June 27, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 58

1. TVA's basis for building Bellefonte - The New York Times cites critics calling it a "salvage heap," but ignores the utility's success in completion and restart of Browns Ferry in 2007. What gets TVA in the game is that it has something no other nuclear utility planning to build will get for a long time. What it has on its hands is a 1,200 MW reactor pressure vessel. That's right, there's no waiting for years for Japan Steel Works to make one. It's right there in Alabama, right now, which is what gets TVA in the game. The NYT seems to have overlooked that fact.

2. Associated Press nukes the NRC - A national wire story, the first of two, alleges the Nuclear Regulatory Agency has undermined safety at aging reactors. Is it true? A nuclear engineer with impeccable credentials says not so fast. John Bickel, who holds a PhD in nuclear engineering, says, "I had hoped for more insight from a prestigious organization such as AP. Their article entitled: "US nuke regulators weaken safety rules" is pretty sloppy and indicative of the fact AP failed to research much of what they have written about."

3. Rod Adams at Atomic Insights - The battle for the atom is heating up again

The initial conditions of our current fight to defend and expand the safe use of atomic energy are far different from those that faced the people engaged in the earliest battles against a well organized opposition to nuclear technology development. We have a much better chance of success now than we did then – and there are several reasons why that is true.

One condition that is vastly different is the ability of nuclear professionals to have their voices heard. No longer are most people who understand nuclear energy isolated in small communities with few media outlets.

Another thing that is different about the fight over using atomic energy now, compared to the fight that happened in the late 1960s through the 1990s is that the opposition has a much less capable base of leaders.

The groups organized against nuclear energy today are no longer led by world renowned scientists, though they do have some media celebrities with spotty professional histories and puffed up resumes.

4. Deregulate the Atom - Moving from denial and catastrophic fatalism to positive action

I chose an abstract by a science team that really wants to address health issues related to climate change. I found the intention of their article has a broader meaning that applies well to everyone who remains indifferent or passive to doing something about climate change.

The title in expanded form is "Global Health and Climate Change: Moving from denial and catastrophic fatalism to positive action" It's interesting because the article deals with the consequences of climate change but also gives a hint as to why it seems inevitable.

5. Atomic Power Review's Carnival entry: APR offers the latest details in the Fukushima Daiichi Accident recovery process.

6. “Lessons Learned from Fukushima” by Margaret Harding at 4 Factor consulting

After spending time over the last few weeks talking about lessons learned from Fukushima, Margaret Harding is putting together a series hitting three major themes, technical, corporate, and political lessons learned. This is the first post on the Technical lessons learned.

7. Vermont Yankee, Three Insights from the NRC Review Meeting.

In this post, Meredith Angwin learns something about the attitudes of the opponents, and takes the NRC to task for complete disorder in who gets a chance to speak.

8. Nuke Power Talk -

Gail Marcus provides a tribute to Nobelist Rosalyn Yalow, who died a few weeks ago, citing her important contributions on many fronts. "She is a pioneer not only for her professional contributions, but also because she succeeded in an era when women were largely barred from the laboratories and universities."

9. Statistics were manipulated to fabricate an increase in infant mortality in eight US cities claim for Fukushim

Scientific American checks the numbers on the claim that there was a 35% increase in infant mortality in the USA after Fukushima.

By explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering. It certainly is true that there were fewer deaths in the four weeks leading up to Fukushima (in green) than there have been in the 10 weeks following (in red), the entire year has seen no overall trend. When I plotted a best-fit line to the data (in blue), Excel calculated a very slight decrease in the infant mortality rate.

10. Banri Kaieda, Japan minister for economy, trade and industry, has now said that for nuclear to remain one of Japan's key energy sources, "It is indispensible to obtain lessons we should learn from the accident in order to present a general image of nuclear safety measures and to put such measures into practice." He added that it is also important to "clarify the actual situation of the accident" at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco's) Fukushima Daiichi plant.

A shortage of electricity would be the greatest obstacle to economic recovery in Japan following the huge earthquake and tsunami in March, according to the country's industry minister. He said that this makes local permission for restarting Japan's nuclear power plants essential.

Twenty units, with a combined generating capacity of 17,705 MWe (or 36.2% of total nuclear capacity) were not operating as they had been shut for periodic inspection, while another two units had been shut for unplanned inspections or equipment replacement. It is not yet known when these units will be restarted.

11. If ongoing negotiations with a foreign sponsor are successfully completed then Terrapower, Traveling Wave Reactor will be developed overseas says Roger Reynolds, TerraPower's technical adviser. China, Russia, India and France have talked to TerraPower. TerraPower design employs a high-temperature, liquid metal core cooling technology suited to a breeder reactor with "fast" neutron activity, rather than today's predominant reactors whose water cooling systems slow neutrons. TerraPower wants to partner with countries that are actively pursuing fast, breeder reactor technology.

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