News 2017




Dear member of GMF:

Due to the Copyright of NucNet which prohibits any reproduction or redistribution of its news, in any electronic form, unless expressly authorised by NucNet Central Office, we can only distribute its news by a previous request of our members.

If you are interested in any of them, please, contact us by e-mail, indicating in the subject the concrete piece of news in which you are interested



South Korean President Reaffirms Plans To Step Away From Nuclear, Say Reports
19.06.2017 - NucNet News
South Korea will abandon plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifetime of existing reactor units, the country’s new president Moon Jae-in was quoted by Reuters as saying. Mr Moon, who spoke at a ceremony marking the closure of the Kori-1 nuclear unit near Busan, said the government will “end the nuclear-oriented power generation plan and pave the way for a nuclear-free era”. Mr Moon also said the government will “soon” reach a consensus on the future of the part-completed Shin-Kori-5 and -6 nuclear units after fully considering their construction costs, safety and potential compensation costs. Reuters said Mr Moon vowed also to shut down Wolsung-1, South Korea’s oldest reactor unit, “as soon as possible”, but subject to an assessment of the country’s power supply needs. According to Reuters, Mr Moon had campaigned on a programme of cutting South Korea's reliance on coal and nuclear in its energy mix. In May 2017, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) suspended the design process for the planned two-unit expansion of the Shin-Hanul nuclear power station because of uncertainty around the new government’s energy policy. South Korea has 25 reactor units in commercial operation. In 2016, they generated 30% of the country’s electricity according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.


Kazakhstan Becomes Second Non-Iter Country To Sign Cooperation Agreement
19.06.2017 - NucNet News
The National Nuclear Centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NNC-RK) has signed an agreement with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) organisation to collaborate with an international consortium working on the Iter nuclear fusion project in southern France. Iter said the agreement includes technical exchange of experts, access to Kazakhstan's KTM tokamak reactor for materials testing, and the development of diagnostics for Iter. Kazakhstan also has a number of mineral resources, like beryllium, which are of interest to Iter, a statement said. Iter said the collaboration agreement marks the second time that a non-Iter country reached a technical cooperation agreement to work on the project. In October 2016, Australia became the first non-Iter country to work on the fusion project. The seven Iter constituent members are the EU, China, India, Japan, Russia, the US and South Korea.


Japanese Officials Approve ‘Basic’ Decommissioning Plan For Monju Reactor
19.06.2017 - NucNet News
A team of officials appointed by the Japanese government has formally adopted a “basic” plan for the decommissioning of the Monju fast breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, southwest Japan, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said in a statement. The plan is expected to take about 30 years to complete and will include removing spent nuclear fuel from the reactor within a period of five and a half years from the official start of the decommissioning process, the statement said. Jaif said the reactor’s sodium coolant will also be removed from Fukui Prefecture. Jaif said the government has not yet specified any alternative destination for the spent fuel, but said officials will work out details of the transportation plan before the fuel is completely removed from the reactor. In earlier statements, Jaif said this might happen by 2022. Monju is a 246-MW sodium-cooled fast reactor designed to use mixed fuel rods of uranium and plutonium and to produce more fissile material than it consumes. The decommissioning and dismantling process is scheduled to be finished by 2047 and cost $3.2bn (€2.86bn). Monju reached criticality for the first time in 1994, but it has mostly been offline since 1995. Jaif said the Japanese government had appointed a team of officials from the cabinet’s secretariat, the ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology, as well as the ministry of economy, trade and industry to coordinate Monju’s decommissioning.


EC Clears Creation Of €24 Billion Public Fund For Handling Radwaste In Germany
19.06.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission (EC) has found the transfer of about €24bn ($26.9bn) by nuclear power plant operators in Germany into a new state-run fund for handling and storing nuclear waste to be in line with EU state aid rules. Under legislation that came into force in December 2016, the German government assumed responsibility for the intermediate storage and final disposal of radioactive waste. In exchange for being released from these liabilities, Germany’s four largest utilities – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – had to provide the government with a cash payment of about €24bn. The money had previously been set aside by the utilities in special provisions for managing nuclear waste from operation and decommissioning. In a statement on 16 June 2017, the EC said Germany's decision to take over the radioactive waste management liabilities involved state aid under EU rules. However, according to the EC, state aid is “proportionate to the objective”, because the proposed support scheme does not exceed what is necessary to achieve the government’s goals and distortions to competition remain “limited”. The EC said the main objective of the state aid measure is to secure the necessary funds for radioactive waste management in public hands and to protect these funds from any changes in the financial situation of the nuclear operators. The EC also said that Germany regards the measures as necessary, because it guards against a situation where potential financial difficulties for nuclear operators might have forced it to cover the full cost of radioactive waste management. Germany is closing its last nuclear plants in 2022 after a political decision to phase out nuclear energy was made following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.


Q&A: What Progress Has Germany Made Half Way Down The Nuclear Phaseout Path?
19.06.2017 - NucNet News
The past year saw a number of anticipated developments related to Germany’s policy of phasing out nuclear power by 2022. Ralf Güldner, president of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF), spoke to NucNet about what has been accomplished and what remains to be done in Germany half way down the phaseout path.


Bulgarian Nuclear Industry Warns Against Looming Risks Of Expertise Deficits, Say Reports
16.06.2017 - NucNet News
The number of students enrolling for nuclear majors at Bulgarian universities has recently halved in what is seen as a “worrisome” trend for the Bulgarian nuclear industry, reports in Bulgarian media said. Lyuben Marinov, director of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power station, told a conference organised by the Bulgarian Atomic Forum last week that by 2025 there might be a lack of sufficiently educated staff to run the two reactor units at Bulgaria’s only nuclear power station. Bulgarian news agency Mediapool reported that at present there are just 80 people in total enrolled for nuclear majors at various Bulgarian universities, while at least 300 highly qualified operators may be needed if Bulgaria will potentially choose to build its stalled Belene nuclear station. Mr Marinov was quoted as saying that “maximum efforts” are needed to attract potential students even at the level of secondary education. He said the nuclear industry together with some governmental institutions has been developing the idea to establish a “nuclear cluster”, which is to serve as an “incubator for nuclear specialists”. Mr Marinov said the idea is still “under consideration” and the nuclear industry must raise awareness about its challenges among the Bulgarian public. Bulgaria, a country of 7.2 million people, has two Russia-made VVER pressurised water reactor units in commercial operation near the northern town of Kozloduy on the Danube River. They produced about 35% of the country’s electricity in 2016.


Turkey’s Energy Market Regulator Grants Power Generation Licence To Akkuyu Project
16.06.2017 - NucNet News
Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has issued a power generation licence to Akkuyu Nuclear, the joint stock company developing Turkey’s first nuclear power station project. The licence will be valid for 49 years from 15 June 2017 until 15 June 2066, Akkuyu Nuclear said in a statement. The company said it applied for the generation licence to EPDK in February 2017. The €20bn ($22bn) Akkuyu, near Mersin on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, is to be built in cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom under a contract signed in 2010. The station will have four 1,200-MW VVER units expected to come online in 2023. In March 2017, Akkuyu Nuclear applied for a construction licence to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority. Akkuyu Nuclear said it expects to obtain in the “nearest future” a limited construction permit. It will allow start of works on the non-nuclear phase of the project. Akkuyu Nuclear said the main construction permit and first concrete pouring at Akkuyu are expected in March 2018.


Canadian Regulator Renews Operating Licence For Point Lepreau Nuclear Station
16.06.2017 - NucNet News
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has renewed the operating licence for the single-unit Point Lepreau nuclear power station in New Brunswick, eastern Canada, the regulator said in a statement. The renewed licence will be valid for five years from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022, the statement said. The operator, Brunswick Power Corporation’s (NB Power), submitted the renewal application in June 2016. CNSC said the licence renewal decision was made after two rounds of public consultations were held in January and May 2017. Point Lepreau is a 660-MW Candu-6 reactor unit in commercial operation since 1983. Details are online: http://bit.ly/2rDJnvU


US Announces $67 Million In Funding For Nuclear Energy Projects
16.06.2017 - NucNet News
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $67m (€60m) for nuclear energy projects in 28 states as part of the government’s plans to help advance innovative nuclear technologies. In a statement, the DOE said 85 projects were selected to receive funding in areas including energy research, science facility access, crosscutting technology development, and nuclear infrastructure. The DOE said much of the money will be heading to universities, with $31m awarded for 32 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 23 states. Nineteen universities also will receive about $6m for research reactor and infrastructure improvement. The DOE said that it has awarded about $472 million in funding for nuclear energy projects at 103 colleges and universities in the US since 2009. According to the DOE, nuclear research is important to the US because it helps the development of clean baseload energy, which supports the US economy and energy independence. Details are online: http://bit.ly/2rDkYGG


France To Close ‘Some’ EDF Reactors, Says Minister
14.06.2017 - NucNet News
The new French government plans to shut down “some” of state-owned utility EDF’s nuclear reactor units in an attempt to reduce the nuclear share of France’s energy mix, environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot was quoted as saying by Reuters earlier this week. Reuters said Mr Hulot did not specify the timeframe for the plans, but added “it won't be just a symbolic move”. According to Reuters, Mr Hulot told reporters at the G7 environment summit in Bologna that it was too early to specify the details around France's plans to reduce the share of nuclear in its power generation to 50% from about 75 % at present. France has 58 reactors in commercial operation and they provided 72% of the country’s electricity in 2016, according to data by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In January 2017, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) said implementation of a 50% target might not be achievable by 2025 given the large role that nuclear electricity plays in the French mix and the average age of the fleet. The IEA also said the success of the energy transition would depend on the mobilisation of “significant investment” for the increase of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the closure or long-term operation of the nuclear fleet. Long-term financing remained “a challenge”, the IEA added.


Canada Joins IAEA Nuclear Compensation Convention
09.06.2017 - NucNet News
Canada has joined the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), a multilateral treaty relating to liability and compensation for damage caused by a nuclear incident, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. The CSC aims at increasing the amount of compensation available in the event of a nuclear incident through public funds made available by countries on the basis of their installed nuclear capacity and UN rate of assessment. It was adopted in September 1997 and entered into force on 15 April 2015. Canada is the 10th party to the convention. The others are Argentina, Ghana, India, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, the United Arab Emirates and the US.


Bulgaria Considering State Support For Revival Of Belene Project, Say Reports
09.06.2017 - NucNet News
Bulgaria is considering support for the stalled Belene nuclear power station project in the form of a guaranteed strike price financing model for electricity produced by the facility, Valentin Nikolov, deputy chairman of the parliamentary energy committee, was quoted as saying by local media. Mr Nikolov told a conference organised by the Bulgarian Atomic Forum that electricity produced by a new nuclear power station could potentially cost $79 (€70) per MWh, while the current market price for electricity in the region is $42 per MWh. He said the difference in the pricing could be covered by an existing fund for the security of supply, which is maintained by installments from Bulgarian electricity producers and grid operators, and proceeds from the sale of greenhouse gas emission certificates. Until recently, Bulgarian officials had maintained that Belene could be revived only as a private project without state guarantees and long-term electricity purchase contracts. Under a contract for difference (CfD) scheme, similar to that agreed for Hinkley Point C in the UK, the government would pay an electricity producer the difference between a fixed “strike price” and an average market price for electricity throughout the lifetime of the agreement. Petyo Ivanov, head of Bulgarian Energy Holding, the state company that owns most of Bulgaria’s generating capacity, told the conference that talks with potential private investors in Belene have shown the need for some sort of state involvement either in the form of direct investment or guaranteed electricity purchase prices. In June 2016, the International Court of Arbitration ordered Bulgaria to pay €620m to Russia’s Atomstroyexport for components which had already been manufactured before the cancellation of the project in 2012. The project was cancelled because of concerns related to its financing and economic viability. Bulgaria settled the compensation claim for €600m and under the ICA’s ruling assumed ownership of the components.


China’s President Optimistic About Nuclear Opportunities With Kazakhstan
07.06.2017 - NucNet News

China and Kazakhstan will continue to explore opportunities for cooperation on new energy technologies including nuclear, wind and photovoltaic power, China’s president Xi Jinping said in an article written for the Kazakh newspaper Aikyn Gazeti on 7 June 2017. Mr Xi, who today began a visit to Kazakhstan, said the Expo 2017 Astana, which opens on 1 June 2017 and runs for one month, will take “future energy” as its theme. He said China would be showcasing its nuclear technology at the Expo, including nuclear fusion. Mr Xi said China ranks among Kazakhstan’s top trading partners and investors. China’s accumulated investment in Kazakhstan has reached $42.8bn (€38bn) and its lending to Kazakhstan has exceeded $50bn. Two-way trade of the first four months of 2017 increased by 45.6%. Kazakhstan is the world’s leading producer of natural uranium. It does not have any commercial nuclear reactors, but says it has plans to build nuclear capacity. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, China has 37 reactors in commercial operation and 20 under construction.


Japan’s Upper Houses Approves Nuclear Deal With India
07.06.2017 - NucNet News

apan’s upper house of parliament today approved a nuclear cooperation deal with India, clearing the way for Japanese exports of materials and technology to the South Asian country, press reports said. The deal is contentious because India has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT. The NPT prohibits countries from possessing nuclear weapons and related technology, except for five nuclear states -- the US, Russia, the UK, France and China. India stands to become the first non-signatory to get access to Japanese nuclear tech. According to reports in Tokyo, the government will now revise relevant rules under the Nuclear Regulation Authority – Japan's industry watchdog. Once India takes similar steps and the governments exchange documents, the deal will take effect, possibly by this summer, reports said.


Germany’s Highest Court Rules Nuclear Fuel Tax Is Unconstitutional
07.06.2017 - NucNet News

Germany’s highest court ruled today that a nuclear fuel tax imposed on energy utilities was unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court’s verdict will allow nuclear operators RWE, Eon and EnBW to claim a tax refund that could run into billions of euros. The verdict overrules a decision by the European Court of Justice last year saying the tax did not breach European Union laws. The tax, introduced in December 2010, required the companies to pay €145 ($162) per gramme each time they changed a fuel rod, which usually happens about twice a year. Between 2011 and 2016 it yielded €6.3bn for the German budget. Eon said it had paid about €2.85bn, while RWE and EnBW claimed they had paid €1.7bn and €1.44bn respectively. However, the court in Karlsruhe today said parliament did not have the legislative powers to impose the tax and declared it retroactively null and void. Eon said it now expected a refund of €3.3bn, including the €2.85bn tax and interest of €450m, which it would use to strengthen its balance sheet. That in turn would allow it to proceed “as quickly as possible” with its plans to dismantle its nuclear reactors. Eon said the tax payments since 2011 had imposed “considerable strain” on its finances and the refund would have a “positive effect” on its net income, cash flow and net debt. RWE said it was analysing the judgement. The fuel tax was initially part of an agreement between the government and the utilities. In exchange for its imposition in 2010, they were allowed to extend the service life of their nuclear reactors. However, after the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan the following year, Angela Merkel’s government performed a U-turn, deciding to shut down all the country’s reactors by 2022, but it continued to levy the nuclear fuel tax.


European Companies Form Nuclear Equipment Qualification Alliance
06.06.2017 - NucNet News

UK-based multinational Amec Foster Wheeler is teaming up with UK-based Element Materials Technology, Spain-based Tecnatom and Germany-based TUV Rheinland to offer equipment and materials qualification services for nuclear sites in the UK and Europe, the company said in a statementon 6 June 2017. Amec said services provided by the new Equipment Qualification Services Alliance will include design support, materials selection, physical analysis, ageing tests on materials and equipment, seismic testing, and testing for mechanical and corrosion resistance. Amec said qualification of equipment is essential for safety at nuclear power installations and aims to ensure that components can function throughout the design lifetime of a plant and under accident or seismic conditions.


Bulgaria Considering ‘Public-Private’ Partnership For Belene, Says Prime Minister
06.06.2017 - NucNet News

The only option for the construction of Bulgaria’s stalled Belene nuclear power station is through a “public-private partnership” involving state participation and privatisation of the project, Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov told a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, according to local media. However, Mr Borisov said “it is clear” that Bulgaria’s public budget will not be in the position to finance the construction of the two-unit station, the Bulgarian daily Kapital reported. Mr Borisov said the form of the project will depend on the opinions of “the experts”, referring to analysis being prepared by the Bulgarian Academy of Science of the need for new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria. Mr Borisov said Bulgaria currently owns €1.5bn ($1.69bn) worth of “goods” already manufactured for the Belene project because of the “short-sighted policies” of previous governments. In June 2016, the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration ordered Bulgaria to pay €620m to Russia’s Atomstroyexport for components which had already been manufactured before the cancellation of the project in 2012. The project was cancelled because of concerns related to its financing and economic viability. Bulgaria settled the compensation claim in December 2016 for €600m and under the ICA’s ruling assumed ownership of the components. A nuclear station at Belene was initially planned by Bulgaria’s communist government in the 1980s, but was stopped in the early 1990s. In January 2008 the project was formally given new life when Atomstroyexport and state-owned Bulgarian National Electric Company signed a contract for the design, construction and commissioning of two Russian-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units at Belene.


IEA Calls For ‘Clear And Consistent Policy Support’ For Nuclear Energy
06.06.2017 - NucNet News

Nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to decarbonisation, but the industry must receive “clear and consistent policy support for existing and new capacity” with nuclear also included in clean energy incentive schemes, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in a report published today. The report, Energy Technology Perspectives 2017, says efforts are needed to reduce the investment risk in new nuclear due to uncertainties such as licensing and siting processes, which have clear requirements and do not require significant capital expenditure before receiving a final approval or decision. “Industry must take all actions possible to reduce construction and financing costs in order to maintain economic competitiveness,” the report says. The report examines how the energy sector can be transformed by clean energy and avoid dangerous levels of climate change. It says nuclear power saw 10 GW of capacity additions in 2016, the highest rate since 1990. Yet doubling of the 2016 annual capacity addition rate to 20 GW annually is needed to meet a target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius by 2060 – the “2DS scenario”. This would offset planned retirements and phaseout policies in some countries. According to the report, closures of reactors struggling to compete in markets with depressed wholesale electricity prices are also looming, and 2016 brought only 3 GW of new construction starts, posing risks to the future growth rates of nuclear power generation. The report concludes that the global power sector can reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2060 under the 2DS scenario. This would require increased deployment of a portfolio of technologies, including 74% of generation from renewables, up from approximately 24%, and 15% from nuclear, up from approximately 11%. Details online: http://bit.ly/2r1d9u3


IAEA Signs Agreements On Technical Cooperation
05.06.2017 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has signed agreements with 11 countries identifying priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals. The countries are Benin, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Vanuatu. The agency also said it had signed an agreement with Thailand that could lead to the organisation and hosting of IAEA activities such as training courses and workshops in Thailand. The IAEA said the agreements were among 15 signed during the International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme last week.


IAEA Outlines Need For Further Improvements At Canada’s Bruce B
05.06.2017 - NucNet News

Canada’s Bruce B nuclear station in Ontario has made significant progress implementing safety improvement plans, but still needs to improve in areas including the assessment of plant aging management programmes, operational experience evaluation, and maintenance activities, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said on 2 June 2017. The Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) reviewed efforts to address recommendations made by an Osart mission in December 2015. The IAEA said several recommendations and suggestions from the 2015 review have been fully implemented with measures that include periodic safety reviews, improvement of emergency procedures, improved materials and equipment conditions, and strict documentation modification control. The Bruce station is the world’s largest operating nuclear power plant measured by output and generates about 30% of electricity for Ontario. The site has two stations: Bruce A and Bruce B, each with four Candu reactors. The IAEA said the Bruce facility is a key part of Ontario’s long-term energy plan, with management implementing a multi-year programme to extend the working life of the reactors, which were commissioned in the 1980s.


IAEA Remains Committed To Helping Countries Use Nuclear Power, Says Amano
02.06.2017 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency remains committed to helping countries use nuclear power to generate low-carbon electricity and counter the effects of climate change, said director-general Yukiya Amano at the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 1 June 2017. Mr Amano highlighted the importance of the new generations of nuclear reactors, which will be safer and generate less waste. He said: “Around 50 innovative small and medium-sized reactor concepts are at various stages of research and development. Three countries, including Russia, are already building such reactors.” Mr Amano also noted the role of nuclear techniques in mitigating and adapting to climate change. During his trip to Russia Mr Amano is scheduled to visit the Leningrad nuclear station in Sosnovy Bor, western Russia, where two new units are scheduled to be completed and generate electricity by 2019. Construction of Leningrad 2-1 began in October 2008 and of Leningrad 2-2 in April 2010. According to the IAEA, both units are VVER V-491 plants with a design electrical power capacity of 1,111 MW.


