Nuclear Energy

In the 54 years between 1957, when the Price Anderson Act was passed, and 2011 we have: Experienced four melt-downs and one partial melt-down at nuclear power plants, An increasing amount of radioactive waste that we really don’t know how to deal with, but must manage for hundreds of years – or thousands.   Security Concerns. […]

On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima nuclear disaster shocked the world. Sadly, the thinkers in the anti-nuclear world were not complete surprised. We were startled, but we know that disasters, while unpredictable, are inevitable. Disasters are built into the nuclear power system. The best engineers are fallible. (Anyone who drives a car or uses a […]

PBS Frontline broadcast, earlier this week,  Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown: “An unprecedented account of the crisis inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.” That’s their own description, but it’s fair, as we expect from this outstanding program.  And – if you’ve got a decent connection – you don’t even need […]

I drew four conclusions after reading Hiroko Tabuchi’s article, A  Confused Nuclear Cleanup, in the NY Times, and looking at the US Government’s evacuation map, pictured above (obtained at the National Post, here. The Fukushima disaster is bad, really bad. The Japanese want to clean it up; but don’t know how. The nuclear industry in […]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, has voted to allow Georgia Power to spend $14 Billion of ratepayer monies to build two reactors, Vogtle 3 and 4 near Waynesboro, Georgia. These would be the first new nuclear plants in the US in 35 years. Opponents say “we don’t need the power, but the utility wants the […]

— Tweet — Nuclear Power: Accident in France Kills 1, Injures 4 — NPR, and the Associated Press report “An explosion at a nuclear waste facility in southern France killed one person and injured four on Monday… The Nuclear Safety Authority declared the accident “terminated” soon after the blast at a furnace in the Centraco […]

  Tweet  Nuclear power diminishes  National Security and the stability of the electric grid. Consider the Brunswick, Fort Calhoun, Millstone, North Anna, and Oyster Creek nuclear power plants, and the Fukushima melt-downs. And consider the “Mobley Factor.” The Brunswick nuclear plants in North Carolina, and the Millstone nuclear power plants in Connecticut were brought to […]

Tweet Andrew Restuccia and Ben German reported (here) on E2 Wire, “the Hill’s Energy & Environment Blog” that: Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va., automatically shut down Tuesday shortly after a magnitude-5.9 earthquake shook the state and surrounding area. The plant lost offsite power and is now running […]

  Tweet In “Why We Still Need Nuclear,” the “op-ed” piece written in the New York Times, July 30, 2011, Tom Kilgore, the President and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, seems to have made up his mind to attempt to complete the Bellefonte 1 nuclear power plant, in Hollywood, Alabama. Mr. Kilgore is in […]

    Tweet The flooded Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant is not exactly like the nuclear plants at Fukushima Daichi and Fukushima Diana. There are three main differences: First of all, there’s one plant, not 12. The difference of scale is tremendous. Secondly, it was offline – shut down for refueling – when flooded. Meaning, […]

 Tweet Bucolic?  Pastoral? Looks that way, but looks can be deceiving.  First of all, there’s Indian Point 1. Then there’s the water issue.  Other issues are waste and national security. Indian Point 1 Brought online in August, 1962. Shutdown in October, 1974. Spent fuel is stored on site. Scheduled to be closed in 2026. Operated […]

Tweet After Chernobyl, Hans Bethe, pictured at left, said “the Chernobyl disaster tells us about the deficiencies of the Soviet political and administrative system rather than about problems with nuclear power” (PBS).  Dr. Bethe is right.  Managing nuclear power and our energy infrastructure is not limited to physics and engineering. It also involves economics, human […]

Tweet An op-ed article in the Telegraph, UK, last year urged President  Obama “to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project” and by so doing we could “reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.”  […]

Tweet On May 25, 1961 President John Kennedy said, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” (Kennedy library and NASA) Ten years ago, before Sept. 11, Jim Gordon and his team […]

Asking a nuclear engineering professor “Is radiation bad?” is like asking Charlie Sheen “Is cocaine bad?” Wind and water turbines, geothermal systems, and photovoltaic solar modules produce power without burning fuel. While there are resource footprints in the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of these facilities, there are no mines, no wells, no wastes to manage in their ongoing operation. Shouldn’t we be asking “How do we get utility scale base load power from wind and sun?” Shouldn’t we be figuring out “How to shift from a fuel-based energy paradigm to a sustainable paradigm?”