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[cdn-nucl-l] £9bn scheme to build nine nuclear stations in Britain
"British Energy has also looked at a new nuclear programme based on the
Candu 600 design from Canada and this could be kept in reserve."
This is worrisome...
Posted on the Guardian Unlimited, February 27, 2002 and at:
AP1000 construction in 3 years, ability to burn MOX, 50% cost reduction!
Looks like BNFL isn't going to go away...
£9bn scheme to build nine nuclear stations
Paul Brown, environment correspondent
Wednesday February 27, 2002
A £9bn plan to build nine nuclear stations to replace Britain's ageing
advanced gas-cooled reactors is being drawn up by British Energy and
British Nuclear Fuels, the country's two atomic power operators, in a
joint venture announced yesterday.
The plan, which would include a new manufacturing plant to make the
parts, would create 5,000 jobs as well as keeping existing staff at
stations employed. British Energy, which owns the sites, believes it can
cut current costs by using the existing transmission lines and skilled
In a joint statement, Robin Jeffrey, British Energy's executive
chairman, and Norman Askew, BNFL's chief executive, emphasised that
government agreement is still needed. The aim is to check that the
programme is financially viable and all the regulatory and planning
hurdles can be overcome.
Mr Jeffrey said it was an ambitious scheme "but companies have got to
create their own destinies and their own success".
The two companies, which admit that moves to build nuclear stations
"must not get ahead of public opinion," nevertheless named the sites for
the first two stations, Hunterston in Ayrshire, which is in energy
minister Brian Wilson's constituency, and Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Both the existing AGR stations on these sites are due to close by 2011
and the new stations would need to be running by then. BNFL hopes that
British Energy will replace these stations and seven other AGRs with a
nuclear station design, the AP 1000, being developed by its US
subsidiary, Westinghouse. It believes it can build these stations in
British Energy is keeping its options open by signing a similar joint
venture with owners of the Canadian Candu reactor design to see which
would be most suitable.
The plan for new stations comes immediately after a sceptical government
energy review. It would effectively revive the nuclear industry, which
has had no plans for new building since the Sizewell B reactor was
completed in Suffolk in the mid-1990s. It would, however, simply
maintain nuclear's existing 25% share of the electricity market, which
will have shrunk to less than 5% in 2020 as the AGRs close one by one.
The aim of the joint venture is to assess the cost of nuclear building
and get it down to a level at which it can compete with gas. Both
companies say that electricity prices are so low that new building of
any form of generation is not viable and Britain faces a series of
California style blackouts unless the market is reformed.
Mr Jeffrey also said it was "absurd" that the nuclear industry did not
benefit from the climate change levy. His personal preference was for a
pollution tax for those who dumped carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,
which he called a "skyfill tax".
The joint venture heals a rift between Britain's two nuclear giants,
which had fallen out over the cost of reprocessing contracts. British
Energy had said reprocessing of spent fuel was not necessary to its
business and was so expensive it was pushing the entire company into the
red. BNFL said the contracts were firm and it needed income from
reprocessing to keep it financially viable.
Yesterday both chief executives said that talks about cost savings for
both companies were well advanced and an appeal by British Energy for
the office of fair trading to intervene was on hold.
Mr Jeffrey said the AP 1000 could burn mixed oxide fuel and so use up
British Energy's stocks of plutonium building up from existing
reprocessing at Sellafield. Spent fuel from new reactors would not be
reprocessed but instead go for direct disposal.
Environment groups condemned the plan, saying nuclear power was too
expensive. Mark Johnston, for Greenpeace, said: "Ministers should rule
out the nuclear option for good. Any new funding must go towards
renewable energy and energy conservation. These options do not add to
the long lived radioactive legacy that nuclear power creates."
Bryony Worthington, for Friends of the Earth, said: "The British public
do not want new nuclear power stations, and any attempt to force new
ones on them will be vigorously opposed."
Posted in This Is London on February 27, 2002 and at:
Nuclear blueprint is unveiled
by Stephanie Bentley, Daily Mail
ELECTRICITY generator British Energy has set up a task force with
British Nuclear Fuels to plan nine new reactors. They would replace BE's
present plants at a cost of £700m each.
The 20-year replacement programme would be one of the biggest
infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK, and would create
5,000 manufacturing jobs.
Robin Jeffrey, British Energy chief executive, said: 'We have a very
strong case to make.' The nuclear lobby argues that it is a secure way
to meet electricity needs without emitting 'global warming' gases.
It is encouraged by positive noises from the House of Lords and the
Government's energy review. But there is bound to be strong opposition
from environmentalists worried about accidents or terrorist attacks at
BE's power stations and BNFL's Sellafield reprocessing plant.
The two firms will spend a year assessing the costs and risks of
building BNFL's Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design at a time when
wholesale electricity prices are low.
The first of BE's eight UK nuclear stations - Hunterston B in Scotland,
and Hinkley B in Somerset - will be decommissioned in 2011. BE is
lobbying the Government to take back £4bn liabilities, run up when it
was state-owned. It also wants to be let off the climate change levy.
Posted in the UK Independent on February 26, 2002 and at:
Nuclear power generators join forces to develop new reactors
By Michael Harrison, Business Editor
26 February 2002
Britain's two nuclear electricity generators will today announce that
they are joining forces to develop a new generation of reactors based on
a Westinghouse design. The development project, if successful, could
lead to a £10bn programme to build 10 new stations to replace all of the
UK's existing nuclear capacity by 2025.
Today's announcement by British Energy and British Nuclear Fuels follows
the cautious backing given to new investment in nuclear stations in the
Government's recent energy review. The document said the nuclear option
should be kept open and recommended practical measures to achieve this,
such as exempting nuclear power from the climate change levy.
The plan being unveiled envisages a new generation of reactors based on
the Westinghouse AP 1000 design. BNFL, which owns Westinghouse,
estimates that the new design could enable it to cut the cost of
building a new 1,000 to 1,200 megawatt station by as much as a half.
British Energy has also looked at a new nuclear programme based on the
Candu 600 design from Canada and this could be kept in reserve.
Despite the more cost-efficient designs now available, British Energy
estimates that electricity from a new nuclear station would still be
about 40 per cent more expensive than the current market price. This
means that there would need to be government support to close the
financial gap. But as BNFL is still state-owned, a joint venture between
the two companies could provide the basis of the public-private
partnership needed to kickstart a new generation of nuclear stations.
In its submission to the Energy Review, British Energy called on the
Government to assume all of the company's pre-1996 reprocessing
liabilities, estimated at £3bn, and allow it to renegotiate its existing
spent-fuel contracts with BNFL. This would enable it to reduce its
spent-fuel costs by £250m a year and fund a new generation of stations.
Despite protracted talks, no agreement on the fuel contracts will be
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 27 February 2002
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