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 week. Please visit our page on Twitter via @forumonenergy

Keidanren Asks to Extend Maximum Service Lifespan for Nuclear Reactors in Japan

Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman of Hitachi, Ltd. and the President of Keidanren, also known as the Japanese Business Federation, is asking the Japanese government to extend the “maximum service lifespan for nuclear reactors beyond the current 60 years, saying Japan faces an electricity crisis.” Keidanren published a proposal on April 8 titled “Reconstructing the electricity system that supports Japan.” Within the proposal it states that periods when nuclear reactors are shutdown for maintenance or other work should not be included in their operational terms. The article states that “currently, nuclear power plants are allowed to have an operating life of 40 years, but a one-time extension of 20 years may be granted in exceptional cases under a law enacted after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.” Nakanishi ordered the creation of this proposal which renews calls for resuming operations at nuclear reactors and building new ones because “Japan is facing a crisis in terms of being able to generate electricity” the proposal states. At a news conference on April 8 Nakanishi stated that “increasing the proportion of nuclear energy is the most realistic way” to step up efforts against global warming, “I will think what other available options remain if that becomes impossible.”

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

Legislation Introduced in Pennsylvania to Subsidize Nuclear Power Plants

A debate has begun in a Pennsylvania state House committee over a bill that would provide a $500 million subsidy to keep two of the state’s five nuclear power plants from closing early. The first public hearing for the bill, HB 11, occurred on Monday, April 8th and many groups including consumer advocates, electric utilities, manufacturers, environmental organizations, and the natural gas industry spoke out against the bill. The bill includes provisions that recognize nuclear power as a clean energy source and creates new requirements for how electric utilities are to purchase power. Additionally, the legislation adds nuclear energy to Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard. This standard is a 2004 law that mandates utilities buy power from certain clean and alternative energy sources. A companion bill to HB 11 was introduced in the state Senate last week. Both bills aim to prevent the closure of Exelon’s Three Mile Island plant and FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley plant. These plants are scheduled to be retired within the next few years due to “flatlining demand for electricity, high operating costs, and competition from natural gas and renewables.” Proponents of the legislation are hoping to have the bills passed early enough to support the state’s nuclear plants by June 2019. Other states including New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut have given billions of dollars worth of subsidies in order to keep nuclear power plants online.

Source: WSKG News

US Senate Committees Work To Create Nuclear Waste Depository

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stated yesterday that he is “actively working on legislation to address Yucca Mountain and related spent nuclear fuel issues.” There are now three committees working to advance legislation to authorize Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage facility. The Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are both working to address the issue as well. Senator Barrasso stated that “we are continuing to work it…we’re looking at funding to make sure we find a repository for nuclear waste,” and also that an interim storage facility is being considered.  In an opening statement made by Senator Barrasso at a hearing this week he stated that “We must continue to address fundamental issues to allow nuclear energy to grow in the future — issues like the need to properly manage and dispose spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain.” The Trump Administration’s 2020 fiscal budget request asked for $155 million for Yucca Mountain across the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Source: E & E News

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