The Anonymous Widower

Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?

As someone who spent forty years in project management, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor or SMR could be a project manager’s dream.

Suppose you were putting a fleet of SMRs alongside Sizewell B.

This Google Map shows the current Sizewell site.

Sizewell A power station, with Sizewell B to its North, is on the coast.

This second Google Map shows the power stations to an enlarged scale.

Note the white dome in the middle of Sizewell B.

Sizewell A

Sizewell A power station was shut down at the end of 2006 and is still being decommissioned, according to this extract from Wikipedia.

The power station was shut down on 31 December 2006. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for placing contracts for the decommissioning of Sizewell A, at a budgeted cost of £1.2 billion. Defuelling and removal of most buildings is expected to take until 2034, followed by a care and maintenance phase from 2034 to 2092. Demolition of reactor buildings and final site clearance is planned for 2088 to 2098.

Only a few of those, reading this post, will be around to see the final end of Sizewell A.

Note that the size of the Sizewell A site is 245 acres.

It appears to me, that if any power station will be able to be built on the cleared site of Sizewell A, until the late 2080s or 2090s.

Sizewell B

Sizewell B power station opened in 1995 and was originally planned to close in 2035. The owner; EDF Energy, has applied for a twenty-year extension to 2055.

Sizewell C

Sizewell C power station is currently under discussion.

  • It will be built by the French, with the help of Chinese money.
  • It will have an output of 3260 MW or 3.26 GW.
  • It will cost £18 billion.
  • It will take twelve years to build.

This Google Map shows Sizewell B and the are to the North.

I would assume it will be built in this area.

 

A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

These are my thoughts on building a fleet of SMRs at Sizewell instead of the proposed Sizewell C.

Land Use

In Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations, I gave these details of the Rolls-Royce design of SMR.

  • A Rolls-Royce SMR has an output of 440 MW.
  • The target cost is £1.8 billion for the fifth unit built
  • Each SMR will occupy 10 acres.
  • Eight SMRs would need to be built to match the output of Hinckley Point C, which will occupy 430 acres.

It looks on a simple calculation, that even if the SMRs needed fifteen acres, the amount of land needed would be a lot less.

Connection To The National Grid

The transmission line to the National Grid is already in place.

This Google Map shows the sub-station, which is to the South-West of Sizewell A.

From Sizewell, there is a massive twin overhead line to Ipswich.

This Google Map shows the overhead line as it crosses Junction 53 of the A14 to the West of Ipswich.

The pylons are in the centre of the map, with the wires going across.

The line has been built for a massive amount of nuclear power at Sizewell.

The Sizewell Railhead

This Google Map shows the railhead at Sizewell.

It can also be picked out in the South West corner of the first map.

  • The railhead is used to take out spent fuel for processing.
  • In the past, it brought in construction materials.
  • Wikipedia suggests if the Sizewell C is built, the might be a new railhead closer to the site.
  • If a fleet of SMRs were to be built, as the modules are transportable by truck, surely they could be move in by rail to avoid the roads in the area.
  • I am an advocate of reinstating the railway from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, as this would be a way of doubling the frequency on the Southern section of the East Suffolk Line between Saxmundham and Ipswich stations.

I hope that whatever is built at Sizewell, that the rail lines in the area is developed to ease construction, get workers to the site and improve rail services on the East Suffolk Line.

Building A Fleet Of SMRs

One of the disadvantages of a large nuclear power station, is that you can’t get any power from the system until it is complete.

This of course applies to each of the individual units, but because they are smaller and created from a series of modules built in a factory, construction of each member of the fleet should be much quicker.

  • Rolls-Royce are aiming for a construction time of 500 days, from the fifth unit off the production line.
  • That would mean, that from Day 501, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • If the eight units were built in series, that would take eleven years to build a fleet of eight.

But as anybody, who has built anything even as humble as a garden shed knows, you build anything in a series of tasks, starting with the foundations.

I suspect that if a fleet were being built, that construction and assembly would overlap, so the total construction time could be reduced.

That’s one of the reasons, I said that building a fleet could be a project manager’s dream.

I suspect that if the project management was top-class, then a build time for a fleet of eight reactors could be nine years or less.

Resources are often a big problem in large projects.

But in a phased program, with the eight units assembled in turn over a number of years, I think things could be a lot easier.

Financing A Fleet Of SMRs

I think that this could be a big advantage of a fleet of SMRs over a large conventional large nuclear power station.

Consider

  • I said earlier, that as each unit was completed, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • Hinckley Point C is budgeted to cost £18 billion.
  • Eight Rolls-Royce SMRs could cost only £14.4 billion.

I very much feel that, as you would get a cash-flow from Day 500 and the fleet costs less, that the fleet of smaller stations is easier to finance.

Safety

SMRs will be built to the same safety standards as all the other UK reactors.

In this section on Wikipedia this is said about the Rolls-Royce SMR.

Rolls-Royce is preparing a close-coupled three-loop PWR design, sometimes called the UK SMR.

PWRs or pressurised water reactors are the most common nuclear reactors in the world and their regulation and safety is well-understood.

This is from the History section of their Wikipedia entry.

Several hundred PWRs are used for marine propulsion in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and ice breakers. In the US, they were originally designed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for use as a nuclear submarine power plant with a fully operational submarine power plant located at the Idaho National Laboratory. Follow-on work was conducted by Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

Rolls-Royce have a long history of building PWRs, and Rolls-Royce PWRs have been installed in all the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines except the first. The Royal Navy’s second nuclear submarine; HMS Valiant, which entered service in 1966, was the first to be powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR.

