News 2016 (Jul - Dec)

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German Court Says Government Must Compensate Utilities For Nuclear Phaseout
29.12.2016 - NucNet News

Germany’s top court ruled that the government must compensate utilities companies for its nuclear phaseout law, opening the door for damage claims that could be worth billions of euros.

IAEA Says Italy Faces Challenges On Nuclear Resources And Policy Development
29.12.2016 - NucNet News
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of safety experts said Italy is committed to effective nuclear regulatory oversight, but faces challenges related to resources and needs to further develop policies for nuclear safety, decommissioning and managing radioactive waste.

Global Uranium Supply ‘More Than Adequate’ For Foreseeable Future, Says Red Book
27.12.2016 - NucNet News

Regardless of the role that nuclear energy plays in meeting future electricity demand, the global uranium resource base is more than adequate to meet projected requirements for the foreseeable future, a publication by the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Survey Shows Continued Support For Finland’s Hanhikivi-1 Nuclear Plant
27.12.2016 - NucNet News

A survey shows that 67.4% of residents in the municipality of Pyhäjoki in northwest Finland support construction of the Russian-supplied Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant, a slight fall from last year, Fennovoima said. The company said on its website that 62% in a larger area covering Pyhäjoki and a number of neighbouring municipalities support the project. In a survey carried out one year ago, the corresponding figures were 68.1% for Pyhäjoki and 65.7% for the region. The survey was carried out by Norstat who interviewed 405 randomly chosen residents by telephone, Fennovoima said. Hanhikivi-1, being built for Fennovoima, will be a 1,200-MW VVER pressurised water reactor of the Russian AES-2006 type. It is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2024.

US Environmental Group Urges Trump To Support Nuclear Energy
23.12.2016 - NucNet News

In an open letter to US president-elect Donald Trump and Rick Perry – Mr Trump’s choice for energy secretary – a US environmental group has called for “a comprehensive vision and bold leadership on infrastructure, tax reform and energy policy” to help the nuclear energy industry. Co-authors of the letter, written by Environmental Progress, include climate scientists, climate sceptics, and scholars from the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution. The letter says a focus on making nuclear reactors for export may seem quixotic because nuclear energy is struggling against cheap natural gas and heavily subsidised renewables. And historically, nuclear plants have been built locally, not manufactured. But, the letter signers note, global demand for electricity is set to rise 70% over the next 25 years, mostly due to increased energy demand in developing nations. And technological advances mean that new nuclear reactor components can increasingly be mass-manufactured in factories and shipped around the world for re-assembly onsite. “What’s at stake is a market worth $500bn to $740bn (€478bn to €707bn) over the next decade, according to the US Commerce Department, and hundreds of thousands of high-skill and high-wage jobs,” the letter says. “US companies continue to lose significant market share to an ever‐increasing number of foreign government‐owned or led competitors, including Russia, Japan, France, China and South Korea. The reason is clear: those nations offer low-cost loans to nations seeking to finance nuclear plant construction. The US does not.” California-based Environmental Progress says one of its core aims is to stop the premature closure of nuclear plants, restart shuttered plants, and increase the rate at which nations build new nuclear plants.

UK And Japan Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

23.12.2016 - NucNet News
The UK and Japan have signed an agreement that significantly expands cooperation in the nuclear energy sector and paves the way for Japanese companies to build nuclear plants in the UK, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said in a statement. The agreement also covers cooperation in the areas of decommissioning and decontamination and it is anticipated that the deal will give UK companies with advanced technologies greater access to projects at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear station, where three of the six reactors suffered meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The agreement was signed in Tokyo on 22 December 2016 by Hiroshige Seko, the Japanese trade and industry minister, and Greg Clark, the UK business and energy secretary. The agreement is the first of its kind for Japan, while Mr Clark described it as “vital” to the UK's industrial strategy and the development of clean energy sources. One of the key components of the agreement is the proposals to build new reactors in the UK. Two Japan-led consortia, Horizon and NuGen, are developing plans to build new nuclear projects in the UK. Horizon, bought by Hitachi from a German company in 2012, has delivered the outline of a project at Wylfa Newydd in Wales, and has plans to build as many as six reactors in the UK. Toshiba joint venture NuGen is planning the Moorside nuclear station in Cumbria, northwest England, and is considering additional projects. The first of the three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at Moorside is targeted to come online in the mid-2020s.

South Africa’s Eskom Releases ‘Request For Information’ On New Nuclear
21.12.2016 - NucNet News

State-owned utility Eskom has released a request for information (RFI) related to plans in South Africa to build new nuclear power reactors. Eskom said the RFI is part of an “information-gathering exercise” related to nuclear project capacities and costs, proposed financing solutions and localisation opportunities. The information will also be used to supplement Eskom’s response to the government’s draft integrated resource plan (IRP), which was published in November 2016 for public comment. The IRP sets long-term goals for electricity planning. According to a draft energy plan released alongside the IRP, South Africa is planning to have its second commercial nuclear reactor unit online by 2037. Under the government’s proposed timeline, a new nuclear power plant is expected to begin commercial operation in 2037, with a total 20,385 MW of nuclear energy added to the national grid by 2050. The government had previously said it wanted to generate 9,600 MW of energy from as many as eight reactors that should begin operating from 2023 and be completed by 2029, with price estimates ranging from $37bn (€34.8bn) to $100bn (€94bn). Eskom operates the country’s only existing commercial nuclear station, the two-unit Koeberg, and has said 2026 is a feasible first date to deliver the first new unit.

Russia And Japan Agreement Includes Recovery Work At Fukushima
20.12.2016 - NucNet News

Russia and Japan have signed an agreement on cooperation in civil nuclear energy that will see the two countries work together in areas such as post-accident recovery at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear station, including radioactive waste management and decommissioning. Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom said cooperation will also include the exchange of human resources and ideas aimed at “promoting nuclear technology innovation”.

Foratom Welcomes Committee’s Adoption Of Opinion On ETS Revisions
20.12.2016 - NucNet News
The Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom has welcomed the adoption on 15 December 2016 by the European Parliament’s environment committee of its opinion on EC proposals to revise the EU emissions trading system (ETS) directive. Foratom said the vote puts the EU on track, but more must be done if confidence is to be restored in the ETS. The ETS can help decarbonise the European economy at an affordable cost and is a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change. However, the price of carbon needs to be much higher than it is if investments in low-carbon electricity production are to be incentivised, Foratom said. Foratom believes ETS reforms should be more ambitious than the EC proposals. Additional measures are needed to make the ETS more “predictable, robust and effective”. For example, Foratom said it supports aligning the ETS with the December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and reaching a higher “linear reduction factor” (LRF) than the one proposed by the EC in July 2015. The LRF – essentially a decrease rate in the total quantity of allowances – should be increased to 2.4% from 2021. It is currently set at 1.74%. Foratom said it welcomed other measures such as the “backloading” of surplus emissions allowances that have built up in the ETS since 2009. The surplus of allowances is due largely to economic uncertainty – which reduced emissions more than anticipated – and high imports of international credits. This has led to lower carbon prices and a weaker incentive to reduce emissions. The plenary vote on revising the ETS directive is scheduled for February 2017. The ETS is the world's biggest scheme for trading greenhouse gas emissions allowances. It covers some 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 30 countries.

NEI’s Korsnick Optimistic On Trump Support For Nuclear
20.12.2016 - NucNet News

US president-elect Donald Trump has indicated a favourable view towards nuclear energy and his philosophy of lowering regulation should help with efforts to lessen the burden on existing, high-performing nuclear power plants, Maria Korsnick, incoming president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute said. Ms Korsnick, who takes up her job at the NEI on 1 January 2017, said the nuclear energy industry provides and supports roughly 475,000 jobs in the US. Given the future president’s support – especially in areas of the country which have lost jobs, such as the Great Lakes states and the southeast – he should recognise the value in preserving nuclear jobs and creating more of them. Technology leadership is an area where America’s nuclear energy industry can shine, Ms Korsnick said. “Nuclear energy enjoys bipartisan support, increasingly so in fact, and I see no reason for that to change,” Ms Korsnick said. “We believe Trump will work with Congress and regulators to preserve and expand domestic nuclear energy so that it remains a vital component of our overall national energy infrastructure. We must have policies and priorities established that properly recognise nuclear energy’s centrality to the strength of our infrastructure.” The interview with Ms Korsnick is on the NEI’s website:

Japan To Decommission Monju FBR, But Faces Opposition From Prefecture
20.12.2016 - NucNet News

Japan has decided to decommission the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, but is facing opposition from authorities in Fukui prefecture where the reactor is located. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said Fukui governor Issei Nishikawa said he would not accept the decision and would demand that the government reconsider it. According to Jaif, the government has said that a new experimental research reactor would be built in the prefecture and that Monju will be used for research. Jaif said confirmation of the decision was expected at a Cabinet meeting today, 20 December 2016. Monju reached criticality for the first time in 1994, but it has mostly been offline since 1995. In November 2015 Japan’s nuclear regulator, the NRA, said state-run Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) was not fit to operate Monju because it had repeatedly failed to correctly carry out inspections of the plant. According to Jaif, the NRA recommended at the time that the government find another operator to replace JAEA within six months. In December 1995, just months after Monju first started power transmission, it was shut down when 640 kg of liquid sodium leaked from a cooling system, causing a fire. There were no injuries and no radioactivity escaped plant buildings, but the incident was compounded by JAEA’s attempts to cover up the scale of the damage. Monju was allowed to restart in May 2010 after JAEA carried out a review of the plant’s design, and its safety procedures, which were shown to be inadequate. However, operation was again suspended in August 2010 after a fuel handling machine was dropped into the reactor during a refuelling outage. In May 2013 JAEA president Atsuyuki Suzuki resigned after the NRA prevented the restart of Monju due to inspection deficiencies. In November 2012 it was revealed that JAEA had failed to conduct regular inspections on almost 10,000 out of a total 39,000 pieces of equipment at Monju. Some of these included safety-critical equipment. Monju is a 246-MW sodium-cooled fast reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power station in Fukui Prefecture, southwest Japan. It is designed to use mixed fuel rods of uranium and plutonium, and to produce more fuel than it consumes. Regarded as the core facility of the government’s policy for nuclear fuel recycling, Monju is different from conventional nuclear power plants, which use water as coolants. Monju uses sodium as the coolant, meaning more sophisticated technology is required for its operation.

US Nuclear Advocacy Groups Join Forces
16.12.2016 - NucNet News

The Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute is overseeing a consolidation of three longstanding grass-roots-level advocacy coalitions in a bid to “help sharpen the focus” on issues important to the industry. The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy) and the Nuclear Advocacy Network (NAN) have joined the newer Nuclear Matters in a single broad-based coalition that will leverage a diverse community of advocates and promote policies favourable to nuclear energy, the NEI said.

Canada’s Nuclear Stations Operated Safely In 2015, Says Regulator
16.12.2016 - NucNet News

There were no serious process failures at Canada’s nuclear stations in 2015 and no member of the public or nuclear plant worker received a radiation dose that exceeded the regulatory limit, the country’s regulator said. In its regulatory oversight report for 2015, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said no nuclear power station events above Level 0 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) were reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The frequency and severity of non-radiological injuries to workers were “minimal” and no radiological releases to the environment from the stations exceeded the regulatory limits. All nuclear plants in Canada received “safety and control area” (SCA) ratings of either “fully satisfactory” or “satisfactory”. There were 19 “fully satisfactory” ratings across the stations, a net increase of five compared to the 14 “fully satisfactory” ratings reported in 2014. The operating performance rating for Bruce A and Pickering, the safety analysis rating for Darlington and Pickering, the conventional health and safety rating for Darlington and Pickering, and the waste management rating for Pickering all improved to “fully satisfactory” in 2015 from “satisfactory” in 2014. Both Darlington and Pickering had their ratings for security decrease from “fully satisfactory” in 2014 to “satisfactory” in 2015. Canada has 19 commercial nuclear units that provide about 17% of its electricity. The report is online:

Cybersecurity Architecture At Nuclear Facilities ‘Not Effective Enough,’ Says NTI Report
12.12.2016 - NucNet News
The “static” cybersecurity architecture at today’s nuclear facilities is not effective enough on its own to prevent a breach by a determined adversary, according to a report from the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). The report, ‘Outpacing Cyber Threats: Priorities for Cybersecurity at Nuclear Facilities’, says breaches will occur and having an effective response is crucial. Nuclear facilities need to develop the means to respond once a compromise occurs. Such action is essential but “remains challenged” by the global shortage of technical experts. The report says cyber threats against nuclear facilities are on the rise and governments, industry, and international organisations must increase their focus and accelerate efforts to protect against a cyberattack with potentially catastrophic consequences. Although there has been unprecedented progress in the security of nuclear materials and facilities over the last decade, the cyber threat has increased. Case after case – from the Stuxnet attacks on the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran, to the hack of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power in South Korea and “disturbing revelations” of malware found on systems at a German nuclear power plant – demonstrates that the current approach to cybersecurity at nuclear facilities is not equal to the challenge, the report says. The report calls for cybersecurity should be institutionalised with the implementation of “robust processes and practices”. It also says nuclear operators should reduce the complexity of their digital systems. Today’s nuclear facilities consist of more than 1,000 such systems. “Governments and regulators should support – with financial, personnel, and research resources – facility efforts to characterise networks, understand functionalities and interactions, and ultimately minimise complexity in critical systems.” The report is online:

Finland’s Regulator Considers Olkiluoto-3 Licence Application With Fuel Loading Set For Spring 2018
07.12.2016 - NucNet News

The Olkiluoto-3 EPR pressurised water reactor under construction in Finland is on schedule to begin commercial operation in 2018 with the country’s regulator preparing a safety assessment that will pave the way for fuel loading.

