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Italy recently became the fourth nation to pledge to phase out nuclear power since Japan's Fukushima disaster. Italy accomplished this feat by a popular referendum, soon after Germany did the same in its legislature (Bundestag). Switzerland has also agreed to a phase out and Japan itself has agreed to phase out much of its nuclear capacity in favor of renewables and natural gas.
Should California do the same? Could it do the same?
California has effectively banned new nuclear plants in the state since the 1970s due to a law that requires there be an effective federal nuclear waste disposal facility before any new plants are built in California. And despite efforts to create a federal waste facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and other places the U.S. is still far from completing any such facility.
There has not, however, been any widespread push to phase out California's existing nuclear plants. We have three, two in California (Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County and San Onofre in San Diego County) and one in Arizona (Palo Verde) that serves California. These three plants provide about 5,000 megawatts of steady electricity to California and have never suffered any major accidents.
5,000 megawatts is a lot of base load power and would require enormous amounts of new wind, solar and/or natural gas to replace these nuclear power plants.
But would we need to replace these plants? That is, if a decision were made to phase out the plants, would they need to be replaced?
No one has yet, to my knowledge, looked at this issue in detail. But the state's grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), has recently completed a detailed analysis for integration requirements to get to 33% renewables by 2020, as is now required by law since Gov. Brown signed SB 2. "Integration" refers generally to new natural gas power plants to provide power when variable renewables like wind power or solar power aren't available because the wind doesn't always blow and nor does the sun always shine.
CAISO examined four scenarios in its recent 33% renewables by 2020 analysis, some focusing on in-state renewables only, others including some out-of-state power, more wind, etc. The good news is that CAISO concluded, under its current set of assumptions, that California will need no new capacity to integrate the 33% renewables by 2020. The analysis found that only a small "load following down" capacity would be required, which could be met through curtailment of existing facilities, rather than building any new facilities. Why such a surprising finding? A number of factors are relevant, but the primary ones are: an excess of existing natural gas generation; robust state-wide energy efficiency and demand response programs, and a significant number of new cogeneration facilities coming online.
Not only did CAISO find no new power plants would be required to integrate the 33% renewables mandate by 2020, CAISO also found that by 2020 the state would have about 14,000 megawatts of excess power available, even after meeting the 33% renewables mandate. This is over and above the "planning reserve margin" required by state law. The planning reserve margin is 15-17% above expected normal demand for each utility and it provides a buffer in cases where demand peaks are far higher than expected - during summer heat waves, for example. Figure 1 shows the key slide (slide 65) from a recent CAISO presentation on its analysis. The key figure is in the last column, third from the bottom (14,144 megawatts). The full presentation was affirmed on July 1, 2011, with CAISO's finalized analysis submitted to the CPUC.
Load and Resource Balance in the ISO using CPUC
Resource Assumptions (MW)
ISO Summer Peak Load
Total Demand Side Reductions
Net ISO Peak Summer Load
Planned Additions (Thermal, RPS, CHP)
Net Interchange (Imports - Exports)
Total System Available Generation
Capacity Requirement (PRM)
Comparing the 5,000 megawatts of nuclear power that serves California, it seems that the projected 14,144 megawatt surplus by 2020 may allow the phase out of these plants in the coming years without harming the ability of our grid to function reliably.
It is important, however, to recognize that this CAISO report did not explicitly examine a "nuclear phase out" scenario. It would, thus, be irresponsible to conclude without further analysis by CAISO that we could immediately or painlessly phase out these nuclear plants. The responsible course of action would be for CAISO to include a nuclear phase out scenario in a future iteration of this analysis and vet the results thoroughly with other agencies and stakeholders.
Moreover, the technical ability to serve California's power demand without our existing nuclear power plants is not the only relevant factor. Another important factor relates to "stranded costs" of these power plants. Nuclear power plants cost billions of dollars to build, which is ultimately paid by ratepayers. Power plants must generally stay online long enough to allow revenue from power sales to pay for the investments. If they are forced offline, and contracts are broken, "stranded costs" must be paid by ratepayers. No one knows at this time what the stranded costs would be for our existing nuclear plants, but it may be a large amount.
Summing up, it seems, based on CAISO's recent analysis, that California may indeed be able to phase out its nuclear power plants without great detriment to the state. But additional study is required, involving not only the ability to serve the electricity needs of Californians but also the stranded costs resulting from such a phase out.
For information on purchasing reprints of this article, contact sales. Copyright 2013 CyberTech, Inc.
Tam, when the environmental celebrity Jeremy Leggett gave me some back talk at the Singapore Energy Week, I pronounced in a loud voice that he didn't know what he was talking about. Neither do you where nuclear is concerned. California is not going to give up nuclear no matter what you or anybody else thinks, nor is Germany, nor Switzerland, and definitely not Japan. Where do you people get these kinds of crazy ideas from? Dont you know that the ignorant Angela Merkel prefers to spend another term in the Bundestag than in Hollywood California, following in the footsteps of Ms Marlene Dietrich and Romy Schneider, and she thinks that putting the bad mouth on nuclear is the way to go.
When I got back to Sweden I received a mail from the ignorant Professor Aleklett reprimanding me for the way I talked to his "friend" Leggett, who told Aleklett that I disgraced my university. What the ___ has my university done for me, I was tempted to say, but then I remembered that Aleklett like Merkel was a teacher of physics, which means parasite in the light of leaving physics to swan around the world trying to make fools of hard working folk.
Let me close by saying that in the brilliant short course I will be giving in Spain soon, nuclear will be one of the topics. Anybody making the mistake of thinking that he or she knows more than I do on this topic will regret it. Habla espanol Signor.
Bob Amorosi 1.12.12
Fred, note Tam himself claims at the beginning of his article about California - "5,000 megawatts is a lot of base load power and would require enormous amounts of new wind, solar and/or natural gas to replace these nuclear power plants." He also says that by definition the “integration” of renewables into their grid means they must all be backed up by natural gas plants.
The numbers California's grid operator presents suggest precisely what Tam is saying - a plan for a massive deployment of renewables all backed up by natural gas. Even if these numbers are ballpark instead of accurate, California's existing nuclear will eventually become a much smaller piece of their total generation pie, assuming no new nuclear plants get built along the way.
So unless California builds a lot more new nuclear, and/or unless their plans to deploy massive amounts of “integrated” renewables changes, it will gradually become much easier to justify reasons to shutter all of their nuclear let alone the political ones that seem to exist everywhere today.
The risks in shuttering nuclear completely however are huge. For example what happens if natural gas prices skyrocket 10 years from now, given these things tend to be highly unpredictable that far out into the future. Or what happens if global climate change eventually force all fossil-fuel burning to become prohibitively taxed. It becomes a gamble on a large scale, and if either of these happen by 2020, I for one will be wishing we still have some nuclear plants left to fall back on.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.12.12
Bob, knock on any door and some fool will tell you that the way to go is to get rid of nuclear. Nuclear and hydro gave Sweden one of the lowest electricity prices in the world, and the anti-nuclear people almost went crazy. They couldn't accept why we up here in Sweden should have low electric prices, while folks on the rim of the Kalihari couldn't find enough wood to keep their fires burning.
The head of the Swedish Left party may be the most intelligent politician in this country. IQ wise. He wants the working day to be cut to 6 hours, one of the best environments in the world to be improved, and of course nuclear dumped. Over in Finland 'they' wanted nuclear closed, but perhaps the best educated population in the world responded by beginning to install the largest nuclear plant in the world.
In my talk in Singapore I told it like it is: what Merkel is doing in Germany to get another term in office is equivalent to an attack on the living standard of people like you and me. There is no other way to look at it.
Capt D 1.13.12
A Great chart: Excess of Power In California With or Without Nuclear Power http://is.gd/RB38sI
California Energy Commission STAFF REPORT SUMMER 2011 ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AND DEMAND OUTLOOK http://is.gd/JXuQzU
+ Readers might want to know about two "new" projects now in pre-construction: 24/7 Solar: http://www.solarreserve.com/technology.html and PG&E makes deal for space solar power: http://is.gd/hwzA8b
Solar Power Year in Review 2011: http://is.gd/8dlYIx The United States finally passed the one gigawatt of PV installed in a year mark, a barrier long eclipsed by Germany and Italy.
Capt D 1.13.12
I just finished reading "Japan's Tipping Point" by Mark Pendergrast which is now available as either a paperback or as an ebook! He won an Abe Fellowship for Journalists, (an annual grant given to selected writers who then spend six weeks in Japan); he arrived two months after 3/11 visiting their Eco-Model Cities and interviewed many of Japan's Eco "Leaders" both in Government and in the private sector.
===>One thing I learned is that Japan's utilities own their electrical GRID and therefore are the only ones that can "approve" of any forms of energy accessing it! If Japan is to "kick" their Nuclear reactor habit, the Utilities will have to OK that decision, which means a reduction in both Control and Market share for them! snip "I discovered, however, that the real power in Japan lies with bureaucrats who have strong ties to big business. They outlast the politicians. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is the most powerful bureaucracy, with a large budget at its disposal."
==> Another thing I learned is that Northern Japan has a different form of alternating current than Southern Japan so that Energy cannot be easily shared Nationwide! This is yet another roadblock to low cost energy that the Utilities promote to protect their market share in Japan! snip "Each of the regional utilities jealously guards its borders, so that there is limited cooperation between them. Transmission lines are not large enough to allow power to flow easily between regions. Worse still, the northeastern half of Japan uses a 50 hertz frequency, while the southwest operates at 60 hertz, making it impossible to share power between them without huge transformers."
This to me, is the real "Tipping Point", since without a "up to date" modern (Think SMART) grid energy cannot flow to where it is needed, when it is needed, at a fair price from where it is generated! Imagine installing new solar panels and the Energy produced is not allowed to be added to the grid because the Utility wants to only sell it's own energy!
