Nuclear News Roundup for 01/18/17

UK starts review of CGN’s nuclear reactor design

(China Daily) China General Nuclear Power Corp said the British government has started an assessment of the company’s plan to build a nuclear power plant at Bradwell in southeastern England.

The British government asked nuclear regulators to begin the Generic Design Assessment of CGN’s design-the Hualong One reactor-a process that industry experts expect to take about five years.

The company said via a spokesman that it is confident that Hualong One will meet the United Kingdom’s stringent safety, security and design requirements. Mao Qing, the project manager at CGN responsible for Hualong One’s assessment, made the comments to the state owned news media.

According to Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst with Asia utilities and infrastructure research at Bloomberg Intelligence, there are high chances the Hualong One reactor will pass UK’s strict approval process.

“Given the vast experience of CGN in building nuclear facilities in China and the importance of the project, there should be a reasonable chance that the parameters are met, albeit some adjustments may be required,” said Jacobelli.

“CGN has strong ambitions in many other jurisdictions. So if the plant faces hiccups, there is a reputational risk which could affect the company’s bids for other projects in other countries,” he said.

He Yu, chairman of CGN, said investing in Bradwell will also lead to more countries having confidence in the Chinese reactor and will push forward its global market development.

The costs of the assessment will be covered by CGN and Electricite de France SA, which formed a joint venture called General Nuclear Services to develop the Bradwell plant, and fund and design the reactor.

Jesse Norman, UK energy minister, said the UK welcomed CGN’s investment in the GDA process.

“The nuclear industry in the UK is subject to a stringent regulatory regime to ensure security and mitigation of any potential
environmental detriment.”

Construction Of China’s Fangchenggang-4 Hualong One Reactor Begins

(NucNet): Construction of Unit 4 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power station in Guangxi province, southern China, began on 12/23/16, with pouring of first concrete for the nuclear island basemat according to the project operator China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN). Fangchenggang-4 is a 1,000-MW indigenous HPR-1000 pressurised water reactor type known as Hualong One.

In December 2015, CGN began construction of its first Hualong One unit — Fangchenggang-3. Units 3 and 4 at Fangchenggang will serve as a reference for the proposed Bradwell B plant in the UK, CGN said. In total, six units are planned for the Fangchenggang site. Units 1 and 2 are both domestic CPR-1000s and already in commercial operation, units 3 and 4 are Hualong Ones, and units 5 and 6 will be Westinghouse AP1000s.

Rolls-Royce names partners for UK SMR

(WNN) Rolls-Royce has named the companies it is working with to bring a small modular reactor (SMR) to market in the UK. Amec Foster Wheeler, Nuvia and Arup, together with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, are working with Rolls-Royce to develop the latest technology reactors, a spokesman for the British engineering firm told World Nuclear News. “Other names will emerge in due course,” he added.

In October last year, Rolls-Royce said a UK SMR could provide a £100 billion ($127 billion) boost to the UK economy between 2030 and 2050 because the companies involved are either UK-owned or have a strong UK presence. The latest announcement comes as British ministers are looking to support the development of SMRs and civil nuclear innovation, with up to £250 million in funding, and also to publish a green paper on Industrial Strategy later this month.

In November 2015, the British government announced plans to invest at least £250 million over the next five years in a nuclear research and development program including a competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK.

Rolls-Royce submitted a paper to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, outlining its plan to develop a fleet of 7 GWe of SMRs with its partners.

Other participants in the UK’s SMR competition include French-owned EDF Energy and its Chinese partner CNNC, Westinghouse and the US developer NuScale Power.

France to buy out Areva shareholders

(Reuters) France will buy out minority shareholders in Areva and delist the troubled nuclear group, the government said as talks with potential investors in a new nuclear fuel company being spun out of Areva neared a conclusion.

The state, which owns 87 percent of Areva, said it would offer 4.5 euros per Areva SA share to minority investors which include Kuwait’s investment fund, French utility EDF and French energy group Total.

Areva’s shares have fallen by as much as 90 percent from their 2007 highs as the group chalked up repeated losses.

European Union antitrust regulators approved the French government’s plan to inject 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion) into Areva saying the rescue would not unduly distort competition.

The ruling will allow Areva, whose capital has been wiped out by years of losses, to restart as a smaller firm focused on uranium mining and nuclear fuel production and recycling.

A source familiar with the situation said the two investors are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JNFL. Talks are continuing with China’s National Nuclear Corporation about also taking a minority stake.

Russia Has Resumed Preparations For Turkey Nuclear Plant Construction,

(NucNet): Russia has resumed preparations for construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast, Alexei Likhachev, director-general of state nuclear corporation Rosatom said.

In an interview with the state-owned Russia 24 news channel, Mr Likhachev said commercial operation of Akkuyu-1 is scheduled for 2023.

Russia has signed a contract to supply four VVER-1200 units for the facility. Turkey does not have any commercial nuclear reactors, but has confirmed it is planning to build two stations – Akkuyu and Sinop – with four units each.

The IEA said feasibility studies are continuing at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Itochu Corporation for the construction of the Sinop station, with four Generation-III Atmea-1 PWRs.

Clean nuclear energy, research advanced in bipartisan senate bill

(Wire services) WASHINGTON — Private-sector innovators in nuclear energy and government researchers will work hand in hand to create the next generation of clean, advanced nuclear power under bipartisan legislation introduced today in the U.S. Senate.

The sponsors are Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). On 1/11/17 they re-introduced the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA).

The legislation would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize partnering with private innovators to test and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts.

The measure authorizes the creation of a National Reactor Innovation Center that brings together the technical expertise of the National Labs and DOE to enable the construction of experimental reactors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) would partner with the DOE in this effort, which would enable the NRC to contribute its expertise on safety issues while also learning about the new technologies developed through the Center.

This measure strengthens the abilities of national laboratories to partner with private industry to prove the principles behind their ideas. It is an improved version of similar legislation sponsored in 2016 by Crapo, Whitehouse, Risch, Booker and Hatch.

“There is bipartisan agreement in Congress that nuclear energy and nuclear research have been underutilized as a reliable, safe, clean and efficient part of our national energy portfolio,” said Crapo.

“We are working to eliminate barriers to innovation within the private sector and strengthening collaboration with our national labs to maintain American preeminence in nuclear energy.”

The NEICA legislation is the companion to a bill in the U.S. House, introduced by Representative Randy Weber (R-Texas) with original cosponsors Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Lamar Smith (R-TX).

DOE’s Kotek Appointed to NEI

(NucNet): John Kotek, the US Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy, will join the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute as head of communications and policy development, the NEI said in a statement on 1/6/17.

The industry lobby group also said Beverly Marshall, acting vice-president for governmental affairs for the past four months, will be promoted to the position on a permanent basis.

The NEI announced the changes to its leadership team as it implements a restructuring begun in August 2016 to integrate its government relations, policy and communications disciplines within a new external affairs division.

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