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Funds Dwindle To Dismantle Old Nuclear Plants

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the what's-the-worst-that-could-happen dept.

Power 315

Hugh Pickens writes "The Associated Press reports that the companies who own almost half the nation's nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle the reactors, so many plants may sit idle for decades, posing safety and security risks as a result. The shortfalls in funding have been caused by huge losses in the stock market that have devastated the companies' savings and by the soaring costs of decommissioning. Owners of 19 nuclear plants have won approval to idle their reactors for as long as 60 years, presumably enough time to allow investments to recover and eventually pay for dismantling the plants and removing radioactive material. But mothballing nuclear reactors or shutting them down inadequately presents the risk that radioactive waste could leak from abandoned plants into ground water or be released into the air, and spent nuclear fuel rods could be stolen by terrorists. The NRC has contacted 18 nuclear power plants to clarify how the companies will address the recent economic downturn's effects on funds to decommission reactors in the future, but some analysts worry the utility companies that own nuclear plants might not even exist in six decades."

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315 comments

Weird (0, Flamebait)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28874997)

This really is just plain weird. In a world where we all know that radioactive energy brings with it unsolvable polution. In a world where they tells us that is ok and not true, in a world where in one of the best and most secure countries in the world just last week had to admit they were leaking radiactive material (germany) a company that has made many, many millions from selling this unsafe energy, now gets a very good deal? Let me guess, if we trace back all the ownsers of said company, somewhere in that spaghetti of companies there is a company that has spend big time on this US president or the former US president. This just ain't happening without some very powerfull people getting paid in powerfull cash.

Re:Weird (5, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875041)

In a world where we all know that radioactive energy brings with it unsolvable polution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor [wikipedia.org]

In a world where they tells us that is ok and not true

Of course; one should never let the truth stand in the way of their agenda...

Let me guess, if we trace back all the ownsers of said company, somewhere in that spaghetti of companies there is a company that has spend big time on this US president or the former US president. This just ain't happening without some very powerfull people getting paid in powerfull cash.

Now this is probably true, but it applies to so many areas, I really can't fault nuclear power for the actions of a few companies.

Re:Weird (0)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875091)

It's not who is to blame, it is just that we all participate. But serieus, the breeder is for real, on paper. It has less polution, but the polution is still radioactive. It has less change of a meltdown, but if that meltdown occurs, and it will, it's no difference from chernobyle, except this one wil be bigger. We really are not ready for this kind of power as mankind. Once we find a solution for the radioactive waste we will be. Till that time... there is always the sun. Still a shame someone flagged me as flamebait instead of discussing our different views. Cause flamebait i Was not.

Re:Weird (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875213)

Why decommission and dismantle?

Sell 'em as "undisclosed locations" to Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Paul Wolfowitz and their ilk!

You don't get better by not doing (5, Insightful)

MaizeMan (1076255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875249)

We really are not ready for this kind of power as mankind. Once we find a solution for the radioactive waste we will be. Till that time... there is always the sun..

I once tried to write a python script. Instead of doing what I wanted it crashed my computer. I've decided I'm not ready for the power of programming. Once I'm a good programmer, I might try writing code again.

If we give up nuclear power now we're never going to find a solution. With no nuclear reactors there isn't going to be any incentive. And that doesn't get into the definition of a solution. Yucca mountain and breeder reactors are both solutions, they just weren't acceptable solutions to people such as yourself.

Let's us be honest. You say not now but what that means is not ever.

Aside: I'd much rather live next to a nuclear plant than a coal fired one. If solar becomes economically viable that'd be great too.

Re:You don't get better by not doing (5, Insightful)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875317)

I think that your computer crashing is an acceptable cost of you learning python. I don't think a nuclear power plant "crash" would be worth it.

