News Article | November 10, 2016
(WNN) The BN-800 fast neutron reactor, Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in Russia, has started commercial operation, state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced this week. Rosatom described the achievement as “one of the most important events of the year for Russian nuclear power.” (Wikipedia) The plant is a pool-type reactor, in which the reactor, coolant pumps, intermediate heat exchangers and associated piping are all located in a common liquid sodium pool. The reactor core is, in size and mechanical properties, very similar to the BN-600 reactor core, but the fuel composition is very different. While BN-600 uses medium-enriched uranium dioxide, the new plant will burn mixed uranium-plutonium fuel, helping to reduce the weapon-grade plutonium stockpile and provide information about the functioning of the closed uranium-plutonium fuel cycle. The closed cycle will not require plutonium separation or other chemical processing. The unit employs a three-circuit coolant arrangement; sodium coolant circulates in both the primary and secondary circuits. Water and steam flow in the third circuit. This heat is transferred from the reactor core via several independent circulation loops. See video below. Each comprises a primary sodium pump, two intermediate heat exchangers, a secondary sodium pump with an expansion tank located upstream, and an emergency pressure discharge tank. These feed a steam generator, which in turn supplies a condensing turbine that turns the generator The BN-800 reactor was brought to minimum controlled power for the first time in June 2014, at which time commercial operation was planned for the end of that year. However, in December 2014 Rosenergoatom announced that nuclear fuel for the unit would first be developed further. It was brought again to the minimum controlled power level in August 2015, and again in November 2015, eventually being connected to the grid on 10 December 2015. The 789 MWe BN-800 Beloyarsk 4 is fuelled by a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides arranged to produce new fuel material as it burns. Its capacity exceeds that of the world’s second most powerful fast reactor – the 560 MWe BN-600 Beloyarsk 3. (WNN) Lightbridge Corporation and Areva NP announced they have agreed key terms for the creation of a 50-50 joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge’s “next generation” metallic nuclear fuel technology. The two companies announced today they have signed a term sheet outlining key agreements for a US-based joint venture covering fuel assemblies for most types of light water reactors, including pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, small modular reactors and research reactors. Lightbridge’s advanced metallic fuel is made from a zirconium-uranium alloy and uses a unique composition and fuel rod geometry, which, the company says, enables it to operate at a higher power density than uranium oxide fuels in use today. Lightbridge CEO Seth Grae said the signing of the term sheet “creates a viable and well-defined commercialization path for our patented metallic nuclear fuel technology in the global market”. He added, “This agreement marks a major milestone for Lightbridge. We appreciate the support from Areva NP in rapidly moving this process forward.” Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president for Areva NP’s fuel business unit, said: “We look forward to advancing nuclear fuel performance through this relationship … Next-generation fuel technology has significant potential to help sustain existing nuclear energy assets, which will serve as the foundation for a clean energy portfolio worldwide.” In January, Lightbridge received final regulatory approval for irradiation testing of its metallic fuel at Norway’s Halden research reactor, which is expected to begin in 2017. (NucNet)(Reuters) Six companies have shown interest in building additional nuclear reactors at existing power station sites in the Czech Republic, but a decision to proceed with construction will probably come after elections in October 2017. Jan Stuller, the Czech government’s special envoy for nuclear power, said that Russia’s Rosatom, French group EDF, US company Westinghouse, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, China General Nuclear Power and a grouping of France’s Areva and Mitsubishi Atmea had all shown interest in future construction. “It is important to stress that this is not about offers for the construction of new nuclear plant blocks, but responses to our request for information.” The Czech Republic’s National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy counts on at least one new reactor being built at the Dukovany and Temelín nuclear sites, with a probable total of four new reactors in the long term at the two locations. Priority for construction of the first reactor will be given to the Dukovany site, where the first of four reactors operating there will probably be shut down in 2035. The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four VVER-440 units at the Dukovany site and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín. Thge Czech government owned nuclear electric utility CEZ has driven potential bidders crazy in recent years with a series of on-again/off-again announcements about a nuclear tender. At one time it was considering up to five new reactors worth an estimate $25 billion. It cancelled that tender, and a subsequent one which involved CEZ disqualifying Areva for unstated reasons. (NucNet) There is no environmental impact that precludes issuing combined construction and operating licences (COLs) to Florida Power & Light for two additional units at its Turkey Point site about 25kms south of Miami in Florida. The NRC and the US Army Corps of Engineers developed a final environmental impact statementointly. FPL is proposing to build two AP1000 units, Turkey Point-6 and -7, at the site of two existing reactors. The NRC staff continues to work on the project’s final safety evaluation report, which will include a review by the NRC’s advisory committee on reactor safeguards, an independent group of nuclear safety experts. