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US plants show record efficiency in extreme weather conditions
Précis:  Nuclear power is proving its value and reliability in difficult weather conditions. US nuclear power plants ran at record high efficiency rates in 2014, at 91.7% of capacity, according to data compiled by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). The Nuclear Energy Institute reviewed the capacity rates of the US' 100 nuclear plants, which produce electricity across 31 states. Image:  Premium`:  No Image Caption:  According to the NEI, nuclear energy has also proven its worth in extreme weather conditions. This was evident during the heights of the arctic blasts that hit the eastern coast in January 2014, when nuclear plants achieved high capacity rates. read more

How Much Land Does Nuclear, Wind and Solar Really Need?
Not too long ago, we reviewed a report that looked at nuclear energy (and other energy sources) as biodiversity agents. This had to do, in part, with the amount of land a facility needs to function. Nuclear energy and fossil fuel plants use relatively little, wind farms and solar arrays quite a lot of land. Based on an objective and transparent analysis of our sustainable energy choices, we have come to the evidence-based conclusion that nuclear energy is a good option for biodiversity conservation (and society in general) and that other alternatives to fossil fuels should be subjected to the same cost–benefit analyses (in terms of biodiversity and climate outcomes, as well as sociopolitical imperatives) before accepting or dismissing them.Writer Barry Brook, who collected 75 scientists to endorse his paper, is interested in land use as it impacts flora and fauna. Biodiversity concerns do not get as much play as they might – and, when they do, it annoys many when land is withdrawn

Nuclear suppliers must optimise resources amid limited markets
Précis:  Nuclear industry suppliers in Europe and US must improve the management of their resources between projects as they respond to increased domestic competition in the Chinese market, Colin Elcoate, Vice President of Market and Business Development at SPX Flow Power and Energy, said. Original Equipment Manufacturers must be able to efficiently shift skilled labor and equipment between projects in the limited number of growth markets in the West, such as UK’s new build program, Elcoate said. The UK nuclear industry has plans to construct around 16GW of new nuclear power stations in the UK by 2030, equating to an investment of around £60bn, according to the UK government. Related Content:  SMR Supply Chain: keeping skills and costs on track Image:  Primary Event:&nbs

German operators seek gov’t plan on waste storage as they cost up shutdowns
Précis:  The German government needs to resolve uncertainties over the final storage of nuclear waste as this remains the key challenge for operators, Ralf Gueldner, Chief Operating Officer of E.ON’s nuclear fleet, said. Germany’s nuclear phase-out policy must be backed up with decisions over waste storage, Guelder told Nuclear Energy Insider. The federal government has made it clear that any decommissioning costs are to be borne by the operator but “challenges and uncertainties” remain over waste, he said. Germany is yet to designate a sufficient number of waste storage sites and Parliament has set up a commission to set out the terms for new repositories. Related Content:  Decommissioning in 2010: Can the UK set an example to other nations? Handling the decomm skills shift in response to future demands

STPNOC Brings 24 New Apprentices Onboard
Clarence FennerAs part of the STP Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) ongoing workforce development efforts, 24 entry-level apprentices were recently brought onboard with STP. The apprentices will join Operations (10); Electrical Maintenance (5); I&C (4); and Mechanical Maintenance (4).The new employees were all part of the company’s “Grow Your Own” initiative, which is a focused effort on building pipelines through partnerships with local community colleges and four-year institutions. The employees were part of the Educational Incentive Program as well as Nuclear Regulatory Commission Scholarship students.“We couldn't have accomplished attracting this many solid candidates without the NRC’s scholarship investment,” said Clarence Fenner, Workforce Development/Knowledge Transfer Coordinator. “Our company’s and the NRC’s efforts to build a pipeline of knowledgeable candidates who are ready to work in the nuclear industry are paying off for STP,” Fenner said.STP

On Bill McKibben, The New Yorker & Reducing Carbon On the Electric Grid
Matt WaldThe following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.Last month Bill McKibben wrote in The New Yorker magazine about a family in Vermont that had insulated its house, replaced its oil burner with electric heat pumps, added solar panels to the roof and, presumably, cut its carbon footprint. It’s a noble concept but I’m not sure it’s working. Bill and I go back a long way. We took a trip together in September, 1984, to Hydro-Quebec's James Bay plant, then nearing completion, and he wrote about it in March, 1986, in an article in The New Yorker about the various sources of energy for his apartment in New York. I believe it was one of Bill's first assignments for The New Yorker. I was then a reporter at The New York Times and wrote about the project immediately. Both of us have closely followed the evolution of energy and climate science ever since, but our paths have dive

Matt Wald on the News Media and Nuclear Energy
Matt WaldLast week, NEI's Matt Wald gave a short talk to the NEI Lawyers Committee on why the media covers nuclear energy the way it does. After spending 33 years working for the New York Times, it's clear he knows of what he speaks. Here's a short excerpt:Most reporters and editors can’t tell the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt-hour and many of them don’t know why they’d want to tell the difference. That makes it unlikely they’re going to give a clear picture to their readers or viewers. Add onto that some fuzzy thinking among the general public, that includes ideas like, “electricity is a human right and therefore ought to be free,” and you’ve got a recipe for mis-communications. Nuclear comes out badly not because it’s nuclear, but because of several overarching attitudes in newsrooms. One is that editors like disagreements, he said/she said. It’s an easy way to structure a news story. But the editors and reporters have rather limited abili

Suppliers collaborate, develop data products in battle against obsolete parts
Précis:  Nuclear suppliers are working more closely together to resolve the obsolescence of older parts, offering new supply solutions through data services and reverse engineering. “In many ways the obsolescence issue has brought the supply chain for nuclear power producers closer together,” Steve Willrett, Senior Consultant at Rolls-Royce Nuclear Engineering Services told FCBI. Related Content:  Areva: overcoming obsolescence with digital technology Image:  Premium`:  No Image Caption:  Some nuclear plant technology is almost 50 years old. Image credit: Mihajlo Maricic read more

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