Global Energy News Roundup: February 22

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

TEPCO Continues Clean Up at Fukushima Daiichi

Starting in mid-2018, fuel is expected to be removed from the storage pool of unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A hydrogen explosion a few days following the 2011 tsunami wrecked the “section of the reactor building that sheltered the service floor of unit 3…leaving the fuel pond exposed and covered by debris including many twisted steel beams.” Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been working to build a separate structure to facilitate the removal of the fuel still contained in unit 3. The project is now in its final stages, with the fuel expected to be removed in the coming months.

Source: World Nuclear News

China Set to Overtake U.S. As World’s Largest Nuclear Power Producer

At the International Petroleum Week Conference in London this past week the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director, Faith Birol, stated that China is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest nuclear-power producer by more than tripling its nuclear energy capacity over the next 20 years. Specifically, Director Birol stated that “China is coming back strong. Today there are about 60 nuclear power plants under construction and more than one third of them are in China. China is growing and as a result of that we’ll soon see China overtaking the United States as the number 1 nuclear power in the world.” The Director remains concerned that Europe and the United States are not investing enough in nuclear power, allowing China to dominate the nuclear power industry in the future.

Source: MarketWatch

U.S. Utilities and DOE Work to Extend Life of Nuclear Power Reactors

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is offering its support to a “request by utilities to extend the life of some nuclear power reactors — keeping them in operation for as long as 80 years…The DOE is working to secure permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the life of nuclear reactors built in the 1970s to at least 2050. Exelon Corp, Dominion Energy Inc., and NextEra Energy Inc. have stated that they will ask regulators “to extend 60-year licenses by 20 years for eight reactors in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Requests for as many as as 20 more are expected to follow, according to the nuclear industry.” Ultimately, the decision to extend the lives of nuclear power plants is up to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Source: Bloomberg

Uranium Processing Facility Helps Tennessee Companies

The Uranium Processing Facility currently being built in Oak Ridge Tennessee is expected to employ more than 2,000 workers on site when the construction peaks three years from now. The facility will be used to enrich materials used for the U.S. Navy and research reactors. $600 million has been authorized for construction and procurement of the project and local Tennessee companies are expected to profit from the funding.

Source: Times Free Press