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Sun May 1, 2016, 08:10 AM

Handlesblatt: Germany has a big new problem, dealing with its failed wind turbines.

A while back, on another website, using the exhaustive database available on the Danish Energy Agency's website, I showed that the average lifetime of a wind turbine is rather short, of the thosands decommissioned, the average turbine lasted considerably less than 20 years. Sustaining the Wind Part 1 – Is So Called “Renewable Energy” the Same as “Sustainable Energy?”

In the above, I provided references showing that in just ten years, from 2004 to 2015, the planet foolishly invested $711 billion dollars in wind energy, which has no effect, no effect whatsoever, on the rate of the degradation of the planetary atmosphere: 2015 was the worst year ever recorded for increases in atmospheric concentrations in carbon dioxide, and the figures being recorded thus far in 2016 are, for anyone who bothers to look, nothing short of terrifying.

Note that $711 billion dollars his hardly a trivial amount: It is more than each of the gross national products of countries like Sweden, Norway, Argentina, and, um, yes, Denmark. It is slightly less than the GDP of Saudi Arabia. Surely by the end of 2016, the "investment" in wind energy will surpass one trillion dollars since 2004 and of course, unless the world comes to its senses, considerably more by 2024, when the wind turbines built in 2004 will have become useless junk.

The following comes from a German financial newspaper, Handlesblatt.

The original version (in German) is here: Sprengen, fällen oder gebraucht verkaufen

The text of the article involves the fact that many of Germany's wind turbines built in the 1990's are now failing or useless; in addition, apparently the German regulatory authorities require that after 20 years, any wind turbines that have not already been abandoned must be recertified as safe.

The following translations of excerpts are mine, the caveat being that I haven't been reading in German that much in recent years, and am quite rusty in executing translations from that language:

In Germany more and more wind turbines are failing. The reason: Support runs out, materials experience fatigue, or it is simply more profitable to replace older models with newer ones. At the same time, the dismantling them is extremely complex.

More than 25,000 wind turbines are spinning across the Republic. For some, this represents the mutilation of the landscape, for others, they are symbols of the transformative power of German energy to renewable energy...

...In the 1990’s a large number of wind turbines were built in the Federal Republic. It follows that now many of these have reached old age. In the coming year, more than 7,000 turbines will have reached 15 years of age. After 20 years, they must be shut down and dismantled, unless the owner can prove that they remain stable and operational…


The brief article reports graphically that 511 wind farms in Germany have been abandoned.

The choices of recent generations will be hell to pay for future generations. The most sobering commentary on which it has been my misfortune to report in this space, other than the raw data for recent increases in carbon dioxide concentrations, is this one, from a commentary in the scientific journal Nature:

"Current models of climate economics assume that lives in the future are less important...than lives today, a value judgement that is rarely scrutinized and difficult to defend..."

The wind industry and so called "renewable energy" remain popular, but the data shows very clearly that embracing this "renewable energy" strategy is a grotesque failure, and is a mere affectation in which one pretends that doing nothing is the same as doing everything necessary. It is not the people who bought into this cockamamie fantasy who will suffer from the results of our decisions; it is future generations. Today's wind farms are just another part of the useless junk and waste we will leave behind for them to clean up.

Future generations, should they survive what we have done to the planet, will not forgive us, nor should they.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

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Reply Handlesblatt: Germany has a big new problem, dealing with its failed wind turbines. (Original post)
NNadir May 2016 OP
mackdaddy May 2016 #1
appal_jack May 2016 #2
Sherman A1 May 2016 #3
NNadir May 2016 #6
Binkie The Clown May 2016 #4
Boomer May 2016 #5
n2doc May 2016 #7
NNadir May 2016 #8
hunter May 2016 #9
Finishline42 May 2016 #10
NNadir May 2016 #11
Finishline42 May 2016 #12
FBaggins May 2016 #13
Finishline42 May 2016 #14
FBaggins May 2016 #15

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 11:09 AM

1. Machines wear out and have to be replaced. Why is that shocking?

ANY mechanical device will have a finite lifespan. How many 20-30 year old cars are still on the road?

