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Gary Edwards

Teenager Designs Safer Nuclear Power Plants - Yahoo! News - 2 views

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    Very interesting presentation at the TED Conference.  Not quite a nuclear battery, but a really good redesign of nuclear power systems.

    excerpt:
    "Instead of finding a new way to boil water, Wilson's compact, molten salt reactor found a way to heat up gas. That is, really heat it up.

    Wilson's fission reactor operates at 600 to 700 degrees Celsius. And because the laws of thermodynamics say that high temperatures lead to high efficiencies, this reactor is 45 to 50 percent efficient.

    Traditional steam turbine systems are only 30 to 35 percent efficient because their reactors run at low temperatures of about 200 to 300 degrees Celsius.

    And Wilson's reactor isn't just hot, it's also powerful. Despite its small size, the reactor generates between 50 and 100 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 homes, according to Wilson.

    Another innovative component of Wilson's take on nuclear fission is its source of fuel. The molten salt reactor runs off of "down-blended weapons pits." In other words, all the highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium collecting dust since the Cold War could be put to use for peaceful purposes.

    And unlike traditional nuclear power plants, Wilson's miniature power plants would be buried below ground, making them a boon for security advocates.
    According to Wilson, his reactor only needs to be refueled every 30 years, compared to the 18-month fuel cycle of most power plants. This means they can be sealed up underground for a long time, decreasing the risk of proliferation.

    Wilson's reactor is also less prone to proliferation because it doesn't operate at high pressure like today's pressurized-water reactors or use ceramic control rods, which release hydrogen when heated and lead to explosions during nuclear power plant accidents, like the one at Fukushima in 2011.

    In the event of an accident in one of Wilson's reactors, the fuel from the core would drain into a "sub-critical" setting- or tank-
Hans De Keulenaer

UK opposes 2030 renewable energy target | Environment | The Guardian - 0 views

  • "The UK envisages multiple low-carbon technologies: renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, all competing freely against each other in the years to come … For this reason, we cannot support a 2030 renewables target," it reads.
Hans De Keulenaer

UK power blackouts now unlikely, research shows | Environment | The Guardian - 0 views

  • The severe economic slowdown and increased energy efficiency in Britain means widely feared power blackouts between 2015 and 2020 will be avoided, new research predicts.
Hans De Keulenaer

Can Efficiency Counter a Loss of Nuclear Power? - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • That argument is particularly common in New York State and in Vermont, where state governments are trying to close nuclear reactors within their borders. So, how effectively can efficiency replace a reactor, making up for the loss of this zero-carbon energy source?
David Think

Nuclear, a grossly uncompetitive option - 1 views

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    As the grave and unpredictable nuclear crisis in Japan continues, energy experts both internationally and domestically are questioning the viability of nuclear to deliver safe and reliable energy
Hans De Keulenaer

Economic viability of small to medium-sized reactors deployed in future European energy... - 2 views

  • Future plans for energy production in the European Union as well as other locations call for a high penetration of renewable technologies (20% by 2020, and higher after 2020). The remaining energy requirements will be met by fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Smaller, less-capital intensive nuclear reactors are emerging as an alternative to fossil fuel and large nuclear systems. Approximately 50 small (<300 MWe) to medium-sized (<700 MWe) reactors (SMRs) concepts are being pursued for use in electricity and cogeneration (combined heat and power) markets. However, many of the SMRs are at the early design stage and full data needed for economic analysis or market assessment is not yet available. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop “target cost” estimates for reactors deployed in a range of competitive market situations (electricity prices ranging from 45–150 €/MWh). Parametric analysis was used to develop a cost breakdown for reactors that can compete against future natural gas and coal (with/without carbon capture) and large nuclear systems. Sensitivity analysis was performed to understand the impacts on competitiveness from key cost variables. This study suggests that SMRs may effectively compete in future electricity markets if their capital costs are controlled, favorable financing is obtained, and reactor capacity factors match those of current light water reactors. This methodology can be extended to cogeneration markets supporting a range of process heat applications.
Hans De Keulenaer

Small Modular Reactors Sail into Headwinds at Savannah River | The Energy Collective - 0 views

  • An innovative program to build prototypes of multiple designs of small modular reactors (SMRs) at the Savannah River Site (SRS) is getting off to a rocky start. The anti-nuclear group Friends of the Earth (FOE) is charging that the Department of Energy (DOE) is trying to avoid having to submit the projects to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for licenses to build them.
Colin Bennett

Historic Report: Solar Energy Costs Now Lower than Nuclear Energy - 2 views

  • Now, a new report out of Duke University says that solar energy and nuclear energy have passed a “historic crossover,” where decreasing solar energy costs and increasing nuclear energy costs have met, and then parted. Solar energy is now cheaper than nuclear energy and is getting increasingly cheaper every day.
Energy Net

Cotter corp. starts water cleanup in old uranium mine - The Denver Post - 0 views

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    "The owner of a defunct uranium mine leaking pollution along a creek that flows into a Denver Water reservoir has launched a cleanup as ordered, state officials confirmed Thursday.

    Cotter Corp. installed a system that can pump and treat up to 50 gallons per minute of contaminated water from inside its Schwartzenwalder Mine, west of Denver in Jefferson County.

