CNL Successfully Fabricates Advanced Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Fuel. Canadian nuclear science and technology organization Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) on April 13 announced it successfully fabricated Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel pellets designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) for its Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). The project was funded by the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative, an organization CNL established in 2019 to accelerate the deployment of SMRs in Canada. The FCM project scope includes the development of a multi-year testing program to support the validation of USNC’s fuel and core as they progress through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Vendor Design Review process, CNL said. Global First Power, a partnership between USNC and Ontario Power Generation, has proposed building and operating a micro reactor at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s Chalk River Laboratories campus in Ontario.
PSEG Acquires 25% Interest of Massive New Jersey Wind Farm. Danish renewable energy company Ørsted on April 12 completed a divestment to New Jersey utility Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) of its 25% equity interest in Ocean Wind, a 1.1-GW offshore wind farm located about 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey. Ørsted, which the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) selected in June 2019 to build the offshore wind farm—one of the largest in the U.S.—said PSEG’s contribution would provide both a conventional and tax equity investment in the project. PSEG’s investment in Ocean Wind received approval from the NJBPU on March 31, days after the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to advance the project. BOEM’s NOI now triggers a 22-month review to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Ocean Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan. Ørsted and PSEG estimate the project could provide first power in late 2024, subject to federal permitting timelines, other development and construction activities, and final investment decisions by Ørsted and PSEG.
Siemens Energy Launches Edge-Enabled Transformers and Switchgear. Siemens Energy on April 14 launched a new line of transformers and switchgear that are enabled with edge-computing capabilities. The new portfolio, Edgeformer, responds to new challenges that grid operators face as more markets shift toward decarbonization. “The digitalization of power transmission assets in the substation, the heart of any electrical power distribution system, plays an important role to manage the increased feed-ins of renewable energy and the exponential increase of complexity,” the company said. The company’s first two products in the line, Edgegear and Edgeformer, will give transmission system operators access to value-added applications, “enabling them to respond faster to changes in the system and increase asset transparency, productivity, and reliability,” it said.
Tianwan 6, China’s 51st Reactor, Is Grid-Connected. Tianwan 6, the second Chinese ACPR1000 reactor at the Tianwan nuclear power plant (NPP) Phase III in Jiangsu province, 250 kilometers north of Shanghai, was connected to the grid on May 12. The plant, owned and operated by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corp.—a joint venture between China National Nuclear Corp. (50%), China Power Investment Corp. (30%), and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%)—will now complete various transient and load tests. According to the China Nuclear Energy Association, Tianwan 6 is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of the year. Tianwan 5 began operating in September 2020. The Tianwan facility also includes four VVER-1000 units. Units 1 and 2 were put into operation in 2007, and Units 3 and 4 began commercial operation in 2018. Development of two more Russian-design reactors—Tianwan 7 and 8—is now underway at the site. Those units will likely be VVER-1200 reactors.
GE, Hitachi ABB Will Jointly Promote Non-Sulfur Hexafluoride Insulating and Switching Gas Alternative in High-Voltage Equipment. GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Hitachi ABB Power Grids, two power technology giants, on April 21 signed a notable agreement to accelerate use of fluoronitrile-based eco-efficient insulation and switching gas in high-voltage equipment as an alternative gas to sulfur hexafluoride (SF 6). According to Heiner Markhoff, CEO of GE’s Grid Solutions, GE pioneered fluoronitrile-based gas (which it named g3) and began offering it commercially in 2015. Markus Heimbach, managing director of the High-Voltage Products business at Hitachi ABB Power Grids, noted that his company installed the first SF 6 -free gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) in 2015. Under the non-exclusive, cross-licensing agreement signed in April, the companies will share complementary intellectual property related to their respective SF 6 -free solutions. However, they will keep the product development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and service activities of their gas solutions fully independent.
IRENA and State Grid Corp. of China Pair to Advance Grid Development in Central America, Africa. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) on April 12 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on grid enhancements, system flexibility, and sector coupling in China and IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor regions in Africa and Central America. According to the MoU, IRENA and SGCC will explore technical cooperation at a country and regional level to strengthen technical capacities related to reliable integration of renewable power in energy systems in developing countries, including through joint training and capacity building. They will also work to facilitate grid development and interconnections with the aim to accommodate greater shares of renewable energy sources. ■
—Sonal Patel is senior associate editor for POWER.