Global Energy News Roundup: March 8


This week’s global energy news roundup features articles and information from a range of sources, including The Korea Herald, Bloomberg and Reuters. Headlines in this roundup include “UAE to Order Four More Nuclear Power Stations From S. Korea”; “NRC Commissioners Approve Draft Post-Fukushima Safety Rules”; “Japanese Government to Take Majority Stake in TEPCO”; and “Japan Without Nuclear a ‘Disaster,’ Says Former IEA Chief Tanaka.” The Forum on Energy weekly news roundup brings together a mix of global energy stories from around the web. It is published every Thursday morning on forumonenergy.com and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy. Follow @forumonenergy for real time updates. 

UAE to Order Four More Nuclear Power Stations From S. Korea
In an effort to diversify away from carbon-intense fossil fuels, the United Arab Emirates is embarking on an ambitious plan to develop a nuclear power program. Four Korean APR-1400 reactors are under construction, with the first reactor expected to come online in 2017. The UAE is rumored to be in talks with Korea Electric Power Company to purchase four more reactors, giving Korea a significant market advantage in the UAE’s new nuclear program.
Source: The Korea Herald 

NRC Commissioners Approve Draft Post-Fukushima Safety Rules
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s staff submitted a draft proposal last month on new rules, including a requirement for more-extensive disaster planning and more-advanced monitoring in reactor pools. The commission will spend the next several months designing the detailed specifications of the regulations. The rules should go into full effect by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, U.S. utilities are taking matters into their own hands and implementing safety at their own facilities. Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, which owns ten nuclear power plants (17 reactors) across the United States, recently conducted inspections of all its plants and made significant investments in equipment to augment safety at its facilities. As utilities throughout the Unites States take note of lessons learned from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that damaged Fukushima Daiichi, the industry is taking positive steps to re-check and re-evaluate their own readiness to withstand a large-scale disaster. Ultimately, these efforts will help to reinforce the safety of the nation’s nuclear fleet.
Source: Bloomberg 

Japanese Government to Take Majority Stake in TEPCO
The government is gearing up to take control of 51 percent of the voting shares of TEPCO as part of the terms for its infusing 1 trillion yen ($12.4 billion) to keep the company running. In addition, the government is seeking to gain a two-thirds stake in the company by obtaining convertible non-voting shares, which it would then convert them into voting shares. This would give the government the power to make management decisions, including the option to merge with another company. TEPCO is fighting to maintain independence from a government takeover.
Source: Reuters 

Japan Without Nuclear a ‘Disaster,’ Says Former IEA Chief Tanaka
As reported by Bloomberg, Japan’s limited energy options means it would face “disaster” if it decided not to utilize its nuclear reactor fleet, according to Nobuo Tanaka, the International Energy Agency’s former executive director. Tanaka, now an associate at the government-affiliated Institute of Energy Economics, said passing on its nuclear potential would put Japan at the mercy of other country’s resources and decisions. For example, if Iran decides to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, it would severely limit access to crude oil.
Source: Bloomberg