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Beijing, China

Han J.-E.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Shao Z.-G.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Zhu D.-G.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Meng X.-G.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | And 4 more authors.
Geology in China

Based on the systematic measurement and research, this paper considers that the terrace of the Yellow River is composed mainly of the accumulation terraces and subordinately of erosion terraces in the source region of the Yellow River, the height of the terrace is low, and the surface of the terrace is relatively flat. First-level river terraces are only developed in the segment from the source of the Yellow River to the Gyaring Lake. Second-level river terraces are developed in the segment from the outlet of the Ngoring Lake to Yellow River Township. Third-level river terraces are developed in the segment from Yellow River Township to eastern Jigzhi County. Combined with ESR dating results, the authors hold that terraces of the source region of the Yellow River were formed mainly from late Middle Pleistocene to Holocene. T, river terrace was formed about 10 kaB.P., T2 was formed from 58 kaB.P.∼19 kaB.P., and T3 was formed from 161 kaB.P.∼25 kaB.P. The study of river terraces has shown that the Yellow River of the source region was probably formed in late Late Pleistocene. Source

News Article | September 6, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

This week Theresa May will travel all the way to China to find out. At the G20 meeting China will press her to approve the Hinkley Point nuclear plant. Here’s a roundup of press coverage of the high wire diplomacy expected to take place. (Guardian) As UK PM Theresa May prepares to meet her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit, officials there have reportedly raised the issue of delayed Hinkley point nuclear power station. May is expected to come under pressure from China at the G20 summit over her decision to review the proposed Hinkley nuclear plant. May angered Beijing by deciding in July that approval of the French- and Chinese-backed £18bn nuclear plant would be delayed, apparently as a result of security concerns over Chinese involvement. The Chinese government has been unusually forceful and undiplomatic in making its clear it wants the project to go ahead. May and her ministers have stuck to the position that the government is “considering all the component parts of the project before making its decision in the early autumn.” (Times of London) UK Prime Minister Theresa May is reportedly considering a proposal to detach development of the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant from an agreement allowing China to build a nuclear reactor in Essex. One option under consideration is to approve Hinkley, but delay a decision on the Bradwell reactor to allow a discussion about its effect on British security. Critics of the plan point to an American case of alleged economic espionage involving China General Nuclear (CGN) .A US nuclear engineer is facing charges he provided nuclear fuel information and reactor performance data to CGN without the necessary government approval. The split in the agreement over UK reactors could put the entire deal involving three power stations in jeopardy since the Chinese investors see in the Bradwell plant an opportunity to showcase its domestic nuclear technology in Europe. China has started construction of two Hualong One reactors at in Fujian province. While it also has an MOU in place to build one in Argentina, the UK deal offers China its best chance to make the case for its reactor design with western industrialized countries. No UK decision expected on Chinese-backed nuclear plan as PM May heads to China (Reuters) Prime Minister Theresa May will not announce her keenly awaited decision on a partly-Chinese funded nuclear power project in the coming days, a British official said as May flew to China to meet President Xi Jinping at her first G20 summit. But despite scheduling a 30-minute meeting with Xi on Monday to discuss the two countries’ future ties, May will stop short of sanctioning a Chinese-backed $24-billion plan for French firm EDF to build a nuclear power plant in southern England. “We have said we’ll make a decision this month, that remains the plan. I don’t expect one in the next few days,” the official told reporters ahead of the visit Critics of Hinkley Point C missing ‘The Bigger Picture’ says, EDF Energy CEO (NucNet) Critics of the Hinkley Point nuclear station project in southwest England are at risk of “losing sight of the bigger picture” by failing to see the “positive impact and importance “ of the investment for the UK, EDF Energy chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz said this week in an open letter published on the company’s website. The plan to build the two EPR units for £18bn (€21bn, $24bn) at Hinkley Point was hit with an unexpected delay in July as the new UK government decided to hold another review only hours after EDF – the project’s state-owned French developer – had given it the go-ahead. Separately, members of EDF’s board filed a protest that de Rivaz knew about the delay before the board meeting, but pushed for approval of the plan anyway. China General Nuclear Power Generation (CGN) has a one-third stake in the project while the French side holds the rest. Mr de Rivaz wrote that China’s participation “is much more” than £6bn of investment as it brings the benefits of a partnership between EDF and CGN in nuclear construction in China. EDF is nearing completion of two Areva EPRs in