Cavendish Fluor wins UK decommissioning contract

31 March 2014 A joint venture between Cavendish Nuclear and Fluor Corporation has been selected to handle the £7 billion decommissioning of the UK’s Magnox power plants as well as several nuclear research facilities. The announcement of Cavendish Fluor Partnership as preferred bidder for the work is the latest stage in a two-year competitive process to secure a private-sector parent body organisation to take over management of the sites managed by Magnox Ltd and Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL). Between them the NDA-owned companies are responsible for the decommissioning of the homes of ten former Magnox power plants, plus the former nuclear research centres at Harwell and Winfrith. When NDA opened dialogue with four bidders in January 2013, it valued the contract at around £7 billion ($11.6 billion) over a 14-year period. The successful contractor will earn a fee that is a portion of the overall value, and will depend on performance. The formal award of the still-to-be-finalised contract and transfer of the shares of the two site licence companies to Cavendish Fluor Partnership are scheduled to take place on 1 September, after a five-month transition period. Until that point, the current parent body organisations (EnergySolutions for Magnox Ltd and UKAEA Ltd, owned by Babcock International, for RSRL) will remain in charge of the companies. The three other PBO bidders – consortia of Bechtel-EnergySolutions, CH2M Hill-Areva-Serco and AMEC-Atkins – will be held in reserve until the transfer is completed. NDA CEO John Clarke described the selection of the Cavendish Fluor Partnership as a “significant step” for the authority. Roger Hardy, managing director of Cavendish Nuclear said the selection as preferred bidder was a “fantastic achievement” for the Babcock International subsidiary. The NDA has previously awarded parent body contracts for the management of the site licence companies for the UK’s Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg in Cumbria, Sellafield Ltd and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd....
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Prepare for climate change, IPCC warns

31 March 2014 The world is largely ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The energy sector is just one of many that must adapt to meet these challenges. The IPCC’s Working Group II – which assesses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change – says that the effects of climate change are already being felt around the world. Its new report details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. “Observed impacts of climate change have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people’s livelihoods,” the report says. It says that the nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, “though climate change will also continue to produce surprises.” There are opportunities to respond to the risks, it notes, “though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.” Working group co-chair Chris Field said, “Understanding that climate change is a challenge in managing risk opens a wide range of opportunities for integrating adaptation with economic and social development and with initiatives to limit future warming.” He added, “We definitely face challenges, but understanding those challenges and tackling them creatively can make climate-change adaptation an important way to build a more vibrant world in the near-term and beyond.” The group’s report – entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – consists of two volumes. The first contains a summary for policy makers, a technical summary and chapters assessing risks by sector and opportunities for response. The second volume assesses risks and opportunities for response by geographic region. Impacts on energy With regards to energy, the IPCC working group expects climate change to increase the demand for energy in most regions of the world. In addition, it is likely to impact usage patterns – with less energy being required for heating but more needed for cooling – as well as affecting individual energy sources and technologies. For example, the thermal efficiency of fossil fuel, nuclear, biomass and solar power generation could all be negatively affected by climate change. Gradual changes in various climate attributes (such as temperature, rainfall, windiness and cloudiness) and possible changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will progressively affect operation over...
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Sterigenics to buy Nordion

31 March 2014 US sterilization specialist Sterigenics is to buy Canadian radioisotope supplier Nordion. The transaction – valued at some $727 million – is subject to Nordion shareholder and regulatory approval, as well as court approval. If approved, the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014. Nordion would operate as a standalone company within Sterigenics and will continue to operate under the Nordion name. Sterigenics CEO Michael Mulhern commented, “Nordion is a recognized global leader in the medical isotopes and sterilization sectors.” He added, “Through this acquisition, our focus is to ensure a stable long-term source of cobalt-60 that will maintain customer confidence in the future availability and growth of gamma sterilization as one of many sterilization options.” Mulhern continued: “In the short term, Nordion customers should expect business as usual. Over the long run, we look forward to working with existing and new reactor partners to create a larger and more reliable supply of cobalt-60 for the future.” Sterigenics, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, operates 39 facilities across the Americas, Europe and Asia providing outsourced contract sterilization services to the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety and high performance/specialty materials industries. Cobalt-60 can be used in a range of applications including gauges in blast furnaces to measure furnace performance, as well as for gamma sterilisation and industrial radiography....
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Rosatom buys into Fennovoima

