Been a LONG time since my last update on the state of new nuclear technology and deployment. As I've been busy protesting the recent spate of racist cop murders and protesting the tuition hikes, this sort of general leftist solidarity has force me to put nuclear energy on the back burner for awhile. So here goes:
These will be fairly random items ... and thoughts ... on recent events in the nuclear world. Oh, and in no particular order.
1. The Chinese government is set to resume approvals for the construction of coastal nuclear power plants, having suspended approvals and licensing for all new reactor projects in 2011.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced plans on 4 December for the development of unspecified nuclear power plant projects along China's eastern coast. NDRC secretary general Li Pumin said that construction of the plants would be carried out under strict safety protocols.
Note: China has a hugely ambitious energy policy centered on using nuclear energy to replace coal. Mainland China has 22 nuclear power reactors in operation, 26 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020, then some 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050. By 2011 a full 75% of their grid will be generating power from Fast Reactors.
2. Turkey: In the last few weeks they signed an agreement with Russia's Rostatom to build 4 VVER1200s on the Mediterranean coast. 4 more reactors, the Westinghouse AP1000s will be built in cooperation with China on the Black Sea coast.
3. Vietnam: Vietnam is the most active in S.E. Asia and is currently undertaking site preparation, work force training and the creation of a legal framework. Moreover, Vietnam has signed a co-operative agreement (that includes financing) with Russia to build its first nuclear power plant, with construction expected to begin in late 2014 and nuclear to enter the power mix before 2025. As of now at least 8 reactors are planned and approved for construction 2 each from Russia, Japan and the U.S.
4: MORE China: new Chinese reactor design passes safety review. The ACP1000 reactor design has successfully passed the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's)Generic Reactor Safety Review (GRSR), China National Nuclear Corporation has announced.
5. Russia: The third reactor at Russia's Rostov nuclear power plant was brought to the minimum controlled power level yesterday, moving it a step closer to starting commercial operation. Russia's plan is to start 2 to 3 reactors per year.
Russia is moving steadily forward with plans for much expanded role of nuclear energy, including development of new reactor technology. Efficiency of nuclear generation in Russia has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Over 20 nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction. Exports of nuclear goods and services are a major Russian policy and economic objective. Russia is a world leader in fast neutron reactor technology.
Note: the primary reason for Russian expansion...32 to 60GWs over the next 15 years depending on circumstances...is to sell more natural gas which is one of their biggest foreign exchanger earners (next to oil in fact). As nuclear displaces fossil fuel on an exact 1Mw to 1Mw ratio, the logic is hard to dispute (the UAE and S. Arabia, not covered in this post (are largely motivated for the same reasons: if they use nuclear they can burn less fo what it is they like to export. There are other obvious reasons as well but this is a big one for all three of these countries.