Sunday, October 8, 2017

FERC Acts to Support Reliability

Secretary Rick Perry
The Energy Study 

In April, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that he was requesting a study about whether today's electricity markets are doing an adequate job in terms of providing grid reliability, reliance and stability. Under most circumstances, an announcement of such a proposed study would cause everyone to fall asleep. Nowadays, though, this proposed study was considered revolutionary and perhaps obscene.

The general weltanschuang (German used quite deliberately) of studies under the last administration did not encourage looking at questions of mere grid reliability.  The only allowable questions seemed to be: "How can we get more renewables (and gas backup) on the grid?"  When Secretary Perry asked for a reliability study, he set the natural gas industry into a state of shock. They had a pretty good idea of what such a study would show. They didn't like it one bit.

If you think people were upset that this study was performed at all, you can imagine the anger when it showed the value of base-load plants. The DOE study showed a need to increase grid reliability by supporting base-load plants that can store fuel on site. Yes, that means coal and nuclear.

The FERC Rule-Making

After a FERC study is completed, if it shows a need for a change in the electricity markets, the next step is FERC making a rule for the change. FERC starts this process by issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (NOPR). FERC recently issued an NOPR for the Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule, based on the DOE study.
Here's the link to the proposed rule: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/09/f37/Notice%20of%20Proposed%20Rulemaking%20.pdf

The bulk of the rule is on page 11: (FERC shall)...issue a final rule requiring its organized markets to develop and implement market rules that accurately price generation resources necessary to maintain the reliability and resiliency of our Nation's bulk power system.  The proposed rule allows for recovery of costs of fuel-secure generation units frequently relied upon to make our grid reliable and resilient. 

At this point, I wanted to put a link to where you can comment in favor of this rule.  Unfortunately, I can't figure out the best way to do this.  Individuals can e-comment on certain types of dockets: rule-making isn't one of the types. Then there is e-filing: parties can register with FERC and e-file on other types of dockets.  I think you can write to FERC (snail mail, etc) on any docket, but that seems awkward. On page 12 of this NOPR, it states that, to comment on this docket,  you must refer to Commission Docket RM17-3-000, and include your name and address.  As far as I can tell, FERC is mostly set up to take comments from "stakeholders" not from the public.  (The public is merely part of the "load.")

Beating Back the Attacks

There are so many things to say about this rule-making!  And so many things have been said!  You would think this is the first NOPR that FERC had ever issued.  It isn't.  Here's a brief run through the proposal and the attacks on the proposed rule.

The DOE study:  
I recommend Rod Adams excellent blog post of August 24, Long awaited DOE report on electricity markets and reliability. The post includes links to the study itself.

Is this rule-making legal?  Is it rushed?  
Yes it is legal. Once again, Rod Adams has a good overview: Rick Perry Directs FERC to Complete Final Action on Resiliency Pricing Rule in 60 Days. In Utility Dive's article Powelson: FERC 'will not destroy the marketplace' in cost recovery rulemaking, Acting FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee explains that the new rule will have a record, docket, and analysis. Just like the rest of the rules. In the same article,  Scott Hempling, a Georgetown law professor, said there is no statutory obligation for any particular period of time for comments.  My own understanding is that 60 day and 90 day comment periods are pretty standard.

Isn't this "rule" kind of vague?
Yes. It is slightly more vague than usual.  According one of the articles in Utility Dive, energy lawyers say that the vagueness of the rule may give more room for industry input on the final product.   But frankly, it is not out of line with other FERC rule-making.  For example, in FERC 1000, one of the most complex and contentious parts of the rule is stated pretty simply: Local and regional transmission planning processes must consider transmission needs driven by public policy requirements established by state or federal laws or regulations.  FERC rarely tells system operators exactly what to do: FERC directs them to "consider this" or "allow for that" etc.  Kind of vague, but then again, they are the system operators and they have their own constraints.

Is FERC Fuel-Neutral, Part 1:
Former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said that a proposed rule supporting baseload plants "would blow the market up."  At FERC, according to Wikipedia, Wellinghoff's three priorities were integration of renewables, energy efficiency, and demand-side energy practices, such as real-time pricing.  Wellinghoff didn't mention reliability in his priorities as FERC chairman. I also don't notice that anybody blamed him for supporting the expansion of renewable energy. When some people claim that FERC must be "fuel neutral," they apparently don't mean "treat renewable installations like other power plants."

Is FERC Fuel-Neutral, Part 2:
FERC doesn't like rules that say: Gas plants shall or coal plants shall. For a FERC rule, don't actually name the type of plant.  The new proposed rule doesn't name types of plants.  Any plant that can store 90 days worth of fuel qualifies for recovery of costs of fuel-secure generation units.  FERC and grid operators have many rules for how plants get paid: there's the whole business of ancillary services.  Grid operators pay for ancillary services (reactive power, quick dispatch) even though only certain types of plants can provide these services.  If FERC determines that "fuel security" is important for grid reliability, it can make sure that plants that are able to supply the fuel-security service are paid for that service. This is not revolutionary.

And the final question: Is this going to "blow up the markets"?
There is no market to blow up.  On Friday, Utility Dive quoted Rick Perry saying: There is no free market in electricity. I have been saying this for a while.  I recommend an article by Travis Kavulla, of the Montana Public Service Commission. His article in American Affairs  is titled: There Is No Free Market for Electricity: Can There Ever Be?  It's a good summary of how nobody can "blow up the market" because there really isn't a market.

Finally...

Actually, there is no "finally" because FERC is beginning the rulemaking process, and we won't see the final rule for perhaps 90 days.  That is, 60 days for comments, some more time for putting the final rule together.  But in another way, I can say:

Finally, the government is paying attention to the reliability of the electric grid!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Update! ANS Members discount for "Campaigning for Clean Air"



Update: Everyone can buy Campaigning from the American Nuclear Society!

I am so embarrassed and sorry.  I was not aware that everyone can buy Campaigning for Clean Air from the American Nuclear Society!  However, only ANS members can get the discount.

Whether or not you are an ANS member, please consider buying my book from the American Nuclear Society.  If you are not a ANS member, you will pay full price.  But you will support the society by buying it through them.

I am so sorry for the mistake I made in the earlier version of this post.

