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  1. Some of the conditions in the draft sound a lot like ALARA, e.g.,
    “The upgraded project implements any reasonably practicable safety
    improvement and makes use of accident-tolerant fuel.”

    It’s also interesting that will vote by “reverse reinforced
    qualified majority”:

    “The Council will have the right to object to it by reverse
    reinforced qualified majority (which means that at least 72% of
    MS (i.e. at least 20 MS) representing at least 65% of the EU
    population are needed to object to the Delegated Act), and the
    European Parliament by a majority (i.e. at least 353 MEPs) in

  2. I have to admit, the arcane minutae of this issue are mind-boggling.

    The skill some people have for throwing caltrops onto what looked like a clear road is just amazing.

  3. At the risk of being overtaken by events, WNA has summarized an interview with Energoatom CEO Petro Kotin in EnergoBusiness. I couldn’t find the original interview myself, and in the process of not finding it stumbled across a few other interesting factoids:

    – Of the five senior executives biographed on Energoatom’s Management page, three — including Mr. Kotin — are former SROs. Currently operating 15 PWR’s for 13.8 GW capacity and 85 TWh/y — about a quarter of EDF France — Energoatom is not a lightweight operation.

    – In a 4 January 2022 meeting between Minister of Energy Herman Halushchenko and US Charge d’Affaires Kristina Kvien, Mr. Halushchenko “reminded that the Russian Federation had blocked the coal supply to Ukraine by rail… likewise, a significant reduction in Russian gas transit through Ukraine.”

    Rod then kindly provided a google-loosely-translated link to the interview I was actually after: Westinghouse technology makes it possible to build a Ukrainian power unit in the future:

    – Ukraine is the only country to source WWER fuel elsewhere than TVEL. Energoatom currently has 2.5 years on hand, and Westinghouse has promised they can ramp their current 60% contribution to 100% within two.

    – Mr. Kotin is planning for 13(!) new 1GW units, of which the first five would be AP1000.

    – A Ukrainian engineer would be main contractor for AP1000 work, Westinghouse would be technology provider with responsibility for reactor island.

    – After Khmelnytsky 4 pilot, siting for remaining AP1000 is TBD. Mr. Kotin hopes to negotiate a license similar to China’s enabling Ukraine to design, build, and export it’s own variants. Initial financing would be through US Exim bank.

    Interesting times.

  4. Much better that they are going to build AP1000 reactors rather than more RBMK reactors.

    With all the emphasis given to the newer smaller and hopefully less expensive generation IV reactors, I kind of wonder if these may be some of the last big central station nuclear powerhouses built.

    1. Ukraine does not have any RBMK (graphited moderated, light water cooled) reactors left, only Russian designed PWRs. Russia has nine or so, but they’re gradually replacing them.

  5. It’s really not fair to lump a clean technology like nuclear energy to a dirty one like dangerous natural gas.

    I’m not sure if the Germans will soon want to declare coal “green,” since they are burning so much of it this winter during dunkelflaute events. I would suspect that those who are calling dangerous natural gas “green” are the same people who want to trash wilderness with wind turbines. Wind turbines entrench the gas industry; wind turbines are lipstick on the gas pig. Without access to gas (or in Germany’s case coal) the wind industry would not exist.

    It’s amusing that the Germans are still running around Europe with the nonsense statement that “nuclear is too dangerous.” There are oodles upon oodles of papers in the scientific literature estimating the mortalities per TWh for various generating technologies, and coal is in every case the worst. The Germans have shut nuclear plants to burn coal and they are quite literally killing people as a result. Yet in the age of the celebration of the lie they can declare “nuclear is too dangerous” while they quite literally kill people by replacing it with something that is dangerous.

    I would agree with anyone who says gas is not “green,” but laugh derisively at anyone who states that nuclear isn’t. There are zero reliable energy technologies, zero, that are as sustainable as nuclear energy, nor any that are as safe as nuclear energy.

    1. The EU commision defines an activity as “sustainable” if it makes a “substential contribution to each” of the following six environmental objectives:

      1. Climate change mitigation
      2. Climate change adaptation
      3. The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
      4. The transition to a circular economy
      5. Pollution prevention and control
      6. The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

      To me, that sounds like a reasonable (and fair) definition. Even though this definition probably does not match what the Greens or Greenpeace mean with “sustainable” or “green”.

      For gas projects, the taxonomy lists various requirements, e.g.,
      1. a gas plant must replace a coal plant
      2. the gas plant must have less capacity than the coal plant that it replaces
      3. the lifetime of the gas plant must be limited to 15 years

      It’s also reasonable to expect that a gas project that fulfills those requirements does indeed contribute to the six environmental objectives.

      1. 3. the lifetime of the gas plant must be limited to 15 years

        Hmm. Sure thing. And just how is one to enforce that? Put it in the contract?

        1. I don’t know. Maybe revoke the operating license after 15 years.

          I also don’t know what the financial benefits for a “sustainable activity” actually are. Or for that matter, why a retail investor should care about the ESG label of a fund.

          1. @Helmut Eller

            ESG labels are probably not very important to most retail investors, but they are becoming increasingly important for the huge money pools that reside at endowments, pension funds, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and international development banks.