Ministers At IAEA Conference Commit To Further Strengthening Nuclear Security
06.12.2016 - NucNet News
Government ministers committed to further strengthening global nuclear security, including by combating illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, according to a ministerial declaration adopted on 5 December 20216 at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference on nuclear security. The declaration welcomed advances made by IAEA member states in developing and enhancing their nuclear security regimes as well as the “positive impact of the agency’s increasing nuclear security efforts” even as “much more work remains to be done”. The ministers “remain concerned about threats to nuclear security and therefore committed to continuously maintaining and further strengthening nuclear security” and underlined “the importance of keeping pace with evolving challenges and threats”. They pledged to continue taking steps to combat illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, and to protect and secure all such material to ensure that it cannot be used by criminals and terrorists. “Terrorists and criminals will try to exploit any vulnerability in the global nuclear security system” and “any country could become the target of an attack,” IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said in an address at the start of the conference. “That is why effective international cooperation is vital.” The conference runs until Friday at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna.

German Court Says Government Must Compensate Utilities For Nuclear Phaseout
06.12.2016 - NucNet News

Germany’s top court ruled today (6 December 2016) that the government must compensate utilities companies for its nuclear phaseout law, opening the door for damage claims that could be worth billions of euros. German power companies E.ON and RWE and Sweden’s Vattenfall could seek around €20bn ($21.3bn) in compensation to cover lost investments in nuclear power plants, according to estimates published in German media. However, E.ON said in a statement after the ruling that the total amount of the claims cannot be quantified until the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision has been analysed in more detail. E.ON said it welcomed the ruling, according to which at least partial compensation will have to be awarded for the early nuclear phaseout. “The court thus acknowledges above all the importance of trust when it comes to investments made on the basis of political decision,” E.ON said. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government initially approved an extended lifespan for the country’s nuclear plants, spurring billions in investments from their operators. But it reversed its decision following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011 and ordered all nuclear plants to close by 2022. E.ON said that based on the German government’s original long-term energy concept adopted in late 2010, which saw nuclear energy as a bridging technology, E.ON invested “several hundred million euros” to extend the service life of its nuclear power plants. The change of policy in the wake of Fukushima-Daiichi and the rapid nuclear phaseout had “fully devalued these investments”. However, there was to be no compensation, E.ON said. According to E.ON, the Federal Constitutional Court found that the legislator should have at least taken these losses into consideration for its decision at the time. E.ON said it is prepared to enter into constructive talks with the government on the implementation of the ruling. “Such talks may take some time. The company is therefore not expecting any payments anytime soon,” E.ON said. The Wall Street Journal said the court’s decision marks a setback for Germany’s clean-energy master plan – the so-called Energiewende or ‘Energy Revolution’ – which has been criticised because of a steep rise in electricity prices and higher greenhouse gas emissions, after the country fell back on coal use to offset the loss of nuclear power. German households are paying the highest power prices in the eurozone, according to European Union statistics.

IAEA Says Italy Faces Challenges On Nuclear Resources And Policy Development
05.12.2016 - NucNet News
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of safety experts said Italy is committed to effective nuclear regulatory oversight, but faces challenges related to resources and needs to further develop policies for nuclear safety, decommissioning and managing radioactive waste. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a 12-day mission on 2 December 2016 to assess Italy’s regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety. The mission was hosted by the Italian government and the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country. The IRRS team said Italy has a regulatory framework for safety in place and identified several good practices. A new regulatory body, the Inspectorate for Radiation Safety and Radiation Protection, will be in place in the near future. The IRRS team said the government should provide the regulatory body with “sufficient competent staff” to carry out its responsibilities and duties and the regulatory body should develop an “integrated management system”. Italy’s four nuclear power reactors are being decommissioned. Italy also has five research reactors and uses radioactive sources in medical, industrial and research applications. The government has a plan to construct a facility for disposal of low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste and long-term storage of high-level waste.

Reliance On Digital Systems Means Computer Security Is Growing Issue, Says IAEA’s Amano
05.12.2016 - NucNet News
Computer security is an important and growing aspect of nuclear security as reliance on digital systems grows, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano said at the opening of the agency’s International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna today. Mr Amano said The IAEA’s work to strengthen computer security includes activities to build awareness and resilience, and developing practical guidance. Mr Amano said countries all over the world have stepped up their investments in nuclear security, with support from the IAEA, and have been working to build their human resources. He said: “In the last six years, we have trained more than 10,000 police, border guards and other officials in detecting and preventing the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials. We have given countries over 3,000 instruments for detecting such material.” The IAEA’s International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions is taking place from 5 to 9 December 2016.

Czech Delegation Calls For Stronger Collaboration With US On New Nuclear Technologies
05.12.2016 - NucNet News

A Czech trade delegation including embassy officials and industry executives has told its US counterparts it wants to strengthen collaboration in research and commercialisation of new nuclear energy technologies, according to the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute. Lucie Židová, division director of design and engineering company ÚJV Řež, said the Czech Republic is interested in the potential for small modular reactors to supply heating and power while reducing carbon emissions. “We see the potential for small modular reactors in the Czech Republic and Europe, primarily in district heating,” Mr Židová said. “We have to find some long-term and socially acceptable heat sources. In the Czech Republic, and nuclear energy is socially acceptable.” The NEI said nuclear power provides about 30% of the Czech Republic’s electric consumption. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, which has targeted a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. Existing and new nuclear power plants could help the country meet this target, the NEI said.

Finland’s Posiva ‘Capable’ Of Beginning Repository Construction, Regulator Says
01.12.2016 - NucNet News

Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has allowed Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva Oy to begin construction of the underground final deep geologic disposal facility at Olkiluoto, the regulator said in a statement. The Finnish government issued the construction licence for the facility to Posiva in November 2015, but national legislation required Stuk to inspect all the documentation and plans related to the project and its safety aspects, before the final go-ahead for construction was granted, the statement said. On 25 November 2016, Stuk announced its decision to permit the start of construction works at the disposal facility. According to Stuk, Posiva “has the capability to commence works” under the terms of the previously awarded construction licence. Stuk said they have inspected Posiva’s “organisational capabilities” for completing the construction project prior to giving the construction go-ahead last week. The inspections included a number of site visits as well as document analyses and reviews, which were carried out during the past six months, Stuk said. Stuk focused its examinations on Posiva’s staffing resources, project management practices, quality assurance processes, safety culture, planning and design activities, rock engineering work, impact monitoring arrangements and safeguards on nuclear materials, the statement said. Stuk also said they will continue to closely supervise Posiva during the construction process in order to ensure all subsequent site activities are in line with the relevant safety standards. Earlier this week Posiva said it has signed a €20m ($21m) contract for the excavation of the first tunnels for the Olkiluoto disposal facility with YIT Construction. Stuk’s official ruling is online:

Vietnam Formally Ends Plans To Build Its First Nuclear Stations
30.11.2016 - NucNet News

Vietnam's legislature endorsed the government’s decision to scrap plans to build the country’s first two nuclear power stations. A statement from the government announcing the endorsement said cheaper renewable energy and power imports were available and that investment should be made in more urgent infrastructure needs.

Historic Paris Climate Agreement Enters Into Force
30.11.2016 - NucNet News
The historic Paris agreement on climate change entered into force, marking the first time that governments have agreed legally binding limits to global temperature rises.

Ministers And Policymakers To Review Nuclear Security At IAEA Conference
30.11.2016 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency will host a conference on nuclear security next week where government ministers and policymakers will review the status of international nuclear security and exchange views on future priorities for strengthening it. The International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions will be held from 5 to 9 December 2016 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. The agency said more than 1,900 participants have registered for the conference, representing more than 130 IAEA member states and 17 international, regional and non- governmental organisations. Coming three years after the IAEA’s first international conference on nuclear security, next week’s conference will feature two main parts: a ministerial segment at which member states are expected to adopt a ministerial declaration; and a scientific and technical programme comprising policy discussions on key themes related to nuclear security. Topics include national legislative and regulatory frameworks; threat and risk assessment; insider threats; physical protection of nuclear and radioactive materials; combatting illicit trafficking of material; human resource development and capacity building, nuclear security culture; and computer security.

Eight Years Needed To Restart Japan’s Monju FBR, Says Minister
30.11.2016 - NucNet News
It would take eight years to restart the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor (FBR) in Japan’s Fukui Prefecture because of the need to respond to new nuclear regulations imposed since the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) minister Hirokazu Matsuno said. In a meeting with Fukui governor Issei Nishikawa, Mr Matsuno put the estimated operating costs of Monju until the end of its scheduled lifetime at about $4.82bn (€4.52bn). The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said the purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on the government’s review of Monju, including its possible decommissioning, as well as on Japan’s FBR development policy. Jaif said a decision on the Monju FBR and national FBR policy are expected at a ministerial meeting on nuclear energy to be held before the end of the year. Media reports in Japan have said the government has decided to decommission Monju, which reached criticality for the first time in 1994, but has mostly been offline since 1995. Monju is designed to use mixed fuel rods of uranium and plutonium, and to produce more fuel than it consumes. Regarded as the core facility of the government’s policy for nuclear fuel recycling, Monju is different from conventional nuclear power plants, which use water as coolants. Monju uses sodium as the coolant, meaning more sophisticated technology is required for its operation.

UK Researchers Turn Nuclear Waste Into Diamonds That Generate Electricity
29.11.2016 - NucNet News
Researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK have developed a method to turn radioactive graphite blocks, a waste product of nuclear reactors, into artificial diamonds that generate electricity. These diamonds produce a small current that could last for thousands of years. Such long-lived “diamond batteries” could be used in spacecraft, implants such as pacemakers, and in other areas where long battery life is crucial. Researchers at the university said the development could solve some of the problems of nuclear waste, clean electricity generation and battery life. Tom Scott, professor in materials in the university’s interface analysis centre, said: “There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation. By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.” While at present the team’s prototype diamond battery uses nickel-63 as its radiation source, in the future they hope that this can be replaced by carbon-14, a radioactive version of carbon, which is created in the graphite blocks used in in nuclear power plants. Details online:

Switzerland Rejects Plans To Speed Up Country’s Nuclear Phaseout
27.11.2016 - NucNet News

People in Switzerland voting in a referendum today have rejected a proposal to introduce a strict timetable for phasing out nuclear power with provisional results showing 54.2% voted against the initiative.

Japan Regulator Concludes There Are No Weaknesses In JCFC Steel
25.11.2016 - NucNet News

Japan’s Nuclear Regulator Association (NRA) said that it is unlikely that equipment forged at the Japan Casting and Forging Corporation (JCFC) and in use at nuclear stations in Japan contains carbon concentrations higher than prescribed limits for safety-related systems, industry group the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said. According to Jaif, the NRA decided at a meeting on 22 November 2016 that there is no possibility of weaknesses in components using JCFC steel at any domestic nuclear plant. In 2014, an examination by France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), showed that steel used at the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France and manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility was weaker than expected. Subsequent analysis by ASN indicated that steel from Le Creusot and JCFC might have had significant carbon concentrations that could cause weaknesses. Jaif said the steel is in use at nuclear plants operated by 11 utilities in Japan. Earlier this month Jaif said the 11 utilities had told the NRA that all steel forged at JCFC and in use at their nuclear stations met required standards.

