One of the features of Atomic Insights that needs to be revived is the series titled “Another blogger for nuclear energy.” In that series, I happily announced and linked to a new (to me) blog written by someone who either focuses on positive aspects of nuclear technology or who covers nuclear energy from a positive point of view among other topics of discussion.
Today I want to introduce two blogs written by friends of mine. The first, written by Andrea Jennetta (@nuclearBuzz), is titled I Dig U Mining that is covering an issue centered in what is practically my own backyard. Andrea is the owner and president of International Nuclear Associates, Inc., the publisher of Fuel Cycle Week. She has 25 years working in the nuclear fuel cycle.
I Dig U Mining has started its coverage with the issue of uranium mining in Virginia. Coles Hill farm in Chatham, VA (less than an hour from my home) is the site of one of the largest single deposits of uranium in the United States. The scenic farm consists of roughly four square miles of pasture.
Near the middle of that farm is a well-characterized mineral deposit that contains 119 million pounds of uranium. Even at today’s stubbornly low uranium prices, the natural elements in the deposit has a potential market value of about $7 billion. Though it is not enough material to single-handedly lift Southside Virginia up from a rather deep economic slump, extracting that valuable material would be a useful enterprise providing high quality jobs for several hundred carefully trained workers. Most of those jobs would last a full generation.
Even using today’s primitive once through fuel cycle, the deposit contains emission-free fuel with the same amount of potential energy as about 833 million tons of coal – about 1 year’s worth of US coal consumption. If used in closed fuel cycle, the uranium at Coles Hill could eventually provide as much energy as burning 166 billion tons of coal – 200 times as much energy as a once through fuel cycle.
(Note: The numbers in the above are extrapolations of a computation provided on page 15 of “Nuclear Reactor Engineering” by Glasstone and Sesonske, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1967. The computation showed how it is possible to derive the physical fact that 1 pound of uranium contains as much potential energy as 1400 tons of 13,000 BTU/lb coal.)
Unfortunately, Virginia, which is home to about 150 licensed coal mines, passed a state moratorium on uranium mining in the mid 1980s, soon after the Coles Hill deposit was discovered. Andrea and I think that it is incredibly shortsighted and a bit hypocritical for people from a normally sane state like Virginia to fight so vociferously against a well-designed, modern uranium mining project.
The second blogger for nuclear energy is Nuke Roadie: A blog for everything nuclear energy related. It is written by a man who claims to have been laid off 30 times in the past four years because he is an specialist who travels from plant to plant to provide his expertise during refueling outages. You can follow @nukeroadie on Twitter – that is how I first “met” him.
I enjoy reading pieces from people who know what they are talking about and have deep wells of experience from which to draw. Please go and visit both I Dig U Mining and Nuke Roadie at your earliest convenience. Heck, what is stopping you? Click now!