Sunday, July 29, 2012

Philly-area nuclear plant shuts reactor for repair

Officials at a nuclear power plant near Philadelphia have taken one reactor offline because of a potential valve problem.

The Mercury of Pottstown reports ( Unit 2 at the Limerick Generating Station was shut down on Friday.

Plant spokeswoman Dana Melia says a slight rise in temperatures indicated a possible malfunction in a main steam valve. She says the valve can be replaced only if the reactor is offline.

Exelon Nuclear shut down Limerick's Unit 1 reactor last week for an electrical problem. The "unusual event" on July 18 fell under the lowest of four emergency classifications.

Unit 1 began operating at full power again earlier this week.


Read more here:

FirstEnergy looking into buying small nuclear reactor from Babcock & Wilcox

FirstEnergy Corp. is interested in buying a new, small nuclear reactor somewhere in its multi-state service area.

Generating just a fraction of the power of FirstEnergy's huge older nuclear power plants, the new reactor would be buried in a containment building 140 feet underground -- with its electrical generator at the surface.

It would cost a fraction of what a new large reactor would cost -- under $2 billion compared to $15 billion, the estimated cost of proposed new plants in the South.

And it is said to be much safer, with many features that would make a catastrophe far less of an issue.
Though FirstEnergy has not committed to buying such a power plant, the Akron-based company said on Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with a subsidiary of global manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox Co. of Charlotte, N.C., to study deploying B&W's small reactor.


The Dawn of the Great California Energy Crash

California, which imports over 25% of its electricity from out of state, is in no position to lose half (!) of its entire nuclear power capacity. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this year, when the San Onofre plant in north San Diego County unexpectedly went offline. The loss only worsens the broad energy deficit that has made California the most dependent state in the country on expensive, out-of-state power.

Its two nuclear plants — San Onofre in the south and Diablo Canyon on the central coast — together have provided more than 15% of the electricity supply that California generates for itself, before imports. But now there is the prospect that San Onofre will never reopen.

Will California now find that it must import as much as 30% of its power?

The problem of California’s energy dependency has been decades in the making. And it’s not just its electrical power balance that presents an ongoing challenge. California’s oil production peaked in 1985. And despite ongoing gains in energy efficiency via admirably wise regulation, the state’s population and aggregate energy consumption has completely overrun supply.


Oyster Creek nuclear plant returns to full power after week offline

LACEY TOWNSHIP — The nation's oldest operating nuclear plant is back online.

Officials say power was fully restored at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township on Saturday afternoon, several days after the plant lost off-site power.

The outage began Monday morning when an electrical disruption caused the plant's reactor to automatically shut down. Officials believe the power loss resulted from a ground of a high-voltage line that provides electricity to the nuclear plant in Ocean County.


Nuclear Critic Loses Japan Election

TOKYO—An outspoken critic of nuclear power lost a local governor's election in southwestern Japan on Sunday, according to projections by national broadcaster NHK, defeated by an old-guard candidate in a race that had come to serve as a litmus test for the future of atomic energy in the country.

The gubernatorial election in Yamaguchi prefecture, a traditional stronghold for conservative forces and longtime backers of atomic energy, was closely watched around the country to see whether the recent uprising of grass-roots antinuclear protests would translate into voter action in an area earmarked for the construction of a new nuclear-power plant.

Based on exit polls, NHK and other Japanese media projected that former Land Ministry bureaucrat Shigetaro Yamamoto, who had the backing of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, defeated three opponents including green-energy advocate Tetsunari Iida, who campaigned on a platform to stop the planned construction of the nuclear-power plant in Kaminoseki.

While counting continued, Mr. Yamamoto had claimed about 60% of the votes in early returns, prefectural officials said.

"In order to build a new Yamaguchi, we'll put the local government into action," Mr. Yamamoto said in a speech to supporters at a victory celebration. He had run on a campaign of increased public-works spending in an effort to jump start the local economy.

