It’s not just Abu Dhabi looking to build a nuclear power plant for generating electricity. According to the business newspaper Globes, Israel is considering building a nuclear power plant of its own in the Negev desert region.
Instead of looking to cleaner energy sources, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) says it is mulling the idea of building a nuclear fuel power station as an option instead of a coal fueled one.
According to IEC’s deputy CEO and VP of production and transport, Moshe Bachar, the transition to environmentally friendly energy sources was essential, and that higher electricity rates were inevitable.
“The era of cheap electricity is over,” he said.
Israel is currently considering a new power plant fueled by “clean coal” that burns this fossil fuel by a process known as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, or IGCC for short.
This process uses a combined cycle format with a gas turbine driven by the combusted “syngas,” while the exhaust gases are heat exchanged with water/steam to generate superheated steam to drive a steam turbine. Using IGCC, more of the power comes from the gas turbine.
The process, which is used in countries like the UK, supposedly creates less sulfur gas due to it being “cleaned” by burning the gasses with either oxygen or air. While the process is said to be better for the environment than ordinary coal or fuel oil plants, it still results in creating gasses that contribute to global warming.
The nuclear fuel option came up again after Jordan’s announcement that it plans to build a nuclear power plant near its port city of Aqaba, Bachar noted.
According to the Globes article, the only two commercial supplier possibilities for building such nuclear power plants are France’s Areva SA and America’sWestinghouse Electric Company LLC.
If Israel does build such a commercial plant, it will then required to become a signature to the international Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which could result in its two experimental nuclear facilities, at Dimona and Soreq, being required to be inspected by IAEA officials. And imagine the new security risks?
The light at the end of this nuclear energy tunnel deals with additional plans by the IEC to build a 1,000-megawatt solar power array plant, using current technology that is in plentiful supply by Israeli solar energy companies, such as Sunday Energy, AORA, and BrightSource. This size a plant would need 20,000 dunams (5,000 acres) of land and would cost $4 billion to build.
For a number of reasons, as we’ve discussed at length in the past, the solar energy plans make much better sense than building either a “clean coal” fired or nuclear power plant. Maybe Globes should print more articles dealing with solar energy, and perhaps the IEC, and Israeli government will take heed from them.
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