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atw - International Journal for Nuclear Power | 05.2021

Description Ever since its first issue in 1956, the atw – International Journal for Nuclear Power has been a publisher of specialist articles, background reports, interviews and news about developments and trends from all important sectors of nuclear energy, nuclear technology and the energy industry. Internationally current and competent, the professional journal atw is a valuable source of information. www.nucmag.com

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Ever since its first issue in 1956, the atw – International Journal for Nuclear Power has been a publisher of specialist articles, background reports, interviews and news about developments and trends from all important sectors of nuclear energy, nuclear technology and the energy industry. Internationally current and competent, the professional journal atw is a valuable source of information.

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nucmag.com<br />

2021<br />

5<br />

ISSN · 1431-5254<br />

32.50 €<br />

Is Wind<br />

the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>?<br />

Operating Experience from<br />

Ageing Events Occurred<br />

at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants<br />

Kazatomprom and<br />

the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle


TIMES ARE CHANGING<br />

Important notice <strong>for</strong> international subscribers!<br />

The nuclear phase out in Germany not only concerns the nuclear industry itself but literally<br />

all accompanying national players such as the specialized press.<br />

There<strong>for</strong>e, also <strong>atw</strong> – <strong>International</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>for</strong> <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> must shift its focus and will emphasize<br />

the national context much more than in previous years. One focus will be on the German nuclear<br />

decommissioning market and consistently many articles published will be primarily in German<br />

language.<br />

Despite the fact that much of the journal will be in German, starting January 2022, we plan<br />

to publish some English articles in every issue. Furthermore, the size of the magazine will be<br />

reduced according to the shrinking importance of the national German nuclear market.<br />

As a consequence of all the changes announced above, our international customers have<br />

a special right of immediate and easy termination of subscription which is effective on<br />

January 1 st , 2022.<br />

Nevertheless, to maintain our strong claim to foster nuclear competence a new online plat<strong>for</strong>m<br />

‘<strong>atw</strong> scientific’ will be introduced in November 2021. Completely in English language, ‘<strong>atw</strong> scientific’<br />

will be an open-source web plat<strong>for</strong>m <strong>for</strong> worldwide scientific nuclear content, where submissions<br />

will be pre-reviewed and DOIs will be assigned. More in<strong>for</strong>mation will be available soon!<br />

We would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank you – especially<br />

our gentle international readers – <strong>for</strong> staying with <strong>atw</strong> and we hope to<br />

meet you at the new international online plat<strong>for</strong>m ‘<strong>atw</strong> scientific’!


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Uranium Supply – Sustainable<br />

3<br />

Dear Reader, In environmental and economic policy, the term “sustainability” has a high status; it is a popular<br />

springboard <strong>for</strong> ideas or visions <strong>for</strong> goals of any kind. The origin of the term “sustainability” can be traced back to the<br />

Brundtland Commission, also called the World Commission on Environment and Development. In 1987, it published the<br />

report “Our Common Future”, in which the concept of sustainable development was <strong>for</strong>mulated and defined <strong>for</strong> the first<br />

time, thus providing the impetus <strong>for</strong> a worldwide preoccupation with and public attention to the topic of sustainability.<br />

Following its origins, the term 'sustainable' defines development “that meets the needs of the present without<br />

compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and choose their own lifestyles.”<br />

In this sense, what could be more sustainable than<br />

nuclear energy?<br />

Keyword resource conservation: <strong>Nuclear</strong> power<br />

plants under construction and commissioning today<br />

will, by design, achieve technical lifetimes of 60 years<br />

and more from the outset. For nuclear power plants in<br />

operation today, lifetimes of 60 years are now a matter<br />

of course, 80 years are partly under review and<br />

100 years are under consideration.<br />

Keyword resource availability: Both in terms of<br />

sustainability and in terms of an investment in a nuclear<br />

power plant that can be operated <strong>for</strong> up to 100 years,<br />

the question of the availability of nuclear fuel arises, i.e.<br />

with today’s nuclear fuel input, the question of uranium<br />

resources.<br />

Since the mid-1960s, the “Red Book” – Uranium:<br />

Resources, Production and Demand* – by the <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation <strong>for</strong> Economic<br />

Development (OECD) and the <strong>International</strong> Atomic<br />

Energy Agency (IAEA) has provided an answer to this<br />

question, which is periodically discussed here. The Red<br />

Book provides a detailed and reliable insight into the<br />

current situation of the entire uranium and nuclear fuel<br />

supply. In addition, the Red Book provides an outlook<br />

on the demand and supply <strong>for</strong>ecast <strong>for</strong> the coming<br />

decades. The data in the 28 th edition, which has now<br />

been published, has been compiled with the support of<br />

37 member states of both organisations and analyses by<br />

the experts of NEA and IAEA. In addition, other aspects<br />

of nuclear fuel supply are outlined, such as environmental<br />

protection and price development.<br />

On the uranium supply side, the Red Book identifies<br />

a small but renewed and thus steady increase in<br />

resources compared to 2017: according to the tiered list<br />

classified by cost, a total of 8.070 million tonnes of<br />

uranium at extraction costs < US$ 260/kgU (or < US$<br />

100/lbU) are reported as reserves on the cut-off date of<br />

January 1, 2019. This is 0.1 % more than two years<br />

earlier. In the previous report, the same increase was<br />

recorded. The main cause is seen in the changed market<br />

situation with lower revenues on the uranium extraction<br />

side, which is reflected in lower ef<strong>for</strong>ts in the search<br />

and exploration of new uranium deposits. Natural<br />

uranium is available in sufficient quantities <strong>for</strong> nuclear<br />

power plant needs, in the short and medium term as<br />

well as in the long term, which has created significant<br />

price pressure that has caused the uranium price to fall<br />

from its last high in 2007 of around US$ 130/lb U 3 O 8 to<br />

the current level of around US$ 30/lb U 3 O 8 ; in the<br />

meantime, in 2016, a low of just under US$ 20/lb was<br />

recorded. This is associated with lower global uranium<br />

exploration activities and consequently lower reserve<br />

growth – although more new uranium sources were<br />

found than uranium mined <strong>for</strong> energy production in<br />

the same period. The current Red Book shows that<br />

China, India, Canada, Kazakhstan and the USA were<br />

leading in the uranium extraction sector, i.e. exploration<br />

and establishment of mines, in the period from 2016 to<br />

2018. The investments made in Canada alone were<br />

higher than those of the next five countries in total.<br />

Expenditures totalled approximately US$ 1.8 billion.<br />

Global uranium production in 2019 was 54,244 tU,<br />

about 1 % higher than in the previous year 2018 but<br />

about 16 % lower than in 2016. 92 % of the uranium<br />

demand of about 59,200 t in 2019 was thus covered by<br />

current production and 8 % by so-called secondary<br />

sources, i.e. the return of uranium from reprocessing or<br />

<strong>for</strong>mer military material and stockpile withdrawals.<br />

With regard to medium-term security of supply and<br />

the extent of future uranium production, the authors of<br />

the Red Book point to a balanced constellation until<br />

2040. The existing uranium mines, those currently<br />

being developed and those planned, will <strong>for</strong>eseeably<br />

cover the uranium demand even in the scenario of<br />

a high increase in nuclear energy from currently<br />

396,000 MW worldwide to 626,000 MW in 2040.<br />

Today’s reserves of 8,070 million tonnes of uranium<br />

are sufficient to cover the current nuclear fuel demand<br />

<strong>for</strong> 135 years. In addition, resources are shown to be in<br />

the order of another 15 million tonnes of uranium. On<br />

the nuclear fuel supply side, there is thus neither a<br />

supply shortage nor an acute need <strong>for</strong> action.<br />

In addition, the innovation potential of nuclear<br />

technology offers further perspectives; on the uranium<br />

extraction side, <strong>for</strong> example, the tapping of the uranium<br />

reservoir in the world’s oceans, which is quasi-infinite<br />

according to current estimates, up to advanced fuel<br />

cycles or new nuclear fuels such as thorium, which<br />

would expand today’s resources by a factor of 100 and<br />

more.<br />

Uranium supply is there<strong>for</strong>e a sustainable factor of<br />

nuclear energy, which also offers future generations<br />

sufficient potential <strong>for</strong> utilisation and even the urgently<br />

needed expansion of power generation capacities.<br />

Christopher Weßelmann<br />

– Editor in Chief –<br />

*) Uranium 2020:<br />

Resources, Production<br />

and Demand, A Joint<br />

Report by the OECD<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Energy<br />

Agency and the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Atomic<br />

Energy Agency, NEA<br />

No. 7551, Paris, 2020<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

Editorial<br />

Uranium Supply – Sustainable


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

4<br />

CONTENTS<br />

Issue 5<br />

2021<br />

September<br />

Contents<br />

Editorial<br />

Uranium Supply – Sustainable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3<br />

Inside <strong>Nuclear</strong> with NucNet<br />

Why Moscow Is Banking on Small Reactors to <strong>Power</strong> Economic<br />

Development in Remote Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6<br />

Mattia Baldoni<br />

Did you know? 7<br />

Cover:<br />

Verifying the diameter of uranium fuel pellets<br />

produced at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant<br />

(Courtesy of NAC Kazatomprom JSC).<br />

Calendar 8<br />

Feature | Research and Innovation<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9<br />

Schalk Cloete<br />

Interview with Yves Desbazeille<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM Has Advocated <strong>for</strong> the<br />

Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.” . . . . . . . 14<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred<br />

at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18<br />

Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira<br />

At a Glance<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24<br />

Fuel<br />

Westinghouse Fuel Design Advancements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26<br />

Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal<br />

Kazatomprom and the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30<br />

Mazhit Sharipov<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable<br />

Even After the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case<br />

Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations<br />

During Static and Dynamic Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42<br />

Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Improving Henry-Fauske Critical Flow Model<br />

in SPACE Code and Analysis of LOFT L9-3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50<br />

BumSoo Youn<br />

Non-destructive Radioactive Tracer Technique<br />

in Evaluation of Photo- degraded Polystyrene Based<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Grade Ion Exchange Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54<br />

Pravin U. Singare<br />

News 62<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Today<br />

As Science Turns Up the Heat on Climate Change Sceptics,<br />

How Long Be<strong>for</strong>e the Nero-like <strong>Nuclear</strong> Deniers<br />

Must Change Their Tune? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66<br />

Imprint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48<br />

Contents


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

5<br />

Feature<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

CONTENTS<br />

9 Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>?<br />

Schalk Cloete<br />

Interview with Yves Desbazeille<br />

14 “Since the Beginning, FORATOM has Advocated<br />

<strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.”<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

18 Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred<br />

at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants<br />

Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira<br />

Fuel<br />

26 Westinghouse Fuel Design Advancements<br />

Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal<br />

30 Kazatomprom and the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle<br />

Mazhit Sharipov<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

34 <strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable Even After<br />

38<br />

the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case Also After<br />

the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out<br />

Contents


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

6<br />

Why Moscow is Banking on Small Reactors<br />

to <strong>Power</strong> Economic Development in Remote Regions<br />

Mattia Baldoni<br />

INSIDE NUCLEAR WITH NUCNET<br />

Russia says it faces inevitable challenges with plans to build its first land-based small modular<br />

reactor because of poor transport infrastructure in the eastern public of Yakutia, but is confident<br />

the project will go ahead and that the country has a big enough domestic market <strong>for</strong> serial SMR<br />

production – which could begin as soon as 2030.<br />

State nuclear corporation Rosatom confirmed reports late<br />

last year that Russia is planning to build a land-based SMR<br />

in Yakutia, also known as Sakha, an autonomous republic<br />

4,000 km to the east of Moscow, between Siberia and<br />

Russia’s far east. Rosatom said it is aiming to commission<br />

the unit by 2028.<br />

Foremost among hurdles are the remote location and<br />

poor transport infrastructure because of permafrost.<br />

Rosatom, however, remains confident that construction<br />

will go ahead as scheduled and says progress is being made.<br />

A field survey has been completed at a potential site in<br />

Ust-Kuyga, a settlement on the Yana River with a population<br />

of less than 1,000. Rusatom Overseas, Rosatom’s <strong>for</strong>eign<br />

business division, is planning to draw up a declaration of<br />

intent <strong>for</strong> Yakutia to invest in the project.<br />

Rosatom said it could not give cost estimates because the<br />

final price will depend on factors such as location, safety<br />

requirements and local regulatory standards. “The exact<br />

cost <strong>for</strong> each specific customer may be determined by the<br />

results of a detailed feasibility study, taking into account<br />

particular specifications of the project,” the company said.<br />

“What we can say is that final electricity prices will be<br />

competitive compared to other sources of energy in those<br />

locations after factoring in carbon fuel prices and infrastructure<br />

costs, and even in comparison with other SMR<br />

vendors.”<br />

Rosatom believes it has a large enough domestic market<br />

<strong>for</strong> serial SMR production. Serial production, together with<br />

the development of government-private partnerships, is<br />

crucial if SMRs are going to be economically viable. The<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Energy Agency said recently that SMRs could become<br />

commercially viable by the early 2030s, but ef<strong>for</strong>ts to build<br />

the first plants would benefit from international collaboration<br />

and more government support.<br />

If SMRs are manufactured in a mass production fashion,<br />

similar to commercial aircraft, the economic benefits could<br />

be significant, the NEA said. But this would require that<br />

the market <strong>for</strong> a single design be relatively large and raises<br />

the possibility that only a small number of the many<br />

designs under development will ultimately succeed.<br />

In the UK, a consortium led by Rolls-Royce said an SMR<br />

it is developing will initially cost about £2.2bn per unit,<br />

dropping to £1.8bn by the time five have been completed.<br />

This means it will be comparable with offshore wind at<br />

around £50/MWh.<br />

Russia’s energy strategy to 2035 (Russian only) stresses<br />

the role nuclear can play in energy security and the drive<br />

<strong>for</strong> zero emissions. It says there is a need <strong>for</strong> low-power<br />

nuclear plants <strong>for</strong> remote regions, but says nuclear’s<br />

economic competitiveness needs to increase.<br />

One of Moscow’s major considerations as it seeks to<br />

modernise its energy infrastructure and provide af<strong>for</strong>dable<br />

electricity is how to provide power <strong>for</strong> remote areas like the<br />

Arctic. SMRs represent a promising source of energy <strong>for</strong><br />

areas away from central power grids. “With the help of<br />

SMRs, the Arctic can achieve net-zero emissions as early as<br />

2040,” said Anton Moskvin, vice-president <strong>for</strong> marketing<br />

and business development at Rusatom Overseas.<br />

The NEA said the most optimistic deployment scenarios<br />

assume successful licensing and the establishment of the<br />

factory production and associated supply chain that would<br />

lead to cost competitiveness. In a more conservative<br />

low-deployment scenario, SMRs would be considered<br />

expensive to build and operate, and thus only a limited<br />

number of projects would be completed.<br />

Traditional energy sources such as coal and gas are<br />

falling out of favour as countries join the fight against<br />

climate change. They are also unable to satisfy growing<br />

demand <strong>for</strong> heat and electricity in remote area areas. Coal<br />

and oil, <strong>for</strong> example, need to be moved to the site along<br />

with all their ancillary services. The simplicity of SMRs<br />

means they could be taken to a rural location by road or<br />

sea and operate with minimal intervention <strong>for</strong> 60 years or<br />

more. Rosatom wants the Yakutia SMR to be a clean source<br />

of heat and electricity both <strong>for</strong> mining facilities and <strong>for</strong><br />

local residents, replacing carbon-intensive coal-fired and<br />

diesel facilities. It says the plant will contribute to the<br />

reduction of up to 10,000 tonnes of CO 2 per year.<br />

The proposed Yakutia SMR is based on Russia’s<br />

RITM-200, an advanced pressurised water reactor unit<br />

which is already operational on new-generation icebreakers.<br />

Russia has also led the way in the SMR sector with its<br />

first-of-a-kind floating nuclear power plant Akademik<br />

Lomonosov, which has two KLT-40S reactors and is the<br />

world’s first advanced SMR. It was connected to the grid in<br />

December 2019 in Pevek, Chukotka Peninsula. In May<br />

2020 it began full commercial operation, generating<br />

electricity <strong>for</strong> households and local industries in Russia’s<br />

east Arctic region.<br />

According to the NEA, Rosatom is planning more<br />

floating SMRs at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. In<br />

parallel, it has been developing the RITM-200 <strong>for</strong> both<br />

floating and land-based deployment. Serial construction<br />

could start by 2030, with the first units to be installed at<br />

Russia’s biggest mine sites.<br />

Possible candidate sites <strong>for</strong> SMRs are the Suroyam iron<br />

ore deposit near Chelyabinsk in southwest Russia, the<br />

Baim minerals deposit in Chukotka, in Russia’s far east,<br />

and other sites in Yakutia. Reports earlier this month in<br />

Russia said president Vladimir Putin has approved a<br />

Rosatom proposal to power the Baim mining venture by<br />

building as many as five floating nuclear power plants.<br />

Rosatom also says interest in Russian-designed floating<br />

nuclear power plants is growing in Latin America, Asia,<br />

and Africa – all areas where electricity is needed in remote<br />

locations and a problem <strong>for</strong> which Russia thinks it is<br />

getting close to a solution.<br />

The race to develop and manufacture SMRs is intense,<br />

with at least 72 reactor concepts under various stages of<br />

development in countries as diverse as Argentina, Canada,<br />

the US, the UK, China, Japan, South Korea and France. The<br />

question of the market remains central, says the NEA, but<br />

Inside <strong>Nuclear</strong> with NucNet<br />

Why Moscow is Banking on Small Reactors to <strong>Power</strong> Economic Development in Remote Regions


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

with its state-backed corporations and access to federal<br />

funding, this is one area where Russia might have an<br />

advantage over rivals in countries where governments are<br />

reluctant to intervene in the market.<br />

“It is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation,” said Frederik Reitsma,<br />

team leader <strong>for</strong> SMR technology at the <strong>International</strong> Atomic<br />

Energy Agency. “On the one hand, investment to develop<br />

and deploy SMRs requires a secured market and demand <strong>for</strong><br />

the product, but on the other, one cannot secure the market<br />

without funding to develop and demonstrate, or even to do<br />

the necessary research or build test facilities that may be<br />

required <strong>for</strong> licensing. Potential investors are hesitant to<br />

invest in new technology if they are unsure about the market<br />

risks.”<br />

Author<br />

Mattia Baldoni<br />

NucNet – The Independent Global <strong>Nuclear</strong> News Agency<br />

www.nucnet.org<br />

DID YOU EDITORIAL KNOW?<br />

7<br />

Did you know?<br />

Electricity Price Hike in Summer 2021<br />

The Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne<br />

(EWI) published an analysis of the electricity price hike observable<br />

in the first half of 2021 on the German wholesale market <strong>for</strong><br />

electricity under the German title “Anstieg der Strompreise<br />

im Sommer 2021”. Similar developments take place in other<br />

European markets too. The analysis uses the EWI-Merit-Order-<br />

Tool and concludes that the major drivers of increasing electricity<br />

prices are high fuel prices and a high price <strong>for</strong> CO 2 -allowances in<br />

the EU Emission Trade System (ETS). Gas prices reached their<br />

highest level <strong>for</strong> over 10 years in the first week of July 2021 with<br />

36 Euro/MWh and coal reached its highest price level since 2011<br />

with 15 Euro/MWh. At the same time the price <strong>for</strong> an ETS<br />

certificate <strong>for</strong> the emission of one tonne of CO 2 rose from 33 Euro/<br />

tonne in January 2021 to over 57 Euro at the end of June receding<br />

a little thereafter.<br />

This input price development caused a significant effect on the<br />

marginal cost of gas and coal power plants which increased<br />

significantly not only compared to covid-crippled 2020 but also<br />

compared to 2019. In combination with higher demand in 2021<br />

compared to 2020 (the electricity demand increased by 5 per cent<br />

in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020) and a shortened merit<br />

order as consequence of power plants closing down in the the<br />

first steps of the German coal phase-out, a market environment<br />

was created that exerted intensive upward pressure on wholesale<br />

electricity prices. While a reduced production of renewable<br />

power, particularly wind, also contributed to market pressure, the<br />

analysis indicates that the so called residual demand remained<br />

within the bounds of what has been observed during the past<br />

years and was not a significant factor <strong>for</strong> rising prices.<br />

Looking beyond the analysis on Germany one finds a high<br />

electricity price level in the UK too. In January 2021 the monthly<br />

average price <strong>for</strong> day ahead baseload contracts rose above<br />

90 Pound/MWh, within striking distance of the severly critized<br />

strike price of 92.50 Pound/MWh <strong>for</strong> the Hinkley Point C (HPC)<br />

nuclear power plant under construction and even higher than the<br />

initial strike prices <strong>for</strong> Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C (SZC) in case<br />

the Sizewell project is realised which are 89.50 Pound/MWh <strong>for</strong><br />

HPC and 86.50 Pound/MWh <strong>for</strong> SZC. It has to be said though, that<br />

the inflation adjusted current strike prices are higher than the<br />

initial ones.<br />

Prices <strong>for</strong> Electricity and Gas<br />

in Euro/MWh <strong>for</strong> CO 2 in Euro/tonne<br />

Wholesale Electricity<br />

Price 2019<br />

Wholesale Electricity<br />

Price 2020<br />

Wholesale Electricity<br />

Price 1 st half of July 2021<br />

Wholesale Gas<br />

Price July 2021<br />

CO 2 -Price<br />

(per tonne)<br />

31<br />

36<br />

38<br />

55<br />

Source:<br />

Anstieg der Strompreise<br />

im Sommer – Wie<br />

Brennstoff- und<br />

Zertifikatepreise sowie<br />

die Residualnachfrage<br />

auf Großhandelsstrompreise<br />

wirken. Eine<br />

Analyse mit dem EWI<br />

Merit-Order-Tool; Çam,<br />

Arnold, Gruber; Energiewirtschaftliches<br />

Institut<br />

an der Universität zu<br />

Köln (EWI); Juli 2021<br />

86<br />

| Wholesale Electricity Prices Germany August 2020 to July 2021; www.smard.de.<br />

For further details<br />

please contact:<br />

Nicolas Wendler<br />

KernD<br />

Robert-Koch-Platz 4<br />

10115 Berlin<br />

Germany<br />

E-mail: presse@<br />

KernD.de<br />

www.KernD.de<br />

Did you know?


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

8<br />

Calendar<br />

CALENDAR<br />

2021<br />

04.10. – 05.10.2021<br />

AtomExpo 2021. Sochi, Russia, Rosatom,<br />

http://2021.atomexpo.ru/en<br />

Online Conference 04.10. – 06.10.2021<br />

ICEM 2021 – <strong>International</strong> Conference on<br />

Environmental Remediation and Radioactive<br />

Waste Management. ANS,<br />

https://www.asme.org<br />

12.10. – 13.10.2021<br />

TotalDECOM 2021. TotalDECOM, Manchester,<br />

UK, www.totaldecom.com<br />

13.10. – 14.10.2021<br />

NuFor 2021: <strong>Nuclear</strong> Forensics Conference.<br />

IOP Institute of Physics, London, UK,<br />

www.nu<strong>for</strong>.iopconfs.org<br />

Hybrid Conference 16.10. – 20.10.2021<br />

ICAPP 2021 – <strong>International</strong> Conference on<br />

Advances in <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants. Khalifa<br />

University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,<br />

www.icapp2021.org<br />

19.10. – 21.10.2021<br />

ICOND 2021 – 10 th <strong>International</strong> Conference<br />

on <strong>Nuclear</strong> Decommissioning. AiNT, Aachen,<br />

Germany, www.icond.de<br />

Postponed to 24.10. – 28.10.2021<br />

TopFuel 2021. Santander, Spain, ENS,<br />

https://www.euronuclear.org/topfuel2021<br />

15.11. – 17.11.2021<br />

NESTet2021 – <strong>Nuclear</strong> Education and Training.<br />

ENS, Brussels, Belgium, www.ens.eventsair.com<br />

Postponed to 30.11. – 02.12.2021<br />

Enlit (<strong>for</strong>mer European Utility Week<br />

and POWERGEN Europe). Milano, Italy,<br />

www.enlit-europe.com<br />

30.11. – 02.12.2021<br />

WNE2021 – World <strong>Nuclear</strong> Exhibition.<br />

Paris, France, Gifen,<br />

www.world-nuclear-exhibition.com<br />

2022<br />

26.01. – 28.01.2022<br />

<strong>Power</strong>Gen <strong>International</strong>. Clarion Events, Dallas,<br />

TX, USA, www.powergen.com<br />

06.03. – 11.03.2022<br />

NURETH19 – 19 th <strong>International</strong> Topical Meeting<br />

on <strong>Nuclear</strong> Reactor Thermal Hydraulics.<br />

SCK·CEN, Brussels, Belgium,<br />

https://www.ans.org/meetings/view-334/<br />

05.04. – 07.04.2022<br />

GLOBAL 2022 – <strong>International</strong> Conference<br />

on <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle. Sfen, Reims, France,<br />

www.new.sfen.org<br />

Postponed to Spring 2022<br />

4 th CORDEL Regional Workshop –<br />

Harmonization to support the operation<br />

and new build of NPPs including SMR.<br />

Lyon, France, World <strong>Nuclear</strong> Association,<br />

https://events.<strong>for</strong>atom.org<br />

04.05. – 06.05.2022<br />

NUWCEM 2022 – 4 th <strong>International</strong> Symposium<br />

on Cement-Based Materials <strong>for</strong> <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Wastes. Sfen, Avignon, France,<br />

https://new.sfen.org/evenement/nuwcem-2022<br />

15.05. – 20.05.2022<br />

PHYSOR 2022 – <strong>International</strong> Conference<br />

on Physics of Reactors 2022. ANS, Pittsburgh,<br />

PA, USA, www.ans.org<br />

22.05. – 25.05.2022<br />

NURER 2022 – 7 th <strong>International</strong> Conference<br />

on <strong>Nuclear</strong> and Renewable Energy Resources.<br />

ANS, Ankara, Turkey, www.ans.org<br />

Postponed to 30.05. – 03.06.2022<br />

20 th WCNDT – World Conference<br />

on Non-Destructive Testing. Incheon, Korea,<br />

The Korean Society of Nondestructive Testing,<br />

www.wcndt2020.com<br />

26.10. – 28.10.2021<br />

VGB Conference Chemistry. Ulm, Germany,<br />

VGB <strong>Power</strong>Tech, www.vgb.org<br />

31.10. – 12.11.2021<br />

COP26 – UN Climate Change Conference.<br />

Glascow, Scotland, www.ukcop26.org<br />

Postponed to 07.11. – 12.11.2021<br />

PSA 2021 – <strong>International</strong> Topical Meeting on<br />

Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Analysis.<br />

ANS, Columbus, OH, USA,<br />

http://psa.ans.org/2021<br />

29.03. – 30.03.2022<br />

KERNTECHNIK 2022.<br />

Leipzig, Germany, KernD and KTG,<br />

www.kerntechnik.com<br />

04.04. – 08.04.2022<br />

<strong>International</strong> Conference on Geological<br />

Repositories. Helsinki, Finland, EURAD,<br />

www.ejp-eurad.eu<br />

10.07. – 15.07.2022<br />

SMiRT 26 – 26 th <strong>International</strong> Conference on<br />

Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology.<br />

German Society <strong>for</strong> Non-Destructive Testing,<br />

Berlin/Potsdam, Germany, www.smirt26.com<br />

04.09. – 09.09.2022<br />

NUTHOS-13 – 13 th <strong>International</strong> Topical Meeting<br />

on <strong>Nuclear</strong> Reactor Thermal Hydraulics,<br />

Operation and Safety. ANS, Taichung, Taiwan,<br />

www.ans.org<br />

This is not a full list and may be subject to change.<br />

Calendar


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>?<br />

What the nuclear stagnation tells us about the challenges<br />

that lie ahead <strong>for</strong> renewable energy<br />

Schalk Cloete<br />

Introduction Levelized costs of electricity often dominate the energy and climate debate. Green advocates like to<br />

believe that if we only invest enough in wind and solar, the resulting cost reductions will soon put an end to fossil fuels.<br />

While this is already a strongly oversimplified viewpoint, a narrow focus on cost makes such simplistic analyses even<br />

less helpful.<br />

This article will elaborate by example of two clean energy<br />

technologies that face very different non-economic<br />

barriers: nuclear and wind.<br />

The <strong>Nuclear</strong> Stagnation<br />

When technology is new and exciting, people only see the<br />

positives. It is only when we reach market shares where<br />

people start experiencing negative impacts that opinions<br />

turn negative.<br />

In the case of nuclear, the global expansion was<br />

handicapped by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, and the<br />

nascent developing world expansion was interrupted by<br />

Fukushima in 2011. As shown in Figure 1, Chernobyl<br />

happened when nuclear reached about 5 % of the global<br />

energy supply. Today, we are back down to 4.2 %.<br />

Deaths from Chernobyl are estimated somewhere<br />

between 4,000 and 60,000 1 , only 31 of which can be<br />

attributed directly to the blast and high-level radiation<br />

exposure. Fukushima had a much lower death toll at 574 2 ,<br />

almost all due to evacuation stress. For perspective, it is<br />

estimated that one future premature death results<br />

from every 300 to 3000 tons of burnt carbon 3 or 1100 to<br />

11,000 tons of CO 2 released into the atmosphere. Hence,<br />

if we assume that the 93,000 TWh of nuclear power<br />

generated to date displaced coal at 0.8 ton-CO 2 /MWh, the<br />

74 billion tons of CO 2 avoided by nuclear has already saved<br />

7–70 million lives, not counting the additional impact of<br />

avoided air pollution.<br />

There is much controversy around these estimates, but<br />

they serve to illustrate that the public health benefits of<br />

nuclear easily outweigh the costs. Clearly, the public<br />

backlash against nuclear was not rational from a bigpicture<br />

view. But that does not matter. The effects of public<br />

resistance are real, whether it is rational or not.<br />

A Wind Stagnation?<br />

As Figure 1 shows, wind market share is currently<br />

expanding at about half the speed of nuclear market share<br />

in the seventies and eighties. Although wind does not face<br />

risks from black swan events 4 like nuclear, it faces its own<br />

brand of public resistance, both to the turbines themselves<br />

and the extensive network expansions required to integrate<br />

higher wind shares.<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

Comparison of the global expansion of wind and nuclear from BP Statistical Review data. Both wind and<br />

nuclear electricity output are multiplied by 2.5 to convert it to displaced primary fossil energy. Source:<br />

https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html<br />

As our societies become more advanced, we increasingly<br />

demand an invisible energy system. Over here in Norway,<br />

the usually reserved population is reacting furiously 5 to<br />

onshore wind expansion plans. Turbines dotting the<br />

pristine Norwegian landscape are unimaginable to this<br />

wealthy society, the origin of its wealth 6 notwithstanding.<br />

In Germany, resistance to turbines and grid expansions<br />

has almost brought onshore wind expansion to a halt 7 at<br />

current levels (about 7 % of total energy demand).<br />

That is wind’s greatest challenge: It is the most visible<br />

energy technology we have. As wind power continues to<br />

expand and turbines grow ever larger, its visibility will only<br />

grow while society’s tolerance <strong>for</strong> highly visible energy<br />

technologies continues to decline. Advanced societies also<br />

become increasingly concerned with nature preservation,<br />

leading to additional hurdles related to bird protection 8 .<br />

Offshore wind can help, but it will need to be built<br />

far from shore to be sufficiently invisible, making it more<br />

costly. It also faces further economic challenges from<br />

wake effects that strongly reduce output 9 as total installed<br />

capacity increases. In addition, offshore wind requires<br />

large grid expansions to serve inland regions. Making<br />

9<br />

FEATURE | RESEARCH AND INNOVATION<br />

1 https://ourworldindata.org/what-was-the-death-toll-from-chernobyl-and-fukushima<br />

2 https://ourworldindata.org/what-was-the-death-toll-from-chernobyl-and-fukushima<br />

3 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02323/full<br />

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory<br />

5 https://www.worldoil.com/news/2020/12/9/more-norwegians-saying-not-in-my-backyard-to-onshore-wind-farms<br />

6 https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/17/world/climate-hypocrites-uk-canada-norway-intl/index.html<br />

7 https://www.dw.com/en/german-wind-energy-stalls-amid-public-resistance-and-regulatory-hurdles/a-50280676<br />

8 https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-environment-ministry-weighing-wind-farm-distance-regulations-protect-birds<br />

9 https://www.agora-energiewende.de/en/publications/making-the-most-of-offshore-wind<br />

Feature<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>? ı Schalk Cloete


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FEATURE | RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 10<br />

these expansions invisible (underground cables) is very<br />

expensive.<br />

Solar is not immune either. Large solar farms can<br />

ruin scenic vistas and damage natural habitats. Waste<br />

from decommissioned plants could be another major<br />

concern. 10<br />

Furthermore, transmitting solar energy from<br />

sunny regions to population centers (often poorly<br />

correlated 11 ) will face similar resistance to wind network<br />

expansions. Ultimately, any industrial-scale energy<br />

technology has its drawbacks, and variable renewables<br />

are no exception 12 .<br />

Like nuclear, most of the resistance to renewables is not<br />

rational from a big-picture viewpoint. Surely, seeing the<br />

occasional wind turbine in the wild is worth the climate<br />

benefits. But again, the rationality of this resistance does<br />

not matter. What matters is the effect it has on clean<br />

technology deployment.<br />

The Undervalued Issue of System Complexity<br />

Megaprojects that involve many interconnected technical,<br />

economic, political, and social challenges are extremely<br />

difficult to execute on time and within budget. <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

offers a prime example with many stories of budgets<br />

and timelines that were grossly exceeded, increasingly<br />

stringent safety regulations being only one reason 13 .<br />

In comparison, the modular construction and<br />

installation of a wind turbine is child’s play. For decades,<br />

the simple and standardized construction and installation<br />

of wind and solar have been a big driver behind their<br />

impressive growth and falling costs.<br />

But this will not last. Higher wind market shares require<br />

vast grid expansions (often into neighboring countries)<br />

and lots of integration with other sectors that previously<br />

operated independently (and need to be reinvented to run<br />

on clean energy). In the longer term, this includes a large<br />

hydrogen production, transport, storage, and end-use<br />

sector that must be built from scratch. Executing this<br />

enormous integrated project in a shifting policy- technology<br />

landscape with impossibly tight climate timelines and<br />

increasing public resistance can easily surpass the scale<br />

and complexity of nuclear projects.<br />

As the nuclear example shows, sub-optimal execution<br />

should be expected in such a large, complex, and multifaceted<br />

project, inflating overall system costs and slowing<br />

the energy transition.<br />

The remainder of this article will quantify these effects<br />

using a modified version of a published energy systems<br />

model 14 loosely based on Germany (further model details<br />

are given in the Appendix).<br />

Model Results<br />

The coupled electricity-hydrogen system model is run <strong>for</strong><br />

three distinct scenarios, each varying the most relevant<br />

model parameter:<br />

p No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong>: In this renewables-dominated<br />

scenario, the critical variable is the added costs from<br />

integration challenges, public resistance, and high<br />

system complexity. These costs are varied via cases that<br />

double and triple the added electricity and hydrogen<br />

grid costs needed to connect wind and solar generators<br />

to demand centers.<br />

p No CCS: This scenario allows nuclear but not CO 2<br />

capture and storage (CCS). The critical variable in this<br />

scenario is the cost of constructing nuclear power<br />

plants, varied between 4000 and 8000 €/kW.<br />

p All Technologies: CCS is allowed to decarbonize<br />

natural gas-fired power and hydrogen production. The<br />

natural gas export price is the critical variable in this<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

Optimal electricity generation and consumption in the different cases. CCS = Natural gas power production with CO 2 capture and storage; Natural gas = Unabated<br />

natural gas power production; Others = Efficiency losses from batteries and electricity consumption involved in hydrogen storage.<br />

10 https://hbr.org/2021/06/the-dark-side-of-solar-power<br />

11 https://energycentral.com/c/ec/what-potential-distributed-generation<br />

12 https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FP_20200113_renewables_land_use_local_opposition_gross.pdf<br />

13 https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/why-are-nuclear-plants-so-expensive-safetys-only-part-of-the-story/<br />

14 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319920336673?via%3Dihub<br />

Feature<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

scenario and is varied between 4 and 8 €/GJ (natural<br />

gas transmission costs are added separately).<br />

In addition, a Mix case is added where a balanced mix of<br />

renewables, nuclear, and natural gas with CCS is deployed.<br />

This case shows the potential of deploying renewables and<br />

nuclear up to the point where public resistance and<br />

complexity become limiting, and deploying a limited<br />

amount of natural gas where it adds the most value, i.e.,<br />

hydrogen production and system balancing.<br />

In each scenario, the model optimizes investment<br />

and hourly dispatch of all the technologies listed in the<br />

Appendix to minimize total system costs. The default<br />

settings of the three critical variables in the scenarios are<br />

1) no increase in grid costs, 2) 6000 €/kW nuclear capital<br />

cost, and 3) 6 €/GJ natural gas export price. A high<br />

CO 2 price of 200 €/ton is assumed in all cases.<br />

The Electricity Mix<br />

Electricity production and consumption from the optimal<br />

technology mixes <strong>for</strong> different cases are shown in Figure 2.<br />

