Skip to main content

Deposits at the Fuel Bank

The IAEA approves a fuel bank:

The fuel bank would offer nations civilian atomic reactor fuel on an apolitical basis in hopes of deterring them from pursuing their own capability to produce such material -- a process that could also generate nuclear-weapon fuel.

Essentially, it does this by providing enriched uranium when there is a disruption in the commercial supply. The idea is that this limits proliferation opportunities because the host country will not do the enrichment itself.

Naturally, there are still a lot of details to work out:

Undecided aspects of the plan include the site of the fuel supply, the precise process by which the bank could acquire additional fuel and how its capacity could be increased.

This story goes into more details of Warren Buffett’s involvement, which was considerable:

"Throughout my lifetime I will be interested in this subject and I will back that interest up with money," Buffett told Reuters. "If the project sounds like a good one and has any real chance of reducing the probabilities of the terrible use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, I'm prepared to put up significant money."

And he did back it up with money - $50 million worth, matched by the United States and other countries, with Kuwait’s $10 million kicking the total over the necessary $150 million to get started.

The Washington Post was not able to get a response from the Obama administration (though it’s known to want it), but did weigh in with a quote from former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative:

"This is a breakthrough in global cooperation to enable peaceful uses of nuclear energy while reducing the risks of proliferation and catastrophic terrorism."

Indeed it is. Much more to come about this.

---

I didn’t know what to think:

The [chair of the] Kuwaiti National Committee for Utilizing Nuclear Power for Peaceful Purposes, Dr. Ahmad Bushara, said "Kuwait seeks to build four 1,000 MW nuclear power plants, to produce electricity, by January 2011."

Well, that’s ambitious, since ground hasn’t been broken for the first plant yet. But Dr. Bushara, perhaps badly translated or perhaps just a victim of a typo, means that the committee wants to get the ball rolling then.

He added, that by 2013, Kuwait will go out on bidding for its first nuclear project and launch its first nuclear power plant by 2020-2022.

That’s more like it.

---

We’ve followed the German struggles with keeping its nuclear plants open with both amusement and dismay. Amusement because the Germans are complaining despite being in a very good place – safe nuclear plants, a good head start on meeting carbon emission reduction targets – and dismay because the government dithered so long that it led to people protesting against their own best interest.

Others have the same attitude:

Putin recognized that "the German public does not like the nuclear power industry for some reason." He continued: "But I cannot understand what fuel you will take for heating. You do not want gas, you do not develop the nuclear power industry, so you will heat with firewood?" Putin then noted, "You will have to go to Siberia to buy the firewood there," as Europeans "do not even have firewood."

Putin is, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin, showing he can bring his customary bluntness to any situation. Russia has a bad habit of turning off the natural gas spigot to the West, so there’s that. But when he’s right, he’s right.

Comments

Isaac said…
Putin is the Russian Prime Minister now. Dmitry Medvedev is the Russian President.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…