08.06.2010 - No. 102 / News in Brief

Spain’s Almaraz Gets 10-Year Licence Extension

8 Jun (NucNet): The operating licences for both units at the Almaraz nuclear power plant have been extended for 10 years.

A statement issued by plant management today said that the industry ministry, acting on a recommendation by the Spanish nuclear safety authority (CSN), had issued the official licence renewal permission with effect from 8 June 2010.

The plant must now undergo periodic safety reviews including probabilistic safety analysis (PSA), as demanded of all Spanish nuclear units.

Almaraz consists of two pressurised water reactor units. Almaraz-1 (1,010 megawatts) entered commercial operation in September 1983 and Almaraz-2 (956 MW) in July 1984.

08.06.2010 - No. 101 / News in Brief

Olkiluoto-3 Scheduled To Begin Commercial Operation In 2013

8 Jun (NucNet): The Areva-Siemens consortium constructing the Olkiluoto-3 (OL3) nuclear unit in Finland has said most work on the unit will be finished by the end of 2012, with operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) saying the unit should start commercial operation some time during 2013.

Areva said yesterday that on 4 June 2010 the consortium submitted a proposal to TVO outlining a timetable and milestones for completion of the 1,600-megawatt European pressurised water reactor (EPR) up to reactor fuel loading by the end of 2012.

The main civil works for the unit are complete and most buildings are now fully closed and weatherproofed. After delays last year with the welding of pipes, piping installation has begun and the installation of the main components such as the reactor pressure vessel will begin “in the coming days”, Areva said.

TVO said: “Certain works, such as starting of the piping installation works in the reactor island, have been slower than planned, and the completion of the piping installations will be later than scheduled.”

In October 2008, TVO was told by Areva-Siemens that OL3 would be delayed to 2012 from its initial start-up target of 2009. TVO launched proceedings for compensation for the delays and Areva-Siemens filed a request for arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce.

06.05.2010 - No. 81 / News in Brief

ITER Head Confident Fusion Reactor Will Be Built Within 10 Years

6 May (NucNet): The international community is confident of accumulating the knowledge necessary to build a nuclear fusion demonstration reactor within 10 years, the director-general of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project has said.

Kaname Ikeda, addressing participants at the ‘Financial Times’ Energy Challenges conference in Brussels, Belgium, said: “ITER is not an electricity producing machine, it is experimental, but we are confident we can build this machine, and show that (fusion) is technologically feasible.”

He said “the design and structure of this machine must be safe and durable”, but he also acknowledged that in taking the “next step to demonstration” a number of challenges remained. “In parallel,” he added “there is the additional aspect of investigating the availability of materials.”

When questioned on the extent of international collaboration for the project, which is located in Cadarache in southern France, Mr Ikeda added that “defence-related technology” was also likely to be of interest to project participants: “I believe this is not only for peaceful purposes.”

ITER, which will be the world’s largest experimental facility to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power, is a collaborative project comprising six member countries (China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States) and the European Union.

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