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Tag Archives: nuclear

Commodity Tracker: 6 charts to watch this week

Geopolitical risk and oil markets top this week’s pick of energy and commodities themes from S&P Global Platts editors. Plus, Ukraine’s role in European gas supply, steel scrap prices as a bellwether for economies, and a milestone approaches for US LNG exports. 1. Global oil markets on alert after attacks on Saudi oil facilities   Click for full-size infographic What’s happening? Attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities at Abaiq and the kingdom’s second-largest oil field,...

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Japan’s nuclear power generation ramps up in 2019 but hurdles lie ahead

Dynamics in the Japanese power market have been a major bearish force acting on the global LNG market this year. Weak power demand, increasing renewable generation, notably solar, and higher nuclear output have depressed fossil fuel needs, and LNG in particular, as S&P Global Platts Analytics highlighted in a recent report. Ahead of the Platts Analytics Client Seminar in Singapore, Bruno Brunetti and Andre Lambine explore key aspects of the Japanese power market. Japan’s nuclear...

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UK electricity links to Europe multiply, even as Brexit looms

This week marks the start of a new phase in London-Brussels relations. But it has nothing to do with Brexit, and it won’t be political power returning to Westminster as a result of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Instead, the power flowing across the English Channel will be of the electrical variety, as the Nemo electricity interconnector – the first direct connection between the UK and Belgium – begins commercial operations on 31st January. The 1 GW link...

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Hitachi’s U-turn on UK nuclear plant could be a blessing in disguise

Hitachi’s decision to down tools on its proposed £16 billion ($20.6 billion) nuclear project in Wales, announced on January 17, could be a blessing in disguise for British consumers. Instead of further subsidizing a globally declining industry, the government has simpler alternatives to ensure long-term energy security and affordable electricity prices for all. Natural gas, more renewables, storage and demand response are cost-efficient solutions with significantly lower risk than bankrolling...

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Europe’s new-generation nuclear plants stagger over the start line

Years late and massively over-budget, Europe’s first EPR nuclear plants in Finland and France are on the verge of “energizing”, as the sector jargon goes. Barring last-minute glitches, this will be the final act in what must be the longest-running construction saga in the region. Finland’s 1993 vote to reject plans for a fifth reactor was one of the first stories I covered as a trainee. Readers of Power in Europe were already bored witless by all the back-and-forth on the topic when, in 2002,...

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Insight: Nuclear industry, vendors believe there’s a future for microreactors

Recent expressions of support by the US and UK governments have highlighted a new class of very small nuclear power reactors. Microreactors, sometimes defined as reactors of less than 15 MW, have been identified as potential recipients of development funds by the UK government as part of its search for an “advanced modular reactor” for near-term deployment, while the US Congress passed legislation in July asking the Department of Energy to develop a report on the potential...

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NRC 2.0: Adapting regulation to a changing nuclear industry

A series of sweeping changes at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission would alter the agency’s mission to adapt to an evolving US nuclear industry, which is in the grips of a struggle for its economic survival. Ten years ago, what some called a nuclear power “renaissance” was anticipated in the US, and the agency expected to be reviewing dozens of applications to license new nuclear units. In fact, 18 such applications were submitted to NRC beginning in September 2007....

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Struggling UK SMR competition seeks to regain momentum

The UK government’s much heralded, pre-Brexit referendum “competition” to have a small modular reactor or SMR design manufactured in the country by the mid-2020s is struggling to regain momentum amid growing questions about the political will to proceed with the project. The idea of a “competition” to select an SMR design was announced by then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in his March 2016 Comprehensive Spending Review. Osborne allocated GBP250...

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Despite draft Nuclear Safeguards Bill, UK struggles with impending ‘Brexatom’

Despite a draft Nuclear Safeguards Bill that will go some way towards addressing the new licensing requirements for nuclear fuel, equipment and radioactive material after Brexatom – as the UK’s departure from the European Atomic Energy Community has come to be known – the UK is nonetheless struggling to find a successor arrangement to the Euratom Treaty. Euratom and the Euratom Treaty of 1957 that governs it were founded to promote nuclear power in Europe. The Euratom Treaty covers most...

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No good options as North Asian tensions rise

The launch of increasingly long-range North Korea missiles this year, threatening the US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, and then the firing of a missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido this week, indicate Pyongyang’s willingness to test US and Japanese red lines. It suggests a recognition that the US has no good options, but at the same time runs the risk, particularly with an unpredictable US president in post, of escalating tensions to the point of retaliation. Conflict...

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