Welcome to AtomWatch - world nuclear power news and analysis

This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Westinghouse wins Ukraine fuel supply deal

US-based Westinghouse will supply nuclear fuel to three Russian-designed power reactors in Ukraine. The contract has inspired bitter comment from Russian observers.

South Ukraine
South Ukraine
Westinghouse will supply a total of 630 nuclear fuel assemblies to three of the VVER pressurized water reactors at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant (two VVER-440s and one VVER-1000). Until now virtually all nuclear fuel has until now been supplied by Russia's TVEL. Nuclear power provides 83% of Ukraine's electricity, and about half of all its energy.

In 2000, a financial award was granted by the US government as part of a US/Ukrainian initiative to reduce Ukraine's dependency on Russia for fuel. As well as nuclear fuel, the country also imports Russian oil, while gas supply and pricing has been a major issue in recent years. In 2005, the initiative led to six Westinghouse fuel assemblies were introduced to a South Ukraine reactor on an experimental basis; In 2009, 42 more will be added.

The new contract includes special terms to protect both the supplier and the buyer, national electricity utility Energoatom. Should Energoatom fail to gain regulatory approval for the use of Westinghouse fuel assemblies on a large scale, the American firm could terminate the contract with no penalty. On the other hand, if Westinghouse failed to meet technical standards, Energoatom could cancel.

In reaction to the announcement, Russia's Rosatom released a series of expert comments which roundly denounced the move. The various dignitaries agreed the contract was technically dubious and could be a negotiation tool during talks between Energoatom and TVEL for the remainder of nuclear fuel supplies. Furthermore they linked it to Ukraine's relationship with the European Union and its desire to join the Nato defence pact.

Chechenov Hussein, a member of the Russian Federation Commission on Natural Monopolies' subcommittee on atomic energy, said such contracts 'will bring Ukraine more harm than good.' He continued: 'I think this is a political decision not backed by economic and scientific considerations. The operation of a nuclear power plant involves the use of sophisticated, interconnected technology which can not introduce anything foreign.'

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

French firm Areva eager to build nuclear power plant in Alberta, Canada

Areva SA is eager to build Western Canada's first nuclear power plant, the president of the French nuclear giant's Canadian wing said Friday.

Ontario power plant operator Bruce Power said earlier this month that it wants to build a four-reactor nuclear complex near Peace River, Alta., at a cost of more than $10 billion.

"Our design is one of the designs that Bruce Power is looking at for Northern Alberta. We're competing for their attention," Armand Laferrere told reporters in Calgary.

The proposed 4,000-megawatt facility would be the largest of its kind in the world and could be up and running as early as 2017.

Bruce Power has indicated it would open up bidding for the mega project to private international companies other than Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the Crown corporation that designed the Candu reactor.

Possibilities could include GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse Electric Co.

When asked whether Areva was in talks with nuclear providers other than Bruce Power for construction projects in Alberta, Laferrere said: "The answer is yes and I will not say one more word."

Demand for power in Alberta is growing faster than any other jurisdiction in North America and will need another 10,000 megawatts of electricity in the next two decades, Laferrere said.

The growth is being propelled largely by the oilsands industry in northeastern Alberta, which currently consumes enormous amounts of natural gas to power its operations.

(read more)

(Source: The Canadian Press)

Britain seeks loophole in EU green energy targets

Britain is seeking to change the rules governing renewable energy targets to make it easier for the UK to fulfil its commitment to promote clean energy, the Guardian has learned.

At present, only 3% of the UK's power comes from renewable energy, but ministers have agreed to increase this fivefold within 12 years. To help reach this goal, the government has started lobbying the EU over the way the target is calculated.

At a closed session of the energy council of ministers this month, the business minister, Lady Vadera, proposed that British investments in renewable energy anywhere in the world should count as part of UK's effort.

In a speech that astonished European renewable energy companies, environment groups and other EU energy ministers, she said: "It is imperative that cost-efficiency is at the heart of our approach ... Demand for renewable energy projects outside the EU should be considered [part of the renewable target]."

She also appealed to Europe to allow all EU countries to count carbon "saved" from coal-fired stations fitted with equipment that captures harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The electricity generated by this "clean coal" would then count as renewable energy and go towards UK national targets. "Member states might be further incentivised to support carbon capture projects if they were allowed in some way to contribute to the 2020 [renewable] targets," she said.

Environmental groups regard both proposals as a way for Britain to put off or scale back on increasing renewable energy through windfarms, hydroelectric and solar energy initiatives.

(read more)

(Source: Guardian)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Japanese nuclear power reactors delayed

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) announced that the start of operation of four new nuclear power reactors would be delayed, while Electric Power Development Co (J-Power) said the start of construction of its Ohma plant had been postponed again.

Tepco said that the start of commercial operation of four new nuclear power plants would be postponed by one year due to the incorporation of new earthquake resistance assessments. The company said that units 7 and 8 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant would now enter commercial operation on October 2014 and October 2015, respectively. Unit 1 of the Higashidori plant is now scheduled to begin operating in December 2015, while unit 2 will start up in fiscal 2018 or later.

Tepco's Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata prefecture has been shut since being damaged by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on 16 July 2007. The company has since restarted decommissioned thermal plants to make up for the shortfall in nuclear generation. According to Bloomberg, Tepco expects to post its first loss in 28 years because of higher fuel costs. The company has set aside Y440 billion ($4.4 billion) for additional oil and liquefied natural gas costs in the year to 31 March. Tepco earlier estimated a net loss of Y155 billion ($1.5 billion) for this financial year, compared with a profit of Y298 billion ($3 billion) in the previous financial year.

Tepco said that it will speed up construction of coal- and gas-fired power plants in order to avoid a supply shortfall due to new nuclear power units being delayed. Under a business management plan announced today, the company will complete the construction of a 1000 MW coal-fire unit at Hitachinaka in Ibaraki prefecture and a 600 MW coal-fired unit at Hirono in Fukushima prefecture in fiscal 2013, one year ahead of schedule. In addition, Tepco will bring the first line of the second liquefied natural gas-fired plant at Kawasaki in Kanagawa prefecture into operation in 2013, some four years ahead of schedule.

(read more)
(Source: World Nuclear News)

France and the UK agree to reinforce cooperation

France and the UK have agreed to greater cooperation on a range of issues, including nuclear power regulation, preventing nuclear terrorism and combating climate change.


UK prime minister Gordon Brown and French president Nicolas Sarkozy

During a visit to the UK by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a joint summit declaration was issued by the British and French governments detailing areas for which greater cooperation had been agreed.

In the field of nuclear energy, the declaration called for improving the "efficiency and effectiveness of nuclear development projects, including in safety and pre-licensing, through our nuclear regulators working closely together to share information on nuclear safety, security and waste management." It suggested that this "action could be extended to other interested European partners (and which could include as appropriate other items of common interests)." In addition, the declaration said that France and the UK "will explore opportunities to increase the interchange of regulatory staff between the two countries."

The two countries said they would cooperate to combat the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons. The statement said: "We will also work together towards the establishment of an IAEA-led system of nuclear fuel assurance to reduce the proliferation risks."

(reade more)
(Source: World Nuclear News)

USA: Lawmakers seek end to nuclear power plant ban

Construction Forbidden before Federal Waste Disposal System Ready

Some lawmakers hope to lift a longstanding ban on construction of nuclear power plants in Kentucky.

Senate Bill 156 would repeal a 1984 law that prohibits new nuclear plants until the federal government finalizes a nuclear waste disposal system. So far, the government has not, despite controversial plans to establish Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a national radioactive waste disposal site.

Rather than wait for a federal solution, Kentucky should simply allow its Public Service Commission to begin the approval process for nuclear plants, said Sen. Bob Leeper, an Independent from Paducah and the bill's sponsor. His district includes the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the only operating uranium enrichment facility in the nation.

Without a national disposal site, plants in Kentucky would have to make their own plans for waste storage.

About 30 companies are currently considering whether and where in the United States to open nuclear plants that could result in $4 billion investments each, Leeper said.

"I just want to put Kentucky on the map," Leeper told the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment on Thursday.

Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence, said he likes the bill and considers coal and nuclear to be America's energy future, while wind and solar power offer "false hopes."

However, Gooch's committee could not approve the bill Thursday because too few of its members attended the hearing to provide a quorum. A special hearing might be called in the final days of the 2008 session to adopt the bill and allow it the House vote it needs to reach the governor's desk and be signed into law, Gooch said.

In the audience, environmental activist Tom FitzGerald said he opposes the bill because it "would send the wrong message" on nuclear power, particularly as the national debate over radioactive waste does not appear settled.

(Source: www.kentucky.com)

U.S. Gives Nuclear Power a Second Look

After a hiatus of nearly three decades, nuclear energy is booming. Seventeen power companies in the U.S. are making plans to build more than 30 nuclear plants.

One important factor in the resurgence: new federal and state laws that help utilities pay for nuclear plants that, if completed, would be among the most expensive projects ever built in the country.

One state where nuclear power is making a comeback is Florida. At a meeting last week in Tallahassee, Florida's Public Service Commission voted to approve the state's first new nuclear plants in decades.

Commission member Nathan Skop hailed the decision. "Simply put, nuclear power is a strategic investment for the state of Florida and our national security—to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to protect our environment," he said.

(read more)

(Source: NPR)

USA: Nuclear Innovation launched to develop power-generating projects nationwide

NRG Energy Inc. has formed a new company that will invest in new nuclear projects in select markets across North America.

The company, Nuclear Innovation North America LLC, will take over the development of the planned nuclear plant expansion at the South Texas Project. The development of the two nuclear-generating units will be delayed as a result of the formation of the new company. Units 3 and 4 should come online in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The units had been slated to come online in 2014 and 2015.

Princeton, N.J.-based NRG (NYSE: NRG) is jointly developing two new nuclear reactors at the Bay City, Texas complex with San Antonio's CPS Energy. NRG will transfer its portion of the work to Nuclear Innovation North America.

Japan's Toshiba Corp., which is serving as the prime contractor on the South Texas Project expansion, will become an equity partner with NRG on the new venture.

Toshiba will invest $300 million in the company over the next six years in return for a 12 percent equity stake in Nuclear Innovation.

One advantage to the NRG-Toshiba venture is that Toshiba has agreed to extend pre-negotiated engineering, procurement and construction terms to Nuclear Innovation for two additional nuclear projects.

This favorable pricing structure could lead to a "nuclear renaissance" in the United States for new nuclear energy projects, according to NRG officials.

"New advanced nuclear is a key part of the future for affordable, reliable and zero carbon baseload generation not only in Texas but throughout the United States," says NRG President and CEO David Crane. "And after a 30-year hiatus, we believe the most cost-effective and risk-managed way to reintroduce nuclear ... is by working with the companies that have been so successful with on-time, on-budget nuclear construction in other countries."

By this, Crane is referring to Toshiba and its expertise in building Advanced Boiling Water Reactors throughout the world, including two completed in Japan.

"We are making a strong investment in renewing America's electrical infrastructure and meeting growing U.S. electricity demand," Crane says. "These projects represent at least $15 billion of direct investment in the U.S. economy through jobs and equipment."

(Source: San Antonio Business Journal)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Russia, Egypt sign nuclear power agreement

Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on cooperation in the civilian nuclear sphere on Tuesday, allowing Russian companies to bid for deals to build nuclear power plants in Egypt.

Speaking after talks with visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at his residence near Moscow, outgoing President Vladimir Putin said the deal "opens up new horizons for bilateral cooperation."

The agreement, signed by the Russian and Egyptian nuclear chiefs, Sergei Kiriyenko and Hassan Younes, respectively, also envisions personnel training for nuclear facilities in Egypt and nuclear fuel supplies to the country.

A tender for the construction of Egypt's first nuclear power plant is expected to be announced this year. The project is estimated to be worth $1.5-$2 billion.

Egypt also plans to later build another three nuclear power plants with aggregate capacity of 1,800 MW, or 600 MW each, in a bid to meet its energy needs and diversify energy sources, thereby allowing the country's hydrocarbon reserves to last longer.

Russia, seeking to develop high tech sectors to reduce dependence on oil and gas exports, has signaled interest in building a nuclear plant in Egypt.

Russia's nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly Atomstroyexport is currently building five nuclear power plants in China, India and Iran, under contracts worth $4.5 billion overall, and has also won a tender to build a plant in Belene, Bulgaria.

The company is currently in talks on building nuclear plants in Morocco, Vietnam, and South Africa.

(Source: RIA Novosti)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Entergy La. River Bend nuclear unit out unplanned

Equipment faults discovered during ramp up after a recent refueling caused the 967-megawatt Entergy Corp River Bend nuclear power reactor in Louisiana to shut on Thursday evening, a company spokesman said on Friday.

"We hope it will be a short one," said Steven Johnston of Entergy of the duration of the outage. "We will be back up as soon as possible."

Johnston declined to specify the equipment at fault.

The utility is keen to get the unit back on line. It has not strung together a streak of days at 100 percent operational capacity since it shut January 6 for a planned refueling and maintenance outage. Also, spring has arrived along the U.S. Gulf Coast and air conditioners are clicking on and demanding more power. Demand is expected to be diminished on Friday when many businesses will be shut for Good Friday.

The single-unit River Bend power plant was operating at 70 percent as of Thursday morning's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report. The unit had been ramping up after a regular refueling and maintenance shutdown. The refueling outage was from January 6 to March 5.

The plant is in St. Francisville, Louisiana, about 24 miles north-northwest of Baton Rouge., was ramping up following an automatic shutdown in early March.

One megawatt powers about 500 homes in Louisiana.

Entergy, of New Orleans, owns and operates about 30,000 MW of generating capacity, markets energy commodities, and transmits and distributes power to 2.6 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

(Source: Reuters)

Toshiba Inks Nuke Power Tie-Up with Russian State Firm

Toshiba Corp. said Thursday it has forged a tie-up with Russia's state-owned Atomic Energy Power Corp. in civilian nuclear power operations including power plant construction and fuel production.

Based on the alliance, the Russian firm dubbed Atomenergoprom will enrich uranium produced in Kazakhstan, while Toshiba will undertake nuclear fuel production and the designing and engineering of nuclear power plants, the companies said.

Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida and Atomenergoprom President Vladimir Travin signed a general framework accord in Moscow the same day.

To draw up concrete cooperation measures, the two firms are slated to study the feasibility of the designing and construction of commercial nuclear power plants in Russia.

They will also conduct similar studies on cooperation in manufacturing and maintenance of large nuclear power equipment and in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle business, including uranium mining and enrichment, they said.

