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Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:02 PM

America's 2 New Nukes Are on the Brink of Death

America's 2 New Nukes Are on the Brink of Death
Posted: 04/ 9/2012 6:20 pm

The only two U.S. reactor projects now technically under construction are on the brink of death for financial reasons.

If they go under, there will almost certainly be no new reactors built here.

The much mythologized "nuclear renaissance" will be officially buried, and the U.S. can take a definitive leap toward a green-powered future that will actually work and that won't threaten the continent with radioactive contamination.

As this drama unfolds, the collapse of global nuclear power continues, as two reactors proposed for Bulgaria have been cancelled, and just one of Japan's 54 licensed reactors is operating. That one may well close next month, leaving Japan without a single operating commercial nuke.

Georgia's double-reactor Vogtle project ...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/nuclear-power_b_1406517.html

46 replies, 6635 views

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Arrow 46 replies Author Time Post
Reply America's 2 New Nukes Are on the Brink of Death (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
rhett o rick Apr 2012 #1
qb Apr 2012 #2
felix_numinous Apr 2012 #3
Vincardog Apr 2012 #4
FogerRox Apr 2012 #5
madokie Apr 2012 #10
DCKit Apr 2012 #6
SpoonFed Apr 2012 #8
DCKit Apr 2012 #9
FBaggins Apr 2012 #11
kristopher Apr 2012 #12
FBaggins Apr 2012 #13
kristopher Apr 2012 #14
FBaggins Apr 2012 #15
kristopher Apr 2012 #17
FBaggins Apr 2012 #18
kristopher Apr 2012 #19
FBaggins Apr 2012 #20
kristopher Apr 2012 #21
kristopher Apr 2012 #43
XemaSab Apr 2012 #16
Dead_Parrot Apr 2012 #22
XemaSab Apr 2012 #23
Dead_Parrot Apr 2012 #24
XemaSab Apr 2012 #25
Dead_Parrot Apr 2012 #26
XemaSab Apr 2012 #27
Dead_Parrot Apr 2012 #31
joshcryer Apr 2012 #40
kristopher Apr 2012 #30
XemaSab Apr 2012 #32
kristopher Apr 2012 #33
XemaSab Apr 2012 #34
kristopher Apr 2012 #35
XemaSab Apr 2012 #36
joshcryer Apr 2012 #39
GliderGuider Apr 2012 #42
joshcryer Apr 2012 #38
joshcryer Apr 2012 #37
GliderGuider Apr 2012 #7
kristopher Apr 2012 #44
kristopher Apr 2012 #28
kristopher Apr 2012 #29
kristopher Apr 2012 #41
GliderGuider Apr 2012 #45
FBaggins Apr 2012 #46

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:26 PM

1. Cooler heads are prevailing. nm

 

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:34 PM

2. If taxpayers aren't forced to cover the risk, then a new nuke is nowhere near feasible.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 02:44 PM

3. Good news!

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 02:59 PM

4. Good now that the most expensive form of energy is off the table, can we get on with real green

energy alternatives?

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 04:48 PM

5. There is every indication that the price points for Solar and Wind

will continue on the down trend for 20 years or more. Fission nukes, nat ga, coal to continue price increases.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:31 AM

10. +1

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 05:12 PM

6. This post has been up for over four hours...

 

without a word from Captain Atom and the Newquelur Defenders.

What gives?

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Response to DCKit (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:14 PM

8. They've been waiting for me to...

rear my ugly head after having taken an hiatus of disgust for a few months?

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Response to SpoonFed (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:49 AM

9. Your modesty is an example for us all. nt

 

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Response to DCKit (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:41 PM

11. Lol! Wasserman has a wet dream and treats it as if it were reality...

...and the rest of us are supposed to just accept it at face value?

