Archive: Nuclear

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Japan Scrambles to Revamp Its Electricity Sector

The March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that destroyed a number of Japanese power plants—most notably, four nuclear units—hit quickly. Almost as speedy were calls to take all other nuclear units out of service for safety reviews. What will take much longer is developing a new, sustainable energy plan to fill the generation gap left by a potential total lack of nuclear power.

Too Dumb to Meter: Follies, Fiascoes, Dead Ends, and Duds on the U.S. Road to Atomic Energy

The commercial development of nuclear power began immediately after the Second World War ended and the Manhattan Project secrets were released to the public. As the headline—also the title of a new book—implies, the development path was not always straight or even clearly marked. In this POWER exclusive, the first chapter of Too Dumb to Meter begins a serial presentation of the book.

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Europe: More Coal, Then Less

Europe’s continuing drive toward sustainable energy does not rule out a new generation of coal power plants to replace those scheduled to close by 2015.

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Vogtle Gets Green Light

In February 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved two combined construction and operating licenses for Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in Georgia. They were the first licenses ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant using the one-step licensing process and the first allowing construction in more than three decades. Now the real work begins.

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Happy Days for Nuclear Power?

The first license to construct a new nuclear power plant in the U.S. in 34 years was granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 9. Has the elusive nuclear renaissance finally begun?

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New South Korean and Russian Reactors Go Online

Three nuclear reactors under construction in the Eastern Hemisphere reached major milestones over the past few months. South Korea’s Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. connected its 960-MW Shin-Wolsong 1 reactor near Nae-ri to the grid on Jan. 27 and, a day later, its sister plant, the 960-MW Shin Kori 2 (Figure 5) in the southwest city of Gori. Both units are expected to become commercially operational this summer. And last December, Russia began commercial operation of its 950-MW Kalinin 4 plant, a V-320 model VVER 1000.

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Less-Familiar Generation III+ Reactors Make Inroads

Following key regulatory approvals in the UK and U.S. of Westinghouse’s AP1000 and AREVA’s EPR Generation III+ reactor designs, France’s nuclear safety authority in February determined that the little-known ATMEA 1 reactor design met international safety criteria for Generation III+ reactors. The reactor is a 1,100-MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) developed and marketed by ATMEA, a 2007-created joint venture between France’s AREVA and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

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THE BIG PICTURE: Nuclear Aftershocks

In the year following the Fukushima accident in Japan, the nuclear sector has seen several setbacks (text in orange) as well as major milestones (white).

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Vietnam Works Hard to Power Economic Growth

For the past 15 years, Vietnam has enjoyed enviable gross domestic product increases, averaging 7% annually. That kind of economic growth increases power demand, but financing new capacity remains a challenge. Reaching its ambitious capacity growth goals will require Vietnam to expand its financing and vendor base, attract foreign investment, and ensure future fuel supplies in a region thick with competition for those resources.

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Abundant Clean Energy Fuels Brazil’s Growth

Brazil’s power industry has long been dominated by its vast hydro resources, which historically have accounted for over 80% of the country’s generation capacity. With engineering marvels like the massive Itaipú dam and the proposed Belo Monte project, the country is a leader in the development and use of hydroelectricity on a grand scale. But as the 2001 energy crisis proved, dependence on a single source leaves the country vulnerable to severe shortages. Thanks to government programs designed to take advantage of the country’s favorable climate, Brazil is committed to diversifying its energy mix while continuing to maintain a renewable energy focus.