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

Nuclear plans between the UK and Russia
Hergen Haye, head of new nuclear development at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said on March 11 that Britain is in talks with Rosatom about building a nuclear power station in the UK, commenting that it was a “very long road”. In 2013, DECC and Rosatom inked a memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation and the Russian state company has already formed a partnership with Rolls Royce.
The Guardian | 2014, March 12th

France is looking for new nuclear waste storage site
Areva and EDF were asked by the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ANDRA) to examine nuclear waste storage opportunities on their existing nuclear sites. The sites of Malvési (Languedoc-Roussillon) and Pierrelatte (Rhône-Alpes) would be under consideration but research concerning a site in the Champagne-Ardennes region would be the most advanced. Geological researches were conducted during the past months in five towns near Soulaines. The planned site, which would be operational starting in 2025, would store low-level long-lived waste, mainly generated from industry. The ANDRA also plans for the site to store very low-level waste as full capacity will be reached by 2025 on its Cires storage site.
Les Echos | 2014, February 12th

Sellafield nuclear consortium lambasted by parliamentary report
A UK parliamentary committee report said that progress at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria had been poor, with missed targets, escalating costs, slipping deadlines and weak leadership. The report sharply criticises the consortium which has been managing the site for 6 years, Nuclear Management Partners, concluding that NPM was to blame for many of the escalating costs, now reaching £70 billion. MPs added they could not understand why the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) extended the consortium’s contract last October. Sources claimed that the consortium’s contract was extended by the government because of a “lack of faith” in its ability to attract another consortium to take over the job at the same rates.
The Guardian | 2014, February 11th

French PM issues national plan of action for nuclear accident
The French Prime Minister’s office issued a national plan of action in case of “major nuclear and radiation accident”. The plan considers nuclear incidents potentially affecting larger areas than the existing special intervention plan. The new plan includes decision-making guidelines and examines 8 typical situations. The document also includes policies concerning the protection of local population and measures meant to provide for the continuity of economic and social life.
Les Echos | 2014, February 04th

France launches a nuclear special development fund for SMEs
Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, announced it launched a development fund allotted to nuclear companies, which will invest in SMEs. The €133 million fund is financed by Bpifrance and by large industry players, such as Areva EDF, Alstom, Vinci and Eiffage. It will buy minority stakes in SMEs with “significant nuclear activities in France”. With investments ranging from €1 to €3 million, the fund will encourage innovation and competitiveness, as well as development on international markets, with the ultimate aim to help create mid-cap companies and consolidate the French industry.
The Guardian | 2014, February 3rd