Friday, October 22, 2010

Around the World in 80 Seconds or So

Sebastian-Pinera A few quick hits.

New or newish to the nuclear party – Chile

Chile will send 30 professionals abroad to fine-tune their knowledge and expertise in nuclear energy, which is an integral part of government plans to someday decide on building an energy-producing nuclear power plant, the nation's president said Wednesday.

The Chileans are moving at a deliberate pace – might be something in the national character, as some other countries want their plants up and running now.

"Chile has to prepare itself for the world of nuclear energy...The decision won't be made now, not even during our government. But our government has the obligation to prepare our engineers, scientists and technical workers," [President Sebatian] Pinera said, while on tour in Paris, his first official visit to Europe.

It does take awhile, but the Yellow Brick Road does eventually get to the Emerald City.

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Sri Lanka:

The Sri Lankan government is planning to establish a nuclear power plant here to meet the growing demand for power in the country, a government minister said on Saturday.

Champika Ranawaka, minister of Power and Energy said the government had already commenced prefeasibility study.

Unlike the Chileans, the Sri Lankans are already talking to potential partners – France, Russia – and where the Chileans may be answering to a need for more electricity, Sri Lanka is looking to industrialize. Doing this with nuclear energy is a way to ramp up the effort quickly while keeping climate change at bay.

The environmentalist argument has an interesting local tang to it:

But environmentalists warn of dire consequences if the plan goes ahead.

Centre for Environmental Justice spokesman Hemantha Withanage told the BBC that Sri Lanka is "too small" for a nuclear power plant.

"How a country which struggles to manage ordinary household refuse thinks that it will be able safely to dispose of nuclear waste is a very important question," he said.

There is no proper rubbish management in Sri Lanka - residents who live near garbage collection centers continuously complain of unbearably bad odors among other environmental issues.

Sri Lanka has talked to Russia about taking used nuclear fuel, so this is kind of a non-issue.

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Gulp! Libya:

France wants to do business with Libya in areas including nuclear energy, a French minister said on Thursday on a visit aimed at narrowing Italy's lead in building lucrative trade ties with the oil exporter. [Libya is a former Italian colony.]

Now, note that “including:”

"This agreement will lead to strategic cooperation with Libya in the areas of transport, health, construction, oil and gas and peaceful nuclear energy," he [Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi] said.

Well, he hopes so, anyway.

He did not give details about what form any nuclear cooperation might take.

I’m surprisingly more content than usual that this is vague and indefinite. If this stays vague for an extended length of time, still content. Not that the Libyans are instantly suspect – they’re not – but old hurts die hard and Libya has been notably hurtful.

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How about something happier to wrap up the week?

Last week, TVA announced an initiative by the Tennessee Valley Corridor to promote the nuclear power industry in Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Nuclear Energy Coalition, formed from nuclear and economic development organizations through the Tennessee Valley Corridor, will partner with the Deloitte Consulting firm to do market analysis and develop business plans for growing regional nuclear supply chain opportunities resulting in new jobs, exploring possibilities for using new modular nuclear reactors in the region and meeting other goals.

Really just the next step in TVA’s expansion of nuclear energy in its official planning. There’ll be more to say about this in the months to come, but read the whole article for a primer on what TVA is doing and why.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. Seems a plausible shot for an American politician. Pinera is a businessman and millionaire (he owns a TV network) whose hard won campaign led to the first elected conservative government – by Chilean standards – in some fifty years. It’s a test of a kind – the Chileans suffered badly under Pinochet, and Pinera’s opponents tried hard to make a comparison between the two. Didn’t work. But it will show if Chile can remain stable when the direction of the country changes – not always a sure thing in South America.

1 comment:

Philip said...

All these countries talking to France and Russia. Where is the USA in this big international Green Energy market???? DOA. :-(