Tagged: France

Foundation in place for Iter Tokamak

The concrete basemat has been completed for the Tokamak complex of the Iter fusion reactor project at Cadarache in southern France.

ITER Tokamak floor final pour 460

Pouring of the concrete for the central circular section marks the completion of the Tokamak complex slab (Image: Iter Organization) 

The 12-hour operation to pour concrete for the last of the 15 segments that make up the Tokamak complex basemat (the B2 slab) was completed at 6.00pm on 27 August. The pouring of concrete for the basemat started last December.

The B2 slab covers an area of 9600 square metres and comprises 14,000 cubic metres of concrete, 3600 tonnes of rebar and 2500 embedded plates. It will support some 400,000 tonnes of building and equipment, including the 23,000-tonne Iter Tokamak.

The slab is a ‘floating’ foundation: installed on seismic columns, it has a capacity for lateral movement of up to 10cm in any direction. A gap of some 1.5 metres separates the B2 slab from the surrounding retaining walls. The 1.5-metre thick slab will serve as the first basement level of the diagnostic, Tokamak and tritium buildings. Five large drain tanks, supports for the base of the cryostat, and the building walls will be positioned directly on it.

Completion of the Tokamak slab marks the conclusion of the preparatory phase of the construction site which started in August 2010 and represents an investment of some €100 million ($132 million).

Speaking to workers at the construction site, Iter director general Osamu Motojima said, “With the completion of the B2 slab, a new chapter opens in the history of our project. In September, construction of the Tokamak complex will begin in earnest. You have built the floor, now come the walls, then the roof, and after that the machine itself.”

The Iter project is meant to take nuclear fusion research to a new level with the largest ever Tokamak unit, which should be capable of sustaining plasmas that produce 500 MWt for as long as seven minutes. The EU is funding half of the cost while the remainder comes in equal parts from six other partners: China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea and the USA. The facility is expected to reach full operation in 2027.

Source: World Nuclear News

Nuclear News Round Up (14th – 17th Apr 14)

Russian state nuclear firm in talks to build power station in the UK

Russian state nuclear firm in talks to build power station in the UK

Rosatom meeting Whitehall officials but experts say a Russian VVER reactor is unlikely to open in UK for at least 10 years.
EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station

Hinkley Point is being built with French and Chinese money. Now the Russians want to invest in UK power. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Britain is in talks with the Russian state nuclear company about building a nuclear power station in the UK, an official said on Tuesday.

Hergen Haye, head of new nuclear development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told students at Edinburgh University that active discussions were taking place in London after a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Russia. “I can tell you that, behind closed doors and with microphones switched off, there are interesting debates happening in Whitehall,” he said. “Russia wants to build a nuclear power station in the UK.”

Haye chairs a UK-Russian working group on nuclear power, and was in Russia recently for discussions. Haye regards the Russian VVER reactor proposed for the UK as “perfectly safe”, but he cautioned that there would be problems convincing the public that a deal with Russia was acceptable, especially given the current crisis in the Crimea. “It’s a long road, a very long road,” he said.

He offered his personal view that a Russian nuclear station in the UK may be “a bridge too far – at least for the next ten years.” But he stressed that it wasn’t his decision to make.

A memorandum of understanding between DECC and the Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, was signed in September 2013. It agreed a programme of co-operation “designed to be the most effective means of enabling Rosatom to prepare for entry into the United Kingdom civil nuclear market.”

The plan was to give Rosatom access to the UK government’s watchdogs, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, so that it could understand British regulatory and licencing requirements. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills “will have detailed discussions with Rosatom to facilitate commercial links with United Kingdom’s industry,” the memorandum said.

Rosatom has already formed a partnership with the British nuclear engineering company, Rolls Royce. “The participants hope that this relationship will lead to joint projects in the United Kingdom and overseas,” said the memorandum.

Russia is also reported to have signed a deal with the Finnish power company, Fortum. It operates two Russian VVER reactors near Loviisa in Finland.

In his lecture, Haye highlighted the difficulties of getting private companies to invest in something as commercially risky as nuclear power. He defended the £89.50 per megawatt hour “strike price” for electricity agreed with the French state nuclear company, EDF, for 35 years. This was essential to secure investment in the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, he argued. The UK is also seeking Chinese investment in the nuclear station, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with China.

According to Haye, securing money from the Chinese was one of the remaining barriers to actually starting work on the Hinkley station. Another was winning agreement from the European Commission that the strike price deal didn’t breach state aid rules. The commission has announced that it is investigating the funding arrangements for Hinkley. Hay said he was about to embark upon a tour of European capitals to try and win backing for the UK’s position.

If Chinese funding was secured and the European Commission gave the go-ahead, the earliest work could start at Hinkley was next year, Haye said. Then it could start generating power by 2023.

A DECC spokesperson said: “Last year Russia and the UK committed to working towards greater co-operation in the field of civil nuclear. It is to be expected that government staff will have discussions about how that might develop. Any new nuclear plants will need to meet stringent UK regulations enforced by independent regulators.”

“The UK actively welcomes inward investment to our energy sector, but any energy company, nuclear or otherwise, that had an interest would need to meet all independent regulatory standards required in the UK and EU.”

Source: The Guardian

EDF chooses Hydratight for new framework agreement

EDF chooses Hydratight for new framework agreement

Hydratight has just completed the first package of steam generator tooling as part of the recently secured six-year frame agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), France’s main electricity generation and distribution company, which manages all of the country’s functioning nuclear power facilities.

Hydratight has been EDF’s preferred provider for the previous six years during which time the company has supplied products and services to ensure the safe running and up-time of France’s nuclear power plants. This has included providing multi stud tensioning systems and manway lifting devices.

Gavin Coopey from Hydratight commented: “Over the last six years we have grown and developed with EDF. The team recognised our expertise and capabilities and this is what won us the new agreement.

“We have an excellent working relationship with EDF and all of the team are looking forward to continuing with what has proved to be a very productive agreement for both companies.

“France is a very important market to be involved with in the nuclear energy sector and we are delighted that EDF have chosen to again trust Hydratight as a chosen supplier.”

France derives nearly 75% of its electricity from nuclear power plants, making it the most nuclear reliant country in the world.

Source: Hydratight

Construction starts of Iter Tokamak complex

Construction starts of Iter Tokamak complex

The first concrete has been poured for the basemat of the Tokamak complex of the Iter fusion reactor project at Cadarache in southern France.

Iter first concrete 460

The first concrete is poured for the Tokamak complex (Image: Iter Organization)

Concrete started to be poured at 6.24am on 11 December. Over the following twelve hours, some 820 cubic metres of concrete were poured into the first “plot” of the seismic pit for the Tokamak complex. A total of fifteen plots will be poured over the next six months to complete the 1.5 metres thick B2 slab. In all, 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 4000 tonnes of reinforcement will be needed for the slab.

“This is the beginning of the B2 basemat slab realization, and as I savour the moment I measure all of the work and effort that it has taken to reach this point.”
Laurent Patisson,
Iter Organization

The Tokamak complex will house the Iter fusion reactor as well as diagnostic and tritium management systems. It will be 120 metres long and 80 metres in height and width. This is to be supported on anti-seismic bearings which are already in place to support the 23,000 tonne mass of the reactor system.

Leader of Iter’s nuclear buildings section Laurent Patisson said, “We are all very happy and may I say relieved to have reached this important and visible milestone for the Iter project. This is the beginning of the B2 basemat slab realization, and as I savour the moment I measure all of the work and effort that it has taken to reach this point.” He added, “The concrete qualified for the B2 basemat has been the object of particular care, answering to the rigorous requirements of a nuclear facility in terms of stability, water permeability and gas confinement.”

Laurent Schmieder, head of buildings, construction and power supplies at Iter’s European domestic agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E), commented, “The coming years will be challenging because of our tight schedule and high technical requirements. Safety and nuclear security remain our two main commitments and priorities.”

The Iter project is meant to take nuclear fusion research to a new level with the largest ever Tokamak unit, which should be capable of sustaining plasmas that produce 500 MWt for as long as seven minutes. The EU is funding half of the cost while the remainder comes in equal parts from the other partners: China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea and the USA.

