Q1. Why do we need new nuclear power stations?
Q2. Why do we need a balanced energy mix in the UK?
Q3. Do the benefits of new nuclear outweigh the risks?
Q4. Is nuclear expensive for consumers?
Q5. Isn’t nuclear waste a major issue?
Q6. What about safety and security of nuclear power stations?
Q7. Should Nuclear have a role in the UK after what happened at Fukushima in
Q8. How does NuGen intend to work with suppliers?
Q9. Which reactor design does NuGen favour?
Q10. How long would you expect construction to take?
Q11. What are NuGen’s recruitment plans?
Q12. How do I get in touch with people in NuGen?
Q13. How many people will the Moorside construction involve?
The UK faces a significant future energy challenge; securing future energy supplies as ageing power stations close, as energy demand rises and as the UK continues to strive to achieve targeted reductions of CO2 emissions. Up to 30% of the UK’s current generating capacity will be retired over the next 15 years – so the UK must be positive in moving forward to build replacement generating stations to secure future prosperity for the UK and its citizens.
Nuclear energy is an existing, global technology that can be used to produce large amounts of low-carbon energy. It is also an economically advantageous solution since costs are predictable and stable.
NuGen believes that nuclear energy has an important role to play in helping the UK to meet its energy challenges and it must continue to be part of a balanced energy mix.
Nuclear energy currently supplies around 18% of the UK’s electricity.
Nuclear energy has supplied up to a third of the country’s electricity safely and reliably since 1956. The UK industry, with 19 reactors on 10 sites, has made a valuable contribution over the years to the standard of living of UK consumers.
Nuclear supplies 16% of the world’s electricity - and some 32% of the European Union’s electricity.
A balanced energy mix will help to ensure security of energy supply in the UK. It also reduces the UK’s dependency on imported fuels, potentially from politically unstable regions. Renewable sources are indigenous, and nuclear can provide a large scale, reliable source of base-load electricity. Together with coal, gas and oil from diverse sources, including the UK’s own production, they are the best protection against risk of supply interruptions and excessive costs of raw fuel which have an impact on UK competitiveness and consumer bills.
Nuclear is now seen by many people as having major benefits for many countries in an uncertain world. Some 36 new nuclear power stations are being built around the globe because of the combined benefits of nuclear’s low-carbon output and security of supply they bring to a country’s energy mix. Fuel is plentiful and accessible. The World Nuclear Association and the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency both predict more than 200 years’ worth of uranium reserves at current levels of consumption in nuclear power stations – and that this will not have an effect on proposed new nuclear developments around the globe. So resource is not an issue.
The base-load component nuclear offers makes it an increasingly acceptable choice. Base-load power denotes the very large quantities needed by modern economies and the vast outputs of huge power stations such as nuclear, gas or coal. Only these three technologies produce base-load power on which governments can depend to keep industrial and domestic consumers adequately supplied.
In the UK the Regulatory Justification process conducted by the British Government was part of a series of actions which enable new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK.
Justification is a legal requirement. EU legislation requires Governments to assess whether the benefits of practices involving ionising radiation outweigh the health detriments.
The Government consulted with the general public on this before reaching the decision that both the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design and the Areva EPR design are now legally justified. So their conclusion is that the many benefits of new nuclear power stations outweigh health detriments. This decision was based on an exhaustive submission presented by the Nuclear Industry Association which looked at safety and potential risks in great detail. The full submission can be found at:
Nuclear power is a stably-priced and predictable energy source that can output vast quantities of low-carbon electricity on to the National Grid. The UK Government asserts that lifetime costs for nuclear are lower than gas-fired generation per unit of electricity output - and can also be positively compared to wind energy on costs. See the Department of Energy and Climate Change website for more details on this at: www.decc.gov.uk
Part of the reason for this is that the major costs of nuclear are faced early on in plant construction. Fuel is also only around 10% of the overall cost of generation, compared to nearer 70% for gas. These factors combine to mean that nuclear is very stably, reliably and predictably priced – not subject to volatile increases or price hikes – and is therefore a major benefit to consumers.
The UK has managed its radioactive waste safely for over half a century
All UK wastes are securely contained. Other countries have already demonstrated that safe and secure long-term management and permanent disposal of nuclear wastes is technically feasible.
The UK Government, having considered a broad range of options has also decided to use deep geological disposal for the UK’s higher level wastes. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will now take the lead in establishing a site for the repository.
