Several nuclear energy blog posts this week explore the new builds in Asia. At ANS Nuclear Cafe, Dan Yurman reviews China's ambitious nuclear program. China is planning 40 GWe of nuclear by 2020. Will China be able to execute its ambitious plans? A target of 40 GWe by 2020 could involve at least 30 new reactors. However, the official target is almost 120 GWe. Yurman discusses China's targets, challenges and plans in his post. For example, China would have to become self-sufficient in reactor design.
Brian Wang at Next Big Future also looks toward China. In An Even Bigger Century of Nuclear Energy, Wang shows that China has been able to maintain Walmart type prices for its nuclear builds. In McKinsey Proposes a Green Revolution Development Plan for China, Wang reviews a McKinsey report from late 2009, and notes that China is moving faster on nuclear and green technologies than that report recommended. In a related post, Wang looks at the Chinese energy mix for now, 2015 and 2020. And finally...what is China planning to do with all this electricity? Here's one answer. In a post on amazing facts of China's high speed rail buildout, Wang points out that by the end of 2012, China may have more miles of high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined.
Looking at the costs in China, however, Charles Barton describes how molten salt reactors, built in the United States, could still be the most cost-effective way to produce nuclear power. As Barton explains, Keeping Up with China may mean leapfrogging current technology.
North America Moves Ahead
Current technology in North America is doing very well: David Bradish of NEI Nuclear Notes shares some statistics. Nuclear power electricity production in the United States is on track to break all previous yearly records. So far, 2007 was the record year for nuclear generation. At the end of October in 2007, nuclear had provided 669.5 bkWh. This year, nuclear provided 670.0 bkWh by the same date.
North of the border (that is, the border between the U. S. and Canada) the situation is decidedly mixed. In Idaho Samizdat, Dan Yurman describes how the Ontario provincial government plans to build two more nuclear plants at Darlington, and refurbish ten more reactors. However, the Ontario provincial government also wants to sell (privatize) Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL). This is the company that would build the reactor. As usual, Yurman gives insights into these murky waters.
North America Falls Behind
Steve Aplin of Canandian Energy Issues also casts some light into the murk. Ontario has a long-term energy plan that includes phasing out its coal plants. However, the plan includes replacing most of the coal plants by natural gas. Aplin explains why this is not a particularly good idea. He concludes by pointing out that the plan is a pdf document, no more. It's written in pixels, not stone. It can be changed.
Meanwhile, at Atomic Insights, Rod Adams brings a blast from the past: at year-old document on radiation from gas and production water in the Marcellus shale. Did anybody except Adams ever read this document? I hope so. Thousands of wells are going to be drilled, in thickly-settled farm county, and someone should be thinking about the effects.
Speaking of the countryside, in my Yes Vermont Yankee post, I temporarily stop describing protests against the nuclear plant in southern Vermont. Instead, I describe protests against the proposed biomass plant in southern Vermont. Just in case you thought renewables would make people happy.
Not exactly a blog post, but Cool Hand Nuke helps you nuclear-power your browser. You can bring nuclear news, views, and job openings to your browser with Cool-Hand Nuke's free widgets. (I think they are widgets. Maybe they are plug-ins. Anyhow, they are free and they are all about nuclear.)
The Carnival Calls
Come to the Carnival! It's always fun. It's never cold and windy. The comestibles are brain food, not cotton candy. Something to learn! Something to see! Always something new!
Very informative stuff, and congratulations on the instalanche. I wish California would build nuclear plants. When they had those rolling brownouts, thanks to the local NIMBYs, my well-run, civic-minded utility which I'm invested in was badly whip-cracked.
Thank you for the comment, Sanity Inspector. I used to live in California, and our daughter was married during the Rolling Blackouts about 10 years ago. We chose a wedding venue near a police station, as I remember, because such areas were protected from blackouts.
The whole thing was just ridiculous. None of it had to happen.
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