Archive: Nuclear

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Plant Vogtle Leads the Next Nuclear Generation

In August 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its fourth Early Site Permit for two new units at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle site and its first for the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor design. The two new units planned for Vogtle also became the reference plant for the AP1000 under NuStart in June 2009. This means Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will be the first licensed installations of the new AP1000 reactor design in the U.S. Plant Vogtle is expected to get the NRC’s approval to begin construction in 2011.

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Africa Looks to Nuclear for Future Generation

Africa is emerging as a prominent voice in calling for a global nuclear renaissance. Driven by chronic shortages from population explosions, decades of drought, and dependence on hydropower — and spurred by discoveries of significant uranium reserves on the continent — several countries are considering nuclear power as a viable option.

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Using the Sterling Engine for Solar and Lunar Power

Since Robert Stirling invented the Stirling engine in 1816, it has been used in an array of specialized applications. That trend continues today. Its compatibility with clean energy sources is becoming apparent: It is an external combustion engine that can utilize almost any heat source, it encloses a fixed amount of a gaseous working fluid, and it doesn’t require any water — unlike a steam engine.

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Nuclear Developments in Europe

Recent months brought several developments in Europe’s much-touted "nuclear renaissance." Spain Extends Life of Nation’s Oldest Reactor Spain’s government on July 2 granted a four-year extension to the operating permit of the 466-MW Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant (Figure 3). The decision follows a nonbinding recommendation by Spain’s nuclear regulator in June to […]

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Sweden Selects Site of First Permanent Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository

In early June, as U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu confirmed to a House Subcommittee that Yucca Mountain repository was, without doubt, "off the table" and that a blue ribbon panel would further advise the government on what it should do with its high-level nuclear waste, Sweden announced the site of what could be the world’s first permanent spent fuel repository.

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China Begins Construction of World’s First AP1000 Reactor

Construction of the world’s first nuclear power plant to use U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactor technology commenced this April in China, with the pouring of 5,200 cubic meters of concrete at the nuclear island at Sanmen in Zhejiang province (Figure 3). The two-unit Sanmen plant will be built in three phases, with the first reactor […]

U.S. Being Passed by Other Nuclear Nations

The U.S. may have created the roadmap for the next generation of nuclear reactors, but other countries are farther down the road to development. The U.S. Department of Energy initiated the Generation IV Roadmap development project in January 2000. Soon, nine other countries joined, including some of the largest commercial nuclear powers, such as France, […]

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Recession Reduces Demand for Electricity

When roving Contributing Editor Mark Axford attended several recent energy conferences, he found the same questions asked at each one about new U.S. generation sources and consumption patterns. Unfortunately, the experts had few good answers to those questions.

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Turkey Opens Electricity Markets as Demand Grows

Turkey’s growing power market has attracted investors and project developers for over a decade, yet their plans have been dashed by unexpected political or financial crises or, worse, obstructed by a lengthy bureaucratic approval process. Now, with a more transparent retail electricity market, government regulators and investors are bullish on Turkey. Is Turkey ready to turn the power on?