NNWE Executive Brief (27 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.

At present, none of the projects in the UK pipeline has an assured completion date. The continuing technical challenges faced by EDF at Flamanville pose a real risk that further delays at Hinkley Point C will occur. The Horizon project has not yet secured investors. Toshiba's financial problems have cast doubt on the future of NuGen. The technology which CGN will deploy at Bradwell has yet to undergo its generic design assessment.

These uncertainties are aggravated by the prospect of UK withdrawal from Euratom, an unhelpful consequence of Brexit. This combination of circumstances means that without clear leadership from Government there is a danger that no new nuclear capacity will come on stream in the UK before 2030."

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 Professor Bill Lee, Former Director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Imperial College London; Nick Butler, Commentator, Financial Times; and Peter Atherton, Associate, Cornwall Energy will join Tim Yeo, Chairman of NNWE on the panel. Dr Dan Poulter MP will also give opening remarks. Further speakers will be announced in due course.
(2) The European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) released their latest report entitled European Energy Industry Investments [Figure 1].
  • Key quote: Nuclear: "The medium and long-term future of nuclear power is highly unsure in the EU and will depend upon a number of factors, including the outcome of ongoing research and investment projects. Considering the current political and societal context and the electricity market conditions, it is unlikely that nuclear technology will represent a major share in the low carbon investments in 2020-2050."
  • Recommendations: Electricity"EUR54-80bn per year in electricity generation and EUR40-62bn per year in transmission and distribution grids, compared to EUR35bn currently."

(3) A must read piece on how the cost of safety is destroying the nuclear industry with a rundown of the various challenges facing different reactor types.
  • Outtake: "After nine years of writing about the global nuclear industry, these developments [Toshiba/Areva] make for an unusually grim outlook. It’s a very big rock hitting the pond. Toshiba’s self-inflicted wounds will result in long lasting challenges to the future of the global nuclear energy industry. Worse, it comes on top of the French government having to restructure and recapitalise Areva”

(4) NNWE have released a 5-point plan to save the UK nuclear energy industry, the recommendations include (the full letter can be viewed here):
  • Direct financial support during the construction period for new plant.
  • Foreign ownership of new nuclear plant.
  • Better utilisation of the available nuclear sites.
  • Acceleration of the Generic Design Assessment process.
  • Maximising the UK share of the supply chain.

(5) Green MEP Claude Turmes is launching a new book, "Energy Transformation: An Opportunity for Europe" with the launch set to be attended by Jerzy Buzek MEP (Chair of the ITRE Committee) and  EU Climate Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
  • Quote: On nuclear energy: "I think [the problems at] Tihange, the Belgian nuclear reactor, has already put that on the agenda. For a citizen living in a border region, the risk coming from a nuclear reactor in a neighbouring country is much more intrusive than any EU legislation. It is a bit hypocritical to have an Energy Union which wants to address everything but the risk from the nuclear industry."
  • Comment: On the likelihood of an EU wide Carbon Floor Price: "The situation in Germany is still evolving. After the German election [this autumn] I’m pretty optimistic that Germany will sit down with France, the Benelux, Italy and the Scandinavians. From the end of 2017 we could get a large area of Europe under a carbon price floor."
Figure 1:
Source: EP (ITRE) report: European Energy Industry Investments

Quotes of the week...

"Any individual project capable of meeting more than 1% of total UK electricity demand should be eligible for direct financial support in addition to a Contract for Difference. The high capital cost of building nuclear plant, all of which must be met before any revenue is generated, makes nuclear a prime example of where direct support is justified." -- Tim Yeo, Chairman, NNWE

“Nations are unlikely to buy nuclear from nations like the US, France and Japan that are closing (or not opening) their nuclear power plants... From now on, there are only three major players in the global nuclear power plant market: Korea, China and Russia. The US, the EU and Japan are just out of the game. France could get back in, but they are not competitive today.” -- Michael Shellenberger, President and Founder, Environmental Progress

"I commend the United Kingdom for its support of the Agency’s work, particularly in the areas of nuclear security and applications." -- Yukiya Amanom, Director General, IAEA

"The answer, I believe, is the introduction of border carbon adjustments to protect European competitiveness. It was interesting to note George Shultz and James Baker, both former US Treasury secretaries, arguing the same point last week with regards to America’s position on climate change, also making the point that this will also genuinely encourage other countries to follow suit." -- Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman, ArcelorMittal

“It is imperative that the government publishes contingency plans for how it will make up the capacity due to be provided by these plants in the event one or more does not succeed or is delayed” -- Lord Hollick, Chair, UK House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs

Market Update

Market as of
: 27 February 2017

Uranium Price: $24.50 lb | €23.09lb
Figure 2: 12-month price of uranium
Market as of: 27 February 2017 (courtesy of Cameco)
NewsU.S. uranium production totalled 2,916,558 pounds in 2016, 13% lower than in 2015 and the lowest annual U.S. production since 2005.
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

MEPs back plans to cut carbon emission allowances and fund low-carbon innovation.

China nuclear push stalled by next-generation reactors as they seek to complete projects before next raft of new build commences.

Two high-profile US Republicans have put forward the case for a US carbon tax which could help kick-start US nuclear deployment.

Nuclear energy's share of Ukraine's electricity mix is "rapidly approaching" 60% is it seeks to become energy secure

Singapore plans Southeast Asia's first carbon tax to begin in 2019.

Industry News

EDF woes increase as Taishan EPR nuclear reactor project delayed by 6-months.

The EU and IAEA have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities, including nuclear science applications, during a meeting in Brussels.

Rolls Royce's nuclear business rose 11% year-on-year to £777m, following their record loss of £4.6bn across all subsidiaries. 

Toshiba is still considering selling its interest in NuGen to Korea Electric Power Corp.

Rosatom files documents for participation in South Africa’s projects.

Horizon Nuclear Power forms operating partnership with Exelon Generation for Wylfa (UK) development. 

New Reports

House of Lord Select Committee on Economic AffairsThe Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market

European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)European Energy Industry Investments

Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party | Global Challenge, Local Leadership Environment and Climate Change Position Paper 2017


The Scottish Conservative Party have committed to supporting two new nuclear power plants at Hunterston and Torness. This is contrary to the SNPs long-standing anti-nuclear agenda. 

UK Ministers are considering whether to put public funds into future nuclear power plants

Poland’s National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) has signed an agreement to collaborate with the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on future NPP deployment. 

The UK Government will seek an electricity price 20% cheaper than Hinkley Point C (£92 per-Mwh) for future NPP. 

Nuclear Regulation

Turkish regulatory agency approves design parameters of Akkuyu NPP site at Mersin.

Th UK Atomic Energy Authority has released a white paper assessing Britain's impending departure from the Euratom treaty

Spanish regulator, Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), has approved the restart of Santa Maria de Garoña NPP in Burgos, on condition it undertakes a series of modifications.

Innovation (Gen IV)

The first ever SMR conference backed by the NIA is being held this week ahead of the publication of the UK government road map for the technology. 

NNWE Blogs

- 5-point plan to save the UK nuclear sector - letter to UK Secretary of State
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

The Ecologist
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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