Saturday, April 23, 2011

49th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

Welcome to the 49th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

I am delighted to be the host for this week's Blog Carnival. The Carnival is a true extravaganza of information, commentary, and even wisdom about fear of radiation. We'll start there.

Fear of Radiation and Effects of Fear

In a first for the ANS Nuclear Cafe, four contributing bloggers do a group post on this subject. They ask whether improvements are needed in explaining the significance of the numbers to the public. The answer, as an outgrowth of media and public confusion related to the ongoing Fukushima crisis, appears to be a resounding "yes."

The contributors are Stewart Brand, ecologist; Cheryl Rofer, chemist; Steve Aplin, management consultant, and Mimi Limbach, public relations executive. Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat pulled the group together and wrote the introduction.

This post is a reprint of a 1998 paper written by Ted Rockwell. In light of the reminders of the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl - with outrageous claims of long term health effects - and the continued confusion about the evacuation zone around Fukushima it seemed important to share this work more widely. Radiation is something to be understood, not something to be feared. Its health effects have been widely and extensively studied for more than a century.

Shaping the Energy Debate: Brian Wang at Next Big Future
About a month ago, Brian Wang wrote an excellent post on deaths per TWh for different energy technologies. In these week's post, he notes that even Greenpeace is quoting his earlier post. With careful research and honesty, pro-nuclear bloggers are shaping the energy debate.


Some New Directions Post-Fukushima: Posted by Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk
In this post, Gail Marcus looks at the future of regulation and research after Fukushima. Emphasis will probably shift to research and regulation about the systems that led to the accident (back-up generation and fuel storage), but research on non-traditional nuclear designs will also get a boost. Pebble Bed reactors, for example do not use water for cooling.

At Next Big Future, Brian Wang hosts a guest post by Chris Phoenix. The usual explanation for the explosion at reactor 4 is a hydrogen explosion, but Phoenix argues for a steam geyser from an overheated fuel pool.

At Cool Hand Nuke, Jeff Madison hosts a guest post by Dan Yurman on the probable effect of Fukushima on new builds in the United States. The South Texas Project will affected by TEPCO issues (TEPCO was one of the backers for that project). Most other projects in the United States are unlikely to be affected.

Brian Wang notes that the Fukushima reactor emergency will continue for another 6-9 months before TEPCO will be able to get to a cold shutdown.

Nuclear in the Future

Several posts describe nuclear energy prospects for the future, and how people in the field look at their chosen profession.

Canadian Energy Issues hosts a guest post by Donald Jones. Ontario’s power system could be entirely and economically fossil-free by 2045. For this to happen, all nuclear refurbishments and new build must ensure load-following and -cycling. According to retired nuclear industry engineer Donald Jones, it is possible to refurbish the Darlington and Bruce B CANDUs so that they can load-follow and -cycle. And ALL new nuclear must have this capability. It remains to be seen if the province has the political will to make it happen.

Renewables did not surpass nuclear in 2010 David Bradish at NEI Nuclear Notes
NEI Nuclear Notes goes after Cleantechnica and the Worldwatch Institute for the claim that renewables surpassed nuclear in 2010. It's that old game again: installed-capacity for renewables is definitely high. But power-produced for renewables is low.

Green Nuclear Energy: Margaret Harding at 4 Factor Consulting Blog
On her 4 Factor Consulting blog, Margaret Harding tells the story of one woman's journey into nuclear energy. I may be a "shill for the industry" but I am a nuclear engineer and proud of that fact. I believe that nuclear energy is clean and green. Fukushima has done nothing to change that.

Entergy Files Suit: Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee
I give an overview of the lawsuit Entergy filed against the State of Vermont. Vermont is attempting to shut down Entergy's Vermont Yankee power plant, despite the fact that the NRC recently extended its operating license for twenty years. The Entergy suit hinges on breach of contract and federal pre-emption of the regulatory powers of the NRC. I also have several follow-up posts exploring different aspects of the lawsuit, for example, Entergy and Vermont Part 1: Act 160. More posts to come, of course.

Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat reports that International Isotopes on track for NRC license in 2011 for uranium deconversion and fluorine extraction facility. The firm has applied for a DOE loan of $97 million for a $125 million plant to be built in Hobbs, NM, just a few miles from Urenco’s newly operational uranium enrichment plant.

Charles Barton points to many parallels between the ideas of Energy writer Kurt Cobb, and Nuclear Green. The primary difference is that Nuclear Green is far less pessimistic about the future of Molten Salt Reactor technology.

Nuclear Fusion

Brian Wang examines the steady progress Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) is making toward nuclear fusion. LPP is solving one problem at a time, and Brian describes their latest advance.

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