"It was a victory that showed the conscience and common sense of the people in Yamaguchi. The people judged that they can't put the future of Yamaguchi in the hands of a candidate whose only agenda was antinuclear," former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrote on his Facebook page.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Iran’s nuclear facilities hacked, workstations start playing Thunderstruck by AC/DC

[Commentary:  I couldn't help but re-publish this story.]

To say that Iran’s current nuclear program is controversial is a bit of an understatement. It has many governments around the world worried that Iran is building weapons, not researching nuclear power for other, non-lethal purposes. There are many people who do not believe Iran should be carrying out such research, and this has made the country’s nuclear facilities’ computers a target for hackers.

Two hacks are already known about on these facilities, but over the weekend a third was reported.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, received a letter thought to be from a scientist working at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). He can’t verify the scientist’s identity beyond confirming the letter was sent from an AEOI server.

The letter details a new worm that had managed to infiltrate two nuclear facilities in the country known as Natanz and Fordo. The hackers gained access to the virtual private network (VPN) at the facilities and continued to shut down different systems, automated or otherwise.

The hackers were clearly having fun inside the system because it was also reported in the letter that very loud music could be heard coming from several of the workstations. They had managed to turn the volume up on these machines and were pumping out the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC.

Now, just imagine a lot of confused Iranian scientists and security staff trying to figure out what’s happening while this song is blasting out all around them:

Canada: N.B. nuclear plant clears hurdle

FREDERICTON - The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has given approval for the restart of the reactor at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick.

The restart will allow for a number of safety tests under the oversight of the commission but won't see the facility producing electricity yet.

NB Power will require further approval to increase the plant's output of power above 0.1 per cent of its capacity.

Point Lepreau has been out of service since March 2008 for a major refurbishment that's meant to extend the life of the reactor by 25 years.


Oyster Creek nuclear reactor offline after power failure at plant

The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township was shut down early today after a power failure, according to plant owner Exelon.

Electrical service from the outside grid was disrupted at around 3:41 a.m., and the plant’s emergency diesel generators kicked in and powered the plant’s safety systems, said a statement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The problem appeared to be a grounded 230-kilovolt line, according to the NRC.

Jersey Central Power & Light crews fixed the problem a little after 5:30 a.m., Exelon said.

Afterwards the plant was taken to cold shutdown, in which the reactor and associated systems are cooled down and depressurized, according to the NRC.

The plant will likely start up again in a matter of days, said Exelon spokeswoman Suzanne D’Ambrosio.


40 India nuclear plant workers contaminated

JAIPUR - More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks, company managers said on Tuesday.

The first accident occurred on June 23 when 38 people were exposed during maintenance work on a coolant channel at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station in Rawatbhata, senior plant manager Vinod Kumar told AFP.

Two of them received radiation doses equivalent to the annual permissible limit, he said, but all those involved have returned to work.

In a second incident last Thursday, another four maintenance workers at the plant were exposed to tritium radiation while they were repairing a faulty seal on a pipe.

India is on a nuclear power drive, with a host of plants based on Russian, Japanese, American and French technology under consideration or construction.

The country’s economy is currently heavily dependent on coal, getting less than three per cent of its energy from its existing atomic plants, and the government hopes to raise the figure to 25 per cent by 2050.


Governor Nixon: Reactor project could help define Missouri

The technology is unproven, the financing undetermined and the market prospects unclear. But those uncertainties aren't preventing a phalanx of Missouri business and political heavyweights from lining up behind a next-generation nuclear energy project that Gov. Jay Nixon hopes will help define the Show-Me State much like the American auto industry helped elevate Detroit.

Flanked at a Monday afternoon news conference by more than 20 statewide business leaders, utility executives and fellow politicians on the University of Missouri campus, Nixon on Monday hailed a plan to build small modular nuclear reactors. The effort is the potential "spark (of) a new global industry" that would not only benefit the state's power supply but also create portable power units that could be shipped overseas or elsewhere in the United States, he said.

Westinghouse Electric Co. and Ameren Missouri are competing with several applicants for a share of $452 million the U.S. Department of Energy has set aside to help design and develop the new technology. Top executives from those companies joined Nixon and spoke later in the day to an overflow crowd of more than 300 people at the university's Life Sciences Center at an event billed as the "Missouri Economic Development Summit."


