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Showing posts from August, 2005

Australia Nuclear Update

From Nuclear Engineering International : The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia’s largest and business organisation, has called for the Australian government to conduct a feasibility study into the establishment of nuclear power facilities in Australia and to re-open its recent Energy White Paper: Securing Australia’s Energy Future so as to canvass the possibility of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is currently attracting increased interest across the globe, the ACCI says, primarily due to concerns about rising energy costs as well as greater sensitivity to the possible effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and an energy source which provides base load power while neither threatening economic growth nor contributing to greenhouse gas emissions should not be arbitrarily ruled out of consideration. The group says it is time to revisit the issue of domestic nuclear power. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology E

Electricity and Environmental Quality Standards

Over at Knowledge Problem , Michael Giberson is taking a look at the closing of a coal-fired power plant in Alexandria, Virginia: Regulatory authorities and public policy goals have collided on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, just across from D.C. This has been a slow-motion collision, long in coming and probably weeks or months still to go, so pull up a chair and watch the show. Virginia state officials have caused the shut down of a power plant that the Washington, DC utility regulator calls vital to protecting the reliability of the electric power system in the area... For years, residents of Alexandria, Virginia have complained about the emissions coming from the Mirant’s Potomac River power plant...The five-boiler coal burning power plant, which produces about 500 MW, has been operating since 1949. It is old enough -- by a substantial margin -- to have been exempted from the most stringent air quality regulations, but apparently hasn't been able to comply with the lax

GE Submits ESBWR to NRC for Design Approval

From yesterday's wire : GE Energy's nuclear business has reached a major milestone in the development of its new reactor design - the economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) - by formally submitting its Design Certification application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. GE delivered its 19-chapter, 7,500-page application package to the NRC in Washington on August 24. The submission, which represents the culmination of 150,000 man-hours of design work over a 10-year period, should lead to the Final Design Approval of the ESBWR by late 2006, followed immediately by Design Certification. The 1,500-megawatt ESBWR is a Generation III+ reactor design because of its design simplicity and passive safety features. It depends on fewer "active" mechanical systems, with associated pumps and valves, and instead relies on more reliable "passive" systems that utilize natural forces, including natural circulation and gravity. The ESBWR is the only react

Nuclear Energy Is "Best Option"

In an editorial today in the Asbury Park Press , James McGovern, a consultant to industry and government on nuclear energy issues, touts nuclear energy as the nation's greatest relief from the increasing cost and volatility of natural gas supplies. McGovern offers a detailed explanation of why America's growing dependence on natural gas is so dangerous: No longer used only for home heating and in the production of petrochemicals, natural gas is now burned at power plants that generate nearly 30 percent of New Jersey's electricity and 20 percent of the nation's power. And the amount we use for electricity is rapidly increasing. More than 90 percent of the new electric-power capacity built in the past decade relies on natural gas. This heavy reliance has been one of the major pressures leading to the unstable natural gas market. The trend is likely to become even more pronounced. The Energy Information Administration foresees continuing increases in the use of natural

Bodman: White House Will Tap Oil Reserves

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said today that the White House plans on tapping the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help refiners hurt by Hurricane Katrina. "The SPR was put in place specifically for this kind of an event," Bodman said in one interview. "We now have, in some instances, problems with getting crude to some refineries." The reserve is the government's emergency stockpile of crude oil, which is overseen by the Energy Department. The oil reserves are estimated at more than 700 million barrels stored in underground caverns in Louisiana and Texas. U.S. crude oil prices were 21 cents lower at $69.60 in electronic trading following Bodman's comments. Crude prices had risen over $70 a barrel Tuesday before settling up $2.61 at $69.81 a barrel in New York. Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday, halting crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for roughly a quarter of U.S. oil output. Nine

