While most of the energy-related news last week focused on the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami — and the accident at Japan's Fukushima-1 nuclear plant that was a result of this natural disaster — across the Sea of Japan, China announced plans for the future: accelerate nuclear, while putting the breaks on solar and wind.
China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.
This short diary is a quick update to some "breaking news" from earlier this week, namely an earlier report about a study from the lunatic fringe of respectable science.
The particular diary mentioned above was published before the paper was actually released and was based on a press release by the researchers. Today, the paper officially went public, and already the criticism has begun to rain in.
For example, the blogs at Scientific American have already hit on this paper with a critique that is not very flattering:
"Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Death Study"
The quotes in this diary are taken from this paper.
This will be a quick throwaway diary to update some of the latest news in nuclear safety. Those who are prone to follow such things will recall that a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred on August 23 of this year. It was located in the vicinity (about 11 miles) of the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in Louisa County, Virginia. This earthquake was felt along the East Coast of the United States as far away as New York City. It was responsible for the National Park Service closing the Washington Monument in D.C. to assess the damage caused by the event.
The two reactors at North Anna were scrammed as a result of the quake, and they have been off-line ever since. Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the restart of these reactors after an inspection and careful analysis of the findings of this inspection.
Some myths die hard because so many people mistakenly believe them. Other myths persist, not because they are well known, but because they are obstinately repeated by a handful of people who strongly want to believe them.
In this diary, I'm going to address the myth that there was a scram failure during the accident at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in March 1979. That is, the myth claims that the nuclear chain reaction was not stopped within seconds of the initiation of the accident.
This is going to be a quick diary. I have already addressed the false claims several times in the comments of this website. Nevertheless, since this myth keeps reappearing over and over—most recently in the past week—I felt that the solid facts that debunk this particular lie deserve their own diary.
We've all heard the claim: "commercial reactors only come in one size -- extra-large."
At a Washington press conference last week, an old name in nuclear technology hammered yet another nail in the coffin of this misconception.
B&W introduces scalable, practical nuclear energy
The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) plans to deploy a North American-manufactured, scalable nuclear reactor using its unique history of more than 50 years of continuous reactor engineering and manufacturing. The B&W mPower reactor design is a passively safe [nuclear reactor, which] would provide customers with practical power increments of 125 MWe to meet local energy needs within power grid and plant site constraints.
As the New York Times noted, B&W touts this new technology as a "potential game changer for the global nuclear market."
This started off as a reply to a recent comment in another diary, but it became so long, that I thought that it was better served as its own diary entry. The answer is after the fold.
And you must have been a good little state, because you have received something much better than a lump of coal.
Santa came a month early this year in the form of an Early Site Permit (ESP) for the North Anna Power Station. Proponents of clean energy and opponents of coal and mountain-top removal should be celebrating this announcement. This is the first step in bringing more clean energy (Virginia gets approximately 38% of it's electricity from nuclear, compared with about 47% from coal) to the state.
An article this week in the Boston Globe answers this question with a definite yes, or at least, a definite oui.
Just say 'oui' to nuclear power
While global warming is positioned to be a hot issue in the 2008 presidential election, the candidates must face directly the one large-scale means of providing carbon-free electric power: nuclear energy. Candidates in both parties should swallow hard and confess that the United States must take steps that they find difficult. For Democrats, that means acknowledging that we need more nuclear power and that we must do something with the waste. ...
So why do we need more nuclear power?
Dr. John W. Gofman passed away this month.
Dr. John W. Gofman, a nuclear chemist and doctor who in the 1960s heightened public concerns about exposure to low-level radiation and became a leading voice against commercial nuclear power, died on Aug. 15 at his home in San Francisco. He was 88.
And so, another footnote of history passes into oblivion.