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lewis_whokeyser 68 posts  |  Last Activity: 17 hours ago Member since: Oct 6, 1999
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  • Nuclear Street News
    A British parliamentary committee on Wednesday will endorse small modular nuclear reactors, which some view as the perfect answer to the energy needs of the future.

    While technology for the 300-megawatt or smaller power plants is in development, some see SMRs as a viable option for nuclear power that is carbon emissions free and yet avoids the high construction costs and some of the political resistance presented by large nuclear power plants that cost billions of dollars to build.

    Parliament's cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee, having reviewed the option of modular construction of nuclear plants, has concluded that a “a sustained period of collaboration between government and industry,” will be required to put SMRs into operation in Britain.

    If that is done, the small modular plants built at existing nuclear facilities could play a “key role in delivering low-carbon energy and lower upfront capital costs compared to large, conventional nuclear reactors,” said committee chairman Tim Yeo.

    Yeo also noted that the commercial aspects of moving forward with small reactors was “unclear.” He also said the government should endorse SMR development at existing nuclear plants, where there would be smaller additional costs and local workforces already familiar with nuclear power.

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Dec 15, 2014 10:00 PM Flag

    The supply of oil has been rising strongly over the last several years. Only a couple of years ago in 2012, world oil supply according to the International Energy Agency totaled 88.6 million barrels per day. But in just the last two years, global supply has jumped a robust 5.6%, or 5.0 million barrels per day, to 93.6 million barrels through the third quarter of 2014. At first, this increased supply was well received by the market place, as the global demand for oil was running in excess of supply by as much as 700,000 barrels per day as recently as late last year.

    Global supply and demand fundamentals began to change in 2014. While the daily supply of oil kept surging with each passing month this year, demand growth from the global market place effectively ground to a halt. As a result, the world has found itself with an excess supply of oil of as much as 1 million barrels per day. When supply is running in excess of demand, such are the conditions for a decline in prices. And drop they have.

    So where exactly has the marginal increase in supply been derived over the last couple of years? Almost exclusively the Americas including the United States. For example, in 2012 the Americas produced 14.6 million barrels per day, or 16.4% of the world's oil supply, while the rest of the world produced 74.0 million barrels per day. Today, the Americas have increased production by a stunning 28% to 18.7 million barrels per day, or 20.0% of the world's oil supply, while the rest of the world is still producing 74.9 million barrels per day, which is just 1% more than in 2012. Thus, American energy producers, particularly those higher cost suppliers that recently brought production online in the last few years, are bearing the brunt of the recent decline. In particular, those suppliers that depended heavily on leverage to achieve increased production now suddenly find themselves wobbling for survival.

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Dec 10, 2014 10:13 AM Flag

    Obviously, the Reuter's reporter is math-challenged. The Navy uses depleted U-238 bullets in its Vulcan-Phalanx Gatling Gun. Each slug weighs about a pound and it fires 3000 rounds per minute.
    U-238 is also a terrible choice for a dirty bomb since it is only mildly radioactive and relatively easy to decontaminate. I believe yellowcake is selling for around $40/kg.

  • CHISINAU (Reuters) - Police in Moldova said on Tuesday they had detained seven people suspected of smuggling radioactive Uranium-238 on a train from Russia, a substance they said could have been used to make a "dirty bomb".
    Police discovered about 200 grams (7 oz) of hazardous substances worth about 1.7 million euros ($2.1 million) during a sting operation last week, said Ion Bodrug, head of an Interior Ministry investigative department.
    "After a preliminary examination we realized we were talking about Uranium-238, an extremely dangerous radioactive substance used to make 'dirty' nuclear bombs," he told a news conference.
    A dirty bomb is not, in fact, a nuclear device and does not produce a nuclear explosion. Instead it mixes conventional explosives with radioactive material, with the aim of spreading contamination.
    Another dangerous substance, mercury, was also discovered by the police, who believe the gang's aim was to sell the materials in Europe, Bodrug said.

    Question: If 7 oz of U-238 is worth $2.1 million, what is a 48-ton Tails cylinder worth?
    Maybe LEU's stock price IS too low, it's just in the wrong business!

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Dec 5, 2014 10:29 PM Flag

    The production of tritium requires the generation of energetic neutrons. There are two suitable ways of producing such neutrons: nuclear reactors and accelerators. In an accelerator, neutrons are produced by a process called spallation. Protons, accelerated in a particle accelerator to very high energies, strike a target made of tungsten. The energetic protons then knock neutrons and more protons off the tungsten atoms like billiard balls. These neutrons and protons then knock off more neutrons in a cascade fashion. In a nuclear reactor, energy is produced by nuclear fission, or splitting, of uranium and plutonium atoms. Neutrons are used to produce the fission in the first place, and a byproduct of this reaction is more neutrons. Most of these neutrons are used to create more fission reactions -- a chain reaction -- but some neutrons leave the reaction region -- the reactor core -- without initiating a fission reaction. These neutrons are available for other nuclear reactions including those that produce tritium. In both cases, the quantity of neutrons produced can be controlled by adjusting parameters inherent to the accelerator or nuclear reactor. (Wikipedia)

    The ACP doesn't appear to have anything to do with tritium production.

  • Reply to

    Nuclear Accident in Ukraine, breaking news

    by gojeera Dec 3, 2014 5:58 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Dec 4, 2014 1:46 PM Flag

    Ukraine Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said: "Actually, there is no threat at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
    "Repairs for the unit are underway, and it is expected to be in operation by 5 Decembe, 2014."
    "There was an electrical short circuit in the system of energy delivery late last week, thus, only one unit, unit number 3, is out of order at the nuclear power plant. There is no threat to the reactor. This is technical damage which is being eliminated.
    "The block is in a state of repair."
    Located in the south-east part of Ukraine in Enerhodar, the Zaporizhzhya NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the fifth-largest worldwide.
    Equipped with six VVER-1000 pressurised light water nuclear reactors, the plant has a combined power output of 6,000MW, which accounts for 50% of electricity from nuclear power and more than 20% of total power supply in Ukraine.

    No big deal, unless they are lying...

    I worked at a plant where the transformer blew up once. The flames were higher than the containment dome!

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Dec 3, 2014 6:32 PM Flag

    On the world stage, America's oil production pulls this nation's economy ahead while stalling countries hostile to America. Last week, OPEC decided it was not going to cut oil production in response to the plummeting cost of a barrel of oil.

    That was a mistake, writes the UK Telegraph: "Opec has misjudged the threat. As late as last year, it was dismissing US shale as a flash in the pan. Abdalla El-Badri, the group's secretary-general, still insists that half of all US shale output is vulnerable below $85."

    Currently, the world's oil producers are in a game of chicken with their economies. If the price of oil drops too low, the competing countries will have to stop production because the cost would not be worth it. At the moment, their cost of producing oil is much higher than that of the United States.

    The Telegraph again: "The fiscal break-even cost is $161 for Venezuela, $160 for Yemen, $132 for Algeria, $131 for Iran, $126 for Nigeria, and $125 for Bahrain, $111 for Iraq, and $105 for Russia, and even $98 for Saudi Arabia itself, according to Citigroup."

    And how far does the price of oil have to drop before it starts to hurt the U.S. shale fields? $50, according to CNBC.

    This sets the U.S. in the strategic position to win in the economic struggle for oil domination against hostile nations. For example, Russia is now facing serious economic challenges, and as a result will possibly slow exploration for oil and gas in its Arctic seas. According to the Brookings Institute, the Great Bear estimated the global price of oil would be at $97 dollars as it set its 2014 budget. Once the price of oil slid below $80, however, it headed for economic trouble because oil accounts for 14.5% of Russia's GDP. If oil prices remain low, how will Vladimir Putin fund his shadow war in Ukraine?

  • Reply to

    Nuclear Accident in Ukraine, breaking news

    by gojeera Dec 3, 2014 5:58 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Dec 3, 2014 7:03 AM Flag

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk announced the accident at Zaporizhzhya NPP on Wednesday morning, calling on the energy minister to hold a news conference.

    "I know that an accident has occurred at the Zaporizhye NPP," Yatseniuk said, asking Demchyshyn to make clear when the problem would be resolved and what steps would be taken to restore normal power supply across Ukraine.

    News agency Interfax Ukraine said the problem had occurred at bloc No 3—a 1,000-megawatt reactor—and that the resulting lack of output had worsened the power crisis in the country. Interfax added that the bloc was expected to come back on stream on December 5.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 30, 2014 11:21 PM Flag

    In 2007, Google, the internet search giant based in Mountain View, CA CA +0.91%, made a media splash by investing big-time dollars in an effort to develop a renewable energy technology that could compete economically with coal.

    The project was called RE C and it ended only four years after it began.

    During its four-year existence, RE C invested in start-ups commercializing promising renewable energy technologies. It also funded internal R&D efforts. In both cases, the overarching objective was to generate a gigawatt of electricity from renewable energy resources more cheaply than a coal-fired plant could.

