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
Moniz Speaking Out, US Seeking to Save Nuclear Plants
An in-depth piece in The New York Times examines the recent shift in the United States back in favor of nuclear energy, particularly in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement. Secretary Moniz has publicly underscored the importance of nuclear energy in several recent instances, bringing the issue to the forefront. As nuclear gains traction as a leading carbon-free electricity source, proposed legislation in Congress seeks to support innovation and test cases in Illinois, New York, and Ohio aim to save plants from closure.
Source: The New York Times
Deadline Passes to Select Monju Operator
Japan missed the deadline to find a new operator for its Monju fast-breeder plant, threatening the country’s support of the technology. The Japanese nuclear regulator demanded in November that a replacement be found for the current operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, within six months. The fast-breeder reactor is designed to use spent nuclear fuel from other plants, and to produce more atomic fuel than it consumes, but Monju has operated for less than a year since its completion more than 20 years ago. Without a replacement operator, closure of the plant is increasingly likely.
Fukushima Ice Wall Shows Progress
Tepco has reported that soil temperatures at more than 90% of the measuring points in a circumference surrounding four reactor buildings were below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). This report covers the period of January – March, and represents marked improvement for the operation of the ice wall which aims to reduce contamination of groundwater seeping into and out of the damaged plant.
Exelon to Move Forward with Closures
Exelon announced that it will move forward with the early retirements of two nuclear plants in Illinois. Last Month, Exelon warned it would move forward with retiring the Clinton and Quad Cities plants if Illinois failed to pass the Next Generation Energy Plan, but subsequently announced: “While the Illinois legislative session has not ended, the path forward for consideration of the NGEP legislation is not clear. As a result, Exelon has begun taking necessary steps to shut down the two plants.” The Clinton plant will close on June 1, 2017, with Quad Cities following in 2018.
Source: World Nuclear News
French Power Sector to go on Strike
France’s CGT trade union workers voted on Wednesday to start of rolling strike at all 19 nuclear power plants as part of the continuing nationwide protests. Nuclear plants are required to maintain a minimal level of production even during strikes for security reasons. Nonetheless, workers in Brittany cut the electricity supply from a power station in Saint-Malo-de-Guersac, prompting blackouts in some 125,000 homes.
Source: Reuters, WSOCTV
Australia and India Finalize Civil Nuclear Agreement
The two countries inked their civil nuclear deal, with Australia indicating that its supply of uranium to India would begin shortly. Though the Australian High Commissioner to India stated that concluding contracts and supply can take time, she stated that active engagement is underway on supplying uranium to India. Bilateral talks on civil nuclear cooperation began in 2012.
Source: First Post India