Harperdog writes: "The Bulletin's roundtable on nuclear fuel banks has been updated by Ta Minh Tuan with an article examining misunderstandings (his own included) about whether nations will have to forgo enrichment in order to gain access to fuel banks. Good examination of IAEA policies vs. what nations believe those policies to be."
Harperdog writes: "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has an excerpt from Leet Wood's longer piece on space-based solar power, a system for delivering a potentially limitless supply of clean energy that also has immense potential as a geopolitical tool. The longer article is for subscribers only, but this excerpt is a good read by itself."
Harperdog writes: "Dawn Stover has a fascinating article on the newest nuclear power plant to get approval: the Blue Castle Project on the Green River in Utah. Stover details the enormous damage done by nuke plants on local water systems, and points out that the 1-2 punch of climate change and cooling systems is already taking a toll on the ability of nuclear power plants to operate, because in summer the water they use to cool systems with is too hot even before they use it (Tennessee Valley Authority is the example). A very good read."
Harperdog writes: "Mark Hibbs has a detailed account of the ups and downs of nuclear energy at Sage Publications. This is a free article (most of Sage's articles are behind a paywall). What were the global reassessments after Fukushima, consequences of global nuclear governance (and it's failures), etc. Abstract followed by article."
Harperdog writes: "Dawn Stover recounts her attempts to access information at energy.gov, the US Energy Department's "cutting-edge, interactive information platform," which apparently isn't any of those things. Especially frustrating were her attempts to locate important documents related to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. An interesting read for anyone interested in true government transparency."
Harperdog writes: Gabrielle Hecht has an interesting piece on the subcontracted workers of the nuclear energy industry, in Japan and elsewhere. These workers face far more exposure to radiation than salaried workers; in Japan, 90% of the nuclear workforce is contracted. This is an eye-opening look at a practice that "carries exceptional risks and implications. And until these are recognized and documented, complex social and physiological realities will continue to be hidden." A good read, but I would like to know how the Fukushima 50 are doing
Harperdog writes: "The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock from 6 minutes to midnight to 5 minutes to midnight. The Board deliberated the decision and came to the conclusion based on a variety of events: failure on climate policy, Fukushima, nuclear proliferation, etc. This is a good explanation of the policy decision. Here's the opening quote: "Faced with inadequate progress on nuclear weapons reduction and proliferation, and continuing inaction on climate change, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) announced today that it has moved the hands of its famous "Doomsday Clock" to five minutes to midnight." A sobering read."
Harperdog writes: "Niko Milonopoulos, Siegfried S. Hecker, and Robert Carlin analyze terrific overhead photos of North Korea's nuclear facilities, discussing the rate of building and what the photos show. Also points to options for dealing with North Korea and their energy needs."
Harperdog writes: "Dawn Stover follows up her "Myth of Renewable Energy" article to take to task the environmentalists and politicians who live in a "true la-la land" when it comes to projecting what changes will be implemented to combat climate change.
Stover quotes, and ridicules, several paragraphs of a news release from the US Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, like this one: ""What will a day in the life of a Californian be like in 40 years? If the state cuts greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 — a target mandated by a state executive order — a person could wake up in a net-zero energy home, commute to work in a battery-powered car, work in an office with smart windows and solar panels, then return home and plug in her car to a carbon-free grid." Must read if you want a realistic view of what technology can and can't do."
Harperdog writes: Yikes! Russia is extending the lifetime of nuclear power reactors beyond their engineered life span of 30 years, including the nation's oldest reactors: first-generation VVERs and RBMKs, the Chernobyl-type reactors. This goes against existing Russian law, because the projects have not undergone environmental assessments. Scary article, well-written.
Harperdog writes: Excellent piece by Dawn Stover about what renewables can and can't do. The sun and wind may be practically inexhaustible, but "renewable" energy isn't. Solar, wind, and geothermal power are not fundamentally different from other energy technologies that consume finite natural resources. Good reading for anyone who thinks they know how to combat climate change.
Harperdog writes: "This is a nice piece by Dawn Stover on how science has had little to do with the choice, and blockage, of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository. This article doesn't go where you think it will; it isn't too long but is a thorough exploration of the process. Here's a quote: "Government officials are often guilty of politicizing science. Egged on by business or religious interests, they cast doubt on the scientific evidence for a connection between tobacco and lung cancer, or between fossil fuels and climate change, or even between humans and our primate ancestors. Some scientific findings are suppressed, while others are manipulated or distorted beyond recognition. But in the case of Yucca Mountain, the reverse happened: Government officials "scientized" politics. They made decisions that were largely political but cloaked them in the garb of science.""
Harperdog writes: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has just update their series "Is Nuclear Power Different Than Other Energy Sources?" The series itself is excellent. Here's a quote from the latest post: "Several years ago, an American utility executive said PDF, "Nuclear energy is a business, not a religion." This was a refreshing change from the usual ardent support or criticism of nuclear energy. To most people, the nuclear landscape looks quite different. Nuclear energy is not seen as just another way to boil water, and that is precisely why it usually evokes an almost religious faith or fear."
Harperdog writes: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists came up with the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to illustrate threats to humanity from nuclear weapons. The Clock has moved 19 times since then, and now the Bulletin must consider other threats besides nuclear weapons: nuclear power accidents, biosecurity, climate change. The Fukushima disaster has many wondering whether the clock will be moved again. The Bulletin will consider moving the clock again in a few months, and executive director Kennette Benedict explains what will the process will entail.