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Another Al Gore Supporter for Nuclear Energy

Over at the Huffington Post, Raymond J. Learsey is praising Al Gore, and proposing that nuclear energy be part of the solution:
But serious discussion, not just lip service, by us on nuclear power is long overdue (Please see my blog "Color Nuclear Energy Green" June 2,2006). New technologies and new perceptions are emerging on this issue. As but one example the Department of Energy, through its Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, is working on a method of stripping out certain elements from nuclear residue, that would, in the words of the government agency, create "proliferation-resistant fuel." More on this and other initiatives in a future posting. I don't doubt that there will be many hurdles to overcome along the way, but given the grave and imminent danger of climate change, and given nuclear's capability to generate vast amounts of power without fossil fuel emissions, not seriously and expeditiously considering nuclear power as a viable alternative carries…

60 Minutes to Profile French Nuclear Industry

According to my colleague in media relations, Steve Kerekes, 60 Minutes is putting the finishing touches on a report on the French nuclear energy industry. Though it won't run this Sunday, look for it to air sometime in the next few weeks.

For more on the French nuclear program, which provides 80% of that nation's electricity, visit the World Nuclear Association.

UPDATE: My boss, Scott Peterson, sent in the following note:
Let's not forget the the French program is modeled after the U.S. program, using U.S. technology as its base. Despite the fact that the French have gone forward with a state electricity company to build 57 (?) reactors, the U.S. still produced more electricity from nuclear energy than France and Japan combined!NEI also maintains a library of nuclear statistics.

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Energy Information Digest

The June issue of Energy Information Digest is now available on the NEI Web site, in the Newsroom. In it, you'll find articles about legislation for a solar tax credit extension, the recent rise in bicycle use, Ontario's and the United Kingdom's future nuclear energy plans and other topics.

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Sierra Club Sues Pentagon Over Wind Farms

From AFP:
The Sierra Club filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco charging the US Department of Defense (DOD) with blocking the construction of wind power plants.

The environmental group accused the Pentagon of essentially creating a nationwide moratorium on new wind farms by barring their construction within the line of sight of military radar.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the DOD failed to complete a congressionally-mandated study to determine whether windmills actually interfered with radar, the suit maintained.

"While the Defense Department drags its feet studying if wind farms are a threat to national security, Americans are missing out on cleaner, cheaper energy," said Sierra Club attorney Kristin Henry.

"If the military can have windmills and effective radar at Guantanamo, why can't we have both in the Midwest?"For more on this story, take a look at SEJ's Tip Sheet. And for more on those wind turbines at Guantanamo, click here.

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Turkey and Russia May Deal on Reactors

Sweden Nuclear Update

The World Nuclear Association is reporting the results of a poll on nuclear energy in Sweden:
85% support nuclear power in Sweden

The support for the continued use of nuclear power is gaining momentum in Sweden. A poll of 1016 phone interviews conducted 7-13 June this year shows that 85% of the population want to keep using nuclear energy.

32% want to let existing power plants stay in service until they will be decommissioned for technical/economicial reasons (with a 60-year operating life time, this will be in the range of 2035-2045). 31% think existing plants should be replaced with new reactors when necessary, and 22% would like to build new reactors in addition to replacements. Only 13% want to shut down units prematurely using governmental decisions.Looks like the momentum for new nuclear is picking up. For another look at Sweden's energy situation, click here.

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German Utility Mulls European Markets for New Reactor Build

Unable to build nuclear capacity at home due to a long-standing moratorium on new reactor build, German utility E.On may is looking to build reactors elsewhere in Europe:
Additionally, [E.On Energie Chief Executive Johannes] Theyssen confirmed E.On's interest to build nuclear power plants in foreign markets.

The company has already sent a letter of intent to the Romanian government stating its interest to participate in the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Cernavoda as a strategic investor, Theyssen said.

At the same time, Theyssen said, E.On is monitoring the Dutch market, where nuclear power is being reconsidered as an option, and the U.K. where the government is in favor to build new nuclear facilities, Theyssen added. I have to wonder if Germany may wind up importing electricity from abroad, generated by reactors they refused to build at home.

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S&P: Nuclear Power is "Heating Up"

S&P Ratings News just published a research note entitled "Nuclear Power Is Heating Up Again:
Interest in the energy source is on the rise across the country, and financial risks are lower. S&P sees no slowing of the trend...

