Korea's Doosan to supply NuScale parts; French energy bill to delay reactor closures

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

Korea's Doosan to manufacture key NuScale components

South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (DHIC) is to provide manufacturing services for the deployment of NuScale's IPWR small modular reactor (SMR) under a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the companies, NuScale announced April 29.

In addition, Korean investors plan to make a cash equity investment in NuScale, the company said.

A global manufacturer of power generation systems, DHIC has supplied key reactor components for Westinghouse AP1000 and Korean APR1400 plants.

Under the agreement, DHIC will manufacture a number of critical and complex power module sub-assemblies for NuScale's first plant in the US. NuScale is to deliver a 720 MW plant to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems by 2026-27. The plant will consist of 12 light water reactor modules of capacity 60 MW and will be built on an Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site.

Doosan and NuScale aim to close their strategic supply agreement in July, the developer said.

“Through this relationship, we are not only broadening our supply chain base, but DHIC’s potential investment will also be an endorsement of NuScale’s strong position as a global SMR leader and our capability to deliver NuScale plants worldwide," John Hopkins, Chairman and CEO of NuScale, said.

Last September, NuScale selected Virginia-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) to perform detailed engineering work for its IPWR design, marking the first transition of an SMR plant to the manufacturing phase.

NuScale is on schedule to receive US design licence approval for its IPWR design by September 2020 and the company is now looking to expand its SMR design portfolio to access new markets.

In April, NuScale announced it was developing two new micro reactor designs, targeting industry and remote customers with faster deployment and longer fuel cycles.

NuScale is developing the conceptual design for a 10 to 50 MW micro NuScale power module and a smaller 1 to 10 MW heat pipe reactor, Tom Mundy, Chief Commercial Officer of NuScale Power, told the International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit in Atlanta.

France to delay nuclear closures in new energy bill

France is to formally postpone its target date to reduce nuclear power to 50% of generation by 10 years to 2035 in order to ensure the country becomes carbon neutral by 2050, according to draft laws presented to Cabinet April 30.

State-controlled EDF operates France's 58 nuclear power reactors which represent 63 GW of installed capacity.

          Nuclear share of generation by country in 2017

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), PRIS. 

In 2015, France's previous Socialist government set a target of reducing nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. In November 2017, President Emmanuel Macron postponed the target date for this reduction to around 2030-2035, citing grid and carbon reduction restraints.

If France had pursued its 2025 target, it would have needed to build new fossil fuel-fired capacity and would have missed its carbon reduction objectives, the government said in a statement April 30.

Instead, between two and four reactors will close by 2028 and 14 reactors will close by 2035, the government said.

The draft energy bill is expected to be submitted to France's Parliament in June and go to the Senate for final approval later in the summer.

EnergySolutions to decommission Fort Calhoun in Nebraska

Decommissioning group EnergySolutions has won a contract to decommission the 479 MW Fort Calhoun reactor in Nebraska, the company announced April 29.

Owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and operated by Exelon, the Fort Calhoun plant was shut down in October 2016 due to market price pressures.

                              US nuclear plant closures (2018-2025)


Source: US Energy Information Administration (EIA), September 2018.

OPPD opted to defer decommissioning under the SAFSTOR method, to delay high upfront spending and protect consumer prices.

SAFSTOR requires operators to complete the entire decommissioning process within 60 years, providing more flexibility on the allocation of resources.

In 2016, OPPD's decommissioning trust fund (DTF) for Fort Calhoun was $388 million, compared with an estimated decommissioning cost of $1.2 billion.

Many U.S. operators with sufficient DTF balances have opted to initiate immediate decommissioning under the DECON process to accelerate site clean up and reduce future cost risks.

Uniper group to dismantle four pressure vessels in Sweden

A consortium led by Germany's Uniper has won a contract to dismantle two reactor pressure vessels at Uniper's Barseback plant in Sweden and two vessels at its Oskarshamn plant, consortium member NUKEM Technologies, said in a statement April 25.

Uniper was formed in 2016 from the separation of E.ON fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro generation assets. E.ON refocused its business on renewables, energy supply, and energy efficiency services.

The Barseback-1 reactor was closed in 1999 and Barseback-2 was shut down in 2005. Oskarshamn-2 was shut down in 2015 and Oskarshamn-1 in 2017.

The Uniper consortium will start dismantling the Barseback reactor pressure vessels in early 2020. Upon completion, the group will dismantle the Oskarshamn units and this is expected to be completed in 2024.

In January, GE Hitachi completed the segmentation of reactor internals at Oskarshamn-2 on schedule and on budget. The segmentation of Oskarshamn-1 was ongoing, it said.

The Uniper consortium will use economies of scale and planning and investment synergies to increase decommissioning efficiency, NUKEM said.

"Transferring the expertise from the first unit to the subsequent ones will contribute to the project safety," the company added.

Nuclear Energy Insider