More bloggers for nuclear energy – I Dig U Mining and Nuke Roadie
One of the features of Atomic Insights that needs to be revived is the series titled “Another blogger for nuclear energy.” In that series, I happily announced and linked to a new (to me) blog written by someone who either focuses on positive aspects of nuclear technology or who covers nuclear energy from a positive point of view among other topics of discussion.
Today I want to introduce two blogs written by friends of mine. The first, written by Andrea Jennetta (@nuclearBuzz), is titled I Dig U Mining that is covering an issue centered in what is practically my own backyard. Andrea is the owner and president of International Nuclear Associates, Inc., the publisher of Fuel Cycle Week. She has 25 years working in the nuclear fuel cycle.
I Dig U Mining has started its coverage with the issue of uranium mining in Virginia. Coles Hill farm in Chatham, VA (less than an hour from my home) is the site of one of the largest single deposits of uranium in the United States. The scenic farm consists of roughly four square miles of pasture.
Near the middle of that farm is a well-characterized mineral deposit that contains 119 million pounds of uranium. Even at today’s stubbornly low uranium prices, the natural elements in the deposit has a potential market value of about $7 billion. Though it is not enough material to single-handedly lift Southside Virginia up from a rather deep economic slump, extracting that valuable material would be a useful enterprise providing high quality jobs for several hundred carefully trained workers. Most of those jobs would last a full generation.
Even using today’s primitive once through fuel cycle, the deposit contains emission-free fuel with the same amount of potential energy as about 833 million tons of coal – about 1 year’s worth of US coal consumption. If used in closed fuel cycle, the uranium at Coles Hill could eventually provide as much energy as burning 166 billion tons of coal – 200 times as much energy as a once through fuel cycle.
(Note: The numbers in the above are extrapolations of a computation provided on page 15 of “Nuclear Reactor Engineering” by Glasstone and Sesonske, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1967. The computation showed how it is possible to derive the physical fact that 1 pound of uranium contains as much potential energy as 1400 tons of 13,000 BTU/lb coal.)
Unfortunately, Virginia, which is home to about 150 licensed coal mines, passed a state moratorium on uranium mining in the mid 1980s, soon after the Coles Hill deposit was discovered. Andrea and I think that it is incredibly shortsighted and a bit hypocritical for people from a normally sane state like Virginia to fight so vociferously against a well-designed, modern uranium mining project.
The second blogger for nuclear energy is Nuke Roadie: A blog for everything nuclear energy related. It is written by a man who claims to have been laid off 30 times in the past four years because he is an specialist who travels from plant to plant to provide his expertise during refueling outages. You can follow @nukeroadie on Twitter – that is how I first “met” him.
I enjoy reading pieces from people who know what they are talking about and have deep wells of experience from which to draw. Please go and visit both I Dig U Mining and Nuke Roadie at your earliest convenience. Heck, what is stopping you? Click now!
Thank you for the link’s Rod. I have become addicted to reading nuclear articles online, so more sources to feed my addiction are always appreciated.
I am always on the search for a copy of Glasstone and Sesonske as I do not believe it is in production any longer. My copy is a 1st edition and is showing it’s age (~57 years old). My copy actually claims that you cannot sustain a critical reaction using natural uranium – that is really showing its age.
Wow, that first edition must not have quite anticipated the possibilities if one simply has an adequate “Can Do” attitude.
Haha, definitely not a “Can Do” attitude.
I actually think I got the date wrong, it is 45 years old, copyright is 1967.
Here is the quote from page 17: “Natural uranium alone, containing about 0.7 per cent of uranium-235, can never become critical, no matter how large its mass, because too high a proportion of the fission neutrons are lost in nonfission reactions.”
When I worked in Toronto in the banking industry, I used to spell CAN DO as CANDU on my notes and presentation …
I evangelized in an acceptable and light fashion at work for 5 years and made a lot of friends.
Before Xmas, when Bruce 1 and 2 are back on line, Bruce Power will be the biggest nuclear installation in the world in terms of capacity.
That will be worthy of an atomic insights moment/celebration.
Sorry I haven’t had any free time lately to post more often, but I should crank it back up soon and you should check out http://entreprenuclear.blogspot.com
@George – I think you have misinterpreted what you read. It is impossible to sustain a critical reaction using natural uranium alone. A natural uranium reactor is possible if you include a sufficient quantity of a neutron moderator with a very low neutron absorption coefficient (generally graphite or heavy water) arranged in the correct fashion.
Do you really think that Glasstone and Sesonske were unaware of the physics behind such early reactors as CP-1, CP-2 and the Hanford plutonium production reactors?
You are probably correct, Rod. I never really thought too much on it past when I read it.
A third edition has the same text, but has italicized the word “alone”. At first glance it seems like they are claiming that natural uranium could never sustain a critical reaction. With “alone” italicized in the newer edition, it becomes clear that they are referring to natural uranium without suitable moderation.
Coal from the Powder River Basin is burned in vast quantities due to its low sulpher content. The coal averages about 8500 BTU/lb. Quite a few more tons of this coal are needed to equal the energy content of one pound of uranium.
Thanks for the mention, It is actually an honor to be a part of the nuclear industry and to be mentioned here. This is the safest industry I have ever worked in and I will spread that word to anyone willing to listen. I have been in 21 nuclear plants in the USA and look forward to many more, the people are phenomenal and are the most dedicated and experienced workers I have ever had the opportunity to meet. For a more personal interaction with me try my Facebook page also. Thanks again and GO NUCLEAR. https://www.facebook.com/nuclear.nukeroadie.
What Nuke Roadie said! Thank you, Rod.
A Uranium exploration company, located in western US, seeks funding. After 2 rounds of drilling, their two world-class uranium geologists have verified that further extensive drilling is justified and advised to proceed to a further verification of deposits stage. It’s already thoroughly documented via Canadian NI 43-101 standards of data recording. The company has already invested over $2.5M. Any interest, advise.
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