Tuesday, August 21, 2012

WSJ: "China Supports Nuclear Power IPO"

Wall Street Journal Aug 21, 2012 p. B7 by W. Ma, S. Chen & A. Li

[Paraphrasing] China is moving forward with plans to offer an initial public offering (IPO) to finance five nuclear power plant projects valued at $27.3 billion (in US dollars).

China plans on building as many as 100 reactors over the next twenty  years in a shift away from coal.

Currently, China has 17 nuclear reactors in service.

China temporarily suspended construction of new reactors after Fukushima.

Majia here: What is driving this decision by China to go ahead with nuclear reactors?

If the entire energy cycle is considered - from uranium mining to nuclear waste storage - nuclear energy is an energy black hole that consumes far more than it delivers.

However, there are several global industries that benefit significantly from nuclear "energy." 

Those industries include uranium producers, nuclear plant architects, the contractors who actually build the plants, and the contractors that increasingly operate the plants for owners (Exelon in the US).

I found a very good analysis that explains how these industries benefit from China's nuclear power plant development:

Chinese nuclear goes global?  by Antony Froggatt. June 06, 2012 http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/4957

[Excerpted] In the space of a couple of decades, China has become a major player in the global nuclear sector. With by far the largest number of reactors under construction of any country in the world, and further reactors on order, it is seen as a vital market for uranium, a testing ground for new reactors designs and, increasingly, a potential partner for nuclear developments across the world….

The global clout of China’s nuclear sector is such that the impacts of its decisions stretch far beyond the nation’s borders. From France to Namibia, from reactor designers to uranium-mining firms, the industry will be waiting anxiously for news from China….

.....It is suggested the delay has been partly caused by uncertainty over the strategic direction for future reactor designs, and in particular whether future construction would be dominated by China’s second-generation CPR 1000 design or move towards greater deployment of third-generation designs from overseas....

Historically, international nuclear vendors have sought to construct their latest models in China. Russia’s reactor-exporting company Atomstroyexport provided its latest design, the AES-91, and equipment for units one and two at Jiangsu province’s Tianwan power plant, which was completed in 2007. It is said that two further reactors will be commissioned, but no date has been set for construction.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) built two of its heavy-water reactors at the
Qinshan phase-three plant in Zhejiang, on China’s east coast, but despite the fact these were completed in 2002 and 2003 respectively, no further orders have been placed. Finally, the French utility EDF was engaged in the construction of two reactors at Daya Bay, south China, which were completed in 1994 using technology from French firm Framatome, now AREVA....
Today, the world’s major international reactor vendors, notably AREVA and Westinghouse, are building their most advanced designs in China. In the case of Westinghouse, the AP1000 is the company’s flagship third-generation design, and China is its only sale. The contract, worth around US$5.3 billion (34 billion yuan), is for construction of four reactors, including transfer of both reactor technology and back-end services, particularly waste management....

Majia here: So, China building nuclear power plants pleases Russia, France, Canada, and the US. China has its own nuclear designs, but is more inclined to purchase designs from Russia, France, and the US.

[Excerpted] Candu Energy Inc. is pursuing new reactor sales in China, with its main selling point being the ability of the Canadian heavy-water design to reuse spent fuel from the Asian giant’s growing fleet of light-water reactors. Mississauga, Ont.-based Candu Energy announced Thursday that it has signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corp. to expand their joint project to feed recycled uranium into existing Candu reactors at Qinshan.

Majia here: Does that mean that Candu reactors are running Mox fuel (i.e., "recycled uranium")?

China isn't just building and buying reactors domestically. 

It wants its domestic nuclear industry to go global and is partnering with other countries to build nuclear reactors overseas

Look at China's "partnerships"

[Excerpted] June 19 (Reuters) - China may soon have a major stake in one of the UK's biggest nuclear projects after two Chinese state firms teamed up with Western players to bid for a joint venture that plans a $24 billion investment, industry sources told Reuters.

China, which sits on vast cash reserves and is keen to invest in foreign assets, has been expanding into Europe's energy and infrastructure sectors by buying stakes in firms such as Britain's Thames Water and Portuguese utility EDP.

The British government wants to see new nuclear plants built, but cost overruns in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the slowing global economy have made it increasingly difficult for Western developers to find the billions of dollars needed for these projects....

Majia here: Just today it was reported that the UK Government is a little uneasy with China's proposed ownership share of UK nuclear reactors:

UK seeks to restrict China's control over Horizon nuclear reactor http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2199747/reports-uk-seeks-to-restrict-chinas-control-over-horizon-nuclear-reactor

Majia here: China hasn't just helped fund reactors. It has proposed helping countries such as Pakistan build them (I don't think this project went forward but i don't know for sure--headline is 2010):
U.S. to object to China-Pakistan nuclear reactor deal. June 2010. The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/14/AR2010061405376.html

[excerpted] "The Obama administration has decided to object to a lucrative deal in which state-owned Chinese companies would supply Pakistan with two nuclear reactors, U.S. officials said...."
Majia here: The underlying issue is that there is a vast international network of corporations that profit substantially from an industry that is NOT economically viable and has the potential to kill off all life on planet earth in the event of sustained power disruptions.

The profit motives of this network are prioritized over the long term sustainability of human life on planet earth.

Indeed, we may already have caused enough genetic damage from our exposure to atmospheric testing, nuclear waste, depleted uranium used by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc to cause our future extinction, generations forward.

Related Posts:

Nuclear Power Plants Push to Produce (Uprating)

Nuclear Power Plants Deliver Conditions for Fulfilling Western Prophecy

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