European Union Goes Green for Nuclear Energy

  • EU Goes Green for Nuclear Energy
  • Poland Selects Site for 1st New Nuclear Reactor
  • South Korean Presidential Candidate Calls for Nuclear Energy Exports
  • South Korea Announces New Plan on Nuclear Fusion R&D
  • Japanese Heavy Industries Sign On to Supply Chain for TerraPower

EU Goes Green for Nuclear Energy

eu logoDespite setbacks in Germany and Belgium, the European Union this week published a draft document that labels nuclear energy as being “green” because they are zero CO2 emission power plants.

It also applied this label to gas power plants which emit half the CO2 of coal fired units. Both designations are intended to facilitate financial support for new nuclear power plants in EU member countries. The EU Taxonomy guides and mobilizes private investment in activities that are needed to achieve climate neutrality in the next 30 years. (EU Fact Sheets on sustainable finance)

“Taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress as well as varying transition challenges across member states, the Commission considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future,” the European Commission said in its statement

A Majority of EU Members Support the Policy

EU states including the Czech Republic, Finland and France, which gets around 70% of its power from the fuel, see nuclear as crucial to phasing out CO2-emitting coal fuel power. The Czech Republics is expected to release a tender for a 1200 MWE PWR for Dukovany. Finland is expanding its nuclear fleet and is opening Europe’s first deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel.

In addition, Poland and Romania, also EU members, have ambitious plans, which are not yet funded, to swap out coal fired power plants with new nuclear reactors. Poland is looking at SMRs and Romania wants to complete two partially built 700 MWe CANDU type units.

AP reported that France has asked for nuclear power to be included in the so-called “taxonomy” by the end of the year, leading the charge with several other EU countries that operate nuclear power plants and want to make it eligible for green financing.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said the proposal is good on a technical level and insisted on Sunday that the bloc “cannot become carbon neutral by 2050 without nuclear energy.

Germany Stands Behind Its Renewable Energy Investors

windmillThe EU’s decision to release the draft with nuclear energy getting the “green” designation set off a political food fight with Germany. It issued a strongly worded protest to the publication of the draft document even as it took steps to close three of its remaining six nuclear reactors. Austria, Spain, and Luxemburg support Germany’s position.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck criticized the plan to classify investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate facilitating each EU country meeting its climate goals.

AP reported he said that “the EU Commission’s proposals water down the good label for sustainability,” Habeck, who represents the Germany’s environmentalist Greens in the country’s coalition government, told German news agency dpa. “We don’t see how to approve the new proposals of the EU Commission.”

“In any case, it is questionable whether this greenwashing will even find acceptance on the financial market,” Habeck stressed, referring to the practice of painting investments as sustainable when they actually are not.

The German reactors are Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen-C, run by E.ON and RWE, and began operation in the 1980s. The PWrs have a gross combined capacity of 4,254 MW. The last three nuclear power plants, Isar-2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim-2, will be turned off by the end of 2022, removing another 4,291 MWe (gross) of capacity from the grid.

This heart of the food fight over the”green”  label is that investors in renewables do not want to have to compete for EU financial support with nuclear power plants. The “green” classification will support access to capital as well as setting a reduction in financing costs. Germany has gone all in on the use of renewable energy technologies and, in effect, the government has been captured by investors in solar and wind energy industries.

The decision by Germany to phase out nuclear power and shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy was first taken by the center-left government of Gerhard Schroeder in 2002. In 2005, shortly after his term ended, Schröder joined the board of directors of the Nord Stream joint venture (Gazprom) which is intended to ship Russian natural gas to Germany. If the Nord II gas line is completed and turned on, it will tighten Russia’s grip on Germany’s energy security. Russia uses gas supplies as a tool of geopolitical influence.

The combination of reliance on renewable energy and Russian gas has backed Germany into a corner. Instead of figuring a way out of the hole its has dug itself into, apparently, its plan is to keep on digging.

US Newspaper Calls Germany’s Energy Policies “a Mistake”

In the US the Washington Post published an editorial which called Germany’s energy policy “a mistake.”

Mistakes_topbannerThe newspaper pointed out that the consequences of Germany’s decision to phase out its nuclear plant are that it now has the highest electricity rates in the EU due to its reliance on the intermittent nature of solar and wind power.

Also, Germany is now burning more lignite which is the dirtiest type of coal in terms of conventional pollutants and CO2 emitted per ton of the fossil fuel. In October of this year as gas prices rose, Germany stepped up its coal burning operations.

The Post praised France’s Emmanuel Macron for his renewed commitment to nuclear energy.

“Next door, French President Emmanuel Macron is moving in the opposite direction, announcing plans for new nuclear reactors. France relies more on nuclear power than any other nation, a major reason the country has about half the per capita greenhouse emissions Germany does. Mr. Macron rightly sees expanding the nation’s nuclear capacity as a better alternative than attempting to rely on renewables alone.”

EU Green Taxonomy Will Drive Energy Investments

fees_thumb.pngThe draft document defines the criteria for classifying investments in nuclear or gas-fired power plants for electricity generation as “sustainable,” with the objective of directing “green finance” towards activities that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases.

Reuters reported that by focusing the “green” label on climate-friendly projects, the system aims to make those investments more attractive to private capital, and stop “greenwashing , where companies or investors overstate their eco-friendly credentials.

The Brussels proposal sets conditions for the inclusion of nuclear and gas including a time limit. For the construction of new nuclear power plants, projects will have to have obtained a building permit before 2045. Work to extend the life of existing plants will have to be authorized before 2040.

It also required guarantees regarding waste treatment and the dismantling of nuclear installations at the end of their operational life.

The EU draft text, which has been under discussion for months, was sent to all member states on 12/31/21.  Member states have four months to decide whether to support the final document. Given the contentious nature of the debate within the EU so far, it is likely the decision will be postponed while the EU sorts things out.

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Poland / Company Overseeing Nuclear Project Announces Preferred Site In Pomerania

(NucNet) Warsaw has ambitious new-build plans and is targeting commercial operation of first reactor in 2033. A site in the northern province of Pomerania near the Baltic coast has been selected as the preferred location for Poland’s first commercial nuclear power station, Polskie Elektrownie JDR (PEJ), the company charged with managing the project, said in a media statement monitored in Brussels. The largest city in the region is Gdansk.

The site, Lubiatowo-Kopalino, in the coastal province of Choczewo, was chosen on the basis of detailed site investigation and environmental surveys. According to PEJ, three of the key factors in choosing the site were the area’s lack of existing stable power generation, unlimited access to cooling water and the potential for transport of oversized loads by sea.

At the beginning of the site selection process, more than 90 potential locations were considered. Analysis took into account factors such as land features, availability of cooling water, nature conservation and infrastructure.

PEJ said it will now apply for administrative approvals and permits. “We are working as planned and the site selection has confirmed it,” said Anna Moskwa, minister of climate and environment.

Piotr Naimski, the government’s lead official for strategic energy infrastructure, said Poland aims to diversify its energy mix and the announcement of a preferred nuclear power station site is “tangible proof of that fact”.

Poland wants to build from 6,000 to 9,000 MWe of installed nuclear capacity based on proven, large-scale, pressurized water nuclear reactors of the Generation III and III+ design. Commercial operation of a first nuclear reactor unit in a proposed set of six is planned for 2033.

PEJ has not yet chosen the technology type for the project, but France’s EDF, US-based Westinghouse and South Korea have all expressed their formal interest in Warsaw’s nuclear plans.

