August 13, 2008

Nuclear and uranium news roundup

This site recently mentioned that China's new nuclear power generation target for 2020 is 70GW an increase from 40GW two years ago and 60GW last year. China is also planning to build or have in process of being built 100 AP-1000 nuclear reactors.

Electricité de France (EdF) finalises a joint venture with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company enabling it to co-own and operate two nuclear reactors at Taishan, the China National Nuclear Corp has announced work will start on another nuclear power station in Hainan by the end of 2009. So three nuclear reactors that each will generate 1650MW. In addition to the two Changjiang reactors, work is expected to begin on a further 14 units in China over the next two years.

Bannerman Resources has announced a fivefold boost in indicated resources at its Goanikontes deposit in Namibia. The overall resource estimate increased by 48%.

The company is proceeding to a definitive feasibility study for mining, due for completion by March 2009, with the intention of producing a reserve statement, and possibly moving to mine production in 2011. A preliminary study on mining the deposit was undertaken last year, and showed good prospects for an open pit mine producing 2500 to 3500 tU per year. A preliminary mine plan put production costs at around $60/kgU. Capital costs, including an acid plant, were estimated at $467 million.

Australia's WildHorse Energy has joined with state-owned Mecsekérc to assess the feasibility of restarting uranium mining in the Mecsek Hills near Pécs in southern Hungary.

Exploration drives uranium resources up 17% Worldwide around 5.5 million tonnes of uranium that could be economically at $59/lb mined has been identified. The category of uranium that could be expected to be found based on the geologic characteristics of known resources has grown by 500,000 tonnes to 10.5 million tonnes.

22 million tons of uranium in phosphates and 4 billion tons in seawater


halojones-fan said...

Meanwhile, here in the USA, educated adults still believe that nuclear power plants can explode. :sigh:

Jerry said...

I think most educated adults understand the issue - it's the noisy, partially educated adults that've been carefully indoctrinated with the "nuclear=bad juju" meme that've managed to hold us back on that.

Look at France - 80% or more of their electricity comes from nuclear power. Obviously it CAN be done safely - the Luddites just don't want to understand the science behind it.

John said...

Sorry guys. I'm all for clean energy. But one nuclear glitch and it's very, very bad news. Feel free to scoff at the 'partially educated' folks who recall 3 Mile Is and Chernobyl... With coal, wind, solar, etc, engineering faults are small scale; cost-benefit is easy to work out. Near miss in Japan 2 yrs ago. Near miss when Enron turned off the electricity in Calif 6 or 7 yrs ago. Just one near miss is too many.

bw said...

John, please read the article on deaths per twh

It explains how coal and oil has a lot more deaths.

The buffalo creek sludge dam break and the London fog incident are described here

Three Mile Island had zero casualties. As in no one died. Chernobyl also has had few 50 deaths and after several decades may have 4000 deaths. More have been killed in coal mining every year.

Coal generates about 6200 TWh out of the world total of 15500 TWh of electricity. This would be 161 deaths per TWh.

In the USA about 30,000 deaths/year from coal pollution from 2000 TWh. 15 deaths per TWh.

In China about 500,000 deaths/year from coal pollution from 1800 TWh. 278 deaths per TWh.

The "engineering faults" of coal are not small scale. Air pollution is not a small scale fault. 3 million die every year from outdoor air pollution. People dieing in the millions every year and the anti-nuclear people talk about near misses that kill ZERO people. Deaths in one month from air pollution kill more than those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sorry John, coal is very, very bad news. You just were partially educated and not aware of it. Coal does not near miss, it racks up the body bags.

Wind and solar are comparable to the deaths from nuclear. Wind uses ten times as much cement and several times more steel for the same MWH. Rooftop solar is actually dangerous because of falls. Wind and solar are tiny and have problems scaling up to be significant contributors in energy.

John said...

Yes, perhaps I'm just 'partially educated' (making you totally educated, I assume), but I feel you've missed my point. I'm not talking about deaths alone when I refer to the bad news of nuclear. I'm referring to longer term impact: Impact measured in the tens of thousands of years that we seem to think disappears in a sealed barrel off the back of a boat.

I understand how my post may have sounded like a defence of coal. And I apologise for that. Nothing could be further from the truth. I remain of the partially-educated opinion that funding and research into genuine clean energy has been sorely lacking, and the pro-nuclear advocates are merely trumpeting the best of a bad bunch (coal pollution, hydro dams, etc).

Real investment is needed into genuinely renewable energy. Wind energy or thermal, for example, are currently too inefficient for scale use, but the same could be said of the first generation of gas, coal and - yes - even nuclear.


bw said...


I must be missing your points because they were not stated in the first posting. Your first post was about one glitch (nothing about long term waste).

In your second posting you talk about ten thousand year issues. However, deep burn nuclear technology will get rid of all the unburned fuel. Everything other than uranium and plutonium and thorium in the case of the thorium cycle has less than a 30 year half life. Make deep burn reactors like molten salt over the next 10 to 20 years and then the unburned fuel/waste problem goes away within 50 years as deep burn reactors are made in volume. The problem is only storing the unburned fuel for another 50 years or so and some of it has already been stored that long.

Coal leaves thousands of tons of mercury and arsenic. The thorium and uranium in coal is not stored in cans it is dispersed into the air. 20,000 tons per year. Mixed in with the ten billion tons/year of CO2 and cancer causing particulates.

Coal matters because 50% of the worlds electricity is from coal. Thus the fastest replacement (more nuclear) needs to be compared against it.

A current non-solution (like solar and wind) means thousands more die every day. Solar and wind can and should be developed, but nuclear should proceed full bore as well.

If you are not measuring bad news in terms of deaths then what is your measure ?

Have you looked at the energy and pollution articles on this site ?

Descriptions of the investments and subsidies made into renewables:

Energy costs with externalities

Feed in tariffs support of renewables

Deep burn and seriously scaling nuclear power

Please take the time to read some of the articles so that you can come up with a new objection or see where you misunderstand the subject. If you can find a factual or analysis flaw with what has been written then please present it in detail.

bw said...


There was no science or facts in any of your first two postings. I welcome factually supported critique and input. I am sorry but there was not any in either of your two posts.