Nuclear

Three Mile Island is the Latest Nuclear Power Plant to Announce Retirement Plans

21 Jun 2017   Nuclear

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nuclear power plant data , Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and IAEA Power Reactor Information System At the end of May, Exelon, the owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in southeastern Pennsylvania, announced its intention to retire the plant in 2019 unless the company is given assistance by the state to help keep the plant financially viable. Exelon’s announcement marks the sixth announced nuclear retirement in the past seven years. Currently, 99 nuclear reactors at 60 nuclear power plants operate in the United States. Since the first commercial U.S. nuclear reactor came online in 1957, more than 30 nuclear reactors have retired. Some of these retired plants were test projects or experimental designs, but most provided commercial power for some portion of their operational lives. Prior to the retirement of the Crystal River, Kewaunee, and San Onofre nuclear power plants in 2013, no […]

South Korea Is Powering Down Its Nuclear-Energy Industry

19 Jun 2017   Nuclear, South Korea

SEOUL—South Korea, one of the world’s largest producers of nuclear electricity, is shifting away from the industry. President Moon Jae-in said Monday the country would scrap plans to build additional nuclear-power plants and wouldn’t seek to extend the life of existing ones. Mr. Moon made the comments in a speech at a ceremony marking the…

Seven more Fukushima residents diagnosed with thyroid cancer

7 Jun 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Seven more Fukushima Prefecture residents who were aged 18 or under at the time of the 2011 nuclear accident have been found to have thyroid cancer, the prefectural government said Monday. The number of Fukushima residents suffering from thyroid cancer now totals 152, the prefectural government said in a meeting of an expert panel. Hokuto Hoshi, head of the panel and vice chair of the prefectural medical association, called it “unlikely” that radiation was responsible for the increase. The prefectural government has conducted three sets of thyroid checkups following the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The checkups also covered people who evacuated to other prefectures. The second round of checkups from 2014 confirmed five new sufferers, and a third round launched in May last year uncovered two more. The panel decided to consider improving its counting method, […]

US NRC approves new nuclear unit for Dominion’s North Anna plant in Virginia

1 Jun 2017   Nuclear, USA

Commissioners of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted Wednesday to authorize NRC staff to issue a combined construction permit-operating license to Dominion Virginia Power to build a third power reactor at its North Anna plant in Mineral, Virginia. NRC staff completed its environmental review of the application in February 2010 and issued its safety evaluation report in January, finding that no environmental or safety issues preclude issuance of the COL. The commission said in a memorandum and order issued Wednesday after its vote that NRC staff’s safety and environmental reviews met regulatory requirements. The commission authorized the director of the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue the COL. That office “expects to issue the license in the next couple of days, as the review process is now complete,” NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said Wednesday in an email. Article continues below… NRC said in a statement Wednesday that the […]

Nuclear nightmare worse than Fukushima could hit US because of ignored risks

29 May 2017   Nuclear, USA

The US has underestimated the risks to its nuclear safety as a single nuclear fuel fire could lead to fallout “much greater than Fukushima,” according to a new study. Researches slammed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for ignoring the potential danger. If spent fuel at one of the dozens of US nuclear sites sets alight, it “could dwarf the horrific consequences of the Fukushima accident [in Japan],” researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists warned in their study published in the May 26 issue of Science magazine. The disaster would lead to “trillion-dollar consequences,” as the hypothetical fire would result in contamination of an area larger than New Jersey and force mass relocations. An aerial view of the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, a nuclear power plant in Delta, Pennsylvania © Stan Honda The scientists simulated a nightmare scenario in their ‘Nuclear safety regulation in the post-Fukushima […]

Trump Administration Revives Nevada Plan as Nuclear Waste Piles Up

11 May 2017   Nuclear, USA

Communities across the country are rallying behind the Trump administration’s push for a nuclear repository in Nevada, hoping their decades-old wait to ship radioactive material could be coming to an end. Yucca Mountain was designated 30 years ago as a final resting place for used fuel and other nuclear waste. Progress has stalled since then amid opposition by Nevada politicians who remain concerned about such a facility’s…

Hanford Nuclear Site Declares Emergency After Tunnel Collapse

10 May 2017   Nuclear, USA

The roof over part of an underground tunnel containing radioactive materials collapsed at a former nuclear-weapons production site in a remote part of Washington state, prompting an emergency declaration and evacuation of some employees, officials said. There was no indication of radioactive contamination in the area of the Hanford nuclear-weapons site, according to federal officials, but the incident is another setback to the…

