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Showing posts from September, 2008

A Blueprint for Securing America's Energy Future

The Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released its Blueprint for Securing America's Energy Future [PDF] earlier today, calling for the significant expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. The Institute made nine recommendations:
Congress should increase the loan guarantee authority of DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program commensurate with the capital cost of new nuclear power facilities. Additionally, Congress should transition the function of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program to a more permanent, stable financing platform, like the Clean Energy Bank of the U.S. (CEBUS) discussed in Section V of this report.Congress should amend the Nuclear Standby Support Program to allow for recovery of increased project costs as a result of delays, rising equipment costs, escalation clauses, and costs of litigation, and it should provide for the recovery of 100% of covered costs and debt obligations.Congress should ensure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commisson (…

Hat in Hand? The IAEA Talks Money Woes

If everything is timing, now was not the right time for the International Atomic Energy Agency to start a fundraising effort:The International Atomic Energy Agency chief urged 145 member states on Monday to come to grips with an IAEA funding crisis undermining its ability to prevent nuclear proliferation threats.Opening the IAEA's annual assembly, Mohamed ElBaradei called for urgent steps to increase funding of the U.N. watchdog, modernise equipment and enhance its legal authority to verify the nature of nuclear programmes in suspect countries.In case you think ElBaradei might be unwilling to raise the rhetoric to alarming levels:"It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if we fail to act (for lack of resources) until after a nuclear conflagration, accident or terrorist attack that could have been prevented."Yes, that certainly would be a tragedy, wouldn't it? While we don't want to suggest even for an instant that the IAEA shouldn't be funded to a reasonabl…

Obama Campaigns in Nevada

At a speech to be delivered later this afternoon on the quad of the University of Nevada, Reno campus, Senator Obama has some things to say about rebuilding the grid and nuclear.To create new jobs, I’ll invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, schools, and bridges. We’ll rebuild our outdated electricity grid and build new broadband lines to connect America. And I’ll create the jobs of the future by transforming our energy economy. We’ll tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here the United States of America.

Indian-U.S. Deal Inches Forward

Inching, yes, but given that congress has been otherwise engaged during the last week, we'll take it:The US House of Representatives has approved a landmark nuclear deal with India, removing one of two final obstacles to a foreign policy victory for the Bush administration.While the House approved the deal 298-117 on Saturday, it still faces a hurdle in the Senate. Several senators oppose the deal and could attempt to block a vote in the few days left before Congress recesses ahead of the November elections.As The Financial Times' Demetri Sevastopulo points out above, The Senate still has to come through and may not:But the final clinching step remains the approval of the Senate where a senator anonymously put a ``hold’’ on consideration of the bill in a tactic aimed at delaying the vote. Sources were confident that the Senate step would be completed soon and that there could be movement in the Senate as early as Monday.As of right now, though, nothing in the Senate. We'l…

Paul Newman (1925-2008)

People around my age picked up Paul Newman's career somewhere in the seventies, when he was lending his light gravitas to big bucks commercial clangers like When Time Ran Out or amusing himself with auteurist follies like Quintet – two hours of Newman in the snow, swaddled in heavy fur. If he had been anything like an actor, it had been for my parents, not me, and he was about as relevant as Olivia De Havilland in The Swarm, which is to say not much. Now that he has died, 30 years after I first ran into his work, 54 years after he began his film career, and 83 years after he was born in 1925, I cannot say that anymore and haven't for a long time.In Hud, based on Larry McMurtry's novel, Newman's talent, seen on TV in a pan-and-scan print with runny grays, suddenly became manifest. In that movie, he competes with his stern father for the soul of his younger brother and provides a gateway for the boy into his world of liquor, loose women and moral relativism run wild. The…

The First Presidential Debate

Senators Obama and McCain participated in the first of the Presidential debates on Friday night. Although planned to focus on foreign policy, the debate covered a range of topics with significant domestic importance, including energy policy. Nuclear energy was mentioned at three points in the discussion of energy policy. The first mention came from Senator McCain:
MCCAIN: Look, we are sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don't like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations. We have to have wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flex fuel cars and all that but we also have to have offshore drilling and we also have to have nuclear power. Senator Obama opposes both storing and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. You can't get there from here and the fact is that we can create 700,000 jobs by building constructing 45 new nuclear power plants by the year 2030. Nuclear power is not only important as far as eliminating our dependence …

The Warp Effect: WSJ on Buffett, Constellation and the Fate of the EPR

The Wall Street Journal has a story about Warren Buffett's pending purchase of Constellation Energy and, particularly from our point of view, its UniStar subsidiary, a nuclear consortia that includes Electricite de France, AREVA and Bechtel.

