Current Situation of the Nuclear Industry in China

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

Wang Jihong, senior partner of Zhong Lun Law Firm, Vice Chiar of China Chamber of International Commerce Environment and Energy Committee, expert in legislation of nuclear energy and nuclear infrastructure, will give the keynote speech at the 5th Asia Nuclear Business Platform. Before the conference taking place, we have prepared few questions to Wang Jihong.

 

  • Can you give an introduction first about your experience in the nuclear industry?

In the past ten years, I have worked on tens of domestic and international energy and infrastructure projects which were valued more than 800 billion, including the fourth nuclear power plant in Argentina and the Angra Nuclear Power Plant in Brazil.

During the project in Argentina, as the leader of the team, I participated from the pre-project analysis, contract composing, to the final negotiation with the Argentine government, and ensured the project was implemented eventually. Besides, me and my team also provide the legal services for China National Nuclear Corporation.

Additionally, I was invited to join the legislation of China’s Atomic Energy as the only lawyer of the group. In 2016, I was also invited to draft the Nuclear Safety and Security Regulations.

 

  • What is the current situation of the nuclear industry in China? Can you tell from the law firm’s view?

Before, the big nuclear companies in China always relied on their own legal department, rarely cooperated with the law firms. As the nuclear industry in China is growing and become more marketized, especially when “going-out” is highlighted for China’s nuclear industry, the cooperation between nuclear companies and law firms increased a lot. However, it also puts forward a stricter requirement to the lawyer who wants to working in this field.

 

  • Can you share a bit of your work in the legislation of the atomic energy law and Nuclear Safety and Security Regulations? What is the challenge for you?

I participated in the legislation of China’s atomic energy law, and I was the only lawyer in the legislation group. The legislation of the nuclear industry in China is a big topic, I will share more during my Keynote speech.

 

  • What do you expect in the future of working for the nuclear industry?

As my personal point of view, China today is being very aggressive in the international nuclear market, which is called the “ Going Out” strategy. As a lawyer serving the nuclear industry, I am also looking forward to “Going out”. When the Chinese company builds nuclear power plants overseas, the legal issue of the project is getting much more serious. Besides, as China’s nuclear industry “Going out”,  the chance of a Chinese law firm cooperating with the international law firms is also increasing. I would like to share with some of Zhong Lun’s points with the international lawyers at the conference.

 

The 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform will take place on 16-18 May 2017 at Novotel Shanghai, China. For more information, contact: zaf@industry-platform.com.

What Trump means for the nuclear industry

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

us-nuclear

The 11/9 will remain a historic date. It is difficult to predict what is going to happen, but in our industry like in many others, the keyword is uncertainty.

Make energy cheap again?

This could be a way to sum up the President-elect’s plan on energy policy.

It is very clear through Trump’s statements and program that he is pro-easy-and-cheap energy. On his campaign website he advocates for “unleashing America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.” That means the US is going to go back to investing massively in good old fossil fuel.

Mr. Trump also stated that he regretted the US didn’t take Iraq’s oil to “pay back” the cost of invading the country. Perhaps it is part of the President-elect’s plan once he has “bombed the hell out of ISIS”, and would add the country’s oil wells to America’s assets.

Combined with the promise to cancel the Paris COP21 agreement that was supposed to ensure the reduction of CO2 emissions from the world’s biggest polluters, it is clear that Trump’s only goal is to get cheap and easy energy no matter what. It is in accordance with the President-elect belief that the climate change was a “hoax” staged by the Chinese government. Naturally, using coal, oil and gas probably would have no consequence on the environment and public health, according to him anyway.

Mr. Trump said: “We will get the bureaucracy out of the way so we can pursue all forms of energy… The government should not pick winners and losers. Instead it should remove obstacles to exploration.”

Trump will make America “independent” and bring the cost of energy down. It is an excellent news for the fossil fuel companies, and it could create jobs in the sector short term. However, the consequences for other energy sectors, mainly nuclear and renewable energy could be catastrophic.

