This post is a wrap up of highlights from a round robin of nuclear energy blogs. The Carnival is hosted each week at a different blog site.
At Next Big Future Brian Wang has an interesting update on the Pebble Bed reactor project. It is over in South Africa, but R&D on the technology is alive and well at the University of California – Berkeley. Prof. Per Peterson is trying to get it commercialized by 2020 and can achieve over 50% burn and set the stage for LFTR, IFR or fission/fusion hybrids.
Wang's post is based on Barry Brook at Brave New Climate having visited to Prof Per Peterson and Prof Jasmina Vujic at the Nuclear Engineering Department of UC Berkeley to talk about advanced reactor research. Peterson is in demand as he is on the Blue Ribbon Commission that is working on the future of spent nuclear fuel.
In more news about advanced reactor R&D, Brian Wang reports the Russian government has allocated the equivalent of $3.6 billion in this field over the next decade.
Casting a wider net to include current reactor technologies, Wang reports India approved the construction of two new 700 MWe PHWRs at Kakrapar in Gujarat state. They are expected to start operating in 2012.
At NEI Nuclear Notes Dave Bradish continues his fine series of analyses on the benefits of nuclear energy. This week he looks at employment and job creation comparing nuclear energy to hydro, coal, wind, and solar.
NNadir is posting at NuclearGreen. He reports that residual heat from four VVER reactors could be piped 40 Km to the Czech town of Brno. He says the the supply should also be very reliable. There have been no unplanned shutdowns at Dukovany's four reactors in the last ten years.
A nuclear reactor is a terrible thing to waste. Rod Adams writes at Atomic Insights that refurbishing the Zion plant in Illinois would make a lot more sense than decommissioning it. EnergySolutions has been hired by plant owner Exelon to do the work which will take ten years and cost $900 million.
Kirk Sorensen at Energy from Thorium is deep into the technology, and measurement, of uranium enrichment for use in commercial nuclear power plants. Bring your calculator.
The Democratic primary for governor in Vermont, which is a five way race, is still too close to call writes Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee. Why should you care? The reason is State Rep Peter Shumlin,the arch-druid of anti-nuclear forces in Vermont, is leading the pack by 178 votes. A recount is expected because the margin among candidates is less than 2% of the vote.
*** (Update 0145 GMT 28 Aug 2010 Shumlin appears to have won by less than 200 votes. How will he get the other 50% of Democrats who voted for his rivals to support him on election day?) ***
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reflects on modern urban life without electricity following a thunderstorm in the Washington, DC, area that took it out. She asks people to remember where the juice comes from the next time they flip the switch. Will it be there if you rely on windmills?
Adams asks how Pope can think that when nuclear energy’s revival already is well under way with more than 50 new plants under construction worldwide. More than 20 of these new reactors are being built in China alone.
Steve Hedges writing at Nuclear Town Hall agrees. He notes that financial analysts at Standard & Poors published this note:
“In other countries, new nuclear construction is in full swing. Many have adopted nuclear generation as an integral energy source option; about 60 nuclear plants with various reactor technologies are currently under construction around the world, and many more are in the advanced development and planning stages.”
He also reports that S&P even has positive words for Europe where “a steady stream of new reactors in Europe and Asia has established a relatively cheap supply chain and a skilled labor force there.”
In the U.S. TVA has just committed $248 million for 2011 to continue the re-start of construction of its Bellefonte reactor in Scottsboro, Ala. Read all about it at CoolHandNuke. TVA has successfully re-started a reactor at Browns Ferry and will complete work on one at Watts Bar in 2012.
At Idaho Samizdat, Dan Yurman writes that taxes and liability issues tie nukes in knots in Germany and India. If these two countries want nuclear energy, they have a strange way of showing it. India’s parliament finally passed the liability measure after protracted debate. It will open Indian markets to U.S. firms. Germany’s nuclear utilities now want to issue government backed bonds to pay for investment in alternative technologies instead of paying a tax on fuel rods. Stay tuned.
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