UK: Estimated cost of undersea nuclear graveyard now £66bn

A vast subsea nuclear graveyard planned to hold Britain’s burgeoning piles of radioactive waste is set to become the biggest, longest-lasting and most expensive infrastructure project ever undertaken in the UK. The project [UK's nuclear waste dump] is now predicted to take more than 150yrs to complete with lifetime costs of £66bn in today’s money...The waste itself includes 110,000 tonnes of uranium, 6,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuels & about 120 tonnes of plutonium. Read more in The Telegraph.

Chemelot: SMR at Limburg chemical cluster undesirable

Last year, the Dutch Province of Limburg started an alliance in which, besides the local government, research institutes, small nuclear reactor (SMR) developers, utilities, industrial customers and funders cooperated. With this "Limburg SMR alliance" Limburg  tried to lead the way towards an SMR in Limburg. The preferred site for a first SMR would be Chemelot, a chemical industry cluster near Geleen. Chemelot's director was also in favor, initially. Last month, however, a report from the alliance revealed that Chemelot had abandoned its ambition for a small nuclear reactor: "Chemelot realised that it is undesirable as a location due to the mutual risks of chemical plants, combined with the safety requirements of an SMR." The alliance is now considering its options. Continue reading

France to produce tritium for nuclear weapons in EDF civilian nuclear reactors

From the IPFM: During a visit to the Civaux nuclear power plant on 18 March 2024, France's Minister of the Armed Forces unveiled a plan to use the plant to produce tritium for the French nuclear weapons program. Civaux is a civilian power plant that belongs to and is operated by Electricité de France. According to the report, the nuclear regulator, l'Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, is expected to issue an approval in September 2024. The first test assemblies will be loaded in the reactor during a scheduled refueling in 2025. Continue reading

EU and US doubled purchases of nuclear fuel & uranium from Russia in 2023

An analysis by the Norwegian NGO Bellona of transborder trade operations with the customs code 840130 (irradiated fuel assemblies or fuel elements) show a more than twofold increase of import to EU countries of fresh nuclear fuel in cash terms – from 280 million Euros in 2022 to 686 million Euros in 2023. In physical terms this means an increase of deliveries from 314 tons of nuclear fuel to 573 tons.
Bellona also reported that the import of enriched uranium from Russia to the USA grew in 2023 to a record level of $1.2 billion, 40% more than the import volume for 2022. With rising prices, import also increased in physical volumes by around 20%, from 588 tons in 2022 to 702 tons in 2023.

AFP: France eyes spent uranium plant to bypass Russia

The French government has said it is "seriously" studying the option of building a plant to convert and enrich reprocessed uranium to cut its reliance on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
The only plant in the world that currently converts reprocessed uranium for use in nuclear power plants is in Russia.
"The option of carrying out an industrial project to convert reprocessed uranium in France is being seriously examined," the French industry and energy ministry told AFP late Thursday.
"The associated conditions are still being studied," the ministry said.
The announcement came after French daily Le Monde said that state-owned power utility EDF had no immediate plans to halt uranium trade with Russia, as Moscow's war against Ukraine stretches into its third year.
Continue reading

Despite “commitments”, Urenco Almelo continues to enrich Russian uranium

Yesterday, the ANVS, the Dutch nuclear supervisor, authorized the
transport of up to six shipments of fissile enriched uranium from Russia to Urenco in Almelo. This is remarkable because after the Russian invasion, almost two years ago, the uranium-enriching state-owned company in Almelo claimed to be "very concerned" about developments in Ukraine and therefore "stopped all contracts" with Russia.
Local newspaper Tubantia now reports that Urenco is enriching uranium from Russia for "a French nuclear power plant operator." It would, according to a Urenco spokesperson, be a breach of contract not to do so. Continue reading

Hinkley Point C could be delayed to 2031 and cost up to £35bn, says EDF

[The Guardian]: "As nuclear plant is hit by further delay, real cost will be far higher after inflation is included, as project uses 2015 prices.
The owner of Hinkley Point C has blamed inflation, Covid and Brexit as it announced the nuclear power plant project could be delayed by a further four years, and cost £2.3bn more.
The plant in Somerset, which has been under construction since 2016, is now expected to be finished by 2031 and cost up to £35bn, France’s EDF said. However, the cost will be far higher once inflation is taken into account, because EDF is using 2015 prices.
The latest in a series of setbacks represents a huge delay to the project’s initial timescale. In 2007, the then EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said that by Christmas in 2017, turkeys would be cooked using electricity generated from atomic power at Hinkley. When the project was finally given the green light in 2016, its cost was estimated at £18bn."

Nuclear electricity production in 2022 down 16.7% compared with 2021

From WNN:

In 2022, 13 EU countries with nuclear electricity production generated 609,255 GWh of nuclear electricity - down 16.7% compared with 2021, according to figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It noted this is the lowest level registered in the period from 1990, the first year for which comparable data are available for all EU countries.