Horizon suspends Wylfa new build

Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed that it is suspending its nuclear new build projects at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, following a decision by its parent company Hitachi Ltd.

The move follows discussions between the UK government and Hitachi to agree financing and commercial arrangements for Wylfa.

“I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned,” Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Horizon Nuclear Power, said in a statement. “As a result we will be suspending the development of the Wylfa Newydd project, as well as work related to Oldbury, until a solution can be found. In the meantime we will take steps to reduce our presence but keep the option to resume development in future.”

Horizon will continue to engage with the UK government and stakeholders regarding future options for development.

Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, commented: “The news from Hitachi is disappointing, and very concerning for the companies which were preparing to build and supply the new power station at Wylfa. We hope that the conversations with the UK government can conclude in a satisfactory manner to see the project progress as planned.

“This really illustrates the financial challenges of investing in the current generation of gigawatt-scale reactors. Hitachi’s ABWR technology has satisfied the regulatory process in the UK, and has already been built to schedule previously, but it represents a huge upfront investment with a long period until a financial return.

“While this is negative news for the nuclear sector in the UK, we do need to look at the broader perspective with new designs of advanced modular reactors being developed. These could meet the UK’s needs for new low-carbon baseline generation in a more affordable way. Smaller reactor units can reduce the financial challenges, while modular construction in factories using advanced manufacturing techniques can significantly reduce the overall costs of a new fleet of reactors.

“This is further evidence that as a country, we need to seize the opportunities of new advanced reactors, to meet our energy needs and to allow UK manufacturers to take a global lead in these game-changing technologies. However, we do have a low carbon electricty challenge today and Wylfa Newydd represents a significant contribution to our energy mix and our UK renaissance of nuclear new build. Let’s hope a way forward can be established quickly.”

 

Spherical Tokamak opportunities

31 January, Nuclear AMRC; 1 February, London.

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production project is an ambitious new programme to design and ultimately build a compact fusion power station in the UK. The UK government has committed an initial £20 million for conceptual design development.

Project leader UKAEA is holding two information events for industry and researchers, including companies in the nuclear supply chain which want to know more about the opportunities around fusion:

  • Thursday 31 January, 3–6pm, at the Nuclear AMRC, South Yorkshire
  • Friday 1 February, 10.30am–1.30pm, at the Royal Academy of Engineering, central London.

For more information and to register, contact Lisa Jones: lisa.jones@ukaea.uk

Northern Women’s Infrastructure Network

24 January 2019, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC hosts the launch event for the new Northern branch of the Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) UK, to bring together women working in infrastructure sectors – transport, utilities, communications, government and environmental – across the North of England.

Founded by women at key regional businesses, Northern WIN aims to bring together like-minded women who want to expand their professional networks across industries, and share best practice for evolving equality of opportunity and career advancement.

This launch event will include presentations from women working in senior roles in the UK’s nuclear power sector, as well as networking opportunities and discussions on developing the group for the benefit of all.

The half-day event is free to attend, and includes optional breakfast and lunch. For more information and the agenda, download the flyer (pdf).

To register, go to: nwin-launch.eventbrite.co.uk

Advanced cooling forum

15 January 2019, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC invites you to explore the state of the art in supercritical carbon dioxide coolant in advanced machining for the most demanding industries and applications.

The Nuclear AMRC is leading research into supercritical CO2 cooling for challenging machining tasks, and combining it with minimum quantity lubricant (MQL) techniques for optimum performance. The technology has been shown to reduce tool wear compared to traditional oil-based coolants, but needs further R&D to optimise cutting conditions for the most demanding tasks.

This one-day forum will bring together industrial users with researchers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of CO2 coolants, and share the latest research and best practice. Download the flyer for more details, including agenda and speakers.

To register, go to: advanced-cooling-co2-mql.eventbrite.co.uk