Friday, August 31, 2007

Ohio RPS Includes Nuclear Energy

From the Toledo Blade:

Gov. Ted Strickland's energy proposal calls for Ohio's electric utilities to invest heavily in renewable and advanced energy, but it remains to be seen how much of a hammer the state would swing to make it happen.

The administration has not said what would happen to a utility if it fails to meet the requirement that 25 percent of its power supply come from "advanced energy'' by 2025.

That category would include fuel cell, clean coal, and nuclear technology as well as "green'' sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and landfill gases.

"We want that standard to be firm, but we also understand that it would be desirable for us to have a kind of flexibility as we move toward achieving that standard,'' Mr. Strickland said.

"I would expect the [Public Utilities Commission of Ohio] to continue to monitor the efforts toward achieving that standard.''

In addition to the broader 25 percent-by-2025-standard, the much-anticipated plan the governor unveiled Wednesday requires at least half of that, or 12.5 percent, to come from renewable sources.

And half of the total advanced energy standard must come from power generated in Ohio.
This is great news. All over the country, the industry has been fighting to have nuclear energy included in Renewable Portfolio Standards in recognition of its role in constraining greenhouse gas emissions. Bravo to Gov. Strickland for recognizing this in his proposal.

For more on climate change initiatives that recognize the role nuclear energy can play in constraining greenhouse gas emissions, click here.

More on Ontario's Energy Plan

We Support Lee has a great roundup of stories related to yesterday's announcement from the province of Ontario's 20-year electrical plan. Be sure to check it out.

Elsewhere, Canada is interested in GNEP.

Moore Gives DiCaprio's Movie a Thumbs Down

Dr. Patrick Moore of the CASEnergy Coalition has seen Leonardo DiCaprio's new movie, and he came away less than impressed:

DiCaprio’s movie, The 11th Hour, is another example of anti-forestry scare tactics, this time said to be “brilliant and terrifying” by James Christopher of the London Times.

Maybe so, but instead of surrendering to the terror, keep in mind that there are solutions to the challenges of climate, and our forests are among them.

This film should be a good, clear reminder for us to put the science before the Hollywood hype.
As a result of the piece, Moore was invited to be a guest on next Tuesday's edition of the Dennis Miller Show at 11:15 a.m. to talk about viable responses to climate change including the increased use of nuclear energy. To join CASEnergy, click here.

Don Surber has more.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sky Is Not Falling

In response to news that Energy Alberta plans to build a twin-CANDU plant, the London Free-Press (Ontario) had this to say:

As concerns about global warming rise to fever pitch, a full-flung debate on the role of nuclear energy in reducing CO2 emissions -- and fears about safety -- is essential.

You'd think the green movement, which led the charge to reduce CO2 emissions, would welcome such an opportunity.

Instead, they've responded to an application to build a $6.2 billion nuclear power plant in northern Alberta with the usual booga-booga rhetoric that unfortunately clings to the development of nuclear energy in Canada.

The half-truths and dubious scientific claims by these groups lead one to believe they do their research by watching the Simpsons.
Ouch!

NRDC's Cochran on Dry Cask Storage and Earthquakes

Got an interesting piece of information I wanted to pass along. Back on June 28, Tom Cochran Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's nuclear program, testified before the California Energy Commission. Following his testimony, Commissioner James D. Boyd asked Cochran whether or not storing used nuclear fuel in dry casks was safe given California's history with earthquakes.

Here's how he answered:

As an organization we haven't developed a view but I'll give you my personal view. First of all I think it's nonsense to think that an earthquake is going to damage a dry cask storage container. I think you can shake those as long as you want to and you're not going to -- you might want to go back and re-rack or something in a safe facility but I cannot envision it being shaken open. So I don't think that's an argument, seismicity, for moving dry casks.

I think it makes sense to have a place to move spent fuel and store it in dry casks from site you want to decommission so you can make them greenfields and the company is not left holding the bag at that particular site.

[...]

And I think it could be transported safely.
Click here to read the proceedings online. For more on used fuel storage from NEI, click here.

New U.K. Poll Shows New Support for Nuclear Energy

For a while now, I've written that folks ought to be careful when reading public opinion polls concerning nuclear energy in Europe. For the most part, as we've pointed out here at NEI Nuclear Notes, these polls were taken before the 2005 crisis over natural gas supply that took place involving Russia and Ukraine -- an event that clearly demonstrated the need for diversity in Europe's energy portfolio.

Well, I'm happy to announce that the polls have finally caught up to reality.

From The Times (London):

An overwhelming majority of people believe that nuclear power will have a role to play in meeting Britain’s future energy needs, despite continued opposition from environmental campaigners.

The latest in a monthly series of ethical reports compiled for The Times describes a growing groundswell of support for a new generation of nuclear power plants.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed by Populus said they believed that nuclear power will form part of an overall energy mix in the future, alongside coal, gas and “green” energy. More than one in five argued that it was the best way of tackling climate change. Only 20 per cent said that they remained opposed to the idea of nuclear power “under any circumstance”.
That's quite a turnaround.

For more on nuclear energy and public opinion in the U.S., see our Web site.

Argentina to Complete Atucha II

Details from Marketwatch.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - August 20 - 24, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Electricity peak prices all decreased by more than $5/MWh. Except for the Palo Verde hub, the current week’s averages are all below the last four week’s average. If last year’s seasonal trends repeat this year, electricity prices could be expected to decline and remain below the 52 week average through September and October (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell $0.67 to $6.25/MMBtu (see pages 1 and 3). Natural gas spot and futures prices eased as Hurricane Dean did not have a significant impact on U.S. production in the Gulf of Mexico. Moderate temperatures contributed to the decline, according to EIA.

NYMEX natural gas futures registered steep declines last week, including the largest single-day movements in nearly 20 months. A 97-cent decline for the September 2007 contract on Monday was the largest decline since the January 2006 contract lost $1.26 per MMBtu on December 27, 2005. The decrease occurred as it became clear that Hurricane Dean would not have an impact on Gulf production, according to EIA (see page 2).

The estimated U.S. nuclear plant availability factor averaged 97% for the week. St. Lucie 2 was manually tripped due to a leak in the reactor coolant system. FitzPatrick was offline to repair a safety relief valve located on the main steam line outside of the reactor vessel. Braidwood 2 was down after a storm stopped two pumps which provide water to cool the plant’s condenser (see pages 2 and 4).

For the last four weeks, spark spreads between the Entergy and Henry hubs have averaged the highest spread over the past year. This was due to ample natural gas inventories and high electricity demand in the South region (see pages 1 and 3).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Ontario to Phase Out Coal by 2014, Build More Nuclear

From yesterday's National Post

Ontario's power system will rely on more wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, build more nuclear power plants and ask consumers to save more electricity to meet the province's energy needs for the next two decades under a sweeping $60-billion plan unveiled yesterday by the Ontario Power Authority.

The plan would phase out Ontario's greenhouse-gas-emitting coal-fired power plants by 2014.

"It's a directional plan: it's a road map," Amir Shalaby, the power authority's vice-president of planning, said.
Just more good news from North America's best kept secret in emissions reduction.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Food Irradiation and Agriculture










From the New York Times:

Pierre Lagoda pulled a small container from his pocket and spilled the contents onto his desk. Four tiny dice rolled to a stop.

“That’s what nature does,” Dr. Lagoda said. The random results of the dice, he explained, illustrate how spontaneous mutations create the genetic diversity that drives evolution and selective breeding.

