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Showing posts from August, 2006

NEI Energy Markets Report (August 21st - 25th)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week: Electricity prices were mixed throughout the country last week. Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell $.03 to $7.01/MMBtu (see page 4). Oil prices fell $3.84 to $71.79/barrel (see page 5). Uranium prices (from UxC and TradeTech) rose to $48.50 and $48.25/lb U3O8 (see page 8). Last week, natural gas futures at the Henry Hub rose to $6.95/MMBtu for September and $11.24/MMBtu for January 2007 (see page 6). For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage . NEW!!! NEI will begin using podcasts for these reports to supplement readers with more information. These will be short two minute summaries of what went on in the energy markets last week. Click here to listen to the first one. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Electricity , Environment , Energy , Natural Gas , Oil

TXU Announces Plans For 2-6 GW of New Nuclear Capacity

More good news just off the wire from TXU : To help meet Texas'’ need for power beginning in the latter part of the next decade, TXU Corp. (NYSE: TXU) announced today that it plans to develop applications to file with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for combined Construction and Operating Licenses (COLs) for two to six gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear-fueled power generation capacity at one to three sites. TXU expects to submit the COL applications in 2008, which would facilitate bringing the new capacity on line between 2015 and 2020. Combined with its previously announced 9.1 GW of coal power generation capacity that is expected to be on line by 2010, the nuclear power generation capacity would allow TXU to continue to deliver the dependable energy supply, low prices and cleaner environment its Texas consumers demand. "“While new nuclear generation cannot come on line in time to meet the growing power needs of Texas for the next 10 years, TXU continues to aspire t

Fluor in Talks to Purchase BNG

From the Times (U.K.): FLUOR, the US engineering giant, last night made a direct approach to the Government in a bid to buy British Nuclear Group outright, after it was infuriated by last week’s decision to delay the sale of the decommissioning business, The Times has learnt. A delegation from Fluor met Geoffrey Norris, the Prime Minister’s special adviser on nuclear matters. It is understood that Fluor proposes to pay between £250 million and £400 million cash, some way short of BNG’s £500 million value. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity , United Kingdom , BNG , Fluor

Report: Australia Could Lose Billions in Export Income Without Nuclear Industry

That was the conclusion of a report prepared by Silex Systems at the behest of Prime Minister John Howard's government: The Age has obtained a submission to Mr Howard's inquiry by technology firm Silex Systems that argues Australia would lose export income of $US2 billion to $3 billion ($A2.6 billion-$3.9 billion) per year by 2015 if it failed to enrich its substantial supplies of uranium. "If Australia is to fully capitalise on the value of its precious uranium resources, then it should develop a nuclear fuel industry which includes uranium conversion, uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication services," Silex puts to the Prime Minister's uranium taskforce, chaired by former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski. The company also issues a blunt warning that no corporation will invest in Australia until the country achieves bipartisan support and lowers the political temperature around the nuclear cycle. "Against the backdrop of a deeply divided political landscape

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 Department of Energy's road map for developing cellulosic ethanol, a partnership between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to combat climate change, activities related to new nuclear plant construction, wind industry milestones, and other topics. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity

More on South Africa and Enrichment

Earlier this week we noted South Africa's announcement that it was considering creating its own uranium enrichment program . Today, Commentary South Africa has some more thoughts on the announcement. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Technology , PBMR , South Africa , Electricity , Uranium Enrichment

Westinghouse Snags $300 Million Contract in South Korea

From the Pittsburgh Business Times : Westinghouse Electric Co. said it signed contracts worth more than $300 million to provide equipment and support for two nuclear power plants in South Korea. The Westinghouse contracts are with Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd., and the Korea Power Engineering Co. Inc. [...] The plants will be operated by the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Corp. The contracts will provide work at a number of Westinghouse locations in the U.S., including: Windsor, Conn., Newington, N.H., and Monroeville. In other Westinghouse-related news, the EU has extended its deadline for approving Toshiba's purchase of Westinghouse by two weeks . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Westinghouse , Toshiba