Seriously?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:19 PM

12. Really? See also

Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed
A new report from a University of Vermont researcher says the cost of the safety measures needed for nuclear energy will eventually make the power source economically unviable

By Jason Koebler March 30, 2012

"Regardless of what Congress does, the NRC has put on the table very serious and important changes in how we look at safety after Fukushima," Cooper says. "There was one permit [for a new reactor] issued recently, and there's a second one expected in the near future. Frankly, that's about it. I don't see any other reactors moving forward. The economics are so unfriendly that I don't think the rest of the [proposals] are very active."

... http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/30/expert-nuclear-power-is-on-its-deathbed

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112710815


Nuclear giants RWE and E.ON drop plans to build new UK reactors
German nuclear companies pull out of Horizon project for two new plants, with France's EDF most likely to pick up contract

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/29/nuclear-reactors-rwe-eon-energy


Vogtle nuclear plant loan guarantees may not be finalized: NEI

Georgia Power and its partners may not be able to reach terms with the US Department of Energy on $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to finance the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, Alex Flint, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said Thursday.

... http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/8123712

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112710758


U.S. Department of Energy must release Plant Vogtle loan guarantee credit subsidy data
By Rob PaveyStaff WriterThursday, March 29, 2012

An environmental group’s two-year quest for details about the U.S. Department of Energy’s $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee for Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle expansion must be partially honored, according to a U.S. District Court judge.
... http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2012-03-29/us-department-energy-must-release-plant-vogtle-loan-guarantee-credit

U.S. District Court ruling: http://www.cleanenergy.org/images/testimony/032812_FOIA_Decision_Summary_Judgment.pdf

Background: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lawsuit-department-of-energy-hiding-risk-of-833-billion-taxpayer-backed-loan-guarantee-for-proposed-georgia-nuclear-reactors-100361524.html

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112711032

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:51 PM

13. Yes really.

Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed

Which serves only to demonstrate that Cooper dreams the same dreams... and, of course, that anyone can be an "expert" if they hold the views you like.
Yes... those degrees in English and Sociology really make one an expert nuclear power and economics. Why oh why did I waste all those years on actual physics and econ courses? English and Sociology were much easier A's.

Nuclear giants RWE and E.ON drop plans to build new UK reactors

And other companies appear to be lining up to take their place. Not that either outcome would say anything about plants in the US.

Vogtle nuclear plant loan guarantees may not be finalized: NEI

Amd somehow in your imagination that supports the notion that both projects are "on the brink of death"? That must be a pretty big "brink".

U.S. Department of Energy must release Plant Vogtle loan guarantee credit subsidy data

And in your imagination, the only reason that a company would want to keep that data from public disclosure is because there's something in there that would keep them from getting the loan if the public knew about it... and the Obama administration is in on the deception?

Really?

And we can just ignore the flood of companies vying for new reactor builds in the next few years, right? They just haven't gotten the "brink" message.

He also says "As this drama unfolds, the collapse of global nuclear power continues" - which further demonstrates his illusion (and likely yours given your read on the UK reactors). The net global picture is almost entirely unchanged. Hardly a "collapse".

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:15 PM

14. Poor little feller just ain't got a clue...

In 2003 MIT was projecting the cost of nuclear in 2010 at $1500/kw. They projected a decline of $500/kw after the "renaissance" commenced to $1000/kw.

Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?
By Joseph Romm

We’ve known for a while that the cost of new nuclear power plants in this country has been soaring.

Before 2007, price estimates of $4,000 per kilowatt for new U.S. nukes were common, but by Oct. 2007, Moody’s Investors Service report, “New Nuclear Generation in the United States,” concluded, ”Moody’s believes the all-in cost of a nuclear generating facility could come in at between $5,000 to 6,000 per kilowatt.” That same month, Florida Power and Light, “a leader in nuclear power generation,” presented its detailed cost estimate for new nukes to the Florida Public Service Commission. It concluded that two units totaling 2,200 megawatts would cost from $5,500 to $8,100 per kilowatt — $12 billion to $18 billion total! In 2008, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intended to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” That would be more than $6,400 a kilowatt. (And that didn’t even count the 200-mile $3 billion transmission system utility needs, which would bring the price up to a staggering $7,700 a kilowatt.)

