Atomic Show #307 – Mark Nelson, Managing Director Radiant Energy Group
Mark Nelson has been traveling the world in an effort to help create a sustainable pronuclear movement. His focus includes both saving existing plants and encouraging the construction of new reactor in areas that have operating reactors, those that have shut down their nuclear plants and in countries that have never operated nuclear plants.
We spoke in depth about the German nuclear exit, the French turn away from nuclear with a subsequent return, the potential for Belgium to keep at least some of its reactors, and the exciting possibility that Italy might decide to build new nuclear power systems more than 30 years after it closed its nuclear power plants.
We discussed the UAE’s impressive success as a nuclear newcomer, South Korea’s return to nuclear construction, Japan’s growing interest in recovering its domestic nuclear industry while improving on its potential to export nuclear products, and efforts in the Philippines to begin operating the Bataan nuclear reactor while also building the foundation for a new nuclear industry.
We spoke about the growing fragility of the electric grid, the effects of the differently regulated grids on nuclear power plants, and the disconnect between hourly electricity pricing and decadal decisions to build and operate resilient, reliable power plants along with a robust transmission system.
We talked about the growing acceptance of the importance of nuclear and the belief among many energy system experts that it is an absolute necessity if the world is going to meet its CO2 reduction goals and commitments.
I’m sure you will enjoy this episode. Mark is a passionate speaker with a gift for providing vivid descriptions.
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Good Podcast – Very informative
One thing that was not discussed is how to deal with a particular fear that people have. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine has been taken over by the Russian invaders. There have been numerous reports of shelling in the area. After the soldiers became contaminated in the soils of the Red Forest, many people do not have confidence that the Russians will behave responsibly with regards the invaded nuclear power station. This has been given to me in discussions as to why there should not be more nuclear plants. How do you answer the possibility of a future crazy war?
I have worked with people that had been employed at the Zion plant. They attempted to explain to me why it had been shut down. Their tales told me of operators wearing T-shirts and being non-responsive to management. This was their stated reason the plant was shut down. It sounded rather bizarre. The response of a perceived glut of electrical supply makes somewhat more sense.
I have never been able to understand why nuke plants can’t be mothballed like other industrial facilities and restarted when needed. Maybe, a restart of Palisades will change the non restart policy. The power will be needed as some large coal plants are scheduled to close in Michigan in 2025.
I suggest you get this guy back for a round 2 at a later date.
The Clinton Nuclear Plant also in Illinois was shutdown essentially for almost 2 years before it was taken over by PECO’s Amergen Joint Venture later to become an Exelon plant after the PECO-ComEd merger.
Something I have long wanted know more about is what exactly were the issues at Commonwealth Edison before the PECO(supposedly PECO had issues as well further back before Corbin McNeill took over). How similar are the issues say at EDF today compared to PECO and ComEd back in the day? One thing that has been brought up to me is that for a long time ComEd had a coal based “culture” with lax safety attitudes coming out of the coal industry? What does this mean for other countries and companies trying to switch from coal to nuclear in the future? Can you have a strong civil nuclear program without a nuclear navy?
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