(Here is the Amazon link: http://is.gd/W3Jcuo )
Capt D 1.13.12
Others above tout the low cost of Nuclear but I maintain that that is only a "snapshot" of when everything is working great; what happens when you look at the BIGGER picture? Many experts now maintain that Nuclear is not only MORE expensive but the RISK and time to construct is no longer acceptable!
Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE) May 26, 2011 http://is.gd/L0V2hP
Then consider Japan as a test case; they are a major nuclear "user" and now they have a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster that is affecting their entire Country, how would California (and or the USA) pay for a similar event? Where would people relocate to and what would they do for housing, since their home owners insurance has a nuclear exclusion? If this happened in San Onofre, the "coastal" real estate loses alone would be more than a trillion dollars and the rest of the USA is downwind.
If people really knew the true cost of Fukushima, the people would demand CHANGE and that is something that some of those in Government and the entire Nuclear Industry want to avoid at all cost!
What will determine the total cost of their "Trillion Dollar" Eco-Disaster?
Please feel free to add your comments and or estimates to this list: ? Decommissioning costs ? Loss to all other radioactive decontamination caused by this Disaster. ? Loss of revenues by Tepco ? Loss to TEPCO's share holders caused by radioactivity ? Loss of Japanese personal income caused by radioactivity ? Loss to Japanese businesses caused by radioactivity ? Loss of all Japanese health costs related to radioactivity ? Loss due to unusable Japanese Land related to radioactivity ? Loss due to Japanese housing caused by radioactivity ? Loss of Japanese Property Values caused by radioactivity ? Loss of fishing grounds caused by radioactivity ? Loss of manufacturing caused by radioactivity ? Loss to the value of the Yen caused by radioactivity ? Loss to other Utilities caused by Fukushima's radioactivity ? Loss to Japans credit rating caused by Fukushima's radioactivity ? Loss to the Japanese peoples Lives because of radiation
Bob Amorosi 1.13.12
No one will dispute the enormous costs in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The point is it need not have happened in the first place had the Japanese added some rather basic technical safeguards in place to protect those reactors from the tsunami flooding. I am not a nuclear plant engineer, but others have posted on this website that such safeguards are feasible and would not have been that expensive to implement.
Furthermore, it is totally irresponsible for anyone to claim that the Fukushima disaster was unpredictable. It has been known for centuries that Japan is geologically right in the midst of prominent Pacific earthquake zones that habitually create tsunamis in their wake. Heavens, the very work "tsunami" in the English language comes from Japan itself!!
If one is going to justify banning nuclear technology because of the ecological costs after accidents like Fukushima, it is hypocritical to do so. Just look at the massive ecological costs to the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, also due in part to negligence for safe technical practice. I don’t hear any massive campaign to have the world ban all drilling for oil in the oceans greatest depths because of it.
Bob Amorosi 1.13.12
Correction... the very word "tsunami"...
Capt D 1.13.12
@ Bob - Thanks for replying!
Given that it has been PROVEN that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! and that Nature does not follow any design guidelines or mass moments (EQ) standards why take a risk that something like that will not happen in the USA? In 2011 a number of US reactors and or nuclear installations had potential MAJOR problems with flooding, fires and who knows what else; some even had their EQ design exceeded!
To think that something like this can be avoided by adding a higher seawall or some more rebar is just Nuclear Baloney (NB), as I like to say.
I also agree that "it is totally irresponsible for anyone to claim that the Fukushima disaster was unpredictable" yet many Professional Nuclear Engineers and or scientists claim it was a 1000 year event and post yet more Risk equations on Huffington Post! Typical sample: http://is.gd/GraE33
RE: Drilling for oil, many in the USA and elsewhere are 100% against deep ocean drilling because of the RISK of that enterprise and especially now that the Gulf has been trashed by the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.
I see Solar (of all flavors) as the only really clean, safe solution to the US Energy problem! I think it is important to remember that if Germany can do it so can the USA. The sooner the US partners with other Countries and together begin to generate 24/7 solar energy in Space the sooner the World will become a safer and better place to live for all of mankind, not just the Wealthy that control dwindling Earth based resources!
See these 4 books for an increasing introduction to that concept: The High Frontier by Gerard K. O'Neill, Colonies In Space by A. Heppenheimer. The Third Industrial Revolution G. Harry Stine The Space Enterprise by Philip Robert Harris
Ace Hoffman 1.13.12
San Onofre's employees would have to be supermen and women to guarantee the local residents that they can prevent our own Fukushima USA. Fact is, it's out of the question! Acts of God, Mother Nature, sabotage, worker apathy... all are potential "game changers".
The disastrous potential effects of someone merely dropping a wrench into the system and failing to report it for fear of losing their job, and then the wrench blocks a critical valve... such a potential event was specifically mentioned by a whistleblower at an NRC hearing a few years ago, long before Fukushima showed the world that U.S.-designed reactors are not only no better than Russia's or anyone else's, in some ways they are worse -- yes, including our PWRs and including SanO specifically, which is built on or near some very active earthquake faults, and which has had numerous problems over the years, including with the backup generators, AND the backup batteries, and the required testing of these (tests were skipped...) AND even if they were all working yesterday, that doesn't mean they'll work tomorrow if needed -- there aren't nearly ENOUGH backup systems for SanO as it is, including a reliable enough grid in the event of an earthquake (or someone flipping a switch at the wrong time in Arizona, as happened last fall).
Nor are there enough security personnel, even if the exact number on duty at any one time is confidential. And as they computerize their control rooms to prevent workers from flipping the switches wrong (improved ergonomics) the workers in turn are getting on the Internet and playing games -- or bringing in viruses like Stuxnet from home.
The question is not whether natural gas will go up in price. It surely will. By then we better be well converted to wind, wave, offshore wind, rooftop solar, desert solar, Atmospheric Vortex Engines, and every other benign, renewable, and nearly-benign energy source there is, because the alternative with San Onofre is to keep it running until it melts down: Since new reactors aren't allowed in California and are hard to site anywhere in the country (and for good reason), the industry just keeps rebuilding the old reactors, but leaves billions of dollars worth of old, hard-to-reach, but vital parts just rusting away untouched. The NRC keeps relicensing every nuclear power plant request from any corporate owner. San Onofre will be allowed to run until it dies.
And either way it will leave a mountain of deadly waste that was literally about a ten millionth as dangerous before being used in the reactor. Unused nuclear fuel is about as dangerous as so-called "depleted" uranium, which is currently used in weapons (a practice sure to be banned globally in the coming years, as its effects are seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). You can hold a pellet of fresh nuclear fuel in your hands without too much worry, though gloves are recommended to stop the alpha particles. "Spent" fuel, on the other hand is the most dangerous stuff on earth and you can't go near even a millionth of a gram of it without heavy lead shielding and a long pole. Spent fuel cannot be neutralized or stored safely anywhere. So by leaving SanO running, we are generating mountains of problems along with a daily supply of easily-replaced energy.
The NRC and the nuclear industry don't even talk about preventing meltdowns anymore, post-Fukushima. They talk about "mitigation" instead which can include permanent evacuation of the surrounding cities, farmlands, etc.!
Waiting for catastrophic failure is not acceptable to the 7.5 million people who live within 50 miles and will be directly effected by a meltdown, only a tiny fraction of whom realize the danger they face or the ease with which alternatives can be applied. However, those in the energy business should all know better by now.
Capt D 1.13.12
@Ace You "get it" completely!
I look forward to reading much more from you both here and on HP's link listed just above.!
The Nuclear Fascists* are all about retaining their current market share and making money; safety is only an after thought, as they actually believe that "their" nuclear power is built too perfect to fail!
This is just what led to the Japanese Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster and I believe that the same "mindset" will allow it to happen yet again, only this time in the USA at some time in the near future! Calling something "a once in a thousand year event" does not "help" if it happens tomorrow or 3 years from now.
Too many of our Leaders and nuclear regulators suffer from "Nuclear Denial," which is the illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! If there was a law that stripped every member of Congress and the Senate of all their benefits if anything happened to a nuclear reactor in the USA, none would get re-licensed or built! It is all about Utility Power (pun intended) instead of SAFE low cost Energy for all!
*Nuclear Fascism http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nuclear+fascism snip The International Nuclear Industry working with all Governments to control the masses use of nuclear power and to limit the spread of Green Energy.
Michael Keller 1.13.12
If one only looked at reserve margins, there would be virtually no reason to install any renewable energy plants in California; the dismal economy and existing power plants (including nuclear) could easily cover the existing load.
I think the real question is: why not phase out renewable energy? Such actions would certainly save ratepayers a lot of money. Further, because renewable energy’s actual impact on global CO2 emissions is already inconsequential, the phase out of renewable energy would also have negligible impacts on greenhouse gases.
All you renewable energy fans need a strong dose of reality. The only valid reason to use renewable energy is to save money; the environmental advantages are essentially “bug dust”. To the extent that deploying renewable energy is cheaper than alternatives, then by all means do so.
Capt D 1.13.12
@Michael Keller The SINGLE biggest reason is that it would not solve the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster RISK.
Nothing about nuclear is worth taking that risk, especially since other forms of generation ... are more cost effective (see links I posted above) than nuclear!
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.14.12
I won't see your links Captain because you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Let me put that another way: you have come to the wrong forum to circulate what you think of as your wisdom, because many of us here know a great deal more than you do about this topic - and that is a great deal more about both the engineering and the economics of nuclear.
Michael Keller says that when renewables are more economical than other items, they should be used. I agree. And since we live in democracies, maybe some renewable is OK even when it is not economical. But what people like Tam want is to dump nuclear, which might be alright for his California, but would be a disaster for a country like Sweden. As for Germany, seven or eight months ago Angela Merkel was shouting to the high heavens that Germany needed more nuclear, but when she found out that she could drop that plea and take the opposite point of view, and the net result was more votes, she chose another term in office.
