DOE Creates Center to Research Nuclear Reactors

Posted on May 4th, 2011 by

New DOE Research Center Improving Nuclear Reactors

The Department of Energy’s new research center will use supercomputers to increase the safety and power output of U.S. nuclear reactors. The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) has dedicated a new research facility that aims to upgrade our existing reactor fleet and improve the reliability of the technology. The research team will work at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. They have already completed a “virtual reactor,” a software that will be a tool to study the operations of the reactors so that researchers can determine how to reduce operating costs and minimize the waste volume while extending the lifetime of the nuclear reactors.

100-MW of Solar Power for India

SunBorne Energy and Suntech Power have joined to supply 100-MW of solar panels over the next two years to improve energy availability in India. Suntech will supply the modules for projects designed by SunBorne, including a 10-MW initiative in Gujarat, India. The solar industry in India is supported by federal and state subsidies and the country hopes to reach 2-GW of off-grid and 20-GW of on-grid PV installations by 2022. A number of the nation’s citizens do not have access to electricity and the primary energy demand is expected to increase 3.1 percent per year until 2034, according to the International Energy Agency’s 2010 World Energy Outlook.


US Navy Wind Turbine under Evaluation

The U.S. Navy is working on a small wind turbine to power military installations. Wyle, an evaluating and engineering firm, is testing the project at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The first turbine under scrutiny was the Helix Wind S322. It will be used to evaluate the abilities of a small wind turbine on an operating military installation used to power remote instruments that would otherwise use a diesel generator or the electric grid. The turbine has been nicknamed “Windy,” and it can catch wind in any direction because of its vertical axis design. The entire project will take up to two years as Wyle measures system design, radar interference, energy demands, and other factors.


Tips to Conserve Energy this Summer

With energy prices going up as summer months creep closer, here are several ways you can save without spending too much on clean energy renovations. According to one of the nation’s leading utilities, MXenergy, many Americans are reluctant to make energy efficient upgrades, but the company offered a few simple techniques that could be useful. Keeping air conditioner filters clean will increase the unit’s efficiency—in the hotter months, it is recommended to change filters monthly. Avoid running appliances during the hottest parts of the day and try using cold water when possible. Turning on fans throughout the house to keep the air circulating will reduce the strain on the AC. And lastly, adding a couple inches of insulation in the attic is a good idea because over time, insulation compresses. Solar-powered attic venting can lower attic temperatures an additional 50 degrees.


Hydrogen Fuel Station Underway in Michigan

Air Products is building a hydrogen fueling station in Flint, Michigan to fuel a hydrogen fuel cell for the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA)’s alternative fuels test program. The Flint MTA already owns one hydrogen fuel cell bus that can use the station, scheduled to be operational by April 2012. Air Products has already been installed 120 hydrogen fueling stations across the U.S. and in 19 countries worldwide. There are over 350,000 hydrogen fills per year at the company’s tanks.


By: Krishna Patel

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