Floating plant to be delivered in 2016

The Baltiysky Zavod in St Petersburg is on schedule to deliver the first floating nuclear power plant to its customer, Russian nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom, in September 2016, the shipyard’s general director Aleksey Kadilov said today.

Academician Lomonosov 250(1)
Academician Lomonosov (Image: Rosatom)

According to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko said last week that the Academician Lomonosovcould start operating in Chukotka as early as in 2017, but the region “lags far behind” in creating the coastal infrastructure required for that.

Rosenergoatom signed a RUR 9.98 billion ($239 million) purchase contract for the floating plant for Vilyuchinsk, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East, in July 2009. The 2×35 MWe Academician Lomonosov was due to be completed in 2011 and commissioned in 2012, but the project was delayed due to shipyard insolvency. The two reactors were installed in October 2013.

The keel of Academician Lomonosov was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 Rosatom cancelled the contract – apparently due to the military workload at Sevmash – and transferred it to the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard, which has experience in building nuclear icebreakers.

New keel-laying took place in May 2009 and the two reactors were delivered from OKBM Afrikantov by August. The 21,500 tonne hull – 144 metres long, 30 m wide – was launched at the end of June 2010.

The state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation acquired the shipyard in 2012 and a new contract with Baltijsky Zavod-Sudostroyeniye, the successor of the bankrupt namesake, was signed in December 2012.

In June 2009 Rostechnadzor approved the environmental review for the siting licence for the facility, as well as the justification of investment in it.

The reactor assembling and acceptance tests were carried out at Nizhniy Novgorod Machine Engineering Plant (NMZ).

Three companies had contributed: OKBM – development of design and technical follow-up of the manufacture and testing, Izhorskiye Zavody – manufacture of the reactor pressure vessel, and NMZ – manufacture of component parts and reactor assembling.

Sellafield Ltd leads the trail for nuclear apprenticeships in the UK

British Skills Minister praises Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for cleaning up and decommissioning Europe’s most complex nuclear site, for leading the way with a new ‘one of a kind’ nuclear apprenticeship.

One of Sellafield Ltd's most important investments is the skills and development of the next generation of professionals.


Following the government’s announcement that apprenticeships are to be reformed to meet the needs of British employers, Sellafield Ltd has been working alongside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN) and Cogent Sector Skills Council, to develop new and improved apprenticeships, including a new Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician apprenticeship, as part of the company’s world-class training programme.

Known as the ‘Trailblazer project’, Sellafield Ltd has joined employers from across the country in reachingPhase 3 of the BIS initiative, which will give British businesses an opportunity to develop new apprenticeship standards, dictating the content and method of assessments involved.

Sellafield Ltd, a Nuclear Management Partners’ company, has successfully gained approval for three of its apprenticeship programmes: nuclear worker (Plant Process and Decommissioning Operatives), Health Physics Monitor and Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician, a new apprenticeship for 2015.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “I congratulate Sellafield Ltd for the key role it is playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships.

“Through the trailblazers initiative companies like Sellafield Ltd, in collaboration with their industry partners, will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses need to compete.”

Head of Education & Skills at Sellafield Ltd, Les Agnew, said: “One of Sellafield Ltd’s most important investments is the skills and development of the next generation of professionals and this is why we take such pride in having one of the most reputable apprentice schemes in the UK.

“When the Government reform of apprenticeships were announced it was appropriate for Sellafield Ltd to take the lead for the nuclear sector, in the reform trailblazer process. Together with 15 other employers and a range of skills bodies, Sellafield Ltd has agreed to work with Government to set new apprentice standards for, Nuclear Worker, Health Physics Monitor and a new apprenticeship; Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician.

“Employer leadership will ensure that these apprenticeships meet our needs and provide the required standards for a successful career in the nuclear sector.”

The Nuclear Trailblazer Group will be chaired by Ken McEwan, Head of Training at Sellafield Ltd, and will consist of representatives from across the nuclear industry such as Site License Companies, Supply Chain Companies and Professional Industry bodies, who will all participate in the apprenticeships development and subsequent implementation.

For more information please see the full press release.

Source: Sellafield 

Cheap African solar energy could power UK homes in 2018

An impression of what a large-scale concentrated solar power facility might look like in the Tunisian desert
Investors are seeking funding from the UK government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa.

Under the scheme, up to 2.5 million UK homes could be powered by Tunisian sunshine by 2018.

The company involved says they have already spent 10 million euros developing the site.

A number of overseas energy producers are competing to bring green energy to the UK from 2017.

The TuNur project aims to bring two gigawatts of solar power to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference (CFD) from the British government.

