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Archives for May 2019

Zambia to establish nuclear power plant

By Wana Kalala in Sochi, Russia

ZAMBIA is making plans to establish a fully operational nuclear power plant, says Zambia Atomic Energy Agency head Dr Roland Msiska.

Speaking during a plenary session on ‘Nuclear for better life’ at the 2019 Atomexpo in Sochi on Monday, Dr Msiska said Zambia’s engagement in the nuclear field would involve the setting up a research reactor and NPP. 

Dr Msiska said the project had been necessitated by the need to harness alternative forms of clean renewable energy, particularly nuclear technology, for the socio-economic transformation of the country.

“In 2015 we had a very severe drought and the result of which the hydro-electric generation dropped very dramatically. Our GDP growth reduced by 40 per cent and we had to import electricity via ship on shore which was 18 cents per kilowatt hour. It really was a stress to the economy. Clearly the President at that time felt it was important that we improve our energy mix and in that discussion it became very clear to us, being a new entrant into this field, we probably needed a very deliberate and systemic capacity building and so the research reactor became the first initial step,” he said.

He commended Russian State Nuclear Corporation (ROSATOM) for providing technical expertise to the project.

“We were very fortunate, I must commend our colleagues from Rosatom, who gladly came to our aid and assisted us in a lot of areas even just starting the initial dialogue for acceptance and all those particular things, which I think become very critical when moving forward. So our view was that the next ten to fifteen years, we should go over to a nuclear power plant,” he said. 

He added that fifty Zambian students were currently training in various fields in Russia and would be engaged in running the reactor once they completed their education. 

On May 15, 2018, Zambia and ROSATOM signed a general contract for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in Chongwe. The project will be implemented in several stages within 3-6 years from the commencement date under the contract. 

The research reactor (RR) is the heart of a CNST. Globally over 240 research reactors are in operation in 55 countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Congo and South Africa, and 10 more are now under construction.

Zambia will become the 9th African country to possess a research reactor. Its main applications in industry are transport installations, seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, industrial radiography and other non-destructive testing methods, material modification and security screening systems.

Dr Msiska said the project would also bring benefits to the country’s health sector.

“We are in a very interesting situation. We are a country that is both in a demographic transition where we are having a very high infectious disease burden but also you have these non-infectious degenerative conditions – the cancers and all the rest of them – and looking at the present technology …maybe we have an opportunity to design our entire health system around ensuring that the technology both in diagnostics, technology both in treatment of cancers and just the whole field of research in that area, the research reactor gives us that particular opportunity,” he said. 

“So for us as Zambia, this is not something that we are thinking twice about. We are making plans for hundred years engagement in the nuclear field; fifty years for the research reactor and hundred years for the NPP [nuclear power plant] and we are of the view that the future is in this area.”

Dr Msiska further said the government was in the process of drafting a nuclear bill, which would include the establishment of a independent regulator to ensure that Zambia complies with international standards on safety.

“We are not ashamed to say we have borrowed a lot from our Russian colleagues because we felt that we needed a hand [from] a country which has developed a lot [in this area]. So in several ways we are benchmarking ourselves with the Russian system,” said Dr Msiska.

17/04/19 The Mast Newspaper

Temelin Nuclear Power Plant-Czech Republic
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Research reactor, nuclear power plant different – Katebe

By Steven Mvula

Construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in the country will be done within three to six years.

Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO) national coordinator Reuben Katebe says the centre will house a research reactor for the production of medical isotopes used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

Dr Katebe said the centre will also host a gamma radiator for food preservation and medical product sterilisation, among others.

This is according to a statement issued yesterday by NEPIO director of awareness Chisha Mutale.

Dr Katebe is aware that many people usually mix up a research reactor centre with a nuclear power plant.

He explained that a research reactor is a small unit which can be built within the University of Zambia (UNZA) campus as part of a training tool.

“Other countries have research reactors built within a university and are surrounded by lecture rooms, offices as well as student hostels,” he said.

Dr Katebe explained that what will be built in Chongwe’s Silverest area is a CNST and not a nuclear power plant as believed by many.

He said the second phase of the nuclear energy programme will involve construction of a nuclear power plant for the, production of electricity.

It will be constructed within 10-15 years and it is different from a research centre.

Dr Katebe said the nuclear power plant, once constructed will add 2,400 megawatts to the country’s energy mix.

He said this will translate into reduced load-shedding, competitive electricity tariffs and provide an opportunity for the export of electricity within the region, among other benefits.

