In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#707
15/04/2010
Shorts

New York thwarts reactor relicensing.
The U.S. New York state's Environment Department has told Entergy that its Indian Point nuclear power plant (units 2 and 3) can no longer use water from the Hudson River for direct (once-through) cooling, whereby a large volume of water is drawn from the river and discharged back into it, a few degrees warmer. In March the Environment Department introduced a draft policy requiring certain industrial facilities - including nuclear and other power plants - to recycle and reuse cooling water through "closed cycle cooling" technology with large evaporative cooling towers. Water use from the river is then much lower, to replace that evaporated and allow some discharge to maintain quality. (see Nuclear Monitor 706: 'Proposal: cooling towers required for New York reactors')

Entergy has applied to renew the operating licences for the two reactors for 20 years from 2013 and 2015. It estimates that building new cooling towers would cost some US$1.1 billion (805 million euro) and involve shutting down the reactors for 42 weeks.

According to Michael Mariotte of NIRS Entergy is making so much money with the 20-year lifetime extension at Indian Point, "there is a pretty good chance they'll go ahead and build the cooling towers".
World Nuclear news, 6 April 2010 / NIRS statement, 12 April 2010


U.K.: Higher bills for nuclear.
UK energy minister Ed Miliband has confirmed the Government intends introducing a new 'carbon levy' on consumer electricity bills. While Mr Miliband insisted the levy was to help all low-carbon forms of generation, it is widely accepted the main reason is to help the financing of building new nuclear reactors.

The Conservative Party also wants to introduce a tax on electricity generation to encourage renewables and nuclear power. A clear commitment to nuclear power was also given by the party's energy spokesman, Greg Clark. He said there would be "no limit" on the growth of nuclear power and they wanted to see a new reactor completed every 18 months.

The Government has also announced it will create a new 'green bank', using private money, to finance low-carbon energy developments.

General elections in the U.K. will take place on May 6.
N-Base Briefing 646, 1 April 2010


Regulators investigating Olkiluoto piping.
Nuclear safety authorities in Finland, France, the UK and US are assessing the significance of undocumented welding on primary circuit piping for the EPR reactor under construction at Olkiluoto, Finland. However, Petteri Tiippana, director of the nuclear reactor regulation department at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK, told Platts in an interview on April 8, that regulators from those four countries are not preparing a joint statement on the piping quality issue. He reacted on a statement made by a commissioner of French nuclear safety authority ASN,

The piping was manufactured by Nordon, a subcontractor to Areva, the French vendor which is supplying the nuclear part of the Olkiluoto-3 unit under a turnkey contract to utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy. Nordon, based in Nancy in eastern France, is a unit of the Fives group and has long been a major supplier of piping for nuclear power plants. In October 2009, STUK found that small cracks in piping made for the main coolant lines of Olkiluoto-3 had been repaired with welding procedures that were not documented. Tiippana said the piping is still in France and that analysis of the significance of the undocumented welding could be finished within several weeks. STUK will then do final inspections, probably before summer, he said. Until the piping is approved by STUK, it cannot be transported to Olkiluoto.The design of Areva's EPR reactor is under regulatory review for construction in the UK and the US.
Platts, 8 April 2010


Further increase heavy forging capacity.
Known as a leader in the ultra-heavy forgings required for the highest capacity nuclear reactors, Japan Steel Works set about tripling its capacity and has completed its second press for ultra-large nuclear forgings. It has now completed the ¥50 billion (US$530 million, 390 million euro) first phase of the expansion with the installation of a new forging shop complete with heavy cranes, heat treatment facilities and the necessary 14,000 ton press.

JSW told World Nuclear News that the new shop was the core of the first investment phase and that the second ¥30 billion (US$320 million, 235 million euro) investment round should be completed in 2011. At that point, JSW said, it would have tripled the nuclear capability that it had in 2007 - enough for about 12 reactor pressure vessels and main component sets per year. The increase in capacity should be felt by mid-2012 as new components are planned to emerge from the factories. Muroran also manufactures generator and steam turbine rotor shafts, clad steel plates and turbine casings for nuclear power plants.

While JSW may be the current leader in the global market for large nuclear components, there are several other (Russian, Chinese and South-Korean) manufacturers tooling up to the same levels for domestic supply. Britain's Sheffield Forgemasters and India's Bharat Forge will join JSW as global ultra-heavy suppliers around 2014.
World Nuclear News, 1 April 2010


Egypt looking for investors.
State-owned National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is seeking to raise funds with other banks to help fund the country's aim to build four nuclear power plants by 2025, the business newspaper Al-Alam al-Youm said on April 6. According to a report in the paper NBE, the country's largest bank by assets and chief financier for the project, will meet officials from the Electricity and Energy Ministry to discuss plans to raise the required funding.

In March, Egypt announced its very optimistic (and very unrealistic) plans to build four nuclear reactors (4000 MW total) by 2025 and inaugurate the first in 2019.
Reuters, 6 April  2010