Just my 2c

Re:You don't get better by not doing (2, Informative)

kspn78 (1116833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875617)

I agree, I would rather not be 'inside' a crash, but it is a fact that Nuclear technology has not been able to develop due to fears that people have about radioactivity ect.
Coal vs Nuclear (Take your pick of these articles)
Coal evil: http://www.restoringeden.org/community/CreationVoice/january2009/coalash [restoringeden.org]
Nuclear evil: http://www.cejournal.net/?p=410 [cejournal.net]
There are issues (primarily with the Radioactive waste) but we still have what amounts to cira 1970/1980 Nuclear technology. pity that.

Re:Weird (2, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875323)

We really are not ready for this kind of power as mankind.

That's irrelevant. The genie is already out of the bottle. Nuclear power is not going away. Even if you ban it in one place, another place will be more than happy to invest in it. Some countries, like France, would be in a lot of trouble if there were a unilateral ban on nuclear power plants and even the U.S., which doesn't have that many plants, would be in dire straits considering nuclear power is an essential part of the grid in several major U.S. cities.

Re:Weird (-1, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875985)

Nuclear power is not going away.

False. It will disappear in due time. The Market will cause this. The last few years alone have shown great strides in truly clean energy production (not to be confused with the often mistaken for clean clean-now-hide-the-dirt-til-later energy production, like nuclear). There are dozens, if not hundreds, of new ways to get to this clean energy... smart people keep mixing it up and it really is quite amazing. Its only a matter of time, and time calculated in decades (not the nuclear standard of calculating time in millennia), before one, or my guess, many new clean energy alternatives become not only viable but very profitable. Nuclear energy is just too expensive (when you add up the cost of the R&D, the educations required, and especially 4000-40000 years of waste storage, and last, not least, the whatif disasters like a chernobyl-scale (not chernobyl-like) disaster).

I seriously doubt fission nuclear energy production will make it to the next century (though the effects of using nuclear power will span far far far beyond that, unfortunately).

Re:Weird (4, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875471)

"There are no solutions, only trade-offs." - Thomas Sowell

Nothing is perfectly safe; everything involves risk and negative outcomes. There are plenty of negative consequences of using pure solar energy, not the least of which is the impact of manufacturing the tools to harness it.

"It has less change of a meltdown, but if that meltdown occurs, and it will, it's no difference from chernobyle, except this one wil be bigger"

Evidence? Support? Simply saying something is true doesn't make it so.

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876049)

Nothing is perfectly safe; everything involves risk and negative outcomes. There are plenty of negative consequences of using pure solar energy, not the least of which is the impact of manufacturing the tools to harness it.

Are you really comparing manufacturing risks to what happened at Chernobyl? Unless making those solar tools might cause something like the UnionCarbide nightmare, I'd say you're a complete idiot. Its not a matter of IF the nuclear accident will happen. Its a matter of WHEN it will AGAIN. Get off the pro-nukes bandwagon... that stuff is crazy deadly, crazy complicated... and crazy expensive once all the costs are realized. This slashdot summary, if nothing else, is proof of the latter. I bet all those owners wish they'd merely blown their investments on dry gas wells or a nice Ponzi scheme... at least then they'd merely be out all their money, as it is, they're broke AND holding a good amount of deadly nuclear waste (can't be cheap to have to deal with that crap).

Re:Weird (5, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875705)

It has less polution, but the polution is still radioactive.

I have shocking news for you: Your granite counter top is radioactive! OH NOES.

It has less change of a meltdown, but if that meltdown occurs, and it will, it's no difference from chernobyle, except this one wil be bigger.

Yeah. Because it's not like the Chernobyl disaster had anything to do with the design of the reactor (ignoring that even with that horrible design it took ridiculous amounts of human stupidity to make it happen since I'm assuming that's what you're assuming will always happen). It's not like you can design a reactor so that it can't meltdown, or can't meltdown in such a way that it explodes and blows its containment. It's not like the next and only other major nuclear accident was far smaller than Chernobyl. And it's not like we learned anything from that with regards to reactor design... For example self-regulating designs where the reactor getting too hot means the reaction will slow down. Nope, that doesn't exist.

No, no matter what, meltdowns are inevitable, and will be bigger than previous ones, because... why, again?

We really are not ready for this kind of power as mankind. Once we find a solution for the radioactive waste we will be.

