[ RadSafe ] Nuclear News - Areva clashes with Finnish utility over delays to new nuclear plant

Perle, Sandy sperle at mirion.com
Mon Jan 19 15:02:10 CST 2009


Areva clashes with Finnish utility over delays to new nuclear plant
Senators seek stimulus funds for nuclear cleanup
Bulgarians gather to protest for nuclear power
US and United Arab Emirates sign nuclear power agreement
Atomstroiexport revises Turkey nuclear tender bid
India says no private sector in nuclear power industry
Lawmaker supports nuclear energy
Canada, UK eye nuclear power deal with India
Bataan Plant Rehabilitation
Nuclear power makes an impact
Minister: Slovakia hopes to avoid restarting nuclear reactor
EDF, GDF Suez set for nuclear contract wins -paper  

Areva clashes with Finnish utility over delays to new nuclear plant

guardian.co.uk, Jan 14 - Areva, the French nuclear plant designer expected to be at the forefront of a British atomic power revival, has become embroiled in a war of words with a Finnish utility over delays at the site of Europe's first new nuclear station for 30 years.

The latest setback will worry ministers in London who are trying to convince sceptics that nuclear can deliver quickly and efficiently to meet the looming energy "crunch" after 2015.

Jarmo Tanhua, chief executive of Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO), the Finnish electricity provider, said he was "extremely disappointed" that Areva had told it that the Olkiluoto 3 facility was not going to be completed until 2012 - three years later than originally expected.

But he also attacked Areva and its German consortium partner Siemens for suggesting the embarrassing problems that have given valuable ammunition to the anti-nuclear lobby had been caused by the Finns.

"TVO is extremely disappointed that the consortium has not - regardless of its responsibility as turnkey supplier and its earlier promises - been able to complete the works on time or to mitigate its delays through effective acceleration measures," he said. "TVO totally rejects the consortium's accusations that TVO has any responsibility for the delay."

"The consortium incorrectly claims delays in document handling and approval, despite the fact that a large number of the documents it is required to prepare have still not been submitted for first inspection although the plant unit should almost be complete by now."

TVO has accepted for some time that the project was going to be blown off course but Areva said today that it could not be certain exactly when the station would be completed. Raising questions about whether the date could even be later than 2012, a spokesman said: "A major change in TVO's methods is required to set a definitive schedule for the project."

Industry figures with close contacts to Areva complained that the delays were being caused by the Finns taking 12 months to review vital safety documents rather than the three months that were agreed in the original contract.

This is one of a series of changes in the schedule that have shocked ministers and industrialists who want to see a new generation of atomic plants in Britain to meet an energy gap caused by old stations coming off line at a time when North Sea oil and gas is running out fast.

EDF, the French electricity provider that has been most vocal about its desire to build new plants in this country, has said it would like to have at least one facility working by 2017. EDF has been working closely with Areva, which has submitted for approval to the UK safety authorities a third generation of its European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR).

Olkiluoto 3 is a 1,600-megawatt EPR and will be the first third-generation plant in the world. Work began on the project in 2005, when it was expected to take four years to complete. TVO announced in August 2007 that delays in construction had likely pushed the completion date into 2011. In December 2007 the company said that construction of the reactor would not be completed until summer 2011 and in October last year it predicted commissioning would not begin till 2012.

Senators seek stimulus funds for nuclear cleanup

(AP) Jan 19 - Miles of tainted groundwater. Dozens of burial sites, silently brimming with dangerous radioactive waste. Weapons-grade plutonium still to be shipped off the nation's most contaminated nuclear site. 

The Hanford nuclear reservation in southeast Washington presents no shortage of work toward cleaning up the site, work that is expected to continue for decades, but managers say they will miss 23 deadlines this year because budgeted funds were insufficient 

That's one reason senators whose districts include Department of Energy sites like Hanford are pushing for stimulus money to rejuvenate local economies with cleanup work and, they hope, provide freshly-scrubbed land for industrial development. 

"This is exactly the kind of thing a stimulus package should be composed of," said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. 

Spending more and completing cleanups faster would enable the government to decrease the "footprint" or overall size of each site, releasing more property for development, according to an Energy Department proposal for the stimulus package. 

The 586-square-mile Hanford reservation is one of dozens of sites created nationwide to build the first atomic bombs during World War II and nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Other major sites are in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho and other states. 

