Thursday, 18 November 2010
I went to the nuclear Institute meeting last night expecting a technical talk about how the AP1000 works. Instead we had a sales pitch about Westinghouse’ design philosophy and how they are on schedule in China. But he said a few interesting things, so here are my notes:-
Their design philosophy is to have a standard design that they understand and know how to build.
They are building four stations in China, two at each of Haiyang and Sanmen.
China is planning a massive nuclear programme – 70 stations by 2020, 200 by 2030. [If this happens then uranium will be in very short supply, and expensive.]
They have other projects in the pipeline in the US.
They are quoting construction times of 36 months, but only achieving 68 months in China. [So much for ‘on schedule’]
Unlike the US, the UK safety assessment does not ask whether the design meets a pre-determined safety standard, but only asks whether the design could be improved, i.e. whether it is as safe as practically possible. I think this is called the ALART principle. He said NII are telling Westinghouse there are no show stoppers on that basis.
EDF has picked the EPR design, so only 2 sites at most in the UK will have AP1000s.
The government will not ‘subsidise’ nuclear but is planning ‘incentives for low carbon electricity generation’, which would of course include nuclear.
Government policy is not to reprocess spent fuel from the new nukes, so spent fuel will be stored at the station until someone can think of somewhere else to put it. [That’s different from what Horizon has said. FoE believes it will be stored on site for 160 years until the radioactivity has dropped substantially.]
Posted by Reg Illingworth at 23:36