Armed with the knowledge of past experience and a better cloud infrastructure, the Nuclear Sector is now ready to help deliver a Net Zero UK by 2050.
‘We’ve got to get back into nuclear, we’ve got to increase our clean energy generation.’ Our Prime Minister thinks it’s the way forward, if so, technology and the cloud will be indispensable to that journey.
The current nuclear landscape
The ‘entire nuclear journey’ from building a reactor to decommissioning and disposing of waste is one that is now considered at conception in terms of cost and environmental impact. This comes as the official estimates of cleaning up seventeen of Britain’s retired sites have been costed at £124bn over the next 120 years, of which £97bn applies to Sellafield alone. These estimates are from 2019- a cost that is likely to have increased in the last 3 years.
The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has fought back claiming we shouldn’t be so hasty to accept previous clear up figures as representative of future projects. New reactors are now designed with decommissioning in mind, and their longer lives mean their dismantling costs should be comfortably accounted for in the operating revenue generated whilst the plant is live. Let’s take Hinkley Point as an example, who estimate they’ll need to set aside only 3% of generated revenue to cover the eventual closing of the project.
At this point, it’s important to mention that oil and gas, also face gigantic clean up bills- nuclear energy is not being singled out. But the sheer scale of nuclear’s ongoing operation and the figures that go with it have made it a more pressing issue.
Boris Johnson has been addressing the energy crisis head on in his latest sweep of interviews, claiming Britain’s electricity will come from renewable, clean sources by 2035. Nuclear as a solution has been firmly put back on the map with soaring gas prices, global shortages, fears over energy security and an ambition to have net zero carbon by 2050. In a short period of time, spurred on by the panic inducing petrol crisis, the government has had to rewrite it’s energy policy. Rocketing gas bills and cuts must be seen to be addressed.
Tim Stone, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, has addressed Boris’s comments saying, the time is now to ‘switch the levers to allow a new fleet of nuclear power plants to be built.’
The UK’s current nuclear fleet, which provides about 17 per cent of our electricity needs, is being retired- a huge NDA undertaking. Seven out of the eight existing power stations — all except Sizewell B — are due to be closed between now and 2030. EDF’s Hinkley Point project is the only new reactor due to come on stream in 2026 with the second in 2027. One thing seems clear, decommissioning safely and constructing ethically are both vital aspects of the nuclear sector and both need the cloud to ensure deliverability.
The Nuclear Sector often goes hand in hand with sensitive, classified information. Using your data SharePoint migration as a chance to clean up your data stores and access is often a key part of our Nuclear project delivery.
In the past, a lack of understanding around cloud security meant this sector in particular was reluctant to take things off prem. The reality is, the security development allowance from Microsoft has been a multimillion pound project and we’re seeing 365 user reaping the benefits of that research and development from Microsoft.
Having said that, when data goes from being stored in a physically locked office to a data cloud platform, accesses and security procedures should be prioritised and that’s something Konsolute highlight at each phase of Nuclear cloud migration.
Cloud Cost Management
Improving programme delivery through better data insight- the average cost of overrun for nuclear projects in 2019 was around 150%. As Boris has suggested in recent weeks, time and the delay to cleaner energy provision is also something we should try our best to improve. Nuclear energy and the environmental benefits of cleaner energy should be instated sooner rather than later.
Our experience of migrating data within the Nuclear sector to date has had this two-fold success of improved timeframe and cost. Automating business process is essential to improving the speed and reliability of the data being used.
A Nuclear Collective
The NDA and other nuclear bodies recognise the power of collaboration and creating one single vision with shared goals is essential to the nuclear roadmap. A joint enterprise is only accessible with a shared network of communication which is why the Nuclear Sector specifically can reap the rewards.
The efficiency of field worker productivity is especially relevant to the Nuclear sector with projects often consisting of thousands of team members during the construction and launch phases. Mobile applications such as SharePoint and planner are a key way of having data available to workers across sprawling sites.
At Konsolute, we have seen the use of our products and services from cloud migration to Quality Management improve the Nuclear plant process at every stage of it’s development right through to decommissioning. If you’re working in the Nuclear Sector and want to embrace the power of the cloud, why not get in touch and hear more about our experience.