He rolled the dice again. This time, he was mimicking what he and his colleagues have been doing quietly around the globe for more than a half-century — using radiation to scramble the genetic material in crops, a process that has produced valuable mutants like red grapefruit, disease-resistant cocoa and premium barley for Scotch whiskey.

“I’m doing the same thing,” he said, still toying with the dice. “I’m not doing anything different from what nature does. I’m not using anything that was not in the genetic material itself.”

Dr. Lagoda, the head of plant breeding and genetics at the International Atomic Energy Agency, prides himself on being a good salesman. It can be a tough act, however, given wide public fears about the dangers of radiation and the risks of genetically manipulated food. His work combines both fields but has nonetheless managed to thrive.

The process leaves no residual radiation or other obvious marks of human intervention. It simply creates offspring that exhibit new characteristics.
For more, see the section on Food and Agriculture on the NEI Web site.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Tungsten Fluff.

U.S. and Russia to Ink Bilateral Nuclear Energy Pact in Fall

From RIA-Novosti:

A senior Russian nuclear official said Tuesday that a deal is likely to be signed with the United States this fall on the civilian use of nuclear power.

The document, initialed two months ago, envisages the transfer of fissile materials, and relevant installations and equipment.

"We hope the document will be signed during the coming fall," said Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power.

On Russian Floating Nuclear Power Plants

Kite, String and Key is getting used to the idea.

U.S. And Australia to Sign Bilateral Nuclear Energy Agreement

From news.com.au:

PRESIDENT George W. Bush and John Howard will sign a new bilateral nuclear power pact during APEC, committing both countries to share research and development expertise.

Although the agreement is not legally binding, it follows a similar agreement Washington struck with Japan and establishes a framework for Australia, should it decide to establish a nuclear power industry.

"There is a gap in our education and regulatory knowledge and this sets the pieces in place," said one source familiar with the agreement.

"It doesn't necessarily get us to the point where we could start building nuclear power plants, but this is an important agreement where we can learn from the Americans."
Click here for more from our archives on Australia.

CPS Energy Endorses Nuclear Energy for San Antonio

From MySA.com:

The staff of CPS Energy on Monday strongly endorsed expanding San Antonio's use of nuclear power, recommending that the company's board support development of more nuclear generation.

Saying the city's needs for more power will be acute by 2016, a key CPS official said nuclear power is the least expensive answer to the city's growing need for more electricity.

"Nuclear generation costs appear to be the most reasonable over the long term," Mike Kotara, CPS executive vice president of energy development, said in a presentation to the city-owned utility's board of trustees.

"Our study shows we will require another substantial source of electricity around the 2016 time frame," Kotara said.

"We need to act expeditiously so we can keep our options open and not lose the window of opportunity."

Kotara recommended that CPS take on a partner to build a nuclear generator. The board took no action Monday, but met in executive session to hear more details about the staff recommendation.

"We aren't asking you to approve anything," CPS Chief Executive Milton Lee told the board in open session. "We think nuclear is the preferred option today. If you don't want us to consider nuclear, we won't."

CPS Energy is a partner in the South Texas Project, the nuclear power plant near Bay City.
Thanks to We Support Lee for the pointer.

Energy Alberta Files for New Nuclear Plant

From Reuters:

Energy Alberta Corp. said on Monday it filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to build a nuclear power plant in Alberta that aims to be in service within 10 years.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company said its application is for two twin-unit ACR-1000 advanced Candu reactors just west of Peace River in northern Alberta.

"This is an historic moment for Canada, for Alberta and for the nuclear power industry," Wayne Henuset, Energy Alberta's chief executive, said. "We are proud to be pioneers in bringing the benefits of clean, safe, reliable nuclear power to Alberta."

Energy Alberta, which teamed with state-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, said it would first build one twin-unit reactor that could produce 2,200 megawatts of electricity by early 2017.
Congrats to the teams at Energy Alberta and AECL on taking the first step in this process.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Temelin Gets IAEA Sign of Approval

From Radio Praha:

The drawn-out Czech-Austrian dispute over the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia, located just sixty kilometers from the Austrian border, took a new turn over the weekend when the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Muhammad El Baradei threw his weight fully behind the Czech Republic. In an interview for Monday's edition of the Austrian paper Profil Mr. El Baradei said that Temelin posed no danger to the environment and indicated that the plant's opponents in Austria were obsessed with its existence rather than concerned about its safety.

The interview was bad news for Austrian anti-nuclear activists who had been pushing their government to take the Temelin dispute to an international court. Earlier this year the Austrian government commissioned a legal study to assess its chances of winning such a dispute. The verdict was - practically none. Now, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency - Nobel Peace Prize winner - Muhammad El Baradei has confirmed this opinion. "I do not have the slightest fears for Temelin and I can say so with a clear conscience since I live in Austria," Mr. El Baradei told the paper, advising Austrians to stop focusing on the plant's existence and focus instead on its safety.
Now maybe the Austrians can get back to work on starting Zwentendorf.

India Raises Nuclear Generation Target

From The Telegraph (Calcutta):

The government is planning to raise the target for nuclear power generation to 40,000MW by 2030 from 36,000MW.

The Prime Minister’s energy co-ordination council had chalked out a plan to add 16,000MW of the power by 2020 and another 20,000MW over the next 10 years.

Vilas Muttemwar, the minister for non-conventional energy and a member of the council, told The Telegraph, “We now plan to increase nuclear power generation capacity to 40,000MW by 2030.”

The plans will, however, depend on the Left and the Congress-led alliance working out a compromise that will allow India to import uranium from Australia and Russia.

“We laid a lot of stress on nuclear power because it is clean power, does not pollute much and the plant load factor is high at about 80-85 per cent,” Muttemwar said.
HT: PROS.

On Nuclear Energy and Public Opinion

After reading about the results of an NEI-sponsored study that looked at how people living near nuclear power plants felt about new plants being built on current plant sites, Damon Cline of augusta.com had this to say:

Now, I know what you’re thinking, of course a study paid for by a pro-nuclear group is going to look favorable for the industry, but consider this: The telephone survey of 1,152 randomly selected adults was conducted this summer by independent organizations, Bisconti Research Inc. and Quest Global Research Group, and excluded people employed by electric companies. All of the people selected for the survey were adults living near the nation’s 64 nuclear plants, including the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Generating Plant just south of Augusta, where two new reactors are in the works.

The study, if nothing else, at least explains why protesters have to be bused in whenever there’s an anti-nuke demonstration at a power plant.
To see more of NEI's public opinion research, click here.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

After reading about how China's booming economy is affecting the global environment, Martin Varsavsky says that it's time for China to build more nuclear power plants.

Taking The Pro-Nuclear Fight to Daily Kos

Long-time readers are already familiar with NNadir, a diarist at The Daily Kos who writes about nuclear energy and the role it can play in helping to constrain greenhouse gas emissions.

Now it seems, NNadir has some company. David Walters, who also started the blog Left Atomics, has started his own diary at Daily Kos to take up the fight. Click here and here for his first two diaries.

Nuclear Revival Springs New Life Into Canadian Town

After decades of quiet, there's a new buzz around Uranium City, Saskatchewan. For details, see the Toronto Star.

The Chicago Tribune On The Future of Nuclear Energy

From the Chicago Tribune:

The U.S. has 104 operating reactors at 65 sites, providing roughly 20 percent of the country's energy needs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Illinois, with 11 reactors at six sites, has the highest nuclear capacity of any state.

With energy consumption and concerns about global warming rising, more nuclear power is a must. It can be done efficiently, cost-effectively ... and safely.

Before a plant is built in the U.S., extensive studies are done at the site to account for potential natural hazards. Plants in different areas are built to different codes, to account for the likelihood of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and other natural disasters.