Government accepted the principle recommendations from a panel of experts and produced a White Paper in 2008 giving geological disposal as Government policy based on a voluntarism and partnership approach.
It is planned that such a facility will be ready by 2040, and will ultimately house existing wastes, those that will arise from the reactors currently operating and the waste from future nuclear stations. The principles for selecting the location of the repository will require suitable geology, a willing community and meeting all the necessary regulatory requirements.
A fleet of new replacement nuclear stations would only add around 12% to the volume of existing waste over their 60-year lifespan.
For more information check:
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority at: www.nda.gov.uk
The UK’s civil nuclear programme has an outstanding safety record.
All facilities are licensed by the industry regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation. Modern reactors have reliable advanced safety systems – and any imbalance in the normal system operation will lead to automatic shutdown.
Nuclear stations are amongst the most robust, secure structures in the world. They have a multi-layered defence against possible terrorist attacks. The Government’s Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) is responsible for approving security arrangements within the industry and enforcing compliance.
For more information check: www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear
Safety is, and always will be the number one priority for the global nuclear industry. Post-Fukushima NuGen believes that it is important that the nuclear industry learns lessons and that we use those lessons to further strengthen safety in our existing and future reactors, in our companies and in the different institutions and organisations that support the industry.
The chief inspector of the UK’s independent nuclear regulators, Dr Mike Weightman, has published his final report in to the implications for the UK nuclear industry and has re-confirmed his view that subject to implementing his recommendations, there are no safety issues for new nuclear build in the UK. We robustly support the continued need for strong, expert, independent regulation of the industry as we continue to progress our plans to develop our Moorside project to build a new nuclear power station in West Cumbria, and we are fully committed to incorporating the lessons learned from Fukushima.
Safety is the overriding priority in our business and we will continue to work with the regulators to ensure the UK continues to have one of the best nuclear safety regimes in the world.
In January 2012 the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) published a UK Power station “stress test” report for all operating or shutdown nuclear stations in the UK. These focus on safety re-assessments at all UK reactors in the light of the events at Fukushima. In the report ONR confirms that the UK findings, submitted to the European Council by all EC countries with nuclear stations, found that there are no fundamental safety weaknesses at current nuclear powers stations in the UK.
The UK report is published at: www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear
We are committed to maximising the use of UK-based suppliers in our plans four our Moorside project, and in particular we are keen to draw on the existing local expertise in the nuclear industry within West Cumbria.
We would expect that any supply chain engagement programme would need to involve the selected technology vendor and their alliance partners as well as NuGen. So for this reason we are not quite ready to start to engage with suppliers but expect to be in a position where we can start some engagement in 2012.
In the meantime we are working on the development of a mechanism that suppliers will use to register their interest in working with us on the Moorside project and will communicate more on this just as soon as we can. We also expect to host a supply chain event in the West Cumbria area and again will share more on this when we can. NuGen is committed to achieving excellence in the UK nuclear supply chain.
For more general information on nuclear supply chain check: www.nuclearsupplychain.com
There are two options which NuGen is focussing on for its Moorside project, and which are currently going through the UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process with the Office for Nuclear Regulation:
1. The EPR from AREVA
2. The Westinghouse AP1000
We are aiming for up to 3.6 GW of new nuclear capacity on land in West Cumbria, equivalent to two EPRs or three AP1000s depending on the type of design chosen.
At this stage we support equally the two designs and intend to remain focussed on these whilst we complete site characterisation activities.
Based on our current plans, the investment decision is expected to take place around 2015 and we should have the connection to the grid by 2023 followed by commissioning tests, and then a Commercial Operation Date by 2023/24. The construction period is likely to differ depending on the choice of technology due to the different design approaches associated with the two designs so it is difficult to be any more precise at this stage.
We have started to establish a core team into key management positions within NuGen already and anticipate a programme of recruitment in line with our development plans. We anticipate that NuGen will have a team of up to 80 people within a year or so both based in London and West Cumbria.
The easiest way to contact NuGen in the first instance is via email at email@example.com from where your enquiry can be passed to the most appropriate person.
A new nuclear power station in West Cumbria is likely to create around 5,000 jobs during the construction period, with around 700 permanent jobs being created when the Moorside power station becomes operational. During periods of planned maintenance, workforce numbers would be expected to exceed a further 1,000 people.