Temelin tender controversy builds

30 October 2012 Czech utility CEZ has rejected Areva’s objections to the disqualification of its bid for the contract to build two new units at the Temelin nuclear power plant. Areva will now take its appeal to the Czech anti-monopoly office. On 5 October, CEZ told Areva that its bid for the contract for Temelin units 3 and 4 had been disqualified as it “failed to meet statutory requirements” under the Czech Republic’s Public Procurement Act and that the company “had not fulfilled some other crucial criteria defined in the tender.” On 19 October, Areva “provided detailed objections to each of the reasons for exclusion raised by CEZ.” However, CEZ has now stated that “after carefully assessing each of the grounds” it has decided to reject Areva’s appeal. The company noted that it has “precisely and in detail communicated to Areva the grounds why their bid has been excluded; the grounds are crucial and of both commercial and legal nature.” While neither company has indicated why Areva’s bid has been disqualified, a CEZ spokesman earlier stated that the public may be informed about the specific reasons “only when all options for potential appeals have been used so that the award procedure is conducted in a correct and fair manner.” The French company responded by calling CEZ’s decision “baseless” and saying that its offer to supply two EPR units “is compliant with statutory requirements and has been misunderstood in many respects.” Areva – which has ten days in which to lodge a petition with the Czech anti-monopoly office, the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition – called for the suspension of the tender process. Areva CEO Luc Oursel commented: “I deeply regret that Areva is penalized based on matters that have never been discussed between the parties before, without any dialogue or clarification process, both of which are standard in a nuclear industry where transparency dialogue are key.” Areva said it “is now forced to take all legal actions available under Czech and EU laws with the objective of returning to the Temelin 3 and 4 tender process.” CEZ launched the tender process for the new Temelin units in August 2009 and invited three candidates – Areva; a consortium between Škoda JS, AtomStroyExport and OKB Gidropress; and Westinghouse – in November 2011 to submit bids. All three contenders submitted documentation supporting their respective bids in late June 2012. CEZ expects...
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Dome installed at new Russian unit

31 October 2012 Installation of the dome of the containment building of Rostov unit 3 has now been completed, plant owner Rosenergoatom announced. The metallic dome has been assembled and installed in stages. The final section – measuring 37 metres in diameter and weighing 165 tonnes – was raised and placed upon the top of the containment building on 29 October. The operation, using one of the world’s largest cranes, took about one hour. The dome forms part of the unit’s double-walled containment structure – a major component for protecting the reactor and preventing the release of radioactive materials into the environment in the event of a serious accident. Chief engineer of the Volgodonsk branch of Rossem Trust Alexander Masalykin, who supervised the installation of the containment dome, said: “This operation marks the end of general construction works.” He noted that some 7000 tonnes of metalwork have been installed in the containment and the area within it. Completion of the containment dome now allows work to progress on installing the main reactor island equipment, such as the reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and main circulation pipework. Rostov 3 will gave a generating capacity of 1100 MWe. Four 1000 MWe VVER pressurized water reactors were planned at the Rostov site (formerly known as Volgodonsk) in the early 1980s. Construction of units 1 and 2 soon began, but progress was slow. The units did not eventually enter commercial operation until March 2001 and October 2010, respectively. Rostov 3 and 4 were both ordered in 1983. The units will be larger VVER-1200 types. In June 2009, NN-AEP, a subsidiary of AtomEnergoProm (AEP), won the tender as principal contractor for the construction of the units. Construction of unit 3 began again in late 2009. Units 3 and 4 are set to be completed by 2014 and 2016, respectively....
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Keeping the lights on as Sandy strikes

30 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy has caused widespread power losses up and down the eastern seaboard of the USA, but the region’s nuclear plants were prepared to weather the storm. As eastern states prepared for the anticipated landfall of Sandy, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) increased oversight at nine nuclear plants in the states of Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. Several of the region’s nuclear power plants were already in outage. Unit 1 at Constellation’s Nine Mile Point was taken off line when an electrical fault occurred on power lines used to send power to the grid, in what the NRC described as “likely a storm-related event”. The same fault caused a loss of one of two incoming power lines at Nine Mile Point 2, but the plant’s emergency diesel backup generator started up in response to the loss and the unit was able to remain at full power. Operating power was reduced to 73% at Dominion’s Millstone 3 in anticipation of high water intake levels, in line with normal operating procedures. One unit at PSEG’s Salem nuclear power plant was taken off line when four out of six water-circulating pumps on the non-nuclear side of the plant were rendered unavailable by the impacts of the storm. Salem unit 1 was shut down manually as per normal plant operating procedures. Unit 2 was already offline for a scheduled refuelling outage. PSEG’s neighbouring plant at Hope Creek remained at full power. The NRC reported the declaration of an alert – the second lowest of four NRC action levels – at Exelon’s Oyster Creek because of high water levels. A combination of rising tide, wind direction and storm surge was causing a rise in water levels in the plant’s intake structure, although the regulator said it expected levels to abate “within hours”. The alert will not be lifted until water levels are below those specified for the structure. The unit is currently in a scheduled maintenance outage. Electrical grid disturbances caused Entergy’s Indian Point 3 to shut down automatically, although unit 2 at the plant in New York State continued to operate at full power. “Nuclear plants are built to exceed the most severe natural forces historically reported for their geographic area,” said John Herron, president and CEO of Entergy. “And we saw evidence of that again with Hurricane Sandy.” Although Sandy officially dropped just below hurricane...
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Britain to have boiling water reactors

