July 2009 News

01 Jul

Dr. Dayakar Penumadu, a professor of civil engineering at UT, has been named head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Penumadu was a guest speaker at the Technical Society on July 29, 2002. The topic was the lost foam casting process that I remember as quite an interesting technical process. Dr. Penumadu had joined the UT faculty the year before. In the mean- time he has received many awards and honors from UT. We wish him success in his new position and hope to have him back as a speaker soon.

The nuclear renaissance is taking hold. Senator Lamar Alexander has a plan to built some hundred reactors in the U.S. Also in the U.K. efforts are under way to expand energy production into the nuclear domain. The British Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) wants to replace old reactors by new

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ones. It is internationally auctioning off three locations for new power plants. Since the Germans are still dead set to get out of nuclear two German energy producers, RWE and E.on, are looking for greener pastures in England. They bid and were awarded two of the sites, one on the island of Anglesey and one near Birmingham. They want to built four to six units with at least 6000 MW. Price estimate is 18 billion Euros (about $25 billion). The plan is to have the first reactor on line by 2020. But the problem with nuclear power, also in the U.K., is the unpredictable political environment. Unless the lights are on and stay on green nobody can say when the first electricity, if ever any, will flow from these plants.

The French EdF got the third location, the Bradwell site. The EdF seems to be already firmly in the saddle in the U.K. Last year they bought British Energy, which is the operator of all nukes in the U.K. and also owns the best sites for new reactors. The NDA already made a first financial windfall by putting the sites up for bids. The minimum bid price had been set at about 216 million Euro. The bidding brought in twice that much (VDI, 5/15/09).WOW.

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