Monday, December 13, 2010

Laurels and Hardlys for nuclear energy in 2010

Some have exceeded expectations while others have accomplished things that no one could make up

Laurel & Hardly Awards for 2010

laurelEvery year this blog compiles a list of people who have exceeded our expectations for the good of the nuclear industry. These are Laurels. Also, every year another list is developed of events that fall in the category of "can't make this stuff up." These are Hardlys.

The awards are presented without fear or favor. No one pays this blog to list them in the Laurels categories, and those who were afflicted by the Hardlys have not forked over any cash to get back at their tormentors. There is, after all, an equal opportunity for all concerned to be a hero or bum, or both, and in the same calendar year.

If any were missed be sure to submit yours with a comment.


South Korea's KEPCO wins a $20 billion contract to build four 1,400 MW reactors for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For its part, the UAE commits to buying its fuel and retrograde spent fuel to suppliers thereby giving up the need to build uranium enrichment and fuel reprocessing facilities. It is an object lesson for the Middle East as a whole.


Despite having no plan to develop replacement power, the States of New York and Vermont continue their ruinous campaigns to close the Indian point (2,200 MW) and Vermont Yankee (600 MW) reactors.

Voters in both states elected new governors committed to spiking the relicensing of these reactors which will result in more expensive electricity from fossil plants. Save fish, pollute the planet.

In New Jersey a sitting governor makes a wisecrack to newspaper editors that Exelon is bluffing about closing Oyster Creek over cooling towers. The utility calls him on it setting a date 10 years before its license expires to shut down.


Positioning federal loan guarantees as a jobs measure, President Barack Obama awards Southern an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for two new Westinghouse 1,100 MW AP1000 reactors to be built at the Vogtle site in Georgia.


The White House takes its eye off the nuclear energy ball allowing the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to botch the credit risk calculation for Constellation's $8 billion loan guarantee for an Areva 1,600 MW reactor at Calvert Cliffs in Maryland. The utility quits the field leaving everyone involved with egg on their face.


TVA moves ahead with plans to revive the NRC construction permit for Bellefonte, a 1,200 MW reactor begun in the 1980s. The utility also announces plans to evaluate acquisition of 125 MW small modular reactors (SMRs) from B&W for up to six sites. The completion of Watts Bar by 2012 continues on time and within budget.


The new coalition government in the U.K. cancels a loan to Sheffield Forgemasters which would have produced a facility to make new reactor pressure vessels. The decision puts the nation at a competitive disadvantage and will likely delay the ten or so new nuclear power stations that are needed in the next 10-15 years.


Areva advances to complete its environmental analysis to support the NRC license for the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility in Idaho. The NRC says in a Federal Register notice it expects to issue the license. The Department of Energy awards a $2 billion loan guarantee to Areva to help build the plant.

Urenco's enrichment plant in New Mexico gets the NRC go ahead to start production.

International Isotopes applies for an NRC license for its uranium deconversion and fluorine extraction facility in Hobbs, NM. The firm inks a deal with Urenco to take some of the their depleted UF6 and raises funds for construction of the factory.


Seasonal ski enthusiasts with way too much time on their hands in Telluride, Colo., object to construction of a new 500 ton/day uranium mill 60 miles away in Montrose County. One activist posts a note on his website claiming the mill will produce "weapons grade plutonium" at the site.

The Colorado legislature passes new laws limiting prospects for new ISR mines. Powertech, which is developing an ISR mine near Nunn, Colo., sues over last minute changes to the implementing regulations.

In Idaho the Snake River Alliance continues to oppose Areva's enrichment plant and twists NRC's arm into having a special public meeting in Boise. The Mayor of Boise writes a letter in support of the hearing, but skips the session.


China commits to build 80 GWw of new nuclear reactors in the next 10 years. The government claims to be able to produce a 1,000 MW reactor for $1,500/Kw and complete it in 52 months,

India commits to 20 GWe of new reactors in the next 10 years inking deals with Rosatom (4 reactors) and Areva (2 reactors).


India shoots itself in the foot, politically, by passing a harsh nuclear liability law that imposes accountability on suppliers long after their components will be installed in an operating reactor. President Barack Obama visits India in November, but comes home empty handed in terms of deals for American firms.


Germany saves its 17 nuclear reactors extending their operational lives well into the next two decades.


The Czech Republic takes a second look at building five new reactors at Temelin, which they thought might produce the replacement power needed if Germany committed economic suicide by closing its nukes.

Russian Premier Vladimir Putin asked the Germans if the country planned to burn firewood instead of his natural gas. Yes, he really said that.

The head of the World Nuclear Association rightly calls Chancellor Merkel's plan to ramp up renewables "delusional."


TVA commits to explore the use of MOX fuel in its reactors. Japan takes a shipment of MOX fuel from France and begins burning it in its commercial reactors.


NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko politicizes the agency's budget decisions complicating the already fractious debate over the Yucca Mountain license and provokes a strong protest from former NRC Chairman Dale Klein about it.

That's all folks!

# # #


Robin said...


The German Government decides to single nuclear power generation out from other sources of power generation for a special "windfall profits tax" to balance its budget, effectively removing the incentives and rewards for making the right decisions decades ago to promote carbon-free electricity and calling into question the wisdom of expanding nuclear in that country.

Anonymous said...

Dan--I think you published this just a few days too early. Surely AEHI would have deserved a "hardly" for the SEC charges that have been filed against it, yes?

djysrv said...

Yes, missed it by a day or two, but there are two new posts on this blog that cover the story.