The Forum on Energy weekly news roundup brings together a mix of global energy stories from around the web. It is published every Thursday and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy
Fifth Japanese Reactor Restarted
Shikoku Electric Power Co. announced that unit 3 of the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture was restarted on August 12 and began generating electricity on August 15. The unit had been idle since April 2011, shortly after the Fukushima disaster, but the process of loading the fuel began this June. Although the fifth to come back online, Ikata 3 is one of only three functional reactors at this moment, as the two functional Takahama reactors are currently offline due to court proceedings.
Russian Fast Reactor Reaches Full Power
Rosenergoatom, the plant operator, announced that Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant started operating at full power for the first time, a key milestone as the reactor is scheduled to enter commercial operation later this year. Before the reactor can operate commercially, it must undergo a 15-day comprehensive testing period, and then obtain permission from Russian nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor. Beloyarsk 4 is already hailed as the world’s most powerful fast reactor, having generated more than 1.3 billion kWh of electricity already this year, also producing new fuel material as it burns.
Source: World Nuclear News
Environmental Protests Growing in China
Chinese officials are going to unusual lengths to defend certain large energy projects on social media. Most recently, thousands of people flooded the streets of the city of Lianyungang to protest the prospect of a nuclear fuel recycling plant siting. Several protesters relayed concerns related to the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and China’s nuclear ambitions overall. This marks a significant conflict of interest, as the Chinese government has emphasized the importance of nuclear energy moving forward, to wean the nation off of coal.
Source:The Wall Street Journal
Australia Blocks Chinese Grid Investment
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the State Grid Corp of China and Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings would be prevented from buying electric company Ausgrid, despite their competitive bids. Unspecified national security concerns were cited as the cause for the decision. A spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry called the decision “protectionist,” warning that it “seriously impacts the willingness of Chinese companies to invest in Australia.” This announcement came quickly on the heels of the UK government’s decision to postpone approval of the controversial Hinkley Point deal, also involving Chinese investment in energy infrastructure.
Preferred Site for NuScale SMR Identified
The CEO of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) announced that the preferred site for the construction of NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) has been identified, from four options within the boundaries of Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project was launched in 2015, bringing together UAMPS, NuScale, Energy NorthWest, and Enercon Services to build the first of NuScale’s reactor designs.
Source: World Nuclear News