Now let infantry corporal and Professor Fred Banks give you the real deal. They can tear down every single nuclear plant in the Free World, but it will just mean they they will have to build them up again, and when they do .......
Ace Hoffman 1.14.12
..... and when they do build them, then what, Corporal Banks? A slightly longer wait for meltdown, if we're lucky? They'll be 4th Gen, slightly more likely to run without operator error in the case of an "extreme" emergency (but not a plane crashing into them)? They'll be more efficient? By a factor of what, maybe 20% if they're very lucky? If all the current reactors had been built using those new, not yet invented (at the time) and not yet tested (even now) designs, the 80,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste we created with no safe storage method would still be >60,000 tons, still an inconceivably large and unmanageable amount. And those next-gen reactors, said to be so safe, rely on materials not becoming embrittled, hardened, rusted, stuck in the "open" (or "closed") position. Pipes mustn't burst because maintenance was properly done all along the way, for decades at thousands of nuclear power plants around the world -- tens of thousands of "modular" ones, even hundreds of thousands... how many did you want? One in every garage? Never mind Chernobyl, which you corporal-level engineers can see wasn't 'our' design but can't see that "our" radionuclides are just as poisonous, and never mind Fukushima, which was run by the Japanese Mafia or whatever you think made it different from U.S. reactors, and never mind Davis Besse's near-catastrophic hole in its head less than ten years ago, or Three Mile Island. Let's continue to ignore the BIER VII report stating as conclusively as possible (and for the umpteenth time) that radiation generally exhibits a "Linear, No Threshold" dose response in humans, and that "any dose is an overdose" as the eminent radiation/heart expert Dr. John Gofman so eloquently put it decades ago. You can't run them right, you can't transport the waste safely, you have nowhere to put it, you ignore the health effects under the guise of "Hormesis" yet you call yourself a professor because you realize that splitting atoms can boil water? Wow. They can and should tear down every nuclear reactor in the free world. Then, after a few meltdowns, maybe they'll tear the other ones down, too. As long as we weren't selling them the parts (which we are) I guess that's okay, right, Corporal? What are the rules here? And, assuming LNT, not Hormesis, is correct, can commie and other "not free" countries globally pollute when their shoddy nukes melt down, or should we send in the Marines to shut them down, too? BTW, Sweden's population is less than a thirtieth of ours. You cite it as a glowing (pun intended of course) example, but what "works" for Sweden doesn't necessarily apply here; a better example to use would be Japan -- and their troubles have just begun. And anyway, Sweden's coming nuke catastrophe is inevitable, just like ours. Shutdown or meltdown are the only realistic outcomes. Everything else is a temporary situation.
Suggested reading for the Corporate Professor: My book from 2008, called The Code Killers. Available for reading online at: www.acehoffman.org
Capt D 1.14.12
@ferd You want to let market forces decide, Great Solar (of all flavors) are now less costly and far SAFER than nuclear; here are the links (The hand writing is on the wall):
10 strikes: http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/climate/dirtyenergy/nuclear.cfm Energy Options: http://wp.me/P1YIeo-fi Nuclear Down despite connections: http://is.gd/wGsIWS The End of the Nuclear Renaissance: http://is.gd/61Z8KF Nuclear power plants too expensive for Croatia: http://is.gd/FYyldW Gambling on nuclear power: http://is.gd/4qMpgK
The industry is pushing "New Nuclear" but it is like the ice men telling folks to buy new ice boxes instead of the new fangled refrigerators that put the ice men out of business! If people have a real choice and are not made to swallow Nuclear Baloney (NB) by the Industry and or their powerful lobbyists then America and the world will be a much safer place by starting to Shift to Solar (of all flavors) ASAP! Remember America cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster...
Capt D 1.14.12
@Ace I've read your book and thank you for all the folks that have been able to read it for free online... I would suggest that you also make a kindle version available (the conversion is free at Amazon) as many more folks would then have access to it...
Please continue to spread the word about these 8 Nuclear secrets nobody wants to talk about; 1. Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! 2. Nuclear is no longer cost effective. 3. Nuclear can be phased out and replaced by 24/7 Solar (of all flavors) NOW. 4. No Country can afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster, (Ask The Japanese)! 5. If Germany can do without it so can the rest of the World. 6. Nuclear is in demand (because it is a stepping stone) by many Countries that want a nuke. 7. Nuclear reactors LEAK, which makes living nearby or downwind from them less healthy! 8. Low, Low levels of radiation are not as "safe" as the Industry maintains.
Patti Davis 1.14.12
Why is it that the supporters of nuclear power are often so arrogant and angry? I thought it was supposed to be the "peaceful atom". Its my tax dollars that are supporting this industry, do not talk down to the people that pay the bills. With out the huge subsidies and loan guarantees this industry would not exist at all. It is looking like they had better face reality. The world is waking up to the sham of nuclear power.
From the Washington Post ====>‘Crunch time’ at troubled nuclear fuel plant "U.S. Enrichment Corp., which produces fuel for nuclear power plants, is having its own sort of meltdown.
Disillusioned investors have wiped out 95 percent of the company’s market value since 2007. Standard & Poor’s has saddled it with a dismal CCC-plus credit rating. And USEC’s chief executive John Welch says that “clearly we’re coming to crunch time here.”
When USEC was created by the U.S. government in the 1990s, the idea was to privatize the job of uranium enrichment. USEC leased an old Energy Department plant and under a program known as Megatons to Megawatts, it has blended down highly enriched uranium taken from 17,698 Russian warheads under a U.S.-Russia treaty.
Two decades later, however, the Bethesda-based firm is still struggling to stand on its own two feet. Its deal for inexpensive supplies from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons runs out at the end of 2013. A contract for electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority expires in May and USEC’s outdated plant — which devours as much electricity as the city of Nashville — will be unable to compete with other companies. "
Looks like we getting little personal in for format to share thought. Like everyone else here I have an opinion, it appears I could be the only one that realizes it is just that my opinion. Ace has wrote a book and likely went to college for eight years at someone else’s expense so his opinion should be taken as fact, but that is just my opinion. I do not mind slinging a little mud.
Here is a fact I have three grown children, three grandchildren and six year old adopted son whose lives I want to of equal or better quality than my own. My standard to measure correct decisions is simple what is best to preserve our standard of living.
One thing I am tired of peddlers of fear, folks like ACE that knows what is right for us all, he must be god. People that push our children to use hand sanitizer out of fear, but ignore that Polio was a rich persons decease because of the Rich’s cleanliness and lack of contact with human feces that imparted immunity on the poorer segments. They were literal too shielded for their own good. Even if all this fear actually prolongs our lives at what cost? The fear of everything?
I have let it be known here several times that I am opposed to new US nuclear construction based on the its high cost. Which is the same issue I have with renewables and what I have coined the “renewable paradox” they lobby for subsidies since they can’t complete with the technology they claim they will replace. Tam Hunt in previous article had statements about Photovoltaic’s being at parity with combined cycle natural gas. He actually responded to comment about it but I realized he was not to be proved wrong he would make up whatever facts he needed to support his position and I would guess self-interests. Little things like comparing manufacturing cost of panels to the overnight cost of a power plants.
This is a little funny to me back in 1978 and 79 I represented our local FFA in public speaking contests, the speech I wrote was about the potential of Solar Energy to supply US energy needs. I am long time a supporter of solar energy it has great potential. It will be easy to tell when photovoltaic are competitive the price will be determined by the market and there will be a margin between selling and manufacturing cost. A positive for photovoltaic in the desert southwest is its output profile are fairly close to the load profile. Unlike the southeast were the light wanes before the air conditioners peak.
Back to Nucs and ACE and ignorance of scale, 80,000 tons “inconceivably large and unmanageable” that is bull. That is a cube less of depleted uranium less than 60x60x60 foot. I worked at coal plant that burned 12,000 tons per day or 84,000 tons per week. It has been doing that for consistently for 40 years. The coal pile for that single pant contained 1,200,000 tons give or take 80,000 tons. It looks like I was blessed with a larger conceiver than ACE. I see 3500 truckloads as manageable with the US infrastructure.
Zero tolerance for radiation exposure:
“the average person encounters 360 millirems of annual "background radiation" from natural and man-made sources, including substances in Earth's crust, cosmic rays, residue from nuclear tests and smoke detectors. (Scientific American 12/13/07)”
We will all live longer if live lead vaults we just need to be sure not to touch the walls.
Bob Amorosi 1.14.12
When Capt D and Ace Hoffman start campaigning against all the other industries that pollute the environment, then I would take their nuclear industry bashing seriously. The ecological damage done to the biosphere from all sorts of other human activities since the industrial revolution makes the damage from the nuclear industry pale in comparison. In the meantime their concern over nuclear accidents to justify eliminating nuclear plants amounts to little more than unadulterated fear mongering and political puffery.
If they were so afraid of nuclear radiation, they should consider giving up their cellphones and Ipads and desktop PCs and flat-screen televisions. As an electrical engineer I can tell them confidently that their exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the electronics radio sources in these consumer goods far exceeds any atomic radiation they are likely ever to be exposed to from the nuclear industry in their lifetimes. And just think, there are millions of these radiation sources all around the world working 24 hours a day. So Capt D and Ace, chew on that one for a change.
Jerry Watson 1.14.12
I forgot to share my opinion about the article. The article ignores the basic question of should nuclear go away. California should try to be smart if it really cares about the environment. Export the Nuc generation it out of state where it will almost certainly offset coal at night. It would be easy to inter into PPA that required the counter party not run a specific coal plant to receive the even lower cost nuclear generation.
