Monthly Archives: January 2011

ANS President-elect Eric Loewen promotes new nuclear energy

Eric Loewen, the American Nuclear Society’s vice president/president-elect, appeared on the Fox News Charlotte (North Carolina) television show on January 28 to promote new nuclear energy as part of the push in the United States for clean energy technologies.

Space, the final nuclear frontier: NETS-2011

By Paul Bowersox

From high in orbit above planet Earth… to the dusty surface of the moon… to the stunning cloud tops and moons of Jupiter… to the dazzling rings of Saturn… even to the darkness at the edge of interstellar space—nuclear technology has made possible incredible journeys to extraordinary destinations in our Solar System, and opened doors to some of the most profound discoveries of all time. Yet, the future of nuclear technology for space exploration promises even more remarkable journeys and more amazing discoveries.

The Mars Science Laboratory is powered by nuclear technology and scheduled for Mars landing in August 2012.

The 2011 Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space conference (NETS-2011), to be held at the Albuquerque Marriott Hotel in New Mexico on February 7–10, 2011, will bring together top engineers, scientists, and administrators in nuclear and aerospace technologies to share their latest discoveries and advances in their fields, and to help build the future of space exploration. NETS-2011 is the foremost conference for advanced power and propulsion for human and robotic space exploration, lunar and planetary surface exploration, and space environment protection.

NETS-2011 is sponsored and organized by the Aerospace Nuclear Science & Technology Division (ANSTD) of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), sponsored by the ANS Trinity Section, and cosponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

A unique venue for information exchange and collaboration

Bragg-Sitton

Nuclear and aerospace are related, but often disparate fields. “ANS tends to attract nuclear engineers to its meetings, and AIAA tends to attract aerospace engineers to theirs,” said Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Ph.D., general chair of NETS-2011. “What is unique about the NETS-2011 venue is that papers are presented not only by engineers designing space power and propulsion systems, but also those completing mission planning and analysis for proposed space missions, and sometimes scientists who are designing payloads for those missions.”

Benefits flow both ways among nuclear professionals and mission designers. “The NETS-2011 venue allows nuclear professionals to hear about missions that require high-power or advanced propulsion systems—and conversely, it allows mission designers to learn more about what advanced power and propulsion systems, such as nuclear systems, are available, or that could be developed, to meet the needs of those missions,” said Bragg-Sitton. “Establishing these lines of communication—and then working to keep them open through collaborative work—will more rapidly advance technology development, as it will be developed to specifically meet the needs of the user community.”

The Cassini Equinox Mission is powered by nuclear technology and is currently studying Saturn, its moon Titan, and other satellites.

To that end, the promise of nuclear and emerging technologies for upcoming NASA space science, missions, and architectures will be the subject of many technical sessions at NETS-2011, and addressed by opening plenary keynote speakers Honorary Chair John Casani, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Jim Adams, deputy director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters. An opening day plenary panel on space science missions enabled by nuclear power and propulsion will be led by chair Steve Howe, director of the Center for Space Nuclear Research.

Bragg-Sitton notes: “At standard professional society meetings, telling other nuclear professionals about the benefits of nuclear technology does not solve the problem of “getting the word out” to potential users of the technology—NETS-2011 does just that.”

Radioisotope power

The New Horizons Mission spacecraft, powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator battery, will encounter Pluto and its three moons in July 2015.

Radioisotope power generators, which convert heat from a radioactive substance into electricity, have powered (and kept warm) dozens of historic space exploration missions, as well as current missions focusing on more distant planets and their moons, and the upcoming surface exploration of Mars. Radioisotope power will continue to be the mainstay power source for space exploration in harsh, cold, and dark environments—however, future goals will require new technologies, using new materials, more efficient and lighter systems, at reasonable cost. Robert Lange, deputy assistant secretary for Business and Technical Support, U.S. Department of Energy, in the opening plenary will discuss the status and future of radioisotope power for space.

This critical technology will also be the subject of many technical sessions at NETS-2011, as well as a panel session on the critical issue of the dwindling supply and production of plutonium-238—the historically unanimous isotope choice for nuclear spacecraft power.

