Nuclear, Reactors

Toshiba close to owning British nuclear power joint venture

Issue 1 and Volume 7.

Jan. 10

Toshiba Corp. is working to increase its stake in British nuclear power company NuGen by buying a 10 percent share from GDF Suez.

GDF Suez currently owns 50 percent of NuGen, and is selling the 10 percent stake for about 3 billion yen ($29 million), according to Reuters. Iberdrola SA agreed in December to sell its 50 percent stake in NuGen to Toshiba for 85 million pounds ($140.12 million). Iberdrola has been selling assets to reduce debt.

NuGen owns a site in Sellafield where it plans to build 3.6 GW of nuclear capacity. Toshiba is looking to gain control of NuGen so that it’s Westinghouse unit can supply the joint venture with three of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors for the Sellafield project.


L-3 MAPPS to replace nuclear power simulator’s control room

Jan. 10

L-3 MAPPS was contracted to replace the input/output (I/O) system on the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station’s simulator’s main control room panels and related remote shutdown panels.

L-3 MAPPS will replace more than 13,000 I/O channels with low power consumption compact controllers and I/O modules from Beckhoff Automation that are managed by L-3’s Orchid Input Output software. L-3 MAPPS will also replace select simulator control room panel instruments, including the synchroscope, rod position indicators and the sound generator, with custom-designed equivalents.

The company has supplied plant owner Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co. Ltd. since 1999. The plant uses two AREVA pressurized water reactors that generate 984 MWe each.


Ft. Calhoun nuclear power plant shut down due to ice

Jan. 10

A buildup of ice caused the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant to temporarily shut down just weeks after it restarted.

Workers with the Omaha Public Power District were making routine inspections at Unit 1 when they noticed a block of ice had formed on the shaft and the top of one of six sluice gates that control the flow of water into the plant on Jan. 8. The ice also bent the sluice gate operating shaft, which caused the gate to not close and made all four raw water pumps inoperable. Workers shut the plant down as a precaution, and there was no danger to the public or to workers, OPPD said.

The ice has since been cleared and the plant will be restarted once the gate can be lowered.

Fort Calhoun restarted in December after a two-year shutdown. The plant was down for maintenance in April 2011, but the nearby Missouri River inundated the plant and caused it to be shut down longer. A series of violations and a fire kept the plant offline. The NRC had to approve the restart of the plant.


NRC to lower Pilgrim nuclear plant performance to “degraded”

Jan. 9

nrc to lower pilgrim nuclear plant
NRC to Lower Pilgrim nuclear plant performance to “degraded”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it would downgrade the performance of the 685 MW Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts two months after the NRC increased inspections at Pilgrim. Entergy (NYSE: ETR) operates the plant.

The Pilgrim plant will be placed with seven other nuclear plants in the “degraded cornerstone column.” The degraded plants require special NRC inspections and increased oversight, said Neil Sheehan, spokesperson for the NRC.

Pilgrim was already under additional NRC oversight due to the plant automatically shutting down October 2013 for a week due to the loss of a 345 kV power line that provided offsite power to the plant. It was the second time the plant shut down last year. That incident led to the plant having a “white” performance indicator last year.

NRC’s Sheehan said in an email that the plant’s Performance Indicator for Unplanned Shutdowns per 7,000 Hours is expected to change from “green” to “white” once it is updated, which will move the plant down to degraded.

“Operating Pilgrim at the highest levels of safety and reliability is our top priority. We have conducted rigorous reviews of the plant shutdowns to identify needed improvements. Our action plan is broad-based and addresses plant equipment, processes and organizational structure. Changes have been made in some key site leadership positions to accelerate our improvement,” Entergy released in a statement to Power Engineering. “It is important to note, that two of the four shutdowns were the result of electric transmission line problems external to Pilgrim. We are working closely with the owners of the transmission system to identify ways to improve electrical grid reliability. The shutdowns had no impact on the health and safety of the public or our employees.”


