Archive: Nuclear

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I&C Update on Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4

Development of Vogtle Electric Generating Station Units 3 and 4—the first new nuclear power plant units in the U.S. in decades—has generated considerable excitement. The next generation of nuclear plants, represented by these units, includes at least two major improvements: the use of passive safety systems and a reliance on digital control systems. The latter represents a gigantic leap in modernization and a fundamental change in control of the plant.

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Ukraine Opens Chernobyl to Visitors

The Ukraine will on April 26 mark 25 years after explosions at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) resulted in a fire that sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive area.

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Major Milestones for the AP1000 Reactor

Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design hit several milestones in recent months, prompting speculation that it could take the coveted lead in the charge to deploy the world’s third-generation nuclear power plants.

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The U.S. Power Industry 2011: The Sequel

If Hollywood were scripting the power industry story for 2011, it would be a sequel to 2010—more of the same, but just not quite as good. Natural gas gets top billing and the accolades, wind power drops to a supporting role, and new nuclear answers the casting call but has yet to get a speaking part. Coal is like Mel Gibson—a talented Oscar winner unlikely to get another leading role. In this, our fifth annual industry forecast report, the story may be familiar, but the price of admission is going way up.

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IEA: Global Power Demand to Surge 2.2% Annually Through 2035

Though electricity generation has entered a key period of transition—as investment shifts to low-carbon technologies—world electricity demand is set to grow faster than any other “final form of energy,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its latest annual World Energy Outlook.

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Collaborative Team Investigates Long-Term Nuclear Operations

The Atomic Energy Act originally established the length of a U.S. commercial nuclear reactor license as 40 years and made it renewable for another 20 years. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stated that it bases the length of these licenses (and the 50+ renewed licenses granted to date) not on any particular technical limitation but on whether the plant meets current safety requirements. Does this mean there could be reactor life after 60?

EPRI Updates Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Handbook

EPRI recently issued a handbook on nuclear spent fuel storage that examines regulatory trends affecting used fuel storage, describes available dry storage technologies, reviews planning considerations for spent fuel storage installations, and discusses technical issues affecting dry storage.

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NRC Confident in Long-Term Dry Cask Storage

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved an updated “waste confidence” rule in mid-September that reflects the agency’s confidence that spent nuclear fuel (SNF) can be safely stored for at least 60 years beyond the closing date of any U.S. nuclear plant. Approval of this rule was required before the NRC can license any new reactors that will be required to store SNF on site indefinitely.

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Retrofitting BWR Recirculation Pumps with Adjustable-Speed Drives

Exelon Nuclear recently replaced the original motor-generator sets for its boiling water reactor (BWR) recirculation pumps at its Quad Cities Generating Station Unit 1 with adjustable-speed drives. We examine the actual energy savings, motor-starting characteristics, control accuracy and stability, and motor and cable thermal behavior of this retrofit project.

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China Begins Operation of First CPR-1000

The first unit of Ling Ao phase II (Unit 3) in Guangdong Province, China, entered commercial operation in late September. The 1,080-MW reactor is the first CPR-1000—a Chinese design—to be built, and its start-up marks a major milestone in the country’s concerted nuclear power expansion.