free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 361. JAPANESE NUCLEAR FIRMS PREP FOR SURGE OF GROWTH

Thursday, June 12, 2008


As expected from Day One of this blog, peak oil continues to drive a strong resurgence of nuclear power.
Toshiba expects 33 reactor orders by 2015

Japan's Toshiba Corporation expects orders for at least 33 nuclear power reactors by 2015, and plans to expand all its nuclear businesses over the period to 2020, according to the company's president.

The predictions were made earlier this month in Strategies for Growth 2008, the company's outline of the business directions planned for all its divisions. In a question and answer session, the company said that 33 units could be a conservative estimate, adding "we believe it is possible that the number of orders might increase." The Toshiba presentation does not say where it expects the orders for 33 units to come from but highlights the US, China, South Africa and the UK as countries with plans for new projects and where it is making sales efforts. The company plans to more than double its current annual sales target for the nuclear division, to ¥1 trillion ($9.6 billion) in 2020. Source
MHI tools up for surge in construction

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced a major project to increase capacity at its Kobe shipyard, where it will double capacity for large nuclear power plant components.

Akira Sawa, head of the company's nuclear power division, announced his major goals at a briefing attended by reporters for the Japan Atomic Industry Forum's Atoms in Japan publication.

According to Atoms In Japan, the company will double capacity for forging reactor pressure vessels and internal reactor components with the aim of boosting its share of the global reactor business. It should be able to produce all the major components (reactor vessel, main coolant pumps, steam generators, steam turbines and generators) for two nuclear power units per year. It will be hiring 1000 more employees for its nuclear division, taking the total to around 5000 by 2013.

Already, MHI's Futami plant in Kobe can produce vessels for two-, three- and four-loop pressurized water reactors (PWRs), including a 590 tonne model for the 1538 MWe APWR. After the upgrade the plant would be expected to handle even larger components. At present, the largest reactor in the world is Areva's EPR at 1650 MWe, and in future the largest could be expected to reach 1800 MWe and require a correspondingly larger pressure vessel.

Sawa said his company expects to gain 25-30% of an export market of 130 reactors by 2030. His figure represents a target market that does not include the 12 units forthcoming in Japan, or the 20 and 110 light water reactors to be built in Russia and China respectively by that date. Russian and Chinese planners are preparing domestic facilities for their own needs as well as for export.

In total, MHI is to invest ¥40-50 billion ($380-470 million) in its facilties at Kobe and Takasago. Source
by JD


At Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 7:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

If you comment, please use the Name/URL option (you don't have to register, just enter a screen-name) or sign your anonymous post at the bottom. The conversation is better without multiple anons.
Thank you! JD

At Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 9:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Japan: saving the world one Hello Kitty at a time!

Seriously though, I think that this is a sign of changing times and a realization on the part of many states worldwide that it's time to consider more sustainable paths toward industry.

And I remember someone telling me that Japan no longer mattered when I went to get my master's. Pfft. Japan is now one of the most important states in the world, thanks to its various industries.


At Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 11:52:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and on that promising note,

a short video piece on Japan's energy efficiency and as a potential role model during the next few years as the energy crisis unfolds. Right hand side of the screen--no url for the actual video.

As for sustainability though, the nuclear power plants are of course welcome news here, as is the switch to hybrids and cheapening solar power become more available. Conservation is key though...but can America do it? That is, is America actually ABLE to conserve anywhere near the scale of Japan's efforts?

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 2:25:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

stuck in shizuoka,

I've always been of the mind that conservation in the US is very doable: look at the efforts in the 1970s and somewhat in the 1980s.

The problem in the US has always been that the "real" cost of energy has been hidden by low taxation and crummy policies. However, once Americans get bitten by the reality of energy costs (which Japanese and Euros have been for decades), they will be forced to adapt: some argue that they already are. I see it around me as we speak. Plenty of people I know are turning in their GM Oilsuckers in for Toyota Corollas, Priuses (Prii?), Honda Civics, etc. etc. Or just turning in their cars for... nothing!

Lest the doomers run in with their banners unfurled, screaming, "Impossible!", I suggest that the fairly significant drop in fuel use the past few months, the greater-than-murmuring about changing habits, and the surge in demand for hybrids, scooters, and bicycles suggests to me that Americans are more than adaptable. Do they groan, bitch, and whine about it, though? Oh yeah. We are the whiniest "ruggedness" loving people on Earth.

There is a funny notion, however, that Americans, who were willing to ration for years during the Second World War, cannot manage supply shifts or changes in how things get done. I find this silly at best. The problem with the current generations has always been the lack of any threat to prosperity and almost costless profligate spending (in all forms). It's not, however, that there's no underlying spirit of "conservationism," but that it's been overshadowed by the promise of an easy 5 bedroom McMansion, status-granting behemoth cars, and the notion of unbridled economic growth based on consumerism. I remember bringing up the notion of the end of cheap petroleum to my grandmother a year or so back, and she just laughed and said, "You'll all live. We managed with even less."

Our need to move to exurbs, drive more than we need to, and buy everything in sight can, and will, end. Will it be painless in this country? No. I still meet people who are reluctant to give up their "freedom" (which = automobiles.) Many of my friends still whine at the notion of bicycling in weather that isn't San Diego on a warm day, and scoff at the idea that anyone in the world would even do it! They'll sing a different tune.

I think, really, that the worst thing that ever happened to the US was the end of the 1970s oil shock and the return of cheap petroleum. If OPEC had played their consumptions smoothing cards right, they could have committed temporal arbitrage AND forced Americans into an early paradigm of conservation.

