Primer ministro de Japón no descarta construir nuevos reactores nucleares

31 Diciembre 2012 Tras su visita a Fukushima, Shinzo Abe abrió la puerta a retomar la energía nuclear en el país nipón, aunque aclaró que “los reactores serán completamente diferentes a los de la central TEPCO”. El nuevo primer ministro nipón, Shinzo Abe, no descarta permitir que se construyan nuevos reactores nucleares en Japón, después de que en su visita el pasado sábado a la maltrecha central de Fukushima abriera la puerta a retomar la energía nuclear en el país. “Los nuevos reactores serán completamente diferentes a los de la central de TEPCO (operadora) de Fukushima Daiichi que causaron la crisis nuclear”, afirmó Shinzo Abe durante un programa de televisión local, en declaraciones recogidas hoy por la agencia Kyodo. Abe además añadió que esas nuevas unidades las construirán “con el consentimiento del pueblo japonés”, lo que da nuevas pistas sobre el modelo de política energética que pretende el nuevo Gobierno del Partido Liberal Demócrata (PLD), ratificado en el poder la semana pasada. Para el primer ministro, de 58 años, la central de “Fukushima Daiichi no era capaz de asegurar el suministro energético tras el tsunami que golpeó la zona, pero la de Fukushima Daini (a escasos 12 kilómetros de la accidentada planta) sí era capaz”, una diferencia que “debemos valorar”, dijo. Las declaraciones se producen después de que el sábado Abe inspeccionara, por primera vez desde que asumió el cargo, la central de Fukushima, epicentro de la crisis nuclear, para comprobar las labores de desmantelamiento. A pesar de que su compromiso durante las elecciones fue el de revisar la necesidad de retomar las nucleares en tres años, en los pocos días que el nuevo Ejecutivo lleva en el poder han adelantado su intención de desviarse del camino abierto por el anterior Gobierno de abandonar la energía atómica a partir del año 2030. En Fukushima, Abe prometió “medidas políticas responsables” y criticó la meta acordada por el Gabinete del ex primer ministro, Yoshihiko Noda, ya que, en su opinión, “no se va a convertir en realidad solo porque se desee”, lo que entreabrió la puerta a la posibilidad de reanudar gradualmente la energía atómica. Mientras, el nuevo ministro de Economía, Comercio e Industria, Toshimitsu Motegi, fue más allá y aseguró que Japón tiene que “reconsiderar” el objetivo de abandonar las nucleares y apuntó a la necesidad de garantizar la seguridad de la plantas nucleares como un paso previo para decidir su reactivación....
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First electricity flows from Ningde nuclear plant

29 December 2012 This was the scene when control room engineers at Ningde 1 sent power to the grid for the first time. The landmark was reached at 2.58pm on 28 December as the delivery of first electricity took the reactor from the construction phase into commissioning. Operator China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) said it was the beginning of the nuclear power plant creating value for society. Further tests remain before the reactor will reach the next official stage, commercial operation, in which it will generate power solidly for a lifespan expected to be 60 years. Achieving that status requires regulatory approval and a program of operational tests including a run lasting 168 hours its full rated power output of 1080 MWe. This work may take a few months. The reactor is the first of four CPR-1000s at the Ningde site in Fujian province. Construction on units 1 and 2 started in 2008 and units 3 and 4 were started in 2010. They should all be in operation before the end of 2015 and are expected to ease pressure on energy transport infrastructure in the congested coastal areas of China’s southeast. The plant is 46% owned by CGNPC and 44% by China Datang Corporation. The remaining 10% is held by Fujian Provincial Energy Group....
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First concrete at Tianwan 3

29 December 2012 Construction of a new reactor was started this week in China. The Russian-designed model is the fourth to be inaugurated since China resumed approvals for new plants at the end of October. he new build is at the Tianwan site in Jiangsu province. An AES-91 VVER-1000 unit designed by Gidropress and supplied by Russian state firm Rosatom, it follows two similar units at the site. A fourth is also contracted under terms sealed by an intergovernmental protocol earlier this month. Each of the VVERs is rated to produce 1060 MWe, while four further potential units of similar size are foreseen by Chinese planners. AtomStroyExport is the main contractor, supplying the nuclear island worth about 30% of the project value. The reactor system components will be sourced from the Russian supply chain, while an Areva-Siemens instrumentation and control system will be used. Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation is responsible for the remaining 70% – the civil work, turbine island with equipment and related infrastructure. Tianwan 3 is slated to begin power generation in 2018, with unit 4 expected to follow one year later, operated by China National Nuclear Corporation. New new build A new nuclear reactor is officially under constuction after the first concrete related to nuclear safety is poured. This follows years of planning and months of groundwork and took place for Tianwan 3 on 27 December. Tianwan 3 is now the 30th large power reactor under construction in China – and the fourth to be approved and begin work since the Fukushima accident of March 2011. Chinese authorities halted approval for new units in reaction to the accident, which was triggered by a tsunami and allowed to worsen by a lack of emergency preparation by the Japanese industry and government. Having taken 18 months to review existing Chinese plants and national regulatory systems, the country went back to approving new reactors in late October. Since then work has started on four units: Fuqing 4 in Fujian province, Yangjiang 4 in Guangdong province (both 1080 MWe CPR-1000 units) and the Shidaowan HTR-PM project – a demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor in Shandong province....
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Russia builds deep-sea research submarine

21 December 2012 Construction of a nuclear-powered deep-sea research submarine has started in Russia. The sub will also be used in search and rescue operations. A ceremony was held at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia on 20 December to mark the start of construction of the vessel. It was attended by the commander of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Chirkov and Sevmash general director Mikhail Budnichenko. Designed by the St Petersburg-based Rubin Central Design Bureau, the submarine – dubbed ‘Project 09852’ – is based on the 949A Oscar-class naval submarine. It will be used to conduct multi-purpose research in remote areas of the oceans and to take part in search and rescue operations. The vessel will carry smaller rescue submersibles. In addition, the new submarine will be employed in the installation of subsea equipment and inspections; testing new types of scientific and research equipment; and monitoring transport routes. The expected completion date of the submarine was not disclosed. The Sevmash shipyard’s main activity is the construction of ships and submarines for the Russian Navy. It is the only shipyard in Russia producing nuclear-powered submarines....
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Alliance cleared for joint procurement

21 December 2012 The US Department of Justice will not challenge a proposal by STARS Alliance – a group of seven nuclear power plant operators – to jointly procure certain goods and services. “The proposed joint procurement was not likely to restrict competition in either the upstream markets for the particular goods and services or the downstream markets for electricity,” the department concluded. Renata Hesse, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s antitrust division, commented: “The proposed conduct may allow the joint venture to increase efficiencies that result in lower costs for electricity, benefitting customers.” The Department of Justice noted that “none of the proposed joint procurement involves the sale or purchase of the electric power or the purchase of nuclear fuel, that STARS will adopt measures to prevent anticompetitive exchanges of information and that membership and participation in all of the activities of STARS is voluntary.” The STARS Alliance meets antitrust guidelines, the department determined. These guidelines provide an “antitrust safety zone” under which the regulators will not challenge a joint venture when the market share of the joint venture or its members do not exceed 20% of each relevant market. It noted that in the case of electricity, the STARS members generally operate in different geographic markets and do not compete against each other for the sale of electricity. The STARS Alliance was officially launched in July with the aim of achieving efficiencies for single-plant operators similar to those of a nuclear fleet operator through joint procurement. The independently owned plants represented are all modern Westinghouse pressurised water reactors located within the same Nuclear Regulatory Commission administrative region. Members of the alliance include Callaway Energy Center (Missouri), Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant (Texas), Diablo Canyon Power Plant (California), Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Arizona), San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (California) South Texas Nuclear Operating Company (Texas) and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation (Kansas)....
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