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Page added on February 25, 2012

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Kuwait abandons nuclear power option

Alternative Energy

Kuwait has decided to abandon civilian nuclear power production.

The decision was prompted by the March 11, 2011, nuclear disaster at the Daiichi nuclear power complex in Japan, which was devastated by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and then hit by a tsunami, causing widespread destruction at the six reactor complex.

Accordingly, Kuwait is scrapping plans formulated last July to build four nuclear reactors by 2022.

Officials at the Kuwaiti government at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research made the announcement, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research scientist Osama al-Sayegh and two colleagues said the Fukushima incident resulted in the public questioning the necessity of building nuclear power plants in oil-rich Kuwait.

There was also the question of where Kuwait would store the radioactive waste generated by the NPPs.

Kuwait’s interest in nuclear power began three years ago, when the country announced plans to invest in nuclear to preserve its oil reserves. Kuwaiti officials signed agreements with the United States, France and Russia, all leading nuclear power producers, to boost bilateral cooperation in developing an indigenous civilian atomic energy infrastructure.

The country’s interest in NPPs began in earnest in September 2010 when Kuwait’s National Nuclear Energy Committee told the media that it was considering options for four planned 1,000 megawatt NPP reactors and would release a national “road map” for developing civilian nuclear electrical power generation in January 2011.

The fallout from the Fukushima tragedy, however, saw Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah order that the National Nuclear Energy Committee be dissolved for months.

Fukushima’s travails haven’t deterred Kuwait’s Persian Gulf neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, from pressing forward with its plans to construct four NPPs in a remote area outside Abu Dhabi. The first plant there is scheduled to be online in 2017, representing the first Arab country to develop a NPP.

Kuwait’s reluctance to abandon nuclear power has not surprised local analysts.

“A couple of months ago there was an announcement that Kuwait was rethinking its nuclear plans,” Robin Mills, an energy researcher in Dubai, told the Financial Times. “But I wouldn’t draw wider implications into the (Persian) Gulf’s nuclear policy.

“The (United Arab Emirates) program is going ahead and seems to be on schedule, construction has started.

“Then you’ve got Saudi and Jordan, which are some way behind, but also made quite a lot of commitment to their nuclear programs. If anything, the Saudi push on nuclear has been increasing.”


9 Comments on "Kuwait abandons nuclear power option"

  1. Kenz300 on Sat, 25th Feb 2012 3:08 pm 

    Seems like solar would work pretty well in the desert.

  2. DC on Sat, 25th Feb 2012 3:47 pm 

    The real question shoud be, the they even considered it in the first place. Fukishimi or not, NPS are too complex, too expensive and too dangerous for a postage-stamp US puppet state that if it disppeared tommorow, no one would even notice it was gone. The real kicker was, Kuwait has NO place or means to deal with a 100,000 year waste management issue, and NPS arejust too expensive. And that doesnt even get into WHO would operate such a facility.

    Remember, this is a country that has to import ‘guest’ workers to wash their cars, sweep their buildings and take out their trash. I seriously doubt enough educated kuwaitis could be put togther to design a ping-pong table, let alone operate a NPP.

  3. BillT on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 2:34 am 

    And, just how do you think Americans are going to be able to manage the hundreds of tons of radioactive nuclear waste in our own country for those thousands of years? Answer: They are not going to be able to. The means that sometime in the not too distant future, the waste will be exposed to whomever is left in the world.

    Nuclear power is a net LOSS of energy, not a producer, if the entire life cycle of a nuclear plant is considered. The most expensive ‘cheap’ energy you ever paid for.

  4. cephalotus on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 9:38 am 

    1kWp of photovoltaic will allow them to export more than 3 barrels of oil each year. 1kWp of photovoltaic power plant capacity can be built for 2,000 US$.

    Very easy decision.

  5. BillT on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 10:26 am 

    cephalotus…what makes you think solar is going to be possible? Where does the rare earths come from that make solar panels work? China. Who is cutting exports of rare earths? China. Who therefore controls how many PV panels are made and by whom? China.

    Nuke plants are not going to last long, cannot make plastics and grow food, move cars or trucks or anything of size. And don’t talk about electric cars. The rare earths for those toys are also from China.

    The Middle East would be better off to keep what oil they have left for their own people and not be sending it to other countries. Soon, that is what they will do, and then where will the oil importers be? Up the proverbial creek without energy.

  6. MJJP on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 12:30 pm 

    There is no reason why nuclear power plants have to be massive on scale and very expensive. The future thinking on nuclear is to go small. Think of nuclear subs in particular which would be very doable across a country. Instead of one or two massive power plants the same result could be achieved with much smaller and simpler designs.

  7. cephalotus on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 12:50 pm 

    There are no (significant amounts of) rare earth materials involved in the production of PV power plants.

    CIGS people do claim, that even Indium is no problem, maybe the most critical thing is Tellurium (engl. spelling?) from CdTe modules.

    None of this really matters, because so far most PV modules are made from silicon (engl. spelling?).

    Also for electric cars rare earths are not needed, you can make an electric motor without neodymium, it has already be done. (and btw, those rare earth materials are not “rare”).

    Btw, of course you can make plastics from electricity. You also need water and CO2. With the Sabatier process you can make methane from CO2 and H2, it’s just much more expensive.
    But why should they do this? They have plenty of oil to make plastics for the next 100.000 years, if they don’t burn it in power plants.
    You can also make plastics from coal.

    What your are talking about is hard core peak oil porn. Peak oil _IS_ a problem, but it is a problem for those that want to burn cheap oil, nothing more, nothing less.

  8. BillT on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 3:07 pm 

    Dream on, cephalotus. Do you ever wonder where the materials come from to make all of that metal? Out of the ground somewhere in the world. Thousands of tons of dirt and rock have to be moved for every ton of low grade ores that then travel to the refineries, and then to the foundry and then to the factories and then to the field. Not to mention where the materials come from to make the mining equipment, the refining equipment, the foundry furnaces, the factory machines…etc. We are living on the infrastructure built with…cheap oil. As it wears out, those too will decline in number and use.
    EROEI…or don’t you consider that as important in your ideas, like most of the rest of the deniers?

  9. cephalotus on Mon, 27th Feb 2012 9:19 am 

    The EROEI of photovoltaic power plants in Kuwait will be between 10:1 to 30:1 from cradle to grave.

    Btw, I’m not a denier of peak oil. But PV in Kuwait is one of the best things that you can do to reduce the demand side of oil.

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