Nuclear energy can only be economically viable when the fossil fuel energy offer is becoming scarcer. The sector was at its heyday after the 1973 oil crisis. But with the plan to dig out and use coal massively, the prices will drop and nuclear power plants in America will become obsolete losing money machines. The only thing left for American nuclear industry companies would be to invest their technology into nuclear weapons in prospect of selling them to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. President Trump has indeed advocated for them to get their own nuclear weapons as he plans to discontinue the Nuclear Umbrella over US Asian allies.

Can the gain of the fossil-fuel industry account for the loss of other energy sectors?

On the short term, maybe. It will surely give a boost to the economy, it is always the case when energy becomes cheap. But how will America be independent when there is nothing left to dig out?

The President of Walls

During his campaign, Trump has promised to protect America’s interests by isolating the country from what he identifies as dangers. He promised to build a wall at the southern border to protect the US from Mexican immigrants and called to ban all Muslims to enter the territory to protect citizens from terrorism.

In a similar fashion, he has proposed a 45% tax on Chinese imported products, another “wall” supposedly to protect the US manufacturing. On the downside, this could have a huge impact on US exports to China as there is no doubt the Chinese government will retaliate. The US has played a major role in developing China’s energy boom and US companies profit enormously from this growth.

In its 2016 market report, the US International Trade Administration has identified China as the number one country for US civil nuclear exports. What will happen to the deals between Westinghouse, CNNC and CGN should Trump implement aggressive tariffs upon Chinese goods? It is likely that this could profit to other nuclear energy major stakeholders, like Russia, France or even Canada.

I believe that Trump’s energy policy as detailed during his campaign could only benefit to the traditional fossil fuel companies in the US. Globally, this could mean more business opportunities for European and Asian countries’ nuclear sector, should the US exports suffer from Trump’s presidency. The difficulty is attempting to determine which statements were made in order to attract attention, and which ones are true propositions to be implemented.

This is a story we will see unfold after Trump will be officially inaugurated the 45th President of the United States on January 20th.

I would be happy to hear your thought on this matter, what do you think Trump’s energy policy will be like?  Will he implement all his promises?

The future of the nuclear industry and the market opportunities are the focus of the yearly gathering Asia Nuclear Business Platform. The 5th edition will take place in Shanghai from the 16th to 18th of May 2017. For more information on how you can participate, contact romain@industry-platform.com

Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia: A Bridge Too Far?

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

This article was written by Viet Phuong Nguyen and was first published on The Diplomat on 9 Nov 2016

In the late 2000s, energy forecasts began to use the term “nuclear renaissance” to refer to the fast-growing nuclear power program of China, and to the emergence of the so-called “nuclear aspirants” embarking on their first nuclear power projects. Many among these newcomers are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). For this reason, nuclear suppliers like the United States, Russia, Japan, and South Korea have been particularly active in signing cooperation agreements with ASEAN nations or supporting these countries to explore the feasibility of nuclear energy.

However, after almost a decade of pondering the nuclear option, no ASEAN state has made the decision to go nuclear. This article will discuss the evolution of the nuclear endeavor in Southeast Asian nations in order to show that ASEAN may not be a potential market for nuclear energy as the major vendors hoped.

The Philippines

Under the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country to build a nuclear power plant after the Philippine government awarded the American company Westinghouse with a 600-MW project in Bataan in 1973. Facing a fierce anti-nuclear movement and allegations of corruption, the construction of the Bataan nuclear power plant was only completed in 1984. With the overthrow of the Marcos regime in 1986, however, the ill-fated plant has since been mothballed without a single day of operation.

Having invested more than $2 billion for the construction of the nuclear project, and probably another significant amount to maintain it in good condition, the Philippine government has explored plans to revive the Bataan project or to convert it into a thermal power station. None of these plans were seriously considered due to the high projected cost and strong public opposition, particularly from the Catholic Church. Most recently, speaking at a nuclear conference in Manila, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi proposed the idea of restarting the Bataan plant to cope with the energy demand of the country, only to be quickly rebuffed by the newly-elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, citing safety and security concerns.

