Nuclear Energy

From ScienceForSustainability
Jump to: navigation, search

Reactor history

Nuclear Power Reactor Technology, 1950-1953 (Part 1)

Why did the US abandon a lead in reactor design? Cheryl Rofer; Physics Today; 7 Aug 2015

Sometime in the late 1960s, a great shakeup occurred in nuclear reactor research. [T]he Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory at that time ... was suddenly dissolved. ... The key player was Milton Shaw, who directed the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Reactor Development and Testing Division (RDTD) at that time. Shaw refocused the US civil nuclear program toward a single goal of the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor, making a number of strategic mistakes that have had long-term safety consequences for the industry.

Reactor Types

Nuclear Reactor Wikipedia

Nuclear power IET

An introduction to nuclear power technologies
A wide range of nuclear issues, ranging from the use of nuclear power in the UK, decommissioning of nuclear power stations, the nuclear fuel cycle, a glossary of nuclear terms, and the decay rate of Uranium238.

Nuclear reactor types IET

Introduction to the various types of nuclear reactors worldwide and information on prototype designs
Many different reactor systems have been proposed and some of these have been developed to prototype and commercial scale. Six types of reactor (Magnox, AGR, PWR, BWR, CANDU and RBMK) have emerged as the designs used to produce commercial electricity around the world. A further reactor type, the so-called fast reactor, has been developed to full-scale demonstration stage. These various reactor types will now be described, together with current developments and some prototype designs.

What is a nuclear reactor? Overview of common reactor types

What is a fission reactor a fission reactor and how does it fission reactor and how does it work? and how does it work? Sense About Science

Summary of predominantly UK sold-fuel reactor types

Generation II reactor Wikipedia

From comments by Matt Fuller on an Energy Matters post:

Thorium has gained a lot of publicity in the past few years. It shows some promise, but is possibly overhyped. Fission reactors currently come in two flavours, thermal-neutron-spectrum (most of them) and fast-neutron-spectrum (only a few left in the world, all in Russia as far as I know.) Thermal spectrum reactors have fissile U235 (about 5%) mixed with non-fissile U238. As they “burn” the U235, some of the U238 is converted to fissile plutonium Pu239 and also burned. However, less fissile fuel is created then burned and eventually the fuel rods need changing. Fast-spectrum reactors can actually create more Pu239 than the U235 they use up, and so are known as “fast breeders”. A fast breeder can therefore eventually burn ALL its uranium by converting it into plutonium.
Thorium is not in fact fissile. It’s strength is that it can be converted to fissile U233 in a thermal spectrum reactor. You can in fact mix some thorium into conventional fuel rods in pressurised water reactors and it will be converted and burned. This works better in heavy-water type reactors such as Canada’s CANDU, and the Indian reactors are also heavy-water types.
In theory then, you can run a thermal-spectrum reactor with thorium and a little fissile U235 (or U233, or Pu239) to start off, and ALL the thorium will eventually be converted and burned. Nothing’s quite so simple though: whether using uranium in a fast-spectrum breeder, or thorium in a thermal-spectrum breeder, you have to make sure you don’t end up with too much fissile material in your reactor, and you have to get rid of all the fission-product “ashes” or they’ll build up and interfere with the reaction. That means you have to be continuously cycling and reprocessing the fuel, which is messy and hazardous.


Thorium has also been publicised alongside an entirely different design of reactor, the Molten salt reactor. Instead of having your fuel as solid oxide pellets sealed in zirconium tubes, you have your fuel as a molten salt. This has some advantages – gaseous fission products bubble out and can be captured, operating temperature is higher, can run at atmospheric pressure, volatile fission products are chemically bound, meltdown is no longer a failure mode. Molten salt reactors don’t have to use thorium though, and so far only experimental reactors have ever been run. The Netherlands experiment is not a molten salt reactor. Instead they are irradiating a molten salt in a conventional research reactor to see how it responds. The Indian reactor, as already mentioned, is a heavy-water reactor that can use thorium.

Types of Nuclear Reactors Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Nuclear reactors serve three general purposes. Civilian reactors are used to generate energy for electricity and sometimes also steam for district heating; military reactors create materials that can be used in nuclear weapons; and research reactors are used to develop weapons or energy production technology, for training purposes, for nuclear physics experimentation, and for producing radio-isotopes for medicine and research. The chemical composition of the fuel, the type of coolant, and other details important to reactor operation depend on reactor design. Most designs have some flexibility as to the type of fuel that can be used. Some reactors are dual-purpose in that they are used for civilian power and military materials production. The two tables below give information about civilian and military reactors.

Classification of Reactors according to Neutron Flux Spectrum

From the physics point of view, the main differences among reactor types arise from differences in their neutron energy spectra. In fact, the basic classification of nuclear reactors is based upon the average energy of the neutrons which cause the bulk of the fissions in the reactor core. From this point of view nuclear reactors are divided into two categories:
Thermal Reactors. Almost all of the current reactors which have been built to date use thermal neutrons to sustain the chain reaction. These reactors contain neutron moderator that slows neutrons from fission until their kinetic energy is more or less in thermal equilibrium with the atoms (E < 1 eV) in the system.
Fast Neutron Reactors. Fast reactors contains no neutron moderator and use less-moderating primary coolants, because they use fast neutrons (E > 1 keV), to cause fission in their fuel.

Existing Nuclear


Nuclear Power IPCC Working Group III: Mitigation

  • Present Situation
  • Nuclear Economics
  • Waste Disposal


Nuclear IEA

Nuclear fission is a mature technology that has been in use for more than 50 years. The latest designs for nuclear power plants build on this experience to offer enhanced safety and performance, and are ready for wider deployment over the next few years. There is great potential for new developments in nuclear energy technology to enhance nuclear’s role in a sustainable energy future. Nevertheless, important barriers to a rapid expansion of nuclear energy remain. Governments need to set clear and consistent policies on nuclear to encourage private sector investment. Gaining greater public acceptance will also be key, and this will be helped by early implementation of plans for geological disposal of radioactive waste, as well as continued safe and effective operation of nuclear plants.



Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy

Since the release in 2010 of Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy (IEA/NEA, 2010), a number of events have had a significant impact on the global energy sector and on the outlook for nuclear energy. They include the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident in March 2011, the global financial and economic crises that hit many industrialised countries during the period 2008-10 and failings in both electricity and CO2 markets. Despite these additional challenges, nuclear energy still remains a proven low-carbon source of base-load electricity, and many countries have reaffirmed the importance of nuclear energy within their countries’ energy strategies.
To achieve the goal of limiting global temperature increases to just 2 degrees Celsius (°C) by the end of the century, a halving of global energy-related emissions by 2050 will be needed. A wide range of low-carbon energy technologies will be needed to support this transition, including nuclear energy.

Technology Roadmap - Nuclear Energy IEA; 2015

Current trends in energy supply and use are unsustainable. Without decisive action, energy related emissions of carbon dioxide will nearly double by 2050 and increased fossil energy demand will heighten concerns over the security of supplies. We can change our current path, but this will take an energy revolution in which low carbon energy technologies will have a crucial role to play. Energy efficiency, many types of renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, nuclear power and new transport technologies will all require widespread deployment if we are to sharply reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Economics *


This New Fuel could make nuclear power safer and cheaper Richard Martin; MIT Technology Review; 31st Mar 2016

Lightbridge has developed a metallic fuel for nuclear reactors that it claims will tackle some of the industry’s biggest challenges, but safety questions remain


MOX Battle: Mixed Oxide Nuclear Fuel Raises Safety Questions John Matson; Scientific American; 25 Mar 2011

One of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi reactors contains a blend of uranium and plutonium fuel that may soon find use in the U.S. Does it pose more risks than standard uranium fuel?


"Nuclear Power as a Solution to Climate Change: Why the Public Discussion is Such a Mess" Karen Street

Can our need for a carbon-free future override our fears of nuclear energy? Debbie Carlson; The Guardian; 12 Sep 2016

Unlike coal and natural gas plants that emit carbon emissions while producing electricity, nuclear generates none. So why aren’t more states getting onboard?

Tritium Radioactive leaks found at 75% of US nuke sites

Indian Point

Diablo Canyon

Greens target license renewal for Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

Watts Bar

TVA's Watts Bar Unit 2 achieves commercial operation Ed Marcum; Knoxville News Sentinel; 19 Oct 2016

TVA began construction of the Unit 2 reactor in 1973, but stopped in 1985 because power demand had slowed, but costs associated with nuclear plants rose. TVA resumed work on the reactor in 2007 after deciding that it could be completed at a cost of $2.5 billion. However, TVA announced a revised budget and schedule in 2012, when the federal utility determined the project was $1.5 billion to $21 billion over budget and about three years behind schedule.TVA re-estimated that cost at nearly $4.5 billion with commercial operation to begin by June of this year. Since then, TVA managed to keep the project close to the new budget and schedule, although in February, the TVA board authorized an additional $200 million after flood prevention steps required after the Fukushima nuclear plant accident added to the initial cost.