"They're overdesigned," said David Wald of the U.S. Geological Survey. "They're very tough structures."

[...]

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last May that nuclear power, along with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, has to be in the mix of technologies to curb global warming.

Nuclear power is a safer industry, it is a more efficient industry, and it is critical to answering energy demands and protecting the environment. The U.S. can have faith in nuclear power.
Thanks to We Support Lee for the pointer.

Hans Blix Backs New Nuclear Build

Details from Australia's ABC.

UPDATE: More from the Sydney Peace Foundation.

Another Look at Work Force Issues

Late on Friday afternoon, The WSJ Energy Blog picked up on an issue we've been writing about for some time now, namely the challenges ahead for the industry as it faces of wave of retirements inside the nuclear work force:

The shrinking nuclear power workforce is “a big issue,” that the industry would have to resolve even if new nuclear plants weren’t on the drawing board, said Randy Hutchinson, senior vice president of nuclear business development for New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. “Building new plants, to some extent, compounds that problem,” he said.

About 27% of the nation’s nuclear power employees, about 15,600 workers, will be eligible to retire in the next five years, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s Washington lobbying group. Nearly half U.S. nuclear power employees are older than 47, and less than 8% are younger than 32, according to the NEI. Meanwhile, the number of university nuclear engineering programs has declined in the U.S. to about 29 from 65 in 1980, turning out fewer nuclear engineers.
But while the facts in the post might all be true -- after all, they came from NEI -- it still doesn't tell the whole story.

For starters, I suggest you read these two fact sheets produced by NEI:

Nuclear Energy Industry Initiatives Target Looming Shortage of Skilled Workers
Expanded Manufacturing Capacity Needed To Support New Nuclear Plant Construction

And as NRC Chairman Dale Klein said in a speech earlier this year, his agency is well aware of the challenge as well -- one that isn't limited to utilities.

Finally, be sure to check out our Careers and Education section at NEI.org.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Blogroll

As many of you can see, we've finally resurrected the Blogroll, something we lost when we switched to the Blogger beta a number of months ago. If you're not listed there, don't fret, just drop us a note and we'll add you to our list.

The Possible Impact of McCain-Lieberman

Advanced Nanotechnology takes a harder look at S.280.

Alstom Wins China Contract

Again, off the wire.

3 South Carolina Universities Get GNEP Grants

Off the wire.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

NEI's Nuclear Performance - July 2007

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month:

For July 2007, the average net capacity factor reached 97.4 percent. This figure is 0.5 percentage points higher than the same one-month period in 2006. Monthly nuclear generation was 72.6 billion kilowatt-hours for July 2007, compared to 72.2 bkWh for the same one-month period in 2006.

For 2007, year-to-date nuclear generation was 468.3 billion kilowatt-hours, compared to 459.2 bkWh in 2006 (2.0 percent increase) and 461.4 bkWh in the record year of 2004.

With the exception of April 2006, nuclear generation in every month of 2007 has surpassed that of the same one-month periods for 2005 and 2006.

The Energy Information Administration recently analyzed the impacts of proposed climate change legislation by Senators Lieberman and McCain. The results forecast that nuclear plant capacity in the U.S. would grow from 100 GW to 246 GW by 2030. The proposed legislation would establish a series of caps on greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2012 followed by increasingly stringent caps beginning in 2020, 2030 and 2050.
For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

NEI Energy Markets Report, August 13-17, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Generation outages, higher gas prices and hot temperatures contributed to the more than $15/MWh increase in electricity prices at the Palo Verde and SP15 hubs. PJM West and NEPOOL prices declined by more than $12/MWh and $30/MWh from the previous week after the recent heat wave receded in the region. Entergy and ERCOT modestly declined (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.64 to $6.92/MMBtu (see pages 1 and 3). According to EIA, hot summer temperatures and tropical storm activity in the Atlantic last week resulted in further price increases. As of August 10, working gas in storage was 15 percent above the 5-year average inventory level.

UxConsulting’s uranium spot price fell to $90/lb U3O8 (see pages 1 and 3). UxC suggests that the continued decline in prices could be due to the seasonal nature of demand as well as strained existing budgets.

The estimated U.S. nuclear plant availability factor averaged 98% for the week. Browns Ferry 1 tripped due to a neutron monitoring trip signal. Due to warm river temperatures, Browns Ferry 2 was shut down to meet state limits on downriver water temperatures (see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil prices fell for the first time since early June to $71.92/barrel as of 8/10/07. EIA speculates that the high oil prices in the beginning of the summer encouraged extra supply through increased imports and/or domestic production to drive prices down for the end of the summer (see pages 1 and 3).

For the week ending August 11, the Edison Electric Institute noted 96,955 GWh was the second highest output ever recorded. The week ending August 5, 2006 is the highest on record with an output of 98,583 GWh (see page 1).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The total life-cycle emissions of nuclear energy are comparable to renewables.

That headline is pretty easy to understand, isn't it? We've written about the topic or something related to it more times than I can count, but for every time we've addressed the topic, we always seem to need to do it again.

After reading an article about the downside of biofuels in the Guardian, Geoff Wells wrote the following on his blog concerning nuclear energy and total life-cycle emissions:

A similar absence of lifecycle accounting has distorted the nuclear energy debate. Nuclear power stations are being promoted as clean and green–as emitting no greenhouse emissions. However, a full life-cycle analysis takes into account not only what is emitted by the power station, but the combined impacts of mining, enrichment, fuel fabrication, decomissioning and waste storage. At the highest grades of ore, nuclear stations produce more energy than they consume. But at the lower grades of ore, which are far more abundant, nuclear power stations become net consumers of energy, all of it from declining fossil fuel sources, with the resulting increase on greenhouse emissions.
This isn't funny anymore. There are way too many folks like Wells out there who make claims like this based on tissue-paper thin studies that our industry keeps poking holes in.

The fact is that when you consider total life-cycle emissions, nuclear energy is comparable to renewables. I guess this comes at an opportune time, as we just beefed up the references on our Web page on the issue earlier today. For even more studies, be sure to check out this post from September 2006 that deals with the issue.

Presidential Politics and Yucca Mountain

The rundown on where every major candidate stands is at 2008 Central.net.

Alberta Town to Hold Vote on New Reactor

Details from CBC.

Second Life to Get a Nuclear Reactor

This is very cool. From Insider Higher Ed:

Robert C. Amme, a research professor of physics at the University of Denver, thinks there aren’t nearly enough scientists with expertise in managing nuclear waste. So to train the next generation of environmental assessment specialists, he’s taking them to a place where there’s no radiation, nuclear fallout or even laws of gravity.

Armed with a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Amme and his colleagues are preparing to build a nuclear reactor — in the virtual, online world of Second Life.

The interface, created by Linden Research, has over 8 million users who can interact with and help shape their own online environments, including the ability to buy and sell property using a proprietary currency and meet new people. Yet critics have contended that Second Life’s influence is overrated and has little offline value; still only a fraction of its members actively participate in the virtual “metaverse.”
I've played around a bit inside Second Life, and there's a lot of interesting stuff going on there. I'll have to go back once they get the reactor up and running.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NPR, the Steam Cycle and Nuclear Energy

This morning on NPR, Morning Edition ran a feature on France's nuclear reactor fleet and how about a third of those reactors had to cut power during the European heat wave of 2003.

While I'm not going to quibble with the basic premise of the piece, there are a number of facts that NPR left out that taken together, fail to show the entire picture.

The situation described in France and occurring right now at Browns Ferry here in the U.S. is not unique to nuclear reactors, it's something that can affect any power plant that uses the steam cycle -- and that's about 80% of our current generating capacity.