China. He wrote that the cost of Hinkley Point’s electricity should be compared with future energy prices and not those of today. Hinkley Point will be competitive with all future energy options, including fossil fuels, when the cost of carbon is taken into account. Mr de Rivaz dismissed near term prospects for the potential use of small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the UK. He wrote that they are still surrounded by a number of future political and regulatory uncertainties and “we can’t afford to cross our fingers and muddle through in the hope that a new technology will meet all our needs at the right price.” EDF sees Britain taking £6bn Hinkley stake Government under pressure to step in to avoid ‘disaster’ if Chinese pull out of project (Financial Times) EDF executives say the British government could have to take a stake of up to £6bn in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station to avoid a “disaster” if the Chinese decide to withdraw from the project. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, has warned that stalling the nuclear project could jeopardise relations between the two countries. The UK government has not set out a fallback option if the Chinese refuse to separate the Bradwell project from the overall deal and abandon their proposed investments in Britain. In public, Beijing remains committed to the deal. However, there has been growing speculation in the nuclear industry that May is prepared to invest billions of pounds into Hinkley Point if it becomes necessary. “If the Chinese pull out, the UK government itself will raise the money,” said one industry source. One senior EDF figure said: “If the Chinese pull out, there is no way that EDF will be able to pay for the rest itself. We would need the British or someone else to step in.” The idea of the UK government taking stakes in new nuclear power stations was raised this week by the new boss of Horizon, the Hitachi-owned consortium that plans to build stations at Wylfa, on Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in Gloucestershire. Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon, said Hitachi could seek an equity stake from the British and Japanese governments. Hitachi could even end up merely as a contractor to Whitehall, Mr Hawthorne told the Sunday Times. France said to see Hinkley unraveling as U.K. reconsiders (Bloomberg) French President Francois Hollande’s government is concerned that discussions on the sidelines of the Group of 20 talks in China will sound the death knell for the Hinkley Point nuclear power project in the U.K. UK PM May is bracing for tense diplomacy over the issue and is attempting to foster confidence that Britain remains open for business despite its decisions to leave the European Union and delay Hinkley Point. Central to the debate are Hinkley’s growing costs and security issues related to China’s involvement in a strategic industry. In China, authorities see Hinkley as the start of a series of atomic projects in the U.K. that will serve as a showcase for future exports. May “has upset the Chinese and the French,” said Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, London. “She could have dealt with this in a better way by saying she would review all major public spending, not just Hinkley.” For France, Hinkley Point is “an exceptional opportunity,” Finance and Industry Minister Michel Sapin said at a press conference. The British government needs to “face its responsibilities” on deciding to proceed, he added. It would underpin the country’s nuclear-engineering industry with its many thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs. Even within the French administration, the project received another blow this week when one of its key backers, Emmanuel Macron, resigned as economy and industry minister. Sapin has now taken over Macron’s responsibilities. China has warned pulling the plug on Hinkley would damage its relationship with Britain. “No country can develop by itself behind closed doors,” Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador in London, wrote in a column in the China Daily. “I hope that Britain will continue to be pragmatic and stay open to Chinese businesses.” Key French backer of Hinkley Point will run for President (NY Times) France’s pro-business economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, who supports the Hinkley Point project, has resigned from the Socialist government, clearing a path for him to possibly challenge an embattled President François Hollande in elections next year. His resignation has been anticipated for months. For Hollande’s part, he faces record lows in public approval ratings. Unlike Hollande, who has called for a 25% reduction in French dependence on nuclear energy, Marcon has been a strong supporter of the nation’s use of the technology and its expansion via exports for projects like Hinkley Point. Mr. Macron, 38, a former investment banker, was the face of a right leaning, free-market tilt by Mr. Hollande’s government. He infuriated France’s unions with his frank talk of opening up the country’s rigid economy, loosening job protections, and even rolling back the 35-hour workweek. (NucNet) First concrete pouring for the nuclear island for Unit 6 at the Fuqing nuclear station in Fujian province has started, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said. The event marks the beginning of the main construction phase for the reactor unit. Fuqing-6 will be of the domestic Generation-III design, also known as “Hualong One.” There are six units at the Fuqing site – two in commercial operation and four under construction. Units 5 and 6 are of the Hualong One design.

