Monthly Archives: November 2014

Who’s been courting China? Canadian Nuclear Industry

Recent announcements about Canada and China making deals to further China’s interest in accelerating their nuclear power plant expansion have been getting little notice. And some news coverage of Ontario’s energy policy costing us $1 Billion more than necessary. The Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed Nov 8 “between Natural Resources Canada and the China National Energy Administration to advance collaboration between the two countries in the field of civilian nuclear energy including development of advanced fuel reactors and exports to third markets. The same day, Candu signed a framework joint venture (JV) agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR) projects in China and develop opportunities for it globally. This followed a positive recommendation earlier this week from a Chinese Expert Panel Review on AFCR technology which concluded the proper time should be chosen to “initiate the construction of AFCR to unlock and utilize its various advantages.”

“Taken together, the MOU, framework JV and positive recommendation by a Chinese expert panel represents a new level of cooperation between Canada and China in the next wave of nuclear energy innovation,” said Preston Swafford, President & CEO, Candu Energy. “We look forward to working closely with CNNC in the development and pursuit of nuclear power generation projects in China and abroad using the new AFCR technology.”

The framework JV was signed in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People while in the presence of The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada and Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China”

CANDUs are known for their reliability and added safety at several levels. The versatility to handle different fuels is made possible in part from the heavy water moderated natural uranium fuel. They have much lower levels of fissile fuel than light water reactors. Countries that do not have a lot of Uranium are interested in CANDUs because the reactors can also run on the Thorium cycle. India is already implementing this approach and China hopes to do the same.

These negotiations mean a lot to Canada since growth for nuclear remains uncertain in our own country. The current political climate is mixed from province to province. Ontario puts too much faith in renewables. Ontario’s energy bills have recently cost the consumer $30 more monthly. This is related to the difficulty of adapting wind and solar to the grid. Without a framework to handle unpredictable power the consumer pays for that uncertainty. Subsidies given to wind and solar effectively cost us double because when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shing natural gas is called upon to replace it. But since the deal is that renewables get paid for down time the public is effectively paying twice for this so-called green solution. Meanwhile nuclear can handle the extra load if given the chance.

Here is a higher res version of Canada’s OCI members:
oci-memberlist-nov2014-med

Also related story by Scott Luft: Candu Energy sees promising future (ColdairCurrents.luftonline.net) Nov. 10

Noah Nuke Advocate

The solution is technologically available now. The will to execute it is missing. It’s going to be a lot like Noah’s Ark. Nobody imagined it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights. The need for a solution might be pursued when the ark has trouble carrying all the passengers. Too little too late. The ark survivors might live long enough to settle and seek solutions. If they finally realize that nuclear energy could have saved them will the survivors have the know-how?
This is a pretty grim metaphor. But there is plenty to like about nuclear science that goes beyond bombs and nuclear energy. By embracing the benefits of nuclear science maybe we can finally evolve rather than devolve as we seem to be doing now.

German power companies demanding billions in damages over nuclear phaseout

JapanTimes.co.jp – Germany faces suits worth billions over nuclear phaseout

Thanks to FutureOfNuclear.com for finding this one:

“Germany’s phaseout of nuclear energy has triggered over 20 lawsuits by big power companies that have demanded billions of euros in damages, said a government paper released Tuesday.

After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Berlin moved to immediately shutter the country’s eight oldest reactors and close all others by 2022 while boosting renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass.

Three large electricity companies — EON, RWE and Vattenfall — have responded with a spate of court challenges, which the environment ministry has listed for the first time in response to a request by the Greens party.

In total, 14 complaints have been filed against the national government, including nine cases before the top Constitutional Court, and seven cases have been filed against state governments.

The likely final bill if the lawsuits succeed is unknown but would probably run into the billions, according to the paper, which was requested by Greens lawmaker Silvia Kotting-Uhl and made available to AFP on Tuesday.

The biggest known claim came from Swedish company Vattenfall, which has demanded €4.7 billion ($5.8 billion) compensation from the federal government.

Vattenfall launched its claim in 2012 before a Washington-based tribunal, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

RWE has demanded €235 million ($290 million) in damages in a German court, and EON is suing for €386 million ($475 million), said the ministry.”

Quote from EarthIsland.org
“The country’s five existing reactors will remain in operation until the end of their lifespan, with the last one being decommissioned in 2034.”

DoE gives $35 million to fund advanced reactor research

WorldNuclearNews.org – DoE funding for advanced reactor research

“Five R&D projects supporting advanced reactor technologies have been selected to receive $13 million of cost-share funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE). All of the research is being carried out by public-private partnerships.
The nuclear companies leading the five projects are Areva Federal Services, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, General Atomics, NGNP Industry Alliance and Westinghouse Electric Company.
Partnered by TerraPower Company, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Texas A&M University, Areva Federal Services will receive funding for work on modelling and simulation for longer life cores, including thermal hydraulic simulations and experimental investigation for liquid metal-cooled fast reactor fuel assemblies.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, in partnership with ANL, will receive funding for development and modernization of next-generation probabilistic risk assessment methodologies. General Atomics’ partnership with the University of California at San Diego and the University of South Carolina receives funding for fabrication and testing complex silicon carbide structures pertinent to advanced reactor concepts.
The final two projects receiving the DoE funding are work on high temperature gas reactor post-accident heat removal and testing by NGNP Industry Alliance partnering with Areva, UltraSafe Nuclear Company, Westinghouse, and Texas A&M University, and the development of thermo-acoustic sensors for sodium-cooled fast reactors led by Westinghouse in partnership with ANL and the University of Pittsburg.”

Aiming at a National Energy Policy for Energy Reality

Developing a national energy policy for a country of our size does have significant challenges. Making one set of guidelines for a diverse set of regions and jurisdictions is a challenge so not every guideline will be a perfect fit. For those looking for number crunching, graphs and citations you will be disappointed. I keep my comments in the realm of the educated-guessing bloggers often do. Energy policy in our case needs to make the case that nuclear energy has the most potential to do the most benefit. So our energy policy includes educating people to draw their own conclusions based on comparing the options which I hope our website will eventually provide.

But we need to make nuclear energy and nuclear science more important to everyone. It’s true that we need more scientists and engineers but we need the general public to embrace nuclear. Part of the problem is that most people feel that it is too complicated to understand nuclear. We can change that perception. It is not so esoteric. It can be made into a more easy to digest subject by starting with the numerous non-energy benefits of nuclear. For this point to be understood simply look at the wide range of benefits nuclear science has given us beyond energy and weapons. See youtube video The Future of Nuclear Technology … After Fukushima with Alan E. Waltar ( http://youtu.be/NQ_7-BNgBew )

Times have changed. We used to be able to ignore what science and industry were doing. Continue reading