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Alternative Energy / Nuclear Power

  • Massive Nuclear Buildout Here Will Require A Lot More Uranium

    There's been a lot of talk in uranium about burgeoning Chinese demand being a savior for miners. But another, more surprising nation is also making a push this week to secure supplies. India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Canada yesterday. With his arrival representing the first India-Canada governmental visit in 42 years -- and a chance to discuss securing uranium supply for India's growing nuclear sector.Related: Top 5 Richest Tycoons In Renewable Energy Prior to departing for the trip, Modi made it clear that uranium was a key issue in talks with Canada. Noting that "sourcing uranium fuel for…

  • Japan May Not Restart Nuclear Reactors After All

    Japan may not return to nuclear power as quickly as its government had hoped. Now more than four years after the Fukushima meltdown, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has prioritized a return to nuclear power as a way of easing his country’s energy shortages and enormous trade deficit. But a Japanese court just struck a huge blow to his plans of restarting some reactors. A court issued an injunction on April 14 against two reactors in Fukui prefecture owned by Kansai Electric Power. Despite having passed a safety review from Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Administration (NRA), the court blocked the restart…

  • A Return To Nuclear May Be Japan’s Only Option

    Four years after the Fukushima meltdown, Japan is finally eyeing a return to nuclear power. To be sure, some, if not most of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors will remain offline permanently. But the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is crafting a proposal that could lead to nuclear power reclaiming about 20 percent of Japan’s electricity market. It is hard to imagine such a revival. Nuclear power made up just under 30 percent of the country’s electricity generation before the catastrophic tsunami hit in 2011. Now it is at zero percent. Strict new safety standards and strong public opposition will likely keep…

  • World’s Nuclear Waste Could Be Headed Down Under

    For a long time one of the primary criticisms of nuclear power has revolved around the issue of what to do with nuclear waste. Effectively disposing of nuclear waste literally requires a plan that spans centuries, making it the world’s most deadly and expensive garbage to deal with. Yet with that cost comes opportunity. And now Australia is stepping up to earn a major fortune dealing with this garbage, while the United States and many other industrialized nations are dithering over how to deal with their nuclear waste. Senator Sean Edwards of the state of South Australia is advocating for…

  • Rare Earths Problem Could Have A Nuclear Solution

    The 17 rare earth elements have energy supply by the throat. They are used in everything from oil refineries to solar and wind generators. These rare earths are, as John Kutsch, director of the Thorium Energy Alliance, says, “the great multipliers.” They make metals stronger, generators more efficient, cell phones smaller, television sets sharper, and laptops lighter. They are, in their way, as important to modern manufacturing as energy. Back in the days, the United States was a major supplier of rare earths -- with supplemental supplies coming from countries around the world, including Australia and Brazil. Today, 90 percent…

  • Beyond Iran And Pakistan: 7 Nuclear Wannabes

    The meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in 2011 following the Japanese tsunami forced a major rethink of nuclear power as a safe form of electricity generation. As radiation from the plant spewed into the ocean and nearby communities following an immediate evacuation, the world reaction was swift and dramatic. Within days the spot price of uranium collapsed. Japan ordered the shutdown and maintenance of all its existing reactors. Germany, a major consumer of nuclear power, permanently closed 8 of its 17 nuclear reactors; other European countries shelved their nuclear plans. While fear still lingers of a nuclear catastrophe…

  • A Look At The Future Of Nuclear Power

    If nuclear power is going to succeed in the 21st century, there will need to be major innovations in controlling costs and enhancing safety. The generation of nuclear reactors constructed in the 1970’s and 1980’s are showing their age. In just the past week, several U.S. reactors faced some equipment problems, forcing them to shut down. The Fermi 2 nuclear power plant outside of Detroit was taken offline after a water leak on March 19. The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey was forced to temporarily shut down due to an electrical problem. These problems are minor, to be…

  • The $6.8 Billion Great Wall Of Japan: Fukushima Cleanup Takes On Epic Proportion

    More than four years after the catastrophic tsunami that crippled several nuclear reactors in Fukushima, the Japanese utility that owns the site is struggling to deal with a continuous flood of radioactive water. The tsunami knocked off power at the nuclear plant, which led to the meltdown of three of the six reactors, with a fourth severely damaged. The ongoing release of radioactive material has prevented anyone from entering parts of the complex. But getting a handle on the mess, let alone permanently cleaning up the site, has been extraordinarily difficult. The problem is the daily flood of rainwater that…

  • China Builds Nuclear Reactors in Earthquake-Prone Pakistan

    China has decided to defy international norms and build new nuclear reactors in Pakistan. While the U.S. and Europe see stagnant growth for commercial nuclear power, the same is not true in Asia. China is not only building nuclear reactors at home, but it is exporting its technology abroad. Of particular concern is its construction of nuclear reactors in Pakistan. China helped build two reactors at Chashma, which came online in 2000 and 2011 respectively. More recently, it has decided to double the size of the Chashma power plant, with two additional reactors under construction. And it is also constructing…

  • France’s Areva Lost $5.6 Billion In 2014 – Is This The End?

    Could France, a heavyweight in nuclear power, begin to see its position crumble? Areva, France’s iconic nuclear power builder, reported a massive financial loss for 2014. The state-owned company revealed that it lost 4.9 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2014, an enormous decline from the 500 million euro loss it posted the previous year. Weighing on the company is its much-heralded rector in Finland. The Olkiluoto 3 unit under construction in Finland was supposed to be completed in 2009, but it has since turned into a nightmare. Billed as the first Generation III+ pressurized water reactor – dubbed the Evolutionary…