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"We are forecasting that if everything goes smoothly, the first unit will go into operation in June 2017, and the second unit at the end of 2017," said Sun Qin, the chairman of the China National Nuclear Corporation, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament. "Construction has been delayed three years. At first we planned on December 2013 but there was just no way, with key pieces of equipment not available," he said. The "third-generation" reactor, designed by the U.S.-based Westinghouse, has been plagued by delays brought about by design flaws and problems with key components. Sun said new coolant pumps for the two reactor units only arrived at the end of last year. A rival third-generation design, the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), has faced similar problems, with projects in France, Finland and China all delayed. But Sun said he was hopeful that China's own third-generation model, known as the Hualong 1, will progress more smoothly. China's first Hualong unit is under construction at Fuqing in southeast China's Fujian province and is expected to be completed by around June 2020, he said. China has also started construction on an identical Hualong 1 unit in Pakistan and is waiting on Argentina to ratify another Hualong 1 deal. CNNC's rival, China General Nuclear, signed a deal with France's EDF to take a 6 billion pound ($8.5 billion) stake in a project to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point in Britain last year, with the understanding that a third unit would be a Hualong 1 and the state-owned French firm would help China gain approval for the model in Britain. Sun said that he remained confident about the construction of the 18 billion pound project, despite financing problems facing EDF, but Britain's first Hualong 1 would face delays. China is in the middle of an ambitious nuclear reactor building program at home and aims to have completed 58 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity with another 30 GW under construction by the end of 2020. "Looking at it now, with approvals stopped for around three years after Fukushima, we should have around 53 gigawatts in operation by 2020 with 38 to 40 gigawatts under construction, so the overall target should be no problem," Sun said. China's total nuclear capacity reached 28.3 GW by the end of 2015, with 30 units in operation and another 24 under construction, the government said in January.

News Article | August 15, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

In a totalitarian state, the presence of thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators in the streets for several days is not only a surprise, it also represents the deep unease people there have about a nuclear energy facility that hasn’t even broken ground. A massive $15 billion effort to build a facility to make MOX fuel was last week the subject of protests involving thousands of people in the city of Lianyungang in Jiangsu Province located about 300 miles (480km) north of Shanghai (YouTube Video). The city is one of six potential sites for the spent fuel reprocessing center to be built in a partnership between China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) and Areva. The plant would be built based on the same technology used by Areva at a MOX fuel plant in France. The demonstrators disregarded warnings from the government and police to stop. Protest groups flooded Chinese social media with anti-nuclear slogans. The protests in the streets and online stem from a growing unease over industrial pollution and other environmental issues linked in a part to corrupt practices. The plan for the nuclear reprocessing facility site at this stage involves site selection and no decision has been made yet. Lianyungang city officials short-circuited a response from CNNC by telling the demonstrators they would not allow the plant to be built there. The apparent loss of the site in Lianyungang does not mean the project is on the ropes. There are five other sites in other parts of the country still under consideration. The other sites include locations in the provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Gansu. All have existing nuclear facilities and are located at coastal sites. There are two Russian built VVER commercial nuclear reactors at the Tainwan power station in Lianyungang. Two more units are under construction which will be commissioned in 2018 and there are plans on paper to add yet two more units to them. Their presence does not seem to have been a factor in the protests. The protests in Lianyungang occurred on the anniversary of a massive chemical explosion that took place at the Ruihai International Chemical warehouse in the city of Tainjin on August 12, 2015. A reported 173 people were killed and over 800 injured by the blast caused by hundreds of tons of dangerous