Beloyarsk 4 criticality soon

Commissioning is about to start at Russia’s forthcoming fast reactor, Beloyarsk 4. After a lengthy construction period, engineers are preparing for criticality in April 2014. The unit will be a 789 MWe fast-neutron reactor of the BN-800 design, fuelled by a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides arranged to produce new fuel material as it burns. The electricity will go to the central Sverdlovsk region of Russia, where regional governor Yevgeny Kuyzashev said it would support industrial investment. The ‘physical launch’ of the new reactor was permitted by safety regulator Rostekhnadzor on 26 December. This entitled project leader AtomEnergoProekt (Saint Petersburg branch) to firstly load nuclear fuel and begin tests of safety systems. Test operation at the minimum power level is also permitted as a second step, to confirm the proper operation of control systems and instrumentation. Sodium coolant is already in place and nuclear fuel has been delivered to the site. The steps outlined above should be complete by April 2014, said Rosatom, with commerical operation coming by the end of the year. Beloyarsk 4 will be the most powerful fast reactor unit in the world at 789 MWe. This exceeds Beloyarsk 3’s 560 MWe as well as the 246 MWe of Monju in Japan. France’s Super-Phenix was more powerful at 1200 MWe, but this was closed in 1997. Another fast reactor is under construction in India at Kalpakkam which will produce 470 MWe when it starts up, also in 2014. Beloyarsk 4 was approved in 1983 and construction began in 1986. The project was put on hold and only resumed in 2004. Russia is planning to construct a larger BN-1200 fast reactor power unit at Beloyarsk to start up by 2020, while cooperating with China to build two BN-800 units there. Fuente:...
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Hanhikivi agreements

23 December 2013 Fennovoima has firmed up its selection of Rosatom to supply a nuclear power plant at the new Hanhikivi site, but a final investment decision remains to be made. A round of agreements was announced on 21 December as the result of exclusive negotiations between Fennovoima and Rosatom that began in July. The Russian supplier said the deals “define areas of cooperation… the terms of liability and the ratio of shares in the project.” Another agreement between Fennovoima and TVEL covers the nuclear fuel required by the plant. On offer is a single-unit nuclear power plant using a Gidropress-designed AES-2006 VVER pressurized water reactor. It would produce 1200 MWe at Hanhikivi near the municipality of Pyhajoki on Finland’s west coast. Rosatom will take a stake of 34%, the major share previously held by Germany’s EOn, and will support the project by arranging debt finance for the plant’s construction. Rosatom has not announced what it would do with its share of electricity the plant will produce. The majority of Fennovoima’s 46 shareholders agreed to continue with the project in November. They will each take power from the plant at cost price in proportion to their ownership. Fennovoima explained this non-profit business model and confidently stated the cost of power for its shareholders would be “less than €50 ($68.50) per MWh” when it starts operation in 2024. Fennovoima said it would take the final investment decision in February 2014. It already has the government decision-in-principle it needs to start construction, but did not say when construction might actually start. The stated operation date of 2024 indicates a few years’ wait. Hanhikivi would be sixth nuclear reactor generating power in Finland and, along with Olkiluoto 3, could take nuclear to a share of power generation of around 50%. A further reactor is proposed at Okliluoto that could push the share higher still....
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Toshiba stake in UK new-build

23 December 2013 Iberdrola has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the UK’s NuGeneration (NuGen) consortium to Toshiba for £85 million ($139 million). NuGen is the would-be developer of the proposed Moorside nuclear power plant. Spanish company Iberdrola has notified Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores, CNMV) of its 21 December agreement to transfer its shareholding in Belgian company NNB Development Company SA, which is itself the owner of the entire capital of NuGen, to Toshiba Corporation of Japan. The move is described as part of Iberdrola’s strategy of “divesting from non-strategic businesses”. The transaction is subject to obtaining the relevant authorisations and consents, the extension of an option to purchase land for the project, and the release of project-related guarantees granted by Iberdrola. NuGen was originally owned 37.5% each by Iberdrola and GDF Suez of Belgium, and 25% by Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), with Iberbrolda and GDF Suez becoming 50:50 owners after SSE decided to withdraw from the project in 2011. The consortium has an purchased an option on the 190 hectare site to the north of the Sellafield complex from the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Agency in 2009. The plot of land and the plant project are called Moorside. Moorside is one of five proposed sites for nuclear new build in the UK, alongside EDF’s Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C and Horizon’s Wylfa Newydd and Oldbury B sites. If built, Moorside is likely to comprise up to three Westinghouse-designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors. Toshiba is majority owner of the US-based reactor vendor. Eight AP1000s are under construction in China and the USA, and the reactor is in the final stages of generic design assessment (GDA) by UK regulators. The GDA forms part of the approval process for new reactor projects in the UK, allowing regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs separately from applications to build them at specific sites. To complete the process the AP1000 needs a customer and a specific site for certain engineering details. The EPR has already completed the GDA process, receiving a Design Acceptance Confirmation and Statement of Design Acceptability in December 2012, while a GDA was started for Hitachi-GE’s ABWR in April 2013. EDF plans to build two Areva-designed EPR pressurized water reactors each at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, while Horizon’s proposals feature Hitachi-GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWRs)....
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Russia invests in nuclear

