EU4C. Stay Current—Field Trip to a Power Plant

2024-05-07. Giant Batteries Are Transforming the Way the U.S. Uses Electricity. By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times. Excerpt: They’re delivering solar power after dark in California and helping to stabilize grids in other states. And the technology is expanding rapidly. …Solar power is plentiful during the day but disappears by evening, just as people get home from work and electricity demand spikes. …Since 2020, California has installed more giant batteries than anywhere in the world apart from China. They can soak up excess solar power during the day and store it for use when it gets dark …Between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on April 30, …batteries supplied more than one-fifth of California’s electricity and, for a few minutes, pumped out 7,046 megawatts of electricity, akin to the output from seven large nuclear reactors. …Over the past three years, battery storage capacity on the nation’s grids has grown tenfold, to 16,000 megawatts. This year, it is expected to nearly double again, with the biggest growth in Texas, California and Arizona…. Full article at

2024-05-03. Nuclear energy continues to help power N.Y. grid as renewables lag. By Molly Burke, Times Union. Excerpt: New York’s four reactors generate 22 percent of the state’s electricity, while fossil fuels continue to power nearly 50 percent. …The energy the plant produces — which does not emit any greenhouse gasses — will not contribute toward New York’s fast-approaching goal to transition 70 percent of the electrical grid to renewable sources by 2030 under mandates by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Nuclear energy, while low-carbon, is produced from finite materials and is nonrenewable. …While renewable energy projects have faltered, including two offshore wind projects off the coast of Long Island being scrapped in mid-April, nuclear energy in New York has continued steadily for a number of years. The cancellations of the wind projects …underscore the variables and cost challenges facing efforts in New York and the nation to develop coastal wind as a major energy source. Full article at

2024-04-25. New rule compels US coal-fired power plants to capture emissions – or shut down. By Associated Press/The Guardian. Excerpt: Coal-fired power plants would be forced to capture smokestack emissions or shut down under a rule issued on Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). …The power plant rule marks the first time the federal government has restricted carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The rule also would force future electric plants fueled by coal or gas to control up to 90% of their carbon pollution. The new standards will stave off 1.38bn metric tons of carbon pollution through 2047, equivalent to the annual emissions of 328m gas cars, the EPA said, and will provide hundreds of billions of dollars in climate and health benefits, measured in fewer premature deaths, asthma cases, and lost work or school days. …Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, said that through the latest rules, “the EPA is systematically dismantling the reliability of the US electric grid”. …Coal provided about 16% of US electricity last year, down from about 45% in 2010. Natural gas provides about 43% of US electricity, with the remainder from nuclear energy and renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower…. See article at

2023-11-12. U.S. Bets on Small Nuclear Reactors to Help Fix a Huge Climate Problem. [] By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, The New York Times. Excerpt: Towering over the Savannah River in Georgia, the first nuclear reactors built from scratch in the United States in more than 30 years illustrate the enormous promise of nuclear power — and its most glaring weakness. The two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant will join two older units to create enough electricity to power two million homes, 24 hours a day, without emitting any of the carbon dioxide that is dangerously heating the planet. But those colossal reactors cost $35 billion, more than double the original estimates, and arrived seven years behind schedule. That’s why no one else is planning to build large reactors in the United States. Instead, the great hope for the future of nuclear power is to go small. Nearly a dozen companies are developing reactors that are a fraction of the size of those at Vogtle, betting that they will be quicker and cheaper to build. …nuclear plants can run at all hours, in any season. To those looking to replace coal and gas with wind and solar energy, nuclear power can provide a vital backstop when the air is calm or the sky is cloudy….

