Welcome to AtomWatch - world nuclear power news and analysis

This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Monday, September 14, 2009

UAE delays 41 bln dlr nuclear plants contract: report


DUBAI, Sep 14, 2009 (AFP) - The UAE has delayed awarding a 41 billion dollar contract to build nuclear power plants saying that the decision between the three rival bidders was too close to call, an Abu Dhabi daily said Monday.

"What happened ultimately was some of the bids were so close in some areas, we decided to proceed with all three," a senior government official told The National. "It will mean a slightly longer period of negotiations."

The decision on the contract, which was due to be awarded this Wednesday, will not come out until the end of the month, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified diplomat.

A French group led by Areva, Electricite de France, GDF Suez and Total is competing against a Japanese-American alliance of Hitachi and General Electric, and a Korean-American consortium comprising Korea Electric Power, Samsung, Hyundai and US firm Westinghouse.

The Arab world's second-largest economy, the United Arab Emirates is seeking to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons for power generation and to boost its image as an environmentally friendly country.

US President Barack Obama approved a civilian nuclear deal with the UAE in May.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

US Sen Boxer: Climate Bill To Include Nuclear-Power Measure


9-9-09 4:14 PM EDT | E-mail Article | Print ArticleWASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- In a sign that compromise on energy and climate legislation is already underway, a top Senate negotiator said that she will include a measure on nuclear power in a developing bill, something that Republicans have demanded.

U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D- Calif., who will be writing key parts of the climate bill, told reporters on Wednesday that "there will be a nuclear title in the bill." She had previously resisted any efforts to encourage nuclear power, saying before an August recess that nuclear power would already gain an advantage if the U.S. mandated reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Republicans have encouraged nuclear power as a solution to climate change, saying that the near-zero emissions power plants are more reliable than renewable energy. Nuclear power is anathema to some environmentalists, partly amid concerns about how to dispose of nuclear waste.

-By Siobhan Hughes, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6654; Siobhan.Hughes@ dowjones.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

China to Build More Nuclear Plants, Japan Steel Says

[A quick note that the AP-1000 reactors under construction in China will NOT have their vessels fabricated at JSW. News reports are that these vessels will be made by Doosan and then by the Chinese following technology transfer.]


By Masumi Suga and Shunichi Ozasa

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Japan Steel Works Ltd., a maker of atomic reactor parts for Areva SA and Toshiba Corp., more than doubled its forecast for China’s nuclear plant construction because of stimulus spending and environmental pressures.

The country may build about 22 reactors in the five years ending 2010 and 132 units thereafter, compared with a company estimate last year for a total 60 reactors, President Ikuo Sato said in an interview. Japan Steel Works has the only plant that makes the central part of a large-size nuclear reactor’s containment vessel in a single piece, reducing radiation risk.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer after the U.S., is increasing spending on atomic energy as part of a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) economic stimulus and as it curbs greenhouse gas emissions. Japan Steel Works is counting on the rising reactor demand as the global recession curbs sales to customers such as carmakers and electronics companies.

“The potential for investment in nuclear power is huge,” said Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. in Shanghai. “Only a small number of companies in China have the right to develop nuclear power projects, but the country is open to foreign companies to help build reactors and to provide equipment.”

Japan Steel Works, which has lost 4.6 percent of its value this year, climbed 8.2 percent to 1,174 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.3 percent.

China became the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses from burning oil and coal in 2006, followed by the U.S., Russia, India and Japan, according to U.S. Department of Energy data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Business Talks

“China, which had increased construction of coal-fired power plants, is now trying to focus on nuclear power because of the environmental issue,” Sato, 60, who took office in June, said in the Aug. 31 interview in Tokyo. “China is accelerating nuclear spending, and additional business talks are coming up.”

The country has 9,100 megawatts of nuclear capacity and has approved the construction of additional reactors able to generate 25,400 megawatts, Sun Qin, then-deputy head of the National Energy Administration, said last month. China will issue a plan by the end of the year to push development of clean energy sources such as nuclear, wind, solar and hydro power.

The average time it took to build China’s first 10 nuclear reactors was 6.3 years, according to a report commissioned by the German environment ministry.

Gross domestic product in China expanded 7.9 percent in the second quarter as the economy rebounded from the weakest growth in almost a decade, boosted by stimulus spending.

“Similar to road and railway construction, nuclear energy is also part of China’s plans for a recovery after the economy slowed,” Sato said.

Global Increase

Globally, a total of 52 nuclear reactors were under construction as of Jan. 1, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. Last year was the first time in the history of commercial nuclear power that no new reactors came into operation, according to International Atomic Energy Agency figures. Some 33 new plants came online in 1984 and that number has declined almost every year since.

Japan Steel Works is spending 80 billion yen ($864 million) at its Muroran plant in the country’s northern island of Hokkaido by March 2012 to increase capacity to make parts for 12 nuclear reactors a year, compared with 5.5 units now, the president said.

The investment will increase annual sales from Japan Steel Works’ cast and forged steel for electric and nuclear power to 70 billion yen from the year starting April 2012, up from 45.5 billion yen expected for the current year, Sato said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Masumi Suga in Tokyo at msuga@bloomberg.net; Shunichi Ozasa in Tokyo at sozasa@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: September 7, 2009 08:39 EDT