Switzerland Goes To Polls In Referendum On Future Of Nuclear
23.11.2016 - NucNet News

Switzerland will hold a referendum on Sunday on whether to speed up the country’s nuclear phaseout policy by setting a constitutional limit of 45 years on the operational lifetime of nuclear power units. The vote, which latest polls say will be close, could result in the permanent shutdown of three nuclear units next year. The popular initiative being voted on calls for Beznau-1 and -2 and Mühleberg to be closed in 2017, with the two remaining units, Gösgen and Leibstadt, to follow in 2024 and 2029. Because the referendum could result in changes to the constitution, two majorities will be needed – a majority of all citizens voting and a majority of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. Voting will end on Sunday at noon local time, with the first results known at around 13:00 and the official result by 19:00. Last month, Swiss energy minister Doris Leuthard said the referendum was “premature” because it would leave Switzerland unable to replace power output with energy from renewables. In October 2016, the Swiss parliament adopted a number of measures that form part of its 2050 energy strategy, including one that prevents the construction or replacement of nuclear power units. However, the government earlier decided not to introduce legal limitations on the service life of existing nuclear power stations. About 33% of Swiss electricity was generated from nuclear sources in 2015, data by the International Atomic Energy Agency show.

Spain’s Regulator Approves Post-Fukushima Modifications For Three Nuclear Stations
23.11.2016 - NucNet News

Spain’s nuclear regulator, Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), has approved a series of modifications at three nuclear power stations as part of the European Union-mandated post-Fukushima stress tests that were completed in 2012. CSN said in a statement that modifications include the installation of passive autocatalytic hydrogen recombiners, which prevent the buildup of hydrogen within the plants. Other modifications include the construction of emergency management centres at the two-unit Almaraz station and the single-unit Trillo and Cofrentes plants, and a general revision of emergency plans. Plant functions can be controlled from the centres, which can be used to protect against such beyond design basis accidents such as accidents resulting from an atypically large earthquake or flood. Spain has seven commercially operational reactors and one – Santa Maria de Garoña – in long-term shutdown. The operational units account for about 20% of Spain’s total electricity. Garoña was shut down in December 2012, but according to Madrid-based industry group Foro Nuclear could be restarted. Owner Nuclenor blamed the shutdown on a tax on energy production and spent nuclear fuel that it said would have made Garoña’s operation economically unviable.

Q&A: Can Nuclear Help Europe Meet Paris Climate Change Objectives?
22.11.2016 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency says nuclear capacity needs to double by 2050 if climate change commitments are to be met. Christophe Xerri, director of the agency’s division of nuclear fuel cycle and waste technology, spoke to NucNet about what needs to be done to meet the target and whether Europe can keep pace with Asia when it comes to new build. The interview is online for subscribers:

France’s Regulator Extends Deadline For EDF To Carry Out Bugey-5 Containment Checks
22.11.2016 - NucNet News

France’s nuclear regulator says it has extended the deadline for checks to be carried out by operator EDF on the Bugey-5 nuclear plant in eastern France. The Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) said the deadline extension did not have any safety implications and the 880-MW pressurised water reactor remains in cold shutdown. The checks include pressure and leak tests of the unit’s safety containment. ASN said these tests have been delayed because EDF detected a leak during an earlier test and needs to repair it before new tests can be carried out. EDF also needs to add equipment which prevents the containment from rupturing or breaking in the event of the failure of thermal insulation on a primary motor pump. Modifications need to be carried out on the containment’s passive equipment, valves and pipe supports, ASN said. In December 2015, ASN asked EDF to submit details of work it planned to carry out to resolve defects in the inner, metallic liner of the Bugey-5 reactor containment building. ASN said EDF must provide the information before restarting the reactor. Significant leaks from the containment were seen during a pressure test carried out in 2011 during the unit’s third decennial inspection. In December 2014, ASN said new tests of the containment should be carried out during the reactor’s next shutdown. EDF carried out these tests during a shutdown for preventive maintenance and fuel loading which began on 27 August 2015. ASN said the tests showed there had been further degradation of the inner liner of the containment since the previous tests. Leaks were also found in the lower part of the reactor building. ASN said EDF submitted on 7 April 2016 a safety case detailing proposals on how to deal with the containment issue. ASN said the safety case is “technically complex” and is being reviewed by ASN and its technical support organisation, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). Bugey-5 began commercial operation in January 1980. The Bugey station has four commercial nuclear units.

IAEA Confirms ‘Further Progress’ Towards Full Operation Of Fukushima Frozen Wall
21.11.2016 - NucNet News
Further progress has been made towards the full operation of a “frozen soil wall” intended to prevent groundwater from entering the Pacific Ocean after flowing beneath units 1 to 4 at Fukushima-Daiichi, the International Atomic Energy agency said in its latest update on work at the shut-down nuclear station. The 1.5 km wall consists of cooling pipes driven into the ground and surrounds the Unit 1 to 4 reactor buildings. A cooling agent will be pumped through the pipes, freezing the soil and forming a barrier around the buildings to block groundwater inflow. The IAEA also said no significant changes were seen in the monitoring results for seawater, sediment and marine biota during the period from August 2016 until the end of September 2016. The levels measured by Japan in the marine environment are “low and relatively stable”, the IAEA said. “For the purpose of public reassurance, the IAEA encourages continuation of sea area monitoring, particularly considering the ongoing authorised discharges of treated and monitored groundwater into the ocean,” the IAEA said.

NRC Says ‘No Safety Issues’ Over Turkey Point AP1000 Licences
21.11.2016 - NucNet News
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has completed its final safety evaluation report for combined licences (COLs) for two proposed reactors at the Turkey Point site in Florida, the NRC said on 18 November 2016. The report concludes there are no safety aspects that would preclude issuing the licence for construction and operation of the proposed reactors, next to two operating reactors approximately 60km south of Miami. The staff will provide the report and final environmental impact statement on the Turkey Point application to the Commission for the mandatory hearing phase of the licensing process, the NRC said. In the mandatory hearing, expected to take place early next year, the Commission will examine whether the staff’s review supports the findings necessary to issue a licence. Following the mandatory hearing, the Commission will vote on whether to authorize the staff to issue the licence. Florida Power & Light submitted its COL application for Turkey Point on 30 June 2009, for permission to build and operate two Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors at the site. The NRC certified the amended 1,100-MW AP1000 design in 2012. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the final impact statement for the proposed Turkey Point reactors earlier this month.

Finland Ratifies Plans To Export Radiation And Nuclear Safety Expertise
21.11.2016 - NucNet News
The Finnish government’s ratification of the memorandum and articles of association for a state-owned company set up to market Finland’s radiation and nuclear safety expertise to public bodies overseas paves the way for “more effective export of Finnish expertise on radiation and nuclear safety matters”, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) said. STUK International Oy will provide project management services and will buy relevant subject expertise from outsourced providers. The expertise will mainly be sourced from Stuk itself, but might also be supplied by other providers, Stuk said. The new arrangement is designed to improve radiation and nuclear safety in Finland and overseas, and is in line with the Finnish government’s policy of boosting the export of Finnish knowhow. “Stuk is highly regarded internationally as a regulatory authority for radiation and nuclear safety, and there is demand for our expertise abroad, particularly in countries that are in the process of adopting or developing their radiation and nuclear energy capabilities or enhancing their regulatory and supervisory arrangements,” said Stuk director-general Petteri Tiippana. “Early collaboration with countries that have decided to introduce nuclear energy is the best way of ensuring that it is carried out safely.” Mr Tiippana said the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety sector will also benefit from the projects, because international collaborations “present opportunities to broaden its expertise and generate additional revenue”.

World Energy Outlook Sees Possibility Of Significant Increase In Nuclear Share By 2040
16.11.2016 - NucNet News
World electricity generation from nuclear energy could range from 3,960 TWh to 6,101 TWh by 2040, increasing from around 2,535 TWh in 2014 in a number of different scenarios examined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook 2016 report released today.

How UK Is Preparing For Major Push Towards World’s First SMR
15.11.2016 - NucNet News

The UK government is preparing to publish a roadmap that could kick-start the process of developing a ‘best value’ small modular reactor and putting it into commercial operation by the end of the next decade, David Dalton reports. AEA Announces New Radiation Safety Network For Europe, Central Asia

IAEA Announces New Radiation Safety Network For Europe, Central Asia
14.11.2016 - NucNet News
A new International Atomic Energy Agency network will help strengthen nuclear and radiation safety in Europe and Central Asia by helping dialogue and knowledge exchange between member states in these regions, the agency said on 11 November 2016. The European and Central Asian Safety Network (EuCAS Network) brings together 20 IAEA member states and 22 organisations with a responsibility for nuclear safety. “The EuCAS Network seeks to encourage the sharing of experience and knowhow among member states and support capacity building based on IAEA safety standards,” a statement said. “It is initially envisaged to address the management of radioactive waste resulting from nuclear power plants and other nuclear applications. This includes sharing practical experience on the classification of waste, its storage and disposal, for example.” Details online:

Half Of UK Electricity Comes From Low-Carbon Sources Including Nuclear For First Time, Claims New Report
14.11.2016 - NucNet News

More than half of the UK’s electricity has come from low-carbon sources for the first time with nuclear making up the largest proportion of low-carbon power generation at 26% of the total across the third quarter of 2016, a report has found. The report said that the third quarter of 2016 saw more than 50% of Britain’s power come from low-carbon energy sources. Five years ago, low-carbon sources made up just over a quarter. The study said that the eventual decision to continue with the Hinkley Point C nuclear station means that more baseload nuclear power, in the form of large power stations and also possibly small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), will be coming on to the system in the coming years. They will in the main replace older nuclear power stations set to be decommissioned. The research from energy company Drax, which operates a biomass power station, found electricity from low-emission sources had peaked at 50.2 per cent between July and September 2016. Drax has launched the new quarterly report in collaboration with Imperial College London on trends in the UK energy market. The first edition published today, showed that low-carbon sources included UK nuclear, imported French nuclear, biomass, hydro, wind and solar. The report said: “Britain’s electricity was completely coal-free for nearly six days over the last quarter. Coal plants have been pushed off the system by competition from gas, nuclear and renewables.” The report said that 5 May 2016 was a historic day, the first time since 1881 that Britain burnt no coal to produce its electricity. “Far from being a one-off, this has continued to become the norm over summer.” Details online:

Bulgaria Conference To Focus On Decommissioning And Waste Management In Eastern Europe

08.11.2016 - NucNet News
A conference on 8 and 9 December 2016 in Sofia, Bulgaria, will focus on decommissioning and waste management issues in Central and Eastern Europe, including decommissioning projects in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia and Ukraine. The Central & Eastern Europe Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management Conference 2016, organised by the SZW Group, will bring together over 200 senior executives from European nuclear industries and operators. Topics covered will include addressing socio-political, regulatory, and technical issues stemming from waste and spent nuclear fuel management, as well as nuclear decommissioning and operation, the organisers said. For details, registration and a list of all key speakers see:

IAEA Praises Kazakhstan’s Preparations For Nuclear Programme

08.11.2016 - NucNet News
Kazakhstan has developed a considerable base of knowledge and experience in nuclear activities, but should develop “a comprehensive report” that summarises the assessment of all nuclear infrastructure issues, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission concluded. The eight-day mission reviewed the country’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power programme and highlighted a number of areas of potential improvement. Kazakhstan should ensure that key responsibilities and options with respect to spent fuel and radioactive waste management are developed, the INIR mission said. Kazakhstan needs to develop a plan for establishing a competent owner/operator and continue the assessment of its legal and regulatory framework for any nuclear power programme. The IAEA said that due to a desire to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, diversify primary energy sources and curtail greenhouse gas emissions, Kazakhstan is considering the potential role for nuclear power in its energy mix. The INIS team identified three good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power: early assignment of responsibilities for the development of the future owner/operator; use of a non-governmental organisation to carry out stakeholder involvement activities; use of a government commission and an expert working group to review the initial site survey and to take into account lessons learned from the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan. “Kazakhstan has undertaken several studies over a number of years and has developed a good understanding of all the infrastructure issues described in IAEA guides to the development of national infrastructure for nuclear power,” said team leader Milko Kovachev, head of the IAEA’s nuclear infrastructure development section. The IAEA said Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer, is developing capabilities to implement all stages of the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle. It has a well-developed scientific research base, including three research reactors in operation and several other nuclear installations. It also has 25 years of experience operating the Aktau BN-350 fast breeder reactor, which is currently under decommissioning. More than 80% of electricity in Kazakhstan is currently produced from fossil fuels.