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is conducting a legal hearing on a challenge to the application. When the technical review is completed, the NRC’s commissioners will conduct a separate mandatory hearing regarding the application and the staff’s review. All of these steps must be completed before the NRC can reach a final decision on the Turkey Point application, the NRC said. FPL submitted a COL application in June 2009. The NRC certified the AP1000 design for US use in December 2011. India, Japan Likely to Sign Nuclear Energy Deal During Modi Visit (Business Standard)(Press Trust of India) India and Japan are likely to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to that country next week as the two sides completed the internal procedures for the much- awaited agreement. The two countries had sealed a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy during Japanese Prime Minister Shiozo Abe’s visit here last December but the final deal was yet to be signed as certain technical and legal issues were to be thrashed out. There was political resistance in Japan to go ahead with a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will also make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments. Japanese members of the Diet, the countgry’s parliament, have resisted commercial nuclear ties with India because it has not signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Even if the agreement goes through, India may add a new condition to having Japanese firms do business there. It will ask for Japan’s support to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls global markets for commercial nuclear reactor fuel. India has been holding U.S. firms hostage to this request by passing a so-called Nuclear Supplier Liability Law. The law also benefits the country’s massive coal interests who have no desire to see coal fired power plants swapped out for nuclear reactors.
News Article | November 22, 2016
FORTUM CORPORATION PRESS RELEASE 22 November 2016 Today, Chairmen and CEOs from six major European energy companies – Centrica, CEZ, ENGIE, Fortum, Iberdrola, Innogy – representing the Magritte initiative, gathered at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to call for a higher level of ambition in the reform of the European carbon market (Emissions Trading Scheme, “EU ETS”). They organised a public hearing with members of the European Parliament. The companies welcomed the ratification of t
News Article | December 9, 2016
We write just six months since our European business investment group for Romania and with the EU states was constituted, on the eve of elections in Romania (due Sunday 11 December 2016), where a new governing administration with a new mandate is expected to be voted in, replacing a caretaker, technocratic Government. This bulletin as we approach the end of the year is the first of what will become monthly reports on how we see the direction and prospects for Romania. The good news is that growth this year is expected to be the highest in the EU, but there are also worrying trends for business concerning the safety of investor capital. In a period of increasing stress and instability for business, from Trump to Brexit, with growing Russian pressures across the region and the growth of populist political movements, we can say that we see some positive themes developing in Romania. We can start with what are for the moment good signs. In particular, we are encouraged by Romania's strong position on energy independence, in contrast to the situation in neighbouring countries which are largely dependent on Russian oil and gas. These countries, from the Baltics to southern Europe, continue to import large volumes of natural resources at great cost-and risk-to public finances, and they can create opportunities for corrupt practices as we have seen. In Romania for the immediate future, energy security and the safety of supply are predictable, and these are not issues that threaten to destabilise the government or the nation as we have seen in Bulgaria and Ukraine. There is a good balance and diversity of energy flows into Romania, largely from Kazakhstan, which is now the majority provider of stock. These supplies are reliable, capacity and production is expanding thanks to public spending and private investment. Romania's refineries consistently rate among the highest in the region when it comes to efficiency and standards, and account for tens of thousands of good jobs and billions of dollars generated in taxes and export revenues for the Treasury. But we also see some worrying signals . These risks need to be satisfied quickly by the new Government. We are concerned about growing investor disputes between the Government and foreign companies that have directed their capital into Romania and built good profitable businesses. There have been many high-profile public conflicts, where Romania has ended up on the losing side. We have seen the government in dispute with Raiffeisen over property rights. Romanian authorities lost their case against Enel in a 900 million Euro arbitration. The Government also lost their 33 million Euro case against Germany's E.ON at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, and were ordered to pay E.ON's two million Euros legal expenses. Romanian state companies lost their case against CEZ in an 81 million Euro arbitration regarding privatisations from 2005. Still looming is a dispute with Rompetrol, owned by KazMunayGas International (KMGI). We would like to see the new Romanian Government taking a constructive path to resolve this and other conflicts in an amicable manner. Romania, in contrast to her neighbours, benefits from KMGI accounting for 22mt per year of production, and the energy security that the Kazakh partners and investors have brought to the country. We call on the new Government and business leaders to negotiate investor claims, and to avoid lengthy litigation and arbitration wherever possible. There is not just the cost to the country of losing the arbitration, but also the reputational damage that undermines our efforts to promote Romania as a safe and hospitable environment for foreign investment. Indeed, foreign direct investment into Romania is on a five year downward trend. Economic growth for the third quarter of this year has also been lowered, with ING Bank stating this week that it has decelerated to 4.4% Spending by the private sector is the bedrock for development and expansion, not just in Romania but across the Black Sea region. We want to see more of this, private sector funds that leverage greater public investment. Since our inception we have called for open markets, fair competition on a level playing field and protection of public and private assets. What we care about most is working with the Government, and the member states of the EU, to make Romania a stronger and safer destination for business and investment. Romania has in the past encouraged and engaged in public private partnerships to boost job creation and growth. We believe that in the interests of good governance and economic security these kinds of alliances are vital. We conclude this interim report with a determined commitment to continue to examine and report on the national issues we feel urgently require Government action for Romania's greater stability and progress.
