Tag archives for nuclear

Thought leaders from across Japan’s energy sector gathered in Tokyo to discuss the role energy will play in adapting the country’s cities to a challenging environment of aging and declining population and increasing dependence on foreign sources for food and fuel. Tokyo-Yokohama, the world’s largest urban concentration, is already in many ways in the vanguard of the future of urban centers. What happens in this mega city is being watched closely across the planet for ideas to emulate or avoid.

Vermont’s nuclear power era is almost over. Entergy Corporation will shutter Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in 2014, ending nuclear power production in the Green Mountain State. Tuesday’s announcement ended years of controversy and legal wrangling over the plant’s future; in the end, the millions of dollars needed to run the facility simply no longer…

No ignition at the U.S. National Ignition Facility, home to the world’s largest laser.

Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, announced his resignation this week, but he is still making pointed comments about the need to strengthen regulations to ensure nuclear power plants are safer. “I think the Fukushima event was a wake-up call, hopefully for everyone,” Jaczko said in a news conference today, referring to…

Nearing record highs in March, gasoline prices have dropped for most of April across the U.S. and on average are cheaper than they were a year ago. As pump prices ease, federal prosecutors are turning up the heat in the BP oil spill case, arresting an ex-engineer accused of obstructing justice by deleting potentially damaging e-mails. And as the…

Before Congress headed home for spring recess, the Senate, with a rate vote of 100, approved President Obama’s new round of sanctions designed to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The president’s decision was based on an analysis of current oil supply and the likely effect of further sanctions on prices. The Senate also shot down the president’s bid to reduce subsidies to oil producers. Oil…

A look at things a year after one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake erupted some 50 miles off Japan’s Tohoku coast. The ensuing tsunamis set off by the quake devastated communities up and down the Japanese coast, killing some 20,000 people. The one-two natural-disaster punch also…

Bill Gates sees the transformative potential of low-cost energy. “Cheaper energy would be on the list of the three or four things you would want for the poorest people in the world,” he said Tuesday at the 2012 Energy Innovation Summit, sponsored by ARPA-E, the Department of Energy’s three-year-old advanced energy research agency. Cheaper energy…

For the first time in 34 years, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission cleared the way for licensing of new nuclear reactors in the United States. It’s not the first step for the addition to the Vogtle site outside of Augusta, Georgia, which four years ago began what was supposed to be a streamlined approval process.…

In North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang, pictured above last year on May Day, light radiates from Juche Tower, the monument built to commemorate the 70th birthday of ruler Kim Il Sung in 1982. But that power did not flow to the nation’s people. Among the deprivations that marked the nuclear-armed era of Kim’s son,…

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on…

Although Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised before to not enact a carbon tax, floods, bush fires, heat waves, and drought reawakened discussion about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Australia’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a carbon tax, sending the bill to the country’s Senate, where observers say it is…

Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which recently filed for bankruptcy, got special treatment from the Obama administration, some have alleged, since the company’s $535 million in federally guaranteed loans had much lower interest rates than those of other green energy companies, according to an investigative report. The FBI raided Solyndra’s Fremont, Calif., offices Thursday, although it…

Australia, with the highest per capita greenhouse emissions of any large developed country, will soon take on one of the most ambitious schemes to tackle climate change, with a new carbon-trading system. The planned carbon tax will start in 2012 and apply first to the 500 worst polluting companies responsible for about 60 percent of…

Within hours of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s announcement that he wanted to phase out nuclear energy, a special government task force in the United States charted a path forward for nuclear power in the United States Wednesday. The Japan task force of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission suggested gradual improvements for the 104 U.S.…

Flip on a light switch. Press the power button to your TV. Plug your cell phone charger into the wall. Are you expecting something to happen? If the answer is ‘yes’, congratulations, you remembered to send in last month’s electric bill. But the real reason you can be confident that when you want power –…

The new, raised assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident puts it on par with Chernobyl in terms of potential consequences, but it is obvious to anyone that there is a difference between Japan’s ongoing crisis and the 1986 explosion in the Ukraine. Summed up in a single word, that difference is “containment.” Steel and…

The historic March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which cost untold number of lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and mourning, was an object lesson on the unpredictable and often violent planet that we are fortunate enough to inhabit. The news media, however, quickly shifted their focus to coverage of the…

As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror—radioactive fallout—some truths known for 40 years bear repeating. An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors. The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can’t contain 90 percent…

It’s natural that the nuclear crisis in Japan is causing people to rethink nuclear power. Frankly, it would be crazy if it didn’t. But the problem with energy choices in general is that it’s actually pretty hard to  change your mind once you’ve chosen a direction.  Nuclear power proves the point. For most of the…

A group blog by Yale students. The topic: Many of the world’s nuclear power plants are reaching the end of their expected lifetimes, and policymakers are divided on what to do. Safely decommissioning such plants is costly, and funding for doing so is scarce. Compounding the problem, there are worries about nuclear proliferation, particularly regarding…

While there may be good reasons for nuclear power to be used as a bridge fuel to a renewable energy future, I am confident that nuclear power is politically dead in the United States. This makes the research and development of alternative energy and carbon capture and storage that much more important and urgent. It…

Among the challenges facing technicians struggling to contain the meltdown at the Daiichi Japanese nuclear power units is getting enough water to cool them down. In Japan’s case, the overheating was caused by explosions triggered by the earthquake. Nuclear—as well as fossil-fuel and biomass-fired and some renewable energy systems are impacted by changes in ambient…

Nuclear Crisis in Japan

A game-changer or the price of doing business? At first there was the shock — the unbelievable devastation wrought first by Japan’s largest recorded earthquake (recently upgraded to a magnitude of 9.0) and then by the tsunami. Then, as the focus shifted to the daunting cleanup and recovery, another crisis hit — this one at…

The disaster in Japan, which threatens to worsen as the country’s officials struggle to contain what is being called the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown 25 years ago, is having repercussions on nuclear policy worldwide. On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a three-month moratorium on extending the operation periods for its nuclear…