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China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) acquires 75% stake in Swedish wind power project

Reuters 18th July 2018 , China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has acquired a 75 percent
stake in a Swedish wind power project from Australia’s Macquarie Group
and GE Energy Financial Services, state news agency Xinhua reported on
Wednesday. The North Pole wind power project, located in Pitea, Sweden, is
expected to be operational by the end of 2019 with a capacity of 650,000
kilowatts, making it the single largest onshore wind power park in Europe,
Xinhua said.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-cgn-sweden/chinas-cgn-acquires-75-percent-of-swedish-wind-farm-xinhua-idUSKBN1K81IC?rpc=401&

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July 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, China, renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

For climate change action, nuclear is a poor choice

Many argue that NPPs are necessary to mitigate climate change, but only one stage out of the 14-stage nuclear fuel cycle is carbon free. Unless equipped with desalination facilities, reactors consume vast amounts of water, an increasingly-scarce resource in countries like Pakistan, which is predicted to completely run out of water by 2025. Nuclear waste must be stored and secured for tens of thousands of years, not to mention the environmental disasters caused by reactor meltdowns. There are other strategies to limit global temperature rise below two degrees, and the idea that countries should deploy all low-carbon technologies no matter the costs should not be used to support such a volatile industry

Why the Civil Nuclear Trap Is Part and Parcel of the Belt and Road Strategy
Civil nuclear energy presents grave pitfalls in terms of cost, innovation and security that BRI countries cannot and should not afford. The Diplomat   By Sam Reynolds July 05, 2018 
 The Larger Point

Although China will continue to promote the benevolent aspects of the BRI, countries along its corridors and elsewhere should not fall victim to the civil nuclear trap. Nuclear energy is too costly, too time-consuming and too risky, especially in light of better alternatives. Instead, developing countries should lead the way towards a secure, low-carbon, low-cost energy future without NPPs.

Nuclear advocates argue correctly that nuclear has comparable levelized costs to solar photovoltaics (PV). The irony is that projects regularly go over budget and costs can actually increase the more nuclear experience a country has, contradicting the learning curve phenomenon. Although the French nuclear program was incredibly successful, it demonstrated “negative learning,” wherein costs actually increased for additional projects. (Solar PV and wind costs decreased the fastest with every doubling of experience.)

Therefore, innovations and experience in nuclear technology might not lead to cost reductions. Continue reading

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, climate change | Leave a comment

The entire USA nuclear weapons industry depends on the civilian nuclear industry

This loss of nuclear competence is being cited by nuclear and national security experts in both the U.S. and in Europe’s nuclear weapons states as a threat to their military nuclear programs. The White House cited this nuclear nexus in a May memo instructing Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, to force utilities to buy power from unprofitable nuclear and coal plants. The memo states that the “entire US nuclear enterprise” including nuclear weapons and naval propulsion, “depends on a robust civilian nuclear industry.”

A Double First in China for Advanced Nuclear Reactors, https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/a-double-first-in-china-for-advanced-nuclear-reactors  By Peter Fairley   5 July 18  Call it the world’s slowest photo finish. After several decades of engineering, construction flaws and delays, and cost overruns — a troubled birth that cost their developers dearly — the most advanced commercial reactor designs from Europe and the United States just delivered their first megawatt-hours of electricity within one day of each other. But their benefits — including safety advances such as the AP1000’s passive cooling and the EPR’s airplane crash-proof shell — may offer too little, too late to secure future projects.

Both of the design debuts happened in China late last month. On Thursday, June 29 a 1,400-MW EPR designed in France and Germany synced up to the grid at the Taishan nuclear power plant. The next day the U.S.-designed 1,117-MW AP1000 delivered first power at China’s Sanmen plant.

Both projects are coming online years behind schedule, and they are still at least several months away from full commercial operation. But the real problem for the AP1000 and the EPR are the designs’ unfinished Western debuts.

Delays are commonplace in the nuclear industry. For instance, the Korean-built nuclear reactors originally due to begin starting up last year in the United Arab Emirates were recently pushed back to late 2019 or early 2020. But the AP1000 and EPR troubles are in a different league.

