Saturday, January 22, 2011

Small Modular Reactors Set to Thrive in Post-Obama Age

A global race is under way to develop small-reactor designs, says Paul Genoa of the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry body in Washington, DC. He estimates that more than 20 countries have expressed serious interest in buying mini-reactors.

At least eight different approaches are being developed, mainly in America and Asia, by an army of 3,000 nuclear engineers, according to Ron Moleschi of SNC-Lavalin Nuclear, an engineering firm based in Montreal. Regulatory and licensing procedures are lengthy, so little will be built until around 2017, he says. But after that the industry is expected to take off. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that by 2030 at least 40 (and possibly more than 90) small reactors will be in operation. It reckons that more than half of the countries that will build nuclear plants in coming years will plump for these smaller, simpler designs. _Economist

Obama's Nuclear Regulatory Commission is dragging its feet on nuclear energy -- particularly on new safer, more economical reactor designs such as small modular reactors (SMRs). But Obama's agenda of energy starvation, and its job-killing, industry-killing effects are living on borrowed time. In the real world, all forms of currently suppressed energy -- including small modular nuclear reactors -- will find a way.

Upcoming conferences on Small Modular Reactors:

19-20 April 2011 Conference in Columbia, SC, on Small Modular Reactors:
The conference is expected to draw about 120 people from about 60 companies and agencies around the world, such as China National Nuclear Corp., the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iraq Energy Institute. Also, industry heavyweights like Westinghouse, AREVA and GE have signed up, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Army and utilities across the nation.

The conference, scheduled to be held April 19-20 at the Marriott Hotel on Main Street, is sponsored by SCE&G and organized by the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster and Nuclear Energy Insider _thestate

SMR Conference 23-24 May 2011 Washington, DC...._ Call for abstracts

Small modular reactors can be built more quickly, safely, and cheaply in a controlled factory environment. They can then be shipped to the site for a quick and inexpensive installation -- pre-loaded with fuel and ready to hook up.

The US Navy has been powering ships safely using small nuclear reactors for many decades. One of the most likely future suppliers of SMRs to the civilian market -- Babcock and Wilcox -- just received a new $2 billion award for Naval Nuclear Reactor Components.

But then, the US military has to actually accomplish something -- unlike the civil portion of the US government which generally does no more than consume scarce resources which would be put to better use elsewhere.

Short Primer on Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors

This is a re-published Al Fin article which was adapted from an earlier article at Al Fin Energy


Sunday, January 16, 2011

72,000 Square Foot Concrete Country Cabin -- Your Tax Dollars at Work


How does a person afford to build a house larger than the White House (55,000 sq. ft), even larger than Bill Gates' mansion (66,000 sq ft)? All you have to do is to own a company that maintains big contracts with the US Defense Dept and several other US government agencies. Under President Obama, the government is central to all wealth formation and disbursal. More on the huge 72,000 square feet country cabin:
Beginning with a 23,000-square-foot basement, the house’s ground level is only slightly smaller and the second story is a little less than 22,000 square feet.

Garage space alone accounts for 4,000 square feet.

Interior plans include two elevators; 15 bedrooms; 14 bathrooms; a two-story, 1,600-square-foot library and two-story, 1,970-square-foot great hall.

The master bedroom is 1,275 square feet.

...“It’s all concrete, and I’ve heard it’ll have bulletproof glass and a concrete roof,” said Steve Johnson, neighbor to the Woods Fork Road property.

...Records show the building is owned by the Steven T. Huff Family, LLC, but exactly who Steven T. Huff is, is largely unknown. His brother, Joe Huff, Ozark, verified the ownership of the property but was reluctant to disclose any more information.

“The technology involved with the construction is proprietary in nature,” Joe Huff said. “it’s not information we are prepared to talk about right now.”

Joe Huff also verified that the structure is being built as a personal residence and identified himself as the “project manager.” However, available information online and in public records indicate Steven Huff is involved in technological engineering.

The property’s deed says the Steven T. Huff Family, LCC is located in Leesburg, Va. Available online records of political campaign contributions show a Steven T. Huff of Leesburg to be an engineer and chief technology officer of Overwatch Systems, Ltd. According to the Overwatch website, the company “delivers multi-source intelligence (multi-INT), geospatial analysis and custom intelligence solutions to the Department of Defense, national agencies and civilian organizations. ... More than 25,000 analysts in the U.S. Department of Defense and the larger intelligence community utilize Overwatch solutions.”

A company overview of Overwatch on the Bloomberg Businessweek website says Overwatch was formerly known as Sensor Systems.

Overwatch also owns the Medical Numerics company, which, according to its website, “enjoys powerful collaborations with the world’s leading medical imaging research organizations, including The United States National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, Yale University, UCLA School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and Oxford University.”

The Medical Numerics website says Steven Huff founded Sensor Systems—now Overwatch—in 1993. _CCHeadliner

The home is located near Highlandville, Missouri.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

All Quiet on the Watchtower?

Martello towers were built, at great cost, along the coasts of Kent, Sussex, Essex and Suffolk at the time of the Napoleonic wars. Originally, there were 103 of these 30ft-high towers, with walls 13ft thick and roof-mounted cannons capable of shooting lead balls a mile out to sea. _Guardian

These coastal towers still stand guard along the English coast, watching against the risk of Napoleon re-born. If you imagine yourself as a modern-day watchman, protector against the invading destroyer, one of these towers may be reserved just for you.
The overall effect is magical: brick fort on the outside, palatial home within. The main space, approached from the entrance lobby, is breathtaking, with the climb up the spiral stairs enjoyably spooky, and the top floor a revelation: all light, space and comfort, with little hint of ostentation. But then you don't need decoration when you have the sea and all its moods just beyond the parapet, with ships hoving in and out of view, and sunlight playing over that lichen-encrusted brickwork throughout the day. _Guardian

Some refurbishment will be required, however. Back in the day of Napoleon, they lacked such modern amenities as satellite television, the internet, electricity, and . . . flush toilets. Interior designs and standards of interior thermal control may have changed a bit as well.

Think it over. If Europe and the UK experience half the tumult that seems to be headed that way, you may be happy to be living in a fortress by the time the storm passes over.


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