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Showing posts from February, 2006

Energy Information Digest

The February issue of Energy Information Digest is now available on the NEI Web site, in the Newsroom. In it, you'll find articles about state initiatives to invest in clean energy, the Asia Pacific Partnership, a U.K. nuclear update, President Bush's State of the Union address and other topics.

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NEI Energy Markets Report (February 20th - 24th)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity prices were mixed to decreasing across the country (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.07 to $7.40/MMBtu (see page 4).

Nuclear capacity availability was at 90% last week. Beaver Valley 1, Calvert Cliffs 1, Hatch 1, LaSalle 1 and San Onofre 2 were down for refueling outages. Clinton finished its refueling outage this week which lasted about 27 days. Six other units were down at various times throughout the week for maintenance outages (see pages 2&3).
For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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South Africa Nuclear Update

Blackouts are continuing in Cape Town, but now there seems to be an additional reason outside of bad timing and poor resource planning:
South Africa suspects that sabotage was involved in damage to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and police have indentified suspects, government ministers said on Tuesday.

"Initial reports indicate what happened might have been sabotage," Minerals and Energy Lindiwe Hendricks told Reuters after a joint press briefing with Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin.

"I think it's very clear now other forces are at play ... there is growing evidence also linking some of these problems to the government's transformation drive," said Hendricks.

She was referring to the government's affirmative action programme aimed at advancing blacks who were sidelined during white-minority rule.Word of possible sabotage of the unit had first surfaced back in January. For a previous post on the subject, click here.

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Russia and Natural Gas Imperialism

More details on the "pay up or freeze" natural gas deal between Russia and Ukraine are beginning to leak out. Here's Jackson Diehl at the Washington Post:
Ukraine's president, Viktor Yushchenko, and Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov had agreed to purchase Ukraine's gas through a Swiss trading company whose owners and beneficiaries are publicly unknown -- but are rumored to include senior officials and organized crime figures in both Russia and Ukraine. They granted this same shadowy company a 50 percent share in the business of delivering gas to Ukrainian consumers. They accepted a price deal on gas delivered to Ukraine lasting only a few months but guaranteed that rock-bottom rates charged by Ukraine for the storage and transit of Russian gas to the West would be frozen for 25 years.

What does this have to do with democracy in Europe? In effect, some U.S. experts concluded, the Ukrainians may have sold to Putin that which he was prevented from stealing: a Kremlin s…

Around the Energy Blogs

It occurred to me over the weekend that we haven't been visiting a number of our neighbors in the energy blogosphere, and it's far past time that we corrected that oversight.

The Ambivalent Engineer has a question about nuclear fuel:
So what is the burnup limit, and do operators currently burn fuel all the way to the limit?Rod Adams has the answer.

Our friend Stewart Peterson has moved Nuclear is our Future to a new address. Please update your bookmarks.

Thanks to some new legislation working its way through Congress, the Cape Wing Project might be in trouble. The Watthead is concerned.

The Guardian has published another dubious poll. Randall Parker has his doubts too.

Those of you interested in environmentally responsible transportation might be cheered to discover that the ZAP is coming to America:
After a number of false starts ZAP (PCX:ZP) now claims it is about to start selling the Smart Car, the fuel-efficient micro-car from Europe. ZAP is preparing to distribute the cars al…

U.K. Nuclear Update

Just in from Scotland:
Unions are heading a drive for new nuclear power stations to be built in Scotland.

A resolution calling for the nuclear option to be part of continuing energy review was passed by the Scottish Labour Party yesterday.

The engineering union Amicus and the National Union of Mineworkers believe atom plants must be part of a balanced energy policy including clean coal technology and renewable sources like wind and biomass.More from The Brothers Judd. And a number of antis are already sounding the alarm. Click here and here for more details.

