Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2005

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Progress Energy has announced several organizational changes:
• Bob Bazemore, currently vice president of capital planning, will become vice president of a new combined department—regulated fuels and capital planning.
• Joel Kamya, currently vice president of technical services and construction, will lead a realigned department as vice president of plant construction.
• Paula Sims, currently vice president of regulated fuels, will become vice president of fossil generation. She replaces Jack Keenan, who has announced his departure from the company. The change is effective Jan. 9.

Southern Co. has named Leonard Haynes executive vice president of supply technologies, renewables and demand-side planning in the company’s generation business unit. Haynes has been with Southern Co. since 1977, most recently as chief marketing officer.

In the process of integrating Duke Energy and Cinergy, the companies have announced more than 50 executive-level appointments, effective when the merger is complet…

AP Editors: Energy Prices Biggest Story of 2005

From the AP:
Energy proved its economic power this year, as soaring prices reshaped the way consumers spend, put the squeeze on airlines and manufacturers, and ratcheted up pressure on already struggling U.S. automakers dependent on sales of SUVs. Then Hurricane Katrina hit.

The consequences and questions prompted by soaring oil and natural gas prices drove many of the year's top business stories, as chosen by the U.S. newspaper and broadcast editors surveyed by The Associated Press.Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Advancing The Nuclear Energy Debate Down Under

That group of professors at the University of Melbourne who put together a wiki on nuclear energy that we told you about yesterday are starting to draw some attention to their efforts.

Earlier today, Professor Martin Sevior, one of the authors of the document, was interviewed on the country's national radio network about the effort:
NICK MCKENZIE: Associate Professor Sevior says his research into nuclear waste disposal should help dispel many environmentalists' fears.

MARTIN SEVIOR: One thing that's perhaps not always realised is that the amount of waste that comes out of a typical plant is around 30 tonnes a year. The amount of waste that comes out of a coal-fired power plant is around 1,000 tonnes a day.

So the actual volume of waste that comes out of a nuclear power plant is actually rather small. And there have been very well-developed proposals to bury it deep underground in the Nordic countries. I think it's entirely feasible to bury it very safely.

NICK MCKENZIE: Ass…

Happy Holidays

On behalf of all of the contributors at NEI Nuclear Notes, I'd like to pass along our wishes for a happy Holiday season to all of our readers. Thanks very much for sticking with us through what by any reliable measure was a successful 2005.

I'd also like to thank the contributors on our team including Lisa Stiles-Shell, Kelly Taylor, Brian Mays, Kevin McCoy, Michael Stuart, David Bradish, Elizabeth King, Clifton Farrell, Mary Quillian, Bill Casino, Janice Cane, Jennifer Maloney and finally, our old friend Brian Smith, since departed for PhRMA.

Also deserving a thank you are the senior staff who backed the project, and gave us the room to run to make it happen: Skip Bowman, Scott Peterson, Richard Myers and Walter Hill.

Earlier this afternoon, NEI Nuclear Notes registered unique visit #50,000. Here's hoping 2006 sees a few hundred thousand more.

An Australian Wiki on Nuclear Energy

Hats off to a group of professors at the University of Melbourne who have created a wiki on nuclear power in Australia.

My favorite section: A detailed deconstruction on the work of Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith on energy costs and uranium mining -- one of our favorite topics.

For more details, click here.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

Checking the Data With Peter Asmus

Earlier this year, author Peter Asmus took to the pages of the Washington Post to attack the idea that new nuclear build could help provide affordable electricity in an environmentally sensitive manner. And though NEI Vice President Scott Peterson responded via a letter to the editor, Asmus is back again, this time in the pages of Alternet, making the same old arguments with the same old bad data.

Here's Asmus:
The underlying assumption of those now clamoring for a major expansion of nuclear power is that the threat of global climate change is so great, that we have no other choice. What a bunch of baloney! Wind and solar power have been the fastest growing power sources globally over the past several years, and we have barely begin to tap these abundant non-polluting and increasingly cost-effective sources of power.First of all, while concerns over greenhouse gas emissions have played a significant role in nuclear energy getting a second look from the public and policymakers, it…

OPEC Report: China Now Consumes 20 Percent of Global Oil Output

Just off the wire:
OPEC has revised its forecast and now envisions an increase in oil demand.