Alas, it was not to be so. Instead, we will be forced to do it by the cruel hand of the market-- its cold, unfeeling fingers will make us feel the chill of change, whether we like it or not.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 2:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Ugh, I do hate to monopolize the comment space, but I wanted to aggrandize Japan a little more:

I do wonder about this though: is it Japanese conservation, or the privatization that Koizumi carried out that allows the Japan Post to make this kind of reform?

Perhaps it's a bit of both.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 4:59:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll share your monopolizing then, although I'm sure JD would prefer we stay on topic

Good link Ari, I'm keeping my eye on Mitsubishi's BEV Kei as well--Mitsubishi is such a massive corporation with the kind of resources to ramp up production faster than the other auto companies. It's a beautiful little car and perfect for China. Let's hope for the best there...

direct link to above video on Japan's energy efficiency as a model to other countries

and another link with a surprising note on an emerging hydrogen-based transport system in Japana

JD, sometimes I think you're on to something

Anyway, although I respect your optimisim, I'm not as sanguine as you seem to be Ari, especially in regards to any mitigation on the current crisis in the US. It does appear that, for now, Japan is the process of decoupling from America, and with much greater economic ties with China, particularly in the auto sector--a good thing since everyone is going to lithion Ion there (see the latest Greencar congress site for a very good update--quite surprising). However, America seems absolutely stymied by the credit crisis, an ethanol debacle that is still moving forward through political inertia, and face-to-face with debilitating price hikes in oil.

I'm afraid that all will have to go very well in the next few months re; the banking system and the Fed Res, as well as with some huge investment and effort on the part of industry not unlike an "energy war-time footing" (remember auto factories churning out B-17s in WWII, victory gardens, and rationing) to provide better electrification and PHEVs/BEVs and billions poured into third generation Biofuels.

America will also have to be prepared for a more dictatorial style of government (also akin to the ones in WWII) in which much of the democratic process was usurped by "mini-dictators" who rammed through legislation to make wide-sweeping changes.

Lastly, I would agree that the human spirit can show a surprising amount of resilience in times of extreme change and stress, but, realistically, we will all really have to hope that the big flow numbers promised in Iraq start to materialize, and quickly, and that some nations start to bring in more foreign investment into their oil fields (e.g., Russia and Venezuala). I suppose the Saudis truely are the wild card here.

So many factors.....

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 11:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GM Volt is an EV that (if it works) changes the game. More than 70 percent of oil is used in transportation. So the EV is an OPEC-killer.
If we can nuke up (and solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, coal, gas) then you get radically reduced demand for crude oil.
Either two things happen: 1) Oil prices come down, or 2) we go to EVs. End of story.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 2:03:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EV1 and impact were game changers 15 years ago when they came out. back when the game was changeable.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 2:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...


The notion of a "non-changeable" game is, at best, silly. There is no expiration date on civilization or an economy. The thing that people need to realize is that all of this is laden (dripping!) with uncertainty. The Volt and EV1 could just become meaningless as people become transit monkeys! Or, we might see a birth of bicycle culture in the US.

I'll see you all at Critical Mass in NYC, by the way.

The truth is that we could go in any direction. Hell, Savinar and his doomsday buddies might be right! We simply don't know. I imagine that most of the people who lived during the Cold War could have never imagined a "post-MAD world." Even today, people have a hard time imagining that we live in a world where nuclear weapons are not the greatest threat to our security-- paradigm shifts are that tough.

The greatest myth amongst doomers is that once a recession is hit, it's the end of the economy, because energy prices go up, and everything just spirals and spirals and spirals.

Thing is, we actually don't know what will happen. But to resign ourselves to a horrible fate is not something that I'd like to see happen, and if everyone sat around moping, it would happen. Screw that. I'm going to bicycle my way to an awesome future.

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 6:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mike said...

whew, we're saved!

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 3:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like biking too, and I may buy a scooter. But on rainy days, 10 miles to work on a scooter or bike might be tricky. Real estate prices force me this far away from work.
An EV would be ideal. But, for a few years, a scooter. A scotter will cut my gasoline consumption by about 50 percent. Millions of other consumers are making the same decisions.
You are going to see Peak Demand well below Peak Oil.
For an unhappy ending, watch disaster movies. Personally, I think the future, with EVs, promises cleaner air, quieter cities, and lower import bills. Imagine Los Angeles without smog. That is a so-so case. In a best case, we actually make an effort to build energy industries in the U.S., and get a jobs boom too.
If it is too late, why is oil and condensate production hitting new records?

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 9:33:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

National VHS Rail, Maglev

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 11:28:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Ari,

I suppose I should have qualified my comment more clearly....I was actually being kinda sarcastic. My frustration with an industry afraid to adapt to a sensible technology out of corporate micro-managed stubbornness. at the time when the EV1 and a host of other EV's came out
things were less expensive, times were more prosperous and there was a demand for those vehicles even in a $20 a barrel world. I don't necessarily subscribe to the belief
that we don't have enough energy to transition, but it would have been a hell of a lot easier if we had started when times were better. personally compared to the EV1 and other prototypical EV's I find the volt a little insulting, but I suppose it is a step in the right direction for now.

anyways, where I live motor assisted bicycles are still not street legal. seems like they could loosen up that kind of petty legislation at the very least to allow people to be a little creative. I can weld together a 100mpg vehicle in my garage tomorrow but it is completely useless because the fines I would get would far outweigh the money I would save in fuel.


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