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News ~ A Six Pack of Big Iron Projects

  • UA Barakah 1 Unit to Begin Fuel Loading
  • Czech Republic Near Commitment to Build New Unit at Dokovany
  • Romania to Build a Third Unit at Cerandova with European Partners
  • Poland in Negotiations with U.S., France for a Nuclear Energy Power Station
  • Wyoming to Create a Future for its Uranium Miners by Building SMRs
  • At Westinghouse Hope Springs Eternal for Six AP1000s for India

UAE Barakah Unit 1 1400 MW PWR
Built by South Korea to Begin Fuel Loading

PWR

PWR Concept. Image CNA

(Nucnet) Emirati nuclear operator Nawah Energy Company has started fuel loading at Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear station located on the nation’s Persian Gulf coast 279 km / 174 miles west of Abu Dhabi

Last week Barakah-1 was granted a licence by the United Arab Emirates’ nuclear regulator authorizing operation for a period of 60 years. The licence also gave the green light for fuel loading to begin.

Nawah said that after fuel assemblies are loaded into the reactor core of Unit 1, operators will run a series of tests before physically starting up the unit.

Fuel for Barakah will be manufactured under a 2015 contract by Korea Electric Power Corporation Nuclear Fuels (Kepco KNF), which will receive enriched uranium from URENCO. Six companies take part in the fuel supply chain for Barakah, including also ConverDyn, UraniumOne, Orano, and RioTinto. The first fuel batches for Barakah-1 were delivered to the site of the plant in May 2017.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), which owns Nawah’s together with plant supplier Kepco, is building three more APR-1400 units at Barakah. The $24.4bn facility will be the first in the Arab world.

Overall, the Barakah nuclear power station is now 93% completed, said Nawah. Unit 2 is pending receiving an operation licensing process with the national regulator FANR.

Czech Republic Says It is Committed
to Building a New Unit at Dukovany

(NEI Magazine) An agreement between the Czech government and power utility CEZ on the construction of the new unit at the Dukovany nuclear plant will be announced in the next few weeks, Industry Minister Karel Havlícek, said in mid-February, adding that the details are still being worked out. He added that a contractor would be selected by the end of 2022, and a construction permit issued by 2029.

CEZ CEO Daniel Beneš confirmed that CEZ would be the investor and that the tender for suppliers will be formally announced in December 2020.

In 2014, power company CEZ canceled the tender for construction of two new Temelin units after it failed to get state rate and loan guarantees for the project.

According to CEZ, the fifth unit planned for Dukovany is expected to have a capacity of 1200MW. The state has set aside CZK 140-160 billion ($6-7bn) for the project.

Five companies have expressed interest in building new nuclear units in the Czech Republic – China General Nuclear, France’s EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia’s Rosatom, and Westinghouse.

CEZ has also expressed interest in small modular reactors (SMRs) and asked 11 suppliers for detailed technical information. CEZ has signed two contracts for sharing of technical information on SMRs, one with US NuScale last year for its 60 MW SMR and another with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for a 300 MW SMR.

Romania Reported to be Ready to Develop
A New Nuclear Reactor Without Foreign Partners

(BNE Intellinews) Romania’s state nuclear company Nuclearelectrica needs €3.0bn-3.5bn to develop the third nuclear reactor of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant using its own resources and bank loans. It also needs state guarantees to make the project bankable, Theodor Chirica, a member of the company’s board and it former CEO, made the remarks speaking at an energy conference.  He is will known in European nuclear energy circles having been appointed President of Foratom in 2018.

With a European partner, the company can develop two reactors he said. It has become clear that the partner will not be the Chinese company that has been in talks on a joint venture since 2015. Within ten years, Romania will definitely have another reactor and will possibly work on a fourth one, Chirica said.

In 2015, Nuclearelectrica signed a memorandum of understanding with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) on the construction of two new reactors, units 3 and 4, at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. However, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced in January 2020 that the government will exit the deal with its Chinese partner.

PM Orban invoked the European Union’s Green Deal rather than security issues or cost concerns which had circulated previously as the main reasons behind an end of the deal with CGN to expand Romania’s only nuclear power plant.

Negotiations on Nuclear Power Plant in Poland Reported with U.S. and France

The Polish government told Polish Radio One last week that a decision regarding the building of Poland’s first nuclear power plant will most likely be announced this year.

A government spokesman said that the question of nuclear power in Poland has been discussed for decades and added that that final decision regarding this issue should be made to the end of this year. “Negotiations are under way. He cited discussion with the U.S. and France among others.

“If we are to reduce the carbon dioxide emission (in accordance with EU recommendations), than with no doubt the construction of a nuclear power plant is one of the important elements of energy supply in Poland.”

The Energy Policy of Poland Until 2040 foresees the construction of six nuclear reactors, to be launched gradually starting in 2033. Government Commissioner for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, said in September that the first reactor with a capacity of 1-1.5 GW will be launched in 2033, and the next five – at two-year intervals until 2043.

Poland has repeatedly made announcements like this one and then backed away from taking action due to an inability to finance the projects. It is not clear how this time things are difference unless either the U.S. or France, or both, are providing export credits to their respective home teams being Westinghouse in the U.S. and EDF in France.

Westinghouse, having emerged from bankruptcy, is particularly anxious to book new reactor deals now that its work n China is done. However, the firm will only act as a technology vendor and will not also serve as the EPC on any new projects.

EDF usually serves as both the supplier and the EPC on its export deals. This is the model it is using for Hinkley point C in the U.K., and Sizewell, assuming it is built. Th two projects will account for 3,200 MW of electrical power when completed any supply the U.Kwith about 14% of its total supply of electricity.