    Water tests in 2007 recorded uranium levels in mine water exceeding the human health standard by 1,000 times. Elevated levels in Ralston Creek also were recorded.

    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ordered the action. State natural-resources officials also are monitoring the mine, which produced uranium for weapons and nuclear power plants."
Energy Net

Opinion | Nuclear cleanup regulation could put public at risk | Seattle Times Newspaper - 0 views

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    "The weaknesses of federal regulatory agencies have been exposed by recent high-profile accidents. Guest columnist Tom Carpenter fears the Department of Energy will reduce its oversight of cleanup at the nation's nuclear waste sites.

    By Tom Carpenter

    Special to The Times

    PREV of NEXT



    Related

    Millions of gallons of oil gush continue to rush unabated from BP's mile-deep well in the Gulf of Mexico, and 11 workers are dead from the massive explosion that caused the biggest oil spill in decades. Weeks before this event, the news was dominated by the preventable explosion that killed 29 West Virginia coal miners.

    In both cases, the not-so surprising news was that the mine and the oil rig had abysmal records of safety violations before the explosions yet were still allowed to operate by the captive regulatory agencies.

    Where is the government accountability? It is the government's job to assure that ultra-hazardous industries operate safely and responsibly.

    Is nuclear next? The Department of Energy sits on the nation's biggest nuclear nightmare. Its inventories of highly radioactive and toxic wastes defy comprehension. Washingtonians are familiar with the DOE's No. 1 accomplishment, the Hanford nuclear site, which holds the lion's share of the nation's radioactive detritus. Suffice it to say that the escape of even a small fraction of such material into the environment would constitute a Chernobyl-sized catastrophe."
Energy Net

U.S. to Test 'Cutting-Edge' Solar Energy at Former Nuclear Site - Bloomberg - 1 views

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    "The U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior have picked a former nuclear site in Nevada to be transformed into a zone for testing "cutting-edge" solar energy technologies.

    The research will take place on 25 square miles of land owned by the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, an area larger than the size of Manhattan, the Energy Department said today in a statement.

    The area lies in the southwest corner of the Nevada Test Site, about 65 miles (104.6 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas, where the U.S. military used to detonate atomic weapons. The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration will oversee the project, according to the statement. "
fishead ...*∞º˙

Make: Online : Thorium as the future of nuclear power? - 1 views

  • throrium metal.jpg

    Interesting article over on Wired about Kirk Sorensen and the community served by his Energy From Thorium blog. To hear these people tell it, thorium fission in fluid fuel reactors offers an idyllic vision of a boundless-energy-from-the-atom type future no one has really believed in since the early 50s. Thorium, reportedly, is abundant, safe, highly efficient as a nuclear fuel, and produces waste that is radioactive only for a few hundred years instead of tens of thousands.

Hans De Keulenaer

Utilities planning to upgrade nuclear plants | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/29/2009 - 0 views

  • Construction crews last week prepared a concrete slab to serve as a staging area for the replacement of Limerick's six huge transformers, a $90 million job that will take about two years to complete.

    The improvements to the transformers, which convert electricity for transmission on big power lines, are only one component of a complicated effort to "uprate" the plant's output, adding 170 megawatts of generating capacity to each unit. Along with earlier upgrades, the improvements will expand Limerick's total capacity to 2,600 megawatts - 23 percent more power than it produced when the two units were completed in 1989.

Colin Bennett

100,000 mini power plants to substitute for 2 nuclear plants - 0 views

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    A collaboration in Germany is about to explore whether a sizable distributed generation project can supplant centralized power plants. For this project - called SchwarmStrom - 100,000 mini gas-fired generators will provide heat and power in German homes and businesses, with a combined output of 2000 MW!
Hans De Keulenaer

Jim Rogers: US Leads in Nuclear Power Production - WSJ.com - 0 views

  • Investing in new nuclear power plants, which produce electricity 24 hours a day and seven days a week, can be a major growth engine for our economy. Nuclear plants can be located close to growing demand centers, and next to existing transmission lines. Renewables, which produce power intermittently, must often be sited far from cities and the grid.
Colin Bennett

The "Next Big Thing" in cleantech investing could be really… well, big. - 0 views

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    Two strong potential candidates for the Next Big Thing in cleantech venture capital are nuclear and carbon capture and storage.

    I've spoken with numerous VCs recently who are looking for innovative ways to play in nuclear power. Bets have already been made by VCs in small-scale nukes, hot fusion, and technologies related to big-scale nukes. The hope is to find a low-cost solution that is practically zero carbon emissions and also provides reliable "base load" power. So in other words, the hope is for a lower-carbon replacement for coal power. The challenges are also significant, however, not least of which being time to market for any new innovations, as this interesting article illustrates.

    With the recent news that the DOE will be putting $2.4B into carbon capture and storage, and its inclusion in emerging climate legislation, it's also clear that CCS will be leaned upon as a hoped-for way of making our existing coal-fired generation infrastructure less impactful on the atmosphere, while still preserving its value as low-cost baseload power. So in other words, the hope is for a lower-carbon "fix" for coal power.
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