Nuclear News Roundup for 8/1/15

This is a compilation of news briefs from wire services, NucNet, and World Nuclear News

Ameren pulls the plug on license application for second unit at Callaway

Ameren will not proceed with plans to build a second nuclear reactor at its Calloway site near Fulton, MO.

Ameren’s application for a second reactor at Callaway was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008. State lawmakers have balked at the utility’s two efforts to allow Ameren to charge customers for the facility as it was being built.

During a conference call this week with analysts, CEO Warner Baxter cited several reasons for the decision to pull the plug.

“Recent changes in vender support, the licensing efforts at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, our assessment of long-term capacity needs, declining costs of alternative generation technologies and the regulatory framework in Missouri,” Baxter said.

But Baxter said the utility still supports the power generation technology.

“We continue to believe nuclear power must be an important, clean energy source for our company and country as evidenced by the 20-year license extension we received this past March for our Callaway Energy Center,” Baxter told analysts.

Earlier this year the NRC renewed the license for the Callaway plant to 2044. That approval is being challenged in federal court by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Separately, Ameren at one time proposed a partnership with Westinghouse to license and build a 225 small modular reactor (SMR) at the Callaway site. Westinghouse withdrew from the SMR effort in February 2014.

DOE offers cost share money for advanced reactor R&D efforts

Furthering efforts to encourage clean energy innovation, the Energy Department has released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support the research, development, and demonstration of advanced reactor concepts. The announcement represents an early step in increasing investment in nuclear advanced reactor technologies, which have the potential to provide substantially enhanced operational performance, safety, security, economics, and proliferation resistance.

“We have been encouraged by recent interest in advanced reactor technology,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy John Kotek. “We believe this funding opportunity will foster scientific innovation to advance the goals of the Department in developing clean energy technologies.”

Through this competition, the Energy Department seeks to foster collaboration with industry and the national laboratories, in support of advanced reactor concepts that would provide clean, affordable, and secure energy. The Department is soliciting proposals for cost-shared advanced reactor concept development projects with the potential to be demonstrated in the 2035 timeframe.

The Energy Department will partner with industry to fund up to two awards of approximately $6.0 million each in FY 2015. The Energy Department will invest up to $3.6 million in each project, with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) providing up to an additional $2.4 million. Recipients will be required to invest $1.5 million as part of the cost share. The funding opportunity allows for multiple-year funding for up to two awards with a total of $40 million in DOE cost share per award.

The FOA is available at Fedconnect under reference number DE-FOA-0001313.

Westinghouse executive joins Terrestrial Energy

(WNN) (7/2/152) Terrestrial Energy has announced the appointment of Robin Rickman, formerly director of new reactor projects at Westinghouse, to head its corporate development efforts. Terrestrial said in a statement that Rickman’s 40 years of operational experience in the civilian and naval nuclear sectors will be of particular value as the company moves forward with plans to commercialize its Integral Molten Salt Reactor.

EDF agrees to buy ‘at Least 51%’ Of Areva’s reactor business

7/31/15 (NucNet): French nuclear operator Electricite de France (EDF) has agreed to buy “at least 51 percent” of nuclear vendor Areva’s reactor business subsidiary Areva NP.EDF said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Areva which suffered record losses in 2014.

The MoU says EDF will take “majority control” of Areva NP of “at least 51 percent” with a maximum stake of 25 percent held by Areva and the potential participation of minority partners.  The potential partners were not named, but financial wire service reports have cited interest by Chinese state-owned nuclear firms with particular emphasis on Areva’s global nuclear maintenance work.

Bernard Fontana joins Areva NP as President / CEO

7/30/15 (NucNet): Bernard Fontana will join Areva as president and chief executive officer of reactor business Areva NP.  Mr Fontana, 54, joins Areva NP from the buildings materials industry. He does not have any experience managing a firm in the nuclear industry. Mr Fontana holds a degree in engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris

Finnish Nuclear Safety Agency approves I&C system for Olkiluoto-3

7/30/15 (NucNet): The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has approved factory acceptance tests of the process instrumentation and control (I&C) systems for the Olkiluoto-3 EPR unit under construction in Finland for Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO).  According to Areva-Siemens’ schedule, regular electricity production will start at Olkilouoto-3 by the end of 2018.

Ningde-5 And -6 will Use Hualong One Design, says CGN

7/30/15 (NucNet): The Ningde-5 and -6 nuclear plants in Fujian province, eastern China, will use the country’s indigenous Hualong One design according to the China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN) First concrete for Ningde-5 is scheduled to be poured in 2016 with commercial operation in 2021. Ningde-6 is expected to begin commercial operation in 2022.

Hualong One, a 1,000 MW PWR, is the first Gen III reactor design for which China has owned all intellectual property rights. It is a combination of China National Nuclear Corporation’s ACP1000 and CGN’s ACPR1000+ designs. In May 2015 construction of the first Hualong One unit began at the Fuqing nuclear site, also in Fujian province. In December, China’s energy regulator, the National Energy Administration, approved use of the Hualong One design for Fangchenggang-3 and -4 in Guangxi, southern China.

China Ready To Surpass South Korea And Russia In Nuclear Capacity, Says EIA

7/31/15 (NucNet): China, which has 23 GWe of nuclear capacity under construction and “several facilities” in the planning stages, is expected to surpass South Korea and Russia in nuclear generating capacity by the end of 2015, placing it behind only the US, France and Japan, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

The Chinese government plans to provide at least 15 percent of overall energy consumption by 2020 – increasing to 20 percent by 2030 – from non-fossil fuel sources, including nuclear, hydroelectricity and other renewable sources.

To help achieve this target, China plans to increase nuclear capacity to 58 GW and to have 30 GW of capacity under construction by 2020 (EIA)

Continuing Nuclear Cooperation With China Vital To US Interests, Says NEI

7/22/15 (NucNet): Continuing US nuclear cooperation with China will support tens of thousands of American jobs for decades to come and add billions of dollars to the economy annually, the Nuclear Energy Institute told a House foreign affairs subcommittee hearing.

Congress is reviewing a bilateral trade agreement, named after Section 123 in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, to replace the one that expires in December.

“During the past decade, US civilian nuclear energy cooperation with China under the current Section 123 agreement has brought significant economic benefits to American workers [and] the US economy and has advanced important national interests, including nuclear safety and non-proliferation,” NEI vice-president for suppliers and international programs Daniel Lipman said in written testimony to the panel.

“The industry expects that the new US-China agreement under review by Congress will bring even greater benefits and therefore supports its entry into force without delay or undue encumbrance on commercial cooperation or export licensing.”

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