Historical data cost on the French nukes have not been as well publicized. But Arnulf Grubler of the International Institute for Applied Systems in Austria, using “largely unknown public records,” was able to perform an analysis of French (and U.S.) nuclear plants for Energy Policy, “The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing” [$ubreq]:
Drawing on largely unknown public records, the paper reveals for the first time both absolute as well as yearly and specific reactor costs and their evolution over time. Its most significant finding is that even this most successful nuclear scale-up was characterized by a substantial escalation of real-term construction costs.




Average and min/max reactor construction costs per year of completion date for U.S. and France versus cumulative capacity completed.

Before discussing that paper, it is worth noting that renewable energy technologies have classic learning curves. Here is solar:



Wind power looks similar....

http://grist.org/nuclear/2011-04-06-does-nuclear-power-have-a-negative-learning-curve/


Finishing what was started long ago:
Watts Bar
Unit 2 construction project

TVA is currently working to finish the partially completed Unit 2. Unit 2 was about 80% complete when its construction was stopped in 1988. The official reason given for halting construction was a decrease in demand for electricity. Unit 2 remains partly completed (several of its parts being used on other TVA units), but on August 1, 2007 the TVA Board approved completion of the unit. Construction resumed on October 15, 2007, with the reactor expected to begin operation in 2012.[1] The project is expected to cost $2.5 billion, and employ around 2,300 contractor workers. Once finished, it is estimated to produce 1,180 megawatts and create around 250 permanent jobs.[2] Unit 2 is expected to be the first new nuclear reactor to come online in the USA in more than a decade.[3]
In February 2012, TVA said the Watts Bar 2 project was running over budget and behind schedule....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_Bar_Nuclear_Generating_Station



Watts Bar reactor cost to $4.5 bln, online '15
Reactor cost up from $2.5 billion estimate
Project was expected to start in 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/05/utiliites-tva-wattsbar-idUSL2E8F548S20120405



Bellefonte
TVA decided in August that it would complete the 1,260-MW Bellefonte 1 reactor. In the past, TVA said the project would cost about $4.9 billion and could enter service by 2020.
The company has said it would take about six years of construction time to finish Bellefonte 1, which was already about 55 percent complete.
But the ultimate cost and timing for Bellefonte depends on work at Watts Bar 2.
TVA started work on the Watts Bar and Bellefonte reactors in the 1970s but put both projects on hold in the next decade due
in part to a projected decrease in power demand.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/05/utiliites-tva-wattsbar-idUSL2E8F548S20120405



New construction with transparent accounting:

Olkiluoto
The first license application for the third reactor (EPR) was made in December 2000[10] and the original commissioning date of the third reactor was set to May 2009.[11] However, in May 2009 the plant was "at least three and a half years behind schedule and more than 50 percent over-budget".[12][13][14] The commissioning deadline has been postponed several times and as of November 2011 operation is set to start in 2014.[15]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant



Flamanville
First concrete was poured for the demonstration EPR reactor at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant on December 6, 2007.[33] This will be the third unit on the site and the second EPR ever constructed. Electrical output will be 1630 MWe (net)[2] and the project involves around € 3.3 billion of capital expenditure from EdF.[34] The following is a condensed timeline for the unit:
From October 19, 2005 to February 18, 2006 the project was submitted to a national public debate.

On May 4, 2006 the decision was made by EDF's Board of Directors to continue with the construction.
Between June 15 and July 31, 2006 the unit underwent a public enquiry, which rendered a "favorable opinion" on the project.[35]

In Summer 2006 site preparation works began.

In December 2007 construction of the unit itself began. This is expected to last 54 months.

In May 2009 Professor Stephen Thomas reported that after 18 months of construction and after a series of quality control problems, the project is "more than 20 percent over budget and EDF is struggling to keep it on schedule".[27]

In 2010 EDF announced that costs had increased 50% to € 5 billion, and commissioning was delayed by about two years to 2014.[36]

In July 2011 EDF announced that the estimated costs have escalated to €6 billion and that completion of construction is delayed to 2016

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized_Reactor#Flamanville_3_.28EDF.27s_first_plant.29



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Response to kristopher (Reply #14)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:24 PM

15. You can always tell when Kris knows he doesn't have a sound argument

He starts with ad-hominem attack and moves on to a random pasting of spam.

