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  1. Westinghouse beat the market with the AP1000. It will reap huge benefits if it concentrates on this smartly acquired momentum.

    Remember, at the end of 2014, China will have a fully operational AP1000. Also, early this year, contracts for 4 more AP1000 will be signed with China. (Why is Westinghouse still waiting to certify the AP1000 in the UK is a mystery to me)

    As for SMRs, too many smart countries with sovereign interests are behind major such initiatives. And Russia will beat everyone to the finish line with their floating reactors in 2016. And orders are already in from thirsty country.

    An out of the box SMRs with option to desalinate water. Remember, blue gold ? Remember, that which the US is importing from Canada for a fraction of the market price ?
    If the US is thirsty and cannot fill its fresh water needs, there are a lot of countries pulling for this technology to arrive.

    Russia: controlling worldwide uranium mining, fuel refining, plant construction and SMRs.

    1. I read a press release that Westinghouse expects orders ‘shortly’ for 8 more AP1000’s (probably 4 more for each of Sanmen and Haiyang) from China.

      This is an intelligent move really. I really wonder if GE is going to regret the lame effort they’ve made with the ESBWR, which should have been the chief competitor to the AP1000 (it has a much higher capacity, and probably lower cost … I do hope we see it built). The AP1000 is definitely building momentum.

      Something else I am very curious about is what rights (if any) Westinghouse has to the CAP1400 (the 1400 MWe variant of the AP1000 that China has designed and for which the construction of the prototype will begin this year. And, if they do not have rights, whether they have any plans to build a larger version themselves.

      1. There was an announcement already at start of 2013 of 2 new units at Sanmen, 2 at Haiyang, 2 at the new site of Lufeng in Guangdong :
        http://www.asiatoday.com/pressrelease/china-plans-launch-6-ap1000-2-acp1000-nuclear-units-2013

        Separately units 5 and 6 of Fangchenggang have been announced to be planned to be AP-1000, following the post Fukushima decision to built only generation III reactors.
        http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN_Latest_Chinese_reactor_vessel_installation_2908131.html

        So all further 8 orders have been announced a while ago, this is more about to concretize them. But from what I understand, the question is left of how many American components there will be in those reactors. Chinese have obtained all rights on the AP1000 design, and if CAP1400 will be almost 100% Chinese, they will try already to put as many Chinese components as they into the future AP1000.

        You also seem not to notice that the EPR too is currently losing to the AP1000 as well as to the similarly sized Russian reactors (except the English order, where in practice it had no competition), and certainly Areva is not lamely pushing it. In my opinion it’s a quite clear indication that 1.6 GW is too big, and does not actually generates savings. EDF has recently lost one month on the polar crane of Flamanville. The reason is very stupid, the build did not actually conform to workplace safety rules. How can such an incredible mistake be done on a nuclear plant ? My personal impression is that because the reactor is larger than anything else, components must all be custom adapted, and they constantly run into unexpected problem, here the specific requirements led them to mix elements from two separate companies on the polar crane. But doing that they failed to notice the emergency stop and maximum load rules were not fulfilled anymore.

        I think this is just one example amongst many other that smaller, more standardized actually saves money at the end.

        1. I think the Chinese have all rights to the CAP1400, not AP1000 (of course the point is they don’t care).

          The EPR’s at Taishan are also doing well, and the first one is likely to start operation this year. The plan there is for at total of 6 units. That is going to be impressive, a 10 GW power plant.

          I think big is good. The problem with the EPR may be that they tried to answer every possible objection and over-designed the plant, double containment, etc…

          Still the Chinese are showing what can be done. The Chinese EPR started 4 years after Olkiluoto and 2 years after Flamanville, and it will be the first completed, in ~ 5 years.

          1. 🙂 It’s very frustrating how they still do not confirm they will build further EPR at Taishan, even though yes apparently the build is progressing very well.

            1. @jmdesp

              The Chinese have been auditioning nearly every available nuclear design. I expect they will narrow their choices as they gain enough information to determine the most economical choice.

              After all, each of these designs produce the same product. Why pay more than necessary?

