Monday Jun 24, 2013
- Tuesday Jun 25, 2013 -
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - USA
Data Informed´s Marketing Analytics and Customer Engagement provides marketing, sales, and customer support managers with the information they need to create an effective data-driven customer strategy. more...
Monday May 20, 2013
- Saturday May 25, 2013
- 8:30 AM Eastern -
Stowe, Vermont - USA
Legal Essentials for Utility Executives: May 19 to 25, 2013 and October 6 to 12, 2013 This rigorous, two-week course will provide electric utility executives with the legal foundation to more fully understand the utility regulatory framework, the role of more...
We know you have something to say!
There is an immediate need for articles on
the hot topics in the Power Industry!
EnergyPulse, like no other publication,
also provides a means for our readers to
immediately interact with experts like you.
It's not been a good year for nuclear power. A federal court recently found that local storage solutions for nuclear waste, kept currently at each power plant where the waste is produced, have not been shown to be safe. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that regulates nuclear power, must complete a full review or explain why one is not required.
Perhaps more seriously, the San Onofre nuclear plant (SONGS), owned and operated jointly by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, has been shut down since January due to unexpected and unexplained erosion of numerous pipes in its power generators. It is unclear when SONGS will be re-started -- if ever. The power generators were almost new, having just been replaced in 2010 at a cost of $680 million, charged directly to us, the electricity ratepayers of California. This expense came on top of the many billions required for construction and other expenses.
Last year, of course, Japan's unfortunate accidents with its Fukushima nuclear plants illustrated the potential harm that nuclear plants can wreak -- and the inability of even the world's best engineers to plan for all possible eventualities. As I wrote in a piece earlier this year, a number of countries are now phasing out nuclear power entirely as a consequence of Fukushima.
California is now considering how to respond to the SONGS shutdown. Do we need more power plants, or at least better local capacity, and if so what kinds of power plants should be built to replace SONGS? Should the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, located near San Luis Obispo and owned and operated by PG&E, also be shut down due to lingering safety concerns related to local earthquake faults?
There are many questions and no easy answers. I've recommended previously that California agencies, as a first step, analyze how California could in theory cope without nuclear power. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has completed detailed modeling of various scenarios, in order to inform the California Public Utilities Commission long-term planning process. These scenarios don't currently include a nuclear-phaseout scenario but they should. This new scenario planning would be the first responsible step to dealing with the SONGS issues and broader nuclear safety issues.
The previous detailed state-wide modeling completed by CAISO for the CPUC's long-term planning found that we have a huge surplus of power state-wide, and we will very likely maintain this surplus through 2020 even as we reach 33% renewables. It seems, given this huge state-wide surplus that we could probably phase out nuclear over the next decade without much difficulty, at least with respect to keeping the lights on.
However -- and this is an important "however" -- CAISO recently completed a survey of the backup power available in the SONGS area and concluded that there may be some cause for concern with respect to locally available backup capacity: "The absence of the San Onofre nuclear plant does not create system-wide issues but does create local reliability issues because of transmission constraints that limit imports into the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego areas." The issue of local power needs is far less clear than the state-wide discussion.
Some policymakers and advocates are currently considering the merits of investing heavily in transmission resources, in order to ensure that the power surplus available in California more generally can reach the areas where it's needed, like the SONGS area. However, a very important part of this conversation must be consideration of non-transmission alternatives, such as local power options, known as "wholesale distributed generation," demand response, and energy efficiency. Wholesale distributed generation (WDG) is defined as renewable energy generated close to load.
Numerous examples support the ability of WDG to come online quickly and massively -- with the right policies in place. California itself has demonstrated this clearly, back in the 1980s and 1990s, during which time we added over 10,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation from geothermal, wind, biomass, hydro and solar power. This transformation of our power sector was made possible due to California's robust, first-of-its-kind "feed-in tariff," which provides a power purchase contract to any renewable energy developer meeting certain criteria. The contract provides a set payment over a set period. The major benefit of feed-in tariffs (FIT) is certainty, which every business knows is the key to successful markets.
