• Obama panel recommends active U.S. backing for clean coal

    A panel appointed by President Obama calls for an active U.S. government role in promoting carbon capture and storage, or CCS, a largely undeveloped technology that aims to prevent carbon emissions blamed for global warming from entering the atmosphere; panel recommends government’s consideration of accepting liability over carbon storage sites for thousands of years to come

  • FutureGen 2.0 clean-coal project awarded $1 Billion in funding

    The Obama administration awarded $1 billion to an Illinois project that aims sharply to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired power plants; this was but the latest move in a long-running saga aiming to prove coal’s viability as a source of fuel amid widespread pressure to combat climate change

  • U.K. to build ten new nuclear power plants by 2025

    The United Kingdom will build ten new nuclear power plants by 2025; these plants will supply 25 percent of the country’s energy needs; to move the licensing process quickly, the government has promised “faster and fairer planning decisions”

  • Grid in western U.S. can handle more renewable energy

    A new study says 35 percent of electricity in the western United States could come from solar and wind — without expensive new backup power plants; the findings provide a strong counterargument to the idea that the existing power grid is insufficient to handle increasing amounts of renewable power

  • U.S. military warns of massive oil shortages by 2015

    A new study by the U.S. military warns of serious oil shortages by 2015: surplus oil production will disappear by 2012, and as early as 2015 the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day; the Joint Operating Environment report paints a bleak picture of what can happen on occasions when there is serious economic upheaval: “One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest,” it warns darkly

  • U.S. gives loan guarantees for new nuclear power reactors in Georgia

    Deal is major step toward restarting the U.S. domestic nuclear industry; the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized DOE to issue loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and employ new or significantly-improved technologies

  • U.K.: New nuclear reactors might not stand up to terrorist attacks

    Last September the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected the Westinghouse-Toshiba design for a new reactor because a key component might not withstand events like earthquakes and tornadoes; this week, the U.K.’s nuclear safety watchdog said it might decide to reject the same reactor design because it could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks

  • Boeing, Edison awarded part of $620 million to build smart grid

    The Department of Energy the other day awarded $620 million in funding for building a more efficient and resilient power grid

  • U.S. grid-security measures may hurt Canadian companies

    The growing concern in the United States over the security of the national grid has lead to security measures — and proposed legislation — aiming to make the security of the grid more robust; trouble is, much of the U.S. electricity comes from Canada, and some of the contemplated security measures my disrupt transmission of power from across the border

  • Better method to detect cracks in nuclear plants

    At the moment, cracks in nuclear plant components are detected by using ultrasonic scanners that carry a number of different probes; new device will use a single phased-array probe that will be safer, cheaper, and more accurate than existing systems

  • Doubts raised on nuclear industry viability

    There are two problems facing the nuclear power industry: civilian and military stockpiles and re-enriched or reprocessed uranium sources contribute 25,000 of the 65,000 tons of uranium used globally each year; the rest is mined directly, but scientists say that nobody knows where the mining industry can find enough uranium to make up the shortfall; also, the cost per kilowatt of capacity generated by nuclear power is $4,000; generating identical capacity from coal costs $3,000, and the cost for natural gas generation is $800; this makes the nuclear option a big financial gamble

  • A landmark investment to finance Canada-U.S. grid connection

    The biggest Canada-U.S. power grid project — a privately funded 1,200- to 1400-megawatt transmission line between Quebec and southern New Hampshire — will lower the cost of power throughout New England; the project could also meet one third of the New England’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative commitments with the hydroelectric power Hydro-Québec could pump through the line

  • California faces major decision on dams

    California already has upward of 1,000 dams that provide water supply, flood control, and hydropower, but California growing water shortages; last month Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger insisted he would not sign off on any major overhaul of the water system without money for new dams and reservoirs

  • Rolls-Royce, EDF to construct four nuclear reactors in U.K.

    The civil nuclear market is worth around £30 billion a year globally and is expected to grow to £50 billion a year in fifteen years’ time, more than 70 percent of which will relate to the build and support of new facilities

  • ITER fusion project will start with hydrogen

    The ITER experiments will start in 2018 — but will be literally lighter, using hydrogen rather than heavier tritium and deuterium; the tritium and deuterium experiments will have to wait until 2026