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Bechtel-Westinghouse: the new model for decommissioning?
Précis:  An alliance with Bechtel for US decommissioning is something of a return of nuclear power prowess for Westinghouse. But it is also likely a sign of things to come for the industry. Image:  Primary Event:  6th Annual Nuclear Decommissioning Conference Europe Premium`:  No Image Caption:  Bechtel announced a partnership with Westinghouse Electric Company to provide decontamination and decommissioning services for nuclear power plants throughout the United States. read more

NRC RIC is a Must Attend Event
Steven KraftThe following is a guest post by Steven Kraft, senior technical advisor at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).For 26 years, at the close of each NRC Regulatory Information Conference (RIC), I have blocked my calendar for the following year’s RIC. The RIC (click here for this week’s agenda) has proven to be the most important and most interesting U.S. nuclear conference on the annual calendar and always worth the time invested. Participants learn from all the viewpoints presented. It is refreshing to see the deep technical commitment to safety expressed by all participants regardless of where they stand on any regulatory issue.Beginning tomorrow morning, the 27th edition of the RIC will bring to together all four NRC Commissioners and over 2,000 attendees in a professional yet convivial atmosphere to openly discuss civilian nuclear regulatory issues in both the formal sessions and informal hallway discussions.The highlight of the conference is always the commissioners

Aywa in Egypt, Nein in Germany
One of the tasks nuclear energy plants could easily do is desalination. Desalination, the process of removing salt from water to make it drinkable (potable, that is), is especially important in more arid lands – say, for example, California: The massive project, in Carlsbad, teems with nearly 500 workers in yellow hard hats. When it’s done next year, it will take in more than 100 million gallons of Pacific Ocean water daily and produce 54 million gallons of fresh, drinkable water. While this adds up to just 10 percent of the county’s [San Diego]water delivery needs, it will, crucially, be reliable and drought-proof—a hedge against potentially worse times ahead. In this case, the Carlsbad facility is co-located with the Encina natural gas plant, which will supply it with power. There are some 16,000 desalination facilities around the world, many of them co-located with gas and coal plants. The Technology Review article linked above provides a lot of useful data on the subj

SMRs: private investors call for track record and big government orders
Précis:  The latest United States budget has earmarked $907.6m for nuclear energy research and development in advanced reactor and fuel cycle technologies as well as small modular reactor licensing technical support. But is it enough to attract private sector investment? Secretary Moniz says the FY16 budget request will enable the transition to a “low-carbon secure energy future through the development of low-cost all-of-the-above energy technologies.” The US Department of Energy has placed its money where its mouth is when it comes to SMRs. As proven with their decision in May last year, to awardNuScalewith $217m to facilitate their development of modular reactors. Image:  Primary Event:  5th Annual Small Modular Reactors Summit Premium`: 

The Taming of the Drones
The French have lately been plagued by drone aircraft flying over nuclear energy facilities – and a plague it is, too, for a country that has suffered a traumatic terrorist attack recently. We’ll let the French deal with the issue with their usual je ne sais quoi, as we’re sure they will. But the various stories did make me wonder about the American response – not to the French situation, but to the prospect of drones buzzing American facilities. As far as I know, this hasn’t happened – and I think we would know – but it’s fair to say that it would make people very nervous, just as it has done in France. Still, what one can do is maintain a little perspective. I was struck in this regard by comments by British engineer John Large because of its maximalist idiocy: According to Large, of consulting engineers Large & Associates, based in London, who was commissioned by Greenpeace France to evaluate and report on the spate of flyovers, the “unacceptable” risk

Steam generator on route to second Leningrad II unit
The first of four steam generators destined for the second unit of the Leningrad II nuclear power plant in western Russia has begun its journey from the manufacturing plant near Moscow.The steam generator - measuring almost 15 metres in length and weighing some 430 tonnes - was manufactured by Atomenergomash (AEM) subsidiary ZIO-Podolsk. The steam generator will initially be moved by rail from ZIO-Podolsk's plant to the city of Serpukhov, about 100km south of Moscow, and then loaded onto a barge for its journey to Sosnovy Bor in Leningrad Oblast.Leningrad Phase II is a new nuclear power plant adjacent to the existing Leningrad nuclear plant site. Two 1200 MWe AES-2006 design units are being built there, which should begin operation in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Two further AES-2006 units are planned for the site. Each AES-2006 unit will employ four steam generators.Steam generators are used in pressurized water reactors to transfer heat from the reactor's primary coolant circuit to

