Global Energy News Roundup: January 18

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

Hitachi’s Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Project Delayed but Not Completely Stopped

Hitachi’s Wylfa Newydd nuclear power project has been delayed but not completely stopped. This is what a Hitachi spokesperson told the BBC this week. Futhermore, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns stated that he was confident that the plant would still be built but delayed by a “small number of years.” Financing is the current issues as Director of Corporate Affairs Leon Flexman told the press that the project was costing £1m per day. He went on to say that “Hitachi never said it would finance the entire construction phase…it is not a stop, we are halting the activities until it can be restarted providing the right conditions are in place and the finance is there.”

“Wylfa Newydd is the best site probably in Europe for nuclear new build… but we have to be realistic that efforts to progress the project cant continue at the pace they are now.”

“The reason for the postponement is it is a huge ask for any private sector company to bear all the financial burden of a nuclear power station… it requires participation from governments as well but the terms on which you do that… is a very complicated business.

“When you’re spending a million a day, you just can’t keep doing that forever as a responsible private company.”

It seems that the UK government remains committed to the project with its Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clarke declaring that the government would consider taking a one-third equity stake in Wylfa.

Source: BBC 

US Nuclear Regulator Operating Normally During Partial Government Shutdown

With the US government partially shut down, some US citizens have questioned the safety of nuclear power plants if they are not able to be inspected or maintained. However, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region III office in Lisle, Illinois has assuaged those fears and stated that “the NRC has its full budget” and that “we are operating normally. The NRC is funded through the federal government’s 2019 fiscal year, meaning that it has the money on hand for “normal operations, payroll and other expenses. Thus, its employees are not among the nearly 7,200 federal workers in Ohio estimated to be currently on forced furlough or required to work without pay.” Nearly 800,000 federal workers are currently being affected by this partial shutdown.

Source: Energy News Network

Company Works on Solution For Nuclear Waste

A California based company named Deep Isolation has successfully placed and retrieved a model nuclear waster canister hundreds of meters underground. Burying waste deep in the earth’s crust has long been a concept to store waste produced by nuclear power plants but has not yet been implemented. However, in “2016, a team led by Battelle Memorial Institute was selected by the DOE to drill a 16,000 feet test borehole into a crystalline basement rock formation in North Dakota as part of studies into the feasibility of using boreholes for nuclear waste disposal. The same year, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the completion of ‘proof of concept’ tests for borehole disposal of small volumes of radioactive waste.”

Deep Isolation’s Chief Technology Officer Richard Muller hopes that these canisters can help solve the issue of nuclear waste in the US because “right now, the US is holding 80,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste. Something must be done with this, and every major scientific group that has studied the challenge concluded that putting it deep underground is the safest solution for the present and future generations…a drilled repository allows you to go deeper while disturbing less rock. It is both safer and less expensive than a mined repository.”

Source: World Nuclear News