Tale of two Chinas – One surging forward, one retreating

Two stories caught my attention this morning. One came from the Taipei Times, one from the Beijing Review. The first one focused on a future energy supply prognostication from an American “expert” who has a light educational and professional background in energy technology, manufacturing, engineering, economics and market dynamics. The second one documents recent progress…

Atomic Show #238 – StarCore Nuclear co-founders

StarCore Nuclear is a Canadian company whose co-founders, David Dabney and David Poole, are experienced engineers and businessmen. They have spent most of the past six years developing a technology and a business model aimed at providing reliable, emission-free electrical power and heat to remote locations. The basis of their technology is a high-temperature helium…

SMR advocates and interested parties gathering in Charlotte – April 14-15

In about 10 days, I’ll be arriving in Charlotte, NC for the 5th Annual Nuclear Energy Insider SMR Summit. the planned agenda indicates that there are people who are moving beyond talk and presentations. Participants are clearly preparing to discuss and create initial action plans addressing difficult challenges associated with establishing a new industry that…

SMRs – lots of noise but DOE budget that’s 1% of annual wind tax credit

I’ve been spending some time watching, rewatching and clipping interesting excerpts from the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittee hearings on the FY2016 Department of Energy budget. It’s not everyone’s idea of entertainment, but it’s fascinating to me to watch publicly accessible discussions about how our government makes decisions, sets priorities and spends the money…

NRC issues SER for Westinghouse Small Break LOCA PIRT

I apologize for the acronym soup in the title. Here is what I really wanted to say, but couldn’t fit into the title field. On February 27, 2015, nearly three years after it was submitted, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a letter reporting that the NRC staff had prepared a final Topical Report Safety…

Today Show cheers nuclear power by chanting “Go Nuke!”

Before readers get too excited, I need to acknowledge that the Today Show in the below video is broadcast from Sydney, Australia, not New York City. However, it is still kind of exciting to have a TV newscaster chanting “Go Nuke!” The broadcaster’s excitement is based on an announcement by Liberal Party Senator Sean Edwards…

Diseconomy of scale – world’s largest canned-motor reactor coolant pump

On February 16, 2015, an AP article by Ray Henry titled Nuclear plants delayed in China, watched closely by US firms contained a short paragraph that has contributed to a number of sleepless nights. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of other people affected in the same manner who have far more at stake than…

Atomic Show #234 – Update from South Australia

Ben Heard of Think Climate Consulting and DecarboniseSA.com joined me for a discussion about the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia. In early February, the South Australian government announced the formation of a royal commission to investigate the state’s future role in the nuclear fuel cycle. As Ben explained, royal commissions are fairly rare and only…

Atomic Show #233 – Innovators discuss advanced reactor development in US

There are a growing number of innovative small companies and a few divisions of larger companies that have recognized that nuclear energy offers solutions to a number of important human challenges. Despite the proclamations by opponents, the Nuclear Renaissance is not any more dead in 2015 than the original Renaissance was dead in 1315. In…

Energizing visit to UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department

On Feb 9, 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the faculty and students at the University of California Berkeley. Prof. Per Peterson invited me out to give a colloquium talk and to see some of the interesting work that his colleagues and students were doing in advanced nuclear technology. One of the primary research…

ThorCon – Demonstrated Molten Salt Tech Packaged With Modern Construction Techniques

The dearth of real innovation and focused direction from the established companies in the US nuclear industry in the face of rapidly expanding demand for clean energy solutions has stimulated the formation of a number of start-up companies. The leaders of these companies have backgrounds that have taught them to ask “Why not?” when faced…

Putting excitement back into nuclear technology development

Josh Freed, Third Way‘s clean energy vice president, has published a thoughtful, graphically enticing Brookings Essay titled Back to the Future: Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change. It focuses on Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie of Transatomic Power, but it also makes it abundantly clear that those two visionary entrepreneurs are examples…