The Forum on Energy weekly news roundup brings together a mix of global energy stories from around the web. It is published every Thursday morning on Forum on Energy and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy
Ex-EDF CFO Speaks Publicly About Hinkley
Former EDF CFO Thomas Piquemal made his first public statement since he quit two months ago, stating that he stepped down abruptly to highlight the risks of proceeding with the $26 billion Hinkley Point nuclear project without additional financing. He felt that the timetable being pursued would leave the company reliant on the 85% shareholder, the French government, which threatened EDF with the same fate as Areva. French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has stated the final decision to go ahead with Hinkley Point may be made in September; Piquemal’s resignation had increased speculation around the future of the project.
Sec. Moniz Comments on State-Versus-Private Nuclear Financing
In an interview in Tokyo, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the project financing offered by state-owned nuclear power companies, particularly Chinese and Russian, gives them an advantage over private rivals such as American companies in the competition for global technology deals. “I expect they are certainly going to get some market share,” he stated. The state-owned model helps cover the steep upfront costs of nuclear energy, which become cheaper to operate than gas-fired facilities over their lifetimes.
Westinghouse Expands Fuel Production Capacity
Westinghouse Electric Company announced the expansion of its nuclear fuel factory in Västerås, Sweden. The firm stated that this expansion is a response to growing demand for nuclear fuel supply diversification for VVER-1000 reactors in Europe. The investment will finance additional production facilities and fuel engineering work, as well as the procurement of additional process and assembly equipment for manufacturing the fuel.
Source: World Nuclear News
Beznau 1 to Remain Offline Longer than Expected
Switzerland’s Beznau nuclear power plant will have its No. 1 unit offline longer than originally anticipated, as proving the integrity of the reactor pressure vessel is taking longer than expected. Owner Axpo now expects it to be given regulatory approval to restart by the end of the year. During a scheduled outage that started in May 2015, inspections “registered findings at some points in the base material of unit 1’s RPV indicating minimal irregularities in the fabrication process.”
Source: World Nuclear News
Irregularities Found in Areva-made Components
Irregularities have been found in approximately 50 Areva-made components installed in French nuclear reactors, according to the nuclear regulator ASN. After discovering weak spots in the reactor vessel of the EPR reactor under construction in Flamanville last year, Areva began a review of manufacturing procedures at its Creusot steel forging plant. “The review will have to assess how serious these anomalies are and what the consequences are for the safety of the installations.”