2023-10-19. AFTER THE FLOOD. [] By WARREN CORNWALL, Science. Excerpt: Next year, [Joahua Chenowith will] be confronted with nearly 1000 hectares of bare ground stretching along 36 kilometers of the Klamath and its tributaries, after authorities remove Iron Gate and three other dams in California and Oregon. …with thousands of dams targeted for removal worldwide, more and larger efforts are likely to follow. …Chenoweth, who was hired by the Yurok, a local tribe taking the lead in the revegetation effort, has spent years preparing for the moment. His crews have scoured the surrounding area, diligently collecting seeds that will be used to immediately populate the barren ground. …THE KLAMATH WAS ONCE a fabled source of salmon, the third most productive in the western United States…. As many as 1 million of the fish journeyed each year up the 420-kilometer-long waterway, which flows from the dry plains of eastern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean. Near the river’s mouth…the yearly salmon runs were once the lifeblood of the Yurok, who erected temporary wooden dams to catch them. Farther upstream…salmon were an important source of sustenance for members of the Karuk, Klamath, and other tribes. Then, in 1918, an energy company erected a 36-meter-tall concrete dam in a narrow canyon 325 kilometers upriver. With no provision for fish to get past, it effectively walled off some 560 kilometers of habitat for migratory fish…. It was the first of the six dams that now choke the Klamath River. Those blockages…led to severe declines in salmon populations, which now number at less than 5% of predam levels. …In the early 2000s, however, the federal license for many of the dams was approaching its expiration date. Under pressure from tribes, environmentalists, and anglers, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signaled that before the license could be renewed, the dams would need to be renovated to help fish get upstream. …the owner—PacifiCorp—agreed in 2010 to relinquish the dams and allow them to be torn down …, setting in motion what has become the world’s largest dam removal project, a $450 million to $500 million effort funded by the state of California and PacifiCorp…. For GSS Energy Use chapter 4.

2023-08-28. There’s a Vast Source of Clean Energy Beneath Our Feet. And a Race to Tap It. [] By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: In a sagebrush valley full of wind turbines and solar panels in western Utah, Tim Latimer gazed up at a very different device he believes could be just as powerful for fighting climate change — …a drilling rig, of all things, transplanted from the oil fields of North Dakota …drilling for heat. Mr. Latimer’s company, Fervo Energy, is part of an ambitious effort to unlock vast amounts of geothermal energy from Earth’s hot interior, a source of renewable power that could help displace fossil fuels that are dangerously warming the planet. “There’s a virtually unlimited resource down there if we can get at it,” said Mr. Latimer. “Geothermal doesn’t use much land, it doesn’t produce emissions, it can complement wind and solar power….” …Traditional geothermal plants …work by tapping natural hot water reservoirs underground to power turbines that can generate electricity 24 hours a day. Few sites have the right conditions for this …so geothermal only produces 0.4 percent of America’s electricity currently. …But hot, dry rocks lie below the surface everywhere on the planet. And by using advanced drilling techniques developed by the oil and gas industry, some experts think it’s possible to tap that larger store of heat and create geothermal energy almost anywhere. …The Energy Department estimates there’s enough energy in those rocks to power the entire country five times over and has launched a major push to develop technologies to harvest that heat…..

2023-07-19. Fervo heralds a revolution in geothermal power technology. [] By Loz Blain, New Atlas. Excerpt: There’s a near-unlimited amount of clean energy under our feet, in the form of hot rocks. You can generate clean electricity 24/7 – not intermittently, like solar and wind – if you can get water down into that rock and back to the surface to drive steam turbines. A reliable source like this would make the clean energy transition much smoother. . . However . . . there are only limited places where geothermal power currently makes economic sense – places like Iceland and New Zealand, for example, where the heat is close to the surface, easily accessible, and the site is close enough to a grid connection to make it worth exploiting. Fervo’s solution is a bit more down-to-Earth, as it were, and draws on much more established, high-volume machinery and techniques from oil and gas production. Essentially, Fervo aims to do for geothermal what shale oil and fracking did for hydrocarbons, radically improving access to resources and unlocking energy where previously it was too expensive to get to….

2023-05-11. E.P.A. Proposes First Limits on Climate Pollution From Existing Power Plants. [] By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Biden administration on Thursday announced the first regulations to limit greenhouse pollution from existing power plants, capping an unparalleled string of climate policies that, taken together, could substantially reduce the nation’s contribution to global warming. The proposals are designed to effectively eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s electricity sector by 2040. …The nation’s 3,400 coal- and gas-fired power plants currently generate about 25 percent of greenhouse gases produced by the United States….

