Tuesday, November 13, 2012

'Zero nuclear power policy' has no place in DPJ's manifesto

The Democratic Party of Japan at long last has uttered words of self-reflection over its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election.

The party said, "We were arrogant to believe we could do everything if we came to power and immature as we didn't realize the severity of steering the government."

This humble stance marked an about-face from its past position. This change appears to reflect its concern over the uphill battle it faces in the next lower house election.

The party held meetings in Osaka and Fukuoka on Saturday to report on its self-examination of the manifesto. "While reflecting on it, we want to put together a more realistic manifesto that can be carried out as promised," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.


Reactor reuses nuclear waste (Thorium Reactor)

Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidates are designing a nuclear power plant that would convert nuclear waste from conventional reactors into electricity — a plant you could walk away from, they said, without the risk of a radioactive leak like the meltdown last year that crippled parts of Japan.

Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, co-founders of Transatomic Power, have developed the WAMSR, or Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor, a 400- to 500-megawatt plant that would convert high-level nuclear waste into electric power, at a price competitive with fossil fuels.

“About two years ago, we got really excited about nuclear power because we saw so much potential in the industry to improve the design of reactors and stretch the limits of the technology,” said Dewan, 27.


US technology to be used in UAE nuclear plant

Abu Dhabi: The US technical knowledge will be involved in the construction of the first-ever nuclear power plant in the UAE to be built at Baraka in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, US Ambassador to the UAE told Gulf News in an interview.

“Westinghouse’s technology will be used in the UAE nuclear project as the Korean company has a collaboration with Westinghouse,” Michael H. Corbin said on the sidelines of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (Adipec-2012) in the capital. Corbin did not elaborate.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), the body in charge of developing the UAE’s nuclear programme, has selected a site 75 kilometres from the Saudi border on the Emirates Road, for the construction of the country’s first four nuclear plants.


IAEA to complete operational safety review of Rajasthan nuclear plants on Wednesday

International Atomic Energy Association’s (IAEA) 12-member operational safety review team (OSART) would complete on Wednesday its operational safety performance of 3&4 units of  Rajasthan Atomic Power Stations (RAPS). This is IAEA’s 171 st  OSART review across the globe since the programme´s inception in 1982 and first of any nuclear power plant in India.

India’s all 20 nuclear plants have undergone peer review earlier by international experts from the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). At present RAPS consist of 8 units including two units of 700 MW each under construction and generating a total of 1,140 MW.

RAPS 3&4 site director JP Gupta told Business Standard “IAEA team headed by Miroslav Nipar has been carrying out its review since October 29. The team was here at the invitation of the Government of India.” He informed in OSART missions, the IAEA coordinates internationally-based teams of experts who conduct reviews of operational safety performance at nuclear power plants.

According to Gupta, the OSART mission has reviewed good practices launched by RAPS 3&4 and it would suggest improvements further improve operational safety. He said two units of 220 MW each were in operation since 2000.


UPDATE 1-PG&E CA Diablo Canyon 2 reactor reduced to 55 pct

Nov 13 (Reuters) - PG&E Corp's 1,118-megawatt Unit 2
at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California was
reduced to 55 percent power by early Tuesday from 85 percent on
Monday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report. 
Output was reduced to allow workers to clean the unit's
water intake tunnel and work was expected to take several days,
a company spokesman said. 
Read More... 

NRC reviews Exelon nuke plant after Sandy

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission began a special inspection Tuesday of the nation's oldest nuclear power plant, looking into how it decided when to issue an alert as floodwaters from Superstorm Sandy rose nearby.

Three inspectors were looking into how Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station owner Exelon Corp. handled emergency notification during the storm. The reactor in the Forked River section of Lacey Township, N.J., wasn't running when Sandy swept over New Jersey because of a planned refueling and maintenance outage.

"Nevertheless, there are certain observations involving procedures and on-site activities that surfaced during the event warranting a closer look," said Bill Dean, the NRC administrator for the region including Oyster Creek. He added that there were no immediate safety concerns.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Palisades nuclear power plant standing upgraded by federal regulators

COVERT, MI — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says performance at Palisades nuclear power plant has improved enough to upgrade its standing with the agency, but it is requiring additional inspections at the plant in 2013.

The decision to upgrade the plant's standing comes after a nine-member team investigated the plant over 11 days in September. The team was charged with looking at many issues, including whether the safety culture at the plant has improved.

The NRC said Entergy, the company that owns Palisades, has made improvements and addressed deficiencies, but that the plant will have another 1,000 hours of inspections performed in 2013, in addition to the 2,000 hours required annually. This is because of several leaks at the plant this year, including one in the containment building. NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said the extra hours were imposed to ensure the changes that have been made are continued into the next year.

