China to Lead World in Nuclear Power through 2040

Total global nuclear generation will increase by 73 percent through 2040, forecasts the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its International Energy Outlook 2016 report. Nuclear generation will increase from 2.6 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2015 to 4.5 kWh in 2040, the publication predicts.

China will lead other countries in nuclear growth, alone comprising 54 percent of global nuclear expansion in the reporting period. Countries that are not part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will account for 86 percent of new nuclear, the report says.

As of 2015, China had 34 operating nuclear reactors, with a total capacity of 27 GW. China has an additional 20 reactors under construction, which if completed will add more than 22 GW to its existing capacity. At China’s current construction rate, one reactor comes online every five months. According to both China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPI) and the World Nuclear Association’s assessment of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, the Chinese Energy Fund Committee is expected to approve six to eight new nuclear reactors each year through 2020. This represents an additional 34 to 45 GW, increasing China’s nuclear capacity to nearly 90 GW by 2025. By 2032, China is expected to surpass the United States as the country with the most electricity generation from nuclear power, the report says.


Small Module Nuclear Reactors Could Power the UK by 2030

Small module nuclear reactors (SMR) could move from concept to operating reality in the United Kingdom by 2030, a new report indicates.

The analysis, issued by the Energy Technologies Institute, lays out a timeline for development of the technology, but warns that it’s dependent on gaining investor confidence early on.

“Our analysis shows that it is possible to have a first-of-a-kind SMR operating by 2030 if SMR developers, SMR vendors, Government and regulators work together in an integrated program,” said Mike Middleton, the ETI’s Nuclear Strategy Manager and the author of the report.

In April 2015, the UK government began gathering information on SMR for policy development. By November, the UK announced a £250 million program for overall nuclear research and development, including SMRs.

The report noted there’s currently no program or policy that would encourage the private sector to develop SMRs, and the ETI wants to help create investment by 2025.

SMR development is also underway in the United States, as the Small Modular Reactor Research and Education Consortium have funded two research projects.


Dominion’s Heacock to Retire; Stoddard Promoted to Chief Nuclear Officer

Dominion announced that David A. Heacock, president of Dominion Nuclear and the company’s chief nuclear officer, will retire, effective March 1, 2017. Beginning Oct. 1, Daniel G. Stoddard, senior vice president of Nuclear Operations, will become senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. Heacock will remain president of Dominion Nuclear until his retirement.

During the transition, Stoddard will continue reporting to Heacock, but will have a dotted-line relationship as chief nuclear officer to Paul Koonce, CEO of the Dominion Generation Group. Stoddard will begin reporting directly to Koonce on March 1.

“Dave’s knowledge and reputation in the nuclear industry is unparalleled,” Koonce said. “He is an expert on issues facing both the company and the industry as a whole. In the aftermath of the earthquake that struck near North Anna Power Station in 2011, he quickly guided the company and regulators. He also led the industry’s response to the safety analysis following the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan.

Stoddard, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, also earned his master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Virginia. He joined Dominion in July 2006 as director-Nuclear Station Safety & Licensing, and was named site vice president-North Anna Power Station later that year. He assumed the post of vice president-Nuclear Operations in February 2010, and was promoted to senior vice president-Nuclear Operations in May 2011.


Fermi 2 Nuclear License Renewal Gets Environmental OK from NRC

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published its final environmental review on the operating license renewal of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant in Michigan.

The supplemental environmental impact statement contains the NRC staff’s conclusion that the impacts would not preclude renewing the plant’s license for another 20 years. The NRC published a draft version of the report in November 2015 for public comment. The final report includes the staff’s responses to the comments.

Fermi 2 is a boiling water reactor currently licensed to operate through March 20, 2025. Plant operator DTE Electric Co. submitted the renewal application April 30, 2014.


GE to Provide Conventional Power Islands for Hinkley Point C

GE received approval of a $1.9 billion contract to supply steam turbines and generators as part of EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in the UK.

GE’s Steam Power Systems, part of GE Power, will supply two conventional power islands, which includes the ARABELLE steam turbine, generator and other critical equipment. Each steam turbine has a gross generating capacity of 1,770 MW.

GE has been working closely with EDF Energy on Hinkley Point C as part of the Early Contractor Involvement agreement that includes activities like safety classification studies, planning, civil works interfaces, pre-engineering and procurement planning.


TVA Doing Switchyard Repairs Prior to Watts Bar 2 Operation

Since the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) experienced an oil fire at the switchyard serving the Watts Bar nuclear station on Aug. 30, the federal utility has decided to do extensive work at the switchyard prior to full commercial operation of Watts Bar 2.

The fire forced the Watts Bar 2 nuclear unit offline not long after it had achieved 99 percent power output as part of increasing generation tests. As a precaution, TVA also took Watts Bar 1 offline temporarily on Sept. 1 so workers could safely inspect de-energized equipment in its switchyard.

Watts Bar 1 has since gotten back to 100 percent power, while Watts Bar 2 remains at zero power.

There is a “dual” switchyard at the Watts Bar nuclear complex and it has both 161-kV and 500-kV facilities, TVA spokesperson Jim Hopson told GenerationHub on Sept. 12.

The fire occurred on the “station side” of the switchyard serving Watts Bar 2, Hopson said. TVA cannot yet give an accurate prediction of either the cost of the switchyard repair or the length of time it will take to complete, he added. Work will be done by TVA’s in-house employees.

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