Category Archives: education

8th Thorium Energy Alliance Conference Sends Message of Hope.

I think members crave the feeling of community when attending the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference (TEAC) each year. This event was no exception. Was there any take away for this conference? I would say it’s that we have a special group and we should not underestimate it. All of the members need to be even more engaged in activism for the revolutionary promise of nuclear energy. The power for change lies within our collective effort.

There have been excursions at previous TEACs but this one had a full Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – fly along with the shadow! from on Vimeo.

There were ten authors present at the conference.

The two day conference (Aug. 21st & 22nd) can boast a significant turnout with talks that introduced a new reactor concept by Ed Pheil’s company Elisium (see interview) that is a Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor.

There were appearances from other leading contenders Terrestrial Energy had founder David LeBlanc (President/Chief Technology Officer/Director) give a talk with a new projection date of completion for late 2020s. We are witnessing the reality effect. Its not easy starting a nuclear reactor company with a new design.

Robert Hargraves spoke twice at the conference. One about Thorcon and the other on Radiation.

There were two presentations that made rebuttals to Mark Jacobson’s Solutions Project. Mathijs Beckers went first on day one expanding on ideas in his book The Non-Solutions Project and Mike Conley partnered up with Timothy Maloney to present a Roadmap to Nowhere. I witnessed an enthusiastic conversation afterward on the break between organizer Jim Kennedy, Mathijs Beckers, Mike Conley, Timothy Maloney and later Ripudaman Malhotra joined in with some expertise. I hope this group collaborates somehow. That’s why these conferences are so great.

The new reactors category had talks by Ed Pheil and a NEW!!! “No Moving Parts” concept by Jonathan Shattke called a ThorMer. Thorium and Mercury play significant roles. The design uses accelerator driven neutrons, Magneto Hydodynamic Generation that enables no turbine or pumps. See his at home presentation as a preview before Gord McDowell has a chance to finish the edits. I still have a few edits to do myself of a few more interviews with Heather Matteson, Alan Medsker and Gary Kahanak and the Lunch time presentation by Alex Cannara.


Science March April 22nd and Climate March April 29th

This is going to be an interesting month. We have two marches less than a year after the first pronuclear march in June 2016 to keep nuclear plants open. March for Science Saturday April 22, 2017 and the Climate march April 29th

Ontario serves as an example of how coal can be eliminated with the right energy mix. Our three nuclear plants with 8 unit at Bruce Power, 6 of 8 units in Pickering and 4 units at Darlington enabled Ontario to fully replace the coal Ontario had been producing up until December 2013. I have my work cut out for me because a large number of those attending these marches are unaware of the role nuclear energy must play.

As you may already know I am writing a book named after this Energy Reality website about nuclear energy and the need for a grassroots movement. I have my crowdfunding effort to promote the book and share the ideas from the book. I also have begun co-hosting a podcast called the Ecomodernist Podcast You will find six podcasts so far. All of them providing a positive outlook on solutions to environmental problems we are all facing and ultimately responsible for fixing.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers #322 – Special Edition – Nuclear Energy to the Rescue

Welcome to the 322nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers who are a necessary group of pro-nuclear advocates who recognize the importance of a transition to a more dominant role for nuclear power in our energy mix.

There have been a lot of firsts lately that point in a positive direction for the future of the nuclear industry and therefore the planet. I have made it no secret that Energy Reality supports nuclear energy mainly because it provides the best and perhaps only solution to irreversible tipping points that are forever events. : 1 Post by Rick Maltese

Thanks to the Power of Pickering Nuclear Plant We Replaced Coal

    There are still a number of people who beloeve false things about Pickerng Power Plant. It has to do with reports of minor mishaps being blown out of proportion.

Yes Vermont Yankee: 1 post by Meredith Angwin

The New York Clean Energy Standard

    A quick description of attending the New York Public Service Commission meeting in which they voted for the historic Clean Energy Standard which supports both nuclear and renewable power. Links to other posts and to a video. 2 posts by James Conca

Climate Guru Tells California Governor Not To Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

    On Thursday, Dr. James Hansen and the leading climate scientists in the world sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown of California, about how nuclear energy was essential to fight global warming. The letter was prompted by a recent announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company to close its well-running, low-carbon, low-cost nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because of political pressure from the state of California and especially its Lt. Governor. New York addressed this issue just last week when it passed a true Clean Energy Standard that supports both renewables and nuclear. But, strangely, California doesn’t seem impressed by the threat of global warming.