Vietnam

Among the potential customers of nuclear energy in Southeast Asia, Vietnam been has been considered the most serious given its high-profile agreements with Russia and Japan on the construction of two plants in Ninh Thuan province, and its ambitious plan to build up to ten nuclear units by 2030. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011, when neighboring states like China or Thailand decided to either slow down their nuclear programs or withdraw from the race altogether, the Vietnamese government still reiterated their commitment to follow through with the announced plan and even broadened the country’s nuclear cooperation by signing a nuclear agreement with the United States (commonly known as the “123 Agreement”) in 2014.

After several years of progress, the first signs of trouble in the Ninh Thuan nuclear project came in late 2015 when it was reported that the start of the first unit’s construction would likely be delayed for six years, from the initially planned 2016 to 2022, with the operation date moved further to July 2028. Later that year, Vu Ngoc Hoang, the second-in-command of the Vietnam Communist Party’s propaganda machine, surprised the media and the public with an article alluding to a disagreement among the Party’s leadership on the feasibility of the Ninh Thuan project and proposing to stop the nuclear development program for good. Although Hoang retired not long after the article’s publication, considering the Party’s consensus-driven process of policy making and Hoang’s seniority within the Communist Party as a member of the Party’s Central Committee, it is difficult not to wonder about a dire future for nuclear energy in Vietnam.

Signs of a possible moratorium on or even termination of nuclear development in Vietnam have become apparent since early 2016 with the promulgation of the revised National Electricity Development Plan. The updated plan confirmed the 2028 delay for Ninh Thuan, alongside a significant drop of nuclear power estimates by 2030 (from 10.1 percent in the original plan down to 5.7 percent). In October 2016, “issues related to the construction of the nuclear power plants in Ninh Thuan” were announced by the Fourth Plenum of the new Central Committee, implying that the public will hear soon about the fate of the nuclear project. One month later, the Japanese news agency Kyodo confirmed the Vietnam Communist Party’s decision to postpone both the Russian and Japanese nuclear power projects due to the current financial constraints of the country. Interestingly enough, this definitive confirmation came from a foreign outlet, whereas in recent months Vietnamese domestic media has still focused on debating the necessity of nuclear energy for the country or discussing the risks of the Chinese nuclear plants that have been built and operated near the border with Vietnam.

Other Southeast Asian States

Among the Southeast Asian states, Thailand was the first country to conclude the 123 Agreement with the United States, as well as the earliest contender in the nuclear race, with proposals dating back to the 1960s. After several dormant decades due to safety concerns and the abundance of natural gas, nuclear advocacy made a comeback in Thailand in the 2000s when the Thai government contracted the consulting firm Burns and Roe to study the feasibility of a nuclear power project in the country. However, this renewed interest in nuclear energy has met with intense public opposition, especially after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, to the point that the Thai government has had to indefinitely postpone its nuclear endeavor. As a result, the Thai government did not seek to extend the 123 Agreement, when the agreement expired in 2014. Extending the 123 Agreement is a prerequisite condition if Thailand wants to import nuclear technologies of U.S. origin.

Having one of the more advanced nuclear programs in the region, Indonesia has considered introducing nuclear energy to decrease the country’s dependence on coal and oil since the early 1990s. However, a combination of precarious geological conditions, public opposition, and lack of political determination has made nuclear an undesirable choice in Indonesia’s energy planning. Lately, Indonesian officials reportedly emphasized that nuclear energy would only be considered beyond 2025 if the country’s renewable energy target cannot be met by other options.

The last potential nuclear energy user in the ASEAN community is Malaysia, where the nuclear option has been seriously considered since the late 2000s. Despite having a careful and well-organized development plan, the Malaysian government has continuously moved back the starting date of the country’s first nuclear project in order to gain public support and adjust the technical and financial feasibility of the project. Lately, the CEO of the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation stated that 2030 is the earliest date possible for the construction of the first nuclear plant in Malaysia.

