• Tue, Sep 21 2021

    What makes smaller nuclear power systems so exciting?

    Let me start by dispelling the notion that I think smaller, modular, manufactured nuclear power systems – often called SMRs or micro reactors – are the be all and end all solution to anything, including climate change or energy security. Though not THE solution, they have the potential to be a crucial, uniquely capable part of a fully-integrated, 0% emission climate-solving grid.  The best ...read more
    • Tue, Sep 14 2021

    China’s high temperature reactor – pebble bed modular (HTR-PM) achieves its first criticality

    On the morning of September 12, 2021, reactor number 1 of the eagerly awaited HTR-PM project was taken critical for the first time . Initial criticality for any new reactor is a big deal for the people involved in the project; this one is a big deal for the future of nuclear energy. It might also become a big deal for humanity’s ability to effectively reduce CO2 emissions enough to slow climate ...read more
    • Thu, Aug 12 2021

    A Path from Coal to Nuclear is Being Blazed in Wyoming

    Many of those who care about finding solutions to the physical distress that our climate is experiencing, as reported on this week in a landmark 1,300 page report by the IPCC ‘s Sixth Assessment Working Group 1 ( Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis ), are not looking at Wyoming. But based upon the announcement made in early June by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, together with senior ...read more
    • Fri, Apr 23 2021

    Nucleating our carbon-managed future

    If you’ve studied chemistry, you’ll know that the nucleation point describes the start of a change in physical state, such as from a solid to a liquid, or liquid to gas. Water starting to crystallize into ice nucleates where the first H 2 O molecules reorganize as a solid. We’re seeing a similar transformation of human society—forced by the heat of planetary warming, costly extreme ...read more
    • Wed, Mar 10 2021

    Five Myths about the Lone Star Blackout

    By Meredith Angwin Meredith Angwin, Author and Energy Analyst When we hear something terrible has happened to someone we know, we are concerned for them. We are worried. We want to help. And let’s face it, we are also concerned that something like that might happen to US. Our self-concern often takes the form of a list: “All the reasons this won’t happen to me.” I don’t smoke ...read more
    • Wed, Feb 24 2021

    Atomic Show #291 – Kalev Kallemets, Fermi Energia

    Fermi Energia is an Estonian company whose mission is to provide its home country with an independent, clean, safe and affordable electricity production system by 2035. That system will be anchored by base supply from small modular nuclear reactors. It is a lofty mission for a small company in a country whose land mass and population is roughly the size of the state of Maine and whose current ...read more
    • Mon, Feb 22 2021

    Preliminary lessons available to be learned from Feb 2021 extended cold spell

    A large number of “hot takes” are appearing now that the cold wave that began arriving on Feb 13, 2021 has moved into areas where sub-freezing temperatures in Feb are normal. If the politically charged nature of the takes could be harnessed, the energy released would be able to keep quite a few homes supplied with power. But, no one has found a way to capture and convert words and ...read more
    • Tue, Feb 16 2021

    South Texas Project Unit 1 tripped at 0537 on Feb 15, 2021

    A series of winter storms and a blast of Arctic air has put most of the United States into a short term energy supply challenge. Texas has been the epicenter of the winter event. Its electric power grid has been under an Emergency Energy Alert Stage 3 since the early morning hours of February 15. At that stage, reserve margins are so tight that the grid operator has issued orders to transmission ...read more
    • Tue, Feb 9 2021

    Atomic Show #290 – Myrto Tripathi, Voices of Nuclear

    Nuclear energy professionals are credible sources of information about a powerful technology that can help address climate change and contribute to humanity’s development. Voices of Nuclear is an international non-profit group that seeks to empower nuclear supporters, both professionals in the industry and allies outside of the industry, with tools, organization and effective messages. ...read more
    • Wed, Feb 3 2021

    Change is in the wind: Commencing a new phase as a Venture Capitalist

    Atomic energy is a tool that is capable of helping address some of humanity’s most wicked challenges. Clean, abundant, reliable and affordable power makes everything we do a little easier and is becoming increasing urgent in the era of climate change. Unfortunately, atomic energy is a long way from reaching its potential or even achieving the impact envisioned by its pioneers. We’ve ...read more
    • Fri, Jan 29 2021

    Atomic Show #289 – All Reactors Large and Small

    Pro-nuclear advocates generally agree that there is a large and growing need for new nuclear power plants to meet energy demands with less impact on the planet and its atmosphere. There is frequent, sometimes passionate discussion about the most appropriate reactor sizes, technologies and specific uses. Atomic Show #289 is a lively discussion among some of the world’s most focused experts ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 25 2021

    Atomic Show #288 – Per Peterson, CNO, Kairos Power

    Per Peterson with KP-FHR mockup in background Image provided by Kairos Power Kairos Power Is developing a truly new nuclear fission power technology. Their KP-FHR (Kairos Power – Fluoride High-temperature Reactor) combines the solid fuel form usually associated with gas-cooled reactors with the fluoride molten salt often associated with fluid-fuel reactors. For Atomic Show #288, my ...read more
    • Mon, Jan 18 2021

    Kenneth Pitzer blamed AEC advisors for slow power reactor development

    During the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) earliest years, the General Advisory Committee was sometimes viewed as a source of discouraging, delaying advice. Made up of selected members of the scientific establishment, the group habitually sought more studies and inserted costly delays aimed at making the perfect next step instead of taking steps that were good enough to support practical learning ...read more
    • Sat, Jan 16 2021

    Why did the US Atomic Energy Commission kill Daniels Pile in 1947?

