Global Energy News Roundup: January 11


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

DOE Announces Funding for Advanced Fuels for Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors

On Monday the US Department of Energy announced that it plans to award Centrus Energy Corp. $115 million to be used to demonstrate the production of high-assay low enriched uranium (HALEU), fuel which next generation nuclear reactors will use. There are two primary objectives of the HALEU Demonstration Program. These are 1) the “deployment of a 16-machine cascade producing 19.75%U-235 enriched product by October 2020” and 2) “demonstration of the capability to produce HALEU with existing US-origin enrichment technology, providing the DOE with a ‘small quantity’ of HALEU for use in research and development ‘and other programmatic missions’.” The funding is expected to run from January 2019 to December 2020, with an option of an additional year. When discussing the award, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette stated that “it’s critical to our future and our energy security…lots of these companies are pursuing the advanced-reactor technology, but without fuel they run into very natural and understandable stumbling blocks.”

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, World Nuclear News

Pennsylvania Governor Takes Steps to Reduce State’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has set his state’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an executive order he signed on Tuesday. The governor has proposed steps for agencies under his supervisions to cut their energy use. He stated that “the threat that we’re confronting is not an abstract problem…2018 was the wettest year on record with flooding. That’s affected our farms. It’s devastated homes. This is affecting all of our lives each and every day.” His goals include a 26% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 2025 and an 80% reduction by 2050. These levels are based off of the state’s 2005 greenhouse gas emission levels. The move is expected to boost the nuclear power industry in Pennsylvania, for both the development of advanced reactors and for sustaining the current fleet to ensure for a reliable and clean baseload power.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WSJ Article Promotes Nuclear Energy 

In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal today, Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A Qvist argue that only nuclear energy can save the planet. The two authors point out that more than 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels and this number is only expected to grow as poorer countries increase their energy use. Solar and wind power will not be able to keep up with the demand, and according to Bill Gates “there’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables.” The essay’s authors note how “the world needs is a carbon-free source of electricity that can be ramped up to massive scale very quickly and provide power reliably around the clock, regardless of weather conditions—all without expanding the total acreage devoted to electric generation. Nuclear power meets all of those requirements.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal