Nuclear power in Mexico
Mexico is rich in hydrocarbon resources and is a net exporter of energy. Country's interest in nuclear energy is based on the need to reduce their dependence on these sources of energy. In recent years, Mexico's energy is increasingly dependent on natural gas.
The energy growth was very rapid in the 1990s, but then stabilized for a few years. Since 2007 expected new growth in demand for electricity to an average rate of almost 6% per year. In 2007, we generated 257 million kWh. Supply Origin is varied electric, gas 126 TWh (49%), oil of 52 TWh (20%), coal 32 TWh (12.5%) and hydroelectric dams 27 TWh (10.5%) in 2007. energy use is about 1,800 kWh / year per person.
In 2009 Mexico gained nearly 10 billion kWh of net energy from nuclear, 4.8% of the electricity used.
Development of Mexican nuclear industry
Mexico's interest in nuclear power became official in 1956 with the creation of the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN). This organization took responsibility Overview of all nuclear activities in the country, except the use of radioisotopes and electric power generation. Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), one of the two companies owned electricity, was assigned the role of nuclear generator in the future.
Preliminary research to identify potential sites for nuclear power plants were started in 1966 by the CNEN and CFE and CFE in 1969. In 1972 it was decided to build the first nuclear power plant electric power generation, and in 1976 began construction of Laguna Verde with two reactors of 654 MWe boiling water (BWE) of General Electric.
Although the Mexican industry has provided important elements for Laguna Verde plant, Mexican companies made the civil and Mexican personnel for maintenance of the reactor and the train operation simulator CFE.
The CNEN was later transformed into the National Institute of Nuclear Energy (INEN), which itself was split in 1979 at the National Institute of Nuclear Research (ININ), Uranium Mexicano (URAMEX) and National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS). URAMEX functions were taken over by the Ministry of Energy in 1985.
In February 2007 the CFE signed contracts with Spain Iberdrola Engineering and Alstom to adapt to the new turbines and generators for the Laguna Verde nuclear plant worth 605 million U.S. dollars. ; The main changes in a turbine and condenser replacement adaptacióny electric generator, main steam superheater and feedwater heater. With the approval of the CNSNS, reactors were improved progressively by 138 MW each from 2008 to January 2011. In 2007, after the first step, improved performance of both units improved flow control. ; In February 2011 Iberdrola announced that both units were operating at 820 MWe gross, net 800 MWe, a 20% increase in energy production.
The new capacity
Mexico's government is strongly committed to the expansion of nuclear power, not only to reduce dependence on natural gas, but also to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In May 2010 The CFE was four scenarios for the creation of four new nuclear power generation between 2019 and 2028. These range from a heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants to meet growing electricity demand, a scenario of low carbon that requires large investments in nuclear and wind power.
Under the most aggressive scenario CFE, up to ten nuclear power plants will be built so that nuclear energy supplies about a quarter of Mexico's energy needs by 2028, which would allow carbon emissions from Paisa energy generation was kept virtually unchanged since 2008, despite the much greater demand projections. A previous proposal was to build a new nuclear reactor to come on line in 2015 with seven nuclear reactors for the year. Cost studies showed that nuclear energy was U.S. $ 4 cents / kWh more competitive than gas-generated energy in all scenarios considered. However, with the low gas prices 2010 has delayed the decision on the construction of a new nuclear power plant until 2012. In November 2010 the CFE referíaa building six to eight nuclear units of 1,400 MWe, the first two in Laguna Verde.
In the longer term, in Mexico may be to use small nuclear reactors, as IRIS to provide energíay desalinate sea water for agricultural use.
ININ has previously presented ideas for a nuclear power plant that would consist of three reactors IRIS sharing a stream of seawater for desalination refrigeracióny. With seven osmosis desalination units Conversely, served by the reactors, 140.000 m 3 of drinking water could be produced each day in addition to 840 MWe.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Since URAMEX absorption, the Ministry of Energy has been responsible for prospecting uranium, which delegated to the Board of Mineral Resources. Mexico has identified reserves of approximately 2,000 tons uranium that has not been exploited to date.
A uranium milling plant operated on a pilot basis in Villa Aldana, in the region of Chihuahua in the late 1960s, but has now been closed. Nuclear waste plant that currently are eliminated in Peña Blanca.
Under Mexican law, the nuclear fuel is being owned and controlled by the CNSNS.
Spent nuclear fuel from Laguna Verde reactors is stored underwater in the same plant. Storage pools have become the home position to provide sufficient space for the remaining space of life of the reactors . In nuclear research reactors used the same strategy with the fuel used.
Radioactive waste management
The government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Energy is responsible for the storage and disposal of nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, regardless of its origin.
The Ministry of Energy is starting to take administrative and budgetary measures to create a national enterprise for radioactive waste management. Plans also signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Gestió n of Spent Fuel and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
In Piedrera, between 1985 and 1987, operated a site near the surface for low-level radioactive waste (LLW). At that time, are stored 20,858 m 3 waste.
Currently no center storage and nuclear waste treatment Maquixco since 1972.
CNSNS is responsible for revising Also, Evaluating and approving the criteria for the siting, design construction operation and decommissioning of nuclear installations, proposing the relevant Regulations. It has the power to amend the licenses of suspend of nuclear facilities, Which are Granted on CNSNS approval through the Ministry of Energy.
The 1984 Act on Nuclear Activities stated that the government, through the Ministry of Energy, is responsible for establishing the framework for the use and development of nuclear energy and technology accordance with the national energy policy.
The National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS) is a semi-autonomous body under the authority of the Ministry of Energy, which assumes the role of regulator. CNSNS is responsible for ensuring the correct IMPLEME n of the rules and safeguards nuclear and radiation safety and physical protection of nuclear and radiological facilities to ensure public safety.
The CNSNS also is responsible for reviewing, evaluating and approving the criteria for the location, construction Design and operation of nuclear facilities decommissioning, propose regulations. Has the power to modify and / or suspend the licenses of nuclear facilities CNSNS approval is granted by the Ministry of Energy.
Research and development
The main nuclear research organization in Mexico is the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI). NNRI has been operating a research reactor TRIGA Mark III 1000kW since November 1968.
The Autonomous University of Zacatecas has a subcritical Chicago Model 900 used for training, commissioning in 1969.
In 1995 he signed a nuclear cooperation agreement between Mexico and Canada for the exchange of information on R & D, health, safety, emergency planning and environmental protection. , also provides for the transfer of nuclear material, equipment and tecnologíay technical assistance.
The Mexican constitution states that nuclear energy may be used only for peaceful purposes and this is reiterated in the 1984 Act on nuclear activities.
Mexico ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1969 and the Additional Protocol in 2004.'s Also part of the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, ratified in 1988. addition, Mexico is the depositary of the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and has been party to the Treaty since 1967.