NNWE Executive Brief (30 January 2017)
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NNWE Executive Brief

Welcome to the bi-weekly Executive Brief aimed at distilling the most important market, regulatory and technological updates and delivering it straight into your inbox.

"Today, there is a new chance to revive Britain’s nuclear role. Such a revival, at a time when bodies like the International Energy Agency have underlined the potential for nuclear, would deliver significant economic benefits in terms of jobs, and possibly in due course exports too. Importantly, the right industrial strategy can enable this opportunity to be seized regardless of either how quickly or on what terms Brexit takes place. This strategy should have three main strands.

Firstly, expansion of the nuclear supply chain should be an explicit priority. Secondly, the strategy should aim to develop and exploit the considerable British expertise in nuclear decommissioning and waste. Thirdly, the strategy must include measures to ensure the provision of a workforce whose education and skill sets equip them for the opportunities which a revived new build programme, and the substantial decommissioning work already in the pipeline, both create."

Tim Yeo, Chairman, New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE)

5 Things to Know

(1) SAVE THE DATE: NNWE Parliamentary Reception: The Future of Nuclear Energy in Europe After Brexit (16.00 - 18.00, 14 March 2017 - House of Commons, London) We are delighted to announce that Peter Atherton, Associate, Cornwall Energy and Jean Llewellyn OBE, Chief Executive, National Skills Academy Nuclear have kindly agreed to speak, Dr Dan Poulter MP will also give opening remarks. Further speakers will be announced in due course. 
(2) The British Government has confirmed that it will be leaving the Euratom Treaty once Brexit takes affect. 
  • Key quote: The UK government said: “Leaving Euratom is a result of the decision to leave the EU as they are uniquely legally joined. The UK supports Euratom and will want to see continuity of co-operation and standards. We remain absolutely committed to the highest standards of nuclear safety, safeguards and support for the industry. Our aim is clear: we want to maintain our mutually successful civil nuclear co-operation with the EU.”
  • Reaction: Dr Paul Dorfman, Honorary Senior Researcher - Energy Institute, University College London: “I know for a fact that the nuclear industry really doesn’t like it. It’s bad news for the industry, bad news for opponents and critics of the industry as well. It’s a lose-lose situation, whereby the industry becomes less competitive and less safe.”
  • CommentRupert Cowen, Associate, Prospect Law: "The exit from Euratom amounts to a legal time bomb. Where the UK has current bilateral nuclear co-operation agreements in place, those agreements are predicated on application of the Euratom safeguards within the UK. As soon as [Euratom] falls away it means those jurisdictions cannot operate with us.”

(3) Toshiba has announced that its nuclear division is now under review following the write down in its future accounts. It is also seeking to balance the books by offloading 20% of its blue ribbon memory chip business. 
  • Comment: Satoshi Tsunakawa, Chief Executive, Toshiba: "The nuclear division as no longer a central business focus for the firm, [we] will review Westinghouse's role in new projects and whether it will embark on new power plant construction. The division will also now fall under direct CEO supervision."
  • Reaction: Global Private Equity Firm: "Partnering with Toshiba could be risky due to uncertainties over its nuclear business"

(4) Poland is set to outline its future nuclear new build in the next week following the launch of the Energy Policies of IEA Countries - Poland 2016 Review report. 
  • Quote: "[The] new government is revisiting the draft 2050 strategy and intends to publish its strategic vision later this year. It is anticipated that the new energy strategy will be consistent with the previous policy in its strong support for nuclear generating capacity, including existing activities to establish nuclear generating capacity."

(5) The BP Energy Outlook - 2017 predicts that nuclear will have a strong role to play in the future energy mix as demand increases [Figure 1].
  • Key Outtake: "The gradual transition in the fuel mix is set to continue with renewables - together with nuclear and hydroelectric power - expected to account for half of the growth in energy supplies over the next 20 years."
  • Key Outtake: "Nuclear capacity in Europe [is expected to] decline as ageing plants are gradually decommissioned and there is little new investment. EU nuclear power generation by 2035 is [expected to be] 30% lower than in 2015."
Figure 1:
Source: BP Energy Outlook 2017

Quotes of the week...

