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Hungary says EU nuclear fuel talks do not block plant expansion
Hungary expects to wrap up talks with the European Union soon about a fuel supply deal for the country's Paks nuclear plant, the government said on Friday, adding that the EU's concerns do not block a planned expansion of the facility.Hungary last year granted Russia's Rosatom a project to build two nuclear power blocks of 1,200 megawatts each at its Paks power plant, financed partly by a favourably priced Russian loan worth 10 billion euros ($10.6 billion).The deal drew criticism that Hungary was pulling closer to Russia at a time when the EU was putting pressure on Moscow to defuse a deepening conflict with Ukraine.The government said the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) - charged with nuclear fuel supply across the EU - had sought changes to the Paks supply deal, asking that players other than Russians be allowed to ship fuel to the plant in the future."Ongoing talks about addressing these observations, however, do not block the project," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement,

Public consultations boost decommissioning project support across US
Précis:  Seventeen nuclear plants across the United States are undergoing decommissioning. Polls indicate that greater engagement between nuclear operators and state-wide communities are systematically boosting greater support for decommissioning projects across the US. Additional research by K. Steiner-Dicks Increasing community involvement The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is clear that there should be a strong approach to having a discourse with the public, promoting community involvement through meetings. http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/decommissioning/power-reactor/ Image:  Primary Event:  6th Annual Nuclear Decommissioning Conference Europe Premium`:  No Image Caption: 

How Germany Turned Its Energy Policy Into Folly
In an article about the counterintuitive nature of closing nuclear facilities, this bit stuck out: Nuclear plants would likely be replaced by natural gas or (shudder) coal plants, which would drive up carbon dioxide emissions. It’s happening in Germany, where the government decided to abandon nuclear power after the March 2011 catastrophe at Fukushima. In Vermont, where a 600-megawatt plant closed in December, carbon-free nuclear power is being replaced largely by fossil-powered electricity from the grid. Germany, ah, Deutschland. We had a good run. At its height, nuclear energy supplied about 20 percent of the country’s electricity – in the same range as in the United States - but as the article indicates, the accident in Japan flipped Prime Minister Angela Merkel from support to opposition for nuclear energy and she decided to close the remaining plants by 2022. At the same time, Germany would change over to all, or nearly all, renewable energy. Germany tends to be an a

Japan returns to nuclear to get economy back on track
Précis:  As part of the Strategic Energy Plan of Japan, the country’s government has decided to include nuclear as one of four base load energy sources. While recent polls say that the majority of those surveyed are still concerned over plant safety, consumers and industry are struggling to meet the escalated costs associated with alternative, non-nuclear energy sources. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), the change in energy balance in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi plant and tsunami disaster has been extreme. In 2010, nuclear accounted for 27% of Japan’s energy source, this was reduced to just 1% in 2013, after the Fukushima disaster at the Daiichi plant. Premium`:  No read more

Russia completes design of underground radwaste research laboratory
Russia's national operator for radioactive waste management (NO RAO) has completed the design documents for an underground research laboratory to study the feasibility of final disposal of solid high-level radioactive waste (HLW) and solid medium-level long-lived wastes in the Nizhnekansky granitoid rock massif in Zheleznogorsk. The waste would be stored at a depth of 450-525 m.NO RAO is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in March 2012 for handling all nuclear waste materials and final disposal of radioactive waste. Its functions and tariffs are set by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its branches are at Zheleznogorsk, which is in Krasnoyarsk, Seversk in Tomsk, Dimitrovgrad in Ulyanovsk and Novouralsk in Sverdlovsk.NO RAO's parent company, state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is now studying the documents, NO RAO deputy director Denis Egorov said in a statement, following a meeting of Rosatom's scientific and technical council on the final stage of the nuclear fuel cycle.Egorov

Do Environmental Sciences Programs Have a Bias Against Nuclear Energy?
What's on your reading list?Over the course of the history of this blog, I've often written posts slugged, "Another Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy." In recent years, I've gotten out of the habit, given that when you see prominent names like James Hansen, Stuart Brand and Bill Gates all speak on behalf of the technology, that headline ought not to be a surprise any longer.But given some reading I did earlier today, perhaps that shouldn't be the case. If the findings of a new study are accurate, academia is doing its level best to make sure the environmental professionals of tomorrow are exposed only to a narrow point of view that excludes nuclear energy from the global solutions toolbox.Over at The Conversation, Matthew Nisbet, a professor of communications at Northeastern University, tells the story of Jacqueline Ho, an environmental studies graduate who recently conducted a study into how major colleges and university teach environmental issues. What did she find?