The WSJ has no idea how Buffett might proceed with its Unistar subsidiary:On Thursday, MidAmerican chief executive Greg Abel sounded more enthusiastic about the technology, saying "we're committed to new nuclear."But:Mr. Buffett's sudden emergence raises questions about whether nuclear development, in general, has viability, according to Paul Patterson, head of Glenrock Associates LLC in New York, a research firm. "It's a very cloudy picture," Mr. Patterson says, "And, so far, we don't have anyone making a firm decision to go forward." [We're not sure if he means Buffett, which would be an awfully early call, or the industry, which is plainly false.]What is not fully noted in the story is that t…

Incentives or Investments?

Federal subsidies and their role in promoting our national interests have been debated since the earliest days of our nation. Earlier this week, NEI and Management Information Services Inc. released a MISI report that catalogs in exhaustive detail the panoply of federal subsidies for energy development since 1950. This report presents the facts on the many forms of subsidies employed by the federal government and the amounts expended to promote each type of energy. As the principal author, Dr. Roger Bezdek, said to reporters at the National Press Club on Tuesday, the report does not make any judgments about the appropriateness of the mix, amounts, or targets of energy subsidies. It simply tries to lay out the numbers as completely and accurately as possible, so that public discussion about the history and future of federal energy incentives can be well informed.
The MISI report also does not touch on the other side of the subsidy story - what the public gets in return. NEI has done a s…

Go Slow or Go Fast?

A new article in the business section of the New York Times by Matthew L. Wald explores the expansion of nuclear power in the US. In this article, the question is not if, but how fast?With the federal government offering the nuclear industry $18.5 billion in loan guarantees and billions more in production tax credits and insurance against bureaucratic delays, at least a few new reactors seem certain to be built.

But how many?It then goes on to discuss "two opposing viewpoints on expanding nuclear power," with Roger Gale, a former DOE official and consultant, presenting the slow and cautious approach, and General Electric's John Krenicki posing the case for a "large-scale campaign to build plants" to capitalize on economies of scale.

Other people interviewed for this article include Michael Wallace, the chairman of UniStar Nuclear Energy, on his company's strategy for building multiple plants simultaneously and NEI's Richard Myers, who discusses the possib…

Drill the Baby

The states still have to weigh in here, but the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling is expiring before our eyes (to be more precise, on the 30th of this month):
The end of the ban will not lead to a rush of new drilling any time soon, but it would be a big win for Republican Presidential nominee John McCain who has made opening most U.S. offshore areas to drilling a key part of his campaign. His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, supports limited offshore drilling as part of a bigger overhaul of U.S. energy policy.
We're not as sure as Reuters' Tom Doggett is of the political benefit to McCain, mostly because all eyes are off this issue and Congress has understandably moved energy policy from a boil to a simmer, if that. In fact, if gas prices spike in the next couple of weeks, as seems possible, a (rather unfair) talking point emerges for Obama. Of course, both campaigns have been regular ad machines, so there's that, and it could come up in the debate this Friday.

De…

EDF To Buy British Energy for $23.2 Billion

We have a winner in the British Energy Stakes. Per the BBC, French energy firm EDF has agreed to buy British Energy, the firm which operates eight UK nuclear power plants, in a £12.5bn deal.

In addition, British Gas-owner Centrica said it is in talks with EDF to take 25% of all power generated by British Energy once it is in French hands.

It will also take a 25% stake in all new nuclear plants built by EDF.

British Energy power plants generate about 14% of UK energy supply, but many are due to be shut within 15 years.

British Energy chairman Sir Adrian Montague said the deal was "good for shareholders, good for staff, good for the nuclear industry and good for the country".

In an interview with the BBC, he played down concerns about the extent of which the UK's energy provision would fall into foreign hands should the tie-up be successful.

