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Nuclear News Roundup for 01/17/16

Dan Yurman's picture
Editor & Publisher NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy

Publisher of NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy online since 2007.  Consultant and project manager for technology innovation processes and new product / program development for commercial...

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  • Jan 18, 2016 5:00 pm GMT

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The big news is that two Chinese state owned nuclear firms have announced plans to build floating nuclear power plants in the 100-300 MW range.

CNNC to construct prototype floating plant

(WNA) A demonstration floating nuclear power plant based on China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC’s) ACP100S small reactor will be built by 2019. The move comes just days after China General Nuclear (CGN) said it will build a prototype offshore plant by 2020.

CGN announced (next story) on 12 January that development of its ACPR50S reactor design had recently been approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies.

CNNC said that its ACP100S reactor – a marine version of its ACP100 small modular reactor (SMR) design – had also been approved by the NDRC as part of the same plan.

CNNC said its Nuclear Power Institute of China subsidiary had completed a preliminary design for a floating nuclear power plant featuring the ACP100S reactor as well as “all the scientific research work.” Construction of a demonstration unit is to start by the end of this year, with completion set for 2019.

CGN to build floating reactor

(WNA) China General Nuclear (CGN) expects to complete construction of a demonstration small modular offshore multi-purpose reactor by 2020.

CGN said development of its ACPR50S reactor design had recently been approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies.

The company said it is currently carrying out preliminary design work for a demonstration ACPR50S project. Construction of the first floating reactor is expected to start next year with electricity generation to begin in 2020.

The 60 MWe reactor has been developed for the supply of electricity, heat and desalination and could be used on islands or in coastal areas, or for offshore oil and gas exploration, according to CGN.

The Chinese company said it is also working on the ACPR100 small reactor for use on land. This reactor will have an output of some 450 MWt (140 MWe) and would be suitable for providing power to large-scale industrial parks or to remote mountainous areas.

CGN said the development of small-scale offshore and onshore nuclear power reactors will complement its large-scale plants and provide more diverse energy options.

Bill seeks to stimulate US nuclear innovation

(WNA) A US House of Representatives committee has approved a bipartisan bill to support federal research and development (R&D) and stimulate private investment in advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. The bill was introduced by energy subcommittee chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas), along with full committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

The legislation directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to set priorities for federal R&D infrastructure that will enable the private sector to invest in advanced reactor technologies and provide a clear path forward to attract private investment for prototype development at DOE laboratories.

It enables the private sector to partner with national laboratories for the purpose of developing novel reactor concepts, leverages DOE’s supercomputing infrastructure to accelerate nuclear energy R&D, and provides statutory direction for a DOE reactor-based fast neutron source that will operate as an open-access user facility.

It also authorizes DOE to enable the private sector to construct and operate privately-funded reactor prototypes at DOE sites. In addition, the bill requires DOE to present a transparent, strategic, ten-year plan for prioritizing nuclear R&D programs.

Cybersecurity threats detailed for global nuclear facilities

(NucNet) The global nuclear security system still has “major gaps” that prevent it from being truly comprehensive and effective, the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative says in its 2016 Index.

The index, which assesses nuclear materials security conditions in 24 countries with one kilogramme or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials, says there is no common set of international standards and best practices, there is no mechanism for holding states with lax security accountable, and the legal foundation for securing nuclear materials is neither complete nor universally observed.

In addition to assessing the risks posed by vulnerable nuclear materials and insufficient security policies in states that don’t have materials, the index assesses for the first time the potential risks to nuclear facilities posed by sabotage and cyberattack. It says cyberattacks are increasing and a growing number of states are exploring nuclear energy even though they lack the legal, regulatory, and security frameworks to ensure that their facilities are secure as well as safe.

Westinghouse Demonstrates Readiness For SMR Fuel Fabrication In UK

(NucNet) Westinghouse Electric Company’s Springfields facility in the UK has reached the requirements necessary to manufacture Westinghouse small modular reactor (SMR) fuel, Westinghouse said. This milestone is “a key first” for the UK’s SMR programme and an important part of Westinghouse’s proposed partnership with the UK government to deploy SMR technology.

Westinghouse Springfields achieved the milestone following a readiness assessment based upon fabrication data for two proprietary SMR fuel assemblies manufactured at the company’s Columbia fuel fabrication facility in the US state of South Carolina. Mick Gornall, managing director of Westinghouse Springfields, said manufacturing Westinghouse SMR fuel at Springfields will “secure the future of a strategic national asset” of nuclear fuel manufacturing capability.

