Round-up: Rolls Royce & mini reactors, big battery news, smart grids and exorbitant new Hinkley grid....
The Telegraph - again - says (23.10.17) that a design contract from the UK government is likely to be won by a Rolls Royce led consortium for a new generation of mini nuclear reactors. Rolls and General Electric of the USA - and the Russians - are world leaders in nuclear powered submarine "engines". Government has made positive noises about mini-reactors based on the submarine design and size. A year or so ago it gave around £150m for a new nuclear skills centre to be set up, thought to be to do with so-called mini nuclear reactors. These are believed to be more flexible than the huge EPRs, but they have similar risks and problems, being killed off for civil use - the Canadian deuterium reactors were an early credible example - in the 80s by the big reactors which are now double the power of the original Magnox and PWRs reactors. Nuclear submarine reactors produce at most a few hundred megwatts of power compared to the proposed Hinkley EPRs at 1,600 megawatts.
Government is also backing big storage battery technology with a £245m fund linked to a smarter grid. The smart grid concept contrasts with a recent National Grid & Hinkley C story.
OFGEM, the energy regulator, has sharply criticised the National Grid ( a very profitable privatised company, of course) for putting up an estimate for an uprated grid connection for Hinkley C (2 EPR reactors of a total 3,200 MW capacity) of £840 million. 30 miles of new high voltage cable are needed, going through the Mendip Hills. National Grid want to use their new T-pylon design too.