And for radiation exposure from Nuclear Plants (ACE you might want to read this): Mining uranium to fuel nuclear power plants leaves "mill tailings", the residues from chemical processing of the ore, which lead to radon exposures to the public. However, these effects are grossly over-compensated by the fact that mining uranium out of the ground reduces future radon exposures. By comparison, coal burning leaves ashes that increase future radon exposures. The all-inclusive estimates of radon effects are that one nuclear power plant operating for one year will eventually avert a few hundred deaths, while an equivalent coal burning plant will eventually cause 30 deaths. (Benard L Cohen )
I realize it not about facts Tam has interest in Renewables not in what is best for the most people. If the state were to export it will not effect your market will save many lives by offsetting coal.
Michael Keller 1.14.12
So Capt D. and Ace, how many of the folks died from the accident in Japan? Well, actually no one. Considering that parts of the cores of several reactors melted thru their reactor vessels, I'd say that was a testament to the toughness of the technology.
If you want to complain about the cost of new nuclear power plants, fine. However, try considering the broader picture.
How much better off are average folks and the environment because of the use of nuclear energy? Fact is, the older nuclear power plants produce very inexpensive energy and that is a big plus for the economy. Consider the impact on the environment if coal was generating the power instead. The air would be dirtier and we would have even more massive piles of sludge and ash.
Now consider how well off we'd be if renewable energy was attempting to cover all our power needs. Our electric bills would be thru the roof and we could get to be just like 3rd world nations with the power showing up more or less randomly. Fact is, economically harvesting renewable energy is very difficult to pull off
What we need is a good mix of cost effective power plants that have reasonable impacts on the environment, not “politically correct” plants foisted on everyone by con artists and corrupt politicians lining their pockets with our money.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.15.12
Save you thought processes for something useful, Jerry and Michael. Even Albert Einstein went off the deep end occasionally, although he was right when he said that "Two things are eternal, the universe and stupidity, and sometimes I wonder about the universe". Tam is an intelligent person, but the thinking behind this article is beneath stupidity.
Ace Hoffman 1.15.12
(This is a two-part response due to total length)
Bob Amorosi: Your logical fallacies include that you say that other pollution occurs, therefore nuclear pollution is okay (in moderation). All you're saying is that two wrongs make a right. A belief that "everybody's doing it" is no reason to do something that will destroy the planet for your children, grandchildren, and many generations beyond. And I seldom use a cell phone, but that's not because I've grasped why they're dangerous, it's just because the research that they are in fact dangerous -- regardless of why -- is very strong.
Jerry Watson: Your logical fallacies include that you seem to think that radon released from uranium mine pilings is "grossly over-compensated" (whatever exactly that means) by the fact that some quantity of uranium is no longer in the ground to be mined later. Had it been left in the ground, it would have eventually decayed to stable elements without bothering anyone. There's no compensation for radon victims. And no, you don't have to replace nuclear with coal. That's a logical fallacy as well. And by the way, I don't have a degree but I hope you'll read the book anyway, and argue the facts I present any time, if you can. I'm old enough so one of my teachers had polio as a child. Your logic breaks down all over trying to compare polio with damage from radiation, but worst is you are ignoring the severely deformed children from Chernobyl. And that 60X60X60 cube you want to put the nuke waste into? You can ship tens of millions rail-car loads of coal and if any of it spills, so what? But we'll need at least 100,000 shipments of highly toxic, dangerous, impossible-to-handle after a catastrophic accident spent fuel rods, and IF/WHEN an accident happens, permanent evacuation of a large surrounding area, and global contamination, will be the result -- same as Fukushima. Even if you got the nuclear waste in one general location, try packing it into that 60X60X60 cube without having a criticality event! Nobody has ever proven that background radiation is harmless, it's just unavoidable. It should not be increased, as it was by Fukushima. And lastly, did you read in the LAT about how Southern California Edison is BLOCKING all sorts of solar projects? Your logic on why photovoltaics haven't succeeded breaks down right there.
(end of part one)
Ace Hoffman 1.15.12
Michael Keiler: How many people died in Japan from the accident at Fukushima? How would anyone know? And has everyone forgotten that radiation's health effects at low (cumulative) doses is generally long-term, not immediate? And has anyone noticed that Japan is doing everything it can to make it difficult or impossible to prove radiation was the cause of anyone's illness, including burning the radioactive waste all over Japan, dumping it in Tokyo Bay, diluting contaminated foods with non-contaminated foods to bring the Bq per Kg down to legal levels, grossly increasing those levels even for children, shunning anyone who complains about radiation's effects, ignoring those who proudly said everything was safe, ate the food, then got sick and died... are you engineers so stuck on a "cheap" way to boil water that you are not noticing these things? Because the public IS noticing, even if the media is still taking tours of the new reactor pressure vessel head at San Onofre rather than publicize all the reasons the public is demanding it be shut down now and forever.
And Mr. Keiler, renewables ARE cheaper than nuclear. Ask any unbiased source. The only time they're not is when nuclear gets billions of dollars in loan guarantees with closed markets and fixed prices, doesn't have to pay for waste disposal or accident insurance, and benefits from decades of federal investment in a deadly and useless technology. THEN, renewables might have a hard time competing -- as it is today. But in a real capitalist/democratic society where money talks but you pay for the damage you do if you do damage while making money, nuclear wouldn't stand a chance.
Ferdinand Banks: You obviously didn't read my book. But if you go to page 6 (Radiation: What's in You Today?) Bernard Cohen is one of my sources, along with Raymond Murray and other "geniuses" who don't quite understand where their logic falls apart, even though they (sometimes) do good research. Let's say, for example, Cohen's coal-vs.-nuclear numbers given by one of your cohorts here are correct. So what? That's for a properly operating nuclear power plant, and leaves a mountain of waste, whose dangers I've discussed above. It doesn't include Fukushima, which spewed about a million years' worth of legal annual releases in a matter of days -- not to mention, it's still spewing. It doesn't include special-permit releases or leaks that went unnoticed. And lastly, it doesn't include skipping the coal solution and going straight to renewables now. Thousands of megawatts of renewable energy WILL be installed in America this year, and it will pay for itself in a cleaner environment and in many other ways over the coming years. There's no reason a few thousand more megawatts can't be installed in California just so we can close San Onofre and Diablo Canyon -- no reason at all -- other than the billions of dollars still being foolishly invested in nuclear power even today, post-Fukushima.
Meanwhile, who here things Iran only wants to build "peaceful" nuclear power plants?
Capt D 1.15.12
@Bob Least anyone think differently I'm for all forms of Energy being as clean and safe as possible; especially Coal and Nuclear! The key is to get our raw materials and Energy from space and here are four great books that describe just how to make that a reality:
The High Frontier by Gerard K. O'Neill, Colonies In Space by A. Heppenheimer. The Third Industrial Revolution G. Harry Stine The Space Enterprise by Philip Robert Harris
and considering that Solar could power the Planet using Earth based Solar with in 20 years why put up with the meltdown RISK or invest in any more nuclear which takes so long to deploy and or clean up from?
Notice I am answering your comment without resorting to "unadulterated fear mongering and political puffery" because the truth is that a Fukushima "event" could just as easily happen in the USA or any where else thanks to Nature or any other cause! That is a reality some choose to deny!
Capt D 1.15.12
@Michael The number that have died and or will die from Fukushima is unknown! The cleanup alone will take between 40 and 100 years according to who you believe! There are hundreds that were first responders whose records have been "disappeared" by TEPCO and as we all know Caner takes a while to show up!
BTW: I could post a number of links by serious Professionals that believe the numbers will be high, yet other Professionals discount those reports... That is what Science is all about trying to figure out what is happening; Time will tell.
As far as electrical costs through the roof, better reconsider that since Solar (of all flavors) is cheaper to install and use than nuclear... That is a fact, see the links I posted above for more...
That said, I believe that many will die and that Japan and the rest of the Planet was really lucky that Fukushima was not orders of magnitudes worse!
The Japanese are in the process of planning to install mega solar in Argentina (and many believe in Australia) then use the Energy to produce Hydrogen which they will ship to Japan and or sell on the market. This is a great example of planning ahead by not just building more nuclear...
Capt D 1.15.12
@Ferdinand They have an a saying in the Orient, "The bigger the Front, the Bigger the Back" in the West we have, "There is no free lunch"; while nuclear may generate lots of energy it also has lots of problems that many today choose to avoid thinking about! Japans Fukushima has changed that for many around the World and to label any discussions about it as "beneath stupidity" is just silly...
BTW: I believe that the nuclear Industry does itself more harm than good by not leading the discussion and helping people redefine the risks instead of resorting to the such tactics as name calling and or using phony science which I refer to as Nuclear Baloney (NB) to promote their industries market share!
Capt D 1.15.12
@Ace Kudos for taking the time to post some great comment answers and also setting a higher standard of quality replies for this important discussion.
I believe that once California consumers and especially California property owners realize that they are NOT covered for any type of fallout, leakage or contamination caused by radioactivity, they will begin to reexamine their "trust" in nuclear because of their financial liability!
Question: How many in Southern California (for example) could afford to just walk away from their homes if one of the reactors in California had a meltdown for any reason; without even considering the health implications later? The answer of course is NOT MANY! We have only to see what has happened in Japan to get a good idea; in short America cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster any better than Japan.
Remember most of the "rest" of America is downwind from the West Coast! Japan has been "lucky" in that regard ,since most of Fukushima's radioactivity has move toward eastward North America and the rest of the planet; yet most of Northern Japan is now contaminated as is the Pacific Ocean offshore!
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.16.12
Capt D and Ace, both of you belong in some sort of remidial class at Boston Public. Let me add one thing here, you can parade your ignorance with Corporal Banks, but Professor Banks is a different story.
Japanese have (on the average) the longest life spans in the world, aside from maybe Monte Carlo, and I suppose Beverly Hills. No matter how ignorant you are, you should be able to check that contention, and if you cant, write the CIA and tell them to send you their yearbook.
THE JAPANESE HAVE THE LONGEST LIFE SPANS IN THE WORLD, AND EVERYTHING CONSIDERED, THEY ARE PROBABLY THE MOST NUCLEAR INTENSIVE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Do you have enough intelligence to understand what that means?
As for familiarity with Asia, I have held guest professorships in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok, and was in the US Army in Japan and ...... And Ace, no I haven't read nor do I intend to read your book until you learn how to add two plus two. The Captain of course is a captain in his high school ROTC.
I will however give you two and Tam credit for one thing. The lies and misunderstandings that you have spread have prevented the US and elsewhere from putting together a sensible energy policy. But, as a brilliant teacher and researcher I do not really expect you to get the message, surrounded as you are by mediocrities. Instead, I hope that you keep studying this subject until you find out the right answer to the energy future: NUCLEAR + RENEWABLES AND ALTERNATIVES is the way to go.
Bob Amorosi 1.16.12
@Ace, so you agree that all other forms of pollution are just as wrong for the environment as nuclear power plants, and that electronic consumer goods like cellphones are dangerous due to their radiation. Why don't you then go live in the wilderness and give up all your modern luxuries and live like a caveman. BTW that also means giving up posting comments on this forum because doing so includes using some of those dangerous consumer goods.
I don't dispute that nuclear has its environmental risks and problems, but so does practically everything else in our modern world. The risk of getting killed or injured driving a car is far greater for example, but most of us educated people ACCEPT taking ALL of those risks for a better life in return. This is what cheap and plentiful energy supplies provide us, as professor Banks is trying to tell this forum.
Michael Keller 1.16.12
Ace, Capt D You lads need are in need of serious remedial math, economic and science education. Further, try using tranquilizers, as you tend to lurch into hysterical diatribes when attempting to explain your positions.
Renewable energy is not cheaper than new nuclear power plants, even at $7 or $8 billion dollars a plant. The reason for that is actually quite simple; the period of time in which renewable energy produces power is quite short and erratic. That means the ability to pay-off the debt is quite limited. The current cost for building renewable energy facilities is quite high and that is why the price of their power must be high. The only way to get around that is to lower the cost of building the renewable facilities and/or figure out a way to cheaply store the energy (or you could force the hapless taxpayer and ratepayer to pay the excess cost). Welcome to the world of economics.
As to the public's risk from nuclear power: vanishingly small. Radiation is something that is not instantly lethal or instantly occurring. That means the public has time to get out of the way - just like in Japan. The risk from catastrophic nuclear accidents is essentially economic.
Jim Hartung 1.16.12
I am a supporter of both nuclear and renewables, but I also recognize the limitations of each. I think Tam has a good suggestion, which I would expand as follows: The CAISO should conduct a study to answer the following two questions: 1) will California have excess capacity in 2020? and 2) if the answer is yes, which existing plants are the best candidates for phase-out?
I do not know what the study would conclude. But my guess is the following: 1) California will have very little, if any, excess capacity in 2020 because (intermittent) renewables require larger reserve margins, and 2) if there will be excess capacity in 2020, the best plants to shut down are the oldest, dirtiest, highest cost, and least efficient plants (not nuclear).
A good study by CAISO would nevertheless provide valuable insights to help California chart its energy future -- and these insights may also be applicable in electricity markets outside of California.
Jerry Watson 1.16.12
Sorry about my poor editing. That whole passage is quote from Bernard L Cohen an awarding winning physicist. If you feel his conclusions are wrong let him know I was merely quoting his work but in my rush used poor form so it was unclear that it was not my words. This was a coal or Nuc argument, but I thought it fit. To quote Mr. Cohen:
"Mining uranium to fuel nuclear power plants leaves "mill tailings", the residues from chemical processing of the ore, which lead to radon exposures to the public. However, these effects are grossly over-compensated by the fact that mining uranium out of the ground reduces future radon exposures. By comparison, coal burning leaves ashes that increase future radon exposures. The all-inclusive estimates of radon effects are that one nuclear power plant operating for one year will eventually avert a few hundred deaths, while an equivalent coal burning plant will eventually cause 30 deaths." Benard L Cohen.
Whether Cohen is right I have no idea I am not physicist but he is and should know more than me or you. That is why I quote experts it adds a little credibility on matters in which I have no expertise.
Jerry Watson 1.16.12
One more quick point. "Impossible to handle," ACE do a little studying If a truck load of dry shipped concrete encased spent fuel rods wrecks it would be shovel back with a little surrounding soil. At that point it is more benign than the original ore. It is depleted to the point it is no longer suitable as fuel. It does still produce some limited heat just like it did as raw ore before it was mined. It is a big warm chunk of cement.
100,000 Trucks? Trucks typicall carry around 28 tons of feight. My quess is one ton of depleted uranium is not going to be mixed with 27 tons of concrete.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.16.12
Let me add something here. Many and perhaps most people do not like and/or trust nuclear, and that is completely OK with Fred. In fact it is wonderful. What is not OK are the lies and misunderstandings that they are trying to make us live with. Don't we get enough of that sort of thing from politicians and their paid and unpaid propagandists. Why is it for example that this business in Germany can't be interpreted correctly?
Ace Hoffman 1.17.12
Hopefully, those who want "truth" will study the matter well beyond the pronuclear comments left here by a few vapid nuclear evangelists. The idea Michael Keller expresses -- that radiation is something that is not "instantly lethal or instantly occurring" and that therefore "the public has time to get out of the way" is completely illogical. When Fukushima blew, the public was "instantly" dosed with huge quantities of radiation before they even knew what was happening or could possibly escape. It will be decades before the full effect can be known, and then, only if it's carefully studied. Did people drop dead in the streets from the radiation? No, not that we know of. But will thousands or millions die around the globe from Fukushima? Surely they will. Professor Banks' comment that I don't know math is rude, crude and inaccurate. I am a computer programmer by profession and my software, including nuclear power plant animations and a tutorial about statistics, is used in thousands of schools, colleges, and universities, as well as by the industry itself. I can program a two-way ANOVA in multiple computer languages, but he asserts and assumes I cannot do basic math? And his comment that Japan's longevity is the highest in the world should be taken with a grain of plutonium: How does he know THOSE statistics aren't skewed by all those supposedly-100-year-old Japanese elders who, it turns out, only existed on the books -- they've been dead for decades? Or perhaps their health care system is better than ours (whose isn't in the developed world these days?)! Or perhaps their health care system was better before being overwhelmed by Fukushima cancers and other illnesses, which is bound to happen. Perhaps the Japanese diet is -- or make that, "was" -- healthier than ours (Fukushima's effects would have barely started). And for those who think only a few people in America think Fukushima was a serious signal to the world about nuclear power's many problems, note that this weekend nearly ten thousand people in Yokohama, Japan are attending a conference on permanently closing ALL nuclear reactors there. Only five of 54 reactors are operating in Japan right now. Japan can live without nuclear energy and so can we. And a P.S. for Jerry Watson: The more complete BLC quote doesn't change any of my objections, does it? And as for handling accidents of shipments of nuke waste, sure, go get a shovel and see how close you can get... see what percentage of the spill gets picked up, especially if it caught fire along the way... and yes, I've poured through NRC and DOE documents on the subject; I know what their plans are -- were, thanks to that silly BRC Obama set up to delay the obvious answer once again: SHUT 'EM ALL DOWN! It's the only logical solution, and bland accusations of "lying" by pronukers who originally told us nuke power would be too cheap to meter (one of the first lies of the nuclear industry) changes nothing.
Michael Keller 1.17.12
Ace, You appear unable to deal with reality. The time-line of the accident in Japan does not support your contention. In point of fact, the accident unfolded over the course of days. That means the folks got out of the way.
Will some areas around the plant be "off-limits" for some time? Probably, but that is an economic concern.
If you want to object to something, fine, but kindly engage your brain and dispense with hysteria driven emotional drivel.
FYI - spent nuclear casks do not burn up, as has been amply demonstrated in some pretty impressive tests.
Jack Ellis 1.17.12
I happen to know quite a bit about the CAISO studies Mr. Hunt referenced in his article because I was part of a stakeholder steering group set up to guide and review them. Unfortunately, the CAISO's management is not at all enthusiastic about its ability to operate in 2020 unless close to 5,0000 MW of new, highly flexible gas-fired generation is built between now and then. I also know that San Onofre can't be shut down without either building some generation in the LA basin or building some transmission in the LA basin, neither of which will be cheap or easy. Finally, the CPUC is becoming increasingly concerned about the rate impacts of meeting California's aggressive RPS goals and the likelihood that all of the contracted projects will meet their in-service dates.
Mr. Hunt and his readers might also want to take a look at a recent report that "Maps California's Energy Future to 2050" (link here: http://www.ccst.us/publications/2011/2011energy.php). In that report, one of the options on the table is a sizable increase in nuclear power, in part to help tide the state through periods when there's not enough sun and wind to meet electric demand.
The notion that modern society can rely exclusively on wind and solar energy is absurd, because doing so requires either an enormous investment in transmission to capture the diversity benefits across a wide geographic footprint, or it requires enormous amounts of very costly storage capable of meeting most of California's electric demand for several days. Perhaps we'll be able to do that in 20 years, but even attempting to do something like that today would be politically unacceptable.
The very fact that enough solar energy strikes California every day to meet the entire country's energy needs is interesting, but it does not mean that energy can be harnessed and put to productive use at reasonable cost. In my opinion, this is where selective and poorly informed use of available information by renewable advocates ends up misleading policymakers and the public.
