This week’s announcement from the EPA on anticipated emissions reductions has the internet wildly abuzz with speculation about how and where nuclear energy can fit in the future energy plans. Will Davis took a look at the broad reactions, and then made this post to try to ground the discussion about the contributions nuclear energy can make in the allotted time window.
Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues proposes a novel and innovative way to kick alcoholism. It comes with impeccable credibility, at least if you judge it in the same way some media vehicles judged the most recent U.S. plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. That is because it is almost identical to the way the U.S. government proposes to cure America’s addiction to fossil fuel.
The new EPA rules are good for Americans. They won’t hurt the economy or our energy security or our energy reliability. But They will spur alternative energy development and installation including new nuclear, lower our health care costs, and continue our fracking craze for gas.
4. NEI Nuclear Notes – The penultimate episode of Cosmos laid out the case for climate science. But when it came time to look at solutions, the Fox program completely ignored zero-carbon nuclear energy. Why?
On June 5, 2014 Senator Barbara Boxer used her gavel and power over the committee to dominate an NRC oversight hearing. The only mention she made of time was when she turned to the time keeper and demanded an extra “ten seconds,” ostensibly to make up for time that she lost when she was interrupted by Senator Vitter, who was concerned about the way that she was demanding a “yes, no or I don’t know” answer.
When Ed Markey entered the committee room after the hearing started, Boxer asked him to take the seat next to her. She then proceeded to give him the floor for 16 minutes (vice the customary 5 minutes) to question the commissioners.
Armond Cohen, the Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group that has been advocating for actions to reduce air pollution since 1996, explains how his organization has determined that nuclear energy is a vital tool in the battle to decarbonise the world’s energy production system.
An employee buyout of Vermont Yankee is unlikely, due to grid prices and the taxes imposed on Vermont Yankee.
By EPA’s proposed rules, Vermont will not have to develop a carbon dioxide abatement plan, because it doesn’t host a coal-burning power plant. After Vermont Yankee closes, the local grid will use more fossil to make up the power. But Vermont still won’t need an abatement plan, because neighboring states will be the ones releasing carbon. Vermont will export its compliance problems. Be careful what you ask for.
There is a parallel between the new Godzilla movie and Fukushima, but not as it appears on the surface. In both cases, a nuclear plant accident is used as a cover-up for the real problem-at-hand.
Howard Shaffer reports from an anti-nuclear presentation on decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant – we’re sure to hear similar arguments from nuclear energy opponents in other locales in the future
A quick update and links from the 6th annual Thorium Energy Alliance Conference held last week in Chicago
An examination of two real-world, state-of-the-art solar farms, their footprint, and extrapolation for the U.S. power needs including discussion on transportation, distribution, and finally, a comparison with the nuclear power footprint.
Chinese nuclear power plants, both those operational and those under construction, will have a combined power capacity of 58,000 megawatts (MW) by 2015, which will further appreciate to 88,000 MW by 2020.
China will start six new reactors every year from 2015 to 2020.
China will put 640 billion yuan (US$103.6 billion) into the nuclear power industry before 2020, with 480 billion yuan (US$77.7 billion) spent on building facilities, including 70 billion yuan (US$11.3 billion) in 2014, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.
Currently, China has 21 reactors in operation, in addition to 28 units under construction
Russia has over 20 nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction. This is its $100 billion backlog of orders.
The latest Russian Federal Target Program (FTP) envisages a 25-30% nuclear share in electricity supply by 2030, 45-50% in 2050 and 70-80% by end of century.
Rosatom [Russia] expects to obtain orders for 80 reactors worldwide and is planning to triple sales by 2030. Last year the company increased its foreign contracts’ portfolio by 60 percent to $66.5 billion and had initially planned $73 billion worth of new orders this year.
Russia has a $55-billion plan to make Russia a leading global supplier of nuclear power.
Russia intends to build roughly 40 new reactors at home, and it expects as many as 80 orders from other countries by 2030. Included are facilities that would generate power and desalinate water, of particular interest in the Middle East.
In December 2012, first concrete was poured for the HTR-PM demonstration power plant, a 200 MW commercial demonstration plant based on the HTR-10. The small HTR-PM units with pebble bed fuel and helium coolant are 2×105 MWe reactors, so that they can retain the same core configuration as the prototype HTR-10. The twin units, each with a single steam generator, will drive a single steam turbine.
As of the end of 2013, the civil work for the underground part of nuclear island buildings had been completed. The main components, including reactor pressure vessels, core internals and steam generators are being fabricated by domestic manufacturers. A fuel factory that will supply 300,000 fuel elements each year to the HTR-PM is also being built in northern China. According to the project schedule HTR-PM is expected to be commissioned in 2017.
EMC2 Fusion reports experimental results validating the concept that plasma confinement is enhanced in a magnetic cusp configuration when beta (plasma pressure/magnetic field pressure) is order of unity. This enhancement is required for a fusion power reactor based on cusp confinement to be feasible. The magnetic cusp configuration possesses a critical advantage: the plasma is stable to large scale perturbations. However, early work indicated that plasma loss rates in a reactor based on a cusp configuration were too large for net power production. Grad and others theorized that at high beta a sharp boundary would form between the plasma and the magnetic field, leading to substantially smaller loss rates. The current experiment validates this theoretical conjecture for the first time and represents critical progress toward the Polywell fusion concept which combines a high beta cusp configuration with an electrostatic fusion for a compact, economical, power-producing nuclear fusion reactor.
The present experimental result is a major step toward a Polywell fusion reactor in that it validates the conjecture that high energy electron confinement is improved in a high β plasma. However, two additional measurements are needed to estimate the performance of a Polywell fusion reactor. The first is to quantitatively determine the loss rate. The second is to measure the efficiency of ion acceleration by electron beam injection.
Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 53% of the way to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments with 24 days to go in the crowdfunding effort.
18. Nukepowertalk – Gail Marcus contemplated avoiding the issue of the new EPA rule this week, knowing that a lot of other people were going to cover it. However, she finally decided to tackle it, and offers her nuanced view at Nuke Power Talk.
Gail is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for nuclear power, believing that this rule has the potential to counteract some of the current inequities in the marketplace. However, she notes that all the special interest groups are queuing up, so that is still TBD.