Japan, US to join hands in building nuclear power plants

Japan said it would help build nuclear power plants in the US, sensing opportunities for Japanese companies.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to promoting bilateral nuclear energy cooperation,” said a joint statement after talks between Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari and US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.

The energy ministers from the said in the statement they intended to “consult on potential financing support measures that would facilitate nuclear power plant construction in the US.”

Nuclear power has come under renewed spotlight amid record-setting oil price rises, with the USA building new nuclear power plants for the first time in 30 years.

There are plans to build more than 30 nuclear power plants in the country, raising the need for funding, a Japanese statement noted.

“It is highly possible that Japanese companies will take part in many projects in the United States market, which is the largest in the world,” it said.

“If we make progress in policy cooperation with the United States regarding financial support, Japan’s nuclear power industry will be able to make a leap in overseas operations,” it added.

J-Power, Chugoku Electric to test coal gasification technology

Japan’s J-Power and Chugoku Electric Power will jointly conduct large-scale testing of a technology that may dramatically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal fired power generation.

Oxygen-blown coal gasification technology is designed to convert coal into a synthesized inflammable gas consisting mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

The technology is seen as helping to enhance the efficiency of power generation, as the gas procured can be used as a fuel for gas turbines and heat from the gasification process can be used to drive steam turbines, the two companies said. The technology is also expected to make it easier to capture CO2 from coal.

J-Power and Chugoku Electric will set up a test plant with power output capacity of some 150 GW on the premises of Chugoku Electric’s Osaki power station in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan.

The start of operations at the test plant is expected to be seen in fiscal year 2016, with investment costs potentially reaching several tens of billions of yen.

The companies will check the reliability, operability and economic efficiency of the plant, which will consist of a gasification furnace and both steam and gas turbines.

Alsons venture to build $450m coal plant in the Philippines

Conal, a joint venture of the Mindanao-based Alcantara family’s Alsons Consolidated Resources and Thailand’s Egko, will invest $450m in a 200 MW coal fired power plant in the Philippine province of Sarangani in Mindanao.

The Kamanga power plant (KPP) is expected to be able to provide part of the Mindanao grid’s baseload power need when it goes live in 2012, project manager Gregorio Gonzales said in a statement. According to Gonzales, based on initial design studies the plant could be expanded by as much as 700 MW.

The plant is designed to produce initially 200 MW by 2011, with two 350 MW expansions over a 15-year period. When fully completed, the plant will be able to generate 900 MW of electricity.

Mindanao has a generating capacity of 1850 MW, but the dependable capacity is placed at only 1520 MW. Peak demand starting this year is projected to reach 1440 MW, with it reaching 1750 MW by 2015. Industry regulations require the Mindanao grid to maintain a reserve capacity of at least 23 per cent.

China’s wind power capacity set to triple in two years

China plans to triple its wind power capacity over the next two years, according to a senior policy development official.

China’s total wind power capacity now stands at six GW, but by end 2008 this will have reached ten GW. And by 2010, the central government will have boosted wind power production to 20 GW said Song Yanqin, deputy director of the research management and international collaboration division of China’s Energy Research Institute.

“An increase in wind power capacity will ensure environmental protection,” Song said.

IAEA will help Bangladesh go nuclear

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will extend technical assistance and support to power-starved Bangladesh to create a civil nuclear programme.

Dr. Mostafizur Rahman, the acting chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) said the IAEA will help the country set up a nuclear power plant of 1000 MW. He said the plant will cost over $1.5bn.

According to Dr. Rahman, Russia, France and South Korea and several other countries are interested in financing the nuclear plant.

Australia: Ocean Power Technologies and Griffin Energy to develop a wave power station off the coast of Western Australia. The station will produce up to 10 MW of wave power, with potential to expand capacity to 100 MW.

Australia: Queensland Gas Company has commenced a six-month feasibility study on a proposed $575m gas fired baseload power station in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The power station would be fed by coal seam gas from fields in southern Queensland transported along an 850 km pipeline.

Australia: The city of Sydney’s nuclear reactor has been restarted. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization shutdown the Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor in July last year after several fuel plates were found to have moved from their original positions.

Banglasdesh: Dhaka is to make the installation of solar panels on the top of high-rise buildings mandatory in a bid to boost the country’s current power capacity of 3.5 GW.

India: Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited is to build a $268m, 153 MW gas fired power plant in Bhatinda, in the northern state of Punjab. The order was placed by HMEL, a joint venture of HPCL and Mittal Energy.

Pakistan: The Asian Development Bank is to lend $200m to Islamabad as part of an $800m project to augment, rehabilitate and expand the country’s primary power transmission system and remove bottlenecks.

South Korea: Siemens has won an order to supply key components and gas turbine services for units five and six (500 MW each) of the PESCO Power combined-cycle power plant in Incheon, near the capital Seoul. Commercial operation is expected by mid-2011.

South Korea: Thermo Fisher Scientific has won a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from Doosan Heavy Industries to supply multiple ex-core neutron flux monitoring systems to units three and four of Ulsan City’s Shin Kori nuclear power station.

Thailand: Amata Corp and Japan’s Sumitomo will invest 12.8bn Baht ($388m) to build a 280 MW cogeneration plant in Rayong. The plant is expected to begin commercial operation in 2012.