- Barakah / UAE Regulator Grants Operating License For Unit 2
- India / Government Pushing Ahead With Ambitious Plan For 10 New Nuclear Reactors
- Czech Nuclear Regulator Grants Site License For Up To Two Reactors At Dukovany
- Poland Eyes Coal Site For New Nuclear Power Stations
- GEH and Fermi Energia Strengthen Collaboration on SMR Development
- BWXT Awarded $35 Million in Uranium Processing and Research Reactor Fuel Contracts
- Atlantic Council, a DC Think Tank, Publishes a New Report on US-South Korea Cooperation on Nuclear Energy
Barakah / UAE Regulator Grants Operating License For Unit 2
(NucNet) The United Arab Emirates’ Nawah Energy Company, the facility’s operating and maintenance company, announced that the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE nuclear regulator, this week issued the operating license for Unit 2 of the Barakah nuclear power station. It is the second of four units at the site to get one.
Nawah said the FANR board of directors approved the license on March the following “rigorous assessments and independent reviews” of Nawah’s operational readiness, including the successful completion of a pre-startup review by the World Association of Nuclear Operators.
Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency and FANR deputy chairman, said the review process had been exhaustive.
“This is the result of intensive work and collaboration with national and international stakeholders such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, Republic of Korea and other international regulatory bodies.”
Mr Al Kaabi said that the commercial operation of Unit 1 would be announced soon. In December 2020, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said Barakah-1 had reached 100% of its rated power and commercial operation was scheduled for early 2021.
The Barakah nuclear station, in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is the first commercial nuclear energy facility in the Arab world and one of the largest nuclear energy new-build projects.
All four units are being supplied by main contractor and joint venture partner Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco). Each unit is 1,345 MW with a total net installed capacity for the station of 5,380 MW.
India / Government Pushing Ahead With Ambitious Plan For 10 New Nuclear Reactors
(NucNet) India is pushing ahead with ambitious proposals for the construction of 10 domestically-developed 700-MW pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). The PHWR is a domestic design based on the CANDU type reactor which uses heavy water and U238 to provide a critical reaction.
See previous coverage on this blog: India Doubles Down on Domestic 700 MWe PHWR design
The planned reactors are Kaiga-5 and -6 in Karnataka state, Chutka-1 and -2 in Madhya Pradesh, Mahi Banswara-1,-2,-3 and -4 in Rajasthan and Gorakhpur-3 and -4 in Haryana state, a facility officially known in India as the Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana nuclear station.
The government approved and financially sanctioned the construction of the 10 plants in 2017. At the time, a spokesman said they were scheduled to be completed by 2031. The total cost of constructing the reactors was estimated in 2017 at $16.3B. This is probably a very conservative estimate.
The design does not require a reactor pressure vessel (RPV) like a pressurized water reactor or boiling water reactor. This is important because India does not have the manufacturing capability to produce the large forgings needs to make RPVs.
However, what it means for Indian heavy industries is that they will get the procurement action for all long lead time components which will mean thousands of jobs for Indian workers.
Four of the 700 MWe PHWRs are already under construction: Kakrapar-3 and -4 in the state of Gujurat, western India, and Rajasthan-7 and -8 in the state of Rajasthan, northern India.
Construction is also scheduled to begin of two Russia-supplied VVER-1000 reactors as Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam nuclear power station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, minister of state Jitendra Singh told parliament.
India has about 7 GW of installed nuclear capacity today. India relies on coal for about 48% of its energy generation. It’s long term plan is to have 25 GWe of nuclear generating capacity which is significantly reduced from an earlier more ambitious plan for 60 GWe.
Czech Nuclear Regulator Grants Site License For Up To Two Reactors At Dukovany
(Wire Services) The Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety said this week it will authorize construction of two new reactors at a single site. It issued a site permit for up to two new reactor units at the Dukovany nuclear power station.
Czech state utility CEZ has said it is planning to build one Generation III+ reactor at the Dukavny site, with a maximum installed capacity of 1,200 MW. The license allows for two nuclear units and calls for the design to be a Gen III+ PWR.
The government hopes to connect the first reactor to the grid by 2037. The government must release a tender for bids by vendors. There is intense interest in the project by France which has been lobbying hard to get the work. In an earlier tender, the Czech state owned utility CEZ forced Areva, now EDF, to drop out of the competition and then later cancelled the tender altogether in 2014. At that time CEZ was talking about up to five nuclear reactors with two are Dukovany and three at Temelin and with an estimated cost of $25B.
Five companies have expressed interest in building new nuclear power units – China General Nuclear, EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Rosatom and Westinghouse.
The government’s plan to release a tender has been delayed by debates over whether to allow Chinese and Russian interests to participate in the bidding. In January the government said that China would not be allowed to submit a bid. The Russians tend to regard eastern European nations that are former communist bloc countries as captive markets, but so far this perspective hasn’t yet resulted in new projects outside of Hungary which is closely tied to Moscow.
The government and state-owned utility CEZ are reported to have agreed to a financing model for the new nuclear unit which is expected to cost approximately $7,4B for the 1200 MWe unit. The government has agreed to provide guarantees for any costs resulting from political or legislative risks. In other words, if a future government interferes with or shuts down the project any time before it is in revenue service, it is on the hook for all project costs.
A framework agreement was also signed under which CEZ is to hold a tender for the reactor supplier, negotiate a contract with an EPC to build it, and receive all the required construction licenses by 2024 with operations set for 2036.
Poland Eyes Coal Site For New Nuclear Power Stations
(Wire Services) Poland is considering the site of Europe’s largest coal-fired power station as a location for a nuclear plant as part of Warsaw’s ambitious reactor new-build program,
Piotr Naimski, secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure, told local RMF FM radio Poland’s first two or three units will be built at one of two locations – Lubiatowo-Kopalino or Zarnowiec – in the northern province of Pomerania near the Baltic cost.
Poland wants to build from 6,000 to 9,000 MWe of nuclear capacity based on proven, large-scale, PWR nuclear reactors of Generation III+ designs. Commercial operation of a first nuclear reactor unit in a proposed set of six is earmarked for 2033.
It’s an enormously ambitious plan and its likelihood of being realized depends on financing that is not in place. Asked about the cost of the nuclear program, Mr Naimski said it is estimated at about €17.5bn over 20 years.
Mr Naimski said using the sites of existing fossil fuel plants like Belchatow is “most rational” because of the existing grid infrastructure, which would allow the transmission of large amounts of electricity. He expects that nuclear power could generate up to 25% of Polish electricity in the early 2040s.
A government issued timetable said Poland could sign a general contract for its first nuclear unit in 2022 and issue a construction permit in 2025. Construction of Unit 1 would begin in 2026. The first of six plants could begin commercial operation in 2033 with the starting in second in 2035, the third in 2037, the fourth in 2039, the fifth in 2041 and the sixth in 2043.
Poland has an October 2020 civil nuclear agreement with the U.S. It calls for it officially to come into force. According to the agreement, the U.S. now must prepare a technology and financing proposal within 18 months regarding Poland’s planned $18 billion investment in American nuclear technology and services.
The actual cost of 6,000-9,000 MWe at $4,500/Kw would be in the range of $27B to $36B which means the U.S. is looked at by Poland with an entirely unrealistic view of providing $18B or about up to two-thirds or at least one-half of the cost. The agreement was inked by the Trump administration as a way to block China from gaining access to the Polish nuclear market.
It remains unclear how Poland will pay for these nuclear energy investments and there is no guarantee that the U.S. will provide major financing for them now that China has been edged out of the bidding.
GEH and Fermi Energia Strengthen Collaboration on SMR Development
(Wire Services) US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Estonia’s Fermi Energia have advanced their technology collaboration by entering into a teaming agreement to support the potential deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) in Estonia, GEH said on 8 March.
Through the teaming agreement GEH expects to support Fermi Energia in key areas such as licensing, human resources and supply chain development as well as continued development of the information and analysis needed for potential deployment of the BWRX-300 in Estonia.
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation small modular reactor (SMR) with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified 1530 MWe ESBWR. GEH claims that the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared with other SMR designs.
By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilizing the licensed and proven GNF2 fuel design, and incorporating proven components and supply chain expertise, the BWRX-300 can, GEH believes, become the lowest-risk, most cost-competitive and quickest to market SMR.
