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Science behind the video Polar Bear Scare Unmasked – updated paper now available

Climate Depot - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:42
Announcing the publication today of Version 2 of my paper that tests the hypothesis that polar bear population declines result from rapid declines in summer sea ice, updated with recently available data. Version 2 provides the scientific support for the information presented in the GWPF video published yesterday, “ Polar Bear Scare Unmasked: The Sage [...]

Claim: ‘Your turkey sandwich is contributing to global warming’

Climate Depot - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:38
Here’s some CO2-free food for thought. One single loaf of bread contributes as much to global warming as one pound of carbon dioxide, according to a new study published Wednesday in Nature Plants. Food production and consumption is the cause of approximately one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions. This factoid led a research team at [...]

Arctic ice extent ‘nearly identical’ to recent years — While Greenland is blowing away all records for ice gain

Climate Depot - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:34
Alarmists’ Arctic Nightmare Continues Posted on March 3, 2017 by tonyheller While climate alarmists have been telling endless lies about record heat and melting in the Arctic and Greenland this winter, thick ice has been pushing into the East Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – which determine the summer minimum extent. DMI Modelled ice thickness Ice [...]

DELINGPOLE: Polar Bears Are a Pest – Time to End Their ‘Threatened’ Status

Climate Depot - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:15
By James Delingpole: The world’s exploding polar bear population which has now reached record highs of 30,000. 30,000 polar bears is a lot. As someone else remarked (remind me where and I’ll link to it), when Al Gore was born the population was just 5,000. Even as recently as 2005 it was estimated at no [...]

CGN, Ultra to develop next generation I&C systems

World Nuclear News - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:08
China General Nuclear and Ultra Electronics of the UK have agreed to enhance their cooperation in the development of high-integrity instrumentation and control systems and sensors for nuclear power plants worldwide.

DELINGPOLE: President Trump Must Not Wobble on Climate Change – Whatever Ivanka Says…

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 17:33
A daughter can make a man do almost anything. I know: I’ve got one and I am putty in her hands. If she wants a pony and bats her eyelashes at me, I’ll be off in a trice to buy her a herd. Baby unicorn ponies, if that’s what she prefers. With jewels inlaid in their [...]

‘Less than nothing’: Climate scientist slams China, India’s Paris pledges to fight global warming

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 17:03
  Testifying before Congress, former UN climate scientist Dr Patrick Michaels says the Paris climate commitments from China “are nothing but business as usual” and “the Indian commitment is less than nothing.” Michaels: “They’re not doing anything.” Hearing: At what cost? Examining the Social Cost of Carbon Subcommittee on Environment US House Science Committee February [...]

NYT features Climate Depot: Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 14:47
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/politics/climate-change-trump.html NYT Excerpt: By CORAL DAVENPORT MARCH 2, 2017 WASHINGTON — The White House is fiercely divided over President Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel” the Paris agreement, the 2015 accord that binds nearly every country to curb global warming, with more moderate voices maintaining that he should stick with the agreement despite his campaign pledge. [...]

Myocardial aging as a T-cell-mediated phenomenon [Immunology and Inflammation]

PNAS Early Edition Articles - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 14:27
In recent years, the myocardium has been rediscovered under the lenses of immunology, and lymphocytes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathies with different etiologies. Aging is an important risk factor for heart diseases, and it also has impact on the immune system. Thus, we sought to determine whether...

Climate scientist to Congress: Increased CO2 causing ‘remarkable greening of planet Earth’

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 14:16
Testifying before Congress, former UN climate scientist Dr. Patrick Michaels says increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are causing a ‘remarkable greening of planet Earth’. Michaels says previous government calculations of the “Social Cost of Carbon” erroneously ignore the substantial benefits of increased CO2. DR MICHAELS: “There is another systematic error in the previous [...]

Sec of State Tillerson won’t meet with U.N. climate chief — & ‘it’s driving environmentalists crazy’

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:33
With barely a month as Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson is coming under fire for not having met with the UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa. Espinosa sent a request to Tillerson for a face-to-face meeting but the newly minted secretary has been traversing the globe and meeting with other diplomats. That’s not sitting well with [...]

