Global Energy News Roundup: May 17

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

TEPCO Begins Experiment to Measure Reactor Temperature

On Monday, during a “first of its kind” experiment, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. temporarily halted the water being injected into one of the reactors that had its core meltdown following the 2011 accident. The goal of the experiment is for TEPCO to obtain information on how the temperature inside the Number 2 reactor could rise in the event of an emergency. They will then use the information to update its planned emergency response. TEPCO will continue to pour water into its No. 1 and 3 reactors so that the melted fuel located inside them can be kept cool. The No. 2 reactor normally receives around 3 tons of coolant per hour. The temperature at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel was at about 24.5 degrees Celsius. TEPCO expects this temperature to rise by 4 degree C after the seven hour test is complete.

Source: The Japan Times

Legislation Introduced to Solve Nuclear Waste Problem in the U.S.

On May 14 U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced a bipartisan bill that aims to reform the U.S. nuclear waste regulations. Rep. Shimkus stated that “if we’re serious about reducing emissions, the reality is nuclear power must remain a robust portion of our energy portfolio…But a failure to resolve the waste issue will compromise this key component of any serious proposal to address climate change.” According to the congressional record, Rep. Shinkus cosponsored the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act 0f 2019 (H.R. 2699) along with U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.  Other original cosponsors include: Representatives Scott Peters (D-California), Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), Salud Carbajal (D-California), Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), Fred Upton (R-Michigan), Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts), Rick Allen (R-Georgia), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Troy Balderson (R-OH).

The legislation aims specifically to:

  • Assist in the resolution of the pending permanent repository license, which will allow the formal licensing process to determine if the Yucca Mountain site can be licensed and constructed;
  • Reform a broken financing mechanism to protect ratepayers and assure the Department of Energy (DOE) has adequate funding to construct and operate a multi-generational infrastructure project;
  • Direct DOE to move forward with a temporary storage program to consolidate spent nuclear fuel from sites with a decommissioned reactor while work on the Yucca Mountain repository progresses, and prioritizes the transfer of spent fuel from seismically active areas to interim sites;
  • Provide the State of Nevada and local stakeholders the opportunity to engage with the Federal government as the host State for the repository; and
  • Protect our nation’s national security priorities by providing the most expeditious pathway to remove “defense-waste” from DOE sites

Sources: The Ripon Advance, Office of Rep. McNerney

Poland Works to Build First Nuclear Power Plant

Poland’s Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski told Polish Radio that the country is preparing to build its first nuclear power plant in the Pomerania region located in the north of the country. The government is aiming to have the power plant completed by 2033. The Energy Minister said that the power plant already has “social approval” from local communities and added that “a nuclear power plant is a more expensive power plant under construction, especially when it comes to security, but it is much cheaper to operate.” Poland’s first nuclear power plant would have a capacity of 1.0-1.5 GWe. Ultimately, the country aims to build up to six reactors with a combined capacity of 6-9 GWe that will be in operation by 2043.

Source: World Nuclear News