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Sweden Could Build 10 New Reactors After Major Change To Policy On Nuclear
30.06.2016 - NucNet News

Sweden could build up to 10 new nuclear reactors at existing nuclear sites in the coming years with permission also given to extend the operating lifetimes of units in the existing nuclear fleet, according to an agreement between government and opposition parties.


Forsmark Repository Meets Safety Standards, Swedish Regulator Tells Court
30.06.2016 - NucNet News

Sweden’s radioactive waste management company SKB will be able to comply with the country’s nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements for its planned deep geologic repository at Forsmark, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has said in a statement to the land and environmental court. The statement, which will be part of a forthcoming judicial review, says the construction of the repository is “a permissible activity”. In November 2015, SKB announced that Söderviken, to the southeast of the Forsmark nuclear power station, would be best suited for a repository for spent nuclear fuel. SSM said at the time that it was too early to draw any final conclusions and there were remaining issues for it to review and consider before submitting its formal opinion to the land and environment court. Under Swedish law, the court is required to rule on the project’s compliance with legislation on land use and the environment. In February 2016, SSM said it was ready to review SKB’s application for permission to build the Forsmark repository, made in 2011. According to the latest statement, SSM is expecting to give its final assessment to the Swedish government in 2017. SKB is hoping construction and commissioning of the repository can be completed by 2028. Details online: http://bit.ly/296ZXgK


NIA Chief: Brexit Does Not Change UK’s Energy Challenges
28.06.2016 - NucNet News
  
The UK-based Nuclear Industry Association’s (NIA) chief executive, Tom Greatrex will tell a conference in Paris tomorrow that the result of the referendum to leave the European Union has not changed the UK’s energy challenge. Speaking at the World Nuclear Exhibition, Mr Greatrex will say the implications of the referendum are not yet fully understood, and will not be until there is some clarity both of the timescale for, and approach of, negotiations between the UK and the EU. The result does not alter the fundamentals of the energy challenge the UK faces, he said. Mr Greatrex said the UK’s generation capacity has diminished – with more than 24GW of power having been retired in the last six years – and needs to be replaced. He said the UK cannot afford to have a long hiatus in investment in energy infrastructure. He said: “The clock is running, and has been for some time now. That is why the statements from both the French government and EDF in relation to their strategy, and the development of Hinkley Point C, have not been altered as a result of the referendum decision, are as significant as those from the other developers too.”


France’s Regulator Says 18 EDF Steam Generators May Have Anomaly
27.06.2016 - NucNet News
  
Some primary bottom heads of steam generators installed at 18 of EDF’s 58 reactors in France could have a significant carbon concentration similar to the anomaly found on the reactor pressure vessel at the company’s Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France, French nuclear safety authority ASN said. Areva, EDF and ASN reported in April 2015 that chemical tests Areva performed in 2012 on steel similar to that used in the reactor vessel top and bottom heads at Flamanville-3 showed a high carbon content in the vessel heads, which can reduce the ability for the component to withstand crack propagation. The discovery of that anomaly led ASN and EDF to investigate whether it is also present on other components in operation at existing reactors, ASN said. The bottom heads at the 18 reactors were manufactured either by Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility or by Japan Casting and Forging Corporation in Japan, ASN said. ASN said ongoing analyses on reactor vessels, pressurisers and steam generators could show that other forged components may also be affected by the anomaly. The list of reactors that might be affected is online: http://bit.ly/28ZJw53


Do Not Follow Germany Down Phaseout Path, Warns Forum President
27.06.2016 - NucNet News
  
If combatting climate change is to be a priority the world will need nuclear as part of its energy mix and must not follow Germany down a phase-out path that is “irrational” and did not take account of the evidence that showed the country’s nuclear stations were safe, the president of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF) told NucNet. Ralf Güldner said if the world’s highest political priority is climate protection and climate change mitigation, then “we have to use all sources of carbon-free energy production and nuclear is part of the solution”. Mr Güldner said the argument that nuclear in Germany was not safe did not stand up to examination. If the German government had taken a rational decision, then it would have waited for the results of the stress tests, then started discussions with neighbouring states and European institutions, he said. The interview is online for NucNet Subscribers: http://bit.ly/28XVgoq


Poland Could Use Contracts For Difference For New Build, Reports Say
21.06.2016 - NucNet News
 
Contracts for difference could still be be the main tool for financing of Poland’s planned first nuclear power station, reports in local media said. Poland’s energy minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski said last week financing via contracts for difference was “unacceptable” due to being “too costly” for consumers, according to a local newspaper. However, Joanna Zając, a spokeswoman for PGE EJ1, the company responsible for the Polish new build programme, was quoted as saying the company will not be changing its “integrated approach” analysis, which aims to establish the actual investment conditions and concept for financing. Ms Zając said that a contract for difference “may, but need not be, part of the concept”. Asked when the results of the analysis will be announced, PGE EJ1 refused to comment. The company recently announced progress on its early site selection process. At the beginning of December 2015, five companies were listed as potential suppliers of the reactor technology for the project.


Bulgaria Could Use State Energy Fund For Financing New Build, Conference Told
21.06.2016 - NucNet News
Bulgaria could finance the construction of a new unit at its Kozloduy nuclear power station through an existing fund which guarantees the security of electric supply, Valentin Nikolov, deputy chairman of the energy committee at Bulgaria’s parliament, told a conference organised by the Bulgarian Atomic Forum. The fund was created in 2015 to help Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEK) cover losses incurred by the differences between consumer sale prices and long-term pricing in contracts with some of its major privately owned suppliers. All energy producers and retailers are required to contribute five percent of their annual revenues into the fund. Mr Nikolov said electricity market liberalisation in Bulgaria will lead “sooner or later” to the loss of baseload power capacities because older, mainly coal-fired, plants could lose economic viability. He said in this case nuclear is part of the “future of energy” in Bulgaria, but it remains to be clarified how it can be financed without state involvement. According to Mr Nikolov, the Kozloduy nuclear station is currently required to sell one fourth of its electrical output on a regulated consumer market, resulting in losses and keeping consumer prices relatively low. Once the electricity market in Bulgaria is fully liberalized – a process the press has said could take years – Kozloduy will be able to generate increased profits and start its own new-build fund, Mr Nikolov said. Then, when long-term supply contracts with some of Bulgaria’s coal and renewable source suppliers expire in 10 to 15 years, the existing fund guaranteeing the security of electric supply can be also used to finance Unit 7 and possibly Unit 8 at Kozloduy.



Nuclear Energy ‘Of Strategic Importance’ For Bulgaria, Minister Says
21.06.2016 - NucNet News
 

Nuclear energy is “of strategic importance” for Bulgaria’s economy and energy system and the government clearly recognises this fact, Temenuzhka Petkova, the country’s energy minister, told Bulgarian Atomic Forum’s annual conference. Ms Petkova said political consensus in the field of energy policy is essential when it comes to developing nuclear energy and she is convinced there is now “will for consensus” among the political establishment in Bulgaria. According to Ms Petkova, the priority for the government in nuclear energy is to ensure the life extensions of Units 5 and 6 at the Kozloduy nuclear power station. She said all necessary measures in this respect are being taken within the scheduled deadlines. In terms of new build, Ms Petkova said the Bulgarian government will continue its efforts to expand the country’s nuclear capacity by building a seventh unit at Kozloduy. However, she said this must happen under several “clear” conditions – the new-build project must be economically viable; there must be no state involvement or guarantees; a strategic investor must be drawn into the project; and the new plants must not come at the expense of the Kozloduy-5 and -6 life extensions. There are six Russian-built reactors at Kozloduy, four of which have been permanently shut down. Nuclear generates roughly 30 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity.


EDF Managers Tell UK MPs That Hinkley Point C Should Be Postponed
20.06.2016 - NucNet News
 

Senior managers at EDF have told British MPs that a final investment decision (FID) on the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear project should be delayed until problems including the reactor design and “multi-billion litigation” over the Olkiluoto-3 project in Finland have been resolved.


EDF Shuts Down Fessenheim-2 Over Le Creusot Irregularities
17.06.2016 - NucNet News
France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said yesterday that state-controlled nuclear operator EDF had shut down Unit 2 at the Fessenheim nuclear station because of irregularities detected at Areva’s Le Creusot forging facility. ASN said the shutdown would allow for “further investigations” on a steam generator after irregularities detected at Le Creusot. ASN said that of 80 irregularities identified in an audit, 79 had already been analysed. ASN confirmed that EDF has now reviewed all but one discrepancy and is conducting its own technical analysis of the results. The irregularity at Fessenheim, an 880-MW pressurised water reactor which began commercial operation in 1978, is the last of the irregularities to be investigated. EDF has told ASN that the 79 irregularities examined so far had no impact on the safety of the reactors concerned. The irregularities consisted of “inconsistencies, omissions or changes in manufacturing files”. They were discovered as part of a quality audit which began in 2015 at Le Creusot. ASN said irregularities found on equipment manufactured at Le Creusot had also been identified on components manufactured for EDF’s Flamanville-3 EPR project under construction in France. ASN said it did not have any more information as to the nature of the irregularities on the EPR project. ASN said the 80 irregularities found in the French reactor fleet relate to steam generators, reactor pressure vessels and the pipes and tubes of the primary circuit of 21 reactors. ASN said regarding components for use abroad, Areva has informed affected customers. Investigations are continuing into the Le Creusot irregularities and are likely to show further irregularities, ASN said. The list of reactors is on ASN’s website: http://bit.ly/2619Ztn



Study: Replacing Sweden’s Nuclear With Wind Would Double CO2 Emissions
16.06.2016 - NucNet News

Replacing nuclear power with wind in Sweden would double the country’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to a study published by scientists from the Max Planck Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology. The study found that replacing nuclear with wind power would make the electrical grid unreliable. Conventional natural gas and coal power plants would be needed to compensate for the unreliability, which would create more CO2 emissions. The study was published in the peer-reviewed European Physical Journal Plus. The study says Sweden gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric plants and nuclear reactors, so the country generates very few CO2 emissions. Sweden consumes very large amounts of electricity and energy on a per capita basis, but hydro and nuclear power means carbon emissions are relativity low. Sweden has 10 commercial nuclear power reactors, which provide about 40 percent of the country’s electricity. Details online: http://bit.ly/1UAvs0T




New Safety Standard Is ‘Explicit’ On Responsibilities Of Senior Management, Says IAEA
15.06.2016 - NucNet News 
A nuclear safety standard concerning leadership and management in the nuclear industry needed to be revised because “the responsibilities” of senior management had to be made more explicit, an International Atomic Energy Agency official told NucNet.


