The new third generation (EPR) nuclear reactor is being built in France and Finland and is also proposed in the UK. A similar design went into operation in South Korea in December 2016 – but it remains the only one running commercially worldwide. That could change soon, however, as Craig Morris explains.
Ramping – when power plants adjust their output according to market needs – is crucial in an energy system that includes renewables. So can nuclear reactors ramp enough to accommodate significant shares of wind and solar? Craig Morris takes a look.
Without any official announcement having been made, French nuclear reactor operator EDF seems poised to close up to five reactors next year. What will this mean for the French energy market? Craig Morris investigates.
In November 2017, French Minister Nicolas Hulot announced that the government target of increasing renewable energy in the electricity mix would be postponed. But do French citizens approve? Jules Hebert explains new findings that show high support for renewable energy and a positive view of the Energiewende.
On Wednesday, France’s new President Emmanuel Macron appointed his cabinet – to great acclaim. The direction of the country’s energy transition remains unclear, however. Craig Morris investigates (and secretly hopes for a Sixth Republic).
In recent months, a slew of papers have been written about how nuclear is a great complement for solar and wind. Today, Craig Morris investigates one brochure by French utility EDF to verify / falsify that claim.
The operator of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors, Alpiq, reportedly offered reactors to France’s EDF at no cost or “a symbolic franc.” The French, who have their hands full with their own struggling fleet at home, refused the offer. A potential power shortfall still looms in the background. Craig Morris explains.
It is finally done. After months of dithering, the nuclear industry’s CEOs and government officials of the UK, France and China solemnly signed off on the nuclear plant project at Hinkley Point C at the end of September. Some maintain that these might be the first signs of a new era for nuclear power after the Fukushima catastrophe, but Hinkley can barely hide the fact that the French nuclear “champion” EDF is at the brink of collapse and urgently needs a strategic turnaround. Andreas Rüdinger explains.
At present, 21 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors are offline. The country’s power prices have skyrocketed, as have imports. Power from fossil fuel is increasing, and the country has now postponed its plans to implement a floor price on carbon. Craig Morris explains why.
The decision to go ahead with Hinkley shows that any technology with a long timeframe is a juggernaut in an energy world of foreshortening planning horizons. But other questions remain open: can an EPR be built at all? Why is new nuclear cheaper outside the UK? And isn’t Hinkley at least a good low-carbon complement to wind and solar? Craig Morris takes a look.