News 2017




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Canada To Focus On Fewer Areas For Nuclear Waste Repository
08.12.2017 - NucNet News

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO) will focus efforts on fewer areas in the site selection process for a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel. The NWMO said on 7 December 2017 that the area around Blind River and Elliot Lake in Ontario will no longer be considered to host the project. Technical studies and engagement with people in the area identified a number of factors that would pose challenges in siting a repository, the NWMO said. These include complexities associated with the geology, limited access and rugged terrain, and low potential to develop the breadth of partnerships needed to implement the project. Studies are continuing in the vicinity of five communities from the original 22 that expressed an interest in hosting a repository. The five are Ignace, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, South Bruce and Huron-Kinloss, all in Ontario. The site selection process began in 2010. The NWMO expects to choose a preferred site by about 2023.


UK Study: FOAK Cost Of SMRs Higher Than Large Nuclear, But Lower Than Offshore Wind 
08.12.2017 - NucNet News

The estimated first-of-a-kind (FOAK) cost of electricity from a generic small modular reactor (SMR) deployed in the UK after 2030 is 30% higher than the government’s estimate for large nuclear commissioning, but 7% lower than offshore wind and between 16% lower and 3% higher than combined cycle gas turbines, according to a government study. For integral pressurised water reactor SMRs, overnight capital costs are higher than for large nuclear due to a premium on FOAK costs and reduced economies of scale. For other SMR designs, cost estimates are not sufficiently developed to make valid comparisons. The study, by the consultancy Atkins for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said there was “a great deal of uncertainty with regards to the economics” of SMRs. However, the authors said such reactors should be able to cut costs more quickly than large ones because they could be built and put into service in less time. The degree of cost reduction for SMRs is sensitive to a number of assumptions, said the study, including the rate of UK deployment, a change in regulatory approach to consistently commission a single design over time, and the development of a global market for SMRs, of which the UK design achieves a 10% share. SMRs have the potential to create broader economic advantages to the UK, the study said. Between 2017 and 2040, the estimated net impact – accounting for direct, supply chain and consumer spending – could be around £1.7bn (€1.9bn, $2.2bn) including £0.6bn in taxes and average employment of 800 jobs a year. The study is online: http://bit.ly/2BWpmXR


UK Unveils ‘Significant Support’ For Next Generation Nuclear
07.12.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government today announced significant support to help the UK become a world-leader in developing the next generation of nuclear technologies. The government said funding of up to £56m (€63m, $74m) is available over the next three years to help support research and development into innovative advanced and small modular reactors, and to assess their feasibility and accelerate the development of promising designs. The government will also support regulators in building the capability and capacity needed to assess and licence small reactor designs. It will establish an expert finance group to advise how small reactor projects could raise private investment. In addition, the government plans to launch the second phase of its Nuclear Innovation Programme, including up to £8m for work on modern safety and security methods and studies in advanced fuels. Business secretary Greg Clark said the UK’s civil nuclear sector contributed £6.4bn to the UK economy last year. “Today’s announcements recognise the importance of industry driving innovation, supported by government, so the sector continues to compete at the very highest level, not just in the UK but globally.” A series of announcements today follows the recent launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy white paper. A statement said the nuclear industry, with government backing, will focus on bringing on line future technologies, cost reductions in new build and decommissioning, and creating a nuclear workforce.


IAEA Praises Improvements To Nuclear Regulation In Belgium
05.12.2017 - NucNet News

Belgium has made significant improvements to its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety since 2013 by clarifying the regulatory body’s roles and responsibilities and strengthening its independence, an International Atomic Energy Agency team said. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a nine-day follow-up mission on 5 December 2017 to review Belgium’s implementation of recommendations and suggestions made by a 2013 mission. The team said the regulatory body – the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) – had addressed most of the recommendations and suggestions made by the 2013 mission. The team also said FANC and its technical support arm Bel V should remain focused on tackling outstanding issues such as completing a programme of work related to its management system. Belgium has seven operating nuclear power reactors at two sites, Doel and Tihange, providing just over half of the country’s electricity. It has other nuclear installations including research reactors, a radioactive waste treatment facility and an isotope production facility. It also uses radioactive sources for medical and industrial applications, the IAEA said. By law, nuclear power will start to be phased out in 2022. Details online: http://bit.ly/2AtmUcX


WANO To Increase Focus On New Nuclear As Industry’s Centre Of Gravity Shifts Towards Asia
05.12.2017 - NucNet News
The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) intends to focus more on new nuclear units coming into operation around the world as the “centre of gravity” in the industry shifts from the US and Europe to the Middle East and Asia.


Union Says South Africa Cannot Afford New Nuclear
04.12.2017 - NucNet News

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) says South Africa cannot afford nuclear electricity and should focus on achieving economic and political stability. The union, the largest politically non-aligned union in the country, said in a statement that fragile economic growth has seriously affected public finances. The union said in a separate statement that it was concerned about nuclear operator Eskom’s financial state and that the “cash-strapped” state utility might need to increase rates or lay-off workers on a large scale to stay afloat. 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. Last week, South Africa’s energy minister David Mahlobo and Eskom gave their undertaking to the Western Cape High Court that no nuclear power will be procured without lawful due process being followed. Mr Mahlobo and Eskom have committed – in affidavits to the court – to get the agreement of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and to hold a public consultation before making a commitment to new build. This follows a hearing brought about by anti-nuclear groups Earthlife Africa and the Southern Africa Faith Communities Environment, who went to court on 29 November 2017 saying that recent comments by Mr Mahlobo led them to believe he was rushing through a nuclear deal. In an earlier hearing in April, the court ruled in their favour, saying 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. After that verdict, then energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government would go ahead with the signing of five new intergovernmental agreements with potential international partners.


IAEA Praises Safety At Poland’s Maria Research Reactor, But Says Work Remains
04.12.2017 - NucNet News

The operator of Poland’s only research reactor has improved safety since a previous review three years ago, but work remains to address recommendations related to organisational and technical aspects, an International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts said. The Integrated Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) team concluded a four-day follow-up mission to review the implementation of recommendations made during a 2014 mission to assess the safety of the Maria research reactor, 30km south of the capital Warsaw in Świerk-Otwock. The 30 MW-reactor is operated by the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) and was initially commissioned in 1974. It was converted to use low-enriched uranium as fuel in 2014 and received a new licence in 2015. The reactor is used for research, the production of medical and industrial isotopes, and irradiation services and experiments. “The operator has made several safety improvements since the 2014 mission,” said team leader William Kennedy of the Research Reactor Safety Section at the IAEA. “However, the NCBJ has not finished implementing the new integrated management system and efforts are ongoing to upgrade reactor safety systems.” Details online: http://bit.ly/2jbtPy0


France Postpones Plans To Reduce Nuclear Share After Warning Of Shortages
04.12.2017 - NucNet News
The French government postponed a target to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix after grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to lower carbon emissions.


UK Government Should Invest In Nuclear Projects And Develop Local Supply Chains, Says Report
04.12.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government should consider taking a “significant equity stake” in future nuclear new-build projects in the country, said a report by the independent Industrial Strategy Commission (ISC), a joint initiative by the University of Manchester and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.


Poland To Submit Nuclear Programme Proposal To Cabinet By End Of 2017, Says Official
04.12.2017 - NucNet News

The Polish energy ministry will submit its proposed nuclear new-build programme to the country’s council of ministers by the end of 2017, local media quoted deputy energy minister Andrzej Piotrowski as saying.


NEI Court Submission Says New York Credit Programme Is Commitment To Clean Energy
01.12.2017 - NucNet News

New York state’s zero-emissions credit programme is a logical extension of similar renewable energy credit programmes and a commitment to clean energy because it targets nuclear power, the largest source of clean energy in the state and country, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute told a federal appeals court. The nuclear industry group said in a submission to the court that the New York zero-emissions credit programme, like state renewable energy credit programmes, is targeted towards technologies not being adequately compensated for their environmental attributes, which is what the zero-emissions credit programme intends to cure. Late last year, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a clean energy standard, which includes a zero-emission credit provision to enable the state to meet ambitious environmental goals in its energy plan. The precedent-setting initiative embraces all clean energy sources – renewable and nuclear – to meet New York’s energy plan goal of a40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. The New York PSC’s approval was challenged by fossil fuel generators but upheld by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The NEI’s submission to the federal appeals court opposes an appeal of that decision, and is in support of the operators of the four nuclear stations – Fitzpatrick, Ginna, Indian Point and Nine Mile Point – to which the zero-emissions credit programme applies. The NEI said the six reactors at the four New York stations generate about 31% of the state’s electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. Details online: http://bit.ly/2zUaJXA


UK Study Highlights Economic Contribution Of Nuclear
01.12.2017 - NucNet News

The UK’s civil nuclear sector contributed £6.4bn (€7.2bn, $8.6bn) to the UK economy last year and its 65,000 employees are part of one of the most productive workforces in the country, a study has concluded. The study, compiled by Oxford Economics and commissioned by the London-based Nuclear Industry Association, shows this economic impact increases to £12.4bn and 155,000 jobs when the sector’s spend on associated goods and services in the supply chain and the wage spend by employees is taken into account. Each nuclear sector employee contributes an average of £96,600 in gross value added (GVA) to the economy, 73% higher than the UK average, reflecting the highly-skilled nature of the workforce and the use of advanced technologies, the study says. This direct impact, while accounting for 0.3% of UK GDP, also generates substantial sums in taxes, with the report estimating the sector paid around £2.8bn in tax payments in 2016, rising to £4.5bn when associated spend is included. The north west of England, home to Sellafield, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Heysham nuclear station, and Urenco and Westinghouse fuel plants, sees the largest regional impact. Some £4.3bn in GVA was contributed by the sector across this region in 2016 – the equivalent to 2.7% of all regional output.


Lithuania Regulator Issues Licence For Ignalina Repository Construction
28.11.2017 - NucNet News

Lithuania’s nuclear regulator Vatesi has issued a licence for the construction and operation of a repository for low- and intermediate-level short-lived radioactive waste near the existing Ignalina nuclear power station. Vatesi said on 28 November 2017 that the licence allows the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) company to begin construction of the repository, known as B-25, using approved technical designs and a preliminary safety analysis report. INPP applied for the licence in May 2015. INPP will use the repository for waste generated by the decommissioning of Ignalina’s two Soviet-era RBMK units, which were shut down permanently in line with requirements for Lithuania’s membership of the EU. Ignalina-1 was shut down in December 2004 and Ignalina-2 in December 2009. In January 2016, INPP said 23.4% of the total amount of equipment at the station had been dismantled. Waste will be stored in the repository until decommissioning is finished in 2038. At that point it will be treated and disposed of, Vatesi said. The decommissioning is financed by an international donor fund managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). As of September 2016, the fund had received more than €750m ($892m). The EBRD said that according to findings of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association, the main risk of accident at Ignalina was associated with generic design flaws of the RBMK reactors and the absence of a confinement. This deficiency could not technically be eliminated nor could the plant be brought up to a safety level comparable to that of western European reactors. The Ignalina units are similar to those at Chernobyl.


Scientists May Have been Wrong About Chernobyl Explosions, Says Study
28.11.2017 - NucNet News
Scientists might have been wrong about the kind of explosions at the Chernobyl nuclear power station during the world’s worst nuclear disaster, a new study claims. Rather than being triggered by what is commonly believed to have been a steam explosion, a paper published in the journal Nuclear Technology suggests the first blast at Unit 4 in the early hours of 26 April 1986 was in fact a nuclear one.


IAEA Praises Greece’s Progress On Nuclear Regulation
24.11.2017 - NucNet News

Greece has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety since 2012, but the government should amend legislation to ensure facilities do not continue operations until licences have been fully renewed, an International Atomic Energy Agency Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team said on 24 November 2017. The IRRS team said Greece has been responsive to the findings of a 2012 review to improve its national framework for safety and the protection of public health against radiation. The Greek Atomic Energy Commission implemented almost all the recommendations and suggestions from the previous review, the experts said. IRRS team leader Tom Ryan, programme manager at Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency, said an important package of legislative provisions has been enacted, bringing the Greek radiation safety regulations into line with international standards. The IAEA said Greece makes extensive use of radiation sources in medical and industrial applications, as well as in science and research. The country has one nuclear facility, a research reactor in extended shutdown mode at the National Centre for Scientific Research on the outskirts of Athens. Using IAEA safety standards and international best practices, IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of national nuclear regulatory infrastructure.


Russia And France Sign Agreement On Development Of Radioactive Waste Disposal Solutions
 

23.11.2017 - NucNet News

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and France’s national agency for waste management Andra have signed an agreement to cooperate on the development and implementation of radioactive waste management and disposal systems. Rosatom said on 23 November 2017 that Andra and Russia’s national operator for radioactive waste management, No Rao, will initially carry out “expert examinations” of technical solutions for the final disposal of radioactive waste. The agreement also includes plans for technical visits and the exchange of research and technical information. Rosatom said No Rao’s main task is the establishment and operation of a final repository for radioactive waste in Russia. Andra is developing the Cigéo deep geologic repository project in northeastern France.


Russia Confirms Ru-106 In Atmosphere, But Source Of Contamination Remains Unknown
21.11.2017 - NucNet News

Russia’s meteorological service has confirmed “extremely high” concentrations of the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 (Ru-106) were found in several parts of the country in late September, confirming recent European reports about the contamination.


