Czech Govt / CEZ Deal for New 1200 MW Reactor at Dukovany Nears Finish Line

  • Czech Govt Deal with CEZ for New 1200 MW Reactor at Dukovany Expected Soon
  • Romania / Prime Minister Sets Up Committee To Consider New Cernavoda Units
  • UAE Completes Unit 2 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant
  • U-Battery Awarded £10 million to Bring Its Technology to Market
  • NuScale Moves to Phase 2 of CNSC Vendor Design Review
  • Bruce Power partners with McMaster University to Advance Nuclear Technologies
  • US / Biden’s $2 Trillion Clean Energy Plan Includes Nuclear Energy
  • United States Nuclear Industry Council Elects New Board Members

Czech Govt Deal with CEZ for New 1200 MW Reactor at Dukovany Expected Within Weeks

czech-power

(NucNet) A general framework agreement between the Czech government and state utility CEZ detailing plans for the construction of a new 1200 MW nuclear power plant at the Dukovany nuclear site could be signed within weeks, a CEZ spokesperson told NucNet.

The spokesperson said in an email that the Czech state will sign a framework agreement with CEZ which will cover the framework of the project from the announcement of the tender to the start of operation of the new nuclear power plant.

“This year, the government started negotiating agreements between the state and CEZ and will begin the notification process with the European Commission,” the spokesperson said.

“CEZ will also launch the tender for a supplier, the result of which should be known at the end of 2022.”

The spokesperson said one Generation III+ reactor is planned for the site, with a maximum installed capacity of 1,200 MW. In March, CEZ filed for permission with the State Office for Nuclear Safety to build up to two new nuclear power plants at Dukovany.

The signing of a contract with the supplier is expected in 2024. Construction of the new plant could begin in 2029 and operation in 2036.

CEZ chief executive Daniel Benes said the company should have a tender ready by June 2020 and expected offers in 2021 from up to five bidders. He said market estimates for the new unit’s cost ranged from about $5.9B to $6.9B, but a final price would come out of the tender.

With a target power rating (electrical) of 1200 MW, the “overnight” prices comes out to be $4900-$5750?Kw which is well within global cost averages for new nuclear power stations. These costs are only for the reactor and balance of plant. The costs do not include expansion of the existing switch yard nor new long distance transmission lines.

CEZ has held consultations with possible tender participants and all of them confirmed their interest. They include CGN of China, EDF of France, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia’s Rosatom and US-based Westinghouse.

Industry minister Karel Havlícek said recently that “we are absolutely determined that the new unit will be built. “It is decided and cannot be retracted even slightly,” he said, adding that the timetable for construction is being refined.

Four stages for the Agreement

The agreement will define four basic stages in the preparation and construction of the new plant. The first stage covers the tender process, the selection of the technology supplier, zoning permission and site permit. This part of the framework agreement will be detailed in a “first implementation contract”.

The spokesperson said a “positive statement” had been received from the environmental impact assessment process. The siting procedure, including submission of the initial safety report, began last March.

According to press reports earlier this year, state and company officials agreed a state loan is possible for construction of a new plant, pending European Commission approval. The Czech state has long been in talks with CEZ, in which it owns a 70% stake, about expanding its nuclear fleet, but costs and financing have been sticking points.

The spokesperson said new legislation is being planned concerning low-carbon electricity sources. This would allow the government to sign a contract with an investor for the purchase of electricity from a low-carbon source.

The contract would guarantee the return of investment in the construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant through the purchase of electricity for a predetermined price. This is a major policy change for the government. In 2014 resistance to this policy sank the chances for a successful tender for new nuclear plants.

Current Status of Nuclear Energy in Czech Republic

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.

Operating Czech Reactors

Table courtesy of World Nuclear Association

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. However, the CEZ spokesperson said the fact that there are four Russian units already in operation at Dukovany will not influence the choice of the technology for the new units.

The current Dukovany units, which were commissioned between 1985-1987, will be taken out of operation between 2045 and 2047 at the latest, which means the original units and the new unit will operate jointly for up to 10 years. The new unit is meant as a partial replacement for current units.

The government is planning for the long-term operation of the existing Dukovany units for up to 60 years. CEZ recently announced a CZK 55 billion (€2bn) investment in the LTO project. This means annual investments in the modernization and refurbishment of the existing units will increase from about €56m to up €93 from 2028.

