Sunday, June 9, 2013

160th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs: Here at Yes Vermont Yankee

Carnival carousel
Some gloom, some light

On Friday, the owners of  San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) announced that they would close the station and decommission it.  That was a very gloomy end to the week.  I had volunteered to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs.  Was I in for a miserable experience, documenting much wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Well, no.  The SONGS closing is a huge piece of bad news, but it is far from the only news in the nuclear world.  So here we go.  Let's start with SONGS.

The SONGS closing (gloom section)

SONGS to retire, decommission, posted by Will Davis at ANS Nuclear Café.
The latest news on the recent decision to retire the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California. The post includes information from a press teleconference held by Southern California Edison, and many explanatory links.

San Onofre Closing Wasn't Necessary, posted by Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee.
I was a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, in the Steam Generator group.  In my post about San Onofre, I assert and explain that the closing simply wasn't necessary.  It shouldn't take the NRC more than a year to determine whether a plant can be run safely at reduced power.  My post also has explanatory links.

The rest of the nuclear world (non-gloom section)

Nuclear Uprates in the U.S., and a new reactor in China. Posted by Brian Wang of Next Big Future.
NextEra Energy has just completed 700 MW of reactor uprates at six plants.  Meanwhile, in China, a 1080 MWe PWR just began commercial operation.

New Tepco groundwater study confirms that isotopic levels are negligible Posted by Les Corrice at Hiroshima Syndrome/ Fukushima Commentary.
Japan's Press says Tepco's recent report of the actual levels of Cesium in F. Daiichi groundwater is a reversal of their previous assessment of it being negligible. To the contrary, the new assessment proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the cesium value in the groundwater is indeed negligible.

Carnival fireworks
Pandora's Promise--The Sundance Film Festival's Nuclear Exposé Posted by James Conca at Forbes.
Academy award-nominated director Robert Stone has premiered a new look at nuclear energy, at the Sundance Film Festival.  The film is due to open in theaters all over America the week of June 12.

Questions and Answers about Nuclear Power Posted by Jessica Lovering of the Breakthrough Institute at ANS Nuclear Café.
The Breakthrough Institute recently compiled some of the tough questions it is frequently asked about nuclear power by fellow environmentalists.  Many careful explanations of how nuclear energy helps the environment, compared to the alternatives.

Vermont Yankee Gets Permission to Install Diesel Posted by Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee.
Sometimes "Moot" is good.  The Public Service Board (PSB) was delaying and dragging their feet about allowing Vermont Yankee to install a necessary back-up diesel. When Vermont Yankee sued the PSB in federal court, the PSB decided to give permission for the generator installation. This rendered the federal court case "moot".

Washington Internships for Students of Engineering Posted by Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk.
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus follows up on an earlier blog in which she discussed a technology policy internship for engineering majors from different schools across the country.  She now reports that this year, she will be serving as the faculty member in residence for the program, and she hopes to provide input from time to time during the summer on how engineering students respond to what they learn this summer about how the government handles technical issues.

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

Too often, the nuclear industry in the United States is the bug: for example, SONGs.  But even in the U.S., there is good news: Pandora's Promise is opening, new internships for engineering students, power uprates at existing plants.  And when you look abroad, the situation is even better.

Enjoy the Carnival!


Carl said...

From the Northwest's - Sixth Power Plan - Mid-Term Assessment: The Northwest and California are interconnected... The two regions use interties to share their power resources to keep costs down. The California system normally has surplus capacity during the winter when Northwest loads are highest. It was assumed that a minimum of 3,200 MW surplus generation would be available during the winter. However, a number of changes have occurred in California since the Sixth Power Plan was developed that have the potential to reduce the availability of winter imports to the Northwest and increase the need for new resources.
1. California adopted a statewide water quality control policy on the use of water for cooling expected to force 6,659 MW into retirement plus other retirements of 1,030 MW by 2017.
2. Another major factor is California's increasing reliance on renewable resources... California's move to use more renewable resources has the potential to affect the availability of surplus generation to help meet winter peaking needs in the Northwest. California is expected to add 7,734 MW of solar, 2,116 MW of wind, and 1,641 MW of other renewables to yield of total of 11,491 MW of new renewable resource generation. Modern gas-fired generation ... will help integrate renewables and provide replacement capacity.
3. With SONGS (2,200 MW) now being permanently retired , the estimated amount of surplus generation available from California drops to zero.

The 6th Power Plan expects to new NW electricity supply needs to be achieved: 75% via conservation, and 25% with new wind.

Personal commentary: I can hear the summertime conversation now between WA Gov Inslee and CA Gov Brown: Brown, you need to conserve!

Anonymous said...

Summer peak demand often occurs during heat waves and the average capacity factor for wind generation in CA during those times is typically in the single digit range (maybe 5% or so). So where will the supply come from then? Most likely out-of-state sources, with a significant mark-up in price. The last time that happened the consumers were somewhat unhappy, IIRC. This time, it might make people realize the consequences of their choices if they just sweat it out.

Meredith Angwin said...

Absolutely great comments!
Tonight, HuffPost Live ( a web streaming news feed of Huffington Post) is going to have a discussion on SONGS. You can comment while the debate is going on. It will be for half an hour, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time. This NEI article has links to many west coast newspaper reports on the subject. Kerekes from NEI will be on Huffpost.
(NEI article)