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Showing posts from April, 2005

Another Blogger For Nuclear Energy

At the Collatine 1802 blog another post has been added to encourage pro-nuclear advocates to stop being reactionary, and reframe the context of the discussion in favor of nuclear energy.

Personally I have to disagree with him on the "I heart nuclear" T-shirts, though. I think they're terrific! Simple, clear, no explanations required...


UPDATE: Say hello to Tina T.

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Nuclear Energy Outside the Beltway

Over at Outside the Beltway, Steve Verdon is musing about the nuclear component of President Bush's national energy policy:
I do agree that more nuclear power is probably a good idea and that there probably should be a very serious look at and overhaul of the regulations for nuclear energy. Other countries have been using nuclear power safely for decades. One problem with increasing nuclear power in the U.S. are the hysterical environmentalists who ironically want to cut CO2 emissions, but at the same time don't want to switch to nuclear power which emits no CO2. Another problem, which is derived in part from the previous problem, is the exorbitant costs due to the regulations on nuclear power. So while this would be a good direction to go in, I doubt that we will go in that direction.
While I understand where Steve is coming from (before I came to work in the nuclear energy industry I shared many of the same misconceptions), I have some additional information that sheds some mo…

President Bush Addresses Nuclear Energy at Press Conference

President Bush had a lot of positive things to say about nuclear energy in his prime time press conference last night:
Over the past decade, America's energy consumption has been growing about 40 times faster than our energy production. That means we're relying more on energy produced abroad. To reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, we must take four key steps. First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy. Secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power.
And . . .
We should have a active energy -- nuclear energy policy in America. We've got abundant resources of coal, and we're spending money for clean-coal technology. So these are longer term projects all aimed at making us become less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
This exchange with Terry Moran of ABC News caught my eye:
Q So am I rea…

South Carolina Officials to Investigate Possible New Reactor

From the AP wire:

Almost a decade after the nation's most recent licensed nuclear power plant went on line, S.C. officials will meet with utility representatives to see if there is interest in building a reactor in the state.

The May 9 meeting in Columbia will include representatives from the state Commerce Department, the governor's office, utility officials and U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett of the state's 3rd Congressional District.

"We just want to get everyone together, see if anyone's interested in South Carolina, and then we'll move forward from there," said Tim Dangerfield, chief of staff at the Commerce Department.
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NEI's Fertel, Moore Testify Before House Subcommittee

NEI Chief Nuclear Officer Marvin Fertel testified earlier today before the Energy and Resources Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee on the possible expansion of nuclear energy in the U.S.:

The public sector, including the oversight committees of the U.S. Congress, can help maintain the conditions that ensure Americans will continue to reap the benefits of today’s nuclear power plants, and create the conditions that will spur investment in America’s energy infrastructure, including new nuclear power plants . . .

Nuclear power plants contribute to the fuel and technology diversity that is the core strength of the U.S. electric supply system. This diversity is at risk because today’s business environment and market conditions in the electric sector make investment in large, capital-intensive technologies difficult, particularly in the nuclear power plants and coal-fired power plants best suited to supply baseload electricity.
Click here for a copy of his written testimony.…

On the Bush Energy Speech

As you might imagine, there's press coverage of President Bush's speech on energy policy just about all over -- check out these accounts from the Washington Post and the New York Times for starters.

Investor's Business Daily (no direct link, behind subscriber wall) seemed to welcome the President's message on nuclear energy:
[N]uclear power provides a form of cheap -- and clean -- energy. Paying less to heat and cool our homes would offset the pain of higher gasoline prices -- and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. All good.
Out in the heartland, it looks like the Lufkin Daily News liked what it heard:
Our view is that nuclear power plants, when properly regulated and maintained, provide a safer, cleaner, cheaper and longer-lasting source of energy than the traditional types of energy generation – coal-fired or natural gas plants in particular. Nuclear plants are used throughout Europe. With the tragic exception of Chernobyl in 1986 – the result of a flawed design – th…

Will There Be a Nuclear Split in the Environmental Movement?