Curtis-Wright ships reactor coolant pumps for AP1000s in China

(WNA) The first of four reactor coolant pumps for the initial AP1000 unit at the Haiyang site in China’s Shandong province has been transported by road from Curtiss-Wright’s manufacturing facility in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, to the port of Philadelphia ahead of shipment to China, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation announced yesterday. The first two such pumps for Sanmen 1 in Zhejiang province – expected in September to be the first AP1000 to start up – arrived on the site on 30 December.

TVO Announces Progress At Olkiluoto-3 EPR

(NucNet) Testing of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems has begun at Teollisuuden Voima’s (TVO) Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant with an application for an operating licence likely to be submitted in April, TVO said. The I&C systems will be used for operating, monitoring and controlling the 1,600-MW EPR unit. In December 2015 TVO said system commissioning of the plant is expected to begin in the spring of 2016 with regular electricity generation beginning in “more than three years. TVO said the estimated schedule came from plant supplier Areva-Siemens. Commissioning of the plant is about nine years behind schedule and costs are almost three times over budget.

Market Reform Essential For Nuclear In US, Says NEI

(NucNet) Market reform is essential to ensure that the reliability, environmental and economic benefits of nuclear power are not taken for granted, and that reactor operators are compensated for these attributes in the same way as other low-carbon sources, Alex Flint, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice-president for governmental affairs, said in an interview published on the NEI’s website.

Mr Flint said there has been “movement to address the issue”. He said at the national level, the NEI is working with the Edison Electric Institute and the Electric Power Supply Association to make officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency aware of the potential challenges to grid reliability and the administration’s clean air goals.

In 2015, FERC and a number of regional transmission organizations took significant steps to address flaws in electricity markets that fail to provide the price signals needed to support investment in new or existing nuclear power plants.

Mr Flint said, “Urged on by the NEI and a number of energy associations, FERC has begun a rulemaking to address price suppression and promises to address other issues in future. In an encouraging sign, Exelon Corporation cited positive regional reforms in deferring decisions on the potential closing of its Clinton nuclear station in Illinois and the Ginna nuclear station in New York.”

Late last year Entergy Corporation said it would close its Pilgrim-1 and Fitzpatrick reactors because of poor economic conditions for nuclear.

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Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Jan 18, 2016


Missed one…

Jan 15 French power group EDF and nuclear reactor maker Areva said they would take extra provisions totaling 1.05 billion euros ($1.15 billion) after the government hiked its estimate for the cost of a nuclear waste storage project.

Shares in EDF had sunk to all-time lows earlier this week after the country’s Andra nuclear waste agency warned storage costs could be higher than EDF’s estimates. The stock lost 4.5 percent this week, while Areva shares dropped 12 percent.

Dan Yurman's picture
Dan Yurman on Jan 18, 2016

Follow me on Twitter for breaking news  @djysrv   

BTW: This story keeps morphing as the price of the so-called repository keeps growing. Given that France reprocesses its spent fuel, the space needed for high level waste will be considerably less than if it had a once through cycle.  That means the cost will be lower too.

Anti-nuclear groups like to have it both ways – cite the high cost of spent fuel disposition and then also cry crocodile tears about the threat of not doing anything about it.

As for “extra provisions” keep in mind both EDF and Areva are French state owned corporations which makes this a budget issue for the government. It’s just a matter of moving money from one pocket to another.



Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jan 19, 2016


Thanks for putting this together… nice to see the recap in one place.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jan 19, 2016


Here is a URL about the Russian nuclear industry, which is by far the largest in the world with about $300 billion in orders, including reactors being built and not yet started.

In April 2015, Rosatom said it had contracts for 19 nuclear plants in nine countries, including those under construction (5).

In September, 2015, it said the total value of all export orders was $300 billion, excluding Egypt.

In December 2015, it said it had orders for 34 nuclear power reactors in 13 countries, at about $5 billion each to construct, and it was negotiating for more. 

The list is periodiccally updated.


Dan Yurman's picture
Dan Yurman on Jan 20, 2016

Thanks for the link. I follow WNA reports like many others.  

Cheryl Rofer, now retired from Los Alamos, has prepared an analysis asking the question of whether Rosatom is over-extended in terms of its commitments.

Rosatom’s financing of many nuclear projects became possible in an era where oil sold for $100/bbl. With the significant drop in price, down to $30/bb as of 1/20/16, Russia’s revenues from this source are reduced by two-thirds. Sooner or later these revenue shortfalls are going to impact Rosatom’s commitments to finance new reactors as part of its export program.

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