And now, the Carnival entries for this week!
Big news this week in the pro-nuclear advocacy and outreach world was made with the announcement of the "Diary of a Nuclear Tourist" program, which is a function of the Nuclear Literacy Project. You can see the announcement of the project here, and a statement from one of the NLP / Diary project sponsors can be found here.
As a result of this project, a new blog to track and report its various events has been launched, and one of that blog's entries leads off this week's Carnival.
DIARY OF A NUCLEAR TOURIST - Suzanne Hobbs Baker
The Shifting Energy Narrative - Suzy Baker explores the change in environmentalist stance on nuclear power, and invites everyone to sideline old thoughts and habits for the sake of environment, of science, and of truth.
Next, we have a Captain's Choice blog entry -- from a blog not yet featured on any Carnival!
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY TODAY - Sherrell R. Greene
Ethos of Nuclear Reactor Safety - Greene examines four cornerstones that should be foremost in building a personal concept of reactor safety.
APR note: I heard some of this information in a remarkable lecture Mr. Greene gave at the ANS 2012 Winter Meeting, and was very impressed. I am glad to add this blog to the roll call and look very much forward to reading through all of the previous posts. Thanks to Paul Bowersox of ANS for letting me know it exists!
AREVA NORTH AMERICA: NEXT ENERGY BLOG
Daily Renewal Powers Up Nuclear Energy - AREVA CEO Mike Rencheck discusses why nuclear energy is such an important part of our overall power generating mix.
The Nuclear Quarterback - AREVA's blog clearly counters a recent Forbes piece which used an NFL Quarterback analogy, showing why nuclear actually is a top choice in generating mix for a variety of reasons ignored in the original piece.
ANS NUCLEAR CAFE (submitted by Paul Bowersox)
Reducing Nuclear Construction Costs - Jim Hopf explores some ways, possibly controversial, that could be contributory to reducing construction costs of nuclear power plants.
APR note: The 'comments' string on this post is fairly exciting.
THE HIROSHIMA SYNDROME - Leslie Corrice
Chernobyl Wildlife Thriving: Its Possible Impact on Japan, or not? - A new report concerning the Chernobyl region says that the exclusion zone around the destroyed power plant has become a thriving wildlife refuge. Will the Japanese Press tell the Japanese public that Chernobyl wildlife is flourishing and previous fear-inducing studies may well have been flawed?
ATOMIC INSIGHTS - Rod Adams
I’m betting that nuclear fission will disprove Malthus once again - Rod Adams engaged in a Twitter discussion with a futurist who is skeptical about the ability of nuclear energy to stave off what he sees as a coming crash for the developed world economies. Sami Makelainen believes that crash is almost inevitable and will come because of a combination of limited resources of easily accessible hydrocarbons and the negative environmental impact that is an inevitable part of burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Rod agrees that our present course is aiming in that direction, but he is confident that nuclear energy provides the opportunity for clear sailing provided a small turn is made in sufficient time. The two have composed a long term wager designed to bring flashbacks to those old enough remember reading about the 1980 bet between Paul Ehrlich (Malthusian) and Julian Simon (Cornucopian).
THE NEUTRON ECONOMY - Steve Skutnik
Where's the real bottleneck for natural gas? Distribution. - The real limits to growth in natural gas as an electricity source lie not in limits on the commodity, but in its distribution capacity. Despite presently low commodity prices, limited pipeline capacity means that natural gas is still a very regional commodity; and it also means that the push to replace nuclear electricity with gas-fired plants is a grave economy folly.
YES VERMONT YANKEE - Meredith Angwin
Cold Weather Winners and Losers on Vermont Grid - Who wins and who loses when the wholesale price for electricity goes above 20 cents in cold weather? HydroQuebec loses, because they closed Gentilly-2 and had to cut back on the power they send to the U S. Merchant generators win. Vermont utilities win, due to required revenue sharing from Vermont Yankee. This post has inspired related posts at other blogs, and has started an important conversation about natural gas prices and the role of nuclear energy.
Meredith also submits Vermont Presents Backward Economic Arguments from ANS Nuclear Cafe - The state of Vermont appealed the federal court ruling that supported Vermont Yankee's continued operation, and enjoined the state from regulating nuclear safety. In appeals court, the state claimed that its reasons for shutting down Vermont Yankee were economic. Among other things, the state claimed that inexpensive nuclear power makes it hard for new plants to compete! This is a reason to close a power plant....it's too cost-effective? The state's arguments were completely backward. Angwin's post also contains many links to original material, such as court rulings and the audio of the appeals hearing.
