Dutch utility Delta has published a tender for construction of a second reactor at its Borssele site. It first announced plans to build a reactor there in June 2009. It is hoping the reactor to be operational in 2018.
The utility has tendered for a lump-sum fixed-price EPC contractor for a proposed third-generation advanced LWR nuclear island, as well as provision of fuel and service agreements, including commissioning.
"We definitely need nuclear power," said Delta CEO Peter Boerma in June. "By 2020 all of us will be using more electricity than is generated. CO2 emissions too are increasing. As a company we are going to do something about that. We want to be carbon-neutral by 2050, and we will be able to achieve this by investing in solar energy and nuclear power. This will be our contribution to a reliable and affordable supply of electricity."
Demand for electricity is set to increase by 1.5 to 2 per cent a year, the utility said in June. This means that by 2030 demand will have risen by 30 to 40 per cent. By that time, the existing power plants, the ones that use fossil fuels, will be due for replacement.
DELTA believes that solar power will have an important role to play in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources (DELTA subsidiary Solland is a leading Dutch manufacturer of solar cells). By 2100 solar energy will account for 60 to 70 per cent of total power supply. Until renewable sources like solar power and wind are available in sufficient quantities, nuclear power will play an important role in making electricity carbon neutral and keeping it affordable and reliable.
DELTA has chosen Borssele because it offers the best possible option under SEV III (the Dutch government’s Third Long-Term Power Supply Scheme), in that:
-It already has a nuclear power station
-Nuclear power has broad-based support in Zeeland Province and even more so in the town of Borssele
-Zeeland will become the Netherlands’ nuclear power centre. Provincial and municipal authorities have had experience with nuclear power for almost 35 years
-Storing nuclear waste is manageable and can safely be entrusted to nearby COVA (Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste)
-Cooling water is sufficiently available
The aim is for a permit application under the Nuclear Power Act to be submitted by the end of 2011. This means that the application will be reviewed by the next government. If all goes well, a building permit could be applied for in 2012, and construction could start in 2013. At an average construction period of 5 years, the power plant is expected to become operational in 2018.
The construction costs will be in the order of 4 to 5 billion euros, Delta said. It added: however, the cost of nuclear power (including storing radioactive waste and dismantling) is similar to that of coal-fired plants and lower than the cost of gas-fired stations, wind or solar power.