In July 2021, EDF opened an office in Warsaw to support the preparation of a nuclear offer. At the time the company said the move confirmed its long-term commitment to support the Polish nuclear ambition by proposing the development of four to six EPR units in the country.

In September, Westinghouse opened a global shared services centre in Krakow, where about 160 staff will work to support the company’s global operations and to provide Poland with “the best technology to support its climate change goals and secure the energy needs of its economy.”

Separately, there is intense competion among US and UK vendors to sell small modular reactors (SMRs) to Polish industrial firms that want them for their ability to provide combined heat and power to their plants. GE Hitachi recently announced it has hired BWXT Canada to build the major components of 10 BWRX300 SMRs to be sold to Polish firms.

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South Korean Presidential Candidate Calls for Nuclear Energy Exports

Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol said last week that he will export 10 nuclear power plants by 2030 if elected, and he continued to slam the Moon Jae-in administration’s nuclear phase-out policy.

Yoon said he will deepen nuclear cooperation with the United States to create 100,000 jobs by winning orders for more than 10 nuclear power plants from eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Yoon said he will “form a pan-governmental organization for exports of nuclear power plants and build a process to push for exports of nuclear power plants.”

“By strengthening the foundation for exports of nuclear power plants, I will create decent jobs at home and abroad for future generations,” Yoon said.

Yoon also vowed to resume construction of two nuclear reactors — Shin-Hanul No. 3 and No. 4. Construction work for the two reactors has been suspended since 2017 under the nuclear phase-out policy.

He announced the campaign pledges on the nuclear industry as he visited the construction site of the two reactors in the coastal county of Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The nuclear phase-out scheme set by Moon’s government centers on refraining from building additional plants while retiring old ones. Under the roadmap, South Korea plans to decrease the number of nuclear plants in operation to 17 by 2034, from this year’s 24.

Voters go to the polls on March 9, 2022. There are multiple candidates who are on the ballot and nuclear energy isn’t a leading issue with voters. Moon has seen a significant drop in his ratings in the polls which accounts for the number of candidates who want his job.

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South Korea Announces New Plan on Nuclear Fusion R&D

fusionSouth Korea’s National Fusion Research Institute is leading the development of its Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) project.

Minister of Science and ICT Lim Hye-sook visited the National Fusion Research Institute and attended a virtual fusion reactor demonstration on 12/30/21.

“The government is preparing an R&D roadmap regarding a demonstration reactor for nuclear fusion-based power generation,” she said, adding, “It is going to provide extensive support for the commercialization of nuclear fusion energy.”

She said the new plan of the government also focuses on commercial nuclear fusion. In order to be able to initiate nuclear fusion-based power generation in the 2050s, it is going to accelerate the development of eight key technologies and increase the domestic procurement of key components.

In terms of progress to date, the minister said the ultra-high temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius was maintained for 30 seconds, which is a world record. The institute is planning to continue to improve its technology so that the temperature can be maintained for 300 seconds in 2026, which is critical for commercial nuclear fusion.

At the same time, it is going to work more closely with other governments so that the development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor can be accelerated and related construction plans can be improved.

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Japanese Heavy Industries Sign On to Supply Chain for TerraPower’s Wyoming Nuclear Project

(Wire services) The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (7011.T) are set to cooperate with TerraPower to build an Advanced nulear reactor in Wyoming. The project is funded under a cost-sharing arrangement with the U.S. Department of Energy under its Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program. The 345 MWe sodium cooled reactor is intended to replace an existing operational coal fired power plant.  Natrium Reactor Fact Sheet

JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will provide technical support and data from their respective subject matter experts. MHI is also expected to be a supplier of some of the key components of the reactor.

The Japan Times reports while the specifics of the collaboration are still being discussed, the JAEA is also considering using its sodium experimental facility Athena in Ibaraki Prefecture to develop safety technology.

JAEA, which has a history of operating sodium-cooled fast reactors such as the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture and the Joyo experimental fast reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture, is considering providing operational data and designs to TerraPower.

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DOE Establishes Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

  • US DOE Establishes Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations
  • DOE Loan Programs Office Backs Loan Guarantees

US DOE Establishes Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

clean energyThe US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the establishment of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, a new DOE office that aims to help deliver the administration’s climate agenda.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides more than $20 billion to establish the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and support clean energy technology demonstration projects in areas including clean hydrogen, carbon capture, grid-scale energy storage, and small modular reactors.

Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, said the new office “reflects President Biden’s commitment to help Americans turn on the lights in their homes, drive to work, and power their businesses using clean, affordable, and sustainable energy.”

“Thanks to the investments Congress made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations will move clean energy technologies out of the lab and into local and regional economies across the country, proving the value of technologies that can deliver for communities, businesses, and markets,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm.

“This new office will hire the best and brightest talent to invest in cutting edge clean energy projects, and DOE is calling on anyone dedicated to addressing the climate crisis to roll up their sleeves and join us.”

DOE said the office would be the department’s “hub” for speeding the maturation of near- and mid-term clean energy technologies, “with the goal of quicker commercial adoption and increased availability.”

The new DOE office will award funds through a competitive process, and “will solicit demonstration projects that address energy challenges that cut across technology silos.”

S&P Global quoted Meghan Claire Hammond, an associate with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, who represents energy industry clients on regulatory and transactional matters.

The office will consolidate project management expertise in one place “as opposed to being siloed in each of the applied energy offices,” Hammond said in an interview. “It’s a good way to get these projects through kind of the ‘valley of death’ between funding and demonstration.”

clean energy funds

DOE is expected to expand its workforce of civil servants and contractors by more than 1,000 positions to staff the new office. Visit energy.gov/careers for job listings.

DOE is receiving $62 billion total from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the largest infusion of funding since the Department was created.

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DOE Loan Programs Office Backs Loan Guarantees

Under the new leadership of Director Jigar Shah, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) has announced that more than $40 billion is available in loans and loan guarantees to fund innovative energy infrastructure projects.

The LPO has also announced new procedures, making it easier to apply for loan guarantees. Pursuing a loan or loan guarantee through the LPO offers unique funding opportunities and DOE support for energy and clean technology project developers, particularly those that are pursuing innovative technology for which commercial lending is less readily available.

LPO provides debt financing for the commercial deployment of large-scale energy projects; however, for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) and smaller projects, other offices within DOE offer funding and financing opportunities.

lpo role

After reading about the respective program’s requirements, potential borrowers are encouraged to seek a pre-application consultation to discuss eligibility requirements and the application process directly with LPO staff. Including a brief description of the proposed project in your email is helpful.

Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program (Advanced Fossil Energy, Advanced Nuclear Energy, Renewable Energy & Efficient Energy), email lgprogram@hq.doe.gov
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, email atvmloan@hq.doe.gov
Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program, email telgp@hq.doe.gov

To learn more about how LPO likes to work with borrowers and how to eventually apply, visit the LPO Process page.

Information on loan guarantees for advanced nuclear energy projects is available here.

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Free Webinar on Future of Fusion Energy with Arthur Turrell

turrell header

Find out about fusion energy and question Arthur Turrell, author of The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet  (Amazon US)

About this event  ( Registration Link )  January 25, 2022 at 2:30 PM EST

Fusion Energy Insights is excited to present a free, open-to-all author Q&A event with plasma-physicist-turned-economist Arthur Turrell in conversation with Melanie Windridge on January 25, 2022 at 2:30 PM EST.

Come to find out about fusion energy and some of the key public and private players in the growing fusion industry. Read the book and put your own questions to Arthur Turrell in our Q&A. The event will be recorded and the replay shared with registered participants.