Reviving Bulgaria’s Belene Project Could Be Economically Viable, Says Academy Report
17.11.2017 - NucNet News

Reviving Bulgaria’s stalled two-unit Belene project could be economically viable given that its overall investment cost would be under €10.5bn ($12.4bn), the price of capital under 4.5% and the ratio of private to public participation higher than 70% to 30%, a report by the state-funded Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) said. The report was commissioned in December 2016 by Bulgaria’s energy ministry as analysis of the need for new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria. BAS said it had examined a number of scenarios related to future macroeconomic development and electricity market forecasts until 2040 in the Balkan region to assess the potential for generation capacity shortfalls and electricity exports. The report found that under most scenarios the region – not including Bulgaria – would need at least 1,500 MW of new generation capacity after 2030, while Bulgaria on its own could need new dispatchable generation of up to 1,650 MW and baseload capacity of between 420 MW and 1,670 MW. BAS said the reason for the foreseen shortage is the expected retirement of Bulgaria’s coal-fired power stations after 2030-2035. The report keeps open the possibility of a 2,000-MW nuclear power station in the domestic and regional energy system after 2035. BAS, however, said that long-term market forecasts carry substantial risks and Bulgaria should share these risks by attracting a strategic investor for the project. BAS said the participation of the Bulgarian state improves the project’s viability. In 2008, Bulgaria ordered the design, construction and commissioning of two Russian VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units for Belene. The project was cancelled in 2012 because of concerns over its economic viability and financing.


Slovenia’s Emergency Plans ‘Generally Well-Developed’, Says IAEA Review
16.11.2017 - NucNet News

Slovenia’s arrangements for a nuclear or radiological emergency are generally well developed, but a monitoring strategy should be put in place to ensure that resources are coordinated, an International Atomic Energy Agency Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) has concluded. The review team said Slovenia should strengthen coordination to ensure all response organisations are integrated into the planning process. The team urged Slovenia to form a comprehensive protection strategy for all nuclear and radiological hazards in the country and to hold frequent drills and exercises to test arrangements for radiological emergencies. The team said Slovenia’s government intends to adopt an action plan to address the findings and to host a follow-up EPREV mission in three years. According to the review, there is good coordination between Slovenia’s nuclear power plant operator, local officials and national officials. Slovenia has developed specialised tools and communications software for sharing technical data during an emergency and there is “sustained commitment” to emergency preparedness. Slovenia’s only commercial nuclear facility is the Krsko 688-MW Westinghouse pressurised water reactor, which began commercial operation in January 1983.


IAEA Praises Significant Progress At Belgium’s BR2, But Says Work Remains
15.11.2017 - NucNet News

The operator of the Belgian Research Reactor 2 (BR2) has made significant progress in establishing an ageing management programme, but work remains in implementing upgrades for continued safe operation, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on 14 November 2017. The comments followed completion of a mission yesterday to review aspects of safety at the BR2, which plays a key role in the global production of medical and industrial radioisotopes. The mission was requested by Belgium’s regulatory body, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control. The mission focused on ageing management and continued safe operation. The BR2 is one of three operating research reactors at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) in Mol, northeast Belgium. The reactor, in operation since 1963, is one of the oldest in Western Europe. It accounts for about a quarter of the global production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial purposes, including for cancer therapy and medical imaging. In addition, it produces doped silicon, which forms a semiconductor material that provides the basic substance for electronic components. The reactor can operate until its next periodic safety review in 2026, when a decision will be made on operation for another 10 years.


Low-Carbon Energy, Including Nuclear, Could Double Share By 2040, Says IEA
14.11.2017 - NucNet News
Low-carbon sources of energy, including nuclear, double their share in the energy mix to 40% in 2040 under a “sustainable development scenario” outlines by the International Energy agency in its World Energy Outlook report, published on 14 November 2017. The scenario is included in the annual report for the first time. It suggests that power generation is all but decarbonised, relying by 2040 on generation from renewables (over 60%), nuclear power (15%) as well as a contribution from carbon capture and storage (6%) – a technology that plays an equally significant role in cutting emissions from the industry sector. Electric cars move into the mainstream quickly, but decarbonising the transport sector also requires much more stringent efficiency measures across the board, notably for road freight. The IEA said the scenario considers what would be necessary to deliver a number of priority targets. The main target is an early peak in CO2 emissions and a subsequent rapid decline, consistent with the Paris Agreement.


UK Needs Nuclear For Post-Brexit Security, Says Think-Tank

12.11.2017 - NucNet News
The UK should invest in new nuclear as part of the wider electricity mix to secure a sustainable and low-carbon future and to forge new trading relationships post-Brexit, according to a report by think-tank ResPublica. The report, ‘Expanding Horizons: The Role for New Nuclear in the UK’s Energy Mix’, argues that new nuclear should be central to the UK’s long-term energy strategy. Nuclear currently meets 45% of the UK’s low-carbon electricity and the power generated by the current nuclear fleet avoids the emission of 49 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, ResPublica said. The report says Britain’s new nuclear programme is necessary to meet the country’s medium and long-term ambitions for energy security and decarbonisation. No new reactors have been built in the UK almost three decades and much of the current electricity capacity will close by 2030. “Sustained political will and commitment is needed in the coming years to push new nuclear projects over the line,” the report says. The report also says new nuclear should not be offered as an alternative to renewables. Earlier this year over half of electricity generation was met from low-carbon sources comprised of nuclear and renewables, making nuclear a resource of huge potential as the UK strives to meet legally binding carbon targets. New nuclear is also a key source for UK innovation with enormous potential for nascent technology such as small modular reactors, the report says.


France Postpones Plans To Reduce Nuclear Share After Warning Of Shortages

07.11.2017 - NucNet News
The French government has postponed a target to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix after grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to lower carbon emissions. In 2015 the previous government of Francois Hollande established an energy transition law which set a target of reducing the share of nuclear in the energy mix to 50% by 2025 from the current 75%. But environment minister Nicolas Hulot said on 8 November 2017 this would not be realistic. He said reducing the nuclear share in a hurry would increase France’s CO2 emissions, endanger the security of power supply and put jobs at risk. Mr Hulot said president Emmanuel Macron’s government remains committed to reducing nuclear energy and ordered his ministry to produce a new timetable. He later said in a television interview that the government would be working towards a 2030 to 2035 timeframe. RTE said in its 2017-2035 Electricity Outlook that if France went ahead with plans to simultaneously shut down four 40-year-old nuclear reactors and all its coal-fired plants, there could be risks of power supply shortages. State-controlled utility EDF, which operates France's 58 commercial nuclear power plants, has argued instead to extend the operation of its nuclear fleet from 40 to at least 50 years. France is the second largest generator of nuclear electricity behind the US. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, France’s nuclear fleet produced almost 28% of the country’s electricity in 2016.


France to review nuclear reduction target

07.11.2017

The French government will come up with a more "realistic" target to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country's electricity generation, Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot told a news conference in Paris today.


US Industry Welcomes Plans For Nuclear Production Tax Credit
06.11.2017 - NucNet News

The US nuclear energy industry has praised the inclusion of a nuclear production tax credit (PTC) provision in a long-anticipated tax reform bill introduced in the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. The 2005 Energy Policy Act provided a tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity produced from new reactors, but set a deadline of 2020 for the plants to be in service. The new bill removes that deadline, which would ensure that the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being built at Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s Vogtle site in Georgia could benefit from the credit. “This legislative language is a vital component for completing the reactors under construction in Georgia which will show the world that America stands ready to build the reactors of today, and those of tomorrow,” the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute’s NEI vice-president of governmental affairs Beverly Marshall said. The nuclear PTC provision is part of a much larger piece of legislation that seeks to reform the country’s tax code. The bill must now be voted on by the Ways and Means Committee before going to the floor of the House for a final vote. The Senate must then pass the legislation so the bill can be signed into law by the president. Details online: http://bit.ly/2h9RC0

Swedish Regulator Proposes New Emergency Zones For Nuclear Plants
06.11.2017 - NucNet News

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has proposed the setting up of three revised emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances around the country’s nuclear power plants. In a report prepared for the government SSM said the three proposed zones are a precautionary action zone (PAZ) extending approximately 5km, an urgent protective action planning zone (UPZ) extending around 25km, and a supplementary extended planning distance (EPD) of 100km. On 22 October 2015, the Swedish government commissioned SSM to carry out a review of emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances for activities involving ionising radiation. The resulting report was presented to the government on 1 November 2017. The emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances will allow revised planning to be in place for evacuation, sheltering, and iodine thyroid blocking, SSM said. Information and iodine tablets should be distributed in advance and warnings to the public should be prepared, SSM said. Evacuation of the PAZ would be prioritised ahead of evacuation of the UPZ. Within the EPD, planning should be in place for evacuation, but based on input from measurements of ground deposition. Plans should be in place for people to stay indoors and for limited distribution of iodine thyroid blocking within the EPD.


UK Government Should Invest In Nuclear Projects And Develop Local Supply Chains, Says Report
02.11.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government should consider taking a “significant equity stake” in future nuclear new-build projects in the country, said a report by the independent Industrial Strategy Commission (ISC), a joint initiative by the University of Manchester and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute. The ISC, which was set up as an inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK, said the government should develop supply chains for the UK nuclear industry to make sure that UK businesses are able to supply a higher proportion of the highest value components for new nuclear projects. According to the report, the need to replace existing nuclear units is a “most pressing problem” for the UK, because 7.7 GW of the existing 8.9 GW of nuclear capacity will be retired by 2030. The ISC said that plans currently exist to build up to 16 GW of new nuclear capacity, including 3.2 GW at Hinkley Point C, at a total capital cost of at least £60bn (€68bn, $79bn). The new-build programme is an “ideal” case study of the way energy policy and industrial policy have been connected in the past, and should be connected better in the future, the report said. According to the ISC, the idea that the government should not directly fund or subsidise nuclear projects has greatly reduced the government’s leverage over the nuclear programme. However, the government still remained financially exposed through loan guarantees and through contract for difference schemes, indirectly guaranteeing long-term revenue flows through commitments to the price consumers and industry will pay for electricity. The ISC also said that most of the developers and all the technology vendors involved in the proposed new-build projects are based overseas and are partially owned by foreign governments. This weakens the UK industry’s ability to develop local supply chains, despite the fact that the projects will involve large contracts with UK suppliers, the ISC said. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2h6hFZp


Russia And Uzbekistan Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
02.11.2017 - NucNet News
Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan have signed an agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Rosatom said in a statement. The agreement will focus on the practical use of nuclear technologies, including the development of nuclear infrastructure in the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the use of radioisotopes and radiation technologies in industry, medicine and agriculture, the statement said. The agreement will also aim to increase the awareness of the Uzbek public about nuclear technologies and their application via the creation of nuclear information centres, Rosatom said. Uzbekistan has no commercial nuclear reactors, but has been operating the IIN-3M Foton research reactor in Tashkent since 1975. The reactor has been used for the testing of semiconductors and other devices.


Competitive Markets Not Supportive Of New Nuclear Development, Warns Report
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government needs to decide whether and how to proceed with its nuclear policies, because the nature of the costs, the time horizons, and the societal decisions about risk and waste make investments in nuclear always a matter for the state, said an independent report commissioned by the British government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).


Retiring Nuclear Plants Poses Risks To Grid Resiliency In The US, NEI Warns FERC
31.10.2017 - NucNet News
Premature closures of nuclear power stations in the US present a risk to long-term reliability and resiliency of the national electricity grid, Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) warned in comments provided to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).


UK Announces Plans To Invest £460 Million In Nuclear Energy
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government put forward key proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the country’s economy through the 2020s, including investing £460m (€517m, $611m) in the nuclear energy sector to support work in areas including future nuclear fuels, new nuclear manufacturing techniques, recycling and reprocessing, and advanced reactor design.


UK Nuclear Industry Will Continue To Lobby For Euratom Benefits, Says NIA
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

The UK nuclear industry will continue to urge the government to explore options to retain the benefits of being part of Euratom in negotiations with the European Commission, the London-based Nuclear Industry Association said on 13 October 2017.


Brexit: UK Government Introduces Nuclear Safeguards Bill To Parliament
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government introduced a bill to Parliament on 11 October 2017 that seeks to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime following Brexit.


Foratom Calls For ‘Rapid Establishment’ Of Brexit Cooperation Agreement For Nuclear Industry
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

The European nuclear trade association Foratom called for the “rapid establishment” of a nuclear cooperation agreement between the EU and the UK, including arrangements for free trade in the nuclear sector.


Westinghouse Calls On EU Not To Exclude Nuclear From Debate On Energy Policy
31.10.2017 - NucNet News

US-based nuclear equipment manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Company called on European Union legislators to adopt a technology-neutral approach when discussing the future of the bloc’s low-carbon energy policies.


Finnish Regulator Calls For Safety Culture Improvement At Fennovoima
30.10.2017 - NucNet News

Fennovoima, the company building the Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power reactor unit in northern Finland, needs to improve its safety culture before moving on to the actual construction phase, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) said in a statement. According to the statement, Fennovoima must improve the control of some of the companies participating in the design and construction of the nuclear plant, including the project supplier RAOS Project, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and the main contractor Russia-based Titan 2. Safety culture at the two companies does not currently meet Finnish requirements, Stuk said. Stuk also said Fennovoima must ensure that companies involved in the Hanhikivi-1 project improve their safety-related decision-making practices. A spokesperson for Stuk said that Fennovoima had recently made progress with improving safety culture in line with previous recommendations by Stuk, but “room for improvement” still remained. Stuk said it wants to ensure that Russian companies taking part in the Hanhikivi-1 project are able to comply with Finnish standards. Hanhikivi-1 will be a 1,200-MW VVER pressurised water reactor of the Russian AES-2006 type. It is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2024. The Stuk construction licence for the unit is expected in 2019.


France To Detail Nuclear Reactor Closures At The End Of 2018, Says Minister
30.10.2017 - NucNet News

France will announce at the end of 2018 how many nuclear reactor units will need to close to cut the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation by 2025, environment minister Nicolas Hulot told the French daily Le Monde. Mr Hulot had previously announced a target to reduce the share of nuclear energy in power generation to 50% by 2025, from around 72% today. Mr Hulot said he plans to present his proposal on energy transition in the first half of 2018. In July 2017, Mr Hulot said that France will need to close up to 17 of its 58 commercial nuclear units. He did not specify a number at the time, but said that the two-unit Fessenheim station, the oldest in France, would be among them. According to International Atomic Energy Agency statistics, France’s commercial nuclear reactor fleet accounted for 72.28% of the country’s electricity mix in 2016, down from 77.5% in 2014.


