Energy 2.0

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Category Innovative Nuclear Tech

International schemes hatch to tap nuclear for industrial heat

China, India, Russia others eyeing high temperature reactors for producing metals, hydrogen, fossil fuels, petrochemicals. Desalination too. Beijing targets 2017.

Temperature's rising: The early construction stage of China's high temperature (750-degree C) pebble bed reactor at Shidao Bay, due for grid connection in 2017. China broke ground in late 2012. Over the last month alone it has completed installation of fuel production machinery, and has successfully tested fuel pumps.

One of the most compelling reasons for the nuclear industry to start building novel reactors is that alternative designs could broaden nuclear’s clean energy appeal well beyond electricity generation and into a source of CO2-free heat that powers industrial processes. Nuclear could usher in tremendous environmental improvements if it were to replace the CO2-spewing fossil fuels that fire up steel and cement furnaces, and that process and refine materials like

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Nuclear’s powerful punch should wallop fossil fuels – take it from a renowned oil man

No energy source comes close to the density of uranium or thorium

Oil at a peak: Fossil fuels don't have anywhere near the energy content of nuclear. "Peak Oil" theorist M. King Hubbert pointed that out as far back as 1956.

Over recent months, this blog has delivered nuclear industry news noting among other things the bustling growth of reactor construction in China, the percolating activity in non-traditionally nuclear regions of the world like Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and the emerging British interest in small reactors. In today’s installment, we will take a breather from current affairs and instead opt for a little pro-nuclear history lesson. A nuclear

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China, Canada jointly ratchet up thorium, alternative fuels for CANDU reactors

Could build for other countries too. Argentina and Romania next?

Used fuel and thorium are already part of the mix at the Qinshan CANDU reactors in China.

Once again, leave it to China to demonstrate that the future of nuclear could well reside in reactor technologies that are notably different from the conventional reactors that have defined the industry forever. And in China’s most recent example, throw in another country that itself is emerging as a leader in alternative nuclear: Canada. State and private-sector entities from the two countries in late July signed a memorandum of understanding

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ExxonMobil: Nuclear power will double

Yes, ExxonMobil. Shell sees growth too. The oil companies know that nuclear is clean.

Nuclear nights: Nuclear will increasingly keep the world's lights on as countries like China continue to grow and turn to cleaner energy sources. Above, Shanghai's Pudong district.

Let’s start this week’s blog with a quiz. Identify the source of this global prediction: “By 2040, we expect that the use of nuclear power will approximately double.” Is it: a) a leading utility; b) a large nuclear company; c) one of those growing crop of greenies clamoring for nuclear to help staunch the spewing of environmentally ruinous carbon dioxide (we like those folks here at Energy 2.0); d) a

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UK prepared to regulate small modular reactors

Country’s chief nuclear inspector tells Parliament that the time for approval should be no more than with conventional models

Lakeside revival: The disused Trawsfynydd nuclear site on a lake in northern Wales could come alive again as a site for a small modular reactor.

The time it would take to approve and license a small modular reactor in the UK would be no longer than the time it takes with a conventional large reactor, the country’s’ chief nuclear inspector assured Parliament this week. The testimony from Andy Hall, chief nuclear inspector at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), should allay concerns that the regulator might be ill-prepared to review SMR applications. Regulatory processes in

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Experts to Parliament: Small reactors can boost UK nuclear 

Deploy them in altogether new locations for huge leap in clean affordable energy they say, as House of Commons “SMR” hearings  continue

Industrial Strength: Dr. Fiona Rayment of the UK's National Nuclear Laboratory told a House of Commons select committee that small modular reactors could operate on an industrial user's site and thus reduce reliance on the grid and on fossil fuels.

Industrial electricity users who want to reduce their reliance on the grid and on volatile fossil fuels could install small modular nuclear reactors on their site to ensure a constant electricity supply, an expert has advised a UK Parliamentary committee that is investigating the potential uses for alternative nuclear power in Britain. The novel reactors would thus help significantly increase nuclear electricity’s share of the country’s energy mix said the

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Alternative reactors go to Parliament

Uses include district heating and hydrogen production, experts testify to a UK House of Commons committee

Stein's way: Testifying to a House committee, Rolls-Royce's Paul Stein noted that the nuclear industry does not exactly progress at the pace of “greased lightning.” But it could develop an SMR for Britain within 7 years if it initially sticks with shrunken conventional designs before trying advanced models, he said.

Small, alternative reactors could open up British nuclear power to entirely new uses such as district heating and hydrogen production, and thus buoy the country’s efforts to meet mandatory carbon reduction goals. So testified experts backed by Rolls-Royce, by utilities and even by the fossil fuel industry when asked by a Parliamentary committee about the potential for small modular reactors (SMRs). “We look at the question in the context of

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Nuclear will keep the home fires burning in China

Beijing practices what it preaches as it campaigns to export reactors

Raising the temperature: China's nuclear expansion includes the development of small high temperature reactors that will provide heat for industrial processes. Jiang Mianheng, who is the son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, heads a Shanghai high temperature project for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent blogs, we’ve pointed out how nuclear reactor companies are turning to seemingly unlikely geographies for growth. Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America – hardly traditional nuclear markets – look set to help revive the nuclear renaissance that stalled following the meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima plant in March, 2011. We’ve also noted that China and its state-owned reactor companies are among the nuclear purveyors chasing business

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China steps up nuclear ties with Arab world

Non-western and developing nations turn to the East and Russia for maiden voyages into atomic energy. The West likes them too – London calling!

Chinese president Xi Jinping, pictured with U.S. Barack Obama during March's Nuclear Security Summit in Holland, wants to help the Arab world achieve “high tech breakthroughs in nuclear energy.”

Welcome to the new growth curve of nuclear power: While developed countries like Germany, Japan and the U.S. either walk away or dither over their commitment to atomic energy, non-Western and developing nations are turning to it in droves, often tapping Russia, China and the East as their provider.

UK government-industry body seeks proposals for alternative nuclear

Public-private investment group including BP, Shell and Rolls-Royce says small reactors could trump large conventional designs and help meet CO2 reduction goals

The future of nuclear? Royal Dutch Shell is part of a British public-private investment group that is seeking proposals for small modular reactors.

A key low carbon public-private British investment group that includes oil and turbine companies BP, Shell, Rolls-Royce and Caterpillar is casting its net into nuclear, seeking proposals for alternative reactors that depart from conventional designs and that could serve as a source of both electricity and heat. The request for proposals (RFP) from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) marks a widening of the group’s interests beyond the renewables and fossil-fuel

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