This is a summary of nuclear news from World Nuclear News, NucNet, wire services, and other cited sources.
Terrestrial Energy submits preliminary IMSR design to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
(WNN) Terrestrial Energy has submitted its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) design to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for pre-licensing review. The submission marks a first step towards a license application.
The CNSC offers a pre-licensing vendor design review as an optional service to provide an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor’s reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, but aims to verify the acceptability of a nuclear power plant design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations.
The review involves three phases: (1) a pre-licensing assessment of compliance with regulatory requirements; (2) an assessment of any potential fundamental barriers to licensing; and (3) a follow-up phase allowing the vendor to respond to findings from the second phase.
Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish said the announcement marked the company’s move from reactor research and design to engineering and regulatory compliance.
“This new chapter takes the company towards the submission of a formal license application to build and operate the first commercial demonstration Integral Molten Salt Reactor plant in the 2020s.”
CNNC and TerraPower hold talks In Beijing
(NucNet): China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC) general manager Qian Zhimin and Lee McIntire, chief executive officer of US-based nuclear energy technology startup TerraPower, discussed cooperation at a meeting in Beijing.
Mr Mclntire also held talks with CNNC’s deputy general manager and chief accountant on “specific issues of cooperative projects.”
The sides reached a consensus on forthcoming work, said CNNC. Microsoft founder Bill Gates signed am MOU with CNNC last year for cooperative work on the development of a 1,000-MW travelling wave reactor, which would operate for up to 100 years without refuelling or the need to remove any used fuel from the unit.
China commits to new reactors using Hualong One design
(WNN) China General Nuclear (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) each plan to build two more nuclear power reactors based on the Hualong One design. The South China Morning Post reported Mao Qing, Hualong One’s deputy chief designer, said CGN plans to deploy the Hualong One as units 5 and 6 of the Ningde nuclear power plant, while CNNC will use it at units 1 and 2 of the new Zhangzhou plant, all of which are in Fujian province.
CNNC has started construction of two Hualong One units at its Fuqing site, while CGN has begun building the first of two such units at its Fangchenggang plant.
China hosts international executives to discuss Hualong One exports
(WSJ) China General Nuclear Power Group hosted nuclear industry executives, journalists and diplomats from Kenya, Russia, Indonesia and other countries on Tuesday to discuss the export of its Hualong One reactor. Hualong One reactors are being considered for construction in the UK, Pakistan and Argentina, while four are being constructed in China.
EDF CEO Expects Final Decision On Hinkley Point ‘This Year’
(NucNet) EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Levy expects the French utility to take a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK this year, according to Reuters.
“We are working with our Chinese partners to complete the discussion that we are having and announce a final investment decision very soon,” Mr Levy was quoted by the wire service.
EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR units at Hinkley Point. In October 2015 EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation signed an investment agreement for the new reactors. At the time EDF said construction at Hinkley – which could be the first nuclear plant to be built in the UK in a generation – was expected to begin “within weeks”.
The final investment decision had been delayed, reportedly due to funding difficulties. Les Echos newspaper said EDF was struggling to find the cash for its 66.5% stake and was now “putting pressure on the [French] state, which owns 84.5 percent of EDF, to come up with fresh funds.”
The Times of London reported that EDF will help to pay for the construction of Hinkley Point by selling off part of its stake in the French power grid.
Nuclear energy industry supply chain firms await Hinkley Point starting bell
(Nuclear Energy Insider) Local suppliers are set to gain a flurry of contracts for the Hinkley Point C new build project as developer EDF works towards a definitive construction start in 2019.
In October 2015, EDF announced final terms agreements for engineering and construction contracts with four key suppliers:
- Areva NP will deliver the nuclear steam supply system, instrumentation and control;
- Alstom France will deliver turbines with Alstom UK providing services during operations;
- Bouygues TP/Laing O’Rourke (BYLOR) will take the main civil works contract; and;
- BAM Nuttal/Kier Infrastructure take the earthworks contract.
The supply chain to the nuclear new build (NNB) project is now well-established. The Supply Chain Team acts as a regional hub connecting local suppliers looking for contracts to Tier 1 and 2 firms sourcing bids and delivery of products and services.
