• Mon, Jan 16 2017

    History and promise of high temperature gas cooled reactors

    By: Diarmuid Foley A small modular nuclear reactor to replace coal plants could be on the market within 5 years. In 2014, the Generation IV international forum [1] confirmed the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) as one of 6 promising reactor technologies that should be pursued in order to develop advanced reactors suitable for deployment in the 2030’s. The VHTR design was initially targeted ...read more
    • Fri, Jan 13 2017

    Jimmy Carter never served on a nuclear submarine

    Initial version posted Jan 27, 2006 A recent conversation about the dangers of false claims of expertise stimulated me to revise and republish a nearly 11 year-old post. It provides documented proof that Jimmy Carter was not a “nuclear engineer” and never served on a nuclear submarine. He left the Navy in October 1953, about 15 months before Jan 17, 1955 , the day the the world’s ...read more
    • Tue, Jan 10 2017

    Journal of Nuclear Medicine article: Fear of medical radiation is based on bad science

    Radiology and nuclear medicine subject matter experts have published an article in the January 2017 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine that provides numerous reasons why people should never worry about properly controlled radiation doses used in medical imaging. The doses used are many times lower than the lowest dose at which harm might begin in the form of an association with slightly high ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 9 2017

    Value for value support for atomic energy research and information

    As an exciting New Year begins, I hope that readers are finding useful insights here at Atomic Insights. If you find value in the product that Atomic Insights provides to you and to others seeking accurate atomic energy information, please use the button below to make a non tax-deductible payment. You will be trading something of value to us — a bit of cash — for the information value ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 9 2017

    Weatherwax: Preference for biofuel dev led to low dose radiation research demise

    Seated at witness table (left to right): Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax and Dr. Noelle Metting The following video is extracted from the House Science, Space and Technology joint oversight and energy subcommittee hearing examining misconduct and intimidation of scientists by senior executives in DOE chain of command. It features the opening statements from Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax, a plant microbiologist ...read more
    • Sun, Jan 8 2017

    Obtaining scientific cover for preordained policy decision

    I’m working on a story about the demise of the Department of Energy’s Low Dose Radiation Research Program. It’s a lengthy, complicated saga that isn’t yet ready to be published as a complete piece. There is a part of the story worth telling now because it may be valuable to others. It illustrates the way that authoritative individuals within agencies can systematically create ...read more
    • Sat, Jan 7 2017

    Micheal Shellenberger tells Cal Poly audience how nuclear fear began. How will it end?

    Michael Shellenberger, the director of Environmental Progress, recently gave a talk at Cal Poly titled How Fear of Nuclear Ends . As usual, Michael did a terrific job of presenting the talk and provides excellent graphics in support of his primary discussion points. There is, not surprisingly, more to the story he told. After all, he was trying to condense 50 years of history into a 22 minute talk ...read more
    • Fri, Jan 6 2017

    Debating validity and effects of assumption that all radiation adds risk

    Medical Physics recently hosted a point/counterpoint debate about the effects of assuming that all radiation carries a risk that justifies application of the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle. Here is an overview of the debate proposition. The ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle is based upon the assumption that low doses of radiation might be harmful and, therefore ...read more
    • Thu, Jan 5 2017

    PBS Newshour teases NOVA’s Nuclear Option

    Judy Woodruff introduced a “must see” segment on PBS’s Newshour last night. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: why some engineers and investors are making big bets to develop a new generation of nuclear reactors. Miles O’Brien has the story. It was a co-production with our friends at PBS “NOVA” tied to the January 11 documentary “The Nuclear Option.” His story is part of our weekly series ...read more
    • Wed, Jan 4 2017

    NEI Asks Trump Transition Team For Assistance To Make 2017 A Happy Nuke Year

    The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) recently issued a six page memorandum for the Trump transition team titled Nuclear Power in America and the World that outlines a program to improve America’s nuclear energy capabilities. It leads with the following paragraph. Economic, reliable, stable electricity is the lifeblood of our economy, a critical ingredient of prosperity for companies big and small ...read more
    • Tue, Jan 3 2017

    Nuclear Infrastructure Council and Argonne teaming up for a trailblazing nuclear tech summit

    Interest in alternative nuclear energy technologies continues to strengthen, despite the challenging financial environment and despite the regulatory hurdles that need to be moved out of the way. Atomic energy innovators continue to be inspired by the technical promise of highly concentrated fuel, tiny waste stream and zero air pollution or CO2 production. The potential suppliers to the industry remain ...read more
    • Sat, Dec 31 2016

    U. S. should strengthen and export its atomic energy capabilities

    Donald Trump has once again caused a huge stir with the issuance of a 140 character statement of purpose. Here is the tweet heard around the world: The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016 There is nothing immediately offensive or dangerous ...read mo...
    • Tue, Dec 27 2016

    Rick Perry might make DOE into an ENERGY leader

    President-Elect Trump’s choice of Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy is good news for people who believe–or want to believe–that the federal government’s Department of Energy was formed at the end of the 1970s because voters were tired of our abject dependence on foreign oil and its associated entanglements. It is likely to be a huge disappointment for those who are ...read more
    • Sat, Dec 24 2016

