Nuclear News Roundup for July 19, 2015

Based on news reports from NucNet, World Nuclear News, and other online media sources.

Japan’s NRA Approves Ikata-3 for Re-start

(NucNet): Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) approved the restart of the Ikata-3 nuclear unit in Ehime prefecture, southern Japan, according to a statement from the Shikoku Electric Power Company. The NRA said the 846 MW PWR meets the new safety standards adopted after the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Approval for the restart is still needed from local governments. Ikata-3 becomes the fifth nuclear unit to receive restart approval from the NRA after Sendai-1 and -2, and Takahama 3 and 4.

IAEA Urges Kashiwazaki Kariwa To Make Better Use Of Operating Information

(NucNet): The IAEA completed its review of the safety practices at TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear station, which is the world’s largest nuclear power station composed of 7 BWR reactors.  The international agency, which does not have regulatory authority to approve restarts of reactors in Japan, said that TEPCO must do more to integrate operating experience, and the information collected across all seven reactors should be exchanged with the rest of Japan’s nuclear industry.

The agency’s Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) also said accident management guidance should cover all plant conditions, including potential events involving the spent fuel pools. Emergency plans at the station, which has seven BWRs, should be fully integrated and documented in a way that is “clear and easy to use”, the team said.

Updates on Kudankulam Units 1 & 2

(NucNet): India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has granted a license for “regular operation” of the Kudankulam-1 nuclear power reactor and siting consent for four new indigenous reactors on a greenfield site in northern India. The AERB said Unit 2 would be commissioned in the next six months.

The AERB also announced that it had given siting consent for four new 630 MW indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) at a nuclear station to be called Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana in the state of Haryana, northern India.

Austria Acts to Spike UK Nuclear Plans

(WNN) Austria has filed a lawsuit with the European Court against the European Commission’s approval of state aid for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK. The ‘aid’ involves guaranteed long-term power prices. Two Areva 1600 MW EPR reactors are planned for the Hinkley Point brownfield site.

EDF Energy has yet to make a final investment decision on the project, but has invested significantly in site preparation work. The Austrian chancellor declared that the action against Hinkley Point C would be intended as a “deterrent to investors, not only in the UK but throughout Europe.  He said the action is part of Austria’s anti-nuclear policy, whose long-term objective is a “nuclear-free Europe.”
The World Nuclear Association said that “Austria’s opposition to the EC’s approval of the Hinkley Point project does not respect the right of any country to choose nuclear power to meet their energy needs and to help address climate concerns.  In fact, the action is profoundly misinformed and damaging to global efforts to address climate change.”

“The countries that are leading on decarbonisation are using nuclear energy. Not all countries are in Austria’s position – lucky enough to be able to count on hydro power built decades ago to provide roughly 65% of their electricity today. Most others have to make pragmatic choices.”

Austria also threatened to take similar action against the Czech Republic which wants to build four new nuclear reactors at two sites.

Finland Ministry ‘Unable To Verify’ Status Of Possible Hanhikivi-1 Shareholder

(NucNet): Finnish government authorities said it has not been possible to “adequately verify” that control of the Croatian energy company Migrit Solarna Energija, which wants to take a 9% share in the Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant project in Pyhäjoki, northwest Finland, is actually an EU nation company.

If the company takes the equity shares, project developer Fennovoima would be able to fulfil a government requirement that the project have at least 60% domestic or European ownership. There are media reports in Finland and elsewhere that the firm is actually owned by Russian investors and that the office located in Croatia is just a front to give it an EU address.

South Africa Estimates New-Build Cost At €37 Billion

(NucNet): South Africa’s government estimates the cost of its planned nuclear new-build program to be about 500 billion rand ($40bn, €37bn). The estimate is not credible, said some critics, because it is based on rough order of magnitude estimates derived from other plants built elsewhere.

The reports did not say how many new units the cost was based on, but South Africa has said it plans to build six to eight new units by 2030.  Current “overnight costs” run between $4,000-$6,500/kWh which makes the cost of a 1000 MW plant $4 billion.

The cost estimates do not include balance of plant, electrical transmission infrastructure, interest, or insurance. Also, the costs do not include management of spent fuel or the initial investments required to set up decomissioning funds.

Rosatom is said to be the leading vendor for the new build, but it is unclear how much equity it will take in the project.  South Africa has been hampered in its efforts to build new reactors because the government has refused to raise electricity rates to pay for them or for infrastructure improvements for Eskom, the state owned utility.

IAEA to Conduct Safety Document Review for CAP1400

(NucNet): China’s Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute and the International Atomic Energy Agency have signed a cooperation agreement for a generic reactor safety review of the safety documentation for China’s CAP1400 reactor design, the IAEA told NucNet.

Under the agreement, the IAEA will organize a group of experts to carry out a detailed safety review of the Generation III CAP1400 safety documentation and provide recommendations on how it can meet the IAEA’s fundamental safety principles. Construction on a demonstration project of the CAP1400 design is under way at Shidaowan in Shandong province, northeast China.

Nuclear Suppliers Day in Argentina

(WNN) Argentina has invited potential suppliers to the project to build the country’s fourth nuclear power plant – an 800 MWe Candu reactor to be built at the Atucha plant in Lima, Buenos Aires.

Nucleoeléctrica Argentina – holder of rights to Candu technology – will be the designer, architect-engineer, builder and operator of the new reactor. China National Nuclear Company will provide equipment, goods and services, as well as materials needed by Argentinian companies to manufacture components for the project. Argentina’s federal planning ministry said would-be suppliers to the project should register their interest by 31 July.

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