The firms may establish a strategic partnership in the future, Toshiba said.

The tie-up comes as the Japanese firm faces heated rivalry in the United States to win orders to build nuclear power plants. By securing a stable supply of nuclear fuel through the alliance with Atomenergoprom, Toshiba hopes to sharpen its competitive edge, its officials said.

(Source: JCN Network)

Why the Nuclear Programme Undermines Iran's Independence

Ahmadinejad tries to justify his confrontational approach to the issue in the name of "independence." He tells Iranians that they ought to suffer in order to achieve "energy independence" by developing a full nuclear cycle.

However, the truth is that the controversial nuclear programme, which the UN believes is aimed at bomb making not just producing electricity, has had the opposite effect so far.

The latest Security Council resolution imposes at least two significant restrictions on Iran's independence.

First, it makes it mandatory for UN members to stop and search all ships and aircraft carrying goods to Iran under the pretext that these might be of dual use nature.

The spectacle of the US and/or allied navies stopping and searching Iran-bound ships at the entrance to the Gulf of Oman would certainly amount to a restriction of Iranian independence. The same would be true of Iran-bound and/or Iran-owned aircraft anywhere in the world.

Secondly, virtually the whole of Iranian trade could be brought under international control, much like what happened to Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

(read more)

(Source: Iran Press Service)

Japan must lead way on nuclear energy, say advisors

A government advisory body on Friday urged Tokyo to take the lead in promoting nuclear energy worldwide as part of efforts to fight global warming.

Japan is struggling to meet its obligations to slash greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol and is also being hit hard by high oil prices as Asia's largest economy has virtually no natural energy resources.

The Atomic Energy Commission, which is in charge of setting the country's nuclear energy policies, made the call for more nuclear power in an annual paper submitted Friday to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's cabinet.

"Our country should work for the international community to have a common recognition that an expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy is inevitable as a measure against global warming," it said.

The commission forecast the number of nuclear reactors worldwide will surge to 790 by about 2030. There were 435 in 2006, when nuclear energy accounted for some 16 percent of global power generation.

Calls are growing for the use of nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases, at a time of high oil prices and growing consciousness about global warming.

US President George W. Bush in 2006 launched a push to resume construction of nuclear power plants which was halted after an accident at the Three Mile Island station in 1979 when a reactor was destroyed.

Nuclear cooperation is expected to be high on the agenda during a trip to Japan next month by Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France, the only member of the Group of Eight industrial powers that relies on nuclear power for more than half of its energy needs.

But there is wide opposition to atomic energy in Japan, the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack.

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world's largest nuclear power plant, located northwest of Tokyo, was hit last year by an earthquake, causing a fire, a small radiation leak and the shutdown of the plant.

(Source: AFP)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dutch opt for coal with carbon capture, not nuclear

The Netherlands will focus on developing cleaner coal plants and raising renewable energy output to cut carbon emissions rather than expanding its nuclear energy industry at present, the environment minister said.

While other European countries like Britain are taking a fresh look at nuclear power due to its credentials as a carbon free energy source, the Dutch government is sticking to an agreement to build no more nuclear plants during its mandate.

Despite a recent report from a Dutch advisory body urging the cabinet to reconsider nuclear power in 2010, Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer said there were too many unresolved issues with the technology to make it attractive.

"Some aspects of nuclear energy are positive such as the carbon dioxide level, but the disadvantages are also enormous, such as the waste problem and the safety conditions," Cramer said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

Bowing to pressure from environmentalists and the wider public, Dutch authorities have phased out all nuclear power stations except for one, the Borssele plant, which is due to stay operational until 2033.

Cramer said the Netherlands was focusing on developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) techniques to build cleaner coal plants, along with increasing its production from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

CCS is a pioneering technology which involves trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes, such as power generation from fossil fuels, and piping them underground or offshore below the seabed.

(read more)

(Source: Guardian)

Areva partners to double uranium production

Areva is planning to double its production rates of uranium, and has signed a partnership with minerals engineering firm Technip.

A new joint venture company called TSU Project has been created by Technip, Areva and SGN (an Areva subsidiary specialized in the nuclear fuel cycle). TSU will execute the projects required to double Areva's annual uranium production in five years. A figure of €3 billion ($4.6 billion) was mentioned by the firms, and connected to ten new mining operations. Most of this investment and development is to occur in Africa. Areva said the initiative should "quicken the Imouraren and Trekkopie projects" in Niger and Namibia respectively.

In 2007, Areva current produced 6000 tonnes of uranium per year. Doubling that would take it well beyond the current production rates of its main rivals, Cameco, KazAtomProm and Rio Tinto, although all those firms have similarly significant expansion plans.

Rio Tinto produced 7171 tonnes of uranium in 2007 and aims to double that by 2015; KazAtomProm is aiming for 15,000 tonnes of uranium per year in 2015; Cameco's produces 8250 tonnes of uranium per year, and plans to increase capacity - notably through the Cigar Lake mine which could produce 7000 tonnes per year alone.

Technip, headquartered in Paris like Areva, employs 23,000 people worldwide and operates in the fields of oil, gas and petrochemical engineering. Areva said that it would benefit from Technip's expertise in managing major industrial projects.

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Toshiba, AtomEnergoProm sign framework agreement

Japan's Toshiba Corporation and Russia's AtomEnergoProm have signed a general framework agreement under which they will explore collaboration in the civil nuclear power business.

According to the two companies, they will start feasibility studies to consider cooperation in areas including design and engineering for the construction of new nuclear power plants, manufacturing and maintenance of large equipment, and "front-end civilian nuclear fuel cycle business". In their press releases, the companies say that the agreement could contribute to "stable and secure supply" of front-end nuclear fuel cycle services in Japan, the USA and other countries. They also say that the "complementary relations" could lead to the establishment of a strategic partnership.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Russian state corporation Rosatom, said the event symbolized the start of a large-scale cooperation between two leading Russian and Japanese nuclear energy companies. "This cooperation will be beneficial not only to the employees of our companies, but also to users of products and services related to nuclear cycle throughout the world," he added.

In response, Harufimi Mochizuki, head of the Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, echoed Kiriyenko's views. "I recognize the importance and great possibilities of the Japan-Russia cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy," he said, highlighting the importance of a continuous policy dialogue between the two countries.

AtomEnergoProm is a single vertically-integrated state holding company for Russia's nuclear power sector, established in 2007. Its remit covers uranium production, engineering, design, reactor construction, power generation and research institutes. The Rosatom Corporation, also established in 2007, holds all the shares in AtomEnergoProm on behalf of the Russian state.

Toshiba, which owns 77% of US reactor builder Westinghouse, has publicly declared its goal of achieving global nuclear operations.

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Turkey now one step closer to its first - ever nuclear power plant

The process has started for the establishment of nuclear power plants in Turkey, with bylaws establishing the rules and conditions governing competitors in plant construction, facility operation and the sale of energy generated published in the Official Gazette yesterday.

The regulations were drafted by officials from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources in accordance with the opinions of the Council of State.

The regulations noted that a tender will be held in three months' time to select a company for the construction of a nuclear power plant with a capacity of 4,000 megawatts (MW) -- with a standard deviation of +/-25 percent being acceptable -- by Dec. 31, 2020. According to the regulations, any company that seeks to participate in the tender to construct a nuclear power plant in Turkey will have to be experienced in the field or establish partnerships with domestic or foreign companies that already have experience in nuclear energy.