Fission power, fission propulsion

Nuclear fission provides some enormous advantages over chemical and traditional systems for spacecraft power, surface exploration, and spacecraft propulsion. Nuclear fission for space is not a new field, as the United States launched the SNAP-10a fission reactor into orbit in 1965, and the Soviet Union deployed more than two dozen nuclear reactors in orbit on naval monitoring satellites during the Cold War.

A KIWI design prime nuclear thermal rocket engine was built and tested in the 1960s.

While those fission systems were used for spacecraft power, many nuclear thermal fission reactors for space propulsion were also successfully built and ground tested, and by the 1970s development had progressed essentially to the point of flight prototypes. NETS-2011 Honorary Chair Harry Finger, retired, Atomic Energy Commission and NASA (as well as key positions in other agencies), is featured in the opening plenary session to discuss why these early space fission programs were so successful—and will offer some suggestions as to how we might recapture that success and move forward more quickly in current programs.

A proposed lunar surface fission reactor would use lunar soil for secondary reactor shielding.

Research, development, and testing of fission reactors for spacecraft and surface power, and spacecraft propulsion, continues to the present day. These nuclear technologies, which can bring the advantages of fission directly into space, will be the subject of an invited panel session and numerous technical sessions at NETS-2011.

Advanced concepts

Advanced technologies, including fusion and other very high energy sources of power and propulsion, may someday prove essential to meet, or set, challenging space exploration goals. Technical sessions at NETS-2011 will explore some of these impressive possibilities.

Navigating the worlds of politics and policy

A special session on nontechnical challenges for nuclear and emerging technologies for space, chaired by former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, features numerous top policy makers and administrators, and promises to be a highlight of NETS-2011. “I am particularly excited about the special session, as it will present a different perspective than typical technical sessions,” said Bragg-Sitton. “There have been a number of programs to develop radioisotope and fission systems in the past, some of which have led to flight systems. However, space nuclear systems development often suffers greatly from fluctuating funds and political cycles.”

The goal of this special session will be to assist implementation of space nuclear systems and other technologies to completion, by identifying nontechnical challenges to space nuclear systems, their causes, possible solutions, and possible implementation strategies.

Bragg-Sitton notes: “Long-range planning and sustainable funding will go far in developing advanced power and propulsion systems. These long-term issues are often political in nature, which is why we have planned a nontechnical special session on the challenges facing the continued development of nuclear technologies for space.”

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Distinguished presenters to address conference

Conference participants will enjoy two highly distinguished dinner key speakers: Glen Schmidt, retired, former test engineer for the SNAP-10a space fission program, and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator.

Registration and other information can be found in the NETS-2011 meeting program. About 200 participants are expected, and 89 technical papers are scheduled for presentation.

Exhibitors at NETS-2011: Center for Space Nuclear Research, Hamilton Sundstrand, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Sandia National Laboratories, University of Leicester.

Contact: Shannon Bragg-Sitton, general chair NETS-2011, chair of ANSTD at ANS.

Bowersox

Paul Bowersox is a space exploration enthusiast and freelance writer who holds a master’s degree in public policy. He is a freelance writer living in Ohio.

He is a guest contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

37th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The 37th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers is now up at Idaho Samizdat.

If you want to hear the voice of the nuclear renaissance, the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is where to find it.

Past editions have been hosted at NEI Nuclear Notes, Next Big Future, Atomic Insights, ANS Nuclear Cafe, Canadian Energy Issues, Yes Vermont Yankee, and several other popular nuclear energy blogs.

If you have a pro-nuclear energy blog, and would like to host an edition of the carnival, please contact Brian Wang at Next Big Future to get on the rotation.

This is a great collaborative effort that deserves your support. Please post a Tweet, a Facebook entry, or a link on your Web site or blog to support the carnival.

# # #

Thoughts on President Obama’s Clean Energy Standard proposal

By Jim Hopf

In his State of the Union speech on January 25, President Barack Obama advocated a Clean Energy Standard that includes natural gas as well as renewables, nuclear and “clean coal.” In my previous post on Clean Energy Standards, I said that if the standard were expanded to include natural gas generation, then the required clean energy percentage would have to be increased substantially in order for the policy to remain meaningful, particularly if gas is given “full credit” (i.e., is treated no differently than non-emitting generation).