chemicals illegally stored in the warehouse. The subsequent investigation revealed a complex web of corruption, negligence, lax regulatory oversight, and poor emergency responses services. Cleanup of the site has stalled due to the complex and toxic nature of the residual chemicals and their combustion byproducts. An estimated 470,000 cubic meters of material needs to be removed from the site, but there are few places to put it. This is not the first time protests in China have led to reconsideration of a proposal for a new nuclear facility. In 2013 protests erupted involving over 1,000 peo0ple over plans to build a commercial nuclear fuel plant in Heshan in Guangdong province resulted in the government cancelling that particular site with plans to relocate it. Coincidentally, the nuclear fuel plant that was the subject of these protests includes planned production of commercial fuel assemblies for the VVER units at Lianyungang. The initial plan for the reprocessing plant was first set in motion in 2007 as part of a deal that also resulted in Areva building two 1650 MW EPR reactors in Taishan, China, just west of Hong Kong. Once a site is selected for the reprocessing facility, construction of the 800 tonne per year plant is suppose to start in 2020 and be completed by 2030. Technical details about the plant are more or less complete. During a visit to France in June 2015, China’s premier Li Keqiang called for financial and contractual details to be completed by the end of this year. The La Hague, France, MOX plant, on which the 800 tonne per year Chinese plant will be based, is much larger and is capable of handling 2,700 tonnes per year. As a practical matter, the 800 tonne per year plant is not going to in the short term make a serious dent in the inventory of spent nuclear fuel in China. By 2020 China is expected to have 12,300 tonnes of spent fuel in mostly wet storage though there is some ongoing transition to dry casks. With a service life of about 60 years, the plant could handle at least 40,000-50,000 tonnes of spent fuel. However, China has ambitious plans to build more nuclear power plants which will significantly increase the amount of spent fuel it will have to manage as part of its policy re-using the fuel. Within the first ten years of operation, by 2040, a second reprocessing plant with at least the same capacity would have to be built to handle the load. In the meantime, China may decide to move its spent fuel from wet storage at reactors to an interim site involving dry casks mostly likely located near the first MOX plant. According to the World Nuclear Association, mainland China has 34 nuclear power reactors in operation, 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a doubling of nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020-21, then up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050. An English language report published in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) last week indicates that China has an acute shortage of experienced nuclear plant technical staff and that the problem will get worse before it gets better. The SCMP report cites a Chinese language report in China Business News which quotes Prof. Ai Deshang, Dean of Graduate Programs, in the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, at Tsinghua University, who says China will need 30,000 to 40,000 trained nuclear technicians by the end of the 2020s, but that currently the nation’s universities are only capable of graduating a few hundred individuals per year. The China Business News report also quotes He Yu, President of China General Nuclear (CGN) who said that China plans to build over 100 new reactors by 2030 to meet energy needs and to reduce pollution from coal fired power plants. Staffing of there new reactors will required 50,000 to 80,000 trained staff. The extraordinary pressures on existing experienced reactor staffs are also cited in the report indicating that in at least one instance self-reporting of safety incidents were covered up. A March 2015 pump failure at the Yangiiang Nuclear Power Station in Guangdong province was not made public until May 2016. The environmental ministry reportedly cited four operators over the incident. A spokesman for CGN, which owns and operates the plant, said that it only found out about the failed pump during a inspection which took place this year. The power station is composed of four CPR-1000 reactors three of which have been commissioned and a fourth unit that will come online in 2017. Construction of units 5 & 6, which are slated to be the new Hualong One 1000 MW PWRs, is set to start in 2018. The lack of skilled staff may also impact China’s plans to export its nuclear reactors. China has a pending deal with Argentina to build its new Hualong One reactor there and another deal, which is under review in the UK, to build up to three of them at the Bradwell site near London.

News Article | January 18, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

The big news is that two Chinese state owned nuclear firms have announced plans to build floating nuclear power plants in the 100-300 MW range. (WNA) A demonstration floating nuclear power plant based on China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC’s) ACP100S small reactor will be built by 2019. The move comes just days after China General Nuclear (CGN) said it will build a prototype offshore plant by 2020. CGN announced (next story) on 12 January that development of its ACPR50S reactor design had recently been approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies. CNNC said that its ACP100S reactor – a marine version of its ACP100 small modular reactor (SMR) design – had also been approved by the NDRC as part of the same plan. CNNC said its Nuclear Power Institute of China subsidiary had completed a preliminary design for a floating nuclear power plant featuring the ACP100S reactor as well as “all the scientific research work.” Construction of a demonstration unit is to start by the end of this year, with completion set for 2019. (WNA) China General Nuclear (CGN) expects to complete construction of a demonstration small modular offshore multi-purpose reactor by 2020. CGN said development of its ACPR50S reactor design had recently been approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies. The company said it is currently carrying out preliminary design work for a demonstration ACPR50S project. Construction of the first floating reactor is expected to start next year with electricity generation to begin in 2020. The 60 MWe reactor has been developed for the supply of electricity, heat and desalination and could be used on islands or in coastal areas, or for offshore oil and gas exploration, according to CGN. The Chinese company said it is also working on the ACPR100 small reactor for use on land. This reactor will have an output of some 450 MWt (140 MWe) and would be suitable for providing power to large-scale industrial parks or to remote mountainous areas. CGN said the development of small-scale offshore and onshore nuclear power reactors will complement its large-scale plants and provide more diverse energy options. (WNA) A US House of Representatives committee has approved a bipartisan bill to support federal research and development (R&D) and stimulate private investment in advanced nuclear reactor technologies. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. The bill was introduced by energy subcommittee chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas), along with full committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The legislation directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to set priorities for federal R&D infrastructure that will enable the private sector to invest in advanced reactor technologies and provide a clear path forward to attract private investment for prototype development at DOE laboratories. It enables the private sector to partner with national laboratories for the purpose of developing novel reactor concepts, leverages DOE’s supercomputing infrastructure to accelerate nuclear energy R&D, and provides statutory direction for a DOE reactor-based fast neutron source that will operate as an open-access user facility. It also authorizes DOE to enable the private sector to construct and operate privately-funded reactor prototypes at DOE sites. In addition, the bill requires DOE to present a transparent, strategic, ten-year plan for prioritizing nuclear R&D programs. (NucNet) The global nuclear security system still has “major gaps” that prevent it from being truly comprehensive and effective, the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative says in its 2016 Index. The index, which assesses nuclear materials security conditions in 24 countries with one kilogramme or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials, says there is no common set of international standards and best practices, there is no mechanism for holding states with lax security accountable, and the legal foundation for securing nuclear materials is neither complete nor universally observed. In addition to assessing the risks posed by vulnerable nuclear materials and insufficient security policies in states that don’t have materials, the index assesses for the first time the potential risks to nuclear facilities posed by sabotage and cyberattack. It says cyberattacks are increasing and a growing number of states are exploring nuclear energy even though they lack the legal, regulatory, and security frameworks to ensure that their facilities are secure as well as safe. (NucNet) Westinghouse Electric Company’s Springfields facility in the UK has reached the requirements necessary to manufacture Westinghouse small modular reactor (SMR) fuel, Westinghouse said. This milestone is “a key first” for the UK’s SMR programme and an important part of Westinghouse’s proposed partnership with the UK government to deploy SMR technology. Westinghouse Springfields achieved the milestone following a readiness assessment based upon fabrication data for two proprietary SMR fuel assemblies manufactured at the company’s Columbia fuel fabrication facility in the US state of South Carolina. Mick Gornall, managing director of Westinghouse Springfields, said manufacturing Westinghouse SMR fuel at Springfields will “secure the future of a strategic national asset” of nuclear fuel manufacturing capability. (WNA) The first of four reactor coolant pumps for the initial AP1000 unit at the Haiyang site in China’s Shandong province has been transported by road from Curtiss-Wright’s manufacturing facility in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, to the port of Philadelphia ahead of shipment to China, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation announced yesterday. The first two such pumps for Sanmen 1 in Zhejiang province – expected in September to be the first AP1000 to start up – arrived on the site on 30 December. (NucNet) Testing of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems has begun at Teollisuuden Voima’s (TVO) Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant with an application for an operating licence likely to be submitted in April, TVO said. The I&C systems will be used for operating, monitoring and controlling the 1,600-MW EPR unit. In December 2015 TVO said system commissioning of the plant is expected to begin in the spring of 2016 with regular electricity generation beginning in “more than three years. TVO said the estimated schedule came from plant supplier Areva-Siemens. Commissioning of the plant is about nine years behind schedule and costs are almost three times over budget. Market Reform Essential For Nuclear In US, Says NEI (NucNet) Market reform is essential to ensure that the reliability, environmental and economic benefits of nuclear power are not taken for granted, and that reactor operators are compensated for these attributes in the same way as other low-carbon sources, Alex Flint, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice-president for governmental affairs, said in an interview published on the NEI’s website. Mr Flint said there has been “movement to address the issue”. He said at the national level, the NEI is working with the Edison Electric Institute and the Electric Power Supply Association to make officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency aware of the potential challenges to grid reliability and the administration’s clean air goals. In 2015, FERC and a number of regional transmission organizations took significant steps to address flaws in electricity markets that fail to provide the price signals needed to support investment in new or existing nuclear power plants. Mr Flint said, “Urged on by the NEI and a number of energy associations, FERC has begun a rulemaking to address price suppression and promises to address other issues in future. In an encouraging sign, Exelon Corporation cited positive regional reforms in deferring decisions on the potential closing of its Clinton nuclear station in Illinois and the Ginna nuclear station in New York.” Late last year Entergy Corporation said it would close its Pilgrim-1 and Fitzpatrick reactors because of poor economic conditions for nuclear.

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