Friday, September 24, 2010

20th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

This is the weekly “best of” nuclear energy blogs. We hope you enjoy it.

carnivalAt Next Big Future Brian Wang reports that the Russian built Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr may have been the target of the Stuxnet computer virus.

Where did it comes from? How did it get into the software that is used to manage the reactor? Was it sabotage or stupidity?

The computer industry news wire CNET reports the malicious software relied on inside knowledge about the digital control system for the nuclear reactor. Due to its complexity, it had to be developed by an expert computer team outside Iran.

Speaking of reactors, Brian's blog also has a roundup of news on nuclear reactors in China, India, Pakistan and uranium in Kazakhstan, Australia and Kyrgyzstan.

At Atomic Insights Rod Adams writes that Peabody Coal has published a presentation that explains the benefits of affordable, abundant coal fired energy. It throws down the competitive gauntlet and shows why low cost energy is a boon to mankind. Will nuclear industry leaders take on the challenge of facing coal in the market?

Mark Flanagan has a piece at NEI Nuclear Notes on the nuclear cluster in the Carolinas whose “ultimate goal is to establish a network of suppliers in South Carolina that can serve the nuclear industry worldwide.”

At Nuke Power Talk Gail Marcus has a "personal reflection" about Gail de Planque [NRC profile], who died recently. Marcus writes that the posting "is based on some of my interactions with her."

At Vermont Yankee Meredith Angwin writes that if Vermont Yankee closes, job losses at the plant are merely the tip of the economic iceberg. She discusses the effect of plant closure on small manufacturing industries in Vermont.

What's up with MIT and spent nuclear fuel?

At Areva North America blog, David Jones, Vice President, Used Fuel Management, writes that recycling used fuel from America’s nuclear power plants, using technology available in the near term, represents a solid option for the United States. His essay comes in response to an update of MIT's series of reports on nuclear energy. The latest says the U.S. should not invest in spent fuel recycling.

nuclear_wasteJones makes the case spent fuel recycling is a proven solution that makes waste management easier, conserves natural resources, is cost competitive, and reduces proliferation concerns.

At Idaho Samizdat, Dan Yurman analyzes the MIT report. He thinks the call for $700 million a year in nuclear R&D is “some sandbox.”

Also, a nuclear fuel expert tells him that U.S. private industry will not wait for the U.S. government to make up its mind.

“These firms have developed the business case for spent fuel reprocessing. They will pull the pin when the market is ready.”

The nuclear fuel cycle has lots of value in it.

Workforce age gap

cafe au lait.preview The ANS Nuclear Cafe examines the trend line of nuclear engineering enrollments. It turns out there is a startling truth about the nuclear industry: my “generation,” the thirty-something “incredibly smart or incredibly stupid” members of the nuclear industry, are virtually absent from the workforce.

When such a demographic chasm exists between younger workers and those who are more experienced, important incremental opportunities for responsibility and advancement become harder to come by.

These challenges are not limited to the commercial workforce either. The same phenomena are present in regulatory agencies, national labs, and professional organizations such as the American Nuclear Society. It was these sorts of challenges that motivated the formation of the Young Members Group within ANS about five years ago, and it drives the Group’s activities today.

Will Constellation walk away from Calvert Cliffs?

walk awayAt the New York Times Green Blog, reporter Matt Wald has insights into the finances for the new Calvert Cliffs III nuclear reactor. First of all, it’s nice to see the NYT refer to nuclear energy as “green” if even only by implication.

Wald writes that the federal loan guarantee program and other aid for new nuclear plants may not be enough to induce Constellation Energy (NYSE:CEG) to build a third reactor at its Calvert Cliffs site on Chesapeake Bay.

Negotiations over loan guarantees with the Department of Energy have bogged down over the fees the utility must pay to get the loan guarantee.

The fee is based on the government’s assessment of risk. There are profound differences between government and business concepts of risk and how to put a number on it which is what the difference is all about. If the government charges too much, the utility will walk away.

Prior coverage here 8/5/10 - Will Constellation Walk Away from Calvert Cliffs?

Can Chris Huhne change his spots?

C_HuhneThe arch druid of the anti-nuclear movement in the U.K. coalition government now says there is room for nuclear energy and renewables in the country’s future.

Energy Minister Chris Huhne (right) in a speech to Liberal Democrats on 9/21 says he can do it.

The Financial Times Energy Source blog has details like this quote from Huhne’s speech.

“I’m fed up with the stand-off between renewable and nuclear which means we have neither – we will have both. We will have low-carbon energy, and security of supply.”

Actually, a lot of people would agree with that.

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1 comment:

Joffan said...

Good to see Huhne slowly aligning himself with the requirements of his job. I was anxious for a while that he would remain overtly hostile to nuclear power, and the Forgemasters business was a very unpromising start. But he now seems willing to actually put himself on the record for progressing nuclear build.