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Topic Title: The Nuclear Innovation Research Office (NIRO) and its new role
Topic Summary: How can the assets of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) be used more wisely?
Created On: 10 December 2013 04:44 PM
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 10 December 2013 06:30 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1043
Joined: 05 September 2004

Within a few weeks the Nuclear Innovation Research Office (hosted by the NNL) will have started up, with some initial start-up funds from DECC (at least £600,000).

Looking at the existing publicly owned nuclear assets from the point of view of Generation IV nuclear proponents, it becomes immediately obvious that many of the main options for developing a future UK reactor research and development programme involve making better and different use of assets currently administered and controlled on behalf of the Public by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

The prime assets of interest to me as a systems engineer are:
1. Existing nuclear trained workforces that are soon to have no work or reduced workloads [particularly at Wylfa Magnox Reactor (to be shutdown 2014/2015) and the Trawsfynydd site to enter a minimal workforce care and maintenance phase in 2016 sometime]
2. A Civilian Plutonium Stockpile
3. Wylfa Magnox Gas Cooled Reactor and what it can achieve safely and cost-effectively in its final years of operation.

In terms of the Wylfa Magnox Reactor I am asking for a new conversation over its future.

I want to know in particular if it can be used in its last few years of operation for:
(a) bulk testing of a range of new materials in regards to neutron degradation (to help quickly eliminate the poorest performing new material candidates prior to the better candidates being tested more thoroughly at higher neutron fluxes at the Jules Horowitz reactor)
(b) breeding sufficient Uranium-233 from Thorium Fuel to be able to start a Generation IV Thorium molten salt test reactor.

(The results coming from the Thor Energy Thorium Fuel Test Programme are extremely pertinent to this question http://www.thorenergy.no/
)

I am forced to ask the second controversial question, because the NDA has at the moment ruled the possibility of the UK's plutonium reserve being used for the purpose of starting Generation IV nuclear reactors (including molten salt reactors)

As I see it one of the prime questions for the Nuclear Innovation Research Office (NIRO) to address is:

How can the assets of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) be used more wisely, to the long term economic benefit of the UK?

The conversation will continue and hopefully an answer or pathway to an answer soon forthcoming...

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James Arathoon
 10 December 2013 08:00 PM
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jarathoon

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Joined: 05 September 2004

The molten salt test reactor size I have in mind is 40MWt to 160MWt, with a high enough neutron flux to allow it to be used for final stage materials qualification and medical isotope manufacture.

If the Wylfa Magnox Reactor can be operated safely using a part thorium mixed oxide fuel load then there will be an electricity income to help fund the site.

http://www.magnoxsites.co.uk/remit

If a special concession is granted by DECC to charge £75 per MWh for electricity generated by the Wylfa Magnox Reactor (in view of the fact it is moving to an end of life research and development role) then assuming the reactor can still deliver 425MW to the grid, the maximum annual income would be

425 x 24 x 365 x 0.8 x 75 = £223 million

(assuming 80% capacity factor)

This was just a guess, the electricity generating concession could perhaps be a lot lower than this. It all depends on the level of investment in repairs and renewals that is required to keep the nuclear station running for a few more years (assuming that's feasible) and the capacity factor and power output obtainable whilst at the same time doing new materials testing.



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James Arathoon
 10 December 2013 08:25 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1043
Joined: 05 September 2004

One suggestion is that the new Generation IV molten salt test reactor could be called the "Chadwick Reactor" after the Cheshire born physicist James Chadwick who discovered the Neutron. His connection with Wales came in retirement, in that he retired to live in a cottage in North Wales.

http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac...sts_chadwick.htm#1958




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James Arathoon
 11 December 2013 12:03 PM
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jarathoon

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Joined: 05 September 2004

Firms offered £13m for nuclear power innovations

"The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is offering up to £13m to help UK firms develop innovations for the nuclear energy sector, a move intended to help British industry reap more of the economic rewards from the creation of the next generation of power stations.

The main manufacturing contracts for the first of these plants - Hinkley Point C in Somerset - have gone to French firms, partly as a result of the disappearance of the UK's capabilities in nuclear technology."


At the end the article says...

"The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will also provide funds for the competition."

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) website leads with the words "A nuclear future for UK business"

https://www.innovateuk.org/-/a-nuclear-future-for-uk-business



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James Arathoon
 12 December 2013 10:57 AM
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jarathoon

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"Call for Trawsfynydd nuclear jobs to remain after 2016"

"Enterprise Zone chief wants decommissioning work to carry on to stop skilled workers leaving the area"

"THE chairman of an Enterprise Zone has called for hundreds of workers to be kept on at Trawsfynydd beyond 2016 by moving straight into the next phase of decommissioning while more work is done on attracting other industry to the location."


http://www.dailypost.co.uk/bus...r-jobs-remain-6396266

Better to let the radiation levels to decline, I'm afraid. Why increase the cost and subjsct workers to unnecesssary risk.

Why not engage with my plan for the Wylfa Magnox Site?


"Enterprise Zone chair Mr Jones said: "Currently they are looking at the site being left in 2016, that would affect around 730 workers, a significant number of which live within 20 minutes of the site."

Well Anglesey isn't that far away. In any case

"In response a spokesman from Magnox said: "The timing of decommissioning plans is agreed with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority(NDA) to ensure that public money is spent effectively to reduce hazards across the NDA estate. Magnox has well defined plans to progress decommissioning at all its sites - including Trawsfynydd. We are not currently reconsidering these plans." "

In any case if you read this story in World Nuclear News from 2011 "Final shipment of new Magnox fuel" it seems Magnox Ltd has previously signed agreements with Lloyd's Register Group, giving its staff the opportunity to move on to other decommissioning working for Lloyd's Register Group.

http://www.world-nuclear-news....nox_fuel-1912114.html

Where that decommissioning work will be I don't know.

