Mean number of deaths prevented annually by nuclear power, 1971-2009. Credit: ACS, Hansen et al. Click to enlarge. A new study by James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute has found that global nuclear power has prevented an average... Read more →


DOE selected an SMR project with the B&W mPower reactor in 2012. The nuclear core and steam generators are integrated in a single vessel. Source: B&W. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000800) for up to $266 million to help US... Read more →


Functional elements of the GEM*STAR reactor. Source: Muons, Inc. Click to enlarge. Muons, Inc., a private-sector high-energy accelerator physics firm, and ADNA (Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications) Corp., are proposing using spent nuclear fuel (SNF), natural uranium, or excess weapons-grade plutonium (W-Pu) in a proposed GEM*STAR accelerator-driven subcritical reactor (ADSR) to provide... Read more →


The B&W mPower reactor integrates the nuclear core and steam generators in a single vessel. Source: B&W. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected a project led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel, to design, license and help commercialize... Read more →


IEA WEO-2012 finds major shift in global energy balance but not onto a more sustainable path; identifies potential for transformative shift in global energy efficiency

The global energy map is changing significantly, according to the 2012 edition of the Internal Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO-2012). The IEA said these changes will recast expectations about the role of different countries, regions and fuels in the global energy system over the coming decades. The report... Read more →


World primary energy consumption grew by 2.5% in 2011, close to the historical average. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, but its 33.1% share of consumption is the lowest on record. Coal’s market share of 30.3% was the highest since 1969. Source: BP. Click to enlarge. Global energy consumption grew... Read more →


DOE to provide up to $450M for design and commercialization of small modular nuclear reactors

The US Department of Energy will provide up to $450 million to advance the development of American-made small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). The funding is targeted to support first-of-its-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for up to two SMR designs over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. Small modular reactors,... Read more →


The Pew survey found a 10 percentage point shift in favor of expanded fossil fuel production from March 2011 to March 2012. Data: Pew Research Center. Click to enlarge. As fuel prices rise, a new Pew Research Center survey has found that 52% of Americans now say the more important... Read more →


Shutting down reactors in high risk earthquake or tornado zones, or in areas with populations of more than 10 million would result in 24,728 MW lost capacity, an added annual cost of $ 4.7B, 166.73 additional MT of CO2 and 0.52 MT additional SO2, according to the model. Click to... Read more →


Simple diagram of the heated un-recuperated supercritical CO2 Brayton loop. Source: Wright et al. 2010. Click to enlarge. Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) researchers are progressing to the demonstration phase of a supercritical CO2 (S-CO2) Brayton-cycle turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased... Read more →


In both the base-case and a scenario with more aggressive environmental policies, CO2 emissions from energy use remain well above the IEA 450 scenario. Click to enlarge. World energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil... Read more →


Life-cycle GHG emissions from fossil and alternative sources of electricity. Credit: ACS, Kharecha et al.Click to enlarge. CO2 emissions from US coal-fired power plant could be phased out entirely by 2030 using existing technologies or ones that could be commercially competitive with coal within about a decade, according to a... Read more →


Researcher Describes Conceptual Cold Fusion “Battery”, or Small Power Unit

Professor George Miley of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and director of its Fusion Studies Lab, reported on progress toward a “cold fusion battery”—a small power unit that uses a low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) (i.e., “cold fusion”) to process an energy release from an electrolytic cell operating at low... Read more →


Obama Administration Announces $8.33B in Loan Guarantees for New Nuclear Power Reactors in Georgia; First New US Nuclear Power Plant Project in Nearly 3 Decades

President Obama announced that the Department of Energy has offered conditional commitments for a total of $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Burke, Georgia. The project is scheduled to be the first US nuclear power plant to... Read more →


Hyperion Unveils Design of its Small Modular Nuclear Reactor, the Hyperion Power Module

At the recent Annual Winter Conference of the American Nuclear Society in Washington, and simultaneously at the “Powering Toward 2020” conference in London, England, Hyperion Power Generation Inc. revealed the design for the first version of its Hyperion Power Module (HPM), a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that it intends... Read more →


US Senators Alexander, Webb Introduce $20B Energy Legislation with Emphasis on Nuclear Energy Investment

US Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced “The Clean Energy Act of 2009”, a bill to promote further investment and development of non-fossil-based energy technologies, including nuclear power and other resources. “The Clean Energy Act of 2009” spends $20 billion over the next 10 to 20 years... Read more →


Illustration of the integration of a high temperature gas-cooled reactor with commercial manufacturing, hydrogen production, and the generation of electricity. Source: INL. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $40 million to support cost-shared design and planning work for... Read more →


Entergy Submits Application for Louisiana Nuclear Plant; Third NRC Application This Month with GE Hitachi ESBWR Reactor

