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Alternative Energy / Nuclear Power

  • Is There Any Hope Left For Nuclear Energy?

    Can nuclear help avoid the worst effects of climate change? The International Energy Agency recently provided a roadmap for nuclear power, detailing how the technology could help keep global temperature increases within a 2-degree scenario. According to the IEA report, between 2015 and 2050 total installed nuclear power capacity around the world would need to more than double from 396 gigawatts (GW) to 930 GW. To get there, the IEA says that the world will need to see an additional 20 GW of new nuclear capacity each year, a scenario that from today’s vantage point seems highly unlikely. The IEA…

  • Shape Shifting Robot To Inspect Damaged Fukushima Reactor

    Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered three reactor meltdowns from an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, can’t be decommissioned until its ruined reactors are inspected. But because of deadly radiation, no human can get close to the facility to survey the damage. So the Japanese electronics giant Hitachi and an affiliate, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, have designed a snaky-looking, remotely controlled robot to do the job, perhaps as soon as April, to gather information about the state of the No. 1 reactor building to prepare for the removal of its radioactive rubble. The utility that operates the power plant,…

  • Iran Drops Dollar As Congress Threatens More Sanctions

    The clock is ticking on the Iranian nuclear deal, but it may all be for naught. A meddling Congress aside, Iran appears to lack faith in US President Barack Obama’s ability to ease long-standing sanctions and is cutting what ties it can. According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Iran no longer uses the US dollar in trade with foreign countries. Instead, Iran employs other currencies like the Chinese yuan, euro, Turkish lira, and Russian ruble, explained Deputy Head of the Central Bank of Iran Gholamali Kamyab. In November, Iran and six world powers – the United States, Great Britain, China,…

  • Europe And Iran: The Nuclear Dispute And The Syrian Crisis

    Following a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in late December 2014 the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated, “Iran is not only the country with which we have nuclear talks, it is also a regional important player [sic] and this practically means that we will have to engage with Iran also on its neighborhood.” This statement highlights the two issues under intense discussion between the EU and Iran – the nuclear dispute and the crisis in Syria. In recent months much attention has been focused on potential rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.…

  • Natural Gas Threatens U.S. Nuclear Future

    This will be an unhappy new year for Vernon, a small town in the state of Vermont. It is losing its economic mainstay. The owner of its proud, midsized nuclear plant, which has sustained the community for 42 years, Entergy, is closing the plant. Next year the only people working at the plant will be those shuttering it, taking out its fuel, securing it and beginning the process of turning it into a kind of tomb, a burial place for the hopes of a small town. What may be a tragedy for Vernon may also be a harbinger of a…

  • Iran Optimistic About Nuclear Energy Deal And End To Sanctions

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he intends to reach a deal with West and end years of sanctions despite the objections of a “few” opponents who use their country’s crippled economy to enhance their own power. “Some people may not like to see the sanctions lifted. Their numbers are few, and they want to muddy the water,” Rouhani told an audience on Dec. 15 at the Central Bank in Tehran. He evidently was referring to hard-liners, including leaders of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, who oppose any rapprochement with the West, to maintain their grip on the country's economy. “The overwhelming…

  • China’s Nuclear Power Gamble Is Mind-Boggling

    The numbers that define China’s progress over the last 50 years are staggering. Over 300 million people lifted out of poverty. Over 160 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Over 630 million Internet users.. And now, following the recent climate change deal with U.S., China has a massive price tag of $2 trillion to implement climate policy changes. In order to cap carbon emissions and generate 20% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2030, Bloomberg estimates this would require 1,000 nuclear reactors, 500,000 wind turbines or 50,000 solar farms. “The pledge would require China to produce either 67…

  • Iranian Nuclear Talks To Continue Until July

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna before talks on November 24, 2014. Iran and six world powers have agreed to extend talks on Tehran's nuclear program until July 1, 2015, after failing to seal a deal before a midnight deadline on November 24. Diplomats said that under the terms of limited agreements reached after six days of high-level talks in Vienna, a political accord is to be completed by March 1, with final details contained in annexes to be sealed by July 1. It was the second time the negotiators…

  • Iran’s Murky Nuclear Past May Disrupt Its Future

    In sorting through Iran’s nuclear supplies, P5+1 must decide how to handle illegally gained materials and equipment. How not to steal a deal: Representatives of Permanent Five Security Council members and Germany try to reach deal with Iran (top); one solution is to use Russian-made nuclear reactor under IAEA supervision; Sergey Kirienko, head of Rostatom, (right) and Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, sign deals on Bushehr reactor WASHINGTON: As the clock ticks towards the November 24 deadline for concluding a deal with Iran to shut down its weapons-related program, a critical dimension of Iran’s nuclear…

  • End Of Life Costs For Nuclear Power A Real Concern

    Nuclear power stirs considerable controversy but we have broadly been a supporter of the technology in part because of its low emissions and running cost, but the industry had arguably their biggest challenge starkly highlighted this week in the International Energy Agency’s annual report.Related: Three Possible Outcomes Of Iranian Nuclear Talks By 2040, the agency said, almost 200 reactors are due to be shut down with considerable uncertainties over the decommissioning costs. An FT article quotes $100 billion for plant dismantling but the extent to which this is just the beginning is highlighted by a quote from Paul Dorfman of the…