News Article | November 8, 2016
The European Emissions Trading System (ETS) needs a more ambitious reform than proposed by the Commission in 2015. As numerous EU wide and national policies affect the ETS, there is no silver bullet to address all the shortcomings of the existing system. Only a combination of stronger short-term and long-term measures can provide the reform much needed to rebuild confidence in the system. These are the key messages of the study contracted to the French consulting company FTI-Compass Lexecon Energy by a group of large European power companies EDF, ENEL, EDP, ENGIE, Fortum, Iberdrola and CEZ. The study report was introduced in Brussels today. “Most of future investments are currently on hold across Europe because a clear and robust long-term carbon price signal is missing. The confidence on a truly European, market-based instrument, the ETS, is at risk and the window of opportunity to fix it is closing soon. We need a clear signal to secure the competitiveness of existing low carbon capacities and future investments,” Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Fortum, highlighted in the launch event. The study has analysed in-depth several options to reform the ETS regarding their impacts on the supply-demand and prices on the carbon market as well as on future emissions trajectory. The analysis shows that with the proposed ETS reform Europe would miss its long term emissions target. However, the analysis also shows that several combinations of options are available to rebalance the carbon market and align the ETS with the long term EU targets. In Fortum’s view, the redesign of the market stability reserve (MSR) combined with an increased linear reduction factor (LRF) could be one of the most efficient combinations to improve the functioning of the system. At the same time, it is necessary to improve the coherence of the overlapping policies and adjust the ETS accordingly. “We do have many options to fix the ETS. Now we simply need political will and legislative agility to reform the ETS to its original ambition,” Lundmark concludes. Read more: Pekka Lundmark's speech at the report launch event on 8 November 2016 Further information: Esa Hyvärinen, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, +358 40 826 2646 Anne-Malorie Gerón, Vice President, EU Affairs, +32 478 65 28 01 Fortum Fortum's vision is to be the forerunner in clean energy. We provide our customers with electricity, heat and cooling as well as other energy solutions that improve present and future life. Already 64% of our electricity generation is CO2 free. Our main markets are the Nordic and the Baltic countries, Russia, Poland and India. In 2015, we employed some 8,000 energy sector professionals, and our sales were EUR 3.5 billion. Fortum's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.fortum.com
News Article | November 23, 2016
DataGenic, a leading provider of commodity data management solutions, announced today it has been selected by CEZ Group, the Czech integrated electricity conglomerate with operations in a number of countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe and Turkey, to implement its flagship Genic DataManager solution and supporting software modules. Following a competitive and extensive selection process, CEZ Group selected DataGenic to replace a combination of in-house and third party applications with their award winning commodity data management solutions. Capable of providing an automated, quality assured and auditable approach to data collection, storage, distribution, and analysis DataGenic's suite of products proved to be the perfect fit to meet CEZ's demanding requirements. DataGenic will be partnering with the Prague based Deloitte Advisory s.r.o. to successfully deliver the implementation project. "We are delighted to have been selected by one the major energy providers in Central and Eastern Europe to play a crucial part in the overhaul of its approach to Trading Data," said Richard Quigley, CEO of DataGenic. "I am confident the partnership between DataGenic and Deloitte will deliver a solution that significantly improves CEZ's ability to acquire, processes, validate, manage and distribute its trading data, therefore enhancing its ability to manage and mitigate trading risk." DataGenic is the leading global provider of on premise and in-cloud Smart Commodity Data Management software, delivering intelligent analytics, real-time data content and proven business value. Its innovative solutions include a data-agnostic multi-commodity data management platform, visual mapping and management of business processes, extensive and extensible data quality management, unlimited forward curves construction and an intelligent decision framework. ČEZ Group is an established, integrated electricity conglomerate with operations in a number of countries in Central and South-eastern Europe and Turkey, headquartered in the Czech Republic. Its principal businesses encompass generation, trading, and distribution of power and heat, as well as coal mining. The shares of the Group's parent company, ČEZ, a. s., are traded on the Prague and Warsaw Stock Exchanges, where they form a significant part of the respective indexes. Through its strategic focus on improving efficiency of its current assets as well as development of new opportunities and expansion to new markets, ČEZ Group is able to maintain its place among the most profitable European utilities and is aiming to bring the innovative energy solutions of energetic needs and contribute to a higher quality of life.