For example, three coal plants in Canada had to go off line recently for just the same reason.

We also need to keep in mind that this is not an operating problem, rather, utilities are simply acting as responsible stewards of the environment. As our CEO Skip Bowman put it in a note to us here at NEI this morning:

Commercial reactors typically operate under licenses/agreements that limit the temperature of the water returning to the river that they draw from. As the rivers heat up due to hot weather, they have to cut back on power and/or shutdown to avoid hitting the limit on water temps returning to the river. It is NOT that they "have trouble operating". There is a hit on overall thermal efficiency as inlet water temps go up, but it is lost in the shuffle, and is not why plants must scale back. They are simply being good environmental stewards and meeting their agreed-upon outlet limits.
For more on this, here's a post from my former NEI colleague Lisa Stiles from two Summers ago.

Why are we so concerned about stories like this one? Because anti-nuclear activists like to regularly regurgitate the story as proof that nuclear energy can't possibly contribute to helping constrain the emission of greenhouse gases in the face of climate change.

But as we saw just last week, at the peak of the American Summer, U.S. nuclear plants were running as close to 100% of capacity as practically possible.

As for the European heat wave of 2003, I think the following statement from Dr. Michael Ivanco, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates of Mississauga, Ontario taken from a story in the Hamilton Spectator puts it in the right perspective:
While water shortages have caused some thermo-electric plants to scale back production, it is important to note that they have not been required to shut down.

During the heat wave that hit Europe in the summer of 2003, by contrast, the contribution of wind-generated electricity to the electrical grids was virtually zero, since the wind did not blow.
As was the case during the California heat wave of 2006. By contrast, for the month of July 2006, according to my colleague David Bradish, all of the state's four nuclear reactors were running at above 100% capacity.

Dr. Ivanco continues:
While the overall output of nuclear plants may vary slightly due to other weather conditions, it will not drop to zero as some renewable sources do.

The single largest nuclear facility in North America is in the middle of the desert in Arizona and it does not suffer from any drought-related setbacks, simply because water conservation was built into its design.

There is no technical reason preventing future plants from being built to minimize water usage.
Like building a cooling tower to support possible new reactors at North Anna in Virginia.

To wrap things up, I'll hand it back over to Lisa Stiles, who reminded us that while temperatures might be high now, it won't be long before the mercury drops again:
And consider the other extreme. When the Northeast U.S. gets hit with several blizzards and the trains carrying fuel can't get through (it happened a few years ago) and natural gas prices are through the roof, and all the while the nukes are humming along better than ever, don't try to tell me that solar, wind, corn and biomass are going to save the day. Just like nuclear power, they all have their place in a diverse energy portfolio, they all have their pros and cons, but none alone is the answer to our energy and environmental problems.
Something to keep in mind.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nuclear Power Plant Neighbors Accept Potential for New Reactor Nearby by Margin of Nearly 3 to 1

More ammunition to fight the folks who say NIMBY. From the NEI newsroom:

Eighty-two percent of Americans living in close proximity to nuclear power plants favor nuclear energy, and 71 percent are willing to see a new reactor built near them, according to a new public opinion survey of more than 1,100 adults across the United States.

Only residents within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant – electric company employees excluded – were questioned. The survey also found that 86 percent give the nearest nuclear power plant a “high” safety rating, and that 87 percent are confident that the company operating the power plant can do so safely.

The telephone survey of 1,152 randomly selected plant neighbors—18 adults within 10 miles of each of the nation’s 64 nuclear power plant sites – was conducted in July and August by Bisconti Research Inc. with Quest Global Research Group. The survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, was commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Institute. The survey marked the second time – the first being August 2005 – that nuclear power plant neighbors have been surveyed nationally for their attitudes about nuclear energy.

“This survey and the one in 2005 show that, in general, NIMBY (not in my back yard) does not apply at existing plant sites because close neighbors have a positive view of nuclear energy, are familiar with the plant, and believe that the plant benefits the community,” said Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research.
Click here (PDF) to read the full report.

Washington Times Endorses New Reactor at Calvert Cliffs

From Sunday's edition of the Washington Times:

While it's true that this technology brings inherent risks which must be carefully analyzed and addressed, we applaud the Calvert County Board of Commissioners for their enthusiastic support of the plan. The commissioners recognize the financial and environmental benefits of an additional reactor. Once the 1,600-megawatt, $4 billion reactor is built, an estimated 2.6 million customers could be served and the county would benefit from job growth as well as many millions of dollars in tax revenue. We hope Unistar's application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is processed in a timely manner.

Senator Sam Nunn on Energy Security

Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn is apparently contemplating a run for President. And one of the issues he's concerned with is energy security:

Nunn singled out the debate over energy and global warming. Those most concerned with global warming won't consider nuclear energy as an alternative, he said. Those who advocate energy independence ignore the fact that there is "no analysis whatsoever that could lead you to believe we're going to be independent in this country on energy," Nunn said. "We'll have interdependence and security in energy, but people aren't talking about that."
If/when Senator Nunn decides to jump into the race, we'll keep an eye on his position on energy policy just as we have with other candidates.

Giuliani Supporting New Nuclear on Stump in New Hampshire

From The Primary Source:

Speaking at a company that makes high-end solar panels, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said there was "no magic bullet" in ending dependence on foreign energy sources.

Giuliani, who wore a tie with small windmills, said that as president he would encourage the federal government to encourage several types of energy sources then "step back" and let the free market take over and decide which energy sources are more popular.

He said that he considered all alternative energy sources like wind and solar a part of this as well as the use of coal and even the more controversial use of nuclear power plants.

"I support an increase in the incremental role of nuclear energy," Giuliani said.
For more from our archives on Mayor Giuliani, click here.

IAEA Issues Report on Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Plant

Click here for the summary and here (PDF) for the complete report.

From the summary:

Earthquake damage to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station on 16 July appears to be limited and less than expected, according to an IAEA expert report released today and submitted to the Japanese authorities.

Although it appears that the earthquake of 16 July 2007 significantly exceeded the level of the seismic input taken into account in the design of the plant, the installation behaved in a safe manner, during and after the earthquake.

In particular, the automatic shutdown of the reactors of Units 3, 4 and 7, which were at full power, and of the reactor of Unit 2, which was in the start up state, were performed successfully. According to the report's findings, this is probably due to the conservatisms introduced at different stages of the design process, the so-called 'design safety margins'. "The combined effects of these conservatisms were apparently sufficient to compensate for uncertainties in the data and methods available at the time of the design of the plant, which led to the underestimation of the original seismic input", it is said.

NEI Energy Markets Report, August 6-10, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Entergy, ERCOT and PJM electricity peak prices increased by more than $10/MWh while Palo Verde, NEPOOL and SP15 modestly declined. The Midwest, South and Eastern regions of the U.S. continued to experience hot summer temperatures last week (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.12 to $6.28/MMBtu (see pages 1 and 3). According to EIA, above normal temperatures last week resulted in upward spot price movement.

UxConsulting’s and TradeTech’s uranium spot prices fell to $105/lb U3O8 (see pages 1 and 3). TradeTech’s price fell $15 which “is the largest single drop recorded in the spot price since TradeTech began publishing prices in 1968.” UxC’s mid year uranium production assessment for 2007 was adjusted downwards to 112 million pounds from 117 million pounds. Even though prices have been declining for the past seven weeks, UxC affirms there is still concern on the security of near and long-term supplies.