Campaigning for Clean Air in the American Nuclear Society catalog

I am happy to report that American Nuclear Society members can order Campaigning for Clean Air through the society.  Here is the ANS catalog page which includes the book: http://www.ans.org/store/browse-special/

Here's the link to the actual page on which you would order the book. Note that you can order either the paperback or ebook version through the ANS. Both are sold with a 10% discount for ANS members.
http://www.ans.org/store/item-690099/

I am very pleased and honored that ANS has chosen to distribute my book. If you wander around the ANS catalog, perhaps starting with the browse special publications page, you will see that most of the publications in the ANS catalog were published by ANS. It is a real honor for a non-ANS published book to be included in the catalog. A heartfelt "thank you" to ANS!

Other ways to buy Campaigning

I encourage people to buy Campaigning from the ANS.  However, you can also buy it on Amazon or Nook or Kobo. You can also order it through many bookstores. Bookstores usually get the book from Ingram Spark distributors.  Most books to date have been bought from these other sources. ANS provides a new way to buy the book. I am delighted  that the book is available through ANS.

Looking up the links (to Kobo, etc.) was fun for me, because I saw positive five star reviews of the book.  Not all my book reviews are on Amazon.  I should try to remember that...

Some quotes from reviews:

If one wants a technical analysis on the technology, or the economics, or the history of nuclear power, this is not the book for you, although the book does have a list of recommendations if one wants to look further into those aspects. But if your question is more on, "but what can I do to help?", this is the book you want.  Tony on the Kobo version

"In a time where nuclear power is facing strong economic challenges and more plants are trying to stay viable, Meredith’s book is a playbook that can help communities around nuclear plants reach out to tout the benefits of keeping the plants operating."  JTwarog on the Nook version.

I found Chapter 17 of the book, "When it Doesn't Feel Like Enough" very comforting... There have been times when faced with massive public opposition to nuclear power I have felt that my efforts amount to nothing, that I am simply spinning wheels.... The book has much to offer to lift one’s spirits in face of demoralizing odds, and shows how you can be effective in “moving the needle.”  RM on Amazon

-----
I hope you buy my book, from the American Nuclear Society or another source.  Most importantly, I hope you act on the ideas and hints in the book!  Nuclear energy needs advocates, and it needs them now.

Friday, August 25, 2017

ISO-NE Meeting Features Governor Scott: Minor Update

Vermont ISO-NE Meeting on Transmission
Note: this is a screen shot.  The links in the graphic don't work.


Links for registering for the meeting:

Update: Many people were frustrated because the links in the graphic above do not work.  I had working links available, but they were at the bottom of the post.  I am moving them to the top of the post in this update.

Here are links that work.
Woodstock Inn & Resort
CLG Webpage
Register
Mary "Weezie" Nuara

Note: if you have trouble registering,  I suggest you email Weezie Nuara.  Please register in advance because ISO-NE provides a lunch, and they need a headcount.

Now, back to writing about the meeting itself!

Governor Scott will be special guest at ISO-NE meeting in Vermont

The Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) of ISO-NE holds a public meeting every quarter. On September 7, a little less than two weeks from now, the meeting will be in Vermont. (I am on the Coordinating Committee for CLG.)

I hope you can attend. The meeting is free, and includes a lunch. The CLG is the "consumer's voice" for ISO-NE, and this will be a very special meeting.

Governor Scott will speak. He almost certainly will not speak about nuclear power, but I will never forget that he was one of four Vermont senators who voted in favor of continued operation of Vermont Yankee. You can see a short video of his statement at the time of the vote: it's on my blog post Hello Governor Scott, and Goodbye Shumlin.

FERC Order 1000: A public discussion

The main part of this meeting will be a discussion of FERC Order 1000. This order could lead to huge and expensive changes on the grid, and almost nobody knows about it. The basic idea of FERC 1000 is that grid operator (ISO-NE, for example) can order states to pay for transmission lines that are needed for "policy" not just "reliability."

In the past, if a grid operator showed that a new transmission line was needed for grid reliability, the grid operator could spread the payments for that line throughout the states in the grid region. So the line might be only located in one state, but if it was needed for reliability, all the New England states would bear the cost. The grid operator used clear engineering criteria for "the line is needed for reliability."

With FERC 1000, if a transmission line is needed for "policy," the grid operator can also force the states to share the cost of the transmission line. Say that a state has a policy of bringing in wind power from a neighboring state. That state can now commandeer all the states in the grid to pay for the new line. The line is state "policy," after all. Actually, the grid operator would do the commandeering, but the idea is the same.

In Vermont on September 7, many knowledgeable people will be discussing FERC 1000 in public.  This is a rare and important event.

I have more about FERC 1000 in this blog post from earlier this year. That post is somewhat out of date, since New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE)  recently lost their FERC 1000 lawsuit against FERC. A representative from NESCOE will speak at the upcoming meeting.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thorium Energy Alliance Conference this weekend




The Thorium Energy Alliance Conference in St. Louis

The Thorium Energy Alliance will take place in St. Louis starting this weekend.  I signed up to attend long ago, but people are still joining right now.  Here's the link to the website.   I encourage you to attend if you can!

Much of the conference will be about molten salt reactors, of course.  But there will be much more! More than two hours of how-to-do-advocacy workshops, led by leading advocates such as Eric Meyer of Generation Atomic and Heather Matteson of Mothers for Nuclear. (I will be a co-leader in one of the sessions.) There will be great talks by many authors. One of the featured talks is by Victoria Bruce, and people who register for the meeting will get her latest book, free with their registration.  Sellout: How Washington Gave Away America's Technological Soul, and One Man's Fight to Bring it Home.  Mathijs Becker will be a speaker.  He will be here from the Netherlands. He is the author of one of the few books debunking Jacobson's "100% renewables" claims (The Non-Solutions Project) as well as posting an excellent youtube channel, the Nuclear Humanist.

It will be a great conference.  But why should you come?

A Conference that is truly  for the "Rest of Us"

I have been to many pro-nuclear conferences, and I love them all.  Most of the conferences are sponsored by an industry group.

Sometimes, these conferences don't feel very welcoming to people who are not in the industry.  This conference feels very different.  Some of the speakers are from industry (EPRI advanced reactor group), and some are from industry start-ups (ThorCon, Elysium, Terrestrial and others). However, many speakers and attendees are "just" nuclear advocates. They are people who have never worked in the nuclear industry, but have a presence in the world of advocacy, ideas and books engaged with new versions of nuclear power.

