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File photo of construction at the Hongyanhe pase two nucler station. Courtesy SNPTC. The four-unit Hongyanhe nuclear power station in northeast China generated a record of 30.8 TWh of electricity in 2019, local press reports said.

The reports, which quoted plant operator Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company, said this was an 8.82% increase on the 2018 figure.

China’s 48 operational reactor generated about 295 TWh of electricity a year, representing a share of total electricity production of about 4.3%.

Hongyanhe has four 1,061-MW CPR-1000 units that began commercial operation between June 2013 and June 2016. The CPR-1000 is a Generation II unit developed in China based on Areva’s (now Orano) 900-MW three-loop design.

Date: Saturday, 18 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/hongyanhe-nuclear-station-sets-generation-record-1-5-2020

Concerns over safety in event of eruption at nearby Mount Aso The Ikata nuclear power station in southwest Japan. The Hiroshima High Court on Friday revoked a lower court decision and ordered Shikoku Electric Power Company to suspend operation of the Ikata-3 nuclear power unit in Ehime Prefecture, southwest Japan, because the company’s preparations for a potential eruption of a nearby volcano, Mount Aso, are inadequate.

The utility had claimed the reactor is safe to run because operators would have enough advance warning of an eruption to take safety measures.

The ruling marks the second time the high court has ordered a halt of Ikata-3.

The reactor had been shut for regular maintenance work since late December and was scheduled to restart within a couple of months, but now must remain offline pending an appeal.

Date: Saturday, 18 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/high-court-orders-shikoku-electric-to-halt-operation-of-ikata-3-1-5-2020

The Pickering nuclear power station in Ontario, Canada. Photo courtesy OPG. Canada’s nuclear regulator CNSC said it has not received an application from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to operate four out of six reactor units at the Pickering nuclear power station beyond their scheduled shutdown date of 31 December 2024.

The regulator was responding to press reports this week which quoted the office of Ontario’s energy minister as saying OPG plans to extend the facility’s life beyond 2024.

“[Ontario Power Generation’s] proposal does include operating four of the six units one year past 2024,” a representative for energy minister Greg Rickford said in an email, according to BNN Bloomberg.

Date: Saturday, 18 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/canada-s-regulator-says-it-has-not-received-lifetime-extension-application-1-5-2020

New-build projects are making progress, but governments are still struggling with finding the right financing package for large reactors The delayed Flamanville-3 is one of three EPR units under construction in Europe. The others are at Olkiluoto in Finland and Hinkley Point in the UK. Photo courtesy EDF. Western Europe

The UK is facing a major challenge to replace its aging fleet of Generation I nuclear power plants, many of which are scheduled to shut down in 2023.

The project by French state utility EDF to build two Generation III EPR units at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is on track for connection to the grid by 2025. Once in commercial operation the two units will provide up to 7% of the total electricity demand. Two similar units are planned for the Sizewell site in Suffolk.

However, press reports have suggested EDF is in “a race against time” to secure a funding deal for Sizewell C as delays risk making the project prohibitively expensive.

According to The Times newspaper EDF has hired Rothschild as financial adviser for the project and says it wants a “definitive way forward” from the government this year so it can start construction in 2022.

Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/what-lies-in-store-in-2020-1-4-2020

The Ikata nuclear power station in Japan. Spent mixed oxide (MOX) fuel has been removed from a reactor at a nuclear power plant in southwest Japan in the first such operation in the country, the plant operator said.

Shikoku Electric Power Company said it removed one of the 16 MOX fuel rods from the Ikata-3 in Ehime Prefecture at 11:57 local timeon Monday as part of maintenance work.

MOX fuel is made of plutonium and uranium extracted while reprocessing spent fuel and is a key component of Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling programme. Using such fuel is also important for the country to reduce its stockpile of plutonium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.

MOX is widely used in Europe and in Japan. About bout 40 reactors in Europe are licensed to use MOX and over 30 are doing so. In Japan about 10 reactors are licensed to use it.

Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/first-mox-fuel-removed-from-ikata-3-reactor-1-4-2020

Low-carbon nuclear is an essential component of a low-carbon economy, says industry group The Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom has welcomed the EU’s goal of providing financial support to coal-dependant regions to help them in their decarbonisation efforts, but said it regrets the European Commission’s proposal to exclude such funds being used for nuclear plants.

The funding proposal is part of the commission’s “just transition mechanism” (JTM), details of which were announced on Tuesday along with €1 trillion in funding for the European Green Deal, which was adopted by the commission last month and sets out ambitious climate and environmental objectives for the bloc.

The JTM, and an associated just transition fund, was one of the proposals in the Green Deal, which is the major initiative in the bloc’s efforts to become zero-carbon by 2050.

The total investment expected to be mobilised under the proposed JTM will be €100bn over 2021-2027 with financing coming from the EU budget, co-financing from member states, EU regional aid programmes and the European Investment Bank, the commission said.

Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/europe-s-just-transition-loans-should-be-extended-to-nuclear-1-3-2020

China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) have entered into a cooperation agreement, which CEEC said would significantly improve its ability to develop and explore new markets.

The agreement includes the planning of nuclear power projects in China, nuclear plants design, cooperation in overseas markets and research, development and manufacturing of nuclear equipment.

CNNC controls most of China’s nuclear business including R&D, engineering design, uranium exploration and mining, enrichment, fuel fabrication, reprocessing and waste disposal, and is the major investor in China’s nuclear plants.

Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/firms-agree-on-framework-for-cooperation-1-3-2020

US company to build a proposed medical isotope facility in Janesville, WI The US nuclear regulator has published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity for submissions regarding a “first of a kind” application by Shine Medical Technologies to operate a proposed medical isotope production facility that does not require a nuclear reactor.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said submissions must be filed by 10 March 2020 by anyone who wishes to participate in the hearing process for the application.

Shine has proposed to construct and operate a facility in Janesville, Wisconsin for the production of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) through the irradiation and processing of a uranyl sulfate solution. The company said this patented process replaces a nuclear reactor with a low-energy, accelerator-based neutron source. 

This source functions by colliding deuterium ions with tritium gas to cause fusion. The fusion reaction results in high energy neutrons and helium-4. In other words, the accelerator takes a radioactive by-product created by nuclear power plants (tritium) and turns it into the same clean, harmless gas used to make balloons float.

Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/nrc-calls-for-submissions-on-first-of-a-kind-production-facility-1-2-2020

Company makes progress after initial accident-tolerant testing at Hatch nuclear plant in 2018 Clinton is a single boiling water reactor unit in Illinois. Photo courtesy Creative Commons. US-based Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) announced it has loaded test fuel assemblies using its accident-tolerant technology at Exelon’s single-unit Clinton nuclear power station in Illinois.

GNF said the lead test assemblies used the ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding and three varieties of its IronClad technology. They are the first fuelled ferritic steel-based cladding assemblies to be installed in a commercial reactor.

GNF’s accident tolerant fuel assemblies are of two types: one uses an iron-chromium-aluminium fuel cladding material known as IronClad and the other – a coated zirconium fuel cladding known as ARMOR.

Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/accident-tolerant-test-assemblies-loaded-at-clinton-plant-1-2-2020

There was no intention to notify public, says Ontario’s solicitor-general The Pickering nuclear power station in Canada. An investigation has begun after an emergency alert saying there was an incident at the Pickering nuclear power station in Ontario was issued in error to the public on Sunday during a routine training exercise, the province’s government has said.

Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s solicitor-general, said in a statement there was no incident at the station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment.

She said: “Earlier today [Sunday 12 January], an emergency alert was issued by the Province of Ontario stating there was a situation at the Pickering nuclear generating station. The alert was issued in error to the public during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).”

The statement said emergency exercises are a critical component of ensuring preparedness for emergency management and response agencies. The PEOC conducts training exercises regularly and there was no intention to notify the public in this instance.

Date: Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/ontario-begins-investigation-after-emergency-alert-sent-in-error-1-1-2020