(snip)

Standard & Poor's recognizes that the federal government is initiating numerous structural changes designed to prevent a repeat of the extremely negative and financially ruinous experience of the last nuclear construction cycle.

These include things such as standardizing reactor designs, providing tax breaks and loan guarantees, and creating a combined construction and operating license. This is occurring while the industry itself has demonstrated an ability to operate safely and efficiently in recent years. So, while it may be slow and steady, the return of the nuclear power option has considerable momentum that is not likely to wane.For more on this area, visit NEI's Financial Center -- in particular, our latest Wall Street Briefin…

U.K. Nuclear Update

In a reception for magazine editors at 10 Downing Street, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair reiterated his support for new nuclear build, contending that Britain couldn't afford to rely on renewable sources of energy alone.

Alistair Darling, the U.K.'s new secretary for trade and industry, told the Guardian in an interview that he supports including new nuclear as part of a diverse energy portfolio:
"We run a serious risk that some day someone will go into the living room, flick the switch and and nothing will happen because we do not have the capability to generate any energy from any source at all," said Mr Darling.

Britain needed the widest possible energy mix and the minister did not accept that support for one form of energy damaged development of another, as some in the renewable sector have claimed in their arguments against increasing nuclear capacity.

Faced by the twin objectives of energy security plus lowering carbon emissions to counter global warming, Britain h…

Russia to Consolidate Civillian Nuclear Agencies

From Reuters:
Russia will restructure its nuclear industry over the next year to boost atomic power generation, its nuclear chief said on Tuesday.

The work is central to a longer term plan by President Vladimir Putin to raise the share of nuclear energy to 25 percent of electricity production from 16 now, which would involve building at least two reactors a year.

"The main aspects of the restructuring of the civilian parts of the atomic sector must be completed within a year, a year from now," Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's nuclear energy agency (Rosatom), told reporters.

(snip)

If the plan is implemented Atomprom would include nuclear power company Rosenergoatom -- which controls Russia's nuclear power stations -- and the civilian units of Rosatom.

Rosatom's main units are Tekhsnabexport (Tenex), the state owned uranium trader, TVEL, the state owned nuclear fuel producer and trader, and Atomstroiexport, the state controlled builder of nuclear reactors abroad.T…

Debunking Anti-Nuclear Talking Points

There are a pair of letters to the editor that appeared in today's edition of the Financial Times that offer good rejoinders to a number of standard anti-nuclear talking points.

The first comes from our friend Ian Hore-Lacy of the World Nuclear Association:
Nuclear energy's carbon output from the full fuel cycle is not a matter for conjecture; audited figures are published, and are very much the same as the best figures for renewables. In particular, they are typically about 2 per cent of what you would get from using coal, and if one goes to very low-grade uranium ores, that figure could rise to 3 per cent. Hardly a big deal, and it certainly shows that greenhouse-friendliness is significant.For more on total lifecycle emissions, go into our archives for a review of the issue by David Bradish. Be aware that WNA maintains its own blog as well.

The second letter comes from FT reader Terence Price, and deals with the question of the uranium supply:
What is not always realised by th…

Seed's Nuclear Crib Sheet

For those of you who would like a simple primer on nuclear energy, check out Seed's Nuclear Crib Sheet, available as a GIF or a PDF.

And be sure to bookmark a story from their archives on environmentalists who have changed their minds on nuclear energy -- also available as a podcast.

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NEI Nuclear Performance Report (May 2006)

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month:
For May 2006, NEI estimates the average net capacity factor reached 83.4%. This figure is 0.3 percentage points higher than the same one month period in 2005. NEI estimates monthly nuclear generation at 62.5 billion kilowatthours for May 2006 compared to 63.5 BkWh for the same one month period in 2005.For 2006, NEI estimates year to date nuclear generation at 317.8 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 311.1 BkWh in 2005 (2.2 percent increase).For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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NEI Energy Markets Report (June 19th - 23rd)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week: Electricity prices increased last week (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.36 to $6.70/MMBtu (see page 4).Nuclear capacity availability was at 97 percent last week. No units are in refueling outages, and two units are down for maintenance (see pages 2 and 3).Uranium prices (from UxC and TradeTech) were at $45.50 and $45.25/lb U3O8 (see page 8). Last week, natural gas futures at the Henry Hub traded at $6.53/MMBtu for July and $10.61/MMBtu for January 2007 (see page 6).For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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Industry Encouraged by Senators’ Effort to Find Common Ground on Used Nuclear Fuel Management

Earlier today the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee'’s Energy and Water Development Subcommittee today approved a fiscal year 2007 appropriations measure that includes provisions addressing the Department of Energy'’s nuclear waste management program. The following is a statement from the Nuclear Energy Institute's president and chief executive officer, Frank L. "“Skip"” Bowman:
"“The industry has yet to fully review the nuclear waste-related provisions contained in the markup of the fiscal 2007 energy and water development appropriations bill.