Under new rules published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) in the Summer, the government will allow developers of renewable energy projects that are not based in the UK to bid for contracts that guarantee subsidies to supply power.

The plan involves focussing the rays of the Sun on a central tower

TuNur, which is a partnership between British renewables investor Low Carbon, developer Nur Energie, and Tunisian investors, says it has already spent 10 million euros developing the site in the southern area of the country.

The company has gathered three years of solar data from the location, which it says has been independently verified.

Legislation has also been passed in the Tunisian parliament to facilitate the export of the energy, and an agreement has been reached with the Italian network operator to connect a dedicated undersea cable to a substation near Rome.

“This is not a back-of-the-envelope fantasy,” Kevin Sara, chief executive of TuNur told BBC News.

“We are working with some of the largest engineering firms in the world. This is a serious project. Yes, it is risky like any big energy project is risky.

“But there is nothing new about moving energy from North Africa to Europe.”

The company argues that existing gas pipelines from Algeria that run through Tunisia have operated without a glitch through the turbulence that has followed on from the Arab Spring.

Their plans involve using concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. This allows the developers to store some of the energy generated so that the supply is “dispatchable”. It can be switched on or off on demand.

The company involved says its electricity supplies will be secure, and 20% cheaper than home-grown sources, such as offshore wind.

Deserting Desertec

Desertec was a German initiative to develop a large-scale solar project in North Africa, enough to provide 15% of Europe’s energy by 2050. Backed by multiple partners, the idea required funding of up to 400bn euros, which proved to be a struggle. In recent days, most of the original shareholders decided to quit.

“We were an associate member for several years and we withdrew about the same times as Siemens and Bosch, as they weren’t really going anywhere,” said TuNur’s Kevin Sara.

“Everyone was pushing them in different directions; there was management turmoil; they weren’t helping us or our cause.

“We have a singular project, which we are trying to realise. They were an industrial consortium that was trying to develop an idea.”

“We are able to deliver dispatchable, low-carbon electricity to the UK more cheaply than offshore wind and more cheaply than nuclear – all we’re asking for is the chance. Allocate us 2GW and let’s see what we can do with it,” Mr Sara said.

The government, while set to open the bidding process for energy projects outside the EU, is not rushing to embrace the Tunisian idea.

“In order to reduce costs for British consumers, any future non-UK project would need to compete on cost effectiveness with projects in the UK before being allocated a contract for difference,” a Decc spokesperson told BBC News.

“This means that British consumers get the best deal, no matter where the electricity is generated.”

And the government is clear that if the Tunisian project did go ahead, the energy would have to be exclusively for use in the UK.

“We expect that all electricity generated by any non-UK projects will be used in the UK,” the spokesperson said.

The plan involves building an undersea cable to Italy to connect to the European grid

The UK solar industry is also keen to pour some cold water on the African approach.

It argues that many British-based developers have been hurt by government cutbacks of an existing subsidy called the Renewables Obligation.

The added confusion caused by foreign bidders for future contracts is unwelcome, according to Seb Berry from Solarcentury.

“The very last thing we need is the additional medium-term uncertainty that would be created in the early years of the next Parliament from any decision to push on with opening up the CFD scheme and Levy Control Framework budget to foreign projects.”

In 2013, the Irish government signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK to facilitate the export of wind energy.

But in the face of stiff opposition from locals, angry about the prospect of thousands of wind turbines on the flat lands of the Irish midlands, the government in Dublin dropped the plan.

Another project that has been mooted is a connection from Iceland that would see hydro-electric power imported by an undersea cable over 1,000km in length.

However, there is no agreement at present on who might pay for this connection according to Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, from Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland.

“We are looking into the feasibility of such a cable, but no decision has been made yet – but it looks as if it could be a viable option for Iceland and the UK,” he told BBC News.

“We expect to spend another two to three years before we can make a final investment decision,” he added.

“It could only be operational by 2024.”

Source: BBC News

All eyes on wind power as it blows power record

Image: Thinkstock

Image: Thinkstock

Wind turbines had a storm of a day on Sunday, hitting a new record by providing 24% of the UK’s electricity supply for the whole day.

The energy source stepped up to the plate when a fire took Didcot B gas plant offline on Sunday evening.

On the previous day, wind also set a new peak record by generating 7,998 megawatts (MW) over a half-hour period at midday, once local turbines are factored in, according to National Grid statistics.

This is the equivalent of powering 17 million homes, based on average consumption in October.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber said this proved wind’s role in the UK energy mix.

She said: “Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests; all the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.”

