New approach for selecting UK repository site

The UK government has published its framework policy for the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste, including details of how it intends to work with interested communities to site a geological disposal facility.

A long-term geological repository is the UK’s favoured method for management of its intermediate- and high-level radioactive waste, with a site selection process centred on community voluntarism. Two communities in Cumbria – Copeland and Allerdale – had expressed interest in hosting a repository, but the selection process ground to a halt in January 2013 when the local county council voted against moving to the next stage of the process.

“Today we are setting out our plan to find a suitable site, based on a fundamental principle of listening to people, to make sure we have the right process in place.”

Ed Davey
Energy and climate change secretary

The government released a White Paper yesterday that updates and replaces one from 2008 using input from a public consultation conducted last year on the site selection process. it also takes account of lessons learned during the previous siting process. According to the White Paper,Implementing Geological Disposal, the government favours a “voluntarist approach”, working alongside communities that are willing to take part in the siting process. It sets out a number of initial actions to be undertaken by the government itself and by Nuclear Decommissioning Authority subsidiary Radioactive Waste Management Limited (RWM), the developer of the facility.

A two-year process will see the government and RWM work on a national geological screening exercise, preparation for engagement with communities, and development of the necessary planning processes.

Energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey said, “All this is intended to happen before formal discussions between interested communities and the developer begin, so that any community wanting to engage with the process can do so with more information and greater clarity about the nature of a development.”

Community investment

The government said that investment of up to £1 million ($1.7 million) per year would be available to each community that participates in the early stage of the siting process. This would increase to £2.5 million ($4.2 million) per year to each of those communities that then enters formal discussions. This investment would only continue whilst a community remains engaged in the process.

“We cannot be certain how long it will take to deliver an operational geological disposal facility, as the driver for the process is a partnership approach with potential host communities and will be dependent on discussions with local communities,” the government said. However, it estimated that after the initial two-year phase, it could be another 15-20 years before the site selection process is completed and construction can start.

RWM managing director Bruce McKirdy noted that the new plan “clearly positions the public at the centre of any final decision-making on where a facility is sited.” He said, “We will explain, discuss and respond to the many questions the public will inevitably have, building relationships with communities around the country, so that they have trust and confidence that we are working in partnership with them throughout this exercise.”

Davey said, “Today we are setting out our plan to find a suitable site, based on a fundamental principle of listening to people, to make sure we have the right process in place. The area that eventually hosts a geological disposal facility will benefit from significant investment in the community and hundreds of skilled jobs for decades to come.”

The waste to be disposed of in the repository would include used fuel from the UK’s existing and planned nuclear power reactors, as well as wastes from reprocessing operations at Sellafield. In addition, it will include wastes from defence, medical, industrial, and research and development activities. The current estimated volume of all such wastes is some 650,000 cubic metres.

Globalisation of nuclear sector to radicalise supply chain

Globalisation of nuclear sector to radicalise supply chain

Nuclear plants are planned to be built or currently under construction in all corners of the world, these developments will ask inevitable questions on the supply chain, and what is expected of companies who wish to contribute to the growing nuclear industry.

Despite EDF offering a helping hand to overseas companies, they estimate that up to 57% of the requirements for our Hinkley Point C project could be met by British companies, either working independently, or in partnership with others in the UK or overseas. Photo Source: ChainLink Research

One such plant that is firmly in the pipeline is the Hinkley C project in the UK,  based in the south west of the country, where reactors are targeted to be fully operational in 2023, and there is currently an ongoing supply chain registration process.

Operators EDF, through conferences and organised events, are interacting with potential members of their supply chain for the Hinkley project.

In December last year, a major conference was held where 300 delegates attended, who had the opportunity to listen to the latest updates from Hinkley Point C and their other new plant at Sizewell C, located in the east of England.

The information was presented by the EDF’s new Nuclear Build Executive, about the available supply chain opportunities.

Recently a joint event was hosted with the PFME, a cluster of French companies who are experienced in dealing with nuclear issues.

The purpose of the gathering was to explain how smaller UK companies could be part of the nuclear supply chain, and outline opportunities for partnerships with French counterparts.

