Nuclear News Roundup for November 8, 2015

UK Announces £2 Billion Loan Guarantee For Chinese Investment In Hinkley Point

(NucNet) UK chancellor George Osborne announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn (€2.7bn, $3.1bn) deal under which China will invest in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Mr Osborne confirmed the guarantee on social media this morning, saying the two planned Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR reactors at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, southwest England, will supply seven percent of the UK’s electricity.

Mr Osborne said the deal would pave the way for a final investment decision on the project by French energy company EDF. He said it would also enable “greater collaboration” between the UK and China on the construction of nuclear stations.

(WNN) The European Utility Requirements (EUR) organization – comprising 17 power companies – informed China General Nuclear (CGN) on 25 September that it had accepted CGN’s application for EUR certification of its Hulaong One reactor design. Obtaining EUR compliance will help CGN sell its Hualong One pressurized water reactor in Europe. The EUR requirements cover a broad range of conditions for a nuclear power plant to operate efficiently and safely. They include such areas as plant layout, systems, materials, components, probabilistic safety assessment methodology and availability assessment.

China announces major expansion of its domestic nuclear energy program

(NucNet): China is set to build six to eight commercial nuclear power reactors annually for the next five years and operate 110 units by 2030, more than any other country, the media reported today. The China Daily said China will invest 500bn yuan (€68bn, $78bn) in the construction of domestically developed nuclear power plants. According to the China Daily, the country plans to increase its installed nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020, three times the 2014 level. According to International Atomic Energy agency statistics, China has 28 reactors in commercial operation and 24 under construction.

Turkey names site for its third nuclear power station

(NucNet): Interim Turkish energy minister Ali Riza Alaboyun said the site for Turkey’s third planned nuclear power station is at Igneada, on the Black Sea about 10 Km from the Turkey-Bulgaria border, Turkey’s state news agency Anatolia reported.

Mr Alaboyun said that talks over the planned Igneada plant are continuing with Chinese companies and US company Westinghouse, and that Japanese companies have also expressed interest in the project. In November, Turkish state power company EUAS signed an agreement for exclusive talks with Westinghouse and China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation for the development of a four-reactor station based on AP1000 technology. Turkey has two nuclear stations in development – Akkuyu in cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Sinop with an Areva-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joint venture.

Finland’s regulator STUK and the Turkish nuclear safety authority TAEK have signed a bilateral cooperation agreement. STUK said the two organizations would exchange experience on nuclear power plant construction and that talks on a commercial cooperation agreement are ongoing.

STUK director general Petteri Tiippana said the newly signed agreement marked the “important start” of cooperation between the countries as Turkey develops an independent regulatory authority to oversee construction of the Rosatom AES-2006 nuclear power plant project at Akkuyu.

House reauthorizes Ex-Im Bank

(WNN) US industry has applauded the reauthorisation of the Ex-Im Bank, which supports it in selling goods and services abroad and is a pre-requisite for major nuclear exports.

The House of Representatives approved a reauthorisation bill by 313 votes to 118 bringing to an end a ten-month period of debate. The Senate must also approve the bill, after which Ex-Im would restart operations in earnest and make some changes specified in the bill intended to increase transparency and accountability. The bank was the focus of a small group of conservatives in the House who made it a political target.

Marvin Fertel, head of the US Nuclear Energy Institute said the move would “strengthen US competitiveness in the global economy.”

He said, “Continued operation of the Ex-Im Bank will translate into hundreds of thousands of jobs for the American people. Particularly in the nuclear energy sector, these are good-paying jobs that leverage US expertise in a technology area increasingly recognised as a way to raise living standards without emitting carbon.”

GE-Hiachi announces advanced nuclear technology projects

(WNN) GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Exelon Generation announced the joint development of two digital solutions based on GE’s Predix platform, which it called “the operating system of the industrial Internet.”

‘Watchtower’ will utilize data to predict asset performance and enable Exelon to obtain real-time operational status of plant equipment while also receiving proactive notifications of possible machine issues. The other solution, ‘Lighthouse’, will use advanced analytics to examine historical organizational performance indicators to enhance decision-making capabilities, reduce costs and optimize operational performance, the companies said.

The project is the latest in a series of industry developments that digitize operational performance data in a way that allows it to be analyzed along with business enterprise data.

GEH And US Utility DTE To Cooperate On Advancing ESBWR Design

(NucNet) GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and US utility DTE Entergy, owner and operator of the Fermi-2 boiling water reactor unit in Michigan, have announced plans to explore advancing the detailed design of the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). In May, DTE Energy received the first ESBWR-based combined construction and operating licence from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

A statement said DTE has not made a commitment to build, but is keeping the option open. The statement said DTE and GEH will expand their cooperation by “determining resource requirements and developing plans to advance the ESBWR design.”

This would put DTE Energy in a position to more readily begin work should it decide at a later date to add more nuclear to its energy mix. Dominion Virginia Power has also chosen the ESBWR as its technology of choice for a potential third reactor at the North Anna site in Virginia. That project is expected to be licensed by the NRC next year.

Construction Agreement Approved For Romania’s Cernavoda 3 and 4

(NucNet) A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Romanian nuclear power operator SN Nuclearelectrica (SNN) and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation on the development, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of the planned Cernavoda-3 and -4 units in eastern Romania. The Romanian government approved the deal in September.

