Responding to System Demand II: Extreme Scenarios

December 14, 2014, 3:12PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Gravelines Units 1 through 6, France.  Image courtesy AREVA USA.

Gravelines Units 1 through 6, France. Image courtesy AREVA USA.

The continued introduction of renewables onto the electric grid in the United States is ensuring that discussion of whether or not these assets can be integrated with existing or expected designs of other sources continues. In this discussion, nuclear energy is often wrongly described as "on or off"-but in fact, nuclear plants can and do load follow (respond to changing system demands) although it's a matter of both design and owner utilization-with a focus on economics-that determines if or when any actually do.

Caught in the Leadership Paradox: Insight from Admiral Rickover

July 3, 2014, 4:56PMANS Nuclear CafePaul E. Cantonwine

Recent scandals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and General Motors (GM) have struck a chord with the media and the American people because they represent the worst in bureaucracies-where the lives of individuals seem to get lost in the bureaucratic woods. In the case of the VA, lying about wait times blocked pathways for care and potentially resulted in the early deaths of some veterans. In the case of GM, the bureaucracy put horse blinders on its employees so that they couldn't recognize the safety significance of ignition switch problems linked to at least 13 deaths.

Argentina carries torch for SMR construction

February 13, 2014, 7:25PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

CAREM 25 Prototype Plant; illustration courtesy CNEA

News came out this week that the first concrete had been poured at the construction site for the world's first small modular reactor (SMR) project-and it wasn't for a Generation mPower SMR at the former Clinch River site, or for a SMART SMR (which was the first type in the world to receive governmental design certification) at a site in South Korea.

The Atlantic Generating Station

January 3, 2013, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Recent announcements and news stories about a Russian project to build a floating and essentially portable nuclear power plant have been variously tabbed with the heading "new." The idea of a floating, mobile nuclear plant (which is not self-propelled and not a ship) is indeed not new-the nuclear barge STURGIS, itself a converted Liberty Ship, served as a power source for the Panama Canal for many years, beginning back in 1967. The new Russian plants bring extra excitement because they are classed, properly, in the now-popular small modular reactor plant category, having been based on true seagoing designs. This, of course, hints at the fact that their output will not approach that of any of the large, conventional nuclear plants familiar today.

Starting a new nuclear construction industry is hard work

June 6, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

Construction at Vogtle units 3 and 4 and VC Summer units 2 and 3 is not going as well as many nuclear advocates would like. I'm not surprised, but neither are most people who have been involved in complex construction and technology projects that involve a lot of moving parts and numerous interested parties. Nothing that happens at those projects will change my mind that atomic fission is a superior way to produce heat and boil water. There is little chance that events at those individual projects will convince me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the advanced passive reactor plant design.

A Study in Nuclear Success, A Review of “Nuclear Silk Road: The ‘Koreanization’ of Nuclear Power Technology”

October 13, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeRobert Margolis

As part of the team that supported the startup of Yonggwang-3 and -4 (South Korea's first nuclear units, built in a technology transfer program with Combustion Engineering), I thought it long overdue to see a book that chronicled South Korea's journey from an impoverished nation to one of the world's leading players in the nuclear industry (e.g., South Korea has 21 operating reactors versus Germany's 17).