After five years of gradual site preparation, construction was officially authorised in November last year. A contract, worth €500 million ($687 million), was awarded in January to a seven-company consortium called VFR for the construction of some of the buildings on the site, including the central Tokamak complex.

The facility is expected to reach full operation in 2027.

British nuclear energy industry could attract South Korean investment

British nuclear energy industry could attract South Korean investment

Korean companies tipped to follow France and China into UK market in wake of deal for new Hinkley Point reactor.
Water sprays up as it is pumped out of Hinkley Point nuclear reactor in Somerset

Water is pumped from Hinkley Point B, whose owner EDF is to build a new nuclear reactor with Chinese support. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

South Korea could become the next nation to take a stake in the British nuclear industry as the financing deal with France and China for a new reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset creates a wave of wider interest.

The move could trigger controversy because the Korean atomic industry has been hit by a scandal over fake safety certificates but the UK and South Korea have vowed to help restore credibility and build closer links in this sector.

Lloyd’s Register, which provides risk management services, has been hired by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company to help give the country’s reactors a clean bill of health.

But senior executives for the London-based Lloyd’s say the relationship is a two-way process with the Koreans also looking at the best route to enter the British market in the aftermath of the Chinese investment in Hinkley Point.

“Discussions are ongoing and I would not be surprised to see, in a year or so’s time, the Koreans taking an equity investment in the UK market,” said Richard Clegg, a managing director at Lloyd’s Register and a former chief scientist at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.

David Cameron met the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, in London two weeks ago with the media headlines taken up with joint agreements on how to tackle the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea.

But the two leaders also promised to increase commercial ties in everything from nuclear power to financial services. The Lloyd’s deal, which was signed on the sidelines, will help over a two-year period with the safety certificate problem that has forced some of the 23 South Korean reactors offline.

Clegg said the Hinkley Point financing agreement between Britain, EDF of France, China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation had attracted a lot of attention among other potential atomic investors.

Ministers have agreed to guarantee a generous price of up to £92.50 per megawatt-hour of electricity for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate.

Clegg believes that Toshiba and Hitachi of Japan, which have their own different consortiums for building potential new plants in Britain, can be expected to press ahead with firm investment plans too.

“We have been here before, of course. Sizewell [the last new nuclear plant constructed in Britain] was meant to be the first every year for a decade but with all the macro-pressures there are now around energy security my personal judgment is that we will see more than one and we could see six,” he said.

The next site after Hinkley in Somerset is likely to be Sizewell, where EDF and the Chinese have rights to build, and Clegg believes that the Far East partners will want to be playing an even bigger role than just taking an equity stake.

“I think we can expect to see the Chinese pushing for their one equipment and supply chain to be used with a longer term aim of being able to sell nuclear technology into emerging markets such as the Middle East, Africa and south-east Asia.”

Source: The Guardian

F4E Signs Major ITER Contract With French And German Companies

F4E Signs Major ITER Contract With French And German Companies

Fusion for Energy (F4E), the organisation responsible for managing Europe’s contribution to International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), has signed its largest contract to date for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the mechanical and electrical equipment for the tokamak building complex at Cadarache.

The design of the ITER reactor, courtesy of Areva

F4E said the contract, signed with a consortium comprising Cofely Axima, Cofely Ineo and Cofely Endel of France’s GDF Suez Group plc and the M+W Group LLC of Germany, is worth approximately 530 million euros (EUR) (728 million US dollars).

The contract is expected to run for six years and covers the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the ventilation, air conditioning and electrical equipment for the tokamak building complex, where the ITER machine will be located. The complex consists of the tokamak, diagnostic and tritium buildings, plus surrounding buildings.

F4E announced last week that it had signed an engineering integrator contract with ASG Superconductors of Italy for ITER’s poloidal field coils. That contract was worth approximately EUR 27.5 million.

Read the full article here http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2013/10/30/f4e-signs-major-iter-contract-with-french-and-german-companies

Source: Nuc Net