Russia To Help Build 2 Nuclear Power Plants In Iran

20 Apr 2017   Iran, Nuclear, Russia

Russian experts will help the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran build two 1,000-MW nuclear power plants, Iran’s Energy Minister told media. Construction will start soon, Hamid Chitchian also said, adding that a third joint power plant construction project with Russia, which will have a capacity of 1,400 MW, has already begun. The announcement is part of deepening ties between Moscow and Tehran, expanding into a growing number of industries, from oil to defense and fisheries. Earlier this year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russian companies are “keen” on strengthening their ties with Iran, not least in the power plant construction sector. Energy-hungry Iran plans several more such projects, and it’s likely that Russian companies will be among the preferred bidders. Yesterday, Iran’s ambassador to Russia said in a statement that Tehran would be happy to strengthen bilateral ties further, noting their joint stance on the political situation […]

Toshiba Warns It May Be Unable to Stay in Business

12 Apr 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Toshiba Corp. on Tuesday expressed doubt for the first time that it can survive in light of huge losses at its U.S. nuclear subsidiary, which filed for bankruptcy last month. The company issued the warning alongside its latest earnings report, which came two months late and without the approval of its auditor. Toshiba, which traces…

Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Files for Bankruptcy Protection

30 Mar 2017   Nuclear

Westinghouse Electric Co., a major player in global nuclear construction, filed for bankruptcy protection, raising questions about the fate of four half-finished reactors in the U.S. A storied name in nuclear power, Westinghouse incurred billions of dollars of cost overruns building the nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina, a financial disaster that threatens Japanese parent Toshiba Corp.’s viability. Westinghouse had $9.8…

‘You Are All Liars’: Toshiba Shareholders Vent After Westinghouse Bankruptcy

30 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

MAKUHARI, Japan—Toshiba Corp. shareholders, some of them in tears, denounced management at a shareholders’ meeting Thursday outside Tokyo and asked why Toshiba had plowed billions of dollars into a now-bankrupt U.S. nuclear business. “Shame on you!” shouted one elderly shareholder. “You are all liars. How could you ask us to trust management?” The event took place less than 24 hours after a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by…

Toshiba approves Chapter 11 filing for nuclear unit Westinghouse: Nikkei

29 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

The board of Japan’s Toshiba Corp  has approved a Chapter 11 filing for its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday. A Toshiba spokeswoman said the company cannot comment on issues discussed at its board meetings. (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Six Years After Fukushima, Much of Japan Has Lost Faith in Nuclear Power

24 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

The Japanese government should consider a fundamental change in its current nuclear energy policy if it wants to recover the public’s trust in nuclear power, writes Tatsujiro Suzuki, Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University. According to Suzuki, staying on the current path will undermine Japan’s economic and political security. Courtesy of The Conversation. Six years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, but Japan is still dealing with its impacts. Decommissioning the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant poses unprecedented technical challenges. More than 100,000 people were evacuated but only about 13 percent have returned home, although the government has announced that it is safe to return to some evacuation zones. In late 2016 the government estimated total costs from the nuclear accident at about 22 trillion yen , or about US$188 billion – approximately twice as high as its […]

Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor

21 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Tokyo Electric on Sunday confirmed lethally high radiation levels inside the primary containment vessel (PCV) of the heavily damaged unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 resulted in the meltdown of three of Fukushima’s six reactors. The disaster in Japan left around 19,000 people dead and more than 100,000 homeless. In the largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl, radiation levels were so high that every robot sent to explore the site has failed. Russia-Japan Relations Have Good Prospects if Tokyo Cuts Ties With ‘American Cerberus’ Finally, on Saturday the PMORPH robot inserted into unit 1 in the first of a series of four missions into the PCV basement area managed to provide the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) with the radiation and temperature measurements within it. Devices on the camera-equipped robot measured radiation levels of 7.8 sieverts per hour on a […]

Fukushima Mysteries Rattle Japan’s Nuclear Industry

10 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Six years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, popular resistance has stymied efforts to rebuild an atomic energy industry that was once among the world’s biggest, as mysteries endure over the calamity. Authorities are struggling to determine what precisely happened after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors here, triggering an evacuation of thousands of people and costing…