The First U.S. Nuclear Plant In 20 Years Goes Online Zainab Calcuttawala; Oilprice; 19 Oct 2016

Roughly 650,000 homes in Tennessee will be powered by the first nuclear power generator to enter into commercial operation in the United States in 20 years, according to a new report by The Hill. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 2 reactor will produce 1,150 megawatts of power, the company’s announcement on Wednesday said. The Nuclear Energy Institute counts Watts Bar 2, which formally connected to Tennessee’s power grid in June, as the 100th nuclear power reactor to operate in the United States.


Multiple milestones for Vogtle 3 and 4 World Nuclear News; 29 Mar 2016


Final Clean Power Plan Drops Support For Existing Nuclear Plants Jeff McMahon; Forbes; 3 Aug 2015



See also Energy Mix: Ontario

Report outlines Ontario nuclear refurbishment benefits and risks World Nuclear News; 22 Nov 2017

A new report by Ontario's Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has confirmed the province's plan to refurbish ten nuclear reactors at Bruce and Darlington, and extend the life of six reactors at Pickering will provide the a long-term supply of relatively low-cost, low emissions electricity over the period to 2064.
An Assessment of the Financial Risks of the Nuclear Refurbishment Plan looks at how financial risk would be allocated among ratepayers, the province, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power. The FAO estimates the plan will result in nuclear generation supplying a "significant proportion" of Ontario's electricity demand from 2016 to 2064 at an average price of CAD80.7 ($63.3) per MWh, in 2017 Canadian dollars.





Nuclear Power in Finland Wikipedia

Finland Plans Phaseout Of Coal With Nuclear To Help Fill Gap Neutron Bytes; 10 Sep 2017

(NucNet) Finland will introduce legislation in 2018 to phase out coal and increase carbon taxes with additional nuclear capacity from two new reactors.
Riku Huttunen, director-general of Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, told Reuters that the current strategy is to get rid of coal by 2030 and that the process will be started by legislation due next year.
According to the International Energy Agency, Finland is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – with coal producing about 10% of the country’s consumption.
To cope with the gap left by coal, Finland will have to increase the amount of energy produced from other fuel sources, Mr Huttunen was quoted as saying.
Nuclear power could take up the slack as two new reactors – the Olkiluoto-3 EPR and the Russia-supplied Hanhikivi-1– are scheduled to come online in 2018 and 2024.
Finland wants to increase its energy security by relying less on imports. Around 70% of coal is imported from Russia. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Finland’s four existing nuclear units at Olkiluoto and Loviisa accounted for almost 34% of electricity production in 2016.


Belgium to give iodine pills to entire population in case of nuclear disaster Jess Staufenberg; Independent; 29 Apr 2016

'We know they don't really have a grip on the terrorist situation in Belgium,' a Green Party MEP has said


Vattenfall sues Germany over phase-out policy World Nuclear News; 16 Oct 2016

Swedish utility Vattenfall is suing Germany at the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes over the closure of the Brunsbüttel and Krümmel nuclear power plants. The move follows the German government's decision to withdraw from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Vattenfall spokesman Magnus Kryssare declined to confirm German media reports that the Swedish company is seeking €4.7 billion ($6 billion) in damages.

Swedish Utility Suing Germany Over Closure Of Brunsbüttel & Krümmel Nuclear Power Plants Glenn Meyers; Cleantechnica; 17 Oct 2016


Nuclear Power in China Wikipedia

Fourth Ningde unit connected to grid World Nuclear News; 31 Mar 2016

Unit 4 at the Ningde nuclear power plant in China's Fujian province has been connected to the electricity grid, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced yesterday. The 1087 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor was connected to the grid at 11.02pm on 29 March, CGN said. Work on the nuclear island at Ningde 4 officially began in September 2010. The dome of its reactor building was successfully lowered into place in May 2012. Four Chinese-designed CPR-1000 units have been built as Phase I of the Ningde plant, near Fuding city. Work on the first unit started in February 2008, with construction of units 2 and 3 beginning in November 2008 and January 2010, respectively. Unit 1 began commercial operation in April 2013, while unit 2 began supplying electricity to the grid in January 2014. Unit 3 came online in June 2015.

