BHP Billiton flags increase in copper output

26 November 2014

BHP Billiton has flagged a 27% increase in copper production at the Olympic Dam mine in Australia from 2018, and a doubling from that level subsequently by a low-risk underground expansion with significantly lower capital intensity than the previous open cut design.

"This has the potential to deliver more than 450,000 tonnes of copper production a year at first quartile C1 costs by the middle of the next decade," the company said.

The uranium implications are not mentioned in the statement, but assuming the same ore, it would mean 4200 tU from 2018 and some 8000 tU in mid-2020s - equivalent to Canada's McArthur River, currently the biggest uranium mine in the world.

Voimaosakeyhtiö raises stake in Hanhikivi project

26 November 2014

Finland's Voimaosakeyhtiö SF has increased its share in the planned Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant to 55.5% from 50.2%. The plant, to be built in Pyhäjoki in northern Finland, is scheduled to start generating electricity by 2024.

Rosatom targets construction work efficiency

25 November 2014

rosatom and minsitry agreement - 48Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed a cooperation agreement with the country's Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities, or Minstroy. The document was signed yesterday by Rosatom general director Sergey Kirienko and the head of the ministry, Mikhail Men.

Taishan EPR simulator commissioned

25 November 2014

Taishan EPR fullscope simulator 48The training of staff to operate the two EPR units under construction at Taishan in China can now start following the commissioning of a full-scope simulator there.

Horizon prepares for Wylfa equipment purchases

26 November 2014

Wylfa Newydd site - aerial - 48Horizon Nuclear Power has signed an agreement with the UK nuclear regulator which paves the way for it to begin buying long-lead components for the planned Wylfa Newydd plant.

Changing face of Magnox decommissioning

25 November 2014

Bradwell_cladding_(Magnox)_48The UK's shut down Bradwell nuclear power plant is sporting a new look as cladding work progresses in preparation for care and maintenance. Meanwhile, UK construction and engineering group Costain plans to develop novel ways to treat irradiated graphite from decommissioned reactors.

Tripartite agreement on third Turkish plant

24 November 2014

Westinghouse Electric Company, China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation and Turkish power company Elektrik Üretim AŞ have signed an agreement to begin exclusive negotiations to develop and construct a four-unit nuclear power plant in Turkey.

The AFCR and China's fuel cycle

The new joint venture agreement for Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR) development is a clear step towards building new CANDU units, even if thorium takes a back seat to recycling uranium, writes Ian Hore-Lacy, Senior Research Analyst with the World Nuclear Association.

Although China has long focused on pressurized water reactor (PWR) technology, initially from France, in the 1990s China National Nuclear Corporation signed up for a pair of Canadian reactors of quite different design – pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR).

This puzzled many people at the time, though a feature of them is that they use natural uranium fuel (without any enrichment). From 1998, these CANDU-6 units were built on a turnkey basis, on schedule and under budget, by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd as phase III of Qinshan nuclear power plant near Shanghai. They were commissioned in 2002 and 2003, each delivering 678 MWe net, and have worked well since.

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