Instrumentation & Controls, Nuclear, Reactors

Westinghouse in talks to supply nuclear fuel to Ukraine power plants

Issue 5 and Volume 7.

Sept. 12

Westinghouse Electric Co. is in talks with the Ukraine to supply nuclear fuel for power generation from 2015 to help cut Ukraine’s dependence on Russia.

Ukraine said in January it would borrow $6 billion from Russia for new nuclear builds. But Ukraine is rethinking that plan after political unrest developed between the two countries, according to Reuters. All Ukrainian nuclear units are Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors and use fuel supplied by Russian state nuclear company Rosatom.

Ukrainian-owned energy company Energoatom told Reuters it will start testing fuel from Westinghouse at the third unit of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in 2015.

Westinghouse and Ukraine first signed a fuel supply deal in 2000, but in 2012, the Westinghouse fuel to the South Ukraine plant was found to be faulty and operations were shut down, the article said.

TVA hopes to load fuel at Watts Bar 2 in March 2015

Sept. 12

By Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst, GenerationHub

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is targeting March 2015 to start loading fuel at the Watts Bar 2 nuclear plant in Tennessee, the federal utility noted recently in documents made public by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

“Startup testing and system turnovers support a March 2015 fuel load date,” TVA said in documents presented to NRC staff July 22. The documents from the briefing were posted on an NRC web site Sept. 8.

“Fukushima response, hydrology, and cyber security actions continue to progress in support of the operating license schedule,” TVA said in the briefing papers. The purpose of the meeting in Rockville, Md., was for TVA to update the status of construction and licensing efforts for the Watts Bar 2 nuclear plant.

TVA said Aug. 12 that work on Unit 2 of the Watts Bar nuclear plant is 90 percent complete and that roughly 3,100 workers are currently engaged in the effort to bring more than 1,100 MW of baseload energy online.

Watts Bar Unit 2 is projected to begin commercial operation between September 2015 and June 2016, with a most likely date by December 2015. The project has an estimated completion cost of between $4bn and $4.5bn, with a most likely target of $4.2bn.

TVA overhauled its Watts Bar construction efforts in the spring of 2012 after running into unexpected costs and delays in trying to finish the never-completed nuclear unit where work had started, and then been suspended, decades earlier.

When the TVA board approved the project in 2007, it predicted a 60-month construction schedule and a cost of $2.49bn.

This article was republished with permission from GenerationHub.

Areva to supply fuel for Browns Ferry nuclear plant

Sept. 11

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) awarded a $250 million fuel supply contract to Areva for a TVA nuclear power plant in Alabama.

Areva will supply nine nuclear fuel reloads of the Atrium 10XM fuel design to the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama. The fuel will be fabricated at Areva’s Richland, Washington facility with delivery beginning in 2017. TVA will also have the option to upgrade to Areva’s next generation Atrium 11 fuel design.

Westinghouse signs I&C agreements with China nuclear company


Sept. 11

Westinghouse Electric Co. signed two instrumentation and controls (I&C) system cooperation agreements with China’s State Nuclear Power Automation System Engineering Co. (SNPAS).

One of the agreements extends a cooperation signed in November 2010 for China AP1000 nuclear plant I&C systems. The extension covers the strategic relationship of Westinghouse and SNPAS in supplying I&C systems for new AP1000 projects into the future. The second agreement covers I&C systems for future global SNPTC nuclear power plant projects using designs derived from the AP1000 design by SNPTC. Westinghouse and SNPTC signed a memorandum of understanding that covers a broad range of areas of cooperation; the second agreement falls under the strategic nuclear technology partnership.

Areva to develop prototype panels for fusion nuclear reactor

Sept. 11

Areva signed a contract with the Fusion for Energy (F4E) agency to manufacture a “first wall” panel prototype and develop the manufacturing processes.

