Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Chinese plants make headway

More progress for Chinese reactors: "Two more nuclear power plants in China are progressing towards commissioning. Hongyanhe's second unit has achieved first criticality, while fuel loading has begun at Yangjiang unit 1.
China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) announced that Hongyanhe 2 reached criticality on 24 October. Work began on the 1080 MWe Chinese-designed CPR-1000 reactor in Liaoning province in 2008. Hongyanhe 1, also a 1080 MWe CPR-1000, began commercial operation earlier this year. Work is also under way on two further CPR-1000s at the site.
Meanwhile, work has begun to load nuclear fuel into the first of four CPR-1000s under construction at Yangjiang in Guangdong province. The unit has been undergoing pressure tests since construction work was completed in June. Systems including diesel back-up generators have also been tested, and safety exercises including emergency drills were completed at the plant prior to it receiving regulatory permission to commence fuel loading.
Work began on Yangjiang 1 in 2008, with units 2-4 following in in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Work began earlier this year on Yangjiang 5, the first of two CPR-1000+ units - a more advanced version of the CPR-1000 design - planned for the site, making Yangjiang the largest nuclear construction site in the world. Unit number 6 is slated to start construction in 2014, and all six reactors should be in operation by 2018."

Another blow to Candu Inc

Another blow to Candu Inc: "Russia has been selected as the preferred bidder to supply Jordan with its first nuclear power plant. The initial reactor of the two-unit plant is expected to start operating in 2020.
Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), told the country's official news agency Petra that Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom will build the plant. Under Russia's offer, Rosatom's reactor export subsidiary AtomStroyExport (ASE) will be the supplier of the nuclear technology while Rusatom Overseas will be strategic partner and operator of the plant.
According to Toukan, Russia will contribute 49% of the project's cost, reportedly to be $10 billion, with the Jordanian government providing the remaining 51%. However, he said that financing of the plant has yet to be finalized and noted that Russian could supply the plant on a build-own-operate basis.
Three vendors were shortlisted by JAEC in May 2010: an Areva-Mitubishi Heavy Industries consortium, Russia's AtomStroyExport and Canada's SNC-Lavalin International. The designs under consideration were the Atmea1 pressurized water reactor, the AES-92 model VVER-1000, and the Enhanced Candu-6 pressurized heavy-water reactor. The vendors were subsequently invited to tender for the turnkey plant and submitted their technical offers to JAEC in July 2011."

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Energy demand in Africa

Nuclear power can easily bridge the gap between the power they have in Africa and the power they really need (for exampleonly about 25 stations similar to Bruce power stations can fully produce the maximum predicted required power by Nigeria in 2030, in comparison that number goes up to 70 for a coal power plant similar to the largest in North America: Nanticoke):



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

UK signs nuclear power deal with China, France

Great for Britain, not so good for Candu! not surprising if they cannot sell one in Canada, how could they compete internationally??? "In a back-to-the-future bet on its energy policy, the British government announced a long-elusive $26 billion deal on Monday to build the first new nuclear power station in Britain since 1995.

