Tennessee Valley Authority has decided to complete a nuclear reactor at Bellefonte Bellefonte 1 is a Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water reactor currently considered 55% complete. A $4.9 billion project should see it begin operation by 2020 to generate 1260 MWe. Completing Bellefonte 1 will be cheaper on a per-MW basis than the cost of replacing any of its fossil plants. The $4.9 billion project works out at a cost of $3888 per kilowatt of installed capacity. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/08/south-korea-apr1400-nuclear-reactor.html1. The reactor pressure vessel for unit 4 of South Korea's Shin-Kori nuclear power plant has been put in place. The unit is the second APR-1400 to be built and its schedule follows the first, Shin-Kori 3, by one year. 2. The first AP1000 nuclear reactor vessel successfully arrived at the Sanmen nuclear power plant in China's Zhejiang province at the end of July 2011.3. India is expediting exploration efforts to more than double the reserves of uranium at a site in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh where it made its largest-ever discovery of the metal used as a nuclear fuel.4. Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA.AU) approved Thursday the exploration of an untapped deposit that could extend the life of one of the world's biggest uranium mines.
Technology Review - Terrapower, a startup funded in part by Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates, is moving closer to building a new type of nuclear reactor called a traveling wave reactor that runs on an abundant form of uranium. The Terrapower reactor would burn up all of the actinides (uranium, plutonium). Most of the uranium that it uses would not need to be enriched.Terrapower expects to begin construction of a 100-megawatt demonstration plant in 2016 and start it up in 2020. It's working with a consortium of national labs, universities, and corporations to overcome the primary technical challenge of the new reactor: developing new materials that can withstand use in the reactor core for decades at a time. It has yet to secure a site for an experimental plant—or the funding to build it. One challenge with this design is ensuring that the steel cladding that contains the fuel in the fuel rods can survive exposure to decades of radiation. Current materials aren't good enough: for one thing, they start to swell, which would close off the spaces between the fuel rods through which coolant is supposed to flow. To last 40 years, the materials would need to be made two to three times more durable, Terrapower says. Terrapower's next steps include finalizing the design and finding partners to build the plants. It's been in talks with organizations in China, Russia, and India. Gilleland says the company expects to have an announcement about partners within the next few months
The report is a synthesis of 20 years of computer studies and engineering analyses, stated in complex mathematical terms. In essence, it states that if a prolonged loss of electric power caused a typical American reactor core to melt down, the great bulk of the radioactive material released would remain inside the building even when the reactor’s containment shell was breached.Big releases of radioactive material would not be immediate, and people within a 10-mile radius would have enough time to evacuate, the study found. The chance of a death from acute radiation exposure within 10 miles is therefore near zero, the study projects, although some people would receive doses high enough to cause fatal cancers in decades to come.One person in every 4,348 living within 10 miles would be expected to develop a “latent cancer” as a result of radiation exposure, compared with one in 167 in previous estimates. Dr. Lyman said the earlier estimate was of a different accident, a major pipe break. The new study considered that accident too unlikely to analyze.Dr. Lyman suggested that in projections of fatal cancer cases, the focus should be on people who live within 50 miles. The average population within 10 miles of an American nuclear plant is 62,000; within 50 miles, it is about five million.The commission’s old projection of eventual cancer deaths was one for every 2,128 people exposed within 50 miles; the new study projects one cancer death for every 6,250 people exposed, which still comes to hundreds of cancer deaths within the 50-mile circleNone of the work looks at further steps for improving mitigation in the most cost effective ways.A large inflatable containment dome (maybe 2 to five inflatable domes) could be built and ready for deployment in the event of an incident at any plant.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/07/australian-star-scientific-claims-to-be.htmlStar Scientific Limited is perfecting a world-first technique to economically produce pions, and hence muoncatalysed fusion, in a CONTROLLED and SUSTAINED way. They are developing a method to efficiently and consistently produce pions (which immediately decay to become muons) in their hundreds and thousands, meaning the loss of some muons is of no consequence.Much controversy over these claimsEnergy input versus output is an issue with plasma fusion, not muoncatalysed fusion. Plasma fusion consumes 18 times more energy than it produces. The Star Scientific system requires very little energy to run, which means 99% of the energy liberated by the fusion reaction is available for use.They are claiming that they have a low energy input pion factory. If 100 times more heat is produced than the energy input, then the heat can be converted to electricity that is 30 times more than the input energy.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muon-catalyzed_fusionHow it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu-IKqxVOfo&feature=player_embeddedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJstCPZwgqU&feature=player_embeddedHelion.. 1. New Scientist [registration required] - Helion Energy has already received something like $5 million in funding from NASA and the US Department of Defense among others, is now looking for $20 million from private investors to build what it says could be a commercially viable reactor.2. The Canadian firm General Fusion based in Burnaby, British Columbia, is using a method called magnetised plasma fusion. According to company spokesman Michael Delage, the first laboratory tests of the design have gone well, achieving a temperature of 5 million degrees for 1 microsecond. It remains to be seen whether this approach can be scaled up all the way to fusion - and beyond that to break-even. "There are no magnetised plasma experiments that we are aware of at the plasma temperatures and densities necessary for net-gain fusion," Delage says. "The only way to verify this is by experiment." The firm has raised the $30 million it says it needs, some of it from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.Tri Alpha Energy, a secretive California-based company, is believed to have raised $90 million for its variant of the field-reversed technique; among its investors is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In a rare public communication a year ago, Tri Alpha researchers showed how they had collided two plasma balls at a temperature over 5 million degrees and held them together for up to 2 milliseconds (Physical Review Letters, vol 105, p 045003). Tri Alpha says it will produce a working commercial reactor some time between 2015 and 2020 - possibly before ITER fires up for the first time.
Muon-catalyzed nuclear fusion.A beam of negatively charged muons is produced and injected into a mixed fuel of deuterium and tritium, (2) resulting in the creation of many muonic tritium atoms (tµ). As muons are 207 times heavier than electrons, the muon orbits the nucleus at a much closer distance to the nucleus than electrons. Thus, tµ atoms are extremely small. (3) As the tµ atoms have no electric charge, they readily collide with deuterium atoms without being affected by repulsive electrical force. These collisions produce dtµ molecules, which consist of a muon, a deuterium nucleus and a tritium nucleus. (4) Similar to tµ atoms, dtµ molecules are extremely small. When d–t nuclear fusion occurs in these small molecules, large amounts of energy are released, accompanied by the production of α particles (helium nuclei) and neutrons. (5) The muon is freed and recycled in subsequent nuclear fusion reactions. (6) About 1% of the liberated muons, however, become stuck to helium nuclei.The new Muon Science Facility (MUSE) now under construction at J-PARC in Tokai, Japan, will produce intense muon beams with fluxes several orders of magnitude higher than at present muon facilities allowing many novel experimental studies that were statistically not feasible until now. The investigation of the nuclear properties of unstable nuclei using muonic atom X-ray spectroscopy would become a unique tool to increase our knowledge of the nuclear structure far from stability, i.e., the nuclear charge distribution and the deformation properties of nuclei. Muonic atom spectroscopy has been successfully used for many years to determine the nuclear charge distribution.
Cars are responsible for 28 percent of the energy consumption and 32 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Saving a substantial fraction of that is a big deal.