We all know that you fervently wish that nuclear power (here and abroad) was in its death throws... but wishing doesn't make it so.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:28 PM

17. Wishing has nothing to do with it.

Economics and risk are the determinative factors.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112711484#post14

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Response to kristopher (Reply #17)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:39 PM

18. Call it a wish... call it a fantasy... whatever

Yearning... longing... daydream... craving...

The point is that it isn't related to reality.

Nuclear power isn't on the brink of death either here or internationally.

There's only a question of how rapidly it will grow and what the net impact will be as older plants retire.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:56 PM

19. Sure, Baggins. Bad economics and high risk always propel growth...

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Response to kristopher (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:08 PM

20. It's your imagination that it's "high risk"

But we've covered that before.

As for bad economics? Everything but coal/gas is "bad economics" - but proper government policy corrects that.

If the expectation is that years down the road power companies are appropriately paying for the REAL risks that they are creating (polution and climate impacts at the top of the list), then cleaner sources of all types get more competitive. A smart company plans for those kinds of possibilities.

And, of course, you miss that whatever reality is... it IS propeling rapid growth in many parts of the world.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #20)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:00 PM

21. Post 14 show that more govt support for nuclear is corporate welfare.

It demonstrates the basic economic problem confronting nuclear - a negative learning curve for it versus a positive learning curve for its renewable competition.

As for risk, based on a forecast price of $1500/kw (see post 14 again) the Congressional Budget Office predicted a better than 50% chance of bankruptcy for these nuclear plants; the forecast cost is now closer to $6000/kw and will almost certainly rise. In the meantime China's entry into the renewable market has pushed down the price of nuclear's competition far faster than the CBO could have foreseen.

I'm sure that in your world, that means the risk of bankruptcy has declined.

It's an odd world you inhabit.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:18 PM

43. The CBO's analysis

I got the number they used wrong, it was $2500/kw not 1500. $1500 was MIT's number.



...For this estimate, CBO assumes that the first nuclear plant built using a federal loan guarantee would have a capacity of 1,100 megawatts and have associated project costs of $2.5 billion. We expect that such a plant would be located at the site of an existing nuclear plant and would employ a reactor design certified by the NRC prior to construction. This plant would be the first to be licensed under the NRC’s new licensing procedures, which have been extensively revised over the past decade.

Based on current industry practices, CBO expects that any new nuclear construction project would be financed with 50 percent equity and 50 percent debt. The high equity participation reflects the current practice of purchasing energy assets using high equity stakes, 100 percent in some cases, used by companies likely to undertake a new nuclear construction project. Thus, we assume that the government loan guarantee would cover half the construction cost of a new plant, or $1.25 billion in 2011.

CBO considers the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high—well above 50 percent. The key factor accounting for this risk is that we expect that the plant would be uneconomic to operate because of its high construction costs, relative to other electricity generation sources. In addition, this project would have significant technical risk because it would be the first of a new generation of nuclear plants, as well as project delay and interruption risk due to licensing and regulatory proceedings.


Note the price - $2.5 billion was to be only for the first plant. Future plants were, according to the assumptions provided by the nuclear industry, expected to have lower costs as economy of scale resulted in savings.

In fact, since the report was written (2003), the estimated cost has risen to numbers up nearly $8 billion/reactor in the case of Progress in Florida.

Wonder what that does to the “risk is that … the plant would be uneconomic to operate because of its high construction costs, relative to other electricity generation sources”?

Does that risk diminish or increase when the price rises from $2.5 billion to $8 billion?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #14)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:11 PM

16. How much did you pay for YOUR solar setup?

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #16)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:29 PM

22. I suspect it's a case of "do what I say...

...not what I do"

I've sneaky suspicion his enthusiasm for BEVs like the Volt is based more on 'talking the talk' than 'walking the walk'.

