APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fukushima Daiichi links, facts; Japan nuclear guide

Just a couple items relative to Fukushima Daiichi....

•I've updated my Fukushima Accident Page with links to the most recent analysis of "unexplained events" during the accident, as developed by TEPCO.  There are, and continue to be, a number of unexplained phenomena during the accident that TEPCO is striving to deciper, and this body of work addresses those most important to progress in both decommissioning and overall analysis.  It's significant to note that the amount of fuel damage estimated in all three reactors continues, once again, to slowly increase over time.  Some might recall early estimates / statements by TEPCO that major fuel damage had occurred in all three units, which was then backed away from; reports by TEPCO at the ANS Winter Meeting I attended two years ago began then to intimate more severe damage.  This present report essentially duplicates the developed results I heard at that meeting.

TEPCO has decided to scrap the AREVA produced decontamination system at Fukushima Daiichi, which sat unused for essentially three years.  This event has gone practically unnoticed in nuclear press.  The cost of the equipment has not been revealed, and apparently isn't open for discussion.

And relative to Japan in general...

•It's no secret that all nuclear utilities in Japan have applied to restart at least one reactor each, and it's also no secret that Japan is actively trying to export nuclear energy in order to help its economy.  In light of that, it's interesting that the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum has published an all-new "Nuclear Energy Buyers Guide in Japan" volume, which is available for free on the net.  Click here to get this document, which has a great wealth of information in both graphic and tabular form. 

12:25 PM Eastern 9/3/2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

APR+ Design Certification Announced

While discussion has been focused on the announcement that the ESBWR was approaching design certification in the United States, another, completely different reactor plant type has actually achieved its design certification without any news coverage of note whatsoever.

On August 14, 2014, the APR+ nuclear plant design received official type certification in South Korea after a rigorous seven year development process.  The design is a two loop PWR rated 1500 MWe, with a designed plant life of 60 years and a core damage frequency an entire order of magnitude lower than that calculated for the APR1400 design that it supplants.  As initially designed the plant has a station blackout coping time with no action of eight hours; severe accident management design for the plant is intended to guarantee in-vessel retention of the core in any accident.  Four safety injection trains as well as passive devices combine with a semi-modular construction design, giving South Korea a world class nuclear plant in the upper range of nuclear plant outputs with an intended eventual construction time of 36 months.  Increased safety and reduced unplanned shutdowns are said to be hallmarks of the new APR+ design as compared with the previous designs.

APR+ also has a number of design concessions to load following on a daily schedule; the initial concept is for load change to be automatically controlled within a band of 50% to 100% power with no operator action at all.

The APR+ is a developed version of the still fairly recent APR1400.  The APR1400 type's construction began in 2011 and has ten units under construction presently in both South Korea (six units total) and the UAE (four units.)  It is expected that orders for new commercial nuclear units in the future in South Korea will be for APR+ units, replacing the APR1400. 

News of the official design certification of the APR+ by South Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission is only the most recent coup for this nation's nuclear enterprise; of much note just two years ago, that is on July 4th, 2012 was the announcement that the SMART SMR had received the world's first design certification for any iPWR SMR design.  It's clear that KHNP and the entire South Korean nuclear establishment are pushing ahead aggressively in development (and marketing) and that, for the moment, that nation appears to have the lead in certifying new designs.  What now awaits is the first actual order for either type.

(Illustration courtesy Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.)

3:30 PM Eastern 9/2/2014