Date: 30/04/2019 Zambia Daily Mail Newspaper

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Nuclear energy to propel economic development

By Buumba Chimbulu

THERE is need to enhance the use of nuclear energy because it has potential to contribute to the development of countries economic sectors such as agriculture.

This is according to Sergey Kiriyenko, first deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rosatom of Russia who are building a nucleajplant in Zambia.

According to Mr Kiriyenko, the impulse given by the construction of a nuclear power plant to the economic growth of each country needed to be enhanced.

He said this in a statement.

«Nuclear energy can play a key role in addressing all these challenges. Indeed, in addition to being a clean and reliable source of energy, peaceful nuclear power also contributes to the development of science, education, medicine, agriculture and access to water resources.

“It is also worth noting the impulse given by the construction of a nuclear power plant to the economic growth of each country, which makes a corresponding conclusion for itself, Mr Kiriyenko said.

And Alexei Likhachev, director general of Rosatom, emphasized the need to apply new knowledge and technologies to develop economies.

He said «we need new knowledge. Any country, both beginner and founder in the nuclear power industry, needs to preserve and expand the knowledge and demand for nuclear technologies among the population.

«Only the collective use of the resources of the global nuclear industry will allow us to achieve the of the UN sustainable development goals.

Date : 30/04/2019

Daily Nation Newspaper

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Nuclear energy plant to yield 2,400 megawatts

By James Kunda

THE establishment of a nuclear power plant will yield 2,400 megawatts (MW) of power for the nation, the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO) has said.

NEPIO national coordinator Reuben Katebe said the plant would promote the country’s energy mix, translating into reduced load shedding, competitive electricity tariffs, providing an opportunity for electricity within the region among other benefits.

Dr Katebe said the plant would be constructed in the second phase of the nuclear energy programme over a period of within 10 to 15 years.

“Nuclear power plants are usually constructed near water bodies and far from people and Government is still in the process of identifying site for the construction of the plant,” Dr Katebe said.

This is according to a statement issued in Lusaka by NKPIO public awareness director Chisha Mutale.

Dr Katebe said the nuclear energy programme was progressing well and would be implemented in two phases, with the first being the construction of the nuclear science and technology centre in Chongwe.

He said the centre’s construction would be done within three to six years.

“The centre would house a research reactor for production of medical isotopes used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, a gamma irradiator for food preservation and medical sterilisation among others,” Dr Katebe said.

Meanwhile, Dr Katebe announced that Zambia Atom Energy Agency (ZAMATOM) head Dr Roland Msiska attended the recent two-day Atomexpo in Sochi Russia this week

He said Zambia’s participation at the forum gave the country an opportunity to gain awareness on the nuclear programme and strengthen relations with global industry players.

Date: 30/04/2019Source: Times of Zambia

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Mines will pay higher electricity tariffs, says ZESCO

By Stuart Lisulo

ZESCO Limited managing director Victor Mundende says the power utility has made good progress in migrating electricity tariffs applicable to mining companies who have now moved to an average nine US cents from three.

Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, Mundende narrated that ZESCO had made progress in migrating electricity tariffs applicable to mining companies, such as Barrick’s Lumwana, who had now moved to paying an average nine US cents per kWh from three.

Mundende was addressing a question posed on whether the tariffs being paid by some of the mining firms were profitable enough for the power utility.

“We have made a lot of headway in terms of migrating their tariffs. Previously, their tariffs were lower than the current levels. And we are not sitting ducks, we are actually also trying to migrate them; the average is close to 9 (US cents per kWh) so, very soon, they wall be at 9.3. Some have moved from three US cents! Three cents to the current levels is not a joke, so we are trying to ensure that we equitably share this burden,” Mundende told journalists during the question and answer session.

“In terms of mining (tariff agreements); in the Copperbelt, we are not supplying directly to the mines, we are supplying (electricity) to CEC (Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc), who then supplies the mines. We have an agreement with CEC, a bulk supply agreement. And then, the other mines: Lumwana, Kansanshi and Kalumbila, we are directly supplying them.”

The briefing was organized to launch ZESCO’s sensitization campaign on their electricity tariff application that was submitted to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) where the former hopes to hike retail power tariffs up by an average 91 percent.

According to ZESCO’s analysis of regional tariffs within the SADC region, Zambia is the second lowest with an average tariff of about 6.5 US cents per kWh.