Like Dr. Banks and some of the other commenters, I agree that renewable energy has its place, as do gas-fired and nuclear generation. Phasing out nuclear power would be a mistake - instead I suggest taking a hard look at coal-fired plants, which are environmental disasters even without considering CO2.
Jack Ellis, Tahoe City, CA
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.17.12
To a certain extent you are missing the point, Jack. This nonsense from Tam, Ace and the Captain doesn't have anything to do with designing or encouraging or supporting an optimal agenda for the provision of energy. There are some neurotic urges at work here.
I have no problem at all with people who want a minimum of nuclear, although their minimum would probably be less than my minimum, but this busness of eliminating nuclear is exactly what I called it in Singapore: AN ATTACK ON THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF GAINFULLY EMPLOYED PERSONS LIKE MYSELF AND YOU. I first ran into this kind of thing at parties here in Sweden, but I must confess that I didn't stop going to those parties.
Jerry Watson 1.17.12
I didn’t believe logic or facts would change your fear since it comes from the inside. I am curious are you mysophobic or agoraphobic?
It is humorous, that me being opposed to further construction of Nuclear Plants at least in the short term in the US would be labeled as a nuclear evangelist. I find myself at one turn be labeled as a left wing liberal and at the next as a nuclear evangelist.
Be gone evil demon!! Let me know if anyone disappeared.
Capt D 1.17.12
Ferdinand If you took the time to get off your high horse and actually read the comments we might be able to have a good discussion; as it is you are only calling names and promoting yourself! Unfortunate many in the Nuclear Industry are as opinionated as you are and that IMO is just one of the reasons that many are distrustful of Nuclear!
Capt D 1.17.12
Bob I agree let the Market decide but in order to do that, those in Power (pun intended) will have to allow it to happen... Case in point with no additional investment inSolar things will not change rapidly yet the same folks that insist on that say send Billions on new Nuclear... That double standard is what is keeping the Planet from gong Solar ASAP.
Capt D 1.17.12
Michael If you read then links I provide above they will educate you on why Nuclear is no longer cost effective ... Here is another, you might recognize the Company: Areva launches solar energy storage platform in Corsica http://www.utilityproducts.com/news/2012/01/1584390930/areva-launches-solar-energy-storage-platform-in-corsica.html
Capt D 1.17.12
Jim Did you notice my links posted above, which do address the capacity in CA?
And two more Solar stations are coming on line because they are in pre-construction!
BTW: What the needs will be in 2020 are jst estimates and they can be made to show anything!
Capt D 1.17.12
Jerry RE: Storage
Here is my “low cost” solution!
Make use of our MOA’s (Military Operation Area’s) out west, which are really huge tracts of land (think tens of thousands of acres) used ONLY by the military and already secured by them 24/7!
Placing very large (heavy) concrete casks in a poke-a-dot pattern will allow for at least a 100 years of storage safe from everything except a War, (in which case every reactor is just as vulnerable) and then revisit the storage problem then; at which time, probably a future solution will allow for an even better lower cost “final solution”…
Because these casks would be very large and all look alike nobody would know what was in which one of them which would be yet another level of security for the nuclear waste!
Michael Keller 1.17.12
Capt. D, I never said new nuclear power was necessarily economic. The nuclear plants built years ago, with their debt now paid off, provide some of the lowest cost power available, with older hydroelectric probably the lowest cost source (at least where the land is not flat). That’s why the idea of getting rid of California’s nuclear units is economic stupidity.
Relative to new power generation, you need to evaluate what options you have and then decide what the most economical solution is. Right now in the US, that is natural gas. New nuclear power sits towards the back of the pack with renewable energy generally at the rear end.
bill payne 1.17.12
'5,000 megawatts is a lot of base load power and would require enormous amounts of new wind, solar and/or natural gas to replace these nuclear power plants.'
Discovery will hopefully be applied to get answers. ___ Based upon all of the above, Mr. Payne’s request to intervene in this case, as an individual ratepayer, should be granted, subject to the legal standards that govern Commission proceedings. ___
BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF NEW MEXICO GAS COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF 2012 ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM COST TARIFF RIDER PURSUANT TO THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC UTILITY AND EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY ACTS. NEW MEXICO GAS COMPANY, Applicant. ))))))))) Case No. 11-00369-UT
SECOND PROCEDURAL ORDER ___
http://www.prosefights.org/nmgco/intervene/granted.doc ___ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE AND REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY _ 1 Nature of interests in the proceeding are:
A Ensure that decision for rate increase is based on facts provided by natural gas engineers and scientists as opposed to liberal arts verbal and essay analysis.
B Determine if there is or is not a natural gas supply problem.
Google 'ryan crocker j orlin grabbe' to see reason for visibility ploys.
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.17.12
Well, more of the usual nonsense. Let me set a few things straight. First of all Ms Merkel is, always was and always will be a complete hypocrite. She is a politician and as Fred rightly says is simply getting votes from the so-called environmentalists in her very very shaky coalition. Germany has NOT phased out nuclear power. It has simply switched from buying the electrons produced by nuclear from German power plants to those in France produced by French nuclear power plants. If you care to take a look at a map of nuclear installations in France you will observe that a significant number of them are right across the border from Germany. Because of the large base load component of nuclear in France EdF has found it necessary to do some very clever fueling and operational manoeuvres to keep them all running efficiently. Now EdF does not need to do that since it is now selling all its surplus power to Germany. But the electrons used in Germany still come from nuclear plants....just not German ones.Of course Merkel will claim it is coming from wind or somewhere else (the public doesn't know and doesn't care). Exactly the same strategy is adopted by Switzerland and Belgium all of whom have borders with France. All of three countries are using electrical energy created by the flow of electrons from nuclear power plants in France. EdF is laughing all the way to the bank and is using the money to build more power plants and extend the lives of the existing fleet of 58. Now if you were to tell me that France was abandoning nuclear power then you have a story. EdF simply says - why look the Merkel gift horse in the mouth? There is alot of money to be made here. They have Germany right over the electricity supply barrel and good for them - Merkel deserves it.
In fact Tam I would highly recommend the strategy to California. They could easily use power from Palo Verde in Arizona (may be build another unit or two) and then you could claim that all the power is coming from windmills (just like Merkel is). The perfect strategy.
It is a lie but who cares in the image game. I mean you are already doing the same with hydroelectric since a big chunk of it is coming from the Hoover Dam (on the border between Arizona and Nevada and not in Califiornia). OK to dam up the Colorado and starve the Mexican farmers of water downstream so you can have air con in California. Don't hear you asking for Hoover to be shutdown do we? But it's all an image game. So definitely the strategy to use. Politically correct. Makes enviro twits look great, satisfies the anti nukes as well as the pro nukes. Go for it.
In the meantime China has 28 new plants under construction for a total of 62 new plants worldwide and plans to build another 102 before 2020. TVA is completing construction and starting operation of Bellefonte Unit 1 the 2 Units at Watts Bar and all three units at Browns Ferry. Canada is extending the lives of its fleet of CANDU plants for another 30 years. The United Arab Emirates is building 4 units with the help of the South Koreans who themselves are building another 18 units. So the "nuclear is dead" flavor of your article is of course completely incorrect. But please adopt the strategy for California then Arizona can charge you an arm and a leg for your power. It will look good on you.
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.17.12
For those above who consider nuclear power to be not economic there is clearly something missing from your business education. Whether something is "economic" or not depends on many variables. So any commentary on whether it is "economic" or not depends on what the scenario is. For base load generation nuclear power is clearly far and away the cheapest. Large scale hydroelectric is cheaper BUT it is best used for peaking power and some base load use when there is not sufficient nuclear base load. Coal plants situated at the mine head and not fitted with any scrubber technology are slightly cheaper than nuclear or at least on a par with it. But there is no question that nuclear power is very economic for the applications that it is best suited for. That is why TVA is finishing off building Bellefonte - because it is the cheapest option they have. Malcolm
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.17.12
Capt D. You overstate your case by a mile. Firstly Fukushima survived an earthquake 1500 times more powerful that it was designed to.(Design - 7.5 Actual = 9.0). It was the ensuing Tsunami that took out all the power to the cooling loops. The radiation leaked from Fukushima is not at a level where it poses serious health risks. Massively higher doses that that are required. However it is well above the approved limits and certainly a clean up is required - but a major health hazard it is not. No one has died or been seriously injured as a result of radiation exposure at Fukushima - no-one. There was only one plant worker killed and that was a poor soul who was operating a crane when the largest Tsunami in Japanese history knocked his crane over.
However along the coast from Fukushima there is (was) a coal burning plant. It was completely destroyed and most if not all the plant workers were killed. Coal plants are not built as robustly as nuclear ones are - but I guess that is OK with you as long as radiation is not involved. The plant collapsed on the workers - it was NOT as earthquake resistant as Fukushima but steel work falling on your head is an OK way to die. Radiation exposure - even minimal amounts with no health effects are something to shout about. You are a hypocrite.
When thousands of people die in the worst earthquake of modern times I find galling that you use the deaths of those people to showcase your ill thought out opposition to nuclear energy. Zero for persuasion and 100% for pure hypocrisy.
Capt D 1.17.12
Ferdinand RE:"AN ATTACK ON THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF GAINFULLY EMPLOYED PERSONS LIKE MYSELF AND YOU".
That says it all as far as I'm concerned; in essence you don't give a hoot as long as you can make money from it, RISK and or radioactive pollution not an issue to be concerned about! I pity folks like you if a Fukushima type event happens in North America,; having to explain that beyond design basis "does not count" and folks will just have to accept it as part of the nuclear Industry doing business! With that attitude, I'm not surprised by you or you statements on this thread!
I suggest that you get your "neurotic urges" check out ...
