Published Jul 13 2009 by ASPO-USA
Archived Jul 13 2009

Nuclear - July 14

by Staff

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

France imports UK electricity as plants shut

Robin Pagnamenta, Times ONline

France is being forced to import electricity from Britain to cope with a summer heatwave that has helped to put a third of its nuclear power stations out of action.

With temperatures across much of France surging above 30C this week, EDF’s reactors are generating the lowest level of electricity in six years, forcing the state-owned utility to turn to Britain for additional capacity.

Fourteen of France’s 19 nuclear power stations are located inland and use river water rather than seawater for cooling. When water temperatures rise, EDF is forced to shut down the reactors to prevent their casings from exceeding 50C.

...EDF warned last month that France might need to import up to 8,000MW of electricity from other countries by mid-July — enough to power Paris — because of the combined impact of hot weather, a ten-week strike by power workers and ongoing repairs.

EDF must also observe strict rules governing the heat of the water it discharges into waterways so that wildlife is not harmed. The maximum permitted temperature is 24C. Lower electricity output from riverside reactors during hot weather usually coincides with surging demand as French consumers turn up their air conditioners.

...A statement from EDF played down the heat problems, saying that the French system continued to meet customer demands — but similar heatwaves have caused serious problems in France in the past.

In 2003, the situation grew so severe that the French nuclear safety regulator granted special exemptions to three plants, allowing them temporarily to discharge water into rivers at temperatures as high as 30C. France has five plants located by the sea and EDF tries to avoid carrying out any repairs to them during the summer because they do not suffer from cooling problems.
(3 July 2009)

Nuclear power - taxes needed?

Rolf E. Westgard, Brainerd Daily Dispatch and Oil and Gas Journal

The Senate is debating the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Act which proposes to reduce green house gas emissions. Sixty percent of those GHGs are emitted by petroleum based transportation fuels and coal-fueled electric power plants. Nowhere in Waxman-Markey's 1,400 pages is there an effective substitute for those fuels.

Coal-fueled power plants can be replaced by non-polluting nuclear reactors as in France, but nuclear is not mentioned in the legislation.

Most developed countries limit consumption of transport fuels with substantial taxes, especially on gasoline. That leads to fuel-efficient cars, and the fuel tax revenue funds and encourages the use of energy-efficient public transport. This approach is not proposed in Waxman-Markey. Instead it offers an array of legislative mandates for renewable energy and efficiency without any explanation of how those mandates are to be achieved.

Waxman-Markey's main feature is an elaborate cap and trade system which arbitrarily limits emissions. Fossil fuel users are to purchase emission allowances. They can also earn offsets, or rights to emit, by supporting renewable projects of uncertain merit in the U.S and abroad. These allowances and offsets will be tradable, thus offering Wall Street brokers a new source of profit as they set up to deal in these new instruments.
(9 July 2009)

CBI urges shift to nuclear from wind power

Ed Crooks, Financial Times
Labour’s energy policy is weakening the country’s energy security and making it harder to cut carbon dioxide emissions because of an excessive reliance on wind power, the CBI will say on Monday morning.

In a study of Britain’s energy supplies published in advance of the government’s latest plans for tackling the threat of climate change, which will be set out on Wednesday, the employers’ organisation has urged a shift of strategy away from wind in favour of nuclear power.

John Cridland, the CBI’s deputy director-general, said: “The government is pitching too high on what they are claiming can be obtained from wind, [which] will crowd out other low-carbon energy sources.” He said that it could give Britain “the most volatile energy prices in Europe”...
(12 July 2009)
This is looking like a heavyweight battle for funds. See also Jeremy Legget's commentary in The Guardian. - SO