It’s about time we instituted a true Clean Energy Standard that promotes all low-carbon energy rather than continuing with a Renewable Energy Standard. If you care about climate change, and don’t just have an ideological stand on a particular technology, then you know that we need all low-carbon sources as fast as possible to have any hope of reigning in the most adverse environmental effects of burning fossil fuels. New York’s Governor seems committed to do just that, directing the Department of Public Service to develop a Clean Energy Standard to meet the State’s policy goals of generating 50% of electricity from renewable resources by 2030, while maintaining existing nuclear power plants so that their carbon savings are maintained.
Mike Twomey, a vice-president at Entergy, reviews the subsidies and market distortions that are currently forcing nuclear plants to close. The title of the post comes from the Cormac McCarthy novel (No Country for Old Men) in which an assassin taunts the man he is about to kill: “If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?”
Over the next two decades China hopes to build the world’s largest nuclear power industry. Plans include as many as 30 new conventional nuclear plants (in addition to the 34 reactors operating today) as well as a variety of next-generation reactors, including thorium molten-salt reactors, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (which, like molten-salt reactors, are both highly efficient and inherently safe), and sodium-cooled fast reactors (which can consume spent fuel from conventional reactors to make electricity). Chinese planners want not only to dramatically expand the country’s domestic nuclear capacity but also to become the world’s leading supplier of nuclear reactors and components.
The Shanghai Institute’s effort to develop molten-salt reactors, a technology that has sat all but forgotten in the United States for decades, reflects just how daring China’s nuclear ambitions are. Already, the government has invested some two billion Chinese renminbi ($300 million) over the last five years in molten-salt R and D.
The Fukushima Daiichi Unit #2 muon tomography shows there was no compromise in the lower RPV head. It is likely that none of the corium, while still molten, escaped the Reactor Pressure Vessel. To conclude otherwise makes no sense.