- Dutch Govt Commits to Build Two New Nuclear Reactors
- Olkiluoto-3 / Regulator Gives Green Light For First Criticality At Finland EPR Plant
- Westinghouse Engages with NRC in Pre-Licensing Effort for eVinci Micro Reactor
- China’s 2nd HTGR Reaches First Criticality
- USTDA Grant Engages NuScale to Work in Ukraine
- NuScale Power Signs MOU with KNPP to Explore SMR Deployment in Kazakhstan
Dutch Govt Commits to Build Two New Nuclear Reactors
- Ruling Coalition deal commits EUR35B for climate projects including nuclear power
(Dutch English Language wire services)(WNN) The new Cabinet in the Netherlands is pledging to allocate 35 billion euros for climate measures over the next ten years. A big chunk of it, more than EUR5 billion, will allocated to support construction of two new nuclear reactors.
World Nuclear News reports that the Netherlands’ new coalition government has placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy. Some EUR500 million (USD564 million) has been earmarked to support new nuclear build in the period to 2025.
It anticipated that cumulative support for new nuclear power stations would reach more than EUR5 billion by 2030 which is likely to still be in the construction period for the plants. A date for revenue service for the reactors has not been set.
The preparations for the construction should start in two-to-three years according to Dutch English language media reports. The existing nuclear power plant in Borssele will initially remain open longer.
The Borssele 485 MWe nuclear power plant was built by Siemens in 1973. It was built to supply electricity to an aluminum smelting facility that for many years used two-thirds of the output of the power plant.. In July 2011 Borssele began burning MOX fuel. It provides about 3% of the country’s needs for electricity.
The new power stations are anticipated to be used for the production of electricity and hydrogen. By building new nuclear power stations, the Netherlands will also become less dependent on gas imports in terms of energy. The plants will coordinate their power production with renewable sources like solar and wind.
The new government said it will assist parties wishing to bid for the two unit nuclear power station. This will also mean financing. The level of financial support, including loan and loan guarantee mechanisms, rate guarantees, etc., are still to be determined. The agreement did not set a date for a tender for the reactors.
Nuclear is Part of a Bigger Energy & Climate Package
The decision is part of a larger package. The ruling coalition has completed a political deal for EUR35B for climate change measures and more nuclear power. The money will be made available through a new fund for climate and energy transition issues. It is intended for the construction of heat, hydrogen, and electricity networks. It also will result in spending more money on making buildings and the transportation sector more sustainable. The extra spending will be on top of an existing subsidy scheme for sustainable energy.
The coalition agreement also covers cutting red tape to increase the speed that projects are completed because major energy infrastructure projects are progressing too slowly.
The coalition partners said they would work with educational institutions, governments, and social partners to train enough people to ensure there are enough skilled workers to carry out the infrastructure tasks needed to achieve the climate goals. Retraining will also be available when necessary.
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Olkiluoto-3 / Regulator Gives Green Light For First Criticality At Finland EPR Plant
- Commercial operation scheduled for June 2022
(NucNet) Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland (Stuk) has granted a permit to utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) to go ahead with the physical startup of the Olkiluoto-3 EPR plant in western Finland.
Last week TVO submitted an application to Stuk asking for green light to proceed towards first criticality at the 1,600-MW Generation III pressurized water reactor (PWR) unit. First criticality at a nuclear plant means achieving a controlled, self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor core for the first time.
Stuk said Olkiluoto-3 has met the preconditions for criticality and low power tests. There are still regulatory hurdles ahead. Before the reactor is made critical the regulator will still verify the startup preparedness of the plant. Power will be ramped up in stages according to the regulator.
TVO said Olkiluoto-3 is scheduled to become critical this month. However, electricity production, and grid connection are expected at the end of January 2022. Commercial operation remains on schedule for June 2022. First fuel loading at Olkiluoto-3 was completed in March. First criticality was scheduled for January 2022.
Construction of the plant, supplied by an Areva-Siemens consortium, began in August 2005, but was delayed numerous times by supplier, construction and regulatory issues and it suffered significant cost overruns as a result.
The Finnish regulator’s strict interpretation of its requirements also contributed to the delays. Significantly, these practices continue as Rosatom has learned in its effort to gain approval to build one of its VVER nuclear reactors in Finland. The start date has been pushed back due to paperwork issues.