Critical Nuclear Knowledge Must be Maintained, IAEA’s Amano Tells Conference
07.11.2016 - NucNet News
Managing and retaining technical knowledge are major challenges and even in countries that are phasing out nuclear power, critical knowledge must be maintained in order to ensure that decommissioning and environmental remediation of sites are carried out “in a responsible manner”, the International Atomic Energy agency’s director-general Yukuya Amano said today. Speaking at the opening of the Third International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management, Mr Amano said managing nuclear knowledge is vital both in countries with established nuclear power programmes – where an entire generation of experts have begun retiring – and in newcomer countries. He said: “Ensuring the availability of highly qualified staff to assume responsibility for the safe, secure and sustainable operation of nuclear facilities in the coming decades is extremely important. We also need to ensure that critical knowledge is not lost when experts retire.” Mr Amano said there are 450 nuclear power reactors are in operation in 30 countries. Sixty more are under construction and the use of nuclear power looks set to grow in the coming decades. Details online:

Bulgaria Might Use Belene Equipment For New Reactor At Kozloduy, Says Deputy PM

07.11.2016 - NucNet News
Bulgaria might use the reactor equipment produced for the cancelled Belene project in the construction of a new unit at the existing Kozloduy site in the northwest of the country, deputy prime minister Tomislav Donchev told national television last week. The Bulgarian government recently agreed to pay €600m ($663m) to Russian nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport in accordance with a June 2016 ruling by the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration (ICA) granting compensation to the Russian company for the 2012 cancellation of Bulgaria’s project to build a second nuclear power station at Belene. Mr Donchev said that using the manufactured reactor equipment, awarded to Bulgaria under the ICA ruling, for a new plant at Kozloduy is “technically feasible”. His words were confirmed by Bulgaria’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova who was also quoted by Bulgarian media as saying a new reactor unit could be built only if it would be “economically justified”. Both officials referred to the hypothetical construction of a single unit, but it is unclear whether Bulgaria will receive from Russia equipment for one or two VVER-1000 reactors. In 2008, Bulgaria signed a contract for the design, construction and commissioning of two Russian VVER-1000 PWRs units at the Belene site. On 5 December 2016 a Bulgarian delegation will inspect the equipment, currently stored at the production facility in Russia. Bulgaria has two nuclear units in commercial operation, Kozloduy-5 and -6. They produce about 33% of the country’s electricity.

IAEA’s Amano Welcomes Paris Agreement As ‘Important Milestone’
04.11.2016 - NucNet News
International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano said today that the Paris climate agreement’s entry into force marks an important milestone in global efforts to combat climate change. He said one of the key challenges facing all countries is how to secure sufficient energy to power economic growth, while working to mitigate the effects of climate change. “Nuclear power is one of the lowest-carbon technologies for generating electricity. Some 30 countries are already using nuclear power and another 30 are considering introducing it. “Nuclear plants produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants during their operation, and only very low emissions over their entire life cycle.”Mr Amano said nuclear power has already made a significant contribution to avoiding carbon dioxide emissions and it will continue to do so.

More Ambition Needed On Cutting Emissions, Says UN Report
04.11.2016 - NucNet News
The world must “urgently and dramatically” increase its ambition to cut roughly a further quarter off predicted 2030 global greenhouse emissions to have any chance of minimising dangerous climate change, the UN Environment Programme (Unep) said as it released its annual Emissions Gap report yesterday. The report, made public the day before the Paris agreement came into force, found that 2030 emissions are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – far above the level of 42 needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees celsius this century. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to the emissions generated by transport in the European Union – including aviation – over one year. The report said the world is still heading for temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees celsius this century, even with Paris pledges. According to the report, scientists agree that limiting global warming to under 2 degrees celsius this century, compared to pre-industrial levels, will reduce the likelihood of more-intense storms, longer droughts, sea-level rises and other severe climate impacts. Even hitting the lower target of 1.5 degrees celsius will only reduce, rather than eliminate, impacts. The report is online:

Historic Paris Climate Agreement Enters Into Force
04.11.2016 - NucNet News
The historic Paris agreement on climate change has entered into force, marking the first time that governments have agreed legally binding limits to global temperature rises. The agreement entered into force today (4 November 2016), 30 days after an agreed threshold was reached with at least 55 parties – accounting between them for at least 55% of total global greenhouse gas emissions – ratifying the deal. The threshold was reached on 5 October 2016 when the European Parliament approved the agreement’s ratification by the European Union. The United Nations said that of 197 parties to the agreement, 97 have now ratified it. According to information on the UN website, China and the US ratified the agreement on 3 September 2016. The agreement was approved by 197 countries at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. Under the agreement, all nations have agreed to combat climate change and to “unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future that will keep a global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius with the accepted international aim of working to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius”, the UN said. Next week, governments will meet in Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss how to put the Paris agreement into force, and meet its aims.

Environmental Review Sees No Impact Precluding Turkey Point COLs

03.11.2016 - NucNet News
There is no environmental impact that precludes issuing combined construction and operating licences (COLs) to Florida Power & Light for two additional units at its Turkey Point site about 25kms south of Miami in Florida, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. The agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers developed a final environmental impact statement jointly, the NRC said. FPL is proposing to build two AP1000 units, Turkey Point-6 and -7, at the site of two existing reactors. The NRC staff continues to work on the project’s final safety evaluation report, which will include a review by the NRC’s advisory committee on reactor safeguards, an independent group of nuclear safety experts. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is conducting a legal hearing on a challenge to the application. When the technical review is completed, the NRC’s commissioners will conduct a separate mandatory hearing regarding the application and the staff’s review. All of these steps must be completed before the NRC can reach a final decision on the Turkey Point application, the NRC said. FPL submitted a COL application in June 2009. The NRC certified the AP1000 design for US use in December 2011.

Six Companies Interested In Building Czech Reactors, Say Reports

03.11.2016 - NucNet News
Six companies have shown interest in building additional nuclear reactors at existing power station sites in the Czech Republic, but a decision to proceed with construction will probably come after elections in October 2017, reports have said. Reuters news agency quoted Jan Stuller, the Czech government’s special envoy for nuclear power, as saying that Russia’s Rosatom, French group EDF, US company Westinghouse, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, China General Nuclear Power and a grouping of France’s Areva and Mitsubishi Atmea had all shown interest in future construction. “It is important to stress that this is not about offers for the construction of new nuclear plant blocks, but responses to our request for information,” Mr Stuller was quoted as saying. The Czech Republic’s National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy counts on at least one new reactor being built at the Dukovany and Temelín nuclear sites, with a probable total of four new reactors in the long term at the two locations. Priority for construction of the first reactor will be given to the Dukovany site, where the first of four reactors operating there will probably be shut down in 2035. The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four VVER-440 units at the Dukovany site and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín.

Nuclear Can Contribute To ‘Clean And Reliable’ Electricity In Poland, Minister Says

02.11.2016 - NucNet News
Nuclear power and clean coal technology should be used to meet Poland’s needs for “clean and reliable” electricity, the country’s deputy minister of energy Andrzej Piotrowski said during a meeting last week with his Japanese counterpart Yosuke Takagi, according to a statement on the Polish energy ministry’s website. Mr Piotrowski, who led an official delegation to Japan, said two aspects related to Poland’s nuclear new-build project need particular attention – the costs arising from possible construction delays and the costs that might be accumulated from the project’s financing arrangement. He said the energy ministry is focusing its efforts on analysing all possible financing models, as well as laying out the conditions for the selection of the nuclear technology providers. According to the ministry, the official delegation visited the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, which has two commercial units of the advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) design – a technology “being offered” to Poland by Japan. The statement also said Polish officials were interested in Japan’s high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) technology, developed by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. The Polish energy ministry is to start a feasibility study on the eventual deployment of HTR reactors in Poland and talks are under way with potential partners for the project, the statement said. A public tender for the construction of Poland’s first nuclear power station could be announced in late 2017 or early 2018, according to earlier reports citing Krzysztof Tchórzewski, the country’s energy minister.

Hitachi-GE Resolves ‘Serious’ Regulatory Issue For ABWR, UK’s ONR Says

01.11.2016 - NucNet News
The UK’s nuclear regulators said they remain confident that the Hitachi-GE Generation III+ Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, or ABWR, will pass its generic design acceptance by the end of 2017 following the satisfactory resolution of a regulatory issue (RI) which represented a “serious regulatory shortfall”. The Office for Nuclear Regulation said in a statement on 31 October 2016 that Hitachi-GE had needed to provide “a suitable and sufficient definition and justification for the radioactive source terms in the UK ABWR during normal operations”. ONR said the radioactive source term is a fundamental part in understanding and therefore being able to control the hazards associated with any nuclear facility. ONR said: “The regulators remain confident that design acceptance confirmation and statement of design acceptability are achievable in December 2017, subject to timely and quality submissions from Hitachi-GE.” ONR said the resolution of the RI was a positive step forward as Hitachi-GE continues to progress through ONR's step 4 of the GDA process. Step 4 is the last step of the GDA process and involves detailed design, safety case and security evidence assessment by ONR. RI’s are serious regulatory issues or flaws that ONR identifies in a reactor design. GDA approval cannot be given with any RIs outstanding. Another RI remains outstanding in the probabilistic safety analysis topic area. Horizon, which is the wholly owned UK subsidiary of Hitachi, wants to build two UK ABWRs with a minimum combined generating capacity of 2,700 MW at its Wylfa Newydd site on the island of Angelsey in north Wales. The company is planning to start construction in 2019. Although not licensed in the UK, ABWRs are operational at four sites in Japan and are approved for use in the US and Taiwan.

Mix Of Nuclear And Renewables Is Only Way Forward For Belgium, Says PwC Study
31.10.2016 - NucNet News

Belgium will only achieve stable energy prices, guarantee its security of electric supply and meet climate objectives if it combines renewable energy sources and long-term nuclear in its energy mix, a study concluded.

Bulgaria Confirms Final Agreement On Settlement Of Belene Compensation Claim With Russia

26.10.2016 - NucNet News

Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) and Russia’s nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport (ASE) have signed an agreement which finalises compensation awarded to ASE for the cancellation of the Belene nuclear project in 2012.

Bulgaria’s Kozloduy-5 Ready For Lifetime Extension, French-Russian Study Concludes
26.10.2016 - NucNet News
Unit 5 of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power station can be safely operated until 2047, according to a study by a French-Russian consortium consisting of Russian companies Rosenergoatom and Rosatom Service, and France’s EDF. In a statement on its website, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said the study had shown that all the equipment, structures and buildings, and systems at the plant are in “good working order”. Rosatom said the conclusions have been passed to Kozloduy’s management. In September 2014, Kozloduy signed a contract with the French-Russian consortium to look at the rationale of a life extension for the 963-MW Russian-designed VVER V-320 unit, which began commercial operation in December 1988. Its existing licence expires in 2017. Bulgaria has two nuclear units in commercial operation, Kozloduy-5 and -6. They produce about 33% of the country’s electricity. Extending the life of the two units is a priority for Bulgaria’s government, energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova said during a meeting that formally concluded the work by the French-Russian consortium, according to a statement on the energy ministry’s website.

Ignalina Spent Fuel Storage Facility Officially Inaugurated
21.10.2016 - NucNet News

A new interim spent fuel storage facility at the Ignalina nuclear power station in Lithuania has been officially inaugurated with the first cask placed in storage, reports in Russia said. Tests are beginning at the facility with 10 casks, Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) said. During the tests, the casks, each weighing around 100 tonnes, will be loaded with spent fuel and moved to the new facility, where operation will be tested in real conditions. If the tests are successful Vatesi will give permission for commercial operation of the facility to begin. Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, or INPP, said it plans to move all spent fuel to the new facility until the end of 2022. The facility was designed and constructed by the German GNS-Nukem consortium, a joint venture between GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service and Nukem. In 2005 when the contract was signed Nukem said the cost ceiling for the project was €193.5m ($213m).

IAEA Says Hungary’s Paks Has Strengthened Safety, But Calls For Further Improvement
21.10.2016 - NucNet News

An International Atomic Energy Agency Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) said Hungary’s Paks nuclear station has improved operational safety by following recommendations and suggestions made in a 2014 IAEA review, but noted that further work is needed. Recommendations from the 2014 review that need further work include reinforcements to the safety conscious behaviour of staff, improvements in the operating experience programme, and improvements in contractor management, the IAEA said. Several recommendations from the 2014 review have been fully implemented with measures that include improvements in the control and storage of maintenance equipment and material, improved identification and reporting of deficiencies of systems and components, and better management of chemicals and other substances. The Paks nuclear station has four Russian VVER units which began commercial operation between 1983 and 1987.