About the book

sb coverWhen asked what problem he hoped scientists will have solved by the end of the century, Professor Stephen Hawking replied “I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.”

But what is nuclear fusion, and could it really be the answer to the climate emergency? Fusion exists already in the stars that fill our universe with light, but can we harness that power here on earth? This is the question The Star Builders seeks to answer.

In his compelling new book, Dr Arthur Turrell makes the case for cutting-edge new techniques in nuclear energy – innovations that would allow us to recreate the power of the stars on our own planet. Filled with the remarkable stories of the scientists and entrepreneurs who have dedicated their lives to a seemingly impossible dream, The Star Builders is an unmissable insight into the future of life – and space – on our planet.

Prior Coverage on this Blog

About Arthur Turrell

Bio_Arthur_Turrell_Feb2021-150x150Dr Arthur Turrell holds a PhD in plasma physics from Imperial College London, for which he won the Atomic Weapons Establishment thesis prize. From 2013 to 2015 he worked as a Doctoral Prize Fellow in the plasma physics group at Imperial alongside renowned starbuilders such as Professor Steve Cowley, former head of EURATOM and former CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Since 2021, Arthur has worked at the Office for National Statistics, as the Deputy Director of the Data Science Campus. He previously worked at the Bank of England where he applied his scientific training to questions about the macro-economy, most recently being featured alongside several Nobel prize-winners in articles on how to ‘rebuild macroeconomics’.

About Melanie Windridge

mw tedDr Melanie Windridge is a specialist in fusion energy who helps people see the value and opportunities of fusion to society and their businesses. She is a plasma physicist, speaker, writer… with a taste for adventure. For instance, she climbed to the top of Mt. Everest.

Melanie has a PhD in plasma physics (fusion energy) from Imperial College London, is Communications Consultant for privately-funded fusion company Tokamak Energy and Founder of Fusion Energy Insights.

She was previously UK Director of the Fusion Industry Association. Melanie is the author of two books – the award winning volume  Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights and Star Chambers: the race for fusion power. She hosts a blog, Science at Extremes, on her website and writes for Forbes online.

By registering for this event you agree to be added to the Fusion Energy Insights mailing list. You will receive news and insights on fusion energy but never spam. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info at fusionenergyinsights.com

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Neutron Bytes will be Off for the Holidays

wreathSeasons Greetings to you. 

Neutron Bytes is taking a break for the holiday period with new posts coming in early January.

In 2022 the blog will enter its 15th year of publication.

Until then be safe, be healthy, and be kind to one another.

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WNA – Nuclear Energy and Sustainable Finance

WNA – Nuclear Energy and Sustainable Finance

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) today (12/20/21) published an examination of the issue on its website.

WNA’s publication of this document becomes a globally significant touchstone for all other advocates for nuclear energy to assess how they might approach the issue.  Here is a summary and a link to the full document – Nuclear Energy and Sustainable Finance

ESG-1_thumb.png

Summary

  • Increasingly, jurisdictions are taking policy and regulatory steps to enhance the role of the financial system in the transition towards low-carbon and sustainable economies.
  • These regulatory actions focus on three broad themes: disclosure, risk management and the mobilization of capital. There is a move towards mandatory disclosure internationally.
  • Over 20 countries have either implemented or are currently developing taxonomies. Some of the taxonomies issued to date specifically include nuclear energy while others currently exclude it. Many taxonomies under development intend to align with the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities.
  • The ongoing evolution of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria presents both opportunities and risks to the nuclear industry.
  • Multiple international initiatives are working to help mobilize capital for the sustainability transition by seeking to harmonize ESG standards and reduce market fragmentation. Some of these are likely to result in major changes to non-financial reporting and risk assessment by financial institutions

GEN IV Forum Report

gen iv forumThe WNA effort is the latest assessment of the relevance of ESG reporting. In September of this year the the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) published a report on the topic of nuclear energy as an asset class.

The report said that nuclear energy has the potential to show up positively against a wide range of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data collection and accounting metrics. This should allow nuclear energy to be considered as an investable asset class, thereby allowing nuclear companies and projects to access climate finance.

The report – Nuclear Energy: An ESG Investible Asset Class – was produced by a finance industry taskforce set up in 2020 by GIF’s Economic Modelling Work Group. “The report has been produced by the finance community for the finance community. It is intended to provide guidance to the finance community and wider stakeholders on how nuclear assets could report against ESG.”

See this summary of the GEN IV report and its significance in this World Nuclear News report from September 7, 2021

U.S. Lags Behind UK and EU Counterparts

While the U.S. nuclear energy industry has contributed its expertise to these efforts, it has not independently engaged with financial rating agencies nor pro-actively taken action to assess the potential for ESG reporting for nuclear energy utilities, developers of advanced nuclear reactors, or their respective supply chains.

On October 23, the financial wire service Market Watch reported that while the potential for ESG reporting exists, investors remain on the fence about it. Despite concerns about costs, and the usual litany of fears, uncertainties, and doubts, Market Watch reported that, “nuclear power’s track record over the past decade has been excellent. Finally, with respect to its carbon credentials, nuclear competes with every low- and no-carbon source available.”

The wire service also reports that regulatory updates may encourage ESG investors on a global scale. The U.S. nuclear energy industry could be left behind in terms of access to ESG capital flows if firms are not positioned to present their ESG credentials to investors.

The announcement this week that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will invest 85 million pounds ($112.12 million) is a clear signal that these types of investors are placing their bets on nuclear energy.

Barclays says the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, a classification system Europeans are developing, could bring “more clarity on nuclear energy’s role in the green transition, which may help build a stronger consensus among investors still unsure about the nuclear power sector from an ESG perspective.”

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Qatar Invests £85 Million In Rolls-Royce SMR Project

  • Qatar Invests £85 Million in Rolls-Royce SMR Project
  • Rolls-Royce SMR Signs £3.7m Contract with Sheffield Forgemasters
  • Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Framatome Awarded GAIN Vouchers
  • India to Increase Nuclear Power Capacity Over Next Decade

Qatar Invests £85 Million in Rolls-Royce SMR Project

rolls royce nuclear(NucNet) Rolls-Royce (RR.L) announced this week Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will invest 85 million pounds ($112.12 million) in the British company’s new low-carbon nuclear power business in exchange for a 10% equity stake.

The firm has agreed with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for the funding in its Small Modular Reactors business, which Rolls-Royce said was now fully funded having secured a total of 490 million pounds through commercial equities and grants.

“This investment is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s global leadership in nuclear innovation,” British Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement.

QIA will join Rolls-Royce Group, BNF Resources UK Ltd and Exelon Generation Ltd as shareholders in Rolls-Royce SMR, taking a 10% share of the equity.

Rolls-Royce said in November it was pushing ahead with plans to develop and deploy a new generation of SMRs after raising £450m in funding from investors and the government.

The development of SMRs is a core part of the UK government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. The 10-point plan included investing £525m to help develop large and small-scale nuclear plants, as well as research and development of new advanced modular reactors.

Rolls-Royce has promised to “harness decades of British engineering, design and manufacturing knowhow” to roll out the first of its SMRs, which are based on a similar technology used to propel nuclear submarines. A key difference will be fuels. The reactors on submarines use a high levels of uranium enrichment for their fuel. Commercial reactors using light water technology have enrichment levels at less than 5% U235.

The firm has applied to the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation to begin the Generic Design Assessment process in November. Rolls-Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson told the Nuclear 2021 conference he wants to begin discussions with the regulator in January 2022.