The route to commercial fusion electricity by 2030

22 Feb 2017   Nuclear

Tokamak Energy’s contribution to putting fusion power into the grid by 2030: the ST40 prototype of a compact fusion reactor The world is facing a deep decarbonisation challenge, and major organisations such as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and the newly-announced Breakthrough Energy Ventures are seeking bold new technologies, like fusion, as the solution. Decarbonising all our energy requires a novel approach, but with engineers, scientists and private investors becoming increasingly serious about fusion, its potential is greater than ever. Fusion researchers worldwide are developing technologies and materials for fusion power in the future. At Tokamak Energy, our aim is to put fusion power into the grid by 2030; we are pursuing the “spherical tokamak” route to achieve this using compact machines. Our theoretical and experimental research to date has shown that this can be a much faster route to fusion than more conventional large-scale tokamak devices. Tokamak Energy grew […]

China Set To Resume Work On Nuclear Power Plants

14 Feb 2017   China, Nuclear

In order to cater to growing power demand, China is likely to begin construction on inland nuclear reactors in the next four years, resuming plans for nuclear power plants that were halted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, a senior energy official told Chinese media on Monday. China has already decided which locations would host its inland nuclear power plants, Wang Yiren, vice director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, and vice-chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, has told China National Radio in an interview. As of 2015, China’s 2016-2020 Five-Year Plan had the government investing US$78 billion to build seven new reactors a year from 2016 for the next five years. According to the plan, the country will reach 88 gigawatts of nuclear power by the end of 2020. The resumption of the projects for China’s inland nuclear power stations […]

New Radiation Level at Fukushima Dwarfs the Highest Peak at Chernobyl

8 Feb 2017   Japan, Nuclear

The Fukushima Disaster We noted a few days after the Japanese earthquake that the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs that at Chernobyl … and that the cesium fallout from Fukushima already rivaled Chernobyl (we also noted that Fukushima radiation could end up on the West Coast of North America. And see this .). The next month, we pointed out that Tepco admitted that the radiation from Fukushima could exceed that from Chernobyl . And that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse than a total meltdown: nuclear melt- throughs , where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground. A few months later, we reported that radiation will pollute the area around Chernobyl for 5 to 10 times longer than models predicted – between 180 and 320 years . The following year, we pointed out that the operator of the Fukushima plant […]

Radiation Level At Fukushima At Highest Since 2011 Disaster

4 Feb 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Radiation levels in one part of reactor no.2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are the highest since the disaster in March 2011, media report , quoting the facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), as saying. Tepco inspected the site via a camera attached to a guiding pipe, and according to Nikkei Asian Review, the company has estimated that an area of the containment vessel was emitting radiation of 530 sieverts per hour–enough to kill a person in under a minute. Prior to this, emissions of up to 73 Sv/hour had been detected at the reactor after it was melted in the nuclear disaster almost six years ago. Tepco said on Tuesday that the camera “captured intriguing images that may be fuel debris from the March 2011 accident, but further examination is necessary before that can be verified”. Yesterday the company said : “After some examination of digital […]

An unconventional approach to fusion

3 Feb 2017   Nuclear, Renewables

There’s no easy road to fusion. Whether one travels the large route forged by six decades of research on hundreds of machines, or whether one tries to open a way through uncharted and exotic territory, difficulties abound and challenges loom large. General Fusion’s approach is quite exotic: no vacuum vessel in their planned fusion machine but a spherical tank filled with a liquid lead-lithium mixture spun into a vortex; no giant superconducting magnet system to confine the plasma but an array of pistons to compress it by way of a powerful shock wave… Over the past few years, several private sector startups have raised enough capital to launch their scientists and engineers into the race to harness fusion power. Tri Alpha Energy and Helion Energy in the US; Tokamak Energy and First Light Fusion in the UK; General Fusion in Canada and scores of others … all claim they […]

Indian Point, closest nuclear plant to New York City, set to retire by 2021

2 Feb 2017   Nuclear

In January 2017, Entergy Nuclear and the state of New York reached an agreement to retire the two nuclear reactors at the Indian Point Energy Center , located in Buchanan, New York, about 25 miles north of New York City. Indian Point is one of four nuclear power plants in New York state and accounts for about 12% of total electricity generated from all sources statewide. Under the agreement, Entergy will retire one reactor in April 2020 and the other in April 2021. Entergy had been seeking a 20-year license renewal for both reactor units from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2007. However, New York state challenged the renewals as a result of environmental and safety concerns because of the facility’s proximity to New York City. The announced closure dates could be postponed by four years given a mutual agreement […]

