Global Energy News Roundup: November 27

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 Nuclear Regulator Approves Restart of Reactor At Onagawa Power Plant 

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has granted Tohoku Electric Power to restart a reactor at its Onagawa power plant. The reactor is the closest to the epicenter of the 2011 earthquake which triggered the Fukushima Daichii accident. The regulator gave Tohoku Electric permission to start the No. 2 reactor at Onagawa, but it is subject to a public consultation period. The Onagawa power plant was swamped by the 2011 tsunami but its cooling system remained intact, which avoided a meltdown like the one at Fukushima. The consent of local authorities will be required before the reactor can restart. 340 billion yen are expected to be spent on safety upgrades at Onagawa, which include a wall to protect the plant from tsunamis.

Source: Reuters

Critical Testing Now Underway at Vogtle Unit 3

Systems testing is now occurring at Georgia Power’s Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project in Georgia. This testing is a significant step towards operation for the power plant. This latest phase of testing, known as Open Vessel Testing, is meant to demonstrate how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel, which ensures the paths are not blocked or constricted. Glen Chick, Vogtle 3 & 4 Construction Executive Vice President stated that “this is a significant step on our path towards operations…Open Vessel Testing will prepare the unit for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing next year – both critical tests required ahead of initial fuel load.” Open Vessel Testing is also used to confirm that the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as they are designed to do.

Source: Yahoo News

Bulgaria and United States Plan to Explore Nuclear Energy Cooperation

President Trump said this week that the United States plans to send a technical team to Bulgaria in order to explore the possibilities for further cooperation in different areas of energy, which includes nuclear. Both President Trump and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov expressed support for the licensing and use of nuclear fuel from the U.S. at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. Following their meeting at the White House this week, a number of measures were set out intended to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. Both leaders said that “The United States and Bulgaria understand that energy security is national security. We underline our common understanding that the diversification of energy sources is a guarantee of energy security, independence, and competitiveness for our economies” and that they will work together to increase the supply of gas to Bulgaria “from diverse and reliable sources” and diversifying the country’s nuclear energy sector. They would only develop energy projects “which have a clear economic basis or commercial need.”

The two countries will also work together “to enhance Bulgaria’s energy security by supporting expeditiously the licensing and use of American nuclear fuel for the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.”

Source: World Nuclear News