IN OTHER NEWS:

28 october 2014 David Del Vecchio, currently vice president of project management at CB&I Areva MOX Services LLC, will take over the position of president and project manager at the company from Kelly Trice, who will remain presidnet of CB&I Project Services Group but also becomes the new senior vice president of CB&I’s power division. Gilles Rousseau, currently executive vice president and deputy project manager for CB&I Areva MOX Services, will take over the responsibilities of chief operating officer for the project. Australian company Wildhorse Energy is to cease all its operations in Hungary including the Mecsek Hills uranium project, citing a lack of progress and high ongoing project costs. Wildhorse had been looking into restarting uranium mining at Mecsek in a joint venture with Mecsekérc and Hungary Electricity Ltd, and was also developing an underground coal gasification project in the same region. The company will now focus on exploration and development at its Golden Eagle uranium and vanadium project in Colorado,...
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Energoatom and Škoda extend links

28 October 2014 Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom and Czech engineering company Škoda JS have signed a memorandum of cooperation and an agreement on confidentiality. Skoda JS has also agreed to supply equipment for unit 6 of Ukraine’s Zaporozhe nuclear power plant, Energoatom added. The memorandum includes cooperation in the construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants; scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy; increased security, reconstruction and modernization of nuclear power plants; extending the life of nuclear power units; management of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste; and the training of nuclear power plant personnel. Nedashkovsky said the signing of such documents usually takes place at the beginning of cooperation with new partners. “But with Škoda it’s a totally different story – [the company] is our long-standing partner, we worked with them even during the difficult 1990s when the problem of non-payment for electricity we supplied meant we could not [afford to] pay for equipment in a timely manner. Our Czech partners were sympathetic about our difficulties and fixed prices for Energoatom. In more successful periods, when the economy of both countries grew, our cooperation developed more intensively.” For example, the Czech Export Bank helped Energoatom fund equipment purchases and scientific and technical developments, he said. “Today, Ukraine has fallen on hard times, but as before, Škoda has remained our reliable partner. In signing the memorandum of cooperation, we do so not to complete our long-term cooperation, but to give new impetus to our further cooperation.” Fiala said Škoda JS had been working with Energoatom for about 20 years. “Over the years, Škoda’s experts established personal contacts with the personnel of Ukrainian nuclear power plants that use our equipment. In the first half of the 1990s, when Škoda was looking for new markets, the then director of the company took his Škoda Favorit car and personally visited all the Ukrainian nuclear power plants – these were the first steps to future cooperation with Energoatom. Since then, we have installed a lot of equipment at Ukrainian nuclear power plants.” The ambassador of the Czech Republic in Ukraine, Ivan Pochuh, who was present at the signing ceremony, said: “In the difficult political and economic conditions in which Ukraine finds itself today, it is very important not to stop Czech-Ukrainian cooperation in such an important strategic direction as nuclear energy. It may seem to many...
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Russia’s fast reactor project moves forward

28 October 2014 The Volga Interregional Department for Supervision of Nuclear and Radiation Safety, a specialist commission of Russian regulator Rostechnadzor, has completed its checks of information submitted as part of the licence application for building a nuclear research facility with the multi-purpose fast neutron reactor, or MBIR by its Russian acronym. The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) submitted the application, its parent company Rosatom said yesterday. The regulatory inspection confirmed that NIIAR is “ready for the construction of the MBIR research reactor and the information submitted to Rostechnadzor for obtaining a construction licence is accurate and consistent with the actual status” of the project. Rospriprodnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources – which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – approved the expert commission’s conclusion to approve a construction license for MBIR. Completion of the licensing procedure is expected next spring, Rosatom said. The reactor complex – the International Research Centre – will be located at RIAR’s site in Dimitrovgrad. The total, fully equipped cost is estimated to be $1 billion. Of that, the Russian budget has already provided $300 million, Rosatom deputy director general Vyacheslav Pershukov and MBIR project director Alexander Tuzov said at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in Vienna last month. RIAR will be the legal owner of MBIR, performing operational and administrative functions as and when required, while the International Research Centre will be the legal entity responsible for marketing and research management. MBIR will replace RIAR’s BOR-60, which is the world’s only fast research reactor in operation. Commissioned in 1969, BOR-60 is “fully contracted till the end of its lifetime in December 2020,” Tuzov said. “Long-term irradiation tests in process with BOR-60 will be transferred to MBIR.” MBIR will use vibropacked mixed-oxide (VMOX) fuel, a Russian variant for MOX fuel production, in which blended (U, Pu) O2 and UO2 powders are loaded and compressed directly into the cladding tube. The VMOX for MBIR will have a plutonium content of 38%....
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Satsumasendai town approves Sendai restart

