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Government appears to favour ‘Boot’ model alread used by Russia Koeberg, near Cape Town, is the only commercial nuclear power station in South Africa. The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) has proposed six possible funding options for new nuclear, but government officials have suggested the most likely is a “build, own, operate and transfer” (Boot) model similar to that used by Russia for project including Akkuyu in Turkey.

Niasa told Engineering News that the very high proportion of the cost of energy that comes from the repayment of capital means interest rates will be fundamental to the viability of any new nuclear project in South Africa.

The association said real interest rates – which are adjusted for inflation – on state debt could be in the range of 2% to 3%, while real interest rates on high risk equity finance could vary from 10% to 15%. It said this explains why some new nuclear projects such as state-supported projects in China could be very competitive while others, such as the private equity funded Hinkley Point C in the UK, needed some kind of state guarantee such as long-term power purchase agreements.

Niasa identified six financing options that could be used to fund a new nuclear programme. The first was state funding for the entire project or state provided sovereign loan guarantees using reserves and cash flows from state-owned companies, as was the case with the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah project.

Date: Wednesday, 20 May 2020
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New-build projects are making progress, but governments are still struggling with finding the right financing package for large reactors The delayed Flamanville-3 is one of three EPR units under construction in Europe. The others are at Olkiluoto in Finland and Hinkley Point in the UK. Photo courtesy EDF. Western Europe

The UK is facing a major challenge to replace its aging fleet of Generation I nuclear power plants, many of which are scheduled to shut down in 2023.

The project by French state utility EDF to build two Generation III EPR units at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is on track for connection to the grid by 2025. Once in commercial operation the two units will provide up to 7% of the total electricity demand. Two similar units are planned for the Sizewell site in Suffolk.

However, press reports have suggested EDF is in “a race against time” to secure a funding deal for Sizewell C as delays risk making the project prohibitively expensive.

According to The Times newspaper EDF has hired Rothschild as financial adviser for the project and says it wants a “definitive way forward” from the government this year so it can start construction in 2022.

Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
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Used fuel assemblies, which had been lying for decades at the bottom of Building 5, an ageing used fuel store at Russia’s Andreeva Bay in the Arctic northwest, have been removed and secured. The complex operation that was the first of its kind, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on 26 November.

Date: Friday, 29 November 2019
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The Czech Republic will have to build new NPPs to replace ageing coal and nuclear capacity even if this means breaching European law, Prime Minister Andrej Babis told the European committee of the lower house of parliament on 16 October. “Energy security is our priority and there is no way around it.” Power utility CEZ, which is 70% state-owned, has said it plans to phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2040 when only its newest lignite power station would remain operational. The government wants CEZ to be responsible for the new nuclear projects, but CEZ is insisting on state guarantees to ensure that the plants would be both viable and deliver returns to shareholders. This is now under discussion, with the government saying only that it would cover the risks of regulatory and legal changes that might complicate construction and operations.  Some minority shareholders at CEZ believe a nuclear newbuild programme would affect dividends is CEZ finances construction from its own sources.

Date: Wednesday, 23 October 2019
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A group of French companies on 17 September, during the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna, announced a joint project, Nuward, aimed at the development of a small modular reactor (SMR) to meet the growing world demand for decarbonised, safe and competitive electricity generation.

Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2019
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The first batch of used fuel assemblies from Russia’s Lepse floating technical base (PTB) was delivered to the Atomflot base in Murmansk, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced in late September.

Date: Wednesday, 02 October 2019
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The first shipment of used nuclear fuel left the former naval base in Andreeva Bay in northwestern Russia on 27 June. Under an international initiative financed by the Nuclear Window of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) more than 22,000 used fuel assemblies from nuclear submarines, currently stored at Andreeva Bay, will be retrieved, packaged and removed from the site. The process is being carried out by SevRAO, part of Russian state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom.

Date: Wednesday, 28 June 2017
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Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is “ready” to take part in Saudi Arabia’s project to build 16 nuclear reactor units by 2030, Russian presidential adviser Yuri Ushakov said on 30 August. Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in civilian nuclear energy in 2015. Saudi Arabia has plans to build 17GWe of nuclear capacity by 2040 and has also been in discussions or signed nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, the UK, France, China, Argentina and the Czech Republic. Ushakov was speaking ahead of a summit meeting in China during which Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Saudi Arabian deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Date: Friday, 02 September 2016
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Russia will “further assist” Iran in implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear programme, “including the processing of enriched uranium and the conversion of facilities to produce stable isotopes”, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Azerbaijani State News Agency AZERTAC in an interview on 5 August.

Date: Tuesday, 09 August 2016
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