News Article | April 19, 2016
While humans are now scarce in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, continued studies--including a just-published camera study--validate findings that wildlife populations are abundant at the site. The camera study is the first remote-camera scent-station survey conducted within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, or CEZ.
News Article | January 4, 2016
Or try our free trial . Czech utility CEZ has linked with investment group Aquila Capital to advance a “triple-digit-million euro” wind portfolio in Germany. CEZ and Aquila hope to grab opportunities to add to Germany's existing wind fleet To protect your subscription investment, we've instituted a security system to protect against the electronic redistribution of copyrighted Rechargenews content. Read more
News Article | April 20, 2016
Earlier research found evidence of a wildlife wonderland at the disaster site, now the first camera study confirms an abundance of wolves, boars, foxes and more. Last year we wrote about life at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – the 834-square mile area in Ukraine that has remained ominously void of human presence ever since the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986. How strange and magical it was to learn that rather than a disaster wasteland, nature has crept back in to right the wrongs. Without man present, the study found that the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident has become a nature reserve rife with elk, roe deer, red deer, wild boar, foxes, wolves, and others: Now a new camera study by researchers from the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory further confirm the findings that wildlife populations are abundant at the site. It is the first remote-camera scent-station survey conducted within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ). The study documents species prevalent in the zone and supports the earlier conclusion that animal distribution is not influenced by radiation levels The first study relied on the counting of animal tracks; for the new study, James Beasley and his research team employed 30 cameras at 94 sites over a five-week period. "The earlier study shed light on the status of wildlife populations in the CEZ, but we still needed to back that up," says Beasley, an assistant professor with UGA's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and lead author of the research. "For this study we deployed cameras in a systematic way across the entire Belarus section of the CEZ and captured photographic evidence – strong evidence – because these are pictures that everyone can see." The remote cameras were set up on trees or similar structures; the stations each used a fatty acid scent to attract the animals. With a minimum distance of two miles from each other, the cameras were arranged to prevent animals from being recorded at more than one station during a 24-hour period. All told, the team documented 14 species of mammals on the camera footage. The most frequently seen were the gray wolf, Eurasian boar, red fox and raccoon dog. The earlier study also noted a rare Przewalski's horse and European lynx, which were previously gone from the region but have now returned, as well as a European brown bear, an animal not seen in those parts for more than a century. And remarkably, Beasley says that the species documented on film were at stations close to or within the most highly contaminated areas. "We didn't find any evidence to support the idea that populations are suppressed in highly contaminated areas," Beasley said. "What we did find was these animals were more likely to be found in areas of preferred habitat that have the things they need – food and water." The study provides valuable verification, Beasley says, but further research is needed "to determine the density of wildlife and provide quantitative survival rates." Meanwhile, the wolves and foxes are running free, roaming the wilds and reclaiming land lost to man and consequently found once again by nature. See more images like the one above and read about the previous findings here: Wildlife is absolutely thriving at Chernobyl disaster site.
News Article | November 24, 2016
Romania's Ministry of Energy last week published their draft 2016 - 2030 Energy Strategy blueprint seeking to build on strong existing foundations that help make Romania energy secure and have generated billions of dollars in foreign investment and export earnings for the Treasury. The timing of the release was appropriate, against the backdrop of this week's news that ING Bank has lowered the expected growth rate for Romania to 4.8%, and continued worries less than three weeks before elections about what can be done to boost public investment and jobs. We at the EU-Romania Business Society welcome this comprehensive evaluation of the country's energy needs and analysis of what is required by government and business to keep expanding its asset base. That is the key for continued national development. The Government's strategy highlights five important objectives: energy security, competitive energy markets based on a competitive economy, clean energy and a sustainable energy sector, the modernization of energy governance, the protection of vulnerable consumers and the reduction energy poverty. We commend the thinking behind the strategy as well as its release in draft form, allowing the views and response of experts, policy groups, investors and the public to be taken into account. While we welcome creation of the strategy document and introduction of the forward-looking agenda, we must also highlight areas of concern where government actions in 2016 could in fact undermine their own model for transformation before it is even launched. Romania's priority action quite rightly emphasizes the need for greater resource security and competitive markets as a bedrock for Romania's stable energy future - for continued growth. This should include a diversity of supply, as well as a safe investment climate and protection of current assets, with rule of law for investors. Our community has serious concerns that the seizure of KMGI's assets and the resulting uncertainty to Romania's relations with Kazakhstan and other partners, could call into question how the Government intends to execute its plan. We worry what message is sent when one of the largest investors and exporters is put under such threat. If KMGI departs Romania, does that open the door for Russia and Iran to fill? Resource security and national stability is helped a great deal by the contribution of Kazakhstan's oil, which means Romania is not reliant on Russia. Current ratio proportions show about 60% Kazakh vs 35% Russian, where just a few years ago the numbers were reversed. Moreover, Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas International (KMGI) accounts for 22mt per year of production in Romania. KMGI also provides more than 40% of the country's total processing capacity. We have seen the figure of $1.4bn invested in Romania's largest refinery, KMGI's Petromedia over the years to reach EU standards of efficiency and operations. The financial investments, private capital and public spending, needed to make the draft Strategy a reality, will be huge, and need to be made from a vantage point of partnership between the state and enterprise. These imperatives are even more vital in the aftermath of international events impacting Romania and Europe, including Brexit and uncertainty around the election of Donald Trump - and his intended relationship with the EU, NATO and President Putin. Romania's strong energy security and safety of supply is for private investors a precondition for directing capital into the country, extending business, and financing modernisation projects. So real concerns over what the future looks like are being tangled with concerns regarding the business climate for investors. Disputes have been playing out between the Government with international private companies like CEZ, ENEL, E.ON and Raiffeisen in addition to KMGI. The reputation of Romania as a safe destination for foreign investment is a priority for Romanians and foreign investors alike. We encourage the Government to restore the productive and mutually advantageous public-private partnerships that have served public administration and our enterprises committed to the country so well. Ultimately it is the citizens of Romania who have the most to gain from such cooperation.
News Article | December 5, 2016
CEZ Group – the largest utility in Central and Eastern Europe – as a first piece in its strategy to buy 1GW in Western European renewables assets has bought a 12.8MW onshore wind park in south-western Germany from investment firm Aream. “This is our initial project in the German renewables market, with others planned to follow,” says Tomáš Pleskač, chief renewables and development officer at CEZ. “We are looking not only at already completed onshore projects but also at offshore projects and projects under development,” he said, adding that CEZ has already reviewed dozens of projects with an installed capacity exceeding 2.5GW. CEZ earlier this year had told Recharge that it plans to acquire 600-700MW in Western European offshore wind assets, and another 300-400MW in onshore wind and solar projects combined. The Czech Republic-based company has earmarked €2bn ($2.13bn) for investments by 2020 into “new technologies,” such as renewable energies, energy efficiency and venture capital investment, and in late 2015 opened an office in Hamburg, the capital of the German wind industry. The utility since then became a member of four German wind associations that have a strong offshore wind focus, among the wind energy agency WAB that represents Germany’s North Sea offshore sector. But CEZ stressed that in addition to the German market, it monitors suitable opportunities in RE sources in other European countries with the aim of building a stable portfolio of assets at different stages of their life cycle. The German onshore wind park now bought was commissioned in 2014 and can count on feed-in support until 2034. CEZ’s impetus to move into RE and offshore wind in particular in Western Europe comes after the company had bad experiences with its green investments in Eastern Europe. CEZ operates what currently still is the largest onshore wind park in Europe, the 600MW Fantanele-Cogealac wind complex in the Romanian province of Dobrogea on the shore of the Black Sea. The €1.1bn wind development ran into difficulties after Romania cut state subsidies in the form of green certificates in half.