(FITs are also known as CLEAN policies now, which stands for Clean Local Energy Available Now, part of an attempt to re-brand the name for better popular support).
California's experience with its FIT in the 1980s and 1990s led to jurisdictions like Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, China, the UK and dozens of other countries, adopting their own robust FITs. FITs are now the preferred policy mechanism around the world for bringing renewable generation online quickly and efficiently. Wisely implemented FITs can also be more cost-effective than alternative policies like tender systems or auctions because of the greater market certainty, and thus far lower risk to developers and financiers, that FITs provide.
Along with the nuclear-phase-out scenario planning mentioned above, California should enact a robust FIT sufficient to replace at least the capacity of SONGS. This will, among other things, ensure that our power grid is strengthened through large amounts of local capacity, in the SONGS power area and elsewhere around the state. A 5,000 megawatt state-wide FIT program, with clear and certain pricing and expedited interconnection procedures, will achieve many additional benefits as well as ensuring that local capacity requirements are met in the SONGS area.
FITs are not dead yet in California today, but they are dying -- unless policymakers wake up to their potential. The CPUC just issued a terrible decision implementing what was already a very weak FIT bill (SB 32), three years after this law was passed. D.12-05-035 weakens SB 32 to the point of undermining the law entirely. The key problem is that the CPUC decision enacted an adjustable pricing mechanism that will ensure a "race to unviability." This is the case because the price offered to developers will drop so quickly that developers will be heavily incentivized to accept contracts at unrealistically low prices. It's probably best at this point to scrap the new program under D.12-05-035 entirely and go back to the drawing board with a new bill.
A bill to enact a robust and effective five gigawatt FIT should ensure stable and realistic prices for renewable energy projects 10 megawatts and below. This is a scale that can be built out quickly around the state, if good FIT and interconnection policies are enacted. At the same time, ratepayers should be protected from higher prices than are justified through planned and transparent "degression" of prices, under which prices offered to developers fall steadily as capacity is taken up. This is similar to the policies enacted by D.12-05-035, but the price adjustment mechanism adopted in that decision fails on the details of its implementation, primarily due to the fact that the program is far too small (it added only 15 megawatts to an already-existing but highly ineffective FIT program, for a total of only about 200 megawatts of new contracts state-wide) and the price adjustments occur far too quickly. These are problems that can easily be remedied with a new bill.
The recent events at SONGS have resulted, perhaps serendipitously, in what may be the smoothest path to a nuclear-free future for California. Historically, any discussion of shutting down nuclear plants has been highly contentious in large part because of the many jobs at stake. No major releases of radiation have apparently occurred at SONGS, so this has not to date constituted a major nuclear accident. It was averted before that happened. The shutdown also happened in a way that was completely independent of politics or policy; rather, the shutdown occurred due to bad engineering. Perhaps most importantly, if SONGS is shut down permanently, it is almost a certainty that the many SCE and SDG&E employees at SONGS will be re-deployed elsewhere within those companies and many will probably continue to work at SONGS as it is de-commissioned -- a process that can take a decade or more.
In sum, California is looking at a future where nuclear power may be phased out involuntarily, in part or wholly, in the next few years. At the very least, we need to be responsibly planning for a potential nuclear-free future. And at the same time, we should enact a robust and effective feed-in tariff to strengthen our grid state-wide, while also adding numerous jobs, growing our economy, and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board recently agreed with me, stating: "Now is the perfect time for Edison, and the state as a whole, to begin the planning for a non-nuclear future."
For information on purchasing reprints of this article, contact sales. Copyright 2013 CyberTech, Inc.
You've some very interesting and very valid points. The use and nature of uranium is one of the reasons behind public discomfort with uranium-based nuclear power. However, there is research under way in the USA and India that involve Thorium-based nuclear power . . . . there is no such molecule as weapons-grade thorium. Developments are also under way that involve radiation-free, boron-fusion nuclear power.
Perhaps you may wish to comment as to the possible future application of boron-fusion nuclear power and thorium-nuclear power in California.
