Archive for ‘nuclear energy’

10/11/2016

PM Modi heads to Japan to seal nuclear deal amid uncertainty over U.S. policy | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to Japan on Thursday to seal a landmark nuclear energy pact and strengthen ties, as China’s regional influence grows and Donald Trump’s election throws U.S. policies across Asia into doubt.

India, Japan and the United States have been building security ties and holding three-way naval exercises, but Trump’s “America First” campaign promise has stirred concern about a reduced U.S. engagement in the region.

Such an approach by Washington could draw Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe even closer, said foreign policy commentator and former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar.

Officials in New Delhi and Tokyo said a deal that will allow Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology is ready for signing after six years of negotiations to find a way around Tokyo’s reservations about such an agreement with a country that has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India says the NPT is discriminatory and it has concerns about nuclear-armed China as well as its long-time rival Pakistan.

Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, has been seeking assurances from New Delhi that it would not conduct nuclear tests any more.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the two sides had reached a broad agreement on nuclear collaboration as early as last December and had since been trying to finalise the document.

A “legal, technical scrub” of the agreed text has now been done, he said, but added that he could not pre-judge the outcome of Modi’s summit talks with Abe over Friday and Saturday.

A Japanese ruling party lawmaker said the two sides will sign an agreement during Modi’s visit. A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment.

JAPANESE AIRCRAFT ALSO DISCUSSED

The nuclear agreement with Japan follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation.

That step was seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China.

India hopes to lift ties with the United States to a new height, Modi said in a message to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday.

A final deal with Japan could also benefit U.S. firms.

India is in advanced negotiations with U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Japan’s Toshiba, to build six nuclear reactors in southern India, part of New Delhi’s plan to ramp up nuclear capacity more than ten times by 2032.

“Japan is keen to put aside it’s staunch non-proliferation principles and engage with the lucrative Indian programme,” said Manpreet Sethi, nuclear affairs expert at the Centre for Air Power Studies, a New Delhi think-tank.

But the agreement will still have to be ratified by the Japanese parliament, she said.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper said the main accord will likely be accompanied by a separate document stipulating that Tokyo will suspend nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test. Initially, Japan wanted that inserted into the agreement itself, but India resisted, it said.India has declared a moratorium on such testing since its last explosions in 1998.

The two countries have also been trying to close a deal on the supply of amphibious rescue aircraft US-2 to the Indian navy, which would be one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports.

India’s Defence Acquisitions Council met earlier this week to consider the purchase of 12 of the planes made by ShinMaywa Industries, but failed to reach a decision.

An Indian government source said opinion within the military was divided over whether to buy the aircraft when it was struggling to find resources to replace ageing and accident-prone submarines and address a shortage of helicopters.

A Japanese defence source said Japan was considering a cost reduction, which would mean a price cut for India as well as for the Japanese navy which it supplies. A US-2 currently costs about 13 billion yen ($123 million).

Source: PM Modi heads to Japan to seal nuclear deal amid uncertainty over U.S. policy | Reuters

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15/09/2016

Britain approves China-backed Hinkley Point nuclear plant deal after review of scheme | South China Morning Post

The British government said on Thursday it was giving the green light to a controversial new nuclear project at Hinkley Point after Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the proposals for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement,” Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement.

Beijing calls for British nuclear project financially backed by China to proceed.

“Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.”

The board of French state-owned power company EDF approved its participation in the project in southwest England on July 28, only for Britain’s new government under May to announce hours later that it wanted to review it.China has a one-third stake in Hinkley Point and analysts have warned that Britain would have risked its relations with the world’s second-largest economy if it cancelled the costly deal.

Source: Britain approves China-backed Hinkley Point nuclear plant deal after review of scheme | South China Morning Post

04/09/2016

UK’s May to review security risks of Chinese-funded nuclear deal | Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday she wanted her security advisers to review a delayed nuclear power investment from China – a source of diplomatic tension – as she arrived in the country to attend a G20 summit.

May upset Chinese officials in July by delaying a $24 billion project that would see French firm EDF (EDF.PA) build Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in decades with the help of $8 billion from China.

