Archive for the ‘Nuclear power’ Category

The question is prompted from reading this report on the BBC website:
‘World’s Fair: Isaac Asimov’s predictions 50 years on’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27069716

Tesla’s concept of free wireless electricity never made it to market, but maybe one day…
Tesla_colorado

An obvious one might be the fusion reactor, as Asimov foresaw: “An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist.”

Chances must be good (?) if schoolboys can already build their own:
‘All my friends think I’m mad’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10679744/British-schoolboy-13-becomes-youngest-to-build-nuclear-fusion-reactor.html

More likely is the commercial development of methane hydrates as an abundant energy source, if or when shale gas has run its course or is politically a no-no:
‘Methane hydrate: Dirty fuel or energy saviour?’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27021610

Or we could all be spurning fuel technology, piling on the thermal clothes and going around on bicycles, hoping the sun shines and the wind blows ;-)

From the too not-funny to be as funny as it should be dept:

Thunder-Bay-OPG-Generating-StationOntario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. The Thunder Bay Generating Station, Ontario’s last remaining coal-fired facility, has burned its last supply of coal. Operated by Ontario Power Generation, Thunder Bay Generating Station was the oldest coal-fired station in the province. The plant is scheduled to be converted to burn advanced biomass, a renewable fuel source.

The province has replaced coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources like nuclear, waterpower, wind and solar, along with lower-emission electricity sources like natural gas and biomass. The move to bio-mass rather than to natural gas has raised concerns in Thunder Bay. NOMA and Common Voice Northwest, and the City of Thunder Bay have all expressed concerns.
See more

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If you thought shutting down the railways for Monday morning commute was a poor show, now we find that two of the reactors at Dungemess have been taken offline due to the rainy and windy weather too. This from the Telegraph:

nuke-powerA nuclear power station automatically shut down its reactors after debris blown by hurricane-strength winds fell onto its power lines and led to a loss of supply.

It could be up to a week before the two units at Dungeness B plant in Kent – one of Britain’s nine nuclear power stations – are up and running again.

But a spokeswoman for EDF Energy, which runs the site, said she hoped energy would be restored much sooner and that the public should “absolutely not” be concerned by the shut-down.

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Excerpt from a good article on Scriptonite Daily. Read the whole thing, it has a wide perspective.

C40Stupid, Corrupt, or Both

It was announced this week that the government as agreed a strike price for energy produced by EDF Energy’s planned new nuclear power plants.  The strike price is the price the government guarantees EDF will receive per MegaWatt/Hour of energy produced.  The current market rate is£47.50.  The government has promised EDF £92.80.  Yes, you read that correctly – the UK government has guaranteed EDF Energy twice the market rate.

As with Fracking, the government is using recent energy price hikes by the Big 6 energy firms as a case in favour of New Nuclear – implying or explicitly stating that prices will come down.  However, in agreeing this strike price the government has guaranteed that they will not.  They have fixed the price for energy produced by New Nuclear at twice the market rate.

Another bad deal for the taxpayer and the consumer, brokered by a government that consistently delivers for big business.

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NowindFrom the Telegraph:

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has commissioned a consultancy to investigate whether renewable technologies – including wind turbines – lower house prices in the countryside.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry, said:

“Wind farms definitely affect house prices and it is highly likely that this report will come to that conclusion…I would expect there to be billions of pounds of planning blight because of wind turbines close to properties…. It’s almost like elements of DECC are acting like a mafia … now you’ve got DECC trying to stick its dirty great footprints all over another department’s work. While this is unsurprising, it will all unravel in the end and I’m sure the evidence will come out soon that proves a number of these points correct.”

He said that one of his constituents had seen the value of their £700,000 property fall by £250,000 because of approved plans for a wind turbine.

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Keeshu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Achnacarry_Castle—Scotland.jpg

Achnacarry Castle, Lochaber, Scotland Clan Cameron 1802

“Three men had an appointment at Achnacarry Castle – a Dutchman, an American and an Englishman.” — Aljazeera

In 1928 Achnacarry served as the meeting place for global petroleum producers in an effort to set production quotas. A document known as the Achnacarry Agreement or “As-Is” Agreement was signed on 17 September 1928.[4]

4. Bamberg, J.H. (1994), The History of the British Petroleum Company, Volume 2: The Anglo-Iranian Years, 1928–1954, Cambridge University Press, pp. 528–34 The 18 August 1928 draft of the Achnacarry Agreement.