The increase in demand was expected to be led by China. Chinese consumption has exceeded 20 percent of the world's total oil production.

An OPEC market report issued on Dec. 16 asserted that crude oil demand for 2006 would reach 28.7 million barrels per day. This would mark an increase of 134,000 barrels per day from 2005, Middle East Newsline reported.Technorati tags: , , , , ,

More on RFK Jr. and Wind Power

In response to our post on Friday regarding Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s position on the offshore wind farm at Cape Cod, The Energy Blog had this to say:
I don't think that Kennedy is necessarily typical of environmentalists, but he certainly does nothing positive for their image.

I do believe that global warming is an urgent environmental concern and believe it cannot be solved with renewable energy alone and that both clean coal technologies with sequestration and nuclear power have a role to play in solving this problem in the short term. There is probably not enough time for either renewable energy or conservation to halt or reverse the effects of global warming before it may cause irreversible damage. Therefore we must take all possible steps to mitigate global warming. Deploying nuclear energy and clean coal technologies does not mean that any efforts should be spared in pursuing renewable energy or conservation. In fact efforts in these areas should be accelerated as much as …

Google's Future Electric Bill

Via Peak Oil Optimist, we discover that Google has been doing some projections about its future electric bills:
"If performance per watt is to remain constant over the next few years, power costs could easily overtake hardware costs, possibly by a large margin," Luiz Andre Barroso, who previously designed processors for Digital Equipment Corp., said in a September paper published in the Association for Computing Machinery's Queue. "The possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiraling out of control could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet."

(snip)

If server power consumption grows 20 percent per year, the four-year cost of a server's electricity bill will be larger than the $3,000 initial price of a typical low-end server with x86 processors. Google's data center is populated chiefly with such machines. But if power consumption grows at 50 percent per year, &quo…

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Southern California Edison (SCE), the utility subsidiary of Edison International, has elected James Reilly vice president of nuclear engineering and technical services for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, effective immediately. Reilly has been with SCE since 1979, most recently as director of engineering and technical services at San Onofre.

Southern Co. has named Anthony James executive vice president of Southern Co. Services and president of the shared services group. James previously served as chairman of Savannah Electric, a Southern Co. subsidiary. Craig Barrs is the new president and CEO of Savannah Electric. He previously served as vice president of community and economic development for Georgia Power.

USEC Inc. has elected John Donelson vice president of marketing and sales. Donelson has been with USEC since 1995, most recently as director of North American and European sales. The company also elected Victor Lopiano vice president of American Centrifuge, USEC’s program…

Who Said It?

Even though renewable energy sources like wind are environmentally friendly, not all environmentalists are so broad-minded when it comes to its construction in their own backyard. The following is just another example of this sort of NIMBYism:
[The] proposal involves construction of 130 giant turbines whose windmill arms will reach 417 feet above the water and be visible for up to 26 miles. These turbines are less than six miles from shore... Hundreds of flashing lights to warn airplanes away from the turbines will steal the stars and nighttime views. The noise of the turbines will be audible onshore. A transformer substation rising 100 feet above the sound would house giant helicopter pads and 40,000 gallons of potentially hazardous oil.It's important to keep in mind that every kind of electrical generation is bound to arouse some opposition, even ones normally best known for their environmental benefits.

If you're wondering who's responsible for the above quote, it appeare…

Troubled by "Take Title," Part Two

In addition to my concern about the "take title" portion of the bill introduced by Senator Harry Reid I'm disturbed by the proposal to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to require utilities to transfer nuclear fuel from cooling pools into storage casks within six years.As reported in this article of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Such a proposal clearly stems from a lack of understanding about how used fuel is managed at nuclear power plants.

First, both fuel pools and dry cask storage are robust and safe. After 9/11, the NRC re-evaluated them and concluded that a similar attack would not have a negative effect on public health and safety. Therefore, utilities should be allowed to choose the storage option that is best for their site.

