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Russia and Sri Lanka plan nuclear energy cooperation

The Russian delegation, which was welcomed by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also held...

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The Russian delegation, which was welcomed by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also held talks with the Atomic Energy Board and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Council of Sri Lanka.

Rosatom said the parties had "discussed in detail the whole range of issues related to establishing cooperation between the Russian Federation and Sri Lanka in the peaceful use of atomic energy", adding that "the dialogue will continue". Spassky invited the inter-departmental delegation to visit Russia for further talks and see Russian nuclear facilities. They also discussed Sri Lanka's participation this year in Rosatom's annual conference and exhibition Atomexpo.

In September 2010, the Sri Lankan government commissioned its Atomic Energy Board to conduct a pre-feasibility study on using nuclear energy for power generation from about 2025. In 2011, Sri Lanka announced that it would establish an Atomic Energy Regulatory Council to allow for the introduction of nuclear power generation technology in the country, and also to address concerns over the security of radioactive sources and to deal with radiation emergencies.

In February 2015, Sri Lanka and India signed an agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy. The accord aims to facilitate cooperation in the transfer and exchange of knowledge and expertise, sharing of resources, capacity building and training of personnel in peaceful application of nuclear energy - including the use of radioisotopes - nuclear safety, radiation safety and nuclear security. It would also facilitate cooperation in radioactive waste management and nuclear and radiological accident mitigation and environmental protection.

The Nuclear Medicine Unit at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka has been supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for over 40 years. The centre, the only one of its kind in the country, uses nuclear medicine to diagnose, treat and manage cancer and other diseases. IAEA support includes the provision of equipment, training and the implementation of safety standards.

Priyanee Wijesekera, ambassador and permanent representative of Sri Lanka, told the 60th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference, in Vienna, Austria, in September 2016 that the establishment of an independent regulatory authority "demonstrates Sri Lanka's dedication and commitment towards ensuring absolutely peaceful nature of nuclear applications and the use of nuclear technology in Sri Lanka".

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Russia and Sri Lanka plan nuclear energy cooperation



Tepco surveys interior of unit 2 containment vessel

In February 2017, Tepco sent a "scorpion-shaped" robot - developed jointly by Toshiba a...

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In February 2017, Tepco sent a "scorpion-shaped" robot - developed jointly by Toshiba and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) - into the PCV of unit 2. That survey discovered part of the grating of the platform inside its pedestal had dropped. Although the robot was unable to reach the area directly under the reactor pressure vessel, the company said the information it gathered would help it determine how to decommission the unit.

"Robotic explorations of unit 2's interior, especially inside the pedestal area at the base of the reactor, are essential to determine the location and condition of fuel that melted and reformed during the 2011 accident," Tepco said today. "But penetration of the area has been made challenging by deposits from the accident that has blocked the path of robots designed to crawl around it, and high radiation levels that limit the life of electronic equipment."

The company today carried out an investigation of the PCV of unit 2 using a suspended pan-tilt camera attached to a telescopic guiding pipe. The small and radiation-hardened device was also developed by Toshiba and IRID.

The device was introduced into the PCV through a pipe about 12cm in diameter. It comprises a guiding pipe some 13m in length and with a diameter of around 11cm. Attached to this is a further telescopic guiding pipe, about 5m long. A camera module weighing some 2kg is mounted on the end of this. The camera module houses two cameras - a pan-tilt camera and a 'bird's eye camera' - as well as an LED lighting unit, a radiation dosimeter and a thermometer.

After examining the pictures obtained using the device, Tepco said: "The entire bottom of the pedestal was found to be covered with sandy and clay-like deposits. Some fuel assembly components have fallen to the bottom of the pedestal and deposits thought to be fuel debris were identified in the vicinity of these fallen components."

Tepco has also carried out robotic surveys of the PCVs of units 1 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. 

Last March, Tepco carried out an investigation of the PCV of unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi using the PMORPH robot developed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy and IRID. Equipped with a dosimeter and waterproof camera, it took radiation readings and digital images at ten different measurement points within that unit's PCV.

In July, it inserted a screw-driven submersible robot developed by Toshiba and IRID into unit 3's PCV.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Tepco surveys interior of unit 2 containment vessel



Mining resumes at WIPP

WIPP, in New Mexico, is the USA's only repository for the disposal of transuranic, or TRU, wa...

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WIPP, in New Mexico, is the USA's only repository for the disposal of transuranic, or TRU, waste - clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris, soil and other items contaminated with small amounts of plutonium and other man-made radioactive elements from the US military programme. Disposal of TRU waste is critical to the cleanup of Cold War nuclear production sites.

The repository's operations were suspended in February 2014 following a fire in an underground vehicle, and, several days later, a non-related radiological event when a waste drum ruptured following an exothermic chemical reaction in organic absorbent material used in the drum to stabilise liquids and nitrate salts. Waste emplacement resumed in January 2017 following extensive investigations and the implementation of a stepwise recovery plan to mitigate the source of the contamination, restore the necessary conditions to support operations, and incorporate lessons learned from the incidents. This led to the installation of new permanent ventilation and a new exhaust shaft.

Mining at WIPP is timed so that a panel is only ready when it is needed for waste emplacement, because the natural movement of salt - the behaviour that will eventually permanently encapsulate the waste - causes mined openings to close. Mining began at Panel 8 in February 2013 but was suspended following the 2014 incidents. Completion of Panel 8 is now scheduled for 2020.

The salt is excavated using a continuous mining machine, which cuts into the salt rock with a rotating drum. More than 112,000 tonnes of salt will be removed to complete the panel, which will contain seven disposal rooms for waste emplacement. Each disposal room is 300 feet (91 metres) long, 33 feet wide and 13 feet high.

"Resuming mining operations will allow us to continue fully restoring WIPP and fulfilling our important mission of providing a transuranic waste solution for the DOE complex,” Carlsbad Field Office Manager Todd Shrader said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Mining resumes at WIPP



NRC agrees NuScale SMR needs no back-up power

NuScale announced yesterday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had concluded that "...

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NuScale announced yesterday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had concluded that "application of NuScale Power's novel safety design approach eliminates the need for Class 1E power".

NuScale SMR cutaway
A cutaway of the NuScale SMR (Image: NuScale)
Class 1E is the regulatory standard set for the design of safety-related nuclear power plant electrical systems. Such electrical equipment and systems are classed as essential to emergency reactor shutdown, containment isolation, reactor core cooling, and containment and reactor heat removal, or otherwise are essential in preventing a significant release of radioactive material to the environment. Currently, all nuclear power plants in the USA are required to have class 1E power supplies to ensure safety.

In its newly-released Safety Evaluation Report, the NRC concluded NuScale provided a method to justify that its SMR plant electric power supplies need not be classified as Class 1E.

NuScale's self-contained SMR design houses the reactor core, pressuriser and steam generator inside a single containment vessel. A single module can generate 50 MWe (gross) of electricity and is just under 25 meters in length, 4.6 meters in diameter and weighs around 450 tonnes. A power plant could include as many as 12 NuScale modules to produce as much as 600 MWe (gross). Each NuScale Power Module incorporates simple, redundant, diverse, and independent safety features.

In December 2016, NuScale submitted the first-ever SMR Design Certification Application (DCA) to the NRC, which the latter accepted on 15 March 2017. The application consisted of nearly 12,000 pages of technical information.

Dale Atkinson, NuScale's chief operating officer and chief nuclear officer, said: "We appreciate the NRC staff's focused and thorough analysis of the safety and reliability our SMR design offers and for issuing their findings so early in our DCA review."

He added, "Our approach to safety is a first in the nuclear industry and exemplifies the inherent safety of NuScale's SMR. This validation brings us another step closer to achieving our mission of delivering scalable advanced nuclear technology to produce the electricity, process heat and clean water needed to improve the quality of life for people around the world."

Last July, the NRC concluded that the highly integrated protection system platform developed for NuScale's SMR is acceptable for use in plant safety-related instrumentation and control systems. The hybrid analog and digital logic-based system comprises the safety function, communications, equipment interface and hardwired modules. All the modules operate independently and asynchronously.

The NRC's final report approving the reactor design is expected to be completed by September 2020. Once issued, a design certification is valid for 15 years in support of a combined licence application to construct and operate a power plant.

The first commercial NuScale power plant is planned for construction on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and operated by Energy Northwest.

 

The US nuclear regulator is satisfied that NuScale Power's small modular reactor (SMR) design can operate safely without the need for safety-related electrical systems. The reactor uses passive safety features, such as relying on convection, not pumps, to circulate water in the primary circuit.

News Date: 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Researched and written 
by World Nuclear News

NRC agrees NuScale SMR needs no back-up power

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