In 2014, CEZ cancelled the tender for construction of two new Temelín units after it failed to get state guarantees for the project.

Romania / Prime Minister Sets Up Committee To Consider New Cernavodă Units

(NucNet) Romania’s prime minister Ludovic Orban has ordered setting up of a committee to consider options for the construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Cernavodă nuclear power station.

The Romanian nuclear industry association Romatom welcomed the decision to set up a committee. It said nuclear production needed to be increased, especially in the context of European decarbonization policies and environmental targets.

Nuclear provides about 18% of Romania’s electricity and 33% of low-carbon electricity, Romatom said, adding investment and nuclear can increase energy security and contribute to the country’s post Covid-19 recovery.

Earlier this year state-controlled nuclear energy producer Nuclearelectrica terminated an agreement signed with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) for the construction of Units 3 and 4. In January Mr Orban announced that the government would exit the deal with CGN.

“It is clear to me that the partnership with the Chinese company is not going to work,” Mr Orban was quoting as saying, adding that the government has already started to look for a new partner and financing for the Cernavodă project.

Neither Nuclearelectrica nor the government has said why Romania cancelled the deal with CGN. Press reports in Romania said CGN has been criticized by Romania’s “strategic partners” over security issues tied to the use of Chinese technology. Reports also said there had been “cost concerns” related to the project.

According to press reports, cooperation between Nuclearelectrica and CGN became uncertain after Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis and US president Donald Trump signed a joint declaration in Washington last year that called for closer cooperation between US and Romania in nuclear energy.

In August 2019 the US added four Chinese nuclear entities to a trade blacklist, accusing them of helping to acquire advanced US technology for military use in China. The four were CGN and its subsidiaries China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC), China Nuclear Power Technology Research Institute Company and Suzhou Nuclear Power Research Institute Company.

Last month shareholders in Nuclearelectrica approved a new investment strategy for 2020-2025 that included proposals to go ahead with the completion of two new units at the Cernavodă at an estimated cost of €6.45B. The two units are partially built 700 MW CANDU type reactors.

Cernavodă has two commercially operational Candu 6 pressurized heavy water reactors supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and built under the supervision of a Canadian-Italian consortium of AECL and Ansaldo.

Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1996, after work had been suspended on a further four units in 1991. Unit 2 was subsequently completed and began commercial operation in 2007. Efforts to resume work on Cernavoda-3 began in 2003.

Other Nuclear News

UAE Completes Unit 2 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has successfully completed the construction of Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region. The unit has now officially been handed over to the ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary – Nawah – for operational readiness activities, testing, regulatory inspections and international assessments.

The accomplishment was preceded by the successful completion of hot functional testing (HFT) in August 2018, as well as structure integrity testing (SIT) and integrated leak rate testing (ILRT) in March 2019.

ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said, “These achievements also highlight the benefits of building four identical reactors simultaneously, as the lessons learned during the construction of Unit 1 have contributed to the successful development of Units 2, 3 and 4 of the Barakah Plant.”

As per UAE law, the construction and operation of nuclear energy plants are subject to regulation from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). Once Nawah staff has confirmed that the plant, its people and related programs are ready, it will seek FANR’s approval to begin the loading of nuclear fuel assemblies and commence start-up.

Construction of the plant began in 2012, with construction of units 3 and 4 at 92 percent and 85 percent complete, respectively.

U-Battery Awarded £10 million to Bring Its Technology to Market

The nuclear start up U-Battery has been selected as one of several firms to proceed to Phase 2 of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) competition.

The AMR competition is part of the UK Government’s Energy Innovation Portfolio in which U-Battery has been awarded almost £10m to conduct design and development work, the next step in bringing the new nuclear technology to market.

This funding was awarded following U-Battery’s successful participation in Phase 1 of the AMR competition, which sought to determine the feasibility of, and provide support for, the design and development of advanced modular reactor designs.

In Phase 1, U-Battery conducted a feasibility study that made the business, economic and technical case for the deployment of U-Battery in the UK and in Canada, where it would be deployed in industrial applications, mining sites and remote locations.

