Fennovoima Shareholders to Go Ahead With Finnish Reactor Project
March 6, 2014—Voima Oy, the majority cooperative shareholder of Finnish nuclear power company Fennovoima, has decided to take part in construction of the proposed Hanhikivi nuclear energy facility and to increase the ownership share of Finnish companies in Fennovoima from the current 50.2 percent to “as close as possible” to 66 percent by the end of June 2014.
Voima was founded in 2006 by a number of companies that wanted access to nuclear energy, including energy-intensive industrial firms and power companies. Of Fennovoima’s 60 owners, 44 have confirmed their participation in the construction of the Hanhikivi nuclear plant at Pyhäjoki in northern Finland.
Russia’s Rosatom, which is providing a 1,200-megawatt AES-2006 VVER reactor for the plant, agreed in December to take over the 34 percent stake in Fennovoima that was formerly owned by Germany’s E.On. Finalization of Rosatom’s part in the project is expected in March.
Finland has four operating reactors, two of which are of Russian origin. Olkiluoto 3, an AREVA EPR, is under construction.
Russia’s TVEL to Honor Fuel Commitments Despite Ukraine Rail Ban
March 6, 2014—Russian nuclear fuel company TVEL says it will honor all its nuclear fuel supply commitments to foreign nuclear power stations, despite a ban by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator on transporting fuel cycle products by rail across the country because of anti-government protests in the capital Kiev.
Rosatom said TVEL, one of its subsidiaries, could deliver nuclear fuel using other licensed modes of transport, such as by air. TVEL is responsible for the supply of nuclear fuel to 76 reactors in 14 countries, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine and Slovakia.
Ukraine’s nuclear generating company Energoatom said the country’s 15 nuclear reactors—at Khmelnitski, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhye—are operating normally and being “vigorously protected” by security units and interior ministry military units.
Russia, Finland Sign New Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
Feb. 27, 2014—Russia and Finland have signed a new intergovernmental agreement on nuclear energy cooperation. Under the agreement, the two countries will cooperate in nuclear energy research, reactors and their use in energy production, nuclear safety, radiation protection, and environmental protection.
The agreement is considered a prerequisite for Russia to supply a reactor for Fennovoima's Hanhikivi project.
A key feature of the new agreement relates to liability for damages from nuclear accidents. Finland is party to the OECD-sponsored Paris Convention on nuclear liability, while Russia adheres to the IAEA-sponsored Vienna Convention. The new accord stipulates that both international treaties are reciprocally applicable between Finland and Russia.
Last December Finnish utility Fennovoima signed a contract with Rusatom Overseas to supply a 1,200-megawatt AES-2006 VVER reactor for the Hanhikivi project. Rosatom agreed to take a 34 percent stake in the project with an option to increase it to 49 percent. Meanwhile, 46 of 60 Fennovoima shareholders have agreed to buy electricity at cost in proportion to their ownership.
A final ministerial statement, based on a revised environmental impact assessment for the Russian reactor design, is expected in June. Fennovoima could apply for a construction permit by mid-2015, and the plant could start producing electricity by 2024.
B&W to Collaborate With TerraPower on Gen IV Reactor
Feb. 20, 2014—Babcock & Wilcox Co. and TerraPower have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the development of TerraPower’s Generation IV traveling wave reactor (TWR).
The 1,150-megawatt TWR, currently in conceptual design, is a liquid sodium-cooled fast neutron reactor that could use metallic depleted uranium as fuel. The TerraPower concept was launched in 2006 by Bill Gates and other venture capitalists to develop a “scalable, sustainable, emission-free and cost-competitive energy source.”
Under the memorandum, B&W will act as strategic technology supplier, supporting TerraPower in multiple areas as the project moves to the preliminary design phase. B&W’s services would include design and fabrication of engineered reactor components, fuel fabrication and supply, reactor design engineering and operations support, testing, and licensing support.
Doug Adkisson, TerraPower’s senior vice president, said the agreement “makes it possible to tap the nuclear industry's excellence and keep American companies active in the international supply chain for advanced nuclear energy technologies.”
Curtiss-Wright Buys Nuclear Power Services
Feb. 20, 2014—North Carolina-based Curtiss-Wright has completed its $8.2 million purchase of Nuclear Power Services Inc. NPSI operates a nuclear equipment manufacturing and testing facility in Newmarket, Ontario.