Warsaw Confirmed As Venue For ENC 2016
14.06.2016 - NucNet News
 
This year’s European Nuclear Conference (ENC) will take place in Warsaw, Poland, from 9-13 October, organiser the Brussels-based European Nuclear Society said. Topics to be covered at the conference include Generation IV technologies, nuclear medicine and nuclear new build. Details and registration: www.ENC2016.org


Finland’s Posiva Appoints Managing Director For New Subsidiary
14.06.2016 - NucNet News
 
Mika Pohjonen has been appointed managing director of Finland’s Posiva Solutions Oy, a company set up by nuclear waste management company Posiva to focus on the marketing of knowhow accumulated from the design, research and development of final disposal solutions for spent nuclear fuel. Posiva Solutions’ board of directors will be chaired by the president of Posiva Oy, Janne Mokka. Posiva said its solution for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel, developed over several decades, has attracted international interest. In December 2015 Posiva announced it had been granted a licence by the government for the construction of a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel at Olkiluoto on the country’s southwest coast – the first final repository in the world to enter the construction phase. Posiva said the licence was recognition of “the extensive R&D work” carried out by Posiva for more than 40 years to develop a safe final disposal solution for spent nuclear fuel. The company has been developing a solution for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel since the 1970s and has carried R&D at the Onkalo characterisation facility at Olkiluoto. In the planned final disposal facility, spent fuel assemblies will be encapsulated and placed in the bedrock at a depth of about 400 metres for permanent disposal. The facility comprises two sections: the above-ground encapsulation plant for the encapsulation of the spent fuel in canisters, and the final repository deep in the bedrock, with tunnels in which the spent fuel will be placed. Posiva is responsible for the final disposal of used nuclear fuel generated by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) at its nuclear station in Olkiluoto and Fortum at its nuclear station in Loviisa. TVO owns 60 percent of Posiva and Fortum owns 40 percent.


New Material Has Potential To ‘Cut Costs And Make Nuclear Fuel Recycling Cleaner’
14.06.2016 - NucNet News
Researchers are investigating a new material that might help in nuclear fuel recycling and waste reduction by capturing certain gases released during reprocessing, the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) said. In a statement on 13 June PNNL said conventional technologies to remove these radioactive gases operate at extremely low, energy-intensive temperatures. By working at ambient temperature, the new material has the potential to save energy and make reprocessing cleaner and less expensive. The reclaimed materials can also be reused commercially. PNNL said the work, published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’, is a collaboration between experimentalists and computer modellers exploring the characteristics of materials known as metal-organic frameworks.” Recycling nuclear fuel can reuse uranium and plutonium – the majority of the used fuel – that would otherwise be destined for waste. PNNL said researchers are exploring technologies that enable safe, efficient, and reliable recycling of nuclear fuel for use in the future. A multi-institutional, international collaboration is studying materials to replace costly, inefficient recycling steps. One important step is collecting radioactive gases xenon and krypton, which arise during reprocessing. To capture xenon and krypton, conventional technologies use cryogenic methods in which entire gas streams are brought to a temperature far below where water freezes – such methods are energy intensive and expensive. Researchers at PNNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been studying materials called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, that could potentially trap xenon and krypton without having to use cryogenics, PNNL said. Details online: http://1.usa.gov/28BnA9C


Vattenfall Says Sweden Agreement Is Precondition To Long-Term Operation
13.06.2016 - NucNet News

An agreement to abolish Sweden’s nuclear capacity tax, announced on Friday between the government and opposition parties, is “an important precondition for us to be able to consider the investments needed to secure the long-term operation of our nuclear reactors from the 1980s”, Vattenfall said. The company said its seven reactors at the Forsmark and Ringhals nuclear stations have gone through a comprehensive modernisation programme allowing operation until the mid-2040s. However, to continue operating beyond 2020 they must meet stricter safety requirements through the installation of independent core cooling. “Even with the abolishment of the capacity tax, profitability will be a challenge. Low electricity prices put all energy producers under pressure and we will continue to focus on reducing production costs,” a statement said. The agreement says Sweden could build up to 10 new nuclear reactors at existing nuclear sites with permission also given to extend the operating lifetimes of units in the existing nuclear fleet.



Sweden Could Build 10 New Reactors After Major Change To Policy On Nuclear
13.06.2016 - NucNet News

Sweden could build up to 10 new nuclear reactors at existing nuclear sites in the coming years with permission also given to extend the operating lifetimes of units in the existing nuclear fleet, according to an agreement between government and opposition parties on 10 June.



‘Intensive Evaluation’ Of Poland’s Nuclear Programme Under Way, Reports Say
03.06.2016 - NucNet News

The Polish Energy Ministry is carrying out an “intensive evaluation” of Poland's planned nuclear power programme to make it “closer to reality”, according to local media. A report on the programme will be forwarded to the Council of Ministers by the end of June, the Polish business daily WNP said, quoting ministerial sources. According to the media, work is under way on “modifications” to the planned programme based on the technical, organisational, and financial resources. PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the programme, recently announced progress on its early site selection process. At the beginning of December 2015, five companies were listed as potential suppliers of the reactor technology for the project.



Significant Research Still Needed On Fusion Power, Says IEA Report
27.05.2016 - NucNet News
Fusion power has the potential to supply baseload electricity with minimal environmental impact, but a significant amount of research must still be performed to demonstrate the safety and economic viability of fusion, the International Energy Agency said. In a report outlining its various technology collaboration programmes, or TCPs, the agency said significant research is ongoing to demonstrate the safety and economic viability of fusion power technologies, as well as on fusion materials, reactors, superconductors, plasmas, and a range of devices and concepts relating to fusion science. Eight TCPs relate to fusion power. Much fusion research focuses on maintaining the plasma in equilibrium and finding suitable materials to withstand the extreme temperatures. Coordinated experiments are needed to understand and master this complex science, the report said. To date, tokamak fusion reactors are the most promising fusion confinement devices. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), the world’s largest tokamak pilot reactor, is an international collaboration between seven parties that is expected to produce approximately 500 MW of electricity from an input of 50 MW. Despite this potential, further research is needed to demonstrate the safety of this experimental reactor, the report said. The successful exploitation of Iter depends on developing reliable and effective strategies to predict, and work to avoid, ejections and disruptions in the plasma, the report said. The report is online: http://bit.ly/1Z5Kv6F



Stakeholder Dialogue Important For Decommissioning And Remediation, IAEA Official Says
24.05.2016 - NucNet News
It is important to establish a deep dialogue between stakeholders, authorities and decision-makers when it comes to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and subsequent environmental remediation activities, Juan Carlos Lentijo, deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and head of the department of nuclear safety and security, said at a conference in Madrid yesterday. Mr Lentijo said it is essential to recognise that remediation strategies are “very close to society” and in many cases the expectations of social stakeholders are not always in line with what can be done. Resources must therefore be allocated in a way that maximises benefits to society, he said. Mr Lentijo said whoever benefits from nuclear power or other nuclear applications should bear the burdens associated with these activities, and not transfer them to future generations. He said all countries operating nuclear power plants have established systems, although differing in type, to secure funding for decommissioning and remediation.


There Are ‘Better’ Alternatives To Nuclear Power, German Minister Says
23.05.2016 - NucNet News

Today there are “better and safer” alternatives to nuclear power, Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s environment minister, said during an official visit to the Fukushima-Daiichi site in Japan, according to a statement by the federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation, building and nuclear safety (BMUB). Ms Hendricks said her visit to Fukushima has once again shown the “enormous risk” with the use of nuclear power. She also said Japan has “better” conditions for the development of renewable energy than Germany and the restart and lifetime extensions of Japan’s nuclear power plants would lead rather to a slowdown of the country’s “already overdue” energy supply restructuring. Ms Hendricks stressed still that the decision on the use of energy sources remains sovereign to each country. She said she was “very impressed” by the progress of the remediation works at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged by an earthquake and resulting tsunami on 11 March 2011. Barbara Hendricks was on a state visit to Japan in the framework a G7 meeting and bilateral talks on climate change, the development of renewable energy, and resource efficiency, BMUB said.


Brussels Conference To Focus On Nuclear Plant Optimisation
20.05.2016 - NucNet News
 A conference on 7 June and 8 June 2016 in Brussels will focus on the most pressing challenges preventing the efficient and competitive operation of European nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Power Plant Optimisation Summit Europe 2016, organised by Nuclear Energy Insider, will bring together over 150 senior executives from European nuclear industries and operators. Topics covered will include ideas on how to develop effective maintenance programmes; establish long-term cost efficiency strategies; introduce pan-European equipment classification guidelines; manage outage planning, preparation and execution procedures; and tackle the growing threat of obsolescence, Nuclear Energy Insider said. For details and registration see Nuclear Energy Insider: http://bit.ly/1XnFQ0W

 
Nordic Utilities Call For ‘Strengthening’ Of EU Carbon Market
20.05.2016 - NucNet News
The three largest Nordic utilities, Finland’s Fortum, Norway’s Statkraft and Sweden’s Vattenfall, have called for the strengthening of the EU’s carbon market to “better reflect” the ambitions of the December 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, a joint statement said today. The companies said that although the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) was established to be the EU’s main climate policy instrument, the current carbon market is “not up to the ambition of the Paris agreement” because it does not provide sufficient incentives for investment in low-carbon energy options. According to the joint statement, the three utilities want to adjust EU climate policy to better reflect the intention of the Paris agreement. “Therefore, the EU carbon market must be strengthened now as the EU’s core instrument,” the statement said. Fortum owns a total of 3,004 MW of nuclear power capacity in Finland and Sweden. Vattenfall owns 10 nuclear reactors – seven in Sweden and three in Germany. Norway-based Statkraft does not have nuclear generation, but is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The joint statement is online: http://bit.ly/1RcJjZ0


Belgium Closures Will ‘Seriously Challenge’ Energy Security, Warns IEA
19.05.2016 - NucNet News

Belgium’s policy to close its nuclear power stations between 2022 and 2025 would “seriously challenge” the country’s efforts to ensure electricity security and provide affordable low-carbon electricity, a report by the International Energy Agency says.



German Atomic Forum Says Decommissioning Fund Recommendation Is ‘Not Acceptable’
18.05.2016 - NucNet News

A recommendation that German nuclear utilities pay an extra €23.3bn ($26.4bn) into a state-run fund to help cover the costs of decommissioning nuclear reactors and spent fuel storage did not succeed in striking a balance between financial security for the taxpayer and the economic burden on businesses, German Atomic Forum Ralf Güldner said at the 2016 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Hamburg. Mr Güldner said that because of this, the recommendation by the Commission on the Review of the Financing of the Nuclear Phaseout, or KFK, is “not acceptable”. Mr Güldner said: “We consider the commission’s proposals a good basis and are always prepared to present our arguments in further discussions with policymakers.” Germany’s nuclear utilities annually earmark so-called “provisions” for decommissioning and spent fuel storage. Currently, the utilities have €38.3bn in provisions. The KFK wants utilities to pay an additional €23.3bn in “risk provisions” to cover potential additional costs. German utility RWE has said it does not object to a state fund, but the amount the KFK is proposing is too much. The proposal means a huge risk premium which will overburden the energy companies’ economic capabilities, RWE said. The commission will report its recommendations to the government, which would have to obtain the parliament’s approval to impose the additional premium.



More Social Stakeholders Needed In German Repository Process, Conference Told
17.05.2016 - NucNet News

More social stakeholders need to be involved in the selection process for a final radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel repository in Germany before a government commission issues its final recommendations on the issue, German Atomic Forum Ralf Güldner told the 2016 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Hamburg. According to German law, the site decision is due to be made by 2031 and commissioning of the facility should take place in 2050. Mr Güldner said experts inside and outside the commission consider this timeframe to be unrealistic. Regrettably, there has been no targeted discussion as to how the process can be streamlined without sacrificing safety, he said. “For example, analysis of projects abroad has shown that underground exploration on a scale comparable to the complex and time-consuming German procedure is not carried out in any other country prior to site selection.” Mr Güldner said technical advances in above-ground exploration allow the selection process to be shortened significantly without sacrificing safety. “Moreover, little consideration is given to the impact on time when organising public participation and legal remedies.” The Gorleben salt dome, in Lower Saxony, has been under investigation as a potential final repository site. A moratorium on the evaluation of Gorleben was introduced in 2000 by the former Social Democrat and Green Party administration, but ended in 2010 and exploration was restarted. Work at the site was discontinued again at the end of 2012 to allow for a political compromise on site selection and then ended when the Site Selection Act came into force in July 2013. The law says the site has to be kept open, but secured, and that Gorleben will not be excluded from any new site selection process.



German Phaseout Policy Is ‘Rational Political Thinking’, Says Official
17.05.2016 - NucNet News
Popular support for nuclear power in Germany has been dwindling for years because of accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi and the country’s phaseout policy is an “expression of rational thinking among the German political establishment”, Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary at the federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation, building and nuclear safety (BMUB), told the 2016 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Hamburg. Mr Flasbarth said that in the event of German plants having similar issues to those of their Belgian counterparts, they would have been shut down until their safety could be confirmed. Germany’s environment minister recently asked Belgium to take its Tihange-2 and Doel-3 pressurised water reactor units offline for further investigations into flaws in their reactor pressure vessels. Mr Flasbarth said it is the Belgian government’s decision not to shut down the reactors and Germany has “to live with this situation”, although Berlin is under pressure from “certain sides” domestically to adopt a more vigorous approach on the issue.


Dukovany-2 And -3 To Undergo Extended Checks On Pipe Welds
13.05.2016 - NucNet News
Dukovany-2 and -3 will undergo extended checks on pipe welds this year in an effort to clear up any safety doubts, Czech utility ČEZ said. Welds at all four Dukovany units were checked in 2015 after it was found that X-ray checks by a subcontractor were flawed. The reason for the extension of checks is to avoid any doubts about the reliability and safety of the facilities, ČEZ said in a statement. ČEZ said the current outage at Dukovany-3, which began on 23 April, will now continue until 19 October. The planned shutdown of Dukovany-2 will begin September 16 and extend into 2017. ČEZ said Dukovany-4 should restart on 14 May following its recent shutdown. In March the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety extended the operating licence of Dukovany-1 for an “indefinite” period. There are four Russian-designed VVER-440 units at the Dukovany site.


Energiewende Presents ‘Huge Challenges’ To Affordability And Security
12.05.2016 - NucNet News

German utility RWE is “concerned” about the functioning of the country’s electricity market and the ‘Energiewende’, or energy transition, presents “huge” challenges to the affordability and security of electrical supply, Ulrich Hartmann, executive vice-president of RWE, said at the 2016 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Hamburg. Mr Hartmann said the German electricity market has been “flooded” from the supply side and if the current price levels are maintained, conventional power generation will collapse and there will be no incentives to invest in spare capacity. Mr Hartmann also said the German electrical power system has become unstable and last year alone 6,300 “state interventions” had to be performed in order to stabilise the grid, with baseload energy being switched on when a lack of renewable energy resulted in gaps. If state interventions continue to be a necessity, this will mark a move towards “progressive nationalisation” of the energy system in Germany, Mr Hartmann said. Market-based solutions are “more efficient” than state interventions, Mr Hartmann added.


UK ‘Confident’ In Future Of Nuclear In Domestic Energy Mix , Official Says
11.05.2016 - NucNet News
The UK and Germany share the same challenges in their energy policies – to ensure an affordable, secure, reliable, and low-carbon energy mix – but the main difference is that London acknowledges the essential role nuclear needs to play in the UK energy mix in combination with renewables and some fossil fuels, Nick Leake, EU and economic affairs councillor at the British embassy in Berlin said yesterday at the 2016 Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Hamburg. Mr Leake said the UK government plans building 18 GW of new nuclear capacity by 2035, bringing the share of nuclear in power generation to about 30-35 percent. He also said the UK government is keen on supporting the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technology and will publish a SMR delivery roadmap by autumn 2016. According to Mr Leake, the UK is “confident” that nuclear will be “a reality” in the country’s future energy mix.


France’s Regulator Requests Le Creusot Audit Results From Areva
04.05.2016 - NucNet News

France’s nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) has asked nuclear equipment producer Areva to provide “as rapidly as possible” a list of components affected by manufacturing irregularities revealed by an audit at Areva’s Le Creusot manufacturing plant in France in late April, ASN said. On 25 April, Areva informed ASN that an internal audit had found irregularities in the manufacturing checks on about 400 parts produced since 1965, about 50 of which are still in use at French nuclear power stations, the statement said. Areva had said earlier that the anomalies are being characterised by a technical committee to establish any possible impact on product quality. Areva said in April that the audit indicated the anomalies related to “actions carried out in the past” and “the organisation and procedures currently in place at Le Creusot no longer permit such actions today.” According to ASN, the review process needs to be completed in order to assess all the anomalies which may have affected past manufacturing operations and draw any “relevant conclusions” regarding the safety of the facilities.



Swedish Regulator Faces Possible New Challenges, Says IAEA Review Team
03.05.2016 - NucNet News
 

Sweden’s nuclear regulator SSM faces possible new challenges mainly due to declining electricity prices and a change in Sweden’s energy policy aimed at increasing renewable energy sources and overall energy efficiency, an International Atomic Energy Agency Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team said. The team said SSM needs to prepare for possible large-scale decommissioning of nuclear power reactors, and ensure that economic pressure on the utility industry does not affect nuclear safety negatively. The IRRS team said SSM should complete a comprehensive assessment of its resources needs, taking into account the perspective of the Swedish nuclear industry. The IRRS team today concluded a nine-day follow-up mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Sweden, reviewing developments since a previous visit in 2012. The IRRS team found that most of the recommendations made four years ago had been implemented. The main areas of progress included improvements in SSM’s inspection activities and in the preparedness for radiological emergencies, while maintaining sufficient knowledge and skills related to nuclear and radiation safety remained a challenge.


Iter ‘Heading In Right Direction’, Independent Review Concludes
03.05.2016 - NucNet News
An independent review of the estimated €15bn (about $16bn) International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project concluded it is “heading in the right direction” with a “sound, realistic and detailed proposal” for schedule and associated costs up to first plasma to be tabled at the next Iter Council next month. The Iter Council, the governing body of the Iter Organisation, said in a statement that the independent review concluded that major restructuring has resulted in “substantial improvement in project performance, a high degree of motivation, and considerable progress during the past 12 months”. The new schedule and resource estimate for the Iter Organisation provides “a good starting point” for a revised schedule based on credible estimates of cost and human resources. In November 2015 the Iter Council said the costs of the work involved with an updated long-term schedule and budget would be the subject of an independent review. Bernard Bigot, director-general of the Iter Organisation, said at the time the review would see if there are areas that can be improved or accelerated. Media reports have said operation of Iter has been postponed until 2025 from around 2020, but this has not been officially confirmed. Iter is intended to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power.



Swedish Regulator Sees ‘No Rationale’ Against Construction Of Finland’s Hanhikivi-1
03.05.2016 - NucNet News

There is no rationale against Finland’s Fennovoima being granted a licence for construction of the Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power station at Pyhäjoki in northwest Finland, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said in a written statement to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. According to an agreement between the Nordic countries, the Finnish government asked SSM to offer its opinion on Fennovoima’s planned construction of Hanhikivi-1. “Our overall assessment is that there is no rationale from a Swedish perspective against Fennovoima being granted a licence for construction of the nuclear power plant at Pyhäjoki,” said Ann-Christin Hägg, an analyst at SSM. SSM said the Finnish facility’s design implies “an insignificant risk” of a serious accident and that the defence-in-depth principle will be applied in the “unlikely event” of an emergency situation causing a large external release of radioactivity. “We are also very interested in being involved in the impending consultation procedure for final disposal of radioactive waste, including spent nuclear fuel, from the facility,” said Ms Hägg. Hanhikivi-1 will be a 1,200-megawatt VVER pressurised water reactor of the Russian AES-2006 type. It is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2024.

 
Lithuania Regulatory Authorities Must Prepare For Challenges, Says IAEA
29.04.2016 - NucNet News

Lithuania’s nuclear and radiation safety regulation authorities are committed to providing effective oversight, but need to ensure they have adequate resources for challenges ahead, an International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts said. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team today concluded a 12-day mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Lithuania, where nuclear and radiation safety is regulated by the Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) and the Radiation Protection Centre (RSC). In their preliminary findings, the experts said the possible construction of a nuclear power plant, including preparations related to safety infrastructure, would require additional efforts. They noted that the regulatory authorities would have to secure the additional resources and skills required for regulatory oversight of any new facility. The authorities also constantly need to update regulatory requirements in line with new international standards on radiation protection and nuclear safety, the team said. Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear power station has two units that have been shut down, but the site is still home to spent fuel and other radioactive waste storage facilities, the IAEA said. The country is considering constructing a reactor at a new site near Ignalina. In addition, radioactive sources are used in medicine, research and industry.



Ensreg Committee To Revise Guidelines On Safety Improvements
27.04.2016 - NucNet News
The Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (Wenra) has established an ad hoc group to provide revised guidelines on the “timely implementation of reasonably practicable safety improvements to existing nuclear power plants”. The decision to revise and elaborate the guidelines was taken at the Wenra spring plenary meeting in Vienna. The guidelines will be based on requirements outlines in the revised EU nuclear safety directive, which was officially adopted in July 2014. The directive provides “more power and independence” for national regulatory authorities, a high-level EU-wide safety objective, and a European system of peer reviews, the EU said.



French Labour Unions Welcome Possible Hinkley Point C Delay
26.04.2016 - NucNet News
Three labour unions representing EDF employees said in a joint statement yesterday that they welcomed a possible delay of the final investment decision on EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in the UK and recommended pushing back an investment decision beyond 2016.



