Russia Uprates Reactors for $200/kWe, Brazil Proceeding with Reactor and Japan Restarts a Reactor

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1. Russia will complete an uprate for all but one of Russia’s VVER-1000s by the end of 2010. The uprates will increase the maximum capacity of eight third generation VVER-1000 reactors by 4%, resulting in 311 MWe extra generating capacity.

This is part of a larger program to increase the capacity of Russian reactors under which, Shutikov went on to mention, VVER-440 reactors will see their capacity increase by 5%. These uprates cost $200/kWe of extra generating capacity compared to $2300-$2400/kWe for the construction cost of Rostov 2.

2. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has begun a gradual process to bring the first reactor unit at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant back into operation. Unit 1, a 1067 MWe boiling water reactor, was offline for scheduled maintenance when the earthquake hit. First in a series of tests will be a trial at a pressure of 3.5 MPa before another at 7 MPa. Later will be a start up to 20% power and shutdown followed by a gradual increase to power generation. Around that point the reactor could be described as back in commercial operation. Full operation of the the reactor should add over 2% to Japan’s nuclear power generation.

3. Work may now begin to build Brazil’s third nuclear power reactor (Angra 3) after regulators issued a construction permit.

In December 2008, Eletronuclear signed an industrial cooperation agreement with Areva, confirming that it would complete Angra 3 and be considered for supplying further reactors, of which Brazil wants up to 16 in coming years. With the start of construction imminent, Angra 3 should be completed in 2015 when it should produce 1270 MWe.

Eletronuclear said 600 million real ($327 million) had already been spent on equipment in the original phase of the project and this would be supplemented by a further 8.4 billion real ($4.5 billion), based on a June 2009 estimate.

4. In non-nuclear energy news, China is planning to add about 120 gigawatts of hydroelectric power by 2015. This build may include a massive 38 gigawatt dam in Tibet. The potential Tibet dam would be over twice the generating power of the Three Gorges dam.
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