The AP1000 is designed to passively cool itself during an accidental shutdown, theoretically avoiding accidents like the one at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi. But AP1000 developer Westinghouse declared bankruptcy last year due to construction troubles, particularly at dual-reactor plants for utilities in Georgia and South Carolina. The latter abandoned their pair of partially built AP1000s after investing US $9 billion. The Georgia plant, initiated in 2012, is projected to be completed five years late in 2022 and at a cost of $25 billion — $11 billion more than budgeted.

Delays for the EPR, whose dual-layered concrete shield protects against airplane strikes, contributed to the breakup of Paris-based nuclear giant Areva in 2015. And the first EPR projects in France and Finland remain troubled under French utility Electricité de France (EDF), which absorbed Areva’s reactor business, Fromatome. The Finnish plant, started in 2005 and expected to take four years, is currently slated for startup next year, and deadlines continue to come and go. In June, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj announced that startup had slid another four months to September 2019.

The troubled EPR and AP1000 projects show that U.S. and European firms have lost competence in nuclear construction and management. ”It’s no coincidence that two of the four AP1000s in the U.S. were abandoned, and that the EPRs that started much earlier than Taishan’s in Finland and France are still under construction,” says nuclear energy consultant Mycle Schneider, principal author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report. “The Chinese have a very large workforce that they move from one project to another, so their skills are actually getting better, whereas European and North American companies haven’t completed reactors in decades,” says Schneider.

This loss of nuclear competence is being cited by nuclear and national security experts in both the U.S. and in Europe’s nuclear weapons states as a threat to their military nuclear programs. The White House cited this nuclear nexus in a May memo instructing Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, to force utilities to buy power from unprofitable nuclear and coal plants. The memo states that the “entire US nuclear enterprise” including nuclear weapons and naval propulsion, “depends on a robust civilian nuclear industry.”

letter sent to Perry last month by 75 former U.S. military, industrial and academic leaders adds to the nexus argument, citing a statement from the Trump Administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review about the United States’ inability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. “Re-establishing this capability will be far easier and more economical with a strong, thriving civil nuclear sector,” write the signatories.

Heavy dependence on China, meanwhile, puts the global nuclear industry in a vulnerable position. Total nuclear generation declined last year if one takes out China, notes Schneider. And he says a Chinese nuclear growth gap is coming since it hasn’t started building a new reactor in 18 months.

For more than a decade, the AP1000 has been the presumed successor to China’s mainstay reactors, which employ a 1970s-era French design. Areva’s EPR was a fallback option. The Chinese government may now wait to see how the first reactors actually operate before it approves a new wave of reactor construction.

All the while, nuclear is falling further behind renewable solar and wind power. As Schneider notes, the 3.3 GW of new nuclear capacity connected to the grid worldwide in 2017 (including three in China and a fourth in Pakistan built by Chinese firms) pales in comparison to the 53 GW of solar power installed in China alone.

 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Developing countries should not fall victim to civil nuclear energy and indebtedness to China

Why the Civil Nuclear Trap Is Part and Parcel of the Belt and Road Strategy
Civil nuclear energy presents grave pitfalls in terms of cost, innovation and security that BRI countries cannot and should not afford. The Diplomat   By Sam Reynolds July 05, 2018 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

Russia and China to co-operate in nuclear power build

Russia to build two new nuclear power units in China, 5 July 18 
President Vladimir Putin mentioned that energy is the most important sector of cooperation, in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the previous month.  Moneycontrol News@moneycontrolcom   Moscow and Beijing may sign agreements to build additional two power units of 1,200-Megawatt units in China by 2026 and 2027, as per reports by Russia’s state nuclear power corporation Rosatom.……. As reported by RT, the two countries are also working together on One Belt, One Road initiative. At this rate of growth, the trade between the two countries is expected to reach the target of $100 billion. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/russia-to-build-two-new-nuclear-power-units-in-china-2674481.html

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

China and UK to work together on promoting the nuclear industry to universities etc

Energy Live News 29th June 2018 , China’s largest nuclear power producer has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the UK Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research
Centre (Nuclear AMRC) to help deepen its links with Britain’s supply
chain.