EU And Iran Announces Plans To Cooperate On Nuclear Energy
21.04.2016 - NucNet News

The European Commission (EC) and the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) have agreed to “initiate cooperation” on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, a joint statement said. Under the agreement, a regular high-level dialogue meeting will be held once a year covering topics such as nuclear safety, radiation protection, emergency preparedness and response, waste and spent fuel management, nuclear R&D, and alternative applications of nuclear energy, the statement said. Initial activities will include helping Iran’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (Inra) by sharing the experience acquired from stress tests within the EU and other countries, the EC said. According to the joint statement, the two sides intend to launch in 2016 a EU-funded project on improving the capabilities of Inra, including a feasibility study for establishing a nuclear safety centre in Iran, supporting joint reviews of the Iranian regulatory framework, and providing training and tutoring to nuclear safety professionals. Additional options for cooperation are joint fission and fusion research, and a possible regional nuclear safety conference and nuclear business forum, the EC said. The full text of the joint statement is online: http://bit.ly/1rnSa5v



UK Government ‘Fully Confident’ On Hinkley Point, Reports Say
21.04.2016 - NucNet News

The UK secretary of state for energy and climate change Amber Rudd has expressed "full confidence” in the future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in southwest England, according to a number of media reports. In a letter to Angus Brendan MacNeil, the chairman of the UK Parliament’s energy and climate change committee, Ms Rudd wrote that the UK government has “every confidence the deal will go ahead”, but in the case of any potential delay or cancellation of the project, “arrangements” are in place to guarantee security of supply in the UK, reports said. Ms Rudd also said any delays could put at risk the UK’s decarbonisation targets, which are “one of the key reasons” for the government’s support to Hinkley Point C. At the end of March, Mr MacNeil wrote an open letter to Ms Rudd expressing his disappointment about EDF Energy’s chief executive officer, Vincent de Rivaz, failing to commit to a firm timeline for a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point C project in a testimony to the UK parliament. He also said he would be calling Mr de Rivaz to another parliamentary committee hearing if the decision does not come by the “middle of May”. EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR units at Hinkley Point C in southwest England.


German Minister Urges Belgium To Shut Down Reactors For ‘Further Investigation’
21.04.2016 - NucNet News

Germany’s environment minister has asked Belgium to take its Tihange-2 and Doel-3 pressurised water reactor (PWR) units offline for further investigations into their safety, the German federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation, building and nuclear safety (BMUB) said in a statement.



France’s Economy Minister Says Hinkley Point C Will Go Ahead
18.04.2016 - NucNet News

France will go ahead with construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK and will begin agreeing technical details in the coming weeks, the French economy minister has said.


EDF Energy CEO Warns Of ‘Dire’ Situation For Electricity Generators
18.04.2016 - NucNet News
Key components of the UK’s electricity market reform package need to be improved because of the “challenging” context of very low and falling electricity prices for generators, EDF Energy chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz told a conference in London.


Planned Overhaul Begins At Ukraine’s Zaporozhye-3
18.04.2016 - NucNet News
 Unit 3 at the Zaporozhye nuclear power station in southeast Ukraine has been disconnected from the grid for a planned major overhaul that is scheduled to last 80 days, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said. Three of the six operational VVER-1000 nuclear units at the Zaporozhye facility are currently generating electricity, the statement said. A planned maintenance outage at Zaporozhye-1 began in December 2015, while Zaporozhye-2 was shut down for a planned overhaul in mid-February 2016, according to official data on the operator’s website. On 7 April 2016, Unit 3 was disconnected from the grid for repairs on an electrical equipment switchbox, but was back online on the next day after the work had been completed, a statement said. Zaporozhye-3 began commercial operation in 1987.


High Staff Turnover At Bulgaria’s Regulator Remains A Concern, Says IAEA
18.04.2016 - NucNet News
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Bulgaria’s nuclear safety regulatory system has improved significantly in recent years, but added that the regulatory body’s high staff turnover remained a concern. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team today concluded a seven-day follow-up mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Bulgaria, reviewing developments since a previous mission in 2013. “The Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (BNRA) followed up on the earlier mission with a comprehensive action plan that led to significant progress in all areas. Among improvements are a clearer division of responsibilities between BNRA and the Ministry of Health,” said team leader Marta Ziakova, chair of Slovakia’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority. “We also noted that more work is needed in some areas, such as staff retention.” The IAEA said Bulgaria has six nuclear power reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power station site, of which two are operating and four are being decommissioned. In 2015, nuclear power contributed almost a third of the country’s electricity production.



Areva And EDF Announce Testing Extension For Flamanville-3 RPV.03.2016 - NucNet News.0.2016 - NucNet News
14.04.2016 - NucNet News
French electric utility EDF and nuclear equipment manufacturer Areva have recommended to the French nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) to extend the testing programme for the 1,600-megawatt Flamanville-3 EPR reactor pressure vessel (RPV) until the end of 2016, the two companies said in separate statements.


European Parliament Wants More Information On Schedule And Cost For Iter
13.04.2016 - NucNet NewsThe European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee has recommended postponing the granting of the 2014 budget discharge of Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU agency providing the European contribution to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project, F4E said.


Association Calls For Poland To Speed Up Nuclear Development
12
.04.2016 - NucNet News
Construction of nuclear power stations should be accelerated with the aim of generating up to 8,000 MW of energy from nuclear by 2030, the Association of Polish Electrical Engineers said. The association said nuclear would diversify Poland’s energy portfolio and reduce CO2 emissions. According to reports in Polish media, two locations, Choczewo and Lubiatowo-Kopalino, both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania, have been shortlisted as a site for the first nuclear station. A final decision will be made after all surveys, research and analysis have been carried out in a process that is expected to last around two years.



Foratom Calls For ‘Concrete Solutions’ To Facilitate Nuclear Investments
11.04.2016 - NucNet NewsForatom, the European nuclear industry association, said it wants the European Commission to take up a leadership position and propose “concrete solutions” to facilitate investments in nuclear energy alongside other low-carbon technologies. In its response to the EC’s nuclear illustrative programme, or Pinc, published on 4 April 2016, Foratom said better coordination of national licensing authorities and standardisation across the EU would reduce the barriers to deployment of nuclear technologies in member states and enable nuclear vendors and supply chain companies to compete more effectively in the international market. Foratom said it regrets the Pinc does not include ambitious nuclear energy production targets. The Pinc only offers a snapshot of nuclear energy in Europe, Foratom director-general Jean-Pol Poncelet said in the statement. “I believe the EC has missed an opportunity to underline nuclear energy as a reliable low carbon technology and a major contributor to the goals of the Energy Union.” Foratom’s statement is online: http://bit.ly/1SJ42VG


Ignalina Decommissioning Plan Needs To Consider Possible Risks, Says IAEA
11
.04.2016 - NucNet News
The initiative to decommission Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear power station, set to last another two decades, should include plans for potential project risks to ensure that future costs and scheduling remain realistic, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency-led expert mission. The five-day mission reviewed project risks and uncertainties related to the decommissioning of Ignalina’s two RBMK-1500 light water cooled graphite moderated reactors, which were shut down in 2004 and 2009 respectively. The European Commission is providing “substantial funding” for the project, due to be completed in 2038, the IAEA said. The IAEA mission called for a baseline cost and schedule for the remainder of the project that provides “sufficient detail and is realistic”. Risks should be integrated into the baseline project and cost schedules, including a range of possible outcomes, and a formal process of regular reporting against the identified risks should be implemented, the mission team said.


Regional Court Dismisses German Utility’s Damages Claim Over Reactor Shutdowns
07
.04.2016 - NucNet News

 A German regional court in Bonn has dismissed a €261 million ($296m) compensation claim by German utility EnBW over the forced shut-down of its reactor fleet in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, a statement by the court said yesterday. The court said EnBW’s claim was turned down, because the company did not use “all legal means available” to interrupt the shut-down process at the time. In December 2014, EnBW said it would seek damages over a government policy to take nuclear power stations offline after a powerful earthquake in March 2011 resulted in a tsunami, which severely damaged the Fukushima-Daiichi power station. The company said at the time it would file a claim for damages against the German government and the state of Baden-Württemberg with a regional court in Bonn, seeking a low three-digit million euro sum. The claim was for damage, which EnBW incurred as a consequence of the “unlawful directives” concerning the Philippsburg-1 and Neckarwestheim-1 reactors. EnBW has one month to appeal against the judgment to a higher court instance based in Cologne, the statement said.



New ‘Milestone’ Testing Phase Begins At Finland’s Olkiluoto-3
07
.04.2016 - NucNet News

Process-system tests have started at the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power station under construction in Finland, marking an “important milestone” for the EPR project, operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said. According to TVO, the seawater cooling system will be tested first, paving the way for further system testing during the first half of 2016. TVO also said the main electromechanical installations, including piping works, will be completed during the same period. Jouni Silvennoinen, TVO’s senior vice-president responsible for the Olkiluoto-3, said the project has all “prerequisites necessary” to proceed according to schedule. In January 2016, testing of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems began at Olkiluoto-3. An Areva-Siemens consortium is building the 1,600-megawatt EPR at Olkiluoto-3 for TVO. Regular electricity production from the new unit is expected to start in late 2018, earlier statements by TVO said. If Olkiluoto-3 does become operational in 2018, it will be nine years behind schedule. Commercial operation was originally scheduled for April 2009 and subsequently delayed various times.



France’s Regulator To Investigate Steam Generator Accident At Paluel-2
05
.04.2016 - NucNet News

France’s nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) said it is “immediately” investigating the accidental fall of a used steam generator inside the reactor building of the Paluel-2 nuclear unit in northern France. The incident happened on 31 March while removing one of four steam generators as part of the ongoing refurbishment works at the unit, France’s nuclear operator EDF told ASN. ASN said Paluel-2 has been offline since May 2015 for the third decennial maintenance outage. Its reactor pressure vessel and reactor fuel pool were empty at the time of the incident. According to ASN, the steam generator was in vertical position before the fall, with its top attached to the polar crane and its bottom to a special trolley on the floor. The steam generator accidentally unattached from the handling mechanism at the top and dropped on the concrete floor of the reactor building and partially on the plates which protected the reactor fuel pool, damaging some of them, ASN said. EDF evacuated the reactor building though subsequent contamination checks showed “normal” radiation levels. ASN said the results of the ongoing investigation into the incident will be published on its official website once finalised. Paluel-2, a 1330-megawatt PWR, is one of four units in commercial operation at the Paluel site. Commercial operation began in December 1985.


European Commission Publishes Report On The Future Of Nuclear In The EU
04.04.2016 - NucNet NewsThe total projected cost of investments in the complete nuclear fuel cycle in the European Union for the period from 2015 to 2050 will vary between €650bn ($738bn) and €760bn ($863bn), according to the new Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy, known as Pinc, released by the European Commission today.


UK Announces Plans To Push Ahead With SMR Development
31
.03.2016 - NucNet News

The UK government announced a competition to identify the “best value” small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) in the UK – paving the way for the country to build one of the world’s first SMRs.


Lack Of Final Decision Date For Hinkley Point ‘Disappointing’ For UK Parliamentary Committee Chair
29
.03.2016 - NucNet News

Angus Brendan MacNeil, the chairman of the UK parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee, has said it was “very disappointing” that EDF Energy chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz had failed to commit to a firm timeline for a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in a recent testimony to the committee. Mr MacNeil addressed his concerns to the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd on 24 March in an open letter published on the parliament’s official website. On 23 March, Mr de Rivaz told the committee in London that the Hinkley Point C project will “clearly and categorically” go ahead with a final investment decision at the beginning of May. He referred to earlier statements by the French minister of the economy Emmanuel Macron. Mr de Rivaz was at the time unable to give a precise date and said he could “agree” that the decision would come “very soon”. In his letter, Mr MacNeil said he would like to know what pressure the UK government will be applying to the French government in order to secure a final decision on the project. He also said he would be calling Mr de Rivaz to another parliamentary committee hearing if the decision does not come by the “middle of May”. EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR units at Hinkley Point C in southwest England. The letter is online: http://bit.ly/22WYLBe



‘Flatpack’ Crane Procurement ‘Will Save Millions’ At Sellafield
24
.03.2016 - NucNet News

A new “flatpack” approach to buying cranes for the Sellafield nuclear site in northwest England is set to save £53m (€67m, $74m) for the UK taxpayer and speed up the decommissioning of Europe’s most complex nuclear site, Sellafield Ltd said. The company, which is responsible for the Sellafield site under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said it has adopted a new procurement model, known as “category management”, meaning it no longer has to buy one-off bespoke cranes. Instead it can order standardised crane modules and assemble them on site as required. Robert Astall, Sellafield Ltd’s commercial director, said: “Previously, when we needed a high integrity crane at Sellafield, a bespoke model had to be produced. This meant much time and cost was taken up on the design, inspection and testing of one-off solutions for broadly common requirements.”



