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atw 2018-03v6


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March 146 INSIDE NUCLEAR WITH NUCNET * Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda The Nuclear Option: Can This Be Africa’s Energy Future? NucNet Uranium first left Africa’s shores for wealthier nations in the 1940s, when the U.S. shipped 30,000 tonnes of it from the Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be used in the first atomic bombs. In return, the U.S. helped the DRC build Africa’s first nuclear reactor – a research unit at the University of Kinshasa – in 1958. Niger began mining uranium in 1971, with all the output going to French nuclear reactors. Around 19 % of the world’s uranium reserves are held by three African nations: Niger, Namibia, and South Africa. In 2015, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began a project to increase and improve the current capacity of member states in Africa for “optimising production, implementation of good practices and overall effective management of the region’s natural uranium endowment”. And yet while the rest of the world used Africa’s uranium resources to embrace nuclear technology, South Africa was the only country on the continent to develop domestic nuclear energy generation, with its Koeberg nuclear station beginning commercial operation in the mid-1980s. There are 448 commercial nuclear reactors in operation today, but only two of them, at Koeberg, in Africa. Yet if ambitious policymakers have their way, that could change. For the first time, many African countries have expressed an interest in developing nuclear power for peaceful energy generation. According to the IAEA, more than 30 member states are considering or preparing nuclear power programmes for the first time, a third of them in Africa. In January 2017, the IAEA conducted an eight-day review of Ghana’s nuclear programme, following similar reviews in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The rest of the continent is enthusiastic – some 150 officials from 35 African countries gathered under the IAEA in Kenya in April 2015 to chart a way forward. Ten African countries* formed the African Network for Enhancing Nuclear Power Programme Development. The network intends to build and strengthen national and regional capacity for planning, developing and managing the infrastructure for new and expanding nuclear power programmes. For Africa, the driving factor behind plans for new nuclear is evident. The continent’s inability to generate enough electricity continues to hamper economic growth, cutting 2 to 4 % off GDP every year, according to the Africa Progress Panel. The panel estimates that some 600 million people on the continent do not have access to electricity, a figure that will require $ 55 bn per year in investment by 2030 to fix. The IAEA says that in sub-Saharan Africa, only about a third of the population have access to electricity and the number of people without access is on the rise. This presents a significant barrier to economic and social development and so governments across the continent are seeking ways to improve their existing energy infrastructure, and develop new or diverse energy sources that are reliable, affordable and sustainable. Against this backdrop, nuclear technology has acquired a reputation among policymakers as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly fix. “Nuclear power is considered a prominent alternative and a more environmentally beneficial solution since it emits far less greenhouse gases during electricity generation than coal or other traditional power plants,” Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, told local media in December 2017. “It is a manageable source of generating electricity and has large power-generating capacity that can meet industrial and city needs.” Yet not all are so enamoured with Africa’s nuclear plans. Opponents point to the high upfront costs of nuclear power stations, the security and safety issues of hosting plants in volatile countries, and the technological and political improvement that will be required to bring legislative and regulatory systems up to date. Nigeria is typical. Africa’s most populous country has decided to include nuclear power in its energy mix to meet an increasing demand for electricity and support economic development. The country has been developing its nuclear power infrastructure for several years. But last year the IAEA said Nigeria’s nuclear regulator faces challenges related to its independence and in developing the skills to carry out regulatory activities. Nigeria’s government needs to ensure that the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority is independent and functionally separate from organisations that could influence its decision-making. The IAEA highlighted the fact that Nigeria has no national policy on safety that is in line with global safety standards. Charles Adesanmi, retired former director of Nigeria’s Nuclear Technology Centre, believes there are two issues that are inhibiting Africa’s use of nuclear energy for electricity: cost and public opinion. He said: “First of all, anything that has to do with power generation requires a lot of money. If we are unable to adequately fund hydro, solar, coal, gas, how can we be talking of funding nuclear which is more expensive?” The issue of cost is the big one. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom has given itself the internal target that for new nuclear to make sense, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from the project must be between $ 60 and $ 80 per MWh for the first two reactor units. The IAEA has put the LCOE for the construction of new nuclear power plants in a range from $ 40 to $ 100 per MWh. It says there is “significant overlap” in the range of the average LCOE produced by various energy technologies, but despite its significant up-front costs nuclear is competitive. (LCOE is the long-term price at which the electricity produced by a power plant will have to be sold at for the investor to cover all their costs). Opponents to new nuclear in South Africa say the procurement deal would be the largest in the country’s history at an estimated $ 77 bn (€ 72 bn). The government, which has said it wants to generate 9,600 MW of energy from as many as eight reactors, has put the total cost at anything from $ 37 bn (€ 34.8 bn) to $ 100 bn (€ 94 bn). Inside Nuclear with NucNet The Nuclear Option: Can This Be Africa’s Energy Future? ı NucNet

