U.K. government reaffirms backing of Sizewell C project

November 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


U.K. chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt last week assuaged any concerns that Britain’s nuclear energy advocates might have been harboring regarding the new government’s support for the proposed Sizewell C plant. (The United Kingdom is on its third prime minister since July, when Boris Johnson’s government granted EDF Energy its long-awaited development consent order for the new nuclear build project.)

What he said: In his November 17 Autumn Statement, while noting the United Kingdom’s status as “a global leader in renewable energy,” Hunt added, “We need to go further, with a major acceleration of home-grown technologies like offshore wind, carbon capture, and storage, and, above all, nuclear. This will deliver new jobs, industries, and export opportunities and secure the clean, affordable energy we need to power our future economy and reach net zero."

Poland hints at choice for first nuclear build; Westinghouse sues KHNP

October 25, 2022, 2:58PMNuclear News

Poland’s deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin and U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm meet in Washington on October 23. (Photo: gov.pl)

Following a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sunday with secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm, Polish deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin told reporters that his nation is close to choosing the reactor supplier for its initial nuclear plant project, adding, according to Bloomberg, “There is a big chance that we will finally pick Westinghouse.”

And in a news release on the meeting from the Polish government, Sasin is quoted as saying, “The massive energy crisis that is currently affecting us means that we must quickly make decisions on building the country’s energy security based on new, clean, cheap, and reliable sources, and such a source is nuclear energy. We want the decisive decisions to be made as soon as possible. That is why we asked [Granholm] for a meeting, during which we will clarify all the issues that remain to be clarified.”

U.K., France declare support for Sizewell project

October 11, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

On the sidelines of the first European Political Community (EPC) summit in Prague last week, U.K. prime minister Liz Truss and French president Emmanuel Macron met to discuss bilateral cooperation, with a particular focus on the energy sector. (Macron proposed the creation of the EPC earlier this year, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Representatives of 44 European countries participated, as did the presidents of the European Council and European Commission. Conspicuously uninvited were Russia and Belarus.)

New Finnish reactor at full power

October 4, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear News
Finland’s Olkiluoto-3. (Photo: TVO)

The Unit 3 EPR at Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has reached its full capacity of approximately 1,600 MWe for the first time, plant owner and operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj has announced. Olkiluoto-3 is now the most powerful reactor in Europe and the third most powerful globally, according to TVO. (Currently, the world champions in that department are China’s 1,660-MWe Taishan-1 and -2, also EPRs.)

Taishan-1 EPR resumes operation a year after shutting down over reactor damage fears

August 25, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Taishan nuclear power plant in China. (Photo: CGN)

China’s Taishan-1, which was shut down last summer due to damaged fuel rods, resumed operations on August 15.

The plant briefly made headlines last summer—as much for the damage inside the reactor as for the media fallout. In June 2020, plant operators found damage to the cladding on about five of the 60,000 fuel rods in Taishan-1, one of the plant’s two 1,660-MW EPRs. What happened next seemed like a bad game of “telephone.”

Olkiluoto-3 test production phase resumes after repair work

August 10, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland. (Photo: TVO)

Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), owner and operator of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland, has resumed Olkiluoto-3’s test production phase, following completion of maintenance and repair work at the new reactor’s turbine island, the company announced this week.

TVO had announced in June a delay to the unit’s commercial start of some three months—from September to December—after material that had detached from the steam guide plates was found in the turbine’s steam reheater in May, necessitating repair work and a halt to testing.

U.K. greenlights Sizewell C project

July 21, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

The U.K. government has granted a development consent order (DCO) for EDF Energy’s proposed Sizewell C plant near Leiston in Suffolk, moving the new nuclear build project closer to a reality.

Nuclear New Build (NBB) Generation Company, an EDF Energy subsidiary, submitted the DCO application to the government’s Planning Inspectorate in May 2020, setting out the range of measures the project would implement to mitigate construction effects and maximize community benefits. The Planning Inspectorate accepted the application in June 2020 and completed its examination in October 2021. Recommendations were made to the secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy this February.

Nuclear development in the West needs new, better financing models

June 30, 2022, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The prospects for new nuclear energy construction in the Western world is the subject of a recent The Economist article, “Energy security gives climate-friendly nuclear-power plants a new appeal.” The article also explores the difficulties that EDF Energy has been experiencing in constructing its EPRs in Europe.

EDF makes latest move to build EPRs in Poland

June 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Électricité de France has signed cooperation agreements with five Polish companies as it continues its efforts to be named the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s incipient nuclear power program.

Polish firms Polimex Mostostal, Sefako, Tele-Fonika Kable, Uniserv, and ZRE Katowice inked the pacts at the fifth Polish-French Nuclear Industry Day in Ołtarzew, Poland. According to EDF, the event was held to foster collaboration between Polish and French companies in support of the utility giant’s offer to deliver four to six EPRs for the Polish program.

Olkiluoto-3 start pushed to end of year

June 20, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear News
Finland’s Olkiluoto-3. (Photo: TVO)

Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), owner and operator of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, has announced a further delay to the start of regular electricity generation at Unit 3. Commercial operation is now projected to begin this December, rather than the previously announced September. A report from Reuters puts the date at December 10.