Entergy Copes With Katrina Damage

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Entergy has posted a special Web site to track its response to catastrophic storm damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. Here's an update from 11:30 a.m.: This morning, Entergy has begun assessing damage caused by the worst storm in Entergy's history. More than 1 million Entergy customers remain without power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage. Due to the scope and amount of damage to its electrical system, Entergy expects a long and difficult restoration. The number of reported customer outages peaked in Mississippi and Louisiana at nearly 1.1 million. Additional outages are possible due to the wet soil and occasional wind gusts. The outage total has more than quadrupled the previous Entergy single event record of 270,000, set only last month during Tropical Storm Cindy. The record prior to that was 260,000 following Hurricane Georges in 1998. Louisiana had a peak of 790,000 customers without power. In

Progress Energy To Investigate New Nuclear Build

From the Raleigh News and Observer Progress Energy said Monday it plans to apply for a license to build a new nuclear plant, placing North Carolina in the forefront of the nation's nuclear revival. Raleigh-based Progress Energy said it notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it expects to pick a site for a new reactor this year and select an advanced reactor technology to put there. If the NRC approves the license and Progress Energy decides to build the reactor, construction could begin as soon as five years from now and the reactor could be operating as early as 2010, Progress Energy officials said. Monday's announcement gives North Carolina two utilities — the other being Duke Power in Charlotte — vying to be the nation's first to commission the first new nuclear reactor in more than a quarter century. The state's two major utilities serve a combined 3.5 million customers in the Carolinas. Wow. It's a great time to be working in this business. Technor

Spanish Government Passes Renewable Energy Initiative

The Spanish government on Friday approved a new plan that will cost 23.6 billion euros through to 2010 aimed at boosting the contribution of renewable energy sources to the country's growing power needs, and help meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gases. The government wants 12.1 percent of overall energy needs to be met by renewable sources by 2010 and for those to supply 30.3 percent of total electricity consumption. ... The focus on clean energy sources will help reduce Spain's reliance on oil imports - surging crude oil prices have helped swell the country's trade shortfall recently. Spain is also a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to reduce emissions of climate-warming gases such as carbon dioxide. The conversion of coal-fuelled electricity plants to installations using cleaner energy sources will help Spain fulfill its Kyoto commitments. In addition to increased renewables, Spain is currently home to 11 nuclear facilities, which include nine nucle

Energy Information Digest

The August issue of Energy Information Digest is now available on the NEI Web site , in the Newsroom . In it, you'll find articles about the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a new national coalition promoting wind energy, the European Union's new sustainable energy campaign and other topics. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Hurricane Katrina Update

From the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ( PDF ): The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Sunday dispatched additional personnel to three nuclear power plants in Louisiana and Mississippi in response to the expected landfall Monday of Hurricane Katrina. One plant near New Orleans - Waterford - informed the NRC it shut down to ensure that all safety precautions are in place ahead of the storm. The NRC is monitoring the hurricane from operations centers in Arlington, Texas, and its Rockville, Md., headquarters. "We are staying on top of the situation because protecting public health and safety is paramount," said Nils Diaz, chairman of the independent regulatory agency At the Waterford plant the major concern beyond winds was the storm surge, last predicted to approach the top of an18-foot levee on the Mississippi River. Nuclear plants are very robust structures designed to withstand winds in excess of those in Katrina and associated storm surges. Both Waterford and the other

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Meet Ed Morse from Economic Trends : Continuing on the energy theme of previous posts, let’s examine another form of energy that could be very important for our future economic and environmental wellbeing. This form of energy will: - rely on an abundant resource that is available domestically, thus reducing our dependence on foreign sources - provide no emissions of CO2, which concerns many people about the potential impact on global warming (a topic which is debatable, but which will be taken as given for now) - provide relative price stability over time, thus reducing economic disruptions due to price fluctuations as we have been discussing here - be as safe, if not safer, than conventional energy sources from coal or petroleum based sources. Interested? Then let’s consider building more nuclear power reactors. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

On The California Blackouts

In the wake of last week's blackout in Southern California , the San Francisco Chronicle says it's time for the state to develop a more comprehensive energy plan: Northern California -- and most of the West -- has plenty of power on hand. Southern California, which has fewer access points to regional power plants, is closer to the tipping point between supply and demand, as the shutdown showed. So things aren't really that bad? Hardly. The energy crisis definitely grabbed the state's attention, but it did launch a number of campaigns that had never before come together into a single plan. More power plants were built and prices stabilized, but the fight over energy issues continued. A span of interests -- consumer groups, power firms and politicians -- continue to disagree on a needed energy blueprint . . . These factors add up to an uncertain future. California can scrape by for now, but it needs a coherent and reliable energy plan. The easy path would be to wait f