Grid connection for Hongyanhe 4 World Nuclear News; 1 Apr 2016

Unit 4 of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning province today began supplying electricity to the grid. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year. The 1087 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor was connected to the grid at 9.52am today, China General Nuclear (CGN) said. Its grid connection came just two days after the connection of unit 4 at CGN's Ningde plant in Fujian province. Construction of Phase I of the Hongyanhe plant, comprising four CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, began in August 2009. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively, while unit 3 entered commercial operation last August.

The nuclear option Nature (editorial) 4 May 2016

China is vigorously promoting nuclear energy, but its pursuit of reprocessing is misguided.

Taishan EPRs

First Taishan EPR completes cold tests World Nuclear News; 1 Feb 2016

Cold function tests have been completed at unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province. The unit is expected to start up in the first half of next year and will be the first EPR reactor to begin operating.

China revises commissioning dates of EPRs World Nuclear News; 22 Feb 2017

The two EPR units under construction at the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province will not enter commercial operation until the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, respectively. This is some six months later than originally scheduled.

First criticality achieved at Chinese EPR World Nuclear News; 07 Jun 2018

Unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province has attained a sustained chain reaction for the first time, becoming the first EPR reactor to reach the commissioning milestone. The unit is expected to enter commercial operation later this year.

Taishan 1, world’s first EPR connected to the grid EDF; 29 Jun 2018

On the 29th of June at 17:59 local time, Taishan 1 reactor located in China became the first EPR* reactor in the world to be successfully connected to the grid.


Shikoku moves closer to Ikata 3 restart 4 Mar 2016

Japanese institute sees 19 reactor restarts by March 2018 World Nuclear News; 28 Jul 2016

Seven Japanese nuclear power reactors are likely to be in operation by the end of next March and 12 more one year later, according to an estimate by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ).


India budgets to boost nuclear projects 1 Mar 2016

extra 30 billion rupees ($442 million) to boost nuclear power generation projects over the next 15-20 years
India has 21 nuclear power plants in operation, with six under construction, and plans for further construction of both indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors and projects with overseas partners. In April 2015 the government gave its approval in principle for new nuclear plants at ten sites in nine states: indigenous PHWRs at Gorakhpur in Haryana's Fatehabad; Chutka and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh; Kaiga in Karnataka; and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan; and plants with foreign cooperation at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu (VVER); Jaitapur in Maharashtra (EPR); Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat (AP1000); Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh (ESBWR) and Haripur in West Bengal (VVER). Two 600 MWe fast breeder reactors are also proposed at Kalpakkam.
In January, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president Francois Hollande said that the two countries are on course to finalize a deal on the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur by the end of the year. The same month, the Indian cabinet confirmed that commercial negotiations between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Westinghouse on the construction of six AP1000 units at Mithi Virdi in India were also on course to be finalized this year.

A future energy giant? India's thorium-based nuclear plans; 1 Oct 2010


Russia plans start-up of first Gen-III+ unit this summer World Nuclear News; 30 Mar 2016

ASE Group has announced plans for Russia to connect its first Generation-III+ nuclear power unit to the grid this summer. The first fuel assembly was loaded at unit 1 of the Novovoronezh II nuclear power plant in western Russia on 24 March at 3.28am, while the "active phase" of the loading process began the following day. Novovoronezh 6 is a Generation-III+ VVER 1200/392M pressurised water reactor (PWR) unit with a design net capacity of 1114 MWe. It is the first of two units at Novovoronezh II - the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 design incorporating a Gidropress-designed PWR, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000. Construction of Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2, also known as Novovoronezh units 6 and 7, began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned.


Poll finds support for nuclear phaseout Urs Geiser;; 21 Oct 2016

A proposal to decommission Switzerland’s nuclear power plants by 2029 has the backing of a majority of citizens, according to a survey conducted seven weeks ahead of a nationwide vote. Despite this, pollsters believe the initiative is likely to be defeated on November 27.


Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

Nuclear Options Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 4 Aug 2016

With Hinkley Point C and nuclear new-build in the UK very much in the public eye, I have found the range of nuclear options being discussed rather confusing. This post provides an overview of the 6 main reactor designs that are vying for the global market today focussing on the large, >1 GW Generation III reactors. While the post focusses on the UK, the part on generic designs should be of interest to all readers.

