The operating lives of Scotland's two nuclear plants could be extended to help the country's transition to renewable energy sources, Scottish government officials said. Electricite de France, which operates the facilities, is set to file applications to lengthen the lives of the units by at least five years. "Subject to the relevant safety cases being made, the government would not oppose operating life extension applications at these sites," officials said.
The U.S. is taking measures to improve nuclear plant safety nearly one year after the Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan, writes John Gilligan, a North Carolina State University professor and a director at the Energy Department's Nuclear Energy University Program. The Energy Department will set aside funds this year for the improvement of the existing reactor fleet and for safer reactor designs, Gilligan writes. The safe and secure disposal of used nuclear fuel will also be a priority, he adds.
Vietnam's nuclear energy program remains on course despite post-Fukushima Daiichi safety concerns. The country said it is looking to construct about 14 reactors by 2030. "Information and assessments of the blasts at the Fukushima plant will act as a foundation to help Vietnam's relevant authorities develop appropriate nuclear power programs in the country," said Le Dinh Tien, Vietnam's vice minister of science and technology.
Countries such as Germany have taken steps to discontinue nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi incident, but governments around the world should carefully examine nuclear energy before adopting strict anti-nuclear policies, writes William Tucker. Nearly one year after Fukushima Daiichi, there have been no reports of adverse health effects or deaths from radiation exposure at the facility, Tucker notes.
Hyperion Power Generation is developing a modular nuclear device at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to the company. The "hot-tub-sized" nuclear battery can generate 25 megawatts and last 10 years without refueling.