Energy politics is often more about location than party

The Morning Consult has an intriguing article titled Map: State Energy Influence in Washington. The article briefly describes how states that produce various energy fuels have senators and congressmen that migrate to committees that affect the industry in their home territories. It also mentions the curiously large influence that Massachusetts has on energy policy making. […]

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Russia continues sustained fast breeder reactor effort

On June 26, 2014, the 60th anniversary of the start of the 5 MWe Obninsk reactor that was the first reactor in the world to routinely supply electricity to a commercial power grid, Russia started up the latest in a series of sodium-cooled fast reactors, the BN-800. This new nuclear plant is an evolutionary refinement […]

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HTR-PM – Nuclear-heated gas producing superheated steam

The first HTR-PM (High Temperature Reactor – Pebble Module), one of the more intriguing nuclear plant designs, is currently under construction on the coast of the Shidao Bay near Weihai, China. This system uses evolutionary engineering design principles that give it a high probability of success, assuming that the developers and financial supporters maintain their […]

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Fission is an elegant way to heat a gas

What if it was possible to combine the low capital cost, reliability, and responsive operations of simple cycle combustion gas turbines with the low fuel cost and zero-emission capability of an actinide (uranium, thorium, or plutonium) fuel source? Machines like that could disrupt a few business models while giving the world’s economy a powerful new […]

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Cheap, emission-free way to boil water

For the majority of human history, people used their own muscles to provide almost all of the work required for survival and development. A thin slice of humanity achieved a moderate amount of personal comfort and leisure because they were able, often through an accident of birth, to control a portion of the daily work […]

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Radiation is Safe Within Limits – Robert Hargraves

Dr. Robert Hargraves recently gave a talk to a chapter of the American Nuclear Society in New York. He recorded the talk and synchronized his words with the slides. It is quite informative. RadiationSafeWithinLimits from Robert Hargraves on Vimeo. Hargraves should be complimented and encouraged to keep working on his presentation, practicing the delivery and […]

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Modest proposal to Chris Crane, CEO of Exelon

Dear Mr. Crane: According to Exelon’s power struggle, your company is searching for a strategy that will restore the glowing prospects that it faced in the period from 2004-2008. That is the period that an Exelon leader called “the boom years for nuclear.” During that time, Exelon’s stock price reached an all time high of […]

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Resolving the issue of the science of biological effects of low level radiation

Several past presidents and fellows of the American Nuclear Society have written a letter to the ANS with the following subject line: Resolving the issue of the science of biological effects of low level radiation. Here are the introductory paragraphs: Public understanding and opinion about radiation associated with nuclear plants are sharply divided. Those who […]

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Hollande’s proposed “cap” on nuclear electricity capacity

France’s President Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party ran on a platform that included scaling back France’s dependence on nuclear energy. It was not a very popular part of his campaign pitch, but Sarkozy was such a flawed candidate that Hollande won anyway. Hollande is trying to follow through on his promise, but there are […]

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Atomic Show #217 – Michael Mariotte, President NIRS

At the suggestion of a long time Atomic Insights contributor and Atomic Show listener, I invited Michael Mariotte for a guest appearance on the Atomic Show. In the small world made up of active nuclear advocates and people adamantly opposed to nuclear energy, Mariotte and his organization are famous — or infamous, depending on one’s […]

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Is Cuomo’s fix against Indian Point already in?

Governor Andrew Cuomo has never tried to hide the fact that he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. Like Mario, Andrew became Governor of New York. Like Mario, Andrew has established political and financial alliances with well-heeled donors that do not like nuclear energy. Like Mario, Andrew would like to be remembered as a […]

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Markey’s Misinterpretation of NRC Non-Concurrence Process Targeted Survey

BACKGROUND The Nuclear Regulatory Commission values discussion among staff members who suggest alternative approaches or hold differing professional views. Since 1976 it has offered alternative methods of raising concerns including a documented Open Door Policy and a formal Differing Professional Opinions (DPO) Program. In 2006 the Executive Director for Operations issued a draft directive establishing […]

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