(read more)

(Source: Today's Zaman)

New nuclear power plant to be built in Armenia by 2016

During a round-table discussion, dedicated to Dr. Gerd Rosenkratz’s "Nuclear Energy. Facts and Fiction" book, Deputy-Minister for Power Engineering of Armenia Areg Galstian told the reporters that Russia, the USA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) not only approve the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia, but are also working out a strategy of preferential deliveries of nuclear fuel to the country, which will help develop Armenia's nuclear power engineering more actively,

According to the Deputy-Minister, the feasibility study of the new NPP in Armenia will be completed by September-October 2008. He also reminded that the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is to be shut down by 2016; therefore the new one is to be ready before that. "Economic estimations show that there is no alternative to the nuclear power engineering in Armenia. Estimations on creation of alternative generation sources have been made over the past 8 years. For this purpose, well-known foreign firms were involved in the process, however, their estimations showed that the most optimal variant is developing of the nuclear power engineering", Galstian said.

At present the Metsamor NPP generates 45% of total electricity in Armenia. Armenia and Russia have already set up a joint venture for prospecting of uranium in Armenian territory. Earlier Armenia ratified an agreement on active participation in the work of the international uranium enrichment center in Angarsk. The participation in this project will help Armenia not only to supply its NPP with fuel but also to export uranium (provided that the present prospecting expedition finds sufficient uranium resources). Armenia's total uranium resources are estimated at 60,000 tons. Experts say that the construction of a new 1,000 MW NPP will cost $1.5bln.

(Source: AZG Armenian Daily)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Egypt, Russia draft deal for nuclear power tender

Egypt and Russia on Wednesday drafted a nuclear energy deal, which could be signed next week in Moscow, to allow Russia to take part in the tender to build nuclear reactors in Egypt, the Egyptian negotiator said.

"This agreement is for the usage of nuclear energy for peaceful means. We have concluded all the technical work of it. It is ready for signing," said Egypt's Industry and Energy minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid.

Rachid spoke by telephone from Cairo after talks with Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, who is on a two-day visit to Egypt laying the ground for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's visit to Moscow early next week.

"The agreement could be signed by President Mubarak at that time," Rachid said.
Through the construction of several nuclear power plants, Egypt is planning to revive its civilian atomic energy programme, shut down in 1986 in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

The London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies said the first 1,000-megawatt reactor could be built at Dabaa on the Mediterranean in eight to 10 years if foreign investment was secured.

Rachid said the tender for the turnkey construction projects would be concluded this year and would not be biased in favour of any of the potential partners, which also include China and Kazakhstan.

"Egypt has made it clear that this will be an open and competitive process. Our intention is to finalize it this year and to launch construction," he said by telephone from Cairo.

Russia is one of the global leaders in nuclear energy know-how, and is active in constructing and providing fuel for nuclear power plants, including the controversial Bushehr plant in southwestern Iran.

(Source: Guardian)

CEZ confirms Romanian deal, plans nuclear plants upgrades

Central Europe's biggest power producer CEZ confirmed today it has agreed to take a 15 pct stake in a Romanian nuclear power plant investment and said it plans to increase output capacity in its Czech nuclear plants.

'In Cernavoda we have negotiated a 15 pct stake and our participation is certain,' CEZ head of acquisitions Vladimir Schmalz told a news conference.

The planned joint venture with Romanian state energy group Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) is aimed at building a 2.3 bln eur nuclear reactor project.

CEZ, controlled by the Czech state, said earlier today it will expand nuclear power generation by 6-7 terrawatt hours (TWh) to a total of 31 TWh by 2012 as it faces up to environmental issues with its coal-fired plants.

(read more)

(Source: Forbes)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Australia must end uranium confusion

Australia's uranium industry has vented its frustration at state and federal governments, saying the "pathetic" political situation has to change.

Uranium ore concentrate
Uranium ore concentrate
Speaking at the Paydirt 2008 Uranium Conference in Adelaide, Mike Angwin, executive director of the Australian Uranium Association, said Australia has an incomplete policy and incomplete regulatory regime for uranium mining and the industry has not broadened to become country-wide.

"Despite a welcome shift to bipartisan support, we have considerable ground to cover before Australia is seen as a political friendly uranium country. We have not yet consolidated our political role," said Angwin.

Uranium mining operations in Australia's various regions are licensed - or not - by local governments. Currently uranium mining activity is focused in South Australia and the Northern Territory where between them 82% of the country's uranium is produced. Australia itself accounts for about 19% of the world's supply.

The managing director of Toro Energy, Greg Hall, said, "there is a confusing mixed bag in peoples' minds about what is possible and what is not possible in Australia," and that "There needs to be a much higher appreciation that a modern uranium industry is a lot different than something Western Australia and Queensland's policy thinkers learnt in the 1970s."

Uranium analyst Warwick Grigor went further, saying the situation was "just as pathetic as it was a year ago." He added: "There has been no backing down of the anti-uranium stance in Western Australia, and the Queensland government continues with the pathetically parochial and anti-environmental view that it does not want to stand in the way of the development of its coal industry."

Hall connected Australian uranium exports with the global push for more nuclear power as an emissions-free alternative: "We as a country have to be able to start other uranium mines if there is international demand and an increasing reliance on these countries for nuclear energy to cut greenhouse emissions."

"As we stand, these markets are only getting access to 50% of potential Australian uranium production so the political impasse has to change."
(Source: World Nuclear News)

Romania wants to build second nuclear power plant after 2020

Romania plans to build a second nuclear power station to ensure its future energy independence, the head of Nuclearelectrica, Teodor Chirica, said.

'After 2020, we'll need a second nuclear power plant, with between two and four reactors,' Chirica said at an energy strategy seminar here.

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said in October that Bucharest was planning a second nuclear power station 'so as not to be dependent on resources like gas and oil which are running out.'

The current Cernovada power plant in the country's southeast, which currently has two reactors in operation, supplies around 17 percent of Romania's electricity needs.

Another two reactors are set to go into operation by 2014-2015, and Romania launched an international tender for their construction, the cost of which was estimated to be 2.2 billion euros.

For the project, a joint venture was set up between Nuclearelectrica and six foreign investors -- Arcelor-Mittal, Czech utility CEZ, Electrabel of Belgium, Enel of Italy, Iberdrola ( of Spain and German power giant RWE.

The six will each take stakes of 10-15 percent in the joint venture.

(Source: Forbes)

Capacity crisis at Japan Steel Works threatens global nuclear power plant production

A 100-year-old steel mill that once forged guns for the Japanese Imperial Navy has hit a production bottleneck that threatens to derail more than £150 billion of global nuclear power-plant construction.

The capacity shortage at Japan Steel Works (JSW) has created a worldwide stampede among electricity producers to place orders with the Tokyo-based engineer for nuclear reactor cores - a specialised component in which the company has an effective global monopoly.

As the stakes have risen in the tussle to reach the front of JSW's order-book queue for reactor cores, energy analysts said that down-payments have soared beyond £50 million per unit. In some cases, European and American energy groups are placing huge deposits on equipment that will not be built for another decade.

Nuclear energy experts fear that in its haste to expand production, the nuclear industry may have overlooked this part of the equation, potentially jeopardising the future of the 237 reactors expected by The World Nuclear Association to be built between now and 2030.

(read more)

(Source: Times Online)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Russian masterplan released

Russia has released an overall plan for siting power plants up to 2020, including up to 42 new nuclear power reactors.

