Friday, January 16, 2009

Germans to invest £20bn in new UK nuclear plants

From the Times of London:

Germany's two largest power companies joined forces yesterday and announced an ambitious plan to build at least four nuclear reactors in the UK at an estimated cost of £20 billion.

The plants, the first of which is set to enter service within ten years, will provide at least six gigawatts of new generating capacity, the equivalent of 10 per cent of the generating capacity of all Britain's existing power plants....

....In a blow for Areva, the French nuclear reactor designer, E.ON and RWE backed away from a commitment to any specific technology, despite an earlier memorandum of understanding signed by E.ON to back Areva's EPR reactor design, which has been picked by EDF for the four reactors that it plans to build in Britain.

The decision represents a victory for Toshiba-Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned reactor designer, whose AP1000 is in competition with Areva's EPR. RWE is understood to be minded to back the Japanese reactor.

Probably a good idea after stories like this, last week:

Wind energy supply dips during cold snap

Britain's wind farms have stopped working during the cold snap due to lack of wind, it has emerged, as scientists claimed half the world's energy could soon be from renewables.

The Met Office said there has been an unusually long period of high pressure across the UK for the last couple of weeks, causing the cold snap and very little wind.

Since Boxing Day much of the country has suffered sub-zero conditions with frozen rivers and lakes and even the sea in the south of England, at Sandbanks in Dorset. In the last few days temperatures in southern England plunged as low as 17.6F (-8C). However the weather is expected to warm up over the weekend, with wind speeds also picking up.

But sources in the energy industry say that the lack of wind has caused the country's wind farms to grind to a halt when more electricity than ever is needed for heating, forcing the grid to rely on back up from fossil fuels or other renewable energy sources....MORE