Ferdinand E. Banks 7.28.12
"The future of nuclear power in California".
What's it going to be next, Tam - perhaps George W. Bush explaining why it was necessary to have a war against Iraq because Sadam Hussain had halitosis.
This business of nuclear in California has been taken up by a number of LEGITIMATE scientists in that noble state, Tam, and unfortunately they disagree with you. But let me tell you the way that I look at this. They can tear down every nuclear faility in Californa, and the ignorant editors of the LA Times could lead a dance around the wreckage, but in a decade or so they will be rebuilding them, and they will probably be breeders.
That is what you are going to get for your crank departure about nuclear. Why not stick to oil, or gas. YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT NUCLEAR. Or for that matter, why don't you study the subject, by which I mean study the economics of nuclear. If you did you would find out that WE DONT HAVE A CHOICE. I once took a lot of flak because I didn't want nuclear, I didn't think that our political masters could handle it, and that might still be true, but we are going to have to deal with it regardless of what I wanted.
Harry Valentine 7.28.12
Regardless of which nuclear technology California will eventually use, be it uranium, thorium or radiation-free boron fusion technology, California will have the opportunity of assisting in developing the Salton Sea for pumped hydroectric energy storage.
Ferdinand E. Banks 7.29.12
The issue here, Harry, in California and elsewhere, is dumping nuclear. The point is that the people in the cheap seats are supposed to buy the silly/stupid argument that wind and solar can replace nuclear. I can understand the motivation for launching this nonsense: after all, the voters reelected George W. although he started a war on the basis of a lie, but what we are talking about on this occasion is sustained misery for millions of AMERICAN households. That takes us immediately to the good Abraham Lincoln: YOU CANNOT FOOL ALL OF THE VOTERS ALL OF THE TIME.
Harry Valentine 7.30.12
California is on the border with Mexico. If California does not want nuclear power stations within their state, would they be willing to import nuclear-electric power from Mexico? Would the government of Mexico (both official and unofficial) be willing to allow for the construction of a privately owned, seawater-cooled, thorium-fuelled nuclear power station at the northern end of the Gulf of Mexico (a.k.a. Sea of Cortez)?
California's market demand for electric power will likely increase quite substantially over the next few decades. California's reluctance to allow nuclear power within their state may create a business case to develop a nuclear power station in Northern Mexico, one that could sell to both California and to Mexico.
Jim Beyer 7.30.12
Thorium-based IFR sounds great to me, if it can be done. Is that what an LFTR is? Not clear to me.
The future of nuclear basically depends on if one wants to do something about carbon emissions or not. Note that even the worst nuclear power accident in history (Chernobyl) will probably be cleared up in 60-100 years. That sounds very bad, but much less severe than an altered world climate affecting billions of people permanently.
You also raise a good point about California importing electricity. If they really don't want nuclear power, then they shouldn't even be able to import it either. They should live the reality they wish to impose on others, not reside in a la-la land where they espouse beliefs but don't actually bear the consequences of them. (I ran into that when they were perfectly happy importing electricity from coal plants to charge their "zero emission" electric vehicles or produce their "zero emission" hydrogen. Ugh!)
Len Gould 7.30.12
The goals of the purely anti-nuclear activists are unclear to me.
a) If they oppose release of contaminating radiation, wouldn't it be more logical to ensure very strict regulatory oversight of generating plants, and cheer events such as discovery of the failing pipework at SONGS, especially since it will likely be repaired under warranty at no cost?
b) If they oppose nuclear power on the basis of proliferation of weapons-grade materials, doesn't that also carry a parallel responsibility to be equally opposed to the holding and maintenance of military nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered naval fleets, by anyone, including their own military?
c) If they oppose nuclear power stations operating on or near any earthquake faults, shouldn't they also specify, as well as shutting down any plants within their own jurisdiction, a refusal to import power from any other area with nuclear plants near a fault region such as Oregon, Washington State, Mexico, etc.
d) Is it possible for people who were so wrong about fuel cells and the "hydrogen economy" to be so self-confident about other issues? (BTW, I was also wrong on that, but am not afraid to admit that AND the possible utility of nuclear reactors, given rational constraints).
