Nuclear News Roundup for 3/2/16

China Sets Ambitious Targets For Overseas Nuclear Construction

(NucNet) China aims to build 30 nuclear reactor units in export deals says Sun Qin, president of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), who was reported as saying so by the Xinhua news agency. CNNC has reached bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation with countries including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, the UK, France and Jordan,

China most supportive of nuclear energy innovation, says Bill Gates

(VOX) China is supporting nuclear energy innovation more than other nations, according to Microsoft co-founder and TerraPower Chairman Bill Gates. The US and Canada are also supportive of research and development, but China allows more experimentation in designs, Gates said.

China National Nuclear Corp. and Terrapower will build the first unit of the firm’s design in China and then deploy commercial versions of the sodium-cooled fast reactor to global markets within 15 years.

Final coolant pump installed in Sanmen 1

(WNN) Installation of the fourth and final main coolant pump for unit 1 of the Sanmen nuclear power plant in China’s Zhejiang province was completed today, plant builder China Nuclear Engineering Corporation announced.

Installation of the US-made pumps was completed six days ahead of schedule. Sanmen 1 is expected to begin generating electricity in September 2016, making it the first operating Westinghouse AP1000 to enter the commissioning phase.

India budgets to boost nuclear projects

(WNN) India has allocated an extra 30 billion rupees ($442 million) to boost nuclear power generation projects over the next 15-20 years in its 2016 budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on 2/29/16. The government is drawing up a comprehensive plan, spanning 15-to-20 years, to augment nuclear power generation.

India has 21 nuclear power plants in operation, with six under construction, and plans for further construction of both indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors and projects with overseas partners. Deals with U.S. firms will not come to pass until India reforms its current supplier liability law.

In April 2015 the government gave its approval, in principle, for new nuclear plants at ten sites in nine states:

  • Indigenous PHWRs at Gorakhpur in Haryana’s Fatehabad; Chutka and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh; Kaiga in Karnataka; and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan; and
  • Plants with foreign cooperation at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu (VVER); Jaitapur in Maharashtra (EPR); Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat (AP1000); Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh (ESBWR) and Haripur in West Bengal (VVER).
  • Two 600 MWe fast breeder reactors are also proposed at Kalpakkam.

Kentucky Senate approves nuclear power bill

(wires) A bill that would lift a long-standing moratorium on nuclear power plants in the state, was approved on 3/2/16 by the Kentucky State Senate.

Senate Bill 89 would amend Kentucky Revised Statutes to change the requirement that facilities have means of permanent disposal of nuclear waste. Instead they would only be required to have a plan for its safe storage, and that the plans be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

It would also eliminate several other obstacles to the construction and maintenance of nuclear facilities. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah.

Kentucky is a coal state which is being hard hit by the federal government’s push for clean energy. Proponents of nuclear power in the state see opportunities to use nuclear energy as an economic development tool for export of electricity to the region and also to replace coal fired power plants. At Paducah, which was a center for nuclear energy during the WWII Manhattan Project, the site has long been looked for redevelopment along these lines.

BWXT Lowers SMR spending

(WNN) BWX Technologies Inc is limiting its spending on the mPower small modular reactor project spending to no more than $10 million per year while it evaluates “options for the program” with its partners. The spending cap was confirmed in the company’s fourth-quarter results and conference call on 2/26/16.

Union Wants Hinkley Point C Delayed Until 2019

(NucNet) Construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in England should be delayed, a French union has said, according to BBC reports. Investment in Hinkley Point C should be held until 2019 so problems with a similar reactor design in France are solved, the CFE-CGC energy union said.

Unions occupy six of the 18 seats on the board of EDF, which is yet to vote on a final investment decision for Hinkley Point C. EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR units at Hinkley Point C.

World’s nuclear plants now better prepared for external risks

(WNN) The implementation of nuclear energy safety improvements around the world after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi incident have made nuclear plants much more able to deal “with a wide range of accident scenarios,” said William Magwood, director general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency.

A recently released OECD NEA report details the upgrades made to the world’s nuclear plants, which include “flexible, mobile power systems and cooling equipment at all nuclear power plants … and flexible approaches to dealing with a wide range of accident scenarios.”

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