According to TVO, material that had detached from the steam guide plates was found in the turbine’s steam reheater last month, requiring inspection and repair work.

U.K.’s Hinkley Point C hit with further delay

May 26, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Hinkley Point C’s Unit 2, in March of this year. (Photo: EDF Energy)

The target date for the start of electricity generation at Hinkley Point C’s Unit 1 reactor has been moved back to June 2027, following the completion of a schedule and cost review of the new nuclear build project, EDF announced last week.

While the review considered the main aspects of the project to construct two 1,630-MWe EPRs in Somerset, England, the schedule and cost of electromechanical works and of final testing were not examined, according to the utility.

Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 connected to grid

March 14, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Finland’s Olkiluoto-3. (Photo: TVO)

Europe’s first EPR, Unit 3 at Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, was connected to the nation’s grid on March 12, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), the facility’s owner and operator, has announced.

Olkiluoto-3 is also the first new Finnish reactor in four decades, and one of only three new reactors in Europe in the past 15 years. (Romania’s Cernavoda-2 began supplying electricity to the grid in August 2007, and Belarus’s Belarusian-1 in November 2020.)

HPR1000 passes U.K. design assessment

February 14, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News
[Click to view full image] Cutaway of the HPR1000 design. (Image: CGN)

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) have found the UK HPR1000 reactor suitable for construction in the United Kingdom, the regulators jointly announced last week.

France’s Macron goes nuclear

February 14, 2022, 7:06AMANS Nuclear Cafe


As part of its drive for carbon neutrality by 2050, France will build at least six new nuclear reactors in the coming decades, according to a February 10 article from Reuters. "What our country needs, and the conditions are there, is the rebirth of France's nuclear industry," French president Emmanuel Macron said as he announced France’s new nuclear strategy.

Macron also said that he wanted to extend the life spans of France’s existing nuclear plants.

The price tag: The six new plants would be built and operated by state-controlled energy provider EDF, which has estimated the cost of those plants total at about 50 billion euros (about $57 billion), depending on financing conditions, according to the article.

The first new reactor, an evolution of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), would come on line by 2035, Macron said. The article added that the country would embark on a study to determine whether a further eight reactors beyond the initial six would be needed.

Regulator gives green light to next phase of Hinkley Point C construction

February 9, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The first steel ring section of the Unit 2 reactor building was installed in November 2021. (Photo: EDF Energy)

The United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted permission for the start of bulk mechanical, electrical, and HVAC component installation work at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset, England, where two 1,630-MWe EPRs are under construction. Thus far, most of the activity at Hinkley Point C has been in the field of civil construction.

This new phase, according to ONR, will require a workforce of up to 4,000 during peak times, including welders, pipe fitters, and electricians. The work is to be accomplished over a three-year period, with NNB Genco—the EDF Energy subsidiary set up in 2009 to build and operate Hinkley Point C—teaming up with four suppliers: Balfour Beatty Bailey, Doosan, Cavendish, and Altrad.

Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

January 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

ANS Winter Meeting: CEM, COP, and the path to net zero

December 9, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
A screen capture from the meeting that discussed the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050: (From left) Leah Parks, Giulia Bisconti, Nicholas McMurray, Josh Freed, and Laura Hermann. Panelists who joined the meeting virtually were Sama Bilbao y León and Edie Greaves.

The Thursday morning executive session at last week’s 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo brought together a group of influential nuclear-policy experts from the United States and abroad to discuss the roles nuclear can play in smoothing the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. Specific topics explored included the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and its Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy (NICE) Future initiative, as well as last month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The session was moderated by Leah Parks, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission risk analyst and 2020 ANS Presidential Citation awardee.

Study: New U.K. nuclear likely to be lower carbon source than solar or wind

November 30, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A recent study of life cycle carbon emissions at the United Kingdom’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant finds that the facility, now under construction in Somerset, England, is likely to produce less CO2 over its lifetime than either solar or wind power.

According to the 70-page analysis—prepared by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment for NNB Generation Company HPC Limited, the holding company for the Hinkley Point project—lifetime emissions from Hinkley Point C are likely to be about 5.5g CO2e per kWh. That amount also holds for the proposed Sizewell C plant, the study concludes. (The two 1,630-MWe EPRs at Hinkley Point C are currently scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2026 and 2027.)

French president calls for new nuclear construction

November 11, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News


In a televised address Tuesday evening, French president Emmanuel Macron announced his government’s intention to build new large nuclear reactors in France to address growing energy and environmental challenges.

“If we want to pay for our energy at reasonable rates and not depend on foreign countries, we must both continue to save energy and invest in the production of carbon-free energy on our soil,” said Macron. “This is why, to guarantee France’s energy independence, to guarantee our country’s electricity supply, and to reach our goals—notably carbon neutrality in 2050—we will for the first time in decades revive the construction of nuclear reactors in our country and continue to develop renewable energy. These investments will allow us to live up to our commitments. As we close COP26 in Glasgow, this is a strong message from France.”