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The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has been informed by Iran about a fire in a building at the site of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility early on 2 July.

Iran told the IAEA that the fire was quickly extinguished and that there had been no nuclear material or other radioactive material in the building. Iran said the cause was not yet known, adding there were no injuries or radioactive contamination.

The Natanz site is under IAEA safeguards, including verification and monitoring under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement reached in Vienna in 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany).

The JCPOA was a far-reaching 25-year settlement that constrained Iran’s nuclear capacity in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran agreed to remove about two-thirds of Natanz’s centrifuges, limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%, and down-blend or sell most of its LEU stockpile. Iran is also required to provide the IAEA daily access to Natanz for continuous monitoring of enrichment activities and centrifuge production.

Date: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/iaea-says-no-nuclear-or-radioactive-material-in-natanz-fire-7-1-2020

Superconductor facility is under construction near Moscow The NICA facility under construction near Moscow. Photo courtesy NICA. Germany and Russia are planning to extend their cooperation on the superconducting Nuclotron-based Ion Collider Facility (NICA), being built in Dubna, near Moscow, Russia’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Research said.

JINR said a committee of member states considers the development of cooperation with Germany as a priority and has suggested that Germany considers the possibility of full membership in JINR.

JINR has 18 member states. Germany is one of six associate members with Egypt, Hungary, Italy, South Africa and Serbia.

JINR said there was already “significant synergy” in many areas because of a roadmap signed between Russia and Germany in 2018 for the development of scientific and technical cooperation. The roadmap saw German partners confirm their willingness to participate in NICA and in projects based on the PIK research reactor under construction at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute in Gatchina, south of St Petersburg.

Date: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/countries-plan-to-increase-cooperation-on-nica-7-1-2020

Brussels-based industry group calls for ‘rigorous, transparent and balanced’ assessment Photo Rock Cohen. The Brussels-based nuclear industry group has welcomed the European Commission’s decision to appoint the Joint Research Centre (JRC) as the group of experts which will assess nuclear energy’s role under the sustainable finance taxonomy.

In a communication on the issue, the Commission made it clear that the assessment should be scientifically rigorous, transparent, balanced – and reflect the principle of technology neutrality.

“This shows that they have taken recommendations that nuclear be assessed by scientific experts seriously,” said Foratom director-general Yves Desbazeille. “This is something which many stakeholders – including industry, several member states and MEPs – have been calling for over the past year.”

According to the mandate, the JRC, which is the Commission's science and knowledge service, will draft a technical report on the “do no significant harm” aspects of nuclear energy. This report will be reviewed by experts on radiation protection and waste management and by experts on environmental impact from a Commission environmental group or committee.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/foratom-welcomes-decision-to-appoint-jrc-to-review-nuclear-s-role-in-taxonomy-7-5-2020

Installation of the second-level steel ring of the inner containment for the Akkuyu-1 nuclear power unit in Turkey. Photo courtesy Rosatom. Workers have installed the second-level steel ring of the inner containment for the Akkuyu-1 nuclear power unit under construction near Mersin on the southern cost of Turkey.

Russian sate nuclear corporation Rosatom said in a statement that the second inner steel ring is one of the largest structural components of the reactor building and its installation marks a milestone for the project.

The statement said the installed component weighs 411 tonnes and its diameter exceeds 20 metres.

Once the inner steel framework, comprising three steel rings, is fully complete, workers onsite will be able to proceed with a pressurised leakage test.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/progress-announced-on-inner-containment-for-akkuyu-1-vver-1200-7-5-2020

The slightly elevated levels of three different radioisotopes recently detected in northern Europe are probably related to a nuclear reactor which is either operating or undergoing maintenance, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on 3 July.

The recorded air concentrations of the particles were very low and posed no risk to human health and the environment, the statement said.

However, the IAEA also said the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.

Last week, Estonia, Finland and Sweden reported levels of ruthenium-103, caesium-134 and caesium-137 isotopes in the air which were higher than usual.

The IAEA, in an effort to help identify the possible origin of the radioisotopes, contacted counterparts in Europe and asked for information about whether they were detected in their countries, and if any event there may have been associated with the atmospheric release.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/elevated-radioisotope-levels-in-nordic-region-likely-linked-to-nuclear-reactor-7-5-2020

A cross-section of a Triso fuel pellet. Photo courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. Idaho National Laboratory has awarded the nuclear operations subsidiary of US-based BWX Technologies a contract to expand and upgrade its Triso nuclear fuel manufacturing line.