Hinkley Point C


Britain's Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield will show viewers the reality of atomic power Daily Mirror; 23 Jul 2015

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili will present Britain's Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield and aim to tell the story of the country's often controversial nuclear industry


See also KEPCO APR1400

First look at new Moorside nuclear plant Andrew Clarke; Times & Star; 27 Apr 2016

This is the first glimpse of what the new £10 billion Moorside nuclear power station could look like. NuGen - the firm behind the plans for Moorside - has published the artist's impression ahead of 28 public events being held across the county to give people the chance to have their say. Plans for the three-reactor site on land next to Sellafield - and its associated accommodation and transport links - are likely to have widespread impacts.


NuGen confirms Toshiba commitment to Moorside World Nuclear News; 14 Feb 2017

Toshiba Corp is committed to Moorside despite announcing today it would reduce its exposure to reactor construction projects outside Japan, the head of its UK joint venture, NuGeneration, has said. The Japanese electronics conglomerate reported a net loss of JPY390 billion ($3.4 billion) in the year to March 2017 and said it would book a JPY712.5 billion ($6.3 billion) loss on its US nuclear unit.
NuGen, of which Toshiba owns 60% and France's Engie 40%, plans to build a nuclear power plant of up to 3.8 GWe gross capacity at the site in West Cumbria, using AP1000 nuclear reactor technology provided by Westinghouse. Toshiba, which bought Westinghouse in 2006, warned in December last year that it might have to write off "several billion" dollars because of the purchase in 2015 of US construction firm CB&I Stone & Webster.

Korean energy firm rescues UK's Moorside nuclear power project Adam Vaughan; The Guardian; 6 Dec 2017

A state-owned South Korean energy firm is to take over construction of a troubled nuclear power station planned in north-west England, in a significant boost for the UK government’s nuclear ambitions.
Kepco has been declared the preferred bidder for the NuGeneration consortium, which looked doomed earlier this year after the Japanese owner Toshiba was hit by writedowns and the eventual bankruptcy of its US nuclear subsidiary.

An Overview of the KEPCO APR1400 Euan Mearns / Andy Dawson; Energy Matters; 18 Dec 2017

There have been two major developments in the progress of UK nuclear new build in the last two weeks or so – the announcement that KEPCO is now preferred bidder for the Moorside project in Cumbria, and the completion of the GDA (General Design Approval) process by Hitachi’s UK-ABWR design. It therefore seems a good time to set out a quick review of the key features of each design and specifically any adaptations to UK regulatory requirements. This article covers the KEPCO APR1400 and complements the article on the Chinese Hualong 1 design that was published on 14 November.


See also Hualong One

UK to start approval process for Chinese nuclear reactor at Bradwell Nina Chestney; Reuters; 10 Jan 2017

The British government has asked nuclear regulators to start the process for approving a Chinese-designed reactor for a proposed plant in Britain, expected to be one of the first new plants in decades. General Nuclear Services (GNS), an industrial partnership between French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation(CGN), hopes to use the design at a new nuclear station planned to be built in Bradwell, Essex. CGN intends to make a number of investments in Britain's nuclear power sector, most notably the new Hinkley Point C project in southwest England which was approved by the government last September.

Welcome to the UK HPR1000, Generic Design Assessment (GDA) website

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and EDF, through their joint venture company General Nuclear System Limited (GNS), commenced the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for the UK HPR1000 in January 2017.
GNS has been established to act on behalf of the three joint requesting parties (CGN, EDF and General Nuclear International) to implement the Generic Design Assessment of the UK HPR1000 reactor; more information on the each of these companies and the structure of GNS can be found on the About us page. For practical purposes GNS is referred to as the ‘UK HPR1000 GDA Requesting Party’.
In November 2017, the Regulators concluded that the information submitted by GNS during Step 1 is sufficient to allow the start of Step 2. Step 2 formally commenced on 16 November 2017 and is planned to last approximately 12 months. The targeted timescale for the UK HPR1000 GDA process is approximately five years from the start of Step 1.
This website has been set up to publish information on the HPR1000 nuclear reactor design that is currently undergoing assessment by the UK nuclear regulators – the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency. You can find out more information about the process on our GDA process page.
Within this site you will find information on the HPR1000 reactor technology, design, safety and environmental features. You can also access the range of technical documents that will be submitted to the regulators throughout the process in our Documents library.
As part of the GDA process we are now inviting you to comment on the HPR1000 reactor design and the regulatory submissions that we make to the regulators.