“While the licensee has demonstrated satisfactory resolution of the most significant risk issues and we have no immediate safety concerns, other issues, such as the leaks that came to light during this year, continue to occur,” Charles Casto, Midwest administrator for the NRC, said in a statement. 

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project to start production by first week of December

 NEW DELHI: The controversy-hit Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) will start its production by the first week of December and the first tranche of entire 1,000 MW of power will go to Tamil Nadu, Union minister V Narayanasamy said today.

He said enriched uranium has been fed in the core of the vessel and the lid was closed. "Now, the vessel is being pressurised. After that trial run will start. That will go for about 20 days. Thereafter the production is likely to start. Probably in the end of November or first week of December," he told PTI here in an interview.

Citing letters from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on power shortage, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office said the "entire 1,000 MW (of power from the plant) has to be given to Tamil Nadu".


Berwick nuclear reactor shut down after computer error

The Unit 2 reactor at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant was shut down earlier today because a computer system that controls the reactor's water level was not functioning properly, the company said in a press release on its web site.

Operators manually shut down the reactor when they identified the malfunction, and plant systems responded as designed. Susquehanna employees are investigating the reason for the loss of the computer system.

"Our operators are well-trained to manage situations like this," Timothy S. Rausch, PPL Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, said in the release. "All systems are functioning as expected to keep the unit in a safe condition."


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Russia To Finance Vietnam's First Nuclear Power Plant

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia is to lend Vietnam some $10 billion to build that country's first nuclear power plant.

Medvedev made the announcement on a visit to Hanoi where he is holding talks on boosting trade ties.

Medvedev also said the two countries have decided to start negotiations on a free trade agreement.

He said bilateral trade could reach $7 billion by 2015, up from less some $2 billion in 2011.


Feds deny group's request for San Onofre nuclear plant license amendment

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission turned down a request Thursday from an environmental group that wanted the operating license for the San Onofre nuclear plant amended.

Friends of the Earth said the license granted to Southern California Edison (SCE), which operates the plant, should have been amended when new generators were installed two years ago.

The group claims those new generators were a different type of design than what was in the original operating permit for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

But the NRC turned down the petition.


Amano: Nuclear power safer than before 3/11

NEW YORK — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog says nuclear power is safer than before the 2011 meltdown crisis started at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant, now that countries have upped preparedness for natural disasters.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement to a U.N. General Assembly meeting Monday that "measures have been taken to improve protection against extreme hazards such as earthquakes and tsunami."
Amano said the IAEA projects a steady increase in nuclear power plants in the next 20 years, with China, India, South Korea and Russia having planned "significant expansions" of their atomic programs.

Unit 1 at Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant Returns to Service

/PRNewswire/ -- Unit 1 at PPL Corporation's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., resumed generating electricity for the regional power grid safely and reliably on Wednesday (11/7) after completing a turbine blade inspection. The inspection found signs of cracking on a small number of turbine blades, confirming data from diagnostic equipment installed in the spring of 2012. Those blades were replaced.

"The inspection was another step in what has been a very systematic approach to understand what's causing the cracks," said Timothy S. Rausch, PPL Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. "We now have a solid understanding of the cause and are finalizing short-term and long-term plans to resolve the issue."

PPL Susquehanna also announced it will shut down Unit 2 for a similar inspection in the near future based on information provided by the diagnostic equipment installed on that unit, and will replace any cracked blades that may be found on the turbine. The work done this fall will serve as a bridge until the power plant begins making long-term fixes starting in the spring of 2013.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/07/4968870/unit-1-at-susquehanna-nuclear.html#storylink=cpy

Iran's first nuclear power plant to go online in early 2013, says energy minister

Iran's first nuclear power plant will become fully operational by early 2013, its energy minister was quoted as saying, more than two months after Russia said it was up and running normally following decades of delay.

The plant near the town of Bushehr on Iran's Gulf coast is a symbol of what Tehran says is its peaceful nuclear ambitions. The West suspects the Islamic Republic is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability and imposed tough sanctions on it.


Czechs to rely more on nuclear energy

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas says his government is finalizing a plan to dramatically increase the country's nuclear power production.


Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas says his government is finalizing a plan to dramatically increase the country's nuclear power production.

Under the plan, at least two more reactors would be built at the Temelin nuclear plant and another at the Dukovany plant, both located near the border with Austria.

The Czech Republic's current six nuclear reactors produce a third of its electricity. Necas said Thursday the government wants that output to increase to at least 50 percent.