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December 27, 2011

Nuclear, coal and other energy news

1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano presented a forecast that the number of nuclear power plants would increase by 90 to 350 units in the world between now and 2030. The figure was estimated by IAEA following the accident at the Fukushima I nuclear power station operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. Amano said, "While the rate of increase will be smaller than that prior to the accident, we still expect a substantial increase."

2. Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Monday that it shut the No. 4 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power station on Japan's western island of Kyushu for planned maintenance. With the closure, only six of Japan's 54 reactors remain in operation.




Japanese legislation requires reactors to undergo maintenance once every 13 months, which means that unless some reactors are restarted, all of the country's reactors will be idle by May. Within a month, three more reactors are slated to go into maintenance, leaving Japan with only three working reactors in the middle of winter, when power demand typically rises.

In November, a panel set up by the government recommended a 5% power consumption cut in Kyushu Electric's commercial area from Dec. 26 to Feb. 3 and a 10% cut in Kansai Electric Power Co.'s (9503.TO) area from Dec. 19 to March 23, citing supply shortages due to the continued closures of nuclear reactors.

3. China Shenhua Group Co Ltd, the country's largest coal producer, has signed an agreement to build Asia's largest coal power project in southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

According to the agreement signed with the regional government on Monday, the future plant contracted to be built in about five years will have eight power generators with a capacity of one gigawatt each.

Zhang Xiwu, chairman of Shenhua, said Guangxi lacks coal mines but has deep-water ports. To ensure the plant's supply of raw materials, Guangxi needs to build four docks with a handling capacity of 100,000 tons each to allow Shenhua's cargo ships to unload coal sent from the company's mines in Indonesia and Australia.

4. India will not sign legally binding emissions agreement.

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