Global Energy News Roundup: March 23

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

NEIMA Passes EPW with Flying Colors

The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) with a vote of 18 to 3. The bill seeks to develop a regulatory framework for advanced nuclear reactors, and to make changes to a grant program to help develop them. Furthermore, committee chairman Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) touted the bipartisanship of the measure, and its potential to “revitalize our nuclear energy sector.” The bill must next pass the Senate; a similar version did not succeed in 2016.

Source: U.S. Senate, Bloomberg BNA

Bechtel, GEH Team Up on European Decommissioning

U.S.-based firms Bechtel and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced the formation of an alliance to offer decommissioning and dismantling services for nuclear power plants in Germany and Sweden. The alliance will provide a full range of decommissioning services including pre-shutdown planning, licensing, project development and management, dismantling, demolition, waste management, and site closeout.

Abe and Hollande shake hands in 2016

Source: World Nuclear News

Japan, France Agree to Keep Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policies

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande agreed that their countries will cooperate to maintain their nuclear fuel cycle policies. The two sides signed an agreement under which Japan will strengthen its cooperation with the French to develop the ASTRID demonstration fast-breeder reactor, in light of the decision to shut down the Monju fast-breeder reactor. Both sides will also continue their efforts to promote free trade.

Source: The Japan News

Tepco Seeks Partners in Plant Restart 

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) will seek the cooperation of domestic nuclear operators to improve the safety of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant as it attempts to restart the plant and meet costs of the Fukushima disaster. The longer the plant remains offline, the longer Tepco must rely on costlier power generation through fossil fuels. Tepco also aims to set up a consortium with domestic peers on nuclear business to tackle common issues such as improving nuclear safety.

Source: Reuters, Kyodo News

Kepco in Talks to Buy Toshiba Stake in NuGen Project

South Korean Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) is in talks to buy a stake in the Toshiba-Engie nuclear joint venture NuGen in the United Kingdom. The project plans to build three reactors at the Moorside site on the coast of Cumbria, and expects electricity generation to begin in 2025. Kepco is interested in taking over the 60% stake owned by Toshiba, though the CEO acknowledged that nothing is formal as negotiations between the Japanese and UK governments are not yet complete.

Source: ReutersBusinessKorea

Urenco Pivots to Asia

Urenco Ltd., the European nuclear company that operates the only U.S. reactor-fuel manufacturing site is refocusing its strategy with an eye on Asia due to the dim outlook for nuclear power in North America. The CEO stated, “Our market has changed fundamentally. This change is of a permanent nature. As a company we have to react.” He maintained the importance of the company’s presence in the American market, but emphasized the global dimension of the business and the expanding demand in Asia, particularly China.

Source: Bloomberg