Speaking during her first visit to China, May was asked whether she would ask the National Security Council, a team of ministers supported by intelligence officers, to look at the potential security implications of the Hinkley deal.

“I will be doing exactly as you’ve said,” May replied, saying it would be part of her decision-making process. The comment marked the first official acknowledgement that national security was a factor in her decision.

The initial delay caught investors by surprise and has cast doubt over whether May, who took office in July following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, will continue to court China as a major source of infrastructure investment.

“This is the way I operate,” May earlier told reporters en route to the summit, which will include a one-to-one with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I look at the evidence, …take the advice and consider that and come to my decision.

“A final decision is expected later this month.

May, a former interior minister, is wary of the risks of allowing China to invest in nuclear projects, according to a former cabinet colleague. The EDF deal is viewed as a precursor to Chinese involvement in another two nuclear plants.

Asked whether she trusted China, May said: “Of course we have a relationship with them… What I want to do is build on that relationship.

“She also stressed a need to broaden the group of nations that Britain can trade with and tap for cash to help reinvigorate its power, transport and technology infrastructure.”This is the G20, this is about talking to a number of world leaders. I’m going to give the message that Britain is very much open for business… I want to be talking about the opportunities for free trade around the world.”

Source: UK’s May to review security risks of Chinese-funded nuclear deal | Reuters

24/06/2016

China rejects bending rule for India to join nuclear club | Reuters

China maintains its opposition to India joining a group of nations seeking to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by controlling access to sensitive technology, said the head of the arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met this week in Seoul, but China said it would not bend the rules and allow India membership as it had not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.

“Applicant countries must be signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT),” Wang Qun, the head of arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying in Seoul on Thursday night.

“This is a pillar, not something that China set. It is universally recognized by the international community,” Wang said according to a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday.China is leading opposition to a push by the United States to bring India into the NSG which aims to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation by stopping the sale of items that can be used to make nuclear arms.

The issue of India’s membership was not formally discussed at the NSG meeting this week, Wang said on Friday.

The United States, which has a nuclear cooperation deal with India, considers it a nuclear power that plays by the rules and is not a proliferator, and wants to bring Asia’s third largest economy into the 48-member group.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington.

On Friday, on the sidelines of the plenary meeting of the NSG, Wang stressed China considered it important to handle new memberships under a consensus and that there was no move yet to allow a non-NPT state to join.

“International rules will have to be respected, big or small,” Wang told Reuters. “Big like NPT. Small like the rules and procedures of this group.”   “The important question of which we are concerned, is how to deal with the question of participation of countries within the group of non-NPT states. It’s a formidable task.”Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue on Thursday at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a regional summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, but there was no breakthrough.

One diplomat at the NSG plenary in Seoul said the group’s outgoing chairman, Argentinian diplomat Rafael Grossi, would act as a “facilitator” to continue to search for an accession deal.

Opponents argue that granting India membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation. It would also infuriate India’s rival Pakistan, an ally of China’s, which has responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own.Pakistan joining would be unacceptable to many, given its track record. The father of its nuclear weapons program ran an illicit network for years that sold nuclear secrets to countries including North Korea and Iran.

Source: China rejects bending rule for India to join nuclear club | Reuters

08/06/2016

U.S. Firm to Build Six Nuclear Reactors in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The U.S. and India agreed to move ahead with the construction of six nuclear reactors in India by an American company, the first such move since the countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal in 2008.

The breakthrough capped a wide-ranging White House meeting on Tuesday between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are seeking closer cooperation as Washington wants to boost New Delhi’s role in counterbalancing China.

The meeting, which included lunch at the White House, will be followed on Wednesday by a speech by Mr. Modi to Congress, wrapping up the Indian leader’s fourth visit to the U.S. as part of an increasingly close relationship that has been sought by both governments.

The warming Indian relationship is backed by the lure of accelerating growth in that country, signs of improvement in the business climate, shared democratic values and some overlapping strategic goals.

By contrast, recent U.S. interactions with China, a far bigger Asian economy and U.S. trading partner whose growth appears to be slowing down, have been marked by strains and warnings over economic and security issues.