Step 2

The Preliminary Safety Report (PSR) was submitted to the regulators as part of Step 2. The PSR sets out a high level overview of the safety case, the environment case and the security claims for the proposed nuclear reactor design.
The main objective of the PSR is to provide sufficient information for the regulators to carry out Step 2 GDA and the scope of the report was agreed with the regulators during Step 1.
The PSR sets the initial structure of the Pre-Construction Safety Report (PCSR) which, through Steps 3 and 4 of the GDA process, will provide the arguments and evidence to substantiate the safety case claims.

China’s “Hualong 1” passes the first stage of the UK GDA process Euan Mearns / Andy Dawson; Energy Matters; 24 Nov 2017

As almost all readers of the blog will be aware, a team of EdF and China General Nuclear (CGN) have proposed the construction of a Chinese designed nuclear station at Bradwell, in Essex. On Thursday of this week, the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation announced that the design proposed for the station -the “HPR1000”, originally known as the “Hualong-1” has successfully completed the first, preparatory stage of the Generic Design Approval (GDA) process. This appears to have been completed on time, or perhaps a few weeks early.
While we shouldn’t over-state the importance of this particular transition – GDA is a four stage process, in which stages 2 & 3 are where the great majority of the detailed evaluation of the design from a safety perspective is undertaken – it is important in that it’s the first point at which the developers have to publish reasonably detailed data on the design. That data is available here.
This piece is intended to give an overview of the design, highlighted particular strengths and weaknesses that may affect the GDA outcome, and giving a comparison against the virtues and vices of the other contenders for UK build.


See also Hitachi ABWR

Plans for major nuclear power station in Wales win green light Adam Vaughan; The Guardian; 14 Dec 2017

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.
If Horizon is successful with Wylfa, it hopes to build a second new nuclear power station at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The plants will use Hitachi’s advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR), which has been approved for use at Wylfa.
The Welsh plant would have a capacity of 2.7GW, similar to the 3.2GW of the nuclear power station that EDF is building at Hinkley Point in Somerset.


IAEA approves Kenya nuclear power application 25 Apr 2016

Toshiba Westinghouse

Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, in Blow to Nuclear Power DIANE CARDWELL and JONATHAN SOBLE; New York Times; 29 Mar 2017

Westinghouse Electric Company, which helped drive the development of nuclear energy and the electric grid itself, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, casting a shadow over the global nuclear industry.
The filing comes as the company’s corporate parent, Toshiba of Japan, scrambles to stanch huge losses stemming from Westinghouse’s troubled nuclear construction projects in the American South.

How two cutting edge U.S. nuclear projects bankrupted Westinghouse Tom Hals and Emily Flitter; Reuters; 2 May 2017

Westinghouse miscalculated the time it would take, and the possible pitfalls involved, in rolling out its innovative AP1000 nuclear plants, according to a close examination by Reuters of the projects.
Those problems have led to an estimated $13 billion in cost overruns and left in doubt the future of the two plants, the one in Georgia and another in South Carolina.
Overwhelmed by the costs of construction, Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy on March 29, while its corporate parent, Japan's Toshiba Corp, is close to financial ruin [L3N1HI4SD]. It has said that controls at Westinghouse were "insufficient."
The miscalculations underscore the difficulties facing a global industry that aims to build about 160 reactors and is expected to generate around $740 billion in sales of equipment in services in the coming decade, according to nuclear industry trade groups.
The sector's problems extend well beyond Westinghouse. France's Areva is being restructured, in part due to delays and huge cost overruns at a nuclear plant the company is building in Finland.
Even though Westinghouse's approach of pre-fabricated plants was untested, the company offered aggressive estimates of the cost and time it would take to build its AP1000 plants in order to win future business from U.S. utility companies. It also misjudged regulatory hurdles and used a construction company that lacked experience with the rigor and demands of nuclear work, according to state and federal regulators' reports, bankruptcy filings and interviews with current and former employees.

New Nuclear Reactor Technologies *

Nuclear radiation *

Nuclear safety *


Will We Run Out of Uranium? Charles Barton; The Energy Collective; 7 Feb 2010

Barton estimates U reserves and compares with MacKay

Sustaining the Wind Part 3 – Is Uranium Exhaustible? NNadir; Brave New Climate;

U.S. uranium production is near historic low as imports continue to fuel U.S. reactors EIA; 1 Jun 2016

Uranium from seawater

see also Pollution

Uranium From Seawater Could Keep Our Lights On for 13,000 Years Futurism; 23 Apr 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy has developed a more cost-efficient material to harvest uranium from the ocean. This development has experts looking into seawater uranium as a potential energy source. the DOE team has developed new adsorbents that brought the costs of seawater uranium extraction down by three to four times and in just five years. The team created braids of polyethylene fibers that contain amidoxime, a chemical species that binds uranium. Tests show the new material has the ability to hold more than 6 grams of uranium per kilogram of adsorbent in 56 days of submersion in natural seawater.