AEP has a 50ft long steam turbine mounted in front of its Columbus Oh office as a wind sculpture, taken out of service from one of its coal fired generator plants.
Coal or Gas burning generator plants are offline a couple of months out of every year for maintenance. Coal has to be mined and transported on a continuous basis as most plants burn a train-car load of coal every hour.
We are installing Solar panels at a good clip right now. In 10 years the inverters will begin to need replacements. In 20 years the panels themselves will either begin to fail or new panels will be so much more efficient it will be economically advantageous to replace them.
The grid electrical components themselves only have a 20 to 30 year lifespan. The electrical poles and wire itself are constantly being replaced. Those transformer you see on the poles or in your back yard only have an expected lifespan of 25 years(30 to 40 years maximum).

Nuclear power plants have high maintenance. New radioactive fuel has to be manufactured and installed in each plant every 2 or 3 years, and the "spent" less radioactive fuel pulled out and stored forever. Nearly every Nuclear plant in Ohio is at the end of its lifespan, and will need to be dismantled soon. Except those leftovers will be dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. Davis-Bessie has had two near containment breaches because of components corroding through.

Maintenance and end of life dismantling and disposal is just a fact with everything mechanical, including our own bodies. It is certainly not an argument to never use them in the first place.

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Response to mackdaddy (Reply #1)

Sun May 1, 2016, 11:24 AM

2. k&r for this response

 

Sure, wind is not perfect yet. Sure, we can and should design turbines with total life cycle costs in mind. But we need to do that with every technology. Picking on wind alone in this respect is silly.

-app

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Response to appal_jack (Reply #2)

Sun May 1, 2016, 11:32 AM

3. Precisely

Any mechanical device needs upkeep, kinda goes without saying.

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Response to mackdaddy (Reply #1)

Sun May 1, 2016, 12:21 PM

6. Um, um, um...

Your discussion of nuclear energy is what I was hoping for, more garbage thinking.

Cars, if this is your standard of excellence, are one of the worst environmental disasters ever to have struck planet. They are, in fact, they are the disaster of so called "distributed energy" writ large, a huge distributed network of point source pollutants which can never be reined in.

I've made this point many times. Saying the wind industry is equivalent to the car industry is an announcement that pancreatic cancer is OK, because it isn't worse than melanoma, and lots of people have melanoma.

Nuclear plants were originally designed to last 40 years, which was acceptable since they have an extraordinarily high energy to mass ratio. If humanity lived at twice the average continuous per capita power consumption, a person living 100 years would be responsible for consuming 100 grams of plutonium. This is a trivial amount of material needing to be consumed, particularly given the fact that the ocean contains 4.5 billion tons of uranium, continuously cycling through even larger amounts in the planetary crust and mantle. It is clear that they can easily be extended beyond their design lifetime, since the engineers who built them were being conservative. The plant near I live, Oyster Creek, the oldest operating plant in the United States came on line in 1969, and is still saving lives that might otherwise be lost to air pollution. I consider that plant to be a gift from my father's generation to mine.

By contrast, there is almost certainly not enough neodymium, dysprosium on this planet to make the expensive, toxic, and failed wind industry a significant player in the world energy equation, something it has never been and never will be. In the entire United States in the last ten years, the energy output of wind industry in its entirety has failed to match 50% of the increase in the use of The word "renewable" where wind turbines are concerned is like every other bit of marketing horseshit associated with the wind industry, a bald faced lie.

Nuclear energy remains the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy on this planet. A single nuclear plant, located in a small building can easily outproduce, with far greater reliability, and without the need for a single dangerous fossil fuel plant to back it up, the output of hundreds of square miles of greasy wind turbines. If Ohio does not build more nuclear plants to replace those built in the 1970's, they will burn more gas and coal, no if's and's and buts.

I am ethically and morally appalled about how people can burn coal and gas to generate electricity and prattle mindlessly about what "could" have happened at Beese Davis, without showing even a smidgen of concern for the 7 million people who die each year from air pollution, 19,000 per day. These figures for the death toll from dangerous fossil fuel waste are readily available in the scientific literature, right here: A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (Lancet 2012, 380, 2224–60: For air pollution mortality figures see Table 3, page 2238 and the text on page 2240.)

Despite the indifferent prattling on by anti-nuke defenders of "the subsidize the rich at the expense of the poor" so called "renewable energy" industry, no where in that comprehensive accounting of the major mortality risk factors associated with human disease does "nuclear accidents" even appear.

I am always amused when opponents of the nuclear industry state that things like " "spent" less radioactive fuel pulled out and stored forever."

