Global Energy News Roundup: September 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

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Plans to Re-Investigate Accident at Fukushima

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is planning to re-investigate the accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. The purpose of the investigation is to determine where the radiation is leaking from the containment vessels in the damaged reactor. The cooling systems, which were set up to keep the melted fuel from overheating, will also be examined.

Source: Reuters

DOE Grants Funding For Nuclear Technology Projects

The US Department of Energy announced this week funding selectees for several domestic advanced nuclear technology projects. According to the press release, three projects in three separate states will receive different amounts of funding for a total of about $15 million. These projects are cost-shared, meaning that industry-led teams will be able to work with federal agencies, public and private laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other domestic entities. The funding is awarded through DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy funding announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development. This is the sixth round of funding through this FOA and quarterly application review and selection processes will continue over the next three years. US Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated that “Several US companies are working on technologies to make the next generation of nuclear reactors highly competitive, and private-public partnerships will be key to successfully developing innovative domestic nuclear technologies…The Trump Administration is committed to reviving and revitalizing the US nuclear industry.” Please see below for the projects that were selected and which funding method was used.

The following two projects were selected under the Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway:

  • LWR Integrated Energy Systems Interface Technology Development & Demonstration – Under this proposal, FirstEnergy Solutions Corporation (Akron, OH) will develop a light water reactor (LWR) hybrid energy systems. The proposed project installs an electrolysis (LTE) unit at Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. Major interfaces required for LWR hybrid operations (e.g. dynamic controls to apportion power output between the electrical grid and LTE unit) are addressed. A final report describing outcomes and business case opportunities will be shared with partners and third parties interested in LWR hybrid energy systems.

DOE Funding: $9,184,229; Non-DOE: $2,299,391; Total: $11,483,620

  • Application of Machine Learning for Enhanced Diagnostic and Prognostic Capabilities of Nuclear Power Plant Assets – Under this proposal, Blue Wave Capital and Consulting, DBA Blue Wave AI Labs (Celebration, FL) will develop and provide Machine Learning solutions to improve and extend diagnostic and prognostic capabilities for predictive maintenance in nuclear plants. These solutions will integrate vast amounts of structured and unstructured historical data from ∼15 boiling water reactors (BWRs), collected over multiple fuel cycles, in order to capture the complete operational and dynamic environment of plant components. DOE Funding: $5,476,400; Non-DOE: $1,520,000; Total Value: $6,996,400

The following project was selected under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway:

  • Advanced Fuel Qualification Methodology Report for TerraPower Traveling Wave Reactor – TerraPower LLC (Bellevue, WA) proposed project is to develop an Advanced Fuel Qualification Methodology Report for TerraPower’s Traveling Wave Reactor (TWR) fuel and to deliver the report to the NRC for review and approval. The Advanced Fuel Qualification Methodology Report will be developed for a metal-fueled sodium fast reactor.  The processes and methodologies described will be generally applicable to other fuel types thereby helping the US industry address fuel qualification.

DOE Funding: $492,137; Non-DOE: $492,138; Total Value: $984,275

Source: US Department of Energy