Archive: Nuclear


Spain: A Renewable Kingdom

Spain has served as both exemplar and scapegoat when it comes to renewable energy policy. Though power policy must necessarily accommodate specific national resources and goals, Spain’s experience as an early and eager adopter of renewable energy technologies and subsidies is a cautionary tale of how the best intentions can have unintended consequences.


Germany Considers Accelerated Nuclear Exit on Fukushima Worries

In the wake of the devastating nuclear crisis afflicting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, Germany has embarked on an abrupt shift away from nuclear power, shutting down eight reactors for safety checks and ditching concerted efforts to keep nuclear power plants open in the long term. In mid-April, Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that leaders of Germany’s 16 states all want to “exit nuclear energy as soon as possible and make the switch to supplying via renewable energy.” The policy reversal has incited ardent opposition from the energy sector and industry.


Recovery Efforts Continue at Fukushima Daiichi

In April, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency provisionally raised the accident rating for three reactors at the crippled six-unit Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture to Level 7—making it a “major accident” and putting it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine. Recovery efforts continue at the nuclear plant with workers […]


Chernobyl: Twenty-Five Years of Wormwood

Twenty-five years ago last month, engineers and technicians were running low-power tests at the 1,000-MW Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant outside Kiev. They quickly, inexplicably, lost control of the light-water-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor. In an instant, the critical chain reaction flared out of control. The plant exploded like a small, dirty bomb, the graphite caught fire, and the worst catastrophe in civilian nuclear power was under way.


China’s Five-Year Plan Is Heavy on Non-Fossil Generation

The People’s Republic of China’s Congress approved a much-anticipated draft of the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–2015) on March 14. Along with key objectives that included boosting its gross domestic product (GDP) by 7% annually on average, the country for the first time in a five-year plan established targets to tackle climate change. It plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 17% from 2010 levels by 2015 and to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% from 2010 levels by 2015.


The Battle to Stabilize Daiichi

Weeks after a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent 14-meter-high tsunami devastated Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan, workers from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) were still struggling to regain control of four severely damaged reactors at the six-unit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.


Nuclear Fever Breaks

Excitement over an expected nuclear renaissance reached fever pitch over the past decade. Today, the original volume of announced projects has been sifted, leaving just a few serious ones that may match well with the level of loan guarantees recently announced as part of the president’s budget proposal. The pace of progress is slow, yet progress is almost certainly unavoidable.


Nuclear Monitor: News from France, Japan, U.S., Belgium, Germany

Five new nuclear reactors were connected to the grid while construction of 14 others began in 2010, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in early March. Around the world, a total 65 reactors with a net power capacity of 62.9 GW were in various stages of construction—almost half of them in China.


The Battle to Control Quake-Stricken Japanese Reactors

As POWER closes this issue (March 15), 6,000 people have been confirmed dead and 10,000 others are still missing as a result of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that destroyed Japan’s eastern shore on March 11. At this writing, the country is battling a third cataclysm—the potential meltdown of several reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO’s) Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.


Canada’s Provincial Power Strategies

In Canada, as in the U.S., where you live determines the type of generation technology that provides your power. Here’s how the four most energy-intensive provinces in Canada are responding to the challenge of providing reliable and cheap power in a sustainable way.