Weekly News Roundup – Friday 23 September

We round up the recent news and updates from the world of Nuclear.

Japan eyes return to nuclear power more than a decade after Fukushima disaster, from the Guardian: “Japan is considering building next-generation nuclear reactors and restarting idled plants in a major policy shift, 11 years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant rocked the country’s dependence on atomic energy.

The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said he had directed a government panel to look into how “next-generation nuclear reactors equipped with new safety mechanisms” could be used to help Japan achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. His “green transformation” council is expected to report back by the end of the year.”

Small modular reactors: What is taking so long?, from Energy Monitor: “SMRs saw an important landmark in the US last month when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission finally approved the design of a first-of-its-kind SMR from the Oregon-based nuclear firm NuScale Power. “It is a step forward on the way towards a commercial SMR, a clear signal that things are moving and that it is possible to get one licensed,” says Greg De Temmerman, managing director of the Paris-based energy think tank Zenon Research. “But every proposed SMR type will have to get licensed and, as the IEA [International Energy Agency] recently pointed out, investments in SMRs have to be stepped up now if they are to have a role in decarbonisation.”

UNECE roadmap to net-zero calls for greater use of nuclear energy, from World Nuclear News: “Nuclear energy plays a significant role in scenarios which achieve carbon neutrality in North America, Europe and Central Asia, according to a new report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). If advanced reactors are successfully deployed to complement large scale nuclear reactors and there is progress in introducing low-carbon hydrogen infrastructure, then the role for nuclear energy is even greater.”

Ukraine accuses Russia of “nuclear terrorism” after strike near power plant, from CBS News: “The missile struck within 330 yards of the reactors at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province, leaving a hole 6 1/2 feet deep and 13 feet wide, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom. The reactors were operating normally and no employees were injured, it said. But the proximity of the strike renewed fears that Russia’s nearly 7-month-long war in Ukraine might produce a radiation disaster.”

German nuclear reactor leak poses no safety threat but complicates plans, from Reuters: “Isar 2, in the southern state of Bavaria, had been scheduled to go offline at the end of the year under Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power. But the war in Ukraine and the subsequent plunge in energy imports from Russia prompted a policy change, with Berlin now planning to keep two of Germany’s three remaining reactors, including Isar 2, on standby into next year.”