Ferdinand E. Banks 7.31.12
Tam, let me put it this way again: WE DONT WANT NUCLEAR, BUT WE HAVE NO CHOICE.
There is a rational way to handle this issue, and the thing now is to find it. Who is going to manage this noble task. One thing is certain: the present US Secretary of Energy will not make the short list. Quite frankly Tam, I would rather see you in the executive suite at the USDOE than Dr Chu.
Jeffrey Hynds 7.31.12
I have to question the knowledge and credibility of someone in the electric power industry who refers to a nuclear power plant's steam generators as "power generators".
Just sayin' ...
bill payne 7.31.12
Again Prof Banks, is
Five new generators are on track for completion this decade, including two reactors approved just a few weeks ago (the first new reactor approvals in the US in over 30 years). Those will add to the 104 reactors that are already in operation around the country and already produce 20% of the nation’s power. Those reactors will eat up 19,724 tonnes of U3O8 this year, which represents 29% of global uranium demand. If that seems like a large amount, it is! The US produces more nuclear power than any other country on earth, which means it consumes more uranium that any other nation. However, decades of declining domestic production have left the US producing only 4% of the world’s uranium.
With so little homegrown uranium, the United States has to import more than 80% of the uranium it needs to fuel its reactors. Thankfully, for 18 years a deal with Russia has filled that gap. The “Megatons to Megawatts” agreement, whereby Russia downblends highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads to create reactor fuel, has provided the US with a steady, inexpensive source of uranium since 1993. The problem is that the program is coming to an end next year.
The Upside to a Natural Gas Downturn Marin Katusa, for The Daily Reckoning Monday April 2, 2012
correct or not?
Heat and drought force closures, reductions at nuclear power plants.
It truly is amazing how confused the pro-nukers think everyone else is. When SanO's chief public affairs spokeswoman referred to their busted steam generators as "power generators" in her slide show during a recent SCAG meeting (SoCal Assoc. of Governments) nobody came out of the woodwork to call her ignorant -- but if Mr. Hunt uses the exact same phrase in the exact same way -- the trolls come out.
And their great hope -- thorium (or is it boron fusion this time?) has had 60 years to come to fruition -- NOTHING has been holding it back -- except its own inherent problems, which are legion.
Commentator Len Gould can't grasp the goals of the anti-nuclear activists because he doesn't realize they DO strive for better regulations --which keep not happening, and they oppose nuclear weapons too -- and so should he. He also fails to grasp, that they support renewables, not other people's nukes, and do so because renewables work fine. California could be a net green energy exporter, but not if we keep plugging up the nukes with toilet paper and spit and letting them run 'til the flow-induced vibration shakes them apart again.
Jack Ellis 7.31.12
I don't agree with Mr. Hunt's or Mr. Hoffman's opinion of nuclear power, which is based as much on fearmongering as is the California ISO's asymmetric risk to reliability argument for building a bunch of new, gas-fired plants without exploring other cost-effective alternatives. Every technology for producing electricity has strengths, weaknesses, costs and benefits. In the case of renewable energy, the principal weakness is its variability and uncertainty, which is incompatible with the needs of modern economies that rely on a steady, predictable and controllable supply of electricity. In other words, relying on renewable energy alone is a pipe dream. Storage won't cut it, not even if the Salton Sea was made available.
Where Mr. Hunt's advocacy for renewable energy runs off the rails is in his enthusiasm for feed-in tariffs. They do provide certainty for developers and financiers and they have been used in many countries around the world, but Mr. Hunt has neglected to mention that in most cases, the tariff rate was set to absurd levels. As a result, German electricity users are facing sizable increases in the price of electricity. In Spain, utilities have been required to keep amounts paid out under feed-in tariffs as assets on their balance sheets subject to future collection rather than collecting those from consumers right away. While I have not personally examined the financial statements of the Spanish grid operator or the largest investor-owned utilities in Spain, accruing the cost of feed-in tariffs as high as 50 cents per kWh without any assurance they can eventually be collected probably isn't enhancing anyone's credit rating.
