Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another blogger for nuclear energy

Areva enters the blogsphere with a message from its President

French nuclear giant Areva took a giant step in corporate communications by opening a blog for its North American operations. Areva Blog [us.arevablog.com] opens with a message from its Jacques Besnainou (right), President of Areva Inc..

Jacques BesnainouIt gives me great pleasure to welcome you to AREVA’s blog for North America. We hope this blog will offer a forum on energy issues and our activities in North America. We also hope to foster discussions about energy issues and foster discussions about combating climate change, increasing energy security, and improving economic growth. It will also focus on AREVA’s solutions for clean power generation and electricity distribution in North America.

So far as I know Areva is the first nuclear company to launch a corporate blog with the objective of fostering dialog about energy issues. Lots of energy companies have blogs, but they are often just one-way broadcasts from the corporate PR office. 

In a statement the company said AREVA's blog joins a number of independent blogs in the growing energy and nuclear energy blogging community.  

"There is a vibrant community of energy bloggers on the Internet," said Jacques Besnainou, President of AREVA Inc. "We're proud to add our voice to that community, and we're looking forward to a frank and fruitful conversation."

The blog is just being published this week so the discussion forums aren’t live yet. I’m told they are coming soon. The story can also be told now that in developing this blog, Areva’s team reached out to a fairly diverse group of energy bloggers for ideas and input. That’s an important signal that the company plans to work hard at using its listening skills.

Dialog is welcome. Welcome to the blogsphere Areva. Do well.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Energy Collective forms blogger board

Social media web portal selects four blogs for key role in online dialog about energy policy

EC_160NEW YORK, Mar 02, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- A team of internationally known thought leaders on energy, clean technology and sustainability have come together at The Energy Collective to drive informed debate in the wake of the new administration's efforts to reframe America's approach to energy and environmental policy.

The team will include noted journalist Marc Gunther; "WattHead" Jesse Jenkins, of the Breakthrough Institute; nuclear expert Dan Yurman; and environmental economist Professor John Whitehead, of Appalachian State University.

"These individuals have used the power of blogging to drive new thinking and perspective in their areas of expertise," said Robin Carey, co-founder of The Energy Collective. "Bringing them together in a 'Bloggers Board,' where they can share ideas and best practices greatly amplifies individual voices and provides the smartest discussion/dialog on ALL things related to energy, sustainability and the environment."

All four council members will play active daily roles, presenting onsite commentary, sharing their thoughts on the news of the day and its long-term policy implications, and responding to other posts in the community. Additionally, they will participate in The Energy Collective's frequent webinars, and contribute to the many white papers and podcasts made available to community members.

"One needs only to look at the level of strategic thinking, perspective, world view, life experience and industry sources that each of these guys brings to the table and you realize that this arrangement uniquely uses the power of social networking to create a platform to discuss and debate systemic change, identify the policy levers that exist to impact society, and actually provide solutions to the issues of global warming and our dependency on fossil fuels," Carey said.

By implementing programmatic cross-promotion with each of the members' "home" blogs and sites, the Energy Collective will now be able to share these talents and perspectives with approximately 60,000 unique visitors every month.

About The Energy Collective

The Energy Collective is a moderated online community for people who want to understand and discuss how energy choices, technology and markets are shaping the quest for a secure and sustainable future. The Energy Collective attracts bloggers who are respected scientists, activists, policy makers, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs united by their commitment to innovation as the key to a sustainable future.

About Bloggers Board members

Marc Gunther

Marc Gunther is a writer, speaker and consultant, who focuses on business and the environment. He worked for 12 years as a senior writer at FORTUNE magazine, where he is now a contributing editor. His most recent book, “Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming American Business,” was published by Crown in 2004. A graduate of Yale, he lives in Bethesda, MD.

Marc blogs at the eponymous Marc Gunther.
You can contact Marc at his profile page.

Jesse Jenkins

Jesse is currently the director of energy and climate policy at the Breakthrough Institute where he helps develop and advance new energy solutions to power America's future, secure our energy freedom, and halt global warming. Jesse joined the Breakthrough team in June 2008 to co-direct the Breakthrough Generation Summer Fellows Program.

He blogs at WattHead - Energy News and Commentary, and his work has appeared on The Huffington Post, and in the San Francisco Chronicle and Baltimore Sun. You can contact Jesse at his profile page.

John Whitehead

John Whitehead is a professor in the Department of Economics at Appalachian State University. He has taught benefit-cost analysis, environmental economics, international economics and senior seminar whilst at AppState. John's research interests include finding better ways to attach monetary values to environmental and natural resources for use in benefit-cost analyses.

He blogs at Environmental Economics.
You can contact John at his profile page.

Dan Yurman

Dan Yurman publishes 'Idaho Samizdat' a blog on nuclear energy. It covers the nuclear energy industry globally including economics, politics, and technologies. The blog is now in its third year of operation with readers in 70 countries.

Dan is also writes for Fuel Cycle Week, a nuclear industry trade newsletter which covers the global nuclear fuel cycle. You can contact Dan at his profile page.

Source

Energy Collective
Centerline Group
Rick Toller, 404-924-9830
rtoller@centerlinepr.com

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Areva opens Idaho Falls office

Names Robert Poyser as VP Operations for Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility

French-owned energy giant Areva opened an office in Idaho Falls on March 2 for its subsidiary, Areva Enrichment Services LLC, and appointed three executives who will oversee construction of the multi-billion dollar Eagle Rock enrichment plant.

The company named past Areva vice president of Environmental Affairs & Sustainable Development Robert Poyser (right) as its vice president of Idaho Falls Operations; former Eagle Rock Technical Director George Harper as vice president of Engineering; and government relations veteran and former Congressional staffer and DOE official Michael French as senior policy adviser.

Areva spokesman Jarret Adams said staff at the Idaho Falls office will initially number about six, but as the project moves forward and construction begins the company plans to grow its presence considerably.

“Once construction begins – if the decision comes back favorably from the NRC – peak construction will involve about 1,000 [workers],” Adams said. “So as we move forward that office will get much larger.”

Sam-ShakirThe project is moving forward, and ahead of schedule, said Sam Shakir, (right) president of Areva Enrichment Services. Areva’s application to the NRC was filed in December 2008, three months earlier than expected, and the company is speeding work on design, procurement and construction planning while the application is reviewed.

“We are committed to this project and are accelerating our planning and design activities to ensure we bring this world class facility on line in a timely manner with minimum risk to the nuclear energy industry that is counting on Eagle Rock and its proven technology to deliver critical supply of enrichment services," Shakir said in a release from the company.

Ground could be broken on the Eagle Rock facility as early as 2011, with operations commencing in 2014.

Areva's office in Idaho Falls is located in in Taylor Crossing by the River at:

Areva
1070 Riverwalk Dr. suite 150
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Tel: 208.227.9440

If you want additional details drop an email to: jarret.adams [at] areva.com

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Areva seeks financing solutions

Will it sell shares to utility investors in the Eagle Rock uranium enrichment plant?

Areva logoFrench nuclear giant Areva has money problems. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Feb 23, the firm needs at least [E]3 billion ($3.81B; 1[E] = $1.27) just in 2009 to meet all of its investment needs. Over the next four years, it reportedly will need more than three times that amount to fund its current commitments. Where will the money come from in today’s economic climate?

The WSJ reported last year it posted a 12% profit of [E]760 million on sales of [E]6.17 billion. Results this year were not nearly so good. According to its latest financial report, Areva reported a sharp drop (-22%) in net profits to [E]589 million.

DollarA key liability is the repayment of [E]2.4 billion to Siemens which pulled out of its joint venture with Areva to partner with Russian nuclear energy export programs. Also, Areva is building two of its 1,600 MW EPR reactors in Europe. Both are running late and the one in Finland is now under arbitration with Finnish utility TVO for [E]1.7 billion in cost overruns tied to schedule delays of three years and additional costs for concrete and steel.

Areva does have publically traded shares (EPA:CEI). It is carrying debt of [E]4.5 billion, against a market cap of [E]12 billion and is unlikely to take on any more. Last month Standard & Poors placed the firm on a negative watch for credit.

How to fund global expansion?

