• Fri, Sep 15 2017

    Atomic Show #258 – Energy and the Modern State With Professor George Gonzales

    Dr. George Gonzales is an energy-focused political scientist and professor at the University of Miami. He has written a number of books about the relationships between energy, the environment, international relations, and political decision making. His upcoming work is titled Energy and the Modern State ; it is scheduled to be published in 2018. On this podcast, George and I discuss the way that ...read more
    • Thu, Aug 31 2017

    Can Gas Turbines Using Nuclear Fuel Change The Energy Game?

    Mobile low power number 1 (ML-1). Closed cycle nuclear gas turbine circa 1962. Credit: U.S. Army Disclosure: Rod Adams founded the now defunct Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. His company developed nuclear gas turbines from 1993-2010. It is a modern day truism that natural gas power plants are cheap while nuclear power plants are expensive. Natural gas plants can also be built in a variety of sizes by ...read more
    • Thu, Aug 24 2017

    Long awaited DOE report on electricity markets and reliability

    In April, Secretary of Energy Perry announced a 60 day study of current U.S. electricity markets with an emphasis on their effects on long term grid reliability, reliance and stability. That report was issued sometime around 10 pm yesterday. It’s a lengthy, detailed product backed up with data, charts, customer feedback, and expert input. Here’s a quick look that will be supplemented ...read more
    • Sun, Aug 20 2017

    U.S. DOE to Follow Industry Lead In Setting Priorities Under Trump

    R. Shane Johnson recently briefed representatives of the U.S. nuclear power industry about the the strategies and programs that the Department of Energy (DOE) is developing to implement the Trump Administration’s vision for nuclear energy. Johnson is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy. He’s the senior career civil servant in that branch, which has an annual budget ...read more
    • Sat, Aug 19 2017

    Nuclear’s Fork in the Road

    By Jim Little Would you be willing to continue investing in an established business with flat revenues, increasing costs while competing against an agile field of competitors who enjoy a market advantage of lower costs, quicker deployment schedules and the support of government subsidies and favorable public opinion? Should you stay the course and focus on addressing those challenges or divest? This ...read more
    • Thu, Aug 17 2017

    Is V.C. Summer really dead or is near term revival possible?

    V.C. Summer 2 & 3 site overhead as of Jan 2017. (With permission from SCE&G) Several leaders in the South Carolina government are actively searching for ways to revive the V. C. Summer expansion project. The project includes construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 power plants capable of producing 1,140 MWe each. That is enough new nuclear capacity to enable the state to idle or close almost ...read more
    • Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Using science to update regulatory approach to radiation protection

    Excessive regulation of extremely low radiation doses increases the public fears of nuclear technology, increases the costs borne by society, and can deprive society of the full benefit of that technology.” – Edward Maher, Sc.D., Harvard University Note: Borrowed from lowdoserad.org That is a truth that Atomic Insights has recognized for many years, but the situation – so far – remains unchanged ...read mo...
    • Sat, Aug 12 2017

    Impressions from the ANS Utility Working Conference 2017

    Where’s the registration desk? With generous support from several Atomic Insights readers, I was able to attend the welcome reception and the first day of the annual Utility Working Conferenc organized by the American Nuclear Society (ANS). This year’s conference title was The Nuclear Option – Clean, Safe, Reliable & Affordable . This event has been a fixture in the August calendar ...read more
    • Thu, Aug 10 2017

    New York’s Zero Emission Credit For Upstate Nuclear Plants Upheld

    Pro-nuclear environmentalists celebrate NYPSC decision to create Zero Emission Credit program for upstate nuclear Just over a year ago, I visited Albany, New York to attend a public hearing held by the New York Public Service Commission. I joined a number of friends – new, old and formerly just virtual – who were there to find out if the NYPSC would make the important decision to give upstate nuclear ...read more
    • Tue, Aug 8 2017

    Evidence suggesting LNT was fabricated as a purposeful effort to hamstring nuclear technology development

    Arguments about whether or not nuclear energy should play a large role in our future energy mix often stop on the issue of cost and schedule. Even the most stubborn nuclear energy advocates cannot ignore the fact that nuclear plant construction projects have struggled with cost and schedule performance. All too many of those poorly performing projects were never turned around and were eventually ...read more
    • Mon, Aug 7 2017

    Atomic Rod is live tweeting from ANS UWC 2017

    I am at the ANS Utility Working Conference and tweeting frequently today. If you want to follow along or review the archive, my Twitter account is @atomicrod. The post Atomic Rod is live tweeting from ANS UWC 2017 appeared first on Atomic Insights . ...read more
    • Tue, Aug 1 2017

    Tragic day in South Carolina as 5,000 people lose their jobs at VC Summer

    Yesterday, about 5,000 people working on the VC Summer expansion project learned that the owners had issued stop work orders effective immediately. They started the day with important jobs paying good wages and ended the day joining the ranks of the unemployed. SCE&G and Santee Cooper, after several months worth of deliberations and negotiations, decided that they were unable to complete the ...read more
    • Mon, Jul 31 2017

    Pro nuclear movement can appear confused to left and right

    Last week Ketan Joshi (@KetanJO) published a piece titled Nuclear power’s tense contradiction . Ketan is a thoughtful science and technology writer who earned a science degree (neuroscience and psychology) from Sydney University and has worked in the renewable energy industry. He is also deeply interested in politics and identifies with the left. His article is worth a close read, but the major ...read more
    • Sat, Jul 29 2017