According to EDF, around 180 Tier 1 contracts will be needed to complete the construction of the site. These large suppliers will contract further down the chain to Tier 3 and 4 firms that are likely to be small-or-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce said in November 2015 that almost 3,000 local businesses had registered on the supply chain portal, with some achieving preferred bidder status from EDF for contracts projected to total 250 million pounds during the construction period. Initial construction services required include building roads and temporary accommodation on site.
Nuclear project plans apprentice program for skilled trades
(NucNet) Horizon Nuclear Power plans to take on apprentices and launch its 2016 graduate program to work on its project to build two advanced boiling water reactors at Wylfa Newydd in the UK.
Horizon Nuclear Power, which is owned by Japan’s Hitachi, is inviting applications for five graduate places and up to 12 apprenticeships, with the successful candidates starting their new careers in just over six months’ time.
As the company grows, “many more job opportunities at all levels” will follow from the development, construction and operational needs of the project on the Isle of Anglesey, Horizon announced on 22 February.
UK nuclear safety office plans recruitment drive
(WNN) The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation has refuted media reports that it is understaffed and has announced that, from April, it plans to publish its planned and actual inspector workforce on a quarterly basis “to provide absolute clarity on this situation.”
The ONR’s technical team is fully staffed, it said, with 362 “highly skilled and dedicated” personnel. Given the increasing work of the nuclear industry, the ONR said that it “also needs to grow” and so will be “constantly recruiting over the next few years.”
NRA Approves Takahama-1 and -2 NPPs
(Wires) On February 24, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved the Takahama-1 and -2 Nuclear Power Plants (PWRs, 826MWe each), owned and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP), as compatible with the new regulatory standards. Both units have already been operated for more than 40 years, and this is the first time that such “aging reactors” were approved.
The determination of safety of the reactors under the new regulatory standards will be formally approved after hearings by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and after a public invitation for scientific and technological comments.
Takahama-3 was restarted on January 29, 2016 and Takahama-4 has had fuel loaded in preparation for restart. Takahama-4 is scheduled to be the fourth reactor to restart in Japan after all the country’s reactors were shut down for safety checks following Fukushima-Daiichi.
No scientific basis for Japan’s 40-year operating limit on nuclear reactors
(Japan News) There is “no scientific basis” for the 40-year operating limit imposed on Japan’s nuclear reactors, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun editorial board. “The government should not only approve an extension of the operation period of aged reactors whose safety is confirmed, but also come up with a clear policy for constructing new nuclear power plants,” the board writes
India amends Atomic Energy Act to extend nuclear power
(WNA) The Indian government has amended its 1962 Atomic Energy Act to allow the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to form joint venture companies with other public sector undertakings for involvement in nuclear power generation and possibly other aspects of the fuel cycle.
This is expected to help NPCIL secure funding for new nuclear projects. India’s largest power company, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) prepared a joint venture with NPCIL in 2010 (NPCIL 51%), with the prospect of multiple projects utilizing local and imported reactor technology.
Other NPCIL joint venture arrangements include those with the National Aluminium Company (Nalco), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), and Indian Railways.
The legislative change does not extend to private sector companies, and nor does it allow direct foreign investment in nuclear power, apart from the supply chain
Olkiluoto-3 moving towards Testing Phase, Says TVO
(NucNet): The Olkiluoto-3 EPR project in Finland is moving from installation work to testing. Nuclear operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said that after delivery of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems to Olkiluoto in 2015, the workforce at the site has risen to well over 2,000 and commissioning of the process systems is scheduled to begin in April 2016.
Also in April, the operating licence application will be submitted to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. After making a successful test run and obtaining the operating licence, nuclear commissioning of the plant unit can begin.
An Areva-Siemens consortium is building the 1,600-MW Olkiluoto-3 for TVO. When up and running, the plant will be a flagship reference for the French nuclear industry,
TVO said. “TVO is confident that the French nuclear industry will not put its reputation at risk by mismanagement of Olkiluoto-3 project finalization.”
ENEC making “excellent progress” at Barakah nuclear plant: IAEA official
(wires) The United Arab Emirates has reached 85% completion of its Barakah Unit 1 nuclear reactor, while Unit 2 is 65% complete. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano commended the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. for making “excellent progress” in the development of the plant’s four reactors.
# # #