Pace Of Building New Nuclear Should Increase To Meet World Needs, IAEA’s Amano Tells Conference
30.10.2017 - NucNet News

The pace of construction of new nuclear power units needs to step up in order to meet the world’s future energy requirements and climate change goals, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano said during the fourth IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. Mr Amano told the conference, which opened today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, that the latest IAEA projections show that nuclear energy’s global potential up to 2050 remains high, but expansion is expected to slow in the coming years. Mr Amano said: “It is difficult to see other low-carbon energy sources growing sufficiently to take up the slack if nuclear power use fails to grow”. Mr Amano said he hopes that ongoing developments in reactor designs will improve the economic attractiveness and cost effectiveness of nuclear power, and help alleviate public concerns related to safety and nuclear waste disposal.


Renewable System Costs Need To Be Taken Into Account By Decision-Makers, Conference Told
24.10.2017 - NucNet News
The total system costs for renewable energy sources, including the cost of ensuring system stability as increasing amounts of intermittent energy are added to the grid, need to be taken into account when making decisions about the future of energy systems, Jan Horst Keppler, a senior economist at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), told a Brussels conference on nuclear competitiveness. Mr Keppler said grid-level system costs for variable renewables are generally higher than those for baseload dispatchable technologies such as nuclear, but depend on country context and technology. Dispatchable generation refers to sources of electricity that can be dispatched at the request of power grid operators or of the plant owner according to market needs. Dispatchable generators can be turned on or off, or can adjust their power output accordingly to an order. Grid-level system costs include grid connection, grid extension, grid reinforcement and maintaining adequate back-up capacity. Mr Keppler said a study made in Finland, France, Germany, South Korea, UK, and US found that on average grid-level costs for variable renewables range between $15-80 (€13-68) per MWh, while the same costs for nuclear, gas and coal vary between $0.5-3 per MWh. Mr Keppler said subsidy schemes for renewables should be reviewed to allow for more flexibility needed to ensure the coexistence of nuclear and renewables. Mr Keppler said that since the early 1990s, investment in baseload gas in OECD countries has been growing, while investment in new nuclear has almost stopped. He said that in the absence of electricity price certainty, gas has been seen as less exposed to market price risks than nuclear. In the long-term, the integration of renewables into the energy systems of OECD countries is expected to lead to decreased nuclear baseload generation and increased gas-fired generation, Mr Keppler said. This could lead to an energy system which is more carbon intensive than before, and less stable, flexible, and secure.


Retiring Nuclear Plants Poses Risks To Grid Resiliency In The US, NEI Warns FERC
24.10.2017 - NucNet News
Premature closures of nuclear power stations in the US present a risk to long-term reliability and resiliency of the national electricity grid, Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) warned in comments provided to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). NEI, which represents the US nuclear industry, said that it supports the US Department of Energy’s goals of ensuring that energy source diversity and resiliency are appropriately valued, and urges FERC to encourage the necessary market reforms. ”The current failure to value important attributes of nuclear generation, including those that significantly contribute to grid resiliency, has prompted retirements of well-functioning, highly-efficient, and environmentally-valuable nuclear plants”, said NEI’s chief executive officer Maria Korsnick. She said neglecting potential grid resiliency problems today could lead to “serious breakdowns in electricity service” in the future. Last month, energy secretary Rick Perry directed FERC to issue a rule requiring electricity markets to develop and implement reforms that would fully compensate generation resources necessary to maintain the grid’s reliability and resiliency. NEI sent its comments to FERC yesterday, suggesting that reforms should include the need for respect for current and future state policies, continuation of price rules reform, a “cost-of-service option” until other market structures are implemented, as well as development of market structures to value resiliency and diversity. “Short-term prices should not dictate significant changes in our generation fleet, reducing the nation’s resource diversity and grid resiliency”, Ms Korsnick said. Such changes will go contrary to plans by the US government to make resiliency a key element in its national security strategy for more than twenty years, she added. Details of the proposal are online: http://bit.ly/2yNNpJw


IAEA Praises Regulatory Progress In Jordan, But Warns Of Human Resources Challenges
23.10.2017 - NucNet News
Jordan has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in recent years, but the regulator will continue to face human resources challenges as the country prepares for a nuclear power programme, an International Atomic Energy Agency team said. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded on 22 October 2017 an eight-day follow-up mission in Jordan to review its implementation of recommendations and suggestions made by a 2014 mission. The IRRS team said Jordan had taken several positive steps since the previous mission, including approval of a national policy and strategy for safety and a national policy for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management. It has developed safety legislation which is awaiting final parliamentary approval, and regulations and instructions. The regulator, the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC), has also taken action to improve staffing levels and has improved emergency preparedness and response. Jordan relies on imported fossil fuel for its energy needs and is among some 30 countries interested in introducing nuclear energy. It plans to build a nuclear power plant at the Amra site, about 70 km east of the capital Amman.


Lithuania’s Nuclear Security Regime Is Well-Established, Says IAEA
20.10.2017 - NucNet News

The nuclear security regime in Lithuania is well established and incorporates the fundamental principles of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), an International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts said. The International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) team assessed the legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security, the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities, transport security, the security of radioactive material, and computer security. The team visited the two-unit Ignalina nuclear power station, which is being decommissioned, and facilities at the Ignalina site such as the spent nuclear fuel storage facility. The team also visited facilities where radioactive sources are in use and storage, including the hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in the city of Kaunas. The 2005 amendment to the CPPNM, ratified by Lithuania in 2009, entered into force in 2016 and provides a strengthened framework for protecting nuclear material and nuclear facilities.


IAEA Praises Rigorous Approach To Safety At France’s Bugey
20.10.2017 - NucNet News

The operator of France’s Bugey nuclear power station has shown a rigorous approach and commitment to safety, although there is a need for further improvement in some areas, an International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts said on 19 October 2017. The Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) concluded a 17-day mission yesterday to assess operational safety at the station’s four commercially operational pressurised water reactors, which all began commercial operation from 1970-1980. The Bugey station, near Lyon, is operated by state-controlled EDF. The team said the plant should strengthen its control over the revision and application of plant operational documents, and should evaluate the effectiveness of its operational experience programme. The team also called for the plant to improve preparation and conduct of its maintenance activities. The IAEA said Osart missions aim to improve operational safety by assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s safety standards. Nuclear power generates more than 70% of France’s electricity, the largest share in the world. The country has 58 reactors at 19 sites, all operated by EDF. Another reactor is under construction at Flamanville in Normandy.


Foratom Director-General Urges Nuclear Industry To ‘Step Up’ And Cooperate On Challenges
20.10.2017 - NucNet News

Close cooperation in the European nuclear sector could help the industry overcome many challenges, improve its competitiveness and maintain the share of nuclear energy in the European energy mix, Yves Desbazeille, director-general of European nuclear trade association Foratom, said yesterday at a conference in Brussels. He told the conference, organised by French think-tank ASCPE (Les Entretiens Européens et Eurafricains), that energy markets are distorted and fail to deliver the signals needed to ensure that Europe’s climate objectives and long-term security of supply are met – a crucial issue for the future of nuclear new-build or long-term operation of existing plants. According to Mr Desbazeille, a lot has to be done at European Union level and by EU institutions which are responsible for reforming the market. But he said the nuclear industry should also step up its efforts to improve its position on the market. Mr Desbazeille said the nuclear industry needs to finds ways to work more efficiently and in a more integrated and collaborative manner throughout the whole industry lifecycle, encompassing new-build, long-term operation, decommissioning, waste management, R&D and training. He said nuclear power generates about 27% of the EU’s electricity and constitutes nearly half of the bloc’s carbon free generation, making nuclear one of the “cornerstones” of the energy transition.


Europe’s Nuclear Fleet Is A Strategic Asset, Says Foratom President
19.10.2017 - NucNet News
Europe’s nuclear fleet is a strategic asset because it supports industrial competitiveness, helps meet climate objectives and ensures security of energy supply for the region, Bertrand de L’Epinois, president of European nuclear trade association Foratom, said today at a conference in Brussels. Mr L’Epinois told the conference, organised by French think-tank ASCPE (Les Entretiens Européens et Eurafricains), that after the initial capital investment in construction nuclear energy’s variable costs are “low and predictable”. He said these low costs and their predictability are structural factors that can drive industrial investment and economic development. Mr L’Epinois said nuclear power supports Europe’s energy independence because uranium is abundant and easy to stockpile. He said Europe has enough uranium stockpiled to cover its nuclear fleet’s operation for at least three years. Mr L’Epinois said the delays and cost overruns incurred by EPR projects at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland are related to the Generation III reactor design being the first of its kind. He also said markets are failing to provide incentives for long-term investment in meeting Europe’s energy policy goals. Europe’s energy policies should work towards standardisation in nuclear regulation. This would help investment in nuclear energy and boost its cost competitiveness, Mr L’Epinois said.


IAEA Urges Romania To Speed Up Implementation Of Safety And Security Strategy
18.10.2017 - NucNet News
Romania has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety, but the government must speed up implementation of both the national strategy on nuclear safety and security (NSNSS) and the national strategy for waste management, and take action to support the retention and hiring of experienced staff by the regulator, an International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts said. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team, which concluded an eight-day follow-up mission to Romania on 16 October 2017 to review its implementation of recommendations and suggestions made by a 2011 mission, said the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the country, should continue establishing an “integrated management system” and institute a national programme for training emergency responders. The IRRS team found that Romania had addressed findings by the previous mission, implementing most of its recommendations and addressing the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan. The team said the government demonstrated improvements in the regulatory framework that included its approval of the NSNSS, progress on the revision of the national strategy for waste management and plans to increase CNCAN’s operational budget and ensure appropriate staffing levels. IRRS missions use IAEA safety standards and international best practices to strengthen the effectiveness of national regulatory infrastructure. Two operating nuclear power reactors at the Cernavodă nuclear station provide 17% of Romania’s electricity, the IAEA said.


UK Announces Plans To Invest £460 Million In Nuclear Energy
17.10.2017 - NucNet News

The UK government has put forward key proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the country’s economy through the 2020s, including investing £460m (€517m, $611m) in the nuclear energy sector to support work in areas including future nuclear fuels, new nuclear manufacturing techniques, recycling and reprocessing, and advanced reactor design. The government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, which explains how the country can benefit from low-carbon opportunities while meeting commitments to tackle climate change, says the costs of nuclear power need to be brought down through developing new materials and manufacturing processes, and exploring the opportunities of new fuels and reactor designs. The strategy says the UK will deliver new nuclear power through the Hinkley Point C station under construction in England and will hold discussions with developers to secure a competitive price for nuclear projects in the pipeline. The strategy says it could be possible to increase low-carbon sources such as renewables and nuclear to over 80% of electricity generation – up from around 45% today – and phase out unabated coal power. The strategy is online: http://bit.ly/2g8lUj6




GMF NEWS


The GMF celebrates its Annual Assembly in Madrid

The last 5th and 6th of October took place in Madrid the Annual Assembly of the GMF.

During the first day of the meeting, the GMF Assembly was held. After the opening by Mr. Roland Palmqvist, President of GMF, the Secretary General, Mr. Marià Vila d'Abadal, informed those present regarding each item on the agenda.

Following the presentation of the Annual Report of the last General Assembly so far and the Report of the ENWD-GMF meeting held last June in Brussels, a meeting was proposed in Brussels and Dessel in March 2018.

Then started three presentations: The first one was "Learning from the experience of local participation in radioactive waste management programs" in which Mr. Masahiro Tachibana invited the GMF member mayors to participate in the conference to be held in Vienna during the month of December.

Mr. Philip Mattheus of NuLeAf. Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum presented the association to the GMF members.

En tercer y último lugar La Sra. Meritxell Martell, de Merience Strategic Thinking, presentó el proyecto europeo “Basic Safety standars requirements on public information in the event of an emergency” al que el GMF en asamblea decidió incorporarse.

Third and final place Ms. Meritxell Martell, of Merience Strategic Thinking, presented the European project “Basic Safety standars requirements on public information in the event of an emergency” which the GMF in assembly decided to incorporate.

A continuación, tras la presentación del Informe de los Auditores para las Cuentas 2016 o el análisis del presupuesto para el año 2018, entre otros puntos del orden del día, se procedió a la elección de los miembros del Presidium, que en el próximo año estará formado por el Sr. Roland Palmqvist como Presidente, el Sr. Csaba Dohóczki y la Sra. Anna-Lena Söderblom como Vicepresidentes y el Sr. Mariano Vila d’Abadal como Secretario General.

Una vez finalizada la Asamblea tuvo lugar el seminario que estuvo dividido en tres paneles.

Then, after the presentation of the Report of the Auditors for the 2016 Accounts or the analysis of the 2018 budget, among other points of the day, was processed at the election of the members of the Presidium, which in the next year will be formed by Mr. Roland Palmqvist as President, Mr. Csaba Dohóczki and Mrs. Anna-Lena Söderblom as Vice-Chairmen and Mr. Mariano Vila d'Abadal as Secretary-General.

At the end of the Assembly, the seminar was divided into three panels.

The first panel was focused on "Management of nuclear energy in Spain" and was attended by Mr. José Manuel Redondo, Deputy Director General of Nuclear Energy of the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, who spoke about Energy Policy in Spain; D. Pedro Vila Belda, Institutional Relations of CSN; D. Mariano Molina, Head of Institutional Relations of ENRESA, who presented the situation in waste management; Mr. Carlos Dueñas, Deputy Director General for Planning, Operations and Emergencies, who raised the status and situation of the emergency plans in Spain and finally D. Manel Campoy of the Department of Nuclear Energy of ENDESA.

The second panel was dedicated to the vision of nuclear energy by civilian citizens. In it participated D. Joaquín Bielsa, Representative of CCOO; Mr. Ivan Albertos, Head of the Industry and Energy Area of CEOCE and Mr. Juan Antonio Duro, Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics of the URV.

Finally, the third panel was dedicated to the local world and its vision of the management of nuclear energy and was attended by Ms. Raquel González, Mayor of Valle de Tobalina (Burgos) who dedicated her intervention to energy policy; D. Juan Miguel Rojano, City Councilman of Hornachuelos (Córdoba), who spoke about waste management.

