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
US Nuclear Waste Repository Reopens
Workers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico stowed two pallets of drums in the facility for the first time in nearly three years, following a 2014 canister rupture that contaminated 20 workers. The waste stored was already located above ground at the site, and no new shipments of waste have yet been received. The process reportedly went very smoothly. The WIPP is currently the nation’s only underground storage facility.
Source: USA Today
Japanese Governor Solidifies Anti-Nuclear Restart Stance
Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama of Niigata prefecture met with Tepco Chairman Fumio Sudo and President Naomi Hirose, and reiterated his pledge to keep the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant shut down barring a fuller explanation of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, establishment of evacuation plans for Niigata residents, and a report on the health impacts of the Fukushima accident. The governor was elected on his anti-nuclear stance, and his opposition to Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is a blow for Tepco, as the restart of this plant is vital for its economic recovery and the nuclear restart of Japan.
Global Nuclear Capacity Grew in 2016
Global nuclear generating capacity stood at 391.4 GWe net at the end of 2016, up from 382.2 GWe net at the end of 2015, according to the World Nuclear Association. Ten new nuclear power reactors with a combined generating capacity of 9,579 MWe came online in 2016, five of them in China, bringing the total number of operable reactors worldwide to 447. A further 92 MWe of new capacity was also added in 2016 through reactor uprates.
Source: World Nuclear News
Chinese Coal Group to Invest in Hinkley Point
The shareholders of Chinese coal miner Wintime Energy (Wing Tai Energy in Chinese) approved the proposed investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear project. The plan will see Wintime Energy investing up to three billion yuan ($440 million) in Hinkley Point through its wholly-owned subsidiary Huayuan New Energy. This announcement comes on the heels of a November agreement between Wintime and China General Nuclear to form a partnership to develop nuclear power and other clean energy projects worldwide.
Source: World Nuclear News
Toshiba to Finalize Financial Hit by Mid-February
After the December announcement of cost overruns at Westinghouse that could now mean a charge against profit of more than $4 billion, Toshiba is now working to secure the backing of its creditors, before finalizing the size of the writedown. Toshiba is expected to inform banks of the final hit by the end of January, and to finalize the hit by mid-February. Sources familiar with the negotiations report frustrations at Toshiba’s continued financial inconsistencies, but confidence that major lenders will ultimately support the company.