In justifying their application to increase electricity retail tariffs, ZESCO demonstrated that its total operating costs rapidly climbed to K13.46 billion last year from K2.1 billion in 2011 to due to an increase in both cost of sales and other operating costs over the period.


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Govt Commits to Nuclear Medicine

By Kasonde Kasonde

GOVERNMENT says it will continue to invest in nuclear medicine and expand the Cancer Disease Hospital (CDH) at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where nuclear science is being applied in the treatment.

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said Government was investing in the CDH and that so far security installation based on nuclear science had been placed.

Dr Chilufya said nuclear science and technology had rapidly increased in the country especially in the health sector for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

He said despite the benefits of nuclear technology, risks associated to radiation use should not be underestimated, hence the need to strengthen the regulatory framework and infrastructure in order to ensure that patients and the environment were protected.

The minister said this when he appointed a board for the Radiation Protection Authority.

Meanwhile, Zambia and the China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen ties in the health sector through infrastructure development.

Dr Chilufya said the two countries had enjoyed bilateral relations since time in memorial and through the MOU medical personnel would be trained to build capacity in the health sector.

He said in its pursuit of universal health coverage Government had been investing in health infrastructure and personnel training and the Chinese government had played a critical role in achieving that agenda.

“I want to thank the Chinese government for their support in the health sector, we will forever remain grateful. The doctors contributed greatly in the provision of quality health services,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said this on Wednesday during the awarding ceremony of 28 Chinese medical doctors who had been working in the country’s medical facilities in the last one year.

Chinese ambassador to Zambia Li Jie said the medical doctors had contributed to the promotion of medical branches in four hospitals and had introduced advanced clinical skills to Zambia and treated more than 1,500 patients.

Mr Li said the doctors helped to train a group of high level medical staff in Zambia through clinical teaching, academic lectures and mutual expert visits and bringing traditional Chinese medical treatment.

Date: 30/04/2019 Times of Zambia Newspaper

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ATOMEXPO forum opens in Sochi

By Wana Kalala in Doha, Qatar

THE 11th ATOMEXPO International Forum, the largest exhibition and business platform for discussing the current state of the nuclear industry, is scheduled to open today in Russia’s southern city of Sochi. The forum, which has been held annually since 2009, provides an occasion for discussion of the current state of the nuclear field and sets future trends for the nuclear sector’s further development.

The two-day event is being organised by the Russian State Nuclear Corporation (ROSATOM) and will be held at Sochi’s Main Media Centre. Hundreds of delegates are expected from across the globe, and participants include leaders of the nuclear power industry, representatives of international, national and public organisations, Russian and foreign companies, as well as key experts in the nuclear field.

Zambia’s delegation to the forum is being led by Dr Roland Msiska, head of the Zambia Atomic Agency. According to a draft programme of the 2019 ATOMEXPO, Dr Msiska is today scheduled to participate in a round-table discussion on ‘Nuclear for better life’, which is the main theme of the forum.

The discussion will also feature ROSATOM director general Alevey Likhachev. Key themes of other round-tables include the non-energy use of nuclear and radiation technologies in industry, science, medicine, and agriculture; digital solutions for infrastructure projects; knowledge management; and human capital development, among other topics. Last May, Zambia and ROSATOM signed a general contract for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) in Chongwe.

The project will be implemented in several stages within 3-6 years from the commencement date under the contract. Construction of the centre is the first joint project in the field of nuclear technologies. The research reactor (RR) is the heart of a CNST. Globally 243 research reactors are in operation in 55 countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Congo and South Africa, and 10 more are now under construction.

Zambia will become the ninth African country to possess a research reactor of 10 MW. Its main applications in industry are transport installations, seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, industrial radiography and other non-destructive testing methods, material modification and security screening systems.

Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have been embracing prospects of adopting nuclear energy to bridge their energy deficit.  South Africa is currently the only country in Africa with an operational nuclear power plant.  And according to Sputnik News, Zambia is among 25 applicants shortlisted for the second ATOMEXPO Awards ceremony to be held later today.

“This international professional award is presented to companies/organisations for their contribution to the development and use of nuclear energy for the benefit of humankind,” stated Sputnik News.

“This year…applications were received from companies from: Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United States, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. The competition will also feature projects carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and cross-regional projects.”

