Nuclear News Digest
January - February 2013
- In January, the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee endorsed by a net majority of votes the findings from the stress tests carried out at the request of the European Commission, following the Fukushima accident, at 45 nuclear power plants in Europe and 20 outside the EU.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released the results of
a first two-year analysis carried out in order to assess the
larger scale health effects of the March 2011 Fukushima
accident. According to the report, the radioactivity released by
the nuclear accident posed a low risk to the public, with a
slightly higher cancer risk incidence for the general population
in wider Fukushima prefecture.
As reported by the press in January 2013, the Finnish radwaste
management company Posiva Oy has confirmed the launch by 14
nuclear waste management organizations and research institutes
from eight European countries of a project to develop sealing
technologies for radioactive waste repositories. Known as Dopas,
short for “full-scale demonstration of plugs and seals”, the
project began in autumn 2012, and comprises a set of full-scale
underground demonstrations, laboratory experiments, and
performance assessment studies.
According to the 2012 annual report on the electricity system
published by the French grid operator RTE, nuclear power plants
generated only 74.8% of France’s 2012 electricity output. The
report underlines that base load nuclear power plants,
traditionally France’s cheapest electricity source after
hydropower, were heavily impacted by higher production from
subsidized renewables and cheap coal-generated electricity. The
negative effect of unscheduled periods of inactivity and of
higher price volatility was also stressed. Contrary to what had
been previously expected, not only did Germany not import
electricity from its neighbouring country, but all throughout
the year it was a net exporter of electricity to France, in the
amount of 8.7 terawatt hours.
In a statement released in January, Cameco confirmed it
finalized the acquisition of Nukem Energy GmbH, a German trader
and broker of nuclear fuel products and services. Under the
terms of the agreement signed with the US equity firm Advent
International and other shareholders, Cameco also assumed
Nukem's net debt and might be called to pay additional amounts
based on Nukem's 2012, 2013 and 2014 audited financial turnover.
Recent estimates from mining market analysts indicate that
Kazatomprom’s decision to put on hold uranium mining in the
south of the country due to storm damage to company high-voltage
transmission lines might result in a decrease of 15 to 19
million lbs U3O8 of world production, i.e. up to 12% of annual
world uranium supply. According to the state-owned uranium
producer, the uncertainty surrounding future mining resumption
might positively influence the spot uranium price, hence uranium
mining companies' earnings.
November - December 2012
An industry group working under the auspices of the European Nuclear Energy Forum has asked the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to review its proposal,
“Roadmap towards European Reactor Design Acceptance”.
The document suggests ways to achieve standardization of reactor designs in the EU in order to avoid potential delays in new nuclear build
due to lack of consistency in terms of nuclear safety requirements.
- With a view to attracting additional investors in the
project for the construction of units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda
NPP, the Romanian government has approved a six-month extension
and possible amendments of the current investment agreement,
initially due to expire at the end of 2012. Presently, ENEL and
ArcelorMittal are the only remaining shareholders in the
EnergoNuclear project, besides the Romanian nuclear power
- NNB Generation Company, EDF Energy’s subsidiary in charge of
the new nuclear build project at the Hinkley Point NPP (UK), was
granted a site preparation licence from the UK's Office for
Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The first of its kind granted in the
last 25 years, the licence ensures ONR's regulatory control over
the project's activities. In order to move ahead with the
project, EDF Energy needs further regulatory approvals, such as
a construction licence from the ONR, permits from the
Environment Agency and planning consent from the Secretary of
- In December 2012, Hungary's national radioactive waste
agency inaugurated underground disposal of waste drums at a
near-surface repository for low- and intermediate-level
radioactive waste, located in the southwest part of Hungary.
Already accommodating, at a temporary surface unit, 3,000 waste
drums from the 2-GWe Paks NPP, the facility has been equipped
with an underground vault which can contain 4,600 waste drums.
It is expected that two additional vaults will be built starting
- Hitachi Ltd. has purchased E.ON and RWE's joint venture,
Horizon Nuclear Power, which holds grid connection agreements in
the UK, at the Wylfa and Oldbury NPP sites. Horizon plans to
build 1,300 MWe ABWRs at these two locations, where potentially
1 to 3 reactors could be added to the grid, with at least one
unit completed within 10 years.
