Colorado River

September 17, 2020

Washington Post: "The Colorado River’s average annual flow has declined by nearly 20 percent compared to the last century, and researchers have identified one of the main culprits: climate change is causing mountain snowpack to disappear, leading to increased evaporation."

Heat Waves Driving Peak Electric Load Up

August 31, 2020

Catherine Wolfram:  "As climate change leads to more heat waves and people like me eventually get air conditioning – both because it is hot and because the outside air is bad – heat waves will lead to higher and higher peak electricity demand."

"The thing about air conditioning demand is that it ramps up late in the afternoon, just as solar electricity is fading away."


August 22, 2020

Dept. of Energy:  "Nuclear is getting smaller … and it’s opening up some big opportunities for the industry."

"A handful of microreactor designs are under development in the United States, and they could be ready to roll out within the next decade."

"These plug-and-play reactors will be small enough to transport by truck and could help solve energy challenges in a number of areas, ranging from remote commercial or residential locations to military bases."

Utility Dive: "The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a final safety evaluation report on Friday for NuScale Power's small modular reactor (SMR) design. The NRC's staff determined that the design met all the safety requirements for the design certification stage of licensing."


Wildfires and Climate Change

August 22, 2020

New York Times:  “'Behind the scenes of all of this, you’ve got temperatures that are about two to three degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than they would’ve been without global warming,' said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. That dries out vegetation even more, making it more likely to burn."

Rolling Blackouts and Discarded Renewables

August 17, 2020

Wall Street Journal:  "During peak daylight hours, California produces a surplus of solar energy, and power generators may be ordered or paid to cut back their production so the grid isn’t overloaded.  On Friday and Saturday Caiso reported about 1,000 mega-watt hours (MWh) were curtailed—enough to power 30,000 homes. This year 1.3 million MWh of power have been curtailed."

"But this means supply shortages can occur in the evening when solar energy plunges but demand for power remains high. That’s what happened this weekend."

Rocky Mountain Institute: "Relatively high levels of curtailment are already an issue in California."

Advanced Reactor Designs

August 04, 2020


Dept. of Energy:  "The U.S. Department of Energy and its national labs are supporting research and development on a wide range of new advanced reactor technologies that could be a game-changer for the nuclear industry. These innovative systems are expected to be cleaner, safer and more efficient than previous generations."


Equivalent to Removing 1 Million Cars from the Road

August 02, 2020


U.S. Department of Energy:  "Two of the most advanced commercial reactors in the world are under construction in Waynesboro, Georgia — marking a new era for the industry."

"The successful completion of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will set the tone for what could be a nuclear resurgence in the United States. . . ."

"Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are expected to generate more than 17 million megawatt-hours of clean and reliable electricity. That’s enough to power more than 1.6 million average American homes."

"The reactors will also prevent up to 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road each year."

Nuclear Providing More Than Clean Power

July 29, 2020

Forbes:  “'I'm so confident that the United States nuclear-energy technologies can and will play a major role in providing the United States and the world clean reliable energy for many decades to come,' said Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy."

"Nonetheless, nuclear has to compete with cheaper natural gas, renewables, and battery storage."

“'Nuclear energy is revolutionary beyond electricity generation, though,' Baranwall continued. 'It can provide low-emission energy for water desalination to achieve worldwide water security. It can be used to decarbonize the industrial sector with process heat. It can also be used to decarbonize the transportation sector with hydrogen and electrification.'”

"Nuscale Power expects to receive approval in September from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its small, modular light-water reactor. The phone has been 'ringing off the hook' as the reactor approaches approval, Nuscale Chief Strategy Officer Chris Colbert said, because the stringent NRC approval is attractive to other countries."

"The approval process has taken 42 months so far, Colbert said. Now the challenge is to reduce costs for those customer countries."

Geopolitical Instability and Falling Oil Demand

June 28, 2020

The Atlantic:  "Two months ago, the world experienced a historic collapse in oil prices, as coronavirus-related shutdowns cratered global demand, briefly turning prices for May delivery negative. Prices have since rebounded modestly, but they remain unsustainably low for countries that depend on oil exports to generate government revenue.

"The resulting instability, from the Middle East to Africa to the Americas, raises a flurry of immediate national-security concerns. But the current crisis also offers a stark preview of the challenges the world will face if it negotiates a climate accord without also moving to stabilize the more than a dozen countries that depend on oil exports as their primary source for generating government revenue."

California Closing Reactors Generating 10% of State's Energy

May 18, 2020

Dr. Rita Baranwal: "Sadly, California’s remaining reactors are planning to close in 2024 & 2025 at the end of their operating licenses. These units could have been extended another 20 years, pending approval by the NRC, and continued to serve the state’s aggressive clean energy goals."