Friday, May 31, 2013

Russian ambassador: Nuclear power India's future

PANAJI, India, May 28 (UPI) -- Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin said that nuclear power is the future of energy for India.

Kadakin argued that even if India somehow acquired global oil output, it wouldn't prove sufficient for the country's long-term energy needs.

Kadakin spoke to journalists after inaugurating a Russian consular office in Panaji, observing.

"Nuclear power is the only way out of the situation," Kadakin said. "It can make India self-sufficient in energy. Otherwise, even if India buys all the oil in the world, it would not be sufficient for its energy needs."


Abu Dhabi turns to nuclear energy with second reactor

The oil-rich UAE began construction yesterday of a second nuclear power plant, one of four reactors aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions by some 12 million tonnes a year in 2020.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) said it poured the first part of safety concrete for Unit 2, in a ceremony attended by visiting Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Sang-jick Yoon.

In 2009, an international consortium led by the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp won a $20.4 billion (15.8 billion euro) deal to build four nuclear power plants in Baraka, west of Abu Dhabi.

Under the biggest single contract Seoul has ever won abroad, South Korean firms including Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan Heavy Industries will build the four 1,400-megawatt reactors.

Work began last year on the first plant, which is expected to enter service in 2017 after further regulatory approvals.

Unit 2 is to begin commercial operations in 2018. In addition to diversifying the UAE’s energy supply once operational, the four plants should cut 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by 2020, ENEC said.
ENEC said it had applied in March to the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation for construction licences for Units 3 and 4, but did not indicate when work would begin.


Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant back online

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth is back online as of 4:24 a.m. Thursday, according to a spokesperson from the plant's owner Entergy.

Pilgrim was taken off the grid on April 14 for a planned maintenance and refueling. The shutdown, according to Carol Wightman, was the 19th of its kind.

During the shutdown, the reactor was refueled and maintenance was done to the main turbine generator, valves and transformer.  An inspection of the plant was also conducted, according to Wightman.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nuclear is the greenest energy

Tom Horton's recent commentary on nuclear energy is excellent and provides the beginning of a rational discussion of green energy in Maryland ("Embracing nukes," May 23). He includes data which shows that wind farms on average operate at 30 percent of design capacity versus 90 percent for nuclear power. Solar power systems operate on average at 15 percent of design capacity. Wind and sun power are erratic. Nuclear plants operate constantly, and the 90 percent utilization factor is due to planned maintenance.

There is no current capability to store power on a large scale. In order to produce reliable power, generating companies that are forced to take wind power must have thermal backup power and cycle or spin their turbines, inefficiently wasting steam to instantaneously replace sudden decreases in wind power. Denmark, the poster child for offshore wind farms, shows essentially the same level of carbon dioxide emissions from 1999 when the country's frenzied construction of wind mill capacity began to 2007 with zero population growth. No thermal plants were shut down in Denmark when the wind farm was built.

The United Kingdom is another country where wind power can be isolated. Stuart Young Associates analyzed wind power from November 2008 to December 2010. During the study period, wind generation was below 20 percent of capacity more than half of the time, below 10 percent one-third of the time and below 2.5 percent of capacity one day in 12.

In 2011, in a comprehensive study of U.S. wind power, "The Wind Power Paradox," Bentek Energy assessed emission reduction performance based on actual generation and emissions data across a variety of regions of the country. This study shows that actual carbon dioxide reductions through wind generation are either so small as to be insignificant or too expensive to be practical.

Denmark and Germany have high levels of subsidized wind and solar power with costs including taxes of 43 and 30 cents per kilowatt hour respectively, compared to an average of 11 cents per kWh in the U.S.
France is Europe's lowest cost power producer at about 6 cents per kWh before tax and 19 cents after tax. France has the world's most sophisticated energy policy, producing 75 percent of their power with nuclear plants. France reprocesses its spent fuel rods and is the leader in high speed electric rail transportation. France is also Europe's lowest producer of carbon dioxide on a per capita basis at about one-third of our production.


