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First criticality for Hongyanhe 3

30 October 2014

Unit 3 at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Liaoning province in northeast China has achieved a sustained chain reaction, moving the unit closer to commissioning.

The 1080 MWe Chinese-designed CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor achieved first criticality on 27 October, China General Nuclear Power Co (CGN) and China Power Investment Corp (CPI) announced. The milestone means "the unit officially entered the operational phase with power," said CGN.

Physical tests at zero power are currently underway at the unit to "validate core performance, nuclear instrumentation monitoring system equipment availability and correctness of core loading," CPI said.

Environmental groups join waste rule challenge

30 October 2014

Further legal challenges have been filed against the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruling on storage of used nuclear fuel. The petitions from environmental groups and tribal representatives follow a challenge over the legality of the rule filed by the states of New York, Vermont and Connecticut.

Further contract for St Lucie simulator upgrade

29 October 2014

St Lucie 2 simulator 48L3-MAPPS has been awarded a contract to replace the 30-year-old input/output system on the full-scope simulator at the St Lucie nuclear power plant in Florida. Last year the company was awarded multiple contracts to upgrade the simulator.

Swiss energy policy ready for parliamentary debate

29 October 2014

The first package of measures of Switzerland's proposed new energy policy - including the phase out of the use of nuclear energy - is ready to be debated by the parliament, a committee of its lower house has announced.

Review process for Belgian reactor restarts

30 October 2014

The Belgium's nuclear regulator has outlined a two-step review process for Electrabel's safety case report for the restart of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors. The reactors have been offline since 2012 because of concerns of defects in their reactor pressure vessels.

Lepse service ship in dry dock

29 October 2014

Rosatom said today that the Lepse nuclear service ship had been put into dry dock at the Nerpa Shipyard on the Kola Peninsula. The process took six days.

AECL set to test Lightbridge fuel

28 October 2014

Chalk River Laboratory 48Samples of novel metallic nuclear fuel designed by US-based company Lightbridge are to be fabricated and irradiation tested at Canada's Chalk River facilities under an initial cooperation agreement signed with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL).

A long view of nuclear

More than a century has passed since radiation and nuclear energy were discovered and the image of those energy sources has undergone much evolution with the passing of several cultural waves, each of which left its mark on the public's perception and attitude to nuclear power, writes Jeremy Gordon.
 
At the time radiation was discovered, in 1898, science was in an era of rapid progress with new inventions changing the world before their downsides were known. There were no controls on what was said about radiation and deliberate myth-making by some early nuclear scientists and salesmen connected radiation deeply with biology and life, while also supposing that radiation possessed almost unlimited potential in these areas and others.
 
Although these ideas proved to be fantasies, they were in parallel with a concept that had been developing in several science fiction novels - that of a 'mad scientist' who through error or misjudgement might accidentally unleash a force beyond his control or even destroy the world. So it is no wonder that, as the world stood horrified by the destruction by the first atomic bombs during the last days of World War II, the nuclear scientists themselves were also shocked to the core.

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