Skip to main content

“Nuclear is indispensable as part of the global energy mix today.”

Just because you’re new at this nuclear energy stuff doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion about it:

"Countries with nuclear reactors continue to operate their reactors - 434 nuclear power reactors are in operation today, 69 under construction and more are planned," said Mr Al Mazrouei. "This demonstrates, despite the challenges, that nuclear energy will continue to play a significant role in the global energy sector."

Mr. Al Mazrouei is UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei. I doubt nuclear energy was even on his radar 10 years ago, but the UAE recently poured concrete for the second of four planned reactors at Barakah.

And good for him. He was speaking at an IAEA summit in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida) and he wasn’t the only emirati there.

"The reality is nuclear is indispensable as part of the global energy mix today," Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE permanent representative to the IAEA, told The National.

"It continues to be economical and environmentally sound … Fukushima might have slowed down the expansion pace in some countries but the general global outlook for nuclear energy has not changed "

The National is the UAE’s main newspaper and the point of April Yee’s story is to suggest that the wind behind nuclear energy’s sails is coming from developing countries not developed ones. I’m not sure I fully buy the premise or that UAE fits it as well as other countries might – the article also mentions Turkey, ditto – but maybe. It’s certainly true that the atom has broadened its scope and welcomed in some interesting new family members.

---

I took a look at some of the other stories at the National, which has been right on top of Barakah and Enec.

Emiratis in the Western Region are being targeted for training and future employment in the country’s first nuclear power program.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) is focusing its recruitment efforts and scholarships programs on such citizens ahead of its 2017 opening.

I believe the western regions refers to sections of Abu Dhabi, where Barakah is sited, not the other emirates per se. UAE is a collection of seven emirates, more of a Canadian confederation than a United States; still, it’s sort of odd not to extend these opportunities across the whole country (if I’m right).

“We have 260 students in our scholarship programs, and by the end of 2013 we are hoping to have about 410 students recruited.”

Mr Al Qahtani said Enec was offering a range of exclusive scholarships and career opportunities to train the most talented science students and experienced professionals to become pioneers of the emerging nuclear energy sector.

Fahad Al Qahtani is the external communications director at Enec.

The National also has a story about Barakah’s impact on the town nearest it, Al Ruwais.

“To quote our chief executive, for every nuclear-plant employee we will need six workers in supporting services,” Mr Al Qahtani said.“These supporting services include schools, shops, restaurants and so on.”

This means the town, in the Western Region 240 kilometres west of Abu Dhabi city, will see rapid growth, with at least 17,000 people arriving: 2,000 plant workers with 3,000 family members, plus 12,000 support workers.

Exactly the kind of things that happen here, with perhaps some differences because of the widely spaced towns in a desert environment – there’s a lot of housing construction going on is Al Ruwais.

This nuclear energy thing is working out pretty well for UAE.

---

Closer to home, the funniest line of the day, from The Motley Fool:

Few things are as controversial as nuclear energy.

Read the newspaper today or any day. Does nuclear energy really seem the most controversial thing? Really?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…