Monthly Archives: January 2011


Jeff Bingaman supports nuclear energy as long as renewables get a share

The Washington Post reported:

“Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico made his position known Monday, following President Barack Obama’s call in last week’s state of the union for 80 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from clean sources by 2035. Obama expanded on previous efforts that would have focused exclusively on renewable sources like wind and solar by adding nonrenewable sources like nuclear, natural gas and “clean coal.”

In the past, Bingaman has been skeptical of a broader mandate that includes nuclear. He said Monday that the White House has reached out to his committee to help develop the clean energy plan through legislation.

“My own view is that if we can develop a workable clean energy standard that actually continues to provide an incentive for renewable energy projects to move forward and can provide an additional incentive for some of the other clean energy technologies, nuclear being one, I would like to see that happen,” he said in a speech to NDN, a think tank. “I’m approaching the issue with a willingness to work on trying to come up with a way to achieve what the president set out.”

Last year, Bingaman backed legislation that would have required utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021. But the effort failed to get through the Senate,

…The White House says the new target would double the percentage of electricity that comes from clean energy sources.


Just 10 days since this Blog started and great results

813 views all-time (web site launched Jan 20th/2011) until today
143 viewed today (Jan 31/2011)
138 is the most views in one day (Jan 21/2011 ) previous
– that was the day Charles Barton posted a short review on his

Why has China chosen our old TMSR as their own reactor project?

Energy from Thorium: China has officially begun a thorium molten salt reactor program. It is very interesting that the information was posted to our Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum. Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum View topic – China started “thorium based molten salt reactor Charles Barton has noted this as well:
Jaro Franta: That should certainly boost the international TMSR project’s clout ! …good !
Douglas Waller: Everyone is leaving us behind.
Jason Grant: or forcing us to catch up! At least its started. Very exciting indeed!
Greg Barton: Is this our…dare I say it…Sputnik moment?
Erik Andersen: I certainly hope so. Of course, given the difference between the regulatory process in the USA vs China, I expect China will have one designed, built, and working by 2014. By 2020, the US government on the other hand will have picked a huge contractor like Haliburton, contracted with them for $2 billion, paid them $46 billion extra in budget overruns, and received a white paper on The Effects of Massive Thorium Ingestion on Spotted Owl to show for it.
Dennis Jackson: @Greg…yes. Clever analysis, I hope someone in Washington D.C. catches your post.
Siren Hakimi: Congrats to China being the first nation in recognizing the value of this superior technology. This is actually good news for US, Washington will finally have its epiphany and join the game. If we still don’t catch up, we will only exist in history books.
Edward Peschko: @Erik, that’s why I’ve always said that if there is a LFTR to be built in this country in short order, it’s going to be built by the military. Their reactors aren’t under the jurisdiction of the NRC (direct from the mouth of chairman jaczko), they have political and financial clout, there’s a clear way to save money and lives for them (in the form of lesser fuel costs and smaller supply chain), they have less pressure from special interest groups outside the military to block it, and they have a history of both supporting the national labs and in making civilian spinoffs of their technology. We are also fighting 2 wars which tends to let them get funding for anything that may shorten those wars. But whether or not a technology gets implemented there can depend on the knowledge of the top brass on the technology – ie: whether or not it exists, and its potential benefits. My thought with thorium is that *nobody up high enough knows* and perhaps that with this development, some ammunition could be brought to bear to *get* someone high enough up there *to know*.
Jason Correia I can’t help but have a feeling of sour grapes about this. As much as I hate to say it, China is moving ahead into the future while America twaddles.
Jason Correia: ‎@Edward, I agree about *nobody up high enough knows* but seriously, ANYONE who might spend 30 minutes reading up on nuclear energy matters on the internet would probably stumble upon LFTR. And the fact that talk and buzz about LFTR never seemed to take off in those upper circles means these people have their heads buried in the sand and ought to be ashamed of themselves for their pitiful lack of intellectual curiosity.
Robert Steinhaus: @Edward – I would agree that regulatory obstacles are probably the largest single obstacle to building LFTR in the USA – China currently enjoys a considerably friendlier regulatory approach and this would probably make a significant difference (a decade) in time required to complete a LFTR prototype.
The US military would be a wonderful sponsor for LFTR and military projects do enjoy a regulatory advantage (special window at NRC). Perhaps not widely appreciate is the fact that National Laboratories have also enjoyed a regulatory path where NRC traditionally permitted the Labs to “self regulate” research reactors built on their Lab sites. ORNL built 13 research reactors on their Lab site in the period from 1943 – 2010 and these were built without direct NRC regulatory oversight.
ORNL/TM-2009/181 – An Account of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Thirteen Nuclear Reactors – Murray W. Rosenthal – ORNL Deputy Director, ORNL (retired)
Many additional reactors have been built on National Lab sites at INL, PNL, and LLNL over the last half century on an independent regulatory track from NRC.
Bottom Line: The military would be a good sponsor for LFTR (Three Star Admiral/Congressman Joe Sestak understood LFTR and its many advantages and was prepared to support it in Congress before his recent defeat in his bid for the Senate). Alternatively, a private consortium (Teledyne-Brown?) and a cooperating National Laboratory could produce a NRC certifiable commercial LFTR prototype in America without decade long regulatory delays in ~ five years at acceptable cost (best guess $9 billion for project).

Rep Terry Nealey has the right idea about nuclear innovation

Rep Terry Nealey of Washington State is proposing some legislation which I hope catches on in other states. There are two companion Bills being introduced Bill SB5564 and HB1513
Here’s the article from The State Column:
Rep. Terry Nealey authors bill seeking expansion of nuclear energy in Washington Friday, January 28, 2011
By: Kramer Phillips
“Rep. Terry Nealey issued the following statement:
As the state’s energy demands continue to grow while baseload electrical generation from coal and other fossil fuels is discouraged, Rep. Terry Nealey says nuclear energy is the cleanest, most efficient way to replace that lost power.
Nealey, R-Dayton, has introduced legislation that would expedite the regulatory processes and provide incentives for expansion of nuclear-generated energy in Washington state.
“We are rapidly reaching a critical point in time that will require us to determine how to meet Washington’s future energy needs. As our state’s population grows, so will demands for additional electricity. Consumers are using more electricity than ever to operate computers, televisions, server farms, and other equipment, and in the future, our state will be transitioning toward electric vehicles. At the same time, there’s a strong push to move away from coal and natural gas, which have been important sources of baseload generation, and toward clean, renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass,” said Nealey. “However, expansion of these new sources alone will not be sufficient to supplant fossil fuel baseload generation because wind and solar are intermittent. The answer is to expand nuclear energy, which exists as one of the most reliable and clean non-emitting electrical baseload generation sources. This legislation brings expansion of nuclear power into the conversation.”
House Bill 1513 would create a joint legislative task force on nuclear energy to study the feasibility of pursuing additional nuclear generated power in Washington. The study would include: the use of new nuclear energy generation technologies; methods of recycling, converting and disposing of spent fuel; a comparison of kilowatt-hour costs between nuclear and other low-carbon generation sources; review of federal incentives to support advanced nuclear power projects in Washington; integration of additional nuclear generation into the electric grid; maximizing public and private investment in nuclear generation to reduce ratepayer risk; and quantification of greenhouse gas reductions resulting from nuclear generation.
The nine-member task force would comprise one legislator from each caucus in the state House and Senate, a representative from the governor’s office, and four others appointed by the governor. The bill requires the study to be submitted to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2011.
Nealey says it’s important to begin the conversation of future energy generation now, because it will take time to build the infrastructure necessary to support nuclear-power generation.”
“If coal and gas-fired plants are discontinued, there is no way we can meet our future energy needs through wind and solar alone. Utility companies have said we need more baseload generation because wind and solar are so intermittent that they cannot rely on it as a consistent source of energy. Hydro continues to be an important part of providing for our state’s electrical generation needs, but to date, it is still not legally considered in our state as a ‘green’ source of renewable energy. So we’re going to need another reliable source and that should be nuclear,” said Nealey. “Along with hydro, nuclear is the cleanest, consistent source of energy we have.”
The measure would provide an expedited permit process for a nuclear energy application, if the governor and Legislature agree to the request. The state would also commit to constructing at least one nuclear energy facility by 2020, three by 2030, and five by 2040.
“Some have been reluctant to discuss nuclear energy as an option because its reputation was severely tarnished years ago with the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. People are still fearful, but they shouldn’t be any more. Technology has substantially advanced since 25 years ago. There’s a newer, better concept of smaller module units that put out up to 400 megawatts. It’s less expensive than the old, huge models, and nuclear power is safer, and it’s clean generation,” said Nealey. “Nuclear has become a primary source of electrical generation in Europe and other parts of the globe, but we continue to straggle behind here in the U.S., unnecessarily, because of the tarnished reputation of years ago.
“It’s also important the public doesn’t confuse this with the issue of weapons-grade nuclear waste, which is what has created environmental concerns at Hanford. Nuclear-energy generation creates a very small amount of waste, which is safely handled and stored, and not a threat to the environment,” he added.
Nealey suggests new nuclear plants could be constructed at Hanford, which already operates a nuclear energy facility on site. He said transmission lines are present on the site to accept the new generation. He added the small amount of waste generated could be stored at the site, just as it is now.
“The issue of waste is overplayed. In the 28 years since Energy Northwest has been producing nuclear power at the Columbia Generating Station, only 26 steel and concrete canisters of waste have been produced. They are stored outside under heavy security at Hanford in indestructible containers. For now, it’s the best, safest and most proper way of handling the spent fuel,” noted Nealey.
The 16th District lawmaker is hopeful his legislation will spark thoughtful debate and a serious discussion over how Washington will meet its future energy needs.
“We live in a high-tech economy dependent on increasing energy supplies to sustain its growth. If we’re to move toward cleaner energy sources, we have to be ready to replace that baseload generation if it is lost from those abandoned sources. It makes sense that nuclear should be a key component to supply the increased demands. Let’s have this conversation now,” concluded Nealey.

NRC Approves AP1000 design

Martin Burkle posted Jan. 30,2011 12:23AM

Good News! The NRC has approved the design for the Westinghouse Vision 17 AP1000 reactor.
IHS: Westinghouse AP1000 Reactor Receives NRC Approval

Actually, I am surprised but pleased. Southern Company expects to get its Construction and Operating License (COL) for the Vogtle site before the end of the year. Assuming the license is granted it will allow a speedier application for the next company that requests a COL in which case only the site specific designs will be inspected by the NRC. The idea is to greatly reduce the time between the application for the COL and the approval. It has been about 30 years since the last construction license was granted in the United States.

Once the COL is granted, the first concrete pour could happen within weeks because the site is already prepared and the concrete plant has already been built.

Maybe there really is a way out of this regulatory jungle.


Canadian government says sell AECL for fear of cost overruns

Why is this so elusive. What cost overruns? Nobody is getting specific.

The Montreal Gazette ran an article “Nuclear Renaissance” which basically says that it’s pretty crazy timing to sell when markets are taking off. Here’s a couple of excerpts:

Despite the fiasco over the sale of Canada’s nuclear Crown corporation, Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL), the country’s nuclear industry continues to pull in about $1.2-billion a year in exports — though its future is now more uncertain than ever.

Domestically speaking, nuclear technology in Canada is a $6.6-billion sector that employs 71,000 people either directly or through spin-off jobs. It is an industry overwhelmingly centred around AECL and its flagship Candu reactors — of which, there are 29 in operation around the world.

But AECL, as it exists now, may not be around for much longer. Crippled by cost overruns, blown project deadlines and a lack of sales of Candu reactors, the Crown corporation was put on sale in 2009 by the federal government, and has yet to secure a buyer.

And later on Michael Ivanco, an AECL research scientist and vice-president for the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates says:

Mr. Ivanco equated the potential loss of Candu technology to the loss of the Avro Arrow jet program of the 1950s. “This is a domestic high-tech industry creating thousands of high-tech jobs in Canada, with an unbelievable potential for growth,” he said.

The proposed sale of AECL is coming at a time when global energy is experiencing a so-called nuclear renaissance. The world has 436 operational nuclear reactors, just off the peak of 444 in 2002. According to the World Nuclear Association, however, 60 reactors are being built around the world, and another 150 or more are planned to come online during the next 10 years.

“If we could get even 10% of that business it would be tremendous,” Mr. Ivanco said.

I hope that somebody enlightens us about the spending and delays. There is a knowledge barrier between the people reporting and the nuclear industry so the reporting suffers.


Can Dalton McGuinty explain the energy balancing act?

The Canadian Press released this to news agencies Ont. sometimes gives away excess power.

The press was misleading. $6 Million out a possible $300 Million was not charged. It does indicate that Nuclear Energy and Hydro are a robust mix of energy and that we should be trying to figure out how to reduce costs for building the reactors and thus charging the users of the province. Adding wind to our energy sources is adding to the energy charges to the province. It seems that introducing sexy alternatives to nuclear is costing us.