          2. @rod : Diversity is not necessarily a bad thing if you have enough volume for economy of scale. And that’s the case for the Chinese. The question at end of day is if the EPR is strongly more expensive per MW than the AP1000, or significantly slower to build. It’s hard to answer for now, since the AP1000 built were real FOAK, and the EPR already the 3rd one.

            Another part of the question is will the companies that have gained experience building an EPR want to sacrifice it in favor of those who already have experience building the AP1000.
            Lastly there’s the political aspect where the French fear of seeing one’s intellectual property stolen has led to reactions and postures that were very badly received by China.

            Trying to refresh myself on who was doing what in China, I’ve just read an interesting “Le Monde” article on the fact that both CNNC and CGNPC are partners of EDF to build the EPR in UK. CNNC is building the 2 AP1000 of Sanmen. CGNPC has 30 years of experience building nuclear together with EDF, including obviously the 2 EPR. The fact they were not alone with EDF to invest in Hinckley is one more upsetting fact for CGNPC. However that CNNC, that likely has more support from central power, was willing to invest in the English project and find itself involved in the EPR technology is rather good news for EDF and Areva. At the end this helps explain why CGNPC would want to wait for the last minute to confim further EPR. But they might also favor their attempts at a domestic design.

          3. All the talk is that they will settle on the CAP1400 as the reactor they build by the hundreds.

            I think CGNPC had a long history of working with Framatome (Areva) … the Daya Bay reactors … so, natural for them to continue with them.

            I think both for the AP1000 and the EPR, the political leadership is waiting to see that there really are not ‘gotchas’ and these things are going to work. Then there is no reason not to build a lot more. And, very strong reasons to do so … the air quality in China is horrible (a couple of colleagues just came back from Beijing. I have a Scientist working for me whose husband gave up a tenured position at a top Chinese University, because they were afraid of the health effects in China!

          4. @SteveK9 : Yes, probably they will settle on CAP1400. But it’s not ready, and not starting new builds now means years of delay. As I referenced above, they had announced further AP1000 builds already at start and middle of the year, not for the EPR.

  2. “His company believes that market for destroying nuclear plants may provide as much annual revenue as building new reactors”

    This interests me. First, not knowledgable in the science and semantics, I am curious what kind of output an average “SMR” is capable of. Not in scientific terms, but in terms of what size community could a small reactor, one considered an “SMR”, service. For instance, could a small gated community of say, twenty thousand citizens, afford and maintain its own powerplant? Or, if not, what size community could in fact absorb the cost of constructing and maintaining its own SMR, if in fact mass production of the components became feasable?

    Also, why does it disappoint you that a company sees the profitability in configuring a arm of its business that is capable at decommissioning? Isn’t that just good business sense, if considered in the terms of new technology replacing old? Perhaps it is actually good for the nuke energy sector to be able to point at old technologies, that are widely distrusted by the general public, and use the decommissioning of these plants as a marketing tool for “newer safer” technologies. The PR opportunites, presented by the phasing out of older technologies are myriad, if capitalized upon. Surely, Rod, you recognize the need for a fresh narrative that presents nuclear energy technology as having advanced past the “accident prone” and “dangerous”, (in the minds of John Q Public), technology that gifted us with TMI, Chernobyl, San Onofre, and Fukushima. In burying these older technologies, and presenting the public with new improved technologies, (advocated and marketed skillfully), the decommissioning of these older plants may well be the door into wider public acceptance of nuclear energy as a viable competitor to the so called “green” technologies.

  3. There is a potentially huge market for AP-1000. The AP-1000 also has many advantages over its potential competition. The Westinghouse SMR is at the beginning of its developmental cycle, while other SMRs have advanced SMR projects. Better for Westinghouse to move on to Generation IV SMR technology.

  4. I was wondering what the market would be for these “little” reactors. From

    http://www.energy.gov/ne/nuclear-reactor-technologies/small-modular-nuclear-reactors

    “Siting Flexibility: SMRs can provide power for applications where large plants are not needed or sites lack the infrastructure to support a large unit. This would include smaller electrical markets, isolated areas, smaller grids, sites with limited water and acreage, or unique industrial applications. SMRs are expected to be attractive options for the replacement or repowering of aging fossil plants, or to provide an option for complementing existing industrial processes or power plants with an energy source that does not emit greenhouse gases.”