30 October 2012 The move by Hitachi to take on the Horizon Nuclear Power project marks a shift in technology direction for the UK, which had been likely to replace older gas-graphite reactors with pressurized water units. Industry said the broadening of scope was “good news for the UK supply chain.” Generation I and II units from the UK’s former national nuclear program were based on graphite-moderated cores cooled by carbon dioxide. A project in the 1990s to compliment these with a tranche of ten pressurized water reactors resulted in just one, Sizewell B. In the UK’s current push for nuclear power it has been up to private investors to make technology choices, not the government. Based on discussions with vendors and utilities, the first two designs to go through the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process have both been pressurized water reactors: the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000. Hitachi’s move today to purchase Horizon and put forward its boiling water technology means that will also become an option after another round of GDA, sure to begin soon. UK trade body the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said the addition of boiling water technology in the UK would broaden the range of supply chain opportunities. NIA chief executive Keith Parker called the deal, “good news for the UK supply chain, for jobs in the nuclear sector, and for the wider economy.” The UK could supply up to 60% of the value of the first unit with the figure increasing for subsequent units, according to Hitachi and government. Hitachi said it will work with Babcock International and Rolls-Royce to “plan and deliver” the new build program. Rolls-Royce said it would explore with Hitachi how it could offer support through its manufacturing, engineering and technical services. It would also like to develop opportunities in nuclear instrumentation and control. Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) This is a modular design, for which large sections of the reactor building can be assembled in a factory, complete with wiring and components, before being shipped to site and lifted into place. Hitachi wants to “transfer” this technology and establish a module factory in the UK. The company promised “significant investment in training engineers, construction teams and operating staff for the plants.” It is to work with local colleges and universities to develop training programs, which will “create a strong and permanent base of nuclear skills in the UK...
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Horizon back in focus

30 October 2012 Hitachi will take forward the Horizon Nuclear Power project, having secured the company with a bid of £696million ($1.1 billion). Between four and six boiling water reactors are now slated for construction in Britain. The Japanese firm now takes ownership of the project company set up by EOn and RWE to develop new reactors at two UK sites: Wylfa and Oldbury. It will “immediately” set about securing generic design acceptance for its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor from the UK nuclear safety regulators. With that approval, as well as planning permission, Hitachi would then be able to go ahead with building the units. Two or three reactors are planned for each site, with the first one in operation before 2025. The announcement of Hitachi as Horizon’s buyer marks the end of a period of uncertainty for Horizon’s 90 staff as well as for the UK government’s policy to encourage private investment in new nuclear power. EOn and RWE decided to sell Horizon last year, citing pressures on their businesses. The biggest of these pressures, of course, was the overnight shutdown of eight large reactors in Germany as a reaction to the Fukushima accident. But despite that setback the UK remains determined to make nuclear power part of its energy, industrial and climate strategies. Prime minister David Cameron said that Hitachi’s investment “will contribute vital new infrastructure to power our economy,” while secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey said, “New nuclear isn’t only about keeping the lights on and emissions down. It’s an industrial strategy with big potential wins.” Speaking for Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi said: “Today starts our 100-year commitment to the UK and its vision to achieve a long-term, secure, low-carbon and affordable energy supply” Nuclear Industry Council Underlining its comments about the importance of nuclear energy to Britain, the government today announced the creation of a Nuclear Industry Council, intended to help UK nuclear exporters compete internationally. This is in line with a desire to “build a strong industrial strategy.” The role of chairing the council shared by government ministers and Nuclear Industry Association chairman Lord Hutton. One of the first things for the council will be to publish a Nuclear Supply Chain Action Plan, which is already under development. Another player in UK new build is EDF, which is preparing to build Areva EPRs at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. It welcomed...
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