The "forever" statement is a clear indications that anti-nukes are very, very, very, very, very unfamiliar with the contents of science books. All radioactive materials are subject to the Bateman equilibrium, defined by the Bateman equations. Unlike the mercury that is and has been and will be distributed into the flesh of every living organism on this planet by coal and gas operations while we all wait, like Godot, for the grand "renewable energy" nirvana, nuclear materials naturally decay. If one is creating new radioactive materials, one can only accumulate a fixed amount of them before they begin to decay at exactly the same rate as they are formed - generally this figure is approached asymptotically.

On some level, this is unfortunate, since radioactive materials are particularly useful in a number of ways, were they not subject to abject fear and ignorance, things like cleaning the atmosphere, water and land of intractable halogenated organics, the only sink for which, natural or otherwise, involve radiolytic cleavage. The use of used nuclear fuel has been hampered by nothing more than stupidity. We would have more hope for the future if we had more radioactive materials, not less.

As for solar industry, the solar PV industry is a joke, a very bad joke, a very toxic joke. It doesn't even produce, despite leaching trillions of dollars out of the world economy, even two of the 560 exajoules of energy that the planet now consumes. It's nothing more, like the wind industry, nothing more than a fig leaf for the gas industry. It is obvious that half a century of jawboning about this industry has probably not resulted in it producing as much energy as is required by all the electronic posts around the planet dedicated to saying how wonderful it is.

Thanks much for giving me the opportunity to vent in recognition of how appalling the lies we tell ourselves are, as I continue to grieve for what our generation, our very, very, very unnecessarily ignorant generation, is doing to all future generations.

It is a crime.

Have a nice Sunday afternoon.




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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 11:51 AM

4. And the fossil fuel inputs required to replace them...

makes it a certainty that they will never be able to supply the world with energy once the fossil fuels run out. Wind, solar, hydrogen, nuclear fusion, perpetual motion, dilithium crystals, unicorns that shit rainbows, are all fantasies.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 12:03 PM

5. I'm not following the argument

Wind power is a failure because the equipment wears out? By that criteria all our technology is a complete failure. How many people are running a computer that is 20 years old?

I was expecting some data on the cost of equipment versus the amount of energy generated. Are we spending more energy on creating wind power equipment than it returns?

The link that supposedly lead to some scathing commentary in the Nature journal, instead links to yet another commentary by NNadir that isn't about wind power at all. I'm not going to even try unwinding that path.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 12:26 PM

7. They should replace them with safe, clean Nuclear power

Because nothing ever goes wrong with those and they never need to be replaced.

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Response to n2doc (Reply #7)

Sun May 1, 2016, 02:37 PM

8. None of the failed reactors killed as many people as will die in the next five hours from...

...air pollution.

If it wasn't bordering on criminal negligence, it would be amusing to compare the number of posts on the internet reflecting the fact that seven million people die each year from air pollution while people mindlessly burn oil, gas, and coal to run computers to rattle on mindlessly about the two nuclear accidents in the last half a century that have caused fatalities.

I cited the Lancet paper under international authorship, showing this vast death toll - equivalent to all the deaths in World War II from all causes every seven years - elsewhere in this thread.

I expect that the preternaturally disinterested will open it. They clearly don't give a shit.

If one can do math - and frankly I don't find many people carrying on about the "danger" of nuclear energy who can - one can calculate that 7 million people per year breaks down to 19,000 people per day, or 800 an hour.

The conceit, the awful mindless conceit of people who appeal to Fukushima and Chernobyl is that nuclear energy need be perfect or else every other form of energy can kill - at a truly massive rate - at will.

Nuclear energy is not perfect. It need not be perfect to be vastly superior, incredibly safer, and incredibly more sustainable than everything else. It merely needs to be vastly superior, incredibly safer, and incredibly more sustainable than everything else.

The wind industry soaked up a trillion dollars in the last 15 years and the rate of degradation of the atmosphere is rising, not falling.

The wind industry soaked up a trillion dollars in the last 15 years and the fastest growing, by far, source of power for electrical generation is dangerous natural gas.

The wind industry is an affectation, a mindless quixotic quest that is a distraction from what we should, what we must, do to save a modicum of what future generations might have, and indeed deserve.

I find the mentality of the people who prattle on about Fukushima and Chernobyl to be morally revolting. These are the kind of airheads who drive in their cars to solar rallies despite the fact that seven million people die each year from air pollution.

I could, of course, post a picture of the Alpha Piper oil platform explosion, which incinerated 167 people more or less instantaneously, and ask them why they drive to anything, but let's face it, these people aren't very bright.