Each of the initial production run of reactors is expected to have a generation capacity of 470 MWe, or enough to power the equivalent of 1.3m UK homes, and cost about £2.2bn per unit dropping to £1.8bn by the time five have been completed. This means it will be comparable with offshore wind at around £50/MWh. A single SMR power station will occupy the footprint of two soccer fields.

rolls royce build out

Rolls-Royce said 90% of an individual Rolls-Royce SMR power plant will be built or assembled in factory conditions and around 80% could be delivered by a UK supply chain.

Rolls-Royce said its SMR can support both on-grid electricity and off-grid clean energy solutions, enabling the decarbonization of industrial processes and the production of green hydrogen.

QIA’s chief executive officer, Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, said QIA is investing in the energy transition and funding the technologies that enable low-carbon electricity generation.

Warren East, chief executive officer of the Rolls-Royce Group, said he was “tremendously pleased” with the QIA partnership. “We have successfully raised the capital we need to establish Rolls-Royce SMR and it is encouraging to confirm that the business is now set up to succeed,” he said.

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Rolls-Royce SMR Signs £3.7m Contract with Sheffield Forgemasters

sheffield-forgemasters-1-2048x1536_3405312Rolls-Royce SMR has signed a contract with Sheffield Forgemasters to enable the first development forgings to be manufactured to support the deployment of Rolls-Royce SMRs.

The £3.7m contract will be delivered by the UK business, Sheffield Forgemasters, kick-starting the UK nuclear renaissance and the development of commercial Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the UK.

The forgings form part of Rolls-Royce SMR’s work to achieve regulatory approval and will allow both parties to understand and develop manufacturing procedures and techniques, to de-risk and accelerate the important first production of these key components.

Sheffield Forgemasters is the only UK company able to produce these significant forgings. As a result, Rolls-Royce SMR will benefit from Sheffield Forgemasters’ decades of experience and delivery abilities.

This is the first major supply chain material contract enabled by the coming together of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant funding, delivered through the Low Cost Nuclear challenge and private capital, to form the Rolls-Royce SMR business.

This investment further strengthens the delivery of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and will contribute to the ability of the UK to deliver on its decarbonization objectives and long-term export opportunities through Rolls-Royce SMR.

David Bond, CEO of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “These forgings will be integral to the overall evaluation of routes to manufacture for the Rolls-Royce SMR program. The forgings will require highly detailed simulation work and analysis from our RD&T team to deliver components which will meet exacting nuclear-grade standards. We are very excited to be working with Rolls-Royce SMR on the first deliverables for this project.”

A Rolls-Royce SMR power station will have the capacity to generate 470MWe of low carbon energy, equivalent to more than 150 onshore wind turbines. It will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years, helping to support the roll out of renewable generation and overcome intermittency issues.

Potential global demand for SMRs is valued between £250 and £400 billion. The UK now has the opportunity to become a world-leader in its own SMR reactor and to export its skills and knowledge around the globe.

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Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Framatome Awarded GAIN Vouchers

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded vouchers today to Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (Seattle, WA) and Framatome Inc. (Lynchburg, VA) to accelerate the development of their advanced nuclear technologies. Both voucher recipients will gain access to the nuclear research capabilities and expertise available at the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory complex at no cost to the businesses.

gain voucher

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help scale up and qualify the production of fuel made at its future manufacturing facility for its micro-modular reactor.

Framatome will work with Argonne National Laboratory to develop and validate a model for multi-phase liquid flow that will help accelerate the delivery of advanced fuel designs for both light-water reactor and potential advanced reactor fuel markets.

GAIN Nuclear Energy voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards, but are provided access to the national labs at no cost. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20 percent cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution.

GAIN was established by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and provides the nuclear community with the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued, safe, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet.

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India to Increase Nuclear Power Capacity Over Next Decade

Jitendra Singh, India’s Minister of State in the Department of Space and Department of Atomic Energy, said India’s present nuclear power capacity of 6780MWe is planned to be increased to 22,480MWe by 2031. His statement came as part of a response to questions in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament). Here is a summary of his remarks.

* The present nuclear power capacity of 6,780MWe is planned to be increased to 22,480MWe by 2031.

* The government has approved plans and financing for ten 700 MWe indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) (700 MWe each)..

India Reactors Under Construciton - WNA

Nuclear Reactors Under Construction in India – Table: World Nuclear Assoc

India Planned Nuclear Reactors - WNA

Planned Nuclear Reactors for India – Table: World Nuclear Assoc

Plant Construction Updates

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s (KKNPP’s) Units 3 & 4 (two VVER-1000 reactors) being implemented by the  Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has is 55% complete. The units are  expected to be commissioned in March 2023 and November 2023, respectively.

Construction is underway for Units 5 & 6. Units 5 &  6 and represent the third phase of development at Kudankulam.  Units 1 & 2h began operation in 2014 and 2017 respectively.

* The 500MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) being built by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (Bhavini) at Kalpakkam is at the commissioning stage. Completion is scheduled for October 2022.

* The fast reactor fuel cycle facility (FRFCF) project is  32% complete and it is expected to be completed by December 2027.

Jaitapur Update

The government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for the site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district for construction of six 1650MWe reactors in technical cooperation with France with a total capacity of 9,900MWe. Currently discussions continue as to costs and technical considerations with EDF.

Essentially, this means relatively little has changed since the project was first announced in 2007. NPCIL has taken the position that it prefers to allocate the money needed to build the six EPRs and use it to build another fleet of the Indian designed PHWRs.

At $5,000/Kw the project would cost $50 billion. The 700 MWe PHWRs are expected to come in at less than $3,000/Kw due to localization of the supply chains for them and use of Indian skilled trades. At $2.1 billion each,  NPCIL could build at least 20 PHWRs at numerous locations around the nation making India’s electrical grid more resilient in the bargain.

Westinghouse Update

Plans for six Westinghouse AP1000s to be built in Andhra Pradesh remain in limbo. Instead, the site is expected to host a future new build of six Russian reactors which were “relocated” to that site from Gujarat after protests against nuclear energy broke out on Indian PM Modi’s home turf last year.

The problem for Westinghouse is the so-called “supplier liability law.” While positioned as being related to the potential for providing compensation in the case of an accident, it has been very effective as a trade barrier to western reactor vendors to the delight of India’s massive coal interests.

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Dutch Govt Commits to Build Two New Nuclear Reactors

  • 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

holland nuclear(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

greenlight(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).

eVinci

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.

evinci  tech specsThis 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.

21_htrpm

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

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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BWXT Canada to Build 10 BWRX300 SMRs for Poland

  • BWXT Canada to Build 10 BWRX300 SMRs for Poland
  • BWXT Delivers Fuel to NASA to Support Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
  • DOE Seeks Input on Creation of HALEU Fuel Program
  • NASA Finds that a Reactor for the Moon Does Not Require High Enriched Uranium
  • Centrus Energy and Clean Core Thorium Energy Fabricate First Samples of HALEU Fuel

BWXT Canada to Build 10 BWRX300 SMRs for Poland

  • Company will manufacture components for small modular reactors (SMRs) for Poland
  • Cambridge’s BWXT Canada lands nuclear contracts worth up to $1 billion

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), BWXT Canada Ltd. (BWXT Canada) and Synthos Green Energy (SGE) announced this week their intention to cooperate in deploying 10 BWRX-300 small modular reactors (SMR) in Poland.

The letter of intent was signed this week at BWXT Canada’s Cambridge, Ontario, headquarters. It calls for the firm to manufacture key components for small modular reactors (SMRs) destined for Poland.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is not known at this time whether exports credits are in the picture from either Canadian or U.S. government sources.

