It is a temptation for publishers of blogs to offer their views on what constitutes the big stories of the year. The model is the endless stream of talking heads on cable news networks doing the same thing.
This blog is taking a different approach. The following listing of the top 12 stories is based on reader interest as indicated by total page views recorded by WordPress which hosts this blog.
There is a lot of variety in the list which indicates, at least to me, that readers have a wide range of interests and are not settled into a niche nor are they fans of one particular type of technology. That’s been the trend during the past 11 years I’ve been blogging about nuclear energy. It looks like it will continue.
Top 12 Articles for 2018 in Order 1-12
India Slashes Plans for New Nuclear Reactors by Two-Thirds
Posted on April 6, 2018
The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set the ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two thirds.
Note to Readers: This article was cross posted with permission and is among the top 10 for 2018, #7, at the Energy Post site in the EU.
In related coverage Aug 14, 2018: India Doubles Down on 700 MW PHWR Design
Recent Developments in Advanced Reactors in China, Russia
Posted on January 7, 2018
- China Reported to Commit $3 billion to Development of Molten Salt Reactor Designs
- China Begins Construction of a 600 MW Fast Reactor
- Update on China’s HTGR, and an MOU with Saudi Arabia
- Taishan 1 EPR Startup Delayed to 2018
- Russia to Build Fast Reactor Fuel Plant for Brest-OD-300 Reactor.
First Energy Files for Bankruptcy; To Close 4 Nuclear Reactors
Posted on April 1, 2018
Late on March 31st, while most of the country was sleeping, First Energy filed for bankruptcy protection. The unsecured creditor with the most exposure is Bank of New York Mellon Trust ($1 billion). The BNSF Railway is owed $72 million. The decision comes just one day before a $100 million bond pay was due. The utility made a decision to file for bankruptcy rather than make the payment.
NRC Says NuScale SMR Won’t Need Backup Electrical Power
Posted on January 12, 2018
- The regulatory agency’s decision is a first for light water reactors and may set a precedent for future LWR type SMRs with similar designs
- NuScale responds to questions from this blog about the NRC finding
- NEI’s CEO applauds the NRC decision
A Reader on Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Energy Program
Posted on May 13, 2018
The practical logistical challenges and the financial commitments that would be required to build 16 1000 MW, or larger, nuclear reactors over less than a decade are simply out of reach. Why is no one at these media outlets fact checking the prevailing narrative?
In the interest doing exactly that, I’ve assembled a “reader” of my coverage on the efforts by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to pursue development of a commercial nuclear energy program. For good measure, I’ve also looked at what I see as a somewhat hollow threat to enrich uranium. This is something that KSA should neither want, need, nor can it afford.
Here are seven easy to read pieces, no technical background required, that explain why the current mass media narrative about KSA and nuclear energy misses a few crucial facts. Coverage on this blog about KSA’s nuclear energy plans began in 2014.
China to start building 6-8 new nuclear reactors in 2018
Posted on April 2, 2018 b
China’s National Energy Administration said in March that the country will announce sites for the start of new construction of six-to-eight new nuclear reactors. The decision ends a two-year freeze on new starts.
According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) China’s 13th Five-Year Plan formalized in March 2016 included the following nuclear projects and aims:
- Complete four AP1000 units at Sanmen and Haiyang.
- Build demonstration Hualong One reactors at Fuqing and Fangchenggang
- Start building the demonstration CAP1400 reactor at Rongcheng (Shidaowan)
- Accelerate building Tianwan Phase III (units 5&6)
- Start building a new coastal power plant
- Active preparatory work for inland nuclear power plants
- Each target of 58 GWe nuclear operational by end of 2020, plus 30 GWe under construction then
- Accelerate and push for building demonstration and large commercial reprocessing plants.