The estimated U.S. nuclear plant availability factor averaged 99% for the week. Salem 2 tripped for a brief period due to a faulty electric circuit card. Hatch 2 scrammed due to low reactor water level. Diablo Canyon 1 was at zero power August 11th (see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil prices continued to climb to $76.75/barrel as of 8/3/07. According to EIA, U.S. crude oil inventories stand at 340.4 million barrels, well above the average range, and 34 million barrels above the five-year average. However, inventories are projected to decline in the second half of 2007 relative to their average pattern (see pages 1 and 3).

For the week ending August 4, the Edison Electric Institute said electric generation increased 8.0% from the previous week. Conversely, the August 4 one week period for 2007 was 5.1% lower than the same one week period for 2006 (see page 1).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The "blast zone" of a nuclear power plant?

A recent article in the Washington Post discusses an NRC public meeting on new construction at Calvert Cliffs. It ends with the following backhanded endorsement:

Clyde Thomas, who works at the plant, said experience makes him feel confident
the area is safe.

"I wouldn't live in the blast zone if I didn't," he said.
The "blast zone" of a nuclear power plant? What's that? It seemed like a rather clumsy comment. But later I received an e-mail with this explanation from Mr. Thomas:
I still think I was set up!

I told the reporter I lived close to the plant and then he asked me if I didn't mind living in the "blast zone" and then I said "I wouldn't live in the blast zone if I did." I guess I shouldn't have repeated his "blast zone" comment...
Sometimes it's interesting how reporters choose their quotations.

Friday, August 17, 2007

PUC Chair: "United States has made a huge, huge error in not pursuing nuclear energy sooner."

From Hometown Source.com:

Public Utilities Commission Chair LeRoy Koppendrayer is direct — you can’t talk about electric power, cutting carbon emissions, and not talk about nuclear energy.

The countries most aggressively pushing the United States to comply with the Kyoto Protocol — to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions — have nuclear power, he said.

“It’s my personal opinion that the United States has made a huge, huge error in not pursuing nuclear energy sooner and more aggressively than we have,” said Koppendrayer, former Republican lawmaker from Princeton.

“We simply have put our head in the sand on that issue — going forward with a lot of rhetoric and a poor energy policy,” he said, speaking for himself, not the commission.

Australia Mulls Uranium Deal with Russia

After completing deals with China and India, it looks like Russia is next in line for a uranium deal with Australia.

Question of the Day

After posting a clip of the Democratic YouTube debate, Domestic Divapalooza asked:

I don’t favor nuclear power either, do you? Why OR why not?
Be sure to stop by and let her know what you think. As always, please be polite.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PBMR Signs Deal with South African University

Details from iafrica.com.

Anti-Nuke Propaganda Point of the Day

Thanks to Depleted Cranium for passing along a recent example of anti-nuke madness.

Fluor Wins STP Contract from Toshiba

From the Houston Chronicle.

Australia to Sell Uranium to India

From Nuc Net:

Australia has decided to change its foreign policy to allow the export of uranium to India, but only subject to a number of “strict conditions”, prime minister John Howard has announced.

In a statement today Mr Howard said conditions for uranium exports to India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), include:

• Conclusion of a suitable safeguards agreement between India and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) covering all designated civil nuclear facilities;

• A consensus decision by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to
make an exception to its guidelines enabling international civil supply to India;

• Conclusion of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement between
India and the US;

• Satisfactory progress in implementing India’s commitment to place
designated civil nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards in perpetuity.

Mr Howard said Australian uranium supply to India would also be conditional on the conclusion of a bilateral Australia-India safeguards agreement providing assurances that Australian uranium would remain in peaceful uses at all times. He said there must be satisfactory verification arrangements to ensure that no Australian nuclear materials supplied to India would contribute to any military purpose.

Mr Howard said uranium exports would be of “significant economic and strategic advantage to both countries”. He said the uranium industry already generates 658 million Australian dollars (520 million US dollars, 387 million
euro) annually in exports and India will be a large and growing market.

“India’s requirement for reliable, clean sources of energy is growing rapidly,” Mr Howard said. “India will build 11 new reactors to triple her energy generation from nuclear power and is projected to need up to 12,000 tonnes of uranium per annum to 2032.”

India and the US recently finalised the text of a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation. The so-called “123 agreement” will allow full civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries, including nuclear energy research, civil nuclear cooperation covering nuclear reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle, and development of a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel.

The agreement must still be approved by the US Congress, while India needs to get clearances from the NSG and also conclude an agreement to place its civilian reactors under IAEA safeguards.
As you might recall, we did project that something like this might happen last December.

Re-Running Caldicott

Editor's Note: Over at E&E TV, everyone is on vacation so they had to re-run an interview with Helen Caldicott that originally ran last Fall. Well, if they can re-run the video, we can certainly re-run what we originally wrote in response to her original appearance. That text follows.

A previously recorded interview with Helen Caldicott is running today on E&E TV. I could do a point by point rebuttal, but there isn't anything there that we haven't seen before over the past few weeks. It's classic Caldicott, all of the same old charges delivered with the same old intensity.

We're glad to see that Caldicott deigned to mention David Bradish's efforts to debunk her book, chapter by chapter. Her claim that this proved that she's credible had me roaring. For those so inclined, here are all of our previous posts on Caldicott from NEI Nuclear Notes:

"Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer"
Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power, Round 1
Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power, Round 2
Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power, Round 3
Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power, Rounds Four and Five
Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power, Rounds Six, Seven and Eight
Postcards From A Nuclear Free Zone, Part 1
Postcards From A Nuclear Free Zone, Part 2
Continuing To Counter Caldicott

But as we've seen, Caldicott is at her best when she doesn't have to answer any hard questions -- like when she ducked a Q&A following her appearance at Vanderbilt earlier this week.

One last point: Be sure to pay attention to the advertisement before the interview.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

FPL Outlines Nuclear Energy Expansion Plans

From the Palm Beach Post:

Florida Power & Light Co. on Wednesday announced a nuclear power plan that could see customers of the state's largest utility getting 30 percent of their electricity from fission by 2020.

The utility wants to upgrade each of its four nuclear reactors - two at the St. Lucie plant on Hutchinson Island and two others at the Turkey Point plant near Miami. The move would add 414 megawatts of power to the grid between 2011 and 2012.

FPL, owned by FPL Group Inc. (NYSE: FPL, $58.97), also reiterated that it wants to build two more reactors at Turkey Point by 2018 and 2020 and wants to choose from one of five reactor designs by early next year.

"We need to take concrete steps now to investigate the ability for new nuclear power," Steve Scroggs, FPL's senior director for nuclear project development, told the Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday.

FPL's executives have been bullish on nuclear power, but right now it occupies only 20 percent of the utility's fuel mix. Meanwhile, it gets 50 percent of its fuel from natural gas and needs to figure out another way to diversify that and add additional power.

Calvert County Commission Expresses Support for New Reactor

From the Washington Post:

The Calvert County commissioners approved a letter of support Tuesday for the Evolutionary Power Reactor that UniStar-Constellation has proposed to construct at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant site near Lusby.

"Many of the decisions we make are difficult; many take months, even years," Commissioners President Wilson H. Parran (D-At Large) read from the letter drafted by Economic Development Director Linda S. Vassallo. "But the decision to support the potential expansion remains simple and uncomplicated. Nuclear energy is clean and reliable. Calvert Cliffs is a good and responsible corporate citizen in our community."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AAEA President and Son Booted From Climate Conference

Here's an incredible story: After attending the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action for a full two days, Norris McDonald, head of the African-American Environmentalist Association, and his son Sandy were asked to leave the event by conference organizers. Click here for the whole story.