There are five categories for nomination in the competition: ‘Nuclear Technologies for a Better Life’ (non-energy application of nuclear technologies); ‘Innovations for the Future’ (the best breakthrough and innovative technological projects); ‘Best Launch’ (best projects in connection with the launch of national nuclear energy programmes); ‘Public Communication’ (the most effective communication projects); and ‘Human Capital Development’ (the best projects aimed at developing human resources and staffing).

Important documents are further expected to be signed on the sidelines of the forum, including agreements on strategic cooperation and partnership, commercial contracts, and project development documents. A wide range of advanced nuclear technologies as well as new products and solutions, including those not related to energy, will be presented in the 13,000 square metre exhibition area.

April 5th, 2019

The Mast Newspaper-online:

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UK should aim for net-zero GHGs by 2050, report says

In its report published today – Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming – the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) states that the share of electricity generated by renewables and firm low-carbon power, such as nuclear, would need to rise from around 50% today to around 95% in 2050. Demand for electricity overall would increase due to additional demand from electric vehicles and heat pumps.

The report says that renewable generation could be four times today’s levels, requiring a sustained and increased build out between now and 2050, complemented by firm low-carbon power options such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) (applied to biomass or gas-fired plants).

The CCC’s recommendation came shortly after France also proposed carbon-neutrality for 2050, which included operating nuclear plants for longer than currently planned.

Agneta Rising, director general of World Nuclear Association, said: “It’s clear that we will need to make use of all options to tackle climate change effectively; without increased nuclear we will fail. The UK and France should take advantage of their nuclear experience. More and more countries looking at implementing long-term climate change goals are including nuclear energy. Experienced nuclear countries should build more and faster.”

The CCC’s base case foresees gas-fired generation with CCS generating more than 20% of electricity in 2050. However, electricity generation combined with CCS is a largely untested technology. The report notes that additional nuclear generation would be one option to replace some of the gas CCS, a further 15GW of nuclear capacity could be built at existing identified sites.

Rising said, “Nuclear generation is a proven solution for secure and reliable low-carbon generation that can be deployed at scale.”

The report notes that there is potential for the costs of new nuclear generation could be significantly reduced with the right policies and measures. Nuclear generation costs in 2050 are projected to be potentially 28% lower than those for 2025, the largest reduction for any of the main low-carbon generation options.

Rising said, “The CCC is right to highlight that to deliver this there needs to be better financing arrangements and support for more nuclear deployment, which will increase scope for cost reductions through innovation and learning-by-doing.”


The CCC says the UK should “set and vigorously pursue” an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to ‘net-zero’ by 2050, ending the UK’s contribution to global warming within 30 years, adding that this target will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement.

It is achievable with known technologies, it says, alongside improvements in people’s lives, and within the expected economic cost that Parliament accepted when it legislated the existing 2050 target for an 80% reduction from 1990. However, this is only possible, it adds, if clear, stable and well-designed policies to reduce emissions further are introduced across the economy without delay. Current policy is insufficient for even the existing targets.

John Selwyn Gummer, the CCC’s chairman, said the recommendation “emerges clearly from the extensive evidence presented here for the first time”. He wrote in the report: “We have reviewed the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including last year’s IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, and considered the appropriate role of the UK in the global challenge to limit future temperature increases. We have built a new understanding of the potential to achieve deep emissions reduction in the UK and made a fresh appraisal of the costs and benefits to the UK economy of doing so.  We conclude that net-zero is necessary, feasible and cost-effective.”

Industry response

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said the report “rightly highlights just how far we still need to go” for the UK to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. He said: “In decarbonising power, it highlights that we will need more low-carbon sources of electricity – confirming other academic and expert reports – with nuclear continuing to play an integral part alongside renewables.”

He added: “Nuclear has long provided the UK with clean, reliable, secure electricity, and it will be needed to help meet the increased demand from the electrification of heat and transport. Just as this report is a timely wake up call to government and society, it is also an important reminder that reducing our reliance on high emission fuels to generate power is the priority. Clean electricity sources need to work together, not pit themselves against each other, if we are to meet 2050 ambitions.”

The NIA noted that a report published last September by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) – The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World – shows that as you head towards zero carbon emissions, it gets significantly more expensive if you exclude nuclear power.

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) published a report in January – The Costs of Decarbonisation: System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables – which shows that a mix relying primarily on nuclear energy is the most cost-effective option to achieve a decarbonisation target of 50g CO2 per kWh.

The GMB trade union noted that the UK accounts for 1%-2% of global emissions and its track record of reducing them is “one of the best in the world”.

