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April 28, 2012

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 102

UPDATE -

At Idaho
samizdat, Dan Yurman asks whether TVA can handle construction of a third reactor?


The development of a third nuclear reactor by 2020 at a TVA site, albeit a 180 MW SMR, is potentially headed for a squeeze play between two of its larger brethren. TVA’s board is already on record saying it wants just one reactor under construction at a time. The current construction project is the completion of Watts Bar 2, a 1,200 MW unit located in Spring City, Tenn. It is $2 billion over budget and won't be completed until 2015, three years late. Once it is finished, TVA’s next project is completion of the 1,200 MW Bellefonte unit located just across the Tennessee border near Scottsboro, Ala.

The problem for the SMR developer, Babcock & Wilcox, is that its agreement with TVA to cost share the licensing and construction of a 180 MW SMR seems to stand independent of the board policy. It is unclear whether this project is affected by the TVA board policy or if it is so small that it flies under the radar. At $5,000/Kw, the $0.9 billion project isn’t “small” by most definitions of capital construction

1. Atomic Insights - Rod Adams reports that the Australian Broadcasting System recently aired a documentary titled "I Can Change Your Mind About … Climate". It was an interesting premise, a committed climate change activist was paired against an avowed climate change skeptic. Both were allowed to pick 7 people that they wanted to visit to help convince the other to change their mind. The ABC would film the encounters and pick up the bill for the world wide travel involved.

Anna Rose is the young founder and chairman of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Nick Minchin recently retired from an Australian political career that culminated with 18 years as a Conservative Party leader in the Australian senate.

Throughout the entire program, neither one acknowledge that nuclear energy is an emission free alternative to fossil fuels that is as economically efficient and as reliable as coal.

2. Canadian Energy Issues - Innovation, water, and energy: semi-conductors cannot
defeat physics


A recent PBS show on technological advances gives the impression that smarter tech design will make water easier to manage. An example is the Slingshot, a water purification/sterilization device that boils water, touted as an answer to Africa's potable water shortage. This gives the impression that the energy to boil the water is of secondary importance in the purification system. As Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues points out, it’s not. Africa has a potable water problem because it lacks cheap, widely available electricity. Without ubiquitous electricity, the Slingshot will have little impact in Africa.





3. Atomic Power Review - San Onofre and Steam Generator Design

Meredith Angwin, who usually blogs at Yes Vermont Yankee, posts at Atomic Power Review this time. She writes about the history of steam generator design and improvements, as she experienced it as a project manager at the Steam Generator Project Office of the Electric Power Research Industry. She tells why the crevice chemistry is often "2X" (twice as concentrated as seawater) and how model boilers are used to develop new materials and chemistries. She points out that nobody would order a steam generator just like the "old days", no matter what Gundersen says.

4. Yes Vermont Yankee - No Iodine Pills, No Radiation Poisoning at Brattleboro High School

In this post, Meredith Angwin quotes outrageous misstatements in an AP article . The article claimed that high school teachers were given iodine pills to "counteract the radiation poisoning" near Vermont Yankee. She tells of her own mini-investigation into the facts. The blog post finishes with a very welcome correction issued by AP.

5. Charles Barton at Nuclear Green has Uranium is a Renewable resource.

Charles points out that uranium recovery from sea water is not extremely expensive. There is already a great deal of recoverable uranium in sea water, and more uranium is flowing into the sea, either from rivers or from other sources. Thus Sea Water dissolved uranium is a renewable resource.

These are the facts upon which Charles base his conclusions:

1. Japanese researchers have repeatedly argued that dissolved uranium can be recovered from sea water at a ccst of around $300 per 1 kg. They hope to find ways to recover uranium from sea water at an even lower cost. You have not challenged this fact.

2. Dissolved uranium from terrestial sources continually flows into the seas. I believe that this amounts to about 32,000 tons of yellow cake per year.

3. Uranium also enters the sea from other sources, which may include undersea volcanoes and under sea hot springs. This has not been verified yet as far as I know, but as speculations go this seems reasonable.

4. The uranium in the sea is at equilibrium. Added dissolved uranium causes other dissolved uranium to precipitate out of sea water. The uranium precipitation is deposited on the sea bottom, but may redissolve at some future time.

5. Volcanoes may add to terrestrial uranium from time to time.

Conclusion: Uranium is a renewable resource for as long as the geological processes I have noted continue.


Back in 2010 Atomic Insights noted how - Mike Eckhart thought that the nuclear advocates were infringing on a brand that he had worked hard to create for his favorite unreliable forms of energy.

6. Neutron Economy has Risk communication with a tin-ear

A frustratingly common issue in nuclear risk communication is the tin-eared approach many technical experts take toward perceptions of their audience - both in their concerns and value systems, something which has allowed anti-nuclear activists to gain the advantage. Blunting the advantage of the anti-nuclear movement in this regard requires carefully evaluating how to engage with the values of an audience, rather than simply being "technically correct.

7. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on a Washington Post editorial that questions the logic of phasing out nuclear power plants. It reports on the difficulties Japan and Germany are facing based on their recent actions, and debunks the argument that shutting nuclear plants quickly will speed the transition to renewable energy sources. She links this to another article on Germany, this one saying that environmentalists in Germany are suddenly waking up and noticing that the premature shutdown of nuclear power plants has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. This observation, of course, has not made them embrace nuclear power, but it demonstrates that people are beginning to see the consequences of shutting down nuclear power plants.

8. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on the recent announcement of leadership changes at the World Nuclear Association. She reflects on the accomplishments of the outgoing Director-General of WNA, John Ritch, whose work she know through her own work at DOE and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. In particular, she notes his leadership in developing the World Nuclear University, and she outlines some of its achievements.

9. Nextbigfuture - Ontario Power is looking at two nuclear reactor designs - the enhanced Candu 6 reactor made by Candu Energy Inc., a unit of SNC-Lavalin and Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor.

These discussions are about building two new reactors, each of about 1,000 megawatts, at Darlington.

10. ANS Nuclear Cafe - ANS Delegation to India

India is fast emerging as a leading world power in nuclear science and technology. In this video interview, American Nuclear Society President Eric Loewen discusses the recent delegation he led to help foster U.S.–India nuclear cooperation to benefit both countries.


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