First major modular nuclear project having difficulty retaining backers

NuScale's reactor-in-a-can.

Enlarge / NuScale’s reactor-in-a-can. (credit: NuScale)

Earlier this year, the US took a major step that could potentially change the economics of nuclear power: it approved a design for a small, modular nuclear reactor from a company called NuScale. These small reactors are intended to overcome the economic problems that have ground the construction of large nuclear plants to a near halt. While each only produces a fraction of the power possible with a large plant, the modular design allows for mass production and a design that requires less external safety support.

But safety approval is just an early step in the process of building a plant. And the leading proposal for the first NuScale plant is running into the same problem as traditional designs: finances.

The proposal, called the Carbon Free Power Project, would be a cluster of a dozen NuScale reactors based at Idaho National Lab but run by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS. With all 12 operating, the plant would produce 720 MW of power. But UAMPS is selling it as a way to offer the flexibility needed to complement variable renewable power. Typically, a nuclear plant is either producing or not, but the modular design allows the Carbon Free Power Project to shut individual reactors off if demand is low.

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#energy, #nuclear-energy, #science, #small-modular-reactors

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Japan’s New Leader Sets Ambitious Goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

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Japan’s New Leader Sets Goal of Being Carbon Neutral by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

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Japanese Government Is Ordered to Pay Damages Over Fukushima Disaster

The Sendai High Court said the state and the plant’s operator must pay $9.5 million to survivors of the 2011 nuclear accident. They have until mid-October to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

#fukushima-japan, #fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-plant-japan, #japan, #japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-2011, #nuclear-energy, #politics-and-government, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #tokyo-electric-power-co

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First modular nuclear reactor design certified in the US

NuScale's reactor-in-a-can.

Enlarge / NuScale’s reactor-in-a-can. (credit: NuScale)

One hope buoying nuclear energy advocates has been the promise of “small modular reactor” designs. By dividing a nuclear facility into an array of smaller reactors, they can largely be manufactured in a factory and then dropped into place, saving us from having to build a complex, possibly one-of-a-kind behemoth on site. That could be a big deal for nuclear’s persistent financial problems, while also enabling some design features that further improve safety.

On Friday, the first small modular reactor received a design certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, meaning that it meets safety requirements and could be chosen by future projects seeking licensing and approval.

The design comes from NuScale, a company birthed from research at Oregon State University that has received some substantial Department of Energy funding. It’s a 76-foot tall, 15-foot wide steel cylinder (23 meters by 5 meters) capable of producing 50 megawatts of electricity. (The company also has a 60-megawatt iteration teed up.) They envision a plant employing up to 12 of these reactors in a large pool like those used in current nuclear plants.

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#nuclear-energy, #science

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Hurricane Laura Passed, but Disaster Still Looms for Texas

We survived Hurricane Laura, but the Gulf Coast needs better surge protections for the next one.

#global-warming, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hurricane-laura-2020, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #nuclear-energy, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline

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Poor Planning Left California Short of Electricity in a Heat Wave

Scores of power plants were down or operating below their capacity just as hot weather drove up demand.

#california, #california-independent-system-operator, #california-public-utilities-commission, #diablo-canyon-power-plant-calif, #electric-light-and-power, #ivanpah-solar-electric-generating-system, #newsom-gavin, #nuclear-energy, #pacific-gas-and-electric-co, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #shutdowns-institutional, #wildfires

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U.S. Examines Whether Saudi Nuclear Program Could Lead to Bomb Effort

Intelligence agencies are scrutinizing whether the kingdom’s work with China to develop nuclear expertise is cover to process uranium and move toward development of a weapon.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-and-military-forces, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #international-atomic-energy-agency, #mohammed-bin-salman-1985, #national-security-council, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-nonproliferation-treaty, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #saudi-arabia, #schiff-adam-b, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #uranium

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When Utility Money Talks

Corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois reveal an unsavory underside to the politics of energy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bribery-and-kickbacks, #commonwealth-edison, #energy-and-power, #entergy-corporation, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #firstenergy-corporation, #householder-larry, #illinois, #madigan-michael-j, #nuclear-energy, #ohio, #state-legislatures

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U.A.E. Becomes First Arab Nation to Open a Nuclear Power Plant

The launch is raising concerns about the growing number of nuclear programs in the volatile Middle East.

#abu-dhabi-united-arab-emirates, #middle-east, #nahyan-mohamed-bin-zayed-al-1961, #nuclear-energy, #persian-gulf, #saudi-arabia, #united-arab-emirates, #united-states-international-relations

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Powerful Ohio Republican Is Arrested in $60 Million Corruption Scheme

The House speaker was connected with a conspiracy to enact a $1.3 billion bailout of an energy company, the F.B.I. said.

#bribery-and-kickbacks, #energy-harbor, #firstenergy-corporation, #householder-larry, #nuclear-energy, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #state-legislatures

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Burning Ships in Iran Add to String of Dozens of Explosions and Fires

Iranian officials say that some of the explosions at factories and military facilities, and some forest fires, may have been sabotage but blamed weather and accidents for the others.

#arson, #defense-and-military-forces, #explosions-accidental, #fires-and-firefighters, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #natanz-iran, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-weapons, #sabotage-crime, #tehran-iran, #wildfires

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Iran Is Accused of Hiding Suspected Nuclear Activity

The United States and the big European powers came together to declare they had serious concerns about Tehran’s failure to allow inspectors into two locations.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #hook-brian-h, #international-atomic-energy-agency, #iran, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-weapons, #state-department, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #zarif-mohammad-javad

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U.S. to Penalize Work at Iranian Facilities in Latest Blow to Nuclear Accord

International workers will no longer be able to keep a watchful eye on the nuclear programs, risking a layer of security that had sought to ensure Iran could not secretly violate a 2015 deal with world powers.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #international-atomic-energy-agency, #iran, #iranian-atomic-energy-organization, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-weapons, #state-department, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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S. David Freeman, 94, Tireless Advocate for Clean Energy, Dies

A folksy but forceful “Green Cowboy,” he helped shape energy policy in the White House and at local utilities for seven decades.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #deaths-obituaries, #energy-and-power, #freeman-s-david, #global-warming, #nuclear-energy, #tennessee-valley-authority

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Coronavirus and the Price of Trump’s Delusions

A cult of personality is no match for a pandemic.

#accidents-and-safety, #azar-alex-m-ii, #bright-rick-a, #chernobyl-ukraine, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #hydroxychloroquine-drug, #midnight-in-chernobyl-the-story-of-the-worlds-greatest-nuclear-disaster-book, #news-and-news-media, #nuclear-energy, #quarantines, #redfield-robert-r, #rumors-and-misinformation, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #ussr-former-soviet-union

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