Industry reacts to South African court ruling

27 April 2017

A ruling by South Africa's High Court setting aside the country's nuclear procurement plans is centred on procedural issues and makes no determinations on the argument for nuclear energy, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) said today.

Niasa managing director Knox Msebenzi said the organisation had "noted" yesterday's judgement by the Western Cape High Court that two ministerial determinations central to the country's plans to procure 9600 MWe of new nuclear capacity were unlawful and unconstitutional. The challenges were brought by Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environmental Institute.

"As an industry we respect the court's judgement. We look to the Department of Energy for guidance on the matter and will take their lead on the next course of action," Msebenzi said. "As a principal statement, we have always maintained that transparency, fair trade and following correct procedures are critical foundations necessary to implementing a successful new build program. Our members who include all vendor countries have signed a declaration to respect the law of South Africa and committed [themselves] to a fair and transparent process."

New research reactor fuel completes irradiation tests

27 April 2017

U-Mo fuel assembly - 48A plate-type uranium-molybdenum fuel for research reactors has completed performance tests in the USA. The fuel could be used to replace highly-enriched uranium fuel, which can pose a proliferation risk.

South African court sets aside nuclear plans

26 April 2017

South Africa's Western Cape High Court has set aside two ministerial determinations underpinning the country's nuclear procurement plans, ruling them unlawful and unconstitutional. The court has also declared the same to be the case of intergovernmental agreements, including that between South Africa and Russia.

KazAtomProm sees no negative impact from WEC

26 April 2017

Kazakh uranium producer KazAtomProm said today that the "reorganisation" of Westinghouse Electric Company will have no negative impact on its financial performance. Westinghouse's shares are split between Toshiba (87%), KazAtomProm (10%) and IHI Corporation (3%).

IAEA considers safety of ageing research reactors

27 April 2017

A group of experts has made recommendations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the sustainable and safe operation of research reactors. "Ageing management and effective utilisation are major challenges for operators of research reactors," the IAEA said.

France, UK join forces in nuclear skills

26 April 2017

NSAN-INSTN - April 2017 - 48Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear have announced they will work together to boost "long-standing Franco-British nuclear industry relations". Their cooperation will include development of a "quality standard" for skills provision and training that will enable them to design education programs, organise exchanges between students and lecturers and implement new, innovative teaching tools.

Russia speeds up manufacture of icebreaker reactor

26 April 2017

Reactor head for Sibir icebreaker - 48Russia's Zio-Podolsk has completed "one of the most complex" manufacturing operations on the reactor head of the Sibir nuclear-powered icebreaker, using a new tool that reduces the time required to bore holes in the structure from 150 days to 36 days. Sibir is the second of three vessels of the Project 22220 - featuring RITM-200 (Rhythmn-200) reactors - that will be able to break through ice 3 meters thick as they escort vessels across the Arctic Ocean. The others are Arktika and Ural.

Finnish nuclear law needs to enable advanced reactors

The draft update to Finland's current nuclear law would fix it to meet today's European requirements and the situation here in Finland. But if Finland aims to be a leader in clean energy and climate mitigation technologies, we need a more comprehensive and open-minded update, writes Rauli Partanen.

Practically all the credible scenarios and roadmaps (for example IPCC 2014) for effective climate mitigation require a significant increase to our current global nuclear capacity. The next generation of advanced reactors, commercialising in 2020s and 2030s, aims to meet precisely the needs that Finland will be facing after cleaning up its electricity grid in the early 2020s: Producing synthetic fuels for transportation, clean heat for district heating and high temperatures for industrial processes.

The next, more comprehensive update on the Finnish nuclear law should answer these future needs.

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