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James Arathoon
 12 December 2013 11:12 AM
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jarathoon

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"Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) Established"

"The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) welcomes the establishment of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO). This was an action from the Government's Nuclear Industrial Strategy published earlier in the year.

NIRO is hosted within NNL and is the body responsible for providing advice to Government, industry and other bodies on R&D and innovation opportunities in the nuclear sector under the guidance of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB). Collectively NIRAB and NIRO have a remit to:

.Advise Government and industry on nuclear innovation and R&D into future nuclear energy technologies,
.Coordinate UK involvement in international nuclear programmes,
.Ensure public R&D programmes align with industrial and energy policy aims
.Explore how funding can be secured, not only from Government, but also from the private sector, EU and other international organisations and programmes related to future nuclear energy systems, and
.Review at regular intervals the status of UK nuclear innovation and R&D
.

Initially NIRO comprises a small core team based in NNL's Warrington office, which will be supplemented by secondees from across the nuclear sector (Government, industry and academia) as required. Gordon Bryan is appointed as the Director of NIRO with immediate effect."

Continue Reading here

Well I've already offered my services for 3 months to help set up a parallel Generation IV pathway. I have a list of people who are interested in Generation IV nuclear research and development and have suggest the setting up a Generation IV industrial stakeholder/user group (in association with the Technology Strategy Board) to efficiently and productively "help supply strategic advice to business and industry on commercial opportunities and other nuclear aspects" to this grouping.






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James Arathoon
 12 December 2013 03:03 PM
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jarathoon

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http://www.businessgreen.com/b...8m-to-nuclear-research

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James Arathoon
 12 December 2013 03:03 PM
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jarathoon

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"UK pledges £28m to nuclear research" http://www.businessgreen.com/b...8m-to-nuclear-research "A new Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE) and a project to reduce nuclear decommissioning costs are among the beneficiaries of a new £28m funding package for nuclear research and development."

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James Arathoon
 12 December 2013 03:37 PM
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jarathoon

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As part of the £28 million package £8 million goes to the Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE) at Manchester University

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/ab...ews/display/?id=11294

"The NFCE at Manchester will be led by Professor Tim Abram, holder of the Westinghouse Chair in Nuclear Fuel Technology and Visiting Senior Fellow for Fuels and Reactor Systems at NNL.

He said: "This major new investment will provide a unique academic research capability in a technology that is key to securing the future energy security of the UK, as well as providing an important skills pipeline from academia to the commercial nuclear sector." "




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James Arathoon
 14 December 2013 02:23 PM
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jarathoon

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The Nuclear Innovation Research Office (NIRO) will be inviting candidates to apply to work for it, once the process that will be used to select candidate has been submitted to both the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and the nuclear sub-group of the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group for approval.

It is not clear how long this will take as the exact make-up and membership of NIRAB has yet to be decided.

Also it is not yet clear if members of NIRAB will have a veto on individual NIRO appointments. If they are given this power then this could act to defeat the whole object of NIRO being set up in the first place. We cannot have innovation in our nuclear industry if existing players like the NDA are given a veto on NIRO employing people whose views they disagree with.

I'm afraid you cannot have innovation without embracing people willing and able to challenge established modes of thinking and established ways of doing things. Established modes of thinking and established ways of doing things cannot be challenged without upsetting those people who do not want change.

Hopefuly the new appointments procedure and framework will also start to acknowledge and redress the extreme under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in the nuclear fission industry. Innovation on this human resources front is urgently required as well.

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James Arathoon
 14 December 2013 03:59 PM
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jarathoon

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Joined: 05 September 2004

The webpage for the Nuclear focus of the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group

http://www.lowcarboninnovation...uclear_fission/


In the document "Technology Innovation Needs Assessment: Nuclear Fission" page 3 they say

"The overall innovation benefit is in the range £2-14bn by 2050 and £3-34bn by 2100 - the large range being driven by the different deployment scenarios used."

I make the top end benefit to the UK at several hundreds of billions pounds by 2050, perhaps into the low trillions by the year 2100. That is the accummulated benefit that comes from not building out 16 GW or more new nuclear at Hinkley Point C prices (guaranteed to increase with inflation both before the plant first generates electricity and then after for a full 35 years), and using new cheaper more cost effective Generation IV tecnologies instead. I also incude the possibility of rolling out a Thorium-Plutonium Fuel MOX fuel to Wylfa Magnox power station and thereafter across part or all of the UK's AGR nuclear fleet; thereby burning up the UK's civil plutonium stockpile in the most cost effective manner possible.

Across Europe the benefits of moving quickly to Generation IV nuclear could easily be in the 30 trillion pound range by 2100. It will be like the technological and transformative leap that came from moving from the Newcomen steam Engine to the Boulton-Watt steam engine, and that drove on the first industrial revolution.


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James Arathoon
 14 December 2013 07:29 PM
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kengreen

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Joined: 15 April 2013

James,

Do you, by any chance, number Charles Dickens in your family tree?

Ken Green
 15 December 2013 02:34 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1043
Joined: 05 September 2004

Originally posted by: kengreen

James,

Do you, by any chance, number Charles Dickens in your family tree?

Ken Green



"The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office." Little Dorrit, (Originally published in installments 1855-1857)

No, but I do get the creepy feeling sometimes he is still alive, with the ink from his pen still damp upon the page.

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James Arathoon
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