The "just advocates" are the most important people at the conference, in my opinion.  They are the group that can reach out to other groups, and to their neighbors.

This is a very welcoming conference. I encourage you to attend.

Note: if you are defending an existing nuclear plant, you will be right at home.  You don't have to be a molten salt maven to get a lot out of this conference. For example, I could annotate the list of speakers, giving examples of the important and brave things various speakers have done in defense of our current fleet of reactors.  Look at the bottom of the conference page for the list of speakers.

Another note: The conference will include a break for Eclipse Viewing.  How many conferences are planned around something like that?

This will be a great conference.  I hope to see some of you there.   Here's the conference link, again:

Thorium Energy Alliance Conference 8


Monday, August 14, 2017

Update: Not WARNing at V.C. Summer

June 9, 2017 photo of Summer construction
SCEG photo
Update:

SCEG withdrew its original petition to abandon the Summer Project, but this was only to facilitate government review of the petition.  After withdrawing the petition,  SCANA held a press conference and re-iterated its plans to abandonn the nuclear project.

Meanwhile, knowledgeable people have emailed me that the construction workers at Summer are probably not covered by WARN, but employees of Westinghouse and Fluor probably are covered.  I am not a lawyer, and I am merely repeating what they said.  It is probably true, however.

None of this is good news for the project or the workers.


The Stop-Work at Summer

At the V.C. Summer construction site in South Carolina, a stop-work order was issued by the plant owners. Within hours, thousands of people had to turn in their badges and leave. There is simply no way to sugar-coat this story.

Actually, there are at least two stories here: the first story is about why V.C. Summer was cancelled. That story has been widely discussed.  The second story is about how the  layoffs happened, and their legality (or not).  This story has not been covered very much. It will be covered here.

At the end of this post, I have an annotated list of resources  about the first topic, why Summer was cancelled.

The Human Cost

On Facebook, one friend wrote about how difficult the Summer closure was for his family.  I will not quote his statements here, but his post made me feel very sad for all the hard-working people at Summer.  I mean I was feeling bad already, but his post made me feel worse. The cancellation of Summer had a huge human cost. You can't lay off 5600 people without immense pain, and immense ripples in the community.

It is too mild to say that the layoffs themselves were not handled well.  In my opinion, the way the layoffs were handled was certainly immoral, and may have been illegal.  In this article, Fired nuclear construction workers crash State House, workers said they had "no warning from superiors before being let go about lunchtime Monday." In a video at WLTX, workers said "We met at our lunch location and they read these letters to us...."

It's impossible to get numbers, but most sources say 5000 people were affected by the equivalent of letters-read-at-the-lunch break.  In the video above, a worker says that he has never heard of so many people being laid off at one time.

My first reaction was that I thought that such a layoff was simply illegal.  A federal law, the WARN act, requires employers to give advance notice of large layoffs. Nolo.com has good article on the WARN act and South Carolina. (Nolo sells consumer-oriented legal books and software.)

WARN and the big boys

WARN covers employers who have at least 100 full-time-equivalent employees.  If 50 or more employees are laid off at one job site, WARN requires sixty days notice. (You can read the fine print at Nolo.com)

On Facebook, I said that I thought the short warning of this layoff was probably illegal. One person commented that I was making unwarranted assumptions.  In his opinion, a big employer would read the laws and obey them. Okay.  Basically, he was right about the biggest of the big boys on the job site: SCEG. According to this video and article from WISTV, SCEG notified the state of 615 layoffs at Summer (layoffs of their own employees), giving the requisite 60 days notice according to the WARN requirements.

However, they gave Westinghouse no such 60 days notice, because Westinghouse is a contractor, not an employee. Westinghouse immediately "furloughed" 870 employees, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  However, these employees have no reason to believe that they will be called back from  this "furlough."  According to Post-Gazette article, a field engineering manager at Westinghouse has sued Westinghouse for violating WARN. He is attempting to achieve class-action status with his lawsuit.

SCEG covered its own employees, but employees of large and small subcontractors seem to be subject to the largest sudden layoff that I have ever heard about.

WARN and the not-so-big-boys

Westinghouse, with hundreds of employees on this project, is one of the big boys. Nevertheless, it seems to have issued as quick a lay-off notice as might have been issued by any local supplier of portapotties. Westinghouse is now being sued.  I suspect that many of the other contractors may also be sued.

Chess Pawn, Wikipedia
Opening Gambit or Closing the Door?

Why did the layoff happen in this sudden way?  It saved some money for SCEG, until they get sued, of course. It devastated towns and businesses and gave locals a pretty grim idea of what their utilities think about their welfare. Looking at a project that is over budget by billions of dollars, I don't think saving two months worth of salaries was the entire motivation. Decades of bad feelings are likely to arise from the sudden layoffs, and two months payroll was saved? To me, it doesn't make sense.

That is just my opinion, of course, but there it is.  Sometimes, dramatic events are the opening moves in fierce negotiations.  "Now that I have  your attention...."

Sometimes, of course, dramatic statements are the closing moves: "Look, I mean it, and nothing you can do will change my mind." However, that sort of statement often comes after a long fruitless negotiation.  Not always, but usually.

Games people play

If this were a chess game, I would say: This is more likely to be an opening gambit than a closing statement.

But wait, V.C. Summer is not a chess game!  In a chess game, the pawns are little pieces of plastic or wood or ivory.

At V.C. Summer, the pawns are more than 5000 real live people.

----------
Addendum:  Why V.C. Summer was cancelled.

I recommend three excellent blog posts on the reasons for the project cancellation.

In 2016, Will Davis wrote at ANS Nuclear Cafe: Nuclear Plant Costs-- A Look Back and Ahead 
This post describes the cascading effects of various types of cost overruns, including changes to the specifications, delays, and incomplete planning.

On July 31, 2017, Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes wrote Utilities Pull the Plug on AP1000s at V.C. Summer.  He looks at the cost overruns, but also notes that Santee Cooper refused to go along with a plan to complete just one of the reactors.

On August 1, 2017, Rod Adams wrote: Tragic day in South Carolina as 5,000 people lost their jobs at VC Summer. Rod's post concentrates on design changes, specifically the Aircraft Impact Assessment Change.  There are 120 comments on that post.  Many of these comments are from very knowledgeable people.






