• Sun, Feb 14 2016

    U-Battery – Micronuclear power with intriguing business model

    U-Battery was one of the more intriguing presenters at the Advanced Reactor Technical Summit (ARTSIII) held at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory last week. Even though this was a technical summit, the segments of the presentation that captured my attention were the business model and the funding source. However, certain technical choices are vital to support the business model and to attract the funding ...read more
    • Sat, Feb 13 2016

    Defending FP&L from Tim Dickinson’s Rolling Stone hit piece

    Tim Dickinson wrote a piece for Rolling Stone titled The Koch Brothers’ Dirty War on Solar Power: All over the country, the Kochs and utilities have been blocking solar initiatives — but nowhere more so than in Florida . Though the Koch Brothers got top billing in the headline for fairly obvious reasons, the real villain in the story is the Florida Power & Light (FP&L) company, even ...read more
    • Sat, Feb 13 2016

    Jump on the Advanced Reactor development and deployment bandwagon

    On February 10-11, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (USNIC) sponsored the 3rd annual Advanced Reactor Technical Summit. Oak Ridge National Laboratory provided the venue for the event. Though he wasn’t the first speaker, I’d like to begin my reports from the event with Jeffery Merrifield’s stage setting talk. Merrifield is a man with a long resume in nuclear energy that ...read more
    • Tue, Feb 9 2016

    Enough tritium for almost a million liters at 8,000,000 pCi/L

    Sometime between June 24, 2015 and January 21, 2016, a building remodeling project in Steamboat Springs, CO resulted in the loss of 7.5 curies of tritium. A reasonable guess is that the container holding the tritium was tossed into a construction debris dumpster and carted off to a local landfill. The incident was reported to the NRC by the state of Colorado via email. The building owners have conducted ...read mor...
    • Sat, Feb 6 2016

    Save Diablo Canyon so it can continue to supply massive quantities of clean power

    California has one of the most confusing energy policies in the country. Though it loudly proclaims itself as an environmental leader, with some of the most strict air and water pollution regulations in the world, it has a state law that prevents consideration of new nuclear power plants. It has forced the early closure of 5 completed and operable reactors, replacing their output with additional electricity ...read m...
    • Tue, Feb 2 2016

    Bill Sacks – Radon abatement contractor giving poor advice in syndicated column

    By Bill Sacks This is in response to Rosie Romero’s article in the January 27 issue of the GV News (p. B8), What you need to know about radon. It is wrong, just plain wrong. In the low concentrations encountered in homes, radon is not a cause of lung cancer, let alone “the second leading cause,” as claimed by the EPA. On the contrary, in this setting radon acts like a vaccination and is actually ...read more
    • Mon, Feb 1 2016

    Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh “It’s an exciting time to be in nuclear engineering.”

    During the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase, there was a terrific conversation about a growing level of excitement among university students who are studying nuclear engineering, among more established members of the nuclear community and among other people who are passionate about helping to save the world. Some of that enthusiasm stems from the fact that nuclear energy is a well-proven [virtually ...read more
    • Sun, Jan 31 2016

    Bipartisan support for advanced nuclear energy development

    Third Way bills itself as a centrist think tank that is not satisfied with just thinking; they take action that gets results. Thursday’s (Jan 28, 2016) Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase provided an excellent example of Third Way’s ability to seek common ground among people from both major political parties in the United States. The event provided the opportunity for speakers from ...read more
    • Sat, Jan 30 2016

    Rachel Pritzker kicks off Third Way’s Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase

    In August 2015, I had the distinct pleasure of introducing Rachel Pritzker to Atomic Insights readers and Atomic Show listeners with Atomic Show #241 – Rachel Pritzker, philanthropic problem solver . Since that show, Rachel and I have met face to face, exchanged several emails, participated on the same conference calls, and interacted via Twitter. I also watched her give a terrific TEDx talk titled ...read more
    • Sat, Jan 30 2016

    Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) supports nuclear because it reduces air pollution

    One of the highlights of the recent Advanced Nuclear Summit hosted in Washington, DC by Third Way was an inspirational talk by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Here is a partial transcript, starting after Booker’s folksy story to set the talk’s tone. Here in this realm, we in government have to start acting boldly and let this be the nation of innovation again. That leads. And so the cleaner ...read more
    • Thu, Jan 28 2016

    Another day, another model “proving” capabilities of weather-dependent power

    On January 25, 2016 the NOAAnews (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency news) web site published a brief article with the following alluring headline: Rapid, affordable energy transformation possible NOAA, CIRES study: Wind, sun could eclipse fossil fuels for electric power by 2030 As the headline creator hoped, I couldn’t resist reading more. I was shocked, shocked to find that ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 25 2016

    Atomic Show #250 – Being nice nukes

    On Sunday January 24, I invited some of my pronuclear colleagues to chat about the building phenomenon of people outside of the nuclear industry becoming more interested in its advantages and advocating for its increased use. We discussed Meredith’s book project, Gwyneth’s recent speaking engagement at NC State, organized events at COP21, the increasing interest in new nuclear plants in ...read more
    • Sat, Jan 23 2016

