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Plan ‘critical for grid reliability and environment’ The current licences for Comanche Peak-1 and -2 expire in 2030 and 2033. Courtesy Vistra. US energy company Vistra has applied to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20-year operating licence extension for the two-unit Comanche Peak nuclear power station in Texas.

The current licences for Comanche Peak-1 and -2 expire in 2030 and 2033.

If granted, the licence extension would allow the 1,205-MW Comanche Peak-1 to operate until 2050 and the 1,195-MW Comanche Peak-2 to 2053.

The plants, owned and operated by Vistra subsidiary Luminant Generation, are both pressurised water reactor units. They began commercial operation in 1990 and 1993.

Date: Thursday, 06 October 2022
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Energoatom says Moscow wants to take ownership of six-unit facility The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Monday (3 October) that the head of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station had been released following his detention by Russian forces.

“I welcome the release of Ihor Murashov,” IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi said in a tweet. “I have received confirmation that Mr Murashov has returned to his family safely.”

Murashov was arrested by Russian patrols on his way from the nuclear facility to the nearby town of Zaporizhzhia on Friday afternoon, according to Ukraine's state-owned energy company Energoatom.

Energoatom head Petro Kotin had said earlier that Mr Murashov’s abduction and detention was part of efforts by Moscow to take control of the facility and incorporate it into state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Date: Wednesday, 05 October 2022
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Further extensions of 30 years a possibility, say authorities Ontario’s energy Todd Smith meets workers at the Darington nuclear power station after the provincial government backed plans for a lifetime extension. Courtesy OPG/Todd Smith. The Ontario government has announced its support for Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) continued operation of the Pickering nuclear power station for an additional year to 2026 – with the possibility of additional extensions of 30 years.

The province’s energy ministry said the plan to operate for a further year would cut carbon emissions by 2.1 megatonnes, or roughly 20% of the electricity sector's projected emissions. It would increase North America's supply of Cobalt-60, which Pickering has been supplying since 1971 and which has medical uses such as in cancer treatments, by 10%-20%.

At the Ontario government’s request, OPG reviewed its operational plans and concluded that the facility could continue to safely generate electricity, a statement said.

Under OPG’s new plan, electricity generation at Pickering would end in 2026 instead of 2025. Units 1 and 4 would operate as originally planned until 2024 and Units 5 to 8 would operate until September 2026 as major refurbishment of nuclear units at OPG’s Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations progresses. Units 2 and 3 are already shut down.

Date: Tuesday, 04 October 2022
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New unit uses patented system with two molten salts The plant will have the flexibility of gas-fired power stations, but will generates electricity at a lower cost and without carbon emissions. Courtesy MoltexFLEX. UK-based MoltexFLEX has unveiled its FLEX molten salt reactor, described as an advanced lower-cost nuclear technology and an “ideal complement” to wind and solar power that can protect generations of consumers from rising energy bills without resorting to fossil fuels.

The MoltexFLEX team, based in Warrington, northeast England, has developed the nuclear reactor which uses molten salt in an unprecedented way. As it has no moving parts, the FLEX reactor is simple in both design and operation, MoltexFLEX said. The company plans to have its first reactor operational by 2029.

The company, a subsidiary of Canada-based Moltex Energy, said the advanced nuclear technology has the flexibility of gas-fired power stations, but it generates electricity at a lower cost, and without carbon emissions.

The reactor uses a patented system with two molten salts: one acting as a fuel, the other circulating as a coolant. This allows the reactor’s heat to be extracted through natural convection, without the need for pumps.

Date: Saturday, 01 October 2022
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SRZ-1200 plant will meet post-Fukushima safety standards The SRZ-1200 has additional safety features when compared with conventional pressurised light-water plants. Courtesy MHI. Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is joining forces with four utilities to develop a next-generation nuclear power reactor, the company said.

Kansai Electric Power Company, Hokkaido Electric Power Company, Shikoku Electric Power Company and Kyushu Electric Power Company – all owners and operators of nuclear plants – are also in the consortium behind the concept and design of the SRZ-1200, a 1,200 MW advanced light-water reactor designed to meet Japan’s post-Fukushima safety standards.

MHI said the SRZ-1200 has additional safety features when compared with conventional pressurised light-water plants.