"Today's decision paves the way for a viable future for Areva based on a sustainable restructuring plan" -- Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner

"The UK is an important market for new nuclear build, with companies around the world ready to bring billions of pounds of investment and provide thousands of jobs. The UK government should ensure this can continue efficiently and that any new arrangements work in harmony with existing agreements." -- Agneta Rising, Director General, World Nuclear Association

“There are several ways for the UK to pursue its participation to ITER within the Brexit policy, if there is political will of the UK and the EU. This could occur either within or outside of the Euratom arrangement” -- Bernard Bigot, Director, ITER project

Market Update

Market as of
: 30 January 2017

Uranium Price: $23.00 lb | €21.40 lb
"Commercial operations at the Cigar Lake project in Canada commenced in 2014, with an annual uranium metal capacity of 6900t. The project produced 4340t of uranium in 2015, compared with 130t in 2014. Meanwhile, production at the Four Mile project in Australia rose from 750t in 2014 to 990t in 2015. By contrast, production from the US declined by 32% in 2015, while in Namibia it decreased by 20%." -- Cliff Smee, Head of Research and Analysis for Mining, GlobalData
Figure 2: 12-month price of uranium
Market as of: 16 January 2017 (courtesy of Cameco Company)
NewsGlobal uranium mine production is expected to increase at a annual growth rate of 4.3%, to reach 76,493t in 2020, but consumption is forecast to increase by 5% according to GlobalData.
News: The EBRD has signed framework agreements with the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, a precondition for the implementation of projects under an EBRD fund to deal with the remediation of former uranium mines and processing plants.

New Nuclear Project Tracker

Prospective developments: 1 (UK)
AP1000 (Westinghouse-Toshiba) Gen III+
Future development: 6 (China), 4 (US), 6 (India)
News: The first steam generator has been lifted into place at the VC Summer nuclear power plant under construction in South Carolina. It is the first such component to be installed at a Westinghouse AP1000 plant in the USA.
News: Installation of the fourth and final reactor coolant pump at the Sanmen 2 AP1000 has been completed.
ATMEA1 (Areva-Mitsubishi) Gen III+
Prospective developments: none
ABWR (GE Hitachi-Toshiba) Gen III
Prospective developments: 4 (Japan), 2 (UK)

APR1400 (Kepco) Gen III
Prospective developments: 4 APR+ (Gen III+) in South Korea
: Units 3 and 4 at the United Arab Emirates' Barakah NPP are 75% complete the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) have announced.
News: The Barakah nuclear power plant has received licences to transport, handle and store nuclear fuel from the United Arab Emirates' Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). The licences are a milestone towards the loading of fuel into the country's first nuclear power plant.

VVER-1000 (Rosatom) Gen III, VVER-1200 (Rosatom) Gen III+
Prospective developments: 14 (Russia), 2 (China), 12 (India), 1 (Finland), 3 (Turkey), 2 (Hungary)

News: Unit 2 of the Kudankulam NPP has for the first time reached 100% of its operating capacity. The milestone was achieved following the successful completion of physical tests at the 90% capacity level and the relevant permission from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Body of India (AERB) had been received.
Hualong1 (CGN) Gen III+
Prospective developments: 1 (UK), 4 (China)
: Harbin Electric Corporation has won a tender by CGN to supply coolant pumps for units 3 - 4 of the Changjiang NPP on China's southern island province of Hainan.
NewsThe pouring of first safety concrete at Fangchenggang 4 - the second Hualong One reactor at the site in China's Guangxi province - was completed on 26 December. 
Prospective developments: none

Global Decarbonisation

Europe’s power-sector CO2 emissions fell 4.5% in 2016 after a “huge” switch from coal-to-gas-fired generation, according to new analysis. The figures show coal generation across the EU falling by 94TWh, down 12% on a year earlier. Gas output was up 101TWh, a 20% increase.

Germany can meet its climate goals for the energy sector if it introduces a CO2-price floor of between €50 - €75 per ton, write Energy Brainpool. However, as long as power markets are interconnected, European measures make more sense than national ones.

