Global Energy News Roundup: April 21

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.

 Damage at Kumamoto Castle following the April 15, 2016 earthquake.

Japan Declares Sendai Safe
After the devastating earthquakes last week, the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Chairman Shunichi Tanaka announced Monday that there were no safety issues at the Sendai nuclear station. Sendai lies approximately 120 km away from the hard-hit Kumamoto city, and the NRA is also monitoring nearby plants Genkai and Ikata, though neither are currently operational.
Source: Reuters

Takahama Reactors Pass Safety Screenings
The Nuclear Regulation Authority finalized Wednesday the results of its safety examinations of the Takahama 1 and 2 nuclear reactors, affirming that the units comply with the new regulatory standards. This puts the reactors one step closer to coming back online and becoming the first Japanese reactors to be granted operation licenses beyond the initial 40 year lifespan.
Source: Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc., The Japan Times

U.S. Senate Passes Energy Package
On Wednesday, the Senate passed the first broad energy bill since the George W. Bush administration, a bipartisan measure to better align the nation’s oil, gas, and electricity systems. Within that package, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) successfully passed, which directs the U.S. Department of Energy to partner with private innovators to develop and test the concepts behind advanced reactor technologies. It also directs the DOE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to work together to establish the National Nuclear Innovation Center.
Source: U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, The New York Times

Belgium's Tihange Nuclear Power Station

Belgium’s Tihange Nuclear Power Plant

Belgium Rejects German Call for Nuclear Shutdown
Germany has recently publicly called for the shutdown of two aging nuclear plants on its shared border with Belgium, but the country rejected the request on Wednesday. The German environment minister had requested that the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors be turned off “until the resolution of outstanding security issues,” but the Belgian nuclear safety agency (AFCN) responded by saying that the two plants adhere “to the strictest possible safety requirements.”
Source: The Guardian

Toshiba CEO Expected to Resign

As Japan’s Toshiba Corp prepares to write down the value of its stake in Westinghouse by approximately $1.83 billion, CEO Masashi Muromachi is in the process of stepping down, according to an inside anonymous source. With Japanese popular opinion against nuclear energy at the moment, the firm had been conducting a “stress test” to determine whether it would need to write down its nuclear business, compounding lingering fears surrounding its finances.
Source: Fortune