Steering groups

In an attempt to connect the Hinkley C plant to the local area and its residents, two steering groups have been formed, to explore how companies in the project area can be part of the manufacturing process.

So far the results have been positive, as there has been a creative and entrepreneurial response from local organisations.

New joint ventures have also been designed to ensure there is a local contribution, one initiative called the Somerset Larder has been one success story from collaborations, and consists of a group of local companies who will work together to feed the estimated 5000 workforce, when construction is in full flow.

There has also been an input on the supply chain from the UK central government, as there has been discussions on the issue, with the Departments of Energy and Climate Change, and Business, Innovation and Skills.

National industry organisations have also provided information to companies who wish to be a nuclear supply chain provider, the Nuclear Industry Association and Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance, have given the appropriate advice to companies who wish to advance in the nuclear industry.

Local benefits

Despite EDF offering a similar helping hand to overseas companies, they estimate that up to 57% of the requirements for our Hinkley Point C project could be met by British companies, either working independently, or in partnership with others in the UK or overseas.

A spokesperson for EDF explains: “We are committed to delivering our new build projects on time and to budget without compromising safety. Requirements for supplying to the nuclear industry are stringent and we will only select those companies who demonstrate the right culture and working practices to ensure compliance.”

“Work packages are being tendered competitively, and the scoring criteria cover many aspects including cost effectiveness, and compliance with the required standards.”

“The supply chain also needs a high focus on management of the sub-tier supply chain activities. Tier 1 suppliers must have appropriate oversight, control and surveillance of the tiers in the supply chain underneath them.”

“This is a critical area for all large projects, and particularly in nuclear new build, where manufacturing and constructing products have to be right first time and to schedule,, this is crucial for technical and commercial success.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a membership list that comprises of 162 nations, and is involved in assisting their member states in how to understand the complexities that are involved in a nuclear supply chain process.

They have also held workshops on the supply chain, for those countries who wish to expand their nuclear power capability.

The organisation believes that the nuclear power plant vendor patterns that will appear will be dictated by the dual trends of vendor designs from specific development host nations; plus the increasing number of emerging nuclear power states, leaving the supply chains to be provided by a mixture of local and international companies.

Global reach

John Moore, a nuclear engineer with the IAEA, says: “Supply chains today are sourcing increasingly on a global basis. Nuclear component suppliers have been consolidating and reducing in number, while at the same time becoming more global. Vendors and operators are less likely to be able to source the bulk of their components from local or even regional suppliers.”

“Globalization does have the potential to reduce overall costs, as production can move to areas of lower cost. Increased costs can however arise with the need for auditing quality programmes and factory inspections in areas far from the power plant.”

The IAEA expects several technology developments from potential supply chain companies, before they are accepted by power plant operators.

These include increased use of electronic documents and design management systems for the transferring and review of documents, and other information between companies.

Controls around software and digital equipment to meet nuclear safety and cyber–security standards, and increased production of modular systems, that can address plant needs with a minimum of installation activity on site at a nuclear plant.

As the nuclear industry becomes increasingly global in nature, there will be many exciting developments to come in the supply chain sector.

Source: Nuclear Energy Insider

Not investing in new nuclear power would be a costly gamble for the UK

Nuclear must be a part of the UK’s low carbon energy mix because renewable sources cannot provide power 24/7

image1

The sun sets behind EDF’s Hinkley Point B (left), and Hinkley Point A (right) nuclear power stations beside the Bristol Channel Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

“Nuclear power remains, prospectively, one of the cheapest low-carbon technologies and can play an important role as part of a cost-effective portfolio of technologies to decarbonise the power sector.” As the Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, this is something you’d expect me to say, but this is the viewpoint of the Committee on Climate Change in its progress report to Parliament earlier this month.

Recently, Tom Burke wrote on these pages of the “costly gamble” of investing in new nuclear because of rising renewable energy output. I’m afraid that the “costly gamble” will be not investing in new nuclear plants. I’m not arguing against renewables, but it isn’t the answer alone.