Solution: Re-use it until it is no longer useful as a radioactive fuel of any kind, meaning it is no longer particularly radioactive and thus not a particular danger. Then stick it in the ground without having to worry about security or stability since it's neither useful nor particularly dangerous. Yes the half-life will be really long, but half-life is inversely proportional to radioactivity which is entirely the point.

So, I guess we're ready! Bring on the nuclear reactors!

Till that time... there is always the sun.

Yeah we're a long way from producing all our energy from the sun (directly anyway). I'm all for more of it, including solar-powered microwave satellites. Oh but wait, surely there's no way to design one such that it doesn't fry people on the ground in a swatch of destruction!

Still a shame someone flagged me as flamebait instead of discussing our different views. Cause flamebait i Was not.

Indeed that was an unfair mod, and they were almost certainly using it as a surrogate for "-1, uninformed paranoia" which doesn't exist for good reason.

Re:Weird (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876149)

The biggest problem with the reactor at Chernobyl is that the design did not include a concrete vault capable of containing the clouds of debris ejected from the event site. I haven't been keeping up, but last I heard the vault they built after the fact was falling apart and kicking up clouds of radioactive dust.

Re:Weird (0, Offtopic)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876055)

Still a shame someone flagged me as flamebait instead of discussing our different views. Cause flamebait i Was not.

Uh, yeah, you were, with both comments. You start off spreading FUD which has been addressed hundreds of times, and then follow it up by ranting about political corruption. All of that in response to an article which has more to do with economics than nuclear safety. If I had mod points I'd have a hard time deciding whether to mod you flamebait, troll, or off-topic, since all three clearly apply.

Re:Weird (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876077)

Every melt down isn't a Chernobyl. Some are just Three Mile Islands. And if you think TMI is an argument against nuclear power's safety, you really need to do more reading and less watching of movies titled, "the china syndrome."

I'm surprised.... (3, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875469)

With the current administration and its very obvious ties to the environmentalist and alternative energy lobbies, I am very surprised it took 6 months for scare mongering about nuclear power plants to begin. Nuclear power has already proven to be the safest means of producing large quantities of energy, even if you include the most EXTREME and exaggerated outcomes of all nuclear catastrophes combined (lets even throw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Of course, you'd have to include all the people who die in the production of coal or oil over the course of the centuries, but nuclear comes out the winner. We are just unfortunate enough to live in a time where the people in power grew up under the shadow of nuclear annihilation. This child hood trauma has caused the lefty environmentalists to forsake the cleanest possible energy alternative available that allows us to maintain our standards of living. Sure, alternative energy supplies will help increase supply and lower prices eventually, but nuclear is the only way to ween our dependence off of fossil fuels in the short term (20-50 years). I mean, what about global warming?!?! I mean, Climate Change. Look, even if you are a global warming / climate change / or you dont believe in global warming / climate change , or just a skeptic either way, the benefits of nuclear are undeniable. Oh, and I'd be more than happy to have one of those plants in my backyard. Lots of high paying jobs, and a cool landmark on the horizon. Probably cheap electricity as a payoff to locals to boot.

Re:I'm surprised.... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875725)

There is a huge problem with nuclear power, and that is it isn't profitable. Without profit you end up with government/taxpayer controlled monopolies with no innovation, sup-par power output or sub-par safety, and the fact that someone will get paid -way- too much with mine and your money that you are forced to pay in taxes. Not that it is much different with private companies due to most of them having a (sadly legal and sadly legally enforced) monopoly, but at least then you don't have to suffer through an illusion that they have your best interests.

Re:I'm surprised.... (2, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875821)

Trains aren't profitable either, but those aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Sometimes the government subsidizes private business for the greater public good (although most of the time they subsidize business due to "campaign contributions").

Re:I'm surprised.... (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875911)

And many times those contributions end up failing for the general public. To use your example, the government decided it would be smart to just give away land left and right to whoever made railroads, this lead to a bunch of people becoming filthy rich, buying competitors and ending up with a huge monopoly.