At an initial estimated cost of $4,000/Kw, each 300 MWe unit would cost $1.2 billion. A deal for 10 units would be worth up to $12 billion, but the actual cost could be much lower. GEH has claimed that it can in volume production of the BWRX 300 achieve significant cost reductions. It is not clear how many units have to be produced before economies of scale kick in.

In a fact sheet posted on the GEH website, the firm says the BWRX-300 is designed to provide clean, flexible and dispatchable electricity generation that is competitively priced and has the life cycle costs of typical natural gas combined cycle plants targeting $2,250/kW for NOAK (nth of a kind) implementations. At this price each unit would cost $675 million with 10 units costing 6.75 billion.

The deal is based on a prior agreement signed between BWXT Canada and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to co-operate in designing, manufacturing and commercializing a small modular reactor (SMR) called the BWRX-300.

what are SMRs

The announcement calls for Poland’s Synthos Green Energy (SGE) to deploy at least 10 BWRX-300s in that country by the early 2030s. BWXT Canada is poised to manufacture a range of products including reactor pressure vessels for the project, which is expected to support hundreds of jobs at BWXT facilities in Ontario for a decade.  BWXT Canada Ltd. could see up to $1 billion in component orders for nuclear reactors bound for Poland.

The reactors will be used to replace coal fired power plants. In some instances, the SMRs will be able to use existing infrastructure such as switchyards and grid connections.

A first of a kind unit of the BWRX-300 is also expected to be deployed at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington new nuclear site in Clarington, Ontario.

“BWXT Canada is pleased to be expanding our co-operation with (GE Hitachi) to deploy their innovative SMR technology to Poland,” John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT’s Nuclear Power Group, said in a press release.

“Our highly unique facilities and skilled workforce in Cambridge and at our other locations in Ontario are well suited to manufacture a variety of products for this advanced reactor.”

“This landmark agreement between GEH, BWXT Canada and SGE is proof that the world is watching Ontario when it comes to SMRs,” said Todd Smith, Ontario Minister of Energy.

“Our strong nuclear supply chain and talented workforce are already paying dividends and cementing our reputation as a global hub for SMR expertise.”

SGE is a part of the largest private industrial group in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), operating in several countries and owned by Michael Solowow, a leading Polish private investor and industrialist. The company is targeting the first BWRX-300 in Poland to be operational in 2029 and to support that goal has established partnerships among others with PKN ORLEN, the largest multi-energy corporation in the CEE.

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BWXT Delivers Fuel to NASA to Support Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) has reached a critical milestone in the nation’s pursuit of space nuclear propulsion by delivering coated reactor fuels to NASA in support of its space nuclear propulsion project within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is one of the technologies that is capable of propelling a spacecraft to Mars and back. Innovative new nuclear fuels and reactors required for the mission must be able to withstand the extremely high temperatures and corrosive conditions experienced in the engine during spaceflight.

Typical-NTP-System

Under the terms of a previously announced contract awarded to BWXT by the Idaho National Laboratory, the company will continue to produce fuel kernels, coated fuel kernels, and design materials and manufacturing processes for fuel assemblies.

BWXT is developing two fuel forms in support of a reactor ground demonstration by the late 2020s. BWXT is also designing a third, more advanced and more energy-dense fuel form that could be evaluated in the future.

Spacecraft using NTP technology have several advantages over conventional chemical-propellant designs. NTP is a lower-mass and more efficient propulsion system that allows astronauts to travel through space faster, thus reducing exposure to cosmic radiation and enabling return flights.

BWXT has been able to leverage its decades of specialty and coated fuel manufacturing experience as well as its existing licensed production facilities to be the first private company to deliver relevant coated fuels that will be used in NASA testing scheduled next year.

“This is a landmark accomplishment for BWXT, and we’re extremely proud to support these efforts toward one day seeing a crewed spaceflight travel farther than ever before,” Government Operations President Dr. Rob Smith said.

“This is a credit to everyone engaged in this endeavor in our labs and manufacturing facilities, the teams at the national laboratories, and the academic researchers who are all working together to achieve this goal.”

BWXT produces a variety of fuels that enable diverse mission concepts – from high-temperature coated fuels for space exploration to TRISO fuels for terrestrial use in microreactors.

Background on the NASA NTP Contract

The ANS Nuclear Wire reported that BWXT was one of three companies selected in July 2021 by NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) to produce a conceptual reactor design that could support future mission needs.

INL awarded a 12-month, $5 million contract to BWXT and its partner, Lockheed Martin, while separate contracts went to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, partnered with X-energy and Aerojet Rocketdyne, and to Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies, partnered with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Blue Origin, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, General Electric Research, Framatome, and Materion.

All three teams are designing reactors fueled by high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) TRISO fuel to meet specified performance requirements that could transport crew and cargo missions to Mars and science missions to the outer solar system. At the end of the contracted 12-month performance period, INL will conduct design reviews of the reactor concepts.

A successful NTP program could be followed by nuclear electric propulsion, which would use its nuclear fuel to produce electricity, and then generate thrust by ionizing inert gas propellants (such as xenon and krypton) and accelerating the ions using a combination of electric and magnetic fields or an electrostatic field.

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DOE Seeks Input on Creation of HALEU Fuel Program

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking public input on its plans to create a new program that will ensure the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel in the United States. The establishment of a HALEU Availability Program is essential to the demonstration and commercial deployment of advanced reactors, including two demonstration projects, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) that will receive $2.5 billion in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

haleu

A majority of the advanced reactors under development in the United States require HALEU fuel to achieve smaller designs, longer operating cycles, and increased efficiencies over its predecessors. HALEU is not available at commercial scale from domestic suppliers. A lack of this commercial supply chain could significantly impact the development and deployment of U.S. advanced reactors and increase the risk and uncertainty for private investment in the production of HALEU.

The Energy Act of 2020 authorizes DOE to establish and carry out a program to support the availability of HALEU for civilian domestic research, development, demonstration, and commercial use. The request for information (RFI) will be used to help develop DOE’s HALEU Availability Program and will also be considered by DOE in preparing its report to Congress.

HALEU is enriched between 5 percent and 20 percent with uranium-235, the main fissile isotope that produces energy during a chain reaction. The material is required by most U.S. advanced reactors to achieve smaller designs that get more power per unit of volume. Current reactor fuel is enriched up to 5 percent.

DOE projects that more than 40 metric tons of HALEU will be needed by 2030 with additional amounts required each year to deploy a new fleet of advanced reactors in a timeframe that supports the Administration’s net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

Support for the Outreach Effort

“I am pleased that the Department of Energy is moving ahead with this announcement that will lead to a domestic supply of high-assay low enriched uranium in the United States,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

I have long supported the commercialization of advanced nuclear technologies as a zero-emission source of baseload energy, and I am committed to funding the Advanced Nuclear Fuel program as authorized in the Energy Act of 2020 to prevent reliance on Russia or other foreign suppliers to fuel the next generation of nuclear power. This program will help the U.S. maintain our nuclear supply chain, create high-paying manufacturing jobs, and reassert U.S. leadership on the international stage.”

“Advanced reactors are an incredible asset to have in our collective fight against climate change,” said Dr. Kathryn Huff, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Nuclear Energy.

“If we don’t proactively take the steps now to ensure a sufficient and diverse supply of HALEU, then reactor demonstration and deployment projects, like those funded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, won’t be fueled in time to help us slow the impacts of climate change.”