The UK needs a mix of low-carbon sources of energy. This must include nuclear. Renewables cannot provide power to the grid 24/7 even though the UK gets as much as 15% of its electricity from these sources. So, one versus the other isn’t the answer – it must be a combination of both. A cost-effective portfolio of technologies, to quote the committee again.

Nuclear can support power to the grid 24/7 and with an ambitious plan for building new nuclear plants, it could provide an even greater proportion of the electricity needed in the UK. It is a fallacy to try to compare renewables with nuclear as both will work in different situations. Nuclear can provide a continuous supply to the electricity grid, while renewables will be reliant on the elements.

The government estimates that by 2025 the UK will need 60GW of new electricity generating capacity and the infrastructure to run it. Of this, 35GW would come from renewables and 25GW would come from other sources, including nuclear power.

The first of the new nuclear plants will be Hinkley Point C in Somerset. However, Burke questioned the ‘strike price’ – the minimum price paid for the electricity generated agreed between EDF Energy who will build the plant and the government. To quote the committee’s report again, it stated specifically on Hinkley that “the agreed strike price therefore offers good value for money and the potential for significant cost savings from a new nuclear programme in the UK”.

All large infrastructure investment projects – be it new nuclear capacity, a new wind farm or solar farm – have a strike price. Burke argued that the Hinkley price of £92.50/MWh was too high, but compare that with the offshore wind farm price of £155/MWh and £120/MWh for a large solar farm.

Over its lifetime of at least 60 years, Hinkley Point C is expected to contribute £2bn to the economy – £100 million of that will directly benefit the local economy through each year of construction.

The UK hasn’t built a new nuclear power station for 20 years and all of the current stations will begin to retire in the next 15 years or so. If we don’t build new ones, that means we could potentially lose a fifth of electricity which is generated on home soil, meaning we’d have to import more. We’d lose a low-carbon source of energy generation which for each kilowatt hour only emits 5g of CO2, compared to 900g from coal-fired. We’d potentially lose a major component of the UK’s science and engineering base too.

But building this new nuclear capacity will mean thousands of jobs. Our own conservative estimates put this at a peak of 32,500 jobs annually, some have put it more towards 100,000 when retiring current plants and simultaneous build of new plants are taken into account.

Upwards of 5,000 apprenticeships will be created across new build, creating much needed jobs and training for young people.

Annual exports from the nuclear industry could increase from £700m a year to up to £1.6bn. We’re already seeing workers from Sellafield going to share their knowledge and experience with other countries, and research and innovation from our universities is also helping other countries in decommissioning and management.

Yes, building a new nuclear power plant takes time. By starting the process now, the UK can increase its secure low carbon electricity generation, in tandem with renewables, ensuring the country continues to decarbonise the UK’s energy supply and contributing to economic growth creating long term, high quality jobs.

Source: Guardian

IBERDROLA and GE Hitachi join forces in a project to reuse UK nuclear waste

IBERDROLA and GE Hitachi join forces in a project to reuse UK nuclear waste

IBERDROLA - www.youroilandgasnews.com
IBERDROLA and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation towards the deployment of PRISM technology as a credible long-term solution to reuse existing reprocessed plutonium in the UK.

The two companies, together with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which advises on the decommissioning plans for current and planned nuclear power stations and is in charge of waste management, will analyse the options for GEH’s PRISM technology which can reuse the plutonium stockpile to generate electricity.

IBERDROLA will bring its expertise and excellence as a nuclear power operator in Spain and provider of nuclear engineering services as well as the experience of more than ten years developing nuclear power projects.

In January 2014, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) noted that, on the information provided, PRISM’s fourth generation nuclear power technology was considered a credible option for managing the UK’s plutonium stockpile.

PRISM is a proven, safe and mature technology which provides a safe, innovative and clean solution to harness the remaining energy potential of used nuclear fuel, in the form of plutonium, to generate electricity free of CO2 emissions whilst creating significant investment in UK jobs and skills.

First estimates by GEH indicate that PRISM technology, with a life span of at least 60 years, could recycle the UK’s entire plutonium stockpile -which amounts to over 100 tonnes- in 25 years.

