Yes Vermont Yankee is proud to host this 59th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs!
Let's start by welcoming a new blog about nuclear, by someone who went to the University of Vermont.
I want to start by welcoming the first blogger to the Carnival and to my blog roll. Evergreen Nuclear's author, Dr. John Bickel, graduated from the University of Vermont as a math/physics major. He is now a nuclear engineer who lives in Colorado. The post on the Carnival today is So...Should We Dig Up a Lot of Coal? This post is an update of an article Bickel wrote comparing nuclear and coal (both mined in Colorado). His article was first printed in the Colorado Mountain Club's Trails and Timberline magazine. Bickel was an elected board member of the Colorado Mountain Club.
Thinking about Japan
Several blog post discuss Fukushima, and what could have been done better.
The ANS Nuclear Cafe post: Hall Talk at the Special Session on Fukushima, is a behind-the scenes interview with two people who presented at the Fukushima sessions at the American Nuclear Society meeting last week. Dan Yurman wrote the post, and the interviewees are Akira Omoto of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, and Mike Weber of the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They share their frustrations with the U.S. and the Japanese response to the early days of Fukushima.
In the last Carnival, Margaret Harding shared technical lessons learned from Fukushima. This week, in the post Lessons Learned From Fukushima-–-The Corporate, she addresses corporate lessons and corporate planning. Among other things, Harding concludes that it is important to be willing to ask for help.
In a related post, Too Much Politicization, Gail Marcus discusses a guest column by former Commissioner Kenneth C. Rogers that contrasts the NRC of today with the way the Commission operated during his tenure as a Commissioner. Commissioner Rogers asserts that the first of the five Principles of Good Regulation, independence, is being violated by current actions. Gail notes that it should serve as a lesson to the Japanese, who are now talking of reorganizing their regulatory structure, that, while the institutional arrangements are important, they are not enough to guarantee true regulatory independence.
All these posts include information and opinions from people who have worked in the nuclear industry in Japan.
Other bloggers debunk myths and comment on government actions.
In Just a Speck of Plutonium... Cheryl Rofer asks: Is it true that just a speck of plutonium will kill you? Well, no. Rofer considers this all-too-common and inaccurate assertion and wonders why people who claim to respect science keep repeating it. (Note: Cheryl lives in New Mexico. During the recent fire, this post got quite a bit of press coverage in her state. There wasn't any radioactive release from any of the labs, but the just-a-speck-kills assertion was all over the newspapers for a while. We are all grateful to Rofer for this post. She has another post on the Drums at Area G, which continues the debunking. )
In Nuclear Industry Leaders Are Wimps, and It is Time To Fight Back Rod Adams reports the US nuclear industry decision makers continue to focus their meager advertising and public outreach resources inside the Washington DC beltway. They repeatedly refuse to recognize that nuclear has no friends in the fossil fuel industry. Rod wrote a fascinating post that has over 100 comments.
Will Davis, at Atomic Power Review (APR), reports on the latest developments at Fukushima Daiichi, including a new video on the APR YouTube channel. What's most newsworthy is the fact that while many serious challenges remain, the situation continues to improve steadily. (I just added Atomic Power Review to my blogroll. It is not a new blog, and I don't know why it wasn't there before. I apologize to Davis, whose information and graphics are always worthwhile.)
Rick Maltese, at Deregulate the Atom, asks: Is Canada's Federal Government Sabotaging Nuclear Energy? At one point, the government wanted to sell AECL for $23 Billion, but the latest price is $15 million. As Rick says: "This post is my short and stunned response."
At my own blog, Yes Vermont Yankee, I document that the New England Grid operator (ISO-NE) said we need Vermont Yankee for grid reliability. This is the second year in a row that ISO-NE has refused to let Vermont Yankee drop out of the forward power auction. The politicians aren't taking note of this, but I am.
Several blog posts look to the future and the big picture. I am proud to have hosted one such post, Jeff's Schmidt's guest post, the Nuclear Safety Paradox, which is now featured at The Energy Collective. Jeff's question: Where are the new generations of nuclear plants?
At Next Big Future, Brian Wang points out that fusion advances are now being covered in the main stream media. In another important post, Brian summarizes (and links t0) a June 2011 report from OECD on the technical feasibility and economics of small nuclear reactors. Both technically and economically, small reactors look good!
Steve Skutnik of Neutron Economy also reviews Small Modular Reactors and the Economics of Nuclear. Small modular reactors (SMRs) have numerous advantages in terms of safety and scalability that make them a promising pathway to new nuclear development. However, their most important advantage is in that they attack one of the chief stumbling blocks to new nuclear: economics.
Assessing the Japanese experience, telling the truth, and looking forward. It's all here, in this week's Carnival of Nuclear Energy!
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Carousel in Avignon photo by Meredith
Plutonium in solution from Wikipedia.