Saturday, 1 December 2007

Nuclear news from around the Commonwealth

Canada has agreed to join the GNEP (WNN article). This could be a boost to the GNEP programme. Perhaps with Kevin Rudd's crushing defeat of Howard, Canada was able to negotiate the deal they wanted for entry. The real item of interest is the 'review' of AECL. It appears AECL may be getting itself caught up in the furry of sales and mergers occurring within the industry. CANDU reactors are positioned well to 'digest' nuclear waste products and could become very popular in the future. I guess it [buying, selling, changing hands, etc.] comes with the territory of such an industry and I really do hope things work our for them.

Meanwhile in South Africa, the local utility, Eskom is reported here to be running on 5 to 10% reserve margin [not a lot, this results in load-shedding, or turning people's lights out for them]. They are considering MASSIVE nuclear expansion, ~20 plants in 18 years!

When accused of not considering other no/low carbon alternatives, the utility argued:
...while nuclear is expensive to build, it is vastly cheaper to operate, and, at this stage, provides the only true low-carbon alternative to coal.

For this reason, rightly or wrongly, its attention is now shifting strongly from the debates about nuclear to strategies that will ensure that these new facilities are delivered on time and budget. A job made doubly challenging by the fact that few nuclear facilities have been built globally over the last few decades, but the appetite has certainly grown, which has the potential to divert the attention of the vendors involved.

1 comment:

  1. Canada did indeed back of of joining GNEP because of the uproar over the Howard Administration's efforts during the APEC summit last September. Now in addition to GNEP the Canadian government is planning to sell off pieces of AECl to investors including the Russians.