The struggles with the construction of the first of a kind EPR in Finland gave the design a reputation for trouble which influenced the United Arab Emirates to choose a South Korean consortium to build four 1400 MWe PWRs in that country. Problems with reactor welds in the construction of the Flamanville, France, EPR, has produced schedule delays and cost over runs for that unit as well.
EDF, which absorbed Areva’s reactor division, is building two EPRs at the UK Hinkley Point C site and is poised to ink a deal with the UK to build two more EPRs at the Sizewell C site. Cost containment is a key success factor for these projects to insure a market future for the reactor.
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Westinghouse Engages with NRC in Pre-Licensing Effort for eVinci Micro Reactor
Westinghouse Electric Company announced that it has filed a pre-application Regulatory Engagement Plan ( ML21326A275) for the company’s eVinci micro-reactor, detailing the planned pre-licensing application interactions with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The plan is aligned with NRC’s whitepaper on micro-reactor licensing. The objectives of pre-licensing is to align the applicant’s eventual submission with the agency’s need to review it in a timely manner (42 months) and to save the applicant money by avoiding multiple rounds of requests for additional information (RAIs).
The plan includes information on the design of the eVinci micro-reactor as well as the regulatory strategies envisioned including manufacturing, transportation, operation, and refueling phases of deployment.
This plan is an update to the version submitted in January 2020 and covers the planned pre-application interactions with the NRC in support of future Westinghouse eVinci microreactor license application(s).
Westinghouse currently plans to use 10 CFR Part 52 for the licensing of the e Vinci micro-reactor design.
The plan includes information on the basic design of the eVinci microreactor as well as the regulatory strategies envisioned including design, manufacturing, and transportation phases of deployment.
The firm’s transmittal letter said, “The plan includes our proposal of key topic areas that we would like to address through pre-application interactions to allow both Westinghouse and the NRC to determine the most effective means to license the advanced eVinci microeactor design. Through these interactions Westinghouse will continue to update the NRC of our deployment plans as they evolve.”
Separately, Westinghouse applied in February 2018 to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) of the eVinci. The CNSC offers the pre-licensing VDR as an optional service to provide an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor’s reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant. It aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations.
The eVinci micro-reactor is intended to support a variety of applications. These include off-grid sites, remote communities and islands, decentralized generation, disaster recovery, industrial sites, data centers, universities, defense facilities, marine propulsion, hydrogen generation and water purification.
“The eVinci micro-reactor is a truly disruptive energy technology that will provide reliable, carbon-free energy across the world,” said David Durham, President, Westinghouse Energy Systems. “This action brings us closer to commercializing eVinci reactors by the end of this decade.”
Big Plans for a Small Nuclear Battery
World Nuclear News reported the eVinci microreactor is described as a “small battery” for decentralized generation markets and for microgrids, such as remote communities, remote industrial mines and critical infrastructure. The nominal 5 MWe heat pipe reactor, which has a heat capability of 14 MWt, features a design that Westinghouse says provides competitive and resilient power as well as superior reliability with minimal maintenance. It is small enough to allow for standard transportation methods.
“The eVinci microreactor is a truly disruptive energy technology that will provide reliable, carbon-free energy across the world,” said David Durham, president of Westinghouse Energy Systems. “This action brings us closer to commercializing eVinci reactors by the end of this decade.”
In terms of commercial prospects, prospects for the design suffered a setback earlier this year when it didn’t make the cut for DOD’s Project Pele second round of financing for a transportable reactor for use by the military.
The Department of Defense (DOD) said on March 22nd of this year that it exercised contract options for two of three teams competing in the “bake off.” One led by BWXT Advanced Technologies and the other by X-energy, got the go ahead to proceed with development of a final design for a transportable advanced nuclear microreactor prototype. The two teams were selected from a preliminary design competition that also included Westinghouse. Project Pele will each continue development independently under DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) initiative.
Project Pele is a expected to be a fourth-generation nuclear reactor, which, once prototyped, could serve as a pathfinder for commercial adoption of such technologies, thereby reducing US carbon emissions and providing new tools for disaster relief and critical infrastructure support.
