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NRC Publishes Fee Schedule for Fiscal 2005

The NRC published its fee schedule for licensing, inspection and annual fees it charges to applicants and licensees in today's edition of the Federal Register. The following schedule becomes effective on July 25. For a PDF version of the press release announcing the changes, click here.

Class/category of licenses
FeeOperating Power Reactors (including Spent Fuel Storage/Reactor Decommissioning annual fee)
$3,155,000Spent Fuel Storage/Reactor Decommissioning
$159,000Test and Research Reactors (Nonpower Reactors)
$59,500High Enriched Uranium Fuel Facility
$5,449,000Low Enriched Uranium Fuel Facility
$1,632,000UF6 Conversion Facility
$699,000Rare Earth Mills
$73,700Transportation:

Users/Fabricators
$80,900Users Only
$4,300Typical Materials Users:

Radiographers
$12,800Well Loggers
$4,100Gauge Users (Category 3P)
$2,500

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St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Nuclear power should be in the mix."

In this morning's St. Paul Pioneer Press, Associate Editor Mike Yost makes his pitch for nuclear energy:
The enviros are engaged in similar intellectual dishonesty when it comes to nuclear power.

"The answer to meeting our future power needs is not renewables or nuclear power, it's both," said Jim Alders, manager of regulatory projects at Xcel Energy. "Nuclear power should be in the mix."

So why isn't it? Good question.Further . . .
In the meantime, the benefits of diverse energy generation are starting to be discussed. Indeed, nuclear is not the silver bullet. While it's cheap and operates peak loads around the clock, it can't handle demand surges the way a gas-turbine plant can.

"We need a diverse energy mix," Xcel's Alders argues. "One (technology) can't replace the other."

Until we realize that, we're just spinning our wheels.Some people might find support like this surprising, but it's actually attributable to …

Sweden to Close Barseback 2 Plant

Despite the fact that 80 percent of its voters want to keep nuclear as part of the nation's energy mix, the Swedish government is still going ahead with plans it first made 25 years ago to phase out its domestic nuclear energy industry.

Next on the agenda, closing the Barseback 2 nuclear power plant:
The majority of Swedes say they fear they will have to import energy from carbon dioxide-emitting coal and gas power plants elsewhere in Europe, as a result of energy shortages.

There have also been warnings that power costs are on course for sharp rises.

"There is a lack of electricity in the Nordic market and this will only contribute to that," Kalle Lindholm, spokesman for Sweden's power industry group Swedenergy, told Reuters news agency.There's one group of folks who may be happy about Swedish plans in this area -- and they're right across the border in Finland, where that nation plans to build five reactors.

Barseback 2 alone generated four percent of Sweden'…

U.K. Nuclear Update

We're continuing to see signs that U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing to help jump-start a revival of that nation's nuclear energy industry. In a television interview on Saturday, one former government minister opposed to the idea said that he thought Blair had already made up his mind.

And you know something has really changed when the Guardian starts running op-eds in favor of nuclear energy that read like this:
Yet it seems wrong to dismiss nuclear energy merely because of our revulsion for nuclear weapons. Atomic power has worked. Today it provides 23% of Britain's energy, which is scheduled to fall to 7% by 2020 as old stations reach their expiry date.

Nobody can propose a credible alternative energy source that is anything like as environmentally acceptable. Anyone who supposes that wind turbines can meet demand is a mathematical duffer. A wind farm the size of Dartmoor would be required to provide the energy of one nuclear plant. In the past, atomic power has …

Anti-Nuke Alert: Greenpeace to Fight Polish Nuclear Plant

From Polskie Radio:
Greenpeace has called for an end to plans to build a nuclear power station in Poland and has inaugurated a special project entitled the ‘Energetic Revolution.

Launched in the coastal city of Gdansk the initiative calls for more energy to come from organic sources in Poland. The ecologists are against the proposed construction of an atomic energy plant in Poland.

Spokesman of the Polish branch of Greenpeace Jacek Winiarski said that the nuclear plans is totally pointless and a “very dangerous investment.”