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Response to Dead_Parrot (Reply #22)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:36 PM

23. That's a really strong allegation to make against someone

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:44 PM

24. A mere suspision

Although he cheerfully confessed to driving a 'full-sized pickup' back on DU2.

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Response to Dead_Parrot (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:00 PM

25. You have a link for that?

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Response to Dead_Parrot (Reply #26)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:36 PM

27. Hey, a lot of people out here have trucks 'cause they live on big ranches

Just having a truck is no reason to condemn someone without having all the facts.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #27)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:20 PM

31. Indeed.

I'm sure kris will let us know when he's ready.

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Response to Dead_Parrot (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:36 AM

40. Heh, to be fair, some people need a pickup.

That can be offset and yes while I think offsets are shit (because they don't actually fix the problem) I can't deny that logically if you're offsetting you're not polluting, in a purely logical and technical sense.

I wouldn't be bragging about a pickup here on these forums though.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:16 PM

30. This exchange sounds precisely like the rightwing attacks on Al Gore.

It could be straight out of Rush Limbaugh's repertoire.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #30)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:26 PM

32. I thought it was a reasonable question

No reason to get so defensive.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #32)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:36 PM

33. Of course you did...

It obviously flows from a discussion about the damage to nuclear caused by the increasing cost of nuclear energy vs the declining cost of solar.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:41 PM

34. You're talking all the time about how cheap solar and wind are

So I thought I would ask you about your setup.

'Cause getting a setup here would be tens of thousands of dollars.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:49 PM

35. Your question had nothing to do with the topic

It was obviously an attempt ala Limbaugh which your partner helped you with. Too bad you couldn't add something of substance on the topic. The cost structure of solar is declining rapidly and there is a good dialogue to be had about how that is poised to expand in the different market sectors.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:00 AM

36. If we're going to get rid of the energy that comes from nuclear today

something needs to make up for it.

If solar isn't ready yet, then we shouldn't give up nuclear energy until it is.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:34 AM

39. Erm, you're the one interjecting economics into the thing.

It's not their fault that generally you couldn't respond with some kind of personal supporting evidence. The reason is that it's damn costly. I should know. I'm planning to build my own solar farm on some land in the desert. It is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:31 AM

42. Well, walking your talk says a lot about your credibility.

 

BEVs are all well and good, but if their foremost policy advocate here isn't an adopter...

I have no idea who you are, what you do for a living (other than you seem to be some sort of self-employed anti-nuclear energy analyst) or if you drive an F-150 or not, but your silence on the topic speaks volumes.

In the past I've described what I've done to reduce my personal carbon footprint and my use of centralized (i.e. coal & nuclear) electricity. I invite you to do the same.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #33)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:31 AM

38. Yeah, and, generally putting your money where your mouth is...

...is the best way to prove the naysayers wrong. Like Al Gore, who does put his money where his mouth is and is completely carbon negative.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:30 AM

37. Al Gore is carbon negative.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 06:51 PM

7. Good. n/t

 

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:55 PM

44. Yes it is, isn't it? nt

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:56 PM

28. Vogtle Nuclear Construction Faces “Additional Delay” Based on Miscalculations in Foundation Concrete

Press release from NCWarn intended for free distribution

Vogtle Nuclear Construction Faces “Additional Delay” Based on Miscalculations in Foundation Concrete

Southern Company presses NRC for expedited license amendment to avoid further slippage at Vogtle, construction of “nuclear island” not yet underway

Durham, NC – Less than two months after receiving a nuclear construction license for new reactors at its Vogtle site in eastern Georgia, Southern Company is already requesting a license amendment to allow changes to the foundation on which the reactor building would be built. A request which the company aimed to file by last Friday seeks to relax standards for the concrete foundation due to Southern’s miscalculation of soil compaction, and the company is pressing regulators for swift approval to avoid what it calls “an additional delay in the construction of the nuclear island basemat structure and subsequent construction activities …”.

