Mihama nuclear power plant. Credit: NipponTV

PEi Connect provides a brief look at what got our attention during the week (24 June-1 July), and first up we note the announcement that Kansai Electric Power Company will restart the ageing Mihama nuclear power plant on the Sea of Japan coastline. The company is set to proceed with final-stage preparations, including a test to activate control rods.

Japan reboots 44-year old nuclear reactor

According to Reuters, the reactor is the oldest to be restarted since the 2011 Fukushima disaster and needed special approval to have its lifetime extended beyond the standard 40-year limit. Senior advisors have expressed concern over the announcement, suggesting the Fukushima lessons have in fact not been learned.

Mihama is one of 16 reactors that have received either preliminary or final approval to restart, of those units approved, a quarter have had their operating lifetime extended. Read more.

The coal question down under

Image: Stock

Things turned slightly controversial in a Sky News interview with Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce concerning the future of coal in the country. Coal continues to play a significant role in the country’s economy and according to Joyce, clean coal and modernised plants are the way to go.

“We’ve had record sales of coal. Record sales, at record prices for thermal coal. Guess where they use that? Coal-fired power stations. Spare me the mythology of this. The reality is [coal ships] floating off the water of Newcastle, floating off the water of Port Kembla, floating off the water of Hay Point, floating off the water in Gladstone because the world is buying this product.” Watch the interview here.

Mercury soars in Canada and Pacific Northwest

Lytton in Canada almost reached 50 degrees Celcius this week, breaking temperature records and increasing fears about the impact of climate change. The entire USA’s Pacific Northwest also saw temperature spikes, which caused severe strain on the grid leading to power blackouts. (Read more about the impact of this heatwave).

As the weather becomes more unpredictable, the energy sector will need to pull up its thermal socks to ensure the grid is resilient and supply is secure. Utilities are undergoing weatherisation strategies to boost resilience and protect customers from power cuts, however, is it enough? #PreventionIsBetterThanCure

Tweet of the week

In exciting news, PEI colleagues based in Europe are hitting the road again connecting with the industry and preparing to host Enlit Europe live in Milan later this year. The excitement was tangible as our shared whatsapp group lit up with images of the team using public transport and breathing the oh-so-sweet air the great outdoors.

We hope you can join us in Milan for Enlit Europe 30 November to 3 December. It’s going to be an experience, bringing together established players, external disruptors, innovative start-ups and the increasingly engaged end-user.

Connect with us next week for another selection of interesting sector news.
Until then, take care, stay safe and power on.

The PEi Ed team 🙂