    There are a lot of coal plants that will be shut down due to EPA rules, but I’m guessing these SMRs won’t be ready before they are demolished. Do these produce superheated steam or saturated? How often will they need refueling? If they can go for 10 years before a refueling, that should spark interest.

    Will these be like personal computers in a few years? When personal computers first were sold many people could not envision why they needed them. Maybe, an SMR will become a standard industrial product. Are they really needed? One of these is equivalent to many windmills.

  5. Read between the lines …

    Westinghouse was snubbed (twice) to get some DOE subsidized funding. So Danny won’t dance.

  6. “His company believes that market for destroying nuclear plants may provide as much annual revenue as building new reactors” – the argument about the market for destroying nuclear plants also happens to the one made by Greenpeace, in their drive to stamp out nuclear power. Oh the irony !!

  7. If the Federal government– simply mandated– that at least 50% of the electricity produced from a utility must come from carbon neutral resources by 2020 and 90% by 2030, the demand for large and small nuclear reactors– at existing sites– would be extremely high.

    There’s enough room at existing sites to increase nuclear capacity to at least 8GWe at each site. And we’re going to need that much capacity if we are going to completely replace carbon polluting coal and natural gas power plants.

    Marcel

    1. Physical space, maybe.  But what about cooling water?  Unless you’re going to go to air-cooled condensers, the availability of water during heat waves (esp. during droughts) may make expansion somewhere between difficult and pointless.  To fix climate change, we must prepare for the weather vagaries caused by climate change.

      We need to replace a lot more than just carbon-emitting electric generators.  I’m hoping to be able to get started tomorrow on a survey of energy use to get an idea of the potential of district heating.

      1. Modular B&W mPower can be air cooled. And I believe that a nuclear site would have to be at least 10 GWe to have the heat island effect of New York City.

        The Palo Verde Nuclear Park in Arizona desert, of course, uses urban waste water for cooling.

        But, of course, nuclear power plants would be simply replacing fossil fuel power plants that are already produce waste heat plus greenhouse gases.

        Marcel

        1. mPower takes a 25 MW(e) capacity hit for air-cooling, and likely a hefty increase in cost as well.

          This isn’t to say I don’t like it.  Maybe there’s some other option, like pumping groundwater instead of surface water to guarantee river flows and maximum outlet temperatures.  It’s just an issue that cannot be ignored.

      2. Westinghouse SMR can be air cooled. I was the Balance of Plant lead on the plant. Our hit wasn’t as large as mPower’s (percentage wise).

        1. @Cory Stansbury

          I’ve been invited to give a compare/contrast presentation on SMRs at a Platts conference at the end of May. I’d be interested in whatever information you can provide to explain how Westinghouse’s air cooled option is different from mPower’s.

          Both are subject to same laws of thermodynamics that limit Rankine cycle efficiencies.

          1. I will check with the powers that be as to the allowable info I can divulge. If given permission, I’d be happy to oblige. There are reasons why we do better…no breaking of thermodynamic laws!

            1. @Cory Stansbury

              Some laws are meant to be broken, but thermodynamic laws are not in that category. I’d be very interested in learning more from you – if the powers-that-be allow the information to be released.

  8. ‘His company believes that market for destroying nuclear plants may provide as much annual revenue as building new reactors.’

    I think you put some words into his mouth there. I did not read that in the article.

    I think Westinghouse is hoping for a huge market for the AP1000.

    When the first 8 are completed, including the 4 in the US, that could change the game quite a bit, especially if there are no big problems … and the last large module (the water tank) has been put in place at Sanmen. They are going to turn it on this year.

  9. No market demand for SMRs ?

    Well Russia has firm orders for their floating SMRs from Vietnam, China, Tunisia, Korea, Argentina And more.

      1. About the only future in that technology is fuel for military vehicles.  If you bother to go through the papers, you’ll see that just recovering the CO2 takes as much energy as generating the hydrogen to reduce it.  Then you’ve got the losses in the chemistry.  Remember, this starts with electricity, not heat; you’ve already taken 2/3 losses in the heat engine.  The conclusion is that you cannot compete with batteries.

