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
Two Japanese Reactors Pass Safety Checks
Two more reactors in Japan passed a key safety assessment, but it is unclear whether Kyushu Electric Power Co. will win local support to bring Genkai No. 3 and 4 back online. At the earliest, the two units would restart in April, but the nearby city of Imari in particular has expressed strong concern over evacuation preparations for the plant. Specifically, certain towns currently rely on plans to evacuate by ship in the case of an emergency, so locals are arguing that a plan must be put into place for evacuation in the case of severe weather.
French Reactors Greenlighted for Restart
France’s nuclear watchdog ASN has approved the restart of nine out of the 12 nuclear reactors that were taken offline in 2016 upon the discovery of widespread “carbon irregularities.” The decision was made as France faces severe winter weather and the possibility of rolling blackouts as electricity demand spikes.
Source: Power Magazine
China Publishes New Five Year Plan
The National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration have officially issued the 13th Five-Year Plan for energy development. According to the report, throughout the next five years, over 30 million kilowatts of nuclear energy facilities will be under construction in China, with 58 million kW of nuclear power installed by 2020. The country will also invest heavily in next-gen and small reactors. The plan also orders the cessation and postponement of 104 coal-fired plant projects.
France Raises $1.2 Billion for Areva Rescue
Following a green light from the European Commission, the French government sold 100 million shares of oil and gas giant Engie to finance the rescue of Areva. The European Commission also approved the plan to inject $4.8 into Areva, but made it contingent on approval from anti-trust regulators who need to give the go-ahead on the plan to sell the company to EDF, which is 85% owned by the French government.