In a review of The Bottomless Well: the Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy by Peter Huber and Mark Mills, Paul Weyrich noticed the authors' opinion about the ties between the environmental movement and its anti-nuclear allies:
Huber and Mills do not foresee an immediate end to oil and gas consumption but they suggest environmentalists should cut their ties to the anti-nuclear power movement (with its Hollywood axis — remember the 1979 movie starring Jane Fonda called "The China Syndrome"?) and realize that clean, plentiful energy can be produced. The Greens are the swing constituency which can set our country back or move it forward with an energy policy. Post-Three Mile Island the gap between meeting a rising demand for energy and the environmental opposition increasingly to rely on nuclear power was met by burning coal. However, nuclear power is cleaner and safer than other fuels, a record which should appease the environmenta…

Sell: DOE and NuStart Reach Agreement

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on the Nuclear Power 2010 program yesterday. The big news came during testimony by Deputy Secretary of Energy, Jeffrey Clay Sell, who announced that DOE had completed an agreement with NuStart Energy to develop a budget and schedule for selecting a pair of sites for potential new reactors.

Also testifying at the hearing was Constellation Energy Group President Mike Wallace and NRC Chairman Nils Diaz.

Thanks to Paul Primavera of the Safe, Clean Nuclear Power Yahoo group, for the links.

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President to Make Major Energy Speech Today

Via Reuters:

Under pressure over high energy prices, President Bush on Wednesday will propose tackling the root causes of the problem by encouraging new oil refineries be built at closed military bases and jumpstarting construction of new nuclear power plants . . .

On nuclear, Bush will propose offering companies risk insurance to mitigate the cost of delays due to any potential failures in the licensing process. The last generation of nuclear power plants was built in the 1970s and 1980s.

"There is a new and better licensing process. However, there is substantial uncertainty with potential investors about the ability to move through the new licensing process," one senior official said.
More later.

UPDATE: From the Financial Times:
Senior White House officials said Mr Bush would also call for international co-operation to promote “greater use of clean coal and nuclear power around the world” to reduce stress on global energy markets.

In addition to increasing capacity, Mr Bush bel…

Scottish Greens Gearing Up to Fight New Nuclear Build

From the BBC:
The Scottish Greens are urging voters to make nuclear power an election issue and oppose any Labour plans to increase the number of nuclear stations.

Nineteen years after the Chernobyl disaster, Chris Ballance MSP said nuclear power had proved to be "a dirty, risky and expensive mistake".

He said renewable energy had not been properly utilised to meet Scotland's energy needs.

The MSP said a new Labour government would build more nuclear stations.
For some of our past posts on nuclear energy and the U.K., click here and here.

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More On The Changing Mood on Nuclear Energy

In today's Financial Times, Amity Shlaes examines America's new interest in nuclear energy:
But, as Peter Huber and Mark Mills remind us in The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why we will Never Run out of Energy . . . the substitution has been outrageously wasteful. It takes four tons of coal to satisfy the power needs of one inhabitant of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive for a year. A few ounces of uranium could cover the same need.

Then there is the matter of damage to the environment. The central hypocrisy of the green movement is that antinuclear policy has driven the US to use the hydrocarbon fuels so much opposed by the movement against global warming.

But the mood is changing and energy options open today are far more numerous than in the 1970s or 1980s. Scarcity, once the premise of all energy policy, can now be questioned: new technologies mean that the US may never run out of energy.
Huber and Mills are not without their critics, as we saw yeste…

Garrish to Retire, Golan to Take Over at Yucca Mountain

Ted Garrish, acting director of the Yucca Mountain project at the Department of Energy, is retiring. He'll be replaced by Paul Golan, who currently serves as principal deputy assistant secretary for environmental management at the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management.

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John Ritch: Nuclear Key to Our Energy Future

In today's Washington Post, John Ritch, director general of the World Nuclear Association, writes that a global renaissance in nuclear energy could be critical to solving our future energy needs:
Around the world, there is a new realism about nuclear energy, a recognition of its essential virtue, which is its capacity to deliver power cleanly, safely, reliably and on a massive scale. This thinking is eclipsing old-school anti-nuclear environmentalism.

Increasingly, thoughtful environmentalists see anti-nuclearism as counterproductive. They worry not about the growth of nuclear energy but about the likelihood that it is not growing rapidly enough to produce the clean-energy revolution the world urgently needs.
Read the rest right now.

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Report: U.K. Wind Farms Not Cost-Effective

From the Telegraph (U.K.):
Wind farms will require £12billion in public subsidies, almost three times as much as nuclear power plants will cost, according to a new report.

A study from Oxford Economic Research Associates said nuclear power could provide the same amount of carbon-free electricity for £4.4billion. The study also forecast that the Government will fail to hit its 20-year targets for carbon dioxide emissions by between 40pc and 60pc unless it significantly moves away from fossil fuels.