SoCal Edison Responds To Boxer's Charges on San Onofre


Southern California Edison (SCE) has responded to charges by Senator Barbara Boxer that the utility may have misled regulators about the scope of the steam generator replacement at its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and the utility's characterization of the events leading to the replacement couldn't be more different from the Senator's.

In a series of statements this week, Senator Boxer said that a November 2004 letter from SCE Vice President Dwight E. Nunn to Akira Sawa of generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) offered evidence that SCE had later misled regulators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which agency was charged with ensuring that changes to San Onofre wouldn't pose a public safety risk.
Those new steam generators, which were substantially larger than the ones they replaced, caused big problems for SCE and San Onofre. Premature wear in the generators' steam tubes apparently contributed to a leak of radioactive steam from one of the new generators in the plant's Unit 3 in January 2012. Unit 2 was shut down for maintenance at the time: both units have remained offline since.

The Boxer announcements come as SCE is waiting on a decision from the NRC over a proposed low-power restart of San Onofre's Unit 2, which the utility says will "prevent" the vibrations that caused the unexpected degree of tube wear.

In the letter, Nunn states that the new steam generators MHI was designing for San Onofre would not be a "like-for-like" replacement of the generators being retired. Boxer charged this week that SCE had subsequently described the steam generator replacement as a "like-for-like" replacement, a term of art that allows nuclear plant operators to avoid seeking a costly, time-consuming license amendment from the NRC.
But SCE says that the Senator has made a "fundamental error" in her reading of the history of the plant. Rather than certifying that San Onofre's replacement generators were a "like-for-like" replacement, says the utility, SCE sought and obtained a permit to replace the generators under a section of the NRC's rules covering Changes, tests and experiments in nuclear power plant design.

"In the November 2004 letter," said SCE in a statement released Tuesday, "SCE emphasized the care that would be needed during the design phase because of the differences between the new and old units. These differences -- which were intended to improve the overall performance of the new units -- were permitted under the NRC's 50.59 process, which allows changes to a nuclear facility if certain criteria are met. Contrary to Sen. Boxer's suggestion, Section 50.59 does not require that replacement equipment be 'like for like' or identical to the equipment being replaced."


Everything you thought you knew about the risks of nuclear energy is wrong

Kamakura, Japan—Chances are pretty high, based on prevailing public opinion, that you will think my wife and I are a tad crazy, maybe even guilty of child abuse. During the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which is a couple hundred miles from where we live, we stayed put while thousands of others fled the Tokyo area and many foreigners left Japan for good. Not only that, we buy as much of our fruits and vegetables as possible from Fukushima Prefecture, the Connecticut-size jurisdiction where the plant is located (we even specially order boxes of Fukushima produce) while millions of others in Japan take extreme care to consume only food from the far west and south of the country. And yes, our whole family, including our 12- and 10-year-old sons, eats Fukushima food. We’re convinced it’s perfectly safe, and we like helping people whose products suffer from an unjust taint.

Are you recoiling in horror, perhaps even wishing the Japanese child welfare authorities would seize custody of our kids? If so, you are the ideal audience member for a provocative new film, titled Pandora’s Promise. This documentary focuses on five thoughtful environmentalists who were once terrified of radiation, and thought nuclear power was imperiling the planet’s future, but after educating themselves, they gradually realized that their assumptions were wrong. For people who are instinctively opposed to nuclear power but open-minded enough to consider evidence that goes against their predilections, this film will, and should, force them to question their certitude.

The five people whose intellectual journeys are chronicled admit the superficial incongruity between their environmentalism and their enthusiasm for nuclear power.

Thus, in some of the early scenes the five establish their Green bona fides. “The slogan was ‘No compromise in defense of Mother Earth.’ That was the original Earth First slogan. And it’s one that I still subscribe to at a very deep level,” says Mark Lynas, a British author and journalist, recalling his “hardcore activist” days. “Well, I [thought] nuclear power was evil. No doubt about it.”