Really, the only reason trains aren't really going anywhere is because they are out of the traffic and can be used like buses (subways, light rail, etc) and the fact the infrastructure is already built and doesn't require a ton of work.

Re:I'm surprised.... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875959)

It's not profitable up against dirty coal or natural gas.

Pass any carbon dioxide reduction program with teeth and those will no longer be as profitable. Traditional dirty coal is already banned except for grandfathered plants, and clean coal plants are costing as much as a nuclear plant - and that's before you figure in the daily fuel costs or the extra expense of carbon capture.

Natural gas, well, we'll run out of that quickly enough.

Wind and Solar suffer from the problem that they're not demand based and they generally cost even more than nuclear once you figure in their relatively lousy capacity factor - a Nuclear power plant will produce 90+% of it's faceplate rating year in and year out - Sun and Wind generators are generally around 30%, some lucky sites closer to 50%, but they're relatively rare.

Re:I'm surprised.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876143)

Nuclear power has already proven to be the safest means of producing large quantities of energy, even if you include the most EXTREME and exaggerated outcomes of all nuclear catastrophes combined (lets even throw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

Is that including the mind-boggling large investment our government put into nuclear energy production (while researching the best fuel for the best bomb)?
btw the statement quoted above is a lie. You are a liar, antirelic. Including the catastrophes in the accounting is precisely what nuclear proponents don't do (didn't you get the memo?) because of the obvious. Luckily for you and them, as it turns out, human life doesn't really have much value if its not yours.

Re:I'm surprised.... (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876375)

btw the statement quoted above is a lie. You are a liar, antirelic. Including the catastrophes in the accounting is precisely what nuclear proponents don't do (didn't you get the memo?) because of the obvious. Luckily for you and them, as it turns out, human life doesn't really have much value if its not yours.

You're a liar, Mr. AC, or just an ignorant retard, because you apparently have no clue how many people die mining coal [typepad.com] . Not so many per year in a country like the U.S. (compared to how many in modern times for nuclear), but still thousands per year in China, which is how things were not that long ago even in the 1st World. Have more people died mining coal than have died as a result of nuclear power, even counting those killed intentionally by atomic bombs? Yes.

But yes, those human lives don't have much value since you had no clue they existed.

If you only count accidents, then the total deaths from nuclear power is less than a single year of coal mining in China, or just a few years of mining in the U.S. in the period when the nuclear disasters occurred. In the year Three Mile Island occured, the second worst accident ever, more people died mining in the U.S. than died from the incident. Yes that includes long-term health effects, which coal mining isn't very good for either if you didn't know.

It's not the greatest comparison ever, since ultimately what matters is modern safety standards in the country in question (the U.S. in this case). It is a true comparison though. And you'd still be very hard-pressed and hard-tarded to suggest that nuclear power is more dangerous than coal power today.

Another one stuck in the 1970s (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875629)

Oh no, another smug armchair nuclear idiot that thinks we are still living in the 1970s before the French put in the work that showed fast breeders are a very expensive and difficult dead end.
I suggest instead looking at the Gen IV reactors - it will take a lot of work instead of just sitting back and being smug but we'll end up with something that actually does the job we want it to do.

Re:Another one stuck in the 1970s (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876183)

Oh no, another smug armchair nuclear idiot that thinks we are still living in the 1970s before the French put in the work that showed fast breeders are a very expensive and difficult dead end.

I don't suppose you'd want to provide some citations for that nonsen ... err .. "claim" ... would you? Because there are plenty of nations still working on different breeder designs, and almost every past shutdown of a breeder reactor seems to have been motivated mainly (if not entirely) by politics.

Re:Weird (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875857)

OMG breeder reactor! Yes, yes of course! Breeder reactors make nuclear waste a GOOD THING by using it for fuel, and producing LESS but MORE DEADLY waste! And when the breeder reactor's owners don't have the money to clean it up after its usefulness has run its course, well... lemmie read that wiki again... yes! yes of course! MORE breeder reactors will fix even that!


