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Energy minister Rossen Hristov has set out an energy strategy for 2023 to 2053 for Bulgaria, which includes plans for two new reactors at Kozloduy and two at Belene.

Date: Friday, 20 January 2023
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Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted by 112 to 45, with 39 abstentions, in favour of a draft decision asking ministers to negotiate with the US government for a new AP1000 unit at Kozloduy nuclear power plant.

Date: Tuesday, 17 January 2023
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Move follows selection of Westinghouse for country’s first nuclear station Warsaw wants to have its first reactor unit running in 2033, with construction starting in 2026. Image courtesy Creative Commons. Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA), the country’s nuclear regulator, plans by 2026 to double the number of staff supporting Warsaw’s ambitious nuclear power new-build programme, a spokesperson for the agency told NucNet.

The PAA wants to hire about 70 new employees for the Polish nuclear programme by 2026, which will considerably increase the number of staff from 60 today.

The agency said it will be looking for expertise spanning various technical and humanistic fields including knowledge of nuclear power, energy, geology, physics, automation, law and communication.

Date: Saturday, 14 January 2023
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Two Westinghouse AP1000 units nearing completion at US site The problem was found during startup testing at the Vigtle-3 AP1000 plant. Courtesy Georgia Power. The startup of the Vogtle-3 nuclear power plant in Georgia will be delayed because its operator found a vibrating pipe in the cooling system during testing.

Georgia Power, the lead owner of the Vogtle nuclear power station, said Vogtle-3 is now scheduled to begin generating electricity for the grid in April. The Westinghouse-supplied 1,117 MW AP1000 unit had previously given a startup deadline of March.

The problem was found during startup testing in a pipe that is part of the reactor’s automatic depressurisation system, said Georgia Power spokesperson Jacob Hawkins. He said the pipe needs to be braced with additional support. “It’s not a safety issue,” he said.

In October Georgia Power began loading fuel into the reactor core of Vogtle-3 and said the unit was expected to enter service in the first quarter of 2023.

Date: Saturday, 14 January 2023
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Georgia Power has said the unit is now expected to reach initial criticality during February and to be in service in April, a slight delay from the company's previous projections that the AP1000 unit would be in service during the first quarter of this year.

Date: Friday, 13 January 2023
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Even oil-rich companies of Middle East are eying reactors, as more nations announce plans for SMRs Russian troops occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, which was damaged by shelling. File photo courtesy IAEA. 2022 was a year of mega milestones for nuclear energy.

Countries around the world turned to nuclear as a reliable low-carbon energy source as they looked for ways to wean themselves off Russian imports and lower carbon emissions.

New plants began operating, deals for small modular reactors were signed and countries announced ambitious plans for new-build.

On the political front, US president Joe Biden signed into law new legislation that will help to finance struggling nuclear reactors and could save dozens from being shut down early. In Europe, the nuclear industry celebrated when members of the European parliament decided to “follow the science” and support legislation which includes nuclear in the bloc’s sustainable finance taxonomy for green investment.

Date: Tuesday, 10 January 2023
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Polskie Elektrownie Jadrowe (PEJ) has signed a cooperation agreement with Westinghouse "defining the main principles and path forward for the first Polish nuclear reactors", which sets out the next steps, including site-layout, licensing and permitting support, engineering services contracts and procurement and construction planning services. In November, Westinghouse was selected by the Polish government to construct Poland’s first NPP using its AP1000. Both France’s EDF and South Korean state-run company Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) had also submitted bids for the contract.

Date: Wednesday, 21 December 2022
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Poland’s Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe has signed a cooperation agreement with Westinghouse "defining the main principles and path forward for the first Polish nuclear reactors".

Date: Saturday, 17 December 2022
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Signing marks new stage of ambitious nuclear power project Courtesy Lukas Plewnia/Wikipedia. Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ), developer of Poland’s first commercial nuclear power project, has signed a key cooperation agreement with US company Westinghouse, whose AP1000 technology was selected for the country’s first reactors.

PEJ president Tomasz Stępień said the agreement means “we can move to more detailed works and commercial arrangements with the US party”. He said it is also the first step towards the commencement of design of the construction.

The agreement defines the main principles and business steps that will be taken by PEJ and Westinghouse in 2023. It includes tasks such as negotiating and signing agreements for preparatory and conceptual works, including initial design works, licensing and permitting support, site development services and procurement and construction planning services.

The next step in the project will be the signing in 2023 of an agreement between the companies for the design of the nuclear power station.

Date: Friday, 16 December 2022
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‘Critical milestone’ towards operation next year The two AP1000 plants at Vogtle are the only commercial reactor units under construction in the US. Courtesy Georgia Power. Cold hydrostatic testing has been completed at the Vogtle-4 nuclear plant in the US state of Georgia, with commercial operation planned for late 2023.

Plant owner Georgia Power said the successful completion of testing was another critical milestone along the path to bringing online the first new nuclear units in the US for more than 30 years.

The two Westinghouse Generation III+ AP1000 plants at Vogtle are the only two commercial reactor units under construction in the US.

During cold hydrostatic testing the reactor coolant system was filled with water and pressurised above normal operating conditions, then lowered to normal design pressure while inspections took place to verify systems met design standards. This included checking that welds, joint pipes and other components did not leak under pressure.

Date: Saturday, 10 December 2022
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