Toshiba reckoning looms with chip decision, nuclear hole unresolved

27 Jan 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Toshiba Corp faces a day of reckoning on Friday, when it is expected to offer an initial estimate of the multibillion-dollar charge it must take on its U.S. nuclear business, but this will be only a step in a series of tough choices on the Japanese conglomerate’s survival. Toshiba’s board meets to approve plans to spin off its semiconductor business as a separate company, hoping to raise more than 200 billion yen ($1.74 billion) by selling as much as a fifth of the core money-making unit, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. But as the proceeds would be just a fraction of the hole from cost overruns in its Westinghouse nuclear business – which local media put at 680 billion yen ($6 billion) […]

Is the Closing of Indian Point a Gain or Loss?

23 Jan 2017   Nuclear

Reading “Nuclear Power Sounds the Retreat” (Business & Finance, Jan. 10), I was reminded of Paul Valéry’s observation that a difficulty can be a light. The coming closure of Indian Point, a major source of electric power for New York City, is a short-term difficulty that will light up the marketplace in alternative energy. Businesses able to discern the light will reap rewards by investing in ways to replace nuclear power with renewables, particularly with offshore wind. This is good for the climate, good for business…

Peak Uranium: the uncertain future of nuclear energy

16 Jan 2017   Nuclear

Peak Uranium: the uncertain future of nuclear energy Alice Friedmann recently posted on her blog “Energy Skeptic” a summary of the discussion on nuclear energy from my book “ Extracted ” (Chelsea Green, 2014). It is a well-done summary that I am reproducing here. Note that the text below mixes some of the considerations of the main text (written by me) and of one of the “glimpses”; that were written by other authors. The glimpse that reports the results of a model of future uranium production was written by Michael Dittmar. He told me in a recent mail exchange that his model seems to be doing pretty well more than two years after its results were published in “Extracted”. (U.B.) [ Figure 1 shows that the next IPCC report counts very much on nuclear power to keep warming below 2.5 C. The black line represents how many million tonnes […]

U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Continue To Close

13 Jan 2017   Nuclear

New York City’s major source of electricity for more than four decades could be taken offline in the next few years, a major victory for the state’s governor, who has called the power plant a danger to the city. The Indian Point nuclear power plant, which consists of two reactors, came online in the 1970s. It has been supplying relatively low-cost and low-carbon power to the city since then. However, it is located just 30 miles from the Big Apple, and as it ages it has become a worry for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has called it a “ticking time bomb,” according to The New York Times. Earlier this week, Gov. Cuomo announced that he had convinced Indian Point’s owner, Louisiana-based Entergy, to shut down the reactors by 2021. “I have personally been trying to close it down for 15 years,” the governor said. The closure “eliminates a major […]

Nuclear Plants Fall Victim to Economic Pressures

10 Jan 2017   Nuclear

Utilities are closing U.S. nuclear-power plants at a rapid clip as they face competition from cheaper sources of electricity and political pressure from critics. New York’s Indian Point plant about 35 miles north of Manhattan, a major source of power for the city and its surrounding suburbs, looks to be the latest casualty. Owner Entergy Corp. and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has long criticized the plant as a safety threat, are…

AP source: Aging New York nuclear plant to close by 2021

7 Jan 2017   Nuclear

The aging Indian Point nuclear power plant just north of New York City will close within four years under a deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has long argued it should be shuttered to protect the millions of people living nearby. Under the arrangement plant owner Entergy Corp. will shut both reactors at the Westchester County facility by April 2021. A person familiar with the agreement but not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the agreement on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Friday. It remains to be seen how the state would make up for the loss of electrical generation once the plant, which supplies a quarter of the power used in New York City and Westchester County, closes. The facility’s reactor units began commercial operation in 1974 and 1976. More than 17 million people live within 50 miles of the facility, […]

Troubled Chinese Nuclear Project Illustrates Toshiba’s Challenges

30 Dec 2016   China, Nuclear

Toshiba Corp.’s ambitions to make nuclear power a centerpiece of its future have instead led to an accounting scandal and billions of dollars in potential losses. For clues to what happened, the reactor being built by its Westinghouse Electric Co. division in this seaside town south of Shanghai offers an illuminating Exhibit A. The Sanmen reactor was meant to be the showcase of a new technology that Westinghouse hopes will revolutionize the nuclear industry by making power plants safer, less labor-intensive and quicker to build. Instead, the first so-called AP1000 reactor has been bedeviled by delays. In one instance, a critical component in its cooling system failed, slowing work by more than two years. Meanwhile, Westinghouse struggled for years to complete its design work for the AP1000, adding to delays and angering […]