When the AEC became the NRC Nuclear Energy stopped growing in the US.

Robert Steinhaus replied to a Gwyneth Cravens Facebook posting about a NewYork Times article that James Hansen’s would like to say if a tour were planned by Obama.

Dr. Hansen is quoted as saying
“The other thing not mentioned above is that the most fundamental problem, which I keep repeating, is this: as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, somebody will keep burning them — implication, we must put a rising price on carbon”.
I would ask why it is necessary to place a price on carbon to advance the cause of responsible energy production?
Nuclear energy is currently suffering from being artificially priced up in the United States by the influence of current NRC regulation. On a level playing field, operating in a regulatory environment as existed in the US in the early 1970s under the AEC, nuclear energy produced electricity would be cheaper in cost than any of the fossil fuels and would just relentlessly push fossil fuels out of use based on cost of electricity alone. In the early 1970s, under AEC unified regulation where technology advocacy and restrictive regulation lived under one agency roof, the nuclear industry was on a trajectory to double the number of America’s then existing fleet of nuclear reactors in something like twenty years. If the US had pursued that track of development we would have built enough nuclear reactors (approximately one hundred and fifty-five 1600 MW(e) nuclear plants) to completely replace all of the electricity produced from burning coal by 1990. My preliminary examinations of the costs of nuclear plants built in the late 1960s and early 1970s versus the estimated costs of similar sized nuclear power plants proposed to be built today suggest that the current cost of NRC regulation versus the cost of AEC regulation as it existed in 1970 on reactor construction costs is about 400% or 4X. Reactors are about four times as high in capital construction costs just because of the influence (and delays) of current NRC regulation. If you were to reform the way nuclear is currently regulated you could reduce the cost of building nuclear to about ¼ of the current costs and nuclear would just win in all contests against its fossil energy competition and would dominate the future of American power generation.
Why is it necessary to price up carbon when nuclear regulatory reform would overnight drop nuclear construction costs, which are the primary obstacle to building new nuclear?
When you price up carbon containing fossil fuels you impact fully 85% of US economic activity currently driven by burning carbon based fuels. Making energy cheaper makes everything made with energy cheaper and makes American products manufactured for export more competitive. Warping the energy playing field by making carbon (the dominant fuel source driving the economy) more expensive just shrinks the economic pie.
Why not reform nuclear regulation to bring it back into parity with our industrial competition and the safe standards that existed during the era of the AEC while making energy cheaper and broadly stimulating all energy using business in the economy while creating large numbers of new jobs in a long term sustainable way?

and later he says

I believe that the impact of regulation on the US nuclear industry is cumulative. The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 initiated the period of segregated industry advocate (ERDA-DOE) and restrictive regulator (NRC) functions. This arrangement was proposed to remove a more theoretical than practical “conflict of interest” built into the regulatory system where the then existent AEC regulator wore both advocate and regulator hats. In the early 1970′s nuclear energy was on a trajectory of very strong and healthy growth that would have seen it replace most if not all electricity generation from coal and to a lesser extent, natural gas, by 1995. Quietly, an antinuclear/early environmental/fossil fuel coalition succeeded in putting into place this segregated regulatory structure that had built into it the liability of, in the name of PUBLIC SAFETY ABOVE ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS, running away to destructive levels of regulatory restriction. That has resulted in not a single nuclear project being initiated under NRC regulatory supervision since the day the agency opened its doors in 1975 and therefore ever getting successfully built. While it might make the lives of regulators easier, that is,  to have a single focused duty and responsibility (public safety over all other considerations), unfortunately this is not what produces the best benefit for society. An important industry (nuclear) was practically shut down for 35 years through this unwise regulatory arrangement and the public was denied the benefits of  clean and abundant power that this industry was on the cusp of producing for America. In energy regulation, balance and wisdom is unfortunately needed to maximally produce good for the public. It is true that you can achieve a measure of safety by just raising regulatory obstacles, to a point where no new nuclear technology gets built. But this does not produce for the public good because more costly, more polluting, and more dangerous power industries then have to be built to produce the power needed by the nation. With the passage of The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 a segregated regulatory framework that lacked balance replaced a unified regulatory arrangement which better and more effectively served the public good and permitted real nuclear reactors to be built. In the name of public safety, by introducing a segregated regulatory arrangement we reduced real public safety by forcing new energy development from that point forward to feature an intrinsically less safe technology (coal) to replace the safer and less costly nuclear that we were on a clear path to building.
Nuclear Power is not the most dangerous way to produce abundant amounts of electrical power, indeed the opposite is factually the case (not one fatality in 50 years of commercial power generation – although there were early military fatalities). Regulatory safety standards should be designed to address the real probabilistic risks of the technology – not some imaginary exaggerated risk in the mind of the public vaguely relating to use of atomic weapons.