Well, I must say that Obama’s stated goal of 80 percent “clean” energy generation by 2035 exceeds even the target I suggested in my last post (of 80 percent by 2050). This is an encouraging sign. Some questions remain, however:

1) What does a “goal” of 80 percent clean generation mean? Is any actual mechanism for causing this clean generation to be built being proposed? Is the president proposing a legally binding standard, such as the one that was in the Waxman-Markey bill? Will there be financial incentives (that, hopefully, apply equally to all non-emitting sources)? In other words, will this have any teeth (at all)? If not, the “policy” is essentially useless.

The fact that many in Congress are resisting even this more inclusive policy, since it may raise electricity costs (even a little bit), is very disconcerting.  If there was no cost associated with using clean (vs. old, dirty) energy, there would be no need for any type of policy in the first place, as utilities would do it on their own.  Some legislators seem to place zero value on clean air, or reducing CO2 emissions; a view that does not help nuclear at all.

2) What is meant by “clean coal”? One would hope that this means coal with CO2 sequestration. At a minimum, one would think it at least means gasified coal (IGCC, integrated gasification combined cycle) as well as CO2 capture projects. If the definition is any looser than that (i.e., if it basically calls modern, state-of-the-art, conventional coal plants “clean”), then the policy would be largely useless.

Given the high percentage (80 percent), and the fact that it applies to all (not just new) generation, I suppose that even if the loose definition were applied, it would at least result in the closure of most of the old, ultra-dirty coal plants, since it would require the level of “non-clean” coal generation to decrease. Such a policy would not help nuclear, however, since it would still be in competition with gas and conventional coal for new generation. It would also do little to reduce CO2 emissions, although it would reduce air pollution.

3) How will natural gas generation be treated in the standard? Will gas be simply included in the standard, and treated no differently than non-emitting sources , or will it somehow receive only “partial credit,” due to the fact that it still emits about 50 percent as much CO2 as coal?*

Even if gas is given “full credit,” the policy will still have an impact. The Energy Information Administration projects that with no change in policy, the percentage of electricity generation from conventional coal will drop only to 43 percent in 2035, from 45 percent today. This policy would require that percentage to drop to 20 percent instead. Thus, conventional coal will be replaced, but with respect to what it is replaced with, nuclear and renewables would be given no advantage at all versus gas.

If gas were to be given “half credit,” I suppose only half of total gas generation in the United States in 2035 would count towards the 80 percent goal. Such a policy would be more justified (given that gas is not emissions-free) and it would give nuclear and renewables an advantage over gas since they would provide twice as much progress towards the goal (per kW-hr of new generation). It would also outright require that a significant fraction of electricity comes from non-emitting sources such as nuclear or renewables. Even if there were no conventional coal generation at all, one would have to have at least 60 percent non-emitting sources and no more than 40 percent gas to meet the requirements of the standard (60 + 40/2 = 80).

If this proposed policy has real teeth, has a strict definition of what “clean coal” is, and gives gas only partial credit toward the 80 percent clean energy goal, it will be enormously beneficial to nuclear. If the answers to the above questions go the other way, however, the benefits for nuclear will be much smaller.

*A document that gives more details on the proposal was subsequently released by the White House. This document states that the proposal’s intention is for gas to be given some kind of “partial credit” toward the clean energy goal. Whether gas will get partial credit in any final legislation that passes remains an open question.

Hopf

Jim Hopf is a senior nuclear engineer at EnergySolutions, with 20 years’ experience in shielding and criticality analysis and design for spent fuel dry storage and transportation systems. He has been involved in nuclear advocacy for 10 years, and is a member of the ANS Public Information Committee. He is a regular contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

The economics of wind power

By Ulrich Decher, Ph.D.

It is often stated that since no one can charge money for the wind, wind-generated electricity is free. This is not true. A modern wind turbine, which can generate 2 megawatts of electricity (MWe) when the wind is blowing, costs about $3.5 million installed. Five hundred of these turbines installed at a wind farm, to be able to generate 1000 MWe, would cost $1.75 billion. Add in other costs, such as for operation and maintenance (O&M) and transmission lines, and the total sum could match the approximate $4 billion required to build a nuclear plant.

All of these costs need to be recovered from customers or taxpayers. So, the cost of wind-generated electricity is not free.