Rejecting Germany’s Dark Nuclear Future
Europe is getting itself into a real tizzy over nuclear energy, because the strongest country in the European Union, Germany, is dead set against it and the other 27 members of the union – well, not so much. Using taxpayers' money to fund nuclear power is "absolutely out of the question", German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, in an apparent swipe at British plans to finance new atomic generation. The French company EDF is building the new reactor at Britain’s Hinkley Point site. The EU voted state aid for the project last year and the Germans are now threatening a law suit to stop it. I’m not entirely sure who they’re suing or why exactly – and, frankly, I’m not interested enough to find out. But what is interesting – and more relevant to us over here – is the behavior of other EU countries in light of this kerfluffle.. Representing member states that support nuclear power, Romania's Energy Minister Andrei Gerea has written to Euro

Russia expects to ramp up to full power unit 4 of Beloyarsk NPP in the second half of 2015
Russia expects to ramp up to full power unit 4 of its Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, a 789 MWe fast-neutron reactor of the BN-800 design, in the second half of this year, Rosenergoatom general director Evgeniy Romanov told local media on 28 February. The reactor was placed at the minimum controlled power level in June last year.World Nuclear News

Russia develops mobile unit for low-level waste processing
Atomenergomash, the equipment manufacturing and engineering division of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said in a statement yesterday that one its subsidiaries had completed the development and manufacture of the equipment and containers of a mobile unit designed to process LLW for its customer RosRAO.Moscow-based RosRAO, another Rosatom subsidiary, began operations in 2009 for the management of used nuclear fuel, non-nuclear radioactive waste, and decommissioning services, especially of submarines. Then in 2011, NO RAO was created to consolidate these activities as the national manager of Russia's used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. RosRAO aims to be a global provider of back-end fuel cycle services. Sergey Semin, head of project design and technology at RosRAO, said that LLW accounts for most of the volume of waste connected to the decommissioning of Russia's nuclear facilities. RosRAO was thus tasked with finding a way to reduce the volume of LLW. The results of the unit's o

Polar crane tested at Novovoronezh II
Novovoronezh II is the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 design incorporating a Gidropress-designed pressurized water reactor, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000. Construction of Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2, also known as Novovoronezh units 6 and 7, began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned.The 360-tonne crane is located under the containment dome on a trolley that moves 360° on a circular rail over the reactor shaft, enabling transport operations anywhere in the central hall of the reactor building, Rosenergoatom said. It can be used for installing large equipment, such as the reactor vessel and steam generators, as well as during maintenance work and the transportation of fuel.Rosenergoatom, the nuclear power plant operating subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said on 29 January it had commissioned the turbine build

Likely options for the UK Small Modular Reactor market
Précis:  Attention SMR designers: the UK could be a significant market. We look at plausible timeframes for the UK to regain its nuclear power heritage with the deployment of SMRs. The leafy grounds of Silwood Park manor, near Ascot in the UK, hide a secret for those who know where to look. Housed in a nondescript building is a tiny nuclear reactor belonging to Silwood Park’s owner, Imperial College. The research and training reactor was shut down in 2008, but serves as a reminder that the UK has a long history in the development and operation of small nuclear plants. And there are signs the country could move to reclaim its heritage. Image:  Primary Event:  5th Annual Small Modular Reactors Summit Premium`:  No

Military decommissioning: a civil contractor opportunity?
Précis:  As civil nuclear decommissioning facilities and contractors grow in experience and countries such as the US and UK look to decommission military nuclear waste as soon as possible there is a business opportunity for those that meet the requirements. It was good news for Scotland in November of last year when the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) gave Rosyth Dockyard permission to decommission seven nuclear submarines. The ONR confirmed the 12-year project would create around 80 new jobs, roughly a 5% increase in employment for the area. Military decommissioning thus looks likely to be a significant potential source of work, in Scotland at least. Image:  Primary Event:  6th Annual Nuclear Decommissioning Conference Europe Premium`: 

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