Eletronuclear CEO arrested on corruption charges

Issue 4 and Volume 8.

July 28

Eletronuclear confirmed that its chief executive on leave, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva, was arrested as part of a corruption investigation at the utility.

Pinheiro has been on leave since April after allegations that Eletronuclear was involved in bribery, price fixing and political kickbacks, according to Reuters. The accusations are similar to those raised at Brazil-led oil company Petrobras. Brazilian police arrested two people involved with building the 1,405-MW Angra 3 nuclear power plant for Eletrobras, Reuters said. Construction is facing repeated delays.

ENEC installs nuclear reactor training simulator

July 27

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) installed a second APR-1400 nuclear reactor training simulator at its learning center in Abu Dhabi.

The 20-metric-ton simulator was built and tested by Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) in Korea, then taken apart and shipped to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where it was reassembled and put through a second round of tests. ENEC also said the first simulator was fully updated to make it more specific to the environment of the 5.6-GW Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Unit 1 is 74 percent complete and is scheduled to be finished by 2017. Unit 2 is 51 percent finished. The remaining three units will come online in 12-month intervals.

The training center is a 7,000-square-meter facility with classrooms, training equipment and the latest interactive digital workshops for students.

SCE&G places CA01 module at Summer nuclear project

July 24

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G) and its project partners placed a 2.4-million pound CA01 module at the V.C. Summer Unit 2 site in South Carolina.

On July 23, 2015, workers placed the module that will house a number of major components in the first of two new nuclear plants at the plant site. The module is a multi-compartment steel structure within the containment vessel. It is approximately 90 feet long, 95 feet wide, and 80 feet high. The CA01 was assembled on-site in a 12-story Module Assembly Building. One of the world’s largest cranes, a heavy lift derrick that stands approximately 560-feet tall, was used to lift the module.

Approximately 3,500 CB&I (NYSE: CBI) and Westinghouse personnel and subcontractors are employed on the site. The two, 1,117-MW are under construction. Unit 2 is expected to be completed by June 2019, and Unit 3 by June 2020. Unit 1 has been operating for more than 30 years. Click here to watch a video of the installation.

NRC publishes environmental report for nuclear plant license extension

July 23

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published its final environmental report for the two-unit Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois.

Unit 1 is licensed to operate through Oct. 31, 2024, and Unit 2 through Nov. 6, 2026. Plant operator Exelon (NYSE: EXC) submitted its renewal application May 29, 2013.

The NRC published its final safety evaluation report, detailing the staff’s technical review of the operating license extension application for both units, earlier this month.

The NRC published a draft version of the report in December.

China plans two nuclear power plants in Iran

July 23

China said it plans to build two nuclear power plants in Iran.

China’s reactors will be two of four planned for Iran, according to Energy Business Review. Iran and several world powers, including the U.S., recently agreed to let international experts have access to nuclear sites in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. The deal will allow Iran to keep its uranium stockpile for 10 years.

Construction on the four additional nuclear plants is expected to begin simultaneously in the next two to three years. Iran is currently home of the 1,000-MW Bushehr nuclear power plant, the country’s first.

Fluor to provide maintenance to Texas nuclear power plant

July 23

Fluor (NYSE: FLR) was awarded a five-year contract by Luminant to provide maintenance services to the company’s 2,300-MW Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Texas.

As part of the contract, Fluor will provide engineering, maintenance and modifications, and facility services for the plant. Fluor started providing ongoing maintenance and modification services at four of Luminant’s power plants in 1984. Fluor previously serviced the Comanche Peak plant from 1991 to 2006.

Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear license application withdrawn

July 22

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepted UniStar’s withdrawal of a nuclear operating license application for a 1,500-MW third unit at Calvert Cliffs power plant in Maryland.

According to Nuclear Street News, the NRC said it approved the retraction as of July 17, the article said. UniStar must now start at the beginning if it decides to restart plans for Calvert Cliffs 3, which is operated by Constellation Energy, a unit of Exelon (NYSE: EXC).

The plant was going to use the Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), but Areva asked the NRC in February to suspend its design certification review. Plant owner UniStar Nuclear Energy also asked the NRC to suspend review of the application for a combined operating license just days after Areva’s request.

Vattenfall’s nuclear, coal assets push company in the red

July 21

Swedish utility Vattenfall AB took a hit to its bottom line after a huge write-down on its nuclear and coal assets.

The company said in The Wall Street Journal that its net loss in the second quarter ended June 30 was 25 billion kronor ($3.04 billion), up from 1.83 billion kronor ($213.5 million). The utility said it booked a 36-billion-krona ($4.2 billion) write-down in the quarter, including 17 billion kronor ($2 billion) on two nuclear reactors in Sweden that will shut down sooner than planned, and 19 billion kronor ($2.2 billion) related to coal-fired power plants in Germany.

Vattenfall said in the article it completed the divestment of its Danish coal-fired power plants in the second quarter, and is still looking to sell its ownership shares in its German brown coal power plants and mines by early 2016. Selling those assets should help it reduce annual carbon emissions to 65 million tons, down from 82.3 million tons in 2014, the article said.

Nuclear reactor developer names VP of Corporate Development

July 21

Terrestrial Energy named a former Westinghouse executive to its own executive board.

Robin Rickman was named Vice President of Corporate Development on July 1. He was recently the Director of New Reactor Projects at Westinghouse Electric Co., which includes its small modular reactor (SMR) program. Rickman has spent over 40 years in the nuclear industry between the U.S. Navy and the civilian nuclear sector.

Terrestrial Energy is a nuclear reactor vendor currently designing a molten salt reactor scheduled for commercial deployment in 2024.

Canadian energy plan good for nuclear, group says

July 20

Canada’s energy plan focuses on developing more oil and gas pipelines, but the country’s nuclear industry says it helps them fight climate change as well.

Canada’s premiers approved the Canadian Energy Strategy, which calls for a plan to speed up regulatory decisions in order to expand future oil sands developments and address climate change. The premiers agreed to develop oil pipelines and electricity grids for both domestic use and exporting, and the next section of the plan commits premiers to get the approvals done more quickly. Section 9 commits the country to market diversification by exporting more oil and gas overseas.

The Canadian Nuclear Association said it believed the plan was good for the nuclear industry. Canada’s four nuclear power plants generate about 16 percent of Canada’s electricity, and nuclear accounted for 62 percent of Ontario’s generation, according to the IESO.

“Increased use of nuclear power in Ontario helped the province get off coal,” said CAN President John Barrett. “Between 2000 and 2013, nuclear powered electrical generation rose 20 percent, coinciding with a 27 percent drop in coal-fired electricity. During the same period, non-hydro renewables increased to 3.4 percent from one percent.”