In a letter to the NRC dated March 30, 2012, Southern Company admits that construction of the reactor base has not yet begun and that construction will begin in mid-June – if NRC quickly approves the licensing change. It had been thought that pouring of so-called “nuclear concrete” would begin immediately on issuance of the construction license in February, but the letter confirms the long delay.

Friday’s expected License Amendment Request (LAR) is not yet available to the public, but Southern Company’s preliminary notice* about the forthcoming amendment request describes how recent surveys determined that a level foundation for three “nuclear island” buildings cannot be obtained unless the previously allowed one-inch variation in the “mudmat” substrate is increased to four inches. The nuclear island foundation supports the weight of the buildings and equipment and is vital in protecting the plant against earthquakes and other loads.

Southern told NRC that the increased tolerance should not impact earlier analyses or require additional testing, and it warned that the unforeseen need for the foundation change could cause serious delays to numerous parts of the project. But public interest groups pointed out today that foundational concrete is central to the entire project, and that any relaxing of requirements could have serious safety and cost implications.

“Southern Company clearly miscalculated soil compaction in the holes excavated for both reactors at the Vogtle site, which could be an omen about the path forward,” said Jim Warren of NC WARN today. “The NRC simply cannot skip any steps in reviewing this fundamental safety issue just to accommodate the construction schedule, and a public hearing on the design change is warranted.”



32 AMENDMENT REQUESTS = MORE DELAYS?

Additionally, Southern Company has already identified 32 License Amendment Requests it will seek by 2014. The list of LARs** contains little mention of impacts on construction schedule or cost. Nor is it clear how the list of proposed changes might impact a federal lawsuit that is seeking to stop construction at Vogtle.

NC WARN and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability believe that the changes being sought via the LARs could add millions to cost overruns already documented at Vogtle and lead to other construction delays.

The public interest groups noted today that each LAR proceeding normally takes up to one year or longer, and that one or more of the nine nonprofits contesting the Vogtle project might choose to intervene in any of the 32 license amendments being sought. Regardless of interventions, the NRC’s ability to handle so many license amendment reviews is in question.

Also, it is not clear whether Georgia utility law allows Southern to continue construction without the NRC’s full approval of LARs – while pre-charging ratepayers for the plant. And the problems could further complicate a pending and highly controversial $8.3 federal taxpayer loan guarantee.

Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability said today, “The foundation problem raises questions about quality control and highlight concern about slippages in the construction schedule. The foundation problem and the long list of scheduled license amendments show that other changes and unexpected hurdles are ahead for the Vogtle project.”


http://www.ncwarn.org/2012/04/vogtle-nuclear-construction-faces-additional-delay-based-on-miscalculations-in-foundation-concrete-a-news-release-from-nc-warn-and-alliance-for-nuclear-accountability/

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:03 PM

29. Exelon CEO: (nuclear) "is on the backs of the ratepayers, not the backs of the shareholders"

State Help Needed for New Nuclear Units, Exelon Chief Says
By Brian Wingfield - Apr 11, 2012 4:58 PM ET

U.S. utilities will need government help to build nuclear reactors as other forms of electric power become less expensive, a top executive of Exelon Corp. (EXC), the nation’s largest commercial producer of atomic energy, said.

State support may include letting companies recover costs from customers during construction, providing loan guarantees or agreeing to buy power from the plant, Mayo Shattuck III, executive chairman of Chicago-based Exelon, said today at a conference in Washington.

