Weekend Nuclear Energy Roundup

floating reactor.jpgIn an interesting twist on some of Atomic Rod‘s ideas, the Russians now plan to build portable floating nuclear reactors as reported by Der Spiegel. It’s workable, since these are reactors just like the ones Russian Subs and Icebreakers currently use. The drawback as Der Spiegel points out is that the reactors use U-235 weapons-grade Uranium in their fuel rods. If you want to use old-school permanent disposal techniques, (in other words put it where nobody could get at it again,) it does propose novel solutions. You could fill the barge with cement and drop it in the bottom of the Marianas trench. However new-school is that any uranium is much too valuable to dispose of permanently, it’s better to recycle it.

The concept is amazing. The new ship could be anchored along any coastline where there is no threat of a tsunami or hurricane. All local engineers have to do is attach a few cables and then the magic arrives: “the reactors are activated — and there is light.” Voilá, the world’s mobile, boat-based nuclear reactor for the production of civilian power. That, at least, is how an enthusiastic Evgeny Kuzin, who works for the Russian utility company Malaya Energetika, pitches the ambitious project.

Speaking of Rod Adams you can catch him here at his blog, Atomic Insights with a new podcast from Friday on Canada’s potential energy future.

Also, over at NEI Nuclear notes, a very detailed piece refuting Greenpeace’s “Chernobyl’s just waiting to happen here in America” hysteria with solid facts on nuclear safety.

BBC news examines nuclear energy futures in this article, you might try playing with the flash widget to the side. I don’t agree with the cost projections as nuclear energy will decrease in cost per KWH over the next few decades. This will occur as a natural outcome of capitalism: processes will improve, more uranium and thorium will be mined, reactor efficiencies will improve, and efficiencies of scalability will all decrease the costs over time.

One thing: if you are studying to be a lawyer, then you might want to change. The article points out the current constraint of limited Nuclear Scientists and Engineers. If you want an assured future job where you can probably write your own ticket, it might be time to become a Nuclear Engineer.

“If you’re looking to support the nuclear industry, you’ll need to protect the knowledge base for the UK,” says Mr Bleasdale.

“Five or six years ago, the universities were not producing the people we needed.”

This article from the UK Telegraph points out the profits piling up for nuclear plant operators.

New nuclear energy for Texas is coming by 2014 from NRG, according to this Houston Chronicle article.