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NERSA was notified of government’s nuclear ambitions in August The two-unit Koeberg nuclear station near Cape Town is South Africa's only commercial site. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has started a public consultation process on the government’s development roadmap for 2,500 MW of nuclear-powered generating capacity.

Nersa published a consultation document on its webpage inviting interested stakeholders to comment on the government’s plans by 5 February 2020. The call for comments will be followed by public hearings through online platforms with live streaming with the goal to reach as many stakeholders as possible.

Nersa said it was notified on 6 August 2020 by the South African government of its plans to begin a process to procure new nuclear energy generation capacity of 2 500 MW by 2030.

According to Nersa, the nuclear tendering process would be run by the Department of

Date: Thursday, 26 November 2020
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The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power station licence from Entergy Corporation to Holtec International, as owner, and subsidiary Holtec Decommissioning International as decommissioning operator.

There are three pressurised water reactor units at Indian Point in New York state. Indian Point-1 and -2 have been permanently shut down, while Indian Point-3 is scheduled for closure by 30 April 2021.

The NRC said in a statement that the license transfer will also include the station’s dry cask spent fuel storage installation.

According to the statement, the approval of the license transfer is effective immediately, but the transfer will not be finalised until after Unit 3’s permanent shutdown and the completion of the transaction between Entergy and Holtec.

Date: Wednesday, 25 November 2020
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Planning has not been affected by pandemic, minister tells parliament A computer-generated image of the Paks 2 nuclear project in Hungary. Courtesy Paks II. Planning for two Generation III+ nuclear power plants at the Paks 2 nuclear site in Hungary has not been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with a construction licence expected in the spring of 2021, the minister responsible for planning, construction and commissioning of the units said.

According to press reports in Hungary, János Süli told parliament’s economic committee that significant progress had been made in the last year.

In July, Paks II, the company leading the project, submitted a licence application for construction of the two plants to the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA). In October it submitted its application for an implementation licence for the new units. That licence, if granted, will show that the two reactors planned for the site will meet requirements set out in the Hungarian Electricity Act.

Mr Süli said once the construction licence is issued preparation for the laying of the base for the first unit will take two years.

Date: Tuesday, 24 November 2020
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Defuelling of reactors scheduled to begin no later than July 2022 The two Hinkley Point B reactors will shut down within the next two years. Courtesy EDF Energy. EDF Energy has confirmed it will begin shutting down the two gas-cooled reactors at Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in southwest England within the next two years, earlier than scheduled.

The defueling of the two plants, Hinkley Point B-1 and Hinkley Point B-2, will begin no later than July 2022, according to the French energy group.

The shutdown was scheduled for 2023, but cracks were discovered in the graphite core of the reactor. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hinkley Point B-1 began commercial operation in October 1978 and Hinkley Point B-2 in September 1976.

Matt Sykes, the managing director of EDF Generation, said an inspection of Hinkley Point B’s graphite blocks revealed they were “in exactly the sort of condition” expected after 40 years of generating electricity. He said running a nuclear power plant this efficiently for over 40 years leads to changes in the reactors.

Date: Saturday, 21 November 2020
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The International Atomic Energy Agency has awarded fellowships to a first group of 100 female students from around the world under a new initiative to help close the gender gap in nuclear science and technology.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, named after the pioneering physicist, was launched by the agency’s director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi in March to support women pursuing nuclear-related careers. Mr Grossi announced the inaugural class of fellows at this week’s IAEA board of governors meeting, which was held virtually from 18 to 20 November. “After their studies, the fellows will join the ranks of those working on peaceful uses of nuclear energy all over the world,” he said.

Out of over 550 applicants from more than 90 countries, the first 100 fellows represent geographic diversity, coming from 71 different countries. Their studies focus on a range of nuclear-related subjects, from nuclear engineering to nuclear medicine, and from nuclear security to non-proliferation and nuclear law.

Date: Saturday, 21 November 2020
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Milestone follows 20 years of work at the Ukraine site Courtesy EBRD. The first waste canister of spent nuclear fuel was loaded into the €400m ISF-2 interim storage facility at the Chernobyl nuclear power station site in Ukraine on Wednesday, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced.

The milestone represents the culmination of more than 20 years of work at the site, where spent nuclear fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the destroyed nuclear station will be processed and stored at ISF-2, the world’s largest nuclear dry storage facility.