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NAM Blog Interview with Gov. Huckabee

Our friend Pat Cleary over at NAM interviewed Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on a raft of issues related to competitiveness, including energy policy:
On energy, he says we not only need to end our dependence on foreign oil, we need to end our dependence on oil, period. He favors research and development of new sources. However, in the meantime, we need nuclear, hydrogen, need to explore ANWR (he calls ANWR a political, not an energy issue) and the Outer Continental Shelf.

As for the future, he says the government needs to create the financial incentives for development of new sources. Government needs to create, as he calls it, "The 'Google' of the gas tank", the next big idea for energy. He says that like the race to space, government needs to challenge the country and needs to invest in the research to get it done. "Capitalism drives great decisions", he says.Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

NPR on New Nuclear Build

Today from 2:20 to 3:00 pm U.S. EST, EPRI Vice President Dave Modeen and Arjun Makhijani from IEER will appear on Talk of the Nation'’s Science Friday program with Ira Flatow. They are slated to discuss new nuclear plants and related issues. You should be able to access it live via American University radio at 88.5 FM. You can get that live audio via the Web. The audio of the program will also be posted on the program's Web site at 6:00 pm U.S. EST. For that link, click here.

Thanks to my colleague Trish Conrad for the tip.

UPDATE: For those of you not up on advanced fuel-cycle technologies that were discussed during the program, click here for a policy brief from NEI. And here's an editorial from the Voice of America. And here's another NPR segment from earlier this week about new nuclear build in the U.K.

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Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Bill Habermeyer, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida, will retire in May. After retiring from the U.S. Navy as a rear admiral in 1993, Habermeyer joined Progress Energy predecessor Carolina Power & Light. He became CEO in 2000.

Progress Energy also announced that Tom Walt has been promoted to vice president of the company’s H.B. Robinson nuclear plant. Walt, who currently serves as general manager of Progress Energy’s West Region Fossil Generation, will replace John Moyer, who will retire in April.

Nebraska Public Power District has named Ron Asche president and CEO, effective immediately. Asche has been with NPPD since 1976, most recently as chief financial officer and vice president of finance, risk management and rates. He replaces Bill Fehrman, who announced his resignation from the company this month.

Southern Nuclear Operating Co. has elected Joseph “Buzz” Miller its senior vice president of nuclear development, a new position. Miller also will serve as president of So…

Australia Nuclear Update

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Prime Minister John Howard backed nuclear power for Australia provided it was economically feasible.

"I am of the view that we certainly should not turn our face against it as Mr Beazley has done. I can't understand why he did that," he told Southern Cross Radio in Melbourne.

"I am not saying that we should have it tomorrow. What I am saying is that if the economics of energy lead us to embracing nuclear power than we should be willing to do so."For more coverage, click here and here.

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Suicide Attack on Saudi Oil Facility

From the AP:
An explosion occurred Friday at a major oil refinery in Buqayq, eastern Saudi Arabia, a Saudi oil official said.

The explosion was caused by a vehicle packed with explosives that was detonated by the shots of security guards who fired on it as it tried to drive into the refinery, a reporter for the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya TV said.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report from the Saudi authorities.

Earlier Al-Arabiya quoted its reporter in the kingdom as saying shots as well as an explosion were heard, and they may have been part of an attempt to attack the refinery.From Reuters:
Suicide bombers tried to storm an oil facility in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province on Friday, a security source said.

"Security forces foiled an attempted suicide attack at the Abqaiq refinery using at least two cars," the official said.

Al Arabiya television said Saudi forces killed the attackers.

Authorities have brought under control a fire at a pipeline following a…

FuturePundit on Energy Week

Randall Parker took a look at President Bush's activities around energy policy this week, and he's written a review.

UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein has a different take:
The President’s recent alternative energy initiative, for all its talk of wind and solar power, has always been—in my opinion—about reopening the door to nuclear energy on a large scale by, in essence, forcing the hand of conservationalists and environmentalists who realize, though they are loathe to admit it, that wind and solar power (at least as we are able to harnvest those energies now) are simply not the answer for a world becoming increasingly more reliant on power.

