Among the world’s most developed countries, Germany seems to be on the right track concerning renewable energy production. The country’s renewable resources have been used more than the classic ones this year, reports BDEW, Germany’s Federal Association of Energy.
Therefore, nuclear power dropped to 17.4 percent after Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided to show down the oldest eight reactors, as a reaction to the disaster at Fukushima, Japan. Plans are that by 2022 they’ll have phased out all of the nuclear power plants today in function.
To leap to the next generation of nuclear power technology, Bill Gates-backed start-up TerraPower is approaching countries rather than individual utilities or financiers.
Gates last week disclosed that he brought up TerraPower’s fourth-generation nuclear power technology with government officials at the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology during a visit to China. “TerrPower is having very good discussions with [China National Nuclear Corporation] and various people in the Chinese government,” Gates told the Associated Press.
Bellevue, Wash.-based TerraPower then said that the company has visited energy experts in the U.S. France, India, Japan, Korea and Russia, but that “there were no deals to at this time.”
While Germany and Japan are backing away from nuclear power, the United Kingdom is looking in completely the opposite direction – 8 new nuclear plants are scheduled to be built. As a close neighbor, Germany has a number of words on the topic (all of them polite, but not particularly flattering).
Germany’s announcement of zero nuclear was prompted by the Sendai quake and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown last spring, as Clean Technica readers may remember, but those phase-out plans were already in place. The announcement gave rise to fears of insufficient power feeding into the grid anyway. However, Jochen Flasbarth, president of Germany’s EPA, pretty much thinks the entire idea is ridiculous, and furthermore that nuclear power is not the answer to a stable power supply:
Heading off on a long journey to Mars on Saturday is NASA’s new Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory which, once it lands on the Red Planet, will be powered by nuclear energy. Unlike previous Mars rovers — the Spirit and the Opportunity — which were powered by the sun and couldn’t work in dark crevasses, on the wrong side of mountains or at night, the Curiosity will power through all of those times and spaces like a champ. Slated to have a 23-month stay, the Curiosity’s engine could theoretically last a few decades.
If you thought the Fukushima disaster derailed nuclear power worldwide, look again.
Evacuations and the havoc caused by meltdowns at four reactor cores at the Fukushima power plant earlier this year prompted Japan to shift away from nuclear power and recatalyzed a nuclear phase-out in Germany. But many countries remain enthusiastic about nuclear power, and interest in newer technologies has increased because they are safer, according to a panel of industry professionals here at the MIT Energy Finance Forum on Friday.
“Our investors have a very long time horizon and the reason they supported it is the long-term societal implications and the potentially significant returns from that (so) we haven’t seen any wavering of support,” said Tyler Ellis, a project manager at TerraPower. “Our development partners are trying to accelerate the time scale (of building plants) due to the energy security and safety.”
Protest at Jaitapur over planned construction of two new nuclear reactors.
A series of protests that began in October have delayed the hot start of two Russian 1000- MW VVER reactors in the Tamil Nadu state on India’s southernmost coastline. Additional protests, some of them violent, have set back the start of construction of two French 1650-MW EPR reactors in the Maharashtra state on India’s west coast some 400 km (250 miles) south of Mumbai.
Imagine if nuclear power was safe, terror-proof, and fueled by a plentiful, ubiquitous element. Sound like a pipe dream? Maybe it is. Maybe not.
A couple nights ago, I dropped by the Vice magazine offices in Brooklyn to check out a new documentary on thorium put together by Motherboard.tv. (Full disclosure: the video was produced by Alex Pasternack, a former contributor here at TH.) The film, The Thorium Dream, examines the history of an alternative kind of nuclear power, one tested decades ago but never embraced.
Going from sixty-to-zero on nuclear will require significant new fossil generation in the German state. Bavaria is expected to trade out their significant nuclear electricity portfolio for fossil generation in the coming decade, according to new analysis from Der Spiegel. While the contribution of non-hydro renewables is anticipated to increase from 10 to 36 percent of generating capacity, the largest increase comes from natural gas, which will increase its portfolio share from 10 to 46 percent, far more than any other single fuel. Spurred by recent fears following the Fukushima crisis in Japan, Bavaria is just the latest to abandon its nuclear investments in favor of fossil fuels, trading unlikely radiation risks for certain emissions and pollution increases from natural gas combustion.
Global radioactivity data challenge Japanese estimates for emissions and point to the role of spent fuel pools
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.
A review of nuclear safety in the UK has found 38 areas where safety could be improved, in lessons drawn from the Fukushima incident in Japan early this year.
The review, ordered by the government following the Japanese experience, pinpointed critical areas for concern, including risks associated with flooding, the layout of plants, and the state of preparedness for emergencies. Ministers and the relevant regulators will be asked to look at these as a matter of urgency.
However, the review published on Tuesday also concluded that the UK’s nuclear industry is broadly safe, with “no fundamental safety weaknesses”. If the areas of concern raised in the light of the Fukushima are addressed, the industry will be “even safer”, the report said. The relatively clean bill of health was rapidly seized on by the government.
The UK has formally joined forces with a US laser lab in a bid to develop clean energy from nuclear fusion. Unlike fission plants, the process uses lasers to compress atomic nuclei until they join, releasing energy. The National Ignition Facility (Nif) in the US is drawing closer to producing a surplus of energy from the idea.
The UK company AWE and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have now joined with Nif to help make laser fusion a viable commercial energy source.
Fu Nishikata, eight, and her brother Kaito, 12, on the playground of the school they left on 1 April to evacuate to Yonezawa, 50km away. Their mother, Kanako Nishikata, is member of a group of parents for the protection of Fukushima children. Photograph: Jeremie Souteyrat
It was an email from an old friend that led me to the irradiated sunflower fields of Fukushima. I had not heard from Reiko-san since 2003, when I left my post as the Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent. Before that, the magazine editor had been the source of many astute comments about social trends in Japan. In April, she contacted me out of the blue. I was pleased at first, then worried.
The team is scheduled to build a technology demonstration unit in 2012. This is a cooperative project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Werner leads the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory involvement in this effort, which includes participation in the reactor design and modeling teams, fuel development and fabrication and development of a small electrical pump for the liquid metal cooled system.
Sunlight and fuel cells were the mainstays for generating electricity for space missions in the past, but engineers realized that solar energy has limitations. Solar cells do a great job supplying electricity in near-Earth orbits and for satellite-borne equipment, but nuclear power offers some unique capabilities that could support manned outposts on other planets or moons.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake just hit Mineral, VA, sending shockwaves up and down the East Coast of the United States that evacuated the Capital Building, the White House, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. With Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster still fresh in our memory — and still sending radiation through that country — everyone is wondering how this latest tremor will affect nuclear power plants in the Mineral, VA area. The answer, as of now, is not much — but there are six nuclear reactors within 150 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter, and a recent report by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that we’re not properly prepared for a disaster.
America’s nuclear power renaissance has been just around the corner for years, it seems. Even though 20 percent of all U.S. electricity is generated by nuclear power plants, without any greenhouse gas emissions, safety and cost concerns mean no new plants have been built in decades.
But a new breed of nuclear reactor could unlock the power of the atom in a safe, affordable way. energyNOW! correspondent Daniel Sieberg explores the promise of small modular reactors (SMR) – simple enough to be scalable, powerful enough to power a whole town, and safe enough to be buried underground.