Nuclear News Roundup for July 23, 2016

Utah Court Ruling Kills Environmental Appeal,
OKs Green River Nuclear Plant

(Salt Lake City Tribune) A court ruling has removed the final state hurdle for a Utah company planning to build a nuclear power plant near Green River, putting the fate of the $20 billion project in the hands of federal regulators.

The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier court ruling allowing Blue Castle Holdings’ plan for a nuclear site in Emery County to continue. The unanimous opinion affirms the 7th District Court’s 2013 ruling that the company’s bid would not overly tax the river by diverting water to cool a pair of nuclear reactors.

The decision nullifies an appeal from the environmental advocacy group HEAL Utah, which contended that Blue Castle Holdings’ nuclear site would significantly reduce water levels for the Green River, adversely affecting wildlife and the public welfare.

The Court of Appeals, instead, supported the findings of a state engineer, who granted the company’s initial application.

The court opinion states: “Our analysis of HEAL Utah’s arguments is limited because its arguments are often inadequately supported and briefed.”

Blue Castle plans to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and serve customers in Utah and California including the city of Los Angeles.

EDF Sets Decision Date for Hinkley Point Investment

(Bloomberg) Electricite de France SA has set a board meeting to consider moving forward with a $24 billion project to build two nuclear reactors in the U.K.

The agenda for the July 28 meeting includes a final investment decision for the construction of the reactors at Hinkley Point.

A vote to move forward would represent a strong financial commitment to the U.K. a month after residents voted to leave the European Union. It also would show renewed confidence in a project that’s been controversial because of concerns the investment would put the utility under too much financial strain amid falling power prices.

Thomas Piquemal quit as EDF’s chief financial officer in March over the dispute.

The Hinkley Point site “is a unique asset for French industry as it would benefit the whole of the nuclear industry and support employment in major companies and smaller enterprises in the sector,” the EDF statement said.

X-energy CEO Signs $53M Advanced Reactor Concept Cooperative Agreement with DOE

/PRNewswire/  X-energy’s 5-year, $53M DOE Advanced Reactor Concept Cooperative Agreement will focus on reactor design; fuel development; and initial licensing activities. The agreement includes $40M in federal funds and $13M from the company.

The company is designing the Xe-100 series, an advanced nuclear reactor based on the pebble bed design that will expand nuclear power into new markets in increments of approximately 50MWe.

The Xe-100 series is designed to be small, simple and affordable. Key attributes of the design are that it requires less time to construct, with factory-produced components, and will be “walk-away” safe without operator intervention during loss of coolant conditions.

CEZ Requests EIA for New Dukovany units

(WNN) Czech utility CEZ has requested the Ministry of Environment carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the potential construction of two new reactors at the Dukovany nuclear power plant.

The purpose of the assessment, CEZ said, is to identify one or two new units could be built at Dukovany to replace the existing ones.

The plan foresees nuclear energy to be a major source of power that will allow the Czech Republic to be self-sufficient in terms of power generation and ensure reliability of power supplies to end users. The country relies on Russian natural gas for a significant portion of its electrical generation power.

The tender process for two new Temelin units was launched in August 2009 and attracted bids from three candidates – Areva; Westinghouse, and a consortium of Russian firms.

However, CEZ informed Areva in October 2012 that its bid had been disqualified. In April 2014, CEZ – which is 70% state owned – announced that it had cancelled the tender process. The key issue was the lack of investors due to the government’s refusal to offer rate guarantees.

Reactor Pressure Vessel Installed At UAE’s Barakah-3

(NucNet) The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has successfully installed the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) at the Barakah-3 nuclear plant under construction in the United Arab Emirates. Enec said the installation follows that of the Barakah-2 RPV in 2015 and the Barakah-1 RPV in 2014.

The project to build four South Korean APR-1400 reactors at Barakah is progressing steadily, Enec said. Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now more than 65 percent complete. When the four reactors are completed, Barakah will provide approximately 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs.

Rosatom to Build Six Nuclear Reactors at Andhra Pradesh

(The Hindu) Just a few weeks after the government announced that Westinghouse’s Nuclear Power Project (NPP), originally planned in Gujarat’s Mithi Virdi, is being moved to Andhra Pradesh, sources confirmed to The Hindu that Russian-owned Rosatom will build its next phase of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh as well.

Westinghouse is slated to build six 1150 MW AP1000 reactors. Rosatom would build six units as well though the design for them was not disclosed. All 12 units are to be built by the mid-2030s according to sources cited by the Hindu.

The site for the next set of six Russian reactors was discussed during A.P. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s recent visit to Russia, where he met Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev. A formal announcement is expected with Russian President Vladimir Putin visits India next October.

The Indian government has rejected a proposal by GE-Hitachi to build six ESBWR reactors at the site saying the lack of experience with the design disqualifies it from consideration. GEH has successfully licensed the design at the NRC in the U.S. for the FERMI III site, but has not built and operated any of the units.

Westinghouse has four AP1000s under construction in the U.S. and another four under construction in China.  Rosatom has just finished commissioning two 1000 MW VVER units in Tamil Nadu at Kudankulam.

China Needs Nuclear For Climate Change And Economic Growth

(NucNet) Nuclear power will play an important role in China’s future energy mix both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and economic growth, says a report by the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), a non-governmental and non-profit organization based in Hong Kong.

The report says China is ready to undergo “a nuclear power revolution” with a planned approval rate of six to eight new reactors a year under the government’s 13th Five Year Plan. The report says China has 24 nuclear reactors under construction, more than one third of the world’s total.

Xiaoyong Huang, one of the authors of the report and president of the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it is essential for China to choose nuclear power.

He said nuclear is a comparatively clean energy which can help China protect its environment and meet emissions reduction goals.

TVA Announces Auction Process for Bellefonte Site

(WNN) A two-stage auction process is to be used to complete the sale of the Bellefonte nuclear power plant site. The sale is expected to be completed by October.

TVA announced in May that its board had voted to sell the Bellefonte site, with its two partially built reactors and other infrastructure, to the highest bidder.

At that time, CEO Bill Johnson said that, against a background of lower energy demand and changing usage patterns, TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan determined that it will not need to build any new large-scale base load capacity for at least the next 20 years.

Concentric Energy Advisors Inc – retained by TVA to manage the auction – said that an initial bid process will take place by September. Following a detailed due diligence period, a second and final round of bidding will take place and close with a public auction in October.

In May, TVA’s executive vice-president and General Counsel Sherry Quirk said an independent appraisal had valued the site at $36 million. The utility spent more than ten times that amount on the original construction of the two units before stopping work.

The sale includes a site of 1,600 acres and the two partially built reactors, as well as on-site infrastructure including switchyards, office buildings, warehouses, cooling towers, water pumping stations and railroad spurs. No radioactive materials were ever brought to the site.

The two partially built reactor units would be very expensive to demolish though the cooling towers could be quickly brought down by controlled demolition. Any future industrial uses of the site would benefit from the other infrastructure at the site.

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