The anti-nuclear crowd makes an assumption that any exposure to radiation is innately harmful when in fact I suspect there is little scientific evidence to support that assumption. We know for a fact that too much radiation exposure can lead to death, but we don't really know the threshold above which radiation exposure places us at greater risk of dying than, say, driving a car or walking down the street or taking a bath or engaging in any other activity that has a finite risk of shortening our lives. In fact, as physicist Richard Mueller points out in his book Physics for Future Presidents, the incidence of cancer in Denver, an area that is somewhat more exposed to cosmic radiation than most parts of the US, has a lower incidence of cancers. There may be many reasons for that anomaly, and one of them could be that small doses of radiation are actually beneficial rather than harmful.
It'll be interesting to see how the German nuclear-free experiment turns out. I'm anxiously awaiting the results.
Michael Keller 7.31.12
I am puzzled. If California has a huge surplus of power, why the need for "feed-in" tariffs? Ah, a temporary lapse in memory. Need the feed-in tariffs so highly uncompetitive power generators can be compensated at the expense of the taxpayers and consumers. That would include Tam's wonderful solar energy.
I am quite sure California will carefully consider their options, apply leftist thinking and then increase the price of power, thereby helping drive even more businesses out of the state.
As for nuclear, rumors as to its demise are premature. Never know when technology will pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.1.12
You dont have to wait for the results, Jack. I can give them to you now. The Germans will import electricity ,and the dumb exporting countries might see their electric bills double. Everybody in this exporting country, Sweden, knows that, but they hope that Angela and her foot soldiers will see the light and show them some mercy. Ignorance is probably the right word here. As for wind and solar solving the energy problem in Germany, only a fool would believe that, and plenty do.
That brings us to Mr Payne. Here is the advice I give my students: find out what you like and what you are good or fairly good at, and learn it perfectly. When it comes to the ECONOMICS of nuclear energy, I know more than ANYBODY I have ever encountered, which leads me to say that Mr Payne's opinion about the availability of nuclear fuel is worthless. Let's get something straight here though, Bill. I haven't encountered as many people as I would like to encounter, because since they are ignorant this topic is concerned, and I'm the real deal, they stear clear of me. You might remember that in case you walk into a classroom and see me standing in front of the blackboard with a piece of chalk in my hand.
I also take notice of the information about renewables provided this forum by Ace Hoffman. He is apparently a candidate for the Josef Goebbels truth-telling prize, and I respect him for his interest in this topic, but I am not sure that he is correct. I dont believe that renewables have achieved what many people think that they have, but when or if they do, they should be exploited as much as possible, even if subsidies are required.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.1.12
'Heat and drought force closures at nuclear power plants'. If I were in your place Bill Payne I would stop reading crank articles in your local evening papers or skin magazines, and do a little constructive thinking where the topic of nuclear is concerned.
In some countries nuclear closures are common, while in others they seldom take place. The reason they do take place is stupidity, or laziness, or greed or maybe a vodka bash in the control room. To know what nuclear can and cannot do you look at what has happened at nuclear facilities around the world, and the only thing that is relevant here are those plants with capacity factors in the 90s. The others are what Gordon Gekko called "dogs"..
I have a clipping which says that Swedish facilities have the highest (average) capacity factor in the world. That was in the l990s. Capacity factors are lower in this country now (and electricity prices are higher) because the money that should have gone into keeping up those capacity factors went to stone age countries in the Third World and adventures in places like Afghanistan. In a textbook world voters would notice this, and vote for political parties who worked to maintain living standards and the domestic quality of life, rather than ....
