Nuclear Power Current Affairs - 2020

Mithivirdi nuclear plant gets CRZ nod from Union Government

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has given coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) nod to the 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

The clearance was granted by MoEFCC for constructing an intake and outfall facility in the plant. This intake channel will be 100 metre wide and 10 metre deep and a discharge facility comprising of Condenser Cooling Water Discharge tunnels will be 8 metre diameter and 6 kms in length for each two units and a total of 18 kms each for units.

MoEFCC also has proposed to construct a small barge handling marine facility having a draft of 3-4 metres. It will help for receiving and handling over dimensional consignments (ODCs) during the construction stage of the plant and will be in the form of a shore-based wharf type or an open-piled jetty system.

MoEFCC also asked NPCIL to examine possibilities of deploying ultrasonic devices with the help of National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) to divert the aquatic life from entering into the sea water intake in connection. The ministry also has asked filters to be provided at intake to prevent entry of marine life along with the sea water.

It should be noted that this environmental clearance for the plant is seen as a big boost for NPCIL that has been facing severe opposition from local farmers and social activists.

Russia and Iran sign agreements to build nucelar reactors in Iran

Russia and Iran have signed an agreement to build two nuclear reactors in Iran, which will be followed with another six. The agreement was signed by CEO of Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Sergey Kirienko and head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi in Moscow, Russia.

Key facts of the agreement

  • Nuclear officials from the two countries signed the contract for building two reactors at Bushehr. Bushehr is the first nuclear plant built by Russia in Iran.
  • The construction of the new reactors will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as it was done in case of Busherhr’s first reactor, which became operational in 2013.
  • Russia will supply uranium fuel and then take it back for reprocessing and this provision is intended to prevent any possibility of Iran using the spent fuel to build atomic weapons.
  • Both nations will cooperate in the field of the nuclear fuel cycle and ecology.
  • The location of remaining four plants which are expected to be constructed elsewhere in Iran under this agreement has not been determined yet.

This deal comes less than two weeks before the 24 November deadline for Iran to sign an agreement on its nuclear programme with six world powers i.e. P-6 countries. P-6 countries include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council viz., USA, Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany.

As per the deadline, Iran has to agree to limit its uranium enrichment to a level that it could not be able to convert them to build nuclear weapons. It is expected that this deal would relax western sanctions against Iran.