A nuclear energy blog is a work in progress
When this blog started publication more than four years ago, the nuclear renaissance wasn’t going anywhere fast. There was talk that new license applications would come into the NRC, but it would take until late 2007 for NRG to be the first mover with two reactors for the South Texas Project. It was like an Olympic pole vault jump signifying that nuclear energy was on the comeback trail.
The biggest change in four years is, that despite continued opposition by environmental groups, the Obama Administration is awarding loan guarantees for new reactors and pushing for more. Southern is the first utility to agree to accept one. Three more are expected to follow in its footsteps this year.
In the world of realistic expectations, the first-of-a-kind reactor at the OL3 site in Finland is taking more time and costing more, and neither impact was unexpected since no new reactors have been built in nearly three decades. Lessons learned from that project will speed up construction time and lower costs for new reactors worldwide.
Meanwhile, China is building new reactors as fast as a short order cook flips pancakes. Four of them are under construction by Westinghouse, which though owned by Japan’s Toshiba, is responsible for many new American jobs.
Small reactors are popping up with backing from venture capital firms. Designs include well-known light water reactor configurations and new, fast reactors with 14-19% enriched fuel and liquid metal cooling systems.
The front-and-back ends of the fuel cycle are getting attention with four new uranium enrichment plants for the U.S. One of the, Urenoc’s Eunice, NM, facility, has a green light from the NRC to start operations.
There is the possibility of management instead of politics as a paradigm for spent nuclear fuel. The nuclear supply chain is ramping up with new component manufacturing plants being built in Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, and elsewhere.
Demand for new nuclear engineers has sparked a revival of university programs to produce the graduates needed by industry.
- See the blog roll in the left panel for a list of nuclear energy blogs and news sources.
- There are more free information services like World Nuclear News and NEI Smartbriefs.
- Nuclear blog news is being aggregated by NuclearStreet and the Energy Collective along with interesting dialog about energy technologies and climate change.
- Social media is having a positive impact on the nuclear industry through instant messages on Twitter, harnessing pop culture on Facebook, and making professional associations on Linkedin and other services.
- Nuclear bloggers are talking to each other and to the industry about how to tell the industry’s story in a way that makes sense to the public.
I’d like to thank the over 100,000 readers a year who read my blog posts here or through syndication. I owe you a lot for your interest, comments, and ideas. It has been an exciting four years. I am looking forward to continued publication of this blog.
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