Finally, despite once possessing a controversial nuclear research program, the reformed Myanmar has halted a major part of its nuclear activities in order to show its willingness for political transparency and international cooperation. Furthermore, together with Cambodia and Laos, Myanmar does not have the financial capacity, manpower, or necessary infrastructure for such a complex and expensive project as a nuclear power plant. On the other hand, the leading nation of ASEAN in these aspects – Singapore – has made an official decision to not explore the nuclear option, which is understandable given its limited landmass and environmental concerns.

Conclusions

In reviewing the history of nuclear development (or lack thereof) in Southeast Asia, one can identify the major obstacles for nuclear advocacy, namely the anti-nuclear sentiment, persistent safety concerns, and a lack of consistent political willingness from Southeast Asian governments. Even though nuclear energy has been considered an attractive option in the fight against climate change, which has emerged as one of the most important threats to the region, it is unlikely that those obstacles can be alleviated anytime soon. Rather, similar to the situation in South Korea, where nuclear acceptance has deteriorated significantly in the past two decades, the growing middle class in ASEAN nations will probably become more concerned about environmental issues, of which nuclear energy has always been one of the most poignant.

One example of the increasing power of the environmentalist movement can be found in Vietnam, where mass protests occurred at unprecedented scale in reaction to the large-scale fish kill in the coastal region due to chemical spill from a Taiwan-owned steel factory. Participants in these protests included local people, religious leaders, activists, and lawyers; a similar grouping was observed during the anti-nuclear activities that led to the shutdown of the Bataan nuclear power plant in the Philippines during the 1980s. Therefore, despite the news here and there about the conclusions of new nuclear cooperation agreements by ASEAN nations, it is very difficult to conceive that a nuclear power plant will actually be built in one of these countries, at least in the next one or two decades.

Viet Phuong Nguyen is a predoctoral fellow in the Belfer Center’s International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom. He is a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) after receiving a B.Sc. in nuclear physics from the Vietnam National University and a M.Sc. in nuclear engineering from KAIST.

China’s 13th five-year plan on the development of energy industry – Key highlights

Written by Jeremy Kang Deng. Posted in Nuclear

nuclear-china

On 7th November 2016, the National Energy Administration (NEA) held a press conference elaborating the China’s 13th five-year plan on the development of energy industry. The 13th five-year is a challenge-opportunity for the energy industry of China.

The government set up 5 main directions about the future development of the industry:

  • Intelligentizing of power system
  • Sufficient supply
  • Internationalization of the industry
  • Reducing pollution
  • Marketization of the industry

The NEA announced that by 2020, the total installed capacity of the electricity will be reached 2,000 GWe with 5.5% of growth every year for a sufficient supply.

As for nuclear energy, it will comprise 3% of the total installed capacity, which will be 58 million kilowatts of nuclear electricity in 2020. This number remains the same as it was mentioned the first time in 2015. Unlike the target of wind power which was raised from 20 GWe to 21 GWe, there has not been a new nuclear project being approved by the government recently. The only word that NEA used to describe the development of the nuclear energy is safety. This could be an indication that the central government is becoming more conservative on nuclear energy.

The AP1000 at Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant and Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant, Hualong One at Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant and Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Plant will be very important project to be constructed by 2020. Besides, it is also important to commence the construction of CAP1400 demonstration reactors in the near future.

As for the different type of reactors, the construction of EPR in Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and CANDU in Qinshan Phase III were not mentioned specifically by NEA, which means there may not be more EPR or CANDU reactor to be built in China. As for China’s self-designed technology, it is strongly believed that Hualong One and CAP1400 will be the focus in the future. As for the new technology like HTR, the government might think it is still a little bit early to have a specific plan on it.

NEA maintain their attitude towards the inland nuclear site. However, the spokesman clarified that more work needed to be done “to deeply study the feasibility of an inland nuclear project”. This indicates the strong possibility of China’s first inland nuclear power plant will be constructed during the next five year plan.

Having evaluated the report from NEA, I personally believe that China is still paying high attention on the nuclear industry development. Although there is no new approved nuclear sites in China, China is still the largest nuclear new build market and it will lead the development of the global nuclear industry in the next few years.

What do you think?

