Early closure for Korea's oldest operating reactor

15 June 2018

Wolsong 1 - 460 (KHNP)

Unit 1 of the Wolsong nuclear power plant will be retired prior to the expiration of its operating licence in 2022, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced today as it also cancelled plans for four new reactors. The move is in line with the South Korean government's policy to phase out the use of nuclear energy.

State-owned KHNP said its board had made the decision for the early closure of Wolsong 1 at a meeting today in Seoul. In a statement, the company said its decision was based on the "uncertain economic viability" of its continued operation and recent low operating performance. KHNP said it will "proceed with a follow-up process to acquire a licence under the Nuclear Safety Act to change [the unit's status] to permanent suspension of operation".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was one of seven candidates in the May 2017 presidential election who signed an agreement in March for a "common policy" for phasing out the country's use of nuclear energy. At a ceremony last June to mark the permanent shutdown of Kori unit 1, he said plans for new power reactors will be cancelled and the operating periods of existing units will not be extended beyond their design life.

New report highlights grid threats from US retirements

15 June 2018

A gas pipeline disruption caused by extreme weather or equipment failure could mean prolonged electricity service disruption for large areas of the USA if nuclear power plant retirements continue, according to a new report prepared for the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Consortium chosen for Bruce retubing

15 June 2018

Shoreline-Bruce_contract_announcement_(Bruce)-48Bruce Power has awarded a CAD475 million (USD361 million) contract for the retubing of Bruce 6 - one of the key contracts for its Major Component Replacement (MCR) project - to the Shoreline Power Group, a consortium of Aecon, AECOM and SNC-Lavalin. The joint venture has also signed a Preferred Supplier Agreement under which it could be awarded similar contracts for five further Bruce units.

Tepco likely to decommission Fukushima Daini units

14 June 2018

Fukushima Daini NPP - 48The four reactors at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant in Japan are likely to be decommissioned, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holding Inc (Tepco) today told the governor of Fukushima Prefecture. However, the company has yet to announce an official decision on the fate of the plant, close to the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant.

IAEA tool to help roadmap nuclear programmes

15 June 2018

A new tool to help national authorities make strategic decisions about the development of nuclear power has been developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Roadmaps tool can also be used to identify how countries can benefit from innovations in nuclear technology and infrastructure, both nationally and through cooperation with other countries.

First yellowcake from seawater for US team

14 June 2018

PNNL_seawater_yellowcake_(LCW)-48Researchers have successfully used acrylic fibres to extract uranium from seawater in a trial conducted at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The team say the technology, which uses inexpensive material, could be competitive with the costs of land-based uranium mining.

Start-up of Finnish EPR put back four months

14 June 2018

Olkiluoto 3 - August 2016 - 48Regular electricity generation at the Olkiluoto 3 EPR in Finland is now expected to begin in September 2019 as commissioning tests will take longer than planned, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj announced yesterday. According to the previous schedule provided by plant supplier the Areva-Siemens consortium, production was planned to start next May.

European push for nuclear technology in space

The European Space Agency will host the international space and applications community in a workshop on 27-28 June to find out how best to prepare for the implementation of advanced radioisotope hybrid power systems. Here, Dr Markus Landgraf, architecture analyst in the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration Programmes at the European Space Research and Technology Centre, or ESTEC, explains the potential for nuclear technology in future space exploration. ESTEC is the ESA's main development and test centre for spacecraft and space technology.

There are places in the solar system that are cold and dark. Why is it that these are exactly the places scientists want to go? Well, for one: cold, dark environments promise to be well-preserved repositories of the past conditions of planets and minor bodies from the time when the solar system formed, as well as containing hidden treasures like samples of ancient solar activity or meteoroid impacts.

Exploring these regions requires missions with a long lifetime. Vehicles have to survive for a long time on planetary surfaces, astronauts require a consistent, robust source of heat and electrical power, and interplanetary spacecraft must work over decades travelling to the outer fringes of our solar system. What the future of sustainable space exploration and science requires is a new breed of power systems.


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