U.K. government lauds progress at Hinkley Point C

January 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Nigel Cann, delivery director at Hinkley Point C, Helen Whately MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer of EDF. (Photo: EDF)

Despite last year’s announcement from EDF Energy that the startup of Unit 1 at Hinkley Point C would likely be delayed (from late 2025 to June 2026), current progress at the site is receiving praise from the U.K. government.

On January 13, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, and Helen Whately, exchequer secretary of the treasury, toured the nuclear new-build project, accompanied by Jean Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive.

Westinghouse partners with Czech companies for Dukovany project

January 18, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Czech government officials and company representatives at the January 13 signing. (Photo: Czech Republic Ministry of Industry and Trade)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed memorandums of understanding with seven companies in the Czech Republic. The MOUs, signed on January 13 at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Prague, cover cooperation on the potential deployment of a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant, as well as other potential AP1000 projects in Central Europe.

Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

January 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

Hunterston B plant closes with Unit B2 shutdown

January 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Hunterston B worker in the Charge Hall, November 2021. (Photo: EDF Energy)

The Hunterston B nuclear power plant has ended its nearly 46 years of zero-carbon electricity generation for Scotland with the shutdown of Unit B2. The 495-MWe advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR), which began commercial operation in March 1977, was taken off line on January 7. The station’s companion unit, the 490-MWe AGR B1, was shut down last November.

Under an agreement with the U.K. government signed on June 23, 2021, EDF Energy, owner and operator of Britain’s power reactor fleet, is responsible for defueling all seven of the U.K.’s AGR nuclear stations over this decade. (The agreement does not include Sizewell B, which houses a 1,098-MWe pressurized water reactor slated to continue operating until at least 2035, or Hinkley Point C, which is currently under construction.) EDF expects the defueling of the AGR facilities to take from three-and-a-half to five years.

Scheduled to follow Hunterston B into the defueling phase by July of this year is the two-unit Hinkley Point B plant in Somerset, England.

Looking back at 2021—Nuclear News April through June

January 7, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

This is the third of five articles to be posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories from the April-June time frame—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

December 21, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

ADVANCED REACTORS MARKETPLACE

GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR technology chosen for Darlington clean energy project

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has been selected by Ontario Power Generation as technology partner for the Darlington site's new nuclear plant project. GEH will work with OPG to deploy a BWRX-300 small modular reactor as early as 2028 at the Darlington site in Canada.

■ NuScale Power and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale VOYGR power plants in Kazakhstan. KNPP specializes in the development of nuclear power plant construction in Kazakhstan. The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between NuScale and KNPP. Under the MOU, NuScale will support KNPP’s evaluation of NuScale’s SMR technology, including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work.

PKN ORLEN and Synthos Green Energy have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture, ORLEN Synthos Green Energy, with a goal to prepare and commercialize small nuclear reactor technology, particularly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 reactors, in Poland. Related, BWXT Canada Ltd. signed a letter of intent with Synthos and GEH for the manufacture of key SMR components for Poland.

Advisory board established for French SMR development

December 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Click to see full image. Concept art for the NUWARD small modular reactor. (Image: TechnicAtome)

Électricité de France recently announced the formation of an advisory board for NUWARD, France’s small modular reactor project. According to the company, the establishment of the International NUWARD Advisory Board (INAB) is a major step forward in support of the technology’s development.

French president calls for new nuclear construction

November 11, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Macron

In a televised address Tuesday evening, French president Emmanuel Macron announced his government’s intention to build new large nuclear reactors in France to address growing energy and environmental challenges.

“If we want to pay for our energy at reasonable rates and not depend on foreign countries, we must both continue to save energy and invest in the production of carbon-free energy on our soil,” said Macron. “This is why, to guarantee France’s energy independence, to guarantee our country’s electricity supply, and to reach our goals—notably carbon neutrality in 2050—we will for the first time in decades revive the construction of nuclear reactors in our country and continue to develop renewable energy. These investments will allow us to live up to our commitments. As we close COP26 in Glasgow, this is a strong message from France.”

France submits EPR offer to Poland

October 15, 2021, 12:06PMNuclear News

A cutaway view of an EPR. (Image: EDF)

French utility giant Électricité de France has thrown its chapeau into the ring to be the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s embryonic nuclear power program, joining U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company, which has made concerted efforts this year to convince Poland to choose its AP1000 technology.

On Tuesday, EDF submitted a nonbinding preliminary offer to the Polish government for the construction of four to six EPR reactors, representing a total installed capacity of 6.6 to 9.9 GWe across two to three sites.

The pitch: The offer “covers all key parameters of the program, such as plant configuration, industrial scheme, plans for the development of the local supply chain, cost estimate, and schedule,” EDF said in a press release, adding that its proposal “aims at setting the principles for a Polish-French strategic partnership framework in support of Poland’s ambitious energy transition plan, aligned with the European carbon neutrality target.”

EDF: Taishan’s “evolving” fuel failure would merit a shutdown and assessment in France

July 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Taishan nuclear power plant. (Photo: EDF Energy)

If Taishan-1 were operating in France, Électricité de France would shut down the reactor in order to assess the situation in progress and stop its development, according to a July 22 press release from EDF. The 1,660-MWe French-designed EPR—the recent subject of sensational press coverage of fuel rod failures—operates in China’s Guangdong Province.

EDF and ENEC to partner on nuclear R&D

July 1, 2021, 9:34AMNuclear News
Laurent Clement, EDF Middle East chief executive officer (seated, left), and Ahmed Al Mazrouei, ENEC vice president of R&D (seated, right), sign a letter of intent on June 30 to cooperate on nuclear R&D. Looking on are Hervé Maillart, head coordinator of the French nuclear industry at EDF (left), and ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi. (Photo: ENEC)

Électricité de France has signed a letter of intent with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation to develop a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on research and development in the nuclear energy sector.

EDF retires U.K.’s Dungeness plant

June 9, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
The Dungeness B nuclear power station, in Kent, southeastern England. (Photo: geograph.org.uk)

EDF Energy, owner and operator of the United Kingdom’s nuclear reactor fleet, yesterday announced its decision to move the Dungeness B nuclear plant into its defueling phase “with immediate effect,” rather than proceed with a restart later this year. The company had previously stated that it intended to operate the facility, located in southeastern England, until at least 2028.

EDF and U.K.’s Nuclear AMRC step up partnership

May 14, 2021, 12:07PMNuclear News
“Big Carl,” the world’s largest land-based crane, lifts the second of three prefabricated steel rings that will form the reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C from its bunker to a lay-down area in late April. (Photo: EDF)

EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support U.K. manufacturers, the University of Sheffield–based center announced recently.

Proposed Czech unit won’t be built by China

February 5, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

Czech Republic political parties have agreed to exclude China from participating in a tender to build an additional reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant but have yet to decide whether to allow Russian participation, according to a report last week from Reuters.

Other bidders on the project, estimated to be worth some €6 billion (about $7.2 billion), include Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power of South Korea, EDF of France, and Westinghouse of the United States.

Hunterston B Unit 3 to restart soon; plant to retire earlier than expected

September 1, 2020, 9:59AMNuclear News

Workers on the fueling machine at Hunterston B. Photo: EDF Energy

EDF Energy has received approval from the United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to restart the Hunterston B power station’s Unit 3 for a limited run, according to August 27 announcements from both the company and the regulator. EDF has permission to operate the unit for up to 16.425 terawatt days (approximately six months of operation), the ONR said.

EDF also announced that Hunterston B—located in North Ayrshire, along the western coast of Scotland—will begin its defueling phase no later than January 7, 2022, more than a year earlier than the expected retirement date of March 2023. The decision, EDF said, was made following a series of executive board and shareholders meetings.

EDF fined millions for disseminating misleading information about U.K. nuclear project

August 5, 2020, 3:21PMNuclear News

The Enforcement Committee of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has imposed a fine of €5 million (about $5.9 million) on Électricitéde France for providing false information about the Hinkley Point C new-build nuclear project in the United Kingdom. The committee has also imposed a €50,000 (about $59,000) fine on EDF’s former chairman and chief executive officer, Henri Proglio. According to a July 30 statement from the AMF, the false information was spread via an October 8, 2014, news release.

The AMF is described on its website as an independent public authority that regulates the French financial marketplace and its participants.

Exelon, EDF ask NY to okay proposed nuclear deal

July 28, 2020, 9:27AMNuclear News

Exelon Generation and Électricitéde France have asked the New York Public Service Commission to approve the transfer of EDF’s 49.99 percent ownership interest in Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG) to Exelon, which owns 50.1 percent. CENG is the owner of New York’s Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, as well as Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs.

New design center supports construction of Hinkley Point C

July 21, 2020, 9:38AMNuclear News

UK EPR Design Centre, Bristol, England. Image: EDF Energy

EDF Energy has opened a new engineering design facility in Bristol, England, to support the next phase of construction at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, the company announced on July 14. The UK EPR Design Centre at Aztec West brings together nuclear designers and engineers from EDF and British engineering partners and suppliers, including Framatome UK, Atkins, Jacobs, Assystem, Anotech, and Vulcain, the announcement said.

France’s Fessenheim-2 closes permanently

July 1, 2020, 10:42AMNuclear News

Fessenheim nuclear power plant. Photo: EDF

After producing electricity generation for more than 40 years, Fessenheim-2 was disconnected from the grid on June 29, some four months after the retirement of its companion reactor, Fessenheim-1 (NN, Mar. 2020, p. 83). The action completes the closure of what had been France’s oldest operating nuclear power facility.

Both Fessenheim units are 880-MWe pressurized water reactors; Unit 1 began commercial operation in December 1977, with Unit 2 going on line in March 1978.