CANADIAN ENERGY ISSUES - Steve Aplin
Money Down the Drain on Gentilly 2: Hydro Quebec would love to have the generating capacity of the now shut down Gentilly 2 plant back.
APR note: This post was nominated by Meredith Angwin.
I DIG U MINING - Andrea Jennetta
Andrea has submitted the following Op-Ed story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Lifting the Ban on Uranium Mining is the Rational Decision - Democrats and so-called “environmentalists” hate uranium mining. Republicans in Southside Virginia hate uranium mining. And the silence from Virginia’s thriving nuclear industry on the issue of lifting the uranium mining moratorium in the Commonwealth is deafening. In an op/ed for the Richmond Times Dispatch FCW Publisher Andrea Jennetta exposes the ugly truth: the nuclear industry has no friends. Including itself.
APR note - Andrea Jennetta's regular venue can be found by clicking here. The Jan. 25 post is the reprint of the above Op-Ed, but there are many other insightful and brutally honest posts to be found at this blog.
NEI NUCLEAR NOTES - Submitted by Eric McErlain
V.C. Summer: A Major Contributor to the Local Economy
Some Facts About Station Blackout That David Lochbaum Didn't Tell The New York Times
The Weather Caused by Beaver Valley
Forbes Fumbles Nuclear Football Analogy
A Call for Civility and Rationality in Environmental Discourse from the Nature Conservancy
That's it for this week's Carnival. We have THREE blogs appearing here this time which have never been linked to a Carnival before -- the brand new 'Diary of a Nuclear Tourist,' from the Nuclear Literacy Project; Sherrell R. Greene's blog 'Sustainable Energy Today,' and Andrea Jennetta's 'I Dig U Mining.' This 141st Carnival has also marked the return of the AREVA folks, which I for one am very glad to see.
Now, the answer to "What is this?"
The photo you saw above is the reactor building of the Piqua Nuclear Power Facility under construction in December, 1960. From the wire photo: "Containment shell of atomic reactor being built near Piqua, O., to produce electric power for that city of 20,000. The shell, which is being constructed by Graver Tank and Manufacturing Company, a division of Union Tank Car Company, is 123 feet high and contains a protective inner wall of concrete seven feet thick."
PNPF was the only organic moderated, organic cooled power reactor ever built for commercial operation. The reactor was developed and built by the Atomics International Division of North American Aviation, and used a substance called Santowax (a trade name of Monsanto) which was comprised of several isomers of what are described as aromatic hydrocarbons. To quote from Atomics International's characterization of the plant, the moderator / coolant was "an organic hydrocarbon liquid consisting of a mixture of ortho-, meta- and para- terphenyls (OMP.)" The actual trade name for the mixture was, in fact, "Santowax OMP." This substance was considered superior to various other coolant / moderator substances because it offered vastly superior corrosion behavior (almost no materials will corrode in its presence) and had a very high boiling point, making pressurization of the primary system either not required (theoretically) or very low, saving on construction cost. A further advantage, as a result of the noncorrosive behavior of this material, was that primary coolant activation was low - and thus, a reduction in shielding could be expected.
Because of these considerations, the original A-I plans for a full scale organic moderated - cooled plant for commercial power production did not include a containment building. However, once the contract was set for Piqua, Ohio, the requirement for a full conventional containment was made, and the structure you saw above was constructed.
Above, UPI Telephoto of PNPF, 6/11/63. "The nuclear power reactor in this plant at Piqua, O., achieved criticality (sustained a controlled chain reaction) 6/10 for the first time. The plant is the first to be powered by an organic reactor and the first built for a municipal power utility. The 11,400 electrical kilowatt plant, located about 28 miles north of Dayton on the Miami River, will be operated at full power in a few months."
The PNPF did not contain its own power generating equipment; steam from the plant, supplied at conditions of 450 psia, 550F and 150,000 lb/hr was piped through a new bridge structure across the Miami River, and upstream shortly to the old Piqua power station, which could thus either provide power using its own fossil fired boilers or steam from the nuclear plant. The locations of both the nuclear plant on the East bank, and the original power house on the West bank of the river are obvious in the following photo.