- According to official statements, Rusatom Overseas became
member of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and of the Czech Nuclear
Society in December 2012. The company's Prague-based office will
strive to enhance the relations between Czech companies and the
Rosatom group, with a view to carrying out projects in Russia
and the Czech Republic, as well as other countries.
- The Australian research and development company, Silex
Systems Ltd, has started a preliminary evaluation of a project
for the construction of a new enrichment plant using Silex-based
laser enrichment technology. Licensed by GE-Hitachi in May 2006,
this technology would be used at the site of an existing gaseous
diffusion enrichment plant in Paducah, KY.
- According to official statements, BHP Billiton has been
granted governmental approval to continue its expansion project
at Olympic Dam during four more years. Committed to investing
A$650 million in South Australia over the 4-year additional
period, BHP plans to allocate most of the funds into mining and
processing techniques, which are expected to be more
cost-effective than previously envisaged.
- Open pit mining at the Ranger mine in Australia has ceased,
after 14 years of exploration (1997-2011) and around 67,000
tonnes of uranium oxide produced for export worldwide. Work on
backfilling the pit has already begun. In 2013, Energy Resources
of Australia (ERA) plans to start exploration drilling at Ranger
3 Deeps underground mine, after having received all necessary
- An agreement was signed between China and Russia at the
beginning of December 2012 for the construction of additional
units at the Tianwan NPP, namely two VVER 1000 expected to
become operational in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The
possibility of adding up to four more units at Tianwan, as well
as building floating nuclear power plants, has also been
- In November 2012, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
publicly announced its plans to increase the pace of its uranium
mining exploration activities overseas. The company expects to
meet its growing demand both through domestic resources, as well
as resources from abroad, enhanced exploration being foreseen
mainly in Australia, Africa, and Central Asia. In 2011, China's
imports amounted to 16,126 tonnes of uranium, and originated for
the most part from Kazakhstan, Namibia, Australia, and
September - October 2012
The International Atomic Energy Agency has decreased its 2012 projections of future nuclear generating capacity, as compared to 2011 estimations.
In the low projection, the world's installed nuclear power capacity grows from 370 GWe today to 456 GWe in 2030, which is a decrease by 9% from the level projected last year.
In the high projection, it grows to 740 GWe in 2030, diminishing about 1% as compared to 2011 projections.
According to IAEA officials, the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the Fukushima NPP accident in 2011 had contributed equally to a “lateral shift” outward in time in the agency’s annual projections of future nuclear capacity.
Nuclear power's share in the world electricity is expected to rise by 2030, from the 2011 level of 12.3% to a maximum level of 13.6%,
under the high scenario, but that is well below the 16.6% share in 2030 that the 2010 scenario foresaw.
Nuclear stress tests: confirmation of high safety standards
but need for further improvement. "The stress tests have
revealed where we are good at and where we need to improve.
The tests were serious, and they were a success. Generally,
the situation is satisfactory but there is no room for
complacency. All authorities involved must work to ensure
that the highest safety standards are in force in every
single NPP in Europe. For the safety of our citizens" said
Commissioner Günther Oettinger in a press release published
on 4th October. The main message of the EC communication on
the results of the nuclear stress tests is that the
standards of safety of NPPs in Europe are generally high but
further improvements in the safety features of almost all
European NPPs are recommended. Nevertheless national safety
authorities came to the conclusion that no closure of NPP
Global Laser Enrichment, a subsidiary of GE-Hitachi, has
received a construction and operation licence from the US
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the first of its kind, for
the construction of a full scale laser enrichment facility.
The licence allows the company to build a plant able to
produce six million SWU annually and to reach a uranium
enrichment level of up to 8%. Subsequent commercialisation
of this new nuclear technology is expected.
France’s Nuclear Policy Council confirmed the government’s
commitment to reduce nuclear power’s share in the country's
electricity production from about 75% currently to 50% by
2025. A first step in this process will be the shutdown of
the two Fessenheim units, foreseen to take place by the end
of 2016. Nevertheless, the Council reaffirmed the
government’s confidence in the state-owned nuclear industry
and its aim to develop nuclear technology for export.
According to official statements, developing a long-lasting
and balanced partnership with China with priority given to
safety is considered as strategic for France.
