Nuclear News Roundup for 1/31/16

Areva’s Jaitapur agreement due by year-end

(WNA) A deal between France and India for the construction of six 1600 MW EPR nuclear power reactors at Jaitapur in India’s Maharashtra state is now set to be completed by the end of 2016.

A joint statement was released from French president Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – issued during a state visit by Hollande to India.

The two leaders encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016. They called for “due consideration to cost viability of the project, economical financing from the French side, collaboration on transfer of technology and cost-effective localization of manufacturing in India for large and critical components.”

Last April, Areva signed a pre-engineering agreement with NPCIL. This agreement prepares for the licensing of the EPR reactor design in India enabling it to be built at Jaitapur. Also, Areva signed an MOU with engineering company Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for cooperation to maximize localization for the Jaitapur project. The firm manufactured the turbines for NPCIL’s twin Russian supplied 1000 MW VVER reactors at Kudankulam which are now in revenue service.

Areva would supply the nuclear fuel for the lifetime of the plants which could be as long as 80 years.

French Energy Union Has Raised Questions Over Hinkley Point

(NucNet): The French energy union CFE-CGC has published a set of challenges to EDF over its plans to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in the UK. CFE-CGC, which is represented on EDF’s board, has drawn up a list of 15 questions. The list includes concerns about the plant’s viability and what it might cost the company.

UK official supports planned nuclear plant

(Wires) UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale has spoken out in favor of the planned Bradwell B nuclear plant, saying it “will bring more opportunities especially for the next generation to develop high-skilled jobs.” Construction of the plant will be funded by EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power, with work expected to begin by 2023.

DOE tries for public consultations on spent fuel storage sites

(WNA) The US Department of Energy (DOE) has invited public comment by June on a consent-based approach to siting facilities for the storage and disposal of used commercial nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

DOE is asking for input on how it can ensure that the site selection process is fair. It has also asked for input on which models and experience it should use in designing its process – consent-based models for siting nuclear waste facilities are being used in Canada, Finland and Sweden – and who should be involved in the site selection process. Public meetings are due to take place in Chicago in March and Atlanta in April.

Two private sector proposals for interim storage solutions – a consolidated interim storage facility in Texas, led by Waste Control Specialists, and an interim used fuel storage facility proposed by Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea Alliance of New Mexico – are also being developed.

Czech Govt Pushes for Consensus on Nuclear Development

(WNA) The Czech government has approved the creation of a new committee to coordinate the development of nuclear power in the country as well as the position of a nuclear “envoy” appointed as the main contact person for developments in the sector.

Jan Mládek, minister for industry and trade told reporters the moves sent the “right signal” that the Czech Republic is committed to nuclear power and in particular to fulfilling the Development Plan for Nuclear Energy adopted by the government in June last year.

Austria’s anti-nuclear government has tried to make trouble for the Czech government with the European Union, but this action is a clear signal the Czechs will not be bullied by their northern neighbor.

China To Achieve 58 GW Of Installed Nuclear Capacity By 2020

(NucNet) China is set to meet its target of having 58 GW of installed nuclear capacity by 2020, regardless of the slower approval rate for new build projects after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in 2011, a senior official told state news agency Xinhua.

A number of measures to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities were taken between 2011 and 2014. Xu Dazhe, director of the China Atomic Energy Authority said China’s nuclear units, which he said have an existing installed capacity of about 28 GW, are located mainly along the country’s relatively more developed coastal regions due to the higher power demand there.

The government is considering building nuclear stations inland if sufficient demand for energy arises, Mr Xu said. The government’s 13th five-year plan period, running from 2016 to 2020, includes provisions for building six to eight new nuclear reactors a year. Having sufficient transportation infrastructure to get reactor components to inland sites remains a challenge for China’s nuclear program.

Since December 2015, two more reactors have become commercially operational meaning China has now 33 reactors in commercial operation and 22 under construction.

Hualong One fuel assembly undergoes irradiation testing

(WNA) A prototype fuel assembly for use in China’s Hualong One reactor design has completed the first fuel cycle irradiation test. Construction of three Hualong One units has already begun in China.

The China Fuel 3 (CF3) fuel assembly completed the first irradiation test on 1/28/16. The assembly had been loaded into the core of unit 2 of CNNC’s Qinshan nuclear power plant in China’s Zhejiang province.

In 2012 central planners in Beijing directed CNNC and the other large nuclear builder and operator, China General Nuclear (CGN), to ‘rationalize’ their reactor programs. This meant CNNC’s ACP1000 and CGN’s ACPR1000 were ‘merged’ into one standardized design – the Hualong One.

Construction of two Hualong One units is already under way at CNNC’s Fuqing plant in Fujian province, as well as the first of two such units at CGN’s Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi province.

In December, CNNC and CGN agreed to create a 50-50 joint venture to promote the Hualong One in overseas markets. So far preliminary agreements have been made with Argentina and the UK.

Takahama-3 Restarts

(NucNet) The Takahama-3 nuclear reactor unit in Fukui Prefecture, southwest Japan, which burns MOX fuel, has been  restarted  and reach criticality on 1/30/16.

The plant will resume full commercial operation at the end of February following the completion of “a comprehensive inspection” by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Kansai Electric also intends to restart the Takahama-4 reactor at the end of February and resume commercial operation at the end of March.

Takahama-3 and -4 are both 830-MW pressurized water reactors. Takahama-3 would become the third reactor in Japan to be restarted after meeting new safety and security regulations introduced after the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Kyushu Electric Power Company restarted its Sendai-1 and -2 units on the southern island of Kyushu in August 2015.

Crapo moves nuclear legislation to support NRC and Idaho lab

(wires) Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) spoke at the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Show hosted by the group Third Way last week. At the event, Senator Crapo talked about how legislation that he introduced will help the Idaho National Lab, other national labs such as Oak Ridge and Argonne, and the private sector develop the next generation of nuclear energy technology.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, or NEICA, would direct the Department of Energy to prioritize partnering with private researchers and innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts.

“We would like to see DOE lead the effort to establish and operate the national nuclear innovation center while consulting with the NRC regarding safety issues. We would also like the NRC to have access to the work that done by the center in order to provide its staff with the knowledge it will need to eventually license any new reactors coming out of the center.”

The US Senate approved overwhelmingly the legislation written by Crapo.  The vote of 87 to 4 to approve the amendment makes it a part of a larger energy policy reform bill before the Senate.

The legislation, S. 2461, directs DOE to establish partnering with private innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts. Under the agreement, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) would report to Congress on any barriers that would prohibit the licensing of new reactors within a four-year time period.

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