How to Submit Comments

The full request for information can viewed on the Federal Register. Written comments and information are requested on or before January 13, 2022. Online responses will be accepted at https://www.regulations.gov

Electronic comments can also be submitted to rfi-haleu@hq.doe.gov in a Microsoft Word or a PDF file. Please avoid the use of special characters or any form of encryption and include “Response to RFI” in the subject line of your email that submits the comment document.

Requests for additional information should be sent to: rfi-haleu@hq.doe.gov and include “Question on HALEU RFI” in the subject line.

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NASA – a Reactor for the Moon Does Not Require High Enriched Uranium

nasa logoThe nuclear reactor that NASA plans to launch to the Moon’s surface later this decade to power a manned mission would not require weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel, according to a government study released this week that contradicts previous assertions.

The report, “Analysis of Alternative Core Designs for Fission Surface Power Capability Demonstration Mission” is available at OST  (full text).  It was released to the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP) at the University of Texas at Austin, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to NPPP as recently as 2018, NASA had claimed that HEU was necessary to reduce the weight of space power reactors and had tested such a reactor. By contrast, the new report reveals that using low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, which is not suitable for nuclear weapons, would not increase the total weight of the reactor system if a “moderator” were used to slow down the neutrons to facilitate nuclear fission.

The report compares the weight of reactor systems including fuel, moderator, and radiation shield. It finds that two alternative LEU designs have similar weight ranges as the HEU baseline design, and the lightest estimate is actually for one of the LEU versions.

The report says the two proposed moderators, yttrium hydride (YH) and zirconium hydride (ZrH), still require some research and development, but there is time because NASA’s deadline for launching a power reactor is not until 2027.

The draft report was distributed within the U.S. government in February 2020. This may explain why the U.S. government’s Space Policy Directive–6, in December 2020, effectively banned bomb-grade uranium fuel in space reactors by declaring that, “The use of HEU in space nuclear power and propulsion systems should be limited to applications for which the mission would not be viable with other nuclear fuels or non-nuclear power sources.”

Since then the Department of Energy confirmed that space nuclear power reactors must comply with Space Policy Directive–6.

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Centrus Energy and Clean Core Thorium Energy Fabricate First Samples of HALEU Fuel

clean core thorium energy logoCentrus Energy Corp (NYSE-American: LEU) President and CEO Daniel B. Poneman has congratulated Clean Core Thorium Energy and Texas A&M on successfully fabricating the first sample pellets of a next-generation nuclear fuel called ANEEL (Advanced Nuclear Energy for Enriched Life).

Centrus and Clean Core have been working together under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed earlier this year to promote Clean Core’s advanced nuclear fuel, which will combine thorium with High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) produced by Centrus.

Based on more than 15 years of research and design, the new HALEU-Thorium ANEEL fuel is suitable for new and existing CANDU and other Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). ANEEL can reduce the amount of waste produced in CANDUs/PHWRs by more than 80 percent, minimizing waste management costs and safety concerns, while offering nonproliferation benefits.

Clean Core plans to test and qualify ANEEL fuel at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) next year and expects to commercialize the fuel by late 2024. Texas A&M University’s Nuclear Engineering and Science Center successfully fabricated the ANEEL fuel samples under quality requirements and supervision of INL.

Use of the Fuel in CANDU Reactors

Under the MOU signed earlier this year, Clean Core and Centrus are collaborating to promote the use of ANEEL advanced nuclear fuel in CANDU reactors around the world, together with other PHWRs. While the initial test pellets being fabricated by Texas A&M are using a small quantity of HALEU supplied by INL, Clean Core Thorium Energy plans to use HALEU from Centrus for commercial-scale production of ANEEL fuel.

Under a three-year contract signed with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2019, Centrus is constructing the first NRC-licensed HALEU production line in Piketon, Ohio. Centrus has met every contract milestone to date and is continuing its work under the contract.

“Producing the first ANEEL test pellets is an important step forward in the development of this new, advanced nuclear fuel,” said Daniel B. Poneman, President and CEO of Centrus Energy.

“With a large fleet of PHWR reactors already operating in Canada and elsewhere, ANEEL could both accelerate and expand early demand for HALEU in the next few years. We value our partnership with Clean Core to support the commercialization of ANEEL and look forward to the opportunity to become their long-term HALEU supplier.”

“Working with Centrus Energy to promote our ANEEL advanced nuclear fuel will help bring clean, reliable power within reach for emerging countries that need it. Our innovative technology using thorium and HALEU offers tremendous cost savings, safety, and nonproliferation benefits for CANDU/PHWR-type nuclear power plants,” said Mehul Shah, CEO of Clean Core Thorium Energy.

According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 48 CANDUs/PHWRs in operation worldwide, with a combined electric generating capacity of 24 million kilowatts. The largest fleet of such reactors is in Canada, where 19 CANDU PHWRs with a capacity of nearly 14 million kilowatts supply 15 percent of the country’s electricity. Since these reactors currently operate on unenriched natural uranium, they would potentially represent a new market for Centrus as well as for Clean Core Thorium Energy.

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NuScale Announces Plans to Go Public; Value Set at $1.9 B

  • NuScale Announces Plans to Go Public
  • Small Modular Reactor Market to Reach $18.8 Billion by 2030

NuScale Announces Plans to Go Public; Value Set at $1.9 B

The transaction is expected to provide gross proceeds of up to $413 million to bolster and accelerate the commercialization of NuScale’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR)  technology

Nuscale-Logo(Horizontal_BlueTM)wTagNuScale Power, LLC (“NuScale”) has entered into a business combination agreement (merger) with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SV)

The combined company, which will be named NuScale Power Corporation, will have an estimated pro-forma enterprise value of approximately $1.9 billion and will be listed under the ticker symbol “SMR” upon closing.

The transaction includes a $181 million oversubscribed, fully committed common stock PIPE anchored by global financial and strategic investors such as Samsung C&T Corporation, DS Private Equity and Segra Capital Management, with participation by Spring Valley’s sponsor, Pearl Energy

The transaction is expected to provide gross proceeds of up to $413 million to bolster and accelerate the commercialization of NuScale’s SMR technology

Fluor (NYSE: FLR) projects to control approximately 60% of the combined company and remain an important partner providing NuScale with engineering services, project management, administrative and supply chain support.

Assuming the “pro-forma enterprise value” ($1.9B) of the new firm is retained, Fluor’s stake will be worth at closing will be an estimated $1.14 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022 and is subject to approval by Spring Valley’s shareholders as well as other customary closing conditions.

About Spring Valley Acquisition Corp.

Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SV) is a special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of entering into a merger or similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities focusing on sustainability, including clean energy and storage, smart grid/efficiency, environmental services and recycling, mobility, water and wastewater management, advanced materials and technology enabled services.

Spring Valley’s sponsor is supported by Pearl Energy Investment Management, LLC, a Dallas, Texas based investment firm that focuses on partnering with best-in-class management teams to invest in the North American energy industry.

Following the transaction, NuScale will continue to be led by its current leadership team. For additional details read the full text of the NuScale press release and NuScale Investor Relations

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Small Modular Reactor Market to Reach $18.8 Billion by 2030

The nuclear trade press wire service Power Engineering reports reports that according to a new report by Valuates Reports, the global small modular reactor market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15.8%. The report projects the small modular reactor market to reach $18.8 billion by 2030, up from $3.5 billion in 2020.

According to the findings, there are multiple factors driving this growth.

  • Ontario Power Generation to deploy GE Hitachi small modular reactor tech
  • Rolls-Royce secures funding for SMR nuclear technology

Key players of the global small modular reactor market analyzed in the research include Fluor Corporation, Brookfield, General Atomics, Holtec International, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, General Electric, Rolls Royce Plc, Terrestrial Energy, TerraPower LLC, and X Energy LLC.

