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Procurement trends and challenges: nuclear contracts to face greater scrutiny
Précis:  As more nuclear power plants are being planned and proposed, at the behest of governments looking to ensure that there is competitively priced carbon free energy available, the contractual process of building a nuclear plant is certain to face more scrutiny. Every nation who sanctions more nuclear plants, will have to put into place their own set of rules and regulations to govern how the complexities of building a nuclear plant is managed, and decide what the needs of the customers are. Take the UK, for example, which is looking to expand its nuclear fleet with 11 new reactors in the pipeline, which is estimated to  provide 15,600 Mwe of increased energy capacity. Approval has now been granted from the European Union for the Hinkley C nuclear plant, due to be built in Somerset, in the south west of the country. Image:  Premium`:&

None Dare Call It the Polar Vortex
Well, except for CBS News, which senses potential viewers for weather freak out news and is willing to turn “cold weather” into a brand – the way the Weather Channel has attempted to name snow storms despite no pressing need to do so. It's the return of the polar vortex that brought misery a year ago. A mass of whirling cold air will dip southward this weekend, sending the mercury plunging. But here’s the problem: the polar vortex is right where it should be. And that’s important, because the actual polar vortex has implications for the energy sphere which risks getting muddled if every cold blast is called a polar vortex. The actual polar vortex sent temperatures plummeting so fast last January that it froze natural gas lines and coal piles. During that time, when the prices of natural gas skyrocketed and coal facilities had to shut down, wind and especially nuclear energy kept the lights on. The event basically demonstrated the value of energy diversity, where

Go Nuclear and Go Now – The Inescapable Message of the IPCC
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 report on climate change is its fourth such  report this cycle. This report synthesizes the findings of the previous three working group reports. The result can be considered hair raising if this is the kind of thing that raises your hair (assuming you have any, of course.) Here’s the summary: Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. [italics theirs] What drives much of the response to the IPCC’s work is not the science, which

The China/U.S. Deal and Its Nuclear Portensions
The greenhouse gas deal reached by the United States and China promises to be exceptionally consequential. Reining in China’s emissions has always seemed a difficult, practically impossible goal because the huge country is very quickly trying to develop an industrial sector while providing electricity to a widely scattered and mammoth population. Despite a large commitment to nuclear energy, China has had a larger one to fossil fuels. The ghastly, and widely reported, air quality found in Beijing and other urban centers has been a result – and a symbol of China’s reluctance to change course. Now, it will change course. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China's emissions in the future — a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. To be more specific: China, whose emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, didn't commit to cut emissions by a specific amount. Rather, Xi set a targ

The bank that holds the key to the future of US nuclear
Précis:  The whole of the US nuclear industry could be hard-hit if the Export-Import Bank of the United States is axed following a nine-month stay of execution that finishes next year. The US nuclear industry has good reason to sympathise with Fred P Hochberg right now. Despite heading a federal agency that has helped prop up around 205,000 American jobs in its last financial year, Hochberg and his Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States could face the chop next year. And with it would go a large chunk of help for US nuclear exports. Image: 

Yeniseysky underground laboratory by 2024
Russia's national operator for radioactive waste management (NO RAO) aims to build by 2024 an underground research laboratory tasked with studying the possibility of final waste disposal of high-level radioactive waste in the Nizhnekansky Granite Massif in Krasnoyarsk.The country originally focused site selection on the Kola Peninsula. In 2003 Krasnokamensk in the Chita region 7000 km east of Moscow was suggested as the site for a major used fuel repository. Then in 2008 the Nizhnekansky Rock Mass in Krasnoyarsk Territory was put forward as a site for a national deep geological repository.Rosatom has said that phase one of the facility is to be designed to hold 20,000 tonnes of intermediate- and high-level wastes, which will be retrievable. Public hearings on the Nizhnekansky granite were held in July 2012. The Nizhnekansky Granite Massif was identified in the November 2013 Regional Energy Planning Scheme as a planned repository site.NO RAO announced the 2024 target date for the labora