EU Will Strengthen Paris Partnerships Following US Withdrawal, Says Cañete
02.06.2017 - NucNet News
The EU “deeply regrets” the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement on climate change, but the agreement will endure and the EU will strengthen its existing partnerships and seek new alliances “from the world’s largest economies to the most vulnerable island states”, climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said in a statement on 1 June 2017. Mr Cañete said the Paris agreement is an unprecedented multilateral partnership between nearly 200 countries to address a problem that “threatens us all”. He said the agreement is “fit for purpose”, allowing each party to forge its own path to contributing to the goals of preventing dangerous climate change. Under the Paris agreement, nations agreed to “unleash actions and investment towards a low-carbon, resilient and sustainable future that will keep the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius with the aim of working to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius”, the UN said.


US Industry Continues To Press States Over ‘At-Risk’ Nuclear Stations
02.06.2017 - NucNet News
The nuclear energy industry continues to press states with at-risk nuclear plants to follow the lead of New York and Illinois in establishing measures to preserve the plants, as the list of prematurely shuttered plants continues to grow, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute said on 1 June 2017. At an energy sector discussion in Chicago, NEI senior director of policy development Matt Crozat said markets need to provide fair compensation for plants that generate 60% of the US’s emissions-free electricity. The discussion came on the heels of Exelon’s announcement that it will close the Three Mile Island nuclear station in Pennsylvania in 2019 unless there are policy reforms. The single-unit station has not been profitable for several years, Exelon said. Explicit government policies are in place to support both the entry of solar and wind into the market and their continued operation. Yet similar measures for nuclear plants are controversial, Mr Crozat said. He added that a close examination of federal energy incentives shows that nuclear energy receives the second smallest share of the pie. ´


Spain’s Foro Nuclear Calls For ‘New Regulatory Framework’
01.06.2017 - NucNet News
The continued operation of the Spanish commercial nuclear fleet is vital for the country’s energy security, but a new regulatory framework is needed that makes it viable, Spanish nuclear industry group Foro Nuclear said in a report on 31 May 2017. The Madrid-based group said any proposed energy transition in Spain requires consensus as well as a “rigorous and technical analysis” of the contributions of different energy sources. Nuclear will guarantee supply and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Foro Nuclear said. The Spanish nuclear industry, which has a presence in over 40 countries, is a source of wealth, creates thousands of jobs and has technological capacities that allow Spanish nuclear plants to operate with the highest safety assurances. Spain’s seven nuclear units have “excellent performance indicators and are leaders in the production of electricity, said Foro Nuclear president Ignacio Araluce. Nuclear generation accounted for 21.38% of Spain's total electricity output in 2016, up from 20.34% in 2015 and more than any other source, according to statistics from grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE). Wind accounted for 18.19% of total electricity output and hydro for 14.92%. The report is online (Spanish only) http://bit.ly/2robK2O


Switzerland Votes To Phase Out Nuclear Energy
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
Switzerland voted to follow Germany and start phasing out nuclear power – which provides around one-third of its electricity – as part of a revised energy strategy which will also cut consumption and increase wind and solar power generation.


India Approves Construction Of 10 Indigenous Nuclear Reactors
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
India’s cabinet approved the construction of 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) with a total installed capacity of 7,000 MW (gross), the government said.


How Hungary’s Regulator Is Preparing For Progress With Paks 2 Nuclear Station
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary’s government has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out another follow-up mission in 2018 to assess progress made since an earlier mission reported that the country faced nuclear and radiation safety challenges, including consolidating a complex distribution of regulatory responsibilities among different authorities, and ensuring effective independence of the regulatory body.


UK Needs Fallback Position On ‘Difficult’ Withdrawal From Euratom, Says Think-Tank
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s exit from the European Atomic Energy Community, or Euratom, will be “extremely difficult” to achieve in the two-year Brexit period and a framework is needed for the country to fall back on to ensure nuclear safety and security, the Chatham House think-tank said in a report.


Nuclear Industry Calls On UK To Avoid Disruption Of ‘Disorderly’ Withdrawal From Euratom
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK will need to set priorities for Brexit talks if it is to avoid disruption in the nuclear sector and the possibility of a disorderly withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty affecting ambitious plans to build new nuclear reactors, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the London-based Nuclear Industry Association, told NucNet.


UK Nuclear Industry ‘Blighted’ By Government Indecision, Says House of Lords Report
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s civil nuclear sector has been blighted by the indecision of successive governments and with an election in June 2017 it is critical for the new government to set out a decisive future for this industry, a House of Lords report said.


Spain Looking For ‘Great Consensus’ In Setting Energy Policy Goals, Says Minister
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Spanish government would like to achieve “the greatest possible consensus” with respect to its energy policy goals for 2030 and to this purpose a specialised expert commission will be created, Álvaro Nadal, Spain’s energy minister, was quoted as saying in a statement by nuclear industry group Foronuclear. Mr Nadal, who spoke at a conference last week, said nuclear energy could not be replaced by another source in the “next few years” when it comes to its low-carbon electricity generation efficiency. Mr Nadal said decisions on energy policies being adopted today have their time horizon in the 2030s and 2050s and therefore Spain must decide what its energy mix will look like in the future. He said a clear and immediate priority for the Spanish government will be to improve energy interconnections with “other countries”. Spain has 7 reactor units in commercial operation, which provided 21% of its electricity in 2016.


Canadian Regulator Renews Licence For OPG’s Western Waste Management Facility
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has renewed Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) operating licence for the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) in Kincardine, Ontario, a statement by CNSC said. The licence will be valid for 10 years from 1 June 2017 until 31 May 2027, the statement said. CNSC said the WWMF’s responsibilities include the handling, management and interim storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington nuclear power stations. The facility has been in operation since 1974. CNSC said the renewed licence authorises the construction of new facilities, including storage buildings for low- and intermediate-level waste, in‑ground storage containers for intermediate-level waste, in-ground containers for heat exchangers and storage buildings for used dry nuclear fuel. The new structures will provide additional storage capacity for radioactive waste and processing facilities to safely manage the waste, but their operation will need further authorisation based on a required commissioning report by the operator OPG, CNSC said. Details are online: http://bit.ly/2raEHAM


Poland ‘Needs’ A Nuclear Power Station To Cut Carbon Emissions, Says Minister
31.05.2017 - NucNet News
Poland needs to build a nuclear power station in view of nuclear energy’s low carbon footprint and as a way to decrease the country’s average carbon emissions, energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski told local media. In an interview for the business daily WNP, Mr Tchórzewski said Poland has enough financial resources to materialise “necessary and important” projects like the construction of a nuclear power station. Asked if the government will take a decision on Poland’s nuclear programme by the end of 2017, Mr Tchórzewski said he sees no point in delaying the topic. He said the issue must be settled quickly in order to avoid paying “unnecessarily” for “various sorts of works in this area”. In January 2017, the Polish government postponed a decision on the future of the country’s nuclear new-build programme until mid-2017. According to reports at the time, Mr Tchórzewski had received a mandate from the government to present a new financing model for the nuclear project. In March 2017, Mr Tchórzewski said the government had abandoned plans to finance the nuclear project by way of contracts for difference and would like to find funding on a commercial basis, without state guarantees on loans or electricity prices. In April 2017, Poland’s PGE EJ1, the company in charge of nuclear power station project, formally begun environmental and site selection surveys at two locations – Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec – both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania. Poland does not have any nuclear reactor units in commercial operation.


Switzerland Asks IAEA For Nuclear Security Review
30.05.2017 - NucNet News
Switzerland has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out an International Physical Protection Advisory Service (Ippas) mission aimed at strengthening the country’s nuclear security. The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate said on 30 May 2017 that the mission would probably take place in the middle of 2018. During an Ippas mission, a country’s physical protection system is reviewed and compared with international guidelines and internationally recognised best practices.


Bulgaria Working On Analysis Of Need For New Nuclear, Says Minister
30.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Bulgarian Academy of Science is expected to prepare a technical, economic and legal analysis of the need for new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria by the end of September 2017, the country’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova was quoted as saying in a statement by the Bulgarian energy ministry. Ms Petkova made the comments after a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to Bulgaria Anatoly Makarov on 29 May 2017, where the two officials discussed energy cooperation, including the future of the suspended Belene nuclear power station project. In June 2016, the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration ordered Bulgaria to pay €620m ($691m) to Russia’s Atomstroyexport for components which had already been manufactured before the cancellation of the two-unit Belene project in 2012. The project was suspended because of concerns related to its financing and economic viability. Bulgaria settled the compensation claim in December 2016 for €600m and under the ICA’s ruling assumed ownership of the components. According to local media, Ms Petkova told parliament last week that Bulgaria had received “parts” of the manufactured equipment while the rest would be delivered by the end of September 2017. Ms Petkova said Bulgaria wanted to privatise the Belene project by attracting an external investor, but might also consider using the equipment for a new reactor unit at the existing Kozloduy site. Bulgaria has two VVER-type pressurised water reactor (PWR) units in commercial operation at Kozloduy. They produced about 35% of the country’s electricity in 2016. Belene was intended to comprise of two Russian VVER-1000 PWR units.


European Commission Approves EDF Takeover Of Areva’s Reactor Business
30.05.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission has approved French state-controlled utility EDF’s proposed takeover of New NP, the Areva Group’s nuclear reactor business, concluding that the transaction would not raise competition concerns. In a statement on 29 May 2017, the Commission said EDF plans to acquire between 51% and 75% of the capital of New NP. EDF is the largest nuclear power plant operator in the EU, while New NP focuses on the design and supply of nuclear reactors and equipment, fuel assemblies, control systems and services to nuclear power plants. Although their activities do not overlap, the two companies are major players in the nuclear industry, the one as a supplier and the other a customer. In particular, the Commission assessed the possibility of the merged company engaging in foreclosure strategies by restricting access to products, equipment and services designed or supplied by New NP. The Commission said EDF and New NP would not be in a position to push out their competitors because of the different market characteristics and the number of suppliers and also the number of nuclear plants not operated by EDF. As regards the fuel assemblies market, the Commission said EDF would not have sufficient incentive to source its fuel assemblies solely from New NP. The Commission said the foreclosure of competitors “seems unlikely in the medium term”. The transaction is part of a restructuring plan to restore Areva’s competitiveness. Areva, which is 87% owned by the government, was brought to the brink of collapse last year after racking up huge losses over half a decade. The restructuring plan includes the sale of the Areva Group’s nuclear plant industrial activities to EDF. The Commission had already concluded on 10 January 2017 that France’s proposal to grant aid to Areva in the form of a capital injection of €4.5bn ($5bn) was in line with EU state aid rules.




GMF NEWS



The Social Control and Informative Association (TEIT) has visited Italy in a professional tour

 

The Social Control and Informative Association (TEIT) has increased its professional experience in Italy. The Italian nuclear program is in an absolutely different stage than the Hungarian one, since decommissioning of their nuclear power plants is on the agenda, nevertheless the leaders of the member settlements were able to gain a lot of useful experience.


During its study visit in Italy, the TEIT, which is 25 years old this year, made acquaintance with the activities of the state owned company SOGIN dealing with decommissioning of nuclear power plants and with radioactive waste management and of the company Ansaldo  manufacturing, inter alea, secondary circuit large equipment used in nuclear power plants. The four nuclear power plants of the southern-European country have been shut down and, although there was a governmental intention to that, have not been restarted, since the use of nuclear energy had been rejected by the population of the country during two referendums. The electricity not produced by the nuclear power plants is mainly substituted from import, for example, by means of the electricity produced in French nuclear power plants. In Italy the ratio of electricity originated from fossil source is high and also the price of the electricity is significant.

As the first event of the programme, the mayors of the thirteen member settlements of TEIT and the communication experts from the Paks Nuclear Power Plant visited the site of the Caorso Nuclear Power Plant, where they were guided by Sabrina Romani who presented also the schedule of the decommissioning program to them. The BWR (boiling water reactor) nuclear power plant with electric power of 860 MW, started its commercial operation in 1978, produced electricity only for a period of 12 years, its turbine hall has been emptied, nowadays the building serves for management of low and medium level radioactive wastes. Important task is to decrease the quantity of radioactive wastes, to find a satisfying solution for disposal of them and to liquidate the site, which is a task being in progress for decades and demanding at least the same period again, the expert said.

During visiting the Latina NPP, foremost commissioned and located near Rome, the members of the delegation felt with good reason that they were in a museum. The graphite moderator reactor of this NPP produced an electricity amount of only 25 TWh within the period of 1963 - 1987. The leader of the site, Harralabos Katsavos, informed them, inter alea, about the measure taken in the meanwhile to reduce the power of the NPP, which originally was 153 MW, due to oxidation experienced on the equipment. The reactor hall of the building equipped with six outdoor steam generators is deserted, while its control room (with its dark and empty displays, monitors) serves as an auditorium. A part of the buildings has already been demolished, but new ones have been constructed in order to ensure a temporary storage facility for the radioactive waste originating from the decommissioning.

The compactable radioactive wastes are compacted and stored in drums at the site. In Italy there is not yet a final radioactive waste deposit and neither the licence needed for the final section of decommissioning process of the nuclear power plants has been issued. The latter, as it was said, rather obstructs, and does not facilitate, accomplishment of the program. Due to the frequent changes of government, the necessary licences often delay.

The leaders of Paks and of the settlements in its vicinity were supported during their study visit by Tünde Hagymási, foreign trade professional diplomat at the Hungarian Embassy in Italy, as well as by the engineers’ office Rogante having significant professional experience at the area of nuclear energy and Hungarian professional relations. The work and results of the latter were presented by the leader of the office, Massimo Rogante, during the meeting held in the headquarters of SOGIN.

                                                                                                          Written by: Tünde Vida


  

 

You can find more information of the tour HERE





IAEA Praises Improvements In Czech Republic’s Regulatory Framework
24.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Czech Republic has significantly improved its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in recent years, but work remains to be done in implementing the country’s new Atomic Act, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on 23 May 2017. An Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team found that most recommendations made by an earlier IRRS mission in 2013 had been implemented. The Atomic Act, in force since the start of 2017, and the development of supporting regulatory decrees based on IAEA safety standards, represent “significant achievements”, a statement said. There have been improvements in human resources management, including long-term strategic planning, competence mapping and staff training. The team said the Czech Republic should continue the development and implementation of Czech regulator SÚJB’s management system. SÚJB should consider developing regulations to support the implementation of provisions in the Atomic Act on existing exposure situations and remedial activities. The Czech Republic has six commercially operating nuclear power reactors: four VVER-440/V-213 units at the Dukovany nuclear station and two VVER-1000 units at Temelin. Nuclear power accounts for almost one-third of the country’s electricity production. Spent fuel from the plants and the Prague Technical University research reactor is stored on the premises of these facilities. Low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the plants is stored at Dukovany, while waste from other sources is stored at two other smaller sites.


Germany Will Continue To Benefit From Nuclear Technology, Says Forum President
23.05.2017 - NucNet News
Germany will continue to benefit from the application of nuclear technology because the country’s research reactors in Munich, Berlin and Mainz are used not only for basic science, but also for applied research and a number of industrial and medical applications, Ralf Güldner, president of the German Atomic Forum, said. Speaking at the 2017 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Berlin last week, Mr Güldner said nuclear technology is directly related to Germany’s status as a “country of science and technology”. He said many German companies involved in reactor safety engineering or the nuclear fuel cycle are essential employers and taxpayers whose services are recognised internationally and in high demand. Mr Güldner said these industries are explicitly excluded from the decision to phase out nuclear power plants. He said the nuclear opposes any efforts to expand the nuclear phaseout into other areas. Those who want to expand the phaseout risk losing valuable nuclear expertise for the country, he warned.


German Nuclear Forum Sounds Warning On Need For Long-Term Skills And Training
23.05.2017 - NucNet News
Germany’s nuclear workforce will require “appropriate skills and training in the long-run”, which will make the issue of retaining nuclear expertise even more relevant to the German state as it takes over responsibility for the intermediate storage and final disposal of radioactive waste, Ralf Güldner, president of the German Atomic Forum told the 2017 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Berlin last week. Mr Güldner said up to 4,000 nuclear industry employees in Germany could soon be transferred to a number of newly formed public nuclear waste management companies. Together with government employees in other areas of nuclear technology like regulation and research, this means that nearly one sixth of Germany’s more than 30,000-strong nuclear workforce will be transferred to the public sector. Mr Güldner said Germany will need an “appropriate” public debate on the subject. Under legislation that came into force in December 2016, the German government assumed responsibility for the intermediate storage and final disposal of radioactive waste. The transfer process ended earlier this month when the government reached an agreement with the utility-owned nuclear services company GNS on transferring GNS’s interim storage activities to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). In March 2017, the BMUB and GNS established the joint venture company BGZ for this purpose. BGZ will start its interim storage activities on 1 August 2017 at the Ahaus, Gorleben and Essen facilities. In another element of the transfer, BMUB last month transferred the responsibilities of DBE, the company which builds and operates waste repositories, to BGE, the federal-owned radioactive waste disposal company created in July 2016. Also transferred to BGE were parts of the federal office for radiation protection (BfS), and Asse GmbH, the operator of the Asse II repository, a former salt mine in Lower Saxony. BGE’s main job is to find possible sites, in addition to the existing interim facility at Gorleben, for radioactive waste. Other tasks will include the operation and maintenance of the Asse II, Konrad and Morsleben repositories.


Reports Say Zambia Preparing For Nuclear Energy Programme
22.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Zambian government said it is planning to begin a nuclear energy programme in a bid to diversify the country’s energy sector and end power shortages, reports in local media said. Minister of energy David Mabumba said Zambia had already signed preliminary agreements with China and Russia to assess which of the two countries could be a potential technology services provider for the southern African country. Mr Mabumba was quoted as saying Zambia has not yet approached the International Atomic Energy Agency about its plans because “there are several steps that still need to be taken including establishing a nuclear policy”. Zambia’s regulator, the Radiation Protection Authority, is working with officials from Mr Mabumba's ministry to produce a nuclear policy framework, the reports said.


Energy Minister Says South Africa Will Sign Five New Intergovernmental Agreements
22.05.2017 - NucNet News
South African energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said in a speech to the South African Parliament on 19 May 2017 that South Africa will proceed with the signing of five new intergovernmental agreements with potential international partners in the South African new nuclear construction programme. The move comes after the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town ruled last month that a series of preliminary procurement deals for new nuclear construction between the government of South Africa and Russia, China, the US, South Korea and France were illegal. The legal challenge was brought by anti-nuclear groups Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute. The court ruled that the procurement process was unconstitutional and illegal as it was not sufficiently public and did not involve adequate environmental and financial assessments. South Africa is looking to build up to 9,600 MW of new nuclear capacity around the country. The two-unit Koeberg nuclear station outside Cape Town is the country’s only commercially operating nuclear station.


Germany Must Sell Its Decommissioning Expertise Overseas, Conference Told
22.05.2017 - NucNet News
Germany must retain and develop its ability and skills in the nuclear decommissioning sector and market them internationally, said Steffen Kanitz, a member of the German federal parliament (Bundestag) from the ruling coalition. Mr Kanitz, speaking at the 2017 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Berlin last week, said Germany has experience and expertise in decommissioning which could create business opportunities for German companies overseas. The global nuclear decommissioning market has been forecast to reach more than $8.5bn (€7.5bn) by 2021. Mr Kanitz, a permanent member of the parliamentary committee on the environment, nature conservation, construction and nuclear safety, said maintaining nuclear expertise is also important from a national security point of view in relation to the handling and proliferation of nuclear materials, and national and international security risk assessments. Germany is closing its last nuclear plants in 2022 after a political decision to phase out nuclear energy was made following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.


Germany’s Challenge Is To Maintain Role In Nuclear Safety, Warns Forum President
22.05.2017 - NucNet News
The challenge for Germany, which is phasing out nuclear energy in favour of a shift to renewables, is to find ways to maintain its expertise in nuclear technology and play a long-term role on nuclear safety, German Atomic Forum president Ralf Güldner told the 2017 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology (AMNT) in Berlin. Mr Güldner said international demand for Germany’s reactor safety expertise had contributed to the sector’s success and warned that the decision to phase out nuclear must not jeopardise this expertise. “Nuclear safety research forms the basis for expertise in safety issues in which Germany intends to play a long-term role and exert its influence. If we want to continue participating in the international discussion about safety standards, then continuity in safety research is absolutely essential”, Mr Güldner said. He said reactor development and reactor safety research are topics increasingly seen as redundant by many of the country’s 16 state governments. Mr Güldner said university chairs are not getting refilled and universities and research institutes tend to withdraw from areas that are not related to waste management or dismantling because of image concerns or political pressure. “The solution might lie in a new centre of expertise for nuclear safety where current issues could be dealt with without the burden of past conflicts. Here, it may be possible to pool capacities, to network research, state and industry and to create an attractive hub for our international collaboration” Mr Güldner said. Germany is closing its last nuclear plants in 2022 after a political decision to phase out nuclear energy was made following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.


