Jordan to pick preferred bidder soon for nuclear plant: AECL president
Banff, Calgary (Platts)--26Sep2011/816 am EDT/1216 GMT
Jordan is due to announce a preferred bidder in October to construct the
first nuclear power plant in the Middle Eastern country, a top official of
Atomic Energy Canada Limited said.
"[Jordan Atomic Energy Commission] is in the process of opening the
final three commercial bids and we feel our Enhanced Candu-6 [EC-6] reactor
is a serious contender," AECL's CEO Hugh MacDiarmid said in an interview late
Friday on the sidelines of the Global Business Forum in Banff, Calgary.
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AECL is one of the bidders, with the others being a team of Areva and
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a joint venture of Atmea and Rosatoms
AECL currently offers three designs of nuclear reactors -- Candu-6 and
EC-6, both of which are 700-MW class, and the Advanced Candu reactor 1000,
with a 1,200 MW capacity.
"We have a relationship with Jordan that dates back to 2008 and have
worked with JAEC to conduct engineering and feasibility studies to start a
nuclear program there, assist in infrastructure development and site
selection and also train manpower," he said.
However, AECL's first focus will be on installing additional capacity at
Darlington, Ontario, offering the EC-6 reactor, before it takes the product
to global markets, he said.
"China and India will demand the drive for electricity and we need to
increase our presence there," MacDiarmid said.
"...[W]e could also make a big contribution in the development of oil
sands resources in Alberta," he added. "The nuclear industry and oil sands
operators need to get together and find a solution on its application. I am
convinced nuclear energy can play a very important role in the long-term
exploitation of the heavy oil resource. Despite the massive reserves, coal
will not be a long-term solution in Alberta due to carbon emissions."
There was still a market for Candu 6 reactors post-Fukushima, despite
AECL incorporating more safety features in its EC-6 and ACR-1000 models, he
"In a way, the [earthquake and tsunami] has reinforced the Canadian
design and we believe the world is now more ready for a natural uranium fuel
cycle reactor," MacDiarmid said. "Some small modular reactors are under
development, but it will still take another 10 to 15 years before they prove
to be economic."
Addressing the conference earlier, MacDiarmid said energy, environment
and economy will be three key factors driving the nuclear industry forward.
"This [nuclear] industry is controversial and needs to gain more social
acceptance," he said. "The Fukushima incident will slow down the pace of
building new nuclear capacity and also raise the bar for regulatory approvals.
"But, we hope the advancement of nuclear technology will take us to a
level where cost of building new plants will be brought down and also less
nuclear waste is generated," he added. "It will be a long path, but we will
North America is unlikely to see any major new nuclear power projects
over the short-to-medium term, with utility companies using natural gas and
coal to generate power, MacDiarmid said.
--Ashok Dutta, firstname.lastname@example.org