Thursday, July 13, 2017

Defeating Trolls: Join the Conversation

The Fremont Troll lives under a bridge in Seattle.
He has captured a Volkswagen.
Graphic from Wikipedia
Recognizing and Defeating Anti-Nuclear Trolls

At my nuclear advocacy blog, my recent post Defeating the Trolls has developed an interesting and informative comment stream. People are sharing their anti-troll strategies. I urge you to visit the post and join the conversation!

The marks of a troll

Let me emphasize that not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll. Trolls have a specific way of interacting.  Within my post, I describe the three marks of a true troll:

  1. Repetitive posting
  2. Repetitive links
  3. Must have the last word in a thread
Many other types of bad behavior are just...bad behavior. For example, not everyone who is insulting is a troll, though some trolls are also insulting. (This actually makes it easier to deal with those trolls.)   

A major strategy for neutralizing trolls is to shift the conversation from a discussion of their claims to a discussion of their behavior.  Read more about dealing with trolls at the post, and also in the blogging and Facebook chapters  of my book, Campaigning for Clean Air

True trolls are difficult to deal with, which is why I am happy to see such a good discussion on my blog post.

Please join the conversation!

I hope you will go the Defeating the Trolls post at my advocacy blog, and join the conversation on anti-troll strategies.  

As I often say, we are not alone in our pro-nuclear advocacy. We can help each other. We can share strategies. Let's do it!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Was Hamilton Pro-Nuclear? Independence Day and Advocacy

Lin-Manuel Miranda in his musical Hamilton
Photo by Steve Jurvetson, Wikimedia

Hanging Together

We all know the quote from Benjamin Franklin.  At the signing of the Declaration of Independence he said,  "We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we will all hang separately."

That's the short version, isn't it?   We must all hang together, so we do all hang together, and then we win.

In my advocacy blog post today,  Was Hamilton Pro-Nuclear? A Post for Independence Day, I look at the more complex version.  The musical Hamilton tells the tale of the American Revolution.  The founding fathers were not all that agreeable with each other:  The musical ends after Burr shoots Hamilton.  That is truly being disagreeable!

Hanging together is hard work.

Real movements are complicated

In my essay, I note that astro-turf has a carefully crafted message, but real movements are complicated.  The Revolution was complicated.  Similarly, the current pro-nuclear movement has factions, disagreements on methods, and even disagreements on goals. Just as the situations described in Hamilton.

I am proud to be part of the widespread, messy, pro-nuclear movement.   It has factions.  It is real.

I hope you will read my post about Hamilton and the Nuclear Movement at my advocacy blog.  Here are the concluding paragraphs:

As Hamilton says, people do not know how we will be remembered. In particular, we don’t know how the pro-nuclear advocates of this generation will be remembered.
But I hope we will be remembered in clean skies and moderate climates and non-acidic seas.
Hail to the pro-nuclear advocates of this generation!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Two Days Only: Bonus Offer for Advocacy Book

Advocacy on the rise

My  book Campaigning for Clean Air: Strategies for Pro-Nuclear Advocacy continues to have great success. About a week ago, I was on a communications panel at the American Nuclear Society's Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  I was delighted with the interest in my book.  It's kind of fun when people quote your own book to you! I was surprised and happy about the overall interest in advocacy at this meeting. Besides being on the communications panel,  in another session I was role-playing conversations with undecided people.  In  other sessions, I listened to young people talk about why they support nuclear.  A great meeting!

A special limited-time bonus offer!

My book is a guide to advocacy.  Right now, I am offering some special bonus material about emotions and advocacy.  This limited-time offer ends at midnight on Friday. Buy Campaigning for Clean Air at Amazon or at your bookstore.  Then write me at mjangwin at gmail that you have obtained it, and I will tell you how to get the bonus material. This offer ends at midnight, Friday, June 30.

Your own advocacy

My book is designed to help you find your way to support nuclear. Early chapters will help you take those crucial first steps in supporting nuclear power.  Later chapters can guide you into more public roles, including testimony at hearings and even street rallies.  People have written me that this book has inspired them to write letters, make videos, and more. Read it and be inspired!

The book in the news

At the recent Nuclear Energy Assembly meeting in Arizona, the organizers made a bulk purchase of Campaigning and put the book in the welcome packages of the NAYGN attendees.   Yes.  Hundreds of young pro-nuclear people received the book! More such announcements are in the works.

A few days ago,  I was on the Global Energy Leaders podcast, talking about the book, and talking about why I wrote the book.  I think you will enjoy the 20-minute podcast.

Some Quotes From Readers

"Like the best how-to books, Meredith’s little instruction book for budding nuclear advocates is punchy, filled with practical exercises, gives step by step instruction with options and provides pointers to additional sources of help and information. It’s well organized and motivating; there are times when you want to simply put down the book and take one of her recommended actions to see how it works and feels.." 
-- Rod Adams, blogger at Atomic Insights

“Far more than a “how-to manual”; it is a life’s journey into greater understanding of how to responsibly address public concerns about nuclear power”
---Dr. Dale E. Klein, Former Chairman, NRC

“…this book is a primer for nuclear advocacy, and a fascinating guidebook and educational tool”
-Thomas P. Salmon, Governor of Vermont (1972-1977)

"...Campaigning for Clean Air (is) perhaps a pro-nuclear advocacy equivalent of Carville and Begala’s Buck Up, Suck Up which they, a pair of Democrat strategists, wrote.... during George W. Bush’s ascendancy." 
---Steve Aplin, blogger at Canadian Energy Issues

“[Meredith Angwin’s book] is likely to be a resource for years to come as we work to bring Weinberg's vision of the second nuclear era into fruition. “
--Eric Meyer,  Executive Director, Generation Atomic

Buy it now, while you can still get the bonus material!  Buy it by Friday!

Campaigning for Clean Air: Strategies for Pro-Nuclear Advocacy.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Vermont Yankee Decomm: In Vermont, Do Not Make Predictions.


NorthStar Capabilities
From Entergy May 25 presentation
Concrete volume of VY is green bar at the right
This is Vermont.  Do not make predictions.

