20 June 2007/ News N°151

Areva Launches EPR Pre-Licensing Process in UK

20 Jun (NucNet): Areva has applied to UK regulators for pre-licensing of its European pressurised water reactor (EPR) design, saying its application is supported by major European utilities.

Areva said today its application is accompanied by letters of support from British Energy, EDF, E.ON UK, Iberdrola, RWE npower and Suez, who all consider the EPR to be a potential design for new build nuclear in the UK. Other major utilities have also expressed serious interest in the EPR, the company said in a statement.

Should Areva’s application be accepted, the three-year pre-licensing project will be jointly managed with EDF. This joint approach would bring together the combined strengths of a vendor and a potential licensee, Areva said.

The Olkiluoto-3 EPR unit in Finland is under construction and another is to be built at Flamanville in France. The EPR licensing process is also under way in the US.

Pre-licensing is now known in the UK as generic design assessment (GDA). The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hoping to start the first stage of the GDA process – the initial design assessment – in July 2007. This stage should be completed by early 2008.

The UK government is holding a consultation exercise on nuclear energy until mid-October 2007 and is likely to announce its final policy conclusions related to potential new build towards the end of the year.

The HSE says all nuclear related work, including generic design assessment, is progressing “on a contingency basis” and would be stopped if the government concludes it will not support the building of new nuclear units.

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12 June 2007/ News N°143

New Lithuanian N-Plant of ‘Strategic Importance’ For Baltic Region, Says PM

12 Jun (NucNet): Lithuania’s prime minister told a conference on the development of the energy sector in the Baltic states today that a new nuclear power plant planned for his country would have “huge strategic importance for the whole region”.

Gediminas Kirkilas told the Baltic Regional Energy Forum* in Riga, Latvia, that a draft law paving the way for the new plant is under discussion in Lithuania’s parliament and is expected to be adopted within the next few weeks.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia agreed in 2006 to collaborate in building the plant, saying it would be jointly managed by each of their respective national utilities. In March 2007, proposals were announced for Poland to join the project.

Mr Kirkilas said: “The project is still in a very early stage. At this moment in time we do not know how many and how large (the) reactors will be… an international tender shall answer these questions.”

Lithuania’s energy strategy for the period up to 2025 assumes the new plant will be operational from 2015 – a target which Mr Kirkilas said he believes is “ambitious but still reasonable”.

“In more global terms, I would like to stress that nuclear energy is one of the most realistic and commercially feasible alternatives to the traditional fossil fuels and could be instrumental in addressing the challenges of climate change. Lithuania opts for nuclear energy because it is crucial for our energy security and, dare I say it, our national security,” Mr Kirkilas said.

EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who is also attending the conference, said he supported a common energy agenda for the Baltic states. A statement issued by Mr Piebalgs did not refer to the joint nuclear power plant project but said he regarded the conference as an important step in forging a common energy agenda for the Baltics.

Mr Piebalgs also urged the Baltic states to continue to develop renewable energy sources and ensure that the potential of the region is fully exploited.

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26 June 2007/ News N°156

Environmental Study Process Submitted For Possible New Finnish Unit

26 Jun (NucNet): Finnish power company Fortum today submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) programme for the possible construction of a new reactor unit at the country’s Loviisa nuclear power plant.

Fortum said the programme was submitted to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The company will now compile a formal EIA report based on the programme and Fortum hopes that report will be submitted to the ministry by the summer of 2008.

The EIA process is required before a possible application for a decision in principle to build the new unit, the third at Loviisa, which Fortum has said would have an electrical output of around 1,000 to 1,800 megawatts (MW), about 2,800 to 4,600 megawatts thermal.

Fortum said the programme was preparation for “the construction of new, climate-benign and domestic energy production”, adding: “Curbing climate change is one of society’s most critical challenges and to combat it, energy conservation as well as investments into renewable energy sources and carbon dioxide-free energy production, such as nuclear power, is needed.”

On 31 May 2007 another Finnish power company, Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO), submitted its EIA programme to the ministry for a possible new reactor at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant. TVO’s EIA will also consider the construction of a 1,000 MW to 1,800 MW unit.

Meanwhile, a consortium of industrial and energy companies has formed a new Finnish power company, Fennovoima Oy, with the aim of pursing another project that could see a new reactor unit operational in Finland by 2016.

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