Global Energy News Roundup: April 12

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

Japanese Energy Panel Recommends Nuclear Power Production to Help Meet Country’s Emission Goals

This week a Japanese energy panel declared that continued construction of nuclear power plants can help the country meet its long-term emission goals. The panel urged for “rapid technology improvements to allow industry to develop safer and more economic reactors.” The advisory panel’s recommendations will be used for a review of Japan’s 2030 energy plan which will include goals to cut carbon emissions by 2050. Shogo Tanaka, Director of Japan’s ministry’s energy strategy office stated that “the report does not specifically talk about possible building of new reactors or replacing existing reactors, but it does not deny such a possibility either.”

Source: Reuters

Japanese Nuclear Power Unit Resumes Commercial Operation

On April 10 Unit 3 at the Ohi nuclear power plant in the Fukui Prefecture of Japan resumed commercial operation. The resumed operation comes after Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) announced in May 2017 that the two units Ohi 3 and 4 met safety standards that were introduced in July 2013 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi plant accident. Kansai’s Electric Power Company’s President and Director Shigeki Iwane stated “we are committed to exerting every possible effort to gain more trust and understanding in the importance and safety of nuclear power generation from members of the public while making steady steps forward to achieve and maintain safe plant operation after restarting operation.” Out of Japan’s 42 operable reactors that have cleared NRA inspections, Ohi 3 is the sixth reactor to resume commercial operations. Ohi 4 is expected to resume operations in mid-May, followed by the restart of units 3 and 4 at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga prefecture later this year.

Source: World Nuclear News

U.S. Nuclear Plant Closures Signals Setback for Climate Goals

Third Way published a report on U.S. nuclear plant closures and the setbacks this causes for the nation’s climate goals set by the Obama administration. According to the report, “In 2015, nuclear facilities in the U.S. alone generated as much zero-carbon electricity as all the wind turbines on the planet combined.” However, due to cheap natural gas prices, these plants are facing increased competition, and are facing financial situations that will lead to closures. These closures are expected to cause a significant setback for the U.S. to meet its climate initiatives. For the full report, please see here.

DOE Promotes New Technology To Help U.S. Nuclear Energy Sector

Ed McGinnis, principal deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy, spoke positively about the future of the U.S. nuclear energy industry at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit earlier this week. While acknowledging that the nuclear energy industry in its current form will diminish, he argued that new technology will revamp the industry and act as a crucial component of the U.S. energy sector. McGinnis stated that with the development of new, and smaller, modular reactors, the U.S. “will be witnessing a very disruptive, exciting time in the nuclear sector.”

Source: Bloomberg