Cernavoda-1 and Cernavoda-2, both Candu 6 units, are Romania’s only commercially operational nuclear reactors. Cernavoda-1 began commercial operation in December 1996 and Cernavoda-2 in October 2007. In July 2014, reactor manufacturer Candu Energy said the two planned units would also be Candu 6 reactors, nearly identical to the existing units. The company also said it had signed an “exclusive and binding” agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, a subsidiary of the China General Nuclear Power Group, to cooperate on the construction of Cernavoda-3 and -4.

Rosatom ‘Negotiating’ New Reactor In Argentina, Putin Says

(NucNet) Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, is negotiating the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Argentina’s Atucha nuclear power station, Russian president Vladimir Putin said during a teleconference with his Argentinian counterpart Cristina Kirchner.

Ms Kirchner said international partners are essential when it comes to new nuclear, the statement said. In April 2015, Russia and Argentina signed a cooperation agreement that could lead to the construction of a 1,200-megawatt VVER-1200 reactor in Argentina.

Russia has been expressing an interest in constructing a reactor in cooperation with Argentina since 2010, although a location has not been confirmed. If it is built at Atucha it is likely to be the fourth unit on the site. In September 2014 Argentina signed an agreement with China that could lead to detailed contracts for the construction of Atucha-3. That unit is reported to be a Hualong 1 which if built will be China’s first export unit of the 1000 MW PWR design. The Atucha nuclear station has one 335-megawatt pressurised heavy water reactor in commercial operation and one 692-MW PHWR under construction.

Utah power group plans to add SMR to energy portfolio

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems intends to replace coal generation with a small modular reactor as part of its Carbon Free Power Project initiative, according to Doug Hunter, the group’s CEO and general manager.

“After a great deal of analysis and investigation, UAMPS has concluded that the best long-term baseload supply, to complement our other projects, is a small modular reactor project using technology supplied by NuScale Power,” Hunter writes. Twelve 50-megawatt SMRs totaling 600 megawatts of capacity are planned by the group.

UAMPS thus takes another step to become the first customer for NuScale’s SMR. Design review at the NRC is expected to start in late 2016 which could be completed before the end of the decade. At that time UAMPS would be in a position to apply for a COL to build and operate the SMR.

NuScale is said to be considering a site in Idaho for the reactor, but has not formally confirmed it.

Renewables Cannot Replace Nuclear In Fight Against Climate Change, Says IAEA

(NucNet): Renewable energy sources would have to increase at a level “hard to believe” to compensate fully for the use of nuclear energy in the fight against climate change, David Shropshire, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s planning and economic studies section said.

Speaking to the press after the launch of the latest edition of the IAEA’s ‘Climate Change and Nuclear Power’ report, Mr Shropshire said the world needs to use “what works now” as opposed to investing huge amounts of money into “extreme” energy efficiency or new renewables infrastructure.

Australia names pro-nuclear chief scientist

(WNN) Alan Finkel is to be Australia’s next chief scientist, the country’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced today. Finkel, an engineer and neuroscientist, is currently chancellor of Monash University and president of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

He has advocated for Australia to consider using nuclear energy. Finkel will succeed the present chief scientist, Ian Chubb, in January.

Australia is a major mining producer of uranium, but gets all of its electricity by burning coal. Efforts to get the government to lift its ban on construction of nuclear reactors have failed in the past. Finkel’s appointment is seen by some as a potential signal of future change in the government’s policies.

Kazakhstan Becomes Leading Uranium Supplier For US

(NucNet) Kazakhstan became the leading supplier of uranium for the US’ fleet of commercial nuclear reactors in 2014, a report by the US Energy Information Administration said. The total uranium supplied from Kazakhstan amounted to 12m pounds (5.4m kgs), or 23 percent of all uranium purchased in 2014 by US nuclear power operators. The figure is almost a two-fold increase compared to the 6.5m pounds supplied by Kazakhstan in 2013.

The report said that in 2014 average Kazakh uranium prices, at $44.47 (€39.69) per pound, have been lower than the overall weighted-average price of non-Kazakh uranium, at $46.65 (€41.63) per pound.

In 2009, Kazakhstan became the world’s main uranium producer after surpassing Canada. All uranium production and export in Kazakhstan is controlled by the state-owned national atomic company Kazatomprom. Full report online: http://1.usa.gov/1QWwnIs

Rosatom begins industrial production of MOX fuel

Rosatom has begun industrial production of mixed-oxide fuel at its Mining and Chemical Combine for use in its fast reactors. MOX production at the site is part of the Russian “New-generation nuclear power technologies” program, according to a company statement. Rosatom CEO Sergei Kirienko said Russia has spent about $145 million on MOX production technology over the past two and a half years

Contract Awarded For First Phase Of India Spent Fuel Recycling Facility

(NucNet): Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has been awarded a contract worth about $140m (€123m) for construction of the first phase of a nuclear fuel recycling facility at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) in the coastal town of Tarapur, about 130 Km north of Mumbai.

The facility will process spent fuel from existing and planned nuclear stations, HCC said. The scope of work includes construction of a fuel processing plant, laboratory buildings and electromechanical works. Barc is a multi-disciplinary research centre with infrastructure for advanced R&D covering nuclear science, engineering and related areas.

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