Gulf Coast Nuclear Plants Shut Down Ahead of Hurricane Katrina

Off the Reuters wire: The Waterford nuclear power plant near New Orleans shut down in advance of fierce Hurricane Katrina heading toward the low-lying Gulf Coast city, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Sunday. The NRC said Waterford, about 20 miles (32 km) west of New Orleans, took the step to ensure all safety precautions were in place before the storm, which is expected to come ashore around sunrise on Monday. It said the plant's main concern beyond winds was the storm surge, last predicted to approach the top of an 18-foot (5-metre) levee on the Mississippi River. The agency said it sent additional personnel to Waterford as well as the River Bend plant 25 miles (40 km) north-northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Grand Gulf plant 25 miles (40 km) south of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The three plants are owned by Entergy Nuclear. As you might imagine, our thoughts are with everyone on the Gulf Coast, including our friends at Entergy and their families. Technor

French Exec: Europe Faces Electrical Shortage Starting in 2008

California isn't the only region in the world with electricity supply problems. Here's something from Forbes , via AFP: Gerard Mestrallet, chief executive of Suez SA, said Europe runs the risk of electricity shortages in the coming years unless major investments are made to raise production capacity. "After having lived under the illusion that nuclear energy had created overcapacity, experts recognize today, for the first time, that we risk a shortfall of electricity from 2008," Mestrallet told French financial weekly Capital. "Over the past 20 years, there have not been enough production sites built in Europe' to meet growing demand," he said. "The supply of electricity is already stretched in certain regions, like in Brittany or the south of France." Germany's decision to phase out nuclear energy, and the decline of oil reserves in the North Sea, will mean that Europe will eventually have to begin importing almost all its fossil fuel

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Thomas Brooks is the new vice chairman of Constellation Energy and chairman of its commodities group. Brooks also is now the chairman of Constellation Energy’s risk management committee. George Persky and Felix Dawson have been named co-presidents and co-chief executive officers of Constellation’s commodities group, effective immediately. Dawson has been with the group since its 1997 inception, while Persky joined in 1999.

Anglican Church Says Yes to Uranium Investments

From today's International Herald Tribune : The Anglican Church's investment fund in Australia has decided that nuclear power is not so bad after all. Glebe Asset Management, a large so-called ethical investment fund in Australia, removed its ban on buying uranium mining shares after a three-month review, the director, David Andrews, said in an interview last week. The company decided to scrap the uranium restriction after BHP Billiton in June bought WMC Resources, which owns the largest deposit of the nuclear fuel. (snip) "We added it all together and thought that we really should not have uranium mining as a strict" prohibition, said Andrews, who otherwise would have had to sell BHP shares that account for about 10 million dollars of the 500 million dollar fund. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Rolling Blackout Hits Southern California

From the AP wire : Sweltering heat and the loss of power from a key transmission line Thursday forced the utility serving Southern California to impose rolling blackouts, leaving as many as half a million people without power for about half an hour, officials said. The California Independent System Operator, which operates the state's electric grid, declared a transmission emergency at 3:57 p.m., said ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle. About 30 minutes later, power was being restored to people subjected to the blackouts, she said. It marked one of the most serious disruptions since the California power crisis in 2000 and 2001, when high demand, high wholesale energy costs, transmission glitches and a tight supply caused widespread problems including blackouts. Here's more from the LA Times . The situation California finds itself in didn't happen overnight, and it won't be solved overnight either. Here at NEI, we think nuclear energy can be