LES Breaks Ground on National Enrichment Facility

It's another good news day for the nuclear energy industry. Down in New Mexico, LES has broken ground on the new National Enrichment Facility . From the Current Argus : Louisiana Energy Service plans to hold the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Enrichment Facility today at the NEF site near Eunice. The NEF, according to a press release, is the first major commercial nuclear project licensed in more than 30 years and the first ever to be awarded a combined construction and operating license. Upon completion of construction, the NEF will provide a domestic source of enriched uranium for the country's nuclear energy needs. The groundbreaking will take place at 10 a.m. The $1.5 billion NEF project, according to the press release, will provide close to 300 fulltime and contract jobs and more than 1,000 multi-year construction jobs in southeastern New Mexico. It will use proven technology that has operated safely in Europe for 30 years. When construction is complete, th

One Year After Katrina, Oil and Natural Gas Production Still Hamstrung

From the Houston Chronicle : In all, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 46 offshore platforms and Hurricane Rita destroyed 69, according to the Minerals Management Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. Insurance companies like AON and Willis have estimated the total damage price tag for the industry at about $15 billion. The most recent report on shut-in production says 12 percent of the Gulf's oil output and 9 percent of its natural gas production remains off line. David Pursell, an analyst with Houston's Pickering Energy Partners, said most companies don't expect to see the Gulf's oil and gas output reach pre-Katrina levels until next year. Some lost wells may not be restarted at all given the extent of the damage for many low volume wells. Thanks to Walter Taylor for the pointer. Technorati tags: Energy , Technology , Electricity , Natural Gas , Oil

FPL Gets Ready for Hurricane Ernesto

With Hurricane Ernesto bearing down on Florida, FPL is getting ready for the storm to make landfall later today . In case of hurricane winds, the utility has a plan in place for staged shutdowns of the nuclear stations at Turkey Point and St. Lucie. In case that decision is made, look for an announcement from NRC . Technorati tags: Hurricane Ernesto , Nuclear Energy , Environment , Energy , Technology , Economics

The IT Challenge at NRC

With NRC on the cusp of a new wave of internal expansion due to the revivial of the American nuclear industry, the agency is going to have to exapnd its IT infrastructure as well. NRC's Information Services Office director Ed Baker sat down with Government Computer News to talk about the challenge . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Electricity , NRC

James Lovelock to Make Washington Appearance

James Lovelock , the originator of the Gaia Theory, will be in Washington on Friday, September 8 at 7 P.M. to lecture and sign his most recent book, The Revenge of Gaia . The event is sponsored by The Audubon Naturalist Society , The Wilderness Society , The Carnegie Institution and Politics and Prose bookstore. The lecture will be at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The specific location is below, and directions are available from the Carnegie Institution website, : Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Terrestrial Magnetism 5241 Broad Branch Road, NW Washington, DC 20015 There is no charge for the event, but reservations are required through Politics and Prose. Email Bonnie Kogod at or call her at 202-0363-7738. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Environment , Energy , Politics , Technology , Electricity , Nuclear Power , James Lovelock , Climate Change , Global Warming , GHG

NEI Nuclear Performance Report (July 2006)

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month: For July 2006, NEI estimates the average net capacity factor reached 98.1 percent. This figure is 1.7 percentage points higher than the same one month period in 2005. NEI estimates monthly nuclear generation at 72.2 billion kilowatt-hours for July 2006 compared to 71.3 BkWh for the same one month period in 2005. For 2006, NEI estimates year to date nuclear generation at 459.8 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 448.8 BkWh in 2005 (2.5 percent increase). For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Electricity

MIT Nuclear Energy Q&A

In this month's edition, my colleague Lisa Stiles-Shell is the subject of the interview, as she answers some questions in the wake of her election as President of the International Youth Nuclear Congress . Congrats to Lisa, who I'm sure is in for an exciting term. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity

Lisowski to Head GNEP

Just off the wire from DOE: U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon announced the appointment of Dr. Paul Lisowski as Deputy Director of Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. As Deputy Director, Dr. Lisowski will lead the day-to-day operations of the Department's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, a key element of the President’s Advanced Energy Initiative. “I am excited that Paul will be joining our team,” Assistant Secretary Spurgeon said. “He brings a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise, which will be vital as we move forward with building new nuclear power plants under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.” As Deputy Director of Nuclear Energy, Dr. Lisowski will take the lead on planning and integration of advanced nuclear reactors, fuel processing, and research and development in support of the Global Energy Nuclear Partnership. Dr. Lisowski will also use his expertise and leadership to expand the use of nuclear power, minimize n

Standing By on NAM Labor Day Report

Off the wire from our friends at NAM : **MEDIA ADVISORY** Study Shows Energy Costs Shrinking the Pie for America'’s Workers WHO: John Engler, NAM President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers David Huether, NAM Chief Economist WHAT: NAM President John Engler will address the media on the results of the NAM'’s annual Labor Day report. The report provides a snapshot of the past year'’s economic trends as they relate to the American worker. As production jobs in manufacturing have posted their strongest gains since 1998 and production has increased at its fastest pace in six years, surging energy prices are decreasing workers'’ take-home pay. Along with David Huether, the NAM'’s chief economist, Gov. Engler will discuss how the manufacturing sector can continue to expand by turning toward a reliable domestic energy supply. WHEN: 10:00 a.m. Monday, August 28, 2006 WHERE: NAM Headquarters' —Industry Room 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Suite 600 Was

Wooten: For Georgia and the Nation, Build More Nuclear Power Plants

In Friday's edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution , Jim Wooten wrote an editorial in support of the expanded use of nuclear energy that's generated 157 comments and counting: Clearly the nation does need to move promptly to get back into the nuclear power business in a major way. In France, 78.1 percent of electricity comes from nuclear. ItÂ’s cheap, clean, safe and efficient. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Belgium gets 55.1 percent, Japan 29.3 and the United States 19.9. About three-fourths of this nationÂ’s emission-free power generation comes from nuclear. Georgia Power adds 40,000 customers per year, and thatÂ’s about half the new customers coming online in Georgia yearly. The two 1,200-megawatt reactors at Vogtle alone generate about 11 percent of its electric-power needs. The nation has been timid too long. Company officials have made no decision yet on whether to add the two reactors at Vogtle. The correct decision, for Georgia and for

Correcting the Record on Three Mile Island

An August 19, 2006 story in the Boston Herald concerning the distribution of KI tablets around U.S. nuclear power plants contained the following paragraph that caught my attention: KI pills help absorb radiation and can thwart thyroid cancer if people take them soon after exposure. Studies have shown the pills could have severely reduced cancer caused by meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Here's Diane Screnci of the NRC in a letter to the editor that appeared in today's edition of the newspaper : I'’d like to correct a statement ("“Markey rips Bush over delay in radiation pill handout," Aug. 19). The story said, "“Studies have shown the pills could have severely reduced cancer caused by meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl."” Detailed studies of the radiological consequences of the TMI accident have been conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welf

NEI Energy Markets Report (August 14th - 18th)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week: Electricity prices were mixed to decreasing throughout the country last week. Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell $.38 to $7.04/MMBtu (see page 4). Nuclear capacity availability averaged 98 percent last week. Brunswick 1, Crystal River 3, and Oconee 3 were down for maintenance (see pages 2 & 3). Uranium prices (from UxC and TradeTech) were at $48.00 and $47.50/lb U3O8 (see page 7). Last week, natural gas futures at the Henry Hub were at $6.79/MMBtu for September and $11.12/MMBtu for January 2007 (see page 6). For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Electricity , Environment , Energy , Natural Gas , Oil

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

From Reuters : Oil leapt more than $1 on Friday as a storm brewing in the Caribbean threatened to sweep through the U.S. Gulf next week and menace oil supplies yet to recover from last year's hurricanes. [...] A spinning band of squalls in the Caribbean was on the verge of becoming Tropical Storm Ernesto and was expected to head northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week. "Everybody came in and saw the story about the potential of this storm," said Kevin Blemkin, a broker at Man Financial. "People get a little bit excited about these things and we go from strength to strength." It was a year ago that hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf and temporarily shut in a quarter of U.S. oil production. It also shut down a considerable percentage of natural gas production too. Cross your fingers. Technorati tags: Energy , Technology , Electricity , Natural Gas , Oil

