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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced on 13 April that it has fabricated Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel pellets, an advanced and proprietary reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) for their Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). The project was funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) and marks the first time that a Tristructural-Isotropic (TRISO) based fuel has been manufactured in Canada. The CNRI programme, launched in 2019, aims to help small modular reactor (SMR) vendors gain access to CNL expertise in order to help advance the development and commercialisation of their technologies.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newscanada-produces-its-first-trisio-fuel-8673004

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) said on 12 April that it had awarded contracts for the first phase of the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (Draco) programme. The three prime contractors are General Atomics, Blue Origin, and Lockheed Martin. Darpa previously announced an award of $22 million to General Atomics to design a small nuclear reactor for space propulsion under the Draco) project.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsus-solicits-designs-for-nuclear-powered-spacecraft-8673015

German-based GNS (Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service) said on 13 April that it had developed the CASTOR® geo26JP cask especially for the requirements of the Japanese market. The used fuel cask is designed for the storage and transport of up to 26 pressurised water reactor (PWR) fuel assemblies – the largest available capacity for fuel assemblies from the PWR nuclear power plants most widely used in Japan. It is based on the CASTOR® geo cask family for PWR and boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel assemblies of various designs, which was conceived to meet the needs of international customers for "high capacity casks" and is already in use in Belgium and Switzerland. Dr Linus Bettermann, Director of Sales at GNS said the CASTOR® geo26JP “offers the most efficient packaging solution for Japanese PWR fuel assemblies” because of its capacity and price.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsgns-develops-special-castor-cask-for-japan-8673022

China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said on 14 April that it expects to start construction of its first Hualong Two, an advanced model of its third-generation power reactor, by 2024, Reuters reported. Construction of the Hualong Two will take four years to build compared with the average five years it takes for Hualong One units, Cao Shudong, CNNC vice general manager, told a nuclear forum in Beijing. Construction costs will drop by about a quarter to CNY13,000 ($1,990) per kilowatt (kW), from CNY17,000 per kW with the Hualong One design, he said. Cao told Reuters the Hualong Two would be simplified compared with the Hualong One but that this would not compromise safety, and that the basic technology would remain the same. Cao did not specify the capacity the Hualong Two.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newschina-to-begin-construction-of-hualong-two-in-2024-8673029

The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) on 13 April gave EDF with permission for reactors 3 and 4 at the Hunterston NPP (also known as B1 and B2) to return to service for a limited period of operation. Permission for the restart follows extensive scrutiny of EDF’s safety case by ONR specialist inspectors, Operation is permitted for up to a total of 16.7 terawatt days for reactor 3 and 16.52 terawatt days for reactor 4 – approximately six month’s operation for each. This will be the final period of operation before the NPP moves to the defueling phase.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsuk-onr-gives-permission-for-limited-operation-of-hunterston-b-8673036

Concreting has began at the cooling tower of unit 1 of Russia’s Kursk-II NPP, the plant said on 12 April. The cooling tower will be the tallest in Russia at 179 metres. “The design of the evaporative cooling tower at Kursk-II will include the construction of 115 tiers,” said Alexei Buldygin, head of the Construction Department. “Concreting of all levels will be carried out using automated self-propelled formwork, which will significantly speed up the process and increase the overall strength of the structure. By the end of 2021, it is planned to concretise 65 tiers of the shell and raise the cooling tower structure to a level of 105 metres.”

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsconcreting-of-the-shell-of-russias-tallest-cooling-tower-begins-8673047

SNC-Lavalin's Isotek Systems (Isotek) announced on 13 April that its sales agreement with nuclear company TerraPower had been expanded to further refine thorium (Th-229). The new agreement “will support TerraPower in its cancer treatment research by delivering an enhanced purified product and add to the over $90 million taxpayer dollars saved under this innovative public private partnership”, Isotek said.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newssnc-lavalins-isotek-expands-sales-agreement-with-terrapower-8673061

Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co restarted unit 4 at its Takahama NPP in Fukui Prefecture.on 13 April after completing required upgrades to protect the plant against terrorist attacks and to fix system glitches, a spokeswoman said. Kansai Electric began powering up the 870 MWe reactor after dealing with upgrades, damage in the heat transfer tubes and regular maintenance and refuelling, she added. The reactor had been offline since October. Kansai Electric had restarted the 870MWeTakahama 3 unit in March, which had been shut since January 2020. Also in March, Kyushu Electric Power restarted the 1,180 MWe unit 4 reactor at its Genkai NPP in Saga Prefecture, which had been been shut for regular maintenance since Dec 2020.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsjapan-restarts-takahama-4-8673065

The Japanese government on 13 April formally announced that the treated water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP site will be discharged into the sea, “based on more than six years of comprehensive study by experts, reviews by the IAEA, and engagement with parties concerned”. Five disposal methods had earlier been considered by the government: controlled discharge into the sea, ground injection, discharge as steam, discharge as hydrogen, and solidification for underground burial.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newscontaminated-water-from-fukushima-to-be-discharged-to-the-sea-8673077

In the wake of suspected sabotage at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility on 11 April, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi in a letter to the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi on 13 April announced that Iran would start the uranium enrichment at the level of 60%. Under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran the P5+1 group of countries (the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) Iran agreed to limit its nuclear development in return for the lifting of sanctions. Under the JCPOA, Iran had committed to keep enrichment to 3.67%. However, after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Iran began reviving its nuclear programme and had increased its enrichment level to 20% in January.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsiran-steps-up-nuclear-activity-following-attack-on-its-natanz-facility-8673087