The core objective of the specialistbusiness project was to present a comprehensive business report regarding aparticular energy source in the UK. The energy source selected was nuclearenergy because it had the potential to meet most of UK’s energy requirements.Besides, nuclear energy was produced via a clean (IAEA 2017),scalable, and low-maintenance energy approach, with the exception of thechallenges associated with site decommissioning. Nuclearenergy is regarded as an eco-friendly energy source because it does not producegreenhouse gases.
The current business report also highlighted thefuture projections of the energy source in the context of the UK energy sector.In the final section, a project plan for the implementation of an energyproject, projected deliverables, and the proposed timelines was presented. Theproject plan involved the determination of an appropriate location for anuclear station in the UK.Literature ReviewUK’s Energy BriefCurrently, the UK is one of thelargest producers of nuclear energy in the EU with an installed capacity of 106GW. Statistics from the Department of Energy indicated that nuclear energy’sshare in the cumulative energy mix was 20.3 percent in 2014 (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2016b, p.
1).The growth in the share of nuclear energy in the national grid was attributedto the fact that nuclear power was a low-carbon source of electricity, whichwas in line with UK’s government clean energy policy. Additionally, the choiceof nuclear energy was informed by UK’s position as a leader in the research anddevelopment of nuclear energy in the mid-20th century. The Magnoxpower stations in the UK were among the world’s first non-military nuclearstations with a commercial production capacity (Grimston, Nuttall & Vaughan 2014, p. 2).
As of 2014, there were at least 25 nuclear plants in the UK. The nuclear powerplants included the Magnox nuclear facilities, Heysham 1 & 2, andHartlepool among others (Grimston et al. 2014, p. 5).Nonetheless, at least 13 were under decommissioning.
In light of the anticipatedshortage in nuclear energy, the UK government had initiated a nuclear energyrenaissance program. The fundamental aim of the program was to facilitateinvestments in nuclear energy as an integral component of the balanced energymix to sustain UK’s energy demand’s over the long term (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2016a, p. 5).The need to transition the UK’s energy sector from the unsustainable dependenceon fossil fuels was partly attributed to the gradual depletion of fossil fuelenergy sources. According to the Hubert peak theory, the discovery of fossilfuel reserves was on the decline given that fossil fuels were non-renewablesources of energy (Bardi 2009, p.
323).In addition to nuclear energy, the UK had the potential to produce other formsof clean energy, such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Nonetheless,nuclear energy was preferred due to its constant availability and non-relianceon intermittent weather and climatic patterns.In the medium term, it wasanticipated that the demand for nuclear energy in the UK energy sector wouldincrease by at least 31 GW (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2016a, p. 1) drivenby an increase in commercial and residential energy needs.
Private investmentsin nuclear energy production in the UK have grown, especially following thegovernment’s transfer of ownership to private investors in the 1980s (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2016a, p. 4).After privatization of the energy sector, companies, such as Magnox,Sellafield, Horizon Nuclear Power, and Urenco expanded their operations.Despite the immense benefitsassociated with nuclear power, it was noted that the adoption of nuclear electricitywas impeded by the high cost of commissioning a nuclear power plant.
Recentestimates indicated that it would cost at least $11,000per kW to build and maintain a single nuclear facility (Lovering, Yip and Nordhaus 2016,p. 375). Additionally, new investments in nuclear energy were expected tobe significantly higher given that the last nuclear facility in the UK wasconstructed in 1995. Nonetheless, despite the varied challenges, it wasprojected that at least 14 GW of nuclear energy would be incorporated into theenergy mix over the next 18 years. EnergyProject PlanThe project plan in the current studyentailed a feasibility study of the most appropriate location of the nuclear productionfacility.
The need to conduct a feasibility study on a nuclear power plant wasinformed by the fact that most of the operational reactors in the UK would allbe decommissioned before 2028 (Vaughan, 2017).For instance, plans were underway for Magnox to decommission 10 nuclearelectricity-producing sites in the UK. The current project plan was implementedby three group members, who were tasked with different aspects of the project.In particular, the seismic requirements, water requirements, and regulatoryrequirements were investigated by each of the group members. The finaldeliverable was a comprehensive report of the most appropriate location of thenuclear power plant.
According to the WBS presented in the Figure 1, theproject plan was guided by regulatory and geophysical requirements.Figure 1 Work-Breakdownstructure for the project planThe determination of a potential sitefor the location of the plant was dependent on various factors. For instance,in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, it became apparent thatnew nuclear facilities had to be established in a region with stable seismicactivity. Additionally, another critical determination in the project plan wasthe location of operational facilities, availability of raw materials, and thecost of establishing the facility.
According to Comby (2006),nuclear power plants have to be located in an area with sufficient watersupplies. A study by the British GeologicalSurvey established that seismic activity was most common in North West andsouth of England (Musson and Sargeant 2007, p. 11).Therefore, after considering the seismic map of the UK, it was postulated thatit would be imprudent to establish the nuclear power facility in a region with lesserseismic activity. Thus, it was noted that the most appropriate location for thenuclear facility was in the northeast or the mid-east region in the UK. Arecent earthquake map developed by the BGS established that the proposedlocations had not recorded an earthquake with a magnitude higher than 3.0 Mw (Musson and Sargeant 2007, p.
11).In addition to the seismic activity,the proposed site for a nuclear power plant must be located in a site withample water supplies. Water is required for the production of nuclear energy,especially in the cooling of the reactors and rotation of the turbines. Onaverage, a nuclear power plant utilizes close to 30 millions of gallons ofwater each day (Grimston et al.
2014, p. 7).Notably, the water piped into the nuclear facility should be pure because saltywater would accelerate the degradation of the metal components in the nuclearreactor. Given the requirements for fresh water, it was postulated that thenuclear facility could be located close to the river Tyne – one of the largestfreshwater sources in North East England. Additionally, the water supply to thefacility should be consistent because lack of water would trigger theoverheating of the nuclear reactors and an increase in thermal catalysis of theradioactive fission process.
Notably, most of the neutrons derived from thenuclear reactions were absorbed by the circulating water. Therefore, theabsence of water would result in an uncontrollable release of toxic radioactivefuel.RegulatoryRequirementsThe IAEA has provided a set ofstandards aimed at safeguarding human life from the radioactive waste producedby nuclear reactors. Upon satisfaction with the safety standards, the IAEAprovides construction licenses that are specific to a particular aspect of thenuclear facility, such as operation or construction.
Besides, the agency alsoprovides permanent licenses. The IAEA also recommends that a feasibility study shouldbe undertaken prior to the establishment of the nuclear facility in order toascertain the environmental and ecological impact of the nuclear station (IAEA 2010, p. 24).Therefore, the proposed project will have to obtain regulatory approval beforethe start of the construction process.ConclusionIn brief, the current study provideda detailed highlight of the energy sector in the UK with special emphasis onnuclear energy.
In light of the literature sources cited in the business report,it was noted that nuclear energy had the potential to meet a significantfraction of UK energy needs. Given the need to transition from coal and otherforms of non-renewable energies, the UK government had adopted a nuclearrenaissance program that would increase the share of nuclear power in thenational grid. Despite the fact that the UK was a pioneer in the commercializationof nuclear energy, it was lagging behind in the development of nextgenerational nuclear reactors.
Thus, a project plan for the identification of asuitable location for a new nuclear facility was undertaken. After consideringthe regulatory and geophysical aspects, it was noted that the new plant shouldbe located in the North East or Mid- East regions in the UK.