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Alternative Energy / Nuclear Power

  • Is France‚Äôs Love Affair with Nuclear Over?

    French President Francois Hollande has promised to limit the growth of the country’s nuclear power, many older reactors have been targeted for decommissioning, and Greenpeace and other environmental groups have been relentless in their anti-nuclear campaigning. But until now, it seemed unlikely that France would ever truly rethink its love affair with nuclear power. Last week, it did. On Oct. 10, France’s parliament voted to begin moving to undo decades of nuclear growth and to reduce its importance to the country’s energy mix. Over the next 11 years, France will reduce the amount of electricity coming from nuclear by one-quarter…

  • How Fusion Energy Could One Day Disrupt Energy Markets

    Fusion is thirty years away…and always will be. That is an oft-repeated cliché concerning one of the world’s most coveted – and so far unreachable – sources of energy. However, some recent developments in fusion energy technology could one day make that phrase obsolete. Fusion energy is the phenomenon that powers the stars. Unlike conventional nuclear fission, where a uranium atom is split, giving off enormous volumes of energy, nuclear fusion is the process by which two hydrogen atoms are slammed together. This also gives off a vast quantity of energy, and with it, the promise that man can harness…

  • Is Fusion Power Closer Than We Thought?

    The promise of generating energy with nuclear fusion is tantalizing because it would be free of toxic emissions and nuclear waste, and would have a virtually infinite fuel supply. On the downside, though, it is extremely costly compared with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.Now engineers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed a design for a fusion reactor that could be even less expensive than a coal-fired plant but boast similar generating capacity. The current design is for a reactor too small to generate much electricity, but the team is confident it can be scaled up to…

  • New Nuclear Fuel Rod Could Increase Output Of Existing Plants

    A U.S. nuclear engineering company is preparing to hold the first safety tests of new nuclear fuel rods designed to significantly increase the generating output of existing nuclear power plants.The development is important the United States is trying to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and needs clean alternatives, now. CO2-emitting natural gas is now abundant and widely used, and planned emission-free nuclear plants won’t be operational for decades.Enter Lightbridge of Tysons Corner, Va., which says its rods can improve the generating capacity of existing nuclear power plants by between 10 percent and…

  • Three Things To Know About The India-Australia Uranium Deal

    On Friday August 5, India and Australia concluded an important energy deal that will seek to address looming issues facing both countries. The formalization of the agreement marks the conclusion of bilateral talks dating back two years and will offer enormous benefits to both India and Australia.1. India is actively seeking to address energy shortfallsIndia has a stated goal of raising its nuclear energy capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 by adding $85 billion worth of reactors. Nuclear power, while controversial in some areas, is critical to India’s economic growth plan as it works to reduce paralyzing power shortages hindering…

  • Could Iran Be Trading Oil With Russia For Nuclear Support?

    With the help of a few former Soviet neighbors, Iran is set to revitalize their crude oil exports after the profound effect of past sanctions.Not only has Russia offered to provide goods and services in return for Iranian oil, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have proposed reinstating oil swap deals. Oil swaps in general are not new, as they are often used to optimize logistical obstacles. In Iran’s case, it is the supply of crude oil to their refineries in the north from countries closer than Iran’s own oil fields in the south. An oil-for-goods arrangement has also occurred in the past,…

  • Saudi Arabia Aims For Nuclear Power Within 20 Years

    To help address its energy needs, last week Saudi Arabia announced plans to incentivize both private and public investments in energy sources other than oil. Within 20 years, the Saudi Royal Family aims to invest $80 billion and $240 billion so that nuclear and solar, respectively, will each provide 15 percent of the Kingdom’s power needs. The transition is intended to happen quickly, with the first nuclear reactor expected to come online in only eight years. Beyond minimizing carbon emissions, the nation's energy efforts are an instance of an energy symbiosis, whereby energy production techniques are uniquely suited to consumption…

  • Shuttered Nuclear Plants Means U.S. Will Miss Climate Targets

    The floundering U.S. nuclear industry just got a bit of good news: Utah is considering building two new nuclear reactors. Blue Castle Holdings Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse that could eventually lead to the construction of two AP1000 nuclear reactors. The two reactors have an estimated cost of $10 billion and an estimated operational date of 2024. If constructed, Blue Castle says the reactors will increase Utah’s electricity generation capacity by 50 percent, which would replace the power lost with the retirement of a few coal plants in the state. The announcement is important because building…

  • As Radioactive Water Accumulates, TEPCO Eyes Pacific Ocean As Dumping Ground

    Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the embattled owner of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors, has said it is running out of space to store water contaminated with radioactive materials and is proposing to treat the water and dump it in the Pacific Ocean.Up until now, TEPCO has been storing radioactive water in giant storage tanks on the site of its Fukushima reactor. But groundwater continually flowing into the reactor site becomes contaminated as it does so. Containing and storing an ever-increasing volume of contaminated water is a bit like running on a treadmill – new groundwater becomes contaminated just as TEPCO…

  • Nuclear Waste Not Want Not

    This article started out as a piece about the 10 countries that generate the most nuclear waste annually. Unfortunately, the most recent data is from 1997 (Ukraine, United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada, Germany, India, Lithuania, Italy and Bulgaria).Approaching the question from the other end -- which countries generate the most nuclear power? – might get us closer to an answer. Business Insider analyzed data from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency and came up with a top 10 list: United States, France, Russia, South Korea, Germany, China, Canada, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Sweden. But those nuclear power powerhouses…