    In January 1947, after more than a year of focused public attention and debate, the civilian U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) took control of all atomic energy matters from the Manhattan District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This takeover was a major victory for the atomic scientists and others who worked diligently to ensure that civilians were put in charge of the incredible new energy ...read more
    • Thu, Jan 14 2021

    How did an oil shale investor hamstring his atomic energy competition? (Ancient but impactful smoking gun)

    During the contentious effort that resulted in passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, Sen Eugene D. Milliken (R-CO) played an important role in establishing an attempted US government monopoly over all atomic energy information. During the House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences between versions of the bill passed by the two legislative bodies, Milliken gave a speech lasting ...read more
    • Wed, Dec 23 2020

    Improved atomic energy offers a pathway that Princeton’s Net Zero America failed to acknowledge

    Princeton’s Net Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure and Impacts charts five challenging, tortuous, investment-intensive paths to “net-zero” by 2050. A presentation that contains 345 slides of text, colorful graphs and wide area maps provides details about the selected scenarios. The Princeton research team promises peer-reviewed journal articles in the near future. According to sponsor ...read more
    • Fri, Dec 18 2020

    Adams Engines™: Design Concepts

    In the spring of 1991, I began contemplating ways to combine the benefits of gas turbine power plants with the incredible advantages of nuclear fuels like uranium, plutonium and thorium. That effort has continued sporadically for many years with many interesting impacts on my life. It was impetus for a small modular reactor start-up company that never gained sufficient traction. It has led to ...read more
    • Tue, Nov 17 2020

    Will heavy nitrogen become a widely used fission reactor coolant?

    Heavy nitrogen has the potential to become as important to the future of atomic fission power system development as heavy water has been up until now. That’s a bold statement, so let me explain why I believe it’s true. Are any nitrogen cooled reactors being used today? One nuclear fission power system – the US Army’s “reactor in a box” the ML-1 – is known to ...read more
    • Sat, Nov 14 2020

    Is there a conspiracy against nuclear energy?

    I have been accused of being a conspiracy theorist for pointing out the blindlingly obvious fact that nuclear energy competes for markets against fossil fuels. There is abundant evidence showing how hydrocarbon interests have worked to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about nuclear power. Since the stories are spread over the 80 year period since atomic fission was discovered to be an incredibly ...read more
    • Thu, Nov 12 2020

    Atomic Show #287 – Darren Gale, VP Commercial Operations, X-Energy talks about Xe-100

    X-Energy is the lead recipient for one of two industry groups selected to receive $80 M in Department of Energy (DOE) funding as part of a public-private partnership program to demonstrate advanced nuclear power plants on an aggressive time table. Its primary partner in the endeavor is Energy Northwest, which currently owns and operates the Columbia Generating Station in eastern Washington. Energy ...read more
    • Sat, Nov 7 2020

    Open Letter to Interim Storage Partners and Holtec – please find better locations for your CISF projects ASAP

    Image from Holtec submission to US NRC ADAMS ML16133A100) (Credit to Neutron Bytes) Dear Holtec and Interim Storage Partners: Both of you are actively pursuing permission from the US Nuclear Regulatory to build consolidated interim storage facilities in an area of southwest Texas and southeast New Mexico that seemed well suited for the purpose at the time that you began the process . ...read more
    • Fri, Nov 6 2020

    Atomic Show #286 – Chris Wright, CEO Liberty Oilfield Services

    Chris Wright is the CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services , which recently became the second largest US company performing the work of drilling and completing oil and gas wells in shale formations. He is a leader in the field of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling, having been involved in the revolutionary technology development since the days when George Mitchell was stubbornly experimenting ...read mo...
    • Tue, Nov 3 2020

    Atomic Show #285 – MMR at Illinois

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne has a stretch goal of completing its next research and test reactor by the end of 2025. It has assembled a team that includes several other major universities, national labs, and industrial partners. It has selected the MMR TM , a product that is being developed by USNC (Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation), for its ability to meet most of a long list ...read more
    • Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Atomic Show #284 – Meredith Angwin, Author of Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid

    Meredith Angwin has become an authority on the arcane topic of governing electric grids in the United States. She’s concerned and thinks others will may share her concern when they recognize there is a key missing element in grid governance. There is no organization or individual that is responsible for making sure that electricity is generated, transmitted and delivered to customers. ...read more
    • Sat, Oct 10 2020

    Atomic Show #283 – The Good Energy Collective

    Jessica Lovering, Rachel Slaybaugh, and Suzy Baker founded and lead Good Energy Collective , a policy research organization that is actively “building the progressive case for nuclear energy as an essential part of the broader climate change agenda.” Inspired by the dynamic leaders and new organizations that are successfully making the case that addressing climate change is an imperative ...read more