Friday, April 16, 2010

Around the World with Nuclear Energy

sarkozy Around the world:

France has made a deal with Kuwait:

An agreement "to develop the peaceful use of nuclear energy" was signed in Paris by Kuwait's Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and French government officials.

"This agreement will permit the development of cooperation between France and Kuwait in several areas of nuclear energy" including electricity generation, a French government statement said.

Of course, water desalination is a big issue in desert countries and requires impressive electricity resources. Beyond that, Kuwait already suffers brown-outs and black-outs once the air conditioners start running full force.

Kuwait has a population of 3.4 million people – the article doesn’t say, but it seems they could become an electricity exporter to Saudi Arabia and its old enemy, Iraq.


So if that’s what the French are up to, how about the Russians?

Moscow aims to spend billions of dollars to help Argentina develop its civilian nuclear energy program, the Russian president said in Buenos Aires.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled Thursday to Argentina following a visit to Washington for a high-profile nuclear summit.

Good planning for Medvedev. You’ll notice that both these announcements come with government leaders attached – though Medvedev went to Buenos Aires while al-Sabah went to Paris. Doesn’t mean a thing, really, but it shows how much heat the (state-run) nuclear energy business has under it in those countries.


Bur if the French and Russians are on the move, what about the Americans?

South Korea and the United States have agreed to begin negotiations to revise a bilateral pact on the use of nuclear energy as early as possible, South Korean officials said Wednesday.

This one’s a little more complex.

The agreement reflects Washington's confidence in Seoul's commitment to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to form closer bilateral ties on tackling nuclear terrorism, the official said.

This will be a revision of a treaty ratified in 1974 and redefines the relationship to recognize changed circumstances in the past 35 years. Take a look at the whole article for a sense of what it includes.

South Korea will host the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2011.


And just for fun, here’s an solar enthusiast reporting on a study on how much power could be generated in Ontario:

What’s most interesting from the research done by [Queen’s University mechanical engineering professor Joshua] Pearce’s team is that Ontario is that solar power potential in this region collectively “has the potential to produce almost the same amount of power as all the nuclear reactors in the United States.” That, according to Pearce, is about 95 gigawatts of potential power, if one sees “choice roof tops in southeastern Ontario covered with solar panels” as well as land with “little economic value – barren, rocky, non-farmable areas near electrical grids.”

We can’t argue, but we can see an awful lot of Ontario, not to mention those “choice roof tops,” which we’ll guess belong to somebody, sporting solar panels as far as the eye can see – and still not able to produce electricity 24-7.

Now, don’t get us wrong, Pearce is saying this could be done not that it should be – and we joke, but solar power, nuclear power and wind power do a fairly good job in tandem not clogging up someone’s "choice roof-top” with panels, not spreading windmills wide and far and not becoming over dependent on one energy source. Diversity, always the key.

But the idea of Ontario as the Panel Province is kind of tickling.

Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.


Joffan said...

Here's a cross-disciplinary idea for you - how about we make all those Ontario solar panels with glass that has a trace of spent nuclear fuel in it, and they keep themselves clear of snow!

I know, I know - far too practical to get past any regulator. Actually I want to embed some twenty-year-old spent fuel in/under my drive - save me some work each winter. I really should do the calcs and see if it actually could melt snow...

Sterling Archer said...

Waste vitrification in asphalt -- not a bad idea. Clever, really, not even Larry Niven thought of that use:

DocForesight said...

So the French and Russians take actual ACTION to increase exports and spur economic activity while the USA affects a posture that maybe, someday in the future might possibly result in a sale. Perfect.

@Joffan -- Your panel idea runs directly opposed to the "create jobs" aspect, as the 'Solar Panel Shovelers in Winter Only' Union would fight you tooth and nail (hammer and sickle?).

Sterling Archer said...

Of course, solar cell packaging must be precisely engineered for high transmisivity and low reflectivity. As one fission product (say, moly) transmutes to a different product (Say, technetium) you'll introduce color centers into your glass, removing the transmissivity.

So the solar cell manufacturers and installers unions would love this.

Sterling Archer said...

I'm going to go blatantly off-topic with respect to this thread and plug myself.

I started a blogger account. Help me think of good topics to cover:

JamesBond at MI6 said...

to 'sterling,' whos new blog says both "I'm disabling anonymous comments..." and "I take my screen name" from a TV cartoon...

You're kidding, right?

Sterling Archer said...

You're kidding, right?

Point taken, and fixed.