Dr. Mike Dunne, program manager for Laser Fusion Energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with comments on a historic laser fusion milestone achieved at the National Ignition Facility in California
2. Reprinted from Fuel Cycle Week at 4factorconsulting.com, Margaret takes a look at methane gas issues related to the harsh winter the US has been experiencing. As yet another major storm bears down on the northeast it’s good to think about how we get energy in a modern society.
3. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on the announcement of a new Chairman and two new Commissioners for the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC). She also reports that the role of the JAEC is evolving, and that the new Chairman, Yoshiaki Oka, presently a professor of nuclear engineering at Waseda University, has extensive experience in reactor technology development and in various other capacities, that give him a good background to lead the JAEC in new directions
(4A) Naoto Kan’s crime against Japan
This past week, a court panel in Tokyo rejected a criminal suit against former PM Naoto Kan concerning his actions during the first week of the Fukushima accident. However, I strongly feel he should have criminal charges filed for decisions he made just after midnight of March 12, 2012. These decisions may be viewed as the reason for the severity of the meltdowns, possibly being the cause of one of them, and the reason for the three hydrogen explosions. Kan should be criminally indicted for executive malfeasance, interfering in the emergency actions at F. Daiichi, placing the station’s entire staff in an un-necessary state of danger, and causing completely avoidable anguish to be inflicted on the people of Japan.
(4B) Bloomberg falls prey to scare-mongers
On Monday, February 24th, Bloomberg posted a brief article; Fukushima Nuclear Fuel Removal Suspended After Cooling Failure. The article is essentially correct, based on today’s Tepco report, except for the last sentence. It claims “experts” say broken fuel bundles will cause a chain reaction like the ones that caused the meltdowns of unit #1, 2, & 3. The meltdowns were NOT caused by the chain reactions. Preposterous is too kind a word. Bloomberg should be ashamed.
(4C) Japan’s nuke regulator is stalling nuke restarts… for what?
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority appears to be intentionally delaying the restarts of the country’s nukes. The sequence of events that cause this conclusion evokes nuclear energy déjà vu, reminiscent of the American regulatory experience following Three Mile Island. Japan’s leading newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, has been following recent NRA actions and doesn’t like what they see.
Transatomic Power is developing a molten salt reactor. They are using a zirconium hydride moderator instead of graphite. They also use a different salt.
They have a 27 page white paper with their design
This enables a higher energy density than the 1960s molten salt reactor and a smaller reactor which can be made more cheaply.
They believe with relatively traditional manufacturing methods they can make it at two thirds the cost of current nuclear power plants and make it even cheaper with modular designs. They believe electricity costs from their reactors will be cheaper than coal power.
They can burn low enriched uranium that is almost natural uranium and they can burn waste fuel from existing reactors. 270,000 tons of highly radioactive waste fuel that exists today can be used to power the world for 72 years.
The plans for decommissioning Vermont Yankee include some years in SAFSTOR. An op-ed about these plans brought heated comments from nuclear opponents: they claimed that Entergy could begin decommissioning immediately if it wanted to do so. In this post, Angwin defends the decommissioning choices and reviews the position of the fuel pool. There’s an excellent comment, also, from someone who works at the plant but chooses to be anonymous in posting.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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