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Trump’s USA is pushing NuScale’s small nuclear reactors for South Africa

The US nuclear company with an eye on South Africa  just got a R23 billion boost, courtesy of Donald Trump,    Phillip de Wet , Business Insider SA Oct 22, 2020, 

  • American nuclear energy company NuScale has been citing Cape Town as an example of an ideal customer for its still-theoretical generators.
  • It has now received in-principle financial support from the American government to build a nuclear power station in South Africa.
  • NuScale’s pathfinder project for its new technology, in Idaho, just got a promise of an infusion of US government cash worth some R23 billion.
  • While South Africa abandoned plans to create next-generation PBMR systems, the administration of Donald Trump has pushed small-scale nuclear development.

NuScale, a company with roots in US-funded research, this week received assurances that the American government will provide up to $1.4 billion (around R23 billion) in subsidies for a 12-module reactor it hopes to start building in Idaho by 2025.

The project is a commercial one, with municipal buyers lined up for the electricity, but the cash from the US department of energy is intended to bring the cost of that electricity down to $55 per MWh on a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) basis, making the project at least vaguely competitive with other forms of power generation.

Without the subsidies, the supposedly once-off cost of building a first-of-its kind power station would make the NuScale project commercially unviable, its planned customers say.

Just how once-off such costs are, and how much money the US government ends up actually spending on the project, will be closely watched in South Africa

Last week the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced it had signed a letter of intent to support NuScale “to develop 2,500 MW of nuclear energy in South Africa”.

NuScale has cited Cape Town as a purely theoretical customer for a 12-module version of its nuclear energy system, saying that such an installation could desalinate enough water to keep the entire city going.

But the 2,500MW number cited by the DFC suggests its South African ambitions are substantial. That is the full generating capability the South African government now envisages adding to the national grid from nuclear stations – but the government plan calls for a mixture of the conventional pressurised water reactors (PWRs) such as Russia’s Rosatom sells, and the type of small modular reactors (SMRs) NuScale is developing.

By seeking development finance for the full 2,500MW, NuScale appears to be signalling a plan to bid for the whole thing, rather than seeking to build only part of a new set of nuclear generators in SA alongside companies from China or elsewhere.

That matches the aggressive posture of the US government under the administration of Donald Trump. The DFC letter of intent is the first time the organisation has supported any nuclear project; a ban on its involvement in nuclear energy was lifted on the recommendation of a working group formed by the White House.

The state funding for the NuScale project in the US, meanwhile, comes after consistent and determined efforts under Trump’s presidency to “revitalise” nuclear energy in America, both in production and through research and development on next-generation systems.

South Africa, though determined to buy new nuclear power stations, has not had a similar political appetite to invest in research. In 2010 it mothballed work on the pebble bed modular reactor, a project launched in the late 1990s to create a safe, small, modular reactor system for both domestic use and sale abroad.

Russia once thought it had a done deal to build new nuclear reactors in South Africa. Half a decade later, thanks to its sheer political weight, China seems to be a serious contender for the job. Both France and South Korea have, at various points, been in the running too.

But as of this week, an American company with no track record of actually building commerical nuclear reactors yet is lining up the kind of money from the US government that could make its plans for South Africa viable – replacing a dream of home-grown next-generation nuclear with an imported version.

As of this year there are still vague plans to revive the project, in one form or another, but even if those were to succeed, the pace of development would have to be improbably fast for it to have any place in South Africa’s current round of explorations.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, South Africa | Leave a comment

$40 billion cost to Poland for nuclear power – $18 billion to USA for starters

Poland Strikes $18 Billion Nuclear Power Deal With U.S.   Oil Price, By Charles Kennedy – Oct 20, 2020, The United States and Poland closed a nuclear power deal potentially worth $18 billion as the Central European country seeks to reduce its reliance on coal and Russian natural gas……….

