Skip to main content

Japan, UAE (Sharjah This Time) and Sadness in Vermont

From Japan:

A candidate backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won Sunday's election for governor of Tokyo, frustrating a rival's efforts to make the vote a referendum on the Japanese leader's pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three years after the Fukushima disaster

The widely-expected victory by former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare setback in another local election last month.

So Abe lost one and won one – which proves only that Japanese voters are tough to move on a single issue – and that nuclear energy is not a potent enough issue, if it ever was, to sway elections.

---

A striking example of how a nuclear energy facility can benefit neighboring communities:

The University of Sharjah has announced that three nuclear energy laboratories worth Dh7 million will be set up in the university, with the aim of preparing highly qualified human cadres specialized in nuclear power.

The first ever integrated laboratory for students of the undergraduate program in nuclear engineering will be opened in September, while the other two labs will be opened later, Dr Waleed Mutawalli, Coordinator of the Nuclear Engineering Program at the university, said.

The facility here being Barakah in Sharjah’s UAE neighbor Abu Dhabi. Sharjah itself has only about 900,000 people in it, so this program will presumably enroll people from around UAE and other Arabic-speaking countries considering nuclear energy.

---

I ran into this definition of Barakah: 

“Barakah is the attachment of Divine goodness to a thing, so if it occurs in something little, it increases it. And if it occurs in something much it benefits. And the greatest fruits of Barakah in all things is to use that barakah in the obedience of Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala)”

This sounds a bit like the Christian concept of grace, but manifesting as a series of occurrences rather than a state of being. In the nuclear sphere, it seems to refer to a little uranium generating a lot of electricity, an unalloyed good. A guess, but it fits the metaphorical bill.

---

This is a sad video of the impact to local charities when a nuclear plant closes. Now, a lot of what is covered in the video has to do with the charitable giving of Vermont Yankee’s employees, the people who have set down roots in the towns around the facility. But Entergy, which owns Vermont Yankee, has also sent charitable vines and shoots out into the community. Decommissioning the plant will take some time, so Entergy isn’t packing its fuel rods and decamping in the middle of the night all at once. An Entergy spokesman in the video makes it clear that the company will be making donations going forward.

Still – this is how it goes. It’s not unique to nuclear energy facilities or even energy outlets. Companies come and go and open and prune branches every day.  In each instance, the result is good or bad for the local people. In this case, the communities impacted will adjust their expectations and looks for other sources of charitable giving because – this is how it goes.

Comments

Anonymous said…
VT Yankee... any reason not to build a new plant in a less hostile state? Not that MA or NH are ideal in terms of nuclear politics, but with transmission and human infrastructure already in place, might be worth considering longer term. Oyster Creek in NJ will likely be replaced by a gas burner. Hopefully VTY won't ultimately share that fate.

Popular posts from this blog

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 …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …