Energy briefs

** The U.S. is as many as 15 years behind China on developing high-tech nuclear power as Beijing’s state-backed technology approach and extensive financing give it the edge, a report said on Monday. China has 27 nuclear reactors under construction with average construction timelines of about seven years, far faster than other countries, said the study by Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute.

** The Supreme Court seemed to signal interest this week in taking up a challenge launched by Hawaii against big oil companies to hold them liable for climate change, and some Democrats are suggesting the high court is “captured” for the fossil fuel industry.

** As Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is moving ahead with a nuclear power plant in Wyoming, he tells “Face the Nation” that “support for nuclear power is very impressive in both parties” in Congress. “Of all the climate-related work I’m doing, I’d say the one that has the most bipartisan energy behind it is actually this nuclear work,” Gates said.

** PepsiCo is expanding the size of its electric fleet in California, adding 50 Class 8 Tesla Semis and 75 Ford E-Transit electric vans. According to an article from FleetOwner, the Tesla Semis will operate out of the company’s manufacturing and distribution facility in Fresno, California.

** The Chicago Teachers Union plans to use upcoming contract negotiations to push for various climate initiatives, such as electrifying bus fleets, cutting building emissions and renewable energy job training for students. 


** U.S. machinery maker Caterpillar’s former Russian assets have been transferred to a company owned by Armenian investment fund Balchug Capital, Russian company filings showed.

** An all-electric Ford Explorer will soon make its European debut, with up to 374 miles of range. It’s the first Ford EV built on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix platform, and the company says the vehicle combines German engineering with American style, according to Elektrek.

** A 48-year-old former North Sea oil platform has been demolished as a looming Labour tax raid on the sector drives a slump in fossil fuel activity in British waters. The Northern Producer platform was demolished with multiple blasts of high explosive last week because of a lack of interest.