The Anonymous Widower

Hydro-Storage Options To Be Studied For Grängesberg

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from Anglesey Mining.

These are the highlights of the news item.

  • Anglesey Mining plc, together with its 49.75% owned subsidiary Grängesberg Iron AB (“GIAB”) have entered into an MoU with Mine Storage to investigate the potential for the Grängesberg Mine to be converted into a Pumped Hydro-Storage project at the end of the mine’s producing life.
  • Pumped-Hydro Storage is a green-energy storage solution that utilises water and gravity to store electrical energy. An underground mine can provide a closed-loop solution using proven, pumped hydro-power technology. Essentially, the system involves water being gravity fed through pipes down a shaft into the turbines, which produce electricity for supply to the grid and also pump the water back to surface. The mine storage system has a high round-trip efficiency of 75-85% and proven durability.
  • The MoU with Mine Storage could lead to numerous future benefits.

I like this project.

Too often, when mines, quarries or other large operations come to the end of their economic lives, they are just abandoned in the hope that something worthwhile will happen.

But here we have a company planning the end of an iron ore mine in a way that will turn it into a source of future revenue.

I have a few thoughts.

Mine Storage

Mine Storage are a Swedish company with an informative web site.

The web site answered most of my questions.

Mines Are Moving From a Liability To A Resource


  • Gravitricity are using mines to store energy using cables and weights.
  • Charlotte Adams and her team at Durham University are developing the use of the heat in abandoned coal mines.
  • The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is being developed in a disused opencast mine in Wales.
  • RheEnergise are developing their first High Density Hydro system in the Hemerdon Tungsten Mine in Devon.

And now we have this co-operation between Anglesey Mining and Mine Storage working together on pumped storage hydroelectricity.

Where is Grängesberg

This Google Map shows the location of Grängesberg.

It is convenient for storing energy for Stockholm.


March 17, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized, Energy Storage, Energy | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

My objections to nuclear power plants like Hinckley Point C, is very much like my objections to giant aircraft carriers like HMS Queen Elizabeth,enormous 4×4 Chelsea tractors and massive houses, where one billionaire lives with just his trophy wife.

It’s just that they satisfy the ego of a class of men (and it’s usually men!), who like to show off, that they have more money or power than others.

There are generally much more efficient and affordable ways of achieving the same aims.

As a small example, I remember having a chat with a General in the British Army, who had very low opinions of heavy tanks and felt that there were better ways of spending the money to achieve the same objectives.

I also remember some of the arguments about the aluminium frigates after the Falklands War. A lot of these were amplified, by a friend, who’d gone to the islands as an officer on a British Rail ferry.

This is said about Hinckley Point C in Wikipedia.

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a much-delayed proposal to construct a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station with two EPR reactors in Somerset, England. The proposed site is one of eight announced by the British government in 2010,[5] and on 26 November 2012 a nuclear site licence was granted. In October 2014, the European Commission adjusted the “gain-share mechanism” so that the project does not break state-aid rules.[7] Financing for the project will be provided “by the mainly [French] state-owned EDF [and Chinese] state-owned CGN will pay £6bn for one third of it”.[8] EDF may sell up to 15% of their stake. Financing of the project is still to be finalised.

I have a feeling that any sane woman, who’s lived with a man with bad shopping habits, would cancel it tomorrow.

After all, it’s supposed to cost £18billion and there is still no date yet for when it will produce a watt of electricity.

As a reaction to these enormous costs, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor is being proposed. Wikipedia says this.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be fully constructed.

Small reactors are defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as those with an electricity output of less than 300 MWe, although general opinion is that anything with an output of less than 500 MWe counts as a small reactor.

Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and heightened nuclear materials security.

I recommend reading the full Wikipedia article.

I feel that SMRs have a lot of advantages.

  • Much more of the building can be in a factory, not on a bleak remote site.
  • They are particularly suited to remote locations, where there is a shortage of construction workers.
  • An SMR may be a much less risky project cost-wise than a conventional large plant.
  • Containment is more efficient.
  • Proliferation concerns are lessened.
  • Say you are building a plant that needs a lot of electricity, like say an aluminium smelter. The SMR could be built alongside, so there would be no need for massive transmission lines, between the smelter and its power source.
  • They could be built underground, lessening the visual impact.
  • High energy use industries like steel-making could be paired with an SMR.
  • Large office complexes like Canary Wharf could be linked to an SMR deep underneath for their massive energy use.
  • Build time is much less.

I like the concept and think that this type of reactor, perhaps arranged in groups around a country or region, will kill off the traditional large nuclear reactor.

This section on safety features illustrates the innovative thinking behind the reactors.

Since there are several different ideas for SMRs, there are many different safety features that can be involved. Coolant systems can use natural circulation – convection – so there are no pumps, no moving parts that could break down, and they keep removing decay heat after the reactor shuts down, so that the core doesn’t overheat and melt. Negative temperature coefficients in the moderators and the fuels keep the fission reactions under control, causing the fission reactions to slow down as temperature increases.

