Carnival of Nuclear 229

1. Forbes James Conca – Are California Carbon Goals Kaput?

In one fell swoop, the unnecessary closing of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Diego wiped out the equivalent of almost all the wind and solar installed in California, reversing the state’s 20-year progress in low-carbon energy.

2. Neutron Bytes – Dan Yurman – Areva stock facing junk status from S&P rating

Cost overruns at a reactor under construction in Finland and delays globally in nuclear projects have hurt the French state-owned nuclear firm

3. Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary…Earthquake fears supplanted by volcano fears with Japanese nukes

The dead from the Mount Ontake volcanic eruption, while their bodies were still warm, were desecrated by Japan’s antinuclear groups. It seems Japan’s antinukes have no sense of decorum or respect for those who died.

4. Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary – Harvey Wasserman takes his conspiracy theories to Russia

Wasserman is a slick rhetorical con artist who preys on the world demographic that suffers from radiophobia and the Hiroshima Syndrome. Now, he’s taken his fantasy-based claims to Russia and one of its largest news outlets, RIA Novosti.

5. Yes Vermont Yankee – Electricity Prices Soar in New England. And Soon in Vermont.

Soaring Prices in New England: An Update and Another Update

In these two posts, Meredith Angwin describes recent price rises (announced and not-yet-announced) for electricity rates in New England. Price rises range from 12% to 50%: not small amounts. Factors that have led to this massive increase include the closing of Vermont Yankee and a local coal plant, the increased price of natural gas, and the effective recent business strategy of HydroQuebec (HQ). HQ has required its recent contracts to be “market-follow” contracts. This type of contract increases HQ profits, but it also means that inexpensive nature of hydropower will offer the New England markets little relief about prices. The price utilities pay to HydroQuebec must rise along with the grid prices.

6. ANS Nuclear Cafe….Business Focused Approach to Molten Salt Reactors

Rod Adams steps out in favor of one approach to designing, licensing and building a molten salt cooled power reactor. While many molten salt and/or thorium advocates write uncashable checks, at least one approach appears to be on solid footing.

7. ANS Nuclear Cafe – Changing How We Communicate

Robert Rock presents his views on how the nuclear field is doing with communicating — which means actually reaching and engaging people — and finds there is some fertile ground for improvement in this provocative but constructive article.

8. Things worse than Nuclear power – Why Intermittency Matters, Part I: Germany’s Faltering Experiment in Renewable Energy Generation
by Mark Heinicke

9. Nextbigfuture – How the Terrestrial Energy Integral Molten Salt Reactor is designed for fast approval, safety and lower costs

Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR (Integral Molten Salt Reactor) features a self-contained reactor Core-unit, (the “IMSR Core-unit”), within which all key components are permanently sealed for its operating lifetime. At the end of its 7-year design life, the IMSR Core-unit is shut down and left to cool. At the same time, power is switched to a new IMSR Core-unit, installed a short time before in an adjacent silo within the facility. Once sufficiently cool, the spent IMSR Core-unit is removed and prepared for long-term storage, a process similar to existing industry protocols for long-term nuclear waste containment. Owing to the extremely low costs of the IMSR Core-unit, it is commercially feasible to operate the IMSR facility in this manner. The sealed nature of the IMSR Core-unit has other benefits, such as permitting operational safety and simplicity.

10. Nextbigfuture – Lightbridge, a nuclear engineering company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, is planning the first tests in a full-scale reactor of new fuel rods that have been engineered to boost power output of existing nuclear reactors by 10 to 17 percent. Crucially, the tests will determine whether the technology can work safely. Inserted in a conventional reactor, the new fuel could boost power 10 percent. Replacing equipment including turbines with larger-size ones would increase that to 17 percent, Lightbridge say

Currently the US generates 800 Terawatt hours per year from nuclear reactors. Boosting nuclear power by 10 to 17 percent would be 80 to 136 Terawatt hours per year in the USA. The US generated 176.8 Terawatt hours in wind power for the 12 months ended July 2014. The Lightbridge nuclear uprate could enable pressure water reactors to uprate as much as 30% but that would require upgrading more equipment. Worldwide nuclear power production was 2356 TWh in 2013. This was in spite of 50 nuclear reactors being shutdown in Japan. A global 10% boost would be 235 TWh and a 17% boost would be 400 TWh.

If Lightbridge’s fuel works, it would be like adding 10 new plants in the United States—or 40 more in the world—without even having to build one.

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