NNWE Executive Brief (12 December 2016)
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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.

"For nuclear power to achieve its potential it must be cost competitive compared to other fuel sources. Harmonising the safety requirements for nuclear new build, which vary across the EU and neighbouring countries, could drive costs down and help the technology to compete on economic grounds. NNWE urges pro-nuclear countries across Europe to work more closely together to enable nuclear power to play a full and important part in the future, low carbon energy mix”. -- speaking at the NNWE Nuclear Energy Policy Forum (1 December 2016)

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

5 Things to Know

(1) President elect Trump's transition team have asked the US Energy Department how it can help keep nuclear reactors “operating as part of the nation’s infrastructure” and what it could do to prevent the shutdown of plants in the clearest signal yet on his view on nuclear energy policy.
  • Reaction: Rob Barnett, Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence“To make sure existing nuclear stays open, you need Congress to pony up subsidies and we think that’s an uphill battle.”
  • Reaction: Maria Korsnick, Chief Operating Officer, Nuclear Energy Institute: “Federal and state leaders must act urgently to preserve at-risk nuclear energy facilities, just like lawmakers and agency officials in Illinois and New York have done,”

(2) An overview of the challenges relating to Brexit and the Euratom Treaty. Future new build could be significantly affected
(3) Unique engineering feat concluded as €2.1bn Chernobyl arch is put in place.
  • Reaction: Igor Gramotkin, Director-General of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant: “We were not building this arch for ourselves. We were building it for our children, for our grandchildren and for our great-grandchildren. This is our contribution to the future, in line with our responsibility for those who will come after us.”
  • Facts108 metres = The height in meters of the new dome // 10,000 workers involved // 40 governments who contributed to the project. 

(4) The EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 with the publication of the Clean Energy Package. The proposals have three main goals: energy efficiency; leadership in renewables; and providing a fair deal for consumers [figure 1].
  • Reaction: Georg Zachmann, Senior Fellow, Bruegel: “Renewables nowadays are typically being produced at zero marginal cost... Renewables have come from a niche technology to the mainstream. More than half of the capacity additions in Europe have been renewable technologies. So the idea is that they start playing by the same rules as everybody else [non subsidy]" 
  • Reaction: Jorgo Riss, Director, Greenpeace’s European Unit: "The Commission’s Winter Package is supposed to set the path to meet those commitments. President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wants to lead a political Commission, making 'big [decisions] on big things and small on small things', so this should be his opportunity. Instead what we’ve been presented with is a technocratic fudge."

(5) Prosecutors in Paris have opened an inquiry into allegations that a factory owned by Areva, the French nuclear group, has been falsifying safety tests for decades.
  • Reaction: Paul Dorfman, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University College London’s Energy Institute: “From a British background, it is inconceivable that nuclear safety documents should be falsified, how can one be assured of the quality of key nuclear materials given the fact that the French have been falsifying documents and installing faulty equipment that is key to nuclear safety?”
  • Reaction: Pierre-Franck Chevet, Chairman, European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group: “We are facing a serious anomaly.”

Figure 1
Source: European Commission

Quotes of the week...

"Some NGOs love to hate nuclear, but even with the nuclear renaissance, you'd have to push wind and solar to the limit, if you want to do it without nuclear, it's technically possible, but incredibly ambitious. There are unanswered questions about how a 100% renewable system would work." -- László Varró, Chief Economist, International Energy Agency (IEA)

 "Having led the global climate action in recent years, Europe is now showing example by creating the conditions for sustainable jobs, growth and investment. Today's [Clean Energy Package] proposals touch upon all clean energy related sectors: research and innovation, skills, buildings, industry, transport, digital, finance to name but a few. These measures will equip all European citizens and businesses with the means to make the most of the clean energy transition." -- Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Energy Union, European Commission

"[The UK] Government has made commitments that will keep the ONR busier than ever before, with a more diverse and larger portfolio than for many years. Whilst this brings very welcome opportunities for ONR, it also presents some challenges that we need to address to succeed for the next 50 years. When I took up this role, my brief was that ONR's regulation was world class - and it is - so my focus would be to help ONR grow into its new role as an independent Public Corporation." -- Adriènne Kelbie, Chief Executive, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

