Rod Adams on the 35th anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station — lessons learned and lessons still being learned.
2. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus makes a case for public comment on reactor restarts in Japan. Even though it may appear to slow the process down at the start, in a country where local approvals are required for restarts, it is important that the regulator be able to demonstrate that they have adequately addressed public concerns.
There has been little improvement with tsunami refugees over the past year. The situation in Sendai is representative of the entire 400 kilometer coastline, and it is very depressing. Sea walls are being built, but sort-memoried locals and Japan’s First Lady find them inappropriate and want them lowered to improve the view from the shore. Many are thus forgetting the horror of the 3/11/11 tsunami. However, two reports, with Onagawa and Toni Town, seem to show a glimmer of hope.
This post was written shortly before the Public Service Board (PSB) deadline for issuing a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) for Vermont Yankee. Meredith Angwin considers whether the PSB will meet the deadline, whether it will issue a certificate, whether the state Attorney General will sue after a certificate is granted, and whether the State of Vermont will live up to its promises.
This post was written shortly after the Public Service Board ruled. It issued a CPG for the final year of Vermont Yankee’s operation. It also issued a side dish of insults about the plant owners.
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont is a relatively young steam plant that uses a low-cost, essentially emission-free fuel. It is strategically located in an area with few fossil fuel resources, extreme weather, and frequent spikes in electricity prices. It has a well-trained, experienced operating staff that has an excellent performance record. Three years in a row — 2010, 2011, and 2012 — it was voted as the best place to work in Vermont. It has a license to operate from the federal government that is good for another 18 years.
However, politicians in the state — several of whom have substantial financial links to the natural gas and renewable energy industry — have cooperated with emotional activists to add enough extra costs to convince its current owners that it is not worthwhile to continue operating the plant.
7. Nextbigfuture – A number of new nuclear power reactors in China are approaching start-up. The first unit at Yangjiang has completed full-power trial operation while hot tests have concluded at Fuqing 1. Two other units recently completed pressure tests on their containments.
Unit 1 of the Yangjiang plant in China’s Guangdong province has entered commercial operation, becoming China’s 20th operating nuclear power reactor.
The first four Yangjiang units are 1080 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, with units 5 and 6 being the more advanced ACPR-1000. All the reactors should be in operation by 2018, producing a grand total of around 6100 MWe.
8. Nextbigfuture – In new estimates, WHO (World Health Organization) reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.
* Since particulate air pollution is the primary health risk it should be a primary focus for improving global public health
* particulates also impact global warming by making ice and surface darker which cause more heat to be absorbed
* 80% of the warming effect of carbon dioxide is attributed to particulates
* particulates can be mitigated for 20 times lower cost than the same warming impact of carbon dioxide
* getting smoke free cookers to people in the developing world will save millions of lives
* new and old cars and trucks need to have devices that reduce particulates
City scale water spraying from skyscrapers and towers is something that can be deployed in 2-4 years to blunt the worst air pollution days and save lives and improve health while waiting for other slower pollution reduction measures to be deployed.
Fixing air pollution is one of the quickest ways to save the most lives at the lowest cost and the fastest way to reduce global warming. If someone were seriously concerned about global warming then particulates and soot should be the first and primary focus because it would have the biggest and fastest impact. Carbon dioxide mitigation costs 20 times more and takes decades longer to bend the temperature curve.
Scaling up nuclear energy would also be useful in lowering air pollution emissions. Initially the fastest ways to do this would be with aggressive uprating of existing reactors. Then with develop of annular fuels for existing reactors for more extensive power uprates. Factory mass producable nuclear reactors could make a big impact after 2020.