A Short Stack of New Reactor Developments

  • pancakesCzech Republic Files to Build Two 1200 MW PWRs at Dukovany
  • Rosatom Pursues Development of SMRs
  • Key Components of Second HTR-PM Reactor in China are Connected
  • Japan / Regulator Says HTTR Is Compatible With Post-Fukushima Standards
  • New Report on Chinese and Russian Nuclear Energy Exports

Czech Republic / State Utility Files Application
To Build Two New Reactors At Dukovany

(NucNet) Bidders are lining up to offer technology for new units of up to 1,200 MW each.

The Czech Republic’s state-owned utility CEZ filed for permission with the State Office for Nuclear Safety last week to build two new nuclear power plants at the existing Dukovany site in the southeast area of the country.

The announcement follows approval by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in September 2019 of an environmental impact assessment for the construction of the two plants. The ministry said the approval was for up to 2,400 MW of new capacity.

CEZ said the filing concludes a five-year preparation process. The company gave no details of possible reactor technology, but said each plant would have a single pressurized water (PWR) reactor of electrical power up to 1,200 MW.

Prime minister Andrej Babiš was quoted in local press reports last year as saying a technology supplier should be chosen by the end of 2022.

CEZ chief executive Daniel Benes said last year the company should have a tender ready by June 2020 and expects offers in 2021 from up to five bidders. CEZ gave no details of how financing would be arranged, but press reports have said the state has set aside $6-7 billion for the project.

According to media reports, six firms have shown interest in building the new nuclear unit or units. They are China’s CGN, Russia’s Rosatom, South Korea’s KHNP, France’s EDF, Westinghouse, and the Atmea consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and EDF.

The Czech government, which owns 70% of CEZ, had been in discussions with the utility about how to expand nuclear power and to replace aging commercial reactors that are scheduled to be permanently shut down in the decades ahead.

There are four Russia-designed VVER-440 reactor units at the Dukovany site and the government has said they should be replaced by new ones in about 20 to 30 years.

The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units. In addition to the four units at Dukovany, there are two Russian VVER-1000 units at Temelín. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, in 2019 the six units provided about 35% of the country’s electricity production.

In 2014, CEZ cancelled the tender for construction of two new Temelín units after it failed to get state guarantees for the project. It isn’t clear what the Czech government will do this time that is different, but getting the financing in order is a top priority.  The firm may have to buy out its minority of private equity investors to avoid lawsuits seeking to spike the project based on the risk of cost overruns.

Rosatom Pursues Development of Small Modular Reactors

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom says it has plans start construction of a small-scale land-based nuclear power plant in 2024 with commissioning in 2027.

According to a report in Nuclear Engineering International, Ryan Collyer, acting CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa presented details of the RITM-200 reactor at Energy Indaba earlier in March.

Collyer told delegates that Rosatom SMRs could be a good alternative to diesel generators, providing reliable power supply and preventing harmful emissions at a competitive price. They could also be used for desalination, heat production and supply of electricity.

He pointed out that Rosatom has already constructed six RITM-200 reactors and that two onboard the Arktika icebreaker have already attained criticality.

Rosatom had identified two sites in Russia for the potential construction of small reactors – the Chelyabinsk region and Yakutia. The project plans for the sites reportedly include a procedure for construction of a land-based power plant based on the RITM-200 reactor, including site selection and a feasibility study.

Specialists from the Melentiev Energy Systems Institute of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences are also studying the feasibility of constructing a land-based plant with a RITM-200 reactor in Chukotka.

Profile of the RITM-200


RITM-200 crross section. Image: Rosatom

The RITM-200 is a light water nuclear reactor developed by OKBM Afrikantov and manufactured by ZiO-Podolsk.  (Technical briefing – PDF file)

It has a dual circuit with four steam generators integrated into the body of the reactor. Traditionally, steam generators are housed separately and connected to the reactor by primary coolant pipelines. The integrated layout reduces the material consumption and dimensions of the installation, reduces the risk of leaks from the primary reactor loop, and facilitates installation and dismantling of the installation. Four main circulation pumps are located around the reactor vessel.

The reactor will have a thermal capacity of 175MW, providing power on the shaft of the propulsion system of 30MWe (in the transport version) or 55MWe (in the energy version).

It uses uranium fuel enriched to 20% with a new fuel load every seven years. Because of its integrated design, the RITM-200 is two times lighter, more compact and 25 MWe more powerful than the KLT-type reactors used on the Akademik Lomonosov floating NPP.

See also: NEI Report on Six Russian SMR Designs

Key Components of Second HTR-PM Reactor in China are Connected

(WNN) The reactor pressure vessel, steam generator and hot gas duct of the second reactor at China’s demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor plant (HTR-PM) have been successfully paired and connected, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced this week.

