2ND LD: APEC to pursue low-carbon technologies, promote nuke power
Saturday, June 19, 2021 4:25 AM

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FUKUI, Jun. 19, 2010 (Kyodo News International) --

Energy ministers from Pacific Rim economies agreed Saturday to embark on a project to create low-carbon model cities using energy-efficient technologies and urged the promotion of nuclear power as an environmentally friendly energy source.

During a one-day meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in central Japan focusing on energy security and other matters, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said he wants to share the experience of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to prevent a recurrence, a Japanese government official said.

Participants also concurred that fossil fuels will continue to play a key role in the region, which includes such emerging economies as China, and attached importance to enhancing preparedness for oil supply disruption such as by collaborating with the International Energy Agency over energy response workshops and exercises.

The meeting, hosted by this year's APEC chair Japan, took place in Fukui, capital of Fukui Prefecture, home to the largest number of commercial nuclear reactors in Japan. Near the venue of the meeting, dozens of people protested that nuclear power is not the answer to solving climate change.

As introducing low-carbon technologies in city planning is essential to responding to increasing energy consumption in urban areas, APEC said in a declaration issued after the meeting that they have launched a Low-Carbon Model Town Project to present ''successful models for coordinated usage'' of the advanced technologies.

The model cities would likely feature ''smart grid'' advanced power transmission network or buildings with facilities for renewable energy generation.

Smart grid, which uses information technology, is an efficient power transmission network that is expected to encourage the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind, because it can give stability to the output of electricity supplied by the fluctuating power sources.

Meanwhile, the declaration stipulated that the deployment of renewable energy, nuclear energy, and power generation involving carbon capture and storage technology should be ''promoted,'' calling these three ''low emission'' power sources.

Noting that a growing number of interested economies are using nuclear power to diversify their energy mix and limit carbon emissions, the declaration also referred to the need to assess the emissions reduction potential of nuclear power in APEC.

Toward new nuclear power plant construction, the declaration also said ''solid financial frameworks, as well as cooperation among member economies and with relevant multilateral organizations'' could be of help.

It is the first time for APEC to clearly stipulate the promotion of building new nuclear power plants, according to the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

Japan has been eager to promote nuclear power as a largely carbon-free energy source, although it has often been plagued with safety concerns and problems related to radioactive waste disposal.

An increasing number of countries worldwide have recently reevaluated the significance of nuclear power as they seek to counter global warming and ensure a stable supply of energy. For example, the United States plans to construct its first nuclear power plant in about 30 years.
The outcome of the one-day parley would be reflected in the process of formulating a growth strategy for APEC, which is set to call for more ''sustainable'' economic growth compatible with global efforts to mitigate climate change.

The growth strategy is expected to be finalized in November when the leaders of the member economies gather in Yokohama for an annual summit.

The meeting also came in the midst of the U.S. battle against the worst oil spill in its history, caused by an explosion of a BP Plc rig in April.

Attending on behalf of U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Poneman was quoted as telling the meeting that he thinks it is important that general investment in offshore oilfield development does not see a downturn, according to the Japanese official.

Cooperation in the area of energy is a key issue for the APEC region, which makes up about 60 percent of the world's energy demand. The International Energy Agency forecasts that global energy demand will surge by 40 percent between 2007 and 2030, largely because of consumption in Asian countries.

The region's oil import dependency stood at 34 percent in 2005 and is projected to rise to 45 percent by 2030, according to the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center in Tokyo.



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