A team entrusted to continue reviewing the Fukushima nuclear
accident, as well as a nuclear power monitoring committee
have been established by Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in
September. Recommendations from the two new advisory groups
will be implemented by a nuclear power reform task force,
currently being set up. The task force will be chaired by
the president of TEPCO, assisted by an executive vice
president and about 10 staff members. According to official
company statement, all these initiatives are intended to
shed new light on nuclear power safety.
The South Australian government was asked by BHP Billiton to
put off to October 2016 the deadline set for the company to
approve expansion of its Olympic Dam copper and uranium
mine. BHP is going to conduct studies on new processing
technologies and a less capital-intensive design for the
open-pit expansion, as its initial project was deemed to be
According to Kazakh officials, the country plans to continue
expanding its uranium production. In 2011, Kazakhstan
produced more than 30% of the global uranium, which
accounted for 19,451 metric tons.
In Australia, the state of Queensland has decided to lift
the uranium mining ban which had been in effect since 1989,
a decision which paves the way for exports of the material
It is expected that production at Talvivaara mine in
Sotkamo, eastern Finland, will be delayed since the permit
to extract uranium will not be granted sooner than February
2013, a few months later than previously expected. According
to a news agency, the approval process has been slowed down
by 150 appeals from citizens and non-governmental
organizations. The estimated annual uranium production in
Sotkamo is approximately 350 tU. The company has committed
itself to selling the uranium to Canada’s Cameco
According to India's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) uranium
deposits have been discovered at Rohil in Rajasthan’s Sikar
district. It has been estimated that the deposits contain
5,185 t U3O8 at a low grade. The neighbouring Rohil North
region has 381 t U3O8. As reported by Chairman of AEC, it is
only an initial find.
July - August 2012
ESA's 2011 Annual Report was released in the first days of July.
Based on a comprehensive analysis of the previous year's nuclear market developments, the report states that in 2011,
2 583 tU of fresh fuel were loaded in EU reactors, produced by using 17 465 tU of natural uranium and 1 195 tU of reprocessed uranium as feed.
During the year, EU utilities purchased a total of 17 832 tU, and, as in the past,
deliveries under long-term contracts accounted for the major part (96 %) of total deliveries.
The long-term average price was €83.45/kgU (or US$ 44.68/lb U3O8)
whereas the average spot price was €107.43/kgU (or US$ 57.52/lb U3O8),
and MAC-3 (with AM) was € 100.02/kgU (or US$ 53.55/lbs U3O8).
According to IAEA's 2011 Annual Report, released in August,
expansion of nuclear power continued in the aftermath of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, but at a slower pace.
Worldwide, at the end of 2011 there were 435 commercial nuclear reactors connected to the grid with a net generating capacity of 369 GW,
2% less than at the beginning of the year. The decrease was due to the permanent shut down of 13 reactors.
On 26th July, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the IAEA announced the release of their biennial report, commonly known as the Red Book,
"Uranium 2011: Resources, Production and Demand". According to the report, world nuclear capacity will grow, by 2035,
to between 540 GW in the low projection and 746 GW in the high projection.
The different scenarios take into account the effects of policies introduced by some countries following the Fukushima accident.
In July, the uranium spot price published by major consulting companies fell below the level of $50.00/lb U3O8.
According to economic analysts, in the post-Fukushima period, the uranium market has returned to low liquidity and low volatility.
In Belgium, Electrabel's Doel-3 reactor, taken off the grid on 2nd June for a scheduled maintenance,
was ordered to remain shut for further inspections and analyses. According to official statements,
unit 2 at the Tihange plant will also remain off the grid for one month for similar safety inspections,
carried out by both Belgian and international experts. The Government had previously approved to allow Tihange-1 to operate until 2025,
but not Doel-1 and -2, which are supposed to be shut down in 2015.
In July, the European Commission published its views on EDF Energy's plan for constructing two power reactors at the Hinkley Point C site in the UK,
concluding that "the investment fulfils the objectives of the Euratom Treaty and contributes to develop a sustainable national energy mix".
The report recalls that safety and security matters are to be addressed jointly by the Investor and the national regulator,
and underlines the importance of adequate measures for the management of long-term spent fuel and radioactive waste.
Lithuania will hold in October a non-binding referendum on whether the country should move forward with the planned construction of a NPP at Visaginas.
Westinghouse Electric Company has been selected to carry out, by March 2013,
a feasibility study on a project for the construction of an additional unit at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP.
