Real people are harmed when other people decide to close nuclear plants

Communications professionals have often counseled nuclear professionals to stop sounding so much like scientists and engineers. We often purposely avoid emotion because we like to think of ourselves as rational people that make decisions based on hard facts, numbers and quantifiable metrics. Many of the people who have sought and obtained positions of responsibility and…

Columnists declare nuclear to be uncompetitive

On Saturday, April 30, Leonard Hyman & William Tilles published an opinion column on Oilprice.com headlined Lets (sic) Stop Pretending Nuclear Power Is Commercially Viable. Aside: Leonard Hyman is an accomplished electricity industry analyst and historian. I have a dog-eared copy of his 1983 work titled America‚Äôs Electric Utilities: Past, Present and Future on my…

House Energy and Commerce seeks to enable advanced nuclear energy

On Friday, April 29, 2016, the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss H.R. 4979 and a draft discussion bill with the unfortunate acronym of NUKEPA (Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act). Though at different stages of the legislative process, both documents are efforts to…

Atomic Show #253 – Delivering the Nuclear Promise

The US nuclear industry has decided that it’s time to take aggressive action to improve its operational efficiency. Leaders have looked hard at the competitive landscape. They’ve clearly recognized that while they produce a valuable, desirable commodity, their production costs are not competitive. Many of them aren’t willing to give up their markets and valuable…

Bechtel will “pursue” accelerated mPower development

I’ve relearned a valuable lesson — read press releases and other PR material closely, paying special attention to wiggle words. On Friday, March 4, Bechtel issued a press release titled Bechtel, BWXT to Pursue Acceleration of Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Project. In my excitement, I missed the key word in the headline and in the…

U-Battery – Micronuclear power with intriguing business model

U-Battery was one of the more intriguing presenters at the Advanced Reactor Technical Summit (ARTSIII) held at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory last week. Even though this was a technical summit, the segments of the presentation that captured my attention were the business model and the funding source. However, certain technical choices are vital to…

Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh “It’s an exciting time to be in nuclear engineering.”

During the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase, there was a terrific conversation about a growing level of excitement among university students who are studying nuclear engineering, among more established members of the nuclear community and among other people who are passionate about helping to save the world. Some of that enthusiasm stems from the fact…

Virginia Loves Nuclear But Hates Uranium – Why?

Virginia may be the only state in the U.S. with a law creating a public-private partnership structure whose mission is to strengthen and promote its nuclear energy and technology industries. There are two components of the partnership, the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (VNECA) and the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC), which is a private,…

Addressing remaining concerns about nuclear energy

In recent years, critical thinkers who have habitually objected to using nuclear energy have conceded that it has a good safety record and that its CO2 and other air pollution emissions are a tiny fraction of produced by the most efficient natural gas power plants. They also recognize that nuclear power plants, unlike power sources…

Learning more about Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium

On Thursday (December 10, 2015), the Virginia chapter of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) held its traditional annual joint meeting with the Virginia chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The evening’s invited speaker was Marshall Cohen, who became the first full time director of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC) in July…