Swedish Regulator Says SKB Has Capability To Build Encapsulation Facility
24
.03.2016 - NucNet News

Sweden’s radioactive waste management company SKB can meet all the safety and radiation protection requirements for its planned used nuclear fuel encapsulation plant, the Swedish nuclear regulator SSM has said. SKB has asked permission to build an encapsulation facility next to the Clab interim storage facility in Oskarshamn. The facility will be used for encapsulation of spent nuclear fuel in copper disposal canisters. SKB has also submitted an application for permission to increase Clab’s storage capacity from 8,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel to 11,000 tonnes. SSM said SKB has the potential to implement these plans “in compliance with regulations governing radiation protection and nuclear safety”. But SSM said SKB must ask for new permission for the company’s management of reactor core components being stored at Clab that will need to be removed to make space for additional quantities of spent nuclear fuel. Details online: http://bit.ly/1LJk58X


UK Needs Nuclear Because Renewables And CCS Are Not Proven, MPs Told
23
.03.2016 - NucNet News

There may be a day when renewables combined with carbon capture and storage will meet all the UK’s energy needs, but “we don’t know when that will be and it’s not proven” so nuclear is needed in the meantime, a parliamentary committee was told today. Simon Taylor of the University of Cambridge told the committee that no new nuclear gets built anywhere without some form of government support in the background. “What the private sector won’t take is the huge uncertainty of the cost,” he said. “All infrastructure is tricky.” EDF Energy chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz told the committee that the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK will “clearly and categorically” go ahead with a final investment decision to be taken at the beginning of May.


Nuclear ‘Undermined’ By Support For Renewables, Says TVO Head
21.03.2016 - NucNet News
Support mechanisms for renewable energy and the resulting “periodic overcapacity” in the Nordic electricity market have more than halved the market price of electricity in the course of a few years, undermining the profitability of the production of all baseload power, including nuclear, the chief executive officer of Finland utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said. Jarmo Tanhua said the “restoration of the functionality of the electricity market” is essential to the industry’s future. He said: “The decision-makers are aware of the situation, and plans are afoot both at EU-level and in Finland to restore the integrity of the market. We expect to see decisions promoting market-based competition in the electricity market made before the end of the year.” Mr Tanhua said the changes will take place slowly, and despite the validity of the goals, the restoration of the integrity of the market will “probably take years”. TVO owns and operates the Olkiluoto-1 and -2 nuclear plants in Finland. A third plant, Olkiluoto-3 is under construction.



Poland Begins Procurement Process For First Nuclear Plant Environmental Survey
21
.03.2016 - NucNet News

Poland has begun the procurement process for tasks that will form part of the environmental survey and site selection programme for the country’s first nuclear power station, PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the project, said in a statement. The procurement process, supervised by Elbis, a subsidiary of Polish state-owned energy group PGE, in cooperation with PGE EJ1, will include four areas – hydrological mapping and a tachymetric survey, hydrological monitoring of seawater, seabed surveying, and hydrological monitoring of inland waters, the statement said. According to earlier reports in Polish media, two locations, Choczewo and Lubiatowo-Kopalino, both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania, have been shortlisted as a site for the first nuclear station. A final decision will be made after all surveys, research and analysis have been carried out in a process that is expected to last around two years.



Ukraine Has Hosted ‘Systematic’ Peer Reviews Since Chernobyl, Energoatom Says
17
.03.2016 - NucNet News

Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom has been “systematically” hosting peer review, technical support, and information exchange missions by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) since soon after the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, Yuri Nedashkovsky, Energoatom’s president, told a Ukrainian parliamentary hearing yesterday. Mr Nedashkovsky said the missions began when Wano was founded in 1989. He said that between 2002 and 2010, three state programmes based on recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been completed, eliminating the safety deficiencies of inherited Soviet-built reactors. In 2011, an internationally approved programme was introduced by the Ukrainian government to address safety concerns after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan, Mr Nedashkovsky said. He said the programme, which is to last until 2020, is co-funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the EU Euratom agency through a €600 million ($680m) credit facility. In 2015 Ukraine produced close to 60 percent of its electricity from its 15 commercially operational reactors, Mr Nedashkovsky said.


Parliamentary Committee Announces Inquiry Into UK New Nuclear
17
.03.2016 - NucNet News

A parliamentary committee has called EDF Energy, and other energy companies planning to build reactors in the UK, to give evidence on the future of the nuclear industry at a special inquiry in London on 23 March 2016. Angus MacNeil, chairman of the energy and climate change committee, said the government is counting on new nuclear to supply a significant proportion of the UK’s demand for low-carbon baseload power. He said: “The focus right now is on Hinkley Point C, but there are other important projects in the pipeline. Serious questions are being raised about the cost and viability of the Hinkley project and the value for money for taxpayers.” The committee said it will hear from commentators who have raised concerns about financing nuclear projects. The committee will question Vincent de Rivaz, the chief executive of EDF Energy, and representatives of other companies planning to build reactors about the challenges for new nuclear across the UK.


UK Announces Plans To Push Ahead With SMR Development
16
.03.2016 - NucNet News

The UK government has announced a competition to identify the “best value” small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) in the UK – paving the way for the country to build one of the world’s first SMRs.



Stuk Confirms Source Of High Caesium-137 Measurements In Helsinki
15.02.2016 - NucNet News
Exceptionally high amounts of radioactive caesium-137 discovered in measurements on 3 and 4 March in Helsinki came from a source that has now been confined in a storage area at Suomen Nukliditekniikka, a company that processes small quantities of radioactive waste, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) said. The radiation source was used in an industrial measuring instrument, Stuk said. Such sources are common, with thousands of them in use in Finland. The sources are encapsulated in a container that normally prevents them from being damaged. However, this particular source was damaged for “reasons yet unknown”, Stuk said. Stuk maintains a register of all radiation sources in Finland. The register shows that the source was from the UPM Kymmene paper mill at Kaipola, north of Helsinki. The measured quantity of caesium-137 – 4,000 microbecquerels per cubic metre of air – is about 1,000 times the normal level, but only one millionth of the concentration that would require people to shield themselves from it, Stuk said. Suomen Nukliditekniikka is in the same office complex as Stuk, where the original measurements were taken.



Stuk Traces Radioactive Caesium-137 To Helsinki Office Basement
10
.02.2016 -
NucNet News
Radioactive caesium-137 detected by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) on 3 and 4 of March has been traced to a parking garage and parts of the basement of the building in which Stuk operates, a statement said. The same building complex also houses a company that treats small radioactive waste, Stuk said. The premises in question have been isolated and the measurements continue. Stuk said the investigation into the source of the radiation is continuing. The concentrations measured have been very low and do not pose a threat to health, said Stuk’s director Tarja Ikäheimonen. Caesium-137 is used as a radiation source by the industrial sector in, for instance, measuring the thickness of materials and in radiotherapy in hospitals. The particle sampler on the roof of Stuk’s building in Helsinki collected an exceptionally high amount of radioactive caesium-137 on 3 and 4 March. While the measurement data – 4,000 microbecquerels per square metre of air – was about 1,000 times higher than normal, it is only one millionth of the concentration that would require people to shield themselves from it, Stuk said. The amount detected does not pose a threat to health.


Electrabel Has Completed 75% Of Post-Fukushima Action Plan, Says Belgium’s Regulator
10
.02.2016 -
NucNet News
NucNet NewsNuclear operator Electrabel had completed a little over 75 percent of its post-Fukushima action plans for Belgium’s Doel and Tihange nuclear stations by the end of 2015, Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) said. Fanc said Doel and Tihange are now protected against external natural events such as floods and earthquakes. Protection work against torrential rain and lightning is being completed, Fanc said. Electrabel has also defined its strategy to protect against external events leading to the total loss of all power supplies and/or the loss of cooling. All Belgian Class 1 nuclear facilities, including Doel and Tihange, drafted action plans based on the results of post-Fukushima stress tests. Implementation of the plans is spread over several years with completion scheduled for 2017, Fanc said. Fanc said progress since 2011 has been satisfactory, but there had been “an accumulation of delays” in the initial stages, mainly due to technical difficulties, equipment supply problems and the time required for Fanc to carry out its analysis of preliminary studies and feasibility studies. There are seven reactor units in commercial operation in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange. Together, they generate about 55 percent of the country’s electricity.


Belgium And Netherlands Conclude Joint Inspection At Borssele
09
.02.2016 -
NucNet News
Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) and the Netherlands’ Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) have concluded a joint inspection at the single-unit Borssele nuclear power station in the Netherlands, Fanc said. The inspection focused on modifications related to stress tests carried out after Fukushima-Daiichi. The modifications will be implemented at Borssele during the annual maintenance shutdown this year, the statement said. In January 2016, a similar joint inspection was carried out at the four-unit Doel nuclear station in Belgium. Borssele, a 482-MW pressurised water reactor, began commercial operation in October 1973.


Stuk Investigates High Levels Of Radioactive Caesium-137 In Helsinki
09
.02.2016 -
NucNet News
NucNet News Air samples taken on the roof of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority’s (Stuk) building in Helsinki, Finland, have shown an exceptionally high amount of radioactive caesium-137, but the amount does not pose a threat to health and does not derive from Chernobyl “fallout”, Stuk said in a statement. The fact that the sample contains only caesium-137 also rules out any possibility of it deriving from a nuclear reactor emission, the statement said. On social media today Stuk said the findings are “most likely related to the handling of used radioactive sealed sources”. Stuk said the samples were collected on 3 and 4 March 2016 and showed 4,000 microbecquerels per square metre of air. This is about one thousand times normal levels, but is nevertheless only a millionth of the level that would require people to shield themselves from it. Stuk said that on 4 and 5 March, the caesium-137 concentration in samples taken in the same location was 12 microbecquerels per cubic metre of air. “This means that the radiation level has dropped back to normal. We are nevertheless still very actively trying to find out the source of the temporary peak,” the statement said.


Hungary And UAE Sign Nuclear Training Agreement
08
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Hungary and the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement on training nuclear engineers and experts, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, said in a statement. The deal was concluded last week during a two-day working visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the statement said. Hungary has four Russian-built pressurised water reactors in commercial operation, while the UAE is building four South Korea-designed APR1400s at Barakah.


