World “at a crossroads” on climate, says new IPCC report

April 5, 2022, 11:56AMNuclear News

In its latest report on the climate, released yesterday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declares the need for immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors for the world to stand a realistic chance of limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 connected to grid

March 14, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Finland’s Olkiluoto-3. (Photo: TVO)

Europe’s first EPR, Unit 3 at Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, was connected to the nation’s grid on March 12, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), the facility’s owner and operator, has announced.

Olkiluoto-3 is also the first new Finnish reactor in four decades, and one of only three new reactors in Europe in the past 15 years. (Romania’s Cernavoda-2 began supplying electricity to the grid in August 2007, and Belarus’s Belarusian-1 in November 2020.)

EC gives qualified approval of nuclear for EU taxonomy

February 3, 2022, 3:03PMNuclear News

The European Commission gave two cheers for nuclear energy yesterday with its adoption of the Complementary Climate Delegated Act (CDA), which adds—under what the EC refers to as “clear and strict conditions”—nuclear and natural gas to the list of green technologies covered by the EU taxonomy. (The taxonomy is the classification system used by the European Union to guide private investment toward environmentally sustainable economic projects.)

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.

Pathway to net zero by 2050 “narrow” and “challenging,” says IEA

May 19, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News

A highly anticipated report released yesterday by the International Energy Agency on how to transition the world to a net-zero energy system by 2050 calls for “nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport, and consume energy.” At the same time, the report, Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, characterizes its preferred road to net zero as the one “most technically feasible, cost-effective, and socially acceptable.”

That road, while relying primarily on renewable energy, keeps a lane open for nuclear, which, the report says, will make a “significant contribution” and “provide an essential foundation for transitions.”

Global industry to policymakers: Net zero needs nuclear

May 17, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Achieving global carbon neutrality by 2050—a pledge made by well over 100 countries so far, including Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—will require investment in new nuclear capacity and the retention of existing nuclear generation, states an open letter released last Friday by the leaders of six prominent nuclear industry organizations.

Gorman

Desbazeille

Arai

Korsnick

Greatrex

Bilbao y Leon

The letter was signed by John Gorman, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association; Yves Desbazeille, director general of FORATOM; Shiro Arai, president of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum; Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute; John Greatrex, chief executive of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Industry Association; and Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the World Nuclear Association.

First UAE unit begins commercial operation

April 6, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News
Barakah-1 (right) is now providing reliable and sustainable electricity around the clock. Photo: ENEC

Unit 1 at the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear power plant has entered commercial operation and is now providing “constant, reliable, and sustainable electricity around the clock,” the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced this morning. ENEC added that, as a result of the event, the company now leads the largest decarbonization effort of any industry in the UAE.

First Hualong One reactor connected to grid

December 2, 2020, 6:59AMNuclear News

China’s Fuqing nuclear plant. Photo: CNNC

Unit 5 at China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC) Fuqing nuclear plant in southeastern China’s Fujian Province has become the world’s first Hualong One reactor to be connected to the power grid, the company announced on November 27. “It was confirmed on-site that all technical indicators of the unit met the design requirements and that the unit was in good condition,” CNNC said.

Fuel loading at Fuqing-5 began on September 4, following the issuance of the reactor’s operating license by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The loading of 177 sets of fuel assemblies was completed on September 10, and initial criticality was achieved on October 21. The unit is scheduled to enter commercial operation before the end of the year.

Also known as the HPR1000, the Hualong One is a Chinese-designed and -developed 1,000-MWe Generation III pressurized water reactor, incorporating design elements of CNNC’s ACP1000 and China General Nuclear’s ACPR1000+ reactors. Fuqing-5’s twin HPR1000, Fuqing-6, is scheduled to start contributing power to the grid next year.

Belarus’s first nuclear reactor connects to grid

November 4, 2020, 6:57AMNuclear News

The Belarusian nuclear power plant. Photo: Rosatom

Belarus on November 3 became the latest nation to begin generating electricity with nuclear energy when Unit 1 of the Belarusian nuclear plant was connected to the country’s power grid.

The Belarusian construction project, located in the Grodno region of Belarus, features twin 1,109-MWe pressurized water reactors, supplied by Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation. The units are VVER-1200 Generation III+ designs, model AES 2006. Just last week, a VVER-1200 was connected to the Russian grid at the Leningrad plant.

The start-up program for Unit 1 began on August 7, when the first fuel assembly with fresh nuclear fuel was loaded into the reactor, according to a Rosatom press release. The reactor achieved first criticality on October 11.

Once fully completed, the plant is expected to supply approximately 18 billion kWh of low-carbon electricity to the Belarus national grid every year, Rosatom said.

For good jobs, nuclear blows wind away, report says

July 24, 2020, 9:31AMNuclear News

A new report from the World Nuclear Association asserts that the nuclear sector provides more and better-paying jobs, as well as more highly trained jobs, than does the wind sector, and by a substantial margin. According to the 20-page report, Employment in the Nuclear and Wind Energy Generating Sectors, nuclear provides approximately 25 percent more employment per unit of electricity generated than does wind.