Switzerland Votes To Phase Out Nuclear Energy
22.05.2017 - NucNet News
Switzerland has voted to follow Germany and start phasing out nuclear power – which provides around one-third of its electricity – as part of a revised energy strategy which will also cut consumption and increase wind and solar power generation. Some 58.2% of voters in a referendum on 21 May 2017 backed a ban on the construction of new nuclear plants, according to provisional results published on the federal government’s website. Switzerland’s five existing commercial nuclear reactor units can, however, continue to operate as long as they are deemed safe. Nuclear plants produced 34% of the country’s electricity in 2016. The vote was to approve the federal government’s 2050 energy strategy. The strategy includes plans to decommission Switzerland’s five reactors as they reach the end of their operational lifespans. Since all of Switzerland’s nuclear plants have open-ended operating licences, there is no clear cut-off date determining when they should be shut down. In November 2016, Swiss voters narrowly rejected a much faster exit from nuclear power under a timetable proposed by the Green party to phase out nuclear power production completely by 2029, with the first plants shutting next year. Switzerland’s five nuclear units are Beznau-1 and -2, Mühleberg, Gösgen and Leibstadt. The Swiss government has argued that increased safety standards meant it was no longer cost-effective to build nuclear power plants, pointing out that the new £18bn (€20.8bn, $23.4bn) Hinkley Point C nuclear station in the UK would use public subsidies. Opponents to the nuclear phaseout warned, however, that the government’s plans to push renewables and energy savings were costly, posed risks to energy security and would not be environmentally friendly.


India Approves Construction Of 10 Indigenous Nuclear Reactors
19.05.2017 - NucNet News
India’s cabinet approved the construction of 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) with a total installed capacity of 7,000 MW (gross), the government said in a statement.


Energy Minister Says South Africa Will Sign New Intergovernmental Agreements
19.05.2017 - NucNet News
South Africa’s energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government will not appeal the Western Cape High Court's recent ruling that nuclear agreements signed with five countries were unlawful and unconstitutional.


How Hungary’s Regulator Is Preparing For Progress With Paks 2 Nuclear Station
19.05.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary’s government has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out another follow-up mission in 2018 to assess progress made since an earlier mission reported that the country faced nuclear and radiation safety challenges, including consolidating a complex distribution of regulatory responsibilities among different authorities, and ensuring effective independence of the regulatory body.


Argentina And Romania To Become Members Of Nuclear Energy Agency

18.05.2017 - NucNet News
Argentina and Romania have been invited to become full members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). Their accessions to the Paris-based NEA, which has 31 member countries, will be formalised with an official exchange of letters between each country and OECD secretary general Angel Gurría in June 2017. In a statement on 18 May 2017 the NEA said both Agentina and Romania are “active players” in the nuclear energy field, with significant research capacities. “The accession of Argentina and Romania to the NEA will be mutually beneficial for the accession countries and the NEA membership in several fields, particularly knowhow and research activities related to pressurised heavy water reactor technology,” the statement said.


Belgium Confirms Two Vitrified Waste Transports From France
17.05.2017 - NucNet News
Two transports of medium activity vitrified nuclear waste are scheduled to take place from France to Belgium in 2017, Belgium’s the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said on 15 May 2017. The waste originates from reprocessing in France of used Belgian nuclear fuel and its return is being carried out under a reprocessing contract between Synatom, the nuclear fuel cycle management subsidiary of the Engie Group, which owns Belgium’s seven commercial nuclear reactors, and Areva, who reprocesses the used fuel at its La Hague facility in France. Fanc gave no dates for the transports, but said one will consist of a package of 16 containers and the other of 19 containers. An empty “test-run” will be carried out before the actual transports, Fanc said. The vitrified waste will be delivered to nuclear waste management and decommissioning company Belgoprocess.


Japan’s Regulator Approves Safety Report For Rokkasho Uranium Enrichment Plant
17.05.2017 - NucNet News
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved a report confirming that the uranium enrichment plant owned by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL) in Rokkasho is compatible with new regulatory standards introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) sad on 17 May 2017. Rokkasho, in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, is the second nuclear fuel facility to be approved since the new standards took effect. The first was a fuel fabrication plant owned by Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Company in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, southeastern Japan. Jaif said the enrichment plant is the only facility in the country able to enrich uranium to a degree where it can be used for nuclear fuel. The plant began operation in 1992. The new regulatory standards came into effect in December 2013 and JNFL filed an application for an examination of the plant in January 2014. The plant was given a licence to continue operation for five years after the new standards came into effect under the terms of an agreement for existing facilities that did not pose a substantial exposure threat to surrounding areas. As a result, a part of the plant has remained in operation, Jaif said. The enrichment plant is part of a larger nuclear fuel cycle R&D facility that includes plants for reprocessing, recycling and the production of mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. The reprocessing plant has been under construction since the late 1980s and according to the Japan Times has had its schedule pushed back 23 times by a number of technical and safety issues. The Japan Times said it is now scheduled to begin operation in 2018.


How Hungary’s Regulator Is Preparing For Progress With Paks 2 Nuclear Station
16.05.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary’s government has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out another follow-up mission in 2018 to assess progress made since an earlier mission reported that the country faced nuclear and radiation safety challenges, including consolidating a complex distribution of regulatory responsibilities among different authorities, and ensuring effective independence of the regulatory body. The HAEA said in an interview with NucNet that an invitation had already been sent for the follow-up mission of an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission. In the interview, the HAEA spoke about the challenges it faces and about doubts raised about regulatory independence in Hungary. Full story for subscribers: http://bit.ly/2rllZ6s


Belgium’s Regulator Approves Tihange-1 Restart
16.05.2017 - NucNet News
Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) has approved the restart of the Tihange-1 nuclear reactor unit, which has been offline since 7 September 2016 following damage to a non-nuclear building during upgrade work. Fanc said on 15 May 2017 that operator Engie Electrabel had shown all necessary work for the safe operation of the plant had been carried out. FANC said upgrade work that led to the damage was being done as part of a life extension of the unit to 1 October 2025. During the upgrade work, the building equipped with auxiliary components was damaged, causing the reactor to trip. The pumps in the auxiliary building must be continuously available, Fanc said. Tihange-1, a 962-MW pressurised water reactor unit, began commercial operation on 1 October 1975.


EDF To Push For UK-Style Subsidies For New Nuclear
15.05.2017 - NucNet News
French state-owned utility EDF hopes for UK-style subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants in France and expects that president Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reduce the share of nuclear in the French power mix is a “long-term” plan, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, EDF chief financial officer Xavier Girre said EDF would discuss power market regulation with Mr Macron’s team. He said EDF was hoping to convince the Macron government to introduce state subsidies for new nuclear plants, modelled on the contracts for difference (CfD) scheme under which EDF is planning to build two EPR nuclear units at Hinkley Point in England. The full Reuters report is online: http://reut.rs/2qiZcuQ


Swedish Regulator Publishes Report On Oskarshamn Dismantling
15.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has submitted a 147-page report to the government regarding the planned dismantling of the Oskarshamn-1 and -2 nuclear units owned and operated by OKG. The report is required under the 1957 Euratom Treaty, which governs the EU’s nuclear industry. The Swedish government will in turn forward the report to the European Commission. According to the report, the dismantling of the two units will not have “more than a negligible impact” on the environment in any EU member state, SSM said. There are three boiling water reactors at Oskarshamn, in southern Sweden. Oskarshamn-1 began commercial operation in 1972 and Oskarshamn-2 in 1975. Oskarshamn-3, the largest unit, began commercial operation in 1985 and is scheduled to continue until 2045. In October 2015, OKG’s shareholders voted to close Oskarshamn-1 and -2 over concerns about their economic viability. Oskarshamn-1 is to close this year, while Oskarshamn-2 has been shut down since 2013 and will not be restarted. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2pshomL


No Contamination After Tunnel Collapse At US Hanford Nuclear Site
11.05.2017 - NucNet News
A declared emergency has been terminated at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford nuclear site in Washington after the collapse of a 7-metre section of tunnel used to store contaminated materials on 9 May 2017. The DOE said on its website that air and surface sampling confirmed no contamination was detected following the collapse. The 110-metre tunnel is next to the plutonium uranium extraction plant, known as Purex, which is in an area of the Hanford site known as the 200 East Area. Crews have filled the hole in the tunnel with soil and most Hanford workers will be on a normal work schedule today. Before allowing uncontrolled access to the area where the collapse occurred, officials plan to take “additional near-term actions” to ensure safety. These actions may include placing a cover over the entire tunnel. The DOE’s Richland Operations Office manages the site and along with the DOE’s Office of River Protection is responsible for cleanup and remediation work. Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project and was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world. Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb and in Fat Man, the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. At its peak, Hanford consisted of 16 major facilities, including vast reservations of land in the States of Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.


UK Needs Fallback Position On ‘Difficult’ Withdrawal From Euratom, Says Think-Tank
11.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s exit from the European Atomic Energy Community, or Euratom, will be “extremely difficult” to achieve in the two-year Brexit period and a framework is needed for the country to fall back on to ensure nuclear safety and security, the Chatham House think-tank says in a report published on 10 May 2017. The report says Euratom withdrawal will have a significant impact on the functioning of the UK’s nuclear industry, particularly in respect to nuclear material safeguards, safety, supply, movement across borders and R&D. The 1957 Euratom Treaty established the European Atomic Energy Community and governs the EU’s nuclear industry. As a result of Brexit, the UK will no longer be a party to the treaty unless new or transitional arrangements are made before the two-year notification period ends. Euratom and the Euratom Treaty that governs it were founded to create a market for nuclear power in Europe and to promote development of the nuclear power industry within EU member states. The Euratom Treaty covers large aspects of nuclear fuel supply in Europe and has other technical and regulatory functions. The Chatham House report also says Brexit would destabilise the current balance in the EU, resulting in the EU having more anti-nuclear member countries than pro-nuclear ones. It says that the UK has been an active supporter of nuclear power in the EU during its membership and its exit from the EU will be felt by the other pro-nuclear EU countries. The report, ‘Staying Connected: Key Elements for UK–EU27 Energy Cooperation After Brexit’, is online: http://bit.ly/2q51PhH


Hungary’s Target Is For One-Third Nuclear Share, Says Paks 2 Minister
10.05.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary’s target is to cover more than one-third of the country’s domestic electricity consumption with nuclear energy, János Süli, the minister responsible for the supervision of construction and commissioning of the planned two-unit Paks 2 nuclear power station told a press conference on 8 May 2017. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hungary’s nuclear share of electricity production in 2016 was 48%, but its total domestic production of electricity – from nuclear, coal, gas and some renewals – was 65% to 75%, with the remainder imported. Consumption is currently increasing by between 1% and 2% a year. Hungary is planning to build two new reactor units at the Paks 2 nuclear site. These are scheduled to be commissioned in the mid-2020s, but in the mid-2030s the existing four units at Paks are scheduled to be closed. Mr Süli, a minister without portfolio who is a former mayor of Paks town, said Paks 2 is needed to ensure Hungary’s security of supply and to reduce its reliance on imports, which he said are “persistently above 30%”. During cold weather in January and February 2017 imports reached 54%, he said. In March 2017, the European Commission cleared Hungary’s plans to finance Paks 2 by way of state aid. An agreement signed in 2014 will see Rosatom supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.7bn) to finance 80% of the of the €12bn project. Construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2017, according to previous statements by Rosatom.


EDF Hopes For UK-Style Subsidies For New Nuclear Plants In France
10.05.2017 - NucNet News
French state-owned utility EDF hopes for UK-style subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants in France and expects that president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reduce the share of nuclear in the French power mix is a “long-term” plan, reports said on 10 May 2017. EDF chief financial officer Xavier Girre said EDF would discuss power market regulation with Mr Macron’s team. He said EDF was hoping to convince the Macron government to introduce state subsidies for new nuclear plants, modelled on the contracts for difference (CfD) scheme under which EDF is planning to build two EPR nuclear units at Hinkley Point in England. For its £18bn (€21bn, $23bn) Hinkley Point project, EDF has signed a CfD with the British government under which it can sell power at £92.5/MWh for 35 years. If the market price is above that level, EDF refunds the difference, if it is below that level it receives a top-up. Mr Girre also said that Mr Macron’s campaign target to reduce the share of nuclear in the French energy mix to 50% by 2025 from about 75% today was a long-term target and that his plans for CO2 floor price should be positive for the utility. Mr Girre said EDF wanted to talk to the new government about the ARENH (‘Regulated Access to Incumbent Nuclear Electricity’) mechanism under which it is forced to sell up to 25% of its nuclear output to competitors as part of measures to improve competition in the retail power market. “We consider that it is necessary and fair to reform the ARENH mechanism to prevent it from being as biased as it is today,” he said.


Germany ‘Could Face Higher Electricity Bills Due To Nuclear Shutdown’
09.05.2017 - NucNet News
Electricity bills in Germany, already the second-highest in Europe, could increase further because of the country’s decision to exit nuclear power early next decade, Bloomberg reported on 8 May 2016. While there is no risk of blackouts, costs could rise if transmission gaps emerge, according to the Federal Network Agency, or Bnetza, which regulates electricity markets. Germany is closing its last nuclear plants in 2022 and is counting on a mix of mothballed lignite plants, wind and solar power expansion and grid stability measures to keep outages down. Germany’s eight remaining commercial nuclear reactors generated about 13% of the country’s power mix in 2016, Bloomberg said. The economy and energy ministry says it is confident that growing wind and solar power along with energy-efficiency measures will help plug the gap by 2022. It also has reserve capacity of about 4 GW of older lignite plants to bridge potential gaps. Germany has 28 shut-down nuclear units.


IAEA Mission Praises Safety Improvements At Turkey Research Reactor
09.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) has implemented several safety improvements to the TR-2 research reactor in Turkey, including modifications to strengthen protection against seismic hazards, upgrades to operational safety systems and improvements to safety documentation, an International Atomic Energy Agency integrated safety assessment of research reactors (INSARR) follow-up mission has concluded. In its assessment, the mission team said improvements carried out following a 2015 review covered areas such as reactor safety analysis, management systems, training and qualification of personnel, commissioning of the reactor with the new fuel, and seismic safety. The TR-2, a 5-MW research reactor at the Cekmece nuclear research and training centre in Istanbul, was commissioned in 1981 and initially used high-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to carry out research and training and to produce radioisotopes. To decrease nuclear proliferation risks and perform reactor upgrades, the reactor was shut down in 2009 and converted to use low-enriched uranium fuel. The HEU fuel was shipped back to the US in 2009. The TAEK is now asking for regulatory approval to restart the reactor using LEU fuel. A spokesman for the TAEK said the reactor is needed for nuclear research, training and radioisotope production. Turkey has no commercial nuclear reactors, but is planning to build its first, at Akkuyu, in cooperation with Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom.


Environmental Monitoring Shows No Impact From Canada’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Station
08.05.2017 - NucNet News
Independent environmental monitoring results for 2016 show that the public and the environment around the Point Lepreau nuclear power station in New Brunswick, eastern Canada, are protected and that there is no unreasonable risk to health or the environment, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said on 4 May 2017. The CNSC said samples were collected in publicly accessible areas outside the site perimeter and included surface and well water, soil and river sediment, air particulates, grass, and foodstuffs such as shellfish and produce from local farms. The measured radioactivity in all the samples with detectable radionuclide concentrations was below CNSC reference levels. “Overall, the results indicate that no health impacts are expected at this dose level”, the CNSC said. Point Lepreau began commercial operation in 1983 and consists of a single Candu reactor of 660 MW.


Engineering Association Calls For UK To Focus On SMR Development
08.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK should focus on developing small modular reactors (SMRs) to secure the country’s nuclear industry post-Brexit, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME). The report says SMRs could present the UK with export opportunities and return the country to the international nuclear reactor supply arena. The report also outlines possible routes the government could take to leaving the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) regarding issues such as safeguards, nuclear cooperation agreements, research and development, and regulation. The IME is calling for the UK to develop its own safeguarding office, to ensure the country conforms to international rules on safety and non-proliferation, but says the UK should remain an associate member of Euratom for the specific purpose of R&D. Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment for the IME and lead author of the report, said in a 5 May 2017 statement that the UK’s departure from the EU and Euratom is likely to be “complicated and difficult”, but it also presents the country with an opportunity to “reshape its nuclear industry and once again become a world-leading innovator in nuclear technology”.


Regulator Issues Permit For Operation Of Ignalina Interim Spent Fuel Facility
08.05.2017 - NucNet News
The Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) has issued a permit for the start of commercial operation of an interim spent fuel storage facility at the Ignalina nuclear power station in the northeast of Lithuania. Vatesi told NucNet that hot tests had been completed at the facility on 4 May 2017. During the tests, 10 casks, each weighing around 100 tonnes, were loaded with spent fuel and moved to the facility, where operation was tested in real conditions. Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, or INPP, said it plans to move all spent fuel to the new facility until the end of 2022. Vatesi said INPP plans to use the facility to store about 190 containers with 17,000 spent fuel rods over 50 years. The facility was designed and built by the German GNS-Nukem consortium, a joint venture between GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service and Nukem. When the contract was signed in 2005 Nukem said the cost ceiling for the project was €193m ($211m).


Belgium’s Tihange-2 To Restart After Checks Show No Further RPV Flaws
08.05.2017 - NucNet News
Analysis of ultrasonic inspections has shown that the size of hydrogen flakes in the walls of the Tihange-2 reactor pressure vessel (RPV) has not changed and no new flakes have been found, Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said on 5 May 2017. In November 2015 Fanc authorised operator Electrabel to restart Tihange-2, a 1,008-MW pressurised water reactor, but said it would monitor the evolution of the hydrogen flakes during a subsequent planned outage. Ultrasonic inspections showed there had been “no evolution” of the hydrogen flakes and no indications of new flaking, Fanc said. According to Fanc, Tihange-2 is expected to restart in the next few days. A similar ultrasonic inspection was carried out at the 1,006-MW Doel-3 PWR during a planned outage in November 2016. That inspection also found there had been no change and the reactor returned to service in December 2016. Tihange-2 and Doel-3 were shut down in 2012 after the RPV flaws were discovered. In June 2013 the units were restarted, but were shut down again in March 2014 after unexpected results from additional tests. There are seven reactor units in commercial operation in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange. Together, they generate about 55% of the country’s electricity.


Register Now: UK Conference To Focus On European Nuclear Decommissioning
04.05.2017 - NucNet News
A nuclear decommissioning and waste management conference on 24 and 25 May 2017 in Manchester, UK, will focus on the latest developments related to the transition from operations to decommissioning in the nuclear sector. The 8th Nuclear Decommissioning & Waste Management Conference Europe 2017, organised by Nuclear Energy Insider, will bring together over 40 speakers and 300 senior-level participants from 20 countries to discuss topics including expanding business operations throughout Europe; improving understanding of the latest European regulatory requirements; how European utilities plan on optimising decommissioning strategies to increase cost-efficiency; ways to address the challenges of public acceptance of nuclear waste management; and understanding strategies for financing nuclear plant decommissioning and estimating costs and uncertainties. For details and registration see Nuclear Energy Insider: http://bit.ly/1WCzdY9


Nuclear Industry ‘Frustrated’ By Lack Of Progress On UK’s SMR Policy, Says NIA
02.05.2017 - NucNet News
The UK nuclear energy industry shares the frustration of a House of Lords committee that the first stage of the government’s small modular reactor (SMR) competition has been left hanging in the air, and that the roadmap industry was promised last autumn “seems to have got lost somewhere in Whitehall”. Commenting on the House of Lords science and technology committee report, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the London-based Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said with a potential global market for SMRs valued at £250bn-£400bn, the government must provide clarity as soon as possible after the general election in June 2017 if the energy, industrial and export opportunities of a UK SMR are to be realised. “Otherwise, that promising opportunity of recent years will be lost to others, including the US, Canada and China, who are progressing with SMR development programmes,” he said. The committee said it is disappointed that the government launched a competition for SMRs and has not kept to its timetable. This has had a negative effect on the nuclear sector in the UK and if the government does not act soon the necessary high level of industrial interest will not be maintained. “It is particularly alarming that the results of phase one of the competition, which does not involve the selection of an SMR design, have yet to be announced by the government,” the committee said. The report,’ Nuclear research and technology: Breaking the cycle of indecision’, is online: http://bit.ly/2p1hDQz


IAEA Warns Of Regulatory And Ageing Challenges For Research Reactors
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
International Atomic Energy Agency member states continue to improve the safety of their research reactors, but challenges remain, particularly in relation to regulatory effectiveness and ageing of facilities, the agency said. In a statement following a recent meeting of the technical working group on research reactors, the IAEA called for the rigorous application of IAEA safety standards to help address these issues. Ageing management and effective use are major challenges for operators of research reactors, which are used not to generate power, but to produce neutrons to support research, education and training, and for the production of radioisotopes for medicine and industry. Many research reactors have been operating for decades. “Around half of the operating research reactors are over 40 years old and modernisation of these facilities is an issue of central concern to ensure they can continue to perform in a safe and efficient manner,” said Sean O’Kelly, chairman of the IAEA technical working group. The IAEA said many developing countries are increasingly interested in gaining access to research reactors for scientific and research purposes. Some are considering the construction of a domestic research reactor while others are considering accessing research reactors abroad.