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China’s 2nd HTGR Reaches First Criticality
(SCMP)(NucNet) The second of the two high-temperature gas-cooled reactors at the Shidao Bay demonstration HTR-PM plant in Shandong province, eastern China, has attained first criticality according to a media report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) citing China Huaneng.
According to China Huaneng, the lead organization in the consortium to build the demonstration unit, the second reactor at the facility, which is also known as Shidaowan, reached first criticality on November 11th and will now follow a similar pathway of tests to those carried out at the first reactor.
Unit 1, which reached first criticality in September, is scheduled to be connected to the electricity grid before the end of this year and to begin generating electricity for the grid in 2022.
The gas-cooled HTR-PM is a Generation-IV reactor design with twin reactor modules of 100 MWe each driving a single 200-MWe steam turbine.
Its fuel is in the form of thousands of six-centimeter graphite ‘pebbles’ containing uranium enriched to 8.9% uranium-235. Instead of cooling water, the reactor’s graphite core uses inert helium gas with an outlet temperature of up to 750°C.
In line with the Generation-IV concept, the HTR-PM reactor can shut down safely in the event of an emergency without causing a core meltdown or significant leak of radioactive material.
China Huaneng said the plant is suitable for small and medium-sized power grids and has a range of potential commercial applications, including power generation, cogeneration of heat and power, and high-temperature process heat applications.
Other consortium members are China National Nuclear Corporation subsidiary China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (32.5%) and Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (20%), which is the research and development leader.
Work on the HTGR began in December 2012 and it had had been expected to start generation in 2019, which would have made it the first Generation IV reactor to enter operation. No reason has been given by Chinese authorities for the delay. However, observers of China’s nuclear program from outside the country noted that there were reports of problems with the efficiency of the units and other operational issues. China at one time had plans to build 20 of the units and also offer it for export. Reviving these plans will depend on the success of these first two units.
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USTDA Grant Engages NuScale to Work in Ukraine
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency announced grant funding for technical assistance to advance the decarbonization of Ukraine’s energy sector through the deployment of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
USTDA’s grant to the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU) will provide a comprehensive regulatory analysis to facilitate the introduction of SMR technologies to Ukraine. STCU selected Oregon-based NuScale Power, LLC, to carry out the assistance. The amount of funding for the grant was not disclosed by USTDA.
USTDA said in a press statement that, “technical assistance complements Ukraine’s national energy strategy, which calls for greater renewable and nuclear power generation capacity. The assistance will include a licensing gap analysis to support the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine’s (SNRIU) development of a regulatory regime that would enable the introduction of SMR technology into the country for the first time.”
SNRIU Chairman Hryhorii Plachkov (bio) stated: “SNRIU appreciates the U.S. government’s support in strengthening Ukraine’s regulatory capabilities. USTDA’s partnership with STCU and NuScale to undertake this analysis will support the potential implementation of innovative small modular reactor technologies in Ukraine. SNRIU, as a beneficiary, is looking forward to the successful completion of this analysis and the resulting improvements to our national legislation.”
This project advances USTDA’s Global Partnership for Climate-Smart Infrastructure, which connects U.S. industry to major clean energy and transportation infrastructure projects in emerging markets.
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NuScale Power Signs MOU with KNPP to Explore SMR Deployment in Kazakhstan
- Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP and NuScale Power agree to work together to evaluate NuScale’s groundbreaking technology as a clean energy solution in Kazakhstan
NuScale Power and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP (KNPP) announced that the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the deployment of NuScale VOYGR power plants in Kazakhstan. The MOU builds on the existing relationship between NuScale and KNPP, as NuScale previously submitted a Technical and Price Offer (TPO) to KNPP in 2019.
KNPP specializes in the development of nuclear power plant construction in Kazakhstan. The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between NuScale and KNPP as they examine the value NuScale’s SMR technology could bring to the country.
Under the MOU, NuScale will support KNPP’s evaluation of NuScale’s SMR technology, including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work.
This announcement by NuScale notes that it follows a string of previous MOUs signed earlier this year with various customers “signaling the global interest in NuScale’s SMRs as a critical means to reach countries’ climate goals.”
Kazakhstan has a 123 agreement with the US which is needed to facilitate applications for export of nuclear technologies to that country by US firms.
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