    For the past three years, the reasons for Google’s decision to pull the plug on RE C have remained unclear. While it was obvious that the project had not succeeded, it was not clear whether it had failed. The public relations spin on the program’s demise did not help clarify matters.

    “At this point, other institutions seem better positioned than Google to take this work to the next level,” Google said in its announcement ending RE C.

    Who knows what that means?

    I don't own Google Stock because one of the CEO's once stated that profits don't matter and they keep throwing money at liberal causes. They became billionaires before they ever learned the value of a dollar.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 28, 2014 7:27 PM Flag

    The Environmental Protection Agency is set to propose new regulations Wednesday to limit smog, kicking off the next great environmental power struggle—and setting up another difficult decision for President Obama.

    At issue is what is known as the air-quality standard for ground-level ozone, which causes smog when certain pollutants combine in heat.

    EPA on Wednesday proposed lowering the existing standard of 75 parts per billion to a range of 65 to 70 ppb. That would make it tighter than the status quo, which EPA's scientists have said is not sufficient to protect public health, but would set a level that is more lax than environmentalists would like to see.

    In an editorial for CNN on Wednesday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that the revised standard would "clean up our air, improve access to crucial air-quality information, and protect those most at-ris—our children, our elderly, and people already suffering from lung diseases like asthma."

    The proposal also sets off an intense lobbying struggle between industry groups—who say that anything stricter than status quo will be prohibitively expensive—and environmental groups, who were burned once before by the Obama administration on this rule and don't want to see it go away again.
    Although the rule comes from the agency, the final decision will require the White House's seal of approval and will almost certainly come with input from Obama.

    It's a decision the president has faced before. In 2011, then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson oversaw a proposal to lower the standard to 70 ppb, but the White House struck down that proposal late in the process, overruling the agency and setting off a fury among stunned environmental groups. Setting the lower end of the proposal at 65 ppb, rather than the desired 60 ppb, raises the possibility of more trouble, although the agency will take comments on a proposal of 60 ppb that could leave open the option of that moving forward.

  • Reply to

    OT: Energy From Salt Water

    by lewis_whokeyser Nov 27, 2014 12:26 PM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Nov 27, 2014 10:20 PM Flag

    If you're right, Maxwell's Demons are alive and living in Norway!
    There is a materials revolution underway which is below most people's radar, but is every bit as big as the electronics revolution that gave us modern society. The Singularity is coming.

  • Reply to

    OT: Oil Prices May Continue Sliding

    by lewis_whokeyser Nov 26, 2014 12:29 PM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Nov 27, 2014 10:15 PM Flag

    Oil prices, oil-related shares and oil-linked currencies all tumbled in Asia on Friday, in the wake of OPEC's decision to refrain from cutting output despite a huge oversupply. Oil fell nearly $5/bbl on Thanksgiving. This benefits airlines and cruise ships and puts more money in peoples pockets to spend at retailers this Christmas, but it could threaten the oil fracking boom and all the jobs it supports.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 27, 2014 12:26 PM Flag

    I never heard of this before:
    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch researchers are seeking to add a new, largely untapped renewable energy source to the world's energy mix with the opening of a "Blue Energy" test facility on Wednesday.

    Blue energy takes advantage of the difference in salt concentration between sea water and fresh water to produce electricity.

    Rik Siebers of REDstack BV, the company overseeing the project, said the goal is to improve the technology to the point where it will be profitable to build blue energy plants commercially in the 2020s.

    Siebers said blue energy will one day have its own niche.

    "For wind turbines you need wind, and solar panels work in the day, but water is always flowing," he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

    The Dutch plant has a theoretical maximum capacity of 50 megawatts, about enough to power 100 Dutch homes. A more limited trial of similar technology began in Norway in 2009.

    The technique uses two specialized filters with salt and fresh water on each side. One filter lets positively charged sodium ions seep through, while the other admits negatively charged chlorine ions, creating a natural battery.

    Each square meter of the filter panel can generate roughly one watt, and the filters are then arranged in stacks of hundreds to multiply the effect.

    It's no coincidence the technique is being pioneered in the Netherlands, which has a wealth of river-coast interchanges including the Rhine and Meuse river deltas.

    The test plant is strategically located on the Afsluitdijk, the long dike built off the Dutch coast in the 1930s that turned part of the North Sea into an enormous freshwater lake.

    The project is being funded by a mix of government and private sponsors, with participation by the University of Twente.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 26, 2014 12:29 PM Flag

    By Robert Bryce: Why is the world market suddenly awash in oil? Over the past few years the U.S. has added the equivalent of one Kuwait and one Iran to its domestic oil and gas production.

