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Budapest says regardless of Ukraine war and sanctions, contracts ‘had to be changed’ Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev (left) and Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto sign the amended Paks 2 contracts. Courtesy Rosatom. Hungary and Russia have reached agreement on “all the necessary issues” needed to proceed with the construction of two more nuclear power plants at the Paks site.

Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed on social media that agreement had been reached on “the amendment of the construction and financing contract for the expansion of Paks”.

He said that regardless of the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, “life and the technological situation have changed so much that contracts had to be changed”.

“We have gone through long negotiations, but today we have reached an agreement on all the necessary issues that guarantee that we can carry out the investment and protect Hungarian families and the Hungarian economy from completely insane price changes,” Szijjarto said.

Szijjarto held talks in Moscow on the Paks 2 project for Russia to build two new nuclear power plants at the Paks site in central Hungary.

Date: Friday, 14 April 2023
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Country plans to shutter most of reactor fleet, which has provided about 50% of energy needs The Doel nuclear power station near Antwerp in Belgium, where two units might operate for longer. Courtesy Engie. A large majority of Belgians is in favour of the long-term operation of existing nuclear power plants – in a country which has decided to shutter most of its reactor fleet by 2025, a poll has shown.

The poll, commissioned by local media outlets Le Soir, RTL Info, Het Laatste Nieuws and VTM, found that 69% of Belgians approve the government’s decision of March 2022 to allow the two newest nuclear plants, Doel-4 and Tihange-3,to operate for 10-years beyond 2025.

According to the poll, conducted in March, 58% of respondents were in favour of extending the operating lifetime of all seven units in Belgium’s reactor fleet, two of which – Doel-3 and Tihange-2 – have already been shut down, bringing the number in operation to five.

Date: Thursday, 06 April 2023
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Energoatom steps up efforts to reduce reliance on Russia Petro Kotin said work is under way to certify a fuel component facility in Ukraine. Courtesy Energoatom. Ukraine is preparing to begin local production of nuclear fuel for the needs of its reactor fleet in cooperation with US-based Westinghouse Electric Company, according to the head of state nuclear company Energoatom.

Petro Kotin said during a visit to a facility in Ukraine preparing to produce nuclear fuel components that Ukraine could have its own nuclear fuel production line as early as 2026.

Kotin said the fuel technology to be used will be provided by Westinghouse, which currently supplies fuel for most of Ukraine’s VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units.

According to Kotin, work is under way to receive certification for Ukraine’s fuel component facility to be part of the supply chain of Westinghouse’s Vasteras nuclear fuel plant in Sweden by providing parts for fuel assembly manufacturing.

Production will include sub-components such as expansion shanks and cartridge heads for the final assembly of fuel elements in Sweden.

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2023
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Proposals support bloc’s bid for net zero by 2050 Proposed European legislation which aims to support technologies that will get the bloc to net zero by 2050 includes “advanced technologies to produce energy from nuclear processes with minimal waste from the fuel cycle” and small modular reactors.

The Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), published by the European Commission on Thursday (16 March), aims to scale up manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU and make sure the bloc is well-equipped for the clean-energy transition.

The commission said the legislation sets out a clear framework to reduce the EU’s reliance on highly concentrated imports.

By drawing on the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic and the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it will help increase the resilience of Europe’s clean energy supply chains, a statement said.

The legislation addresses a range of technologies. The commission said it will will improve conditions for investment in net-zero technologies by reducing the administrative burden to set up projects and simplifying permit-granting processes.

Date: Saturday, 18 March 2023
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Russia plans ‘full control’ as standoff continues over IAEA staff rotation and little progress made on protection zone Russia is pushing ahead with plans to take full control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. Petro Kotin said. Courtesy Energoatom. One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow is pushing ahead with plans to take full control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station and use it for the supply of electricity to occupied territories and Russia, the head of Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said.

Petro Kotin told the My-Ukraina (“We are Ukraine”) news channel that Russia’s shelling of the station and the area around it since the invasion began in February 2022 is “an act of nuclear terrorism”.

He said Zaporizhzhia – which has six Soviet era reactors and is the largest commercial nuclear facility in Europe – had operated safely for almost 40 years, but since Russia took control “we have had 20 very serious events, including those on the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] emergency scale”.

Kotin said Russia had seized the nuclear station and all the infrastructure used to detect and respond to possible nuclear radiation incidents.

“They are all seized, all this infrastructure is broken,” he said. Kotin added that staff are being pressured to sign a contract to work for Russia’s Rosenergoatom, the nuclear plant operations subsidiary of Atomenergoprom, itself a subsidiary of state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Date: Saturday, 25 February 2023
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Two reactors have shut down permanently in recent months Unit 3 at the Doel-3 nuclear station was permanently shut down in September 2022. Belgium’s fleet of commercial nuclear power plants accounted for 47.3% of the country’s electricity mix in 2022, making nuclear the most significant source of low-carbon electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency puts the 2021 figure for nuclear at 50.8%, but that was before the permanent shutdown of the Doel-3 nuclear plant in September 2022, bringing the number of commercial units in operation in the country to six.

Tihange-2 was taken offline earlier this month, leaving Belgium with five nuclear plants available.

Doel-1, Doel-2 and Tihange-1 are set to shut down in 2025, potentially leaving Belgium with just two plants in operation.

The Brussels-based Belgian Nuclear Forum said almost one fifth of Belgium’s electricity was generated by other low-carbon technologies in 2022, with 7.5% from offshore wind, 5% from onshore wind and 7.3% solar.

Date: Tuesday, 21 February 2023
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Ukraine invasion highlights need for domestic nuclear fuel production The Springfields site in northern England has ‘strategic importance’ to producing fuel for the current UK advanced gas-cooled reactor fleet. Courtesy ONR. Britain said on Monday (2 January) its £75m ($89m) fund aimed at helping boost domestic production of nuclear fuel for power plants and cutting reliance on Russian uranium supplies is open for applications.

The Nuclear Fuel Fund, announced in July, will award grants to businesses involved in uranium conversion, a key stage in the process of creating nuclear fuel from the metal. It will remain open for applications until 20 February.

It will support projects such as fuel supply options for light-water reactors, including future small modular reactors. It will also look to support projects producing new fuel types that will be needed to supply advanced modular reactors, likely to be in operation from the 2030s, such as high-assay low-enriched uranium, or Haleu.

The government said the fund would “encourage investment in new and robust fuel production capabilities in the UK, to reduce reliance on civil nuclear and related goods from Russia” and back its ambition to secure up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050.

Date: Wednesday, 04 January 2023
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