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.
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.”
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.
Source: World Nuclear News
Pakistan to build six nuclear power plants
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Tuesday that his country will build six civil nuclear power plants.
Speaking at a function, Coastal Power Project K-II and K-III in Karachi, Sharif said the country’s Atomic Energy Commission has identified six sites where civil nuclear power plants could be built, The News International reported.
According to the prime minister, Pakistan would produce 40,000 MW of power from nuclear plants till 2050 and the government’s priority was to start work on power projects to overcome the energy shortage.
Sharif on Tuesday launched the construction of the country’s biggest atomic power plant and vowed to pursue further projects to make nuclear the largest energy source.
The 2,200-megawatt plant is to be built with Chinese technical assistance on the Arabian Sea coast at Paradise Beach, 40 km (25 miles) west of Karachi.
Pakistan already has three operational nuclear plants generating a total of around 740 MW of power and has begun work on a fourth, in addition to the one launched Tuesday.
The government hopes nuclear will ultimately provide a relatively low-cost solution to the power cuts — known euphemistically as “load-shedding” — that blight life in Pakistan.
Mismanagement, corruption and an over-reliance on expensive imported fuels have left the energy sector in dire straits, with hours-long blackouts a daily reality in the summer months.
“This is one of the first steps of our goal of racing toward a load-shedding-free Pakistan,” Sharif told the audience at the site of the plant.
The World Nuclear Association has estimated the cost of the new project at nearly $10 billion.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission engineers will work on the project with help from the China Atomic Energy Authority.
As Pakistan is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it is excluded from the international trade in nuclear materials and technology, and can rely only on its neighbor China for help.
Sharif pledged to increase nuclear power generation capacity to 40,000 MW in the long term as part of his energy plan.
A few kilometers further west of the new nuclear power project, an energy park is being built at Gaddani beach in Baluchistan province, with plans for 6,600 MW coal-fired power projects.
Outage services contract for Areva
Areva will provide outage services to the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in New Jersey under a long-term contract awarded by PSEG Nuclear.
All three units operate on an 18-month refueling cycle.
PSEG operates the Salem and Hope Creek plants and is also a part owner of the Peach Bottom plant in Pennsylvania. It owns 100% of Hope Creek, 57% of Salem and 50% of Peach Bottom. Exelon owns the other 43% and 50% of Salem and Peach Bottom, respectively.
Source: World Nuclear News
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
North Korea wants to restart nuclear reactor
North Korea today said it wants to reopen a closed nuclear reactor. The state-owned news agency KCNA reported it would be restarted for both electricity and military uses.
Tensions have recently been stoked between North and South Korea after Pyongyang threatened to invade its southerly neighbour and strike nearby US military bases.
The mothballed facility has been closed since 2007 following six-party talks involving China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the USA, while its cooling tower was demolished a year later.
The Yongbyon nuclear plant is a small gas-cooled natural uranium fuelled Experimental Power Reactor of about 25 MWt at Yongbyon, on the west coast 55 km north of Pyongyang, according to the World Nuclear Association website. The research site suggests it “exhibited all the features of a plutonium production reactor for weapons purposes and produced only about 5 MWe”.
Read the full article here http://www.energylivenews.com/2013/04/02/north-korea-wants-to-restart-nuclear-reactor/
Source: Energy News Live
Barakah containment liner assembly starts
Installation has started of the sections of the containment liner plate in the reactor building for unit 1 of the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear power plant.
The containment liner takes shape at Barakah 1 (Image: Enec)
The containment liner plate is a cylindrical steel shell that forms the inner wall, ceiling and floor of the reactor containment building. Due to its size, the component has to be constructed in multiple stages and parts, according to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec). A total of 19 separate liner rings – each measuring 45 metres in diameter and 3 metres in height – make up the 2000 tonne structure.
The floor and the first two levels of the liner plate were made off-site and have been installed over the past two months. The next three levels have been fabricated and welded together on-site and were installed last week.
Over the next ten months, fabrication and installation of the remaining 14 sections of the liner will take place.
Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi commented that the liner “is one of many physical barriers that ensure the safety of our employees, the community and the environment and make Generation III+ nuclear energy plants incredibly robust structures.”
In a $20 billion deal announced in December 2009, Enec selected a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to build four APR-1400 reactors.
Approval of construction licence application for units 1 and 2 came in July 2012. Enec said that construction work on the first two units is progressing on schedule. First concrete for unit 1 was poured the day after the construction licence was issued, while extensive preparatory work is underway at unit 2. First concrete for that unit is expected to be poured later this year.
Enec will apply for an operating licence for unit 1 in 2015. Unit 1 is scheduled to be completed in 2017, with unit 2 following a year later.
Unit 3 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in May 2019, with unit 4 following in May 2020.
Source: World Nuclear News
Embalse wins loan for longer life
The Development Bank of Latin America has issued its first loan for a nuclear project to support the refurbishment and licence extension of Argentina’s Embalse nuclear power plant.
The loan was announced on 19 March by the president of the bank, Enrique Garcia, and the Argentian minister of planning public investment and sevices, Julio De Vido.
Amounting to $240 million, it will help Nucleoelectrica Argentina SA (NA-SA) in refurbishing the Candu pressurized heavy-water reactor at Embalse. This means replacing the pressure tubes, installing new steam generators, new control systems and in increasing its power output by 35 MWe to around 635 MWe net in the process. The work could begin this November.
As well as generating electricity, Embalse also produces cobalt-60 for uses in medicine, industry and food irradiation worldwide. In Candu reactors this can be done by using replacing certain stainless steel components with versions made from cobalt, which is converted to cobalt-60 by radiation from the reactor’s operation. These parts can be removed about every two years for processing by a specialist.
The major project is worth about $1.3 billion in total, and should allow Embalse to continue generating for a further 25 years. The reactor has provided about 4% of Argentinean electricity since start-up in 1983, which NA-SA said meets the needs of 3-4 million people. Contracts worth over $440 million were signed with Candu Energy in 2011.
The project is part of an Argentinean nuclear plan launched in 2006 in which the two other main parts are to complete Atucha II (now in the commissioning phase) and develop the CAREM design for an integrated and simplified pressurized water reactor by building a 27 MWe prototype version. Beyond this, the government has been talking to a wide range of international reactor vendors to supply further nuclear power units.
Source: World Nuclear News