First they came for your light bulbs, then your meat, now…bread!? Global Warming Linked To Production Of Bread, Study Reveals

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:20
The seemingly innocuous loaf of bread you just consumed may be contributing to global warming, according to a new published Wednesday in the science journal Nature Plants. It has been known for some time that in addition to fossil fuels, food production and consumption significantly contributes to anthropogenic climate change. For instance, it has been estimated [...]

Now Bread Causes ‘Global Warming’

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:15
By Paul Homewood We have already been told we should not eat meat, as this contributes to global warming. Now according to the EDP, we can’t eat bread either!    

Watch: Roger Helmer – EU MEP Speech: ‘Green energy is eating its own tail’

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:12
European Parliament, Brussels, 01 March 2017

New Paper Indicates More Arctic Sea Ice Now Than For Nearly All Of Last 10,000 Years

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:09
By Kenneth Richard on 2. March 2017 In a new paper (Stein et al., 2017), scientists find that Arctic sea ice retreat and advance is modulated by variations in solar activity. In addition, the sea ice cover during the last century has only slightly retreated from the extent reached during coldest centuries of the Little [...]

Antarctic Record Temperature Con – ‘Balmy temperatures’ claim is ‘clearly nonsense’

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:07
Via: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/antarctic-record-temperature-con/ By Paul Homewood The supposed record comes from Esperanza. As Jim Steele at WUWT points out, Esperanza is at the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, at a latitude of 63.4S, just about as far outside the Antarctic Circle as you could get.       And as WUWT also points out,  the temperature [...]

Making America Great Again! Trump Orders EPA To ‘Zero Out’ Global Warming Programs

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 10:30
Watch: Climate Depot’s Marc Morano on Fox News debating EPA & Climate: ‘This is the end of superstition in Washington’ – Morano: “What EPA chief Scott Pruitt really represents — you see my smile here — This is the end of superstition in Washington! And it’s actually going back to science and actual cost benefit analysis. [...]

Green Group Flew 50 Kids To D.C. To Brainstorm How To Reduce CO2 Emissions

Climate Depot - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 10:25
By ANDREW FOLLETT – Energy and Science Reporter The sponsors of an environmental conference flew roughly 50 college students to Washington, D.C., Tuesday to discuss ways to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to prevent global warming. Several students who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation said conference sponsors paid to fly them to D.C. from across [...]

Retooling the Workforce for Small Modular Reactors

This Week In Nuclear - Wed, 12/25/2013 - 14:22

Smaller reactors have many advantages, but in order to be cost effective in competitive energy markets a typical small modular reactor (SMR) will need to operate with a much smaller workforce than today’s large commercial nuclear energy facilities.  This will mandate a retooling of existing nuclear training programs to align with the knowledge and skills needed by the SMR staff.

As opposed to fossil-fueled power plants in which the majority of operating costs are associated with the fuel they burn, the majority of the costs of generating electricity from nuclear energy are associated with the costs of capital to build the plant, and the ongoing cost of people needed to operate and maintain (O&M) the plant.  The capital costs, determined by construction & financing costs, are generally fixed during the first decades of operation.  The O&M costs, however, vary over the life of the plant and are highly dependent on overall labor costs; the number of people required and their salaries and benefits, contracted labor costs, and the cost of out-sourced services. For this reason the long-term economic viability of nuclear energy facilities relies upon maintaining capacity factors high and labor costs reasonable and predictable.  Obviously, the balance sheet also depends on the structure of the energy market in which the facility is located.

Anti-nuclear groups understand this connection between labor costs and economic viability.  For years their strategy has been to convince nuclear regulators of the need for ever-tougher standards resulting in larger and larger staff sizes and thus tighter profit margins.  They are, in a very deliberate way, working to regulate nuclear energy out of business.  Coupled with lower electricity market prices brought about by falling natural gas prices, these higher labor costs mean some smaller nuclear plants are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain profitability. Utilities planning to deploy SMRs can expect these same anti-nuclear groups to push for regulations to limit their ability to operate with the smaller staff sizes needed.