Source: Energy Live News 

Wind power is cheapest energy, EU analysis finds

Onshore windfarms far cheaper than coal and gas when health impacts are factored in, report shows
Dawn over Whitlee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor just south of Glasgow, Europe's largest onshore wind farm
Whitlee wind farm south of Glasgow. Onshore wind costs around €105 per megawatt hour when externalities are considered, according to Ecofys. Photograph: Global Warming Images/REX/Global Warming Images/REX

Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis.

The report says that for every megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated, onshore wind costs roughly €105 (£83) per MW/h, compared to gas and coal which can cost up to around €164 and €233 per MW/h, respectively.

Nuclear power, offshore wind and solar energy are all comparably inexpensive generators, at roughly €125 per MW/h.

“This report highlights the true cost of Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said Justin Wilkes, the deputy CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “Renewables are regularly denigrated for being too expensive and a drain on the taxpayer. Not only does the commission’s report show the alarming cost of coal but it also presents onshore wind as both cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.”

The paper, which was written for the European commission by the Ecofys consultancy, suggests that the Conservative party plan of restricting new onshore windfarms will mean blocking out the cheapest source of energy when environmental and health facts are taken into consideration. It has been suggested the Tory plan could be done through a cap on onshore wind turbines’ output, lower subsidies or tighter planning restrictions.

“Any plans to change policy for onshore wind must be looked at in the context of this report,” said Oliver Joy a spokesman for EWEA. “Investors need long-term visibility. ‘Stop-start’ policies as well as harsh retroactive changes can blindside investors, driving up the risk premium and cost of capital.”

The documents’ contents may also be unwelcome in some quarters of the commission, which early today published selective results from it that did not include external health and pollution costs.

These showed that renewable energy took €38.3bn of public subsidies in 2012, compared to €22.3bn for gas, coal and nuclear. The EU did however note that if free carbon allowances to polluters were included in the data, it “would reduce the gap between support for renewables and other power generation technologies.”

The Ecofys paper’s nuanced evaluation of historical subsidies for coal and nuclear was also not mentioned in the EU press release, which renewable energy associations linked to a fossil fuel lobbying effort ahead of the report’s publication.

“Despite decades of heavy subsidies, mature coal and nuclear energy technologies are still dependent on similar levels of public support as innovative solar energy is receiving today,” Frauke Thies, the policy director for the European Photovoltaic Industry Association told the Guardian.

“The difference is that costs of solar continue to decrease rapidly. If the unaccounted external costs to society are included, the report demonstrates that support to fossil fuels and nuclear even by far exceeds that to solar.”

The EU’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, said that the report was only “a first step” to filling gaps in knowledge about the nature of energy subsidies and more reports are likely in the months ahead.

The figures for the energy sources in the report are all approximate, as the bar chart listing them is counted in units of €25 MW/h.

Last year, a row broke out in Brussels after the German newspaper Suddeutche Zeitung reported that Oettinger had tried to delete figures cited in a commission report showing that in 2011, fossil fuels took €26bn in public subsidies, compared to €35bn for nuclear power and €30bn for renewables.

Source: Guardian

World Nuclear Exhibition 2014

WNE Logo


Assystem present at the first international nuclear exhibition

From the 14th to 16th October 2014, the first edition of the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) will take place at the Bourget. This biennial convention is dedicated to French and international players within the nuclear industry. Assystem will be present at the exhibition with an exhibitor space on booth E 46.


14th of October
From 11am to 1pm : Dominique Louis, Assystem’s President Director General will participate in the round table presided by Luc Oursel, President of Areva, to discuss the role of technology in the nuclear sector entitled « Safe, Proven Technologies for Reactors and Fuel Cycle ».

From 3pm to 4pm: Assystem’s experts will lead a workshop conference on the theme «The Importance of PMC in Nuclear New Build Programs: an Engineering Consultancy Perspective.

15th of October
Meet our experts on our stand for a business day. Take this opportunity to discover our offers within the nuclear domain:

  • Project Management
  • Engineering Design
  • EPCm (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management)
  • Systems Integration

..as well as our substantial project references on ITER, EPR, Georges Besse 2, Sellafield, Cigeo, etc.

16th of October
It will be an open day for nuclear students who will be able to meet our experts and recruiters. The latest will present the range of tasks Assystem’s engineers are leading on the most advanced nuclear projects: from the very upstream in the evolution of the nuclear program with estimation and optimization studies of the investments, conceptualization and coordination, to the downstream with the operations, construction, commissioning, maintenance and decommissioning of the installations.

On this same day, Assystem will also highlight its internal training institute ANI (Assystem Nuclear Institute) in which Assystem’s experts have trained generations of nuclear engineers. The institute was founded in 2008 and celebrates its 5th year anniversary during the exhibition.

See Assystem’s live photos on our Facebook page