The 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform will take place 16-18 May in Shanghai, China. It will be an excellent opportunity to obtain first hand insights on China’s nuclear industry and establish strategic business relationships with key stakeholders.. For more details, please contact: jeremy@industry-platform.com

Insights on Shanghai’s vibrant nuclear industry

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Interview, Nuclear

nuclear-shanghai

Shanghai has traditionally been known as an international metropolis and a global financial hub in the Far East. However the city is also a major hub of China’s nuclear industryand possesses a rich history in the nuclear sector in China. In fact the first and by far largest nuclear power plant build in China, Qinshan, is located 100 km from Shanghai with companies in Shanghai participating in the project.

As a lead-up to the 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform 2017 next May in Shanghai, we spoke with Shanghai Municipal Nuclear Power Office (SMNPO) to learn more about the uniqueness of the nuclear industry in Shanghai. SMNPO is the Supporting Organisation of this industry gathering with Mr. Wei Ping, Director of SMNPO an Advisory Board member for ANBP 2017.

SMNPO functions as the city’s government for the local nuclear industry following the government’s nuclear development strategy and policy. it is in charge of the planning and formulation of Shanghai’s local nuclear industry

“The nuclear industry in Shanghai has been involved in every nuclear new build projects in China, and it is now developing towards the target of large-scale, complete-set, export-oriented, and suitable for multi-reactor type.”

Key topics discussed during the interview include:

  • Overview and history of the nuclear industry in Shanghai
  • Importance of the nuclear industry in Shanghai
  • Uniqueness of the nuclear industry in Shanghai as compared to the rest of China
  • Key nuclear companies in Shanghai
  • Current developments in the nuclear industry in Shanghai
  • Opportunities for international companies in the Shanghai nuclear industry

To read the full interview email zaf@industry-platform.com

As part of ANBP 2017, Shanghai Municipal Nuclear Power Office will be hosting an exclusive presentation to highlight the supply chain partnership opportunities between the Shanghai nuclear companies and international participants. A site visit to Shanghai Electric Manufacturing Base has also been planned.

What is the Potential of the Nuclear Industry in the Middle East?

Written by Jeremy Kang Deng. Posted in Nuclear

nuclear-middle-east

Recently, as a part of their sustainable developing strategy, many middle-eastern countries show the interest in the nuclear energy as a supplement of their power generation.

Iran started using the nuclear energy to produce the electricity ever since 1970s. However, its nuclear project in Bushehr province of which the construction started in 1974 was destroyed by Iraqi’s air strikes during the war while it was half completed. After that Iran and Russia signed contract and a new VVER reactor was rebuilt and it started operation in 2013.

Another Middle Eastern country interests in the nuclear energy is UAE. The Barakah nuclear power plant is a $20 Billion project from a South Korea consortium to build 4 reactors with total outputs 5.6GWe.

Why Nuclear Energy is needed in the Middle East?

In December 2006, six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Oman) announced that the Council was commissioning a study on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. After the announcement, France and Iran agreed to work with them and pledged assistance with nuclear technology. In February 2007, the six countries agreed with the IAEA to cooperate on a feasibility study for a regional nuclear power and desalination program. Saudi Arabia was leading the investigation and this program emerged in 2009. In the past, the Gulf countries were heavily relying on their oil-economy. Developing nuclear energy is one of the solution to diversify its energy structure which will be good for their economy.

Countries like Jordan, imports over 95% of its energy needs, at a cost of about one fifth of its GDP. Jordan’s Committee for Nuclear Strategy was set up in 2007, set out a program for nuclear power to provide 30% of electricity by 2030.

What is the Current Status and the Future of the Nuclear Industry Development in the Middle East?

UAE is ahead of building the first Arab nuclear power plant. The first unit of Barakah nuclear project is expected to start generating electricity in 2017, another three units will also start their operation in 2020. The Barakah nuclear power plant will provide totally 25% of UAE’s electricity needs.

Saudi Arabia is the main electricity producer and consumer in the Gulf area and the biggest potential nuclear market in the Middle East. The demand of electricity in Saudi Arabia is growing 8% per year. In 2013, KA-CARE announced that 17GWe of nuclear capacity will be constructed in Saudi Arabia by 2032, which will take 15% of the country’s total energy demands. The first reactor in Saudi Arabia is expected to be operating in 2022.

