Mexico has made progress in defining the development of a sustainable and efficient energy industry, where nuclear power is considered a clean and competitive source for the supply of electricity and is slated to account for a larger proportion of electricity generated in the country. In order to regulate the sustainable use of power, in December 2015, a Law in Energy Transition took effect. Mexico is committed to increasing its clean energy and reducing polluting emissions from the electrical power generation industry. Nuclear energy is also enshrined in the Electricity Industry Act of 2014 as a source of clean energy and has been included in the National Electric System Development Programme (PRODESEN), since it is competitive and not prone to the volatility that affects fossil fuel prices.
Indeed, the 2017–2031 PRODESEN, the annual strategic planning document that arose from the liberalization of the generation tram of power production in Mexico, gathers the relevant elements of the indicative programmes for the installation and closure of power plants. The PRODESEN recognizes power generation by nuclear fission as a mature, clean and reliable technology for base load, and indicates that the latest designs offer greater security and performance levels and are ready for wider deployment in the next few years. The PRODESEN also indicates that 54.3% of the additional electricity capacity to be installed through 2029 shall consist of clean technologies, contributing 32.552 MW. Of this percentage, it is expected that nuclear generation could contribute about 12%.
Mexico has two nuclear power reactors. During 2016, the 17th refuelling outage of Laguna Verde Unit 1 was extended from its original 65 days to 155 days because of a diesel generator failure. During this outage, the steam dryer was reinforced as part of the extender power uprate (120% of the original licensed thermal power) approval. In March 2016, this unit received permission from the Mexican Regulatory Authority to operate at the new power uprate level. The current operating cycle (Cycle 18) started at this new power level (2317 MW(th), 810 MW€).
Laguna Verde Unit 2 performed its 14th refuelling outage as planned in the spring of 2016 and started its second operating cycle (Cycle 15) at EPU power level (2317 MW(th)). For both Laguna Verde units the new EPU licence has not been issued by the energy Department.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. Energy Information
1.1.1. Energy Policy
Mexico’s long-standing position as one of the world’s major oil producers and exporters has weakened in recent years, as oil production has declined by one third from the peak of 3.8 million barrels per day in 2004 to 2.5 mb/d in 2016. Natural gas output has also been in decline, as most gas production is associated with oil, and imports now meet almost 50% of gas demand. This decline in output is linked to a shortfall in the funds available to slow declines in mature fields or to develop new ones. Similarly, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) had yet to acquire the technical capacity to bring new production on-line from deep-water and shale resources, and could not provide the refining capacity necessary to meet the country’s oil product needs.
The 2013 energy reform ended the state monopoly on oil and gas production, although it maintains the inalienable national ownership of hydrocarbon resources, as in many International Energy Agency (IEA) countries. A series of bidding rounds that began in 2015 is opening the oil and gas sectors to private investment and technology, leaving PEMEX to focus its resources and expertise on a narrower range of projects, either alone or in joint ventures. The IEA believes this new investment will help to slow the decline in output in shallow water areas, the traditional mainstay of Mexico’s production. It will also help to bring forward new projects in deep waters and develop new onshore resources, including tight oil. New entrants will bring dynamism to the upstream sector, and production of both oil and gas is expected to grow again in the coming years. The IEA projects oil production to rise to 3.4 mb/d by 2040, which will help restore Mexico’s position as one of the world’s top oil producers and exporters (IEA, 2016).
In the retail oil market, a combination of limited refining capacities and rising demand means that Mexico is currently a net importer of oil products. The oil products market is being liberalized ahead of the initial schedule. Since April 2016, importing oil products has been open to non-PEMEX entities. From January 2017, the retail oil market will be opened, one year earlier than initially announced. Furthermore, subsidies on oil products were phased out from 2008 to 2014.
Natural gas is the second-largest primary energy source in Mexico (35% of total primary energy supply in 2015, versus 48% for oil) and in the Department of Energy’s (SENER) projections to 2029, gas demand is set to grow fast. This demand underlines the need to focus on upstream supply, storage and transportation in policy discussions. The expansion of the gas pipeline network has lagged behind the boom in gas demand. Further expanding the system is urgent, as the system has already reached saturation on several occasions. These events also highlight the need for more storage capacity in the system. Creating an integrated national gas grid also requires close cooperation between CENAGAS (the independent system operator) and private pipeline owners. In the retail natural gas market, it is critical that the gas release programme, under which PEMEX must reduce its market share to 30% by 2020, be implemented successfully.
New investment for an estimated US $9.6 billion annually in electricity is essential to meet the rapid growth expected in electricity demand (IEA, 2016), allowing Mexico to reach its target of producing 35% of its electricity from clean sources by 2024, compared to 21% today.
The clean energy target is to be met through a quota system which includes a clean energy certificate (CEC) obligation on retail suppliers (currently, and until the Third Long term Power Auction was expected to take place during the second half of 2017, only the Comisión Federal de Electricidad) and large consumers that do not use retail suppliers. The CECs are granted to facilities taken into use after August 2014; they can be bought directly under bilateral contracts with generators, in the CEC market to be launched in 2018, and at long term auctions. As a consequence, generators of clean electricity will obtain additional revenue by supplementing their sales of electricity with the sales of CECs.
A centrepiece of the reform effort is the auction system for energy, capacity and CECs which allows investments from new players into the market on a competitive basis. The auctions offer long term contracts (15 years for energy and capacity, and 20 years for CECs) that provide a degree of stability over future cash flows for generation companies.