Russia And Paraguay Sign Nuclear Agreement
19.10.2016 - NucNet News
19.10.2016 - NucNet News
Russia and Paraguay have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a legal framework for cooperation in the development of nuclear energy infrastructure, nuclear education and training, and the use of radioisotopes and radiation technology. Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom said it was the first such document signed between the two countries. Paraguay does not have any commercial nuclear reactors.

German Cabinet Gives Go-Ahead To Nuclear Waste Agreement

19.10.2016 - NucNet News
Germany’s federal Cabinet has approved an agreement on how to cover the cost of handling and storing nuclear waste. The cabinet today approved the implementation of a proposal that will see the country’s four largest utilities – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – begin paying into a €23.3bn ($25bn) fund and in return the government will assume responsibility for the practicalities of storing nuclear waste. The €23.3bn fund is on top of annual provisions already allocated by utilities for decommissioning and spent fuel storage. In April, the Commission on the Review of Funding for the Phase-Out of Nuclear Energy (Kommission zur Überprüfung der Finanzierung des Kernenergieausstiegs, or KFK) said the nuclear utilities should pay €23.3bn into a state-run fund to help cover the costs of decommissioning reactors and spent fuel storage. KFK said the additional €23.3bn was a “risk provision” to cover potential additional costs. All four utilities objected to the additional fund, but it now appears they have accepted the proposal. In a statement today, E.ON said the agreement “raises the possibility of finding a social consensus that will put an end to a highly controversial discussion which has been ongoing for decades”. E.ON called for “a rapid legislative process” and “a direct agreement between the federal government and the operators”. The statement added: “The company will thoroughly examine the bill and continue to work constructively with the relevant public authorities to find a joint and final solution.”

France’s Regulator Orders Shutdown Of Five Reactors For Steam Generator Checks
19.10.2016 - NucNet News

France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has ordered EDF to shut down five nuclear reactor units for additional checks on the primary bottom heads of steam generators. ASN said the steel in the heads might be affected by high carbon concentrations similar to those found on the reactor pressure vessel at the company’s Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France ASN said it had asked EDF to carry out the additional checks within three months and that the reactors should be shut down without waiting for planned refuelling outages. The reactors are: Civaux-1, Fessenheim-1, Gravelines-4, Tricastin-2 and Tricastin-4. Earlier analysis had shown that steel from Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility and Japan Casting and Forging Corporation in Japan might have significant carbon concentrations. This steel was used in the primary bottom heads for 12 reactors. EDF was then asked to carry out the additional checks on the 12 reactors. The checks have either been completed or are under way on seven of the reactors. ASN said today it asked EDF to complete checks on the remaining five. Problems with manufacturing records were first discovered at Le Creusot in April 2016. Areva told ASN at the time that an internal audit had found irregularities in manufacturing checks on about 400 parts produced since 1965, about 50 of which were still in use at French nuclear power stations. The irregularities consisted of “inconsistencies, omissions or changes in manufacturing files”.

Renewables Cannot Meet Increasing Energy Demand In Europe, Conference Hears
18.10.2016 - NucNet News
Renewable sources cannot satisfy increasing energy demand in Europe and the region’s energy mix must include nuclear with investment in smart grids, Viktor Riedel, head of power supplier Atomenergosbyt’s international project office, told the European Nuclear Conference in Europe last week. Mr Riedel said the establishment of smart grids would enable the balanced supply of conventional energy sources, including nuclear, and renewable energy sources. Nuclear energy should make up the baseload component of energy supply and peak load will be covered by renewables, he said. Atomenergosbyt is a subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

First Shipment Due At Russia’s First Low- And Very Low-Level Waste Repository
18.10.2016 - NucNet News
Russia’s first final repository for low- and very low-level radioactive waste at the Ural Electrochemical Combine (UEC) in central Russia is expecting its first shipment in the “last quarter of the year”, Russian nuclear fuel manufacture Tvel said in a statement. The repository will be operated by Russia’s national operator for management of radioactive waste NO RAO, Tvel said. Construction of the repository began in 2008.

China Says Arak Project Can Lead To Further Nuclear Cooperation With Iran
18.10.2016 - NucNet News
China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) sees the modernisation of Iran’s IR-40 heavy water research reactor under construction near Arak as a foundation for future cooperation in nuclear energy, a statement by CNNC said. Sun Qin, CNNC’s chairman, met Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, on 15 October to discuss the IR-40 project, the statement said. In September 2015, China agreed to modernise the reactor. The redesign of the reactor so it cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium was part of a diplomatic agreement reached between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, along with the European Union). Mr Salehi was quoted as saying that Iran hopes the collaboration with CNNC will pave the way for projects beyond the reconstruction of the Arak reactor, including the potential design and construction of small and large-scale nuclear power stations.

Vitrified Nuclear Waste Shipment Arrives In Switzerland From UK
17.10.2016 - NucNet News
A shipment of highly active vitrified nuclear waste from the UK to Switzerland has been completed with the arrival of the transport casks at the Zwilag interim storage facility near the Beznau nuclear station in northern Switzerland, Areva said. The shipment involved a stage by sea, from the UK to the port of Cherbourg in France, and a stage by road and rail to Switzerland. The shipment left the UK for Switzerland as part of a programme to return used nuclear fuel sent to the UK for reprocessing to its country of origin. International Nuclear Services (INS), a subsidiary of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a British governmental agency, was responsible for the shipment. INS had a contract with Areva TN, Areva’s nuclear logistics business, to manage the ground transportation in France. INS said the waste resulted from the reprocessing and recycling of spent nuclear fuel at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria. The fuel had previously been used by utilities in Switzerland to produce electricity. INS said the vitrified residue returns programme is a key component of the UK’s strategy to repatriate highly active waste from the Sellafield site, fulfil overseas contracts and deliver on government policy.

Construction Licence Issued For Russia’s Kursk 2-2
17.10.2016 - NucNet News
Russia’s nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor has issued nuclear operator Rosenergoatom with a licence allowing the construction of Unit 2 of the second Kursk nuclear station (Kursk 2-2) in central Russia. Rosenergoatom said the licence means “the main stage” of construction work can begin. A construction licence for Kursk 2-1 was issued in June 2016. Site preparation for the new station and road access work began last year. The Kursk 2 project is a priority for Rosenergoatom and its parent-company Rosatom, a statement said. In January 2015, Rosenergoatom said there were 1,100 workers on the Kursk 2 site and it was planning to invest about €45m ($49m) for site preparation work. Kursk 2, intended to replace four reactors at the ageing Kursk nuclear station, will have two VVER-TOI units with commercial operation planned for 2020 and 2021. The VVER-TOI reactor is a Generation III+ design, developed from the 1,200 MW AES-2006 pressurised water reactor.

Poland Is Providing Support For Domestic Nuclear Industry, Conference Told
17.10.2016 - NucNet News
The Polish energy ministry is supporting local industry and scientific institutions in preparation for their participation in Poland’s first nuclear project, Józef Sobolewski, director of the ministry’s department of nuclear energy, told the European Nuclear Conference in Warsaw last week. Mr Sobolewski said Poland would like to see about 30% of the value of the “first stage of the project” coming from national investors and 60% involvement by the Polish industry at the sub-contractual level. Mr Sobolewski said the lack of clear perspectives for the development of the domestic nuclear sector has pushed much of Poland’s skilled workforce into looking for professional opportunities in the nuclear field abroad. He said the government is trying to restore and strengthen Poland’s nuclear competences by “bringing back” some of this workforce. Mr Sobolewski said a recent public opinion survey showed that 51% of respondents were in favour of nuclear new build, while 70% saw it as an “important issue”. However, he said 90% of respondents wanted more information on the project. A report on Poland’s first nuclear power station project is being considered by ministers. A release date for the report has not been announced.

Construction Of Cernavodă-3 and -4 To Be Part Of Romania’s Energy Strategy, Reports Say
13.10.2016 - NucNet News
Construction of Romania’s planned Cernavodă-3 and -4 nuclear units will be part of the country’s energy strategy, because over €1bn ($1.1bn) have already been invested in the project, energy minister Victor Grigorescu was quoted by local media as saying. Mr Grigorescu said the use of nuclear energy strengthens Romania’s energy security as the country is the only one in the region to have an integrated nuclear supply chain using “North-American technology”. Although Romania “has room” for more nuclear energy, coal will remain an important resource in the energy mix, Mr Grigorescu confirmed. Romania has two Canadian-designed Candu-6 units in commercial operation – Cernavodă-1 and Cernavodă-2. Cernavodă-1 began commercial operation in December 1996 and Cernavodă-2 in October 2007. In July 2014, reactor manufacturer Candu Energy of Canada said it had signed an “exclusive and binding” agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), to cooperate on the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Cernavodă, both of the Candu-6 type. In November 2015, Romanian nuclear power operator Nuclearelectrica and CGN signed a memorandum of understanding on the development, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of Cernavodă-3 and -4. Negotiations on the details of an investors’ agreement between the Romanian government and CGN have been under way since then.

IAEA Praises Safety Culture At Netherlands’ Petten Research Reactor
12.10.2016 - NucNet News
The Nuclear Research Group (NRG) of the Netherlands has promoted and developed a strong safety culture based on a mature management system at its high flux research reactor (HFR) in Petten, concluded experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Nuclear Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) mission yesterday. NRG pays “strict attention” to safety procedures in waste management, radiation protection of workers, effective emergency plans as well as training staff in various areas to maintain the reactor to the highest standards, the experts found. The HFR is one of the main radioisotope production facilities in the world, supplying about 70% of the medical isotopes in Europe, and contributes to about 30% of world production, the IAEA said. “By requesting INSARR missions, the Netherlands has made a strong commitment to nuclear safety and to its continuous improvement,” said Greg Rzentkowski, IAEA director of nuclear installation safety. The expert team, made up of IAEA nuclear safety experts and international experts in the field of research reactor safety, conducted a comprehensive assessment of the safety procedures and regulations at the HFR from 4 to 11 October 2016. The team also noted a high level of the implementation of the recommendations of the previous IAEA INSARR mission conducted in 2011, which included follow-up actions to the relevant lessons learned from the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident.

Turkey Wants To Make Decision Soon On Akkuyu Nuclear Station, Says Minister
11.10.2016 - NucNet News
Turkey has told the new director-general of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, that it wants to make a decision soon on plans for a new nuclear station in Turkey, but has stopped short of giving a timetable. Mr Likhachev, who took over at Rosatom last week after his predecessor Sergei Kiriyenko was appointed first deputy chief of President Vladimir Putin’s administration, held talks with Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak on the sidelines of the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul. Mr Albayrak said “it is still too early” to say when a licence for construction of the planned Akkuyu station, near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast, can be issued. But he said nuclear power is “extremely important” for Turkey in terms of reducing its energy dependence. “Therefore, I think that the question of the issuance of this licence will be decided at an accelerated pace,” he said. Turkey does not have any commercial nuclear reactors, but is planning to build two stations – Akkuyu and Sinop – with four units each. Turkey has signed intergovernmental agreements with Russia and Japan for the construction Akkuyu and Sinop respectively. The Akkuyu site will have four Russian VVER-1200 units. According to a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report preparations are advanced at Akkuyu and construction will begin in 2017 with the units online by 2023. The project is relying on a build-own-operate (BOO) model with Russia. The IEA said feasibility studies are continuing at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Itochu Corporation for the construction of the Sinop station, with four Generation-III Atmea-1 PWRs.

Q&A: Why the EC’s Pinc Has Failed Europe’s Nuclear Industry
10.10.2016 - NucNet News
In a opinion paper published last month, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for a more comprehensive strategy to be incorporated in a revised version of the European Commission’s Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy, or Pinc, released in April 2016. EESC member Brian Curtis tells NucNet why the Pinc has failed to address key issues for nuclear and why he believes the EC has become sidetracked by renewables.

Europe Needs Clearly Defined Path For Nuclear, Says Poland Minister
06.10.2016 - NucNet News
Europe needs “a clearly defined path” for the development of nuclear new-build and nuclear R&D, Poland’s deputy minister of energy Andrzej Piotrowski told the plenary session at the European Nuclear Energy Forum in Bratislava earlier this week. According to the ministry’s website, Mr Piotrowski said the European Commission has been unable to design a coherent policy with respect to carbon-free energy sources. He said the Polish government, which has announced plans for its first commercial reactor units, recognises nuclear energy as an essential element in the transformation of the country’s energy sector. Mr Piotrowski said nuclear is a zero-emission technology responsible for 50% of the clean energy produced in Europe.

