Five Notable Developments In Nuclear This Week 27.09.2019

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1. Projected cost of Hinkley Point C increases

EDF Energy has announced that the anticipated cost of Hinkley Point C has increased by £2.9 billion. This is almost a 15 per cent increase relative to the previous estimate. Project completion is now estimated to be between £21.5 billion and £22.5 billion. A review in to the project’s finance, schedule and organisation stated that the ‘cost increases reflect challenging ground conditions which made earthworks more expensive than anticipated.’

(EDF Energy, Update on Hinkley Point C project, 25 September 2019, Link)

(World Nuclear News, Hinkley Point C cost rises by nearly 15%, 25 September 2019, Link)

2. Last nuclear fuel leaves Wylfa

The final flask of spent fuels has been dispatched from the Wylfa Site in Anglesey, North Wales. This was the final of 87,890 fuel elements to be removed and marks the end of defueling operations at all of the UK’s first generation nuclear reactors. The fuel will be reprocessed at Sellafield in Cumbria.

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Last nuclear fuel flask leaves Wylfa, 19 September 2019, Link)

3. NIA welcomes wind energy price drop

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has welcomed the drop in cost of electricity from windfarms. Last week’s Contracts for Difference auction secured new offshore wind capacity at a record low price of £39 per megawatt hour (MWh), a 66 per cent reduction in price relative to 2015.  Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the NIA used this opportunity to remind industry that ‘the Committee on Climate Change and many others have said, to meet Net Zero we cannot rely on variable renewables alone, but a portfolio of technologies including nuclear power.’

(Nuclear Industry Association, Nuclear industry welcomes falling wind farm power prices, 20 September 2019, Link)

4. TEPCO to support Sellafield decommissioning

Japanese energy operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is exploring the role that Rawwater Molten Metal Manipulation technology (M3) technology can play in the nuclear industry. Rawwater Engineering Company currently creates specialist alloy seals for the oil and gas sector but is looking to adapt its technology to support the Sellafield decommissioning process. Trials of the M3 technology in simulated Sellafield applications are producing positive results.

(Nuclear Industry Association, NNL Central to International, Cross-Sector Deal with TEPCO and Rawwater Engineering Company, 24 September 2019, Link)

5. Hinkley Point C funds new walking trail

Using Hinkley Point C S106 funding, Somerset County Council has created a circular walking trail from Nether Stowey, past Stogursey Castle and along the England Coast Path. The walk totals 13 miles and passes the historical sites of Coleridge Cottage, Lilstock Harbour and Nether Stowey Castle. Sarah Littler, Somerset County Council Project Manager, said that  ‘a new walking trail will help to draw visitors to this previously seldom visited part of Somerset to appreciate the landscape, ecology and other attractions on offer.’

(EDF Energy, Celebrating the opening of a new walking trail, 25 September 2019, Link)

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