    House Science, Space And Technology Gets Sage Advice From Energy Innovators

    From left to right: Dr. Jacob DeWitte, Dr. Gaurav N. Sant, Dr. Venky Narayanamurti, Mr. Kiran Kumaraswamy The witnesses testifying at Tuesday’s hearing on Energy Innovation in front of the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology provided forceful and specific examples of the important role that the Department of Energy has played in supporting commercially valuable research and development ...read more
    • Tue, Jul 25 2017

    Manish S. Shah – District Court Judge Northern Illinois In July 2017, District Court Judge Manish Shah , U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, handed a decisive victory to nuclear energy supporters and plant owners in a case that challenged Illinois’s right to choose the mix of fuels used to produce power inside its borders. The plaintiffs opposed the “Future Energy Jobs Act” ...read m...
    • Fri, Jul 21 2017

    Moon Jae-in Making Friends By Promising To Buy More Gas

    During his successful campaign to become South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in promised to dramatically increase South Korea’s natural gas consumption. Within weeks of taking office, he took several concrete steps towards fulfilling that promise. He announced the near-term closure of 10 coal plants, he allowed the operating license to expire as scheduled for South Korea’s oldest ...read more
    • Wed, Jul 12 2017

    There’s Less To Musk’s Big Australian Battery Deal Than Promotion Implies

    Tesla Inc. Powerpacks and inverters stand at the Southern California Edison Co. Mira Loma energy storage system facility in Ontario, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The Mira Loma substation houses nearly 400 Tesla Powerpack units, produces 20 MW of electrical power and stores 80 MW-hrs of energy. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg It should surprise no one to learn that Elon Musk ...read more
    • Thu, Jul 6 2017

    Gas Interests Opposing U.S. Nuke Industry’s State-by-State Strategy

    Pro-Nuclear Campaigners The nuclear industry’s strategy of working in individual U.S. states to obtain support for financially stressed plants has stalled . Despite successfully implemented efforts in New York and Illinois to provide assistance that is narrowly targeted at a handful of especially vulnerable units, no other state has been able to get a support measure out of the discussion phase ...read more
    • Wed, Jul 5 2017

    Credibility of Influential Paper On ‘100% Renewables’ Challenged by Peer-Reviewed Critique

    A pernicious myth was forcefully attacked in June when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper titled Evaluation of A Proposal for Reliable Low-Cost Grid Power with 100% Wind, Water, and Solar . The abstract of the new paper, which was developed during the past year by Christopher Clack and a team of 20 co-authors, includes the following clear challenge: “We find that ...read more
    • Mon, Jun 26 2017

    Do Natural Gas Interests Create Or Amplify Bad News About Nuclear Energy? Will They Continue To Push?

    “Don’t wait for a serious crisis to occur. Create one that can be more carefully controlled to your advantage.” Credit: Fictional natural gas futures trader whose last name might be Dulles or Bundy One of my favorite sources for natural gas industry news and opinions is RBN Energy LLC . Their blog is near the top of my reading list; the authors claim reached roughly 20,000 energy ...read more
    • Tue, Jun 20 2017

    Spent Fuel Pools Protect The Public. Don’t Believe Skeptics

    A two-page Policy Forum opinion piece titled Nuclear safety regulation in the post-Fukushima era: Flawed analyses underlie lax U.S. regulation of spent fuel by Edwin Lyman, Michael Schoeppner and Frank von Hippel appeared in the May 26, 2017 issue of Science Magazine , an outlet that has a public reputation as a reliable source of technical information. The authors admit in their final paragraph ...read more
    • Sat, Jun 10 2017

    Lightbridge Gaining Momentum In Drive to Commercialize Fuel

    Exploded view of Lightbridge fuel assembly. Image source: Lightbridge presentation I received a pleasant surprise near the end of May while performing a spot check of my modest portfolio of individual stocks. Lightbridge (NASDAQ: LTBR), a holding that hasn’t performed well for several years, had nearly doubled since my check a week before. Since then it has ratcheted up another 20% or so. My online ...read more
    • Wed, Jun 7 2017

    Atomic Insights is hosting a summer sleepover camp

    I apologize for the lack of recent articles. Since the last week in May, the headquarters of Atomic Insights has been hosting a family summer camp for three really happy and energetic children ranging in age from 2-7. During rare and short free time, I’ve been engaging on Twitter or moderating comments here, but finding the time to create new article content here has been difficult. I’ll ...read more
    • Tue, May 30 2017

    South Korea’s President-Elect Pledges ‘Nuclear Zero’ by 2060. Actions Have Already Begun

    Nuclear energy in the Republic of Korea is being threatened as a result of the May 9 presidential election of Moon Jae-in. Since at least 2012, when he suffered a narrow election defeat, Moon has advocated a halt to nuclear plant construction, prohibiting license extensions and achieving a “nuclear zero” policy by 2060. With the election behind him, Moon can expect support in the National Assembly ...read more
    • Wed, May 24 2017

    Nominations for NRC Commissioners

    Yesterday, the President announced his intent to fill two vacancies at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The White House press release names Annie Caputo, currently serving as senior policy advisor for Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to a seat with a term expiring June 30, 2021. As stated in the announcement, “Ms. Caputo has more than 20 ...read more