Cleanup at the Idaho National Laboratory, unlike many other sites, is generally on schedule and in some areas ahead of schedule. Crapo said he doesn't generally support stimulus packages, and he's not certain he'll support the bill when it goes to a Senate vote, but he still signed the letter seeking more nuclear cleanup funds. 

"If we had an entire stimulus package that had these kinds of worthy projects in it, it would be a lot easier to justify a yes vote," Crapo said. 

Others signing the letter include Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Tom Udall, D-N.M. 

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., also supports boosting cleanup spending nationally by $6 billion. 

The federal government retains ownership of the properties, most of them highly contaminated and often near major waterways, threatening public health and the environment. Since the mid-1990s, the Energy Department has spent $7.3 billion to $5.5 billion on environmental cleanup nationally each year. 

The longer the cleanup drags on, the more technically challenging and expensive it gets, said Susan Gordon, director of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability in Washington D.C. 

"If we're supposed to do big public works projects, environmental cleanup seems to me would fit right into that," she said. "All of the sites are Superfund sites, so they're supposed to be cleaned up." 

Most also are governed under cleanup compacts with regulators, generally either the Environmental Protection Agency, state agencies or both, but many deadlines are being missed. 

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire sued the federal government last month for failing to meet deadlines in the Hanford compact. 

At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in northern California, EPA fined the Energy Department $105,000 for failing to clean up groundwater contaminated by hazardous chemicals, plus $10,000 a week until the department resumes the effort. 

"In most cases, these violations result from a lack of adequate funding, causing milestones to be missed, cleanup schedules to be delayed and commitments to local communities, regulators and states to fall by the wayside," several senators wrote in a letter to leaders on the appropriations committee. 

A House stimulus bill released last week includes $500 million for such cleanup. Senators in states with significant cleanup responsibilities are pushing for $6 billion over four years, $1.5 billion a year. 

Hanford, where overall cleanup costs are expected to top $50 billion, gets about $2 billion of the Energy Department's total cleanup budget annually. 

Some work could be accelerated with additional money, said David Brockman, manager of the agency's Richland operations office, which oversees half of the Hanford cleanup. He cited work to pump-and-treat contaminated groundwater, cleanup of two aging pools that once contained spent nuclear fuel and efforts to retrieve highly radioactive waste from the site's central plateau. 

Cleanup of the plateau, which holds some of the most dangerous waste, has slowed because it is farther from Columbia River, the principal waterway in the Pacific Northwest. 

"We could put more money to really good work," Brockman said. "We're ready to roll. We'd just have to hire the people." 

Bulgarians gather to protest for nuclear power

(Bellona On-Line) In a new twist on nuclear protests, a 10,000 strong procession gathered yesterday in Bulgaria's capital of Sofia to protest for the reopening of the country's Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant's reactor units No. 3 and 4, Bulgarian new agencies reported. 

The event was organized by the Napred ("Forward") Movement and supported by Bulgaria's largest trade unions, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and Podkrepa Labour Confederation, said Radio Bulgaria's web site. 

At the same time the pro-nuclear group gathered in front of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Sofia Echo's web site reported, a protest against re-starting the reactors, led primarily by students, was held outside Bulgaria's parliament building. 

Yet, while activists from student and anti-nuclear groups went largely ignored by officials and media, the pro-nuclear protestors received a warm welcome from Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev. 

Bulgarian television stations showed Stanishev receiving a delegation of the Napred protesters in his office, where he told them what the Government was doing to cope with the energy crisis, Sofia Echo reported. 

Representatives of the Napred Movement told pro-nuclear demonstrators that the reactor units had to be reopened not only because of the economic crisis and the current gas supply shortage, but also because Bulgaria had been treated "unjustly badly."

US and United Arab Emirates sign nuclear power agreement

(Bellona On-Line) Arab nations vie for nuclear power, leading to jitters over Middle Eastern A-bombs The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took a major step today, with the help of the United States, towards becoming the first Arab country to acquire a nuclear capability in a move that could prompt other states to seek to join the nuclear club, altering the balance of the power in the region, news agencies reported. 
The UAE says it is seeking a nuclear programme for the generation of energy, not to produce an atomic weapon. But other Arab countries, if they build reactors, might be more likely to make the switch from civilian to military nuclear use.

