Monday, February 1, 2016

Nuclear Blogger Carnival 298, at Yes Vermont Yankee

Once again, we are proud to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers, right 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.

Let's start with blog posts directly about nuclear energy.  Nuclear power is moving forward, world-wide, despite opposition.

Fukushima Updates--Leslie Corrice
Takahama unit #3  has restarted, and this has spurred  numerous FUD-based press reports. The main reason is the use of MOX fuel bundles in 15% of the core. The postings also focus on allegedly inadequate emergency planning, the lack of a national nuclear waste disposal option, the inference that the only benefit of nukes is making money, and citizens claiming a violation of their human rights.

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman
Leading developers and potential customers of small modular reactors (SMR) have formed a consortium, called SMR Smart, to advance the commercialization of the innovative light water reactor designs.
Also, developers of advanced nuclear reactors are pleased with their DC summit meeting held last week.

Next Big Future--Brian Wang

China plans on at least 110 Nuclear Reactors by 2030
Many will be 1400 MW or larger.  The Chinese supply chain is well in place.

Lightbridge is making progress on improved nuclear fuel
This fuel should increase energy production by 17% in existing reactors.

Bad air quality in Japan from lack of nuclear energy and air pollution in China
Hopefully, reactor restarts in Japan will ease the problem. But right now it is pretty bad, with 60% of monitoring sites in Japan above the particulate pollution standard. 

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman
French energy group EDF has postponed giving final approval for construction of the twin 1600 MW Areva EPRs in Somerset, UK. The current cost estimate, which is a work in progress, is pegged at between $18-20 billion.
The move to delay the final investment decision is said to have been made as a result of concerns within the French government and by investors about whether the financing was firmly in place for the huge project and whether costs could be contained over a decade long period of construction of the reactors.

Next:  Can renewables replace fossil fuel and nuclear?  Well, no. Here are some posts on that issue.

Forbes--James Conca
Exxon Believes That Global Use Of Oil And Gas Will Continue To Increase
The largest fossil fuel company in the world predicts our energy mix won’t change a whole lot over the next 25 years. In fact, Exxon Mobil projects that oil and gas will actually increase by 2040, even as coal decreases a bit. This unfortunate future stems from the age-old conundrum of trying not to eat sugar when your pockets are full of candy. The Earth has so much fossil fuel, and it has become so cheap to extract it, that it defies logic to think that humans will not keep burning it as their main source of energy.

Northwest Clean Energy--Meredith Angwin
Reality: Less nuclear means more natural gas
Vermont Yankee and San Onofre closed recently. Natural gas-fired plants took over and made the electricity that replaced the nuclear outputs.  Meanwhile, paper after paper, and study after study, trumpet the coming world of renewables.  These are just studies.  Though renewables maybe would'a, could'a, should'a replaced the closed plants, the reality is that less nuclear means more natural gas.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) jointly published a paper about a new model they've created to simulate using weather-dependent energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas production from the US electricity sector. 
Their scenarios include generous amounts of natural gas, a nationwide HVDC transmission network,  and other conditions. Some news outlets have published headlines citing  the large reduction without noting the required conditions. Shocking, isn't it?

The Atomic Show (podcast)---Rod Adams
Freeman has been actively doubting the value of nuclear energy since the mid 1970s. He's now in his 90s. Leah Y Parks is a writer who earned an MS in environmental engineering and has some experience in developing water infrastructure projects. She, like Freeman, believes that wind, solar and water can do it all, even if all energy now supplied by burning fossil fuels is converted to electricity.  The conversation is civil, even though the participants have unresolvable disagreements. 

Yes Vermont Yankee--Guest Post
In this case, strong-arm tactics are being used to promote renewable use, whether people want it or not. Recently, the Vermont Attorney general's office announced that they were investigating Annette Smith for possibly "practicing law without a license." Ms. Smith is a prominent anti-wind advocate.  In this guest post, Vermont lawyer Deborah Bucknam explains that the preposterous charge will likely be thrown out. Nevertheless, the charge will  hamper free speech and encourage wind developers. 


Travelogue for the Universe said...

Thanks, Meredith! We in Addison County,Vermont are being told we have to host an (un)natural gas pipeline to go Through (not to) Monkton, Vermont. It appears to me, layperson observer and Green Mountain power customer, that the gas pipeline destination is ultimately Vernon. New Hampshire and New York under similar threats. Gaz Metro owns a quasi monopoly of power and gas dba under Vermont gas, green mountain power, et al.Victims are energy consumers and individual landowners having to defend against blurry plans to replace nuclear with less desirable pipelines, windmills along the spine of the Green Mountains, Pipelines in the valleys.

Unknown said...


With your background in chemistry maybe you can explain how particulate diffuse from a lower concentration and collects in a city?

Places like Tokyo have too may cars and unregulated home heating devices. It is easy to blame China.

I lived in China two miles from a modern 5000 MWE coal plant and the air was very clean. The nuke plants I worked at were being built because coal was being imported. China does not like buying fuel.

Meredith Angwin said...


Welcome back!

Indeed, China has modern coal plants. People are beginning to realize that much of the Chinese air pollution comes from home heating. Just like it did in Chicago when I was growing up there. Every apartment building had a pile of coal dumped in front of it. The coal was later pushed into a basement coal bin, followed by being shoveled into a furnace on a grate. Very dirty. Lots of pollution. Any modern fossil plant is a lot cleaner.


Unknown said...

I went to high school in Fort Wayne. We had a coal furnace converted oil. Cleaner but not compared to an all electric house.

When we were in China, I would go to the American Consulate web site to check their monitoring station. While the air quality was often not in the 'good' range, it was not high enough to post health warnings.

One of the reasons I liked working in nuclear power was the opportunities to make a good living in the boon docks.

Since retiring we have been living in a motorhome. Our favorite places are our boat in Washington State, Lake Mead in Nevada,and the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. The only air quality issues have been blowing dust and wild fires. Both natural.

One of the things people ask about is using solar panels. The problem with solar is it is useless on moderately hot or cold days. Of course the idea of the nomadic lifestyle is to avoid those extremes and hook up to the grid when you can not.