Friday, July 20, 2012

Work needed to restart California nuclear plant: NRC report

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. nuclear inspection team has identified a number of issues that require further study before a damaged California nuclear plant can restart, according to a report issued on Thursday.

The two-reactor San Onofre Nuclear Station, located in Orange County, has been shut for more than five months due to the discovery of premature wear of steam generator tubes.

Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the nuclear station is critical to bolster the state grid and allow power to be imported to Southern California from outside the state. The California grid operator has warned that a prolonged shutdown of the plant increases the possibility of rolling outages over the summer months when power demand rises.


Nuclear power plant to restart in Canada

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on July 20 said Bruce Power may restart Unit 1 at the Bruce A nuclear station. The authorization will allow Bruce Power to restart the reactor and bring it up to 50 percent of full power in order to perform several safety tests under the oversight of the CNSC.
Bruce Power will also require CNSC approval to increase power further.

Bruce Power operates the Bruce A and Bruce B Nuclear Generating Stations on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, near Tiverton, Ontario. Bruce A, which began operating in 1972, has four nuclear power reactors with a capacity to produce 750 MW each. Of these reactors, units 3 and 4 are operating at full power, while units 1 and 2 are currently shut down for refurbishment to bring them up to present-day operating standards.


Nebraska nuclear plant not restarting soon

OMAHA, Neb. — Utility workers continue inspecting the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, but it's not clear whether the plant will be ready to restart in September as Omaha Public Power District officials hoped.

The nuclear plant about 20 miles north of Omaha is being scrutinized closely by regulators because it has been offline since April 2011 and several safety violations have been found.

"We have a lot of work left to do," OPPD spokesman Jeff Hanson said Wednesday.

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and OPPD held another public meeting about Fort Calhoun on Tuesday to answer questions about the plant.

Fort Calhoun was initially shut down for routine refueling maintenance in 2011, but flooding along the Missouri River and the safety violations regulators identified forced it to remain offline.


Poland wants state companies to finance 6 GW nuclear plan: minister

Polish state-controlled companies should help finance the country's nuclear power plans, Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said late Thursday.

The Polish government has tasked the country's largest power company, state-controlled Polska Grupa Energetyczna, to lead a consortium to build 6 GW of nuclear capacity in two separate locations by 2030, but there is concern about PGE's ability to finance the project alone.

Budzanowski said he would like to "combine the strength of the state Treasury companies" so that other power utilities, Tauron and Enea, and the country's copper miner, KGHM, co-finance the program.

"Financial investors, not direct [investors], but financial investors that will co-fund the investment together with PGE; for example, KGHM, Tauron and Enea," Budzanowski said on local television Superstacja. He added another state-controlled company could join the project.


China: Govt 'set' to resume nuclear projects

China is ready to resume nuclear power project approval, suspended last year in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, according to the former head of the National Energy Administration.

Speaking exclusively to China Daily, Zhang Guobao said the government may now "consider starting construction of four new projects that had been approved" prior to a suspension of activities after the crisis in Japan in March 2011.

The four nuclear plants, with seven reactors in total, were due to start construction in Fuqing, Fujian province, Tianwan, Zhejiang province, Yangjiang, Guangdong province and Shidaowan, Shandong province.
The projects are planned by the country's three nuclear power developers - China National Nuclear Corp, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp and China Huaneng Group.

Although not yet "officially announced", Zhang also revealed that the State Council gave approval in principle to a nuclear safety plan in June, for a five-year period ending in 2015 and long-term targets for 2020.


Russia, Belarus agree $10 bln nuclear power plant deal

(Reuters) - Belarus and Russia on Wednesday signed a deal under which Russian companies will build the first nuclear power plant in the former Soviet republic with financing from Moscow.

The power plant contract, which has been the subject of prolonged negotiations and raised concerns in neighbouring Lithuania, was signed during a visit to Belarus by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medevedev.
"This is a large-scale project worth $10 billion in total," Medvedev told reporters.