The firm has business units that span the entire nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mines, enrichment, nuclear fuel, reactors, and spent fuel reprocessing. It has global reach with operations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

epr logoIt sold two 1,600 MW EPR reactors to China last year along with a commitment to provide nuclear fuel for them for the next two decades. It has an agreement with India to sell two EPR reactors in the near term and as many as six over the next two decades along with fuel to run them for up to 60 years. In Europe it has two EPR reactors under construction, one in France and the other in Finland. French President Nickolas Sarkozy just committed earlier this month to second EPR to be built in France. Areva is also pursuing a reactor deal with the UAE for two EPRs.

In the U.S. it has plans to build a fleet of nuclear reactors at Calvert Cliffs, MD, Callaway, MO, Nine Mile, NY, and Blue Bend, PA. In Canada Areva is at the top of the nuclear fuel supply chain in terms of uranium mining and has growing uranium mining operations in Africa.

Japanese investment deal may be a signal for Idaho’s future

Money futuresThe French government is trying to figure out how to fund the firm’s planned global expansion which includes the $2.4 billion Eagle Rock uranium enrichment plant scheduled to break ground 18 miles west of Idaho Falls, ID, in 2011 and go into commercial operation by 2014. There may be a precedent for what happens with the funding for this facility.

According to the WSJ report, Areva is in negotiating with Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to sell it a 2.5% stake in Areva’s [E]3 billion Georges Besse II plant uranium enrichment plant under construction in France. The plant is already committed to a $6.5 billion contract for uranium enrichment services with Electricity de France. The Japanese share of the plant would work out to $95 million. Areva may also decide to sell additional shares of the plant to other investors.

Areva has applied for federal loan guarantees for the U.S. plant in Idaho which would lower the cost of capital for it. The Department of Energy has not made a decision whether to grant the $2 billion in insurance to Areva or to a competing $3.5 billion plant being built by USEC in Ohio.

Uranium enrichmentUSEC (NYSE:USU) has been on shaky financial ground and is expected to lobby heavily for the government to award the loan guarantee insurance to an American firm.

Louisiana Energy Services, which already has a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant under construction in Eunice, NM, near the Texas border, has not applied for a loan guarantee for that project. Additionally, the firm has put competitive pressure on both Areva and USEC by announcing it will double the plant’s capacity.

One of the attractions for utility investors in the Eagle Rock plant would be a guaranteed supply of enriched uranium for their reactors. Most utilities own the uranium from the time it leaves the mine as yellowcake. They still need access to enrichment services to keep their investors happy with assurances of a robust supply chain for nuclear fuel and to keep their customers supplied with electricity.

A source close to Areva told this blog equity investments are an option, but the path forward depends on whether the firm gets the loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. The agency has, according to the source, told the firm its application is "investment worthy." The source also said Areva has already sold contracts for 3.2 million SWU for the Eagle Rock plant.

Jarret Adams. a spokesman for Areva, said in a press release on March 2 it’s unclear when the DOE may hand down a decision on the loan guarantee application, but the company is optimistic about newly-appointed U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s call to “start printing checks” for programs that support large-scale renewable and nuclear energy projects.

“We’re extremely encouraged. The fact that the secretary has made a point of moving the loan guarantee program forward… might signal that there might be some movement on this over the coming months,” Adams said. “But beyond that it’s anybody’s guess.”

New lamps for old?

new lamps for oldWhile there is nothing about the Eagle Rock facility and Areva’s financial challenges in the WSJ report, nor in a similar report in the Financial Times, both newspapers say the quickest way the firm can raise cash is to sell shares in current projects or sell off some of its assets.

The WSJ points out sale of Areva’s Transmission and Distribution Unit, reportedly worth [E]5 billion, would help the firm’s financial outlook. However, Areva executives told the WSJ they think that option is a bad idea because it is part of the firm’s vertically integrated structure that supplies nuclear energy across the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

According to the Financial Times, Anne Lauvergeon, Areva’s CEO, has estimated the firm needs [E]11billion in the next three years as a growing number of countries launch nuclear programs. She has resisted pressure to finance this growth by selling assets. The Times reports the French government has insisted on changes in return for its support on a capital increase. She has also resisted efforts to merge Areva with Alstom, the French steam turbine giant which has built a U.S. plant in Chattanooga, TN.

