Rosatom achieves a marketing win in Finland to supply Fennovoima

Finns are pragmatic people who love their country, but also recognize its geographic limitations.

“Finland is a very cold and dark country. Electricity is very important to us. We are a kind of island in Europe, we have take care of ourselves. No one will help us if we run out of power.”

Way back in 2003, the Finns made a deal with a consortium led by Areva and Siemens to be the lead customer for the newly developed European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), an unproven design that includes the latest bells and whistles and meets all of the requirements that the EU has layered onto nuclear power plant designs during the past several decades. That new plant began construction at Olkiluoto and has experienced stridently-publicized cost and schedule problems ever since.

Some might think that such an experience would sour a small country like Finland on all nuclear energy technology, but those people would have forgotten the Finnish imperatives represented in the quote above. It is a cold, dark country where survival depends on having a reliable, affordable source of energy.

Hard nosed Finns have done the math and understand the options. They took the right lessons from Olkiluoto and did not abandon nuclear energy technology, they abandoned western European nuclear technology suppliers who had allowed their skills to atrophy and who had accepted suboptimal design requirements in an attempt to appease what they thought the EU regulators wanted them to do. Instead, the Finns chose Rosatom, a Russian nuclear power plant supplier that has been engineering and building nuclear power plants consistently for several decades.
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Nuclear less risky than natural gas – for customers

Mark Halper recently published a piece on SmartPlanet.com titled Nuclear power cheaper than gas. He cited an article from InvestorIntel.com written by Canon Bryan titled Nuclear versus Natural Gas. That article was based on a report from a private consultancy named Energy Path Corporation. The Energy Path report is titled “Will Low Natural Gas Prices […]

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Tina Gerhardt thinks Obama Administration likes nuclear energy – Huffington Post

Tina Gerhardt has published an almost sadly amusing article on the Huffington Post titled Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Nuclear Energy? in which she tries to make the case that President Obama’s climate action plan is an undeserved endorsement of nuclear energy. Gerhardt is apparently unaware of all of the barriers that the current administration has […]

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Nuclear costs are higher than they should be – many people like it that way

Nuclear energy in the United States and Europe is far more expensive that it should be. There is plenty of blame to spread; nuclear professionals have to accept some of the responsibility. If you want to do something about the high cost of nuclear energy, it might be best to start with taking the actions […]

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Is Levy County nuclear plant too expensive to compete with natural gas?

On Saturday, May 11, 2013, the Tampa Bay Times published a lengthy piece by Ivan Penn titled Levy nuclear plant more costly than a natural gas facility that uses a detailed analysis with substantial “error bars” around cost estimates to show that under nearly all scenarios considered, the two reactor installation that has been proposed […]

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Kewaunee needs a “deus ex machina”; rising natural gas prices not quite enough

On May 7, 2013, the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Station is scheduled to stop generating emission free electricity for the last time. The plant is one of the better run and maintained facilities in the US, it has an operating license that is effective until December 2033, and it generates electricity for an average cost of […]

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Should customers allow natural gas to push nuclear out of market?

Rebecca Smith asked an interesting question in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled Can Gas Undo Nuclear Power? She describes how financial analysts are wondering whether or not certain nuclear plants are at risk of being shuttered as being uneconomical in an era of cheap natural gas. It is a legitimate question for people […]

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Atomic Show #192 – Zero Carbon Options for South Australia

Ben Heard is one of the growing number of environmental professionals who have seriously evaluated all options for reducing mankind’s annual production rate of carbon dioxide and discovered that the best tool available is nuclear fission energy. As a part of his continuing journey of discovery, he worked with Brown and Pang to produce a […]

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Power cheaper than coal – thorium AND uranium make it possible

Bob Hargraves, the author of Thorium: Energy Cheaper than Coal, recently traveled to Shanghai to present a 30 minute talk summarizing the main points of discussion that he covered in his book. The occasion of the trip was Thorium Energy Conference 2012. Bob is a professor with a good facility for numbers and a talent […]

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Ten months to obtain an AEC construction permit

I’m doing a little history reading today and came across a passage worth sharing. The source is Glenn Seaborg’s “The Atomic Energy Commission Under Nixon” St. Martin’s Press, NY 1993 pg 101-102. In December 1965, the management of Northern States Power Company (NSP) reached an internal decisions that a new generating unit in the 500-electrical-megawatt […]

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Why are North American natural gas prices so much lower than rest of world?

I’ve been involved in a reasoned discussion with an oil field accountant / attorney about US natural gas prices and total resource base. I thought that it would be worth preserving and sharing that discussion here so that it would not get buried. If you read closely between the lines, you will see why I […]

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Rationally comparing financial risk – nuclear versus natural gas (#1 of ??)

Yesterday I wrote about the need to rationally compare the physical risks associated with producing energy by burning natural gas against the similar risks of producing energy by fissioning uranium in a nuclear power plant. However, even when decision makers includes some reasonable estimates for those kinds of risks, they are still often choosing to […]

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