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May 15, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 52

ANS Nuclear Cafe has the 52 nd carnival of nuclear energy. It is the one year anniversary of nuclear energy carnivals.

United States Still on track for 6-8 new nuclear reactors

Cool Hand Nuke - Six reactors are underway in the USA. The CEOs of Duke, Southern, and Luminant, who will build six new reactors, have gone on record that the Fukushima crisis is not slowing down their projects.

Duke Energy is moving ahead with the license application for the twin Westinghouse AP1000 reactors the utility plans to build at the William States Lee III site in Gafney, SC. The plants will be completed by 2022.

Southern (NYSE:SO) plans to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia.

Luminant CEO David Campbell said April 29 the utility expects a license from the NRC to build two new 1,700 MW reactors from Mitsubishi at the Comanche Peak site starting in 2013. Construction of the twin reactors, which would be first of a kind for the PWR design, would be completed in five-to-seven years.



NEI Nuclear Notes reports that Florida Power & Light, subsidiary of NextEra Energy, submitted their annual filings on the need for two more nuclear units at its Turkey Point station. The units are projected to come online in 2022 and 2023.

As described by Dr. Sim, Turkey Point 6 & 7 also continues to be a cost-effective addition for FPL’s customers, taking into account all updated assumptions. FPL’s analysis of Turkey Point 6 & 7 was performed by calculating a “breakeven capital cost” - the capital cost amount FPL could spend on new nuclear and breakeven with what it would spend for a combined cycle resource addition on a CPVRR [cumulative present value of revenue requirements] basis - and comparing it to its current project non-binding cost estimate range.

The capital costs for a new nuclear unit and the fuel price of natural gas are two key factors in determining the competitiveness of nuclear. Even with a huge glut of gas in the country, new nuclear is still found to be economical.

Analyzing BEIR VII Radiation Risk numbers
Cheryl Rofer reviews radiation dose and cancer risk by going through the 400 page BEIR VII report



Cheryl Rofer holds an A.B. from Ripon College and an M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley, both in chemistry. She is retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked from 1965 through 2001 on tthe nuclear fuel cycle, management of environmental cleanups, and other topics. She has also been involved with cleanups in Estonia and Kazakhstan of former nuclear sites. She is immediate past president of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security and a member of the Board of Trustees of Ripon College (Ripon, Wisconsin).

For this post, I want to make the numbers as plain as possible, so I will omit most qualifications. There are many in BEIR VII, and I will discuss some of them later.

The most directly usable tables are those in Chapter 12 and Annex 12D. They provide the lifetime attributable risk of cancer incidence and mortality for single exposures at various ages. “Lifetime attributable risk” means those cancers attributable to radiation over and above the normal cancer incidence. BEIR VII assumes that the risk is proportional to the amount of exposure, the linear no-threshhold hypothesis. This hypothesis is the subject of some controversy, which BEIR VII addresses and concludes that it is a reasonable assumption. It is a conservative assumption, because it results in a higher calculated risk of cancer than alternative assumptions. So the numbers in this post might be considered an upper bound.


For the public limit, the BEIR VII committee’s preferred estimate is in Table 12-6. 1 mSv per year throughout life, the expectation is that there will be 550 cases of cancer and 290 deaths per 100,000 males, 970 cases and 460 deaths per 100,000 females. due to this incremental radiation exposure.

The worker limit, 50 mSv per year, does not apply to an entire lifetime because people do not work over their entire life. Table 12D-3 provides data for yearly exposures of 1 mGy per year throughout life and 10 mGy per year over ages 18 – 65.



It is evident in the table that cancer incidence and death rates are not a simple multiple of the exposures, but I will use that method anyway; it gives a high estimate. For 50 mSv per year exposure for men, the risks for cancer incidence and mortality are 15,295 and 8,500 per 100,000 people; for women, the corresponding numbers are 21,475 and 11,945. But most workers are not exposed over that entire time range, nor do they receive the full 50mSv per year. Although my work with radioactive materials was occasional rather than the regular work of, say, a reactor technician, my typical exposures were under 1 mSv per year.

The lifetime attributable risks of cancer incidence and mortality of the one-time doses, 100 mSv for protection of valuable property and 250 mSv for protection of human life, are found in Tables 12D-1 and 12D-2. If we assume that the workers are male and their age is 40, then 100 mSv gives 648 cancer cases and 337 cancer deaths per 100,000 people exposed; 250 mSv gives 1620 cancer cases and 843 cancer deaths per 100,000 people exposed.

The incidence of genetic mutations is so small that BEIR VII does not include an attempt to measure it.

Doses over a lifetime are not strictly additive, although this claim has been made in the media. The BEIR VII tables indicate different effects for one-time doses and doses over time. Radiation therapy for cancer frequently involved much higher cumulative doses than those expected to cause death in a single exposure.

Nextbigfuture articles

Tepco will cover the Fukushima reactors with polyester sheeting that is 20 some stories tall (55 meters)

Time Magazine blog refers to my death per twh article, and California Occupational health has tracked at least four deaths related to solar installation. Meanwhile coal easily laps the field in evil and danger. 14 killed at Mexican coal mine and the Coal industry pushes bills for less safety regulation and to delay pollution controls that would save tens of thousands of Americans

Nuclear power is globally scalable. Land, Water, Materials, waste, uranium are not the show stoppers claimed by Abbott

China connects Ling Ao II (1050 MWe) to the grid and it will be commercially operating mid-June and Pakistan begins commercial operation of a 300 MWe reactor

Two of the robotic missions NASA selected for further study last week would be powered by experimental nuclear generators. NASA picked robotic missions to Mars, a comet and Saturn’s moon Titan as finalists last week for a launch opportunity in 2016, and two of the probes would employ a cutting edge nuclear power source never tested in space.



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