• 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
    • Fri, Apr 8 2016

    Mr. Atomic Goes to New York for The Future of Energy – Part 1

    Early morning in NYC On April 4 and 5, I had the pleasure of attending the 9th annual The Future of Energy Summit organized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and held at the Grand Hyatt next door to New York’s Grand Central Station. The organizing theme of this year’s event, The Age of Plenty, the Age of Competition was quite different from the trends and ideas that influenced ...read more
    • Thu, Apr 7 2016

    Looking forward to Nuclear Energy Insider’s SMR Conference

    For the past 5 years, Nuclear Energy Insider has been holding annual gatherings focused on developments related to small modular reactors (SMR). From the outside, it can appear that little progress has been made during those years, but nuclear technology development is an endurance sport that rewards the patient and persistent. NuScale should be submitting the first SMR design certification application ...read more
    • Sat, Apr 2 2016

    Bernie Sanders and Jimmy Kimmel discuss importance of action on climate change

    Sometimes, you have to turn to late night television to find out things that are not covered very well during the network or cable news shows. The below is a clip from the March 22 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. On that show Kimmel interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist who is running for the Democratic Party nomination for President. The interview reveals several points of commonality ...read ...
    • Fri, Apr 1 2016

    Vermont Yankee power output has been replaced by natural gas

    By Michael Bielawski 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. When Vermont Yankee closed at the end of 2014, it was largely with the understanding that renewable energy sources were going to take its place. According ...read more
    • Fri, Apr 1 2016

    Bernie Sanders’s message is more than media caricature portrays

    We had a wide ranging discussion here on Atomic Insights after I posted an article titled Bernie Sanders is listening to the wrong people about energy . Quite a few of the comments led me to believe that the author has developed a slanted or one dimensional understanding of Bernie Sanders’s campaign message. That distorted view might be part of the source of resistance to my theory that Sanders ...read more
    • Tue, Mar 29 2016

    Bernie Sanders is listening to the wrong people about energy

    Many of my friends and colleagues in the nuclear energy community think I’m am on a quixotic mission. Though I have not made any decision on how to vote in November, Bernie Sanders is the candidate who is currently delivering messages that align with my thoughts on the direction that the US needs to move in the next four years. My main reservation about his message is that he is confused about ...read more
    • Sun, Mar 27 2016

    Who is targeting Turkey Point? Why? Part II

    Turkey Point Power Plant seen from Bay side. Used with permission from FP&L This is the second installment in the series. You can find the first installment here . This post is focused on answering the following question. Is the Turkey Point power station violating the Clean Water Act (CWA)? SACE allegations and intent to file citizens’ suit under CWA On March 22, 2016, the Southern ...read more
    • Sat, Mar 26 2016

    Who is targeting FP&L’s Turkey Point power plant? Why? Part I

    Aerial view Turkey Point looking to Biscayne Bay Used with permission from FP&L This will be a multi-part post aimed at addressing a convoluted and emotional issue. It will attempt to satisfactorily answer the following questions. Why are organizations targeting the Turkey Point power station? Why do they claim that the plant is threatening the Everglades National Park, the Biscayne Bay ...read more
    • Mon, Mar 21 2016

    Platts 12th Annual Nuclear Energy Conference – Overall impressions

    During the period of February 16-18, I attended the Platts 12th Annual Nuclear Energy Conference. For a number of reasons, I’ve been remiss in sharing some of my observations and thoughts about the conference. I wrote this up several weeks ago, but things move slowly in nuclear energy so most of it is probably still quite timely. Cautious, uncertain, pragmatic optimism was perhaps the prevailing ...read mor...
    • Sun, Mar 20 2016

    California’s “fix” for global warming is one step forward, two steps back

    The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. STOCK PHOTO BY RIAN CASTILLO VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS The March/April 2016 issue of Mother Jones includes a thoughtful piece by Gabriel Kahn titled Dreamers of the Golden Dream: Does California have a blueprint to fix global warming? . Regular Atomic Insights readers will not be surprised to find that I’ve already decided that California’s chosen ...read more
    • Sat, Mar 19 2016

    Diablo Canyon has friends that value its clean electricity

    Photo Credit: Gene Nelson On March 17, 2016 a group of sign-carrying, green tee shirt clad people gathered in downtown San Luis Obispo to show their support for the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station. Organized by Californians for Green Nuclear Power and Friends of Diablo Canyon, the event was covered by reporters from several local media outlets including the SLO Tribune ...read more
    • Wed, Mar 16 2016

    Save Diablo Canyon Rally – Wear the Green on St. Patrick’s Day

    The Friends of Diablo Canyon will be holding their second annual St. Patrick’s Day rally to increase public awareness of the importance of the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station. Here are the details: Thursday’s Diablo Canyon support rally will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the SLO County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St. Wear green in support of green ...read more