On behalf of local representatives from other European countries and with a view to obtaining a "Feedback on nuclear management from the local point of view of their country", Mr. Csaba Dohócki, representative of TEIT (Hungary), spoke about the situation in energy policy; Mr. Miran Stanko, Mayor of Krsko (Slovenia) who dedicated his presentation to security and finally Mr. Stefan Edelsvärd and Mrs. Margareta Widén-Berggren municipal technician and mayor of Östhammar (Sweden) who offered their vision on the situation of waste management in Sweden.

During the second day of the meeting, GMF members were able to make a serie of technical visits to know the reality of the management and development of some points in the Almonacid de Zorita area. They were able to visit the nuclear plant in dismantling José Cabrera as well as a series of visits of the area to local realities in the municipalities of Almonacid de Zorita, Almoguera and Pastrana.



HoNESt Nuclear Project Suggests Historical Lack of Confidence In Regulatory Authorities
06.10.2017 - NucNet News
The coordinator of a three-year research project that aims to explain how societies and the nuclear energy industry have engaged with each other over the last 60 years said preliminary findings reveal a history of lack of confidence in regulatory agencies. Albert Presas i Puig told NucNet that research for the History of Nuclear Energy and Society (HoNESt) project, which is funded by Euratom’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, suggests that one of the frequent problems when talking about the acceptance of nuclear energy in some countries is the public’s lack of confidence in the regulatory agencies, which are supposed to play an independent role in granting permission for the construction of nuclear power stations and evaluating safety. “Historically speaking, this can be seen in the public’s growing mistrust concerning the information which these regulatory bodies provided,” Mr Presas i Puig said. The HoNESt project covers issues such as safety, risk perception and communication, societal acceptance and engagement, and the media. The project is the work of a team of researchers in 24 partner institutions across Europe and the US, led by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Mr Puig said the team had now completed the part of the project dedicated to the collection and analysis of historical data. He said societal perceptions and societal acceptance of a technology matter for the development of nuclear technology. “Nuclear energy is facing great challenges which are a major concern to modern societies,” he said. “The problems are complex and encompass not only economic, national and international policy, and security-related issues, but also include cultural, social and environmental factors. In this context there is a clear need for systematic reflection on the nuclear energy option, this time taking historical experiences into account.” Details of the HoNESt project are online: http://honest2020.eu


Westinghouse Calls For Rethink On Europe’s Treatment Of Nuclear
05.10.2017 - NucNet News
US-based nuclear equipment manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Company has called on European Union legislators to adopt a technology-neutral approach when discussing the future of the bloc’s low-carbon energy policies.

Q&A: The Future Of Nuclear Energy In Spain
28.09.2017 - NucNet News
Nuclear is the primary source of energy production in Spain, but with the recent decision to shut down the Garoña nuclear station, its future has begun to look uncertain.


Finland Plans Phaseout Of Coal With Nuclear To Help Fill Gap
28.09.2017 - NucNet News
Finland will introduce legislation in 2018 to phase out coal and increase carbon taxes with additional nuclear capacity from two new reactors offering an alternative fuel source, a government official said.


Brexit: UK Announces Plans To Establish Domestic Nuclear Safeguards Regime
28.09.2017 - NucNet News
The UK government has decided to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime which will meet existing European atomic energy community (Euratom) standards and exceed the standards that the international community would require from the UK as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, energy secretary Greg Clark announced.


French Nuclear Training Provider Opens New Learning Centre In Normandy
27.09.2017 - NucNet News
French nuclear training provider Trihom has opened a new learning centre in Normandy, France. The company said the new facility forms part of a major development plan with investment of €7m ($8.2) over the next few years to increase its capacity and digitalise its training. The new facility is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe and contains exact replicas of nuclear facilities of all types, including a nuclear reactor, a fuel cycle plant and a nuclear-powered submarine. Trihom, which has 15 training centres throughout France, is owned by New Areva (66%) and industrial maintenance company Endel (34%). It offers of more than 200 nuclear-related training courses and trains more than 30,000 students a year.

EDF Warns MPs On Post-Brexit Workforce For New Nuclear

20.09.2017 - NucNet News
EDF said its most significant concern about the UK’s withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty from a workforce perspective is the ability of its supply chain to get the people needed to build new nuclear power stations such as Hinkley Point C. Angela Hepworth, corporate policy and regulation director at EDF, told a parliamentary inquiry into energy security and Brexit that EDF is most concerned about the construction workforce. For the construction of Hinkley Point C, there are going to be 25,000 job opportunities. Ms Hepworth said EDF is doing everything it can to recruit and train UK workers to fill those roles, but because of both the scale of the workforce and to meet the niche skill requirements for the project, “it is not going to be sufficient for us to use UK workers”. She said EDF will need to draw on EU workers. At the peak of the construction of Hinkley Point, EDF is going to need 1,400 steel fixers, but the total population of certified steel fixers in the UK is 2,700 “so we would need more than half of the total steel-fixing population in the UK in order to meet the peak requirement for Hinkley Point”. Ms Hepworth told the inquiry: “At the moment, steel fixing does not meet the criteria for skilled employment under the UK’s points-based system nor is it officially classed as a shortage occupation. The same would be true of professions such as bricklayers, welders and electricians.” Ms Hepworth’s evidence is online: http://bit.ly/2xmiK4y


EDF Energy Warns Of ‘Significant Concern’ Over UK’s Euratom Withdrawal

20.09.2017 - NucNet News
The UK government’s decision to withdraw from the Euratom Treaty is a significant concern for EDF Energy, which “very much relies” on the provisions in the treaty to operate its existing nuclear power stations and for the future construction and operation of two EPR units at Hinkley Point C. Angela Hepworth, corporate policy and regulation director at parent company EDF, told a parliamentary inquiry into energy security and Brexit, that EDF Energy relies on the ability that the Euratom provisions provide to import nuclear fuel, nuclear components and to transfer information from the EU and key third countries into the UK. “We also rely on our ability to draw on international skills and talent both for our existing operations and for our new-build programme, so any disruption in those arrangements could have implications for security of supply,” she said. “For example, if there was some kind of component failure in one of our power stations, and there was any delay in our ability to move components in to deal with that.” Ms Hepworth gave her evidence to the committee on 13 September 2017 and a transcript has now been published. She was speaking the day before the UK government announced it had decided to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime which will meet existing Euratom standards and exceed the standards that the international community would require from the UK as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Ms Hepworth said any replacement agreement with Euratom will need to cover things such as the ownership of nuclear material and future trading relations with Europe in relation to nuclear materials. The UK will also need to negotiate nuclear cooperation agreements with key third countries and arrangements for the mobility of workers. “Of course, at the moment there are general provisions for free movement as part of our membership of the EU, but the Euratom Treaty also provides specific arrangements dealing with the free movement of people who are needed in the nuclear industry, including those who are needed for the construction of a new nuclear power station,” she said. “That will need to be addressed.” Ms Hepworth also said the UK will need to find ways of continuing to participate in European R&D programmes. Ms Hepworth’s evidence is online: http://bit.ly/2xmiK4y


Australia Formally Joins Generation IV International Forum

19.09.2017 - NucNet News
Australia has formally acceded to the framework agreement of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), an international group set up to develop and design the next generation of nuclear energy systems. Accession allows Australia, which has no commercial nuclear power programme, to take part in R&D projects related to Generation IV systems, particularly projects on advanced materials, GIF said in a statement on its website. Australia became the 14th member of GIF in June 2016 when the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) signed the GIF charter. It deposited its instrument of accession to the framework agreement on 14 September 2017 and was officially welcomed to the organisation at a ceremony in Paris. GIF was created in January 2000 by nine countries. In 2002, GIF selected six systems from nearly 100 concepts as Generation IV technologies. The six systems are sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFR); gas-cooled fast reactors (GFR); very high temperature reactors with thermal neutron spectrum (VHTR); lead-cooled fast reactors or lead-bismuth eutectic cooled fast reactors (LFR); molten salt reactors (MSR) with fast or thermal neutron spectrum; and supercritical water reactors (SCWR) with fast or thermal neutron spectrum.


France And Slovenia Sign Agreement To Strengthen Nuclear Safety Research

14.09.2017 - NucNet News
The French Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) and Slovenia’s Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS) have signed an agreement that will strengthen existing cooperation in nuclear safety research, IRSN said in a statement on 12 September 2017. The initial thrust of the cooperation will be simulating and understanding the processes that take place during severe accidents that lead to reactor core melt, IRSN said. Researchers also want to increase their understanding of potential environmental hazards such as earthquakes and floods that might pose a risk to nuclear facilities. This could lead to improved defences for nuclear facilities, IRSN said. IRSN is a public body established in 2001 to offer expertise to the government in nuclear and radiation risks. IJS is Slovenia’s leading Slovenian scientific research institute with a staff of more than 900.


Parliamentary Committee Warned Over Brexit’s ‘Significant Risk’ For Nuclear Industry

14.09.2017 - NucNet News
The UK nuclear industry faces a significant risk if the country leaves the EU without an agreement on non-proliferation and nuclear fuel supplies, with the possibility that the industry could be brought to a halt because it would be unable to import nuclear fuel, a parliamentary committee has been told. Georgina Wright, a research assistant at the London-based Chatham House think-tank, said in written evidence to the EU environment and energy subcommittee that there is no WTO agreement for the UK to fall back on. Ms Wright also highlighted uncertainties over the EU’s Euratom research budget, from which the UK gets around €60m a year out of a total of around €2.5bn. The largest share of the budget goes to the UK’s Joint European Torus research facility and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) which is under construction in France. Ms Wright said the new phase of funding will be up for negotiations in 2018, during the government’s negotiations on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.


Brexit: UK Announces Plans To Establish Domestic Nuclear Safeguards Regime

14.09.2017 - NucNet News
The UK government has decided to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime which will meet existing European atomic energy community (Euratom) standards and exceed the standards that the international community would require from the UK as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, energy secretary Greg Clark announced in a policy statement on 14 September 2017. Mr Clark said the regime will ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a responsible nuclear state and that withdrawal from Euratom, which oversees the movement of nuclear materials across Europe, will not result in the weakening of its future safeguards standards and oversight. Mr Clark said the government believes it is vitally important that the new domestic nuclear safeguards regime, to be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, is as comprehensive and robust as that provided by Euratom. “International oversight will be a key part of the future regime,” Mr Clark said. “The UK is seeking to conclude new agreements with the IAEA that follow the same principles as our current ones. This will ensure that the IAEA retains its right to inspect all civil nuclear facilities, and continue to receive all current safeguards reporting, ensuring that international verification of our safeguards activity continues to be robust.” He said discussions with the European Union are continuing. “We will be exploring a number of options for smooth transition from the current Euratom regime to a domestic one.” The UK nuclear industry body, the Nuclear Industry Association, has always said its preferred position is to remain in Euratom. The government insists that leaving Euratom is an inevitable consequence of triggering article 50 and proceeding to Brexit – a position shared by the European negotiators. The opposition Labour Party said recently that the UK should remain in Euratom, adding it was increasingly clear that the government acted “recklessly” by giving up on membership of Euratom


 

GMF NEWS


GMF ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The GMF Conference "Spanish Nuclear Management in Europe” will be hold in Madrid (Spain) on 5 October 2017.

The objective of this conference is to know the management of nuclear energy in Spain and its public perception.

All participants will take a Technical Visit to Nuclear Power Plant in dismantling “José Cabrera” on 6 October 2017.

 

 

You can find more information of the meeting program HERE


AEA Completes Nuclear Security Mission In China
08.09.2017 - NucNet News
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts completed on 8 September 2017 a nuclear security advisory mission in China, concluding that China maintains strong and sustainable nuclear security activities. The IAEA Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) team identified a number of good practices and recommendations and suggestions for continuous improvement, but in a statement the IAEA gave no further details of these recommendations. The scope of the two-week mission, which was carried out at the request of the Chinese government, included China’s legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security, and the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities. The IPPAS team visited the two-unit Fangjiashan nuclear station near Shanghai to review security arrangements and see physical protection measures. The mission also looked at China’s implementation of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The amendment, ratified by China in 2009, entered into force in 2016 and provides a strengthened framework for protecting nuclear material and facilities. The IAEA said IPPAS missions are intended to help states strengthen their national nuclear security regime.


Q&A: The Future Of Nuclear Energy In Spain

06.09.2017 - NucNet News
Nuclear is the primary source of energy production in Spain, but with the recent decision to shut down the Garoña nuclear station, its future has begun to look uncertain. In this interview with NucNet, Ignacio Araluce, president of the Madrid-based Foro Nuclear industry group, discusses Spain’s plans for a new energy policy, nuclear plant shutdowns and the need to lighten the tax load on nuclear operators. Mr Araluce also outlines how Spain’s nuclear industry, faced with a diminishing domestic market, is successfully diversifying overseas. Full story for subscribers: http://bit.ly/2vLfT6i


Use Of Nuclear Technology By Developing Nations Brings Opportunities, Not Risks, Says Amano
06.09.2017 - NucNet News
The use of nuclear technology in developing countries should not be seen as a source of risks, but rather as a source of opportunities, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano told the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia yesterday. In a statement by the IAEA Mr Amano was quoted as saying that the use of nuclear technology requires a lot of international obligations, including establishing nuclear legal and regulatory frameworks, ensuring safety and security of installations, as well as implementing safeguards. He said engagement with developing countries is the "right" approach, with the IAEA being able to provide assistance to improve their nuclear infrastructure and reduce risks. According to Mr Amano, trying to prevent countries from having access to nuclear technology is against the international legal framework and has no legitimacy. “In fact, it [prevention] can be harmful to nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, because in such a case countries may acquire nuclear technology without having proper nuclear infrastructure”, Mr Amano said. The Bled Strategic Forum is held annually and provides a platform for high-level debate on contemporary political, security and development challenges.