I'm reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The book was originally called the Taliban Shuffle, but now that the movie is out, it's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  As I am reading, I am struck by how author Kim Barker is sometimes utterly dumbfounded by local people's reactions. Men become surprisingly violent after what she considers to be minor incidents, while major problems are greeted with shrugs about "fate." Several of her anecdotes end with her musing something like: "This is Afghanistan: what did I expect?"

Her story is sort of like the story of Vermont Yankee decommissioning.  As I observe the process, I keep getting dumbfounded by what people do.   (At least, nobody is shooting at anyone else.) I explain the situation to myself by musing "This is Vermont; what did I expect?"

The advantages of the NorthStar sale

Entergy has arranged to sell Vermont Yankee to a consortium of decommissioning companies headed by NorthStar. This is unusual, as a matter of fact, it is first-of-a-kind.  Other plants have handed their licenses to a decomm company  (Zion plants and EnergySolutions) with the expectation of getting the licenses back at the end of decomm.  At the end of decomm, the original plant owner is responsible for the site. 

With Vermont Yankee, NorthStar will buy the site, and will own the site.  When the used fuel is removed, NorthStar can sell the site.

The sale to NorthStar is attractive to the state because, if owned by Entergy,  the plant was going to be in SafStor for close to sixty years. In contrast, NorthStar expects to complete decommissioning by 2030.  Similarly, Entergy was going to begin moving fuel into dry casks around 2020.  In contrast, NorthStar expects Entergy to finish the process at that time. (Fuel moving is starting now.) An early article in VTDigger gives the basic story of the sale. 

Last month's NDCAP meeting

I was at the May 25 NDCAP meeting (Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen's Advisory Panel).  NorthStar and Entergy made presentation, and there were public comments.  Here's a link to a video of the May meeting, which was actually pretty civilized.  Though the NRC was there, the meeting was run by NDCAP, and they kept decent order.  In general, the NRC itself does not keep good order at meetings in Vermont, but the NDCAP  meeting shows it can be done.   Many of my comments below stem from the May 25 meeting. If you want to see me speaking at the meeting, I'm at the 1:45 mark, approximately.

There will be a NDCAP meeting tomorrow night at the Governor Hunt House on the Vermont Yankee campus.   I won't be there this time.

NorthStar consortium can decommission Vermont Yankee effectively

After listening to the presentations, I am convinced that NorthStar can decommission the site quickly and relatively inexpensively.  The company has experience with all sorts of sites containing both large structures and environmental disposal issues.  While nuclear opponents think that radiation is very different from any other possible contaminant, companies that actually clean up coal plants and industrial plants know how to deal with all sorts of potential problems.  NorthStar will  treat radiation with respect, but not fear or awe.  Entergy had a slide show at the May 25 meeting: I have stolen their Concrete slide to head this post, and I include the Contaminated Soils slide below.

Contaminated soils volume (VY at right, green bar)
From Entergy May 25, 2017

Of course, the opponents claim, sometimes loudly, and sometimes near tears (watch the video), that radiological contamination is so very different that all of NorthStar's capabilities don't matter. Whatever else NorthStar has done, they have only decommed rather small reactors.  Therefore, according to the opponents, they are not qualified.

This is Vermont.  What did you expect?

Transparency

NorthStar wants to keep some of its costs and overhead structures confidential. The state of Vermont is basically okay with that, but intervenors object vociferously.  

In my statement at NDCAP on May 25, I talked about the time that I tried to track down the costs of different phases of decommissioning for other power plants. I couldn't track the costs I wanted to track. Everyone (the plants, the decomm companies, the NRC) told me that I was trying to obtain proprietary information, and they could not share it.  

Judging by my experience, NorthStar is not being especially opaque. Yet the opponents continue to claim to be upset about transparency.

This is Vermont. What did you expect?

Forever?

Since the Department of Energy still has not set up a plan for picking up used nuclear fuel, the fuel is stored on-site at the power plants. Though the fuel is cooled and in dry casks, it still requires some security, until the Department of Energy picks it up, or until forever, whichever comes first.

When vertically regulated utilities are in charge of taking care of something "forever," this kind of works. Of course, the utility will not necessarily last forever, but if it merges or goes bankrupt, the utility has regulators that will (hopefully) make sure it fulfills its obligations. In the case of a merchant plant (like Vermont Yankee) or a consortium (like NorthStar), no regulator has such a clear obligation. 

Nuclear opponents worry that "the taxpayer" will pick up the bill.  I am sure NorthStar will decomm the plant successfully, so the only bill I imagine the taxpayers might have would be a bill for ongoing security around some dry casks. Not a huge bill, year by year, but a bill.

 I think the problem of paying for security would be about jurisdiction, not safety. This problem is not unique to Vermont. The question of "who is in charge decades later" could happen in any RTO area.  

Yet there is one aspect that is unique to Vermont. One entity, Entergy, is planning to sell the plant to another entity, NorthStar consortium.  As I said at the beginning, this is a First of a Kind financial arrangement for decommissioning. 

My feeling is that since neither entity is supported by being part of a regulated utility, it probably doesn't matter that much. 

But I admit it: This is Vermont, and I don't know what to expect.

Three more issues:  Rubble,  Employees, PSB appointments

This post is too long.  So I will go over these issues rather quickly.

Rubble: Northstar plans to fill the large foundation holes with rubble from the buildings.  This is a standard practice, and far less expensive than trucking the rubble out to disposal and trucking fill in to the site. However,  Entergy said that they would not use this technique, so the opponents attack NorthStar for bad faith in saying they will use the technique.  Well, when you transfer a plant to another company, the other company is not obligated to do everything the same way the former owner said it would do things. It's up to the PSB to decide what needs to be done. Howard Shaffer wrote an excellent letter on this topic, which has appeared in several local papers. 

Employees: I continue to worry about what will happen to Vermont Yankee employees who are near retirement age when NorthStar takes over. See my note at the end of an earlier post. This is an unresolved issue, as far as I know.  

PSB appointments: Governor Scott appointed a new Chairman for the three-person Public Service Board (PSB). The PSB will rule on whether or not Vermont will approve the sale. Governor Scott appointed Anthony Roisman to be chair of the Commission. Roisman is against Big Wind, but some of his cases have been against nuclear plant owners. Roisman has recused himself from the Vermont Yankee decision, which I think was a correct choice.

