While some variants of nuclear power plants are estimated to cost up to five times as much as competing technologies such as minimally-compliant coal power, these are extreme examples. Most populations will not allow minimally-compliant coal plants to be built because of their substantially dangerous pollution as well as radioactivity levels far above those of a nuclear power plant. Their radioactive and chemical emissions come in the form of massive fly ash ponds as well as airborne fly ash emissions.
This book was published in 1954, amid what the author, Dr. Joseph Wood Krutch, calls ‘The Age of Anxiety’. The world had just suffered through two wars that heavily eroded the optimism that had existed at the beginning of the 20th century. The tremendous destruction had seriously shaken the ideals of the world. This led […]
Canadian mining companies are the apparent villain in a number of central and south american mining disputes lately. Copper Mesa Mining Corporation, formerly known as Ascendant Copper is the major player in a recent documentary film called Under Rich Earth. The film is highly recommended for anyone interested in the conflict between the people of Ecuador […]
Nuclear Power: Our First Major Project In October 2008, the Uranium Development Partnership committee was formed by the government of Saskatchewan. We noted that the mandate of the committee was to recommend the best ways for Saskatchewan to enjoy prosperity by developing nuclear industries. We also noted that the committee seemed to be filled primarily […]
A power utility has to have the capability of calling into service enough power to make up for the loss of its largest generator on short notice. For a nuclear generator, this would be between 300 and 2000 MW. In our home province of Saskatchewan, the largest single generator SaskPower has to keep backup capacity for currently is a 300MW coal unit. However, if the entire Boundary Dam facility went down, the Saskatchewan system could be missing as much as 813 MW of power.
If you think of renewable sources of energy you probably think of things like wind turbines, solar panels, biomass plants, and hydroelectric plants. However, these are just examples. What does it mean to be renewable?
Compelling ideas of what might be possible In 2007, many of us had our reasons to be discontent with the state and direction of our society. This is not to say that we were not grateful to be living in such wondrous times in a country of great affluence. We were acutely aware even then […]
Due to some server troubles, we were down for several days earlier in the month. Our webmaster took this opportunity to look into our hosting options. The new solution that he has implemented is a virtual machine hosted on servers directly connected to an Internet backbone in Freemont, California. It is our expectation that this […]
Forum for contribution and discussion UPDATE: The forum has been removed from the site. We now have a new forum. You can get there at any time by clicking the “Forum” link near the top of the page. The forum in its current state was designed by Ben with the help of the rather impressive […]
Oil Spill Near Vancouver Apparently Chevron waited a month before informing the public about an oil, gas, and diesel leak into the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, BC. However, it appears that they are actually following the regulations for such a leak. Locals are questioning both the direct effect on their habitat, and the ramifications of […]
Chevron says that it would not be able to clean up if its proposed deep sea rig off the coast of Newfoundland had a similar disaster to that currently happening in the Gulf of Mexico. They estimate extremely small possibilities of any major spills, but there are valid concerns about the sheer scale of what […]
A Feed-in-Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to provide an incentive for development of a desired type. Typical implementations of feed-in-tariffs for power generation usually involve guaranteed long term prices for electricity generated and guaranteed grid access. This means that if a person or company builds this type of desired generation, they are guaranteed to be able to sell their power, and guaranteed a minimum price for their power.
Electrical power production using a nuclear power source is accomplished through the heat produced by bringing greater than a specific amount of radioactive material together. Water is heated to create steam, which in turn spins turbines to generate electricity. Greater quantities or concentrations of nuclear material produce more heat. The higher the temperature of the heat source, the more efficient the production of electricity from it becomes. If the core becomes too hot, it is possible for core material to melt. If the reactor core is kept relatively cool, the energy production is not thermodynamically or economically efficient. Combinations of different fuels, fuel cladding, and coolants have been tested to optimize reactor cores for efficient power production while remaining very safe. Many different combinations are in use today, each with it’s advantages and disadvantages.
The Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) is a ministerial advisory committee established in October 2008 for the purpose of analyzing the economic feasibility of all forms of uranium development in Saskatchewan. On Friday April 3rd, the final report was released to the public containing recommendations to the government of Saskatchewan.
Energy is a concept that represents the amount of physical work that can be done by a certain system. For instance, a tank of gasoline has a certain amount of energy that can be released by burning it to achieve useful results, like moving a car a long distance. The concept of energy is very useful when talking about subjects as broadly different as climate change, electrical power plants, car collisions, explosives, and food diets. Energy exists in two forms, kinetic and potential.
The activity of a piece of radioactive material (called a ‘source’) is a measure of how many radioactive decays taking place per second. If you compare two uranium sources for instance, the one with the higher activity would be emitting more energy. There are three kinds of radioactive decays: alpha, beta and gamma.
Energy storage is the saving some form of energy for later use. Energy is critical to every accomplishment of humans. This energy can take many forms. Some examples include potential, kinetic, chemical, and nuclear energy.
Energy storage is critical to the stable function of a power grid. Inevitably, power stations have to be serviced or have failures. Even failures that are a fraction of a second can be disastrous for certain applications, such as monitoring systems for heavy machinery, computers, and other sensitive electronics. Stability of power is a key factor in the design of an effective power grid. Stability requires that there be backup systems in place in case of a baseline power failure. Energy storage is required for most backup systems to be effective.