Market Update

Market as of
: 12 December 2016

NewsA new report by an equity firm into EDFs finance has claimed that the company is "technically bankrupt". According to the report, EDF has underestimated its decommissioning liabilities by €20bn.
Reaction“[it] strongly contests the alleged accounting and financial analyses by the firm Alpha Value carried out at the request of Greenpeace and relating to the situation of EDF”. -- EDF Press Statement
Reaction: "The French company overvalues its nuclear assets, and underestimates how much it will cost to decommission them. EDF's biggest problem is the cost of producing power from these ageing power stations. The cost is greater than the wholesale price, so everything they sell is at a loss. It is impossible to see how they can ever make a profit." -- Mycle Schneider, Independent Nuclear Energy Consultant 

Uranium Price: $18.00 lb | €16.70 lb
"Despite recent declines in electricity demand in some developed countries, global demand is expected to continue to grow in the next several decades to meet the needs of a growing population, particularly in developing countries. Since nuclear power plant operation produces competitively priced, baseload electricity that is essentially free of greenhouse gas emissions, and the deployment of nuclear power enhances the security of energy supply, it is projected to remain an important component of energy supply." -- OECD-NEA, 2016 Uruanium Report (The Red Book)

“If you are going to acquire uranium assets, now is the right time. If it’s not the bottom yet, you can certainly see it. And on that front we see the market at the early stage of what will become a roaring bull market.” -- Craig Parry, CEO and President, IsoEnergy
Figure 2: 12-month price of uranium
Market as of: 12 December 2016 (courtesy of Ux Consulting Company)

News: JSC U1 Group - part of Russian Rosatom's international mining division - has taken 100% ownership of Uranium One Holding NV, the Netherlands-registered company responsible for Rosatom's uranium assets in Kazakhstan, Tanzania and the USA.

New Nuclear Project Tracker

Prospective developments: 1 (UK)

News: Finnish utility TVO has been awarded a final and binding partial award in the ongoing arbitration proceedings related to delays in the construction of the first-of-a-kind EPR unit at Olkiluoto.
News: EDF Energy has published the timetable for the second stage of formal public consultation for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant - comprising two EPR reactors - in Suffolk, England. The public consultation will run between 23 November and 3 February 2017.

AP1000 (Westinghouse-Toshiba) Gen III+
Future development: 6 (China), 4 (US), 6 (India)
News: Haiyang 1 is on course to be turned on by the end of 2016 following a successful test of some of its systems. .
ATMEA1 (Areva-Mitsubishi) Gen III+
Prospective developments: none
News: The IAEA has conducted a seismic review of the Atmea 1 reactor design. This is the first such review it has carried out on a new nuclear power reactor design.
ABWR (GE Hitachi-Toshiba) Gen III
Prospective developments: 4 (Japan), 2 (UK)
News: The UK Environment Agency plans to begin a consultation on the GDA of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy ABWR that may be built in Wylfa Newydd or Oldbury.
APR1400 (Kepco) Gen III
Prospective developments: 4 APR+ (Gen III+) in South Korea
Shin Kori 4 is undergoing a re-cabling of some of its systems and is due to come online in January 2017.
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: The MDEP VVER Working Group met in Beijing, China, with representatives from China, Finland, Hungary, India, Russia and Turkey agreeing to finalise the Fukushima Common Position paper by the end of year and the two technical reports by April 2017.
Hualong1 (CGN) Gen III+
Prospective developments: 1 (UK), 6 (China)
News: CGN are looking to propose their plans for the Hualong 1 development at Bradwell in
the UK for GDA approval before the end of the year. 
Prospective developments: none
 Kakrapar Unit 3 is due to come online at the end of 2016 but may be delayed as final checks are concluded.

