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Approval Of Reactor May Lead To New Nuclear Plants

December 27, 2011 by  

Approval Of Reactor May Lead To New Nuclear Plants

Federal regulators have approved a nuclear reactor that was designed by Westinghouse Electric Co. that could power the first new plants built in the U.S. in more than three decades, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved the AP1000 reactor late last week. This certification, taking effect within two weeks, will be valid for a period of 15 years.

Gregory B. Jaczko, chairman of the commission, noted that all of the safety concerns for the new reactor had been fully addressed in the certification process, according to The New York Times.

“The design provides enhanced safety margins through use of simplified, inherent, passive or other innovative safety and security functions, and also has been assessed to ensure it could withstand damage from an aircraft impact without significant release of radioactive materials,” he said in a statement.

According to the newspaper, the decision is a rare agreement among the regulatory commissioners, who have been split this year on policy and management issues. Last week four of these individuals testified before Congress that Dr. Jaczko limited the flow of information to the other members.

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  • JJM

    It’s about time. Lets get em going before the EPA causes many of our coal powered plants to shut down. We don’t need Kw expenses to double.

  • Robert Smith

    “Federal regulators have approved a nuclear reactor that was designed by Westinghouse Electric Co. that could power the first new plants built in the U.S. in more than three decades, The Associated Press reported.”

    Now there is a slippery slope I’ll wax the tobogan for. We NEED nuclear power.


    • DonJ

      No, we don’t need nuclear power. It pollutes and there is nothing you or anyone else can do anything about.
      Until we have Tesla power (it’s much closer than you think) we can use oil. Make Obama sign the for the pipeline before the election and DON’T sell the oil to the world like he plans to. He want’s us destroyed as a sovereign nation and you want radiation.

      • Cincinnatus

        Tesla Power? Is this the same as cold fusion?

        Nukes work, are efficient, and produce loads of power. We can build what works or dream about ideas that may never work.

  • JR

    Let’s get this done before B.O. gets back from another one of his vacations.

    • eddie47d

      Apparently this was approved under Obama so what is your point or is this another one of your political statements.

  • Ellen

    Nuclear power is clean and has a very low cost. The nuclear waste created is far less than imagined, which is why after decades of use each power plant is still able to store their waste. We need a team of scientists to work on turning that waste into reusable fuel or making it non-radioactive. That would be a far better use of our money than green energy that depends on nature (wind, solar) since nature can’t be controlled.

    • Lastmanstanding

      Ellen…excellent point!

    • Jim W

      That technology has existed for decades, however it was outlawed by that idiot Carter because it “could” be used to produce weapons grade material.

    • DonJ

      Clean is it? The dirtiest energy fuel is clean? Back to the bath tub Ellen, you don’t know what clean is. IF the dangerous spent fuel can be converted to a safe fuel, then we could think about a new reactor. You nukies can’t blow smoke up mine and we are not going to let you smokescreen us. NO more nuclear plants. Find another source of energy, they are out there, you just don’t want to look. Here’s a clue, look into HAARP and study Tesla.

      • GILLYSROOMS in Australia

        DonJ I was hoping someone would bring up Tesla but despite many people claiming to have found out Teslas secrets I have yet to see any of his energy inventions put into commercial production. Perhaps we need the beneficiaries of the original Westinghouse family who made their fortune off Teslas electric invention to put some of that I.O.U into some research or maybe looking into their Archives to find some of Tesla original research papers and drawings. Until then we are stuck with using Nuclear as the Greenies and EPA wanting to close down the Coal and gas fired power stations and theirs not much time to do it in. Maybe Westinghouse Electric Co might be using the Tesla system hidden inside the Nuclear Power Station so they can make a bigger profit…if you believe in conspiracy theories…lol

        Anyway, I do believe we need to use some of the worlds brightest scientits to re-invent the Tesla method….

