Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011 | 11:05 am

UK’s Clean Energy Future Generating Jobs Now

AREVA will begin making large components in the UK similar to this steam generator channel head emerging from the furnace at Creusot-Forge, France. AREVA / CARILLO GEORGES

Yesterday’s agreement announced between AREVA and EDF Energy shows the impact of clean energy in not only creating a low carbon power future, but also the near-term benefits of workforce expansion and job security.

In the agreement, AREVA will manufacture massive forgings for the first EPR™ reactor to be built at Hinkley Point, South-West England. Current estimates show a single EPR™ reactor project creates peak employment during construction of more than 3,000 direct jobs on the site, plus many more indirect jobs. Once the construction phase is completed, an AREVA EPR™ reactor facility requires highly-skilled workers to manage and maintain the facility, creating hundreds of high-paying permanent jobs.

If you’ve been tallying up the math, that’s an impressive amount of jobs and job security, especially when one considers that this is the first of perhaps eight EPR™ reactors under discussion in the United Kingdom.

The same job numbers are true on this side of the pond, and here are two numbers that apply to the U.S. economy: Throughout construction, a single project represents more than $800 million in federal, state and local taxes, and during operations generates annual tax revenues of nearly $100 million.

With four EPR™ reactors under construction world-wide and more in the works, how are we doing in the United States? AREVA continues working closely with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to certify the U.S. EPR™ design, and several companies have submitted license applications to the NRC based on this technology. We’re making progress on our own low-carbon future.

AREVA’s EPR™ reactor itself is an impressive mix of power and safety. Generating 1,600+ MW of clean, reliable electricity, a single modern Generation III+ EPR™ reactor also meets the highest safety standards, including four redundant safety systems, double-walled hardened container building, and the most reviewed design of any modern power plant.

Combining reliable nuclear energy with peak-load renewable energy is the winning combination for generating sustainable jobs and electricity in our clean energy future.

July 29, 2011 | 4:07 am

“Germany’s Grand Energy Experiment”

Author, professor and blogger Barry Brook runs the numbers on “Germany’s Grand Energy Experiment” on his blog today. After a detailed look at the math, he concludes:

Germany will have to initiative a range of aggressive measures, focused on energy efficiency, smart metering, car taxation, renewable energy heating systems, etc. etc. This was to make up a ‘gap’ compared to 2009 policies of 70 – 90 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2-e. The gap is now much larger…

The current reality in Germany is that subsidized coal-fired electricity (with the funds generated by the trade in CO2 emissions certificates – yes, turn up the irony dial) will be ‘filling the gap‘ (interesting euphemism) left by the nuclear phaseout. We’re talking here of upwards of 20 GWe of new fossil fuel power plants to be built in Germany over the next decade…

You can read the whole article here.

July 27, 2011 | 4:30 pm

FIELD REPORT from AREVA: Offshore Wind

Today, offshore wind farm operators require strong partners offering large turbines with enhanced reliability, proven track record, high-performance and cost-effective design for higher water depths and greater distance to shore.

Find out how AREVA is helping utilities to make offshore wind projects successful.

Learn more about AREVA’s M5000 wind turbine. It is the first 5 megawatt turbine made specifically for offshore wind farms and is designed to withstand the severe conditions of the marine environment.

You can also watch a video of the installation of these powerful turbines off the German coast in the North Sea.

July 27, 2011 | 10:36 am

Spotlight: The Eponymous Blog – A Look at Solar

By Katherine Berezowskyj

Now that last week’s scorching summer heat has subsided, Americans might be little less “hot headed” about a discussion on the benefits of the sun’s rays. Yes, that’s right. The same sunshine that caused you to sweat profusely at the thought of getting into your car and kept your air-conditioning running full blast also provided some of the very same electricity through solar power.

