Net-Zero grid, net-zero buildings, net-zero housing, net-zero climate goals. We hear these phrases all over the place nowadays. They are meant to be the gold standard for environmental conscientiousness and progressive planning. And they are. That's the problem. A net outcome is a term most often used in economic considerations where all inputs and outputs... Continue Reading →
Heat and Motion: The Fundamentals of Energy
Last time in this series, we wrote about how SMRs deal with heat, and how their small size makes it possible for them to be potentially immune to the dangers of meltdowns. While true and fundamentally accurate, that explanation left a lot to be desired in expanding understanding of how heat is actually moved around... Continue Reading →
Radiation Damage: Biology is just Physics with lots of extra steps right?
You can't see it, you can't feel it, you can't smell it, and you can only tell where it is either by its effect or by specialized detecting equipment. It's easy to understand the fear and hesitancy when it comes to radiation exposure. I can't do much to try and fight that kind of fear.... Continue Reading →
Nuclear Energy: When Free Markets Aren’t.
Also known as "if renewables are so cheap, why is my energy bill so high?" Here in Alberta we've been hearing for a long time about how cheap renewables are. Solar projects coming online at under 5 cents per kWh. Wind bids at 2 cents per kWh! So why does my electricity bill still say... Continue Reading →
Nuclear “Waste” pt.4: And only I will remain
For thousands of years, humanity has had the crazy idea that things could be turned into other things. The most famous example of this pursuit is the transmutation of lead into gold. But nowadays it is not much more than a metaphor than the creation of something valuable from something considered basal, put in the... Continue Reading →
Nuclear Waste pt.3: I will face my fear
So most waste is barely radioactive and the stuff that is dangerous is a tiny fraction of what we currently consider it to be... so what do we do with it? Well, right now the answer is not a lot. As I said, the LLW gets held onto until it's below background levels and then... Continue Reading →
Nuclear Waste Pt. 1: Fear is the mind-killer
I'm sure you've seen images like this before. Something to make you feel unsafe or scared. Bright colours, visible warning signs, all things that point to those drums being filled with things that are horribly dangerous, and likely to leak out at any moment and poison the surrounding area à la The Simpsons. The reality is... actual... Continue Reading →
Energy and Civilization Series: Porcupines and Environmental Stewardship
It feels like the last few articles have been kinda curmudgeonly so it's time to shift the outlook and focus on aspirational things today. Namely that everyone's favourite oil and gas whipping boy, Tailings ponds, can be cleaned up much faster than current estimates by application of nuclear power and the helping hand of a... Continue Reading →
Nerd Nite #46 Talk: Nuclear Radiation
So I mentioned that I had given a talk back on January 8th at an event called Nerd Nite in Edmonton and here is the video. There are a couple of skips due to the limits of the camera that was used, but they aren't very large so no one should get left behind.
Technology Jargon Series: Void Coefficient
Bubbles have always been interesting. Whether they are in your water or floating through the air on a summers day they always seem to capture our attention. however these darling little pockets of gas have a dark side. They are all members of Greenpeace and want to endanger nuclear plants. Remember that nuclear reactors are... Continue Reading →
Civilian vs Military: Power, Proliferation, and Pandora
I never wanted to write this article. There is already way too much conflation of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons, and even writing with the best of intentions and clearest of language I guarantee that someone will attempt to use this article as proof that nuclear is too dangerous because Bombs! I ignore these people... Continue Reading →
Jargon Series: Fissile vs Fertile
I've been seeing another lie popping up about nuclear energy lately. People saying that Even though Nuclear Energy is low carbon, we lack the accessible supplies of Uranium to supply our power requirements for enough time to help combat climate change. ( I plan on touching on those other points in other articles.) Let's be... Continue Reading →
Fundamentals of Nuclear Science: Half-lives and The Weather Girls.
So it has come to my attention that a surprising number of people don't actually know what half-lives are and what they describe. And as you know, when there is something about nuclear science that the general population does not understand, they immediately assume the worst possible thing. At it's most fundamental a radioactive half-life... Continue Reading →
Neutron Capture and More!
Why do some elements fission and others sit there like lumps. I'm looking at you Lead!
Technology Jargon Series: Thermal vs Fast
There are so many phrases, acronyms or words that have unique meanings in the nuclear industry and it, like most other specialized industries, unfortunately, seems impenetrable to the layman thanks to this jargon. In this series of posts, I'll attempt to peel back some of the most common jargon and hopefully allow people to have... Continue Reading →
Canadian legacy in Nuclear: CANDU
As a Canadian, I can't start up a nuclear blog without talking about the CANDU reactor design. A reactor design that has stood the test of time in its decades of operation racking up not only an impressive safety record but also have been shown to be able to run for over 890 days continuously.... Continue Reading →
Types of Radiation 3/3: Neutrons!
Neutron radiation is probably the least publicized form of the four types of radiation I have discussed, and this is possibly because it is the rarest "common" kind. You will likely never encounter neutron radiation in your life as the only place that it regularly occurs is in the direct handling of nuclear fuels. This... Continue Reading →
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