In Conclusion

This is Vermont.  Don't make predictions.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Help Nuclear Plants in Ohio

Davis-Besse
NRC photo

Two plants and three ways to help them

Ohio has two nuclear plants,  Davis-Besse and Perry.  They add up to around 2000 MW electric. Ohio as a whole is a coal and natural gas state.  I did a quick addition, based on this table of power plants in Ohio. By my calculations,  Ohio has about 14,000 MW of coal. That is a lot of coal.

 I grant you that some of those coal units are scheduled to close, and will probably be replaced by natural gas.  Nevertheless, it is clear that these two nuclear plants are essential for Ohio to avoid being completely fossil power.

As a Vermonter, I do not want Ohio to have nothing but fossil-powered electricity.  The prevailing winds are from the West, and Vermont has a long history of resenting the acid rain visited on our forests by the coal-burning states of the Midwest.  The rain is less acid nowadays, but our soils have not fully recovered.  And "less acid" does not mean: Good for the forests.  It does mean: Better than it used to be.

Three ways to help nuclear in Ohio

How can you help nuclear in Ohio? Three ways, and you can do it now.

1) If you live in Ohio: Write your legislator in support of two bills that value nuclear for its zero-emissions electricity.   NEI has a post  with links. Exelon Rep Urges  Ohio Lawmakers to Support Zero-Emission Program. 

2) If you don't live in Ohio (or even if you do) donate to Generation Atomic. Generation Atomic has been going door to door in Ohio, building support for the nuclear plants.  They have a plan, they have volunteers, they have an App for your phone, and they are having success, including more than a thousand people who are now actively in favor of nuclear, and excellent press coverage.  Here's their latest field report (Notes from the Field, Week 5, Sandusky Ohio)  And here's a very important link for people: the Donate screen for Generation Atomic.

3) If you live in or near Ohio, go to the rally-symposium June 13!  Well, okay, the event is called an educational symposium on nuclear technology. (I added the "rally" part because I think of it as a rally.) The symposium will include panels, speakers and questions. This event at the Ohio Statehouse atrium includes American Nuclear Society Michigan-Ohio Section, the AFL-CIO, and North American Young Generation in Nuclear.  Maria Korsnick, president of NEI, will speak. Be there!  I think this symposium  (rally?) will be heavily covered in the press, and quite important.

Help the Ohio nuclear plants keep generating clean low-carbon power.  The environment needs you!


Generation Atomic open meeting in Ohio

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Connecticut People: Now is the Time to Support Millstone

Millstone Power Station
photo from NEI  Nuclear Notes
Support This Bill. Right now.

Right now.  Today, or maybe tomorrow

If you live in Connecticut: Write your legislator!

Over the next two weeks, the Connecticut legislature will consider SB 106.  This bill will provide financial relief for Millstone Power Station, which produces enough power for two million homes.  The same bill will also encourage Connecticut's fuel cell industry.

Dominion has a good website about supporting Millstone.  Specifically, you can click the Take Action link, and be taken directly to a site where you can write to your legislator.  If you live in Connecticut, use the link, right now.

If you live in New England but not in Connecticut, read NEI's post With Nuclear Plants Closing, Fears Grow for Stability of the New England's Electric Grid. Be prepared to defend your local nuclear plant.

More about the Connecticut bill

Well, it's complicated.  While other bills (such as New York State's Zero Emissions Credits) mandate clean energy payments for zero-emission power plants, Connecticut SB 106 just allows Millstone to bid into certain types of auctions under the same circumstances as other zero-emission plants.

Under this bill, Millstone will be allowed to present proposals to supply energy, and those proposals will be reviewed by the Office of the Consumer Counsel, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Attorney General. (Among others...later these proposals must also reviewed be by the state Public Utilities Regulating Authority.) There are no guarantees for Millstone written into this bill.

Frankly, I think you have to be some kind of Connecticut-power specialist to figure out this bill in its entirety.  Here is a link to the SB 106, as it exists now: An Act Concerning the Diversity of Baseload Energy Supplies in the State and Achieving Connecticut's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mandated Levels.

I have tried to read it, but I came to only one conclusion.  Everything is optional.  This bill does not mandate that Millstone (or any low-emissions source) will be paid any particular amount for their power.  It has many statements such as:

(The Office of Consumer Counsel and the Attorney General)... Shall evaluate project proposals received in response to any solicitation issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section based on whether such proposal is in the best interest of ratepayers and whether the benefits of such proposal outweigh the costs to ratepayers, based on the following: (A) The delivered prices of such sources compared to the forecasted price of energy, as determined by the commissioner or his or her designee....
This bill levels the playing field. It allows Millstone to bid, along with other low-emissions suppliers.

Naturally, allowing Millstone to bid has infuriated many companies.  This is why you should write your legislator, right now, if you live in Connecticut.

Who are the Opponents?

There is plenty of opposition. Basically, the fossil industry is opposing this bill.

In February, Luther Turmelle wrote about this proposed legislation in  the New Haven Register:  2 Connecticut energy bills aim to help Millstone owner, spur fuel cell use.   His article described the opposition, which includes Calpine, Dynegy, NRG Energy, and the Electric Power Supply Association.  In other words, the opposition includes  the fossil power plants in Connecticut.  These companies and associations represent the plants that do not meet the low-emissions criteria set by Connecticut for energy proposals to be submitted under this bill.

The Time is Now

The problem is that it is spring, and state legislatures either pass bills before adjourning, or...the bills don't pass.  For the sake of the environment, we want this bill to pass.

Time is short. Write your legislator!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Advocating for Nuclear Advocacy at the NEA meeting

Facebook Post by Sarah Spath, Kristin Zaitz and Heather Matteson of
Mothers For Nuclear

The Conference

Each year, the Nuclear Energy Institute and North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) jointly sponsor the NEA Nuclear Energy Assembly.

At NEA, Monday includes the  the NAYGN Professional Development sessions (open to all attendees, not just young members). The Supplier Expo and "Top Innovative Practices" awards are more industry-oriented. These more general events started Monday night and continued to Wednesday, according to the program calendar.  This year, the conference started this Monday, May 22, and ended Wednesday, May 24.



Advocacy at the Conference

I was moved to see the emphasis on advocacy at this conference.  In the NAYGN portion of the conference, there was an afternoon session on Effective Storytelling, described this way: Attendees will hear from panelists on effective strategies in storytelling and industry branding to explore new ideas in how we should be talking about nuclear energy and best practices in reaching a broader audience on issues important to the industry.