The GE Hitachi ESBWR Reactor. Click to enlarge. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has submitted a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), selecting GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) next-generation ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor) reactor design. The nation’s second-largest nuclear plant operator, Entergy... Read more →


US DOE Awards $7.3 million for “Deep-Burn” Nuclear Technology Research & Development

One of the unique features of the high temperature gas-cooled reactor is the TRISO fuel used for the fission reaction. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected teams led by Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to advance the technology of nuclear fuel “Deep-Burn” in... Read more →


AREVA and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Sign Largest Nuclear Contract Ever

Cutaway of an EPR. (1) reactor vessel, (2) the steam generators,(3) the pressurizer, (4) reactor coolant pumps, (5) inner prestressed concrete housing, (6) metallic liner and outer reinforced concrete shell, (7) special area for collection and cooling of escaping molten core, (8, 9) backup diesel generators, (10) turbine building. Click... Read more →


Penn State Leading DOE Consortium Focused on Nuclear Thermochemical Production of Hydrogen

The consortium research will develop technologies to improve the performance of a number of alternative cycles for the thermochemical production of hydrogen. Click to enlarge. Source: NREL Under a $2.4 million research grant designated from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI), Penn State is leading... Read more →


Exelon, Entergy Sign Letters of Intent with GE-Hitachi for Next-Generation Uranium Enrichment Services

Exelon and Entergy, two of the US’s largest nuclear utilities, have signed non-binding letters of intent to contract for uranium enrichment services from GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). GEH is working to develop its next-generation Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) technology to produce enriched uranium for fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors.... Read more →


Energy Alberta Files Site Application for Oil Sands Nuclear Plant

Rendering of the heat transport system in the ACR-1000. Click to enlarge. Energy Alberta Corporation (Energy Alberta) has filed an application for a site preparation license for two twin-unit ACR-1000 CANDU nuclear reactors to provide power for the oil sands operations in Alberta. Energy Alberta, a privately held company incorporated... Read more →


Westinghouse to Provide Four AP1000 Nuclear Power Plants in China; Buys Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company

Cutaway view of the AP1000. Click to enlarge. Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and its consortium partner, The Shaw Group, Inc., signed four landmark, multi-billion-dollar contracts to provide four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China. The contracts are with State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation Ltd. (SNPTC); Sanmen Nuclear Power Company Ltd;... Read more →


SRNL Hits Milestone in Nuclear Hydrogen Production

The Hybrid Sulfur Process has two stages. First, the electrolysis of sulfur dioxide and water to generate hydrogen and sulfuric acid, followed by the thermochemical conversion of the sulfuric acid back to sulfur dioxide. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) recently successfully completed... Read more →


Using Steam from Nuclear Power Plants for Ethanol Production

Nuclear reactors and ethanol plants in the Corn Belt. Click to enlarge. Researchers and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy are suggesting using the steam from existing nuclear power plants in the Corn Belt to reduce the costs of producing ethanol from corn and... Read more →


US NRC Approves First New Nuclear Plant Site in More Than 30 years

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the Early Site Permit (ESP) for the Exelon Generation Company's Clinton site, in central Illinois. This marks the first new ESP in more than 30 years, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). An ESP is a partial construction permit, and is not... Read more →


DOE Awards $5.7 Million to Universities for Nuclear Energy Research, Including Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $5.7 million under the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) to nine universities for research in the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative and the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI). Combined with this announcement, DOE has funded a total of 70 NERI projects since... Read more →


Uranium Oxide Spot Prices Almost Double in 2006

Uranium spot prices almost doubled during 2006, jumping from US$37.50/pound for U3O8 in January to $72/pound in December, according to pricing data collected by the Ux Consulting Company. The $72/pound figure is ten times the $7.10 price of uranium oxide at the end of 2000, unadjusted for inflation. In constant... Read more →


India’s BARC Developing Two Nuclear Reactor Designs for Hydrogen Production

The Compact High Temperature Reactor (CHTR) produces high temperature process heat for hydrogen production by water splitting. Click to enlarge. Business Standard. Mumbai (India)-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is designing prototype versions of two new reactors that will produce hydrogen for use as a fuel: the Compact High Temperature... Read more →


Mitsubishi Heavy to Offer Smaller Reactor to US Utilities

Basic system configuration for Mitsubishi PWR plants. Click to enlarge. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will commercialize a compact 1,200 MWe advanced pressurized water nuclear reactor (APWR) for sale to US power companies in and after 2011. In July, Mitsubishi formed a US-based subsidiary—MHI Nuclear... Read more →


Study: Synthetic Fuels from Nuclear Hydrogen and Captured CO2 Viable

A study published earlier this year by researchers at MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES) concluded that producing synthetic transportation fuels from nuclear hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide would be technically viable. Based on a reference year 2025 case, the report found that 43.1% of the CO2 projected... Read more →