Curtiss-Wright President and CEO David Adams said the acquisition would enable the company to service the international fleet of Canadian-designed nuclear energy facilities.
TVA Orders ‘Eventual Replacement’ Steam Generators for Watts Bar 2
Feb. 20, 2014—The board of the Tennessee Valley Authority has approved a $160 million contract with Westinghouse for additional steam generators for Watts Bar 2. Under the contract, Westinghouse will supply the same corrosion-resistant 68AXP-model steam generators that are being used at TVA's Watts Bar 1 and Sequoyah 1 and 2.
TVA resumed construction of the 1,177-megawatt Watts Bar 2 in 2007 after a 22-year hiatus. The reactor is expected to start up in December 2015 using previously supplied steam generators.
China Approves Ningde 5 and 6
Feb. 20, 2014—China’s National Energy Administration has approved the start of preliminary work for phase II of the Ningde nuclear construction project in Fujian province, consisting of two Generation III reactors. The reactor type has not yet been specified.
The first phase of the Ningde project comprises four Chinese CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors. Ningde 1 entered commercial operation last April, while Ningde 2 is expected to follow this April. Reactors 3 and 4 are in advanced stages of construction.
Studsvik Sells Some US Operations to EnergySolutions
Feb. 13, 2014—Swedish company Studsvik has agreed to sell its operations in Tennessee to U.S. company EnergySolutions for $23 million.
In addition to its operations in Erwin, Tenn., and Memphis, Studsvik will also sell its holdings in Semprasafe and transfer patents on THOR technology in China for use in the North American market.
EnergySolutions will take over the sold operations on March 1.
Feb. 13, 2014—Hungary and Russia Reach Financing Deal for Paks Reactors
Hungary and Russia have agreed to a finance package to build two new 1,200-megawatt VVER reactors at Hungary’s Paks site.
Russia will lend Hungary $13.5 billion, which will cover 80 percent of the project costs. Hungary will provide the remaining funding. Repayment of the variable-rate loan will take place over 21 years, starting six months after commissioning of the new reactors in 2023 and 2025.
Brazilian Operator Awards Two Contracts for Angra 3 Work
Feb. 13, 2014—Eletronuclear, Brazil’s state-owned nuclear operator, has awarded two contracts totaling $1.25 billion to two consortia of construction and engineering companies for assembly of primary and secondary systems at the Angra 3 reactor.
The first contract, which covers electro-mechanical assembly work within the primary reactor system, was awarded to conglomerate Queiroz Galvao with companies EBE and Techint. The secondary side contract was awarded to a consortium led by construction company Andrade Gutierrez.
Two years of construction work was completed at Angra 3 in the 1980s before being resumed in 2010. Eletronuclear has said the reactor could begin operating
Jordan Contracts With US Company for Research Reactor Licensing
Feb. 13, 2014—Jordan’s nuclear regulator has signed a $1.9 million contract with Virginia’s Advanced Systems Technology and Management Inc. to support licensing of the Jordan Research and Training Reactor.
The 30-month contract will cover licensing review and support inspection and testing activities at the training reactor. It will also include support for review of the safety analysis report and evaluation report.
The five-megawatt reactor is halfway constructed at the Jordan University for Science and Technology. It will be used for neutron beam research, medical radioisotope production and training for Jordanian engineers and scientists.in December 2015.
UK and France Sign Nuclear Collaboration Pact
Feb. 6, 2014—The leaders of the British and French governments have signed a joint declaration on developing nuclear energy and related commercial opportunities and skills. The statement reiterates a “shared view that nuclear power has a critical role to play in a cost-effective low carbon transition.”
The governments said they would “engage constructively” with the European Commission’s investigation on whether the U.K. government’s electricity price guarantees to French utility EDF for building and operating the new Hinkley Point C project are in line with EU rules on state aid.
In other projects, French company AREVA will offer “strategic and practical support” to develop the U.K.’s nuclear energy skills. The two countries also agreed to find opportunities for small and medium companies in the nuclear supply chain.
