25 November & 2 December 2016
Weekly Digest
Illinois approves zero emission standard supporting nuclear power
The state legislature has passed the Future Energy Jobs Bill with measures to support the continued operation of nuclear power plants as part of a package to support clean and reliable electricity in the region.  In particular, it will ensure continued operation of the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants which were under threat of premature closure due to competition with cheap gas and subsidized wind generation. A core feature of the legislation is the establishment of a Zero Emission Standard that will preserve the state’s at-risk nuclear plants, saving 4,200 jobs, retaining $1.2 billion economic activity annually and avoiding increases in energy costs. The bill will provide zero emission credits (ZEC) similar to those in New York - "a tradable credit that represents the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour of energy produced from a zero emission facility" such as the nuclear power plants which now supply 90% of the state’s zero-carbon energy.  As with the New York state legislation three months earlier, three prominent environmental organisations supported the initiative, while one, along with the coal lobby, opposed it.  The bill is to take effect in June 2017.
WNN 2/12/16.  US NP
Switzerland rejects rapid phase-out of nuclear power
A Swiss referendum has rejected a strongly publicized push to accelerate closure of five nuclear plants providing more than one third of the country’s electricity. These plants can now operate according to their owners' commercial plans, subject to approval from safety regulators. This will typically mean operating for around 60 years, subject to upgrades, with most closing in the 2030s-2040s. They are expected to generate an extra 320 TWh of electricity in the longer operating period, equivalent to the UK’s annual consumption. Nuclear plus hydro in 2015 contributed 93% of Switzerland’s power, giving it one of the cleanest and most reliable electricity systems in the world. Germany’s difficulties next door in phasing out nuclear power, despite massive investment in intermittent wind and solar generation, provided a case study for the Swiss decision.
WNN 27/11/16.     Switzerland
Vietnam cancels nuclear power plans
Vietnam’s National Assembly has passed a resolution to cancel its 2009 plans for two initial nuclear power stations “due to economic conditions in our country today” and lower demand projections.  They were initially to provide about 5 GWe capacity and eventually 12 GWe.  They will be replaced with 6 GWe of LNG- and coal-fired generation by 2030, based on short-term cost considerations relating to those fuels.  Imports of power especially from Laos and also wind and solar PV will supplement this. The country now gets 42% of its power from hydro, 33% from gas and 25% from coal.
Ninh Thuan 1 phase 1 was to be two Russian AES-2006 units at Phuoc Dinh. Russia was to finance at least 85% of this plant, and an agreement for up to $9 billion finance was signed in November 2011 with the Russian government's state export credit bureau.  Ninh Thuan 2 phase 1 was to be two advanced Japanese reactors at Vinh Hai.  Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) was working with Japan Atomic Power Co. and others on the project, which would involve financing and insurance of up to 85% of the total cost. Details of technology and finance were unresolved.
WNN 23/11/16.  Vietnam
Chernobyl structure moved into place
Thirty years after the nuclear accident and four years after starting its construction, the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure has been moved into place over the destroyed unit 4 reactor at Chernobyl.  The NSC is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, weighting 36,000 tonnes complete with cranes and remote handling equipment installed last year.  The new hermetically sealed building will allow engineers to remotely dismantle the hastily-built 1986 structure that has shielded the remains of the reactor from the weather since the weeks after the accident, and then remove the fuel-containing materials in the bottom of the reactor building.  The NSC is the major part of a €2.15 billion plan for Chernobyl administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
WNN 29/11/16.   Chernobyl accident
Other papers significantly updated in the WNA Information Library (see WNA web site): Energy storage, Emerging countries, South Africa, Supply of U

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