atw - November/December 2018

_Should Nuclear Energy Play a Role in a Carbon-Constrained World?
_NIS Directive in the Energy Sector
_Release-Category-Oriented Risk
_Decommissioning: An Interdisciplinary Task for Junior Staff
_Kurchatov Institute’s Critical Assemblies

How Nuclear Industry can Solve ‘Fundamental Obstacle’ of High Capital Cost

NucNet

History shows that new nuclear generating capacity can be deployed as quickly as coal and gas-fired capacity, but the high capital cost of new nuclear plants remains “a fundamental obstacle” which the industry needs to tackle, a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative found. If the global nuclear industry achieved the pace of plant construction and deployment seen in France and the US in the 1970s and 1980s, the world’s energy sector would be completely decarbonised by 2050, Jacopo Buongiorno, a co-director of the study and an associate department head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, said during a briefing on the report in Brussels.

Should Nuclear Energy Play a Role in a Carbon-Constrained World?

Jacopo Buongiorno, Michael Corradini, John Parsons and David Petti

We summarize the findings of a new MIT study on the future of nuclear energy. The context for the study is the challenge of simultaneously expanding energy access and economic opportunity to billions of people while drastically reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. We find that while decarbonization of the electricity sector can be accomplished employing an assortment of low-carbon technologies in various combinations, nuclear has a uniquely valuable role to play as a dispatchable low-carbon technology. Excluding a dispatchable low-carbon option like nuclear, as the German Energiewende does, significantly increases the cost and difficulty of achieving decarbonization targets. We also find that the high cost of new nuclear plants limits nuclear’s role in a balanced portfolio. Reducing this cost can significantly reduce the total cost of decarbonization. Our study identified the factors driving up cost, and we identify promising approaches to achieving cost reductions. Finally, we identify needed government policies. These include decarbonization strategies that recognize the contribution of all low-carbon energy technologies and treat them equally in the electricity market. These also include policies to accommodate and support development and demonstration of advanced reactor designs.

Talks of an End to Germany’s Nuclear Industry Premature

Roman Martinek

There now remains hardly anyone in Germany who has not yet dropped in the last few years a single line about how the country is valiantly closing one by one its nuclear power plants. It was difficult to expect anything else, though, if one keeps in mind that the accelerated phase-out of nuclear energy announced by the German political establishment in 2011 became perhaps the most resonant energy policy decision in the country’s recent history. At the same time, it is often overlooked that the “Atomausstieg” (the name given to Germany’s denuclearization) is a like a hat that has a false bottom to it: the issue of disconnection from the grid lying on the surface of public discourse, while behind it (or ‘under’ it, if you will) lies a number of deeper and more far-reaching questions.

Development on NIS Directive in Different EU Countries in the Energy Sector

Stefan Loubichi

The magnitude, frequency and impact of security incidents are increasing, and represent a major threat to the functioning of network and information systems. These systems may also become a target for deliberate harmful actions intended to damage or interrupt the operation of the systems. Such incidents can impede the pursuit of economic activities, generate substantial financial losses, undermine user confidence and cause major damage to the economy of the Union. The answer of the European Union to this challenge was the NIS Directive.

Arbitrary-peaceful? Consequences of the “Achmea” Decision of the ECJ also for the ICSID Arbitration of Vattenfall?

Ulrike Feldmann

On 6 March 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ, Grand Chamber) issued a serious and controversial ruling on the compatibility of investment protection clauses with Union law (C-284/16 – “Achmea”). Various parties have raised the question of whether the ruling also applies to agreements such as the Energy Charter, to which the EU itself is a contracting party. The Energy Charter is the basis of the Swedish Vattenfall AB and other plaintiffs’ proceedings before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which belongs to the World Bank in Washington D.C.. ICSID was established in 1965 by the ICSID Convention, to which 153 states belong.