DOE Funds $1.4 Million for Study of Nuclear-Powered Hydrogen Production

Proof of concept plastic alkaline electrolyzer stack. The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to fund approximately $1.4 million (subject to negotiation) for two projects to partner with industry to study the economic feasibility of producing hydrogen at existing commercial nuclear power plants. Teams selected by DOE for funding will... Read more →


China and Russia to Join the Generation IV International Forum for Nuclear Systems

Consumption of nuclear power in 2005 by GIF countries and Russia and China. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy announced that China and Russia are expected to join the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), a 11-member R&D consortium chartered in 2001 to investigate next-generation nuclear energy system concepts.... Read more →


DOE Issues $1.6M Solicitation for Studies on Nuclear Hydrogen Production

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a solicitation worth up to $1.6 million this year for industry studies on the best ways to utilize energy from existing commercial nuclear reactors for the production of hydrogen. DOE will provide up to 80% of the total cost of each study;... Read more →


A Proposal for Hydrogen, Synthetic Fuels and the Halving of US CO2 Emissions

A flow-sheet for 100,000 gallons per day of CO2-free synfuel. Click to enlarge. A team from General Atomics is proposing the use of hydrogen provided from non-fossil sources (solar, wind or nuclear) and CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants or from the air to produce enough Fischer-Tropsch synthetics to meet... Read more →


INEEL High-Temperature Electrolysis Demo Produces Hydrogen for Record 1,000 Hours

View of the edge of one high-temperature electrolysis cell while operating at 830º C (1,525º F). The arch-like openings carry air and the oxygen produced for the electrolysis. Source: INEEL Researchers at DOE’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) ran a high-temperature electrolysis stack to produce hydrogen for 1,000... Read more →


DOE Funds Five Nuclear Hydrogen Research Projects

One view of a Next-Generation Nuclear/High Temperature Electrolysis System. Click to enlarge. The development of different means of hydrogen production (not dependent upon natural gas) for use in transportation and energy systems remains one of the longer-term priorities of the US Department of Energy. Accordingly, the agency has made grants... Read more →


US, South Korea to Partner on Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative

Yonhap. The US and South Korea will work together to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor that will also produce large quantities of hydrogen according to officials from the S. Korean Ministry of Science and Economy. The announcement comes less than a week after the South Korea government signed off on... Read more →


RMI: Co-gen and Renewables, Yes; Nuclear, No

Countering the growing orthodoxy that a wide-spread resurgence in nuclear power is essential to address both energy needs and climate changes concerns, Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder and CEO Amory Lovins charges that not only do new nuclear plants deliver electricity at far higher cost than distributed co-generation and many renewables... Read more →


BP Statistical Review 2005: Consumption Up, Reserves Not

BP has released the 2005 version of its annual Statistical Review of World Energy. This year’s review, the 54th in the series, documents the strongest growth rate in global primary energy consumption since 1984. What did not grow apace, however, was oil and gas reserves. Global primary energy consumption increased... Read more →


Indonesia Going Nuclear by 2017

Xinhua. Indonesian State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman said on Friday that the government would develop nuclear technology by 2017 for various peaceful purposes, including power generation. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. “The energy policy strategy is focused on the plan to develop... Read more →


Armenia Considers New Nuclear Plant

Novosti. Armenia is considering building a new nuclear power plant to replace its sole aging nuclear facility. The Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor uses a single first-generation Russian VVER reactor (similar to Pressurized Water Reactors—PWR), and went online in 1980. Stopped in March 1989 and then re-activated activated in... Read more →


China Gets Even More Ambitious with Nuclear Plans

Last September, Chinese officials announced that they would build 27 new nuclear plants by 2020. (Earlier post.) Now officials have upped that number to 40. The People’s Daily reports that Zhang Fubao, an official with the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense, stated that the 40 nuclear... Read more →


US Signs Multilateral Agreement for Nuclear Energy Development

Reinforcing its focus on developing new nuclear power technologies, the US has signed a multilateral cooperative research and development agreement aimed at next-generation nuclear energy systems. The other signatory countries are Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. All are part of the 11-country Generation IV International Forum (GIF). Other... Read more →


Iran Determined to Remain an Energy Supplier to the World—and That Means Nuclear

Reuters. Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear weapons, is determined to become one of the world’s suppliers of nuclear fuel, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday. Sirus Naseri, a senior member of Iran’s delegation to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said a five-year moratorium on the... Read more →


Italy May Reconsider Nuclear Power

Reuters. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated a possible move away from Italy’s traditional anti-nuclear stance. Italians voted to close Italy’s nuclear power plants in a 1987 referendum, but the country imports electricity from France where nuclear power is one of the main sources of energy. “The government is preparing... Read more →