looks as if UK nuclear power is coming to the end of the line

Is This The End Of Nuclear Power In The UK?, 

First, let’s put the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in context. The UK government first announced its nuclear power expansion program in 2006. The plan was to build five new nuclear generating stations, producing 16 GWs, to be on-line by 2030. The units planned are at Sizewell, Wylfa, Moorside, Oldbury and Hinkley.

At the time the government cited two concerns with respect to the adequacy of national electric power generation. First, that “security of supply (was) jeopardized” and second, that by 2025 there would be a need to replace aging coal-fired and nuclear power generating plants. The ensuing decade was not kind to the assumptions of UK energy planners.

The price of both renewables and natural gas dropped significantly. License extensions could keep most existing nuclear power stations running. And demand for power has fallen below expectations due to moderating economic trends and the dampening impact of conservation measures.

From a UK power generation perspective, the big winners in recent years have been natural gas and renewables. Coal burn has dropped drastically and nuclear has remained stable.

On a price competition basis, the future looks like a race to the bottom between natural gas and the ever-declining costs of wind and solar technology. On a cost basis, the Hinkley guarantee of £92.50 per MWh looks rather steep compared with the £57.50 recent price for off-shore wind.

We can already hear the harrumphing from the pro nuclear contingent. But this to us is the problem of making commercial nuclear technology the Zelig of the energy world. In a world eager for low carbon, base load capacity, nuclear has attempted to re-brand itself as the low carbon option. But in countries facing stagnant or declining electrical demand, the need for new, non-intermittent base load power generating resources is diminishing as well.

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And the other low carbon generating resources, renewables, intermittent though they may be, are now much cheaper than new nuclear construction (£57.50 vs £92.50).

At another level, electricity is a commodity. A commodity that we can’t store, but still. And in a commodity business, where the product is wholly undifferentiated, price is the only consideration. Taken in this context, new nuclear is a non-starter.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

South Korea looks for a stake in building UK’s Moorside Nuclear Power Station

Carlisle News and Star 30th Nov 2017, The British and Korean governments have agreed to greater collaboration onnuclear developments, fuelling speculation that a Korean company is about
to invest in West Cumbria’s Moorside power station.

Greg Clark, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, and Paik
Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, signed a
Memorandum of Understanding on Monday in London. It promises greater
collaboration in both the construction and decommissioning of nuclear power

The signing appears to have only been reported by World Nuclear
News and Business Korea websites. State-run Korea Electric Power
Corporation (Kepco) has revealed it is in “working-level” talks to buy
a stake in NuGen – which plans to build three new reactions in West
Cumbria to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.

Toshiba, NuGen’s current owner, has been exploring a range of options to fund the
project after its then subsidiary Westinghouse Electric – due to supply
three AP1000 reactors to Moorside – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the US having overpaid by several billion dollars for another
nuclear construction and services business….

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Planned new nuclear power station for Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, meets with opposition

Design for planned nuclear power plant in Essex unveiled Designs for a new nuclear power station close to the site of a former plant in Essex have been revealed. BBC, 17 Nov 17 The reactor and buildings – designed by EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN) – could be built at Bradwell-on-Sea.

Planners are now set to consider environmental and safety issues, but any full approval for the site is expected to take at least four years.

It could power up to one million homes but campaigners oppose it on “health, environment and safety” grounds.

The design for the new “Bradwell B” reactor has passed the first step of a four-step process, and will be assessed by UK nuclear regulators.

But the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group has warned about “the risks and dangers of radioactivity” posed by its construction and operation…….

November 17, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Ministry of Defence blocks reports on nuclear issues, as £1.3 billion spend-up on Trident begins

Ekklesia 16th Nov 2017, The Ministry of Defence has begun spending £1.3 billion as part of plans
for 14 major new developments at the Trident nuclear bases on the Clyde in
Scotland. Details released under the Freedom of Information act show MoD
plans to complete a ‘nuclear infrastructure’ project at Faslane by 2027,
and at Coulport by 2030.

The total cost of replacing Trident, estimated to
be at least £205 billion including maintenance costs, looks set to rise,
while fears are also growing about the safety of Trident. The body which
monitors nuclear safety – the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator – has
recently been censored by the Ministry of Defence.

For the past 10 years the regulator has published annual reports exploring issues including staff
shortages at nuclear sites and nuclear accidents. However, reports for 2015
and 2016 have been blocked by the MoD. Retired MoD nuclear expert, Fred
Dawson, was quoted in the Sunday Herald saying, “The obvious conclusion
to draw is that there is something to hide.”

November 17, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment