Mini-Nuclear Plants

According to the Washington Examiner, the federal Energy Department is working with a company founded by Bill Gates (TerraPower) to develop small, less expensive/more efficient, nuclear reactors to produce electrical power.

These reactors use the molten salt cooling technology, as well as using liquefied sodium for a fuel source.

This is early stages development.  A prototype 1,100 Megawatt reactor isn’t scheduled until 2030.

Certainly a step in the the right direction for reliable, carbon free energy.

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Plenty of clean base electrical power can be had…

A pair of MIT trained nuclear scientists founded Transatomic Power.  They have developed a molten salt reactor that uses the nuclear waste produced by fresh water reactors for fuel.

Instead of wasting all that potential energy, we could being using to power these inherently safer reactors that don’t produce weapons grade nuclear material as a by product.

As Dr. Pournelle said, “…with what we spent in Iraq we could build nuclear power plants and space solar power satellites and tell the Arabs to drink their oil.”

The plants developed by Transatomic Power could deliver a steady supply of carbon free electricity that could power our industrial base, expanded use of electric cars, and provide light and heat to millions of Americans cheaply, reliably, and safely.

 

Small Nuclear Reactors

The DoE is pushing for funding small modular nuclear reactors (SMR).

These SMRs are designed to be pre-assembled in a factory and shipped to location.  They would range in size from 50 MW units to 300 MW units.

These plants could come on line relatively quickly, providing a “carbon free” source of cheap, domestic electrical power that would benefit American homeowners, business owners and provide a competitive edge to US manufacturers.

First new Nuclear Reactor in the US in 10 years is on track.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is bringing a new Nuclear Reactor on line, on schedule and on budget, in order to provide clean, “carbon free”, electricity in useful quanties, to their customers.

Clean and safe nuclear power is supported as the “green option” by serious leaders of the environmental movement, including Gaia theorist James Lovelock, Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore, and Britain’s Bishop Hugh Montefiore, a longtime board member of Friends of the Earth.

Of course, there are uneducated watermelon groups opposing this step toward clean, American engergy indepence, including the obviously confused “Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.”

The World’s First floating nuclear power plant

It’s not the one the Russians are building. Given the Russian’s record of failure with nuclear reactor’s and generally poor environmental record, any buyer’s are doing so at their own risk.

The world’s first floating nuclear power plant was built in the early 1960s by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It was the MH-1A Sturgis, a converted WWII Liberty ship.  The BBC falsely reported that the Russians were building the first floating nuclear power plant back in 2006, and other news agencies are still repeating their mistake.

A Nuclear Power comeback

Some good news from USA Today, utilities are starting the process to build twentysix new Nuclear Power plants here in the United States.

A recent Gallup Poll shows a record 59% of Americans favor nuclear energy.

Dr. Pournelle nailed the truth of Nuclear Engergy:

I have to say it again: cheap energy will cause a boom. The only cheap energy I know of is nuclear. Three Hundred Billion bucks in nuclear power will do wonders for the economy. We build 100 1000 MegaWatt nuclear power plants — they will cost no more than 2 billion each and my guess is that the average cost will be closer to 1 billion each (that is the first one costs about 20 billion and the 100th costs about 800 million). The rest of the money goes to prizes and X projects to convert electricity into mobility.

Expanded Nuclear Power is the only practical way to supply the level of electrical power needed to support wide spread use of electric and plug in hybrid electric cars.

Also posted at the Urbin Report.

Even more American electric cars in the pipeline

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge are working to get electic cars to market.  It looks like Chevy is going to beat to the market with the Volt though.

These new entries are still “Concept Cars,” so I’m taking their “late 2010” release date with a chunk of salt.

Keep in mind that introducing a lot of plug in hybrids or pure electric cars into the market is either going to require new sources of power (home based cheap solar and industrial scale Nuclear for example) or some serious inovations in electrical grid management.