Rosatom Gets Approval to Proceed with Turkish Reactors. Turkey’s energy watchdog EPDK in mid-June gave Russia’s state-owned nuclear entity Rosatom the green light to proceed with construction of the $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey. EPDK granted Rosatom a 49-year production license, adding that the project owner had agreed to accelerate construction so that all four units at the plant would be built by 2023, instead of 2025 as previously agreed to by Russia and Turkey. In June, however, Rosatom announced it wanted to sell a 49% stake of the project, which it wholly owns, and would work to attract investors for the minority stake through the end of 2017. The company also announced that most of the power generated by the nuclear plant will be sold by Turkish firm Tetas.

4.8-GW Inga 3 Hydropower Plant Delayed. The massive 4.8-GW Inga 3 hydroelectric project proposed for construction in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been delayed and won’t come online to relieve the country’s power woes until about 2025, the government announced in June. South Africa is expected to purchase at least 2.5 GW of power from the project and much of the remainder will go to mining companies in eastern DRC. However, the project has been hit with funding troubles after The World Bank froze a planned $73.1 million grant, because President Joseph Kabila stayed in power after his second term ended in December 2016. The DRC’s government, which wants the plant to come online by 2021, in June asked China’s Three Gorges Corp. and Spain’s ACS, companies that had submitted separate bids to build the project, to submit a joint bid.

DONG to Convert Biggest Danish Coal Plant to Woodchips. DONG Energy in early July announced it would convert Asnæs Power Station, Denmark’s largest coal-fired power plant, to combust woodchips. The plant, which consists of the 1961-built 142-MW Unit 2 and the 1981-built 640-MW Unit 5, operate alternately to generate district heating, process steam, and power. DONG said that conversion of the coal plant to a 25-MW woodchip plant will begin in summer 2017 and should be completed by 2019. The woodchips will primarily come from by-products, such as logging residues and thinnings. It has urged all suppliers to ensure that “the woodchips come from sustainable forestry where the forests are replanted, and biodiversity is protected.” The company also signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to supply energy from the woodchip plant to Novo Nordisk A/S, a healthcare and pharmaceutical firm, Novozymes A/S, an enzyme and microorganism biotechnology firm, and district-heating customers in Kalundborg.

French Regulator Says Flammanville 3 OK to Operate. France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), on June 28 said the Flammanville 3 nuclear reactor under construction in northwest France is safe to operate, though it ordered French utility EDF to replace the head of its reactor pressure vessel by the end of 2024. AREVA, which manufactured the reactor pressure vessel, alerted authorities of an anomaly in the composition of the steel in certain parts of the reactor pressure vessel in April 2015. ASN later ordered AREVA to stop forging operations at its Le Creusot facility after documentation irregularities were discovered in December 2015. In a statement in June, the regulator said the mechanical characteristics of the Flammanville 3 pressure vessel head and bottom head are “adequate with regard to the loadings to which these parts are subjected, including accident situations.” However, it warned, the anomaly in the chemical composition of the steel entails a reduction in the margins with respect to the fast fracture risk. “ASN therefore considers that EDF must implement additional periodic inspections to ensure that no flaws appear subsequently.” ■

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.