Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nuclear Coming Back/NYT on Ex-Im/Kryptonite

atlanticThe Atlantic has an article called Is Nuclear Energy Ever Coming Back?. Aside from the fact that five new reactors are opening before the turn of the decade, the question seems a bit moot, but writer Celeste Lecompe does an exceptionally good job looking at subject wholly – I mean, with the Union of Concerned Scientists and NEI in the mix. We may take some pleasure in how much like sourpusses UCS seems, but it’s a fair look at different views. And Lecompte give due to new developments, such as small reactors and Transatomic’s revived interest in molten salt.

A taste:

In the meantime, TerraPower, the Bill Gates-backed startup, has opted to focus its attention abroad. “There are plenty of countries or regions that really are looking to nuclear as one of the ways to solve their energy needs without putting more carbon into the environment,” said Kevin Weaver, TerraPower’s director for technology integration. TerraPower is exploring opportunities to deploy its reactor design in Russia, China, India, Korea, France, where national energy policies are more supportive of nuclear power.

Oh, and did we mention? TerraPower is there, too. Long, but worth the time.

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nyt_logoThe New York Times weighs in on the battle over the Export-Import Bank:

Other groups and businesses opposed to the bank include the Heritage Foundation and Delta Air Lines, which argues that the bank’s loans and guarantees helps foreign airlines buy Boeing planes at lower cost than domestic airlines can. The bank is actually a very poor symbol of corporate welfare. The interest and fees from its loans earn a healthy profit (last year it earned more than $1 billion for the Treasury), and its default rate is less than 1 percent.

Why keep you in suspense?

Congress should ignore the ridiculous arguments against the bank and reauthorize it.

The Times editorial board thinks this will happen, but it may be a near thing. Read the posts below this one on why it matters to nuclear energy supporters.

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Subject for further research: EPA Hits Nuclear Power With Kryptonite. The story is actually about krypton the element, not Superman’s home planet or the remnant of it that is kryptonite. Still, points to Forbes for even illustrating the story with Superman images. It tends to emphasize that there is nothing inherently interesting about krypton.

I know that Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were science kids, but I’ve never read that there is special significance to their having used krypton. It might well have been picked as a cool word from the periodic chart and that’s all there was to it. The planet could just as well been called molybdenum.

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