The Mexican clean energy auction system is a sophisticated procurement mechanism for the promotion of renewable energy. Distinctively, it seeks to capture the relative value for the system of different generation technologies by location and production profile. Projects located in higher-price areas of the country, or capable of delivering power at times of day when it is particularly needed, would receive higher revenues through the auctions and therefore attract more attention from potential investors.
Clean energy technologies are defined to include renewable energy, nuclear energy, efficient cogeneration and fossil-fired generation with carbon capture and storage. On the basis of the two first tenders, held in 2016, the auction system is providing a substantial boost to solar and wind energy, tapping Mexico’s large wind and solar resources at internationally competitive prices. It is difficult to see how new nuclear could compete under the current rules, which have yet to determine whether the Mexican NPP can legally participate in the electricity market, and which require the projects to be ready within three years of the auction.
Regarding costs, electricity prices for households and farmers up to a consumption cap are subsidized between 60% and 70% of the total cost. Artificially low electricity prices are likely to hamper government efforts to pursue efficiency, yet should be replaced by targeted social policy measures for those in need. The relevant regulators and SENER have expressed their intent to work with Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE, Federal Electricity Commission) on correcting these distortions. Bringing down technical and non-technical losses, which are currently significantly higher than elsewhere in OECD countries, would reduce the need for investment in additional generating capacity, while improvements in operational efficiency in the newly unbundled CFE could significantly reduce the retail component of the cost structure. A strengthened transmission and distribution system would further help reduce losses and is also necessary to support the projected growth in demand and in supply from variable sources — solar and wind. Efforts to attract investment to this end should be intensified.
The reform is implemented in stages and some of its important elements are yet to be introduced. These include the real-time market, the capacity market and the clean certificates market, all to be introduced in 2017–18. Most of the remaining challenges now lie in the decisiveness and speed of implementing the reform, including the necessary adjustments and improvements that are likely to be required after the first years of experience.
Climate change objectives are deeply entrenched in Mexico’s current policy making, not least in energy reform. To meet these goals, Mexico is pursuing a number of concurrent strategies: it has set ambitious clean energy goals and is in the process of designing a National Energy Efficiency Policy Strategy which, among many benefits, is likely to help bring down Mexico’s carbon intensity. In the World Energy Outlook (WEO) New Policies Scenario such measures help to cut the carbon intensity of the economy by more than half.
The strong proliferation of renewables in the power sector, where around one in two gigawatts of new capacity installed to 2040 is projected to be either wind or solar, coupled with a shift to natural gas from more polluting oil, makes a major contribution to the decrease in CO2 emissions from the power sector.
Mexico is a non-Annex I Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2000. It is one of the most active non-Annex I parties in conducting and communicating national inventories on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, having submitted five national communications under the UNFCCC. Mexico hosted a successful Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancun (2010) which lay the groundwork for a successful outcome at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. Mexico’s 2020 goal (set at COP15 in Copenhagen) of “reducing its GHG emissions up to 30% with respect to the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2020” was incorporated into the UN process at Cancun. The target is conditional on the “provision of adequate financial and technological support from developed countries” (Mexico’s notification to the UNFCCC, January 2010). In September, 2016 Mexico ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Source: Energy policies beyond IEA countries.
1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy
TABLE 1. ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES
|Total amount in specific units*||1 211||34 933||46 309||3 758||60||1 211|
|Total amount in exajoules (EJ)||0.29||222.33||48.44||0.32||0.13||0.29|
*Solid liquid: Million tonnes; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Metric tonnes; Hydro, Renewable: TW.
1.1.3. Energy Statistics
TABLE 2. ENERGY STATISTICS
|1980||1990||2000||2010||2015||2016||Compound Annual Growth Rate (%) 2000 to 2015|
|Energy consumption (EJ)**|
|Energy production [EJ]|
|Net import (Import–Export) [EJ]|
—: data not available.
Source: Subsecretaría de Planeación y Transición Energética, 2015.
1.2. The Electricity System
1.2.1. Electricity System and Decision Making Process.
The electricity reform is being carried out at full speed, yet is still under way. In 2013, the energy reform required a modification of the Mexican Constitution to liberalize the generation and retailing trams of energy production. Less than three years later, the new wholesale electricity market was launched in January 2016 and the first long term electricity auction was organized in March 2016.
In the meantime, most of the regulated electricity tariffs had already declined sharply between 2013 and 2016 in most categories. Already at the early stage of the reform, CFE accelerated investments to enable some power plants to use natural gas instead of expensive and polluting fuel oil. Within two years, from 2013 to 2015, the consumption of fuel oil dropped by almost 50% and this trend is expected to continue.
The reform is implemented in stages and some of its important elements have yet to be introduced. These include the real time market, the capacity market and the clean certificates market, all to be introduced in 2017–18. The long term success of the reform rests on the definition of detailed rules and implementation. However, some important steps have been taken, including the publication of market rules in September 2015 and the manuals and other regulations published through 2016 and 2017.
In February 2015, CFE became a state productive enterprise. With this new status, CFE gained management autonomy and corporate governance similar to a private business. It is expected that in power generation, this new status will lead to more profit-oriented investment and operation decisions, and increase efficiency. This lays the groundwork for improvement of CFE’s performance and for developing its potential in the new competitive environment.
