Commercial operation at Shin-Kori 2 and other nuclear news

1. World Nuclear News – South Korea’s newest nuclear power reactor has entered commercial operation. The country now has 22 nuclear units that together supply about one third of its electricity. Construction work started in January 2007, and in January this year it was synchronised to the grid to produce its first power.

Shin-Kori 2 is the tenth OPR-1000 model pressurized water reactor in South Korea. The indigenous design was developed from Westinghouse units imported through the 1970s and 1980s. Under a licensee relationship, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power was able to develop variants of Westinghouse’s System 80 for its own requirements: first the Korean Standard Nuclear Plant (KNSP), then the OPR-1000 design and finally the APR-1400.

One other OPR-1000 is under construction at Shin-Wolsong, while two APR-1400 units are currently being built at Shin-Kori. A further six APR-1400s are planned to begin operation in the next nine years as part of a program to establish nuclear power at 59% of supply by 2030.

2. Since 1977, more than 6,500 megawatts-electric (MWe) of nuclear uprates have been approved, and most of these have already been implemented. Through July 10, 2012, these cumulative uprates are roughly the equivalent of constructing six new nuclear power plants.

There are three types of uprates:

Measurement uncertainty recapture (MUR) uprates generally result in an increase in electrical output of less than 2% and involve implementing enhanced methodologies for calculating reactor power and/or replacing old analog instrument sensors and control systems with modern sensors and digital control systems. These are typically low-cost uprates. To date, the NRC has approved 55 MUR uprates, totaling about 829 MWe. The first MUR uprate was approved for Comanche Peak Unit 2 (near Fort Worth, Texas) in 1999. The smallest MUR uprate, also for Comanche Peak, totaled 4 MWe in 2001.

Stretch uprates increase electrical output by 3% to 7% and generally do not involve major plant modifications. Older components may be replaced with newer designs and modern materials. These are typically moderate-cost uprates. To date, the NRC has approved 65 stretch uprates, totaling about 2,832 MWe. The first stretch uprates were approved for Calvert Cliff Units 1 and 2 (in Lusby, Maryland) in September 1977.

Extended uprates increase electrical output by more than 7% and can be as large as 20%. Extended uprates generally involve significant plant modifications and may take years to fully implement. To date, the NRC has approved 26 extended uprates, totaling about 2,883 MWe. The first extended uprate was approved for Monticello (near Minneapolis, Minnesota) in March 1998. The largest extended uprate of 193 MWe was approved for the Clinton Unit 1 (near Bloomington, Illinois) in 2001.

Uprates may be implemented incrementally or in combination with each other. The new capacity from nuclear uprates can be put into place quickly, as compared to new plant construction, and only as needed by actual demand growth. Although not restricted by NRC regulations, the total uprate potential of any reactor generally will not exceed 20% of the original licensed capacity of the reactor.

Currently, the NRC is reviewing applications for seven extended and nine measurement uncertainty recapture (MUR) uprates. If approved, these uprates would add about 1,140 MWe of nuclear capacity

3. Canadian nuclear regulators on Friday approved the restart of Bruce Power’s 750-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 at the 6,200-MW Bruce nuclear power station in Ontario.

This authorization will allow Bruce Power to restart Unit 1 and bring it up to 50 percent of full power to perform several safety tests, the CNSC said.

The CNSC said it would have to approve of any power increases over 50 percent.

In the past, Bruce Power said Unit 1 was expected to begin operating in the middle of the third quarter of 2012.

Unit 2 had been expected to enter service in the second quarter of 2012 but an incident occurred in the generator system on the non nuclear side of the plant that caused some damage.

4. Belarus and Russia on Wednesday signed a deal under which Russian companies will build the first nuclear power plant in the former Soviet republic with financing from Moscow.

“This is a large-scale project worth $10 billion in total,” Medvedev told reporters.

The new 2.4 gigawatt nuclear reactor will be built in Belarus’ western Grodno region by Russia’s Atomstroyexport within eight years.

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