Tag Archives: nuclear power

Blowout Week 160

This week we feature the inauguration of President Donald Trump and what it portends for US (and World) energy policy. After some confusing recent announcements Trump seems to have reverted to form. We continue with, oil production up in Libya and down in China, UK “last hope” for fracking in Europe, nuclear shutdown in New York, California nuclear shutdowns frustrate renewable energy goals, Russia lends $11 billion to Bangladesh to build nuclear plant, Ontario’s failed coal closure initiative, Wyoming to ban utility-scale renewables, Saudi Arabia to become a renewable energy powerhouse, 790GW of untapped wind & solar in SE Europe, Germany can’t admit Energiewende blunder, Scotland targets 66% emissions cut in 15 years, Ikea refuses to invest in more renewables in UK, UK wave power “far too costly”, energy bills and the plight of UK pensioners, too much sun in Yorkshire, the Paris Agreement to cost $100 trillion and reduce warming by only 0.3C and a hydrogen-powered boat plans to circumnavigate the globe. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 158

The signatories to the the Paris Climate Agreement, who include just about every country in the world, agree that the world must cut its fossil fuel emissions drastically if global climate catastrophe is to be avoided. Yet according to Exxon’s just-released Energy Outlook (the IEA and EIA outlooks are similar) the world will be burning more fossil fuels in 2040 than it is now. Does this mean that the world is doomed? Or is somebody missing something?

We continue with stories on the fallout from OPEC’s production cut, followed by nuclear in the US, France, Sweden and China, coal in China and Australia, renewables in China, Europe, and Germany, recent events in UK, roads that recharge EVs in Israel, 2016 ties 1998 for the warmest year on record in the lower troposphere and India solves the carbon capture and storage problem.
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Blowout Week 157 – New Year’s Edition

We kick of this week with a look at EU gas imports from Russia. And then follow with Russians hack into a Vermont utility; Toshiba’s nuclear business in trouble; nuclear power in Iran, Switzerland and South Africa; uranium in the US and Spain; Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage; coal in China and India; the Energiewende and the “Trump Effect”; Hawaii accelerates drive for 100% renewables; renewables records fall in Europe; Drax secures its future; post-Brexit investment surge in UK; Scotland’s renewable targets; electric vehicle costs; Swansea Bay tidal project adrift; climate change and Arctic warmth; more blackouts in South Australia and climate skeptics hoping to come in from the cold. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 156 – Christmas Eve

This week it’s back to OPEC, which recently agreed to cut its output by 1.2 million bpd in an attempt to increase oil prices supplemented by an additional 0.5 million bpd from Russia + other non-OPEC producers. What does this portend for the oil market? Industry opinion is unanimous. No one knows: Continue reading

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Blowout week 155

This week we kick off with the good news that the Antarctic sea ice area has changed little since the time of Scott and Shackelton. All those who have feared for the worse can breathe a huge sigh of relief. We … Continue reading

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Blowout Week 149

Blowout begins with EU proposals to cancel the renewables merit order after 2020 and follows on with the ratification of the Paris Accord and its dismal prospects of success, the Saudi-Iran oil production cut squabble, oil & gas jobs on the point of recovery, the recent North Sea oil & gas leasing round, fracking bans, nuclear in US being replaced with gas and coal, French nuclear plant outages, China still building two coal plants a week, Finland to ban coal by 2030 while the EU finances new coal plants in Greece, EU to bolster its failing Emissions Trading System, the UK’s failing solar industry and how it was not to blame for the renewables overspend, whether Whitehall is deliberately sabotaging Scottish renewables and NatGrid plays fast and loose with public money. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 147

This week we return to the South Australian blackout followed by plus Saudi Arabia’s $17.5 billion bond sale, Iran puts up 50 oil & gas projects for lease, the USA’s first nuclear plant in 20 years goes on line, nuclear woes in France, the EU/Canada trade deal falls apart, the world’s largest solar PV farm to be built in Turkey, Vattenfall sues Germany, environmentalists sue Norway, the EPA comes under fire in US courts, UK MPs want more battery storage, UK energy bills to increase, emissions from biofuels, scientists accidentally turn CO2 into ethanol and an apartment block which is a model of sustainable luxury. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 144

This week’s Blowout features a blackout, specifically the long-anticipated outage that plunged South Australia into darkness last week. But it was caused by strong winds that took down transmission lines, not by too much wind power on the grid. Or was it? Continue reading

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The Age and Future Size of the Global Nuclear Fleet

This is the last in my mini-series on global nuclear power. There are 441 reactors operational world wide today with an average age of 29.3 years. The current fleet is ageing. The oldest reactors in service today are 47 years old. By assuming that reactors will close aged 50 and by making simple assumptions about the commissioning of reactors under construction and those planned I estimate that come 2036 the fleet will comprise 424 units. The number is slightly down on today but the increase in mean power rating suggests that installed capacity will increase by about 25%. Continue reading

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Electricity and energy in the G20

While governments fixate on cutting emissions from the electricity sector, the larger problem of cutting emissions from the non-electricity sector is generally ignored. In this post I present data from the G20 countries, which between them consume 80% of the world’s energy, summarizing the present situation. The results show that the G20 countries obtain only 41.5% of their total energy from electricity and the remaining 58.5% dominantly from oil, coal and gas consumed in the non-electric sector (transportation, industrial processes, heating etc). So even if they eventually succeed in obtaining all their electricity from low-carbon sources they would still be getting more than half their energy from high-carbon sources if no progress is made in decarbonizing their non-electric sectors. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 140