Russia Announces Progress On First Floating Nuclear Station
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
The installation of the the main components of the nuclear steam supply system has been completed at Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, which is under construction at Baltiysky Zavod JSC (the Baltic Shipyard) in St Petersburg, Russian nuclear operator Rosenergoatom said. Rosenergoatom said preparations are under way for the flushing of the primary and secondary circuits at the plant, a prerequisite to hydraulic testing. The Akademik Lomonosov will be the first vessel of a proposed fleet of floating plants with small pressurised water reactor units that can provide energy, heat and water to remote and arid areas of the country. The 21,000-tonne vessel will have two Russian-designed KLT-40S reactor units with an electrical power generating capacity of 35 MW each, sufficient for a city with a population of around 200,000 people. The Akademik Lomonosov is scheduled for deployment at a site in the Arctic town of Pavek in Russia’s far northeast Chukotka region, where coastal infrastructure work began in October 2016.


EC Signs First Ever Project For Nuclear Safety Cooperation With Iran
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission signed the first ever project for nuclear safety cooperation with Iran, under the framework of the joint comprehensive plan of action, or JCPOA.


EU Energy Proposals Must Take Nuclear Industry’s Views Into Account, Says Foratom
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
Legislative proposals in the European Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package could ensure a coherent and optimal approach towards meeting energy and climate objectives, provided they take into account the views of the nuclear energy industry, Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the industry in Europe, said in a position paper.


NEA Report Examines Impact Of Fukushima On Global Energy Policies
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
Outside Japan there appears to be little ultimate change to energy policies directly attributable to the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in March 2011, a report by the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency said.


Foratom Calls For UK And EU To Agree Transitional Arrangements On Euratom
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
The UK and the EU will need to agree transitional arrangements that will apply if the two-year Brexit negotiation period is not enough to prepare for the UK’s departure from Euratom, the Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom said.


In ‘Anti-Nuclear’ Denmark, How A Reactor Startup Is Helping To Change Opinions
27.04.2017 - NucNet News
Seaborg Technologies of Copenhagen is developing an advanced thorium-based molten salt reactor (MSR) and has received a grant from the public funding agency Innovation Fund Denmark, a move that marks the first Danish investment into nuclear fission research since a 1985 ban on nuclear energy.


UK And France Sign Agreement On Development Of Nuclear Skills
26.04.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN) and France’s Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN) have signed an agreement to strengthen their cooperation on nuclear industry skills in the two countries. One of the results of the agreement will be the development of a joint quality standard for skills provision and training that can be applied in both France and the UK. This will help the movement and recognition of training and personnel between the two countries, a statement said. Both organisations are keen to pursue collaborative projects and will look to create further links to other skills, education and training bodies in the UK and France as the relationship progresses, the statement said. NSAN chief executive Jean Llewellyn said the agreement recognises the importance and need for the continued cooperation between France and the UK.


Poland’s Nuclear Delay Having ‘Serious Impact’ On Young Specialists
26.04.2017 - NucNet News
The delay in Poland’s programme to build its first commercial nuclear reactors is having a serious impact on young specialists in the industry with many choosing to pursue opportunities abroad, Grzegorz Wrochna of the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) told NucNet. Even if a confirmed schedule is announced, many young scientists and engineers will not wait for jobs to arrive in Poland if they are guaranteed work elsewhere, Mr Wrochna said. “If they decide to study nuclear engineering they need at least some assurance there will be a job at the end of it,” he said. Mr Wrochna said Poland can “easily educate” all the personnel it needs for a nuclear programme because it has nuclear experts at several technical universities around the country. The NCBJ, which operates the Maria research reactor, offers internships for students who can take part in research or reactor operations. According to Mr Wrochna, Poland’s government asked the ministry of energy to present a new schedule and business model for new nuclear by spring 2017. He said Poland is aiming for commercial operation of its first unit around 2028.


Register Now: AMNT 2017 To Focus On Innovation And Decommissioning
25.04.2017 - NucNet News
A nuclear conference to take place on 16 and 17 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany, will focus on industry issues including sustainable innovation, improving safety and operational excellence, and decommissioning and waste management. The 48th Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology (AMNT), organised by the German Atomic Forum and the German Nuclear Society, will bring together about 800 delegates from 30 countries and more than 150 companies. Organisers said AMNT is one of Europe’s most recognised and best established nuclear technology conferences. For details and registration see AMNT 2017: http://bit.ly/2pe8R3u


Governor Approves Restart Of Japan’s Genkai-3 and -4
25.04.2017 - NucNet News
The governor of Saga Prefecture in southern Japan has approved the planned restarts of the Genkai-3 and -4 nuclear power plants, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said. The consent of governor Yoshiaki Yamaguchi was the final step in the approval process by local authorities after the mayor of the town of Genkai agreed to the restarts in March 2017. Jaif said the restarts are expected to happen in the autumn of 2017, subject to a number of inspections by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). In January 2017, the NRA confirmed that Genkai-3 and -4 are compatible with new regulatory standards introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. According to Jaif, Mr Yamaguchi agreed to restarting the two units because of concerns related to the instability of power supply from renewable sources and a positive assessment of safety improvements carried out by Genkai’s owner Kyushu Electric Power Company. Genkai-3 and -4 are both 1,127-MW pressurised water reactors. Unit 3 was shut down for an annual outage in December 2010 and Unit 4 in December 2011. The units were never restarted following a nationwide nuclear shutdown because of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.


Q&A: Poland’s Progress On The Road To New Nuclear
25.04.2017 - NucNet News
Conflicting reports have emerged from Poland about plans for its first reactors, but in this Q&A with NucNet, Professor Grzegorz Wrochna of the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research says the programme is on track and a business model is expected soon.


New Nations Pose Challenges for Nuclear Governance, Says Report
24.04.2017 - NucNet News
The nuclear governance system is facing an unprecedented challenge as traditional nuclear suppliers that have built the backbone of the safety, security and nonproliferation regime face new competition to provide technology to emerging nations, a policy report released by the Global Nexus Initiative (GNI) says. According to the report, the locus of new nuclear plant construction has shifted to fast-growing nations in Asia and the Middle East, and traditional suppliers, including the US, France and Japan, are giving way to Russia and China, which have the most active nuclear production lines, the capacity to increase manufacturing and the state financing to support it. China alone has 21 reactors under construction and another 40 planned, the report says. Russia has seven under construction and another 25 planned while South Korea, a key US ally and another emerging global nuclear supplier, has three reactors under construction and is building four new reactors in the United Arab Emirates. Neither Russia nor China have been leaders in the nuclear governance area and many nations with emerging economies and ambitious nuclear power development plans face challenges in effectively governing the plants and materials they seek, the report says. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2oDs90b


Contract Ready For Egypt’s First Nuclear Station At Dabaa, Say Russian Reports
21.04.2017 - NucNet News
A “comprehensive” contract to build the first nuclear power station in Egypt is ready to be signed, state-operated domestic Russian-language news agency RIA Novosti reported on 19 April 2017, quoting government sources. RIA Novosti reported Egyptian media as saying the contract, for the Dabaa nuclear station, would be signed in the first half of 2017. In November 2015 Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said Russia and Egypt had signed an initial agreement to collaborate on the construction and operation in Egypt of a nuclear power plant with four reactor units with capacity of 1,200 MW each at Dabaa, west of Cairo on the country’s north coast. Russia will loan Egypt $25bn (€22bn) to finance the construction and operation of the facility, Russia’s official gazette said. The Reuters news agency said earlier this year that Egypt will pay an interest rate of three percent annually. Instalment payments will begin on 15 October 2029.


OECD Figure Show Slight Decrease For Nuclear Share Of Net Electricity Production
21.04.2017 - NucNet News
Net electricity production in the 35 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries grew by 0.9% in 2016 compared to 2015 with nuclear’s share falling by 0.1% to 18.1% figures released by the International Energy Agency show. Total OECD cumulative production of nuclear electricity in 2016 was 1,873.6 TWh, a decrease of 2.7 TWh. Europe was the only region which decreased its nuclear production, by 19.6 TWh, or 2.4%, to 790 TWh led by the continued phaseout of nuclear electricity in Germany as well as decreases in the Czech Republic and France caused by extended outages. There were also operational outages in Slovenia and Switzerland. There was a large increase of 9.5% in renewable generation and a smaller, but still significant, increase of 2.2% for hydro. Combustible fuels fell by 0.2% and 0.1%. Non-combustible renewables accounted for 22.4% of all generation compared to 21.6% in 2015.


Register Now: UK Conference To Focus On European Nuclear Decommissioning
20.04.2017 - NucNet News
A nuclear decommissioning and waste management conference on 24 and 25 May 2017 in Manchester, UK, will focus on the latest developments related to the transition from operations to decommissioning in the nuclear sector. The 8th Nuclear Decommissioning & Waste Management Conference Europe 2017, organised by Nuclear Energy Insider, will bring together over 40 speakers and 300 senior-level participants from 20 countries to discuss topics including expanding business operations throughout Europe; improving understanding of the latest European regulatory requirements; how European utilities plan on optimising decommissioning strategies to increase cost-efficiency; ways to address the challenges of public acceptance of nuclear waste management; and understanding strategies for financing nuclear plant decommissioning and estimating costs and uncertainties. For details and registration see Nuclear Energy Insider: http://bit.ly/1WCzdY9


Japan Regulator Approves Decommissioning Plans For Five Reactors
20.04.2017 - NucNet News
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved decommissioning programmes for five nuclear reactors and associated facilities owned by four different utilities. The five units are Genkai-1 (Kyushu Electric Power Company), Mihama-1 and -2 (Kansai Electric Power Company), Shimane-1 (Chugoku Electric Power Company) and Tsuruga-1 (Japan Atomic Power Company). According to decommissioning plans submitted by each utility, they expect it to take about 30 years to complete the dismantling of each reactor. Under regulations that came into force in July 2013 reactors have an initial operating period of 40 years. In certain cases extensions can be granted for 20 years, contingent on safety examinations and NRA approval. The owners of the five units decided to shut them after an assessment of the work needed to ensure the units meet the new safety requirements. The nuclear industry group Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said the NRA is also examining a decommissioning plan for a sixth plant, Ikata-1 (Shikoku Electric Power Company).


New Tool Will Help Plan Research Reactor Decommissioning, Says IAEA
19.04.2017 - NucNet News
Planning and estimating the cost of research reactor decommissioning will become easier with the help of educational and training material to be developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Slovak University of Technology (STU) and Technical University Vienna-Atominstitut (ATI), under an agreement signed last week. The IAEA said on 18 April 2017 that tools and materials will be developed using data from ATI’s Triga-type research reactor and can be adapted to other types of research reactors. They will be shared among IAEA member states free of charge. The work done under the agreement will contribute to the IAEA’s collaborative project for data analysis and collection for costing of research reactor decommissioning. The project, known as Daccord, supports research reactor operators in developing a robust approach to estimate the cost of future decommissioning, the IAEA said.


US Regulator Asks For Public Comment On SMR Emergency Preparedness Requirements
19.04.2017 - NucNet News
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking for public comment on a draft regulatory basis for new emergency preparedness requirements for small modular reactors (SMRs) and other new technologies such as non-light-water reactor facilities. A regulatory basis is an early stage in the rulemaking process in which the NRC explains the rationale for developing new regulatory requirements and seeks input from the public. After the regulatory basis is finalised, the NRC will develop a proposed rule, which will also be issued for public comment. The draft regulatory basis explains why the NRC believes existing regulations should be updated. The NRC said the nuclear power industry is developing SMRs and other advanced reactor technologies that differ in size, scope and hazard from the large light-water reactors operating in the US today. Their smaller size or innovative safety features are likely to lead to lower risk or less challenging accident conditions than today’s reactors. This rulemaking would establish emergency preparedness requirements appropriate to these technologies, the NRC said. Details online: http://bit.ly/2oKE2ol


EC Signs First Ever Project For Nuclear Safety Cooperation With Iran
19.04.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission has signed the first ever project for nuclear safety cooperation with Iran, under the framework of the joint comprehensive plan of action, or JCPOA. The €2.5m ($2.68m) project aims to improve the capabilities of the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA) by preparing a feasibility study for a nuclear safety centre foreseen in the JCPOA. It will support the INRA in developing a nuclear regulatory framework, working towards the accession by Iran to several international nuclear conventions, and reviewing the results of the stress test to take place in the Bushehr nuclear power station. The project is the first of a €5m programme approved by the European Union in 2016. A second project for the stress test at Bushehr is going to be signed in the coming weeks, the EC said. The JCPOA was finalised in July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK, the US – plus Germany) and the European Union. It aims to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful.


In ‘Anti-Nuclear’ Denmark, How A Reactor Startup Is Helping To Change Opinions
19.04.2017 - NucNet News
A small Copenhagen-based startup recently announced it had received a modest amount of funding from a public agency to develop a product it hopes will go some way towards alleviating global warming and helping to end energy poverty.


Workshop Criticises ‘Complex’ Regulatory Structure For US Low-Level Waste
18.04.2017 - NucNet News
The regulatory structure for low-level radioactive waste in the US is so complex that it should be thrown out and a new system developed from scratch, a workshop was told. A complex regulatory structure for disposing of the waste has evolved over time across agencies and states. This structure has provided adequate guidance for the successful disposal of the majority of low-level radioactive waste streams, but there are some streams – many of which were not anticipated when the regulations were created – that lack “an obvious pathway to disposal or whose disposition could be considered out of step with the hazard of the waste”. Current regulations are the result of “tweaks” and “adjustments” to regulations to address unanticipated types of wastes or other challenges. The workshop, held in October 2016, and outlined in a new report from the National Academies, heard that the unintended impact of this complex system includes potential loss of public trust and confidence; mounting costs for disposal which are passed on to ratepayers; and levels of regulation that are disproportionate to the hazards posed by low-level waste. According to the report, the Department of Energy’s office of environmental management is responsible for the cleanup of sites used for nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. Established in 1989, the DOE’s cleanup programme originally encompassed over 100 sites. Cleanup is planned to last another 40-50 years with total lifecycle costs approaching or exceeding $350bn (€328bn). The annual cleanup budget is around $6bn. The greatest proportion of waste generated by the cleanup programme is low-level waste at approximately 17 million cubic meters per year. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2oQZ6tW


Hungary Appoints Minister For Paks 2 Nuclear Project
18.04.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary has appointed a minister to be responsible for the supervision of the construction and eventual commissioning of the planned two-unit Paks 2 nuclear power station, a statement by the Hungarian prime minister’s office said. János Süli, mayor of the town of Paks, where there are four Russia-designed VVER-440 pressurised water reactors already in commercial operation at the Paks station, will take up the role on 2 May 2017, the prime minister’s office said. Mr Süli, who has worked for the Paks nuclear station for 31 years, said he will continue to rely on the expertise of Attila Aszódi, the Hungarian government’s commissioner for the Paks 2 project. An agreement signed in 2014 will see Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.6bn) to finance 80% of the of the €12bn project. Construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2017, according to previous statements by Rosatom.


EU Energy Proposals Must Take Nuclear Industry’s Views Into Account, Says Foratom
18.04.2017 - NucNet News
Legislative proposals in the European Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package could ensure a coherent and optimal approach towards meeting energy and climate objectives, provided they take into account the views of the nuclear energy industry, Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the industry in Europe, said in a position paper. The position paper says the goal of the EU to decarbonise the economy by more than 80% by 2050 cannot be achieved without nuclear power. The legislative proposals, released in November 2016, aim to improve the functioning of the energy market and make sure that all energy technologies compete on a level-playing field without jeopardising climate and energy targets. Foratom is calling for an effective power market leading to competitive and affordable electricity prices for end-users and the promotion of investments in low-carbon technologies. Foratom’s position paper underlines the importance of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) and of protecting it from conflicting policy overlaps, in particular from a proposed 30% energy efficiency target. Foratom is also calling for a strategy to help the EU maintain its technological and industrial leadership in the nuclear sector. According to the EC, its legislative proposals have three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers. For details see the Foratom website: http://bit.ly/2oI2Sna


Wano Completes Peer Review At Czech Republic’s Dukovany
14.04.2017
- NucNet News

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) has carried out a peer review at the four-unit Dukovany nuclear power station operated by state utility CEZ in the Czech Republic. Wano’s Moscow Centre said in a statement that the review was from 23 March to 7 April 2017 and was carried out by a team of 21 experts representing nine countries. All four units at Dukovany are Russian-designed VVER units. Wano is a non-profit association established in 1989 by nuclear power operators to exchange safety knowledge and operating experience amongst organisations operating commercial nuclear power reactors. Wano members operate some 440 nuclear reactor units in more than 30 countries.


Poland And South Korea Discuss Possible Investment In Nuclear Programme
13.04.2017
- NucNet News

Deputy energy minister Andrzej Piotrowski has met representatives of the South Korean nuclear industry to discuss possible investment in Poland’s planned nuclear reactors, the energy ministry said in a statement on its website. The possibilities of cooperating on research centres for the development of new nuclear technologies and industrial cooperation in third country markets were also discussed at the meeting in Seoul, the ministry said. Poland’s PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the country’s first nuclear power station project, said last week it had begun environmental and site selection surveys at two locations, Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec, both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania. PGE EJ1 said the findings will contribute to the completion of a final environmental impact and localisation report scheduled for 2020.


NEA Report Examines Impact Of Fukushima On Global Energy Policies
12.04.2017 - NucNet News
Outside Japan there appears to be little ultimate change to energy policies directly attributable to the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in March 2011, a report by the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency says. The report, which examines how the accident has affected energy policies, says in general, countries with previous commitment to nuclear power remained committed, and those with plans to phase out nuclear power accelerated those plans. Nuclear power development efforts have made significant progress globally, with 33 units starting construction and 38 grid connections, the report notes. However, some uncertainties remain in terms of policy responses to the event, most notably in the East Asia region. Overall, it is clear that projections have decreased from those of 2007-2011. A number of governments, particularly in Western Europe, have made policy changes as a result of the accident. But the report says it is also clear that, despite changes in some countries, most countries with nuclear power or with plans to add nuclear power to their energy mix have maintained an interest in developing the technology. In China and South Korea, there appears to be limited impact on long-term plans, as the governments still have very ambitious deployment plans. In Russia, where there are seven new units under construction, new capacity projections have decreased from 2009 owing to reduced needs and the financial requirements for such a steep build rate. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2p55dLw


Norway Reactor Incident Not Cause Of Europe Iodine Releases, Says France’s IRSN
12.04.2017 - NucNet News
An incident at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor (HBWR) in southeast Norway at the end of October 2016 resulted in limited release of radioactivity into the environment, but was not responsible for atmospheric measurements of iodine detected in several European countries since January 2017, France’s Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) said in an information note published on11 April 2017. IRSN said the Halden release, provisionally classified at Level 1 of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), concerned the period from October to November 2016 and could not therefore be the cause of radioactive iodine at trace levels detected in Europe in early 2017. The HBWR, a research reactor operated by the Institute for Energy Technology, was commissioned in 1959 and has a maximum thermal output of 25 MW. In the early afternoon of 24 October 2016, while the unit was shut down for maintenance, an incident during handling operations of a test assembly led to the release of radioactive substances. Small amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in the atmosphere in several European countries in January 2017. Radiation monitors in Finland, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain all detected a small amount of an Iodine-131 isotope, nuclear regulators said. The largest concentrations were measured in Poland, but even those levels were “very far” from concentrations which could potentially have any effect on human health. IRSN said preliminary reports showed the iodine was first found in the second week of January 2017 in northern Norway. The origins of the iodine findings remain unknown. Iodine-131 isotopes are used for medical purposes and are manufactured in a number of countries. Iodine-131 is produced in nuclear power reactors as a fission product and is also used as a tracer in drilling industries.


Construction Of Initial Facilities At Paks 2 To Begin In Autumn, Says Rosatom Head
11.04.2017
- NucNet News

Construction of auxiliary facilities for the planned two-unit Paks 2 nuclear power station in Hungary will begin in the autumn of 2017, Alexei Likhachev, head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said in a statement. Rosatom said auxiliary facilities include a number of production, storage and other buildings to be used by contractors during the project’s construction phase. An agreement signed in 2014 will see Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.6bn) to finance 80% of the of the €12bn project.


