"“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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hutton , Brown call for "a significant expansion of nuclear power " ... well up to a point Lord Copper

On the 27th June 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair met a selection of magazine editors for a special question and answer session in the State Dining Room of Number 10.

He said in a unreported remark, " ....there is a simple stark fact that I would just like to put in front of people, which is we are going to go over the next 15 or 20 years to a situation where: one, the 20% that we get of our electricity from nuclear is going to decline to virtually zero; and two, where we are going to go from being 80 or 90% self-sufficient in oil and gas, to 80 or 90% importing it."

Tom Foulkes, the far sighted Director General of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) , introduced the report The "State of the Nation 2003" (31/07/2003) which the Press Release said, "Britain will become completely reliant upon energy sources supplied via pipelines from politically unstable countries thousands of miles away. The ‘State of the Nation 2003’ report highlights a potential 80% shortfall in meeting the country’s energy demands from current supplies by 2020, and points to the possibly cataclysmic effects of becoming reliant upon unsecured, imported fuel supplies."

It is better to read the whole thing but this statement 5 years ago provides a flavour ..

"“This country has been largely self sufficient in electricity generation for the past 100 years. We have been able to ride through a succession of energy crises, such as oil in 1973, coal in the early 1980s and the self-inflicted petrol crisis of 2000. All of these had the potential to inflict serious economic damage, but this was largely avoided by the fuel mix and diversity available at the time.

This is about to change dramatically. Currently our generation mix for electricity is approximately 32% coal, 23% nuclear, 38% gas, 4% oil with 3% others and renewables. Emission constraints mean that the UK’s coal-powered generating plants will close shortly after 2016 and only one nuclear power station will remain operational beyond 2020, due to the Government’s failure to invest in maintaining and upgrading Britain’s nuclear power programme. At present, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and wave can only provide a fraction of the total requirement.

Mindful of the outages this week ...David Anderson, chair of ICE’s Energy Board, said (remeber this was 5 years ago): “The Government simply isn’t taking on board the generation mix that will be needed beyond 2020 if security of supply and meeting our environmental commitments are both to be achieved. A return to the blackouts that marked the ‘Winter of Discontent’ and the country grinding to a halt are very real possibilities in less than 20 years time.

Here at The Forth Coming UK Energy deficit (FCUKED) HQ we have emblazoned the messages ..

The biggest waste at the moment is the waste of precious time.

Critical to the simpleton Brown's desire for a significant expansion of nuclear power offering "breathtaking" opportunities for British industry is the availability of trained and skilled engineers within th UK. A point repeatedly raised by ICE.

It is therefore worth considering the experience of Areva and Siemens in Finland in building their 5th nuclear reactor , the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor at Pori in SW Finland, which was was due to commence operations in 2009.

WE have posted about this often but the post of Thursday, July 13, 2006 Short-sighted energy planning threatens bleak future highlighted the report of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) when it became apparent then that production was at least 12 months delayed and cost were rising. STUK identified several problems of project management leading to delays, though they stated that none undermines or compromise nuclear safety on the site - principally because no nuclear engineering had taken place.

They did point to the major problems experienced with labour , "The total manpower on the construction site of Olkiluoto 3 is 730, with more than twenty different nationalities represented on the site. Finnish workers account for more than half of the manpower. The number of German and French employees is ca. 250 at present."

At the time we said "before our Dear Leader starts planning on a "fleet of replacement reactors" perhaps we should start checking on the engineering, manpower resources available for the task." a point raised by Lord Jenkin in March in the House of Lords , when Lord Marlesford: (Con. Life Peer 1991) asked : "My Lords, does Britain have the capability to design and construct a nuclear power station so that it can come on stream, as the Government’s target has it, in 2020? If it does not, history will judge the Government harshly for the 10 years of delay in making a major strategic decision."

Environmental and social aspects are being addressed but economic issues are being fudged.

The Prime Minister first discussed the need for nuclear power publicly on Feb 1st 2005 explaining that the Government then had no plans for nuclear power plant building.

Since then we have had much concern about the environment, green taxes,gobal warming and much discussion but fuck all has been done - resulting as panic sets in for plans next week to set up a form of administrative and bureaucratic bulldozer to override standard planningmatters, even on sites (Littlehampton on the South Coast being one such site) not curently furnished with an ageing and decaying nuclear plant.

Therefore it is worth taking another look at TVO's 1,600-MW Olkiluoto-3 EPR and at STUK's 2007 annual nuclear safety report, which appeared on the inspectorate's website May 12. It paints an unhappy picture as the plant is at least 2 years behind and way over budget with major construction concerns. "The construction of the Olkiluoto 3 plant unit has proved more demanding than expected"

Defects in welding at Olkiluoto 3 last year forced repairs to a steel liner assembled during the summer. (Page 42 has a list of problems with welding , forgings, concrete porosity and sealing,
non-conformities in the casting of the base slab etc.,)

STUK said the diameters of the cylinders welded together were slightly different; that welding conditions changed during work; and that welders had made mistakes.

The report said that audits of manufacturers and suppliers showed that some subcontractors had not taken nuclear safety requirements into account in their work.

The report also noted that time pressure in assembling components caused the manufacturer and supplier in a few cases to set a date for inspection so early that the pre-requirements for inspection were not met, and inspections had to be rescheduled. Further, the manufacture of diesel generators was begun before approval of design.