Fuel removal at Fukushima reactor again faces delay

24 Dec 2016   Japan, Nuclear

Work to retrieve spent nuclear fuel in the No. 3 reactor building storage pool of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will again be postponed due to a delay in clearing radioactive debris at the site. TEPCO planned to begin removing 566 spent nuclear fuel assemblies in the storage pool in January 2018. However, the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., decided on the postponement, sources said on Dec. 22. They will decide on a new timetable in a few weeks. The work was initially scheduled for fiscal 2015, but had been pushed back because of high radiation readings in and around the No. 3 reactor building. The building was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the days following the disaster, triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO had attempted to lower radiation levels by clearing the radioactive debris […]

South Korean Scientists Smash Nuclear Fusion Record

Physicists in South Korea managed to keep high-performance plasma stable for 70 seconds this week. This gives the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) reactor the record for the longest ever time sustaining such reaction. [Image Source: Michael Maccagnan/Wikipedia ] This superheated plasma holds the key to unlocking nuclear fusion for virtually limitless and reliable energy. The Daejeon-based institute said they used a high-power neutral beam to contain the plasma. “The world record for high-performance plasma for more than a minute demonstrated that the KSTAR is the forefront in steady-state plasma operation technology in a superconducting device,” National Fusion Research Institute said in a statement . “This is a huge step forward for realization of the fusion reactor.” The KSTAR reactor is a tokamak reactor, one in which heated plasma blobs can reach up to 300 million degrees Celsius. Magnetic fields hold these blobs together, fusing hydrogen atoms to […]

Japan pulls plug on Monju, ending $8.5 billion nuclear self-sufficiency push

21 Dec 2016   Japan, Nuclear

Japan on Wednesday formally pulled the plug on an $8.5 billion nuclear power project designed to realize a long-term aim for energy self-sufficiency after decades of development that yielded little electricity but plenty of controversy. The move to shut the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor in Fukui prefecture west of Tokyo adds to a list of failed attempts around the world to make the technology commercially viable and potentially cut stockpiles of dangerous nuclear waste. “We do not accept this,” Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa told ministers involved in the decision. “This abrupt change in policy breeds deep feelings of distrust for the government,” said Nishikawa who strongly backed the project because of the jobs and revenue it […]

Trump Could Fuel A Nuclear Energy Boom In 2017

7 Dec 2016   Nuclear, USA

Nuclear power plant With Trump at the helm, sentiment gives way to practicality in the energy industry. For the vast untapped potential of the nuclear energy industry and the uranium that feeds it, this could contribute to a market-disrupting revival that no longer bows to fear and the politics of economy. While there have been some oversupply issues keeping uranium prices down, the bigger problem has been negative sentiment rather than real fundamentals, but the Trump presidency will see through that. Trump’s take on nuclear energy is quite simple. As he noted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan: “If a plane goes down, people keep flying. If you get into an auto crash, people keep driving.” Now more than ever, demand for uranium appears to be assured. But more than that, it’s about to truly explode as a number of situations combine to form the new era of […]

A fusion-focused future

3 Dec 2016   Nuclear

Dr David Kingham explains why fusion energy is closer than ever before Nuclear fusion is the creative process of the universe. All matter, besides hydrogen and a smattering of helium, was created in the fusion furnaces within stars as small atomic nuclei joined together to make larger ones. This reaction releases huge amounts of energy – about 10 million times as much by weight as the chemical reaction of fossils fuels, and all without any harmful byproducts. One can see why it is hailed as the energy of the future, the power source that will right the wrongs of a fossil fuel-reliant past and present. But it is not easy to achieve. The established principle for this reaction on Earth is to combine deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen, to make helium and a neutron. To do this, fusion reactors must recreate the conditions found in stars, where […]

Earthquake Doesn’t Deter Japan From Pursuing Nuclear Agenda

29 Nov 2016   Japan, Nuclear

Mihama Plant Japan’s post-Fukushima nuclear future is again being questioned in the wake of regulatory authorities’ decision to extend the life of three reactors at two nuclear power plants despite another aftershock. A decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan to extend the life of three reactors at two nuclear power plants in the Fukui Prefecture has rekindled worry about a possible repeat of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, as it comes only a week after the neighboring Fukushima Prefecture was rocked by a 7.4 aftershock. The decision will see the #3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co’s Mihama plant, along with two more, operate for another 20 years, bringing their total lifetime to 60 years. The other two reactors that received a life extension are part of the Takahama power plant. The earthquake that shook Fukushima last Monday caused a stoppage in the cooling system of the Fukushima […]

Is The Trump Presidency A Boon For Nuclear Power?

