Skip to main content

On Nuclear Energy, Cooling and the Steam Cycle

It's June, so it's time to trot out the old charge that Summer heat waves are going to shut down nuclear power plants around the world. This time, the story appeared in the Globe and Mail, so I guess I ought to link to Lisa Stiles-Shell's original rebuttal.

Then again, I wonder why we haven't seen more attention paid to the performance of wind power during California's heat wave last Summer.

Comments

Joffan said…
I assume this article: Will France be caught with its plants down? is the one you're referring to.

I'd think the other thermal plants are affected also but they are hardly in a position to publicize it. Given the rest of their compliance culture, they probably just run their outlet water over the heat limit and pay the fine.
Jim Baerg said…
In Lisa Stiles rebuttal she includes the option:
"--Invent a thermodynamic cycle better than the ones the world's best minds have come up with in the past two centuries or so"

This:
http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml
*might* turn out to be just that.
The very short explanation is that it's a way to use the upper atmosphere as the cold end for a bottoming cycle. Ie: it's NOT a perpetual motion machine of either kind, but a way to improve the efficiency of any thermal engine, by lowering the temperature of the cold heat sink.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…