The Blog Continues in 2009

Recently, I’ve been engaged in some interesting nuclear projects that, on top of end-of-term teaching obligations, have kept me away from blogging for a while. I’m just getting back to it and lots of interesting developments have happened over the last couple of months including a world economic collapse but more of that later.

In Canada, we’ve had another isotope panic but one much smaller than the one a year or so ago. Ontario has again postponed its nuclear choice because it appears the government can’t obtain price guarantees from the reactor vendors. It’s also not clear whether Westinghouse is in or out of the competition. The fact we don’t know for sure is just yet another manifestation of Ontario’s penchant for secrecy in nuclear matters.

What’s going on with the CANDU refurbishment projects in New Brunswick and at Bruce? There are indications in the press that there are cost overruns but, if true, their magnitude is not yet known.  

In the international arena, new reactor construction looks to be going full steam ahead in China with four Westinghouse AP1000’s and two Areva EPR’s being built. A UK newspaper reported in early December that EDF is going to build 4 new reactors (EPR’s?) in Britain over the next twelve years at a cost of £ 22 billion; this works out to about $9.7 billion CDN per reactor. While this cost per reactor was probably realistic before the current economic crisis, recently key world commodity prices have fallen sharply (e.g. copper from $4 /lb to $1.5/lb) and I would have expected some reduction from that direction. On the other hand it seems US utilities are apparently having doubts about building new according to my quick glance at a story in the latest Scientific American that I need to read in detail. India has been rehabilitated as an unrepentant nuclear weapons state.

The bottom line is that there are lots of topics that I intend to discuss and which I hope you will find interesting.  As always I appreciate you comments.

Finally, I wish you, my faithful readers, a very Happy New Year

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