• Fri, May 27 2016

    Global Climate Panel at Nuclear Energy Assembly

    During the recently completed Nuclear Energy Assembly in Miami, Fl, one of the panel discussions focused on the importance of ensuring that nuclear energy has a loud voice and is at the table in policy discussions related to clean power production and CO2 emissions reductions. The panel participant list included a last minute change, substituting Jay Faison from the ClearPath Foundation for Jason ...read more
    • Tue, May 24 2016

    NEA 2016 – Preparing for new reactor development

    On May 24, 2016 during the afternoon session of the Nuclear Energy Assembly, there was a panel discussion on the topic of preparing for new reactor development. NEI’s Chief Operating Officer, Maria Korsnick, moderated the panel. Other participants included Jacob DeWitt, CEO and co-founder of Oklo, a start-up company with a design for a 2 MWe nuclear generator designed for remote power ...read more
    • Tue, May 24 2016

    South Australia: Making money by solving “waste” problems of others

    South Australia is making progress in its effort to profitably address an issue that has slowed nuclear energy’s growth prospects for more than 40 years. On May 9th South Australian premier Jay Weatherill released the final version of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report that had been briefed to him on May 6. The report is the result of a 14-month process of evidence gathering, hearings ...read more
    • Sat, May 21 2016

    Real people are harmed when other people decide to close nuclear plants

    Activists rally outside the Statehouse following a vote by the Vermont Senate to retire the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in 2012. Since the plant’s closing, energy derived from natural gas has increased more than 5 percent. Communications professionals have often counseled nuclear professionals to stop sounding so much like scientists and engineers. We often purposely avoid emotion because we like ...read more
    • Fri, May 20 2016

    Sharing atomic insights on Forbes.com

    This morning I published my first post on Forbes.com. It’s titled Addressing Economic Challenges Facing Nuclear Power Plants . It’s a quick summary of the DOE GAIN program summit titled Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants held yesterday. The new venue on Forbes will provide an increased reach into audiences that have not yet found Atomic Insights. I have no ...read more
    • Wed, May 18 2016

    Continuing Education on Advanced Reactors for U.S. Senate

    On May 17, 2016, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the status of advanced reactor technologies. Hosted by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) the Committee Chairman and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member, the committee heard testimony from the five witnesses listed below. Dr. Jacob DeWitt , Co-Founder and CEO Oklo Dr. John Gilleland , Chief Technical ...read mor...
    • Tue, May 17 2016

    How Did the MOX Project Get So Expensive?

    Over the past week or so, I’ve engaged in a “root cause analysis” project to determine why the US is having so much difficulty implementing a plan to take 34 metric tons of nearly pure plutonium 239 — a fissile isotope with virtually the same energy value as uranium 235 — out of our nuclear weapons program and beneficially use it as a source of fuel for commercial nuclear ...read more
    • Mon, May 16 2016

    Sierra Club’s Michael Brune Offers Lousy Excuses About Nuclear Energy Position

    During the ECO:nomics Conference held in Santa Barbara, CA April 6-8 2016, the Wall Street Journal’s Russell Gold Michael Brune peppered Sierra Club’s Executive Director with direct questions about his organization’s current and potential position vis a vis nuclear energy and climate change. Brune’s dismissive responses insulted the thousands of hard-working people who have ...read more
    • Sun, May 15 2016

    1000 Times Too Large – Evacuation Assumption at Indian Point

    by M. Herschel Specter , former AEC Licensing Manager for Indian Point 3 On November 16, 2015 Jim Malatras, New York State’s Director of Operations, wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners arguing that the applications for extending the licenses of the two operating nuclear plants at Indian Point should be denied. His central reasoning was “Indian Point’s proximity to a major population center ...read more
    • Wed, May 11 2016

    Rockefeller Foundation’s hefty influence on education. Propagating fears about health effect of low dose radiation

    In my continuing efforts to produce a narrative about the way that the public was taught to be afraid of ionizing radiation, no matter how low the dose, I came across an interesting write up in the Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report for 1958. Here is some important temporal context. The Foundation Board of Trustees asked the National Academy of Sciences to study the biological effects of atomic ...read more
    • Mon, May 9 2016

    Carnival of Nuclear Blogs #308

    Get on the nuclear technology bandwagon. It’s so big, there’s plenty of room for all! Every week, a loosely aligned group of writers and thought leaders pick their favorite recently produced piece about nuclear energy. One member of the group volunteers to put together a single highlights article that we call the Carnival of Nuclear Blogs and publishes that article on their own blog. ...read more
    • Sat, May 7 2016

    Public is rational about radiation; the industry isn’t

    Malcolm Grimston, a senior research fellow at Imperial College in the UK, gave a fascinating talk to the Canadian Nuclear Association’s February 2016 meeting. His message includes powerful suggestions for people who are excited about the prospects of using nuclear energy to solve some of humanity’s most wicked problems. It’s also a critical message for the professionals that believe ...read more
    • Thu, May 5 2016

    Feeling Upbeat about Nuclear Technology’s Future

    I feel better about the prospects for new nuclear technology development today (April 21) than I have for several years, based on the four conferences in four different U.S. cities I’ve attended over the past several weeks. Bloomberg New Energy Finance – Future of Energy 2016 My travel calendar has included Washington, D.C., for the Nuclear Industry Summit / Nuclear Security Summit , New ...read more
    • Tue, May 3 2016

