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July 24, 2010

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 11 - modern used Nuclear fuel cannot be used to make a bomb and Fuji Molten Salt Thorium Reactor Fund Raising

1. Dan Yurman's Idaho Samizdat covers Bob Herbert’s hatchet job at the New York Times.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert did more than peddle fear, uncertainty, and doubt about nuclear energy in his columnpublished July 19 on the newspaper’s OP ED page. In a piece which overflows with florid language, Herbert bought into the anti-nuclear program of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) hook, line, and sinker. It’s too bad he didn’t talk to anyone from the nuclear industry before he hit the keyboard. Maybe if he’d done some independent thinking, or just considered other points of view, the column would have turned over to be different.

2. Dan Yurman also indicates that the UK nuclear renaissance hits the brakes over low carbon taxes and lack of loan guarantees.

A study prepared by KPMG and published July 17 by RWE Power, which wants to build new nuclear reactors in the UK, says forget about it unless the “carbon floor price” is raised to [L]80/ton CO2. Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations will not be built if the Government refuses to support them beyond the current insufficient carbon price mechanisms, the KPMG report said.

The KPMG report called for early decisions to radically change the UK electricity market to get nuclear energy back in the game. It said that measures to bring investors to the table must do more than just raise the carbon tax. While the report only alludes to the concept of loan guarantees, it seems to offer the government a way out of its hard line position of no direct subsidies for new nuclear plants.




3. Atomic Rod (Rod Adams) has Proving a Negative - Why Modern Used Nuclear Fuel Cannot Be Used to Make a Weapon

My position is that there is no way for an ad hoc group of terrorists or nefarious state actors to build a weapon out of used commercial nuclear fuel. The challenge is that I have a self-appointed task of proving a negative when the positive assertion has been well publicized and firmly established as a "fact" by people with impressive credentials. I also have to figure out how to make this argument without access to technical details that remain classified. Finally, I have to do it in a way that does not require readers to work their way through the excellent, but lengthy explanation provided by Why You Can’t Build a Bomb From Spent Fuel (depleted cranium) or Alexander de Volpi's detailed Knol titled NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROLIFERATION: Controversy About Demilitarizing Plutonium.

4. Nuclear green has the Fuji Molten Salt Project Seeking $300 Million in Funding for Thorium Molten Salt Reactor Development.

On July 7, 2010 Professor Kazuo Furukawa, the head of the NPO "International Thorium and Molten-Salt Forum" has announced that a new company which aims to produce a commercially viable thorium nuclear power generation was established. The goal is to make a thorium nuclear power generator capable of producing 10,000 kilowatts and 20,000 kilowatts of electricity for the next five to ten years, respectively.

The company which was established in June is called, "International Thorium Energy & Molten-Salt Technology Inc. (IThEMS)." Its office is in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (tel. no. +81-3-3239-2595) with a capitalization of 2 million Japanese yen*. Its president is Mr. Keishiro Fukushima. A total of 300 million US dollars of capital coming from domestic and international companies and investors will be procured in order to produce a small-scale electric generator producing 10,000 kilowatts of electricity within five years.

This generation technology utilizes and involves fluoridized molten-salt to dissolve fluoridized thorium and other materials as liquid fuel.


5. Nuclear townhall has Duke CEO Roger says that there will be dash to natural gas without a price on carbon.

6. Brave new climate has a second article about climate change basics. Climate change impacts on ice, rain and sea level.

Perhaps the biggest regional impact of climate change faced by mid-latitude temperate regions (where most of the ‘developed nations’ are located), is, ironically, shifts in tropical-equatorial weather systems. Global warming causes the overturning tropical air masses that circulate in giant loops (called Hadley Cells and the Walker Circulation) to expand north and south


7. Yes Vermont Yankee has Editorial Against VY Acknowledges that Groups Against VY Are Not Telling the Truth

The Brattleboro Reformer is not known as a friend to Vermont Yankee. Now, I don't want to oversell this editorial. It does not support VY's continued operation, and ends by urging people to give money to the most effective anti-VY groups. But, in the meantime, this editorial lists and refutes the usual pack of lies told against VY.
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8. NEI Nuclear notes has Enabling the Nuclear Renaissance Act.

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) this week introduced the Enabling the Nuclear Renaissance Act (S. 3618), which gathers into a single bill many nuclear energy provisions found in previously introduced legislation. Voinovich’s legislation also includes provisions not found in other bills, proposing to establish several offices within DOE to handle nuclear energy issues and a new government corporation to assume responsibility from DOE for implementing the disposition of used nuclear fuel.

While it shares elements of the nuclear energy title in the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act and several bills that encourage development of small reactors, Voinovich’s legislation goes much further in reshaping the government’s approach to nuclear energy. It provides funding and assistance to train workers, modifies the ways reactors are licensed and financed, and removes used nuclear fuel management from DOE.

Voinovich said the bill “intends to reignite the nuclear renaissance. This bill gives our companies and universities the tools to compete and win.”


9. This site had an article about the uranium production prediction of the CRU group and the startup of China's 65 MWt fast breeder reactor.

The coverage of China's fast breeder includes China's vision of a closed fuel cycle.



10. Rod Adams had an article published on the oil drum "Possibilities for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?". There are over 450 comments on this article, including comments by the author of this article under the alias of advancednano. In the comments, I also have another set of bets with Dittmar. This time on Kazakhstan uranium production in 2010 and 2011.

Both NuScale and Generation mPower have determined that the proposed unit sizes more closely match the capacity currently provided by aging coal plants and might be considered as appropriate replacements once those coal plants reach the end of their life. Both the Tennessee Valley Authority and FirstEnergy have expressed interest in finding out more about how the proposed modules might help them reuse existing sites that currently host obsolete coal power plants and are not even close to natural gas pipelines.

A growing body of plant designers, utility companies, government agencies and financial players are recognizing that smaller plants can take advantage of greater opportunities to apply lessons learned, take advantage of the engineering and tooling savings possible with higher numbers of units and better meet customer needs in terms of capacity additions and financing. The resulting systems are a welcome addition to the nuclear power plant menu, which has previously been limited to one size - extra large. Developing a broader range of system choices using nuclear fission energy could have a measurable impact on segments of the energy market that have been most often served by burning distillate fuel or natural gas. Small modular reactors offer a reason to be optimistic that human society will have access to all of the energy that it needs for increased prosperity for larger portion of the population.
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