In reaching its nuclear deal with EDF Group, the big French state-controlled utility, and opening the door to financing from China, the British government signaled that whether in terms of environmental concerns, consumer prices or Britain’s long-term energy independence, the free market alone no longer served the national interest.
“This government is facing a looming energy crisis in this decade thanks to years of neglect and underinvestment,” Edward Davey, the British secretary of energy and climate change, said at a news conference in London.
Britain has been gripped by growing worries about its future power supplies, with supply falling and prices rising. Electric utilities have been reluctant to invest in new gas-fired plants to replace dirtier coal-burning ones because of many uncertainties — including a new energy bill winding its way through Parliament and the growth of subsidized wind and solar energy projects.
Mr. Davey said that Britain would need to replace about 60 percent of its generating capacity “in a relatively short time,” as Britain closes coal-fired plants to meet its climate-change objectives of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025.
The country will also gradually close its mostly aging collection of nuclear plants, which now produce 19 percent of Britain’s power. Only one of the plants, Sizewell B, which was finished in 1995, has modern technology.
The twin reactors envisioned in Monday’s announcement are to be built at Hinkley Point, in southwest England, which is currently the locale of two 1970s-era reactors. They would advance the government’s goal of adding more low-carbon sources of energy, but the project will come with a huge price tag. It is the kind of long-term project, with an even longer horizon for paying for itself, that private investors alone would be unlikely to undertake. The overall costs of building the plants is estimated at £16 billion, or $26 billion, in 2012 terms.
To reduce the investment risk, Britain and EDF are bringing in two state-backed Chinese companies, the China General Nuclear Corporation and the China National Nuclear Corporation. EDF also says it is talking to other investors that may take as much as a 15 percent stake.
The Chinese companies will take a stake of 30 to 40 percent in Hinkley Point. According to EDF, which is working with the two Chinese companies on nuclear power stations in China, the companies will be “strategic and industrial partners” in the project and will be given the “opportunity to gain experience in the U.K. and will support their long-term objective of becoming leading developers in the U.K.”
But at the news conference, Henri Proglio, EDF’s chief executive, played down the Chinese role, saying that EDF was in charge along with the French reactor designer Areva, and that British companies would be assigned more important roles.
That EDF alone cannot finance the plant “highlights the complexities of modern nuclear power projects,” said Antony Froggatt, an industry analyst at Chatham House, a research institute in London. He said that it would be “better to invest in other” alternative sources of energy like wind and solar power.
Consumers will also wait a long time to receive electricity from the new nuclear plants, which EDF says will provide power equivalent to 7 percent of British consumption and enough to power almost six million homes. If EDF makes its final investment decision in summer 2014, the first of the two Hinkley Point reactors will not begin producing power until 2023.
British consumers and taxpayers will pay much of the bill. EDF will be guaranteed a price per megawatt hour of £89.50 to £92.50 — about $144.50 to $149.40 — for 35 years. Those prices, to be fully indexed to inflation, would be almost double current wholesale power prices.
Analysts say the terms may wind up being generous for EDF, which says it will make a return of about 10 percent from the project.
Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, the company’s British arm, said that any cost savings would be shared between investors and consumers.
The British government may have had little choice if it wanted to sign a deal at this time. Other potential suppliers like Hitachi of Japan are considered years behind EDF in their technology.
Nuclear power has attractions. Unlike renewables like solar and wind it produces steady, reliable power for decades. But the upfront costs are huge and there is no payoff for a decade or more.
It is difficult to persuade a provider to build a nuclear plant without some guarantee, particularly now, when the emergence of shale gas in the United States and the growth of renewable energy in Europe are creating uncertainty about power prices.
And while Hinkley Point will not begin providing power for 10 years, the high costs of the plant will inevitably stoke the debate about rising energy bills in Britain. Even as the deal was being struck, millions of Britons were learning of increases in energy charges, including more than three million customers of NPower, a utility that announced on Monday that it would increase electricity prices by 9.3 percent and gas prices by 11 percent.
“This is a terrible deal for billpayers,” said Caroline Lucas, a member of Parliament for the Greens, who called for an investigation by the National Audit Office, a spending watchdog. “At a time when the costs of renewable energy are falling, it’s reckless for the government to subsidize the nuclear industry in this way.”"

Muzzling of federal scientists widespread

Why this is not surprising with this gvnt???!!! And remember it is the taxpayers money who pays for the research to begin with and they don't have the right to know??? "Hundreds of federal scientists said in a survey that they had been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific reasons, and thousands said they had been prevented from responding to the media or the public.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which commissioned the survey from Environics Research "to gauge the scale and impact of 'muzzling' and political interference among federal scientists," released the results Monday at a news conference. PIPSC represents 60,000 public servants across the country, including 20,000 scientists, in federal departments and agencies, including scientists involved in food and consumer product safety and environmental monitoring.
In all, the union sent invitations to participate in the survey to 15,398 federal scientists in June. A total of 4,069 responded.
Twenty four per cent of respondents said they “sometimes” or “often” were asked to exclude or alter technical information in federal government documents for non-scientific reasons. Most often, the request came from their direct supervisors, followed by business or industry, other government departments, politically appointed staff and public interest advocates.
The survey asked scientists whether they agreed with a number of statements about their ability to speak freely. It found:
■37 per cent agreed that they had been prevented by public relations or management from responding to a question from the public or the media about their area of expertise in the past five years.
■14 per cent agreed that they could speak freely and without constraints to the media about work they published in peer-reviewed journals.
■10 per cent said they were allowed to speak freely and without constraints about the work they do at their department or agency.
In addition:
■50 per cent of respondents said they were aware of “cases where the health and safety of Canadians" (or environmental sustainability) have been compromised because of political interference with their scientific work.

71 agreed that "our ability to develop policy law and programs that are based on scientific evidence and facts has been compromised by political interference," although a greater number (81 per cent) thought underfunding compromised those abilities.

