Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Ed Milibands vision for nuclear is just too dear....Is there any logic behind it?

Dear Sir,

Whilst there is much good information on the CO2 impact of the nuclear fuel cycle, some of Blaise Kelly’s assertions (letters, May 4) on nuclear power are not entirely accurate.

The oldest operating reactors in the world are the two Magnox units at Oldbury in Gloucestershire opened in 1967, but expected to be finally closed within a year. New designs of reactor are expected to be operated for 60 years or more and it remains to be seen whether this bold claim can be fulfilled.

On reliability, whilst it is true that in the past reactors have frequently not been as reliable as hoped, in the past two decades the record for current designs has improved. For example, Germany 7 of Germany’s 17 operating reactors have a life-time capacity factor (kWhs generated as a percentage of the maximum possible) of more than 85%.

All four of Finland’s operating reactors beat 85%, making the appalling mess with the construction of their new plant Olkiluoto 3, which is 4 years late and 75% over-budget, even more surprising. It also remains to be seen if it, and other new design reactors, can match this performance. British reactors have a much poorer record and only one of the 17 commercial stations we have built, Sizewell B has exceeded the 85% reliability level, with the average about 70%. None of the 58 units EDF, the most likely builder in the UK, operates in France exceeds this level.

None of this changes the weakness of the economic case for new nuclear build in Britain.

Prof Steve Thomas

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