Alstom sues EDF over nuclar backup power tender

Jan. 9

Alstom is suing EDF over allegations that Alstom was excluded from a tender to provide backup diesel engines in EDF’s nuclear power plants.

According to Reuters, Alstom and its German partner MAN SE filed the legal challenge at the end of December over the 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) tender for the diesel engines. EDF is reportedly in talks with two groups: Clemessy, a consortium of French construction and concessions company Eiffage and Belgian diesel engine maker Anglo Belgium Corp.; and Westinghouse, which is partnered with U.S. diesel engine maker Fairbanks, the article said.

France’s nuclear regulator ASN required EDF to install 58 diesel engines by the end of 2018 to supply backup power to EDF’s nuclear fleet in response to the accident at Fukushima in Japan.


Nuclear power unit in Ukraine returns to service

Jan. 9

Unit 4 of the 2,835 MW Rivne Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine is back online six days after defects were found.

According to ForUm, The plant first shut down on Jan. 3 when defects of separator-superheater fittings were detected, the article said. The unit was restarted on Jan. 9.

Unit 1 at the Rivne nuclear plant remains in back up mode due to dispatching restrictions, the article said. It is expected to stay that way until February.


TEPCO names Sudo as chairman

Jan. 8

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe resigned effective March 31.

TEPCO’s board appointed Fumio Sudo as the new chairman effective April 1. Sudo previously was TEPCO’s director and advisor to JFE Holdings Inc.

TEPCO in December submitted a rehabilitation plan expected to give the company a profit of about 100 billion yen ($953.5 million) in fiscal year 2014. The plan, however, is contingent upon TEPCO restarting operations at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in July 2014, which would help cut fuel costs, according to an article from Jiji Press.


Day & Zimmermann to maintain Texas nuclear power plant

Jan. 8

Day & Zimmermann was awarded a five-year maintenance and modifications contract with STP Nuclear Operating Co. in Texas.

STP is operator of the South Texas Project, a 2,700 MW nuclear power plant in Texas. The plant is owned by Austin Energy, CPS Energy and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG).


Two nuclear power plants automatically shut down

Jan. 8

Two nuclear power plants automatically tripped within hours of each other Jan. 6.

Unit 1 at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania automatically tripped around 5 p.m. EST, according to an event report with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Workers with FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) said a main transformer differential trip caused the reactor to shut down. The transformer converts power generated from the plant to the appropriate voltage for distribution throughout the transmission system, according to Jennifer Young, spokesperson with FirstEnergy. It is located on the generation side of the plant.

The cause of the trip is under investigation. Backup systems worked as designed and the plant is stable. Unit 2 was unaffected by the trip and continues to run at full power.

“There are a large number of conditions that can cause tranformer issues such as that experienced at Beaver Valley Unit 1,” said FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young. “The team will consider a variety of factors during its intrusive diagnosis, including any potential impact of cold weather on the equipment. While the investigation is ongoing, we expect the causal analysis to take at least a week. Meanwhile, we will proceed with the repair or replacement, as the cause analysis does not need to be completed first.”

About four hours later, Unit 3 at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York automatically tripped due to “33 Steam Generator Steam flow/Feed flow Mismatch,” the NRC said. Plant operator Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said in a release that a controller device failed to regulate the flow of water into one of the plant’s four steam generators, which led to lowered water levels. Backup systems at the plant deployed as designed and the unit was safely shut down. The unit was returned to service on Jan. 8. Unit 2 continued to run at full power.


Wylfa nuclear reactor proposal assessment underway

Jan. 7

Wylfa nuclear reactor proposal assessment underway
Wylfa nuclear reactor proposal assessment underway

The U.K. Advanced Boiling Water Reactor proposal for the Wylfa nuclear reactor is under Generic Design Assessment (GDA). The assessment is being conducted by the Office for Nuclear, the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales.

In an interview with North Wales Chronicle, Ian Parker, the Environment Agency’s nuclear regulation group manager, said that the GDA allows time to identify and resolve issues before site-specific proposals are brought forward.