        Technologies like the iron-molten salt-air battery (10 kWh/liter, 1.4 kWh/kg) will kill the over-the-road diesel engine if they can ever be packaged for mobile use.  Even zinc-air is probably good enough, and cheaper than synthetic gasoline.

        1. That might be true for CO2 extraction from air but, as stated in the article, CO2 in sea water is substantially more plentiful and easier to extract as the US Navy has pointed out.

          Marcel

          1. I used the energy figures from the Navy’s experiments for my calculations.  They are using electrolytic acidification of seawater to convert carbonate and bicarbonate to gaseous CO2.  IIRC, this takes about a megajoule per mole of CO2.

  10. “Well Russia has firm orders for their floating SMRs from Vietnam, China, Tunisia, Korea, Argentina And more.”

    Will the uses be exclusively for power generation or will they be desalinating? That’s quite a varied market. Those countries probably will not have the same patience with groups like Greenpeace as the US.

    1. @Eino

      The ultimate combo : Power and Desalination …

      Russia having put this desalination feature in their design is just pure genius.

      10 years from now, governments around the world will have to tackle energy generation and distribution. We have seen what deregulation has done in England and California.

      Just a matter of time.

    2. The water shortage in California may put USA on the list of customers wanting Russia’s floating reactors for desalination. I recall when our plywood mills closed because Japan set up floating plywood factories off of our west coast and sold plywood at a price that put our industry out of business. Maybe Russian floating reactors will be deja vu.

      1. “I recall when our plywood mills closed because Japan set up floating plywood factories off of our west coast and sold plywood at a price that put our industry out of business”

        Bad example. Have you forgotten the ‘ol formaldahyde poisoning the japanese and chinese plywoods were famous for? And really, plywoods haven’t been the same, since. Poorly dimensioned, lots of glue bleed through the surface veneers….

        I hope, if we see importation of SMRs on any scale, that the quality controls are far superior to those we devote to the importation of construction materials and hardware.

  11. “the economy of mass production that might allow smaller, simpler systems to be competitively priced does not work unless there are large production runs. “

    Ive been thinking about that and SMRs a lot recently. I was feeling they will never get off the drawing board I wonder what is the smallest possible amount that could be ordered and ensure profitability? In a way they remind me of large ships or aircraft.

    It is a shame we do not have a pollution; climate change and acidification policy to move SMR development forward without having to wait for the economically destructive, tariffs, regulations and penalties to make them more profitable.

    1. Of course for expensive coal projects they just mandate cost recovery. The Kemper County IGCC will run about 5 Billion (?) now all said and done with pipeline and mine costs (582 MW Coal gasification and carbon capture – 65 % emissions reduction [lignite?] in theory) It also received a $270 million grant and has access to DOE low interest loans.

      Why that project is moving to working demonstration while new nuclear flounders is testament to the fraud of “free market” cheap fuel advocacy and modern hack environmentalism.

      Southern Co says Kemper coal plant costs still climbing

      Southern Co will take a $25 million charge in the 2013 fourth quarter as the cost for its coal-gasification power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi, climbs to more than $5 billion

      Mississippi Power, Southern’s smallest utility, owns the plant and can only recover up to $3.8 billion of the Kemper costs through customer rates and the sale of securitized bonds. ( http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/01/29/utilities-southern-kemper-idINL2N0L300U20140129 )

      582 MW too. So please someone reindoctrinate me on how new nuclear is so, so expensive ( and “plagued with cost overruns” compared to other viable options. )

      1. 582 MW too. So please someone reindoctrinate me on how new nuclear is so, so expensive ( and “plagued with cost overruns” compared to other viable options. )

        But have you not heard the gospel of the two mighty energy gods of wind and solar?

  12. Every time I’m at the Westinghouse Cranberry Township facility there are ALOT of tours of the AP1000 simulator. Brits, Canadians….. It gets in the way of getting work done. But hopefully for a good cause.

  13. “His company believes that market for destroying nuclear plants may provide as much annual revenue as building new reactors”

    That is ok by me, so long as there is LOTS of money in building LOTS of new reactors.