A key achievement of Phase 1 was to clearly demonstrate to Government how U-Battery supported its strategic objectives on climate, and how it could contribute to the UK’s decarbonization efforts, and in turn, deliver net-zero.

The study demonstrated how U-Battery could support the decarbonization of a number of the UK’s critical and strategic heavy and energy intensive industries, including the paper, glass, steel, ceramics, minerals and chemicals sectors.

U-Battery will now progress to Phase 2 of the AMR program as one of the Government’s preferred bids, and will use the funding from Government to initiate design and development work this year, contributing to the first of a kind (FOAK) deployment of a U-Battery, expected to be completed by 2028.

U-Battery has received additional funding from BEIS to design and build mock-ups of the two main vessels for the reactor and the connecting duct. The investment was awarded under the ‘Call for Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Phase 2B’, which opened in January 2020.

During the next phases of the program, U-Battery will be working to form new commercial partnerships to support the next phase, and the development of the technology.

  • U-Battery Design

U-Battery is an advanced/small modular reactor, capable of providing a low-carbon, cost-effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for energy intensive industry and remote locations.

According to World Nuclear News, U-Battery is a 4 MWe high-temperature gas-cooled micro nuclear reactor which will be able to produce local power and heat for a range of energy needs. The firm says says the technology, which uses high-integrity TRISO fuel, aims to replace diesel power with clean, safe, and cost-effective energy for a variety of applications, including remote communities and other off-grid locations such as mining operations.

The conceptual design was developed by the Universities of Manchester (UK) and Delft (Netherlands) after the project was initiated by Urenco, a global leader in the nuclear industry. U-Battery’s Design Office is located at Urenco’s UK site in Capenhurst.

Continued progress with licensing and design work have confirmed and refined the conceptual U-Battery model toward the next phase of investment opportunities. Advancements include an improved nuclear island (reactor pressure vessel, core design, intermediate heat exchanger and helium pump) and refined conventional equipment including turbine/generator sets.

  • TRISO Fuel
TRISO Fuel for U Battery

TRISO Fuel for U Battery. Image: U Battery file.

U-Battery is powered by accident tolerant TRISO fuel, which prevents the release of radioactive material, minimizing the need for back-up shutdown systems.

The reactor size and design, when combined with robust fuel, delivers inherent safety and reduces the size of any emergency planning zone, allowing the energy source to be located directly adjacent to the point of use.

TRISO fuel is constructed by triple-coating spherical particles of uranium fuel. A uranium center is coated in a layer of pyrolytic carbon, which in turn is coated in silicon carbide, with a further outer layer of carbon. The structure and spherical shape of TRISO fuel means that it maintains its integrity under extreme conditions.

TRISO fuel is proven technology. It was originally developed in the 1960s and has been manufactured recently in the USA by BWXT. The fuel has been developed and tested under a program funded by the US Department of Energy (Advanced Gas Reactor Fuel Development and Qualification Program).

NuScale Moves to Phase 2 of CNSC Vendor Design Review

The firm is making progress in its Vendor Design Review with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. NuScale’s submission is a combined Phase 1 and 2 level VDR, as the company’s SMR design is mature and can directly enter VDR Phase 2. NuScale joins about another dozen or so firms enrolled in the process.

NuScale continues progress on its per-licencing evaluation against Canadian regulatory requirements as it also forges ahead to deliver its first plant in North America

NuScale Power announced that it completed its second submittal to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for per-licencing Vendor Design Review (VDR) of its groundbreaking small modular reactor (SMR) design.

“NuScale is excited about the opportunities in Canada for our SMR technology, and we continue to make significant market entry progress,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins.

“Working with our majority owner Fluor, NuScale has developed an extensive supply chain in Canada through which it can serve customers in Canada and around the globe.”

“Completion of the Vendor Design Review provides assurance to both the regulator and potential customers that the NuScale design will be acceptable to build and operate in Canada,” said NuScale Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Tom Bergman.

NuScale has signed an agreement with Bruce Power to develop a business case to support the company’s efforts to bring its innovative and unique SMR technology to Canada. Ontario Power Generation participates on the NuScale Advisory Board and provides advice on potential deployment of NuScale technology in Canada.