"Given the size of the environmental change targets, the Government is faced with some tough decisions," said Robin Smale, author of the study. "At the moment, the two options available are increasing the amount of nuclear energy or increasing renewables at the taxpayer's expense," he said.
Looks like there's a debate brewing, and it's schedule for immediately after the May 5 Parliamentary election.

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Roberts vs. Huber on Peak Energy

On Saturday, the LA Times printed an email exchange between Paul Roberts, author of The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World and Peter Huber, co-author of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy.

This comment from Roberts caught my eye:
As with other "silver bullet" technologies, nuclear is too often touted as the endgame, when, at best, it can be only a piece of the next energy economy.
"Silver bullet"? As far as I'm concerned, the nuclear industry has never touted itself as a complete panacea to America's, and the world's, future energy needs. What the nation and the world need is diversity of supply -- a situation where we don't become overly dependent on any one type of fuel to supply our energy needs. That's the situation we find ourselves in today, as overbuild of natural gas-fired electric capacity has placed intolerable pricing pressure on that marketplace.

Another asi…

Domenici: Making a Pitch For the Hydrogen Economy

In Saturday's edition of the Free New Mexican, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici made his pitch for a hydrogen economy powered by nuclear energy:
Right now, we are researching several possible sources for hydrogen. Today, natural gas is the most popular choice, but we are funding research into sources from nuclear reactors to windmills.

Personally, I believe high-temperature nuclear reactors offer the ideal source for hydrogen for four reasons.

First, nuclear reactors don't emit carbons in the atmosphere. Natural gas, the other popular feedstock, is a fossil fuel that emits carbons when it's burned.

Second, we can provide our own nuclear power, controlling supply and, hence, price. We don't have to rely on foreign nations for nuclear power like we do for oil and, increasingly, natural gas.
To find out his other two reasons, click here now.

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On Point Examines Nuclear Energy

Last week on WBUR-FM, the NPR affiliate in Boston, the program On Point held a discussion concerning how nuclear energy might contribute to America's future energy needs. The program, which runs just over 48 minutes, is available in both Real Media and Windows Media formats.

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Report of the NRC public meeting for Clinton's ESP

The following was authored by Michael Stuart, a Senior Nuclear Instructor in Dominion, and an active member of North American Young Generation in Nuclear. It is an excellent summary of the events in and around Clinton Illinois on 4/19/05:
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Trip Synopsis
Clinton Early Site Permit, Draft Environmental Impact Statement Hearing

On Monday, April 18, Delbert Horn, Kelly Taylor, and I left for Clinton, Illinois. To conserve gas (in true environmentalist fashion) Norris McDonald (President of the African-AmericanEnvironmentalist Association) and his son, Sandy came down to Richmond from D.C. to car-pool with us.

We arrived in Clinton right about midnight and within minutes, we found out from a local paper that our anti friends were holding a press conference on Tuesday at the University of Illinois in Bloomington-Normal. We decided to attend.

The next day at around 11 a.m. we arrived at the press conference, about 45 minutes…

Government Minister: Australia Needs to Consider Nuclear Energy

It looks like Australia is getting ready to take another step toward building commercial nuclear reactors. Here's a report from the nation's ABC Radio:
The Federal Education and Science Minister, Brendan Nelson, has broken from Liberal Party policy and advocated nuclear energy as a way to cut down on greenhouse polluting gases.

He says it's a long-term proposal based on the simple reasoning that if Australia mines uranium, the country should be able to generate power from it.

Dr Nelson branded people and groups against nuclear power as hysterics.

His newly publicised views have angered most environmentalists but are seen as an encouraging step by the uranium mining industry.
For some of our previous posts on Australia, click here, here and here.

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Clinton ESP News Update

First, the joint press conference hosted by several anti-nuclear groups in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois on Tuesday, April 19: Brendan Hoffman of Public Citizen took the microphone. His point was that instead of a new nuclear power plant, Illinois should focus on renewables, since the Union of Concerned Scientists have produced a study showing how much economic benefit Illinois can get from a renewable energy standard. He also gave a list of six complaints of things that are missing from the NRC's draft Environmental Impact Statement, including, for example, the need for additional power, suitability of the site for long term storage of used nuclear fuel, security issues and health impacts of a nuclear power station.

I don't see how pursuing renewable energy sources and new nuclear power for baseload energy generation are mutually exclusive. Why not do both, and expand the environmental benefits?

As for what is missing from the NRC's DEIS, it does not seem reasonable to …

Greenspan on National Energy Policy

From the Reuters wire:
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Thursday the United States had "better have" some sort of national energy policy for both economic and national security reasons.