Delegates At IAEA Meeting Call For Further Action On Nuclear Safety
10.04.2017 - NucNet News
Delegates at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting on nuclear safety have called for steps to be taken to address financial and human resource constraints, safety concerns related to ageing nuclear facilities, and the need for harmonised cross-border emergency planning approaches. The Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety discussed national nuclear safety reports from 79 countries. Delegates highlighted the importance of improving the nuclear safety culture, maintaining effective legal frameworks, and enforcing safety precautions within the supply chain. Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA deputy director-general and head of the department of nuclear safety and security, said the supply chain issue is a common one both for countries operating nuclear power plants and those considering nuclear power programmes because of the lack of availability of identical replacement parts and the need to be able to detect non-conforming, counterfeit, suspect or fraudulent items. He said: “Furthermore, with the number of nuclear-grade certified suppliers diminishing, access to manufacturers able to meet nuclear standards will become more challenging.” Details online: http://bit.ly/2optJ9C


Poland Begins Site Studies For First Nuclear Project At Two Locations
07.04.2017
- NucNet News

Poland’s PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the country’s first nuclear power station project, has formally begun environmental and site selection surveys at two locations – Lubiatowo-Kopalino and Żarnowiec – both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania. In a statement PGE EJ1 said the findings will contribute to the completion of a final environmental impact and localisation report scheduled for 2020. The studies aim to determine the potential impact of the planned new-build project on both the environment and local residents. An initial round of environmental studies has already been carried out at both locations. In May 2016, Poland’s General Directorate for Environmental Protection approved the two sites as the main focus of environmental impact studies for the nuclear project. PGE EJ1 said a decision on Poland’s nuclear new-build programme will be taken with the country’s energy ministry by the end of 2017.


IAEA And Wano Agree To Increase Cooperation On Nuclear Safety
07.04.2017 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) have agreed to increase their cooperation to strengthen operational safety and to support countries that are planning or considering launching nuclear power programmes. Representatives from the two organisations announced the agreement at a side event on the margins of the 7th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Nuclear Safety in Vienna this week. They said the IAEA and Wano can maximise safety benefits, increase efficiency and avoid conflicting advice by increasing cooperation on safety peer review services they offer to nuclear operators. Increasing the efficiency of the reviews will be particularly important in anticipation of the increasing number of nuclear facilities worldwide in coming decades, said Wano chairman Jacques Regaldo. “By 2030, half of the nuclear power reactors will be based in Asia, and we will have many newcomers to nuclear power,” he said. “There is real value for Wano to work together with the IAEA and others to help maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants.” Wano is a non-profit organisation established in 1989 by the world’s nuclear power operators to exchange safety knowledge and operating experience among operators of commercial nuclear power plants.


EDF Delays Plans To Shut Down Fessenheim Nuclear Station
07.04.2017
- NucNet News
French utility EDF has delayed plans to shut down France’s oldest nuclear power station, despite pressure from the French government, neighbouring Germany and environmental activists. The board of state-run EDF voted in January 2017 to approve the closure of the two-unit Fessenheim in Alsace, northern France, next year in principle. But the company said the board decided yesterday, 6 April 2017, not to close the facility until the Flamanville-3 EPR in Normandy begins commercial operation, expected in the fourth quarter of 2018. Fessenheim-1 and Fessenheim-2 both began commercial operation in 1978. Both are 880-MW pressurised water reactor units. EDF said France’s energy transition law caps nuclear energy’s generation capacity at 63.2 GW. As a result, the commissioning of Flamanville-3 is dependent on the shutdown of equivalent capacity.



No Decision Yet On South Africa New-Build, Says Finance Minister
05.04.2017
- NucNet News

South Africa’s finance minister Malusi Gigaba said no decision has been taken on nuclear new-build plans other than “we will have 9,600 megawatts of [nuclear] generation capacity”. According to local press reports Mr Gigaba said any decision about where nuclear power plants will be built‚ and whether they will be built at the same time or in phases, “will be determined by what the country can afford”. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom, which operates South Africa’s only commercial nuclear station at Koeberg, recently said it has given itself the internal target that for new nuclear to make sense, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from the project must be between $60 and $80 (€56 and €75) per MWh for the first two reactor units. The International Atomic Energy Agency has put the LCOE for the construction of new nuclear power plants in a range from $40 to $100 per MWh.

France’s Engie Exercises Right To Sell 40% Stake in NuGen’s Moorside Nuclear Project
04.04.2017
- NucNet News

In another setback for new-build plans in the UK, Toshiba has been forced to buy French utility Engie’s share of a project to build three Westinghouse Generation III+ AP1000 nuclear reactors at Moorside in Cumbria, northwest England.


India Becomes Association Country Of International Energy Agency
04.04.2017
- NucNet News

India has become an association country of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), the agency announced on 30 March 2017. Institutional ties with the IEA mark a critical addition to the IEA’s global outreach, a statement said. India is “one of the bright spots” of the global economy and is emerging as a major driving force in global energy trends, with all modern fuels and technologies playing a part. According to International Atomic Energy Agency statistics India has 22 nuclear power reactors in commercial operation and five under construction. Nuclear generation capacity in India is expected to reach nearly 15 GW by 2024, up from around 5.8 GW today, because the government has expedited the process of constructing new power reactors, the country’s lower house of parliament was told on 22 March 2017.


Horizon Submits Site Application For Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Station
04.04.2017
- NucNet News

Horizon Nuclear Power has submitted its site application to build and operate two UK Advanced-Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) units at the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, the company said on 4 April 2017. Receipt of the application by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) now triggers a rigorous 19-month programme of assessment to establish whether Horizon can demonstrate it will be in control of all safety related activities on its site. The application follows more than two years of preparation by Horizon and focuses on topics such as the suitability of the organisation, the suitability of the site and the suitability of its reactor design for use at the site, Horizon said in a statement. The ONR will only grant the licence once it is satisfied that Horizon has met the 36 licence conditions and licensee obligations. If licensed, Horizon would be regulated by the ONR for the full lifecycle of the site from construction to decommissioning. The nuclear site licence application comes as Horizon prepares to undertake its final stage of community consultation in the summer. Hitachi-GE’s UK ABWR reactor technology is progressing through the fourth and final stage of its generic design assessment, or GDA, and is on track to be approved for use in the UK by the end of December 2017. If that approval is granted, Horizon aims to receive all the necessary permissions by the end of 2018.


Swedish Regulator Approves Nuclear Industry Waste Management R&D Programme
03.04.2017
- NucNet News

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has advised the government to approve the nuclear power industry’s research and development programme for the management of nuclear waste from the operation and decommissioning of nuclear plants, a statement by SSM said. According to SSM, the R&D programme, submitted to the regulator by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) on behalf of nuclear power plant owners in September 2016, fulfils statutory requirements. Legislation in Sweden requires owners of Swedish nuclear power stations to report to the government at three-year intervals on their R&D programme for waste management. SSM said it had reviewed the programme with other stakeholders, including local authorities, research institutes and environmental organisations.


Wenra Guidance Document On EU Nuclear Safety Directive Open For Comment
03.04.2017 - NucNet News
The Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Associations (Wenra) has begun a consultation period on a draft guidance document on an article in the EU’s Nuclear Safety Directive regarding safety improvements to existing nuclear power plants. Article 8a of the directive calls for the “timely implementation of reasonably practicable safety improvements to existing nuclear power plants”. An ad hoc Wenra group was established last year to develop the guidance document, which outlines a common approach to article 8a. A draft of the guidance document is due to be considered by Wenra at its spring meeting on 26 and 27 April 2017 with a final draft to be approved at a plenary meeting at the end of June 2017. Wenra said the guidance has been written specifically with nuclear power plants as a focus, but many of the principles should be applicable to other types of nuclear installation. The first draft of the guidance document has already been reviewed by Wenra, the European Commission, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (Ensreg) and the European Nuclear Installations Safety Standards Initiative (Eniss). It is open for comments until 14 April 2017. Details online: http://bit.ly/2nNIOiJ


Foratom Calls For UK And EU To Agree Transitional Arrangements On Euratom
03.04.2017
- NucNet News

The UK and the EU will need to agree transitional arrangements that will apply if the two-year Brexit negotiation period – triggered last week by Theresa May’s government – is not enough to prepare for the UK’s departure from Euratom, the Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom said on 3 April 2017. The 1957 Euratom Treaty governs the peaceful use of nuclear energy within the EU. “Being part of the Euratom community enables new-build, decommissioning, R&D and other programmes of work to continue without any disruption,” said Foratom director-general Jean-Pol Poncelet. “The UK should comply with the provisions of the Euratom Treaty until new agreements replacing the current ones are concluded.” Without alternative agreements, leaving Euratom would have an impact on the free movement of goods and skills in the nuclear sector, Foratom said. It could also result in interruptions to regular trade with the EU. Foratom said that leaving Euratom would not result in the UK industry being less safe because the UK has a robust and well established domestic civil nuclear regulator and safety regime. However, after its withdrawal from Euratom, the UK will need to set up a proper framework to comply with its international nuclear safeguards commitments. Other key areas that could be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom include the supply of nuclear fuels and nuclear research. Foratom said Euratom provides a platform for R&D covering fission, fusion and the sharing of information and results from R&D. The UK operates 15 commercial reactors, which produce about 20% of its electricity generation. It has plans for 16 GW of new nuclear capacity.


Hungarian Regulator Issues Site Licence For Paks 2
03.04.2017
- NucNet News

The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) has issued the site licence for the planned two-unit Paks 2 nuclear power station, the regulator said in a statement on 31 March 2017. MVM Paks II, the company in charge of the new-build project, applied for a site permit in October 2016. In September 2016, the planned station received a local environmental permit from regional authorities in Baranya county. In early March 2017, the European Commission cleared Hungary’s plans to finance Paks 2 by way of state aid. Separately, in November 2016, the EC closed an infringement case against Hungary regarding the compatibility of the project with EU public procurement legislation. An agreement signed in 2014 would see Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.6bn) to finance 80% of the of the €12bn project.


Denmark Takes Step Into Fission Research With Grant For Seaborg Technologies
31.03.2017 - NucNet News
Copenhagen-based startup Seaborg Technologies, which is developing an advanced thorium-based molten salt reactor (MSR), has received a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD), a move that marks the first Danish investment into nuclear fission research since the country’s ban on nuclear power in 1985. IFD is a public funding agency whose mission is to support promising Danish ventures in their early stages. The decision to fund the reactor, known as the Seaborg CUBE-100 (short for Compact Used BurnEr, is the beginning of the first Danish venture into the development of novel fission reactor concepts, Seaborg said. The company did not disclose details of the grant, but a spokesman told NucNet today it was a relatively modest amount. “At this early stage it provides essential opportunities for us to move ahead and secure intellectual property. The more important aspect is the symbolic value,” the spokesman said. According to Seaborg, MSRs promise to improve on all the areas of nuclear safety that had concerned the Danish public. “This has forced Danes to reconsider their beliefs and has led many to see nuclear power as a viable alternative for combating global warming,” the spokesman said. “A nuanced public debate has resulted, in which the potential advantages of a Danish advanced nuclear reactor industry is being explored.” Seaborg chief executive officer Troels Schönfeldt said that with the funding the company will be able to position itself for the additional investment required to progress towards commercial maturity. Dr Schönfeldt said the company is looking for “visionary investors” with the long-term perspective required to capitalise on advanced nuclear reactors. The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report on MSRs that the Seaborg prototype, formerly known as the Seaborg Waste Burner (SWaB), is a 50 MWth single fluid unit. It is graphite moderated and fuelled by a combination of spent nuclear fuel and thorium. The design team is a combination of physicists and chemists from the Niels Bohr Institute and the Technical University of Denmark.


EC Clears Belgian Support For Long-Term Operation Of 3 Reactors
30.03.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission found Belgian plans to compensate Engie-Electrabel and EDF Belgium for potential financial risks linked to the long-term operation of three nuclear reactors in Belgium to be in line with EU state aid rules.


EC Clears Investment In Hungary’s Paks 2 Nuclear Project
30.03.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission cleared Hungary’s plans to finance the planned Paks 2 nuclear station by way of state aid. The EC said Hungary’s state aid abides by EU rules because the country has made commitments to limit distortions of competition.


UK Regulator Gives First Consent For Start Of Hinkley Point C Construction
29.03.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted its first consent for the start of construction of a twin EPR nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, southwest England. The consent covers the placement of the structural concrete for the first nuclear safety-related structure at the Hinkley Point C site. EDF, the site licensee, will now start the placement of the first structural concrete for the station’s technical galleries. The technical galleries are a series of underground reinforced concrete structures to be located beneath the site and some above-ground structures, connecting services such as cooling water and electricity. Mike Finnerty, deputy chief nuclear inspector and director of the ONR’s new reactors programme said the consent for the first nuclear safety concrete at Hinkley Point C is a key regulatory milestone marking start of construction of the first nuclear power station since Sizewell B in Suffolk. “We have carried out extensive assessment of EDF’s safety case and preparedness for this important step at Hinkley Point C. However, this does not give consent for all elements of construction. We will continue to regulate EDF’s activities and have implemented a number of hold-points to ensure we have full regulatory control over the various construction and commissioning stages through to start of operation.” The two EPR units planned for Hinkley Point C are expected to produce 7GW of electricity when fully operational, enough to power six million homes and provide 7% of Britain’s electricity needs for 60 years. The cost of the project has been put at £18bn (€20bn, $22bn).


India Agreement Will Benefit Nuclear Industry Across Asia, Says IAEA
24.03.2017 - NucNet News

Nuclear professionals from across Asia will benefit from extended cooperation agreed on by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano and Sekhar Basu, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, the IAEA said. IAEA-nominated experts in advanced nuclear energy, nuclear security, radiological safety, nuclear material characterisation and applications of radioisotopes and radiation technologies will be able to use the new training facilities of India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP), which are scheduled to open in New Delhi in the near future. The centre will promote safe, secure and sustainable nuclear energy through global partnership, Mr Basu said. The IAEA will be able to use the facilities at GCNEP to train experts from the region and beyond in assisting building capacity.

NRG Looking For International Collaboration On LWR Lifespan Project
24.03.2017 - NucNet News
The Netherlands-based Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) hopes to enter into international partnerships with other research institutes so that more data can be generated as part of a project that could help to accurately predict whether the lifespan of light-water reactors (LWRs) can be extended beyond 40 years. NRG and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) are working together on the research project, known as Lyra, which takes samples of steel used in reactor vessels in Western and Russian nuclear plants and irradiates them in the High Flux Reactor at Petten in the Netherlands. The total radiation dose is comparable to the total dose in a reactor core that has been operational for 60 to 80 years. After irradiation, the samples are retrieved from the reactor and studied. NRG said results of the project will be presented during the annual Nugenia international nuclear forum in Amsterdam from 28 to 30 March 2017. LWRs are the most common type of nuclear reactor. Most were designed to operate for 40 years. Consequently, programmes used to monitor the degradation of materials are often designed for 40 years of operation. “The knowledge about the materials degradation processes beyond those 40 years of reactor operation is currently limited,” NRG said.


US And UK To Collaborate On Robotics For Nuclear Decommissioning
21.03.2017 - NucNet News
The US Office of Environmental Management and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA) have agreed to collaborate further to develop and apply robotics to nuclear decommissioning tasks. An Office of Environmental Management statement said representatives of the two organisations signed a new statement of intent providing a framework for the exchange of information and personnel on remote handling and robotic systems in managing radioactive waste, nuclear materials and cleanup of nuclear installations. Dr Rob Buckingham, director of the Centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (Race), in Oxfordshire, central England, signed the agreement on behalf of the UKAEA. The UKAEA hosts Race, which recently built a facility to develop and demonstrate aspects of remote systems, including inspection, maintenance and decommissioning. The statement of intent gives the Office of Environmental Management access to the Race facility to demonstrate remote system capabilities. The UKAEA carries out fusion research in the UK on behalf of the government and manages the Joint European Torus, or Jet, fusion project on behalf of the EU.


Nuclear Needed As Part Of ‘Exceptional’ Energy Transition, Says IEA Report
20.03.2017 - NucNet News
Limiting the rise in global mean temperature to well below 2°C would require an energy transition of exceptional scope, depth and speed, including increased investment in new nuclear power reactors, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency. Annual average energy related investments would need to be doubled from current levels with $3.5 trillion (€3.2 trillion) in energy-sector investments be needed on average each year until 2050. Nearly 95% of electricity would need to be low-carbon by 2050, compared with about one third today, the IEA said. Fossil fuels, in particular natural gas, would still be needed in 2050, and would account for 40% of energy demand, around half of today’s level. Recent IEA estimates show that global energy-related CO2 emissions stalled for a third straight year in 2016. This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy. According to the IEA, investment in nuclear energy was $21bn in 2016 compared to $583bn in oil and gas, $107bn in wind and 98bn in solar photovoltaic. The findings are included in a report called ‘Perspectives for the Energy Transition – Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy System’. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2mKU1OR


Canada Regulator Calls For Public Comment On Disposal Facility EIS
18.03.2017 - NucNet News
Canada’s nuclear regulator is inviting public comment until 17 May 2017 on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed near surface disposal facility project submitted Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said CNL is proposing to build the facility at Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario. CNL is a private-sector company responsible for the management and operation of nuclear sites, facilities and assets owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation. For many years, CNL has placed waste from its operations and from Canadian hospitals and universities in interim storage facilities. The proposed near surface disposal facility will provide a permanent disposal solution for waste from Chalk River Laboratories, historical operations and the closure of the Whiteshell Laboratories in Manitoba and the Nuclear Power Demonstration project in Ontario. Details online: http://bit.ly/2mHFTpQ



UN Committee Asks UK To Suspend Work On Hinkley Point C
15.03.2017 - NucNet News
A United Nations committee has asked the UK to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset because of the government’s failure to consult with European countries over the project. The United N
ations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said last year that the UK had failed to meet its obligations to discuss the possible impact of an incident at Hinkley on neighbouring countries. At a recent meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, known as the Espoo Convention, the UNECE went a step further and said the UK should consider refraining from further works on the site of the new reactors. According to the minutes of the meeting, the UNECE said the government should wait until it has heard back from other countries on whether it would be helpful for them to be formally notified under the Espoo Convention. Details online: http://bit.ly/2nK30BC


Four Countries Have Signed Agreements To Help Kenya Prepare For Nuclear, Conference Told
15.03.2017 - NucNet News
Four countries have signed memoranda of understanding with Kenya to help it with plans to establish a commercial nuclear power programme, Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) acting chief executive Collins Juma told the Kenya Nuclear Energy Week and Conference in Nairobi on 14 March 2017. Mr Juma said Russia, China, South Korea and Slovakia have all signed agreements that will see them help Kenya “build capacity” to begin construction of its first nuclear plant around 2022. “We want to make sure that we have the right human resource capacity, public awareness and proper regulations to enable us smoothly adopt this energy source. That is why we are investing in informative studies and benchmarking to ensure that there is proper stakeholder engagements and extensive consultations in this field,” Mr Juma said. According to recent reports, France is also looking to offer Kenya technical, engineering and financial support to build its first nuclear power reactors. The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board is planning at least four reactors with a total output of around 4,000 MW, the allAfrica website said. According to Business Daily, Kenya has identified possible sites for nuclear plants including towns bordering Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria in western Kenya.


Foratom Welcomes EC Decision On Financing Of Hungary’s Paks 2 Project
15.03.2017 - NucNet News
The Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom has welcomed the European Commission’s decision last week to clear Hungary’s plans to finance the planned Paks 2 nuclear station by way of state aid. In a statement on 14 March 2017 Foratom said the EC’s decision was a reminder that facilitating nuclear investment is one of the objectives of the Euratom Treaty and that state support is therefore compliant with European Union regulations. Foratom director-general Jean-Pol Poncelet said the EC’s decision was good news for the nuclear industry and sent a positive signal for nuclear investments in Europe. An agreement signed in 2014 would see Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2, as well as a loan of up to €10bn ($10.6bn) to finance 80% of the of the €12bn project. Foratom’s statement is online: http://bit.ly/2ms2UwG


Turkey’s Regulator Confirms Construction Licence Application For Akkuyu
13.03.2017 - NucNet News
Akkuyu Nuclear, the joint stock company in charge of the Akkuyu nuclear project in Turkey, has applied to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (Taek) for a construction licence, Taek confirmed in a statement on its website. Taek said the application had been submitted on 3 March 2017, but did not give further details. Akkuyu, near Mersin on the Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, is to be built in cooperation with Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom under a contract signed in late 2010. The station will have four 1,200-MW VVER units.