Jordan is another country being active in the nuclear industry. A deal was signed with Rosatom in 2013 that 2 AES-92 units will be built by Rosatom in Jordan by 2023. This project will cost $10 billion and Russia contributes 49.9% of it.

The nuclear industry is growing rapidly in this region and the Middle Eastern countries are also actively engaging in the global cooperation. Although most of them are playing the role as a buyer, several cooperative agreements were signed with USA, France, UK, China, and Russia to absorbing the technology. That in another 20 years, the Middle Eastern will be another mature nuclear market.

What’s your comments on the nuclear industry in Middle East?

The nuclear industry in Middle Eastern will be discussed as it is one of the most important new build market in Asia and in the world during the 5th Asia Nuclear Business Platform, which will take place 16-18 May in Shanghai. For more information please contact: jeremy@industry-platform.com

Could Nuclear Power solve Global Warming?

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

global-warming

When is the point of no return?

According to a candidate to the White House that I shall not name, global warming is not caused by human activities. For people with a brain, all the stats are alarming. Since the Industrial Revolution, which started less than two hundred years ago, the global temperatures have risen by almost 1 ° C, threatening countless animal species and making storms, typhoons, cyclones stronger each year.

These are irrefutable facts. And unfortunately, global warming effects are increasingly palpable for many of us. If the trend continues, half of all animal species, your 5 star hotel in Venice and bungalow in the Maldives (and incidentally their population) will disappear, causing massive migrations and disruption of the Earth ecological equilibrium. The question is, when will humans have gone to the point where this problem becomes an unsolvable one?

It is hard to predict, but some scientists believe that we are awfully close, the most pessimistic ones even believe that this point has passed already. In any case, the diagnostic is very serious and we (almost) all know it.

How can nuclear energy help?

When we think about global warming and its terrible effects, we immediately connect it with renewable energy solutions; solar panels, wind farms etc. There is one energy that we never think about, the nuclear energy. Once a promising technology that meant a great civilization progress, public support for nuclear energy has decreased dramatically over the years. Two infamous nuclear catastrophes and the fact that most green political parties are against even the idea of the fission an atom are contributing factors. General public immediately connect the word ‘nuclear’ with ‘dangerous’, ‘dirty’ and ‘destruction’. But how many people actually know that nuclear energy doesn’t produce any CO2?

Now hear me, I am not saying that nuclear energy is the ultimate solution to all our problems, but instead that it can contribute to help us out of this critical situation. We will need a low-carbon source of energy to achieve independence from fossil fuel.

We know how to run nuclear power plants relatively reliably, and there is some progress being made. Generation III and IV reactors are being built or developed around the world, mainly in Asia, and are designed to be safer and run longer (up to 120 years), bringing the costs down. Why not continue to invest into a powerful and clean energy source? Yes, there are a number of problems, nuclear waste management, potential terrorist threats, natural disaster to name a few. But problems are inherent of human inventions, it is all about the amount of effort we put in to solve them.

How humans solve problems

Nuclear power plants are not perfect, when they explode, it’s bad. Spectacular events like nuclear catastrophes or plane crashes are rare, but they stick in our memories and frighten us durably. This fear paralyzes our logical reasoning and can make us take foolish decisions, like driving from point A to B instead of taking a plane. Statistically speaking you have a much higher chance of dying on the road. But being on the groundfeels safer. Is avoiding flying a solution to make planes safer?

Back to our global warming problem, if we continue doing nothing, or being so slow at doing an ersatz of something, our planet is doomed and us with it.

Our economies largely depend on energy supply to grow. No country is willing to give up economic growth because the capitalistic world we live in has made it indispensable. It will be decades, or maybe an entire century for us to switch to an economy that relies completely on renewable energy. We’re living through an extremely slow ‘green revolution’. I’m afraid that we won’t make it in time.

Complex problems need complex solutions. I believe that if we only put our hopes on renewable energy it is not going to work, it’s far too slow to cope with the energy greed of capitalism.

