Global Energy News Roundup: February 18

1024px-Agency_headquarters_GraphicThe 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

Takahama Restart Boosts Electricity Reserve Margin
Electricity supply in the Kansai EP service area increased since the restart of Takahama No. 3, with the capacity reserve margin increasing from 3.3% to 6.9%. The unit restarted on January 29 and began constant operation at rated thermal output on February 4, contributing significantly to the supply of electricity to match winter demand. Despite this, Japan still faces a power supply problem, and authorities continue to urge demand-side conservation.
Source: Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc.

NRC Commissioner to Step Down
William Ostendorff has announced that he intends to leave the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the end of June. He has been with the NRC for six years, a timespan encompassing the Fukushima disaster; he has been a leading voice in developing immediate- and long-term strategies to respond to the accident. His departure will leave the NRC- ostensibly a five-member body- with only three members.
Source: The Hill

EDF Announces 2015 Full-Year Results
French utility EDF announced  that despite “unfavorable market conditions,” it had met all targets in 2015. The company reported in particular good performances from its nuclear generation activities in France and the UK, with fewer, shorter outages raising nuclear generation statistics for the year. EDF predicts there to be more planned outages at its French reactors in 2016 than in 2015. The company also stated that it is adapting to lower power prices and to increased competition by implementing strong management action, including “continuous improvement of nuclear output, reduction of operational expenditures, investments selectivity, the working capital requirement improvement plan, funding new development projects through disposals, and examining a new regulation in France.”
Source: World Nuclear News

EU Short on Decommissioning Funding
A working paper by the European Commission reports that Europe is more than €118 billion short on money needed to dismantle its nuclear plants and manage waste storage. Currently, only €150.1 billion of projected €268.3 is available. These data are part of the Nuclear Illustrative Programme of the Commission, the last of which was published in 2007, before the Fukushima disaster. Of the 16 EU member states still operating nuclear plants, only the UK has sufficient dedicated assets to cover the expected costs of decommissioning.
Source: Reuters

Obama Intends to Sign Paris Climate Agreement
Todd Stern, the U.S. State Department’s top climate diplomat and negotiator at the December summit, announced that last week’s Supreme Court stay on the Clean Power Plan does not change the Administration’s plan to sign the international climate change pact. “We’re going to go ahead and sign the agreement this year,” he said.
Source: The Hill