    Strengthening nuclear innovators – Bootcamp at Berkeley

    The Nuclear Innovation Alliance is partnering with universities, national labs, think tanks, the Department of Energy and corporations including Southern Co., Google, Transatomic, Terrestrial Energy, and TerraPower to offer the first Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp August 1-12 at the University of California, Berkeley. Twenty-five students (graduate students or undergraduates who will have completed ...read more
    • Mon, May 2 2016

    Columnists declare nuclear to be uncompetitive

    On Saturday, April 30, Leonard Hyman & William Tilles published an opinion column on Oilprice.com headlined Lets (sic) Stop Pretending Nuclear Power Is Commercially Viable . Aside: Leonard Hyman is an accomplished electricity industry analyst and historian. I have a dog-eared copy of his 1983 work titled America’s Electric Utilities: Past, Present and Future on my library bookshelf. That frequently ...read mor...
    • Sun, May 1 2016

    David MacKay, author Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air, final chat with Mark Lynas

    On April 3, 2016, Mark Lynas met with David MacKay , the author of Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air , to give him the Breakthrough Institute’s 2016 Paradigm Award . After the brief ceremony, the two influential British thinkers chatted about David’s career , his love of arithmetic, his concerns about humanity and his famous book. Perhaps the best remembered quote from Without ...read more
    • Sat, Apr 30 2016

    House Energy and Commerce seeks to enable advanced nuclear energy

    On Friday, April 29, 2016, the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss H.R. 4979 and a draft discussion bill with the unfortunate acronym of NUKEPA (Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act). Though at different stages of the legislative process, both documents are efforts to improve the ability of the US to design, license and deploy ...read more
    • Mon, Apr 25 2016

    Atomic Show #253 – Delivering the Nuclear Promise

    The US nuclear industry has decided that it’s time to take aggressive action to improve its operational efficiency. Leaders have looked hard at the competitive landscape. They’ve clearly recognized that while they produces a valuable, desirable commodity, their production costs are not competitive. Many of them aren’t willing to give up their markets and valuable assets without ...read more
    • Sat, Apr 23 2016

    No obstacles prevent China from rapidly building floating nuclear power plants

    1968 photo of the Sturgis, the first nuclear power barge, in the Panama Canal. It provided electricity to operate the locks from 1968-1975 Credible entities in China have begun lining up the supply chains required to produce reliable electrical power from barge mounted nuclear fission power plants. There are no technical, industrial, or regulatory hurdles that prevents the first of those machines ...read more
    • Wed, Apr 20 2016

    Enabling atomic innovation

    During the past several weeks there have been a number of developments supporting a growing movement to enable nuclear energy innovators to succeed in the US. Leaders are realizing that nuclear energy, which has deep roots in the US and has proven its capability to produce reliable power without producing any air pollution, should be enabled, not discouraged. The impetus for action might have been ...read more
    • Sun, Apr 17 2016

    Advanced Reactor leaders: Will you put one in your backyard?

    I returned from the Nuclear Energy Insider International Advanced Reactor and SMR Summit with revived energy, optimism and passion for participating in an expanding effort to smooth and straighten the tortuous path associated with producing increased quantities of clean energy from atomic fission. The effort isn’t small, it isn’t narrowly focused, and it isn’t–by any means–limited ...read...
    • Wed, Apr 13 2016

    Lightbridge metallic alloy fuel provides upgrade path for LWRs

    Lightbridge, a company that was originally incorporated as Thorium Power, Inc., has achieved significant technology developments after making a strategic turn in 2010 from thorium based fuels to low enriched uranium metal alloy fuels. As funding dried up from the government agencies supporting their thorium work, the company chose to use its assembled nuclear engineering expertise to pivot to a more ...read more
    • Mon, Apr 11 2016

    Atomic Show #252 – Security, Future of Energy, HEU

    On the evening of April 10, 2016, I met with two good friends and fellow nuclear energy bloggers for a wide ranging discussion about nuclear energy. We talked about the following topics: Nuclear energy’s role in the future of energy supplies Impact of the Nuclear Security Summits initiated by President Obama Demonization campaign being waged against the use of refined uranium (aka highly ...read more
    • Sat, Apr 9 2016

    The Worth-It Threshold – When gas or gas + renewables is as bad for climate as a coal plant

    The following article dovetails nicely as support for several articles that are in the queue. Those articles will describe a global case of ill-advised groupthink about a future energy supply system consisting of unreliable wind and solar power generation. My interpretation is that the “100% renewables” goal is a seductive mirage that has been carefully created to solidify a growing dependence ...read mor...
    • Fri, Apr 8 2016

    Can low dose radiation stimulate improvement in patients with Alzheimer Disease?

    Many people have a strong fear of contracting “the big-C.” Though I share that concern based on my personal observation of too many loved ones who lost their battle with cancer, my personal nightmare disease is Alzheimer’s. It’s difficult as someone who thoroughly enjoys challenging mental activity to imagine the experience of slowly losing my mind. Unfortunately, I’ve ...read more