In January 2016, SENER issued the terms to vertically and horizontally unbundle CFE and to enable it to participate in the market. First, CFE is vertically separated in its network, generation and retailing activities. This unbundling is limited to a legal separation, with the creation of a subsidiary for transmission, another for distribution, yet another for basic supply and several for generation. In addition, CFE may establish other subsidiaries and affiliates as deemed necessary. The unbundling remains partial as it is carried out at legal, not ownership, level. The only ownership unbundling concerns the system operator CENACE (National Centre of Energy Control), which became a state agency and does not belong to CFE’s holding group.
Second, CFE was also be horizontally unbundled through 2017. It will constitute a total of six generating companies, including one subsidiary managing existing independent power producer (IPP) contracts, and five companies to perform the activities of conventional power plants. CFE power plants were allocated to each generation company in November 2016 in a way that creates competitive conditions in each regional location of the power system and limits market power issues.
Each of the six generating companies has similar conditions of financial sustainability and profitability, a balanced mix of technologies and remaining technical lifetime. This horizontal separation of generation should lay the foundation for competition in the electricity market.
To ensure a competitive market, the bids in the electricity wholesale market must be based on costs, meaning that generation companies will not be allowed to bid above their short term marginal costs in this market. Each megawatt-hour generated will be paid in the clearing price that reflects the corresponding energy, losses and congestion components at every node. This cost-based market approach is designed to prevent not only the exercise of market power, but also the setting of scarcity prices during tight system conditions, and limits the participation of the demand side in electricity markets.
The evaluation and control of marginal production costs, fuel costs and power plant efficiency are performed by SENER on the basis of information provided by CENACE. In addition, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) is designing bilateral contracts to be signed between CFE’s regulated retailers and existing CFE generation. The length of these contracts will differ for each plant to allow a smooth transition to a fully implemented market. Finally, the Market Surveillance Unit at SENER hired an independent market monitor in order to ensure the efficient and competitive operation of the market. This function was performed by SENER during 2016, but was transferred to the CRE in 2017.
The opening of the electricity sector to a competitive market will be progressive, since IPPs have kept their long term contracts with CFE, and the construction of new power plants by competitors will take time. Retail suppliers will have the ability to buy electricity on the wholesale market from 2017 and will have to compete with regulated tariffs.
1.2.2. Structure of Electric Power Sector
Fig. 1: Electricity system.
Since 29 January 2016, the new wholesale electricity market was launched with six multiple subsidiaries, one nuclear business unit and other private generation companies. Installed capacity in Mexico amounted to 73 510 MW, with 71.2% from conventional power plants, and 28.8% from clean power plants in 2016. Installed capacity rose 8.1% compared to that of 2015. Clean energy installed capacity rose to 1 956 MW, a surge of 10.2%, mostly due to new wind power plants (930 MW). Conventional power plants rose to 7.2% relative to 2015. Up to 58.9% of the installed capacity was owned by CFE and the remaining 41.1% by other generators. During 2016, 319 364 GWh were generated, 3.2% more than in 2015.
Source: PRODESEN 2017–2031.
The entire Mexican transmission and distribution network is owned by CFE. The transmission system is operated by the independent system operator CENACE. The overall electricity system is referred to as the national electricity system (SEN). The national interconnected system (SIN) covers the main transmission network of Mexico, excluding Baja California and Baja California Sur.
Mexico benefits from an already well developed transmission network. Electricity is transmitted over long distances, which can lead to high thermal losses. Reducing network losses is therefore an important objective for dispatching. High-voltage lines of 161–400 kilovolts (kV) cover 53 803 km and lines of 69 kV to 138 kV lines cover 50 331 km. Mexico City forms a central node in the high-voltage network.
Source: PRODESEN 2016–2030.
Source: Synthesis of the CFE Directive Information, December 2016 (Síntesis de información directiva de CFE)
CFE is currently responsible for electricity distribution. There are 16 geographical divisions in charge of distribution. At the end of 2016, the Mexican transmission and distribution grids covered an overall length of around 831 087 km, providing electricity to 98.58% of the Mexican population.
The Federal Department of Energy (SENER) is the main body responsible for the coordination of the electricity sector. There is no split responsibility with states. The department is in charge of electricity market reform, including preparing laws and decrees, and implementation. It has also contributed to many of the initial decisions on market design and prepared the organization of long term auctions, responsibilities that will be transferred to the regulator or the system operator at a later stage of the reform. As part of the reform, CFE was transformed into a state productive enterprise that SENER will continue to control. SENER will also regulate its unbundling. Indeed, the mandate of CRE does not allow it to control state-owned companies.
The regulator CRE’s main tasks are to calculate network tariffs (transmission and distribution), other regulated activities (for example, operation of the basic service suppliers; the electricity system operator CENACE), as well as the final basic supply tariffs. CRE enjoys technical, operational and managerial autonomy and can dispose of its own revenues coming from a tax, not from the state budget.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) has temporary powers to determine retail tariffs for the basic service suppliers until CRE issues the final determination methods for these. The unbundling of CFE and the introduction of regulated network tariffs are expected to increase transparency about the costs of CFE.