The “first wall” panels are one of the covering components that wrap the internal surface of the ITER fusion reactor vacuum vessel and protects it during the fusion reaction. Along with a cooling loop containing water, they will remove the heat produced in the vacuum vessel.

Areva will manufacture and assemble the panels in several stages at the Areva Le Creusot Technical Center. The prototype currently being manufactured before a call for tenders for the mass production of panels, currently forecast to be launched by 2017. Areva won a contract with F4E in 2011 to manufacture panel semi-prototypes to the 1/8th scale. The first semi-prototype was delivered in 2013.

Sendai nuclear power plant receives regulatory OK to restart

Sept. 10

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Wednesday gave its approval for the dual-unit Sendai nuclear power plant to restart.

NRA officials said plant operator Kyushu Electric Power Co. showed that the plant met all safety requirements in order to restart the Sendai plant, according to Reuters. However, the plant still needs to pass operational safety checks and win the approval of the local government where the plant is sited. If it gains all of the approvals, the plant could restart in early 2015, the article said.

The government is reportedly pushing utilities to close reactors that are 40 years old and older to help appease public distrust that has grown since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident, the article said. Nearly a quarter of the 48 reactors in Japan are 40 years and older. Post-Fukushima rules say reactors must be decommissioned after 40 years of operation, but licenses can be extended an additional 20 years if they can pass more stringent and expensive safety regulations.

Xcel Energy, Areva extend nuclear fuel supply contract

Sept. 10

Xcel Energy and Areva extended a nuclear fuel and services contract for the Monticello nuclear power plant in Minnesota.

The contract covers the time period between 2017 and 2029, and includes the supply of natural uranium, conversion and enrichment services, as well as the fabrication and delivery of fuel assemblies.

Areva will provide two fuel reloads in addition to the six initially planned in the 2012 contract. The contract also includes the delivery of Areva’s Atrium 10XM fuel assembly for boiling water reactors, which provides savings in uranium, conversion, enrichment and fuel handling, and optimized outage duration and used fuel management costs.

China is sole bidder for Romania nuclear new builds

Sept. 10

China General Nuclear (CGN) filed a non-binding bid to build two new reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania.

CGN was the only prospective investor to file the big by a Sept. 8 deadline, according to Reuters. Romanian state-owned nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica initially planned to build the reactors at an estimated cost of 6 billion euros ($7.73 billion) in partnership with six European firms, including GDF Suez, RWE, CEZ and Iberdrola. All six withdrew from the project between 2010 and 2013, the article said.

CGN reportedly has until Sept. 24 to file a binding bid and a price offer for a majority stake in the joint venture that will build the reactors, the article said. Romania and China signed two nuclear cooperation agreements in 2013, including a letter of intent to build the reactors at the 1,300 MW Cernavoda power plant.

USEC plans name change, emergence from bankruptcy

Sept. 9

Uranium supplier USEC Inc. said that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware confirmed the company’s reorganization plan and that it will emerge from Chapter 11 under the name Centrus Energy Corp.

Investors overwhelmingly supported the plan, which is the last major court step in the bankruptcy process that began in March 2014. USEC anticipates that the plan will become effective later in September, subject to satisfying all conditions for emergence from bankruptcy. The new common stock is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LEU.” The names of the company’s subsidiaries will not change after the bankruptcy ends.

On the effective plan date, USEC will replace its $530 million debt and preferred stock with a new debt issue totaling $240.4 million and new common stock. The new debt issue would mature in five years and can be extended for an additional five years subject to certain conditions.

Cernavoda nuclear reactor shuts down after generator glitch


Sept. 9

Nuclearelectrica shut down the second reactor at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant due to a technical glitch in the generator.

The state-owned nuclear power producer said a team of specialists, including General Electric, are investigating the cause of the glitch and will restart the reactor once it is fixed, according to Reuters.

The Cernavoda plant uses two 706-MW reactors that generate a fifth of the country’s power, Reuters said. Plans are in place to add two more reactors.

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