web analytics

Energy Report 2024

white windmill
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Summary

This document provides news about emerging energy production technologies including new methods of utilizing nuclear power as a supplement to renewable energy sources. Some news from past years is included here for context. For more, read Nuclear Power News 2023.

In April 2024, it was reported that California had experienced several periods of being 100% powered by wind, solar, and hydro power. [Source] This achievement has inspired more interest in renewable energy.

News

Deutsche Welle (12 Jul 2024)

“Nuclear fusion’s hope – The dream of endless clean energy” — Could nuclear fusion generate an infinite amount of clean energy? In contrast to nuclear fission, nuclear fusion looks favorable when it comes to environmental and safety concerns. Could nuclear fusion be the solution to our environmental problems? [Source]

CBS (10 Jul 2024)

“The success of renewable energy may depend on battery storage” — Battery storage is what allows renewable energy to provide power even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. It’s key to making the electrical grid reliable as we transition away from coal and gas. Ben Tracy examines how battery technology is improving. [Source]

DW Planet A (5 Jul 2024)

“Why Sweden is light-years ahead on climate” — If you’re looking for a climate success story, you’ll find it, of course, in Scandinavia. Sweden has cut 80% of its net emissions since 1990 – while growing its economy. How have they done it? And can this be a blueprint for other countries? [Source]

CBS News (2 Jul 2024)

“Global shift toward green energy accelerating” — A global shift in the way the world produces energy has started. According to the International Energy Agency, the world will spend twice as much on clean energy in 2024, including solar, wind and nuclear, as it will on fossil fuels. John Dickerson explains. [Source]

Real Engineering (29 Jun 2024)

“The Problem with Wind Energy” — Producer/Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus [Source]

American Clean Power Association (27 Jun 2024)

The above video is a 15 second ad for clean power.

DW News (24 Jun 2024)

“Innovations for a new era of energy storage” — To store the increasing amount of clean energy coming from renewables, we need batteries. Without them, there’s a risk of stalling the transition away from fossil fuels. Stationary thermal batteries or heat batteries are growing in popularity for industrial processes and district heating. In this episode of Transforming Business, we look at some simple, natural, and cost-effective materials, squirreling away energy as heat to be used when needed. [Source]

S3 (17 Jun 2024)

“The future of Nuclear = Small, Mobile, Microreactors” — The future of Nuclear looks nothing like the past: big, expensive, and stationary — instead it could be: small, mass-produced, and mobile. Radiant for Episode 48 of S³. Note that the video includes an irrelevant/incorrect image at 6m 37s. [Source]

CBS (16 Jun 2024)

“Bill Gates on Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan” — Watch the full version of Margaret Brennan’s interview with Bill Gates that aired on June 16, 2024, on “Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan.” [Source]

The interview above is about 22 minutes. A shorter 10 minute version is available. [View]

A Current Affair (10 Jun 2024)

“‘Kick in the guts’: Solar panel owners could soon pay the price for going green” — The ‘sun tax’ will soon charge solar panel owners who send their extra electricity back to the grid at peak times, typically during the day. [Source]

DW Planet A (31 May 2024)

“The mind-blowing thing we get WRONG about energy” — Fossil fuels still supply 80% of our energy. And people point to this number to say it’s impossible to switch to renewables, especially if we want to do it quick enough to stop climate change. But their argument overlooks just how much energy we waste – and how we could do it better. [Source]

CBS (2 May 2024)

“New nuclear reactor comes online in Georgia after years of delays” — Georgia is home to the nation’s newest nuclear reactor. It’s bringing clean energy to the state, but the project has run over budget and past its original completion date. Drew Kann, climate and environment reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joins CBS News to explore the effort. [Source]

Copenhagen Atomics (30 Apr 2024)

“Why Thorium will be a Game-Changer in Energy” — Dive into the forefront of energy innovation with Copenhagen Atomics’ Co-Founder, Thomas Jam Pedersen, as he delivers a groundbreaking talk at the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference 2024 (TEAC 2024). [Source]

CNBC (18 Apr 2024)

“TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque on next-generation nuclear power” — TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque joins ‘The Exchange’ to discuss the Natrium nuclear plant, which is planned to be constructed in Kemmerer, Wyoming, the footprint the plant serves, and more. [Source]

CBS Sacramento (15 Apr 2024)

“California reaches major green energy milestone” — California has quietly passed a major energy milestone this week signaling advancements in renewable energy usage across the state. [Source]

DW Planet A (12 Apr 2024)

“Why people want to put small nuclear reactors everywhere” — The race to develop small modular reactors is on, with the promise to provide fossil-free energy everywhere. But only one has been built so far. What’s going wrong? [Source]

NBC News (29 Jan 2024)

“How wind and solar are leading the future of clean energy” — With the construction of the largest wind project in the U.S. and a plan to develop millions of acres of public land for solar use, NBC News’ Ellison Barber takes a look at how wind and solar are becoming a driving force for the future of clean and renewable energy. [Source]

Resources

Here are some resource links for topics mentioned in the videos above. 