China’s Legislature Passes Nuclear Safety Law

04.09.2017 - NucNet News
China’s parliament passed a new nuclear safety law on 1 September 2017 aimed at improving regulation in the nuclear power sector as new nuclear plants are built across the country, state media reported. Officials said the law will give more powers to the regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), and establish new systems that will improve the disclosure of information on issues like radiation, and prevent or minimise risks from nuclear accidents. China is in the middle of an ambitious reactor building programme aimed at bringing total nuclear capacity to 58 GW by the end of the decade, up from around 31 GW now. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, China has 38 nuclear units in commercial operation and 19 under construction. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said weak and opaque governance has long been seen as an industry problem in China, especially when it comes to determining the precise roles of the government, the military and state-owned nuclear enterprises on issues such as the handling of nuclear materials and the disposal of spent fuel. Mark Hibbs, senior fellow of the Nuclear Policy Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said China had until now not addressed the legal authority of the NNSA, a relatively under-resourced division of China’s environment ministry. “People outside of China will commend and applaud the passage of legislation that empowers legally, without any doubts, the regulator to be responsible and to be authoritative,” Mr Hibbs said.


Finland Plans Phaseout Of Coal With Nuclear To Help Fill Gap

04.09.2017 - NucNet News
Finland will introduce legislation in 2018 to phase out coal and increase carbon taxes with additional nuclear capacity from two new reactors offering an alternative fuel source, a government official has said. Riku Huttunen, director-general of Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, told Reuters that the current strategy is to get rid of coal by 2030 and that the process will be started by legislation due next year. According to the International Energy Agency, Finland is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – with coal producing about 10% of the country’s consumption. To cope with the gap left by coal, Finland will have to increase the amount of energy produced from other fuel sources, Mr Huttunen was quoted as saying. Nuclear power could take up the slack as two new reactors – the Olkiluoto-3 EPR and the Russia-supplied Hanhikivi-1– are scheduled to come online in 2018 and 2024. Finland wants to increase its energy security by relying less on imports. Around 70% of coal is imported from Russia. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Finland’s four existing nuclear units at Olkiluoto and Loviisa accounted for almost 34% of electricity production in 2016.


Three Investors Interested In Bulgaria’s Stalled Belene Project, Says Minister

01.09.2017 - NucNet News
Three companies have expressed interest in investing in Bulgaria’s stalled Belene nuclear power station project, the country’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova was quoted as saying by local media. Ms Petkova did not name the companies, but said more details could be disclosed later this month when preliminary results of analysis by the Bulgarian Academy of Science of the need for new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria are expected to be available. According to Ms Petkova, the Bulgarian government still insists that the Belene project in northern Bulgaria should only be completed “on a market basis” without the involvement of state guarantees or long-term electricity purchase contracts. Since 2016 Bulgaria has been considering reviving the Belene project, after the country paid €600m ($715m) in compensation to Russia and assumed ownership of reactor components which had already been manufactured before the cancellation of the Belene project in 2012. Earlier this month Ms Petkova said Bulgaria plans to start a privatisation procedure for Belene in early 2018.


Study Examines Thyroid Cancer Cases Around Belgian Nuclear Sites

01.09.2017 - NucNet News
Interim results of a study by the Belgian Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP) have shown that the number of new cases of thyroid cancer within a 20-km radius around the Tihange and Doel nuclear power stations is not higher than the average recorded for Flanders, Wallonia, and the Brussels capital region, Belgium’s constituent federal units. In a statement the WIV-ISP said the study found a “slightly higher” occurrence of new cases of thyroid cancer around the Fleurus and Mol-Dessel nuclear sites, which host isotope manufacturing, fuel manufacturing, research, and waste handling facilities. The statement said the study was carried out in 2016 with Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) and the Cancer Registry Foundation and covered the period from 2000 to 2014. The main objective of the study was to provide epidemiological data and not to look for a causal link between the observed cases of thyroid cancer and the presence of nuclear installations, the WIV-ISP said. The WIV-ISP also said it will analyse in the coming months cases of thyroid cancer and acute leukaemia in children within a 20-km area around Belgium’s nuclear sites and nuclear power stations. Final results are expected in mid-2018. Details online: http://bit.ly/2wsnSlP



UK’s Withdrawal From EU And Euratom Will Hit Fusion Research, Says Eurofusion Head

28.08.2017 - NucNet News
UK prime minister Theresa May is risking the development of fusion energy by putting up a “new political wall” between researchers, the programme manager for European fusion Research (Eurofusion) told The Independent. Professor Tony Donné said Brexit and the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU’s Euratom atomic agency would mean a “strong negative impact” on fusion research. Eurofusion is the umbrella organisation of Europe’s fusion research laboratories. UK and EU scientists are collaborating under the Eurofusion programme to be the first to make a major breakthrough on fusion technology, which mimics processes at the core of the sun and promises a new era of clean, safe and cheap energy. Prof Donné told The Independent that Brexit had “only losers in fusion research”. He defended EU free movement as a way of harnessing the collective knowledge needed to make its success a reality. One project Prof Donné claims is immediately threatened when the UK falls out of Euratom and the EU is the Joint European Torus (Jet) scheme hosted in the UK at Culham near Oxford. According to Eurofusion, researchers, engineers and technicians working at Jet come from all over Europe and Jet operations receive funding of €69m, 87.5% of which is provided by the European Commission and 12.5% by the UK. Jet is the only existing fusion device capable of operating with the deuterium-tritium fuel, which will be the fusion fuel of the future. The interview is online: http://ind.pn/2gfoerW



Production Tax Credits Should Be Extended For New Nuclear, Says US Report

25.08.2017 - NucNet News
The US government’s production tax credit (PTC) should be extended to apply to new nuclear power plants which come into service on or before 31 December 2020, which would ensure two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being built at Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s Vogtle site in Georgia could benefit, even if future delays arise, a report says. The report, produced by retired navy commander Kirk Lippold for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, says an extension of the PTC would be a critically important step in remedying the imbalance in the energy landscape and supporting the future of advanced light-water nuclear projects. Given the significance that nuclear technology holds for US energy and national security, continued and expanded support for the nuclear industry must be enshrined as part of national security policy for the foreseeable future, the report says. According to the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the 2005 Energy Policy Act provided a PTC of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by new nuclear power plants. The tax credit is available only for the first 6,000 MW of new nuclear generating capacity, and lasts only for the first eight years of operation. The NEI said that compared to the limited PTC available to new nuclear plants, renewable energy sources receive “several more generous tax credits and cash grants”. The US House of Representatives passed a bill extending the PTC in June 2017, but the Senate has not yet taken up the issue. ‘Nuclear Energy, the Production Tax Credit, and International Security: A Report to the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council’ is online: http://bit.ly/2wamwMn


US Nuclear Industry Says Report Acknowledges Longstanding Calls For Reform

25.08.2017 - NucNet News
The US nuclear energy industry has welcomed a Department of Energy (DOE) report on electricity markets and reliability, saying it acknowledges longstanding calls to reform electricity markets in response to changing conditions. “The DOE is to be commended for a reasoned assessment of the challenges facing our electricity system in a changing marketplace, including to the attributes of reliability, resilience, fuel diversity and affordability,” Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) vice-president of policy development and public affairs John Kotek said on 24 August 2017. “Nuclear energy is the linchpin for all of these attributes, while also providing steady production of around-the-clock clean electricity.” Maria Korsnick, the NEI’s president and chief executive officer, said the DOE report reaffirms the industry’s view that nuclear energy is a necessary contributor to a clean, reliable and resilient electric grid. “In the 10 years since the last comprehensive grid study electricity markets have changed radically,” Ms Korsnick said. “Today electricity markets do not properly credit nuclear energy for the benefits it delivers, forcing plants to close years before the end of their useful lives and compromising grid reliability and resiliency in the process.” Ms Korsnick called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to implement the study’s recommendations to value resiliency and other undervalued attributes that nuclear energy delivers to the grid. She noted that in just the past year New York and Illinois have acted to preserve nuclear plants. “States are engaging because FERC has been so slow to act on flaws in price formation. The situation is dire, plants are closing – now is the time to act,” Ms Korsnick said. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2v8Z84H


Changing Market And Policy Forces Are Leading To Nuclear Shutdowns, Says US Report

25.08.2017 - NucNet News
Changing market and policy forces are challenging the US electricity system resulting in increased premature shutdowns of a significant number of baseload nuclear plants, which could harm the overall reliability and resilience of the national electric grid, a report by the Department of Energy (DOE) says. The ‘Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability’, commissioned by energy secretary Rick Perry, says those forces include unprecedentedly low natural gas prices, low electricity demand growth and increased use of variable solar and wind due to various regulations and mandates at the state and federal levels. These are creating unintended consequences for all electricity generators but particularly baseload plants. “Ultimately, the continued closure of traditional baseload power plants calls for a comprehensive strategy for long-term reliability and resilience,” the report says. “A continual comprehensive regional and national review is needed to determine how a portfolio of domestic energy resources can be developed to ensure grid reliability and resilience.” The report calls for federal and regional authorities to work to create market conditions and price signals that will value and compensate new and existing essential reliability services, bulk power system resilience and fuel diversity. It recommends several actions for the DOE, including focusing its research and development on improving system reliability and resilience, implementing programmes to retain and develop the national electricity workforce, and implementing the White House’s executive order to promote energy independence. The report also calls on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to carry out its safety mission “without unnecessarily adding to the operating costs and economic uncertainty of nuclear energy” and asks for nuclear safety rules to be revisited using a risk-based approach. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2v8Z84H



Ambassador Criticises ‘Media Paranoia’ About Chinese Investment In Britain

23.08.2017 - NucNet News
China’s ambassador to Great Britain has criticised the media’s “confusing mixture of paranoia about so-called threats of Chinese investment to UK's national security”. In an article in the state-run China Daily, Liu Xiaoming said the Hinkley Point nuclear project, partly financed by the Chinese company CGN, is expected to create 26,000 jobs and, upon completion, reduce nine million tonnes of carbon emission every year. He said media exaggerations about China’s appetite to “buy out Britain”, and of the need for protection against investment from China, are “groundless and harmful”. Mr Li said investment from China will not and cannot pose a threat to the UK's national security. He said Chinese investment in Britain is made through fair and transparent procedures, and mainly focuses on civil and livelihood-related areas. In key infrastructure projects such as nuclear plants, Chinese investors have been widely recognised to have strictly adhered to British laws and regulations in environment, health and security, and fulfilled their corporate social responsibility. In July 2017 a poll carried out for a pro-nuclear organisation in the UK showed that foreign investment and foreign technology in nuclear power plants would be acceptable to most people provided such a project was led by a British/EU consortium, rather than under foreign control. The poll was commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe, a pro-nuclear group founded by former UK shadow energy minister Tim Yeo. The results revealed that 56% disapproved of a proposed Chinese/French-led development at Bradwell, Essex, which would use Chinese reactor technology..


Philippine Delegation Visits IAEA To Discuss Nuclear Legislation

21.08.2017 - NucNet News
A delegation from the Philippines visited International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna to discuss the importance of joining and implementing international legal instruments related to nuclear energy. The IAEA said the visit, part of the IAEA’s legislative assistance programme, highlighted the significance of having comprehensive national legislation in place to ensure the safety of activities involving nuclear technology in electricity production, medicine, industry, agriculture and many other areas. The delegation was composed of members of Congress and those involved in overseeing nuclear activities in the southeast Asian country. The Philippines has no commercial nuclear plants. The Bataan nuclear station, about 100 km northwest of the capital Manila, has a single Westinghouse pressurised water reactor that was completed over 20 years ago but has never operated. Work on the unit was halted in 1985 when a number of contractual disputes arose between the Philippine government and Westinghouse. In 2008 the IAEA sent a team of experts to the Bataan plant to evaluate the state of the unit. Last year, after initially rejecting the use of nuclear energy in the Philippines, president Rodrigo Duterte reportedly approved plans to reactivate the mothballed facility.


Japan’s Regulator Approves Completion Of ‘Ice Wall’ At Fukushima-Daiichi

21.08.2017 - NucNet News
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has given the go-ahead for Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to freeze the remaining section of a “wall of ice” in the hope of blocking groundwater from entering the reactor buildings at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station. The NRA said Tepco could start the final freeze of a seven-metre section of the 1.5-kilometre long frozen underground soil wall on 22 August 2017, industry group the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) told NucNet. Jaif said it is not known if the move will prove effective in cutting the volume of groundwater mixing with radioactive water at the station, and it is expected to take months to completely freeze the final section. The government has spent about $318m (€270m) on the ice wall project, which began in March 2016 to help deal with about around 400 tonnes of contaminated water being produced daily. The project involves 1,568 pipes that were placed into the ground 30 meters deep around the four reactor buildings to circulate liquid at minus 30 degrees and freeze the soil around them. The underground ice wall is intended to block the groundwater from flowing into the reactor buildings. Jaif said groundwater entering the reactor buildings has been coming into contact with melted nuclear fuel and other debris from the March 2011 accident, resulting in an increasing amount of contaminated water.



Swiss Regulator Approves Plans For New Intermediate Storage Facility

17.08.2017 - NucNet News
Switzerland’s Federal Inspectorate of Nuclear Safety (ENSI) said on 17 August 2017 that a planned intermediate storage facility for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste (LILW) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) can be built and put into service, although conditions including higher seismic safety margins must be met. ENSI said the planned ‘Stapelplatz Ost’ building in Würenlingen, northern Switzerland, will be a low-risk facility that will be used until a deep geologic repository is available. PSI filed an application with the Federal Office of Energy in May 2014 for authorisation to build and operate the facility, which will hold waste from R&D and radioactive isotope applications in medicine and industry. Radioactive waste and used fuel from nuclear power plants is mostly stored at the central interim storage called Zwilag at Würenlingen, next to PSI. In February 2015 Switzerland’s national radioactive waste cooperative Nagra narrowed down candidate sites for the proposed repository to two areas, one in the eastern Jura region and another in northeast Zurich. Switzerland is planning two repositories, one for LILW and the other for HLW.


