Friday, March 27, 2015

Perry refuels its nuclear reactor, critics concerned about storage

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer  

Refueling the Perry nuclear plant
NORTH PERRY, Ohio -- FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. is switching to a new type of fuel rod at its Perry nuclear reactor, one that is more simply designed, more robust and more efficient.

But the switch-over has some anti-nuclear groups worried. One reason is that the rods contain slightly more enriched uranium, up to 5 percent rather than the traditional 3 percent.

The newly designed rods are manufactured by Global Nuclear Fuel, or GNF, a joint venture of GE, Toshiba and Hitachi. Perry had been using rods manufactured by GE.

GNF claims the new design not only increases energy output but that its use ultimately will allow a reactor operator to use fuel rods with lower levels of enriched uranium and to use fewer of them.


N.Y. To Create R&D Lab For Next-Gen Electric Grid

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute have signed an agreement to create a facility devoted to energy technology innovation and the rapid deployment of smart-grid technology to modernize New York’s electric grid.

The Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe) will simulate, develop, test and deploy a more integrated grid.

According to the participants, AGILe will provide a setting for NYPA to pursue its own grid-related R&D and foster research of interest for transmission system operators, utilities, software and hardware manufacturers, government agencies, and universities.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Scientists Shed Light on Beaming Solar Power from Space

Mar 15, 2015 07:29 PM EDT - The Science Times

Solar Power From SpaceWhile there might be limits to the amount of solar power we can collect here on Earth, scientists have long been studying the notion of harnessing solar power from the endless supply that can be found in space.  Now, what was once just a notion in the mind of researchers has taken a huge step towards becoming a reality.

Scientists working for JAXA, Japan's space administration, have announced a major breakthrough in wireless power transmission.  Researchers were able to finally beam power with a high degree of accuracy.  The team beamed 1.8 kilowatts of power, enough to power an electric tea kettle, more than 50 meters to a small receiver without any wires whatsoever. 
While this distance is just a drop in the bucket compared to the distance from space to the ground here on Earth, the technology could pave the way for mankind to tap the vast amount of energy resources available in Space for use here at home.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NRC to study groundwater issues at controversial Yucca Mountain site

Electricity prices and utility restructuring: better or worse?

03/11/2015 - by Eric L. Prentis, University of Saint Thomas, Houston
Electricity prices in restructured electric utility states have been empirically tested in restructured states, pre- and post-restructuring, relative to U.S. electricity prices. Are electricity consumers better or worse off as a result of electric utility restructuring?

The vertically integrated, government-regulated natural monopoly electric utility model worked well in the U.S. for nearly 100 years; however, some governors and state legislatures wish to reduce their states’ electricity prices and have been advised that electricity prices would fall naturally if free market competitive marketplaces were established.

Consequently, beginning in the late 1990s, some states restructured their vertically integrated, government-regulated natural monopoly electric utilities by instituting free market competition in the electricity generation and retail sales’ sectors while maintaining the middle-two sectors of transmission and distribution as a government-regulated natural monopoly.