Paris Climate Agreement To Enter Into Force As Europe Approves Ratification
06.10.2016 - NucNet News
The Paris Agreement on climate change is expected to enter into force after the European Parliament approved its ratification by the European Union, a statement by the European Commission said on 5 October 2016. The decision means the European Council, comprising the heads of state of the EU’s 28 member countries, can formally adopt the agreement, the statement said. According to the EC, yesterday’s decision concludes the ratification process at EU level and all member states can now ratify the agreement individually. The EC said that 62 parties, accounting for almost 52% of global CO2 emissions, had ratified the agreement. It will come into force 30 days after ratification by at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global CO2 emissions. The EC said the EU’s ratification means the 55% emissions threshold will be exceeded, triggering the agreement’s entry into force. However, in a statement on 6 October 2016 the Paris-based International Energy Agency said there are now 74 parties, representing 60% of global CO2 emissions, which have ratified the agreement. The IEA said along with the European Union, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia also announced their ratification yesterday. India, New Zealand and Canada ratified the agreement earlier this week. The Paris Agreement was approved by 197 countries at COP21 in December 2015. According to information on the United Nations website, China and the US ratified the agreement on 3 September 2016.

Sweden Signs Cooperation Agreements With Norway, Finland, Belarus And US
05.10.2016 - NucNet News
Sweden’s Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has signed two new cooperation agreements, one with the radiation safety authorities of Norway, Finland and Belarus and the other with the US Nuclear regulatory Commission, a statement said. The agreements were signed during the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Meeting in Vienna last week. SSM said the agreement with Norway, Finland and Belarus covers the exchange of information and serves as the foundation for collaboration. The agreement with the US will serve as the basis for continued cooperation, SSM said. Collaboration in areas related to security has increased since a previous agreement was signed.

Mix Of Nuclear And Renewables Is Only Way Forward For Belgium, Says PwC Study
04.10.2016 - NucNet News
Belgium will only achieve stable energy prices, guarantee its security of electric supply and meet climate objectives if it combines renewable energy sources and long-term nuclear in its energy mix, a study concludes.

Nuclear Industry’s ‘Strong Focus’ On Security Should Be Adopted By Other Sectors, Says Report
04.10.2016 - NucNet News
The nuclear industry’s focus on continuously improving nuclear security practices, in part via peer reviews and training programmes carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Institute for Nuclear Security, could be adopted by other energy sectors, a report on cyber security by the World Energy Council says. The report says the nuclear sector’s “strong focus” on security has extended into cybersecurity. At the 2016 Nuclear Industry Summit in Washington, a working group of civilian nuclear energy companies released recommendations that associations such as the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) establish regular discussions on cybersecurity issues and share good practices and cyber risk reduction strategies. The working group also recommended that the nuclear industry collaborate further with the IAEA to develop more “cyber-focused” guidelines and training for the nuclear industry. Companies are increasingly recognising cyber as a core risk, but there is insufficient information sharing among energy industry members and across sectors on cyber experiences, the report says. Cyber insurance is one mechanism to help offset potential financial losses from a cyber-attack. However, the insurance industry must continue to develop instruments to address the potentially catastrophic losses and the complexity of cyber risk. The report says cyber risks present “a unique concern” in the energy sector because an attack on energy infrastructure, including a nuclear station, has the potential to cause a massive operational failure of an energy asset. An attack on nuclear plant equipment could lead to a core meltdown and dispersal of radioactivity. In 2015, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company suffered a series of attacks aimed at causing nuclear reactors to malfunction. The attacks only succeeded in leaking non-classified documents. The report is online:

Foratom Calls For Action On Electricity Market Design
04.10.2016 - NucNet News
The current unsustainable design of the electricity market and the lower prices of fossil fuels and of wholesale electricity mean the EU is facing a challenge to reach its 2030 climate policy objectives and COP21 commitments, a position paper by the Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom says. The paper says poorly targeted subsidies are distorting the energy market leading to overcapacity, low spot prices on the wholesale market and high consumer prices. Adequate long-term price signals for new energy investments are needed to incentivise investment in low carbon energy projects. In the position paper, Foratom calls for action on electricity market design in order to restore confidence among potential investors in power generation projects of all types, but in particular in large-scale, low-carbon generation projects such as new nuclear power plants. Foratom says long-term price signals such as bilateral long-term contracts or contracts for difference (CfDs) are needed to encourage investment. The paper is online:

Ukraine’s Zaporozhye-2 Can Operate For 10 More Years, Say Regulators
04.10.2016 - NucNet News
Officials from Ukraine’s State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation (SNRIU) have concluded that Unit 2 of the Zaporozhye nuclear station in southeast Ukraine can operate safely until 19 February 2026, a statement on nuclear power station operator Energoatom’s website said. The decision was taken unanimously at a public meeting of the SNRIU College, which was held on 3 October 2016. SNRIU carried out an inspection at the plant from 15 to 19 August 2016. In July 2015 Energoatom applied for a licence renewal to operate the unit for another 10 years. Zaporozhye-2, a Russian-built VVER-1000/320 reactor, began commercial operation in 1986. Its current licence expired on 19 February 2016 since when it has been offline. The Zaporozhye nuclear station is the largest in Europe with six commercially operational units with a net capacity of 950 MW each.

Industry Committee Set Up To Support Nuclear Security Efforts
04.10.2016 - NucNet News
A committee of senior nuclear industry representatives has been established to continue efforts to support nuclear security, the Vienna-based World Institute for Nuclear Security (Wins) said. Wins said the Nuclear Industry Steering Group on Security (NISGS) aims to help turn commitments made during four Nuclear Industry Summits held since 2010 into security improvements and strengthened partnerships between the nuclear industry and organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Poland And US Sign Cooperation Agreement On Nuclear Safety
29.09.2016 - NucNet News

Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have signed an agreement on the exchange of technical information and cooperation in the area of nuclear safety and radiation protection, the PAA said in a statement yesterday. The agreement was concluded during the 60th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and will be valid for five years, the statement said. According to the PAA, the agreement will help improve the agency’s competence in nuclear supervision. Poland does not operate any commercial nuclear power stations, but has announced plans to build one. The country has a single research reactor on the outskirts of the capital Warsaw.

EU’s Economic And Social Committee Calls For ‘More Comprehensive’ Nuclear Strategy In Europe
23.09.2016 - NucNet News
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called for a more comprehensive nuclear strategy to be incorporated in a revised version of the European Commission’s (EC) Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy, or Pinc.

Public Tender For Poland’s First Nuclear Project Expected By 2018, Reports Say
23.09.2016 - NucNet News
A public tender for the construction of Poland’s first nuclear power station may be announced in late 2017 or early 2018, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, the country’s energy minister, said in an interview for local media. Polish business daily WNP quoted Andrzej Piotrowski, a deputy minister for energy, as saying there is no question if Poland should build a nuclear power station, but the question is “how to do it”. He said the development of nuclear energy requires a sound financial plan. According to earlier reports, Poland intends to build four or five nuclear units with combined output of about 6,000 MW by the mid-2030s. In December 2015, five companies were listed as potential suppliers of the reactor technology for the project – GE-Hitachi, Korea Electric Power Corporation, SNC-Lavalin, Westinghouse and Areva.

EU’s Economic And Social Committee Calls For ‘More Comprehensive’ Nuclear Strategy In Europe
22.09.2016 - NucNet News
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has called for a more comprehensive nuclear strategy to be incorporated in a revised version of the European Commission’s (EC) Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy, or Pinc.

EU Report Highlights ‘Critical Challenges’ In Decommissioning Of Soviet Reactors In Eastern Europe
21.09.2016 - NucNet News
Some progress has been made in the decommissioning of eight Soviet-built nuclear reactor units in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia since 2011, but a number of “critical” challenges remain to be tackled with financing gaps for all three countries and delays to key infrastructure projects, according to a report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the European Union’s budget watchdog.

Bulgaria Considers Paying First Tranche Of Belene Compensation, Reports Say
19.09.2016 - NucNet News

Bulgaria will pay “by the end of the year” €400m ($446m) of the €620m compensation owed to the Russian nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the cancellation of the Belene nuclear project, the country’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova told local media. Ms Petkova said state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding and its subsidiary the National Electric Company (NEK) do not have the financial resources to make the payment and the government is considering “various options” to find a solution. She said a decision was taken to pay the total claim in “a couple” of tranches, €400m being the first one. Last week it was announced that Bulgaria is disputing the interest component of the compensation payment, claiming a technical error was made in its calculation. Ms Petkova said total interest is €82m and Bulgaria expects a decision by the International Court of Arbitration (ICC) on its reduction. Bulgaria’s prime minister Boiko Borisov told reporters yesterday that parliament’s permission may be needed before the payment is made. In June 2016, the Geneva-based ICC ordered NEK to pay the €620m to Atomstroyexport for the cancellation of the Belene project in 2012. Since then, Bulgarian officials have been seeking ways to find an alternative solution on the future of Belene.


Representatives of Nyköping and Oskarshamn municipalities visited Spain

16.09.2016 - GMF
A delegation of representatives of Nyköping and Oskarshamn municipalities (Sweden), concerned about the decision taken by the operating companies in Sweden to close four reactors, visited Spain accompanied by members of the Association of Municipalities in Areas of Nuclear power plants in Spain (AMAC) in order to know the decommissioning process in Spain.

During their trip they visited the spanish nuclear safety authority, Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), and attended a briefing on the characteristics and activities of the Spain’s regulator as well as a guided tour to the Information Center.

They also visited the José Cabrera nuclear power plant (Guadalajara) to see the decommissioning process.

France’s IRSN Calls For Dedicated Working Group For Environmental Protection
16.09.2016 - NucNet News

A dedicated working group should be established in France to deal with environmental protection in the post-accident phase of a major nuclear accident such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) says in a report. In the report, which reviews existing methods of environmental protection from radiation and makes a number of recommendations, IRSN says the proposed dedicated working group’s work should extend to environmental monitoring practices. In terms of smaller accidents, attention should also be given to emergencies where protecting the environment would be essential, particularly in cases of incidents that impact uninhabited conservation areas, the report says. IRSN said it had produced the report to “support the discussion about radioprotection of the environment” and because France has an obligation to transpose EU directives into its national legislation. The report is online:

Foratom Calls For New Energy Market Design To Encourage Investment In Nuclear
16.09.2016 - NucNet News
The European nuclear industry group Foratom has called on the European Commission to propose a new energy market design that facilitates investments in all low-carbon energy sources including nuclear. Welcoming yesterday’s final go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in England, calling it an important milestone for the future of nuclear energy in Europe, the Brussels-based group said the current EU single electricity market fails to provide a sufficient market signal to investors in low-carbon energy. Foratom director-general Jean-Pol Poncelet said the contracts for difference (CfD) investment model that underpins the Hinkley Point C deal provides “an effective market mechanism that addresses this failure”. Mr Poncelet said the Hinkley Point C approval sends a positive signal for future nuclear investments all across Europe.

Estonia Faces Challenge Of Developing And Sustaining Expertise, Says IAEA
15.09.2016 - NucNet News

Estonia’s regulatory body for nuclear and radiation safety is “experienced and dedicated”, but needs to develop and sustain adequate professional expertise to meet future challenges, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team, which yesterday concluded a 10-day mission to assess Estonia’s regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, said Estonia has established a legal and regulatory framework for safety which “largely meets” IAEA safety standards. But the team said that as a country with a small workforce, Estonia’s main challenge will be to develop and sustain radiation safety expertise. The team said the Ministry of the Environment should consider organising the radiation safety regulatory functions of authorisation, inspection and enforcement in such a way that they are “effectively performed by staff with sufficient expertise in radiation safety”. The team also called on the Ministry of the Environment to amend the regulatory framework on predisposal management of radioactive waste to establish “explicit provisions” related to the overall responsibilities of the operator. Estonia has no nuclear power plants. However, it uses radioactive sources in medical, industrial and research applications, and maintains an interim storage facility for radioactive waste. The government is in the process of selecting a site for a planned permanent waste disposal facility.

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Station Gets Go-Ahead
15.09.2016 - NucNet News

The British government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation at Hinkley Point C in England after a comprehensive review of the project and a revised agreement with EDF, it has been announced.