If we ignore the problem of separating advocate and gatekeeper functions and nuclear regulation we will never be able to get the nuclear renaissance off the ground. All we will be able to do in the next 40 years is build a tiny trickle of very overpriced traditional Light Water Reactors at a rate slightly below what is needed to preserve nuclear at the same proportion of power generation (about 20% of total electrical power generation). We need to find a way to build new nuclear, and up to now the NRCs attempts to streamline certification and licensing has not resulted in new reactors – only a little grading, preliminary excavation, and site preparation, and landscaping. We need real reactors (one hundred and fifty-five 1600 MW(e) reactors) to replace electricity produced from burning coal to protect the climate and preserve American quality of life. We need to preserve innovation and permit new technology, like Thorium fueled LFTR and small modular reactors, to enter the nuclear industry. I believe that a real nuclear renaissance in America that results in building hundreds of new reactors will only take place if we reform the way we regulate nuclear.

More form Robert on another Facebook thread later the same day by Kirk Sorensen on Obama treading too lightly…

I agree with you that nuclear regulatory reform will be needed to permit building in the next 40 years more than a tiny trickle of very overpriced traditional Light Water Reactors at a rate slightly less than is needed to replace the plants lost to designed retirement. We need to find a way to build new nuclear, and up to now the NRCs attempts to streamline their certification and licensing has not resulted in new reactors or even new licenses – just early site preparation and grading permits. To permit innovations like LFTR and SMRs we need regulatory reform and a reduction of the regulatory obstacles to parity with the industrial competition. I like the idea of studying what would happen if the US rolled back regulation to the level that existed in the US in the early 1970s when the US was on a trajectory to double the size of the reactor fleet within ~20 years.
Still, we should be a little careful. NRC is not the “axis of the enemy”. If you had much interaction with NRC regulators (and I have had only a little while I worked at LLNL) you would know that the majority of the regulatory staff is intelligent, dedicated, and hard working. Most of the AEC regulators that guided the growth of nuclear to 104 reactors in the AEC era continued on and became the first generation of regulators in the NRC era. These were almost without exception very good guys who performed a significant service. I believe that the problems that we are in do not come from having bad staff at NRC but rather the problems have mostly come from bad direction to NRC from certain elements in Congress allied with fossil fuel/environmentalist/anti-nuclear lobby. It is easier to sow the seeds of uncomprehending fear than to teach people enough to understand the moderate risks and huge benefits of nuclear energy. Even today, politicians on both coasts grandstand to the voters over closing nuclear plants while keeping in place nuclear moratoriums that, if lifted, would help improve the climate and make America energy independent. NRC should be reformed and ideally replaced with a unified regulator like the old AEC (or the current FAA) but the staff should not be sacked in my humble opinion at least.
(I suggest SACK Congress!)

Response by DV82XL to “Russian Isotopes” post

see original post Russian Isotopes? Crown Corporation Failure? Unmanageable Costs!!!

For a nuclear reactor to be licensed in Canada its operators have to provide a “safety story” for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission(CNSC). That story sets out all the possible things that could go wrong and how the proposed design will cope with each of them. The Maples story included two separate shutdown systems. One was a set of shut-off rods. Another was a system for rapidly draining the heavy water from around the core. Both systems would extinguish the fission reaction by rapidly reducing the quantity of thermal neutrons inside the reactor.

As another crucial part of the safety story, AECL also promised the reactors would have something called a “negative power coefficient of reactivity (PCR)” – basically a negative feedback loop which ensures that as the reactor’s power output goes up, it becomes ever harder to squeeze still more power out of it. In itself, a positive PCR is no barrier to getting a licence. In fact, the workhorse in the AECL stable, the CANDU reactor, can under certain conditions have a positive PCR and it’s not a problem.

