Wednesday, February 27, 2013

TVA signs contract for Clinch River mPower Construction Permit

The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE: BWC) announced today that its subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Inc. (B&W mPower), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have signed a contract to prepare and support Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review of a Construction Permit Application for a B&W mPower™ small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plant at TVA's Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“B&W thanks the State of Tennessee, Governor Haslam, Senators Alexander and Corker, Representative Fleischmann and the DOE”

This contract formalizes the first steps toward the anticipated B&W mPower deployment at Clinch River, as contemplated in TVA's May 2011 Letter of Intent to B&W for the project. It also represents the first definitive milestone in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recently initiated SMR Licensing Technical Support Program for commercial demonstration of SMRs by 2022. The DOE selected B&W mPower in November 2012 as the recipient of the Program's competitively bid cost-share funding grant.


Monday, February 18, 2013

China starts first nuclear power plant since Fukushima

China’s 50 billion yuan (HK$62 billion) Hongyanhe nuclear plant started operations on Sunday, local media reported, marking the first nuclear power plant to be commissioned since the radiation crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant in 2011.

The start of the Hongyanhe plant comes after Beijing approved a nuclear power safety and a development schedule for the industry in October, effectively lifting a 20-month ban on new projects in place since an earthquake crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in 2011.

The first unit of the Hongyanhe nuclear power station, located in China’s northeast Liaoning province, went into operation on Sunday afternoon, China Daily reported on Monday.

With the new plant in operation, China now has 16 working reactors with more than 12GW of total generating capacity. It is in the middle of a massive expansion programme to boost nuclear capacity to 58GW by 2020.

The first phase of the Hongyanhe plant, which will have a total of four power generation units, is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, bringing its total annual power generation to 30 billion kWh.


FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company Employees Recognized With Electric Industry Training Award

AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently named a team of FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) employees as winners of an annual Technology Transfer award, recognizing successful research, development and implementation of technology solutions that benefit the electric power industry.

FENOC was the first company in the U.S. nuclear power industry to use a standardized process developed by EPRI to train and confirm workers’ abilities to perform plant maintenance activities. A key benefit of this process is that qualifications earned at one plant also are valid at other U.S. nuclear facilities, reducing the time and expenses associated with training workers. The FENOC team applied the process when qualifying workers to safely perform heavy material movement using cranes inside the plant.

Members of the award-winning FENOC team include: Tammie Nicoletti Bever of Beaver County, Pa., Tyrone Turner of Beaver County, Pa., and John Zanetta of Greentree Borough, Pa., all from the Beaver Valley Power Station; David Eldred of Oak Harbor, Ohio, and Michael Kaminski of Castalia, Ohio, from the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station; Robert Fundis of Austinburg, Ohio, and Paul Gant of Madison, Ohio, from the Perry Nuclear Power Plant; and Archie Proffit of Norton, Ohio, from FENOC fleet maintenance in Akron.

“I am very proud of our employees for implementing this beneficial process across our fleet and leading the way for others in the industry,” said Pete Sena, FENOC President and Chief Nuclear Officer. “Their efforts support continued safe performance at our facilities while promoting efficiency in the training and qualification process across the nuclear industry.”


Research Completed for Turkey’s First Nuclear Power Plant

The seismic research for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which is slated to be built in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin, have been completed, according to the constructor firm, Russian Rosatom.
Rosatom Deputy Manager Kirill Komarov said the company had completed all the engineering works in the region, including seismic research. He said they planned to obtain an electricity generation permit this year, stressing that their works were proceeding on schedule.

Rosatom applied for an exploration license of stone quarry for the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. “After we obtain all necessary permits, we will present a draft to Turkish officials that will evaluate it until mid-2015. Then start up works will be launched,” he said, adding that electricity generation would begin physically in 2019 but that they aimed to officially open a nuclear power plant by 2020.

Turkey and Russia signed the deal to build the first nucleur power plant at Akkuyu in 2010.


Palisades Nuclear Power Plant remains out of service

This is the first shutdown since the plant was upgraded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in November after a series of safety issues the last two years, including being out of service for almost a month in June for a leak in a 300,000-gallon water tank.

