Nuclear power provides roughly 20 percent of the United States’ electricity and about half of its low-carbon electricity. Whether you think nuclear power is a good or a bad thing, the fact is that the existing nuclear power fleet contributes a significant amount of energy to the US grid, and all that capacity is rapidly approaching its sunset years. One group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is trying to help utilities and energy companies extend the lives of their aging reactors. The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (or CASL, for short) has been building and refining a reactor modeling program called VERA (an acronym for Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications), which offers high-resolution computer modeling of nuclear reactor equipment.
Ars Technica 14th Jan 2019 read more »
Over the last few years, solar capacity in the United States has truly taken off. Over 58 gigawatts (or million kilowatts) of solar capacity are currently installed across nearly 2 million projects, and at least 3.7 gigawatts more are in the pipeline as of late 2018. At the same time, the fate of nuclear power in the country is at a crossroads. Only one single nuclear unit has been completed in the U.S. since the 1990s, and the two most recent projects are experiencing delays, cost overruns, and ultimately cancellations. With both nuclear and solar energy making headlines recently, it’s worth a deeper dive into how each power source stacks up against the other. While both are carbon-free sources of electricity, the big similarities end there. This article compares how much each power source costs, how much energy they produce, how long they last, and importantly, how long each resource takes to build.
Earth911 11th Jan 2019 read more »