France needs 35 new reactors
Head of the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) Bernard Bigot explains that France will need to build 35 new nuclear reactors by 2050, if the country is to meet its 50% target of nuclear power in the energy mix. Indeed, according to Mr Bigot, taking into account the number of reactors that will cease activities in the years to come, France should now plan to build one new reactor each year.
Le Figaro | 2014, April 11th

German national committee on waste storage
After weeks of quarrels, the members of the national committee in charge of selecting Germany’s new nuclear waste storage site have finally been named. Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU/CSU) and Michael Müller (SPD) will both head a committee of 34 members.
Handelsblatt | 2014, April 10th

UK £7 billion decommissioning contract awarded
A joint venture between Babcock and US firm Fluor has won the 14-year contract to decommission Britain’s first generation of nuclear sites. The £7 billion project covers ten Magnox nuclear power stations, including Hinkley Point A, Sizewell A and Dungeness A, as well as two testing sites.
The Times | 2014, April 10th & April 1st

EC renewables reforms presented
The European Commission presented its proposals to reform state aid for renewable energies, limiting the use of feed-in tariffs in favour of market mechanisms. The contribution of the most-energy consuming industries will be capped at the current level. In Germany, this exemption is worth about €5 billion per year. The text led to fierce discussions and marks a blow for the European renewables sector.
Les Echos | 2014, April 9th

Dounreay clean-up bill rises
The cost of clearing four decades of nuclear waste at Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands has soared by £200 million, after major changes were made only two years into a 10-year contract. The engineering firm managing Dounreay, Babcock International, is understood to have warned the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that it cannot get away with significantly altering the clean-up programme without additional costs. A Dounreay site spokesman hinted to “more enhancements to security” but also to extra transportation costs in the earlier years of the project, as the fuel on the site is now being transferred to Sellafield in Cumbria.
The Independent on Sunday | 2014, April 6th

Cigeo project to be delayed
According to the French Safety Authority (ASN), the authorisation application for the Cigeo project of a deep geological repository is likely to be postponed past 2015, the date that was initially planned. Heard before a parliamentary committee investigating the costs of the French nuclear industry, ASN commissioner Michel Bourguignon said that due to technical uncertainties, it was unlikely that the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) will be able to meet the schedule.
La Correspondance économique | 2014, April 3rd

Attracting young people to the nuclear industry
An article featured in a Daily Telegraph supplement issue on “Careers in Engineering” explains that the nuclear industry is set to become an even more important sector, thus in great need of young recruits. The UK government’s commitment to nuclear power was made clear through the Hinkley Point project. One very dynamic company is global engineering consultancy firm Atkins. David Whitmore, engineering and technical director for nuclear business, explains that Atkins is “looking for talented, committed individuals to work in this exciting sector”. The company has its own Atkins Training Academy, as well as a relationship with the University of Central Lancashire, to offer nuclear training. SMEs will also benefit from the nuclear renaissance while another area of growth is in decommissioning. As new nuclear power stations come online, the safe dismantling of older reactors and the safe removal of hazardous materials becomes a priority.
The Daily Telegraph | 2014, April 3rd

Brazil to revive nuclear
The country is to develop its nuclear capacity over the next years. Although Brazil’s main energy source remains hydropower, the country needs to address a strong economic and demographic growth. According to the head of utility Electronuclear, nuclear power could provide a relevant and affordable solution. Electronuclear is already examining possible sites and future tenders for 4 to 8 new reactors by 2030. The reactors could be pressurized water reactors with a capacity between 1,000 MW and 1,400 MW. Areva, which recently inked a €1.25 billion contract to complete the Brazilian Angra 3 reactor, could be a partner of choice.
Les Echos | 2014 April 2nd

E.ON closes Grafenrheinfeld earlier than scheduled
In Germany, E.ON will close its Bavarian Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant seven months earlier than originally planned. The power company explained that the economic efficiency of the power plant was at stake, particularly in view of upcoming nuclear fuel taxes. Keeping the plant open would not have been worth the additional tens of millions needed, said E.ON.
Die Welt | 2014 March 29th

Creation of a virtual underground lab
In Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute is experimenting on a virtual underground laboratory for nuclear waste repository research. The Virtus platform will enable researchers to assess the suitability of a site and to perform virtual experiments, notably through 3D-visualisation. The platform prototype will be operational in April. The Virtus project could also help complete studies on concrete sites, such as Cigeo, the French deep geological repository project.
L’Usine Nouvelle | 2014, March 13th