1. DPRK Nuclear Update
Siegfried S. Hecker, currently at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation, presented this technical summary of the DPRK nuclear program at the 2005 Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference. The report contains a survey of DPRK nuclear facilities. Hecker provides an update on the status of the 5 MWe Yongbyon reactor, the 50MWe Yongbyon reactor, and the 200MWe Taechon reactor. Hecker concludes by suggesting that the “DPRK is moving full-speed ahead with nuclear weapons program.”
2. Japan Energy Brief
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (EIA, “COUNTRY ANALYSIS BRIEFS: JAPAN,” November, 2005) released an updated version of the Japan Country Analysis Brief. The Brief includes country background and profile and a summary of the country’s coal, oil and natural gas sectors. Further, a discussion of Japan’s electricity generation includes an update of nuclear power industry.
3. PRC – Eurasia Energy Security
The Central Asia-Caucasus and Silk Road Studies Program recently published the China-Eurasia Forum Quarterly with the current issue focused on Energy Security. The focus of this issue is on energy and security within the China-Eurasia region. Demand for energy is on the increase, especially in Asia, where rapid modernization has led to rising consumption. The contributors to this issue seek to explore the implications with this development and how it affects regional security considerations.
4. Wind Energy Storage
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (M. Kuntz, J. Dawe, “POWER & ENERGY: RENEWABLE, RECHARGEABLE, REMARKABLE,” 2005) released this technical report introducing the flow battery as an answer to the technological need for grid-scale energy storage in the wind power industry. According to the authors, “modern energy storage systems, capable of efficiently holding tens or even hundreds of megawatt-hours of energy, could well make intermittent renewable energy sources an attractive, reliable, and mainstream power option, even from the demanding perspective of a utility planner. …The flow battery appears to have the combination of characteristics necessary to connect today’s customer desires with tomorrow’s integrated and clean energy system.”
5. PRC Resource Exploitation
Xinhua General News Service (“CHINA EXCLUSIVE: INEFFICIENT EXPLOITATION PUTS HUGE FUEL RESOURCES DOWN THE DRAIN,” December 10, 2005) reported that inefficient energy exploitation has wasted much of PRC’s fuel resources and experts say the combustible gas PRC wastes every year is eight times the capacity of its ambitious west-to-east gas transmission project.” In 2004 alone, at least 14 billion cubic meters of gas went down the drain at collieries across the nation,” said Liu Wenge, a coal-bed gas specialist with the China Coal Information Institute, “compared with the 12 billion cub meters transmitted by PRC’s west-to-east gas pipeline every year.”
Agence France Presse (“MASS-CASUALTY COAL MINE DISASTERS ON THE RISE IN CHINA,” December 8, 2005) reported that major PRC coal mine disasters are on the rise with most of the accidents claiming more than 100 lives since 1949 occurring over the past two years, a labor rights group said Thursday. The growing frequency of the mass-casualty accidents highlights the human price being paid for PRC’s hunger for coal to fuel the nation’s extraordinary economic development, critics in PRC and abroad say.
Xinhua Economic News Service (“CHINA’S ANNUAL OIL OUTPUT TO EXCEED 200 MLN TONS AFTER 2010,” December 12, 2005) reported that PRC’s annual oil output is expected to surpass 200 million tons in the 2010-2015 period, and the production capacity will last for at least 15 years, a senior official with the Ministry of Land and Resources said here on December 10. Addressing a forum on PRC’s energy market building and energy risk control, Che Changbo, deputy director of the ministry’s Oil and Gas Resources Strategic Research Center, said PRC’s proven oil reserve would increase 800 million to one billion tons a year on average between 2005 and 2020.
6. PRC Energy Efficiency
The Associated Press (“CHINA TO RAISE ECONOMY’S ENERGY EFFICIENCY,” December 12, 2005) reported that PRC, the world’s second largest oil consumer, aims to raise its economy’s energy efficiency by 20 percent before the end of the decade, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday. Conservation will be given “top priority” in PRC’s future energy strategy, Wen said in a speech in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he is attending a regional summit.
7. PRC-Japan Energy Trade
BBC News (“CHINA, JAPAN SIGN 2005-2010 LONG-TERM TRADE AGREEMENT, from Xinhua News Agency, December 12, 2005) reported that PRC and Japan signed the China-Japan Long-Term Trade Agreement in Tokyo on 5 December. The core content of this long-term trade agreement is that PRC and Japan will further strengthen cooperation in energy conservation technologies and equipment as well as environmental protection technologies and equipment, and has reached agreement on PRC’s export of coal to Japan and PRC’s import of energy conservation and environmental protection equipment and technologies from Japan.
8. DPRK Energy Security
Yonhap News (Lee Dong-min, “NK NUCLEAR ROW IS REALLY ABOUT REGIONAL ENERGY SECURITY: EXPERTS,” December 7, 2005) reported that the persistent nuclear suspicion directed at DPRK would have anyone balk at the idea of the communist state acquiring atomic capabilities, but a number of experts and diplomats believe the key issue at stake is its drive for energy security, which involves the use of nuclear energy. Energy-related problems are a real threat for both Koreas and the six-party talks are an ideal vehicle to resolve them, not only for the two sides but for the whole of Northeast Asia, they say.
9. ROK-US Nuclear Hydrogen Research
BBC Monitoring (“SOUTH KOREAN-US JOINT NUCLEAR HYDROGEN RESEARCH CENTRE OPENS,” from Yonhap, December 7, 2005) reported that a ROK-US joint research centre opened Wednesday [7 December] to study ways of using atomic power to produce hydrogen gas, officials said Wednesday. The research centre will be jointly run by the state-run Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, US nuclear technology company General Atomics and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co., a ROK manufacturer of power-generation equipment, according to the officials at the Ministry of Science and Technology. The joint project is expected to help ROK to prepare for a time when hydrogen will become a significant energy source, they said.
10. PRC-India Cooperation
Business Week Online and Platts Oilgram News (V. Hari, “INDIA AND CHINA: AN ENERGY TEAM?” December 6, 2005) reported that India’s globe-trotting Oil Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar is paving the way for what could become the cornerstone of his unique brand of oil diplomacy during a trip to Beijing in January, 2006. Aiyar plans to sign a broad memorandum of understanding with Ma Kai, chairman of PRC’s state energy policy planner, the National Development Reform Commission, that would have the competing Asian giants join hands in their quest for energy resources.
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