2023-04-26. New Rules for Power Plants Could Give Carbon Capture a Boost. Here’s How. [] By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Biden administration’s plan to limit, for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants could hinge on the ability of plant operators to capture carbon dioxide before it is pumped into the atmosphere. Yet none of the nation’s 3,400 coal- and gas-fired power plants are currently using carbon capture technology in a significant way, raising questions about the viability of that approach. In the coming weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose strict new limits on emissions from coal- and natural gas-burning power plants, which are responsible for about 25 percent of the country’s greenhouse gases.  Under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress increased existing tax credits that are now worth up to $85 for every ton of carbon dioxide that polluters capture and bury underground, up from a maximum of $50 previously. That has led to growing interest. The owners of at least six coal plants and 14 large gas plants are conducting detailed engineering studies to gauge the economic feasibility of carbon capture and storage….

2023-01-24. Despite opposition, Japan may soon dump Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific. [] By Dennis Normile, Science. Excerpt: Government says the release poses no risk to marine or human life, but some scientists disagree. The Japanese government is pushing ahead with its plan to release 1.3 million tons of radioactive water from the defunct Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. …The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which owns the power station, says it is running out of space to store the water on land. Radioactivity levels in the discharged water will be too low to pose a risk to marine life or humans, TEPCO says, and its plan has the blessing of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). …But critics say the risks haven’t been studied in enough detail. TEPCO’s assurances are “not supported by the quantity and quality of the data,” says oceanographer Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. …says Robert Richmond, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa: “There is a strong consensus internationally that continued use of the ocean for dumping waste is simply not sustainable.”….

2023-01-05. The Nuclear Dump That Created a Generation of Indigenous Activists. [] By Amy Qin and Amy Chang Chien, The New York Times. Excerpt: …in 1980, when a local pastor saw an article buried in the back of a newspaper, …the islanders found out what the site actually was: a massive nuclear waste dump. …Following the revelation that the site was a nuclear waste facility, the Tao fought vigorously to persuade the government to remove it. For years they staged mass protests on the island and in front of government offices in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. They became self-taught experts in nuclear waste. …But despite the government’s repeated promises to relocate the site, the dump remains. …efforts to relocate the waste fell short. In 1993, a group of countries voted to permanently ban the practice of dumping all nuclear waste in the ocean. Other potential options, including a plan to export the waste to North Korea, were scuttled. …the authorities agreed to pay the Tao $83 million in compensation, with an additional $7 million to be disbursed every three years….

2023-01-03. Is a Dam in Rural Portugal a Key to Our Alternative Energy Future?. [] By Stanley Reed, The New York Times. Excerpt: When Portugal’s electrical system needs a boost, a signal activates a power plant buried deep in a hillside in the country’s scrubby, pine-covered north. Inside the man-made cavern, valves, nine feet in diameter, suddenly open, allowing water draining from a reservoir four miles away to begin streaming through four massive turbines. …the 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) complex of concrete, tunnels and water is not just massive. It is also providing an answer to one of the most vexing questions facing renewable energy. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent across the globe on solar energy and wind power. But when the sun goes down, or the breezes become still, where will the electricity come from? Iberdrola’s giant project — which uses water and gravity to generate power on demand, and then pumps the water back to the upper reservoir when rates drop — is part of the solution….

2022-12-05. Stop burning trees to make energy, say 650 scientists before Cop15 biodiversity summit. [] By Phoebe Weston, The Guardian. Excerpt: More than 650 scientists are urging world leaders to stop burning trees to make energy because it destroys valuable habitats for wildlife. …they say countries urgently need to stop using forest bioenergy to create heat and electricity as it undermines international climate and nature targets. Instead, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar should be used, they say. …Bioenergy has “wrongly been deemed ‘carbon neutral’” and many countries are increasingly relying on forest biomass to meet net zero goals, according to the letter, addressed to world leaders. …By 2030, bioenergy is expected to account for a third of “low-carbon” energy, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. …Burning wood for electricity is also inefficient, releasing comparatively more carbon into the atmosphere than gas or coal. Additional energy is used to harvest and transport the wood. Experts have been warning for years about the climate impacts of bioenergy, but now they are also finding out that it has dire risks for nature too, with many cases of protected forests being affected. Canada, Estonia and the US are the largest providers of wood for biomass….