(snip)

Is the President being disingenuous, then, when he talks of Ethanol and wind power and clean-burning coal? I don’t think so; rather, he is willing to give proponents of those technologies the chance to make good on their optimism. But in doing so, he is also showing us that the need to begin the transition to a strong and vastly improved nuclear …

South Africa a Preview of the Future?

Wonder what the next 10 years might look like if America doesn't start building more baseload capacity? Look no further than South Africa, where four days of rolling blackouts have struck Cape Town.

Puts the PBMR project in perspective, doesn't it?

More, here.

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Nuclear Energy Insight

The latest issue of Nuclear Energy Insight is now available online. In it, you'll find an article on a landmark agreement among Northeast states establishing a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program that recognizes nuclear energy's role. There also are reports on a new reactor design ready for the U.S. market and a federal government forecast that predicts increased nuclear generation. Other articles discuss nuclear plants' stewardship in protecting wildlife habitat, policy group opposition to a long-term on-site used fuel storage proposal, and an effort to train more radiation protection workers.

Platts Conference Presentations

The folks at Platts have been kind enough to publish the presentations from the nuclear energy conference they hosted last week here in Washington. Click here for the full list. All the presentations are in PDF format.

UPDATE: Our friends at Platts have informed us that the link we originally passed along shouldn't have been public. Instead, they're pointing to a page of podcasts they did at the conference.

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Nuclear Energy: More Than Meets the Eye in Agriculture

As many of my readers have probably already surmised, I don't confine my writing and commenting on nuclear issues just to NEI Nuclear Notes. I try to keep an eye on what folks are saying on other blogs, and it's not out of the ordinary for me to shoot an email off to another blogger, or leave a comment where I think it might help.

That also means talking with anti-nukes pretty regularly. Granted, there are plenty of people on the other side of the fence who will never be convinced of the benefits of nuclear energy. Instead, I try to hop into conversation where we might be able to reach folks who either are willing to be persuaded or just haven't made up their minds. And sometimes I just like to clear up some misperceptions, like this comment that I found over at Anthropik:
Nuclear Energy doesn't even provide what civilization will need in the short run (next decade)--FOOD. Modern Agrobusiness, uses massive amounts of petrochemicals to allow depleted soil to produce foodp…

NEI Energy Markets Report (February 13th - 17th)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity prices were mixed across the country (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell by $0.54 to $7.32/MMBtu (see page 4).

Nuclear capacity availability was at 91% last week. Beaver Valley 1, Clinton, Hatch 1 and San Onofre 2 were down for refueling outages. North Anna 1 was down three days for repairs to two of the unit’s feedwater heaters and Prairie Island 2 was down for a maintenance outage (see pages 2&3). (Notes from Platts’ Megawatt Daily)
For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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China Nuclear Update

A joint energy conference between China and the European Union opened in Shanghai on Monday, and earlier today, Shen Wenquan, deputy chief of the science and technology committee of China National Nuclear Power Corp, outlined his country's long-term plans for nuclear energy:
"Nuclear power development is a must for China, especially in coastal areas," Shen said.

"In the hinterland, Sichuan has also proposed a project and we have rendered our full support to that," he added. "I think there will be a necessary transition of plants from the coasts to the inland areas of China."

Possible projects have been announced for Fujian, in the southeast, and Shandong, to the north of Shanghai. In the northeastern province of Liaoning, planners expect to build up to six nuclear generators, Shen said.

Work on an extension of the Qinshan nuclear power plant, near Shanghai, is due to begin next month, while construction of a new project at its Ling'ao nuclear plant, i…

And Coming Up in the Outside Lane...

The effort to license and build new nuclear power plants in the US is now being characterized in racing terms. Market Watch is carrying an article titled Constellation to Overtake Rivals in Nuclear Licensing in which Michael Wallace, the company president, saidwe expect to overtake our competitors in the next few years in order to to take advantage of the incentives that the government is providing for the first six new reactors to be built in the U.S.