GEH, the global nuclear alliance between GE and Hitachi is one of the world’s key suppliers of nuclear technology and services. For several decades, GEH has been partnering with IBERDROLA in the development and deployment of nuclear projects.

IBERDROLA operates 3,403 MW nuclear capacity through its participation in seven nuclear power plants in Spain (Cofrentes, Almaraz –units I and II–, Trillo, Garoña, Vandellós II and Ascó II). The company also has proven expertise in the UK where its subsidiary ScottishPower is one of the Big Six energy companies.

In addition to IBERDROLA’s experience in the nuclear industry, the Group’s engineering and project management subsidiary, IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA, is well established in this sector. It is currently participating in the construction of unit 3 at Flamanville nuclear power plant, in France, and has recently completed the upgrade of Laguna Verde nuclear power plant in Mexico.  It also participates in the consortium that manufactures coils for the international nuclear fusion research and engineering project (ITER) which is currently building the world’s largest fusion reactor.

For more information, please visit: IBERDROLA

Source: yournuclearnews.com

China and India in race to harness the full nuclear power of thorium

China and India in race to harness the full nuclear power of thorium
Drive for change? Chemical element thorium is seen as a safer nuclear alternative to uranium (Picture: Reuters)

It might sound like the kind of material used as a plot device in a comic book blockbuster, but it could solve the fuel crisis in the real world.

Chemical element thorium is being hailed as the key in the bid to find safer and more sustainable sources of nuclear energy to provide our electricity. And just like in a Hollywood movie, the race is on to be the first to fully harness that power.

Named after Norse god (and Marvel comic book hero) Thor by the Swedish chemist who identified it in 1828, thorium has taken almost 200 years to be taken seriously as an energy contender.

After a period in the 1950s and 1960s in which it flirted with thorium, the US government shut down its research into the radioactive element, preferring to go the uranium route. Critics say thorium was pushed aside because uranium was an easier component for nuclear weapons. But times have changed, and thorium’s status as a safer alternative to uranium is now a help, not the hindrance it was during the Cold War.

India, which has hundreds of thousands of tonnes of the metal amid its terrain, has announced plans to build a thorium-based nuclear reactor by 2016.

But it faces competition from China, where the schedule to deliver a thorium-based nuclear power plant was recently overhauled, meaning scientists in Shanghai have been told to deliver such a facility within the next ten years.

While thorium nuclear exploration is not new – Britain had its own reactor in Dorset carrying out tests 40 years ago – the will to make it a viable energy source is growing stronger.

Professor Roger Barlow from the University of Huddersfield is part of a team researching thorium power generation.

‘Thorium is an alternative to uranium as a way of doing nuclear fission,’ he told Metro. He said thorium is safer because an overheating thorium reactor can be simply switched off, avoiding the problem that occurred at Fukushima, for instance.

Thorium also produces less radioactive waste than uranium, waste which needs to be secured for hundreds rather than tens of thousands of years. He added that it is extremely difficult to weaponise.

Read more here http://metro.co.uk/2014/07/21/china-and-india-in-race-to-harness-the-full-nuclear-power-of-thorium-4802929/

Source: Metro

UK Nuclear Reprocessing Plant Turns 50

UK nuclear reprocessing plant turns 50

 

Magnox Reprocessing Plant. Copyright: Sellafield
Magnox Reprocessing Plant. Copyright: Sellafield

The UK’s first commercial nuclear reprocessing facility celebrated its 50th birthday yesterday.

The Magnox Reprocessing plant at Sellafield reprocesses spent fuel from nuclear power stations and recycles it to make fresh fuel.

More than 52,000 tonnes of fuel have been reprocessed in the facility since operations began in 1964, according to operator Sellafield Ltd, which currently employs more than 400 people.

The facility during construction. Copyright: Sellafield

Mark Jackson, the current Head of the Magnox Operating Unit said: “The longevity of the plant and its safety record are a real success for not only the nuclear industry but industry as a whole.