In the meantime, here's a video clip of McDonald's son, Sandy, describing how he felt about getting booted from the meeting:

IAEA Team: Japan Reactor Damage "Appears less than expected."

from Bloomberg:

Damage to a nuclear power station run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. from a July 16 earthquake ``appears less than expected,'' the International Atomic Energy Agency said after a three-day examination.

A team of inspectors ``has concluded that plant safety features performed as required during the earthquake,'' the IAEA, as the United Nations nuclear watchdog is known, said in an Aug. 14 statement on its Web site. ``Damage from the earthquake appears to be limited to those sections of the plant that would not affect the reactor or systems related to reactor safety.''

[...]

Six IAEA experts, led by Philippe Jamet, director of the agency's installation nuclear safety division, visited the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear station, the world's biggest, from Aug. 6 to Aug. 9. The team's report will be released ``within a few days,'' according to the statement.

``The team conducted a three-day physical examination covering the complex of seven units, as well as analysis of instrument logs and other records from the time of the event,'' the statement said.

Kojo Nnamdi Audio Now Available

The audio from yesterday's edition of the show that talked about the revival of nuclear energy is now available in both Real Audio and Windows Media.

Report on Calvert Cliffs Public Meeting

Last night on Solomons Island, Maryland, the NRC held a public meeting concerning adding a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant near Lusby. NEI's JoAnn Sperber was on hand to provide a report.

Calvert Cliffs Plant Neighbors Say 'Yes, In Our Backyard'
Southern Maryland policymakers and business leaders strongly endorsed plans to build a third reactor at Constellation Energy's Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant during a Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting last night in Solomons, Md.

Wilson Parran, president of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, kicked off the meeting by describing a letter the board had approved earlier that day in support of the plant's expansion. "Some decisions are difficult," he said. "But this one was simple, uncomplicated and easy. Constellation is a great partner. Nuclear energy is clean and reliable. Nuclear energy is critical to our country's energy strategy."

UniStar Nuclear, a consortium that includes Constellation Energy and AREVA, submitted a partial combined construction and operating license application to the NRC last month. The remainder of the application will be filed early next year.

State Delegate Sally Jameson (D) warned the 300 attendees that the United States "is heading for an energy crisis. Conserving energy will help a lot and so will renewables. But we still will have a 20 percent gap. Nuclear energy is a green energy that will help to fill our energy demands."

Several opponents raised questions centering on used fuel, new-plant financing and environmental safety. Diane D'Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, asked: "Where will all the waste go?" An NRC official described the agency's waste confidence policy that a permanent solution, specifically a national used fuel repository, will be the ultimate destination for the material.

But proponents, which include North America Young Generation in Nuclear, continued their endorsements throughout the three-hour meeting. Here's a sampling:
  • "We have had a longstanding positive relationship with Constellation Energy and Calvert Cliffs. We conduct annual drills with them to ensure our state of readiness. ... I am confident they share our commitment to community safety." -- Dr. Robert Schlager of Calvert Memorial Hospital
  • "Calvert Cliffs is a great partner. We train with them and have several different emergency plans that we practice all the time. And we support this [expansion] effort." -- Mike Evans, Calvert County Sheriff
  • "Constellation Energy is an outstanding corporate citizen that pumps millions into the local and state economy." -- Darren Maertens, chairman of the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce.

During an open house preceding the meeting, a longtime resident of Calvert County told me that when he graduated from the local high school in 1955, the principal advised graduates to leave the area. "That's all changed now because of the nuclear power plant. This plant gives us clean energy, good jobs and a strong community."

UPDATE: More from The Washington Post. Thanks to Shop Floor for the pointer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kazakhstan's Nuclear Future

With Kazatomprom taking a 10% share in Westinghouse, UPI picked a good time to take a look at the Kazakh nuclear energy industry.

Ukraine Wants in to Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant Project

Details from ITAR-TASS.

Nuclear Energy and New Zealand

A geologist makes the case.

Venture Capitalists and the Global Energy Industry

Details from VentureBeat.

EPRI Study: Diverse Energy Portfolio, Including Nuclear Energy, Could Lower Cost of Cutting CO2 Emissions

From EPRI:

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) today released a study that shows that the aggressive development and implementation of a full portfolio of advanced electricity technologies could reduce the economic cost of cutting future U.S. CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent while meeting the continuing growth in demand for electricity.

“EPRI’s analysis clearly shows that if we can deploy a ‘full technology portfolio,’ we can provide lower-carbon electricity throughout the economy while simultaneously meeting additional demand for electricity due to population growth and economic expansion,” said Steve Specker, EPRI president and chief executive officer.

Previous EPRI work has shown that absent investments in advanced technologies, significant reductions in future emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will result in higher prices for electricity and natural gas, and reduced economic growth.

However, by developing and deploying advanced electricity technologies, such as a “smart” electricity grid, plug-in hybrid vehicles, new advanced nuclear reactors, and clean coal technologies with carbon capture and storage, this EPRI study shows that the same cuts in future U.S. CO2 emissions could be accomplished at much lower cost – saving as much as $1 trillion in future U.S. economic growth under some scenarios analyzed.
Click here (PDF) for the study.

NEI Exec on Kojo Nnamdi

Click here to listen to an interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on the nuclear renaissance. One of my colleagues, Tony Pietrangelo, is a guest on today's show, where Rebecca Roberts is filling in for Nnamdi.

The show is on right now -- 12:00 p.m. U.S. EDT -- so click right in.

UPDATE: In case you missed the show live, an archival copy should be posted here sometime after 3:00 p.m. U.S. EDT.

Monday, August 13, 2007

S&P Launches Global Nuclear Energy Index

Details from PR Newswire.

Senator John McCain on Nuclear Energy

On the campaign trail in Greenville, South Carolina, Senator John McCain answers a question about the role nuclear energy can play in U.S. energy policy:

BBC Report on Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant and IAEA Inspection Team

South Africa to Foster Development of Domestic Nuclear Energy Industry

Details from the Mail and Guardian. More here.

UPDATE: More from The Sowetan.

Kazatomprom Takes 10% Stake in Westinghouse

Details from the BBC.

Hillary Clinton on Nuclear Energy

Grist has put together a page detailing the environmental positions of all the candidates for the Democratic nomination for President, and is also fronting an interview with Senator Hillary Clinton on her environmental positions. Here's her take on nuclear energy:

Q. What about nuclear power?

A. I am agnostic about nuclear. I am very skeptical that nuclear could become acceptable in most regions of the country, and I am doubtful that we have yet figured out how to deal with the waste. But I keep being given information about research that is being done to resolve the waste problem. I know that will continue because that has a lot of economic power and resources behind it. But until we can figure out what to do with the waste and overcome the political objections, we should not be putting a heavy emphasis on nuclear.
For previous posts on Clinton's position, click here and here.

Thanks to Ben Smith for the pointer.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Ken Reich.

NWR Supports Nuclear Energy with 2008 Sponsorship Campaign

From Newman Wachs Racing:

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - The Champ Car Atlantic series comes to a close this weekend as the Grand Prix at Road America concludes this year for the Atlantic division, at picturesque Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Not so for Newman Wachs Racing Team - - -

The NWR is happy to launch their 2008 Season Program aptly titled "NUCLEAR CLEAN AIR ENERGY" based on NEI's current campaign statement.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)'s objective is to ensure formation of public policy to promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies, NEI will encourage a collection of public and private organizations united under the promotion of the technological advancement of nuclear power to aid in additional support.

Along with the promotional message to educate the public in all possible aspects of this energy resource, comes the use of the motorsports arena to transmit a positive message to aid recruiting efforts to college and university students on becoming the nuclear science engineers of tomorrow.