    Since 2004, U.S. oil production is up 56 percent, or about 3.1 million barrels a day, about the same as Kuwait produced last year. The dimensions of the boom in natural gas can be seen by looking solely at the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, where output has jumped eight-fold since 2010 and is now about 16 billion cubic feet per day, a volume roughly equal to Iran’s current natural-gas production.

    U.S. oil and gas numbers are soaring because of an abundance of rigs. More than half of all the drilling rigs on the planet are operating in the United States. We have about 1,900 active rigs. The rest of the world combined has about 1,300.

    OPEC is on its heels because of America’s rednecks, and I use that term respectfully. The men (and some women) who work on drill rigs and hydraulic-fracturing teams are highly skilled. Our oil-patch workforce has been trained over a period of decades and is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Sure, lots of other countries have large shale deposits, but they can’t effectively tap their shale because they don’t have the expert labor needed to operate the drilling rigs, maintain the mud pumps, or analyze the well logs.

    Rights is the last of the three Rs. The U.S. is anomalous in that it allows the private ownership of mineral rights. People who own mineral rights have a huge financial incentive to exploit them, as they will get at least one-eighth of the value of the oil or gas produced, and perhaps significantly more.

    It’s no doubt true that access to federal land is essential to the U.S. oil and gas sector, but the shale revolution has happened almost entirely on private land, and that drilling has occurred because we Americans count mineral rights among our enforceable rights.

  • Nuclear News:
    Exelon Corp. is seeking a pricing model in Illinois that recognizes the societal benefits of nuclear power, as it considers closing the Quad Cities, Byron and Clinton power stations prematurely, due to the negative economic environment.
    Byron Generating StationFollowing a Nuclear Energy Institute report that tallied the economic impacts of the 11 commercial power plants in the state, which was released in early October, a company official said Exelon was not seeking a financial bailout. But policy makers should find a pricing plan that reflects nuclear power's pristine greenhouse gas emissions track record and its influence on grid stabilization, Quad Cities Generating Station's Senior Communications Manager William Stoermer said.
    Nuclear power provides Illinois with 48 percent of its electricity and the three at-risk plants provide the power for three million homes, the Daily-Journal reported Tuesday
    But pricing support has deteriorated. Stoermer said prices at times have fallen into negative territory with profit margins in the red. State lawmakers, he said, should support a pricing model that recognizes the discrete benefits of nuclear power, which generates $8.9 billion in annual economic output in Illinois.
    Nuclear power employs 5,900 people in the state in carbon emissions-free jobs. The Quad Cities power plant alone generates $1.4 billion in annual economic impact, employs 900 people and paid $7.4 million in property taxes this year, the newspaper said.

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Nov 25, 2014 1:33 PM Flag

    You're talking about the Pons-Fleischman announcement and it wasn't proved to be false, but it wasn't able to be repeated, which is different. Basically, they hadn't worked all the bugs out of the process and there was an X-factor involved that they were unaware of.

    The European Union (EU) has released a document that recommends more research be done into Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) and, significantly, the Pons and Fleischmann effect. The document was created by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Directorate G Industrial Technologies of European Commission (part of the European Union).

    The document called “Forward Looking Workshop on Materials for Emerging Energy Technologies” was edited by Dr. Johan Veiga Benesch. A section of the document deals with LENR in Condensed Matter and asks for “the study of the Fleischmann and Pons Effect through Materials Science Development.”

    Although it perhaps falls short of the sort of vindication that many followers of cold fusion feel is justified, the document admits that large amounts of heat that cannot be attributed to chemical reactions are produced during electrochemical loading of palladium cathodes with deuterium. It also says that this can only be ascribed to a nuclear process. Specifically a nuclear reaction between deuterons in palladium, it even goes so far as to call this deuterium-deuterium a nuclear fusion process.

    The Commission is effectively admitting that Pons and Fleischmann may have been right and their work should be studied.

    gojeera is right, though. There are a lot of scam artists claiming they have found the "secret" to cold fusion. That doesn't necessarily mean there is no "there" there.

  • Reply to

    OT: Iran Nuke Talks Fail

    by lewis_whokeyser Nov 24, 2014 9:51 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Nov 24, 2014 10:30 PM Flag

    Elliot Abrams:
    Today we learned that it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Even a short "framework" agreement or one-pager was beyond reach. And this, despite the extension of the talks from the original deadline last spring.