Given the stupid exercise of the wind industry, they're at the level of Don Quixote, although, in contrast, Don Quixote was at least interesting if nothing else, in a literary sense.

My impression of the wind industry is that many of its supporters are functionally illiterate, at least if one speaks of scientific literacy.

There are scientists who are nonetheless ignoring these types and pressing ahead to do what they can although clearly it's way too late, and fear and ignorance have won the day. Volume 55, issue 15, (2016) of Industrial Chemistry Engineering Research, published by the American Chemical Society was entirely devoted to extending uranium resources indefinitely via capture from seawater.

Industrial Chemistry Engineering Research April 20, 2016, Volume 55, Issue 15, Pages 4101-4362

Obviously the scientists contributing to the issue are entirely disinterested in disaster porn from small and very narrow minds.

Have a nice evening.

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Response to n2doc (Reply #7)

Sun May 1, 2016, 03:08 PM

9. You are afraid of that, but not automobiles or oil refineries?





wikipedia

Of course the scariest thing in the world is this:



http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends


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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 04:15 PM

10. What a bunch of nonsense...

Specifically:

In Germany more and more wind turbines are failing. The reason: Support runs out, materials experience fatigue, or it is simply more profitable to replace older models with newer ones. At the same time, the dismantling them is extremely complex.

Dismantling a generator is complex? There is nothing in a windmill that is any more complex than junking an old car. Of course the early windmills are out of date, they are subject to engineers improving the product and process. They are also subject to a simple equation - if you double the diameter of the blades you triple the amount of energy harvested from the wind. So as the manufacturing process improves, the builders are able to increase the size of the rotors and that is what makes the windmills of the past obsolete.

Did they look anything like this?

https://www.google.com/search?q=17th+century+windmills&espv=2&biw=1458&bih=830&tbm=isch&imgil=VpysJnkaeMX6ZM%253A%253BQi-HqOKpRCZiCM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.hollandexploringtours.nl%25252Fguide-windmills.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=VpysJnkaeMX6ZM%253A%252CQi-HqOKpRCZiCM%252C_&usg=__UAwT2N01xkwsygpYcFCKK2W_YSc%3D&ved=0ahUKEwia9ZWl17nMAhVJwj4KHU2YCXwQyjcIJw&ei=gmImV5qsJcmE-wHNsKbgBw#imgrc=VpysJnkaeMX6ZM%3A

Decommissioning a nuclear reactor is not only complex but extremely dangerous.

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #10)

Sun May 1, 2016, 05:07 PM

11. Um...um...um...

I realize that attacking a sacred cow - the grotesquely failed wind industry - will certainly inspire a lot of knee jerk defenses of the indefensible, but the wind industry is a trivial industry involving many tens of thousands of turbines, not a few hundred.

I will only address your stunning lack of knowledge by briefly noting that the nuclear industry has consistently produced close to 30 exajoules of energy for more than 40 years, using technology developed in the 1960's and 1970's. This makes it the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy.

You don't know a damned thing about decommissioning a nuclear reactor, nothing at all.

I suspect that you also don't know a damned thing about decommissioning a wind turbine either, or for that matter, cars.

The very first nuclear reactor in the United States, the Shippingport reactor, is now the site of a public park. If you'd like to state that the reactor's decommissioning killed as many people as have died in the next twenty minutes from air pollution, do something produce a credible reference.

We can easily with our knowledge of modern materials science produce reactors that will function for many generations; and indeed, many reactors using old technology did just that. Moreover, they didn't need to trash vast tracts of pristine land to do that.

The wind industry, by contrast, has never, not once, produced 5 exajoules of energy, this out of 560 exajoules consumed each year on the planet. The entire industry is trivial, it can't even match the year to year growth in the gas industry. These useless pieces of garbage require dangerous fossil fuels to back them up. The planetary atmosphere is collapsing because of dangerous fossil fuel waste indiscriminately dumped into the atmosphere, while lazy people get their hair mussed up because someone calls them out on their lazy defense of an industry that sucks money and doesn't work, the wind industry.

Let me know when you've found a safe way to decommission the atmosphere.

Talk about nonsense...

The fact is that the facile belief in nonsense is a real tragedy, and regrettably the people who will have to pay for it are future generations. The assholes who brought this on future generations will all probably die muttering "wind power will address all the world's energy needs by 2100." The people who may actually live in 2100 will probably spit to remember these damned fools.

