"“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, January 30, 2007

UK Nuclear Power rollout gains speed (Thank God!)

It is 2 years to the day since Tony Blair first talked about nuclear power generation in the UK in public.

The juggernaut of decision making was set in motion on that day - one major step was made public today.

The good news (and far more important for the whole country) is that British Energy's Web site said at about 8 a.m. London time today. "British Energy invites proposals for new nuclear generation''

Bloomberg reports that in an e-mailed statement BE says, ``All of our existing sites are strong contenders for new nuclear build,''

British Energy's existing nuclear sites benefit from (Shares 12 p off = 2.3% on the day)

1. Local comunities have positive views on nuclear power
2. Many Planning issues have been settled previously, which should cut the planning / development process
3. Existing links with the electricity grid
4. Increasing awareness of the limited timetable for replacing ageing ( and increasingly crack prone ) plant and consequenty need for rapid decision making

In January 2006 the DTI asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to contribute an expert report on health and safety issues and the potential role of pre-licensing assessments of nuclear reactor designs should the Government decide to progress new nuclear electricity generation.

They reported in July 2006 and concluded (unsurprisingly) that Britain’s existing health and safety system is flexible enough to deal with any hazards and risks from energy developments, and to achieve sensible risk management.

To prepare the ground a joint regulators workshop took place at HSE’s offices in Bootle on 17 October 2006, to discuss issues relating to the design assessment and licensing phases for new nuclear power stations, and to seek views on the guidance being developed by the regulators.

On January 11th 2007 the HSE quietly announced the proposed generic design assessment process "should the UK embark on a programme to build new nucear power stations ."

This was all part of the results of the Gubment in the 2006 Energy Review asking the HSE to work with the other nuclear regulators (including the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security) to introduce a pre-authorisation system for reactor designs, which it was intended would be in place by January 2007.

"HSE and the other principal regulators will continue their discussions with designers and potential operators of nuclear power atations over the next few months. However, formal assessment of generic designs will not commence until the Government's policy on nuclear power is clarified when the Energy White Paper is published later this year."

Meanwhile vendors - all of them based overseas - are engaged in preliminary discussions, Areva are in pole position with GE who have a major program of building looming in the US pitching in.

It is increasingly evident that a lot of people, in lots of organisations, European, national, Government , commercial have been working very hard to ensure that when the final proposals / locations are made public that work can commence immediately after the necessary (but futile) debate.

Let us hope that the Civil Service do not fuck up the process by their previous insane NIH fixation - which seems unlikely this time round, as there is no commercial organisation left in the UK who could plan, design and build a nuclear plant.

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