"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

UK Energy Security - Nuclear Con - Fusion (2)

In 2005 UK based electricity generation totalled 398 terawatt-hours,of which 61-63 terawatt-hours is generated by British Energy PLC who operate 8 nuclear power stations with a total capacity of 9,568 megawatts.he company also operate a coal fired plant at Eggborough with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

Due to a "leak" underground at the Hartlepool plant the reactors were shut down last month and their re-opening has been delayed. The work required might indicate similiar work needs also to be undertaken at Heysham 1.

Today the company announced that 2 more reactors have developed problems resulting in the need to close down the reactors...."a level of boiler tube cracking at the high end of the range previously experienced."

Hinkley point B has an installed capacity of 1,220 megawatts, while Hunterston B's is 1,190 megawatts, both are gas cooled reactors, and came on stream in February 1976, their design life ends in 2011.

The company also report problems with fuelling at Dungeness B which will result in unplanned outages - and one unit at Heysham is operating at reduced load due to "temperature anomolies".

It is early to calculate the effect on production of these problems but informed estimates consider that these closures will reduce annual output by at least 10% and as much as 15% cutting total national production 3/4% - when dmeand is growing at 1-2% annually. The repairs will of course add massively to operating costs.

There will be other effects...

UK Domestic electricity prices will rise both short and long term - increasing industrial costs and impacting on houehold costs to drive up inflation.

Production from other coal / gas fired plants will drive up CO2 emissions - making EU emission targets more difficult / impossible to acheive.

British Energy share price dropped dramatically today - 25% which will reinforce the nervousness of investors about the massive costs of replacing the current nuclear plants - making decisions about the financing, building and commissioning nuclear plants even more problematic for a Gubment with a new found, but unpopular belief in new UK nuclear plants.

However someone WAS planning and Dusseldorf based E.ON, Europe’s second-biggest utility after France’s state owned EDF, operates in the UK as Powergen, who announced in December they were planning a new "clean" coal fired station and announced last week plans to build two new 800-megawatt so-called "supercritical" units at Kingsnorth, in Kent. Supercritical means, slightly more efficient, slightly less emissions and much, much higher operating costs and increased future coal imports. Overall these will replace the present units at the site so do not add significantly to UK total electricity production.

E.ON UK has already applied for S36 consent to build two new gas-fired power stations, at Drakelow in Derbyshire and at the Isle of Grain in Kent, and is conducting a feasibility study into building a clean coal power station at Killingholme in Lincolnshire.

It would be unwise to suggest that this Gubment after 9 years in office has an "Energy Plan" but what plans they had for electricity generation are looking increasingly flaky, costly, reliant on overseas shareholders and suppliers of fuel and result in more CO2 emissions.

An interesting piece at Money Week which re-inforces above views.

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