Bulgaria To Begin Privatisation Process For Stalled Belene In Early 2018, Says Minister

16.08.2017 - NucNet News
Bulgaria plans to start a privatisation procedure for the stalled Belene nuclear power station project with a tender process beginning in early 2018, the country’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova was quoted as saying in a statement by the ministry. Ms Petkova said the two-unit Belene project and all related assets will be separated from Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) into a new company, allowing for it to be sold. According to Ms Petkova, the Bulgarian government insists that the Belene project should only be completed “on a market basis” without the involvement of state guarantees or long-term electricity purchase contracts. She said the government must have a “clear vision” by the end of September 2017 of how best to use the reactor equipment produced for Belene by Russia. In June 2016, the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration (ICA) ordered NEK to pay €620m ($725m) to Russia’s Atomstroyexport for components which had already been manufactured before the cancellation of the Belene project in 2012. Bulgaria settled the compensation claim in December 2016 for €600m after an interest recalculation. Under the ICA’s ruling Bulgaria assumed ownership of the components. A nuclear station at Belene was originally planned by Bulgaria’s communist government in the 1980s, but was stopped in the early 1990s because of environmental and financial concerns. The project was revived in 2008, but formally abandoned in 2012 because of uncertainties about its financial viability. Since 2016 Bulgaria has been considering reviving the project.


Union Criticises UK Government Over Moorside ‘Stupor Of Inertia’

11.08.2017 - NucNet News
The “chaos” at Toshiba must shake the government out of its stupor of inertia and act to ensure the zero-carbon electricity the UK needs is produced at the planned Moorside nuclear station in Cumbria, northern England, the GMB union said on 10 August 2017. The union, which has more than 600,000 members in various sectors, was responding to news earlier this week that Toshiba had recorded an annual loss of $8.8bn (€6.7bn). Toshiba had delayed publishing its full-year results while auditors checked the financial impact of the collapse of its US-based nuclear developer Westinghouse, before finally revealing the loss for 2016 three months later than planned. The electronics giant has avoided being delisted from the Tokyo stock exchange for filing its accounts late, but its commitment to building the Moorside nuclear station remains in doubt, media reports said. Toshiba has full ownership of the NuGen consortium that plans to build and operate three Westinghouse AP1000 reactor units at Moorside, but Toshiba has said it will no longer serve as a contractor of engineering, procurement and construction for overseas nuclear projects. GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said: "The fact that Toshiba – a major investor on a vital UK energy project – has published such a dire set of results highlights once again the sheer folly of leaving it to a foreign company to keep Britain’s lights on. According to NuGen Moorside is set to deliver 7% of the UK’s electricity from 2025.


Think-Tank Warns Trump On Future Of US Nuclear Industry

11.08.2017 - NucNet News
The Trump administration must urgently begin a conversation with energy experts and industry on steps to restore and expand the US commercial nuclear energy sector, an essay published by a Washington think-tank says. The essay, by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Mark Hibbs, highlights the US strategic interests at stake in US nuclear energy supply to overseas markets and identifies the factors that are increasingly leading to a decline in US nuclear leadership. Among these factors are the rise of Russian and Chinese state-owned nuclear enterprises – and aggressive moves on their part to export their reactors – especially to countries just beginning to enter the nuclear marketplace, Mr Hibbs says. One of the more pernicious aspects contributing to the rise of these countries’ nuclear ambitions is their state-backed financing and political dealmaking – a strategy clearly calculated to do more than merely export technology, but to also expand their influence overseas at the expense of the US and its allies. “Rosatom, the flagship of Russia’s nuclear power industry, as of 2015 claimed to have agreements in hand to build 34 nuclear power plants in 13 countries, including firm contracts worth $110bn [€93bn] … Beijing’s leading champion, the China National Nuclear Corporation, predicts that by 2030 China will build nearly one-third of the 100 power reactors that will be exported in the world,” Mr Hibbs says. The essay, ‘Does The US Nuclear Industry Have A Future?’ is online: http://ceip.org/2uwW3aa


Swiss Authorities Issue Warning Over INES Level 2 Air Transport Incident

10.08.2017 - NucNet News
Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health has obtained passenger lists for two flights that carried a package containing a used radioactive source from Egypt to Belgium and has warned “the relevant national authorities”, the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said in a statement on 9 August 2017. The used radioactive source was discovered not to have been sealed in a primary container intended to limit radiation. On 25 July 2017 Fanc said the incident had been provisionally rated as Level 2 on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). Fanc has now confirmed that a Belgian passenger was on one of the flights, but has been contacted by authorities who assured him his exposure would have no significant health effects. Fanc said passengers in the immediate vicinity of the package, which was in the cargo hold on both flights, may have been exposed to doses that could cause health effects, along with ground handlers and a Belgian truck driver working for the carrier who delivered the package. Fanc said it could not account for any possible exposures in Egypt, where the package originated. From Egypt the package was transferred via Zurich, Switzerland, to the airport at Zaventem in Belgium where it was in temporary storage from 13 July 2017 to 25 July 2017. NTP Radioisotopes received the package on 25 July 2017. NTP Radioisotopes is a Belgian company, based in Fleurus, specialising in the production of radioactive industrial sources that can be used for industrial gammagraphy.


Romania And China Want Cernavodă Negotiations Finished By End Of Year, Says Minister

10.08.2017 - NucNet News
Romania’s minister of energy, Toma Petcu, said Romanian authorities want to conclude this year the negotiations with the Chinese for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Cernavodă nuclear power station. In a social media post Mr Petcu said he had met the Chinese ambassador and they had agreed that both Romania and China want the negotiations to be accelerated and finalised by the end of the year. In July 2014, reactor manufacturer Candu Energy of Canada said it had signed an exclusive and binding agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), to cooperate on the construction of the two units, both of the Candu-6 type. In November 2015, Romanian nuclear power operator Nuclearelectrica and CGN signed a memorandum of understanding on the development, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of Cernavodă-3 and -4. In July, the Romanian government adopted a memorandum for the construction of the units, allowing negotiations to continue with CGN.


CEO Of Spain’s Endesa Calls For Clear Strategy On Coal And Nuclear

07.08.2017 - NucNet News
The future of Spain’s coal and nuclear plants can only be decided by the establishment of a clear energy strategy to which producers can adhere, the chief executive officer of Spain's second-largest utility, Endesa, said. According to Madrid-based industry group Foro Nuclear, José Bogas said Spain needs nuclear energy and that Endesa, which is owned by Italy's Enel, would play its part in the development of the strategic mix for the future. He said he believed nuclear, where the potential extension of operating licences is under debate, should remain in the mix until at least 2040. Mr Burgos warned that there were pitfalls associated with any nuclear closures. Spain has established a working group to aid its transition to a carbon-free state by 2050. Earmier this month Spain’s ministry of energy said it would not renew the operating licence for the single-unit Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power station near Burgos, northern Spain. The station is co-owned by Endesa with with competitor Iberdrola. The ministry said it decided not to renew the licence after studying opinions submitted by various stakeholders including institutions, associations and companies, and taking into consideration the Spanish government's energy and climate plans. The ministry said decisions on the future of Spain’s other reactors are pending. Garoña began commercial operation in 1971. Without it, Spain has seven reactor units in commercial operation, which provided 21% of its electricity in 2016.


Can India Maintain Its Ambitious Push For New Nuclear?

07.08.2017 - NucNet News
ndia’s economy, already the world’s third-largest, is growing rapidly and policies are in place to press ahead with the country’s modernisation and an expansion of its manufacturing. If a well-managed expansion of energy supply can be achieved, the prize in terms of improved welfare and quality of life for India’s 1.3 billion people is huge – first and foremost for the estimated 200 million that have no access to electricity.


African Nations Get IAEA Help On Regulatory Frameworks
07.08.2017 - NucNet News
Legal and regulatory experts from 20 African countries attended an International Atomic Energy Agency workshop on legal frameworks for the regulation of radiation sources in medicine, industry, research and other areas. The workshop allowed the IAEA and representatives from African countries to assess the status of national legal frameworks and to discuss and coordinate the activities to support them in establishing, updating and improving national legislation governing the safe and secure uses of nuclear energy and ionising radiation. The IAEA said it also allowed participants to identify steps towards gaining better understanding of the international legal instruments adopted under the auspices of the IAEA. The workshop was part of IAEA’s legislative assistance programme. The United Nations estimates that some 600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity, a figure that will require $55bn (€46bn) per year in investment by 2030 to fix. The continent’s only commercial nuclear station is the two-unit Koeberg in South Africa. Details online: http://bit.ly/2hBJckU


UK Academy Offers Cyber Security Courses For Nuclear Industry

04.08.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN) has developed two courses in cyber and information security for the nuclear industry to help nuclear companies train their staff to deal with rising cyber threats and information security breaches. NSAN said the courses have been developed with input from nuclear organisations. They cover cyber and information security from an individual employee’s perspective, effective information security management strategies and systems, and legal and regulatory requirements. Details online: http://bit.ly/2vyyMsB


Support For Nuclear In UK Remains Stable, Says Gov’t Survey

04.08.2017 - NucNet News
A UK government tracking survey on the public’s attitude to various energy sources has shown that support for nuclear power is has remained fairly stable with 35% in favour and 21% opposed, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement on 3 August 2017. Those with an annual household income of £50,000 (€55,000) or more (46%), males (45%), those aged over 65 (43%), and those in social grade AB (42%) were the most likely to support the use of nuclear energy. Four in 10 (41%) indicated that they neither support nor oppose the use of nuclear energy. On the issue of radioactive waste, 15% said they knew a lot or a fair amount about the way the UK manages radioactive waste, whilst 85% knew not very much or nothing at all. These results are consistent with other previous surveys. More than four in 10 claimed to have some knowledge of geological disposal facilities.


Nuclear Technology Can Help Pacific Islanders With Health And Agriculture, Says IAEA’s Amano
02.08.2017 - NucNet News
Nuclear technology can help Pacific islands in a range of areas, including health, agriculture and the environment, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano told the 10th Conference of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia. Last month, the IAEA and the SPC signed an agreement in Vienna to provide nuclear technology to the Pacific region, initially in support of increasing food security and improving nutrition. The agreement also aims to help the region manage land sustainably and adapt to climate change and its effects on agriculture. The IAEA said nuclear-derived techniques can be applied to measure and monitor ocean acidification and help identify the sources of pollution in the sea – essential information for populations that rely heavily on the sea for their food and income. Nuclear technology can also help countries struggling with limited land space to better manage their water resources through smart agriculture and to develop new crops that are resistant to salty soil. Details online: http://bit.ly/2uV8cbw


Spain’s Garoña To Shut Down Permanently After Ministry Blocks Restart

02.08.2017 - NucNet News
Spain’s ministry of energy will not renew the operating licence for the single-unit Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power station near Burgos, northern Spain, according to a statement on the ministry’s website. The ministry said it decided not to renew the licence after studying opinions submitted by various stakeholders including institutions, associations and companies, and taking into consideration the Spanish government's energy and climate plans. The statement said no significant impact on Spain’s electricity supply had been seen since the 446-MW boiling water reactor was initially shut down at the end of 2012. Garoña was shut down by owner Nuclenor six months before its operational licence was due to expire and was never restarted. At the time, Nuclenor, which is jointly owned by Spain’s two largest utilities, Iberdrola and Endesa, blamed the shutdown on a tax on energy production and spent nuclear fuel that it said would have made the plant economically unviable. In May 2014, Nuclenor submitted a request to renew the operating licence after a change in law allowed nuclear power stations that have shut down for reasons not related to safety to restart. In February 2017, Spain’s regulator conditionally approved the restart, but said a number of additional activities had to be carried out before the energy ministry could give final approval. The ministry said it will now approve Garoña’s decommissioning. Spanish nuclear industry group Foro Nuclear said it considers the government’s refusal as a “specific, one-off decision”, which does not question the operation of the rest of Spain’s nuclear fleet. Foro Nuclear said nuclear energy plays a key role as the first among all electricity generation sources in Spain’s electricity mix and is free of greenhouse gas emissions. The energy ministry said decisions on the future of Spain’s other reactors are pending. Garoña began commercial operation in 1971. Without it, Spain has seven reactor units in commercial operation, which provided 21% of its electricity in 2016.

 


Latvia Is Against Belarusian Nuclear Station Legislation, Says Foreign Minister
27
.07.2017 - NucNet News

Latvia’s government does not plan to introduce legislation that prohibits the purchase of electricity produced by the Belarusian nuclear power plant under construction at Ostrovets, Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said. Mr Rinkēvičs was responding to the introduction of a law in May 2017 in Lithuania that prevents the country using electricity generated by the Belarusian station. In a statement posted on the government’s website, Mr Rinkēvičs said: "We are interested in the Belarusian nuclear station meeting all the highest safety standards. The whole region is interested in this, including Belarus itself. But we do not think that we can follow the path of adopting special bills that prohibit the purchase of electricity produced in an unsafe manner.” Mr Rinkēvičs said he intends to discuss the issue of the Belarusian station with his Belarusian colleagues and experts, instead of making “loud statements”. Mr Rinkēvičs said Latvia wants experts and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and possibly the European Union, to look at the entire construction process and give their opinions. Earlier this month, in comments that appeared to be directly aimed at Lithuania, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said “foreign partners” were welcome to visit the Belarusian nuclear power station. Mr Lukashenko said some of Belarus’ neighbours are not comfortable with the facility. In April 2013 the United Nations said Belarus had failed to comply fully with its obligations under the Espoo Convention on transboundary planning when it announced in September 2011 that it had chosen the Ostrovets site, close to the country’s northern borders with Lithuania and Latvia, for construction of the Belarusian station. Lithuania objected to the facility and said its objections and requests for information had not been taken into account or had only been partially answered during the transboundary environmental impact assessment procedure. Lithuania recently renewed its long-held opposition to the station by passing a law against buying its electricity. There are two 1,109-MW Russian VVER-1200 reactor units under construction at the Belarusian nuclear station. Construction of Unit 1 began in November 2013 and of Unit 2 in April 2014. According to recent media reports, first fuel will be loaded at Unit 1 in the first quarter of 2019.