Wallace goes on to say that other applicants will have design certification problems that Constellation will avoid by employing the EPR design.

Lisa (standing back and gleefully encouraging a real smackdown): Hey Dominion and NuStart, he just trashed your design choices! Got anything to say about that?

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President Bush and Energy Week

President Bush is on a week long effort to promote his Advanced Energy Initiative, and he kicked it off Saturday on his weekly radio address with a strong endorsement of nuclear energy:
This morning, I want to speak to you about one part of this initiative: our plans to expand the use of safe and clean nuclear power. Nuclear power generates large amounts of low-cost electricity without emitting air pollution or greenhouse gases. Yet nuclear power now produces only about 20 percent of America's electricity. It has the potential to play an even greater role. For example, over the past three decades, France has built 58 nuclear power plants and now gets more than 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Yet here in America, we have not ordered a new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. So last summer I signed energy legislation that offered incentives to encourage the building of new nuclear plants in America. Our goal is to start the construction of new nuclear power plants …

Note on Copyrights and Fair Use

Recently, I've noticed that in our comment strings that a few folks have started to cut and paste full text articles from daily newspapers. While this might be common in an email discussion or a USENET group, the guidelines here are a little different as we require that our commenters respect copyrights.

So, if you want to include an article as part of a comment, please keep the concept of "fair use" in mind. In practice, that means you can excerpt a portion of an article, not reproduce it in its entirety. Fortunately for us, you can easily embed an html tag into your comment that points to a full text source.

Other than that, just keep your comments punchy, pithy and relevant to the post involved, and you'll be ok.

Thanks for listening.

NEI Energy Markets Report

NEI has begun posting an Energy Markets Report (pdf) for readers on our website. This report is an eight page snapshot of what went on in the energy markets the previous week. It includes electricity, natural gas, and oil prices and graphs. It also includes, daily nuclear capacity availabilities and futures' prices as well as future capacity builds and short term outlooks.

The data presented are from Global Energy Decisions, InterContinental Exchange, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Edison Electric Institute and Energy Information Administration.

Here's a summary of what went on last week:
Electricity prices were mixed across the country (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell by $.47 to $7.86/MMBtu (see page 4).Electricity demand is expected to increase by 0.5 percent in 2006 and by an additional 2.0 percent in 2007 due mainly to weather conditions and continuing economic growth. Electric power sector demand for coal is projected to increase by 1.2 percent in 2006…

Schwarzenegger to Push for Emissions Reporting

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration is expected this month to release a plan to combat global warming that recommends raising petroleum prices and requiring industries to report, for the first time, their greenhouse gas emissions.

The increase in gas prices would fund research into alternative fuels.

Nine months ago, Schwarzenegger garnered international headlines by calling for California to mount an aggressive effort to address global warming. Now he faces the difficult part: shepherding new policies into place that could affect every car owner, farmer and big industry in the state.

The proposal, drafted by the governor's senior environmental advisers, has both business groups and clean-air advocates girding for a fight in Sacramento that could have profound national environmental and political implications. With President Bush reluctant to steer federal policy toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions, states and cities have taken the le…

Nuclear Industry Communicators Meet in Vienna

A number of my NEI colleagues made presentations at the Conference on Public Information Materials Exchange (PIME) this week in Vienna. PIME is an annual conference that brings together industry communicators from around the world. Click here for an account from the IAEA.

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Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

John Swailes is the new vice president and plant manager at Louisiana Energy Services’ (LES) National Enrichment Facility outside Eunice, N.M. LES will begin construction on the uranium enrichment facility in the fall if it receives an operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which it expects to do this spring.