Kalinin: Stalled construction work on
the plant's fourth unit resumed in
November 2007 (Image: Rosatom)
The Russian government approved the scheme on 22 February, and made it public today. Implementing and monitoring the plan will be the responsibility of the ministry of industry and energy, the ministry of economic development, and the Rosatom corporation under the control of Sergei Kiriyenko. These bodies are to submit an annual progress report on the execution of the scheme to government.

Within three months, the same groups are to draft an action plan to attract investment in the Russian power industry.

The nuclear portion of the scheme sees one VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor and one RBMK-1000 reactor (Kursk 5) entering operation before 2010. In addition, the world's first floating nuclear power plant - the Akademik Lomonosov - with two 35 MW KLT-40C reactors would be launched.

Currently, construction work is underway to complete Kalinin 4, while foundations are being laid for the first two new reactors at Novovoronezh Phase II, the Akademik Lomonosov is under constuction at the Sevmash shipyard and plans are being finalised for Leningrad Phase II.

The speed of nuclear build accelerates in the period between 2011 and 2015, when one VVER-1000, some eight new VVER-1200 units and one BN-800 fast reactor are planned to start up.

From 2016 to 2020 between 15 and 20 VVER-1200s could be brought online, along with six new-design VBER-300 boiling water reactors. Two more floating plants are slated for completion during this time.

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Requiem for the India-US nuclear deal?

Just days after the United Progressive Alliance launched what looked like a determined last-ditch effort to ram through the United States-India nuclear deal, the agreement seems ready to go into cold storage, if not oblivion.

It’s almost certain to miss the US political timetable, which requires that the deal be sent to the Senate by May for ratification. After that, it would be near-impossible to pass it before the presidential election. This is a major victory for India’s Left parties and the peace movement. It’s a morale-booster for all those who questioned any special collaborative arrangement with the US. And it’s a slap in the face of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This is likely to alter Congress party power equations.

Irrespective of what happens in the UPA-Left joint committee, the deal cannot be resuscitated without a showdown with the Left. Withdrawal of the Left’s support will reduce the UPA to a minority. As Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee explicitly told Outlook, “a minority government cannot, need not, and should not, sign a major agreement.”

For the UPA, the government’s survival takes priority over the deal. Apart from this rationale, there are powerful arguments against the deal. It militates against peace and nuclear disarmament. It will further distort the skewed global nuclear order and encourage other countries to cross the nuclear threshold.

(read more)

(Source: Khaleej Times)

India: A brave protest against nuclear power

Twelve students accompanied by their teacher from a college in Calicut have been camping at Jantar Mantar here since Monday to lodge a protest against the proposed Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

The youngsters under the auspices of “Students Against Nuclear Power” launched an indefinite hunger strike earlier this week and on Friday six of them were sitting on fast, while three others had to be hospitalised as they had collapsed during their agitation, said Saji Mathew, a student.

The students have been demanding that the Union Government not sign the nuclear deal because there is “no merit” in the agreement.

“We are not just against the nuclear deal but also India opting for nuclear power because of the harmful effects for the present and future generations,” the group said.

“The strikers have been braving hunger, unfamiliar territory, hostile climatic conditions and neglect from the local police and the Government. Some MPs from Kerala have assured of their support,” Saji added.

(Source: the Hindu)

U.K. Government Hires UBS to Advise on New Nuclear Plants

The U.K. government hired UBS AG, Europe's biggest bank by assets, to advise on a program for building nuclear plants in Britain after earlier this year giving the go-ahead for a new generation of atomic units.

``UBS has been appointed to advise the government on commercial and financial aspects of the strong and growing interest in nuclear,'' the London-based Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said today in an e-mailed statement.

UBS is ``not touting'' the government's 35.2 percent stake in British Energy Group Plc, the country's biggest power producer, the government said.

The Financial Times earlier today reported that the government hired the Zurich-based bank to gauge the interest among European power producers including Electricite de France SA and E.ON AG in buying part of the state's holding. The full stake may be valued at about 2 billion pounds ($4 billion), the newspaper said.

(read more)

(Source: Bloomberg)

Japan electricity generation hits record for Feb

Japan's 10 utilities generated a
record high amount of electricity for the month of February, as
thermal power offset a decline in nuclear plant utilisation to
the lowest in nearly five years, an industry association said on
The utilities generated 88.46 billion kilowatt-hours of
electricity in February, up 13.1 percent from the same month a
year earlier, as Japan faced mostly cooler temperatures than a
year earlier, which boosted heating demand, the Federation of
Electric Power Companies of Japan said.
It marked the seventh straight month in which power
generation topped the previous year's level.
Adjusting the figures to take into account that 2008 is a
leap year, power generation last month was 9.2 percent higher
than a year earlier.
 In January, electricity generation totalled 90.42 billion
kilowatt-hours, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier and a record
high for the month, preliminary data released last month showed.
(read more)
(source: Reuters)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

'Disposable' nuclear reactors raise security fears

A US government-led plan to design small nuclear reactors for deployment in developing countries is continuing despite ongoing fears about security and proliferation risks.

The Bush administration has ear-marked $20 million in its 2009 budget toward the US Department of Energy's efforts to design nuclear power plants in the 250-to-500 megawatt range as part of its Global Nuclear Energy Program (GNEP).

The money marks the first substantial commitment to building the new plants since President Bush announced the program in February 2006. The latest nuclear plants designed for US domestic use have capacities about 1300 megawatts.

GNEP, which now includes 21 member countries, hopes to begin construction of its first reactor in a country currently without nuclear power in 2015, saying the plants will provide a clean, safe source of electricity.

(read more)

(Source: NewScientist)

Samurai-Sword Maker's Reactor Monopoly May Cool Nuclear Revival

From a windswept corner of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, Japan Steel Works Ltd. controls the fate of the global nuclear-energy renaissance.

There stands the only plant in the world, a survivor of Allied bombing in World War II, capable of producing the central part of a nuclear reactor's containment vessel in a single piece, reducing the risk of a radiation leak.

Utilities that won't need the equipment for years are making $100 million down payments now on components Japan Steel makes from 600-ton ingots. Each year the Tokyo-based company can turn out just four of the steel forgings that contain the radioactivity in a nuclear reactor. Even after it doubles capacity in the next two years, there won't be enough production to meet building plans.

``If there are 50 to 100 reactors or more to be built, there will be a real shortage and real delays in deliveries, so it's a good hedge to get in line now,'' said Ron Pitts, senior vice president for nuclear operations at the construction and engineering company Fluor Corp. in Irving, Texas.

Pitts estimated the cost of heavy forgings, including reactor containment vessels, steam generators and pressurizers, at $300 million to $350 million for each generating unit. Japan Steel wouldn't comment on the size of the down payment, which Pitts estimated at $100 million.

(read more)

(Source: Bloomberg)

Most Comprehensive Report on U.S. Nuclear Power Plants is Now Available

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c85886) has announced the addition of "U.S. Nuclear Power Plants 2008" to their offering.

Nuclear power is a type of nuclear technology involving the controlled use of nuclear reactions, usually nuclear fission, to release energy for work including propulsion, heat, and the generation of electricity. Nuclear energy is produced by a controlled nuclear chain reaction and creates heat - which is used to boil water, produce steam, and drive a steam turbine.