How much of the design and experience of the nuclear submarine powerplant is carried over into the design of the Rolls-Royce SMR?

I don’t know much about the safety of nuclear power plants, but I would expect that if there was a very serious accident in a small reactor, it would be less serious than a similar accident in a large one.

Also, as the reactors in a fleet would probably be independent of each other, it is unlikely that a fault in one reactor should affect its siblings.

Local Reaction

I lived in the area, when Sizewell B was built and I also went over Sizewell A, whilst it was working.

From personal experience, I believe that many in Suffolk would welcome a fleet of SMRs.

  • Sizewell B brought a lot of employment to the area.
  • House prices rose!
  • Both Sizewell A and B have been well-run incident-free plants

Like me, some would doubt the wisdom of having a Chinese-funded Sizewell C.

Conclusion

Big nuclear has been out-performed by Rolls-Royce

November 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can The UK Have A Capacity To Create Five GW Of Green Hydrogen

This article in The Times today is entitled Net Zero By 2050: Bold Aims Are An Example To Other Nations.

It is an analysis of the Government’s plans for a greener future.

This is a paragraph.

Only a few small-scale green hydrogen plants exist globally, and so five gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen generation by 2030 is a bold commitment. For context, BP recently announced that it was building its first full-scale green hydrogen facility, in Germany — with a 50-megawatt capacity.

I don’t think from the tone, that the writer thinks it is possible.

Onn the other hand I do believe it is possible.

ITM Power

ITM Power are the experts in electrolysis and have the largest electrolyser factory in the world, which is capable of supplying 1 GW of electrolyser capacity per annum.

It would appear they can supply the required five GW of electrolyser capacity in time for 2030.

The Herne Bay Electrolyser

Ryse Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.
  • The hydrogen it produces will be mainly for hydrogen buses in London.
  • Delivery of the hydrogen will be by truck.

To produce five gigawatts of hydrogen would require nearly 220 electrolysers the size of Herne Bay.

ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration

But ITM Power are working on a project with Ørsted , where wind turbines and hydrogen electrolysers are co-located, at sea to produce the hydrogen offshore.

ITM Power talks about the project in this press release on their web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to share details of a short project sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in late 2019, entitled ‘Hydrogen supply competition’, ITM Power and Ørsted proposed the following: an electrolyser placed at the wind turbine e.g. in the tower or very near it, directly electrically connected to the DC link in the wind turbine, with appropriate power flow control and water supplied to it. This may represent a better design concept for bulk hydrogen production as opposed to, for instance, remotely located electrolysers at a terminal or platform, away from the wind turbine generator, due to reduced costs and energy losses.

The proposed concept is also described.

  • A marine environment capable electrolyser
  • ‘Type IV’ wind turbine generators and their ‘DC link’ have the potential to power the electrolyser directly
  • This enables fewer power conversion steps and thereby reduces both energy losses and electrolyser footprint
  •  Readily abundant cooling capacity via the sea water
  •  Energy in the form of Hydrogen gas supplied to shore by pipe rather than via electricity
  •  Connecting one electrolyser with one turbine wind generator
  •  Other avoided costs of this concept include permitting, a single process unit deployment

Note.

  1. I can’t find a Type IV wind turbine generator, but the largest that Ørsted have installed are about 8 MW.
  2. This size would require 750 turbines to provide the UK’s five gigawatts of hydrogen.
  3. 12 MW turbines are under development.

The Hornsea wind farm is being developed by Ørsted

  • Hornsea 1 has a capacity of 1.2 GW and was completed in 2020.
  • Hornsea 2 will have a capacity of 1.8 GW and will be completed in 2022.
  • Hornsea 3 will have a capacity of 2.4 GW and will be completed in 2025.
  • Hornsea 4 will have a yet-to-be-determined capacity and could be completed in 2027.

This wind farm will probably supply over 6 GW on its own, when the wind is blowing.

Bringing The Hydrogen Ashore

This has been done since the 1960s in UK waters and it will be very traditional projects for the UK’s engineers.

  • Some of the existing pipes could be repurposed.
  • Worked out gas fields could probably be used to store the hydrogen or carbon dioxide captured from gas- or coal-fired power stations.

I’m fairly sure that by the use of valves and clever control systems, the pipes linking everything together could be used by different gases.

Conclusion

Producing 5 GW of green hydrogen per year by 2030 is possible.

 

 

November 19, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | 6 Comments

Long-Duration Energy Storage Milestones Achieved By Lockheed, Eos And Form Energy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

Lockheed

I find it significant that Lockheed Martin have developed a new redox flow battery, which is a 500kW / 2.5MWh system.

Last year, the company had revenue of nearly sixty billion dollars, with a net income of over six billion dollars. They certainly have the resources and the name to make a big impression on the long-duration storage market.

Their GridStar Flow technology is also detailed on this page on the Lockheed Martin web site.

The page lists these features.

  • Optimized for 6+ hours of flexible discharge
  • Flexibility to switch between products to maximize revenue
  • 100 percent depth-of-discharge with minimal degradation
  • A design life of 20 years
  • Ability to size energy and power independently
  • Mildly alkaline, aqueous electrolytes that are safe (nonflammable, noncorrosive, stable)
  • Competitive total cost of ownership

It looks impressive.

EOS Energy

EOS Energy can’t be doing badly, as they’re preparing to list on NASDAQ.

Form Energy

Form Energy are also reported to have had a $70 million investment.

Conclusion

It appears long duration energy storage is doing well across the pond.

My money would be on Lockheed to produce the most successful product.

November 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment