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Decision follows sanctions over security lapses The Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station in Japan, where the restart of reactors has bee delayed. Reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station in Niigata prefecture, western Japan, will not be restarted until fiscal 2022 at the earliest, according to a new business plan submitted to the government by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company.

The plan, which has been revised for the first time since 2017, included an outlook for future revenue and expenditures, assuming that the Kashiwazaki Kariwa-7 reactor would be restarted in October 2022 at the earliest and Kashiwazaki Kariwa-6 in April 2024. It also said that one out of the remaining reactors, Units 1 to 5, would be restarted in 2028.

The revised cost benefit of restarting a reactor was estimated to be about 50 billion yen ($450m) per unit to reflect changes in fuel prices and other factors. This was down from 90 billion yen in the previous plan.

In April, Tepco said it would accept sanctions imposed by regulators over a lack of anti-terrorism measures at Kashiwazaki Kariwa-7, a step that would prevent the restart of the facility for at least a year.

Date: Saturday, 24 July 2021
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A Framatome employee inspects an advanced nuclear fuel assembly Courtesy Framatome. French nuclear company Framatome says it has achieved a significant milestone towards implementing nuclear fuel at higher enrichments and burnups after a key report was accepted for review by the US nuclear regulator.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted for review a topical report to apply the company’s suite of advanced codes and methods to operating conditions with uranium-235 enrichments above the industry standard of five weight percent.

Framatome said the report’s submittal is a critical step towards introducing advanced products with increased enrichments and burnups, which improve fuel use to nuclear plant operators and safety and plant economics.

Date: Friday, 23 July 2021
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A computer-generated image of a NuScale SMR nuclear power plant. Courtesy NuScale. US-based nuclear technology developer NuScale Power announced on Thursday that South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corporation has committed to make an equity investment in NuScale to support deployment of its small modular reactor.

Samsung C&T and NuScale’s lead engineering, construction and procurement partner, Fluor Corporation, are also developing a business collaboration agreement to expand capabilities for future deployment of NuScale projects.

Under its agreements with NuScale and Fluor, Samsung C&T will draw upon its nuclear construction experience with the Barakah nuclear station in the United Arab Emirates and the Uljin station in South Korea, where it worked on Units 5 and 6, to serve as a partner to Fluor and other potential project participants.

John Hopkins, NuScale Power chairman and chief executive officer, said Samsung C&T’s expertise and investment in NuScale will be invaluable “as we seek to bring this revolutionary clean energy technology to market”.

Date: Friday, 23 July 2021
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Ministers’ decision to sign letter to European commission ‘regrettable’ Spain is planning to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2035. Excluding nuclear power from Europe’s sustainable finance taxonomy could compromise funding for nuclear generation in Spain and endanger the continuity of reactor operations during the country’s planned energy transition up to 2035, Madrid-based Foro Nuclear said.

The Madrid-based industry group’s comments followed the government’s decision to sign a letter asking for nuclear power to be excluded from the taxonomy. Foro Nuclear said this decision was “regrettable”.

The letter, addressed to the European commission, was signed by two Spanish ministers along with ministers from Germany, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg – four countries that have no nuclear energy or, in Germany’s case, have decided to phase it out.

Spain has decided to phase out its fleet of seven commercial nuclear reactors by 2035, but a May 2021 International Energy Agency report warned this might not be straightforward.

Date: Thursday, 22 July 2021
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The testing was carried out at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Courtesy US DOE. The US Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Tennessee-based nuclear engineering services company Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation have completed testing of sensors for small light-water reactor systems.

The US Department of Energy said performance data will be shared with US nuclear companies to improve sensor instrumentation for advanced light-water small modular reactors.

The data could also be used to support other advanced reactor types cooled by gas, liquid metal or molten salt. ORNL tested the nuclear-grade resistance temperature detectors using a thermosyphon test loop and a specialised steam loop constructed specifically for the project.

Date: Thursday, 22 July 2021
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A computer-generated image of a NuScale SMR nuclear power plant. Courtesy NuScale. South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction has signed an agreement with US-based NuScale Power to invest an additional $60m to continue to support deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor.

The investment follows a $44m investment in NuScale Power in 2019, for a total investment of $104m.

The two companies have also agreed to expand cooperation to hydrogen production and desalination using SMRs.

The first project in which Doosan and NuScale Power will cooperate is expected to be the development and construction of NuScale SMRs at the Department of Energy’s 2,300 sq km site in eastern Idaho that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

Date: Wednesday, 21 July 2021
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Agency warns of increased gas generation and systematic rise in energy related CO2 The three-unit Tihange nuclear power station in Belgium, which is scheduled for closure. Courtesy Engie Electrabel. Belgium’s planned nuclear phaseout by 2025 is expected to increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy imports, a report by the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) found.

The report said nuclear power is expected to supply 35% of Belgium’s electricity in 2023, but warned that the share would plunge to zero at the start of 2026, resulting in increased gas generation and a ‘systematic increase’ in emissions.

As a result, natural gas power generation will compensate for the loss of nuclear power with its share estimated to increase from 19% in 2021 to 28% in 2023 and to 56% by the end of 2025. Renewables are expected to supply 30% of electricity in 2026, up from 26% in 2021.

The FPB, an independent public agency that produces analysis on economic, social and environmental policy issues, also said it expected to see increased imports of electricity and natural gas following the nuclear phaseout. Belgium does not import electricity, but according to the report, imports will account for about 9% of electric supply in 2026.

Date: Tuesday, 20 July 2021
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Agency praises progress, but highlights need for further work Kozloduy is the only commercial nuclear power station in Bulgaria. Curtesy Kozloduy NPP. An International Atomic Energy Agency team has praised measures being introduced for long-term operation of the Kozloduy nuclear station in Bulgaria, but said the operator should complete implementation of an equipment qualification programme and complete an ageing management review for all of the station’s mechanical structures, systems and components.

Completion of these tasks would confirm safety levels and help manage ageing effects, the team said.

The Salto (safety aspects of long-term operation) team also called on the station to implement ageing management programmes to monitor the condition of low-voltage cables and to verify whether important cables are still reliable.

Date: Saturday, 17 July 2021
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Plants could be used for missions to Mars A NASA illustration of a conceptual spacecraft using nuclear thermal propulsion. Courtesy NASA. NASA has selected three teams of companies to perform concept studies of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) reactors while making plans to fund similar studies for nuclear surface power systems.

Each contract is worth approximately $5m and will last one year.

One contract will go to BWX Technologies, working with Lockheed Martin. A second contract will go to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, working with X-energy and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The third will go to Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies, working with its parent company, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, as well as Blue Origin, General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy, General Electric Research, Framatome and Materion.

All three studies are focused on developing a design for a reactor that would be part of a future NTP system. That reactor would heat up a propellant such as liquid hydrogen, generating thrust at far higher efficiencies than conventional propulsion systems and enabling shorter transit times for missions to Mars.

Date: Friday, 16 July 2021
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An Egyptian official said the country plans to build “several nuclear plants in various regions” as it looks for ways of generating reliable baseload power to meet development and economic needs.

Hesham Hegazy, head of the nuclear fuel sector at the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), said the country is seeking to have a nuclear share of 8% by 2030. He made the comments during a panel discussion held by Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom on the role of nuclear energy in sustainable development.

Rosatom is helping Egypt build four Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors at the El Dabaa nuclear site, about 300 km northwest of the capital Cairo on the Mediterranean coast.

Date: Friday, 16 July 2021
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