The agreement closed this week stipulates that over the next 18 months, the parties will develop a program for the construction of the reactors and how they will be financed. Per plans, the first reactors should come online in 2033. The whole program could end up costing Warsaw some $40 billion, of which at least $18 billion would go towards acquiring U.S. nuclear technology, according to a U.S. government official…….

October 22, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

USA aiming to beat Russia, China etc, in marketing nuclear reactors to Poland

October 20, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

The frenzy to promote small nuclear reactors – shown in Google news headline articles today when you search ”nuclear”

Google nuclear headlines today pointed to 96 articles on nuclear issues

By far the topic most covered most was the ”need” for new generation nuclear reactors for energy. –    24 articles in all,  mostly enthusing about small nuclear reactors.   Several of these involved  the marketing of USA reactors to other countries.

The next most popular pro nuclear topic was nuclear  fusion . (7 articles.) Other prominent pro nuclear themes were claims on safety, and action on climate. There were 50 pro nuclear articles in all.

There were 21 anti-nuclear articles. A few denied the claims on nuclear safety, and action on climate. Others dealt with the Fukushima nuclear waste water to be released into the Pacific ocean, with questions on nuclear economics.

There were 13 articles that didn’t ‘take sides’ –  basically  factual articles about nuclear wastes, safety, and international politics.

On the subject of nuclear weapons all of the articles opposed them, although one could be interpreted as suggesting that there’s a need to counteract China’s developments.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, marketing | Leave a comment

South Africa the first sucker to get American experimental nuclear reactor + $billions in bribes?

October 19, 2020 Posted by | marketing, South Africa, technology, USA | Leave a comment

USA marketing NuScam small nuclear reactors to Africa


US to support new nuclear power project in South Africa, Bloomberg17 October 2020  The United States International Development Finance Corp. pledged to support NuScale Power LLC, a US nuclear energy technology firm, to develop 2,500 megawatts of power in South Africa.

South Africa’s government drafted an economic recovery plan in conjunction with business and labour groups several months ago in a bargaining forum known as the National Economic Development and Labour Council, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.A version of the strategy that was discussed by the cabinet this week, and seen by Bloomberg, includes suggestions to secure reliable energy supply through the construction of new nuclear plants.

The draft envisages R23 billion  ($1.4 billion) being allocated to galvanize private investment in infrastructure and R4.5 billion being spent on public transport over the next 12 months, but provides scant detail on where the money will come from.

The DFC, which ended its prohibition on supporting nuclear power in July, signed a letter of intent to support NuScale’s bid for South Africa’s independent power producer program, the development bank said in an emailed statement on Friday.

“If successful, NuScale would be the first US nuclear energy IPP on the continent and would help support energy resilience and security in one of Africa’s leading economies,” the DFC said.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

USA to market nuclear reactor to Bulgaria

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Bulgaria, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

USA trying to beat China, in marketing nuclear reactors to Romania

Romania, U.S. to sign cooperation agreements over nuclear reactors, By Reuters Staff, 9 Oct 20, BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s economy ministry will sign cooperation and financing agreements with the United States

on Friday regarding the construction of two nuclear reactors at its plant on the river Danube, U.S. ambassador Adrian Zuckerman
said on Thursday………
“The financing package is the largest financing package ever received by Romania to date,.
China’s CGN filed a non-binding bid to partner with Romania in the project in 2014, but the negotiations, which included price guarantees, had progressed only very slowly. ……..

October 10, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear powers battle each other to market nuclear reactors to Czech Republic

September 10, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing | Leave a comment

Bill Gates and nuclear bigwigs-a conglomerate of propaganda for Small Nuclear Reactors



September 5, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, marketing, technology | 1 Comment

France’s President Macron joins the global nuclear lobby’s push to export nuclear reactors

Macron talks nuclear energy and ways to control militias during Iraq visit, The National , Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Sep 2, 2020French PM is the most significant leader to visit Iraq since Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi came to power in May

During a visit to Baghdad on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron discussed solving Iraq’s massive power shortages with nuclear energy ……. Mr Kadhimi told reporters in Baghdad that he discussed with Mr Macron “a future project” to use nuclear energy to produce electricity and solve decades-long power shortages……..

