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UAE Nuclear power plant project receives environmental approval

Mohamed Al Hammadi CEO Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) on July 15 said it received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the environmental regulator, for the construction of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2 in Abu Dhabi.

In issuing the NOC, EAD acknowledges the environmental aspects of the construction of the UAE’s first two reactors, based on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the construction environmental management plan (CEMP), which were submitted by ENEC in 2010.

The ENEC said the receipt of the NOC is the next important step in a multi-year licensing process for the reactors.

In order to proceed with the construction of Units 1 and 2, ENEC must also receive a construction license from the UAE Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR). ENEC submitted its construction license application for Barakah Units 1 and 2 to FANR on December 27, 2010. The application includes, among other issues, site selection, technology, safety and quality control, and the construction process for Units 1 and 2.

“Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC.

Al Hammadi said the ENEC has plans to build four nuclear power plants by 2020, totaling 5,600 MW.

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23 April 2010 – The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) has announced it has chosen a site near the Saudi border for its first nuclear power station, due to come on stream in in 2017.

It said the facility will be built at Braqa, 53 km (33 miles) southwest of the Gulf coast town of Ruwais in western Abu Dhabi in a sparsely populated area of desert, reports AFP. The 13 square km site was chosen from ten sites across the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates in which oil-rich Abu Dhabi is the largest.

The statement said ENEC hoped to secure the necessary authorization before 5 July so it can start building, with the aim of generating electricity by 2017. In late December, the UAE awarded a $20.4bn contract to build four nuclear power plants to a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

The consortium comprises KEPCO, Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan Heavy Industries, along with US firm Westinghouse, Toshiba of Japan and KEPCO subsidiaries, ENEC said.

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Nuclear, Policy

 

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Japanese Parliament Approves New Investments in Solar & Renewables

Japan, in the words of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, must “wean itself off of nuclear energy” and expand domestic renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal.

This week, the Japanese lower house of parliament approved legislation to promote new investment in these new energy technologies.  This decision is a big step towards Japan’s new energy policy following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  The bill furthers the Prime Minister’s goal of increasing the use of renewable energy to supply Japan’s power needs – without relying on nuclear.

The new laws would make it mandatory for utilities to buy electricity generated from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and small hydro power plants at current pricing rates for up to the next two decades, passing costs onto end consumers.  Certain exemptions would be included for particularly energy-intensive industries.  Upon approval by Japan’s upper parliamentary house, the new law could go into effect by July of 2012.

Of all the renewable energy industries supported by the bill, solar is expected to receive the initial boost.  It is estimated that with passage of the new bill, Japan’s solar capacity could grow to 100,000MW by 2015, up from 40,000MW today, as corporations and local governments install large-scale solar installations.

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German Nuclear Shutdown Boosts Demand for Wind & Renewables

Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 is already having a positive impact on the renewable energy sector.

Under Germany’s new energy roadmap, renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind will replace the power lost from the closure of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors.

Renewable energy deployment in Germany has increased significantly over the past decade.  In 2000, the percentage of electricity generated from renewable resources was 6.3%; in 2010, that figure rose to 17%.

After accounting for Germany’s new power needs resulting from the closure of its nuclear power plants, it is expected that renewables could supply as much as 40% of the country’s electricity by 2022.

This directional shift in energy is translating into new demand for wind turbines.  BWE, the German Wind Energy Association, reports Germany will add 1,800MW worth of new turbines in 2011 – a 16% increase from the 1,551MW total in 2010.  In total, Germany’s total wind power capacity rose 5.6% from 2009 to reach 27,214MW in 2010.

So far this year, offshore wind power in Europe has grown by 4.5% with 101 new offshore turbines coming online.  The energy from these turbines has been connected with power grids in Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as Germany.  The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reports another 2,844MW of offshore capacity are currently under construction.

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U.S. Renewable Energy Production Now Greater than Nuclear: EIA

The production of renewable energy in the United States has now surpassed nuclear , reports the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its latest Monthly Energy Review.

During Q1 2011, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and biomass/biofuels contributed 11.73% of total U.S. energy production.  Notably, this production level was 5.65% higher than the contribution of nuclear energy.