  14. “Unless you’re going to build 30 to 50 of them, you’re not going to make your money back,” Mr. Roderick said.

    If 30-50 is all that is needed this should not be a problem for any country that want to be more or less energy independent. Sweden has an installed nuclear fleet of roughly 9000 MWe which produces around 45-50% of the electricity in Sweden. If it is cheaper and safer too build SMR any country that has the same energy need as Sweden could just build 45 SMR. If they need more energy just continue to chunk them out.

    I must say that I doubt that the problem is technical of economical, it is political. Paranoia (and the a green moment which believes that the energy solution of the middle ages would be enough) have made it to hard to license new reactors.

  15. Completely insane.

    How can you possibly support large pressure vessel LWR’s in a “build nuclear as fast as possible” context?

    1. @starvinglion, just who are all of the potential Westinghouse customers (power companies, governments, venture groups) that are operating in a “we need to build nuclear as fast as possible” context?

        1. Perhaps this helps:

          Concern troll

          One common tactic of concern trolls is the “a plague on both your houses” approach, where the concern troll tries to convince people that both sides of the ideological divide are just as bad as each other, and so no one can think themselves “correct” but must engage in endless hedging and caveats. This preys on a willingness to debate critics and allow dissent; everyone wastes time discussing the matter and bending over backwards, so as not to appear intolerant of disagreement, all to the great amusement of the troll.

          But one must remember:

          Sometimes outsiders will come by and make concern troll-like statements sincerely. Some are sincere but stupid. Some may be insightful, and justified iconoclasts, merely making valid observations unwelcome to the dominant ideology or culture of the forum (the Cassandra syndrome. Often, of course, the person is misguided, wrong, and not actually trolling. ( http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Concern_troll )

          This next one was kinda new to me – but I really like it :

          Hanlon’s razor – “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

          1. @John Tucker

            Hanlon’s razor – “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

            I don’t agree. There are plenty of malicious people who are not stupid.

          2. I just kinda like that its mater of fact-ly either or. Its not a rule or law but I think its basically true within the vast majority of general public opinion. Of course you are dealing with a lot of vested interests here Rod. There are not many sites like this.

            I haven’t given much thought to the “malice” thing/angle with respect to advocacy argument until now to be honest. I will have to give it a think. It seems like it might be important.

  16. One final word on the AP100 and CAP1400 and Westinghouse.

    The Chinese intend to market the CAP1400 abroad. To do this, they will require Westinghouse to push that reactor in a combined joint sell effort.

    Westinghouse played it smart. They allowed the Chinese to look into their design in order to allow them to build a few nukes. Now they are ahead of the pack. And for each CAP1400 built, you will see a truck load of Westinghouse services.

    And let’s not kid ourselves, more AP1000 are on their way in China. I say close to 20. Soon.

    As for France and the EPR, do not count them out yet. They have a great business relationship with China.

    1. “As for France and the EPR, do not count them out yet. They have a great business relationship with China.”

      Nobody has a great business relationship with China except for a few crooks.

  17. I think Westinghouse has made a poor decision.

    The Westinghouse SMR (225 MWe) would have probably been a competitive option; but the problem of SMRs is ‘who’ is the customer? The US and other developed nations would probably not see SMRs as a substitute for large reactors, however, a major market exists beyond developed nations in emerging nations.

    The Argentinians (CAREM-100), Koreans (with the SMART) and Chinese (ACP100) are focusing on dual-electricity/water desalinisation facilities; and intend to market them as such to the Middle East. This may not seem economic while natural gas is cheap, plentiful and so on, but the Middle East nations (i.e. Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran or even Saudi Arabia) are anxious to export natural gas rather than cannibalising it for water desalinisation.

    In this context, the Westinghouse SMR offers 225 MWe, more than double most of its competitors; and no doubt the most competitive option if completed. If it was ‘bundled’ with the AP1000 and/or CAP/AP1400 and so on (they retain good commonality) the US would be in a stronger position in the Middle East. The Areva NP300 is way behind, and not likely to be constructed any time soon, while other ‘large’ SMR competitors are not likely soon.

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