Tagged: assystem energy and nuclear

€25m for ‘robotic solutions’ in oil and gas

Well tractor. Image: Welltec

Well tractor. Image: Welltec

An oilfield services company in Denmark has been given a €25 million (£19.8m) loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Welltec will use the cash to develop advanced robotic solutions that can be used in the oil and gas development and production phases such as well completions to avoid the need for heavy-duty conventional equipment.

The project is aimed at reducing well construction times and extending the productive life of wells.

Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Denmark said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Welltec in this breakthrough operation as it will enable the EU bank to support future technologies whose concrete applications will help reduce not only operating costs but more importantly risks to health, safety and the environment”.

Source: Energy Live News

Calls for nuclear safety probe over station faults

EDF Torness power station.

Torness is one of 15 nuclear power stations across the UK that have been forced to shut down due to faults over the last three years – with campaigners calling for an urgent review into the reliability of nuclear energy.

Analysis for local councils revealed that 15 reactors have had 62 unplanned shut-downs since 2011, with Torness near Dunbar forced to close twice last year due to the build-up of seaweed clogging the plant’s filters.

The research – which was carried out by Edinburgh-based nuclear consultant Pete Roche – found plants hit by a range of faults including cracks and electrical, boiler and valve defects.

And now the 50-strong group of local authorities who commissioned the report are raising fears over safety and the UK’s future energy supply.

Manchester councillor Mark Hackett, who chairs the group, said: “I call upon the UK Government, the National Grid and the nuclear regulators to urgently review the safety issues around such a large number of unplanned shutdowns.

“The Government also has to prioritise alternatives over the next 12 months to ensure the unreliability of nuclear power does not lead to the lights going off around the country.”

Dungeness nuclear power station in Kent had to be shut down 21 times between 2012 and 2014.

Source: Edinburgh Evening News

Russia moves in on Finnish nuclear energy market

Finland is to build a new nuclear reactor in cooperation with Russia, despite growing EU energy security fears.

Dungeness Nuclear Power Station

Finland has announced controversial new plans to build a nuclear reactor in cooperation with Russian firm Rosatom.

The nuclear reactor will be built on the condition that Finland maintains an energy partnership with Russia over the coming years.

Sampo Terho, who is an MEP for Finland and a substitute member of parliament’s industry, research and energy committee, said, “I welcome Fortum taking a stake in Fennovoima nuclear power plant project as positive news, which hopefully will help to advance the project”.

He added that “nuclear power is an important part of the efforts to achieve the EU’s climate targets and this project is a step in the right direction”.

Last October, member states agreed to work to reduce EU domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below the 1990 levels by 2030, and to increase the share of renewable energy to at least 27 per cent of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030.

The project has posed concerns due to Russia’s involvement, among deepening tensions between the country and the EU as the conflict in Ukraine rages on.

The strained relations between Russia and the EU have caused observers – including former council president Herman van Rompuy – to worry that Europe’s gas and energy supplies may be in jeopardy, as most of it is streamlined through Russia.

According to Eurostat data, in 2012, 33.7 per cent of the EU’s crude oil, 32 per cent of natural gas and 25.9 per cent of solid fuels were imported from Russia.

The commission has repeatedly expressed its hope for more energy security in Europe, and for the EU to produce more of its energy rather than relying on third countries. Last March, EU leaders asked the commission to come up with a plan to reduce the union’s energy dependence, especially to Russia.

Greens/EFA group co-president Rebecca Harms described the plans as “very regrettable”. She insisted that “the decision to build a new nuclear reactor is wrong; with a Russian partner, it is even worse, given the current situation in eastern Europe”.

The German deputy said, “seen from a European perspective the manoeuvre is totally contrary to the EU’s energy security goals, which aim to cut the EU’s damaging dependency on Russian energy”.

This is not the first time Rosatom has worked closely with a European firm, as it had previously teamed up with British company Rolls-Royce to assess the feasibility of introducing Russian nuclear reactor technology to the UK market.