The new 2.4 gigawatt nuclear reactor will be built in Belarus' western Grodno region by Russia's Atomstroyexport within eight years.

Belarus, which is recovering from last year's financial crisis that forced it to devalue its rouble by 65 percent against the dollar, hopes the project will strengthen its balance of payments and boost economic activity.


Exelon shuts Pa. Limerick 1 nuclear power reactor

 July 18 (Reuters) - Exelon Corp shut down the
1,130-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 at the Limerick nuclear power plant
in Pennsylvania early Wednesday following an electrical
disturbance on the non-nuclear side of the plant, the company
said in a release.
The outage came at a bad time for the power grid: Homes and
businesses in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic are cranking up their air
conditioners amid a brutal heat wave blanketing the region.
The electrical disturbance caused a loss of power to
generator cooling equipment, the company said. The unit will
remain offline until repairs, inspections and testing are
completed, it said.
The company said the unit shutdown did not pose any threat
to the public.

South Africa: SA will continue to use nuclear energy

Pretoria - South Africa will continue to use nuclear energy for the improvement of lives, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

"President Jacob Zuma has said that we need to use and will continue using nuclear energy for feeding, healing, energy and water provision," said Peters, who was speaking at the official launch of the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi).

Sanedi has been established through the merger of two entities, namely the South African National Energy Research Institute (Saneri) and National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA). Research done by Sanedi will inform government policy and its strategic energy plan to help address the country's rising energy demands by accelerating green energy products in the country.

Peters said South Africa was going "to have serious challenges" of water in the next 10 years.
She expressed excitement at the use of nuclear for saving lives.

"Two days ago, I signed a letter at Steve Biko Hospital [whereby] with nuclear medicine, they could intervene in healing liver tumours and treating prostate cancer with nuclear technology. This shows the capability of South Africa," she said.

South Africa has converted its nuclear reactors from high enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, which is the one used for health applications.


Richard Branson urges Obama to back next-generation nuclear technology

Sir Richard Branson is urging the US government to help commercialise a controversial class of nuclear reactor, according to a letter seen by the Guardian asking for a meeting with President Barack Obama and US energy secretary Steven Chu.

The White House declined the meeting to discuss integral fast reactors (IFRs), which proponents say offer a way of dealing with nuclear waste, although no working commercial reactors are in operation.

But the move brings the intriguing prospect of a race to develop nuclear technology between Branson and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose new company TerraPower is developing another type of next-generation nuclear technology known as the travelling wave reactor.

"Obviously we urgently need to come up with a clean effective way of supplying our energy since not only are the dirty ways like oil running out but we need to do so to help avoid the world heating up," Branson told the Guardian.


EDF Starts Chinon B-4 Nuclear Reactor: Current Outages

Electricite de France SA started its Chinon B-4 nuclear power plant, according to the nation’s grid operator Reseau de Transport d’Electricite.

EDF, the world’s biggest nuclear power plant operator, has 40 reactors online, representing 69 percent of available nuclear capacity, RTE data show. EDF’s 58 nuclear plants generate about 78 percent of the country’s power.

The following table lists EDF’s atomic units that are out of service, their generating capacity in megawatts, when they stopped and the expected return date, if known, according to RTE. Two asterisks highlight an unplanned halt.

UNIT NAME                 MW         OUT        RETURN
Dampierre-1 890 July 14 --
Chinon B-1 905 July 14 --
Nogent-1 1,310 June 22 --
Blayais-4 910 June 20 --
St-Laurent-1 915 June 16 July 21
Cattenom-4 1,300 **May 29 --
Cruas-1 915 May 26 --
Gravelines-5 910 May 19 --
Paluel-3 1,330 May 19 --
Dampierre-4 890 May 5 --
Gravelines-3 910 April 28 --
Tricastin-3 915 April 28 --
Penly-2 1,330 April 5 --
Golfech-1 1,310 March 24 July 22
Cruas-4 915 March 24 --
Blayais-1 910 March 2 July 20
Civaux-2 1,495 Feb. 18 --
Chooz B-2 1,500 Feb. 16 --

Nuclear regulator grants construction permission for Emirates’ first atomic power plant

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates, in a first among Gulf Arab states, geared up Wednesday to start building its maiden nuclear power plant after securing approval from regulators.

