Nuclear energy development news roundup for 11/9/15

X-Energy Pebble Bed design gets interest from SCE&G

X-Energy’s Xe-100 pebble-bed nuclear reactor would be a technically and economically viable option to expand or replace an existing coal-fired plant, a joint study by X-Energy and South Carolina Electric and Gas has concluded.  The results are part of a X-energy and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G) joint study to examine the technical and economic feasibility of siting an Xe-100 pebble-bed nuclear reactor at a representative site within the SCE&G franchise territory

Key findings from the study include the ability of the small-scale high-temperature reactor to load-follow with a variable output as low as 25% power, while its small site requirement would enable it to be sited on existing facilities and use existing infrastructure.

The Xe-100 enables a utility to bring its fleet in line with state and federal greenhouse gas mandates with minimal disruption to its existing network, and the small-scale Xe-100 plant allows for smaller upfront capital commitments and lower overall project risks.

Steve Byrne, President of Generation for SCE&G, said:

“The Xe-100 is an exciting and dynamic technology with a number of benefits for any utility’s long-range plans. Combined with the high technological readiness of pebble-bed designs, the Xe-100 can make a significant and lasting contribution to a clean energy future in the United States.”

Doug McCuistion, Chief Operating Officer of X-energy, said:

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with the great folks at SCE&G on this study. The insights gained here will help us continue to make the Xe-100 a reality, and we look forward to further collaboration with SCE&G.”

The joint study team found the Xe-100 to be a technically and economically viable option for expansion or replacement of an existing coal-fired power station. Key findings include:

  • Variable power output to load follow to as low as 25% power
  • Site perimeter designed to be as small as 10 acres that easily allows siting on existing facilities
  • Zero emission of regulated greenhouse gases helps comply with regulations in sensitive environments
  • Installation on existing sites can leverage current infrastructure and significantly reduce costs and schedule
  • Intrinsically safe design could allow for siting close to population centers through reduced emergency planning zones and minimal disruption to surrounding communities.

UK Regulator Completes Step 3 Of UK-ABWR Assessment

(NucNet) The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation has completed Step 3 of the generic design assessment of Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK-ABWR) nuclear plant design.

The third phase of the GDA looks at the safety and security justifications presented by Hitachi-GE to underpin the safety and security claims. The ONR concluded that satisfactory progress has been made by Hitachi-GE to move into the final assessment stage, which Hitachi-GE expects to complete in December 2017.

The next milestone in the GDA process will be the start of the Environment Agency’s and Natural Resources Wales’ consultation on the environmental part of the assessment, which is planned to start in October 2016. GE-Hitachi is planning to use the UK-ABWR at two potential nuclear generating stations owned by its Horizon Nuclear subsidiary, at Wylfa in north Wales and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, western England.

Watts Bar-2 Targets Commercial Operation In First Quarter Of 2016

(NucNet) TVA’s Watts Bar-2 nuclear plant is likely to begin commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016, but the important thing is “not when we get it done, but that we do it the right way”, Tennessee Valley Authority president and chief executive officer Bill Johnson said during a Q&A at the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

Mr Johnson said: “We will put power on the grid before we go to commercial operations, which is actually an accounting term.”

Mr Johnson said one of the conclusions of the company’s long-term integrated resource plan is that “when we finish what we are currently building, we will not need to build any new baseload [capacity] until the early- to mid-2030s.”

He said TVA has great interest in small modular reactors and is preparing a site that will be ready when the market has an offering. He said so far, there is no SMR design to purchase.

“As for the unfinished Bellefonte reactor site in Alabama, we will not need a large baseload unit for the next 15 years or so. We will continue to keep that as an option but are not pursuing it actively.”

Last week the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued TVA with a 40-year operating licence for Watts Bar-2. The NRC said Watts Bar-2, a 1,165-megawatt Westinghouse pressurized water reactor unit, is the first US reactor it has authorized to operate since 1996, when it issued the license for Watts Bar-1. The Unit 2 license allows operation until 22 October 2055.

China agreement with Lloyds for floating power plants

The Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC), under China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has signed an agreement with UK-based Lloyds Register to support the development of a floating nuclear power plant using a marine version of the ACP100 reactor.  Lloyds will develop safety guidelines and regulations as well as nuclear standards consistent with Offshore and International Marine Regulations.  The 100 MWe integral PWR is already undergoing IAEA generic safety review, and is intended as a land-based small modular reactor.

Nuclear fuel industry for Australia?

A nuclear fuel industry could be potentially lucrative for Australia, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says.

Senator Cormann says the government is keeping an open mind on any proposals put forward by a South Australian royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle, which could identify opportunities to diversify the economic base on nuclear power.

“This could be potentially quite lucrative,” the minister told Sky News, adding opposition to nuclear energy was often ideological.

Chinese nuclear firm may take minority stake in Areva

(WNN) Areva announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for a possible partnership “that includes capitalistic and industrial components”. The MOU was signed in Beijing in the presence of Chinese president Xi Jinping and French president Francois Hollande. The planned partnership involves a possible minority stake acquisition by CNNC in Areva’s capital and a partnership covering all of the nuclear fuel cycle activities, the French company said.

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One Response to Nuclear energy development news roundup for 11/9/15

  1. Cold Air says:

    Reblogged this on Colder Air and commented:
    Proposed Xe-100 pebble-bed nuclear reactor is designed for an abundant target market

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