The assessments include safety, security, environmental and waste implications of new reactor designs, performed by regulators.


MHI to establish nuclear power plant business unit in Turkey

Jan. 7

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will establish a new business unit effective Feb. 1 to develop a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

The new unit, called the “Turkey Nuclear IPP Development Department,” was built to accelerate formation of project conditions for the Sinop nuclear power project in Turkey, including implementing a feasibility study, negotiating various contract agreements, and preparing a financial scheme. The unit will be under the guidance of the Energy & Environment domain headed by Senior Executive Vice President Atsushi Maekawa.

The power project will use four, 1,100 MWe ATMEA-1 nuclear power plants in the Sinop area of the Black Sea coast. ATMEA is a consortium of Japan-based MHI and France-based AREVA. In October, the consortium reached a broad framework of agreement with the government of the Republic of Turkey that ended negotiations over the power plant.


UK regulators begin second phase of nuclear reactor design evaluation

Jan. 6

The United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency said they are moving on to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design.

The two agencies will begin the second phase of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for the Hitachi-GE UK advanced boiling water reactor (UK ABWR) that is scheduled for use in the Wylfa and Oldbury nuclear power plants. The report will allow regulators to assess the safety, security, environmental and waste implications of new reactor designs before site-specific plans are brought forward.


Nuclear & environmental engineering firm bought by Huntington Ingalls.

Jan. 6

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII) acquired The S.M. Stoller Corp., a provider of environmental, nuclear and technical consulting and engineering services to the departments of Energy and Defense. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Stoller will be a wholly owned subsidiary of HII and will operate under its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division. NNS designs and builds nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, and the company recently expanded its nuclear and manufacturing business into the DOE and alternative energy industry.

“With this strategic acquisition, Newport News Shipbuilding is positioned for expanded growth within the DOE, environmental management and commercial nuclear services markets,” said HII Corporate Vice President and NNS President Matt Mulherin. “Stoller’s exceptional commitment to performance and safety are well recognized by the environmental management and remediation industry and are attributes that directly support our plan for continued growth within these markets. This is an important investment in the future of our company, and we are excited to welcome Stoller to our team.”


Nuclear power plant in UK suddenly shuts down

Jan. 6

EDF Energy was forced to shut down the Heysham 1 nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom on Jan. 4.

According to the BBC, a faulty boiler pump led to the shut down. Officials said in the article that it was a “minor incident,” and that standard shutdown procedure was followed.

There is no word on when the unit will be back online, but officials said in the article they hope to have it running by next week.


Turkey’s nuclear power plant expects approval by June

Jan. 3

Turkey’s Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz announced that the country’s second nuclear power plant project, worth $22 billion, is expected to receive approval by the parliament by June.

The project, which is located in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Sinop, will be built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and AREVA, according to an article from Balkans.

In 2013, Japan and Turkey entered into an agreement for the construction of the power plant.

Yildiz said in an interview that the country is conducting research on thermal power plants on Elbistan coal fields, which is currently responsible for 40 percent of the country’s lignite reserves. He added that generation facilities that can produce up to 7,000 MW are in the planning process and expects the investment to cost $10 billion.

Most recently, the two countries entered an agreement to establish a Turkish-Japanese Technical University in Turkey, the article said.


New nuclear reactor in China connects to the grid

Jan. 3

Unit 1 of the Yangjiang nuclear power plant in China was connected to the power grid Dec. 31.

According to Business Standard, the unit is expected to begin commercial operations in the next few months and cost about 73.2 billion yuan ($12.1 billion). Plans for the plant include six units that will enter commercial operations by January 2019, the article said.


TEPCO: Fukushima nuclear reactor failure caused by tsunami, not earthquake

Jan. 3

Tokyo Electric Power Co. says in a new report that the damage at Unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan was caused by the impact of the tsunami and not coolant loss caused by the earthquake.

