Friday, March 16, 2012

Florida group forms rapid response center on nuclear information


Experts will deal with incorrect statements about nuclear energy

Prompted by recent published misstatements about nuclear energy, a group of technical experts have formed the Energy Information Center (EIC) to communicate technically-accurate information about energy issues to the public.

"While reading public reporting about topics such as the Fukushima, Japan nuclear event and debates about Pay-As-You-Go Financing of new nuclear energy plants in Florida, I frequently found myself in conversations with fellow nuclear engineers and other colleagues who shared a similar view that the public messaging about energy topics is increasingly dominated by misstatements and even falsehoods leading to myths," said former state Representative Jerry Paul of Englewood, FL, a founder of the EIC.

Some of the mis-characterizations, according to Paul, have been intentionally orchestrated by traditional opponents of nuclear energy. But some, he said, stem from honest misunderstandings unintentionally reported in the press.

Paul formerly served as the Principal Deputy Administrator of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, appointed by the President in 2004. A nuclear engineer and attorney, he also served on faculty at the University of Tennessee as the Distinguished Fellow for Energy Policy, Howard Baker Center for Public Policy.

Jerry Paul
"We recognized that activists make themselves readily available to the media but technical experts tend to be less vocal," said Paul, who also pointed out that utility companies which operate nuclear power plants do not generally wage effective communications in response to activists."

"We realized that those of us with engineering experience or from universities or former government officials have a duty to speak up."

"We decided to create the Energy Information Center as a volunteer organization through which contributing experts can make technically-accurate information available on energy topics that are being debated publicly," Paul said.

Along with Paul, initial contributing experts include;
  • Dr. James Tulenko, professor at the University of Florida Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences; 
  • Hon. Dennis Spurgeon, former Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; 
  • Dr. Thomas Sanders, Associate Laboratory Director for Clean Energy Initiatives, Savannah River National Laboratory and former President of the American Nuclear Society; and 
  • John Kotek, nuclear engineer and former Executive Director of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.
"The response has been great so far, and we're proud to announce the start of the Center this week," Paul said. "We will be adding several contributing experts in the coming weeks."

The goal of the Energy Information Center experts will be to speak through guest columns, articles, interviews and panel discussions on topics related to energy, power plants, energy policy and energy delivery in an effort to foster clear, accurate conclusions.

EIC's website states that the Center's primary goal is not to advocate for particular public positions but to ensure that society has accurate information to formulate effective decisions to provide for America's crucial energy supply and help avoid misguided, over-reactionary conclusions that can lead to decisions that are unfavorable to ratepayers and all Americans.

"The initial phase of the Center's activity is being launched on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident when anti-nuclear activists can be expected to exploit that tragedy to promote falsehoods in support of their anti-nuclear campaign here in America," said Paul, spokesman for the Center

In the future, Center experts plan to provide the public with current, accurate information on the role of energy efficiency improvements, solar energy, coal, natural gas, oil, biomass, wind energy and transportation fuels in delivering America's needed energy supplies.

Contact: Jerry Paul, jpaul@energyinfocenter.org or 941-662-7874

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Webinar - Nuclear quality assurance in the post-Fukushima era

Free Industry Webcast: Setting a New Standard for Quality in Nuclear Power

 Date: March 29, 2012quality
Time: 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET / 4 PM GMT

Learn how standards developing organizations are using lessons learned over the last 30 years to account for existing and next generation nuclear power plants and how standards management within nuclear facilities is imperative to nuclear operations.

With the recent vote by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to give license approval for the nation's first two new nuclear power plants in 30 years, the U.S. nuclear industry took a major step toward returning to expansion after a long period of stability and safe operations. However, in the wake of the March 2011 incident at Japan's Fukushima plant, safety and quality assurance continues to be a paramount issue in the nuclear supply chain and facility operations.

temp ans asme logo comboIndustry standards such as ASME NQA-1 and ANS-3.2 are continually being modified to improve support for next generation nuclear power plant operations. The existing generation of U.S. nuclear power plants has one standard for the design and construction of a nuclear facility and a separate standard for the operations of that facility. It became evident that this model would not apply to newer nuclear facilities.

Join the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and IHS as they give you an exclusive opportunity to view the current state of managerial, administrative and quality assurance in the industry, and the critical role of standards in ensuring quality throughout nuclear operations.  Don't miss this opportunity to understand the history of nuclear standards for managerial, administrative and quality assurance and the changes needed to support the next generation of nuclear power plant operations.

Register now for this complimentary webcast.

Click Here >> Register Now

Speakers

Kevin Ennis
Director, Nuclear Codes and Standards – American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Marion Smith
Chair, ANS-3.2 Working Group – American Nuclear Society

Chad Hawkinson
Vice President, Product Design Solutions – IHS, Inc.

Moderator

Dan Yurman – Idaho Samizdat

For more information, please contact

IHS logo temp 

Danielle Ulrich at
+1 303 858 6475 or Danielle.Ulrich@IHS.com
IHS, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112, USA
Toll free: +1800 525 7052

 

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What a difference a prime minister makes

Japan's new political leadership represents a sea change in the post Fukushima era

PM NodaWant to know what the difference is between the current Japanese prime minister is relative to his predecessor? The answer is how he deals  with the issue of nuclear energy and blame for ways TEPCO and the government contributed to the Fukushima crisis.

Former PM Naoto Kan threw a temper tantrum in the TEPCO emergency center and in a statement that loosely translates as "off with their heads," called for the permanent closure of all the nation's nuclear reactors.

Current PM Yoshihiko Noda (right) accepts that the government and TEPCO made serious mistakes, but says the country can do better and he's committed to restarting the nation's 54 reactors which provide 30% of Japan's electricity.

Perhaps most important is the change in Japan's world view when it comes to nuclear energy. It is that nothing is outside the possibility of imagination. Prior to March 11 TEPCO repeatedly and negligently rejected sound technical advice about protecting its coastal reactors from tsunami and earthquakes saying such disasters were "outside its imagination." That's no longer the case under PM Noda.

In a press conference held last week PM Noda said, "We can no longer make the excuse that what was unpredictable and outside out imagination has happened. Crisis management requires us to imagine what may be outside our imagination."

In making this statement Noda is acknowledging that the government shares the blame in part because its safety regulators and business leaders were "blinded" by the "false belief" in the country's technological mastery.

"The government, operator, and academic world were all too steeped in a safety myth. Everybody must share the pain of responsibility," Noda said.

In laying out the view there is no haven from accountability, Noda also is setting the stage for restart of the nation's reactors. As of March 13, 52 of the 54 reactors are closed and the other two will close in April.

The economic effects are already cascading across the nation with its first trade deficit in 30 years and a highly annoyed steel industry threatening to go offshore with production if the electricity from the reactors isn't restored and soon. 

What’s going to happen next?  Read the full details exclusively at ANS Nuclear Cafe online now.

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