November 29, 2010

Asian nuclear energy boom

1. Wall Street Journal - 10 countries in Asia have nuclear energy development plans. New Delhi forecasts India will spend $175 billion to increase nuclear energy production 13-fold by 2030. China, India and Vietnam combined will build about 115,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity, investing more than half a trillion dollars over the next 15 years. At least 46 countries will build 1,000 reactors by 2030, creating trillions of dollars of revenue and tens of thousands of jobs across the technology, engineering, construction, materials and services supply chain.

NOTE: China is targeting 112 to 120 GW of nuclear power by itself for 2020. McKinsey indicated that China is targeting 120 GW for 2020. So the combined China, India and Vietnam target for the next 15 years is probably over 250 GW of new build.
1000 reactors for 2030 is the high-2030 scenario from the World Nuclear Association (WNA) - Nuclear Century. The WNA lists nuclear generation targets by country. Even the high targets for China from the WNA are likely to be too low if China hits 120 GW or more by 2020, then 2030 could be 300-400 GW. If China is exporting reactors for half the price of France starting in 2013 then other countries could buy and build more reactors than if cheap reactors were not coming from South Korea and China. China will probably also not be as picky about which countries they build reactors.

American, French and Japanese companies have built more than 70% of the world's nuclear capacity. That experience created a first-mover advantage that sustained their dominance for decades. Technological advances in operations, safety and durability further anchored their market position.

Yet despite those historical advantages, keeping up with new competitors like Russia's Rosatom and Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power is proving difficult. And now increasing competition from China is making life harder still. Already the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels, China aims to become the largest builder of nuclear power plants within 10 years. Beijing accords long-term energy planning a central role in its national security, both to propel its continued economic growth at home and to compete for trillions of dollars of clean energy projects abroad.

The renaissance of nuclear energy is the most potentially lucrative development in the $6 trillion global energy sector. The question for U.S. policy makers is whether they aspire to global leadership or are content to import foreign technology at home and to cede foreign markets to others.

2. US Nuclear Performance Monthly - October 2010

* Year-to-date 2010 nuclear generation is 0.4% higher than the same period in 2009. For 2010, nuclear generation was 670.0 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 667.2 bkWh for the same period in 2009 and 669.5 bkWh in 2007 (the record year for nuclear generation).

* For October 2010, nuclear generation was 61.8 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 57.7 billion kWh in October 2009. The average capacity factor for October 2010 was 82.5% compared to 77.0% in October 2009.

The first half of November, is also showing reduced capacity at the (80-85% level instead of over 92%) because of scheduled maintenance and refueling

3. 376 Gigawatts of worldwide nuclear power generated 2560 TWH in 2009. If those reactors were at 100% capacity they would have generated 3295 TWH. (8.76 TWH is maximum for 1 gigawatt in a year. 8760 hours in a year) They were at 77.7% capacity. The 101 GW of the USA generated 798 TWH for an average of 90% capacity.

4. The installation of new calandria tubes has been completed at unit 1 of Canada's Bruce A nuclear power plant, three months after similar work on the 769 MWe Candu unit's sister plant, Bruce A2. Work is now continuing on the installation of initial fuel channel assemblies, and is expected to be substantially completed for Bruce A2 by the end of 2010. According to Bruce Power co-owner TransCanada, construction activities at both units will be essentially complete by the end of 2011. Unit 2 is expected to restart by the end of 2011 and re-enter commercial operation in early 2012, with unit 1 restarting in the first quarter of 2012 with commercial operation during the third quarter of the year

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