"“However, the specifics of the bill aside, it is tremendously encouraging that Chairman Domenici and Senate Minority Leader Reid are working to find common ground with the potential to advance the federal government'’s program for managing used nuclear fuel. It is very important to industry that, in addition to this new proposal, the legislation fully fund the Yucca Mountain repository program.

"“Nuclea…

President Bush on Global Warming

Yesterday at White House event launching America Supports You, an umbrella group dedicated to supporting men and women in the military and their families, President Bush had this to say in response to a reporter's question about global warming:
Q I know you are not planning to see Al Gore's new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet that requires action --

THE PRESIDENT: I think -- I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused; we ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives -- one, be good stewards of the environment; two, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil for economic reasons and for national security reasons.

That's why we're pressing for clean coal technology. That's why the hydrogen initiative is robust. …

U.K. Nuclear Update

With oil and natural gas production in the North Sea declining, the Royal Society of Edinburgh says that Scotland needs to keep energy alternatives in mind:
A 50% rise in energy demand in the next 45 years means that Scotland needs to keep its nuclear option open, according to a group of the country's most senior academics.

With a sharp fall in generating capacity looming, the Royal Society of Edinburgh warns that demand for energy will continue to rise, and a mix of solutions is required.

Its estimate of a 50% increase by 2050 is based on trend growth in demand and 2% average annual economic growth.

Given the spiralling rates of energy consumption, the institute concluded that the option of replacing nuclear power plants should be left open, but with a plea that it should not become a political football.The RSE has posted video of the press conference announcing the publication of the report. The RSE also has serious concerns about Scotland's electrical grid. For more on the re…

Toshiba Has High Hopes for Westinghouse

There was some interesting nuclear energy news made at Toshiba's annual shareholders meeting yesterday:
Japan's Toshiba Corp. said on Tuesday that Westinghouse, which it is buying from British Nuclear Fuels, is expected to win about 16 orders for new nuclear power plants in the United States.

Toshiba, Japan's second-largest electronics conglomerate behind Hitachi Ltd., agreed to buy Westinghouse in February for $5.4 billion to boost its position in the resurgent nuclear power industry, creating the world's largest nuclear reactor maker.

"In the United States, construction of nuclear power plants are set to pick up as we go forward. Among about 20 units in the pipeline, Westinghouse is estimated to take some 16," Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida told an annual shareholders' meeting.

(snip)

Toshiba has said its stake in Westinghouse will be 51 percent or a few percentage points more, and that the company is in talks with five or six companies about taking a m…

NRC Renews Licenses for Brunswick 1&2

Congratulations to the team at Progress Energy on the news that NRC has renewed the operating licenses for Brunswick 1&2.
The Brunswick plant is located south of Wilmington, N.C., at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The licensee, Carolina Power & Light Co., submitted its license renewal application Oct. 18, 2004. With the renewal, the license for Unit 1 is extended until Sept. 8, 2036, and the license for Unit 2 is extended until Dec. 27, 2034.Counting Brunswick 1&2, NRC has now renewed the licenses for 44 reactors.

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More Advice for Al Gore From Robert Scoble

Ex-Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble read Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth over the weekend, and he writes that there was a glaring ommission:
I read your book today, an Inconvenient Truth. Great book, I wish everyone would read it, but the ones who really need to read it probably won’t. I guess that’s inconvenient truth #1.

When I was in college I wrote a lot of editorials. Imagine that! Heheh. But — by far — the most unpopular one I wrote was when I advocated raising gas taxes by several dollars to encourage Americans to buy smaller cars and to encourage the car industry to come out with smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

That taught me the depth of the problem. We aren’t willing to face the hard truths.

Hey, Al, even you aren’t willing to propose one of the best answers: nuclear power.Be sure to stop by and join the conversation. The last time I looked, Robert's readers had left 60 comments and counting.

UPDATE: Scoble friend Mike Amundsen is on board too.

