From left, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Paul Chodak, and Michael J. Guastella appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on November 4.
As Congress awaited key votes yesterday on spending bills that include production tax credits for at-risk plants and a new amendment adding $500 million in supplemental funding over five years to increase the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee Hearing On Potential Non-Electric Applications Of Civilian Nuclear Energy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the committee, emphasized that “advanced nuclear reactors hold enormous potential to provide opportunity to communities across the country with zero-emission baseload power” and made it clear he expects new reactors to replace retiring coal plants in his home state of West Virginia.
Speaking before the committee were Shannon Bragg-Sitton of Idaho National Laboratory, Paul Chodak III of American Electric Power, and Michael J. Guastella of the Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer speaks at a November 3 press conference announcing the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan.
A trio of Republican lawmakers from Western states—Sens. Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)—held a press conference at the Capitol yesterday to announce the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan, a response to what they termed the “Biden-Kerry Green New Deal.” Also in attendance were fellow Republican senators Ted Cruz (Texas), John Kennedy (La.), and Rob Portman (Ohio).
The plan is “an innovative clean energy and climate strategy with the potential to reduce global [greenhouse gas] emissions by up to 40 percent from today’s levels by 2050 and create thousands of jobs for hard-working Americans,” according to a press release from Sullivan’s office.
In April, the Biden administration announced a target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, with an interim target of a 50–52 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.
(Source: Peter Schrank/The Economist)
“Where nuclear power was once a source of unity for Europe, today it is a source of discord.” So states The Economist’s October 30 “Charlemagne” column—a regular source of commentary on European politics in the weekly publication—before deftly dissecting nuclear power’s continental divide and picking a winner.
Nuclear power capacity by scenario, 2020–2050 (STEPS: stated policies scenario, APS: announced pledges scenario, NZE: net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario). (Graphic: IEA World Energy Outlook 2021)
The International Energy Agency released its flagship report, World Energy Outlook 2021, on October 13, “at a time when policymakers are contending with the impacts of both climate change and volatile energy markets” and ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which begins October 31. With a net-zero emissions by 2050 (NZE) scenario that calls for nuclear power capacity to almost double by 2050, the report acknowledges that rapid development of advanced nuclear technologies could expand opportunities for nuclear energy to provide low-carbon electricity, heat, and hydrogen.
This June 2021 photo of ITER vacuum vessel sector #6 includes two panels of thermal shielding ready to slide into place. (Photo: ITER/Courtesy of Chang Hyun Noh)
Following a week of heightened attention to all things hydrogen preceding Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day (October 8), Bernard Bigot, director general of the ITER Organization, published an op-ed on October 11 in The European Files, a magazine billed as an “effective work tool for European deciders.” Bigot’s article, “Hydrogen fusion: The way to a new energy future,” doubled as a fusion primer, promoting the technology as a future source of clean energy that is fueled by hydrogen and is capable of providing heat and power to produce more hydrogen.
Two battery Megapacks were destroyed in a July fire at Victorian Big Battery. Each battery is about the size of a standard shipping container. (Photo: Country Fire Authority)
Australia’s two large lithium-ion storage batteries are getting attention for all the wrong reasons. Hornsdale Power Reserve, a 150-MW battery collocated with a wind farm in South Australia, is being charged in federal court with failing to deliver on promises to respond to grid demands, and of being technically unable to deliver under the terms it was being paid to meet. Proceedings were filed September 22, just before the testing of a second Tesla-manufactured “Big Battery” resumed after a two-month delay following a fire in July.
A satellite image of Hawaii. Image: NASA
Jacob Wiencek, a self-described concerned resident of Honolulu, is doing his part to encourage the state of Hawaii to embrace nuclear power. An opinion piece written by Wiencek was published in Honolulu Civil Beat, an online, nonprofit news site, on August 4.
This still image from “The Green Atom” highlights how Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear plants has resulted in electricity that is twice as expensive as in neighboring France. (Source: Kite and Key)
“You know what power source is more dangerous than nuclear? Literally, all of them. When you add up industrial accidents and the effects of pollution, nuclear is safer than coal or petroleum or natural gas.”