/fukusarcasm


I am sick to death of nuclear proponents throwing breeder reactors around like they are the Second Coming or something. At some point it'd be nice if someone just said "hey... we're using too much power... we need to find ways to cut back on that" instead of "full speed ahead! Breeder reactors!"

1) they are not clean, because
2) the waste they produce is even deadlier than regular nuclear waste, and
3) they're not a solution for the current problem of what to do with the current waste as that waste is stored all over, and can't safely be transported

wtf is perpetuating this obsessive love affair with fission? The trillions of dollars the US government has spent on its R&D to make it affordable? a power bill that is omg 40% less? Is that all? Because if you could remove that R&D our gov't so generously gave (our money) for the rest of the world (while figuring out the best way to make fuel for bombs), then nuclear power ends up COSTING MUCH MORE than, say, solar, wind or any other 'nice' energy generation. Further, if we gave the clean alternative energies a fair chance, they'd end up producing cheaper energy than fission in a very short time, a decade, two at most.

Bite the bullet. pay a little more for power now, and poison our children, their children, their children times 100, a little less. kthx

Re:Weird (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876153)

At some point it'd be nice if someone just said "hey... we're using too much power... we need to find ways to cut back on that" instead of "full speed ahead! Breeder reactors!"

...and like every douchebag, environmental, leftist nut-job, you point the finger at everyone else and expect them to change while you sit on your pillar, barking orders from on high.

Well, I have one finger extended, and it's not pointing at you.

Why don't you lead the charge, get rid of your energy hungry computer and internet connection, and go drink down a room temperature cup of STFU?

I say this as someone who has cut his electrical usage by almost 50% without sacrificing "standard of living" or buying into the whole green-energy-solar-wind bullshit or goes around expecting a medal. I don't demand that other people do it and I could give two rats asses about the planet; I am a greedy fuck who enjoys sending $500+ LESS to the POCO each year. But that's just me.

In short, "fuck you".

Re:Weird (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876237)

Further, if we gave the clean alternative energies a fair chance, they'd end up producing cheaper energy than fission in a very short time, a decade, two at most.

I was ok with ignoring the irrational hysteria in the rest of your rant, but I cant let this blatant lie pass unchallenged. Please provide your sources for this claim, or retract it.

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876355)

I don't respond to Anonymous Cowards.

:(

Re:Weird (3, Insightful)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875951)

Wow! Your first link makes the "Breeder Reactor" sound just so wonderful.
Unfortunately you omitted to mention that it still produces a waste that is beyond lethal for 25,000 years.

If you care to bring the facts to bear about nuclear energy, mainly what do we now do with the waste as well as the spent facility when all's said and done with ... for the next 25,000 years! The only answer anyone can give, a stupid blank look and shrug, will only indicate complete incompetence and a lack of thinking this one through, so don't bother.

Worse, now the companies that own and operate theses plants are going belly up and walking away from the retired facilities and leaving them for the states, counties and towns to deal with.

Sounds criminal to me. Sure the power was cheep. But the leftovers pose too many new problems that will have to be dealt with for thousands of generations to come. I've never been a fan of nuclear technology. Now my reservations are verified by the incompetence of the corporations, lobbyists, and politicians involved in producing this resulting product.

I remain unconvinced that nuclear technology is worth the trouble, expense, and/or effort.
I have a much better idea, lets invest some effort in harnessing the power of the sun and call it a day.
Instead of this exercise in stupidity.

Re:Weird (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876061)

I found an interesting document from the IAEA. Now, I'm not a big fan of UN run organizations (most are socialist leaning), but this is report is fairly unbiased and presents good arguments on both sides.

http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1123_prn.pdf [iaea.org]

This report talks about making nuclear plants profitable compared to other energy sources and gives a bit of analysis surrounding the energy debate. A good read.

I know! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875013)

Why not let the government bail them out? That is what the government does, right?

Actually... (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875647)

The government should be running the nuclear plants. It would eliminate problems like this one which are born of the corporate need to 'enhance shareholder value', and keep the people running the plant focused on performance and safety.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875721)

The government should be running the nuclear plants. It would eliminate problems like ... performance and safety.