I suspect we can now design a reliable reactor, that say it received a direct hit from a tsunami or three simultaneous crashes from Jumbo jets, would fail-safe.

There are certainly a lot of groups and companies trying to design the ultimate SMR.

There is even a concept being developed at the Universities of Manchester and Delft in the Netherlands called a u-Battery. That concept may not work, but something like it will produce electricity for a lot of people and industry around the world.

The dinosaurs like Hinckley Point C are hopefully a mistake of the past.



July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment

One Side Of A Man’s Kitchen

I’ve now virtually completed one side of my kitchen.


  • The television is on a 270° swivel so it can be watched from outside, when I’m eating or working.
  • The worktop will be extended through to continue over storage cupboards and a small deep-freeze on the other side of the hole in the wall.
  • The cooker could be replaced by a small AGA-60 City.
  • The shelf above the cooker will be moved up a bit and fitted with lights underneath.
  • I think a fold-away stool would be better.
  • It is currently planned that there will be a low wooden wall between the two sides, that will be topped by a steel beam, so that hot serving dishes can be placed there.
  • The flange of the beam could also be used to store condiments, sauces, oils and other things that might be needed both inside and outside the kitchen.
  • I haven’t decided where to put the touch-screen pad computer, so I can display my Serial Cooking pages.
  • You’ll notice that there isn’t much electrical equipment. The only equipment, that I use is a Delia’s Little Chopper, which I acquired long before she publicised them, a kettle and a microwave .
  • You’ll notice the only gas in the kitchen is in the fire extinguisher.
  • Gas incidentally, should be banned from inside the inhabited parts of dwellings on health and safety grounds.

Many of the pictures were taken with me sitting on one of my all purpose stools, that I designed over forty years ago and had made by a furniture maker. Incidentally, four were used as saw horses to support the work-top, whilst it was cut to size.

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Who Will Join Corbyn’s Shadow Saddle-Bag?

The pool is getting smaller by the hour!

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 3 Comments

The New Norton Bridge Junction In Action

I was travelling between Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly stations on a Cross-Country train.

After leaving Stafford station, the train took the new route through Norton Bridge Junction on the flyover over the West Coast Main Line to j0in the line to Manchester. The Norton Bridge page on the Network Rail web site, links to this map.

The New Norton Bridge Junction

The New Norton Bridge Junction

Trains continuing up the West Coast Main Line take the black route, whereas trains to and from Manchester use the orange line and the branch to the North-East.

This pictures show my progression threough the junction.

I was sitting on the right side of the train.

It looks like the new route is being electrified.

Would this mean that an electrified service could be run on the following route?

  • Euston
  • Birmingham International
  • Birmingham New Street
  • Wolverhampton
  • Stafford
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Manchester Piccadilly
  • Preston
  • Carlisle
  • Glasgow/Edinburgh

There is also a current electrified route, using the Crewe to Manchester Line and the Styal Line.

  • Wolverhampton
  • Crewe
  • Manchester Airport
  • Manchester Piccadilly

Throw in the Ordsall Chord and I suspect that Virgin Trains, TransPennine and Northern Rail have been looking at their traffic, to see if the reconfigured and electrified Norton Bridge Junction could be to their and Manchester Airport’s advantage.

It should also be pointed out, that much of the line from Preston to Crewe, Stoke and Stafford will have line speeds of on or about 100 mph and the new generation of trains like Aventras, Class 700s and Class 800s will be able to take advantage.

It seems to me, that the Norton Bridge Junction and Orsall Chord projects at £250 million according to this document and £85 million according to Wikipedia, respectively, will help to improve services all along the corridor from Preston to Rugby via Manchester, Manchester Airport, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry.

Only when you take a train from Birmingham to Manchester and look seriously at Norton Bridge Junction, do you realise its significance.




June 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

A Clever Idea From IKEA

When I was in the kitchen showrooms in IKEA at Tottenham, I noticed that their corner cupboards didn’t have any lights. And we all know that things get lost in corner cupboards.

I have a feeling that our last two designer kitchens didn’t have corner cupboards because lighting them was difficult.

I thought that I’d be able to use IKEA’S OMLOPP LED spotlights, but wiring them can be tricky.

Then I found some IKEA STRIBERG LED strips, so I took one home.

Reading the instructions, when I got home, it appeared they were for wardrobes. But after a bit of experimenting, I found they worked in my corner cupboard. These pictures show it working.

Note that there are two things left to do.

  • The door hinges need to be adjusted to get it straight.
  • A hole needs to be drilled in the back of the cupboard to pass the wire through.

But it certainly works well!


  • There is no wiring to do, as it just plugs together and into a 13 amp socket.
  • Multiple units can be daisy-chained.
  • It comes in various lengths with the 67 cm. version being ideal here.

In my view, it is much easier to install than OMLOPP.

June 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , | 1 Comment

We All Go Round In Circles

I am a Control Engineer by training and I have extensively modelled dynamic systems and constantly changing projects, which are updated regularly, if not daily.

My experience tells me that because we are a rich and innovative nation, that we will attract migrants because they know if they work hard here, they will earn enough to look after their families. Which patently many can’t do in the war-ravaged countries they’ve come from.