What Bloggers Are Saying About the CAFE Standards

The response to the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards released Tuesday has many critics charging that the standards are not stringent enough. Vox Baby proposes an alternative to the CAFE standards: A gas tax will allow "people to decide how they want to conserve fuel - by driving less or by using fewer gallons per mile. Values Pundit , on the other hand, suggests that the government back off entirely, allowing those who care about and can afford higher fuel efficiency pay for it on the market. JustOneMinute extensively quotes a New York Times article on the subject, saying that relying on a rulebook -- and such a flawed rulebook, at that -- is just too problematic. Howling at a Waning Moon quotes sources at U.S. PIRG and the Sierra Club, who say that the new standards will do nothing to help consumers save money at the gas pump, reduce oil dependence or curb global warming. Knowledge Problem calls the proposal "largely irrelevant" to manufact

India Unveils Thorium Reactor

Indian scientists today unveiled a revolutionary design for a thorium breeder reactor (ATBR) that can produce 600 megawatts of electricity for two years with no refueling and practically no control maneuvers: ATBR is claimed to be far more economical and safer than any power reactor in the world. Most significantly for India, ATBR does not require natural or enriched uranium which the country is finding difficult to import. It uses thorium -- which India has in plenty -- and only requires plutonium as "seed" to ignite the reactor core initially. ... The uniqueness of the ATBR design is that there is almost a perfect "balance" between fissile depletion and production that allows in-bred U-233 to take part in energy generation thereby extending the core life to two years. This does not happen in the present-day power reactors because the fissile depletion takes place much faster than production of new fissile ones. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Ene

New Source On Hybrid Cars

Check out -- a collection of blogs on, you guessed it, hybrid automobiles. To get yourself oriented, check out the first post from Power, Plugs and People . Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics , Hybrid Cars

Nuclear Reactors Make Elle Magazine's Top 25 List

Joining entries such as Martha Stewart and the Supreme Court, No. 14 on the Elle 25 - Elle Magazine's annual list of the top 25 "hot and happening" people and things - is none other than "Nukes! Hot Reactors": 1979 was a tough year for nuclear power—remember Three-Mile Island and The China Syndrome? In fact, it pretty much stopped the atomic clock for a generation — but that's about to end. In the spring, the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission began mumbling about the need for 100 new reactors, an energy consortium quietly nominated six candidate sites for two new nuclear plants, and President Bush speechified at one of those sites for the urgent revival of nuclear power. Next month the two winners will be named (several of the nearby towns are actively campaigning to be selected), but the renuking debate is already being joined in earnest. The pro-nuke line: If you're serious about global warming, you've got to go radioactive because fos

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

City Public Service of San Antonio , a subsidiary of South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company , has named Steve Bartley vice president of governmental and regulatory relations for CPS Energy. Bartley has served as CPS Energy's director of regulatory relations since 2000. Donald Pearman Jr. has been named to Longenecker & Associates Inc.'s strategic advisory board. Pearman is a management consultant to the energy and high technology industries and former vice president of Bechtel National . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Summer Intern Program or National Security Risk?

Here at NEI, one of my colleagues came across a set of correspondence in the NRC's Adams database that was disturbing to say the least. Apparently, ABC News has been using reporter interns in an attempt to breach security at Test, Research and Training Reactors around the country. In a July 27, 2005 letter to the NRC, Tawfik Raby and Seymour Weiss, co-chairs of the National Organization of Test, Research and Training Reactors , wrote the following to David B. Matthews, Director of the Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs in NRC's Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (click here for PDF of original letter): Members of TRTR have identified to the NRC and law enforcement agencies the suspicious behavior of individuals who were visiting their facilities. NRC informed TRTR that these visits may have been part of a summer intern program that ABC News and other corporations were conducting related to investigative reporting. TRTR believes that the security measures current

SCE&G, SCANA to Study Possibility of New Nuclear Plant

Just off the wire : With South Carolina's energy needs continuing to grow, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (SCG - news), and Santee Cooper announced today that they will consider the possibility of extending their present nuclear generation joint ownership arrangement to study constructing a new nuclear generation facility to meet forecast electric generation needs beginning in the year 2015. "The process to permit and build any major base load generation facility can take eight to 10 years," said SCE&G President Neville Lorick, who noted that generation planning is an ongoing process at the company. "To ensure we're in position to meet our area's future power needs, it's important that we begin the planning process now." This evaluation process will involve consideration of various types of base-load generation, including natural gas-fired plants, coal-fired plants and nuclear