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

A typical wind farm would generate electricity about 30 percent of the time, and not necessarily at times when electricity is needed. There is a very big difference between intermittent sources of electricity, such as wind farms, and baseload sources, such as nuclear power. The argument that nuclear power also has down times is true, but these refueling and maintenance outages are largely planned during times of low electricity demand (during spring and fall).

As I mentioned in Fitting Wind onto the Electricity Grid, my recent ANS Nuclear Cafe post, wind turbines by themselves do not add electrical capacity to a grid. They must be paired with other generators of equivalent power to compensate for wind variations and for the stability of the  electricity grid.

This pairing—wind and backup—has limits because of the huge rapid variability of wind that must be compensated for by the backup power source. It is estimated that this pairing can account for only 20 percent of the capacity of the grid. This means that wind can be only 6 percent of the generation (.20 x .3). This limit has already been reached in Europe by countries such as Germany and Denmark.

Wind power fuel tradeoff with natural gas

Since wind power is a fuel saver, one of the questions that might be asked is exactly how much fuel is saved, or put another way: What is the economic tradeoff between wind farms and the fuel saved, such as in a natural gas power plant?

A simplified comparison shows that the worth of the natural gas saved is less than the cost of building and operating a wind farm. The details of the cost tradeoff are shown at the end of this article.

There are some additional costs that make the comparison even worse:

  • Transmission losses. Since the transmission lines from a remote wind farm are likely to be longer, a wind farm may need to be larger to provide the same amount of power as the backup. For example, if we assume a 10-percent electricity loss per 100 miles, a wind farm 500 miles away needs to be double in size.
  • Transmission line cost. A remote wind farm will need expensive transmission lines to deliver the electricity. For example, a proposed new 12 000-MW high voltage transmission line connecting wind sources in New England would cost $19 billion–$25 billion[1]. Transmission line cost may not be directly born by the power provider, so these costs may be hidden from any direct cost comparisons, but ultimately they are still paid for by the consumer or taxpayer.

Pickens

An illustration of how the pairing of wind and natural gas has failed recently due to economics was provided by T. Boone Pickens, when he tried to send wind-generated electricity from Texas, which he called the “Saudi Arabia of wind”, to California. His attempt at promoting natural gas by pairing it with wind seemed like a good idea and got much television advertisement (his emphasis was on the wind portion of the pairing, as it seemed a more popular idea). His strategy, however, depended on gas prices at $9 per million BTU. The price has since dropped to $4 per million BTU.

There appears to be no economic justification for windmills when paired with natural gas. If the price of natural gas is low, then the worth of the saved fuel does not compensate for the cost of the wind farms. If the price is high, then the use of natural gas is not competitive with other forms of power generation. Although natural gas prices without windmills may be competitive today, there have been price fluctuations by as much as a factor of two as recently as a few years ago.

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Wind power fuel tradeoff with oil-generated electricity

Wind farm on Maui

Another question that might be asked is how does this tradeoff compare when the electricity is generated with oil? In Hawaii, oil is the major fuel for electricity generation. Another favorable factor in Hawaii may also be that the wind generation capacity factor may be higher on these islands. A simplified cost tradeoff shows that there is indeed a cost advantage to backing up oil generation with windmills. Oil is such an expensive fuel that anything that reduces fuel consumption is well worth the cost.

The fact that oil is so expensive is the reason that it is seldom used in the continental United States for electricity generation. In Hawaii, however, there appear to be few other choices. This may change if small nuclear plants become available as a low-cost alternative.

Hydro backup

It should be noted that if hydro power is used to compensate for wind power, there is no compensating cost saving for the saved fuel. The saved fuel is the extra water that goes over the spillway and is wasted. It is cheaper to have no wind farms in this pairing and let hydro do the entire job of supplying the needed electricity. Here are some factors that limit wind generation on a hydro grid:

  1. Too much wind on the grid may violate the Endangered Species Act. Placing too much wind on the grid is actually a

    Salmon pool

    concern in California, as that state is negotiating with the neighboring Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) grid for renewable energy credits to meet its self-imposed Renewable Energy Standard. In order for the BPA to help meet California’s demand for wind-generated energy, it might need to decrease the hydro generation to the point that the excess water flow over the dams causes harmful effects to migrating salmon during the spawning season due to excess dissolved nitrogen [2].

