Sellafield is looking for expertsSellafield Limited is currently engaged in a search for specialist suppliers who would be able to assist with the clean-up and decommissioning work at the UK’s historic nuclear site in Cumbria. The work will cover a 10 year period and is currently valued at £1.5 billion. The consortia chosen will work collaboratively with Sellafield Ltd. There is no guaranteed work or committed expenditure, but Sellafield believes that the rewards for chosen suppliers could be substantial. A European call for tender will be launched by the end of the year and suppliers will be selected in 2015.
Enerpresse | 2014, July 03rd
UK nuclear programme gains momentumPlans to build a new British nuclear power station in West Cumbria are moving forward with the announcement by Japan’s Toshiba and France’s GDF Suez that construction of the facility, through their joint venture NuGen, would begin in 2020, with the goal of having the first reactor operating in 2024. The £10 billion reactors will create up to 21,000 jobs and produce 7% of all UK electricity, in what is expected to be Europe’s largest nuclear station. The reactors will use the Westinghouse AP1000 technology.
The Times | 2014, July 01st
ITER prepares for fusionAssystem is among the companies participating in the completion of one of the largest project currently taking place in France, the ITER experimental fusion reactor. Together with Egis Industries, Empresarios Agrupados and Atkins, the Group is part of the ENGAGE European consortium, in charge of architect engineering for the ITER facility. The delivery of the buildings is scheduled for 2016.
Le Moniteur des Travaux Publics et du Bâtiment | 2014, June 27th
Sellafield makes British nuclear waste bill rocketThe bill for cleaning up Britain’s nuclear waste has topped £110 billion after a £6.6 billion increase in the cost estimate for work required over the next 120 years. The biggest increase derived from a fresh assessment of the work required at Sellafield, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said. Sellafield is now estimated to cost £79.1 billion but the NDA warned that the total would “increase significantly next year” once it had fully assessed a new “performance plan”.
The Daily Telegraph | 2014, June 24th
French Ecology Minister demands review of alternatives to CigeoFrench Ecology Minister Segolene Royal declared that she favoured a review of alternatives before the Cigeo project of deep repository was finally approved. “What I believe is that we have not fully examined all the technological alternatives”, she said. She notably mentioned subsurface nuclear storage, which she said has not been fully considered yet.
Libération | 2014, June 24th
French energy transition bill avoids nuclear controversyOn 18 June, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal presented an eagerly-anticipated energy transition bill. The bill aims to enshrine presidential ambitions and meet the European objective of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990's level. In 2030, nuclear generating capacity will be cut from 75% to 50% of France's total output by 2025, but Ms Royal did not say how.
La Tribune, Les Echos, The Wall Street Journal | 2014, June 19th
Contracts Between China and the UKAs Li Keqiang, China’s Prime minister, was on an official visit in the UK, the two countries signed contracts worth £14 billion (€17.5 billion). British Petroleum will notably supply China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) with natural gas for £12 billion and over 20 years.
Daily Telegraph | 2014, June 18th
Nuclear Could Become Less Competitive Than Renewable EnergiesAccording to a study released by Greenpeace this Thursday, renewable energies, such as wind power and solar energy, could become more competitive than nuclear energies. Costs of production could rise significantly if the nuclear power stations had to comply with the new security rules applied to the new EPR reactor.
La Tribune | 2014, June 13th
Deputies ask State to take charge of nuclear sectorOn 10 June, a parliamentary inquiry committee presented its report on the costs of the nuclear sector. Two main recommendations emerged: the State must take back the control over the sector and not leave EDF in charge on its own, and it must also clear uncertainties on the life expectancy of the 58 French nuclear plants as well as on the funding of the sector.
Les Echos | 2014, June 11th
Germany considers shale gasGermany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year. Applications to carry out the process for extracting the country’s estimated 1.3 billion cubic metres shale gas reserves will be subject to an environmental impact assessment under new legislation to be discussed by the cabinet before the summer break. Just like in France, the German industry is pressuring the government, arguing that shale gas will boost competitiveness, notably with US rivals.
Les Echos | 2014, June 05th
IEA sounds the alarm for the world’s energy needsEnormous amounts of capital investment will be needed to supply the world’s energy needs through 2035, according to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA). A total of $40 trillion would go to developing and maintaining energy supplies, with another $8 trillion being spent on energy efficiency, the organisation said, warning that even that amount of investment would not eliminate many of the issues the industry faces.