Arthur Lembo is the new president of SGT LLC, a joint venture between Washington Group International and AREVA’s Framatome ANP to provide services for large compenent replacement projects at nuclear power plants. Lembo formerly was Washington Group’s vice president of power maintenance and modification services.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has appointed Otto Maynard to its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. Maynard currently is a consultant to the nuclear and aviation sectors and also is a member of the Safety Review and Audit Board for Cooper Nuclear Station.

The NRC also has named George Malone the new senior resident inspector at the Hope Creek nu…

The Virtual Nuclear Tourist

Joseph Gonyeau has spent thirty years visiting nuclear power plants, and he likes what he sees. He's put together a compilation of all his visits over at The Virtual Nuclear Tourist. Here's a sample:
The 300+ page site about nuclear power plants was developed because I've found that most of what the general public hears or sees about nuclear power plants is on TV or in the newspapers and frequently that coverage is incomplete. In 30 years, I've had the opportunity to visit numerous nuclear power plants on the North American, European, and Asian continents. Regardless of country, the people that I have met who work at the plants or who regulate the plant operation were dedicated and committed to operating and maintaining the plants safely.Be sure to check it out right now.

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Canada Nuclear Update

Caught between environmental commitments and a need for new sources of baseload power generation, the Ontario Power Authority wants to make sure that nuclear energy is part of the province's future energy mix. And already, some of the usual suspects have come out in opposition to the plan.

Those of you who want to follow progress in Canada should bookmark the Bruce Power blog.

UPDATE: Here's a statement from Patrick Moore on the province's consultation process.

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Peak Oil Advocate: Oil Production Peak Reached in December 2005

There's been plenty of talk over the past few days about an announcement that Princeton geology professor emeritus and former Shell geologist Ken Deffeyes made concerning global peak oil production:
In the January 2004 Current Events on this web site, I predicted that world oil production would peak on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005. In hindsight, that prediction was in error by three weeks. An update using the 2005 data shows that we passed the peak on December 16, 2005.For more discussion, visit Green Car Congress and The Oil Drum.

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Dutch Nuclear Update

From Xinhua:
Half of the Dutch population supports an expansion of nuclear power after a government official indicated the intention to build a second nuclear power station, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Tuesday.

According to an Internet-based poll carried out by the Maurice de Hond organization on Monday, 49 percent of the respondents were in favor of more nuclear power while 37 percent were against.

ANP failed to say how many people gave their opinions and tell of the error margin of the poll.

The poll was conducted after junior environment minister Pietervan Geel gave a strong indication at the weekend that the coalition government wants to end the country's traditional reluctance towards nuclear power.For previous posts on the situation in Holland, click here, here, here and here.

UPDATE: More interesting news:
A report released Tuesday by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, an independent advisory agency, concluded that nuclear energy could save the Netherlands euro6…

Obituary: Former NEI Vice President Jim Phelan

Just had some sad news passed to me by our Government Affairs staff: Jim Phelan, one-time NEI Vice President of Government Affairs passed away on Friday, February 10. He is survived by his wife Jan and son of Christopher. A memorial service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3 Chevy Chase Circle, on February 17 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a charity of your choice.

Secretary Bodman Addresses Platts Conference in Washington

The Platts Nuclear Energy Conference is being held in town this week, and Energy Secretary Sam Bodman delivered an interesting speech:
I think a third global challenge becomes evident when we look at the question of national security more broadly. Even if we are able to quickly and resoundingly defeat the terrorist threat we currently face, we will still be confronted with the desperate, grinding poverty that grips so much of the world.

What developed nations should, or indeed can, do about this poverty raises complex political and moral questions. But it also raises national security considerations, in the sense that the most underdeveloped and "“failed" states have frequently served as safe havens for terrorists and other fanatics. Think of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, or Bin Laden'’s forays into chaotic Sudan.

But if these underdeveloped nations are ever to build thriving economies, and achieve lasting prosperity, they will need -- perhaps above all else -- —access…

Meserve: Barriers to New Nuclear Build Can Be "Overcome"

In a speech this weekend at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, former NRC Chairman Richard Meserve sounded bullish on the future of nuclear energy:
If all goes well, a leading national authority on nuclear energy said a renaissance in nuclear energy production is within reach.