There are several different ways to harness the solar radiation, but one of the most cost-effective and land-efficient is Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). It functions just as the name indicates by concentrating sunlight to boil the water and generate high-pressure steam for direct use in power generation.
read more…

July 25, 2011 | 4:45 pm

Focus on Fresno Clean Energy Park, Part 2

In the second part of this focus on the proposed Fresno Clean Energy Park, writer Barbara Lydick examines in more detail “a project that would help provide energy, water and a cleaner environment for the Valley.” The articles appeared in the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta newspaper.

Lydick begins by focusing on the need for water to support agriculture in California’s Central Valley. Agriculture is big business in California, representing over $36 billion in the state.

Increasing agriculture in the Central Valley requires a reliable supply of clean water, as Lydick notes, “the Clean Energy Park project provides a viable solution.” The solution is to desalinate the brackish water beneath the Valley’s surface, but this process requires significant power. “As electricity is the most expensive variable for desalinization, a cost-effective source for this would be nuclear power added to the planned solar plant,” she writes.

California currently has a moratorium on building new nuclear plants, but many view this as an outdated concept.

This prohibition presupposes no viable solution for nuclear waste. However, proven, technically sound and reliably safe solutions for radioactive waste have been around for more than three decades. But this issue is political, not technical, and has played nicely into the hands of anti-nuclear groups.

In addition, there is still support for nuclear energy among policymakers and others, even in California. Lydick cites California Gov. Jerry Brown who referred to nuclear energy as a green source and the Obama administration’s continued support for nuclear energy even in the wake of Fukushima.

Click here to read the full article and here to read about Part 1 of the focus on the Fresno Clean Energy Park.

July 25, 2011 | 11:32 am

Fox News Op-ed: ‘Nuclear Power Is Extremely Safe’

In a compelling opinion piece on Fox, writer Alex Epstein argues why Fukushima has demonstrated that nuclear power is in fact “extremely safe.” He also explains why there are hidden economic and environmental costs of not using nuclear energy.

To think rationally about nuclear safety, you must identify the whole context. As the late, great energy thinker Petr Beckmann argued three decades ago in his contrarian classic “The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear,” every means of generating power has dangers and risks, but nuclear power “is far safer than any other form of large-scale energy conversion yet invented.”

Epstein notes that only a few sources are capable of producing electricity reliably, affordably and on a large scale, and among them nuclear energy has some advantages. “Whether you’re concerned about a dangerous accident or harmful emissions, a nuclear power plant is the safest way to generate power,” he writes.

The fact that nuclear plants do not produce emissions is another benefit for this energy source, Epstein states. He also notes the relatively small amount of waste produced by nuclear power, especially when the fuel is recycled.

Nuclear power also saves lives that would otherwise be lost to pollution. A nuclear power plant has effectively zero harmful emissions. (It generates a small amount of waste, which France, among other countries, has demonstrated can be both re-used economically and stored safely.)

Read more here.

July 22, 2011 | 4:44 pm

AREVA is Big in Charlotte

Charlotte Business Journal ranked AREVA as the largest engineering firm in the area , topping ‘the list with 327 local engineers.’ This week’s publication ranked Charlotte-area engineering firms by number of local professional engineers.

As the nation’s energy hub, AREVA is honored to be recognized and very proud of our strong engineering presence in the North Carolina city. We are proud to be part of the Charlotte community, and our nearly 550 Charlotte employees work every day to be a responsible industrial player helping to supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical energy.

July 22, 2011 | 2:03 pm

Spotlight: Germany’s nuclear exit will mean burning more fossil fuels

by Jarrett Adams

As Germany begins its trek toward shutting down its nuclear plants by 2022, it has to answer several questions about what effect this will have on the nation’s energy and environmental outlook. Some opponents to nuclear energy have stated that Germany’s plants, which until recently produced 24 percent of its electricity, will be picked up by expanding renewables. But, at least in the short term, much of this shortfall will be met by building new fossil fuel-fired plants.

In a recent piece, Guardian columnist George Monbiot wrote:

Germany’s promise to ditch nuclear power will produce an extra 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. In June Angela Merkel announced a possible doubling of the capacity of the coal and gas plants Germany will build in the next 10 years. Already Germany has been burning brown coal, one of the most polluting fuels on earth, to make up the shortfall.

