Commissioning work started at Turkey’s first nuclear plant

April 11, 2024, 3:05PMNuclear News
A model of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin, Turkey. (Image: VOA)

The first unit at Akkuyu, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, has begun the commissioning process. The goal is that the plant will begin supplying energy to the nation next year, according to Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

Belarusian Unit 2 begins commercial operation

November 8, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Belarusian nuclear plant. (Photo: Rosatom)

The second of the two VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors at Belarusian, the sole nuclear power plant in Belarus, has entered commercial operation, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced last week.

First concrete poured at Egypt’s El Dabaa-3

May 8, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
Egyptian and Russian officials inaugurate construction of El Dabaa-3 on May 3. (Photo: Nuclear Power Plants Authority)

The main construction phase for Unit 3 at Egypt’s El Dabaa nuclear power plant project has begun, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom announced last week.

Cameco, Urenco sign contracts for Kozloduy fuel supply

April 25, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Various officials (back row) look on at the fuel supply contract signing in Sofia, Bulgaria. Front row, from left: Angie Darkey, Uranium Asset Management’s managing director; Boris Schucht, Urenco CEO; Tim Gitzel, Cameco president and CEO; and Aziz Dag, Westinghouse senior vice president of global BWR & VVER fuel business.

Canada’s Cameco and U.K.-based Urenco last week jointly announced the signing of agreements to become part of a Westinghouse-led fuel supply chain for Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. (Also included in the partnership is Uranium Asset Management.)

On the verge of a crisis: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot

April 14, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear CafeMatt Wald
This chart from the EIA shows sources of uranium for U.S. nuclear power plants, 1950-2021. In 2020, according to the chart, 39.60 million pounds of uranium oxide was imported for the domestic nuclear power plant fleet. (Credit: Energy Information Agency)

The naturalist John Muir is widely quoted as saying, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” While he was speaking of ecology, he might as well have been talking about nuclear fuel.

At the moment, by most accounts, nuclear fuel is in crisis for a lot of reasons that weave together like a Gordian knot. Today, despite decades of assertions from nuclear energy supporters that the supply of uranium is secure and will last much longer than fossil fuels, the West is in a blind alley. We find ourselves in conflict with Russia with ominous implications for uranium, for which Russia holds about a 14 percent share of the global market, and for two processes that prepare uranium for fabrication into reactor fuel: conversion (for which Russia has a 27 percent share) and enrichment (a 39 percent share).

Westinghouse, Framatome to provide fuel for Kozloduy

January 5, 2023, 6:59AMNuclear News

Westinghouse Electric and Framatome have signed agreements with Kozloduy NPP—the eponymous operator of Bulgaria’s only nuclear power facility—to fabricate and deliver fuel for the site’s two operating reactors. Westinghouse will provide the fuel for Unit 5 under a 10-year contract inked on December 22, while Framatome will supply Unit 6 under a December 30 preliminary deal. First deliveries of fuel from Westinghouse and Framatome are expected in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

The two agreements, according to the Bulgarian News Agency, “are part of an effort to diversify energy supplies to Bulgaria and do away with the country’s dependence on Russian energy resources.” In November, the Bulgarian National Assembly approved 156–47 a resolution tasking the country’s Council of Ministers with licensing non-Russian nuclear fuel for Kozloduy.

Rooppur-2 reactor pressure vessel installed

October 25, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
At Bangladesh’s Rooppur plant, a Liebherr-11350 heavy caterpillar crane raises the reactor vessel to Unit 2’s transportation portal. (Photo: Rosatom)

In case anyone forgot, Russia can build nuclear power plants, not just occupy them—as discussed a week ago on Newswire. Last week in Bangladesh, workers completed the installation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for the second unit at the Rooppur construction site.

IAEA demands Russian exit from Zaporizhzhia

September 16, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to a report from Reuters, the 35-member board voted 26–2 yesterday in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions. The two “no” votes were cast, unsurprisingly, by Russia and China, while abstentions came from Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.

KHNP wins turbine island construction contract for Egyptian plant

August 31, 2022, 7:05AMNuclear News
A digital rendering of Egypt’s El Dabaa plant. (Image: Nuclear Power Plants Authority)

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) has signed a contract with Atomstroyexport JSC—the engineering division of Russia’s Rosatom—to build the turbine islands for Egypt’s El Dabaa nuclear power plant, construction of which commenced just last month with the pouring of first concrete.

IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia finally launched

August 30, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi (center) with his team of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards experts at the Vienna International Airport on August 29, prior to their departure for Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

After months of urgent entreaties to both the Ukrainian and Russian governments to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi yesterday set off for the facility, accompanied by a team of nuclear security, safety, and safeguards experts.

Akkuyu-1 polar crane mounted

August 24, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Turkey’s Akkuyu-1 receives its polar crane. (Photo: Akkuyu Nuclear)

Akkuyu Nuclear, the Ankara-based Rosatom subsidiary established to manage Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear plant project, has announced the successful mounting of the Unit 1 polar crane. The operation was carried out using a Liebherr LR 13000 crane and took approximately four hours, according to Akkuyu Nuclear.

Also referred to as a circular bridge crane, the polar crane operates on a circular runway located near the spring line of the containment building. It is used for a wide range of loading and lifting tasks within containment, including reactor-head removal/replacement and fuel loading/unloading.

Construction permit issued for first Egyptian unit

July 14, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
A construction permit was issued for the first of four proposed reactors at Egypt’s El Dabaa site, about 185 miles northwest of Cairo. (Image: Wikipedia)

The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulation Authority (ENRRA) recently issued the construction permit for the first of four proposed Russian-designed and -supplied reactors at Egypt’s El Dabaa site, located on the Arab nation’s Mediterranean coast, about 185 miles northwest of Cairo.

An application for the permit was submitted by Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA)—the public entity charged with operating the plant—in June of last year.

Nuclear development in the West needs new, better financing models

June 30, 2022, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The prospects for new nuclear energy construction in the Western world is the subject of a recent The Economist article, “Energy security gives climate-friendly nuclear-power plants a new appeal.” The article also explores the difficulties that EDF Energy has been experiencing in constructing its EPRs in Europe.

Australia’s Honeymoon mine to resume production

June 7, 2022, 7:56AMNuclear News
The Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia. (Photo: Boss Energy)

The board of Boss Energy Limited has made a “final investment decision” to develop the Honeymoon in situ uranium project in Australia, the Perth-based company announced last week. Boss said it will now accelerate engineering, procurement, and construction to ensure that Honeymoon—located in South Australia, near the border with New South Wales—remains on track for first production by December 2023, ramping up to a steady-state rate of 2.45 million pounds of U3O8 per year.

Poll: Finns favor fission at record level

May 24, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Finnish public’s support for nuclear power is at an all-time high, according to a recent opinion poll conducted by Kantar Public, a London-based consulting and research firm.

Commissioned by Finnish Energy—the trade association for Finland’s energy sector—the poll finds that 60 percent of respondents have either a “fully positive” or “mainly positive” perception of nuclear power as an energy source (34 percent and 26 percent, respectively), up from 49 percent in a 2021 Kantar poll.

Contract with Rosatom for Finnish reactor scrapped

May 5, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News
An artist’s rendering of the Hanhikivi plant. (Image: Rosatom)

Finnish energy company Fennovoima has terminated, effective immediately, its engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with RAOS Project Oy, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, for the delivery of a 1,200-MWe VVER-1200 pressurized water reactor at the Hanhikivi site in Finland’s Pyhäjoki municipality.

Update on Ukraine

April 1, 2022, 3:20PMNuclear News
The New Safe Confinement structure over the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Photo from 2018.

Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom, announced yesterday that the Russian military has withdrawn from the Chernobyl plant and surrounding area. “According to the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, there are now no outsiders on-site,” Energoatom stated in an online post. Russian forces took control of Chernobyl on February 24, day one of the invasion.

In a separate post, the company said that the Russians had formally agreed to return the responsibility for Chernobyl to Ukraine. It shared a scan of a document, with the heading “Act of acceptance and transfer of protection of the Chernobyl nuclear plant,” purportedly signed by a representative of Russia’s National Guard, a representative of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, and a Chernobyl plant shift manager.

Update on Ukraine

March 18, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) informed the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday that all safety systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine were fully functional, one day after the site lost connection to a third external power line linking it to the national electricity grid.