"This country has had a history of being very open to foreign capital. All the investors in the energy industry have sustained jobs an…

CERN's Particle Accelerator Shut Down Until Next Year

Well, when anyone operates a first-of-a-kind, multi-billion dollar machine, they're bound to have hiccups. Here's CERN:During commissioning (without beam) of the final LHC sector (sector 34) at high current for operation at 5 TeV, an incident occurred at mid-day on Friday 19 September resulting in a large helium leak into the tunnel. Preliminary investigations indicate that the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty electrical connection between two magnets, which probably melted at high current leading to mechanical failure. CERN ’s strict safety regulations ensured that at no time was there any risk to people.

A full investigation is underway, but it is already clear that the sector will have to be warmed up for repairs to take place. This implies a minimum of two months down time for LHC operation. For the same fault, not uncommon in a normally conducting machine, the repair time would be a matter of days.And some more:The time necessary for the investigation and repa…

New Study of Federal Energy Incentives

Dr. Roger Bezdek, President of Management Information Services Inc (MISI) and a noted expert on energy policy analysis, spoke at the National Press Club today, taking questions from the media on the release of a new report on federal incentives for energy development. According to the report, the main beneficiaries of more than $700 billion of federal energy incentives over the past five decades have been the oil and natural gas industries. The oil and natural gas industries together garnered 60 percent of federal incentives between 1950 and 2006, with 46 percent of the roughly $725 billion in federal support going to the oil sector, according to the MISI study.

The report shows that the oil industry has benefited from $335 billion in combined incentives, with natural gas receiving $100 billion. The MISI study also shows that, contrary to some claims, federal energy incentives have not gone to nuclear energy technologies at the expense of renewable energy sources, such as wind and sola…

Yucca Yuks

Via Tom Toles in today's Washington Post.

US-India 123 Agreement Gains Support

With conversations in DC being dominated by the federal bailout of the financial industry, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the White House later this week runs the risk of being overshadowed. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking notice; sending this letter to members of Congress.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector and region, strongly supports the U.S.-India 123 Agreement and urges Congress to approve it before the close of the 110th Congress. The U.S.-India civil nuclear initiative will bring India into the international nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and enhance the safety of India’s civil program. The initiative will also help to revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry and create thousands of high-tech American jobs.

Congress affirmed India’s worthiness as a partner in civil nuclear trade in December 2006 when it passed the “Henry J. Hyde United States Indi…

Yucca is no "Dump"

For years, we have heard opponents of nuclear energy call the Yucca Mountain repository called a “dump”. The tactic of using inaccurate and misleading terms to help or injure a cause is nothing new, but even news outlets that profess to be objective use the term. Certainly they must know, by doing so, they leave readers with a false impression of how this facility will function and what it will look like.

When it comes to materials storage, what is proposed for Yucca Mountain is as far away from a dump as you can get. Anyone who calls Yucca Mountain a “dump” is exposing their bias and/or willingness to sensationalize an issue that deserves a serious discussion.

The repository will cost tens-of-billions of dollars to build and operate. Nuclear material will be carefully stored and monitored, and it will be retrievable for relocation and/or reprocessing. It is not a hole in the ground that waste is literally dumped into. Heck, even landfills aren’t called dumps anymore.

The image bel…

Meet Clean Energy America

Sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Institute, this group of talented young speakers is set to debut their speaking and media tour next week in North Carolina. What do they do?Clean Energy America (CEA) is a national speakers program designed to establish a dialogue with American citizens about the benefits of nuclear energy as a clean, reliable and affordable source of energy. CEA’s goal is to encourage a better understanding of future energy needs and to discuss such vital issues as radioactive waste disposal, nuclear plant safety, the cost of electricity, global warming and the future of renewable energy sources.

Clean Energy America is comprised of mostly young engineers and scientists who volunteer their time to participate in a range of presentations and debates on energy issues before campus, civic and professional groups.Here are the experts and be sure to stop by at their blog too!

A Filter that Can Trap Radiation from Used Nuclear Fuel

I can't quite tell how practical this could be since the article makes no mention of the exact cost nor how much quantity is needed per year per plant to absorb the radioactive ions, but here's the latest development:AUSTRALIAN researchers say they have created a low-cost material to filter and safely store nuclear waste.

The potential breakthrough for the environment was made by a team of scientists from Queensland University of Technology, led by Associate Professor Zhu Huai Yong from the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences.

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Professor Zhu said the QUT team had discovered how to create nanofibres, which are millionths of a millimetre in size and can permanently lock away radioactive ions by displacing the existing sodium ions in the fibre.

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"The fibres are in very thin layers, less than one nanometre in width, and the radioactive ions are attracted into the space between the layers," he said.

"Once the ceramic material absorbs a certain amount, the layer…

Warren Buffett Makes a Nuclear Play

Watching the movements of billionaires is the sport of business pages, and no billionaire is watched more closely than Warren Buffett - well, unless it's Bill Gates, to whose foundation Buffett will eventually leave his fortune. So when Buffett makes a buy - or a play, as those same business pages like to say - money sniffing noses scent the air around their hutches.So without further ado, here's the Wall Street Journal on Buffett's latest play:So how to read Warren Buffett’s $4.7 billion purchase today of Constellation Energy? Most likely, as a vote of confidence in the future of nuclear power in the U.S....Some 60% of Constellation’s 8,700 megawatts of generation capacity comes from nukes. And the company’s plan is to build more, it told investors in July: “The primary objective has been to develop the strategic option to pursue new nuclear, and we continue on that path.”As writer Keith Johnson points out, Buffett has been in and out of the nuclear business before, so t…

Fish Story: John McCain and the Oil Rigs

We really do pity politicians on the stump. They either offer endless iterations of the same points - Obama has recycled bits of his convention acceptance speech until they seem like tics - or they have to find a way to square too many circles to appeal to the widest possible audience. But there are also unexpected grace notes. Here's McCain trying to merge offshore drilling with environmental concerns (we think):And by the way, on that oil rig — and I’m sure you’ve probably heard this story — you look down, and there’s fish everywhere! There’s fish everywhere! Yeah, the fish love to be around those rigs. So not only can it be helpful for energy, it can be helpful for some pretty good meals as well. [We're not sure if McCain means good meals for the fish or for people who catch the fish - maybe both.]This is kind of sweet and not a terrible way to bond with an audience. We couldn't find a study to show whether it's good, bad or indifferent for fish to cluster around oi…

Must Be Something in the Water

"Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx as "Chicolini", in the 1933 Marx brothers classic, Duck Soup. Olivier Kamanda posted an opinion piece on HuffingtonPost.com about impressions of nuclear power after visiting Virginia Dominion Power's North Anna nuclear power station. His positive reaction is not uncommon. U.S. nuclear power plants are, indeed, located in some of the most beautiful spots in the country, and they work hard to keep them that way. Environmental stewardship is taken very seriously by the nuclear industry and may help explain why public support for nuclear power is strongest among those living near an operating nuclear plant.

Photo: North Anna nuclear power station at dusk

The Future Is Now

This made us laugh and we thought we'd share it with you. While reading through various commentary of the energy bill passed by the House today - a non-starter for us and apparently for everyone else too - we ran into this comment from the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States:The current proposals [by the ever-growing bi-partisan Gang, now numbering 22] would raise taxes on domestic energy producers in order to subsidize futuristic sources of energy such as wind and solar.Futuristic! We've grown accustomed to our fellow energy generators recognizing that it's the mix that makes the cake and thus not belittling complementary industries, but we can certainly understand IPAMS's pettishness - especially given that its members don't sit next to a coast line. They really are getting nothing from the House's latest maneuvers in addition to being punished, through no fault of their own, for being on the bad side of a developing energy policy. (Nuclear e…

Colorado Considering Nuclear Power

Back in April, we first wrote about the possibility of Tri-State Generation building a new nuclear plant in Colorado. In today's Denver Post there's more encouraging news:More than half of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association's customers support the use of nuclear power, a company official told a state legislative panel Tuesday.

Colorado's second-largest utility is studying whether it would be feasible to build a nuclear power plant on a 16,000- acre site in southeastern Colorado.

The Westminster-based company would have to partner with another utility such as Xcel Energy or Public Service Co. of New Mexico because of the size and cost of a nuclear plant, Tri-State senior vice president Mac McLennan told the transportation legislation review committee.

