6 February 2015

NEW NUCLEAR: Hualong One selected for Argentina
China and Argentina have agreed to cooperate on the construction of a Chinese-designed Hualong One reactor in the South American country.

NUCLEAR POLICIES: US without nuclear 'unthinkable' says senator
The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has hailed calls from the chairman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for energy funding to take steps to avoid a decline in US nuclear capacity as a well-timed "clarion call".

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: Europe starts work on Energy Union
The European Commission has launched discussion on the creation of its proposed Energy Union. The initiative, it said, aims to "reform how Europe produces, transports and consumes energy."

NEW NUCLEAR: Polar crane tested at Novovoronezh II
Russian architect-engineer AtomEnergoProekt has completed testing the polar crane erected at Novovoronezh II. The crane will be used to install the reactor vessel of unit 1, which is scheduled for the second half of this month.


US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff have said that a combined construction and operating licence (COL) should be granted to DTE Energy for an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at Fermi 3. The comments were made at an NRC public hearing on 4 February.

France's Areva is drafting a plan which would allow utility EDF to take a stake in some of its businesses, according to Reuters. The company is reportedly considering setting up joint ventures with EDF to export nuclear reactors and for the treatment and recycling of used fuel. A source told Reuters the plan would be presented to Areva's board on 4 March.

The IAEA has launched an International Project on Decommissioning and Remediation of Damaged Nuclear Facilities, or the DAROD project, to help increase nuclear safety under the agency’s Nuclear Safety Action Plan that was unanimously adopted by IAEA Member States following the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The project, which will run for three years, was launched at an inaugural Vienna meeting from 19 to 23 January 2015, with the participation of 35 international experts from 19 IAEA Member States.

Ukraine's security service has launched criminal proceedings against certain personnel at the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime in the Ministry of Internal Affairs based on evidence provided by the country’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom. The alleged crimes are disclosure of state secrets and sabotage. Energoatom informed the security service of its suspicion of criminal conduct "in order to prevent the illegal diversion of information classified as 'secret' during the military aggression against Ukraine". The illegal activity came to light following discovery of documents bearing an "official stamp" that relate to the physical protection of nuclear facilities, it said.

Swedish utility Vattenfall recorded a slight drop in electricity generation in 2014 to 172.9 TWh, compared with 181.7 TWh in 2013. The company reported sales of SEK166 billion ($19.8 billion) last year, down from SEK172 billion ($20.5 billion) in 2013, while it made an operating loss of SEK 2.2 billion ($260 million) compared with a loss of SEK6.2 billion ($740 million) in 2013. Nuclear generation totalled 49.9 TWh in 2014, down from 51.9 TWh the previous year.

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) recorded net losses of A$188 million ($147 million) compared to losses of A$136 million ($106 million) for 2013. The company said earnings were "unfavourably impacted" by the need to purchase uranium oxide to fulfil sales commitments after the suspension of operations at the Ranger mine in in the first half of the year following a leach tank rupture.

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