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.17.12
Mr Hoffman and Mr D.
You make it painfully obvious that you know a lot about rhetoric and nothing about energy and even less than zero about nuclear energy since your facts are wrong. Since Mr D you have adopted a comic book name I can only conclude, judging by its accuracy, that your knowledge of nuclear energy comes from Spiderman and similar comic books. Clearly Mr Hoffman basis his rhetoric on The Simpsons and has never ever spoken to a control room operator at a nuclear power plant
I have operated nuclear power plants and worked in the industry for well over 40 years and what you say is and I am being polite here - complete and utter crap.
Nuclear power is the safest industry in the world bar none.
Capt D 1.17.12
Mr. Rawlingson I can't believe that you "still" insist that,"Nuclear is the safest Industry in the World bar none" after Fukushima clearly demonstrated that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!
You may disagree with that and that is your right but in my opinion (without any name calling), that is no longer true. Every land based nuclear reactor is a potential Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster and just because it has not happened yet, does not reduce the actual risk one bit. When "whatever" happens, there will be a financial disaster of epic proportions; we have to look no farther than Fukushima to see a perfect example of that; because they, like you thought their reactors were "perfect" before 3/11/11.
Don Hirschberg 1.17.12
I have never designed nor operated a nuclear facility. Further, I am not qualified to discuss the economics involved. So what am I doing making a comment?
The article starts out by telling us that the votes of people even less qualified in a list of countries have decided the future of nuclear energy. I don’t know the laws in these countries but I do know we Americans have a vote for president/vice president and a senator and representative for congress. That’s it on the national level. We don’t have a vote about taxes, war or peace, or how we are to generate electricity.
I’m a bit of a living fossil. Except for the military, the IRS and the then federal mail system I was almost totally unaware of how the federal government impinged on me. I didn’t think it did. And I was already a veteran of two wars. I had never known or even talked to a federal employee and wouldn’t have known how to find one.
So it seems to me that it is sorta crazy to expect voters to know how to vote on generating electricity. I read not long ago that a man-on- the street interviewer had difficulty finding many people who could solve, “What is 50% of 70?” A typical excuse was,” I wasn’t a math major.” I am grateful we do not ask citizens to vote on energy problems. And I find it easy to discount votes in other countries.
In perusing all the learned comments above I did not see mention of two overriding problems. CO2 emissions and over population. If we did not have nuclear generators our CO2 situation would be worse. If we shut some down (Germany) and replace some of the capacity with coal (Germany) we are either making things worse in the case of CO2 or ignoring the population question.
We were told by all the premier scientists, with only the nuts demurring, that the CO2 level of emissions must be no greater than those of 1990 or we would have passed beyond the point of no return. We are about twice that level and still annually increasing. (Any word from those premier scientists?)
The countries where people voted against nuclear energy were countries where people had adequate electric service. Don’t the people (billions) who don’t have electric service have a vote? Why should they not opt for the cheapest (even if the most polluting) generating plant?
Fred Linn 1.18.12
Capt. D-----bravo, I haven't been able to read the entire thread yet----but you present solidly thought out ideas. I have clear and abundant proof that you are on the right path....................
Ferd Banks-------" I won't see your links Captain because you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Let me put that another way: you have come to the wrong forum to circulate what you think of as your wisdom, because many of us here know a great deal more than you do about this topic - and that is a great deal more about both the engineering and the economics of nuclear."--------
With Pr. Banks penchant for winning friends and influencing people----nuclear energy is dead.
I hope you give a lot of seminars this year Fred----we can use the help in making nuclear energy industry a footnote to history.
Bob Amorosi 1.18.12
I doubt anyone needs help from Fred Banks in killing the nuclear industry, as you can see in this forum there appears to be far more opposition to nuclear than supporters. I'm sure this is the case worldwide too.
If we are facing a future of widely deployed integrated renewable energy generation as Tam reveals about California's plans, the natural gas industry is in for a booming future given solar and wind must have backup generation, and most if not all of this backup is surely going to be from more NG plants.
Don't get me wrong, I like NG as an energy source, it heats my home up here amongst the polar bears in Canada. And I know most internal combustion engines in cars can be easily converted to use NG too. What I worry about is putting so much future dependence on NG when its price is subject to supply and demand market forces just like oil is, and also when the emerging global climate change crisis is bound to lead to reductions of fossil fuel burning, one way or another.
Consider solar and wind generators are usually sited geographically in their most favorable regions with lots of sunshine or lots of wind, based of course on regional “normal” climate history. Well gentlemen, it is safe to say today that climate change may very soon change normal climate history everywhere around the globe. A great wind-farm site today may be tomorrow’s white elephant. Get my picture? Shuttering the entire nuclear fleet someday means some regions could be left crippled without enough generation should they need another source besides NG or renewables.
In my humble opinion, the risk of shuttering all nuclear plants outweighs the environmental risks associated with potential nuclear accidents. It is much more prudent to keep SOME nuclear plants in the mix of generation sources. As they say, it is unwise to place all your eggs in one (energy-source) basket.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.18.12
So Fred Linn is back with us. I hate to admit it, but I kind of missed him, because despite his towering ignorance on energy matters, as compared to ACE and The Captain he is another Einstein.
Speaking of Einstein, Tam Hunt once rated the previous head of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Mona Sahlin, as somebody almost on that level, Actually she was probably the most ignorant and lazy politician in Sweden, and she has cost the Social Democratic party at least a decade in the 'wilderness'.
But let's get something straight. I'm not debating nuclear here. If you want to debate that topic contact one of these moronic academics who give the orders at universities the Stockholm-Uppsala area, and tell them that you want to teach Fred Banks a lesson about energy economics. One thing though, you won't put in another appearance in this country.
Murray Duffin 1.18.12
Wow - interesting load of disagreement. My 2 cents - the anti-nuke guys are massively overstating the risks. As someone pointed out Fukushima was pretty benign except for cost. Also, if the back-up generators had been on a raised level rather than in the basement fukushima would still be operating nicely. It wasn't unsafe because of cost, but because of design stupidity. Diablo Canyon in Ca probably has the same problem. If mother natures dangers are a reason to not do something we need, then we should do nothing, like not building a town in tornado alley. Also nukes are not the lowest cost electricity. For many units in the USA they are now the lowest cost only because they have been fully amortized, and the very high cost of depreciation is no longer in the P&L statement. For new plants, nuke energy is still very expensive. For me it would be great if we could do w/o nukes, but I fear that will not be possible. Growing demand facing certain fossil fuel declines will leave a gap that is unlijkely to be overcome by renewables plus efficiency . Technically I believe it could be overcome, but practically - not too likely. Most nukes in the USA were funded with an expected 30 to 40 year life. There may not be a stranded cost issue in Calif., and decommissioning cost were supposed to be accumulated during operation. If the table presented above is right, and I believe it is, the Calif might well be nuke free by 2020. Interesting.
Bob Amorosi 1.18.12
"If mother natures dangers are a reason to not do something we need, then we should do nothing, like not building a town in tornado alley." and... "It wasn't unsafe because of cost, but because of design stupidity."
Precisely Murray, you would make a good engineer.
Sometimes political opposition to things are overstated due to irrational thinking based on emotion, not based on logic. I suspect the anti-nuke guys fall largely in this category. But, nevertheless, it is up to engineers (and marketing people) to restore confidence in an established technology if such confidence has been lost to fear. Customer and public perceptions have a huge influence over its acceptance, whether those perceptions are true or false.
Let this be a lesson for the nuclear industry - they had better get their act in gear and do a lot of selling to restore the public's confidence if they hope to survive in future. And while they are at it, it would help a lot to work towards getting the costs for new nuclear plant construction down too, way down.
bill payne 1.18.12
'There are an estimated 170 million chargers in California households, an average of 11 battery chargers per household. While many manufacturers produce energy efficient electronic devices, many products on the market lack efficient charging technology. The proposed standards can save nearly 2,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) each year – or enough energy to power nearly 350,000 homes or a city roughly the size of Bakersfield. Once fully implemented, California ratepayers will save more than $300 million annually and eliminate 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions. '
Energy efficiency may be a better route than trying to generating more electricty?
Especially by solar and wind?
Don Hirschberg 1.18.12
We frequently and stupidly defy nature. Even if it requires lies. The damage and loss of life in the San Francisco earthquake was deliberately falsified lest people would be convinced it would be foolish to rebuild on the same spot. I remember Mississippi River floods of the ‘30s that repeatedly wiped out towns that were promptly rebuilt on the same spots. California has repeatedly built schools and hospitals on known active faults. I don’t have any idea of how many times many Los Angeles homes have burned from their annual brush fires because people wanted shake roofing which is excellent tinder. How many homes have been destroyed year after year because homes were built on slopes vulnerable to mud slides. What could more stupid than to build a city near the sea below sea level? The New Orleans disaster was bound to happen. So what do we do? Rebuild houses and businesses on the same spot. Except for the port everything could have been rebuilt elsewhere on higher ground. How stupid.
Those of us who likely will never make an insurance claim will pick up the bill in premiums and taxes.
Wisely, in almost two thousand years nobody has sought to rebuild Pompeii.
Don Hirschberg 1.19.12
In 2008 the world used 20,261 tetra watt hours of electricity. To ease the arithmetic let’s say we are now using roughly 21 X 10^12 TWh. There are now about 7 X 10^9 people. And let’s say current usage in the US is 4.4 tetra watts/year.
For the US that means 4.4^15/(365X24X.3X10^9)=1674 watts per person.
That means 21X10^15 / (365X24X7X10^9) = 342 watts per person worldwide.
If we say there are 0.1 billion more people every year and we say for each one there is a miserable more 342 watts, then just to stay even we need 342X100X10^6X24X365=300X10^12 more watt hours. Or 34.2 mega watts of generation.