    It should be clear now that there will be no comprehensive agreement with Iran. Today's announcement says the talks will be extended, again, this time through to next summer. But all sides know what the key issues are, and there will be no deal merely because extra months pass by. The only way to get an agreement is for the United States to give more and more concessions, beyond the dangerous concessions already made to Iran. It may be that the president and Secretary Kerry would be willing to do this, given the concessions already made (starting with the abandonment of the critical demand that Iran stop enriching uranium). But the election results portend a tougher line in Congress and among Democrats, and reality has a way of setting in. The truth is that the Islamic Republic has, and demands to retain, a nuclear weapons program, and will not agree to a deal that forces it to abandon this program. Our negotiators and theirs can, no doubt, imagine what a compromise would look like, but it cannot be reached without the United States or Iran abandoning positions that neither wishes to sacrifice.

  • From The Economic Times
    On November 6, the United States Patent Office published an application for a patent that made a disarming claim: that its inventor has a small reactor device that produces more heat than is put in, and this heat is also more than what is produced through a chemical reaction. The inventor, an American-Italian called Andrea Rossi, never mentions that nuclear fusion has happened in his vessel, but the implication is nothing less.
    Rossi has no standing in the academic community. The topic of nuclear fusion at room temperature – called cold fusion sometimes – has no academic credibility either. But undeterred by criticism and disregard, a small community of researchers continues to work on this topic, and they are excited by Rossi’s purported invention. Rossi has not made vital disclosures and is thus unlikely to get a patent this time, but his work suggests a shift in the way the cold fusion community now works.

    “We gave up trying to science this into something,” says Michael McKubre of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), “and so we are now trying to build commercial products.” There are cold fusion research groups in the University of Missouri, Texas Tech University, several Japanese and Chinese universities and Italy.
    Private companies in the US, Israel and a few other countries are still pursuing cold fusion, which now goes by the name Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). Recently, Bill Gates visited the Italian technology agency ENEA, which also works on cold fusion, and had supposedly expressed interest in funding LENR research. India’s Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) had started an LENR project in 1989, but gave up in the mid-1990s when official support became difficult to obtain.

    The anomalous effect, in terms of unexplained and substantial excess heat, is not produced in every experiment. But it is now seen more frequently. Those who are sympathetic to cold fusion research say that the anomaly needs to be investigated.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 24, 2014 9:51 AM Flag

    The deadline for the Joint Plan of Action ended it seems without a final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. It’s not yet clear what happens next.

    Obama and Kerry
    “There will be some kind of extension,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says Dubowitz, with parties reconvening in December to continue to negotiate. "Iran has 'hooked the fish' with Western negotiators so committed to negotiations that they will do whatever it takes to keep everyone at the table."

    It’s useful then to see exactly what, for better or worse, has been resolved so far, either during the course of these talks or previously. According to Omri Ceren at the Israel Project, a pro-Israel public affairs organization that focuses on the Middle East, there are several issues on the table, many of which the Obama administration has already caved on.

    —Sanctions. The White House is offering upfront sanctions relief that the administration says it can "snapback" if the Iranians fail to comply with their end of the bargain. However, as Dubowitz explained in congressional testimony last week, the idea that it will possible to re-impose sanctions once Iran is opened for business, is politically and economically unrealistic.
    —Sunset clause. The Jerusalem Post reported that the administration has offered Iran a 10-year sunset clause, meaning that after ten years, whatever so-called permanent deal is reached comes to an end, constraints go away, and Iran is a normalized nuclear power despite the fact that, for instance, the Islamic Republic is a state sponsor of terror.

    “If this is true it’s shocking,” says Dubowitz. “Congress has been talking about many decades, and the administration said 20 years. Iran asked for 3 to 7, 10 would be a significant climb down. And it means that within a decade most of the constraints would disappear and Iran will be well-positioned to develop a massive industrial-size program, w

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Nov 22, 2014 9:46 AM Flag

    TOKYO (AP) -- A strong earthquake struck central Japan on Saturday night, causing at least one building to collapse and injuring several people, according to Japanese media reports. No tsunami warning was issued.

    The magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit parts of Nagano city and surrounding areas the hardest, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake's magnitude at 6.2.

    The earthquake struck at 10:08 p.m. Japan time (1308 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), but since it occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami. An apparent aftershock with a magnitude of 4.3 followed about 30 minutes later.

    Japan's Kyodo news agency, citing fire officials, said several people reported injuries, and at least one building collapsed. It wasn't clear whether the injured were at the building.

    National broadcaster NHK reported that a landslide blocked a road after the quake struck. NHK also said 200 homes were without power, and that Shinkansen bullet train service in the area was temporarily suspended.

    © 2014 The Associated Press.

    Fukushima redux?

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