48 per cent said they were aware of cases where their department or agency “has suppressed or declined to release information, and where this led to incomplete, inaccurate or misleading impressions.”
■74 per cent of respondents thought the sharing of government science findings with the Canadian public has become too restricted.
In recent years, there have been numerous complaints from scientists and the media about federal scientists being restricted from publicly talking about their research. Some complaints are being investigated by Canada's Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault.
Peter Bleyer, head of policy and communication for PIPSC, said this is the first time anyone has collected “quantifiable evidence” about political interference in the communication of federal science to the public.
“It’s a potential threat to all Canadians,” he said. “We need to fix it.”"

This is the link to the full survery document:

100 years of x-ray crystallography

Great video: 100 years of x-ray crystallography: "X-ray crystallography is one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. This animated journey through its 100 year history begins with the pioneering work of William and Lawrence Bragg in 1913 and ends on the surface of Mars. To date 28 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to projects related to the field and x-ray crystallography remains the foremost technique in determining the structures of a huge range of complex molecules.
• This film was produced in celebration of the Bragg Centenary and was supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council"

Energy Risk: Radiation Superstition

A good read:    "
People rationally fear possible accidents spreading deadly radioactive materials. Indeed massive doses of radiation did kill 38 emergency workers at Chernobyl, and the fallout of short-lived iodine resulted in 4000 cases of thyroid cancer and 15 deaths. However there is no evidence of the thousands of hypothetical deaths predicted by extrapolation of deadly exposures to lower radiation doses. Opponents of nuclear power have now hyped this death number up to one million, without observable evidence.
Using simplistic mathematical extrapolations from the effects of high-radiation accidents, nuclear power opponents claim that no amount of radiation is safe — not even the low-level natural radiation that comes from the sky and from earth’s radioactive potassium, uranium, and thorium created billions of years ago. Potassium is in our food and our bodies. Rocks contains the thorium and uranium that decays to radon or fuels electric power plants.
Reporting about the Fukushima accident created hysteria without basis. A UN scientific committee charged with investigating the accident’s health effects reported in December that no radiation health effects have been observed among public or workers, and it cautioned against extrapolation to predict health effects of low-level radiation. Radiation superstition causes great harm. Japan is wasting billions of dollars preventing repopulation of radiologically safe areas. Hundreds have died from evacuation stress. Importing liquified natural gas to replace nuclear power has driven Japan’s balance of trade negative.
People unnecessarily fear low-level radiation from accident-dispersed material, buried waste, or medical procedures. EPA required Yucca Mountain engineers to limit accidental releases to just 1/20th of natural radiation for 10,000 years. Dental X-ray technicians routinely drape lead blankets on patients to protect them, but it would take over 10,000 such X-rays to observe any health effect.
Prolonged radiation exposure is safe at natural environmental levels; each cell rapidly repairs DNA strand breaks: one per second per cell. Early life evolved when the natural radiation rate was 3 times greater than now. Today people living in places where natural radiation is 5 times normal exhibit no more cancers. People living in mile-high Denver get more cosmic radiation, but exhibit no more cancers.
Radiation dose rates are as important as doses. High radiation rates overwhelm natural cellular defenses. Doses deadly to Chernobyl workers would have no effect if spread over a lifetime. Cancers are destroyed by multiple concentrated radiation treatments, allowing time between for less-irradiated tissue to recover. In 2012 MIT radiation researchers discovered no DNA damage from exposure rates 30 times as great as natural radiation, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab scientists actually observed how low-level radiation stimulated repair within cells. Long-term, low-dose radiation is benign.
Nuclear industry and shipyard workers exposed to low-level radiation developed fewer cancers. Accidental contamination of building steel by recycling a medical radiation source exposed 8000 Taiwan residents to radiation 7 times natural levels over 30 years, and cancer rates were dramatically reduced. Last year the Dose Response Journal and the American Nuclear Society published compendia of articles evidencing how low-level radiation is benign or healthful.
The vague radiation regulation, “as low as reasonably achievable” encourages ever more costly impediments to affordable nuclear power. This could be fixed with “as high as reasonably safe” limits that are set with evidence, as practiced for other environmental hazards. Nuclear power can solve our energy, climate, and poverty crises. Should we forsake the future of the planet by clinging to a superstition?"