The National Center for Energy Control (CENACE), the electricity system operator, will be the cornerstone of the future system organization. CENACE is an autonomous body, formerly part of CFE. It was created in 2014 and is responsible for operating the national electricity system and the wholesale electricity markets. CENACE does not own the transmission assets, which remain the property of CFE, but CENACE operates the wholesale electricity market to ensure least-cost dispatch of all power plants in adherence to economic considerations such as free competition, transparency and market efficiency. Similar to independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission operators (RTOs), it also plays a key role in the planning of the power system, including investments in transmission, to define capacity requirements, operate capacity markets and run the long term auctions.
1.2.3. Main Indicators
TABLE 3. INSTALLED CAPACITY, ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
|1980||1990||2000||2010||2015||2016||Compound Annual Growth Rate (%) 2000 to 2016|
|Capacity of electrical plants (GW(e))||G/N|
|Electricity production (TW.h)||G/N|
|Total electricity consumption (TW.h)||60.5||107.1||182.8||207.947||212.2||218.9||0.026|
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita)||58||60||66.3||71.9||78.3||0.014|
|Electricity consumption per capita (kW.h/capita)||867.0||1162.0||1717.4||1904.0||—||—|
|Electricity production/Energy production (%)||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Nuclear/Total electricity (%)||0.0||2.4||3.9||2.4||4.4||4.0|
|Ratio of external dependency (%)||–1.93||–2.74||–3.05||—||—||—|
—: no data available.
Source: Synthesis of CFE directive information (Síntesis de información directiva de CFE).
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. Historical Development and Current Organizational Structure
The National Commission for Nuclear Energy (CNEN) was established in 1956 to pave the way for the introduction of nuclear power and nuclear applications in Mexico. CNEN encompassed all the nuclear activities in the country (exploration for uranium, nuclear research, regulation, etc.) except for the generation of electricity by nuclear means, which was the sole responsibility of CFE, and the utilization of radioisotopes. Later, CNEN was transformed into the National Institute on Nuclear Energy (INEN), which redefined the attributes but with very few changes.
In 1979, INEN was replaced by three organizations: 1) The National Institute of Nuclear Research (ININ), in charge of all the aspects related to research; 2) Mexican Uranium (URAMEX), in charge of uranium exploration and eventually uranium production; and 3) the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS), in charge of nuclear regulation and safeguards. In 1985, URAMEX was dissolved and all its functions passed to the Department of Energy.
Mexico’s interest in nuclear power dates back to the early 1960s. The first steps were taken in 1966, when a preliminary investigation of potential sites for nuclear power stations was carried out under the auspices of CFE and the National Commission for Nuclear Energy. At the end of the decade, the government concluded that nuclear power plants might play a major role. In early 1969, CFE decided to invite bids for a 600 MW(e) nuclear power plant of a proven type, and invitations to tender were sent to several manufacturers. Bids were received at the beginning of 1970, but the final decision, with up-to-date bids, was taken in the middle of 1972. In 1976, construction of the Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) was initiated, comprising two reactors of 654 MW(e) net each. The first unit went into commercial operation in July 1990, and the second in April 1995.
2.1.2. Current Organizational Structure
Fig. 2: Current organizational chart.
2.2. Nuclear Power Plants: Overview
The Laguna Verde reactors had an original capacity of 654 MW(e) per unit, but in 2010 they were upgraded to 805 MW(e). In 2015, the LVNPP generated 11 577.138 GWh. With the operation of the LVNPP, Mexico avoided the emission of between 6 and 8 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
In 2016, the LVNPP generated 10 567.17 GWh, equivalent to 4% of total generation in the country. Its capacity factor was 78.11% (75.67 for unit 1 and 80.56 for unit 2).
2.2.1. Status and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants
As mentioned above, there is only one nuclear plant in operation in Mexico, with two boiling water reactors (BWRs) of 805 MW(e) net each (Table 5). For the time being, there is a projection to add three power units towards 2029–2031, if financial means are met. PRODESEN demonstrates that 54.3% of the additional capacity to be installed through 2029 shall consist of clean technologies, contributing 32.552 MW. Up to 12% could consist of nuclear generation.
TABLE 5: STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table 7 is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
2.2.2. Plant Upgrading, Plant Life Management and Licence Renewals
On 26 December 2014, Laguna Verde Unit 2 received permission from the Mexican Regulatory Authority to operate at the extended power uprate (EPU) level (120% of the original licensed thermal power); it operated during 2015 at this new power level (2 317 MW(th), 810 MW(e)). The new operation licence at this power level has not yet been issued by the energy Department.
During 2016, the 17th refuelling outage of Laguna Verde Unit 1 was extended from an original 65 days to 155 days because of a diesel generator failure. During this outage, the steam dryer was reinforced as part of the extender power uprate (120% of the original licensed thermal power) approval. In March 2016, this unit received permission from the Mexican Regulatory Authority to operate at the new power uprate level. The current operating cycle (Cycle 18) started at this new power level (2 317 MW(th), 810 MW(e)).
Laguna Verde Unit 2 performed its 14th refuelling outage as planned in the spring of 2016 and started its second operating cycle (Cycle 15) at the EPU level (2 317 MW(th)). For both Laguna Verde units, the new EPU licence has not been issued by the energy Department.
In 2015, an application for a licence renewal of Laguna Verde Unit 1 was submitted to the Mexican Regulatory Authority. This unit licence expires in July 2020.
Spent Fuel Storage
In 2015, construction was started on an independent spent fuel dry storage installation (ISFSI) at the Laguna Verde site. In 2016, the construction of the installation was completed, and the first removal of spent fuel from the spent fuel pools was expected in 2017.
The main Post-Fukushima lessons related to mitigation strategies for events beyond the design bases, were required by the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards, as follows:
EA-12-049 "FLEX Mitigation Strategies";
EA-12-051 "Diversification of the Instrumentation of the Spent Fuel Pool";
EA-13-109 "Rigid Reliable Venting of Primary Containment";
Actions to improve the Central’s response to an extended station blackout (SBO) (Section 188.8.131.52 of the Resistance Test Report).
The feasibility of extending the minimum time required (“coping time”) to deal with an SBO, with equipment installed in place, from four to eight hours, was evaluated. The Central (1-OA-853 R-13 and 2-OA-853 R-11) procedures reflect the actions required to cope with an eight hour SBO, specifying direct current loads that must be disconnected to lengthen the battery life up to eight hours.
Within the strategies for events beyond the design bases, the implementation of mitigation strategies 10CFR54 (hh) (2) is in process according to the guidelines of the NEI-06-12 Rev. 2 report, as well as of the FLEX strategies, which are implemented in accordance with the requirements of NEI-12-06 Rev. 1. These strategies are being implemented; in 2016, the mock-ups were initiated to determine deployment times.
The strategies that are in process of implementation are the following:
Diversification of alternative replenishment alternatives to ACG (internal and external), having the following alternative sources of water: 1-DW-TK-002A, 002B and 002C insulation washing tanks, 1-FP-TK-001A and 001B of fire protection and sea water supply.
Manual operation of the reactor core isolation cooling (RCIC) system.
Supply of DC power to de-pressurize the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and injection with a portable pump. The injection will be carried out with alternative sources of water supply.
Manual opening of the vent valves. Containment vent valves (DW) can be manually operated from level 10.15 of the reactor building, through pneumatic force provided by nitrogen bottles and portable generators.
Injection of water to primary containment; the injection will be possible with the alternative water supply.
Core Cooling Strategies
The strategies that are being implemented to inject water into the core, considering the use of portable pumping equipment and flexible hoses, as well as the use of Storz-type quick-connect fittings coupled to the lines of systems that have been considered to be part of FLEX strategies, include the following:
Fig. 3. Replacement of the RPV from the insulator wash tanks to the LPCS or HPCS lines through the ILRT pipeline.
HPCS — high pressure core spray system; ILRT — ; LPCS — low pressure core spray system; RPV — .
Fig. 4. Replacement to RPV from insulator wash tanks using RHR loop "A".
RHR — Residual Heat Removal System; RPV — .
Fig. 5. Replacement to the RPV from FP tanks to LPCS or HPCS lines, through the ILRT pipeline.
FP — ;HPCS — high pressure core spray system; ILRT — ; LPCS — low pressure core spray system; RPV — .
2.2.3. Permanent Shutdown and Decommissioning Process
2.3. Future Development of Nuclear Power Sector
2.3.1. Nuclear Power Development Strategy
Pre-feasibility studies and analyses are being conducted on the possibility of increasing the nuclear fleet. PRODESEN demonstrates that three 1 360 MW nuclear power units could be added in 2029, 2030 and 2031, respectively.
The Energy Sector Programme 2013–2018 proposes the development of electrical infrastructure, increasing nuclear power participation and including measures to strengthen the development of human resources, to strengthen national industrial and technological capabilities existing in the nuclear field and to strengthen the regulatory body (SENER, 2013).
The plant has entered into agreements with the local authorities, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy and other pertinent organizations for cooperation in case of a nuclear or radiological emergency.
Currently, there are studies to expand the installed capacity of the Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant. Among the presentations of different suppliers of nuclear power technology, General Electric—Hitachi promoted different types of reactors for Laguna Verde such as advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs) and economic simplified boiling water reactors (ESBWRs).
2.3.2. Project Management
2.3.3. Project Funding
2.3.4. Electric Grid Development
2.3.5. Site Selection
2.4. Organizations Involved in the Construction of NPPs
There are no NPP suppliers in the country. The main components of the Laguna Verde plant were acquired abroad. Initially, the main architect engineer for unit 1 was the Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO). Later on, and especially for unit 2, CFE acted as architect engineer, with the advice of EBASCO and General Electric (GE).
2.5. Organizations Involved in the Operation of NPPs
The Laguna Verde plant is owned by CFE, and the operation and maintenance is performed by CFE personnel. In the past, operator training occurred at several similar installations in Spain and the United States of America. Nowadays, training mainly happens locally, using the simulator which has been installed on the plant’s premises.
2.6. Organizations involved in the Decommissioning of NPPs
2.7. Fuel Cycle, Including Waste Management
Mexico has unexplored uranium resources, and the identified conventional resources of uranium are approximately 4500 tonnes (*). Yet, the uranium required for Laguna Verde NPP BWRs reloads is obtained from the world market.
Uranium is currently procured as an enriched uranium product (EUP) through a long term contract with NUKEM/TENEX (Russia). Fuel fabrication currently is done in the US by Global Nuclear Fuel–Americas.
The spent nuclear fuel is currently stored in spent fuel pools at the reactor buildings. These have been re-racked to increase the original capacity in order to accommodate the spent fuel that the reactors will produce during their expected operating life. In 2015, construction was started on an independent spent fuel dry storage installation (ISFSI) at the Laguna Verde NPP site to increase the long term storage capacity due to the potential life extension that CFE is pursuing and future expansion of the Mexican nuclear power capacity. This installation is in the process of being licensed by the Mexican Regulatory Authority.