Release-Category-Oriented Risk Importance Measure in the Frame of Preventive Nuclear Safety Barriers

Juan Carlos de la Rosa Blul and Luca Ammirabile

After the Fukushima accident, the interest on the field of severe accidents has largely increased, both on the management aspects – to improve the prevention of severe accident progression and mitigate their consequences –, but also in sponsoring research activities focused on reducing the uncertainty still present on physical and chemical phenomena and processes taking place during a postulated severe accident. One of the most relevant and comprehensive approaches to look into the field of severe accidents consists of the Level 2 Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA). In order to reveal the relative probabilistic weight each system, structure or component contributes with to the integrated core damage frequency, several consolidated risk measures are available for application, among which Risk Reduction Worth or Fussell-Vesely. This paper discusses the nature of the different approaches underlying the existing nuclear safety barriers and introduces an innovative severe-accident risk importance measure. This innovative risk measure takes into account the entire spectrum of accidents leading to radioactive releases rather than only focusing at large and early releases. By applying this tool, the importance is shifted from a consequence-oriented to a frequency-oriented tool where the contribution of the different elements of the plant will be ranked according to their impact on the total radioactive release frequency.

Position of the Working Group “Scenario Development” on the Topic: Probability Classes and Handling of Improbable Developments

J. Orzechowski, G. Stolzenberg, J. Wollrath, A. Lommerzheim, S. Mrugalla, Th. Beuth, G. Bracke, K.-M. Mayer, J. Mönig, A. Rübel, J. Wolf, V. Metz, S. Chaudry, E. Plischke and K.-J. Röhlig

The safety requirements demand the consideration of different probabilities of occurrence in the analysis of future evolutions of a disposal system and disposal site. Furthermore, the Commission which was established according to the Repository Site Selection Act requires, as stated in the final report , the review of the classification in the probability classes “probable”, “less probable” and “improbable” evolutions as well as of the distinction between “probable” and “less probable” evolutions. In the past, probable and less probable scenarios were derived during research projects related to the scenario development. Furthermore, evolutions on the basis of human intrusion into a disposal system were examined as well. However, improbable evolutions have not been considered so far. The Working Group “Scenario Development” (AKS) dealt with the classification into probability classes and with the derivation and treatment of improbable scenarios. The position was elaborated by the AKS.

Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities: An Interdisciplinary Task for Junior Staff

David Anton, Manuel Reichardt, Thomas Hassel and Harald Budelmann

Some challenges and boundary conditions are outlined which accompany the dismantling of nuclear facilities. Compared to the dismantling of conventional facilities, the work in nuclear facilities is considerably impeded by the radiological load. The decommissioning concept has to be individually developed or adapted for each nuclear installation taking into account the various boundary conditions. The versatility of the challenges in connection with the dismantling of nuclear facilities and the interim or final disposal of radioactive waste underlines the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach.

Kurchatov Institute’s Critical Assemblies

Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy

Since its establishment, the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (now National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”) was always involved in R&D on nuclear reactors for various applications. This activity required dedicated critical facilities (whose number, design and purpose naturally varied with time). This paper reviews the status of the Kurchatov Institute’s experimental park that includes more than ten critical assemblies intended for R&D for power (VVER, RBMK, HTGR), ship and space reactors.

49th Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology(AMNT 2018) Key Topic | Enhanced Safety & Operation Excellence

Ludger Mohrbach

The report summarises the presentations of the Focus Session “International Operational Experience” Key Topic “Enhanced Safety & Operation Excellence” presented at the AMNT 2018, Berlin, 29 to 30 May 2018.

Brexit and Trump Among Fresh Challenges for Nuclear in Year Ahead

John Shepherd

As 2018 draws to a close, there have been several developments that will mean the new year dawning with fresh uncertainties on the horizon for the global nuclear energy industry: Brexit and announcement of the Trump administration for a new policy framework for curtailing civil nuclear commerce with China are two of them.

 

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