The report says Unit 1 survived the earthquake intact, and that the tsunami knocked out the backup diesel generators, which led to the failure of the cooling systems that caused the accident. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission of Japan’s Diet raised questions that the accident could have resulted from the loss of coolant caused by the earthquake, which would have contradicted previous reports that the reactor withstood the earthquake intact, according to NucNet.com.

Units 1, 2 and 3 all suffered reactor core, fuel and containment damage. Units 4, 5 and 6 were offline at the time of the accident, but Unit 4’s reactor building was damaged by a hydrogen explosion.

The report was less conclusive on why water injected into Units 1, 2 and 3 did not cool the reactor cores and prevent meltdown, the article said. It is possible that water seeped into other systems and did not reach the core. An investigation into the amount of water used is ongoing, the article said.


Plant Vogtle loan guarantee deadline extended until Jan. 31

Jan. 2

Plant Vogtle loan guarantee deadline extended until Jan. 31
Plant Vogtle loan guarantee deadline extended until Jan. 31

The deadline for talks to finalize a loan guarantee for two new nuclear builds at Plant Vogtle in Georgia has been extended until Jan. 31.

Georgia Power, majority owner of Plant Vogtle and a subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), said talks with the U.S. Department of Energy were prolonged again. The last deadline was Dec. 31. The DOE first offered the loan guarantees in 2010 for up to $8.3 billion to be split between three of the owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. The discussions remain confidential.

“We are encouraged by recent progress in our loan guarantee negotiations as we work with the Department of Energy to address a few remaining points, including the need for intergovernmental agency review and approval,” said Southern Co. spokesperson Tim Leljedal.


China to put $6.5bn into Pakistan nuclear power projects

Jan. 2

China will lend $6.5 billion to Pakistan to help build nuclear power plants in the country.

According to Economic Times, the loans will be provided by the Exim Bank and will be repaid at a concessional rate over 20 years. Pakistan began work on the Karachi 2 nuclear power plant in October that is part of the $4 billion, 2,000 MW Karachi Coastal power project. The plant is expected to be completed by 2020.

Chinese companies are expected to invest $18 billion in 100 major projects in Pakistan, including energy, roads and technology.


CEZ may sign nuclear power plant deal by 2015

Jan. 2

Czech Republic-based CEZ said it could sign a contract with a company to expand the Temelin nuclear power plant by mid-2015, according to Reuters.

CEZ said in the article it was waiting for the government to finalize a national energy strategy and negotiate a guaranteed price for the power produced at the plant. U.S.-based Westinghouse and Russia’s Atomstroyexport are in the running to build two new reactors. The two units are expected to go live in 2025.

CEZ said in Reuters it is watching a European Union investigation into the British government’s subsidies of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project. The plant is expected to cost 16 billion pounds ($26.2 billion), but consumers may end up paying 17 billion pounds ($27.8 billion) in subsidies to EDF, which was picked to build the plant.


S. Korea OKs restart of three nuclear power reactors

Jan. 2

South Korea’s Nuclear Safety & Security Commission approved the restart of three nuclear power reactors in the country on Jan. 2, according to Reuters.

The Shin Kori 1 and 2 and the Wolsong 1 reactors had been shut down since May to replace cables that were supplied with forged documents. The fake document scandal led to the arrest of more than 100 people, including some government officials. The cables passed tests for use in the plants back in November.

South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors that generate about a third of the country’s power. The restart of the three reactors leaves three other reactors that are still offline.


Farley nuclear plant receives World-Class ALARA Performance Award

Dec. 30

Southern Nuclear’s Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant has been selected to receive the 2013 Information Systems on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) World-Class ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) Performance Award, the company has announced.

Southern Nuclear President and CEO Steve Kuczynski stated in a release the accomplishment “is a direct result of the engagement by the radiation workers supporting the plant during refueling outages and during power generation.”

The ISOE system was created in 1992 to provide radiation protection professionals a way to share methods to optimize radiological protection services at nuclear power plants. ISOE is jointly sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Southern Nuclear is a subsidiary of Southern Co.

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