According to Greens Poland has great potential in wind farms and this should be made a priority.

Should the government continue to develop plans on the construction of an atomic plant Greenpeace will hold protests to block the investment, says the group.Back in December, Poland, which relies heavily on lignite and hard coal for electrical generation, announced it would build its first nuclear reactor by 2023.

Here's a message to our friends in Poland: Drop us a line …

Clay Sell on the Bush Nuclear Energy Policy

We just got hold of the remarks made by Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell at yesterday's NuStart press conference. No link was available, so we've reproduced the text here in full:
It is an honor to be here today on behalf of President Bush and Secretary Bodman… to take part in an event that could lead to a more secure energy future for our nation.

The companies that make up the Nustart Consortium are among the world’s top operators of nuclear facilities, and are well-positioned to build the first new nuclear power plants in the United States in nearly three decades.

There is no better time for a renaissance of nuclear power in this country. Our growing dependence on foreign energy… and increasing concerns about air emissions… make nuclear power’s advantages over other methods of electricity production more pronounced than ever.

Nuclear power is the only technology we currently have that can reliably produce base-load electricity without any pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.…

Will Germany Flip On Nuclear Energy?

Back in March we told you about how the electrical utility executive who negotiated the planned phase-out of German nuclear power plants was predicting that the decision would eventually be reversed. Now, with perhaps some political changes in the offing, nuclear energy may be making a comeback. Here's Deutsche Welle:
After Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's center-left coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and environmentalist Greens hammered out an agreement in 2001 with the energy industry to slowly phase out Germany's nuclear power plants, most Germans thought the subject was dead and buried.

But Schröder's decision to call for an early general election this fall after his party was trounced in a regional poll on Sunday has changed the political landscape. Suddenly, the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) are considered favorites to form the next government in Berlin. And that has convinced many in the energy sector that reports of nuclear power's demise may have bee…

Senator Obama: Climate Change, Air Quality Keeps Nuclear Energy On the Table

Back during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) said that he rejected both liberal and conservative labels in favor of "common sense solutions." And when it comes to nuclear energy, it seems like the Senator is keeping an open mind:
[A]s Congress considers policies to address air quality and the deleterious effects of carbon emissions on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable – and realistic – for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration. Illinois has 11 nuclear power plants – the most of any State in the country – and nuclear power provides more than half of Illinois’ electricity needs.

But keeping nuclear power on the table – and indeed planning for the construction of new plants – is only possible if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is vigilant in its mission. We need better long-term strategies for storing and securing nuclear waste and for ensuring the safe operation of nuclear power plants. How we develop these strat…

Immelt: GE Could Help India in Nuclear Energy

Here's GE CEO Jeff Immelt at an event in New Dehli yesterday:
"If greenhouse gasses are bad, nuclear energy is the answer. Nuclear energy is the definitive generating source of the future," Immelt maintained.

His comments came in response to a question from former diplomat G. Parthasarathy.

"The US seems to be ready to move ahead from (the) Three Mile Island (nuclear plant disaster). There are also indications that the US might resume nuclear cooperation with India. There are reports that (US energy major) Westinghouse is keen on projects in India. Will you also come in?" Parthasarathy asked.Back during an official state visit in March, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.S. would consider helping India build one or more nuclear plants.

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Back to school

There are various places where people from the nuclear industry can serve the public, some of which are less confrontational than, say, the meeting on climate change in Virginia.

On May 16, 2005, I addressed both sections of the AP Government class at Heritage High School, in Lynchburg, VA. My subject was “Radioactive Waste and Politics”. The AP Government class is designed to prepare seniors for the College Board’s advanced placement test. The class members are among the strongest students in the senior class.