Poland Needs Nuclear To Meet EU Expectations, Says Minister
10.03.2017 - NucNet News
Poland will need nuclear energy if it is to meet European Union requirements concerning the country’s energy mix and its CO2 emissions, energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski told Polish daily Wprost. “We must take a decision on this in the near future”, Mr Tchórzewski was quoted as saying. Mr Tchórzewski said the government has abandoned plans to finance the nuclear project by way of contracts for difference and would like to find funding on a commercial basis, without state guarantees on loans or electricity prices. He said his ministry would like to develop a new financing model by the end of the first half of 2017. A 2015 plan by the previous government laid out Poland’s plans to have 6,000 MW of nuclear online by 2030, with the first unit starting commercial operation in 2024.


As South Africa Prepares For New Build, The Question Is: How Much Will It Cost?
09.03.2017 - NucNet News
When South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom released a request for information, or RFI, for up to eight new nuclear power reactors in December 2016, the media generally overlooked the fact that the project is facing a court case. The NGOs Earthlife Africa and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) have begun proceedings that challenge the legality of the nuclear procurement process.


Japan’s Regulator Approves Fuel Fabrication Plant Safety Report

09.03.2017 - NucNet News
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved a draft review report confirming that a fuel fabrication plant owned by the Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Company (GNF-J) in Kanagawa Prefecture, central Japan, is compatible with the new regulatory standards, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said. This means that the plant has essentially cleared the examination – the first nuclear fuel production facility to do so since new safety standards were introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. GNF-J, which produces nuclear fuel for boiling water reactors, is part of a joint venture between General Electric Company (GE) of the US, Hitachi, Ltd. and Toshiba Corporation. It applied for safety examination in April 2014. Jaif said there are currently no BWRs in operation in Japan and only small amounts of the fuel are produced in order to maintain the technology. All seven units at Fukushima-Daiichi were BWRs. Thirty-two of the 48 units in commercial operation in Japan at the time of the accident were BWRs.


Austria Threatens Legal Action Over EC Decision On Paks 2
07.03.2017 - NucNet News
Austria has said it might consider ways to legally challenge yesterday’s decision by the European Commission (EC) to approve Hungary’s plans to finance the planned Paks 2 nuclear station by way of state aid, the country’s deputy chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner told local media. Mr Mitterlehner was quoted by the APA news agency as saying that the EC’s ruling is a “completely false signal” and Austria will examine the legal options and “if necessary” appeal against the decision to the European Court of Justice. Mr Mitterlehner said the Austrian government has “massive concerns” because the financing of the Paks 2 project by the Hungarian state with Russian assistance is not in line with the principles of the free market economy. In July 2015 Austria filed a complaint against EU-approved state aid for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in England, arguing that nuclear energy was non-sustainable and high-risk. Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom, which will be in charge of building two VVER-1200 reactor units at Paks 2, said it welcomed the EC’s decision.


Paks 2 Construction Scheduled To Begin In 2018, Says Hungary’s Foreign Minister
01.03.2017 - NucNet News

Construction of the planned Paks 2 nuclear power station project in Hungary is likely to begin in 2018, foreign minister Peter Szijjarto in an interview with Russia’s state-operated domestic news agency Ria Novosti. According to Ria Novosti Mr Szijjarto said the project would go ahead under the terms of an agreement signed in 2014 that would see Russia supply two VVER-1200 reactors with a loan of up to €10bn ($9.4bn) to finance 80% of the €12bn project. Since late 2015, progress on the Paks 2 project has stalled because the investment deal came under the scrutiny of the European Commission over possible state aid and procurement infringements. In September 2016, the Commission dropped a procurement case against Hungary over the award of the Paks 2 contract to Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom. Commission investigations into state aid over the project’s financing are continuing. Mr Szijjarto said he expected this issue to be resolved “very soon”.


UK Funding For Advanced Fission Technologies Remains Low, Says Review
01.03.2017 - NucNet News

Total funding for civil nuclear R&D in the UK was around £217m (€254m, $268m) in 2015/16, but funding for research into advanced nuclear fission technologies was low, which was also a key conclusion of a similar review in 2013, the government’s Nuclear Innovation and Advisory Board (Nirab) has said. The UK’s annual public expenditure on nuclear R&D continues to be significantly lower than other major nuclear nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Nirab said. Government expenditure – not including overseas and private funding – for fission in 2015/16 was £95.7m and for fusion £24.6m. Total government expenditure for nuclear R&D fell from £140m in 2010/11 to £122m in 2015/16. In the fusion sector, most funding is from the European Union, with the remainder from UK research councils. The Nirab review says there has been an increase of about 19% in the number of researchers engaged in civil nuclear research in the UK compared to the 2013 review. There has been a 5% increase in the number of researchers in the UK’s national laboratories, but in both fusion and fission laboratories there has been a significant loss of more experienced staff – individuals with greater than 15 years’ experience. Nirab’s review is online: http://bit.ly/2lbvirn




China’s Five-Year Plan Reveals Ambitious Nuclear Targets Both At Home And Abroad
28.02.2017 - NucNet NewsMore than 30 GW of nuclear energy facilities will be under construction in China through the next five years with installed capacity of 58 GW by 2020, up 16.5% year on year, according to the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan for energy development, which the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration officially issued.


UK Could Seek ‘Alternative Agreement’ To Euratom With IAEA After Brexit
28.02.2017 - NucNet NewsThe UK secretary of state for exiting the European Union, David Davis, told parliament that the UK will seek an alternative agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if it fails to negotiate “some sort of relationship” with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) during Brexit negotiations.


Former Minister Warns Of ‘Real Danger’ Facing UK Nuclear Projects
28.02.2017 - NucNet NewsThere is a real danger that planned nuclear projects will fail to come on stream before 2030 unless the UK government agrees to intervene, Tim Yeo, a former environment minister and energy committee chairman, said in a letter to business secretary Greg Clark.


House Of Lords Committee Warns On Cost Of Hinkley Point C
24.02.2017 - NucNet News
The planned Hinkley Point C nuclear project in England is a good example of the way policy has become unbalanced and affordability neglected, a House of Lords committee has said. The economic affairs committee in its report ‘The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market’ said constant intervention by successive governments in the electricity sector has led to an “opaque, complicated, and uncompetitive” market that fails to deliver low cost and secure electricity. On Hinkley Point C the committee said: “It does not provide good value for money for consumers and there are substantial risks associated with the project.” The committee called on the government to outline its ‘Plan B’ in the event Hinkley Point C is delayed or cannot produce the anticipated power. Committee chairman Lord Hollick said: “Poorly-designed government interventions, in pursuit of the decarbonisation, have put unnecessary pressure on the electricity supply and left consumers and industry paying too high a price.” In September 2016 the government gave the go-ahead to the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The government agreed to pay EDF, who will construct and operate the power station, £92.50 (€109.50, $116.20) per MWh for the electricity it produces. This price, which will rise with inflation every year, is guaranteed for 35 years. Under EDF’s current plans, Hinkley Point is expected to start generating electricity in 2025. Regardless of the changes in the cost of other forms of electricity generation, EDF will receive the inflation-linked strike price for the power it generates until 2060. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2l73lvI


European Countries Confirm Small Amounts Of Radioactive Iodine In Atmosphere
23.02.2017 - NucNet NewsSmall amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in the atmosphere in several European countries in January 2017, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) said in a statement on 20 February 2017. Radiation monitors in Finland, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain all detected a small amount of an Iodine-131 isotope, the statement said. Stuk said in Finland the recorded amount of Iodine-131 in the atmosphere was “very small, but detectable”. According to Stuk, similar readings were detected in the other countries reporting iodine findings, with the largest concentrations measured in Poland. Stuk said even those levels were “very far” from concentrations which could potentially have any effect on human health. The French Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) said earlier this month that preliminary reports showed the iodine was first found in the second week of January 2017 in northern Norway. IRSN said Iodine-131 has a short half-life meaning the readings were probably caused by a relatively recent release. Both Stuk and IRSN said the origins of the iodine findings remain unknown. Stuk said Iodine-131 isotopes are used for medical purposes and are manufactured in a number of countries. Iodine-131 is produced in nuclear power reactors as a fission product and is also used as a tracer in drilling industries.


Japan’s Regulator Approves Draft Safety Reports On Ohi-3 And-4 23.02.2017 - NucNet News23.02.2017 - NucNet News23.02.2017 - NucNet NewsJapan’s Nuclear Regulation 23.02.2017 - NucNet NewsAuthority (NRA) has approved draft reports confirming that the Ohi-3 and -4 nuclear reactor units in central Japan’s Fukui Prefecture, owned and operated by Kansai Electric Power Company, are compatible with new regulatory standards introduced after the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. The reports will be formally approved after a period of public consultation, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said. According to Jaif, Kansai Electric will complete work in May on various safety measures, including constructing walls to protect seawater pumps that would cool the reactors in the event of certain types of emergency. The units could be restarted this autumn, Jaif said. All of Japan’s 48 commercial reactor units at the time were shut down for safety checks and upgrades following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Three reactors – Sendai-1, Sendai-2 and Ikata-3 – have been restarted after clearing examinations under the new regulatory standards. Takahama-3 and -4 were also restarted, but both have since been taken offline after a court issued a temporary injunction following a protest lodged by anti-nuclear activists.


IAEA Says Review Of Legal Framework Would Improve Cyprus Safety
23.02.2017 - NucNet News
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said today that Cyprus has a competent and dedicated radiation safety regulatory body, but noted that a legal framework review would improve safety. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team said Cyprus’ legal and regulatory framework for radiation is largely in line with IAEA safety standards. The regulatory body, although small, is competent, experienced and dedicated, the team said. The team called on the government to review the legal framework to ensure compliance with IAEA safety standards. Cyprus uses radioactive sources in medical and other fields, but operates no nuclear power reactors or research reactors.


Russia Targets European Markets For Maintenance, Modernisation and Decommissioning
23.02.2017 - NucNet News
Nuclear power plant maintenance, modernisation and decommissioning services are promising markets in Europe for Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, the company’s vice-president of Western Europe Andrei Rozhdestvin said. In an interview published by Rosatom Mr Rozhdestvin said Europe’s potential as a market for Russia is best exemplified by a life extension project at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear station, which is being carried out by a Russian-French consortium, and the modernisation of four reactors at Hungary’s Paks nuclear station, together with the delivery of machinery and equipment for this project. “In the long run, we are also considering a possibility of building new generation capacity in Europe,” Mr Rozhdestvin said. There is also a good outlook for fuel supplies to Western-designed nuclear stations.”


EC Welcomes Ensreg Approval Of Documents For First Topical Peer Review
23.02.2017 - NucNet News

The European Commission has welcomed the approval by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (Ensreg) of documents needed to begin topical peer reviews of ageing management at nuclear power stations, the EC said in a statement. Ensreg approved the three documents – terms of reference, technical specifications and a stakeholder engagement plan – earlier this month. In 2014, the EU amended the 2009 nuclear safety directive to incorporate lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan. The revised directive introduced a European system of topical peer reviews, which will be repeated every six years. In July 2015, Ensreg identified ageing management as the topic for the first topical peer review. The peer review process will take place during the first half of 2018 and final reports will be published by the end of 2018, the EC said. Details online: http://bit.ly/2mc518O


IAEA Begins Preparation Of Cleanup Assistance Programmes
20.02.2017 - NucNet News
Experts from eight countries have met in Vienna to begin the preparation of comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assistance programmes to accelerate cleanup projects across the globe, the IAEA said on 16 February 2017. The experts prepared initial materials and planning tools for the development of decommissioning and environmental remediation (D&ER) strategies, the IAEA said. The meeting laid the groundwork for an annual IAEA technical meeting in May. The IAEA said many member states have implemented successful D&ER projects. Several others have initiated them but have faced technical, social and political constraints, which have impeded their progress. The reasons for slow progress often include financial constraints, but also a lack of national policy, inadequate regulatory frameworks and insufficient access to relevant technologies and qualified staff.


Stanford Researchers Develop Improved Technique For Extracting Uranium From Seawater
20.02.2017 - NucNet News
A new way of extracting uranium from seawater could help countries without uranium mines harness nuclear energy, a team from Stanford University in California said. The team has developed a technique that improves the capacity, rate and reusability of materials that harvest uranium from seawater. In the past, researchers at the Oak Ridge national laboratory in the US demonstrated a material that could pull uranium, in the form of uranyl ions, out of the water like a sponge. It did so with the help of plastic fibres coated in a chemical compound called amidoxime, which attracts the ions and holds them to the surface of the fibre. Once the fibre is saturated, the uranyl can be released by chemically treating the plastic, and then refined for use in reactors. Using a similar system, the Stanford researchers created their own conductive fibre made of carbon and amidoxime, which allowed them to send jolts of electricity through the material to attract more uranyl to each strand. The method improved on the previous system in three key areas: the capacity for how much uranyl the fibres can hold, the speed of ion capture, and how many times each strand can be reused. “For much of this century, some fraction of our electricity will need to come from sources that we can turn on and off,” said Steven Chu, co-author of the study. “I believe nuclear power should be part of that mix, and assuring access to uranium is part of the solution to carbon-free energy.” Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan together account for about 70% of the world’s uranium production, but for countries that aren’t rich in uranium, extracting it from the sea could be an alternative. Unfortunately, the concentrations are far too small to be viable, but the Stanford team is working on improving that. “Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a liter of water,” said Yi Cui, co-author of the study. “But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless.” Details online: http://stanford.io/2meo4ih


US Industry Consortium Calls For More Investment In SMR Development
17.02.2017 - NucNet News
Private companies have invested over $1bn (€940m)) in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs), but more investment through public-private partnerships is needed to assure that SMRs are a viable option in the mid-2020s, the US-based SMR Start industry consortium said in a policy statement.The statement said that in addition to accomplishing the public benefit from SMR deployment, the federal government would receive a return on investment through taxes associated with investment, job creation and economic output over the lifetime of the SMR facilities that would otherwise not exist without federal investment. SMR Start urged Congress to authorise sufficient funds for an SMR commercial deployment programme and called for the continuation and expansion of the existing licensing technical support programme to include the design and engineering, regulatory review and approval of SMR technologies and facilities. Long-term power purchase agreements are needed to compensate SMR projects that supply carbon-free and highly reliable electricity to facilities that support “critical national security missions or other federal goals and priorities”, the policy statement said. It also called for continuation of the loan guarantee programme to support financing for the design and construction of SMR facilities and SMR component manufacturing facilities. The policy statement is online: http://bit.ly/2kQM1vG


Life Extension Programme Begins At Ukraine’s Rovno-3, Energoatom Says
17.02.2017 - NucNet News
Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom is carrying out a series of activities at Unit 3 of the Rovno nuclear power station to improve safety and prepare the unit for a possible lifetime extension, a statement said. The statement said the operational licence of Rovno-3 (also known as Rivne-3) will expire in December 2017 and a decision on whether or not to extend it is scheduled for 2018. According to Energoatom, a general state programme for improving safety at Ukraine’s nuclear plants has been approved by the government and is scheduled for completion in 2020. The completion of the programme’s activities is a prerequisite for the life extension of existing nuclear units, Energoatom said. Under the safety improvement programme, 96 activities need to be carried out at Rovno-3, 46 of which have already been completed. Another 37 need to be completed before Rovno-3’s operational licence expires in December 2017, while the remaining 13 will be finalised in stages if the operating extension is confirmed. Energoatom said funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was instrumental in buying equipment for Rovno-3’s refurbishment. Rovno-3 is a 950-MW Soviet-supplied VVER-320 reactor unit. It began commercial operation in May 1987. There are four units in commercial operation at Rovno in western Ukraine.


Government Provides Assurance For Future Of UK’s Fusion Research
15.02.2017 - NucNet News
The UK government has provided assurances on the future of the country’s nuclear fusion research, according to a statement by Jo Johnson, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, published on the website of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Mr Johnson is quoted as saying that R&D at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) is “recognised as world class” and has driven UK leadership in fusion research for years. “The government has no intention of compromising this position following the decision to withdraw from the Euratom Treaty”, Mr Johnson said. The UK government announced its intention to leave Euratom within explanatory notes to the bill authorising Brexit that it published on 26 January 2017. Mr Johnson said leaving Euratom is a result of the decision to leave the European Union as they are “uniquely legally joined”, but the UK “supports Euratom” and values international cooperation in fusion research and the country’s “key role” in it. According to Mr Johnson, maintaining and building on the UK’s fusion expertise and “securing alternative routes” into international fusion research projects, such as the Joint European Torus (JET) project at Culham and Iter [the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor] in France, will remain a priority for the government. ”The government is working closely with the UKAEA management and board on ways to achieve this”, he said. In December 2016, Ian Chapman, head of CCFE, said nothing had changed regarding the future of the Culham research centre since the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the government remained “very positive” about the UK’s fusion programme. Responding to media reports that the Brexit vote leaves CCFE’s future in doubt, Mr Chapman said discussions are continuing with the UK government and options for continued JET operation are “actively being discussed”.


Pime 2017 To Focus On Role Of Nuclear Technology In Society Of Future
14.02.2017 - NucNet News
The Pime (Public Materials Information Exchange) 2017 nuclear communications conference in Middelburg, the Netherlands, will include plenary sessions and workshops on the role of nuclear technology in the society of the future, communication about nuclear waste management and radiation, and stakeholder engagement in nuclear projects. The conference, from 19 to 22 March, will include keynote speeches by Jan Boelen, managing director of the Dutch Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (Covra) and Ad Louter, managing director of Urenco Nederland. There will be a choice of technical tours to Covra and to Urenco’s uranium enrichment and medical isotope production facilities. Pime is organised by the Brussels-based European Nuclear Society. For details and registration see the ENS website: http://bit.ly/2cxIQrU


Kuwait Wants To Study Russia’s Nuclear Power Experience
14.02.2017 - NucNet News
Kuwait wants to study the Russian experience of building nuclear power plants with a view to starting its own civilian nuclear programme, Vladimir Voronkov, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna, said in an interview with state-operated domestic news agency RIA Novosti. Mr Voronkov said Kuwait had asked to look at Russia technology and that “talks are going forward”. Kuwait has no nuclear reactors, but according to the International Atomic Energy Agency has been exploring alternative energy resources, including nuclear and renewables.


Turkish Regulator Approves Design Parameters For Akkuyu Nuclear Plant
14.02.2017 - NucNet News
The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (Taek) has approved the design parameters of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast, Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom said. According to Rosatom, the design parameters were submitted to Taek in the form of a Site Parameters Report (SPR), which is a compulsory requirement before the regulator can begin reviewing the construction licensing application for the new-build project. Rosatom said the initial version of the SPR was sent to Taek in November 2014. A joint review by Taek staff and representatives of project owner Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant JSC (Akkuyu NPP JSC) followed, examining issues related to seismicity, hydro-geology, karst cavities and other natural phenomena, which could potentially occur in the area of the project, Rosatom said. The final version of the SPR consists of over 6,000 pages, covering 13 sections, Rosatom said. In December 2014, a commission of Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation examined and approved the environmental impact assessment report for the Akkuyu project. Russia has signed a contract with Turkey to supply four VVER-1200 units for the planned station. The project company Akkuyu NPP JSC is fully owned by a consortium of Rosatom subsidiaries.


China To Restart Inland Nuclear Power programme ‘Within Next Four Years’
13.02.2017 - NucNet News
China is likely to restart its nuclear power programme in inland areas within the next four years, Wang Yiren, vice-director of the state administration of science, technology and industry for national defence, and vice-chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, said in an interview with China National Radio. Mr Wang said China has already decided where its inland nuclear reactors will be built. Three inland units have already been given approval by the National Development and Reform Commission. They are the Taohuajiang nuclear station in Hunan province, southeast China; the Dafan nuclear station in Hubei province, eastern China; and the Pengze nuclear station in Jiangxi province, southeast China. China halted all its nuclear power construction projects after the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, but began construction work on several projects in eastern coastal areas in 2015. Although the resumption of inland projects has yet to be officially announced, at least 10 provinces have proposed sites, Mr Wang said. Agreement on the construction of inland plants has been problematic because of potential problems related to earthquakes and lack of water resources. China has said these issues can be overcome if the siting process is carried out diligently.