Terrestrial Energy Plans Molten Salt Project for Idaho
Posted on April 1, 2018
Terrestrial Energy USA, an affiliate of the parent firm in Canada, and Energy Northwest have announced that they have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the terms of the possible siting, construction and operation of an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®) power plant at one of its candidate sites, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in southeastern Idaho.
This blog first reported the firm’s interest in the Idaho lab site in January 2017.
Egypt’s $60 Billion Bet on Nuclear Energy
Posted on April 22, 2018
It is one of the largest nuclear energy deals (4800 MW) inked so far this century and is similar in scale as a project in terms of electricity generation capacity to the four 1400 MW units being built by South Korea in the UAE
Assuming these two projects, and a 4800 MW project in Turkey, are finished by the end of the decade, new nuclear capacity in the Middle East will total 11,000 MW of electrical generation capacity.
Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” is reported to have signed contracts with Egypt for construction of four 1200 MW VVER type nuclear reactors, the company’s chief announced this month.
Mexico Signs a 123 Agreement with U.S.
Posted on June 3, 2018
The Federal government has sent to Congress a long awaited 123 Agreement with Mexico which, if approved, will open the door for U.S. firms to export nuclear reactor technologies to that country under 10 CFR 810. Once in place the agreement has a nominal shelf life of 30 years although it can be updated by either party.
Plans for new 1000 MW BWRs are in place, but no construction commitments are likely in the near term due to the low price of natural gas
The 123 Agreement replaces a previous multilateral agreement made through the IAEA. Congress has 90 days to review the new 123 agreement
Mexico has plans to commission new reactors, but has not settled on designs or vendors.
U.S. Navy Sets Plans to Upgrade Idaho Spent Fuel Facility
Posted on October 8, 2016
The Naval Reactors facility needs a new wet storage facility to cool off spent fuel from its nuclear propulsion program.
The Associated Press reported Oct 3rd that the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy want to build a $1.6 billion facility at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho that would handle fuel waste from the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships through at least 2060.
According to the wire service, the new facility would be built at the Energy Department’s 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory, the nation’s primary lab for commercial nuclear energy research.
Argonne’s IFR to Live Again at Point Lepreau, New Brunswick
Posted on July 15, 2018
ARC Nuclear and New Brunswick Power (NB Power) have agreed to work together to take the necessary steps to develop, license, and build an advanced small modular reactor (SMR) based on ARC Nuclear’s Gen IV sodium-cooled fast reactor technology.
In a separate second announcement, the New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation announced the participation of Moltex Energy in the nuclear research cluster that will work on research and development on small modular reactor technology based on molten salt technology.
~ Readership in 2018 ~
Total readership in 2018 was on par with the numbers in 2017 except a bit lower. As of 12/28/18 the blog had just over 45,000 visitors for the year and just over 75,000 page views. One of the reasons for the slightly lower level of readership is that in 2017 there were 97 posts and in 2018 just 72 due to other commitments.
Note that many of the “top 12” posts have publication dates earlier in the year rather than later. This is due to the fact that after the first round of readers who are current in following content on the blog, there is a continuous stream of readers who find posts from search engine results or links elsewhere on the Internet. It follows that posts published in the last third of this year could be top posts on 2019.
However, in 2018 readers spent more time on the blog reading more posts per visit than in 2017. Is less more? In 2019 the pace of publication will continue in the range of 70-90 posts per year. It depends on what is worth writing about that will be of interest to readers.
The blog is syndicated at Nuclear Street and at the Energy Collective. Readership at the revived Energy Collective, now hosted by Energy Central, is sometimes significantly higher there on an article by article basis. Selected articles also appear, with permission, on the Brussels based Energy Post.EU blog. Links to articles from this blog are posted on Reddit in r/NuclearPower.
In terms of where readers come from, 84% of readers are in the U.S. The top ten countries that show up in location data for visitors are listed below in order 1-10.
- South Korea
Thanks to all my readers for your interest. I hope you will continue to find this blog to be a valuable source of nuclear news in 2019.
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