Cameco Sells Stake in Bruce Power
Feb. 6, 2014—Cameco has sold its 31.6 percent stake in Ontario utility Bruce Power for about $400 million. The sale is retroactive to Dec. 31, 2013. Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel said the company wanted to concentrate on its core uranium business, “where we see strong potential for growth.”
Bruce Power owns and operates eight CANDU reactors at Bruce A and Bruce B in Tiverton, Ontario. The four Bruce A units were mothballed in the 1990s but were refurbished, uprated and brought back into operation between 2004 and 2012. Decisions on refurbishing Bruce B’s reactors are pending. The Bruce reactors produce 30 percent of Ontario’s electricity.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
Jan. 30, 2014—Saudi Arabia and Jordan have signed a cooperation agreement to advance energy projects across a range of nuclear energy specialties.
The agreement covers basic and applied research related to nuclear energy, including materials research and radioactive waste management. The agreement will also ensure transparency of nuclear plant licensing and operations for facilities near the two countries’ shared border.
Jordan has plans to construct its first nuclear energy facility by 2020, having selected Russia as the preferred bidder. Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 reactors in the next 20 years.
South Korea Approves Two New Units for Shin-Kori Site
Jan. 30, 2014—South Korea has approved a $7 billion project to build two new APR1400 nuclear reactors at the Shin-Kori site.
Construction on Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power’s Shin-Kori 5 and 6 is expected to start in September. A plan was developed for the project in 2009, and KHNP applied for a construction license for the two reactors in 2012. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy said the project is expected to be complete by 2020.
The APR1400 pressurized water reactor design is also being used for four reactors currently under construction domestically—Shin-Kori 3 and 4 and Shin-Hanul 1 and 2, and for four others being built at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates.
Westinghouse Could Sign Kozloduy Contract by March
Jan. 23, 2014—Westinghouse President and CEO Danny Roderick told a press conference his company hopes to sign a contract with Bulgaria by the end of March to build an AP1000 reactor at the Kozloduy site.
Westinghouse and majority owner Toshiba are in “exclusive” negotiations with state-run Bulgarian Energy Holding on the engineering, equipment and procurement aspects of the potential contract. The Kozloduy site presently has two operational Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors.
Westinghouse will also participate in the bidding process for the construction contract, Roderick said.
Bulgaria wants to start construction in 2016 and will accept the NRC’s review of the AP1000 design with one year of additional review.
ANSTO Awards Contract for Mo-99 Processing Facility
Jan. 23, 2014—The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization has awarded a $73 million contract to Australian company Watpac Ltd. to design and construct a new facility to manufacture the medical radioisotope molybdenum-99.
Mo-99 is used as the source of technetium-99 in about 45 million diagnostic procedures per year around the world. With a half-life of only 66 hours, the isotope cannot be stockpiled and is produced in five research reactors in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa and Russia. Global shortages of the isotope have occurred recently when several of the aging reactors have been out of action at the same time.
ANSTO’s OPAL reactor, which came into operation in 2006, can only supply enough Mo-99 to meet domestic Australian requirements. The new Nuclear Medicine Molybdenum-99 (ANM Mo-99) processing facility will enable ANSTO to significantly increase OPAL’s output and make Australia a major international supplier of the isotope.
Watpac manager Ric Wang said that design work on the facility will begin next month, with construction to be completed in 2016.
Toshiba Buys In to UK’s NuGen for Moorside AP1000 Project
Jan. 16, 2014—Toshiba Corp. has agreed in principle to buy a 60 percent share in the NuGeneration Limited Moorside project in the United Kingdom, ensuring that three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors will be built at the West Cumbria site.
The project, in partnership with GDF SUEZ, will support the U.K. government’s low-carbon and energy security plans. A combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts will be built, ultimately meeting 7 percent of the country’s electricity requirements.
The first unit is expected to come on line in 2024.
The announcement follows Westinghouse’s involvement in several other European projects, including an exclusive agreement for AP1000 technology with Bulgaria Energy Holding in December 2013 and the company’s selection as a front-runner in the Czech Republic’s new nuclear unit tender.
Amec, Foster Wheeler Plan to Merge
Jan. 16, 2014—British engineering and project management company Amec has provisionally agreed on a $3.2 billion cash and share offer for Foster Wheeler, a Swiss-based engineering, construction and equipment supplier.
