Archive for Power Stations

Nuclear energy after Fukushima

As the world’s eyes focus on Japan for developments in the Fukishima story, many media outlets in the west are beginning to discuss nuclear power in slightly more questioning terms than previously.

Nuclear was, at the time of its beginning as a UK fuel source, seen as the future in entirety: a fuel source that would soon be ‘too cheap to meter’. Then of course various nuclear accidents happened: Windscale (which led to the Sellafield re-branding), Three Mile Island, Chernobyl.

At the time of writing, the Fukushima Daiichi incidents have actually had an effect on the stock market. What this means for the nuclear industry is too early to say, but my guess would be that in future any new generation of power stations would have to be more or less meltproof – for two reasons: the first reason is that the ecology simply cannot be subjected to another catastrophe of this kind. The second is that investors will likely see less value in nuclear after Fukushima.

But energy industries are changing massively – and with the Chinese economy growing exponentially, energy will still have to come from somewhere. There’s been talk of making electricity using thorium (abundant, cheaper, safer) so who know where we will be even in ten years’ time.

For the moment though, nuclear can’t just be wound down, decommissioned, forgotten about. Strong opinions are held, and there will be heated debate and loud controversy. Renewables might previously have been seen as some kind of an ‘alternative lifestyle’ (beard and sandals) option. Not no more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boiler Breakdown Leaves Thousands Freezing

Central heating installation hub breaks down

Atle Staalesen Central Heating InstalationMany of us get fed up waking to find yet another chilly winter morning in the UK, but spare a thought for the residents of Nyandoma, a small village in the Russian province of Arkhangelsk, around 350km south of Arkhangelsk city. As local temperatures dropped to a staggering -30, more than 7000 local residents were left without heating as a local central heating installation and power hub collapsed. The scale of the problem led to Russian Premier Vladamir Putin becoming involved, announcing that 3 of the central heating installation power hubs had been fixed as promptly as possible and could be started, heat was being restored to homes and institutions, the rest of the power hubs were under repair and would be operational shortly.

While heat was gradually returning to homes, many schools remained closed as a result of the anomalous weather conditions. The company in Myandoma responsible for the central heating installation fiasco has now been charged by local prosecutors.

Putin has also been in contact with local governor Ilya Mikhalchuk, demanding a report on the problem and insisting that the regional authorities must give more attention to the issue. Mikhalchuk has stressed improvements to the central heating installation and power hub stations are underway, with the current coal burning system due to be replaced with one which runs on alternative fuels. He claims the improvements to the central heating installation and power hub stations will save them more than 2 billion RUB from their budget.

Currently running on coal and heating oil imported from other areas of the country, they intend to transition the central heating installation network to run on bio waste produced from the forestry industry, as well as increasing regional gasification.

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