Welcome to the our first hosting of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. The subjects this week are quite a mixed bag that include fusion, wind, solar, SMRs, space exploration, the true value of electricity and more.
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- What has been happening in the world of fusion recently began to heat up. A breakthrough occurred for which the significance seems to be only understood by scientists and engineers. The Lawrence Livermore National Lab succeeded in producing more energy than it uses for a millionth of a second. Jim Conca take us through it.
- A review of the first ½ day of the Platts conference. In this post Margaret reviews speeches by Dr. Lyons of DOE, Dr. Allison MacFarlane, chair of the NRC, and Chris Mowry of mPower. We got some old news, some self-congratulation, and some hyperbole, all in a morning.
- A modern retelling of an ancient fable, Margaret tells the story of the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg using the Vermont Yankee reactor. This first appeared in FCW #550, 1.3.14.
- Meredith Angwin of Yes Vermont Yankee wrote an op-ed encouraging people to support the signed agreement between Vermont Yankee and the state. Governor Shumlin has said that “one-time payments from Entergy” ($40 million dollars from the agreement) will help balance the state budget this year. However, the Public Service Board (PSB) still has to rule on the agreement. The post includes a link for supporting the agreement before the PSB, and a lively comment thread.
- Gail Marcus reports in NukePowerTalk on the latest fusion breakthrough reported by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore. She was particularly struck by a quote from one expert that “In 30 years, we’ll have electricity on the grid produced by fusion energy — absolutely.” While this quote may be out of line with the more cautious statements from the rest of the fusion research community, she notes that it will be the sound bite that will be remembered. As evidence, she notes that she remembers hearing the EXACT same prediction when she was in grad school–more than 30 years ago.
- DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons last week voiced Administration concerns about a scenario involving premature nuclear plant closures in the US – while Exelon Corporation noted that some nuclear generating stations operated by the company remain at risk of early closure for profitability reasons. Rod Adams at ANS Nuclear Cafe asks, what can nuclear energy advocates do about pressures that threaten to shutter well-maintained and licensed reactors?
- Concrete has been poured at the construction site of what is arguably the world’s first small modular reactor (SMR) project – the CAREM 25 prototype in Argentina. Will Davis at ANS Nuclear Cafe with the story and details.
- Transatomic Power is developing a molten salt reactor. They are using a zirconium hydride moderator instead of graphite. They also use a different salt. They presented at Google Solve for X 2014. They would use 75 times more of the uranium than a conventional reactor. They could use current high level nuclear waste for energy at about the $500/kg cost that has been set aside by the US laws on nuclear waste management.
- Yomuri Shimbun reports that the Japanese government aims to restart
about 10 of the nation’s idle nuclear reactors by this summer, when
electricity demand is expected to increase.
- A NASA NIAC (Nasa innovative advanced concepts) project has determined a conceptual solution to asteroid impacts.
- What is Tritium? How hazardous is it? Can it cause cancer? What about Fukushima’s waste water? Existing limits on Tritium exposure are entirely arbitrary, predicated on assumption, and devoid of conclusive supporting evidence.
- Japan’s Press fails to make nuclear energy a major election issue… again!
Nuclear-neutral Yoichi Masuzoe won decisively in the Tokyo governor’s election. Try as they might, the Japanese Press failed to make nuclear energy the deciding issue in the election. Instead of admitting they were wrong, the Press has come up with numerous, albeit empty, excuses for the Masuzoe victory.
- Rod Adams points out the numerous incentives piled on to assist the completion of the solar plant, costs that get added to the consume
- Steve Aplin explains through some comparisons how the fee structure and incentives for energy producers are backwards. The rewards that go to wind and solar are indirectly adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Natural gas is required to offset the missing power that is the nature of the renewable energy plant. Yet Nuclear produces reliable, plentiful and carbon free.