Chernobyl Politics and Market Share: Possible Motives Behind Emphasis

When Unit 4 blew up, it became a hugh opportunity for those who wanted to point out the weaknesses of the Soviet system. It is impossible to separate the reaction to Chernobyl from the long-standing rivalry between the Communist and the Capitalist economic systems. The Chernobyl nuclear station was never viewed as just an electricity […]

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Letter from the Editor: Learning from a Tragedy

As a former nuclear plant supervisor, I was appalled by reports of plant bosses who ordered operators into highly contaminated areas without ensuring that they used protective clothing or breathing devices. Last April, Atomic Energy Insights published its first issue. In the past year, AEI has attempted to provide a view of atomic topics that […]

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The Accident at Chernobyl: What Caused the Explosion?

On April 26th, 1986, at 1:23 am, Alexander Akimov did what he and thousands of other nuclear plant operators have been trained to do. When confronted with confusing reactor indications, he initiated an emergency shutdown of Unit 4 of the large electricity generating station near Pripyat in Ukraine. By doing so, he unwittingly initiated an […]

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Concerns of the Opposition: Not Irrational

There are some legitimate questions raised by the opponents of Yucca Mountain. There are also some arguments that have little basis and are simply a continuation of the scare tactics that anti-nuclear groups have been using against the technology for nearly three decades. The opposing groups normally make the following claims in their papers and […]

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Guest Column: Do Not Eat the Glass

Theodore Rockwell is the author of The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference. He was one of Rickover’s key team members in the early days of the Navy nuclear power program. This letter is published with his permission. The following letter was written by Mr. Rockwell to the Washington Post. It was not […]

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Letter from the Editor: Delay Does not Indicate a Crisis

By nature, I am a procrastinator. I often live by the motto “Never do today that which you can put off until tomorrow.” In fact, I sometimes extend that idea to “Never do at all that which you can put off indefinitely.” Some of my associates vehemently disagree with my way of thinking, but I […]

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Nuclear Waste Mountain: Unnecessary Sense of Urgency

There is a current sense of urgency that “something” must be done about spent nuclear fuel. The Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents the interests of the nuclear utilities and the nuclear plant vendors, has placed the issue of the front page of its bimonthly newsletter no fewer than six times in the past year. Short […]

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In the news: March 1996

Ukraine Reactor Shutdown (March 26, 1996) – Ukraine’s energy supply took another hit when a hydrogen leak forced the shut-down of a reactor at the Pivdenny (Southern) nuclear power station at the weekend, the state nuclear power authority said on Monday. “We can’t say how much hydrogen leaked out, but it wasn’t much. With this […]

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In the news: February 1996

AECL Signs Indonesian Agreement (January 17, 1996) – Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has signed a technical co-operation agreement with Badan Tenaga Atom Nasional (BATAN), Indonesia’s atomic energy agency. The agreement will help Indonesia become familiar with CANDU technology and thereby facilitate consideration of CANDU for adoption as the basis of Indonesia’s planned power […]

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Government Support: Official Help in the Sales Department

The Presidential emissary told King Saud that the U.S. would make its nuclear technology available to Europe if the Suez Canal was used as a tool of blackmail. The decision to encourage nuclear exports was made within months of the Suez Crisis of 1956. The diffusion plants’ capital cost had largely been assumed by the […]

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Letter from the Editor: The Market Battle Begins

The history of nuclear power technology is often as much a political study as it is a technical study. Perhaps no other technological development has ever been so tied to the actions and interests of government bodies and foreign affairs. In this issue of AEI we will focus on the early market struggle between the […]

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Water vs. Gas Cooled Reactors: Round 1

In the period from 1966 to 1964, there were two basic reactor choices being offered for commercial electric power production. American companies were offering reactors that used ordinary water under pressure as the reactor coolant. British and French companies were offering reactors using pressurized CO2 gas as the reactor coolant. There were substantial technical differences […]

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