Hitachi-GE signs Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) decommissioning agreements

Friday, Nov 13, 2015

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy has concluded cooperative agreements with both the UK's Cavendish Nuclear Limited and France's Areva NC concerning boiling water reactor (BWR) decommissioning in Japan.

In a statement yesterday, Hitachi-GE said it will take preparatory steps towards decommissioning domestic BWRs using the international experience of the two companies. Intensive studies have been launched, it said, on how to decommission nuclear reactors in Japan and some utilities have started "concrete preparations" for their decommissioning programs. Hitachi-GE said it "would like to take the lead in the decommissioning business by reflecting each company's advantageous position from the early stage of the study".

Through its own development, design, construction and maintenance experience in Japan, Hitachi-GE said it is "capable of utilizing its past technology, experience and know-how, to propose and support the utility companies' planning and works".

Areva and Cavendish are "well established and respected providers" of nuclear engineering and decommissioning services, it said.

Cavendish has "significant experience of decommissioning planning and engineering, waste management and reactor decommissioning for UK and European gas-cooled and light-water nuclear reactors," it said. Areva has "accumulated robust decommissioning experience, not only in Europe but also in the United States, including [with] BWR reactors".

Hitachi-GE is a joint venture established by Hitachi and General Electric in July 2007. It has been involved with 23 reactors in Japan to date, including those currently under construction. Among them, it has participated in all of Japan's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) projects. Four ABWRs are already operational – Kashiwazaki Kariwa 6 and 7, Hamaoka 5 and Shika 2, and Shimane 3 and Ohma are under construction.

Overseas, it has supplied major nuclear reactor equipment for the Lungmen nuclear power plant in Taiwan. Pre-operational tests were successfully completed at unit 1 of the Lungmen plant in the summer of last year. However, the unit was mothballed for an initial period of three years, starting this year.

Early this month, Hitachi-GE reached a regulatory milestone in its progress towards deployment of the UK ABWR, following confirmation that British regulators will move to the final step of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). The GDA process for the UK ABWR is on schedule for completion by the end of 2017.

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