U.S. production of renewable energy across the electricity, transport and thermal sectors has risen consistently over the past few years.  Q1 2011 figures, for example, are 15% higher than Q1 2010, and 25% higher than they were in Q1 2009.

The EIA report notes significant increases in actual electricity production from clean energy technologies.  Since Q1 2010, solar-generated electricity has dramatically increased by 104%, wind-generated electricity by 40%, hydropower by 29% and geothermal by nearly 6%.

The total contribution of renewables is  still 77% that of domestic crude oil resources.  However, based on current growth trends, the EIA expects renewable energy will continue gaining ground and increasing its role in the U.S. energy dynamic.

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Despite Delays, China Confirms Long-Term Plans for Nuclear Expansion

The nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant has not deterred China from proceeding with its ambitious nuclear energy expansion program.

On March 16th immediately following the meltdown at the Japanese nuclear facility, China halted approvals of new nuclear power plants.

The Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration ordered full safety reviews at existing plants and will announce a full report this August.

Speculation surfaced over whether the nuclear crisis and the temporary halt in approvals would derail China’s nuclear goals, which aims for 60 new reactors by 2020 with an investment US $ 121.5 billion.  By this time, total Chinese nuclear power generation capacity would ramp up to 86GW.

Based on comments from a senior official at the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp Ltd., the crisis in Japan has influenced the “speed and scale” of China’s nuclear development program, but not the end goal. China is targeting advanced third generation nuclear technology in many of its planned plants.

The China Nuclear Energy Association reports that if all goes as expected, nuclear energy will account for 5% of the 15% power generation coming from renewable energy sources.  The China Energy Research Institute says at this rate, China may be building 12GW of nuclear capacity every year.  Read more…

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Nuclear, Policy

 

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Japan Crisis May Impact Rare Earth Prices

The aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan  has resulted in a precipitous drop in demand from one of the world’s major users of rare earths. As a result, analysts report rare earth prices may ease temporarily.

Over the long term, however, rare earth prices are heading higher, as global demand trumps supply over the coming years. Rare earths are essential components of devices ranging from wind turbines to smart phones.  China now  controls nearly 95% of rare earth production.  However, Chinese reserves account for only one-third of total global reserves.  Over the long term, China may become a net rare earth importer as its domestic demand increases.

In fact, a new refining operation in Malaysia currently under construction by Australian mining company Lynas may give China a run for its money in the rare earth market.   Upon completion, the new plant on the eastern coast of Malaysia may be capable of processing about 11,000 tons of rare earth oxides a year; potentially meeting one third of total global rare earth demand in as little as two years.

 

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Global Energy Markets on Roller Coaster Ride Due to Middle East, Japan

The unforeseen events of this month have been challenging for the global energy and resources markets, as investors struggle to make sense of ongoing political tension in the Middle East, and now the natural disasters in Japan.

As a result of political unrest in the Middle East and supply disruption in Libya, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and other crude oil spots have risen nearly $15 per barrel according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).  This jump has brought crude prices to their highest points since 2008, prompting the EIA to raise its price forecast for 2011 up to $105 per barrel, a full $14 dollars higher than previous estimates.

Energy markets have also been impacted by the recent crisis in Japan.   With nearly 20% of Japan’s power capacity shut off, analysts are expecting a drop in demand for crude oil coupled with a potential spike in demand for refined products. Many foresee an uptick in demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel oil as replacements for lost nuclear power generation.  Shell recently confirmed it had begun diverting shipments of LNG to Tokyo in the wake of the explosions.  As a result, this may lead to higher prices in Europe.

“Japan will change mid-term world energy scenarios,” acknowledged the United Nation’s top climate official, Christina Figueres in a response to the situation in Japan.

Certainly the risks surrounding  nuclear power generation have been magnified on the world stage, potentially derailing investment into new plants.  As a result, wind power and natural gas may become more attractive power sources. We will be closely watching as supply and demand patterns adapt to the current situation and as events continue to unfold throughout the globe.

 

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