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Malaysia may go for nuke energy

Roslina Mohamad, The Star (Malaysia)
KUANTAN: Malaysia may explore the use of nuclear technology for power if the oil price shoots up to US$100 (RM370) a barrel.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the country need not venture into nuclear technology at present to generate power.

“However, the world is changing. Who would have thought oil could hit US$70 (RM259) a barrel?,” he told reporters at the 4th Informal Asean Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology here yesterday.

“There is even the possibility the price could shoot up to US$100 a barrel. When that happens, Tenaga Nasional Bhd will have no choice but to increase its tariff or go bankrupt.”

It would be a matter of national interest and economic survival for the country’s power utility company at that time, he said when asked about Japan being invited to share its experiences in managing nuclear energy.

He said Malaysia wanted to know how Japan, where two major cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – were destroyed by atomic bombs during World War II, could convince its people to go along with the use of nuclear technology to generate power and how they build the plants.
(29 Aug 2006)

Australia should follow road to nuclear fusion

Stephen Cauchi, The Age (Australia)
Why is the Prime Minister’s inquiry into nuclear power ignoring the safer, cleaner option. —-
As you read this, the world’s biggest science project, the $A130 billion International Space Station, is whirling around the planet. Its partners include not only established space players such as the United States and Russia, but Canada, Japan, Brazil and most of Europe. Australia is not involved.

The world’s second-biggest science project is a nuclear fusion reactor, the $A15 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project (ITER), now being built in France. Fusion is next-generation nuclear power – unlike conventional fission plants, it uses hydrogen instead of uranium and produces no long-term radioactive waste. Unfortunately, fusion is not yet commercially viable and won’t be for decades. The ITER partners are the US, the European Union, India, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. Australia is not involved.

Our lack of interest in either should be no surprise, given the Federal Government’s attitude to science funding. Lucrative commercial research is in favour. “Public good” science – whose benefits are not measurable on a balance sheet – is not.

In the case of the International Space Station, universally panned as a white elephant, we were probably wise to steer clear. But research into a clean energy such as nuclear fusion should be considered given the seriousness of global warming and looming oil shortages.

Stephen Cauchi is The Age’s science reporter.
(27 Aug 2006)
Contributor SP writes: “More fusion boosterism. I would argue that the largest experiment we are performing is the injection of CO2 into the atmosphere (Currently costing ~GWP $60 trillion).

Sarcasm aside, one word sums up Fusion – “If”.”.

Koizumi to Sign Kazakh Uranium Pact in First Central Asia Trip

Keiichi Yamamura, Bloomberg
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will sign a uranium-development accord with Kazakhstan today during the first visit by a Japanese leader to Central Asia, amid growing interest in the region’s mineral and oil resources.

Koizumi will meet President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the first day of a three-day trip that includes a stop in Uzbekistan. Japan is seeking more influence in the largely Islamic area to promote stability and compete with China and Russia for resources.
(28 Aug 2006)

SA weighs plan to enrich uranium

James Macharia, Mail & Guardian
South Africa, which has backed Iran’s right to enrich uranium, says it is contemplating processing its own uranium to boost power generation and envisages building up to six new nuclear reactors.

…the proposed plan would require building of four to six new nuclear reactors, and that the country had enough uranium reserves to fuel such a nuclear energy programme.
(28 Aug 2006)