Atomic Insights April 1995

April was our introductory issue. You can meet the editor, learn about nuclear batteries, find out how small a problem nuclear waste really is and learn about the beginning of nuclear power in the United States.

In the news: April 1995

TVA gives up on Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 and Watts Bar Unit 2

The Tennessee Valley Authority has suspended construction activities at three sites after spending over $5 billion dollars. Bellafonte 1 is 88% complete, Bellafonte 2 is 57% complete, and Watts Bar 2 is 61% complete. TVA estimated that it would have cost $8.8 billion to finish the three plants.

Indonesia Calls Nuclear Power Unavoidable

(Dec 28, 1994) Research and Technology Minister B. J. Habibie told reporters “Demand for electricity will continue to rise, and we have no other alternative, so we will use nuclear.” Indonesia is a member of OPEC and currently sells its oil on the world market.

China Continues Major Nuclear Program

(Jan 11, 1995) China is making plans for 10,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity by the year 2000. The country’s leaders hope that nuclear power will allow them to meet a rapidly growing electricity demand while cutting consumption of the high sulfur coal which now supplies 75% of their power.

Sen. Johnson Proposes Spent Fuel Legislation

(Jan 30, 1995) Senator Bennet Johnson (D-La) introduced legislation on Jan. 5 to create a single temporary storage site for spent nuclear fuel. The proposed site is near the Yucca Mountain site that has been selected for eventual use as a permanent storage location. At least 26 of the 109 reactor sites will have filled their on site storage capacity by 1998 when the DOE was originally scheduled to remove the waste. Joe Colvin of the Nuclear Energy Institute said, “We think this legislation has an excellent chance of passing. With 26 utilities exhausting their storage capacity, the issue is no longer abstract. Many state governors want this problem solved.”

Apache Tribe Rejects Temporary Waste Site

(Feb 2, 1995) The Mescalero Apache tribe of New Mexico has rejected its leadership’s plan to allow construction of a temporary spent fuel storage facility on their reservation. The facility would have produced revenue of $250 million over the projected 40 year life of the project. Silas Cochise, the tribe’s manager for the project was surprised by the 490-362 vote. Scott Peters of the Nuclear Energy Institute expressed little surprise. He said “We knew it was going to be a tough sell.”

Common Myths: Is Nuclear Waste a Huge Problem?

One of the main reasons for publishing this letter is to add a healthy dose of reality to the mythology that has surrounded the atomic energy field. There are so many of these myths that this column will be a regular feature of the Atomic Energy Insights. One of the most prevalent myths is that […]

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Really Cool Stuff: Batteries That Last for Decades

Atomic energy provides an amazing source of concentrated power. The potential applications that have been proposed are widely varied. There is room for unlimited innovation and creativity. Imagine what it would be like to have a battery that could provide power for several decades without recharging. Sounds almost like science fiction. Fact, in this case, […]

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In the beginning: A 1942 Experiment Shows the World It Can Be Done

On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated that a simple construction of graphite bricks and uranium lumps could produce controlled heat. Let’s look back to see how simple that first reactor was. Behind the Scenes The space chosen for the reactor was a squash court under the […]

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