Northeast States to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

From today's New York Times : Officials in New York and eight other Northeastern states have come to a preliminary agreement to freeze power plant emissions at their current levels and then reduce them by 10 percent by 2020, according to a confidential draft proposal. The cooperative action, the first of its kind in the nation, came after the Bush administration decided not to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Once a final agreement is reached, the legislatures of the nine states will have to enact it, which is considered likely. Enforcement of emission controls could potentially result in higher energy prices in the nine states, which officials hope can be offset by subsidies and support for the development of new technology that would be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of emission allowances to the utility companies. The nine states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Verm

Five Parties Short-listed for Building Power Plants in South Africa

The Department of Minerals and Energy has announced that it has short-listed five parties, out of 11 applicants, to build new peaking power stations . The winners of the new peaking power generation capacity will build one or two oil-fired open cycle turbine power stations with a combined capacity of about 1,000 megawatts, operating peaking plants at sites in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The two peaking plant power stations are expected to be fully operational by October 2008. "We need to get the new plants up by October 2008 or we will end up with blackouts," the department’s Deputy Director-General for Electricity and Nuclear Energy, Nelisiwe Magubane said. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Louisiana Governor Supports New Plants

Gov. Kathleen Blanco is backing a proposed $1 billion expansion of Louisiana's Big Cajun II coal-fired power plant, which has received a crucial state air permit. This is the third power plant proposal the government has backed, including one for a new nuclear power plant being considered by the NuStart Energy Development LLC Consortium. Blanco gave her backing last month to Cleco Corp.'s plans to build a new power plant in central Louisiana that would be able to use multiple solid fuels, primarily petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of crude oil refinement. Two weeks later, the governor announced that Louisiana was competing to land the country's first new nuclear energy plant in three decades. On Monday, the governor stood with officials from NRG Energy Inc., at the Big Cajun II power plant in Pointe Coupee Parish, for the permitting announcement vital to the planned expansion of the facility. Blanco lauded all three power plant proposals as economic development drivers

Australia Nuclear Update

In an opinion piece in today's Australian , Paul Gilding, former executive director of Greenpeace International and founding partner of Ecos Corp. , addresses the issue of environmental stewardship and nuclear energy in Australia: One of the key principles of sustainability, and one accepted by environmentalists and governments around the world including our own, is product stewardship. The logic is simple. If you put something out there, you need to accept some responsibility for the consequences, even if the product's use is not directly under your control. This is why we see McDonald's acting on obesity, Ford and Toyota on climate change and BP on air pollution. If we accept this principle, there are only two morally defensible positions for Australia on matters nuclear. Either we sell uranium, use nuclear power and take back nuclear waste for storage in Australia or none of these. It is politically convenient for the Howard Government to raise the nuclear power in Aus

Doosan Heavy May Bid on Westinghouse

South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries is considering bidding in a consortium to buy U.S. nuclear power plant builder Westinghouse Electric Co. from British nuclear energy company BNFL . South Korea's largest manufacturer of power generation equipment would be able to reduce costs and acquire nuclear technology and know-how from the U.S. firm if a bid was successful, analysts said. Westinghouse provides nuclear fuel services, technology, plant design and equipment for nuclear power producers. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

EPA Program Successfully Reduces Nitrogen Oxide Emissions

A report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency shows improved air quality for more than 100 million people in 21 eastern states and the District of Columbia in 2004. Under this program, the report shows that power industry summertime NOx emissions have dropped significantly in 2004. Total ozone season NOx emissions from power plants and other large combustion sources were 30 percent lower than in 2003, and 50 percent lower than in 2000. The NOx reductions, when combined with other control programs have reduced ozone season NOx emissions from sources in 19 eastern states and the District of Columbia, by 70 percent below 1990 levels. Continued NOx emission reductions are anticipated under the NOx SIP call and the Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR. CAIR, issued March 10, 2005, will permanently cap power plant emissions of SO2 and NOx in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia. In 2015, CAIR, the NOx SIP Call and other programs in the East will reduce ozone