Harry Valentine 8.1.12
With regard to drought shutting down nuclear power stations, Engineering Prof. Kroger at Stellenboach University, South Africa undertook some pioneering research into giant air-cooled steam power stations. While "experts" outside South Africa initially dismissed Kroger's research, South Africa recently opened a clean-coal fired power station of 4,500MW. Prof Kroger's cooling tower technology is applicable to nuclear power stations (France would be wise to adopt Kroger's technology to their air-cooled nuclear power stations).
Japan also operated seawater-cooled nuclear power stations . . . . the exhaust heat of which could thermally desalinate seawater. A nuclear power station that provides power to California in the future, could be located either along the Pacific Coast (of Mexico) or at the northern end of the Gulf of California.
Fred Linn 8.1.12
------------" 'Heat and drought force closures at nuclear power plants'. If I were in your place Bill Payne I would stop reading crank articles in your local evening papers or skin magazines, and do a little constructive thinking where the topic of nuclear is concerned."----------
Obviously you consider yourself witty, sophisticated, and well informed.
I think you are an arrogant, conceited twit.
I think you owe Bill Payne an apology
FYI, he is correct.
The basic cause of the Fukushima disaster was lack of water circulating to the reactor cores, and the stored fuel rods---which caused the heat buildup that led to the destruction and explosions.
Len Gould 8.1.12
Ace Hoffman says of me "they oppose nuclear weapons too -- and so should he." Hey Ace, buddy, I'm Canadian eh. Never built any nuclear weapons (or naval vessels). I'm assuming you're a US citizen, hows your record?
"Unlike the use of the fast reactor, the Thorium-cycle CANDU does not need the development of a new type of reactor. With little or no modification to the present CANDU Reactor system, it is possible to introduce the thorium fuel cycle." --
bill payne 8.1.12
Writers are dangerous.
Two ways you receive the information .
1 MSM 2 What you observe first hand.
MSM is suspect for promoting their agenda.
Goolge embedded contorller for forth for the 8051 family machine, assember, and systems programminf for the IBM 301 AND IMPLEMENTING BASICS HOW BASICS WORK
Wwe gurantee this!
Michael Keller 8.1.12
Not sure why one would want to use thorium at this time as the economics of using U235 is much better. Someday, however, it might make sense to use thorium (which is actually converted in the reactor to U233, not unlike U238 is converted into Plutonium). Thorium can be, and has been, used in any pressurized water reactor (or gas reactor for that matter). Turns into kind of a messy and expensive chemical extraction effort to get the material out of the used fuel.
Fred Linn - Your conclusion is incorrect. The units in Japan had plenty of water.
The problem was the absence of power to drive pumps. Seawater was ultimately pumped into the cores of several of the reactors. If the diesel generators had been operational (they got swamped), the cores would not have melted.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.2.12
Thanks Len. That information about thorium is very valuable for this forum, especially for the Dog Major, which is what I once called a leading economist in Sweden, but which now fits someone else.
And I repeat Mr Linn, WE HAVE NO CHOICE where nuclear is concerned. The point is to keep it to a minimum. The problem is that the Chinese won't keep their nuclear assets to a minimum, and so they will end up producing every roll of toilet paper that we use.
DanP1966 | Aug 2, 2012 02:18 PM ET This was no accident.
This was no glitch.
This was intentional.
It was either a hack or an employee.
It was either to just hurt the firm or it was a theft.
Key, High Risk, applications do not just go haywire on an upgrade and completely reverse their logic and override any checks.
This algo was buying at the offer and selling at the bid.
NO WAY that happens by accident. ...
Smart grid? Microcontol;lers in nuclear generation of electricity plants? And nuclear aircraft carriers?
Jerry Watson 8.3.12
My conjecture is the that Fukushima incident was caused more by inaction than anything else. Nuclear employees are so regimented to follow detailed instruction and procedure they cannot act efficiently when anything not planned for in detail occurs. I fear the US fleet is the same.
Even after being submersed in saltwater me and two mechanics could have had those diesel pumps back in service in two hours, long before the batteries died. Drain the water out change the oil remove the kill sov from the injector spin them off and fire them up and let them eat.
