Archive: International

California Releases Preliminary GHG Cap- and-Trade Rules

California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) in late November issued the nation’s first blueprint for a broad-based cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gases (GHG). If they take effect in 2012 as proposed, the regulations in ARB’s preliminary draft will apply to 605 of the state’s largest stationary GHG emitters, including power plants and industries, as well as electricity imports. Starting in 2015, the regulations will also apply to fuel suppliers and smaller stationary GHG emitters such as homes and commercial businesses.

New Polymers Could Mop Up Radioactive Isotopes

Scientists from Germany and India say they have developed a new polymer that reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors. The approach uses small beads of the material to "fish" out radioactivity from water pumped through the reactor’s core.


The Resurrection of Underground Coal Gasification

News this past November that Australian company Cougar Energy had begun developing a pilot project to generate power from coal still underground has reignited interest in the 100-year-old alternative energy technology. The company’s planned A$8 million program — expected to be started in the first quarter of 2010 — will be conducted 10 kilometers south of Kingaroy, in southern Queensland. If it is successful, it could lead to the establishment of a 400-MW baseload power station, Cougar Energy officials say.


Japan Launches Commercial Operation of MOX-Fueled Reactor

Japan began operating a nuclear power reactor using plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) as fuel for the first time last October. About 16 MOX-containing fuel assemblies were loaded during a scheduled outage to replace a portion of the 193 fuel assemblies at the No. 3 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant. The utility eventually plans to triple the number of fuel assemblies at the 1,180-MW reactor in Saga Prefecture to 48. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry conducted its final inspection of the reactor and issued its certification on Dec. 2.


China’s Largest PV Maker to Set Up in Arizona

China’s largest solar panel maker, Suntech Power, in mid-November announced plans to open a photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Ariz., in the third quarter of 2010. Roger Efrid, Suntech’s managing director, was widely quoted as saying that the company — which holds 12% of U.S. market share and is looking to reach 20% by 2010 — chose to establish a plant nearer to customers. This was smart business, even though panels would be made from solar cells imported from China, because solar panels are heavy, he told The New York Times: "As the price of solar panels has reduced dramatically in the last 12 months, the shipping costs have become a larger and larger portion of the overall cost of getting these projects to market."


Advanced Refractory Lining Improves Gasifier Reliability

Successful testing of a new refractory lining material developed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) could lead to higher reliability and improved economics of gasification technology.


High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor Concept Moves Forward

Researchers from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) say they have developed a new type of nuclear fuel for use in next-generation high-temperature gas reactors that produces less waste — a major step forward for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP).

Predicting Hurricane-Related Outages

Researchers from John Hopkins and Texas A&M universities say that they have found a way to accurately predict power outages in advance of a hurricane. Computer models developed using data from Hurricane Katrina and four other destructive storms could save utilities substantial amounts of money and help facilitate rapid restoration of power after a storm, they say.