  2. Too much wind on the grid may violate agreements to provide downstream irrigation needs. During drought situations, it may not be possible to turn down the hydro generation to let wind onto the grid and still meet irrigation needs.

Hydro plant

If there is no cost advantage or environmental advantage to placing wind on a grid with ample hydro, one may well ask why we are doing that. The answer is that we have passed laws in many states (Washington and California, for example) that do not count existing hydro into the legal definition of renewable energy. This may be surprising to many readers, as existing hydro certainly fits the definition of being naturally replenished. Existing hydro is certainly replenished as well as new hydro would be.

The BPA grid currently has 3000 MW of potential wind energy (when the wind is blowing). Assuming the above-mentioned price of a windmill, this means that consumers at the BPA have already spent at least $5 billion for wind-energy production without any obvious benefit. This potential wind capacity is expected to double by 2012, so BPA consumers are expected to spend another $5 billion without an obvious benefit.

The bottom line is that we have allowed laws to be passed that are harmful both to our pocketbooks and to the environment. Without the benefit of these laws, wind developers would have lost their legally mandated status and there would be no windmills on grids with ample hydro.

There is no free lunch

Wind-generated electricity is not free. The cost of fuel for any power plant is just part of the cost that a consumer needs to pay. Because the fuel cost is zero does not mean that the cost of the generated electricity is zero.

This is similar to the electricity generated by hydro. The cost of the water is zero, but the hydro-generated electricity is not zero. It includes O&M costs and the cost of building the hydroelectric dam.

For a nuclear plant, the fuel cost is not zero, but it is a relatively small portion of the generation cost. It is certainly smaller than the fuel cost in a natural gas plant, where the fuel cost is about 80 percent of the generation cost.

For power providers that use oil as fuel, it appears that wind generation is worth the fuel-cost savings.  Oil is not used extensively, however, because it is so expensive.

In conclusion, there appears to be no economic justification for building windmills except when low-cost alternatives are not available. This is especially true when windmills are placed on a grid with ample hydro, as there are no compensating fuel savings in that situation.

There is no free lunch.

Cost tradeoff of wind versus fuel  saved

Inputs:

  1. A 2-MW wind turbine costs approximately $3.5 million installed.
  2. The O&M cost of a wind farm is approximately 20-25 percent.
  3. The  maximum life expectancy of wind turbines is 20 years.
  4. The price of gas is about $4 per thousand cubic feet.
  5. The price of a barrel of oil is $80.
  6. It takes about 7.7 cubic feet of natural gas to generate 1 kWh of electricity (dividing the generation in Table 7.2a by the fuel consumption in Table 7.3a in these tables published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration ).
  7. It takes 0.00175 barrels of oil to generate 1 kWh of electricity (using the same tables as above).

Assumptions:

  1. The capacity factor of a wind farm is about 30 percent (land based).
  2. The a higher capacity factor of 45 percent is assumed for Hawaii.
  3. The average life of a wind turbine is 15 years.
  4. Interest costs for the wind farm are neglected.
  5. The cost of transmission lines are neglected.

Analysis

Cost of wind farms:

  1. A 1000-MW wind farm costs $1,750 million to install all the turbines (500 turbines  x $3.5M per turbine).
  2. For a lifetime of 15 years, the costs is $116 million per year (1,750/15).
  3. When including O&M, this increases to $145 million/year (116 x 1.25).

Electricity generated:

  1. The amount of electricity that a 1000-MW wind farm is expected to produce in a year is 2,630,000 MW-hrs for a 30-percent capacity factor (1000 MW x 365d x 24 h/d x .3).

Cost of natural gas saved:

  1. The value of the fuel saving in the backup 1000-MW natural gas plant is $81 million/year. (2.63 x 106 MW-hrs x 7.7 cubic feet/kWh x $4/1000 cubic feet x 103 kW/MW).

Cost of oil saved in Hawaii:

  1. The value of the fuel saving in the backup 1000-MW oil-fired plant is $552 million/year. (2.63 x 106 MW-hrs x [.45/.3] x 0.00175 barrels/kWh x $80/barrel x 103 kW/MW).

