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January 07, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 34

1. Nuclear Green has an article Mark Z. Jacobson's proliferation of errors

Stanford's Mark Jacobson has a new paper "Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials"

Jacobson, in effect, argues that by avoiding the construction of civilian power reactors, the likelihood of nuclear proliferation and nuclear war can be diminished or even prevented,. This argument contains multiple flaws. First it is unlikely that a large scale international buildup of nuclear power can be prevented. Both China and India have announced policies involving the construction of hundreds of reactors



2. Nuclear Green also has Jacobson: Beyond Cherry Picking

He objects to nuclear power on the basis of

* Nuclear proliferation
* Nuclear CO2 emissions
* Nuclear effects f the Global Carbon Cycle
* The time scale of nuclear construction

My conclusions are that none of these objections have merit.

* The evidence from the study of actual instances of nuclear proliferation suggests the spread of nuclear power appears to inhibit rather than encourage nuclear proliferation.
* Jacobson uses biased and inaccurate sources in making his claims about nuclear CO2 emissions.
* Jacobson goes beyond his sources and concocts highly unscientific arguments that extend well beyond any scientific evidence, in order to justify his exaggerated carbon emissions estimate.
* Jacobson greatly exaggerates the impact of nuclear facilities on ground cover vegetation and the Global carbon cycle.
* France was able to convert 75% of its electrical industry to nuclear powered generation in the same time scale that Jacobson claims is required to build a single nuclear plant.

3. Yes Vermont Yankee has - Widening the View: From Vermont to Iowa and England

An op-ed claimed that Vermont Yankee is unlikely to close "on schedule." It pointed out that Entergy could bring several types of lawsuits against the state-ordered closing. Any of these lawsuits could extend the plant license for twenty years (if Entergy wins) or for a couple of years (while the lawsuits wend their way through the courts) even if Entergy doesn't win.

4. Dan Yurman has a Fuel Cycle Week article China is now reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. It is a beginning, but it is not a breakthrough. The country must also develop MOX fuel fabrication and fast breeder reactors to achieve its ambitious goals.

5. ANS Nuclear Cafe has The Russians are coming to India and so are the French

India has the second most ambitious program to build nuclear new nuclear reactors, overshadowed only by China’s recently announced plans to build two-to-four times that amount in the same decade. A key factor in acquiring new reactors is India’s reliance on Russian technology and, to a smaller degree, on similar offerings from France. In this entry, Dan Yurman sets the stage for India's nuclear expansion and examines barriers for U.S. firms and others seeking to enter the Indian nuclear market.

6. China is targeting 48.5 GWe of nuclear power by 2015.

So 2020 would be about 85-86GWe if the second half of the decade only kept
pace with the 38GWe of addition they plan for the first half. Clearly if they can hit 48.5 GWe by the end of 2015 then some continued acceleration would make the 112 GWe or other such targets for 2020 look pretty achievable. If they hit it they will be almost in a tie with Japan for third after France and the USA.

7. US Nuclear generation for 2010 will probably be 801.8 to 805 TWH. It will just be short of the highest years in 2007 (806.5 TWH) and 2008 (809 TWH).

8. A summary of oil, nuclear and hydroelectric news

A separate summary where China is targeting 430 GW for hydro in 2020 and even more high speed rail and electric power grid upgrades

9. Several articles are related to nuclear IEC fusion for space applications.

Reviewing the IEC fusion components that have been developed and tested

Very near term IEC fusion Q < 1 satellite maneuvering thrusters

An interview with Richard Dell who is working with George Miley to develop revolutionary nuclear fusion for space applications

They are starting with Q< 1 (getting less power out than what they put in) devices that are better than current ion thrusters (which also put more power in that they get out). Space applications are less demanding than power generation. It is much easier to develop fusion powered spacecraft than fusion power energy. Current launch costs are $2000-20,000 per pound. Propulsion beyond orbit is also not very good and the station keeping for satellites is also not so good. For launch the system would only need to work for a few minutes. For beyond orbit there can also be lower reliability versus fusion to power the world. Fusion to power the world would take many tens of gigawatts to begin to have an impact. A few tens of megawatts and you have revolutionized space travel for trips to Mars. So fusion for space travel is first because it has demands that are thousands of times easier to meet to have a huge impact or large financial gain. Thousands of times less power, can be thousands of times more expensive, can work for shorter times and less reliably, and there would be less environmental study and legal issues. The downside for space applications is space rating and weight, but IEC fusion can have very low weight and can scale down. Of course if EMC2 or these others can crack power generation too all the better. George Miley has been building IEC fusion systems for a long time. The work is there. It is just a different approach. EMC2 fusion is funded by the Navy so they need a particular kind of reactor to meet their applications (powering destroyers, frigates and air craft carriers and submarines) The ISS (Space station) uses 8 tons of fuel per year to maintain orbit. 16000 lbs. It costs $2000-20,000 per pound. $32 million to $320 million to launch fuel. Same kind of situation for communication and other satellites. An early version of this that is better than an ion thruster could reduce fuel demand down to 600 lbs. 100 KW to 1 MW systems would be a big early market. It is easier to crack the nut of sending humans to Mars than it is to displace all of the existing cheap coal power generation. If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks



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