Advances in extracting uranium from seawater announced in special issue Oak Ridge National Laboratory; 21 Apr 2016

The oceans hold more than four billion tons of uranium—enough to meet global energy needs for the next 10,000 years if only we could capture the element from seawater to fuel nuclear power plants. Major advances in this area have been published by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Uranium from terrestrial sources can last for approximately 100 years, according to Erich Schneider of the University of Texas–Austin

Uranium Extraction from Seawater Takes a Major Step Forward Jennifer Hackett; Scientific American; 1 Jul 2016

Earth’s oceans hold four billion tons of the element used to power nuclear plants
The earth's oceans hold enough uranium to power all the world's major cities for thousands of years—if we can extract it. A project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy is making notable advances in this quest: scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a material that can effectively pull uranium out of seawater. The material builds on work by researchers in Japan and consists of braided polyethylene fibers coated with the chemical amidoxime. In seawater, amidoxime attracts and binds uranium dioxide to the surface of the braids, which can be on the order of 15 centimeters in diameter and run multiple meters in length depending on where they are deployed. Later, an acidic treatment recovers the uranium in the form of uranyl ions, a product that requires processing and enrichment before becoming fuel. The procedure was described in a special report this spring in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Nuclear waste

CO2 emissions / LCOE

Life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions of energy sources wikpedia

surveys various sources


2014 IPCC, Global warming potential of selected electricity sources

median 12 g(CO2e)/kWh for nuclear GHG emissions

2011 IPCC aggregated results of the available literature

16g CO2/kWh

2014 IPCC, Global warming potential of selected electricity sources

3.7 - 12 - 110 g/kWh


Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen: Nuclear energy study Wikipedia

The study was heavily criticized, such as a rebuttal by researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute.[4] With further criticism from Sevior and Flitney who issued the following statement:
We compared the predicted energy cost [using Storm van Leeuwen's study[3]] of Uranium mining and milling for Ranger, Olympic Dam and Rössing to the energy consumption as reported. All are significantly over predicted (5 PJ, 60 PJ and 69 PJ vs 0.8 PJ, 5 PJ and 1 PJ respectively). [...]
The energy consumption is predicted to be so large that is comparable to the energy consumption of a particular sub-section of the economy. In the case of Rössing, the over prediction is larger than the energy consumption of the entire country of Namibia.

J.W.Storm van Leeuwen Life cycle analysis of the nuclear energy system from website Nuclear power insights

Point Refuted a Thousand Times: “Nuclear is not low-carbon” Luke Weston; Energy Reality Project;

The meme that nuclear energy is bad because it has poor whole-of-lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, or poor EROEI, that are not comparable to wind energy, hydroelectricity and other climate-change-friendly energy technologies, but are in fact comparable to greenhouse-gas-intensive fossil fuel combustion is perhaps one of the oldest, most comprehensively debunked PRATT concerning arguments that emerged during the resurgence of public debate in the early 2000s about the importance of nuclear energy.
If you find any anti-nuclear energy activist who makes this claim, and you trace its roots back to the source (in the rare cases where they’re trying to be remotely credible and are actually citing reference material), in 99% of cases you’ll find that this argument originates from exactly the same place: just one pair of authors and their non-peer-reviewed website.
Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Phillip Smith’s original essay “Nuclear power – the energy balance“, which is where all this stuff originates from, has never been published in a scientific journal or subjected to any kind of formal peer-review process. In fact, it has only ever been published on the authors’ own website.
Their work has been widely debunked and discredited for many years, with some of the more egregious errors and assumptions discussed here:


Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical survey Benjamin K. Sovacool; Energy Policy; 2008


Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air metafaq

I heard it takes more energy to build a nuclear power plant than you ever get back from it... is that true?
No, of course not! Why would France and Finland and Sweden build so many power plants if that were true? They could just use the energy directly. The energy cost of uranium enrichment is described in my book, along with figures for the amount of concrete and steel used in the materials of the power station. The exact figures vary from country to country, but as a ballpark figure the carbon footprint of enrichment, building, decommisioning, and waste management is about 20 grams CO2 per kWh (compare with coal power stations at 1000 g CO2 per kWh) and raw petrol and gas at about 250 grams per kWh. Nuclear power stations produce at least ten times as much energy as it takes to make them, make their fuel, and decommision them.


