Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Generation What?

Note: this is an updated version of an older post.

Below is a quick rundown of most of the reactors being marketed as of early 2012.  I'm using the term "marketed" somewhat loosely here, as not all reactors are being offered in all countries due to intellectual property rights, nationalism, or other considerations.  I have ignored a number of small reactor designs that I feel are just vaporware at this point.  The three small PWRs plus the ten of other types account for over half of the 24 models, but medium-large (for lack of a better term) PWRs such as the AP1000 have captured the overwhelming majority of the orders.

An oddity to note is that Westinghouse no longer markets a PWR derived from the ones it created in the 1960s due to a series of corporate mergers.  But the basic Westinghouse design lives on in the EPR, APWR, Amtea1 and CPR-1000 designs.  Westinghouse, which is 77% owned by Toshiba, now offers reactors derived from Combustion Engineering designs.  A minor point to note is that both GE-Hitachi and Toshiba are both marketing the ABWR.

By neutron speed, there are:
By major type, there are:
By design family, there are:
  • 4 Westinghouse (WH) pressurized water reactors
  • 4 Combustion Engineering (CE) pressurized water reactors
  • 4 GE boiling water reactors
  • 3 VVER pressurized water reactors (Russian PWRs evolved separately from western designs)
  • 3 CANDU heavy water-moderated reactors
  • 1 B&W small pressurized water reactor (probably derived from US Navy designs, may be new)
  • 1 KLT-series small pressurized water reactor (evolution of Russian Navy designs)
  • 1 BN-series sodium-cooled fast reactor (designed by a state-owned organization in Russia)
  • 1 new small pressurized water reactor (stated as being derived from the AP1000, but so small that it's probably all new)
  • 1 new small lead-bismuth-cooled fast reactor (probably a new design)
  • 1 new small sodium-cooled fast reactor (probably a new design) 
By generation, there are:
  • 12 "Generation III" designs (designs from the 1990s and 2000s with some passive safety features)
  • 8 "Generation II+" designs (slight improvements over 1960s designs)
  • 2 "Generation II" designs (basically 1960s designs)
  • 2 designs I haven't classified because I lack familiarity with them
The term "generation" was introduced by the DOE several years ago in order to simplify the presentation of its strategy.  Right now it is pursing two goals: building evolved PWRs and BWRs (the Gen III models), and doing R&D on "Generation IV" reactors.  The marketing types have hijacked the nomenclature a bit, and have labeled some reactors "III+" as well as backfitted the "II+" designation on others.  I've ignored the III+ designation, but the II+ designation is not unreasonable because the designs have been worked on since they were first developed in the 1960s.

Frm. Pln.
4SSCFR?3010Toshiba Power Systemsnew SFR0 / 0 / 0
Power ModuleLBFR?7525Hyperion Power Generationnew LFR0 / 0 / 0
BN-800SCFRII2100800Atomstroyexport (Rosatom)BN SFR0 / 1 / 2
PHWR-700PWHRII2170640NPCILCANDU0 / 3 / 1
CANDU6PWHRII2200690Candu Energy, Inc.CANDU11 / 0 / 0
EC6PWHRII+2080750Candu Energy, Inc.CANDU0 / 0 / 0
CPR-1000PWRII+30001000China Guangdong Nuclear Power GroupANP (WH) PWR2 / 20 / 14
OPR-1000PWRII+2825990Doosan Heavy Industries & ConstructionDHIC (CE) PWR7 / 3 / 0
System 80+PWRII+34001120Westinghouse (Toshiba)CE PWR0 / 0 / 0
VVER-1000PWRII+3000950Atomenergoproekt / AtomstroyexportVVER PWR2 / 2 / 2
VVER-1200PWRII+32001170Atomenergoproekt / AtomstroyexportVVER PWR0 / 5 / 5
ABWRBWRIII39001380GE-Hitachi Nuclear EnergyGE BWR2 / 4 / 0
ABWRBWRIII39001350Toshiba Power SystemsGE BWR2 / 1 / 2
Atmea1PWRIII31501150 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-Areva NPMHI/ANP (WH) PWR0 / 0 / 0
AP1000PWRIII34001150Westinghouse (Toshiba)CE PWR0 / 5 / 17
APR-1400PWRIII40001350Doosan Heavy Industries & ConstructionDHIC (CE) PWR0 / 2 / 10
APWRPWRIII44501700Mitsubishi Heavy IndustriesMHI (WH) PWR0 / 0 / 0
EPRPWRIII45901630Areva Nuclear PowerANP (WH) PWR0 / 4 / 1
ESBWRBWRIII45001600GE-Hitachi Nuclear EnergyGE BWR0 / 0 / 0
KerenaBWRIII33701250Areva Nuclear PowerKWU (GE) BWR0 / 0 / 0
MIR-1200PWRIII32001170Atomstroyexport/SkodaVVER PWR0 / 0 / 2
mPowerPWRIII400125Babcock & WilcoxUSN PWR?0 / 0 / 1
WSMRPWRIII800225Westinghouse (Toshiba)CE PWR?0 / 0 / 0