2022-11-03. New Tax Break for Clean Energy Draws Scrutiny. [] By Eric Lipton, The New York Times. Excerpt: Blackstone, the New York-based asset manager with nearly $1 trillion of investor funds, is moving rapidly into the clean-energy revolution, driven in part by federal tax incentives …. But one of its larger projects — through a subsidiary called Tallgrass Energy — is drawing protests from environmentalists who argue that Blackstone’s effort in New Mexico will not do enough to combat climate change…. Tallgrass intends to spend $600 million to rebuild a defunct coal-burning power plant in northwest New Mexico into one that uses natural gas converted into hydrogen to create electricity that will be sent to households and businesses in four states in the region. The project would be eligible for a generous tax break — generating about $30 million a year in federal subsidies for its electricity generation — because the climate-change-causing carbon generated by the plant would be collected and then buried deep underground, in a process called sequestration. …the Inflation Reduction Act… increased the carbon capture subsidy by 70 percent, to $85 per ton of carbon that is captured and buried. The New Mexico project is expected to sequester about 380,000 tons of carbon annually…. …In place of coal, Tallgrass would take natural gas drilled from the New Mexico area and convert that gas into hydrogen through a process called methane reforming, which relies on high-pressure steam to separate hydrogen from the gas. …The problem with the plan, according to other energy analysts and environmental engineers, is that the process is extremely inefficient: Using natural gas to create hydrogen is very energy intensive. …Making matters worse, said Bruce Robertson, an energy industry analyst who conducted a study of carbon capture projects worldwide, most of them have failed to live up to promised carbon removal targets, meaning they have not achieved the intended environmental benefits.…

2022-10-9. ‘Eye of Sauron’: The Dazzling Solar Tower in the Israeli Desert. [] By Patrick Kingsley, Photographs by Amit Elkayam, The New York Times. Excerpt: ASHALIM, Israel …This is the great solar tower of Ashalim, one of the tallest structures in Israel and, until recently, the tallest solar power plant in the world. “It’s like a sun,” said Eli Baliti, a shopkeeper in the nearest village. “A second sun.” To backers, the tower is an impressive feat of engineering, testament to Israeli solar innovation. To critics, it is an expensive folly, dependent on technology that had become outmoded by the time it was operational. For Mr. Baliti and the 750 or so other residents of the nearby village, Ashalim, after which the plant is named, the tower is also something far more tangible. It is the ever-present backdrop to their lives, a source of frustration, occasional fondness and even pride, eliciting both ire and awe. …Using energy from the sun, the tower generates enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes. Completed in 2019, the plant showcases both the promise and the missteps of the Israeli solar industry, and it is a case study in the unpredictable challenges that await any country seeking to pivot from fossil fuels to renewable energy. …the sun’s rays hit a sea of more than 50,000 mirrors positioned strategically in the dunes surrounding the tower. The mirrors reflect the light beams upward, concentrating them on a giant water boiler inside the tower’s turret.…

2022-09-02. Hawaii Closes Its Last Coal-Fired Power Plant. [] By Elena Shao, The New York Times. Excerpt: Hawaii shuttered its last remaining coal-fired power station on Thursday, a major milestone in the state’s ambitious effort to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The station, the AES Hawaii Power Plant near Kalaeloa, in southwest Oahu, provided more than 11 percent of the state’s electricity in 2021, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “It really is about reducing greenhouse gases,” said Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, in an interview with The Associated Press. “And this coal facility is one of the largest emitters. Taking it offline means that we’ll stop the 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases that were emitted annually.” Throughout the United States, coal plants are powering down, squeezed out by cheaper natural gas, cleaner renewable energy and tougher emissions regulations. There are fewer than 270 coal-burning power plants remaining in the country; more than 600 have been retired over the past two decades.…