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Leldon Echols was elected Friday to the TXU Corp. board of directors. Echols is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Centex Corp . He replaces Derek Bonham, who is retiring. The board of directors also elected Riz Chand senior vice president and Gaylene McMahon assistant controller of TXU Corp. Chand joined TXU in June 2005 to bring strategic leadership in the human resources area, while McMahon most recently served as vice president and controller of the TXU Energy Holdings segment of TXU Corp. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Another Blogger For Nuclear Energy

Here's an interesting sentiment : I'm not an environmentalist, but....we need to save the earth...Through nuclear power. So, what do we do if our life style is unsustainable? Filled with rampant demand for SUV's, electrical power, cheap plastic products, and Vaseline? How do we stem the tide of the growing global oil catastrophe? Why are people so blissfully unaware of it? What do we do when oil reserves pop up? When will people realize alternative energy sources are far too distant a reality to save us if we continue oil consumption at the moment . . ? Things people could do to avoid a global oil crisis: Accept and adopt nuclear power: If people truly and seriously wanted to reduce reliance on foreign oil, this is the only viable solution. It is hard to accept, but it'll help us in the long run... It will also provide enough power to actually use electric cars without actually using a excessive amount of fossil fuel to charge . . . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy

South Africa Plans to Boost Uranium Production

Anticipated rises in the price of uranium over the next decade, driven by demand for a clean, sustainable energy source, have prompted producer countries such as South Africa to develop their production facilities. SA, the fourth-largest uranium producer with 8% of the world's reserves, has declared it a protected mineral resource in line with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002. Neal Froneman, CEO of South African uranium miner Aflease, says government is "crying out for the development of this strategic resource for export, and has been supportive of the industry". SA is in a position to benefit from uranium as a primary energy source and from the value derived from increased exports. The uranium price has trebled over the past three years, driven by the expected increase in nuclear-energy generation. For more information on the dynamics of supply and demand in uranium markets, click here for a post from NEI Nuclear Notes contributor, Dr. Cl

Senate to Hold Gas Prices Hearing

The Senate Energy Committee announced today that it will hold a hearing next month to determine reasons for the high cost of U.S. gasoline. Average retail gasoline prices hit a record $2.55 a gallon this week, according to government data. "Today's gasoline prices are taking a severe toll on Americans' pocketbooks," said Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, energy panel chairman. "Consumers are anxious." The September 8 hearing will focus on global oil demand, refinery capacity constraints and the impact of futures market speculation on energy prices, Domenici said in a statement. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Southern Company May Seek New Plant at Vogtle

Big news just off the wire: Southern Nuclear Operating Company, on behalf of the co-owners of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, has officially informed the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it has selected the site to evaluate for possible future nuclear generating units. In the summer of 2006, the company will file either an application for an Early Site Permit (ESP) at Vogtle or pre-Combined Operating License (COL) information that would ultimately become a part of a complete COL application. Plant Vogtle is owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the City of Dalton. It is operated by Southern Nuclear for the co-owners. This notification does not mean that the co-owners have decided to build a new unit at the plant site. This is another step in the process necessary to obtain permits should the owners decide that a new nuclear unit is the best option for meeting the need for additional generation. Tec

Coal Might Make U.K. Comeback

The Yorkshire Post Today reports that the rising price of oil and natural gas could mean a comeback for the Yorkshire coal industry: Now, gas is becoming more expensive every day and equipping coal power stations to clean up emissions looks like a reasonable deal. British miners are probably the most efficient in the world – and a lot of MPs think it would do New Labour good to do something as old-style socialist as taking the coal industry back under state control in some way. David Brewer, director of the Confederation of UK Coal Producers, said in Wakefield last week that every dollar on oil made other resources look better and better. It's important to remember that the U.K. has been in the midst of a serious debate about new nuclear build. And without new nuclear build, the U.K. will indeed be forced to continue to rely on fossil fuels to generate electricity. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Entergy and the NuStart Consortium