Coal Exec: Energy Demand May Strain Mines

From the Deseret Morning News : America's voracious appetite for energy will put tremendous pressure on the nation's coal industry, according to Steven Leer, chief executive officer of Arch coal, which owns three coal mines in Utah and is the state's largest coal producer. Today, about 50 percent of the nation's electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants. Leer said that market share will grow by another 7 percent in coming years. In fact, projections show that by 2030 the nation will need 700 million tons of coal more than what is being produced today, a 68 percent increase. "That is a huge number," Leer said Thursday at the Utah Mining Association's annual convention. "It's going to be a challenge to every man and woman in this room. As we've seen in the past, there are other ways the coal supply can be disrupted . Technorati tags: Energy , Environment , Electricity , Coal , Utah

Argentina Nuclear Update

From the AP : Argentina announced an ambitious plan Wednesday to expand its nuclear program to meet rising energy demands, including extending the life of existing plants and possibly resuming uranium mining. ADVERTISEMENT At a Government House news conference, Planning Minister Julio de Vido said the plan calls for increasing the life span of the aging Atucha I and Embalse nuclear power plants and completing construction by 2010 on the long-stalled Atucha II plant. Two decades of delays have hampered completion of the Atucha II project, located some 75 miles northwest of the capital of Buenos Aires. For more, see this fact sheet from the World Nuclear Association . Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity , Argentina , Uranium

Public Citizen VA Renewables Report: Fails Reality Check

As many of you already know, Public Citizen was an active participant at the NRC and DEQ meetings for North Anna last week. As part of their anti-nuclear campaign, they released a timely 'fact' sheet in which they outline how renewables can replace nuclear energy and meet Virginia's electrical needs. According to this document, if Virginia developed every suitable site within 20 miles of existing transmission lines, wind could supply 10 percent of Virginia's electrical needs! Holy cow! Why not? You might be wondering what was considered 'unsuitable' by this study? 'Urban areas, airfields, steep slopes, parks, wetlands, and wildlife refuges.' And, now Public Citizen proposes to fill all of the 'suitable' gaps between these sites with wind turbines, for a whopping 10 percent of our current electrical needs. What they don't seem to account for is DOE's expected 50 percent increase in national electrical demand over the next 20 years. An

Penn. Representative Has Some Questions About Nuclear Energy

Over at Daily Kos , Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Cohen is asking some questions about nuclear energy. Though he's a long-time opponent going back to the days of Three Mile Island, he's got some questions about where the industry stands now : The questions now are: Is Nuclear Power safe enough to be expanded? Has the technology and training of nuclear power workers been so improved that there are no longer threatening problems of human incompetence? Is Yucca Mountain an achieveable destination for nuclear waste? Can waste be reliably transferred to Yucca Mountain in Nevada without dangerous risks to the public health? Are there still problems of escessive water use by nuclear power plants? How many of the problems of nuclear safety widely discussed in the late '70's and early 80's have been eradicated? Is expanded nuclear capacity a risky target for terrorists, or merely a manageable problem? And what about cost problems associated with safety? Are th

James Lovelock and The Revenge of Gaia

In Tuesday's edition of the Washington Post , Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery reviewed James Lovelock's new book about global warming, The Revenge of Gaia : Lovelock's principal motivation in penning his latest work is not to better define Gaia (although he does that) but to warn us that, if nothing is done, Earth is on the brink of moving into a "hot state" -- and if it does, "most of us, and our descendants, will die" prematurely and needlessly. The cause of the heating, he writes, is the greenhouse gases released by our fossil-fuel-driven economy. So yes, "The Revenge of Gaia" is another book about global warming. Yet this is a wondrous and novel essay, both for what it has to say and for the insight it affords into one of the most ingenious, if eccentric, minds of our age. [...] In this crisis, however, Lovelock believes he does know what must be done. And his prescription -- develop nuclear power as swiftly and effectively as p

More Anti-Nuke Half-Truths About North Anna

I've got a follow-on comment to Lisa's post below about the performance put on by some of the anti-nukes who showed up at the NRC public meeting on North Anna held last week in Louisa County. While Lisa pointed out some of the contradictions evident in the statement of the representative of Public Citizen , I'll take a look at some of the half-truths spouted by Lou Zeller of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League . The first thing he said that caught my attention was the claim that a 2003 MIT study on nuclear energy concluded that it couldn't be economically competitive with other sources of electric generation like natural gas. Indeed, that's exactly what the study concluded. However, what Zeller failed to mention was the fact that the price of natural gas today is about triple the price estimate of natural gas used in the study . Let's just say that a price increase of that magnitude renders the original conclusion, "inoperative". Later

