Monday, March 8, 2010

Sarkozy calls for easier financing for nuclear energy

World Bank does not offer loans for reactors

Sarkozy SA.jog(NucNet): March 8, 2010 Paris - French president Nicolas Sarkozy (right) urged  developing countries to embrace nuclear energy and called on financial institutions to help fund it so countries are not “condemned to rely on more costly energy that causes greater pollution.”

“We need nuclear energy” to meet global goals for fighting and slowing climate change, Mr Sarkozy said in opening the International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy in Paris.

“I do not understand why international financial institutions and development banks do not finance civil nuclear energy projects. The current situation means that countries are condemned to rely on more costly energy that causes greater pollution.”

He urged the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other development banks to make “a wholehearted commitment” to financing nuclear energy projects.
He also highlighted the “problem” of allocating carbon credits through clean development technologies. He said outdated ideology means that a country developing civil nuclear energy cannot obtain carbon credits.

“Therefore, I propose that CO2 credits be used to finance all forms of decarbonised energy under a new global architecture after 2013.  “The important task today is to send the world a message about our shared determination to make civil nuclear energy a tool for peace, cooperation and prosperity.” 

He said the “quasi-theological opposition” between nuclear energy and renewable resources is out of date.
“We need both. Of course, nuclear energy cannot reverse climate change on its own, but it will be necessary.”

Mr Sarkozy called for an “enhanced” International Atomic Energy Agency with broader powers and with a kind of scoreboard to rate international reactors on safety.

He also spoke of the need to make sure the nuclear energy industry had adequate human resources. He said he had decided to step up France’s efforts by creating an international nuclear energy institute that will include an international nuclear energy school.

The school would offer high quality education at the nuclear sites of Saclay and Cadarache.

The two-day conference is organized by the French government in partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).

Additional coverage by the Seattle Times

CEO Of South Africa’s PBMR project steps down

(NucNet): Unable to obtain funding from the World Bank, or other investors, the CEO of South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) resigned, just weeks after the company said it was contemplating a large-scale restructuring in an attempt to reduce costs and extend its operational life.

Jaco KriekPBMR said in a statement that Jaco Kriek (right)has agreed with PBMR chairman Alistair Ruiters to help with the handover process. Mr Kriek will also continue to help with some PBMR activities in the next few months.

On 18 February 2010, PBMR said it was considering a restructuring that might involve a reduction of approximately 75 percent of the company’s 800 staff.
In a statement at the time PBMR said the future of the company would depend largely on the outcome of discussions with existing and future investors and stakeholders to determine their conditions for further investment.

The PBMR project involves the building of a demonstration plant at Koeberg, the site of the country’s only existing nuclear reactor unit, and a pebble fuel manufacturing plant at Pelindaba near Pretoria.

Efforts by South Africa to obtain funding for conventional light water reactors have also failed.  The country cancelled a tender for two 1,000 MW plants last year.  Talks about re-starting the tenders have been muted due to the dire financial condition of Eskom, the state-owned utility.

Previous coverage on this blog

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