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The recent assessment by the EU's scientific body, the Joint Research Centre, that nuclear energy does no more harm to human health or the environment than any other power-producing technology considered to be sustainable may be a sign of the green stamp of approval needed for the inclusion of nuclear in the EU Taxonomy on sustainable finance, write Elina Teplinsky, Vincent Zabielski and Victoria Judd, partner, special counsel and counsel, at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Date: Friday, 07 May 2021
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Ringhals AB and Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB each issued an Urgent Market Message (UUM) to the Nord Pool power exchange yesterday morning about the potential risk of Ringhals units 3 and 4 and Forsmark units 1, 2 and 3 being unable to restart following scheduled outages - in 2024 (F2), 2025 (R3-4, F3), and 2028 (F1) - because of a lack of storage space for used nuclear fuel.

Date: Friday, 07 May 2021
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The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) has produced a report on how the Department of Energy can develop a robust, safe and effective nuclear waste management programme for the USA, including laying the groundwork for a successfully implemented geological repository. It says the lack of progress on developing and operating a geologic repository impedes the associated potential benefits of having nuclear energy as part of a zero-carbon future for mitigation of climate change, as well as the advancement of US nuclear technology and commerce.

Date: Thursday, 06 May 2021
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President Joe Biden's pledge for the USA to cut its CO2 emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade will be "virtually impossible" without nuclear power, Fareed Zakaria, the host of US network CNN's Global Public Square programme, said last week. America is "going in the wrong direction" in reducing the contribution nuclear power makes to its electricity supply, said Zakaria, who is also a Washington Post columnist.

Date: Thursday, 29 April 2021
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Thirty-five years on from the Chernobyl accident, Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have highlighted their commitment to cooperation in nuclear power. Meanwhile Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has launched the start of operations at a new storage facility for used nuclear fuel at the Chernobyl site.  

Date: Wednesday, 28 April 2021
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The ISF-2 interim storage facility at Chernobyl. Courtesy EBRD. Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has issued a licence for full operation of the he €400m ISF-2 interim storage facility at the Chernobyl nuclear power station site in Ukraine, Chernobyl NPP 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 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Hot testing with the first full fuel load at ISF-2 began in September 2020 and at the time the EBRD said the full licence to operate was expected in early 2021. Chernobyl NPP said last week that hot testing had been completed and was successful.

Date: Tuesday, 27 April 2021
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The head of radiation safety regulation at the Belarus Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (Gosatomnadzor), Victoria Antonova, told a press conference on 14 April that plans had been drawn up for the management of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel from the Belarus NPP (BelNPP). 

Date: Tuesday, 20 April 2021
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The laboratory will be sited in granite 560m below ground in the Beishan region of Gansu province, in China’s remote northwest. China will spend $422m building an underground laboratory for research into storing high-level radioactive waste from the country’s growing fleet of nuclear power plants with the aim of building the country’s first deep geologic repository by 2050.

If successful, a repository that could store 100 years’ worth of high-level waste will be built, reports in China said. The waste will mostly be in the form of spent nuclear fuel, which is currently stored in spent fuel ponds at nuclear plant sites.

Reports said construction will begin next year and will finish by 2024. Work has begun on supporting infrastructure such as paved roads.

“We are doing research into this project and it will soon be put into practice,” said Liu Hua, head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Date: Thursday, 15 April 2021
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At a cabinet meeting on 8 April, the Estonian government approved the official composition of the working group on nuclear energy, the Environment Ministry announced. The working group includes the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Board, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the State Chancellery. The relevant authorities have already appointed their representatives and the members of the working group were approved by the Minister of the Environment.

Date: Tuesday, 13 April 2021
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The Estonian government yesterday formally approved the formation of a nuclear energy working group (NEPIO) tasked with analysing the possibility of introducing nuclear energy in Estonia. Headed by Environment Minister Tõnis Mölder, the NEPIO will present its conclusions and proposals to the government by September 2022 at the latest.

Date: Saturday, 10 April 2021
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