It's Fashionable to Not be Anti-Nuclear

I hope to have time soon to write down all of my thoughts about the North Anna public meetings in Louisa County, Virginia last week, but the most surprising aspect to me was the number of people suddenly calling themselves "not anti-nuclear." Imagine my delight when, at the NRC public meeting, Melissa Kemp , policy analyst for Public Citizen , joined the conga line and declared that the organization is "not antinuclear." Gosh, the people running their website must be taking a very long vacation. Because with this new policy, they really should take down things like Activists' Guide to Fighting Nuclear Power and The Case Against Nuclear Power . If they need assistance replacing the propaganda with facts, we'd be happy to help.

Department of Energy Awards $510,000 to Grad Students Under Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative

Off the wire from the Department of Energy : To help meet the growing demand for nuclear-educated scientists and engineers, and to build upon President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it will award a total of $510,000 in fellowships to 12 graduate students who are studying the nuclear fuel cycle. Each fellowship is valued at $42,500 and was awarded under the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) - a program within DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy - geared toward looking at ways to close the nuclear fuel cycle and recycle components of used nuclear reactor fuel. “These fellowships help further President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative by providing our next generation with the education and skills necessary to compete in today’s global marketplace,” DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said. “We congratulate these fellows, and are thrilled that some of the nation’s best and brightest stu

GBN Webcast on the Future of Energy

Back in May, the Global Business Network hosted a Web conference about the future of energy that looks interesting: Increasing concerns about global climate change, rising oil prices, and political instability throughout the globe have pushed the topic of energy and energy security to center stage. Conventional wisdom says that energy demand will increase primarily from the developing world, mainly China and India, and that the use of renewable energy will also increase in response to the problem of climate change. But are there ways in which this conventional view of the future could be challenged? Is a peak in oil imminent? Will renewable energy and efficient fuel technology take the place of the current dependence on hydrocarbons—or will political, economic, and societal based constraints lead to an increase in the use of coal? And what would this mean for our greater environment? In this webconference, GBN chairman and cofounder Peter Schwartz and GBN consultant Steve Weber expl

The Atomic Show, #26

Shane and Rod are back with what they're calling their best show yet : Shane and I get our groove back and engage in a geeky discussion on topics ranging from helium to coal and somehow manage to include such topics as aviation safety, nuclear engineering career paths, computing the cost of common products like a liter of water, assumptions underlying the MIT study titled the Future of Nuclear Energy, the geology that results in helium contamination of natural gas, a new business model for building nuclear power plants, Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and a singing act that included a cello and a helium bottle. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity

EU Energy Commissioner Backs Nuclear Power

From Bloomberg : The European Commissioner for Energy promoted the use of nuclear power for electricity generation on the grounds it can provide the biggest reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases. ``We need to keep the choice of the nuclear option open for countries that want to generate electricity,'' the commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said in a speech at a conference in Stavanger, Norway. ``Nuclear energy presents the largest carbon-free energy source in the EU.'' Europe will continue to rely on oil and gas as its main source of energy for ``decades to come,'' Pieblags said, although those fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unlike nuclear power and renewable energy sources. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity

Clanton on Nuclear Energy

Brent Clanton of the Biz Radio Network is looking at some of the business and investment opportunities in new nuclear build . And click here (MP3) for his interview with Elliot Gue, Energy Strategist for KCI Communications. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Environment , Energy , Politics , Technology , Economics

NRC Quarterly Report to Congress

The NRC just issued its first quarterly report to Congress under new chairman, Dale Klein. Click here for a copy. Among the highlights: The Commission has received letters of intent for 19 site-specific combined license applications for 27 new nuclear power units as of June 30, 2006. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity , NRC

Cleaning Uranium Waste With Bacteria?

Our friends at greenr have uncovered an interesting research paper : A bacteria has been found that can convert soluble radioactive uranium into a non-toxic solid form called uraninite. It's novel conversion process has been known about for 10 years, but researchers are finally beginning to understand exactly how it is done. Click here for the paper, and here for a summary. Technorati tags: Environment , Uranium

A Grand Bargain on Nuclear Energy and Global Warming?

