atw 2018-04v6


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 4 ı April

differently and complete it faster

than what was planned, says Helene

Åhsberg, SKB’s project manager for

the licensing process.

No referendum

Östhammar Municipality planned to

hold a referendum on the final repository

on March 4. But at a meeting in

the municipal council in the end of

January, it was decided to cancel the


| | (18791534),

Yucca Mountain:

Can the US Finally End

the $12 Billion Impasse?

(nucnet) A US federal advisory panel

recently took a step in what could be a

lengthy process to determine if a deep

geological nuclear waste repository

should finally be built at Yucca Mountain,

a project that has been on the

drawing board since the 1970s at a

cost of around $ 12 bn (€ 9.7 bn).

The panel held a meeting to receive

input on reconstructing an electronic

library for documents needed to

decide on the US Department of

Energy’s Yucca licence application.

The meeting, at the Nuclear Regulatory

Commission’s headquarters in

Maryland, came one week after

another development: the White

House pledged $120m of funding in

its 2019 federal budget proposal to

restart licensing for the Yucca site,

north of Las Vegas in Nevada, and

to establish an interim storage programme

to address the growing

stockpile of nuclear waste produced

by nuclear plants across the nation.

After decades of wrangling, could

the US finally be on course to resolve

the question of what to do with

the high-level nuclear waste from

the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear


| |

US Nuclear Industry Calls

for Advanced Reactor Fuel

Cycle Infrastructure

(nucnet) The US Nuclear Energy

Institute has warned that preparations

should begin now to develop a

national fuel cycle infrastructure to

support the operation of advanced

reactors that are expected to begin

deployment in the 2020s and 2030s.

The Washington-based nuclear

industry lobby group said interest in

the development of advanced nuclear

reactor designs has been increasing in

recent years. Many of these designs

will require uranium fuel that is

enriched to a higher degree than

in the current worldwide fleet of lightwater

reactors. Fuel for advanced

reactors, enriched in U-235 to

between 5% and 20%, is called

high-assay low-enriched uranium


Some of the advanced-performance

fuels being developed for use

with the existing reactor fleet also will

require HALEU. However, there are no

US-based facilities that manufacture

HALEU on a commercial scale. While

small quantities of HALEU materials

may be obtained on an interim basis

by “blending down” existing government

stocks of surplus high-enriched

uranium (HEU), those HEU materials

are limited in supply and not readily

available, the NEI said.

“Thus, for the long-term operation

of advanced reactors, as well as for

advanced fuels in existing reactors, a

robust new infrastructure for HALEU

fuel manufacture is needed.”

An NEI white paper says establishing

such a capability will better

position the US to advance nuclear

safety and non-proliferation policies

around the world, while helping to

ensure a robust commercial industry

domestically in the decades ahead.

On the other hand, “if the United

States and its allies have to depend on

foreign, state-owned enterprises to

meet fuel needs, it will be in a much

weaker position to influence these

policies globally”, the paper says.

| | Details online:


IAEA Sees Safety Commitment

at Spain’s Almaraz

Nuclear Power Plant

(iaea) An International Atomic Energy

Agency (IAEA) team of experts said

the operator of Spain’s Almaraz

Nuclear Power Plant demonstrated a

commitment to the long-term safety of

the plant and noted several good practices

to share with the nuclear industry

globally. The team also identified areas

for further enhancement.

The Operational Safety Review

Team (OSART) today concluded an

18-day mission to Almaraz, whose

two 1,050-MWe pressurized-water

reactors started commercial operation

in 1983 and 1984, respectively.

Centrales Nucleares Almaraz-Trillo

(CNAT) operates the plant, located

about 200 km southwest of Madrid.

OSART missions aim to improve

operational safety by objectively

assessing safety performance using

the IAEA’s safety standards and proposing

recommendations for improvement

where appropriate. Nuclear

power generates more than 21 per

cent of electricity in Spain, whose

seven operating power reactors all

began operation in the 1980s.

“The team saw notable achievements

made by Almaraz in recent

years, such as implementing a comprehensive

management system, as

well as significant equipment renewal

plans, to establish safety as the

overriding priority at the plant,” said

Team Leader Peter Tarren, Head of the

IAEA’s Operational Safety Section.

“We found that people at every

level were willing to discuss their

work and how they might learn from

this OSART mission. They want to

keep enhancing the safety and

reliability of Almaraz.”

The 14-member team comprised

experts from Brazil, Bulgaria, France,

Germany, Mexico, the Russian Federation,

Sweden, United Arab Emirates,

the United Kingdom and the United

States of America, as well as three

IAEA officials.

The review was the 200th OSART

mission conducted by the IAEA since

the service was launched in 1982. It

covered the areas of leadership and

management for safety; training

and qualification; operations; maintenance;

technical support; operating

experience; radiation protection;

chemistry; emergency preparedness

and response; accident management;

human, technology and organizational

interactions and long-term


The team identified a number of

good practices that will be shared

with the nuclear industry globally,


The use of a film-forming amine

compound to significantly reduce

the transport of potential corrosive

products to the steam generators.

The use of a cross-functional

indicator to show the cumulative

effect of equipment status and

planned activities for daily operations.

The installation of a centralized

vacuum system for cleaning, decontaminating

and discharging liquid

waste into the plant´s disposal system.

The mission made a number of

recommendations to improve operational

safety, including:

The plant should implement

further actions related to management,

staff and contractors to enforce

standards and expectations related

to industrial safety.




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