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

Boris And A National Insurance Cut

This article on the BBC is entitled Boris Johnson Pledges Cut To National Insurance.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Boris Johnson aims to change National Insurance rules so workers will not have to pay it until they earn £12,500.

I can just about remember my first real pay packet.

  • I was 16 and it was only a vacation job from school.
  • It was notes and coins in a brown envelope.
  • I was working in a factory designing and building electronics to automate heavy machinery.
  • In the pay packet was a payslip, which included a small deduction for National Insurance.
  • I was a bit miffed at the deduction, as I wasn’t earning much.

What I like about Boris’s plan, is that so many of those employed in lower-paid jobs will now not see a deduction for Income Tax or National Insurance.

What reaction will that bring in those employed in those lower-paid jobs?

  • I doubt anybody would object.
  • It could be a powerful motivator, as they would keep more of the fruits of their labours.

It would also be a very difficult policy to reverse. Imagine a future government breaking the link between Income Tax and National Insurance!

November 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

Labour’s Four-Day Week ‘To Cost Taxpayers £27bn’

The title of this post, is the same as that as an article of the front page of The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Jeremy Corbyn’s aim to introduce a four-day working week would cost the taxpayer at least £17 billion a year because of the impact on the public sector wage bill, a new analysis has shown.

Surely, if we go from a five to a four-day week , to do the same amount of work, you will need 25% more workers.

  1. This would raise the wage bill by 25 %
  2. It would also need more workers, so where will they come from?
  3. The only place to get extra workers is through immigration, as in this country most who want to work are already employed.

As I edit this, I’m just hearing another giveaway policy from Labour on the television.

Let’s hope the good British public rumble Labour and realise that their promises don’t add up.

Remember, that my specialism was writing scheduling algorithms to build projects in the most efficient manner possible, using a limited pool of resources.

  • Labour’s promises will need so much money, that international lenders will probably not be conned to lend it.
  • Corbyn’s friends; the Russians and the Iranians might help.
  • Labour’s promises will need lots more workers, which would need large amounts of immigration.

Just look at the arithmetic.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Job Sharing

I found this little story on the Railway Gazette web site.

Leasing company Porterbrook has jointly appointed Helen Simpson and Chandra Morbey to the role of Innovation & Projects Director as a job-share; they will report to Director of Engineering Services Jason Groombridge. Both have been involved with the development of Porterbrook’s Innovation Hub and the Hydro Flex fuel-cell multiple-unit demonstrator.

I’ve always thought job-sharing is a good idea, but rarely do you see it formally announced.

Perhaps, Porterbrook are making a statement about their policy towards job-sharing?

August 8, 2019 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Nissan Refuses To Improve Qashqai’s Toxic Emissions

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Tuesday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Nissan has refused a government request to carry out adjustments to thousands of highly polluting diesel cars to make them less toxic.

The car is called the Nissan Qashqai, which I wouldn’t recognise, unless it reversed into me on the street and I could see the name badge on the boot.

Today, there is this article on the BBC, which is entitled Nissan Workers Braced For Job Cuts.

As they say in Private Eye, could the two stories be related?

Especially, as Nissan seem to have had problems with a CEO recently, who seemed to find enhancing his lifestyle more important, than good stewardship of the company.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kremlin Lets Women Drive The Trains

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in The Times on Friday.

This was the first two paragraphs.

For decades, Russian girls who have dreamt of becoming train drivers or mechanics or captaining a ship have been forced to abandon their ambitions.

Laws prohibiting women from physically demanding employment, or jobs that could harm their chances of bearing children, were introduced by the Soviet Union in 1974, and updated by President Putin in 2000.

No wonder Russia a basket case, as they are not making best use of their resources. As do countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria!

Remember, that during the Second World War, the Nazis didn’t let women work in the war effort.

I seem to remember they lost!

 

 

 

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hastings Bus Stop Note Lands Homeless Man Job

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph.

A man who has been living on the streets for nine years has been found a home and job after a teenager spotted his note posted next to a bus stop.

This is a must-read heartwarming story.

My father always reckoned if you wanted something from an individual, company or organisation, that a polite, well-written note often got results.

It’s a technique, I’ve used all my life and it has been successful on the whole.

This guy has just used a modern version, helped by a school-girl and social media.

 

March 22, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

An Interesting Insight Into The Grenfell House Fire

This article on Construction News is a must read.

It describes the experiences of a Morgan Sindall employee, who lived in the tower and was in bed, when the fire started.

He works on Crossrail, so he is obviously fully-trained  and actually states that training said to stay put.

He didn’t and got out safely although in very little clothing.

It does appear that the treatment of their employee by Morgan Sindall is exemplary, so it looks to me that as this story gets more well-known, they won’t be short of applicants for permanent positions in the future.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

York Potash Haven’t Wasted Much Time

This article in the Teeside Gazette is entitled York Potash jobs: How to apply at massive project expected to employ more than 1,000. The first paragraph is.

York Potash project boss pledge: ‘If we can employ every single one of our team from the local area – then we will’

In my book a thousand jobs is good news, so why is only the local paper reporting it?

October 22, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Are There Secondary Effects In The Budget?

I have a feeling that there could be some secondary effects from the budget and particularly the announcement of a National Living Wage.

Nowhere will this measure be felt more than at the bottom end of the employers. If you read the tabloids, you get the impression that dodgy low-quality businesses are the big employers of illegal immigrants, keeping them in squalor and paying them in cash, if they’re lucky.

With a solidly enforced living wage, will this make it more difficult for these companies and operators to survive, so this country might be less of a magnet for illegal immigrants. I don’t know, but a higher level of living wage gives the Tax Authorities a good reason to investigate the sort of businesses who rely on no-questions-asked labour.

I very much watch innovation in the media and also have been in touch several times with universities in the last few years. I think we’ll see companies using their local innovators to make sure they support their now more highly-paid employees. I know several universities are giving students real projects in local companies.

So will we be pushing our employment up-market? I think we will!

As an example, an industry that we all seem to use more these days are couriers to deliver the goods we’ve bought on-line. They have got so much better over the last few years and that is just not the delivery reliability, but the staff as well, who seem to be polite and very much on-the-ball. Incidentally, most staff who’ve delivered to me lately seem to have been British born and educated.

I don’t know what will happen in the next few years, but I have a feeling that the Chancellor’s announcements may be helping to move the country on from a low-wage, low-skilled and badly-supported work force to one where a job, where you work hard and efficiently gives you a real living wage.

Of course Labour think that the restructuring of Tax Credits will mean many will lose out. But then Labour’s solution to a low-wage, low-skill economy was to pay people at the low-end to do nothing or crap jobs.

The other thing the Chancellor must do to help, is make sure that our transport links are improved. It’s one thing to get a job and often it’s a much more difficult thing to get to that job every day. You just have to see what the Overground and the fleets of new buses have done for Hackney and the surrounding boroughs, here in London, over the past few years.

 

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , , , | 4 Comments