Reactor internals installed at third Tianwan unit

25 August 2016

Tianwan 3 reactor internals - 460 (CNNC)

Installation of the reactor internals within the pressure vessel has been completed at unit 3 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China's Jiangsu province. The Russian-supplied VVER-1000 is scheduled to start up in 2018.

China National Nuclear Corporation said today that the operation to install the internals - which will support the fuel assemblies and control rods - into the reactor vessel was completed on 23 August.

The reactor vessel - weighing almost 317 tonnes and measuring over 11 meters in length and 4.5 meters in diameter - is a vertical cylindrical body with elliptical base, in which the active zone and internals are located. The top of the reactor is hermetically sealed with a lid with drive mechanisms as well as monitoring and protection systems attached. The vessel for Tianwan 3 was installed within the unit's reactor compartment in May 2015.

Work starts on Fuqing 6 turbine building

25 August 2016

Fuqing 6 conventional island first concrete - 48First concrete has been poured for the conventional island of Fuqing 6 - the second Hualong One unit under construction at the site in China's Fujian province. Both Hualong One units currently under construction at Fuqing should be in operation by 2020.

Russia considers nuclear power for sub-sea minerals exploration

24 August 2016

The Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is reviving plans from the 1980s to establish a system for the underwater exploration of mineral resources. The Russian Nuclear Community reports on its website atomic-energy.ru today that federal agencies are considering the use of a nuclear reactor to power this proposed system.

Russia notes progress with fast reactor technology

23 August 2016

Russia has reached two more milestones in its endeavour to close the nuclear fuel cycle. Mashinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) - part of Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL - has completed acceptance tests of components for its ETVS-14 and ETVS-15 experimental fuel assemblies with mixed nitride fuel for the BREST and BN fast neutron reactors. MSZ has also announced the start of research and development work on the technical design of the "absorbent element" of the core of the BREST-OD-300 reactor.

Urenco records first-half net loss, qualifies Brexit impact

25 August 2016

Urenco has today reported a net loss of €8.5 million ($9.6 million) as a result of adverse exchange rate movements and significant weakening of pound sterling in its financial results for the half year ending 30 June 2016. The net loss compares with a net gain in the same period of 2015 of €166 million.

Uranium separation resumes at Savannah River Site

24 August 2016

First Cycle at H Canyon - 48A facility for separating uranium from used research reactor fuel at the US Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina has restarted for the first time in five years. The extracted uranium will be used in new fuel for nuclear power plants.

US advanced reactor developers team up

23 August 2016

X-energy and Southern Nuclear Operating Company have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on development and commercialization of their respective advanced reactor designs.

Can SMRs unlock financing?

Whilst a project of the size and complexity of Hinkley Point C faces a range of challenges which lessen the availability of limited-recourse financing, it is clear that nuclear plant construction violates the basic precepts of project finance due to the unpredictability of project costs and schedule, write Rory Connor and Ken Culotta of law firm King & Spalding.

As the UK government mulls over the project fundamentals for Hinkley Point C one last time it is worth reflecting that, if and when the project finally goes ahead, EDF and its Chinese partners will proceed on the basis of on-balance sheet corporate funding; not limited-recourse project financing, as originally touted.

For the industry to flourish, even in the presence of strong government policy support, the ability to finance is critical. There is the possibility though that new technology and new construction techniques, in the form of small modular reactors (SMRs), may hold the key to overcoming such issues.

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