Starting from the No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong> scenario on the<br />

left, we see that higher transmission costs reduce the<br />

deployment of renewables and increases CO 2 emissions<br />

from unabated natural gas-fired power production. With<br />

the base grid costs (1x) derived from a Berkeley Lab<br />

study 15 , all required hydrogen is made locally using<br />

electrolysis. However, this scenario requires 267 GW of<br />

installed wind capacity (two-thirds onshore) – quadruple<br />

the current installed base in Germany, where public<br />

resistance already has a large negative impact on wind<br />

expansion plans. In addition, 378 GW of solar power is<br />

needed (7x the current level).<br />

When transmission costs are tripled – a likely scenario<br />

given the public resistance and complexity anticipated<br />

from such vast wind and solar deployment – a considerable<br />

amount of unabated natural gas-fired power production<br />

is deployed. Even with a CO 2 price of 200 €/ton, higher<br />

renewable energy integration costs preserve a central role<br />

<strong>for</strong> unabated natural gas in the power system. In addition,<br />

this case relies on expensive hydrogen imports via green<br />

ammonia <strong>for</strong> 28 % of the hydrogen demand.<br />

The inclusion of nuclear in the No CCS scenario creates<br />

a near 100 % nuclear system when projects are well<br />

executed to build plants <strong>for</strong> 4000 €/kW. According to the<br />

latest power plant cost database from the IEA and NEA 16 ,<br />

nuclear plants have investment costs ranging from<br />

2300 €/kW in Korea to 4500 €/kW in the United States, so<br />

such costs are feasible. Even at the baseline cost of<br />

6000 €/kW, nuclear maintains a central role in the power<br />

system. However, at 8000 €/kW (e.g., the Hinkley Point C 17<br />

project), costs become excessive, and the optimal solution<br />

is the same as the base case (1x) in the No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

scenario.<br />

When CCS is allowed in the All Technologies scenario,<br />

natural gas-fired power plants with CCS become the<br />

favored technologies at natural gas export prices of 6 €/GJ<br />

and lower. Renewable energy deployment is low because<br />

CCS (and nuclear) plants are best operated as baseload<br />

generators and natural gas is used <strong>for</strong> all hydrogen<br />

production, removing the possibility of electrolysis to<br />

balance fluctuating wind and solar output. The natural gas<br />

price of the base case (6 €/GJ + transmission) is a little<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Optimized costs of the energy system in the different cases. The cost of generating clean electricity<br />

<strong>for</strong> green hydrogen production (either from renewables or nuclear) is included directly in green<br />

hydrogen costs.<br />

higher than long-term European natural gas prices<br />

projected in the IEA Stated Policies Scenario in the latest<br />

IEA World Energy Outlook 18<br />

and implies large profit<br />

margins <strong>for</strong> natural gas producers. The IEA’s Pariscompatible<br />

Sustainable Development Scenario projects<br />

natural gas prices below the 4 €/GJ level due to reduced<br />

demand.<br />

When CCS is available, steam methane re<strong>for</strong>ming of<br />

natural gas is used <strong>for</strong> almost all hydrogen production,<br />

strongly reducing the amount of extra electricity<br />

pro duction needed <strong>for</strong> electrolysis. Natural gas is only<br />

driven out of the power sector when prices rise to<br />

8 €/GJ, displaced mainly by nuclear. However, it remains<br />

responsible <strong>for</strong> 94 % of hydrogen production, even at this<br />

high price level.<br />

Finally, the Mix case shows the result when wind and<br />

solar power are <strong>for</strong>ced to levels likely to prevent excessive<br />

public resistance and system complexity: 80 GW of onshore<br />

wind, 40 GW of offshore wind, and 160 GW of solar.<br />

This case also assumes an efficient nuclear rollout at<br />

4000 €/kW and low natural gas prices of 4 €/GJ due to<br />

reduced demand. One-third of hydrogen comes from<br />

electrolysis in this case, which plays a central role in<br />

balancing renewables while nuclear provides baseload<br />

power (see Figure 4 in the Appendix).<br />

Total System Costs<br />

The minimized annual system costs of the different<br />

cases are shown in Figure 3. For the No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

scenario, the high costs of unabated natural gas-fired<br />

power production (mainly from the high CO 2 price) are<br />

clearly visible. However, this costly generation remains the<br />

cheapest way to supply power during extended periods of<br />

low wind and solar output. In addition, significant<br />

transmission, storage, and ramping costs are shown.<br />

When transmission costs are tripled (the 3x case), the<br />

model chooses to deploy considerably fewer renewables<br />

to reduce this high integration cost, resulting in much<br />

higher costs from unabated natural gas power plants and<br />

hydrogen imports.<br />

FEATURE | RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 11<br />

15 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421519305816?via%3Dihub<br />

16 https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/energy/projected-costs-of-generating-electricity_20798393<br />

17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station<br />

18 https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/energy/world-energy-outlook-2020_557a761b-en<br />

Feature<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>? ı Schalk Cloete


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FEATURE | RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 12<br />

When nuclear plants can be built <strong>for</strong> 4000 €/kW in<br />

the No CCS scenario, energy system costs reduce<br />

substantially. This case requires no natural gas power<br />

production and almost no added transmission, storage,<br />

and ramping costs. <strong>Nuclear</strong> plants operate at baseload<br />

conditions with electrolyzers used to balance daily<br />

demand variations, leading to an attractively simple<br />

energy system. Increasing the cost of nuclear to<br />

6000 €/kW brings more wind and solar into the system<br />

with the associated balancing costs. If nuclear costs<br />

escalate to 8000 €/kW, nuclear is too expensive, and the<br />

system reverts to the 1x case in the No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

scenario (as shown in Figure 2).<br />

The addition of CCS in the All Technologies scenario<br />

brings further cost reductions, especially with a natural<br />

gas export price of 4 €/GJ. The main benefit of including<br />

CCS is that hydrogen becomes much cheaper. However, a<br />

system that is so dependent on natural gas is undesirable,<br />

and substantially higher shares of renewables and nuclear<br />

would be preferred from the perspective of energy security<br />

and long-term sustainability. Natural gas export prices<br />

need to rise to unrealistic values of 8 €/GJ be<strong>for</strong>e nuclear<br />

(at 6000 €/kW) displaces natural gas power plants with<br />

CCS.<br />

Finally, the Mix case illustrates how these three<br />

technology classes (renewables, nuclear, and CCS) can be<br />

combined to create a cost-effective system that avoids the<br />

challenges from over-reliance on any single technology<br />

class. Renewables and nuclear are deployed to levels<br />

where complexity and public resistance are deemed<br />

manageable, allowing <strong>for</strong> optimistic assumptions (no grid<br />

cost escalations and 4000 €/kW nuclear), while natural<br />

gas demand is minimized, making a low export price of<br />

4 €/GJ seem reasonable. As shown in Figure 3, this case<br />

with 401 TWh/year of natural gas demand is only 10 %<br />

more expensive than the cheapest case that demands an<br />

unrealistic 1743 TWh/year of natural gas.<br />

Conclusions<br />

An over-reliance on any energy technology class can be<br />

detrimental, creating a range of social, political, and<br />

environmental challenges. As discussed in this article, the<br />

hurdles facing wind and nuclear are very different, but<br />

both are highly significant. As wind power continues to<br />

expand to the level where nuclear peaked (it is currently<br />

about one-third of the way there), public resistance and<br />

system complexity will continue to mount, causing<br />

substantial headwinds.<br />

Ultimately, wind and solar will follow the same S-curve<br />

deployment pattern 19 of all other energy technologies, but<br />

the plateau may well come earlier than proponents<br />

believe. For this reason, nuclear and CCS should be<br />

encouraged <strong>for</strong> parallel deployment, especially in regions<br />

with poorer wind/solar resources or high population<br />

densities. The ability to construct these energy-dense<br />

technologies close to demand and dispatch them as<br />

needed results in a much simpler and less obtrusive<br />

energy system.<br />

An all-of-the-above approach to the energy transition<br />

guided by technology-neutral policies remains the<br />

rational choice. Each technology class has its limits and<br />

weaknesses, and we need a balanced mix to allow each<br />

technology to do what it does best. Cheap wind and solar<br />

are great at moderate deployment levels, but other clean<br />

technologies will be needed to reach net-zero. <strong>Nuclear</strong> is<br />

one of these options, while CCS has a vital role to play in<br />

system balancing and clean fuel provision.<br />

The global energy transition is a clean energy team<br />

ef<strong>for</strong>t. All the players deserve our support.<br />

Appendix: Model Description<br />

A modified version of the energy system model discussed<br />

in a previous article 20 is used in this study to illustrate the<br />

large effects of renewable energy and nuclear cost inflation<br />

caused by the range of techno-socio-economic factors<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Hourly electricity generation profile <strong>for</strong> the “Mix” case. Electricity consumption (mainly electrolyzers and battery charging) is shown as negative generation. NGCC<br />

= Natural gas combined cycle; OCGT = Open cycle gas turbine; SMR CCS = Steam methane re<strong>for</strong>ming with CO2 capture and storage.<br />

19 https://extrudesign.com/what-is-technology-s-curve<br />

20 https://energypost.eu/green-or-blue-hydrogen-cost-analysis-uncovers-which-is-best-<strong>for</strong>-the-hydrogen-economy/<br />

Feature<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>? ı Schalk Cloete


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

discussed above. The model is loosely based on Germany<br />

and is designed to optimize investment and hourly dispatch<br />

of a range of technologies, including:<br />

p Nine different electricity generators: onshore and<br />

offshore wind, solar PV, nuclear, natural gas combinedcycle<br />

plants with and without CCS, open cycle gas<br />

turbine peaker plants, hydrogen combined and opencycle<br />

plants<br />

p Lithium-ion batteries <strong>for</strong> electricity storage<br />

p Two clean hydrogen generators: steam methane<br />

re<strong>for</strong>ming with CCS (blue hydrogen) and electrolysis<br />

(green hydrogen)<br />

p Two hydrogen storage technologies: cheap salt<br />

caverns with slow charge/discharge rates and locational<br />

constraints and more expensive storage tanks without<br />

such limits<br />

p Hydrogen can also be imported in the <strong>for</strong>m of<br />

green ammonia that is reconverted to hydrogen in<br />

reconversion plants included in the model<br />

In addition, transmission costs <strong>for</strong> electricity, hydrogen,<br />

natural gas, and CO 2 are included in the model.<br />

p Electricity transmission is included only <strong>for</strong> wind and<br />

solar generators, accounting <strong>for</strong> the distance between<br />

demand centers and high-quality resources in publicly<br />

accepted regions. The base case assumes 300, 500,<br />

and 200 €/kW of added grid costs <strong>for</strong> onshore wind,<br />

offshore wind, and solar PV, respectively.<br />

p Hydrogen and natural gas transmission costs are<br />

included <strong>for</strong> hydrogen- and natural gas-fired power<br />

plants and steam methane re<strong>for</strong>ming plants. Despite<br />

natural gas pipelines being cheaper than hydrogen<br />

pipelines, natural gas pipeline costs are set to 200 €/kW<br />

relative to 150 €/kW <strong>for</strong> hydrogen because natural gas<br />

needs to be imported from abroad, whereas hydrogen<br />

is only transmitted locally between producers and<br />

consumers.<br />

p Hydrogen transmission costs to locationally constrained<br />

salt caverns are also included. These costs<br />

are assumed to escalate from 100 to 500 €/kW as<br />

capacity increases, accounting <strong>for</strong> the fact that<br />

intermittently operated electrolyzers co-located with<br />

wind and solar (see next point) will first exploit<br />

sites close to salt caverns be<strong>for</strong>e more distant sites<br />

need to be used.<br />

p Electrolyzers are assumed to be co-located with<br />

wind and solar plants to avoid the electricity<br />

transmission costs mentioned in the first point. These<br />

electrolyzers are assumed to avoid transmission<br />

capacity costing 300 €/kW in exchange <strong>for</strong> added<br />

hydrogen transmission costs of 150 €/kW. Since<br />

electrolyzers consume more electricity than they<br />

produce hydrogen, the net saving is about 200 €/kW of<br />

transmission capacity – a substantial benefit.<br />

p CO 2 transport and storage infrastructure costs are<br />

added to CCS power and hydrogen plants. High costs<br />

are assumed, given the high resistance to CCS in<br />

Germany, amounting to levelized costs of 23 €/ton<br />

when CCS plants are operated at the maximum<br />

allowable capacity factor of 90 % (costs escalate<br />

with lower capacity factors).<br />

In the No CCS or <strong>Nuclear</strong> scenario, the electricity,<br />

hydrogen, and natural gas transmission costs are<br />

increased to 2x and 3x the default levels to account <strong>for</strong><br />

the following factors:<br />

p The need to build turbines in more isolated sites or<br />

far offshore to satisfy local stakeholders<br />

p Avoiding public resistance to grid expansions via<br />

expensive underground transmission lines<br />

p Having to resort to sites with lower quality wind or solar<br />

resources<br />

p Paying fees to local communities to allow construction<br />

closer to demand centers<br />

p Potentially large end-of-life recycling and disposal costs<br />

of solar panels and turbine blades<br />

p A sub-optimal buildout of the complex and highly<br />

interdependent systems required to integrate high<br />

shares of wind and solar<br />

Costs related to ramping natural gas and nuclear power<br />

plants are also included, amounting to 20 % of the total<br />

annualized fixed cost in €/kW/year per MW of up or down<br />

ramp.<br />

In all cases, total annual electricity demand is set to<br />

the fluctuating hourly profile observed <strong>for</strong> Germany<br />

in 2018, requiring a total of 499 TWh of production<br />

per year. In addition, flat demand <strong>for</strong> hydrogen of<br />

400 TWh/year and additional electricity (increased<br />

electrification) of 200 TWh/year is included. This extra<br />

hydrogen and electric energy is equivalent to about a<br />

third of German non-power oil & gas consumption,<br />

implying that great efficiency advances and more clean<br />

energy deployment will be needed to reach net-zero<br />

emissions.<br />

The GAMS software is used to minimize total system<br />

costs by optimizing the deployment and hourly dispatch of<br />

all production, transmission, and storage technologies. To<br />

keep computational costs reasonable, only every 7 th hour<br />

is simulated. A previous sensitivity analysis 21 has shown<br />

that this assumption still yields accurate results.<br />

As an illustration, hourly power production profiles<br />

<strong>for</strong> the balanced Mix case are shown in Figure 4. The good<br />

seasonal complementarity between wind and solar in<br />

Germany is clearly observed. <strong>Nuclear</strong>’s baseload role is<br />

also illustrated with electrolyzers and batteries mainly<br />

responsible <strong>for</strong> balancing wind and solar power. Natural<br />

gas power plants run only during isolated instances of high<br />

demand and low renewable energy output.<br />

Author<br />

Schalk Cloete<br />

Research Scientist<br />

SINTEF<br />

Trondheim, Norway<br />

Schalk.Cloete@sintef.no<br />

Schalk Cloete is a research scientist working on solutions to our great 21 st -century<br />

sustainability challenge: give every world citizen a fair shot at a decent life without<br />

destroying the ecological carrying capacity of our planet. After reaching early<br />

financial freedom, he retired from the research rat race and is currently 40 %<br />

employed at the Norwegian research institute, SINTEF, where he develops novel<br />

clean energy conversion technologies. His free-time research is dedicated to<br />

policy and lifestyle design strategies <strong>for</strong> a rapid and just transition to a sustainable<br />

global society.<br />

FEATURE | RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 13<br />

21 https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/234469<br />

Feature<br />

Is Wind the Next <strong>Nuclear</strong>? ı Schalk Cloete


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

14<br />

INTERVIEW<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM has<br />

Advocated <strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow<br />

a Technology Neutral Approach.”<br />

Interview with Yves Desbazeille ı Director General of FORATOM<br />

Yves Desbazeille<br />

Director General of FORATOM<br />

Yves Desbazeille is French and graduated in electrical<br />

engineering from the Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité (“ SUPELEC”)<br />

in France in 1991 and studied on an MBA program in the early<br />

2000s. During his successful career, he has been involved in<br />

different businesses and responsibilities at EDF: nuclear<br />

engineering, hydro and thermal power projects management in<br />

France, USA as well as in Asia, where he was <strong>for</strong> 5 years. His<br />

previous position as EDF representative <strong>for</strong> energy in Brussels<br />

has provided him with an in-depth knowledge of the EU<br />

institutions and Brussels’ stakeholders and of the energy and<br />

climate stakes <strong>for</strong> Europe.<br />

FORATOM is the Brussels-based trade association <strong>for</strong> the nuclear<br />

energy industry in Europe. FORATOM acts as the voice of the<br />

European nuclear industry in energy policy discussions with EU<br />

Institutions and other key stakeholders. The membership of<br />

FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations<br />

representing nearly 3,000 firms.<br />

The association provides in<strong>for</strong>mation and expertise on the role of<br />

nuclear energy; produce position papers, newsfeeds, responses<br />

to public consultations, analyses of public opinion; organise<br />

regular networking events like dinner debates, workshops, oneon-one<br />

meetings, press briefings and visits to nuclear facilities.<br />

For more than two years now FORATOM and other<br />

industry associations, environmental organizations,<br />

company representations and political institutions<br />

were occupied with the EU Sustainable Finance<br />

Initiative and the pivotal taxonomy of sustainable<br />

activities. What were FORATOMs primary activities<br />

in this respect?<br />

The first action undertaken by FORATOM was to reach out<br />

to all its members in order to draw attention to the file<br />

under development and to invite them to share their<br />

thoughts on how it could potentially impact the European<br />

nuclear sector. This enabled the industry to develop its<br />

position and desired outcome, providing FORATOM<br />

with the tools to liaise with the EU institutions.<br />

FORATOM furthermore established contact with other<br />

stakeholders (including civil society) to in<strong>for</strong>m them of the<br />

European Commission’s plans and to share FORATOM’s<br />

position.<br />

Since the beginning, FORATOM has advocated <strong>for</strong> the<br />

taxonomy to follow a technology neutral approach. It<br />

has constantly reiterated the message that, in order to<br />

identify whether an energy source is sustainable or not, it<br />

is important to evaluate each source on the basis of<br />

objective criteria (including CO 2 emissions, air pollution,<br />

raw material consumption and land use impacts) and<br />

using a whole life-cycle approach. More in<strong>for</strong>mation about<br />

this can be found in our position paper “Sustainable<br />

Finance: FORATOM calls <strong>for</strong> equal treatment of all lowcarbon<br />

technologies”.<br />

In terms of advocacy and outreach, FORATOM focused<br />

on two elements:<br />

p The so-called ‘Taxonomy Regulation’: Together with<br />

its members, FORATOM established contacts with the<br />

Council and nuclear supportive Members of the<br />

European Parliament (MEPs). These two played a key<br />

role in the decision-making process. In this respect, we<br />

were successful in ensuring the Regulation underlines<br />

the need <strong>for</strong> the taxonomy to be technology neutral.<br />

p The Technical Screening Criteria of the taxonomy: At<br />

the start of the process, FORATOM and its members<br />

applied to <strong>for</strong>m part of the technical expert sub-groups<br />

established by the European Commission working on<br />

this. FORATOM ensured close liaison with those on the<br />

sub-groups by gathering all useful reports and studies<br />

which supported the message that nuclear is sustainable.<br />

Here the work proved very challenging as the<br />

group included anti-nuclear organisations. Due to<br />

a split position, the Technical Expert Group recommended<br />

that nuclear be assessed by a group of experts<br />

with an in-depth knowledge of the nuclear life cycle as<br />

they did not feel that they had the right expertise. As a<br />

result, nuclear was neither included nor excluded from<br />

the taxonomy, and the Commission proceeded with<br />

mandating its Joint Research Centre to conduct this<br />

assessment.<br />

Following on from this, the JRC published its “Technical<br />

assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no significant<br />

harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852 (‘Taxonomy<br />

Regulation’)” at the end of March 2021. This report<br />

was then reviewed by the following expert groups which<br />

submitted their opinions on 2 July 2021:<br />

p Opinion of the Group of Experts referred to in Article 31<br />

of the Euratom Treaty on the Joint Research Centre’s<br />

Report<br />

p SCHEER review of the JRC report on technical<br />

assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no<br />

significant harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852<br />

(‘Taxonomy Regulation’)<br />

Interview<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM has Advocated <strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.” ı Yves Desbazeille


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

At the time of writing, FORATOM and its members<br />

continue to liaise with the Member States and MEPs to<br />

ensure that the Commission takes on board the conclusions<br />

of the experts and proceeds with the inclusion of nuclear<br />

under the taxonomy.<br />

As nuclear received a special treatment with<br />

dedicated specific reports, the third of which was<br />

published in July, what were the arguments against<br />

including this obviously low carbon, low environmental<br />

impact technology both in the taxonomy<br />

process and in the political battle fields around it?<br />

Regarding the Technical Experts Group (TEG), and as<br />

mentioned above, they made clear that they did not have<br />

the right expertise to assess nuclear. We fully respect this<br />

conclusion of the TEG, as<br />

indeed <strong>for</strong> such scientific<br />

decisions it is essential<br />

that they are taken by<br />

those with real expertise<br />

in the field. But of course,<br />

it meant that nuclear<br />

found itself in a sort of<br />

‘limbo land’ as it was<br />

neither included nor excluded.<br />

What was very<br />

positive was that the TEG made it clear that nuclear<br />

contributes to climate mitigation objectives.<br />

The two areas where the TEG were less certain related<br />

to:<br />

p Potential data gaps in relation to the Do No Significant<br />

Harm criteria<br />

p The long-term management of High-Level Waste<br />

(HLW)<br />

These are valid concerns, and as a result this is what the<br />

JRC – as nuclear experts – was asked to focus on. The result<br />

of this assessment has provided a clear response to both<br />

these questions as follows:<br />

p Based on the scientific evidence available nuclear does<br />

not cause more harm than any of the other power<br />

producing technologies currently deemed to be<br />

taxonomy-compliant<br />

p Deep Geological Repositories provide an appropriate<br />

and safe solution <strong>for</strong> the management of HLW.<br />

Against this backdrop there have of course been other<br />

opinions expressed against nuclear. Here, a broad range of<br />

arguments have been raised, including public opposition<br />

to nuclear, the risk of proliferation, the impact of nuclear<br />

accidents and radiation exposure. But it is our belief that<br />

the work of the JRC experts provides a robust rebuttal to<br />

these claims.<br />

In the long-term, if certain policymakers are<br />

successful in getting nuclear excluded from<br />

the taxonomy <strong>for</strong> political reasons, this could<br />

mean that nuclear no longer has access to<br />

any <strong>for</strong>m of finance, be it State Aid or private<br />

investment. This would essentially spell the<br />

end of the European nuclear industry.<br />

What is actually at stake <strong>for</strong> nuclear in the sustainable<br />

finance initiative and taxonomy?<br />

There are two main issues at stake <strong>for</strong> the nuclear industry.<br />

First of all, access to finance. The goal of this taxonomy<br />

is to encourage investors to redivert funds towards those<br />

activities classed as sustainable. Given that the nuclear<br />

industry has high upfront capital costs, access to private<br />

finance at an af<strong>for</strong>dable interest rate is key. By encouraging<br />

investors to move away from ‘non-compliant’ activities, a<br />

political decision to exclude nuclear will severely hamper<br />

its ability to raise funds <strong>for</strong> the financing of projects. Given<br />

that companies will already be obliged to report on the<br />

share of their activities which are taxonomy-(non)compliant<br />

as of 1 January 2022, we already expect to see this<br />

lack of clarity around nuclear having a negative effect not<br />

just on utilities, but also large companies active in the<br />

nuclear supply chain.<br />

Secondly, it will have a broader political impact. EU<br />

legislation is already being modified to align it to the<br />

taxonomy. Take <strong>for</strong> example the recent EU recovery fund.<br />

In order to access EU funds and loans under this package,<br />

Member States have to put <strong>for</strong>ward national Recovery and<br />

Resilience Plans (RRPs). According to the legislation, 37 %<br />

of the funds allocated must go towards taxonomy<br />

compliant activities, and the Commission has already<br />

confirmed to us that, as a decision on nuclear has yet to be<br />

taken, nuclear related projects cannot count towards this<br />

37 %. For the remainder of the funds, projects must meet<br />

the Do No Significant Harm principle, again raising the<br />

question as to how nuclear is to be treated under the RRPs.<br />

It should be noted that the<br />

EU is currently reviewing its<br />

Climate, Energy and Environmental<br />

State Aid Guidelines<br />

and the pro posal on the table<br />

makes a direct link to the<br />

taxonomy, suggesting that<br />

the EU is contemplating<br />

reviewing its State Aid legislation<br />

in order to align it to<br />

the taxonomy...<br />

In the long-term, if certain policymakers are successful<br />

in getting nuclear excluded from the taxonomy <strong>for</strong> political<br />

reasons, this could mean that nuclear no longer has access<br />

to any <strong>for</strong>m of finance, be it State Aid or private investment.<br />

This would essentially spell the end of the European nuclear<br />

industry.<br />

Where are we now in the decision-making process<br />

and what will happen next, who will decide what<br />

in the end and who could block what?<br />

The Council and the European Parliament are now being<br />

asked to vote on the first Delegated Act (DA), which covers<br />

the climate mitigation and adaptation aspects of the<br />

taxonomy. These two institutions have two options: they<br />

can either adopt or reject the DA. They cannot modify it.<br />

The process being followed is called a ‘Scrutiny period’,<br />

under which they have 4 months to take a decision (with<br />

the potential to extend this by a further 2 months).<br />

Whilst this DA covers technologies under the energy<br />

sector, it does not include nuclear and natural gas. In this<br />

respect, the Commission has<br />

been waiting <strong>for</strong> the conclusion<br />

of the nuclear assessment in<br />

order to decide on whether to<br />

include it under a complementary<br />

Delegated Act (cDA).<br />

This cDA is expected to be<br />

made public anytime between<br />

September and November<br />

2021. Like other DAs, a draft<br />

We understand<br />

that discussions are<br />

ongoing within<br />

the Commission<br />

as to what to do<br />

with nuclear.<br />

cDA will be published and subject to a one-month public<br />

consultation. After this, the cDA will be sent <strong>for</strong> ‘scrutiny’<br />

following the process mentioned above.<br />

As to who could block what, this remains an open<br />

question. First of all, because we understand that<br />

discussions are ongoing within the Commission as to what<br />

to do with nuclear. It has been suggested that some are<br />

already pushing <strong>for</strong> nuclear to be excluded from the cDA<br />

<strong>for</strong> political reasons, regardless of the fact that the experts<br />

conclude that it is sustainable (and thus taxonomy<br />

compliant). This is the first hurdle to be overcome.<br />

INTERVIEW 15<br />

Interview<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM has Advocated <strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.” ı Yves Desbazeille


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

INTERVIEW 16<br />

Secondly, even if nuclear is added to the cDA, it is<br />

possible that the Technical Screening Criteria are much<br />

more stringent than those proposed in the JRC’s assessment,<br />

thus making it virtually impossible <strong>for</strong> any project to<br />

comply with them.<br />

And finally, once it goes to the Council and Parliament,<br />

we expect to see those who are against nuclear strongly<br />

pushing <strong>for</strong> the cDA to be rejected.<br />

Besides this major issue, other nuclear developments<br />

have been going on. FORATOM has signed a<br />

MoU with the Canadian <strong>Nuclear</strong> Association. What<br />

are the major goals <strong>for</strong> this cooperation?<br />

FORATOM is in the process of signing a series of<br />

Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with several<br />

national nuclear associations. The overarching goal of<br />

these is to strengthen cooperation on an international level<br />

and to promote nuclear as a clean source of energy. In<br />

addition to the one signed with the Canadian <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Association (CNA), FORATOM is also in discussions with<br />

the US <strong>Nuclear</strong> Energy Institute (NEI) and the Japanese<br />

Atomic Industry Forum (JAIF).<br />

The main focus of the MoU signed with the CNA is<br />

to promote clean, innovative and advanced nuclear<br />

technologies. In this respect, it focuses on the following:<br />

p advocating <strong>for</strong> more explicit and<br />

prominent inclusion of nuclear<br />

energy in Europe and Canada’s<br />

energy and environmental policies;<br />

p support <strong>for</strong> innovation in nuclear<br />

energy, specifically the development<br />

and deployment of small<br />

modular reactors and advanced reactors;<br />

p Identify and implement initiatives where FORATOM<br />

and CNA could work together to promote nuclear as a<br />

clean energy source to meet climate change goals,<br />

reduce emissions and improve the quality of life.<br />

As the European trade association, FORATOM’s clear goal<br />

is to influence EU policy. But as we all know, climate<br />

change is a global issue and it is <strong>for</strong> this reason that we find<br />

it essential to work with our partners at international level.<br />

Some of the initiatives where FORATOM is playing a<br />

greater role, together with its partners, include the UN<br />

Climate Conferences (ie COP) and the Clean Energy<br />

Ministerial (CEM) <strong>Nuclear</strong> Innovation: Clean Energy<br />

Future (NICE Future).<br />

At international level, it is also important to note that<br />

<strong>for</strong> several years FORATOM has increased relations with<br />

institutions such as the IAEA, the OECD-NEA. It is also<br />

member of the “Global leader summit” gathering together<br />

the Managing Directors of all these organizations<br />

Likewise, it is important<br />

to note that the existence<br />

of the Euratom Treaty<br />

might be threatened.<br />

What are other topics on Brussels agenda that<br />

concern the nuclear industry, like e. g. the Hydrogen<br />

Strategy of the EU?<br />

There are an increasing number of policy files which are of<br />

direct relevance to the nuclear industry. Those which are<br />

currently on the table and which FORATOM is actively<br />

engaging in can be summarised as follows:<br />

p Fit <strong>for</strong> 55 package: The main focus of this package is to<br />

review existing legislation and align it with the EU’s<br />

target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 55 % by<br />

2030 ( compared to 1990 levels). It covers a broad range<br />

of legislation such as the EU’s Emissions Trading<br />

Scheme and the proposal <strong>for</strong> a Carbon Boarder<br />

Adjustment Mechanism, as well as a revision of the<br />

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Directives.<br />

p Industrial strategy: This initiative looks at, <strong>for</strong><br />

example, how to reduce industrial emissions, whilst at<br />

the same time maintaining industry’s competitiveness<br />

including access to af<strong>for</strong>dable energy. Work<strong>for</strong>ce and<br />

skills are also issues dealt with under this strategy.<br />

p Energy System Integration and the Hydrogen<br />

Strategies: These two strategies aim to support a more<br />

efficient and interconnected low-carbon energy sector.<br />

The goal is to ensure a constant supply and access to<br />

low-carbon energy sources.<br />

p Guidelines on State aid <strong>for</strong> environmental protection<br />

and energy: As mentioned above, the EU is<br />

looking to review these guidelines, including suggestions<br />

of aligning them more closely to the Taxonomy<br />

Regulation.<br />

There are of course many other issues which FORATOM<br />

is actively engaged in. For example, there are several<br />

Innovation, Research and Development projects which<br />

are under development and which receive EU support.<br />

Developments relating to the Espoo and Aarhus<br />

Conventions, respectively dealing with environmental<br />

impact assessments and access to In<strong>for</strong>mation, public<br />

partici pation in decision-making and access to justice in<br />

environmental matters, also require constant monitoring,<br />

because, despite not being purely nuclear, they can have a<br />

serious impact on the nuclear activities.<br />

Likewise, it is important to note that the<br />

existence of the Euratom Treaty might be<br />

threatened – indeed, in the latter instance<br />

several Member States continue to push <strong>for</strong><br />

this Treaty to be reopened, modified and<br />

potentially revoked....<br />

Another topic that we are actively working on, even if it<br />

is not related to one specific EU policy file, is the long-term<br />

operation of the existing nuclear fleet. Given the stringent<br />

decarbonization goals which the EU has set <strong>for</strong> 2030,<br />

FORATOM strongly believes that more attention needs to<br />

paid to this. As LTO (Long Term Operation) remains the<br />

cheapest <strong>for</strong>m of electricity across the board, prolonging<br />

the existing fleet would be the best way of achieving the<br />

2030 targets in an af<strong>for</strong>dable manner.<br />

In national energy policies we have seen some<br />

major developments recently, such as Belgium<br />

opting <strong>for</strong> nuclear phase-out and fossil gas phase-in,<br />

the Polish nuclear program consolidating and a<br />

very interesting debate about new nuclear power<br />

in the Netherlands. Can you give us a brief overview<br />

on these and possibly other developments of this<br />

kind in the EU or in Europe?<br />

With the UK leaving the EU, we have of course lost one of<br />

the biggest nuclear advocates at Brussels level and this has<br />

made our task a bit more challenging. But at the same<br />

time, we are seeing other Member States pick up where the<br />

UK has left off. For example, France has become much<br />

more vocal in its defence of nuclear in relevant discussions.<br />

Furthermore, several Eastern Member States have been<br />

sending a very clear message to Brussels that in order to<br />

achieve the ambitious climate targets set by the EU, nuclear<br />

must be recognized as part of the solutions. Their main<br />

For example, France<br />

has become much<br />

more vocal in its<br />

defence of nuclear in<br />

relevant discussions.<br />

argument is that they have a<br />

long way to go to decarbonize<br />

their economies and<br />

there<strong>for</strong>e they need to be<br />

allowed to use all lowcarbon<br />

technologies to<br />

ensure that the transition is<br />

Interview<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM has Advocated <strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.” ı Yves Desbazeille


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

both af<strong>for</strong>dable and does not lead to a shortage in energy<br />

supplies (nor increased dependence on energy and raw<br />

material imports...).<br />

Finland has always been supportive to nuclear, and it<br />

has been very interesting to see that even the Finnish<br />

Green party is taking a more pragmatic approach to<br />

nuclear by recognizing that the fight we have today is<br />

against climate change and that nuclear may <strong>for</strong>m part of<br />

the solution. Public opinion of nuclear in Sweden is also at<br />

an all-time high.<br />

The same can be said <strong>for</strong> the Netherlands, where they<br />

are currently considering the development of a new<br />

nuclear project as they recognize that it has a role to play in<br />

terms of decarbonizing the energy sector and ensuring<br />

security of supply. But of course, there are Member States<br />

which remain staunchly anti nuclear, namely Austria,<br />

Germany and Luxembourg. Belgium and Spain are also<br />

increasingly leaning towards this more ‘anti’ camp.<br />

What we can say, though, is that many are showing a<br />

great interest in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). One<br />

example of this is Estonia, which is seriously considering<br />

SMRs as a potential solution <strong>for</strong> their energy mix which is<br />

currently very CO 2 intensive.<br />

Quite a number of think tanks and international<br />

institutions have stressed the importance of nuclear<br />

<strong>for</strong> reaching climate policy goals, many governments<br />

agree, including recently the Biden administration<br />

in the US. Which position on nuclear will prevail in<br />

EU institutions in your opinion, that of fundamental<br />

critics aiming <strong>for</strong> phase-out sooner or later or of<br />

nuclear optimists envisioning a long term and<br />

possibly growing role in a low carbon energy<br />

system?<br />

As indicated above, the EU remains very divided on the<br />

issue of nuclear. The Treaties make it clear that each<br />

Member State is free to choose its own energy mix, and<br />

whether that includes or excludes nuclear is a national<br />

prerogative. Of course, this does not prevent anti-nuclear<br />

Member States trying to make<br />

it as difficult as possible <strong>for</strong><br />

other to get nuclear projects<br />

off the ground.<br />

This discord is being felt<br />

at EU level, with some<br />

pushing <strong>for</strong> EU legislation<br />

which de facto excludes nuclear.<br />

Examples include the Just Transition Fund and<br />

Invest EU, both of which automatically exclude nuclear<br />

projects from having access to these funds without<br />

providing any real justification <strong>for</strong> such an exclusion.<br />

At the same time, many reputable organizations<br />

continue to highlight the importance of nuclear in the fight<br />

against climate change. Take, <strong>for</strong> instance, the latest IEA<br />

report entitled ‘Net Zero by 2050’. According to this report,<br />

nuclear energy will make “a significant contribution” in<br />

the Net Zero Emission Scenario and will “provide an<br />

essential foundation <strong>for</strong> transitions” to a net-zero emissions<br />

energy system.<br />

For us, it is essential that EU policy remain credible –<br />

and this means basing policy on science. Let’s be clear: we<br />

have less than 30 years to fully decarbonize our economy<br />

and taking political decisions with no scientific justification<br />

will lead us nowhere. This is why, as FORATOM, we<br />

continue to insist that the EU adopt a technology neutral<br />

approach to policy making which is based on the advice of<br />

science and experts.<br />

Let’s be clear: we have less than<br />

30 years to fully decarbonize our<br />

economy and taking political<br />

decisions with no scientific<br />

justification will lead us nowhere.<br />

Given the opportunity, nuclear will be a help, not a<br />

hindrance. Why?<br />

First of all, because it is low-carbon and so it helps<br />

achieve the decarbonization targets.<br />

Secondly, it is available 24/7 and will ensure that<br />

citizens and business have access to the energy they need<br />

when they need it.<br />

And finally: because it is af<strong>for</strong>dable. Yes, nuclear project<br />

come with high upfront costs. But they also have a long<br />

lifespan of +60 years and require much lower system<br />

costs.<br />

Societal and political acceptance are key to the<br />

application of nuclear power. But nuclear energy is<br />

also a springboard <strong>for</strong> other political interests, not<br />

power related. What are your expectations of<br />

national and European policies to break this knot?<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> power is indeed at the centre of many (heated)<br />

debates at EU level. Most people are not actually aware of<br />

the other solutions provided by nuclear. Let’s take, <strong>for</strong><br />

example, medical applications. The EU is a front runner<br />

when it comes to the production of medical isotopes. And<br />

yet very little is said about this – although let’s be clear,<br />

many of those who are against nuclear energy are also<br />

against its other applications....<br />

As FORATOM, we are trying to draw more attention to<br />

these other applications with, <strong>for</strong> example, the publication<br />

of a position paper which focuses on medical uses of<br />

nuclear technology, and which aims to respond, in part, to<br />

the EU’s Beating Cancer Plan. We are also increasingly<br />

highlighting the benefits which nuclear can bring in terms<br />

of low-carbon hydrogen production, industrial applications,<br />

space etc.<br />

What people don’t necessarily realize is that legislative<br />

proposals that aim to block nuclear energy could, in the<br />

long term, also negatively affect these other applications.<br />

For example, the taxonomy will in future cover other<br />

sectors, potentially even healthcare. If nuclear power is<br />

excluded, then this will potentially be used as an excuse to<br />

Author<br />

also leave out all medical uses as well.<br />

What we need is <strong>for</strong> the Member States<br />

to continue to fly the flag <strong>for</strong> nuclear. They<br />

play a key role in the EU decision-making<br />

process. And in this respect, FORATOM<br />

and its members stand ready to support<br />

the Member States in any which we can.<br />

Nicolas Wendler<br />

Head of Media Relations and Political Affairs<br />

KernD (Kerntechnik Deutschland e.V.)<br />

nicolas.wendler@kernd.de<br />

INTERVIEW 17<br />

Interview<br />

“Since the Beginning, FORATOM has Advocated <strong>for</strong> the Taxonomy to Follow a Technology Neutral Approach.” ı Yves Desbazeille