Source: The Parliament Magazine

Nuclear News Round Up (14th – 17th Apr 14)

EDF to miss its own deadline for Hinkley Point nuclear decision

EDF to miss its own deadline for Hinkley Point nuclear decision

French energy giant does not expect to take final investment decision on Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation until the autumn, missing its own target of July

Nuclear power station Rockford IL

EDF is also lobbying strongly against a long-term freeze of the UK’s rising carbon tax, which it fears would make the Hinkley deal look more expensive as well as cutting profits from its existing nuclear plants. Photo: Alamy

EDF expects to miss its own deadline for deciding whether to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, the Telegraph can disclose.

The French energy giant announced in October that it planned to take a final investment decision on the £16bn Hinkley Point C plant by July, after striking a landmark subsidy deal with government.

But it now believes that an ongoing European Commission investigation into whether the subsidies are illegal state aid will not be fully resolved until autumn, forcing its decision on the Somerset plant back until then.

The delay could threaten EDF’s plans to deliver first power from the plant in 2023 – a timescale it had said was “subject to a final investment decision by July 2014”.

It also pointed out many key details of the deal, including a £10bn-plus loan guarantee from the Treasury, could not be scrutinised as they were yet to be finalised. It is understood the loan guarantee may not be finalised until May.

Amid intense scrutiny of the Hinkley plan, EDF is also lobbying strongly against a long-term freeze of the UK’s rising carbon tax, which it fears would weaken the case for Hinkley by pushing up the bill for direct subsidies for the plant.

Under October’s deal, EDF has been guaranteed a price for the power the plant generates of £92.50/MWh, almost double the current market price for power, with the difference subsidised through levies on consumer energy bills.

A rising UK carbon tax would push up the market power price, reducing the total direct “top-up” subsidy to Hinkley and potentially making the deal more palatable to politicians and the EC alike.

But under pressure to tackle rising energy bills the Chancellor now is expected to announce a freeze of the carbon tax in next week’s Budget.

EDF – whose existing nuclear power plant fleet would also benefit significantly from the rising carbon tax – is understood to be urging the Chancellor to guarantee that any freeze would last no more than a two years and that the tax would then revert to its upwards trajectory.

The company, which is still in talks with potential investors to take stakes in the Hinkley Point project, also argues that a policy u-turn on the carbon tax would damage the UK’s attractiveness.

EDF has been at pains to insist it can deliver Hinkley “on time and on budget”, despite its Flamanville reactor in France being dogged by cost blowouts and years of delays.

However, it has already publicly set and then missed a string of deadlines for Hinkley, which was once supposed to be running by 2017, while the cost has “rocketed hugely”, according to former partner Centrica.

A damning 70-page critique published by the EC in January raised a series of concerns with the subsidy deal, arguing that it may be unnecessary, risked handing EDF excess profits and could severely distort competition.It said that total public subsidy could reach £17bn – more expensive than the plant itself.

Read the full article here

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10688788/EDF-to-miss-its-own-deadline-for-Hinkley-Point-nuclear-decision-as-EC-state-aid-investigation-drags-on.html

Source: Telegraph

EDF chooses Hydratight for new framework agreement

EDF chooses Hydratight for new framework agreement

Hydratight has just completed the first package of steam generator tooling as part of the recently secured six-year frame agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), France’s main electricity generation and distribution company, which manages all of the country’s functioning nuclear power facilities.

Hydratight has been EDF’s preferred provider for the previous six years during which time the company has supplied products and services to ensure the safe running and up-time of France’s nuclear power plants. This has included providing multi stud tensioning systems and manway lifting devices.

Gavin Coopey from Hydratight commented: “Over the last six years we have grown and developed with EDF. The team recognised our expertise and capabilities and this is what won us the new agreement.

“We have an excellent working relationship with EDF and all of the team are looking forward to continuing with what has proved to be a very productive agreement for both companies.

“France is a very important market to be involved with in the nuclear energy sector and we are delighted that EDF have chosen to again trust Hydratight as a chosen supplier.”

France derives nearly 75% of its electricity from nuclear power plants, making it the most nuclear reliant country in the world.

Source: Hydratight

Nuclear News Round Up (3rd – 7th Mar 14)