Richard Meserve, president of the Carnegie Institute and former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said he supported the effort but was mindful of potential challenges ahead. He spoke at a Director's Colloquium in the Physics Auditorium at Los Alamos National Laboratory on Thursday.

"The barriers are being and can be overcome," he said.

(snip)

Meserve discussed the delays in building the high-level nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, but considers the problem of storing the spent fuel from nuclear power plants to be solvable, aided by the next generation fast reactors and reprocessing options that will lower proliferation risks.

"We ought to proceed anyway," Meserve said, a…

Nuclear Revival Coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle

There were a pair of pieces in yesterday's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle that deserve your attention. Click here to read a piece by David R. Baker on how nuclear energy is making a comeback nationwide. The story comes along with some neat graphics, including this map that plots the position of all the nuclear reactors on the Eastern seabord, as well as the sites for potential new reactors.

The second piece, which covers the drivers behind new plant construction, can be found here.

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Italy Nuclear Update

Why is Italy thinking twice about the decision the nation made back in 1987 about the future use of nuclear energy?
One of the main effects of the anti-nuclear stance is that Italy depends heavily on oil and natural gas bought in other countries, with total energy imports estimated at about 15% of its total requirements.

According to a 2005 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Italy is in fact the worldÂ’s largest energy importer ahead of Germany, Brazil and the US.
This, in turn means Italians pay the highest electricity bills in Europe – 14.6 euro cents per kilowatt/hour compared to a European average of 10 cents and just 5.6 cents in Greece.Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

The G8 Minus 1?

With the aftershocks of the Russian natural gas cutoff to Europe still reverberating around the continent, the EU is looking to make common cause with the U.S. regarding energy policy:
"In today's world, if the energy security of either one of us is impaired, it affects the other. I believe this situation calls for a transformation in our cooperation on energy issues," Jose Manuel Barroso said in a speech at Washington's Georgetown University where he was receiving an honorary degree.

"Just as it is ridiculous to have 25 separate energy policies in the European Union, so it would fly in the face of common sense for the transatlantic partnership to pull in different directions in this critical area," Barroso said, according to excerpts of his speech released in Brussels.This leads our friend Rob McMillin to note:
The Russians have done themselves no favors by baring their teeth at the rest of Europe, shutting off gas, if indirectly, to their Western customers, …

Nuclear Energy: 2.75 Billion Gross Megawatt-Hours Strong

Just off the wire:
The world's nuclear generators in 2005 appear to have matched their record 2004 output, according to Platts Nucleonics Week. Platts is the energy information business of the McGraw-Hill Companies.

Platts calculated the nuclear total at 2.75-billion gross megawatt-hours (MWh). In 2004, the total was approximately 2.742-billion. The largest increase was recorded in South Korea, where addition of a new 1,000-MW unit helped the national total increase by 16-million MWh. The operators of the 103 nuclear units in the U.S. came within 10-million MWh of their 2004 record of 828-million gross MWh.

"The most striking thing in these numbers is how much potential is still left, even with record generation," said Margaret Ryan, editorial director of Platts' global nuclear publications. "Nuclear units are putting out more power than ever before, and there are some places including the U.S. where operators have made measurable gains. But the numbers show many c…

NAS Releases Report on Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Yesterday the National Academy of Sciences released a report entitled, Going the Distance? The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the United States.