Bulgaria Questions Interest Calculation In Belene Compensation Claim, Reports Say
14.09.2016 - NucNet News
A “technical error” was made in calculating the interest component of the €620m ($696m) compensation payment owed by Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) to Russia’s nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the cancellation of the Belene nuclear project in 2012, Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova was quoted by local media as saying. Ms Petkova said a “compound interest” rate has been used in the June 2016 ruling of the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration (ICC). Compound interest is calculated over the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a loan. Ms Petkova said such an interest rate is “not acceptable under national legislation and there is no way it can be paid”. According to Ms Petkova, the sum owed by Bulgaria will be reduced, but she did not say by how much. She reportedly said the Russian side was told of Bulgaria’s position during a meeting held last week to discuss the financial details of the ICC’s decision.

UK ‘Jobs Map’ Shows Increase In High-Skilled Nuclear Workers
13.09.2016 - NucNet News

Figures published today show that “high-quality, high-skilled” jobs are being created by the UK’s civil nuclear industry in “every part of the country”. The London-based Nuclear Industry Association’s 2016 Jobs Map shows 65,791 people are working in the sector – an increase of more than 2,000 on last year. The statistics – updated annually by the NIA – also highlight the number of women, apprentices and graduates employed in the industry. More than one fifth all of all employees are female, almost 2,000 are on an apprenticeship programme and over 1,000 are part of a graduate scheme.

New President Appointed For Women in Nuclear UK
12.09.2016 - NucNet News
Women in Nuclear UK (WiN), a non-profit organisation set up in 2014 to address the industry’s gender balance, has appointed a new president. Jack Gritt, regional executive director for performance and quality at technical professional and construction services company Jacobs, is to succeed incumbent Miranda Kirschel, a statement said. Ms Gritt has worked in the nuclear industry for 30 years and has held a number of management positions, WiN said. According to WiN, only 17% of the nuclear industry’s workforce is female. For details:

Sweden Submits Nuclear Safety Report For Review
08.09.2016 - NucNet News
A report on Sweden’s compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Convention on Nuclear Safety has been submitted for review to the other countries that have signed the Convention. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), which produced the report on behalf of the government, said Sweden will also review several other countries’ reports. Every three years, SSM compiles a report on how the Swedish government, authorities, licensees and nuclear power plant owners comply with their respective commitments under the Convention. The review process will end with a two-week conference at the IAEA in Vienna from 27 March to 7 April 2017. Sweden’s report is online (Swedish only):

Europe Was Largest Contributor To Iter In 2015, Report Says
07.09.2016 - NucNet News
The European Union’s Euratom Community provided the largest share of financing for the estimated €15bn (about $16bn) International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project in 2015, according to the organisation’s annual report. Euratom’s contribution amounted to about €136m of the total €387m contributed by the seven Iter members. The other six are China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US. Japan and Russia were the second and third largest contributors providing €61m and €57m respectively. According to the report, the staff count at Iter increased to 642 in 2015 from 515 in 2013 and 609 in 2014. Most staff positions in 2015 – 446 – were occupied by nationals of Euratom member states, the report said. The Euratom Treaty covers all civil nuclear activities in the EU, pooling the nuclear industries of its member states and ensuring the security of nuclear energy supply in Europe. Iter, under construction in Cadarache, France, is intended to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power. The annual report is online:

Ukraine’s Energoatom And South Korea’s KHNP Sign Cooperation Agreement
31.08.2016 - NucNet News
Ukraine’s national nuclear energy generating company Energoatom and South Korea’s nuclear operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) have signed a memorandum of understanding aiming to improve bilateral cooperation in the nuclear industry, Energoatom said today. The main focus of the cooperation efforts will include the completion of Units 3 and 4 of the Khmelnitski nuclear power station in western Ukraine, a statement said. Under the agreement, a steering committee will be established to coordinate all questions of cooperation between the two parties, Energoatom said. Sok Cho, chief executive of KHNP, said he remains “firmly convinced” that the completion of Khmelnitski-3 and -4 “will be successful” if Energoatom and KHNP “work together toward a common goal”, given that both companies have accumulated rich expertise in the construction and operation of nuclear power stations over the years. In September 2015, Ukraine’s supreme legislative body, the Verkhovna Rada, approved a bill renouncing an earlier intergovernmental agreement with Russia on the construction of two new reactor units at Khmelnitski.

Swedish Regulator Boosts Radwaste Transportation Safety In Russia
23.08.2016 - NucNet News
Sweden has helped improve the safety of radioactive waste transportation in north-western Russia by means of cooperating with a local waste management company, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said in a statement. SSM has supported the operations of SevRAO, a company in charge of handling nuclear waste from Russia’s northern nuclear submarine fleet located near Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula, by securing the purchase of a new vehicle to be used in radioactive waste and material transportation in the region, the statement said. SSM said the truck will transport waste from the former Soviet submarine base at Andreeva Bay to a long-term storage facility at Saida Bay. According to SSM, the Andreeva Bay facility holds large quantities of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel that need to be removed for reprocessing and disposal. The SSM also said it runs many more projects in Central and Eastern Europe with the goal of raising the level of nuclear safety and security, improving radiation protection and reducing the risk of incidents and terrorist acts.

Ukraine To Continue Efforts On Diversifying Nuclear Supplies And Services, Official Says
22.08.2016 - NucNet News
Ukraine’s national nuclear operator Energoatom will continue to diversify its supply of nuclear materials and services, Yuri Nedashkovsky, Energoatom’s president, was quoted as saying in a statement on the company’s website. Mr Nedashkovsky spoke at a media briefing on 18 August after Energoatom and the Anglo-German-Dutch company Urenco signed a contract for Urenco to supply uranium enrichment services to Ukraine. The Ukrainian company said earlier this year it had invited Urenco to submit an offer to supply uranium enrichment as part of a competitive procurement exercise. Mr Nedashkovsky said Energoatom is “on the path of diversification of supply in several ways”, with one direction being the ongoing cooperation with Westinghouse in manufacturing nuclear fuel assemblies for Ukraine’s Soviet-built VVER reactors. He also said Energoatom is working on the diversification of other nuclear-related services, such as the transportation of nuclear materials, where “achievements will be presented” next year. Ukraine has 15 reactors in commercial operation, all of the VVER type. They produced about 56 percent of the country’s electricity in 2015, according to data by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

UK Academics Share Their Thoughts On Hinkley Point C
09.08.2016 - NucNet News

The proposed Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Plant project has experienced controversy in the public since its inception. Some critics have raised concerns about UK infrastructure being foreign owned, being part owned by the French energy company EDF and part funded by China’s CGN Group. To secure the £18bn (€21bn) investment, the previous government, led by David Cameron, agreed to a complex subsidy arrangement, which could see consumers paying billions more if future wholesale electricity prices become lower, which they are currently predicted to do. The nuclear technology is also untested, which has led to questions around safety.

UK-China Relations ‘At Critical Juncture’ Over Hinkley, Says Ambassador
09.08.2016 - NucNet News

China’s relations with the UK are at a “crucial historical juncture” amid doubts over the future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, the Chinese ambassador to the UK said in an article for the Financial Times. “If Britain’s openness is a condition for bilateral co-operation, then mutual trust is the very foundation on which this is built,” Liu Xiaoming wrote in the article. He said the Hinkley Point C project is at the centre of Britain’s evolving trade relationship with China. “Right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more. I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British government will continue to support Hinkley Point – and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly.” The ambassador’s intervention comes after the British government’s decision last month to delay final approval of the project, which is receiving major financial support from China. The Guardian said today that the prime minister Theresa May is thought to have ordered a delay owing to concerns about the role of China General Nuclear, which has a one-third stake in the Hinkley project. Comments by Mrs May’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy, last year have led to claims that the delay has been prompted by concerns that Chinese state-owned companies were being allowed to invest in sensitive infrastructure, The Guardian said.

Report Finds No Nuclear Safety Concerns In Poland For 2015
28.07.2016 - NucNet News
There were no radiological or environmental safety concerns in Poland in 2015, the annual report of the Polish National Atomic Energy Agency (NAEA) says. The report covers issues related to nuclear safety and radiological protection, such as the safety status of nuclear installations in Poland, an assessment of the national radiation background, and statistics on the potential exposure to ionising radiation. The report said 773 inspections were carried out in 2015 in more than 3,800 organisations exposed to risks of ionising radiation. Thirteen inspections were carried out at the National Centre for Nuclear Research, operating the Maria research reactor, and three inspections were made at Poland’s waste management facilities. The report said 17 cases of unauthorised imports of radioactive materials were reported by Polish border guards in 2015. Poland has one operational research reactor, Maria, on the outskirts of Warsaw. A second research reactor, Ewa, was shut down in 1995 and is undergoing dismantling work. Poland does not operate any commercial nuclear power stations for its energy needs, but has announced plans to build one. The report is online (in Polish):

Turkey ‘Has Removed’ All Legal Obstacles To Akkuyu Construction
28.07.2016 - NucNet News
urkey has removed all legal obstacles to the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear station, Russia’s deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich said, according to the government-owned Russian Tass news agency. Tass said Mr Dvorkovich made the comment after a meeting between Turkey’s economy minister Nihat Zeybekchi and Russian energy minister Alexander Novak. Tass did not give further details, but in May Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom told NucNet that amendments were needed to three Turkish laws before Russia could go ahead with plans to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station. Rosatom said one law prevented the cutting down of olive trees on the proposed site. Another meant the shape of the seafront could not be altered to allow for construction of intake and outlet channels, and a third law prevented foreign producers of electricity from selling it. Akkuyu, near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast, is to be built in cooperation with Rosatom under a contract signed in late 2010. The station will have four 1,200 MW VVER units and is scheduled to produce power by the end of 2022.

EDF Board Approves Final Investment Decision For Hinkley Point
28.07.2016 - NucNet News

French state-owned utility EDF has approved construction of the two-unit Hinkley Point C nuclear station – the first nuclear plant to be built in the UK in a generation.

After €620M Arbitration Ruling, What Next For Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Project?
26.07.2016 - NucNet News
In June, the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration (ICA) of the International Chamber of Commerce ordered Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) to pay €620m ($703m) in compensation to Russia’s nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the termination of the Belene nuclear station construction project in 2012.

Hinkley Hit By New Delay As UK Government Announces Project Review
26.07.2016 - NucNet News
The plan to build an £18bn nuclear station at Hinkley Point in the UK was hit with an unexpected delay on Thursday night as the government decided to hold a new review hours after EDF, the project’s state-owned French developer, gave it the go-ahead.

Poland’s PGE EJ1 Appoints Acting President
27.07.2016 - NucNet News
Krzysztof Sadłowski has been appointed acting president of Poland’s PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the country’s first nuclear power station project, a statement said. Mr Sadłowski has 25 years of experience in the energy sector and between 2012 and 2014 was a member of the management board of Polish construction company Mostostal Warszawa. Before his new role, Mr Sadłowski was vice-president of the management board of PGE EJ1.

Hungary Must Satisfy Two EC Conditions For Paks 2 Approval, Reports Say
27.07.2016 - NucNet News
Hungary must satisfy two conditions before the European Commission can give the green light for the Paks 2 nuclear power station project, Hungarian media reported. According to the online business daily Portfolio, the first condition is for all issues related to the supervision of Paks 2 to be “clearly separated” from existing policymaking in the energy sector and the overall system of supervision for power stations in Hungary. The second condition is that the electricity produced at Paks 2 be sold on a power exchange along market principles instead of being directly sold to the Hungarian national grid operator, reports said. An agreement signed in 2014 would see Russian enterprises supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.8bn) to finance 80 percent of the project. In November 2015, the EC launched an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the implementation of the project and the award of the construction contract to Russia. In January 2016, the EC expressed doubts about whether Hungary’s financing plans for the two reactors involve legal state aid.

After €620M Arbitration Ruling, What Next For Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Project?
26.07.2016 - NucNet News
 Iran is considering Bulgaria’s offer to sell it the Russian-made reactor equipment produced for the abandoned Belene nuclear project, according to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

North Wales Site Should Be Location For First UK SMR, Says Report By MPs
26.07.2016 - NucNet News
The Trawsfynydd nuclear site in north Wales should be designated as a site for a first-of-its kind small modular reactor (SMR) station in the UK, but progress has to be made soon if the UK wants to be “first to market” for SMRs, a committee of MPs has said.