        • DonJ

          There are a lot of smart people in the world GILLYSROOMS. We already have Tesla’s proven system working. I just got this report yesterday.
          “You are welcome. I have added now two tutorials how to build an RF Driver and RF amplifier circuit, which is highly reliable and powerful. This is for all who are in the similar position needing more power output from their signal generator. The MOSFET driver and miniBloc are very robust and don’t fail as the normal MOSFET due to high breakdown voltage. Also the Base is fully isolated and can be used to be mounted to the case or heat sink. No stray RF any more. I will create one more power amplifier circuit which is based on the DE475, 1.8KW power dissipation and cheap to buy from Farnell. It has the same form factor as the DEIC420 and need either to mounted on a printed board, or, as in my case, sanded off a strip board. It does not look nice but it works.

          I will build a resonant series tank for testing my target frequency for the wireless power transfer test via ground.
          For those of you who want to conduct the test with me. I will keep it simple for everybody to follow. Please let me know and I will add you to the email trail.”

          Tesla’s Electric Car #1 – 01/09/98,
          Angered by Edison, Tesla sold his new patents to George Westinghouse for 15 million dollars in the very early 1900′s. Tesla became totally independent and proceeded to carry on his investigative research in his laboratory on 5th Avenue in New York City.
          First and foremost is the absolute silence one experiences when riding in an electrically powered vehicle. There is not even a hint of noise. One simply turns a key and steps on the accelerator – the vehicle moves instantly! No cranking from the start, no crank to turn (this was before electric starters), no pumping of the accelerator, no spark control to advance and no throttle linkage to pre-set before starting. One simply turned the ignition switch to on!
          Second, is a sense of power. If one wants to increase speed, you simply depress the accelerator further – there is never any hesitation. Releasing the accelerator causes the vehicle to slow down immediately – you are always in complete control. It is not difficult to understand why these vehicles were so very popular around the turn of the century and until 1912 or so.

          Today the 3 fastest land speed records are by the electric car, it internal combustion will never touch them.

    • Cincinnatus

      Ellen – one other HUGE factor you should mention. Nuke plates are small in relation to the equivalent wind farm to produce the same amount of power. We would need to cover hundreds of thousands of square miles with wind farms to produce the same amount of power as a few nuke plants.

      Or we could wait for cold fusion and tesla devices.

  • daniel

    OOOPS! Better check Jeffery Imelt. It has to have the GE stamp of approval.

  • http://charter howe

    What a remarkable moment. The EPA actually issued a license to allow nuclear plant projects to start up. I guess Obama needed another campaign weapon to tell everyone how he is pushing for nuclear power along with other green renewable energy. The problem is of course that the Congress has spent all the money in the treasury on the stimulus, unemployment extensions, Obamacare etc and since the evil republicans won’t raise taxes on the millionaires and billionaires during a recession there is no money to build nuclear plants. This rare accomplishment by the EPA will be campaign fodder for the liar-in-chief.

    • Lastmanstanding

      something that he will immmediately revoke if re-elected.

    • Sirian

      It’s all part of their game plan. Cass Sunstein, Obummers marvelous EPA regulatory Czar, will make sure this is side stepped for who knows what ridiculous reason. Again, it’s all part of their game plan for 2012.

    • eddie47d

      That is more of your lies like the one continually spread that Obama doesn’t allow drilling. From the looks of things he wants all sources to be used as long as they don’t wreck the environment and peoples lives in the process. That’s a win for everyone.

      • DonJ

        Boy are you off base. You can’t be that dumb, you must be an Obama lying troll.

    • sickofit

      Just because they approved the design does not mean they will give the approval to build one. The wacko environmentalists will never allow even one to get built. Why this minority continues to get it’s way is beyond me!

  • JD

    Why aren’t they building any Thorium Reactors?? Thorium is more abundant than Uranium and produces a more controlled reaction resulting in less waste which breaks down in 100s of years instead of 1000s of years… Thorium reactors are also incredibly hard to weaponize (which is why we didn’t build them during the Cold War, needed reactors with uranium or plutonium to produce bombs.

