United Kingdom to build two EPR nuclear reactors

A rendition of the future Hinkley Point C nuclear plantWould you buy two examples of a very expensive and complex product that nobody has ever seen functioning ? The most likely answer is ” No “. Yet that’s exactly what the United Kingdom did buy buying Monday two EPR reactors.

The European Pressurized Reactor  is an evolution of third generation nuclear reactors. It was developed by Areva and Siemens – who since withdrew from the project – in the 1990s and 2000s.

To date, four EPR reactors are being built : one in Finland, one in France and two in China. Most of them have been plagued by significant over-costs and major problems.

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EPR costs : a blow to the nuclear renaissance

EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, FranceI have to say that I now have mixed feelings about nuclear. Since I wrote and published my 10 reasons to support nuclear – by far my most popular post on this blog – the catastrophe at Fukushima took place.

Now the main French utility – Electricité de France, aka EDF – announced that its EPR reactor in Flamanville, France, will cost a massive two billion euros more than previously forecasted, now totally 8.5 billion euros.

Until Fukushima many were forecasting a nuclear renaissance. I guess these additional costs will be another severe blow to their hopes and to EDF’s business model.

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French solar PV capacity hits 3,000 MW

” According to the French utility EDF, the French solar PV capacity reached in March 3,000 MW, with over 2672 MW in mainland France and 339 MW in Corsica and overseas.” ” According to the data : the total capacity grew by 15 percent this semester in metropolitan France. An additional 1,581 MW are already … Read more

Bad news are piling up on nuclear

Just as Grist is asking if Germany did the right move on nuclear – here is as a reminder my opinion piece on Cleantechies – several bad news for the industry of this energy source got my attention this week.

First and foremost, the reactor number 2 of Fukushima had probably experienced “spontaneous” fission “ according to an official quoted by the Agence France Presse.

Furthermore, it has been estimated that fully decommissioning Fukushima could take no less than 30 years. All this could have terrible consequences for the whole industry.

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Good and bad news about nuclear

First, the good ones : To Reuters : ” Significant progress has been made in efforts to contain and stabilise the situation at Fukushima, the head of the United Nations atomic agency said on Friday.” And some bad : To the Wall Street Journal ” EDF announced that its EPR project in Flamanville, France (…) … Read more

Italy to build four nuclear reactors by 2020

There is something I totally overlooked while writing earlier this week my article on how Europe goes forward on energy. Indeed, last month Italy announced its intention to build nuclear reactors this decade.

Italian electricity is both heavily reliant on foreign fossil sources (70 percent) and on imports (ten percent comes from France’s own reactors). Building four nuclear reactors will decrease both.

A total of ten reactors might be built by the next 20 years to enable the country to get 25 percent of its electricity from this low carbon source.

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EDF buys half of Constellation nuclear activities

edf-logoThe French national utility Electricité de France – EDF –  just bought half of nuclear activities of US based utility Constellation for 4.5 billion US Dollars (3.3 billion euros).

This occurs only a few months after the acquisition of British Energy by EDF, which is willing to become a major global player in nuclear energy, one of the lowest carbon emitting solutions.

EDF will manage on US soil five reactors which accounts for  nearly 4,000MW of generation capacity. This adds up to the 58 reactors already managed in France.

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EDF takes over British Energy for 15.7 billion €

The French national utility Electricité de France – known as EDF – is beginning to take over the UK company British Energy for an estimated cost of 15.7 billion Euros (or $23 billion).

According to the Financial Times quoted below, this is the largest international expansion plan for EDF. The company plans to build at least four nuclear plants on British soil in the next years.

This occurs as John Hutton, UK Business Secretary, says his country needs rapidly new nuclear plants to keep on answering to the increasing demand.

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Toyota and EDF to propose electric cars

toyota_edf_car.jpgThe car maker Toyota and the French company EDF will soon propose a network of plug-in points and sockets to fill up hybrid cars with electricity.

French electricity is mostly carbon dioxide free (78 percent of nuclear and 10 percent hydro), so electric cars would prove to be a good thing to mitigate climate change.

This plan will concern all Europe and will begin this fall with cars of EDF’s fleet that will test drive these hybrid cars under every-day conditions.

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