Tag Archives | Nuclear Power

U.S. Budget Gives Nuclear Power A Yea And Big Oil A Nay

Susquehanna_steam_electric_stationBy Phil McKenna for New Scientist:

Nuclear power got a boost and big oil took a hit yesterday when US President Barack Obama submitted his 2011 federal budget proposal to Congress. The budget calls for an immediate $36 billion increase in loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants and eliminates $36.5 billion in subsidies to oil and natural gas companies over a 10-year period.

Federal loan guarantees could be a huge boost to the US nuclear power industry, which hasn’t had an order for a new plant since the 1970s. The guarantees allow power companies to get lower interest rates when they secure project financing.

The US Department of Energy already has authority to grant $18.5 billion in loan guarantees, enough for two to four nuclear plants. If approved by Congress, the additional guarantees could help finance about six more plants, according to Steven Kerekes, spokesperson for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobby group based in Washington DC…

[continues at New Scientist]

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The Great Uranium Landgrab: Nuclear Power Comes Roaring Back

Danny Fortson writes in the Times:

It’s an odd place for a group of Frenchmen to pitch a tent city. Bakouma is one of the deepest, darkest corners of African jungle. From Bangui, the capital of the land-locked Central African Republic, it takes days to navigate the 800 km of dirt track to this patch of virgin forest in the middle of the continent. Usually they go by light aircraft to a nearby landing strip.

Most of the 160 or so jungle dwellers are scientists but they are not there to count butterflies. They are drawing up plans for a uranium mine. Areva, France’s state-owned nuclear giant, is behind the project. It hopes to begin clearing forest next year after the government approves its plan.

Bakouma is not an isolated case. It’s just one example of a silent landgrab unfolding around the globe. After decades as a forgotten commodity, uranium, the radioactive element used as the primary fuel for nuclear power, is hot property again.

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Radiation Leak at Three Mile Island

No, this is not one of those “20 years ago today” stories; it just happened here and now in 2009, as reported by ABC TV in Philadelphia:

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – November 22, 2009 — A small amount of radiation has been detected in a reactor building at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in central Pennsylvania.

Exelon Nuclear spokeswoman Beth Archer says investigators are searching for the cause, but that the radiation was quickly contained.

Radiological surveys showed the contamination was confined to surfaces inside the containment building.

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Thermonuclear Reactor To Use Coconut Shells

“In what sounds like it could be the beginnings of a Star Trek-like Federation, the United States has joined the European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, China, Korea, and India in negotiations for the establishment of the burning plasma prototype facility…[and] a key component of a $10 billion nuclear fusion plant is vintage 2002 Indonesian coconut-shell charcoal!”

After a 20-year search, German researchers discovered that the coconut-shell charcoal is the best medium for “adsorbing” waste byproducts sucked out of the thermonuclear reaction’s vaccuum chamber. In what will be the first fusion power facility that’s commercially viable, magnetic fields will heat hydrogen isotypes to over 150 million degrees Centrigrade. (Essentially, the super-hot plasma creates artificial stars.)

“It’s not quite a Starship warp drive, but it does harness the power of the sun.”

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