In fact, the German chancellor has called for construction of 20 new fossil plants to replace the 17 nuclear plants until additional renewable capacity is available. According to Der Spiegel, a portion of funds originally directed for investment in renewables “has now been earmarked to subsidize the construction of new coal-fired power plants.”

Part of Germany’s solution will be to replace the electricity supplied by nuclear energy with renewable generation. We applaud the intent to build more renewable generation – AREVA has built six offshore wind turbines off the German coast and, with a production facility in Bremerhaven, working to developing many more. As these renewable sources cannot supply all of the power yet, the German energy demand will have to be supplemented through coal and natural gas. This increased dependence, mostly imported from Russia, has other drawbacks besides producing more greenhouse gas emissions.

Some recent articles have highlighted how Russian industry is positioning to help Germany with its transition away from nuclear energy, including the Voice of Russia. Last week an article plainly titled “Germany to renounce nuclear energy, Gazprom is ready to help,” detailed the new partnership between Gazprom and German utility RWE to build coal and gas fired plants in the country.

Blogger Rod Adams has written an interesting post on the Energy Collective examining Russia’s stake in the German nuclear phaseout.

Other analyses have pointed out that even if Germany meets its objective to phase out nuclear energy, it will not meet the supply the nuclear plants had provided with renewables. According to an insightful post from the Breakthrough Institute:

To fully replace nuclear power with renewable energy, the country would have to scale renewable energy to provide over 42.4% of the country’s projected 2020 electricity demand, a substantial increase from the 17% of electricity demand renewable energy provided in 2010, and far greater than the country’s goal of 35% of electricity demand in 2020. In terms of non-hydro renewables, that’s an increase of 2.6 times today’s levels.

The German people have the right to choose their energy sources, including deciding against nuclear energy. But this is not necessarily the trend. Many other countries understand the constant, low-carbon energy generated by nuclear plants and are moving forward aggressively with new nuclear plants, including China, which now has some 25 plants under construction, and India and the United Kingdom.

July 20, 2011 | 5:42 pm

France Continues Path Forward on New Nuclear Generation

While many countries are still developing strategies for increasing their low-carbon electricity generation, France is moving forward with a significant new nuclear project that will help the nation maintain its status as having one of the lowest emissions per capita of any industrialized nation.
The Flamanville 3 nuclear power plant, under construction in the Normandy region of France, is part of the solution for meeting the nation’s growing demand for low-carbon energy. This reactor is AREVA’s EPR™ design and is the second in this series of advanced design.

EDF, the plant’s operator, announced a schedule revision today, as well as a new approach to organization. The modification of the timeline also includes “comprehensive analyses carried out as part of the post-Fukushima safety assessment audits (that) will be submitted to the Nuclear Safety Authority in September,” according to an EDF statement.

AREVA is working closely with EDF to optimize the EPR™ reactor based on feedback provided by the first construction projects. We are already applying this experience to improve the two EPR™ reactor construction projects in China.

“The success of the Flamanville EPR is a major challenge for the industrial expertise of the nuclear industry. We will continue to work together on the feedback from the first EPR sites in order to learn from it for the benefit of future construction projects around the world,” said Hervé Machenaud EDF’s Group Senior Executive in charge of Production and Engineering and Claude Jaouen, Senior Executive Vice President of AREVA’s Reactors and Services Business Group.

For more information on the Flamanville 3 project and AREVA’s scope, click here.
While other countries ponder their low-carbon energy dilemmas, you can take a closer look at the construction of an EPR™ reactor and see what is to come at Flamanville 3. Check out the video here of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR™ reactor construction project in Finland where AREVA has already installed the four steam generators.

July 19, 2011 | 3:17 pm

Creating Clean Water with Clean Energy in California

In an excellent article, Barbara Lydick examines California’s challenges of water scarcity, purity and recovery with insightful commentary and vision.

Fresno Clean Energy Park concept

read more…