The license from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation will make the country the first in more than two and a half decades to embark on construction of its first nuclear power plant. It covers the construction of the initial two reactors of a plant slated for a remote coastal site near the border with Saudi Arabia.

The project is designed to meet growing demand for power in the rapidly developing seven-state federation, which includes the Mideast commercial hub Dubai and the energy-rich capital Abu Dhabi. Despite its oil wealth, the OPEC member has to import natural gas to run many of its existing power plants and has struggled to keep up with demand.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Nuclear power plants among safest in America

Lithuania to hold a consultative vote on nuclear plant

(Reuters) - Lithuania will hold a non-binding referendum on the centre-right government's planned new nuclear power plant on the same day as a parliamentary election, in a move that could boost support for the opposition and derail the project with a big vote against.

Parliament's decision on Monday to hold the vote puts energy issues at the centre of the election, with the opposition and government split on how to reduce country's energy dependence on its former Soviet master, Russia.

Polls have showed public support for nuclear energy in Lithuania wane following the Fukushima disaster in 2011 in Japan, with opinion now roughly divided.

The government has proposed building the Visaginas plant on the site of the Ignalina plant in eastern Lithuania that was shut in 2009.

But the main opposition party in the current parliament, the Social Democrat Party, said the government should focus on renewable resources and renovating houses to save energy and rather than on a costly nuclear power plant project.

"We should stop dreaming about nuclear power, benefits of which we might see or might not see in only 30 years," Birute Vesaite, deputy chair of the party, told parliament.


Building costs rise at U.S. nuclear sites

July 15, 2012 12:00 AM

ATLANTA — America's first new nuclear plants in more than a decade are costing billions more to build and sometimes taking longer to deliver than planned, problems that could chill the industry's hopes for a jumpstart to the nation's new nuclear age.
Licensing delay charges, soaring construction expenses and installation glitches as mundane as misshapen metal bars have driven up the costs of three plants in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, from hundreds of millions to as much as $2 billion, according to an Associated Press analysis of public records and regulatory filings.
Those problems, along with jangled nerves from last year's meltdown in Japan and the lure of cheap natural gas, could discourage utilities from sinking cash into new reactors, experts said. The building slowdown would be another blow to the so-called nuclear renaissance, a drive over the past decade to build 30 new reactors to meet the country's growing power needs. Industry watchers now say that only a handful will be built this decade.
"People are looking at these things very carefully," said Richard Lester, head of the department of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Inexpensive gas alone, he said, "is casting a pretty long shadow over the prospects" for construction of new nuclear plants.
The AP's review of pending projects found:
— Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia, initially estimated to cost $14 billion, has run into more than $800 million in extra charges related to licensing delays. A state monitor has said bluntly that co-owner Southern Co. can't stick to its budget. The plant, whose first reactor was supposed to be operational by April 2016, is now delayed seven months.
— The long-mothballed Watts Bar power plant in eastern Tennessee, initially budgeted at $2.5 billion, will cost up to $2 billion more, the Tennessee Valley Authority concluded this spring. The utility said its initial budget underestimated how much work was needed to finish the plant and wasted money by not completing more design work before starting construction. The project had been targeted to finish in 2012, but has been postponed until 2015.
— Plant Summer in South Carolina, expected to cost around $10.5 billion, has seen costs jump by $670 million; but with lower interest rates and cheaper-than-expected labor; the owners assert the project is still on or under budget. A deadline to put the first new reactor online has been delayed from 2016 to 2017; the second reactor is now eight months ahead of schedule, targeted for early 2018.

NextEra cuts N.H. Seabrook output due to solar activity

July 16 (Reuters) - NextEra Energy Inc said it expects to be able to increase power at the 1,247-megawatt Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire after reducing output Sunday night due to solar magnetic activity, a plant spokesman said Monday.

"The conditions that caused the power reduction Sunday night have gone away," said David Barr, a spokesman for the plant, noting this was the first time plant operators reduced the Seabrook reactor because of solar activity.