The invitation to speak resulted from a comment by the teacher of the class in the fall of 2004. The high school regularly hosts a “back to school night” for parents of students, and the teacher noted that she would welcome speakers whose work was related to a political or social problem. I sent her an e-mail that described my experience in radioactive waste management, notably eight years on the Yucca Mountain Project. She was happy to have a volunteer. The culmination of the cl…

NuStart Energy Press Conference

Last week we told you about how NuStart Energy had selected six finalists as possible sites to test the NRC combined construction and operating license process. Steve Kerekes, our head of media relations, was at their Washington, D.C. press conference earlier today, and sent along this report.
Sixteen reporters turned out for this afternoon's 40 minute NuStart news conference at the National Press Club. A handful of folks from the Hill as well.

Event went well; about a dozen good questions after the remarks by DOE's Clay Sell, NEI's Marv Fertel and NuStart's (Exelon's) Marilyn Kray. Lots of solid curiosity. NuStart members well-represented at the head table -- which I actually felt was perhaps the most notable aspect of the event. It sent a strong signal about industry commitment to advance the ball.

Vendors said a 48-month construction timetable is do-able. Kray said industry prides itself on planning and preparedness, and wants to be ready when the market is ripe fo…

Another Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy

Philip Stott of EnviroSpin Watch reports that an online poll conducted by U.K. political magazine New Statesmanwent pro-nuclear with more than 73 percent of the vote.

Stott also points to an article by Mark Lynas in the most recent edition of the magazine (subscription required), where the author, a committed environmentalist, talks about his conversion experience with nuclear energy:
I did attend the Energy . . . Beyond Oil conference in Oxford earlier this month. The meeting focused on what could replace fossil fuels, and I arrived convinced - as I wrote in these pages a few weeks ago - that opting for nuclear power would be a disastrous mistake. Before long my comfortable green certainties were in tatters.
After reviewing each of the renewable options and deciding that they couldn't generate enough power to even replace the electricity that nuclear energy already generates in the U.K. (never mind contribute to additional baseload capacity), he came to this conclusion:
I'm not …

Climate Change in Virginia

Virginia NA-YGNmembers Mike Stuart, Joe Montague and I attended a "Richmond Townhall Meeting" organized Tuesday night by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). The website says The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to educate and mobilize citizens of this region in a way that fosters a rapid societal switch to clean energy and energy-efficient products, thus joining similar efforts worldwide to slow and perhaps halt the dangerous trend of global warming.Mike began working the room immediately and recognized a fellow from the local Sierra Club that he had met at the state fair. This local environmental leader is NOT against nuclear power. In fact, he supports it as a means to combat pollution and global warming in the near-term. I shared a couple of quotes from James Lovelock. His feeling appears to be that the…

PFS' Utah Plans Inch Closer to Approval

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on Tuesday rejected Utah's latest appeal seeking to prevent Private Fuel Storage's plans to store 44,000 tons of nuclear waste on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian reservation.

The board's decision means PFS is inching closer to getting its license to build an interim spent fuel-rod storage site 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. PFS officials have said they could be operating by 2007.
For more coverage, visit the Daily Herald, the Guardian (U.K.) or visit the PFS Web site.

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Sound Science, Not Hysteria

Hydrogen Power News on the recent New York Times piece concerning the growing split in the environmental community over nuclear energy:
The paper also notes the arguments within the environmental movement as many of the hardline nuclear opponents speak in terms more akin to betrayal which is what you would expect if a movement is based on emotion or religion instead of science and facts, some have evidently made up their minds and that’s that. What we need now is clear thinking and if the hydrogen economy is ever going to be anything other than a fantasy, every avenue needs to be explored.For more on the connection between nuclear energy and a possible future hydrogen economy, click here.

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Investor's Business Daily on the "Greenie Meltdown"

In a May 20 editorial in Investor's Business Daily, the editors describe the dillema many environmentalists now find themselves in (subscribers only content):
The central hypocrisy of environmentalists has long been that their anti-nuclear hysteria has driven the U.S. to increase the use of fossil fuels that pollute the air and contribute to global warming. It takes four tons of coal to provide the power needs of one inhabitant on Chicago's Lakeshore Drive for one year. A few ounces of uranium would fill that same need.

If we had simply built all the nuclear power plants that were in the pipeline at the time of the over-hyped Three Mile Island incident, we'd have reduced our current coal consumption by more than enough to satisfy the demands of Kyoto.