Building reactors may require “the sovereign support of that state, which really means it’s on the backs of the ratepayers, not the backs of the shareholders,” Shattuck said at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 30 awarded Scana Corp. (SCG) a permit to build two reactors at a plant near Columbia, South Carolina, and on Feb. 9 approved Southern Co. (SO)’s plan for two units at its Vogtle plant near Augusta, Georgia. Southern expects its project to cost $14 billion. Scana will cover 55 percent of the estimated $10.2 billion for the South Carolina reactors. The plants, being financed partly by customers, may be among the last in the U.S. this decade...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-11/state-help-needed-for-nuclear-units-exelon-chief-says-correct-.html

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:41 AM

41. Nuclear industry dreams dashed by current economic reality

Nuclear industry dreams dashed by current economic reality
It was the financing model and rates of return that prompted German nuclear giants RWC and E.ON to pull out of UK energy plans

Martin Cohen
guardian.co.uk, Monday 2 April 2012 05.58 EDT



Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant was built just above sea-level, with cliffs bulldozed – a risky plan forced by economic necessity. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The news that nuclear giants RWE and E.ON are dropping plans to build any new UK reactors has sent a toxic cloud not only over Wales, but over the nuclear industry itself.

Of course, everyone knows nowadays, post-Chernobyl, post-Fukushima, that nuclear power plants are not really safe. Even if there are a few noisy die-hards, arguing that the resulting radiation is harmless, and that "hardly anyone" dies as a direct consequence of atomic meltdown, that old canard just won't wash any more.

Other nuclear myths, though, have lingered on. Atomic energy, unveiled by Her Majesty with grand aplomb at Calder Hall half a century ago, still has a hi-tech glamour, an aura of somehow being "the future". The reality that atomic plants are basically steam engines staffed by thousands of casual workers who would otherwise be picking strawberries or digging up roads somehow never impinges. Perhaps one of the most shocking images post-Fukushima, was of unskilled workers hosing sea water on to the smouldering wreckage. Not here the calm, fatherly figures in their white lab-coats in front of consoles worthy of the Starship Enterprise.

But there are solid, practical reasons why nuclear power relies on casual staff using dustpans and brushes to sweep up radioactive dust, or hoses to cool down spent fuel. Best of which is that it's cheaper. An enlightening fact about Fukushima, where the tsunami swept over the safety wall, was that at this point on the coast, the land is well above the level of any waves, tsunami or otherwise. It required considerable ingenuity to bulldoze the cliffs down to sea-level to construct a plant that was then potentially at risk. However, the plant operators knew that nuclear electricity is not actually "too cheap to meter", whatever Eisenhower may have said, and the additional cost of pumping seawater up to the top of the cliffs would have eaten into their bottom line. Hence, the small, if ever so slightly risky, strategy of situating the complex at sea-level.

So the torpedo that has just been launched at the majestic British nuclear ship ...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2012/apr/02/nuclear-dreams-economic-reality-blog

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:55 AM

45. The spreading global economic crisis is going to put a major crimp in nuclear plans in many places.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/business/global/Britains-Nuclear-Plans-Suffer-Setback.html
LONDON — Britain’s plans for a new generation of nuclear reactors suffered a serious setback Thursday when two German energy companies decided to abandon a multibillion-dollar nuclear power project because of costs.

RWE and E.On said they would not proceed with a £15 billion ($24 billion) joint venture called Horizon Nuclear Power to build nuclear power plants in Britain. The companies said that the economic crisis reduced the capital available for major projects and that Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power had put additional financial pressure on the companies.

While the economic crisis won't stop all nuclear development immediately, it may cause countries that are at high economic risk to shelve plans for future builds. What I hope is that this "mood of re-assessment" will then be applied to all energy use. A dose of realism in the nuclear domain could be leveraged into a re-evaluation of energy policies overall, especially with regard to the build-out of coal and gas, and incentives for conservation.

Whether or not a country goes this route will depend on how deeply their culture is wedded to the concept of growth. For instance, I expect the US to keep fracking up the landscape in pursuit of one last gulp of growth. The UK will start fracking big-time as well, but more out of a sense of short-term desperation than Manifest Destiny.

The countries that will cling the tightest to nuclear power are those who need it for military purposes (Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan etc.) or those looking to use it for industrial growth like South Korea.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #45)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 11:06 AM

46. Absolutely... as will low gas prices in some countries.

It's the same thing that's denting the rollout of renewables. Demand growth isn't what we expected it to be a decade ago (even contraction in some areas) and governments have less money to use on incentives necessary to compete with cheaper options.

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