CGN, the developer of the Bradwell B project, hopes to develop its
expertise and knowledge, as well as improve commercial and academic
connections. The wide-ranging deal includes working out how UK businesses
and universities can prepare themselves to participate in the project and
how these organisations can add value to CGN’s nuclear operations in
China and elsewhere.
https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/06/29/cgn-signs-mou-to-deepen-links-with-uks-nuclear-supply-chain/

July 2, 2018 Posted by | China, Education, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urges China to enforce sanctions on North Korea

Pompeo tells China continued North Korea sanctions enforcement needed  David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) 29 June 18 – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed to China the importance of continued enforcement of sanctions on North Korea to press it to give up its nuclear weapons, after warning of signs of backsliding by Beijing.

The State Department said Pompeo had spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday and discussed efforts “to achieve our shared goal of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Pompeo reiterated that North Korea would have a bright future if it denuclearized and emphasized “the continued importance of full enforcement of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to North Korea,” the department said in a statement.

It said this was especially important when it came to preventing North Korea’s illegal export of coal and imports of refined petroleum through ship-to-ship transfers prohibited by the United Nations.

……… Pompeo also spoke with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Thursday to discuss the next steps on engagement with North Korea, the State Department said. It said they agreed on the need to maintain pressure until North Korea denuclearizes.

On Thursday, the Financial Times quoted U.S. officials as saying that Pompeo plans to travel to North Korea next week for talks, but the State Department has declined to confirm this…….https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-china/pompeo-tells-china-continued-north-korea-sanctions-enforcement-needed-idUSKBN1JP2OA

June 30, 2018 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

China plans for a nuclear-powered icebreaker – then nuclear powered aircraft carriers?

June 29, 2018 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment

Chinese firm Ocean Nuclear, links to former UK Prime Minister, on a fund-raising roadshow in London

City AM 1st June 2018 Energy investment firm Ocean Nuclear today announced the launch of a $5bn (£3.8bn) nuclear energy industry fundraising roadshow in London. The Chinese company has negotiated nuclear infrastructure projects in more than
20 countries and will use 144 meetings at the roadshow to raise money for the programmes.

Ocean Nuclear has backing from firms including Silk Road Energy, which aims to raise $80m, and has been backed by the Belt and Road initiative, which has links to former Prime Minister David Cameron.
http://www.cityam.com/286792/chinese-firm-launches-5bn-london-nuclear-energy-industry

June 4, 2018 Posted by | China, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Terra Power’s Traveling Wave Nuclear Reactor sounds great – BUT!

TerraPower’s Nuclear Reactor Could Power the 21st Century. The traveling-wave reactor and other advanced reactor designs could solve our fossil fuel dependency IEEE Spectrum, By Michael Koziol  3 June 18,    “….  ..In a world defined by climate change, many experts hope that the electricity grid of the future will be powered entirely by solar, wind, and hydropower. Yet few expect that clean energy grid to manifest soon enough to bring about significant cuts in greenhouse gases within the next few decades. Solar- and wind-generated electricity are growing faster than any other category; nevertheless, together they accounted for less than 2 percent of the world’s primary energy consumption in 2015, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.

June 4, 2018 Posted by | China, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear weapons – many less than USA’s and Russia’s

China’s Nuclear Weapons: Everything You Always Wanted to Know National Interest,    Steve Weintz, 25 May 18, 

With its first nuclear test on October 16, 1964, China joined the other victorious allies of World War II in the nuclear club, both cementing and unsettling the postwar order. Hard experience of the American nuclear threat during the Korean War and the divorce from the Soviet Union, propelled China towards the bomb in ways familiar to those observing North Korea’s current quest. Mao Zedong himself said in 1956, “…if we don’t want to be bullied, we have to have this thing.”

But China for all its size has made itself a limited nuclear power. It has demonstrated its ability to build very big bombs but chose to test and make few of them. The size of China’s arsenal is a highly guarded state secret, but estimates put it in the several hundreds, not thousands. Beijing can hold armies and cities at risk, but not make the rubble bounce several times over…………

One H-bomb test nearly went horribly wrong. When test pilot Yang Guoxiang lined up his Q-5A fighter-bomber for its drop maneuver and pulled the weapon release, the bomb failed to drop. After three attempts Yang returned to base with a live hydrogen bomb slung beneath his plane. The whole airbase – all 10,000 crew – sheltered in underground tunnels while a lonely Yang carefully climbed out of his cockpit and awaited assistance. All ended well this time and Yang later successfully carried out his mission.