Both companies have interests in nuclear projects. Amec’s nuclear division has provided services to EDF’s new-build program in the United Kingdom and participated in Nuclear Management Partners to manage the U.K.’s Sellafield site. Foster Wheeler’s power division offers equipment such as condensers and feedwater heaters for nuclear energy facilities.
Foster Wheeler has agreed with Amec not to solicit alternate proposals until Feb. 22, by which time definitive agreements between the two companies are expected.
Canada’s L3-MAPPS Upgrades Daya Bay Simulator
Jan. 16, 2014—Canada-based L3-MAPPS has signed a contract with Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co. Ltd. to supply a new input-output system for the reactor simulator at the company’s Daya Bay nuclear energy facility. The current system at Daya Bay, China’s first commercial nuclear energy facility, was installed in 1992.
Work will include the replacement of the simulator’s main control room panels and related remote shutdown panels, including replacement of the control room panel instruments and more than 13,000 I/O channels. Work will begin immediately, with the new unit expected to be in service by the end of the year.
Russia to Build Two Reactors at Hungary’s Paks
Jan. 16, 2014—Hungary's government has signed an agreement with Russia’s nuclear energy group Rosatom to build two Russian-designed VVER pressurized water reactors at Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant site.
Paks currently has four 500-megawatt VVERs scheduled to operate until the mid-2030s. The facility accounts for 50 percent of Hungary’s domestically generated electricity.
Some 80 percent of the expected 10-12 billion Euro cost of the project is expected to be covered by a loan from Russia. The first of the new reactors could be operational as early as 2023.
Vermont, Entergy Agree Terms for VY Operations, Decommissioning
Jan. 9, 2014—The state of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee announced in a Dec. 23 joint statement a “settlement agreement” by which all pending litigation between the entities is dismissed and legal disputes resolved.
Under the agreement, the state pledges to support Entergy’s petition to the Vermont Public Service Board for a “Certificate of Public Good” to allow the 635-megawatt Vermont Yankee nuclear energy facility to operate until its scheduled December 2014 closure date.
In exchange, Entergy agrees to pursue an expedited path for the plant’s decommissioning. The utility will by the end of 2014 prepare a cost evaluation study and assessment of the site’s decommissioning needs and will begin radiological decontamination “within four months” of determining that adequate funds are available. The utility also pledges to remove all used fuel from the reactor storage pool to dry casks “in a timely manner,” possibly by the end of 2021.
In addition, Entergy VY agreed to help ease the impacts of the plant’s closure by providing $10 million in economic development funds to Windham County as well as $5.2 million for clean energy projects and $5 million in transitional tax payments. In addition, the utility will set up and fund a $25 million site restoration trust fund to help return the site to greenfield use.
AREVA, EDF Sign Saudi Agreements
Jan. 9, 2014—AREVA and EDF have signed several agreements with various Saudi Arabian organizations in support of the kingdom’s nuclear energy program.
The French companies signed memoranda of understanding with five Saudi manufacturers of steel, cables and pumps, with the aim of developing a domestic nuclear component supply chain. Agreements were also signed with four Saudi universities, with the intent to develop the nuclear expertise of the country’s workforce.
AREVA and EDF recently launched a training program at the National Institute of Technology near Jeddah on nuclear-specific safety and quality requirements.
In addition, EDF signed a joint venture agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Global Energy Holding Co. to study the feasibility of building an EPR in the country.
Saudi Arabia has plans to build up to 16 nuclear energy facilities, both to meet the growing demand for electricity generation and for water desalination.
Apart from AREVA and EDF, several companies including Toshiba, Westinghouse, Exelon Nuclear Partners, GE Hitachi and China National Nuclear Corp. are working on proposals for Saudi nuclear projects. The country has nuclear cooperation agreements with China, Argentina, France and South Korea.
Fennovoima, Rusatom Sign Contract on Hanhikivi Project
Jan. 9, 2014—Finland's Fennovoima and Russia's Rusatom Overseas have signed an agreement for the supply of a 1,200-megawatt AES 2006 pressurized water reactor for the Hanhikivi-1 new reactor project at Pyhäjoki in northern Finland.
Rusatom Overseas parent company Rosatom also agreed to buy 34 percent of Fennovoima. The reactor is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2024.