“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, June 09, 2008

China Plans to be a Nuclear Export Powerhouse.

Global locations of nuclear power plants.

Maps are interesting things. It should be obvious that the US has a natural lead position to develop and exploit nuclear power. The country that dominates the market gets to define the standards.

Look at where nuclear power plants are. Look at where they are not. Do we want to allow the industry to be dominated by the Chinese and have them set the standards?


China gears up civilian nuclear power
(Agencies/China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-09 10:51

China's nuclear power firms aim to join the auto and electronic companies as export powerhouses, analysts say, but massive domestic expansion plans may not leave them the capacity to make an overseas push for more than a decade.

A $1 billion deal signed late last month with Russia to build and supply a uranium enrichment plant in China was another step toward civilian nuclear independence, less than two decades after its first nuclear generator came on stream.

The country last year sealed deals with France's Areva and US-based, Japanese-owned Westinghouse for several third-generation reactors, and the blueprints to allow them to develop domestic version.

And they have mastered the construction of older models at a speed that is impressing Asian neighbors who cannot afford or are not allowed to buy nuclear models sold by Western firms.

Countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are keen to build plants to convey a sense of modernity and to cut their fuel bills.

"They know the Chinese have a lot of money and they're not necessarily as rigid as Western investors," says Eurasia analyst Bob Herrera Lim.

"The Chinese could be the accelerator. They could say 'we're willing to take a longer-term look because these countries have a strategic value to us'. And obviously there's a lot of policy behavior in many of their companies."

And the timing couldn't be better for China, as the fight against climate change and the search for cheaper energy sources revives global interest in nuclear power.

"Their technology will improve, and worldwide demand is big so when it starts to grow at a high pace again, Areva, Westinghouse and other nuclear reactor suppliers cannot meet it on their own," says Colette Lewiner, analyst at Capgemini.

"I know it is serious because (the Chinese) told me they are looking for partners to export the technology."

But China is also ramping up its domestic nuclear expansion plans, targeting a total of 60 gigawatts by 2020. Its current nuclear capacity is only 9 GW, under 2 percent of its total installed power generation capacity.

And its own experts admit they will have to devote most of the country's technical know-how and a large portion of both listed and State-owned firms' capital to what will be the fastest nuclear build-out the world has ever seen.

It will need to start construction on about 4 new generators a year through 2015 to meet its ambitious target.
"At present it's pretty hard for our building and design equipment to meet China's own development needs, so in terms of going overseas, it's not a big target for us," says an industry source close to the government who declines to be named.

China sees nuclear plants as a partial answer for its mounting pollution and energy security problems, although China's electricity use is growing so fast that even after the breakneck expansion nuclear will provide about 5 percent of its power.

The speed of the expansion is tying China to the second-generation models that have faced teething troubles rather than the safer third-generation plants it has begun buying.

"The majority of plants started before 2013 will be that model because China is quite familiar with it," the industry expert says.

But there is no shortage of bidders. Ambitious managers at all the country's big five listed power companies want to join the sector, once the preserve of two State-owned firms.

The country's second-largest listed electricity producer, Datang International Power Generation Co Ltd has already invested in the Ningde plan in southeastern Fujian province, with the first reactor due to come on line in 2012.

Nuclear is attractive because it diversifies their generating mix, adding a type of plant with a relatively predictable operating margin because fuel is such a small portion of costs.

Business in China

Despite its desire for a speedy expansion, China's focus on developing domestic technology means firms like Westinghouse and Areva are unlikely to repeat deals for entire plants.

But they will be rewarded for handing over some of their secrets by an ongoing stream of smaller deals for parts that Chinese companies are not yet able to manufacture, or cannot produce on a large scale.

"In the future, I see a two-way flow of business. There will not be so many sales of big third-generation plants but equipment sales to China will be good," Lewiner says.

"In the other direction Western firms will be re-exporting from China nuclear equipment and sharing skills," she added.

Another area where France's Areva looks set to pick up steady business in China is reprocessing nuclear waste.

