US conversion plant suspends UF6 production

21 November 2017

Honeywell is temporarily to suspend uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production at its Metropolis, Illinois plant pending an improvement in business conditions, the company announced yesterday. The USA's only uranium conversion plant has been in a scheduled outage since October.

The company said its decision to suspend production was a result of "significant challenges" faced by the nuclear industry, including a situation with a current worldwide oversupply of UF6. In particular, it said, the decrease in demand from Japan and Germany following the Fukushima accident of 2011 has had a significant impact, and continues to create an oversupplied market for the uranium fuel cycle and a downward trend in uranium markets.

The company cited analysis from Energy Resources International, which found that, since Fukushima, global demand for nuclear fuel has dropped 15%. It is not anticipated to rise before 2020.

Pakistan, China agree to build Chashma 5

23 November 2017

Chashma_5_agreement_(CNNC)-48China National Nuclear Corporation and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission have signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of a HPR1000 Hualong One reactor at the Chashma nuclear power plant.

British MPs question value of Hinkley Point project

23 November 2017

The House of Commons public accounts committee has concluded that UK households have been dealt a "bad hand" by the cost of the so-called strike price - the fixed cost for electricity generated - for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in Somerset, England. The committee of British members of parliament scrutinised the terms of the contract-for-difference agreed between the government and the planned plant's operator EDF.

Quality assurance issues affect French and Swiss plants

21 November 2017

Leibstadt_(KKL)-48A small number of fuel rods supplied to reactors in France and Switzerland have been affected by quality control issues. EDF Group said today that Areva had notified it of quality control deviations on certain rods, which meant the supplier was unable to demonstrate that quality control to substantiate that the leak tightness of those rods had been properly performed.

Rosatom and Andra expand cooperation

23 November 2017

Andra-Rosatom_waste_coop_(Rosatom)-48Russia's Rosatom and the French radioactive waste management agency Andra yesterday signed a cooperation agreement concerning the final isolation of radioactive waste. The agreement builds on a memorandum of understanding the two parties signed in 2012.

Report outlines Ontario nuclear refurbishment benefits and risks

22 November 2017

Bruce B aerial - 48A new report by Ontario's Financial Accountability Office has confirmed the province's plan to refurbish ten nuclear reactors at Bruce and Darlington, and extend the life of six reactors at Pickering, will provide the a long-term supply of relatively low-cost, low emissions electricity over the period to 2064.

Turbine island construction for Hualong One

20 November 2017

Fanchenggang 3 turbine concrete pour, November 2017 (CGN) 72x48Two teams in a 40-hour operation have poured the basemat for the turbine building of China's Fangchenggang 2, the first Hualong One unit.

Chemistry, minerals and microbes in nuclear waste management

Current solutions for intermediate and higher activity radioactive wastes storage are temporary. Nuclear waste stores have lifetimes of around 100 years and storage ponds, which dissipate the decay heat from used nuclear fuel and act as powerful radiation shields, several decades. Research into biogeochemical control over radionuclide behaviour is therefore of great value for a deep geological disposal solution, writes Katherine Morris.

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