Conclusion:

  • The yearly natural gas fuel-saving cost benefit for operating a wind farm is less than the yearly cost to install and operate wind farms.  There is, therefore. no economic incentive to pair a natural gas plant with a wind farm, unless the price for natural gas goes up.
  • For a pairing of wind farms with oil-fired generation, there appears to be a significant savings. This is primarily due to the much higher price of oil versus natural gas for the same energy content. This is the reason oil-fired generation is not much used anywhere, except Hawaii, where there is not much other choice. At today’s prices, oil is 4.5 times more expensive than natural gas for the same extracted electrical energy (.00175 barrels/kWh x $80/barrel)/(7.7 cft/kWh x $0.004/cft)=4.5

References:

  1. Peter Wong, manager Resource Adequacy, ISO New England Inc. “An Overview of ISO New England and Operation of the New England Electric Power Grid,” given at Western New England College, Western Massachusetts Sustainability Symposium, October 24, 2009.
  2. Bonneville Power Administration Testimony before the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, May 12, 2010 (See Page 8, second paragraph)

Decher

Ulrich Decher holds a PhD in nuclear engineering. He is a member of the ANS Public Information Committee and a contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

The U.S. and the world in the nuclear power race

Excelsior College on Wednesday, January 26, is hosting a webinar, Can the U.S. Catch the World in the Nuclear Power Race? which will bring together scholars and nuclear technology practitioners from across the United States for a panel discussion on the subject matter. The event is being held in conjunction with National Nuclear Science Week.

The webinar, sponsored by Excelsior College’s School of Business & Technology, will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. EST and is available online here. Please take time to send an RSVP e-mail to Excelsior College’s Tina Perfetti.

Excelsior College, in Albany, N.Y., is one of 41 schools nationwide that has a student chapter of the American Nuclear Society, and is the only distance learning institution with an ANS student chapter.

U.S. engagement in nuclear energy production

The webinar will open with a look at recent claims by China of a major breakthrough in nuclear fuel reprocessing, as a starting point for discussion on America’s international engagement in nuclear energy—the technology that was pioneered in the United States—and the consequences of falling further behind France, Russia, Japan, and other nations that continue to expand their investments in nuclear power generation.

The panel will include:

  • Gilbert Brown, professor, Nuclear Engineering Program, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Faculty Committee member, Excelsior College, Fellow, American Nuclear Society
  • Byron Thinger, senior nuclear engineer, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, Faculty Committee member, Excelsior College
  • Jay James, nuclear engineer (retired), Faculty Committee member, Excelsior College
  • Anthony DeAngelo, health physicist, Instructional Faculty, Excelsior College, president-elect of the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Health Physics Society
  • Patrick Berry, director, Training and Development, Entergy Nuclear, Industry Advisory Council, Excelsior College
  • Peggy Caserto, Instructional Faculty, Excelsior College
  • Randy Fromm, senior consultant, The Westwind Group, Inc., Instructional Faculty, Interim Program director, Excelsior College

To follow along on Twitter, search the term #NukeWeb.

This post appeared on the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

National Nuclear Science Week in Minnesota

National Nuclear Science Week, January 24–28, is underway across the United States and is being promoted in Minnesota with activities that include tours of PaR Nuclear’s facility, a student essay competition, and trivia contests.

PaR Nuclear's facility

PaR Nuclear provides fuel-handling equipment, outage-critical cranes, and services equipment for commercial nuclear power plants  around the world. The company’s facility, in Shoreview, Minn., contains the outage equipment and tools, along with heavy lift cranes. The facility consists of 60 000 square feet of floor space and includes three high bays.

On hand to lead the tours are experienced and knowledgeable engineers, field technicians, and business professionals from PaR Nuclear, who provide students and others who tour the facility with information about career opportunities in the nuclear power industry. Dozens of students from the local Dunwoody Technical College have attended the event, among others.

The activities are supported by the American Nuclear Society, Women in Nuclear, Westinghouse Electric, and PaR Nuclear.

Minnesota’s state legislature is considering legislation that would lift the moratorium on new nuclear energy facilities. Minnesota is home to two existing nuclear power plants:  Monticello and Prairie Island-1 and -2.

This year’s theme for National Nuclear Science Week is “Get to Know Nuclear.”

National Nuclear Science Week is a national, broadly observed seven-day celebration to focus local, regional, and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science. Each day will provide opportunities throughout the country for learning about the contributions, innovations, and opportunities that can be found by exploring nuclear science.

This post appeared on ANS Nuclear Cafe.