Cameco exits Bruce Power

31 January 2014 Cameco has sold its stake in Bruce Power saying it wants to invest in its core uranium business. The 31.6% stake has gone to one of Bruce’s other shareholders. “We believe the best option for our shareholders is to sell our interest in Bruce Power and continue to reinvest in our core uranium business where we see strong potential for growth,” said Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel. The 31.6% stake has gone to one of Bruce’s other shareholders, BPC Generation Infrastruture Trust for price of CAD450 million ($402 million), effective from the end of last year. Also known as Borealis, the firm is a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. Bruce Power’s remaining shareholders have a right of first offer to take part of the stake, but this is not expected. They are TransCanada Corporation, Power Workers Union and the Society of Energy Professionals. Bruce Power owns and operates the eight Candu reactors at the Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear power plants, which lie adjacent to one another in Tiverton, Ontario. The four Bruce A units were laid up in the 1990s but were refurbished, uprated and brought back into operation progressively between 2004 and 2012. The Bruce B units operated throughout, and decisions are pending on whether to refurbish those for longer operation. The complex produces some 30% of the province’s electricity and features large in its Long-Term Energy Plan. “Cameco played a critical role in the formation of Bruce Power in 2001 and has been a strong partner, contributing greatly to the success of the site,” said Duncan Hawthorne Bruce Power’s president and CEO. “However, the outlook of both Bruce Power and Cameco has evolved and this is a unique opportunity for Bruce Power to turn our policy position in the Long-Term Energy Plan into action.”...
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Mining bolsters Areva's 2013 revenues

31 January 2014 Despite a drop in its order backlog, a strong performance by Areva’s mining business helped it report a 3.8% increase in revenues to €9.3 billion ($12.6 billion) in 2013. Revenue from its nuclear operations was €9.0 billion ($12.2 billion), up 7.1% from the previous year. A strong performance by Areva’s mining and front-end operations “offset the expected business downturn in the reactors and services business groups.” For 2013, Areva’s mining division posted revenue of €1.8 billion ($2.4 billion), an increase of 29.1%. The company said this reflects the planned reduction of its inventories, “despite a slight decrease in production and lower average sales prices of uranium sold under contracts over the period, reflecting the current unfavourable natural uranium market conditions.” Areva’s front-end group – covering uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication – reported a 6.8% rise in revenue in 2013 to €2.2 billion ($3.0 billion). Its back-end business group brought in revenue of €1.7 billion ($2.3 billion), around the same level as in 2012. Meanwhile, the reactors and services business saw revenue decrease 3.7% in 2013 to €3.3 billion ($4.5 billion). While far smaller than its nuclear businesses, revenues from Areva’s renewables division fell 24.7% to €132 million ($178 million). Meanwhile, Areva’s overall order book of €41.6 billion ($56.2 billion) at the end of 2013 was slightly down from a year ago, when it stood at €44.7 billion ($60.4 billion). Some €7.6 billion ($10.3 billion) of new orders were received last year, excluding orders associated with agreements reached in October with EDF for the EPR reactors planned for Hinkley Point C. Areva CEO Luc Oursel commented, “Two years after Fukushima, Areva’s level of activity was especially strong in 2013. We outperformed our revenue outlook for nuclear operations.” He added, “The group’s revenue benefited from the robustness of the recurring activities and from temporary elements, such as exceptionally high uranium sales.” “This growth demonstrates the resilience of our end market, despite unfavourable current conditions,” he noted....
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Nuclear lauded at Franco-British summit

31 January 2014 The governments of the UK and France will work together to show that the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant does not violate European rules for state aid, according to a joint communiqué reiterating their shared commitment to nuclear power. The declaration outlining how the two nations plan to collaborate on the construction of new nuclear capacity was issued during a bilateral summit hosted at a summit held in Oxfordshire in the UK. The meeting was attended by UK prime minister David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande as well as high-ranking ministers from both countries’ governments. France and the UK both pushed for recent European Commission proposals for a target of 40% for greenhouse gas emissions reductions across the European Union by 2030. The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the latest declaration underlines the two nations’ belief that nuclear power is “critical” player in a “cost-effective low carbon transition.” Specifically, the two governments have agreed to “engage constructively” with the European Commission’s ongoing consultation on the validity of proposed UK state aid for the construction by EDF Energy of two Areva EPR units at Hinkley Point C. Although European guidelines allow such state support for renewables, no such guidelines currently exist for nuclear projects, so state aid for nuclear investments must be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to bilateral collaboration on the construction of new nuclear power plants, the declaration paves the way for maximising opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in nuclear supply chains, development of the nuclear workforce through joint-funded training and skills centres and collaboration to enhance civil nuclear emergency planning and security. The nations also agreed to work together to build more electricity interconnectors between the UK and France. A list of deliverables from the summit includes an agreement between the two countries’ national industrial associations, the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association and Partenariat France Monde Electricité, to sign a memorandum of understanding with a view to helping their SME members develop their business interests in both countries and overseas. French support for NNL The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) has already announced the signature of three agreements with key French nuclear organisations as outlined at the summit. A letter of intent with French fuel cycle company Areva will see the organisations work together to develop nuclear fuel cycle technology, while a letter...
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US steam generator replacement a winner

30 January 2014 As the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant prepares to begin work to replace its steam generators, the plant’s operator is highlighting the benefits to the local economy from the operation. Davis-Besse operator FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (Fenoc) claims the imminent project to replace the plant’s two steam generators will boost the local economy by over $108 million. The 908 MWe unit’s current operating licence expires in 2017, but Fenoc has applied for a licence extension to 2037. The $600 million steam generator replacement project will help to ensure that the reactor can continue operations well into the future. Davis-Besse site vice president Ray Lieb described the project as one of the largest to occur at the site since construction of the facility, which started operations in 1978. “Completion of the project is expected to help ensure that Davis-Besse remains an integral part of northwest Ohio’s economy, and a safe, reliable and clean energy source, now and in the future,” he said. Steam generators are used in pressurized water reactors (PWR) to transfer heat from the reactor coolant into water in a secondary circuit, producing the steam used to power the electricity-generating turbines. Each steam generator contains thousands of kilometres of tubes through which hot water flows. Steam generator tubes can degrade over time, and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) imposes stringent rules for inspections, maintenance and repair of steam generator tubes which may include plugging of thinning tubes, gradually compromising plant efficiency. Advances in technology mean that modern steam generators use more corrosion-resistant alloys. Although replacement of the entire steam generator is a major undertaking, such operations have now been carried out at most of the USA’s 65 PWR units. Davis-Besse is the second of Fenoc’s three PWRs to undergo steam generator replacement. The three steam generators at the company’s Beaver Valley unit 1 in Pennsylvania were replaced in 2006. Beaver Valley 2’s steam generators are due to be replaced in March 2017 under an engineering, procurement and construction services contract awarded to Bechtel in June 2013....
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Debris clearance at Fukushima

30 January 2014 A series of photographs showing progress in the removal of tsunami debris from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant has been released by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). The first tsunami waves breached sea defences at Fukushima Daiichi about one hour after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck on 11 March 2011. Later waves completely overwhelmed the power plant’s sea front, carrying debris including cars into the site. While debris was quickly cleared from roads and paths to allow workers to access the site to help in stabilizing the damaged reactors, much of the debris remained untouched. Tepco’s latest photos show how the removal of debris – including cars, trucks and building materials – was successfully completed in some areas of the plant adjacent to the sea.                    The images on the left show debris left by the tsunami, while those on the right show the same scenes after clear-up (Images: Tepco)  Fuente: world-nuclear-news...
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