New Materials Could Be Used In Generation IV Molten Salt Reactors, Say Researchers
13.02.2017 - NucNet News
Researchers taking part in a joint Sino-Australian project say a newly developed class of NiMo-SiC alloys has the potential to be used in advanced Generation IV molten salt reactors (MSRs). Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (Sinap) and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) said these novel NiMo-SiC alloys, prepared from nickel molybdenum metal powders with added silicon carbide particles, possess superior mechanical properties owing to the precipitation, dispersion and solid-solution strengthening of the NiMo matrix. The preparation includes mechanical alloying, spark plasma sintering, rapid cooling, high temperature annealing and water quenching. Ansto said MSRs have advantages over conventional nuclear reactors because of inherent safety, fuel cycle capabilities and efficiencies and low operating pressure. Although no commercial MSRs are in operation, there is a molten salt reactor and thorium energy research and development programme at Sinap. Ansto has an international partnership agreement with Sinap. Details of the research are online: http://bit.ly/2l6ULRD


Ministers ‘In Discussions’ Over Support For UK New Nuclear 
13.02.2017 - NucNet News

Ministers at the top of the UK government are involved in discussions over how to support the multibillion pound development of a host of new nuclear power plants, with some senior Treasury (economic and finance ministry) officials hostile to direct state subsidy, according to the Financial Times of London. The newspaper said today that Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, have both taken part in talks over support for new nuclear units at Wylfa in Anglesey, north Wales, and Moorside in Cumbria, according to “people involved in the process”. The government views the projects, each expected to cost more than £10bn (€11.7bn, $12.5bn), as crucial to UK energy security and tackling climate change: the country’s coal-fired power stations are being phased out and existing nuclear plants are reaching the end of their lives. But the Financial Times said any deal would have to overcome opposition from parts of the Treasury, which has for decades resisted the idea of direct government investment in the expensive and risky business of building nuclear reactors. Horizon, owned by Hitachi, is developing plans to build at least 5,400 MW of new nuclear at Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and Engie, has begun site characterisation work for its planned Moorside nuclear station in northwest England, close to the existing Sellafield nuclear complex.


Robot Measures Highest Radiation Levels Yet In Fukushima PCV
10.02.2017 - NucNet News
A robot sent into the Unit 2 primary containment vessel (PCV) at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station has measured radioactivity as high as 650 sieverts per hour (Sv/hr), Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has said. Tepco said the robot had been sent into the PCV on 9 February 2017 to clear a path for a “scorpion” robot to further explore the inside of the PCV. Tepco said “various safety precautions” were taken to ensure that radiation remained inside the PCV and to protect the robot. The robot and its cameras are designed to withstand 100 Sv/hr for 10 hours and the time it spends inside the PCV is being adjusted as necessary. Tepco said on 8 February 2017 that the radiation level in the Unit 2 PCV may have reached as high as 530 Sv/hr, but that reading was only an estimate based on analysis of images from the robot with a margin of error of 30%. Tepco said those images were “intriguing”, but further examination was necessary before it could be verified that they showed fuel debris from the March 2011 accident. That estimate of 530 Sv/hr far exceeded the previous high of 73 Sv/hr recorded at the reactor following the accident. At this level of radioactivity, a person could die from the briefest of exposures. At the time Tepco said it would not be surprised if even higher radiation levels were found there, but only actual measurements would tell. Tepco said there had been no change to radiation readings outside the PCV.


Poland Interested In US Partners For New Nuclear, Says Ministry Trade Delegation

10.02.2017 - NucNet News
Poland is looking to nuclear energy to help diversify its electricity mix and is interested in finding US partners to realise this vision, a trade delegation from Poland’s energy ministry said. “The problem that we must solve soon – in the next 10 years – is the need to grow our capacity of stable energy,” Jozef Sobolewski, director of the Polish ministry of energy’s nuclear energy department, said at a meeting of US and Polish government officials and industry leaders at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s offices in Washington. Mr Sobolewski said that with approximately 90% of Poland’s electricity coming from coal, the country is looking to other energy sources to provide fuel diversity and energy security. He said the country’s power plants are aging with more than 60% of coal plants over 30 years old. Poland has traditionally been a net exporter of electricity but as domestic demand continues to grow, the country could become a net importer unless capacity additions are made. Paul Marin, director for trade, investment, and nuclear energy policy on the White House National Security Council, said Poland should consider nuclear energy as one way to diversify its energy mix. The White House wants to help strengthen emerging relationships between US companies in the nuclear industry and their counterparts in Poland, Mr Marin said. Recent media reports in Poland said the government has postponed a decision on the future of the country’s nuclear new-build programme until mid-2017. Poland’s energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski was reported as saying he would present a new financing model for new nuclear by the end of the first half of 2017.


Industry Has Reached ‘Tipping Point’ In Gaining Washington’s Attention, Says NEI 
10.02.2017 - NucNet News

The nuclear energy industry in the US has reached a “tipping point” in gaining Washington’s attention to keep nuclear power plants from closing, Maria Korsnick, the president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute told Wall Street analysts on 9 February 2017. “We are reaching a tipping point as policymakers have come to appreciate the risk of losing nuclear plants,” Ms Korsnick said. “We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time.” Since 2013, the NEI has been pressing federal officials to address the growing problem of nuclear power plants losing their profitability in the energy markets overseen by the federal government. “However, I believe the tide is turning,” Ms Korsnick said. “The federal government, the regional transmission organisations and the states now recognise the problem, and are moving to reform the competitive markets where the greatest threats exist.” She said the key role the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will play is making sure nuclear plants receive proper compensation for being the backbone of the electrical grid. “First, the FERC is taking actions to support reforms to the capacity markets and the energy markets,” she said. “Accurate price formation in the energy markets is particularly important, because a baseload nuclear plant derives most of its revenue from the energy markets. While we don't think these changes will solve the problem, they will be part of a solution.” The speech is online: http://bit.ly/2lruHBe


Spain’s Regulator Gives Conditional Approval For Restart Of Garoña
10.02.2017 - NucNet News
Spain’s nuclear regulator, Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), has conditionally approved the restart of the single-unit Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power station in Burgos, northern Spain, pending a series of modifications and conditions, CSN said in a statement. CSN’s board voted four to one in favour of allowing the single-unit plant, which has been mothballed since the end of 2012, to restart. This would require the operator Nuclenor, which is jointly owned by Spain’s two largest utilities Iberdrola and Endesa, to carry out a series of additional activities before the energy ministry can approve the restart, CSN said. CSN said some conditions apply to all operators of nuclear power stations in Spain and include administrative procedures regarding documentation and safety plans, and the handling of radioactive waste. However, two further sets of conditions need to be met, the first before any fuel is loaded into the reactor and the second before the reactor is restarted. Further CSN approval is required before these stages, CSN said. Garoña was shut down in December 2012, six months before its operational licence was due to expire. At the time, owner Nuclenor blamed the shutdown on a tax on energy production and spent nuclear fuel that it said would have made the plant’s operation economically unviable. In May 2014, Nuclenor submitted a request to renew the operating licence after a change in national law allowed nuclear power stations that have shut down for reasons not related to safety to restart. Garoña began commercial operation in 1971. CSN updated its operational and safety requirements in 2012 and in 2014 as a result of European Union-mandated post-Fukushima stress tests. Spain has seven commercial nuclear reactors which accounted for 21.38% of the country’s total electricity output in 2016, up from 20.34% in 2015 and more than any other source.


Poland Nuclear Research Centre Signs Agreement To Work With Europe’s JRC
09.02.2017 - NucNet News
Poland’s National Centre for Nuclear Research, or NCBJ, has signed an agreement to collaborate with the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). The NCBJ said its scientists will participate in coordinating EU science and technology policy, in particular in fields such as the development of nuclear technologies for power generation, cyber security and the medical applications of ionising radiation. The JRC is a directorate-general within the European Commission. Scientists employed at its six research centres and its Brussels headquarters carry out research to provide the European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the European Union, and EU member states with independent advice in support of EU science and technology policy.


Nuclear Energy One Of Cheapest Options And Will Continue To Be ‘Part Of Solution’, Says Lloyds Register
09.02.2017 - NucNet News
Nuclear energy is one of the cheapest options for power generation when lifecycle costs are taken into account and will continue be part of the solution to climate change long into the future, a report by Lloyds Register says. The report, ‘Lloyd’s Register Technology Radar – The Nuclear Perspective’, says that in an atmosphere in which governments are committed to lowering their dependence on fossil fuels, nuclear is a key low-carbon option for baseload power generation. Although public acceptance is a major challenge in some countries, nuclear is likely to contribute to the energy mix “for the foreseeable future”. The potential contribution of small modular reactors, or SMRs, is unclear, the report says, although its impact will most likely apply to smaller grids and isolated markets. However, the underlying modularisation technology is expected to have a major impact on the sector. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are now reaching cost parity with their fossil fuel-based alternatives, but intermittency is a challenge that has yet to be solved, the report says. “While oversupply can to some extent be traded through regional grids, baseload power is still needed for when the wind fails to blow or the sun fails to shine.” The report is online: http://bit.ly/2kvix8I


No Nuclear Or Environmental Risk From Flamanville-1 Fire, Says EDF
08.02.2017 - NucNet News
A fire this morning at the Flamanville-1 nuclear power plant in northern France was caused by a short circuit in an electrical fan in the turbogenerator building, but it was brought under control “immediately” and there was no nuclear or environmental risk, EDF said. Press reports of an explosion were incorrect, although there was a significant amount of smoke and several workers in the building suffered from smoke inhalation. The fire, at 09:40 local time, set off alarms. The external fire brigade attended and the plant, a 1,330-MW pressurised water reactor unit, was shut down normally. “It is a significant technical event but it is not a nuclear accident,” Olivier Marmion, a senior local official, told Agence France-Presse. He said five people suffered smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries. Jacques Witkowski, another local official, told Reuters that authorities had ruled out sabotage as a cause of the fire. A mechanical part in the fan had probably overheated, he said. The reason was not yet known. There are two commercially operational nuclear units at Flamanville, about 20 km west of the port of Cherbourg. It is also the site of the Flamanaville-3 EPR unit, which has been under construction since 2007.


Tepco Clarifies Media Reports On Fukushima Unit 2 Radiation Levels08.02.2017 - NucNet News
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said today that the radiation level in the containment vessel of Unit 2 may have reached as high as 530 sieverts per hour (Sv/hr), but this “reading” was only an estimate based on image analysis with a margin of error of 30%. 



IAEA To Carry Out Bushehr Osart Mission In 2018, Says Rosatom
08.02.2017 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency is to carry out its first Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) review of the Bushehr-1 nuclear power plant in Iran in February 2018, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said. Under the Osart programme, international teams of experts conduct in-depth reviews of operational safety performance at a nuclear power plant. They review the factors affecting the management of safety and the performance of personnel. Bushehr-1 is Iran’s only commercial nuclear unit. It is a 915-MW pressurised water reactor, which was supplied by Russia and began commercial operation in September 2013. Iran and Russia signed an agreement to build two new units at Bushehr in November 2014 and Russia said preparatory work had begun in September 2016.


France Interested In Kenya New Build, Reports Say
08.02.2017 - NucNet NewsFrance is looking to offer Kenya “technical, engineering and financial support” to build its first nuclear power reactors, according to press reports. The reports quoted France’s economy and finance minister Michel Sapin as saying France had expressed its readiness to support construction. “Our support involves everything from expertise to funding,” Mr Sapin said following a two-day visit to Kenya. Reports in Kenya in May 2016 said the east African nation had begun a nuclear technology assessment study to determine the right technology to use to build nuclear power station. Kenya has said it wants to have its first nuclear plant in commercial operation by the end of 2027 with construction beginning in 2022. The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board is planning at least four reactors with a total output of around 4,000 MW, the allAfrica website said. China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia have all signed various pacts with Kenya in manpower development and skills exchange as they eye a possible deal. According to Business Daily, Kenya has identified possible sites for nuclear plants including towns bordering Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria in western Kenya.


Finland’s Loviisa Meets All Requirements For Continued Operation, Says Regulator
07.02.2017 - NucNet NewsContinued operation of the two-unit Loviisa nuclear power station in Finland is safe and meets all requirements set by legislation, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has said in a periodic safety assessment published on 6 February 2017.



Russia Ready To Fully Finance Hungary’s Paks 2, Says Putin
03.02.2017 - NucNet News
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said his country is ready to fully finance the planned Paks 2 nuclear power station project in Hungary, according to a statement on the website of the Russian presidency. Mr Putin was yesterday on an official visit to the Hungarian capital Budapest and made the remarks at a joint press conference with Hungary’s prime minister Victor Orban. Mr Putin said the cost of the Paks 2 project is estimated at €12bn ($12.8bn) and Russia is ready to finance 100% of it. However, at the same press conference Mr Orban said he saw no need to renegotiate an existing agreement signed in 2014 that would see Russia supply two VVER-1200 reactors for Paks 2 with a loan of up to €10bn to finance 80% of the project. Since late 2015, progress on the Paks 2 project has stalled because the investment deal came under the scrutiny of the European Commission over possible state aid and procurement infringements. In September 2016, the Commission dropped a procurement case against Hungary over the award of the Paks 2 contract to Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom. EC investigations into state aid over the project’s financing are continuing. In October 2016, a site licence application was submitted with the national regulator, a month after Paks 2 received its environmental permit.


Australia Report Proposes Novel Approach To ‘Re-inventing Used Nuclear Fuel Management’
03.02.2017 - NucNet NewsAustralia could potentially gain about AUD 31bn (€21bn, $23bn) in economic benefits from the development of a hypothetical project that “reinvents used nuclear fuel management” by combining spent nuclear fuel recycling and the commercialisation of advanced nuclear reactor technology, a report by the Australian National University (ANU) found. The report, published in the January 2017 edition of the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the ANU, puts forward a business case for the development of an “integrated solution” that would include the complete recycling of used nuclear fuel and its use in the generation of nuclear electricity. The project would be based on a combination of an above-ground independent spent fuel storage installation, a full-fuel recycling fast neutron nuclear reactor, and “low-cost, high-certainty disposal techniques” for eventual waste streams. The report says this is “a novel approach” to the integrated management of used nuclear fuel and development of advanced nuclear recycling facilities. “Economic analysis demonstrates potential net benefits of tens of billions of dollars for this integrated approach, hypothetically based in South Australia to serve primarily the Asian market,” the report says. “Energy policy implications include potential unshackling of nuclear development in Asia, assisted by the provision of a used fuel service via Australia.” The report says nuclear power is critical for many Asian nations while one of the most “enduring obstacles” to the expansion of nuclear energy has been the uncertainty surrounding the management of used nuclear fuel. It says a large and growing market exists for the management of used nuclear fuel with an urgent need for such services in Asia. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2k2Uq1e


Oak Ridge Lab Verifies Performance Of Transatomic Advanced Reactor
02.02.2017 - NucNet News
The US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has released a technical memorandum independently verifying the performance of an advanced nuclear power reactor being developed by Massachusetts-based Transatomic Power Corporation. Transatomic said scientists at ORNL have verified the viability of reducing nuclear waste production with the company’s technology. The laboratory’s conclusions represent an important milestone for the nascent advanced nuclear industry and help position advanced nuclear technology as a key player in the country’s future energy mix, Transatomic said. Transatomic has designed a nuclear reactor that uses a molten fluoride salt to carry its fuel, meaning it cannot melt down and possesses improved, inherent safety features over current nuclear technology. Additionally, ORNL’s results “conclusively show” that the Transatomic reactor can operate for decades using the commercially available 5% low-enriched uranium supply chain. The company expects to build a demonstration reactor by the mid-2020s.


GE Completes Modernisation Of Fifth Generator At Hungary’s Paks
01.02.2017 - NucNet News
GE has completed the modernisation of the fifth generator as part of a multiyear services agreement for the Paks nuclear power station in Hungary. GE said the generator refurbishment at Hungary’s only nuclear power station is expected to extend the facility’s life and increase reliability. As part of the agreement, which began in 2013 and runs until 2021, GE will service the station’s eight, 250-MW, Ganz-supplied generators in the station’s four nuclear reactor units, Paks units 1-4, plus one spare generator. The generators were commissioned between 1982 and 1987. GE is carrying out most of the work at its generator services facility in Budapest. High-speed balancing of the generators is performed at GE’s services facility in Wroclaw, Poland. The four Paks units, all Russian supplied VVERs, began commercial operation between 1983 and 1987.


Russia And Iran Sign Agreements To Expand Nuclear Cooperation
31.01.2017 - NucNet News

Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran have signed a number of agreements to expand their cooperation in nuclear energy, a statement by Rosatom said. The agreements include plans to expand existing cooperation based on a memorandum signed in 2014 and a contract for pre-design work on the modification of two cascades of gas centrifuges at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, the statement said. Russia has a contract with Iran for the construction of new reactor units at the Bushehr site.

France Faces Challenges Finding Reliable Replacement For Nuclear, Says IEA
31.01.2017 - NucNet News

The lack of alternative low-carbon energy sources that are as reliable as nuclear means France’s “ambitious” plans to reduce its share of nuclear from 78% in 2015 to 50% by 2025 might not be achievable, the International Energy Agency said.


Uncertainty For Nuclear Industry As UK Confirms Plans To Leave Euratom
31.01.2017 - NucNet News

The UK will seek to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), the government confirmed on 26 January 2017 in explanatory notes published with the bill authorising it to trigger Article 50.


Foratom Calls For ‘Transitional Arrangements’ If UK Leaves Euratom
30.01.2017 - NucNet News

If the UK ceases to be part of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), then it is vital that the UK government and its partners in the EU agree transitional arrangements to give time to negotiate and complete new agreements with other EU member states, Foratom, the Brussels-based nuclear industry trade body has said. In a statement issued following the UK’s confirmation last week that it would seek to leave Euratom, the agency responsible for nuclear safety and security, as part of its Brexit deal, Foratom said the UK would also need to negotiate and complete new agreements with countries including the US, Japan and Canada who have nuclear cooperation agreements within the Euratom framework. Foratom said the UK should remain a member of Euratom until these arrangements are put in place. Foratom said it supports the position of its UK member, the Nuclear Industry Association, that the European nuclear industry’s preferred position is to maintain the UK’s membership of Euratom. “The nuclear industry is global, so the ease of movement of nuclear goods, people and services enables new build, decommissioning, R&D and other programmes of work to continue without interruption,” Foratom said. The UK government confirmed it plans to leave Euratom in explanatory notes published on 26 January 2017 with the bill authorising it to trigger Article 50 for Brexit. According to the bill’s notes, Article 50 applies to withdrawal from the EU as well as Euratom. The UK government had not previously said whether or not it intended to sever its ties to Euratom.


Poland ‘Postpones Decision’ On Future Of Nuclear Programme To Mid-2017
30.01.2017 - NucNet News

The Polish government has postponed a decision on the future of the country’s nuclear new-build programme until mid-2017, local media reported. Poland’s energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski was reported as telling a conference on nuclear energy today that he had received a mandate from the government to present a new financing model for the country’s nuclear project by “the end of the first half” of 2017. Mr Tchórzewski told the conference that Poland’s economy “is not indifferent” towards nuclear technology with a number of Polish companies involved in activities related to the nuclear sector. According to the business daily WNP, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, a deputy energy minister, told the conference that the ministry will soon present its concept for Poland’s “target energy mix”, which will take into account nuclear energy. The International Energy Agency said in a report on 25 January 2017 that under the previous Polish government, plans were published to develop and deploy nuclear capacity by the end of 2022. In mid-2015, the government started consultation on a new energy policy up to 2050. During the consultation period a new government was elected, and this new government is revisiting the draft 2050 strategy and intends to publish its plans later this year. The IEA called on Poland’s government to “move expediently” to determine and announce the timeline, constraints and support mechanisms for the country’s first nuclear reactor units. The agency said this would provide long-term certainty for the licensee to proceed with investment decisions, siting characterisation and selection activities, and technology evaluation.


Nuclear Lawyer Warns UK New-Build Projects Will Be Put On Hold
27.01.2017 - NucNet News

If the UK leaves Euratom before new standalone nuclear cooperation treaties are negotiated with France and the US, current new build projects such as Hinkley Point C will be put on hold while those treaties are negotiated, a London-based lawyer specialising in nuclear energy told NucNet. Vince Zabielski, a senior lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, said none of the current new-build projects in the UK are British designs and most are reliant on foreign technology that is accessible only via existing bilateral treaties through Euratom. “To avoid delays, the best path forward for the UK and its nuclear trading partners would be a controlled exit from the European Atomic Energy Community [Euratom] after Brexit. While the exit procedures under Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty parallel those in Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, they are nonetheless independent.” Mr Zabielski said: “As part of the Brexit negotiations, the EU and the UK could agree that the notification procedures of the Euratom Treaty would be triggered, for example, three to five years after the notification under Article 50 is triggered. Such an approach would maintain trade, minimally impact new build, and ensure safety and security standards are continuously maintained, while – over a reasonable period of time – restoring the autonomy that the UK seeks.” Mr Zabielski said whether or not such an approach will be politically feasible “remains an open question.” In explanatory notes published on 26 January 2017 with the bill authorising it to trigger Article 50, the UK government said it will seek to leave Euratom.