18 Nov 2016   Nuclear, USA

By now, the shock from Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election should be starting to subside, but this is hardly the case with worries over America’s course to a greener, more renewable-energy future. In fact, these worries have spiked in recent days, as the President-elect reaffirmed his commitment to the fossil fuel industry and his intention to pull the country out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. How legitimate these worries are, however, remains to be seen. Here’s the latest from the Marrakesh climate talks , courtesy of the AP. The EU is making unveiled hints that it would be smart for Trump to stay in the agreement, with Slovakian Environment Minister Laszlo Solymos quoted as saying that “it’s not easy to jump off a fast-moving train. If someone wants to deviate, it won’t be easy.” China has also shown some optimism that Trump […]

Is This The Beginning Of The End For U.S. Nuclear Power?

2 Nov 2016   Nuclear

Nuclear power plant Energy companies are shutting down their nuclear power plants and resorting to other forms of production. This is primarily due to the lack of funding and cheaper alternatives such as oil. With shale production continuing to ramp up production and incidentally lowering oil prices, nuclear facilities are no longer considered cost effective. It’s upsetting to contemplate the idea of nuclear power failing in the United States, especially when other countries’ governments, including those of Russia and China, are still fully financially backing the energy source. The costs pertinent to nuclear power plants are astounding. Plants cost billions of dollars to construct and then millions more based on required resources, overhead, and proper waste disposal. Bloomberg reports that the cost to build a nuclear reactor could be more than five times the cost to build a gas-fired reactor. With fossil fuels appearing so attractive, it’s hard to […]

Saudi Arabia to Select Nuclear Power-Plant Site ‘Very Soon’

21 Oct 2016   Nuclear, Saudi Arabia

Saudis to announce “concrete plans” for nuclear within a year Neighbor U.A.E. signs reactor deal with Korea Electric Power Saudi Arabia will soon choose a site for its first nuclear power plant as the world’s biggest crude exporter seeks to diversify its sources of energy. “We will be selecting sites very soon that we will reserve for our first nuclear energy power plant,” Khalid Al-Falih, the country’s energy minister, said Wednesday at the Oil and Money conference in London. “We hope within the next 12 months that we will be announcing concrete plans.” The government wants to make sure all “regulatory steps” are taken beforehand, he said. Wind and solar power will also play a “very significant part” of Saudi Arabia’s energy mix, Al-Falih said. Saudi Arabia, which laid out its ambitions for diversifying energy supplies in 2012, is trying to reduce the economy’s dependence on hydrocarbons as low […]

Three and a half years after Fukushima, 3 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are operating

14 Sep 2016   Japan, Nuclear

U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, and IAEA Power Reactor Information System Source: Since the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011 and the subsequent shutdown of nuclear reactors in Japan, five reactors have received approval to restart operations under the new safety standards imposed by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). Only three of those reactors are currently operating. Applications for the restart of 21 other reactors, including 1 under construction, are under review by the NRA. Some reactors that meet the new NRA safety standards and have been approved to restart continue to face legal or political opposition that may delay or forestall their restart. After the Fukushima accident, all 54 of Japan’s reactors were shut down. Twelve reactors totaling 7.2 gigawatts (GW) were permanently closed. Restart applications for 20 previously operating reactors (totaling 19.5 GW) and 1 new reactor under construction (the […]

Japan’s ‘Hail Mary’ at Fukushima Daiichi: An Underground Ice Wall

30 Aug 2016   Japan, Nuclear

The part above ground doesn’t look like much, a few silver pipes running in a straight line, dwarfed by the far more massive, scarred reactor buildings nearby. More impressive is what is taking shape unseen beneath: an underground wall of frozen dirt 100 feet deep and nearly a mile in length, intended to solve a runaway water crisis threatening the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. Officially named the Land-Side Impermeable Wall , but better known simply as the ice wall, the project sounds like a fanciful idea from science fiction or a James Bond film. But it is about to become a reality in an ambitious, and controversial, bid to halt an unrelenting flood of groundwater into the damaged reactor buildings since the disaster five years ago when an earthquake and a tsunami caused a triple meltdown . Built by […]

