Monday, October 05, 2009

Texas, Russia and Greenpeace Gripes

clip_image001Let’s peek in on some stories we’ve been following and see what’s what:

The South Texas Project wants to build a new unit on its site and has found strong support from the San Antonio Express News:

CPS customers pay rates that are routinely among the lowest of any major utility in the country. That's a key element in the Alamo City's affordability, lowering the cost of living for individuals and the cost of production for businesses.

Keeping those rates low and steady is essential for the city's continued economic prosperity. For the foreseeable future, the best way to do so is for CPS to invest in a sensible expansion of nuclear generation at the South Texas Project in Bay City while aggressively pursuing efficiency and sustainability and positioning itself to take advantage of advances in green energy technology.

Talk about Getting It. Capital G, Capital I. But don’t these units cost a lot? Oh, yes:

[San Antonio] Mayor Julián Castro has proposed reducing CPS' ownership in the expansion from a planned 40 percent down to the 20-25 percent range. Along with other CPS generation and efficiency projects, that share would still provide the electricity that a growing San Antonio needs. But it will also significantly reduce the utility's exposure to risk while freeing up billions of dollars over the next decade to invest in sustainability and emerging clean technologies.

Castro's proposal deserves the support of the CPS board of directors and the San Antonio City Council, which must move swiftly to authorize the utility's sale of an additional $400 million in bonds to finance the project.

In other words, with some ingenuity, STP gets what it needs, CPS likewise, the city too. Win win win.

And to top this sundae with a cherry:

Nuclear power remains the best method of large-scale, low-cost power generation to minimize dependence on fossil fuels.

So there you go.


When it comes to nuclear energy, what does Russia have to offer the world?

Russia is a member of an elite nuclear club which offers huge future benefits. First, few countries in the world know the secrets of building state-of-the-art and reliable power plants. Second, few countries possess uranium enrichment technology. And finally, the countries producing fuel for nuclear power plants can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Russian companies are ready to provide the entire cycle of production, from uranium mining to NPP construction. Today, Russia accounts for 40[%] of the world’s uranium enrichment facilities, 17[%] of the international fuel market, 28[%] of NPP building capacity and 8[%] of uranium mining.

Well, that uranium number is pretty low, but you get the idea – a one stop shop for all your nuclear needs. And Russia’s working on those uranium numbers, too.

Another way [to enhance uranium supply after buying it from Australia and South Africa] is to deepen co-operation with uranium-rich nations in the first place, for example Central Asian republics and Mongolia. Neighboring Kazakhstan has the world’s third largest reserves of uranium, after the US and South Africa. Mongolia is next, occupying fourth place, but its prospective reserves (1.3m tons) could make it one of the world’s largest uranium suppliers.

So how are things going for the Russians?

Russian nuclear reactors successfully operate in 10 countries, and there are construction projects running in three others. Another 17 nations, from Brazil and Egypt to Ukraine and the Czech Republic, are in talks with Rosatom on new projects. Russia is ready to build another four power generating units for India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Rosatom also has certain interests in Turkey, Southeast Asia, North Africa and Latin America.

We offer all this without comment. A roundup of French or American ambition and capability would differ in detail only, after all, and all three countries find exporting their know-how a great way to make money and enhance their countries’ standings. Call it the Russian corner of the way of the nuclear world.

This comes from the Telegraph – we’ve de-Britishized it a bit.


Even though it has generated a lot of good press, not everyone loves NEI’s sponsorship of the Washington Capitals hockey team:

Environmental groups like Greenpeace are crying foul. Nuclear policy analyst Jim Riccio says the Washington-based group doesn't want sports teams being used to greenwash nuclear power, which it believes isn't a solution to global warming.

“Doesn’t want?” And you thought bad sportsmanship was limited to the world of sports.

The Murmansk nuclear plant. One of these days, we’ll come up with a nice shot of a Russian nuclear plant. The Russians just don’t seem to do that.


ChristinaMac said...

Nice little roundup, thank you.
I was a bit piqued, as you seemed to be pincjinh my idea. Too bad if you were, anyway.
But you're not.
I think that your "NEI Nuclear Notes" are very suitable, particularly for interested and informed readers.
My site does something similar - but it is more aimed for those who are not yet awake-up to the wonderful international corporate con that is going on in regard to the uranium/nuclear industry.

ChristinaMac said...

I truly made a mistake.
I misread your site as being a sarcastic look at the uranium/nuclear industry.
Now realise that you are quite serious.

D Kosloff said...

Reality is serious, unlike anti-nuclearism, which has killed thousands and continues to kill.

Anonymous said...

It's best not to feed the trolls.

Anonymous said...

There's not any NPP in Murmansk, may be you refer to Kola NPP.

Brian Mays said...

Er ... last time I checked, the Kola nuclear power plant was located in Murmansk. OK, technically it is not located in the city of Murmansk, but it is located in Murmansk Oblast (i.e., the region of Murmansk).

Personally, I'd consider "Murmansk nuclear plant" to be an accurate enough description of the plant for English-speaking audiences, even though "Kola nuclear plant" would be a more accurate name for the facility.

gunter said...

Does this have anything to do with the Wsahington Capital's having so many Russians on the team---Alex Ovechkin,Alexander Semin, Semyon Varlamov and two others coming along in the minors.

Too bad Sergei Fedorov (forever a Red Wing) and Viktor Koslov signed to go back to the Mother Russia...

Lets Go Caps! Lets Go Wings!

KB said...

@Gunter Finding common ground via hockey - I love it! Go Caps!

Anonymous said...

OK, it's true. I forgot it was too the name of the oblast.

gunter said...

I see Constellation Energy (AKA Constellation de France) is deploying 2200 solar arrays on New England Patriot Stadium, starting in Oct and finishing in December 2009.

Bet they come in on spec, on time and on budget.

Go Pats! Go Solar!

Marcel F. Williams said...

The Russians 70 MWe floating nuclear reactors could be the first centrally mass produced small nuclear reactors to enter the global market. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina, Namibia, and even the Cape Verde Islands have shown interest in purchasing such floating reactors from the Russians. These small floating Russian reactors could be a boon for the economies of coastal third world countries-- especially in Africa.

Anonymous said...

Patriot Stadium, eh? I wonder what kind of capacity factor that will get? I hope the team performs better than their solar array, otherwise they might have a serious power shortage.

Joffan said...

Well, gunter, let's say that the Patriots' solar installation goes smoothly and Constellation installs the 525kW system in two months.

Installing a significant power generation system at the same rate, it would take about 160 years to get to 500MW, except that the first-installed panels would long-since have stopped working. Or to put it the other way around, the 525kW installation would have to be done in 1 day to rival the build rate of a nuclear power plant.

And some people say that nuclear takes a long time to build...

Joffan said...

Jiminy. I just worked out the capacity factor for that solar installation.

12 million kWh over 20 years...
that's 600 000 kWh per year...
1644 kWh per day...
68.5 kWh per hour.
68.5 kW average from 525 kW peak is a capacity factor of 13%.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for crunching the numbers, Joffan. 13% is about what I'd expect for that area. I think you have to have your head examined to purchase what is supposed to be a revenue-generating asset that effectively sits idle almost 90% of the time.

The article also mentioned that they are expecting about 30% of their energy needs to come from this money pit. So, as I always ask when these kind of things come up, where are they going to get the other 70% they will need? Seems like you only solve a relatively small part of the problem if 30% is the best you can do. I have a feeling that nuclear will play a significant role in meeting the other 70% of their demand.