There has been a lot of interesting news about atomic energy this past week, a fact that you might have missed if Atomic Insights is a major source of your news. I apologize – sometimes life interferes with blogging.
One of the things that has taken up more time than it should have has been the recording and production of the first Atomic Show podcast, which should be available within a couple of days. I have some great tools at my disposal; the problem was that I neglected to take the time to read the instructions early enough to prevent some time consuming detours. Oh well. . .
,Shane Brown, one of the earliest and most interested readers of Atomic Insights, will be serving as my very competent co-host. The show will be part of the extensive and varied line of offerings on The Podcast Network. I’ll let you know when the site is ready and the first shows are posted.
I have mentioned in the past that I have a Google News Alert set to provide me a summary of any new news articles posted in sources that Google monitors that contain the words “new nuclear reactor”. In the past week, those alerts have contained 8-12 articles each. The service was not available 5 years ago, but I would bet that it would not have produced more than a hit or two each month.
Here are some of the more interesting articles from the past week. Unfortunately, some of the articles are on sites that require registration – mostly free – or are on sites that do not keep their articles available for an extended period of time. As of the time that I am posting this, all of the articles are still available.
- Nuclear plants best cure for high gas prices – Relying on natural gas power short-circuits Michigan. Posted in the editorial and opinion section of the Detroit News online, this column was written by Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Mr. Perry provides a clear analysis of the working of the law of supply and demand in the specific case of increasing use of natural gas for electricity generation. Highly recommended reading.
- Nuclear industry finds interest renewable – No nuclear plants have been licensed since 1978, but utility companies nationwide are considering building at least 10 new reactors. This article by Robert Manor, posted on 2 February 2006 on the site of the Chicago Tribune, described the building momentum in the interest in building new nuclear power plants. Interestingly, the article includes the following comment that might need some consideration:
Exelon, whose 17 reactors make it the largest nuclear-power producer in the country, says it is not enthusiastic about building a new plant anytime soon. Chairman John Rowe has said he is not interested in a new plant until the government approves a final disposal plan for spent nuclear fuel, and that is years away.
It is worth remember the lessons of the law of supply and demand from Mr. Perry. It is quite logical for a company in a slow growing area that already owns 17 nuclear power plants to be reluctant to build more – the increased supply of electricity might cause prices to fall, hurting the profitability of the existing plants.
- Stronger Future for Nuclear Power – Nuclear reactor builders are jostling for business as energy utilities take another look at nuclear power. This article by Paul Guinnessy, published on 4 February 2006 on Physics Today, provides a pretty decent summary of world wide nuclear developments of interest. In my humble opinion, Mr. Guinnessy is understating some of the development potential and investment interest, but I could be wrong. There have been other recent periods of near euphoria in the nuclear power industry that did not pan out.