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)



6 May 2021 UK elections : analysis and implications

Yesterday, the final Police and Crime Commissioner ballot results from the 6 May 2021 elections were announced. This brought to a conclusion the process started last week to elect 145 English local councils, 13 English mayors and 39 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales. As well as the Welsh Parliament (60 seats), London Assembly (25 seats) and, crucially, the Scottish Parliament (129 seats) and the Hartlepool Westminster by-election. These results will have significant implications for all the major political parties in the UK. This will undoubtedly impact the lobbying strategies of companies seeking to influence the direction of policy in our country.

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Break up and move on?

The momentum behind COP26 has created an apparently benign climate for low carbon investment in the UK, however that could all change at next week’s Scottish Parliament election. The 2021 Scottish Parliament elections will be the latest in a series of public ballots, since 2014’s Scottish Referendum, where the future of the United Kingdom is at stake. Due to Brexit and COVID19 it has perhaps been understated how important the Scottish election will be. However, depending upon its result, we could see British politics dominated by the issue of Scottish independence in the same way it was dominated by Brexit in recent years. Businesses whose investments depend on policy decisions yet to come must be mindful of this. As the question of Scottish Independence may leave politicians and officials will little time to consider anything else.

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