          2. @Helmut Eller: I’m thinking it impractical to build a single gas plant with but a 15 year lifetime and supply. Perhaps one could schedule the retirement of 3 coal plants at 15-year intervals, the single gas plant serving to replace each in turn.

            That way, when the first coal plant retires and is replaced by the gas plant, the second coal plant comes due fifteen years later but if then it’s determined for some reason there is no suitable replacement, the second and third coal plants can then continue operating along with the 45-year gas plant, the first coal plant can remain in mothballs, and everyone has a share.

            1. > I’m thinking it impractical to build a single gas plant with but a 15 year lifetime and supply.

              That’s an interesting point. From an economic point of view, it does seem impractal. Though, economics aren’t part of the taxonomy.

              Also, some seem to have high hopes that the gas infrastructure can be reused in a future where Europe imports hydrogen from desert countries.

              1. @Helmut Eller

                This description of the EU Taxonomy indicates that economics plays a significant role in the effort.


                Its fundamental purpose is to encourage investment dollars to flow into activities that benefit the sustainable development goals. Investors, especially the professionals that choose investment strategies for large institutions, are not going to adjust their strategies to put money into activities that are uneconomic over the long term.

            2. @Rod
              Yes, I agree the goal of the taxonomy is to channel money into certain activities. However, the six environmental objectives do not, as far as I can see, include economic factors.

              So by the definition of the EU commison, an activity can be “sustainable” and unecomic at the same time.

      2. Nevertheless, the Germans are burning coal this winter.


        As of this writing, the German carbon intensity is more than 4 times that of France, 445 g CO2/kwh than that of France, 110 g CO2/kwh. The French would be doing even better if, in lieu of wasting money on wind plants that will be landfill in less than 25 years, they’d built more nuclear plants.

        Replacing a coal plant with a gas plant is rather like an alcoholic announcing that he’s “cured” because he no longer drinks scotch but only drinks beer and wine to get drunk.

        It is destructive and wasteful and environmentally absurd to build a power plant for use for just 15 years. I note that that the laws of thermodynamics require that to remove the dangerous fossil fuel waste that gas plants dump for free into the environment, carbon dioxide, one is required to not only reproduce all of the energy that was obtained by putting it there as well as the energy to overcome the entropy of mixing. Is this what we are leaving to future generations, entropy, for “just” another 15 years?

        I cannot, for the life of me, agree that there is anything “reasonable” about it. The German policy relies on building two plants to do the work that one could do. The supply of neodymium and dysprosium is not unlimited. Building two systems to do what one can do is obscene.

    2. Given recent events with the Russians parking their military on the border of Ukraine and the fact that this same country is the supplier of about three quarters of the natural gas that the Europeans consume, I would think folks over there will be a bit more open to the nuclear option in the next few years.

      My furnace is running rather steadily today. It’s 25 F outside. I just wouldn’t feel quite so at ease if my gas supply came from Russia.

      1. @ Eino: I doubt IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol’s latest post will put you any more at ease:

        “We see strong elements of ‘artificial tightness’ in European gas markets, which appears to be due to the behaviour of Russia’s state-controlled gas supplier… (which) has reduced its exports to Europe by 25% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020 – and by 22% compared with its 2019 levels. And this is despite the exceptionally high market prices for natural gas that we have seen in recent months.

        “Against today’s low baseline, we estimate that Russia could increase deliveries to Europe by at least one-third, or… almost 10% of the European Union’s average monthly gas consumption – and would be the equivalent of a new LNG tanker delivering a full cargo of natural gas to Europe every day.

        “The natural gas market turmoil has spilled over into European electricity markets, which typically rely on gas as a marginal fuel and are therefore affected when it experiences high prices and volatility. This has been exacerbated by lower than average hydropower output and lower nuclear output highlighting the need for adequate investment in sources of baseload supply and flexibility.”

        At ease or not, I doubt many AI readers are holding their breath awaiting increased gas exports from Russia.

        1. If more people could work out simple math problems, they might begin to understand why a nation that wants to maximize income from its natural gas would be reluctant to increase supplies.

          Numbers vary widely from day to day, but let’s assume the average price of gas now is 4x the price this time last year. Russia is selling 25% less gas.

          4 x 0.75 = 3 times as much revenue from a little less gas

          Suppose it increased volume by 25% and drove prices back to just 2x those from a year ago. That would make revenues double (instead of triple) year over year, but it would consume 25% more of a depleting resource.

          What if a 25% increase in supply was enough to crash the market back to 2021 prices? Obviously not in the supplier’s interest – especially if that supplier is investing in military actions against a neighbor that has reasonable expectations of intervention by some of the supplier’s customers.

          1. Thanks for the comments.

            There’s more than BTUs in natural gas. There’s a lot of cash tied up in those ancient dinosaur farts. I see that army of Russians parked next to the Ukraine border and kind of put 2 and 2 together. Europe is buying gas from Russia. Russia makes a lot of cash from the gas sales. Russia then uses that cash to threaten the Europeans.

            High price and high threat – such a deal!

            I could go on and make the same analogy about how manufacturing in China leads to a similar dilemma, but one country at a time.

          2. Hmm… demand inelasticity. That’s hard… I know! Maybe OPEC can bail us out! Those Arabs are good at math 😀

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