Have a nice evening.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #11)

Sun May 1, 2016, 05:57 PM

12. Who going to pay for the decommissioning of the nuclear plants in the US?

Who going to pay for the decommissioning of the over 100 nuclear plants in the US? Is there a fee for every kwh produced that is put away for this task? What happens if a utility company that owns a nuclear plant files for bankruptcy and walks away from all debts? Who pays for that?

Iowa generates 30% of it's electricity from wind and by 2020 it will be 40%. Texas is over 10% from wind and growing. A transmission line from West Texas and OK is being built that will connect them to grids all the way to the TVA.

The difference between wind (and solar for that matter) and nuclear is that nuclear keeps getting more expensive (who is paying for the insurance against another Chernobyl or Fuckusall?) and because the energy source is free and inexhaustible and the entire process of manufacturing is about making things better and less expensive wind is going to keep getting cheaper.

Why is it for the last couple of years the majority of new electricity generation in the US is from wind and solar? Because even with all the obstruction from the denial crowd, it's easier to build a new wind farm than a nuke plant.

Nuclear only continues the commodities game where utility companies don't care if the fuel goes up because they get to raise prices in their cost plus model. BTW, we produce less than 10% of the uranium we use.

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #12)

Sun May 1, 2016, 09:18 PM

13. Answers to a few of your questions

Who going to pay for the decommissioning of the over 100 nuclear plants in the US? Is there a fee for every kwh produced that is put away for this task?

Yes. Part of the licensing requirement (in the US) is that funds be set aside on an ongoing basis to pay for decommissioning.

What happens if a utility company that owns a nuclear plant files for bankruptcy and walks away from all debts?

The decommissioning funds are not subject to bankruptcy. They're in a trust that the company can't spend. They also have to regularly report to the NRC the status of the fund to prove that it's sufficient to pay expected costs.

The greatest risk isn't that the company would go bankrupt, it's that a plant would have to shut down early. Obviously if you're paying retirement costs out of each kwh and you stop producing them a year into the license... you won't have much money saved up.

The difference between wind (and solar for that matter) and nuclear is that nuclear keeps getting more expensive

That's a common claim, but not really true. Wind and solar will become more expensive as their penetration grows - assuming to include the costs necessary to support the higher level of intermittent generation (storage, backup, market disruption, etc.)

(who is paying for the insurance against another Chernobyl or Fuckusall?

That's also part of every kwh. The anti-nuke spin there is that it isn't enough insurance because it wouldn't pay for a worst-case scenario... but that's a strawman - since no company has insurance for an absolute worst-case event (including wind/solar).

because the energy source is free and inexhaustible

That's not really a notable advantage when comparing them to nuclear power. Uranium is a very small portion of the electric bill. As has been pointed out up-thread, if all of the electricity you consumer over your lifetime were generated by nuclear power... the total fuel used could fit in your hand. Does it really matter whether the raw mineral sells for $10/lb or hundreds? Nope.

Why is it for the last couple of years the majority of new electricity generation in the US is from wind and solar? Because even with all the obstruction from the denial crowd, it's easier to build a new wind farm than a nuke plant.


Nope. It's because we passed laws encouraging/requiring it. Of course it's easier to build a new wind farm... but you have to build LOTS of them to equal the output of a modern nuclear plant... and then you have to build them again and again over the 80 years that the nuclear plant operates - along with other expensive infrastructure to get the power to market and back it up for when the wind isn't blowing.

BTW, we produce less than 10% of the uranium we use.

So? It isn't as though it isn't available here... it's just cheaper from Australia/Canada/etc. We have years worth of supply and can easily ramp up production if prices increase due to some foreign supply constraint. We produced about ten times as much in the 70s/80s

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #13)

Mon May 2, 2016, 11:03 AM

14. Thanks for taking the time to reply, but...

Here's something I found on the topic of decommissioning nuclear plants:

“The most reliable estimate of the cost of decommissioning [a nuclear power plant] is 10-15 percent of the construction cost, contrary to some highly inflated estimates ... Modern serious studies of the disposal problem indicate that satisfactory isolation is technologically feasible, even for the long term.” So wrote MIT nuclear engineering professor David Rose in the November 1985 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

How misguided that view seems now, with the advantage of decades of experience. The Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts, took 15 years to decommission—or five times longer than was needed to build it. And decommissioning the plant—constructed early in the 1960s for $39 million—cost $608 million. The plant’s spent fuel rods are still stored in a facility on-site, because there is no permanent disposal repository to put them in. To monitor them and make sure the material does not fall into the hands of terrorists or spill into the nearby river costs $8 million per year. That cost will continue for an unknown number of years. David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that even without the ongoing costs of monitoring and security, the average reactor now costs about $500 million to deactivate.


snip

In 1988, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission study said utilities should set aside just $100 to $130 million in decommissioning funds per plant, according to the Bulletin article, “Last rites for first commercial reactor.”

http://thebulletin.org/rising-cost-decommissioning-nuclear-power-plant7107

So to my point - rate payers or tax payers will make up the difference between what is set aside and what it really costs.