2022-08-22. Drought Hurts China’s Economy as Central Bank Cuts Rates. [] By Keith Bradsher, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Record-high temperatures and a severe drought in west-central China have crippled hydropower generation and prompted the shutdown of many factories there, in the latest blow to a Chinese economy that already has stagnant consumer spending and a deeply troubled real estate market. Sichuan Province in west-central China, one of China’s most populous and a fast-growing industrial base in recent years, normally generates more than three-quarters of its electricity from huge dams. The summer rainy season usually brings so much water that Sichuan sends much of its hydropower to cities and provinces as far away as Shanghai. But an almost complete failure of summer rains this year, coupled with daytime highs that have regularly approached or exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, has left rivers and reservoirs with fractions of their former water. The large province’s many dams cannot generate enough electricity even for Sichuan’s own needs, forcing factories there to close for up to a week at a time.…

2022-08-05. Facing Energy Crisis, Germans, Warily, Give Nuclear a Second Look. [] By Erika Solomon, The New York Times. Excerpt: LANDSHUT, Germany — When Angela Merkel pulled the plug on nuclear power after the Fukushima meltdown, she set Germany on a course to become the only leading industrial nation to abandon atomic energy in the world. The economic engine of Europe planned instead to fuel itself through a transition to renewable energies with cheap Russian gas. Now, 11 years later, with Russia toying with Germany’s gas supply, her successor, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has modeled himself in Ms. Merkel’s image, is staring at the possibility of reversing that momentous decision. Europe’s geopolitical calculations have been turned upside down by the war in Ukraine. It has created an energy crisis that comes at a critical moment for Germany and Europe’s ambitions to become global leaders in the transition to climate neutrality. Instead, as Russia tightens the taps, coal plants are being refired across Europe, and nuclear energy is getting a second look as many on the continent wrangle over whether to sacrifice their sacred cows. The European Parliament recently took the much-contested step of classifying some gas and nuclear power as “green.” In the Netherlands, gas fracking is up for reconsideration. In Belgium, like Germany, the debate has turned to keeping nuclear plants running, something unthinkable just months ago.…

2022-08-04. How Coal Mining and Years of Neglect Left Kentucky Towns at the Mercy of Flooding. [] By Rick RojasChristopher Flavelle and Campbell Robertson, The New York Times. Excerpt: FLEMING-NEON, Ky. — …For much of the last century, the country was powered by the labor of coal miners underneath the hills and mountains of southeastern Kentucky. But the landscape that was built to serve this work was fragile, leaving the people here extraordinarily vulnerable, especially after the coal industry shuttered so many of the mines and moved on. What remained were modest, unprotected homes and decaying infrastructure, and a land that itself, in many places, had been shorn of its natural defenses. Last week, when a deluge of rain poured into the hollows, turning creeks into roaring rivers, overwhelming old flood records, killing at least 37 people and destroying countless homes, that vulnerability was made brutally manifest.…

2022-07-15. Catching fire. [] By Warren Cornwall, Science Magazine. Excerpt: The concept of using Earth’s internal heat to generate electricity is attractively simple. …By one recent estimate, more than 5000 gigawatts of electricity could be extracted from heat in rock beneath the United States alone. That’s nearly five times the total currently generated by all U.S. power plants. Geothermal energy is also attractive because it doesn’t burn fossil fuels, isn’t imported, and can run around the clock, unlike solar panels and wind turbines. Tapping that heat, however, has proved difficult. Some nations—notably volcanically active Iceland—siphon hot groundwater to heat buildings and generate electricity In most places, however, the rock lacks the water or the cracks needed to easily move heat to the surface. …geothermal energy provides just 0.33% of the world’s electricity, little changed from 1990, according to the International Energy Agency. In recent years, new hope for this renewable energy source has come from an unlikely source: new technologies developed by the oil and gas industry. The same methods that have boosted fossil fuel production in the United States, such as targeted drilling and fracking—artificially fracturing deep rock with high pressure fluids—can, it’s hoped, be put to work to efficiently and safely extract energy from hot, dry rock. Government agencies and private companies are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the approach, called enhanced geothermal systems.…

