Welcome back to the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week.
- How will “STAY OUT!” be written 5,000 years from now? We will eventually dispose of some amount of nuclear waste in a deep geologic repository, and with the discussion of resurrecting the Yucca Mt. repository, the old question resurfaces of whether, and how, we should warn future humans that nuclear waste is buried here. Putting up 10,000-year warning signs might invite intrusion more than prevent it. Of course, an accidental intrusion isn’t the horror one might imagine.
The Ten Biggest Power Plants In America – Not What You Think
Everyone has been measuring the size of power plants wrong, using Nameplate capacity instead of produced power. The biggest power plant in America is the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona that produces over 30 billion kWhs per year. Not the Grand Coulee Hydroelectric Dam that only produces over 20 billion kWhs per year. The largest power plants in the United States are nuclear because they have such a high capacity factor (cf), that is, the amount of electricity actually produced divided by the maximum amount that is possible if the plant ran at capacity every hour of every day. Nuclear has an average cf of 90%. Coal is 65%, natural gas is 50%, geothermal is 70%, hydro is 40%, solar is 20%, and wind is 30%.
- At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus comments on several recent news items about delays in new reactor projects–in particular, the Russian Generation IV BN-1200 reactor and the EPR at Flamanville, France. She notes that we should not be surprised–large construction projects and new technologies of all types frequently experience delays and cost increases. She reminds us of Admiral Rickover’s famous quote about the difference between “academic” or “paper” reactors, and “real” reactors.
- Clearly, the Japanese Press needs a good education on radiation; what it can do, and what it cannot. It seems a moral imperative to relate radiation information correctly and not in a fashion that only proliferates science-fiction-based misinformation.
- Judge Higuchi’s attack on Japan’s NRA is not the result of him not understanding the facts. Higuchi’s injunction is a cold, calculated move intended to needlessly delay nuke restarts. He knows exactly what he is doing. Judge Higuchi has demonstrated that he is firmly antinuclear.
- There are calls to start construction on as many as 500 new nuclear reactors domestically in China by 2050, and even more abroad, China could single-handedly more than double the number of reactors worldwide. China will need to build as many as 10-12 reactors a year, roughly double France’s record pace in the 1980s. Experts believe China has the production capacity to meet the demanding schedule, it is currently projected to approve no more than six to eight new reactors this year, potentially ramping up to 10 or more annually by the beginning of the next decade President Xi had a speech which suggests, the government’s interest in
nuclear energy goes beyond economic concerns. Beijing claims the industry is also key to reducing the ubiquitous haze from the country’s many coal-fired power plants.
Curbing smog is a top priority for China’s leadership, which is nervous that failure to solve the problem may lead to social unrest.
Concern over the issue seems to have added some pressure to speed up construction.
In March, He Yu, chairman of state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, argued that the country will need to adopt an even more aggressive nuclear development strategy if it hopes to meet its goal of increasing power generated from sources other than fossil fuels to 20 percent of its energy mix by 2030.
- In this post, I review and discuss the Platt’s blog post on how Vermont is leading the way about fighting renewable sprawl. The legislature is trying to make the situation better for renewables by proposing they will be sited in gravel pits. But there aren’t enough gravel pits.
- This post describes the circles of pain (from the employees to the town to the grid) that spread from Vermont Yankee’s closing. The post first appeared as an article in Nuclear Engineering International magazine.
- This is a chapter with shared credit to Timothy Maloney who makes a couple appearances as guest co-author in the book. This covers the topic of renewables vs baseload, in particular “Wind and Solar vs. Nuclear”
- This covers how the grid is not well suited for intermittent power sources.
- Robert Hayes explains the nuclear processes that makes Thorium a useful element (see Thorium Cycle) and puts its use as a reactor fuel into perspective with respect to current reactors. For my regular readers he does not explain that several companies are currently pursuing new reactor designs that will use thorium such as FLIBE or that China is investing heavily into making a molten salt reactor design to use thorium. He also does not explain the molten salt reactor that has been considered the more favorable reactor design for using both uranium and thorium in next generation reactors. Also of interest is that Canada’s CANDU reactors can be made to run on thorium