After fuel reprocessing was halted in 1979, many new plants were built with larger pools to handle most, if not all, of the used fuel for the lifetime of the plant. These operators should be allowed to continue on that course without incurring the u…

Troubled by "Take Title"

I've mentioned in a previous post my interest and background working in used fuel management. So it was with rising concern that I read yesterday an article in the Las Vegas Sun about a bill that was expected to be introduced in Congress regarding the future of Yucca Mountain. Benjamin Grove reported Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John Ensign are expected today to unveil long-anticipated legislation that formally proposes their alternative to Yucca Mountain -- leaving waste at the nuclear power plants that produced it.Now that the bill has been introduced, more information was released today in this article for the Las Vegas Review Journal. The "take-title" scenario would mean that the Department of Energy would take ownership of used nuclear fuel but would leave at the power plant sites rather than continue with the plan of moving it to a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

I'm disappointed by this proposal.

First, as an engineer, I'm dismayed be…

Playing Fast and Loose With the Data

Last week we told you how Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health Project had brought his traveling snake oil show to the area in and around Vermont Yankee. As we've noted before, Mangano typically pops from town to town, hoping nobody traces back his trail, and all the times public health authorities have rejected his findings concerning mortality statistics and nuclear power plants.

Well, it turns out that Mangano, this time in conjunction with the Clamshell Alliance, is at it again. This time, the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant is the target, but the charge is much the same.

From the Hampton Union (New Hampshire):
Childhood cancer deaths in the last two decades increased by 19 percent in communities surrounding Seabrook Station, according to the group awarding the nuclear power plant a Dirty Dozen award on Tuesday.

In a released statement, Paul Schramski of the Toxics Action Center in Massachusetts said the information came from a study by the Center for Disease Control (C…

Remembering Petr Beckman

After reading a New York Times account of the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Finaland, Art Diamond had this to say about the late Petr Beckman and his 1976 book, The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear:
Not all those who are right, live to see their ideas vindicated. Thank you Petr Beckmann, for writing the truth, when the truth was not popular.I think that sentiment is worth enshrining in Bloggers for Nuclear Energy. Welcome aboard, Art.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

SCANA and Santee Cooper File Letter of Intent with NRC

From the Post-Courier (Charleston, SC):
Scana Corp. and Santee Cooper, the electric utilities that serve the bulk of South Carolina, are rushing to get federal approval to build a nuclear power plant just north of Columbia.

The utilities filed a letter of intent with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Dec. 6. And they expect to spend up to $8 million in the coming months to join a coalition of utilities pursuing nuclear power and hire a contractor to oversee the process of winning government approval.

Scana and Santee Cooper agreed in August to consider a new plant, but the real estate boom and an influx of new residents pushed their timetable forward.

"Look here now, we need a unit in 2012 and we need another in 2015," said Bill McCall, Santee Cooper's chief operations officer. "You don't need to look at the numbers long to realize that."For our post made in the wake of an earlier announcement, click here. To learn about nuclear sentiment in South C…

Natural Gas Prices Fueling Consumer Anger

In speech after speech this year, our CEO Skip Bowman has been warning that the U.S. is in for a rough Winter because of rising natural gas prices. While it might be too early to call this a trend, this post from Freedom's Trumpet may provide a preview of what lies ahead:
My furnace ran for an hour last night and I am ticked about it. I have been trying to reduce my fuel usage, shutting off rooms that I don’t need. I compacted my living environment and try to heat only the rooms that are being used. So far it’s working but it got to 55F in the house last night, where I keep it as a minimum, and the furnace ran for an hour. It was about 15F out. The gas company will want to inspect my meter. Let them. I’ll freeze to death before I pay $16/mcf and give them $400 for a month this winter. So far I’ve used less than 5mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas. With the temperatures where they have been I should have used about twice that...

[Why did this country] increase in natural gas usage for…

Is that a Phalanx in your Pocket or...