2022-05-17. Europe Rethinks Its Reliance on Burning Wood for Electricity. By Lois Parshley, The New York Times. Excerpt: In recent years, Europe’s power plants have slashed their use of coal by burning something else instead: Millions of tons of wood, much of it imported from the United States. A controversial European Union policy called the Renewable Energy Directive drove this transition by counting biomass — organic material like wood, burned as fuel — as renewable energy and subsidizing its use. A trans-Atlantic industry developed, logging American forests and processing the material into pellets, which are then shipped to Europe. But critics have long argued that the subsidies actually have few climate benefits and should be scrapped. Late Tuesday in Brussels, a committee of the European Parliament voted to make substantial changes to both how the union subsidizes biomass, and how it counts emissions from burning it — policies with major consequences if passed by the full Parliament. …“This vote is a historic breakthrough,” said Martin Pigeon, a forests and climate campaigner with Fern, a nonprofit group focused on European forests. “For the first time, a major E.U. regulatory body makes clear that one of the E.U.’s most climate-wrecking policies of the last decade, incentivizing the burning of forests in the name of renewable energy, has to stop.” .… []

2022-05-16. Cutting air pollution from fossil fuels would save 50,000 lives a year, study says. By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post. Excerpt: Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. Published in the journal GeoHealth, the study reports the considerable health benefits of removing from the air harmful fine particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produced by electricity generation, transportation, industrial activities, and building functions such as heating and cooking. Highway vehicles make up the largest single share.… []

2022-05-14. Poisoned legacy: why the future of power can’t be nuclear. By Serhii Plokhy, The Guardian. Excerpt: …On the surface, the switch to nuclear makes sense. It would not only enable European countries to meet their ambitious net zero targets, since it produces no CO2. It would also make them less vulnerable to Russian threats, and allow them to stop financing the Russian war machine. But the invasion also provided a chilling reminder of just why so many governments have treated nuclear power with great caution over the years. On the first day, Russian troops in unmarked uniforms took control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the worst ever nuclear disaster. On the following day, electronic monitors in the Chernobyl exclusion zone indicated sharp spikes in radiation levels as heavy equipment and trench-digging by Russian soldiers threw up contaminated dust. The world woke up to an even more nightmarish reality a week later, when news arrived from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Reports suggested that Russian forces had shelled the plant and set one of its buildings on fire. Russian troops left Chernobyl once they lost the battle for Kyiv, but they remained in Zaporizhzhia, further endangering the operation of Europe’s largest nuclear power station. What the Russian takeover of these nuclear facilities exposed is a hazard inherent in all nuclear power. In order for this method of producing electricity to be safe, everything else in society has to be functioning perfectly. Warfare, economic collapse, climate change itself – all of these increasingly real risks make nuclear sites potentially perilous places. Even without them, the dangers of atomic fission remain, and we must ask ourselves: are they really worth the cost?.… []

2022-03-25. Dirty bomb ingredients go missing from Chornobyl monitoring lab. By Richard Stone, Science Magazine. Excerpt: Insecure radioactive materials are the latest worry as Russia continues occupation of infamous nuclear reservation. …When the lights went out at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant on 9 March, the Russian soldiers holding Ukrainian workers at gunpoint became the least of Anatolii Nosovskyi’s worries. More urgent was the possibility of a radiation accident at the decommissioned plant. If the plant’s emergency generators ran out of fuel, the ventilators that keep explosive hydrogen gas from building up inside a spent nuclear fuel repository would quit working, says Nosovskyi, director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv. So would sensors and automated systems to suppress radioactive dust inside a concrete “sarcophagus” that holds the unsettled remains of Chornobyl’s Unit Four reactor, which melted down in the infamous 1986 accident. …In the chaos of the Russian advance, he told Science, looters raided a radiation monitoring lab in Chornobyl village—apparently making off with radioactive isotopes used to calibrate instruments and pieces of radioactive waste that could be mixed with conventional explosives to form a “dirty bomb” that would spread contamination over a wide area.… []