20 December 2013 Russia has allocated RUB80.6 billion ($2.4 billion) as ‘in-kind’ contributions to the growth of its nuclear industry with a large portion of this assigned to foreign projects, including the Akkuyu plant in Turkey. Rosatom is the state corporation that includes every significant commercial enterprise in the country’s nuclear power industry. It actually drafted the directive which was yesterday approved by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev. It said some RUB80.6 billion would go to Rosatom “as an in-kind contribution of the Russian Federation for the development of the nuclear industry, including a RUB22.45  billion ($680 million) subsidy for constructing nuclear power plants abroad.”Balancing this state payment, Rosatom’s profits flow back to the state from the power generation at 33 nuclear reactors as well as the sales of reactors, fuel and services to other countries. The country has an overall policy of maximising low-carbon power from domestic hydro and nuclear in order to decarbonise electricity supplies and free natural gas for export. The Russian government noted: “The main objectives of Rosatom are to facilitate the accelerated development of the nuclear power industry for ensuring Russia’s energy security by launching new standard serial nuclear power generating units, promoting products and services of Russian nuclear fuel cycle organisations on international markets, and engaging in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants outside of Russia.” An important project for Rosatom is the construction of four units at the Akkuyu site in Turkey. Rosatom will build, own and operate the plant as part of a long-term power purchase agreement with the Turkish state grid operator. Similar projects are in development with Bangladesh and Vietnam, while Russia is building reactors on more routine commercial terms in Belarus, China and India. Today’s decree included RUB22.45 billion ($680 million) for such overseas efforts, with Akkuyu the only named project. Funds will be transferred to the Akkuyu project company, which will use them to purchase shares in Rosatom subsidiaries AtomStroyExport and Rusatom Overseas. Separately another decree will see the Russian state buy a stake in Technopark-Technology. Rosatom is the sole shareholder of the firm, which is one of 30 innovative companies to have developed at Rosatom’s Technopark ‘Sistema-Sarov’....
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Consortium established to build Alfred

20 December 2013 A consortium has been formally set up for the construction of a demonstration lead-cooled fast reactor in Romania. The Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator (Alfred) is being developed under an EU initiative. A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) and Ansaldo Nucleare, as well as Romania’s Nuclear Research Institute (Institutul de Cercetari Nucleare, ICN), to implement construction of Alfred. The signing ceremony in Bucharest was attended by Romanian energy minister Constantin Nita and representatives from the three partners organizations. The group is to be known as the Fostering Alfred Construction (Falcon) consortium, which will be expanded through the participation of further undisclosed European organizations which have been said to have already expressed their interest. Additional partners will be needed to raise the necessary resources to finalize the design and technology phase of the project. The consortium aims to obtain finance for the reactor through EU funds allocated to R&D infrastructure in new member states administered by the European Investment Bank. The total cost of the project is put at some €1.0 billion ($1.4 billion). The demonstration Alfred unit will be built at ICN’s facility in Mioveni, near Pitesti in southern Romania, where a fuel manufacturing plant is in operation for the country’s two operating Candu reactors. Construction could begin in 2017 and the unit could start operating in 2025. It will supply 120 MWe to Romania’s electrical grid. Alfred is seen as a prelude to an industrial demonstration unit of about 600 MWe. The lead-cooled reactor will employ mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel, with the plutonium enriched up to about 30%, and will operate at temperatures of around 550°C. It features passive safety systems. The conceptual design of the Alfred reactor and the integrated project were led by Ansaldo Nucleare under the seventh Euratom framework program. ENEA performed the core design, the technological development and the safety analyses through numerical and experimental approaches. The reactor is being developed through the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), which brings together industry and research partners in the development of so-called Generation IV Fast Neutron Reactor technology, as part of the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). ESNII was set up under the umbrella of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP), formed in 2007 and bringing together more than 90 stakeholders involved in nuclear fission....
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