NNWE Executive Brief (13 February 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.

“NNWE has long been an advocate of opening up the UK market for new nuclear build to alternative vendors, and has made repeated calls on government to commission a study of which nuclear technologies offer the best value for money. Nuclear is vital to delivering a secure, low carbon and affordable energy mix. Complacency is not an option and government needs to create the right conditions for countries like China, Korea and Russia to come to the UK, invest and build.”

“We cannot afford to put all our eggs in one basket and standby and hope that certain projects will deliver. Introducing diversity into the portfolio of nuclear new build projects will significantly mitigate any risk of non-delivery. And as NNWE has always argued, a thorough consideration of all the technologies on offer will ultimately be in the best interests of the consumer by leading to lower electricity prices”.

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

5 Things to Know

(1) SAVE THE DATE: NNWE Parliamentary Briefing: The Future of Nuclear Energy in Europe Following Brexit (16.00 - 18.00, 14 March 2017 - House of Commons, London) We are delighted to announce that Nick Butler, Commentator, Financial Times; 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 Lloyds Register report: Technology Radar - a Nuclear Perspective has been released declaring that nuclear is now more competitive than fossil fuels in the long-term. 
  • Key quote: "When costs are levelised across the lifecycle, nuclear is one of the most cost-effective methods of power generation. Indeed, OECD research shows that nuclear is the lowest levelised cost option for power generation for all OECD countries under certain capital cost projections. Regional differences in the cost of capital for nuclear projects mean that while cost can be a challenge for greenfield nuclear projects in Europe and North America, it is seen as less of an issue in Asia, where economies of scale, lower labour costs and more recent experience in building reactors all have an impact."

(3) A new report on the coal sector in the European Union (EU) argues that there is no hope of GHG reduction targets being met unless a quarter of the coal-fired power plants now operating are phased out within the next three years [Figure 1 - below].
  • Outtake: "[The] Czech Republic has the highest current coal dependency in per capita terms, followed by Germany, Poland and Bulgaria. France, Sweden and Austria stand out as having comparatively lower coal consumption per capita, with France relying strongly on nuclear power, Austria on hydroelectricity and Sweden on a mixture of both. Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have no coal power plants at all."

(4) The UK's decision to leave the Euratom Treaty is putting 66,000 workers at risk in the nuclear power industry and threatening to disrupt the flow of atomic fuel across international borders.
  • Quote: Jonathan Leech, Lawyer, Prospect Law: “The government will need to be confident that, once triggered, the two-year Euratom exit timetable is sufficient to put in place replacement arrangements to avoid a damaging hiatus for the U.K. nuclear industry. Without demonstrably adequate safeguards key countries will simply cease trade with the U.K. in nuclear materials, technology and know-how.”

(5) The UK Government is considering changing its long standing policy of no public funding in new nuclear power plants as the need to balance future energy security and low carbon deployment reaches a crucial juncture. 
  • Quote: Senior source“The penny has finally dropped. It is the government’s duty to keep the lights on. The government now gets this.”
  • Opinion: Senior Source: "Discussions are moving forward, but the Treasury is the Treasury. They will always be more cautious.”
Figure 1:
Source: Climate Analytics: Phasing Out Coal in the European Union

Quotes of the week...

"There will be challenges for SMRs to deliver on all of their promise and be the radical change to the industry that people are hoping. However, the focus on modular and more efficient construction techniques and building the UK supply chain could make a real difference across the sector." -- Daniel Grosvenor, Head of Energy, Advisory Corporate Finance Deloitte UK

"Increasing the proportion of nuclear generation in the energy mix is the most reliable way of reducing carbon emissions while maintaining a reliable energy supply" -- Glyn Gaskarth, Civitas

“A high share of nuclear in the energy mix helps to limit import dependency...the countries with the lowest greenhouse gas intensity have a high share of low-carbon technologies (renewable and nuclear) in their electricity mix and the three Nordic countries had the lowest prices, facilitated by a high share of renewables (hydro in Finland and Sweden, biomass in Finland and wind in Denmark) and nuclear (in Finland and Sweden) in the electricity mix” -- European Commission, 2nd Report on the State of the Energy Union

"Embarking on a nuclear power program is a major undertaking requiring long-term commitment and dedicated effort. As this meeting discussed, governments must create an enabling environment for the introduction of nuclear power, and regulatory bodies and operating organisations must be competent to oversee and manage project activities for a nuclear power program to be successful." -- Milko Kovachev, Head of the Nuclear Infrastructure Development, IAEA