2022-02-24. Final Resting Place. By Sedeer El-Showk, Science Magazine. Excerpt: Finland is set to open the world’s first permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste. …Although nuclear power is declining in many nations, Finland has embraced the carbon-free energy source, lobbying the European Union to label it as sustainable. …nuclear power will account for more than 40% of Finland’s electricity. The emissions-free electricity comes with a downside: hot and highly radioactive spent uranium fuel rods. …surface storage is vulnerable to accidents, leaks, or neglect during the thousands of years the waste remains dangerous, …groundwater contaminated by leaky waste tanks at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Hanford Site in Washington state, where reactors produced plutonium for the first nuclear weapons. Without a long-term solution, the waste is piling up. Finland had about 2300 tons of waste in 2019, and about 263,000 tons of spent fuel sit in interim storage facilities worldwide, a report this year from the International Atomic Energy Agency estimates. … Street protests have slowed down plans for a disposal site in France, and in 2009, after years of debate, then-President Barack Obama’s administration gave up on plans to develop Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as the U.S. national repository. “The U.S. approach didn’t pay sufficient attention to community acceptance or engagement,” says Isaacs, who was the lead adviser on a 2012 blue-ribbon report commissioned by DOE to chart a way forward. “The original approach led to conflict rather than cooperation.” Finland, however, has run into remarkably few problems with Onkalo, which the government approved as a site in 2000. It helped that the residents of Eurajoki, the town closest to Onkalo and the nearby reactors, were comfortable with nuclear power..… []

2022-02-10. France Announces Major Nuclear Power Buildup. By Liz Alderman, The New York Times. Excerpt: President Emmanuel Macron announced a major buildup of France’s huge nuclear power program on Thursday, pledging to construct up to 14 new-generation reactors and a fleet of smaller nuclear plants as the country seeks to slash planet-warming emissions and cut its reliance on foreign energy. The announcement represented an about-face for Mr. Macron, who had previously pledged to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power but has pivoted to burnishing an image as a pronuclear president battling climate change as he faces a tough re-election bid in April.… []

2022-02-09. European fusion reactor sets record for sustained energy. Daniel Clery, Science Magazine. Excerpt: In experiments culminating the 40-year run of the Joint European Torus (JET), the world’s largest fusion reactor, researchers announced today they have smashed the record for producing controlled fusion energy. On 21 December 2021, the U.K.-based JET heated a gas of hydrogen isotopes to 150 million degrees Celsius and held it steady for 5 seconds while nuclei fused together, releasing 59 megajoules (MJ) of energy—roughly twice the kinetic energy of a fully laden semitrailer truck traveling at 160 kilometers per hour. The energy in the pulse is more than 2.5 times the previous record of 22 MJ, set by JET 25 years earlier. “To see shots in which it sustains high power for a full 5 seconds is amazing,” says Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). JET’s achievement doesn’t mean fusion-generated electricity will flow into the grid anytime soon, however. Researchers had to put roughly three times as much energy into the gas as the reaction produced. But the result gives them confidence in the design of ITER, a giant fusion reactor under construction in France, which is supposed to pump out at least 10 times as much energy as is fed in. “This is very good news for ITER,” says Alberto Loarte, head of ITER’s science division. “It strongly confirms our strategy.”.… []

cover for gss book Energy Use

Non-chronological resources

European Deep Thermal Energy Programme 

Acid Rain – Effects of Acid Rain: Lakes & Streams (EPA web page) 

California Energy Commission   

Geothermal Education Office (GEO) –
Nuclear Energy 

  • Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board —
  • Shundahai Network, non-profit organization advocating abolishing all nuclear weapons, ending nuclear testing, phasing out nuclear energy, and ending the transportation and dumping of nuclear waste.
  • Yucca Mountain Project —

Australian Renewable Energy Website
Canadian Renewable Energy Network 
Tidal Energy  – Blue Energy Canada — commercializing the Davis Hydro Turbine, to generate high-density renewable and emission-free electricity from ocean currents and tides. 
Wind Energy