Weekly News Roundup – Monday 1st March

In this update, we round up the past week’s news in the world of Nuclear.

Japanese utilities revise MOX utilisation plan, by World Nuclear News: “A revised mixed oxide (MOX) fuel utilisation plan, based on the latest operational plan for the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant, has been released by Japan’s Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC). While only four Japanese reactors have so far been restarted using MOX fuel, FEPC envisages at least 12 units running on the fuel by FY2030. FEPC represents the 11 power companies, comprising nine utilities (excluding Okinawa Electric Power), Japan Atomic Power Company and the Electric Power Development Company (J-Power).”

Irrational Nuclear Fear Puts Sweden In Danger Of Succumbing To Stupidity, by Forbes: “The installation of a large fraction of intermittent sources like wind and solar requires a correspondingly expanded backup capacity. According to the Swedish grid operator Svenska Kraftnät, the Swedish Energy Agency Energimyndigheten and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, there is no room for expansion of the current capacity of Swedish hydropower, and if the current hydropower system is used to back-up, or load-follow, wind power variability, it would have devastating effects on the local environment.”

Bill Gates: Nuclear power will ‘absolutely’ be politically acceptable again — it’s safer than oil, coal, natural gas, by CNBC: “That’s because the need for clean energy is dire, and the operation of nuclear power plants produces no greenhouse gas emissions. According to Gates, new innovations in nuclear technology (in which he is an investor) are making nuclear energy safer and more affordable, and countries around the world are starting to adopt nuclear power.”

Ten years after Fukushima: could new fuels make nuclear power safer?, by Physics World: “Following the accident at Fukushima, members of the nuclear industry started working on advanced fuel concepts to increase accident tolerance. Their goal is to create fuels that can tolerate any potential loss of cooling in a reactor, and other adverse events, for longer than current fuels – thereby increasing safety margins. In the US, this initiative was brought together by the Department of Energy (DOE) under its Accident Tolerant Fuel Development Program. Launched in 2012, it aims to have test fuel rods in a commercial reactor by 2022.”

Ukraine needs new nuclear capacity, says deputy energy minister, by World Nuclear News: “Ukraine’s electricity grid needs the construction of new nuclear power units, Yuriy Boyko, the country’s deputy energy minister said last week. Speaking to delegates at Atomic Energy: The Future of the Industry on 17 February, Boyko described the importance of at least three new units. Nuclear power plant operator Energoatom published Boyko’s comments on its website.”