(*) NEA/IAEA Uranium 2016: Resources, Production and Demand (Red Book).
2.8. Research and Development
The main research centers are the National Institute of Nuclear Research (ININ) and the National Institute of Power and Clean Energy (INEEL).
2.8.1. R&D Organizations
ININ carries out actions for nuclear scientific and technological development, for the promotion, transfer, adaptation, and assimilation of nuclear technologies. It also carries out research projects in response to energy sector needs and provides technical assistance to nuclear facilities. It develops disciplines from which the country could benefit in other topics for national development as well.
The institute has qualified personnel, nationally and internationally recognized experts in several sciences and engineering areas, providing the ability to support multidisciplinary projects. Within the field of peaceful uses for nuclear energy, ININ has defined 11 research and development topics.
The National Institute of Electricity and Clean Energies (INEEL) is committed to meeting energy needs through innovation, efficiency and continuous improvement of their processes, within the legal, regulatory and regulatory framework applicable to the management of quality, sustainable development, labor equality and non-discrimination, environmental management, safety and health at work.
Among its objectives are:
—To carry out and promote scientific research, experimental development and technological research, in order to solve the scientific and technological problems related to the improvement of the electrical industry;
—To contribute to diffusion and implantation, within the electrical industry, of those technologies that best adapt to the economic development of the country;
—To maintain effective relations with similar institutions in other countries and with academic and technological research institutes in the country;
—To provide courses of specialization and update knowledge in science, technology and industrial administration in the area of the electrical industry;
—To provide advice to CFE, the electrical manufacturing industry and engineering and consulting services related to the electrical industry.
—To propose to the SENER and CFE applied and technological research programmes, and the corresponding plans of operation, investment and financing in the short, medium and long term.
—To patent and license developed technologies and the results of the research obtained (and that are appropriate).
2.8.2. Development of Advanced Nuclear Power Technologies
2.8.3. International Cooperation and Initiatives
Mexico is a member of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Nuclear Energy Agency/OECD, and an observer in the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC).
2.9. Human Resources Development
The training provided in a year to station personnel is around 14 days of training for non-licensed personnel and around 35 days of training for licensed personnel. Annually, LVNNP has around 2 000 training activities on around 500 different topics.
Training programmes include the topics required by regulation and performance based training. Currently, Mexcio is using the systematic approach to training (SAT) to develop training programmes for 10CFR50.120 job positions.
Up to 200 workers are maintained as additional personnel (as trainees) in order to guarantee the replacement of qualified personnel due to vacation, sick leave and temporary assignments, as well as replacement according with retirement projections.
At the NPP, there is a personal development pipeline for each position, so every worker has the opportunity to achieve a higher position.
The planning for the succession of senior positions is performed according to the leadership development programme (including risk assessment, assessment center and 360 degree appraisal).
Leaving the company and voluntary retirement levels are practically nil, so retirement projections are a strong basis for replacement planning.
2.10. Stakeholder Involvement
CFE through Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant has been approached by business groups such as:
Business Coordinating Council: http://www.cce.org.mx/
Industrial Club: http://www.club.org.mx/
Mario Molina Centre: http://www.centromariomolina.org/
Forum Chamber of Deputies: http://www3.diputados.gob.mx/
Academy of Engineering: http://www.ai.org.mx/
The approaches mentioned do not correspond to government agencies. During these dialogues and presentation of studies and books whose content displays data and facts regarding the feasibility of the development of new plants, positive expressions of interest in the growth of installed capacity by nuclear power plants have been enabled.
2.11. Emergency Preparedness
The regulatory framework adopted and established by the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards, the nuclear regulatory institution in Mexico, upon which the safety of LVNPP is guaranteed, is derived from the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America, the country of origin of the nuclear island.
As a requirement for its operating licence, LVNPP has an internal emergency plan (PEI, by its acronym in Spanish) and a radiological external emergency plan (PERE, by its acronym in Spanish), which have the function of safeguarding its personnel and adjacent population in case of a radiological emergency.
a) Internal Emergency Plan:
PEI is the responsibility of CFE and it covers the real and potential radiological emergencies inside the nuclear plant.
b) Radiological External Emergency Plan:
The external radiological emergency plan comprises an 80 km zone around LVNPP denoted the emergency planning zone, divided into two radii, one from 0 to 16 km, and the other up to 80 km; both of them with their centers in Laguna Verde reactors. The area within the 16 km zone is called Zona Vía Pluma, and it contains defined protection actions for the population, including, provided the emergency conditions, access control, population notification, radiological prophylaxis (ingestion of a stable iodine compound) and evacuation of the affected sectors. The area within the 80 km radius is called Zona Vía Ingestión, and the main activity is water and food monitoring to ensure that the necessary actions are taken to minimize the ingestion of food and liquids with radiation levels that may, in the long term, affect the health of those who live in the area, and also to control that the food produced in that zone is free of radiation levels, and that it does not leave the area.
