In Professional Anti-Nuclear Activists Using San Bruno Fire-Inspired Concerns About Natural Gas Pipelines Against the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, Rod Adams of Atomic Insights explains the attempt to use the recent gas pipeline explosion as a reason to force Indian Point Nuclear Power Station to shut down. Replacing the Indian Point nuclear power with natural gas would lead to more natural gas being transported in pipelines, of course. (I think it is best to avoid attempting to follow the "logic" of these arguments.)
In other posts, Rod points out that worrying about a small hole in a redundant system is a waste of personal energy. Should People Worry About a Rusty Hole the Size of a Quarter? Rod is also following the Vermont Tiger blog series on the cozy relationship of anti-nuclear activists and renewable energy money in Vermont.
Meanwhile, New Builds Move Forward
U. S. Congressional Representative Judy Biggert (R, Illinois) writes Election 2010: Breaking the nuclear deadlock? at ANS Nuclear Cafe: The standstill in Congress over climate change legislation has resulted in a deadlock on other national energy priorities, including nuclear issues. There will be new voices in Congress following the upcoming elections, which may bring opportunity for nuclear advocates. Biggert outlines bipartisan legislation that she has sponsored to advance nuclear science and technologies and urges scientists, engineers and nuclear energy advocates to vote in the elections.
As Dan Yurman points out in Idaho Samizdat, Cracks Appear in the Wall for California's Ban on Nuclear Energy, California is moving toward nuclear, despite the statewide ban on new power plants. There's no ban on plants for process heat though, and there are state laws against adding to global warming. Two 1600 MW Areva ERP reactors for industrial purposes are planned near Fresno. When you can't do carbon, and renewables don't provide enough oomph, what do you do next? A cheerful tale.
Meanwhile, the AtomWatch blog reviews the Institute of Chemical Engineers study of world-wide new nuclear builds. The AtomWatch blog has with a short, simple list of lessons learned. No, success is not about "using cheap labor" (the comment with which people dismiss the Asian builds). Success is about skills, designs, and planning. Just like other big construction projects, oddly enough.
At Next Big Future, Brian Wang comes to similar conclusions in his post China's Nuclear Reactors and Bridges and budgets and schedules. He carefully reviews several Chinese projects, concluding that Red Tape does not make a project safer. Also, the Chinese have many huge construction projects underway, including power plants and bridges. Chinese construction companies and construction crews are skilled, experienced and efficient with big projects. The way American crews used to be, back in the old days.
Are We Building the Right Plants?
In Dr. Furakura's Vision (Nuclear Green Blog) Charles Barton describes the early development of Molten Salt Reactors, which was followed by squashed hopes. Dr. Furakara is old now (85) but he is trying to launch the Fuji reactor project. Dr. Furukawa believes that by 2050-2060 as many as 10,000 billion-watt Fuji reactors could be powering the global energy economy. Why do we believe the next generation of reactors will be developed in this country, or in France? We should not be ignoring the visions of the future from Japan. In a related post, Charles analyses the MIT David J Rose Lecture in which John Holdren lays out Obama Administration thinking. Apparently, they think that a thorium molten salt reactor is impossible. The video of the Rose lecture is embedded in the blog.
Just in case you think that if it's an MIT lecture, it must be right, Brian Wang has a blog post describing the negotiations between Japan and Korea to build mini-Fuji reactors for ships. The companies see this as a competitive move vis-a-vis Chinese nuclear-powered ships. Where is the U.S. in all this ferment of new reactors?
What About the Sun? What About Fossil?
At Yes Vermont Yankee, Willem Post has an excellent guest blog on Photovoltaic Feed In Tariffs and Germany and this country. A very interesting post, with tons of data and links. Did you think solar helps a lot with peaking power? Well, not much, actually.
Similarly, also at Yes Vermont Yankee, I have a post The Inconvenient Truth About Vermont Yankee. Without It, Vermont Would Use Fossil. The general statement is obvious, but the back-up facts are interesting. New England, as a whole, has 60% of its installed electrical capacity in gas and oil. Vermont has 9%. The chart of energy use during refueling outages is also worth a look.
Enjoy the Carnival! Always something new to see and to learn!