French MPs Drop Legal Limit on Nuclear
March 06, 2023
Grid Brief: "French lawmakers have voted to scrap the 50% legal limit on nuclear power in the country's total energy mix, as part of the nation's efforts to build newer, more modern nuclear plants."
PJM: Power Plant Retirements Threaten Grid Stability
February 27, 2023
Wall Street Journal: "The warnings keep coming that the force-fed energy transition to renewable fuels is destabilizing the U.S. electric grid, but is anyone in government paying attention? Another S.O.S. came Friday in an ominous report from PJM Interconnection, one of the nation’s largest grid operators.
"The PJM report forecasts power supply and demand through 2030 across the 13 eastern states in its territory covering 65 million people. Its top-line conclusion: Fossil-fuel power plants are retiring much faster than renewable sources are getting developed, which could lead to energy “imbalances.” That’s a delicate way of saying that you can expect shortages and blackouts."
Lake Powell Down to 22% Full
February 19, 2023
Washington Post: "Water levels in the nation’s second-largest reservoir dropped to a record low last week, raising the alarm that major changes are on the way for the seven states — and millions of Americans — relying on that system, experts say.
"Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir that sits along the Colorado River on the Arizona-Utah border, generates electricity for about 4.5 million people. It is also a key part of the Colorado River Basin system, which supplies water to more than 40 million people. As of last week, its water levels fell to 3,522 feet above sea level, which is the lowest seen since the structure was filled in the 1960s. It’s now just 22 percent full, and unprecedented cuts in states’ water usage are necessary to avoid dire consequences. . . .
"At 3,370 feet, the reservoir becomes a “dead pool,” meaning water may be unable to flow downstream at all, cutting states off. 'Lake Powell water is about a quarter of the water in the Los Angeles Basin. It supplies water to 90 percent of people in Las Vegas. It supplies water to about half of Phoenix. It supplies water that produces most of your winter vegetables,' Udall said."
Nuclear Development Does Not Have to Be Slow
February 15, 2023
B.F. Randall: "It is the Japanese that really put the lie to the claim that nuclear has to be slow. They built 60 plants between 1970 and 2009, Figure 5. The median build time was 3.8 years, which is about the time it takes to build a big coal plant."
Over-Regulation of Nuclear Power
February 14, 2023
Jack Devanney: "In the boom of the early 70's, nuclear lost control of its costs, as did coal. This was accompanied by regulatory attempts to ensure we would never have a release of radioactive material. These attempts led to ALARA, the regulatory principle that any exposure to radiation is unacceptable if the plant can afford to reduce it further. In other words, there are no limits. And the criterion is not whether the benefits of the reduction, if any, outweigh the costs. The criterion is: can the plant afford it? ALARA mandated the regulator to force the cost of nuclear power at least up to the cost of its competitors. ALARA quickly priced nuclear out of business. In the USA, new nuclear plant ordering dried up in 1975. This was four years before Three Mile Island, and a time during which nuclear power enjoyed strong public support."
Nikola Moving Forward with Hydrogen Fueling Network
February 11, 2023
Wall Street Journal: "Nikola Corp. has started work on hydrogen plants, part of a fueling network the company intends to underpin its push to compete in the nascent zero-emissions truck market.
"The seven-year-old manufacturer has also signed up a handful of hydrogen producers that have agreed to supply hydrogen for Nikola vehicles in parts of the U.S. and Canada, as the company seeks to have enough fuel for about 7,500 heavy-duty trucks by 2026."
Mining Impacts of Green Energy
January 16, 2023
John Lee Pettimore: "As a miner for 40 years I have worked in various mines around the world. Gold, platinum, copper, coal, lead, zinc, oil and salt. I'm going to tell you something, and here it is. We will destroy the earth in the name of 'Green Energy.' Follow along and I will explain."
Regulatory Update Stumbles
January 16, 2023
The Hill: "So convoluted is the proposed rule that a survey of advanced reactor developers last spring found that 75 percent of those who responded reported that they wouldn’t use the new pathway, preferring instead to jury-rig a path to licensing via the old rules, even though they were purpose-built for technologies that bear at best a passing similarity to the new technologies that companies are attempting to commercialize. The resulting licensing framework, if approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would constitute a huge setback for efforts to commercialize a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors needed to address the nation’s climate and energy security needs."
Oceans Were the Hottest ever Recorded in 2022
January 11, 2023
The Guardian: "The world’s oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2022, demonstrating the profound and pervasive changes that human-caused emissions have made to the planet’s climate.
"More than 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed in the oceans. The records, starting in 1958, show an inexorable rise in ocean temperature, with an acceleration in warming after 1990.
"Sea surface temperatures are a major influence on the world’s weather. Hotter oceans help supercharge extreme weather, leading to more intense hurricanes and typhoons and more moisture in the air, which brings more intense rains and flooding. Warmer water also expands, pushing up sea levels and endangering coastal cities."
Hundreds of Retiring Coal Plant Sites Could Convert to Nuclear
January 05, 2023
U.S. DOE: "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a report showing that hundreds of U.S. coal power plant sites could convert to nuclear power plant sites, adding new jobs, increasing economic benefit, and significantly improving environmental conditions. This coal-to-nuclear transition could add a substantial amount of clean electricity to the grid, helping the U.S. reach its net-zero emissions goals by 2050.
"The study investigated the benefits and challenges of converting retiring coal plant sites into nuclear plant sites. After screening recently retired and active coal plant sites, the study team identified 157 retired coal plant sites and 237 operating coal plant sites as potential candidates for a coal-to-nuclear transition. Of these sites, the team found that 80% are good candidates to host advanced reactors smaller than the gigawatt scale."