Energy 2.0

Next generation nuclear and the best ideas in clean, safe power

Category Geographic Frontiers

International schemes hatch to tap nuclear for industrial heat

China, India, Russia others eyeing high temperature reactors for producing metals, hydrogen, fossil fuels, petrochemicals. Desalination too. Beijing targets 2017.

Temperature's rising: The early construction stage of China's high temperature (750-degree C) pebble bed reactor at Shidao Bay, due for grid connection in 2017. China broke ground in late 2012. Over the last month alone it has completed installation of fuel production machinery, and has successfully tested fuel pumps.

One of the most compelling reasons for the nuclear industry to start building novel reactors is that alternative designs could broaden nuclear’s clean energy appeal well beyond electricity generation and into a source of CO2-free heat that powers industrial processes. Nuclear could usher in tremendous environmental improvements if it were to replace the CO2-spewing fossil fuels that fire up steel and cement furnaces, and that process and refine materials like

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China, Canada jointly ratchet up thorium, alternative fuels for CANDU reactors

Could build for other countries too. Argentina and Romania next?

Used fuel and thorium are already part of the mix at the Qinshan CANDU reactors in China.

Once again, leave it to China to demonstrate that the future of nuclear could well reside in reactor technologies that are notably different from the conventional reactors that have defined the industry forever. And in China’s most recent example, throw in another country that itself is emerging as a leader in alternative nuclear: Canada. State and private-sector entities from the two countries in late July signed a memorandum of understanding

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ExxonMobil: Nuclear power will double

Yes, ExxonMobil. Shell sees growth too. The oil companies know that nuclear is clean.

Nuclear nights: Nuclear will increasingly keep the world's lights on as countries like China continue to grow and turn to cleaner energy sources. Above, Shanghai's Pudong district.

Let’s start this week’s blog with a quiz. Identify the source of this global prediction: “By 2040, we expect that the use of nuclear power will approximately double.” Is it: a) a leading utility; b) a large nuclear company; c) one of those growing crop of greenies clamoring for nuclear to help staunch the spewing of environmentally ruinous carbon dioxide (we like those folks here at Energy 2.0); d) a

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Nuclear will keep the home fires burning in China

Beijing practices what it preaches as it campaigns to export reactors

Raising the temperature: China's nuclear expansion includes the development of small high temperature reactors that will provide heat for industrial processes. Jiang Mianheng, who is the son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, heads a Shanghai high temperature project for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent blogs, we’ve pointed out how nuclear reactor companies are turning to seemingly unlikely geographies for growth. Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America – hardly traditional nuclear markets – look set to help revive the nuclear renaissance that stalled following the meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima plant in March, 2011. We’ve also noted that China and its state-owned reactor companies are among the nuclear purveyors chasing business

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China steps up nuclear ties with Arab world

Non-western and developing nations turn to the East and Russia for maiden voyages into atomic energy. The West likes them too – London calling!

Chinese president Xi Jinping, pictured with U.S. Barack Obama during March's Nuclear Security Summit in Holland, wants to help the Arab world achieve “high tech breakthroughs in nuclear energy.”

Welcome to the new growth curve of nuclear power: While developed countries like Germany, Japan and the U.S. either walk away or dither over their commitment to atomic energy, non-Western and developing nations are turning to it in droves, often tapping Russia, China and the East as their provider.

New frontiers for nuclear include Africa – and not just for electricity

Could the continent start hosting novel reactors?

Lagos, Nigeria is Africa's largest city with about 21 million people. It and the rapidly growing country lack adequate electricity and clean water. Nuclear power looks poised to help.

It is becoming a trend: As countries from the developed world prevaricate over nuclear power, the technology is gaining favor in underdeveloped nations and other places where you might not expect it as a source of desperately needed clean, steady, low-carbon electricity. Want proof?  Just look at the last week’s headlines from Africa alone, where three countries – Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria – all made moves toward establishing their first

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Indonesia’s nuclear future: Electricity, clean water and – Bill Gates?

A low-CO2 model for other countries too

The greening of Kalimantan: Lush Indonesia generates close to 90 percent of its electricity from coal, oil and natural gas. It needs a lot more power to sustain its economic growth, and it's looking toward nuclear, which could power smelters and desalination in places like Kalimantan (above).

Nuclear energy developer Bill Gates – better known as software billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates – is reportedly mulling a proposal to build his novel reactor for Indonesia, and while a deal looks unlikely, the prospect underscores how nuclear is poised for a pivotal transition towards not only superior new reactor technologies, but also to new markets and innovative uses of the clean energy source. Gates, who is chairman of

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