Monday, December 09, 2013

“Nuclear energy is a sector of the future.”

“Nuclear will always make up at least half of our energy (electricity output)," he was quoted as saying during a Franco-Chinese seminar in Beijing on Friday to commemorate a 30-year partnership in the nuclear sector.

"Nuclear energy is a sector of the future," he added.

That’s Arnaud Montebourg, the French industry minister, speaking, so he knows whereof he speaks. France is building two nuclear reactors in China, which raises an important point – nuclear energy technology is not just a economic boon to ratepayers like those in France but to companies like the French-owned AREVA, which is building the Chinese reactors.

The Reuters story also mentions in passing that the French utility EDF is building a new reactor in England. This is how trade works.

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Which may be why we’re hearing this out of Japan:

In an attempt to overturn the previous administration's pledge to phase out nuclear power, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government will call it an "important source of energy for the country" in its new energy plan.

We mentioned last week (in the post below this one) that a government report signaled a return to nuclear energy in Japan. So it does, as this news attests. The Wall Street Journal has more:

Highlighting the economic necessity of nuclear power, the draft points out that a surge in liquefied natural gas imports to stably supply electricity throughout the country has led to very expensive fossil fuels costs. It also said an overreliance on thermal power has increased the country's carbon dioxide emissions.

The story goes on to report that though nuclear energy has not regained its popularity in Japan, Abe remains quite popular despite these decisions. Polls are polls and can carry a lot of unintended implications, but let’s allow that Abe’s good standing may carry nuclear energy along with it as electricity prices drop and carbon emissions relent. 

Nothing here about trade, really, but Japan does consider nuclear technology an exportable good. I can’t help thinking that that may be playing a part in Abe’s calculations.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

I wish what pro-nuclear orgs and forces in Japan would highly stress the seeming obvious to the fretful public over there in regaining some trust in nuclear that it wasn't an accident kindled by human error but by a very rare act of God (and still zero casualties -- and do some industrial comparisons for Pete's sake!). Way too many over there think that the much ranted "inevitable" expected of all nuclear plants finally "just happened" with Fukushima. Some even tie the tsunami damage with the plants -- with the coy assist of the media. You pro-nukers over there gotta straighten them out!

James Greenidge
Queens NY