Source: U.S. Firm to Build Six Nuclear Reactors in India – India Real Time – WSJ

24/02/2016

China Inc.’s Nuclear-Power Push – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China wants to shift from customer to competitor in the global nuclear industry as it seeks to roll out its first advanced reactor for export, a move that adds new competition for already struggling global firms.

As WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

  • Two state-owned firms teamed up to design the advanced indigenous Hualong One reactor with plans to sell overseas. On Tuesday, one of them, China General Nuclear Power Group, hosted dozens of business executives from Kenya, Russia, Indonesia and elsewhere, as well as diplomats and journalists, at its Daya Bay nuclear-power station to promote the Hualong One for export.
  • Asked how much of the global market share for new nuclear reactors CGN wants Hualong One to win, Zheng Dongshan, CGN’s deputy general manager in charge of international business, said: “The more the better.”
  • The move marks a turnaround for China and the nuclear-power industry. For three decades, China served as a big market for nuclear giants including U.S.-based, Japanese-owned Westinghouse Electric Co. and France’s Areva SA. More than 30 reactors have been built across China since the 1990s with reliance on foreign design and technology.

Source: China Inc.’s Nuclear-Power Push – China Real Time Report – WSJ

14/12/2015

Japan, India agree on rail, nuclear deal | The Japan Times

Tokyo and New Delhi agreed to major deals Saturday, including the introduction of Japan’s bullet train technology to India and an agreement on nuclear cooperation.

The bilateral accord was reached during talks in New Delhi between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. “This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India’s journey into the future. It will become an engine of economic transformation in India,” Modi said after the talks, referring to the introduction of Japanese shinkansen technology in building a high-speed railway in India. “This project befits the start of a new era for (ties between) Japan and India,” Abe said.

The two countries also agreed on a civil nuclear cooperation pact. Sensitive negotiations had continued for five years on exporting Japan’s nuclear power plant technology to India, with one of the sticking points being whether Japan could ensure that its nuclear technology would not be diverted for military use. India, despite being a de facto nuclear weapons state, has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “Japan is promoting (nuclear) nonproliferation, given the history of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, while India is outside the NPT framework but wants to cooperate on nuclear power generation,” one Japanese official said while noting Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic bombings.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda, who accompanied Abe on the visit, told reporters after the talks that Japan’s cooperation under the bilateral civil nuclear pact will stop if India conducts a nuclear test. The two projects were the main points of focus of Abe’s three-day visit to India, which began Friday. Japan is keen to tap into India, with its 1.2 billion population, and forge closer ties in light of China’s growing political and economic clout in the region. Under a policy to elevate bilateral ties to what they now call a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership,”

Abe and Modi plan to boost security cooperation between the two nations and exchange views on regional issues such as the situation in the South China Sea, Japanese officials said. While Japan and India are not directly involved in the tensions in the South China sea, a key shipping route for oil and other imports, they are both concerned over the freedom of navigation in international waters. China claims almost the entire South China Sea and has competing territorial claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. Beijing’s fast-paced and massive land reclamation work has made the smaller Asian claimants uneasy. Seeing India’s potential value to Japan, both on the economic and political fronts, Abe has touted the importance of strengthening bilateral ties to help maintain peace and stability in Asia. Abe’s latest trip to India is his third visit as prime minister. The shinkansen technology will be applied to a planned 500-km-long high-speed railway that will link Mumbai and Ahmedabad in western India and take roughly two hours.

Japan, which is seeking to spur its economy through infrastructure exports to Asia, is looking to play catch-up after losing out to China in its bid to secure a key high-speed railway contract in Indonesia in October. Construction of the Indian railway project, which is estimated to cost 980 billion rupees ($14.6 billion), will begin in 2017, with the aim of starting operations in 2023. Japan has sounded out India about a plan for Tokyo to provide yen loans on the premise that the railway contract will be given to a consortium of Japanese firms, a Japanese government source said.

The two leaders also signed others pacts, including one that allows the transfer of defense equipment to India and another on data protection, which allows the exchange of defense-related information. The moves reflect Tokyo’s desire to forge closer ties with New Delhi due to China’s muscle-flexing.

