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Billionaire philanthropist says need for clean energy is ‘dire’ and reactors fit the bill Bill Gates: ‘I hope people will be open-minded’. Courtesy Bill Gates/Facebook. Nuclear energy will “absolutely” be politically palatable but needs to overcome a baneful reputation garnered by association with the atomic bomb and radioactive accidents, billionaire philanthropist and climate change evangelist Bill Gates told CNBC.

Gates said it is “a necessary, worthy and surmountable challenge to correct the naysayers”.

He said the need for clean energy is dire and the operation of nuclear power plants produces no greenhouse gas emissions. Innovations in nuclear technology are making nuclear energy safer and more affordable, and countries around the world are starting to adopt nuclear power, Gates said.

“Nuclear is actually safer than any other source of [power] generation,” Gates said. “You know, coal plants, coal particulate, natural gas pipelines blowing up. The deaths per unit of power on these other approaches are far higher.”

“There’s a new generation [of nuclear power] that solves the economics, which has been the big, big problem,” he said, referring to the fact that the power plants are very expensive to build. “At the same time, it revolutionises the safety.”

Date: Saturday, 27 February 2021
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CEO says project to add two new units at the site will cost €7bn The Cernavodă nuclear power station in Romania has two Candu reactor units. The construction of two new units at the Cernavodă nuclear power station in Romania will cost €7b with an investment decision and mobilisation at the construction site estimated for 2024, Cosmin Ghita, chief executive officer of state nuclear company Nuclearelectrica, told a press conference.

“We expect the commissioning of Unit 3 to happen around 2030- 2031, which means that the actual construction works would start around 2024,” Mr Ghita said during an online seminar organised by local economic newspaper Ziarul Financiar.

He said the company is close to completing a feasibility study for the project and will submit it for approval to shareholders shortly.

In October 2020, Romania and the US signed a draft cooperation agreement for the construction of Cernavodă-3 and -4 and the refurbishment of Cernavodă-1.

Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
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Ignacio Araluce: the situation is ‘alarming’. Courtesy Foro Nuclear. Commercial nuclear power is being penalised with access to funding sources more complicated than for other clean energy sources, Ignacio Araluce, the head of Spanish industry group Foro Nuclear said.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Madrid-based group, Mr Araluce said “we need to ensure that [nuclear energy’s] contribution to the fight against climate change is valued in accessing better financing conditions and reducing the tax burden it bears”.

Mr Araluce said recently that the combination of low market prices and increased taxes means that for the first time, Spain’s nuclear fleet of seven commercial reactors is operating with a negative operating cash flow because market prices failed to cover its operative costs, taxes and levies.

Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
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Russia has loaded about one-third of the reactor core of the BN-800 fast neutron reactor at Beloyarsk-4 with commercial mixed oxide uranium-plutonium (MOX) fuel, state nuclear operator Rosenergoatom said.

Rosenergoatom said the move to MOX fuel at Beloyarsk-4 brings the Russian nuclear industry “one step closer” to its goal of closing the fuel cycle.

It said that for the first time during a planned outrage, which began on 8 January 2021 and concluded this week, only MOX fuel was loaded into the reactor.

Staff loaded 160 MOX fuel assemblies to complement the first 18 which were loaded in January 2020. There are now 178 MOX assemblies from a total of 565 in the reactor core.

Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
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File photo of the Shin-Hanul nuclear site in 2014. Courtesy KHNP. South Korea’s energy ministry has extended the validity of the construction licence for Units 3 and 4 at the Shin-Hanul nuclear power station in the southeast of the country by two years until the end of 2023.

The original licence for the two APR1400 units was due to expire later this week, but the project was suspended in 2017 as part of the country’s nuclear phaseout programme.

Under legislation, if a construction plan is not approved within four years of a licence being granted, the licence can be cancelled. The deadline for Shin-Hanul-3 and -4 project is 26 February, Business Korea reported.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation, had planned to complete construction of the two units in late 2022 and late 2023, but the projects have been suspended because of the South Korean government’s nuclear power phaseout policy.