A nuclear reactor is a device in which nuclear chain reactions are initiated, controlled, and sustained at a steady rate, as opposed to a nuclear bomb, in which the chain reaction occurs in a fraction of a second and is uncontrolled causing an explosion.

The most significant use of nuclear reactors is as an energy source for the generation of electrical power and for the power in some ships. This is usually accomplished by methods that involve using heat from the nuclear reaction to power steam turbines.

The United States produces the most nuclear energy, with nuclear power providing 20% of the electricity it consumes, while France produces the highest percentage of its electrical energy from nuclear reactors - 80% as of 2006. In the European Union as a whole, nuclear energy provides 30% of the electricity. Nuclear energy policy differs between European Union countries, and some, such as Austria and Ireland, have no active nuclear power stations. In comparison, France has a large number of these plants, with 16 multi-unit stations in current use.

Analysis of the Major Nuclear Power Plants in the United States takes a view of the overall nuclear power industry worldwide, with an analysis of the basics of nuclear power, and an overview of the nuclear power industry in the United States. The report focuses on the major nuclear power plants in the U.S. over 75 plants are focused upon in this report.

Source: Business Wire

Kalam pitches for more nuclear power plants

Amidst the debate over Indo-US civil nuclear deal, former President APJ Abdul Kalam has thrown his weight behind nuclear power saying energy independence in the country can be achieved by adding more atomic power plants.

"Energy independence has to be realized by restructuring our energy resources by adding more nuclear power plants, a large number of solar power plants, wind energy-based power plants and hydel-power plants and reduce emphasis on coal and oil-based power plants," Kalam said while addressing the foundation day lecture of the Indian Oil Research and Development here on March 10.

Expressing his concern over the limited reserve of conventional forms of fuel, Kalam said "very soon, oil and gas will see its finiteness. It is high time that we realize this factor and work towards the fuel of the future".

Addressing the researchers of the Oil giant, Kalam said hydrogen fuel, emulsified fuels, solar energy, nano-technology, bio-fuel, high-octane synthetic diesel, seed processing, crushing and esterification plants are the imminent need of the hour and researchers of the Rs 50,000- crore company should take up this challenge to prepare the country for fuel and energy stability.
(Source: The Times of India)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nuclear Power in the World Today - overview, facts and figures

  • The first commercial nuclear power stations started operation in the 1950s.
  • There are now some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, with 370,000 MWe of total capacity.
  • They supply 16% of the world's electricity, as base-load power, and their efficiency is increasing.
  • 56 countries operate a total of 284 research reactors reactors and a further 220 reactors power ships and submarines.

Nuclear technology uses the energy released by splitting the atoms of certain elements. It was first developed in the 1940s, and during the Second World War research initially focussed on producing bombs by splitting the atoms of either uranium or plutonium.

Only in the 1950s did attention turn to the peaceful purposes of nuclear fission, notably for power generation. Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in 1960. Civil nuclear power can now boast over 12,600 reactor years of experience and supplies 16% of global needs, in 30 countries.

Many countries also built research reactors to provide a source of neutron beams for scientific research and the production of medical and industrial isotopes.

Today, only eight countries are known to have a nuclear weapons capability. By contrast, 56 operate civil research reactors, and 30 have some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors with a total installed capacity of over 370 000 MWe (see table). This is more than three times the total generating capacity of France or Germany from all sources. Some 30 further power reactors are under construction, equivalent to 6% of existing capacity, while over 70 are firmly planned, equivalent to 22% of present capacity.

Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity. France and Lithuania get around three quarters of their power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more. Japan, Germany and Finland get more than a quarter of their power from nuclear energy, while the USA gets almost one fifth.

Improved performance from existing reactors

Although fewer nuclear power plants are being built now than during the 1970s and 1980s, those now operating are producing more electricity. In 2006, production was 2658 billion kWh. The increase over the last five years (210 TWh) is equal to the output from 30 large new nuclear plants. Yet between 1999 and 2006 there was no net increase in reactor numberss (and only 15 GWe in capacity). The rest of the improvement is due to better performance from existing units.

In a longer perspective, from 1990 to 2006, world capacity rose by 44 GWe (13.5%, due both to net addition of new plants and uprating some established ones) and electricity production rose 757 billion kWh (40%). The relative contributions to this increase were: new construction 36%, uprating 7% and availability increase 57%.

Almost one third of the world's reactors have load factors of more than 90%, and more than two thirds do better than 75%, compared with about a quarter of them in 1990. For 15 years Finnish plants topped the performance tables, but the USA now dominates the top 25 positions, followed by Japan.

US nuclear power plant performance has shown a steady improvement over the past 15 years, and the average load factor now stands at around 90%, up from 65% in 1990. This places the USA as the performance leader with 18 of the top 25 reactors - achieving more than 99%. The USA accounts for nearly one third of the worldÕs nuclear electricity.

In 2006 twelve countries averaged better than 80% load factor, while French reactors averaged 78%, despite many being run in load-following mode, rather than purely for base-load power.

Some of these figures suggest near-maximum utilisation, given that most reactors have to shut down every 18-24 months for fuel change and routine maintenance. Another measure is unplanned capability loss, which in the USA has for the last few years been below 2%.

Other nuclear reactors

In addition to commercial nuclear power plants, there are more than 280 research reactors operating, in 56 countries, with more under construction. These have many uses including research and the production of medical and industrial isotopes, as well as for training.

The use of reactors for marine propulsion is mostly confined to the major navies where it has played an important role for five decades, providing power for submarines and large surface vessels. Over 150 ships are propelled by more than 220 nuclear reactors and over 12,000 reactor-years of experience has been gained with marine reactors. Russia and the USA are now decommissioning many of their nuclear submarines. Russia also operates a fleet of eight large nuclear-powered icebreakers and a 62,000 tonne cargo ship which are more civil than military.

Source: World Nuclear Association

French nuclear sector risks serious lack of staff

France, the world's second largest producer of atomic energy, must act fast to avoid a shortage of skilled staff to run its reactors and win a role at the heart of a global nuclear revival.
An ageing workforce, a lack of courses and low enthusiasm among young engineers, for a field that is often seen as secretive or unsafe, all threaten France's ambitions for nuclear power.
"The ageing workforce issue is keeping countless CEOs awake at night," consultancy firm Capgemini said in a report titled "Preparing for the nuclear power renaissance".
Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring. This is being felt acutely in the energy and utilities sector.
"The impact is likely to be more pronounced for nuclear power, because of special training, experience and licensing criteria," the Capgemini report said.
The number of schools that train nuclear engineers and plant operators has halved in the last 25 years, it said.
France, with 58 nuclear reactors, is counting on its expertise to win lucrative contracts if, as it hopes, many countries choose atomic power to increase their energy security and combat global warming.
It also needs to replace retiring staff at home.
"French utility EDF is in a state of alert, like many other nuclear operators, as plants date back from the 1970s or 1980s," said Laurent Turpin, head of the France's National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN).
Turpin estimated EDF needs to hire 10,000 new employees in the next 10 years, with half of them specialised in nuclear.
"This means 500 new engineers per year, including 20 percent for their international projects," he said, adding that only 350 nuclear engineers per year were currently graduating.
In the next three years, France must train around 1,000 nuclear engineers annually to make up for the decline, he said.
(read more)
(Source: Reuters)

Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant can Meet Difficulties

The completion of the third and fourth blocks at the Mochovce nuclear power plant in Slovakia can meet difficulties, reports Hospodarske Noviny daily. Apart from traditionally anti-nuclear oriented Austrian neighbour, objections are raised also by Green Fraction at the European Parliament. They say that Mochovce design and its equipment is not based on accident and earthquake safety considerations. In addition, they claim that Mochovce construction is far too advanced to be retrofitted to comply with international safety standards.

