Global Energy News Roundup: April 27

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


France and the US To Work Together on Fast Reactors

Yesterday the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) signed a statement of intent that is meant to strengthen collaboration on fast neutron sodium-cooled reactors. Specifically, “the DOE and CEA will explore areas of further collaboration on the development of fast neutron sodium-cooled reactors, ranging from modelling, simulation and validation, technology testing, access to supply chains, experimental facilities, and advanced materials.” Almost half of France’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants in the country. In order to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, it will be important for the country to maintain nuclear power production while also using renewable power technology. US Energy Secretary Rick Perry is a strong proponent of nuclear power in the United States and agreements such as these will help the US nuclear power industry modernize and regrow.

Source: The Washington Examiner, World Nuclear News

New Report Illustrates Importance of Nuclear Power Plants to Reduce Electricity Costs and CO2 Emissions

Following the announcement that four nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania would be retired, economists at the Brattle Group studied the impact of the closures on environmental and electricity prices. Specifically, the report found that the closures would:

  • Increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 21 million metric tons annually;
  • “Cause a loss of zero-emissions generation greater than the total amount of renewable generation in the entire PJM region, reversing the emissions benefits of 25 years of renewable investments;”
  • Increase “gross electricity costs for consumers” by $1.5 billion across all of the PJM electricity grid.

For the full report, please see here.

Source: The Brattle Group

Fuel Loading Begins at Chinese AP1000

Fuel loading at the core unit of the Sanmen nuclear power plant in Zhejiang province, China began on April 25, taking the unit one step closer to becoming the first Westinghouse AP1000 to begin operation. The Sanment 1 reactor has also successfully completed all the functional, technical, safety, and Chinese regulatory reviews. A representative from Westinghouse stated that “the fuel loading process will be followed by initial criticality, initial synchronization to the electricity grid, and gradual power ascension testing, until all testing is safely and successfully completed at 100% power.” The power plant is expected to begin operation later this year.

Source: World Nuclear News

TEPCO Releases Footage From Fukushima 

This week Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) released footage that was taken inside the “containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.” The footage shows areas where molten fuel has fallen through the reactor pressure vessel. TEPCO sent a camera attached to a pipe into the containment vessel in January and now plans to use a robot to survey the containment vessel more closely.

Source: The Mainichi