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More Bloggers For Nuclear Energy

Time to welcome the group blog, thinknuclear.org, to the fold.

Also be sure to stop by Tim Worstall and Chris Berg.

It's pretty clear that Tramp Texan gets it too:

So let's face it, folks. We need to solve our short-term energy thirst with the tools we have at hand. That means clean coal, nuclear power, biofuels, wind energy, and hydro. Cars will just have to get high miles per gallon on fossils and biofuels till hydrogen comes online. But here's the thing wise environmentalists see: no useful tool should be cast aside. Even nuclear.
And finally, check out the two-part post at The Science Blog on the potential expansion of nuclear energy: Part I, Part II.

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Lovelock Takes On Environmental Foes

In Sunday's edition of the Guardian (U.K.), pioneering environmental scientist James Lovelock took on his former confederates in the global environmental movement over their opposition to nuclear energy:
'To phase out nuclear energy just when we need it most to combat global warming is madness,' he said. 'The anti-nuclear agenda is pushed by groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and by Green Party politicians. They are pursuing goals in which neither environmental good sense nor science play a part - a strange way to defend the earth,' he writes in Reader's Digest.
To read Lovelock's piece from the U.K. edition of Reader's Digest, click here (PDF).

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Immelt and Lash on "ecomagination"

Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman and chief executive of GE and Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute co-authored an op-ed piece on the company's ecomagination initiative that appeared in Saturday's Washington Post:
We are developing a mix of improved technologies to meet energy and environmental needs in the future, tapping resources as diverse as wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas. The key is higher efficiency, lower cost and fewer emissions. One example is in the burning of coal for power. Today we have cutting-edge gasification technology that could cut worldwide carbon dioxide emissions by millions of tons -- a significant step toward greenhouse gas reductions.

We believe that government can restore its leadership position by moving beyond the gridlock on energy and environmental policy. We need a policy that commits to market-based approaches that can drive environmental improvement. One that thinks outside the barrel -- and promotes diverse energy sources…

Another Non-proliferation Success Story

On May 5, Eric posted a note on "Megatons to Megawatts". I would like to call attention to an excellent project that complements "Megatons to Megawatts". It's the MOX Project. Whereas "Megatons to Megawatts" converts surplus weapons-grade uranium to fuel, the MOX Project converts surplus weapons-grade plutonium. It's a bilateral project, with both Russia and the U.S. having agreed to convert 34000 kg of weapons-grade plutonium into fuel.

Like most major projects, the MOX Project has encountered and overcome various obstacles. One of the most notable obstacles was that there is no facility in the U.S. that is licensed to fabricate MOX fuel. So that the project could continue to make progress until such a facility becomes available, plutonium dioxide was shipped to Cadarache in France, where it was mixed with uranium dioxide and formed into fuel pellets. The pellets, plus cladding and hardware from the U.S., were then sent to the Mélox facility, also…

For Your School Project

Here's an interesting story from Wakarusa, Indiana:
NorthWood Middle School teacher Brad Eby will spend the rest of the school year covering nuclear energy with his eighth-grade students for a reason.

"There's a renewed interest. President Bush is pushing us to build more (nuclear power plants)," he said.

"In four years, they'll (the students) be voting," he said, just after a classroom full of kids filed out the door, armed with surveys.

Each of Eby's students will ask a parent, neighbor or friend older than 18 to complete the survey that he says will gauge their knowledge of nuclear energy. He'll compile the results next week, but he's already made some predictions about how the adults will fare.

"Most people will be very lucky to get three or four of the 10 (questions) right," he said.
If any of those students are looking for some supplemental information for their projects, they could start with NEI's periodic public opinion sur…

Wind vs. Nuclear in Germany

Germany plans to phase out all 19 of its nuclear power plants by 2020. This article by Stefan Dietrich in the online version of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung examines the critical question How will a continuous supply of energy be secured once all of the nuclear plants are out of service?
As part of the energy solution, Germany plans to double its wind generating capacity. Dietrich finds much fault with this line of thinking and this is the first article I've seen that attempts to quantify some of the costs of directly replacing nuclear with wind.

