China Nuclear IPO discussion from WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has published an article titled China National Nuclear to Raise $2.6 Billion in IPO that describes the plan for a major nuclear power plant owner to go public.

Here is a quote from the article:

China aims to reach 200 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030, up from 14.6 gigawatts last year. But the nation must first overcome a number of hurdles.

“[T]echnology constraints, inadequate infrastructure for uranium-fuel fabrication and disposal, public opposition to inland nuclear plants, and shortages of qualified personnel all mean a more realistic nuclear capacity in 2030 will be 175 gigawatts,” according to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Wood Mackenzie’s cautionary note is almost amusing; 175 GW of nuclear capacity is still a very large number that is almost twice as much as the total capacity currently operating in the United States, which is the world’s largest operator of nuclear power plants.

It has been a long time since a nuclear energy-focused company generated a lot of investor excitement on Wall Street. Perhaps the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of China Nuclear will demonstrate that investors around the world are interested in nuclear energy, but no so interested in nuclear energy companies that are operating in the United States.

China National Nuclear is not constrained by the uncertainties associated with our regulatory environment or the need to compete against temporarily low natural gas prices. Instead, it is operating in a country where many of the political leaders are trained as engineers and where everyone, including the elites that make the decisions, are breathing the same dirty air caused by burning massive quantities of coal in insufficiently controlled furnaces.

There are many good reasons to invest in clean energy production; I am looking forward to the opportunity to vote for continued nuclear energy development by buying a modest quantity of this IPO – as long as it is available to US investors.

The WSJ article ended with the following quote indicating that China National Nuclear may not be the only coming opportunity to invest in Chinese nuclear energy development.

China General Nuclear Power Corp, a unit of China General Nuclear Power Group, is also seeking a listing. It hopes to raise about US$2 billion from a Hong Kong IPO in the third quarter of this year, people with direct knowledge of the deal said in March.

Disclosure: Atomic Insights is not an investment advisor and makes no representation about the suitability of any investment for anyone else by discussing some of the considerations, opportunities and activities that interest us.

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16 Responses to “China Nuclear IPO discussion from WSJ”

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  1. John T Tucker says:

    The sound is a bit low in the video.

    The first thing that came into my mind to be honest was how do you know this isn’t a “shadow banking thing?” Is that an issue here?, because it seems that most of that stuff occurred after the fact and was probably more about shady executives in China. I dont want NP to get mixed up in that and I unfortunately can see Wall Street not really caring.

  2. Paul W Primavera says:

    “… it is operating in a country where many of the political leaders are trained as engineers and where everyone, including the elites that make the decisions…”

    Red China is an atheistic communist country, threatening both the Philippines and Japan, and persecuting the Church. This is no cause for optimism.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Paul W Primavera

      I have no love for the Chinese system of government. I would not want to live there and have refused to do any business with Chinese entities, despite many years of people telling me that I should be marketing Adams Engines there instead of here.

      However, that does not mean that we disagree on everything. I admire rational thought and careful evaluation of alternative technologies that is based on math, physics and chemistry, not on politics or marketing. When it comes to energy, the Chinese have “played” the Western world quite well. They love exporting the favored “alternative” energy systems, knowing they are making money and putting their people to work building solar panels and wind turbines while helping to weaken Western industrial strength by enabling a push to inherently unreliable power.

      Their decision to continue moving forward with nuclear energy is rational and will help to clean the air in the Western US. It will also, if we do not make similar choices, enable them to continue to develop industrial and military strength that will allow them to dominate their region, probably without even fighting over it very hard.

      • jmdesp says:

        This is a bit of a simplified view. They have installed a lot of wind turbines, actually they have now the highest installed capacity in the world. Many of those turbines were installed without even building the grid extension needed, they have been slowly been linked to the grid afterward, up to 2 years later. In some areas of the countries, massive curtailment is required because the amount of wind power is higher than can possibly be transferred to where power is required.

        So not all of what is done in China makes sense, however it seems that the approach of trial and error is working there better that it is in the west, and that they are reaching the conclusion from what they tried with wind that it would just be more efficient to go nuclear.

