Archive for the ‘electric power’ Category

Blackouts in China city as snowy weather revisits

February 16, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – More than two million people have been hit by power cuts in China‘s Qujing city and thousands have been stranded on highways as snowy weather revisits the southwest region, state media said on Saturday.

China has yet to recover from the worst power shortages in recent years that have hit central and southern parts since late January, as the coldest winter in decades damaged power cables and crippled coal deliveries to power stations.

Power plants at Qujing, the second-largest city in Yunnan province, have barely enough coal reserves for three days and snow has blocked roads, Xinhua News Agency said, citing local government officials.

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Thailand: Four Global Giants Vie to Supply Nuclear Plants

January 11, 2008

By Nareerat Wiriyapong   
The Bangkok Post
January 11, 2008

The world’s four largest nuclear technology manufacturers have expressed interest in bidding for Thailand’s proposed nuclear power project.

Toshiba and Mitsubishi from Japan, Areva from France and General Electric from the US have each contacted the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) about submitting proposals to build a new nuclear plant.

Thailand hopes to have four nuclear plants, each costing at least $1 billion, in operation by 2020-21. Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to have nuclear plants operational by the same time.

Kamol Takabut, Egat’s assistant governor for power plant engineering, said Candu from Canada was also keen but that its technology may cost more.

GE and Toshiba, which earlier acquired 100% of Westinghouse, have offered boiling water reactor (BWR) technology that is used by 21% of the world’s 442 nuclear power plants.

Mitsubishi and Areva propose the more popular pressurised water reactor (PWR) used by 60% the world’s utilities.

”Both BWR and PWR require pretty much the same in terms of cost, but PWR is slightly better in terms of safety for personnel that operate the plant, so it is more popular,” Mr Kamol said.

However, he insisted that all types of nuclear power plants are safe and are fitted with automatic shutdown features. They generates no greenhouse gases.

Egat expects to complete a nuclear proposal within three years. If the government decides to begin the project, construction could start in 2015, he said.

Mr Kamol said that without nuclear power, Thailand was going to lose competitiveness to regional rivals.

Nuclear technology, despite higher investment costs, is competitive with other fuel sources in terms of cost per megawatt of electricity.

”Once Vietnam has nuclear power, it can produce goods that are cheaper than Thailand’s, so we will lose in competition to our arch rival,” Mr Kamol said.

”In the planning stage, Vietnam is already two to three years ahead of us as the government has already approved the project. It has already sent thousands of personnel to train with nuclear technology in France and Japan.”

If Thailand’s first nuclear plant is operational in 2020, nuclear energy would generate 5% of the country’s power, rising to to 9% a year after, Mr Kamol said.

”Now, as much as 70% of power generation in Thailand is dominated by natural gas and existing world reserves would last only 40 years,” he said. ”So we need both coal-fired and nuclear power plants to support rising power demand and make the whole power generation system more secure by having a balanced mixture of fuel types.”

Nuclear power accounts for 16% of the 17,450 terawatts of capacity worldwide. Apart from 442 plants now operating, 29 more are under construction.

China Says Death Penalty for Damage to Electric Grid

August 21, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 21, 2007

My Dad used to say that the gangs in his neighborhood when he was a lad would “steal anything that wasn’t bolted down.”

In China, that adage doesn’t apply. Somebody will likely steal the bolts.

In fact, young teenage boys have been arrested on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities because they were selling the large bolts that help hold together high tension power structures.

Today the communist government of President Hu Jintao announced that anyone who steals or destroys parts of the electrical system will face the death penalty.

When we checked with our team around the world, we quickly found some interesting theories. Most “China watchers” believe the problem stems from a combination of poverty and lawlessness.

“You get a ways out of the big cities and the rule of law doesn’t have the same value you might find in the U.S. or Europe,” one of our “watchers” who lives in China told us. “Who is to know if a gang of teenagers unbolts these big towers in the dark of night?”

In the Philippines, after the United States turned over to the Philippine government the former bases at Clark Air Force Base and the Subic Bay Navy Base, poverty and lawlessness crashed together to create this very problem. Even underground electrical cables were unearthed to capture their copper which had a high dollar value in the Philippines.

And just this past June, on the 26th, Vietnam decided the death penalty was in order for Vietnamese fishermen who made off with tons of fiber optic cable from the sea bed. The fishermen claimed they though the cable was left over from the war in Vietnam that ended in 1975.  That copper cable is fair game for salvage.

The charge that makes one eligible for the death penalty in Vietnam is similar to that in China: “destroying major public national security projects.”

In the Vietnamese fiber optic caper, Deputy Minister of Posts and Telematics Tran Duc Lai said that no country in the world had ever suffered such a massive theft of fiber optic cable.  

So what is the root cause of China’s problems with the electric grid?   One China watcher said, “The Beijing government cannot ensure law and order thoughout China. This meants infrastructure like the power grid can come under attack. But if you venture into the cities to sell the fruits of lawlessness, we will kill you. That is the message Beijing wants to send.”Why is disruption of the electrical system grounds for the death penalty?

The answer is simple: the communist government of China doesn’t want one day or one minute of manufacturing and money making lost for any reason.

“Theft of a sufficient amount of fuel oil will also earn you the death penalty,” we were told.

Another China watcher wanted to emphasize that it is not just disruption of manufacturing that is the worry of the communist government.

“There are scores of money making ventures that need electric power. China’s organ transplant empire services rich Hong Kong tycoons that fall ill. In fact, people come to China from all over the world seeking medical attention often of a dubious nature. You must think of this as a state industry.”

Chinese courts are believed to order about 80 percent of the world’s court-ordered executions — at least 1,770 people in 2005 and possibly many more.

Our sources in China have reason to believe that the 1,770 number was “minimized so as not to alarm human rights groups and other international bodies.”