backup power, CO2, electrical grid, environment, EU, Fellside Heat and Power, Fellside Power Station, Ltd, natural gas, nuclear cooling, nuclear dependence upon electrical grid, nuclear energy, nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear power, nuclear waste, Sellafield, Sellafield Nuclear, Spent Nuclear Fuel, UK
Sellafield Nuclear Facility, in the UK, has its own gas-fired power station! While this appears mostly for “reprocessing” as well as the cooling of “spent” nuclear fuel (i.e. nuclear waste), operating nuclear reactors are also dependent upon outside sources of power. Thus, the need of nuclear power stations to be connected to the electrical grid.
This dependence upon other sources of power is one of the most bizarre aspects of nuclear power. In the event of electrical grid failures, nuclear cooling systems can be powered with backup generators, which sometimes fail to start up and require diesel fuel to run. This is a major achilles heel of nuclear power.
As explained by the US NRC: “The reactor’s core contains fuel assemblies that are cooled by water circulated using electrically powered pumps. These pumps and other operating systems in the plant receive their power from the electrical grid. If offsite power is lost, emergency cooling water is supplied by other pumps, which can be powered by onsite diesel generators. Other safety systems, such as the containment cooling system, also need electric power.” http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/bwrs.html
“Fellside Power Station is a 168 MWe CHP gas-fired power station near the Sellafield site, which it supplies with steam and heat. It is run as Fellside Heat and Power Ltd, is wholly owned by Sellafield Ltd and is operated & managed by PX Ltd. It was built in 1993, being originally equally owned by BNFL and Scottish Hydro Electric (which became Scottish and Southern Energy in December 1998). The station uses three General Electric Frame 6001B gas turbines, with power entering the National Grid via a 132kV transformer. BNFL bought SSE’s 50% share in January 2002.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield
“In 2009 Sellafield spent £30m on gas. Since then reprocessing activity has increased. Most of the gas will go towards the insane crash programme of reprocessing activity and the rest to keep the wastes cool.” https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/what-sellafield-doesnt-want-you-to-know-while-gas-prices-rise/
“Gas purchases: The volume of gas used by Fellside CHP for 2010 (calendar year 1Jan-31Dec 2010) is 210,646,330 M3 at STP (STP is Standard Temp (15C)& Pressure of 1013.25 mbar). We wish to point out that this data could not accurately be used in a carbon footprint calculation. The actual CO2 emission data for 2010 is 421,691 Tonnes CO2, (this value has been independently verified under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS)) and relates to the entire electrical and steam output from the Fellside CHP power station…” https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/letter-to-the-european-commission-opposing-nuclear-subsidies-for-hinkley/