e-news Issue 25 Summer 2009
17 Jun (NucNet): A contract has been signed with the main suppliers for the completion of units 3 and 4 of Slovakia's Mochovce nuclear power plant.
Skoda of the Czech Republic said on 11 June 2009 that it had signed the contract with Slovakian utility Slovenské elektrárne (SE) after a two-year period of negotiations. Enel of Italy is the majority shareholder of SE, which owns the Mochovce plant.
Skoda is one of five main contractors for the completion project, the contract for which is worth more than 10 billion Czech crowns (about 375 million euro; 520 million US dollars).
Work on the completion of units 3 and 4 resumed in November 2008. Slovak prime minister Robert Fico attended a ceremony to mark the start of completion of the two Soviet-type VVER-440 pressurised water reactors.
16 Jun (NucNet): Russia's Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) has granted Energoatom Concern a licence for the construction of the third and fourth units of the Volgodonsk nuclear power plant (also known as Rostov).
The two units will be built at the existing Volgodonsk site, where one unit has been in commercial operation since 2001 and another is under construction.
The site was chosen in 1977 and the granting of the licence means preparatory site work can begin.
Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear energy corporation, said the new units will be type V-320 VVER reactors with improved steam generators and a gross generating capacity of 1,100 megawatts.
The construction of Volgodonsk-3 and -4 is part of a federal target for the development of Russia's nuclear industry until 2015.
12 Jun (NucNet): Energy legislation being proposed by US Republicans would include the construction of 100 nuclear units over the next 20 years as well as investment in renewables, alternative energy technologies and creating incentives for conservation.
US Congressman Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement this week that the Republican proposals would be an “all of the above” plan that offers energy independence, more jobs and a cleaner environment without imposing the national energy tax that has been proposed by Democrats.
Writing in ‘The Wall Street Journal’ yesterday, Mr Pence said legislation sponsored by Democrats to establish a cap-and-trade system that will sharply limit carbon-dioxide emissions would lead to higher energy prices.
“The cleanest way for utilities to control CO2 emissions is to increase the supply of carbon-free nuclear energy. This is obvious and simple, but in the thousand-page (Democrat) bill nuclear power is hardly mentioned,” Mr Pence said.
The Republicans’ proposed American Energy Act establishes a national goal of licensing 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. Mr Pence said that with 31 announced reactor applications already in the pipeline, this goal can be achieved – and it will revitalise an entire manufacturing sector, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The proposed legislation also streamlines a cumbersome regulatory process by offering a two-year, fast-track approval programme for power plant applications that employ safe reactor designs already approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
“As for the problem of spent nuclear fuel rods, our bill emphasises safe storage and fuel recycling,” Mr Pence said. The NRC will be allowed to finish its review of a deep geological repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada “without political interference”, and the federal government will be prevented from blocking other storage facilities if a state and locality choose to contract with a private company for that purpose.
The legislation also directs the Department of Energy to enter contracts with the private sector to recycle spent fuel, lessening the demand on Yucca Mountain and other sites.
Energy secretary Steven Chu has said Yucca Mountain “is not an option” for the disposal of nuclear waste.
© European Nuclear Society, 2009