IAEA Holds Pilot Course For Future Nuclear Professionals
26.07.2017 - NucNet News
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is holding its first one-week course on nuclear and radiological leadership for safety aimed at junior and middle management nuclear professionals. The course, to be held from 30 October to 3 November 2017 at the Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, is a pilot for the IAEA’s newly developed International School of Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety. The school aims to help early to midcareer nuclear and radiation professionals advance their safety leadership skills. The application deadline is 25 August 2017. Details: http://bit.ly/2vIiOsG


Japan Ready For Nuclear Exports To India As Agreement Comes Into Force
21
.07.2017 - NucNet News

A civil nuclear agreement signed between India and Japan in November 2016 came into force on 20 July 2017, allowing Japan to export nuclear power plant technology and provide finance for nuclear power plants in India. Media reports in India said Japan would also help India with nuclear waste management and could jointly manufacture nuclear power plant components in India. India is the only Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory with which Japan has entered into a civil nuclear agreement. India has ambitious plans for nuclear growth. In May 2017 it approved the construction of 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) with a total installed capacity of 7,000 MW (gross). The government said India has installed nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW (gross) from 22 commercially operational plants. Another 6,700 MW (gross) is expected to come online by 2021-22 through projects already under construction. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, India has five units under construction. Former US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced last year that engineering and design work would begin for Westinghouse to build six AP1000s in India in a deal that was expected to be signed by June 2017. Westinghouse has since filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, but told NucNet: “We continue to pursue the India bids as they were structured in a manner that does not include construction risk.” The Economic Times of India said on 20 July 2017 that Westinghouse will supply the technology, but construction will be carried out by an Indian partner.


EC Approves Belgium’s State Guarantee Plan For Nuclear Compensation
18.07.2017 - NucNet News
The European Commission (EC) has concluded that the Belgian state guarantee for nuclear operators that do not find sufficient civil liability coverage on private insurance markets does not involve state aid because it would improve compensation for potential victims without granting any advantage to operators. In a statement on 14 July 2017, the EC said nuclear operators are obliged to financially secure their liability towards victims. They do so mostly by taking insurance on the private insurance market. However, it is expected that some nuclear damage cannot be covered by the nuclear insurance market. Belgium will put in place a state guarantee scheme to cover any nuclear damage that cannot be covered by private insurance. Under this scheme, the nuclear operator will pay an annual premium to benefit from the state guarantee. The EC found that, in the case of Belgium, the premium to be paid by the nuclear operators to benefit from the state guarantee was set at such a level that it will not give them an economic advantage. The EC also found that the premium is expensive enough to avoid crowding out the private insurance market – there are sufficient incentives for private players to develop competitive offers to replace the need for the State guarantee. In December 2016, Belgium adopted a law to improve compensation for potential victims of a nuclear incident. This law aims to ensure Belgium’s compliance with the amended Paris Convention on nuclear third party liability from the moment the Convention enters into force. Under the Belgian law, the liable nuclear operator would have to compensate victims up to €1.2bn ($1.3bn) for up to 30 years after a nuclear incident occurred. The compensation would cover injuries to people and property damage, as well as environmental damage, economic losses and the cost of preventive measures taken by the Belgian State in the aftermath of an incident. The EC said the Belgian state guarantee aims to improve compensation of victims of a nuclear incident, without granting any economic advantage to nuclear operators. Details online: http://bit.ly/2vdEDzX


IAEA Urges Italy To Assign ‘High Priority’ To National Radwaste Repository Project
14
.07.2017 - NucNet News

All those involved in the planning and construction of a proposed national radioactive waste repository in Italy should assign “high priority” to its siting and completion by 2025 as planned, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on 13 July 2017. The agency said Sogin, the state-owned company responsible for the decommissioning and radioactive waste-management programme, should improve its planning and risk-management processes related to uncertainties typical of complex decommissioning projects. The IAEA’s Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (Artemis) team said Italy is committed to the safe and effective decommissioning of nuclear sites and management of associated radioactive waste. It urged Rome-based Sogin to continue to “strive to develop innovative solutions to address technical challenges”. Italy was a pioneer in nuclear power and commissioned its first nuclear power plants in the early 1960s. After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, Italy phased out nuclear power and for several years has been engaged in decommissioning its four nuclear power reactors and associated nuclear fuel-cycle facilities. Plans for waste management include the development of a national radioactive waste repository for the disposal of low- and medium-level waste and the interim storage of high-level waste. Details online: http://bit.ly/2tTf0nO


EC Paper Highlights Complexities Of Euratom Withdrawal, Says UK Industry Group
14
.07.2017 - NucNet News

A position paper published by the European Commission on Euratom highlights “just some” of the issues the UK government’s decision to withdraw from the treaty has created and makes it clear the UK will not be part of Euratom when it withdraws from the EU, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the London-based Nuclear Industry Association, said. The position paper, released on 13 July 2017, looks at the issue of nuclear material and safeguard equipment. It says that on the date of withdrawal, the UK should undertake “all obligations currently incumbent on the Community”. Mr Greatrex said the complexity of the issue is clear from the paper and while resolving safeguarding matters and the ownership of fissile nuclear material before March 2019 is a critical one, it is just the first of a series of issues that must be resolved. “In parallel with this intricate negotiation, the government needs to establish a new UK safeguarding regime, replicate the current trading arrangement with the Euratom Community, ratify new nuclear cooperation agreements with key nuclear markets outside of Euratom, establish a new funding regime for the UK to continue its involvement in world-leading nuclear research and development, and ensure the mobility of nuclear specific skills to and from the UK,” Mr Greatrex said. He said the commission makes it clear that the UK will not be part of Euratom “on the date of withdrawal” from the EU. He said: “The clock is ticking and there is still time for the government to review their exiting Euratom position and explore the alternative options available, including associate membership or at the very least a transitional period to avoid the cliff edge scenario both the government and industry want to avoid.” The position paper is online: http://bit.ly/2tanU3f


Poll Indicates UK Public Are Wary Of Foreign Control Of New Nuclear
13
.07.2017 - NucNet News

A poll carried out for a pro-nuclear organisation in the UK shows that foreign investment and foreign technology in nuclear power plants would be acceptable to most people provided such a project is led by a British/EU consortium, rather than under foreign control. The online poll, released on 12 July 2017 was commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE), a pro-nuclear group founded by former UK shadow energy minister Tim Yeo. The results reveal that 17% approved and 54% disapproved of the planned South Korean-led nuclear station at Moorside, Cumbria, with South Korean technology, and 17% approved and 56% disapproved of a Chinese/French-led development at Bradwell, Essex, with Chinese technology. The poll of 1,648 adults found that 56% of people support the continued use of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, with 25% opposing it and 19% having no opinion. It found that 40% were in favour of the construction of EDF Energy’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, with 22% opposing it, 21% neutral on the issue and 17% saying that they did not know. Corresponding figures from a similar poll in April 2016 showed only 33% of respondents in favour of Hinkley Point C, NNWE said. The poll found that nuclear was the favoured power source to provide baseload nuclear power for renewable generation, with 40% of respondents in the poll choosing nuclear for this purpose, 9% natural gas and 4% coal-fired power, 2% chose oil and 19% other power sources, while 28% of respondents were unsure. NNWE is funded by nuclear industry participants, including Russia’s Rosatom, South Korea’s Kepco, Laing O’Rourke, Fluor, GF Nuclear and Moltex Energy.


President Says ‘Foreign Partners’ Can Check Safety Of Belarusian Nuclear Station
13
.07.2017 - NucNet News 
In comments that appeared to be directly aimed at Lithuania, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said “foreign partners” are welcome to visit the Belarusian nuclear power station under construction in Ostrovets. Mr Lukashenko said Belarus would not refuse entry to foreign partners who want to visit the station and “check its safety”. The state-owned Belarusian Telegraph Agency said Mr Lukashenko made the comments on 11 July 2017 at a meeting to discuss Belarus’ foreign policy priorities. He said the Belarusian nuclear station is a strategic initiative aimed at strengthening the country’s independence and energy security. “Some of our neighbours are not comfortable with it,” the president said. “I would like to invite those who want to know about the facility’s safety to visit the plant.” In April 2013 the United Nations said Belarus failed to comply fully with its obligations under the Espoo Convention on transboundary planning when it announced in September 2011 that it had chosen the Ostrovets site, close to the border with Lithuania, for construction of the Belarusian nuclear station. Lithuania objected to the facility and said its objections and requests for information had not been taken into account or had only been partially answered during the transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) rocedure. Lithuania said Belarus had failed to properly complete the EIA while going ahead with preparatory work for the station. In May 2017, Lithuania renewed its long-held opposition to the station by passing a law against buying its electricity. According to media reports, at a meeting of Espoo Convention signatories, also in May 2017, Lithuania again raised its claims that Belarus is violating the Espoo Convention. There are two 1,109-MW Russian VVER-1200 reactor units under construction at the Belarusian nuclear station. Construction of Unit 1 began in November 2013 and of Unit 2 in April 2014. According too recent media reports, first fuel will be loaded at Unit 1 in the first quarter of 2019.


Position Paper Confirms UK Will Quit Euratom Nuclear Treaty
13
.07.2017 - NucNet News

The UK’s Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has published a position paper on the UK’s stance on the European atomic energy community (Euratom), saying the UK would quit the treaty but seek to work with Euratom’s member countries to ensure a “smooth transition” to a new regime of nuclear cooperation and safeguards. The position paper resists calls for a rethink on withdrawal and says leaving Euratom is an inevitable consequence of triggering article 50 and proceeding to Brexit – a position shared by the European negotiators. The position paper, published on 13 July 2017, shows the government is not changing course from its decision in January to leave the treaty, despite warnings this week that doing so could undermine safety, affect investment in new nuclear and research, and threaten the supply of radioactive isotopes. Politicians and the nuclear industry have urged ministers to consider an associate membership, an option that does not appear in the paper. The position paper says that as part of the UK’s “orderly withdrawal”, and to provide certainty to industry and reassurance to all, it is important to work through certain issues in the initial phases of discussion. Those issues include nuclear safeguards arrangements and the provision of legal certainty on immediate issues related to nuclear material in both the UK and Euratom. The nuclear industry said ministers had failed to give the sector enough clarity to date on the government’s plans regarding Euratom. “While containing very little detail, the UK government’s position paper demonstrates the complexity of replicating Euratom arrangements in UK regulation and cooperation agreements with third countries which the industry has warned of,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the London-based Nuclear Industry Association. The position paper is online: http://bit.ly/2t6t9kl


French Regulator Highlights ‘Worrying’ Context Of Latest Safety Report
12
.07.2017 - NucNet News
France’s nuclear regulator ASN said its latest report into operational safety comes in “a worrying context” with state-controlled nuclear group Areva, CEA (the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and state-controlled utility EDF experiencing economic or financial difficulties and undergoing reorganisation. Major nuclear industry projects such as the Flamanville-3 EPR, the Cigéo deep geological repository, the Jules Horowitz material test reactor and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), are falling behind schedule, the report says. The report, published on 12 July 2017, says operational safety of basic nuclear installations in France remained at “a good level” in 2016, although radiation protection still needs vigilance, particularly in the medical field, which saw four Level 2 incidents on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). ASN said 2016 was marked by the discovery of anomalies in the composition of steel in steam generators from 18 operating reactors. ASN said it had authorised the restart of these reactors, subject to limitations on their operating conditions. ASN said Areva completed a review into the quality of manufacturing at its Le Creusot forge factory. The review found manufacturing irregularities including the suspected falsification of test reports and examinations. These irregularities led to the shutdown of Fessenheim-2 and the extension of a shutdown at Gravelines-5. The report is online (French only): http://bit.ly/2sPCFEi


UK Reports On Euratom ‘Very Concerning’, Says Nuclear Industry Body
12
.07.2017 - NucNet News 
Reports in the UK media that there was no impact assessment undertaken by the government before deciding to trigger leaving Euratom are “very concerning”, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association, said. Mr Greatrex said that while the industry has provided the government with detailed information to help it understand the role of Euratom, it has also repeatedly been made clear to the government that the industry’s preferred position is to retain membership of Euratom. He said: “It is important now that the government ensures there is regular and constant dialogue with the industry, so they can understand the full consequences of decisions they will take over the period ahead.” The Guardian newspaper reported on 12 July 2017 that a ruling Conservative Party revolt over prime minster Theresa May’s plan to withdraw from the Euratom nuclear treaty has grown, with the possibility that Mrs May has no majority for the move. The government insists that leaving Euratom is an inevitable consequence of triggering article 50 and proceeding to Brexit – a position shared by the European negotiators. However, around a dozen Conservative MPs are pushing for the government to fight harder for the UK to stay in Euratom, which oversees the movement of nuclear materials across Europe. Trudy Harrison, a Conservative MP representing Copeland, the constituency of the Sellafield nuclear site, said leaving the Euratom treaty without quickly replicating its benefits could risk jobs and safety. The opposition Labour Party said Britain should remain in Euratom, adding it is increasingly clear that the government acted “recklessly” by giving up on membership of Euratom.


France Could Shut Up To 17 Reactors In Bid To Meet 50% Nuclear Share, Says Hulot
11
.07.2017 - NucNet News
France may permanently shut up to 17 nuclear reactor units by 2025 to achieve its target of reducing the share of nuclear power in the generation mix from around 75% to 50%, environment minister Nicolas Hulot said in an interview with radio network RTL on 10 July 2017. “When it was confirmed that the share of nuclear would be 50%, everyone understood that to achieve this objective we would need to close a number of reactors,” Mr Hulot said. “It may be up to 17 reactors we have to look at.” Mr Hulot said on 6 July 2017 that the new administration of president Emmanuel Macron wants to meet the country’s commitment to reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity output to 50% by 2025. Unveiling proposals for the country’s energy transition, Mr Hulot said cutting electricity generated by nuclear power remained France’s objective. The 50% target was set by the August 2015 energy transition law. According to International Atomic Energy Agency statistics, France’s 58 commercial nuclear units accounted for 72.28% of the country’s electricity mix in 2016, down from 77.5% in 2014. In his interview with RTL Mr Hulot did not name the units that would shut.



