36th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

The voice of the nuclear renaissance is found in a weekly wrap up

TVA's Bellefonte nuclear power station - graphic by PopAtomic Studios

This is the 36th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs. The carnival features blog posts from the leading U.S. nuclear bloggers and is a roundup of featured content from them.

If you want to hear the voice of the nuclear renaissance, the carnival is where to find it.

Past editions have been hosted at Canadian Energy Issues, NEI Nuclear Notes, Next Big Future, Atomic Insights, Yes Vermont Yankee, Idaho Samizdat, and several other popular nuclear energy blogs.

Pop Atomic Studios

Google's electric car

Suzy Hobbs of PopAtomic Studios examines the marketing of ‘zero-emission’ electric cars.  The idea is that you can charge the vehicle’s electric battery at home or at designated charging stations and have absolutely no carbon emissions, or at least that is what the advertising might lead one to believe. Sounds pretty great…but there is one major problem that the media and public don’t seem to notice.

Electricity is not intrinsically carbon-free. In fact electricity production is the single largest emitter of CO2 in the United States according to the EPA’s report on Climate Change.  This new generation of electric vehicles could be a great thing, but it depends on a large scale shift to a clean energy source: nuclear energy.

ANS Nuclear Cafe

Mike Blake of Nuclear News talks about the growing support for nuclear energy in the United States. He ties this support to dramatic changes in nuclear power management and regulation over the past 30 years and discusses the Top 5 improvements in the U.S. nuclear energy industry.

Nuke Power Talk

Many people in the nuclear industry are looking to the new Congress and hoping for action in some key areas to help jump-start the nuclear industry. Having lived and worked inside the Beltway for more years than I care to admit to any more, I’d like to caution everyone that the Washington scene is extraordinarily complicated.

NuclearGreen

Alvin Weinberg - photo Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In “Rediscovering Weinberg’s Vision,” Charles Barton recounts how Alvin Weinberg’s death lead him to recover Weinberg’s vision of the role of energy in society. Charles notes his own childhood relationship with the Weinberg family, and his year as “a glorified Intern” with the ORNL-NSF Environmental Studies program.  In contrast to Amory Lovins whose predictions were almost never correct, many of Alvin Weinberg’s predictions about energy have proven correct.

In his post, “Alvin Weinberg and the Molten Salt Reactor,” Charles Barton recounts how his rediscovery of Alvin Weinberg’s vision lead him to look anew at the Molten Salt Reactor. Charles found a number of Weinberg’s papers on Molten Salt Reactors on Kirk Sorensen’s Blog, Energy from Thorium. An account of Weinberg’s management style is included as well as an extensive quote from a Weinberg essay on the Molten Salt Breeder Reactor.

Canadian Energy Issues

With the breakdown of talks over the privatization of Atomic Energy Canada Limited, the Canadian and Ontario governments are, finally, feeling public pressure to get down to real negotiations over Canada’s first new domestic power reactor project in 16 years. The essential issue is risk; more precisely, how much it will cost to manage it. At stake: thousands of high paid jobs, and Canada’s role in the international nuclear industry

Atomic Insights

For Sale – Nuclear Power Plant for less than $1,500 per kilowatt that can be running in about 5 years.

Based on a number of private conversations, I have learned that Exelon would be willing to sell the Zion Nuclear Station if a qualified buyer made a reasonable offer. For about $3 billion and a few years of challenging work, the buyer would have a refurbished, 2100 MWe nuclear plant with a fresh, 20 year operating license. A reasonable estimate is that the plant could be producing revenue by 2016.

Idaho Samizdat

On Jan 11 that the Chinese State Council Research Office published a policypaper in its Outlook Weekly that the country must avoid building too many new nuclear reactors too quickly.

This blog predicted in December 2010 that there would be a slowdown in China in terms of the pace of its new nuclear build. I wrote  . . .

China determined to address challenges to its ambitious nuclear new build

“The mandarins in Beijing will discover they’re outrunning their ability to build out their plans for 80 GWe of new reactors in ten years. There are limits to how much concrete, steel, and nuclear engineering talent can be put into play in that short a period of time.”

It appears this is what’s happening as documented in an extraordinary paper released by a government ministry.

This blog post takes the reader through the issues facing China’s new nuclear build including training a new generation of nuclear engineers, getting quality embedded in the manufacturing process with reliable delivery of whole systems, cost control, and organization of nuclear safety institutions.

Yes Vermont Yankee

Meredith Angwin, who blogs at Yes Vermont Yankee, is also director of the Ethan Allen Institute Energy Education Project. After years of seeing nuclear opponents sendanti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott to the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier, we are proud to have planned a visit by Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power To Save the World. Gwyneth will speak in Montpelier and Burlington.

Next Big Future

Uranium is an abundant element

A biased report claimed that uranium from seawater would not have goodenergy return and could not have a good location with a reasonable ocean current.

The report looked at the Straits of Gibraltar but ignores the Black Current off of Japan which is 42 times stronger. Japanese researchers are leading the development of uranium from seawater and all of their plans talk about this current.

Japan is looking at offshore processing, which would save the fuel costs of bringing the absorbent from the ocean to a land based facility. This is an improvement over using ships to move the materials from the ocean for processing on land and then bringing them back to the ocean

The biased report also ignored deep burn reactors and reprocessing. This can be 60 times more efficient.

Japan has proposed various scaling up plans for uranium from seawater Japan is also looking at genetically engineering seaweed to be the absorbent which will produce biofuel and extract uranium and vanadium by having high levels of tannin. By using organic materials absorbent there would not be the issue of using oil to create the capture material. By using genetically altered seaweed, there would be the energy gain from the biofuel and the uranium.

Nuclear Fissionary – the video

I’ve decided paraphrase every conversation I’ve ever had with an antinuclear activist. No Rainbow Bears were harmed during the making of this video.

This videos is the perfect vehicle for sending this message and it is all because of monotone. The monotone, unwavering and robotic delivery of the animations inserts and fresh breathe of calmness and seeming neutrality to this heated debate.

Not only does this video purport a sound and viable message, it does so in away that removes irrational inflection from the argument. It’s truly as if both sides can hear one another speak and in doing so register what one another is saying.

If there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this it is that while must uphold our passion we must remember to remain calm, focus and steadfast in our conversations and encounters with those who have not yet come to fully grasp the facts.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBFpm9UHX-0]

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