While a combination of safe operations and rising oil and natural gas prices have led many industry observers to reconsider nuclear energy, some credit ought to go to private industry -- in particular the companies that make up the NuStart Energy consortium. In the September issue of MIT Technology Review , David Talbot takes a closer look at the development of the group , and how it helped to get nuclear energy back on the national agenda: [I]n 2003, Entergy, along with the Chicago-based utility Exelon, took the lead in forging a coalition. The companies called five other utilities and suppliers to a meeting near the Atlanta airport. "We called it the 'Atlanta seven' meeting, and our goal was to see if we could respond together to come up with a new reactor design and share those costs and those risks," Keuter recalls. Out of that meeting came a consortium called NuStart, which now includes nine power companies and two major reactor builders, Westinghouse and GE. E

McCain, Clinton Focus on Climate Change

From the AP wire : Anyone doubting the effects of human activity on global climate change should talk to the people it affects in Alaska and the Yukon, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Wednesday. Fresh from a trip to Barrow, America's northernmost city, McCain said anecdotes from Alaskans and residents of the Yukon Territory confirm scientific evidence of global warming. "We are convinced that the overwhelming scientific evidence indicated that climate change is taking place and human activities play a very large role," McCain said. McCain, accompanied by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., spoke to villagers in Canada whose spruce trees are being attacked by the northward spread of spruce beetles. On Alaska's northern coast, they met Native Alaskans dealing with melting permafrost and coastal erosion. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Duncan Hawthorne , president and chief executive officer of Bruce Power , has been named chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators' Atlanta Regional Center. Hawthorne is currently a member of the Atlanta Center’s governing board. He is set to begin his two-year term as chairman in October.

Kudlow and Yergin on New Nuclear Build

Recently, CNBC analyst Larry Kudlow had a brief conversation about new nuclear build with Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Associates. The transcript (which I've cleaned up for the sake of clarity) follows: KUDLOW: Oil is inching up toward $70 a barrel. Is this the moment for nuclear power or is this not in my back yard? Joining me now is Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and CNBC global energy expert. Dan, welcome back to the show. There's a great story in the Washington Post today . . . Your man is quoted . . . About the explosion of nuclear plants, including a lot of nuclear plant building in the United States, China, India and Western Europe. Just give us a quick overview comment. Do you expect [it] to happen. Is this the era of nukes? YERGIN: In a sense it is happening . . . And people say nuclear is not happening or dead . . . In the last five years, something like 24 new nuclear plants have gone into operation and another 20 are under c

NRC Schedules Oyster Creek Hearing for August 24

From the NRC : The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public information session on Wednesday, Aug. 24, in Lacey Township (Ocean County), N.J., to discuss how the agency will review an application for renewal of the operating license for the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. The facility is located in Lacey and operated by AmerGen Energy Co., LLC. Scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., the meeting will take place at Lacey Township High School, at 73 Haines St. The NRC’s presentation will include information on how the process works and how the public can participate. Members of the public are invited to ask questions regarding the agency’s license renewal review process. Click here for a copy of the license application. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

Australia Nuclear Update

Nuclear reactors have a good safety record and worries about the disposal of nuclear waste are misplaced, Deputy Whip Alan Eggleston said yesterday, adding that Australia should consider using nuclear energy to reduce its reliance on coal for electricity. Senator Eggleston said Australia's energy needs were projected to rise by 50 per cent by 2020. Coal, the main energy source, caused a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. With 40 per cent of the world's uranium reserves, Australia couldn't continue to be so reliant on coal. ... He said there were impediments to other alternatives - gas, solar, hydro and wind power - in Australia. Senator Eggleston said one of the biggest obstacles was public perceptions about the safety of nuclear reactors. But there had only ever been two major accidents, at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. There were no deaths at the latter. Experts had said nuclear-related risks were among the lowest in the energy industry. He sai