  • Natrium — The Latin word for sodium is natrium. Thus, liquid sodium-cooled reactors are called Natrium reactors. While this is a generic word, it has been trademarked by TerraPower as an energy sector term. [Website | Wikipedia]
  • Sodium-cooled fast reactors — An innovative reactor design that can be smaller with lower cost and safer operation. Also known as Natrium reactors. [Website | Wikipedia]
  • TerraPower — An American nuclear reactor design and development engineering company developing a class of nuclear fast reactors termed traveling wave reactors. [Website | Wikipedia]
  • Traveling wave reactor — A reactor that can create its own fuel. [Wikipedia]

TerraPower

The TerraPower company functions with a consortium of businesses, education institutions, and government agencies working on developing liquid-sodium traveling wave reactors for small, low-cost, safe energy. In 2019, the TerraPower laboratory space expanded to 65,000 square feet. In 2021, TerraPower identified the Wyoming location for their demonstration Natrium reactor.

  • Education — Inquisitive minds foster innovation, so TerraPower engages the academic research community to apply the benefits of their forward thinking. Our university collaborations support the development of the next generation of nuclear engineers and physicists, and put to use the valuable research facilities available at America’s world-class universities. To date, these academic partnerships have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; North Carolina State University; Oregon State University; Pennsylvania State University; Texas A&M University; University of Michigan; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Wisconsin; and Washington State University. [Source]
  • Government — TerraPower has agreements in place with many U.S. national laboratories, allowing partnerships between these federal research institutions, private-sector companies and universities. TerraPower’s work, including R&D and testing, has benefitted from collaborations with researchers from Idaho National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex. [Source]

Background 2010-2022

In a TED Talk presentation from 2010, Bill Gates described the TerraPower concept of nuclear energy production at lower cost with reduced risk and less waste. [Source] That presentation is below. The important three minute segment is queued at 13m 19s. In the presentation, Bill Gates describes a technology that will use existing nuclear waste to provide unlimited energy for the forceable life of the planet.

More News

Australian Nuclear Association (29 Oct 2023)

“TerraPower: Natrium Reactor and Integrated Storage” — Presentation by Jeff Navin, Boundary Stone Partners (BSP) and TerraPower. Australian Nuclear Association ANA2023 Conference, held Friday 6 October 2023 at the Aerial UTS Function Centre, Ultimo, NSW. Introduced by Helen Cook, GNE Advisory. [Source]

Abstract: TerraPower is building a 345MWe sodium cooled fast reactor at the site of a coal plant slated to be retired near Kemmerer, Wyoming, USA. Natrium is a step-change advancement in nuclear technology and is specifically designed to meet the needs of a rapidly decarbonizing 21st century grid. Cooled by sodium, the Natrium reactor is inherently resistant to meltdown which allows for a simpler design that both increases safety and reduces cost. In addition, the heat from the reactor is used to power a molten salt energy storage system, capable of storing up to 500MWe of power for five and a half hours. This makes Natrium a great compliment to grids with high penetrations of wind and solar. The Natrium project in Wyoming will utilize the workforce, transmission capabilities and water from the coal plant slated to be retired, providing a much-needed economic lifeline to a community that has generated power for the US for decades, and enjoys broad local support. This presentation will give an overview of TerraPower, the Natrium technology, and the project being developed in Wyoming.

CBS (23 Jul 2023)

The concepts presented in 2010 by Bill Gates above are reaching fruition. A demonstration site for a Natrium power facility is planned for Kemmerer, Wyoming. The video below from July 2023 provides a report on the current status of the planned Natrium facility. [Source]

CNBC (8 Jun 2022)

“Why Nuclear Energy Is On The Verge Of A Renaissance” — For some, nuclear power may conjure images of mushroom clouds or bring back memories of disturbing nuclear disasters like Chernobyle and Fukushima. But despite public fear around nuclear power, the technology has proved to be an emission-free, reliable way to produce large amounts of electricity on a small footprint. As a result, sentiments about the technology are beginning to change. [Source]

IAEA (4 Jun 2021)

“Bill Gates on Nuclear Energy and Reaching Net Zero” — Nuclear power, climate change and sustainable development. Investor and philanthropist Bill Gates speaks with the IAEA in an exclusive interview ahead of the IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, to be held on 26-28 October 2022 in Washington, D.C. [Source]

Wyoming PBS (4 Jun 2021)

“Wyoming Energy Announcement – Natrium Reactor Project” — TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced efforts to advance a Natrium™ reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming. [Source]

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (15 Oct 2018)

“Molten Salt Reactor Fundamentals” — National and international efforts to develop new sources of carbon-free energy are exploring a nuclear power concept first introduced in the 1950s and 1960s: the Molten Salt Reactor. This design is vastly different from our current light water nuclear power plant and is inspiring a fresh look at the technology. [Source]

Oak Ridge 1969 Documentary

“The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment” — This film was produced in 1969 by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the United States Atomic Energy Commission to inform the public regarding the history, technology, and milestones of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Molten Salt Reactor Experiment was designed to assess the viability of liquid fuel reactor technologies for use in commercial power generation. It operated from January 1965 through December 1969, logging more than 13,000 hours at full power during its four-year run. The MSRE was designated a nuclear historic landmark in 1994. [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com