The first hint of serious trouble for the Maples came in June 2003, when they had already been completed – behind schedule and with costs almost double the original budget – and were undergoing their commissioning tests. To everyone’s surprise, as they powered up, instead of showing a negative PCR, the coefficient was positive. The analysis had predicted a PCR of -0.84, but it was measured at +0.28. Note that this is a very small value.

Commissioning was halted as the regulator asked AECL to resolve the discrepancy. For almost three years, AECL went through its calculations, but nothing changed: if its model of how the reactor functioned was correct, the PCR should be negative. The regulator required that AECL come up with an explanation of what was causing the discrepancy, but it couldn’t.

It was all the more puzzling because by then a 30-megawatt Hanaro reactor, with the same basic design as the Maples, had been built in South Korea and was working just fine. AECL engineers became convinced that the problem with the Maples lay in some detail of the way they were constructed. The South Korean reactor, for instance, had issues early on with its fuel containers bowing; stiffening them had solved the problem. They asked for permission to run more tests on the Maples to see if something about their components was causing the positive PCR, and they began a series of three tests in the spring of 2008. But before they could be completed, the government, pulled the plug. According to the official version, uncertainty about the cost of solving the PCR problem was a key factor in the project being scrapped.

But many in the nuclear industry vehemently disagree, and a number argue that the positive PCR is not in itself a big deal. It is not an unsolvable engineering problem. It is a small thermal mechanical effect in a prototype design that requires a simple engineering fix. In reality, it doesn’t even need to be fixed, since a small positive value is fairly easy to manage using neutron-absorbing control rods. It really doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative as long as it’s small. There is no sound technical reason why the Maples shouldn’t be operational right now. The stalemate, is not due to AECL’s failure to deliver the reactor that it promised, but rather CNSC’s demand that AECL should be strictly held to initial design parameters regardless.

Linda Keen was president of the CNSC from 2001 until she was sacked by the prime minister in January 2008, not a physicist, she was in fact a political hack, being given the position as a reward for party loyalty. Her stance was that of acting as a guarantor of public safety rather than a facilitator of the nuclear industry, which she claimed was the situation in the past. Keen was clear that the job of the CNSC was not to help out but to enforce regulatory compliance . She points out that with the Maples, it was not the positive PCR itself that was the problem. “The CNSC didn’t say that you can’t have a positive power coefficient. We said: ‘You promised it would be negative, and that is at odds with the license application.’ “

This goes to the heart of the issue: in a small reactor like the Maple design it is almost impossible to calculate such a sensitive coefficient to such a high degree of accuracy. In a big reactor, leaving a few neutrons unaccounted for may not make a difference, but in a tiny reactor a very small difference in temperature or in the position of any of the many small components can throw the numbers off. But it seems that the CNSC was not interested in ether the science or the engineering, but only in enforcing rigid bureaucratic compliance.

But there’s more to the isotope MAPLE reactor shutdown than meets the eye. When Mulroney decide to privatize the isotope business and gave MDS Nordion the profit, it left AECL with having to build the reactors for MDS Nordion while not getting any proceeds from the profit. It eventually led to AECL having to shoulder a bigger percentage of the cost for building the MAPLE reactors with MDS Nordion still getting all the profit from the isotope business. So when AECL decided not to fight the shutdown MAPLEs, there’s speculation that it was a strategy to avoid having to shoulder all the extra cost when there was no benefit to be had. As a result, MDS Nordion tried to sue AECL for about $1.6 billion. MDS Nordion has taken its court battle with AECL to Parliament and the press, claiming the reactors could produce isotopes.


It’s National Nuclear Science Week

Mark Flanagan tells us it’s National Nuclear Science Week

Nuclear science plays a vital role in the lives of Americans…and the world. Consider these facts: 

  • 18 million nuclear medicine procedures are performed per year among 305 million people in the United States
  • 104 operating nuclear reactors in the US employ an average of 700 people to operate them in the 31 states that have nuclear power generating plants
  • 20 percent of our nation’s electricity is generated by nuclear power
  • 436 nuclear power plants are operating in 30 countries, supplying 14 percent of the world’s electricity. Fifty-three new nuclear plants are under construction in 14 countries.

All true. As it says above, different topics are addressed each day. Today is about Careers, tomorrow Generation (that’s NEI and its membership, broadly speaking), Nuclear Safety is Thursday, and Nuclear Medicine on Friday. Take a look – there’s a nicely designed web site with a lot of activities – it’s a great way to introduce young folks to nuclear energy.