POWER Digest

Exelon Completes Peach Bottom Reactor Uprate. An extended power uprate (EPU), begun in 2009 to increase the output from the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station by 270 MW, was completed in January, said the nuclear plant’s owner, Exelon Corp. The company completed an uprate of the station’s Unit 3 in December. Unit 2’s uprate was completed in May 2015. The plant in York County, Pa., now has a capacity of 1,355 MW. The company said it has been working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nearly seven years to finalize the EPU design review and perform the equipment upgrades. The EPU application called for replacing the high-pressure turbines, feed pump turbines, condensate pumps and motors, and steam dryers on both 1974-built units. The station’s low-pressure turbines, main power transformers, and main generators had already been upgraded in support of the EPU project.

Work Starts on Hanhikivi 1 Reactor. Fennovoima started excavation work at its 1.2-GW Hanhikivi 1 in Pyhäjoki in Northern Finland, on the Baltic Sea shore, on January 21. The company says that the new plant, which will feature an AES-2006, will produce power for its owners—Finnish firm Voimaosakeyhtiö SF and Rosatom subsidiary RAOS Voima Oy —at “cost price.” According to a schedule agreed to with Rosatom, Hanhikivi 1 will produce electricity in 2024. Russia’s Titan-2 is the main contractor for the project.

OPG Moves to Refurbish Darlington Reactors, Extend Pickering Operations. The provincial government of Ontario in January said it would invest C$12.8 billion in refurbishing Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) four-unit Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and that it plans to pursue continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to 2024. The 3.5-GW Darlington plant, located east of Toronto, currently provides about 20% of the province’s power. From 2016 through 2026, the project will enter its final “execution phase,” which includes shutdown and defueling, and the refurbishment of reactor components—including removing and replacing 480 fuel channel assemblies and 960 inlet and outlet feeders per reactor. The majority of turbine generator systems and auxiliary systems will also be disassembled and rebuilt or replaced. The remaining scope of work in this phase includes balance-of-plant repair and maintenance and return to service of the reactors.

Meanwhile, OPG will work with the Ministry of Energy and other stakeholders to continue operation of all six CANDU units at the 3.1-GW Pickering station until at least 2022. At least four units are expected to operate until 2024. “Extending Pickering’s operation would ensure a reliable, clean source of base load electricity during the Darlington and initial Bruce refurbishments,” OPG said.

South Africa to Issue RFP for 9.6-GW Nuclear New Builds. South Africa’s Department of Energy on December 26 got the green light from its Cabinet to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the country’s 9.6-GW nuclear new-build program. While the agency lauded the Cabinet’s decision, it noted that more work was required on the proposed funding model and risk mitigation strategies. The final funding model will be determined by how the market responds to the RFP, it said.

Bangladesh and Russia Seal New Nuclear Build Deal. Bangladesh’s Atomic Energy Commission and Russia’s Rosatom on December 25 cemented a deal for a $12.65 billion project to build two VVER reactors at Rooppur, on the eastern bank of the Ganges River. Work is expected to begin this year, with the first reactor scheduled to start operations by 2022. The second could come online in 2023, Reuters reported. Rosatom will maintain and bear fuel costs for the reactor for the first year of its commercial operation.

Statkraft Discontinues Nepalese Hydro Project on Bureaucratic Woes. Norway’s Statkraft in January discontinued development of the 650-MW Tamakoshi-3 Hydroelectric Project in Nepal, saying it made the decision having assessed “all aspects of the project, including commercial, technical and regulatory factors.” The decision factored in lack of a viable power offtake option, lower power price forecasts, insufficient transmission capacity, an absent policy and regulatory framework, “bureaucratic hurdles for foreign investments,” a “fragile political situation,” and “a geo-political situation leading to a non-conducive project development environment.” The firm got a survey license from the government for the $1.5 billion peaking run-of-river project in 2007 and has conducted feasibility and environmental assessments.

350-MW Pumped Hydro Project Using Old Mine Proposed in Ireland. Irish company  Siga Hydro, Irish construction company Roadbridge, and Austrian construction and technology firms Strabag Group and Andritz Hydro have proposed to build a 360-MW pumped storage hydropower plant using an existing disused open-cast mining site. The $948 million Silvermines Hydroelectric power project, built over five years, would generate power by channeling through turbines water stored in a massive reservoir on a hillside above the open-cast mine. The 70-meter-deep mine already has a reservoir in place.

Chinese Nuclear Powerhouses Join Forces to Develop Hualong One. China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corp. on December 31 announced plans to establish the Hualong International Nuclear Power Technology Co., a 50–50 joint venture to actively develop the Hualong One nuclear reactor design as China’s “flagship brand.” At least two Hualong One reactors are planned for construction at the Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi province (as Units 5 and 6). In November 2015, Argentina signed an agreement to use the reactor design for that country’s fifth nuclear power plant, and in October, CGN and EDF Energy decided to create a joint venture to seek regulatory approval for a British version of the Hualong One design. ■

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.