IEA Reports Warns On Slowdown Of Nuclear Investment Decisions
11.07.2017 - NucNet News
The sanctioning of new low-carbon generation has stalled because expected generation from wind and solar capacity has been almost entirely offset by the slowdown in nuclear and hydropower investment decisions, which declined by more than 50% over the last five years, a report by the International Energy Agency says. The ‘World Energy Investment 2017’ report, published on 11 July 2017, says investment in new low-carbon generation, including nuclear, needs to increase just to keep pace with growth in electricity demand growth. It says there is “considerable scope” for more clean energy innovation spending by governments and, in particular, by the private sector. The 10 GW of nuclear power capacity that came online in 2016 was the highest in over 15 years, but it results from investment decision taken years ago. In 2016, only 3 GW of nuclear capacity started construction, mostly in China. This was 60% lower than the average of the previous decade. Total energy investment worldwide in 2016 was just over $1.7 trillion, accounting for 2.2% of global GDP. Investment was down by 12% compared to the IEA’s revised 2015 energy investment estimate of $1.9 trillion. According to the report, government policies and new business models are having “a profound impact” on the way investment in electricity supply is funded. In 2016, 94% of global power generation investment was made by companies operating under fully regulated revenues or regulatory mechanisms to manage the revenue risk associated with variable wholesale market pricing. In a report last month the IEA said 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. Details online: http://bit.ly/2t9EV8Y


French Regulator Begins Public Consultation Into Flamanville-3 RPV Anomalies
10
.07.2017 - NucNet News
France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has begun a public consultation on its draft opinion concerning anomalies in the composition of steel used in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for the Flamanville-3 EPR unit under construction in northern France. ASN said the consultation will last until 12 September 2017 and comments will be used to help decide on any follow-up. In its draft opinion, published on 28 June 2017, ASN said it will allow Flamanville-3 to start commercial operation – scheduled for 2018 – with the existing RPV, but will require the RPV head to be replaced by the end of 2024. In April 2015, ASN, Areva and EDF revealed that tests had shown higher than expected carbon segregation in RPV material samples, indicating a possible manufacturing flaw and potentially affecting the vessel’s ability to withstand the propagation of cracks. The tests followed earlier chemical and mechanical examinations on forged steel parts representative of the RPV, which showed the carbon segregation phenomenon was higher than expected in a certain area. According to Areva and EDF, analyses showed that the carbon anomaly extended beyond mid-thickness in one of the two steel parts under examination – representative of the RPV head and bottom – which required material sampling and related tests to be extended to three-fourths of the thickness of the part concerned. Details of the consultation are online: http://bit.ly/2u8YB1H


Nuclear Scientists Say Leaving Euratom Could Have ‘Devastating Impact’
10
.07.2017 - NucNet News
Leaving the Euratom agency that oversees nuclear safety in Europe will cause widespread confusion and have a potentially devastating impact on the nuclear energy industry in the UK, experts have warned. According to Buzzfeed News, five “senior nuclear scientists” said there are three main areas that could be affected by Brexit. They are: the transportation of nuclear materials, including nuclear fuel; research, especially fusion research; and overseas investment in development of British nuclear power stations. All of these could have further impacts on British high-tech industries. Possible consequences include a reduction in foreign investment in UK nuclear power facilities, the loss of thousands of jobs and the UK losing its place as a world leader in new nuclear technologies. Professor Roger Cashmore, chair of the UK Atomic Energy Agency, told Buzzfeed News the current situation was “alarming” and “a mess”. Although the treaties relating to Euratom are separate to those keeping the UK in the EU, the agency requires members to be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which prime minister Theresa May has insisted the UK must withdraw from as part of Brexit. It is unclear how the UK will replace the procedures and regulations currently managed by Euratom. These cover the transportation of nuclear materials around Europe. The UK is a major producer of enriched uranium, which is used in nuclear fuel, and exports much of the material to other EU countries. The UK government also owns a third of Urenco, the European uranium-enrichment company. Prof. Cashmore told Buzzfeed News that unless new treaties relating to the transportation of nuclear materials between Britain and the EU are agreed quickly, the UK could run out of nuclear fuel within two years, meaning nuclear power stations would be unable to produce energy. PHOTO CREDIT: ROCK COHEN.


French Ecology Minister Says Target Of 50% Nuclear Share Will Remain
07.07.2017 - NucNet News
French ecology minister Nicolas Hulot said on 6 July 2017 that he wants to meet the country’s commitment of reducing the share of nuclear energy in electricity output to 50% by 2025. Unveiling an action plan for the country’s energy transition, Mr Hulot said cutting electricity generated by nuclear power to 50% by 2025 from around 75% remained France’s objective. He said: “I hope the target will be held. My wish is to engage irreversible trajectories and dynamics.” The 50% target was set by the August 2015 energy transition law. According to International Atomic Energy Agency statistics, France’s 58 commercial nuclear units accounted for 72.28% of the country’s electricity mix in 2016, down from 77.5% in 2014.


European Nuclear Society Appoints Fernando Naredo New Secretary-General
07.07.2017 - NucNet News
The Brussels-based European Nuclear Society (ENS) has appointed Fernando Naredo as its new secretary-general, the organisation said in a statement. Mr Naredo will assume the role on 1 August 2017, succeeding Jean-Pol Poncelet, who held the position for six years, the statement said. Mr Naredo has worked for Westinghouse Electric Company in different positions in several countries for more than 35 years and has been president of Westinghouse Energy Systems Europe, ENS said. Mr Naredo has 10 years of experience as an advisor on EU affairs and is a member of the Spanish Nuclear Society and of the Belgian Nuclear Society. Mr Naredo has had a long involvement with ENS, first as a representative of Westinghouse on the general assembly, as a corporate member and then as a board director and treasurer. ENS is the largest society for nuclear science, research and industry in Europe and aims to support the development of science and engineering in nuclear energy.


Hackers Are Targeting US Nuclear Operators, Say Media Reports
07.07.2017 - NucNet News
Hackers have been targeting companies that operate nuclear power stations in the US in recent months, according to media reports on 6 July 2017. The Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs the single-unit Wolf Creek nuclear station in Kansas, was one company hit by cyber-attacks, both the New York Times and Bloomberg News reported. Other energy facilities and manufacturing plants have also been targeted since May, the reports said, citing a joint report by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. According to the government report, the severity of the cyber-attacks is still unclear, as is their motive. The government report could not tell if the intrusions were an attempt at industrial espionage or sabotage, but concluded the hackers appeared to be mapping out networks for possible future attacks, the New York Times said. The Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute said that no nuclear station operator had reported operational security breaches as a result of the attacks. On 27 June 2017 US energy secretary Rick Perry told journalists that he had no information about an alleged cyber-attack at a number of US nuclear plants. Mr Perry was responding to a question from an unnamed reporter at a White House press conference. According to a transcript of the press conference the reporter said the cyber-attack had been confirmed by the grid monitor. The reporter said: “The investigation, I think, is codenamed Nuclear 17.”


University Announces Landmark For UK Nuclear Waste Disposal Research
06.07.2017 - NucNet News
A research experiment into nuclear waste disposal at a UK university has become the longest running synchrotron light experiment in the world after operating for 1,000 days. The research, led by Claire Corkhill from the University of Sheffield, has used the Diamond Light Source – the UK’s national synchrotron science facility – to investigate how cement materials used in nuclear waste disposal behave in the long-term. “These cements are being used to safely lock away the radioactive elements in nuclear waste for timescales of more than 10,000 years,” said Dr Corkhill. “So it is extremely important that we can accurately predict the future properties of these materials.” Dr Corkhill is monitoring changes in eight nuclear waste cement materials. Her results are being used to support the safety case development for UK government policy to dispose of nuclear waste in a deep geological disposal facility.


WANO Considers Opening Representative Office In Shanghai
06.07.2017 - NucNet News
The governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) has approved a proposal to open a representative office in Shanghai, China, but a final decision will be subject to a vote by the organisation’s members, Wano told NucNet. In an email, Wano said its members will vote on the proposal at the Wano biannual general meeting in South Korea in October 2017. Wano said the growth of China’s nuclear programme has made it “appropriate” to consider the establishment of a fully fledged regional Wano centre in China. However, Wano said, the process of transforming a potential representation office in Shanghai to a fully operational regional centre will be a lengthy, multi-stage process, which will require additional voting approval by Wano’s members. The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said in a statement that it has been supporting Wano’s initiative together with a number of Chinese organisations, including the China General Nuclear Power Corporation, Shanghai local authorities, and a number of state ministries. 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 has four regional centres located in Atlanta, Moscow, Paris, and Tokyo. Its headquarters are in London, with a branch office in Hong Kong.


New Modular Manufacturing R&D Centre ‘Will Support Nuclear New Build’ In UK
05.07.2017 - NucNet News
The UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) opened on 4 July 2017 its new modular manufacturing R&D centre, at the Birkenhead site of member company Cammell Laird. A statement said the opening marks the start of a research collaboration led by Cammell Laird to develop modular manufacturing techniques to support the UK’s nuclear new build programme. The Nuclear AMRC works with UK manufacturers of all sizes to help them win work in the nuclear power sector. Its research factory in Yorkshire is home to over £30m (€34m, $38m) worth of machining, welding and inspection facilities, all of which is available for companies to use in collaborative R&D projects. The new facility, near Liverpool in the northwest of England, expands the Nuclear AMRC’s capabilities into modular manufacturing. Modular manufacturing involves the offsite assembly of large-scale complex systems, which are then transported to site for final installation. The statement said modular techniques are already widely used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other safety-critical industries. In the nuclear sector, they can significantly reduce construction risk and help deliver new power stations to schedule and cost.


IAEA’s Amano Says Agency Will Strengthen Cooperation With Myanmar
05.07.2017 - NucNet News
International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano said the agency will strengthen cooperation with Myanmar and highlighted the role of nuclear science and technology in supporting development. Mr Amano made the comments during discussions with state counsellor and union minister for foreign affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to the southeast Asian country. Ms Suu Kyi said Myanmar, which has no nuclear facilities, was interested in nuclear technology for improving irrigation, attracting investment for the export of agricultural products and improving cancer care. According to an IAEA statement on 3 July 2017, Mr Amano welcomed progress being made to establish a new nuclear safety law in Myanmar and underlined the importance of having a robust safety infrastructure. He called for the early entry into force of the additional protocol to Myanmar’s safeguards agreement, which was signed in 2013. The additional protocol is a legal document that equips the IAEA with important additional measures that provide for broader access to information about a state’s nuclear programme, increased physical access by IAEA inspectors and improved administrative arrangements. According to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Myanmar has consistently looked to Russia for assistance increasing its technical capabilities in the nuclear field. In 2001, Russia signed a contract to design a 10 MW research reactor in Myanmar for radioisotope production. The NTI said that although the deal for a research reactor ultimately fell through, a few hundred specialists from Myanmar have trained in nuclear research in Russia.


First Cryolines Delivered To Iter Site In France
04.07.2017 - NucNet News
The first cryolines have been delivered from India to the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) at Cadarache in southern France. Iter said cryolines are a system of complex, multi-process, vacuum-insulated pipes forming part of Iter’s cryogenic system. The cryogenic system, also comprising the cryoplant and the cryodistribution system, provides cooling for the magnet, vacuum pumping and some diagnostics systems at Iter. Cryoline prototyping began in February 2012. Iter India is in charge of the procurement, installation and performance of cold acceptance tests for the cryolines.


Bulgarian Regulator To Open Tender For Technical Support In Decommissioning
04.07.2017 - NucNet News
The Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency is expecting to open a tendering procedure in the third quarter of 2017 for the provision of technical support related to the decommissioning of units 1 to 4 at the Kozloduy nuclear power station, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a statement. According to the statement, the budget for the technical support will be €3m ($3.4m) and will be provided in the form of a grant drawn from the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), which is administered by the EBRD. The EBRD said technical support will include assessment of licensing documents, help with the development and maintenance of the Bulgarian regulatory framework, good practices in areas related to decommissioning and radioactive waste management, and help with activities linked to regulatory capacity improvement in decommissioning and radioactive waste management. The EBRD said the work is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018 and will take 36 months. In 1999, Bulgaria decided to close down the Kozloduy nuclear power station’s four VVER 440-230 units as a condition of entry into the EU. Units 1 and 2 were shut down in 2002 and units 3 and 4 in 2006. Kozloduy-5 and -6 are newer VVER-1000 units and provide just over one-third of the country’s electrical power production. The KIDSF was established in 2001 by the European Commission and other European donors to help Bulgaria cope with the early closure and decommissioning of the four older units.


UK Report Says ‘Traditional Nuclear Projects’ Will Have To Adapt
04.07.2017 - NucNet News
Traditional nuclear power projects delivering baseload electricity will have to adapt if nuclear is to have a significant role in a future UK low carbon energy system, according to the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which has released a series of project reports into nuclear energy from its research portfolio. Analysis carried out by the ETI has shown that new nuclear plants can form a major part of an affordable low carbon transition in the UK with potential roles for both large nuclear and small modular reactors (SMRs). Large reactors are best suited for baseload electricity production, but actual deployment will be influenced by a number of factors – not all of them technical – and SMRs could fulfil an additional role in a UK low carbon energy system by delivering combined heat and power helping to decarbonise energy use in buildings. However, the nuclear industry has to clearly “articulate its role in a changing energy system and also demonstrate realistic cost reduction in the development of nuclear power generation”, the ETI said. Mike Middleton, strategy manager for the ETI’s nuclear programme, said the UK benefits from an established knowledge base and supply chain in nuclear power plant operations, but there is competition for nuclear to prove itself economically against other low-carbon options. Details online: http://bit.ly/2slMMkg


Regulator Says There Are ‘Deficiencies’ In Severe Accident Preparation At Swedish Nuclear Stations
03.07.2017 - NucNet News
Sweden’s three nuclear power stations have been told by the country’s regulator that there are “deficiencies” in their preparations for the management of severe accidents and they must update their procedures for accident management to international standards and carry out regular exercise routines. Christian Linde, head administrator at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), said in a statement on 3 July 2017 that licencees must report annually on their progress until 2020, but the process would continue beyond that date. Sweden has nine commercially operation nuclear units at the Oskarshamn, Barseback and Ringhals nuclear stations. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the units provide about 40% of the country’s electricity production.
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