Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nuclear Energy Carnival #19

Brian Wang hosts the 19th Carnival of Nuclear Energy. Here are some entries:
2. Nucleargreen has "Energy: Renewables and Efficiency won't work, but the Molten Salt Reactor can."

Renewable energy plans all forecast large renewable energy shortfalls in meeting consumer energy demands. These plans fall back on energy efficiency to bridge the gap between consumer energy demands and and limited renewable generating capacity. A postulate of classic economic theory, Jevons paradox, maintains that increased energy efficiency leads to increased energy use. Nuclear power generation offers the only way out of the renewables energy gap, and in particular Molten Salt Reactor technology offers a highly scalable, low cost and safe solution to a rapid deployment of the nuclear energy gap solution.

3. 4 Factor consulting has why baseload is irrelevant to the power discussion.

Mr. Wellinghoff of the FERC famously said “I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism. Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do.” Since then the debate between those that believe baseload is, for the foreseeable future, required and those that believe, like Mr. Wellinghoff that baseload is an anachronism of the 20th century. In fact, recently a paper published by an economist at Duke University claims that North Carolina (apparently serving as a proxy for the entire country) does not require any baseload capacity and that wind and solar can pretty much take care of everything.

4. ANS Nuclear cafe has Setting the stage for dialogue about the future of nuclear power

Former American Nuclear Society President Gail Marcus has just finished a book -- Nuclear Firsts: Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development -- that chronicles the history of nuclear power through the stories of the milestones in the development and deployment of the technology. Looking backward can illuminate the path forward as well, and some of the key messages that she took from my review of history are relevant to the on-going discussions about the future of nuclear power are distilled in this post.

5. Yes Vermont Yankee has A post about politics in Vermont. Peter Shumlin is running for Governor of Vermont. His opponent seems to be Vermont Yankee power plant.

6. Rod Adams Atomic insights has Sierra Club, Shell Oil, Cato, RMI, Exelon and ExxonMobil All Agree - Just Do Without So We Do Not Build Any Disruptive New Capacity

When Shell Oil Company, the Sierra Club, the Cato Institute, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Exelon, and ExxonMobil (among many other strange bedfellows) all agree on the "best" source of new energy that is not really a source at all, Rod Adams gets suspicious of the underlying motives. Is the only needed solution to our energy supply challenges using what we already have more efficiently, or is that just a good reason to stop trying to replace our current sources - and suppliers?

7. Nuclear reactors are the main ways to approach or exceed high density 1 kg/kw power sources, which would enable VASIMR rocket to get to Mars in 39 days.

Molten Salt Fast Reactor would take about 50 kg of plutonium and get to about 3 kg/kw.

Uranium nitride reactors are funded and being commercially developed for 2013-2018 and could get to 2-3 kg/kw.

Vapor Core Reactors have a bunch of academic study and are expected to achieve 0.3-1 kg/kw.

Stretched lens solar arrays could go from 3kg/kw to 1kg/kw.

A proposed strontium 90 beta decay thermophotovoltaic system could achieve 10kg/kw and better photovoltaics and other improvements might enable about 5kg/kw

The New York Times reveals an MIT report that claims we will have plenty of uranium as long as we store used nuclear fuel where we can get to it.

Here is the PDF Summary Report from MIT on Uranium Fuel Cycles which is behind much of the recent optimism over long term uranium fuel supplies PDF H/T Seeker Blog



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