Global Energy News Roundup: October 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

US Department of Energy Official Reiterates Importance of US Nuclear Energy Production

Principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy at the US Department of Energy, Ed McGinnis, recently wrote an opinion piece stating the importance of nuclear energy to the nation’s energy goals. The purpose of the op-ed was to “bring to light the threat to our grid resiliency and national security if we lose the asset that is our civil nuclear fleet.” The principal deputy assistant secretary states that the nearly 500 nuclear energy industry companies in the state of Pennsylvania support up to 4,900 highly-skilled workers. Additionally, he warned that overregulation from the US government, the lack of market value for nuclear energy, and low natural gas prices could cause the early closure of nuclear power plants. The principal deputy assistant secretary highlighted the opportunity to bring advanced reactors online and the ability of this technology to be a game changer.

Source: PennLive

Radioactive Liquid Waste Transferred to Mega-Volume Facility at Savannah River Site

The first transfer of radioactive liquid waste to a “mega-volume” facility from an underground waste tank has been completed at the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. Around 8,500 gallons of decontaminated salt solution, categorized as a low-level radioactive waste, has now been placed in a newly-constructed 32.8 million gallon disposal unit known as Saltstone. The transfer marks the first time the new waste facility, named SDU 6, has been used. SDU 6 was completed last year and is the site’s first mega-volume SDU, and is ten times larger than other waste units there.

Source: World Nuclear News

Trump Administration Announces New Limits on Sharing Civilian Nuclear Power Technology with China

On Thursday the Trump Administration announced new limits on sharing civilian nuclear power technology with China. Noting that the limits could hurt American nuclear developers in the near term, US officials said the restrictions were necessary because of the economic and national security concerns.  Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement that “the United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of US-China civil nuclear cooperation.” The policy was put in place after a review that also included the FBI and the Department of Defense and the Department of State. The policy includes a clause of “‘presumption of denial’ for new license applications or extensions to existing authorizations related to the China General Nuclear Power Group, which was indicted on charges of conspiring to steal American nuclear technology.”

Another Milestone for the Vogtle Project
Another milestone was passed at the Vogtle Project when the first of four reactor coolant pumps was lifted into place at the site. The 375,000 pound pump is now inside the containment vessel of unit 3. Other recent milestones at the site include the “placement of shield building panels around the outside of the unit’s containment, with nearly half of the panels for the steel and concrete building now in place. The final floor module for the operating deck inside the containment has also been set.” Construction of the Vogtle 3 unit began in March 2013 and is expected to be concluded by November 2021. Construction of unit 4 began in November 2013 and is expected to be completed by November 2022.