Where previous experimental traffic-light advisory systems used GPS data or data from traffic sensors, SignalGuru uses visual data from cellphone cameras.http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/smartphone-saves-gas-0825.htmlResearchers from MIT and Princeton University took the best-paper award for a system that uses a network of smartphones mounted on car dashboards to collect information about traffic signals and tell drivers when slowing down could help them avoid waiting at lights. By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves gas: In tests conducted in Cambridge, Mass., it helped drivers cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.http://projects.csail.mit.edu/wiki/pub/LSPgroup/PublicationList/Koukoumidis_SignalGuru_MobiSys_2011.pdfResults from two deployments of SignalGuru, using iPhones in cars in Cambridge (MA, USA) and Singapore, show that traffic signal schedules can be predicted accurately. On average, SignalGuru comes within 0.66s, for pre-timed traffic signals and within 2.45s, for traffic-adaptive traffic signals. Feeding SignalGuru’s predicted traffic schedule to our GLOSA application, our vehicle fuel consumption measurements show savings of 20.3%, on average.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/08/protean-wheel-motors-and-batteries.htmlProtean Drive™ is a fully-integrated, direct-drive solution. Each motor has a built-in inverter, control electronics and software – no separate large, heavy and costly inverter required. Direct drive reduces part count, complexity and cost, so there is no need to integrate traditional drive train components such as external gearing, transmissions, drive-shafts, axles and differentials. Protean Drive™ packages easily inside a conventional wheel and can use the original equipment vehicle bearing.A European-based Vauxhall Vivaro equipped with Protean Electric's fuel-saving electric wheel motors showed a 300 percent fuel economy improvement in hybrid mode on a European drive cycle fuel test."Fleet operators should be lining up for a vehicle such as this that will provide more than a 65 percent reduction in fuel usage and CO2 emissions in a typical urban drive-cycle, while enabling electric-only operation for in-city low-emission zones such as London,”
http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/08/new-electric-vehicle-charging-proposal.htmlCaption: A schematic of the proposed power transfer system for a running automobile. This system transmits electric power thorough a capacitor composed of a steel belt and a metal plate attached to the road, and the power feed in differential mode. Notably, the leakage electromagnetic field is small, and the infrastructure can be set up at low cost compared with coils.The source of energy from power lines is up-converted into radio frequency (RF) by high-speed inverters implanted along tracks in the road. The RF voltage is applied to a balanced metal track embedded under the surface of the road. The EV picks up the RF voltage via electrical capacitance between the metal and a steel belt installed inside of the tires of the EV.
Caption: The proposed model and measurement model. As a the measurement model a metallic board were arranged above and below the tire, and the complex impedance was measured. Pieces of styrene foam of different thickness were placed between the upper surface of the tire and metallic plate. The measurement frequency was from 10 kHz to 10 MHz.Although these were low power experiments, they demonstrate the feasibility of energy transfer from the road to a running automobile. If this energy transfer could be increased to tens of kW on express ways, then in the future it may be possible to take EV from your house to the nearest interchange with a small battery and then cruise on the expressway via this feeder system as far as you want without concern about battery discharge problems.
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-solar-power.htmlA large problem with solar is that is is a sporadic energy source. Storing energy from concentrated solar until needed is a way around this. Molten salt has been used for such purposes before but usually by flowing the molten salt through a central tower collecting the energy from the mirror array.The new approach is to arrange the mirrors to focus onto a molten salt vat at the base of the array.Diagram shows the idealized arrangement of a vat of molten salt used to store solar heat, located at the base of a gently-sloping hillside that could be covered with an array of steerable mirrors all guided to focus sunlight down onto the vat. “Alexander Slocum and a team of researchers at MIT have created a system that combines heating and storage in a single tank, which would be mounted on the ground instead of in a tower. The heavily insulated tank would admit concentrated sunlight through a narrow opening at its top, and would feature a movable horizontal plate to separate the heated salt on top from the colder salt below. (Salts are generally used in such systems because of their high capacity for absorbing heat and their wide range of useful operating temperatures.) As the salt heated over the course of a sunny day, this barrier would gradually move lower in the tank, accommodating the increasing volume of hot salt. Water circulating around the tank would get heated by the salt, turning to steam to drive a turbine whenever the power is needed.The team analyzed two potential sites for CSPonD on hillsides near White Sands, N.M., and China Lake, Calif. By beaming concentrated sunlight toward large tanks of sodium-potassium nitrate salt — each measuring 25 meters across and five meters deep — two installations could each provide 20 megawatts of electricity 24/7, which is enough to supply about 20,000 homes. The systems could store enough heat, accumulated over 10 sunny days, to continue generating power through one full cloudy day.
