Thirty Years After Chernobyl, Ukraine Doubles Down On Nuclear Power, Radio Free Europe, By Tony Wesolowsky February 08, 2016 Nearly 30 years after Chernobyl spewed nuclear dust across Europe and sparked fears of fallout around the globe, a strapped, war-torn Ukraine is opting for “upgrades” rather than shutdowns of its fleet of Soviet-era nuclear power reactors.
Kyiv is planning to spend an estimated $1.7 billion to bring the facilities, many of which are nearing the end of their planned life spans, up to current Western standards.
Ukrainian officials hope to further their energy independence from Moscow and potentially export some of the resulting electricity to Western Europe as part of an “EU-Ukraine Energy Bridge” that can further cement Kyiv’s ties with Brussels.
But can they allay fears, in Ukraine and beyond, that the plans will put Europe at risk of another Chernobyl?
The project has the backing of the West, including a $600 million contribution split evenly between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom, the EU’s nuclear agency…….
Most of the reactors came online in the 1980s, with the oldest — Unit 1 at the Rivne nuclear plant — generating power since December 1980, three years before the ill-fated reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl started churning out power……..
critics have their doubts.
They say Ukraine’s nuclear reactors should be shut down as soon as possible, noting that one of the reactors still churning out power is older than the unit that exploded at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986. They also raise doubts over whether the program will be carried out to the highest standards……..
The [Ukrainian] Nuclear Regulatory Commission is discussing the possibility of raising the extension period to 80 years.”
The upgrade work is just part of a bold plan to make Ukraine a major energy player in Europe beyond its decades-long role as a major transit country. In a state energy strategy document released in 2006 and covering the sector until 2030, Kyiv foresaw the construction of 11 new nuclear units.
Ukraine’s current financial straits could put such bold plans on hold. However, Kyiv appears to be moving ahead with intentions to make Ukraine part of the European power grid by 2017, a target set out by President Petro Poroshenko after he took office in mid-2014……..
Ukraine is also opening other doors with Western nuclear partners.
In November, Enerhoatom signed an agreement with the French engineering firm Areva “for safety upgrades of existing and future nuclear power plants in Ukraine, lifetime extension, and performance optimization.”
U.S.-based Westinghouse, which has been operating in Ukraine since 2003, signed a deal with Kyiv in December 2014 “to significantly increase” nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine until 2020.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the deal between Westinghouse and Kyiv by calling it “a dangerous experiment.”
Ukraine still depends on TVEL, a nuclear-fuel subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, for fuel at 13 of its 15 reactors, highlighting Russia’s continuing sway over Ukraine’s nuclear program.
Westinghouse has been challenging TVEL for a bigger cut of the nuclear-fuel market in Eastern and Central Europe, where Russian-designed reactors are the norm.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank has offered significant loans for several Westinghouse projects in the region, and U.S. officials have lobbied governments to diversify away from dependence on TVEL, according to Statfor, a U.S.-based analytical center…….. http://www.rferl.org/content/thirty-years-after-chernobyl-ukraine-doubles-down-nuclear-power/27539152.html
Nuclear ambiguities, THE HINDU, 7 Feb 16 India’s nuclear politics was in the limelight again last week, and not for the best of reasons. More than five years after it signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), India ratified the insurance pooling agreement, which pertains to civil liability in the event of a nuclear accident in any of the acceding countries. Prima facie, this was a good move, bringing to an end a game of will-they-or-won’t-they, which had cast India in poor light internationally and which sat uncomfortably beside three hard-fought nuclear landmarks — the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement (CNA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver, both passed in 2008, and India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA), which became law in 2010.
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage might or might not work for global nuclear salesmen
India Joins Nuclear Liability Pact, Opening Door to Foreign Reactor Investments http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2016/02/05/397765.htm By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Stephen Stapczynski | February 5, 2016 India’s decision to join a global treaty on nuclear accident liability may help it woo reactor suppliers, including Westinghouse Electric Co. and General Electric Co., that have been reluctant to sell technology to the nation.
The country ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, also known as CSC, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday. India’s current law allows operators to hold suppliers responsible for accidents, making international equipment makers hesitant to sign deals as the nation seeks to expand nuclear power capacity more than 10-fold by 2032………
India’s decision to join a global treaty on nuclear accident liability may help it woo reactor suppliers, including Westinghouse Electric Co. and General Electric Co., that have been reluctant to sell technology to the nation.