This week’s Blowout focuses on the “formal commitment” of Presidents Xi of China and Obama of the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord. Xi may be in a position to commit China but it’s questionable whether Obama has the ability to commit the U.S. without congressional approval. The last time the U.S. signed a major climate accord (Kyoto in 1997) it was promptly and unanimously repudiated by the U.S. Senate: Continue reading

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An update on the Energiewende

Germany is still pursuing its goal of shutting down its nuclear plants but refuses to shut down its lignite plants. It is slashing renewable energy subsidies and replacing them with an auction/quota system. Public opposition is delaying the construction of the power lines that are needed to distribute Germany’s renewables generation efficiently. Renewables investment has fallen to levels insufficient to build enough new capacity to meet Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction target. There is also no evidence that renewables are having a detectable impact on Germany’s emissions, which have not decreased since 2009 despite a doubling of renewables penetration in the electricity sector. It now seems certain that Germany will miss its 2020 emissions reduction target, quite possibly by a wide margin. In short, the Energiewende is starting to unravel. Continue reading

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Nuclear Options

With Hinkley Point C and nuclear new-build in the UK very much in the public eye, I have found the range of nuclear options being discussed rather confusing. This post provides an overview of the 6 main reactor designs that are vying for the global market today focussing on the large, >1 GW Generation III reactors. While the post focusses on the UK, the part on generic designs should be of interest to all readers. [image from the “The Heroes of Telemark” a British – Norwegian raid during WWII aimed to prevent the Nazis gaining heavy water reactor technology. Or was it? Keep reading to CANDU to learn more.] Continue reading

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Blowout Week 135

This weeks’s blowout looks into global oil storage capacity, Middle East nuclear power, offshore wind cheaper than nuclear, US heat wave, Poland, coal and Germany, human rights, Brexit and climate change. Continue reading

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The Hinkley Point C Pantomime

The board of EDF, the French State controlled owner of UK and French power stations and vendor of the new Gen 3 EPR (European Pressurised Water Reactor) voted narrowly to approve the Hinkley C reactor project on Thursday (by 10 votes to 7). Contracts were supposed to be signed today (Friday). But then in an unexpected move the UK Government has called the project in for re-evaluation. Clearly, they did not expect the French to proceed. What on Earth is going on? Continue reading

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Global Nuclear Power Snapshot

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) has an informative web site with a mine of data that I’ve wanted to extract for some time. This is a first pass to try and capture some of the headlines which are: deployment of nuclear power has in the past depended upon a combination of three factors 1) the size and level of technology development of any country (the leading producers in 2015 were the USA, France, Russia and China) 2) the desire to acquire nuclear weapons that may be linked to large advanced countries wanting to defend themselves and 3) a shortage of fossil fuels (France, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia etc. have the greatest penetration of nuclear in power generation). Continue reading

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Blowout Week 132

In 2007, Alex Salmond rejected any new nuclear Scottish power stations. Policies based on fear, rather than facts, may feel good, but they increase the overall risk by not educating the public. Successful democracy requires people understand the decisions they make; otherwise it becomes a loose cannon, with decisions based on slogans. Accidents, when amplified by the media, induce fear far beyond realistic risk. At Fukushima none died from radiation exposure. At Chernobyl only 46 died as a result of radiation damage, an accident caused by faulty safety design and irresponsible neglect of safety procedures. In Hamburg in 2011, 54 died from eating organic beansprouts and 3,500 experienced kidney damage. Continue reading

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Renewable California

California is considered by many to be a world leader in the transition to renewable energy. But how much progress is it really making? This post looks into this question and finds that California has indeed significantly increased the percentage of renewable energy in its in-state generation mix – or at least would have done were it not for the impact of the recent drought on hydro output – but that it has made no progress towards increasing zero-carbon generation, which because of the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant remains lower than it was in 2002. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 129

This week’s Blowout focuses on the distressed UK North Sea oil & gas industry followed by speculators foresee $100 oil, Norway’s oil & gas fields lose $50 billion in value, oil industry to cut $1 trillion in spending, squabbles over US Arctic oil leasing, another blow to Japan’s nuclear renaissance, the first US reactor startup in 20 years, bleak outlook for Australia’s brown coal plants, India cancels 16GW of coal, Brexit’s impact on energy investment, smart meters not needed for an EU grid after all, solar potential in Ireland, the National Grid should be broken up, a new submarine cable to France and Obama’s energy storage initiative. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 128

This week we focus on Germany’s Energiewende followed by turning the C in CCS into rock, further job losses expected in UK oil and gas, forecast decline in non-OPEC oil supplies, England not windy enough, unscheduled global oil supply disruptions, more US oil patch bankruptcies, Westinghouse to build nuclear plants in India, Sweden goes nuclear again, Finland to build another nuclear plant, “incident” shuts down Tihange plant, signs of recovery in coal, Brexit to cause loss of UK energy sovereignty, ENSO events influence global temperatures for hundreds of years. Continue reading

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