I was going to continue my coverage of the 2005 UN Climate Change Conference by describing our engagements with antis in chronological order.

But this article by Ronald Bailey in Tech Central Station made me so proud of the work we did last week. In it, Bailey recounts the goings on at a sidebar event titled “Why Nuclear is Not the Answer.” He begins by quoting a “screeching”(his word, not mine) Elizabeth May who is head of the Sierra Club in Canada. Why was she so perturbed?What provoked May's eruption was that the report's findings were being vigorously challenged from the floor by a phalanx of representatives of the nuclear power industry.Yep, those sturdy warriors flinging arrows of truth were none other than your dedicated NA-YGN representatives and their friends from around the world.

But let me start from the beginning.

The sidebar began, as Bailey notes, with the presentation of the results of a report by Felix Christian Matthes and sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundati…

A Must-See Review of COP-11 in Montreal

Oh, you have got to see this! Ronald Bailey has provided a fascinating insight into what went on the Conference of the Parties meeting in Montreal last week. His article is posted at Tech Central Station.

I am excited to read his coverage of the nuclear debate, particularly since I wasn't able to attend. It has all the feel of being there, with some intelligent background issues to help understand the viewpoints of the players who were there. Adjust your glasses for a good read, and click here!

I also hear that my colleague, formerly of Dominion, Lisa Stiles-Shell, will be writing her own account of the proceedings. Look for it soon. For Lisa's note to Eric from last week, click here.

Many thanks to Mike Stuart for the link.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

In preparing an essay on alternative fuels for his English class, one college student couldn't help but be swayed in favor of nuclear energy by some testimony Patrick Moore gave before Congress earlier this year:
I use this article perhaps more than any other for the paper. The credibility of the founder of Greenpeace backing nuclear power is too much to resist. His perspective is one of an all-encompassing solution, not just how to be green, dirty hippies- not that there’s anything wrong with that… While Greenpeace whole heartedly disagrees with his views, Mr. Moore puts up a very solid argument in nuclear favor, much stronger than “the don’t do anything, let’s go live in the trees again” argument, which is quite unrealistic.Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

ABC News Intern Update

It's been a while since we've heard from ABC News and the Carnegie Fellows that put together the "Radioactive Roadtrip," for Prime Time Live back in October. As it turns out, NRC has been following up on the network's investigation, and has released most of its findings.

And despite ABC's chest beating, there's simply not much there.

From today's edition of Platts Inside NRC (subscription required):
NRC has nearly completed a review of the security at research and test reactors (RTR) and has not issued any enforcement action, an NRC spokesman said.

As of early December, the agency had only one case pending based on the information provided by ABC News from its investigation into alleged security lapses at university reactors, said Eliot Brenner, director of NRC's Office of Public Affairs. The agency is preparing "closure letters" that will be sent to the RTRs where no security issues were identified, he said earlier this month.

Brenner asked …

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2006 Overview

Today the Energy Information Administration published an early release of its reference case from the Annual Energy Outlook 2006. Guy Caruso, Administrator of the EIA, held a press conference and highlighted some of the major changes in projections between last year’s Outlook and this year’s edition.
New Energy Market Outlook Raises Projected World Oil Price Path and Adds More Coal and Nuclear Power

World oil markets have been extremely volatile for the past several years and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) now believes that the reference case oil price path in recent editions of the "Annual Energy Outlook" did not fully reflect the causes of that volatility and their implications for future oil prices. In the "Annual Energy Outlook 2006" (AEO2006) reference case, released today by EIA, world oil supplies are assumed to be tighter, as the combined productive capacity of the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) does not i…

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Ameren Corp. has named Timothy Herrmann vice president, engineering, nuclear, at the AmerenUE Callaway Nuclear Plant. Herrmann has been with AmerenUE since 1981, most recently as chief engineer at Callaway.

Sacramento Municipal Utlitiy District (SMUD) has elected Genevieve Shiroma president of its board of directors. Susan Patterson was elected vice president.