    Let’s get Thorium reactors online within 10 years and make electricity guilt free again!!

    • Sirian

      Outstanding point JD! Only problem is, the majority have no knowledge of Thorium reactors. They, as so many have been indoctrinated to believe that Nuclear Power is “non-enviromentally compatible”. Yuk, nuclear waste? It will destroy our environment and cause cancer and cause global warming . . . sound familiar? As said, the majority have no walking knowledge of what the advantage Thorium reactors could provide us with. Perhaps some day, perhaps some day.

    • eddie47d

      Thanks JD for we tend to forget that there are useful alternative out there to use and we get too dependent on coal and oil. All should be a part of our energy needs.

    • DonJ

      JD, Do some research before you spout off about “safe” radiation. None of it is safe, including thorium. As is copied and pasted by Brad, “Like any nuclear reactor, thorium reactors will be hot and radioactive, necessitating shielding.

      Don’t get suckered in by these tricky suckers.

  • Ted Crawford

    I’m not sure that this is a step foward. This might be just the opening of the screen door, with the main door still firmly closed! With Obama defunding The Yucca Mountain Storage Facility the EPA might still inhibit the generation of nuclear energy by declaring a lack of adaquate storage! This might easily be just more election year politics!

    • Sirian

      Exactly Ted, it’s nothing more than election year politics. Stand by, it will be interesting to see how long it runs before the “certification approval” is pulled due to some whimsical “technical detail” – sound familiar?

  • FTrask

    Nowhere in all of this do we hear about any funding from the government for Nuclear power. We can blow it on wind, solar and all the other vastly expensive and useless “green” sources, but, the only money from the government is for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and we know how helpful they are. I would love to see something start soon!!!

    • Jim W

      Personally what I want is the government out of funding private energy and out of the way so that our innovative engineers and scientist can help solve this problem without the interference from the government.

      • Emoke

        Exactly Jim W!

        They need to get out of the way not redistribute money to their cronies. I would love to have legislators who spent more time defunding onerous agencies than adding more laws. Everytime they roll back some laws the economy would surge.

  • JoeInAR

    Study up the Obama-Chicago, Illinois connection on Exelon Corp., Commonwealth-Edison and the Ayers families to understand all this. FTrask you will change your mind.

    • eddie47d

      Is this another conspiracy theory we have to dig up and popularize Joel? The first nuclear plant in Illinois was built before Obama was born and they now have 6 in operation. 47.7% of Illinois energy comes from those plants. My brother lives 5 miles from the one in Byron so maybe you could enlighten us.

      • DonJ

        I’ll bet your brother sees some beautiful radiation sunsets eddie, and you both think he is lucky. He’s not lucky, he’s (and we) are in trouble.

  • Brad

    A good read about thorium reactors

    Thorium reactors would be cheap. The primary cost in nuclear reactors traditionally is the huge safety requirements. Regarding meltdown in a thorium reactor, Rubbia writes, “Both the EA and MF can be effectively protected against military diversions and exhibit an extreme robustness against any conceivable accident, always with benign consequences. In particular the [beta]-decay heat is comparable in both cases and such that it can be passively dissipated in the environment, thus eliminating the risks of “melt-down”. Thorium reactors can breed uranium-233, which can theoretically be used for nuclear weapons. However, denaturing thorium with its isotope, ionium, eliminates the proliferation threat.

    Like any nuclear reactor, thorium reactors will be hot and radioactive, necessitating shielding. The amount of radioactivity scales with the size of the plant. It so happens that thorium itself is an excellent radiation shield, but lead and depleted uranium are also suitable. Smaller plants (100 megawatts), such as the Department of Energy’s small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor (SSTAR) will be 15 meters tall, 3 meters wide and weigh 500 tonnes, using only a few cm of shielding.