Nuclear developers have big plans for pint-sized power plants in UK

A range of mini-nuclear power plants could help solve Britain’s looming power crunch, rather than the $24 billion Hinkley project snarled up in delays, companies developing the technology say. So-called small modular reactors (SMRs) use existing or new nuclear technology scaled down to a fraction of the size of larger plants and would be able to produce around a tenth of the electricity created by large-scale projects, such as Hinkley. The mini plants, still under development, would be made in factories, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges to sites where they could be assembled in around six to 12 months, up to a tenth of the time it takes to build some larger plants. “The real promise of SMRs is their modularization. You can assemble them in a factory with an explicable design meaning consistent standards and predicable costs and delivery timescale,” said Anurag […]

Bill Gates And Other Billionaires Backing A Nuclear Renaissance

7 Jul 2016   Nuclear

Let’s for a second imagine a world without nuclear energy. That’s a tough one but let’s try. No nuclear bombs, of course, no Chernobyl and Fukushima, no worries about Iran and North Korea. A wonderful world, maybe? Probably not, because without nuclear energy we would have burned millions more tons of coal and billions more barrels of oil. This would have brought about climate change of such proportions that what we have today would have seemed negligible. Nuclear energy and uranium, which feeds it, are controversial enough even without any actual accident happening. Radioactivity is dangerous. Nobody is arguing against it. When an accident does take place, the public backlash is understandably huge. What many opponents of uranium forget to mention, however, are the benefits of nuclear energy and the fact that the statistical probability of serious accidents is pretty low. They focus on the “What if?” and neglect […]

The Sierra Club Still Opposes Nuclear Power

24 Jun 2016   Nuclear

“ Green Groups Ease Opposition to Nuclear Power ” (Business & Tech, June 17) gets it wrong. The Sierra Club remains in firm opposition to dangerous nuclear power. The article reflects wishful thinking on the part of the nuclear industry but doesn’t accurately represent the position of the Sierra Club. It is categorically incorrect to suggest that the Sierra Club considers nuclear power a “bridge” to clean energy. Nuclear power, much like coal, oil and gas, is a bridge to nowhere. In Illinois the Sierra Club is part of a coalition to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency, not preserve nuclear reactors. America’s energy future must be powered by 100% clean, renewable energy like wind and solar—and nuclear in no way meets this requirement. The Sierra Club’s successful work to stop and retire coal and gas operations has never precluded our efforts to oppose nuclear power, nor will it […]

Pacific Gas & Electric to Close California’s Last Nuclear Plant by 2025

22 Jun 2016   Nuclear

California’s last nuclear power plant will close in 2025, after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reached an agreement with labor and environmental groups, the parties said Tuesday. The San Francisco-based utility, a subsidiary of PG&E Corp., will withdraw its application to renew the nuclear licenses for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County. The plan calls for shutting down one of the property’s reactors in November 2024 and its second reactor a year later. The Diablo Canyon facility, which started operating in 1985, accounts for 9% of California’s annual electricity production, the company said. PG&E will begin to invest in a new portfolio of energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy storage to make up the lost production. The company said it will commit to having 55% of its energy portfolio produced by renewable energy […]

Fusion megaproject confirms 5-year delay

20 Jun 2016   Nuclear

The ITER fusion reactor will fire up for the first time in December 2025, the €18-billion project’s governing council confirmed today. The date for “first plasma” is 5 years later than under the old schedule, and to get there the council is asking the project partners—China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States—to cough up an extra €4 billion ($4.5 billion). “It is expected, if there are no objections, that we can approve [the schedule] by November and then we can move forward,” says ITER director general Bernard Bigot. ITER aims to show that it is feasible to fuse hydrogen nuclei together to form helium and thereby release enough excess energy to make a viable source of power. To achieve that requires heating two hydrogen isotopes—deuterium (D) and tritium (T)—to temperatures above 100 million degrees Celsius. ITER will feature an enormous vessel to contain […]

It’s the first new U.S. nuclear reactor in decades. And climate change has made that a very big deal.