After the most recent statement released regarding Paul Newman's support of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant as an important source providing electricity to millions of New Yorkers, NWR advanced it's marketing efforts into the mainstream of the nuclear community.

This weekend, NWR's guests include an impressive representation of the following nuclear companies:

· Entergy, who this year was named to Forbes list of America's Most Trustworthy Companies, and was once named by BusinessWeek the Global Power Company of the Year.
· Exelon, who operates the largest nuclear fleet in the US, the third largest in the world.
· Southern Company, one of the fastest growing public power holding in the US.
· Excel Services, whose focus is the resolution of technical, safety, and regulatory issues in nuclear facility operations.
· Sargent & Lundy a major nuclear engineer- constructor.

The goal of the Newman Wachs Racing team, as well as its parent sponsors, The Wachs Companies, is to educate and promote the clean, safe use of nuclear power in the US and abroad. NWR, a racing organization in support of cutting edge technology and the value of further testing and research, shares the vision and dedication to success that embodies the "NUCLEAR CLEAN AIR ENERGY" collective.
Great news. We've been talking to the Newman Wachs team for some time now, and it's great to see this finally happening.

Friday, August 10, 2007

NEI's Energy Markets Report, July 30 - August 3, 2007

I'm sure some of the readers here have noticed that the markets report hasn't been posted to NEI's blog for several months. The reason for this was that we stopped updating materials on our old public website to work and prepare the launch of the new website. While we were in the transition phase to the new website, we also took the time to redesign the report to give it a brand new look. Check it out below.

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

According to the August 7 edition of EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook, the run-up in crude oil prices in the past two months (below $65 on NYMEX in mid-May and above $76 in early August) is the result of increasingly tighter world oil markets.

EIA expects the spot price of natural gas at the Henry Hub to average $7.45 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in 2007, a $0.52-per-mcf increase from the 2006 average.

EIA assumes that lower temperatures during 3Q2007 compared to last year will keep electricity consumption growing at a relatively normal rate of 1.9 percent in 2007 (see pages 2 and 5), despite high heating-related demand earlier this year.

By 2011, the following amounts of new generating capacity are expected to start up: 33,000 MW of coal; 46,000 MW of natural gas; and 27,000 MW of wind (see page 5).

UxConsulting’s and TradeTech’s uranium spot prices fell to $110/lb U3O8 and $120/lb U3O8 (see pages 1 and 3).

India and the U.S. concluded a landmark Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation. According to UxC, three hurdles remain until the negotiation is finalized: India must negotiate and conclude safeguards with IAEA, the Nuclear Suppliers Groups must unanimously approve a waiver to guidelines which prohibit trade with India, and the U.S. Congress will have to formally consider the agreement.

The U.S. nuclear plant availability factor averaged 99% for the week. Columbia was operating at 15% for repairs to a main transformer that is experiencing a “hot spot” (see pages 2 and 4).

Electricity peak prices all increased except for Palo Verde last week. Lingering heat in the East caused prices to increase more than $14/MWh at the Entergy, NEPOOL and PJM West hubs (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.21 to $6.16/MMBtu (see pages 1 and 3). According to EIA, the increase in spot gas prices could be attributed to reports of tropical storm activity and the return of seasonal weather in market areas.

For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage. Enjoy!

PBMR Construction Start Delayed Until 2009

Details from Engineering News (South Africa).

A YouTube Question for Republican Presidential Candidates

A couple of weeks back, we pointed to a short clip from the CNN/YouTube debate with Democratic Party candidates for President where the topic was nuclear energy. Meanwhile, plans for a Republican debate with the same format continue apace.

When the time comes, here's one question that might be asked:

Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy vs. Greenpeace

In this video, Bruno Comby of the French-based organization, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, debates Frédéric Marillier of Greenpeace about nuclear energy:

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant May Need Year for Repairs

From the Australian Broadcasting Company:

The head of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has indicated that it could be a year before a Niigata Prefecture nuclear power plant, damaged by the July 16 earthquake, can resume operations.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo after a four-day inspection of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, Philippe Jamet, director of the IAEA's Nuclear Installation Safety Division, said the process of restarting the plant could take ''months or a year".

"[It is] not something you can do very fast. It was a very big earthquake,'' he said.

Japanese nuclear experts have said it would take at least a year to put the plant back into operation, but it was the first time that a third-party body such as the IAEA has expressed such a forecast.

Asked whether a report the IAEA will issue about damage to the plant would contain negative news for Japan, Mr Jamet said, ''I'm not too worried".

Thursday, August 09, 2007

America's Nuclear Plants Running Close to 100% Capacity

NEI's Energy Markets Report will be published shortly, but I thought it might be wise to pass along some preliminary numbers that are critically important at a time when the mercury is rising to record temperatures all over the country.

When you look at the measure of capacity factor, America's nuclear plants are running about as close to 100% as you can reasonably get:

Monday, July 30 – 99.53%
Tuesday, July 31 – 99.54%
Wednesday, August 1 – 99.77%
Thursday, August 2 – 99.60%

I'm sure Dave will have the complete report in the coming days. Still, with the temperature rising, I think these numbers are important to keep in mind. Here are some other numbers to keep in mind too.

For other recent nuclear performance stats, click here.

Germany's Environmental Challenge and Nuclear Energy

In the latest issue of The Economist, our readers will find a series of inconvenient facts that we've covered here at NEI Nuclear Notes many times before:

Germany's aversion to nuclear power may run counter to its desire for both cheap electricity and security of supplies. It is set to replace half its ageing power stations (nuclear and conventional) over the next 15 years. Ms Merkel has presided over three “energy summits”, the last one in July, but there is still no clear idea of how to fill the gap left by the nuclear phase-out.

The environment ministry, created after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, has many ideas. Seeking to boost Germany's energy efficiency by 3% a year, it proposes offering tax incentives to modernise buildings and imposing road tolls not only on heavy vehicles but also on light trucks. It wants to tweak subsidies for renewable energy, which already cost consumers some €4 billion ($5.5 billion) a year. Solar energy (not much use in cloudy Germany) would get less, while offshore wind power would get more.

Only the most stubborn optimists think this will be enough. The efficiency target looks unrealistic. Renewable energy, which already generates an impressive 13% of German electricity, will grow either slowly or at great cost. That leaves unpleasant options. Gas is relatively clean, but it is expensive and its main supplier, Russia, has alarmed European countries by periodically choking off oil and gas supplies to those (such as Ukraine and Belarus) that fall out of favour.
In January, Deutsche Bank said phasing out nuclear was "inconceivable as a serious policy."

In February, the CEO of Siemens called it, "environmentally unsound".

And in June, the IEA said that it was "without a doubt" that phasing out nuclear energy in Germany would limit its potential to reduce carbon emissions.

How many more times does it have to be said?

The Great Canadian Debate: Nuclear Energy

Should the expansion of nuclear power be a goal of Canadian governments? That's the question they're wrestling with at The Great Canadian Debate.

More on Crocodiles and Turkey Point

A few weeks back, we noted a CBS News feature on how Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant has helped spark a comeback for the American Crocodile. Now, others are starting to notice too, including The Energy Blog:

I thought this was a desperate attempt by the nuclear industry to get some good press, but crocodile supporters will find it encouraging. As my regular readers should know, I am a supporter of nuclear power, because it is the cleanest (fuel disposal aside & that is manageable) method we have for producing power and is needed for the next 50 years (yes 50 or more) until our renewable energy supplies can take over. We need to build demonstration plants using the latest technology and also clean coal plants with sequestration so we can realistically compare these technologies.
The WSJ Energy Blog noticed too.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Daily Show on Cape Wind

Too funny for words:



Thanks to WattHead for the pointer.