After reading the recent piece in Scientific American by John Deutch and Ernest Moniz proposing a tripling of the nation's nuclear capacity by 2050 , Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle is wondering out loud if it might not be time for a compromise of some sort : This is where policy and science become really interesting. Bush supports nuclear energy, but has been loathe to act on global warming. Alternatively, environmentalists and some scientists have long been wary of nuclear energy, but with global warming have recently begun advocating its use despite their concerns (spent fuel disposal, proliferation.) This potential solution to curbing greenhouse gases and limiting exposure to rising oil prices -- building lots of nuclear plants, ensuring their safe operation and taxing "dirty" power producers -- requires compromises from both sides. Isn't that what compromise is all about? The Scientific American piece is now available online . Technorati tags: Nuclear E

American Utilities Weighing New Nuclear Build

In today's edition of the New York Times , a story by Matt Wald compares and contrasts the strategies of two different nuclear power plant owner/operators (Constellation Energy and PPL Corp.), and how they believe nuclear fits into their future generation mix. Here are some excerpts concerning Constellation, the more bullish of the two companies: Nobody in the United States has started building a nuclear power plant in more than three decades. Mayo Shattuck could be the first. As the chief executive of Constellation Energy, a utility holding company in Baltimore that already operates five nuclear reactors, Shattuck is convinced that nuclear power is on the verge of a renaissance, ready to provide reliable electricity at a competitive price. He has already taken the first steps toward that goal, moving this month to order critical parts for a new reactor. [...] Constellation Energy, the Baltimore company, not only wants to build reactors for itself, it has also formed a partn

America's Nuclear Electric Future

Here's Llewellyn King with a column that ran nationally this weekend on the McClatchy-Tribune News Service: Electricity has transformed the world. It has improved the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. Without it, only the rich could hope for lives of comfort. Aside from clean water, it has no peer in the realm of human well-being. I believe in the benefits of electricity and have confidence in America's ability to engineer its way out of its problems. So it seems incomprehensible that we do not pledge ourselves wholeheartedly to an electric future. Most of the railroads await electrification. There is a glimmer of its possibility for automobiles, and cities need to rediscover trolleys and trams. Back to the future, I say -- the nuclear electric future which is less volatile and more reverential of the environment. For 30 years or more, we have talked about new technology and meant computers. Because of social and cultural pressure, the truly exciting techn

No Time To Ban Bananas

In yesterday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , an editorial cautioned readers not to overreact to news of a leak of tritiated water at the Kewaunee nuclear power plant : But while concern may be warranted, overconcern - and overreaction - would be a mistake. Company officials assert that the amount of tritium found in the water "is not a threat to anyone's health." And while those officials may have a bias, their assertion is backed up by federal officials who say that no unsafe levels of tritium have been detected outside the plant's boundaries. And they are backed up by the Manitowoc County Health Department, which reports that "we have seen no tritium" in any of the weekly tests of wells near the plant. [...] The EPA allows up to 20,000 picocuries per liter of tritium in drinking water. In one of four shafts measured beneath the Kewaunee reactor basement, tritium was measured at 103,000 picocuries per liter, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commissi

Taking Issue With The Washington Post on Used Fuel

After reading a Washington Post editorial on Yucca Mountain and used nuclear fuel , Rod Adams has a bone or two to pick with the paper : The editorial then devotes almost half of its valuable space to calling for a "politically and technically viable plan for storing the deadly radioactive waste that nuclear power plants produce". There are several emotionally charged and technically inaccurate statements made in the article, calling the material of concern "sludge" stating that the material is "piling up on sites next to reactors, in many cases close to population centers". Even the title of the article is not accurate, the glow seen in used nuclear fuel pools, which is caused by Cerenkov radiation, is definitely blue . There's more, and it's all worth your time. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Used Fuel , Energy , Technology , Electricity , Yucca Mountain , Nevada

The Atomic Show, #25

In their latest podcast , Shane and Rod talk about a possible nuclear power plant in Amarillo, Texas , while Rod provides a report from the American Nuclear Society Utility Working Conference. Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy , Nuclear Power , Energy , Technology , Environment , Electricity

Who Would Benefit From a Resurgence In Nuclear Energy?