According to Valuates’ findings, the growing demand for electricity, as well as the flexibility of mall modular reactors in terms of size and power output, are further fueling the market.

Increase in demand for power generation in remote locations, adaptability of small modular reactors, and ease of construction due to factory fabrication fuel the global small modular reactor market growth. On the other hand, investments directed toward renewable energy hamper the market. On the contrary, decarbonization of energy sector creates several lucrative opportunities.

Governments across the world want to see SMRs fully deployed in order to lessen their reliance on fossil fuels. COVID-19 has increased the pace of market advancements by focusing more on nuclear energy technology, which in turn is expected to drive the growth of the SMR market.

According to the report, the global small modular market is likely to increase due to the comparably cheap cost and time required for building SMRs. It notes that compared to a wind or solar farm, SMR facilities take up a relatively smaller area, resulting in a small footprint.

Older generation nuclear reactors are vast in size and need a significant amount of capital and construction time. The report says nuclear reactors are challenging to deploy in areas far from power grid systems. As a result, putting up a nuclear reactor in remote areas is not practical, paving the way for the creation of smaller nuclear reactors.

The report goes on to say the Small Modular Reactor market is being driven by the increasing need for flexible power generation, along with the world’s transition from a fossil-fuel-based energy system to a net-zero-emissions one. SMRs are seen as a very promising alternative for providing both baseload and flexible operations together with renewables.

They can run at high capacity while also satisfying the demand for production rate flexibility and creating energy services, ancillary services, and low-carbon co-products when SMRs and renewable energy are combined into a single energy system and connected through smart grids.

The report also notes that the United States accounted for the highest small modular reactor market share in 2020 and is also the fastest expanding region followed by the UK.

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Posted in Nuclear | Comments Off on NuScale Announces Plans to Go Public; Value Set at $1.9 B

NuScale Reported to Plan to Go Public

  • NuScale Reported to Plan to Go Public
  • Saudi Arabia May Be Getting Ready to Release a Tender for Nuclear Reactors
  • Sheffield Forgemasters Signs MOU with Rolls-Royce SMR

NuScale Reported to Plan to Go Public

nuscale river  barge transport tugboat-smr_thumbAccording to a news media report by a S&P Global/Platts, NuScale has decided to go public by seeking a deal with a publicly traded investment fund, known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The news service based its report on statements made last week by Guggenheim Partners, the company’s financial advisor, at a industry conference.

Speaking during a conference 12/08/21 on nuclear plant financing sponsored by the US Nuclear Industry Council, Guggenheim Partners’ Senior Managing Director James Schaefer said NuScale is going to go public through a SPAC. He said that Guggenheim, which Fluor, NuScale’s major investor, hired in May to explore alternatives for the company, is managing that process.

SPACs are publicly traded investment funds. They are created to raise funds for privately held companies by going public without the expense and extensive regulatory process associated with a conventional initial public offering (IPO).

A SPAC financial offering would likely be just the first of several rounds of fund raising as it is unlikely it could obtain all money it needs in one round. Investor confidence in the company’s future depends a lot on the number of orders it gets from new customers beyond the government subsidized project in Idaho. The wire service noted that it’s not clear whether funding from a SPAC deal would meet all of NuScale’s financing needs or if it plans to seek additional capital through other means.

S& P Global also reported that NuScale has raised $1.3 billion so far to fund its efforts to license the design of its SMR and establish the supply chain for fabricating the reactor modules, Chris Colbert, chief strategy officer and chief financial officers aid during the same conference.

According to S&P Global, and quoting NuScale’s Colbert, the Department of Energy has provided about $500 million in funding to NuScale, Fluor has provided $600 million, and outside investors, including Japanese and South Korean companies that are part of the supply chain for the reactor, have provided the balance.

Even so, NuScale will need billions of dollars to meet its future financial needs. In October 2020 the Department of Energy approved a $1.355 bilion cost-shared award to UAMPS to help cover its costs for the NuScale SMR installation in Idaho.

Equity Partners Will Build NuScale SMRs

The company won’t be building its own factory to manufacture its SMRs. A spokesperson for the firm told this blog that NuScale expects to have others manufacture NuScale Power Modules using their existing production facilities. This is possible for NuScale as the size, material and geometry of NuScale Power Modules are well within the capacity of a number of existing suppliers. DHIC, IHI, BWXT are companies that have formed relationships with NuScale for this purpose.

In May 2021 IHI announced will develop containment structures to enclose reactor cores, as well as other components. IHI has been producing nuclear reactor components for about six decades including reactor pressure vessels. The firm is also making a $20M investment in NuScale.

In April 2019, NuScale Power and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Ltd. (Doosan) announced a $44M strategic cooperation to support deployment of the NuScale Power Module (NPM) worldwide. Doosan and its financial partners provided a cash investment in NuScale as part of this strategic relationship.

Doosan will supply long lead time components and other equipment. DHIC is expected to bring its expertise in nuclear pressure vessel manufacturing. Doosan also signed the ‘unit purchase agreement’ through which it will make a cash equity investment in NuScale with Korean financial investors. The terms of the equity deal were not disclosed but it will involve transfer of NuScale stock to Doosan.

The strategic cooperation between DHIC and NuScale is not limited to the USA, but will extend to global nuclear markets. DHIC and NuScale expect the value of equipment supplied through the contract will total at least S1.2 billion. Like the deal with JGC, the deal with Doosan is intended to place NuScale’s supply chain partners closer to future customers.

BWXT Canada Ltd’s facility in Cambridge, Ontario, has developed a comprehensive manufacturing plan for the upper reactor pressure vessel, along with manufacturing optimization reports, a detailed cost estimate based on the manufacturing plan, and a detailed manufacturing schedule, representing a benefit / cost and schedule certainty for potential buyers. Ongoing manufacturing process development work has involved developing and qualifying a specialized welding process to meet the manufacturing requirements of the NuScale vessels.

No Comment from the Company

NuScale declined to comment on S&P’s report.

“As we have previously stated, NuScale is in the process of evaluating strategic options to raise additional capital and accelerate the commercialization of NuScale’s groundbreaking small modular reactor technology. We have no update at this time,” Diane Hughes, the company’s communications vice president, said in an email to the Oregonian newspaper.

Fluor and its partners have said that they will continue to provide engineering services, project management and supply chain support to NuScale as part of any contemplated future projects.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) plans to build a six-unit SMR plant using 77-MWe NuScale reactor modules. NuScale received design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its 50-MWe reactor module and is awaiting full certification of the larger design.

What is a SPAC?

SPACs as are public companies established without operations with a goal of acquiring or merging with private companies that can then quickly become publicly traded. They are a fast-growing category of investment on Wall Street, with an increasing number of SPACs focused on energy transition businesses.

SPACs have been around for decades, but their popularity has soared in recent years. In 2020, 247 SPACs were created with $80 billion invested, and in just the first quarter of 2021, a record $96 billion according to a July 2021 report in the Harvard Business Review.

spac image nasdaq

Image: NASDAQ

SPACs allow public stock market investors to invest in transactions in the same way that private equity funds do. They are known as blank-check companies or shell corporations because at their inception they have no operations and no assets other than the proceeds of the SPAC’s initial public offering of shares.