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the United Arab Emirates has authorized
the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) to start building two Korean-design APR1400 units at Barakah, in the Western region of Abu Dhabi.
The company intends to build four reactors at the site, with Unit 1 expected to become operational in 2017.
In related news, Areva announced it would supply enriched uranium over eight years to ENEC, under a contract worth more than € 400 million.
According to official statements released on 22nd August, approval of the huge expansion of BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam mine in South Australia
has been postponed indefinitely. Considering the current market conditions, the company is looking for less capital-intensive development options.
May - June 2012
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has recently
issued its "Annual Energy Outlook 2012" (AEO2012). According to
the updated reference case, in the USA "electricity generation
from nuclear power in 2035 is 10% above the 2010 total. The
nuclear share of overall generation, however, declines from 20 %
in 2010 to 18% in 2035, reflecting increased shares for natural
gas and renewables". AEO2012 includes also 29 alternative cases.
At the end of June, the Lithuanian President signed two laws
allowing construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant and a
concession agreement with Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy consortium.
The project had received approval from the European Commission,
provided that safety and financial issues raised up had been
met. However, a final investment decision is supposed to be
taken in 2015.
EURODIF’s Georges Besse uranium enrichment plant, located at the
Tricastin site in France’s Drôme department, was permanently
shut down on 7th June, after 33 years of uninterrupted service.
Operated by AREVA, GB has been replaced by the new Georges Besse
II site, in production since April 2011, which uses the more
efficient centrifugation enrichment technology.
On 6th May, the Socialist Francois Hollande became France's new
president. Following the legislative elections held in June, the
Socialist party and its allies also won the majority of the
seats in the National Assembly, the country's main legislative
body. Delphine Batho has been appointed minister for
environment, sustainable development, and energy.
On 28th June, the French nuclear safety authority ASN made
public a first list of measures which the country's nuclear
facility operators are required to implement in the aftermath of
the 2011 Fukushima accident. Broken down into several
categories, these measures will require huge investments and are
to be completed between 2012 and 2018.
The tender for choosing a technology supplier for Poland's first
nuclear power plant, which was scheduled to be issued by the end
of June, has been delayed by the Polish utility PGE, as the
company is still considering financial options for the project.
After taking its last domestic operating reactor, Unit 3 at
Hokkaido Electric Power NPP, off the grid on 5th May, Japan’s
government granted approval, in June, to Kansai Electric Power
to restart two of its units, Ohi Units 3 and 4. Both units could
be operating at full capacity by the end of July 2012.
China’s State Council has approved the proposed plan on nuclear
safety for the period 2011-2015 and long-term targets for 2020.
The plan is one of the prerequisites to lift the moratorium on
approvals of new nuclear projects put in place after the
Fukushima nuclear accident. However, the government has not made
any decision on when to start approving new nuclear plant
projects. State media have said China will likely lower its
ambitious 2020 target of 80GW of nuclear energy down to 60-70GW.
On 4th May 2012, work began on two new reactors at the Uljin
nuclear power plant in South Korea, facing the Sea of Japan. The
1,400 MW APR-1400 reactors are expected to be completed by 2018.
There are currently 21 reactors operating in the country.
According to Energy Ministry official Marcio Zimmermann,
Brazil's current energy plan does not envisage building any new
nuclear power plant at least until 2020, because the government
expects that power demand for the coming years can be met by
The U.S. 2011 end of the year uranium production totalled
4,114,000 lb U3O8, 3% less than the 2010 production, U.S. Energy
Information Administration reported. This output was produced
from five in-situ leach plants and one conventional uranium
Canadian uranium producer Cameco has agreed to acquire NUKEM
Energy GmbH (NUKEM), one of the world’s leading traders and
brokers of nuclear fuel products and services, for US$136
million and assuming US$164 million in net debt. Nukem will
continue to operate as an independent company after the
acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals and should
be finalized by the end of 2012.
In June, AREVA announced the signature of a series of agreements
with China National Nuclear Corporation, which notably include
the supply of natural uranium from 2012 to 2025.
March - April 2012
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, global nuclear electricity production amounted to 2518 TWh in 2011, down 4% from the previous year, mainly due to the shut-down of several Japanese reactors, as well as of Germany's older ones.
