Sunday, January 13, 2013

139th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers: Right Here at Yes Vermont Yankee

Yes Vermont Yankee is proud to be the host of the 139th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers.  After a quiet holiday season, the bloggers have roared back with terrific posts!     The three subjects this time are Radiation, Energy, and Politics.  So, let's get started!


Radiation: No Effects on Health 

Perhaps the most important link in this blog is to James Conca's article at Forbes: Like We've Been Saying, Radiation is Not a Big Deal.  

Conca describes the very recent United Nations (UNSCEAR) report on radiation risk, which  paid special attention to the consequences of Fukushima. Here's a quote from the Conca article:   "UNSCEAR also found no observable health effects from last year’s nuclear accident in Fukushima.  No effects."

In short, the Linear No Threshold (LNT) model is simply....wrong.  This is an important post.  I encourage you to read it.

Radiation: Over-Fearing the Food

Meanwhile, Japanese regulators have been trying to reassure people in Japan that their food is safe by setting very low levels for allowed radiation.  As Leslie Corrice describes in Hiroshima Syndrome, this policy has hit an embarrassing snag.   Japan’s Contamination Limits Way Too Low (January 7 post)

Japan's new, too-low standards for radiation in food has hit a snag. Mushrooms from Aomori Prefecture have been banned because of cesium levels slightly above the new limit, but the cesium did not come from the Fukushima accident. Unless the standards are raised to a more-reasonable level, more and more of these disconcerting situations will happen. (Note, the Conca article also has a table about these unrealistic standards. )

Radiation: Using It For Safe Food

Radioisotopes made in nuclear reactors power Mars and deep space probes, and make astronauts' food safe to eat. In two recent posts, Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues urges the fast expansion of radioisotope applications here on earth

Aplin wonders why irradiation makes food safe for astronauts, but we don't use radiation for keeping food safe on earth.  Irradiated food keeps astronauts healthy and productive. Why can’t we earth dwellers have it?  Aplin notes that safe-to-eat beef would be a pleasure. He gets tired of the frequent recalls on beef products.

Radiation: Using It for Heat

Aplin also notes that radioactive isotopes can be used for heat, and have been used that way in the past, in the arctic. Isotopes for heat: an old new idea whose time came, went, and has come again

Radiation: Using It for Poetry

At Atomic Insights, Rod Adams has a guest post from Engineer-Poet.  What's This Stuff Called Radiation. Rod rarely has guest posts, and this is the first open-source poem as a guest post.  Some of the comments are also poetry. Some are limericks.  All are fun!

Nuclear Energy

And on that note, we will turn to the subject of Nuclear Energy, past, present and future.  They are all linked.   For example: Enrico Fermi is the past, right? Well, maybe not so past...some of his reactor designs are part of the future.

Nuclear Energy: Enrico Fermi and the Sodium Fast Reactor

Carl Holder writes 70 Years Ago:- Dr. Enrico Fermi at In Chicago 70 years ago, a team of scientists lead by Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Enrico Fermi, created the first controlled nuclear fission.
Dr. Fermi envisioned a future that needed abundant nuclear energy for the production of energy and isotopes.  He calculated that the uranium resource could be used much more efficiently with a fast reactor.  So he designed a more efficient, sustainable fission system: the sodium fast reactor.

Nuclear Energy: Using the "Waste"

Sodium Cooled reactor schematic
At the Atomic Show, Rod Adams has a podcast from one of the most respected mystery men of the nuclear community.  NNadir is a prolific pro-nuclear blogger at the very liberal blog Daily Kos. On the Atomic Show with Rod Adams, NNadir and Adams discuss: What do you do with the waste?  ( isn't's useful...Rod suggests listening to the talk with a periodic table along for reference...)

Nuclear Energy: The Enrichment Process

Robert Hayes, at Science and Technology Blog, describes Uranium Enrichment at URENCO USA (in southeast New Mexico). 

Nuclear Energy: Using It for Military Energy Sources

At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus makes note of some of the recent proposals to have the military support the development of new energy technologies, such as wind power. In fact, the concept is far from new, as nuclear power owes its early development to military support, not only for weapons development, but also for submarine and ship propulsion.  Energy R and D and the Military: Historic Partners.

Nuclear Energy: A New Fuel for Power Uprates

Brian Wang, at Next Big Future, describes an investor presentation and analysis of LightBridge's annular metal fuel for uprating the power in nuclear reactors. 

The Lightbridge presentation describes the economic case and technical details of their annular metallic fuel for uprating the power in nuclear reactors. They expect regulatory approval for the new fuel by 2018, and commercial use a few years after that.  The post also includes graphs from an economic analysis of future power prices, by Pace Global. Using this fuel, increased power generation will have a levelized cost of 20-30$ per MWH which is less than half the projected cost of coal and natural gas, or of regular nuclear construction

Nuclear Energy: The New Builds are Happening

At Things Worse Than Nuclear Power, one of the first blog posts of 2013 shows that 2012 wasn't the end of the world for nuclear, either. There are 167 proposed nuclear builds world-wide, and 63 under construction.  Vive la nuclĂ©aire 2013!


We can't escape it, but we can blog about it. Politics.

Politics: No Holiday from Politics in Vermont

Vermont Public Service Board
at a recent hearing
At ANS Nuclear Cafe, Howard Shaffer's post No Holiday from Politics has the latest from the legal and political fronts concerning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant -- the courts, the legislature, the grid operator, the river, the year ahead.  While the plant itself continues to operate very well, generating nearly three-fourths of all electricity generated in Vermont without incident -- the year ahead nonetheless looks to feature drama within the courtroom and without.  With many good links.

Politics: The Court Cases of Vermont Yankee

Right here at Yes Vermont Yankee, we cover the three upcoming hearings and court cases (you know, the ones happening next week) at Three Vermont Yankee Hearings: The Week of Living Lawyerly.  There's a hearing at the court of appeals in New York City, another at the Supreme Court in Vermont, and a third at the Public Service Board in Vermont.  Get your background information and scorecard here!

Politics: Pro-Uranium Democrat, Dick Saslaw

In Virginia, the re-opening of a uranium mine has become a rallying point for anti-nuclear activists.  In her "I Dig U Mining" blog, Andrea Jennetta writes about a Virginia senator: Senator Dick Saslaw--Fellow Democrats, Follow His Lead.   As Jennetta writes:  Yesterday Senator Dick Saslaw announced his unequivocal support for lifting Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining. He says he’s convinced that modern technologies and strict regulations will ensure that it’s done safely and without harming the environment.

It's always great to end the Carnival on an upbeat note!  Have a great week and a future of Nuclear Energy!


Engineer-Poet said...

My goodness, you put my bit of doggerel in as a Carnival entry?  I wrote it as a lark when one of the climate "skeptics" implied that I didn't and couldn't live up to my nom de plume.  Had it not been for Rod's request to feature it in its own post, I wouldn't even have bothered revising it.

It is too amusing.

Meredith Angwin said...


Rod nominated it for the Carnival. I concurred.

In other words, it's all Rod's fault