NRC Throws a Punch in Massachusetts

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission tends to float a bit above the political fray - you could say it sticks to its knitting, keeps it head down, insert additional cliche here - so it's a genuine surprise that it has made salient comments - any comments at all - about state legislation that blasts nuclear energy.But that's what happened in Massachusetts:In July, the Bay State's House passed a resolution in support of efforts to have independent safety assessments conducted at nuclear power plants in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire [we don't know how Vermont and New Hampshire feel about this, but knowing New Englanders, probably snorts all around]. Then there's this:The Legislature also resolved that it's time the nation begin its transition "away from nuclear power to an affordable, clean and sustainable national energy policy." And what has inflamed the pawk the caw types?The resolution had several bullet points that were of concern to the Hou…

NEI on WAMU

NEI's Senior Director of Media Relations, Steve Kerekes, will discuss the "Future of Nuclear Power" today at 12:00 ET on WAMU's venerable Kojo Nnambdi show. DC institution Diane Rehm provides a nice lead-in with a discussion on her show about the current energy debate in Congress at 10:00 ET. Those in the DC DMA can find WAMU at 88.5 FM. Streaming audio is also available here.

Price Anderson Act Explained

Providing a corrective to an Op-ed that ran in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Marv Fertel, NEI's Executive VP and Chief Nuclear Officer had this to say,The Price-Anderson Act was established by the federal government in 1957 and has evolved into one of the best third-party liability programs in the world, with a minimum of $10 billion worth of insurance coverage in the unlikely event of a nuclear power plant accident.

The program was subsidized by the federal government in its inception, but even then the government made money on the premiums from electric companies that owned nuclear power plants. Under this framework, the public has paid nothing due to nuclear power accidents, while insurance pools have paid about $200 million in claims and the industry has paid $21 million to the federal government in indemnity fees.

The nuclear power industry must provide $10 billion in insurance coverage to compensate the public in the event of an accident. So even if an individual co…

McCain and Obama Respond to Science Questionnaire

Actually, Obama got his questionnaire in a couple of weeks ago, with McCain following this week. But the Scientists and Engineers for America, the non-partisan group that prepared the questionnaire, have set up a page so you can see both candidates' responses together. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the areas of difference are very few. McCain tilts a bit more toward ethical considerations on hot-button issues (stem cells, genetic research) but Obama is certainly conscious of such considerations in his answers. Likewise, Obama tilts a bit more toward environmental concerns where that is a consideration (ocean health, water) but McCain doesn't neglect those issues, either. (We do get an uncomfortable tingle when McCain puts intellectual property issues as a top issue in the innovation category - science benefits most when least encumbered.)Anyway, energy is one of the topics. Here's the question: Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are ma…

Time for Nuclear: Gresham Barrett's Energy Plan

Representative Gresham Barrett from South Carolina has put forward an energy plan that greatly favors nuclear energy.The Greenville News' Anna Simon reports:The legislation will seek to resolve what Barrett called “hindrances” to nuclear development by amending several national energy policies to help with nuclear plant construction, nuclear work force education and the management of spent nuclear fuel. The idea is derived from former South Carolina governor and Secretary of Energy Jim Edwards’ plans to provide more nuclear energy.And how would Barrett remove those hindrances?Part of the legislation calls for loan guarantees for technologies that reduce emissions. Regarding construction hindrances, Barrett’s legislation would seek to streamline the licensing process by eliminating mandatory hearings required by the Atomic Energy Act for uncontested issues on every Combined Operating License or Early Site Permit. It would also provide an investment tax credit for new nuclear plant…

Australian Frustration Over Nuclear Energy

Leslie Kemeny at the Canberra Times notes that Australia is badly lagging the G8 in its refusal to consider nuclear energy for its energy needs:Don Argus, chairman of BHP Billiton exhorted delegates to ''start talking seriously about using the country's vast uranium resources for domestic use'' and '' to engage in a debate about nuclear energy''. Without nuclear power Australia would face a century of environmental, economic and geopolitical disadvantage and would miss out on the optimal technology for electricity, water and hydrogen production.But:In February 2008, despite growing global and Australian approval for nuclear power, Climate Minister Penny Wong reasserted the Australian Labor Party's opposition to it and promised to press for the greater use of ''alternative energy resources''. She stated, ''We don't need to go down the path of nuclear energy. What we do need to ensure is that we look at renewables, and…

Google to Launch Computer Navy

Nope, Google isn't moving into the online gaming space but they are looking to add a new page to a renewable energy portfolio. The Times [UK] is reporting that Google has filed for a patent to place its supercomputers on barges that are powered, and cooled, by waves.The company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km) offshore.

The “water-based data centres” would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google’s costs. Their offshore status would also mean the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres, which are sited across the world, including in Britain.

