02 Sep 2011
France, which depends on nuclear reactors for about three-quarters of its power needs, won’t build new atomic plants just to compensate for closures in Germany, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Thursday.
“France’s goal is first of all to ensure its energy independence,” Fillon said during a visit to Electricite de France SA’s Bugey nuclear site in eastern France.
“France’s goal isn’t to build nuclear reactors for Germany. I’m not saying there won’t be energy exchanges between France and Germany but what must be made clear is that the solution to Germany’s energy future isn’t in the building of nuclear reactors in France,” the prime minister said.
Following the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan, the French government reiterated its support for atomic energy, unlike Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel decided in March to shut more than 25 percent of the country’s nuclear capacity and phase out atomic energy completely by 2022.
01 Sep 2011
We held off on this skeleton story yesterday, waiting for confirmation or refutation, but in the wake of all the recent bad news – tropical storms, punishing drought, and continuing deadlock in DC – decided we could use this bit of sunshine.
“After the damage caused by the Fukushima disaster, it only makes sense that Japan turn its resources to trying to find another efficient form of clean energy besides nuclear. Research into wind turbine development may have lead to a solution with stunning potential. Wind lenses, brims that go around the outside of a turbine’s blades, can double or even triple the turbine’s power output, bringing wind farms in line with the efficiency and output of nuclear power, without the danger of a meltdown.
“The wind lens was developed at Kyushu University, where prototypes are already in use. The wind lens works by creating a pocket of low pressure in front of the turbine. As a result, air rushes to the low pressure point, conveniently enough, right through the turbine, increasing the speed of the turbine and ultimately, the amount of power that is put out.” 1 Sept. 2011.
02 Sep 2011
Last week’s central Virginia earthquake jolted huge concrete casks holding spent nuclear fuel at the North Anna power plant in Louisa County, shifting some casks one to four inches, said the plant’s operator, Dominion Virginia Power.
The plant houses 53 casks on two concrete pads. Of the 27 casks on one pad, 25 shifted during the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Aug. 23 about 12 miles south of the plant, Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher said.
“They are safe and remain intact,” he said. “They are designed not to fall over and they didn’t fall over.”
The casks, which look like concrete silos, sit on two secure pads outside the two-reactor power plant, which was shut down pending inspections by a special team sent this week by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Each of the 27 casks on one pad is at capacity, holding 32 fuel rods.
01 Sep 2011
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association may have to develop less renewable energy than expected on its own over the next several years because its members are developing their own projects, managers said Monday.
The G&T cooperative, based in Westminster, Colo., provides power to 44 members who serve about 1.5 million people in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska.
Last fall, Tri-State submitted a 20-year plan to Colorado regulators outlining how it planned to meet demand for electricity over the next two decades while also satisfying mandates in Colorado and New Mexico to get more power from renewable sources. It plans to submit an update Nov. 30 after collecting public input.
But at a public meeting Monday, managers said the cooperative's members have proposed their own wind, solar, small hydro- and waste recovery projects, along with one to recover methane from landfills.
"Our members have come to us at virtually every board meeting with renewable energy projects," said Robert Wolaver, senior manager for energy resources. 1 Sept. 2011.