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

18<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing<br />

Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants<br />

Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira<br />

Introduction <strong>Nuclear</strong> safety of the operating nuclear power plants (NPP) has to be in the core of their life<br />

management. NPPs have to be operated safely and reliably. European countries involved in nuclear energy are spending<br />

their ef<strong>for</strong>ts in improving the safety of the operating plants and of those under construction, in accordance with the<br />

Euratom Treaty obligations [Euratom Treaty, 2012]. In this respect, the IAEA requirements <strong>for</strong> the safe operation of<br />

nuclear power plants identify, among others priorities, maintenance, testing, surveillance and inspection programmes<br />

and ageing management of safety related components [IAEA, 2018].<br />

Recognising the importance of peer<br />

review mechanisms in delivering<br />

continuous improvement to nuclear<br />

safety, the amended <strong>Nuclear</strong> Safety<br />

Directive [European Union, 2014]<br />

introduced a European system of<br />

topical peer reviews (TPR). The<br />

subject “Ageing Management” was<br />

chosen in 2017 as the first TPR exercise<br />

on the basis of the age profile and<br />

the potential long term operation<br />

of European NPPs. The national<br />

assessment reports [ENSREG, 2018]<br />

prepared under this first TPR gave<br />

numerous examples where operating<br />

experience (OPEX) has been used to<br />

in<strong>for</strong>m ageing management. There are<br />

many existing <strong>for</strong>a <strong>for</strong> sharing OPEX.<br />

For example, the <strong>International</strong> Reporting<br />

System (IRS) [IAEA, 2010]<br />

and the <strong>International</strong> Generic Lessons<br />

Learned Programme (IGALL) [IAEA,<br />

2014] [IAEA, 2020] managed by the<br />

IAEA, the Committee on <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and<br />

the Committee on the Safety of<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Installations (CSNI) under the<br />

OECD-NEA, and the European<br />

Clearinghouse on Operating Experience<br />

Feedback of the Joint Research<br />

Centre (JRC) of the European<br />

Commission [JRC, 2021] [Ballesteros<br />

A., Peinador M., Heitsch M., 2015].<br />

The original design life of structural,<br />

mechanical and electrical components,<br />

particularly those that technically limit<br />

the power plant operation (e.g. reactor<br />

pressure vessel, containment, etc.),<br />

was originally estimated to be around<br />

30-40 years, considering anticipated<br />

operational conditions and ambient<br />

environment under which they are<br />

operated. In reality, the plant operational<br />

conditions and ambient environment<br />

parameters are below the limits<br />

established during the initial design.<br />

While economical feasibility falls into<br />

the operating organization competence,<br />

a decision regarding the plant<br />

safety level depends on country’s<br />

regulatory requirements. Generally, a<br />

thorough technical assessment of<br />

the plant physical condition is needed<br />

to identify safety enhancements or<br />

modifications, and the impact of<br />

changes to NPP programmes and<br />

procedures necessary <strong>for</strong> continued<br />

safe operation.<br />

Many operators in Europe have<br />

expressed the intention to operate<br />

their nuclear power plants <strong>for</strong> longer<br />

than envisaged by their original<br />

design. From a nuclear safety point of<br />

view, continuing to operate a nuclear<br />

power plant requires two things:<br />

demonstrating and maintaining plant<br />

con<strong>for</strong>mity to the applicable regulatory<br />

requirements; and enhancing<br />

plant safety as far as reasonably<br />

practicable. Depending on the model<br />

and age of the reactor, national<br />

regulators assume that granting longterm<br />

operation programmes will<br />

mean extending their lifetime by 10 to<br />

20 years on average.<br />

There are 106 nuclear power<br />

reactors in operation in the European<br />

Union (EU) in 13 of the 27 EU countries.<br />

The age distribution of current<br />

nuclear power plants is shown in<br />

Figure 1. A major part of the EU<br />

reactors are between 31 to 40 years<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

Age distribution of the EU operating nuclear power reactors.<br />

old. Hence, from both the safety and<br />

security of supply viewpoints, ageing<br />

of these power plants is of increasing<br />

concern to European policy makers,<br />

citizens and utilities.<br />

Methodology<br />

The final objective of this work is to<br />

draw case-specific and generic lessons<br />

learned from ageing related events<br />

occurred at NPPs during a period of<br />

approximately 10 years. Namely,<br />

events reported between 01/01/2008<br />

and 30/06/2018 in the IAEA IRS<br />

database. The IRS is an international<br />

database jointly operated by the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Atomic Energy Agency<br />

(IAEA) and the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Energy<br />

Agency of the Organisation <strong>for</strong><br />

Economic Cooperation and Development<br />

(OECD/NEA). The IRS was<br />

established as a simple and efficient<br />

system to exchange important lessons<br />

learned from operating experience<br />

gained in nuclear power plants of the<br />

IAEA and NEA Member States. The<br />

IRS database contains more than<br />

4500 event reports with detailed<br />

descriptions and analyses of the<br />

event’s causes that may be relevant to<br />

other plants.<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Key word<br />

Aging / ageing<br />

Creep<br />

Relaxation<br />

Fatigue<br />

“Irradiation damage”<br />

Corrosion<br />

Wear<br />

Erosion<br />

“Material degradation”<br />

De<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

Embrittlement<br />

Cracking<br />

Total<br />

| Tab. 1.<br />

Number of event reports in the IRS database.<br />

The screening of ageing related<br />

events was carried out in two steps:<br />

p Step 1: The query capabilities of<br />

the IRS database are used to<br />

retrieve an initial list of potentially<br />

relevant events.<br />

p Step 2: The reports obtained from<br />

the previous step are briefly<br />

reviewed to confirm their relevance.<br />

Even if apparently relevant,<br />

a report could be screened out if it<br />

is insufficiently detailed or if its<br />

quality is too low to be useful <strong>for</strong><br />

the purposes of the study.<br />

The query result in the IRS database<br />

<strong>for</strong> the period 01/01/2008 –<br />

30/06/2018 was a list of 173 ageing<br />

event reports (step 1), which were<br />

reviewed to confirm their relevance.<br />

The querying results are summarized<br />

in Table 1, where the number of event<br />

reports is given together with the<br />

guide words used <strong>for</strong> the screening.<br />

IRS allows querying ageing events<br />

using the IRS code 5.7.5. But it was<br />

noted that some ageing events were<br />

not classified under this specific code.<br />

For that reason querying was also<br />

carried out by searching ageing events<br />

using different degradation mechanisms<br />

and their consequences.<br />

After detailed analysis of the 173<br />

event reports (step 2), only 113<br />

reports were considered as relevant.<br />

All the reports were thoroughly<br />

reviewed in order to characterise the<br />

events. To facilitate this process, the<br />

events were classified according to<br />

the following criteria: plant status, the<br />

means of detection, the systems<br />

affected, the components affected, the<br />

Number of IRS event reports<br />

(search is per<strong>for</strong>med in the Root Causes section<br />

of the IRS reports or in the full reports, depending<br />

on the case. For Aging/Ageing the IRS criterion<br />

5.7.5 is applied)<br />

Search by the IRS Criterion 5.7.5: 60 events<br />

+ 4 events related to Ageing no categorised as 5.7.5<br />

6 in full report<br />

7 in full report<br />

31 in Root Causes<br />

1 in full report<br />

41 in Root Causes<br />

21 in Root Causes<br />

9 in Root Causes<br />

5 in full report<br />

24 in Root Causes<br />

12 in full report<br />

22 in Root Causes<br />

173 event reports<br />

(taking into account that the same report<br />

may be retrieved with different key words)<br />

direct cause, the root causes, the<br />

ageing mechanisms, the conse quences<br />

and the corrective actions. Further to<br />

the classification of events, the reports<br />

are also reviewed to identify the<br />

aspects of the event that can be<br />

used as feedback from operating<br />

experience. These «low-level lessons<br />

learned» are attached to specific<br />

events, and generally can be understood<br />

only in the context of those<br />

events. For this reason, an ef<strong>for</strong>t has<br />

been done to define «high-level<br />

lessons learned», or simply «lessons<br />

learned» defined in such a way that<br />

they are not too specific (so that they<br />

are applicable only to one single<br />

plant) nor too wide (so that they can<br />

be considered as common sense, and<br />

already known to everybody).<br />

Analysis of events<br />

This section presents the result of the<br />

screening and classification process<br />

described above. The number of<br />

events <strong>for</strong> each family in a given category<br />

(plant status, detection, affected<br />

system, affected component, direct<br />

cause, root cause, ageing mechanism,<br />

consequences, corrective actions) is<br />

shown in Table 2.<br />

It was interesting to calculate the<br />

average age of the nuclear power<br />

plant when the event occurred. This<br />

can be expressed by:<br />

Average Age =<br />

<br />

where,<br />

n = final number of selected ageing<br />

events<br />

t 2 = time when the event happen<br />

t 1 = time when the plant started<br />

operation<br />

The analysis provides an Average Age<br />

of 28 years (331 months) with a large<br />

standard deviation of 10 years (123<br />

months) and a median of 30 years<br />

(357 months). In other words, on<br />

average, ageing related events occur<br />

after 28 years from the start of reactor<br />

operation.<br />

Selected event reports have been<br />

characterised according to the criteria<br />

defined <strong>for</strong> this study: plant status,<br />

detection means, affected system,<br />

affected component, direct cause, root<br />

cause, ageing mechanism, consequences<br />

and corrective actions. The<br />

most relevant findings are highlighted<br />

below.<br />

Plant status and<br />

detection means<br />

Figure 2 (left) shows the event distribution<br />

related to plant status. Nearly<br />

half of the events took place during<br />

power operation. Figure 2 (right)<br />

indicates that the major part of the<br />

events were detected by “fault report<br />

in control room” (58 %) followed by<br />

“periodic test / in-service inspection”<br />

(26 %). The fact that one of four<br />

ageing events were detected in<br />

periodic tests or in-service inspections<br />

highlights the importance of having<br />

sound inspection and maintenance<br />

programmes to avoid sudden failures<br />

during power operation with greater<br />

implications on nuclear safety.<br />

Systems and components<br />

affected<br />

The distribution of events per system<br />

affected is presented in Figure 3.<br />

The largest percentage (36 %) corresponds<br />

to the primary reactor systems,<br />

followed by electrical systems<br />

(21 %) and essential auxiliary systems<br />

(13 %).<br />

The distribution of events per component<br />

affected is given in Figure 4.<br />

Passive and active mechanical components<br />

are the most affected components<br />

(38 % and 34 %, respectively),<br />

followed by electrical (16 %),<br />

I&C (9 %) and structural components<br />

(3 %).<br />

Direct and root causes<br />

Figure 5 indicates that the main direct<br />

cause was mechanical failure. The<br />

distribution of root causes is given<br />

in Figure 6. A maximum of three<br />

different root causes was attributed<br />

to each event. Deficiencies in maintenance<br />

or surveillance is the most<br />

important root cause, followed by<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD 19<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Plant status<br />

N. events<br />

Root cause<br />

N. times<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD 20<br />

<strong>Power</strong> operation 54<br />

Startup 7<br />

Hot standby 2<br />

Hot shutdown 2<br />

Cold shutdown 12<br />

Refuelling 20<br />

Other or Unknown 16<br />

Dectection of events<br />

N. events<br />

Periodic test / In service inspection 29<br />

Fault report in control room 65<br />

Work surveillance 6<br />

Supplementary inspection 4<br />

Other or Unknown 9<br />

Affected system<br />

N. events<br />

Primary reactor systems 41<br />

Reactor auxiliary systems 12<br />

Essential service systems 1<br />

Essential auxiliary systems 15<br />

Electrical systems 24<br />

Feed water, steam and power conversion systems 5<br />

I&C systems 5<br />

Service auxiliary systems 3<br />

Structural systems 5<br />

Other 2<br />

Affected comp.<br />

N. events<br />

Passive mechanical components 43<br />

Active mechanical components 38<br />

I&C components 10<br />

Electrical components 18<br />

Structural components 4<br />

Direct cause<br />

N. events<br />

Mechanical failure 83<br />

Electrical failure 17<br />

I&C failure 9<br />

Structural failure 3<br />

Other 1<br />

Absent Ageing Managemet Programme 12<br />

Deficiencies in Ageing Management Programme 25<br />

Deficiencies in maintenance or surveillance 55<br />

Wrong material selection 15<br />

Equipment specification, manufacture, storage and installation 18<br />

Deficiencies in design 30<br />

Other or unknown 4<br />

Ageing mechanism<br />

N. times<br />

Swelling 1<br />

Relaxation 3<br />

Fatigue 28<br />

Thermal ageing 13<br />

Irradiation damage 2<br />

Corrosion 38<br />

Wear 15<br />

Erosion 4<br />

Electrical ageing 15<br />

Creep 1<br />

Chemical ageing 1<br />

Other 13<br />

Unknown 3<br />

Consequences<br />

N. events<br />

Degradation (damage) 28<br />

De<strong>for</strong>mation 12<br />

Embrittlement and cracking 36<br />

Material loss 30<br />

Other or Unknown 7<br />

Corrective Actions<br />

N. times<br />

Equipment replacement or repair 112<br />

Monitoring and/or inspection improvement 39<br />

Changes in operation modes 8<br />

Changes in maintenance programme 50<br />

Changes in ageing management programme 18<br />

Design modification 25<br />

Other 2<br />

| Tab. 2.<br />

Number of events/times per family.<br />

deficiencies in design and in ageing<br />

management programmes. To this<br />

respect, we infer that the establishment<br />

of an effective ageing<br />

management programme, as early<br />

as possible in the lifetime of the<br />

plant, will significantly contribute to<br />

preventing events and the resulting<br />

consequences.<br />

Ageing mechanisms<br />

The category “ageing mechanism”<br />

was split in 13 families, as indicated<br />

in Table 2, making it possible to<br />

allocate several (maximum three)<br />

ageing mechanisms to a single event.<br />

Figure 7 shows that corrosion<br />

(38 times) is the main cause of failure,<br />

followed by fatigue (28 times). Other<br />

important contributions are coming<br />

from thermal ageing, wear and<br />

electrical ageing.<br />

As it will be showed later in the<br />

section on lessons learned, many<br />

events only appear after long term<br />

operation of an aged component or<br />

material, and the main cause was a<br />

deficiency in design that was latent.<br />

Figure 8 put some light on this issue<br />

and illustrates that fatigue is the main<br />

degradation mechanism in relation<br />

to hidden deficiencies in design.<br />

Figure 9 correlates deficiencies (or<br />

absence) in ageing management<br />

programme with the ageing mechanism.<br />

In this case electrical ageing is<br />

the most relevant contributor to<br />

failure. This indicates the need <strong>for</strong><br />

improvement of the ageing management<br />

programmes of electrical and<br />

I&C components.<br />

Consequences and corrective<br />

actions<br />

Figure 10 shows the distribution of<br />

events among different consequences.<br />

36 events were related to embrittlement<br />

and cracking and 30 events<br />

to material loss (mainly due to<br />

corrosion).<br />

Figure 11 illustrates the corrective<br />

actions. A maximum of three corrective<br />

actions were allocated to a single<br />

event. As expected, the main corrective<br />

action was the replacement or<br />

repair of equipment. Changes in maintenance<br />

programme was the second<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

Plant status (left) and detections (right) means versus number of events.<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD 21<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Number of events (%) per system affected.<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Number of events per component affected.<br />

| Fig. 5.<br />

Number of events per direct cause.<br />

| Fig. 6.<br />

Distribution of root causes.<br />

most usual corrective action followed,<br />

in this order, by monitoring or inspection<br />

improvement, design modification<br />

and changes in ageing<br />

management programme.<br />

Lessons learned<br />

The extraction of the lessons<br />

learned from the operating experience<br />

has been completed in two steps.<br />

First (step 1), low level lessons learned<br />

were retrieved from the IRS database,<br />

or developed in some cases, <strong>for</strong> a large<br />

number of the 113 analysed events. A<br />

total of 110 low level lessons learned<br />

were obtained. They are given,<br />

together with a short summary of the<br />

events, in Annex 2 of reference<br />

[ Ballesteros Avila A., 2019]. Several<br />

lessons are allocated to the same event<br />

in many cases. These low level lessons<br />

learned are very specific, so that they<br />

would have a too limited applicability.<br />

To address this issue, the low level<br />

lessons learned were grouped under<br />

similar topic or underlying key<br />

message to get a high level lesson<br />

learned (step 2). In the following<br />

paragraphs the high level lessons<br />

learned are presented:<br />

Lesson learned #1 – Appropriate<br />

measures should be taken and design<br />

features should be introduced in the<br />

design stage to facilitate effective<br />

ageing management throughout the<br />

life of the plant.<br />

Lesson learned #2 – Ageing<br />

Management Programmes as well as<br />

maintenance programmes should be<br />

reviewed and updated to take into<br />

account modifications in the current<br />

licensing bases.<br />

Lesson learned #3 – The monitoring<br />

of the environmental conditions,<br />

as in<strong>for</strong>mation source <strong>for</strong> ageing<br />

management, is of high importance.<br />

In particular, a review of possible<br />

changes in environmental conditions<br />

(e.g. temperature, radiation, etc.) that<br />

could affect ageing should be per<strong>for</strong>med<br />

in case of operational changes<br />

or structures, systems and components<br />

(SSC) modifications.<br />

Lesson learned #4 – The maintenance<br />

and inspection programmes<br />

should be evaluated and, if considered<br />

necessary, updated (frequency,<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD 22<br />

testing methods, procedures, etc.) on<br />

the basis of the findings of the ageing<br />

management programme.<br />

Lesson learned #5 – Ageing<br />

management programmes <strong>for</strong> specific<br />

degradation mechanisms should<br />

| Fig. 7.<br />

Ageing mechanisms present in the events.<br />

| Fig. 8.<br />

Deficiencies in design versus ageing mechanism.<br />

be developed to avoid or mitigate<br />

accelerated ageing (e.g., flow<br />

accelerated corrosion, fretting, stress<br />

corrosion cracking, thermal ageing).<br />

It is important also to identify<br />

and justify possible associated<br />

| Fig. 9.<br />

Deficiencies in ageing management programmes versus ageing mechanism.<br />

changes in process conditions (e.g.,<br />

flow pattern, velocity, vibration) that<br />

could cause premature ageing and<br />

failure.<br />

Lesson learned #6 – The adequacy<br />

and effectiveness of the inspection<br />

and monitoring methods should<br />

be periodically reviewed to maintain<br />

plant safety and to ensure feedback<br />

and continuous improvements of<br />

ageing management. The evaluation<br />

of technology and methods should<br />

consider the need <strong>for</strong> detection of<br />

unexpected degradation, depending<br />

on how critical the SSC is to safety.<br />

Lesson learned #7 – Adequate<br />

oversight by the licensee is recommended<br />

during all phases of design,<br />

procurement, testing, receipt inspection<br />

and installation to avoid events<br />

where wrong material is used. When a<br />

wrong or low per<strong>for</strong>mance material is<br />

already installed, the rate of material<br />

degradation can often be reduced by<br />

optimizing operating practices and<br />

system parameters.<br />

Lesson learned #8 – Data on<br />

operating experience can be collected<br />

and retained <strong>for</strong> use as input <strong>for</strong> the<br />

management of plant ageing. Reviews<br />

of operating experience can identify<br />

areas where ageing management<br />

programmes can be enhanced or new<br />

programmes developed.<br />

Lesson learned #9 – Earlier<br />

detection of degradation is necessary<br />

to ensure timely application of mitigation<br />

strategies. There is the possibility<br />

that such early physical damage (e.g.,<br />

change of locally averaged material<br />

properties) can be detected with<br />

appropriate sensors.<br />

Lesson learned #10 – The operating<br />

organization should ensure<br />

that ageing management programmes<br />

are reviewed on a regular basis and,<br />

if needed, modified to ensure that<br />

they will be effective <strong>for</strong> managing<br />

ageing. Where necessary, frequently<br />

as a result of reviewing operating<br />

experience, new ageing management<br />

programmes have to be developed.<br />

| Fig. 10.<br />

Number of events per consequence.<br />

| Fig. 11.<br />

Distribution of corrective actions.<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Advertisement<br />

Conclusions<br />

Ageing is a concern <strong>for</strong> the safe longterm<br />

operation of NPPs. In particular<br />

<strong>for</strong> the EU nuclear reactors, many of<br />

them being between 31 – 40 years old.<br />

In this respect, operating experience<br />

from ageing events can contribute to<br />

a great extent to enhance nuclear<br />

safety.<br />

The IRS database was screened to<br />

select relevant events related to<br />

ageing, which took place in the period<br />

01.01.2008 – 30.06.2018. In total<br />

113 events were analysed. The<br />

analysis showed that “28 years” represents<br />

the average age of a nuclear<br />

power plant when the event occurred.<br />

Deficiencies in maintenance or surveillance<br />

is the most important root<br />

cause, followed by deficiencies in<br />

design and in ageing management<br />

programmes. Corrosion is the main<br />

degradation mechanism, followed by<br />

fatigue. Other important contributions<br />

are coming from thermal ageing,<br />

wear and electrical ageing. Many<br />

events only appear after long-term<br />

operation of an aged component or<br />

material, and the main cause was a<br />

deficiency in design that was hidden.<br />

110 low level lessons learned<br />

( specific <strong>for</strong> the events) and 10 high<br />

level lessons learned (generic) have<br />

been obtained in this study. They<br />

cover different areas, such as hidden<br />

deficiencies in design, the impact of<br />

ageing on maintenance and inspection,<br />

deficiencies or lack of ageing<br />

management programmes, use of<br />

wrong material, etc.<br />

This study highlights that the<br />

continuous analysis of ageing related<br />

events and the efficient utilization<br />

of operational experience provides<br />

important insights <strong>for</strong> improving the<br />

quality of ageing management programmes<br />

and <strong>for</strong> preventing the<br />

occurrence of unusual events.<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

IAEA, 2010. IRS Guidelines, Joint IAEA/NEA <strong>International</strong><br />

Reporting System <strong>for</strong> Operating Experience, IAEA Services<br />

Series 19, Vienna.<br />

https://www.iaea.org/publications/8405/irs-guidelines<br />

IAEA, 2014. Approaches to Ageing Management <strong>for</strong> <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

<strong>Power</strong> Plants: <strong>International</strong> Generic Ageing Lessons Learned<br />

(IGALL) Final Report, IAEA-TECDOC-1736, IAEA, Vienna.<br />

IAEA, 2018. Specific Safety Guide No. SSG-48, Ageing<br />

Management and Development of Programme <strong>for</strong> Long Term<br />

Operation of <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants, IAEA Safety Standards,<br />

Vienna.<br />

https://www.iaea.org/publications/12240/<br />

ageing-management-and-development-of-a-programme-<strong>for</strong>long-term-operation-of-nuclear-power-plants<br />

IAEA, 2020. Ageing Management <strong>for</strong> <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants:<br />

<strong>International</strong> Generic Ageing Lessons Learned (IGALL), Safety<br />

Reports Series No. 82 (Rev. 1), IAEA, Vienna.<br />

https://www.iaea.org/publications/13475/<br />

ageing-management-<strong>for</strong>-nuclear-power-plants-internationalgeneric-ageing-lessons-learned-igall<br />

JRC, 2021. European Clearinghouse on Operating Experience<br />

Feedback.<br />

https://clearinghouse-oef.jrc.ec.europa.eu/<br />

Author<br />

Antonio<br />

Ballesteros Avila<br />

Scientific Officer<br />

Joint Research Centre of<br />

European Commission,<br />

Petten, The Netherlands<br />

Antonio.Ballesteros-<br />

Avila@ec.europa.eu<br />

Antonio Ballesteros is a Scientific Officer of the Joint<br />

Research Centre of European Commission. He has<br />

extensive experience in the fields of material science,<br />

operating experience of nuclear power plants and<br />

nuclear safety. Strong research professional with a<br />

PhD in radiation embrittlement from the Kurchatov<br />

Institute.<br />

Miguel Peinador Veira<br />

Scientific Officer<br />

Joint Research Centre of<br />

European Commission,<br />

Petten, The Netherlands<br />

Miguel.Peinador-Veira@<br />

ec.europa.eu<br />

Miguel Peinador is a Scientific Officer of the Joint<br />

Research Centre of European Commission. He has<br />

experience in nuclear engineering, nuclear safety and<br />

project management. He is currently leading the<br />

European Clearinghouse on Operating Experi ence<br />

Feedback of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)<br />

12th<br />

<strong>International</strong><br />

Symposium<br />

Release of Radioactive<br />

Materials<br />

Provisions <strong>for</strong> Clearance<br />

and Exemption<br />

The new IAEA Safety<br />

Guide DS500<br />

on the “Application<br />

of the concept of<br />

clearance” is in the<br />

process of endorsement<br />

and will provide<br />

detailed guidance on<br />

the application of the<br />

concept of clearance<br />

<strong>for</strong> materials.<br />

OPERATION AND NEW BUILD 23<br />

References<br />

In cooperation with<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

Ballesteros A., Peinador M., Heitsch M., 2015. EU Clearinghouse<br />

Activities on Operating Experience Feedback, BgNS Transactions<br />

volume 20 number 2 (2015) pp. 93–95.<br />

http://bgns-transactions.org/<strong>Journal</strong>s/20-2/vol.20-2_03.pdf<br />

Ballesteros Avila A., 2019. Analysis of ageing related events<br />

occurred in nuclear power plants, Topical Study from the EU<br />

Clearinghouse on Operating Experience, Technical Report by the<br />

Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, JRC119082.<br />

ENSREG, 2018. First Topical Peer Review Report “Ageing<br />

Management”, European <strong>Nuclear</strong> Safety Regulator’s Group<br />

ENSREG.<br />

http://www.ensreg.eu/eu-topical-peer-review<br />

Euratom Treaty, 2012. Consolidated version of the Treaty<br />

establishing the European Atomic Energy Community.<br />

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/<br />

?uri=CELEX%3A12012A%2FTXT<br />

European Union, 2014. Council Directive 2014/87/Euratom<br />

of 8 July 2014 amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom.<br />

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/<br />

?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2014.219.01.0042.01.ENG<br />

More in<strong>for</strong>mation:<br />

www.tuev-nord.de/<br />

tk-rrm<br />

Operation and New Build<br />

Operating Experience from Ageing Events Occurred at <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants ı Antonio Ballesteros Avila and Miguel Peinador Veira


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

24<br />

AT A GLANCE<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation<br />

Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated Fuel:<br />

Possibilities and Prospect<br />

An Historical Perspective on HTGR Fuel<br />

High temperature gas-cooled reactors were conceptualized in the 1940s in<br />

the U.S. (Daniel’s Pile) and ultimately realized in the 1950s in the UK (Dragon<br />

Reactor). The various per<strong>for</strong>mance and safety benefits of these systems<br />

could only be realized if a fuel system capable of retaining radionuclides at<br />

high temperatures (> 1000°C) was possible.<br />

In the late 1950s, the Dragon fuel developers abandoned<br />

the vented fuel pin designs in favor of small spherical<br />

coated fuel particles. Hence was born bi-, and<br />

subsequently, tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) fuel<br />

particles around which many of today’s advanced<br />

reactors are designed. Decades of worldwide research<br />

and development have resulted in a well-codified<br />

basis of knowledge <strong>for</strong> manufacturing and per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

of the TRISO fuel <strong>for</strong>m that is being leveraged in the<br />

design and licensing of these reactors.<br />

The high-temperature radionuclide retention capability<br />

of TRISO fuel particles, coupled with reactor system<br />

designs that allow passive heat removal during<br />

off- normal conditions, are the basis of modern,<br />

inherently- safe nuclear energy systems. Further<br />

improvement in the radionuclide retention capability<br />

and environmental stability of the fuel increase safety<br />

margins, decreasing the necessary size of the ( Emergency<br />

Planning Zone) EPZ. This is particularly important <strong>for</strong><br />

enabling economical distributed energy generation<br />

using micro-reactors that are to be deployed in large<br />

numbers (many hundreds or thousands).<br />

New Possibilities with FCM®<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation (USNC) is the leading<br />

developer of high temperature gas-cooled micro reactors<br />

with its flagship Micro Modular Reactor, MMR. Key<br />

to the design of the MMR, is its fully ceramic microencapsulated,<br />

FCM®, fuel that comprises TRISO fuel<br />

particles embedded inside of a refractory silicon carbide<br />

ceramic.<br />

FCM fuel was first conceptualized in 2010 by Ultra Safe<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation (USNC) founder, Francesco Venneri,<br />

along with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory<br />

(ORNL), and has undergone active research and<br />

development since. USNC’s reactor technology was built<br />

around this revolutionary fuel system and leverages its<br />

immense safety and per<strong>for</strong>mance benefits to deliver<br />

highly economic and inherently safe nuclear energy<br />

systems.<br />

The FCM fuel architecture is a major change from the<br />

historic graphitic-matrix fuel <strong>for</strong>ms and offers significant<br />

benefits. The graphitic matrix exhibits complex irradiation<br />

behavior (initially shrinks, then expands) and is only<br />

able to retain its limited initial strength up to low doses.<br />

The silicon carbide matrix, because of its well-known and<br />

finite swelling behavior, is able to withstand very high<br />

irradiation doses while retaining its configuration and its<br />

strength. The graphitic matrix is also readily prone to<br />

oxidation, making it susceptible to degradation in the<br />

presence of trace amounts of air or moisture leaking into<br />

the reactor coolant. The opposite is true <strong>for</strong> silicon<br />

carbide as it exhibits exceptional air and steam oxidation<br />

resistance.<br />

Finally, and most importantly, the porous, highly<br />

inhomogeneous, and amorphous graphitic matrix does<br />

not <strong>for</strong>m a hermetic barrier to fission product release.<br />

Silicon carbide, on the other hand, is the key constituent<br />

in TRISO fuel responsible <strong>for</strong> the exceptional fission<br />

At a Glance<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

25<br />

product containment within the fuel particles. When<br />

employed as a matrix surrounding the fuel particles, it<br />

provides a second highly effective barrier to any trace<br />

radionuclide release that may arrive from the particles.<br />

These benefits of FCM fuel represent a major evolution<br />

in what is now possible in advanced nuclear energy<br />

systems such as MMR.<br />

FCM as a Flexible Fuel Architecture<br />

In the past few years, advances in manufacturing<br />

technologies, specifically three-dimensional (3D)<br />

printing, have been applied to the production of silicon<br />

carbide matrix FCM fuel. The use of 3D printing results<br />

in the possibility of geometrically-unconstrained reactor<br />

core designs, offering further improvements in per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

and safety.<br />

FCM fuel, owing to the presence of multiple inherent<br />

barriers to radionuclide release, offers a geologically<br />

stable repository-ready fuel <strong>for</strong>m. These barriers also<br />

increase the difficulty of any attempts at clandestine<br />

recovery of actinides, resulting in increased proliferationresistance.<br />

In addition to the possibility of once-through disposal of<br />

high burnup uranium based FCM fuel, FCM provides an<br />

ideal route <strong>for</strong> disposition of waste from other reactors<br />

through transmutation of transuranic elements (TRU).<br />

TRU (Np, Pu, Am) from reactor spent fuel may be trans<strong>for</strong>med<br />

into TRISO and FCM fuel and optimally destroyed<br />

(burned) in MMRs. The FCM compacts act both as a<br />

robust fuel <strong>for</strong>m <strong>for</strong> deep burning and as an ideal waste<br />

<strong>for</strong>m <strong>for</strong> permanent disposition.<br />

FCM Manufacturing at Scale<br />

AT A GLANCE<br />

The highly robust FCM fuel technology, and the<br />

associated manufacturing methodology, are wholly<br />

agnostic to the overall fuel geometry, type, and configuration<br />

of the coated fuel particles. There<strong>for</strong>e, FCM<br />

fuel, as manufactured today, offers a fully flexible<br />

architecture to enable efficient deployment in a range of<br />

core designs and reactor systems. Some of these designs<br />

benefit from other variants of coated particle fuel, such<br />

as uranium nitride TRISO (instead of uranium oxidecarbide)<br />

or BISO particles, that lend themselves to highly<br />

compact or extraterrestrial-power systems.<br />

USNC exclusively owns the intellectual property rights to<br />

FCM fuel and associated silicon carbide 3D printing<br />

technologies, leveraging them <strong>for</strong> design and deployment<br />

of its various nuclear energy systems that include<br />

and expand beyond MMR.<br />

Repository Ready Fuel System<br />

USNC is actively working on deployment of pilot and<br />

commercial-scale manufacturing facilities <strong>for</strong> production<br />

of FCM fuel. Two facilities in the United States (Salt Lake<br />

City, UT and Oak Ridge, TN) are currently commissioned<br />

and are undertaking pilot production activities. This<br />

includes deployment and shakedown testing of<br />

production modules <strong>for</strong> the various serial processing<br />

steps to manufacture FCM fuel and full codification and<br />

qualification of these modules.<br />

USNC’s objective is the widespread deployment of safe,<br />

clean, cost-effective, and reliable nuclear energy <strong>for</strong> the<br />

benefit of humanity on earth and beyond. FCM fuel<br />

technology is a core component of our value pro position.<br />

We are working relentlessly to deploy large-scale<br />

manufacturing of this highly robust fuel system and<br />

invite partners who share our vision to join us in this<br />

endeavor.<br />

Kurt Terrani<br />

Executive Vice President<br />

Ultra Safe<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation<br />

USNC shares the vision of dramatically reducing the<br />

radiotoxicity, volume, hazard index, and handling cost of<br />

spent nuclear fuel originated from advanced reactors<br />

and the current fleet of light water reactors. The high<br />

radionuclide retention capability of the silicon carbide<br />

matrix in FCM fuel, reduces radiological contamination<br />

of core materials in advanced reactors. For example, the<br />

large hexagonal graphite blocks in prismatic high<br />

temperature gas-cooled reactors may only be disposed<br />

of as low-level waste when they are fueled with FCM,<br />

greatly reducing the waste volume.<br />

Contact<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation<br />

info@usnc.com<br />

www.usnc.com<br />

twitter.com/UltraSafeNuke<br />

linkedin.com/company/usnc<br />

At a Glance<br />

Ultra Safe <strong>Nuclear</strong> Corporation


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

26<br />

FUEL<br />

Westinghouse<br />

Fuel Design Advancements<br />

Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal<br />

The article presents recent advancements of the Westinghouse PWR and BWR fuel products and focuses on new<br />

design features that are targeted to further improve the fuel reliability and per<strong>for</strong>mance in the near future.<br />

Introduction PWR fuel<br />

Westinghouse currently supplies fuel<br />

to more than 100 PWR plants<br />

worldwide consisting of 14x14, 15x15,<br />

16x16, and 17x17 Westinghouse<br />

NSSS, Combustion Engineering (CE)<br />

16x16, KWU designs, and VVER fuel<br />

designs. Design improvements have<br />

been completed over the years to<br />

enhance reliability, mitigate fuel<br />

leakers, and address other fuel<br />

related issues such as fuel distortion,<br />

handling damage, and control rod<br />

insertability. Theses advancements<br />

have significantly improved fuel<br />

per<strong>for</strong>mance in all PWR designs. As an<br />

example, the con tinued use of the<br />

Westinghouse NSSS design’s multilayer<br />

debris protection with the Debris<br />

Filter Bottom Nozzle (DFBN), Robust<br />

Protective Grid (RPG) and fuel rod<br />

oxide coating has mitigated debris<br />

fretting leakers in the interior of the<br />

fuel assembly. However, there are still<br />

periodic peripheral rod leakers due to<br />

the debris path between assemblies.<br />

To combat the periodic peripheral<br />

rod leakers, Westinghouse has developed<br />

two different types of innovative<br />

Advanced Debris Filter Bottom<br />

Nozzle (ADFBN) designs. The development<br />

of the first ADFBN design<br />

has been deployed in several US<br />

reactors. Through extensive testing,<br />

the ADFBN design has been proven to<br />

significantly reduce the debris leakage<br />

path between assemblies and further<br />

prevent peripheral rod leakers. A<br />

follow up advanced nozzle has been<br />

designed <strong>for</strong> additive manufacturing<br />

(AM) processing to create complex<br />

debris path traps to dramatically<br />

improve debris filtering capability. The<br />

AM design has shown significant debris<br />

filtering improvement through rigorous<br />

debris test simulations. Westinghouse<br />

has incorporated this additional debris<br />

protection techno logy into part of the<br />

PRIME fuel design, which packages<br />

multiple feature enhancements together<br />

to improve fuel per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

and reliability that also support higher<br />

burnups. These PRIME features are<br />

being delivered in region quantities<br />

beginning in 2021.<br />

PRIME fuel description<br />

The PRIME fuel design is built upon<br />

the overall excellent per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

history of Westinghouse NSSS fleet<br />

including 17x17 OFA, 17x17 RFA/<br />

RFA-2, and 15x15 Upgrade fuel<br />

designs. The PRIME fuel design<br />

incorporates three new hardware<br />

features. The first feature is the transition<br />

from ZIRLO® grids to Low Tin<br />

ZIRLO grids. The second feature is<br />

the use of the rein<strong>for</strong>ced dashpot<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

Advanced PRIME Features.<br />

design. The third feature is the use of<br />

the PRIME bottom nozzle, which<br />

utilizes the ADFBN side skirt filter<br />

technology and also implements a<br />

lower pressure drop feature. All three<br />

PRIME features are adopted into the<br />

existing skeleton design to further<br />

advance fuel per<strong>for</strong>mance while<br />

maintaining fuel reliability.<br />

The PRIME fuel design features<br />

are shown in blue font in Figure 1<br />

below:<br />

Fuel<br />

Westinghouse Fuel Design Advancements ı Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FUEL 27<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