On the Trail of Joseph Mangano

Joseph Mangano, is at it again with his baby teeth act, this time in the pages of the Star-Ledger with an op-ed calling for the closing of Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant.

One more time, here's the crux of our case against Mangano. Eight state departments of health have investigated Mangano's claims, and all eight states (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan) refused to validate them. Even better, here's what the New Jersey Commission on Radiation Protection had to say about Mangano's research:

The Commission is of the opinion that "Radioactive Strontium-90 in Baby Teeth of New Jersey Children and the Link with Cancer: A Special Report," is a flawed report, with substantial errors in methodology and invalid statistics. As a result, any information gathered through this project would not stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. There is also no evidence to support the allegation that the State of New Jersey has a problem with the release of Sr-90 into the environment from nuclear generating plants: more than 30 years of environmental monitoring data refute this.
I wonder if anybody at the Star-Ledger bothered to check his facts before they published his piece. Click here for our most recent post on Mangano and his traveling snake oil act.

Battling with Helen Caldicott

Over at Physical Insights, Luke is getting busy posting a chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of Helen Caldicott's book, Nuclear Madness.

As you might guess, we think it's a good idea. Check it out.

The Fueling Station Interviews CASEnergy Coaltion Chair Christine Todd Whitman

Click here for her conversation with David Adams.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

IAEA Projects Substantial Expansion of Nuclear Energy

From NucNet:

Medium-term projections point to the possibility of “a substantial expansion” in the use of nuclear energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said in its annual report for 2006.

The Vienna-based agency said that for the first time projections also recognise that nuclear energy would mitigate the discharge of carbon into the atmosphere, since energy produced from fossil fuels accounts for about half of human-made greenhouse gases.

The IAEA also referred to projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which show that global energy consumption could increase by 53 percent by 2030. Approximately 70 percent of this growth is likely to come from developing countries.

The IAEA says it has established a ‘Nuclear Power Support Group’ to provide coordinated support to member states considering the introduction or expansion of nuclear power.
For a copy of the report, click here.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Debunking Paul Josephson and the Anti-Nuke Talking Points

Back on July 30, the LA Times ran an op-ed from Colby College history professor Paul Josephson entitled, The Mirage of Nuclear Energy. Like so much we read about the industry through the eyes of anti-nuke activists like Josephson, it read like a laundry list from a long-forgotten time.

Today, the newspaper finally got around to running some dissenting viewpoints. Here's one letter from Times reader Joe Vitti:

Paul Josephson should first check with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to see how farfetched his arguments are about the "mirage" of nuclear power. The lowest cost clean power (10%) delivered to the customers of the city of L.A. is from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power facility in Arizona. He speaks of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents that occurred almost 30 years ago but does not mention the 103 nuclear reactor plants that have been operating safely and economically throughout the U.S. for 40-plus years, providing up to 20% of the power in some East Coast states. He writes about the French experience but fails to mention that it has the cheapest energy costs and the cleanest air in Europe -- 85% of its power is from nuclear facilities, and it also exports electricity to its neighbors. He comments about nuclear aircraft but fails to mention the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered ships and submarines that have operated without problems throughout the world for decades. It is unfortunate that a teacher of history would be so irresponsible in his assessment of the industry.
And here's another from Devon Showley:
Josephson -- not a nuclear engineer or scientist but a historian -- warns us that the sky is falling and nuclear energy is the cause. France (what does it know that we don't?) now has nearly 90% of its electrical energy produced by controlled fission reactors -- not by oil or coal, which, unlike reactors, increase the greenhouse gases by huge amounts and cause pollution. Certainly our oil supplies from the Middle East are problematic. For nearly four decades, France has gotten more than two-thirds of its electrical energy from reactors -- with not one accident. If the French can do it, why can't we? It can be done here. Oui.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Meet Roger Schlafly.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Nuclear Energy and Red State America

When I read this post by indie-filmmaker Brian Flemming on U.S. public opinion and nuclear energy, the following passage stuck out a little bit:

One thing we know for sure: If France does it [nuclear energy], and it works, red-state U.S. will hate it.
Actually, as anyone familiar with the nuclear industry already knows, what some folks refer to as "red-state" America is probably more familiar with nuclear energy than any other region of the country.

And as we saw last week, after 30 years of safe and reliable operation, plenty of folks around the country -- even those who don't live in "red-states" -- are eager to see new plants open.

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I want to do is write some sort of "gotcha" post to prove somebody wrong. However, it just goes to show that when it comes to public opinion about nuclear energy, there's more support out there than many people think.

For more information, see the archives of Perspective on Public Opinion.

Newsweek on the Nuclear Energy Comeback

From Newsweek:

Climate change hardly qualifies as good news for anyone. But for advocates of nuclear energy, these are practically glory days. As the urgency of combating global warming has risen, even environmentalists and politicians who may have once chained themselves to the reactor gates are taking another look at the industry that has languished in regulatory and PR hell since the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. The reason? Nuclear energy, which now generates 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, does not produce greenhouse gases. “If you believe that climate change is the issue of our generation, then it’s disingenuous to say that nuclear energy is off the table,” says Bill Chameides, chief scientist for Environmental Defense, who admits his own position on the issue has evolved from “skeptical” to “agnostic.”
Give it a read.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Knox News Poll on Nuclear Energy

Here's another poll question that was just posted at Knox Views:

Do you agree with TVA's decision to increase its nuclear power production?

Get over there and vote right now.

New Features at NEI Nuclear Notes

Hello, I'm one of the web guys over at nei.org, and today I've been working with Eric to add some new functionality to NEI Nuclear Notes. Here's what we've worked on:

Over on the right, you'll notice two new "feeds," or lists of links pulled from other sources. The first is a selection of timely articles pulled from digg.com, a social bookmarking site. Just the newest five are listed here, but you can find a whole bunch more on our digg.com page. The second feed below it is a list of links powered by del.icio.us, another social bookmarking site. These are to resources that are static or at least less time sensitive, such as the U.S. NRC website or the Virtual Nuclear Tourist. Again, only the five most recently added are listed here, the rest are on our del.icio.us page.

Next, underneath each blog posting now are four icons:

 Digg  Del.icio.us  Reddit  SlashDot .

Each of these icons provide a fast access to various social news and bookmarking sites. Clicking these icons will "recommend" the blog post to each particular site. Below are descriptions of the sites (links go to our profile on each); now its up to you to try them out and see how they work.


Digg.com

Digg.com is a social bookmarking site with an emphasis on timely news, articles and information. Users submit links, and other users can either vote to "digg" or "bury" them. Links that recieve the highest number of "diggs" rise to the top of the list. Additionally, with commenting functionality, digg.com users can open an open-ended discussion of the link.


del.icio.us

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site, although completely different than digg.com. its aim is to completely replace your web browser's bookmark/favorites function by allowing your to store and share your bookmarks on the web. This allows you to access your bookmarks from any computer with an Internet connection. del.icio.us allows you to share your bookmarks with anyone on the web or just keep them to yourself.


reddit.com

reddit.com is another social bookmarking site and very similar to digg.com. Although digg.com allows its users to submit as many links as frequently as they want, reddit.com only allows a limited rate of submissions until users gain "karma" by submitting popular links. As users gain karma, they are allowed to submit more frequently.


slashdot.org

And finally the grandaddy of them all. Slashdot is in the same vein as reddit.com and digg.com, but the content is mostly geared to technical or scientific users.