Monday, June 9, 2014

Nuclear News and energy pricing risks

Earth's Energy provides a nice overview of where nuclear is moving forward.

Nuclear News | Earth's Energy:
Next Big Future says China and Russia are planning a nuclear future. China plans to start six new reactors every year from 2015 to 2020. The Asian country’s nuclear power plants, both those operational and those under construction, will have a combined electric power capacity of 58 gigawatts by 2015, which will expand to 88 GW by 2020. (1 GW = 1 billion watts) Currently, China has 21 reactors in operation, in addition to 28 units under construction. Russia envisages a 25-30% nuclear share in electricity supply by 2030, 45-50% in 2050 and 70-80% by the end of this century. Russia intends to build about 40 new reactors at home and as many as 80 in other countries by 2030. Included are reactors that would generate electric power and desalinate water such as in the Middle East.
Reuters suggests it will take longer than planned to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power. Nuclear currently generates 75% of the country’s power but President Francois Hollande had hoped to reduce this figure to to 50% by 2025. However, the head of state nuclear agency CEA says this is not feasible...
Continue reading at Earth's Energy

In a separate entry at the same site ...

The International Energy Agency reported the capital cost of producing a unit of energy – whether oil, natural gas or electricity – has doubled since 2000, and continues to rise even as prices for key commodities have flattened out...there is a risk that companies will under-invest – due to smaller profit margins, current fears about over-supply, and competition for financial resources – and that will ultimately drive up prices.
Indeed there is - and this provides an opportunity to reference one on our favourite old finds. From 1974: The coming glut of energy. As high prices drive exploration and efficiency gains, lower prices can do the opposite.

I was reminded, by a link from the "nuclear news" article, of the length of India's nuclear planning, and Ramtanu Maitra's article also provided a vision of India's nuclear future learning form China's coal present.

India Looks to Next Energy Frontier: Fusion Power
China has walked into a terrible trap. Its energy policy is a case study in unsustainable "development" which India must recognize and, while there is still time, decisively avoid—by deliberately putting a priority on stepping up its nuclear power generation capabilities.
By contrast, a nuclear power plant requires very little fuel—a tiny fraction of what a coal-burning power plant requires. In the case of thorium-fueled nuclear power plants, the fuel requirement will be even less. Why? Because, unlike the pressurized and boiling water reactors that burn about 1% of their fuel before going non-critical, and require refuelling once a year, thorium-fueled power plants can burn more than 90% of the loaded fuel and would thus require refuelling only once in 30 years or so. This means that the overall waste per reactor lifespan will be a fraction of what we have to deal with in the present generation of uranium-fueled reactors. These were the major reasons (besides, of course, India's abundant reserves of thorium) that Dr. Bhabha and Indian scientists opted for this unique three-stage nuclear power generation program.
Nuclear Desalination: Its Time Has Come
With such an advantage in hand, besides laying the foundation for an ecologically sustainable and vast power generation capacity, India should soon be ready to build in bulk, and set up small, sealed thorium-fueled nuclear power plants of 75-MW capacity, or less, all along our 8,000-km coastline, stretching from West Bengal to Gujarat, to provide power to the communities and desalinate water for drinking and other uses.
read the entire article

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