Tube-in-Tube Dashpot Assembly Design Schematic.<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Swaged and External Dashpot Assembly Design Schematics.<br />

Improved grid strap material<br />

Low Tin ZIRLO material has been<br />

chosen as the latest alloy to be used <strong>for</strong><br />

Westinghouse grids. This material has<br />

lower tin content as compared to<br />

standard ZIRLO, which provides <strong>for</strong><br />

enhanced per<strong>for</strong>mance with regard to<br />

corrosion and grid growth. Westinghouse<br />

has successfully implemented<br />

similar Low Tin ZIRLO materials in<br />

fuel rods in many reactors and the<br />

rods have shown significantly reduced<br />

oxide as compared to standard ZIRLO<br />

and Zr-4 rod materials.<br />

Improved skeleton stiffness<br />

Many nuclear utilities have expressed<br />

their interest in high burnup operation<br />

that provides fuel economics<br />

savings through increased cycle<br />

lengths and fewer outages. However,<br />

high burnup operation leads to fuel<br />

per<strong>for</strong>mance limitations including<br />

fuel distortion that could result in<br />

incomplete rod insertion (IRI) concerns<br />

as experienced back in the early<br />

1990s in some plants. An IRI event can<br />

occur when the control rodlet cannot<br />

be fully inserted in the guide thimbles<br />

of the fuel assembly due to excessive<br />

drag <strong>for</strong>ce between the guide thimble<br />

or dashpot tube inner surface and<br />

control rodlet. Many factors contribute<br />

to an IRI event including<br />

fuel assembly dimensional stability.<br />

Westinghouse has eliminated those<br />

IRI concerns through introduction of<br />

the RFA fuel design with ZIRLO<br />

material, thicker guide thimble walls<br />

and the tube-in-tube design with no<br />

IRI per<strong>for</strong>mance issues reported.<br />

To address potential fuel per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

limitations regarding<br />

fuel distortion during high burnup<br />

operation, Westinghouse has implemented<br />

incremental skeleton stiffness<br />

enhancements through development<br />

of the rein<strong>for</strong>ced dashpot design. The<br />

new design provides additional<br />

resistance to distortion in the dashpot<br />

region during high burnup operation.<br />

It is critical to provide higher distortion<br />

resistance in the dashpot area<br />

of the thimble tube since the dashpot<br />

region has minimal clearance between<br />

the control rodlet and the inner<br />

surface of the thimble tube.<br />

Two rein<strong>for</strong>ced dashpot designs<br />

were selected to improve skeleton stiffness<br />

in the dashpot region <strong>for</strong> the<br />

PRIME fuel package. The first chosen<br />

rein<strong>for</strong>ced dashpot design is the<br />

existing tube-in-tube design, shown<br />

in Figure 2, due to its positive field<br />

experience and availability <strong>for</strong> fuel<br />

designs ranging from 14, 15, and<br />

17 RFA and 17XL RFA arrays. However,<br />

it has not been universally implemented<br />

across the Westinghouse NSSS<br />

designs. The tube-in-tube dashpot<br />

assembly design consists of a constant<br />

diameter outer thimble assembly and<br />

a separate internal dashpot assembly.<br />

The second chosen rein<strong>for</strong>ced dashpot<br />

design is the external dashpot tube<br />

design shown in Figure 3. The external<br />

dashpot assembly is retro fitted into the<br />

existing 17x17 OFA swaged guide<br />

thimble assembly without any hardware<br />

changes to the fuel assembly<br />

skeleton hardware to minimize additional<br />

changes to the 17x17 OFA fuel<br />

design, which has per<strong>for</strong>med exceptionally<br />

over the years. The external<br />

tube is placed between the bottom grid<br />

and the bottom-most mid grid be<strong>for</strong>e<br />

the swaged transition as shown<br />

in Figure 3. The external tube is<br />

mechanically fastened with two<br />

restraint bulges to connect the external<br />

dashpot tube to the guide thimble<br />

tube. The external dashpot design<br />

is exclusively part of the PRIME<br />

17x17 OFA design.<br />

Improved debris filtering<br />

The debris protection features <strong>for</strong><br />

Westinghouse NSSS PWR fuel have<br />

provided very good per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

historically with respect to debris<br />

fretting leakers. These multi-layer<br />

debris protection features are<br />

illustrated in Figure 4. The historical<br />

Debris Filter Bottom Nozzle (DFBN)<br />

design had small flow hole sizes and is<br />

designed to mitigate debris-induced<br />

fuel rod fretting leakers by preventing<br />

debris from entering the fuel assembly.<br />

The Robust Protective Grid (RPG)<br />

traps any debris that passes through<br />

the DFBN against the elongated solidfuel-<br />

rod-bottom end plug avoiding<br />

penetration of the clad. Oxide coating<br />

over the bottom six inches of each fuel<br />

rod increases the surface hardness,<br />

thus increasing wear resistance over<br />

uncoated cladding.<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Proven Multi-layer Debris Protection Features.<br />

Fuel<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FUEL 28<br />

PRIME bottom nozzle<br />

The PRIME Bottom Nozzle design is<br />

comprised of an improved top flow<br />

plate and a lower side-skirt so that the<br />

bottom of the skirt is 0.125 inch from<br />

the lower core plate. The lowered<br />

side-skirt avoids any interferences<br />

with lower core plate protrusions<br />

from any Westinghouse NSSS plant<br />

and has demonstrated significant filtering<br />

improvement over traditional<br />

DFBN side-skirts through extensive<br />

flow testing. The PRIME Bottom<br />

Nozzle also been developed to incorporate<br />

an optimized flow hole feature<br />

to provide an added benefit to reduced<br />

pressure drop relative to the existing<br />

| Fig. 6.<br />

Additively Manufactured (AM) Bottom Nozzle.<br />

| Fig. 5.<br />

PRIME Bottom Nozzle Optimized Flow Hole<br />

Features to Reduce Pressure Drop.<br />

| Fig. 7.<br />

Additively Manufactured Bottom Nozzle Top Plate Filter.<br />

DFBN designs. The top plate flow hole<br />

has been optimized to incorporate a<br />

double inlet and single outer chamfer<br />

as shown in Figure 5, which provides<br />

additional thermal-hydraulic per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

margin to the fuel assembly.<br />

Additively manufactured<br />

bottom nozzle<br />

The AM Bottom Nozzle design, shown<br />

in Figure 6, is made from Alloy 718<br />

and utilizes a lowered skirt similar to<br />

that of the PRIME Bottom Nozzle with<br />

a top flow plate that dramatically<br />

reduces the size of debris that can pass<br />

through to the fuel rods. The additive<br />

manufacturing process has the ability<br />

to create high fidelity geometries<br />

with high strength alloys, such as<br />

Alloy 718, to enable the possibility of<br />

creating this complex top flow plate.<br />

Since the AM Bottom Nozzle is<br />

made from a much stronger material<br />

(Alloy 718) than current bottom<br />

nozzles, which are made from stainless<br />

steel, the thickness of the structural<br />

members can be minimized which allows<br />

<strong>for</strong> more overall flow area<br />

through the top flow plate and reduces<br />

the pressure drop of the structural<br />

portion of the top flow plate. Complex<br />

debris filtering features are added<br />

between the structural members to use<br />

the pressure drop margin to provide<br />

dramatic improvement in top plate<br />

debris filtering – reducing the size of<br />

the debris that can pass through the<br />

top flow plate by a factor greater than<br />

10 and thereby render it harmless. The<br />

specific concept used <strong>for</strong> the AM<br />

Bottom Nozzle is the double spire (i.e.,<br />

two meshes used), shown in Figure 7.<br />

The two spires (or meshes) are offset<br />

from each other to provide maximum<br />

debris filtering capability. The AM<br />

Bottom Nozzle design is planned to be<br />

deployed in lead use fuel assemblies in<br />

2022. The AM Bottom Nozzle design is<br />

not part of the PRIME fuel design but<br />

is an option to replace the PRIME<br />

Bottom Nozzle to provide further<br />

advanced debris protection.<br />

BWR fuel product development<br />

In the continued strive to offer Fuel<br />

Products with additional value both in<br />

terms of per<strong>for</strong>mance and reliability<br />

to the BWR plants, Westinghouse<br />

has pursued the development of the<br />

TRITON11® fuel, a new 11x11-rods<br />

design concept, as well as the new<br />

StrongHold® fuel inlet debris filter to<br />

be used in the Westinghouse SVEA-96<br />

Optima3 and TRITON11 BWR fuel<br />

products.<br />

Given the current economic<br />

pressure on the utilities, the key<br />

| Fig. 8.<br />

TRITON11 fuel design.<br />

development objective of TRITON11<br />

was to significantly reduce the fuel<br />

cycle costs, together with the ability of<br />

meeting the varying requirements<br />

between the different BWR utilities<br />

(such as extended cycle lengths,<br />

power uprates and higher burnups),<br />

while minimizing the risk of fuel leakers.<br />

TRITON11 is the greatest leap in<br />

Westinghouse BWR fuel innovation<br />

since the introduction of the SVEA<br />

concept in the early 1980’s. The<br />

fuel assembly mechanical design <strong>for</strong><br />

Nordic ASEA-type reactors is shown in<br />

Figure 8. In total, there are 109 fuel<br />

rods: 91 fuel rods of full length, 10<br />

part-length rods of approximately 1/3<br />

length and 8 part-length rods of<br />

approximately 2/3 length. All fuel<br />

rods are resting freely on the bottom<br />

tie plate and laterally supported by<br />

10 spacer grids of the same sleevetype<br />

design as used in SVEA-96<br />

Optima 3 fuel. Three cylindrical water<br />

channels referred to as water rods<br />

provide non-boiling water <strong>for</strong> improved<br />

moderation in the interior part<br />

of the fuel bundle.<br />

The TRITON11 fuel assembly<br />

design has been verified by out-of-pile<br />

testing and analyses to fulfill all<br />

requirements <strong>for</strong> insertion of Lead<br />

Test Assemblies (LTAs) in a nuclear<br />

plant. This includes all mechanical,<br />

thermal-hydraulic, and nuclear design<br />

features as well as the ability to safely<br />

transport the fuel in channeled condition<br />

and the ability to per<strong>for</strong>m<br />

reliable fuel service, inspection, and<br />

repair. The verification scope has been<br />

significantly extended by use of more<br />

advanced testing techniques and<br />

analysis methods to gain further<br />

insight in the behavior of the new<br />

design. All manufacturing processes<br />

<strong>for</strong> the first LTA deliveries have been<br />

tested, verified, and qualified to meet<br />

the high-quality standards and<br />

efficiency recognized in Westinghouse<br />

Fuel<br />

Westinghouse Fuel Design Advancements ı Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Authors<br />

| Fig. 9.<br />

Visual inspection of the upper part of the TRITON11 assembly.<br />

Derek Wenzel<br />

Manager, Product &<br />

Process Operations<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Engineering<br />

and Parts<br />

Westinghouse Electric<br />

Company<br />

Columbia, SC, USA<br />

wenzelds@<br />

westinghouse.com<br />

FUEL 29<br />

Dr Uffe Bergmann<br />

Consulting Engineer<br />

BWR & VVER Fuel<br />

Technologies<br />

Global Technology Office<br />

Westinghouse Electric<br />

Sweden AB<br />

bergmauc@<br />

westinghouse.com<br />

| Fig. 10.<br />

Left: StrongHold debris filter inlet side. Right: StrongHold AM debris filter inlet side.<br />

products. The 18 LTAs, initially loaded<br />

in two Nordic plants in 2019, included<br />

in the in-pile demonstration program<br />

<strong>for</strong> TRITON11, completed their<br />

second annual cycle of operation in<br />

May 2021. Poolside inspections<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med in both plants after one<br />

and two years of operation, including<br />

visual examination and dimensional<br />

measurements on fuel bundles and<br />

channels, have verified the anticipated<br />

behavior, as exemplified in<br />

Figure 9 <strong>for</strong> the upper part components.<br />

As a response to the growing<br />

concerns about debris fretting<br />

leakers in BWR fuel, Westinghouse is<br />

launching its new StrongHold debris<br />

filter. The debris capture efficiency<br />

of this new filter design was finely<br />

optimized using a new enhanced<br />

testing methodology. Further improvements<br />

in capture efficiency were<br />

obtained by utilizing the flexibility<br />

of Additive Manufacturing (AM) to<br />

create an extraordinary design<br />

referred to as StrongHold AM. Both<br />

filter designs have been proven to<br />

capture thin metal wires, of any shape,<br />

with 100 % efficiency down to a wire<br />

length of 7 mm - and even lower <strong>for</strong><br />

the StrongHold AM filter. The now<br />

completed out-of-pile testing and<br />

verification of both designs included<br />

testing of debris capture efficiency<br />

and post-LOCA clogging, filter pressure<br />

drop and filter mechanical<br />

endurance. The StrongHold filter<br />

showed additional margin, relative to<br />

the previous TripleWave+ filter,<br />

against clogging by the type of debris<br />

that may be released during a LOCA.<br />

StrongHold is based on the same<br />

basic geometry as the TripleWave+<br />

debris filter with a central wavy<br />

obstacle. By introducing additional<br />

perpendicular plates, the flow is split<br />

into narrow square-shaped flow<br />

channels as can be seen in Figure 10.<br />

The version of the StrongHold debris<br />

filter shown in the left panel is conventionally<br />

manufactured by cutting and<br />

stamping metal plates, assembling,<br />

and welding. The more advanced<br />

StrongHold AM version, shown in the<br />

right panel, is built in one piece from<br />

metal powder by use of AM technology.<br />

The added mechanical<br />

strength from the all-internal “welds”<br />

of StrongHold AM filter enables a<br />

reduction of the wall thickness. The<br />

resulting reduction in pressure<br />

drop enables some enhanced design<br />

features that further improve its<br />

capture efficiency <strong>for</strong> very short wires,<br />

by topology optimization.<br />

Both variants of the StrongHold<br />

filter design will greatly reduce the<br />

risk of debris fretting leakers in future<br />

deliveries of SVEA-96 Optima3 and<br />

TRITON11 fuel assemblies.<br />

Trademarks<br />

PRIME, ZIRLO, Low Tin ZIRLO, TRITON11, SVEA-96 Optima3,<br />

StrongHold and HiFi are trademarks or registered trademarks<br />

of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, its affiliates and/or its<br />

subsidiaries in the United States of America and may be registered<br />

in other countries throughout the world. All rights reserved.<br />

Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. Other names may be<br />

trademarks of their respective owners.<br />

Juan J. Casal<br />

Customer Solutions and<br />

Product Manager<br />

Fuel Hardware (BWR)<br />

and Engineering Services<br />

EMEA – Operating Plant<br />

Services<br />

Westinghouse Electric<br />

Sweden AB<br />

casaljj@<br />

westinghouse.com<br />

Fuel<br />

Westinghouse Fuel Design Advancements ı Derek Wenzel, Uffe Bergmann and Juan Casal


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FUEL 30<br />

Kazatomprom and the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle<br />

Mazhit Sharipov<br />

As it is well known, Kazakhstan has significant natural uranium reserves, ranking second in the world (15 %) after<br />

Australia (28 %). Since 2010, Kazatomprom (the National Uranium Operator) has been the leading producer of natural<br />

uranium (yellowcake) in the world, which has provided Kazakhstan with a 41 % share of global production.<br />

Kazatomprom also seeks to expand its presence in other parts of the global nuclear fuel market.<br />

| “ULBA-FA” LLP fuel assemblies production line.<br />

Kazatomprom is systematically working<br />

to achieve and maintain the status<br />

of a Preferred and Reliable Partner<br />

<strong>for</strong> the global nuclear industry over<br />

the long-term. At the same time,<br />

attention is paid to compliance<br />

with the principles of Sustainable<br />

Development and ESG (environment,<br />

social responsibility and governance).<br />

Kazatomprom is currently developing<br />

its uranium deposits using<br />

the in-situ recovery (ISR) method,<br />

which is both the most environmentally<br />

friendly and most costeffective<br />

method of uranium mining.<br />

Since 2018, the Company has also<br />

been the global leader in uranium<br />

sales.<br />

NFC projects<br />

Kazatomprom is interested not only in<br />

the extraction and supply of natural<br />

uranium, but also in the production<br />

and sale of more refined uranium<br />

products.<br />

The advantages of the chosen<br />

direction are the development of<br />

technologies <strong>for</strong> creating uranium<br />

products with higher added value, the<br />

expansion of export potential, the<br />

possibility of offering a complex<br />

product on the global market and the<br />

development of new sales channels.<br />

Uranium processing<br />

Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) with<br />

its long history, technology and<br />

capacity, as well as its qualified<br />

| Area <strong>for</strong> preparing press powders to be used<br />

<strong>for</strong> production of fuel pellets.<br />

| Fuel pellets.<br />

engineering and technical personnel,<br />

was appointed as the key uranium<br />

processing enterprise <strong>for</strong> the development<br />

of the Kazakhstan’s nuclear fuel<br />

cycle.<br />

Currently, UMP is one of the largest<br />

manufacturers of uranium, beryllium<br />

and tantalum products. It has more<br />

than 70 years of experience in the<br />

production and supply of high-tech,<br />

world-class products that are used<br />

in the nuclear, aviation, and space<br />

industries, as well as in electronics,<br />

medicine, instrumentation, science<br />

and many other leading industries.<br />

Today, uranium production at<br />

UMP includes the production of U 3 O 8 ,<br />

uranium dioxide powders from a<br />

variety of raw materials (refining and<br />

| Checking up the diameter of fuel pellets.<br />

| Administrative building of Ulba Metallurgical Plant.<br />

| Fuel pellets sintering area.<br />

Fuel<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

isotopic enrichment products, as<br />

well as fuel fabrication by-products)<br />

and fuel pellets. Uranium products<br />

are certified by and supplied to the<br />

largest fuel producers in the world in<br />

countries throughout North America,<br />

Europe and Asia.<br />

UMP is also mastering the production<br />

of new products and is<br />

carrying out certification processes in<br />

various countries. For the past<br />

10 years, UMP has been manufacturing<br />

and supplying fuel pellets to China<br />

factories and there are also long-term<br />

contracts.<br />

The enterprise seeks to adapt its<br />

products to new requirements and<br />

it is there<strong>for</strong>e upgrading the pellet<br />

production process.<br />

UMP has completed the re-qualification<br />

of its fuel pellet production<br />

<strong>for</strong> French designed AFA 3G type fuel<br />

assemblies, and it has polished the<br />

technology <strong>for</strong> the production of fuel<br />

pellets <strong>for</strong> other types of westerndesign<br />

fuel assemblies. In the very<br />

near future, it is expected that the processes<br />

used in UMP's technological<br />

line will be certified with the further<br />

setting up the production of new<br />

design fuel pellets and their supply to<br />

new markets.<br />

Participation in uranium<br />

enrichment<br />

Demonstrating adherence to the<br />

principles of nonproliferation and<br />

strictly adhering to the Nonproliferation<br />

Treaty, obligations to the<br />

| Launching Kazakhstan and Russia’s joint<br />

project on uranium enrichment, 2013.<br />

| Enriched uranium cylinder.<br />

IAEA and international agreements<br />

signed by Kazakhstan, Kazatomprom<br />

implemented a project on uranium<br />

enrichment in Russia.<br />

At present, a joint project with the<br />

Russian party is being carried out on<br />

the basis of the world’s largest Russian<br />

uranium enrichment enterprise – the<br />

Ural Electrochemical Combine. Since<br />

2014, the Kazakhstan-Russian joint<br />

venture Uranium Enrichment Center<br />

JSC had access to Russian uranium<br />

enrichment services in the amount of<br />

5 million SWU (separative work units)<br />

per year.<br />

This makes Kazatomprom a participant<br />

in the enrichment market and<br />

provides guaranteed access to one of<br />

the most important stages of the<br />

nuclear fuel cycle, without which it is<br />

impossible to manufacture nuclear<br />

fuel <strong>for</strong> nuclear power plants.<br />

Plans <strong>for</strong> a refinery project<br />

As part of the agreements reached<br />

between Kazatomprom and the<br />

Canadian company Cameco Corporation<br />

in 2020, technologies <strong>for</strong> the<br />

refining and conversion of uranium<br />

were obtained. At some point in<br />

the future, Kazatomprom plans to<br />

implement a project at the UMP site<br />

<strong>for</strong> the construction of a refinery using<br />

the obtained technology.<br />

It should be noted that the creation<br />

of a refinery, which is a nuclear purity<br />

U 3 O 8 production facility is intended<br />

to minimize the environmental impact<br />

in the region by eliminating the discharge<br />

of liquid waste, the release of<br />

associated gases and to reduce the<br />

consumption of hazardous chemicals<br />

during the processing of natural<br />

uranium concentrate.<br />

During 2020-2021, an assessment<br />

of the technical capacity and economic<br />

feasibility of such a project was<br />

completed, which resulted in positive<br />

conclusions. Currently, Kazatomprom<br />

and UMP are starting to develop<br />

| “Ulba-FA” fuel assemblies plant.<br />

| Fuel assembly.<br />

design documentation <strong>for</strong> the eventual<br />

construction of a refinery.<br />

In the future, Kazatomprom also<br />

plans to consider the economic<br />

feasibility of establishing a conversion<br />

facility in Kazakhstan.<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> fuel assembly<br />

production project<br />

Since 2015, a joint Kazakhstan-<br />

Chinese project has been underway to<br />

establish a facility <strong>for</strong> nuclear fuel<br />

assembly production in Kazakhstan.<br />

The goal of the project is to produce<br />

200 tons of certified French design<br />

AFA 3G fuel assemblies (FA) per year<br />

(enriched uranium) <strong>for</strong> the reactors<br />

operated by CGN in China.<br />

The project is a unique and positive<br />

example of multilateral, mutually<br />

beneficial cooperation in the field of<br />

nuclear energy, since companies from<br />

Kazakhstan, China, France, USA and<br />

Germany took part in the project.<br />

In 2015, joint venture Ulba-FA LLP<br />

was established (the founders: UMP –<br />

51 %, CGNPC-URC – 49 %) <strong>for</strong> the<br />

creation and further operation of<br />

a nuclear fuel production plant on<br />

the territory of the Republic of<br />

Kazakhstan, to Chinese nuclear power<br />

plants.<br />

During 2015-2020, major ef<strong>for</strong>ts<br />

were taken; agreements were<br />

reached and documented between<br />

Kazatomprom and CGNPC-URC on<br />

the main principles and mechanisms<br />

<strong>for</strong> the project implementation. The<br />

joint venture Ulba-FA LLP received the<br />

FUEL 31<br />

Fuel<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

FUEL 32<br />

| Skeleton production area.<br />

| Fuel assembly.<br />

technology <strong>for</strong> the production of<br />

FA with the AFA 3G design from<br />

Framatome; the project documentation<br />

on the FA plant was developed;<br />

contracts were signed with the companies<br />

from France, China and the<br />

Republic of Kazakhstan <strong>for</strong> the<br />

| Ceremony of signing the agreement on establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank.<br />

manufacture of technological equipment,<br />

as well as the issues on the<br />

supply of components and uranium<br />

raw materials required <strong>for</strong> production<br />

of fuel assemblies are resolved.<br />

At present, the construction of the<br />

fuel assembly facility has come to the<br />

final stage. This means that a unique<br />

enterprise – a plant <strong>for</strong> the production<br />

of nuclear fuel <strong>for</strong> nuclear plants – will<br />

soon start operating in Kazakhstan.<br />

Ulba-FA LLP completed all general<br />

construction work and installation of<br />

high-tech equipment; commissioning<br />

of the entire pro duction line was carried<br />

out and training of technical personnel<br />

was organized. The fuel assembly<br />

plant was accepted <strong>for</strong> operation<br />

in 2020. All the necessary state licenses<br />

(permits) were obtained to carry<br />

out the declared activities in the field<br />

of atomic energy use (nuclear fuel<br />

production). The audit of the quality<br />

management system by the end user<br />

of the plant’s products has been<br />

successfully passed.<br />

Due to the coronavirus pandemic,<br />

the deadline <strong>for</strong> completing the<br />

qualification carried out jointly with<br />

Framatome has been rescheduled. At<br />

the moment, all work is on schedule<br />

and the first pilot fuel assemblies have<br />

now been manufactured. Commercial<br />

production of fuel assemblies is<br />

expected <strong>for</strong> the end of 2021, and in<br />

accordance with the long-term<br />

contract, the first deliveries of finished<br />

products will be carried out next year.<br />

Fuel pellets manufactured at<br />

UMP will be used to fabricate fuel<br />

assemblies at Ulba-FA LLP. Their<br />

production was established more<br />

than 10 years ago and certified <strong>for</strong><br />

compliance with the requirements of<br />

nuclear fuel buyers and the developer<br />

of the fuel pellet design.<br />

The creation of the front-line<br />

step of the nuclear fuel cycle in<br />

Kazakhstan – the manufacture of<br />

fuel assemblies – will help to realize<br />

Kazatomprom’s longer-term strategic<br />

goal of investing in processing and<br />

other NFC stages to generate longterm<br />

value <strong>for</strong> the Company. As a<br />

result, a modern and fully automated<br />

production process will be established<br />

at UMP.<br />

Non-proliferation Projects<br />

Kazakhstan is rightfully recognized<br />

as the leader of the non-proliferation<br />

regime and, being a member of<br />

the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation<br />

of <strong>Nuclear</strong> Weapons (NPT), is actively<br />

working to further expand the<br />

peaceful use of atomic energy <strong>for</strong> the<br />

benefit of humanity, to strengthen the<br />

nuclear non-proliferation regime, and<br />

to improve the level of international<br />

security.<br />

The IAEA LEU Bank<br />

Kazakhstan, supporting the IAEA initiatives<br />

aimed at strengthening global<br />

nuclear safety, together with the<br />

Agency, imple mented a project to create<br />

a Low Enriched Uranium Bank<br />

(LEU Bank) on its territory, and Kazatomprom<br />

took an active part in the<br />

project.<br />

This project is one of the most<br />

significant multilateral projects in<br />

the field of non-proliferation and of<br />

mass destruction weapons.<br />

The LEU Bank was established<br />

under the auspices of the <strong>International</strong><br />

Atomic Energy Agency<br />

(IAEA) to ensure guaranteed supplies<br />

of nuclear fuel to nuclear power plants<br />

of the IAEA member states and is a<br />

storage facility <strong>for</strong> low enriched<br />

uranium, which is the starting<br />

material <strong>for</strong> the manufacture of fuel<br />

<strong>for</strong> nuclear power plants.<br />

The purpose of creating the<br />

LEU Bank is to ensure the efficient<br />

functioning of the international<br />

nuclear fuel market on a permanent<br />

basis, so that states using nuclear<br />

power or considering the possibility of<br />

its inclusion in the structure of of their<br />

energy production have confidence<br />

that they will be able to obtain nuclear<br />

fuel in a guaranteed and predictable<br />

manner.<br />

On August 29, 2017, an official<br />

ceremony of completion of the construction<br />

of the LEU Bank building<br />

was held with the participation of<br />

Fuel<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

| Uranium hexafluoride cylinders.<br />

| IAEA LEU Bank building.<br />

| Supply of low enriched uranium<br />

to the LEU Bank.<br />

the President of the Republic of<br />

Kazakhstan, the Director General of<br />

the IAEA and other officials of <strong>for</strong>eign<br />

states and international organizations.<br />

In 2019, the delivery of materials<br />

in the amount of 90 tons of low<br />

enriched uranium in the <strong>for</strong>m of<br />

uranium hexafluoride was organized<br />

to supply the LEU Bank, which is<br />

located at the secure UMP site. This<br />

volume does not exceed 10 percent of<br />

the amount of uranium that was previously<br />

stored at UMP as its own<br />

production reserves.<br />

The LEU Bank reached the operating<br />

stage in 2020, with UMP as the<br />

operator providing all conditions <strong>for</strong><br />

the safe storage of LEU.<br />

The placement of the IAEA nuclear<br />

material bank at the UMP recognizes<br />

the high level of safety at the plant<br />

that meets the strictest international<br />

criteria, the qualifications and experience<br />

of workers, and the quality<br />

of the enterprise’s per<strong>for</strong>mance.<br />

HEU to LEU processing<br />

In 1999, after 25 years of trouble-free<br />

operation in Kazakhstan, the BN-350<br />

fast neutron reactor, which used<br />

highly enriched nuclear fuel, was shut<br />

down.<br />

In addition, research reactors<br />

running on highly enriched fuel<br />

are being operated in Kazakhstan.<br />

Since Kazakhstan is systematically<br />

fol lowing the course of non-proliferation<br />

and nuclear safety, it is taking<br />

measures to reduce fuel enrichment<br />

in order to liquidate the entire available<br />

stock of highly enriched uranium<br />

(HEU).<br />

For these purposes, over the<br />

period of more than 20 years, joint<br />

trilateral projects are being implemented<br />

between Kazakhstan, the<br />

USA and the Russian Federation to<br />

convert HEU to low enriched uranium<br />

(LEU).<br />

Within the framework of this<br />

project, UMP has developed a technology<br />

<strong>for</strong> the processing of HEU in<br />

various aggregate states and at<br />

different levels of enrichment (to LEU<br />

with an enrichment of less than<br />

19.5 %), and identified a site to<br />

establish a processing facility.<br />

The conversion of HEU to LEU was<br />

successfully completed. Technologies<br />

developed by Kazakhstan specialists<br />

are highly appreciated by experts<br />

from the IAEA and the US Department<br />

of Energy.<br />

The safe shutdown of the BN-350<br />

reactor and the continuation of<br />

the conversion of fuel <strong>for</strong> research<br />

reactors in Kazakhstan from HEU<br />

to LEU, significantly contributes to<br />

international security and the nonproliferation<br />

of nuclear weapons.<br />

Conclusions<br />

Thanks to the implementation of its<br />

NFC projects, Kazatomprom not only<br />

creates new production facilities, but<br />

also acquires new knowledge and<br />

competencies while improving the<br />

qualifications of its specialists, and<br />

adopting the best practices in the<br />

nuclear field from the world’s leading<br />

companies.<br />

The implementation of multilateral<br />

projects makes it possible to<br />

expand interaction between companies<br />

from different countries, where<br />

working together on a specific project<br />

in real practice allows experts to<br />

exchange knowledge and experience,<br />

which ultimately is a good example of<br />

international cooperation.<br />

Thus, while maintaining its<br />

leadership in uranium mining,<br />

Kazatomprom is working also to<br />

establish new NFC production facilities<br />

in the Republic of Kazakhstan, <strong>for</strong><br />

the production of more refined and<br />

more valuable uranium products. This<br />

is expected to allow the company to<br />

strengthen its position in the global<br />

nuclear market over the longer-term,<br />

and expand its presence in other<br />

stages of the nuclear fuel cycle.<br />

Author<br />

Mazhit Sharipov<br />

Chief<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle Officer<br />

National Atomic<br />

Company<br />

Kazatomprom JSC<br />

nac@kazatomprom.kz<br />

Mazhit Sharipov graduated from the Obninsk Institute<br />

of <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Engineering, Faculty of <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

<strong>Power</strong> Plants and Installations with a degree in Heat<br />

<strong>Power</strong> Engineering. He began his career at the<br />

Institute of <strong>Nuclear</strong> Physics of the Academy of Sciences<br />

of the Kazakh SSR as an engineer of the Operation<br />

Service of the Experimental Reactor Unit. He also held<br />

various positions in the RoK Ministry of Energy and<br />

Mineral Resources, the RoK Ministry of Industry and<br />

New Technologies and the RoK Agency <strong>for</strong> Atomic<br />

Energy. Currently Mazhit Sharipov is a Chief NFC<br />

Officer at NAC Kazatomprom JSC.<br />

FUEL 33<br />

Fuel<br />

Kazatomprom and the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Cycle ı Mazhit Sharipov


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

34<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany –<br />

Indispensable Even After<br />

the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out<br />

Spotlight on Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuels GmbH (Framatome)<br />

Framatome<br />

For more than 60 years, Framatome’s professionals have<br />

specialised in the design and construction of nuclear<br />

power plants, the supply of steam generator systems,<br />

the design and construction of components and fuel<br />

assemblies, the integration of automation technology<br />

and service <strong>for</strong> all types of nuclear reactors. Worldwide,<br />

about 14,000 employees work <strong>for</strong> Framatome and its<br />

subsidiaries, such as ANF.<br />

The site near Hanau is a competence center <strong>for</strong> spacer<br />

production <strong>for</strong> Framatome worldwide. ANF, with its<br />

approximately 420 employees, is a wholly-owned<br />

subsidiary of Framatome GmbH (Erlangen). Specialist<br />

departments within the group of companies are<br />

responsible <strong>for</strong> the development and design of the<br />

fuel assemblies manufactured at ANF. The close<br />

exchange between the divisions ensures the feedback<br />

of experience and the continuous further development<br />

of the products.<br />

Framatome in Germany<br />

Framatome in Germany with its subsidiary ANF bundle –<br />

especially at the Erlangen, Lingen and Karlstein<br />

sites – comprehensive engineering and manufacturing<br />

capacities and are thus important know-how carriers<br />

<strong>for</strong> German industry.<br />

The company offers knowledge and experience across<br />

the entire nuclear value chain. With its safety-oriented<br />

technologies <strong>for</strong> several nuclear power plant types and<br />

models (PWR, BWR, VVER, EPR), the competence<br />

network has always made an important contribution<br />

to the global industry.<br />

Employees: > 3,000<br />

Turnover: > 700 M€<br />

Export share: > 85 %<br />

Locations: Erlangen<br />

Lingen<br />

Karlstein<br />

Framatome in Lingen<br />

(Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuels GmbH)<br />

Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuels GmbH (ANF), based in Lingen,<br />

manufactures boiling water reactor and pressurised<br />

water reactor fuel assemblies <strong>for</strong> the European market.<br />

The site also offers special products, manufacturing<br />

technology and consulting services <strong>for</strong> fuel element<br />

manufacturers worldwide. In addition to the<br />

plant in Lingen, ANF also has a component production<br />

facility in Karlstein (Main).<br />

In order to be able to manufacture fuel rods and fuel<br />

elements, the Lingen plant needs cladding tubes and<br />

components such as lower and upper tie plates as well<br />

as spacers. These metallic components are manufactured<br />

both in Germany – at the Karlstein plant – and<br />

in Framatome’s international manu facturing network.<br />

At the same time, the Lingen plant supplies uranium<br />

powder and fuel rods to sister companies abroad. This<br />

allows a flexible response to customer requirements<br />

and synergies in research and development can be<br />

exploited.<br />

The Lingen fuel element plant is licensed to process up<br />

to 650 tonnes of uranium per year in the <strong>for</strong>m of fuel<br />

elements. In addition, up to 800 tonnes of uranium per<br />

year of conversion services may be provided. Since the<br />

start of operation in 1979, 38,000 fuel elements with<br />

more than 6.8 million fuel rods have left the Lingen<br />

plant. The last fuel assemblies <strong>for</strong> the German market<br />

were delivered in December 2020.<br />

As a result of the German phase-out of nuclear power<br />

generation, the site has received orders <strong>for</strong> the<br />

reconstruction and dismantling of fuel assemblies that<br />

have not yet been used, thus contributing to nuclear<br />

fuel freedom in decommissioned German nuclear<br />

power plants. Special competences in the development<br />

and construction of manufacturing technologies <strong>for</strong>m<br />

another mainstay and ensure high manu facturing<br />

quality and thus safety in nuclear power plants outside<br />

Germany as well. ANF provides training and further<br />

education <strong>for</strong> experts in radiation protection, fissile<br />

material monitoring and other nuclear technology<br />

personnel. This is knowledge and expertise that will still<br />

be needed in Germany after 2022.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable Even After the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

35<br />

Stefan Möller, employee in the<br />

production of ANF in Lingen, assembling<br />

a 17 x 17 fuel element <strong>for</strong> a pressurized<br />

water reactor. The fuel rods are<br />

auto matically pushed into the<br />

predefined locations. Such a fuel element<br />

contains approx. 0.5 t of uranium,<br />

which is provided by the customer.<br />

Hermann Grüter, employee of the fuel rod production, checks the surfaces of<br />

the fuel rods as well as <strong>for</strong> straightness. This manual test is carried out on a<br />

granite block and concludes several upstream test steps, <strong>for</strong> leaks <strong>for</strong> example.<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

Trans<strong>for</strong>mation: a fuel element fabricator expands its portfolio<br />

“We already dealt with the change in the market situation very actively and<br />

consistently more than 10 years ago, especially in Germany,” explains Peter<br />

Reimann, Managing Director of ANF. “Due to the German energy turnaround,<br />

which heralded the end of elec tricity generation through nuclear power, the<br />

pro duction volume <strong>for</strong> fuel elements declined notice ably. The “second” German<br />

nuclear phase-out in 2011 has led to an approx. 50 per cent decline in the<br />

manufacturing volume <strong>for</strong> pressurized and boiling water reactors to date,” he<br />

explains further. “We were able to compen sate <strong>for</strong> this in part by manufacturing<br />

special products,” he adds.<br />

Peter Reimann,<br />

Managing Director of ANF.<br />

Thus, in recent years, the site has been increasingly trans<strong>for</strong>med into a solution<br />

provider <strong>for</strong> special products – <strong>for</strong> example, Gadolinium- and Chrome- doped<br />

tablets and technology. The special com pe tences acquired over many years in<br />

the development of technology solutions and in the construction of machines<br />

and plants <strong>for</strong> fuel element fabrication are now being successfully marketed<br />

and have become a secure pillar in the overall portfolio.<br />

Current and Future Portfolio at the Framatome Site in Lingen<br />

Development of industrial<br />

Innovations<br />

p<br />

We continuously and sustainably<br />

develop innovations<br />

in manu facturing, technology<br />

and processes and create an<br />

innovation portfolio.<br />

Production of top technologies and<br />

provision of services<br />

p<br />

p<br />

p<br />

Sale of important high-end systems<br />

<strong>for</strong> fuel element production, individually<br />

adapted to customer requirements.<br />

Complete after-sales services <strong>for</strong> plants.<br />

New: Production and maintenance of transport<br />

containers on behalf of the Framatome.<br />

Manufacture of fuel products<br />

p<br />

p<br />

p<br />

The production of fuel elements continues<br />

to be our core business and will continue to be<br />

the main revenue driver in the coming years.<br />

We are flexible and build different designs on a<br />

very high, inter nationally recognized quality level.<br />

New: We are expanding our range with an<br />

Eastern European design, so we follow an EU<br />

competition recommendation.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable Even After the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

36<br />

Be<strong>for</strong>e welding the end plug, a spring is inserted into the fuel rod.<br />

This ensures a stable tablet column during production,<br />

but also during transport of the fuel elements to the customer.<br />

Ralf Krüssel, project engineer,<br />

is part of the team<br />

that successfully developed APIS.<br />

Successful examples <strong>for</strong> special mechanical engineering<br />

Welding systems<br />

The welding systems developed at ANF using the<br />

resistance pressure welding process are set up and<br />

commissioned on site. The welding technology ensures<br />

gas-tight fuel rods – and thus contributes to the safe<br />

use of fuel elements in reactor operation. Behind this<br />

are 50 years of experience and constant further<br />

development of the technology. Welding systems<br />

from Lingen are part of Framatome’s portfolio and are<br />

used in fuel assembly fabrication worldwide.<br />

Testing facilities<br />

The development of the APIS (Automatic Pellet<br />

Inspection System) by ANF Lingen dates back to the<br />

1980s. Since that time, research has been carried out<br />

on the automatic measurement of pellets and the<br />

completion of a suitable system has been advanced.<br />

After many trials and with a higher computer capacity<br />

required <strong>for</strong> the measurements, it was then possible<br />

in 2007 to qualify and use the first fully automatic<br />

pellet inspection system. With this, all pellets (100 %<br />

inspection) are inspected <strong>for</strong> various characteristics<br />

automatically, at high speed and with objective<br />

criteria, evaluated and sorted out if necessary. The<br />

APIS as part of the pellet grinding line will also be used<br />

as best practice in Framatome’s sister plant Romans in<br />

the future. The system ensures quality and economic<br />

efficiency. It also reduces the strain on employees at<br />

the workplace. In the meantime, there is already a<br />

further development, which is currently being set up<br />

at the Framatome site in Romans.<br />

“We are proud of the development of our technology<br />

division, but it can only be operated and further<br />

developed in the long term with a functioning fuel<br />

assembly production,” explains Lingen site’s manager<br />

Andreas Hoff. “Only with this can special machines<br />

tested in our own production be marketed in the<br />

longer term,” he adds. Hoff explains: “To compensate<br />

<strong>for</strong> the declining volumes in fuel assembly production,<br />

we produce special products in the pellet and rod area,<br />

which make a major contribution to the economic<br />

operation of the plant.”<br />

In addition to technology and special machines, the<br />

site markets its know-how worldwide through training<br />

and education, service, consulting and expertise. ANF<br />

experts sit on committees and working groups in the<br />

nuclear industry and are sought-after contacts <strong>for</strong><br />

international bodies such as the <strong>International</strong> Atomic<br />

Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Safeguards<br />

Research and Development Association (ESARDA).<br />

For Peter Reimann, one thing is certain:<br />

“Framatome GmbH and Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Fuels GmbH want to continue to support<br />

the Federal Government in achieving the<br />

goals of maintaining nuclear com petence<br />

and contribute to ensuring that Germany<br />

remains internationally recognized in the<br />

field of nuclear technology.”<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable Even After the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

37<br />

Site manager Andreas Hoff at the<br />

Lingen plant with a PWR fuel<br />

element. In the background you<br />

can see the underfloor storage<br />

facility where fuel assemblies are<br />

stored suspended be<strong>for</strong>e they are<br />

transported on to the customer.<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> know-how in demand worldwide<br />

For many countries, nuclear power generation is and will remain an essential part of the national climate<br />

strategy <strong>for</strong> the coming decades. In Germany too, expertise is still needed <strong>for</strong> nuclear dismantling, interim<br />

and final storage, but also on issues of national and international safety.<br />

Framatome’s experience feedback in Germany from international projects with various reactor types from<br />

different manufacturers in its current value-added depth complements the decades of experience and<br />

broad expertise, and makes a significant contribution to reconciling national safety requirements and the<br />

safe further development of nuclear energy.<br />

The competences of Framatome GmbH and Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuels GmbH contribute significantly to these<br />

goals:<br />

p<br />

p<br />

Retention of know-how and personnel: Only participation in international projects can ensure exchange<br />

with international partners and thus feedback into training and teaching.<br />

Maintaining competence <strong>for</strong> activities that are still pending in Germany: Participation in international<br />

projects ensures that nuclear know-how continues to be available in Germany – an essential prerequisite<br />

<strong>for</strong> maintaining competence <strong>for</strong> the upcoming challenges such as dismantling, final storage and safety<br />

research in Germany.<br />

p Maintaining a central role in international bodies: By participating in international projects, nuclear,<br />

safety-relevant competences are maintained and expanded. In this way, the Federal Republic of<br />

Germany continues to secure its position as a competent partner in the field of nuclear technology in<br />

international organizations such as the UN, IAEA, OECD, EU and in standards bodies. It can thus continue<br />

to ensure its influence in the future so that globally binding safety standards are met and nuclear<br />

technology is used <strong>for</strong> the benefit of all.<br />

p<br />

p<br />

In<strong>for</strong>mation about developments: Through its involvement in global value chains, the Federal Republic<br />

can gain early access to in<strong>for</strong>mation and knowledge about developments, projects, planning and<br />

regulations. Without Germany’s active participation in the international nuclear industry, this<br />

knowledge would not be available.<br />

Fuel optimization: The development of fuel elements with high utilization as well as the conversion and<br />

recovery of raw materials from unirradiated products will minimize the amount of used fuel elements<br />

in Germany and worldwide.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Expertise <strong>for</strong> Germany – Indispensable Even After the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

38<br />

Employees<br />

Urenco-Group approx. 1600<br />

Urenco Deutschland GmbH approx. 300<br />

Turnover<br />

Urenco-Group (2020) > 1700 m€<br />

Urenco Deutschland GmbH (2020) > 400 m€<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany –<br />

a Legitimate Case Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Phase-out<br />

Spotlight on Urenco Deutschland GmbH<br />

Urenco – enrichment services and<br />

fuel cycle products.<br />

For more than 50 years, Urenco has offered its global<br />

customers safe, cost-effective and reliable uranium<br />

enrichment services based on centrifuge technology<br />

developed in-house. It is the only supplier in the world<br />

to operate enrichment facilities in several countries<br />

simultaneously: the Netherlands (Almelo, since<br />

1973), the United Kingdom (Capenhurst, since 1973),<br />

Germany (since 1985) and the United States (Eunice,<br />

NM, since 2010). Thus, as a supplier to 50 utilities in<br />

21 countries, Urenco contributes significantly to a safe<br />

and low-carbon electricity supply in many countries<br />

around the world.<br />

Centrifuge technology is also used in the Urenco<br />

Group to separate other isotopes. These isotopes are<br />

used, <strong>for</strong> example, in research or medicine. Last year,<br />

operations began at the Tails Management Facility<br />

(TMF) in Capenhurst. This enables responsible and<br />

resource-conscious handling of depleted uranium.<br />

In addition, Urenco is involved in the development of<br />

U-Battery, an advanced modular reactor.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

39<br />

Tails yard<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

Urenco Deutschland GmbH – Developments at the site<br />

At the end of the 1970s, the course was set <strong>for</strong> the location<br />

of Germany‘s first and only uranium enrichment<br />

plant at the Gronau site. The seismically inactive area and<br />

the proximity to the already existing Dutch site were<br />

some of the reasons <strong>for</strong> the location. The German<br />

production team first gained experience in the Netherlands<br />

be<strong>for</strong>e the plant in Gronau in the Münsterland area<br />

went into operation in August 1985 after a successful<br />

licensing and construction process. Since then, Urenco<br />

Germany has produced about 67,000 tones of enriched<br />

uranium.<br />

The nuclear fuel produced from this work has generated<br />

and continues to generate economically about<br />

5.8 trillion kWh of electricity in nuclear reactors, about<br />

10 times the electricity consumption of the whole of<br />

Germany <strong>for</strong> the year 2019.<br />

A lot happened since the late 1970s, when the site was<br />

purchased, and August 1985, when the first cascades<br />

went into operation. An important development step<br />

happened on Valentine‘s Day 2005, when permission<br />

was granted to expand the plant. At that time, the<br />

responsible authorities in Düsseldorf and Berlin were<br />

both led by a red-green government. The construction<br />

of the uranium separation plant 2, or UTA-2 <strong>for</strong> short,<br />

then took place. Finally, in autumn 2011, the last<br />

cascades were put into operation and the total<br />

capacity of the plant was increased towards the<br />

approved 4,500 t of separative work per year. As the<br />

last part of the expansion permit, the commissioning<br />

of the structurally complete uranium oxide storage<br />

facility is pending.<br />

For the Federal Republic of Germany,<br />

Walter Scheel and Hans Leussink signed as<br />

responsible Federal Minister/Vice Chancellor<br />

At the beginning of 2017, Urenco‘s Central Technology<br />

Group (CTG) moved from Bad Bentheim (Lower<br />

Saxony) to the Gronau site. Since then, the jointly used<br />

76 ha site has been called the “Gronau Technology<br />

Centre”. This name is all the more appropriate since<br />

“Urenco Technology & Development” (UTD) evolved<br />

from CTG in 2021. UTD consists of highly qualified<br />

employees from all Urenco countries who work and<br />

provide services <strong>for</strong> the entire group from its main site<br />

in Gronau.<br />

Urenco Deutschland GmbH –<br />

Treaty commitments and oversight<br />

In 1970, the signing of the Treaty of Almelo (NL) marked<br />

the beginning of a hitherto unique international<br />

cooperation in the field of uranium enrichment. Great<br />

Britain, the Netherlands and Germany agreed to jointly<br />

develop centrifuge technology and to use the nuclear<br />

fuel produced exclusively <strong>for</strong> the peaceful use of nuclear<br />

energy. Nonproliferation has been an important topic<br />

from the very start. With this state anchoring, the<br />

success story of Urenco began.<br />

Over time, this international framework has been<br />

extended. The Washington (1992) and Cardiff (2006)<br />

treaties allow the sharing of technology with French<br />

companies and the construction of a new plant in the<br />

USA. In addition to the multi-state supervision via the<br />

so-called Joint Committee, there are regular controls<br />

by international institutions such as the <strong>International</strong><br />

Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or the European Atomic<br />

Energy Community (Euratom). There other links with<br />

the IAEA too. For years, Urenco Deutschland GmbH<br />

has supported the IAEA in the training of future<br />

inspectors; and in 2020, the sponsorship of the Marie<br />

Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme by Urenco<br />

was announced by CEO Boris Schucht during an<br />

appointment with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.<br />

In addition, ETC Germany, as a subsidiary of Urenco, is<br />

engaged on behalf of the German government with<br />

specialist knowledge and unique expertise in the field<br />

of nuclear nonproliferation and supports the IAEA.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

40<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

The enrichment process<br />

Cylinder handling UTA-2<br />

Central control room<br />

To initiate and sustain a controlled chain reaction in<br />

natural water, uranium fuel must have a concentration<br />

of U-235 greater than 3 %. Naturally occurring uranium<br />

has a concentration of 0.711 % U-235. The actual<br />

principle of enrichment is simple. By means of rapidly<br />

rotating rotors inside rigid recipients, the difference in<br />

mass between different uranium isotopes can be used<br />

to initiate a separation process and increase the<br />

concentration from 0.711 to about 3-5% U-235 <strong>for</strong> the<br />

use of nuclear energy <strong>for</strong> power supply. What makes<br />

this process so challenging and special can be described<br />

as follows:<br />

The cylinders<br />

Roughly speaking, there are two standardised pressure<br />

vessel types that are used to transport the uranium<br />

with its accompanying fluorine (uranium hexafluoride<br />

or UF 6 ). The 30B cylinders are about 2.20 metres long<br />

and hold about 2.2 tonnes of UF6. In total, a cylinder<br />

weighs 2.85 t. The larger 48Y cylinders with a length of<br />

about 3.8 metres weigh about 15 t with UF 6 . As a rule,<br />

the natural uranium and the depleted uranium are<br />

delivered or transported in the 48Y cylinders. In<br />

addition to road transport, the company‘s own railway<br />

siding can also be used <strong>for</strong> this purpose. The smaller<br />

30B containers are used to transport the final product<br />

according to customer requirements. The manufacturers<br />

of the containers and the production itself<br />

are highly qualified. The cylinders are periodically<br />

inspected and subjected to several tests in accordance<br />

with hazardous goods legislation. These include a<br />

28 bar pressure test, a drop test on an unyielding steel<br />

plate and a fire test (48Y and 30B containers). In<br />

addition, the tanks are made of thick-walled steel (13<br />

or 16 mm) and are visually inspected every quarter in<br />

the storage yard. In the almost four decades of<br />

Urenco‘s operation, there has not been a single<br />

incident or even sign of leakage from a cylinder.<br />

When transporting both the 30B and 48Y cylinders,<br />

protective packaging is also used to protect the<br />

material and the cylinder against, <strong>for</strong> example, a<br />

theoretical fully contained fire.<br />

The process<br />

For the real procedural process of uranium enrichment,<br />

solid UF 6 (feed) is delivered by truck or rail. Both the<br />

cylinders and the equipment provided are inspected<br />

<strong>for</strong> possible external contamination and damage as<br />

well as <strong>for</strong> their suitability. To check the uranium<br />

content, the containers are transported to the separation<br />

plant by a special transport vehicle, where they<br />

are weighed and sampled.<br />

In the plant built until 1998 (UTA-1), the UF6 is fed from<br />

the transport containers by means of a heating station.<br />

In this station, the feed containers are heated to<br />

80 to 100 °C by electrically heated warm air, whereby<br />

their contents liquefy completely. The vapour pressure<br />

created above the liquid phase is fed to the centrifuges<br />

after a multi-stage pressure reduction. After enrichment<br />

in the centrifuges, the UF 6 is fed into deep- frozen<br />

collection containers (desublimors). Here it is frozen<br />

out of the gas phase at -70 °C (desublimated). Water is<br />

used as a coolant <strong>for</strong> tails and air <strong>for</strong> product. The filled<br />

desublimors are heated and the evaporating UF 6 flows<br />

in gaseous <strong>for</strong>m through pipes into the transport<br />

cylinders, where it solidifies again through cooling.<br />

In all plant sections built since 1998, feed is supplied<br />

directly from the solid UF 6 phase under athmosphere<br />

pressure. UF 6 pumps are used, which have a much<br />

smaller UF 6 inventory and lower energy consumption<br />

compared to the process described above. Also, in<br />

contrast to the desublimors, much smaller quantities<br />

of refrigerant are required. Product and tails are<br />

desublimated directly with low-pressure pumps into<br />

deep-frozen UF6 transport and storage containers.<br />

There are physical limits to desublimation in a single<br />

centrifuge. No further enrichment or depletion takes<br />

place beyond a certain stage. In the centrifuge process,<br />

the solution is to interconnect several centrifuges<br />

to <strong>for</strong>m so-called cascades. The UF 6 gas is separated<br />

in cascaded centrifuges into an enriched stream<br />

( product) and a depleted stream (tails) (see figure). In<br />

the product transfer system in the technical infrastructure<br />

building, product material of different U-235<br />

concentrations is mixed in order to set the exact<br />

concentration required by the customer <strong>for</strong> each<br />

container. In the process, the UF 6 is homogenised<br />

(mixed) by reheating and liquefaction. Finally, samples<br />

are taken to determine the degree of enrichment,<br />

be<strong>for</strong>e the containers filled with tails or product are<br />

transported to the respective warehouses.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

41<br />

Dr. Joachim Ohnemus<br />

Urenco – Outlook <strong>for</strong> the future.<br />

SITE SPOTLIGHT<br />

Managing Director Dr Joachim Ohnemus sees Urenco<br />

Germany well positioned <strong>for</strong> the future: „We benefit<br />

from our German mentality. People in the group know<br />

about German virtues. Guests, <strong>for</strong> example, are often<br />

amazed at the condition of our first plant, which is<br />

already 36 years old. The great ef<strong>for</strong>t when it comes<br />

to maintenance measures, ageing management,<br />

redundant design and normal cleaning services is<br />

simply visible in the plant and on its components. In addition,<br />

the installed centrifuges are proving to be very<br />

durable. The cascades from the 1980s and 1990s are<br />

still in operation and generating output. More over, we<br />

are the only European plant to have installed the most<br />

modern centrifuges in our new plant, UTA-2. Only our<br />

US colleagues also use the TC-21. This makes us very<br />

proud, of course, and ensures a balanced plant structure<br />

with tried-and-tested technology that has proven its<br />

efficiency <strong>for</strong> decades, and with the world‘s most<br />

modern centrifuges and corresponding infrastructure<br />

that has virtually ushered in a new generation.<br />

Nevertheless, we must not rest on our laurels. As the<br />

Urenco Group, we have launched various diversifi cation<br />

projects in order to be able to respond to changing<br />

customer requirements. At our site, Urenco Technology<br />

& Development (UTD) is a sign of our further internationalisation<br />

and the efficiency improvements of the<br />

entire Urenco Group.<br />

I am proud to have been able to follow the path of<br />

Urenco Deutschland as Managing Director <strong>for</strong> 23 years.<br />

At the end of my career, I am now looking <strong>for</strong>ward to<br />

the 2021 parliamentary elections be<strong>for</strong>e I hand over<br />

the baton to my successor, Dr Jörg Harren. Not only can<br />

he look <strong>for</strong>ward to a healthy company in terms of<br />

numbers, but above all to a very committed, wellcoordinated<br />

and highly qualified work<strong>for</strong>ce.“<br />

Sustainability and Net Zero<br />

Sustainability is integral to<br />

everything we do and in 2021<br />

we have refreshed our sustain ability strategy, which is now focused<br />

on three building blocks: environmental impact; social impact and<br />

governance and ethics.<br />

This followed a materiality assessment, gathering the views of key<br />

stakeholder groups through interviews with industry and sustainability<br />

experts, a customer survey, and an employee survey and workshops.<br />

All stakeholders were asked to identify priorities <strong>for</strong> Urenco from a<br />

comprehensive list of sustainability topics. We took this feedback and<br />

considered the key role that Urenco plays in facilitating the low carbon<br />

energy that society needs; how we conduct our day-to-day activities<br />

with minimal impact to the environment and the communities in which<br />

we operate; and the strategic goals <strong>for</strong> our long term success.<br />

The resulting refreshed sustainability strategy demonstrates how<br />

Urenco contributes to a net zero world and the United Nations<br />

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and aligns with established<br />

environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks.<br />

We are currently working on defining new key per<strong>for</strong>mance indicators<br />

and our roadmap to net zero by or in advance of 2040 as part of our<br />

commitment to The Climate Pledge. The roadmap will focus on the<br />

areas of ‘eliminate and reduce’, ‘substitute’ and ‘offset’ and this will be<br />

finalised and communicated later this year.<br />

U-Battery<br />

U-Battery, a micro-modular reactor development programme<br />

involving Urenco, progressed through to the next stage of the<br />

UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s<br />

(BEIS) Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) competition last year.<br />

This saw a further £10m contribution from the UK Government<br />

to conduct design and development work to bring the new<br />

nuclear technology closer to market.<br />

It follows the successful completion of a feasibility study that<br />

made the business, economic and technical case <strong>for</strong> the<br />

deployment of U-Battery in the UK and in Canada, where it<br />

would be deployed in industrial applications, mining sites and<br />

remote locations and have a positive effect on decarbonisation<br />

and climate change ef<strong>for</strong>ts. It is also a highly versatile technology<br />

that can be used <strong>for</strong> other beneficial purposes, such as the<br />

production of hydrogen through the copper chlorine process.<br />

U-Battery received an additional £1.1m of funding from BEIS to<br />

design and build the two main vessels (the reactor and intermediate<br />

heat exchanger) and the connecting duct. During the<br />

next phases of the programme, U-Battery will be working to <strong>for</strong>m<br />

new partnerships <strong>for</strong> the longer term development of the AMR.<br />

Site Spotlight<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Competencies in Germany – a Legitimate Case Also After the <strong>Nuclear</strong> Phase-out


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

42<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters:<br />

Stability Considerations During Static<br />

and Dynamic Impact<br />

Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber<br />

Introduction High-level radioactive waste (HLW) is mainly a by-product of technical nuclear reactions. It has the<br />

highest radioactivity and longest decay time (millions of years with significant radiation). Most HLW (more than 90 %)<br />

comes from spent nuclear fuel. The deep geological disposal concept is considered without alternatives worldwide.<br />

This concept includes the multibarrier<br />

concept, which contains three<br />

main elements:<br />

p Canisters: HLW is sealed safely in<br />

special long-term safe canisters.<br />

p Engineering barrier: Canisters are<br />

embedded into an engineered<br />

sealing environment (e.g. bentonite)<br />

inside the host rock.<br />

p Geological barrier: Embedded<br />

canisters are safely buried underground<br />

protected by geological<br />

layers.<br />

This concept should work <strong>for</strong><br />

extremely long time (> 1 Mio. years),<br />

so that any critical contact between<br />

waste and biosphere is avoided.<br />

Two concepts <strong>for</strong> canisters exist:<br />

corrosion resistant ones and corrosion<br />

allowed ones. Corrosion resistance<br />

considers attack from water, acid,<br />

alkali, salt, radiation, bacteria etc. <strong>for</strong><br />

a very long time (e.g. resistance<br />

> 100,000 years). Allowed corrosion<br />

means limited corrosion is accepted<br />

and safety is guaranteed only <strong>for</strong> a<br />

certain restricted time span (e.g.<br />

about 1,000 years). The central point<br />

is to choose most corrosion resistant<br />

material while meeting also other<br />

criteria. Different countries have<br />

developed different philosophies in<br />

terms of canister design. So far, the<br />

following materials <strong>for</strong> canisters and<br />

over-packs, respectively, are under<br />

consideration: stainless steel/carbon<br />

steel, nickel alloy, cast iron, pure<br />

copper or copper coating, special<br />

concretes, aluminum, SiC, ZrC,<br />

ceramic coatings.<br />

All the above-mentioned materials<br />

and corresponding canister concepts<br />

have their pros and cons. For nearly all<br />

of them it is critical to proof extreme<br />

long lifetime. In terms of resistance<br />

and lifetime SiC and SSiC especially,<br />

show some remarkable advantages.<br />

Already Onofrei et al. [1] studied<br />

the leaching characteristics of ceramic<br />

canisters. Haslam et al. [2] evaluated<br />

corrosion resistance of ceramic<br />

coatings thermally sprayed on waste<br />

containers in simulated ground water<br />

of 90 °C. Donald et al. [3] estimated<br />

the lifetime of SiC and ZrC coatings<br />

<strong>for</strong> nuclear fuel in TRISO and TRIZO<br />

concept <strong>for</strong> direct geological disposal.<br />

Kerber and Knorr [4] proposed a<br />

new concept by SSiC (solid-state<br />

pressure-less sintered silicon carbide)<br />

encapsulation of HLW. This concept<br />

has drawn attention due to the<br />

excellent corrosion resistance, low<br />

permeability and high mechanical<br />

strength of SSiC (see Table 1).<br />

On the other side, SSiC is a brittle<br />

material. There<strong>for</strong>e, it is necessary to<br />

consider the stability and potential<br />

fracturing of SSiC canisters under<br />

static and dynamic loading scenarios.<br />

This paper considers this problem via<br />

numerical simulations concentrating<br />

Inert gas, reducing atmosphere Stable up to 2,320 °C<br />

Oxidizing atmosphere<br />

Hydrogen<br />

Water vapor<br />

Acids, diluted and concentrated<br />

H 3 PO 4<br />

HF/HNO 3<br />

Potassium hydroxide solution<br />

Molten sodium and<br />

potassium-hydroxides<br />

on tensile failure (mode-I crack<br />

propagation in terms of fracture<br />

mechanics). Unprotected and protected<br />

(coated, covered) canisters are<br />

investigated. It is not the aim of<br />

this study to deliver comprehensive<br />

simulations <strong>for</strong> final canister design,<br />

but to provide the order of magnitude<br />

of potentially induced impact stresses<br />

<strong>for</strong> different loading scenarios and to<br />

document, that proper cover ( coating)<br />

of SSiC canisters can avoid any kind of<br />

mechanical damage during transport,<br />

installation and final storage.<br />

Lab testing and numerical<br />

calibration of SSiC<br />

Special lab tests like illustrated in<br />

Figure 1 were conducted to determine<br />

the tensile strength of the SSiC.<br />

Resistant up to 1.650 °C, above 1,000 °C<br />

<strong>for</strong>mation of protective layer of silica<br />

Stable < 1,430 °C, > 1,430 °C appreciable attack<br />

Stable < 1,150 °C, > 1,150 °C some reaction<br />

Resistant at RT and elevated temperatures<br />

Some attack<br />

Appreciable attack<br />

Appreciable attack<br />

Appreciable attack > 500 °C<br />

Fused sodium carbonate Appreciable attack > 900 °C<br />

Sintered Density > 3.10 g/cm 3<br />

Young’s Modulus<br />

| Tab. 1.<br />

Parameter of SSiC.<br />

400 GPa<br />

Poisson Ratio 0.16<br />

Vickers Hardness HV200<br />

25.7 GPa<br />

Fracture Toughness (indentation with 10 N load) 4.9 MPa m 1/2<br />

Thermal Conductivity<br />

Strength (4-point-flexural test)<br />

120 W/mK<br />

400 MPa<br />

Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion at RT 3.3 x 10 -6 K -1<br />

Porosity 1 % – 2 %<br />

Specific Electrical Resistance (depending on impurity level SiC)<br />

Maximal Pore Size<br />

Maximal Crystal Size<br />

10 2 – 10 4 Ωcm<br />

20 – 50 µm<br />

35 µm<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Bulk modulus (GPa) 200<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

Numerical simulation and lab tests of small hollow SSiC cylinders; Numerical model duplicating the lab<br />

tests with indication of tensile failure development at peak pressure; Load-displacement curves of lab<br />

tests and numerical simulation results assuming tensile strength of 150 and 200 MPa, respectively.<br />

This type of test was chosen due to the<br />

following reasons: (a) the extremely<br />

high strength of the material would<br />

make classical tensile tests complicated<br />

and (2) this type of tests<br />

duplicates very well the real canister<br />

situation as hollow cylinder. The<br />

tested cylinders are 5 cm in length and<br />

have outer and inner radius of 2.5 cm<br />

and 2.0 cm, respectively. The small<br />

hollow SSiC cylinders were compressed<br />

between 2 loading platens<br />

until tensile failure initiated at the<br />

inner cylinder wall leads to brittle<br />

failure. In total five lab tests were<br />

conducted, results are presented in<br />

Figure 1. For a hollow cylinder under<br />

compressive line loading the following<br />

analytical solution developed by<br />

Timoshenko exist <strong>for</strong> the failure load:<br />

(1)<br />

where:<br />

ρ – ratio of inner to outer radius<br />

of cylinder<br />

R – outer radius of cylinder<br />

P – tensile failure load<br />

σ θ – tensile strength<br />

θ – angle.<br />

After conducting the lab tests, equivalent<br />

numerical simulations were<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med (see Figure 1). A modified<br />

elasto-plastic Mohr-Coulomb failure<br />

criterion with tension-cut-off and<br />

strain- softening was applied. To<br />

duplicate the extreme brittle behavior,<br />

after reaching the tensile strength,<br />

softening starts immediately and<br />

tensile strength is set to zero. The<br />

cohesion was deduced from a test<br />

with similar material (SiC-N) and set<br />

to 4 GPa [5]. Tab. 2 shows the used<br />

Shear modulus (GPa) 180<br />

Friction angle (°) 40<br />

Tensile strength (MPa) 150 / 200<br />

Density (kg/m 3 ) 3100<br />

Cohesion (GPa) 4<br />

Dilation (°) 0<br />

Elastic modulus (GPa) 415<br />

Poison’s ratio µ 0.15<br />

| Tab. 2.<br />

Numerical model parameters <strong>for</strong> SSiC.<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

Analytical and numerical simulation results <strong>for</strong> failure load P with varied<br />

radius ratio ρ assuming tensile strength of 150 MPa.<br />

model parameters. The distinct<br />

element code 3DEC [6] was used <strong>for</strong><br />

the simulations.<br />

According to Figure 1, the tensile<br />

strength of SSiC is somewhere<br />

between 150 MPa and 200 MPa. For<br />

safety reasons, the tensile strength of<br />

SSiC is set to 150 MPa in all further<br />

calculations. According to Eq. (1) the<br />

failure line load P is determined by<br />

tensile strength σ θ , outer radius R,<br />

as well as radius ratio ρ (ρ = r/R).<br />

Figure 2 compares numerical and<br />

analytical results <strong>for</strong> failure load P <strong>for</strong><br />

different radius ratios and proves that<br />

numerical simulations deliver reliable<br />

results.<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 43<br />

Simulation strategy<br />

to consider static and<br />

dynamic loading<br />

Different loading scenarios are considered<br />

under conservative assumptions.<br />

Dynamic loading (impact) is<br />

considered <strong>for</strong> scenarios during transport<br />

and installation of the canisters.<br />

Static loading via in-situ rock stresses<br />

is considered after final placement of<br />

the canister. Dynamic loading scenarios<br />

comprise two cases: (a) free fall of<br />

a canister and (b) rockfall from<br />

the roof on the canister. In both cases<br />

the considered maximum drop<br />

height is 2 m. In case of static loading<br />

the maximum disposal depth is<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 44<br />

Material<br />

Bulk modulus<br />

(GPa)<br />

Shear modulus<br />

(GPa)<br />

Density<br />

(kg·m -3 )<br />

Elastic modulus<br />

(GPa)<br />

1200 meters below surface with<br />

different anisotropic stress ratios<br />

(minimum to maximum principal<br />

stresses) up to 1:3. SSiC canister and<br />

foundation are modelled as elastic<br />

material. The falling rock blocks are<br />

simulated either as elastic material or<br />

as assembly of distinct blocks with<br />

calibrated elasto-plastic parameters,<br />

which allows to consider the rock<br />

disintegration during the impact.<br />

Damping was not applied <strong>for</strong> the<br />

dynamic simulations because data are<br />

not available, but viscous boundary<br />

conditions were applied to avoid<br />

unrealistic reflections at the lower<br />

bottom of the ground. This makes the<br />

simulations once again conservative.<br />

The interface stiffnesses at the contact<br />

between the colliding parts (e.g.<br />

between canister and rock block or<br />

ground) are adjusted in such a way,<br />

that impact induced stresses reach<br />

maximum values (corresponding lab<br />

data are not available). So far not<br />

explicitly otherwise mentioned the<br />

model parameters given in Table 3 are<br />

applied.<br />

µ jkn<br />

(GPa·m -1 )<br />

jks<br />

(GPa·m -1 )<br />

Rock & Foundation 40 29 2500 70 0.21 100 100<br />

Buffer 1 0.5 2000 1.35 0.27 100 100<br />

SSiC 200 180 3100 415 0.15 100 100<br />

Clay-stone 40 18 2500 47 0.30 100 100<br />

Clay-stone<br />

jkn<br />

TPa·m -1<br />

75<br />

| Tab. 3.<br />

Matrix and interface contact parameters.<br />

jks<br />

TPa·m -1<br />

25<br />

jcoh<br />

MPa<br />

40<br />

jtens<br />

MPa<br />

10<br />

jfric<br />

°<br />

0<br />

res_jcoh<br />

MPa<br />

0<br />

jkn = jks = 440 TPa·m -1 <strong>for</strong> dynamic loading to avoid unrealistic penetration<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Left: Cross section of cylindrical canisters (see also Table 4); middle: Model set-up <strong>for</strong> canister completely<br />

imbedded inside the host rock incl. buffer; right: Impact constellations of canisters after free fall.<br />

Canister a/mm b/mm c/mm d/mm e/mm f/mm<br />

HTR (5 pebbles) 62 305 92 335 15 15<br />

CANDU 102 510 142 550 20 20<br />

PWR/BWR 400 4930 470 5000 35 35<br />

Vitrified waste 450 1350 500 1400 25 25<br />

| Tab. 4.<br />

Dimensions of canisters (see also Figure 3).<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Maximum tensile stress inside unprotected canister <strong>for</strong> different inclination<br />

angles of VW (up) and HTR (middle) canister (see Table 5).<br />

res_jtens<br />

MPa<br />

0<br />

res_jfric<br />

°<br />

27<br />

Four different canister types are<br />

considered as given by Figure 3 (left)<br />

and Table 4. The considered waste<br />

canisters are hollow cylinders sealed<br />

at one, respectively the two ends using<br />

the technique of Rapid Sinter Bonding<br />

(RSB) as proposed by Knorr and<br />

Kerber [7].<br />

Static loading scenarios<br />

This loading case considers anisotropic<br />

earth pressure on completely in<br />

a rock mass embedded VW and HTR<br />

canisters (Figure 3 (middle)). Table 5<br />

lists all the considered earth pressure<br />

constellations in terms of principal<br />

stresses (X and Y (both horizontal)<br />

and Z (vertical): 1:1:1, 2:1:1, 3:1:1,<br />

2:2:1, 3:2:1, 3:3:1. These constellations<br />

cover all typical stress states<br />

existing in potential host rocks. The<br />

considered maximum principal stress<br />

ratio is 3:1. The angle between canister<br />

axis and Z-axis is set to 0 °, 30 °,<br />

60 ° and 90 °, respectively. Figure 4<br />

documents the maximum induced<br />

tensile stresses inside the SSiC canisters.<br />

The considered depth is 1200 m,<br />

and the vertical earth pressure will<br />

be about 30 MPa. Overall, in any<br />

case the maximum tensile stress in<br />

the unprotected canister does not<br />

exceed 50 MPa which is significantly<br />

below the tensile strength of SSiC,<br />

which is 150 MPa. Maximum tensile<br />

stress is mainly distributed around<br />

the two lids of the canister as shown<br />

in Figure 5. The average stress in<br />

the VW canister is bigger than that<br />

in the HTR canister. The thickness of<br />

the canister is a controlling factor.<br />

For the VW canister, the thickness/<br />

height ratio is 1/56, while the thickness/height<br />

ratio <strong>for</strong> the HTR canister<br />

is 1/22.<br />

Exemplary, <strong>for</strong> the HTR canister<br />

some selected simulations with a<br />

buffer sealing (200 mm thick) were<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med. As Figure 6 documents,<br />

such a clay (bentonite) buffer can<br />

significantly reduce maximum tensile<br />

stresses.<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

| Fig. 5.<br />

Maximum tensile stress [kPa] distribution <strong>for</strong> unprotected canister,<br />

left: VW canister, rock stresses X: 30 MPa, Y: 10 MPa, Z: 10 MPa, inclination<br />

angle 0 °; right: HTR canister, rock stresses X: 30 MP, Y: 30 MPa, Z:10 MPa,<br />

inclination angle 30 °.<br />

Loading case X/MPa Y/MPa Z/MPa (X/Z)<br />

Case 1 10 10 10 1<br />

Case 2 20 10 10 2<br />

Case 3 30 10 10 3<br />

Case 4 20 20 10 2<br />

Case 5 30 20 10 3<br />

Case 6 30 30 10 3<br />

| Tab. 5.<br />

Primary stresses (see Figures 5 and 6).<br />

| Fig. 6.<br />

Maximum tensile stress of unprotected HTR canister and buffer-sealed<br />

canister <strong>for</strong> canister inclination angle of 0 ° and 30 ° (buffer thickness<br />

200 mm).<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 45<br />

| Fig. 8.<br />

Top: maximum tensile stress at impact [kPa];<br />

Bottom: canister with de<strong>for</strong>med cover during the collision.<br />

| Fig. 7.<br />

Maximum tensile stress of unprotected canisters versus drop height.<br />

Dynamic loading scenarios<br />

Free fall of canister<br />

For impact, drop height and canister<br />

positions are the controlling factors.<br />

The considered drop heights (distance<br />

from the lowest point of the canister to<br />

the foundation) are 0.5 m, 1.0 m,<br />

1.5 m, and 2.0 m, respectively. The<br />

canister positions during impact<br />

(0°, 30°, 60°, 90°) are illustrated in<br />

Figure 3 (right). Figure 7 shows the<br />

maximum induced tensile stresses in<br />

the different canisters <strong>for</strong> different<br />

drop height and documents, that peak<br />

tensile stresses can very locally reach<br />

values considerably higher than the<br />

material strength. There<strong>for</strong>e, an<br />

additional simulation was per<strong>for</strong>med<br />

assuming a protective cover (layer)<br />

around the SSiC canister. Simulation<br />

of a VW canister (drop height 1 m,<br />

inclination angle 0°) with soft cover<br />

(50 mm thick) confirms significant<br />

reduction of maximum tensile stress<br />

| Fig. 9.<br />

Top: Considered constellations of dropping rock pieces at the time of<br />

impact; Bottom: Induced maximum tensile stresses in VW canister <strong>for</strong><br />

different simulation cases.<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 46<br />

at the inner boundary of the canister<br />

from 1118 MPa (without cover) to<br />

147 MPa (with cover) (Figure 8).<br />

Free fall of rock blocks<br />

First, preliminary pure elastic simulations<br />

using the VW canister were<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med. Small rock pieces were<br />

considered with weights of 0.5, 1.0<br />

and 2.0 kg, respectively. Drop height<br />

is 2.0 m (distance from the lowest<br />

rock piece point to the highest line<br />

of horizontally disposed canister).<br />

Simulation cases 1 to 4 generate<br />

dynamic line loads, case 5 to 7 lead to<br />

point loads (see Figure 9 (up)).<br />

Figure 9 (down) shows the maximum<br />

induced tensile stresses in a VW canister<br />

during impact <strong>for</strong> seven loading<br />

cases. Similar results were obtained<br />

<strong>for</strong> the other canister types. It becomes<br />

obvious from Figure 9 (down), that<br />

(a) even small rock pieces produce<br />

tensile stresses close to the strength of<br />

the SSiC material or even larger<br />

ones and (b) point loading loads to<br />

significant higher values compared to<br />

line loading.<br />

Rock weight<br />

[kg]<br />

D = 20 mm<br />

E = 800 MPa<br />

Such a pure elastic consideration is<br />

too conservative, especially because<br />

the limited strength of the rock pieces<br />

is not taken into account. It has to be<br />

expected that extreme high local<br />

stresses during impact at point or line<br />

contacts lead du massive fracturing of<br />

the rock pieces, so that stresses above<br />

the rock strength will not be reached.<br />

To investigate this phenomenon the<br />

rock pieces were set-up by numerous<br />

distinct elements, so that fracturing<br />

and disintegration can take place if<br />

strength of the rock is exceeded.<br />

Calibration was per<strong>for</strong>med using<br />

typical rock parameters. Figure 10<br />

shows results from a calibration<br />

process <strong>for</strong> claystone. Figure 10<br />

reveals, that vertical splitting (tensile<br />

cracking) is dominating like typically<br />

observed during uniaxial lab tests.<br />

D = 20 mm<br />

E = 80 MPa<br />

8 5 mm / 130 MPa 12 mm / 70 MPa<br />

D = 80 mm<br />

E = 100 MPa<br />

40 17 mm / 70 MPa<br />

| Tab. 6.<br />

Maximum penetration depth and maximum induced tensile stresses inside a CANDU canister with<br />

soft cover of thickness D and Young’s modulus E during pure elastic collision with claystone rock piece<br />

(drop height 2 m, loading case 1 according to Fig. 16).<br />

| Fig. 10.<br />

DEM-model <strong>for</strong> claystone: up: stress-strain-curve from<br />

uniaxial compression test, down: DEM model at the<br />

time of failure indication cracking and disintegration.<br />

| Fig. 11.<br />

Top: claystone rock piece in point contact with CANDU canister;<br />

Bottom: sequence of rock splitting process during impact<br />

(drop height 2 m, weight 1 kg).<br />

| Fig. 12.<br />

Top: Maximum tensile stress inside the CANDU canister versus collision<br />

time <strong>for</strong> rock piece elements with edge length of 4 mm, 6 mm, or 10 mm;<br />

point contact according to Figure 9 (up) (drop height 2 m, weight 1 kg);<br />

Bottom: Maximum tensile stress inside the CANDU canister during impact<br />

with claystone rock pieces <strong>for</strong> loading case 1 (see Figure 9 (up)) versus<br />

volume ratio (volume of distinct elements to volume of rock piece)<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 48<br />

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Exemplary, Figure 11 illustrates<br />

the collision process <strong>for</strong> point load<br />

impact. Figure 12 (up) shows, that<br />

the size of the distinct elements,<br />

which control the fracturing process<br />

in detail, is important to obtain<br />

reliable stress values during the<br />

impact process. The smaller the<br />

elements, the more potential fracture<br />

paths. However, it becomes also<br />

visible, that below a certain threshold<br />

the stresses will not any more<br />

decrease. Compared with the pure<br />

elastic modelling a significant reduction<br />

in induced tensile stresses by a<br />

factor of about 10 is observed. In<br />

additional model runs also larger rock<br />

pieces up to a weight of 512 kg were<br />

considered (see Figure 12 (down)). It<br />

again becomes obvious, that distinct<br />

element resolution has significant<br />

influence on modelling results. To get<br />

reliable results <strong>for</strong> larger rock pieces<br />

at least at the contact area higher<br />

resolution is necessary. However, one<br />

has also to consider that enhanced<br />

resolution leads to a progressive nonlinear<br />

increase in simulation time.<br />

The effect of a soft cover was also<br />

investigated using the pure elastic<br />

approach. Table 6 shows simulation<br />

results in terms of maximum penetration<br />

depth and maximum induced<br />

tensile stress. It clearly shows that a<br />

soft cover can reduce tensile stresses<br />

considerably, so that even <strong>for</strong> the<br />

extreme conservative case of pure<br />

elastic interaction, the induced tensile<br />

stresses can be brought below the<br />

strength of the material, which is<br />

about 150 MPa.<br />

Discussion and Conclusions<br />

SSiC has excellent properties in terms<br />

of long lifetime, high strength, low<br />

porosity and excellent resistance<br />

against radiation, high temperatures<br />

and aggressive fluids. In that respect it<br />

is superior to other materials under<br />

consideration <strong>for</strong> nuclear waste<br />

canisters. As documented, static earth<br />

pressure even in case of high anisotropy<br />

and unfavorable orientation of<br />

the canister in relation to the principal<br />

stresses will not reach the high failure<br />

strength of SSiC canisters <strong>for</strong> considered<br />

depths up to about 1200 m.<br />

However, the very stiff and brittle<br />

behavior of SSiC needs some more<br />

detailed consideration in case of<br />

dynamic impacts. Such worst case<br />

loading scenarios like rockfall or free<br />

fall of a canister can be investigated<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

via field tests (large scale drop tests)<br />

and numerical simulations. Under<br />

pure elastic conditions and extreme<br />

loading constellations (point and<br />

line loads) as well as conservative<br />

initial and boundary conditions (stiff<br />

foundation, no damping, no protective<br />

cover etc.) the dynamically<br />

induced tensile stresses inside SSiC<br />

canisters can locally and temporarily<br />

reach – independent on canister type –<br />

maximum tensile stresses beyond the<br />

static tensile strength of SSiC. Even if<br />

we consider that dynamic strength is<br />

somewhat higher than the static one,<br />

several constellations might give rise<br />

of concern.<br />

One should also take into account,<br />

that reaching the failure envelope in<br />

pure elastic simulations just indicate,<br />

that damage is very likely, however,<br />

nothing can be said about extent<br />

and type of damage. There<strong>for</strong>e, a<br />

numerical simulation based safety<br />

case should follow two directions: (a)<br />

consideration of an additional cover<br />

to absorb energy during potential<br />

dynamic impact and (b) more realistic<br />

modeling (considering of energy<br />

absorption during collision, fracture<br />

propagation, damping etc.). This<br />

paper provides first hints and results<br />

how these tasks can be handled. The<br />

simulations with soft cover indicate<br />

that a cover of about 10 cm with<br />

stiffness in the order of about 100 MPa<br />

would be able to reduce the dynamically<br />

induced tensile stresses so that<br />

any failure can be avoided.<br />

The presented dynamic simulations<br />

are only a very first step toward a<br />

comprehensive numerical safety case.<br />

The aim was to show, that the most<br />

critical issue of SSiC – the stiff and<br />

brittle behavior – can be managed.<br />

More realistic numerical simulations<br />

should consider the following aspects:<br />

p Incorporation of realistic damping<br />

p Replacement of the elastic models<br />

<strong>for</strong> all components by calibrated<br />

elastic-plastic models incl. damage<br />

laws<br />

p More profound specification of<br />

load scenarios<br />

p Consideration of dynamic material<br />

properties<br />

In summary, the conclusion can be<br />

drawn, that SSiC is a suitable canister<br />

material if a certain soft cover is used<br />

during transport and emplacement<br />

just in case that unexpected dynamic<br />

collisions (rockfall of free fall of<br />

canister) occur.<br />

Acknowledgment<br />

The conduction of the lab experiments<br />

by Dr. Thomas Frühwirt (TU<br />

Berg akademie Freiberg) is highly<br />

acknowledged. The authors would<br />

like to express their special thanks to<br />

the China Scholarship Council (CSC)<br />

<strong>for</strong> financially supporting the first<br />

author’s PhD study in Germany.<br />

References<br />

[1] Onofrei, M., Raine, D.K., Brown, L. & Stanchell, F., (1985).<br />

Leaching studies of non-metallic materials <strong>for</strong> nuclear fuel<br />

immobilisation containers, Proc. Mat. Res. Soc. Symp.,<br />

Materials Research Society., 44: 395-404<br />

[2] Haslam, J.J., Farmer, J.C., Hopper, R.W., Wilfinger, K.R., (2005).<br />

Ceramic coatings <strong>for</strong> a corrosion- resistant nuclear waste<br />

container evaluated in simulated ground water at 90 °C,<br />

Metallurgical and Materials Transactions., A (36): 1085-1095<br />

[3] Donald W. M., Wen Wua., Francesco, V., (2012). Per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

of PyC, SiC, ZrC coatings in the geologic repository, <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Engineering and Design., 251: 102-110<br />

[4] Kerber, A. and Knorr, J., (2013). SiC encapsulation of high-level<br />

waste <strong>for</strong> long-term immobilization, <strong>atw</strong> 58. Jg Heft 1,<br />

January: 8-13<br />

[5] Lee, M.Y., Brannon, R.M., Bronowski, D.R., (2004). Uniaxial and<br />

triaxial compression tests of silicon carbide ceramics under<br />

quasi-static loading condition, Tech. Rep. SAND2004-6005,<br />

Sandia National Laboratory<br />

[6] Itasca (2020): 3DEC Manuals, Itasca Consulting Group,<br />

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA<br />

[7] SiCeram (2018): Deutsche Patentanmeldung 10 2018 114<br />

463.6 “Verfahren zum Verbinden von Bauteilen aus SSiC”,<br />

GmbH, Jena, Germany<br />

Authors<br />

Yanan Zhao<br />

TU Bergakademie<br />

Freiberg,<br />

Geotechnical Institute,<br />

Freiberg, Germany<br />

Dr. Yanan Zhao got a master degree in Geotechnical<br />

Engineering from Northwest A&F University in China in<br />

2015, and a PhD degree in Geotechnical Engineering<br />

from TU Bergakademie Freiberg in 2021. Now he works<br />

as post PhD at <strong>Power</strong>china Zhongnan Engineering<br />

Corporation Limited, Changsha, Hunan Province, China.<br />

Prof Dr Heinz<br />

Konietzky<br />

TU Bergakademie<br />

Freiberg,<br />

Geotechnical Institute,<br />

Freiberg, Germany<br />

Heinz.Konietzky@<br />

ifgt.tu-freiberg.de<br />

Prof. Dr. habil. Heinz Konietzky has studied Geotechnical<br />

Engineering. For more than 15 years he has<br />

worked in the private industry worldwide as project<br />

engineer and consultant mainly <strong>for</strong> civil engineering<br />

projects and <strong>for</strong> radioactive waste disposal. Since 2006<br />

he works as university professor and director of the<br />

Geotechnical Institute at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.<br />

Prof Dr Jürgen Knorr<br />

GWT-TUD GmbH,<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong><br />

Engineering, Dresden,<br />

Germany<br />

juergen.knorr@<br />

tu-dresden.de<br />

Since 1992 Jürgen Knorr is Professor <strong>for</strong> <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Engineering at Dresden University of Technology<br />

(Emeritus since 2006). He graduated in physics and<br />

prepared his PhD in nuclear technologies. From 1975<br />

to 1992 he was responsible <strong>for</strong> the design, construction<br />

and operation of the AKR training reactor (from<br />

the German Ausbildungskernreaktor) in Dresden.<br />

Between 1993 and 2000 Juergen was President of<br />

the German <strong>Nuclear</strong> Society and Board Member of<br />

the European <strong>Nuclear</strong> Society. The cooperation<br />

with SiCeram GmbH <strong>for</strong> the application of high-tech<br />

ceramics in nuclear sector startet in 2003.<br />

Dr Albert Kerber<br />

Managing director and<br />

co-owner SiCeram GmbH,<br />

Jena, Germany<br />

a.kerber@jsj.de<br />

Since 1998 Albert Kerber is the co-owner and<br />

managing director of the company SiCeram GmbH<br />

in Jena, Germany, with the emphasis on high per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

ceramics. After studying chemical engineering,<br />

he gained his doctorate at the Technical University<br />

Karlsruhe. The cooperation with Prof. Knorr started in<br />

the year 2003 and focusses on the application of high<br />

tech ceramic materials in the nuclear sector, especially<br />

<strong>for</strong> innovative solutions in the field of nuclear waste<br />

disposal.<br />

DECOMMISSIONING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT 49<br />

Decommissioning and Waste Management<br />

SSiC <strong>Nuclear</strong> Waste Canisters: Stability Considerations During Static and Dynamic Impact ı Yanan Zhao, Heinz Konietzky, Juergen Knorr and Albert Kerber


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

50<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION<br />

Improving Henry-Fauske Critical Flow<br />

Model in SPACE Code and Analysis of<br />

LOFT L9-3<br />

BumSoo Youn<br />

Introduction The SPACE code offers several options <strong>for</strong> critical flow model. One of the option is Henry/Fauske –<br />

Moody model. When using this model, Henry-Fauske critical flow model is used <strong>for</strong> single phase liquid and Moody<br />

model is used <strong>for</strong> 2-phase flow. For Henry-Fauske model, SPACE code assumes non-equilibrium(NE) factor of 0.14.<br />

In previous OPR1000 SBLOCA analysis methodology based on RELAP5 code, non-equilibrium factor of 1.0 was used to<br />

get more conservative break flow. To develop SBLOCA analysis methodology <strong>for</strong> OPR1000 using SPACE code, it was<br />

necessary to use different non-equilibrium factor from SPACE default values <strong>for</strong> Henry-Fauske model. The SPACE code<br />

was improved by adding additional option <strong>for</strong> Henry/Moody – Moody model, which uses user input non-equilibrium<br />

factor. To accept user input equilibrium factor, the SPACE code is improved by expanding lookup table used in Henry/<br />

Fauske – Moody model. To verify the new model, we per<strong>for</strong>m verification calculations on LOFT L9-3 which is a<br />

representative integral effect test(IET).<br />

Experimental evaluation<br />

Henry-Fauske critical model applied<br />

to existing SPACE codes(NE=0.14)<br />

will predict lower critical flow rates<br />

over the period of transition from<br />

subcooled liquid to two-phase<br />

fluid compared to RELAP5 critical<br />

flow models assuming a nonequilibrium(NE)<br />

factor of 1.0.<br />

Overview of LOFT L9-3<br />

Experiments<br />

The LOFT L9-3[1] experimental<br />

purpose is to provide experimental<br />

data to developers of analysis codes<br />

<strong>for</strong> ATWS analysis, evaluate alternative<br />

methods of reaching long-term<br />

shutdown without inserting control<br />

rods after ATWS, and verify the<br />

applicability of point kinetics model<br />

or transients. In addition, the experimental<br />

data provided is used to determine<br />

the behavior characteristics of<br />

the primary system due to loss of main<br />

feedwater flow rate on the secondary<br />

side of the steam generator and to<br />

determine the two-phase and overcooling<br />

flow characteristics released<br />

through PORV and SRV at high<br />

pressure.<br />

The LOFT L9-3 experimental<br />

device is a 50MWt pressurized light<br />

water reactor designed at a scale of<br />

1/60 based on a 4-Loop Westinghousetype<br />

nuclear power plant.<br />

As shown in Figure 1 it consists of<br />

five main components and subsystems,<br />

including the reactor core,<br />

primary coolant system, blowdown<br />

mitigation system, emergency core<br />

cooling system, and secondary cooling<br />

system. The blowdown mitigation<br />

system consists of a pump and steam<br />

generator simulation device, a<br />

Quick-opening discharge valve that<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

LOFT Facility Schematic [Ref.1].<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Improving Henry-Fauske Critical Flow Model in SPACE Code and Analysis of LOFT L9-3 ı BumSoo Youn


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

simulates a break, and a tank that<br />

collects coolant released through a<br />

break simulation valve.<br />

The reactor core of the LOFT L9-3<br />

experimental device is approximately<br />

1/2 length(1.68m) of the commercial<br />

reactor core, and the square core<br />

group contains 21 guide tubes out of<br />

225 rod positions(15×15).<br />

Experimental Conditions<br />

The LOFT L9-3 experimental conditions<br />

begin at normal conditions,<br />

such as core power of 48.7MWt, cold<br />

leg temperature of 557.0K, hot leg<br />

temperature of 576.4K, pressurizer<br />

pressure of 14.98MP, and steam<br />

generator pressure of 5.61MPa. The<br />

key steady-state initial conditions of<br />

the experiment are shown in Table 1.<br />

LOFT L9-3 SPACE Modeling<br />

SPACE modeling is shown in Figure 2.<br />

SPACE code input from LOFT L9-3<br />

experiments was written with<br />

reference to NUREG/IA-0192[2]. The<br />

reactor pressure vessel was divided to<br />

simulate the upper and lower cavities<br />

of the core bypass flow, and the core<br />

was modeled as a non-fuel part in the<br />

upper and lower part and a fuel part<br />

represented by three vertical nodes.<br />

The steam generator was modeled<br />

by dividing it into 12 volumes <strong>for</strong><br />

U-tube and 19 volumes <strong>for</strong> secondary.<br />

The main feedwater model was<br />

modeled using TFBC Component,<br />

especially the main feedwater and<br />

steam flow parts, using control logic<br />

to maintain constant pressure on the<br />

secondary side.<br />

The pressurizer was modeled with<br />

nine volumes using the SPACE code<br />

pressurizer model, and the surge line<br />

under the pressurizer is connected to<br />

cell C110 and the pressurizer spray<br />

system is modeled with TFBC Component<br />

C407 and C406. In particular,<br />

Parameter Experiment SPACE<br />

Mass flow rate(kg/s) 467.6 467.63<br />

Hot leg pressure(MPa) 14.98 14.95<br />

Cold leg temperature(K) 557.0 555.04<br />

Hot leg temperature(K) 576.4 574.56<br />

<strong>Power</strong> level(MWt) 48.7 48.7<br />

PZR Liquid temperature(K) 615.2 614.78<br />

PZR Pressure(MPa) 14.98 14.98<br />

SG Liquid level(m) 3.15 3.19<br />

SG Pressure(MPa) 5.61 5.55<br />

SG Mass flow rate(kg/s) 25.7 25.6<br />

| Tab. 1.<br />

Initial value of experiment.<br />

in the case of spray system, the spray<br />

system is operated using the trip<br />

signal so that fluid from cold<br />

leg(C150) enters the pressurizer<br />

through TFBC Component C407.<br />

In the evaluation of LOFT L9-3<br />

experiments using SPACE code, the<br />

normal state was verified using null<br />

transients, and then the transient<br />

state was simulated using the Restart<br />

file and the results were evaluated.<br />

LOFT L9-3 Evaluation Results<br />

Figure 3 shows the pressure change of<br />

the pressurizer. According to the<br />

experimental values in the figure, the<br />

pressure of the system gradually<br />

increases as the main feed water<br />

supplied to the steam generator is<br />

initially closed and the heat transfer<br />

from the primary to the secondary<br />

side of the steam generator decreases.<br />

The pressurizer pressure increases<br />

and reaches the setting of the pressurizer<br />

spray system. When the setting<br />

is reached, the pressurizer spray<br />

system is activated and the pressurizer<br />

pressure is reduced at 31 seconds. The<br />

continuous decrease in heat transfer<br />

to the steam generator causes the<br />

pressure to rise again. The pressure of<br />

the pressurizer is increased further as<br />

the steam generator MSCV closes at<br />

67.3 seconds. The pressurizer pressure<br />

then reaches the opening setting of<br />

the PORV and decreases when the<br />

PORV is opened at 73.8 seconds.<br />

However, due to the absence of a<br />

replenishment of the main feedwater<br />

of the steam generator, the pressure<br />

rises again and the SRV setting of the<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 51<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

LOFT L9-3 Facility Nodalization <strong>for</strong> SPACE Code Verification.<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Improving Henry-Fauske Critical Flow Model in SPACE Code and Analysis of LOFT L9-3 ı BumSoo Youn


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 52<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Pressure change of the pressurizer.<br />

pressurizer is reached at 96.8 seconds.<br />

The pressurizer pressure reaches<br />

the maximum pressure value at<br />

97.5 seconds and then decrease. After<br />

120 seconds, the pressurizer PORV<br />

and SRV repeat open and close,<br />

causing the pressure to repeat rise and<br />

fall within a small range.<br />

The SPACE predictions also show<br />

similar results to the experimental<br />

results. Initially, the main feedwater to<br />

the steam generator is interrupted,<br />

causing the pressurizer pressure to rise<br />

just like the experiment. The pressure<br />

that was decreasing due to the operation<br />

of the pressurizer spray system<br />

gradually increases again after the<br />

spray system stops. The increased<br />

pressure is reduced again in 55 seconds<br />

by the operation of the spray system.<br />

The MSCV of the steam generator<br />

closes at 67.3 seconds, resulting in a<br />

rapid increase in pressure as shown in<br />

the experimental results. The pressure<br />

then reaches the open setting of the<br />

pressurizer PORV, which opened at<br />

73.8 seconds, but continue to rise,<br />

somewhat different from the experimental<br />

value trend. The rising pressure<br />

decreases at 90 seconds, but<br />

without the com plement of the steam<br />

generator’s main feedwater, the<br />

pressure rises again and reaches a<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Pressure change of the steam generator.<br />

maximum pressure slightly higher<br />

than the experimental results at<br />

103 seconds. Subsequently, the pressure<br />

s reduced due to the operation of<br />

the PORV, SRV, and pressurizer spray<br />

systems of the steam generator, and<br />

after 120 seconds, the rise and fall are<br />

repeated near 15.5MPa to 16MPa.<br />

The new Henry-Fauske critical<br />

flow model shows more similar results<br />

to experimental results than existing<br />

models.<br />

Figure 4 shows the change in the<br />

pressure of the steam generator.<br />

According to the results of the<br />

experiment, the pressure of the steam<br />

generator will gradually increase as<br />

the main feedwater of the steam<br />

generator is closed. As the level of the<br />

steam generator gradually decreases,<br />

and steam generator U-tubes become<br />

uncovered heat transfer area decreases,<br />

and the pressure that was<br />

gradually rising decreases rapidly. The<br />

pressure then rises as MSCV closes.<br />

The rising pressure of the steam<br />

generator has slowed from about<br />

100 seconds, when the PORV and SRV<br />

discharge flow of the pressurizer were<br />

maximum, and has since remained at<br />

a constant pressure(6.48MPa) while<br />

maintaining a slightly higher pressure<br />

than the initial value.<br />

As the main feedwater of the steam<br />

generator is stopped, the SPACE result<br />

is also a graual increase in pressure,<br />

as is the result of the experiment.<br />

Gradually rising pressure peaks at<br />

50 seconds and decreases with a slope<br />

similar to the experimental value.<br />

However, with MSCV closing at<br />

673 seconds, the SPACE code prediction<br />

rises sharply from the experimental<br />

value after approximately<br />

70 seconds. The rising pressure of the<br />

steam generator tends to be similar to<br />

the experimental value after about<br />

130 seconds and maintains a constant<br />

pressure.<br />

Figure 5 shows the changes core<br />

power. According to the experimental<br />

results, if the main feedwater of the<br />

steam generator is closed, the primary<br />

system heat removal is lost and the<br />

temperature and pressure of the<br />

primary coolant are increased. As the<br />

temperature of the coolant cooling<br />

the core increases, the core power<br />

decreases gradually due to the feedback<br />

effect of the moderator. At<br />

67.3 seconds, when the MSCV of the<br />

steam generator is closed, the core<br />

power is also rapidly reduced.<br />

The SPACE code predictions tend<br />

to decrease somewhat faster than the<br />

experimental value between 70 and<br />

| Fig. 5.<br />

Core power change.<br />

| Fig. 6.<br />

Steam generator water level change.<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

| Fig. 7.<br />

Coolant temperature change.<br />

160 seconds, but the overall trend is<br />

the same, and after 160 seconds, they<br />

are almost the same.<br />

Figure 6 shows the change in<br />

water level on the secondary side of<br />

the steam generator. According to the<br />

results of the experiment, the water<br />

on the secondary side of the steam<br />

generator will be reduced due to heat<br />

transfer with the primary side as the<br />

main feedwater of the steam generator<br />

is closed. The water level, which<br />

had been continuously decreasing at<br />

the same time as the main feed water<br />

closed, will not completely depleted<br />

after 120 seconds, and will gradually<br />

stabilize at about 0.2 m high and<br />

remain constant.<br />

The overall trend predicted by the<br />

SPACE code is similar to the experimental<br />

results. However, the results of<br />

the SPACE code begin to decrease in<br />

water level and are almost depleted by<br />

approximately 85 seconds. After that,<br />

it remains completely depleted and in<br />

a normal condition.<br />

Figure 7 shows the temperature of<br />

the coolant due to transient conditions.<br />

Experimental results show<br />

that the temperature of the coolant is<br />

slowly increasing as the main feedwater<br />

is closed. The increasing<br />

temperature of the coolant rises<br />

rapidly after 60 seconds due to the<br />

continued loss of the heat sink, and<br />

then the MSCV of the steam generator<br />

closes at 67.3 seconds, which in creases<br />

the temperature even more rapidly.<br />

After 100 seconds, when the pressurizer<br />

pressure is at its peak, the<br />

pressure increase is slowed due to the<br />

operation of SRV and PORV of the<br />

pressurizer, and thus the temperature<br />

increase is slowed. As the pressure of<br />

the system is maintained constant, the<br />

temperature of the coolant is maintained<br />

constant.<br />

As previously shown in Table 1,<br />

the steady-state temperature conditions<br />

using the SPACE code<br />

| Fig. 8.<br />

Discharge flow rate.<br />

represent values about 2K lower than<br />

the experimental conditions, so there<br />

is a slight difference from the experiment<br />

at the beginning of the transient<br />

results. Although there is a difference<br />

at the starting point, the result of<br />

SPACE code also gradually increases<br />

the temperature as the steam generator<br />

main feedwater is stopped. As in<br />

the experiment, the temperature rises<br />

rapidly after 60 seconds, and remains<br />

constant after 100 seconds.<br />

Figure 8 shows the discharge flow<br />

rate through PORV and SRV during<br />

the transient. The main feedwater<br />

stops, the pressure gradually rises,<br />

and after 67.3 seconds the MSCV of<br />

the steam generator closes, reaching<br />

the opening set point of the PORV. At<br />

100 seconds when the pressurizer<br />

pressure reaches its maximum, the<br />

discharge flow rate is maximum,<br />

and after that, the PORV and SRV are<br />

repeatedly opened and closed.<br />

We compare the results with the<br />

existing Henry-Fauske critical flow<br />

model using the newly added Henry-<br />

Fauske critical flow model in the<br />

simulation with SPACE code <strong>for</strong><br />

discharge of coolant through the<br />

PORV and the SRV. Overall, the<br />

opening points are similar, but there<br />

are some differences in the amount of<br />

discharge. When using the newly<br />

added Henry-Fauske critical flow<br />

model, we can confirm that the<br />

maximum discharge flow rate is<br />

higher and conservatively predicted.<br />

Conclusions<br />

A new Henry/Fauske - Moody critical<br />

flow model option was added to the<br />

SPACE code. The SPACE code is<br />

improved by expanding lookup table<br />

used in Henry/Fauske - Moody model.<br />

For validation of improved model,<br />

LOFT L9-3 integral effect test is<br />

analyzed. The new model show better<br />

agreement with the experiment<br />

results. The new critical flow model<br />

will be used in the development of<br />

SBLOCA analysis methodology of<br />

OPR1000-type and WH 3-loop type<br />

nuclear power plants.<br />

Acknowledgments<br />

This work was supported by the Korea<br />

Hydro & <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong>(KHNP)<br />

(A19LP05, Establishment of optimal<br />

evaluation system <strong>for</strong> safety analysis<br />

of OPR1000and Westinghouse type<br />

nuclear power plant(1)).<br />

References<br />

ı<br />

ı<br />

NUREG/CR-3427 ‘Experiment Analysis and Summary Report<br />

<strong>for</strong> LOFT ATWS Experiments L9-3 and L9-4’.<br />

NUREG/IA-0192 ‘Assessment of RELAP5/MOD3.2.2 Gamma<br />

with the LOFT L9-3 Experiment Simulating an Anticipated<br />

Transient without Scram’.<br />

Author<br />

BumSoo Youn<br />

Senior Researcher<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Safety<br />

Analysis Group<br />

Central Research<br />

Institute, Korea Hydro<br />

and <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Co.,<br />

LTD., Republic of Korea<br />

bsyoun81@khnp.co.kr<br />

BumSoo Youn studied <strong>Nuclear</strong> Engineering and<br />

completed his M.S in 2009 at the Kyunghee University.<br />

After graduation, he worked as a researcher at KEPRI<br />

and have been working as a Senior Researcher at<br />

KHNP since 2011. He does research in the following<br />

areas: Nucelar Safety Analysis, Thermal Hydraulic<br />

Analysis, Design Based Accident Analysis, Beyond<br />

Design Based Accident Analysis.<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 53<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Improving Henry-Fauske Critical Flow Model in SPACE Code and Analysis of LOFT L9-3 ı BumSoo Youn


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 54<br />

Non-destructive Radioactive Tracer<br />

Technique in Evaluation of Photodegraded<br />

Polystyrene Based <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Grade Ion Exchange Material<br />

Pravin U. Singare<br />

1 Introduction Poly styrene-divinyl benzene type ion exchange materials having sulfonic acid and quaternary<br />

ammonium functional groups are widely used in various nuclear industries related applications where prolonged<br />

service in adverse environmental condition is required. In nuclear industrial applications organic resin materials are<br />

used <strong>for</strong> elimination of radioactive and other ionic impurities from water in moderator circuits [1]. In view of the<br />

extensive application of organic ion exchange materials in nuclear industries, their technological development started<br />

long back and are now made available at commercial scale to satisfy the needs of these industries. In spite of widespread<br />

applications of ion exchange materials, there are some problems related to their durability over a prolonged time<br />

period. The consistent per<strong>for</strong>mance of these materials depends upon the chemical nature of polymeric resin material,<br />

adverse environmental factors namely humidity, acid rain, temperature fluctuation and time of exposure to ultraviolet<br />

(UV) radiation, presence of traces of solvents, catalyst, metals and metal oxides from processing equipment and<br />

containers. In outdoor applications, these ion exchange materials very often deteriorate due to weathering process<br />

creating negative impact on their lifetime [2, 3]. The inability of polymeric resin materials to resist degradation<br />

conditions often becomes visible within a short span. In some situations, few hours of exposure to degradation<br />

conditions may result in extensive structural damage. The degradation process may lead to macromolecular chain bond<br />

breaking resulting in decrease in average molar mass or may lead to cross-linking thereby increasing the molar mass.<br />

Aging of polymeric materials will result alteration of polymer properties in long-term due to weathering conditions [4].<br />

As a result, there is an increasing challenge in front of manufacturers to ensure about the life expectancy guarantee of<br />

their polymeric resin materials, particularly under the conditions which are difficult <strong>for</strong> inspection or failure catastrophic<br />

[5]. The wide spread utilization of polymeric resin materials has created the condition of emergence related to<br />

per<strong>for</strong>mance durability of these materials under stringent long-term exposure conditions. These problems related to<br />

durability of polymeric resin materials are associated with in-service environmental conditions and handling procedures<br />

during maintenance, repair and modifications. Since the repair or replacement of degraded polymeric resin materials<br />

is both labour and capital intensive, the durability of these materials is one of the critical issues from both safety and<br />

economic point of view.<br />

The photo-degradation brought<br />

about by solar UV radiations is the<br />

most serious problem associated with<br />

an organic based resin. The solar<br />

waves consist of UV radiations in the<br />

wavelengths range of 290 to 400 nm,<br />

corresponding to the energies in the<br />

range of 415 to 300 kJ/mol. These<br />

energies associated with the solar UV<br />

radiations are similar to the bond<br />

energies of many organic molecules.<br />

When specific functional groups of<br />

an organic compound absorb UV<br />

radiation the chemical reactions<br />

are initiated liberating free radicals<br />

which further speedup the photo<br />

degradation process. Among the UV<br />

radiations, most harmful are the UV-B<br />

radiations which are in the wavelength<br />

range of 280 to 315 nm having<br />

high energy in the order of<br />

426-380 KJ mol -1 , while UV-A radiations<br />

in the wavelength range of 315<br />

to 400 nm are less harmful having<br />

comparatively less energy in the order<br />

of 389 and 300 KJ mol -1 [6]. The<br />

deleterious effect of these radiations<br />

will depend on the chemical nature of<br />

the material, climatic conditions<br />

namely temperature, humidity, exposure<br />

time, presence of traces of<br />

solvents, catalyst, metals and metal<br />

oxides from processing equipment<br />

and containers [7]. Photo-degradation<br />

can take place via chain breaking<br />

or cross-linking in absence of oxygen<br />

and via photo-oxidative degradation<br />

in presence of oxygen. In most<br />

polymers, elevation in temperature<br />

condition and prolonged exposure<br />

to pollutants will raise the photooxidative<br />

sensitivity thereby triggering<br />

the photo-oxidative degradation<br />

process [8]. Exposure to UV radiations<br />

is usually observed superficially which<br />

is indicated in terms of embrittlement<br />

(surface cracking), discolouration<br />

and loss of transparency. Further<br />

exposure to UV radiations will bring<br />

about photolytic, photo-oxidative, and<br />

thermo-oxidative reactions in the<br />

resin materials resulting in the<br />

photo-degradation of polymeric resin<br />

materials which is usually superficially<br />

and slowly degrades the entire<br />

material by changing the chemical<br />

structure of the polymeric material<br />

[9]. Depending upon the nature of the<br />

polymeric resin material, the photo<br />

degradation may results in polymer<br />

chain scission, cross-linking leading<br />

to irreversible change in physicochemical<br />

conditions and also changes<br />

at the molecular level [10]. Subsequent<br />

to UV exposure, the polymeric<br />

resin material follows different degradation<br />

routes via <strong>for</strong>mation of free<br />

radicals and breaking of the polymer<br />

chains thereby losing its mechanical<br />

properties and molecular weight<br />

making the materials useless after<br />

some time [11].<br />

The photo degradation of industrial<br />

grade ion exchange resins operating<br />

under severe environ mental stress<br />

conditions is a serious problem with<br />

economic and environmental implications.<br />

Previous research focused<br />

mainly on the study of bulk mechanical<br />

properties, surface chemistry<br />

and surface morphology of the<br />

polymeric materials exposed to UV<br />

radiations <strong>for</strong> different exposure<br />

period [12, 13]. The study was also<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med to understand the role<br />

of sensitizers in accelerating the<br />

efficiency of the photo-degradation<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Non-destructive Radioactive Tracer Technique in Evaluation of Photo- degraded Polystyrene Based <strong>Nuclear</strong> Grade Ion Exchange Material ı Pravin U. Singare


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

and the mechanism of UV light<br />

induced photo-oxidation and photolysis<br />

processes in polymeric materials<br />

[14, 15]. A detail review was published<br />

on photo-degradation of polystyrene<br />

polymers which emphasise mainly<br />

on the degradation mechanism of<br />

polymers and role of stabilisers in<br />

photo- degradation [16]. However, in<br />

spite of extensive application of<br />

polymeric resin materials in nuclear as<br />

well as in the chemical industry, not<br />

much work is reported in the literature<br />

related to per<strong>for</strong>mance of photodegraded<br />

polymeric resin materials<br />

[17]. There<strong>for</strong>e, in the present investigation,<br />

a systematic study was<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med on the ion uptake reaction<br />

kinetics and uptake behaviour of fresh<br />

and photo-degraded nuclear grade anion<br />

exchange resin Indion GS 300, using<br />

non-destructive radiotracer<br />

analytical technique.<br />

2 Materials and Methods<br />

2.1 Ion exchange resin<br />

The anion exchange resin Indion GS-<br />

300 as supplied by the manufacturer<br />

(Ion exchange India Limited,<br />

Mumbai) was a nuclear grade resin<br />

in the OH-<strong>for</strong>m with quaternary<br />

ammonium functional group having<br />

polystyrene matrix. The particle size<br />

was in the range of 0.3 to 1.2 mm,<br />

operating pH range was 0-14,<br />

maximum operating temperature of<br />

60 °C having the exchange capacity of<br />

1.40 meq./mL. The moisture content<br />

of the resin was 51.9 %.<br />

2.2 Radio isotope used<br />

The 82 Br radioactive tracer isotope<br />

used here was supplied by Board of<br />

Radiation and Isotope Technology<br />

(BRIT), Mumbai, India. The isotope<br />

used is an aqueous solution of<br />

ammonium bromide in dilute<br />

ammonium hydroxide having half life<br />

of 36 d, radioactivity of 5mCi and<br />

γ-energy of 0.55 MeV [18].<br />

2.3 Conditioning<br />

of the ion exchange resin<br />

The resin grains of 30-40 mesh size<br />

were used <strong>for</strong> the present investigation.<br />

The soluble impurities of the<br />

resin were removed by repeated<br />

soxhlet extraction using water. Moreover,<br />

distilled methanol was used<br />

occasionally to remove non-polymerized<br />

organic impurities. The resin<br />

in hydroxide <strong>for</strong>m was converted into<br />

bromide <strong>for</strong>m with 10 % potassium<br />

bromide in a conditioning column.<br />

Then the resin was washed with<br />

distilled deionized water until the<br />

washings were bromide free. The<br />

resin in the bromide <strong>for</strong>m was air<br />

dried over P 2 O 5 and used <strong>for</strong> further<br />

study (hereafter referred as fresh<br />

resin).<br />

2.4 Photo-degradation of ion<br />

exchange resin<br />

The photo-degradation of the resin<br />

was carried in a UV chamber in an<br />

ambient atmosphere where the<br />

temperature was nominally 25 °C-<br />

29 °C, with a humidity of 30-50 %.<br />

The resin was photo-degraded in a UV<br />

chamber by exposing them to radiation<br />

of wavelength 284 nm and<br />

384 nm <strong>for</strong> 24 h. After 24 h the<br />

degraded resin was washed with<br />

distilled water and ethanol mixture to<br />

remove the degraded polymeric<br />

fractions. The resin was then air dried<br />

and used <strong>for</strong> further study (hereafter<br />

referred as λ 384 photo degraded resin<br />

and λ 284 photo degraded resin).<br />

2.5 Study on bromide ion uptake<br />

and reaction kinetics<br />

The fresh and degraded resins in<br />

bromide <strong>for</strong>m weighing 1.000 g (m)<br />

were equilibrated with 200 mL (V)<br />

labeled bromide ion reaction medium<br />

(0.200M) of known initial activity<br />

(Ai) at a constant temperature of<br />

30.0 °C. The temperature of the<br />

reaction medium was maintained<br />

constant using an in-surf water bath.<br />

The bromide ion-isotopic exchange<br />

reaction can be represented as:<br />

R-Br + Br* - (aq.) ⇌ R-Br* + Br - (aq.)<br />

(1)<br />

Here R-Br represents ion exchange<br />

resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m; Br* - (aq.) represents<br />

aqueous bromide ion reaction<br />

medium labeled with 82 Br radiotracer<br />

isotope.<br />

The activity in counts per minute<br />

(cpm) of 1.0 mL of the reaction<br />

medium was measured at an interval<br />

of every 2 minutes <strong>for</strong> 3 h. The solution<br />

was transferred back to the same bottle<br />

containing labeled reaction medium<br />

after measuring the activity. The final<br />

activity (A f ) of the equili brated labeled<br />

bromide ion reaction medium was<br />

measured after 3h. The activity in<br />

counts per minute (cpm) was measured<br />

with γ-ray spectro meter equipped with<br />

NaI (Tl) scintillation detector. The<br />

activity measured at various time intervals<br />

was corrected <strong>for</strong> background<br />

counts. The procedure adopted <strong>for</strong><br />

labeling the reaction medium was<br />

same as mentioned previously [19].<br />

The percentage and amount of bromide<br />

ions exchanged on the resin in<br />

mmol were obtained from the A i , A f ,<br />

values and the amount of exchangeable<br />

bromide ions in 200 mL of reaction<br />

medium. The study was extended<br />

further by equilibrating the fresh and<br />

degraded resins with 0.300M and<br />

0.500M labeled bromide ion reaction<br />

medium at 30.0 °C. Similar set of<br />

experiments were repeated by equilibrating<br />

1.000 g of fresh and degraded<br />

resins in bromide <strong>for</strong>m with 0.200M<br />

labeled bromide ion reaction medium<br />

at higher temperatures up to 45.0 °C.<br />

2.6 Fourier-trans<strong>for</strong>m infrared<br />

spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis<br />

FTIR analysis of fresh and photodegraded<br />

resins was per<strong>for</strong>med using<br />

a Bruker Optik, ALPHA-T FTIR<br />

spectrometer having gold mirror<br />

interferometer with ZnSe beam<br />

splitter. The ATR probe consisted of a<br />

zinc selenide focusing element and a<br />

diamond internal reflectance element.<br />

The probe was brought into intimate<br />

contact with the sample surface using<br />

mechanical pressure. 32 scans were<br />

collected over the spectral range of<br />

400 cm -1 to 4000 cm -1 . The probe was<br />

purged with dry air and background<br />

spectra were collected be<strong>for</strong>e each<br />

sample spectrum was taken.<br />

2.7 Scanning Electron<br />

Microscopy (SEM) analysis<br />

The degradation studies of ion<br />

exchange resins was also studied by<br />

examining the surface morphology of<br />

fresh and photo degraded resin<br />

samples using JSM-6380LA Scanning<br />

Electron Microscope (Jeol Ltd.,<br />

Japan). The powders were precisely<br />

fixed on an aluminum stub using<br />

double sided graphite tape and then<br />

were made electrically conductive by<br />

coating in a vaccum with a thin layer<br />

of carbon, <strong>for</strong> 30 seconds and at 30 W.<br />

The pictures were taken at an<br />

excitation voltage of 15 KV and a<br />

magnification of ×250 to ×500.<br />

3 Results and Discussion<br />

3.1 Effect of photo-degradation<br />

on isotopic ion uptake<br />

reaction kinetics<br />

In the present investigation it was<br />

observed that the initial activity of<br />

solution decreases rapidly due to<br />

rapid ion uptake reaction, then due to<br />

slow ionic uptake the activity of the<br />

solution decreases slowly due and<br />

finally remains nearly constant.<br />

Previous investigations have shown<br />

that the above ionic uptake reactions<br />

are of first order, as a result the<br />

logarithm of activity when plotted<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 55<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Non-destructive Radioactive Tracer Technique in Evaluation of Photo- degraded Polystyrene Based <strong>Nuclear</strong> Grade Ion Exchange Material ı Pravin U. Singare


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 56<br />

against time gives a composite curve<br />

in which the activity initially decreases<br />

sharply and thereafter very<br />

slowly giving nearly straight line,<br />

evidently rapid and slow ion adsorption<br />

reactions were occurring simultaneously<br />

[19]. The activity exchanged<br />

due to rapid, slow uptake reactions as<br />

well as the specific reaction rate (k)<br />

of rapid ion uptake reactions were<br />

calculated in the same way as<br />

explained previously [20-22]. The<br />

amount of bromide ions exchanged<br />

(mmol) on the resin were obtained<br />

from the initial and final activity of<br />

solution and the amount of ions in<br />

200mL of solution.<br />

It was observed that, under identical<br />

experimental conditions, with rise<br />

in temperature from 30.0 °C to 45.0 °C,<br />

the k values (min -1 ) <strong>for</strong> bromide ion<br />

uptake reactions were observed to decrease<br />

<strong>for</strong> fresh as well as <strong>for</strong> λ 384 and<br />

λ 284 photo- degraded resins (Table 1).<br />

Thus <strong>for</strong> 0.200M bromide ion concentration<br />

when the temperature was<br />

raised from 30.0 °C to 45.0 °C, the k<br />

values decrease from 0.238 to 0.226<br />

min -1 <strong>for</strong> fresh resin, from 0.198 to<br />

0.181 min -1 <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo-degraded<br />

resin and from 0.156 to 0.142 min -1 <strong>for</strong><br />

λ 284 photo-degraded resin (Table 1).<br />

It was observed that, under identical<br />

experimental conditions, with rise<br />

in concentration of bromide ions in<br />

the solution from 0.200M to 0.500M,<br />

the k values (min -1 ) <strong>for</strong> ion uptake<br />

reactions were observed to increase<br />

<strong>for</strong> fresh as well as <strong>for</strong> λ 384 and λ 284<br />

photo-degraded resins (Table 2).<br />

Thus at 30.0 °C when the bromide<br />

ion concentration was raised from<br />

0.200M to 0.500M, the k values increase<br />

from 0.238 to 0.276 min -1 <strong>for</strong><br />

fresh resin, from 0.198 to 0.223 min -1<br />

<strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo-degraded resin and<br />

from 0.156 to 0.176 min -1 <strong>for</strong> λ 284<br />

photo-degraded resin (Table 2).<br />

From the results, it appears that<br />

under identical experimental conditions,<br />

ion uptake reaction rate<br />

decreases sharply as the photodegradation<br />

wavelength decreases<br />

from 384 nm to 284 nm. Thus <strong>for</strong><br />

0.200M bromide ion concentration at<br />

a constant temperature of 30.0 °C, the<br />

k value was 0.238 min -1 <strong>for</strong> fresh<br />

resin, which decreases to 0.198 min -1<br />

<strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo-degraded resin, which<br />

further decreases to 0.156 min -1 <strong>for</strong><br />

λ 284 photo-degraded resin (Table 1).<br />

Comparing the ion uptake reaction<br />

rate (k) in min -1 <strong>for</strong> reactions<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med at different temperatures<br />

of reaction medium and concentration<br />

of labeled bromide ion solution,<br />

it was observed that the k values<br />

decrease with decrease in photodegradation<br />

wavelength.<br />

Temperature<br />

of reaction<br />

medium<br />

°C<br />

reaction<br />

rate of rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Fresh resin λ 284 photo degraded resin λ 384 photo degraded resin<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ions uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ions<br />

uptake<br />

reaction<br />

rate of rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ions uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

reaction<br />

rate of rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

30.0 0.238 21.9 54.8 0.156 18.4 45.9 0.198 20.2 50.5<br />

35.0 0.233 19.9 49.7 0.152 15.1 37.8 0.19 18.1 45.3<br />

40.0 0.229 17.8 44.6 0.147 11.9 29.7 0.186 16.0 40.1<br />

45.0 0.226 16.1 40.3 0.142 8.6 21.6 0.181 14.0 34.9<br />

Energy of<br />

activation<br />

(kJ.mol -1 )<br />

Enthalpy of<br />

activation<br />

(kJ.mol -1 )<br />

Free energy of<br />

activation<br />

(kJ.mol -1 )<br />

Entropy of<br />

activation<br />

(kJ.K -1 mol -1 )<br />

-2.77 -5.05 -4.66<br />

-5.35 -7.63 -7.24<br />

64.66 63.65 63.86<br />

-0.231 -0.236 -0.234<br />

| Tab. 1.<br />

Effect of temperature of reaction medium on isotopic ion uptake reaction kinetics and isotopic uptake using fresh/photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m = 1.000 g; Concentration of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 0.200M; Volume of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 200 mL;<br />

Amount of exchangeable bromide ions in 200 mL labeled reaction medium = 40.00 mmol.<br />

Concentration<br />

of ions<br />

in the<br />

reaction<br />

medium<br />

(M)<br />

Amount<br />

of ions in<br />

200 mL<br />

labeled<br />

solution<br />

(mmol)<br />

reaction<br />

rate of<br />

rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Fresh resin λ 284 photo degraded resin λ 384 photo degraded resin<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

reaction<br />

rate of<br />

rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

reaction<br />

rate of<br />

rapid<br />

isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

process<br />

(min -1 )<br />

Amount<br />

of isotopic<br />

ion uptake<br />

(mmol)<br />

% of<br />

isotopic<br />

ion<br />

uptake<br />

0.200 40.00 0.238 21.9 54.8 0.156 18.4 45.9 0.198 20.2 50.5<br />

0.300 60.00 0.250 35.5 59.2 0.162 29.8 49.6 0.207 32.6 54.4<br />

0.500 100.00 0.276 68.7 68.7 0.176 56.7 56.7 0.223 63.8 63.8<br />

| Tab. 2.<br />

Concentration effect on isotopic ion uptake reaction kinetics and isotopic uptake using fresh/photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin = 1.000 g; Volume of labeled ionic reaction medium = 200 mL; Temperature of reaction medium = 30.0 °C.<br />

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3.2 Effect of photodegradation<br />

on percentage<br />

isotopic ion uptake<br />

It was observed that <strong>for</strong> 0.200M<br />

labeled bromide ion solution, as the<br />

temperature of the reaction medium<br />

increases from 30.0 °C to 45.0 °C, the<br />

percentage of isotopic ion uptake<br />

decreases by 14.5 % from 54.8 % to<br />

40.3 % <strong>for</strong> fresh resins; by 15.6 % from<br />

50.5 % to 34.9 % <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photodegraded<br />

resin and maximum by<br />

24.3 % from 45.9 % to 21.6 % <strong>for</strong><br />

λ 284 photo-degraded resin (Table 1).<br />

For same temperature of reaction<br />

medium, similar decrease in percentage<br />

of bromide ion uptake was<br />

observed as the photo-degradation<br />

wavelength decreases from 384 nm to<br />

284 nm. Thus <strong>for</strong> 0.200M labeled<br />

bromide ion solution at a constant<br />

temperature of 30.0 °C, in case of<br />

fresh resin the percentage of ion<br />

uptake was 54.8 %, while <strong>for</strong> λ 384<br />

photo- degraded resin 50.5 % isotopic<br />

ion uptake was observed, indicating<br />

4.3 % decrease. Similarly, <strong>for</strong> λ 284<br />

photo-degraded resin, the percentage<br />

of isotopic ion uptake was 45.9 %<br />

indicating 8.9 % decrease with<br />

reference to fresh resin (Table 1).<br />

Thus, it was observed that the<br />

decrease in wavelength has higher<br />

photo-degradation effect on the<br />

resin which is reflected by higher<br />

decrease in bromide ion uptake by the<br />

resin.<br />

It was observed that at 30.0 °C, as<br />

the concentration of labelled bromide<br />

ion solution increases from 0.200M to<br />

0.500M, the percentage of isotopic ion<br />

uptake increases by 13.9 % from<br />

54.8 % to 68.7 % <strong>for</strong> fresh resins; by<br />

13.3 % from 50.5 % to 63.8 % <strong>for</strong> λ 384<br />

photo-degraded resin and by 10.8 %<br />

from 45.9 % to 56.7 % <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photodegraded<br />

resin (Table 2). Thus, as<br />

the photo-degradation wavelength<br />

decreases the degradation effect on<br />

the resin was more which is reflected<br />

by less increase in isotopic ion uptake<br />

by the resin.<br />

3.3 Thermodynamics of isotopic<br />

ion uptake reactions<br />

using fresh and photodegraded<br />

resins<br />

The energy of activation (E a ) <strong>for</strong> the<br />

bromide ion uptake reactions taking<br />

place in Indion GS 300 were calculated<br />

by using Arrhenius equation<br />

[23].<br />

k = A × e -Ea/RT (2)<br />

The plot of log (10) k against 1/T gives a<br />

straight line graph (Figure 1), from<br />

the slope of the plot, energy of activation<br />

E a values <strong>for</strong> ion uptake reactions<br />

using fresh and photo- degraded resins<br />

were calculated by the equation [23].<br />

E a = slope × -2.303x R (3)<br />

The enthalpy of activation ΔH ‡ value<br />

<strong>for</strong> the bromide ion uptake reactions<br />

using fresh and photo-degraded resins<br />

were calculated by using the Eyring-<br />

Polanyi equation [23, 24].<br />

log 10 k/T = -ΔH ‡ /2.303RT +<br />

log 10 k B /h + ΔS ‡ /2.303R<br />

(4)<br />

Where:<br />

k = reaction rate constant<br />

T = absolute temperature<br />

ΔH ‡ = enthalpy of activation<br />

R = gas constant (8.314J.K -1 .mol -1 )<br />

k B = Boltzmann constant<br />

(1.3806 ×10 -23 J⋅K -1 )<br />

h = Planck’s constant<br />

(6.6261×10 -34 J⋅s)<br />

ΔS ‡ = entropy of activation<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 57<br />

The plot of log 10 k/T versus 1/T gives a<br />

straight-line graph (Figure 2), from<br />

the slope of which enthalpy of<br />

activation ΔH ‡ values <strong>for</strong> the bromide<br />

ion uptake reactions using fresh and<br />

photo-degraded resins were calculated<br />

by the equation<br />

Slope = ΔH ‡ /-2.303R (5)<br />

| Fig. 1.<br />

Arrhenius plot to determine energy of activation (Ea) <strong>for</strong> bromide isotopic ion uptake reactions<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m = 1.000 g; Temperature range = 30.0-45.0 °C; Concentration of labeled<br />

exchangeable bromide ion solution = 0.200M; Volume of labeled bromide ion solution = 200 mL; Amount of exchangeable<br />

bromide ions in 200 mL labeled solution = 40.00 mmol.<br />

From the intercept of the above plot,<br />

the entropy of activation ΔS ‡ values<br />

<strong>for</strong> the bromide ion uptake reactions<br />

using fresh and photo-degraded resins<br />

were calculated by the equation<br />

Intercept = 2.303 × log 10 (k B /h)<br />

+ ΔS ‡ /R(6)<br />

Knowing the values of enthalpy of<br />

activation ΔH ‡ and entropy of activation<br />

ΔS ‡ , free energy of activation ΔG ‡<br />

<strong>for</strong> bromide ion uptake reactions<br />

using fresh and photo-degraded resins<br />

was calculated by the equation<br />

ΔG ‡ = ΔH ‡ -TΔS ‡ (7)<br />

| Fig. 2.<br />

Eyring-Polanyi plot to determine the enthalpy of activation ΔH ‡ and entropy of activation ΔS ‡ <strong>for</strong> bromide<br />

isotopic ion uptake reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m = 1.000 g; Temperature range = 30.0-45.0 °C; Concentration of labeled<br />

exchangeable bromide ion solution = 0.200M; Volume of labeled bromide ion solution = 200 mL; Amount of exchangeable<br />

bromide ions in 200 mL labeled solution = 40.00 mmol.<br />

It was observed that during isotopic<br />

ion uptake reactions using the fresh<br />

resin, the values of energy of activation<br />

(-2.77 kJ.mol -1 ), enthalpy of activation<br />

(-5.35 kJ.mole -1 ), free energy of activation<br />

(64.66 kJ.mol -1 ) and entropy<br />

of activation (-0.231 kJ.K -1 mol -1 );<br />

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RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 58<br />

| Fig. 3.<br />

Correlation between temperature of reaction medium and bromide isotopic ion uptake reaction rate of<br />

the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m = 1.000 g; Concentration of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 0.200M;<br />

Volume of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 200 mL; Amount of exchangeable bromide ions in 200 mL labeled reaction<br />

medium = 40.00 mmol<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> fresh resin =-0.9938; Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo degraded resin =-0.9886;<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photo degraded resin = -0.9986<br />

| Fig. 4.<br />

Correlation between temperature of reaction medium and percentage of bromide isotopic ion uptake <strong>for</strong><br />

the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin in bromide <strong>for</strong>m = 1.000 g; Concentration of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 0.200M;<br />

Volume of labeled bromide ion reaction medium = 200 mL; Amount of exchangeable bromide ions in 200 mL labeled reaction<br />

medium = 40.00 mmol<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> fresh resin =-0.9992; Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo degraded resin =-1.0000;<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photo degraded resin = -1.0000<br />

| Fig. 5.<br />

Correlation between concentration of labeled bromide ionic solution and bromide isotopic ion uptake<br />

reaction rate of the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin = 1.000 g; Volume of labeled ionic reaction medium = 200 mL;<br />

Temperature of reaction medium = 30.0 °C<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> fresh resin = 0.9998; Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo degraded resin = 0.9995;<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photo degraded resin = 0.9993<br />

which increases to -4.66 kJ.mol -1 ,<br />

-7.24 kJ.mol -1 , 63.86 kJ.mol -1 and<br />

-0.234 kJ.K -1 mol -1 respectively <strong>for</strong><br />

λ 384 photo-degraded resin; which further<br />

increases to -5.05 kJ.mol -1 , -7.63<br />

kJ.mol -1 , 63.65 kJ.mol-1 and -0.236<br />

kJ.K -1 mol -1 respectively <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photo-degraded<br />

resin under similar<br />

experimental conditions (Table 1).<br />

The thermodynamic parameters calculated<br />

here suggest that decrease in<br />

wavelength of UV radiations has<br />

more degradation effect on the resin<br />

re sulting in less thermodynamic<br />

feasibility of the isotopic ion uptake<br />

reactions.<br />

3.4 Statistical Correlations<br />

The results of present investigation<br />

show a strong negative correlation<br />

between temperature of the medium<br />

and bromide ion uptake reaction rate<br />

(min -1 ) <strong>for</strong> the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med<br />

by using fresh, λ 284 photo degraded<br />

and λ 384 photo degraded resins,<br />

having r values of -0.9938, -0.9986<br />

and -0.9886 respectively (Figure 3).<br />

There also exist strong negative<br />

correlation between percentage of<br />

bromide ion uptake and temperature<br />

of the medium <strong>for</strong> the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med<br />

by using fresh, λ 284 photo<br />

degraded and λ 384 photo degraded<br />

resins, having r values of -0.9992,<br />

-1.0000 and -1.0000 respectively<br />

(Figure 4).<br />

However, a strong positive correlation<br />

was observed between the concentration<br />

of labeled ionic medium<br />

and bromide ion uptake reaction rate<br />

(min -1 ) <strong>for</strong> the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by<br />

using fresh, λ 284 photo degraded and<br />

λ 384 photo degraded resins, having r<br />

values of 0.9998, 0.9993 and 0.9995<br />

respectively (Figure 5). Also, a strong<br />

positive correlation was observed<br />

between the concentration of labeled<br />

ionic medium and percentage of<br />

bromide ion uptake <strong>for</strong> the reactions<br />

per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh, λ 284 photo<br />

degraded and λ 384 photo degraded<br />

resins, having r values of 0.9998,<br />

0.9999 and 0.9990 respectively<br />

(Figure 6).<br />

3.5 Characterisation of fresh<br />

and photo-degraded resin<br />

| Fig. 6.<br />

Correlation between concentration of labeled bromide ionic solution and percentage of bromide isotopic<br />

ion uptake <strong>for</strong> the reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using fresh and photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resins.<br />

Amount of ion exchange resin = 1.000 g; Volume of labeled ionic reaction medium = 200 mL;<br />

Temperature of reaction medium = 30.0 °C<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> fresh resin = 0.9998; Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 384 photo degraded resin = 0.9990;<br />

Correlation coefficient (r) <strong>for</strong> λ 284 photo degraded resin = 0.9999<br />

3.5.1 FTIR spectrum of fresh and<br />

photo-degraded Indion GS<br />

300 resin<br />

The IR spectrum of the fresh Indion<br />

GS 300 resin is shown in Figure 7. The<br />

assignments of various bands and<br />

peaks made in this study are in<br />

reasonable agreement with those<br />

reported in the literature <strong>for</strong> similar<br />

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functional groups. In the FTIR<br />

spectrum of fresh resin, the sharp<br />

strong broad band was observed at<br />

3366 cm -1 corresponding to the<br />

vibration of O-H bond of the water or<br />

the quaternary ammonium group<br />

(R 4- N + ). This may be due to the<br />

moisture content of the fresh resins.<br />

The sharp band between 1380-<br />

1349 cm -1 was <strong>for</strong> -C-N stretching<br />

while a variable absorption bands<br />

between 1633-1614 cm -1 was due to<br />

the stretching vibrations of -C=C- of<br />

alkenes group. The weak band at<br />

3031 cm -1 was the characteristic<br />

stretching band <strong>for</strong> aromatic ring. A<br />

moderate band at 2925 cm -1 was due<br />

to the C-H stretching band <strong>for</strong> -CH 2<br />

group. A moderate and sharp band at<br />

1416 cm -1 and 1470 cm -1 was due to<br />

the -C-H bending bands <strong>for</strong> -CH 2<br />

group. The variable band at 1511 cm -1<br />

was the -C=C- stretching <strong>for</strong> aromatic<br />

ring, the sharp band at 828 cm -1 and<br />

moderate band at 705 cm -1 was the<br />

characteristic bands of p-substituted<br />

and o-substituted aromatic rings.<br />

Comparison of IR spectrum of fresh<br />

resin (Figure 7) and photo-degraded<br />

resin (Figures 8 and 9) indicate<br />

disappearance of characteristic -C-N<br />

stretching band at 1349 cm -1 , -C-H<br />

stretching band at 3031 cm -1 <strong>for</strong><br />

aromatic ring and a single band at<br />

1614 cm -1 <strong>for</strong> -C=C- stretching in<br />

alkenes.<br />

| Fig. 7.<br />

FTIR Spectrum of fresh Indion GS 300 resin.<br />

| Fig. 8.<br />

FTIR Spectrum of λ 284 photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resin.<br />

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 59<br />

3.5.2 SEM study of fresh and<br />

photo-degraded Indion GS<br />

300 resin<br />

The SEM image of fresh ion exchange<br />

resins Indion GS 300 was taken to<br />

examine its surface morphology. The<br />

Figure 10(a) showed the surface<br />

morphology of fresh Indion GS 300<br />

resins which indicate its plane spherical<br />

structure having smooth surface.<br />

The SEM image of λ 384 and λ 284<br />

photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resin<br />

showed large cracks on the plane<br />

spherical surface of the resin (Figures<br />

10b and 10c). The SEM image of λ 384<br />

photo-degraded resin show hair cracks<br />

on the surface (Figure 10b). Whereas,<br />

in case of λ 284 photo- degraded resin,<br />

the completely broken surface with<br />

large cracks were observed (Figure<br />

10c), indicating higher photo-degradation<br />

effect as compared to that of<br />

the fresh and λ 384 photo-degraded<br />

resin (Figures 10a and 10b).<br />

Conclusion<br />

In recent years, the industrial application<br />

of polymeric resin materials has<br />

increased considerably but it is now<br />

well established that these materials<br />

| Fig. 9.<br />

FTIR Spectrum of λ 384 photo-degraded Indion GS 300 resin.<br />

undergo rapid photo-degradation<br />

when exposed to solar UV radiations.<br />

The photo-degradation of resin materials<br />

is one of the most serious<br />

problems associated with an organic<br />

based resin. Among the solar UV<br />

radiations, most harmful are the high<br />

energetic UV-B radiations (280 to<br />

315 nm) in comparison to UV-A<br />

radiations (315 to 400 nm) which are<br />

of less energy. The polymeric resin<br />

material Indion GS 300 in the present<br />

study after exposure to UV radiation<br />

of wavelength 284 and 384nm was<br />

studied <strong>for</strong> the percentage isotopic ion<br />

uptake, reaction kinetics and reaction<br />

thermodynamics. The results of the<br />

present investigation indicate that<br />

isotopic ion uptake reaction rate<br />

(min -1 ), percentage of isotopic ion<br />

uptake are greatly affected <strong>for</strong> the<br />

reactions per<strong>for</strong>med by using λ 284 and<br />

λ 384 photo degraded Indion GS 300<br />

resin as compared to that of fresh<br />

Indion GS 300 resin. The increase<br />

in thermodynamic parameters like<br />

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RESEARCH AND INNOVATION 60<br />

| Fig. 10a.<br />

SEM image of fresh Indion GS 300 resin.<br />

energy of activation (kJ.mol -1 ),<br />

enthalpy of activation (kJ.mol -1 ), free<br />

energy of activation (kJ.mol -1 ) and<br />

entropy of activation (kJ.K-1mol -1 )<br />

calculated <strong>for</strong> the isotopic ion uptake<br />

reactions using the fresh, λ 384 and λ 284<br />

photo degraded Indion GS 300 resin<br />

give an indication that decrease in<br />

wavelength of UV radiations has<br />

catastrophic effect on the resin<br />

resulting in less thermodynamic<br />

feasibility of the isotopic ion uptake<br />

reactions.<br />

Acknowledgement<br />

The author is thankful to Professor<br />

Dr. R.S. Lokhande (Retired) <strong>for</strong> his<br />

valuable help and support by providing<br />

the required facilities so as<br />

to carry out the experimental work<br />

in Radiochemistry Laboratory, Department<br />

of Chemistry, University<br />

of Mumbai, Vidyanagari, Mumbai<br />

-400 058.<br />

References<br />

1. C. Srinivas, G. Sugilal and P. K. Wattal, Management of Spent<br />

Organic Ion-Exchange Resins by Photochemical Oxidation.<br />

WM’03 Conference, Tucson, Arizona (USA), February 23-27, 2003.<br />

2. G. Wypych, Handbook of material weathering, 4 th edn.<br />

Chemtec Publishing, Toronto, p 211 (2008).<br />

3. H. Zweifel, In book: Stabilization of polymeric materials.<br />

Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (1998).<br />

4. M. Strlic, and J. Kolar, Aging and stabilization of papers.<br />

Distributed by the National and university Library, Turjaska 1,<br />

1000 Slovenia (2005).<br />

5. J. Goldshtein and S. Margel, Synthesis and characterization of<br />

polystyrene/2(5-chloro-2H-benzotriazole-2-yl)-6-(1, 1-dimethylethyl)-4-methyl-phenol<br />

composite microspheres of narrow size<br />

distribution <strong>for</strong> UV irradiation protection. Colloid Polym Sci 289,<br />

1863–1874 (2011).<br />

6. J. Pospisil and S. Nespurek, Addcon World conference,<br />

Cologne, Germany, 17–18 Oct 2006.<br />

7. W. Schnabel, Polymer degradation: principle and practical<br />

applications. Chapter 14. München: Hanser <strong>International</strong> ;<br />

New York (1981).<br />

8. A. S. Maxwell, W. R. Broughton, G. Dean and G. D. Sims.<br />

Review of accelerated ageing methods and lifetime prediction<br />

techniques <strong>for</strong> polymeric materials. NPL Report DEPC MPR<br />

016, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex,<br />

ISSN 1744-0270 (2005).<br />

9. L.Valkoa, E. Klein, P. Kovarik, T. Bleha and P. Simon, Kinetic<br />

study of thermal dehydrochlorination of poly (vinyl chloride)<br />

in the presence of oxygen: III. Statistical thermodynamic<br />

interpretation of the oxygen catalytic activity. Eur. Polym. J. 37,<br />

1123–1133 (2001).<br />

| Fig. 10b.<br />

SEM image of λ 384 photo-degraded Indion<br />

GS 300 resin.<br />

10. R.R. Mohamed, Photostabilization of polymers. S. Palsule (ed),<br />

In book: Encyclopedia of Polymers and Composites,<br />

Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2015).<br />

DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-37179-0_74-1<br />

11. F.A. Bottino, A.R. Cinquegrani, G. Pasquale, L.L. Di and<br />

A. Pollicino, Chemical modification, mechanical properties and<br />

surface photooxidation of films of polystyrene. Polym. Test 12,<br />

405–411(2003).<br />

12. B.G. Kumar, R.P. Singh and T. Nakamura, Degradation of<br />

carbon fiber-rein<strong>for</strong>ced epoxy composites by ultraviolet<br />

radiation and condensation. <strong>Journal</strong> of Composite Materials,<br />

36(24), 2713-2721 (2002).<br />

13. A.W. Signor, M.R. VanLandingham and J.W. Chin, Effect of<br />

ultraviolet radiation exposure on vinyl ester resins:<br />

characterization of chemical, physical, mechanical damage.<br />

Polymer Degradation and Stability, 79(2), 359-368 (2003).<br />

14. L.F.A. Pinto, B.E. Goi, C.C. Schmitt and M.G. Neumann.<br />

Photodegradation of polystyrene films containing UV- visible<br />

sensitizers. <strong>Journal</strong> of Research Updates in Polymer Science<br />

2(1), 39–47 (2013).<br />

15. P. Gijsman and M. Diepens, Photolysis and photooxidation in<br />

engineering plastics. In M. C. Celina, N. C. Billingham, and<br />

J. S. Wiggins (Eds.), Polymer degradation and per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

(pp. 287-306). (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1004).<br />

Washington: American Chemical Society, (2009).<br />

DOI: 10.1021/bk-2009-1004.ch024<br />

16. E. Yousif and R. Haddad, Photodegradation and photostabilization<br />

of polymers, especially polystyrene: review.<br />

SpringerPlus, 2, Article No. 398 (2013).<br />

17. A.N. Patange, Thermodynamics of Ion Exchange Reaction in<br />

Predicting the Ionic Selectivity Behavior of UV Radiation<br />

Degraded <strong>Nuclear</strong>-grade and Non-nuclear Grade Resins.<br />

Oriental <strong>Journal</strong> of Chemistry, 34(4), 2051-2059 (2018).<br />

18. D.D. Sood, Proceedings of <strong>International</strong> Conference on<br />

Applications of Radioisotopes and Radiation in Industrial<br />

Development, edited by D. D. Sood, A. V. R. Reddy, S. R. K. Iyer,<br />

S. Gangadharan and G. Singh, BARC, Mumbai, India, p.47,<br />

(1998).<br />

19. P. U. Singare, Studies on kinetics and thermodynamics of ion<br />

adsorption reactions by applications of short-lived radioactive<br />

tracer isotopes. Ionics, 22(8), 1433-1443 (2016).<br />

20. R.S. Lokhande and P.U. Singare, Comparative Study on Ion-<br />

Isotopic Exchange Reaction Kinetics by Application of Tracer<br />

Technique. Radiochim. Acta, 95(3), 173-176 (2007).<br />

21. R.S. Lokhande, P.U. Singare and V.V. Patil, Application of Radioactive<br />

Tracer Technique to Study the Kinetics and Mechanism<br />

of Reversible Ion-Isotopic Exchange Reaction using Strongly<br />

Basic Anion Exchange Resin Indion -850. Radiochemistry,<br />

50(6), 638-641 (2008).<br />

22. R.S. Lokhande and P.U. Singare, Comparative Study on Iodide<br />

and Bromide Ion-Isotopic Exchange Reactions by Application<br />

of Radioactive Tracer Technique, J.Porous Mater., 15(3),<br />

253-258 (2008).<br />

23. L.K. Onga, A. Kurniawana, A.C. Suwandi, C.X. Linb, X.S. Zhao<br />

and S. Ismadji, Transesterification of leather tanning waste to<br />

biodiesel at supercritical condition: Kinetics and thermodynamics<br />

studies. The <strong>Journal</strong> of Supercritical Fluids, 75,<br />

11–20 (2013).<br />

24. V. Stavila, J. Volponi, A. M. Katzenmeyer, M. C. Dixon and<br />

M. D. Allendorf, Kinetics and mechanism of metal-organic<br />

framework thin film growth: systematic investigation of<br />

HKUST-1 deposition on QCM electrodes, Chem. Sci., 3(5),<br />

1531-1540 (2012).<br />

| Fig. 10c.<br />

SEM image of λ 284 photo-degraded Indion<br />

GS 300 resin.<br />

Author<br />

pravin.singare@bhavans.ac.in<br />

Pravin U. Singare<br />

Associate Professor<br />

(Chemistry)<br />

Department of<br />

Chemistry,<br />

N.M. Institute of Science,<br />

Bhavan’s College,<br />

Mumbai, India<br />

Pravin U. Singare has worked extensively on<br />

characterization of nuclear and non-nuclear grade ion<br />

exchange resins using radioactive tracer technique.<br />

He is the member of Indian Society of Analytical<br />

Scientists, National Association <strong>for</strong> Application of<br />

Radio Isotopes and Radiation in Industry (NAARI),<br />

Indian <strong>Nuclear</strong> Society (INS), and Indian Association<br />

of <strong>Nuclear</strong> Chemists & Allied Scientists (IANCAS) all<br />

from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, (B.A.R.C.),<br />

Anushaktinagar, Mumbai, and Indian Council of<br />

Chemists (ICC), Agra, India.<br />

Research and Innovation<br />

Non-destructive Radioactive Tracer Technique in Evaluation of Photo- degraded Polystyrene Based <strong>Nuclear</strong> Grade Ion Exchange Material ı Pravin U. Singare


VGB-Standard<br />

Water in <strong>Nuclear</strong> <strong>Power</strong> Plants with Light-Water Reactors<br />

Part 1: Pressurised-Water Reactors. Part 2: Boiling-Water Reactors.<br />

(<strong>for</strong>merly VGB-R 401)<br />

Edition 2020 – VGB-S-401-00-2020-05-EN (VGB-S-401-00-2020-05-DE, German edition)<br />

DIN A4, Print/eBook*, 92 Pages, Price <strong>for</strong> VGB-Members € 180.–, <strong>for</strong> Non-Members € 270.–, + Shipping & VAT<br />

Almost half a century after publication of the first edition of a VGB-Guideline <strong>for</strong> the Water in <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

<strong>Power</strong> Plants with Light-Water Reactors and approx. 13 years after the third edition in 2006, the task<br />

of a renewed adaptation of the Guideline <strong>for</strong> the Water in Light-Water Reactors as VGB-Standard arises.<br />

This VGB-Standard shall be the common basis <strong>for</strong> the operation of the plants. It provides the framework<br />

<strong>for</strong> operating manuals or chemical manuals, but is in no way intended to replace them.<br />

The task of these manuals is, among other things, to consider plant-specific features and to make<br />

specifications that go beyond this VGB-Standard.<br />

This VGB-Standard describes the water-chemical specification <strong>for</strong> the safe operation of light-water<br />

reactors based on the material concept of the Siemens/KWU and comparable plants.<br />

The revision takes into account, where appropriate, the knowledge and experience gained over the<br />

last decade in the national and international environment.<br />

VGB-Standard<br />

<strong>for</strong> the Water in <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

<strong>Power</strong> Plants with<br />

Light-Water Reactors<br />

Part 1: PWR<br />

Part 2: BWR<br />

(Formerly VGB-R 401)<br />

VGB-S-401-00-2020-05-EN<br />

Notice: A background paper (VGB-S-401-91-2020-05-EN) with further notes and summarised experiences will be available in July 2021.<br />

Part 1, PWR. Contents (abbreviated)<br />

1 Field of application<br />

2 Definitions<br />

2.1 General<br />

2.2 Definition of the Action Levels <strong>for</strong> the reactor coolant circuit<br />

2.3 Definition of the Action Levels <strong>for</strong> the water-steam cycle<br />

2.4 Definition of the Action Areas <strong>for</strong> the water-steam cycle<br />

2.5 Overview diagram of a PWR plant<br />

3 Reactor coolant circuit<br />

3.1 Fundamentals of reactor coolant chemistry<br />

3.2 Explanations<br />

3.3 Specifications<br />

3.4 Special treatment methods<br />

4 Water-steam cycle<br />

4.1 Fundamentals of the chemistry of the water-steam cycle<br />

4.2 Control parameters <strong>for</strong> start-up operation<br />

4.3 Diagnostic parameters <strong>for</strong> start-up operation<br />

4.4 Control parameters <strong>for</strong> continuous operation<br />

4.5 Integral control parameters <strong>for</strong> continuous operation<br />

4.6 Diagnostic parameters <strong>for</strong> continuous operation<br />

4.7 Diagnostic parameters <strong>for</strong> make-up water<br />

4.8 Specification of the media of the water-steam cycle<br />

4.9 Special treatment methods and measurements<br />

5 Literature<br />

6 List of abbreviations<br />

7 Annex 1: Overview main cooling circuit<br />

8 Annex 2: Overview water/steam cycle<br />

Part 2, BWR. Contents (abbreviated)<br />

1 Field of application<br />

2 Definitions<br />

2.1 Control parameters<br />

2.2 Diagnostic parameters<br />

2.3 Normal operating values<br />

2.4 Tolerable range<br />

2.5 Action Levels<br />

3 Fundamentals of chemistry in the reactor system and<br />

in the water-steam cycle<br />

3.1 Total overview<br />

3.2 Reasons <strong>for</strong> the high chemical demands requirements on<br />

the water-steam cycle including reactor water<br />

3.3 Explanation of the chemical parameters <strong>for</strong> the reactor water and the water-steam cycle during plant operation<br />

3.4 Explanation of the chemical parameters <strong>for</strong> reactor water in cold condition (< 100 °C) and <strong>for</strong> start-up readiness,<br />

as well as <strong>for</strong> feed water be<strong>for</strong>e start-up<br />

4 Specification values <strong>for</strong> reactor water and water/steam cycle<br />

5 Specification values <strong>for</strong> auxiliary and secondary systems<br />

6 Literature<br />

* Access <strong>for</strong> eBooks (PDF files) is included in the membership fees <strong>for</strong> Ordinary Members (operators, plant owners) of VGB. www.vgb.org/vgbvs4om<br />

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<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

62<br />

NEWS<br />

Top<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> making Europe<br />

fit <strong>for</strong> 55<br />

(nei) FORATOM welcomes the<br />

Commission’s Fit <strong>for</strong> 55 package and<br />

fully supports all proposals which aim<br />

to reduce CO 2 emissions in line with<br />

the Climate Law and Paris Agreement.<br />

Indeed, the bar has been set very high<br />

as it will apply to a broad range of<br />

sectors including industry, buildings<br />

and transport.<br />

“Achieving this target will not be<br />

easy – many aspects need to be taken<br />

into consideration to ensure that, in<br />

the race to decarbonisation, other<br />

problems do not arise”, states Yves<br />

Desbazeille, FORATOM Director<br />

General.<br />

For example:<br />

p How will be this transition<br />

financed?<br />

p Will we have enough low-carbon<br />

energy to meet our needs?<br />

p How can we ensure that industries<br />

are able to decarbonise their<br />

manufacturing processes whilst<br />

remaining competitive?<br />

p And how can we mitigate potential<br />

social impacts (eg job losses,<br />

energy poverty)?<br />

“<strong>Nuclear</strong> has a key role to play in<br />

this transition, together with other<br />

low- carbon technologies” adds Mr<br />

Desbazeille. “It is a low-carbon source<br />

of energy, thus helping European<br />

achieve its decarbonisation targets. It<br />

is also af<strong>for</strong>dable and available 24/7,<br />

two key attributes when it comes to<br />

finding competitive solutions <strong>for</strong><br />

energy-intensive industries in Europe”.<br />

The nuclear sector remains committed<br />

to working with the EU and<br />

supporting technology neutral policies<br />

which will help us achieve these<br />

ambitious goals. Furthermore, and as<br />

highlighted in the latest IEA and<br />

OECD NEA report entitled ‘Projected<br />

Costs of Generating Electricity 2020’,<br />

the long-term operation of nuclear<br />

power plants remains the cheapest<br />

source of electricity across the board.<br />

There<strong>for</strong>e, prolonging the existing<br />

fleet would be the best way of<br />

achieving the 2030 targets in an<br />

af<strong>for</strong>dable manner.<br />

| www.<strong>for</strong>atom.org (211711803)<br />

NEI: Advanced <strong>Nuclear</strong> will<br />

Balance Energy Supply and<br />

Demand<br />

(nei) As we prepare <strong>for</strong> a decarbonized<br />

grid with more wind and solar,<br />

it’s critical to prepare a way to balance<br />

energy supply, which varies over the<br />

course of the day, with demand.<br />

Demand varies too, but on a different<br />

schedule.<br />

Balancing supply with demand has<br />

always been essential to ensuring a<br />

reliable grid. Energy use varies from<br />

minute to minute, driven by people’s<br />

use of air conditioning, heating,<br />

lighting and other devices. Today, the<br />

energy system meets those changes by<br />

shifting how much fossil fuel it is<br />

burning.<br />

In solar intensive locations like<br />

Cali<strong>for</strong>nia, copious energy from the<br />

sun at midday leads utilities to shut<br />

Operating Results May 2021<br />

Plant name Country Nominal<br />

capacity<br />

Type<br />

gross<br />

[MW]<br />

net<br />

[MW]<br />

Operating<br />

time<br />

generator<br />

[h]<br />

Energy generated, gross<br />

[MWh]<br />

Month Year Since<br />

commissioning<br />

Time availability<br />

[%]<br />

Energy availability<br />

[%] *) Energy utilisation<br />

[%] *)<br />

Month Year Month Year Month Year<br />

OL1 Olkiluoto 1) BWR FI 910 880 484 432 112 2 945 004 279 979 721 65.04 89.37 62.85 87.77 63.13 88.35<br />

OL2 Olkiluoto 1,4) BWR FI 910 880 378 347 351 3 015 004 269 917 726 50.81 89.90 50.58 89.81 50.75 90.45<br />

KCB Borssele 1,4) PWR NL 512 484 499 223 019 1 671 972 173 740 769 58.20 91.41 58.22 91.42 58.23 90.16<br />

KKB 1 Beznau 1,7) PWR CH 380 365 433 159 742 1 260 683 134 472 069 58.20 91.42 56.33 90.83 55.97 91.48<br />

KKB 2 Beznau 6,7) PWR CH 380 365 744 282 009 1 377 536 141 753 837 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.78 100.08<br />

KKG Gösgen 1,2,7) PWR CH 1060 1010 509 534 805 3 552 518 334 439 107 68.35 92.52 67.92 91.95 67.81 92.50<br />

CNT-I Trillo 3) PWR ES 1066 1003 360 380 667 3 129 396 267 153 244 48.44 82.34 48.36 82.23 47.69 80.56<br />

Dukovany B1 PWR CZ 500 473 744 366 520 1 289 586 120 934 025 100.00 72.43 99.45 71.38 98.53 71.19<br />

Dukovany B2 PWR CZ 500 473 744 364 274 1 795 247 116 407 162 100.00 100.00 99.61 99.82 97.92 99.10<br />

Dukovany B3 PWR CZ 500 473 660 314 737 1 731 972 115 092 529 88.71 97.68 87.87 97.37 84.61 95.61<br />

Dukovany B4 PWR CZ 500 473 744 364 171 1 136 707 115 702 608 100.00 63.92 99.51 63.12 97.90 62.75<br />

Temelin B1 PWR CZ 1080 1030 230 208 026 2 421 505 131 992 795 30.91 62.57 25.68 61.46 25.84 61.77<br />

Temelin B2 PWR CZ 1080 1030 744 810 191 3 977 937 129 566 841 100.00 100.00 99.93 99.98 100.27 101.10<br />

Doel 1 PWR BE 454 433 499 227 917 1 597 240 141 611 081 67.08 93.24 66.70 93.08 65.79 94.65<br />

Doel 2 2) PWR BE 454 433 744 349 212 1 320 047 139 930 112 100.00 78.03 99.98 77.32 100.29 77.90<br />

Doel 3 PWR BE 1056 1006 744 796 408 3 819 505 275 031 816 100.00 99.22 100.00 98.92 100.74 99.25<br />

Doel 4 PWR BE 1084 1033 744 815 217 3 962 050 281 322 040 100.00 100.00 99.97 99.99 99.60 99.35<br />

Tihange 1 PWR BE 1009 962 744 737 163 3 660 915 311 527 890 100.00 100.00 98.54 99.53 98.32 100.38<br />

Tihange 2 PWR BE 1055 1008 395 310 332 2 621 020 268 324 837 53.02 74.46 39.44 68.46 39.44 69.04<br />

Tihange 3 PWR BE 1089 1038 744 797 031 3 908 177 290 561 835 100.00 100.00 99.97 99.98 98.88 99.60<br />

Plant name<br />

Type<br />

Nominal<br />

capacity<br />

gross<br />

[MW]<br />

net<br />

[MW]<br />

Operating<br />

time<br />

generator<br />

[h]<br />

Energy generated, gross<br />

[MWh]<br />

Time availability<br />

[%]<br />

Energy availability Energy utilisation<br />

[%] *) [%] *)<br />

Month Year Since Month Year Month Year Month Year<br />

commissioning<br />

GKN-II Neckarwestheim 4) DWR 1480 1410 744 1 013 850 5 027 350 356 378 894 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.98 97.51 99.39<br />

KBR Brokdorf DWR 1406 1335 744 1 019 287 4 967 761 376 231 090 100.00 100.00 99.95 99.96 92.37 92.45<br />

KKE Emsland 1,2) DWR 1430 1360 348 479 085 4 474 670 373 485 371 46.83 88.98 46.20 88.79 45.80 87.90<br />

KKI-2 Isar DWR 1344 1288 744 1 062 814 5 302 849 382 731 892 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.99 95.82 98.29<br />

KRB C Gundremmingen SWR 1485 1410 744 999 351 4 891 476 355 369 242 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.90 99.27 99.77<br />

KWG Grohnde DWR 1400 1310 744 1 003 789 4 078 261 402 838 610 100.00 82.37 100.00 81.99 93.79 78.32<br />

News


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

down their fossil-fired generation. As<br />

the sun goes down, people come home<br />

from work and turn on air conditioning<br />

and TVs and start using appliances<br />

like microwaves <strong>for</strong> dinner. As<br />

demand increases, solar disappears.<br />

Plain and simple, demand<br />

threatens to rise faster than the fossilfueled<br />

system can accommodate.<br />

The solution is to store energy <strong>for</strong><br />

when it’s needed most, and that’s<br />

where advanced nuclear technologies<br />

have a strong role to play. These<br />

nuclear innovations must be developed<br />

in parallel with increased<br />

deployment of wind and solar,<br />

building a foundation of always-on,<br />

carbon-free energy that can also help<br />

maintain the instantaneous balance<br />

between supply and demand.<br />

Four of the newest advanced<br />

nuclear designs are being prepared to<br />

store energy, using innovative ways to<br />

run a nuclear reactor continuously<br />

while varying the electricity output.<br />

When the reactor’s production of heat<br />

exceeds the demand <strong>for</strong> electricity, the<br />

excess energy is stored as heat. When<br />

demand <strong>for</strong> electricity is higher than<br />

what the reactor is producing, the<br />

extra heat is drawn from the storage<br />

tank and turned into electricity.<br />

An example of this design is<br />

the Natrium project, a partnership<br />

between Bill Gates’s Terra<strong>Power</strong> and<br />

GEHitachi that is backed by the United<br />

States Department of Energy.<br />

Natrium is choosing among four sites<br />

of soon-to-be-retired coal plants in<br />

Wyoming <strong>for</strong> a plant that can vary its<br />

output from 100 megawatts to 500<br />

megawatts.<br />

Terra<strong>Power</strong> also has a design <strong>for</strong> a<br />

molten chloride reactor that would<br />

store energy as heat. Moltex Energy<br />

and Terrestrial Energy also have reactors<br />

in design that would use a giant<br />

tank filled with salt or rocks as a bank<br />

<strong>for</strong> depositing or withdrawing heat.<br />

The concept keeps the reactor running<br />

at full output almost all the time,<br />

while creating heat storage and saving<br />

the energy <strong>for</strong> when it’s most valuable<br />

and needed.<br />

While other options exist to store<br />

energy, advanced nuclear technologies<br />

are critical to this ef<strong>for</strong>t as they<br />

offer both an efficient and environmentally<br />

friendly energy storage<br />

option. When compared to batteries<br />

<strong>for</strong> example, heat storage is cheaper<br />

and doesn’t require scarce minerals.<br />

Policymakers and developers are<br />

smartly investing in new innovative<br />

nuclear designs. Their investments<br />

have the potential to offer tremendous<br />

returns with new designs churning<br />

out the reliable, carbon-free energy<br />

necessary to reach our climate goals,<br />

while also helping match production<br />

with demand by efficiently storing<br />

energy as heat.<br />

Advanced reactors will be essential<br />

in multiple ways to our future energy<br />

grid, offering unique capabilities to<br />

complement wind and solar technologies<br />

and demonstrating vital<br />

inno vation to match our energy needs.<br />

| www.nei.org (211711749)<br />

*) Net-based values<br />

(Czech and Swiss nuclear<br />

power plants<br />

gross-based)<br />

1) Refueling<br />

2) Inspection<br />

3) Repair<br />

4) Stretch-out-operation<br />

5) Stretch-in-operation<br />

6) Hereof traction supply<br />

7) Incl. steam supply<br />

BWR: Boiling<br />

Water Reactor<br />

PWR: Pressurised Water<br />

Reactor<br />

Source: VGB<br />

63<br />

NEWS<br />

Operating Results June 2021<br />

Plant name Country Nominal<br />

capacity<br />

Type<br />

gross<br />

[MW]<br />

net<br />

[MW]<br />

Operating<br />

time<br />

generator<br />

[h]<br />

Energy generated, gross<br />

[MWh]<br />

Month Year Since<br />

commissioning<br />

Time availability<br />

[%]<br />

Energy availability<br />

[%] *) Energy utilisation<br />

[%] *)<br />

Month Year Month Year Month Year<br />

OL1 Olkiluoto BWR FI 910 880 720 654 062 3 599 066 280 633 783 100.00 91.13 99.48 89.71 98.74 90.08<br />

OL2 Olkiluoto 1) BWR FI 910 880 267 225 370 3 240 374 270 143 096 37.13 81.15 34.59 80.65 34.02 81.10<br />

KCB Borssele 1) PWR NL 512 484 0 0 1 671 972 173 740 769 0 76.26 -900 -73 0 75.21<br />

KKB 1 Beznau 6,7) PWR CH 380 365 720 270 721 1 531 404 134 742 790 100.00 92.84 100.00 92.35 98.92 92.72<br />

KKB 2 Beznau 7) PWR CH 380 365 720 268 898 1 646 434 142 022 735 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 98.26 99.78<br />

KKG Gösgen 1,2,7) PWR CH 1060 1010 143 120 843 3 673 361 334 559 950 100.00 93.76 16.15 79.38 15.83 79.79<br />

CNT-I Trillo 1,2) PWR ES 1066 1003 174 154 854 3 284 250 267 308 098 24.21 72.70 19.76 71.87 19.79 70.48<br />

Dukovany B1 PWR CZ 500 473 720 349 270 1 638 855 121 283 294 100.00 77.00 100.00 76.12 97.02 75.47<br />

Dukovany B2 PWR CZ 500 473 720 345 231 2 140 479 116 752 393 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.85 95.90 98.57<br />

Dukovany B3 PWR CZ 500 473 0 0 1 731 972 115 092 529 0 81.49 0 81.23 0 79.76<br />

Dukovany B4 PWR CZ 500 473 720 353 561 1 490 268 116 056 169 100.00 69.91 99.92 69.22 98.21 68.63<br />

Temelin B1 PWR CZ 1080 1030 720 775 720 3 197 225 132 768 515 100.00 68.78 99.91 67.83 99.57 68.04<br />

Temelin B2 PWR CZ 1080 1030 552 581 844 4 559 781 130 148 685 76.67 96.13 74.39 95.74 74.41 96.68<br />

Doel 1 2) PWR BE 454 433 250 102 737 1 699 977 141 713 819 34.67 83.53 30.87 82.77 30.46 84.01<br />

Doel 2 PWR BE 454 433 720 331 796 1 651 843 140 261 908 100.00 81.67 99.96 81.07 98.45 81.31<br />

Doel 3 PWR BE 1056 1006 720 753 303 4 572 808 275 785 119 100.00 99.35 99.01 98.93 98.53 99.13<br />

Doel 4 PWR BE 1084 1033 720 778 772 4 740 822 282 100 811 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.99 98.29 99.18<br />

Tihange 1 PWR BE 1009 962 720 704 797 4 365 712 312 232 687 100.00 100.00 99.91 99.59 97.08 99.84<br />

Tihange 2 PWR BE 1055 1008 720 735 259 3 356 279 269 060 096 100.00 78.69 99.15 73.55 97.64 73.78<br />

Tihange 3 PWR BE 1089 1038 720 761 960 4 670 136 291 323 795 100.00 100.00 99.96 99.98 97.61 99.27<br />

Plant name<br />

Type<br />

Nominal<br />

capacity<br />

gross<br />

[MW]<br />

net<br />

[MW]<br />

Operating<br />

time<br />

generator<br />

[h]<br />

Energy generated, gross<br />

[MWh]<br />

Time availability<br />

[%]<br />

Energy availability Energy utilisation<br />

[%] *) [%] *)<br />

Month Year Since Month Year Month Year Month Year<br />

commissioning<br />

GKN-II Neckarwestheim 1,2,4) DWR 1480 1410 256 309 100 5 336 450 356 687 994 35.56 89.32 35.56 89.30 30.48 87.97<br />

KBR Brokdorf DWR 1406 1335 720 1 023 756 5 991 517 377 254 846 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.97 95.87 93.02<br />

KKE Emsland DWR 1430 1360 720 992 975 5 467 645 374 478 346 100.00 90.81 100.00 90.65 98.07 89.59<br />

KKI-2 Isar DWR 1344 1288 720 995 880 6 298 729 383 727 772 100.00 100.00 100.00 99.99 92.60 97.34<br />

KRB C Gundremmingen SWR 1485 1410 720 932 684 5 824 160 356 301 926 100.00 100.00 98.02 99.59 95.64 99.08<br />

KWG Grohnde DWR 1400 1310 720 967 132 5 045 393 403 805 742 100.00 85.29 99.63 84.91 93.30 80.80<br />

News


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

64<br />

NEWS<br />

US: $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure<br />

Bill Includes Plans <strong>for</strong> New<br />

Reactors and Credits <strong>for</strong><br />

Existing Plants<br />

(nucnet) President Joe Biden’s $1.2tn<br />

infrastructure bill, passed this week by<br />

the Senate, lays out plans <strong>for</strong> the<br />

development of new nuclear reactor<br />

technology and a credit programme<br />

<strong>for</strong> existing reactors that face closure<br />

because of economic reasons.<br />

The bill, which still needs approval<br />

from the House of Representatives,<br />

says energy secretary Jennifer Granholm<br />

will submit a report describing<br />

how the Department of Energy could<br />

improve energy resilience and reduce<br />

carbon emissions with the use of small<br />

modular reactors and microreactors.<br />

The report should be submitted to<br />

the Senate’s committee on energy and<br />

natural resources and the House of<br />

Representatives’ committees on energy<br />

and commerce, and science, space and<br />

technology not later than 180 days<br />

after the legislation becomes law.<br />

The bill says the DOE will offer<br />

financial and technical assistance to<br />

entities to conduct feasibility studies<br />

to identify suitable locations <strong>for</strong> the<br />

deployment of SMRs, microreactors<br />

and advanced reactors in isolated<br />

communities.<br />

The bill includes a proposal to<br />

develop at least one regional clean<br />

hydrogen hub to demonstrate the<br />

production of clean hydrogen from<br />

nuclear energy.<br />

Another key element of the bill <strong>for</strong><br />

the nuclear industry is its call <strong>for</strong> a<br />

credit programme <strong>for</strong> commercial<br />

nuclear reactors. It calls on Ms<br />

Granholm to evaluate nuclear reactors<br />

that are projected to be permanently<br />

shut down because of economic factors<br />

and to allocate credits to those that<br />

qualify.<br />

In order to qualify <strong>for</strong> credits, the<br />

owner or operator of a nuclear plants<br />

will need to file an application with<br />

the DOE.<br />

The bill says the application will<br />

need to incorporate in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

including “the average projected<br />

annual operating loss in dollars per<br />

megawatt-hour, inclusive of the cost of<br />

operational and market risks, expected<br />

to be incurred by the nuclear reactor<br />

over the four-year period <strong>for</strong> which<br />

credits would be allocated”. The application<br />

should also include an estimate<br />

of the potential incremental air pollutants<br />

that would result if the nuclear<br />

reactor were to cease operations.<br />

Press reports in the US have said<br />

the legislation will come too late to<br />

prevent the Byron and Dresden<br />

nuclear power plants in Illinois from<br />

being shut down this year. Operator<br />

Exelon said proposed Illinois legislation,<br />

separate from the federal infrastructure<br />

bill, that would provide state<br />

subsidies is “the only solution that can<br />

pass in time to provide the certainty<br />

we need”.<br />

Exelon, the nation’s largest operator<br />

of nuclear plants, has filed plans to<br />

decommission its Byron and Dresden<br />

units, citing a lack of action from state<br />

lawmakers on clean energy legislation<br />

that would help save the facilities. The<br />

company said that without a legislative<br />

solution, these same market<br />

inequities will also <strong>for</strong>ce it to close its<br />

Braidwood and LaSalle nuclear facilities<br />

sometime in the next few years.<br />

The US feet of 93 nuclear plants,<br />

which provides about 20 % of the<br />

nation’s electricity, have been facing<br />

revenue shortfalls because of declining<br />

energy prices and market rules<br />

that the nuclear industry says favour<br />

fossil fuel plants.<br />

The Washington-based <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

Energy Institute has said a combination<br />

of policy and economic factors<br />

has led to the premature closure of<br />

several highly reliable plants with<br />

high capacity factors and relatively<br />

low generating costs.<br />

It said additional plants will face<br />

the prospect of early closure unless<br />

policies that value the benefits of<br />

nuclear energy are put in place.<br />

Europe<br />

United Nations: Europe Needs<br />

‘Consistent Policies And Clear<br />

Market Frameworks’ For New<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

(nucnet) Decarbonising energy is a<br />

significant undertaking that will<br />

require deployment of all available<br />

low-carbon technologies, including<br />

nuclear power, but governments must<br />

provide positive, long-term policy<br />

signals <strong>for</strong> new reactor development,<br />

according to a new technology brief<br />

from the United Nations Economic<br />

Commission <strong>for</strong> Europe (UNECE)*.<br />

The brief says consistent policies<br />

and clear market frameworks will enable<br />

investment in new nuclear power<br />

projects and support stable supply<br />

chains.<br />

In an apparent reference to<br />

Europe’s sustainable finance taxonomy,<br />

it says “green finance classifications<br />

should be based on scientific<br />

and technology-neutral methodologies”.<br />

Multilateral banks and<br />

international finance institutions<br />

should consider nuclear projects as<br />

part of their “sustainable lending activities”.<br />

The sustainable finance taxonomy<br />

is a package of regulations that<br />

governs investment in activities that<br />

the EU says are environmentally<br />

friendly.<br />

The European commission decided<br />

not to include nuclear energy in the<br />

taxonomy, which entered into <strong>for</strong>ce<br />

last summer, but said it would include<br />

it under a complementary delegated<br />

act in 2021. The act would carry the<br />

technical screening criteria <strong>for</strong> determining<br />

the conditions under which<br />

nuclear could qualify as contributing<br />

to sustainability and climate change<br />

mitigation.<br />

The commission asked the Joint<br />

Research Centre, its scientific expert<br />

arm, to assess nuclear power against<br />

the taxonomy’s “do no significant<br />

harm” criteria. When the report was<br />

ready in April, the commission asked<br />

two other expert groups – the Euratom<br />

Article 31 expert group on radiation<br />

protection and the scientific committee<br />

on health, environmental and<br />

emerging risks (Scheer) – to review<br />

the JRC’s report and provide additional<br />

opinions.<br />

The EC then said it would need to<br />

take into account the three reports<br />

be<strong>for</strong>e it makes a decision about the<br />

inclusion of nuclear in delegated acts<br />

in the taxonomy. Delegated acts are<br />

legally-binding rules which will<br />

supplement the taxonomy.<br />

The UNECE brief calls <strong>for</strong> governments<br />

to accelerate the development<br />

and deployment of small modular<br />

reactors and advanced reactor technologies,<br />

with technical, financial and<br />

regulatory support “essential” <strong>for</strong> the<br />

deployment and commercialisation of<br />

these new nuclear technologies.<br />

<strong>International</strong> harmonisation of<br />

licensing frameworks is also needed if<br />

new nuclear projects are to succeed.<br />

The policy brief also says securing<br />

the long-term operation of existing<br />

nuclear plants will avoid unnecessary<br />

CO 2 emissions and decrease the costs<br />

of Europe’s energy transition.<br />

UNECE, set up in 1947, is one of five<br />

regional commissions of the United<br />

Nations. Its main aim is to promote<br />

pan-European economic integration.<br />

UNECE includes 56 member States in<br />

Europe, North America and Asia.<br />

News


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

Uranium<br />

Prize range: Spot market [USD*/lb(US) U 3O 8]<br />

140.00<br />

) 1<br />

Uranium prize range: Spot market [USD*/lb(US) U 3O 8]<br />

140.00<br />

) 1<br />

120.00<br />

120.00<br />

65<br />

100.00<br />

100.00<br />

80.00<br />

80.00<br />

60.00<br />

40.00<br />

20.00<br />

Yearly average prices in real USD, base: US prices (1982 to1984) *<br />

60.00<br />

40.00<br />

20.00<br />

NEWS<br />

0.00<br />

1980<br />

Jan. 2009<br />

Jan. 2010<br />

1985<br />

Jan. 2011<br />

Jan. 2012<br />

* Actual nominal USD prices, not real prices referring to a base year. Year<br />

1990<br />

Jan. 2013<br />

1995<br />

Jan. 2014<br />

Jan. 2015<br />

2000<br />

Jan. 2016<br />

2005<br />

Jan. 2017<br />

Jan. 2018<br />

2010<br />

Jan. 2019<br />

2015<br />

Jan. 2020<br />

2020<br />

2021<br />

Year<br />

* Actual nominal USD prices, not real prices referring to a base year. Sources: Energy Intelligence, Nukem; Bild/Figure: <strong>atw</strong> 2021 * Actual nominal USD prices, not real prices referring to a base year. Year<br />

Sources: Energy Intelligence, Nukem; Bild/Figure: <strong>atw</strong> 2021<br />

| Uranium spot market prices from 1980 to 2021 and from 2009 to 2021. The price range is shown.<br />

In years with U.S. trade restrictions the unrestricted uranium spot market price is shown.<br />

Separative work: Spot market price range [USD*/kg UTA]<br />

Conversion: Spot conversion price range [USD*/kgU]<br />

180.00<br />

26.00<br />

) 1 ) 1<br />

24.00<br />

160.00<br />

22.00<br />

140.00<br />

120.00<br />

100.00<br />

80.00<br />

60.00<br />

40.00<br />

20.00<br />

0.00<br />

Jan. 2021<br />

Jan. 2022<br />

Sources: Energy Intelligence, Nukem; Bild/Figure: <strong>atw</strong> 2021<br />

0.00<br />

Jan. 2009<br />

Jan. 2010<br />

Jan. 2011<br />

Jan. 2012<br />

Jan. 2013<br />

Jan. 2014<br />

* Actual nominal USD prices, not real prices referring to a base year. Year<br />

| Separative work and conversion market price ranges from 2009 to 2021. The price range is shown.<br />

)1<br />

In December 2009 Energy Intelligence changed the method of calculation <strong>for</strong> spot market prices. The change results in virtual price leaps.<br />

* Actual nominal USD prices, not real prices referring to a base year<br />

Sources: Energy Intelligence, Nukem; Bilder/Figures: <strong>atw</strong> 2021<br />

20.00<br />

18.00<br />

16.00<br />

14.00<br />

12.00<br />

10.00<br />

8.00<br />

6.00<br />

4.00<br />

2.00<br />

0.00<br />

Jan. 2009<br />

Jan. 2010<br />

Jan. 2011<br />

Jan. 2012<br />

Jan. 2013<br />

Jan. 2014<br />

Jan. 2015<br />

Jan. 2015<br />

Jan. 2016<br />

Jan. 2016<br />

Jan. 2017<br />

Jan. 2017<br />

Jan. 2018<br />

Jan. 2018<br />

Jan. 2019<br />

Jan. 2019<br />

Jan. 2020<br />

Jan. 2020<br />

Jan. 2021<br />

Jan. 2021<br />

Jan. 2022<br />

Jan. 2022<br />

Sources: Energy Intelligence, Nukem; Bild/Figure: <strong>atw</strong> 2021<br />

Market data<br />

(All in<strong>for</strong>mation is supplied without<br />

guarantee.)<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Fuel Supply<br />

Market Data<br />

In<strong>for</strong>mation in current (nominal)<br />

U.S.-$. No inflation adjustment of<br />

prices on a base year. Separative work<br />

data <strong>for</strong> the <strong>for</strong>merly “secondary<br />

market”. Uranium prices [US-$/lb<br />

U 3 O 8 ; 1 lb = 453.53 g; 1 lb U 3 O 8 =<br />

0.385 kg U]. Conversion prices [US-$/<br />

kg U], Separative work [US-$/SWU<br />

(Separative work unit)].<br />

2017<br />

p Uranium: 19.25–26.50<br />

p Conversion: 4.50–6.75<br />

p Separative work: 39.00–50.00<br />

2018<br />

p Uranium: 21.75–29.20<br />

p Conversion: 6.00–14.50<br />

p Separative work: 34.00–42.00<br />

2019<br />

p Uranium: 23.90–29.10<br />

p Conversion: 13.50–23.00<br />

p Separative work: 41.00–52.00<br />

2020<br />

January to March 2020<br />

p Uranium: 24.10–27.40<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 45.00–53.00<br />

April 2020<br />

p Uranium: 27.50–34.00<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 45.00–52.00<br />

May 2020<br />

p Uranium: 33.50–34.50<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 48.00–52.00<br />

June 2020<br />

p Uranium: 33.00–33.50<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 49.00–52.00<br />

July 2020<br />

p Uranium: 32.50–33.20<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 50.50–53.50<br />

August 2020<br />

p Uranium: 30.50–32.25<br />

p Conversion: 21.50–23.50<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–54.00<br />

September 2020<br />

p Uranium: 29.90–30.75<br />

p Conversion: 21.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–54.00<br />

October 2020<br />

p Uranium: 28.90–30.20<br />

p Conversion: 21.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–53.00<br />

November 2020<br />

p Uranium: 28.75–30.25<br />

p Conversion: 19.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–53.00<br />

December 2020<br />

p Uranium: 29.50–30.40<br />

p Conversion: 19.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–53.00<br />

January 2021<br />

p Uranium: 29.50–30.50<br />

p Conversion: 19.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–53.00<br />

February 2021<br />

p Uranium: 28.75–29.10<br />

p Conversion: 20.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 52.00–54.00<br />

March 2021<br />

p Uranium: 27.25–31.00<br />

p Conversion: 20.00–22.00<br />

p Separative work: 52.00–55.00<br />

April 2021<br />

p Uranium: 28.40–31.00<br />

p Conversion: 19.00–21.00<br />

p Separative work: 51.00–54.00<br />

May 2021<br />

p Uranium: 29.15–31.35<br />

p Conversion: 19.50–21.50<br />

p Separative work: 52.00–54.00<br />

June 2021<br />

p Uranium:31.00–32.50<br />

p Conversion: 19.50–21.50<br />

p Separative work: 54.00–56.00<br />

| Source: Energy Intelligence<br />

www.energyintel.com<br />

News


<strong>atw</strong> Vol. 66 (2021) | Issue 5 ı September<br />

66<br />

NUCLEAR TODAY<br />

John Shepherd<br />

is editor-in-chief<br />

of the online publication<br />

New Energy 360 &<br />

World Battery News.<br />

Sources:<br />

IPCC report summary:<br />

https://bit.ly/3AtOFh9<br />

MEPs letter to EC:<br />

https://bit.ly/3xDe2eB<br />

As Science Turns Up the Heat on Climate Change Sceptics,<br />

How Long Be<strong>for</strong>e the Nero-like <strong>Nuclear</strong> Deniers Must Change<br />

Their Tune?<br />

The loss of life and catastrophic impact of the floods that swept through Europe earlier this year, coupled with the horrific<br />

scenes of wildfires raging in southern Europe, the US and elsewhere, have been the starkest wake-up call to date of the<br />

effects of climate change.<br />

Climate change deniers have still been out there, a little bit<br />

like the apocryphal account of Nero, the <strong>for</strong>mer emperor of<br />

Rome, “fiddling” while the city was engulfed by a near<br />

week-long fire.<br />

But what cannot be denied is the science telling us that<br />

human activities, including the generation of greenhouse<br />

gases (GHGs), are contributing to increasing climatic<br />

devastation.<br />

As I submitted this article to the editor, the latest report<br />

from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change<br />

(IPCC) stated: “Climate change is intensifying the water<br />

cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated<br />

flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.”<br />

The report added that emissions of GHGs from human<br />

activities “are responsible <strong>for</strong> approximately 1.1 °C of<br />

warming since 1850-1900”. Averaged over the next 20 years,<br />

the IPCC’s report said global temperature is expected to<br />

reach or exceed 1.5 °C of warming.<br />

The report also noted that weather conducive to wildfires<br />

could be traced to human influence and gave new estimates<br />

of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5 °C<br />

in the next decades, finding that “unless there are immediate,<br />

rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas<br />

emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5 °C or even 2 °C<br />

will be beyond reach”.<br />

Energy production accounts <strong>for</strong> two-thirds of total greenhouse<br />

gas, so ef<strong>for</strong>ts to reduce emissions and mitigate climate<br />

change must include this sector and nuclear power can be a<br />

massive part of the solution – as those involved in the industry<br />

should never tire of reminding themselves and others.<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> plants produce almost no GHGs or air pollutants<br />

during their operation. This edition of <strong>atw</strong> is focused on<br />

uranium and the nuclear fuel cycle, so with that in mind, it’s<br />

worth reminding ourselves that over the course of its life<br />

cycle, nuclear produces about the same amount of carbon<br />

dioxide-equivalent emissions per unit of electricity as wind,<br />

and one-third of the emissions per unit of electricity when<br />

compared with solar.<br />

Sadly, even nuclear has an even bigger hurdle to<br />

overcome – that most exasperating of human activity that<br />

sometimes stands in the way of fighting climate change: a<br />

combination of environmental and political dogma.<br />

Let’s take Germany, where federal elections are due in<br />

September 2021, as an example.<br />

Long be<strong>for</strong>e flooding wrecked communities along the<br />

Rhine and Ahr rivers, Annalena Baerbock, the Greens’<br />

candidate seeking to replace outgoing chancellor Angela<br />

Merkel, thrust the issue of climate change into the election<br />

campaign.<br />

Baerbock told the German news magazine, Der Spiegel:<br />

“Germany has been <strong>for</strong>tunate <strong>for</strong> decades in suffering<br />

relatively few natural catastrophes, however, that’s meant<br />

that the disaster protection measures haven’t been<br />

sufficiently developed.”<br />

I don’t know if the would-be Green chancellor was asked<br />

about her party’s decades of opposition to nuclear energy<br />

and whether that had had an impact on the environment,<br />

but I’m guessing not.<br />

So what about other potential German leaders heading to<br />

the ballot box? German vice-chancellor and finance minister,<br />

Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrats’ candidate to replace<br />

Merkel, pledged a “billions-strong recovery programme” and<br />

said he wanted to see changes to the country’s disaster<br />

prevention plans and climate protection measures. But as I<br />

write he too had yet to spell out the details.<br />

Legislation that came into <strong>for</strong>ce in Germany in 2002<br />

limited the operating lifetimes of German reactor units to<br />

about 32 years. The politically-inspired move aimed to<br />

ensure the gradual phase-out of the use of nuclear power in<br />

the country.<br />

Merkel, a <strong>for</strong>mer research scientist, said early on in her<br />

chancellorship that she personally was against the<br />

phase-out.<br />

Meanwhile, a group of five EU Member States, led by<br />

Germany, have written to the European Commission, asking<br />

<strong>for</strong> nuclear energy to remain excluded from the EU<br />

Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance – the classification system<br />

to establish a list of environmentally-sustainable economic<br />

activities.<br />

The letter was signed, Nero-like, by the environment or<br />

energy ministers of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg<br />

and Spain and pointed to “shortcomings” in a report<br />

published last April by the Joint Research Centre (JRC).<br />

The JRC, whose mission is to support EU policies with<br />

independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle,<br />

had said nuclear energy did no more harm to human health<br />

or the environment than any other power- producing<br />

technology considered to be sustainable.<br />

However, there were some who sought to keep the<br />

embers of a sensible, science-based approach to environmental<br />

economics alive. Nearly 100 members of the<br />

European Parliament called on the European Commission to<br />

follow the science and include nuclear under the taxonomy<br />

classification system.<br />

Their move was backed by Yves Desbazeille, the directorgeneral<br />

of Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association <strong>for</strong><br />

the nuclear energy industry in Europe. He said EU member<br />

states that wished to invest in low-carbon nuclear “should<br />

not be prevented from doing so just because others are<br />

politically opposed” to nuclear.<br />

Amid all of this, it was ironic that Germany marked 60<br />

years of generating electricity from nuclear power, after the<br />

first power supply to the grid came from the Kahl<br />

experimental boiling water reactor plant in June 1961. This<br />

was the first time that electricity from nuclear energy had<br />

been fed in and used in Germany.<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong>’s detractors might, if pushed, offer a grudging<br />

acceptance to the impact of nuclear in tackling emissions,<br />

but they would probably go on to argue that switching the<br />

entire world’s electricity production to nuclear would still<br />

not solve the problem of GHGs. Given that electricity<br />

production is only one of many human activities that release<br />

GHGs, that’s likely true.<br />

However, the nuclear industry itself would be the first<br />

to say its technology is not the ‘silver bullet’ needed to slay<br />

the monstrosities wrought by climate change. <strong>Nuclear</strong>, by<br />

all sensible accounts, should be allowed to <strong>for</strong>m part of<br />

the solution. The sooner those who seek to lead have the<br />

courage to accept that essential truth the better <strong>for</strong> the<br />

whole planet.<br />

<strong>Nuclear</strong> Today<br />

As Science Turns Up the Heat on Climate Change Sceptics, How Long Be<strong>for</strong>e the Nero-like <strong>Nuclear</strong> Deniers Must Change Their Tune?<br />

ı John Shepherd


#52KT<br />

www.kerntechnik.com<br />

Media Partner<br />

52 nd KERNTECHNIK<br />

2022<br />

Call <strong>for</strong> Papers<br />

29 – 30 March 2022<br />

HYPERION Hotel, Leipzig<br />

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As one of Europe‘s most recognized and best established nuclear technology conferences the KERNTECHNIK,<br />

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2. <strong>International</strong> Trends and Developments in <strong>Nuclear</strong><br />

3. Decommissioning and Waste Treatment<br />

4. Interim Storage and Final Disposal<br />

Our programme committee is looking <strong>for</strong>ward<br />

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