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Paul Johnson: America Needs New Nuclear Build

In an upcoming edition of Forbes, historian Paul Johnson proposes a solution for America's long-term energy challenges:
In the past I've paid little attention to world oil short-ages and the consequent increases in oil prices because they tend to end naturally, when supply catches up with demand. But in the current instance no such rectification by the market has taken place, so more fundamental remedies must be studied.

As the world's biggest consumer of energy--as well as the one power with the technical resources, capital and experience in leadership to apply bold measures--the U.S. has a duty to think on the largest possible scale. It should contemplate becoming the world's supplier of electricity generated by nuclear reactors.

(snip)

Russia, a nearly third-rate economic power a decade ago, has leapt back into the race through its large-scale export of natural gas and oil. The U.S. could consolidate its superpower status with a Global Nuclear Energy Supply System, whic…

Supreme Court to Hear Global Warming Case

Just off the wire from the AP:
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide to combat global warming, setting up what could be one of the court's most important decisions on the environment.

A dozen states, a number of cities and various environmental groups asked the court to take up the case after a divided lower court ruled against them.

They argue that the Environmental Protection Agency is obligated to limit carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act because as the primary "greenhouse" gas causing a warming of the earth, carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

The administration maintains that carbon dioxide -- unlike other chemicals that must be controlled to assure healthy air -- is not a pollutant under the federal clean air law, and that even if it were the EPA has discretion over whether to regulate it.

A federal appeals court sided with the administration in a sharply divided rulin…

Duke's Oconee 1 Back at Full Power

From Reuters:
Duke Energy Corp.'s (DUK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) 846-megawatt Unit 1 at the Oconee nuclear power station in South Carolina ramped up to full power by early Thursday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report.

On Wednesday, the unit was operating at 46 percent after exiting an outage.

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NRC Issues License to LES for National Enrichment Facility

Congratulations to Louisiana Energy Services on the news that was released late Friday that NRC had issued a license for the $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility. From the Washington Post:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its first license for a major commercial nuclear facility in 30 years, allowing an international consortium to build what will be the nation's first private fuel source for commercial nuclear power plants.

Construction of the $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility, under review for the past 2 1/2 years, could begin in August, and the plant could be ready to sell enriched uranium by early 2009, said James Ferland, president of the consortium of nuclear companies, Louisiana Energy Services.Late Friday night, our senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, Marv Fertel, had this to say:
"The Nuclear Energy Institute congratulates LES on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval of its license application for a new uranium enrichmen…

Greenpeace and the Reality of Reactor Safety

Back in April when Chernobyl's 20th anniversary was approaching, Greenpeace published a report titled An American Chernobyl: Nuclear "Near Misses" at U.S. Reactors Since 1986. In Greenpeace's report, they claim that an American Chernobyl could happen due to a "nuclear reactor meltdown and the subsequent failure of containment." On the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the worst commercial nuclear power accident in history, Greenpeace has documented nearly 200 "near misses" at U.S. nuclear reactors since 1986.I'm not sure how Greenpeace defines "near miss" but the NRC uses the terms "significant", "important" and "precursor" when categorizing events.

This categorization is based on event probabilities. To give you a general background, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry measure and run reactors based on probabilities of the risks for core damage.

As a reactor runs, events o…

Czech Nuclear Update

From The Prague Daily Monitor:
The price of electricity could grow substantially in the future if a coalition of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens is formed and pushes through an energy policy limiting coal mining and construction of nuclear power plants, daily Mlada fronta Dnes writes today.

The government currently being formed has, at the proposal of the Greens, decided not to lift the limits on coal mining in northern Bohemia and not to build more nuclear power plants.

Power company CEZ has warned that this would not only raise the price of electricity but would also pose the threat of its shortage.

CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz said that if such an energy policy was really pushed through "the country's dependence on energy imports would increase dramatically".Could they be referring to imports like Russian natural gas?

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Nuclear Card Game

Our friends over at Nuclear Engineering International have decided to get into the card playing business:
See how the world's nuclear plants compare in a game you can play during scheduled outages!

The set of Power League cards consists of 44 cards comprising: 39 cards featuring pictures of nuclear power plants and statistics; 4 cards with information on Nuclear Engineering International and Power League sponsors; 1 covering card with the rules of the game. Power League can be played by 2 or more people, from age 5.To order yours, click here.

