Romania Reports Progress on Cernavoda 3 & 4

Negotiations On Construction Of Romania’s Cernavoda-3 And -4 In ‘Final Stage’

(NucNet): Negotiations between Romanian nuclear operator Nuclearelectrica and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) on the details of an investors’ agreement for the construction of Romania’s planned Cernavoda -3 and -4 nuclear reactor units are in the final stage, says Daniela Lulache, chief executive officer of Nuclearelectrica.

A meeting of Nuclearelectrica’s board of directors earlier this month extended until 20 December 2016 the deadline for negotiating the draft agreement for the construction of Cernavoda-3 and -4, the reports said.

In November 2015, Nuclearelectrica and China General Nuclear (CGN) signed a memorandum of understanding on the development, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of Cernavoda-3 and -4. Negotiations on the details of an investors’ agreement between the Romanian government and CGN have been under way since then.

Romania’s Nuclearelectrica Plans To Establish Cernavoda EPC in 2017

Romanian nuclear operator Nuclearelectrica is planning to establish a project company early in 2017 to take charge of the construction of the planned Cernavoda-3 and -4 nuclear reactor units, Daniela Lulache, chief executive officer of Nuclearelectrica, said.

According Nuclearelectrica, the break-even price of the electricity to be produced at Cernavoda-3 and -4 may be about €82 ($89) per MW/h, but Ms Lulache said the final price is under negotiation with CGN.

In November 2015, Nuclearelectrica and CGN signed an agreement on the development, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of Cernavoda-3 and -4, both of the Candu 6 design.

Negotiations on the details of an investors’ agreement between the Romanian government and CGN have been under way since then. Canada’s SNC Lavalin is also expected to participate in an EPC role to supply the CANDU technology.

Poland To Update Its Nuclear Program In 2017

(NucNet): Poland’s cabinet will update the details of the country’s proposed nuclear new build program by the end of 2017, the Polish energy ministry said in a statement. In the first quarter of 2017, the ministry will present the findings of a report on the project’s financing model, economic viability, and public tendering procedure.

According to the energy ministry, Poland’s nuclear program will be a crucial part of the country’s commitment to the fight against climate change. According to earlier reports, Poland intends to build four or five nuclear units with combined output of about 6,000 MW by the mid-2030s.

Poland has repeatedly postponed its decision to proceed with development of nuclear reactors. The country relies heavily on coal fired power plants for its electricity.

Advanced Reactor Design LeadCold Achieves Funding

Essel Group Middle East (“EGME”) has agreed to invest USD $18 million in LeadCold Reactors (“LeadCold”), the Swedish-Canadian lead-cooled small nuclear reactor technology company.

LeadCold’s Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor, or SEALER design is being developed to generate 3-10 MW of electricity over a 10-30 year period, with no refuelling needed. The company says in a statement on its website that it has developed a steel alloy that addresses corrosion problems encountered when using lead as a coolant.

The investment from EGME is intended to enable LeadCold to complete a pre-licensing design review of SEALER with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and to aid R&D efforts necessary to obtain a license to build commercial SEALER units in Canada.

LeadCold intends to enter Phase 1 of the pre-licensing review this year, with the eventual license for construction to be granted by the end of 2021.

The SEALER units are intended for commercial off-grid use, for example in Arctic communities and mining operations, where at present carbon-emitting and costly diesel generators are the predominantly used base-load generation technology.

The company is looking to launch its advanced technology across Canada’s Nunavut region, where it has identified an over-reliance on diesel, and potentially across the Northwest Territories in the future, with its first unit scheduled to be operational by around 2025.

LeadCold estimates the Nunavut region has electricity needs of approximately 200 GWh per year, and the Northwest Territories around twice this amount. In addition, the company sees scope for reactor usage across Canada in up to 40 mining sites, which could use 2-4 reactors per mine.

IEA Casts Doubt On Mexico’s Plans For New Nuclear

(NucNet): Mexico plans to build 4 GW of nuclear capacity by 2030, in addition to the existing 1.5 GW at the Laguna Verde site, but the high capital requirements for nuclear plants create “some uncertainty” concerning the realisation of this plan, a report by the International Energy Agency says.

Although government reform has opened up the power sector to participation by the private sector, nuclear power generation remains the exclusive responsibility of the state.

Mexico’s Electricity Law includes nuclear as a form of clean energy, so auctions for energy, capacity and clean energy certificates could be expected to support the introduction of new nuclear power projects.

However, according to the IEA, the level of prices revealed in the auctions in March and September 2016 would be too low to support new nuclear construction.

Plus, the duration of the long-term contracts on offer – 15 years for energy and capacity, and 20 years for clean certificates – is likely to be too short to incentivise nuclear power projects.

“Even our cautious assessment of an additional 2 GW of nuclear capacity built by 2040 may require some additional mechanism of support or guarantee,” the report says.

Non-fossil fuelled generation, primarily from hydropower and nuclear, accounts for one-fifth of Mexico’s total. Wind power has gained a foothold, with capacity of around 3 GW in 2015, but this remains “far below its potential.” The report is online: http://bit.ly/2dXdYRm

End of Nuclear in U.S. Seen by Carlyle Group Without Subsidies

(Bloomberg) Nuclear power will come to an end in the U.S. if the industry doesn’t get more government support, according to Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest investment firms.

The nation’s nuclear reactors need more subsidies to keep running, such as a federal carbon tax that’ll reward them for their zero-emissions power, Bob Mancini, co-head of Carlyle Group’s power unit, said at a conference in New York.

Carlyle, which has $176 billion in assets under management across funds, invests in natural gas- and coal-fired power plants and renewable energy projects.

Its outlook comes as nuclear power generators including Exelon Corp. and Entergy Corp. make plans to shut reactors across the country. Low power prices, fueled by an abundance of natural gas from shale drilling and weakening demand, have squeezed their profits just as their operating costs rise amid mounting regulation.

“We will see the end of the nuclear industry in the next coming decades” without legislation, incentives or other support to keep reactors open or encourage new builds, Mancini said at S&P Global Platts’ Financing U.S. Power Conference on Tuesday.

The cost of building a nuclear plant may be more than five times that of a gas-fired one based on U.S. government data, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Stacy Nemeroff said in a report earlier this month.

China, India and Russia are among the few places where new nuclear plants are being built, Mancini said. The U.S. is building four new nuclear units in Georgia and South Carolina.

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