It is fair to say that 2011 is bringing some uncertainty into the nuclear energy industry. The tsunami and subsequent events at Fukushima present Japan and our industry with new challenges but also serve as a catalyst for continuous improvement. In the U.S., we are learning from these events and improving our operations, designs, and emergency response approaches to make our plants safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly.
As barriers to new coal-fired generation expand and enthusiasm for nuclear plants wanes, the commissioning of natural gas–fired plants promises to increase. However, gas plants pose hazards, too. An explosion last year that was caused by unsafe use of natural gas to blow residue from a gas pipeline during commissioning of a gas-fired power plant has focused regulator and industry attention on finding safer alternatives for this task. Fluor shares its gas pipeline cleaning best practices.
Australia Pursues Carbon Tax. Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard on July 10 laid out an ambitious plan to cut national greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of 2000 levels by 2020 by imposing a A$23 (US$23.4) per metric ton carbon tax, starting next year. If parliament approves the plan before year-end, the carbon tax will increase […]
Since a landmark 2008 deal that lifted global sanctions and allowed countries to conduct nuclear trade with India, the nation struggling to keep up with domestic power demand has signed deals with the U.S., France, Russia, Canada, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Namibia, and, in August, South Korea, for construction of large nuclear power plants (in technical collaboration with foreign vendors) or for nuclear fuel.
China in July flicked on its experimental fast reactor—the first built in the nation, and the first of many more to come. The China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR), whose development began in 1995, is a pool-type sodium-cooled reactor with a thermal output of 65 MW and an electrical output of 20 MW. The reactor is housed in a 44,000-square-meter (473,610-square-foot) building.
Heat waves, droughts, and other weather and climate phenomena; economic woes; aging or inadequate infrastructure; fuel shortages. These are some of the most obvious causes that have led to record peaks in power demand or sudden drops in available capacity. The results have been sometimes debilitating load-shedding, brownouts, and blackouts around the globe this summer (and, in some cases, for much longer). Here’s an overview of which countries are affected by which difficulties. For a more detailed look at the extent of shortages and what’s causing them, visit Web Exclusives at https://www.powermag.com
(WEB EXCLUSIVE) Much has transpired during the nearly six months following the Great East Japan Earthquake—a 3-minute, magnitude 9.0 temblor that generated a series of tsunami waves as tall as 38.9 meters (130 feet), killed more than 25,000 people, and set off the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.
PRISM is an advanced sodium-cooled reactor that simultaneously reduces proliferation concerns by consuming transuranics and weapons-grade plutonium and closes the nuclear fuel cycle. PRISM’s passive safety systems, successfully demonstrated in earlier liquid metal reactor programs, combined with modern design requirements, make PRISM invulnerable to most serious accidents that can affect light water reactors.
According to the International Atomic Energy Commission, deep disposal in stable geological formations is the only sustainable way to safely manage spent fuel and high-level waste (HLW) from nuclear power reactors. No permanent geological repository has yet been built, but some countries have found a location for a future repository. Others are researching the option…
Risk, risk management, and the specter of Fukushima ran through the nuclear track at May’s ELECTRIC POWER Conference in Chicago. The reality of risk, driven home by the horrendous events in Japan, was a recurring theme in many presentations, in questions to speakers, and in the conversations among delegates during informal moments.