October 24, 2015

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 283

Yes Vermont Yankee - Pilgrim will close by 2019 (Updated)

Entergy announced that Pilgrim will close by 2019. Entergy would like to close Pilgrim in 2017, but Pilgrim is obligated by its participation (until 2019) in the Forward Capacity Auction . The plant must keep running until 2019, or purchase replacement capacity for the grid. This post describes capacity auctions and also describes (the update) how high capacity prices hurt nuclear plants, compared to gas plants. The price problem is illustrated in a simple chart. Nuclear plants run for many hours, and they expect to obtain most of their revenue from selling power. However, gas plants run fewer hours, and expect to get more of their revenue from capacity payments. Low prices on the grid and high capacity payments tilt the playing field toward gas-fired plants.

Nextbigfuture - The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted an export licence covering all planned activities related to Lightbridge's advanced metallic nuclear fuel in Norway. The fuel is to undergo irradiation testing at Norway's Halden research reactor.

Lightbridge's advanced metallic fuel is made from a zirconium-uranium (Zr-U) alloy and uses a unique composition and fuel rod geometry, which, the company says, enables it to operate at a higher power density than uranium oxide fuels in use today.

Lightbridge metallic annular fuel would allow more power from existing reactors and better economics

* 10-17% power uprate and longer fuel cycles for existing PWRs; and
* Up to 30% power uprate for new build PWRs.
* Increased revenue and improved operating margins of existing nuclear power units;
* Reduced total levelized cost per kilowatt-hour for new build reactors, including over a 50% reduction in incremental capital cost per kW vs. new build; and
* Increased competitiveness of nuclear power versus other energy sources.

Nextbigfuture had a simplification of the dangers of energy to the environment.

I have written several articles that have looked at deaths per terawatt hour. Nuclear energy compares very favorably against other energy sources on that basis. I have looked at detailed medical studies and many other references.

Let me simplify Deaths per TWH by energy source.

Particulates - incomplete burning is the driver of fossil health impact

Most energy now is from the fossil fuels. Oil, Natural Gas and coal. They are about 100 times more deadly than hydro, nuclear, solar and wind.

The reason is mainly particulates. They are not burned completely and this air pollution is like forcing babies, people with asthma and the elderly to smoke every day.

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