What a waste – Vermont Yankee is in beautiful condition

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont is a relatively young steam plant that uses a low-cost, essentially emission-free fuel. It is strategically located in an area with few fossil fuel resources, extreme weather, and frequent spikes in electricity prices. It has a well-trained, experienced operating staff that has an excellent performance record. […]

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John Tjostem – GMOs & Atomic Fission Enable a Sustainable Future

During a discussion on Atomic Insights, I encountered a man whose recipes for a sustainable future need greater distribution. John Tjostem is an advocate of technologies that enable disruptive abundance and a more rewarding life for a growing portion of the world’s population. After growing up on South Dakota farm in the 1930s and 1940s, […]

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Correlation Between GMOs and Nuclear Fission

Have you ever noticed that many of the same organizations and people that fight nuclear energy also fight GMOs? Both technologies promise disruptive abundance that can improve the lives of billions of people. Here’s food for thought: Big Agriculture has as much to lose from technologies that solve world hunger as Big Oil, Big Coal, […]

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Healthy doses of radiation

Doses of radiation that are lower than about 700 mGy/yr (see note below) are more likely to reduce cancer incidence and increase life span than to decrease it. In other words, moderate radiation doses are good for you in the same way as moderate exercise is good for you. The basis for this economy-altering assertion […]

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Smoking gun: AEC told President Kennedy why coal industry was opposed to nuclear energy

It’s been quite a while since my last smoking gun post on Atomic Insights. It may be time to revive the series to remind nuclear energy advocates to follow the money and know their opponents. In the battle for hearts, minds and market share it is always useful to know why vocal opposition exists, but […]

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Alvin Weinberg’s liquid fuel reactors

Figure 6. Senators John Kennedy and Al Gore Sr flank Alvin Weinberg on a visit to ORNL

A nuclear pioneer’s work on safer, cheaper, inexhaustible nuclear power is still inspiring nuclear environmentalists. by Robert Hargraves Physicist Alvin Weinberg worked on the Manhattan Project and later co-invented the pressurized water nuclear reactor. As Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory he led development of liquid fuel reactors, including walk-away-safe liquid fluoride thorium reactors with […]

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Taking the bloom off of the nuclear rose

Yesterday I came across a New York Times front page article from July 7, 1971 titled Nation’s Energy Crisis: Nuclear Future Looms. It is the second article in a three part article on the energy crisis that was capturing America’s attention in 1971 – two years before the Arab Oil Embargo. The discovery knocked me […]

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Energy versus Power – Energy delivered rapidly equals power

A BusinessWeek article titled Putin $14 Billion Nuclear Deal Wins Over Russia Critic Orban recognizes the importance of recent Russian power deals to supply gas, oil, and nuclear energy facilities. There is widespread confusion about energy versus power. Conversations about the business of selling hydrocarbons or electricity are described as being about energy, but the […]

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Chinese plan to dominate nuclear market worldwide

A California-based correspondent shared the following vignette to a private email list early this morning. An aside — had dinner with a Stanford biz prof teaching entrepreneurship. His 15 Chinese students were at the table too (big table). A few spoke English. One is international marketing head for China Nuclear Power Engineering Company — largest […]

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60 Years Ago, Ike, the Most Visionary President of the 20th Century, Gave Atoms for Peace Speech

On December 8, 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his forward-leaning Atoms for Peace speech at a gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in Bermuda. His vision for the world has not yet been realized, but remembering some of his thoughts might inspire some thinkers to take action. There are many reasons why many decision […]

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Implications of nuclear agreement with Iran

This afternoon, one of my correspondents asked me the following question: What’s your put on the new Iranian agreement, can the weapon program be capped and verification assured? Here was my response: I am happy that there is an interim agreement. It indicates that some people are starting to recognize that Iran is probably telling […]

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Nuclear professionals can, and should get emotional

Entergy’s announced decision to close Vermont Yankee hit me pretty hard. It was the fifth announced closure of a large nuclear reactor in 2013. It was one more indication that the nuclear renaissance that seemed so close to becoming real in 2005 is struggling. It was also an announcement that I took a little personally, […]

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