Poland’s Research Reactor ‘Crucial’ To World’s Nuclear Medicine, Official Says
08
.03.2016 -
NucNet News
The requirements of nuclear medicine cannot be met without Poland’s research reactor Maria, Grzegorz Krzysztoszek, director of the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research, was quoted by local media as saying. The reactor produced close to 20 percent of the world’s molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) supply in 2014, Mr Krzysztoszek said. More than 75 million patients have potentially received cancer treatment thanks to the isotopes produced by the reactor since large-scale industrial production of Mo-99 began in February 2010. Mo-99 is used largely in medical diagnostics, but since 2009 there have been shortages primarily due to the decommissioning of obsolete research reactors in North America and Western Europe which had been used to produce it. Since around 2010, other reactors such as Maria in Poland, Řež in the Czech Republic and units at Dimitgrovgrad in Russia started production of Mo-99 to help alleviate shortages. Maria, on the outskirts of the capital Warsaw, is Poland’s only nuclear research unit. Poland does not operate any commercial nuclear power stations for its energy needs, but has announced plans to build one.


Romania Waits For Outcome Of Cernavodă Negotiations With China’s CGN
08
.03.2016 -
NucNet News
Negotiations on the details of an investors’ agreement for the construction of Romania’s planned Cernavodă-3 and -4 nuclear reactor units are continuing, with the majority of the share capital in the joint venture to be owned by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), Romeo Urjan, president of the Romanian Association of Nuclear Energy (AREN), told NucNet. Mr Urjan said the investors’ agreement remains “an essential milestone” and will set the foundations for a more detailed timeframe for the start of construction. The full story is online for NucNet subscribers: http://bit.ly/1Ry1wRz


Poland Has Taken Important Steps To Improve Security, Says IAEA
07
.02.2016 - NucNet News

Poland has taken important steps, including the conversion of the core of the Maria research reactor to low-enriched uranium, to strengthen nuclear security, An International Atomic Energy Agency International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission concluded. The mission was completed on Friday 4 March 2016. It reviewed Poland's nuclear security-related legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear material and associated facilities, as well as security arrangements for the transport of nuclear material. The IAEA said the team reviewed the physical protection systems at the Maria research reactor and the radioactive waste management plant outside Warsaw, as well as at the national radioactive waste repository north of the capital. The mission was the 71st IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995. This was the second IPPAS mission in Poland; the first was in 1997.


Spain’s Post-Fukushima Measures ‘More Than 80% Complete’
07
.03.2016 - NucNet News
Measures being carried out to improve safety and security at Spanish nuclear stations following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan are more than 80 percent complete, industry group Foro Nuclear said.



Why Nuclear Remains At The Heart Of Finland’s Energy Independence Policy
03
.03.2016 - NucNet News

A decision on the construction licence for Finland’s next reactor, Hanhikivi-1 is due in 2018, with the public generally behind efforts to increase nuclear energy production and reduce imports, says Jorma Aurela of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy.


Two Ukrainian Nuclear Stations At Full Capacity After New Transmission Line
02
.03.2016 - NucNet News
Ukraine’s Rovno and Khmelnitski nuclear power stations in the west of the country have reached 100 percent operational level for the first time, Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said in a statement. Energoatom said the increased output of the two stations – a total of six units – was recorded at 4,855 MW, and was made possible by the commissioning of a new 750 KV transmission line at the end of 2015. Increasing the flow of electricity from Rovno and Khmelnitski will decrease the power deficit and increase reliability of electric supply in the central and eastern regions of Ukraine, a spokesman for Rovno was quoted as saying. There are two VVER-320 units in commercial operation at Khmelnitski and two under construction. The Rovno site has four reactors in commercial operation – two VVER V-213 units and two VVER V-320 units. Ukraine generates almost half its electricity from its 15 commercially operational nuclear reactors.


Electricity Production Falls At Finland’s Olkiluoto Nuclear Station
02
.03.2016 - NucNet News

Electricity production at Teollisuuden Voima’s (TVO) Olkiluoto nuclear power station in Finland in 2015 was 14.26 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, down from 14.76 TWh in 2014, TVO said. This accounted for about 17 percent of all electricity consumed in Finland, TVO said. The amount of electricity delivered to shareholders from the station’s two 880-megawatt boiling water reactors was 14.41 TWh, down from 15.14 TWh in 2014. The decrease was mainly caused by a near three-week shutdown of Olkiluoto-2 due to a water leak in the generator in February 2015. Consolidated turnover for 2015 was €275.7m ($299m), down from €327.2m. TVO operates on a cost-price principle, known in Finland as the ‘Mankala’ principle. Mankala is a widely used business model in the Finnish electricity sector, whereby a limited liability company is run like a zero-profit-making cooperative for the benefit of its shareholders. The model has been successfully applied to allow shareholders to join their resources to acquire a particular resource, typically a generation asset.



European Industry Group Calls For ‘Clear’ EU State Aid Guidelines For New Build
25.02.2016 - NucNet News
The European Commission (EC) should establish clear guidelines on investment for nuclear new build in the forthcoming Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy (Pinc), the Brussels-based industry group Foratom said.


European Industry Welcomes Plans To Continue Participation In Gen IV Research
25.02.2016 - NucNet News
The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) will continue participating in international collaboration for research and development of Generation IV nuclear energy systems after a recommendation by an EU Council of Ministers working group was published on 29 January 2016. The final adoption of this decision is expected to follow “imminently”, a statement said.



Arbitration Decision On Bulgaria’s Belene Expected Within ‘Four Months’
25
.02.2016 - NucNet News

International arbitration on the suspended Belene nuclear power station project in Bulgaria is expected to be completed within “up to four months”, deputy prime minister for EU funds and economic policies Tomislav Donchev was quoted by local media as saying.


Materials Research Facility Begins Operations In UK
25
.02.2016 - NucNet News

Construction of the materials research facility (MRF) at Culham in the UK is complete and the building has hosted its first experiments, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy said. The MRF has been established to analyse material properties in support of both fission and fusion research. It will benefit university and industry users working on micro-characterisation of nuclear materials. It is part of the UK’s National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) initiative, launched by the government and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, to set up a multi-site facility giving UK academia and industry access to internationally-leading experimental equipment. Details online: http://bit.ly/1VBjJRJ


Corrosion Levels See Regulator Implement Increased Supervision Of La Hague Evaporators
25
.02.2016 - NucNet News

Measurements of the thickness of evaporators at Areva’s La Hague nuclear fuel processing facility in northern France have shown greater levels of corrosion than expected, with the country’s nuclear regulator making Areva increase its supervision of the units and install isolation facilities and advanced detection systems to limit the consequences of a leak or rupture. ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) said the measurements call into question the medium-term safety of the evaporators, which were designed for an operating lifetime of 30 years and commissioned between 1989 and 1994. The evaporators are used to increase the concentration of fission products in liquid waste produced from the processing. This liquid is highly radioactive. The evaporators are in the UP3-A processing plant, which has an annual processing capacity of around 800 tonnes of used nuclear fuel. According to Areva, La Hague has an overall capacity for the annual processing of used fuel from 80 to 100 nuclear reactors, amounting to 1,700 tonnes. This makes Areva the biggest operator in the world in the processing of used nuclear fuel.


Finland’s Fortum Announces New Business Structure
23
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Finnish utility Fortum will operate under a new business structure from 1 April this year. It will have three divisions – Generation, City Solutions and Russia – as well as two development units (M&A and Solar & Wind Development, and Technology and New Ventures). The Generation division will be responsible for large-scale power production including nuclear, hydro and thermal power production. The division will be headed by Tiina Tuomela, currently executive vice-president of the Nuclear and Thermal Power division. Fortum owns the Loviisa nuclear station in Finland and has shares in Olkiluoto, also in Finland, and Forsmark and Oskarshamn in Sweden.


‘Nuclear for Climate’ Wins 2016 Pime Award For Communication Excellence
23.02.2016 - NucNet News
The European Nuclear Society’s (ENS) Pime 2016 award for communication excellence in the nuclear sector was won by the ‘Nuclear For Climate’ campaign, an initiative created jointly by the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and ENS, and supported by more than 140 members. The campaign aimed to promote the role nuclear power plays in the fight against climate change. The award was announced on 16 February, the final day of the Pime (Public Materials Information Exchange) conference in the Romanian capital Bucharest. The conference included plenary sessions and workshops on social media, lobbying, communications strategies, and engaging with stakeholders and environmentalists. In a keynote speech, ENS secretary-general Jean-Pol Poncelet told the conference that “anti-nuclear challenges” during the forthcoming Chernobyl and Fukushima anniversaries must be tackled by communicators “transparently and with full honesty”. The next Pime conference will take place on 20-22 March 2017 in the Netherlands, hosted by the Dutch Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (Covra).


Polish Ministry Denies Reports That Nuclear Station Project Will Be Cancelled
23
.02.2016 - NucNet News
The Polish Energy Ministry has refuted claims in local media that the country’s plans to build its first nuclear station are to be cancelled. The project to build a nuclear power station is subject to “ongoing detailed analysis concerning methodological, organisational, conceptual and technical matters” and there are “no indications or reasons for abandoning it”, the statement said. According to the ministry, although initial investment costs may be high, nuclear is a reliable source of energy with low future generation costs. However, domestically mined coal will remain the primary source of energy in Poland regardless of the development of nuclear energy, the ministry said. At the beginning of December 2015, five companies were listed as potential suppliers of the reactor technology for the station.



Sweden’s Oskarshamn-1 Will Shut Permanently In 2017, Says OKG
18
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Sweden's 473-MW Oskarshamn-1 nuclear unit will be shut permanently in the middle of 2017, owner OKG said yesterday.


NEA Report Outlines Key Principles For Regulators
15.02.2016 - NucNet News
Many challenges exist to regulatory bodies’ safety culture which must be recognised, understood and overcome, including the need to maintain the focus on safety under constant pressure and scrutiny from stakeholders, the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency said. In a report aimed primarily at regulators the NEA said considering economic factors and budget limitations is another challenge, along with the need to be aware of complacency, attract and keep appropriate resources, managing abnormal events and emergency situations, and adapting to “other evolving and emerging challenges”. The report outlines a number of principles which, if applied correctly, could help turn these challenges into opportunities to further strengthen the overall health of the safety culture of regulatory bodies. The principles include excellence in leadership, a strong sense of personal accountability for safety, and formal direction concerning the safety culture. “Staff need to know what is acceptable and what is not,” the report says. The report also emphasises the needs for a clear regulatory framework, continuous improvement and learning, self-assessment and benchmarking. The report, ‘The Safety Culture of an Effective Nuclear Regulatory Body’, is online: http://bit.ly/1NZwwHO


Bulgaria Regulator Grants Operating Licence For Kozloduy Spent Fuel Storage
15
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Bulgaria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) has issued a 10-year operating licence for a dry-storage facility for spent fuel at the Kozloduy nuclear power station in northern Bulgaria, the NRA said. The facility is for storing spent nuclear fuel from Kozloduy’s four Russian-built VVER-440s, which are being decommissioned, a statement by the power station said. The statement said the facility will provide Kozloduy with intermediate storage capacity for spent nuclear fuel for “no less than 50 years”. In October 2011, Bulgaria awarded a multi-million dollar contract to an international consortium for the design of a national low-level waste and intermediate-level waste repository on a site next to the Kozloduy nuclear plant. In 1999, Bulgaria closed down Kozloduy nuclear power plant’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.


