• 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
    • Fri, Nov 11 2016

    President Trump: Nuclear energy is the mother lode of untapped potential

    President-elect Trump’s gracious acceptance speech includes a statement that should stimulate creative people who appreciate the capabilities of nuclear energy yet are saddened by the huge gap between the promise and the current reality. “I’ve spent my entire life in business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want ...read more
    • Mon, Nov 7 2016

    Nukes in Las Vegas. ANS Winter Meeting 2016 part 1

    ANS 2016 Mentor Session The ANS winter meeting for 2016 will officially begin today, but the weekend has been full of committee meetings, hallway gatherings and organized sessions for the Young Members Group and the High Temperature Reactor (HTR) embedded topical discussion. I learned long ago that I needed to arrive at ANS meetings well before the President’s Reception on Sunday evening ...read more
    • Fri, Nov 4 2016

    One step to save nukes – stop their immediate destruction

    Kewaunee Nuclear plants that are economically uncompetitive under current market conditions should be retained for future operations, not immediately destroyed. Some might wonder at my wording. They might accurately point out that virtually all of the 30+ commercial reactors that have been permanently shut down in the US are still standing and have not been physically removed from their sites. ...read more
    • Mon, Oct 31 2016

    Another U.S. Nuclear Plant [Might Have Been] Killed By Competition

    Just after sunrise on crisp spring day. Neither solar nor wind would be producing any power. FCS cranking out 380 MWe without smokestacks. Less than a week after the newest U.S. nuclear reactor entered commercial service, one of the oldest nuclear reactors in the U.S.. the Ft Calhoun Station (FCS), shut down for good. Completed in 1974 for a total cost of less than $200 million – still twice ...read more
    • Fri, Oct 28 2016

    Maria Korsnick brings fresh thinking to nuclear energy leadership

    Maria Korsnick, President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute Maria Korsnick has a passion for nuclear energy and a well- informed view of the challenges and opportunities the U.S. nuclear industry faces. That was my impression after recently attending her firrst press conference as NEI’s new president and CEO. “If we hope to maximize nuclear energy’s immense potential globally, the United ...read more
    • Thu, Oct 27 2016

    Watts Bar 2 has been shut down since Oct 22 due to transformer issues

    Last week, with significant fanfare, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced that Watts Bar Unit 2 had begun commercial operation. It had completed a 20 day reliability run following the completion of power accession testing. That October 19th declaration changed the status of the reactor from a capital construction project to a working asset. That status change has an impact on accounting, revenue ...read more
    • Wed, Oct 26 2016

    NuScale Getting Ready For Design Certification Submission

    NuScale remains on track to submit a high quality design certification application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the end of 2016. That statement might surprise people who follow small modular reactor developments closely enough to be aware that the company received a status report earlier this week from the NRC that gave a grade that can best be described as an “I” — for ...read more
    • Mon, Oct 24 2016

    Natural gas burners file suit challenging fairness of New York Zero Emission Credts

    A coalition of electric power producers that operate natural gas-burning generation plants have filed suit in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York. They are challenging the New York State Department of Public Service’s (NYSDPS) recently enacted Zero Emission Credit. Competition wasn’t designed with customers in mind The lawsuit filing document Indicates that the market ...read more
    • Fri, Oct 21 2016

    Another nuclear plant will close for good on Monday

    The Ft. Calhoun Station (FCS) is scheduled to shut down for good on Monday, October 24. The number of operating nuclear power reactors in the US will have been in the three digits again for a just one week. That event will be a tragic shame for the surrounding community, for a gradually growing portion of the 700 people that were employed at the plant when the closure decision was made, for all of ...read more
    • Thu, Oct 20 2016

    Eminent domain and Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

    Coles Hill Since 1800 Despite the currently abysmal state of the market, Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI), owner of the 119-million pound deposit at Coles Hill, continues legal efforts to overturn the ostensibly temporary moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The most recent step in the process for overturning the moratorium, first established in 1982 pending the creation of ...read more
    • Sun, Oct 16 2016

    American’s Nuclear (Power) Program Is Way Behind Russia’s

    After the first hour of the second Trump-Clinton debate, I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my assignment to write about the way that the candidates spoke about my coverage area. There was no mention of energy, clean energy, nuclear energy or climate change. Finally, at 1:02:40 on this video of the debate , Donald Trump made the following statement. …our nuclear ...read more
    • Wed, Oct 12 2016

    Passive-Aggressive Fight Against Plutonium Economy

    Late on a Friday afternoon (September 23), the Department of Energy released an updated performance report on the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF). DOE’s internal Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced the report using assumptions and data provided by DOE leadership. The report concludes that if the National Nuclear ...read more
    • Sun, Oct 9 2016

    Can Modern Charcoal Help Solve Human Created CO2 Problem?

    Human activity has created a carbon dioxide problem. Dr. Frank Shu and his team have a partial solution called “supertorrefaction” that is worth sharing. Problem Solving Versus Panicking When faced with problems, rather than panic or fret, people with an engineering mindset prefer finding solutions using the best available tools. The more creative members of that admirable tribe create ...read more
    • Thu, Sep 15 2016

    Stockpile of 20% enriched uranium will enable advanced reactor deployment

    This is a call to action. The Department of Energy is soliciting comments on its excess uranium management plan . The deadline for comments, initially announced as August 18, 2016, has been extended until September 19. That is just 4 days away. Here is a quote from the Federal Register request for information: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is preparing for a potential new Secretarial Determination ...read m...