On May 26, 2016 at precisely 2:16 a.m., what will probably be the final large unit in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) nuclear fleet – Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Unit 2 – achieved its initial criticality. This event opens the final chapter of the extended construction history of this unit, and paves way for another gigawatt of generating capacity (in nameplate rating) to be added to TVA’s generating portfolio
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a final rule creating a variable fee structure for small modular reactors (SMR). It creates a new term called a “bundled unit” and then bases the annual fee on the thermal power output of the bundled unit. It is a three part structure with a minimum fee, a variable fee computed as a function of thermal power, and a maximum fee for a range of output power.
Unfortunately, the agency saw fit to invent a new definition of SMR that restricts the intentionally broad term to describing only light water reactors.
Today, 250 of the world’s leading energy storage experts have gathered at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to discuss the latest battery technologies, from large liquid and sodium sulfur batteries to new poly-ionics. But to store enough energy to power a city for a day, you need a train filled with a million pounds of rock. Going up and down a hill like Sisyphus, Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES) converts excess renewable energy into gravitational potential energy then back into electricity when needed. With no water and no turbines.