Likewise, Gwyneth Cravens, a writer who participated in protests against the Shoreham nuclear plant on Long Island, recounts the fear she felt when news broke in 1979 of the accident at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania: “Are those rays coming out of Three Mile Island going to come to New York and harm my daughter?” And Richard Rhodes, whose 1986 book The Making of the Atomic Bomb won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, tells how he wrote a number of articles about the dangers of nuclear power for national magazines some years ago, but changed his mind by talking to physicists and other experts in the field “until it finally got through my head” that his basic premise was mistaken.

Making slick use of a pulsing sound track and camera shots of scenes from bustling metropolises in Asia and Latin America, the film engagingly explains why nuclear power, which is greenhouse-gas free, is so essential to the prevention of climate change. Michael Shellenberger, a consultant to major environmental groups who co-founded a center-left think tank based in Oakland, California recalls having “gotten the religion” as a student that energy efficiency and renewable sources could save the planet.

After scrutinizing the numbers, “I ended up feeling like a sucker. The idea that we’re going to replace oil and natural gas with solar and wind, and nothing else, is a hallucinatory delusion,” Shellenberger says, citing projections that global energy demand will likely double by 2050....

Read More....

Nuclear Power Saves Lives And Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Global use of nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and release of 64 billion tons of greenhouse gases that would have resulted from burning coal and other fossil fuels, according to a paper in Environmental Science&Technology.
Pushker A. Kharecha and James E. Hansen of Columbia University state that nuclear power has the potential to help control both global climate change and illness and death associated with air pollution. That potential exists, they say, despite serious questions about safety, disposal of radioactive waste and diversion of nuclear material for weapons.

Concerned that the Fukushima accident in Japan could overshadow the benefits of nuclear energy, they performed an analysis of nuclear power's benefits in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution deaths.
The study concluded that nuclear power already has had a major beneficial impact, based upon calculations of prevented mortality and greenhouse gas emissions for the period 1971-2009. Nuclear power could prevent from 420,000 to 7 million additional deaths by 2050, and prevent emission of 80-240 billion tons of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming, the study found.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Vote to Keep San Onofre Online

Please support San Onofre and their bid to provide power to Southern California.  Since its shut down, Southern California has had to purchase over $400 Million in Energy elsewhere.  It is a cost Californians can't afford.


Although this is a non-scientific vote, it is happening on a site that has been against San Onofre and yet the vote to keep it producing is winning by a 58% approval margin at the time of this post.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Costs for San Onofre nuclear power plant shutdown exceed $550 million, may be retired

Costs tied to the idling of California's San Onofre nuclear power plant have climbed to $553 million, while the majority owner raised the possibility Tuesday of retiring the plant if it can't get one reactor running later this year.

The plant between San Diego and Los Angeles has not produced electricity since January 2012, when a tiny radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.

Edison International — the parent company of operator Southern California Edison — reported Tuesday that $109 million has been spent through March 31 on repairs and inspections, while $444 million was needed for replacement power.

SCE has asked federal regulators for permission to restart the Unit 2 reactor and run it for a five-month test period. Without that approval, Chairman Ted Craver told Wall Street analysts in a conference call that a decision on whether to retire one, or both, reactors might be made this year.

The company is facing a tangle of regulatory obstacles that include a Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of the restart plan and a separate state investigation into who should pay for the long-running shutdown — customers or shareholders.


Russia to spend over $30 billion in nuclear energy development

Russia will expend one trillion rubles ($31.3 billion) to develop its nuclear power industry through to 2015. Russia’s next-generation nuclear power plants will have an improved safety design, as well as an improved water desalination system.

“Nuclear security and nuclear power production safety should be upgraded with the aid of new technological solutions,” the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for security and disarmament Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Wednesdayas, as quoted by Itar-Tass.

A new generation of Russian nuclear power plants will include such safety features as double reactor containment, passive heat removal systems, and specialized cooling units, he said.

According to Ulyanov, Russia has started designing the reactors that not only generate electric power, but also desalinate water. Plants with such reactors may potentially become “instruments of development for many countries,” the official believes.