Global Energy News Roundup: September 6


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 Forum on Energy and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy.

Japan to Announce New National Energy Policy Next Week
Without taking an official stance on nuclear energy, and after months of debate and consideration, Japan will next week establish its new nuclear energy policy. Government officials have been considering where to set the cap for how large a role nuclear should play in the country’s energy production by no later than 2030 — zero percent, 15 percent or 20-25 percent. Prior to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the contribution was about 30 percent. Most experts have expected the decision to be 15 percent, according to Reuters.
Sources: CNBC and Reuters

Japan Releases Plan to Restore Fukushima Prefecture
Japan has released a 10-year reconstruction plan for areas of the Fukushima prefecture affected by radiation due to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The plan includes 12 municipalities and will begin with decontamination and restoring water, sewage and power services, according to RTT News. Planners hope the reconstruction also brings new people and industries to the region, according to World Nuclear News. The announcement comes as Japan continues to discuss the extent of its nuclear future. Many in Japan believe it should permanently shutter its reactors, but Industry Minister Yukio Edano has warned that immediately ending the country’s nuclear energy production would have a dramatic effect on its overall energy resources and potentially its economy.
Sources: RTT News and World Nuclear News

Convention on Nuclear Safety Signatories to Introduce IAEA’s Safety Standards
The 75 signatories of the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety currently use their own laws and criteria for nuclear registration. On Friday, at a meeting in Vienna, they will introduce and approve the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) generally stronger safety standards, according to Power Engineering. The member countries and international organizations agreed to reassess nuclear regulation and safety standards after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi. The members will also agree to “put full human and financial resources into independent nuclear regulatory bodies,” according to the article.
Source: Power Engineering

Brattle Group: Spent Fuel Storage Facility Could Save Millions Each Year
The construction of dry spent fuel storage facilities could save the U.S. nuclear energy industry millions of dollars each year, according to a new report from the Brattle Group. The report — “Centralized Dry Storage of Nuclear Fuel: Lessons for U.S. Policy from Industry Experience and Fukushima” — concludes that although approximately $800 million is spent annually to support a spent fuel repository, only about $757 million total would be needed to build a facility that could contain all spent fuel dischargers through 2030. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has put a hold on issuing new licenses or license extensions for nuclear reactors until it determines exactly how to address spent fuel storage going forward.
Source: Brattle Group

First Fuel Rods Removed From Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has removed the first nuclear materials from the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi since the facility was shut down after last year’s accident. The fuel rods are in relatively good shape, meaning officials could soon begin moving approximately 1,500 fuel assemblies to a safer location, according to Nature.com News Blog. They were from the Number 4 reactor of the Fukushima Number 1 plant. The company will start removing all reactor 4 fuel rods in December 2013, according to The Asahi Shimbun.
Sources: Nature.com News Blog and The Asahi Shimbun