Thailand in $6bn nuclear plunge

Thailand’s largest utility will invest $6bn on building the country’s first nuclear power plant, which is expected to start operation in 2020.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said the 4000 MW plant will be part of the nation’s long-term plan to cope with a looming power shortage.

“Building a nuclear power plant is unavoidable for Thailand given the current pace of rising electricity demand,” the EGAT governor Kraisi Kanasuta told the global news agency, AFP.

The country relies on natural gas for 70 per cent of its electricity, with the rest coming from oil, coal and hydropower. One third of the natural gas consumed in Thailand is imported, mainly from neighbouring Myanmar, and Kraisi said EGAT was worried about a future spike in prices because of its limited reserves. Thailand spent $26bn on energy imports last year, up 16 per cent, according to the energy ministry.

EGAT said it would consider issuing bonds to finance the investment and seek offshore loans. It will recruit Thai engineers to study nuclear technology in the USA, Europe and Japan. Japan’s Toshiba, its subsidiary Westinghouse of the United States and French firm Areva have offered to build the plant.

EGAT has made no decision yet on a constructor for the plant, but fuel for it could come from Australia, Canada or South Africa.

MAN wins contract to build Pakistan diesel plants

MAN Diesel has signed a deal with Pakistan’s Atlas Group to build diesel power plants in the country.

The cooperation agreement “covers the development, design, construction and maintenance of four turnkey diesel plants of between 120 MW and 225 MW, to be completed by 2012,” said MAN Diesel chief Georg Pachta-Reyhofen.

The plants will be built in the north of Pakistan, near the city of Lahore, with the first plant to come into operation in Sheikhupura in March 2009.

MAN Diesel will supply the engines, and the contract also includes operation and maintenance of the plant for 10 years.

The order volume for this first stage is in the region of $268m. MAN Diesel will be responsible for construction and operation, while Atlas Group will be responsible for all economic and financial aspects.

MHI launches fast breeder group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has formed Mitsubishi FBR Systems (MFBR) as part of its plan to develop fast breeder reactors.

The launch follows an April decision by the Japanese government to select MHI to be the core company for fast breeder development in Japan.

MFBR will coordinate all activities geared to the development, including conceptual design of the demonstration and commercial reactors, targeting its completion for 2015, and order placement of new technologies for innovation to manufacturers. The company is also targeted to play a major role in international collaboration in FBR development with investment by electricity providers to be accepted in the future.

The first commercial reactor is anticipated to be launched by 2050.

Huaneng Power International gets approval for Qinbei power plant

China’s largest listed power company, Huaneng Power International, has won approval from China’s policy regulator, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), for construction of two 600 MW coal fired supercritical generating units in Qinbei power plant in Henan Province.

The project contains retail gas desulphurization, dust control efficiency and retail gas monitoring facilities. Meanwhile, the plant also plans to match this with a desulphurization facility for its first two 600 MW coal fired generating units.

The whole project will require an investment of 4.48bn yuan ($593m).

Myanmar installs more transmission lines for new power plant

Myanmar is to extend transmission lines across the country to tap electricity from the Shweli hydropower plant in Shan state, which is close to completion, according to a government spokesman.

The lines will cross the seven states and divisions of Mandalay, Magway, Sagaing, Shan, Kachin, Chin and Kayin.

The lines will connect Shweli to the national grid to bring electricity to towns and villages, the report said.

Shweli, which lies on the Shweli River in Namhkam, northern Shan state, started construction in 2003, and the installed capacity is 600 MW with an annual generating capacity of 4022 GWh.

France to help Vietnam build first nuclear power plant

A French diplomat has affirmed his country’s willingness to aid Vietnam to develop a legal corridor for the construction of its first ever nuclear power plant.

Vietnam has planned to build the first nuclear power plant at Phuoc Dinh commune in southern Ninh Thuan province. The 2000 MW plant will generate 14-15 TWh of power a year and will cost $3.4bn.

French Ambassador G.F Blarel made the affirmation at a seminar in Hanoi in mid-July, when he presented the Vietnamese side with the thermal-hydraulic system software CATHARE for simulating severe accident sequences in a reactor. The seminar was co-organized by the Ministries of Industry, and Science and Technology and the Embassy of France.

Australia: Origin Energy has announced its decision to proceed with the construction of a 630 MW gas fired power station near Braemar in the Darling Downs region of Queensland. It will be the biggest combined-cycle power station in Australia, producing enough power to supply the equivalent of 400 000 homes.

Bangladesh: Because of various irregularities the 100 MW first phase of Chandpur 150 MW power project, the Fenchuganj 90 MW project and the 450 MW Meghnaghat-2 project may not go ahead. The contracts for these projects were awarded by the previous BNP-led alliance government.

China: Scottish renewable energy company SgurrEnergy has been appointed to provide technical advice on the first-phase of the Bailingmiao wind farm project on behalf of Honiton Energy. The project is the first Chinese wind farm to be funded by a western developer and marks the beginning of Honiton’s plans to install 4000 MW of wind farm development over the next 15 years.

India: Alstom has won a contract worth approximately €175m ($241m) with Gujarat State Electricity Corporation for the construction of the a 370 MW plant,as an extension of the existing combined-cycle power plant located at Utran, Surat District.

India: Invensys Process Systems has been selected by Shandong No. 3 Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO III) of China to implement Foxboro I/A Series distributed control systems for a 3600 MW generating station being built in Jharsuguda district, Orissa state, India.

Indonesia: The country’s biggest power producer PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara has selected Mitsubishi as the winner of a project to double power generating capacity at its Muara Karang gas fired power plant to 720 MW at a cost of $430m.

New Zealand: The Environment Court has shaken the foundations of the Motorimu wind farm project by slashing the number of turbines by 40 per cent. This threatens to make the project unviable.

Philippines: The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has signed a loan agreement of up to $2.1bn with Crimson Power Holdings Company. The loan will help CPHI to acquire interests in three thermal power plants with a power capacity totalling 2203 MW.

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