“Imagine a car from 1964 still running on the roads today and not just being brought out for exhibitions or displays but actually doing hard miles, every month, come what may. That’s what our Magnox Reprocessing Plant does and we are extremely proud of it.”

Red more here http://www.energylivenews.com/2014/07/17/uk-nuclear-reprocessing-plant-turns-50/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uk-nuclear-reprocessing-plant-turns-50

Source: Energy Live News

 

Pres. Barroso: “EU is proud to have believed in ITER”

Pres. Barroso: “EU is proud to have believed in ITER”

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, strongly reaffirmed Europe’s commitment to ITER today as he visited the international project’s worksite in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance.
President Barroso’s visit to ITER was part of a tour of strategic projects in Europe aimed at fighting climate change and facilitating worldwide “energy transition”.
Some eight years after the signature of the ITER Agreement, president Barroso could take the full measure of the progress accomplished. (Click to view larger version...)

Some eight years after the signature of the ITER Agreement, president Barroso could take the full measure of the progress accomplished.

He was accompanied by French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research Geneviève Fioraso.

“Eight years ago, along with President Chirac,  I worked hard for ITER to be located here. The European Commission is proud to have believed in this project,” said President Barroso as he stood on the large concrete slab overlooking the spectacular Tokamak Complex worksite where the ITER machine will be assembled.
Mrs Fioraso, who was visiting ITER for the third time in less than one year, said she too was proud “that Europe had been bold and brave enough to launch into this project. Europe is beautiful when it is audacious.”
DG Motojima provides explanations to Ms Fioraso and President Barroso in front of ITER Tokamak mockup that had been especially moved to the Assembly Hall slab for the occasion. (Click to view larger version...)

DG Motojima provides explanations to Ms Fioraso and President Barroso in front of ITER Tokamak mockup that had been especially moved to the Assembly Hall slab for the occasion.

The European President and the French Minister’s visit came at a crucial moment in the worksite progress as concrete pouring operations had just begun in the central part of the Tokamak Complex.

“Europe’s commitment and your personal support, Mr President, Mrs Minister, have made this great venture possible,” said Director-General Osamu Motojima as he introduced the visitors to the assembled ITER staff. “At a time of economic hardship across the world, Europe has never backed away from its commitment towards ITER.”
Addressing the ITER staff in the Headquarters Building amphitheatre, President Barroso explained that he had supported the project throughout his whole presidency “because the future of Europe is in science and innovation”.
The Assembly slab had never been that crowded...From left to right, between the European flag and that of ITER: Bernard Bigot, CEA Administrator-General and High Representative for ITER in France, DG Motojima; President Barroso; Minister Fioraso; F4E's Laurent Schmieder (blue helmet) and Robert-Jan Smits, General Director for Research and Innovation at the European Commission. © LESENECHAL/PPV-AIX.COM (Click to view larger version...)

The Assembly slab had never been that crowded…From left to right, between the European flag and that of ITER: Bernard Bigot, CEA Administrator-General and High Representative for ITER in France, DG Motojima; President Barroso; Minister Fioraso; F4E’s Laurent Schmieder (blue helmet) and Robert-Jan Smits, General Director for Research and Innovation at the European Commission. © LESENECHAL/PPV-AIX.COM

Ms Fioraso shared this vision: “Thanks to this project,” she said, “Europe is a very young and very ambitious continent.”

Europe contributes approximately 45% of the total value of ITER construction.
As “the gateway to industrial and commercial fusion”, added the President of the European Commission, “ITER presents a unique opportunity for our industry.”
He concluded his address saying: “The personal message I want to deliver to you is one of confidence and support.”
Following their visit to the ITER worksite, President Barroso and Ms Fioraso addressed the ITER staff. On behalf of the institution and government they represent and also on a personal level, both reaffirmed their strong support to ITER and their confidence in the project's success. (Click to view larger version...)

Following their visit to the ITER worksite, President Barroso and Ms Fioraso addressed the ITER staff. On behalf of the institution and government they represent and also on a personal level, both reaffirmed their strong support to ITER and their confidence in the project’s success.
Source: Iter