Here's what NEI's Chief Nuclear Officer, Marv Fertel, had to say about the report:
"Overall, the National Academies report is a strong endorsement of the used nuclear fuel transportation program that has operated well and operated safely in the United States for the past four decades. Specifically, the nuclear energy industry agrees with the three major findings of the National Academies report:

"“First, that there are no fundamental technical barriers to the safe transport of used nuclear fuel. This conclusion is supported by the fact that more than 3,000 shipments of used nuclear fuel have been made safely in the United States over the past 40 years. Even in the approximately 10 instances where accidents have occurred, no releases of the waste packages'’ radioactive contents have…

2005 Refueling Outages

The U.S. nuclear industry's refueling outage durations have improved substantially over the past 30 years. In the 80s and early 90s, the average duration of a refueling outage was 3 months. Now it's one month. Some plants refuel in as little as 15-20 days.

Nuclear units shut down for refueling either in the spring or fall when electric demand is lowest. In 2005, 66 nuclear units (of 103) shut down for refueling outages. 43 refueled in the Spring 2005 and 23 in Fall 2005. The average refueling outage for 2005 was 38 days. The median was 34 days. In 2004, the average and median were 42 and 35.


The record for the fastest refueling outage (scroll down to near the bottom) for a boiling water reactor was Browns Ferry 3 at 14 days and 16 hours in 2002. For a pressurized water reactor it was Braidwood 2 at 15 days and 14 hours in 2003. In 2005, the fastest refueling outages were Braidwood 2 and Limerick 2 at about 17 days.

In the 80s and early 90s, the common refueling cycle was 12 mont…

Russian Minister: Nuclear's Share of Electric Generation Must Increase

From RIA Novosti:
More nuclear power plants need to be built to avoid the threat of an energy crisis in Russia, the country's top nuclear power official said Wednesday. Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, said: "A key objective has emerged: to increase the share of nuclear power in overall energy production."

Russia's power infrastructure has been under huge strain recently, particular in the major cities, due to record low temperatures. The country's electricity monopoly Unified Energy System has been forced to restrict power supplies domestically and internationally, while Russian energy giant Gazprom has drawn heavily on its underground reserves to meet demand for natural gas.

In Moscow on Monday, UES said the peak load on the Moscow power system had hit 15,900MW as the second deep freeze engulfed the Russian capital.Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

German Nuclear Update

The debate continues. From UPI:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are increasingly unhappy with the plan to shut down by 2021 all 17 nuclear plants still active in Germany. The previous coalition government of Social Democrats, or SPD, and Greens struck a deal with the German energy industry in 1999 to gradually phase out the production of nuclear energy.

Germans overwhelmingly backed the plan, but the tide may slowly turn, observers say. Skyrocketing electricity and heating bills have angered the population, and Germany's four main energy companies, E.on, RWE, Vattenfall Europe and EnBW, in the past month introduced repeated price increases. At the end of January, Vattenfall announced some 3 million households in Berlin would have to pay up to 6 percent more for electricity in 2006.I'm sure the Russian natural gas cutoff scared folks some too. For our previous posts on this story, click here, here, here and here.

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The Evangelical Climate Change Initiative

From the New York Times:
Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."

Among signers of the statement, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, are the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges, leaders of aid groups and churches, like the Salvation Army, and pastors of megachurches, including Rick Warren, author of the best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."

"For most of us, until recently this has not been treated as a pressing issue or major priority," the statement said. "Indeed, many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians. But now we have seen and heard enough."The group will hold a press conference t…

Instapundit on the Future of Nuclear Energy

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, writes in TCS Daily this morning that it's time for America to consider expanding the use of nuclear energy for reasons of energy security and sustainability, but has some worries about the environmental movement:
The question is whether, despite the lead of people like [G. Pascal] Zachary and [James] Lovelock, the environmental movement as a whole will be willing to abandon knee-jerk opposition to nuclear plants. Though there are good reasons to support them, rather than oppose them, on environmental grounds, I fear that too many environmentalists who, like Zachary, cut their teeth on antinuclear activism will be less willing to respond to changed circumstances with changed attitudes. Social movements are often more about beliefs than about reality, and ever since Tom Hayden et al. organized the antinuclear movement as a way of preserving some of the anti-Vietnam-war movement's infrastructure, it's been as much a political movement as an en…