The UAE embassy in Washington confirmed to the Guardian that out-going US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, signed a nuclear cooperation pact with her UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayid Al Nahyan, at a ceremony at the state department.

The pact had been repeatedly delayed because of protests by members of US Congress that it could be a dangerous acceleration of nuclear proliferation, adding to the volatility in the region. The nuclear pact is one of the last acts of the Bush Administration - which leaves office Tuesday - taken in strong defiance of Congress. 

The deal will go to Barack Obama to sign off on. His team has not yet expressed a view on it.

Arab countries having reactors within the next decade would mean stockpiles of nuclear material accumulating in the region. One estimate is there would be enough to build between 1,000 and 2,000 nuclear bombs, the Guardian said. 

Israel is the only state in the Middle East with a nuclear weapons capability, though it publicly refuses to confirm this. Iran is suspected by the US, Britain and other countries of also seeking a nuclear weapons capability, though it claims it is only interested in developing nuclear power to meet its energy needs.

Atomstroiexport revises Turkey nuclear tender bid
Reuters - Jan 19 - Russia's Atomstroiexport, the only bidder in a tender to build Turkey's first nuclear plant, has revised its bid after initially offering to sell power at three times the current rate, Turkey's Energy Minister said.

Energy Minister Himli Guler told reporters on Monday that state power company Tetas was preparing a report on the revised offer from Atomstroiexport, which won the nuclear power licence tender with Turkish partner Park Teknik and Russia's Inter Rao <IRAO.MM>

Details of the new bid were not announced.

Atomstroiexport had offered to sell power at an average price of $0.2116 per kilowatt hour, Yasar Cakmak, head of state power company Tetas, told a news conference earlier in the day.

The average wholesale price in Turkey is about $0.079 per kilowatt hour. Atomstroiexport's bid would include covering its construction costs and a forecast for power prices over the life of the station, which could cost as much as $8 billion to build.

Turkey wants to build three nuclear plants to cover about 5 percent of the country's electricity needs and cut its reliance on energy imports. Its demand has been growing at a rate second only to China's.

Environmentalists and some economists say nuclear power is too expensive and could create health hazards in a country crisscrossed by earthquake faultlines.

The government took nearly three months to approve the Atomstroiexport bid after no other companies submitted bids in the September tender. It has pledged to revamp a nuclear-tender law to attract more interest before it holds other tenders.

Guler also said the government was preparing draft legislation that would allow for a second nuclear tender for a site along Turkey's Black Sea coast in the north.

Atomstroiexport's licence is to build a power station on Turkey's southern, Mediterranean coast that will have a capacity of about 3,000 to 5,000 megawatts.

India says no private sector in nuclear power industry

Calcutta News.Net JAN 19 - Hailing India as an 'El Dorado' for nuclear business, the government Monday ruled out the participation of the private sector in the country's burgeoning civil nuclear industry for at least five years.

Announcing an ambitious plan to expand atomic power generation to 50,000 MW by 2040, the government also underlined that India would not only be an importer of nuclear equipment but could also be an exporter of fast-breeder and thorium-based reactors.

'The first phase of the expansion of nuclear power will be entirely in the public sector,' Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh said here at a meeting aimed at exploring nuclear business opportunities between India and Britain.

'Private business investment in nuclear business is not on our radar screen. There is no room for participation of private sector in this area now,' Ramesh said.

The decision to confine nuclear power generation to public sector, Ramesh explained, has been taken in view of environmental reasons and safety and strategic considerations.

>From an environment point of view, the expansion of civil nuclear energy is necessary, he said, while adding that India would have to readjust its energy consumption with its voluntary obligations to cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

Ramesh, however, did not shut the door for private players in nuclear industry in the future, but made it clear it won't be in the next five years. 'Perhaps another five or six years down the road, we will talk to private companies,' he said.

With British Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Peter Mandelson at his side, Ramesh said India was the 'great El Dorado of nuclear business' as everyone with nuclear expertise was making a beeline for it.

Stressing that it would be a two-way traffic in atomic trade, Ramesh said that India would be at the cutting-edge of technology with its expertise in fast-breeder reactors and advanced thorium reactors.

Mandelson is visiting India with a team of nearly 100 top business honchos, including top executives associated with the nuclear industry.

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) will formally approve the first joint venture between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Ramesh said.

This would be the first special vehicle agreement set up for the expansion of nuclear power, Ramesh said.

