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.

Read more

Can the Chinese nuclear expansion be safe ?

To Yale Environment 360 : “In the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns, some nations are looking to move away from nuclear power. But not China, which is proceeding with plans to build 36 reactors over the next decade.

Now some experts are questioning whether China can safely operate a host of nuclear plants.” Indeed, building so many reactors in such a little time seems dangerous, especially if as the article goes :

” The International Energy Agency suggests that 30 new nuclear reactors must be built each year between now and 2050 to cut CO2 emissions in half.

Read more

Book review : Uranium, by Tom Zoellner

Here is a post I should have published last year as I read Uranium, by Tom Zoellner. Here is my review. It offers a detailed history of the discovery and the use of the 92nd element in the periodic table of the chemical elements.

Will the 21st century be Uranium’s century like the 20th was oil’s and the 19th coal’s ? It is way to early to tell. The century is only ten years old and as oil and coal still account large parts of the world energy mix.

 (Nota : I wrote that review last year and pretty didn’t change anything about it. I am fully aware a huge nuclear accident took place in Fukushima in-between… )

Read more

A real nuclear renaissance is under way

As I was reading an article [Es] on the expansion of nuclear in China – where 24 reactors are currently being built compared to 12 online to date – I was wondering if a nuclear renaissance is really under way.

To World Nuclear News it seems to be the case as 58 reactors are currently being built in 15 countries around the world. Most reactors currently planned are in Asia, as the economy and the electricity demand increase rapidly.

The capacity of nuclear power plants around the world could reach 511 to 807 GWe by 2030, to be compared to the current 327 GWe. (from +63% to +246%).

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.

Read more

US electricity : more nuclear and less coal

Things are slowly but irresistibly changing in the United States. Wind power added ten gigawatts of capacity to the grids last year alone and coal is less and less used to generate electricity.

Meanwhile, a nuclear renaissance may be under way in America as last month President Obama announced a $8.3 billion (6 billion euros) loan to build in Georgia the first reactors in 30 years.

I dream of America being powered with 40 percent nuclear, 40 percent renewables and only 20 percent thermal. There is a long way to go but could this become a reality ?

Read more

Why Merkel’s reelection may be good news for climate

Germany Angela MerkelAs Angela Merkel was reelected German Chancellor and is due to begin a new coalition with the Liberals, nuclear power plants may not be phased out in 2020 as it was previously agreed.

Meanwhile, and if Germany keeps it targets of renewables answering 33 percent of the electricity demand in 2020 this may mean that the country’s electricity generation would be 60 percent low carbon within the next ten years.

This is quite a good illustration that we don’t have to choose renewables over nuclear as we need both for low carbon electricity and climate change mitigation.

Read more

Can China increase tenfold its nuclear capacity ?

china-nuclear-plantAccording to China Daily quoted by the Twitter page of the Green Leap Forward, China wants to increase tenfold its nuclear power capacity by 2020, from the current 9 GW to 86 GW by 2020. Is this feasible ?

Such a move makes me wonder. Indeed, nuclear power plants require to operate safely specialized engineers and stringent safety measures which would be difficult to have while building so many plants.

For the past decades China have shown the world it can do seemingly impossible things. I believe they can do it again with nuclear power.

Read more

Nuclear power plants in the Middle East ?

According to a great article from the Huffington Post, 13 countries of this region are negotiating to acquire the technology to build nuclear plants. As an example of this the United Arab Emirates are negotiating to build reactors soon. Why a region rich with two thirds of the global oil reserves would switch to another … Read more

More and more support for nuclear

Palo Verde nuclear stationTimes they are a-changin’ sung Bob Dylan. This is true as after years of despisal more and more people – even environmentalists  previously against such solutions – support nuclear as a way to avoid dramatic climate change.

This became apparent as Sweden stated it won’t stop as planned its nuclear plants next year and will even lift the ban on nuclear technologies research. Meanwhile, Americans never supported more this energy source.

The IAEA forecasts 60 % more nuclear plants by 2030 as more and more countries – Switzerland, Italy… – are getting back to this low carbon energy source. 

Read more

The end of nuclear waste ? Part II

nuclear02Last week I wrote about a technology that decreases the amount of radioactive waste by hybridizing fission and fusion. Now comes another breakthrough as TerraPower prepares to launch reactors using depleted uranium.

Such material would lead to lower risks of nuclear proliferation. Additionally, the amount of uranium on Earth could last centuries or even millennium instead of decades with current technologies.

Last but not least, Terra Power inventions could be used in smaller plants, just like Hyperion mini nuclear plants. All these news convinces me that nuclear has a really bright future.

Read more

The end of nuclear waste ?

fission-and-fusionBy reading Clean Technica I came across a news that might change the way many people consider nuclear energy. Indeed, one of the main issues of nuclear today is the waste produced by fission.

But to researches carried out in the University of Texas at Austin a process called Compact Fusion Neutron Source (CFNS), combines fission and fusion and would allow to cut by 99 percent the amount of by-products.

CFNS  is based on tokamak technology and uses a crucial invention: the Super X Divertor. This could represent a brilliant solution for the future.

Read more

%d bloggers like this: