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Company reiterates plans to push ahead with Sizewell C EDF wants to enable £50bn of investment in the generation of low-carbon electricity from nuclear, wind and solar in the UK, with the Hinkley Point C project providing a vivid illustration of the “huge economic benefits” that new nuclear investment brings.

In a report outlining the company’s plans to support the UK’s 2050 net zero ambitions, France’s state-owned utility said its focus in power generation is on new nuclear and renewables. It said these are the most proven and cost-effective forms of producing electricity with zero emissions at the point of generation.

“With economic recovery from Covid-19 in mind, our Hinkley Point C project in Somerset provides a vivid illustration of the huge economic benefits that new nuclear investment brings,” EDF said. “Recent figures show the project has spent £1.7bn with more than 1,100 companies across the southwest, and more than 10,000 jobs have been created.”

EDF Energy, the UK arm of EDF, is building two Generation III 1,600-MW EPR units at Hinkley Point C. The units are expected to meet 7% of UK demand. Work onsite has been underway since a final agreement on the project was signed in September 2016 by EDF, China’s CGN and the UK government.

Date: Friday, 25 September 2020
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China continues to expand its nuclear power sector, albeit at a much slower pace than the renewable sector, the report concluded. Courtesy CNEA. The number of operating nuclear power reactors in the world dropped by nine over the past year to 408 as of mid-2020, below the level already reached in 1988 and 30 units below the historic peak of 438 in 2002, according to an independent report.

One more reactor has begun operation since the report was written, bringing the total as of September to 409.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2020 said the “big five” nuclear generating countries – the US, France, China, Russia and South Korea – again generated 70% of all nuclear electricity in 2019.

It said two countries, the US and France, accounted for 45% of 2019 global nuclear production. This was two percentage points lower than in 2018 as France’s output shrank by 3.5%.

China continues to expand its nuclear power sector, albeit at a much slower pace than the nation’s renewable sector, the report concluded. As of mid-2020, China had 47 reactors in operation, with a total generating capacity of 45.5 GW.

Date: Friday, 25 September 2020
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File photo of the Akkuyu nuclear power station site in Turkey. Courtesy Rosatom. Concreting of the foundation plates of the reactor building and turbine building has been completed at the Akkuyu-2 nuclear power plant under construction in Turkey, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom said.

About 2,400 tonnes of reinforcement were laid in the reactor building foundation and more than 17,000 cubic metres of concrete was poured. Rosatom said the weight of the finished reactor building will be about 470,000 tonnes, which means the the foundation will hold a mass equal to double weight of the world’s largest ocean cruise liner.

Work has also been completed on the foundation plate of the turbine building, with 3,200 tonnes of rebar laid. The turbine building will house systems and equipment related to power delivery including the turbine unit, a deaerator, feed pumps and auxiliary equipment.

Date: Friday, 25 September 2020
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The Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station in Japan. Japan’s nuclear regulator announced on 23 September that Tokyo Electric Power Company is fit to operate the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station, based on new legally binding safety rules the company drafted and pledged to follow.

If Tepco is found to be in breach of the rules, it could be ordered to halt the station’s operations, press reports in Japan said.

Local governments must agree in the coming months to restart the seven-unit station in Niigata Prefecture, northwestern Japan.

Kashiwazaki Kariwa was not affected by the earthquake and tsunami which damaged Fukushima-Daiichi in 2011. The station’s reactors were all offline at the time following a 2007 earthquake which damaged the site but did not damage the reactors themselves.

Date: Friday, 25 September 2020
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The IGR research reactor in Kazakhstan. The last remaining batch of unirradiated highly enriched uranium (HEU) in Kazakhstan has been eliminated, the US Department of Energy said.

The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Kazakhstan’s energy ministry worked together to remove 2.9 kg of unirradiated HEU from the IGR research reactor, transport it hundreds of miles to a secure facility for processing, and downblend it to low enriched uranium (LEU).

