Skip to main content

Britain Could Be Short on Electricity in a Few Years

From the Daily Express:
Britain is "quite simply running out of power" and blackouts are almost inevitable within the next few years.

This is the stark warning from the head of an energy think-tank who believes power cuts could be serious enough to spark civil disorder.

Campbell Dunford of the respected Renewable Energy Foundation said: "It’s almost too late to do anything about it. Nothing will stop us having to pay very high prices for power in future."

...

The “retirement” of a string of nuclear and coal-fired power stations will see 37 percent of the UK’s generation disappear by 2015, partly because of EU environmental directives.
But here's what caught my eye:
The [REF] report concludes: "A near fatal preoccupation with politically attractive but marginal forms of renewables seems to have caused a blindness towards the weakening of the UK’s power stations and a dangerous and helpless vulnerability to natural gas."
Wow, I'm a bit stunned (and impressed) that a renewable think-tank admitted this conclusion. Hopefully many in the U.S. are watching and taking notes on Britain's experience.

Hat-tip to Eric McErlain!

Comments

George Carty said…
Are there any energy traitors in the New Labour government, comparable to Gerhard Schroeder in Germany?
Bill said…
The “retirement” of a string of nuclear and coal-fired power stations will see 37 percent of the UK’s generation disappear by 2015, partly because of EU environmental directives.

Do the nukes have to be retired? Most US plants have had their licenses extended.
MartinJ said…
The UK AGRs might get a few extra years squeezed out of them, but are unlikely to get the size of life extension typical of most US LWRs due to issues with their graphite cores.

The Express article is quite sensationalist, however. The idea that the UK would meekly shut down its old coal stations and suffer powercuts because of an EU directive is farfetched. Modernisation of old plants or payment of fines for non-compliance are the far more likely consequences of the directive.
Alistair said…
The fear of power shortages in the UK has pushed up the forward price of wholesale electricity to over $160/MW so it is not surprising that nuclear power is looking very attractive with new generation in the UK likely to cost around $100/MW.
drbuzz0 said…
The reactors may not be able to get that much of a life extension but that means nothing of the plant. The steam turbines will run just fine off of any reactor. Many plants in the US have old reactors that have been retired but new reactors have been installed to replace them. They could just build new reactors at the existing plants and that only takes a couple of years.

They'd still need more plants than they have though.

That might not be politically possible though. Without new nuclear reactors though, they're not necessarily not going to be able to power the country. They'll just need more submarine cables to France, since they're not stupid about nuclear energy there.

Popular posts from this blog

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…