"Fuel manufacturing and reprocessing of used fuel are areas where China needs Western technology, because they cannot do this on an industrial scale," she says.


  1. judging from chinese quality control I'd say to the chinese go for it....

    after all natural selection will prove it's value once again if we are patient....

    can we say "opps"?

  2. That map is not accurate. It shows the Trojan nuke plant in Oregon, which was shut down and dismantled by the greenies, and it shows two plants in Washington, but we just have one. It fails to show the nuke plant in Israel.

  3. Some of the Prettiest Pictures you'll ever see.

    Bring on the "Coal," Baby; bring on the Coal.

  4. Cuba has a nuclear power plant? And, what's that, the
    Dominican Republic? Or Puerto Rico?

    Interesting article Rufus. Not sure what to make of it though.

  5. A sad tale for the polar bear, going all that way, thinking he finally found land. Iceland is about as sparse as it gets. Sort of like Robinson Crusoe crawling up on the beach and getting blow-darted.

  6. Yeah, amazing photo.

    That was done on a "Movie Set" in Burbank, Right? :)

  7. Folks, I ran into something I think is pretty interesting.

    A 3 mi. sq area in every county in the U.S. would support one of

    and, that would be, . . . oh, I don't know, . . . . 150 Billion Gallons/Yr?

    And, if you'll notice, sweet sorghum is one of the feedstocks; and, it CAN be grown almost everywhere. Of course, in the Northern States you might want to use Tropical Maize. Also, this type of plant can, and is being, modularized. In addition, notice that they burn the bagasse for process energy.

    With this type of process we can put about 300 people to work in every county, and tell the Saudis to "take a hike." Of course, there are counties in Nevada, and New Mexico where this might be problematic; but there are other options for those counties; and there are counties in the Midwest that probably produce 10 times this much.

    The point is, Yes, we're running out of oil, and NO, we're not all going to starve, or go back into the stone ages.

  8. about that Sweet Sorghum.

    Scroll down a bit, to the chart, says it's better than sugarcane for creating ethanol

    Sweet Sorghum

  9. Great, Rat; Thanks for the link (s.)

    I'm telling you, folks; this ethanol has the oil companies scared to death. They're spending Millions trying to kill it.

    I don't think it's going to work, though. They let the price of gas get too high. The Bastards.

  10. I like the idea of modularized, decentralized generation.

    Many advantages, including transportation and distribution costs, redundancy, reliability, and security, employment, etc etc.

  11. An Associated Press poll released on Friday shows:

    Barack Obama 47 percent

    John McCain 43 percent

    And Ralph Nader 6 percent.

    And that's Nader at six percent with virtually no mainstream national press coverage.

    Why is Nader's six percent important?
    Because this might be the year when the Presidential debates are busted open.

    Google has shown an interest in hosting debates.

    And McCain has floated the idea of ten town hall debates.

    To get into these debates, it's important that Ralph show a certain level of support.

    He's got that, according to the most recent AP poll. And then it becomes important that he gets on as many state ballots as possible.
    We're working our hearts out to get him there.

    By the end of June, we should be on ten or so. And we're aiming to be on more than 40 by the end of the summer. To help fuel this summer ballot access drive, you can give up to the legal limit of $4,600 each.

    But we'll take whatever you can afford.

    Remember, getting Ralph on the debates changes everything.

    Jesse Ventura, when he ran for Governor of Minnesota, was at ten percent.

    He got on the statewide debates and moved to 20 percent.

    And then people sensed a three way race.

    And he won.

    As we learned this weekend at the Belmont Stakes.

    There are no foregone conclusions.

    So, let's work together to get Nader/Gonzalez to the starting line.
    Then line 'em up, ring the bell, and let 'em run.


  12. Hawaii's been generating electricity from bagasse for darn near as long as they've been growing sugar.
    (before that, the steam engines drove the equipment mechanically)

  13. Carter sent us farmers all a big package about how to set up a fuel making plant on the farm, but of course I've lost it over the years. I like the idea of decentralized production, too.