Using “ball park” numbers, today’s large 1000 MWe nuclear plants typically employ a staff of about 700 people, or about 0.7 people per megawatt. At this ratio a 100 MWe SMR would employ only about 70.  Under today’s paradigm of division of labor within a nuclear plant, separate groups of specialized workers perform various functions; operators operate the plant, maintenance technicians maintain and repair the equipment, chemists monitor and control the chemistry within plant systems, planners and schedulers do the planning and scheduling, and radiation protection technicians monitor radiation levels and help ensure everyone works safely.  The staff size enables economies of scale; in this case specialization is efficient because the amount of work being performed is more than enough to fully engage each specialized group. In recent years most nuclear plants have deployed cross functional “Fix-it-Now” or FIN teams made up of one or two people from each specialty. The FIN Teams are highly efficient at performing a routine or less complex maintenance tasks that require multiple skill sets.

The smaller, simpler physical plant typical of an SMR will mean a lower overall volume of maintenance, and less opportunity to take advantage of the economies of scale afforded by workforce specialization. This translates into the need for a multi-skilled staff in which the same people who operate the plant perform a wide rage of maintenance tasks.  Much like a FIN Team, operators in SMRs will likely plan their own maintenance work, perform their own chemical monitoring and analysis, and provide their own radiation protection coverage.  With broader skill sets required, the training programs for this new breed of SMR operator-technician will need to include greater coverage of operations, maintenance, chemistry, and radiation protection knowledge and skills than do the training programs currently in place for the more specialized operators and technicians at gigawatt scale reactors.

This is not a new concept; the Nuclear Navy has used a multi-skilled operator concept since it’s beginning.  On a submarine every operator also has a maintenance specialty, and when not operating the power plant they perform maintenance on their assigned equipment.  In fact, the specialization that exists in today’s land-based utility-sized nuclear plants came about as a natural evolution of the larger staff sizes needed to maintain the scores of pumps and miles of pipes and wiring that exist in gigawatt scale nuclear plants.  The commercial SMR organization will need to look and function much more like that of another type of SMR, the “small mobile reactor” (or “Small Marine Reactor”).

There are alternatives. For example,

  • Utilities with other generating assets could rely on roving teams of maintenance specialists to perform more complex repairs, limiting the need for the SMR staff to undertake these tasks.  This would work particularly well if an SMR were located near an existing larger commercial reactor.
  • Workers who serve the utility’s coal and gas power plants could be cross-trained to work on the SMRs.
  • Different companies operating the same vintage of SMR could form alliances and create maintenance teams that would travel from reactor to reactor.
  • Utilities operating SMRs could out-source more complex maintenance activities to third-party service providers.

Many of these approaches are already in use at fossil-fueled and renewable generating stations, and at some large utilities that operate mostly non-nuclear power stations, but have one or two nuclear plants. Whichever approaches utilities elect to deploy, it will require retooling the existing nuclear training programs to align with the SMR technologies, workforce strategies, and management philosophies. A step-by-step approach to accomplish this retooling would be:

  1. Establish an over-arching vision of how the SMR will operated and maintained within an “all in” target labor budget.
  2. Create a set of organization design principles that encompass the ideals set forth in the vision. This vision should consider what types of work the station staff will perform, what work will be handled by alliance partners, what will be out-sourced, and when contingent labor would be brought in to fill the gap.
  3. Develop an operating system; essentially a high level description of “who does what” at the SMR. Define roles and responsibilities for each group within and outside of the organization.
  4. Design a model SMR organization that conforms to the design principles and implements the operating system within the established labor budget.
  5. Perform a job and task analysis (JTA) for each category of worker in the SMR organization. The JTA forms the bases for identifying the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities each training program must impart to participants. This is the first step in the “systematic approach to training” and is the precursor to designing and developing the SMR training programs.
  6. Engage human resources professionals to establish a compensation structure aligned with the model organization, a long rage workforce plan, and a talent sourcing strategy.
  7. These strategies could evolve over time as additional SMR units are added to the site and efficiencies of scale become available.

The specifics of the JTAs will depend among other things on the SMR design, the technologies deployed, the man-machine interface, and the ease of maintenance.  It would be prudent for the engineers involved in the design of the first wave of SMRs to “think like” operators, maintenance technicians, chemists, and radiation protection technicians as they put the finishing touches on their designs and operating license applications.  Without consideration of the knowledge and skills it will take to operate, maintain, and repair the first generation of SMRs, designers risk building machines that cannot be economically operated.


John Wheeler

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