Thursday, 19 April 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bulgaria Decides to Build New Unit at Kozloduy

The process to build a new reactor at Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant has started with an agreement in principle to go ahead with the project from the country's cabinet. The move comes two weeks after the government scrapped plans for a new plant at Belene.

Kozloduy's two operating units (Image: Kozloduy NPP)

Ministers formally agreed to authorise the country's minister of economy and energy to submit a report to the Council of Ministers on the merits and legalities of the project. Construction cannot begin until the necessary licences and permits are obtained under national and European Union law.

The announcement follows a recent government decision not to go ahead with the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Belene. Instead, the government decided that a more realistic option would be to build the unit at the existing Kozloduy site, where two Russian-designed VVER-1000 units are already in operation.

The new reactor would be Kozloduy's seventh unit. Kozloduy's first four reactors were closed down as a condition of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union and are now being decommissioned.

Preliminary site works had already begun and long-lead component contracts been placed by Russian supplier AtomStroyExport for the first of two 1060 MWe AES-92 pressurised water reactors at Belene when the government decided to drop the project. Belene had long been fraught with financing problems, following the withdrawal of German strategic investor RWE Power in 2009 and government reluctance to take a stake of 51% in the project as originally envisaged. The Bulgarian and Russian parties have been in negotiations over payments for work done to date, and Bulgaria has agreed to pay for the hardware that has already been manufactured, which will now be used at the new Kozloduy unit.

Prior to the cabinet decision, energy and economy minister Delian Dobrev confirmed that the seventh Kozloduy unit would not be state-funded and that a strategic investor would have to be found. A project company for the new reactor would not be likely to be formed until late in 2012 or early in 2013, he said, noting that a strategic investor would be unlikely to be found until extensive preparations - including environmental and geological studies plus licensing activities - were completed.

By World Nuclear News, 12 April 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

New Reactor Begins Operation In China

A new 650-MW reactor PWR began commercial operation in China April 8, 60 days ahead of schedule, plant owner China National Nuclear Corp.

A new 650-MW reactor PWR began commercial operation in China April 8, 60 days ahead of schedule, plant owner China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) said. The construction of this reactor began in January 2007.

The unit, Qinshan II-4, uses China's indigenous technology CNP-600 and is the seventh unit at the , located in Zhejiang (east coast). Qinshan II has four units totaling 2,600 MW, according to CNNC.

Qinshan II-1, 2 and 3 are also CNP-600 reactors, which are scaled-up versions of the CNP-300 used for Qinshan I. CNP-300 was China's first indigenously designed nuclear reactor. Qinshan III has two operating heavy water reactors provided by the Atomic Energy of Canada.

Nowadays, China has 26 reactors under construction and 16 units in operation.

China's Qinshan nuclear power station includes two CANDU 6 reactors that were built on schedule and under budget. About 10 per cent of the world's more than 440 nuclear reactors are CANDUs.

By Foro Nuclear, 11 April 2012

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

EVENT Scale - Level 1-7

INES – The international nuclear and radiological event scale The INES Scale is a worldwide tool for communicating to the public in a consistent way the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events.

Just like information on earthquakes or temperature would be difficult to understand without the Richter or Celsius scales, the INES Scale explains the significance of events from a range of activities, including industrial and medical use of radiation sources, operations at nuclear facilities and transport of radioactive material. Events are classified on the scale at seven levels: Levels 1–3 are called “incidents” and Levels 4–7 “accidents”. The scale is designed so that the severity of an event is about ten times greater for each increase in level on the scale. Events without safety significance are called “deviations” and are classified Below Scale / Level 0.
INES Nuclear Even Level Scale

INES classifies nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents by considering three areas of impact:
People and the Environment considers the radiation doses to people close to the location of the event and the widespread, unplanned release of radioactive material from an installation.
Radiological Barriers and Control covers events without any direct impact on people or the environment and only applies inside major facilities. It covers unplanned high radiation levels and spread of significant quantities of radioactive materials confined within the installation.
Defence-in-Depth also covers events without any direct impact on people or the environment, but for which the range of measures put in place to prevent accidents did not function as intended.

Communicating Events
Nuclear and radiological events are promptly communicated by the INES Member States, otherwise a confused understanding of the event may occur from media or from public speculation. In some situations, where not all the details of the event are known early on, a provisional rating may be issued. Later, a final rating is determined and any differences explained.
To facilitate international communications for events attracting wider interest, the IAEA maintains a web-based communications network that allows details of the event to immediately be made publicly available.
The two tables that follow show selected examples of historic events rated using the INES scale, ranging from a Level 1 anomaly to a Level 7 major accident; a much wider range of examples showing the rating methodology is provided in the INES Manual.

Scope of the Scale
INES applies to any event associated with the transport, storage and use of radioactive material and radiation sources, whether or not the event occurs at a facility. It covers a wide spectrum of practices, including industrial use such as radiography, use of radiation sources in hospitals, activity at nuclear facilities, and transport of radioactive material.
It also includes the loss or theft of radioactive sources or packages and the discovery of orphan sources, such as sources inadvertently transferred into the scrap metal trade.
When a device is used for medical purposes (e.g., radiodiagnosis or radiotherapy), INES is used for the rating of events resulting in actual exposure of workers and the public, or involving degradation of the device or deficiencies in the safety provisions.
Currently, the scale does not cover the actual or potential consequences for patients exposed as part of a medical procedure. The scale is only intended for use in civil (non-military) applications and only relates to the safety aspects of an event. INES is not intended for use in rating security-related events or malicious acts to deliberately expose people to radiation.

What the Scale is Not For
It is not appropriate to use INES to compare safety performance between facilities, organizations or countries. The statistically small numbers of events at Level 2 and above and the differences between countries for reporting more minor events to the public make it inappropriate to draw international comparisons.