In the patent application seen by The Times, Google writes: “Computing centres are located on a ship or ships, anchored in a water body from which energy from natural motion of the water may be captured, and turned into electricity and/or pumping power for cooling pumps to carry heat awa…

Al Franken Endorses Nuclear Power

An article in this morning's Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, "Nuclear energy is enjoying a renaissance," looks at the economic and political landscape of nuclear energy expansion in Minnesota.For those building new — and Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed lifting the state’s moratorium — construction will be faster than in the past, however, said Kent Mortensen, industrial analyst at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Appleton, Wis. Instead of designing every plant separately, as in the past, the NRC is approving a handful of technical designs — from firms including Westinghouse and Mitsubishi — and power companies will choose from one of these standard approved designsThe piece is interesting enough on it's own to merit posting but really it provides an opening for me to point to a nugget discovered over the weekend, from an August 15th article in the St. Cloud Times: Senate candidate Al Franken (D) supports nuclear expansion.New nuclear power plants and new “clean”…

Dueling Editorials: The USA-India Agreement

The New York Times and the Washington Post have both put up editorials on the pending agreement to allow the India and the United States to share nuclear technologies. The Times doesn't like it:The nuclear agreement was a bad idea from the start. Mr. Bush and his team were so eager for a foreign policy success that they gave away the store. They extracted no promise from India to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal. And no promise not to resume nuclear testing.The Post is all in:For all its flaws, the agreement would create more international supervision of India's nuclear fuel cycle than there would be without it. If Congress backs out now, the only victims will be American nuclear suppliers, who would have to stand aside while French and Russian companies expand India's nuclear power system.Although we agree more with the Post, we find its arguments a rather weakish tea. American nuclear suppliers can take care of themselves without…

IAEA: Nuclear Power Worldwide Could Double by 2030

According to report from the IAEA. Per Reuters,Nuclear power production could as much as double by 2030 as countries seek relief from rising fossil fuel costs and a remedy against global warming, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday.

"Nuclear power, in step with growing global demand for energy, will continue expanding into the next two decades," said a summary of the latest annual version of the IAEA's Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period to 2030.

Global nuclear power generation, now estimated at 372 gigawatts yearly, is likely to rise to anywhere from 473 gigawatts to 748 gigawatts, the report by the Vienna-based U.N. agency said. A gigawatt is one billion watts.

The low end of the forecast would assume that all nuclear capacity now under construction or in the pipeline got built and current phaseout policies remained in place, it said.

The high-end projection reflects "government and corporate announcements about longer-te…

Wind a Boon(e?) for Gas

The Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog today points to a WSJ op-ed by European writer Edgar Gärtner on the link between wind and gas. He cites European experience showing that increasing deployment of wind turbines in Spain and Germany coincides with greater dependence on gas, needed to support wind generation that can drop off at any time. He suggests that this may be why gas producers are eagerly promoting wind development - it is an effective way to promote demand for natural gas and the value of natural gas holdings. Gärtner concludes: Wind power is clearly not reducing the dependence on imported fuel, contrary to the frequent claims of its proponents. In fact the experience from Germany and Spain shows that it is increasing the dependence of imported natural gas. And that's not energy security.

The I Edition of Global Nuclear Notes: India, Iran, Italy

Some updates of stories we've been following here:Italy has found a partner for its nuclear ambitions. The winner: Great Britain. Here's British PM Gordon Brown:"We both agreed that nuclear power can play an important part (in achieving) our shared objectives on climate change and energy security."And his Italian opposite number, Silvio Burlusconi:"We do hope that there is going to be a single nuclear policy for Europe."Us, too. He needs to get on the horn with our German friends.---An Israeli expert on middle east affairs thinks Iran needs nuclear energy:"Iran's requirement for nuclear energy is justified... It is very important for Iran to find other sources of energy, especially non oil and non gas," Meir Javedanfar told the Christian Science Monitor. Faced with a nationwide power shortage problem, the country has scheduled power outages of up to two hours a day throughout the country. Hmm! We understand that an unstable Iran is an issue fo…

World's Largest Particle Accelerator Starts off Successfully

This isn't directly related to nuclear power but I'm sure many of the readers here could appreciate the significance and relevance of this event. 
From the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN):The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres [17 miles] of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery.

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Starting up a major new particle accelerator takes much more than flipping a switch. Thousands of individual elements have to work in harmony, timings have to be synchronized to under a billionth of a second, and beams finer than a human hair have to be brought into head-on collision. Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the mach…