NY Stock Exchange floorMs Lauvergeon told the Financial Times that she was "sure that we will find the best funding solutions in the coming weeks.” There is no question Areva would want to hold off selling assets as long as possible. It is very likely betting its vertical integration will pay big dividends once the world economy turns around. It wouldn't want to miss that boat when it sails because it had missing pieces in its business model.

The bottom line is don’t be surprised if Areva offers large nuclear utilities the opportunity to buy shares in the Eagle Rock facility. If it happens, it will add momentum to the project because partners will insist that the plant’s schedule to go into production be met. The investors will also be customers. There is no more demanding investor than one which has a stake in the product as well as the financial return.

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Playing chicken with Vermont Yankee

Legislature wants $600 million for plant shut down in two years.

chicken1The Vermont Legislature has entered into a high risk game of  chicken with Vermont Yankee with legislation that would require its parent owner Entergy to come up with $600 million for the decommissioning fund by 2011.  That’s a lot of cash in a short time, especially in this financial climate. What it looks like is a plan by Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin (D-Windsor) to force the utility to shut down.  That would suit Shumlin just fine.

If that happens, Shumlin can count on two things.  First, there will be much higher electricity rates for the entire state. Second, there will be no change in the utility’s plan to store spent nuclear fuel at the reactor for at least the next several decades. 

The Brattleboro Reformer called the legislature’s actions irresponsible in an editorial this week.

The introduction of the decommissioning bill puts Vermonters in a high-stakes game of chicken over the fate of a power plant that supplies a third of the state's electricity needs -- currently at below-market rates -- and is a major reason for Vermont's low carbon footprint.

Low rates are popular but the plant is not

VYcoolingtowercollapseVermont Yankee has had more than its share of troubles, like a cooling pipe breach in 2007, and has not done well in its efforts to bolster public confidence in the plant.  Although the NRC has noted there have been no safety lapses, as defined in federal regulations, several high profile mishaps, including dropping a cask of spent nuclear fuel, have unnerved the skittish public. Anti-nuclear activists, including Shumlin, have taken full advantage of them for their own purposes.

A more rational plan would be to expect the current decommissioning fund, now at $350 million, to grow over time to $900 million which would meet all of the needs of shutting down the plant if its license is not renewed by the NRC by 2012. 

It is not the legislature’s decision to determine whether the license should be renewed for another 20 years.  It is up to the NRC to renew the license or not.  That process is still underway.  What the demand for $600 million smackers looks like is an effort to extort concessions on electricity rates, already much lower in Vermont than the rest of New England.

One if by land, two if by sea

If the battle really isn’t over shutting down the plant, then the other reason may be an effort to leverage the utility over new rate contracts.

The Brattleboro Reformer reported that Vermont Yankee’s owners said they are days away from offering the state’s utilities a new 20-year power agreement and warned legislators that proposed legislation requiring the company to come up with $600 million for decommissioning could derail its future.

Entergy lawyer John Marshall fell just shy of saying to the legislature that would force the Vernon plant out of business. “That will effectively foreclose more options for continued operation of the plant,” he said.

red sky at morningEntergy Vice President for Operations Jay Thayer told the  legislature Vermont Yankee is Entergy’s least profitable nuclear power plant, Thayer said. “We are not returning a lot of money to the parent company,” he said.

There is an old phrase used by sailors that says “red sky at night sailors’ delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” There is definitely a red sky over Vermont for the future of cheap electric rates from nuclear energy.

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Nuclear News Roundup for 03/01/09

This is the "show me" news post in which I take "Missouri citizenship" about a variety of news events in the nuclear industry, including one in Missouri.

Exelon to NRG: I have you in my clutches my dear

chicago-city-guide-ga-2Chicago-based Exelon (NYSE:EXC), which exemplifies the spirit of a  city that will not take “no” for an answer, claims it now has 51%or a controlling interest in New Jersey-based NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG).  Although, most of what Exelon wants isn’t in New Jersey.   Look west for the reason.  NRG has two operating nuclear plants in Texas and two more that are under construction at the same site.

