Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 12 Blog Posts of the Year


To make an omelet or egg nog you've got to break a few eggs

It's time for year-end blog round-ups and this one is no slouch when it comes to marking that tradition. However, instead of the top ten blog posts, I'm listing the top 12 in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.

In the past 10 months since this blog began, it's had over 7,800 unique readers and over 14,000 page views. The blog has 227 posts. From these numbers I've put together a list of the top 12 blog posts, based on number of page views, as reported by Google Analytics.

Down below I've included a brief list of awards for "laurels," which are good things, and "hardlys," which are not. Finally, I've included my award for best quote of the year on nuclear energy.

What is your top nuclear story for 2007? Comments are welcome.

The top 12 blog posts on Idaho Samizdat

1 Pelindaba attacked [over 1,200 page views]

Two groups of armed men attacked at Pelindaba, which is a former nuclear weapons plant in South Africa. Their attempt to steal fissile materials was thwarted, but not before they penetrated security systems using inside information. Except for a brief report in the New York Times and mysteriously, an OP ED, but no news coverage, in the Washington Post, this bizarre incident went unreported outside of South Africa.

2 Is Areva seeking uranium in Virginia? [Over 500 page views]

French nuclear giant Areva wants to build a uranium enrichment plant in the U.S. At the same time a major unexploited uranium find in Virginia is being considered for mining operations. Is Areva planning to locate the plant nearby?

3 Is there a nuclear energy plant in Utah's future?

Plans for a nuclear power plant in Utah are turning out to be more smoke and mirrors than substance, but for a while people were really excited. Two state legislators promoted a shift in ratepayer risks for construction of the plant.

4 News media misses Pelindaba story

The New York Times published a brief report on the break-in at Pelindaba. As the facts of the story developed, there appeared to be a number of crucial questions that needed answers. An analyst at Harvard's Belfer Center, who wrote the OP ED in the Washington Post, told this blog in an interview the attackers were going after HEU stored at the plant. He described their strategy and the risks of similar attacks at other nuclear weapons plants.

5 Idaho's invisible nuclear power plant

A penny stock outfit from Virginia, Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI), says it is planning to build a 1,600 MWe nuclear power plant at a remote site 100 miles southeast of Boise. The only progress the firm really made was to buy back its stock when it dropped from $0.96/share in July to $0.23/share in November. Dale Klein, Director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the Idaho Statesman in September the plant is not on his agency's radar screen. Neither of AEHI's two named investment banking partners have experience raising funds for energy projects much less the billions needed for a nuclear power plant.

6
NRC's "no bozos" rule

Dale Klein, Director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in a speech in June, said the nuclear industry is no place for amateurs.

7 Idaho aligns its stars for GNEP

More than 750 people turned out for a public hearing in Idaho Falls, ID, in March to support the Department of Energy's plans to build huge nuclear fuel processing centers in Idaho. No other nuclear city in the U.S. matched this response.

8 Westinghouse's China deal

The new nuclear renaissance is taking place in China. Westinghouse sold four AP1000 reactors in the first of several mega-deals there. Toshiba finally took credit for its higher than expected purchase price of Westinghouse in 2006 by spinning off 10% of the action, some $486 million, in return for access to uranium supplies in Kazakhstan.

9 Passing the baloney test for new nuclear builds

NRG submitted a combined operating license application to the NRC for its South Texas Project and checked all the right boxes. Three other proposed nuclear plants failed to pass the baloney test.

10 Moody's scary cost estimates for new nuclear builds

Moody's scared the pants off Wall Street investment houses by publishing a report that new nuclear power plants will come in at $6,000/Kw. Experts who follow nuclear energy construction costs said Moody's numbers are wrong. The mid-point of their estimates is $2,400/Kw.

11 GE seeks market share from spent nuclear fuel

Defying conventional wisdom that the only destiny for spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear reactors is long-term storage, General Electric says there are big dollars at the tail end of the nuclear energy value chain. GE thinks it can bring profitable solutions to market.

12 Canada dances with wolves

Canada's silence on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) ended this Fall with the announcement that it would join up. A range of reactor technology and uranium deals with the Russian nuclear industry were also announced. Russia's internal nuclear build program needs the help.

Laurels & Hardlys as reported on this blog

Laurels and hardlys are pretty simply awards. You get a laurel for success in the most traditional sense. Hardlys are a bit more complicated. Mostly, they are awarded for actions that defy common sense or which simply dive into ridiculous circumstances. Here they are for 2007.

Laurels
  • Westinghouse signs a deal for four AP1000s with China.
  • Areva signs a deal for two EPRs in China.
  • NRG, Duke, Dominion all file applications for new reactors.
  • Congress authorizes loan guarantees for new nuclear builds.
Hardlys
  • The U.S. / India nuclear deal goes nowhere wasting everybody's time in both countries.
  • California continues its 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants while canceling a coal-fired power plant in Utah.
  • New York governor Elliot Spitzer launches a campaign to close the Indian Point nuclear power complex without having the faintest idea where the replacement electricity will come from.
  • Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI) still has no credible financing deal in place for its planned Idaho nuclear power plant.
Quote of the Year

"We are burning dinosaurs at an increasing rate, and climate change is an increasingly important issue."

Eric Loewen, a senior nuclear engineer with General Electric, who spent the a hot day last August explaining reactor physics to New York investment bankers after ringing the bell at the American Stock Exchange.

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