If realised, the project would place Iraq along with the UAE and Iran as the only Middle East countries with electricity produced by a nuclear reactor. ……….

September 3, 2020 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

Purpose of US International Development Finance Corporation perverted in the interests of the nuclear industry

July 18, 2020 Posted by | marketing, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear imperialism in Africa

Russia’s nuclear play for power in Africa, DW 2 July 20,

Russia is pushing nuclear technology to African nations to both turn a profit and expand its political might on the continent.  Rwanda’s parliament has just approved a plan for Russia’s state-owned Rosatom nuclear conglomerate to build it a nuclear research center and reactor in the capital, Kigali.

The Center of Nuclear Science and Technologies, planned for completion by 2024, will include nuclear research labs as well as a small research reactor with up to 10 MW capacity.

Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia have signed similar deals with Rosatom, while countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Sudan and DRC have less expansive cooperation agreements.

Rosatom has been aggressively wooing African nations since the mid-2000s and the nuclear deals are seen as part of Russia’s push turn a profit and also gain influence in Africa.

Western sanctions first imposed on Russia in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimea in the Ukraine have forced Russia to seek alternative sources of incomes and also new friends.

Nuclear technology instead of trade

“For Putin to remain relevant in Russia, he really has to ensure that Russia has a big influence,” said Ovigwe Eguegu, a geopolitics analyst with the international affairs platform, Afripolitika. “That’s why he is looking at African markets so he has more parties to partner with when it comes to international issues.”

African nations constitute the largest voting bloc in the United Nations.

While the Soviet Union had a close relationship to various African states during the Cold War, Russia’s trade balance with Africa is one tenth of that of China, meaning it needs to look for other means to get a foothold on the continent.

“Russia is using the tools that they have to expand their influence and right now, Russia has lots of experience in the nuclear energy area,” Eguegu said in a phone interview from Abuja.

Rosatom nuclear leader

Rosatom is the world’s biggest nuclear company by foreign orders. While it has projects in developed countries such as Finland and Hungary, it’s mainly involved in developing regions.

The Rosatom packages are popular because the corporation’s sheer size means it can offer all-in-one deals, from training local workers to developing nuclear science curricula, supplying uranium for the plant’s life time and dealing with nuclear waste — with the added plus of Russian state loans for the projects.

The cost and financing of Rwanda’s nuclear research center is still undisclosed. But Russia is extending a $25 billion (€22.23 billion) loan to Egypt to cover 85% of the cost of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant, which Rosatom is constructing.

Rosatom has come to dominate nuclear exports to developing countries because of their generous financing and worker training,” according to the 2018 Center for Global Development policy paper, Atoms for Africa.

Additionally, Russia is itself a major player in the nuclear market, responsible for some 8% of uranium production worldwide as well as 20% of uranium conversion and 43% of uranium enrichment (conversion and enrichment are stages of processing uranium so it can be used by commercial nuclear power reactors)………….

many experts, including Gatari, believe that nuclear technology doesn’t yet make sense for African countries. They lack the highly skilled local workforce required to run the technological intricacies of such reactors. Plus, nuclear facilities are vastly expensive and take years to build.

Gatari warns of countries becoming locked into costly projects that end up being “white elephants”.

“Such a project can only be driven by strong and educated local human resources,” the nuclear researcher said. “That knowledge isn’t possible by rushing young students through training for a short time.

And the cost of maintaining that kind of installation can cripple the budget of a country for a long, long time.”

Doing the smooth sell

Currently, South Africa is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with a functioning nuclear power plant, while Nigeria and Ghana have research reactors, which are primarily used for studying and training and to test materials, such as minerals.