... because the state-owned model worked wonders at the Chernobyl plant!

Re:Actually... (2, Informative)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875791)

The US Nuclear Navy has operated for nearly fifty years and the only two 'accidents' have been related to the submarines the reactors were in going down due to other factors. On the other hand, the Soviet Navy has managed to turn a large portion of the North Sea into a large radioactive experiment. As much disdain as the 'free marketers' love to throw at the government, we need to recognize that the US government is quite capable of handling complex projects with a great deal of safety.

Re:Actually... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875925)

That isn't the government, that is contractors hired by the government. There can be a great deal of difference.

On the other hand, contractors are capable of creating a great deal of mess, as well. (Look up the history of the Hanford nuclear reservation.)

Re:Actually... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875727)

Not to mention that if the US Navy can run as many nuclear powered vessels as it does without accident, they can surely handle land based ones without too much trouble.

Reminds me of something at school (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875037)

We were touring the research reactor. The topic came up of how many students were majoring in Nuclear Engineering (or maybe it was just a specialization; not sure if it was actually a major). It was noted that there was exactly ONE student. Some people thought it was a strange major, since no plants were being built. Somebody else gave their $0.02 that the guy would be very much in demand--experts would be needed to dismantle plants.

I wonder what that guy is doing now.

Re:Reminds me of something at school (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875453)

The only person I knew in the nuclear program at school was planning on going into medicine.

Re:Reminds me of something at school (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875579)

He could be working for any number of companies that operate power reactors. Or for any number of places that operate research reactors. Or for any number of consultants and analysts on the maintenance/modification of those reactors. Or for the companies that design, build, or do research on the design and construction, of those reactors. ("None being built in the US" != "none being built anywhere".)
 
Then there is the DoE, in it's regulatory or research branches. NASA does reactor research as well. (And other branches are involved too... The EPA for just one example.)
 
Then there's the biggie... The Navy's nuclear power program. Between the sub base, the naval shipyard, and the supporting contractors, there's probably a thousand or more within a few miles of me.
 
The demand isn't large, but there's a lot more to the field than decommissioning existing reactors.

Re:Reminds me of something at school (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875847)

Actually, they are building reactors in the USA. Besides the S9G reactors required for building Virginia class [wikipedia.org] nuclear submarines, and the reactors used in carriers, then there is stuff like this AP1000 deal [guardian.co.uk] .

Same as gas stations (4, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875045)

Why is this treated any different then a gas station?

Gas stations have to put a certain amount in escrow to allow for digging up the storage vessels and decontaminating. Why don't nuclear reactors have to set aside the money before they're even allowed to build?

Re:Same as gas stations (5, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875093)

Why don't nuclear reactors have to set aside the money before they're even allowed to build?

They did. They just set aside the money in the stock market.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875157)

They should have been required to set it aside in a financial vehicle where the value never drops below the amount invested.

Re:Same as gas stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875261)

If only some such safe investment mechanism available!

Anyone have any TIPS where one could invest in something safe? You know, protected against inflation, perhaps something insured by the treasury.

Sure would be nice, versus having to place it into that thar stock market.

(in my opinion, penalize them a LOT for every year they have to postpone it. If they want to gamble everyones safety on something like this, their shareholders had better PAY DEARLY)

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875417)

>Anyone have any TIPS where one could invest in something safe? You know, protected against inflation, perhaps something insured by the treasury.

Closest thing to meeting your requirements currently is US Treasury Bills. Of course, you have to get out to at least 7 years to get over 3% interest. The real trick is to beat inflation, which is currently very low, but may not stay that way.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875529)

Woooosh! TIPS [treasurydirect.gov]

Of course, those didn't exist when the nuclear reactors were built.

Re:Same as gas stations (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875947)

Inflation isn't low. It is the official government numbers for inflation that are low. In recent years there has been a very big difference.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

weilawei (897823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875345)

This is rather difficult without the stock market or some sort of investment--or a continual upkeep. Keeping the original dollar amount isn't really the same as keeping the value. The price of decommissioning a reactor appears to be going up.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875503)

How about TIPS?