Harvey Stuart Price, 62, died Aug. 7 of esophageal cancer. Price was an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington before he joined the Nuclear Regulatory Commission . In 1973 he became vice president and general counsel of the Atomic Industrial Forum, a trade association that later became the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness, which in turn merged with several other nuclear energy industry organizations in 1994 to become NEI. Price also worked in the biotechnology field, as founder and first executive director of the Industrial Biotechnology Association (now the Biotechnology Industry Organization ), then as a consultant in issues related to biotechnology and the law, and as a part-time executive with biotechnology trade groups. George Alonzo Ferguson Jr., founder of Howard University’s nuclear engineering program, died of cancer Aug. 14. He was 82. From 1966 to 1986, Ferguson served on the faculty of the School of Engineering at Howard University, where he founded and directed the nucl

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

BNFL has invited Lawrie Haynes , chief executive of British Nuclear Group , to join its board. Steven Howe has been appointed the first director of the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR). Howe currently works in thermonuclear applications, applied physics division, Los Alamos National Laboratory . Located in Idaho Falls, the CSNR will be a focus for engaging university scientists in research and development of advanced space nuclear systems including space power and propulsion systems and radioisotope power generators. TXU Corp. has named James Burke chairman and chief executive officer of TXU Energy , the company’s retail business. Burke previously served as TXU Energy's as senior vice president of consumer markets. TXU Corp. has also named Michael McCall chairman and CEO of TXU Wholesale, the business that optimizes the purchases and sales of energy for generation and retail businesses in the competitive wholesale market. McCall McCall has served as senior vice pr

Another Blogger For Nuclear Energy

From The Reconstruction : It's time for the environmental movement to drop its irrational taboo against nuclear energy and consider it as a part of a strategy to deal with a threat that the movement already recognizes as being quite present. If the environmental movement fails to either do this or to find a better solution, the movement will have failed. Global warming is not an issue we can fail to address. UPDATE : Meet Peter Byrnes : [T]he key really is to lessen and eliminate dependence on foreign energy sources . . . Alternative sources are an option, but wind, solar, and biomass energies are so outrageously expensive and scarce that it would be idiocy to suggest them. Nuclear energy is not only cheap, but clean. Just ask the French. And no, they are not meltdowns waiting to happen. Our naval fleet is loaded with ships powered exclusively by nuclear power, which has proven safe. Because while people may be pricing in the cost of gas, a shortage would create very different pr

Words of Wisdom

Can you guess who spoke these words? Coal offers great potential. So does nuclear energy produced under rigorous safety standards. It could supply electricity for thousands of industries and millions of jobs and homes. It must not be thwarted by a tiny minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns. Make no mistake. We will not permit the safety of our people or our environment heritage to be jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment. Click here to find out. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy Environment Energy Politics Technology Economics

High Oil Prices Spur Support for Nuclear Energy

The (South) Dakota Voice reports today on a survey by Rasmussen Reports that finds increasing support for nuclear power, which may be directly related to sky-high oil prices: As the price of oil surges, so has support for building nuclear power plants in the United States. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that Americans support the nuclear power option by a more than 2-to-1 margin (55% to 24%). In June, before the latest surge in oil prices, the country was more evenly divided on that question--44% in favor and 35% opposed. Much of the growth in support for nuclear power plants can be found among women and Democrats. However, men and Republicans remain even more supportive. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Americans believe it is somewhat or very important for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on imported oil. That's essentially unchanged from the earlier survey. Also unchanged is the belief that energy conservation is not a lasting solution. Sixty-four percent (64%) say t

Stat Pack: The Truth About Vermont Yankee

Check out the latest article from the Burlington Free Press pushing to close Vermont Yankee . It's by James Moore of the rabid anti-nuke organization, VPIRG : When Vermont Yankee went off line July 22 due to a "catastrophic failure" in its electrical switchyard we learned the real story behind Entergy's claims that the plant is reliable. “Catastrophic failure”? At NEI we track our nuclear plants religiously, and it's important to understand exactly what “catastrophic” means in terms of this incident. On July 25th (not the 22nd) here’s what happened : Around 3:30 p.m., Monday, an 8-foot-tall electrical insulator broke, sending a signal through the plant that shut down its generator, turbines and reactor… “'Catastrophic' is a term used fairly frequently. It really just means there was a sudden failure of a piece of equipment. The safety significance was blown out of proportion," Sheehan said. "'Catastrophic failure' conveys something