Friday 4 June 2021

The Hinkley Point TV Drama

Did anyone see the extravagent airtime awarded by the Beeb to EDF's PR department in its Hinkley Point "documentary"?   Obviously we've been here before with the Beeb's "Powering Britain" (Energy is Big and Sexy) series: but that was fairly spread among a group of different assets that have "truly-massive-engineering / nice-photography-on-a-sunny-day" TV appeal.  But this one is all for EDF.

How much did EDF have to pay them?

Only three more episodes to marvel at.   Given that there's nothing yet to see at Hinkley except vast civil engineering, it's just "Watching Concrete Dry".  A prime comedy slot.



Edvald Halvorsen said...

A perfect case study of British infrastructure projects. So late, so little happening that they make TV shows out of it.

Anonymous said...

I see that nice mr gates and mr buffett are going to build molten salt reactors in the States - the kind of thing the UK was doing at Winfrith in the 1960s.

I curse Blair for many things, but one was stopping all nuclear new build in 1998, wiping out a generation of nuclear engineers and leaving a pioneering country at the mercy of French and Chinese technology.

The thing about wiping out that generation is that the older CEGB-trained engineers had no young guys to pass their experience on to. Bloody tragedy.

dearieme said...

In addition to his conceit and malevolence, Blair always struck me as being distinguished by a brain of small capacity.

No wonder Brown couldn't bear the little bugger's winning of the leadership.

Had Brown been a bigger man he would just have shrugged and gone off to find something else to do with his life. But he was a monomaniac and so became Deputy Leader and let the acid consume his soul. Shakespearian, really.

Don Cox said...

Anon @ 11-01

I couldn't agree more.

Was Blair directly influenced by the oil companies, or had the oil companies managed to get the voters so terrified of radiation that this was what the opinion polls said they wanted ?

Don Cox

Bill Quango MP said...

Cadbury’s got all that free bbc publicity the other week. When their PR dept ‘claimed’ there was a 99 flake shortage for ice creams.

Bbc took it as a Brexit story, and became so excited that they forgot to question just why there would be an ice cream shortage in the coldest, wettest, May for a hundred years. During a pandemic that kept everyone inside.

The Herald, on the other hand, I was informed, responded to the story with the usual editor’s response,
“ Tell them if they want us to print that bollox, they should take a full page ad.”

Anonymous said...

I've worked with Mondelez and it wouldn't surprise me if they run out of flakes, demand planning and production agility has never been on of their strong points!

Nick Drew said...

@ BQ - reminds me of those periodic headlines:
World Shortage of Champagne Looms!

lilith said...

I think you'll find that the BBC paid EDF.....

Jan said...

I tried to post yesterday and captcha wouldn't let me.......

My main criticism for edf is that they need to get "woke". There's no diversity....only 2 women and no ethnic diversity! Plus all that CO2 for all that concrete! Lucky it was on BBC2 so got past the BBC censors.

Don Cox said...

They do not need to get woke. They need to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

And then get on with the other one.

Don Cox

rwendland said...

Anon @ 11:01 am: Winfrith didn't have a molten salt reactor, that was the steam-generating heavy water reactor (SGHWR) built 1963-1967. A heavy water reactor is the other good way of producing military plutonium, an alternative to the graphite/gas we used in our Magnox reactors, first 8 of which were for military plutonium. Both types were made into poor civilian power reactors, Canadians created CANDU heavy water reactor and we created Magnox & then the AGR economic disaster. CANDU was a bit more successful but looks like its prospects are dead now as well.

UK never built a molten salt reactor, but some R&D on a plutonium fueled design was done from 1964 to 1973, but then canceled when the US cancelled the ORNL MSBR reactor.

We did go with liquid sodium cooled fast reactors at Dounreay, but that went the way of other liquid sodium cooled reactors - far too troublesome for commercial use. Basically cancelled in 1988.

Lots of money spent on shiny nuclear ideas when it seemed the star on the energy horizon, but got nowhere commercially.

andrew said...

There is a shortage of champagne looms

How many champagne carpets have you stood on.
They never caught on due to the sticky residue on your soles.

Nick Drew said...

Excellent, you can come again.

Anonymous said...

rwendland - apologies, the Dragon was thorium-fueled but not molten salt

Anonymous said...

But they did some MS research

As a result of some initial studies in1964 and 1965, it was concluded that the line of investigation of most interest to the UK on molten salt reactors and which would also be complementary to the US investigations would be on a fast reactor version. A preliminary study of a fast system using the U233/Thcycle and fluoride salts did not indicate encouraging results and it was therefore decided that a Pu/U238 cycle would be examined. This involved the use of chloride salts and work on salt chemistry began in 1965 which in 1970 was extended to include additional materials aspects. The assessment and fluid flow study work was carried out mainly in 1971 and 1972. This report presents an overall summary. It is in the nature of a survey report as the limited effort available has meant that the depth to which questions could be investigated has been restricted. The initial question which is bound to be asked is why consider a fluid fuel, with all the implications of a highly active circuit? If it is considered that the ultimate refinement of the solid fuel system will appear as some form of fast reactor, then to make further progress beyond this, some basic change in concept has to be made, and it seems clear that the most fundamental would be to escape from the trammels of fuel fabrication with fine tolerances, expensive active transport and also from central processing if suitable on-line methods can be developed to treat the fuel directly.

Anonymous said...

The thirty tory rebels demanding extra Uk billions of borrowing in order to give all that borrowed money away in foreign aid, is the reason Boris is Prime Minister.
Such out of touch MPs are like a Monty Python era judge. So completely out of touch with the country at large that they require a clerk to explain what television or a central heating is.

rwendland said...

Anon, re Winfrith /Dragon. That was a titchy 20MW materials test reactor, and it did indeed at times test thorium oxide (and plutonium oxide) materials in its central test rod, but it wasn't thorium fueled. It was in fact fueled by 93% bomb-grade highly enriched uranium, very much discouraged these days lest other non-weapons states think this is OK for peaceful research! Though the HEU was in oxide form in ceramic spheres I think ("embedded in a pyrolytic carbon and graphite matrix") so pretty safe, but expensive to dispose of the nuclear waste safely needing bespoke safety rationales.

Incidentally funded by the OECD not the UK govt. Found two reasonable papers if you are interested:

E-K said...

Perhaps we should have the HS2 drama now.

Builder friends are telling me that they cannot get cement for love nor money. It's all going to HS2 according to them.

Perhaps the BBC could do a drama on drying cement. It couldn't be worse than the BAFTAs.

CityUnslicker said...


Timber too as well as many products, almost like Covid has upset the global supply lines!

dearieme said...

I see that Dungeness B has bitten the dust.

Years ago I went to a seminar on the sodium-cooled Dounreay fast breeder. The speaker started by talking about the difficulties of dealing with a highly corrosive, dangerous fluid, blah, blah, blah. Gales of laughter when he explained that the corrosive, dangerous fluid was the water not the sodium.

The story sprang to mind when I saw that it was boiler probs that's accounted for Dungeness B.

E-K said...

HS2 is getting priority whatever the situation.

We have a housing crisis, not a trains crisis.