According to a report in the New York Times 12/10/21 the Securities & Exchange Commission has concerns about SPACs and wants to tighten regulations to make them closer to Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in terms of agency oversight and industry compliance. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told the newspaper that SPACs are allowed to pitch potential investors using forward-looking business data that isn’t allowed in I.P.O.s. That loophole, he said, allows the financiers behind these funds to release rosy-looking numbers that mask the underlying health of the business they’re taking public.

The NYT article also reported that Gensler said that the people behind SPACs, including their sponsors, financial advisers and accountants, should be held more accountable for their due diligence on the companies these funds acquire, much as underwriters of I.P.O.s are.

A SPAC is Just the Beginning of the Firm’s Quest for Major Investors

The company intends to help UAMPS finance between $3.5 billion and $4 billion in costs to license and build the first plant because it is the first of a kind (FOAK), he said. NuScale hopes to have government support in the financing, he added.

Fluor CFO Joseph Brennan is quoted in the S&P report as saying on 12/02/21 in a conference call with analysts that the company had narrowed the options for reducing its stake in NuScale, but was not yet ready to make an announcement. “Internally, we’re starting to land on where we believe that value lies. And again, we look forward to being able to communicate that very shortly.”

NuScale was formed as a spinoff from Oregon State University in 2002. This month it named its reactor as VOYGR which seems to have a kind of Star Trek motif to it. The firm employs 450 people mostly in Oregon.

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Saudi Arabia May Be Getting Ready to Release a Tender for Nuclear Reactors

KSA mapAccording to wire service reports, an article in Construction Week, Saudi based Nesma & Partners has inked an MOU with Frances EDF to build the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) first nuclear plant. The deal was announced 12/01/21 at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris and also during a state visit by French President Emmanual Macron to Saudi Arabia.

The master agreement between France’s EDF and Saudi Arabia’s NESMA Construction is likely a positioning effort ahead of an expected Saudi tender for two full size nuclear power plants. By partnering with a Saudi firm, EDF hopes to address “localization” requirements that will likely be part of any nuclear reactor tender in Saudi Arabia. KSA has been quiet for some time as to when it would release the tender, but this action by EDF and NESMA, a domestic Saudi firm, indicates that it could be soon.

EDF would be expected to propose to be the vendor of its 1650 MWe EPR reactor and, also serve as the engineering, construction, procurement (EPC) project manager for the effort. NESMA would build the plant(s). The significance of this media latest report adds Bouygues Travaux Publics as a party to the MOU between EDF and NESMA (KSA construction firm.

Other bidders expected to show up in similar positioning moves could include China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan. No U.S. firms can participate in responding to a tender, either directly or with partners, due to the fact that KSA does not have an agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy with the U.S. under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act.

KSA has rejected signing on to one with the types of conditions accepted by the UAE for its construction of four South Korean 1400 MWe PWRs. The USA 123 agreement is touted by the U.S. State Department as being a “gold standard” for this type of commitment.

KSA has stated that it reserves the right to acquire uranium enrichment capabilities if Iran does not curb its nuclear program. As a practical matter, the KSA deal to acquire one or more commercial nuclear power plants would likely involve the supply of fuel for the plant(s) from either the vendor or a third party like Urenco.

KSA’s ability to pay for a commercial nuclear program depends very much on the price of oil. As of this 12/07/21, Brent Crude is priced at $76/bbl. KSA’s original ambitions in 2014 for nuclear power were a fleet of 16 reactors spread over three sites composed of 1000 MWe PWRs.

This vast project was based on the price of oil holding steady above $100/bbl. When the price of oil plunged to $60/bbl in early 2015, KSA hit the brakes on the entire program and only revived it a few years later for just two full size reactors. KSA would have to look at its budget to decide whether to proceed with enrichment capabilities and other elements of a nuclear weapons program.

KSA has also been working with South Korea on a 100 MWe SMR for use in sea water desalination at multiple sites to support release of natural gas for export that it has been burning at reverse osmosis plants to supply its cities with potable water.

It is unclear whether that effort would translate into a competitive advantage for South Korea to offer its full size PWRs (1400 MWe). South Korea’s success in the UAE is highly visible to KSA and that is a more likely factor that could weigh in for the country’s consortium of heavy industries that might submit a bid.

One limiting factor for South Korea is that it got the go ahead from the U.S. to include U.S. licensed (nuclear reactor design) intellectual property in the UAE contract because of the favorable terms in the UAE’s 123 Agreement. The UAE agreed not to develop its own enrichment capability and to not reprocess spent fuel to extract weapons grade plutonium from it.

South Korea would have to make the case that its bid to KSA does not include the intellectual property it used in UAE because there is no 123 agreement between the U.S. and KSA. This limitation does not affect China, Russia, or Japan.

In February 2019 KSA said at the Munich Security Conference that since it cannot get the U.S. to set aside its policies for 123 agreements that one of its options is to get reactors from China.

China is building its Hualong One (1000 MWe PWR) for Pakistan and the first of two planned units is scheduled to be connected to the grid next year.

KSA and Pakistan are close political allies. It is seen in some quarters that China’s export of the Hualong One to Pakistan is intended, in part, to give KSA a chance to “kick the tires” for one in anticipation of a tender from KSA for new plants.

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Sheffield Forgemasters Signs MOU with Rolls-Royce SMR

According to press statements by Rolls-Royce and Sheffield Forgemasters, the two firms signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a move to explore a long-term collaboration.

The collaboration would see the Yorkshire based Forgemasters, which was passed in to public ownership this year following a deal with the Ministry of Defense, supply large forgings to the Rolls-Royce UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fleet.

The firm is one of a handful of British companies to fabricate safety critical castings and forged components within nuclear power stations. It also has ASME certification for its products.

sheffield forge BBC photoThe project directly supports the UK’s civil nuclear renaissance and the development of SMRs in the UK, with Sheffield Forgemasters able to supply the complex, nuclear-grade demonstrator forgings as part of the regulatory process.

The important components will benefit from the decades of experience Sheffield Forgemasters has built up and its world class delivery experience.

Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR’s CEO, said: “Sheffield Forgemasters are world leaders in complex, safety-critical forgings and castings and we are incredibly fortunate to have their experience to support and enable our SMR programme.

“This agreement is the start of an enduring partnership and reflects our commitment to the UK supply chain as we look to re-build and re-energise the vital UK nuclear supply chain.”

David Bond, CEO of Sheffield Forgemasters commented: “SMR’s have the potential to become the standard for civil nuclear power generation and as an emerging market, fits extremely well with our long track record of supplying nuclear power components into the UK submarine programme.

“With a new investment fund of £400m to replace our defence critical assets, including the provision of a new 13,000 tonne forging line and 19 state-of-the-art machining centers, we will create much higher levels of manufacturing capability and efficiency, to the benefit of defence nuclear work, but with obvious cross-benefits for civil nuclear activity, including SMR’s.

The agreement was signed at Nuclear 21, the Nuclear Industry Association’s key industry event, which brings together stakeholders across the nuclear industry.

It follows the creation of Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd which has been established to bring forward and deliver the next generation of low cost, low carbon nuclear power technology.

Last month, Rolls-Royce SMR issued a Notice of Intention to submit its 470 MWe SMR design for entry to the UK’s Generic Design Assessment (GDA) regulatory process. The review of the SMR design, based on a small pressurized water reactor,  will begin in ernest once the government has assessed the company’s capability and capacity to successfully enter and complete the GDA process.

A Rolls-Royce-led UK SMR consortium aims to build 16 SMRs. The consortium includes Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and TWI. It aims to complete its first unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035.

About 80% of the plant’s components will be sourced from the UK. The target cost for each station is GBP1.8 billion by the time five have been built, with further savings seen as being possible.

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