The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the 260th edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week we have postings by Dan Yurman, Dr. Gail Marcus, Guy Page, Meredith Angwin, Mark Reddemann, Dr. Jim Conca and Leslie Corrice.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The atomic nucleus was discovered in May of 1911 by Ernest Rutherford.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Areva is having a cascade of crises, some disconcerting signs of things to come, the need to keep existing power sources, Indian Point fire gets typical antinuclear responses, Columbia Generating Station sets a new record, and a man who has lived inside the Fukushima evacuation zone for three years.

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From Neutron Bytes

Can Areva survive a cascade of crises?

Phillippe Knoche, Areva’s CEO, at this point in his brief history at the head of the firm, could probably be forgiven for thinking that without too much trouble he could throw a rock in just about any direction and hear the clang of its impact on side of one of the firm’s major crises. The past month has seen them pop up like a string of volcanic islands rising from the ocean. Areva’s troubles may be because the firm’s financial crisis is growing due to forces that appear to be beyond its control.

From Nuke Power Talk

Projecting the Future: Some Bad Omens?

Gail Marcus comments on two recent reports that are very different, but both have significant potential implications for the future.  One report involves U.S. investments in R&D in cutting-edge areas, while the other relates to apparent weaknesses in teaching critical thinking skills in some technical areas.

From Yes Vermont Yankee – (2)

Slow Renewable Growth Means We Must Retain Existing Power Sources

(A guest post by Guy Page of Vermont Energy Partnership) Despite much hype, and many plans for rapid renewable deployment, the actual growth of renewable power in Vermont remains sluggish.  Meanwhile, Vermont Yankee no longer produces low-carbon power within the state of Vermont.  To keep clean power available for Vermont, the state must encourage the continued operation of hydro and nuclear plants in the rest of New England.


Transformer Fires? Erosion-Corrosion? Recent Events at Indian Point and Vermont Yankee

A Transformer fire at Indian Point nuclear station is getting many headlines. Two antinuclear spokespersons, one national and one from the New England Coalition, imply “The plant is aging and can’t run anymore.” Meredith Angwin says a deeper look shows that less than 1% of last year’s transformer fires happened at nukes… not because they were old, but because they were new. (Repost of a 2010 article showing how nuclear critics make mountaions out of molehills)

From Northwest Clean Energy Blog

The commitment we made

(Guest post by Mark Reddemann, CEO of Energy Northwest) Columbia Generating Station (CGS) just compiled a 683 day breaker-to-breaker run, setting a “personal best” continuous operating record for the plant. This was largely due to the Excellence in Performance Initiative, a structured program which is moving CGS toward  the top quartile of industry performance. The cost of producing power at CGS has decreased by about 4% each year, over the past five years. In the years from 2012 to 2021, CGS operation (plus debt restructuring in conjunction with Bonneville Power Authority) will save more than $1.3 billion dollars in Bonneville rates.

From Fukushima Commentary

Macchan – the animal lover who lives inside the Fukushima evacuation zone

A Japanese animal lover has been living inside the Tokyo-mandated Fukushima exclusion zone for three years. He calls himself “Macchan”, which means “friend”. He returned home to feed his pets, and when the other neighboring animals “went wild” he decided to stay and take care of them all. One Kyoto University doctor said it is inconceivable that a normal person would live inside the no-go zone, but Macchan is anything but normal.

From Jim Conca at Forbes Magazine –

When Should A Nuclear Power Plant Be Refueled?


As infrequently as possible. The Columbia Generating Station in Richland, WA just set a personal nuclear best on the eve of Mother’s Day when it began its latest refueling outage after operating for 683 days without stopping once. During this 683 days, the nuclear plant produced nearly 18 billion kWhs of electricity and operated at a capacity factor of over 98%, exceeding any other source of energy in history. It also averaged less than 5¢/kWh and emitted less than 20 grams of CO2/kWhr.


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Fact or Fiction (?) quiz answer – Fiction? In a way yes…and in a way, no. We’ll let you decide.

In 1909, Rutherford noticed scattering when he bombarded gold foil with Alpha particle radiation. He asked his student, Ernest Marsden, to measure the angles at which the scattering occurred, especially to find out if any actually scattered backwards. Rutherford did not expect Marsden to find any backwards scattering, but it would test the bright young man’s experimental skills. Though unexpected, Marsden found that many Alphas did seem to scatter backwards. Literally in disbelief, he repeated the experiment many times before feeling confident enough to share his observations with Rutherford. Rutherford took more than a year to publish on Marsden’s work because it suggested that the prevailing atomic model of JJ Thompson was incorrect and would surely lead to wide debate. Rutherford submitted his paper to Philosophical Magazine in March of 1911, and it was published by the Journal in May of that year.