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

France Commits to ESS

Great news from ESS: France Commits to ESS
"French officials say they are prepared to sign a Letter of Intent committing to the construction of the European Spallation Source. France joins the host nations, Sweden and Denmark, by solidifying its contributions to the project.
French representatives have announced today at the ESS Steering Committee meeting in Lund, that they are prepared to sign a Letter of Intent. In meetings with Swedish and Danish officials, representatives from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) said they are prepared to commit to fund the project.
“This is a very significant step for ESS and the European science community,” says Lars Leijonborg, Sweden’s Chief Negotiator. “France’s commitment is a clear signal of support. The contributions of French scientists and engineers will make to the project are essential for success.”
The European Spallation Source ESS is a next-generation neutron source built in partnership with 17 European countries. It is expected to open up new opportunities for scientists using neutrons for material research. France has one of the largest neutron user communities in Europe with a tradition of research in this field.
The decision comes following an extensive review of France’s participation in international research organizations. The review, which concluded in June, determined that ESS is an important strategic future scientific instrument. The pledge reflects the country’s long tradition of supporting large-scale research infrastructures. It also solidifies the commitment France made to Sweden and Denmark when Lund was chosen as the site of the European facility.
“We are very pleased that ESS was highly evaluated by the French government’s review process,” says Peter Honeth, the Swedish State Secretary of Education and Research. “That is a very strong validation of the project’s importance for the future of European research infrastructures.”
The estimated cost of ESS is €1.843 million for construction. The French contribution will be a combination of in-kind and cash. French laboratories and research institutes will develop and provide a significant portion of the hardware for the facility in France.
“The success of ESS is dependent on the intellectual investment of its partner countries,” says Jim Yeck, Director General and CEO of ESS. “I am looking forward to collaborating with our French partners, who have a track record of excellence in world-class engineering and neutron science.”"
Discussions about details of the contributions are ongoing between French officials and the Host countries. Details still need to be worked out relative to the specific contributions, and operations of the facility. The final selection of the French in-kind contributions is subject to an independent evaluation committee, consisting of representatives from all partner countries.
“The negotiation process with France has been fruitful and constructive,” says Bo Smith, the Danish Chief Negotiator. “We are working on the details of the agreement, and specifics of the technical contributions, and this is a postive step forward.”

Friday, 11 October 2013

The end of Candu for new builds!?

The end of Candu for new builds!? Scrapped reactors ‘a psychological blow’ for Candu... "Ontario’s decision not to build new nuclear power plants will keep Canada’s home-grown atomic power company, SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy Inc., dependent on maintenance and refurbishment of its existing reactors around the world.
Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli confirmed Thursday a report in The Globe and Mail that the province scrapped a plan to spend as much as $10-billion new nuclear reactors as part of its long-term energy strategy. Declining demand for electricity in the province, the potentially huge nuclear build-out costs and decreasing prices for natural gas and other power sources undercut the economic justification for nuclear plants. Ontario will, however, continue an ongoing refurbishment of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s four reactors.
The Energy Ministry’s decision “is a psychological blow, although not a huge surprise,” said Mark Winfield, an environmental studies professor at York University in Toronto, who follows the nuclear industry. “The writing has been on the wall for several years,” he said, since the provincial government balked at an earlier plan for new reactors back in 2009.
Indeed, SNC Lavalin made it clear when it bought Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (now Candu Energy) from the Canadian government in 2011 for $15-million, that it was picking up the operation mainly for its refurbishment business. That’s one reason the price was so low, Mr. Winfield said.
Maxim Sytchev, an analyst who follows SNC Lavalin at Dundee Capital Markets, said the company’s acquisition of AECL “was always viewed as a way to play the refurbishment cycle, not a new build cycle.” As a result, Ontario’s decision “is not a make or break situation” for Candu Energy or for SNC Lavalin, he said.
Candu Energy said Thursday that it is disappointed with the Ontario decision, but that it still has “promising opportunities” for sales of new reactors offshore, particularly in China and Britain. The company said it doesn’t think the prospects for those sales will be hurt by the Ontario decision, which it hopes will eventually be reconsidered."

See alos:


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

U.S. Government Researchers Barred from Scientific Conferences

Is this really necessary??? U.S. Government Researchers Barred from Scientific Conferences: “It is frustrating, it is embarrassing,” Government researchers are barred from their own labs during the shutdown, and they cannot travel to conferences

Nobel Prize in Chemistry is given for taking chemistry to cyberspace

And the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is given for taking chemistry to cyberspace! The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 was awarded jointly to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

'God particle' theorists receive Nobel Prize in physics

'God particle' theorists receive Nobel Prize in physics, at last! "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2013 to
François Englert
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
Peter W. Higgs
University of Edinburgh, UK
“for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”"

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab:" According to the BBC, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has fired its 192 lasers at a tiny target of deuterium and tritium, which has, for the first time ever, released more energy than was put into it. That could constitute evidence of nuclear fusion. The news is so new that Livermore hasn't put out a press release yet."