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)



What the Energy Security Strategy tells us about the Government’s current priorities

After several weeks of reported delays, disagreements and leaks, the Government has finally published its Energy Security Strategy. Crucially, the Strategy provides us with an insight into the main influences and influencers of this Government. With the next general election a mere two years away, the Prime Minister appears to be moving away from the climate focus seen at COP26. Instead focusing on internal party politics and maintaining support within the Conservative . Below, Brevia has unpacked some of the telling signs of what is currently influencing Government direction on energy policy.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will impact UK energy policy

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the world. The ways it has done so are yet to be fully understood. Many of our post Cold War assumptions have been upended: Germany has abandoned its longstanding policy of maintaining a limited armed forces to commit €100 billion to defence spending; Switzerland has departed from its historical neutrality to apply sanctions to Russia; Finland is now openly discussing NATO membership and things we had assumed would never happen continue to do so on a daily basis. Set against the human tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine, these events can seem small or insignificant in comparison. Nonetheless, they are likely to have enduring consequences for everyone in Europe. Particularly when it comes to how Europe, including the UK, powers itself.

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What did the White Paper tell us about the Levelling Up Agenda?

Last week, the Government published its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. The White Paper goes some way to answering the vexed question of ‘What is levelling up?’, by setting out twelve missions the Government hopes to accomplish by 2030. In addition, the Paper sets out a framework for extending devolution in England which could increase the transparency of the process. However, new funding commitments are thin on the ground, and critics suggest the Government has not provided enough money for Levelling Up to succeed.

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