Market Update

Market as of
: 13 February 2017

Uranium Price: $26.00 lb | €24.19 lb
"Most fuel used today is uranium oxide – a ceramic fuel – and, while it is safe and effective, we’re finding that its performance tops out at around two years inside the reactor. You start having fuel degradation, which causes operational problems. This imposes a limit on how long you can operate without having to refuel, and how much energy you can load into the reactor at the beginning of the process. However, metallic or other alternative fuel designs could be available within the next decade for large land-based reactors, with major implications for operating cycles and safety.” --  David Scott, Advisor to the Chairman, Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority

"Despite the uranium spot price hitting a 12-year low, the performance of Cameco's core business, uranium production, was solid and in line with our outlook" -- Tim Gitzel, President and CEO, Cameco
Figure 2: 12-month price of uranium
Market as of: 13 February 2017 (courtesy of Cameco)
News: Cameco has reported a net loss of $62 million for 2016 on the back of a $362 million in impairment charges after deciding to shut down its Rabbit Lake milling facility and write off the value of its Kintyre development project in Australia.
News: Australian today recommended ratification of a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement that will permit the export of Australian uranium to Ukraine.

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
: The final condenser at the United Arab Emirates' Barakah NPP has been installed. The condenser cools the steam produced in the reactor's generators back into water after it has been used to spin the plant's generator turbine.
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.
News: The 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

The UK could need 20 more nuclear power stations if electric cars take over roads and will cause ‘massive strain’ on power networks.

As part of the UK Capacity Market auction, EDF has secured one-year agreements for its Dungeness B, Sizewell B, Hinkley Point B, Heysham 1, Heysham 2, Hartlepool, Torness and Hunterston B nuclear power plants.

Britain is unlikely to remain in Europe's carbon market following its exit from the European Union, the European Parliament's lead carbon policymaker said before the upcoming vote on EU ETS reform.

Industry News

A small fire in a non-nuclear section of the EDFs Flamanville plant was put out quickly by on site personnel last week. An investigation is being undertaken into what caused the incident

The projected new build plants within the UK are single-handedly securing the future of the UK construction industry

Costly delays, growing complexity and new safety requirements are conspiring to thwart a new age of Gen III+ nuclear reactor construction.

Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK subsidiary of Japan's Hitachi, has announced two appointments to the board. William Doig, a power and energy consultant with Grove Consulting and Ken Petrunik, a former advisor to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

EDF Energy has taken its Heysham 1 nuclear power plant offline for a major maintenance program. Around 1000 extra workers will join the site's 700-strong team during the eight-week outage.

New Reports

European Commission | 2nd Report on the State of the Energy Union

Lloyd’s Register | Technology Radar: The Nuclear Perspective

CivitasCompetitiveness Before Carbon

Nuclear Energy Insider | European Nuclear Decommissioning Cost Estimation Whitepaper

Rosatom | SWOT Report 2017

Climate Analytics | Coal Phase Out in the European Union

NIRAB | Final Report: 2014-16

ForatomWhat people really think about nuclear energy


On Wednesday 15 February, the European Parliament will vote on the EU ETS compromise which may boost the 5EUR per tonne carbon price

The European Commission has published they're second report on the state of the Energy Union. The final PINC report is due in the next few months. 

The UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have released their Energy and Climate Change Pubic Attitude Tracker (Wave 20) report.

Nuclear Regulation

Armenia expects to complete upgrading work at the Metsamor nuclear power plant this year, the country's energy infrastructure and natural resources ministry said yesterday.

The IAEA is scheduled to conduct a Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation peer review mission between 14 and 23 February at units 1 and 2 of Engie Electrabel's Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium.

Loviisa NPP is safe and meets legal requirements, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has concluded following a review.

Spain's regulator has given conditional approval for the restart and continued operation of the Garoña nuclear power plant, which has been offline for the past four years.

Innovation (Gen IV)

The AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) has announced further progress in Russia's endeavour to close the nuclear fuel cycle. VNIINM has completed three state-sponsored contracts for the breakthrough project. 

NNWE Blogs

NNWE reaction to Toshiba withdrawing from new build projects
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

NNWE in the news

Sunday Telegraph
Financial Times
Infrastructure Intelligence
Energy Post
Kauppalehti News
Nuclear Report
Nuclear Report

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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