“The ability to adapt the SRZ-1200 for clean hydrogen production will also be studied to ensure that all potential uses of energy generated from this plant are efficiently and proactively applied for all of societal needs,” MHI said.

Japan said earlier this month that it had earmarked 10 nuclear power plants for restart and was working towards restarting seven more next year.

Date: Saturday, 01 October 2022
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Riyadh has already begun effort to choose reactor vendor Saudi Arabia has expressed ambitions to build around 17 GW of nuclear capacity. Courtesy B.Alotaby/Wikipedia. Saudi Arabia has begun the process to issue a licence to build a first commercial nuclear power station, the Middle East kingdom’s energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said.

Al Saud said in a speech at the International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, said that “the site will be finalised after completion of the technical specifications documents, which were drafted through an international competition”.

In June, Saudi Arabia began the process of choosing a vendor for the construction of the oil-rich kingdom’s first commercial nuclear power station with bids likely to come from South Korea, France, China and Russia.

According to Dan Yurman, who writes the Neutron Bytes blog, Riyadh wants to build two 1,400 MW nuclear power plants, a down-sized effort from an ambitious goal set in 2014 to build 16 units of about 1,000 MW each.

Date: Friday, 30 September 2022
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Data shows bloc could have inventory of 76,000 cubic metres of spent fuel in 2030 The radwaste storage facility run by Covra in the Netherlands has a licence to operate for a 100 years. Image courtesy Covra. Brussels-based nuclear industry group nucleareurope has published a series of background papers on radioactive waste management and decommissioning activities.

The group said whilst the volume of radioactive material generated is fairly low compared to that of other industries, the nuclear industry has a responsibility to ensure that it is handled appropriately to protect both people and the environment.

The four papers summarise how radioactive waste is dealt with by the sector and provide information “to complement our existing toolkit”, nucleareurope said.

Date: Thursday, 29 September 2022
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Company plans to invest £1 billion in fleet Hartlepool houses two advanced gas-cooled reactor unit. It is sited in County Durham, Northeast England. Image courtesy Creative Commons. Power utility EDF Energy is planning to review the case to extend generation at its Hartlepool and Heysham A nuclear power stations in northern England beyond the current estimated end date of March 2024, with an ambition to generate longer if possible.

The company said on Wednesday (28 September) that over the 2023-25 period, it plans to invest £1bn (€1.1bn, $1.07bn) in the UK nuclear fleet to sustain output and help maintain security of supply.

Hartlepool has two advanced gas-cooled reactor units (AGRs) that have been in commercial operation since 1989. Heysham A has two AGRs that also began operation in 1989. According to International Atomic Energy Agency data, the net capacity of all four units combined in 2,245 MW.

Date: Thursday, 29 September 2022
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Agency chief reiterates call for safety and security protection zone Russian troops captured the six-unit Zaporizhzhia station early in the war, but it is still run by Ukrainian technicians. Courtesy Wikipedia. The site of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station was hit by new shelling and explosions this week, breaking windows in one of its turbine halls and once again underlining the urgent need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi of said on Tuesday (27 September).

IAEA experts at the six-unit facility reported to agency headquarters that shelling took place at around 17:00 local time on Monday near the facility’s electrical switchyard, a few hundred meters from the plant’s training centre, but there were no reports of damage. Other explosions were heard further away.

On Tuesday at 08:00, two explosions occurred near a channel that carries water from a reservoir to the plant for its cooling system, an essential element for nuclear safety. There was no damage to plant structures and equipment, but windows in the turbine hall of reactor Unit 2 were broken.

Date: Thursday, 29 September 2022
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Company has responded to every request, says co-founder The proposed Aurora design consists of a small reactor with integrated solar panels. Courtesy Oklo. California-based nuclear startup Oklo Power has restarted licensing procedures with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its Aurora compact fast reactor to be deployed at the Idaho National Laboratory site.

Oklo said in a statement it has handed to the NRC a licensing project plan which lays out a framework for interaction with the regulator before the actual application is submitted.

Oklo’s initial application was rejected by the NRC in January 2022 on the grounds of the company’s failure to provide information on several key topics for the Aurora design. Oklo submitted its first application in March 2022.

Jacob DeWitte, co-founder and chief executive of Oklo, said: “Oklo has responded to every NRC request for information promptly and we look forward to continuing to engage with NRC as we prepare for upcoming application submissions.”

Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2022
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