The point about the fact that we only produce a small amount of uranium domestically is the same as relying on foreign oil. It's a required commodity that is subject to wild swings in the market and rate payers will always be the ones that pay the price.

My statement > because the energy source is free and inexhaustible

Your answer > That's not really a notable advantage when comparing them to nuclear power. Uranium is a very small portion of the electric bill. As has been pointed out up-thread, if all of the electricity you consumer over your lifetime were generated by nuclear power... the total fuel used could fit in your hand. Does it really matter whether the raw mineral sells for $10/lb or hundreds? Nope.

Yes uranium is a small part (none in my area) of someone's electric bill but they are also a small part of a fuel rod. How many tons of fuel rods does a typical nuke plant go through in a year (of course we all know that there's no solution for the disposition of spent fuel rods other than just store them on site - which is why Fuckusall is such a disaster)?

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #14)

Mon May 2, 2016, 02:19 PM

15. I'm afraid that you're suffering from confirmation bias

You haven't presented anything close to enough evidence to claim "rate payers or tax payers will make up the difference between what is set aside and what it really costs."

I suspect that what you think you read was that each plant has $100-$130 million set aside and that it will actually cost $500 million - and therefore there is a shortage.

What you're missing is that the requirement is not a specific amount of cash. It's to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that the current funds (plus expected additions/earnings through the retirement process) exceed current projected costs for whichever decommissioning option they're planning on.

The recently retired San Onofre plant in California, for instance, has over four billion dollars in their decommissioning fund.

You're missing the fact that a couple dozen reactors have been retired in the US. Feel free to provide examples of the ones that had to have taxpayer bailouts. "A billion here... a billion there" sure sounds like lots of money, but over the course of decades of electricity production, it isn't a large impact on the price of running a plant.

The point about the fact that we only produce a small amount of uranium domestically is the same as relying on foreign oil.

Except that it isn't at all like relying on foreign oil. Back before fracking cut into our net imports of crude, the strategic petroleum reserve held enough oil to cover at best a couple months' supply. In the case of nuclear power, we have years of fuel on hand. That's more than enough time to ramp up production or switch to recycling spent fuel (even in the ridiculous scenario that Canada and Australia decide that they won't sell it to us any more).


It's a required commodity that is subject to wild swings in the market and rate payers will always be the ones that pay the price.


Again - your math is badly off. Fuel costs are a tiny proportion of the cost of nuclear power. Even if they were to climb tenfold, the impact would be small. This is in no sense like oil/gas/coal. Steel/concrete costs could impact capital expenditures for construction of new plants... but the impact of such commodity price changes would be far larger for wind power.

How many tons of fuel rods does a typical nuke plant go through in a year


IIRC, it's about 100 tons per GW per year. But that's roughly a million average households. If you call that two and a half million people, that's a tad over an ounce of fuel per person per year.

So imagine that uranium costs skyrocket by 10-fold. That would make them about $400/pound (which is pretty unlikely given how common the stuff is). Instead of your annual fuel costs for a 100% nuclear home being $2.50/year/person... that "wild swing" means that it now costs you $25/year/person. Hardly anything like the impact of gas/coal prices fluctuating.

Put another way... one pound of uranium produces more electricity than 15,000 tons of coal. And (were costs and spent fuel storage really a big concern), the vast majority of that pound could be recycled and used again. The coal has become a massive pile of coal ash... and almost 50,000 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.

of course we all know that there's no solution for the disposition of spent fuel rods other than just store them on site

What you supposedly "know" in this case is simply not true. Spent fuel storage issues are political... not technical. We choose not to recycle spent fuel... but we could. We choose to fight over Yucca... but that's because some in Nevada don't want it - not because it wouldn't work.

which is why Fuckusall is such a disaster


5+ years later and we still have people who think that the spent fuel storage at Fukushima contributed significantly to the release of radiation? That's pretty surprising.

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