Exelon said in a news release that 125 million shares, worth $2.38 billion, or 51% of the outstanding NRG stock, had been tendered since Exelon extended its offer for the company. Exelon extended the offer again, until June 26, to buy each NRG share for 0.485 Exelon shares. 

In short, Exelon’s hostile all-stock takeover of NRG will net it two operating nuclear reactors, and two new ones under construction, for less than the price of a new one. This is the part of the “nuclear renaissance” that the Medici family would easily recognize.

The Dallas Morning News reported Exelon executives interpreted the results of the tender offer to mean that NRG shareholders would accept the offer, even though the tender doesn't bind a shareholder to sell his or her shares.

"If NRG still refuses to listen to its shareholders, we will have no choice but to press forward to seek election of an expanded NRG board with new independent directors," Exelon chief executive John Rowe said in a prepared statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that is NRG refusing to recognize reality, that the fair maiden really is tied up on the railroad tracks. In response Exelon says it will nominate its own slate for the board. 

William Von Hoene Jr., Exelon's general counsel,said Exelon would pursue a proxy contest to replace NRG's board with its own nominees at the next annual meeting.

"We are fully prepared in the event that they do not [negotiate], to solicit the proxies and attempt to change the composition of the board."

Exelon’s all stock hostile bid depends on NRG shareholders actually selling their stock. Right now Exelon is holding offers to sell.  Watch this space in June.

Missouri Governor balks at change in nuclear energy law

ameren logoMissouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he doesn't think a law should be  changed this year to help Ameren build a second nuclear power plant. The Associated Press reports that Nixon, a Democrat, told St. Louis radio station KMOX that Ameren should first get the NRC license before focusing on financing.

Nixon is concerned that Ameren could collect money from a rate increase to pay for the plant for the next several years, get the NRC license in 2012, and then decide not to build the plant.

"I think that we need to be very careful, especially in these economic times, that we aren't putting additional stress on families out there and their heating bills and their cooling bills and all that for something that might happen in the future," Nixon said.

Legislation designed to help Ameren has backing by both Republicans and Democrats, but the criticism of the bills also has been bipartisan. The law, if changed, would allow Ameren to collect money from the rate base to pay for the plant while it was being built. Current Missouri law, dating back to the 1970s, prohibits this practice.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey said in a written statement released Friday to The Associated Press that lawmakers should continue negotiating and try to get the bill passed this year.

"The passage of this legislation and the construction of this plant will move our state in the right direction," McVey said. "While there is still time for compromise, there is not time for delay."

The Missouri Energy Development Association, a trade group for investor-owned utilities such as Ameren, estimates that residential customers would pay 1% to 3% more per year and just over 10% for the entire project.

Critics of the legislation estimate that electric rate increases could be significantly higher. Missouri Public Counsel Lewis Mills, who advocates for consumers before state utility regulators, has said that he expects rate increases will be at least double Ameren's estimates.

MIT Geeks swoon over Traveling Wave reactor concept

complex organizationIntellectual Ventures, a patent mill that aggressively seeks revenue through licensing of high technology intellectual property, has a sideline called Terrapower LLC funded by the Microsoft foundation.  It is an effort to build a radically new nuclear reactor.

There are an estimated 35 nuclear reactors currently being built in 11 countries, (notably China, South Korea, Japan and Russia) and 22 applications under review for new reactor construction in the U.S.. It is no surprise to anyone reading this that energy policy experts expect increasing use of nuclear energy worldwide.

This reality apparently motivated Nathan Myhrvold, who runs Intellectual Ventures, to direct his company to find better solutions to problems of managing spent fuel and proliferation concerns associated with traditional nuclear power.  His idealistic vision contrasts remarkably with a well-honed instinct for lawsuits and conflict over licensing of computer and electronics patents.  He’s attracted plenty of critics over his business practices.

MIT’s Technology Review named the TerraPower project one of the ten emerging technologies of 2009 and it hired NY Times reporter Matt Wald to do the write up. Wald presented this breathless prose to readers.