Turkish Industry Group Calls For Nuclear Mergers To Help Domestic Suppliers
12
.02.2016 - NucNet News
The Nuclear Industry Association of Turkey (NIATR) wants to see mergers between local and foreign nuclear companies in a bid to contribute to domestic economic growth, the association’s secretary-general Koray Tuncer said. According to Mr Tuncer, technology and knowledge transfers from abroad could turn Turkish companies into suppliers for nuclear projects. He said Turkish companies can join the nuclear supply chain by merging with other companies, including those from overseas, which have established themselves as suppliers for existing nuclear projects. Turkey’s nuclear market is worth about $40bn (€35.5bn), NIATR said. Turkey has two nuclear stations in development – Akkuyu in cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Sinop with an Areva-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joint venture.



European Parliament Report Says Nuclear Can be Vital
11
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Nuclear energy can make a vital contribution to energy supply in the EU and should be used alongside renewables in countries that want it, a draft report by the European Parliament says. The committee on industry, research and energy report on transforming Europe’s energy market says for a medium-term transitional period, national responsibility for the energy mix cannot be questioned and both nuclear power, which is largely CO2-neutral, and the use of national energy reserves together with high-efficiency gas-fired power stations and coal-fired electricity generation using the latest technology, can make vital contributions to the integration of renewables. The report is online: http://bit.ly/1muwnWt



EU Regulation On Radioactive Contamination In Foodstuffs Enters Into Force
10
.02.2016 - NucNet News

A new Euratom regulation on maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination in different types of foodstuffs following a nuclear accident or a radiological emergency entered into force on 9 February 2016. The regulation, which was adopted by the Council of the European Union on 15 January 2016 and published in the EU’s Official Journal on 20 January, repeals three previous Euratom regulations on the same topic. According to the new regulation, in the event of a nuclear accident or a radiological emergency the European Commission has the right to issue regulations on contamination levels in foodstuffs without exceeding maximum levels set out in the new regulation. The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was established under the 1957 Euratom Treaty, which governs the civilian use of nuclear energy in the EU. Euratom is a separate legal entity from the EU, but it is governed by the EU's institutions. The full text of the regulation is online: http://bit.ly/23UNDGz



NEA Publication Offers Guidance On Defence In Depth For Regulators
08.02.2016 - NucNet News
A regulatory guidance booklet published by the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency and aimed primarily at nuclear regulators identifies areas where further work may be needed on defence in depth (DiD) at nuclear power facilities, including the impact of human and organisational factors on DiD, and improvements in the use of DiD for new reactor designs, multi-unit sites, fuel cycle facilities and research reactors. The booklet also says further work may be needed on the implementation of countermeasures for ‘level 5’ (offsite emergency arrangements) of DiD. The NEA said DiD is a concept that has been used for many years alongside tools to optimise nuclear safety in reactor design, assessment and regulation. The 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident “raised many questions and gave unique insight” into nuclear safety issues, including DiD. The booklet, ‘Implementation of Defence in Depth at Nuclear Power Plants: Lessons Learnt from the Fukushima-Daiichi Accident’, is online: http://bit.ly/1XdeXLm


European Industry Group Calls For ‘Clear’ EU State Aid Guidelines For New Build
08.02.2016 - NucNet News
The European Commission (EC) should establish clear guidelines on investment for nuclear new build in the forthcoming Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy (Pinc), the Brussels-based industry group Foratom said.



Belgium’s Regulator Suspends Fuel Factory Decommissioning Activities At Dessel
05
.02.2016 - NucNet News

Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) has temporarily suspended all activities related to the release of radioactive materials at FBFC International, a fuel rod manufacturing facility which has been undergoing decommissioning since 2013, a statement said. Fanc identified “a lack of knowledge” among staff at the facility about procedures in place for the release of some materials with low residual radioactivity. The knowledge deficiency came to light during an unannounced inspection on 27 January 2016 at FBFC International near Dessel. According to Fanc, in order to determine whether radioactive materials from dismantling a nuclear facility must be disposed of or reused, all materials are examined in accordance with procedures approved by the safety authorities. Fanc said FBFC International must now organise a training programme for those involved in the release process of radioactive materials and submit it for regulatory approval.


European Industry Welcomes Plans To Continue Participation In Gen IV Research
05.02.2016 - NucNet News
The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) will continue participating in international collaboration for research and development of Generation IV nuclear energy systems after a recommendation by an EU Council of Ministers working group was published on 29 January 2016. The final adoption of this decision is expected to follow “imminently”, a statement said. Foratom, the European nuclear industry trade group, commended the recommendation to extend Euratom’s participation in the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) for another period of 10 years, until 2026, and to continue pooling efforts to develop new nuclear energy system designs. GIF was created in January 2000 by nine countries and today has 13 members. 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. GIF said last year that for real long-term progress to be made in Generation IV development, advanced research facilities need to be built, the industry must become more involved, and the “workforce of the future” should be developed.



Arbitration Decision On Bulgaria’s Belene Expected Within ‘Four Months’
04
.02.2016 - NucNet News
International arbitration on the suspended Belene nuclear power station project in Bulgaria is expected to be completed within “up to four months”, deputy prime minister for EU funds and economic policies Tomislav Donchev was quoted by local media as saying. The Belene project consists of two Russian VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors, but it was suspended in June 2010 because of uncertainties about its financial viability. Russian nuclear vendor Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, has lodged a compensation claim of roughly €1bn ($1.12bn) against Bulgaria with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Since 2011 Atomstroyexport has been demanding Bulgaria pay compensation for the cancellation of the Belene contract. The Bulgarian nuclear industry group Bulatom told NucNet information on the case is limited. The decision and its timeliness will depend solely on the Court of Arbitration, Bulatom said.


German Scientists Generate Hydrogen Plasma In Quest For Nuclear Fusion
03
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany today generated the first hydrogen plasma from the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion.


France’s Regulator Updates Guidelines On Nuclear Safety Reports
03
.02.2016 - NucNet News

French nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has updated its guidelines on the contents of nuclear facility safety reports – the document that an operator must send to ASN in support of an application to commissioning or decommissioning a nuclear installation. The updated guidelines include the objectives of the safety report, compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements, and details of how to demonstrate the safety of a facility. The guidelines were the subject of a public consultation during September and October 2014 and include “reference levels” established by the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (Wenra). Details online: http://bit.ly/1KpB3Iv.


France And Ukraine Discuss Nuclear Cooperation
01
.02.2016 - NucNet News
French and Ukrainian officials have discussed possible areas of cooperation in nuclear energy, Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom said. According to Energoatom, France suggested that Ukraine learn from its experience with the implementation of EU directives and French legislation in nuclear energy. Topics on “post-Fukushima” nuclear safety were also discussed, Energoatom said. In November 2015, Areva of France and Energoatom signed an agreement on increasing cooperation on safety upgrades for existing and future nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and work related to lifetime extensions and performance optimisation. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, 49 percent of Ukraine’s electricity was generated from its 15 commercial nuclear reactors in 2014, the fourth highest in the world.



Sweden’s Regulator To Review Licence Application For Forsmark Repository
01
.02.2016 - NucNet News
Swedish waste management company SKB’s application for permission to build a deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel at Forsmark, north of Stockholm, is “sufficiently complete” to be examined, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said. According to SSM, the Swedish public and various stakeholders have until 30 April 2016 to submit their comments on the application process. A final decision by the government is expected in 2017, SSM said. In November 2015, after a preliminary assessment, SSM said SKB’s choice of the Forsmark site was “the most suitable”, but additional considerations were needed before submitting a final opinion to the government. SKB is hoping construction and commissioning of the repository can be completed by 2028, when trial operations would begin. Commercial operation is scheduled for 2030. The application included a separate request to build an encapsulation facility for spent nuclear fuel at the existing Clab interim facility near Oskarshamn, southern Sweden, the statement said.


Bulgaria And Russia Sign Contract On Kozloduy-6 Life Extension
27
.01.2016 - NucNet News
Bulgarian and Russian officials have signed an agreement on the provision of services related to a life extension for Bulgaria’s Kozloduy-6 nuclear unit that could take its total operational lifetime to 60 years, a statement by the nuclear station said. The contract, signed between the Kozloduy nuclear station, and a consortium consisting of Rusatom Service, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and the Bulgarian engineering services provider Risk Engineering, includes activities related to justifying the lifetime extension such as auditing, material controls, and estimates of the durability of all structures, systems and components, a statement said. The unit began commercial operation in December 1993. Bulgaria has two units in commercial operation, Kozloduy-5 and -6, both Russian-built VVER V-320 pressurised water reactors. In October 2014, Bulgaria awarded a contract for the lifetime extension of Unit 5 to a French-Russian consortium consisting of France’s EDF and Russian companies Rosenergoatom and Rusatom Service. The operational licence for Kozloduy-5 expires in 2017 and the licence for Kozloduy-6 in 2019. Roughly 30 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity is generated at Kozloduy.



Hinkley Point C Decision Has Been Postponed, Say Reports
27
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The UK’s first new nuclear power plant in decades could be delayed amid reports that an EDF board meeting to decide whether to invest in the Hinkley Point C project has been postponed. The French energy company’s board was expected to meet today to finalise the decision. But French newspaper Les Echos said the decision had now been delayed, reportedly due to funding difficulties. According to the BBC, EDF has declined to comment on the reports. Les Echos said EDF was struggling to find the cash for its 66.5 percent stake and was now “putting pressure on the [French] state, which owns 84.5 percent of EDF, to come up with fresh funds”. It said a final investment decision would now be made at the earliest at EDF’s annual results on 16 February.


Nuclear Retirements Mean UK Is Facing Energy Supply Crisis, Says Report
27
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The UK government’s policy to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025, combined with the retirement of the majority of the UK’s ageing nuclear fleet and growing electricity demand, will leave the country facing a 40 to 55 percent electricity supply gap, according to a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.



EU And IAEA Take Steps To Strengthen Nuclear Cooperation
26.01.2016 - NucNet News
The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency took steps to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities during their fourth annual senior officials meeting in Vienna, the European Commission said. The talks on 21-22 January 2016 provided a forum to exchange views on improving collaboration in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, sustainable development and nuclear energy research and innovation. In particular, the two organisations agreed to strengthen their cooperation on nuclear safety, waste management, decommissioning, emergency preparedness and response. The EC said mechanisms to strengthen regional cooperation were discussed, including for the environmental remediation of uranium legacy sites in Central Asia.


Bulgaria And Romania Sign Cooperation Agreement On Nuclear Safety
26
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) and the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control have signed an agreement on the exchange of technical information and cooperation in the regulation and control of nuclear safety and radiation protection, the NRA said. The agreement, which was approved by the Bulgarian government in December 2015, will be valid for five years with the possibility of an automatic extension, a statement said. Bulgaria has two Russian-built VVER V-320 reactors in commercial operation at Kozloduy. Romania has two commercially operational Candu units at the Cernavodă nuclear station. Both countries have plans to expand their nuclear energy capacities.