“GMB is advocating an energy mix that is reliable, affordable, low/zero carbon and with subsidies paid from general taxation,” it said. “This means renewable energy sources and new nuclear power stations with gas used for home heating to lower emissions for the foreseeable future. Hydrogen should be added to the gas grid. There are on average one day in six over any year when there is little or no wind.”

Landmark report

The latest Digest of UK Energy Statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows nuclear is the largest source of low-carbon power in the UK, providing 41% of low-carbon power generated in the UK in 2017. In 2018, nuclear avoided the emission of 20.63 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark said today that it is evident the CCC report is going to be “one of the most important publications not just that we’ve had on climate in this country but around the world”. He said: “One of our proudest achievements as a country is that – with all political parties uniting, and civil society coming together – we have led the world in tackling climate change.”

Since 2000, “no country in the G20 has gone further than Britain in decarbonising their economy”, he said. “Six years ago, 40% of our electricity generated came from coal. When I checked my Gridwatch app this morning there wasn’t a single contribution from coal being generated.”

Clark was the Opposition spokesman during the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2008. “Through the passage of the bill the 60% reduction target to 80%. And that was the first law in the world to set a legally binding carbon reduction targets. More than a decade later our ambition – far from having diminished – is strengthened,” he said.

BEIS commissioned the CCC report in October last year.

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Advanced fuel for Calvert Cliffs

It said it was the fourth contract for the fuel, at the fourth reactor type so far.

“We are continually looking for innovative ways to enhance our reliability while maintaining the exceptional standards for safety that are held at Calvert Cliffs and across the Exelon nuclear fleet,” said Calvert Cliffs site vice president Mark Flaherty.

Calvert Cliffs in Maryland has two pressurised water reactors which produce about 860 MWe each. Company statements did not reveal which of the two units the fuel would be loaded into.

Framatome said its “advanced chromium coating added to the state-of-the-art M5 Framatome zirconium alloy cladding” improves high-temperature oxidation resistance and reduces hydrogen generation during loss of cooling. The chromium coating also “greatly reduces” creep to maintain a coolable geometry and has mechanical properties that allow for more operator response time, it added. The coating also offers increased resistance to debris fretting during normal operations, it said.

In addition to chromium coated cladding, the fuel design includes chromia-enhanced fuel pellets, which have a higher density, reduced fission gas release and improved behaviour during loss of cooling, Framatome said, adding that Reduced Pellet Clad Interaction (PCI) also better supports power manoeuvring.

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Quarterly uranium output decreases in Kazakhstan and USA

Total production for the first quarter was 5294 tU, down from 5528 tU in 2018, although Kazatomprom’s attributable production – that is, the portion of production of an entity in which the company has an interest – at 3063 tU was up from 2911 tU in 2018. Sales volumes for the first quarter of 2019 were lower compared to the same period in 2018, primarily due to a customer’s request to shift an 800 tU delivery from the first to the second quarter, the company said. The average realised price for the first quarter – USD26.78 per pound U3O8 – was 16% higher compared to 2018.

The company said its production expectations remain unchanged and are consistent with its ongoing intention to “flex down” planned production volumes by 20% over 2018-2020. Total production is expected to be 22,750-22,800 tU (100% basis) in 2019; without the reduction, this would have exceeded 28,500 tU.

With its attributable production representing about 23% of total global uranium primary production in 2018, Kazatomprom describes itself as the world’s largest producer of uranium. Through its subsidiaries, joint ventures and associates it operates 26 deposits in 13 mining assets, all of which are located in Kazakhstan and mined using in-situ leach (ISL) technology.

The company said it expects to maintain an inventory level of approximately six months of annual attributable production at 2019 year-end.

US production hits low

US uranium production in the first quarter of 2019, at 58,481 pounds U3O8, was down 83% from the fourth quarter of 2018 and down 74% from the first quarter of 2018, according to figures released on 1 May by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Uranium was produced at four facilities, all ISL operations located in Wyoming: Lost Creek; Nichols Ranch; Ross; and Smith Ranch-Highland. This is two fewer than in the fourth quarter of 2018, the EIA said.

US President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on any further action following a US Department of Commerce investigation into the effects of uranium imports on US national security. The investigation, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, was triggered by the filing in January 2018 of a petition by uranium mining companies Energy Fuels Inc and Ur-Energy, who sought a quota to limit imports of uranium into the USA, effectively reserving 25% of the market for domestic production.

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