One problem, of course, is wind's abysmal capacity factors. Deitrich writes On paper, at least, the ”generating capacity” of 36,000 megawatts would make up for the lost production from the nuclear plants. But, in reality, one can expect only a fixed increase of 2,200 megawatts, according to a report by the German Energy Agency. Wind is just too unreliable. Ninety-four percent of the energy supply would have to be covered some oth…

NuStart Announces Finalists

There's exciting news coming out of the NuStart Energy consortium this morning -- namely, that the group has announced that six areas are considered to be finalists for one of the consortium's two possible license applications for a new nuclear reactor:
Four of the six already house operating nuclear power plants. The sites, by location, are:
Scottsboro, Ala. The Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, an unfinished site owned by the U.S. government's Tennessee Valley Authority. Port Gibson, Miss. The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, owned by Entergy. St. Francisville, La. The River Bend Station, owned by Entergy. Aiken, S.C. The Savannah River Site, a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons lab. Lusby, Md. The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant, owned by Constellation Energy. Oswego, N.Y. The Nine Mile Point plant, owned by Constellation Energy.As we noted back in March, Oswego has been publicly campaigning to get a spot on the list.

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Atomic Insights at NEA 2005

One of the nuclear energy professionals I met at the Nuclear Energy Assembly this week was Rod Adams, a U.S. Navy-trained nuclear engineer who runs a teriffic little Web site called Atomic Insights. Best of all, Rod brought along his iPod to some of our conference session. Follow the links below for audio files of each presentation.

U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS)

U.S. Representative John Spratt (D-SC)

NRC Commissioner Nils Diaz

Professor Neil Todreas, MIT

Donna Jacobs, Vice President, Nuclear Services, Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Closing statement by Skip Bowman, NEI President and CEO

By the way, this is an idea too good not to steal. Look for NEI to do this next year. There's plenty of other editorial content too, including one piece on Rod's early passion for nuclear energy. Check it out.

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Todreas Honored With Smyth Award

Dr. Neil E. Todreas of MIT is one of the world's leading nuclear engineers, and was just named the 2005 recipient of the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award. Besides his post at MIT, Todreas is also a leader in the Department of Energy's Generation IV Reactor Initiative.

Over at CNN.com, Dr. Todreas wrote about how nuclear energy can contribute to meeting future energy demand in a way that's both economical and environmentally sensitive.

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Fortune: Nuclear Power Is Back—Not A Moment Too Soon

Add Fortune to the growing list of media outlets that are taking notice of all the action in the nuclear energy industry (subscription required):
It took a month for the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to cool off in 1979 after it partially melted in America's most famous nuclear accident. The emotional heat was a lot more intense; it took 25 years to fade. But at long last it has mostly dissipated, and now, very quietly, nuclear power is on its way back in the U.S. and around the world. And—it must be said—that's a good thing.

More than 30 years after the last U.S. reactor was built, three major U.S. utilities have applied for early site permits for new reactors—Dominion in Virginia, Entergy in Mississippi, and Exelon in Illinois. Two large consortiums of major players in the field, including utilities, reactor makers, and construction companies, have started down another avenue of the complex licensing process, applying for construction and operating licenses. These license…

DOE's Bodman at Nuclear Energy Assembly

Yesterday morning, Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman addressed the conference. President Bush has been very supportive of our industry, even more so ever since he said the words, "safe, clean, nuclear energy" during this year's State of the Union address.

Secretary Bodman made it pretty clear where the Administration stands:
As [energy] demand continues to climb, we must keep in mind that the fossil fuels upon which we increasingly depend are finite resources that will not last forever. As time goes on, they will become more and more expensive to find and produce. In addition, our traditional ways of using fossil fuels – burning them in power-plant boilers and in vehicle engines – causes pollution… such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury… as well as greenhouse gas emissions.After reading that, I have to say there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that proponents of peak oil and peak energy would disagree with. Granted, their policy prescriptions…

Notes From the Nuclear Energy Assembly

Sorry for the lack of posts today, as I've been busy working at NEI's annual meeting, the 2005 Nuclear Energy Assembly here in Washington, D.C.

