Qatar’s N-power plan ‘economically feasible’
By Satish Kanady
DOHA: Qatar’s ambitious nuclear power programme has been found ‘economically feasible’. Two separate studies conducted for Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) concluded Qatar’s proposed nuclear power programme was cost-effective, a top official revealed yesterday.
Both the studies found that the project would be viable in terms of money aspect, should the benchmark prices of oil is not less than $55 per barrel. Based on the assumptions that a situation when the benchmark prices of oil falling below the$55 mark are most unlikely, the studies state that the nuclear power project would be viable for Qatar.
Talking on the sidelines of the ongoing Power-Gen Conference, Yousuf Ahmed Janahi, Corporate Planning and Business Development, Kahramaa, told The Peninsula that Qatar needs to go a long way before formally announcing the project. He said Qatar is yet to conduct a technical viability study on the proposed programme.
“We have got to go a long way before announcing the project. Technical viability is one of the key issues to be looked into. We haven’t yet started this phase,” Al Janahi said.
Qatar faces one of the most challenging development prospects in the region. It is a country that has the region’s largest power reserve margin. However, this reserve is expected to deplete from 2016. The country requires an addition capacity of 1,269MW power by 2016. Qatar’s total demand of electricity, which stood at 3,300MW in 2006, is set to see a big leap in the next 15 years. The projected demand for 2015 would be more than 9,180MW.
The bulk demand in water is expected to cross 120MIGD in 2014 as per the findings of Kahramaa survey. The total water demand is expected to top 300 MIGD in 2015.
With a power crunch looming in long-term, Qatar has been actively considering embarking upon nuclear power programme since 2007. The country undertook its own investigation into the viability of nuclear power and late in 2008.
In 2010 Qatar raised the possibility of a regional project for nuclear generation. As some of the GCC members countries went their own to set up individual power reactors, Qatar too started exploring the possibilities of launching its own individual nuclear power programme. As a precursor to it, the country hosted several rounds of discussion with nuclear experts, including those from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Experts from the then Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR), Qatar Petroleum and Kahramaa attended IAEA meetings that discussed the guidelines to discuss the guidelines for setting up nuclear power reactors. Qatar also explored nuclear cooperation with some countries, including Russia.