China and India, among the biggest emitters of CO2 are investing massively to build nuclear power plants and many other Asian countries are considering to do the same.

We have to be realistic, we are nearing the point of no return. Nuclear energy is clean, efficient and the technology is available. Governments and engineers need to continue making nuclear power plants safer and cheaper so that it can be part of the solution that will save our planet.

I would be happy to hear your thought on this issue, can nuclear power be part of the solution to global warming?

All these issues, from waste management to financing new builds will be discussed at the Asia Nuclear Business Platform. The 5th edition will take place in Shanghai from the 16th to 18th of May 2017. For more information on how you can participate, contact romain@industry-platform.com

Who profits from the Franco-Chinese nuclear cooperation?

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

nuclear-france

Two key stakeholders, different paths

The European nuclear market is declining, or at best stagnating, whereas the Asian market is on the rise. France and China are two major stakeholders in the civil nuclear industry market and the two countries have been cooperating in the field for the past 30 years. After a period of disinterest, the nuclear industry is regaining momentum, particularly in the emerging Asian markets. In the 2016 ITA Civil Nuclear top Markets report, 4 Asian countries are in the top 5 for the overall ranking for the U.S civil nuclear exports, in order China, India, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates. Global warming and the growing need for domestic and low-cost energy to support economic growth are two major challenges that nations around the world have to face in the 21st century.

The nuclear industry is seen by a number of countries as an efficient and potentially clean alternative to fossil energy. China is investing massively in new nuclear power plants and is currently building 27 nuclear reactors on its territory. Currently ranked 3rd, China should surpass France and the U.S by 2025 in terms of nuclear energy production. French companies such as Areva and EDF are trying to profit from the rapid growth of the Chinese nuclear industry.  The two companies are participating in the construction of two EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) in Taishan.

Although the French nuclear market is not completely dead with the construction of the EPR in Flamanville, it is not dynamic enough for the numerous French nuclear industry companies to prosper. The industry peaked in France in the 1970s and 1980s and made the nuclear energy the source of nearly 80% of the electricity, the highest proportion in the world. This rate is likely to decrease rapidly, with the recent political promises to decommission a number of aging power plants. The French nuclear industry had to start conquering the global market to prosper, with China as a cruicial partner.

 

A worldwide cooperation

Nuclear power plant under construction in Taishan, with a large participation of Areva and EDF

In November  2015, Areva and CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) signed key contracts concerning uranium extraction, nuclear waste management and transport. French President Francois Hollande has also stated that France would welcomed foreign capital as part of the Areva restructuring. This would not affect France’s sovereignty, Hollande reassured, as the French State would still own 87% of Areva’s capital. However this shows that Areva is in relative difficulty with an important debt, and is ready to accept foreign investment in an industry that traditionally was a state monopoly.

The Hinkley Point project, where two EPR are to be built by EDF, Areva and CNNC

The United Kingdom is probably the only exception to the European market’s stagnation. EDF, AREVA and CNNC are currently finalizing the two Hinkley Point EPR. The project will cost £18bn (S$30bn) with a 33% participation from the Chinese stakeholder, raising the British medias’ concerns about the participation. However, the newly appointed Prime Minister Theresa May has approved the project, which will make the proportion of nuclear produced electricity in the UK go up to 7% if finalized.

Is this cooperation profitable for both parties?

Both France and China are hoping to continue and push forward the nuclear cooperation. For now, the two countries seem to profit equally from the arrangement. France has 60 years of nuclear energy experience and willing to export its technology and expertise, and China is eager to invest in the industry to support its growth. But the situation is most likely to change for the French, and the Eldorado they once found in China may well become not profitable. Once the Chinese nuclear industry has reached its full maturity, will there still be a need for the French companies’ expertise?A major shift is happening in the industry from West to East. The companies will have to diversify their activities in Asia notably in new emerging and growing markets such as Vietnam, India, South Korea that are very promising.

Do you think the French and other traditional nuclear powers will survive the industry’s shift from West to East?