Bruce Power partners with McMaster University
to Advance Nuclear Technologies

The new partnership will see Bruce Power and McMaster work together to develop, advance and promote nuclear technologies in Ontario, including next generation reactors, life extension and medical isotopes.

Bruce Power and McMaster initially linked up over a shared role as leaders in the global medical isotope supply chain. McMaster is home to Canada’s most powerful nuclear research reactor, and is the leading producer in the world of Iodine-125. They also are a major supplier of Holmium-166, and both are used to treat various cancers.

“This is an exciting day as we mark the beginning of a renewed partnership to explore avenues of collaboration with one of Canada’s most reputable universities,” says Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO.

“We want to ensure Canada remains at the forefront of global isotope development and production, while advancing new technologies around life extension and new reactor development. Today’s announcement is a big step forward in achieving these goals.”

US / Biden’s $2 Trillion Clean Energy Plan Includes Nuclear

(NucNet) Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has released a $2 trillion clean energy plan designed to achieve a carbon emissions-free energy sector by 2035. The plan includes keeping existing nuclear energy plants in operation.

Mr Biden announced plans to spend $2 trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors, part of a suite of sweeping proposals designed to create economic opportunities and strengthen infrastructure while also tackling climate change.

Campaign officials said they expected to achieve the goal by encouraging the installation of “millions of new solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines,” but also keeping in place existing nuclear energy plants.

Mr Biden backed nuclear power, unlike some of his Democratic primary opponents. However, it’s not clear what, if any, position he has on development of advanced nuclear reactors. Mr. Biden must contend with soliciting support from the Democratic party’s green wing which has struggled to come to terms with the need for nuclear energy as a means to address climate change. While some green groups have reluctantly agreed on preservation of the existing fleet of large LWRs, they have not expressed support for SMRs nor advanced accident tolerant designs.

He called for increasing research on developing power technologies like hydrogen and grid-size storage to store power from solar and wind, overcoming a key drawback of those carbon-free energy sources now.

The civilian nuclear energy industry has called for market reforms to help the nuclear industry and has long argued that nuclear energy’s contribution to energy security and grid stability should be rewarded.

Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute has said the status quo, in which markets recognize only short-term price signals and ignore the essential role of nuclear generation, will lead to more premature shutdowns of well-run nuclear facilities. “Once closed, these facilities are shuttered forever,” she said.

United States Nuclear Industry Council Elects New Board Members

The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) announced the addition of seven new members to its board of directors. This move expands the board from nine to fourteen, and brings a more diversified and expansive set of views into the organization’s leadership structure.

“The men and women elected to the board represent the best of the best in their various areas of nuclear and corporate management expertise,” said Bud Albright, president and CEO of the organization.

“The expansion of our board is a part of a broader effort and commitment to bring enhanced value to USNIC’s well-established role as the lead organization representing the entire advanced nuclear industry. Our commitment is to continue to grow our positive impact throughout the advancement of nuclear technology, and to expand U.S. presence throughout the world. These men and women will help USNIC direct its resources, and focus our policies and actions, towards ensuring that research, development, and deployment of clean, safe, and reliable nuclear energy is available both for this generation and for those to come,” Albright said.

The newly elected board members join our current board members:

  • Jeremy Harrell (ClearPath) – Chair
  • Eric Knox (Amentum) – Vice Chair
  • Mike Telson (General Atomics) – Treasurer
  • Jon Ball (GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy) – New
  • Harlan Bowers (X-Energy) – New
  • Elmer Dyke (Centrus Energy)
  • Mike French (Orano)
  • Peter Hastings (Kairos Power) – New
  • Scott Kopple (BWX Technologies) – New
  • Jeff Merrifield (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) – New
  • Chip Pardee (Terrestrial Energy)
  • Kirk Schnoebelen (URENCO, USA) – New
  • Wendy Simon-Pearson (Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation) – New
  • Dan Stout (Tennessee Valley Authority)

The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) is a leading U.S. business advocate for increased nuclear energy use and global deployment of U.S. advanced nuclear technologies and services.

USNIC represents over 80 companies engaged in nuclear innovation and supply chain development, including technology developers, manufacturers, construction engineers, key utility movers, and service providers. For more information visit www.usnic.org Contact: Caleb Ward (202-270-1690 | caleb.ward@usnic.org)

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