E.ON pulls out of new nuclear in the UK

For several years, the United Kingdom has been planning for the deployment of up to 12 new nuclear reactors to replace the advanced gas-cooled reactors that will be shut down over the next 12 years.

To that end, eight sites were identified around England and Wales that would be permitted to host new nuclear plants. Each of these sites has or has had a nuclear reactor there previously. Several consortia of utilities and vendors formed to develop new reactors at each of these sites, and one of them, Horizon Nuclear Power, was a joint venture of the German utility E.ON and RWE npower, a UK-based electricity and gas supply generation company.

Horizon had planned to build new reactors at the Wylfa and Oldbury sites in the UK, but today they announced that they would not, citing the global economic crisis and the financial after-effects of Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power.

Last fall, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced that they were pulling out of the NuGeneration consortium, which has planned to build new reactors at the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The NuGeneration consortium still plans to continue without SSE.

BBC: Is the UK’s nuclear future in jeopardy?

Power Engineering: New nuclear power plants in UK cancelled

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16 Replies to "E.ON pulls out of new nuclear in the UK"

  • Mackem
    March 29, 2012 (6:46 pm)
    Reply

    Its beyond my capabilities but I seriously hope that Flibe are producing a detailed feasibility study for the uk government to promote the LFTR – with the first generation design fuelled by the stockpile of waste plutonium and transuranics in molten salt to breed enough U-233 for the second generation of conventional LFTR's to not only dispose of the mess of fissioning solid U-235 but help get rid of coal and gas as the baseline production of energy in the UK.

  • TerjeP
    March 29, 2012 (9:06 pm)
    Reply

    What sort of reactors are being proposed?

  • Jagdish
    March 29, 2012 (11:10 pm)
    Reply

    Germans are discouraged by withdrawal of their govt support to nuclear energy. The UK govt is unwilling to invest in nuclear energy financially.
    The only way left for electric supply companies like the Horizon is to go for small low cost reactors which they can afford to install at least one. The only cost effective small reactor available is Indian PHWR. Russia, China and Korea may come up with new offers.

  • RobertM
    April 2, 2012 (9:48 pm)
    Reply

    I am happy that UK has decided to outsource their energy future to the superpower that is france and germany. I have never really liked UK, being an american and all.

    One day, when UK is full of smokey coal ash fumes, and underground natural gas leaks, they might look into nuclear once again. When that day comes, France and china will have plenty of thorium based solutions for the UK to buy at slightly above market price.

    I just can't understand why UK decides to outsource their future energy and national security interests so voluntarily… But then again, England and the others haven't done well since the better part of UK, america, gained independence.

  • Steve
    April 3, 2012 (6:36 am)
    Reply

    Hi Kirk,

    Thanks for posting this update. Is there any indication as to whether the sites on your map (marked in blue) will include any thorium-based reactors?

    Keep up the outstanding work

    Steve

  • Clark
    April 6, 2012 (6:08 am)
    Reply

    Test comment – feel free to delete this. I'd submitted another comment that never appeared.

  • Clark
    April 6, 2012 (6:29 am)
    Reply

    OK, my previous comment appeared immediately, so here's the one that didn't show up. It was probably because I'd used a different URL in the "Website" field.

    RobertM, as a British subject I'd lay the blame on widespread complacency, corruption and incompetence within the UK's political class. They'd rather have wars in poorer countries with oil reserves, because that also makes money for their arms industries, and provokes the terrorist threat that supports and justifies our burgeoning Security State and its blanket surveillance of ordinary people. They're hardly alone in this. Their most common collaborator is the government of the US. Both our countries seem committed to perpetual war and the consequent losses of civil liberties at home, rather than developing energy independence.

    Another reason is public opposition to development of nuclear power. This is partially a reaction to government secrecy and interference with the media, and of course reaction to accidents and "spent fuel".

    TerjeP and Steve; no, no thorium. I'm not sure, but maybe four EPRs, maybe some Westinghouse AP1000s, uranium/plutonium fuel:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized

  • Roy Harvie
    April 6, 2012 (9:12 pm)
    Reply

    I take this a good news. What we do not want is more "dirty" nuclear power plants producing radio-active waste.
    LFTRs are a vastly superior option, and one that will gain more acceptance as the traditional PWRs are deemed too expensive and publicly unacceptable.

    The hardest part is educating the public so that they know a safe clean LFTR is possible, and get past the "No nukes are good nukes." mentality.

  • Roy Harvie
    April 6, 2012 (9:19 pm)
    Reply

    Does anyone know if the APPG has been able to get a pro LFTR member appointed to Sir John Beddington's Advisory Board?

  • Roy Harvie
    April 6, 2012 (10:51 pm)
    Reply

    A little googling and I find Sir John Beddington is against LFTRs because research is required. He feels the energy problem should be solved only with existing proven technologies.

  • Clark
    April 7, 2012 (5:25 am)
    Reply

    Well MSRs are proven technology, though LFTRs go a bit further (though not much, really). Sir John is contactable on the links below. If anyone writes to him, I'd advise keeping to the results of ONRL's MSRE. If we promote less proven potential benefits like burning up spent fuel and decommissioned weapon cores he is more likely to dismiss the whole thing as fantasy.
    http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/j.beddington
    https://twitter.com/uksciencechief

    Ironic that an Honorary Principal Research Fellow at ICL is adverse to research…

  • Steve
    April 10, 2012 (9:55 am)
    Reply

    Thanks for the response, Clark. I'm also in agreement with most of your comments and believe that clear reason and progress for the benefit of all have been repeatedly sacrificed in favour of short-termism in the most disgraceful of manners.

  • Clark
    April 10, 2012 (8:09 pm)
    Reply

    Hear, hear, Steve. I often wonder what the current state of development would be if the MSR programme had received similar funding to the water-cooled reactors instead of being axed.

  • TerjeP
    April 14, 2012 (7:01 pm)
    Reply

    One thing that would concern me greatly regarding LFTRs if I was a utility operator or a public official looking to build a new energy plant would be the lack of an established economic ecosystem of support. I'd be enthusiastic but still waiting for the private sector initiatives such as Flibe to prove up the technology and establish construction and operation conventions and methods. If I really wanted to move things along with public money I'd invest it in scholarships and prizes for associated education and innovation. However public money shouldn't be splashed about so I probably wouldn't even support that. I really think this needs to be a private initiative and that it will take time. I think Flibe is on the right course and I simply wish they could be more open to private speculative investment. Smart money will coalesce around smart ideas when the right ingredients are in place. And I think Flibe is doing a good job strategically in targeting the military energy market before the civilian energy market.

  • John Marshall
    June 9, 2012 (6:03 am)
    Reply

    It would be a good idea to install a LFTR at every old nuclear station because not only is the infrastructure for power distribution available it could be used to generate power from the old waste at the existing reactor.

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