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‘No technical arguments’ for shutting down nuclear plants after 40 years Unit 2 at the Tihange nuclear power station in Belgium is scheduled for permanent shutdown this week. Courtesy Electrabel. Belgium should repeal its 2003 nuclear exit law as it looks for ways to deal with the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting gas and electricity price increases, the Brussels-based Belgian Nuclear Forum said.

The underlying argument of the 2003 law is that a nuclear plant is obsolete after 40 years and should be decommissioned, the forum said.

“Nothing could be further from the truth: there are no technical arguments for definitively shutting down a nuclear power plant after 40 years of operation, but only political arguments,” it added.

The forum issued the statement as owner and operater Engie Electrabel prepares to permanently shut down the Tinhange-2 nuclear power plant on 31 January. The 1,008-MW pressurised water reactor unt began commercial operation on 1 June 1983 and has been online for 40 years.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the last couple of decades have witnessed increased interest in the extension of the operating life of nuclear power plants. Extending the life of a plant is more economical than building a new one, and where it makes business sense. The agency says about 90% of US plants have already renewed their licences to extend their operation to 60 years, with additional extensions for a total of 80 years being considered. In Europe, plants are regularly seeking lifetimes of 60 years.

Date: Tuesday, 31 January 2023
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PWR unit has been operating for 50 years Borssele, the only commercial nuclear unit in the Netherlands, has been operating for 50 years. The single-unit Borssele nuclear power station in the southwest Netherlands was available at full capacity 94% of the time in 2022 and delivered 3.9 TWh of electricity to the grid, operator EPZ said.

It said the capacity factor of other energy technologies is about 10% for solar and 40% for wind.

Over the entire year, Borssele delivered approximately 3.97 TWh (3,970 GWh) of CO2-free electricity to the grid, approximately 10% of all CO2-free generation in the Netherlands.

EPZ said its wind turbines delivered 31 GWh of electricity and its solar park 24 GWh.

Borssele, a 482-MW Siemens-built pressurised water reactor unit, began commercial operation in 1973, meaning it has been producing electricity for 50 years.

Date: Tuesday, 24 January 2023
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Czech Minister of Industry & Trade Jozef Síkela has said the site of the planned deep nuclear waste repository should be decided by the government and parliament. The process of site selection envisages the involvement of municipalities, including the establishment of a working group that will communicate with the affected municipalities on a regular basis. The law detailing these procedures was presented at a government meeting by Síkel, together with modified plans for preparation of the repository, which is intended for the storage of used fuel from the Temelin and Dukovany NPPs.

Date: Thursday, 19 January 2023
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The Czech government has said it will seek to meet the European Union's 2050 deadline for operation of a deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel - but said it would continue to put the case for the deadline to be revised.

Date: Saturday, 14 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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The Dutch Council of Ministers has approved plans for construction of two new nuclear power units, each with a power of 1000-1650MWe, with Borssele in the Netherlands as the preferred location. The decision was taken after extensive preparation, including consultation with the province of Zeeland and municipalities. The government believes that, with an accelerated approach, construction can be completed in 2035, after which the power stations can supply 9-13% of the total electricity.

Date: Friday, 16 December 2022
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Two large-scale Gen III+ reactor units might see deployment by 2035 Borssele, in the southwest province of Zeeland, has a single 482-MW Siemens-built PWR in commercial operation since 1973. The Dutch government has selected the existing Borssele site as a preferred location for a proposed constriction of two new nuclear power reactor units, a cabinet statement said.

According to the statement, the units should be deployed by 2035, have each a capacity between 1,000 MW and 1,650 MW, and use a Generation III+ reactor technology.

The Netherlands has one commercial reactor unit in operation at Borssele, in the southwest province of Zeeland, near the Belgian border. It is a 482-MW Siemens-built pressurised water reactor unit which came online in 1973.

The government said it would also begin a legislative process to allow the operating lifetime extension of the existing Borssele unit beyond 2033, a final date set by the local Nuclear Energy Act currently in force. Actual steps in the licence extension process will need to be taken by plant operator EPZ subject to approval by the local nuclear regulatory authority ANVS.

Date: Tuesday, 13 December 2022
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The Dutch Council of Ministers has designated the existing Borssele nuclear power plant site as the preferred location for two new reactors. It has also called for a feasibility study into extending the operation of the existing Borssele plant beyond 2033.

Date: Tuesday, 13 December 2022
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The Netherlands Cabinet of Ministers are planning to install two new nuclear power units in Borssele, RTL News has reported. The units must operate from 2035 at the latest and the government will contribute financially to their construction. Some €5 billion ($5.22bn) has been released for the first steps but the cabinet has not said exactly how much the government will ultimately contribute. The cabinet wants to opt for two generation III + reactors. The aim is for nuclear energy to account for 11-15% of the total supply of electricity from 2035.

Date: Friday, 02 December 2022
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Preparatory works have started to enable realisation of the construction of the Pallas reactor in the Netherlands. The Pallas Research Reactor will be built at Petten to replace the existing 45 MWt High Flux Reactor (HFR) that began operation in September 1960. Since then its use has shifted from nuclear material testing to basic research and the production of medical radioisotopes. HFR, operated by NRG on behalf of the European Union’s Joint Research Centre, has provided about 60% of European and 30% of the world's use of medical radioactive sources. The new 55MWt tank-in-pool type Pallas reactor will be able to deploy the neutron flux more efficiently and effectively than the HFR.

Date: Thursday, 24 November 2022
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