China’s last big blast, a one-megaton warhead test in October 1980, ended the era of atmospheric testing. No nuclear-weapons state has tested above ground since. But nuclear testing never ends, really, not when they were conducted not far from populated areas. As with natives to the Pacific atolls and Russian steppes, the Gobi Desert and its peoples will bear the long-term impact of radiation from those nuclear tests for a long time.  http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-nuclear-weapons-everything-you-always-wanted-know-25980

 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Uncertainty about China’s nuclear power future

“……….Uncertainties for Nuclear Power, Carnegie Endowment, Mark Hibbs,  14 MAY 18  

China’s nuclear power wager might not indefinitely pay high dividends. Until now, the state has boosted the nuclear power industry with incentives that, in the future, may come under pressure. The electric power system is subject to reform in the direction of more transparent oversight and pricing that might disadvantage nuclear investments. President Xi Jinping supports state control of strategic economic sectors, but he also advocates market reforms that have helped lead Western nuclear power industries into crises.

The nuclear sector must withstand what Xi calls “new normal” conditions: a gradual slowing down of China’s economy, characterized by diminishing returns on capital goods investments and translating into rising debt and overcapacity. Nuclear investments may be affected by demographics, changes in electricity load profile, and technology innovations including emergence of a countrywide grid system able to wheel bulk power anywhere.

There is also political risk. Public support for nuclear power in China is volatile and may be low. Concerns since the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan have prompted Beijing not to proceed with long-established plans to build most of China’s future nuclear plants on inland sites. Should this policy continue into the 2020s, prospects for China’s nuclear construction sector will decline; indefinitely continuing nuclear construction at eastern coastal sites (where nearly all of China’s nuclear power is generated) may encounter resistance on economic, capacity, and political grounds.

Under Xi, China’s globalization continues but the state is assuming ever-greater liability. Political decisionmaking and corporate culture may not support an indefinite increase in the risk presented by more nuclear power investments. Some quasi-official projections before Fukushima that China by 2050 might have 400 or more nuclear power plants have been cut in half. Beijing’s risk calculus may reflect that China’s population would blame the Communist Party and the state for a severe nuclear accident. In a country with a patchy track record for industrial safety, said one Chinese planning expert in 2016, “The more reactors we have, the greater our liability.”

…….. If China merely replicates others’ collective past experience, it will reinforce the view that fast reactors and their fuel cycles are too risky, complex, and expensive to generate large amounts of electricity. 

May 22, 2018 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

China lands nuclear strike bombers on South China Sea islands

Prepared for battle: China lands nuclear strike bombers on South China Sea islands  CHINA raised global fears after sending nuclear bombs and warplanes above the South China Sea as part of a simulated training exercise with air force officials declaring the country is “preparing for battle”. Express UK, By LATIFA YEDROUDJ May 20, 2018  Air force personnel confirmed it had ”organised multiple bombers” to conduct “take-off and landing training” along islands and reefs in the South China Sea, as practise in light of a full-scale war.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF pinning its hopes for EPR nuclear reactor on the Taishan reactor, China

The French stress test for nuclear power, Ft.com 18 May 18

Years late and billions over budget the first European Pressurised Reactor is set to become operational. Its success is critical for France   Andrew Ward in London and David Keohane in Paris MAY 17, 2018   “…..  fuel loading at Taishan — one of the last steps before it starts producing electricity — carries wider significance beyond China.  Taishan, operated by China General Nuclear Power Corp, the state-owned energy company, is on course to become, within months, the first plant in the world to operate a European Pressurised Reactor — the Franco-German technology plagued by delays and cost overruns since it was designed in the 1990s. “The Taishan 1 fuel loading is a very important milestone,” says Xavier Ursat, head of new nuclear projects for EDF, the French state-backed utility which owns 30 per cent of the project. “It will bring a new image to the EPR.”