Most migrants will bring skills and muscle to fuel our growth, whether we like it or not.

So we get richer as a nation and more and more migrants are attracted to come.

One way to stop the migrants is to say, that we will not let them in and stop them coming.

But then the NHS and other industries wouldn’t have the labour they need, as many migrants settled here would move on to places that valued their skills.

An alternative would be to close down our economy, so that migrants are no longer attracted. Control Engineering says you must balance your production to the need and the resources you have available.

I believe that because of the maths, we either accept migrants or reduce our standard of living dramatically. Our Victorian forefathers brought in the migrants and the rest as they say is history!

This evening, the bookies have it that it’s six to one on, that we stay.

I once had a horse start a race at odds of twenty-two-to-one on. The horse came home by almost the length of the straight at Ayr.

The bookies were right as they generally are!


May 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | Leave a comment

Victorian Construction Methods

Brunel would have recognised the philosophy behind all the construction going on to complete the platforms and trackwork at Hayes and Harlington station, possibly in time for the timetable change on May 16th.

As you can see the contractor is using as many bodies as they can!

I remarked on this to a guy with a clipboard and he smiled widely. He certainly looked like he was enjoying his day in the sun!

If the Great Western Railway cn beg, borrow or steal some electric trains for the sixteen of May, I don’t give up hope of seeing an electric shuttle between Paddingdon and Hayes and ~Harlington stations.

After all the Great Western Electrification needs a victory and the industrious orange army seemed to be doing their best! Let’s hope it’s not all in vain!

The Oracle is still giving the current timetable and hasn’t been changed yet!

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Disappointing Bristol

On Thursday last week, I went to Bristol with the aim of perhaps doing a bit of a wander around some of the local railways in the area.

I know the centre of Bristol quite well and I’ve visited the usual attractions and walked along the Avon. After a previous visit, I wrote Walking Around Bristol. I’ve have also visited the SS Great Britain a couple of times, but it is not an attraction, that you can walk past and enjoy, like say HMS Belfast or the Cutty Sark in London. After a previous visit, I wrote The Disappointing SS Great Britain.

I had thought, that I might go to Severn Beach, as I’d read that the trip is one of the most scenic of railways.

But trains were only every two hours and I’d just missed one. How visitor-friendly is that? Anybody going on the off-chance would love to be stuck at Bristol Temple Meads station for two hours.

Services like those to Severn Beach should be at least twice an hour and preferably four times to attract passengers to the route.

I couldn’t even buy any gluten-free food, as the only place to buy anything was WH Smith. The nearest Marks was in the Centre. As there are no shops at Paddington at the moment due to rebuilding, I was starting to get hungry.

It’s also quite a boring and long walk between Bristol Temple Meads station and the City Centre. So I wondered if there was a local bus that could be used to get to Cabot Circus, where I might have some lunch. But there was no information, that I could find.

So, I did what my family always does at times like this. I did a runner! In this case to Bath!

Bristol may be getting new electric trains all the way to London, but they need to think seriously about providing a more welcoming experience for visitors.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend to anybody going to Bristol by train for a day out! Portsmouth, Liverpool, Cardiff and even Birmingham are so much better.

If Bristol was in Europe or had a bit more ambition, which I’ve always felt the city lacks, it would have a tram system.

This Google Map shows the City Centre.

Bristol City Centre

Bristol City Centre

Bristol Temple Meads station is in the middle at the bottom. Only one other station is shown on the map and that is Lawrence Hill station in the North-Eastern corner of the map.  Wikipedia describes the station as having minimal facilities. This extract from Wikipedia, describes the services at the station.

As of the December 2013 timetable, Monday to Friday, three trains every two hours run along the Severn Beach Line from Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth via Clifton Down, with one extended to St Andrew’s Road and Severn Beach. Most services start at Bristol, but one evening service to Avonmouth begins at Weston-super-Mare. On Saturdays only two trains per hour each direction call. Sunday sees an hourly service to and from Bristol, with only two services extending to Severn Beach, except during the May–September timetable period when all services are extended. The first and last Sunday trains towards Bristol are extended to Taunton via Weston-super-Mare, and there are similar workings in the other direction.

No wonder, the station only has minimal facilities, that level of service will struggle to attract the proverbial one man and his dog.

If as I believe there should be at least a two trains per hour service on local lines, then if the Severn Beach Line and the service to Avonmouth had this frequency, then there would be four trains per hour service across the eastern side of the city centre.

Bristol is trying to organise MetroWest, but compared to say Cardiff, Liverpool and other large cities, it has a distinct lack of rail lines and stations in or near the City Centre.

Talk is of a start in 2019, but I doubt, anything will start until the late 2020s, at the earliest.

In 2014 I wrote Is Bristol Left Behind? After my visit on Thursday, I can’t help feeling that the City is the most disappointing one in England.

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

What A Lot Of Minis!

I photographed this train with the inevitable noisy Class 66 locomotive on the front at Didcot Parkway station.

I assume it was taking Minis for export.

April 28, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment