Germany keeping all nuclear plants online and Other Nuclear News

1. Utility companies and the government have agreed to allow all of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants to keep operating, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, even two which were scheduled for closure soon.

The two older reactors scheduled to be taken offline in the near future, Biblis A in Hesse and Neckarwestheim I in Baden-Württemberg, will remain operational until the current government finalizes its general energy program, expected in October.

Energy companies are using something of an accounting trick to enable the plants to stay online: unused allocations of electricity from newer plants will be transferred to the Biblis and Neckarwestheim facilities.

The LBBW bank calculated that at a megawatt-hour price of €80, the four largest utilities stand to earn some €233 billion if nuclear plants are allowed to remain operational for another 25 years

2. A major uprate program is planned for the Leningrad power plant that should result in an extra 200 MWe of nuclear generating capacity.

Three reactors at the power plant could benefit from a change to use uranium fuel at a higher level of enrichment. This will boost thermal power output, officials said, while and increasing safety and using less uranium. The swap from fuel enriched to 2.4% uranium-235 to new rods with an average enrichment of 3% will boost thermal power output by 5% – enough to yield 200 MWe in net output across the three reactors that could eventually use the new fuel

3. The new sixth nuclear reactor at India’s Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) has achieved first criticality, just two months after the fifth unit at the site reached the same milestone.

The self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the core of the 220 MWe (gross), indigenously designed, pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) was reached on 23 January, 2010.

The next step for the new unit will be grid connection, at which stage the unit will be regarded as fully operational. The start-up of Rajasthan unit 6 will bring the number of nuclear power reactors in operation in India to 19, with a combined generating capacity of 4560 MWe. Total capacity will increase to 7280 MWe when new reactors are completed in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

4. New nuclear is on the Swedish agenda with moves towards revised legislation and regulatory support for new build applications. Hans Blix told a seminar he was ‘absolutely convinced’ of the need for new reactors.