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Showing posts from December, 2015

COP21 and the Nuclear Tool in the Workshop

How many times is nuclear energy mentioned in the climate change agreement signed by 219 countries this past weekend? None.

Wind, solar? None. Coal, natural gas? You guessed it.
Renewable –and sustainable - energy do get a mini shout out:
“Acknowledging the need to promote universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the enhanced deployment of renewable energy…” But that’s it. You get the feeling that the directive-heavy agreement has nothing specific to direct about energy generators. Whether by plane, train or automobile (electric, if possible), its not how you get there that matters, it’s just that you get there. And this is the there:
Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change… …

Watts Bar 2 Fuel Load is a Major Milestone

The following is a guest blog post by NEI’s Chris Earls, who helped load the fuel before the startup of Watts Bar 1.

Last Friday, employees of Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts Bar Nuclear Plant started loading the first of 193 new fuel assemblies into its Unit 2 reactor. This action marked the first, initial core load of a commercial nuclear reactor in the U.S. in nearly two decades. When I heard this exciting news, I couldn’t help but recall some happy memories from earlier in my career when I worked on Watts Bar Unit 1.

The fuel load and startup of Watts Bar Unit 2 is a very important milestone for TVA and the nuclear industry. I was working at TVA in the late 1980’s when the startup of Watts Bar Unit 1 was one of our focus areas. In looking back, it amazes me how much work was entailed in getting the plant ready for operation. I was fortunate enough to return in the early ‘90s as a member of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) team that came on site to evaluat…

Thumbs Up for New Nuclear in Wisconsin

Still some steps left legislatively, but this is a big one:

A Wisconsin Assembly committee has given its unanimous endorsement to ending the state's 32-year-old moratorium on new nuclear power plants. Why strike it down now?
Those who favor ending the ban say it's no longer needed due to the quality of today's reactors. They also say clean nuclear power would help the state meet a proposed federal rule to lower carbon emissions. If we were being querulous, we’d say there’s nothing  particularly awful about the current crop of reactors (including Wisconsin’s Kewaunee, which shuttered over market issues), but whatever. Good news is good news.

We’ll keep an eye on this one.
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Speaking of Kewaunee, the New York Times has an article about the impact of its closing on the local community. It’s very sad.
“I thought it would be there forever,” Mr. [Kenneth] Krofta said as he stood in his yard, which is dotted with purple wildflowers and Queen Anne’s lace. “They’v…

Indian Point 3’s Operating License is Alive and Well

The following is a guest blog post by Tom Kauffman, NEI's Director of Media Relations.

As in September 2013 when Indian Point 2 entered its NRC-approved period of extended operation (PEO), Indian Point 3 will start its PEO beginning mid-December. And as they did in September 2103, nuclear opponents are claiming Indian Point 3’s operating license will expire − that claim is false.

Entergy Corp. filed timely and comprehensive license renewal applications for both Indian Point Units 2 and 3 in April 2007, more than five years ahead of IP2’s original expiration date of Sept. 28, 2013, and more than seven years ahead of IP3’s original expiration date of Dec. 12, 2015. The early applications fully satisfied the requirements of the Timely Renewal Doctrine, a well-established federal law that extends the current operating license until the license renewal process is complete.

The Timely Renewal Doctrine is law under the federal Administrative Procedures Act that is generally applicable t…

At COP21: Moniz on Small Reactors, Gates and Co. on New Technology

What has energy Secretary Ernest Moniz been doing at COP21? Plenty, we’re sure, plus this: Modular reactors being developed by Fluor Corp.’s Nuscale Power can be a “game-changer” by making nuclear power plants more affordable to build, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.“The proof will be in the pudding in terms of the economic performance, but it looks very promising and that can be a game-changer,” Moniz told reporters at a round of United Nations climate talks in Paris. “If we have a viable pathway at building nuclear power in smaller bites, the whole financing structure can change and make it much more affordable.”The problems of cost are quite real. While nuclear facilities remain good value for money, the up-front expenditure can be daunting for a relatively constrained market sector. Plant construction goes on - see Vogtle, Summer and Watts Bar for evidence – but it remains a major investment. This is where Moniz sees a role for small reactors.Moniz offered a forecast …