PERE covers emergencies that could exceed LVNPP borders. This plan has written procedures on what to do, how to act and who must participate; consequently, these procedures provide instructions to follow and define actions to take. PERE´s mission is to be prepared, with the response capacity to face any emergency, at a regional level, caused by an accident at LVNPP, which would go beyond the capabilities of the facilities, and would requires the joint and organized participation of different public agencies, in order to prevent or minimize radiation exposure to the ecosystem and, mainly, to protect the health and assets of the nearby population.
Federal and state departments are involved in PERE that the Mexican legislation foresees, both for jurisdiction in the nuclear realm as well as attention to the population in case of human induced disasters. This plan is coordinated by an external radiological emergency planning committee (COPERE, by its acronym in Spanish), presided over by the Department of the Interior, whose chairman plays the role of National Coordinator of Civil Protection, and a Technical Secretary.
COPERE comprises the following agencies or government departments:
Department of the Interior (governance issues);
Department of Defense;
Department of the Navy;
Department of Communications and Transport;
Department of Health;
Department of Energy;
National Safety Commission;
Finance and Public Credit Ministry;
Federal Electricity Commission;
National Water Commission;
Environment Protection Federal Agency;
National Disaster Prevention Centre;
National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards;
Diconsa S.A. de C.V.;
Veracruz State Government
Veracruz State Department of Civil Protection;
Veracruz State Health Department;
General Coordination of Social Communication of the Government of the State of Veracruz.
As in most plans, PERE requires the availability of sufficient and timely information in order to develop actions and make proper decisions. In order to help in the execution of the activities of PERE, each state department/agency must perform some activities, comprised of a series of operation procedures according to its purpose and the state agencies that execute each action considered in the plan.
3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. Regulatory Framework
The National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS) is the regulatory body responsible for the regulation and oversight of nuclear and radioactive installations and practices. In addition, it is responsible for inspecting and authorizing the fabrication, use, storage, reprocessing and transportation of nuclear fuel, nuclear and radioactive materials, equipment containing such materials, and the processing, refurbishment, disposal and storage of radioactive waste. The regulatory authority is engaged in the licensing activities related to assessing applications for long term operation and preparing for the safety review of new reactors.
The licensing process for a NPP consists of two steps. The first step concludes with the granting of a construction permit, while the second step concludes with the issuance of a licence for commercial operation. The process starts with an application to build an NPP by the utility, which must present this application to the National Regulatory Body (CNSNS), along with the preliminary studies of:
Siting environmental impact;
Quality assurance programme during construction phase;
Preliminary safety assessment report
If these documents satisfy the scope required by CNSNS, the utility is required to present the technical information on the planned NPP. This information includes the construction procedures and fundamental safety systems designed to cope with the operational transients and postulated accidents. This is evaluated by the CNSNS’s technical personnel, and a set of questions is then transmitted to the utility before the pouring of any concrete at the site. In the case of Laguna Verde, three provisional construction permits were granted to CFE before the so-called definitive construction permit was issued. This limited work authorization has been eliminated from the present procedure for future NPPs.
During the actual construction phase, the regulatory body inspects the construction of the NPP and has the legal authority to stop the work if the agreed standards are not met. After the evaluation of the documentation, the regulatory body can issue the technical basis to grant the construction permit, addressed to the Department of Energy, as this is the authority legally allowed to grant the permit.
At a certain stage of construction, before the start of the pre-operational test period, the utility is required to present the regulatory body with technical information related to:
Final design of the station;
Final site studies;
Final environmental impact studies;
Quality assurance programme for NPP operation;
Final studies on plant performance during transients and postulated accidents;
Set of operating procedures;
Operations personnel training programme;
Pre-operational and start-up test programme;
Proposed technical specifications.
If these process documents are not clear enough in any technical subject, the regulatory body generates questions to clarify the topic.
As a result of this process, the regulatory body issues the following documents:
Permit to load the fuel;
Set of technical specifications.
The technical basis to grant the operation licence is addressed to the Department of Energy, as according to the nuclear law this is the only authority which can grant such documents.
After the fuel load, the regulator monitors the performance of the low power test period and any change of power (0 to 5%, 5 to 10%, 10 to 25%, 25 to 50%, 50 to 75% and 75 to 100%). Engineers of the national body review the test results, and evaluate possible discrepancies between the results and the acceptance criteria.
3.2. National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power
Essential legal texts regulating nuclear power in the country:
Constitution of Mexico, Article 27, in effect;
Regulatory Law of Article 27 of the Constitution on Nuclear Matters, published in the official gazette on 4 February 1985;
Law on Third Party Liability for Nuclear Damage, published in the official gazette in December 1974;
Radiological Safety Regulation, published in the official gazette on 8 November 1988;
General Act on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection, published in the official gazette on 28 January 1987;
Mexican Official Guidelines NOM-OI2-STPS-1993, on health and safety at work in premises where ionizing sources are handled, stored or carried, published in the official gazette on 15 June 1994;
Safe Transportation of Radioactive Material Regulation, published in the official gazette on 10 April 2017.
Mechanisms in place for financing decommissioning and waste disposal:
For waste resulting from radioisotope applications, storage costs are recuperated from the generators of this kind of waste;
For low and intermediate level radioactive waste resulting from LVNPP, they are being stored in a repository. This repository will be located on-site;
For high level radioactive waste, they are being temporally stored at the plant until a final decision is reached.
The final disposal of radioactive waste is the responsibility of the state. In the case of waste from LVNPP, the Federal Electricity Commission will be in charge of financing its storage.