Work began on the demonstration HTR-PM unit – which features two small reactors and a turbine – at China Huaneng’s Shidaowan site in Weihai city, in East China’s Shandong province, in December 2012.  (Technical Briefing – PDF file)

htr image

DESIGN, SAFETY FEATURES &PROGRESS OF HTR-PM, Yujie Dong, INET, Tsinghua University, China; January 24, 2018

China Huaneng is the lead organisation in the consortium to build the demonstration units together with CNNC subsidiary China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) and Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, which is the research and development leader. Chinergy, a joint venture of Tsinghua and CNEC, is the main contractor for the nuclear island.

The pressure vessel of the first reactor was installed within the unit’s containment building in March 2016. The vessel – about 25 meters in height and weighing about 700 tonnes – was manufactured by Shanghai Electric Nuclear Power Equipment. The second reactor pressure vessel was installed later that year.

CNNC said the “pairing of the key nodes” of the second reactor was completed on March 18. The pressure vessel, steam generator and hot gas duct, it said, have been “rigidly connected in the form of a flange to form a primary circuit system for the thermal energy transmission of the reactor, which constitutes a second barrier to prevent the leakage of radioactive materials.”

The demonstration plant’s twin HTR-PM reactors will drive a single 210 MWe turbine. Helium gas will be used as the primary circuit coolant. The steam generator transfers heat from helium coolant to a water/steam loop. The design temperature of the HTR-PM reaches 750 degrees Celsius. A further 18 such HTR-PM units are proposed at Shidaowan.

Beyond HTR-PM, China proposes a scaled-up version called HTR-PM600, which sees one large turbine rated at 650 MWe driven by some six HTR-PM reactor units. Feasibility studies on HTR-PM600 deployment are under way for multiple sites including Sanmen, Zhejiang province; Ruijin, Jiangxi province; Xiapu and Wan’an, in Fujian province; and Bai’an, Guangdong province.

Japan Regulator Says HTTR Is Compatible
With Post-Fukushima Standards

(NucNet) The Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Japan (NRA) has said in a draft report that the country’s High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) is compatible with new regulatory standards, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif).

The high-temperature test reactor (HTTR) is a graphite-moderated gas-cooled research reactor in Oarai, Ibaraki, Japan operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. It is reported to use long hexagonal fuel assemblies, unlike competing pebble bed reactor designs for high temperature ga cooled reactors.

The 30-MW HTTR is a graphite-moderated gas-cooled research reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo. It is owned and operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

In November 2016, the JAEA submitted an application to the NRA for a safety examination under new regulatory standards in place since the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. The HTTR was shut down following the accident along with other Japanese reactors.

Jaif said the NRA examined the HTTR’s resilience against various hypothetical accidents, including tsunami and seismic risks.

The reactor achieved first criticality in 1998, but reached its design thermal output of 950℃ in 2004.

Jaif said the heat produced by the HTTR has applications for a broad range of purposes, including hydrogen production, power generation, and the desalination of seawater.

New Report on Chinese and Russian Nuclear Energy Exports

The CSIS Energy Security and Climate Change Program has released a report, The Changing Geopolitics of Nuclear Energy, analyzing how the changing market competition among the United States, Russia, and China will impact future geopolitical relations with nuclear recipient nations, and offering recommendations to continue U.S. commercial competitiveness in the global nuclear energy market. (See video report below)

The nuclear industry of advanced industrialized countries is under significant pressure to remain competitive as the market landscape for new nuclear power opportunities changes. The relative decline of U.S. nuclear export competitiveness comes at a time when Russia is boosting its dominance in new nuclear sales, and China is doubling down on its effort to become a leader in global nuclear commerce.

This report illuminates how the changing market competition among the United States, Russia, and China will affect their future relations with nuclear commerce recipient countries, and discusses why Russia and China promote nuclear commerce, as well as which factors may alter their market competitiveness. The report further provides recommendations regarding the U.S. approach to continued commercial competitiveness in nuclear energy.

Nuclear power generation projects have never been a purely commercial endeavor in the United States, and civilian nuclear export is difficult to be viable as a purely commercial undertaking.

Global nuclear market dominance by state-led capitalist economies with limited accountability and governance capacities would endanger the future of global nuclear safety and nonproliferation.

The U.S. retreat could bifurcate the use of nuclear power generation along with similar political or economic systems.

Nuclear commerce is geopolitical in nature and creates multi-decadal ties between supplier and recipient countries, but nuclear commerce may not be an effective tool of foreign policy leverage.

VIDEO Jane Nakano with the CSIS Energy Security and Climate Change Program introduces her new report, The Changing Geopolitics of Nuclear Energy, that illuminates why and how Russia and China are promoting nuclear power technology exports, and what the United States should do to address the foreign policy and commercial implications.

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