Energy did not make any difference in who we chose for President on Tuesday. But the energy sector won biggly, nonetheless. Under a Trump Presidency, U.S. climate change policy and goals will evaporate, as will the Clean Power Plan, the Paris accords, any teeth in the Environmental Protection Agency, and any hope of a carbon tax. There will also be no opposition from the Feds to pipeline construction or drilling on public lands and wildlife areas. So energy and environmental regulations will simply fall to the states. Oddly enough, renewables and nuclear will be fine.
* Japan overcomes its nonproliferation jitters about India to sign a deal to provide reactors there.
* Vietnam pulls the plug on a plan to build eight new reactors due to high costs and lower demand for electricity.
Entergy plans to sell Vermont Yankee to a decomm company. This should speed the decommissioning: running a plant and decommissioning a plant are different specialities. It is sad, however, because people who work at the plant now are not likely to be retained.
GEIDCO wants to create an electric grid that connects all of Asia and then follow that with a grid that connects the entire world. GEIDCO – the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Co-operation Organization is a China-based group that now has agreements with energy companies in China, South Korea, Russia and Japan, as well as utilities, equipment manufacturers and universities from 14 countries.
The first step for GEIDCO is to build a connected Asia Super Grid that could bring the theoretically huge renewable energy generation capabilities of North China’s Gobi desert as far east as Japan.
The entire idea is contingent on ultra high voltage power transmission lines, thousands of miles operating at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC/800 kilovolts DC. High voltages reduce losses over long distances, and both Russia and Japan already have hundreds (in Russia’s case thousands) of miles of ultra high voltage lines up and running. These pale in comparison to China’s infrastructure; since 2009 China has built nearly 10,000 miles of UHV power lines, with about the same again to come online in the next two years.
Experts from 17 countries laid the foundations last week for enhanced international cooperation on a technology that promises to deliver nuclear power with a lower risk of severe accidents, helping to decrease the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change.
Molten salt reactors – nuclear power reactors that use liquid salt as primary coolant or a molten salt mixture as fuel – have many favourable characteristics for nuclear safety and sustainability. The concept was developed in the 1960s, but put aside in favour of what has become mainstream nuclear technology since. In recent years, however, technological advances have led to growing interest in molten salt technology and to the launch of new initiatives. The technology needs at least a decade of further intensive research, validation and qualification before commercialization.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has agreed to sell around 300,000 tonnes of depleted uranium hexafluoride to GE Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) for re-enrichment at a proposed plant to be built near DOE’s Paducah site in Kentucky. The agreement paves the way for commercialisation of Silex laser enrichment technology.
GLE was selected by the DOE in 2013 to enter contract negotiations on the construction of a laser enrichment plant former at the former gaseous enrichment site at Paducah, Kentucky to re-enrich its inventory of high-assay depleted uranium tails. The tails, left over from previous enrichment operations, contain a lower proportion of uranium-235 than in naturally occurring uranium but can potentially be re-enriched for use in nuclear fuel.
GLE will finance, construct, own and operate the Paducah Laser Enrichment Facility, which will be a commercial enrichment plant licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Re-enrichment of the 300,000 tonnes of tails would take place over 40 years, producing around 100,000 tonnes of “natural-grade” uranium which would be sold into the world uranium market. The balance of the material – low assay tails – would be returned to the DOE for disposition.
Construction of China’s first floating nuclear power plant has officially begun, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced. The demonstration unit is expected to be completed by 2020.
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Research Institute deputy chief engineer and small reactor lead designer Rui Min said that, unlike the pouring of first safety concrete for a conventional land-based reactor, the signing of the vessel purchase agreement marks the official start of construction of the offshore unit. Of all the equipment necessary to construct the unit – including the floating platform – the vessel takes the longest to manufacture.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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