Over at Marketwatch , Marshall Loeb, former editor of Money , says that there is money to be made in the American nuclear industry : Expect construction of the first plants to begin about 2009-2010. But don't expect them to begin producing juice any time soon. The complex process of designing, winning regulatory permissions and building a plant devours at least a dozen years. At best, the first of the new nukes will start coming on line in about 2015. But even before that, large numbers of people stand to benefit. Among them are producers of many sophisticated goods (steam generators, turbines, pumps, specialty steel and alloys), skilled craftsmen and professionals (pipefitters, welders, engineers, architects), uranium miners, and, of course, shareholders in companies that make and build the plants. Alas, there aren't many of the last mentioned in the U.S. Only General Electric remains. And its nuclear business -- designing and building reactors and providing services and nu

NRC Chairman to Nuclear Industry: "Show me."

New NRC Chairman Dale Klein in a speech delivered to the NEI dinner at the latest meeting of the Nuclear Strategic Issues Advisory Committee (NSIAC) : Most of the metaphors related to vision have to do with the vastness of the skies, and limitless horizons. Mine has more to do with my roots. More than a century ago, an educator and politician named Willard Duncan Vandiver coined the saying that has defined my home state of Missouri for all time. Speaking to an audience in blue-blooded Philadelphia, he said, "I came from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." We've grown a bit in Missouri since then - we have some Republicans, and we even have a nuclear plant. But some things don't change. When I hear it said we're going to build 50 nuclear plants in the next 20 years, I say, show me - show me the designs, and then show me the hardwa

Social Barriers to Clean Energy

In response to yesterday's editorial in the Washington Post concerning expanded use of nuclear energy , Geoffrey Styles writes that opposition to nuclear power is tied up in larger issues concerning public reluctance to back large-scale power projects : Nuclear power isn't a panacea, but it is the largest-scale, most readily-available source of emissions-free primary energy, and it can expand enough to displace--not merely augment--large quantities of fossil fuels. Rather than competing with wind and solar power, it complements them nicely, providing steady base-load power to support their intermittent contribution. And by recharging plug-in hybrid cars, it can deliver transportation energy in direct competition with petroleum products. None of that will happen, however, unless we overcome our aversion to all of the less-attractive foundations of our economy. Unless we come to grips with our post-industrial squeamishness about large energy facilities and infrastructure, we wi

Deroy Murdoch on the "No Solutions" Gang

Columnist Deroy Murdoch has already figured out what environmentalists are against. But what he can't figure out is what they might actually be for: If Albert Gore, Jr. is right and global warming is genuine, grave, and the fault of mankind, why do he and so many environmentalists oppose measures that would reduce those pesky carbon-dioxide emissions? Power sources that could cut atmospheric CO2 rarely seem good enough to satisfy the greens. Unlike oil and coal, nuclear power does not generate CO2. It may be the most practical, atmosphere-friendly power source now available. And yet the former vice-president seems unimpressed. "I’m skeptical about it playing a much larger role,” he said in London’s Guardian newspaper last May 31. “I don’t think it’s going to be a silver bullet.” True, nuclear plants produce radioactive waste that must be stored somewhere. Despite an impressive safety record in America, where nuclear power meets 20 percent of energy demand -- and even more

The "Tooth Fairy" Visits Amarillo

With folks in Amarillo thinking about building a nuclear reactor , I guess it was only a matter of time before Richard Mangano, author of the infamous "Tooth Fairy Project," would come to town with his travelling snake oil show . As we've mentioned many times before, there isn't one public health agency in America that has given Mangano's claims any credence. Once again, here's Ralph Andersen, NEI's chief health physicist : Mr. Mangano's allegations of health effects associated with emissions from nuclear power plants have been reviewed in detail and repeatedly discredited by at least 8 state and 2 county public health departments, as well as the USNRC, as follows: USNRC; State of Connecticut; State of Florida; State of Illinois; State of New Jersey; State of New York; State of Pennsylvania; State of Minnesota; State of Michigan; Westchester County, NY and Suffolk County, NY. In fact, we are not aware of any federal, state, or local government publ