DAtF DTL-Poster 2018-01 297x420v4.indd 1 23.02.18 11:10 atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March Critics argue that this is too much to spend for a country where the economy is fragile and political turbulence is worrying investors. The counterargument is that the LCOE for other forms of energy is in the same range as nuclear and that South Africa is already losing money through power outages and slowed industrial growth. Eskom published figures last year claiming a net loss to the economy of around $ 700 m in 2016 as a result of its renewable power purchases from producers. “If these [nuclear plants] are not built, instability of electricity supply and rising prices will slow economic growth, and this will come with increasing poverty and political instability,” says Rob Jeffrey, an independent energy economist. While Eskom has commissioned dozens of private renewable projects to provide wind, solar and other forms of energy, these will never provide enough electricity, Mr ,Jeffrey says. “Wind only supplies electricity at best on average 34 % of the time. It is highly variable, unreliable and unpredictable. Solar is only available to generate electricity on average 26 % of the time. For Africa’s only true industrial economy, the outages have been devastating. In just one quarter during 2015 when power cuts were at their height, the South African economy contracted 14 %, according to Bloomberg. From debates around the upfront costs of three new plants to media claims of foreign influence over the bidding process, the battle to expand South Africa’s industry is likely to offer lessons for countries across the continent. “Nuclear in the long term has low costs as you amortise the plant,” Phumzile Tshelane, chief executive of the government-owned South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA), told African Business. “If African countries are going to leapfrog to much more profitable economic development, they will have to choose sources of energy that are relatively cheap in the long term. I believe that when you look at the lifecycle costs, nuclear is cheaper.” One thing does seem certain. If Africa starts to commission new nuclear reactors, China and Russia, and their affiliated state-run enterprises, will be at the front of the queue to provide the technology. Scott Firsing, an international relations and security expert focusing on foreign power involvement in Africa, says their interest is linked to the projection of strategic power and investment into Africa, but also to secure access to uranium reserves. “Together, China and Russia are leading the drive for global energy security. At the same time they are solidifying their overall political and trade relationships with African countries and their leaders.” Author NucNet The Independent Global Nuclear News Agency Editor responsible for this story: David Dalton Editor in Chief, NucNet Avenue des Arts 56 1000 Brussels, Belgium DATF EDITORIAL NOTES 147 New Poster Notes Nuclear Energy in Germany The DAtF has published the new poster Nuclear Energy in Germany | Status: February 2018. This poster is not just an update to the January 2017 edition of Nuclear Power in Germany concerning the status of NPPs, waste disposal and of selected interim storage facilities but is a new product consolidating other maps into one. The poster now features research reactors, a more comprehensive overview on interim storage and conditioning facilities and state collection centers for radioactive waste from medicine, research and industry. 3 It can be downloaded and ordered at Kernenergie in Deutschland Nuclear Energy in Germany SCHLESWIG- Kiel HOLSTEIN Brunsbüttel Greifswald/ C C D C Rubenow Brokdorf C MECKLENBURG- HAMBURG Schwerin VORPOMMERN Krümmel C Stade Geesthacht Unterweser D BREMEN Gorleben Rheinsberg Munster C C D E 1) Emsland NIEDERSACHSEN A C Berlin Leese BERLIN Lingen Hannover Braunschweig D Potsdam Grohnde E Morsleben A D Gronau Asse E Magdeburg C BRANDENBURG Konrad C E Ahaus 2) SACHSEN-ANHALT Hamm- Würgassen Krefeld Uentrop D NORDRHEIN- Düsseldorf WESTFALEN Jülich THÜRINGEN Dresden C D SACHSEN Dresden 3) HESSEN Erfurt D Ebsdorfergrund Mülheim- Hanau Kärlich A Großwelzheim Wiesbaden Ellweiler Kahl Mainz D C Mainz C Biblis Karlstein Grafenrheinfeld C Mitterteich RHEINLAND- SAARLAND PFALZ Elm-Derlen Obrigheim BAYERN Saarbrücken C Neckarwestheim Philippsburg C B C D Niederaichbach Karlsruhe Stuttgart C Isar C D BADEN- Gundremmingen Garching WÜRTTEMBERG Neuherberg München KKW in Betrieb Leistung Betriebsbeginn brutto (kommerziell) NPP in operation Rated Start of capacity commercial gross operation (MWe) Brokdorf 1.480 1986 Emsland 1.406 1988 Grohnde 1.430 1985 Gundremmingen C 1.344 1985 Isar 2 1.485 1988 Neckarwestheim II 1.400 1989 Philippsburg 2 1.468 1985 Gesamt ı Total 10.013 Stand: Februar 2018 ı Status: February 2018 In Deutschland sind 7 Kernkraftwerke mit einer Leistung von insgesamt 10.013 MWe (brutto) in Betrieb. In Germany 7 nuclear power plants are in operation with a total installed capacity of 10,013 MWe (gross). For further details please contact: Nicolas Wendler DAtF Robert-Koch-Platz 4 10115 Berlin Germany E-mail: presse@ Kernkraftwerk Nuclear power plant Forschungsreaktor Research reactor A Kernbrennstoffversorgung Nuclear fuel supply facility B Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Reprocessing plant C Zwischenlager Interim storage facility D Konditionierung Conditioning E Endlager Final repository • Landessammelstelle Federal state collection centers In Betrieb In operation Abgeschaltet/ Stilllegung End of operation/ Decommissioning Rückbau Dismantling «Grüne Wiese» Greenfield site Errichtung Construction Bergwerk in Erkundung (seit 2013 eingestellt) Exploration mine (discontinued since 2013) 1) Pilot-Konditionierungsanlage ı Pilot conditioning plant 2) Bereitstellung Mitte der 2020er-Jahre ı Operational by the mid 2020s 3) AVR-Behälterlager ı AVR flask store info@ www. DAtF Notes