Wow.  I wasn't at the conference, but just this description stirs my heart.  And there's more.

At the main conference (the NEA portion, not the NAYGN portion), the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Maria Korsnick, unveiled a "Wide-ranging Nuclear Advocacy Effort." This national outreach strategy will appeal to a wide range of advocates.   Here is a link to an article about her speech. But I can't resist one quote: "We have stepped up our advocacy effort not just a notch or two, but by a great margin."

I am so pleased to see this new policy. Nuclear needs a wide range of advocates.

Campaigning for Clean Air at the NEA meeting

I was not at the NEA meeting but my book was there!  Campaigning for Clean Air was given out in the NAGYN welcome packets. If you registered for NAGYN, you received my book!  NAYGN bought the book from me (bulk purchase with a discount) and distributed it.

It's hard to even write about this, because I am so happy.  But please understand, there was a lot of emphasis on advocacy at the meeting, at panels and announcements and more.  My book was just one part of the advocacy events at the meeting. But still: my book was there!

Mothers For Nuclear posted on Facebook about receiving my book in their packet.  I headed this post with a screen shot of this posting. What can I say?

 I can only say Thank You to Kristen Zaitz, Heather Matteson and Sarah Spath for their posting, and Thank You to everyone at NEA for advocating advocacy!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bonus Book: Inspiration and Brownies!

Bonus Book:

In May, when you buy Campaigning for Clean Air, you will get a bonus: a short book of inspirational essays– “An Advocate’s Inspiration: Shared Brownies for the Nuclear Soul.” This bonus will only be available in May.

To get the bonus book, buy Campaigning at Amazon, and forward the receipt to me at mjangwin at gmail.

Please share this offer with your friends and with other groups. I would love to send out lots of the short, sweet, inspiration book!

About the bonus book:

I am putting this offer together so people will click: Buy. It's a marketing thing. Yes,  it is.

But "An Advocate's Inspiration" is a book from the heart.  You will enjoy it.

Also, if you bought Campaigning earlier, please send me the receipt and I will send you "An Advocate's Inspiration."  The end-date of the offer is to encourage new buyers, not to discourage my friends who bought the book earlier.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ecomodernist Podcast on "Campaigning for Clean Air"

I was recently invited to talk about my book, Campaigning for Clean Air, on the Ecomodernist Podcast.  The podcast was released, and here's the link.  I hope you will listen to it: I think you will enjoy the conversation.

The Ecomodernist Podcast:

Part of the podcast was talking about my book, There are many books about the virtues of nuclear power, but this is the first book (as far as I know) on how to support nuclear power in the public sphere.  It's the "then what" book:

"Now that I know about the importance of nuclear power, then what can I do to support it?"

My book is a major answer to that question.   I encourage you to read its excellent reviews on Amazon.

However, a good podcast goes beyond just discussing the book.  Gabriel Ignetti and Rick Maltese were great interviewers.

We discussed combustion versus nuclear energy for electricity. Specifically,  we discussed the nasty effects on air quality that are caused by nitrogen oxides from gas and coal-fired plants. Nowadays, carbon dioxide gets all the press, but nitrogen oxides are still out there, making smog and acid rain. We discussed  being members of environmental groups that are fighting climate change, and the importance of sticking up for nuclear within these groups.  Ignetti, especially, had good stories about his involvement in the environmental movement in Florida.  We discussed hecklers and people who really get "in your face" against nuclear, and possibly-effective versus certainly-ineffective ways to deal with them.

At the end of the podcast, Ignetti and Maltese have a short, separate section, sharing some research they did about how nitrogen oxides affect people's health, forest health, and even our sculpture and our buildings.

Ecomodernism

Painted trillium in Pisgah National Forest
A not-power-plant near a waterfall.
I was on the  "Ecomodernist Podcast," and now you may be wondering: what is "ecomodernism"?  Ecomodernism is a movement that started in 2015, with the publication of the Ecomodernist Manifesto. The ecomodernist goal is human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet.

This goal will be achieved by humans choosing technologies that can lift people from poverty and supply abundant energy, while using less of the of the world's area for human endeavors.  This means, for example, using compact energy sources like nuclear power, and leaving the ridges, the tides, the woodlands,  the pastures, and the streams to benefit the ecologies that need ridges, tides, woodlands,  pastures and streams.  In other words, giving nature room to breathe, while giving humans enough abundance to live healthy lives.

Ecomodernism hadn't been invented yet, in 2013, when I had an article in ANS Nuclear Cafe: Farmers, City Folk and Renewable Energy. But the idea in my article substantially the same: don't look at every woods and every waterfall as a source of energy, ready for "biomass" burning, or building a nice big concrete dam.

Let much of nature be nature.  Use compact sources of energy, rather than bulldozing the woods.

That is also a goal of ecomodernism.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nuclear and the Trump Administration: Post at Nuclear Engineering International

NRC Chairman Kristine L. Svinicki and Commissioner Jeff Baran.
NRC photo from 2017 Regulatory Information Conference
Trump and Nuclear

Early this year, Nuclear Engineering International Magazine suggested that I write an article about the future of nuclear energy under the Trump administration.  (The magazine is based in Britain.)

This level of prognostication felt a little above my pay grade!

However,  I managed it, because I worked with an excellent co-author, Dr. Gilbert  Brown.  Brown is  emeritus professor/ director of the nuclear engineering program at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.  He is active in nuclear policy and was a Foster Fellow in the U.S. State Department.  Together, Brown and I wrote the article: Nuclear Power in the U.S.A.  It appeared in the March issue of the magazine.

I call the article "prognostication" because it was published in the March issue of Nuclear Engineering International, and written in February.  A  lot of things were in flux at that point. To quote the description of the article in the magazine itself:

President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office have been a whirlwind of activity. When it comes to nuclear power, there has been some positive momentum with key industry appointments and initiatives for advanced reactors. What might the future hold? By Meredith Angwin and Dr. Gilbert Brown.

Why this article is different

Doctor Gilbert Brown
Though some parts of our article are now out-of date, most of the article is still relevant. In particular, we pushed some boundaries a little in this article. Many people who read nuclear industry periodicals expect to hear about DOE, NRC and EPA (we covered these agencies).