France "finds itself facing electricity supply constraints" as a cold winter and 9GW of offline nuclear energy affects its domestic security, the IEA have said. 

German emissions have increased in 2016 due to the shutdown of the nuclear energy fleet in the country.

EDF board approves closure of oldest nuclear power station in France. The decision on Fessenheim comes after pressure from Berlin and need to comply with legal cap on atomic energy generation.

EU carbon prices collapsed below €5 in late trade, posting a 9.4% weekly loss.

Taking Britain out of Europe's energy market could stymie development of new power links designed to help avert a looming supply crunch and also drive up the cost of imported European electricity, warned the National Grid.

Industry News

Russia has resumed preparations for construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast. 

The IAEA has concluded a five-day SEED mission to Belarus, which is building its first nuclear power reactors. The two Russian-designed 1170MWe VVER units are scheduled to begin in 2020.

The pouring of the concrete for the foundation plate marks a milestone in the construction of the Cemex facility for liquid radioactive waste produced at Italy's Eurex pilot reprocessing facility.

Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK subsidiary of Japan's Hitachi, has been cleared to begin purchasing equipment for its proposed new nuclear power plant at Wylfa Newydd

New Reports

GlobalData Global Uranium Mining to 2020

International Energy Agency Energy Policies of IEA Countries - Poland 2016 Review

International Energy Agency Energy Policies of IEA Countries - France 2016

BP | BP Energy Outlook - 2017 Edition

NNWE Blogs

NNWE Reaction to the UK’s Exit from the Euratom Treaty
NNWE welcomes government’s industrial strategy
How the Industrial Strategy can support UK nuclear
What nuclear power needs to remain on track

NNWE calls for harmonisation of safety requirements for new nuclear build


The UK Government Industrial Strategy Green Paper (launched this week) indicates that the Government sees the nuclear industry as a vital part of this industrial future, new build plants are expected to be confirmed over the next year.

UK and Japan launch nuclear energy MoU. The move aims to maximise the economic potential that each country’s sector could offer to the other, focusing on R&D, new nuclear builds and decommissioning.

The Russian government has confirmed that its 2010 agreement with Ukraine on building a third and fourth reactor at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant has been cancelled.

EU antitrust regulators approved the French government's plan to inject €4.5bn into Areva saying the rescue would not unduly distort competition. The ruling will allow Areva to restart as a smaller firm focused on uranium mining and nuclear fuel production.

Rosatom and Armenia's Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources have signed a protocol on the exchange of information and increasing cooperation in nuclear safety.

Rosatom and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) have signed a road map on the expansion of cooperation in the nuclear power industry.
The Czech energy Minister has announced a fresh impetus for nuclear. The creation of three working groups will be responsible for financial, legal and technical-investment strategies as they push towards their COP21 commitments.

Nuclear Regulation

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) have outlined new licence conditions for Sweden’s NPPs. The conditions mandate the use of armed security guards at nuclear stations and say perimeters should be guarded and controlled 24/7 with the help of guard dogs.

Innovation (Gen IV)

The Economist has published an article outlining the future of nuclear new build by a new crop of developers, mainly focusing on smaller, adaptable reactors which can be deployed at speed. 

The UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is inviting contributions to its new inquiry into priorities for nuclear R&D. In 2011 the Committee investigated whether the UK's R&D capabilities were sufficient to meet the country's nuclear energy needs - the new consultation will see if this is still the case

LeadCold, the small nuclear reactor technology company, has said licensing and construction of a demonstration SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Fast Reactor) in Canada has moved a step closer thanks to $200 million in funding from Essel Group Middle East.

Terrestrial Energy have announced plans to license a small modular reactor (SMR) in the USA. Terrestrial said it intends to start "pre-application interactions" with the regulator this year and to make its licensing application in late 2019.

NNWE in the news

Infrastructure Intelligence
Energy Post
Kauppalehti News
Nuclear Report
Nuclear Report

Infrastructure Intelligence
Sunday Telegraph

About New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE)

Chaired by Tim Yeo (Former MP and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee) we campaign to ensure nuclear power is recognised as a desirable way for EU governments to meet their long-term security needs. 

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