Czech Republic’s CEZ Asks Ministry To Begin Environmental Assessment At Dukovany
21.07.2016 - NucNet News
Czech utility CEZ has asked the Ministry of Environment to launch proceedings to assess the environmental impact of up to two new reactors at its current Dukovany site. CEZ said in a statement that any environmental issue identified by the ministry must be addressed before approval is given for new reactors. CEZ said it expects the ministry will need “several years” to complete the evaluation. In June 2015 the Czech Cabinet approved a national action plan for the long-term future of nuclear energy, including plans to build new nuclear units at the existing Temelín and Dukovany nuclear sites. The government said the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy counts on at least one new reactor being built at Dukovany and Temelín, with a probable total of four new reactors in the long term at the two locations. Priority for construction of the first reactor will be given to the Dukovany site, where the first of four reactors operating there will probably be shut down in 2035. The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four VVER-440 units at the Dukovany site and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín.

French Parliament Passes Law On Procedures For Cigéo Repository
21.07.2016 - NucNet News

The French Parliament has passed a law that details some of the procedures for the Cigéo deep geologic repository project, Andra, the French agency managing the project said. The law, adopted on 11 July 2016 by the National Assembly, says the facility must be “reversible” and defines reversibility as “the capacity, for the coming generations, either to pursue the construction and then the operations of the successive phases of a disposal, or to reassess choices made previously, and to develop management solutions”. Andra said this definition allows a range of technical and governance choices for the future generations which will have to build and operate the facility for over 100 years. The law also confirms the changes in the project proposed by Andra following a 2013 public debate, such as the implementation of an industrial pilot phase allowing for full-scale trials before starting disposal operations. It stabilises the long-term governance of the project by requiring a new parliamentary decision after the pilot phase, a stakeholder consultation every five years, and a review on the principles of reversibility. If approved, Cigéo will be built in the Meuse/Haute-Marne area in northeastern France. Andra has already carried out extensive geological and scientific studies at the Bure underground laboratory, in Meuse. Andra said the law is important because it can now take into account parliamentary requirements for preparing the Cigéo licence application, which will be submitted in 2018, and for beginning the consultation process.

European Commission Opens State-Aid Investigation Into Areva Restructuring
21.07.2016 - NucNet News
The European Commission has opened an investigation to determine whether the French state’s contribution to the financing of Areva’s restructuring gave the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, the EC said in a statement. Areva said last month that the French government – the majority shareholder in Areva – would inject more than €4bn ($4.4bn) into Areva and a new entity called New Areva, in a restructuring plan that will also see Areva NP, the subsidiary that produces nuclear reactors, sold to nuclear operator EDF. “Given the size and importance of the restructuring of Areva, the Commission has to carefully assess that the restructuring plan is sound and that the state aid does not unduly distort competition in the Single Market. Our aim is to ensure a sustainable future for Areva without the need for further government support,” Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner responsible for competition policy, said in the EU statement. The EC said France had notified it in April of a restructuring plan to restore the Areva group’s competitiveness and improve its financial position. The EC said in the statement it would check whether the assumptions of Areva's restructuring plan are sufficiently realistic to restore the long-term viability of the company without any additional future cash infusion.

France’s Regulator Suspends Certificate For Fessenheim-2 Steam Generator
20.07.2016 - NucNet News
France’s nuclear safety authority ASN has suspended a certificate originally issued in 2012 for the lower shell of one of the Fessenheim-2 nuclear plant’s steam generators, which has several anomalies that were discovered in June, a statement said. ASN issues test certificates for the most important nuclear equipment. The suspension of the certificate will result in Fessenheim-2 remaining shut until Areva NP – Areva’s reactor unit – demonstrates the steam generators meet regulatory standards. France's nuclear operator EDF shut Fessenheim-2 last month for scheduled maintenance that was planned to last until 29 August. ASN said in June that 85 irregularities in about 10,000 fabrication files at Le Creusot forge, which is owned by Areva NP, had been found involving components at 21 of EDF's 58 operating reactors, including the anomaly at Fessenheim-2. The irregularities consisted of “inconsistencies, omissions or changes in manufacturing files”. They were discovered as part of a quality audit which began in 2015. Le Creusot manufactures forgings and castings for large components of nuclear reactors. Areva said in a statement yesterday that it acknowledged ASN's decision, taken as a precautionary measure, to suspend the test certificate on the secondary part of the steam generator. Fessenheim-2, an 880-MW pressurised water reactor, began commercial operation in 1978.

UK Could Leave EU Without Withdrawing From Euratom, Says Brussels Law Firm
20.07.2016 - NucNet News
The Euratom Community has a separate legal personality from the European Union and is governed by a separate treaty and separate exit mechanism, making it possible that the UK could leave the EU without simultaneously withdrawing from Euratom, an article published in The National Law Review says. The article, written by two partners at the Brussels office of law firm McDermott Will & Emery, says in the case of the UK, such a clean split might not be achievable, primarily because the EU treaties and the Euratom Treaty are incorporated into UK law through the European Communities Act (ECA). “If the UK repealed the ECA in order to fully withdraw from the European Union, the Euratom Treaty would consequently become unenforceable in the United Kingdom,” the article says. “Even if the ECA is only partially repealed, UK membership in the Euratom Community might simply be unworkable.” The article concludes that as such, one of the unintended effects of Brexit is that, in practice, the “no” vote could make it impossible for the UK to retain its membership in the Euratom Community. The Euratom Treaty covers all civil nuclear activities in the EU. As a nuclear peace treaty, it pools the nuclear industries of its member states and ensures the security of atomic energy supply in Europe. The general objective of the Treaty is to contribute to the formation and development of Europe’s nuclear industries and to prevent nuclear materials intended for civilian use from being diverted to military use. The National Law Review article is online:

Council Approves Expansion Of UK’s Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository
19.07.2016 - NucNet News
A regional council in Cumbria, northwest England, has given planning permission for the construction of two new vaults and the extension of a third vault at the UK’s low-level radioactive waste repository near Drigg, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said. According to the NDA, the repository expansion project will ensure the future of the facility until 2050. The NDA said it expects work to begin in 2017. Planning permission also allows the construction of a final cap over existing and new vaults and seven clay-lined trenches, where waste was disposed of before the first engineered vault opened 1988. The repository was opened in 1957 as the only UK location for the disposal of solid waste containing low levels of radioactivity. It receives waste from a range of producers, including nuclear power stations, defence establishments, general industry, hospitals and universities. The NDA said more than £100m (€119m, $131m) has been invested in the site’s infrastructure over the past decade to maintain it as an important national asset. Details online:

Finland’s TVO Announces Increase In Turnover And Electricity Delivery
18.07.2016 - NucNet News
Teollisuuden Voima Oyj’s consolidated turnover for the first six months of 2016 was €176.9m ($194m), an increase from €155.9m in the same period last year, with 6,946 GWh of electricity delivered to shareholders, up from 6,587 GWh, the Finnish utility said. The higher delivery volume to shareholders was due to increased delivery volumes of both the Olkiluoto-2 nuclear plant and the Meri-Pori coal-fired power plant, TVO said. Annual outages at Olkiluoto ended last month with extensive maintenance carried out at Unit 1 and refuelling at Unit 2. At Olkiluoto-3, the EPR under construction, process system tests began and the operating licence application was submitted to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Earth-moving work and excavations began for Posiva’s encapsulation plant at Olkiluoto, TVO said. In December 2015 Posiva announced it had been granted a licence by the government for the construction of a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel at Olkiluoto – the first final repository in the world to enter the construction phase. In the planned final disposal facility, spent fuel assemblies will be encapsulated and placed in the bedrock at a depth of about 400 metres for permanent disposal.

Poland Abandons Gaski As Potential Site For First Nuclear Station
18.07.2016 - NucNet News
Poland’s PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the country’s first nuclear power station project, has confirmed it will not carry out site selection and environmental examinations for the Gąski site in the northern province of Western Pomerania. Site selection examinations will now focus on two sites – Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec – both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the nearby province of Pomerania, the company said in a statement. The decision was made after initial studies showed that Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec fulfill the criteria necessary for hosting a nuclear power station “to the fullest extent”. In May 2016, Poland’s General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDEP) approved those two locations as the focus of initial environmental impact studies for the nuclear project. PGE EJ1 abandoned another possible site, Choczewo, because of its proximity to the region around Białogóra, part of the EU’s Natura 2000 natural reserve network. PGE EJ1 has now said it is dropping Gąski because of the recommendations that Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec best fulfill the criteria for a repository site. PGE EJ1 has said it wants to choose a preferred site by the end of 2017.

UK Government Audit Report Warns Of High Cost Of New Nuclear
14.07.2016 - NucNet News
Nuclear construction in the UK is expensive and slow in comparison to other countries, in part because the UK has not built any nuclear plants since the 1990s and lacks a proven supply chain, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) says.

Poland May Not Have Nuclear Until After 2030, Says PGE Chief Executive
13.07.2016 - NucNet News
Poland’s largest utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) is not abandoning plans to build the country’s first nuclear power reactors, but the nature of the project may be modified and not realised until after 2030, PGE’s chief executive Henryk Baranowski said yesterday. In an interview with the daily Rzeczpospolita Mr Baranowski said nuclear power will be in an updated government energy strategy, but the earliest chance to build it will be after 2030 and perhaps in a modified form. He said: “We are not suspending work on the project. We continue to analyse and discuss it with the government. When we’re ready, we will take the next step, there’s a chance that it will be this year.” In February PGE announced it had chosen two potential locations for the first plant and would continue environmental testing at Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Zarnowiec, both in Pomerania in northern Poland close to the Baltic Sea. PGE said it planned to select its preferred site by the end of 2017.

Swedish Regulator Says ‘Conditions Exist’ For Safe Operation Of Ringhals-1 and -2
08.07.2016 - NucNet News
Conditions exist for the safer operation of Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and -2 nuclear reactor units for 10 more years, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said in a statement today. This became evident after the successful conclusion of a recent overall assessment of safety and radiation protection performed by the operator Ringhals AB and approved by the SSM, the statement said. Per Hellström, an SSM examiner, was quoted as saying that Ringhals AB has conducted a number of activities that improve safety, but “some gaps” remain. Mr Hellström did not specify what these gaps are but said they are “not significant” from the radiation safety point of view. Nevertheless, the shortcomings will require Ringhals AB’s “immediate attention”, he said. In October 2015, Swedish state-controlled utility Vattenfall, majority owner of Ringhals AB, said it will permanently shut down Ringhals-1 in 2019, with Ringhals-2 to follow in 2020 over concerns about their economic viability. Vattenfall initially had planned to operate the 881-MW Ringhals-1 and the 807-MW Ringhals-2 until about 2025. But in September 2015, the company said all investment in the units would stop as of 2017, with savings of about €180m ($200m). In June 2016, the Swedish parliament decided to abolish the nuclear tax, which had aggravated the competitiveness of Sweden’s nuclear power plants.

German Repository Site Procedure Could Start Next Year, But Operation Could Be Next Century, Says Report
07.07.2016 - NucNet News

The procedure for choosing a deep geologic repository site in Germany could start as soon as 2017, but the facility itself might not be operational until the next century, a commission of scientists, industry leaders and civil society representatives has said.

Poland Has Progressed In Setting Up Nuclear Power Infrastructure, Says IAEA Review
04.07.2016 - NucNet News
Poland has implemented all the recommendations and suggestions of a 2013 International Atomic Energy Agency Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, including strengthening coordination between the Ministry of Energy, the regulatory body and the future owneroperator of a planned nuclear station, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna. The IAEA said Poland’s Council of Ministers adopted an updated nuclear power programme in 2014, which shows Poland’s commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation, and also includes policies on radiological protection, energy security and waste management. The IAEA said Poland is already implementing many of the actions that are expected for the next phase of developing its nuclear power programme. A revision of the country’s Atomic Law, addressing security and non-proliferation issues, has been submitted to the parliament.

Sweden’s Regulator Lifts Special Supervision At Oskarshamn
01.07.2016 - NucNet News

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has lifted its special supervision regime on OKG, the operator of the Oskarshamn nuclear station, a statement said. Since December 2012, the three-unit station has been operating under special supervision after the regulator decided that actions taken by OKG to address weaknesses related to five areas of safety culture identified in 2011 had been insufficient. In September 2013, SSM asked OKG to submit a plan for correcting deficiencies in its programme for managing the aging and degradation of structures, systems and components that are important for safety at Oskarshamn. In a separate incident that came to light in October 2014, SSM said OKG had violated regulations by failing to submit predicted collective dose information and radiation protection actions for renovation work at Oskarshamn-2. SSM said the incident was “very serious” and OKG needed to analyse how the problem arose. In October 2015, OKG's shareholders voted to close Oskarshamn-1 and -2 over concerns about their economic viability. Oskarshamn-1 is to cease operation in 2017, while Oskarshamn-2 has been shut down since 2013 and will not be restarted.