For the annual State of the Industry address by Robert McGhee, Chairman and CEO of Progress Energy and NEI's Vice Chairman, Click here. For NEI President and CEO Skip Bowman's speech, "A Time of Opportunity, A Time of Action," click here.

Here's an excerpt from the Bowman speech:
The timing is indeed right for action. To continue establishing the conditions, the business environment, for new nuclear.

We are not there . . . yet!

But look at what our industry is doing … testing the new licensing process.

Wall Street has made it clear what is needed to gain the confidence to finance a new plant project.

We’re helping each other demonstrate that the new regulatory processes for next generation reactors can work.

That also sends a message to our decision-makers: As I said earlier, we have a vital role to play in enhancing…

NY Times: Environmental Movement Reconsidering Nuclear Energy

The big news over the weekend was that the New York Times finally noticed something that we've been telling you for a couple of weeks -- that a number of environmentalists are breaking from the pack and endorsing nuclear energy as a way to provide new power generation that doesn't produce greenhouse gas emissions:
Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming. Their numbers are still small, but they represent growing cracks in what had been a virtually solid wall of opposition to nuclear power among most mainstream environmental groups.Reactions from around the Blogosphere -- Instapundit:
If you want to have a technological civilization, and not emit C02, nuclear power is pretty much the only way to go at the moment.Right On The Left Coast is astonished that he agrees with the New York Times. Wilson Fu isn't loo…

NEI News Clips

Here are some other noteworthy news items kicking around the office:

The NRC renewed the operating licenses for Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, for an additional 20 years. Congratulations to the team at Southern Nuclear Operating company.

In Germany, many environmentalists celebrated the closing of a second nuclear reactor. The closing is part of an agreement between the German government and electric utilities that was concluded back in 2000.

A few weeks ago, we noted that this move may be more costly than some proponents are willing to admit. In addition, the utility executive who negotiated the original agreement with the government said that it was inevitable that Germany would have to turn back to nuclear energy in order to meet aggressive targets on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Jay Currie has further thoughts.

For a look at the dynamics that are helping to create an unlikely alliance between environmentalists and those concerned with national security, check out Futurep…

The 2005 Nuclear Energy Assembly

Sorry for the light posting over the past few days, but everyone here at NEI has been very busy preparing for our annual Nuclear Energy Assembly.

It's our biggest event of the year, and all hands are on deck these days, so to speak. This year's meeting will take place from May 16-18 at the Fairmont Hotel here in Washington.

The speakers lined up for this year's event, billed as "Nuclear Energy 2005: A Time of Opportunity", include NEI President and CEO Skip Bowman, Senators James Inhofe and Pete Domenici, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, Congressman Joe Barton, NRC Chairman Nils Diaz and Robert McGhee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Progress Energy and NEI's Vice Chairman.

Also speaking on Tuesday, May 17 will be one of our contributors here at NEI Nuclear Notes, Lisa Shell of Dominion Generation. Lisa is also incoming president of North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN), a professional association for young nuclear professionals.

I'll be on…

Nuclear Energy Debate at Sustainablog

Yesterday, I had a very cordial email exchange with Jeff Strasburg of Sustainablog on the new support nuclear energy is getting from some prominent folks in the environmental movement. In particular, I passed along some details from Patrick Moore's congressional testimony that I thought were pertinent:
"Nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse-gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand," Moore told the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Resources in Washington, DC.

"There is now a great deal of scientific evidence showing nuclear power to be an environmentally sound and safe choice," Moore said. Moore believes his former colleagues at Greenpeace are unrealistic in their call for a phasing out of both coal and nuclear power worldwide, as they have called for in Ontario, for example.