International New York Times | 2014, June 03rd
Green energies in EuropeRenewable energies in Europe represent 28% of the electricity mix, becoming the first source of electricity. There are 200 GW of installed capacity with 120 GW in wind power and 80 GW in solar energy. Gas power plants have become unprofitable, raising a problem for France in case of peak periods. Meanwhile, between 2012 and 2013, gas prices increased by 37%. Unlike to the US and Japan, the consumption of energy in Europe has decreased.
Les Echos | 2014, May 28th
ONR independency questionedThe UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is receiving technical advice from several of the very companies that it is supposed to be monitoring, including the US engineering conglomerate Jacobs and the FTSE 100 stalwart Amec, leading to accusations of conflict of interest. In early April for example ONR handed Jacobs a five-year deal to help the watchdog in areas like assessing external hazards and decontamination in relation to its work on existing nuclear sites and future reactor designs.
The Independent | 2014, May 27th
Nuclear future is in smallSmall nuclear reactors may be the future of the industry. The head of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has voiced hopes that small nuclear reactors could boost the market. However, more investments are needed. In France, Areva and EDF have set up a consortium to develop the technology but the market today is still a niche, with lingering questions as to both the profitability of such devices and the regulatory framework. In the US, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is one of the enthusiastic supporters of such technologies. He believes they could bring affordable electricity and help fight climate change. France and the US could in fact conduct life-size tests on small reactors but with larger reactors being extended, they still lack the real incentive to do so.
Die Welt | 2014, April 23rd
Energy disputeA factional dispute over energy is brewing in the FDP. Deputy party chairman Wolfgang Kubicki would rather fill energy supply gaps with nuclear power than with lignite. “If we aren’t to manage the energy transition by 2020, we’ll have to see where the electricity is to come from”, said Mr Kubicki. Party leader Christian Lindner had said at the beginning of the month that nuclear power shouldn’t be used to compensate shortages, arguing instead for conventional power plants, especially coal-burning ones. Network expansion over the next two years is central to Mr Kubicki’s conception of a successful energy transition. However, wherever power lines were to be built, like in Bavaria, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, citizens’ initiatives have opposed them.
Frankfurter Rundschau | 2014, April 23rd
Britain’s nuclear dump under threat of rising seasBritain’s Drigg low-level waste repository (LLWR) near Sellafield is almost certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, says the Environment Agency (EA). The report comes as EA officials are considering a plan by the companies that run Drigg to dispose of a further 800,000 cubic metres of waste there over the next 100 years. Erosion from storms and rising sea levels caused by climate change has “emerged as the expected evolution scenario” for Drigg, it says.
The Guardian | 2014, April 21st
ASN wants to extend its powersThe French Safety Authority (ASN) 2013 annual report on nuclear safety and radiation protection in France noted that the country’s situation was “quite satisfactory on the whole”. The ASN report however issued concerns regarding Areva’s La Hague and Romans FBFC facilities. Besides, head of ASN Pierre-Franck Chevet advocated for more powers to the regulatory body, including the implementation of a system of daily penalty payments in case of compliance deficiencies. Mr Chevet said such new power for the ASN could be introduced in France’s impending energy transition bill. He also suggested that the ASN financing system be reshaped, with direct contribution from the large operators.
Les Echos | 2014, April 17th
German court rules in favour of nuclear tax refundA Hamburg finance court said that German authorities should refund 5 nuclear operators, to the global amount of €2.2 billion, in nuclear fuel taxes by the government. In its decision, the court questioned the compatibility of the nuclear-fuel tax with German and European law.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung | 2014, April 15th
IPCC report urges increase in low-carbon optionsThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said the world needs to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 40-70% by 2100 to keep the global temperature rise below the 2°C-cap. The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades. The report includes nuclear power as a mature low-carbon option, but cautions that it has declined globally since 1993 and faces safety, financial and waste-management concerns. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is also included.
La Croix | 2014, April 14th
Japan reverses “zero nuclear” policyJapan’s cabinet has given its approval to an energy policy that recommends the restart of its idled nuclear reactors despite public concerns. Japan’s fourth Basic Energy Plan defines nuclear as an “important base load power source” and will also allow the construction of new nuclear reactors.
