Sendai nuclear plant in southern Japan is first to begin operation since 2011 Fukushima meltdowns, despite anti-nuclear protests
Police officers guard the gate of the Sendai nuclear power plant as protesters rally against the restarting of the reactor. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
A power plant operator in southern Japan has restarted a reactor, the first to begin operating under new safety requirements following the Fukushima disaster.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. said on Tuesday it had restarted the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai nuclear plant as planned.
The restart marks Japan’s return to nuclear energy four-and-half-years after the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan following an earthquake and tsunami.
The national broadcaster NHK showed plant workers in the control room as they turned the reactor back on. Tomomitsu Sakata, a spokesman for Kyushu Electric Power, said the reactor was put back online as planned without any problems.
The disaster displaced more than 100,000 people due to radioactive contamination in the area and spurred a national debate over this resource-scarce country’s reliance on nuclear power.
Former prime minister Naoto Kan speaks to protesters gathered at the main gate of the Sendai nuclear power plant. Photograph: The Asahi Shimbun/via Getty Images
A majority of Japanese people oppose the return to nuclear energy. Dozens of protesters, including ex-prime minister Naoto Kan, who was in office at the time of the disaster and has become an outspoken critic of nuclear power, were gathered outside the plant as police stood guard.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority affirmed the safety of the Sendai reactor and another one at the plant last September under stricter safety rules imposed after the 2011 accident.
The Sendai No. 1 reactor is scheduled to start generating power on Friday and to reach full capacity next month. The second Sendai reactor is due to restart in October.
Koichi Miyazawa, Japan’s industry minister, said on Tuesday that the government would “put safety first” in resuming use of nuclear power.
All of Japan’s 43 workable reactors have been shut for the last two years pending safety checks. To offset the shortfall in power output, the country ramped up imports of oil and gas and fired up more thermal power plants, slowing progress toward reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe has sought to have the reactors restarted as soon as possible to help reduce costly reliance on imported oil and gas and alleviate the financial burden on utilities of maintaining the idled plants.
“There are very strong vested interests to reopen nuclear reactors. Accepting them as permanently closed would have financial implications that would be hard to manage,” said Tomas Kaberger, chairman of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation.
Utilities are seeking approvals to restart 23 reactors, including the other Sendai reactor.
The government has set a goal to have nuclear power meet more than 20% of Japan’s energy needs by 2030, despite the lingering troubles at the Fukushima plant, which is plagued by massive flows of contaminated water leaking from its reactors.
Removal of the melted fuel at the plant – the most challenging part of the 30-to-40-year process of shutting it down permanently – will begin only in 2022.
Source: The Guardian
It revealed global water withdrawals for energy production in 2010 were estimated at 583 billion cubic metres (bcm), out of which water usage – that was withdrawn but not returned to its source – was 66bcm or around 11%.
Water is critical for electricity generation as well as the extraction, transport and processing of fossil fuels and the irrigation of crops that go into biofuels. Water shortages in India and the US, among other countries, have however limited energy output in the last two years while the “heavy use of water in unconventional oil and gas production has generated considerable public concern”, the IEA said.
Its report looked at three difference scenarios – the New Policies Scenario, the Current Policies Scenario and the 450 Scenario.
Global water withdrawals for energy production reach 690bcm in 2035 in the New Policies Scenario, with growth slowing after 2020. Withdrawals in the Current Policies Scenario – which assumes no change in existing energy-related policies – continue to rise throughout the projection period, climbing to 790bcm in 2035.
Read more here http://www.energylivenews.com/2014/03/18/energy-sector-accounts-for-15-of-global-water-use/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=energy-sector-accounts-for-15-of-global-water-use
Source: Energy Live News
UK nuclear experts to help decommision Fukushima
Engineers from Sellafield to travel to Japan to advise on shutting down the stricken site
Lady Judge, the British-American nuclear expert and adviser at Fukushima, is organising for engineers from Sellafield in Cumbria to travel to Japan to advise on decontaminating and shutting down the stricken site.
“At Sellafield and Dounreay we are decommissioning big power plants and we can provide a very good example to the Japanese of how to do it safely,” said Lady Judge in an interview with The Telegraph. “I’ve been talking to Sellafield about sending some engineers to help.”
Read the full article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10613243/UK-nuclear-experts-to-help-decommision-Fukushima.html
Bluetooth joins sub for decommissioning
A mini-submarine with wireless connectivity is being used to transmit live data on conditions in a legacy fuel storage pond at the UK’s Sellafield site. The company says this is a first for its decommissioning program.
The mini-sub is one of the first of a fleet of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) supporting decommissioning at the site, where it is being used to retrieve data on liquor conditions and to monitor visibility in the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond. The pond, which dates back to the 1950s, contains used nuclear fuel, radioactive sludges, miscellaneous nuclear wastes and fuel containers and presents complex decommissioning challenges.
The mini-sub deploys a probe which can sample up to seven different variables at any one time. Deploying the probe with a ROV helps to provide a “more 3D-like data stream” to the decommissioning team, Sellafield Ltd technical specialist Marcus Coupe said. It is providing invaluable insights into the challenge of the legacy ponds where any loss of visibility can potentially cause a significant risk to operations as well as potentially slowing down future retrievals, he noted.
Marrying the submarine ROV with Bluetooth wireless communication technology is a first for nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield. Project leader Xavier Poteau said that the work could potentially pave the way forward for the use of other in-situ techniques as well as wireless monitoring of effluents. “A lot more can be done combining commercially available equipment that are not usually tagged as nuclear-ready,” he said.
Robots are proving increasingly useful for nuclear decommissioning work in areas that are hard to access conventionally, both underwater and in dry conditions. They range in size and function from the Charli ROV deployed inside the reactor vessel of France’s Superphénix fast neutron reactor to carry out cutting work to crawler-mounted robots being used to survey inaccessible areas at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.
Source: World Nuclear News
EDF, AREVA, Assystem, sign agreements in support of Saudi nuclear programme
EDF and AREVA have signed agreements with Saudi industrial and university partners, reflecting their commitment to future nuclear projects in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, French engineering consultancy Assystem has signed a letter of intent to acquire a majority stake in Saudi firm Radicon Gulf Consult.
AREVA and EDF signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with five industrial partners: Zamil Steel, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables, Saudi Pumps and Descon Olayan. The agreements are aimed at developing the industrial and technical skills of local companies and “reflect AREVA and EDF’s desire to build an extended network of Saudi suppliers for future nuclear projects in the country,” a statement said.
The two companies signed a second set of agreements with four Saudi universities: King Saud University in Riyadh, Dar Al Hekma College and Effat University in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University in Al-Khobar.
“These agreements demonstrate the common will of EDF and AREVA to establish a true long-term partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They will enable the country to build a strong industrial base and a robust skills management programme,” said Luc Oursel, President and CEO of AREVA
The agreements were all signed during French president François Hollande’s visit to Riyadh on 30 December 2013.
Assystem to acquire Radicon GulfConsult
Also on 30 December, Assystem founding Chairman, Dominique Louis, signed a letter of intent to proceed with the acquisition of a majority stake in Radicon Gulf Consult, a leading design and engineering company in Saudi Arabia.
With the agreement Assystem aims at developing an engineering offer in the fields of Energy and Infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
Radicon employs 400 staff and has an list of important Saudi customers, including Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electricity Company.
The deal will combine Radicon Gulf Consult’s market knowledge and technical skills with Assystem’s expertise in project management and engineering.
Saudi Arabia plans 18GW of new nuclear capacity by 2030, with its first nuclear power plant scheduled to be online in 2021.
Source: Your Nuclear News
Extended Wylfa 1 operation proposed
Electricity generation from the UK’s last operating Magnox reactor could be extended by 15 months to the end of 2015 under a proposal submitted to the British nuclear regulator.
Magnox Ltd has submitted a ten-yearly periodic safety review for the Wylfa site to the Office for Nuclear Regulation detailing activities at Wylfa over the next ten years, including “generation to the end of December 2015” at unit 1.
The two units at Wylfa were both scheduled to shut down at the end of 2012, but Magnox Ltd – which manages and operates the plant on behalf of owner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – decided to shut down unit 2 in April 2012 so that unit 1 could continue operating until the end of September 2014 in order to fully utilize existing stocks of fuel, which is no longer being manufactured.
Magnox reactors are graphite-moderated, gas-cooled and use all-metal, un-enriched uranium fuel. They can trace their roots back to the earliest days of nuclear technology: the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, Calder Hall, was a Magnox reactor. The design takes its name from the magnesium alloy cladding used on the uranium fuel. The UK built a fleet of 26 Magnox reactors of which Wylfa’s two 490 MWe units, commissioned in 1971, were the last and the biggest.
Source: World Nuclear News