The nuclear industry is welcoming the use of unmanned aerial systems for inspection activities, enticed by benefits such as operational safety improvements, cost savings and enhanced mobility and maneuverability. Monica Rivera Garcia of the Southwest Research Institute explores some challenges and technological limits to consider before purchasing a drone.
Federal Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California has overturned a Trump-era rule that restricted state and tribal authority under the Clean Water Act to halt pipelines and other energy projects that could threaten waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new regulation, which it expects to publish in spring 2023.
Venture Global has requested permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin commissioning activities at its Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana at the end of the month. Commercial service is expected to start in early 2022.
US exports of propane-rich West Texas Light crude barrels are on the rise amid surging global demand for winter fuels due to a natural gas shortage in Europe and Asia. This has helped narrow WTL's discount to West Texas Intermediate to about 10 cents per barrel, down from almost 40 cents earlier this year, Argus Media data show.
ExxonMobil has unveiled plans to invest $400 million to increase carbon capture and storage capacity at its LaBarge, Wyo. facility by up to 1.1 million short tons of carbon dioxide on top of the 6.6-7.7 million short tons already captured. Exxon expects to make a final investment decision on the expansion in 2022 and begin operations in 2025.
The number of active US oil and natural gas rigs dropped by one to 542 last week, the first decrease in seven weeks, as drillers stick to capital discipline despite oil prices hitting seven-year highs. New Mexico gained two rigs last week, Louisiana and California added one unit each, while Wyoming, Texas and Utah recorded declines.
Georgia Power has delayed the in-service date of Units 3 and 4 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant to the third quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023, respectively, in the company's fourth such announcement in the last six months. The company said it needs more time to address construction challenges and conduct more thorough testing.
The Energy Department has issued a final request for proposals for a contract worth up to $45 billion over 10 years for overseeing radioactive tank waste farms and operating the $17 billion Waste Treatment Plant, which is expected to be operational at the end of 2023. The department is accepting bids for the contract until Dec. 20.
Advanced nuclear fuel technology development company Lightbridge has finished designing an experiment to support irradiation testing of its proprietary next-generation metallic nuclear fuel material in the Idaho National Laboratory's Advanced Test Reactor. "Lightbridge's goal is to have the experiment available for insertion into the ATR when its core internal change out maintenance outage is completed," the company said.
Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom plans to begin work by early 2022 on the country's first project that uses Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor technology, said Petro Kotin, Ergoatom's acting president. The pilot project will involve completing Unit 4 of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant using AP1000 components that have been in storage since the VC Summer nuclear project in South Carolina was canceled.
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