Global Energy News Roundup: October 19

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

U.S. Senior Government Official States Support for U.S.-Japan 123 Agreement

On Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said that the U.S. intends to extend its current nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan. The plan, also known as the U.S.-Japan 123 Agreement, is set to automatically extend next summer if no action is taken on the deal. The Agreement took effect in 1988 and had a 30 year time limit. The agreement permits peaceful use of plutonium, which is the “cornerstone of Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy, which uses plutonium reprocessed from spent nuclear fuel produced at nuclear power plants.”

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Increases Safety Regulations

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority approved earlier this week increased safety regulations for the country’s nuclear power plants. Specifically, operators of boiling water reactors are now required to install “new emergency cooling systems that would activate in the event of a serious accident.” The rule change will affect many nuclear power plants throughout the country including Chubu Electric Power Company’s Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Tohoku Electric Power Company’s Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture and the Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture.

Source: The Japan Times

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Supports SMR Development

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz participated in an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center this week titled “Grid Rule: Former FERC Commissioners and Stakeholders Weigh In.” Former FERC commissioners and stakeholders took part in the discussion on energy policy that has been proposed by the Trump administration and how FERC might respond to those proposals. Ernest Moniz expressed his belief that the U.S. government should incentivize small modular reactor development and evaluate the commercial potential of the technology. Specifically, Moniz stated that “we’ve got to have the initiatives to answer the question of what it would take for the small modular reactor approach to demonstrate its cost proposition.” The former secretary believes that SMRs can be a game-changer in the nuclear power industry as the technology creates engineering and financial options that are not available with larger nuclear power projects.

Source: S&P Global Platts

FERC Head Could Change Trump Administration’s Rule that Aims to Boost Coal and Nuclear Plants

Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at an energy conference on Tuesday that U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s direction to FERC to pass a rule within 60 days that would help to reduce the financial burden of some nuclear and coal plants might not be passed without some changes. He did say however, that “there’s real value in Secretary Perry initiating a conversation on whether FERC adequately compensates certain power generators for their contributions to reliability.”

Source: Reuters