Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

On Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, nuclear lobbyists, like Dr Pangloss, unrealistic optimism

“Panglossian puffery”, says David Lowry. The report ignores the security and nuclear waste problems of small modular reactors.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) says this is yet another attempt to promote the benefits of SMRs despite large and quite possibly insurmountable hurdles to cross. The Government suggests the report was produced by an ‘independent’ group, yet at least half of the group have strong links to the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry Association. The UK appear to be one of the few governments pursuing a strategy of promoting SMRs. Even France and Finland, the only other countries in Europe currently developing large nuclear projects, have no plans to develop such technology. Indeed France has just commissioned a whole raft of new smaller-scale solar energy projects.

the finance sector is accurate in being sceptical of new nuclear developments given the rapidly decreasing costs of renewable energy.

Rolls-Royce warned last month that it was preparing to shut down the [Small Modular Nuclear Reactor] project if the government did not make a long-term commitment to its technology.

Panglossian SMRs , NuClear News Sept 18, The government should subsidise the deployment of small modular nuclear reactors in order to speed the transition to a low carbon energy system, according to an independent review into the technology commissioned by Ministers. The Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors (EFWG) said in a report that government should offer subsidies for small nuclear reactors to help de-risk the technology and kickstart cost reductions. (1)

Small modular reactors (SMRs) generally have a capacity less than 600MW, with the costs ranging from £100 million to £2.3 billion, which the experts suggest could be delivered by 2030. The EFWG has recommended the government to help de-risk the small nuclear market to enable the private sector to develop and finance projects – it believes SMRs could be commercially viable propositions both in the UK and for an export market.

The report says the “Government should establish an advanced manufacturing supply chain initiative, as it did with offshore wind, to bring forward existing and new manufacturing capability in the UK and to challenge the market on the requirement for nuclear specific items, particularly Balance of Plant (BOP), thereby reducing the costs of nuclear and the perceived risks associated with it.”

Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington said: “Today’s independent expert report recognises the opportunity presented by small nuclear reactors and shows the potential for how investors, industry and government can work together to make small nuclear reactors a reality. Advanced nuclear technologies provide a major opportunity to drive clean growth and could create high-skilled, well-paid jobs around the country as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.” (2)

“Panglossian puffery”, says David Lowry. The report ignores the security and nuclear waste problems of small modular reactors. The report says “the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 agenda sets out 17 goals and how they will be implemented to meet the United Nation’s objectives around people, the planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.The report boldly asserts “Small reactors could play an important role in achieving these goals” without spelling out how. “I cannot relate this SDG to SMRs, however hard I try”, says Lowry.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) says this is yet another attempt to promote the benefits of SMRs despite large and quite possibly insurmountable hurdles to cross. The Government suggests the report was produced by an ‘independent’ group, yet at least half of the group have strong links to the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry Association. The UK appear to be one of the few governments pursuing a strategy of promoting SMRs. Even France and Finland, the only other countries in Europe currently developing large nuclear projects, have no plans to develop such technology. Indeed France has just commissioned a whole raft of new smaller-scale solar energy projects.

The report notes that despite the UK Government’s key and important shift to low carbon power “the financial sector has been slow to follow the Government’s lead; the finance sector still seems to limit green finance to renewable power. This is an unhelpful and often unrealistic narrowing of opportunity by the finance market.”

NFLA would rather suggest that the finance sector is accurate in being sceptical of new nuclear developments given the rapidly decreasing costs of renewable energy. (4)

The expert finance working group said that for technologies capable of being commercially deployed by 2030, the government should focus on bringing so-called first-of-a-kind projects to market through a number of different mechanisms to lower their cost of capital. The recommendation could be seen as a potential blow to the ambitions of Rolls-Royce, the aeroengine group, which has promoted its own project as a “national endeavour” to develop nuclear skills that can be used to create an export-led industry. The company did not receive any funding for its technology as part of the government’s recent £56m initiative even though it is closer to being commercialised. Rolls-Royce warned last month that it was preparing to shut down the project if the government did not make a long-term commitment to its technology. (5) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NuClearNewsNo110.pdf

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September 10, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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