The country ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, also known as CSC, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday. India’s current law allows operators to hold suppliers responsible for accidents, making international equipment makers hesitant to sign deals as the nation seeks to expand nuclear power capacity more than 10-fold by 2032.
Ratifying the CSC is the latest effort the government has taken to ease suppliers’ concerns that they would be open to liability claims in case of a nuclear accident. Joining the treaty “marks a conclusive step in the addressing of issues related to civil nuclear liability in India,” the country’s external affairs ministry said in a statement Thursday.
In 2011, India capped suppliers’ liability, saying claims by the nation’s nuclear plant operator can’t exceed the amount of compensation paid by the utility. That was followed last year with the creation of a 15 billion rupees ($222 million) insurance pool to shield the operator, Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd., and the suppliers against claims. The government also last year issued a note explaining the law, including the sections that leave suppliers exposed to lawsuits.
“The ratification is a very important step for the comfort of foreign vendors,” said Sekhar Basu, secretary at India’s Department of Atomic Energy.
Westinghouse Electric expects to reach a deal with India by the end of this year to provide at least six nuclear reactors, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Roderick said in December. France’s Areva SA signed an accord in 2009 to supply six 1,650-megawatt reactors at Jaitapur, a coastal town in India’s western province of Maharashtra.
“Ratifying the CSC is a step in the right direction towards unlocking the market potential for further nuclear development in India,” Jeff Benjamin, senior vice president of new plants and major projects at Westinghouse, said by e-mail. General Electric and Areva didn’t respond to requests for comment outside normal business hours.
The ratification doesn’t change the country’s existing liability laws, according to R. Rajaraman, emeritus professor of physics at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Physical Sciences.
“This will not lead to a re-think or a modification of our liability act,” Rajaraman said in an e-mail. “That would not be politically feasible.”
Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, didn’t respond to requests seeking comment. Calls to Jagdish Thakkar, a spokesman at the prime minister’s office, weren’t answered.–With assistance from Archana Chaudhary.
France Signals Rafale, Nuclear Progress as Hollande Visits India, Bloomberg, HeleneFouquet January 24, 2016 France signaled a state-to-state accord with India could be signed on Monday over a deal for 36 Dassault Aviation SA Rafale fighter jets, and that a six-year-old plan to build nuclear reactors in the South Asian nation would see some progress…………
The reactors are planned for Jaitapur, a coastal town in India’s western province of Maharashtra. Areva was seeking further clarity from India on its nuclear liability law before moving ahead with what would be India’s biggest nuclear plant.
The agreement India and the U.S signed recently over insurance-related issues for nuclear plants will help in overcoming certain hurdles, Royal said.
Defence & civil nuclear cooperation will dominate Francois Hollande’s visit Economic Times, By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 18 Jan, 2016, NEW DELHI: Defence and civil nuclear cooperation will not be the only things that will dominate the visit of Francois Hollande — the fifth French leader to be chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations — with India and Paris working to expand partnership in areas of smart cities, solar energy, counter-terrorism, rail infrastructure and space.
Companies involved in the project include Areva, Engie, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel. Areva is also setting up a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, after France became the first country to conclude a civil nuclear deal with India following a clean waiver by Nuclear Suppliers Group in September 2008.
UK ambitions to build small modular nuclear plants may be realised as soon as 2025, according to Fluor Corp’s NuScale unit, which is seeking to be a pioneer in the market.
NuScale plans to submit its 50-megawatt reactor design for approval by US nuclear authorities towards the end of 2016. That would leave it well placed to seek the UK equivalent, called Generic Design Assessment, in 2017, Tom Mundy, executive vice-president for program development at the US company, said in an interview in London.
“Assuming the GDA is submitted and takes four years, we’d be looking at approval in 2021,” Mr Mundy said. “There’s then a 36- month construction time, so it’s plausible to expect that if all things line up, we could have a UK plant built by 2025.”
Britain is trying to secure new baseload power as it closes down all its coal-fired plants by 2025. Conventional nuclear power is proving expensive and time-consuming, while most companies don’t think it’s profitable to build new gas-fired stations. The Treasury in November said it will plow £250 million ($515 million) into research and development over the next five years aimed at building one of the world’s first small modular nuclear reactors in the 2020s………..
The global market for small modular reactors may total as much as £400 billion by 2035, according to a report in late 2014 by the National Nuclear Laboratory, which advises the UK government. It identified reactor designs that may meet UK requirements coming from NuScale, Toshiba.’s Westinghouse unit, China National Nuclear and the mPower venture by Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises. and Bechtel Group.