    Because thorium reactors present no proliferation risk, and because they solve the safety problems associated with earlier reactors, they will be able to use reasonable rather than obsessive standards for security and reliability. If we can reach the $145-in-1971-dollars/kW milestone experienced by Commonwealth Edison in 1971, we can decrease costs for a 1-gigawatt plant to at most $780 million, rather than the $1,100 million to build such a plant today. In fact, you might be able to go as low as $220 million or below, if 80% of reactor costs truly are attributable to expensive anti-meltdown measures. A thorium reactor does not, in fact, need a containment wall. Putting the reactor vessel in a standard industrial building is sufficient.

    Because thorium reactors will make nuclear reactors more decentralized. Because of no risk of proliferation or meltdown, thorium reactors can be made of almost any size. A 500 ton, 100MW SSTAR-sized thorium reactor could fit in a large industrial room, require little maintenance, and only cost $25 million. A hypothetical 5 ton, truck-sized 1 MW thorium reactor might run for only $250,000 but would generate enough electricity for 1,000 people for the duration of its operating lifetime, using only 20 kg of thorium fuel per year, running almost automatically, and requiring safety checks as infrequently as once a year. That would be as little as $200/year after capital costs are paid off, for a thousand-persons worth of electricity! An annual visit by a safety inspector might add another $200 to the bill. A town of 1,000 could pool $250K for the reactor at the cost of $250 each, then pay $400/year collectively, or $0.40/year each for fuel and maintenance. These reactors could be built by the thousands, further driving down manufacturing costs.

    Smaller reactors make power generation convenient in two ways: decreasing staffing costs by dropping them close to zero, and eliminating the bulky infrastructure required for larger plants. For this reason, it may be more likely that we see the construction of a million $40,000, 100 kW plants than 400 $300 million, 1GW plants. 100 kW plants would require minimal shielding and could be installed in private homes without fear of radiation poisoning. These small plants could be shielded so well that the level of radiation outside the shield is barely greater than the ambient level of radiation from traces of uranium in the environment. The only operating costs would be periodic safety checks, flouride salts, and thorium fuel. For a $40,000 reactor, and $1,000/year in operating costs, you get enough electricity for 100 people, which is enough to accomplish all sorts of antics, like running thousands of desktop nanofactories non-stop.

    Even smaller reactors might be built. The molten salt may have a temperature of around 1,400°F, but as long as it can be contained by the best alloys, it is not really a threat. The small gasoline explosions in your automobile today are of a similar temperature. In the future, personal vehicles may be powered by the slow burning of thorium, or at least, hydrogen produced by a thorium reactor. Project Pluto, a nuclear-powered ramjet missile, produced 513 megawatts of power for only $50 million. At that price ratio, a 10 kW reactor might cost $1,000 and provide enough electricity for 10 persons/year while consuming only 1 kg of thorium every 5 years, itself only weighing 1000kg – similar to the weight of a refrigerator. I’m not sure if miniaturization to that degree is possible, or if the scaling laws really hold. But it seems consistent with what I’ve heard about nuclear power in the past.

    The primary limitation with nuclear reactors, as always, is containment of radiation. But alloys and materials are improving. We will be able to make reactor vessels which are crack-proof, water-proof, and tamper-proof, but we will have to use superior materials. We should have those materials by 2030 at the latest, and they will make possible the decentralized nuclear energy vision I have outlined here. I consider it probable unless thorium is quickly leapfrogged by fusion power.

    The greatest cost for thorium reactors remains their initial construction. If these reactors can be made to last hundreds of years instead of just 60, the cost per kWh comes down even further. If we could do this, then even if there were a disaster that brought down the entire industrial infrastructure, we could use our existing reactors with thorium fuel for energy until civilization restarts. We could send starships to other solar systems, powered by just a few tons of thorium. We will simultaneously experience the abundance we always wanted from nuclear power with the decentralization we always wanted from solar power. We will build self-maintaining “eternal structures” that use thorium electricity to power maintenance robots capable of working for thousands of years without breaks.

