Nuclear Energy on the Edge

June 3, 2016, 4:29PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Clinton Power Station, courtesy Exelon Nuclear

Yesterday, June 2, 2016, may have marked a watershed moment in the present day history of nuclear power plants in the United States, when two nuclear plants were selected by their owner for shutdown far in advance of their license expiration dates for economic reasons. The fast-moving pace of plants being shut down under similar economic circumstances (unbalanced energy markets that favor other forms of energy to the detriment of nuclear) signals a broken system that must be changed, now.

The Value of Energy Diversity (Especially In A Polar Vortex)

January 28, 2014, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

Since the natural gas price collapse that started in summer 2008, many observers have become accustomed to using the adjective "cheap" when talking about natural gas. Like the word "clean," another adjective often applied to methane, "cheap" is a relative term. It is also a term whose applicability depends on time and location. As I wrote in a recent post on Atomic Insights, gas is only really cheap if nobody needs it. When demand increases due to some kind of perfectly natural phenomenon-like a winter with near normal temperatures-demand can exceed deliverability by a large margin.

Nuclear energy is built on an actinide foundation

January 7, 2014, 3:01PMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

During the past several years, I have been following the progress of a strange situation in my adopted state of Virginia. Despite being a state with a long history of mining and mineral extraction, we have a law in place that forbids mining one specific element-uranium. The law is technically just a temporary moratorium put in place in order to give the state's regulators time to draft effective regulations, but the law enacting the moratorium was put into place more than 30 years ago.

How painful will the coming spike in natural gas prices be?

October 1, 2013, 10:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

There is a good reason for American nuclear energy professionals to learn more about the dynamics of the natural gas market. We have been told numerous times that cheap natural gas is making our technology less and less viable in the competitive market place. Natural gas (also known as methane) is a terrific product, but it has been promoted as being capable of supplying a much larger portion of our overall energy demand. That promotional effort is putting us all at risk of a severe hangover when the low price bubble bursts.

Looking forward to next 70 years of atomic fission

December 4, 2012, 11:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

This past weekend the world quietly marked the 70th anniversary of the initial criticality of CP-1 (Critical Pile 1), the 55th anniversary of the initial criticality of the Shippingport nuclear power plant, and the decommissioning of the USS Enterprise, a 51 year-old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Those events have put me into a reflective but incredibly optimistic mood.

4th Annual Texas Atomic Film Festival

April 26, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The 4th annual Texas Atomic Film Festival (TAFF) is being held April 26 to May 3, 2012. The festival attracts short films (3 to 5 minutes) produced by students in nuclear engineering courses at the University of Texas at Austin. A public screening of the films, which focus on nuclear and energy related topics, is being held on April 26 at 12:30 pm at the UT Student Activities Center auditorium.

Greetings from a proud member of "the nuclear party"

January 9, 2012, 8:30PMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

Back in the playground-about half a century ago-I learned that it can be fun and frustrating to the bullies if you cheerfully accept the tags that they apply to you. Back then, I was called a four-eyed nerd; for some odd reason I had schoolmates who thought it was a bad thing to be the one who got straight A's and seemed to enjoy learning. The teasing did not bother me; it motivated me to read more good books and to strive to do even better in class.