NuScale won’t manufacture its own reactors and has investigated the UK supply chain, according to Mr Mundy. Once established in Britain, the company could then export its modules to other European countries, he said………
When Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the R&D funding for modular reactors, it was stated that a competition for funding will be held “early next year”. The Department of Energy and Climate Change said no fixed timetable has been set. Mr Mundy said he doesn’t doubt the government’s intentions.
“Nuclear power has a long legacy in this country, and our reactors are based on tried-and-tested light-water technology,” Mr Mundy said. “I’m optimistic that with what the chancellor said and the indications from DECC we’re going to continue to move forward.” http://www.afr.com/business/energy/nuclear-energy/mininuclear-plants-in-uk-by-2025-fluors-nuscale-says-20160118-gm89c4#ixzz3xd3bnLxN
A Westinghouse team is already in India to negotiate the deal, Chief Executive Daniel Roderick told news agency Reuters, but talks are likely to go down to the wire, as the crucial issue of nuclear liability insurance for suppliers remains unresolved. The aim, however, was to make a “commercially significant announcement” during PM Modi’s expected US visit in March and sign a final contract later in the year, Mr Roderick said.
A US diplomat said the United States had invited PM Modi to the March 31-April 1 Nuclear Security Summit and that Washington was thinking of turning the trip into a full-fledged official visit, which would give the Indian leader a similar reception as Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Westinghouse contract would give a big boost to India’s $150 billion nuclear power programme…….
India has given two sites to US companies – Westinghouse and a nuclear venture between General Electric Co and Hitachi – to build six reactors each. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/ahead-of-pm-modis-trip-to-us-hopes-for-a-major-nuclear-reactor-deal-1266211
Great power relations: How the US, China and India will forge new partnerships on nuclear energy in 2016, South China Morning Post, James Wertsch, Shen Dingli and Swaran Singh say this year will see greater collaboration between the world’s three largest polluters – the US, China and India – following their pledges to move away from fossil fuels, 05 January, 2016
To begin with, complicated and long-winded structural integrity tests have just been declared successful for two of the four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power reactors being set up in China’s Zhejiang ( 浙江 ) and Shandong (山東) provinces. These should become operational in September and December respectively. Westinghouse is also in final stages of negotiations for six of the same type of reactor for Gujarat in India.
At a price tag of some US$5 billion to US$6 billion per reactor, such reports are boosting the share price of Westinghouse, which is negotiating to buy parts of the French nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva. It reportedly needs US$7.7 billion to balance its books. Areva’s losses are also allowing China’s Hualong to emerge as the new cost-effective player in the sensitive global nuclear market. That explains why US firms are tying up with China……
….US firms partly owned by Japan’s Toshiba and Hitachi, which explains the changing geopolitics as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month signed the long-awaited Indo-Japanese deal clearing the decks for American firms to deliver nuclear technology to India….
The coming together of the US, China and India in building nuclear partnerships has been expedited because Russian, French, Canadian and Kazakh firms have not been deterred by India’s domestic situation or legislation. Given this reality, the US – which originally facilitated India’s entry into global nuclear commerce – was beginning to look like a loser. Russia remains India’s largest supplier of nuclear reactors and the two last month signed another agreement for an additional 12 reactors.
Most interestingly, 2016 will see China entering the Indian market as well; not necessarily as a partner with US firms but as a new competitor. As well as working with India as members of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, China has a history of supplying heavy water and uranium fuel to New Delhi. The two began negotiating nuclear cooperation during President Xi Jinping’s ( 習近平 ) visit to India in September 2014 and China is keen to help build India’s energy security infrastructure. Beijing has also been exploring markets in Southeast Asia.
China’s Hualong One nuclear reactor has earned enough experience at home and prestige abroad to make it suitable for exploring new global partnerships. Last October, during Xi’s visit to the UK, he announced US$9 billion worth of investment for France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation to build three power plants in the UK, which is expected to see Hualong-designed reactors go global.
India, as always, is never far behind. Since 2010, it has been offering to export its pressurised heavy water reactors, which may be ideal for states with smaller power grids. Last month again, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow, Russia and India began negotiations on exploring joint third-country projects.
The recent shale revolution may have reinforced US energy supremacy, but it has also seen oil prices fall relentlessly, making large oil importers like China and India save their dollar reserves and invest in expensive nuclear technology. All this is whipping up US business interests that will redefine the proverbial “American exceptionalism”, especially in the global governance of nuclear commerce. It will also see the US explore more innovative ways in co-opting the interests of a rising China and emerging India, giving them a greater say in global nuclear decision-making.
