IAEA team notes improvements in Romanian regulation

18 October 2017

Romania has significantly strengthened its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in recent years, a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded. The team also made recommendations for further improvement.

An IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team completed an eight-day mission to Romania on 16 October. The mission - hosted by the government and the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control - was a follow-up to a mission conducted in 2011.

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national radiation safety regulatory infrastructure, while recognising the responsibility of each member state to ensure nuclear and radiation safety. The missions compare regulatory technical and policy issues with IAEA safety standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere. The regulatory review process also draws directly upon the wide-ranging international experience and expertise of the regulatory review team members. The review results in a report that identifies good practices and provides recommendations and suggestions for improvement.

Energoatom's development requires new law: report

18 October 2017

The corporatization of Ukraine's Energoatom requires the development of a special law that will need to take into account all its characteristics as nuclear power plant operator, a consultancy report has concluded. The report was presented last week by a consortium selected by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to advise Energoatom on its restructuring. The consortium consists of the UK's Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC and Ukraine's IMEPOWER.

Lightbridge fuel moves towards irradiation testing

17 October 2017

Lighbtridge_EFI_(Lightbridge)-48Lightbridge Corporation has signed orders with the Institute for Energy Technology, operator of Norway's Halden research reactor, for the design and fabrication of a second irradiation rig for testing of its fuels. The IFE is already manufacturing a first test rig ready for irradiation testing of Lightbridge's fuel samples in the reactor.

Impact of Hanhikivi 1 licensing delay remains unclear

17 October 2017

Hanhikivi 1 site - 48Although the delay in receiving the construction licence for the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant will not affect the cost of the project, its impact on the commissioning schedule will become clearer later this year, Fennovoima CEO Toni Hemminki told journalists last week. The company began excavation work at the site in Pyhäjoki in northern Finland in January last year.

Mining operations to resume at WIPP

18 October 2017

WIPP continuous miner - 48The mining of salt from the US Department of Energy's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is expected to resume in the coming weeks. Mining of Panel 8 was halted in 2014 following separate fire and radiological events that suspended waste emplacement operations at the facility.

NEI calls for reform to design certification process

17 October 2017

Vogtle_3_second_SG_(Georgia_Power)-48The Nuclear Energy Institute has called on US regulators to reform its reactor design certification process by removing an extra tier of information designations it describes as unnecessarily burdensome. The NEI says five years of experience at US construction projects have shown Tier 2* designations reduce flexibility while imposing additional burdens and complexity on both licensee and regulator, without adding any safety benefit.

WANO members 'consider challenges of the future'

17 October 2017

Corporate leadership, knowledge transfer to the 'young generation' and providing the necessary support to new units entering operations were among the subjects under discussion during the World Association of Nuclear Operators' 14th Biennial General Meeting, held in Gyeongju, South Korea. The BGM, under the theme of Leading Nuclear Safety in a Changing World, was attended by more than 300 experts from the WANO membership and other industry organisations.

Addressing uncertainties in decommissioning cost estimates

Historical experience of estimating decommissioning costs has not been particularly satisfactory. In response to this, the process of decommissioning cost estimation is evolving, writes Simon Carroll.

The general trend is towards showing greater levels of detail in estimates and more explicit representation of the uncertainties that may bear on project cost. In this context, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency have published new guidance on addressing uncertainties in nuclear decommissioning cost estimates.

The technical ability to decommission nuclear facilities shut down after normal operation is well demonstrated. Issues of current concern include the ability to accurately calculate and demonstrate the validity of decommissioning cost estimates and the development of tools for improving project delivery. Driving these developments is a need to give greater confidence that funding will be sufficient and to enhance managers' ability to control costs during decommissioning projects.

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