French Energy Union Has Raised Questions Over Hinkley Point, Says FT
26
.01.2016 - NucNet News

The French energy union CFE-CGC has published a set of challenges to EDF over its plans to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in southwest England, with just days to go before an expected final investment decision, the Financial Times reported. According to the report, CFE-CGC, which is represented on EDF’s board, has drawn up a list of 15 questions it says have yet to be answered. The list includes an expression of serious concern about the plant’s viability and what it might cost the company. The Financial Times said people close to the deal said they expected the decision about whether the project would go ahead to happen at a board meeting tomorrow. EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600-megawatt EPR units at Hinkley Point.



Poland May Delay Construction Of First Reactor, Reports Say
22
.01.2016 - NucNet News

Poland’s conservative government may further postpone the construction of the country’s first nuclear reactor as costs remain unpredictable, energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said, according to Reuters. The project was first announced in 2009 by Poland’s previous government as part of a drive to find alternatives to coal-fired power generation. Since then it has hit delays due to falling power prices and Japan’s 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, which affected public support, Reuters said. Despite those hurdles, the governing Law and Justice party, which won a parliamentary election in October 2015, is likely to stick to the plan, Reuters said. “The programme will continue, especially because there is research potential in Poland,” Mr Tchorzewski was quoted as saying. “But we are facing the dilemma of how fast to do that. This has not been decided yet.” The project’s official deadlines were to have the first unit operating by 2025, a delay from the original target of 2020, Reuters said.


Belgium And Netherlands Conclude ‘Cross-Inspection’ At Doel
 

22
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The first “cross-inspection” of the four-unit Doel nuclear station in Belgium has been carried out by inspectors from the Netherlands’ Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS). The inspection was carried out this week alongside inspectors from Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (Fanc) and technical experts from its subsidiary Bel V. Fanc said the cross-inspection was arranged as part of a bilateral cooperation agreement between Fanc and ANVS, which was established last year to combine many of the Dutch government’s tasks in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection in one independent authority. At the next cross-inspection, representatives of Fanc and Bel V will take part in an inspection of the single-unit Borssele nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, Fanc said.



Worker Overexposure In Poland Rated As INES Level 2
22
.01.2016 - NucNet News

An incident which resulted in a worker being irradiated while inside a hot cell at the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Poland has been classified as Level 2 (‘Incident’) on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s seven-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) said the incident took place on 28 January 2015, during an inspection of nuclear materials, when a radiation worker accompanying inspectors entered a hot cell containing iridium-192 radioactive sources with a total activity of 33.3 terabecquerels. The worker remained inside the cell for about one minute and his personal dosimeter recorded an effective dose of 31 millisieverts (mSv), which exceeds the annual statutory exposure dose limit for radiation workers of 20 mSv. Doses received by the three inspectors were 1 mSv, 4 mSv and 8 mSv. The PAA said it was notified of the event on 30 January 2015. The PAA said there was no release beyond authorised limits and no overexposure of any member of the public. A commission investigating the incident made recommendations for additional safety features and training on safety culture at the centre.


France’s Cabri Research Reactor Ready For Study Of Reactivity Accidents
21
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The Cabri research reactor at Cadarache in France has once again achieved criticality after several years of renovation and modification work, paving the way for the Cabri International Programme (CIP) for the study of reactivity accidents with high burn-up fuel assemblies in light-water reactors. CIP is led by France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) under the aegis of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and involves 18 partners from 12 countries. IRSN said the objective of CIP, originally launched in 2000, is to study the behaviour of nuclear fuel rods and their cladding during a reactivity injection accident (RIA) in pressurised water reactors. Such an accident would result in a rapid, sudden and local increase in the neutron flux, which would induce a sharp power peak due to nuclear fission. The NEA said CIP aims to extend the database for high burn-up fuel behaviour and, importantly, perform the majority of tests in conditions representative of light-water RIAs. Details of CIP are online: http://bit.ly/1QnPPkd



Lithuania’s Ignalina Announces Decommissioning Progress
21
.01.2016 - NucNet News
More than 30,000 tonnes of nuclear-related equipment have been dismantled at the Ignalina nuclear power station in Lithuania since decommissioning began in 2010, a statement said. This represents 23.4 percent of the total amount of equipment planned for dismantling by 2038, estimated at about 130,000 tonnes, the statement said. A large part of the dismantled material will be sold as scrap metal after being tested for radioactive contamination, while the remainder will be stored in a temporary storage facility until transferred to a final depository. The two Soviet RBMK units at Ignalina were shut down 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.



Progressive Finland Remains On Track With Nuclear Projects
21
.01.2016 - NucNet News
Significant progress has been made with plans for Finland to build its sixth nuclear power generation unit at Hanhikivi with the construction licensing process on schedule and the pouring of first concrete expected in early 2018, utility Fennovoima’s licensing manager Janne Liuko told NucNet.


UK Could Have First SMR In Operation By 2025, Says NuScale
19
.01.2016 - NucNet News
The UK’s ambitions to build small modular reactors may be realised as soon as 2025, according to Fluor Corporation’s NuScale unit, which is seeking to be a pioneer in the market, Bloomberg reported. Bloomberg said NuScale plans to submit its 50-MW SMR design for approval by US nuclear authorities towards the end of 2016. That would leave it well-placed to seek the UK equivalent, called generic design assessment (GDA), in 2017, Tom Mundy, executive vice president for programme development at the US company, was reported as saying. “Assuming the GDA is submitted and takes four years, we’d be looking at approval in 2021,” Mr Mundy said. “There’s then a 36-month construction time, so it’s plausible to expect that if all things line up, we could have a UK plant built by 2025.”
 
Polish And Hungarian Representatives Meet To Discuss Nuclear Cooperation
 

18.01.2016 - NucNet News
Representatives of Poland and Hungary discussed the possibility of cooperation in nuclear energy at a meeting in Warsaw on 13 January 2016, the nuclear.pl website reported. The meeting was attended by Poland’s deputy ministers in the Ministry of Energy, Andrew Piotrowski and Michael Kurtyka, and the secretary of state in Hungary’s Ministry of National Development, Andras Aradszkim. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange views on the development of nuclear power in Poland and Hungary and the general direction of energy policy in Central and Eastern Europe, nuclear.pl said. Poland has shortlisted two sites close to the Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania for a possible first nuclear plant. Hungary has four commercial reactors in operation at the Paks site and is planning two more at the site. The European Commission has expressed doubts about whether Hungary’s plans to provide financing for the two new reactors involve legal state aid.


Canada and UK Extend Cooperation Agreement
14.01.2016 - NucNet News
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation have extended their arrangement for cooperation and the exchange of information on nuclear regulation until 2020, the CNSC said. The agreement was first signed in 2005 and amended in 2010 and 2015, the CNSC said.


IAEA Report Highlights Safety Rules For ‘Mobile’ Nuclear Professionals
14.01.2016 - NucNet News
A safety report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on safety rules for “mobile” nuclear professionals who offer their services at different facilities internationally and sometimes do not get screened or tracked for cumulative radiation exposure. The IAEA said ‘Radiation Protection of Itinerant Workers’ takes into account the substantial changes in requirements and practices in occupational radiation protection that have occurred over the past decade. Jizeng Ma, head of the occupational radiation protection unit at the IAEA, said: “Before developing these safety guidelines, we had to get enough good examples to assess the levels of radiation exposure that these workers could face and this specific report provides clearly defined safety guidance that regulatory authorities need to follow for the ‘mobile workers’ who carry out specific tasks in the nuclear sector or in medical sectors.” The report is online: http://bit.ly/1URhzwO


Nuclear Tops Electricity Production In Spain In 2015, Says Foro Nuclear Report
14.01.2016 - NucNet News

Spain’s nuclear fleet provided 21.7 percent of the country’s electricity until mid-December 2015, industry group Foro Nuclear said in a preliminary report. As in 2014, nuclear energy had the highest percentage of any power production method, with installed capacity of 7,866 MW, or 7.7 percent of the country’s total, the report said. According to Foro Nuclear, demand in mainland Spain for electric power saw a 1.9 percent increase over 2014, the first growth since 2010. Total combined installed power capacity in Spain increased by 0.4 percent in 2015, closing the year at 108,299 MW, the report said. Spain has seven commercially operational reactors. An eighth unit, Santa Maria de Garoña, was shut down in December 2012 – six months before its operational licence was due to expire – with owner Nuclenor blaming a tax on energy production and spent nuclear fuel that would have made Garoña’s operation economically unviable. In May 2014, Nuclenor submitted an application to renew the operating licence after a change in national law allowed nuclear power stations that have shut down for reasons not related to safety to restart. Foro Nuclear said Nuclenor is waiting for a technical report being prepared by the Spanish regulatory body (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear) on the renewal application. The Foro Nuclear report is online: http://bit.ly/1nkJ2fS


EC Says It Has Doubts Over Hungary’s Proposals For Paks 2 Nuclear Project
13.01.2016 - NucNet News
The European Commission has expressed doubts about whether Hungary’s plans to provide financing for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the planned Paks 2 nuclear station involve legal state aid, a statement in the EU’s Official Journal said.


Regulator Calls For Urgent Update Of Estimated Cost Of France Repository
12.01.2016 - NucNet News
French nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has called for an update of the estimated cost for France’s planned deep geological repository for high-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste.


France’s IRSN Calls For Further Research Into ‘Intrinsic Difficulties’ Of Passive Safety Systems
07.01.2016 - NucNet News
Analysis of passive safety systems in nuclear reactors has identified a number of intrinsic difficulties that need further research, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) has said.


Poland Goes Ahead With Site Selection For First Nuclear Station
06.01.2016 - NucNet News

The next phase of surveys aimed at confirming a site for the construction of Poland’s first nuclear power station will begin in the spring of 2016, local media reported. Two locations, Choczewo and Lubiatowo-Kopalino, both close to Poland’s Baltic coast in the northern province of Pomerania, have been shortlisted, Maciej Stryjecki, head of the localisation, infrastructure and environmental protection office at PGE EJ1, the company in charge of the nuclear project, was reported as saying. He said one of those locations will be chosen after all surveys, research and analysis have been carried out, a process that is expected to last around two years. In October 2015, PGE EJ1 published a project information roadmap which was to form the basis for the environmental impact assessment needed for the site selection. At the beginning of December 2015, five companies were listed as potential suppliers of the reactor technology for the station.



Poland Adopts New Regulations On Radwaste And Spent Nuclear Fuel Management
05.01.2016 - NucNet News

The Polish government has enacted new regulations on radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management, the Polish national atomic agency (PAA) said in a statement. The regulations, which came into force on 30 December 2015, include conditions for the categorisation of radioactive waste, standards for packaging and inventarisation, requirements for buildings and premises used in the storage of different categories of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and rules for the preparation of spent nuclear fuel for permanent storage, the statement said. The regulations also establish procedures for the regular audits of storage facilities and their contents, PAA said. The full text of the regulations is online (Polish): http://bit.ly/1RlxnIo