James Wertsch is vice-chancellor for international relations at Washington University in St Louis, Shen Dingli is associate dean at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, and Swaran Singh is professor of disarmament studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1898090/great-power-relations-how-us-china-and-india-will-forge-new
The two came to the National Development and Reform Commission’s building in Beijing on that day to sign an agreement to set up a joint venture. The new company, to be capitalized at 500 million yuan ($76.5 million), will handle export of Hualong One, a pressurized water reactor model that China claims to have developed on its own.
CNNC and CGN, each of which is a major player that ranks within the top three in the Chinese nuclear industry, are coming together with an eye toward increasing the chance of winning orders in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Continue reading
Nuclear energy: Beijing’s power play, Ft.com Christopher Adams and Lucy Hornby, December 29, 2015 China is intent on exporting its nuclear expertise but in the UK scrutiny is increasing. “………. The French-designed plant, which after five years of construction is about to undergo testing, will serve as the prototype for a huge power station planned by the UK in south-west England. It is set to cost £18bn according to the latest estimates by French energy group EDF, which is leading the project.
Hinkley Point, in Somerset, is home to a working nuclear plant and twin disused Magnox reactors. Now David Cameron, UK prime minister, wants the site to host the first of a new generation of reactors that he envisages will replace Britain’s ageing nuclear fleet by 2030.
Under a commercial pact struck during October’s state visit to London by Chinese president Xi Jinping, CGN will take a one-third stake in Hinkley. Its state-owned rival, China National Nuclear Corporation, may also participate. A decade from now, assuming all goes to plan, Taishan’s distinctive egg-shaped reactor domes, double-hulled walls and monster turbines will dominate the shoreline of the Severn estuary. Hinkley Point C will supply 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity……….
CGN can ill-afford errors at Taishan, one of three unfinished projects using a third-generation technology called the European pressurised reactor. Designed by Areva of France, these reactors are being touted as a revolution in nuclear power. But they have had a troubled start on projects at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland.
Taishan, too, has suffered delays, albeit not as bad as those in Europe. As a result, CGN is treading carefully. The Chinese plant’s targeted completion date, originally late 2013, has already been put back once, in part because of safety rules after Fukushima. Now it will probably come online in 2017 — though CGN will not say exactly when. Says Mr Zheng: “We must perform a lot of tests, and since it’s now a first of a kind, we need to do more tests than we planned. Those tests should have been done already in Finland or France, but we must do them now.”
The construction problems highlight the complexity of the EPR projects. There are questions over whether there really is demand for these larger reactors, given their cost and size. Mr Guo, though, is bullish. Standing under an 80-tonne door that will one day seal off the reactor hall, he lists the EPR’s credentials…….
He Zuoxiu, a retired physicist who helped develop China’s nuclear programme in the 1960s, questions whether nuclear power will ever truly be safe, even with safeguards to prevent disasters such as Fukushima. He cites a statistic: the US, Russia and Japan each had more than 50 reactors when they suffered accidents. In other words, the more a country has, the greater the chance of something going wrong……..
There are worries, too, that Britain’s tilt towards China — and chancellor George Osborne’s embrace of its investment — will open the door to security risks. The UK shift has caused consternation in the US, which accuses China’s state-owned industry of benefiting from military-linked corporate espionage.
Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert at the Center for a New American Security, says Britain should take care to balance its economic needs against those of national security, particularly on critical infrastructure such as nuclear plants. “Let’s say that 10 years from now there is a major conflict with China. This would give China, effectively, a veto over UK participation, for example, over the Taiwan issue in the next decade,” says Mr Cronin.
“Just understanding the most vulnerable parts of reactors in Britain is a vulnerability. A Chinese state-owned enterprise may show that information to people who have ill intentions to the UK, especially if there’s a crisis.”
Concerns have also been raised in Whitehall over the prospect of China being able to build digital loopholes into hardware it supplies, allowing Beijing to exploit vulnerabilities at nuclear plants. CNNC’s background as China’s nuclear weapons developer before it built the country’s civilian reactors has added to those fears……… http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/789e5070-974a-11e5-9228-87e603d47bdc.html#axzz3vvmo6esp
The strange love for nuclear energy http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/on-the-indiajapan-civil-nuclear-deal/article7996972.ece M.V. RAMANA SUVRAT RAJU
The prospect of a nuclear deal with Japan is worrying because it ignores voices on the ground and takes India a step closer to the construction of untested and expensive reactors
During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzô Abe’s visit to India last week, Japan and India reportedly made progress on a nuclear deal that they have been discussing for more than seven years. The governments did not actually conclude the deal: the Joint Statement released by the Prime Ministers only includes a droll phrase welcoming the “agreement reached… on the Agreement… for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” and expresses the hope that “this Agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised”.