In Europe, safety concerns around nuclear technologies have already caused countries such as GermanyItaly, Spain and Switzerland to vote to phase out nuclear power.

These concerns are compounded in Africa, given the the political instability of certain regions and the threat of sabotage or terrorist attacks.    This hasn’t stopped Rosatom, and Russia, from doing a soft sell of nuclear technologies on the continent.

Rosatom funds scholarships for students from sub-Saharan Africa to study nuclear sciences and engineering in Russia. As of January 2020, around 300 students from more than 15 African countries were studying nuclear specialties there.

It runs an online video competition, Atoms for Africa, where participants stand a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to Russia for a video dedicated to innovative nuclear technologies.

In 2019, it even held an international fishing competition near the Leningrad nuclear power station, Russia’s largest, to demonstrate the safety of nuclear power for water bodies. (The competition was won by an Egypt team).

“There is good money if you can sell a research reactor,” said nuclear scientist Gatari. “Unfortunately, the convincing capacity of [Rosatom’s] marketing is very high, and the understanding of those  who are buying is low.”

July 2, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Marketing man Trump trying to sell U.S. nuclear reactors to Poland

Duda, Trump announce nuclear energy deal, Presidents Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump announced on Wednesday the signing of a deal on development of nuclear energy in Poland, which Duda said would be signed as soon as possible.US President Donald Trump talked of the purchase of American technology.

At a press conference with Duda at the White House, Trump said they were working on a deal that would facilitate the development and building of a nuclear power plant in Poland, adding that it would work with the use of American technology bought from a large US company………

June 27, 2020 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s  International Development Finance Corp will remove its ban on financing exports of US nuclear technologies.

US agency plans to lift nuclear power plant financing ban: spokeswoman  S and P Global Platt’s, Author, Joniel Cha 10 June 20 Washington — International Development Finance Corp., a US federal agency, will end its ban on financing nuclear power plant projects, a spokeswoman said June 10, a move that follows the Trump administration’s support for US reactor exports.

“This week, DFC plans to announce a 30-day public comment period on a proposed policy change to remove DFC’s legacy prohibition on support of nuclear power projects in developing countries,” the spokeswoman, Laura Allen, told S&P Global Platts.  …

Allen declined to provide a timeline for when she expects DFC could begin financing exports of US nuclear technologies.

Industry sources said in May that DFC lacks the personnel and expertise to properly evaluate the financing of nuclear projects.

DFC was created in 2019 through the consolidation of Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the US Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority. DFC has a total investment limit of $60 billion, more than double OPIC’s $29 billion investment cap, according to DFC’s website.

OPIC and USAID both had bans in place prohibiting them from supporting nuclear reactor projects.

To “empower U.S. export competitiveness,” the federal government should “level the playing field versus foreign competitors, expand the arena of competition space, and challenge our rivals,” the Nuclear Fuel Working Group said in an April report.

A White House working group report released April 23 by the Department of Energy recommended the removal of a financing ban on US nuclear energy technologies. The Nuclear Fuel Working Group was formed in July by President Donald Trump to provide recommendations to revive and expand the US nuclear energy sector.

The working group said the US has not sold reactors overseas recently and “is missing out on a nuclear reactor market” the Commerce Department estimates is valued at $500 billion-$740 billion over the next 10 years.

Six US senators wrote the DFC in October, saying the agency should overturn the “categorical prohibition” against supporting civil nuclear energy projects.

ClearPath, a “conservative, clean energy” group, supports lifting the US ban on financing nuclear projects, Rich Powell, executive director, said June 10.

“By lifting the previous restrictions on the U.S. nuclear energy industry to develop internationally, America is taking a huge step to truly offer a competitive product – similar to the incentives China and Russia provide when they approach other countries with offers to develop infrastructure and energy,” Powell said in a statement.

June 11, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, marketing, marketing of nuclear, USA | Leave a comment