Global Energy News Roundup: April 19

This week’s global energy news roundup features articles and information from a range of sources, including The Wall Street Journal, The (N.J.) Star-Ledger, Reuters, Platts, and Business Week. Headlines in this roundup include “Japanese Government Declares Two Reactors Safe to Restart “; “PSEG Holds on to New Nuclear Option”; “Secretary Chu Projects that Nuclear Will Continue Despite Low Natural Gas Prices”; and “Bulgaria Reveals Plans for a Third Reactor.” 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 and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy.

Japanese Government Declares Two Reactors Ready for Restart 
Japan’s government has declared two Kansai reactors safe to restart, but local communities still need to grant their approval. The Japanese government “described the operation of the reactors as necessary for helping secure a stable power supply and preventing damage to the economy through power shortages,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Trade Minister Yukio Edano, one of the ministers to approve the restart plans, has also indicated that no reactors will be restarted before May 5, when the last operating reactor goes offline for its scheduled maintenance and refueling outage. Reuters noted May 6 is set to be Japan’s “first nuclear power-free day since 1970.”
Source: Wall Street Journal

PSEG Holds on to New Nuclear Option
Public Service Electric and Gas is keeping its options open when it comes to new nuclear construction. PSEG submitted an early site application to the NRC in 2010. The NRC delayed its consideration of the application and is now expected to issue a decision in 2014 on whether the site can hold another reactor or two. PSEG’s biggest hurdle will involve financing, as New Jersey utilities do not receive construction cost reimbursements like those in South Carolina and Georgia. PSEG Early Site Permit Manager Jamie Mallon said “My job is to keep this option open to us as a company…we think for the long term, nuclear is the best source of baseload electricity.”
Source: The (N.J.) Star-Ledger

Secretary Chu Projects that Nuclear Will Continue Despite Low Natural Gas Prices
Speaking at The New York Times’ Energy for Tomorrow Conference: Fueling a New Global Economy, Secretary Chu said that current low gas prices are slowing down the development of nuclear and renewable technology, but that these gas prices are transitional. Furthermore, nuclear power provides diversity in supply. Duke Energy President and CEO Jim Rogers also spoke at the conference, saying “our greatest challenge is to avoid all gas, all the time.”
Source: Platts

Bulgaria Reveals Plans for a Third Reactor
Bulgaria has announced plans to build a third reactor at its Kozloduy site. The country is seeking to gain more independence by reducing its reliance on Russian energy sources. Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov said the reactor will be constructed on “a commercial basis, without government guarantees and without spending the money of the taxpayers.”
Source: AP via Businessweek

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Expresses Concern Over Fukushima Spent Fuel Pools
After visiting the Fukushima reactors, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, expressing concern and stating that the international community — including the United States — can do more to help. Wyden pointed to the immediate risks facing the site, particularly the danger of further radiation release if another earthquake and tsunami were to hit before the spent fuel pools are more securely contained. He then pledged to reach out to U.S. government officials to see what more assistance and expertise can be provided to expedite the remediation process.
Letter: PDF file 

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