He could not say, due to competitive reasons, when the plant would return back to 85 percent, where it was operating before the power reduction.

Plant operators reduced the plant from 85 percent power Sunday morning to 68 percent Monday morning.
The reduced output at Seabrook came at a time when the power grid was already stressed as homes and businesses across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest crank up their air conditioners to escape another brutal heat wave.


Former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson removed as chairman of Nuclear Energy Institute

The Nuclear Energy Institute removed former Progress Energy chief executive officer Bill Johnson as the chairman and a member of its board after his decision to resign as head of the utility that merged with Duke Energy earlier this month.

The institute, an organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry that participates in both the national and global policymaking process, requires that the chairman of its board be an executive of a utility and that board members work for a power company.

Johnson, a longtime executive of Progress Energy, resigned as CEO of Duke Energy less than a day after the two utilities merged on July 2.

For 18 months after the companies announced they would merge, Johnson was slated to become the CEO of the combined utility. But the new company's board of directors ousted Johnson and replaced him with Duke's CEO, Jim Rogers. The issue has prompted an investigation and hearings by the North Carolina Utilities Commission and attorney general's office.


Finland's TVO says nuclear reactor not ready in 2014

TVO said that the reactor being built in southwestern Finland known as Olkiluoto 3 would not be ready to produce electricity normally in 2014 as previously expected and that a new timetable had not been set, blaming its partners for the delay.

"The plant unit's installation works and plant automation system engineering under the responsibility of the supplier have not progressed according to the supplier's schedules," the Finnish company said in a statement.

 The European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) is the name for a new generation of nuclear technology, yet to be put into production.

TVO said that it was waiting for the construction companies working together in a consortium, Areva of France and Siemens of Germany, "to update the overall schedule and provide a new confirmation and analysis of the completion date as well as clarification of the measures needed to keep up with the schedule."

Monday's announcement marked only the latest in a string of setbacks for the construction project, which began in 2005, with the reactor initially supposed to begin producing electricity in 2009.

The Finnish EPR, which is an example of so-called third generation nuclear technology developed by Areva and which is set to have a capacity of 1,600 megawatts, was first delayed until November 2010, then to December 2011 and then to August 2014.

TVO said Monday that it was not satisfied with recurrent delays in the project but stressed solutions to various problems were being found one by one and work was progressing.


Dominion reduces Conn. Millstone 2 reactor for work

July 16 (Reuters) - Dominion Resources Inc reduced the
869-megawatt Unit 2 at the Millstone nuclear power plant in
Connecticut to 85 percent by early Monday from full power early
Friday, a spokesman at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) said Monday.
Now is not a good time to have a big nuclear plant reduced
with the power grid already stressed as homes and businesses
across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest crank up their air
conditioners to escape another brutal heat wave.
The NRC spokesman, Neil Sheehan, said the company was
working to fix vibrations in a circulating water pump. He could
not say when the plant would return to full service.
Officials at the plant were not immediately available for
Read More... 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nuclear sale set to net billions for UK

The move marks a step towards a deal that could net British taxpayers as much as £3bn, according to estimates that value the entire company at £8bn-£10bn.
Urenco, headquartered in Buckinghamshire and registered in the UK, is one third owned by the Government, with the rest split between the Dutch government and two major German utilities, Eon and RWE.
Financial advisers have been invited to tender to advise the UK as it carries out discussions with the Netherlands and Germany over a potential sale.
The beauty parade is likely to include Goldman Sachs, Rothschild, JP Morgan and UBS. The UK's advisers are expected to be appointed within five to six weeks.


India: Fatehabad nuclear plant to have no adverse effect: Scientist

Chandigarh, Jul 15 (PTI) The proposed nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur in Fatehabad district of Haryana would have no adverse effect on the lives of the people living around it but would instead open new opportunities for development of the area. This was stated by P K Bansal, a renowned scientist who came from Mumbai and was interacting with villagers at Kumhariya to clear their misconceptions about the Nuclear Power Plant, an official statement said here today. He said there were 20 nuclear power plants operating across the country and none of them had reported any accident as per the international norms.


