Monday, October 31, 2011

The Economics of Species Suicide

NHK: Noda: Japan to continue to export nuclear tech

"Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says Japan will export nuclear power generation plants to Vietnam as planned despite the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi facility...

They discussed an agreement reached in October of last year between the 2 countries that Japan would sell 2 nuclear reactors to Vietnam...

Noda and Dung also agreed on the joint mining of rare earth minerals in Vietnam."

NHK: Vietnam PM confirms Japan's nuclear plant contract
"Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has reconfirmed his country's policy to purchase Japanese nuclear reactors despite the Fukushima accident...."

Bloomberg March 16: GE $1 Billion Nuclear Unit at Risk as Nations Mull Atomic Future
General Electric Co. (GE)’s goal of broadening its $1 billion nuclear service-and-parts business with sales of new reactors risks stalling as world leaders reconsider the future of atomic energy....
Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of the Nuclear Power Corp. of India, said in Mumbai that Japan’s disaster may be a “big dampener” on the nuclear program in the country, which has planned $175 billion in spending by 2030.
Kyodo: Hitachi maintains reactor sales goal despite nuclear crisis fallout
Posted at Anti-Nuclear Sep 2 2011

"After reviewing the business outlook for atomic power amid the Fukushima plant disaster, Hitachi Ltd. has decided to keep its nuclear business development plan and aims to land orders for more than 38 reactors from around the world by 2030, a top company executive said.

“Nuclear plants are globally important electricity sources,” Tatsuro Ishizuka, a vice president and executive officer, said in a recent interview. “We would like to further improve the safety of nuclear plants and promote them as a key business pillar.”

PROJECT CENSORED (Dated 2000 but still relevant for illustrating economics of nuclear plant sales). U.S. Taxpayers Underwrite Global Nuclear Power Plant Sales

"The U.S. tax-supported Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is solidly backing major U.S. nuclear contractors such as Westinghouse, Bechtel, and General Electric in their efforts to seek foreign markets for nuclear reactors. Between 1959 and 1993 Ex-Im spent $7.7 billion to help sell American-made reactors abroad.

"Most countries do not have the capital to buy nuclear power, so contractors, in order to be competitive, provide 100 percent of the financing. Ex-Im offers terms too good for Third World countries and Eastern European buyers to pass up. If the host country defaults on its loan, the Ex-Im steps in with American taxpayer dollars.

"Westinghouse built the Bataan nuclear power facility in the Philippines in 1985 at a cost of $1.2 billion, 150 percent above their projections. However, the Bataan plant was never brought on line due to the fact it was near an active volcano. Despite the fact that the plant never generated a single kilowatt of energy, the Philippines still pays about $300,000 a day in interest on the Ex-Im loan that funded the project. Should the Philippines default, U.S. taxpayers will pickup the tab..."

MAJIA HERE: The nuclear industry is powerful and selling power plants is a big, big business that is heavily subsidized by governments. Furthermore, countries wishing to develop nuclear weapons need nuclear plants to enrich uranium.

The link between nuclear plants and nuclear weapons was made clear in a Wall Street Journal article dated Oct 28, 2011

WSJ: In Japan, Provocative Case for Staying Nuclear (print version p A14).
"Many of Japan's political and intellectual leaders remain committed to nuclear power even as Japanese public opinion has turned sharply against it...

"'I don't think Japan needs to possess nuclear weapons, but it's important to maintain our commercial reactors because it would allow us  to rpoduce a nuclear warhead in a short time,' Shigeru Ishiba, a fo rmer defense minister said in an interview..."

MAJIA HERE: There has been considerable speculation that Japan actually had a nuclear weapons lab at Fukushima. I have no way of knowing whether that is true, but the WSJ article certainly raises questions.


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