– wikipedia

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earth cross section

I think there are probably quite a lot of ramifications to this news for climateers to consider which I’m too tired to think of. Over to the talkshop massive:

The core of the Earth is nearly 1,000 degrees hotter than previously thought, making it as fiery as the surface of the sun.

Following new experiments, scientists have established that the core temperature is 6,000 C, much higher than the previous estimate of 5,000.

Using X-rays to probe into the behaviour of iron crystals, putting samples of iron under extreme pressure, researchers were able to examine how iron crystals melt and form.

The new tests, using one of the world’s most intense sources of X-rays located at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the research team were able to re-create the same pressure at the core.

[co-mod:
Here is much better copy, the original press release PDF here  http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/2209.htm
--Tim]

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This article on Spiegel Online is surprising for a German publisher.

Seems to be claiming German is in fiscal trouble and is dumping some holy cows.

“Berlin can’t afford many of its renewable energy programs.”

Then goes on “As prices for carbon emissions continue to languish, Berlin is planning to cancel some key subsidy programs aimed at increasing reliance on renewable energies. Germany and other European countries seem uninterested in fixing the problem.” (my bold)

h/t to Little Churchill at Roger Helmer’s blog

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That’ll please the no dash for gas protestors then…
HT to Roger Harrabin for this tweet:

nuke-powerhttp://news.sky.com/story/1066793/hinkley-point-nuclear-plant-given-go-ahead

A new  nuclear plant will be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset after Energy Secretary Ed Davey granted planning permission.

The development of Hinkley Point C by French energy company EDF is a boost for the nuclear industry following a series of setbacks in plans to construct a new fleet of reactors in the UK, which ministers say are needed to cut carbon and keep the lights on.

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Hat tip to Paul Vaughan [and A C Osborn on comments], who spotted this interesting new article at NASA’s website:

March 8, 2013: Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look.

The discovery was made by a group of astronomers trying to solve a decades-old mystery: What heats and accelerates the solar wind?

nasa-wind

The solar wind is a hot and fast flow of magnetized gas that streams away from the sun’s upper atmosphere.  It is made of hydrogen and helium ions with a sprinkling of heavier elements.  Researchers liken it to the steam from a pot of water boiling on a stove; the sun is literally boiling itself away.

“But,” says Adam Szabo of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “solar wind does something that steam in your kitchen never does.  As steam rises from a pot, it slows and cools.  As solar wind leaves the sun, it accelerates, tripling in speed as it passes through the corona. Furthermore, something inside the solar wind continues to add heat even as it blows into the cold of space.”

Finding that “something” has been a goal of researchers for decades.  In the 1970s and 80s, observations by two German/US Helios spacecraft set the stage for early theories, which usually included some mixture of plasma instabilities, magnetohydrodynamic waves, and turbulent heating.  Narrowing down the possibilities was a challenge. The answer, it turns out, has been hiding in a dataset from one of NASA’s oldest active spacecraft, a solar probe named Wind.

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NFZ in the US, photo credit takomabibelot
click image for details

A few years ago massive Greenland gained some autonomy from it’s tiny owning state Denmark, shortly after that prospecting for Uranium was allowed. Now the problems moves on to allowing exploitation of the world’s (maybe) fifth largest reserve of uranium.

But the Danes are petty, declare what they don’t have is not allowed, so there.

Psst… look… want some?

“Government leaning toward allowing uranium mining in Greenland”

The Copenhagen Post

mining.com have another take

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Cracks are appearing in the the Coalition UK government over energy policy. Energy minister Lib-Dem Ed Davey is furious over statements made to the Daily Mail by junior minister John Hayes concerning wind farms:

A furious coalition row erupted today after a junior Tory minister declared that the relentless march of onshore wind farms is at an end.

Insisting ‘enough is enough’, energy minister John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion.

He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more.

‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’

But at an early-morning showdown with his boss – Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey – Mr Hayes was told he does not decide government policy.

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Last night the Leeds Sceptical Climateers (Ian, Susan and myself) attended a panel discussion given by the Earth Sciences department at Leeds University’s beautiful Clothworkers Centenary Hall.

Topping the bill was Jonathan Porrit, the veteran alternative energy and environmental campaigner. Also speaking were “the two Andy’s”, as Porrit referred to them, Professor Andrew Gouldson, and Professor Andrew Shepherd. Their three topics were:   ‘innovation in a low carbon future’, ‘should climate change really be a priority in an age of austerity?’ and ‘is global sea level rise the threat we imagine it to be?’.