        I have found that the articles Michael Davidson publishes on the energy collective are probably the best information source on Chinese power there is :
        http://theenergycollective.com/michael-davidson/346951/spilled-wind-update-china-s-wind-integration-challenges
        http://theenergycollective.com/michael-davidson/335271/china-s-electricity-sector-glance-2013

        It’s both an informed and complete view of what is happening, which is not, opposite to many other article even on the energy collective, focused on trying to make things look better than they are by only reporting capacity numbers, or the like.

        • EL says:

          @jmdesp

          Aren’t these articles really about the perils of having a energy supply system that is heavily skewed towards a single resource (coal)?

          The share of flexible generation in Chinese grid is 5.6%. It is 49% in US and 34% in Spain (by contrast).

          http://asiacleanenergyforum.org/acef2013/images/stories/chinappt/Session%202.2_Bai_Jianhua_EN.pdf

          China currently has an overcapacity problem in a single resource. Adding less flexibility to the system doesn’t seem like it’s going to do much for them (particularly when it means lowering plant utilization factors, curtailment of affordable and abundant low carbon alternatives, and rising costs).

          • Rod Adams says:

            @EL

            Adding less flexibility to the system doesn’t seem like it’s going to do much for them (particularly when it means lowering plant utilization factors, curtailment of affordable and abundant low carbon alternatives, and rising costs).

            Please, sir, when are you going to pay attention? Nuclear fission power is not inflexible; it has the potential to be the most responsive energy source on the grid as long as the power conversion system is properly designed. Nothing you can say will overcome my up close and personal experiences of spinning the throttles and ramping a reactor from 10-100% in less than a minute and back down again just as fast. We did not do that once, but several times in a row as part of an inservice inspection.

            Coal is also not inflexible, it can be quite responsive to power demand.

            Your favored sources are completely at the mercy of the weather, which, from a human needs point of view, is worse than being inflexible.

          • jmdesp says:

            @EL : I have a hard time making sense of what you say here. The only problem that the Chinese have with coal is environmental.
            Their coal units are *more* efficient than the US one, and also *less* polluting. If we stop to looking at them just as an electricity generation source, they’re almost perfect for the Chinese needs. Being recent and modern unit, they are definitively sufficiently flexible for their need. Just like for Germany the problem is not that coal doesn’t follow load fast enough (in Germany, only the oldest unit have that problem and they’re being replaced), but physically with the size of the grid needed, and also with the reactive power needed.The resource is abundant, mostly cheap and local, and if they have any production problem, they can import even more from Australia.

            The Chinese now want to use coal less, mostly due to the pollution, the huge amount of coal ash, and the perspective that it’s getting not so easy and not so cheap to produce more coal (even if it’s still very competitive with everything else). Using wind that has a quite low capacity factor in their case, as shown by Davidson’s numbers, each GW they add allows to remove only a little coal. Also even if their coal units are able to follow load, they will be somewhat less efficient and more polluting when having to do so, so the gain is not as large as the apparent percentage of reduction.

            Opposite to wind, when they add 1GW of nuclear, it’s able to replace exactly 1GW of coal, maybe even a little more since the availability is higher.
            All the nuclear that they add is very recent nuclear, from now on only gen 4 nuclear, that is perfectly able to follow load, and opposite to coal, there’s basically almost no negative point at all in doing it (you won’t be able to burn the fuel as strongly, and the equipment, pumps, valves, not the RPV, will age a little faster, as shown by the French units. Although I don’t know if it really holds true for the EPR and AP1000). Replacing coal by nuclear is adding more flexibility to the system, even though there’s no point in not running those unit at full power since they emit no carbon, and no aerial pollution. Given that China has more than 1000GW of coal, their about 75GW of Wind is still marginal (as well as nuclear), and they are hundreds of coal unit that could be replaced by nuclear before we get to the point where there’s any conflict between the wind turbines and the nuclear units.

    • PissedOffAmerican says:

      “Red China is an atheistic communist country, threatening both the Philippines and Japan, and persecuting the Church”

      Well hey Paul, lets bomb ‘em, eh? Athiestic heathens!

      Good lord, man. Do you ever rest with your pious world view? I got news for you, the Chinese civilization has contributed faaaar more to man’s growth through the ages than this arrogant upstart nation of ours, that is already showing signs of impending societal.

      What, your own concept of “God” , your place of birth, and your political partisan zealotry provides you with this belief in your own exceptionalism? Everyone that doesn’t share your God, your religion, and your political bias is wrong, and you’re right?

