Proposal for financing German nuclear phase-out

28 April 2016

The commission reviewing the financing of Germany's nuclear phase-out has recommended to the government that the reactor owners pay some EUR23.3 billion ($26.4 billion) into a state-owned fund for decommissioning of the plants and managing radioactive waste.

Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight German nuclear power plants and revived plans to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

The independent commission - the Kommission zur Überprüfung des Kernenergieausstiegs (KFK) - was set up in October 2015 by the German government. Its mandate is to develop recommendations for action, such as ensuring the financing of the decommissioning of the country's reactors and the disposal of radioactive waste can be secured so that the utilities involved are financially able in the long term to fulfill their obligations in the nuclear area.

Westinghouse expands fuel production capacity

29 April 2016

Westinghouse Electric Company has announced the expansion of its nuclear fuel factory in Västerås, Sweden. The US-based firm, which is majority-owned by Japan's Toshiba, said the expansion is a response to growing demand for nuclear fuel supply diversification for VVER-1000 reactors in Europe.

Regulatory milestone for US central storage facility

29 April 2016

WCS_application_submission_(Areva)-48An application for a licence to construct and operate a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel in Texas has been submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Suspended Bell Bend project clears environmental review

27 April 2016

Environmental impacts would not prevent the issuance of a licence to build and operate the proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers have concluded. However, other reviews in the licensing process for the project have been suspended.

Site shortlisted for Australian waste facility

29 April 2016

The Australian government has shortlisted a voluntarily nominated site in Barndioota, South Australia, as a possible site for a national radioactive waste management facility, minister for resources and energy Josh Frydenberg announced today.

UK think tank urges nuclear innovation

28 April 2016

A think tank has urged the British government to spend money earmarked for nuclear R&D on ensuring that at least three advanced reactors including at least one small modular reactor (SMR) and a Generation IV design have completed regulatory assessment by the early 2020s.

International support for rehabilitation of Chernobyl site

27 April 2016

A crucial project at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant can now proceed to its final stages thanks to additional pledges by the international donor community at a conference in Kiev yesterday. On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and President of the European Council Donald Tusk held talks by telephone during which Tusk underlined the EU's "comprehensive support" to Ukraine in overcoming the consequences of the disaster.

Russian proposal for nuclear fuel leasing and recycling

At the recent World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference in Abu Dhabi, a new concept of nuclear fuel leasing was publicly proposed, writes Ian Hore-Lacy.

The leasing concept has been nebulous, but essentially means that the uranium supplier retains ownership right through to accepting back the high-level wastes, relieving the utility of any responsibility for those wastes. For several years the Khlopin Institute in Russia has been developing for Tenex a new fuel recycling model. REMIX (from Regenerated Mixture) fuel is produced directly from a non-separated mix of recycled uranium and plutonium from reprocessing used fuel, with a low-enriched uranium (LEU, up to 17% U-235) make-up comprising about 20% of the mix. This gives fuel initially with about 1% Pu-239 and 4% U-235 which can sustain burn-up of 50 GWd/t over four years.

The used REMIX fuel is then reprocessed and recycled again, after low-enriched uranium top up.

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