But wait. Of the 21X10^15 Twos of capacity maybe about 2% will be retired. That’s about 0.42 TWh per year or 47.9mega watts of generation.
But wait once again. This 34.2 + 47.9 = 82.1 Megs presumes nobody who had no electric service gets electrical service. It further presumes some who had service do not add air-conditioning. And it presumes there are no new electric cars that now need daily charging. Sure I am crude. But am I wrong? What say the experts?
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.19.12
I never thought that I would find myself disagreeing with you Murray, but now that's the way things have turned out. Nuclear is COMPARATIVELY inexpensive - comparatively. Of course, if you believe that the Chinese can construct comparatively inexpensive reactors, and the Americans can't, and you can prove that this is the case, then I am wrong, but history convinces me that I am right.
Specifically, the history of WW2, where Uncle Sam performed miracles, and Sam and friends also made some incredible mistakes. Remember, when the Swedes paniced after the first oil price shock, they constructed 12 reactors in 13-14 months, and they didn't....
Anyway, I know that in the present world none of this is relevant, unless of course Lady Gaga or somebody like this shouts it to the high heavens, but what you have to understand is.....comparatively....
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.20.12
Did I say 13-14 months. Well, I failed college algebra twice and was expelled from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago for poor scholarship, and called hopeless by the Dean of Engineering. Perhaps I am on the way back to that distinction. Its 13-14 years, Fred.
Don Hirschberg 1.20.12
Well professor, years vs months is only a 12 to one error. I’ve made mega to giga errors, and that’s a 1000 to one error. No need for sack cloth and ashes, you fessed up. As to the learned Dean’s expressed opinion I think you would have a cause of action against him by today’s federal law. Even if he did have a valid point – machs nichts. Just taking a flier I suspect the Army did more for you than you did for the Army. And what’s so bad about that? And that comes from a tax payer. Cheers.
Tam Hunt 1.23.12
Fred, you speak a lot of bluster but I have yet to see any substance from you when it comes to nuclear power. Keep in mind that you and I have discussed this and other issues for over five years now. I've asked you repeatedly to share actual data instead of bluster. You have yet to do so. At this point I'm about to write you off as a crank. So pony up or shut up.
Steven Greenlee 1.24.12
As part of its 2010/2011 renewable integration studies, the California ISO ran five scenarios, as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission. Four of these scenarios assumed large amounts of energy efficiency (including uncommitted programs). The ISO did not identify a capacity shortfall in these scenarios. The fifth scenario reflected what we think is more realistic higher load levels and we did identify some needs, which amounted to 4,600 MW. Keep in mind that even in the four other scenarios, existing combine cycle gas turbines were included in the study cases and would likely remain needed. And some of this need may be satisfied ultimately by local capacity resources that replace once-through cooling resources. Similar studies will be conducted for the 2011/2012 planning cycle -- California ISO
Capt D 1.25.12
Update to the waste discussion: Will "Nuclear" Storage Wars make the prime time cut?
NOTICE OF FORTHCOMING WEBINAR ON DRAFT REPORT FOR LONG-TERM WASTE CONFIDENCE UPDATE January 31, 2012 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1200/ML12004A107.pdf Web-based session, co-hosted by The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Office (CSG Midwest) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Registration ends today!
Mark Galperin 1.25.12
"Is it Time for California to Phase Out Nuclear Power?"- I think that this question is wrong - the correct one is "How could we build many more safe, fool-proof nuclear power stations?"
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.26.12
Mark, 'they' can easily build as many safe and fool-proof reactors as they want, and eventually will. This absurd article is not about safe reactors but about something else. It is about destroying our living standards.
The problem is making the right people understand that this is the case, which many of them either do or are on the verge of doing. You see, because of Fukushima, cranks like Tam can hold the attention of other cranks, but that will change. Economics and not crank foolishness like this article will prevail in the long run.
What is going to be more difficult in the short run is convincing voters that solar and wind CANNOT replace nuclear. The ultimate solution is nuclear AND solar and wind. In the long run of course it wont be a problem, because without nuclear those lovely voters will be walking around in fur lined baseball caps and fur-lined T-shirts, watching the Chinese take home the economic gold medals.
Tam accuses me of bluster. Poor guy, I've been blustering since I gave my first real lecture, when I was l8, and informed the congregation that the 2.36 bazooka was a piece of junk. Was I right or wrong?
Midway through the last one I gave, in Singapore, I informed some guy like Tam that I was the leading academic energy economist in the world. That shut him up, because when standing in front of a blackboard with a piece of chalk in my hand I am the man. And Tam, if you and your Greek Chorous want proof about nuclear, I'll give it to you now: Swedens constructed 12 reactors in 13+ years, and the Chinese are..... That's proof, and if anyone is too dumb to interpret it, that's there problem.
Finally, I like these exchanges. In a class or seminar room nobody has a chance against me, It's lonely at the top.
Bob Amorosi 1.26.12
"The ultimate solution is nuclear AND solar and wind." Sounds pretty darn good to me......
No fossil fuel burning. All three have virtually unlimited fuel supplies. Zero fuel costs for solar and wind. Insignificant fuel costs for nuclear. Implementing nuclear accident prevention technicques is marginally extra cost compared to overall nuclear construction costs.
The REAL problems with nuclear are getting those construction costs down, plus ensuring those accident prevention mechanisms get implemented, plus dealing with spent fuel waste. Until these get addressed, the anti-nuclear movement is not going to go away that easily Fred.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.26.12
Bob, every time I pick up a paper I read something about the bad effect of fossil fuels on human health. Where construction costs are concerned, I think that the managers and engineers in North America can construct facilities that do not cost more than those in China. So can the Swedes, Germans, French, Italians, English etc, only if you ask them they can they would tell you no, and call you obsene names. That's called reversed nationalism.
Spent fuel waste can be dealt with by repeated processing in the new generation of nuclear equipment. As for the anti-nuclear movement going away, they have ten or maybe twenty more years to sprout their nonsense. After that they will have to pay people to listen to them.
Incidentally, as I try to tell those morons, commercial breeders will be ready in another decade, if not sooner. Then the thing to worry about will be an excess of plutonium that, together with dumb politicians like George W. Bush, and incompetent politicians like Obama, will really give the TV audience something to worry about. I dont like Amory Lovins and Ralph Nader, but where plutonium is concerned they probably have it right.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.28.12
Hej, to use a Swedish spelling, what happened to those lovely comments by Tam and his foot soldiers. OK, I'll go through it again.
Thirty years ago Sweden built 12 reactors in 13+ years, which provided more than 50 percent of the electric power in this country after they were tuned up, and today China can construct a 1000 MW reactor in less than 5 years. Do you get the message fellows and gals. I would think that even a member of a remidial class at Boston Public could understand what this means, although when I tried to explain it to Mr Jeffry Leggett and the moronic Professor Kjell Alekless at my university, they went ballistic.
Are we OK with this or do ye want some algebra - which ye wont get unless some money changes hands.
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.30.12
Capt. D. It is a fact (not a belief) that nuclear power is the safest industry in the world. The number of people killed or injured by the nuclear power industry is miniscule compared to any other industry you care to name. The number of people killed during events in Fukushima is zero. Take any industry you care to name and I will show you that it IS far and away the safest industry bar none. Of course if your source of information is the TV news then I could probably forgive you for thinking otherwise. Malcolm
Malcolm Rawlingson 1.30.12
Fast breeder technology has already been demonstrated in the UK at the Dounreay Fast Breeder Reactor in Scotland Fred. The idea was that Britain having only coal at the time as a fuel would produce its own nuclear fuel and not be reliant on other countries. Now of course it is totally dependent on Russian Gas and French electricity and Polish coal. The physics and engineering are well understood and the process works very well. Before the idiots in the British Government shut it down it had produced all of its own fuel for the next reactor charge. That is complete energy independence. The economics of it depend on the price of U3O8 on world markets which has been suppressed by the supply of Uranium 235 from Russian warheads.
Of course the Chinese politicians and engineers understand this and are building a breeder reactor with the same idea. Since the Chinese have very little Uranium of their own so the concept of fast breeders fits in very well.
The irony of it all is that most conventional reactors (they are called thermal reactors because the neutrons are slowed down to thermal energy by the moderator) actually produce most of their energy from fissions of Plutonium which is formed by neutron capture in the U238. Very little of the U235 atoms are used up which means that the spent fuel is not waste but a source of Uranium once reprocessed. Once Uranium prices start to go up as they inevitably will do because mined supply is not sufficient to meet reactor demand then reprocessing of spent fuel becomes economic. They already do that in France.
The great advantage of nuclear power is that the fuel supply is virtually unlimited and once fast breeder technology is added to the mix it is unlimited since more fuel is produced than is consumed. Like burning a ton of coal and getting two tons left. Amazing stuff and the Chinese know it well. So while California is busy converting itself to green energy and going broke in the process (or should I say more broke than it already is) China will be acheiving complete energy independence, first by building two or three hundred conventional reactors and then another hundred or so fast breeders. Their fuel imports will be zero. Game set and match to China.
Ferdinand E. Banks 1.31.12
Malcolm, I think that the Russians had a breeder or breeder-like facility in action thirty or forty year ago.
But this is a topic that I stay away from. The governments of many countries are so ignorant and dishonest that I am not certain that they can manage equipment with so much plutonium in the cycle. Of course, if things keep going the way they are going with the international macroeconomy, the voters will insist on breeders.
And the Chinese ARE going to take it all. They remember their history - the humiliations they have suffered over the centuries - and we have forgotten ours: what we accomplished during WW2. But I guess that that is par for the course. I suppose that we will just have to get used to the dumbing down taking place all around us, or maybe win some lottery and move to some Middle East paradise where we cant understand the language.