This activity fulfilled an agreement worked out between the two countries at the 2019 International Atomic Energy Agency general conference.

“The world is a little bit safer now that this material has been downblended into a less dangerous form,” said Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, NNSA administrator and under-secretary for nuclear security at the DOE.

After being removed from the IGR research reactor in Kurchatov, the unirradiated HEU fuel was transported by road in 25 special transportation casks more than 300 km to the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk.

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
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A group of regulators from countries with established nuclear power programmes is stepping up support for regulatory staff in the growing number of countries introducing or considering nuclear power.

The Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF), established 10 years ago with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has launched a new plan to focus this support around overcoming six typical key challenges.

The 2020-2024 Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) Strategic Plan provides objectives to address the six common challenges in developing regulatory framework for countries introducing or expanding their nuclear power programmes. The challenges are: maintaining independence, securing adequate funding for regulators, human resource development for regulators, development of regulations and guides, effective management of technical support organisations, and the involvement of the public by the regulator.

The plan will be a topic of discussion at a virtual side event taking place during the 64th IAEA General Conference. The event will be livestreamed on 25 September between 13:00-15:00.

Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2020
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Plant scheduled for full commercial operation early in 2021 Unit 1 at the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates. Courtesy Enec. The reactor of Unit 1 at the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates has reached 50% of its electricity production capacity and is on schedule to begin full commercial operation early in 2021.

Nawah Energy Company, the joint venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Korea Electric Power Corporation, said reaching 50% power at Unit 1 is an important step in the process of power ascension testing at the plant. 

It comes one month after the synchronisation of Unit 1 to the UAE’s transmission grid and the dispatch of the first megawatts of electricity from the plant.

Throughout this power ascension testing process, the unit’s systems are tested in line with national regulatory requirements and international best practice as the operations team safely makes progress towards full electricity production.

Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2020
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Engineering surveys for a nuclear station have begun in Jizzakh province, west of the capital Tashkent . Uzbekistan will soon approve a strategy for the management of spent nuclear fuel, radioactive waste and decommissioning of nuclear installations as it prepares to push ahead with construction of the first commercial nuclear power station in central Asia.

The country’s energy minister Alisher Sultanov also told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 64th annual general conference that Uzbekistan is close to establishing procedures for licensing and issuing regulatory permits for nuclear energy.

This follows recent procedural progress for safety examinations of nuclear facilities by Uzbek regulatory bodies, Mr Sultanov said.

Draft decisions on Uzbekistan’s accession to four international conventions have also been prepared, for which adoption is expected by the end of 2020. These are:

Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2020
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Courtesy Lukas Plewnia. A poll has shown that 57% of Poles consider the construction of a nuclear power station in the country as necessary, according to a factsheet published by the Polish ministry of climate.

According to the poll, 20% of respondents do not think a nuclear station is necessary, while 23% had no opinion on the matter.

Sixty percent said they were aware of Poland’s plans to build the country’s first nuclear power station, while 83% said there is a need for a nationwide programme to inform and educate society about energy, including nuclear energy, in an “objective and reliable” manner.

The survey was carried out from 31 July to 12 August this year among 2,028 citizens between 18 and 64 years of age.

Date: Tuesday, 22 September 2020
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Mihama-3 and Takahama-1 could now operate for 60 years The Takahama nuclear power station in Japan. Work has been completed to extend the operational lifetime of the Mihama-3 and Takahama-1 nuclear power reactors in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan, both of which are owned and operated by Kansai Electric Power Company.

Mihama-3 began commercial operation in December 1976 and Takahama-1 in November 1974.

Press reports in Japan said Kansai Electric plans to bring Mihama-3 back online in January 2021, and the other, Takahama-1, in March 2021, although approvals will be needed from local governments.

The two reactors have been authorised by the nuclear regulator to run beyond the usual limit of 40 years, which the government introduced after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi disaster.

Date: Tuesday, 22 September 2020
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