Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moving Forward

With all the chaos that has abounded from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the public outcry has been overpowering. The idea of new power reactor ventures has been hit hard. Citizen organizations opposed to reactor licensing have become much more active. Despite this hostile climate the NRC completed its technical reviews for the Westinghouse Electric Company’s AP1000 pressurized water reactor in early August.. This is great news for the Vogtle-3 and -4 reactors.

Before the Fukushima Daiichi incident both the Vogtle -3 and -4 reactors were nearing the final stages of pre-construction preparations. Only the safety review remained, but this review could not be finished until the final safety report was issued. Due to costumer requests, the design was amended. The NRC decided the changed were significant enough to bring about a new review process. The increased concern and activity from citizen organizations opposed to nuclear power has slowed the certification process of the AP1000. However, recently the NRC staff informed Westinghouse Electric Company and commissioners that the AP1000 licensing could be issued in January. Hopefully the amended AP1000 design will be certified in February and safety related construction can begin shortly afterwards. This is a definite movement in the right direction. This progress in certification and construction is good news for not only the AP1000 but for the future of nuclear power ventures in the current climate.

You can check out the applications online at Vogtle

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Iran's Bushehr reactor: How big of a concern is it?

This past month, on September 3rd, Iran's first nuclear power plant, the Bushehr nuclear power plant, was connected to the power grid 36 years after its construction began. Delayed by the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Iran-Iraq war, technical and financial problems, and foreign sanctions, the reactor has been a hot-button issue between the U.S. and Iran and has also increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia due to Russia's support of the project.

Below is a link to an article by Suzanne Maloney, who has served as an advisor to the U.S State Department during both the Bush and Obama administrations. She questions whether the Bushehr reactor may not be as big of a concern as it first appears given the limited utility of the light-water reactor towards a nuclear weapons program.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pic-Nuke Madness: Fall 2011 Edition

With the start of another fall semester came another highly successful Pic-Nuke. In total we cooked up 30 lbs of ground beef, 18 lbs of chicken, and 20 lbs of bratwurst, and devoured almost all of it by night's end. A new addition to Pic-Nuke this year was the Toothpick Tower Contest where teams of nukes were given mini marshmallows and toothpicks with the goal of building the tallest free-standing tower in a limited time period. The winners this year were Sam Maslonkowski and Dave Ozburn, seen below with their winning tower and victory swag (the shiny yellow coffee mugs):
In addition to the magnificent food, beverages, music, and the tower building contest, we also managed to get all the beautiful nukes together for a group photo, seen above. (Let's be honest, are there any nukes who aren't beautiful? I think not.)

With the fun of bowling night and Pic-Nuke behind us, there is some more serious ANS business coming up next week to accompany the engineering career fair (which no one forgot about, right?). ANS has three recruiters giving talks specifically to ANS next week. Eric Edwards from Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory will be speaking at 5:30 on Tuesday, 9/20 in 1610 E-hall. Thomas Steele from Idaho National Labs will be presenting at 12:30PM in 106ERB on Thursday, 9/22. Lastly, Amy Lapse from Sandia National Labs will be in 1610 E-hall at 5:30PM on Thursday, 9/22 as well. Be sure to stop by if your interested in any of these potential employers to meet them in a much more personal setting than the chaos of the career fair. And a reminder, these events and all other upcoming ANS events can be found on the calendar here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall 2011 Kick Off Meeting

ANS has been busy planning a great semester for it's members, and we were finally able to kick it off with a first meeting this Wednesday, Sept. 7th. We counted over 65 attendee's at one point, and I don't think that number is a lie, because everyone made quick work of the 18 pizza we were giving away!

The meeting gave a brief overview of what ANS is about, what we've done, and what we have planned for the semester. For those who attended, I'm sure they were sick of hearing "Stay Tuned", but it's the best advice we can give! Keep an eye on the website, and watch for our weekly e-mails. This fall semester we've got socials, lab tours, and ANS Student Conference events planned. As always, we'll be busy with Boy Scouts, Science Night, and Science Olympiad, so sign up for an event and do something good for our community. For those graduating seniors, we have over 6 Recruiting nights planned for the semester!

After the meeting, about 20 of us went over to the new Union South for a great night of bowling. It was so great to see everyone come out for the evening, the regulars, and so many new faces. We're looking forward to the Fall 2011 semester!!!