It was a catastrophe driven by inaction. They had hours to implement dozens of other solutions. The Japanese had the resources to do a battery relay. Construct a battery bank and jumper it in before the other one is exhausted and repeat as needed. They failed to act in timely manner. I believe Fukushima is a human performance issue and a result of excessive regimentation.
Michael Keller 8.3.12
Jerry, The folks in Japan really had little chance, even if they had demonstrated more initiative than they did. Without adequate water cooling, the cores were doomed in a matter of a few hours. Perhaps they could have reduced the damage somewhat, but the inability to pump water pretty much did them in. Mike
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.7.12
I wonder if I am missing something here. The problem in Fukushima was the tsunami. It was the crazy location of the nuclear facility given the fact that a tsunami could not be excluded. This was pointed out a day or so after the tsunami. Such being the case, I can't understand why reactors in the middle of Germany have to close, other than they might get a few more votes for Frau Merkel, nor do I understand how regimentation gets into the discussion.
Of course, it doesn't make any difference what gets into the discussion. If we are to maintain our standards of living - such as they are - then nuclear is here to stay, and everywhere. The point is not to go overboard with them.
Jim Beyer 8.7.12
The logical location to avoid tsunamis would be on the West Coast (in the Sea of Japan), but that would mean a meltdown would release fallout downwind and across the entire island to the East. I don't think they had any choice.
They should have added more redundancy to the generators, obviously.
Tam Hunt 8.7.12
GE announces its intention to get out of the nuclear business:
"Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, revived the debate about the cost of nuclear power this week when he said building reactors was so expensive compared with other forms of energy it had become “really hard” to justify."
So the groovy Jeff Immelt has decided that building reactors is for fools, has he. Well, there are many who have that opinion, and those here in Sweden taking that line are worse than fools.
But I say OK. They can stop building them tomorrow morning if they want. But please remember what Abraham Lincoln said: you cannot make fools of the voters all of the time.
Michael Keller 8.9.12
I believe GE is opting out of solar energy as well as the Feds' subsidies dry up. GE has a history of sucking up money at the Federal pig trough. Is that a smart way to do business? Not so sure looking at Immelt's tenure as the head guy and GE's stock price over the last 10 years.
In a technical and economic sense, is GE's boiling water reactor inferior to say Westinghouse's pressurized water reactor? Looks that way to me. I suspect that is a major driver behind his remarks.
Michael Keller 8.9.12
As far as Fukushima is concerned, the coastal location is OK, but the emergency generators should have been placed higher up on the nearby hillside. The plant would have been fine if they had.
Jerry's earlier observation on the "group think" in Japan likely explains why the generators were never moved higher, in spite of a number of studies that showed the probability of very large tsunami was much higher than originally calculated. Neither Diablo Canyon and San Onofre have that particular problem.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.10.12
Nice observations, Michael. I might be giving a song and dance in France next month, and if so I'll make sure that I refer to them.
Tam Hunt 8.14.12
Michael, GE is not getting out of solar project development even though they have scaled back solar panel manufacturing, for the same reasons that Solyndra tanked (Chinese competition). GE and others are very much in the project development business and the main federal subsidy, a 30% investment tax credit, lasts through 2016. Solar development doubled in the US in 2011 (with almost 2 GW installed nationwide) and is on pace to double again this year.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.14.12
Some day Tam, some day, the people in California who have the numbers you are apparently so fond of, will will explain to you that the mere idea - the mere thought - of replacing nuclear with solar is looney tune. Not that solar shouldn't be used when economical, but to keep the show on the road nuclear is essential. And if you really want numbers I can mention that....sorry, it slipped my mind.
Tam Hunt 8.14.12
Fred, you haven't given us any numbers, after year of requests from myself and others. You've lost credibility, sorry.
As for solar replacing nuclear in CA, I've not argued that solar can by itself replace nuclear. Rather, solar can replace peak supplies and could, with storage or baseload renewables like geothermal (which supplies 5% of CA's power currently) or biomass, replace nuclear. "The people in California who have the numbers" are the people like CAISO who I cite and discuss in my articles.