Note: the PHWR-700 is not being marketed per say, but it is the current standard domestic plant for India, and there are several examples under construction.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Hundred Mini-Presidents: January 2012 Edition

As is the case every two years, about one-third of the Senate is up for re-election in 2012.  Below is what I think (as of now, January 3) the outcome in November will be.  Among the tossups, Obama's coattails will be enough to pull along McCaskill in Missouri, which has an AA population of about 15%.  In Wisconsin, a re-energized left will turn out well enough to give Baldwin a victory.  In Montana, Obama hate will work to defeat Tester.  The race in Nevada I know little about, so for now I'll go with what the polling says.  If Obama really drives turnout up, Nevada might be a Dem pickup.  OTOH, if Obama only wins narrowly, both Wisconsin and Missouri would fall to the Republicans, and possibly one or two others currently in the likely category.

Overall, the results below would be a lousy outcome for the left because there would be more than enough Conservadems to give Republicans effective control even if there are enough Democrats to retain nominal control (with the vote of the Veep).  (Note: I'm not 100% certain how the Veep's vote works when assigning control, but AFAIK it would be like any other vote where there is a tie.)  So, even if Obama wins (very likely) and the Democrats win back the House (unlikely but possible) the overall legislative environment will remain poor for most of the policies I'd like to see changed.

Certain holdsCalifornia (Feinstein)Arizona (open R to any R)
Connecticut (open D to Murphy)Indiana (Lugar)
Delaware (Carper)Mississippi (Wicker)
Hawaii (open D to Case/Hirono)Tennessee (Corker)
Maryland (Cardin)Texas (open R to any R)
Minnesota (Klobuchar)Utah (Hatch)
New Jersey (Menendez)Wyoming (Barasso)
New York (Gillibrand)
Rhode Island (Whitehouse)
Vermont (Sanders)
Washington (Cantwell)
West Virginia (Manchin)
Likely holdsFlorida (Nelson)Maine (Snowe)
Michigan (Stabenow)
New Mexico (open D to Heinrich)
Ohio (Brown)
Pennsylvania (Casey)
TossupsMissouri (McCaskill)Montana (Tester to Rehberg)
Wisconsin (open D to Baldwin)Nevada (Heller)
Likely flipsMassachusetts (Brown to Warren)Nebraska (open D to any R)
North Dakota (open D to any R)
Virginia (open D to Allen)
2012 results2013
2013-2014 seats5050

Monday, January 2, 2012

Predictions About the Future: 2012 Edition

This year I'm being a little more specific, so I'll probably do worse than last year.
  1. The unemployment rate will end between 8.0% and 8.5%. The employment situation will continue to improve, though not fast enough to lift large numbers of people out of misery and poverty.  The employment-to-population ratio will once again do very little, staying between 58.5% and 59%.
  2. Housing prices will continue to fall slowly.  We'll see another 3-6% decline in existing home prices.
  3. New homes and autos will not provide a major boost.  Some people have been predicting a rebound in the two sectors, but I think we are going through some long-lasting changes in behavior that will keep both from being major drivers of growth in 2012. 
  4. The effective Fed Funds Rate will stay below 1%.  There's no inflation and growth is still weak, so the Fed won't move much, if at all. 
  5. The US dollar will strengthen mildly.  The US will be the strongest major developed economy this year, as the Eurozone (collectively) will not grow, the UK will contract, and Japan will grow only slightly.  Thus the dollar will strengthen about 5% in the broad trade-weighted index.  China will continue to try to export as many problems as possible, so the dollar will be essentially unchanged against the yuan again.  Update 2012.03.17 - I mis-read the data for the previous year, which saw the dollar weaken by about 4.5%.  I think we'll see roughly the same change this year, or 5%.
  6. Oil will end the year at $95/bbl +/- $5.  Increased US supply, changing driving habits, and slowing growth in Europe (on average) will balance out growing demand from the developing world.  All bets are off if Iran or Israel does something stupid, however. 
  7. The Euro will survive.  It will be horrible for people living in the GIPS (ex-Ireland, where everyone will just emigrate), but the Eurozone will muddle through for yet another year.
  8. Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.  Since the only other candidate with a competent national organization is a kook, Romney will win by default.
  9. President Barack Obama will be re-elected.  See above.
  10. Placeholder for House and Senate.  I'm not up on the Congressional races, so I'll fill this in later.  Update 2012.03.17 - The Senate will remain in Democratic hands, at 50-50 or 51-49.
  11. The beginning of the end in Afghanistan will be downplayed.  There will be some troop reductions, but for political reasons the administration will try to downplay it, and the media will be too busy calling the political horse race to cover it.
Some off-the-cuff speculations: North Korea will act crazy but the hot peace on the peninsula will continue; the Occupy movement will mostly fizzle, but the national debate will still be better for its efforts; the Arab Spring will be taken over by Islamic parties everywhere dictators have been overthrown, but no new tyrants will go down; reactionary developments on the eastern side of the EU will largely be ignored by western countries focused on their economies; the coalition government in the UK will continue to survive despite the recession because the LibDems would be clobbered in an election; Putin will win the presidency in Russia in a highly fraudulent election; the news about Global Warming will continue to be horrible; the drug war in Mexico will continue to be horrible, but will improve slightly; South America outside of Venezuela will continue to improve both economically and politically; and Generalissimo Francisco Franco will remain dead.

Predictions About the Future: 2011 Report Card

So how did I do?
  1. Close, but no banana. The final report in 2011 was for November, when the rate fell to 8.6%.  I could try to wiggle out by pointing to a larger-than-average movement in the denominator for November, but the truth is that the employment situation is getting better, albeit very slowly.  The E2P ratio did stay close to what I predicted, with 58.7% being reported in November.
  2. Correct.  There was a small blip upwards in the middle of the year, but prices fell overall.
  3. Correct.  Effective rates started the year at 0.13% and ended the year at 0.07%.
  4. Correct.  I didn't specify a range, but the 2.5% increase seen over the year isn't that significant.  The change in the yuan dollar rate was about 1%, so I was right about that, too. Update 2012.03.17 - I wasn't right about the yuan.  It increased by 4.5% vs. the dollar, not 1%.  That's not insignificant, but in all likelihood a freely-floating yuan would be 4 or 5 to the dollar.  So it has a way to go.
  5. Close, but no banana.  I forget which benchmark I was thinking of, but both the WTI Cushing and spot prices ended up below $100/bbl.  Brent, which is for a light sweet crude, ended at $107, but it always commands a premium to WTI.
  6. Correct.  The euro still exists, and no country has left yet.
  7. Wrong, wrong, wrong.  US-Cuba relations are about the same as they've been since the end of the Cold War.  No surprise, really, as I threw this prediction out just for the heck of it.
  8. Correct.  There really hasn't been much of a change in Afghanistan AFAIK, except that relations with Pakistan have gotten a lot worse.
  9. Depends on your perspective.  The Republicans relented, but they did extract some concessions.  The most prominent of them, the "Super Committee" was a complete bust, but there are automatic spending cuts scheduled in the 2013 budget.  They may very well not survive the budget process.  I was hoping for a completely clean victory by the Democrats, but the Republicans were even crazier than I expected.
Final tally: 5/9 right, 2/9 close but wrong, and 2/9 completely wrong.  Overall I'd rate my performance as a "meh" because I didn't tackle much that was hard to predict.