28 October 2014 The municipal government of the Japanese town of Satsumasendai has given its approval for the restart of the nearby Sendai nuclear power plant. Approval is still required from the regulator, as well as the prefectural and national governments before the plant can begin operating again. In a vote yesterday, 19 of the town’s 26 assembly members approved restarting the plant’s two reactors. Four members voted against it while three abstained. The move came just days after plant owner Kyushu Electric Power Company submitted all the documentation to restart Sendai units 1 and 2 to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). A new regulatory regime was created after the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi and by mid-2013 the NRA had rewritten the country’s requirements for nuclear power plant safety. Power companies soon put in ten applications for restart which have progressed slowly while Sendai has been prioritised, in part due to local support in Kagoshima prefecture. Kyushu is required to gain an informal approval from leaders of Kagoshima prefecture, and an engagement program has been underway for several weeks. The federal government retains the ultimate say in whether nuclear power plants will restart. While Satsumasendai has given its approval for the plant’s restart, other towns near the Sendai plant have said they should be able to have a say in that decision. However, Kagoshima governor Yuichiro Ito has reportedly said that obtaining approval from the surrounding municipalities is not a legally required process since they do not host the plant....
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Site studies to begin for Czech repository

28 October 2014 The Czech environment ministry has given its approval for initial geological surveys to begin at seven candidate sites for a national repository for high-level radioactive waste. The ministry has issued a licence to the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SURAO) to conduct only the initial stage of geological investigation work at the sites. This will involve the taking of surface and near-surface measurements and rock soundings, data collection and gathering of rock samples using non-invasive methods. SURAO said as soon as the decision comes into force, preparations will begin concerning geological investigations at the sites. It said that the contractor selection process is already under way so that the investigation work can start as soon as possible. “Geological work plans and reviews of existing available information and data will have to be prepared prior to the commencement of work at the sites,” SURAO noted. The candidate sites include: Horka (Budišov) and Hrádek (Rohozná), both in the Vysočina region; Čihadlo (Lodhéřov) and Magdaléna (Božejovice) in the South Bohemia region; Březový potok (Pačejov) in Plzeň region; and Čertovka (Lubenec) in the Plzeň and Ústí-nad-Labem regions. A former military area at Boletice in South Bohemia region is also under consideration. Although the municipalities have voluntarily participated in the site selection process, they had 15 days from the date of the environment ministry’s decision, on 23 October, to appeal against the licence. SURAO noted that 40 communities in the locations concerned will be entitled to claim compensation of almost CZK72 million ($3.3 million) per year. Compensation payments would be made throughout the duration of the investigation period, it said. SURAO’s managing director Jiří Slovák said, “Throughout the whole investigation period SURAO will act in compliance with Czech legislation, enable the communities concerned to monitor its work and keep the communities fully informed of its activities. Communities have the right to comment on the process and intervene in accordance with relevant legislation.” He added, “We believe that this procedure will be acceptable for all the municipalities.” SURAO said that the selection of the final location for the repository “will be based on detailed geological investigation, comprehensive technical and economic studies, studies regarding potential environmental impacts and socio-economic analysis.” Construction of the Czech repository – to be built to a depth of some 500 metres – is envisaged to begin around 2050, with the facility put into operation in 2065. SURAO said the repository’s...
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