Ingenieur Vol. 75 ingenieur July 2018-FA - Page 31

of Technology. Its consequence may be batteries that last up to four times longer than those currently on sale. The two researchers were experimenting with a way to get rid of the nanoparticles’ oxide coats that reduce electrode effectiveness as good conductors of electricity. However, they accidently left one batch of particles in the acid mixture for several hours longer than they meant to. As a result, though shells of titanium dioxide did form on them as expected, acid had time to leak through these shells and dissolve away some of the aluminium within. The consequence was nanoparticles that consisted of a titanium dioxide outer layer surrounding a loose kernel of aluminium. Dr Wang and Dr Li, however, realized they might have something valuable on their hands. They built some batteries with their newly designed nanoparticles and ran them through 500 cycles of charging and discharging. At the end of that time the new batteries retained as much as four times the capacity of graphite-electrode equivalents put through the same charging cycle. If the process of making nanoparticles can be industrialized, which does not seem an unreasonable hope, then the life-times of lithium-ion batteries might be considerably extended. Prospects for Nuclear Power in ASEAN - Nur Azha Putra and Philip Andrews Southeast Asia could see its first nuclear power plant by 2030. Half of the 10 ASEAN member states — Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines — have been identified as frontrunners to establish civilian nuclear power programmes in the region. These five states are considered frontrunners due to their more advanced legal and regulatory frameworks, nuclear energy infrastructure, and developed organisation and human resources. These criteria are among the 19 nuclear infrastructure issues that are outlined in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Milestones Approach to nuclear infrastructure development. Based on the current developments and progress that these five states have made, it appears that the region may have its first operational civilian nuclear power plant by 2030 and perhaps two more by 2035. Indonesia is expected to commercialize its first experimental nuclear power plant by 2030 while Malaysia and Thailand plan to introduce nuclear electricity into their respective national power mixes by 2035. The remaining two frontrunners, the Philippines and Vietnam, are committed to introducing nuclear energy in their long-term energy mixes. The report highlights Malaysia as having the most accomplished approach given the good progress that its nuclear energy programme implementation office (NEPIO) has made. Malaysia’s NEPIO, the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) , was formed by the Government in 2011. The role of MNPC specifically and any NEPIO, in general, is to plan, coordinate and lead the implementation of the country’s nuclear power program. Of the remaining ASEAN member states, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar have not ruled out the use of nuclear power but they have not committed to any specific infrastructure development plans and implementation timelines. However, all three have signed bilateral agreements with Russia on nuclear power co- peration. Brunei and Singapore do not have any plans for nuclear power projects at the moment, but Singapore’s Government has committed significant resources to developing local capabilities in the areas of nuclear safety and science through the Nuclear Safety and Research and Education Programme. H o w e v e r, t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f a commercial civilian nuclear power plant is costly, and it takes a long time to build. The average timeline is at least 10 to 15 years and the average cost is between USD6 and USD9 billion per unit. The costs could grow exponentially if there are construction delays, which are not uncommon in the industry. However, given strong political will and careful planning backed by the right technical support from established industrial players, the construction of a civilian nuclear power plant can be completed according to schedule with a minimal cost overrun. 29