When asked at a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee if he thought America needs a national energy policy, Greenspan said, "I think that we better have one because it's something which is integrated not only into our economic system but into our national security system as well."

He said it is possible new technologies will lead to alternative sources for the fuels consumers use now.
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Is Nuclear Back on the U.K. Energy Agenda?

From the Whitehaven News (U.K.):
THE chairman of BNFL has triggered an election row after hinting that the Government would build new nuclear plants if it won a third term.

Gordon Campbell’s comments have sparked strong criticism from opposition politicians, who have accused the Government of using him to sneak out the pledge in a bid to sway West Cumbrian voters.

Mr Campbell, chairman of state-owned BNFL since June 2004, made the comments at Monday’s Technology 2005 exhibition of engineering and associated services, hosted by the British Nuclear Energy Society. He said he would be “amazed” if, after the election, there was not a review of nuclear energy and nuclear new-build was something all the major political parties would have to look at.

Mr Campbell said he had spoken to sources very close to Downing Street and anticipated an announcement within weeks of the poll that new nuclear reactors would be built. “Nuclear power has to form part of the energy policy and I believe it will be g…

Progress Energy Considers New Nuclear Build

From the Raleigh News and Observer:
Progress Energy is exploring the possibility of building a new nuclear plant as the company looks at economical ways to supply North Carolina's future energy needs.

The Raleigh-based utility's top executive said he expects company officials will decide within two years what type of energy will best meet anticipated electricity demand.

But the cheapest, cleanest and wisest fuel source would be nuclear, and a natural site for a new reactor would be to expand at the company's Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in southern Wake County, chief executive Robert McGehee said in an interview.
This is an exciting prospect, and one that would have been unthinkable until recently.

McGehee will be delivering the annual state of the industry address at the 2005 Nuclear Energy Assembly next month here in Washington.

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Notes on the Anti-nuclear Press Conference in Clinton

I've found a couple of reports (here is another) about the press conference organized by several anti-nuclear groups prior to the NRC hearing. From the articles and what I've gleaned from people that were there, the anti-nuclear representives presented their usual arguments to abandon nuclear and focus on renewables.

However, Phil Huckleberry, chairman of the McLean County Green Party and the Illinois Green Party, presented one new angle that the press failed to mention. That is, he proposed that to compensate for any economic benefits that a new nuclear power plant might bring and the loss of farmland that would accompany wind or solar facilities, farmers in Illinois should begin replacing their current crops with hemp...for industrial uses, of course.

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Clinton ESP Hearing News

I'll post links to articles as I find them today, but so far, this is the most complete report I've seen about the NRC hearing last night on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Exelon's Early Site Permit (ESP) application.

I was lucky enough to get a full account last night from some North American Young-Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) members that were there. I haven't seen NA-YGN mentioned yet, but I'm proud to say that it was instrumental in encouraging nuclear proponents in the area to show their support and sharing "Lessons Learned" from the NRC EIS hearing in Louisa, Virginia in February. NA-YGN Public Information officer Sama Bilbao y Leon put together the petition mentioned in the article and NA-YGN member Laura Ekern (yes, her name is misspelled in the article) was quoted as sayingNuclear energy is safe, clean, reliable and an important part of the balance of our energy mix.Where nuclear supporters are working together, we are mak…

Zuckerman on Board with New Nuclear Build

In his latest column on energy policy in U.S. News and World Report, Mort Zuckerman comes out in favor of the expanded use of nuclear energy in electricity production:
On the production side, we are going to have to start building nuclear power plants, particularly since new nuclear technologies are safer and cleaner than ever.

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More on New Nuclear Plant Costs

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), an agency within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published a 2005 update to their “Projected Costs of Generating Electricity” series. The study provides some interesting perspective on some ongoing discussions posted on FuturePundit and Disinterested Party regarding the costs of generating electricity using nuclear power versus other technologies.

The NEA/IEA study uses the levelized lifetime cost approach to compare generating costs for the future. This approach looks at generation costs over the plant economic lifetime, while taking into account the time value of money; that is, money spent yesterday or tomorrow does not have the same value as money spent today. Levelized costs are comprised of all components of capital, Operations and Maintainence (O&M) and fuel costs that would influence a utility’s choice of generation options, including construction, refurbish…

More Misinformation

The Illinois State University chapter of the Student Environmental Action Coaltion ,one of the groups organizing the press conference Kelly Taylor mentioned below, has a website. On the front page is a notice about the NRC hearing tonight in Clinton on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Exelon's Early Site Permit (ESP) application. The group urges people to attend and says This is the last opportunity to voice your concerns to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is yet another tactic by anti-nuclear extremists that makes my blood boil.

