During a Democratic Party debate, Senator Sanders said he wants to move away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Governor Martin O’Malley declared that he believes in science and has a plan that will result in a 100% clean electric energy grid by 2050 that includes solar, wind, new technologies etc.
Though Senator Sanders has a lengthy record of opposing nuclear energy, his use of the word “sustainable” provides an opportunity for changing his mind with new information. Governor O’Malley has a record of supporting new nuclear plants from his time as Maryland’s governor. That indicates that his definition of “clean energy” includes nuclear.
DOE is trying to change the rules on nuclear waste disposal. For the better. Instead of the old top-down decision-making, DOE is going to implement a consent-based strategy. So instead of ordering some individual state to take all of the Nation’s high level nuclear waste whether they like it or not, we’ll ask “Who would like to take this waste? It will create fantastic jobs, will bring huge economic benefit to the region and, contrary to popular opinion, it’s safer than putting in a Mall.”
Deep Borehole Disposal uses a combination of the natural properties of deep crustal rocks plus engineered barriers like asphalt, bentonite and concrete to isolate waste for geologic time. At these depths, you’re so deep in the crust that the overlying rocks don’t matter. The water table doesn’t matter. The climate doesn’t matter. Human activities don’t matter. Because of its size, it will take more technological advances for most of our nuclear waste, but some waste is small and perfect for this approach. Source: Sandia
Renewables cannot be a high percentage of grid power, unless grid-level storage is available. Previous posts at this blog described how natural-gas fired electricity substituted for the nuclear plant output. Some people commented that renewables could eventually substitute for natural gas. The current post describes why renewables cannot expand to that level, without energy storage.
In addition to its plans for building four huge nuclear power stations, the UK government has also announced it wants to become a global Center for the development and manufacturing of small modular reactors (SMRs). This blog post assesses the UK’s plans and concludes that it could succeed, but only if the UK is able to scale up its efforts sufficiently and if the government provides active policy support.
Phil Ord is a strong advocate of Nuclear Energy. Here he writes a short concise review about how and when electric cars make sense. They just happen to be a particularly good match when there batteries are being charged by electricity from…guess?
Nextbigfuture interviewed Jaeyoung Park who leads the EMC2 commercial fusion effort. EMC2 is developing the work of late Dr. Robert Bussard for magneto-electrostatic fusion, also known as “Polywell fusion”. Dr. Park confirmed the recent publication of an EMC2 patent filing. Dr Park also discussed the reasons behind EMC2’s silence, which had been driven by the Navy’s concern about technology disclosure of Polywell technology
The LPP Fusion research team is still working with the tungsten electrodes but they know the beryllium electrodes will be needed soon. Tungsten is being used now because of its extreme resistance to the heat generated by runaway electrons during the early stages of FF-1’s pulse. They are combining that thermal resistance with a technique called “pre-ionization” to prevent vaporization of the electrodes and the resulting impurities in the plasma (see earlier report here.) This, they expect, will greatly increase the density of the tiny plasmoid the device produces and thus the fusion energy yield.
If LPP Fusion is successful they could reduce the cost of energy to 10-20 times.