At the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference held in Helsinki on
17-19 April, the nuclear industry reaffirmed it believed in
nuclear power growth in the long run, while confirming the
near-term uncertainty. The meeting was organized by the World
Nuclear Association (WNA), in partnership with the Nuclear
Energy Institute (NEI), and was opened by Tim Gitzel, CEO of
Cameco Corporation, new chairman of the board of the WNA.
On 26th April, the EU Commission and ENSREG, the European
Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, released a joint report on the
Stress Tests and Peer Review Process, which will be sent to the
June European Council for information. The report is the result
of phase three of the stress tests, when multinational teams
have analysed the country reports presented by national
authorities and visited 38 nuclear reactors in March 2012. As
additional steps, ENSREG and the EU Commission agreed to
continue with safety improvements of nuclear power plants,
including action plans at national level, as well as additional
visits of NPPs. The next ENSREG meeting on 3rd July should agree
on the action plan.
On 17th April, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) started the
construction of a covered structure over the damaged reactors at
Fukushima NPP, 53 meters high, 69 meters long and 31 meters
wide. The aim is to remove, by 2014, spent fuel from the
Fukushima I-4 pool, one of the first steps in the
decommissioning process of the damaged units at Fukushima I,
expected to span over several decades. In the same period, TEPCO
submitted a turnaround plan to the Japanese government, as it is
trying to recover from the 2011's disaster.
In March, EDF announced it had begun organizing a Nuclear Rapid
Action Force, a special unit able to provide, starting 2013, an
immediate support to any NPP in the country within 24 hours
after a major nuclear accident. The measure is part of the set
of measures agreed upon by EDF with the French Nuclear Safety
Authority in the aftermath of the Fukushima 2011 accident.
According to a statement released in March by the Bulgarian
Council of Ministers, Bulgaria decided to abandon the planned
construction of a 2000 MW Russian-designed nuclear power plant
at Belene. The components of the reactor destined for Belene are
now likely to be used for the setting-up of a new unit at the
Kozloduy nuclear plant site, for which a first approval has
already been given by the Bulgarian government.
On 25th April, Unit 2 at the Wylfa nuclear plant in Wales was
permanently shut down, after around 41 years of service. The
closure of Wylfa 2 leaves its twin, Unit 1, as the sole
operational representative of the Magnox-type reactors in the
UK. Magnox Ltd has requested regulatory approval to transfer
fuel from Unit 2 to Unit 1, which would allow it to operate
until 2014, at the latest, as Magnox fuel is no longer being
In March, Germany-based utilities E.On and RWE announced their
decision to exit from the Horizon Nuclear Power joint venture,
not proceeding with their plans to build new nuclear plants in
the UK, at the Wylfa and the Oldbury sites. According to market
analysts, the decision had been influenced by a planned
government fuel price intervention, but E.On and RWE ensured
they would look for new investors interested in taking up the
The Slovak utility Slovenske Elektrarne, part of the ENEL group,
announced in March that the completion of Mochovce station's
units 3 and 4 will be delayed. Unit 3 will be put into
commercial operation at the end of 2013, while Unit 4 in the
late 2014. According to Fulvio Conti, CEO of the Enel Group, the
delay is due to several factors, such as the obligation to carry
out the post-Fukushima EU-imposed stress tests.
TVO has started the bidding process for the construction of a
4th unit at the Olkiluoto NPP. Bids are expected in early 2013
and TVO aims to submit the formal application for the necessary
construction licence in mid-2015 at the latest.
On 8th April, Unit 4 at China’s Qinshan Phase II started
commercial operations. Based on Chinese design, the new 650 MW
unit was completed in approximately five years. Connected to the
grid on 25th November 2011, it has become China's 15th currently
operating nuclear power reactor.
Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court (FAC) ruled on 1st
March that the Mühleberg NPP, run by NPP BKW FMB Energy Ltd. and
on line since 1972, can operate until 28th June 2013 at the
latest, due to its lack of resistance to earthquakes and various
other technical shortcomings. On 20th April 2012, BKW appealed
to the Federal Supreme Court against the judgement of the FAC,
applying for their complaint to have suspensive effect.
According to official statements, Kazakhstan's uranium
production rose by 5% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to
the same period last year, totalling 4,666 tU (~12.1 million
pounds U3O8) in the period January – March 2012.
