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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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The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) latest country report on Turkey and energy policy review notes that Turkey has seen considerable diversification of its energy sector since the previous review in 2016. “Turkey has made significant progress on liberalising energy markets in the last decade, successfully improving predictability and transparency in pricing. However, additional reforms toward establishing more competitive gas and electricity markets will help mobilise needed investments into these sectors,” says IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol in his foreword to the 191-page report.

Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021
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IAEA-led international research on the management of severely damaged used nuclear fuel is providing key lessons learned from sites such as Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and demonstrating the value of global scientific collaboration, IAEA said on 11 March.

Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021
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The Fukushima-Daini nuclear power station in northern Japan. Water overflowed from spent nuclear fuel storage pools at the Fukushima-Daiichi and Fukushima-Daini nuclear power stations operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company following an earthquake that struck off the coast northeastern late on Saturday night.

The pools are at the Unit 5 and 6 reactor buildings at Fukushima-Daiichi, which are being decommissioned, and the Unit 1 reactor building at Fukushima-Daini, which is set to be decommissioned.

According to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, it has been confirmed that no water leaked outside the buildings and cooling of the nuclear fuel at the two Fukushima stations has not been affected.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it had been informed by the NRA that there was no damage to the two nuclear stations, or to a third at Onagawa, which is to the north of Fukushima in Miyagi prefecture.

Date: Tuesday, 16 February 2021
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A new Deep Isolation study commissioned by advanced reactor deployment company Fermi Energia discusses the potential suitability of areas in Estonia considered for siting a deep horizontal borehole repository for nuclear waste.

Date: Thursday, 04 February 2021
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A mockup of a possible Fermi Energia small modular rector for Estonia. Courtesy Fermi Energia. There are no fundamental geologic limitations to disposing of nuclear waste in deep horizontal boreholes in Estonia and a wide range of locations could be demonstrated to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency safety regulations for geologic disposal, a study concludes.

The study, by US radioactive waste storage and disposal company Deep Isolation, was commissioned by Estonia-based advanced reactor deployment company Fermi Energia which is developing proposals to deploy small modular reactors in the Baltic country.

The study examines the potential suitability of areas in Estonia considered for siting a deep horizontal borehole repository for nuclear waste. Such a repository would isolate radioactive elements from the Earth’s surface for 1.3 million years.

With Estonia aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030, advanced nuclear power generation from SMRs could contribute to its carbon-neutral future, Fermi Energi said. Yet the unresolved issue of how to permanently dispose of spent nuclear fuel is a major obstacle to deploying nuclear energy worldwide.

Date: Tuesday, 02 February 2021
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There are no fundamental geologic limitations to disposing of radioactive waste in deep horizontal boreholes in Estonia, a study conducted by US nuclear waste disposal company Deep Isolation on behalf of Fermi Energia has concluded. Such a repository could be used for the disposal of used fuel from small modular reactors (SMRs) proposed for deployment by the Estonian company. Fermi Energia is the first European company to contract with Deep Isolation on a preliminary geologic study to manage advanced reactor waste.

Date: Tuesday, 02 February 2021
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Ten locations have been identified as most promising The Caorso nuclear power station was one of four in Italy, but all have been permanently shut down. Italy’s state-owned nuclear waste management company Sogin has published a list of 67 potential sites for a national radwaste storage facility.

The list includes potential sites in the northwest, central Italy, the south, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Sogin said the list identifies areas whose characteristics meet localisation criteria defined by the National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ISIN) and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ten sites have been identified as “A1”, which means they are the most promising. Two of these sites are near Turin in Piedmont, northwest Italy, five are near Alessandria, also in Piedmont, and three are in the province of Viterbo, north of Rome in central Italy.

Sogin said last year it had estimated €1.5bn for the siting, construction, and testing phase of the repository, which is for the disposal of very low-level and low-level waste. It might also temporarily store high-level radioactive waste (HLW), including that from the reprocessing abroad of spent nuclear fuel.

Date: Wednesday, 06 January 2021
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Agency team calls for ‘work to be done’ on radwaste management and disposal Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear station has two reactor units that were permanently shut down in 2004 and 2009. Courtesy EBRD. In the first such mission held virtually, an International Atomic Energy Agency team said Lithuania had strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in recent years, but warned that work needs to be done finalising arrangements for regulating the management of radioactive waste and its eventual disposal.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team, which on 2 December concluded a 17-day follow-up mission to Lithuania, said the authorities showed a strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety and have taken steps to address recommendations and suggestions identified in during an mission in 2016.

Integration of IAEA safety standards into the legal framework on radiation protection has been improved and the framework amended to increase public involvement in regulatory decision-making, the IAEA team said.

The team said arrangements needed for regulating the future management of Lithuania’s radioactive waste and its eventual disposal will be addressed by the energy ministry in a revised national radioactive waste management programme. An IAEA Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (Artemis) mission will take place in June 2021 to review radioactive waste management in Lithuania in more detail.

Date: Friday, 04 December 2020
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