Could Wyoming Have a Future
in Small Nuclear Reactors?

(Casper Star Tribune)  Some Wyoming lawmakers believe there is an opportunity to replace lost electrical output from coal-fired power plants that are being closed with nuclear energy, powered by Wyoming uranium. Such a plan would help the state’s minerals sector.

Coal and uranium have been mainstays of Wyoming’s economy and with the challenge of climate change, coal plants around the country are closing resulting in sharply diminished future for the state’s coal companies and the people who work for them.

However, if there is a successful development of small modular reactors, demand for uranium would be expected to increase which would boost activity and employment at the state’ hard rock and ISR mines.

Last week the Wyoming House Travel, Recreation and Cultural Resources Committee unanimously passed legislation to allow small, modular nuclear facilities producing 300 MW or less to replace energy that had been produced by coal- or gas-powered facilities.

However, opposition to the proposed legislation, which still has a long way to go, was voiced by the Wyoming Outdoor Council which called the SMR designs unproved and unsafe. The group also cited uncontrolled construction costs experienced at other projects.

The legislation now moves onto the House of Representatives, where it will need to pass two votes before moving on to the Senate.

Westinghouse Hopes to Sign Deal for Six AP1000s
with NPCIL as U.S. President Visits India

(Reuters) Westinghouse is reported to have told various sources that it expect to sign a new agreement with state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the six nuclear reactors during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit next week. The project has been in limbo since it was announced over a decade ago.

The agreement, if signed, would establish schedules and the lead local construction firms for the reactors to be built at Kovvada in southern India.  At $5K/Kw the project could cost $34.5 billion. India has been building PHWR design reactors for about half that cost, but the AP1000 has some key cost drivers, such as large forgings for the reactor pressure vessels, that will have to be contracted out to firms like Japan Steel Works.

It remains to be seen how the firm and NPCIL will resolved concerns over India’s nuclear supplier liability law. There has been no indication that Indian has any plans to relax any of the terms of the measure.

Reuters reports that in preparation for the President’s trip representatives from U.S. Departments of Energy and Commerce departments, Westinghouse, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and The Nuclear Energy Institute were in India for talks with government officials as part of a commercial mission to promote nuclear exports to India.

Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), told Reuters in a phone interview, “We are encouraging moving forward with Westinghouse and NPCIL to sign a MOU. It is a private industry to private industry, a business to business decision.”

She expressed optimism that the agreement would be signed but did not specify a timeframe for it. Ideally, as these things go, it could be inked while the President was meeting Indian PM Narendra Modi.

Westinghouse did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment nor did NPCIL. The wire service reported that Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Westinghouse and NPCIL were in talks to move forward with the project.

Reuters points out that a longstanding obstacle has been the need to bring Indian liability rules in-line with international norms, which require the costs of any accident to be channeled to the operator rather than the builder of a nuclear power station. The only way this would work under the current law is that if NPCIL took on the accountability as the “supplier” rather than Westinghouse which seems unlikely.

However, he foreign ministry told Reuters that there is no going back on the 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage law. As a result foreign governments and vendors claim it leaves open the possibility of lawsuits against suppliers for nuclear accidents, rather than the operators of the plants.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has tried to limit the impact of that law by setting up an insurance fund for potential victims of a nuclear accident. It has been criticized as being significantly underfunded and thus inadequate for dealing with the consequences of a major nuclear accident.

“There are still open issues around the liability issue,” DOE’s Baranwal told Reuters, adding it was part of the discussions last week.

India expects to generate 22,480 MW of electricity from nuclear stations by 2031 up from the 2019 level of 6780 MW. A lot of it will come from 10 and as many as 17 700 MW PHWRs build by Indian firms using Indian sourced components. Rosatom has built two 1000 MW VVERs at Kudankulam and is building two more with plans announced for six units at the site on Indian’s east coast originally selected for the Westinghouse units.

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Dan Yurman's picture

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Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 25, 2020 1:20 pm GMT

How big is the Wyoming Uranium mining potential compared with what coal has always been? I had assumed that coal was far and wide king, but could uranium actually replace a sizeable portion of that falling coal mining industry?

Also: 

However, opposition to the proposed legislation, which still has a long way to go, was voiced by the Wyoming Outdoor Council which called the SMR designs unproved and unsafe. The group also cited uncontrolled construction costs experienced at other projects.

Frustrating that these are the arguments they are going with when 1) SMR designs are unproved because, well, they are being developed and the 'proving' portion is coming up next, and 2) Part of the reason SMRs provide excitement is the ability to avoid the uncontrolled construction costs that have happened at Vogtle, so that shouldn't be used as a knock against them. Though perhaps if these are the arguments being used against them, that means opposition is being forced to more grasp at straws and the path forward for the tech is clearer?

Dan Yurman's picture
Dan Yurman on Feb 25, 2020 6:18 pm GMT

https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/coal/  Is a good source of information about the value of coal mining in Wyoming which is the number one mined material both in tonnage and value. 

On the same web site you can read about uranium mining in Wyoming which is done by both hard rock and insitu methods. https://www.wyomingmining.org/minerals/coal/

The Outdoor Recreation interests include the ski areas about Jackson Hole, WY, where the cost of living is so extreme that the billionnaires have driven out the millionaires. It follows that a lot of money for political campaigns in Wyoming come from Jackson Hole.  That town has been a center of anti-nuclear / green advocacy for decades and is unlikely to change. You have to scratch your head about the "geeen" blind spot about coal relative to global warming. 

 

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