Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nuclear Energy Blog Carnival 228: Here at Yes Vermont Yankee

Once again, we are proud to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers here at Yes Vermont Yankee.  The Carnival is a compendium of nuclear blogs that rotates from blog site to blog site, and it is always a pleasure and an honor to host it.

This week, several posts are concerned with nuclear's effect on the environment, or people's perceptions of nuclear's effects on the environment.  So let's start there.

Nuclear Energy and the Environment.

Water and Energy:  A Close Connection

At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus addresses an article which claimed that growing water shortages might shift energy production away from coal and nuclear power. Marcus points out that 1) cooling towers and advanced nuclear technologies can help meet the needs for water more efficiently, and 2) some renewable energy technologies also have significant water needs.

What it means to be pro-nuclear (part 1)

At the new blog, Nuclear Layperson, Amelia Cook (aka MillySievert) is asked by a childhood friend if she is "really convinced by nuclear"? Cook looks at the complicated nature of the "pro-nuclear" label and offers some alternative descriptions. One of her descriptions is I am pro low-carbon sources of energy. 

DOE Energy Calculator: Coal, Dynamite, Burritos, and Nuclear Candy

The Areva Blog reviews the Department of Energy's online tool for calculating the average amount of
energy you consume each year.  in energy-equivalent terms of coal, dynamite, and burritos (yes, burritos). Turns out the average American burns up the annual energy equivalent of 15,370 pounds of coal (7.7 tons). But the DOE tool lacks a crucial alternative comparison: eight gummy-bear-size pieces of nuclear fuel would reliably power every hour of your life for a year – without climate impact emissions.

Vermont Yankee Powers Down While Vermont Protestors Flock Down to New York City to Protest Climate Change

In this post, Yes Vermont Yankee considers the irony of Vermont protestors driving to New York City to protest climate change. They were carrying banners about "saying no to nuclear energy." The post also contains links to life-cycle studies of nuclear and renewable carbon footprints.

Nuclear power and the U.N. Green Climate Fund

Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues  looks at what will actually reduce carbon. Back in 2008, if you were a major financial investor, the smart thing to do was to put your money into credit default swaps. If  you were a small investor and connected to the right people, the smart place to put your money was into one of Bernie Madoff’s funds. And today, if you want to cut carbon without killing your economy, the smart thing to do is to go gangbusters into wind and solar. Aplin suggest ignoring the smart green energy consensus reflected in reportage on the U.N. Climate Summit in New York. Instead, notice what technologies will actually reduce carbon.

Deer Leap Falls, Poconos
Not a hydro site, so far
Why I support nuclear energy

At the new blog for Environmentalist for Nuclear Canada, Robert Rock describes cost and safety as two important reasons to support nuclear energy.  Other blog posts at this new blog include subjects such as The basics of climate change.

Indeed, though nuclear does protect the climate and the environment, it is also a very valuable industry.  Using the Rock post as a bridge, let's look at the nuclear industry as, you know, an industry.

The Nuclear Industry as an Industry: New Builds and More

South Africa inks 9.6 Gwe $50B reactor deal with Russia

Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes reports on the Rosatom deal to build several (up to eight) nuclear reactors in South Africa. This deal has been on-again and off-again, and it mirrors the tender South Africa released in 2007 and then cancelled. But this time is different.  This time Eskom, the state-owned electric utility, isn’t in the picture.

Seven Decades Past, A New Dawn

At ANS Nuclear Cafe, Will Davis starts by looking back at the early days, when nuclear was part of the Manhattan Project. Seventy years ago, the first full scale nuclear reactor started up at Hanford, Washington, and the world hasn't been the same since.  See rare photos of the project to build it, and learn the history of the first working reactor.

The Nuclear Weapons States: Who Has Them And How Many

As long as we are talking about the Manhattan Project, let's look at whether nuclear energy leads to nuclear weapons? The answer is no. Nuclear energy does not lead to nuclear weapons. James Conca at Forbes explains that there are nine nuclear weapons states with about 10,000 weapons. These weapons were all made from nuclear weapons programs, not commercial nuclear energy programs. There are two paths to the bomb. Iran tried one but will not succeed. North Korea took the other and succeeded. 

Consensus standards in industry
World's smallest reference material
Developed by NIST

In this post, Robert Hayes describes important standards in industry. These range from manufacturing
specifications to testing and procurement requirements. He describes the important role of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and professional organizations (ASME, for example) in setting these standards.

A Plea to Tepco and Tokyo – Just Do It!

At Hiroshima Syndrome, Les Corrice considers the best possible way to reduce the wastewater problem at F. Daiichi? Tepco and Tokyo should start dumping the stored waters already run through ALPS as soon as the local fishermen and the public have been fully informed. Wait a minute…they already have! Damn the radiophobic fears and unfounded rumors…JUST DO IT!

Electricity Prices Soar in New England. And Soon in Vermont.

Yes Vermont Yankee reports that electric prices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are jumping by 35-50%, partially due to the retirement of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and Salem Harbor coal plant. The state of Vermont will not be immune from this trend.

Passive Safety: Staying on Track

In this article at Nuclear Engineering International, Joseph Somsel takes a somewhat critical look at passive safety design concepts based on a case study of Casey Jones' famous accident. The successful deployment of a passive safety system was a major cause of the accident.

Somsel notes that basic problem for our industry is that making a nuclear power plant ten times safer won't make a single additional sale.  Making electricity from a nuclear reactor half the cost will sell many of them.

This look into the future (and into the railroad past) leads to the last part of our blog carnival.  What's new!

New Types of Reactors

Integrated Molten Salt Reactor should demonstrate the lowest lifetime cost of energy of any known technology

Canada's Terrestrial Energy Corporation is a leader in molten salt reactors. Nextbigfuture believes they have a good chance at creating an energy revolution because of their low cost and low development risk design. Their main advantage is the Canadian oilsands. Hundreds of IMSR reactor can be used to generate steam for oil recovery.

Cost is important. Low cost and accessible energy supply is linked to living standards and quality of life.

Molten Salt Reactor Projects in the U.K.

Molten Salt, laboratory scale
A feasibility study for a next-gen Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) has won funding from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK government’s strategic innovation agency. The bid was led by the indefatigable Jasper Tomlinson and Professor Trevor Griffiths. In a first for the UK, the project will produce a rigorous desk- and computer-based study of the feasibility of a pilot-scale MSR, based on the latest science.

Ian Scott has recently founded a UK based molten salt reactor development start-up, Moltex Energy LLP.

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