Horizon Nuclear Power has signed an agreement with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) which paves the way for it to begin purchasing major equipment for its Wylfa Newydd development.
Certain parts of the new nuclear reactor and associated technologies are designated as „Long Lead Items‟ (LLIs) as they take a significant amount of time to manufacture and are needed early in the construction phase. They therefore need to be ordered well in advance of nuclear construction beginning on site and in order for Wylfa Newydd to start generating in the first half of the 2020s. To enable this process to begin Horizon has signed a Deed with ONR to give the regulator oversight of Horizon‟s procurement activities for the LLIs, which includes the reactor pressure vessels, in advance of Horizon applying for a full Nuclear Site Licence at Wylfa.
Janet Wilson, Licensing and Permitting Director at Horizon said:
“This is a significant milestone for Horizon as it marks another step in our journey towards becoming a Nuclear Site Licensee and the construction and operation of Wylfa Newydd. The Deed is a sign of how we have grown and developed as an organisation over the last few years and we look forward to strengthening our working relationship with the ONR still further as our project advances.”
Under the Deed, Horizon will inform ONR of its schedule for procurement and make documents, activities, and premises relating to the procurement of LLIs available for inspection. Horizon will also work with the regulator to ensure that all procurement activities for the LLIs are in compliance with the ONR‟s standard licence conditions.
Cracks found in two of the 6000 graphite bricks in unit 4 of the Hunterston B nuclear power plant in North Ayrshire, Scotland have no safety implications, Colin Weir, station director at the plant said today in response to media coverage of the matter.
Hunterston B power station is a nuclear licensed site operating two Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors – units 3 and 4. To continue to operate safely and reliably the reactor plant requires examination, inspection maintenance and testing. Continuous improvement also requires plant upgrades to be implemented where deemed to be reasonably practicable. Whilst some of these activities can take place when the reactor is at power, many of them require it to be shutdown.
“Every time we take the reactor out of service for planned maintenance we inspect the graphite core which is made up of around 6000 bricks. During the current Hunterston outage we found two bricks with a new crack which is what we predicted during Hunterston B’s lifetime as a result of extensive research and modelling,” he said.
“It will not affect the operation of this reactor and we also expect that a few additional cracks will occur during the next period of operation. The small number of cracked bricks found during routine inspection is in line with our expectations, the findings have no safety implications and are well within any limits for safe operation agreed with our regulator.”
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said on 1 October it had given EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited, the licensee of Hunterston B nuclear power plant, consent to start up unit 4, which has been in periodic shutdown since 1 August.
“The licensee’s arrangements require that periodic shutdowns are carried out every three years at each reactor at Hunterston B, providing the opportunity to undertake such activities,” ONR said. “On completion of a periodic shutdown the reactor concerned cannot be started up without consent from ONR. ONR specialists have completed their inspections of the work carried out are satisfied that the licensees justification to start-up the reactor and operate for a further period of three years is adequate,” it said.
Source: World Nuclear News
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is established today as a Public Corporation, under the Energy Act 2013. This is a significant milestone in its journey to become a modern, responsive, independent regulator.
This change in status puts the UK independent regulator in a stronger position to fulfil its mission to provide efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public. It comes on the same day that ONR publishes its new Enforcement Policy Statement and Annual Plan for the year ahead, outlining the key priorities for the organisation.
Chief Executive Officer John Jenkins said:
“I am delighted that we have completed this transformation. It will make us stronger and ready to face a future where the nuclear industry is a key part of the UK’s energy mix. ONR is a first class regulator, and we recognise the scale and task ahead of us. Our change in status will provide us with the financial and operational flexibility we need to react quickly to changes in the nuclear industry, and attract and retain a nuclear-skilled workforce.”
ONR will retain the independent powers necessary to regulate the nuclear industry, but there will be a more consistent and predictable approach to regulation, and an expectation of continued commitment from industry to strong and visible regulation. The establishment of ONR as a Public Corporation provides the regulator with a stronger identity, which will help to increase public awareness of its role and responsibilities.
Dr Andy Hall, Chief Nuclear Inspector added:
“Our role as a regulator is critically important in ensuring that when it comes to issues of nuclear safety and security, we hold the industry to account. We are committed to publicly demonstrating how the decisions that we make are based on sound evidence and subject to proper scrutiny, which will ensure that we maintain confidence in the way that the industry is run.”
Department for Work and Pensions Minister of State for Disabled People, Rt. Hon. Mike Penning MP said:
“The establishment of ONR is a massive step forward in ensuring that the UK has a world class regulator and provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that the UK is still at the forefront of the nuclear industry in providing energy for our future generations in a safe and effective manner.”
Baroness Verma of Leicester, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change added:
“Nuclear power provides high quantities of low carbon electricity and is therefore an important part of our overall energy mix, alongside renewables, clean coal and gas. We are already seeing the beginnings of a nuclear renaissance in the UK, which is good for the UK economy and employment and will provide secure supplies and affordable electricity. The Office for Nuclear Regulation plays a key role in ensuring that civil nuclear is managed safely and securely and the changes we have introduced through the Energy Act will ensure that ONR has the flexibility it needs to respond to a developing and growing nuclear industry.”
To support its new position, ONR has launched a new website today, carrying the new ONR brand, where it openly publishes details of its decisions relating to the sites that it regulates, including enforcement actions and corporate publications.
UK Gives Consent For Decommissioning Of Wylfa
The ONR said the decision follows “extensive consultation” and takes into account factors such as the information provided by licensee, Magnox Limited, the conclusion that environmental benefits will outweigh any detriments and the prediction there will be “no significant effects on other countries”.
Magnox Ltd originally obtained consent to decommission Wylfa’s two 490-megawatt gas-cooled reactors in March 2009, expecting that commercial operation of both units would be halted within five years.
However, due to extended electricity generation, Wylfa is not expected to shut down completely and begin decommissioning until around the end of 2014 or possibly later depending on operational plans, the ONR said. By this time the current consent will have expired and so Wylfa sought new consent.
Wylfa: Anglesey nuclear reactor ‘could run until 2015
The planned shut down of Britain’s oldest nuclear reactor on Anglesey could be extended by 15 months if safety inspectors approve the work, says its operator.
The Wylfa reactor 1 was expected to stop producing power in 2014, but it could continue until December 2015.
Magnox said it wanted to ensure it maximised any electricity generating potential in the remaining fuel.
The plans are subject to Periodic Safety Review (PSR) approval.
The 490-megawatt reactor has been operating for 42 years.
Reviews are carried out by nuclear site licence holders every 10 years to establish whether reactors are safe to run and these are monitored by Britain’s nuclear regulator.
Reactor 2 at the same nuclear plant was shut down for good last year.
A Magnox spokesman said: “Operations at Wylfa, by transferring fuel from reactor 2 which has shut-down to reactor 1 which is operational, are going well.
“As a precaution, in the event that there are any delays to the current defueling schedule, Magnox are making preparations to extend the generating period for the station to ensure we maximise any electricity generating potential in the remaining fuel.
New power stations
“To extend the end of generation date to December 2015, we will need to submit a periodic safety review, gain consent from our regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, and secure approval from the site’s owner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the (UK) government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change.”
A site adjacent to the existing power plant is earmarked for the construction of a new nuclear power station.
Japan’s Hitachi, which last year bought Horizon that has a licence to build new reactors at Wylfa, plans to build two to three reactors at Wylfa and another two to three at a site in Oldbury near Bristol.
Source – BBC News
Toxic water leak at Japan’s nuclear plant
Radioactive water was found leaking at Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant earlier today.
A statement released by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), said the contaminated water could have leaked into the ground from one of the plant’s storage tanks.
The underground tanks store radioactive water that has been used in the plant’s cooling systems. The company, however, said the toxic water had not reached the sea, according to reports.
This is believed to be the third leak discovered at the plant since Saturday.
Read the full article here http://www.energylivenews.com/2013/04/09/toxic-water-leak-at-japan%E2%80%99s-nuclear-plant/
Source: Energy News Live