Global Energy News Roundup: February 28

Newsroundup42-471x315The 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.

Congress Reacts to New Regulations for U.S. Reactors
Both the Senate and House are looking to voice their opinions to members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding new regulations for U.S. reactors. Democratic Senators are pushing the NRC to require some reactors install filtering systems to reduce the amount of radioactive material released and prevent explosions during accidents. At the same time, House Republicans and industry officials are pressuring the commission not to make such requirements, calling them “costly and unnecessary.” The hearing is scheduled for February 28.
Sources: Global Security Newswire, EEDaily

Nuclear Plants Make Their Case on Regulatory Recommendations
Filters recommended by the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are meant to prevent radiation from entering the atmosphere, but cost as much as $45 million. In an effort to reject the rule mandating the filters, the nuclear industry has begun an intense lobbying campaign. Simulations are taking place in plants across the U.S. to show the NRC that the companies are capable of handling emergencies without new devices. “We all desire an ideal solution, but it needs to be an integrated one,” said Maria G. Korsnick, the chief nuclear officer at Constellation Energy that owns one of the plants involved in the lobbying drills.
Source: The New York Times

New Regulations in Japan for Natural Disasters, Terrorism — Even Aircraft Impact
The Nuclear Regulatory Authority is drawing up requirements all reactors must meet before they can restart. Multiple safety systems will work independently to avoid disasters, such as the one seen at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011. Stronger and higher tsunami walls; waterproofed buildings; and more cautious earthquake analysis are the first lines of defense against natural disasters. One requirement would be a secondary control room with power and water sources 100 meters from the reactor to allow remote control of the plant during events such as a deliberate aircraft impact. Recommendations are under public review with the new laws to be enacted in July.
Source: World Nuclear News

Small Reactors May be the Future of Nuclear Power
Westinghouse Electric Co., which built the nation’s first nuclear plant, is working with scientists to build a small modular reactor (SMR). Westinghouse, Babcock & Wilcox Co. and federal energy officials expect the SMRs to boost a power plant’s output or provide enough electricity to run a factory with their 225-megawatt mini-reactor design. The safety advantages of these reactors include using gravity rather than access to power if the plants malfunction, control rods inside the reactor that unlatch when a problem is detected, water above the core to provide cooling in an emergency and the unit sitting below grade, lowering the potential for damage from above-ground disruptions. Proposed spending on small reactor designs will be $452 million, according to energy officials. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects to receive applications from nuclear energy companies as early as this year.
Source: Power Engineering

Toshiba in Direct Negotiations with Finland’s Nuclear Energy Company
Toshiba Corporation announced the company will enter into direct negotiations with Finland’s nuclear power company Fennovoima Oy related to the construction of an Advance Boiling Water Reactor (1,600MW class EU-ABWR) for a nuclear power plant. “We would be very pleased to provide our most advanced EU-ABWR equipment and to contribute to ensuring the long-term stability of Finland’s power supply,” said Kiyoshi Okamura, Vice President of Toshiba Power Systems Company.
Source: World News

Germany’s Energy Transition Could Reach $1.3 Trillion
The costs for the plans to reform and restructure Germany’s energy sector by the end of the 2030s could reach $1.3 trillion. After the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011, Germany’s energy transition was introduced in an effort to phase out nuclear power. Eight reactors were shut down immediately by the government with the remaining nine to be closed by 2022. Germany was obtaining about a quarter of its electricity from the nuclear reactors, but now intends to establish a system where renewable generation accounts for 20 percent of power and fossil fuels comprise the remaining 80 percent.
Source: World Nuclear News