Few technologies are in greater need of a makeover. When work started on the first EPR as a joint venture of Areva of France and Siemens of Germany at Olkiluoto, Finland, 13 years ago, it was supposed to herald a new era of growth for atomic power. Instead, as construction timetables slipped and German support melted away, the EPR has become a symbol of the nuclear industry’s struggle to remain competitive. EDF, the main surviving corporate champion behind the EPR, is hoping that completion of Taishan will mark a turning point in efforts to convince sceptical investors, policymakers and potential buyers that the reactor can still be a success. At stake is the future of the wider French nuclear sector, which is relying on the EPR for long-term growth, at a time when the country’s dependence on atomic power is being questioned by President Emmanuel Macron ’s administration.
 Taishan is the furthest advanced of four EPR projects around the world and, at a mere five years late, the least delayed. Olkiluoto is due to come into service next year, a decade late and nearly three times over budget at €8.5bn. It is a similar story at EDF’s flagship Flamanville plant in France, which is seven years late and €7bn over budget. A further project involving two EPRs at Hinkley Point, south-west England, is not due for completion until the end of 2025, eight years after EDF once predicted it would be finished. These setbacks have plunged France’s nuclear industry into financial turmoil. Areva, battered by its losses at Olkiluoto, was last year folded into EDF in a state-brokered deal that amounted to a bailout of the sector. A €4bn capital raising by EDF last year improved its balance sheet but the company still had €33bn of net debt at the end of 2017, only a little less than its current market capitalisation.
No country has more invested in nuclear power than France, which generates 70 per cent of its electricity from the splitting of atoms. The EPR was designed to renew the country’s nuclear fleet as many of its existing 58 reactors approach the end of their operational lives, while also generating valuable export orders. But construction delays have been seized on by those — including some inside the Macron government — who want a decisive shift in French energy policy away from nuclear and towards renewable power. A policy “road map” is due by the end of the year setting out how fast France should pursue a government target to cut nuclear’s share of domestic electricity production to 50 per cent. Similar debates are under way in many countries where nuclear power is generated, as critics argue that its high costs, safety risks and radioactive waste can no longer be justified when the costs of wind and solar power are falling rapidly. ……….
 While the EPR was designed to be almost bomb and meltdown-proof, construction flaws have painted a less robust picture. France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, ruled last year that anomalies in the steel used at Flamanville meant the reactor’s lid, or vessel head, would need replacing — at significant expense — after just six years of operation. Separate defects have since emerged in the welding of steel pipes at the French plant. EDF is due to reveal within weeks whether it can still meet its latest timetable to be fully operational by November 2019. While the start-up of Taishan will be a welcome fillip, Flamanville remains the bigger test for EDF because of its 100 per cent ownership and because approval from the ASN — seen as a gold standard in nuclear regulation — bestows credibility on the technology internationally. ………
Setbacks at Flamanville have cast a shadow over the early stages of construction at Hinkley Point, where two EPRs are being built with an aim to meet 7 per cent of UK electricity demand. EDF insists that experience accumulated at Flamanville and Taishan will make Hinkley a smoother process. Avoiding delays in the UK will be crucial if EDF is to persuade international buyers — and its own shareholders, not least the French government — that the EPR’s teething problems are over. ………https://www.ft.com/content/7c68a702-57cb-11e8-bdb7-f6677d2e1ce8

May 19, 2018 Posted by | China, France, technology | Leave a comment

China marketing nuclear power to Uganda

China to help Uganda build nuclear power plants, Reuters Staff, 17 May 18 KAMPALA (Reuters) – China will help Uganda build and operate nuclear power plants under a deal signed last week.

Uganda has some uranium deposits and President Yoweri Museveni has said his government was keen to exploit them for potential nuclear energy development.

Eight potential sites have been identified in the country’s central, southwest and northern regions that could potentially host nuclear power plants, the government said on Thursday. It signed a deal with Russia last year to cooperate on nuclear power.

China is already a major investor in Ugandan infrastructure projects and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a memorandum of understanding on May 11 to help Uganda build capacity “in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes”, Uganda’s energy ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday……

Co-operation between CNNC and Uganda will involve the development of nuclear power infrastructure including the design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants.

In June last year Uganda signed a similar memorandum of understanding with Russian State Atomic Energy Cooperation (ROSATOM) to facilitate the two countries’ cooperation on nuclear power.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Susan Fenton https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uganda-energy/china-to-help-uganda-build-nuclear-power-plants-idUSKCN1II219

May 18, 2018 Posted by | AFRICA, China, marketing | Leave a comment