28 March 2014 Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has acquired a 34% stake in Fennovoima, the company proposing to build the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant in Finland. The plant is to feature a Russian-supplied reactor. Voimaosakeyhtiö SF – the Finnish owner of Fennovoima – announced that it has signed a share transaction agreement with RAOS Voima Oy, a Finnish subsidiary set up by Rosatom specifically for holding a stake in Fennovoima. Through the agreement Rosatom now holds a 34% stake in Fennovoima while Voimaosakeyhtiö retains the remaining 66%. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Voimaosakeyhtiö was established in 2006 by a group of Finnish industrial and energy companies to be the main shareholder in a new power plant project. Within a couple of years, over 60 companies had joined and Germany’s EOn had taken a 34% stake in the project. However, in October 2012 EOn withdraw from Fennovoima, with Voimaosakeyhtiö buying its share to take full control. Last December, Rosatom agreed to take a 34% stake in Fennovoima. Last month, Voimaosakeyhtiö announced that 44 of its shareholders had confirmed they will take a combined 50.2% stake in Fennovoima. However, at that time Voimaosakeyhtiö said that it aimed to increase the share held by Finnish firms up to around 66%. The shareholders in Fennovoima are now expected to confirm their investment decision in the project at the company’s general meeting next month, when a new board will also be elected. Reactor design Fennovoima signed the plant supply contract for Hanhikivi with Rusatom Overseas – Rosatom’s subsidiary concerned with exports of nuclear power plants – last December. Rosatom has offered to build a plant using a Gidropress-designed AES-2006 VVER. Earlier this month, Fennovoima submitted an application to the government to amend the 2010 decision-in-principle. This decision allows it to construct a new nuclear plant of 1500-2500 MWe capacity and was based on the company building a plant featuring Areva’s EPR or Kerena design, or Toshiba’s ABWR. The amendment will include Rosatom’s AES-2006 plant, which uses a 1200 MWe-class reactor. Once passed by the government, the amendment would be submitted to parliament for final approval....
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NRC orders private cloud

28 March 2014 The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is planning to use a private computer cloud to streamline and optimise its IT infrastructure, and has commissioned Dell to build it. Cloud computing refers to a series of computers connected together and typically accessed via the Internet, with the main computing power often located at a different site than the user. Because of the Internet-based connectivity, cloud resources (and the data stored on them) can typically be accessed anywhere and at any time, making them more flexible and available for more uses than traditionally networked machines. Cloud systems also deliver benefits from reductions in the power demands of IT networks, both from equipment utilisation and cooling requirements, which are important for greening initiatives. Unlike a public cloud, which is a shared cloud resource managed by a third party, a private cloud’s infrastructure is used for only one organisation. NRC’s bespoke cloud, to be installed on the agency’s own premises, has been designed by Dell to help the agency to consolidate its data centres, replace ageing equipment and take advantage of modernised IT services to deliver performance improvements. NRC system engineering chief Mike Williams explained to World Nuclear Newsthat an internal private cloud will allow the agency to host its critical applications in a secure, controlled cloud environment while avoiding the security and other risks of the public cloud. While allowing for higher availability of computing resources and service redundancy, it will also provide a technical base for the development and implementation of other cloud solutions, for example providing a safe and secure internal environment to develop new applications and services which may at a future date be rolled out to a public environment. A cloud solution can also offer the possibility of a distributed processing function, for example allowing a complex simulation to be run across the large number of smaller computers linked through the cloud. Although the NRC currently does not plan to make use of this function, Williams acknowledged that the agency plans to use its private cloud to examine how it might employ distributed processing in future....
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