First Indian fast breeder reactor to attain criticality in the coming months

The fuel loading of India’s first Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), Bhavini, is progressing towards completion, while its attaining criticality is expected in the coming months, according to an official announcement.  

At a review meeting of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in New Delhi late last month, the Atomic Energy Minister Jitendra Singh said that the integrated commissioning of the 500 MW PFBR Bhavini, located at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in Kalpakkam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is well underway and criticality is expected in the coming months. 

Bhavini will be India’s first fast breeder reactor to produce more fuel than it consumes. 

First batch of pipeline valves for India’s Kudankulam nuclear plant units 5, 6 shipped from Russia

The first batch of pipeline valves for the under construction units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu state has been shipped from the manufacturing facility in Russia, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

Rosatom is the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the KNPP, India’s largest nuclear plant.

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said that the first batch of valves consists of 26 pieces of equipment with a total weight of about 27.5 tonnes.

Indian scientists decode new class of materials for energy harvesting, power generation

Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) Bengaluru, an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), on Thursday provided ground breaking insights into a new class of materials for energy harvesting and power generation.

Their work unravelled the electronic mechanisms governing chemical bonding of new class of materials called incipient metals with metavalent bonding (MVB) within a single 2D layer of Group IV “chalcogenides” that can boost energy harvesting and power generation.

Chalcogenides can transition reversibly between amorphous and crystalline phases in response to changes in temperature, pressure or electrical fields.

Japan’s nuclear regulator allows extending operations for 2 aging units of Takahama NPP

With nuclear power emerging as a crucial technology amidst the global climate crisis, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) late last month approved the operation of the aging units 3 and 4 at the Takahama nuclear power plant (NPP) in Fukui prefecture for a further 20 years. 

The NRA’s decision makes the two reactors at the facility, operated by the Kansai Electric Power Company, the seventh and eighth reactors nationwide eligible for extensions after 40 years of operations. The Takahama NPP unit 3 and 4 reactors will reach their 40th anniversaries in January and June of 2025, respectively.  

The Kansai Electric Power Company applied for the extension in April last year. The company said it had carried out special inspections and evaluations of the two units, and had not found any issues likely to cause problems if the operating period were to be extended to 60 years. 

2024 global investment in clean energy at $2 trillion is double that in fossil fuels: IEA

Total investments worldwide on clean energy technologies and infrastructure, including renewables, nuclear power, electric vehicles (EVs), grids, storage, low-emissions fuels and energy efficiency improvements is expected to touch $2 trillion in 2024, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  

The IEA’s latest annual World Energy Investment Report, released earlier this month, says that despite pressures on financing, total energy investment worldwide is expected to exceed $3 trillion in 2024 for the first time, with investment in clean energy set to almost double the amount going to fossil fuels, helped by improving supply chains and lower costs for clean technologies. 

“Global spending on clean energy technologies and infrastructure on track to hit $2 trillion in 2024 even as higher financing costs hinder new projects, notably in emerging and developing economies,” the Paris-based IEA said.  

South Korea to invest $1.8 billion in next generation nuclear power reactors

South Korea will invest 2.5 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in developing next-generation nuclear reactor technologies by 2034, the country’s Science Ministry has said. 

The investment aims to foster private companies that can build next-generation nuclear reactors and commercialise the technology, according to the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT. 

South Korea plans to secure key technologies for developing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) with the aim of entering the global SMR market in the 2030s. 

Russia agrees to build nuclear plant with 6 small modular reactors in Uzbekistan

Russia has agreed to build a nuclear power plant comprising a series of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan, which will be the first project of its kind in the region, according to the Russian state atomic agency corporation Rosatom.  

A Rosatom statement said that the agreement was signed during the recent visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Uzbekistan and following his meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.  

“The protocol (signed between both countries) amended the Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, expanding the cooperation to include the construction of a small nuclear power plant based on a Russian project in Uzbekistan,” the statement said.  

First tier of inner containment structure installed at unit 1 of Egypt’s first nuclear plant

The construction of first tier of the inner containment structure of unit 1 has been completed at the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Egypt being built at El Dabaa, according to an announcement by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

A Rosatom statement last week said that the installation into the design position of the first tier of the inner containment structure marks the achievement of one of this year’s key milestones at the first power unit. 

“The first tier of the inner containment has been installed into the design position in the reactor building at the first power unit of the El-Dabaa NPP,” the statement said.  

Russia ready to assist in setting up additional nuclear power units in India

Russia is ready to collaborate with India in the construction of high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site in India, in addition to the ongoing cooperation at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu state, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said other areas of potential cooperation between India and Russia include implementation of land-based and floating low-power generation nuclear projects, cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle area, as well as in the field of non-power applications of nuclear technologies. 

The offer by Rosatom, as part of efforts to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, was made during a meeting on May 23, 2024, between the Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Ajit Kumar Mohanty at Seversk, Russia. 

License for world’s first production line of uranium-plutonium nitride (MUPN) fuel

An operating license for the world’s first production line for the innovative mixed uranium-plutonium nitride (MUPN) fuel has been obtained by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, the company announced late last month.  

Rosatom’s fuel arm TVEL had announced in 2021 that at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, Russia, it was constructing a 300 MW nuclear power unit equipped with the BREST-OD-300 fast neutron reactor that will run on mixed uranium-plutonium nitride (MNUP) fuel specially developed for this facility. 

TVEL had also announced it had developed a fuel rod design based on the MNUP fuel for the BREST-OD-300 fast neutron reactor.  

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