      Well good for you, Paul. Lets waterboard those heathens that reside here, and see if we can concoct some bullshit justification to rain a few thousand smart bombs and patriot missiles on thier sorry heathen sinful heads on thier home turf.

      I mean hey, thats what you guys do best, right? Kill ‘em and let your loving Supreme Being sort ‘em out?

      Egads, man.

      Meanwhile, them Godless heathens are embracing nuclear energy. How ’bout that, eh? How dare them trump your exceptionalism with an exceptional act of thier own.

      Better bomb ‘em quick, before they overrun the planet. I mean, hey, man, God ain’t governing their wombs like you want Him to do here. Before ya know it, you’ll have one moving in next door, ruining your property values, and wooing your daughter.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        Meant to say impending societal COLLAPSE.

      • turnages says:

        I think you’re a little zealous in making your point there, POA. You are putting words in his mouth and assuming a caricature Christianity which bears no resemblance to the New Testament.

        God is good. When we encounter Him, we see things with different eyes.

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          “God is good”

          Yeah, I know, Paul’s God was on Bush and Cheney’s side when they lied us into Iraq and murdered a few hundred thousand non-combatants. Can’t get much “gooder” than that, can you?

          Seems to me that Paul’s God ain’t much different than Bin Laden’s God.

          I think I’ll stick with my God. He doesn’t tell me to murder you because you’ve got your God.

          • turnages says:

            Come on now POA. Why not cool down and reflect on Matt 7:1-2.

            What I’ve found is, when the real God (as opposed to some convenient closet god of my own invention) starts tackling me about stuff, I generally find I have more than enough to do putting my own house in order, without having the time to rain scorn and contempt on other people.

            All the best,
            Simon

  3. David Walters says:

    Having been to China, it appears hardly ‘communist’ in any classic sense, it’s form of gov’t, a party dictatorship, is really a bureaucratic dictatorship running a state, but very capitalist, economy. I agree with Rod about the strong sense of rationalism and, additionally, a commitment to a science driven economy. The “church” is not important as it was never a Catholic country and 99% of all Chinese reject what had been, historically, an attempt to impose Christian values on it’s population at the point of a gun. Chinese rationalism goes back to Sun Yat-sen who, motivated by a reaction against the often “Christian” invaders of his country, created the Republic in 1910.

    Chinese wind: The Chinese’s under powered grid created a desperate situation where by all forms of energy were pushed, and still is. The fact that they plan to be 75% Fast Reactor energized by 2100 isn’t in contradiction to building wind or solar. They can, realistically, only build so much nuclear (human resources being the single biggest choke point) so they build natural gas plants, coal, hydro, solar , wind and nuclear. I think this is a rational perspective.

  4. John T Tucker says:

    I dont care what religion the Chinese are. Why was that even mentioned. Nuclear power probably delivers 3-4 percent of the electricity now. Low intermittent, highly distributed power does not make sense when a significant portion of the population is still cooking inside on coal stoves and are spread over such a vast area. Actually it makes no sense whatsoever.

    Coal now provides some 65 percent of all the energy consumed each year by China, generating most of the electricity and heat for 1.3 billion Chinese and providing most of the power for industry.

    Meanwhile, solar and wind power still meet less than 3 percent of the nation’s energy needs. And China’s grid hasn’t expanded fast enough to deliver all the power that these projects can generate. ( http://seattletimes.com/html/specialreportspages/2023538675_chinawindmainbarxml.html )

    Chinese quality of life and its ecosystems are just as important as Americans. Land/habitat use and cost/efficiency arguments are just as valid there.

  5. Don Cox says:

    ” it’s form of gov’t, a party dictatorship, is really a bureaucratic dictatorship running a state, but very capitalist, economy.”

    I think the best way to understand this is that the US has three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. These act to check and balance each other, and the Legislature is elected (with a big influence from the richer citizens).

    China currently has only the Executive branch, and this appears to be at least as efficient as the same branch in the US or Britain. The concept of a qualified Civil Service was invented in China, and the British system of admission to the Civil Service by competitive examination was introduced in the 19C as a direct copy from the Chinese.

    • jmdesp says:

      As far as I know, the Japanese only copied the Chinese organization, this was at a time where they were importing Chinese ideas “en masse”, just like they have done with occidental ones during the Meiji period.