Rosenergoatom plans tender for decommissioning feasibility study
Rosenergoatom plans to launch tender at the end of April to conduct a feasibility study for preparing nine reactors for decommissioning between 2016 and 2020. A subsidiary of Rosatom, Rosenergoatom operates all of Russia's civilian nuclear power plants. The aim of the study is to determine the work required in the most cost-effective manner to decommission Beloyarsk units 1 and 2, Bilibino units 1-4, Leningrad 1 and 2 and Novovoronezh unit 3. Cost calculations should include the management of used nuclear fuel, Rosenergoatom said. The initial maximum contract value is RUB 7.622 billion ($132 million). The tender is scheduled for 30 April and applications to take part are due by 9 April. All the units are light water graphite reactors, apart from Novovoronezh 3, which is a pressurised water reactor. Beloyarsk 1 is a 108 MWe reactor that was commissioned and withdrawn from service in 1964 and 1983, respectively. Unit 2 is a 160 MWe reactor that was commissioned

Decommissioning sector calls for robust costing models
Précis:  While each decommissioning site’s costs and requirements are bespoke, the costing models should be more flexible and universal so that tenders can be more competitive and stakeholders can budget appropriately. Additional research by K. Steiner-Dicks The estate of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the United Kingdom accounts for £3.2bn annually in decommissioning spend, with analysts estimating the overall value of the nuclear sub-sector at £18bn. And while the UK has the most established decommissioning practice and methodologies, its ability to develop cost-estimation models remains a work in progress (see survey results below). Image:  Premium`:  No Image Caption:  Enkom Consulting Managing Director and

Why Should You Attend the 2015 Nuclear Energy Assembly?
Matt WaldThe following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Matt joined us in April after 38 years at The New York Times.Anybody who is anybody, was anybody or will be anybody in the nuclear world is likely to turn up at the Nuclear Energy Assembly. Engineers, executives, policy makers, vendors and experts from home and abroad will give presentations or listen to them, or engage in a lot of off-the-floor side conversations about what is going on in the industry, and how it fits into the larger energy world. Many of the speakers come from outside the industry.And there will be the annual informal competition where industry veterans try to stump each other with acronyms.Reactors are coming (Watts Bar 2, Vogtle and Summer) and going (Vermont Yankee, San Onofre and Kewaunee) and there is likely to be something interesting to be heard about all of them. The future – small modular reactors, fast reactors, and new technologie

What Nuclear Plenitude Means Economically
Nuclear energy plants are financial boons in all kinds of ways – both directly, in terms of the people they hire and their contribution to the tax base; and indirectly, through their support of the supply chain and all the businesses that benefit from having a nuclear energy plant in their midst. That’s obvious enough and true of almost any large physical plant.There’s another economic consideration, too, that one nuclear reactor can produce a lot of new electricity. Sometimes, a new reactor will take the place of an older electricity generator – a coal plant here, a gas works there – but sometimes, more is just more.With the construction of base-load nuclear plants at the Summer Nuclear Station, South Carolina will have ample electric capacity to attract more companies like Bridgestone and BMW while also protecting the environment. This combination will put South Carolina in the driver’s seat for an expanding economy in the years ahead.Op-ed writer Mel Bruckner points out

US plants show record efficiency in extreme weather conditions
Précis:  Nuclear power is proving its value and success in difficult weather conditions. Data compiled by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has revealed that in 2014, US nuclear power plants were running at record high efficiency rates, with a 91.7% average capacity rating. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) was able to arrive at the figures, having reviewed the capacity rates of 100 plants, producing electricity across 31 states. This information was submitted to the NEI by plant operators. 2014’s results now beat the previous record, which was recorded in 2007, by a slender one tenth of a percentage point. The total amount of electricity that was generated through nuclear energy amounted to 798.4 billion kilowatt-hours, the sixth highest since NEI records began. Image:  Premium`:  No

Russia and Vietnam may use their national currencies in the settlement of accounts for the Ninh Thuan-1 NPP project
Russia and Vietnam may exclude the US dollar and use their national currencies in the settlement of accounts for the Ninh Thuan-1 nuclear power plant project.Russia's VTB Bank and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam on 7 April signed an agreement that would enable establishment of payments in rubles and dongs.World Nuclear News

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