Tag Archives: nuclear plant

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Without nuclear where do the children play?

Where do the children play?

This was not only a song by Cat Stevens about our growing separation from nature but it was also a foretelling of a time when we could lose sight of what is important to us. Having enough space is becoming a major concern in some parts of the world and we need to be concerned. We have seen the effects of how space and opportunity is comparatively plentiful in North America.   Japan’s Fukushima events affected Switzerland, Germany and Italy to the point that they are likely going to need to sacrifice valuable land for wind and solar energy if they stick to their plan of going with so-called “renewable” energy.

How I became a nuclear energy supporter and advocate?

It was my concern for the environment that led me to start looking at the energy problem. I was excited about the new age of technology that authors of the  sixties and seventies of my youth had predicted would bring us leisure and comforts never before seen.  My fascination with the world of nuclear technology peaked when I started reading the blogs of Kirk Sorensen and Charles Barton (Jr.). Never mind the theoretical physics concepts like quarks and quantum nechanics but now I was reading the writings about Alvin Weinberg and the Molten Salt Reactor experiments with Thorium which were simpler to understand and that convinced me this technology was truly a game changer if we were able to embrace it as a new kind of nuclear energy source.  A reactor that could be built to function under water and provide energy and with it’s high temperature and excess heat it could desalinate water into fresh drinking water that up till recently was fairly abundant. Climate change has started causing droughts and in turn forest fires that threaten our homes and our air.

The voluminous writings of Charles Barton and the infectious passion and enthusiasm of Kirk Sorensen and later the wise and insightful posts by Rod Adams convinced me that I was onto something really important.

This is why I think the nuclear renaissance still should happen.

Nuclear has a small physical footprint and a small carbon footprint. It is not intermittent and we are discovering that because of the intermittent nature of the two most popular renewables, wind and solar, that they will need load following and that means, if not nuclear energy, natural gas or coal will be needed to supplement the times when the wind stops or when the night comes. We have learned that both industries have negatives that are hard to live with. We don’t need them as a necessary evil. The technology is too expensive. The cost to the environment is too big. The pollution of coal is the worst but the undocumented damage caused by fracking Methane out of the ground is also too big a cost. Nuclear has the added advantage of being a very dense source of energy and the newest methods will also run themselves with built in passive safety. This improvement over current reactors is an enormous improvement.

Old Dreams and New Dreams

These days it’s hard to mention the American Dream without raising a feeling of bitterness.  It’s like being at a funeral and talking about the drinking habits of the deceased and what killed them. I want to remind people that the dream is not lost, that what we aspire for can be regained. The enormous challenge of getting back to a level of productivity and a state of optimism will only be accomplished if we embrace a nuclear age.  We will all share in the guilt of leaving behind a messed up world for our children if we don’t try to repair the damage.

First, the nuclear energy solution needs to be recognized as a real solution to improving the quality of life. The quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the climate we share and the economy for which we are a part.

How Nerds are like children and what they both can teach us.

There is no better way to honor our children than to follow their example of natural idealism. We should recognize that their naivite and fearlessness to facing the unknown is what brings out the envy that we so willingly express when we mock their child like ways. In the same way we mock Nerd like behavior and part of what makes a nerd is their tendency to keep their child like ways, slower than most of us, to adapt to adult personalities and traits.

Nerds like efficiency, compactness, all things esoteric, intellectually challenging and rewarding. Well it is interesting that nuclear energy is also efficient, compact, esoteric, intellectual, challenging and rewarding. Also Nerds in large numbers like nuclear energy. But in this case the Nerdy choice is the best choice. It’s about time we catch up to scientific achievement. Coal began the industrial revolution. ~160 years later we’re still using it. Let’s really join the modern age.

 

Action List

NRC Should Not Get All the Credit for Nuclear Energy’s Decades of Safety.

The Institute for Nuclear Power Operations in the US and the World Association of Nuclear Operators deserve a lot of the credit for improvements in safety and other design improvements. They are the Nuclear Industry’s self regulating bodies. And most of the accomplishments were made within the 10 or so years after the Three Mile Island accident. I point this out to set the record straight about who and how the excellent record of safety that has come about in the nuclear industry is not at all understood. I feel that this is a needed contrast to the “fallout” from the cries of fear among the mainstream media. They report exaggerations and inaccuracies in a blind deterministic desperation to keep their audience.

 
The recent article http://www.morrisdailyherald.com/articles/2011/06/06/08698241/index.xml

says that a bill The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Continuation Act, H.R. 2068, is needed to ensure that the NRC remains functional as if to imply that some kind of shake-up is taking place.  Well maybe it’s time to expect accountability from the current head of the NRC Gregory Jaczko.

The latest controversy regarding Jaczko’s bad judgement involves making the recommendation to the Japanese government that they increase the perimeter of safety to 50 miles around Fukushima Daichi. He apparently did this without seeking approval from his team and without consulting with experts. This came after a similar recommendation for NPPs in the US. This decision showed lack of forethought and naivety. The actual danger was being overstated at a time when the rest of the country was in a state of emergency and shelters were already being overrun. The other consequence is that antinuclear groups picked up the idea that that distance should be made effective in the US and have started applying pressure to shut down places like Indian Point in New York State.

There are a couple of important questions that need to be asked.
1) Is he qualified for the job?

2) Why is the regulator anti-nuclear?

To get to the bottom of this would require some real digging and resources that I don’t have. What I can tell you is that Jaczko is Harry Reid’s choice for the NRC. Harry Reid’s relationship to nuclear is puzzling. He was against the Yucca repository and used his influence to close it down.  Reid supported the Gulf War and made little effort to end it. Considering he’s a Democrat he sure had a lot of Conservative ways.

All I can say is that questions need to be asked about Reid’s motives and Jaczko’s performance.

The article says that the new bill will bring stability to the NRC. It needs far more than stability.

In February 2011 This article:

Top Nuclear Official: New reactor applications could be approved by the end of the year

NRC chairman commented on the news that the status of applications under review for nuclear plants will be ready this summer

…“That’s certainly possible and it’s something that as we continue to make progress on our reviews is possible,”…

…The approvals could pave the way for construction to begin on the first new nuclear reactor in the United States in decades. The comments come as President Obama has stressed his support for nuclear power as a way of lowering the country’s greenhouse gas emissions…

“Potentially we could be looking at finalizing some of the design reviews in the late summer and after that there’s a few things that would have to happen for the final design approvals or the final license approvals,” Jaczko said in an interview that ran Sunday, but was taped earlier in the week. “And that could happen possibly by the end of this year.”

Later

House Republicans have said they plan to focus this year on streamlining the regulatory process at the NRC, arguing it is too burdensome. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) criticized the process last month. 

“Gone are the days of reasonable expectations for a stable and predictable regulatory process,” Upton said. “This uncertainty and lack of transparency in the process is needlessly putting plants and thousands of jobs at risk.”

“The NRC must do better as nuclear power is critical as we seek to meet our nation’s growing energy demands through an ‘all of the above’ approach,” he continued.

NOW HERE WILL BE THE ANSWER WE NEED to the question IS JACZCO ANTINUCLEAR?
If there are more delays as a result of Fukushima then we will be pretty certain. We’ll know by the end of the summer.

XK7Q698XXBPT

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Vermont Yankee Faces Another Obstacle From the State

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/04/19/35926.htm April 19, 2011
Nuclear Plant Operator Sues Vermont Governor By ROBERT KAHN

Entergy is suing the State of Vermont for Vermont’s Act 160 that permits the state to shut down the plant even when the NRC agreed to extend their licence until 2032 and that no other state has ever overruled an NRC ruling. Those who have followed the battle will know that Tritium was leaking from the plant. Entergy made several attempts to get it under control and eventually did. But the part the press rarely mentions is that the Tritium found in the water was at very low doses and far below dangerous levels. This is another example of taking advantage of the public ignorance and giving into fears stirred up by the Fukushima crisis. The plant currently provides 75% of Vermont’s electricity. The expression  ”you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” applies here.  The scientific community, engineers and advocates for clean air all think it should stay open. The same comparisons still apply and that seems to make no difference. The fact that coal plants emit far more radiation than any nuclear plant ever has in the US makes no difference. If the Governor succeeds in having his way it will be another victory for the fossil fuel industries who lobby and spend big bucks to promote their polluting ways over carbon free nuclear.

Action List

Announcement by Gregory Jaczko about this years applicants

Top Nuclear Official: New reactor applications could be approved by the end of the year

NRC chairman commented on the news that the status of applications under review for nuclear plants will be ready this summer

…“That’s certainly possible and it’s something that as we continue to make progress on our reviews is possible,”…

…The approvals could pave the way for construction to begin on the first new nuclear reactor in the United States in decades. The comments come as President Obama has stressed his support for nuclear power as a way of lowering the country’s greenhouse gas emissions…

“Potentially we could be looking at finalizing some of the design reviews in the late summer and after that there’s a few things that would have to happen for the final design approvals or the final license approvals,” Jaczko said in an interview that ran Sunday, but was taped earlier in the week. “And that could happen possibly by the end of this year.”

Later

House Republicans have said they plan to focus this year on streamlining the regulatory process at the NRC, arguing it is too burdensome. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) criticized the process last month.

“Gone are the days of reasonable expectations for a stable and predictable regulatory process,” Upton said. “This uncertainty and lack of transparency in the process is needlessly putting plants and thousands of jobs at risk.”

“The NRC must do better as nuclear power is critical as we seek to meet our nation’s growing energy demands through an ‘all of the above’ approach,” he continued.

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

History of the Antinuclear Movement-Part 1

The History of the Antinuclear Movement, Part 2 is up

They are under the Reference Section but here are the links for them here

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 1

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 2a

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 2b

 
Other DV82XL see Q and A on Regulations

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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:http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2011/01/china-starts-lftr-development-project.html
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)http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/files/Pub20808.pdf
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).
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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.
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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.

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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.

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Palo Verde Nuclear Plant in Arizona Economy Saviour

Nuclear Power Industry News posted an article about how “Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant Contributes $1.8 Billion Annually to Arizona”