NPCIL will hold 51 percent stake in the joint venture and NTPC the balance.

The minister also unveiled an ambitious plan to expand nuclear power generation from 4,200 MW to 20,000 MW by 2020. It would be scaled up to 50,000 MW by 2050.

Out of 20,000 MW, indigenous heavy water reactors would contribute 10,000 MW and plutonium-based reactors will contribute 2,000 MW.

Around 8,000 MW would be generated through imported reactors. Discussions are going on between nuclear companies from the US, France and Russia, the three countries which have already signed nuclear pacts with India, and NPCIL, he said.

India is expected to sign a civil nuclear partnership agreement with Kazakhstan later this week, the minister said.

Lawmaker supports nuclear energy

The Daily Sentinel - As state lawmakers debate how to balance the development of natural gas and cleaner renewable energy resources, one Eastern Plains leader wants to steer the conversation toward nuclear power.

In an effort to foster the nuclear debate, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said he plans to run legislation later this year to create a nuclear energy commission to explore how feasible it would be to jump-start nuclear development.

"I think it's time, with all the talk of energy independence and high energy prices, that we have a conversation about nuclear power," Gardner said.

He said the commission would examine state and federal regulations and explore what reform would be necessary to start nuclear development.

Gardner said the commission then would work with Colorado's counties to locate sites for possible nuclear power plants.

"It's a way to create an environmentally friendly energy source that we can do right now," Gardner said.

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said Gardner's approach is "a sensible first step" in exploring the possibility of nuclear power in Colorado.

"I think the conversation needs to be had, and it should start in seeking out communities that might want nuclear generation in their proximity. ... I think it makes good sense to do a statewide vetting process and see who is eager to get on board," Penry said.

Environmental advocates, however, lambasted Gardner's bill as unnecessary in light of Colorado's abundant, cheap, renewable-energy sources.

"The cost of nuclear power is substantially higher than solar or wind right now," said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado.

Hay said the uranium mining required to produce nuclear energy would have dire effects on Colorado's environment.

Even if Gardner's bill weathers its critics, it remains unclear whether the governor will give Gardner's legislation a glowing review.

During a Monday stop in Grand Junction, Gov. Bill Ritter said he thinks nuclear energy should be a part of Colorado's and the nation's energy future. 

"It has to be a part of it," Ritter said. "It's carbon-free."

Ritter added, however, he has concerns about what to do with spent nuclear fuel.

Gardner said he expects to introduce his bill in early February.

Canada, UK eye nuclear power deal with India

Economic Times - NEW DELHI: After the US, it is the Canadians and British who are eyeing nuclear power deals in India. Officials from the nuclear power industry of the United Kingdom and Canada will be here from Monday to talks on the subject. 

The two teams are being led by high-profile ministers - British secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform Peter Mandelson and Canadian minister of international Trade Stockwell Day. 

The UK, where no new plants have been built in the past two decades despite 20 per cent of the country's electricity being generated from nuclear power, has changed its policy recently and is planning more plants. Britain needs to import reactors from France, US or Russia. 

The British delegation includes officials from the Nuclear Industry Association, the umbrella group for the industry, Rolls Royce Nuclear, Urenco Enrichment Co, Thompson Valves, Weir Power, as well as representatives from allied academic and legal fields. The Canadian delegation includes officials from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, nuclear reactor designers, Cameco Corp which is uranium supplier and SNC-Lavalin Nuclear, a nuclear engineering firm. 

India's cooperation with Canada had ended after the first nuclear test in 1974 when it was accused of taking plutonium from the Cirus reactor that it had got from Canada under the "atoms for peace" programme. 

However, New Delhi maintained that this was not true. Canada has supported the Indo-US nuclear deal and helped in passing the India-specific safeguards agreement at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

India's 30-year nuclear isolation ended with the signing of the India-US nuclear deal and the change in guidelines for trade with India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). 

US electronics giant Westinghouse and Indian construction firm Larsen & Toubro signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday to set up a joint venture to build nuclear reactors in India. India also plans to award contracts to companies from France and Russia. By 2030, India plans to increase its nuclear capacity 15-fold, to 63,000 megawatts, at an estimated cost of $80 billion

Nuclear project gets new lease on life 

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:39:00 01/18/2009

MANILA, Philippines-(Philippine Daily Inquirer) A team from Korea Electric Power Corp. is studying the feasibility of rehabilitating the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, bringing the country one step closer to delving into nuclear power generation.

