So Poland has declared its intention to launch a nuclear ‘renaissance’ of its very own. They’ve appointed analysis teams and signed ‘memoranda of cooperation’ with nuclear reactor builders. It’s a very serious business.
The Polish Energy Group (PGE) wants to build two new nuclear reactors. Which designs are they considering? Oh dear. AREVA’s EPR, Westinghouse’s AP1000 and GE Hitachi’s ABWR and ESBWR. For evaluation of these designs they should come to see us and we can save them a lot of time and money…
The EPRs being built in Finland and France are years late and billions over budget. Both projects have been plagued with safety and construction defects. In a recent joint statement, the UK nuclear safety regulator (HSE’s ND), the French nuclear regulator (ASN), and the Finnish nuclear regulator (STUK) said the EPR’s safety system isn’t independent from its control system and therefore isn’t safe.
Evaluating the AP1000 design, the UK authorities say the safety case on internal hazards has ‘significant shortfalls’ and regulators criticised Westinghouse for a ‘lack of detailed claims and arguments’. The US nuclear regulator found that the design ‘is vulnerable to severe weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and natural disasters like earthquakes’ and ‘raises the concern that the design is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks such as intentionally crashing airliners’.
The ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor) has been a failure in America where planned projects were cancelled as power utilities raised ‘quality assurance contentions regarding the ESBWR design’ and looked for ‘greater commercial certainty’. That’s why GE Hitachi are now concentrating on selling the ESBWR in Europe.
Lastly, there’s the ABWR (Advanced Boiling Water Reactor). Unfortunately, there are only four in operation worldwide, in Japan. The two at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were closed for more than two years in 2007 by an earthquake. In 2005, the ABWR at Hamaoka was shut down when cracks were found in the reactor’s turbines. Plans for more ABWRs in Japan have been postponed or cancelled. See? All four designs evaluated quickly and cheaply. No need to thanks us, Polish Energy Group. It was a pleasure.