Energy Blast – March 16, 2011

For up to date information on Japan’s nuclear situation, go to Al-Jazeera, which is running a live blog.  South Korea is aiming to supply the two million barrels of oil products required to stop up Japan’s output gap.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered checks for all of Russia’s nuclear facilities and a review of plans to develop nuclear power.  Venezuela has also announced that it will halt its nuclear energy development plans in the wake of the explosions at Japan’s Fukushima plant.  Many European countries displayed skepticism yesterday, with Germany announcing that all seven of its pre-1980 nuclear plants would be shut down for safety checks.  ‘Zero-risk nuclear power production does not exist.‘  Iran says its Bushehr nuclear facility meets safety requirements in terms of ‘seismic stability‘.  Russia could lend Belarus $6 billion in order to help it construct its first nuclear plant, with the former’s Atomstroiexport set to do most of the construction work, says RIA Novosti.  The Associated Press puts the loan figure at $9.4 billion.  Export duty next month will rise to a 2.5 year high of $423 a tonne on the back of rising crude prices (although the price was falling this morning as Japanese demand slowed consumption).  A senior engineer at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant has been fined $115,000 over the company’s 2009 turbine explosion which killed dozens of people.