From Volume 37, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published Sept 17, 2010

Global Economic News

Malaysia's Bio-Fool Industry Nears Collapse

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—Malaysia's biodiesel industry has come near to a total collapse because of a slight rise in palm oil prices, plus a delay in governmental mandates to force use of palm-oil-based diesel.

This "industry," which takes high-quality palm oil suitable for human consumption and turns it into low-quality diesel fuel at high cost, produced only 137 metric tons last month, a 95% drop from the previous month's output of 2,518 tons, and 99% from 12,640 tons in March, which is, in itself, a fraction of the 2.6-million-ton installed annual capacity.

Malaysian Biodiesel Association vice president U.R. Unnithan says the problem is "the high cost of production and the lack of the much needed incentive and subsidies from the Government."

There is almost $7 billion invested in biodiesel production facilities in Malaysia, or enough to have built, instead, a few nuclear plants.

IAEA Laments Shortages of Human Resources in Nuclear Power

Sept. 7 (EIRNS)—The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s recently published biennial report, "International Status and Prospects of Nuclear Power," makes clear that one of the major barriers to the rapid development of nuclear power across the globe is the growing shortage of nuclear-skilled manpower. The availability of human resources is a critical challenge to the expansion and growth of nuclear power. It is a challenge for the nuclear industry to recruit and train a large number of qualified individuals, just to replace those very experienced individuals who are retiring, the report said.

Years of rule by the anti-nuclear, anti-development authorities in the developed countries, manipulated by the investment bankers and various supranational financial institutions, using the no-growth environmentalist lobby as their legitimate spokespersons, have created this critical vacuum. Of the more than 40 countries that have expressed an interest in developing nuclear power in recent years, over 20 are actively considering nuclear power programs to meet their energy needs. However, their programs may get delayed, due to the lack of human resources, causing worsening economic distress for the people of all those countries.

Another disappointment cited in this report is that only a few countries currently use nuclear energy for purposes other than electricity production, and even then, only to a limited extent. However, it expressed hope that nuclear power use in non-electricity generation applications may increase in the future for applications such as desalination of seawater, district heating, process heat for industrial applications and coal liquefaction, and hydrogen production.

On the positive end, the report makes evident that the IAEA foresees no shortage of uranium in the short- to medium-term future. It also points out that the current enrichment and fuel-fabrication capacities are adequate to meet the expected demand for the next decade.

China To Build Its First 'Nuclear City'

Sept. 8 (EIRNS)—In March 2010, the China National Nuclear Corporation announced that it would be building its first nuclear power base, "China Nuclear Power City," at Haiyan in coastal Zhejiang province, 70 miles southwest of Shanghai on the Yangtze delta. In Zhejiang province there are five nuclear reactors in operation and two more under construction. In July, local and provincial officials met to formally endorse the project, and to finalize the location, scope, and industries involved. Detailed engineering and construction preparation work was expected to start almost immediately.

In addition to the nuclear power plants, Haiyan hosts the headquarters of 18 leading Chinese nuclear equipment suppliers as well as branch offices of all the major Chinese nuclear design institutes and construction companies. The Nuclear City is expected to have four main areas of work: development of the nuclear power equipment manufacturing industry; nuclear training and education; applied nuclear science industries (medical, agricultural, radiation detection, and tracing); and promotion of the nuclear industry. It was said to have been modelled on Burgundy, France, which has become something of the center of the French nuclear industry complex.

There are also two reactors under construction at the Fangjiashan plant. By 2014, when all nine units should be in operation, electrical generating capacity will total some 6300 MWe.

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