But many nuclear people are somewhat ignorant of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is the commission that oversees the grid as a whole.

Dr. Brown and I covered the effects of the vacancies at FERC.  We felt we needed to expand our article past the "usual suspects."  FERC has so many vacancies on its board right now that it can't hold important meetings or make certain types of rulings.

I think you will enjoy reading our article about nuclear under Trump.  When I linked to it on Facebook, a very knowledgable man commented that it was a GREAT high-level summary article, and more such articles will be required in the future.
-------------

Endnotes about FERC:

In late March, long after we had finished the article, the Washington Examiner looked at possible FERC appointments in an article titled  The Politics of Fixing FERC.

Much of that article has an inside-baseball feel to it. Read it if you choose, but at any event, I think the title of the article ("Fixing FERC")  is an important  statement.  In my opinion, FERC has been  fast-and-free with its mandate, encountering little oversight and almost no press coverage. Most of FERC's actions have been either neutral or not-good for nuclear.

For example,  I keep meaning to write about FERC 1000, but I am every time I get ready to dive into that deep deep sinkhole, I remember that I wrote a book and I should spend  my time publicizing it.  If you want to know more about recent FERC actions, I suggest reading NESCOE's brief in its lawsuit against FERC: the suit is about FERC 1000.   Start reading the brief on page 4.

NESCOE is an association of New England states: New England States Committee on Electricity.  This association is made up of representatives appointed by the New England governors.  I consider NESCOE to be New England's attempt to defend itself against FERC.

NESCOE is rightly concerned that FERC's policy changes will cause states to be forced to pay for other states requirements for transmission lines--lines built for only for state policy purposes.  It is taxation without representation: one state votes in for a state policy, and other states pay for that policy. Before FERC 1000, states only shared the costs for transmission lines that were needed for grid reliability, not for state policy.

Oh heavens.  See what I mean?  I'm heading down the explaining-FERC sinkhole!  Okay! Done with that!  I'm climbing out now! I'll be okay!  Really...I will!

Endnotes about Nuclear Engineering International Magazine 

My most recent blog post based on a Nuclear Engineering International article is Pay for Performance on the U.S. Grid: No help to nuclear

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy Post at ANS Nuclear Cafe

Great Days, right now.

These are great days for pro-nuclear advocacy. Many states are moving in the right direction to save their nuclear plants. Nuclear opponents are fighting desperately to get the states to stomp on nuclear. ("All you need is a few wind turbines to meet your carbon goals.  That's all you need. Pay no attention to the gas plant behind the curtain.")

In other words, pro-nuclear forces are winning, right now, at the state level! But we have well-armed opponents, and we have to keep fighting!

These are great days for pro-nuclear advocacy.

I have a blog post at ANS Nuclear Cafe about the importance of pro-nuclear advocacy, especially local pro-nuclear advocacy.  I encourage you to read it, and comment either here or at the ANS post.

ANS Nuclear Cafe logo

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy
by Meredith Angwin

Right now, in the United States, citizens have become active advocates on many subjects. Ever since the last election, congressional phone lines have been swamped. .....

However, the backlog on the D.C. phone lines is of little importance to pro-nuclear advocates. For pro-nuclear advocates, right now most of the action is not in Congress, but in the states.

Read the entire post here:
- See more at: http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2017/03/16/pro-nuclear-advocacy/#sthash.C7zs7nuz.dpuf

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nuclear Energy Weekly News Digest 351

Toronto Globe and Mail staff await news of D-Day
Nuclear Energy Weekly News Digest

This is an occasional summary of the best posts from the pro-nuclear blogging community in North America. This week’s collection comes from items submitted for the week ending March 19, 2016. The previous digest was posted on March 12, at Neutron Bytes.

Fukushima Commentary--Les Corrice

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 1  Japan’s Press subverts Fukushima repopulation
Japan’s popular Press has effectively disrupted the efforts of Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Tokyo government to return the Fukushima evacuation zone to some semblance of normalcy. But one outlet – Fukushima Minpo – has been an objective ray of sunshine, posting more positive articles than the rest of Japan’s popular Press combined.

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 2  Positive and negative Fukushima 6th anniversary articles
Fukushima accident anniversary articles literally flood the Japanese and international Press. In the past, nearly all focused on the dire and gloomy. This year, most of the reports were once again dedicated to the negative. However, some enterprising news outlets bucked the tide and took the positive approach.

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 3  Fomenting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)
Fukushima FUD has plagued the internet since March, 2011. The frequency of antinuclear scare-mongering posts increases every year to “celebrate” the March 11 anniversary of the nuclear accident. We are identifying only a few of the disreputable postings concerning this year’s anniversary, rather than give all of them free publicity.

Nuke Power Talk-- Gail Marcus

Energy and Jobs: A delicate balance
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus discusses the issue of jobs lost when any major facility, be it a mine or a factory or a power plant, shuts down.  These job losses can be devastating for the individuals involved and for the communities that host these facilities.  She cites an article by someone who grew up in coal country who argues that plans to reduce the emissions from burning coal need to take a multi-pronged approach that includes planning for assistance to workers affected by these policy decisions.

Forbes--James Conca

NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Keeps Moving Forward
NuScale Power is on track to build the first small modular nuclear reactor in America, having been notified that their first-ever SMR Design Certification Application was accepted for full review by the NRC after only two months - light speed for our nuclear bureaucracy.

The Beguiling Promise Of John Goodenough's New Battery Technology
A new fast-charging battery technology from Jack Goodenough, the inventor of the Li battery, will again revolutionize electric vehicles and smart phones, using a glass electrode instead of a liquid one, sodium instead of lithium, having three times as much energy density as Li-ion batteries and doesn’t get hot.

ANS Nuclear Cafe--Meredith Angwin

Pro-Nuclear Advocacy
Historically, nuclear advocates have been effective when they take action in their own communities.  As Tip O'Neill said: all politics is local.  (Post includes links to several organizations that take local action.)

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman

Banner Week for Progress on U.S. Advanced Reactors
Four major announcements were made this week by developers of advanced nuclear reactors in the U.S. All of them indicate progress towards completing designs and engagement with nuclear safety agencies.

There are significant distinctions between them in terms of technical details of the designs and there are also a range of commitments in terms of the key success factor – paying customers.