Global Decarbonisation

Trump could face the ‘biggest trial of the century’ over climate change if he proceeds with scrapping key climate initiatives

The OPEC agreement has helped the EU carbon allowance rally 10% from new 2-month low

China is set to become the top carbon trading nation by the end of 2017, likely twice the size of EU ETS, which is currently the world's biggest carbon market.
Luis Echávarri, former Director-General of the OECD-NEA has written an open letter commenting on Vietnam's decision to cancel their prospective nuclear development programme, stating that better living standards are secured through nuclear projects

Industry News

EDF has been authorised to restart seven reactors in France which closed after safety fears. However, four other reactors will stay shut while tests continue.

French company Assystem has signed a €120 million supply chain contract with EDF to build the two reactors due at Hnkley Point C in the UK. 

The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) launched its Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan this month to ensure UK nuclear employers, including the supply chain, can recruit skilled people to meet future demand. 

The first RPV has been lifted into place at Georgia's Vogtle 3 nuclear construction project.

United Innovation Corporation has signed a MOU with Brazilian consultancy CK3 for the development, construction and operation of an irradiation centre in Brazil. 

An international investor is interested in Bulgaria’s cancelled Belene nuclear. The bidder has yet to be announced but exploratory talks continue.

Kazakhstan has undertaken research into five possible sites for the construction of a NPPThe five sites are: Ulken, in the South; Kurchatov, in the Northeast; Kostanay, in northern Kazakhstan; Taraz, near the border with Kyrgyzstan; and Aktau, on the western shore of the Caspian sea. 

The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NL), signed an agreement to become a full member of the multinational Halden test reactor project in Norway.

New Reports

UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Technical Baseline

OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency: Uranium 2016 - Resources, Production and Demand

AlphaValue: EDF asphyxiated by the nuclear

OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency: Management of Radioactive Waste after a Nuclear Power Plant Accident

NNWE Blogs

NNWE calls for harmonisation of safety requirements for new nuclear build
- The Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry Following the US Election
Tim Yeo, Chairman of NNWE Gives a Keynote Speech at the 4th European Nuclear Power Briefing 2016
Pan-European CfDs' called for at EU nuclear Conference
NNWE reflects on the 60th anniversary of Calder Hall nuclear power station

- New nuclear power heralded at Conservative Party conference
- NNWE Briefing Results in Calls for Greater Standardisation of Nuclear Components
Following Hinkley, the UK nuclear industry is now at a turning point


Court backs German utilities' nuclear compensation claim.

An MOU between South Korea's NSSC and Saudi Arabia's KA-CARE has been signed, focusing on nuclear safety harmonisation

The eventual decommissioning of an EU-owned nuclear tokamak machine, currently the largest nuclear fusion experiment in the world, is a potential flashpoint in Brexit negotiations, with the cost estimated at £289m. 

The South African Integrated Resource Plan for electricity was announced which has postponed the development of new nuclear for the foreseeable future. 

Nuclear Regulation

An IAEA review has concluded that Italy is committed to effective nuclear regulatory oversight, but faces challenges related to resources and needs to further develop policies for nuclear safety, decommissioning and radioactive waste management.

The excavation of an underground used nuclear fuel final disposal facility at Olkiluoto, Finland, is set to begin next month after the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) appointed a contractor. 

Energoatom has achieved certification by 3 separate international standard agencies, meeting the conditions of its loan agreement with the EBRD and Euratom for the joint financing of nuclear safety upgrades at its nuclear power units.

Russia and Tajikistan have signed a protocol on the transfer of project documentation for the "remediation of areas affected by uranium mining".

Unit 3 at the South Ukraine NPP suffered an emergency shutdown on 27 November. Emissions and discharges of radioactive substances into the environment did not exceed the permissible values.

EU nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia have made some progress made since 2011, but critical challenges ahead say the European Commission

Innovation (Gen IV)

A team of physicists and chemists has "grown a man-made diamond" from nuclear waste that is able to generate a small electrical current.

SMRs will play a key role in providing low carbon heat for district heating systems, according to the strategy manager of the UK’s Energy Technologies Network.

The €18bn Iter project in Provence, France, is the first capable of achieving the critical breakthrough of getting more energy out of the intense fusion reactions than is put in. The Guardian (UK) give an in-depth report on the project.

The stellarator (nuclear fusion) project in Germany latest results shows positive progress on achieving objectives. 

NNWE in the news

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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