Popular Mechanics takes the wind out of renewables study

A wind farm in East Sussex, England, is flanked by 400-kV power lines from the Dungeness nuclear power plant. Photo: David Iliff/Wikimedia Commons

A paper out of the University of Sussex that correlates the carbon output of 123 countries with their nuclear power programs has received a critical look from Popular Mechanics, which takes to task some of the researchers’ premises in an article by Caroline Delbert.

In the paper, the researchers make the claim that nuclear and renewable energy programs do not tend to coexist well together in national low-carbon energy systems but instead crowd each other out and limit effectiveness. Delbert, however, points out that suggesting that nuclear power plants don’t play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions is “wild and baseless.”

Brouillette: Nuclear should be part of California’s energy problem solution


In an op-ed published on September 25 in the Orange County Register, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette decryed the state of California’s handling of its energy crisis.

Brouillette criticized state leaders for championing a 100 percent renewable energy plan that ignores nuclear and natural gas. He also found fault with the plan to prematurely close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Labor union leader weighs in on closure of Illinois nuclear plants

Lonnie Stephenson, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, wrote an op-ed published in the September 25 Chicago Sun-Times touting the benefits of nuclear power in Illinois and decrying Exelon’s plan to prematurely shutter the Byron and Dresden plants.

UAMPS clarifies next steps for planned NuScale SMR deployment

Full-scale mockup of the upper third of the NuScale Power Module. Photo: NuScale

With a design that has just emerged from a rigorous safety evaluation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a customer—Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS)—getting ready to prepare a combined license (COL) application, what is next for Oregon-based NuScale Power and for near-term small modular reactor prospects in the United States? As milestones are reached, many want to know.

NuScale plans to supply twelve 60-MWe modules for a 720-MWe plant—called the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) by UAMPS—to be sited at Idaho National Laboratory. A smaller, 50-MWe module version of NuScale’s design recently became the first SMR to receive a final safety evaluation report (FSER) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The NRC design approval represents a significant de-risking factor for the CFPP,” said UAMPS spokesperson LaVarr Webb. The project is “making steady progress,” Webb said, adding that “UAMPS General Manager and CEO Doug Hunter has said it is much more important to do the project right than to do it fast.”

LLNL expands release of energy flowcharts

This flowchart is housed in a library of Sankey diagrams at flowcharts.llnl.gov and is also available as a PDF. Source: Department of Energy/LLNL, based on EIA data

Every year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory releases flowcharts illustrating U.S. energy consumption and use. The flowcharts, called Sankey diagrams, allow scientists, analysts, and other decision makers to compare the contributions made by various energy sources, including nuclear power, and the end uses of those sources, including residential, industrial, commercial, and transportation markets. Taken as a series of annual snapshots, energy use trends and opportunities quickly become apparent.

This year, in addition to releasing the 2019 energy flowchart, the lab issued state-by-state energy flowcharts for 2015–2018 and carbon emissions charts for 2014–2017. It is currently at work on charts of international energy use that it hopes to release by the end of the year.

President's Column

What does “clean” mean to you?

Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar

Originally published in the August 2020 issue of Nuclear News.

Have you wondered why, in this age of climate alarmism, nuclear isn’t considered the choice for clean power production? You seldom hear nuclear mentioned in the same context as wind, solar, and hydropower. Yet nuclear is the cleanest and safest form of energy today that is both reliable and scalable.

ANS joins global NICE Future initiative

The American Nuclear Society was formally accepted as a Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative partner organization in January, joining ten countries and 14 partner organizations to direct the global conversation about the roles nuclear energy can play in clean energy systems of the future.

Nuclear figures in state’s clean energy future

A study released by Energy Northwest on January 30 concludes that more and different electricity sources, including nuclear, will be needed to maintain energy reliability and achieve a carbon-­free energy system in the state of Washington by 2045. The study used published conservation and efficiency projections and costs and examined the value of creating additional solar and wind facilities, as well as extending the operation of the Columbia nuclear power plant beyond 2043 and deploying small modular reactors.

“Completing this study is simply the first step in a much larger decision-­making process,” said Brad Sawatzke, Energy Northwest’s chief executive officer. “Any decision to invest in new resources will take time and will only be done in the best interest of our member utilities, the people of Washington, and, of course, the environment.”