This fact should be stated loud and clear, right up front:
In every “nuclear disaster”. radiation injured few if any people, whereas overplayed FEAR of radiation had disastrous impact, ruining the lives of thousands. A recent study showed that people who refused to evacuate Chernobyl were happier and outlived the evacuees by 20 years, while the evacuees themselves were depressed and suicidal.
There is nothing else that is as central to the issue as that one fact. It should not be skewed by unreasonable premises. In addition, the impact of unwarranted fear of radiation has caused massive avoidable use of fossil fuels, to the detriment of people and the environment.
Ted Rockwell, November 26, 2012
2. Nuclear Diner – A new and novel idea for creating power for space travel was designed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). They tested a mockup of the concept at the Nevada test site calling the test “Demonstration using Flattop Fissions (DUFF). The design uses heat pipes to transfer the heat from the reactor to a Stirling engine which then creates electricity that can power a spacecraft. Stirling engines have been under development at NASA for space missions for many years and provide high efficiency.
I began my career in space nuclear power and find this near direction for space power very exciting. In the past we focused on creating nuclear power systems in the kilowatt range. On the SP-100 program we were trying for a 100 kWe with the possibility of increasing to several hundred kW’s for the Star War’s program. I always worked as a systems engineer ensuring that the subsystems would work well together and that we would meet the launch, safety and mission requirements. This design is optimized for 10’s to a 100 watts of power which is the amount of power needed by most spacecraft.
A fact-finding contingent from America’s National Academy of Sciences is in Japan hoping to realize lessons that will improve nuclear plant safety in the United States. Will the NAS team realize what other prestigious investigators have learned – the most severe health effect spawned by the government’s response to Fukushima Daiichi is unnecessary psychological damage?
The pro-Vermont Yankee testimony at the Board meeting was thoughtful and compelling, The national and international reaction to the meeting was supportive and gratifying.
When the Clinch River Breeder Reactor project was launched decades ago, it seemed a path forward for the future for nuclear energy. Now, the same Clinch River site will see the launch of a “new future” — in Small Modular Reactors. Will Davis closes the historical cycle with an in-depth, fascinating, and very well-illustrated look back at the Clinch River Breeder Reactor program.
Earlier this month the Vermont Public Service Board held a public hearing on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Meredith Angwin has collected and posted many of the statements made by supporters in favor of Vermont Yankee continued operation at the hearing, and she shares excerpts from some of these persuasive testimonials at the ANS Nuclear Cafe.
7. News ok – We have all heard the saying, “its not rocket science”, well I have on occasion been able to respond to that saying with, “well no, but it is nuclear science” (usually in reference to some measurement of radioactivity or the like). There actually has been some very impressive examples of combining the two here in this country. Back in the 1960’s, nuclear rocket engines were being developed and tested at what was then called the Nevada Test Site.
8. Things Worse than Nuclear Power – Denmark, the flagship country for wind power, has significant problems with production and variability of its wind power. Now a Danish High Court judge has revealed the corruption in the industry and parliament.
9. Nextbigfuture – Russia’s Rosatom nuclear agency signed a deal to build a fast-neutron nuclear reactor on Russian territory in co-operation with 13 Czech companies. It is called the SVBR-100 project. Research and design work on the SVBR-100 reactor will continue until the end of 2014, while operations proper are set to begin in 2017. Potentially, it could take 10 to 15pc of the global nuclear energy market for small and medium-sized power stations.
The unit is described as an integral design because the steam generators and reactor core both sit in the same pool of coolant – lead-bismuth at temperatures in the range 340-490 deg C. It would be factory assembled and shipped to site in a module measuring 4.5 metres in diameter and 7.5 metres high ready to be placed within a tank of water that provides passive cooling and radiation shielding.
The SVBR concept has already run on seven Alfa-class submarines, as well as within experimental land-based installations, giving a total of about 80 reactor-years of operating experience. In 2009 AKME-Engineering was set up as a 50/50 joint venture between Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Irkutskenergo of En+ Group, aimed at commercializing the technology.
10. Nextbigfuture – A key nuclear research project for China is the demonstration Shidaowan HTR-PM. It will have 210 MWe (two reactor modules, each of 250 MWt) which is being built at Shidaowan in Shandong province, driving a single steam turbine at about 40% thermal efficiency. It is now expected to be completed in 2015.
IAEA (Aug 2012 report) – In China, an industrial scale modular demonstration plant called the high temperature reactor –pebble bed module (HTR-PM) is at an advanced stage of development. An owner company has been established, and components such as the primary system pressure vessels, steam generators, reactor internals and helium blowers are being manufactured. The site has been prepared, and first concrete will be poured once approval is received from the authorities.
Next step after the 2015 completion of the 210 MWe unit
A 600 MWe Multi-Module HTR-PM Supercritical Steam Turbine Plant, (6×250 MWt
HTR-PM module+ 1×660 MWe steam turbine)
* standardize the reactor module,
* is inherently safe and competitive,
* and usable for co-generation.
The HTR-PM will pave the way for 18 (Six of the 660 MWe triple unit modules) further 210 MWe units at the same site in Weihai city – total 3800 MWe – also with steam cycle.