Nuclear

Energy Department Faces Pressure Over Power Study

16 Aug 2017   Coal, Nuclear, USA

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry at a clean energy conference in Beijing in June. Energy Secretary Rick Perry faces stepped-up pressure from environmental groups over a power grid study that he has signaled could help bolster coal and nuclear power. On Monday, the Sierra Club announced it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the Energy Department violated laws on public access to information by not responding to its Freedom of Information Act requests for communications between the agency and outside groups, such as fossil-fuel interests. The suit asks the court to force the department to turn over those records. “We’ve repeatedly asked DOE for information to ensure reality and science are coming before polluter politics, but we have only been met with delays and secrecy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, a Sierra Club director. The Energy Department didn’t immediately respond to a […]

China approves plan to promote unified nuclear reactor brand

14 Aug 2017   China, Nuclear

China has approved a plan from its two state nuclear developers to promote a single integrated nuclear reactor brand that will help speed up construction and strengthen their ability to compete in markets overseas. China is in the middle of an ambitious nuclear program that could bring total capacity to as much as 200 GW by 2030, and it also aims to win more projects abroad. But approvals have been slow with a variety of new advanced reactors subject to repeated delays. The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the China General Nuclear Project Corporation (CGN) have been jointly developing an advanced model known as the “Hualong One”, but despite government pressure, they have continued to work separately on their own designs. In a plan approved by regulators last week, the two companies agreed to use integrated technical standards when building Hualong reactors. They will also […]

Global Nuclear Power Capacity Could Double By 2050

11 Aug 2017   Nuclear

The world’s installed nuclear power capacity could increase by 123 percent in 2050 compared to 2016 levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report this week. These projections, however, are the so-called high in 2050. In the low case, the IAEA estimates are for a decline in capacity in the near future, followed by a rebound to current levels nearer 2050. In the high case, nuclear capacity is expected to rise from 2016 levels by 42 percent in 2030, 83 percent in 2040, and by 123 percent The main factors that are and will be influencing the future of nuclear energy are public acceptance, financing, and electricity markets. “If nuclear power’s potential as a low-carbon energy source grows in recognition and advanced reactor designs further improve both safety and radioactive waste management, the use of nuclear power could grow significantly,” the IAEA says . At the […]

South Carolina Seeks Ways to Salvage Nuclear Project

9 Aug 2017   Nuclear

An energy company’s decision to abandon work on a nuclear project in South Carolina has left the state reeling and the governor seeking one of several solutions to save at least one of the two reactors. Last week, Scana Corp. said it would walk away from its project to build two nuclear reactors in tiny Jenkinsville—after nine years and $10.4 billion spent—stunning local leaders and the 600 nuclear employees and 5,000 construction workers at its V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The move left Jenkinsville, population 71, with…

South Carolina Nuclear Woes Could Impact Virginia

3 Aug 2017   Nuclear

A multi-billion-dollar mess over partially-built nuclear plants in South Carolina could impact whether Virginia goes forward with a pricy new reactor of its own.  Two South Carolina energy companies recently decided to abandon construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors over delays and their high costs, a move that leaves ratepayers there on the hook for billions of dollars with nothing to show for it.  The failure in South Carolina to make new nuclear work could make it harder for Virginia’s largest electric utility, Dominion Energy, to move forward with a new reactor it has been considering for years and already spent millions on. The proposed plant, known as North Anna 3, has a sky-high price tag — one state regulator last year calculated it to be about $25 billion — and would significantly increase customer’s electric bills. But Dominion has argued it’s an option worth considering, as nuclear energy provides reliable, carbon-free energy.  Sen. Frank Wagner, a leader in energy issues in the state Senate and strong supporter of Dominion, told company officials at a committee hearing Wednesday that South Carolina’s woes concerned him about the viability of North Anna 3.

“My comfort level is not what it used to be,” Wagner said.  Dominion has not committed to construct the new plant. It has spent more than $600 million preparing for a potential build and received a federal operating license earlier this year, but Dominion says it needs more certainty in carbon regulations and its effect on energy prices to make a decision.  “The economics at this time don’t support moving forward,” said Mark Webb, a senior vice president at Dominion.   North Anna 3 has plenty of opponents, with one consumer group calling it one of the biggest potential ratepayer rip-offs in the history of electricity production.

Tab Swells to $25 Billion for Nuclear-Power Plant in Georgia

3 Aug 2017   Nuclear

The cost of building the only nuclear power plant under construction in the U.S. has ballooned to more than $25 billion, but chief owner Southern Co. said it isn’t ready to throw in the towel on the project. The company released the new cost estimate for Georgia’s Vogtle Electric Generating Plant on Wednesday, adding that it expects completion of the plant, which has already seen years of delays and rising costs, to be delayed by…

Nuclear’s Demise Continues: Another Huge Project Cancelled

3 Aug 2017   Nuclear

In terms of chronology, Santee Cooper’s board of directors met on July 31 to review the revised estimates for the completion for the now ill-fated nuclear project. (Santee Cooper owns 45% of the project and SCANA the rest.) According to local press reports, Santee Cooper’s board was informed that it would require an additional $11.4 billion to complete the nuclear project for a total project cost of $25 billion, which would bring the project’s cost estimate up 75% from the original estimate when the project was initiated, and the completion date for in service would be delayed by five years. As a result, the Santee Cooper board voted unanimously to cancel the nuclear project. Finding that its partner in this vast nuclear construction project was backing out, SCANA’s board of directors was faced with one of three decisions: 1) go it alone and complete the project as sole owner, […]