"There are simply not enough available forms of alternative energy to replace both of them together. Given a…

Duke Power Looks To "Secure Option to License a New Nuclear Power Plant"

When it comes to possible plans to build new nuclear capacity, few companies make as much noise as Duke Power. Just off the wire:
Duke Power has filed preliminary information with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to modernize and expand its Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford and Cleveland counties and Buck Steam Station in Rowan County.

The filings in support of an application for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” (CPCN) with the commission are part of Duke Power’s overall strategy to plan for the future. The company is also considering whether to pursue the option to build a new nuclear power plant and is seeking bids from the wholesale power market for up to 1,500 megawatts beginning in 2009.
Duke also disclosed that it would be making a similar filing in South Carolina in the coming months. Click here for our post from February when Duke announced it was "in the initial stages of planning the preparation of a combined construction and operating licen…

U.K. Nuclear Update

Brian Wilson, who was U.K. Energy Minister from 2001-2003, is calling for a rational debate concerning the expansion of nuclear energy in Britain:
"Hopefully what there is, is an intelligent debate which takes us away from the polarised pro and anti nuclear plans that were formed in many minds in the 60s and 70s," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"There's a completely different context for the debate now and let's have it on an intelligent and rational basis".
Further . . .
Mr Wilson said the government had to create the right conditions to allow the private sector to decide whether it can invest in nuclear power. It would need some guarantee of electricity prices to ensure it was economically viable, he said.

"If we don't do that, then our targets on carbon reduction are out the window," he said.
For more thoughts, check out U.K.-based EnviroSpin Watch.

UPDATE: Prime Minister Tony Blair gets a thumbs up from Synthstuff.

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Climate Change and the G8 Summit

Back in April, we alerted readers to the possibility that a major announcement on international climate change policy might be in the offing for the G8 Summit in Scotland this July. This morning, the following ran on the BBC:
Energy experts from the world's leading economies will join a two-day workshop at Oxford University to find solutions to the global warming crisis.

The scientists will present the fruits of their deliberations to a meeting of the G8 of key industrialised nations in Gleneagles in Scotland in July.

Tony Blair has made tackling climate change a priority of his G8 leadership.

And nuclear energy is sure to be on the agenda.

Thanks to reader Brian Spears for the pointer.

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Whitehall Document Details U.K. Nuclear Energy Plans

With U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair being returned to power after last week's election, details are beginning to come to light regarding his government's plans to revive that country's nuclear energy sector.

From the Guardian:
In a 46-paragraph briefing note for incoming ministers, Joan MacNaughton, the director-general of energy policy at the new Department of Productivity, Energy and Industry, warns that key policy targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and boost green energy are likely to fail, and that decisions on new nuclear power stations must be taken urgently. It advises that 'it is generally easier to push ahead on controversial issues early in a new parliament'.

The document points to the key role new nuclear power stations, which do not emit carbon dioxide, would play in tackling carbon emissions. It states: 'We now have 12 nuclear stations providing 20 per cent of our electricity carbon-free. By 2020 this will fall to three stations and 7 per cent…

Another Blogger For Nuclear Energy

Mover Mike takes a look at the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, and he seems to like what he sees:
The environmentalists should love this. There is no danger of "The China Syndrome", the is no pollution as in fossil fuel plants, and there will be enough room on site for the spent fuel to be stored in dry storage tanks within the PBMR building. Finally, a PBMR lasts for 40 years and takes 24 months to build.
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Obituary: Samuel J. Chilk, First Secretary of the NRC

Via email, we received some sad news from the NRC this morning:
The agency was saddened to learn that Samuel J. Chilk, who served as the NRC's first Secretary of the Commission, passed away Thursday morning, May 5, in Sarasota, FL.

Mr. Chilk was appointed Secretary in March 1975, soon after the NRC was founded, and retired in March 1997. During his 22 years at the NRC, he loyally served 9 Chairman and 22 Commissioners, along with their staff and his staff in the Office of the Secretary.

His ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a service scheduled for 2 p.m. on June 6.

The family requests that memorial contributions be sent to Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, 1838 Waldemere St, Sarasota, FL 34239.
Our condolences to his family and friends.