Monday, December 28, 2009

South Korean Companies Win Nuclear Bid

South Korea won against Areva in a bid to build four light water reactors. This was a huge victory for the nation as it will bring it recognition in the UAE in addition to proving that it is major world leader in nuclear technology. The reasons cited for the bid being given to South Korea over the French based company of Areva is because Areva has fallen behind schedule and gone over budget in its project in Finland. South Korea also underbid Areva by a significant amount which also was a point in its favor.

For more details, take a look at the Nuke Notes post by Dan Yurman and the original article on the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is Christmas Once Again

I am wishing everybody an early Christmas since I will be out of town until the 26th. Please reflect on the true meaning of Christmas which is to have a good time and reflect on the happy memories that Christmas has brought you. Some will claim that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, but the Roman inventors of Saturnalia and other winter solstice holidays would vehemently disagree on that point. As Christmas was contrived from many cultural traditions across several early cultures, both Christian and not it would be unfair to classify it as a purely "Christian" holiday. This is why many Christian sects forbade the celebration of Christmas ranging from the Puritans of colonial times to the modern Seventh Day Adventists. I feel sorry for those who are not able to experience Christmas since it has always been an enjoyable time of the year for me.

Underneath all of the religious and mythological trappings of Christmas, the ORIGINAL meaning is simply the celebration of life and joy during the icy depths of winter cold. It is a time of food, candy, cookies, gifts, colorful lights, majestically decorated trees, relatives, etc. All of these things go to make our lives richer as Christmas is a day for remembering and bringing joy to others as well.

I sincerely wish you all

A Merry Christmas.

Odds and Ends

I have added the informative blog, BraveNewClimate to my blog roll as it has been recommended to posters on the Energy From Thorium forum. The blogger, Barry Brooks does an excellent job in reporting on developments in climate science as well as critically examining the potential feasibility of "green" energy sources such as "renewables". Take a look at his December 17th post on the potential of the LFTR in Australia.

In other news, Florida might be making the shift from coal power to nuclear energy as Seminole Electric canceled its latest plan for a coal power station. As Seminole Electric has also been considering nuclear power as one of its future energy options, this might be a point in favor of nuclear power. Florida is relatively poor in natural gas, and transporting natural gas over long distances is an expensive undertaking.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Economist on Gen IV nuclear technology

Alright my fellow nukeheads, take a look at this interesting post on different reactor types by the Economist magazine.

"The sixth shortlisted design, the molten salt reactor (MSR), works by dissolving nuclear fuel in a fluoride solution, which acts as both the fuel and the coolant in the reactor core. The molten salt, which has good heat-transfer properties and can be heated to temperatures above 1,000{degree}C without boiling, is moderated using graphite. The circulation of the fuel in this way eliminates the need for fuel fabrication and allows for continuous online reprocessing. It also makes the design well suited to the use of existing fissile material, which can be easily blended into the fuel mixture. And like fast reactors, the MSR can be designed to burn up many of the longer-lived byproducts of the fission process, resulting in nuclear waste that is much less radioactive than that produced by the once-through cycle."

The article is a pretty good introduction to several reactor designs and the technical aspects of each. I recommend it as a primer for those of you who are curious as to where we stand with nuclear research. Happy reading.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christianity and Politics

At the risk of drifting too far into politics, I would like to comment on the phenomenon of Christian conservatives who have aligned themselves with the Republican party in the American political system. Does the current day Republican party turn many atheist would be supporters away because of its emphasis on religiously motivated social conservatism?

I have watched the documentary "Gay Republicans" with interest as it showed the conflict that arose between homosexual Republicans and the apparent ideology of the current day Republican party. Do Republican atheists feel a similar disenfranchisement with the American GOP? Is this enough to prevent them from voting for or supporting the Republican party during elections?

Speaking from my own experience, I disagree with the Democratic party on many things. However it seems as if the base of the Republican party is formed from Christian fundamentalists, (Often militant ones at that) Young Earth Creationists, theocratically motivated authoritarians, as well as an underlying feeling of homophobia. GOP might as well stand for God's Own Party. However, this could just be personal bias on my part since it seems like you only hear about the trouble makers.

For the atheists that are reading this blog, how much does the religious wing of the modern Republican party affect your viewpoint of the party as a whole? Does it discourage or frighten you? Are atheist Republicans and conservatives a diminishing minority in our political system as a result? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

State Regulators Prefer Nuclear Power?

Well, what do you know...many state utility commisioners and regulatory staff think nuclear power is a good balance between energy production and environmental impact:

Link

Who woulda thunk it?