Posts tagged “nuclear”
This is a professionally rendered, engaging piece of filmmaking. It is as honest and accurate as any documentary you are ever likely to see, providing a much needed counter-balance to the decades of misinformation from anti-nuclear groups.
My review will be in the form of a critique of Ed Lyman’s review “Put Pandora’s Promise Back in the Box” (9) on the Union of Concerned Scientists and Citizens blog called All Things Nuclear.
There is substantial opportunity to incorporate next-generation nuclear energy — through either large, advanced reactors or emerging SMR designs or both — more significantly into a productive strategy for reducing carbon emissions in the long and short term, writes Matthew Stepp.
Half of California’s Nuclear Generating Capacity Shut Down
I’m still digesting last week’s announcement by Southern California Edison that the utility’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California will close permanently, nine years prior to the expiration of the facility’s operating license. The plant’s two nuclear reactors were shut down for repairs in early 2012, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still hadn’t approved the company’s plan to restart them, despite a protracted review. Although this event is quite different from the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, its ripples are likely to extend beyond California, where both the state’s electricity market and its greenhouse gas emissions will be adversely affected.
California’s Emissions Could Increase by 6 Million Tons per Year
Before considering how the San Onofre closures will affect the nation’s nuclear industry and generating mix, let’s focus on California. While accounting for only 3% of the state’s 2011 generating capacity from all sources, the SONGS reactors typically contributed around 8% of the state’s annual electricity generation, due to their high utilization rates. That’s a large slice of low-emission power to remove from the energy mix in a state that is committed to reduce its emissions below 1990 levels.
Energy issues ranked among the top international headlines in 2012 – As we look ahead, what are the major energy trends that are likely to take shape and play out in international headlines in 2013?
The new energy policy will allow some or all of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors, 48 of them currently shut down, to go back online during the 27-year transition period, as needed.
Despite concerns that switching to renewable energy sources will prove too expensive for his country, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said during a political debate among party leadership candidates that he will take into account his party’s recommendation to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s; news reports suggest that the prime minister’s Cabinet already has an official policy agreement in place.
Expected to be put into political action by the end of this week, Japan’s new energy policy will see it gradually move away from nuclear power — a monumental shift for a resource-poor nation that has long relied on nuclear energy to keep its citizens supplied with electricity. The policy will include a 40-year cap on maximum reactor lifespans, an immediate halt on the planning and construction of new reactors and a strong focus on renewable energy sources and conservation efforts.
A new power grid based around renewable energy will cost Japan $622 billion to build, according to government estimates
With Japan in the process of rebuilding the infrastructure damaged during 2011′s devastating tsunami, many in the country are suggesting that the time is right for a transition from nuclear to renewable energy in that country. Fears of nuclear disaster fueled by the damage and subsequent radioactive leak at the Fukushima nuclear reactor after the tsunami have many groups, both private and public, clamoring for an immediate shutdown of Japan’s nuclear program.
Despite public pressure, though, many politicians recognize that the cost for Japan to move away from dependance on nuclear energy would simply be too high.
Why is Germany planning to phase out nuclear power? In a nutshell, because they fear it — self-serving behavior based on irrational fear. They’re doing it because a sufficient number of German citizens have been convinced by the fear tactics used by the anti-nuclear lobby that their nuclear power poses a significant safety risk (which it doesn’t).
They will be removing from the European grid their low emission nuclear power exports while simultaneously increasing the use of fossil fuels domestically in addition to using more from the E.U. grid, which is almost entirely nuclear and fossil fueled. They are counting on that power from the E.U. grid to fill in the gaps inherent in their own renewable power. To meet their goal of 100% renewable they would have to isolate themselves from the European grid.
Updated Charging Technology
An email recently came in from Blink telling me they want to install a new card in my electric car charger. New technology always involves a learning curve. If any discipline should be a science (other than science), it is engineering but even engineering involves a lot of trial and error. The first jet engines were unbelievably primitive by today’s standards.
The new Leaf will have a more efficient heating system that will extend the range in cold weather. Not sure what they are up to but hopefully it is one of these heat pumps. It will also come with a charger that is about twice as fast as the one on my car. Oh well. Obsolete already.
Nuclear Shut-Down Grounded In Recent German History
The German government surprised Europe by announcing the closure of its nuclear power program a year ago this week, immediately after the Fukushima disaster. Some have since reopened, but others never will. They all will be closed and permanently retired by 2022.
This seemed to many of us in the energy field like a rash decision, but it was not. In my conversations around Berlin this week, it has become clear that this was not a simple, snap decision in response to the Japanese tragedy. Anti-nuclear sentiment has a long history and broad support across society.
Rise of the Greens
That consensus against nuclear power has its roots in the Green Party. The Greens emerged from the rebellious 1968 generation. In the U.S. we think of a green party as solely an environmental movement; that’s a big part of the German green movement, but certainly not the only part. The early greens consciously rejected what they perceived as the ideals of both sides of the Iron Curtain that divided their country. They were both anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian.