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End-user Industries

Nuclear Slowdown Result of Natural Gas Costs, Not Events in Japan

HerronNatural gas prices will have more of an effect on the fate of the U.S. nuclear renaissance than the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, according to a recent article for Industrial Info Resources by John Egan. Egan based his article on what a panel of experts had to say at a recent Web conference.

As one of those experts put it: “I don’t believe the nuclear renaissance is dead, but with natural gas costing $4 to $4.50 per million British thermal units, it is difficult to justify investing in a new-build nuclear plant.” Those remarks were made by John Herron (pictured), the president, chief executive and chief nuclear officer at Entergy Nuclear, a unit of Entergy Corporation, New Orleans, LA. Other speakers at the May 19 Web conference were Bill Borchardt, executive director of operations for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Jim Hunter, utility director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Wireless Networking in the Process Industry

In January VDC Research Group (Natick, MA) published a study entitled “2010 Industrial Networking Infrastructure Products Global Market Requirements and Opportunities Analysis,” which took a look at the key trends expected to shape the 2011 industrial networking solutions market and made predictions of the rate at which the market would expand. While the study covered both wired and wireless networks, this article will concentrate on the wireless area.

In that area, the study predicted that, “[a]fter years of unfulfilled hype and hope, the market for wireless networking solutions will experience material increase in purchase orders, shipments and revenues.” Factors contributing to the increase included “the development of standards, improved technology and security (such as ISA 100 and wireless HART, mesh networking and WPA2, respectively).”

What Goes into the SIP Process

pharmaceutical-mfgClean steam sterilization is the heart of the sanitization routine for most biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes, as well as most pharmaceutical processes that produce parenteral medications (those not administered through the digestive tract such as injections and others) or diagnostic agents. Process tubing, vessels, valves, pumps, equipment and anything that comes in direct or indirect contact with the product feeds or end product must be heated with clean steam to at least 250o F (121o C) and kept at that temperature for at least 1/2 hour before the process can be considered sterilized, or free of all live microbial organisms. The process of sterilizing these process and piping components while they are installed is called sterilize-in-place, or SIP.

Mining Faces Many Political Risks

uraniummineBefore the economic crash, the mining industry was seeing new investors – companies such as steel manufacturers that were not miners by trade were getting into the business, said Steve Ralbovsky, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ralbovsky spoke at the Valve Manufacturers Associations’ Market Outlook Workshop held in San Francisco in mid-August.

“You had hedge funds that previously invested in the minerals themselves who were buying the mining operations,” he said.


Natural Gas from Shale: A Boon or a Danger?

marcellus shaleThe BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has greatly increased public attention to U.S. energy supplies (as well as severely tarnishing the image of BP and, by extension, the entire oil industry). At the same time there has been great movement in the natural gas arena, with promises that gas, widely perceived as more environmentally friendly than oil, may account for a greatly increased share of U.S. energy.


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