Every year, these major issues are discussed by experts and nuclear industry stakeholders from all around the world at the Asia Nuclear Business Platform. The 5th edition will take place in Shanghai from the 16th to 18th of May 2017. For more information on how you can participate, contact romain@industry-platform.com

Why Cyber Security is Important for the Nuclear Industry

Written by Jeremy Kang Deng. Posted in Nuclear

cybersecurity

While designing a nuclear power plant, the safety of the power site contains two types of it, protecting the power plant from the natural disasters such as earthquake and tsunami, and also from a man-made attack. Recently, the Chairman of IAEA Yukiya Amano cited that nuclear power plants have been targeted by hackers ever since three years ago. Just as many other industrial control system, the cyber-controlling system at nuclear power plant is very easy to be the attack target. David-Besse Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio and Brown Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama were both affected by internet virus before. The nuclear energy industry began addressing cyber security more comprehensively after previous terrorist attacks.

The most effective way is to isolate the security system at nuclear energy facilities from the internet. Isolated key control systems using either air gaps, which do not implement any network or internet connectivity, or installed robust hardware-based isolation devices that separate front-office computers from the control system, thus making the front-office computers useless for attacking essential systems. As a result, key safety, security and power generation equipment at the plants are protected from any network-based cyber attacks originating outside the plant.

Another approach is enhanced and implemented strict controls over the use of portable media and equipment. Where devices like thumb drives, compact disks and laptops are used to interface with plant equipment, measures are in place to minimize the cyber threat. These measures include authorizing use of portable assets to the performance of a specific task, minimizing the movement from less secure assets to more secure assets, and virus scanning. As a result, nuclear power plants are well protected from attacks which was propagated through the use of portable media.

Training and insider mitigation programs have been enhanced to include cyber attributes. Individuals who work with digital plant equipment are subject to increased security screening, cyber security training and behavioral observation.

The cyber protection measures of nuclear power palnt include maintaining equipment listed in the plant configuration management program and ensuring changes to the equipment are performed in a controlled manner. A cyber security impact analysis is performed before making changes to relevant equipment. The effectiveness of cyber security controls is periodically assessed, and enhancements are made where necessary. Vulnerability assessments are performed to ensure that the cyber security posture of the equipment is maintained.

As in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has extensive regulations in place that are closely monitored and regularly inspected to ensure cyber security at nuclear power plants. The NRC Cyber Security Directorate provides centralized oversight for this important area. In China, for example, after more than 10 years updating, a completed cyber security system was established in Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, which contains an independent access port and firewall system.

With the increasing concern on the cyber security, it will also become a topic of the 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform next May. For more information on this industry gathering, email jeremy@industry-platform.com

Nuclear industry pivots to Asia – Opportunities in key Asian markets

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Nuclear

nuclear-asia

Asia is one of the regions where nuclear power is “high on the agenda” and could be one of the drivers for global nuclear power deployment, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“This Asia-Pacific region has one of the fastest economic and growth rates in the world. Hence, it follows that the demand for affordable and sustainable energy sources is expected to rise.” – Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director-General, IAEA

The nuclear industry is pivoting towards Asia with key export markets transitioning from the traditional and mature markets of North America and Western Europe to emerging markets in Asia.

China has kept its place as the fastest growing market for nuclear energy. The country currently has 30 units in operation, 24 under construction, 40 planned and dozens more proposed. China also announced plans to export its reactor technology.

While China is undoubtedly providing massive business opportunities for the nuclear industry, other key Asian countries like India, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea are providing opportunities such as:

  • Legal services for NPPs
  • Consulting services for NPPs
  • Advisory services for decommissioning
  • Project management services
  • Gen III nuclear equipment imports

With this in mind, the 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform(ANBP), developed by an international Advisory Board, will provide a perfect platform for nuclear solution providers looking for new business opportunities and forge strategic business relationships in the Asian markets which is worth billions of dollars. Key Asian stakeholders from governments, utilities and NEPIOs will provide participants with insights on business prospects in their respective markets.

Ps: Keen to gain more insights on specific nuclear opportunities in each of the key Asian countries? Email zaf@industry-platform