  14. These fuckers are gonna git us killed!

    Impasse on Spying Could Lead to Tighter Rules

    With Congress deadlocked over the government’s spy powers, more restrictive rules may return, leading some officials to worry about gaps in intelligence.

  15. Bad Tomatoes

    Our McDonald's the other day had a sign out front warning about tomatoes. But didn't say not to order a Big Mac.

    The bad tomatoes are from Mexico, by a process of elimination. (I didn't mean the pickers squating in the fields, but that might be true too.)

  16. McCain gives 'straight talk', backs nuclear power.

    According to Stephen Power writing in today's Wall Street Journal, McCain favors scrapping federal ethanol credits, moving instead to develop more nuclear power plants.

    Oil Going Higher, But World Not Running Out of Oil, Says
    Ace Analyst

    But does he know anything?

  17. Our Subway won't serve tomatoes. Bobal you oughtn't even be in the Golden Arches, they lead to the Pearly Gates.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. George Bush was elected on the "Who Would You Rather Have A Beer With" metric, where he beat Gore and Kerry hands down. If that is the criteria this year, then Obama wins easily, because when people look at Olde John they imagine him with a barium milkshake rather than a Miller Genuine Draft.

  20. One of the crew members on my boat is a Nuclear Engineer. He's on the safety side and he likes to say like Homer on the Simpson's but not nearly at such a high level. Last week we were drinking after the race and he was filling me in on the different technologies. Basically the CANDU reactor, which is Canada's export nuke, is one which burns 'dirt'. The reactors are quite expensive to build but relatively inexpensive to run. You don't need to process the Uranium much at all. The GE product requires more processing but is cheaper to build. The North Korean design depends upon plutonium. Maybe even the GE version... I ferget. We drink, we talk...just sayin'

    I like the idea of 'burnin' dirt'.

  21. You'll notice he has no problem subsidizing the sugar industry, or the oil industry.

    One more time:

    Google Dutko Worldwide/Saudi Arabia, then google Dutko Worldwide/John McCain

  22. According to The Hill Staff's biweekly listing of the top lobbyists in a specific industry [3] DW was one of the major contributors in developing the Consumer Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas, an effort launched by major chemical companies that what to reach a critical lobbying mass by joining industry and consumer groups together in a campaign to lower natural-gas prices. Companies such as American Chemistry Council, American Forest and Paper Association, Dow Chemical]], DuPont, Rohm and Haas, and the Society of Plastic Industries want to cut the rising price of natural gas - which the companies use both to fuel plant production and as a feedstock for their products — by encouraging more drilling and new conservation efforts.

    According to the Center for Public Integrity, DW has also received payment from some 527 groups, including the Democratic Attorneys General Association, Inc. and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. DW, in turn, donated to several 527s, including the Republican Governors Association, the Democratic Governors' Association, DASHPAC - Nonfederal Account, and the Rely On Your Beliefs Fund.


    Top Dutko Worldwide clients include many telecom and media companies, like AT&T Wireless, Level 3 Communications Inc., Sprint, Satellite Broadcasting & Communication Association, Comptel/ASCENT, Cumulus Media and Time Warner.


  23. The Caribbean monk seal is officially extinct.

    Last seen in 1952 on a small group of reef islands between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the seal -- covered in brown fur tinged with gray, and with a yellow belly -- was easy prey for European settlers in the 1600s and 1700s, who killed it for meat, oil, and to seal the bottoms of boats.

    The crew of Columbus' second voyage was the first to kill the seals. "It's one of the first mammals that Columbus saw when he discovered this region, and it's the first one to go extinct," said Kyle Baker of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association's Fisheries Service in Saint Petersburg, Fla.

    Gone for Good

  24. The CANDU reactor facilitated Pakistan's and India's nuclear arsenal. It is bad news. The whole nuclear industry is bad news. In fact, if I was God I'd strike dead every nuclear engineer on this planet.