In 1979, Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania experienced a meltdown. Although no one died, the incident was labeled a disaster. However the real disaster appears to still be the impact these events had on the industry.
This week the owner of the plant said it would have to prematurely shut down in September 2019 due to unsupportive policy causing financial issues. The Three Mile Island and Fukushima incidents have placed significant pressure on the nuclear industry through increased regulation and further safety systems. These have added to costs making reactors like Three Mile Island unprofitable.
Safety and regulation is obviously important, but they have often been based on fear rather than science, and not accompanied by sufficient support and innovation for the industry. The consequences of a decline of nuclear are severe. Not only does it provide long term, reliable power, it also contributes to energy security and avoids dangerous air pollution and greenhouse gasses. There is concern that the decline of nuclear is offsetting growth in renewables meaning a lack of progress for overall low carbon power.
The American industry is in trouble, but it is also symptomatic of many other countries in the world. Especially in Europe, early retirements are common and even in supportive countries like the UK, new nuclear is struggling to gain traction. However with the consequences to health, security and the climate that a loss of nuclear power risks, it is essential that a new generation of nuclear power is supported and encouraged.
Whilst nuclear power progress is struggling in South Africa, other African nations are keen to exploit the technology. World Nuclear News has reported that Uganda has sent a delegation to China to learn about nuclear technology and begin talks on cooperation.Uganda has an electrification rate of 20% since June 2016, meaning there is a need for more power than expanding hydroelectric sites can provide. Uganda’s Vision 2040 roadmap includes the development of 40,000 MW of nuclear energy as part of the future energy mix. Prisca Boonabantu, undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and leader of the delegation to China, said “Plans have been made in Uganda to have clean and safe energy generation sources with nuclear being one of them.” She added that Uganda welcomes partners to help construct, train and develop nuclear energy in line with International Atomic Energy Agency standards.Uganda has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear energy cooperation with China Central Plains Foreign Engineering Company and China Nuclear Manufacturing Group. This follows a previous Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ugandan ministry… [read more]
Following the recent publication of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee’s report on the nuclear industry post-Brexit, the Institution for Mechanical Engineers have echoed their findings. In a report published last week (Leaving the EU, the Euratom Treaty Part 2: A Framework for the Future) the Institution argues that small modular reactors could be the key to securing the UK’s nuclear future post-Brexit.The risks to the UK nuclear industry post-Brexit are well known, with leaving Euratom a particular concern that could damage nuclear innovation, as well as risk fuel supply and confuse regulation. The Institution’s report suggests some paths the UK Government could take to tackle this key issue Brexit poses. For instance, they recommend developing a UK Safeguarding Office to conform to international rules, as there is no fall back to Euratom in a no-deal scenario. This would cover regulation of safety and non-proliferation. In the Institution’s (and in Weinberg’s) view, the UK would ideally seek associate membership of Euratom to continue research and development cooperation.This research and development commitment is key, with the Institution’s argument… [read more]
This week the House of Lord’s Science and Technology Committee published its report “ Nuclear research and technology: Breaking the cycle of indecision”. Weinberg Next Nuclear welcomes the report and agrees with many of its conclusions.Nuclear has undoubted potential in the UK, but indecision for many years, through successive governments, has impaired progress. Continual delays have damaged both short and long term opportunities, as well as tarnishing the reputation for nuclear in the UK and limiting investor confidence.Instead, the report argues that the Government “must act now to provide underpinning strategic support to the nuclear industry”. This action can and should be chosen strategically, and the Government can decide to either be a designer, manufacturer and operator of nuclear power itself, or be a destination to operate nuclear reactors designed and potentially manufactured overseas.The report recommends investment in nuclear research and development, including allocating the £250 million announced by former chancellor George Osborne in 2015 and giving core funding to the National Nuclear Laboratory (see our recommendations for investment in this report). Small modular reactors (SMRs) are one of the… [read more]
Weinberg Next Nuclear are delighted to recommend this event to our followers. Rushlight Summer Showcase – 20 June 2017, London The Rushlight Summer Showcase takes place on Tuesday 20 June 2017 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London. It is THE marketplace that brings together cleantech developers and sustainable solution providers, with investors & financiers and businesses looking to source suppliers and partners for an improved level of sustainability in their supply chain and operations. Kindly sponsored and supported by Innovate UK, BEIS and Enterprise Ireland, it is a new event, following on from the highly successful Rushlight Show which has just had its 8th year and attracted 500 cleantech CEOs and entrepreneurs, investors and financiers, advisers, corporate customers and others involved in the sector. TO REGISTER, and for more details of the event please go to http://www.rushlightevents.com/rushlight-summer-showcase/. Cleantech companies can apply for one of the remaining presentation slots in the Conference Showcase to panels of investors, corporate venturers, partners and corporate customers. There are also a very limited number of stands available in the Exhibition area. The highlights include:1. Conference, opened by… [read more]