The $26m contract will expand BWXT’s Triso capacity for the manufacture of Triso fuel compacts and upgrade existing systems for delivering production-scale quantities of Triso fuel.

Triso refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. Triso is a shortened form of the term Tristructural-Isotropic. Tristructural refers to the layers of coatings surrounding the uranium fuel, and isotropic to the coatings having uniform materials characteristics in all directions so that fission products are essentially retained.

BWXT said it is the only US company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide Triso fuel using production-scale equipment. Its Triso production facility is licensed to produce this type of high assay low enriched uranium (Haleu) fuel, which is undergoing validation in a series of experiments at Idaho National Laboratory’s advanced test reactor under the Department of Energy’s advanced gas-cooled reactor programme.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/bwxt-wins-usd26m-contract-to-expand-and-upgrade-production-line-7-5-2020

Paris-based agency calls for work ‘across borders’ on essential technology Large, scientifically complex technologies such as nuclear power and small modular reactors have an important role to play in achieving net-zero targets, but need direct government investment in the early phases of development, in tandem with action to create more market value, according to a report released on 2 July by the International Energy Agency.

The report assesses the ways in which clean energy innovation can be significantly accelerated to achieve net-zero emissions while improving energy security in time to meet international climate and sustainable energy goals.

It concludes that without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, countries and companies around the world will be unable to fulfil their pledges to bring their carbon emissions down to net-zero in the coming decades.

It calls on governments to take the initial investment risk in large-scale demonstrators that present a high-cost barrier to scale-up. Technologies like new nuclear designs, CCUS (carbon capture, usage and storage) for industrial facilities, fossil fuel-free iron and steel processes, and floating offshore wind all face high capital costs for the first commercial projects.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/nuclear-has-vital-role-but-government-action-needed-7-4-2020

Plan also calls for action on radwaste and development of SMRs The report called for Congress to to pursue a legislative solution to the nuclear waste problem. Plans for a deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain (pictured) in Nevada have been shelved. The US Congress should establish a national clean energy standard that includes zero-emission carbon technologies like nuclear to achieve net-zero emissions in the electricity sector by no later than 2040, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis said in a report released on 30 June.

The Climate Crisis Action Plan said the clean energy standard should maximise near-term emissions reductions. It should cover zero-emission technologies, including nuclear, wind, solar, energy storage, hydropower and fossil energy with carbon capture use and storage.

The clean energy standard would allow electricity generated from existing nuclear power plants to qualify for credits. The report noted, however, that nuclear power plants are not pollution-free. They generate radioactive waste that lasts for thousands of years and for which the US has not developed a permanent disposal solution.

“The primary challenge in siting a deep geologic nuclear waste repository, such as Yucca Mountain, is obtaining local consent,” the report said. It called for Congress to continue to pursue a legislative solution to the nuclear waste problem, which should include consent-based siting for any permanent repository for nuclear waste. The DOE should prioritise accepting high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned civilian nuclear power reactors in high population areas and high earthquake hazard areas.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/climate-committee-urges-congress-to-set-clean-energy-standard-that-includes-nuclear-7-4-2020

Jacobs will provide engineering and technical services at the LLW facility in Cumbria. Photo courtesy Jacobs. US-based Jacobs has been chosen to provide engineering and technical services for Britain’s national disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste (LLW) in Cumbria, northwest England, under a £9m repository infrastructure agreement.

LLW Repository Ltd said the agreement will be valid for four years and will include mechanical and electrical works, installation of pumping systems, civil construction works and electronic system improvements at the LLW facility.

The facility is the nation’s main disposal facility for LLW and is the only one allowed to receive all categories of LLW.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/jacobs-wins-contract-for-llw-repository-services-7-4-2020

Company also says it is in negotiations over terms for unit’s completion The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant in Finland. Photo courtesy TVO. Finland utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said on 2 July it had received “interim information” about a revised schedule for commissioning of the delayed Olkiluoto-3 EPR plant from plant supplier Areva-Siemens.

The company said work on a revised schedule for the 1,600-MW Generation III plant is estimated to be completed in August 2020.

In December 2019 TVO said electricity production at Olkiluoto-3 was scheduled for March 2021, eight months later than the previous target of July 2020.

TVO said a new management team at Areva is preparing a financial solution to complete the project according to the revised schedule.

TVO also said it is negotiating with Areva-Siemens over terms for completing the Olkiluoto project.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/tvo-waiting-for-revised-commissioning-schedule-from-areva-siemens-7-4-2020