Friday, May 21, 2010

2nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy at Nuclear Green

Nuclear Green is hosting the 2nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy. Charles Barton provides 16 entries from some of the best nuclear blogs on the web, for the second ever edition of this much-needed blog carnival.

Nuclear Street looks at prospects for the new generation of nuclear reactors:
Modern nuclear power plants are no longer as prone to operator and process flaws their older manifestations were but nuclear detractors hold to past perceptions. Technical failings that allowed for design short-comings, as in the Chernobyl accident, and for process and operator errors, as in the Three Mile Island case, have been corrected and modern control technology have improved significantly over the years, giving rise to more robust and cost-effective nuclear reactors. For a start, the old Soviet (WWII, Fermi) design of the Chernobyl reactor without a containment dome has been replaced with better engineered plants. Passive core systems that rely on natural forces to achieve reactor cooling are further supplemented with active components to prevent a fatal chain of human intervention that led to fuel core overheating and ultimate steam releases at the two accident sites. State-of-the-art light water reactor systems available on the market today are designed to run for 60 years and can extract more energy content out of uranium with 15% less waste. Small modular reactors, with its advanced technology and added safety features, are suitable for use in areas with land constraints where it is physically impossible to provide for the large space buffer zone that traditional nuclear power plants require.

Hyperion intends to go to market with a "Mini Power Reactor" (MPR), which is even smaller than its Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

The US Department of Energy is getting frustrated with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's dragging its feet on licensing new designs and plants. The DOE is hosting a Small Modular Reactor Workshop on 28 and 29 June, 2010. Perhaps some of the smarter persons at the DOE can light a fire under the NRC?

Brian Wang notes that China is adding 12 new AP 1000 reactors to its plans, and is joining with Russia, Japan, and France to discuss new designs for 4th Gen reactors. China may be thinking that the US under the Obama - Pelosi regime is too deeply invested into "energy starvation" to have any good ideas about 4G reactors?

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