Fermi Energia has selected four SMR designs to be included in its feasibility study: Moltex Energy SSR-W300, Terrestrial Energy IMSR-400, GE Hitachi BWRX-300 and NuScale SMR.
The UK’s Rolls-Royce and Fermi Energia has also signed an MOU to study the potential for the deployment of SMRs in Estonia. The study will cover all aspects of deployment, including grid suitability, cooling, emergency planning, human resources, licensing feasibility, economics and the supply chain.
Bottom line Fermi Energia has its outreach ongoing with a wide spectrum of vendors are part of its due diligence and effort to get the best technology for a competitive price.
BWXT Awarded $35 Million in Uranium Processing and Research Reactor Fuel Contracts
BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) announced that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. (BWXT NOG) subsidiary has been awarded a total of $35 million in contracts under two separate programs – uranium recovery and conversion as well as construction of a new research reactor fuel line.
HALEU Research Reactor Fuel Project
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) awarded a $17.9 million contract to BWXT NOG to complete the second phase of the construction of a new research reactor fuel line.
The contract funds the repurposing of a portion of the Lynchburg uranium processing facility to be used to manufacture uranium-molybdenum alloy High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (U-Mo HALEU) fuel.
This fuel will facilitate conversion of high-performance U.S. research reactors that currently use high enriched uranium.
Separately, the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has awarded BWXT NOG a $17.4 million contract for uranium recovery and conversion.
Atlantic Council, a DC Think Tank, Publishes a New Report on US-South Korea Cooperation on Nuclear Energy
The Atlantic Council has released a new report on ‘Advancing US-ROK Cooperation on Nuclear Energy.’ The analysis recommends that commercial and government entities in the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) collaborate on third-country projects (especially those involving advanced reactors).
Also, it recommends that both countries increase export financing for nuclear projects, cooperate on civil nuclear research endeavors like the U.S. Versatile Test Reactor, and strengthen commercial ties around next-generation technologies. Briefing documents made public by the Idaho National Laboratory have discussed the opportunity for a South Korean nuclear industry role with the Versatile Test Reactor.
The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are longstanding civil nuclear partners, with the potential to intensify their collaboration, especially as global markets for nuclear energy expand.
A South Korean consortium that is building the Barakah project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) successfully brought the two of four reactors online, which will likely be a selling point for future international projects.
According to the report, the US and ROK should seek opportunities for collaboration in the following areas:
- Commercial and government entities in the US and ROK should identify opportunities for joint participation in third-country projects, especially with an eye toward advanced reactor projects.
- Both countries should invest in export financing so that they can secure the long-term geopolitical relationships that accompany the sale of nuclear energy technologies.
- The US and ROK governments should pursue cooperation on civil nuclear research, including the potential for cost-sharing on the US Versatile Test Reactor (VTR).
- The nuclear energy industries in both countries should increase commercial cooperation on advanced reactors in order to strengthen the supply chain for initial deployment.
- ROK nuclear firms should restore opportunities for US firms to participate in the ROK’s domestic nuclear energy infrastructure.
South Korean Ministry to Promote Nuclear Exports
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has established a support system for overseas nuclear power plant orders and is actively supporting the export of equipment by Korean small and medium-sized nuclear power companies.
In addition, a comprehensive portal site, Nuclear Power Export Information and Support System, has been launched that provides Korean companies with the information they need to enter the overseas nuclear power plant market. It also provides information on Korean companies and their products for overseas clients and buyers.
The group is targeting opportunities to build nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic and Poland.
UAE – South Korea Hydrogen Agreement
South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo said South Korea has signed an agreement with the UAE on March 4 to cooperate on the hydrogen economy, further expanding their partnership currently focused on nuclear energy, oil and gas.
During the Korea-UAE Industry and Energy Cooperation Forum held online, South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Al Jaber inked a memorandum of understanding to share hydrogen trade regulations and policies and establish a cooperation channel between two parties’ hydrogen economy promotion agencies – H2Korea and Hydrogen Alliance. The plan includes the use of the four reactors South Korea is building for the UAE to produce hydrogen.
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