When Modi visited Japan last year, Abe vowed to extend ¥3.5 trillion in public and private investment and financing to India over five years for development. Japan also pledged a ¥50 billion loan to India for a public-private partnership infrastructure project.

Source: Japan, India agree on rail, nuclear deal | The Japan Times

21/05/2015

China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

China will have 30 million kilowatts (KW) of nuclear power capacity by the end of 2015, said Xu Yuming, deputy director of the China Nuclear Energy Association on Thursday.

Currently there are 23 nuclear power units operating in China, with a combined capacity of 21.4 million kilowatts. Twenty-nine units are being built or planned, Xu said.

The government plans to increase China’s total nuclear power capacity to 58 million kilowatts by 2020, a rise of 170 percent over the current level.

Xu estimates that this will require 100 billion yuan ($16.34 billion) of investment every year.

It is expected that China’s electricity usage will double by 2030, Xu said, adding efforts should be made to promote clean energy including nuclear power.

Last month, China approved the construction of pilot nuclear power units using the Hualong One technology, a domestically-developed third generation reactor design drawing on the world’s leading design philosophy. The homegrown technology will help contribute to industrial upgrades and steady economic growth.

via China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

11/03/2015

Nuclear Power Gains Traction in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s government is breathing life into its nuclear sector with the approval of the country’s first new reactors in more than two years. As the WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic-planning agency, approved construction of two reactors in the country’s northeastern Liaoning province by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp., according to a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by the company’s listed unit, CGN Power Co.

China is the world’s biggest nuclear growth market. The country operates 24 reactors currently. A further 25 are under construction, out of 68 globally, according to the IAEA. China doesn’t disclose total spending, but based on the cost of reactors, its buildout represents tens of billions of dollars in potential new business for Chinese and foreign companies over the coming decade.

via Nuclear Power Gains Traction in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

05/03/2015

China’s nuclear plant plans get new momentum – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn

State Council gives green light for two reactors at Hongyan River in Liaoning

China's nuclear plant plans get new momentum

China’s nuclear energy development plans got a fresh impetus on Wednesday after the State Council gave the green light for new reactors at the Hongyan River nuclear power plant.

According to industry sources, units 5 and 6 of the Hongyan River nuclear plant in the northeastern Liaoning province got construction approval from the State Council before the Lunar New Year.

“It is a big step forward for China to revive the industry and more nuclear projects are expected to start construction this year. However, the official documents are yet to be finalized,” a source in a State-owned nuclear company told China Daily.

New nuclear projects are also in the pipeline, the source said, adding that the moves would help optimize China’s energy mix amid mounting pressure from air pollution.

Tang Bo, an official at the National Nuclear Safety Administration, said earlier that the regulatory body has been working on the environmental impact assessment and safety inspection of nuclear projects including the Hongyan River nuclear project, the Shidao Bay nuclear demonstration project in Shandong province and units 5 and 6 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fujian province.

“We have drawn up a draft list of new projects for final approval,” he told China Daily earlier. “Our job is to clear the potential risks and help with the technical preparation of the nuclear sites before the government’s final approval,” he said.

Following the Hongyan River nuclear project, units 5 and 6 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant are the next possible candidates for approval, experts said.

“The Fuqing nuclear project will possibly get the nod from the government in April at the earliest,” the source said.

The equipment purchase order for units 5 and 6 of the Fujing nuclear power plant, which uses the Hualong One reactor design, known as the third-generation nuclear technology, is nearly complete, the source said.

China, with the world’s largest number of nuclear power plants under construction, is now pushing ahead to embark on a program of new nuclear projects to reduce the proportion of fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption.

Last year, the State Council rolled out an energy plan to have a more efficient, self-sufficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption mechanism.

The plan targets to have 58 gigawatts of nuclear power in operation by 2020 and at least 30 gW under construction. To meet that target, China needs to add at least another 10 gW of installed capacity with approval of six to eight reactors each year, according to estimates from industry experts.

After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, China suspended approval for nuclear plants in order to revise its safety standards. However, it lifted the ban on new nuclear power stations at the end of 2012, and said it would only approve projects proposed for coastal areas within 2015.

via China’s nuclear plant plans get new momentum – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn.

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