Five Notable Developments in Nuclear this Week 29.03.19

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1. MAGNOX announces new CEO

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced that Gwen Parry-Jones OBE has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at Magnox Ltd. Gwen will assume the role in September 2019 following a secondment to the NDA. At the NDA she will support the incoming Magnox leadership team in preparation for the NDA subsuming Magnox later this year. Commenting on the decision, Gwen said that ‘the Magnox sites have always been at the leading edge of the nuclear industry – leading the programme to decommission them is a fantastic and exciting challenge. I look forward to working with my new colleagues across NDA estate, and with Magnox’s highly skilled workforce.’

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Gwen Parry-Jones OBE announced as Magnox Chief Executive Officer, 26 March 2019 Link)

2. Contract signed to secure the future of jet

A contract extension has been signed by the UK and European Commission to secure the future of the Joint European Torus (JET). JET is the world’s largest operational fusion research facility and the extension will secure at least €100 million in EU investment. Currently JET employs over 500 staff at their site in Culham and the funding will guarantee their operations until the end of 2020.  Scientists from 28 European countries contribute to JETs research into the potential for carbon-free fusion energy. The facility’s future had been uncertain since 2017 as is work was covered by the Euratom Treaty which the UK is planning to leave as part of the Brexit process.

(UK Atomic Energy Authority, Future of JET secured with new European contract, 29 March 2019 Link)

3. EDF challenged on Sizewell C impact to Minsmere Nature Reserve

Minsmere Nature Reserve has been told that it’s European Diploma for Protected Areas will be approved but only if ‘the construction of the new reactor will not be at the detriment of the Minsmere Reserve.’ The diploma is awarded by the Council of Europe and one of their spokespeople stated that there is ‘worrying insufficient information regarding the environmental effects of the project of a third reactor in the Sizewell nuclear power plant.’ The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is now calling for EDF Energy to provide a comprehensive impact assessment of its development plans.

(Ipswich Star, 26 March 2019, Link)

4. International Energy Agency report shows growth in nuclear generation but drop in market share

The latest data released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that last year nuclear generated 2724 TWh of electricity globally. Despite being a 3.3 per cent increase on the previous year, nuclear still only accounted for 10 per cent of global electricity generation. This is down from a 17 per cent market share in 2000. Also worth noting is an increase in renewable generation. Renewables went from 6 per cent generation growth in 2017 to 7 per cent in 2018. This in part due to record-breaking levels of renewable energy in several countries including the UK and Germany.

(World Nuclear News, 26 March 2019, Link

5. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority publishes its annual Direct Research Portfolio report.

The report states that the NDA’s research and development investment totalled approximately £101 million from 2017 to 2018. The majority of spending was targeted at specific on-site challenges identified during decommissioning. The Direct Research Portfolio accounted for around £5 million of annual investment and is designed to shape the NDA’s strategy, deliver innovation and develop technical expertise for the future.

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Direct Research Portfolio Annual Report 2017 to 2018, 27 March 2019 Link)

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