The plant was shutdown Friday “for repair work activities, following several days of troubleshooting the plant’s component cooling water heat exchanger system,” according to spokesman Mark Savage.

Electrical work on the main generator disconnect switch in the plant’s switchyard will also be performed while the plant is out of service, Savage said.


Construction begins on test facility for new nuclear energy concept

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Construction has begun at Oregon State University on a $4.8 million facility to test a new nuclear energy technology that could be safer, more efficient and produce less waste than existing approaches.

It’s a viable and versatile energy concept for the future, researchers say. As needed, it could produce electricity, hydrogen to power automobiles, steam to heat a building complex, or provide a cheaper way to desalinate seawater.

The nuclear power industry is already undergoing a global renaissance with such technologies as “passive safety” and small modular reactors. They use traditional water-cooled approaches in innovative designs, some of which were developed and tested in recent years by OSU nuclear engineers.

But the new approach is a “super-hot” type of nuclear reactor cooled by helium gas, not water, and it would operate at temperatures above 2,000 degrees – about three times as hot as existing reactors. The basic concept of this reactor technology has been known for some time, but advances in material science and the unusual range of applications for such reactors now make them much more attractive.

Like any existing nuclear reactor, the high-temperature nuclear reactors could produce electricity – about 35-50 percent more efficiently than existing approaches. But they also create about half as much radioactive waste, by the nature of their design cannot melt down, and like all nuclear technologies produce no greenhouse gas emissions.

They could be cost-effectively built as small modular reactors, and produce super-heated steam that works well for powering large chemical companies or building complexes. As demand grows for fresh water in arid regions, they could offer a more cost-effective way to desalinate sea water.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

TVA seeks Sequoyah licence extension

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has applied to the US regulator to extend the operating life of its twin-unit Sequoyah nuclear power plant. If granted, the reactors could operate until 2040 and 2041, respectively.

The original 40-year licences for Sequoyah units 1 and 2 are due to expire in 2020 and 2021.

TVA submitted its operating licence extension applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 15 January. The licence renewal process takes about 30 months andis expected to cost some $23 million, according to the utility.

TVA chief nuclear operator Preston Swafford commented, "By applying for a 20-year extension of our current operating licence now, we are affirming to the NRC that our plant is safe and in solid material condition." He added, "Extending the operating life of this nuclear plant supports TVA's vision to provide low-cost, cleaner electricity and a balanced energy portfolio."


India and France discuss developing six new EPR units

 Hollande, Singh February 2013 (Elysee) 460
Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh stated that he and France's President Francois Hollande remain committed to the project to construct six EPR units at Jaitapur.

During a state visit to India by Hollande, Singh said, "We reviewed progress on the Jaitapur nuclear power project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed."

A memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the construction of the Jaitapur plant, including lifetime fuel supply for the units, was signed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Areva in February 2009.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

China to build new reactor based off Westinghouse

CAP1400 reactor building. Source: SNPTCBy the end of the year, Chinese companies will begin international marketing of a 1,400 megawatt power reactor based largely on the Westinghouse AP1000.

In return for the right to sell the AP1000 in China, Westinghouse agreed to help Chinese firms use its generation III pressurized water reactor as a template to develop domestic Chinese designs. One is the CAP1400, which is slated for construction in Rongcheng this year. State Nuclear Power Technology Co. President Gu Jun announced Friday that the coming months would also see the beginning of efforts to export the CAP1400, People's Daily reported.


Russia builds first floating nuclear plant

The installation of two 300-tonne tanks has taken the project to build Russia's first floating nuclear power plant a step further towards completion.

The tanks, which provide a shielded housing for the reactor vessels and their cooling circuits, were manufactured by Baltiysky Zavod shipyard, which is constructing the plant for Rosenergoatom. They were lowered into the reactor compartment of the Akademik Lomonosov over two days in an operation made complicated by ice on the Neva river. Baltiysky Zavod general director Alexander Voznesensky described the installation of the tanks as a milestone in the project.