The Department of Energy has named Ingrid Kolb director of the Office of Management. Tom Pyke is the department’s new chief information officer. Kolb previously served as deputy director of DOE's Office of Management, while Pyke joins DOE from the Department of Commerce, where he has been chief information officer for the last four years.

Exelon has announced several executive-level promotions:
• John Young, current executive vice president of finance and markets, will also assume the position of chief financial officer.
• Michael Metzner, current vice president of investor relations and shareholder services, has been named tre…

Skip Bowman at ENC 2005

NEI's CEO, Skip Bowman, delivered a speech earlier today at the European Nuclear Conference in Versailles on building public confidence in the nuclear industry.

Here's an excerpt:
Item No. 1 on our agenda: We can never, ever lose sight of our responsibility to operate our nuclear power plants at the highest possible levels of safety and reliability.

As electricity markets become increasingly competitive, we must resist pressures to shave investment in staff, in training, in equipment, in maintenance. As our operating plants age, we must devote more attention to materials issues, and anticipate potential degradation long before it can have an impact on plant performance or regulatory and public confidence. In the United States, we have had a few surprises in this area, and our industry cannot tolerate surprises.

To ensure sustained safety performance, we must maintain and cultivate channels of communications across the global nuclear enterprise. Using established institutions like …

Hybrid Cars and Plug-ins

If you're interested in hybrid vehicles, checking out some of the info on Watthead might be a good place to start.

Over the past week, Jesse Jenkins* has looked at a Camry Hybrid, some interesting developments at Mitsubishi and some news from the San Francisco International Auto Show. Check it out.

*We got Jesse's name wrong the first time. Sorry, we've since corrected the error.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Following Up With Judith Lewis of LA Weekly

Over the weekend, Judith Lewis of LA Weekly dropped off a comment in our post rebutting many of the assertions she had made about NEI and the industry over at her own blog. I thought the rest of our audience would like to see what she had to say, and I've excerpted portions of her note below:
Thanks for your detailed rebuttal. Please understand that I wasn't responding to NEI's overall approach to the issue of new generation, only that one interview with Scott Peterson, which I found shocking in its unbridled optimism.

I don't know whether nuclear power is the key to halting climate change. I'm worried about the CFC issue at the one remaining enrichment facility...Let me break in here for a moment. What Judith is referring to is a claim most often made by Dr. Helen Caldicott of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. As many of our longtime readers know, we've been following this issue for quite some time, and will often return to it when I find a reference to Ca…

Report from Montreal

My colleague Lisa Stiles-Shell shot off a note to me this morning as she was getting ready to return to Washington after two weeks at COP-11, the UN Conference on Climate Change:
It’s been an exhausting but rewarding two weeks at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Montreal. NA-YGN members have been staffing exhibits and hosted a sidebar event in cooperation with the European Nuclear Society Young Generation Network (ENS YGN).

I have to admit that I don’t know much about the processes within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). I’m not alone, though. Tim Hirsch of the BBC wrote an amusing article about the indecipherable bureaucracy of the UNFCCC.

What I do know is that nuclear is specifically excluded in the Kyoto Protocol as a Flexible Mechanism. That means that countries can’t take credit for carbon reductions due to nuclear as they work to meet their commitment under Kyoto. That particular issue won’t be negotiated at this conference, but in the future we hope t…

Discussing Myths and Facts on Nuclear Energy With LA Weekly

Over at Another Green World, Judith Lewis of LA Weekly is commenting on an appearance NEI Vice President Scott Peterson made over at Energy and Environment Online Daily TV.
I'd be more likely to listen to NEI's PR if its shills didn't seem to be so blithely making stuff up. For instance, Peterson says, "there is growing public awareness of the clean-air benefits of nuclear energy," and more than three-fourths of the country supports more nuclear generation. That shift must have happened not in year but in months: Last June, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 64 percent of the country opposed new nuclear plants.NEI does not make this stuff up. What we do is conduct our own polling with Bisconti Research on public attitudes about nuclear energy. This isn't anything new, we've been doing it for many years.

So when we say that there's growing public awareness of the clean-air benefits of nuclear energy, and that more than three-fourths of the …