All new technologies go through growing pains, but it seems like Westinghouse could have coordinated better with its pump supplier for its AP-1000 pressurized water reactor. Eight are under construction around the world, and exactly zero coolant pumps are available from the only supplier, Curtiss-Wright. CW hopes to start shipping by the end of the third quarter, but they are still “making some tweaks.” There can be a chicken-and-egg quality to the development of specialized pumps like this: a manufacturer will not develop the pump until there is a need for it, and the reactor manufacturer can’t fully integrate it into the design until it is developed. This kind of joint development can lead to problems later on, particularly when deadlines must be met. Meanwhile, delays on the pumps mean delays on reactor construction, with mounting costs. Not good public relations. Photo of Sanmen AP1000 under construction.
Two or three reports have now been delivered to the government on the unfinished mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) plant in South Carolina. All of them seem to leave out one or more factors. Bill Richardson, former Secretary of Energy, points out that the MOX plant is part of a nonproliferation agreement with Russia, which is one of the things that tends to get left out.
A very complete discussion of the Iran deal from Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. He emphasizes the role of the national laboratories in developing and monitoring the deal.
Things that might be done later to improve the deal. These do not require disapproving it.