This is absolutely not the last opportunity for public comment in the licensing process for new nuclear power plants. It is probable that this well-meaning student group is simply parroting what they have been told by the likes of PACE, Public Citizen and NIRS, but I would encourage them, and other environmental groups, to check the facts. If they did, they would find that, in addition to the public comment period on the Envi…

Clinton ESP News Update

Sorry I don't have a link to the article, but Monday's paper copy of The Clinton Daily Journal reports that today there will be a joint press conference at 11AM in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

The following groups are reported to be hosting the press conference:
No New Nukes (N3)
Illinois State University Studen Environmental Action Coalition
McLean County Green Party
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Evanston, IL
Public Citizen of Washington, D.C.

I will be attending the press conference, as well as the NRC public meeting tonight for Exelon's ESP application.

Check back here for updates later in the day!

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Quantifying Nuclear Energy's Environmental Benefit

As a followup to his MIT Technology Review article, Environmental Heresies, Stewart Brand is now engaged in a debate with environmentalist Joseph Romm on the merits of Brand's original piece.

In the course of the back and forth, Brand asks this question:
There's a statisic I've yet to see--- how much more carbon dioxide production there would be if all the considerable existing nuclear power in the world were not out there cranking out megawattage.
Here's the data Brand is looking for:
Annual emissions avoided. In 2003, U.S. nuclear power plants prevented 3.36 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 1.24 million tons of nitrogen oxide, and 679.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the earth's atmosphere.

Longterm emissions avoided. Between 1995 and 2003, U.S. nuclear generation avoided the emission of 34.3 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 14.8 million tons of nitrogen oxides, and 6.0 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

Over one-third of total voluntary greenhouse gas …

The Costs of Replacing Nuclear Capacity

Whenever anyone tells you that we can replace nuclear energy completely with renewable sources of energy, keep these following stats in mind.

From the Times (U.K.):
To replace a 1,000 megawatt (MW) nuclear station supplying just 1/65th of peak demand requires 30 miles of wave machines; or it would need a wind farm that would cover an area equivalent to Inner London, or for solar power, it would require an area half as much again. If we were to try to replace the output of that 1,000MW nuclear power station with bio-oils or biomass fuels, we would have to cover the entire Scottish Highlands with oil-seed rape or turn Wales into a giant willow coppice.
We need a balanced energy portfolio that includes clean coal, gas, hydro and renewables. Future demand for electricity is going to grow too fast, both domestically and globally, for it to be any other way. Thanks to Synthstuff for the link.

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Finland Can't Get Enough Nuclear

Many people are aware that the first European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) is under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland.

But did you know that Finland is considering building a sixth plant? This article states that Timo Rajala, chief executive of Finnish power group Pohjolan Voima Oy (PVO) reportedly said We should be able to make a decision on a nuclear power station by 2008 and it would then be finished in 2015.And This is a great place for a shameless plug for the International Youth Nuclear Congress 2006. The fourth biennial Congress will begin in Stockholm, Sweden on June 18, 2006 and later in the week there will be a boat trip to Finland to see the under-construction Olkiluoto-3. See the Call for Papers for details. Abstracts are due September 15. The IYNC site also contains information for potential sponsors.

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Indonesia Steps Forward on New Nuclear Build

Following up on an announcement made at an IAEA conference in Paris last month, Indonesia has confirmed its plans to build a nuclear power plant. From AKI:
The Indonesian government announced on Monday that it has approved a project to build the country's first nuclear power plant in central Java on the Muria peninsula. Construction is to begin in 2010 with the aim of producing electricity by 2016. The project will involve the construction of four power plants, each with a capacity of 7,000 megawatts.
By way of reference, one megawatt is enough to power 1,000 typical American homes.

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PWC: Blackouts Likely Due to "Insufficient Investment"

From the Bloomberg wire:
Power blackouts similar to those in the U.S. East Coast, Italy and the U.K. two years ago are likely to be repeated around the world because of insufficient investment and aging power plants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers said.

About $12.7 trillion of investment, greater than the U.S. annual economic output, is needed through 2030 to meet an expected doubling in electricity consumption, a report by consultants at PriceWaterhouseCoopers said. That total is higher than the estimated $10 trillion spending on electricity called for by the International Energy Agency during the same period.