Nuclear Plants Running For 80 Years Trump Renewables And Gas Conca; Forbes

U.S. Senate Wants To Decrease CO2 By Increasing Nuclear Energy Conca; Forbes

Advanced Nuclear Summit


Nuclear Decommissioning Wikipedia


Nuclear Provision: explaining the cost of cleaning up Britain's nuclear legacy Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; updated: 1 Sep 2016

The 2016 forecast is that future clean-up across the UK will cost around £117 billion spread across the next 120 years or so. This is broadly unchanged from the previous year’s estimate. However, forecasts for work that will be carried over the next century are inevitably uncertain: the future is impossible to predict. It will be a number of years, for example, before many site programmes resolve exactly how the work will be delivered and identify suitable technologies. In recognition of this uncertainty, the NDA publishes a range of estimates that could potentially be realistic. Based on the best data now available, different assumptions could produce figures somewhere between £95 billion and £219 billion.
73.1% Sellafield

UK's nuclear clean-up cost estimate dips to $154 billion World Nuclear News; 15 Jul 2016

Nuclear_Decommissioning_Authority Wikipedia

he Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body of the British Department of Energy and Climate Change, formed by the Energy Act 2004. It evolved from the Coal and Nuclear Liabilities Unit of the Department of Trade and Industry. It came into existence during late 2004, and took on its main functions on 1 April 2005. Its purpose is to deliver the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK’s civil nuclear legacy in a safe and cost-effective manner, and where possible to accelerate programmes of work that reduce hazard. The NDA does not directly manage the UK's nuclear sites. It oversees the work through contracts with specially designed companies known as site licence companies. The NDA determines the overall strategy and priorities for managing decommissioning. Although the NDA itself only employs 300 staff, its annual budget is £3.2 billion. The vast majority of the NDA budget is spent through contracts with site licence companies, who also sub contract to other companies which provide special services. The NDA aims to do this by introducing innovation and contractor expertise through a series of competitions similar to the model that has been used in the United States.


Blowing-Up The Myths Around Nuclear Power And Terrorism Geoff Russell; New Matilda; 21 Apr 2016

Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are not the same thing. Even the much feared ‘dirty bomb’ is less of a challenge than many would have you think

reactor grade Pu

Reactor-Grade Plutonium Can be Used to Make Powerful and Reliable Nuclear Weapons: Separated plutonium in the fuel cycle must be protected as if it were nuclear weapons Richard L. Garwin, Senior Fellow for Science and Technology; Council on Foreign Relations, New York; 26 Aug 1998

As access to technology advances throughout the world, the barrier to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists or nations is more and more the barrier to weapon-usable fissionable material -- traditionally high-enriched uranium or "weapon-grade" plutonium. Even a modest nuclear weapon delivered by aircraft, missile, ship, or truck can threaten the lives of 100,000 people. Therefore it is important to understand whether reactor-grade plutonium from the nuclear fuel cycle -- typically 65% fissile (by thermal neutrons) compared with 93% fissile for weapon-grade material -- can readily be used to create nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the answer is that it can be so used. The conclusion, therefore, is that separated reactor-grade plutonium must be guarded in just the same way as if it were weapon-grade plutonium if it is not to contribute greatly to the spread and possible use of nuclear weaponry.

dirty bomb

Global security experts warn of dirty bomb interest Rachel Wittel; WBIR; 27 Mar 2016

(WBIR) Less than a week after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, authorities are investigating whether the suicide bombers were involved in the secret videotaping of a Belgian nuclear scientist. Investigators found a camera with hours of footage while searching the apartment of a suspect in the Paris terror attacks last fall. “Those terrorists had an intention of apparently either sabotaging a nuclear plant or acquiring nuclear material," Dean Rice, Global Fellow for UT's Institute for Nuclear Security, said. "The only reason they would acquire nuclear material would be to use it as a terror device as a dirty bomb.” A dirty bomb isn't a weapon meant to kill masses of people like a nuclear bomb would. “It’s an area denial and economic impact weapon," Howard Hall, UT Governor’s chair for nuclear security, said. “What it does is it terrifies the public. There’s a great deal of fear in our culture over radiation, and so, that fear is what radiological dispersal device, or the dirty bomb as they’re called, play on.”

Public perception of nuclear energy*