Nuclear News on the Newswire

Neutron noise monitoring during plant operation expedites flexure replacement at Salem-1

The nuclear industry has historically relied on intermittent ultrasonic test and visual inspections of pressurized water reactor components to identify and manage degradation. While this reactive approach has proven to be effective, imagine a scenario in which the degradation could propagate throughout the reactor internals, making a more proactive measure necessary to avoid a major enterprise risk to the plant. Could a utility identify the onset of degradation within the reactor internals during plant operation? If so, could a repair be developed prior to the next refueling outage to prevent additional, cascading degradation? That is exactly the situation that Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and Westinghouse engineers were able to navigate over the course of the 2019–2020 operating cycle at Salem Unit 1, resulting in a tremendous success for the plant and a historic landmark in the nuclear industry, while earning the team a 2021 Nuclear Energy Institute Top Innovative Practice (TIP) award.

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France submits EPR offer to Poland

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.

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U.K. narrows in on five sites for prototype fusion power plant

The United Kingdom has announced a shortlist of five sites as the potential future home of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) prototype fusion energy plant, the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). A final decision on the plant’s location is to be made by the U.K.’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy around the end of 2022.

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From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the course of the past month:

ADVANCED REACTOR MARKETPLACE

Ukraine’s Energoatom signs deals for nuclear power exploration and deployment

Energoatom, the state-owned nuclear utility of Ukraine, and Westinghouse Electric Company have signed an agreement to bring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to multiple sites in Ukraine. The signing took place at the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., and was witnessed by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Ukraine’s energy minister German Galushchenko.

In addition, Energoatom signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power to explore small modular reactor deployment in Ukraine. Under the MOU, NuScale will support Energoatom’s examination of NuScale’s SMR technology, including a feasibility study for proposed project sites and the development of a project timeline and deliverables, cost studies, technical reviews, licensing and permitting activities, and project-specific engineering studies and design work.

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First prison sentence meted out in Summer failure

Kevin Marsh, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of SCANA Corporation, has become the first person to be sentenced to prison for involvement in the 2017 collapse of the $10 billion Summer nuclear plant expansion project. Marsh was sentenced in federal court on October 7 and in state court on October 11.

The failure to complete the construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the single-unit nuclear plant in Jenkinsville, S.C., cost ratepayers and investors billions, damaged the brands of then owners SCANA and Santee Cooper, and put some 6,000 people out of work.

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A look at SMRs for Australia

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) last week released Small Modular Reactors in the Australian Context, an overview of SMRs, their potential role in Australia, and their likely operating costs.

The 36-page report, written by Australian nuclear energy advocate Ben Heard, takes a look at three of the most advanced SMR designs currently undergoing regulatory approval: NuScale’s Power Module, GE-Hitachi’s BWRX 300, and Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor.

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DOE releases its climate adaptation and resilience plan

The Department of Energy has released its 2021 Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, outlining steps that it will take to ensure its facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. As announced by the White House last week , the DOE was one of more than 20 federal agencies to release climate change plans, which were developed in response to President Biden’s executive order on tackling the climate crisis, issued in January.

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Polish suppliers wanted for AP1000 project

Some 200 Polish business leaders gathered in Warsaw earlier this month to discuss local supply chain opportunities with two U.S. companies hoping to become major players in Poland’s nascent civil nuclear power program.

The companies, Westinghouse and industry partner Bechtel, hosted their second nuclear supply symposium on October 5, touting Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor technology.

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