Uncertainty For Nuclear Industry As UK Confirms Plans To Leave Euratom
27.01.2017 - NucNet News

The UK will seek to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), the government confirmed on 26 January 2017 in explanatory notes published with the bill authorising it to trigger Article 50. According to the bill’s notes, Article 50 applies to withdrawal from the EU as well as Euratom, the agency responsible for nuclear safety and security. The UK government had not previously said whether or not it intended to sever its ties to Euratom. Some EU lawyers had warned that leaving the EU would automatically trigger a Euratom exit too. However, an article in the US-based National Law Review in July 2017 said Euratom has a separate legal personality from the EU 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. The Financial Times said today that the decision has “wide ranging implications” for the UK’s nuclear industry, research, access to fissile materials and the status of approximately 20 nuclear cooperation agreements that it has with other countries. Dr Paul Dorfman of the Energy Institute at University College London, said: “I know for a fact that the nuclear industry really doesn’t like it. It’s bad news for the industry, bad news for opponents and critics of the industry as well. It’s a lose-lose situation, whereby the industry becomes less competitive and less safe.” Dr Dorfman said the UK has bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements in place that are predicated on Euratom safety regimes — and all of this has taken a lot of time to put in place. “You’re talking about key safeguards and assurances that might have serious implications for UK new-build installations, the nuclear fuel cycle and the UK’s enormous waste and decommissioning liabilities.” The explanatory notes are online: http://bit.ly/2k8Rlgg


Poland Awaits Announcement On Future Of Nuclear New-Build Programme
26.01.2017 - NucNet News

The Polish government could announce its decision on the future of the country’s nuclear new-build programme on Monday (30 January 2017), according to reports in local media. Biznes Alert, an online journal specialising in energy policy, said the decision could be announced at a nuclear energy conference hosted by the Polish energy ministry. The reports followed comments yesterday by energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski in an interview with Polish private radio station RMF FM. He told the station that the nuclear programme had been suspended and “could even be abandoned”. Mr Tchórzewski said the government was instead considering building new coal-fired generating units, which will use indigenous reserves. However, later yesterday the energy ministry sent a statement to the official Polish Press Agency quoting Mr Tchórzewski as saying that activities undertaken by the previous government in preparation for the nuclear programme “are continuing”, but could also be used to build “any type of power unit”.


Poland Should Speed Up Planning For First Nuclear Plant, Says IEA
25.01.2017 - NucNet News

Poland’s government should “move expediently” to determine and announce the timeline, constraints and support mechanisms for the country’s first nuclear reactor units, an International Energy Agency (IEA) report says. The report, released on 25 January 2017, says this would provide long-term certainty for the licensee to proceed with investment decisions, siting characterisation and selection activities, and technology evaluation. The report also says Poland should find technically qualified personnel such as nuclear, mechanical and electrical engineers and technicians with nuclear power operation or regulatory experience. Poland does not have any nuclear generating capacity, but according to the IEA nuclear plays a prominent role in Poland’s energy security and clean energy planning. Under the previous government, plans were published to develop and deploy nuclear capacity by the end of 2022. In mid-2015, the government started consultation on a new energy policy up to 2050. During the consultation period a new government was elected, and this new government is revisiting the draft 2050 strategy and intends to publish its “strategic vision” later this year. The IEA said it is anticipated that the new energy strategy will be consistent with the previous policy in its strong support for nuclear generating capacity, including existing activities to establish nuclear generating capacity. The IEA said the projected timeline for bringing the first reactor online has continued to slip from the 2022 date first laid out, but Poland has nonetheless made significant progress since that original projection. Considering the progress to date and the tasks still ahead, operation of the first unit by 2030 now appears more realistic. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2k2T2MD


New Security Rules To Enter Into Force At Sweden’s Nuclear Stations
24.01.2017 - NucNet News

New licence conditions for Sweden’s nuclear power stations will enter into force on 4 February 2017. The conditions mandate the use of armed security guards at nuclear stations and say perimeters should be guarded and controlled 24/7 with the help of guard dogs. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said the new licence conditions improve the physical protection regime for nuclear stations. “The need for broader conditions has evolved over time due to aspects such as the changed state of international security,” SSM said. Stefan Appelgren, acting head of the section for nuclear non-proliferation and security at SSM, said nuclear stations have taken “certain measures” on their own to raise the level of security. He said the new conditions are an additional element designed to raise the level of safety and security.


UK Government Warns Of ‘Acute And Urgent’ Skills Shortages in Nuclear
24.01.2017 - NucNet News

There are acute and urgent skills shortages in key industrial sectors in the UK including the nuclear industry and a better system needs to be identified and fix emerging gaps, a government green paper, or preliminary report, says. The green paper on post-Brexit industrial strategy, published on 23 January 2017, says even if shortfalls in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) skills and technical education are addressed, shortages in the nuclear industry might remain. The government plans to set an “open door” challenge to industry to come to the government with proposals to transform and upgrade their sector through “sector deals”. These deals would be an open call to business to organise behind strong leadership to address shared challenges and opportunities. The green paper says Lord Hutton, a former defence secretary who is co-chair of the Nuclear Industry Council and chairman of the London-based Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), will oversee work to improve UK competitiveness and skills in nuclear. The NIA said in a statement that with plans in place for a new nuclear power programme, there is considerable opportunity for the supply chain across the UK. The UK is also at the forefront of the development of the next generation of nuclear – small modular reactors (SMRs). The statement said: “The NIA believes development of SMR technology could be an important part of ensuring the UK’s nuclear industry realises its full economic and industrial potential.” The green paper is online: http://bit.ly/2iVhRKG


Government Officials Have Met 32 Eligible Participants For UK SMR Competition
24.01.2017 - NucNet News

UK government officials met over the summer with 32 eligible participants for phase one of the government’s small modular reactor (SMR) competition, which aims to gauge market interest in developing, commercialising and financing SMRs in the UK. The government said in responses to questions raised by parliament’s energy and climate change committee in an October 2016 report that the eligible participants included technology vendors, service providers and potential investors. The government said it is important to establish the commercial viability of SMRs. To gain a better understanding of this and other key aspects of SMR technologies, the government is drawing on the outcome of the phase one meetings, the expressions of interest documents submitted by applicants, the findings of a techno-economic assessment and its “continuing discussions with regulators”. The government said: “It is only through a robust evidence base that the potential benefits of SMRs can be accurately evaluated, and it is this evidence that is now shaping the government’s considerations for the future of the competition.” Details online: http://bit.ly/2j0avWi


New Development Strategy Excludes Poland’s New Nuclear Plans, Reports Say
20.01.2017 - NucNet News

Poland’s programme to build its first nuclear power station has reportedly not been included in a strategy document approved last week by the standing committee to the council of ministers, according to local media. The Polish Responsible Development Strategy mentions an “interest” in the development of “nuclear technology and nuclear physics”, but excludes “a clear record” on the design and construction of a nuclear power station, Henryk Kowalczyk, chairman of the standing committee, was quoted as saying by the business daily WNP. Mr Kowalczyk said the nuclear new build programme was a “point of contention” between various departments within the government. He said the latest version of the strategy represents a compromise and is expected to be formally adopted by the Polish cabinet this week. According to earlier reports, Poland intended to build four or five nuclear units with combined output of about 6,000 MW by the mid-2030s. A recent poll has shown that 61% of Poles support the country’s plans to build a nuclear power station, while 68% see it as a way to boost Poland’s energy security and combat climate change.


Public Involvement As Important As Science And Engineering For Nuclear, Says OECD Chief
20.01.2017 - NucNet News

The quality of public involvement in the decision-making process for new nuclear power plants may be as important as the quality of the scientific analysis or the engineering work needed to implement the decision, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development secretary-general Angel Gurría told a Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) workshop on stakeholder involvement in nuclear decision making. Mr Gurría said that taking the shorter route and bypassing serious public engagement risks reaching decisions that will not stand the test of time as stakeholders continue to question the decision after it has been made. “In the end, this path would cost much more, take much longer and also damage the credibility of decision makers in the process,” he said. William Magwood, NEA director-general, told the workshop that for decisions concerning nuclear energy that employ large tracts of land, use significant quantities of resources, and sometimes generate public questions about safety, achieving a durable public consensus has become “an absolute requirement”.


France’s ASN To Review Control Procedures Following Le Creusot Anomalies
20.01.2017 - NucNet News

French nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) will review its control procedures following the discovery of falsifications in manufacturing documentation at nuclear group Areva, ASN president Pierre-Franck Chevet said on 18 January 2017. “We will have the first proposals on how to review our procedures by the end of the first half,” Mr Chevet told journalists. The issue of falsifications in manufacturing documentation first came to light in 2015 when ASN confirmed an anomaly in the composition of steel in some areas of the lid and the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel at the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France. Checks at Areva’s Le Creusot forge in France showed 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 discovery led ASN to ask Areva and nuclear operator EDF to check other EDF reactor components for similar anomalies. Mr Chevet said some of the anomalies in record-keeping discovered at Le Creusot were “minor differences” while other might amount to forgery.


Australia Businessmen Lobby Authorities To Reconsider Nuclear
18.01.2017 - NucNet News

Australian businessmen plan to lobby federal and state governments to reconsider their opposition to nuclear energy in light of the South Australian power crisis and as households and businesses battle rising electricity costs, The Australian reported. Almost a decade ago former Fairfax Media chairman Ron Walker and former Western Mining boss Hugh Morgan established a company called Australian Nuclear Energy, which examined the viability of building a nuclear power plant near Portland in western Victoria. Mr Walker said the issue should be returned to the national agenda, given the debate over the availability and cost of electricity. “There is an opportunity to build a plant in Australia to offset the costs that South Australia is dealing with and what the other states will have deal with,’’ Mr Walker said. “We will talk to various governments throughout Australia to see what level of interest there is.’’ Mr Walker, a former federal Liberal Party treasurer, said the world was “awash with capital’’ so financing a private sector-driven nuclear project would “not be a problem”. Former prime minister Bob Hawke said three weeks ago that nuclear power could be the “salvation” for a planet ravaged by global warming and Australia could be the safest place geologically to store the world’s nuclear waste. There is a federal ban on nuclear power generation in Australia, but last year a royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle urged state and federal governments to adopt nuclear power generation.


Taiwan Confirms Plans To Shut Nuclear Stations By 2025
18.01.2017 - NucNet News
Taiwan will shut down all of the island’s nuclear power plants and liberalise the domestic market by 2025, local media reported. Lawmakers approved amendments to the Electricity Act, which had not been reviewed in five decades, on 11 January 2017. The amendments stipulate that state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) must be privatised and a holding company set up to separate its business operations into independent electricity generation, distribution and sale business units within six to nine years. The amendments also give renewable energy priority on the grid and allow its direct sale from generators to users. Small renewable generators will be exempted from preparing operating reserves. Taiwan has six commercially operational nuclear power reactors at three sites – Chinshan, Kuosheng and Maanshan – providing about 14% of its electricity output. Plans to build a fourth unit at Lungmen were suspended following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan.


UK And Japan Explore Potential For Long-Term Collaboration

17.01.2017 - NucNet News

One hundred companies – 30 of them from the UK – are taking part in a forum that opened today in Tokyo, Japan, to explore the potential for long-term collaboration and partnerships across the nuclear industry, the London-based Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said. The UK and Japanese civil nuclear industries have worked closely together over many years on a range of civil nuclear activities, including decommissioning, research and development and new nuclear build, the NIA said. This is the first time the forum has met, and it will look at how companies can develop relationships, share knowledge and best practice to deliver projects in the UK, Japan and the rest of the world, and to build on the “hundreds of millions of pounds of activity already conducted between the UK and Japan”. The forum, taking place in Tokyo on 17-18 January, is jointly organised by the NIA, the Japan Atomic Industry Forum, the UK’s Department for International Trade and the British Embassy.


IAEA Begins Mission To Evaluate Ghana’s Nuclear Infrastructure

17.01.2017 - NucNet News

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has begun an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in Ghana to evaluate infrastructure for the introduction of nuclear power, a statement by the IAEA said. The mission will take eight days and will focus on issues including legal and regulatory frameworks, nuclear safety and security, radioactive waste management, human resource development, stakeholder involvement, and the capacity of the electrical grid, the statement said. According to the IAEA, the evaluation of its infrastructure will help Ghana make a “knowledgeable decision” about a possible nuclear power programme. INIR missions are designed to help countries planning the introduction of nuclear power. In June 2015, Russia announced it had signed an intergovernmental agreement with Ghana to cooperate on the development of nuclear energy, paving the way for the potential construction of a nuclear power station in the African country.


France Faces Challenges Finding Reliable Replacement For Nuclear, Says IEA

17.01.2017 - NucNet News

The lack of alternative low-carbon energy sources that are as reliable as nuclear means France’s “ambitious” plans to reduce its share of nuclear from 78% in 2015 to 50% by 2025 might not be achievable, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today. The Paris-based agency said France – which has the world’s highest share of nuclear in its electricity mix – must assess possible changes in energy demand and supply and to guarantee “continuous security of electricity supply” as it pushes ahead with its plans for an “energy transition” up to 2050. “The implementation of the 50% target remains challenging given the large role that nuclear electricity plays in the French mix and the average age of the fleet, the IEA said. As the cornerstone of the transition, the role of renewable energy in the power mix is to be increased to 40% by 2030, from its current share of 16.5%, and France aims to accelerate energy savings and reduce the share of nuclear in the mix. However, according to the IEA the success of the transition will depend on the mobilisation of “significant investment” for the increase of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the closure or long-term operation of the nuclear fleet. The long-term visibility of financing remains “a challenge”. Full story for NucNet subscribers: http://bit.ly/2jrScZ


Russia Confirms End Of Khmelnitski Construction Agreement With Ukraine

16.01.2017 - NucNet News

Russia has confirmed the cancellation of an agreement with Ukraine for the completion of two reactor units at the Khmelnitski nuclear power station near the western Ukrainian city of Neteshin, according to a statement in the legal journal of the Russian government. The statement, which was published on 13 January 2017, said the agreement was terminated on 12 May 2016. In September 2015, Ukraine’s parliament approved a bill cancelling the agreement, alleging that Russia had not honoured certain terms and conditions. The agreement was signed in June 2010 by the administration of then-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich and was ratified in 2011. Under the agreement, Russia was to secure the financing to develop, construct, and put into operation two new VVER-1000/392 reactor units, Khmelnitski-3 and -4. In February 2011, Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, signed a contract with Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom for the development of the technical design for the two units. Construction of Khmelnitski-3 originally began in September 1985 and construction of Khmelnitski-4 in June 1986. Work on the units stopped in 1990 when they were 75% and 28% complete respectively following a decision by the government to halt construction because of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The Ukrainian government announced in September 2008 that construction would resume in 2010 for completion in 2016 and 2017. In August 2016, it was reported that Energoatom and South Korea’s nuclear operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power had signed an agreement for the completion of Khmelnitski-3 and -4. Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):


Russia Has Resumed Preparations For Turkey Nuclear Plant Construction, Says Rosatom

16.01.2017 - NucNet News

Russia has resumed preparations for construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast, Alexei Likhachev, director-general of state nuclear corporation Rosatom said. In an interview with the state-owned Russia 24 news channel, Mr Likhachev said commercial operation of Akkuyu-1 is scheduled for 2023. He said relations between Russia and Turkey had been “seriously complicated” in November 2015 when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane over Syria. In June 2016 Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the Russian government a letter of apology for the incident and in July 2016 spoke by telephone with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who approved the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Turkey, Mr Likhachev said. Russia has signed a contract to supply four VVER-1200 units for the facility. Turkey does not have any commercial nuclear reactors, but has confirmed it is planning to build two stations – Akkuyu and Sinop – with four units each. Mr Erdogan has been quoted in local media as saying he wants to see a third nuclear station. Turkey has signed an agreement with Japan for the construction the second station, Sinop. According to a recent International Energy Agency report preparations are advanced at Akkuyu and construction will begin this year, although Turkey has not confirmed this. 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.


France’s Regulator Gives Final Approval For Restart Of Nine Reactors Following Safety Checks

13.01.2017 - NucNet News

France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has approved the restart of nine nuclear reactors in France that have been offline while the safety case for the units has been under review. ASN said in a statement on 12 January 2017 that it had reviewed information provided by nuclear operator EDF concerning the reactors, whose lower heads on the primary side of steam generators were manufactured by Japan Casting and Forging Corporation (JCFC). Twelve units have been affected by the issue – 10 are 950 MW units and two are 1,495 MW. The nine that can now be restarted are all 900 MW units. They are: Bugey-4, Dampierre-3, Fessenheim-1, Gravelines-2 and -4, Saint-Laurent B1, and Tricastin-1, -3 and -4. ASN has delayed the restart of Tricastin-2, also 900 MW, because of possible electricity network safety risks associated with cold weather forecast for next week. ASN is still examining the safety case provided by EDF for the other units, the 1,495 MW Civaux-1 and -2. The issue first came to attention in April 2015 when ASN confirmed an anomaly in the composition of steel in some areas of the lid and the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel at the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France. ASN said this could affect the mechanical properties of the steel and jeopardise the safety of reactors. The discovery led ASN to ask reactor manufacturer Areva and operator EDF to check other EDF reactor components for similar anomalies. EDF subsequently identified similar anomalies on the lower, primary side cap of a number of steam generators, including those at the nine reactors that have now been cleared for restart. Areva discovered separately that steel from its Le Creusot forge facility in France and JCFC might have had carbon concentrations that could lead to anomalies similar to the one at Flamanville-3.


Public Supports Poland’s Nuclear Programme, Poll Shows

11.01.2017 - NucNet News
An opinion poll has shown that 61% of Poles support the country’s plans to build a nuclear power station, while 68% see it as a way to boost Poland’s energy security and combat climate change, a statement on the Polish energy ministry website said on 10 January 2017. According to the ministry, public support for the Polish nuclear project was at 51% in 2015 when the last public survey was carried out. The latest poll found that about one third of those who support the new build plans are “strongly in favour”, while among opponents, 16% are “strongly against”. The ministry said about 48% of respondents would agree to have a nuclear power station near their residential area. Nearly 80% said the construction of a nuclear station should include the active participation of the state, while 79% said they would approve financial support for the project from the government. 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.


Japan Emissions Have Increased Following Nuclear Shutdown, Says Report

11.01.2017 - NucNet News
Japan’s energy-derived CO2 emissions increased for four consecutive years, reaching 1,235 megatonnes in the 2013 fiscal year, partly because of the closure of all the country’s nuclear power reactors following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ) said. With the use of more renewables and the restart of nuclear plants, as well as a fall in demand, energy-derived CO2 emissions fell to 1,190 megatonnes in FY14 and 1,148 megatonnes in FY15. In the latest IEEJ outlook, further reductions are expected, to 1,137 megatonnes in FY16 and 1,105 megatonnes in FY17, which will bring Japan closer to achieving 927 megatonnes of CO2 emissions – 26% less than the FY13 level – the target it had presented internationally for FY30. The IEEJ said five Japanese reactors have been restarted since new regulatory standards were brought in after Fukushima-Daiichi. If a cumulative total of 14 reactors are restarted by the end of FY17, as assumed in a reference scenario, the total generated electricity from nuclear will be 62.9 TWh, down from around 288 TWh in 2010, before Fukushima-Daiichi.


Spain’s Nuclear Reactors Lead Electricity Generation With More Than 21%

03.01.2017 - NucNet News

Nuclear generation accounted for 21.38% of Spain's total electricity output in 2016, up from 20.34% in 2015 and more than any other source, according to the nuclear industry group Foronuclear, quoting statistics from grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE). Wind accounted for 18.19% of total electricity output and hydro for 14.92%. Foronuclear said net electrical output from Spain’s seven commercial nuclear reactors increased 2.4% in 2016, compared with 2015, to 56.095 TWh. The country’s reactors have a combined generating capacity of 7,865 MW, representing 7.45% of the country's total installed capacity. Foronuclear said the Spanish nuclear park operates on average for 86.31% of the total hours in a year.


Hungary’s Paks-3 Gets Lifetime Extension Licence 

03.01.2017 - NucNet News
Hungary’s Paks-3 nuclear reactor unit has received an extension of its operating licence for 20 years until 31 December 2036, the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) said. A licence extension application for Paks-3 was submitted by the operator MVM Paksi Atomerőmű (MVM Paks NPP) in December 2015. HAEA said there are no major conditions for the lifetime extension, but MVM must improve monitoring of the unit's spent fuel pool, including the state of the concrete structure, water levels and cooling pipes. There are four Soviet-designed VVER-440 units in commercial operation at Paks, in central Hungary. They began commercial operation between 1983 and 1987 and according to the International Atomic Energy Agency generated 52% of Hungary’s electricity in 2015. Paks-1 and Paks-2 have already received 20-year life extensions and will be in operation until 2032 and 2034 respectively. In December 2016, MVM Paks NPP submitted an application to HAEA for a 20-year lifetime extension for Paks-4 until 31 December 2037.

Comments