After having analysed the latest feasibility study presented by
Berkeley S.A, as part of the latter's plan to operate the
Salamanca uranium project, Spain’s Enusa Industrias Avanzadas,
S.A. concluded that the mining project is not feasible.
January - February 2012
- On 29th February, the UK's oldest operating nuclear power
station was closed. The Magnox Oldbury power station, which had
been in service since 1967, ceased operations after it was
decided in November 2011 that the plant was no longer
economically viable. Construction of a new plant is planned at
- The early release of EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2012 has
been published. It includes data tables for the reference case
only, showing that US nuclear electricity generation capacity is
expected to increase by 11% (from 807 TWh in 2010 to 894 TWh in
2035), reaching a share of about 18% of total generation in
2035, compared with 20% in 2010. The full report is scheduled to
be released in April.
- A team of experts from the IAEA formulated a positive
conclusion after the assessment of Japan’s nuclear stress tests.
According to the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
(NISA), "the Japanese stress test is a transplant of the EU
version". In February, the country had only two of its 54
reactors online, which amounts to a total nuclear capacity
factor of only 4.6%.
- Spain’s Nuclear Safety Council established that, under
certain conditions, pertaining mainly to increased security,
Garona NPP is safe to operate for another six years past July
2013, the closure date decided by the previous government.
Garona has a capacity of approximately 450 MW and is the oldest
reactor in Spain.
- On 21st February, TVO reported progress on the construction
of the EPR-unit 3 at the Olkiluoto nuclear plant in Finland.
According to the utility, mechanical installation work in the
turbine island is almost complete and about 90% of final
inspections have been carried out. The reactor should be
operational by August 2014.
- In February, new agreements for nuclear cooperation were
signed between the UK and France. The project of construction of
new nuclear plants at Hinkley Point C in the UK is advancing
quite well, as several other agreements have already been signed
by Areva/EDF with various contractors involved. As regards the
waste disposal plan of the project, the European Commission has
concluded that the planned EPRs will not have a negative impact
on the environment of another EU MS.
- Polish utility PGE recently adopted a strategy plan in the
energy field, covering the period 2012-2035. The plan envisages
the start-up, before 2030, of two new NPPs in Poland, each with
a capacity of approximately 3000 MWe. As part of its new
strategy, PGE aims to increase its generating capacity and to
diversify its sources of generating technology.
- The Czech Republic is likely to scale back its ambitious
nuclear expansion plan. According to a statement released in
January by the Prime Minister's cabinet, at present the
government considers as realistic the building of "only" three
nuclear reactors in the country in the next 20 to 25 years, two
units at the Temelin NPP and one at the Dukovany NPP.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the first new
nuclear built permits in the US after more than 30 years,
allowing for the construction of two additional units at the
Vogtle site in Georgia. It is the first-ever combined
construction permit-operating licenses. The two units are
expected to begin commercial operation in 2016 and 2017,
respectively and will each have a generation capacity of 1,100
- Construction on the Baltic NPP, in Kaliningrad started
officially in February 2012. Earlier that month, the
Russian-French joint venture Alstom-Atomenergomash had won a
contract worth more than € 875 million for the supply of turbine
island equipment to the planned NPP.
- The US Department of Energy has released a draft funding
opportunity announcement, which will support the design and
licensing of small modular nuclear reactors in the USA through
cost-shared agreements with the private industry.
- An Areva Generation IV steam-cycle high-temperature
gas-cooled reactor (SC-HTGR) concept has been selected by the
NGNP (the Next Generation Nuclear Plant) Industry Alliance as
the "optimum design for next generation nuclear power plants".
In addition to generating electricity, these modular plants
could produce process heat to be used in industry.
- Kazakhstan remained the world's largest uranium producer in
2011, with a total production of about 19,450 tU (50.6 million
pounds U3O8). This represents a rise of 9% over 2010 figures and
about 35 % of global uranium supply in 2011. According to
official statements, Kazatomprom representatives estimate that
global uranium demand will decrease by 7-10% in the short term.
In light of this forecast, the price of $70-75 per pound is seen
as the “fair price” necessary to ensure the appropriate level of
global uranium production.
- Tournigan Energy Ltd. has recently changed its name to
European Uranium Resources Ltd. aiming to increase its presence
in the European uranium industry. The company formed a strategic
alliance with AREVA and is investing in outstanding projects in
Slovakia, Sweden and Finland.
ESA Nuclear Observatory