World oil supply in July rose by 0.6 mb/d from June, to 88.7 mb/d, with non-OPEC production up by 0.4 mb/d. Rising Canadian production offset lower UK production. Non-OPEC supply is now seen averaging a lower 53 mb/d in 2011 on prolonged production outages, rising to 54 mb/d in 2012.The Israeli Shefela oil shale is on land. The natural gas is under the waterHarold Vinegar, the former chief scientists of Royal Dutch Shell, has devised an ambitious plan that would, if successful, turn Israel into one of the world’s leading oil producers. Now chief scientist for Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), Vinegar maintains that the 238 sq km Shefela Basin holds the world’s second largest shale deposits outside the United States, from which around 250 billion barrels of oil – about the same as Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves, could be extractable. IEI estimates the marginal cost of production at between US$35 and US$40 per barrel. That, says Vinegar, would be cheaper than the US$60 or so per barrel it would cost to extract crude oil in more hospitable locations such as the Arctic, and even favourably with the US$30-US$40 in Brazilian deepwater.
Figure 01: The stacked columns in the diagram above show development in global supplies of crude oil and condensate, refinery gain, natural gas liquids (NGL) and other liquid energy from January 2001 through April 2011. The development in the average monthly oil price is plotted on the left hand y-axis. NOTE: Diagrams based upon EIA data may be subject to future revisions.
For the world EIA have forecast a growth in world (all liquids) supplies from 87,7 Mb/d in 2011 to 89,4 Mb/d in 2012.In the recent months supplies of crude oil and condensates from Russia has become stagnant and ROW shows a decline.Figure 03: The stacked columns in the diagram above show development in Russian supplies of crude oil and condensate, refinery gains and NGL from January 2001 through April 2011. The development in the average monthly oil price is plotted on the left hand y-axis.
Figure 05: The stacked columns show each OPEC member’s crude oil/condensate supplies and OPEC’s supplies of NGL from January 2001 through April 2011. The average monthly oil price is also plotted on the left hand y-axis.The recent data from EIA shows weak growth in supplies of crude oil and some growth in supplies of NGL from OPEC. (NGL are presently not part of OPEC's quota arrangements.) The war in Libya took out around 1,5 Mb/d of OPEC supplies.To me, the recent growth in the oil price (adjusted for fluctuations in the value of the US Dollar) is a signal calling upon increased crude oil deliveries from OPEC. As increased supplies from OPEC have taken time to materialize, IEA decided to improve supplies by selling oil and petroleum products from the OECD stocks.
Nuclear• NRC lowers nuclear plant meltdown fatality estimate• Reactors – Bellefonte 1 reactor to be completed – APR1400 reactor construction • Indian uranium – Changes made to Terrapower traveling wave reactor to be more buildable
Traveling Wave Reactor• New design generates heat at top instead centrally – Easier to use heat – Somewhat more radiation wear on containment system – Needs 3 to 4 times more resilient material – Seeks permission and funding to build
Fatalities if Core Meltdown• Main worry is release of Cesium 137 – Previous estimate 60% cesium release – New estimate: <= 2% • Result based on 20 years of computer modelling, engineering analysis and field data• Probability of death within 10 mile radius – Near 0.0 – Odds of 0.0002 of developing latent cancer• This is without considering new mitigation methods
Fusion News• Star Scientific: Muon catalyzed fusion• Fusion project updates – Helion Energy – General Fusion – Tri-Alpha Energy• Japanese Muon and Muon fusion research..
Transportation• Increasing fuel efficiency using smartphones – Fuel savings of 20% in city driving• New electric vehicle charging proposal – Endless power to electric vehicles through road RF energy• Wheel motors and kits to turn conventional vehicles to hybrids – Operational direct drive solution
Hydrocarbons• Oil production hasn’t peaked yet – Oil production rose to 88.7 mbd last month• Israel has Saudi Arabia level reserves? – 250 billion barrels of oil• Most recent world oil supply report