Failing Nuclear Power Is Good For Coal, Bad For Earth

2 Aug 2017   Nuclear

Scana Corp. announced Monday it will stop construction on a nuclear power plant in South Carolina—one of two in development in the U.S. Project costs ballooned in recent years, and the decision should eventually save electricity customers $7 billion. But the stoppage and others like it may cost everyone more in the long run. The move has implications that last hundreds of years—the residence time of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—as electricity generated from fossil fuels begin to replace aging or expensive nuclear reactors. Nuclear power has long provoked ardent policy fights, historically centered on the perceived safety or danger of splitting atoms to keep consumers’ refrigerators running. Since America’s most famous close-call—the 1979 partial reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island—debates have only grown in complexity. Today, it’s not local or environmental opposition but economics that’s crippling industry growth and undercutting the fiscal viability of existing plants. A […]

Trump May Have Unintentionally Killed U.S. Nuclear

24 Jul 2017   Nuclear, USA

President Trump has a different view of climate change than the previous administration. His decision to disassociate the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords has received the lion’s share of recent publicity in this regard. Now the President’s March 28th Executive Order (EO) could harm the U.S. nuclear power industry (although we doubt that was his intent). The EO directs the EPA, among other things, to review the previous administration’s “Clean Power Plan”. There are two main parts to the CPP with respect to electric power generators: 1) carbon pollution emissions guidelines for both new and existing generation and 2) federal efforts to measure the social costs of carbon (SC-CO2) as well as nitrous oxide and methane. It is the latter that concerns us here. Two states, New York and Illinois, have recently taken steps to subsidize aging nuclear generating stations. Both states used a variant of the SC-CO2 […]

Fukushima’s Nuclear Waste Will Be Dumped Into the Ocean, Japanese Plant Owner Says

17 Jul 2017   Japan, Nuclear, Water

Toxic waste produced by one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters will be dumped into the sea, according to the head of the Japanese company tasked with cleaning up the radioactive mess, despite protests from local fishermen. Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), told foreign media that nearly 777,000 tons of water tainted with tritium, a byproduct of the nuclear process that is notoriously difficult to filter out of water, will be dumped into the Pacific Ocean as part of a multibillion-dollar recovery effort following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. That year, an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, killing more than 15,000 people and leading to a series of meltdowns at the TEPCO-owned Fukushima No. 1, or Daiichi, nuclear power plant, causing it to spew radiation that has plagued the region ever since. While much progress has been made to clean the area, the company […]

Trump Sparks Fight Over Nuclear Mountain

13 Jul 2017   Nuclear

Nuclear power experts have proposed taking the disposal and storage of nuclear wastes out of the hands of the Federal government and placing it with a new corporate entity. The federal government has for decades received in essence nuclear “tipping fees” amounting billions of dollars from nuclear power generators but still has no waste storage facility in place. Technically the government has several high level nuclear waste disposal sites: Hanford (WA) with its recently well publicized difficulties; the relatively new salt cavern facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico which in 2014 experienced a fire caused in part by kitty litter (yes, that kitty litter); and the planned but dormant site for commercial nuclear spent fuel at Yucca Mountain (NV). In recent weeks, Energy Secretary Perry and other administration officials have discussed the need to push on with the development of the Yucca Mountain site as the nation’s principal repository for […]

Fusion energy pushed back beyond 2050

12 Jul 2017   Nuclear

We will have to wait until the second half of the century for fusion reactors to start generating electricity, experts have announced. A new version of a European “road map” lays out the technological hurdles to be overcome if the processes powering the Sun are to be harnessed on Earth. The road map has been drawn up by scientists and engineers at EUROfusion. This is a consortium of European laboratories and universities that funds research on fusion energy. The original version of the road map, published in 2012, forecast that a demonstration fusion power plant known as DEMO could be operating in the early 2040s, in order to supply electricity to the grid by 2050. But in the updated version, yet to be released, DEMO would not start running until “early in the second half of the century”. A related document that provides more detail on DEMO’s design says […]

MIT Scientist Asserts That We Will Have Fusion Energy by 2030

30 Jun 2017   Nuclear

Fusion on the Horizon In the continuous pursuit of a truly renewable and clean energy source , nothing compares to nuclear fusion. Although scientists have already found ways to harness the energy from the reaction that powers stars, it hasn’t been an easy feat. Despite the advances in research pertaining to nuclear fusion, there still isn’t a stable — not to mention cost-efficient — way to power the electric grid with it. Click to View Full Infographic According to the head of MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak fusion project Earl Marmar, we may not have to wait long. Speaking to Inverse , Marmar said that we could potentially have nuclear fusion powering electric grids by the 2030s — that is, if we’re dedicated to continued research. “I think fusion energy on the grid by 2030 is certainly within reach by this point,” Marmar said. “2030 is probably aggressive, but I […]

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 […]