``Blackouts are expected to become more frequent,'' according to the report, based on a survey of 119 investors and executives at utilities in 36 countries. ``Two-thirds of utility respondents believe the likelihood of blackouts will increase or remain the same. Only a quarter think it will reduce.''
Further . . .
More than half of the respondents to the report's survey…

Stand Up for Nuclear Energy in Minnesota

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting this Wednesday, April, 20th in Monticello, Minnesota to discuss the relicensing application of the Monticello Nuclear Plant.

The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Monticello Community Center, 505 Walnut Street, Monticello. Click here for a map. As we've seen in the past, efforts by pro-nuclear groups can make a difference. If you're in the area, make plants to stop by and let the NRC know just what the plant means to the community and the local economy.

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President Bush on the Energy Bill

In his weekly radio address to the nation, President Bush focused on energy legislation currently making its way through Congress:
[T]he energy bill must diversify our energy supply by developing alternative sources of energy like ethanol or biodiesel. We need to promote safe, clean nuclear power. And to create more energy choices, Congress should provide tax credits for renewable power sources such as wind, solar, and landfill gas. We must also continue our clean coal technology projects so that we can use the plentiful source of coal in an environmentally friendly way. The bill must also support pollution-free cars and trucks, powered by hydrogen fuel cells instead of gasoline.
Click here for the audio.

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Spotlight on Skip Bowman

In the latest issue of National Journal, reporter Margaret Kriz profiled NEI's President and CEO, Skip Bowman. The article is only available to paid subscribers, but here's a small excerpt:
Industry officials are counting on Bowman to build broad bipartisan support for nuclear power. "Fundamental to me in the process [of hiring a new NEI chief] was to get somebody who would be genuinely bipartisan, who understands that the future of nuclear technology is dependent upon it being supported by both parties," said John Rowe, president and CEO of Exelon, a Chicago-based utility that owns more nuclear power plants than any other firm in the nation. "Skip ran a large nuclear fleet with more than 100 floating reactors. He was in business where . . . long-term stability of your plants needed bipartisan support."
For more details on his career, click here for the official announcement from last August after Bowman was named NEI's President and CEO-elect.

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Not the Whole Truth on Nuclear Fuel

If I told you that cake is made from eggs, you would probably agree that's a true statement. But you wouldn't assume you could put a piece of cake in a hen's nest and hatch a chick from it.

Don't try explaining that to MSNBC News, who would be glad to have us think that nuclear fuel made from weapons-grade plutonium is still weapons-grade plutonium. The story is called Controversial nuclear fuel arrives in U.S. and delivers a litany of complaints aimed a program which, by treaty, is designed to remove weapons-grade plutonium from a Russian storage shelf and use it instead to power SC homes and businesses.

So what would actually be a better use for it? Leave it laying around in military-guarded munitions heaps? Turn it into glass bricks and then bury them under the desert? Can you imagine the environmentalists campaigning in favor of construction of a nearby vitrification plant?

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Costs for New Nuclear Reactors

A week or two ago, FuturePundit sparked a long string of comments regarding the cost of new nuclear reactors in the United States. The blogger found it difficult to find good information on the projected costs of new nuclear units in this country, and as a result had difficulty accurately comparing future nuclear electric power costs to fossil fuel electric power costs.

To ensure a common basis for comparison, the capital costs of electric generating technologies are expressed in dollars per kilowatt of capacity. The capital costs used in such comparisons are so-called “overnight” capital costs—i.e., they assume the plant is built “overnight” and thus do not include interest charges and financing costs.

In order to provide competitive electricity, the nuclear industry has determined that the next generation of nuclear reactors must have overnight capital costs in the range of $1,000 – $1,200 per kilowatt of generating capacity for the so called “Nth-of-a-kind” nuclear plant. Nth-of-a-ki…

Nuclear Energy "Down Under"

Last week, Australian MP and erstwhile rock star Peter Garrett, once a reliable opponent of nuclear energy, admitted it might be time to reconsider his position in light of the threat posed by global warming. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
There should be also be a debate about the pros and cons of nuclear energy, the former rock singer and head of the Australian Conservation Foundation said, though he remained unconvinced it was a safe alternative …

"I’m not a technical expert on these issues, merely saying we should examine and consider the options closely,” Mr Garrett said.
The debate is joined. Click here, and here for local reaction.

Elsewhere, Helen Caldicott has a piece in today's edition of The Australian where she makes some familiar claims about nuclear energy -- ones that were debunked by NEI Vice President for Communications, Scott Peterson a few weeks back in the pages of the Toledo Blade.

And in case you missed it, BHP Billiton got provisional approval for its pro…