- These “details” include deep concerns about India’s growing weapons arsenal within Japan’s polity that even Mr. Abe’s militaristic government has found difficult to ignore. Nevertheless, even the prospect of an India-Japan nuclear deal is worrying because it takes the country a step closer to the construction of untested and expensive reactors. Moreover, despite the Narendra Modi government’s “Make in India” rhetoric, the agreement will primarily benefit multinational corporations based in Japan. Continue reading
China confident of winning $80b S. Africa nuclear power bid
By Lyu Chang (China Daily): 2015-12-12 Industry officials are confident of China being the front-runner to win the right to build South Africa’s new generation of nuclear power stations.
“We think we are likely to win the bid, after preparing all the documents for the tender,” ZhengMingguang, head of the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, ahigh-tech arm of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.
“The nuclear energy industry also involves other issues, so we can’t set any date yet on thefinal bidding process,” he said.
The country hopes to land the contract using its CAP1400 nuclear technology, which isdesigned by SNERDI and based on the AP1000 reactor technology developed by the UnitedStates-based Westinghouse Electric Co LLC.
South Africa currently operates the continent’s only nuclear power plant, near Cape Town, butthe country is currently facing chronic electricity shortages.
The Pretoria government invited tenders in July for an estimated $80 billion contract to buildfour nuclear reactors－the largest contract in the country’s history－which attractedwidespread interest, including from State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, Russia’s stateatomic agency Rosatom and French nuclear firms…….http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-12/12/content_22695369.htm
Nuclear expansion on agenda of PM visit to Russia, Zee News, , December 9, 2015 – New Delhi: The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia is expected to see the two countries deciding on expansion of nuclear programme, government told theLok Sabha on Wednesday. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said the earlier visits of the Prime Minister to various countries were also marked by signing of agreements to procure uranium and give boost the nuclear programme…….
He said during Modi’s visit the US, a deal was finalised for the construction of nuclear reactors in Gujarat and during the visit to France, a deal was finalised with AREVA, world’s leading nuclear power company.
“For the visit of the Prime Minister to Russia, a programme has been finalised for expansion of nuclear programme,” he said about the trip expected later this month……http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/nuclear-expansion-on-agenda-of-pm-visit-to-russia_1832478.html
Moscow, Cairo to Discuss Construction of Nuclear Power Plant on January 31, Sputnik News, 8 Dec 15 Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Badri said that Russia and Egypt will discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant within the framework of the Russia-Egypt intergovernmental committee on January 31……
On November 19, Moscow and Cairo signed an intergovernmental deal on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt.
According to the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, the plant will take around 10 years to build and will be in operation for around 80 years…….. http://sputniknews.com/business/20151208/1031425665/russia-egypt-nuclear-power.html#ixzz3tldVDvoI
Ahead of PM Abe’s visit, India-Japan racing to seal nuclear pact http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/ahead-of-pm-abe-s-visit-india-japan-racing-to-seal-nuclear-pact/story-TwhHbjC7kPuNYNSWoU6iUK.html Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi Dec 04, 2015
India and Japan are working to seal a nuclear pact during the visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from December 11-13 for the annual summit between the two countries.
“We hope it will be a done deal this time. But considering the complex nature of negotiations that mark the civil nuclear agreements till the last moment, we should be guided by caution till the pact is finally sealed,” said a senior official.
Japanese firms play a crucial role in the US and French nuclear industries. An Indo-Japanese pact is crucial for fully realising the ongoing civilian nuclear cooperation India has with these two countries. Japanese forging major, Japan Steel Works (JSW), is a supplier of the critical reactor equipment of reactor pressure vessel for most firms worldwide.
But the sides have to agree upon the text of the agreement that will satisfy both countries. Nuclear issue is a sensitive one in Japan — the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack. For instance, Japan wants explicit commitment on testing clauses —the deal will be off in event of a nuclear test by India. India says this touches upon the issue of ‘strategic autonomy’, which is outside the purview of civil nuclear pact that the country has been negotiating with Japan.
But sources said Japan has stopped pressuring India into signing the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) that New Delhi finds discriminatory.
Abe will visit Varnasai, the constituency of PM Narendra Modi who is likely to accompany him on the visit.
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