    Russia sees South Africa as a potentially lucrative market for nuclear power plants

    Rosatom, the Russian state-owned conglomerate that is building nuclear power plants in Russia and around the world, has confirmed that it is closely monitoring the public discussion that is taking place in South Africa over the newly released integrated energy plan . South Africa’s draft energy plan isn’t being presented to the public as a fait accompli. Instead, the draft provides information ...read m...
    • Mon, Dec 5 2016

    Diamond batteries would turn C-14 into a valuable byproduct of Adams Engines

    Researchers at the University of Bristol have excited geeks around the world by announcing they had successfully demonstrated artificial diamonds that produce an electrical current when exposed to radiation. Their research has been inspired by a fact that is almost unique to the UK. There is a large stockpile of radioactive carbon-14 available as a result of operating a number of graphite-moderated ...read more
    • Wed, Nov 30 2016

    Giant new cover for Chernobyl is an engineering marvel – and a monumental waste of money

    A couple of days ago, one of the largest movable structures ever built was rolled into place to surround Chernobyl Unit 4, the infamous power plant in Ukraine. That plant was destroyed more than 30 years ago when it suffered a steam explosion and fire after the operators violated a number of operating procedures with many engineered safety systems turned off. Even though the accident happened in ...read more
    • Mon, Nov 28 2016

    The New Fire project nears completion. Please prove there’s an eager market

    Entrepreneurs speak to veterans in EBR-II control room. From left to right: Peter Planchon, John Sackett, Jacob DeWitte and Caroline Cochrane Photo credit: David Schumacher Advanced nuclear reactor development is so vibrant, interesting and important that it has attracted a filmmaking team. The filmmakers, led by David Schumacher and Derek Wiesenhahn, are telling a story about some of the projects ...read more
    • Sun, Nov 27 2016

    Maria Korsnick describes nuclear industry strategy under incoming Trump Administration

    Maria Korsnick and Monica Trauzzi Maria Korsnick, the new President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, recently talked with Monica Trauzzi, host of E&E News’s OnPoint . Korsnick and Trauzzi discussed the nuclear industry’s near term future and its public information strategy under the coming Donald Trump Administration. A complete transcript of the interview is posted on the ...read more
    • Thu, Nov 24 2016

    Berkeley’s institutional fear of low dose radiation traced to a suffocated rat

    John H. Lawrence, M. D. 1980 Photo by LBL Photographic Services While learning more about the effect that John Gofman and Arthur Tamplin had on radiation protection regulations, I found an important story to share. Excessive fear of low dose radiation among University of California Berkeley (UCB) researchers that were early pioneers in radiation and radioactive isotopes was directly influenced ...read more
    • Wed, Nov 23 2016

    Is Donald Trump considering Donald Hoffman as Secretary of Energy?

    After every Presidential election, the game of “guess the cabinet” becomes one of the hottest activities in Washington, DC. One of the more entertaining aspects of the game is that almost anyone can play. Some participants read press articles voraciously and seek to impress their friends or readers by repeating names that they have heard. Others introduce a name that no one has heard ...read more
    • Tue, Nov 22 2016

    Helping a fellow nuclear professional

    I received a message from Lisa Stiles, who has been an active member of the American Nuclear Society and the North American Young Generation in Nuclear. She told me about a colleague who is in a challenging situation overseas. I volunteered to post a guest blog from her explaining the situation. Please read it, help if you can, and spread the message through your own networks. Nate and Erin From ...read more
    • Mon, Nov 21 2016

    Supporting atomic energy research and information

    My bookkeeper/assistant reminded me yesterday that I hadn’t asked for any support for Atomic Insights and the Atomic Show since mid June. She thought it might be a good time to remind you that the costs of web hosting, connectivity, traveling, technology upgrades and buying books add up. If you find value in the product that Atomic Insights provides to you and to others seeking accurate atomic ...read more
    • Mon, Nov 21 2016

    Will China convert existing coal plants to nuclear using HTR-PM reactors?

    It would be a huge benefit to the earth’s atmosphere if China, India, Brazil and the US could reduce direct coal burning while still making use of much of the capital that they have invested in building coal fired power plants. It would make an even larger difference in reducing air pollution in the areas downwind of the coal stations. Converting coal-burning supercritical steam plants to nuclear ...read more
    • Sun, Nov 20 2016

    Change at EPA could reduce the high cost of nuclear energy & improve grid cleanliness

    During a recent conversation with a successful career employee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the topic of radiation protection limits came up. He reminded me that the NRC’s role in radiation protection is limited to enforcing the standards that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In light of President-elect Trump’s statements about finding and eliminating ...read more
    • Thu, Nov 17 2016

    Three nuclear science deniers express their concerns about climate science denial

    A major reason that climate change skepticism has captured a strong foothold in the United States is that many of climate activists are illogical and inconsistent. They profess grave concern about climate change and call it one of the greatest threats to human civilization on Earth. They adamantly refuse to critically consider the usefulness of nuclear science and technology to serve as major tools ...read more