UPI: Oil and Gas Job Losses Mount Globally

A total of 351,410 jobs have been slashed by oil and gas production companies worldwide, with the oilfield services sector bearing much of this burden, according to a new report released this week.

The report, based on statistical analysis by Houston-based Graves & Co., puts the number of jobs lost in the oilfield services sector at 152,015 now -- or 43.2 percent of the global total since oil prices began to slump in mid-2014.

The exploration and production (E&P) sector was the second-worst sufferer, registering more than 80,000 layoffs, followed by the drilling sector, which has seen more than 52,000 job cuts.

Bloomberg: Tesla Supplier Sees 'Extreme Growth' Making Utilities Smarter

Utilities struggling to cope with new supplies of power from renewables are turning to a closely held company hidden between Alpine hills to make their systems smarter.

Workers at Fronius International GmbH are blending high-tech communications with power-management tools at a factory sprawled over 13 acres in Austria. Inside they’re making electric components needed by grid operators and companies such as Tesla Motors Inc. Last year Fronius more than doubled production and has now made more than 7.95 gigawatts of equipment to make power suitable for homes and grid networks.

Quartz: The United States’ Newest Nuclear Power Plant Has Taken 43 Years to Build

This summer, if all goes according to plan, the second reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant will begin supplying power to the U.S. electrical grid. Construction on the reactor in Spring City, Tennessee has proceeded in fits and starts since the project began in 1973. It will be the first new nuclear reactor to come on-line in the U.S. since the first Watts Bar reactor was completed 20 years ago.

The long delay in completing Watts Bar illustrates the challenges of constructing a nuclear reactor in the U.S. Construction on the project has been held up by public safety concerns, shifting regulatory expectations, fluctuating energy demands, and ballooning costs. The final price for Watts Bar 2 is currently projected to be $4.7 billion, a number which has been revised upward many times during construction.

MIT Technology Review: Small, Modular Nuclear Plants Get Their First Chance in the U.S.

Small modular reactors have long been viewed by many in the nuclear power industry as the most promising technology -- indeed, as the only realistic path forward -- for nuclear power in the United States. In a possible step forward for next-generation nuclear power, the Tennessee Valley Authority is applying for a permit to build one such reactor. Although the specific reactor technology has yet to be determined, the utility could have it running by the mid-2020s.

Guardian: George Osborne Puts U.K. at the Heart of Global Race for Mini-Nuclear Reactors

The U.K. could be the global center of a new nuclear industry in mini-reactors that are trucked into a town near you to provide your hot water, or shipped to any country that wants to plug them into their electricity grid from the dock.

The chancellor, George Osborne, revealed on Wednesday that at least £250M will be spent by 2020 on an “ambitious” program to “position the U.K. as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies."

There will be a competition to identify the best value design of mini reactors -- called small modular reactors (SMRs) -- and paving the way “towards building one of the world’s first SMRs in the U.K. in the 2020s." There is no shortage of contenders, with companies from the U.S. to China and Poland all wooing the U.K. with their proposals.