Five Notable Developments In Nuclear This Week 17.04.2020

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It has been announced that Jacobs, a Dallas headquartered energy consulting, engineering and construction services firm, has been awarded several contracts with an estimated combined value of $25 million. The contracts were awarded by Fusion for Energy (F4E), the ITER Organization and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in order to support leading-edge research in fusion energy.

(Nuclear Industry Association, Jacobs delivering technological innovation for fusion, 15 April 2020, Link)



The economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted EDF to reassess its financial targets for 2020 and 2021. A statement by the French transmission system operator, RTE, stated that electricity demand in the country has dropped between 15 per cent and 20 per cent since the beginning of the lockdown. This drop in demand is impacting the EDF group’s businesses especially nuclear generation, new build projects and services.

(World Nuclear News, EDF pulls financial targets in response to pandemic, 15 April 2020, Link)



On 9 April 2020, it was announced that the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had signed a ‘Practical Arrangement’ designed to enhance cooperation between the two organisations. The cooperation will be used to: increase the efficiency of nuclear power plants’ operation, improve stakeholder involvement, encourage innovation for nuclear power reactor designs, advance nuclear technologies, and improve decommissioning and radioactive waste management. Both organisations will work together to support nuclear energy in delivering a sustainable future.

(National Nuclear Laboratory, NNL Signs Important Collaboration Agreement with IAEA, 9 April 2020, Link)



Following a brief shutdown for planned maintenance, EDF Energy’s Hartlepool power station has resumed operation. The restart will ensure the UK is supplied with safe, secure, low-carbon electricity throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The power station is now generating enough power for approximately two million homes and EDF is working closely with National Grid to ensure that sufficient electricity is generated to power the country.

(EDF, Hartlepool power station is powering the nation after safely completing planned maintenance work, 16 April 2020, Link)



As part of the national effort to fight COVID-19, EDF has partnered with Avicenna and Boots Pharmacy Delivery and Collection (PDC) to deliver medical supplies to those in need. EDF employees have volunteered to collect and deliver essential supplies for patients who are self-isolating. Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF, stated:

‘These are challenging times, and we’re committed to doing all we can to support our customers and the wider public.’

(EDF, EDF launches Covid-19 volunteering for independent pharmacies through partnership with Avicenna, 16 April 2020, Link)



COP26 Update: Key Net Zero documents published

The Government has delivered on its commitment to publish its remaining net zero strategy documents ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, with two weeks to spare. The Heat and Buildings Strategy, Net Zero Spending Review, as well as the overarching Net Zero Strategy were all published this week, albeit following months of delay. Publishing these documents was seen as crucial to the UK’s preparations ahead of hosting the summit. Despite this, the success of the conference continues to be riddled with uncertainty and doubts.

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Energy White Paper Audit

Last week Brevia Energy released the findings of its audit of the Government’s 2020 Energy White Paper. The results, which were covered by Energy Live News, highlighted how nearly half of the commitments included in the Energy White Paper have been hit or look likely to be reached. However, the research also showed that answers to the ‘Who Pays?’ question remain needed. With the Government expected to publish both its Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings strategy soon, greater detail on that may be soon forthcoming. That is likely to provoke debate about the direction of policy and open new fronts for businesses to make their case about how the net zero transition should be delivered.

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At-risk suppliers have put the energy supply industry at risk

Since the beginning of August 2021, the UK has experienced a record increase in gas prices, which has grown into a retail energy crisis that has already caused ten suppliers to exit the market this year. This crisis is the product of several factors, which the UK Government will seek to remedy in the short term and avoid in the long term. This means regulatory reforms are almost inevitable. Once the crisis is over and government turns to reforming the UK’s retail energy market, businesses that operate within it must actively engage with policymakers and regulators to ensure their voices are heard.

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