"It is a challenge in this type of project when the design is done at the same time as construction of structures and components," Gulp.

Petteri Tiippana, is responsible for regulatory oversight of Olkiluoto-3 at Finland's nuclear inspectorate STUK, as the project is entering a more complex (and critical) phase of construction.

New subcontractors would soon be arriving on site, and Tiippana highlights that "again poses the challenge to lead contractor Areva's team to adequately manage these teams so they follow the rules and principles of good working on a nuclear construction site."

Tiippana said work is about to start installing components, piping systems, pumps, valves, heat exchangers and electromechanical equipment at the world's first European Pressurized Water Reactor. The reactor pressure vessel is being made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan and of steam generators at the factory of Chalon in France . Skoda in the Czech Republic, are manufacturing of reactor pressure vessel internals and the steel liner that ensures the leaktightness of the containment vessel is being made in Poland.

Can we be sure the lights will stay on ?

It is vital that Europe learns from Olkiluoto 3. delays add costs. The original budget of €3-3.2 billion can probably now be doubled. Areva and Siemens have been making undisclosed provisions.. but it is obviously hurting.

Long lead time and higher engineering standards required for nuclear construction make gas-fired capacity attractive. Global costs pressures are frcing costs on a novel and challenging project for the first of a kind nuclear project.There is a shortage in skilled engineering resource, and growing uncertainty on delivery dates because of bottlenecks in the supply of certain components.

In April two major (and well informed) Utility figures spoke about the concerns that a nuclear revival could be slowed or even halted if the current supply chain crunch ends up pricing nuclear out of the market.

Gerd Jaeger, is an engineer and Executive Vice President of RWE Power AG he has warned vendors must "de-bottleneck the bottlenecks" at the front end of the nuclear power plant supply chain. Because of a shortage of manufacturing capacity for large forgings, vendors are asking potential customers to commit far in advance of concrete reactor projects.

Sandor Liive, CEO of Eesti Energia, the Estonian state-owned utility, said his company is considering several options for nuclear power because "nuclear is an option that any energy company that wants to be competitive in the future has to consider."

Among the options are construction, with Latvia, Lithuania and (perhaps) Poland, of a new plant at Ignalina, participation in a new reactor in Finland, and construction of a domestic nuclear plant.

Liive said Eesti Energia was "thinking about nuclear" only because the cost of domestic power production from oil shale was rising above the projected cost of nuclear power from new plants, at around €45/MWh.

At that level, which implied a capital cost of €2 million a megawatt, new nuclear was attractive, he said. "But if it were €3 million per MW and €65-70/MWh, there's no point" in investing in a new nuclear plant, "at least from Eesti Energia's viewpoint." (If he 1,600-MW Olkiluoto comes in at €5 million plus we are looking at well over €3 million per MW )

Material cost pressures affect all energy generating projects -- CCGTs, coal, wind, hydro, wave , not just nuclear.

RWE's Jaeger has revealed that nuclear power plant vendors are asking utilities to put down "hundreds of millions of euros" to reserve large forgings needed for the nuclear steam supply systems of modern reactors. It was "prohibitive for an investor" to commit such sums "at a very early stage of a project," when they did not know if the project would proceed.

Jaeger said that even in countries where new nuclear plants were on the agenda, "it's rather difficult to convince all the decision-makers" who need to act before a plant can be ordered and construction started.

He cited the need for public debate, time needed for regulatory approvals, and "the political environment" as uncertainties in a nuclear plant project schedule. Jaeger said "innovative approaches" were needed to finance new nuclear projects, in which risk is shared equitably among all parties.

It is evident that Gormless Gordon hasn't a clue of the problems in even placing inittial contracts for the first plants, the costs involved, the problems of manpower, especially skilled engineers. he is of course busy balancing global supply and dermand of the 300US$Trillion global oil market by easing the Petroleum Development Tax on 30 minor fields in the North Sea which were opened prior to 1993.

For more on the insane plans for training nuclear workers see Tuesday, May 20, 2008 FCUKED - UK Nuclear Policy absolutely un-fucking believable Meanwhile Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd vendors of the ACR-1000 Nuclear Reactor', have withdrawn from the opportunity to supply citing that they wish ..." to concentrate on opportunities in the Canadian market."

If EDF take over British Energy as expected they will naturally choose the French state owned Areva 1600 MWe European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) curently being leaisurely insatlled in Finalnd. This is also the choice of German power Utility Eon should they decide to join in Gormless Gordon's grand designs.

One thing of which you can be certain , if anything is done, it is going to cost the UK taxpayer a lot of money (say the cost of Northern Wreck) although we should be minful of the wise words of Baroness Vadera in response to Lord Desai's question in the House of Lords : My Lords, I am pleased to say that that will be a risk carried by the private sector. (Like the London Underground perhaps ? In which Shreiking Lady Vadera was much involved)

...and Lord Desai's question on March 18th this year ?

"My Lords, will the Government make sure that the nuclear plants are not only delivered on time but also at the proper cost—not with the usual 300 per cent overruns —and that they produce power economically?"

Ho.Ho.Ho as we say at FCUKED

It's worth remembering there are plenty of other folks already in the queue for new plant ahead of the UK ..

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