    Vermonters say they want industrial wind to go the way of the billboard

    As a native of South Florida, I’ve probably logged at least a million miles driving on its interstate and U.S. highways. Most Americans have probably had at least a small taste of that experience. The contrast between Florida’s highways and those in Vermont is stark; Florida’s are littered with billboards. They often advertise products or services that I would have preferred not ...read more
    • Fri, Jan 22 2016

    Atomic Show #249 – All-Electric America by Freeman and Parks

    S. David Freeman and Leah Y Parks have published a book titled All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. There are a number of visionary sections of the book that appeal to me. However, I was not surprised to find out that the book takes a strong position in opposition to nuclear energy. I’ve long been aware of S. David Freeman, his career in the electricity production ...read more
    • Wed, Jan 20 2016

    NCSE Food-Water-Energy Nexus – Day 1

    The National Council on Science and the Environment is holding its annual conference this week at the Hyatt-Regency National Airport hotel in Washington, DC. This year’s conference topic is the food-water-energy nexus; it is aimed at bringing together people who are deeply engaged in science, actions, and policy development to address one, two or all three of the issues. The idea is to help ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 18 2016

    Clean energy, sustainable energy – both terms include nuclear energy

    For the Democratic Party debate held last night, the scientists at MinuteEarth were asked to provide a video giving some context for their question to the candidates about climate change. Here is their video, their question and responses from Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Mark O’Malley. Secretary Clinton wasn’t given a chance to answer; it was time for a commercial break. Transcript ...read mo...
    • Sun, Jan 17 2016

    Assembling reliable off grid power system for emergency preparedness

    Many advocates of unreliable power sources like wind and solar blithely toss out the concept of “storage” as the panacea that makes their favored energy sources viable competitors in the potentially lucrative business of supplying on demand power. I’m skeptical because I have some experience with operating and budgeting for power systems that use batteries and emergency diesel generators ...read m...
    • Fri, Jan 15 2016

    Atomic Insights Radar – Second week of 2016

    Atomic Insights is tracking too many consequential energy stories this week to cover them with individual posts. Here is a rundown with some brief or not so brief commentary. Oil prices Oil prices continue to plummet , reaching their lowest level in a dozen years. This boon for consumers who are not employed in the oil business has arrived because there is a few percent more current production ...read more
    • Thu, Jan 14 2016

    Reliable partnership between natural gas and renewable energy

    Naomi Oreskes is the Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She is also the author of the December 16, 2015 opinion piece published in the Guardian titled There is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don’t celebrate yet . That article included the following quote that started a firestorm of responses ...read more
    • Wed, Jan 13 2016

    Virginia ANS monthly meeting – Jan 21

    The Virginia Chapter of the American Nuclear Society will be holding its monthly meeting on January 21 at the Dominion Innsbrook Technology Center in Glenn Allen, VA. That meeting will be the annual joint meeting with the local chapter of the Health Physics Society. Schedule: Social Hour – 5:30 p.m. Dinner – 6:00 p.m. Presentation – 6:45 p.m. Adjourn – 8:00 p.m. COST ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 11 2016

    295th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

    Atomic Insights is proud to be hosting the 295th weekly addition of the Carnival of Nuclear Blogs. Here are some of the highlight posts produced during the first full week of 2016. From Yes Vermont Yankee : Vermont Yankee was replaced by natural gas: Doing the numbers By: Meredith Angwin and The replacement for Vermont Yankee was ….natural gas Guest post by Mike Twomey, Vice President ...read more
    • Fri, Jan 8 2016

    Why James Hansen might be underestimating nuclear energy’s growth potential and why Joe Romm is wrong

    Joe Romm , an energy industry and climate change pundit who was once mentored by Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute, recently sat down at his keyboard to produce a piece providing the basis for his opinion that James Hansen — and hundreds to thousands — of other nuclear energy proponents are wrong about nuclear power and overestimating its potential contributions to our future ...read more
    • Thu, Jan 7 2016

    Lake Gaston Association told to worry about uranium. Also encouraged to ask more questions

    On Wednesday, Jan 6, 2015, the Lake Gaston Association (LGA) monthly meeting featured a presentation from Tom Leahy, director of the Virginia Beach Public Utilities Department. The announced topic was an update on uranium mining and coal ash control. I saw an opportunity to combine some exploration of Virginia backroads with the chance to meet some new people who might be interested in learning more ...read more
    • Tue, Jan 5 2016

    Is slowly rising sea level really a concern for nuclear power plants?

    Christina Nunez wrote a piece for National Geographic titled As Sea Levels Rise, Are Coastal Nuclear Plants Ready? . It is a journalistically balanced piece that poses a worrying question about nuclear plant vulnerability. It begins by describing reasons to support nuclear energy along with reasons why some oppose and fear it. It includes critical commentary from a couple of the usual suspects ...read more
    • Tue, Jan 5 2016

    Biomass plants can do more than just produce electrons

    I’m opposed to subsidies that encourage the cultivation of plants and trees for the sole purpose of converting them into heat or electricity. Often sold under the “renewable energy” brand, such programs can result in substantial harm by paying people to bulldoze rain forests to plant soy or palms for their oil content or by supporting the harvesting of trees in North Carolina in order ...read more