The traveling-wave idea dates to the early 1990s. However, Gilleland's team is the first to develop a practical design. Intellectual Ventures has patented the technology; the company says it is in licensing discussions with reactor manufacturers but won't name them. Although there are still some basic design issues to be worked out--for instance, precise models of how the reactor would behave under accident conditions--Gilleland thinks a commercial unit could be running by the early 2020s.

This optimism is seriously overwrought.  There are very significant reasons why it could take much longer for the reactor to catch on. 

The first is the weight of all the light water reactors that have decades of useful revenue service in front of them. 

Second, every reactor in the world coming off the drawing boards today, except for a few “pebble beds,” is a light water reactor.  Nuclear utilities are very risk adverse and always go with the “known knowns” of the engineering world.  That’s one of the reasons why MOX fuel has had such a slow rate of adoption.  It is a different fuel type that requires new operating procedures, safety plans, and has new economic issues.

Third, no one knows whether such reactor will work. No prototype has been built. All we have is Gilleland’s word for it.  Even if Microsoft with all its money wants to build a prototype, it had better think about committing at least $500 million to $1 billion to accomplish that result, which can only take place after it convinces the NRC to grant the project a license.

Fourth, once Microsoft has a prototype, it has operate it for a period of time to figure out whether it is really as safe as claimed and to get numbers to figure out whether anyone can make money with one.  My guess is 2020 could turn out to be 2040.

If you think these questions are without merit, just take a look at the history of the Pebble Bed design which was first developed in Germany in the 1950s.  Six decades later it is just getting to the point where one country, China, is developing a commercial version.  Similar efforts in the U.S. and South Africa are seriously lagging behind the Chinese effort.  

There is also some evidence that TerraPower isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket.  A review of job listings issued by the firm calls for nuclear engineers with experience designing liquid metal or molten salt reactors (large graphic) (video).  That hint in a job description suggests a parallel effort to explore sodium cooled reactors or an entirely different design which is the Liquid Fluoride reactor, a thermal breeder first developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The R&D director at TerraPower is Kevin Weaver who previously worked on the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) mission at the Idaho National Laboratory.  The NGNP is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor.  The question now becomes how many irons does Microsoft really have in the fire and which way is it really going?

My key question remains which is that with all these obvious barriers to market, what makes Microsoft think they can leapfrog decades of history in terms of diffusion of innovation in a very capital intensive industry?  This isn’t software. It’s hardware.  I’ll take Missouri citizenship on this one.  Show me.

Russia faces “show me” questions about its nuclear build

A Canadian think tank has published a study that should be required reading for anyone making an assessment of Russia's efforts to export nuclear technologies and to build up its own infrastructure. 

Russia's ambitions for its "nuclear renaissance" face many obstacles, concludes a report released by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

“The Russian Nuclear Industry: Status and Prospects” provides a detailed analysis of the current state of the nuclear power industry in Russia and shows that although this industry has recently been greeted with renewed funding and enthusiasm, achieving its ambitious plans will require it to overcome considerable problems and limitations.

"Continuing a tendency from Soviet-era days, the Russian government has shown a predilection for developing grandiose plans for the expansion of the nuclear energy sector that are not fulfilled," writes Miles Pomper, author of the paper. "While the first post-Soviet nuclear plans called for a total of 38 new nuclear reactors to be built, only three have actually been constructed and with capabilities that are not superior or even equal to its Western competitors."

The author examines Russia's plans to recombine the nuclear complex into one entity in order to centralize control, promote investment in profit-generating projects, and attempt to make the industry self-supporting by 2015.

He argues that limited financial resources and strained technical capabilities will stand in the way of the country meeting its goals of both rapidly developing new reactors and fostering a fully self-sustaining nuclear industry by 2015, especially if Russia will have to decommission many of its aging Soviet-era nuclear reactors and deal with the growing problem of nuclear waste.

China readies four new 1,000 MW units in Anhui

The China Daily reports that the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), builder of the Qinshan and Tianwan nuclear plants, set up a new company in Anhui province on Wednesday to develop its Jiyang nuclear power plant.

The project, located in Chizhou, a city on the Yangtze River, is designed to have four 1000-MW nuclear reactors, with a total investment of over 50 billion yuan ($7.31 billion).  The reactors most likely will be an indigenous design similar to other reactors already under construction.

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