"Of course, it's necessary to respect the right of a sovereign state for solving its own energy security, but Austria will have a problem with the process of assessing influence on the environment, which was carried out during socialism," the anti-nuclear Upper Austrian government commissioner Radko Pavlovec told the daily.

Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD) chair Marta Ziakova says she can't imagine conditions under which the Mochovce 3 & 4 building permit could be taken away. "The construction is under permanent surveillance of UJD," she said. The blocks will not be built according to the original plan, but the plant will be equipped by modern systems in line with the current regulations.

Numerous evaluations of foreign institutions including International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) confirmed that safety of Slovak reactors is at the level of operators in Western Europe," said Slovenske Elektrarne (Mochovce operator) spokesman Juraj Kopriva.

(Source: SKtoday.com)

Beijing Plan to Boost Nuclear Power

China's use of nuclear power is growing far faster than originally planned, a development that could offer foreign players even greater opportunities unless China decides to rely more heavily on homegrown technology.

China's installed nuclear power-generating capacity is expected to reach 60 gigawatts by 2020, a senior Chinese energy official said -- much higher than an earlier government estimate of 40 gigawatts. A gigawatt is the equivalent of one billion watts. The new estimate is equal to about two-thirds of Britain's total electricity-generating capacity today, although still equivalent to less than a tenth of China's current total.

"Construction of nuclear-power plants has been progressing faster than planned," Zhang Guobao, a vice minister of China's National Development and Reform Commission, was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying Saturday. The commission is China's top economic-policy planner.

China's nuclear-power sector is relatively underdeveloped. It has 11 reactors in operation, providing about nine gigawatts of power -- out of total electricity-generating capacity in China of some 700 gigawatts. The vast majority of China's power comes from coal-fired power plants.

(read more)

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

China Looking Towards Third Generation Nuclear Power “made in China”

Power shortages and the pressures of energy saving and pollution reduction are forcing China to accelerate the development of nuclear power. The government plans to finish the construction of a next-generation large-scale nuclear power plant by 2017.

Wang Binghua, chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), told China Business News that normally it takes four years to develop one generation of nuclear power production. By importing, developing and digesting nuclear technology, China is now trying to gain from other’s experience in the design, research, construction and installation processes for third-generation nuclear power plants though capacity-increasing transformation. “I think we can do that by 2017,” said Wang.

China has already mastered the technology for second-generation power plant construction. The design of the first-stage of the Qinshan nuclear power plant was Chinese, while the Daya Bay plant was constructed jointly with Alstom of France, and both plants are now running smoothly. The second-stage Qinshan plant was designed and constructed and is operated and administrated by China itself.

(read more)

(Source: Chinastakes.com)

CEZ completing nuclear feasibility study, environmental impact to be assessed

CEZ is completing a feasibility study on the development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic and it is possible that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the expansion of the group's Temelin nuclear power plant could start this year, a company spokeswoman said.

The study shows building two new blocks at the power group's 2000 MW nuclear plant in Temelin is 'the most convenient and therefore the most preferred' option, Eva Novakova said.

'It is possible that this year the evaluation of a (new) nuclear power plant project and the EIA could start, although it depends whether we get some signal that nuclear power has some support.'

The current government, which includes the Green Party, had said in its programme it has no plans to construct further nuclear capacities, although the prime minister and several other officials have spoken out in favour of expanding the country's nuclear power capacity.

Nuclear power makes up about one-third of the output of CEZ, the country's dominant power producer.

(Source: Forbes)

Toshiba Creates Nuclear Energy Unit

Toshiba Corp. said Thursday it has established a new U.S. company, Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp., to enhance its nuclear power businesses.

The new company will market and promote advanced boiling water nuclear power plants and provide support for related services, Toshiba said.

Toshiba also plans to expand the scope of operations to provide licensing and engineering support related to construction of future nuclear power plants.

The company will start operating with a staff of about 30.

(Source: Associated Press)

UK 'to seek more nuclear power'

Britain's reliance on nuclear energy should increase over the next two decades, business secretary John Hutton has told The Financial Times.

Mr Hutton announced plans in January for a new generation of nuclear plants to replace the UK's 10 ageing stations.

But Mr Hutton told the FT he would be "disappointed" if the proportion of energy generated by nuclear did not rise above the current 19%.

He pledged to "keep our foot down on the pedal" for more nuclear power.

Mr Hutton says private operators will be expected to meet the full cost of building nuclear plants, decommissioning and disposing of waste.

But he has said no "artificial cap" would be put on the proportion of electricity to be generated from nuclear power or any other source of "low carbon" energy.

Asked by the FT if he wanted the share of electricity contributed by nuclear to increase above 19%, he said: "That's the ambition we should have...I'd be very disappointed if it's not significantly above the current level."

(read more)

(Source: BBC)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hubei Xianning Dafan nuclear power plant cooperation agreement signed

The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the Hubei provincial government signed an agreement on March 4, in Beijing, to cooperatively build the Hubei nuclear power project. The CGNPG will co-develop the Hubei Xianning Dafan nuclear power projects with the parties concerned according to the country's arrangements.

At present, China has six nuclear power plants including the Qinshan and the Daya Bay nuclear power plants; and 11 nuclear generators are up and running. In addition, 12 nuclear generators in the nuclear power plants, including the second phase of the Ling'ao nuclear power plant, the second phase of the Qinshan nuclear power plant, Hong Yanhe nuclear power plant and Ningde nuclear power plant, have been approved to begin construction.
(Source: People's Daily Online)

Entergy La. River Bend reactor up to 54 pct power

Entergy Corp's 967-megawatt River Bend nuclear power reactor in Louisiana ramped up to 54 percent power by early Wednesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report.

On Tuesday, the unit was operating at 28 percent of capacity after exiting a refueling outage.

The unit shut by Jan. 7.

The reactor last shut for refueling from April 23 to May 15, 2006. It is on an 18-month refueling cycle,

The station, which entered service in 1986, is located in St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish, about 24 miles north-northwest of Baton Rouge.

The company has said it would submit an application with the NRC this year seeking permission to build one of General Electric Hitachi's 1,550 MW Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR) at River Bend. The company, however, has not decided to build the reactor.

If it decides to move forward with the new reactor, the unit could cost an estimated $4.2 billion (at about $2,700 per kilowatt).

One MW powers about 500 homes in Louisiana.