From Verne to Rickover with the Nuclear Navy
Forbes’ takes on an interesting topic that flies under the radar of just about everyone, including many nuclear energy advocates: the Nuclear Navy. The Nuclear Navy has logged over 5,400 reactor years of accident-free operations and travelled over 130 million miles on nuclear energy, enough to circle the earth 3,200 times. The nuclear reactors can run for many, many years without refueling. They operate all over the world, sometimes in hostile environments, with no maintenance support except their own crew. These reactors can ramp up from zero to full power in minutes, as fast as any natural gas-fired plant. And a fair number of Nuclear Navy veterans find their way into the domestic industry (not to mention NEI). The Monticello (Minn.) Times features an interview with Thomas Shortell, training manager at Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. “When you think about rites of passage and academics, you’ve done it in the military,” Shortell said. “If someb

Russia's fast reactor project moves forward
The Volga Interregional Department for Supervision of Nuclear and Radiation Safety, a specialist commission of Russian regulator Rostechnadzor, has completed its checks of information submitted as part of the licence application for building a nuclear research facility with the multi-purpose fast neutron reactor, or MBIR by its Russian acronym. The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) submitted the application, its parent company Rosatom said yesterday. The regulatory inspection confirmed that NIIAR is "ready for the construction of the MBIR research reactor and the information submitted to Rostechnadzor for obtaining a construction licence is accurate and consistent with the actual status" of the project. Rospriprodnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources – which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment - approved the expert commission's conclusion to approve a construction license for MBIR. Co

The investment of the Russian side to the ITER project to make almost 8 billion roubles until 2016
Russian budget of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project (ITER) until the year 2016 is to make almost 8 billion roubles. Mr. Anatoly Krasilnikov, Head of the ITER-Russia project office, has informed the TASS accordingly today. “We have drafted an application to the RF Ministry of Finance at the level of 6,5 billion roubles, while today we are going to get about 4 billion roubles. We have signed a public contract for 3 years. In other words, the ITER budget in 2015 will make 3.99 billion roubles, and in 2016, the same amount. That is the money from the federal budget disbursed to Rosatom,” he said. According to the words of Vyacheslav Pershukov, ROSATOM Deputy Director General, in 2014 Russia’s industrial input to ITER was worth 5 billion roubles. “I cannot quote the annual amount since the work schedule is a floating one and depends on the volume of the equipment supply. The general funding volume is 9.1% of the ITER (about 15 billion Euros),” he noted.

Hinkley Point C verdict clears the way for new UK nuclear; opens possibilities in Europe
Précis:  The prospects for new nuclear plants in the UK have been given a boost with a European Commission approval of the Contract for Difference funding mechanism. While there are some organisations against the project, the CfD mechanism could open the door to new-build projects in Europe. EDF Energy’s plans for a new reactor in the UK have cleared a major hurdle with European Commission (EC) approval of the funding mechanism involved. The Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, west England, was dependent on EC acceptance of the UK government’s proposed Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. Image:  Premium`:  No Image Caption:  The Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, west England, was dependent on EC acceptance of the U

Kola 4 gets 25-year life extension
Rosenergoatom has reported that Kola 4 nuclear power plant has received a licence to continue operation for 25 years to 7 December 2039.It said that the life extension was unprecedented in the history of Russian nuclear power. "It shows that we've done a tremendous amount of work, and have done this work properly," said Kola NPP director Vasily Omelchuk.Rosenergoatom said that the application involved extensive work to assess the 'resource characteristics' of the equipment, consideration of replacement or modernization, and other activities to improve safety and reliability.The 440 MWe VVER V-213 reactor began commercial operation in December 1984, a decade after the first two V-230 units, and two years after the V-213-based unit 3.The station is based south of Murmansk on the shores of Lake Imandra in the extreme northwest of the country.Nuclear Engineering International

Insurance must match new demands of evolving nuclear sector
Précis:  Insuring a nuclear power plant is an entirely different prospect to creating an indemnity for most other buildings. As uncommon as serious accidents can be at nuclear plants, if something does go wrong, there are far reaching consequences. In terms of liability the obvious example is in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi Plant disaster, where the Tokyo Electric Power Company accepted the liability conditions that were laid out by the Japanese government. This included a new state supported organisation to expedite payments to those affected, according to the World Nuclear Association; by May this year payments had reached $38bn, which was divided between individuals and businesses. Image:  Primary Event:  6th Annual Nuclear Construction Summit Premium`: 

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