Category Archives: Nuclear Matinee

Nuclear Matinee: The Mighty Watts Bar FLEX Building

If a tornado just happens to come through… flying steel pipes, telephone poles, or even automobiles will be no match for this building. This is the new Watts Bar FLEX building, housing emergency backup equipment like generators and pumps that could be used to replace equipment in case of damage from a natural disaster. Watts Bar will likely be the first nuclear facility in the United States to comply with all the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s post-Fukushima requirements, as the Tennessee Valley Authority works toward licensing for Watts Bar Unit 2 with a target date of beginning commercial operation in December next year.

And take a more in-depth tour of the building:

Thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority for producing the first fine video, and thanks to the Nuclear Energy Institute News Team for producing the second.

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Nuclear Video Matinee: Vogtle Nuclear Construction Update

Near Augusta, Georgia, the first new commercial nuclear power reactors under construction in the United States in 30 years continue to “go vertical.”  Take an inside look at the latest from the Vogtle-3 and -4 construction site, including placement of the 1.8 million pound containment vessel bottom head for Unit 4, the cooling tower for Unit 3 surpassing 300 feet, and a very interesting visit to the Port of Savannah where many of the most massive Vogtle components arrive via ship.

Thanks to Georgia Power YouTube for sharing this construction update.

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Nuclear Matinee: CNBC’s Where The Jobs Are—The New Nuclear Generation at V.C. Summer

CNBC’s Mary Thompson visits the construction site of two new nuclear energy reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina, and talks with South Carolina Electric & Gas Company Chief Nuclear Officer Jeffrey Archie about new construction and operation jobs—in South Carolina and industry-wide.

Thanks to CNBC for sharing this video

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Nuclear Matinee: Getting to Know Nuclear: Past, Present, and Future

With Memorial Day Weekend at hand, this is a good time to sit down and take a more in-depth look at the history, and the future, of nuclear energy.  Dr. Roger Blomquist of Argonne National Laboratory leads a public tour on this fascinating topic.  Note the video begins at 0:40 and Dr. Blomquist begins at 7:30.

Thanks to Argonne National Laboratory for sharing this video

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Nuclear Video Matinee Mother’s Day Double Feature

The second Sunday in May marks the celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States and many countries. In honor of this wonderful tradition, the Nuclear Cafe Matinee is quite pleased to showcase interviews with nuclear engineer Julie Ezold, Californium-252 Production Program Manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

This week Alan Williams of WVLT in Knoxville, Tenn., interviewed Ms. Ezold at her laboratories at the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center at Oak Ridge to discuss her work, motherhood of her 5-year-old daughter, and one of her passions—involving youngsters, and often quite young ones at that, with the fun of science.

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So what is Californium-252 all about? [e.g., how do they start a nuclear reactor anyway?] Like most of nuclear technology, it’s used in more places and more ways than one might ever imagine—even including the discovery of entirely new elements that have never existed before. Ms. Ezold explains in this video released last month by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

Thanks to WVLT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory for sharing these fine videos.

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Nuclear Video Matinee: Fukushima Health Effects in North America (?)

Studies by Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano purporting to link radiation from Fukushima to health effects in the United States have made for alarming headlines in news outlets on occasion, and have come under fire by critics who charge flawed methodology (for example, What Can We Do About Junk Science and Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Study).

When the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation assesses the health effects of Fukushima in Japan and concludes that we are unlikely to see any increase in cancer rates or birth defects—ever, let alone  months or a few years later—well, somebody seems likely to be wrong.

Could it be Mangano and Sherman? For a careful and thorough examination, see the following—and for much more in detail and discussion, visit Mangano and Sherman Take Down at Atomic Insights.

Thanks to GoddardsJournal on YouTube and Atomic Insights.

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Nuclear Video Matinee: Offshore Nuclear Plants

Jacopo Buongiorno of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discusses some of the advantages of a nuclear reactor concept under development in collaboration with industry and other universities: floating off-shore nuclear power plants, constructed entirely in a shipyard, anchored off the coast, linked to the electric grid via undersea cable. Earthquakes and tsunamis would not be a threat, the ocean would be readily available to serve as a heat sink for reactor cooling, emergency evacuation planning would be a lesser consideration…

A potentially revolutionary advance in nuclear engineering? The concept has made quite a splash in the media—the latest being more details via a story in The Economist.

Thanks to Massachusetts Institute of Technology YouTube and the Nuclear Street News Team.

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Nuclear video matinee: Africa looks to nuclear power

The World Bank reports that fewer than 10 percent of African households have access to the electrical grid.  Some countries such as Kenya and Nigeria are looking to add nuclear energy to their grids, Egypt has plans to implement nuclear energy and South Africa wants to expand its share.  This video from Voice of America News discusses some recent developments in nuclear energy in Africa and pros and cons.

As South African nuclear physicist Kelvin Kemm notes in the video, “They need to double  electricity consumption immediately, and then double it again, and again and again for their people.”