Date: Wednesday, 24 February 2021
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Four of seven reactor licences have now been successfully renewed The Cofrentes nuclear power station in Spain. Courtesy CSN. Spain’s nuclear regulator Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN) has approved the renewal of the operating licence of the country’s largest capacity nuclear power reactor, the 1,064-MW boiling water reactor at Cofrentes.

The renewal means the Valencia-based plant, owned and operated by Iberdrola, is licensed to run for a further nine-and-a-half years to 30 November 2030 – making it the fourth of seven plants to extend its licence since the announcement of a nuclear phaseout plan in 2019.

When the present licence expires, the plant is due to permanently close.

The Cofrentes renewal follows renewals in March 2020 of the licences for the two units at the Almaraz nuclear station, which is 53% owned by Iberdrola and operated by Centrales Nucleares de Almaraz-Trillo (CNAT).

Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2021
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Tehran says its programme is for peaceful purposes The International Atomic Energy Agency has struck a three-month deal with Iran giving it sufficient continued access to verify nuclear activity in the country, paving hte way for wider political and diplomatic talks between Tehran and the US.

The deal came ahead of a deadline set by Iran to stop intrusive checks of sites unless US sanctions are lifted.

Iran said it will go ahead with its threat to withdraw this week from the additional protocol, the agreement that gives inspectors from the IAEA powers of inspection.

However, following a weekend of talks with officials in Tehran, the IAEA’s director-general, Rafael Grossi, announced that he had struck what he described as “a temporary bilateral technical understanding” that will mitigate the impact of Iran’s withdrawal from the protocol, and give the IAEA confidence that it can continue to verify Iran’s nuclear activity.

Mr Grossi added that the move “salvages the situation” and avoids the position of the inspectors “flying blind”. He said the agreement, from which either side can withdraw, gave space for wider diplomatic discussions between the US and Iran to go ahead.

Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2021
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Tim Gitzel said the case had gone on ‘far too long’. Courtesy Cameco. Cameco expects to receive a refund of CAD5.5m ($4.3m) plus interest after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Canada Revenue Agency’s application for leave to appeal a lower court decision that ruled in favour of Cameco in an ongoing tax dispute.

The dismissal means that a dispute regarding the 2003, 2005 and 2006 tax years is “fully and finally resolved in Cameco’s favour”, the company said.

Cameco also expects to receive CAD10.25m in legal fees and up to CAD17.9m in disbursements for costs awarded in previous rulings.

Cameco president and chief executive officer Tim Gitzel said the ruling was another win for the uranium mining company in a saga that “has gone on far too long.”

Date: Saturday, 20 February 2021
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A computer-generated image of the Brest-OD-300 nuclear power plant. Courtesy Tvel/Rosatom. Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed key contracts related to the manufacturing and supply of equipment for the Brest-OD-300 pilot demonstration power unit in Russia.

One contract, signed between the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) and CKBM, both Rosatom subsidiaries, was for manufacturing and supply of equipment for the refuelling complex. Rosatom also signed a contract with subsidiary Zio-Podolsk Machine-Building for the production, supply and installation of steam generators.

Production of the equipment is scheduled to take from three to five years with installation completed in 2025.

The Brest unit, a Generation IV lead-cooled fast reactor, is being built at SCC, near the city of Seversk in central Russia, and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2026.

Date: Friday, 19 February 2021
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US company signs another deal in the region The Kozloduy nuclear power station in Bulgaria has two VVER-1000 PWRs in commercial operation. Image courtesy Kozloduy NPP. Oregon-based small modular reactor developer NuScale Power signed an agreement today with Bulgaria’s Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant New Build to evaluate the potential for deployment of NuScale’s SMR design in the Balkan country.

NuScale said that under the agreement it will support Kozloduy in carrying out studies and analyses including the development of a timeline for a feasibility study, a project specific cost estimate, and engineering, planning, and licensing activities.

Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant New Build is a state-owned entity responsible for the proposed construction of new nuclear capacity at the existing site of the Kozloduy nuclear power station on the Danube river in northwest Bulgaria.

Date: Thursday, 18 February 2021
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