Nuclear Power in China
Note: The three blue thin lines in Qinghai province. They are, in order from South to North, Mekong, Yangtse, and Huang ( Yellow River) rivers. Once the glaciers in Qinghai deminish, the three great rivers will run dry. This is likely to happen before the end of the 21st century!
More than 16 provinces, regions and municipalities have announced intentions to build nuclear power plants in the 12th Five Year Plan 2011-15. These include Henan and Sichuan, as well as those listed in the Further nuclear power units proposed Table below: click the link below to read the whole article.
Note: How do China handle its nuclear wastes? Will nuclear wastes be buried in Taklamakan desert, Gobi desert, or somewhere in Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous regions?
Nuclear Power in China
Yuyin, Green Watershed (China) talks about nuclear energy
Is Nuclear Power Worth the Environmental Cost?
May 25, 2011
Are China’s factories running out of
Why has Global Sticks, a manufacturer of wooden ice cream sticks, moving from Dalian, China, to Thunder Bay, Ontario?
It’s the kind of low margin manufacturing that is never supposed to come back after it leaves North America for cheaper labour abroad.
But wage costs are no longer everything they were cracked up to be. In today’s world of soaring energy costs, power rationing and export taxes on key commodities such as wood, wage gaps are less important. When the power goes off, it suddenly doesn’t matter if your labor is expensive. Factories don’t run on sweat alone.
As the price of the bunker fuel that transports those ice creams sticks to customers around the world tracks soaring world oil prices, the distance between your factory in Dalian and North American kids lining up at their neighborhood ice cream store, becomes more expensive every day.
When the price and availability of energy start to dominate your business plan, you say goodbye to your inexpensive Chinese labor force, and pack up and leave.
Of course, not everybody can leave. Those that stay are bracing for what China’s Electricity Association is warning will be the nation’s largest power shortage in years this summer. As many as 20 provinces and territories have already been put on power rationing, including the country’s industrial heartland.
The provincial government in Zhejiang, a manufacturing hub close to Shanghai, has notified 44 major industries about limits on their power consumption. Companies that exceed these limits face prohibitive power tariffs that would threaten much of the region’s low margin manufacturing. The story isn’t any different in Guangdong, south China’s manufacturing hub. Its industries must also cope with limits on power usage.
It won’t be long before all that power rationing starts to curb economic growth, particularly in the power-intensive centres of China’s industrial production such as aluminum and steel.
The failure of regulated power prices to keep pace with soaring world coal prices lies at the heart of the China’s power crisis (as well as in similar power crisis sweeping neighboring India and Pakistan.) Chinese power prices have gone up as little as 1/10 of the rise in world oil prices.
Not only is this practice economically untenable for coal fired power generators, who supply over three quarters of China’s power but it encourages unsustainable rates of coal consumption.
Last year, the power hungry Chinese economy burnt a staggering 3.2 billion tons of coal.
Beijing has already warned the country may soon hit peak coal production, forcing greater reliance on ever-more costly imports. In the meantime, China has banned the export of diesel fuel, which may soon be needed for power generation.
As China’s power crisis worsens this summer look for more firms such as Global Sticks to relocate production and come back home.
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May 31, 2011
China hikes electricity rates to counter
China has raised electricity rates for some industrial users as parts of the country grapple with their worst energy crisis in years, despite concerns higher costs may add to inflation.
Residential rates were unchanged, the government announced late Monday. It gave no details of where the changes would be imposed.
The increase of about 20 yuan (about $3) per 1,000 kilowatt hours, ordered by the National Development and Reform Commission, is meant to encourage conservation and to give producers a financial incentive to increase output despite losses from surging coal and oil costs.
Household customers apparently were exempted to ease the impact on a public that already is struggling with inflation that pushed up food prices by 11.5 percent in April.
Some 20 Chinese provinces and regions are enduring their worst shortages in years, with factories and residents facing power cuts as supply runs short of demand – a problem worsening as a drought dries rivers, reducing hydroelectric capacity.
Closures of older coal-fired plants to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants have also cut into supply.
Authorities have warned that manufacturers in booming industrial regions west of Shanghai may face even tighter power rationing when demand surges in the peak summer months.
It is unclear if the rate increase will do enough to help to rebalance supply and demand.
The industry group China Electricity Council has estimated a power shortfall of up to 40 million kilowatts in the summer. That is less than 5 percent of China’s generating capacity, but the shortages are concentrated in key manufacturing regions such as Zhejiang and Jiangsu, near Shanghai.
The thermal power plants that provide about 80 percent of China’s electricity have balked at investing in new facilities given the poor prospects for profitability due to government price controls that prevent utilities from passing on increases in costs.
The five biggest utilities reported losses of 10.6 billion yuan ($923 million) in January-April, up 220 percent from a year earlier, analyst Dariusz Kowalczyk said in a recent report for Credit Agricole.
Increasing rates “would not solve the problem as shortages largely reflect a swift increase in demand, insufficient capacity growth and unfavorable weather conditions,” he said.
In the meantime, Shanghai’s utility has warned that department stores and some factories may need to close during the hottest days of summer to ensure adequate supplies to residential users.
Businesses in the country’s prosperous Zhejiang region, west of Shanghai, are so used to power rationing that many have installed diesel generators to use as a backup – adding to costs and straining supplies of that fuel.
“We can use diesel, while ordinary homes cannot. But we don’t like to use it because it’s more expensive and costs will be higher,” said a human resources manager surnamed Sun at Cixi Sunbay Hats and Accessories Co., in Cixi, southwest of Shanghai.
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