Mr. Alastair C. Laird

Affiliation: the President of the European Nuclear Society and a Board member of the UK Nuclear Institute

NENE2019 Alastair C. Laird | England, UK . 27.10.2017. Edinburgh . Arkwright Scholarship Awards. Licensed to Arkwright for editorial use and PR distribution to schools and colleges. Copyright © 2017 Andrew Wiard,, Short bio

Alastair is the President of the European Nuclear Society and a Board member of the UK Nuclear Institute. He graduated in Nuclear Physics from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and spent the first 15 years of his career working on operational NPPs – mainly UK Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor sites. He then spent 15 years in project and programme management working for Sellafield, Magnox and the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. At NDA he managed the national decommissioning programme office (PMO) and provided support to IAEA/NEA on decommissioning guidance and project risk and uncertainty.

Presentation Title: Can Nuclear Power Solve Climate Change?

Abstract of presentation:

Business Cases have both a time dimension and a content dimension. The time dimension is specific to maturity – from early strategic thinking (Strategic Case); to technology maturity (down-selection and preference); to the final Case for Financial Investment as the precursor to project delivery. Each time we re-visit the Business Case we seek to answer different questions – against the context of investment and benefit.
  1. The Strategic Case – WHY are we doing this and what be different – the outcomes
  2. The Economic Case – VALUE of delivering the program in a particular way against alternative options
  3. The Financial Case – AFFORDABILITY to do it
  4. The Management Case – HOW we can set up national resources up to deliver the right international outcomes
  5. The Commercial Case – The case for international market integration, communities of experts and collaboration across scientific boundaries
In many ways our past constrains our future. Site locations, technology selection, vendors and operators – change is not in our DNA! For civil nuclear power, the argument has also historically been aligned to the economics [€/kWh – electricity prices] of the market against perceived safety dis-benefits. The investment, in all European countries, has unsurprisingly been made within the framework of the national balance sheet. The early NPPs were not private endeavours or market ready projects, these were strategic investments where countries conducted their own R&D, created academic institutes and developed their own intellectual capital. National nuclear utilities were then formed or grew out of existing power utilities. This model is no longer sustainable and the world now has the issue of climate change to tackle. We are in danger of fiddling whist Rome Burns. As for change – what are our options and what is the right answer to the 5 questions (a) to e) above. Ultimately the business case should converge on a single preferred solution and overcome the politic of preference and the market for a fast buck. Is ITER an example we can learn from? Is standardisation on reactor type an area we should focus on? Is the timing now or can we afford to wait another decade or two?