ISF-2 has been constructed by an international consortium led by the US company Holtec and financed by the international community through the Nuclear Safety Account, managed by the EBRD.

The first loaded double-walled canister contains 93 spent fuel assemblies that have been removed from the site’s ageing storage facility, and processed and packaged in the new ISF-2 facility. In total, more than 21,000 spent fuel assemblies from Chernobyl reactors 1, 2 and 3 will make this journey over the next eight or more years. The ISF-2 is the largest dry spent fuel storage facility in the world and has a lifespan of a minimum of 100 years.

Hot testing at ISF-2 began earlier this year and the full licence to operate is expected in early 2021. “Important work remains to be completed to secure the full operating licence, but the successful testing and loading of the first full fuel load provides all those involved with cause for some celebration,” said Steven White, EBRD associate director, nuclear safety.

Date: Friday, 20 November 2020
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A computer-generated image of the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station. Courtesy EDF. France-based nuclear company Framatome has joined a consortium of more than 100 companies and organisations from across the UK working to design, supply and construct the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk, England.

The Sizewell C Consortium, initially formed by 32 companies, is calling on the government to approve Sizewell C, saying it will boost the country’s post Covid-19 recovery by injecting billions into the UK’s green economy and net zero ambition.  In May, France’s state-owned EDF submitted a planning application to build the two new EPR units at Sizewell C.

The consortium believes Sizewell C will provide a major economic boost for the UK and set the country on the road to a green recovery. It said work could begin this year, involving contracts worth up to £300m, adding that it intends to sign agreements with UK regions to guarantee jobs and investment.

France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation are 80% and 20% shareholders in the project to build two Generation III EPR units on the Suffolk coast in southeast England. The cost of the project has been estimated at £18bn, although this has not been confirmed by either EDF or CGN. In September, the UK nuclear industry said it was confident that by taking key steps outlined in a Nuclear Industry Association report, and by action from the government to secure a new financing model, costs of new nuclear will fall by 30%.

Date: Friday, 20 November 2020
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Landmark is important stage of power ascension testing Unit 1 at the Barakah nuclear power station in the UAE. Courtesy Enec. Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates has achieved 80% of its rated capacity power, an important step in the power ascension testing, which involves slowly raising the reactor power levels while collecting data and checking safety systems.

Nawah Energy Company, the joint venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and reactor supplier Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), said throughout the power ascension testing process, the systems of Unit 1 are being monitored and tested to ensure their compliance with regulatory requirements.

Power ascension testing is being conducted under the oversight of the UAE’s regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, which has conducted more than 280 inspections since the start of Barakah’s development. These national reviews have been supported by more than 40 assessments and peer reviews by the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Nawah’s operations team at Unit 1 is now working to increase the plant’s electricity production to 100% capacity, marking the final stage of power ascension testing. Unit 1 will then be gradually shut down for a check outage, which will take place over several months and involve the examination of systems and any planned or corrective maintenance.

Date: Thursday, 19 November 2020
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Transportation of the equipment to the construction site took about 10 weeks. Courtesy Atomstroyexport. Russian overseas nuclear equipment supplier Atomstroyexport has delivered the reactor pressure vessel and one of four steam generators for the first unit of the Rooppur nuclear power station under construction in Bangladesh.

Atomstroyexport said transportation of the equipment to the construction site took about 10 weeks, with a distance covered of more than 14,000 km along land, sea and river routes.

The RPV and steam generators are among the largest reactor components, weighing about 330 and 340 tonnes respectively. They were manufactured at an Atommash production site near Volgodonsk in southwest Russia.

There are two Russia-supplied 1,200-MW V-392M pressurised water reactor units under construction at the Rooppur site, about 150 km from the capital Dhaka.

Date: Thursday, 19 November 2020
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Cross-section of a Triso nuclear fuel pellet. Courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. BWX Technologies announced that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has completed its Triso nuclear fuel line restart project and is now producing fuel at its Lynchburg facility in the state of Virginia.

The restart of the Triso line means BWXT as the only company in the US that is executing production contracts for Triso fuel.

BWXT is the only US company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide TRISO fuel using production-scale equipment.

In June 2020, BWXT announced a contract with the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to expand BWXT’s Triso manufacturing capacity and produce a demonstration quantity of the fuel.

Date: Tuesday, 17 November 2020
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