Nuclear News Roundup for 1/24/16

EDF plans two new nuclear reactors in France by 2030

(Reuters) France’s EDF plans to build two new nuclear reactors by 2030 in a bid to start renewing its existing fleet of 58 ageing reactors, the state-controlled utility said in a document released to its unions..

The two new French reactors are part of a plan bring up to 10 European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) designed by French nuclear technology company Areva on line by 2030, EDF said.

The two French EPRs would be “New Model” EPRs with improved designs, and would be financed 51% by EDF, the firm said.

EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said late last year that the updated design for Areva’s EPR reactor, the EPR New Model, should be ready by around 2020. He expects France will eventually build some 30 EPR reactors to replace its current fleet, he added.

He also said the company may need partners to finance the future replacement of its French nuclear fleet as EDF’s finances may not allow it to build a new fleet entirely on its own, as it did with the current fleet in the 1970s and 1980s.

China, Saudi Arabia agree to build HTGR

(WNA) An MOU for cooperation in building the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) was signed by King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) president Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani and China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) chairman Wang Shu Jin. No details of the size of the plant or the project timeline were disclosed.

A demonstration HTR-PM unit under construction at Shidaowan near Weihai city in China’s Shandong province. That plant will initially comprise twin HTR-PM reactor modules driving a single 210 MWe steam turbine. Construction started in late 2012 and it is scheduled to start commercial operation in late 2017.

A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTRs at Ruijin city in China’s Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the smaller Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.

CNEC said it is actively promoting its HTR technology overseas and has already signed MOUs with Saudi Arabia, Dubai, South Africa “and other countries and regions” to consider the construction of HTGR plants.

Like all such agreements in principle, they only become realized when followed by construction contracts. Often years of negotiations take place before that happens.

First South Korean APR-1400 connected to the grid

(NucNet) Shin Kori 3 – the first Korean-designed APR-1400 unit to start up – has begun supplying electricity to the grid, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power announced. Construction of the unit began in October 2008 and it achieved first criticality at the end of December. It is expected to enter commercial operation in May following the completion of commissioning tests.

UK Could Have First SMR In Operation By 2025, Says NuScale

(NucNet) The UK’s ambitions to build small modular reactors may be realized as soon as 2025, according to Fluor Corporation’s NuScale unit, which is seeking to be a pioneer in the market.

The Bloomberg wire service said NuScale plans seek the UK generic design assessment (GDA), in 2017, Tom Mundy, executive vice president for program development at the US company, was reported as saying.

“Assuming the GDA is submitted and takes four years, we’d be looking at approval in 2021,” Mr Mundy said. “There’s then a 36-month construction time, so it’s plausible to expect that if all things line up, we could have a UK plant built by 2025.”

Hitachi enhances UK presence ahead of ABWR deployment

(WNA) Hitachi announced the incorporation of a new UK company – Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe – as part of its strategy to enhance its UK presence for the engineering, procurement and construction of Horizon Nuclear Power’s new nuclear power plant development at Wylfa Newydd.

Horizon Nuclear Power, a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) at two sites – Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in South Gloucestershire.

Capable management needed for Monju reactor

(Yomiuri Shimbun – Japan) The Monju fast breeder reactor must be put under the control of “an organization that can regain public trust that has now been lost in its operation and management,” writes The Yomiuri Shimbun editorial board.

Nuclear Regulation Authority-conducted inspections of the reactor over the last four years have unveiled a number of regulatory violations. The editorial board writes that “an organization capable of properly carrying out required inspections is an essential condition for managing a nuclear power plant.”

3D printer used to make nuclear fuel assembly component

(N. Eng Intl) China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on 18 January that its specialists have 3D printed a lower tube socket for the fuel assembly of the CAP1400 pressurised water reactor (an enlarged version of the Westinghouse AP1000), marking the first use of 3D printing to construct nuclear fuel elements in China.

(NucNet) State-owned CNNC said the assemblies in a nuclear reactor are cell structures that consist of cylindrical fuel rods and complex metal parts that keep the rods in place.

The various parts require high-precision manufacturing, something that has traditionally made it an expensive task. However, CNNC has now found these parts can be mass produced using 3D-molding tools based on 3D printing – greatly shortening the product development cycle, improving productivity and significantly reducing costs.

CNNC said the use of 3D-printed parts is in the pre-acceptance phase and the parts will undergo extensive testing. If successful, the company will use 3D-manufacturing techniques to produce other parts that have a complicated shape.

Unclear costs may lead to more delays for Polish nuclear reactor

(Reuters) Poland’s conservative government may further postpone the construction of the country’s first nuclear reactor as costs remain unpredictable, Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said. The project was first pushed in 2009 by Poland’s previous government as part of a drive to find alternatives to coal-fired power generation.

The project’s official deadlines were to have the first unit operating by 2025, a delay from the original target of 2020. The minister added that the cost to build a 6-gigawatt nuclear power plant ranged from 30 billion to 50 billion zlotys ($7.3 billion to $12.2 billion) and could rise further during construction.

Duke expects COL from NRC for Lee Plant this year

(Charlotte Observer) Duke expects to learn this year whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow it to build a nuclear plant. Duke has the William States Lee III site in Cherokee County, S.C., but has repeatedly moved the plant’s expected operating date as it decides whether to go forward.

Duke CEO Lynn Good told a high profile business group this week that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will force more of the utility’s coal fired plants to close. She said it is time for the nation to consider the role of new nuclear power plants. She also said the decision to move forward “is difficult,” and that it is “an expense, long-rang proposition.”

She gave no date for start of construction. One of the financial issues the plant faces is that North Carolina, which is in the plant’s service area, may not support a plan to bill rate payers for construction costs as they are taking place.

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