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Six companies vie to build nuclear plants

Six companies have signalled interest in building new nuclear power stations in Britain including a newcomer to the UK electricity industry, showing the strength of enthusiasm for the potential of nuclear power in spite of the problems it has faced.

Areva, the French state-controlled nuclear engineering company, has signed up the six companies as possible users of its European Pressurised Reactor design.

One of them is Suez, the French-Belgian utility, which would be new to the British market. The others are electricity suppliers EDF of France, Eon and RWE of Germany, Iberdrola of Spain, which has just bought Scottish Power, and also British Energy, which runs Britain's more modern nuclear power stations.


Friday is the deadline for companies to submit reactor designs for pre-licensing - which is part of the new system of approving plans for new nuclear power plants that is intended to streamline the process.

The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate - part of the Health and Safety Executive - and the Environment Agency, which are the regulators, are expected to decide on which designs have been given pre-licensing approval by next spring, and then issue a full licence by the end of 2010.

Companies planning to build new plants would then need to get approval for the specific locations they wanted to use.

The idea is to get all the necessary approvals cleared within five years, with construction and start-up taking another five years, so the first new nuclear power stations can be on-stream within the 10-year target.

EDF has said it wants its first new nuclear plant operational by the end of 2017.

The regulators have said they expect to license three reactor designs, to allow some competition and choice in the market. Four companies are thought to be applying for pre-licensing for their designs, with Westinghouse, now owned by Toshiba, GE, and AECL, the Canadian state-owned nuclear company, joining Areva. One is likely to be rejected at the pre-licensing stage.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 07:40:21 AM EST
first new nuclear plant operational by the end of 2017

Chances are, that's well beyond Peak Oil. Britain, which has enough wind potential to power itself, could easily build 20 GW of wind by then, which at British conditions could generate at an average power of 6-8 GW, equaling just as many nuclear blocks... and with a more serious effort, and other renewables, multiples of that would be possible.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 09:08:44 AM EST
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Kudos to NNadir for this piece of fanciful brilliance, for the writer eloquently made many points worthy of top-level debate... except that the parts left out of the discussion are serious enough to destroy the basic arguments of the writer's case.  And the literary attempt to distract from that charade by jump-cutting into touchy-feely reminiscense of Concorde toilettry kits falls away if the missing context is re-introduced to the debate.  Feeding mud to babies in Mali because there isn't enough real food for his/her mom is not the result of a neglect of the wonders of "Our Friend the Atom" as my big red childhood Disney book was called.

Have we included the extent of now documented continual lying and cover-up of nuclear accidents throughout the West?  Have we neglected to ask for the actuarial figures on potential accidents from Swiss RE?  Did this diary cover the connection to weapons-related uses of byproducts of the entire nuclear chain?  Did this diarist examine the incredibly peaceful history of the technological West over the last two thousand years, as an example of how we will guarantee an abiding peace corresponding to the length of time we need to protect the waste?  (Not to mention shifts in the earth's subsurface, which i apparently mentioned.)  Have we even discussed Peak Uranium under the assumption that civilization returns to health only when every growing economy gets 40% of it's energy from centralized nukes?  (Centralized Nukes?:  Is Cheval Fou implying there's an unaddressed social issue here?)

Those are serious holes in the argument, and if i wasn't erkältet from the cold wet winds and serious alcohol depletion from that most wonderful of ET meetup weekends, i would begin to propose an erudite and literary response to this diary.  In fact, i hope to, but not soon, because next week i will be on the road performing Due Diligence on the DeWind 8.2 with Voith hydrodynamic drive, the liquid coupling which on paper provides a windmill with the desired variable speed without the necessity of complex and expensive power electronics.  On paper.

But DoDo sums the response rather nicely.  6 nukes equivilent could be built with enough windpower in the UK, without any of the attendent risk, and with a whole christmas present of various social wonders attached.  And if that was part of a coherent conservation strategy encompassing both real conservation and the introduction of new conservation technologies, we would have doubled the energy addition at half the cost and no risk.

But then we all underestimate the security risk to attacks on the sophisticated fiberglass layup factories which windpower introduces into society.  Me, i'm selling my Concorde sleep blinders on eBay.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 06:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS.  i once debated the VP for Nuclear Energy of a company called GE, on camera (i wish i could remember what the film was called.)  He kept making incredibly erudite technical obfuscations, which i countered with what (from my perspective) were simple facts.  He wouldn't listen, so i said...

"Wow, he's like the guy who jumps out a forty story high window, and after falling twenty stories, says... ""Hey, so far so good.""

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 06:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then we all underestimate the security risk to attacks on the sophisticated fiberglass layup factories which windpower introduces into society.

and the serious weaponisation potential of those long blades -- why, with a trebuchet you might be able to launch them all of a few hundred yards and knock down a house or two!  oughta be banned, potential Turrist threats all of 'em.

but this gets us into a territory where the debate is not supposed to stray, and that is the perverse appeal of nuclear power to some people (almost exclusively males in my experience) precisely because it is so exquisitely toxic and dangerous.  there is something so very, very Manly about keeping such a terrifying genie in a bottle;  like some guys just have to own a pitbull or a halfbred wolf, ya know, they couldn't be happy with a nice friendly golden retriever, because the thrill of dominating and "taming" it (not to mention being able to sic it on "enemies" or to render friends and family dependent for their safety on the Big Man's control of his dangerous dog) just wouldn't be the same...  sure I could be wrong, but there is so much gendering of the nuke debate that it's hard to ignore the obvious.

"renewables are for wimps" -- not so much because they haven't the potential to supply a decent and adequate energy consumption level, but could it be because they are just not big, shiny, complex and dangerous enough?  I mean, if any dangfool dirtfarmer can generate windpower out on the back forty, how much fun is that? (and how in the name of Friedman can we possibly trap him/her into a perpetual captive market and extort tribute, with this pesky low-risk decentralisable tech floating around and getting cheaper every year?)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 21st, 2007 at 10:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
btw CrazyHorse, very pleased to meetcha.

like the blog too, except for the reverse video text aieeee :-)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 21st, 2007 at 10:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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