IAEA Delivers Final Report on Decommissioning Efforts at Fukushima Daiichi
IAEA experts visiting TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 27 November 2013 looked at the fuel assembly removal process in Reactor Unit 4. Last week, TEPCO began moving nuclear fuel assemblies from Reactor Unit 4 to the Common Spent Fuel Pool. (Photo: G. Webb/IAEA)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delivered a report on 12 February 2014 to the government of Japan describing the findings of a two-part review of the nation’s efforts to plan and implement the decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS).
At Japan’s request, the IAEA organized two expert teams to provide an independent review of Japan’s Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap towards the Decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1-4. The first team visited Japan from 15 to 22 April 2013 and the second from 25 November to 4 December 2013.
“Japan has established a good foundation to improve its strategy and to allocate the necessary resources to conduct the safe decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi,” said team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Director of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology.” The situation, however, remains very complex, and there will continue to be challenging issues that must be resolved to ensure the plant’s long-term stability.”
The expert teams examined a wide variety of issues relating to decommissioning the power plant, including Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) efforts to remove fuel assemblies from Reactor Unit 4’s Spent Fuel Pool and to manage the growing volume of contaminated water at the site.
The teams held extensive discussions with senior officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and TEPCO. The teams also visited the nuclear accident site twice to gain first-hand information on the conditions at the power plant and the progress made toward decommissioning the facility.
Turkey Has Made Important Progress In Nuclear Power Programme, Says IAEA
Turkey has made important progress in the development of its nuclear energy infrastructure, but needs to strengthen its nuclear regulatory body and develop a national plan for human resource development, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said.
An IAEA team that conducted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in Turkey from 4 to 14 November, said Turkey’s nuclear programme “enjoys strong government support” and “effective coordination among government organisations”.
“The government of Turkey has established effective coordination mechanisms and has involved a large number of institutions that have a role in the establishment of the infrastructure needed to support the nuclear power programme,” Jong Kyun Park, director of the IAEA division of nuclear power and team leader of the INIR mission said.
The recommendations included completing a national policy on nuclear energy, strengthening the nuclear regulatory body and developing a national plan for human resource development.
In total, 25 organisations are involved in the development of Turkey’s national nuclear infrastructure.
“Turkey is implementing the build-own-operate (BOO) approach. It is the first time in history of nuclear power that this approach has been used,” Mr Park said.
The BOO approach means a company is granted the right to develop, finance, design, build, own, operate, and maintain a nuclear power plant, as well as to retain a part of the operating revenue and have a share in the risk.
“This method is very interesting because it solves two of the biggest challenges that newcomers face: financing and experienced operators,” Mr Park said.
Turkey is aiming to produce at least 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear power by 2023.
Turkey has two nuclear plants in development – the Akkuyu nuclear plant in cooperation with Russia’s Rosatom, and the Sinop nuclear plant together with an Areva-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joint venture. The government has also expressed interest in launching a third nuclear plant project.
Source: Nuc Net
First selection of Atmea1 nuclear reactor
Turkey stands to be the first country to use the Atmea1 reactor design by Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). An accord signed today could see four of the units deployed at Sinop in the early 2020s.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to the country today and the pair signed an agreement that provides for the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Sinop featuring Atmea1 pressurized water reactors.
The official Invest In Turkey website described the accord as granting “exclusive negotiating rights to build a nuclear power plant.” The end result is expected to be a contract for up to four reactor units, at an expected cost of $22 billion, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Turkey begun its nuclear power program in May 2010 with a contract with the Russian nuclear industry to build four Gidropress AES-2006 1200 MWe pressurized water reactors at Akkuyu. These will be 75% owned by Russia and 25% by Turkey. Site preparation has already started and the units are slated to begin operation one by one from 2019.
Source: World Nuclear News
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Positive global outlook for nuclear energy
Nuclear power is going through some of its toughest ever years, but retains majority global policy support, the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle (WNFC) conference heard in Singapore.
Huge uncertainty for industry flowed from the Fukushima accident, as well as new programs to guard against external risk and improve accident mitigation. The extended shutdown of 48 reactors in Japan had instant effects on demand for reactor fuel and the raw material, uranium. Philippe Hatron of Areva told the conference that the company’s current strategy for nuclear fuel production includes bringing on new facilities to replace old ones, but only to meet the needs of current reactors.
Despite this, global rates of new build are close to historic highs: two-thirds of new plants taking shape are in Asia, noted Alan McDonald of the International Atomic Energy Agency. His department is helping a range of countries develop the proper capability and policy to introduce nuclear power for the first time. He said the numbers of countries involved “were not greatly affected by the Fukushima accident.” Around the world, “Countries representing more than 50% of the world’s population are committed to building nuclear power plants,” said head of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) Agneta Rising.
Thus the opening session of the conference was reminded of the expected growth in demand for electricity in Asia and across the world. By 2034 power demand in China, for example, will have grown by more than the current demand of Japan and the USA put together. To meet global needs will require about $10 trillion in generation investment as well as a further $7 trillion in grid expansion and improvement, said Scott Peterson of the US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). He said that nuclear power would play a significant role, reminding the audience that “the long-term fundamentals of nuclear are extremely robust and we need to remember this in times of stress.
The conference heard from James Asselstine, previously of Barclays Capital and a former commissioner with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). He explained that the shale gas boom in the USA has made many formerly promising nuclear projects uneconomic even though work to build four reactors is ongoing at Vogtle and Summer and the NRC continues to process licence applications for 16 more.
US power companies can purchase a gas-fired power plant on a turnkey basis for as little as $1000 per kW of installed capacity, said Asselstine, with this built in three years on a turnkey basis. By contrast a nuclear reactor would cost $4500-5000 per kW and take 4.5-5 years to build, with far less certainty on cost. Clearly fossil fuels currently enjoy lower risk and capital costs, while lifetime generation is also lower at about $55 per MWh compared with about $80-120 for nuclear.
The major missing factor in the figures above, however, is the externality of carbon dioxide emissions. Asselstine said that American decisions on the future of coal generation and a possible commitment on climate change in the 2020s could see 30-35 new nuclear power reactors ordered in regulated states by 2030. This would be enough to maintain nuclear’s share of generation just below 20%.
NEI and WNA cooperate to organise the annual WNFC conference, this year taking place from 9-11 April in the Fairmont Hotel, Singapore.
Source: World Nuclear News
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