EUROPE

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UK highlights concern about Westinghouse AP1000 reactor

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The UK nuclear safety watchdog has contacted Westinghouse about the safety of its AP1000 reactor.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is concerned the reactor may not be strong enough to withstand a direct hit from a commercial airliner and is carrying out a Generic Design Assessment on it, with a decision expected in June 2011.

The RWE/E.ON joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power may choose the Westinghouse technology for its sites at Wylfa and Oldbury. The HSE’s Nuclear Directorate (ND) said: “Westinghouse is proposing to use a new construction methodology for key structures within the nuclear island.”

Westinghouse said that it changed the original reinforced concrete shield building in response to the NRC’s enhanced aircraft impact standards. A spokesman for the ND said: “We need to see appropriate evidence to demonstrate the strength and durability of the structures. The fact that we have issued a regulatory issue does not mean that the design is unsafe.”

Mike Tynan, CEO of Westinghouse UK, said that much work was left to be done to secure a licence. The company has ten AP1000 plants on order, four in China and six in the United States.

Three bidders qualify for Temelin nuclear tender in Czech Republic

All three parties bidding to extend a nuclear plant in the Czech Republic have qualified for the tender.

Areva of France, Westinghouse Electric and a consortium comprising Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress want to complete units three and four of the Temelin plant in southern Bohemia by 2020.

The project also includes an option for building unit five at nuclear plant Dukovany and up to two units at the Slovak nuclear plant Jaslovske Bohunice. The estimated cost of the work is $26.4bn. Czech utility CEZ operates Temlin and will talk to the bidders in May to invite them to submit in the autumn.

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Power transmission equipment makers launch ‘Friends of the Supergrid’

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Transmission equipment makers such as Siemens, Areva T&D and Prysmian have launched ‘Friends of the Supergrid’ in an effort to build an offshore grid focused on the North Sea.

The lobby group plans to appoint a chief executive and set up an office in Brussels, and will work on overcoming the technical, financial and regulatory obstacles facing a plan to build a European ‘supergrid’. Membership will be kept to a maximum of 20 companies and aims to have both an industrial and geographic cross-section, but no utilities are expected to join the group.

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Germany set to close Biblis and Neckarwestheim nuclear units

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Germany will determine whether to close individual nuclear power plants according to existing law, despite an expected new policy on energy in the autumn.

Environment minister Norbert Roettgen has said he will not intervene in the respective planned May and summer closures of Neckarwestheim and Biblis A. This is despite a late-2010 date for the decision by the coalition parties of the government about nuclear phase out, according to Deutsche Welle.

“We have defined nuclear technology as a bridge technology,” said Roettgen. “The bridge ends when renewable energies can replace nuclear energy.” However, economic minister Rainer Bruederle told Bild am Sonntag that millions would need to be invested in renewables.

“If we don’t want electricity prices to go through the roof we must build a bridge to the renewable age,” he said, adding, “One thing is clear; nobody wants new nuclear power stations in Germany.” Three colleagues of Roettgen’s, each of whom represents a German state in which a nuclear plant lies, have called for an extra 20 years before nuclear plants are closed.

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Utilities lobby UK opposition party over LCPD opt-out

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German utilities have lobbied the opposition party in the UK about the planned closure of power plants under EU pollution rules, according to The Times.

RWE npower and E.ON have been talking to the Conservatives about six coal and six oil fired plants before Britain goes to the polls. The plants generate 12.3 GW in total, or about 15 per cent of the country’s output, and would, the utilities argue, cause blackouts if they were to close as required by the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive.

RWE and E.ON want to keep three oil fired generating plants could be kept as peaking stations, they say.

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Four in race to build 1000 MW Kosovo coal plant

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Kosovo’s energy ministry has selected four international consortia to build a 1000 MW coal fired power plant to begin construction in early 2011.

The following consortia qualified as bidders for the construction of “Kosova e Re” power plant:

Adani Power Consortium/PT Adani Global from India and Indonesia;

Consortium AES Electric/Demir Export from USA and Turkey; Park Holding from Turkey; and Consortium PPC/Contour Global LLP from Greece and the UK.

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Bulgaria: US company AES Solar will build an 80 MW PV park near the city of Silistra by 2012. The first stage will see 64 MW installed. This is AES Solar’s second foray into the country, the first being a wind park near Kavarna.

France: REpower Systems will supply 25 wind turbines for three wind farms in the northeast of the country: Fontaine Macon, Sevigny Waleppe and Saint-Germainmont. Each machine outputs 2.05 MW and is of height 100 m.

Germany: Utility EnBW has awarded KEMA a contract for the front end engineering design study for two offshore windfarms of total maximum capacity 1.2 GW.

Italy: RWE Innogy and Fri-El Green Power are taking respective stakes of 51 per cent and 49 per cent in the 26 MW onshore windfarm Ururi. Denmark’s Vestas will supply the project with 13 turbines, rated at 2 MW each.

Lithuania: Fortum will build a €140m ($191m) plant in Klaipeda to convert municipal and industrial wastes and biomass into energy. Power production at the site will begin in 2013.

Netherlands: Siemens Energy has handed over the 870 MW Sloecentrale combined-cycle plant in Vlissingen-Oost to a joint venture that comprises Delta Energy and EDF. The plant has an efficiency of 59 per cent.

Norway: Onshore tests on the world’s biggest wind turbine will take two years. The $23m, 10 MW machine, which when in true operation will float in the North Sea, will be 145m tall. It will be part of a project by gas producer Statoil, utility Lyndse and ship designer Inocean.

Sweden: The Swedish Energy agency has approved a €14m ($19m) grant for Seabed Industry’s and Finnish Power’s proposed 10 MW demonstration wave energy plant. The project will be the world’s biggest and will lie on the country’s west coast.

UK: E.ON has submitted environmental scoping reports about a CCS pipeline in southeast England. The line would be big enough to carry away CO2 from two 1.6 GW and three 0.5 GW plants for storage in depleted North Sea gas fields.

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