Le Monde | 2014, April 13th
France needs 35 new reactorsHead of the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) Bernard Bigot explains that France will need to build 35 new nuclear reactors by 2050, if the country is to meet its 50% target of nuclear power in the energy mix. Indeed, according to Mr Bigot, taking into account the number of reactors that will cease activities in the years to come, France should now plan to build one new reactor each year.
Le Figaro | 2014, April 11th
German national committee on waste storageAfter weeks of quarrels, the members of the national committee in charge of selecting Germany’s new nuclear waste storage site have finally been named. Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU/CSU) and Michael Müller (SPD) will both head a committee of 34 members.
Handelsblatt | 2014, April 10th
UK £7 billion decommissioning contract awardedA joint venture between Babcock and US firm Fluor has won the 14-year contract to decommission Britain’s first generation of nuclear sites. The £7 billion project covers ten Magnox nuclear power stations, including Hinkley Point A, Sizewell A and Dungeness A, as well as two testing sites.
The Times | 2014, April 10th
EC renewables reforms presentedThe European Commission presented its proposals to reform state aid for renewable energies, limiting the use of feed-in tariffs in favour of market mechanisms. The contribution of the most-energy consuming industries will be capped at the current level. In Germany, this exemption is worth about €5 billion per year. The text led to fierce discussions and marks a blow for the European renewables sector.
Les Echos | 2014, April 09th
Dounreay clean-up bill risesThe cost of clearing four decades of nuclear waste at Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands has soared by £200 million, after major changes were made only two years into a 10-year contract. The engineering firm managing Dounreay, Babcock International, is understood to have warned the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that it cannot get away with significantly altering the clean-up programme without additional costs. A Dounreay site spokesman hinted to “more enhancements to security” but also to extra transportation costs in the earlier years of the project, as the fuel on the site is now being transferred to Sellafield in Cumbria.
The Independent on Sunday | 2014, April 06th
Cigeo project to be delayedAccording to the French Safety Authority (ASN), the authorisation application for the Cigeo project of a deep geological repository is likely to be postponed past 2015, the date that was initially planned. Heard before a parliamentary committee investigating the costs of the French nuclear industry, ASN commissioner Michel Bourguignon said that due to technical uncertainties, it was unlikely that the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) will be able to meet the schedule.
La Correspondance économique | 2014, April 03rd
Attracting young people to the nuclear industryAn article featured in a Daily Telegraph supplement issue on “Careers in Engineering” explains that the nuclear industry is set to become an even more important sector, thus in great need of young recruits. The UK government’s commitment to nuclear power was made clear through the Hinkley Point project. One very dynamic company is global engineering consultancy firm Atkins. David Whitmore, engineering and technical director for nuclear business, explains that Atkins is “looking for talented, committed individuals to work in this exciting sector”. The company has its own Atkins Training Academy, as well as a relationship with the University of Central Lancashire, to offer nuclear training. SMEs will also benefit from the nuclear renaissance while another area of growth is in decommissioning. As new nuclear power stations come online, the safe dismantling of older reactors and the safe removal of hazardous materials becomes a priority.
The Daily Telegraph | 2014, April 03rd
Brazil to revive nuclearThe country is to develop its nuclear capacity over the next years. Although Brazil’s main energy source remains hydropower, the country needs to address a strong economic and demographic growth. According to the head of utility Electronuclear, nuclear power could provide a relevant and affordable solution. Electronuclear is already examining possible sites and future tenders for 4 to 8 new reactors by 2030. The reactors could be pressurized water reactors with a capacity between 1,000 MW and 1,400 MW. Areva, which recently inked a €1.25 billion contract to complete the Brazilian Angra 3 reactor, could be a partner of choice.
Les Echos | 2014, April 02nd
E.ON closes Grafenrheinfeld earlier than scheduledIn Germany, E.ON will close its Bavarian Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant seven months earlier than originally planned. The power company explained that the economic efficiency of the power plant was at stake, particularly in view of upcoming nuclear fuel taxes. Keeping the plant open would not have been worth the additional tens of millions needed, said E.ON.
Die Welt | 2014, March 29th
Creation of a virtual underground labIn Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute is experimenting on a virtual underground laboratory for nuclear waste repository research. The Virtus platform will enable researchers to assess the suitability of a site and to perform virtual experiments, notably through 3D-visualisation. The platform prototype will be operational in April. The Virtus project could also help complete studies on concrete sites, such as Cigeo, the French deep geological repository project.
L’Usine Nouvelle | 2014, March 13th