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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A year after Fukushima, and the future of nuclear

A year after the catastrophic events in Fukushima, Japan is planning to be nuclear free by May 5. It is I believe a good opportunity to focus on the future of the industry. Opinions diverge on this critical issue.

Some believe nuclear is bound to disappear as it has a negative learning curve and that it is increasingly expensive compared to renewables. It is true the latter are becoming cheaper and cheaper.

However, some believe that nuclear will keep on expanding globally (1,2,3 ) as it stays one of the best solutions to provide gigawatts of electricity without greenhouse gases.

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An overview of future fusion nuclear technologies

For the fourth and last part of my nuclear series and after reviewing 10 reasons to support nuclear, the past and present of this energy source and a review of the main fission future solutions we are finishing with fusion.

Contrary to future fission solutions, fusion won’t happen before mid-century as it is the exact opposite of current fission reactors. Instead of breaking large atoms, fusion aggregates small atoms to create larger ones.

This is what happens in any star like our sun. As this endeavor is very complex and costly, I believe we shouldn’t think of fusion to solve our current climate and energy problems.

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An overview of future fission nuclear technologies

Nuclear plant in NorwayAfter my articles on the 10 reasons to support nuclear power and the one the past and present of nuclear energy it is time to have a look at the main future technologies.

David JC MacKay on his website mentions two main fission possibilities : fast breeders and thorium and fusion. We will have a look at thesemost promising solutions as well as to other technologies.

The needs for safer, cheaper and cleaner nuclear solutions are important as the IAEA forecasts the demand for nuclear is to increase by 60 percent in the next twenty years.

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