National Power Corp. president Froilan Tampinco said the Kepco technical team came to visit the Morong-based BNPP last week to inspect the plant.

Meetings were also held with Napocor officials.

Napocor and Kepco last month signed a memorandum of understanding for the conduct of a feasibility study on the possible refiring of the mothballed power facility.

Tampinco said the MOU was "nonexclusive, nonbinding and at no cost to government."

"The effort does not prevent any other party who might be interested from coming in and doing their own study. We also welcome that," he said in a briefing.

He admitted that, at this point, the country still had a long way to go before it actually produces nuclear power.

"The basic reality we are faced with, after the presentation of the Kepco technical team, is that in order to pursue an effective nuclear power program, there's got to be an extensive and comprehensive infrastructure in place," he said.

He further said Congress would also have a hand in the overall formulation of policies with regard to nuclear power development.

The government needs at least $800 million to jump-start its foray into nuclear power generation, based on initial estimates by the eight-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation that visited the country in January last year.

Nuclear power makes an impact
ISLAMABAD: (Gulf Times) In a landmark achievement, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has upgraded the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (Chashnup-1), increasing the electricity generation capacity from 290 days to 325 days in a year, official sources said yesterday. 
Nuclear scientists and experts of the PAEC achieved this remarkable success after making indigenous efforts.  They used the same technology that they had used in the second nuclear power plant at Chashma, Chashnupp-2, of the same generation capacity - 325 MWs. The upgraded Chashnupp-1 has already started testing generation of 25 MW to catering its auxiliary needs while the plant will be run on 100% capacity from June 21. 
Then, the power-starved Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) will be able to include the much-awaited 300 MW nuclear power in its system, bringing the existing power deficit in the country from 1,700 MW to 1,400 MW, the sources said. "The Chashma nuclear power is important as 300 MW of electricity will be added to the Pepco output round the clock," an official said.
The nuclear plant has been closed for the last five months because of annual maintenance and is scheduled to start generating nuclear power from today.  Pepco spokesman Tahir Cheema said the country's installed power capacity stands at 17,500 MW of which hydrogenation capacity is 6,500 MW.

Minister: Slovakia hopes to avoid restarting nuclear reactor

PRAGUE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Slovakia may abandon plans to restart a Soviet-era nuclear reactor that had drawn criticism from the European Union, a government official said on Sunday.

Bratislava decided to restart the reactor and declared a state of emergency after its flow of Russian gas stopped this month, cutting supplies to major industries and gas-powered electricity facilities, due to a dispute with Ukraine.

The government said the Jaslovske Bohunice reactor, seen by neighbouring Austria as unsafe, had to be back put into operation to maintain power supplies.  

The plant was closed last year in line with Slovakia's EU accession treaty, and the European Commission had warned that legal action could follow if it were restarted.

But on Tuesday, Slovakia delayed its decision on firing up the 440 megawatt reactor and now it looks like the plan may be abandoned altogether.

"Slovakia has not started it so far because we had managed ... to stabilise our grid," Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek told Czech TV.

"I hope to have a chance to say next week that (the reactor at) Jaslovske Bohunice (nuclear plant) is definitely closed." 

Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Friday the cabinet would cancel curbs on domestic gas supplies after securing alternative deliveries of gas through a pipeline by-passing Ukraine.

The prime ministers of Ukraine and Russia said on Sunday they had reached an outline deal to restore disrupted gas supplies, while the European Union said it was waiting to see gas actually flowing to Europe.

EDF, GDF Suez set for nuclear contract wins -paper  
PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The French government is close to a decision giving utilities EDF and GDF Suez contracts to build and operate new-generation EPR nuclear reactors, Le Journal du Dimanche reported. 
The paper said EDF was well-placed to win a contract for the second European Pressurised Reactor while GDF Suez was likely to be chosen for a third EPR plant.

Officials at the French President's Elysee department could not be immediately reached for comment on the report.

Sander C. Perle 
Mirion Technologies
Dosimetry Services Division 
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614
+1 (949) 296-2306 (Office)
+1 (949) 296-1144 (Fax)
Mirion Technologies: http://www.mirion.com/ 

More information about the RadSafe mailing list