    • eddie47d

      Thanks Brad I enjoyed that. Thorium dust is not healthy in long term exposure but small amounts are peed out so it could be viable.

    • GILLYSROOMS in Australia

      JD & Brad, I’m liking what i’m reading and if it is as cheap as your saying I’d like to start the debate going in Australia to shove it up the Greenies here. So if you have any information on who can build and operate them so cheaply please put in a link in your posts. I can very quickly start a campaign to introduce Thorium Reactors into country towns like St Arnaud in Victoria 3478 Australia where the electricity companies are charging up to 28.30 cents/kWh and with our Goods and Services Tax 31.13 c/kWh. Our population of about 3000 and our Turkey raising and slaughtering businesses and other industries are using plenty of electricity and would love to be owning a cheaper source of electricity generation. We use bottled gas …so if we can generate cheaper electricity..WOW imagine the benefits. So if anyone can help with any information about these cheap Nuclear plantsI’d love to stick it up our Greenies who until recently in our State we needed a licence to gather wood for fires, [removed by new Liberal Government - thank god] the Greenies in Tasmania have sent the Forestry businesses broke, the EPA wont let anyone mine for GOLD of which St Arnaud has plenty underground …in 1850′s millions of ounces of gold was extracted in the highest concentration per ton of dirt extracted, but now they claim the environment will be affected by Arsnic in the groundwater…and on it goes… we need a licence to extract water from ground bores, we need a licence to catch fish, a licence to cut wood, a licence to look for gold as a prospector..a permit to dig a dam to catch rainwater too…and the Greenis control our Federal Government who insist a greater percentage of rainwater in rivers must go out to sea and not be available to farmers for irrigation…thats how mad our RED GAY GREENIES have become. Who votes for these people as I certainly never have. So you Americans think you have it bad…lol

  • Terry Marcum

    I will believe it when I see it built and running.

  • SMsgt Z(ret) Nam 68

    There have been 56 Nuclear power plant accidents in the US since the first in 1961
    In 1976 4 Nuclear Engineers blew the whistle on safety concerns
    The report on the Fukushima highlighted safety issues.
    Nuclear power can be safe as long as every facility is the same design that way if one plant has a problem said problem can be addressed at all facilities
    Over site of the construction and operation is the only way Nuclear Power can be a safe option

  • daniel

    I am glad that there is some forward movement going on. Thorium is a god alternative to the fuel we have been using. That said I am going to hold my breath on this. If you will the greenies will wait till the last possible moment to object to something to delay or stop it. They use the same tactic so often that it makes me sick. I also expect the EPA to show some last minute concerns.
    You know the bad thing about all of this is that while these plants are being built and the Keystone is blocked that peoples power bills are going up. You know the ones on fixed income? A 10% increase is more devastating to them than not getting the COLA. But guess how the politicians play these out? The Dems protect the environment while the repubs try to pay for the COLAs. All the while it was the greenies anti-expansion scam that causes granny to pay higher fuel prices.
    Like I said I will believe this when I see it. The greenis will be coming out against this one.

    • GILLYSROOMS in Australia

      How do the EPA & Greenie offices and homes get to turn their lights on? I bet its not from wind or solar power…and if they dont approve Uranium Nuclear or Thorium plants then, make sure the first lights and heating to be turned off is at the EPA & GREENIES HOMES AND OFFICES…DONT YOU THINK?

  • s c

    What’s the catch? I can’t believe that Obummer would let a new nuclear plant exist, let alone more than one. As luck would have it, we will probably need them, as The Anointed Failure plans to rape the oil and coal industries to satisfy his twisted ego and stroke his mutated arrogance.
    Something isn’t quite right in this matter. Someone keep an eye on this situation, please.


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