Exelon Buys Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, Setting The Standard for US Carbon Goals

    With New York’s passing of a true Clean Energy Standard this week that supports both renewables and nuclear, Exelon Generation has agreed to assume ownership and operations of Entergy Corporation’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba, New York. This will save 7 billion kWhs of carbon-free electricity a year, $500 million for the local economy, 600 high-paying direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs. It should serve as a guide to other states, especially Illinois, that are facing similar conundrums of warped markets closing carbon-free nuclear plants and threatening each state’s carbon goals and local economies. 1 entry by Rod Adams

New York’s environment progressed one step forward

    Rod Adam’s reports on the apparently successful rally by a coalition of pro-nuclear environmental groups with a special thanks to Environmental Progress rin by President Michael Shellenberger 1 entry by Michael Shellenberger

Climate Scientists urge Governor Jerry Brown to let Legislature, not PUC, decide Diablo Canyon’s Fate

    The situation has recently shown more promise for the future of the nuclear industry in the U.S. Michael Shellenberger reports about the steps that would prevent a seriously grave decision from taking place. 1 entry by Dan Yurman

Utah Utility selects Idaho site for Nuscale SMR

    There is a positive news story that a new kind of nuclear plant has been given a green light for a location to a modern Small Modular Reactor. Now it’s a matter of waiting for approval from the NRC that takes 3 or 4 years.

Educating a New Nuclear Workforce

by Beth Kelly

Today in the United States, nuclear power plants generate close to one-fifth of the nation’s electricity and constitute a majority of our non-greenhouse gas-emitting electrical production. It is by far the largest source of low-carbon electricity in the country. Yet, despite analyses urging a more substantial role for nuclear power in light of looming climate change, the U.S. nuclear industry is not projected to grow in the decades ahead. But a nuclear renaissance is possible if we want it, and the first step is educating a new wave of nuclear workers on the vast potential of this type of energy generation.

Nuclear Science Week, which took place this year from Oct. 19 – 23, is a recurring, yearly proceeding that focuses on championing the innovations that can be found by exploring nuclear science. Events are held throughout the United States, as well as in other countries worldwide such as Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Many of these celebrations are hosted by universities and high schools, with the intent of drumming up support for nuclear science courses as well as careers in the field.

Close to half of the nuclear workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next 10 years. And as the “boomer” generation departs, finding applicants with the right set of skills to step in and replace them is a challenge. As a part of its broader educational goals, NSW exposes students to the broad range of opportunities that exist for nuclear engineers. At a time when the industry stands at a crossroads, partnerships with educational programs are crucial to its continued success.

The Department of Energy currently projects that the U.S. electrical demand will rise by 28% by 2040. In order to maintain nuclear power’s current share of electricity generation, we will need to build one new reactor every year, starting next year – or 20-25 new units by 2040. Worsening effects of global warming may further impact this number, provided we continue to drive more focus on shifting away from coal- and oil-burning facilities. Certainly we need to support new and upcoming projects that can start us on the path towards a more sustainable energy future, and nuclear power is the only emission-free electricity source that can grow to help us meet this demand.

Most projections show that renewables – excluding input from nuclear – won’t be able to ramp up sufficiently in the coming decades to meet the planet’s energy needs. A failure to increase our reliance on low-carbon sources of power will lead to additional energy-related CO2 emissions released by burning fossil fuels. Currently there are five new nuclear power facilities being built within the United States and over 60 under construction in other parts of the world. When we combine this new generating capacity with the widely graying workforce, there are plenty of opportunities for newcomers to contribute to the industry.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nuclear engineers is expected to increase 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, and the average annual pay in 2012 was $104,270, higher than the $86,200 median earned by all engineers. This occupation requires a bachelor’s degree, but the related profession of nuclear technician typically only requires an associate’s degree. These technicians made an average of $69,060 per year as compared to technicians in “life, physical, and social science,” who took home $41,130 on average. In 2011 it was estimated that, in order to survive the aging boomer upheaval, the nuclear industry would have to replace nearly 25,000 skilled workers.

The advantages of nuclear energy are manifold. We have enough fuel for hundreds of years even without implementing any improvements to the current nuclear infrastructure. Unlike solar panels and wind turbines, nuclear reactors aren’t dependent on weather conditions and can reliably deliver electrical output steadily throughout the day. According to experts at Direct Energy, global emissions of carbon increased from 6,750 million metric tons in 2000 to 8,749 million metric tons in 2008. It’s clear that we need all the help we can get from every green energy source, including nuclear, to mitigate this problem for future generations. It’s important, especially considering the immediacy of the Paris COP21 conference, to regard the future of nuclear energy as one that closely aligns with the future of our energy needs.

Beyond acting in their own economic self-interest, fresh talent that engages with nuclear energy will be doing their part to help the planet by enabling the growth of various burgeoning national nuclear programs. Now is the time to revitalize the future of nuclear power, but it is only possible with the help and persistence of new recruits.

(note the image is a screen capture of a Gordon McDowell video taken of students from Calvin College presenting during the Thorium Energy Alliance conference June 3 and 4th/2015)