18 Jun 2016   Nuclear

In an immaculate control room at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, green bars flash on a large screen, signaling something that has not happened in the United States in two decades. As control rods lift from the water in the core, and neutrons go about the business of splitting uranium atoms, life comes to a new nuclear reactor — the first in the country since its sister reactor here was licensed in 1996. By summer’s end, authorities expect the new reactor at this complex along the Chickamauga Reservoir, a dammed section of the Tennessee River extending northward from Chattanooga, to steadily generate enough electricity to power 650,000 homes. […]

Environmental Groups Change Tune on Nuclear Power

17 Jun 2016   Climate, Nuclear

Some of the nation’s most influential environmental groups are softening their longstanding opposition to nuclear power, marking a significant shift in the antinuclear movement as environmentalists’ priority shifts to climate change. The change is lowering one of the biggest political hurdles facing the nuclear power industry in the U.S. and comes at a critical time, as several financially struggling reactors are set to shut down. “Because the historical context is that these groups were opposed to nuclear, their absence on the opposition front is noticed,” said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs for Exelon Corp. EXC 0.20 % , the biggest owner of nuclear plants in the U.S. “I think it’s pretty significant.” Nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases, provides roughly 20% of U.S. electricity and 60% of carbon-free […]

Uranium Prices Set To Double By 2018

15 Jun 2016   Nuclear

Uranium Mine With prices set to double by 2018, we’ve seen the bottom of the uranium market, and the negative sentiment that has followed this resource around despite strong fundamentals, is starting to change. Billionaire investors sense it, and they’re always the first to anticipate change and take advantage of the rally before it becomes a reality. The turning point is where all the money is made, and there are plenty of indications that the uranium recovery is already underway. It’s been a very tough few years for uranium. But it now looks like we’ve reached the bottom, and the future demand equation says there’s nowhere to go but up—significantly up. Uranium analyst David Talbot of Dundee Capital Markets is forecasting 6 percent compound annual demand growth through 2020, which is enough, he says, to “kick-start” uranium prices up to and beyond 2007 levels. Morningstar analyst David Wang predicts […]

First new U.S. nuclear reactor in almost two decades set to begin operating

15 Jun 2016   Nuclear

Source: Republished with permission from the Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 was connected to the power grid on June 3, becoming the first nuclear power plant to come online since 1996, when Watts Bar Unit 1 started operations. Watts Bar Unit 2 is undergoing final testing, producing electricity at incremental levels of power, as TVA prepares to start commercial operation later this summer. The new reactor is designed to add 1,150 megawatts (MW) of electricity generating capacity to southeastern Tennessee. Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first nuclear plant in the United States to meet new regulations from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that were established after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan. After the NRC issued an operating license for the unit in October 2015, 193 new fuel assemblies were loaded into […]

Exelon to shut Nine Mile Point-1, Ginna reactors if New York fails to OK compensation plan

15 Jun 2016   Nuclear

Exelon Generation told the New York State Public Service Commission the company needs to know by September whether the regulator will approve a compensation plan for nuclear generators, otherwise Exelon will shut the Nine Mile Point-1 and Ginna reactors, according to a letter. The letter, filed Tuesday by the Harris Beach law firm of Albany, New York, on Exelon’s behalf, noted the company in May submitted comments on a proposal that would require all companies that sell electricity in the state to buy power from upstate nuclear plants at potentially above-market rates to help ensure the units’ continued operation. The proposal by the state Department of Public Service stipulates Exelon’s 597-MW Ginna reactor in Ontario, New York, and the 640-MW Nine Mile Point-1 and 1,205-MW Nine Mile Point-2 units in Oswego, as well as Entergy’s 849-MW FitzPatrick in Oswego, would be eligible to receive payments via a zero-emissions credit, […]

U.S. and India Agree U.S. Company to Build Six Nuclear Reactors

8 Jun 2016   India, Nuclear

The U.S. and India have agreed to move forward with the construction of six nuclear reactors in India by an American company, the first such contract since the countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal in 2008. The announcement on Tuesday capped a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. It marked a significant step forward in resolving obstacles to the sale of nuclear reactors and fuel to India. Under the new agreement, Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Westinghouse Electric Co., a U.S. unit of Toshiba Corp., will begin work on the engineering and site-design work for the reactors, though the contract won’t be finalized until June 2017, White House officials said. “Culminating a decade of partnership on civil nuclear issues, the leaders welcomed the start of preparatory work on-site in India for six AP 1000 reactors to be […]