Global Energy News Roundup: May 10

This week’s global energy news roundup features articles and information from a range of sources, including The Washington PostReuters UK and Canada, Forbes, and Bloomberg. Headlines in this roundup include “Nuclear Free Japan Faces Economic and Political Challenges”; Canada on Track to Expand Nuclear”; “Horizon Nuclear Project Attracts International Investors”; “New French President Seeks to Reduce Nuclear Dependence”; and “Lithuania Expects Economic Boost From Planned 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.

Nuclear Free Japan Faces Economic and Political Challenges
Japan’s last operating reactor shut down for its scheduled maintenance on May 5. Kansai Electric’s Ohi reactors 3 and 4 have passed all safety checks and are ready to restart, but Japan’s leadership has yet to gain consensus from regional government bodies. The Washington Post reports that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has championed the anti-nuclear movement in challenging the central government’s efforts to restart the reactors. On the other side, Takashi Imai, Chairman of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, has warned that businesses will suffer if the plants are not restarted. If the Ohi reactors remain idle, the Kansai region is expected to face a power shortage of 16.3 percent during the summer peak. In related energy news, the Japanese government has approved a bailout plan for Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. As part of the deal, the temporary government takeover will involve a plan to restructure the utility.
Source: Washington Post 

Canada on Track to Expand Nuclear
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister approved Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) environmental assessment for expansion of the Darlington nuclear power station. The next step is for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to rule on OPG’s site preparation license. If approved, OPG will be allowed to build up to four additional reactors at the site. The expansion is consistent with the Ontario government’s plan to replace carbon-emitting coal-fired plants with cleaner energy sources.
Source: Reuters Edition: Canada

Horizon Nuclear Project Attracts International Investors
Though German companies RWE and E.ON are backing out of the Horizon nuclear joint venture in the United Kingdom, others are ready to step in. According to Reuters, at least five international entities are interested in the investment opportunity. Potential investors include Westinghouse (owned by Toshiba), U.S.-based Exelon, a Chinese investor and a Middle East investor.
Source: Reuters Edition: UK

New French President Seeks to Reduce Nuclear Dependence 
Nicolas Sarkozy’s loss to Francois Hollande raises questions about France’s energy future. While Sarkozy had pledged to extend plant life by 20 years, Hollande plans to reduce France’s nuclear program by 50 percent in 13 years. Forbes contributor Christopher Coats speculates that Hollande will need to execute some powerful political maneuvers to achieve his goal of cutting existing nuclear supplies.
Source: Forbes

Lithuania Expects Economic Boost From Planned Reactor
The Lithuanian government believes a planned $6.5 billion nuclear power plant could boost the country’s economy while helping it move toward energy independence. The country receives 62 percent of its energy through imports. Hitachi Ltd. has signed a concession agreement to build the 1,300-megawatt reactor in Visaginas. Lithuania’s parliament has until June 28 to approve the deal. At a press conference held yesterday in Vilnius, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said, “These projects are economically beneficial for Lithuania and its people, and they also guarantee energy security and greater integration into Europe.”  
Source: Bloomberg

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