New details about problems at San Onofre nuclear power plant

Data released by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a leaked analysis by Southern California Edison provide some new insights into the situation at the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The plant has been shuttered since Jan. 31, when a small leak in one of the plant's thousands of steam generator tubes drew attention to the fact that the tubes in the newly replaced steam generators were deteriorating much more quickly than expected.

In particular, some of the tubes were showing an unusual type of wear caused by tubes rubbing against adjacent tubes. Since then, the NRC, plant operator Edison, and steam generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have been probing the cause of the wear.

The data released by the NRC showed that a total of 3401 tubes in the Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors-- 8.7% of the 38,908 total tubes in the plant's four steam generators -- had shown some signs of wear.

The NRC-released data also gives more extensive information than was previously available about the location of the tubes and whether the wear was caused by rubbing against adjacent tubes, support structures, or in the case of two tubes, by a foreign object that Edison identified as a piece of welding material.


UAE nuclear plant gets environmental OK

(Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's environment agency has approved plans for the United Arab Emirates' first nuclear power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said on Sunday, adding that it is still awaiting a construction licence.

The no objection certificate from the environmental regulator is one of several approvals needed for construction to begin on the two reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant.

"Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations," ENEC chief executive officer Mohamed Al Hammadi said.

"With four nuclear energy plants delivering electricity to the grid by 2020, we will be delivering 5,600 megawatts of low carbon electricity to the national grid," he said, adding the plants should avoid emitting about 12 million tonnes of carbon each year.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vattenfall says suing Germany over nuclear exit

Swedish power group Vattenfall said Thursday it was joining bigger rivals E.ON and RWE in filing a complaint with Germany's top court seeking compensation for Berlin's decision to abandon nuclear power.
"We have recently lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court," a spokeswoman for Germany's third biggest nuclear energy producer told AFP.

"We have recently lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court," a spokeswoman for Germany's third biggest nuclear energy producer told AFP.

The spokeswoman stressed that the complaint was not against the decision to ditch nuclear power per se but against the requirement to shut down reactors early, which they say infringes their proprietary rights.
The move follows similar complaints lodged in April by RWE and in November by E.ON.
All three companies have already seen profits fall sharply.


Using nuclear waste, PRISM reactor could power UK for 500 years

By | July 11, 2012, 5:30 PM PDT

The question of what to do with spent nuclear fuel has never been answered concisely. In spite of a number of creative ideas — including shooting radioactive material into space, sinking it in the ocean, or burying it beneath Nevada’s Yucca Mountain — there’s never been a surefire proposal that stuck.

A next-generation reactor, however, could pave the way. According to the Guardian, GE-Hitachi submitted plans to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Monday for a next-generation PRISM reactor that could run on nuclear waste.


For Great Britain, a country whose stockpile of spent nuclear fuel now includes 110 tons of spent plutonium and 38,581 tons of spent uranium, the project has certain allure. According to David MacKay, the chief scientific advisor of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), this stockpile could be enough to provide the country with 500 years of low-carbon electricity.

For a nation roiling from an “unprecedented” fifth flood of the summer, and their potential link to climate change, it’s difficult not to imagine the benefits of a low-carbon solution. Producing 622 MW of electricity each year, the PRISM reactor could reduce Britain’s carbon footprint by an amount equivalent to the emissions of 700,000 automobiles. Yet, as analysis of the Fukushima Disaster reminded us, nuclear reactors — and the humans that regulate them — are far from flawless.

Even if the PRISM reactor is approved, it won’t be the first foray into nuclear fuel repurposing. In 2008, the UK spent $734 million on a “mixed oxide” (MOX) plant that failed to work. “It was a deeply embarrassing moment for the Government,” wrote Geoffrey Lean of the Independent.

The GE-Hitachi PRISM reactor hopes to avoid previous pitfalls by offering a completely different design and a unique funding structure. Rather than risking public funds to build the reactor, as happened with the failed 2008 venture, GE would have a private company build and run the facility.