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Alexander Yemelyanenkov, Russia Now
02 Jul 2012

Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy giant, is to apply for a licence in the
hope of winning contracts to build power stations in North Wales and
Gloucestershire.

The state atomic energy corporation, is holding consultations over
its possible involvement in the British nuclear programme, according to
deputy director general Kirill Komarov. He was speaking on the sidelines of
Atomexpo-2012, a nuclear power trade fair in Moscow, attended by 1,300
company heads and specialists from 53 countries.

RUSSIAN WASTE MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE
The Norwegian environmental group Bellona Fondation reported in August
that Russia has admitted that it dumped 19 radioactive ships plus 14
nuclear reactors – some of them containing fissible material – into the
ocean:

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Europe’s Climate Energy Fixation Moves On

Andrew McKillop

Günther Oettinger in a pensive pose contemplates Europe’s energy future.

Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, July 16, the European Commissioner for energy, Gunther Oettinger claimed it was now urgent and rational for the Union to add “another 20% target” to the three 20-20-20 energy targets for 2020, enshrined in the December 2008 climate-energy package. This would be a goal of 20% of the European Union’s GDP coming from industrial activities, but due to rampant de-industrialisation, the present industrial share is well below 20%, and falling.

The energy targets are a planned 20% hike in energy efficiency, a 20% cut in CO2 emissions (both of these from variable base years with variable ways of measuring the goals), and attaining a 20% share of renewable energy in European power production by 2020 – which can be interpreted as the upstream primary energy needed to produce electricity, or only the downstream final delivered electricity.

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Story from Bloomberg: H/T Andrew McKillop

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, said it’s seeking partners to help finance new nuclear plants in the U.K. after debt swelled.

“We are considering the possibility of opening a little more the capital of these projects by finding a partner,” Senior Executive Vice President of Finance Thomas Piquemal said today on a conference call. “We are considering a better means to finance them and the best way to attract partners.”

EDF is studying building two new reactors at Hinkley Point in southwest England and a further two at its Sizewell site in eastern England. The decision to seek partners follows a 19 percent jump in debt in the first half and comes four months after German utilities EON AG and RWE AG (RWE) scrapped a British project, saying they couldn’t justify the capital expenditure.

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This post is by the co-moderator and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tallbloke nor any other.

Image courtesy Wikipedia, one of a variety of shapes in an under researched subject,

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fukushima-1

h/t to commenter Mark at WUWT who gave a link to a fascimile of the official report into the Fukishima nuclear accident.

[update] Users are having trouble accessing the report. On digging I discover the Japanese government complex at go.jp has a site wholly dedicated to the investigation. As of today only the executive summary and appendix are available.

English language site  naiic.go.jp/en/

[/update]

Link to report at slideshare (opens in new window)

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Another item from the IOP website. This clearly the power of the Talkshop at work, we were discussing this very issue a week ago. ;)

The chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), particle physicist Gregory Jaczko, has announced he is to resign. The announcement comes a year after congressional Republicans objected to his leadership in phasing out the proposed nuclear-waste repository in Yucca Mountain in Nevada. It is unclear when his resignation will become effective, with the Obama administration announcing its intention to nominate a new NRC chair soon, who must also receive Senate backing.

According to regulations, the NRC has five commissioners who regulate and license nuclear power, but the chairman has ultimate legal authority. Jaczko had spent seven years as a commissioner, including three as chairman, with his term set to expire in June 2013. “I have decided this is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum,” he declared in an official statement. “This is the right time to pass along the public-safety torch to a new chairman who will keep a strong focus on carrying out the vital mission of the [NRC].”

From Yahoo business news, a report on the imminent shutdown of Japan’s last running nuclear reactor this Sunday.

Japan has 54 nuclear power reactors, including the four at Tokyo Electric’s Daiichi plant in Fukushima that were damaged in the earthquake and tsunami, culminating in three meltdowns and radiation leaks for the worst civilian nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

One by one the country’s nuclear plants have been shut for scheduled maintenance and prevented from restarting because of public concern about their safety.

The last one running, the No3 Tomari reactor of Hokkaido Electric Power Co in northern Japan, is scheduled to shut down early on Sunday. Anti-nuclear activists will celebrate with demonstrations over the weekend.

The last time Japan went without nuclear power was in May 1970, when the country’s only two reactors operating at that time were shut for maintenance, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan says.

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