Nuclear power stations are a proven alternative in Mexico, as demonstrated by the high availability, reliability and safety indicators at Laguna Verde. It is also a realistic option, in order to better comply with environmental requirements that are anticipated to become stricter in the future.
However, there are no immediate plans for developing new nuclear facilities due to the high initial investments required. At the moment, these are not competitive when compared with those of plants based on natural gas.
The Department of Energy is responsible for nuclear fuel cycle policy and operations, and can by law authorize some of these responsibilities to public entities, such as CFE and ININ.
CFE has been authorized by the Department of Energy to negotiate uranium stock purchases, uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication contracts.
An interim waste repository managed by ININ collects all low and intermediate level radioactive waste produced in medical, industrial and other radioisotope applications. This repository will be replaced by a permanent one in the future. Another interim low and intermediate level radioactive waste repository is operated by LVNPP to handle its waste.
Spent nuclear fuel from LVNPP is being stored in the reactors’ pools, which have been re-racked to increase the original capacity in order to accommodate all the spent fuel that the reactors will produce during their expected lifetime. This temporary solution provides time to study all possibilities before adopting a definitive solution.
Comisión Federal de Electricidad.
Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (DENUE).
Energy Sector Programme 2013–2018.
INEGI. Sistema de Cuentas Nacionales de México.
———. Sistema de Información Energética con información de CFE, incluye Extinta LyFC.
Informe Anual Comisión Federal de Electricidad, 2016.
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI).
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2015.
National Electricity System Development Program (PRODESEN 2017–2031).
Presidencia de la República.
Prontuario del Sector Energético, 2016 (SENER).
Sistema de Información Energética con información de SENER.
Sistema Nacional de Información Estadística y Geográfica (SNIEG).
APPENDIX 1: INTERNATIONAL, MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
AGREEMENTS WITH THE IAEA
|NPT and Treaty of Tlatelolco related Safeguards Agreement — INFCIRC/197||Took effect: 14 September 1973|
|Improved Procedures for Designation of Safeguards Inspectors||Accepted: 27 February 1989|
|Supplementary Agreement on Provision of Technical Assistance by the IAEA||Took effect: 4 June 1981|
|Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA||Took effect: 19 October 1983|
OTHER RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL TREATIES
|Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)||Took effect: 21 January 1969|
|Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Tlatelolco Treaty)||Took effect: 20 September 1967|
|Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material||Took effect: 4 May 1988|
|Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material||Took effect: 8 May 2016|
|Convention on Early Notification of Nuclear Accidents||Took effect: 10 June 1988|
|Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency||Took effect: 10 June 1988|
|Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage||Took effect: 25 July 1989|
|Convention on Nuclear Safety||Took effect: 24 October 1996|
|Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines||Country Member|
|Acceptance of NUSS codes as guidelines in preparation for and application of national requirements (Mexican nuclear safety legislation is in conformity with codes)||Summary: Codes to be used by 11 July 1963|
|Standard Agreement concerning Technical Assistance to Mexico|
- United Nations Organization (UN)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Universal Postal Union
|Transfer of enriched uranium for a research reactor||Took effect: 18 December 1963|
- United States of America
|Lease of source material for a subcritical assembly||Took effect: 20 June 1966|
- United States of America
|Lease of source material for a subcritical facility||Took effect: 23 August 1967|
- United States of America
|Transfer of a training reactor and enriched uranium||Took effect: 21 December 1971|
|Second supply agreement for transfer of enriched uranium for a research reactor||Took effect: 4 October 1972|
- United States of America
|Supply of uranium enrichment services||Took effect: 12 February 1974|
- United States of America
|Second supply agreement for supply of uranium enrichment services for a second reactor unit||Took effect: 4 June 1974|
- United States of America
|Transfer of title to natural uranium||Took effect: 23 May 1989|
- United States of America
|Plan of operation for a UN Special Fund project in Latin America (Eradication of Mediterranean Fruit Fly)||Took effect: 29 July 1965|
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- UN Special Fund
|Plan of operation for a UN Development Programme (UNDP) project in Latin America||Took effect: 31 July 1968|
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- UN Special Fund
|Preliminary study of a nuclear electric power and desalinization plant||Took effect: 7 October 1965|
- United States of America
|Agreement concerning provision of a dose assurance service by IAEA to irradiation facilities in its Member States (exchange of letters)||Took effect: 18 September 1985|
- South Africa
- Republic of Korea
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of Australia concerning cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the transfer of nuclear material||Signed on 28 February 1992; took effect 1 October 1992|
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of Canada for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy||Signed in 16 November 1994; took effect 9 May 1995|
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of the Republic of Argentina for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy ||Signed on 4 July 2002; took effect on 20 February 2013|
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of the Republic of Korea for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy ||Signed on 16 June 2012; took effect on 12 July 2013|
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of the Russian Federation for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy||Signed on 24 December 2013; took effect on 28 August 2015|
|Agreement between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of the French Republic for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy||Signed on 30 July 2014; took effect on 31 July 2015|
APPENDIX 2: MAIN ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND COMPANIES INVOLVED IN NUCLEAR POWER RELATED ACTIVITIES — NATIONAL ENERGY AUTHORITIES
Name of report coordinator:
Mr. Hugo Capetillo Aguirre
Laguna Verde NPP
Comisión Federal de Electricidad
Address: Cd. Cardel
Apartado Postal 61
Tel: +55 229 989 9090 4215