(read more)

(Source: Reuters)

Turkey sees nuclear tender launched within 10 days

Turkey will launch a tender to build a nuclear power plant within 10 days, an Energy Ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The energy minister said in November Turkey planned to advertise a tender for the construction of the nuclear power plant on Feb. 21.
The official, who declined to be identified, spoke after the ministry received official opinion on the subject from the country's audit office.
"The audit office's opinion on the nuclear power plant regulations has arrived. There was no objection to any of the essential elements of the draft," the official said.
"With the cabinet's approval of the regulations there is no obstacle to launching the tender," he said, adding he expected it to be issued within 10 days.
The project is one of several ways in which the government is looking to boost the country's energy production to keep pace with rapidly growing demand against a background of strong economic growth.
The government has identified Sinop on the Black Sea as a possible site for a nuclear plant. But as licence work on that has not been completed, the site of Akkuyu at Mersin on the Mediterranean, which already has a licence, could be chosen if the private sector expresses a preference for it.
Turkey has conducted work on building three nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 5,000 MW (megawatts).
Among companies which have shown an interest in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey are local conglomerates Sabanci Holding and Koc Holding.
Energy-to-construction company Enka Insaat said in January it had agreed with Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) to work together on nuclear energy in Turkey.
Zorlu Enerji has said it was in talks with several large firms on building a nuclear power plant in Turkey.
(Source: Guardian)

Tiny Estonia could go nuclear, sees oil shale hope

Estonia, one of the smallest European Union countries, is considering its own nuclear power plant and wants to use its experience of producing power from oil shale in other countries, the state energy company said.
Estonia is the world's most dependent country on oil shale, producing 90 percent of its power from the sedimentary rock, though it is one of the most polluting of fossil fuels.
Estonia accounts for 70 percent of the world's processed oil shale, though large deposits are also found in the United States and other countries like Australia, Brazil and Jordan.
"If we look further to increase CO2-free power in general we are looking at the possibility to enter nuclear power generation," said Estonian Energy chief executive Sandor Liive.
"If we are talking about nuclear then in the longer term, I would not exclude Estonia. But this is very definitely a long-term project," he added in an interview on Tuesday.
Estonia has been in talks with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland jointly to build a new nuclear power station in Lithuania.
It is also considering whether to take part in Finland's planned sixth nuclear power plant.
"I think the Lithuanian and Finnish projects are ones that could happen during the next 10 years," Liive said.
Estonia going it alone would take much longer.
"If we take the horizon of 2055 then I would not rule out nuclear power generation in Estonia. But our thinking is in a very early stage," he said.
"It is very clear that we have to reduce the C02 intensity in our power generation portfolio," he added.
(read more)
(Source: Guardian)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lithuania sets out to persuade EU on Ignalina nuclear power plant

Lithuania hopes to persuade the European Union to extend the life of its only nuclear power plant through a national referendum. Community organizations and political parties are set to begin collecting the 300,000 signatures needed to hold the fall referendum to delay the closing of the Soviet-era Ignalina nuclear power plant in north-central Lithuania until 2015. If Lithuanians approve, it would give negotiators some leverage in Brussels, said former Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala, who spearheads the Baltic country's efforts to negotiate an energy deal with the EU. Otherwise, "it would be a total disaster," he said, according to Baltic News Service (BNS). Ignalina's remaining reactor is due to be shut down at the end of next year, an undertaking Lithuania made when it joined the EU in 2004. If the signature drive succeeds, the referendum may be held together with parliamentary elections in October, the leader of Social Democratic Union Arvydas Akstinavicius told BNS. Lithuania, along with Estonia, Latvia and Poland, plan to build a new nuclear power plant, but the project has been ridden by delays. After the shutdown, the small Baltic country would depend on Russia for its energy amidst fears the Kremlin might use its economic leverage to exert political pressure in the former Soviet republic.
Source: The Earth Times

Nuclear Power will not solve the Problem of Global Warming

Nuclear power reactors use a rare isotope of uranium 235 as a power source. This isotope occurs naturally as a small quantity in rock formations. The first step in mining this uranium uses large loaders and trucks, the wheels on which are likely taller than you are and could no doubt pick up your car in one scoop. These vehicles use diesel fuel and because of their size and weight get a fraction of one mile per gallon. The broken rock is transported to a diesel slurping crusher. Next comes a series of milling and refining and enrichment activities that occur primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky. Entire mountain tops are removed to strip mine coal which is burned to produce electricity. This electricity runs the milling and enrichment process. A common error is the idea that nuclear power causes no green house emissions. In fact the diesel and coal burned to mine, refine, mill and enrich uranium to produce the pellets in fuel rod is actually substantial.
(read more...)
Source: www.opednews.com

China to build country's first inland nuclear plant in Hubei

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the Hubei provincial government on Tuesday signed an agreement here to build the country's first inland nuclear power plant.

The two sides said the project will be located in Xianning City, 421 kilometers southeast of Yichang City where the Three Gorges Dam lies.

The CGNPG declined to reveal the investment and scale of the project, as well as when it would start construction.

China currently has 11 nuclear generators in six nuclear power plants, all located along the eastern coast, with a combined installed capacity of 9.07 million kilowatts. The CGNPG's installed capacity is 3.95 million kw, or 43.5 percent of the total.

Faced with an energy crunch resulting from its fast economic growth, China has decided to develop more nuclear power. By 2020, the nation will have an installed nuclear power capacity of 40 million kw, accounting for 4 percent of its total installed generating capacity.

At present, another 12 nuclear generating units have been approved for construction, with a combined power capacity of 12.24million kw.

Source: Chinaview.cn

Sunday, March 2, 2008

India: ‘Govt keen on allowing pvt players in nuclear power’

Even as the fate of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal hangs in the balance, the Government has favoured permitting private sector investments into nuclear power generation.

Allowing private corporate investments in the field of nuclear power has been listed out under the key policy reform measures in the Economic Survey. The survey has said that private investment in nuclear power should be subject to regulation by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and Atomic Energy Commission.

Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Energy, GMR, Essar Power and the Vedanta Group are among those in the fray for entering nuclear generation. Participation of private players in nuclear generation is, however, subject to the Government amending the Atomic Energy Act, under which currently participation in the sector is limited to Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd and sister concern Bharathiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. It also stressed on the need to “fully exploiting the nuclear and hydro potential for power generation.”

(read more)

(Source: The Hindu)

New nuclear sites for Britain

Power companies are to be offered a new range of potential sites to construct nuclear power stations in Britain.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a government agency in charge of the £70 billion-plus clean-up of the UK atomic legacy, is expected to open talks shortly.

It is likely to announce in the next few weeks an invitation for utility groups to come forward with plans for using parts of its estate. The NDA has 19 sites in the UK, the largest and best known being the complex at Sellafield on the Cumbrian coast. It also owns all the Magnox power stations, which were Britain’s first nuclear power plants. All but two of these have been shut.

The NDA move matches that begun last year by British Energy, the quoted group that owns and runs the rest of the UK’s nuclear power stations. In January the government threw its weight behind a new generation of nuclear power stations.

(Source: The Sunday Times)

Ukraine to help Belarus with construction of nuclear power plant

Ukraine is to assist Belarus in building its first-ever nuclear power plant, the first deputy prime minister, Uladzimir Syamashka, said at a meeting of a bilateral intergovernmental commission for the promotion of economic ties that was held in Minsk on Friday.

He said that the Kyiv-based Energoproekt research institute that «has a big experience in the construction of the so-called three-plus power units of the last generation» is to help Belarusian experts to choose an appropriate site for the plant.

He said that a contract for the service had been signed with the institute following Alyaksandr Lukashenka's presidential edict, noting that the two sides were about to strike a new contract under which the Ukrainian institute would provide engineering services, conduct feasibility study and prepare papers for the invitation of bids from suppliers of nuclear power plant equipment and builders.

Mr. Syamashka revealed that the Belarusian authorities also wanted to buy some equipment for the plant from Ukraine, noting that the supplies would contribute to the growth of two-way trade as well.

His Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksandr Turchinov, said that Ukraine saw «serious prospects» of cooperation in the sphere.
(Source: Naviny.by)