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The Atomic Show: Episode #19

Here's a preview of this week's podcast:
This week Shane and I talked about recent nuclear developments in Canada, about the Ontario energy plan, and about technical choices and opportunities in the nuclear energy business in Canada.

We discuss the potential use of CANDU technology for tar sands oil production and the potential use of SLOWPOKE reactors for district heating systems.Click here to download the show. And for more on the situation in Canada, check out NPR's Living on Earth.

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House Hearing On Reactor Oversight Process

Earlier this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing reviewing NRC's reactor oversight process or ROP. Testifying before the committee were NRC Commissioner Edward McGaffigan (PDF), Jim Wells (PDF) of the Government Accountability Office and Paul Gunter (PDF) of NIRS.

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U.K. Nuclear Update

British Energy announced it plans to extend the life of the Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station 5 to 10 years past its original 2014 decommissioning date.

The BBC profiled Nexia Solutions, a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels, Ltd., a company poised to play a critical role in the future of Britain's nuclear energy industry.

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Canada Nuclear Update

Just a week after the Ontario provincial government announced plans for new nuclear build, a national advisory group said the plan didn't go far enough:
Ontario should expand nuclear power by more than 50 per cent over the next four decades as a key part of a made-in-Canada climate change plan, a blue-ribbon national advisory group urged yesterday.

The recommendation would add more than 9,000 megawatts of electricity generation to Ontario's current installed capacity of 14,000 megawatts.

By contrast, the energy blueprint unveiled last week by the McGuinty government froze total nuclear generation in the province at 14,000 megawatts until 2025, with one or two new reactors added solely to replace old units that shut down.

Glen Murray, chairman of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, said more nuclear was necessary to meet a goal of slashing Canada's energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent of current levels by 2050.

This could be done despit…

China and South Africa Sign Nuclear Cooperation Deal

From the Mail and Guardian (South Africa):
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in South Africa on Wednesday on a groundbreaking visit during which the two giants are to sign a nuclear cooperation pact and discuss the thorny question of textile imports from Beijing.

(snip)

South African officials have said the proposed agreement between South Africa and power-hungry China on the peaceful use of nuclear energy was vital.

"The agreement has a number of key points including ... the mining of uranium [and] South Africa and China's joint development of nuclear reactors," said Tseliso Maqubela, the chief director of nuclear energy at the Deparment of Mineral and Energy Affairs.

"Another key point of the agreement will be the exchange of personnel between South Africa and their Chinese counterparts [in the nuclear field]," he said.A few weeks ago, we had mentioned the possibility of cooperation between the two countries in this area. For more, click here.

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Odds and Ends

I've got a few links that deserve your attention before I leave for the day:

Congrats to the team at Bruce Power on the re-start of Unit 4 on Monday.

Turkey has announced it wants to build three nuclear power plants by 2015.

Finally, there are two interesting conversations at Potential Energy that you ought to check out. First, read this post on the uranium supply, and pay special attention to the comments, as the contributions from the readers really make a difference. Then, take some time for a Q&A on new nuclear build with Martin Rees of the Royal Society.

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Senate Negotiators Break Impasse on Cape Wind

Just off the wire from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resrouces Chairman Pete Domenici and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman announced that they have reached an agreement with Senators Ted Kennedy and Ted Stevens on changes to a provision inserted at conference into H.R. 889, the Coast Guard appropriations bill, related to a controversial wind project in the Nantucket Sound.

The four senators have agreed to a concurrent resolution that will replace Section 414 of the conference report, which would have given the Coast Guard and the governor of Massachusetts final approval over the siting of the Nantucket Sound wind farm. The concurrent resolution drops any reference to the governor of Massachusetts and gives the commandant of the Coast Guard only the authority to spell out the terms and conditions for the wind project which are necessary for navigational safety.

Chairman Domenici’s statement:

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to …

New York Post: "Nuclear or Bust"

In the wake of last week's speech on energy policy by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the New York Post is endorsing new nuclear build in New York State:
[T]the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester, which provides Gotham with 20 percent of its juice, has been a constant target of local activists, fearmongers and demagogues who demand it be closed.

That is truly pathetic. A federal report recently noted just how indispensable the plant is to the region's energy supply - and just how nutty it would be to close it, given the lack of alternatives.

At the same time, you just need to recall the 2003 blackout - and the billions lost in that debacle - to appreciate New York's (and America's) need for adequate supplies of electricity.

For nuclear power to play a greater role in the energy mix, pols must show some commitment to the industry. (Hear that, Gov.-Presumptive Eliot Spitzer?)