For recent details on developments regarding Kenya see Kenya’s studied approach to a nuclear future at ANS Nuclear Cafe.

Thanks to VOA News on YouTube for sharing this video.  For text see Africa looks to nuclear power to light up continent

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Nuclear Video Matinee: NuScale and TerraPower at CERAWeek

ICOSA Media caught up with NuScale chief executive officer Chris Colbert and TerraPower CEO John Gilleland at the recent CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Tex. The two leaders of these innovative nuclear energy companies discuss the how’s and why’s of their small and beautiful reactor designs—the NuScale Small Modular reactor and the TerraPower Traveling Wave reactor.

NuScale and TerraPower are no strangers to ANS Nuclear Cafe—for more details see Bill Gates: “I Love Nuclear”, Bill Gates on Nuclear Energy and TerraPower, and SMRs Get Further Push with Western Initiative for Nuclear.

Thanks to ICOSA Media on YouTube for sharing this video.

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Nuclear Matinee: Vogtle Nuclear Construction Update

Near Augusta, Georgia, the first new commercial nuclear power reactors built in the United States in 30 years continue to take shape. This latest video update features the recent heavy lift of the massive 5-story CA20 module, which will house the spent fuel pool, fuel transfer canal, and other essential components for Unit 3. The video also features a visit by US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, day-to-day problem-solving operations at the site’s operations control center (especially during recent unusually cold weather), and the immeasurable beneficial economic and other impacts on the region’s economy and school systems. Fuel loading and connection to the grid is scheduled for Unit 3 in 2017, and Unit 4 in 2018.

Thanks to Georgia Power YouTube for sharing this construction update.

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Nuclear Matinee: How It’s Made—Spent Nuclear Fuel Containers

This excerpt from the Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made series documents the making of a spent nuclear fuel container.

It might be a little dry, but if so that’s still OK—it’s for dry cask storage after all.

Thanks to How It’s Made Youtube for sharing this video

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Nuclear Matinee: Making Sci-Fi Sci-Fact—Nuclear Energy History and Perceptions

Don Miley of Idaho National Laboratory leads a highly enjoyable and thought-provoking tour through the images, perceptions, and yes, the reality of ‘nuclear’ and nuclear energy research through history.

What should ‘nuclear’ mean to us? What images and perceptions should immediately come to mind?

Thanks to TEDx Talks for sharing this video.

What city is this?

What city is this?

Nuclear Matinee: World’s First AP1000 In Review

The world’s first Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor is scheduled to begin operation later this year at the Sanmen Nuclear Power Station in China. Another AP1000 is scheduled to go online later this year at the Haiyang nuclear power plant in China, with two more AP1000 units to be operational at those sites in 2015, and four additional to follow after that.

Meanwhile, four AP1000 units are under construction at the Plant Vogtle and V.C. Summer nuclear plants in the United States.

The following time-lapse film covers construction at the Sanmen-1 site from 2009 through 2014.

It is a bit short on soundtrack, however…

Heavy Fuel? Neutron Dance? The Future’s So Bright? Or perhaps something more contemporary…

Thanks to Nuclear Street and Westinghouse AP1000 YouTube.

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Nuclear Matinee: ‘Cosmos’ Returns

“It is time to make the case for science,” says host Neil deGrasse Tyson of the upcoming relaunch of the classic 1980 series Cosmos. The new Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premieres this Sunday, March 9, on FOX, and Monday, March 10, on the National Geographic Network—all in all, in 170 countries and 45 languages, the largest global opening ever for any television series, according to executive producer, writer, and director Ann Druyan.

Nuclear-related? Sure! The universe itself is nuclear-powered, and from the Curiosity rover on Mars to the most powerful space telescopes, our understanding of nuclear science and use of nuclear technologies have been indispensable in humanity’s exploration and understanding of that greatest of all mysteries, and greatest of all voyages… the Cosmos.

We no longer have Carl Sagan, but if the new series can capture the charm and wonder of the old, and portray this to a mass audience, we could be in for something special. As in this trip back in time, in which Dr. Sagan (at 28:27) begins to discuss the prospects for… nuclear-powered starships.

For more on the new Cosmos and its creators, see this review in the New York Times. Or, just tune in Sunday evening and enjoy the ride.

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Nuclear Matinee: NASA Artificial Intelligence Unit on Fission vs. Fusion

Fans of the popular games Portal and Portal II will get a kick out of this one—or just fans of evil and corrupt artificial intelligences—or just fans of nuclear fission, fusion, and astronomy.

As part of the education and public outreach department of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, an A.I. system is brought online to manage the NASA servers—but unfortunately, and of course completely unexpectedly, it turns out to be mad with lust for power.

In the process of dealing with this highly entertaining, if evil, machine, brilliant computer technicians learn about the A.I. system’s fusion and fission power cores and the basic science of the processes behind them—and even how old the light is that we see from the sun, among other interesting things.

Thanks to NASA Spitzer YouTube for this fine video.

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