Monday, September 26, 2011

71st Carnival of Nuclear Energy: Critical Reviews, History and Future Stuff

Today, we have the privilege of hosting the carnival for the seventh time in its young history. We have contributions from ten folks discussing a whole slew of things on nuclear.

History

In the latest APR Atomic Journal, Will Davis completes the story of the Elk River nuclear plant built back in the late ‘50 and ‘60s. Using original and never-before-seen material, he takes you back in time to describe one of the first reactors constructed in the world.

Brian Wang at Next Big Future noted that research on radiation from back in 1946 was uncovered that suppressed evidence related to benign low doses of radiation.

Speaking of history, Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat reported on Siemens’ exit from the nuclear energy industry. In doing so, the firm is leaving the potential for substantial revenue. Siemens will scrap its deal with Russia’s Rosatom to develop the state-owned firm's VVER pressurized water reactor (PWR) to compete with exports from Areva. Siemens said the firm felt that after Fukushima, demand for reactor exports would diminish, casting doubt on the financial viability of the deal.

Future stuff

Brian Wang also highlighted the progress of the Sanmen AP1000 construction in China with the installation of the pressure vessel.

Margaret Harding at 4 Factor Consulting was on vacation on a cruise out in the Pacific Ocean, but was inspired to write about nuclear power cruise ships in the hope that someday they might be a reality she might get to be on.

Charles Barton at Nuclear Green discussed a plan on how Generation IV nuclear power systems are economically viable, even when countries are faced with a sovereign debt crisis. From Barton:

by adopting more advanced nuclear technology, and adopting the thorium fuel cycle, all the objections brought against nuclear power by renewable advocates can be demonstrated to be fallacious. If we want to avoid a climate disaster, we have no choice other than to commit to a massive deployment of nuclear power. Even in the face of a sovereign debt crisis, a massive deployment of LFTRs [liquid fluoride thorium reactors] is possible.

Critical Reviews

Steve Skutnik at Neutron Economy reviewed journalist Tom Zoellner's popular book: Uranium (basically a history of uranium with a slightly bent position). Skutnik, of course, gave it a critical review and even earned a comment from the author himself. Here’s Steve:

remarkably absent from Zoellner's narrative is much discussion of the flip side of the coin: the promise of clean, abundant energy in addition to a cornucopia of advances in medicine, agriculture, and engineering.

Inspired by a Wall Street Journal article, Rod Adams at Atomic Insights took a look at the companies and individuals that benefit from higher fossil fuel prices and larger sales volumes resulting from irrationally shutting down undamaged nuclear plants in response to the Fukushima disaster. Rod believes that plans are being executed to take advantage of the Japan situation to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) by nuclear energy competitors who want nuclear's market share for themselves.

Steve Aplin at Canadian Energy Issues took issue with the Canadian Auto Workers union for their alliance with a renewable energy association in order to promote and create jobs. Instead, Aplin has a better recommendation for creating jobs and generating low cost electricity: nuclear.

Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk attended the Energy Information Administration’s press event rolling out the International Energy Outlook 2011. Despite the fact that the IEO reports haven’t been the most favorable to nuclear in past years, she found the event interesting from a nuclear perspective:

In particular, the report has been a year in the making, and some of the information in it is already dated. The report shows the penetration of nuclear power increasing from 5% to 7% of total energy demand globally by 2035. However, Dr. Gruenspecht pointed out that the nuclear portion of the report was developed prior to the Fukushima event, and was not adjusted to reflect the decisions several countries have made following that event.

And last but not least, Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee analyzed VT’s energy plan (or lack thereof) published by the Department of Public Service last week. In her post, Meredith reviewed the 700 page draft energy plan which is the plan for Vermont without VY. Vermonters have only 4 weeks to review it. Luckily for Meredith, the documents had no actual content (no plan, no numbers) so reviewing it was quick work for her.

Hope you enjoyed, stay tuned for next week’s carnival at Yes Vermont Yankee!

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