Giuliani - who, as mayor, proved New York to be governable after all - had it right …

NEI Energy Markets Report (June 12th - 16th)

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity prices were mixed throughout the country last week (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.25 to $6.34/MMBtu (see page 4).From 2006-2010, the current capacities in the pipeline coming into operation are 42,590 MW for coal, 41,275 MW for natural gas, and 17,987 MW for wind (see page 8).Nuclear capacity availability was at 95 percent last week. No units are in refueling outages, one unit completed its refueling outage last week and five units were shutdown for maintenance (see pages 2 and 3).For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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Rolling Blackouts in New England?

After reading an article in the Boston Globe on the possibility of rolling blackouts in New England, my friend Chris Lynch had this to say:
1. At no point in the article do the words "nuclear energy" appear. Nuclear power is the cheapest and cleanest power available but a nuclear boogey man exists which clouds common sense out of people's minds. It should have been at least been mentioned as an option.

2. This "we need to conserve" is a sham. Yes we need to conserve just on basic principle (good old Yankee "waste not - want not" - the environment, etc), however, the power companies want to raise prices and they will this summer (and may even have a few rolling blackouts just to make it look good).I can understand my friend's frustration with the current situation in the Northeastern U.S. when it comes to electric power generation. The best description of what's happening now that I've read comes from Geoffrey Styles, who wrote the following…

NRG to Spend $16 Billion on New Generation -- Including Two New Nuclear Reactors

Just off the wire this morning -- from NRG's press release (not available online):
NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) today announced plans to develop approximately 10,500 megawatts (MW) of new generation capacity over the next decade to help meet the energy needs of its high-demand, capacity-constrained markets and to support NRG's continued growth. This repowering initiative, which will be funded with the support of partners and project finance debt, would represent a total investment of $16 billion.

With this repowering initiative, NRG will:
Enhance its dispatch mix with almost 8,000 MW of new baseload capacity --– including 2,700 MW of nuclear --– and 2,500 MW of new, highly efficient intermediate and peaking capacity;Further diversify its fuel mix and reduce reliance on higher-priced, imported fuels, not only through its solid fuel repowerings, but also through the acquisition of a new wind development company with wind projects in active development in Texas and California;Create…

Short duration nuclear blog post

My friend, R Margolis, was invited to submit an article as a guest blogger here, on a primarily climate-change focused blog, at Stolen Moments of Island Time. Since I've always found him to be an individual thinker and a reasoned bridge builder across opposing arguments, I was looking forward to the opportunity to read what he submitted. [Depending on when you find this post, you may have to scroll down the page. The Margolis article is titled A Place for Nuclear Energy in a Post-Greenhouse World?]
Many of the alternative advocates also see this situation as an opportunity to remold society into one that uses distributed energy, has less centralized energy facilities and less centralized societal institutions altogether. The acceptance or rejection of nuclear energy is perceived as locking civilization into one path or another. It is this perception that causes the vehemence over the use of nuclear energy.Before and after this snippet I quoted, he goes on to explain somewhat how ke…

Ted Turner Willing to Give Nuclear Energy a Hearing?

It would appear that way. Here's "Captain Outrageous" in an interview with The Sunday Paper earlier this month:
Ted Turner knows there are dangers associated with nuclear plants. He acknowledges the risk of meltdown and the possibility of reactors being targeted by terrorists.

But if those issues can be worked out, he says, an expanded nuclear power program might be a viable, environmentally sound option in America’s critical search for alternative energy sources.

“I’ve got an open mind about nuclear power and I think it would be good to have a public debate about it,” he says. “Let’s give it another look.”Welcome aboard Ted, we're glad you're ready to listen.

Thanks to Tom Benson for the link.

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Asking Some Uncomfortable Questions

Our friend Norris McDonald snuck into a press event promoting the release of Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change by Bruce Smith of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). One reporter managed to ask an uncomfortable question:
Mr. Smith provided us with a complimentary copy of the book and we will review it soon. Their reliance on wind energy as a replacement for nuclear power is the weakest of their arguments. One reporter questioned how many windmills it would take to back out their estimate of 2,500 nuclear plants needed by 2050 and the number was astronomical. It is also unacceptable to single out nuclear power for opposition while accepting all other forms of electricity generation. The world needs a mix of energy sources, particularly nuclear power, to meet current and future electricity needs.Technorati tags: , , , , ,