Not an option historically, but the last few years...

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875399)

Why not just require them to build reactors that will teleport themselves into the sun when it is time to decommission them.

It's equally possible.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875595)

hah, there is no such financial vehicle

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876399)

They should have been required to set it aside in a financial vehicle where the value never drops below the amount invested.

So, uh, not cash [wikipedia.org] then, right?

Re:Same as gas stations (2, Interesting)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875121)

Even if they had, the money may be worth less now, not enough to cover decommissioning costs. Personally, cynic that I am, I feel that this is just another case of the recession bogeyman being used as a catch-all excuse.

Re:Same as gas stations (2, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875177)

From the NRC [nei.org] website:

Nuclear power plants are required by the NRC to put aside funds for their decommissioning during operations. Companies work with federal and state regulators to ensure enough money is set aside. These funds are not under the direct control of the companies and cannot be used for purposes other than decommissioning.

It then lists the types of decomissioning funds in page 3. I assume the issue here is they put the money into an external sinking fund invested in a trust fund. Then the market bottom fell off. Ah, the wonders of capitalism.

Re:Same as gas stations (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875879)

On the other hand, nuclear power plants are definitely in it for the long haul, so conservative index funds are probably their best bet. I'm willing to bet the 'not enough money' is using very conservative estimates for future earnings and very pessimistic values for how much it'll cost to decommission.

Personally, I'd be building a bunch of new nuclear reactors to help compliment the other green sources. Nuclear power provides power when YOU want it, and it's very economical compared to the other green sources.

because laws change faster than finances do (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875209)

We have family friends who own a franchised gas station. Well they wanted to do some upgrades which meant new tanks; they purchased an old mostly hard case store. Well to make a long story short.

You cannot out pace the ability of feel good but short sighted politicians to impose fees/levies that simply make some business unsustainable. In other words, their best option was to rotate each store into a sub type structure and then let the subs who were burdened by feel good laws to bankrupt.

See, if they wanted to just keep the existing problems, like possible leakage, they were all fine and dandy. If they wanted to keep old pumps (still retrofitted with reclamation nozzles) they could. It was actually their audacity to fix things that sunk them. In the end they determined that they failed to do adequate research.

The original owner? Totally scot free - see he blew it by buying more than he could sustain an his properties were auctioned and such.

I would not doubt that the original planned cost to decommission a plant is far far from what it actually cost today with all the new laws, local, state, and federal.

The real question that we should all be asking is, why when we have a great example of "global warming approved" generation, one that many in Europe embrace, are we still held hostage by the green whackos out of California. Don't deny it, these freaks for whom no compromise exist because of their own internal factions end up leaving us with messes that are far worse that what they proclaim to protect us from.

We have the technology and man power to be free of relying on factional areas of the world for power yet we go out of our way to make any solution a miserable mess.

Re:because laws change faster than finances do (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875391)

Are you blaming the "green whackos" for wanting the nuclear power plants to be properly decommissioned? I would think it would be more the NIMBY crowd who don't want anything reactive left over. You have any examples? Or do you just hate hippies?

Re:Same as gas stations (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875609)

Gas stations have to put a certain amount in escrow to allow for digging up the storage vessels and decontaminating. Why don't nuclear reactors have to set aside the money before they're even allowed to build?

Probably because back when they built 'em, decommissioning wasn't an issue.

The costs of decommissioning shouldn't be soaring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875075)

A single dipole switch changes between commissioned and decommissioned mode. It shouldn't take that much more money in labor. I smell a rat.

Integral Fast Reactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875083)

There's no reason there has to be radioactive waste stockpiled at these sites.
http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/06/23/nuclear-power-going-fast/

No worries (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875107)

I've got some buyers in the middle east all lined up.

There is an alternative... (2, Funny)

qtzlctl (1538903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875123)

Lease the plants, specifically the plant's basements. In an year or two the required payment will more than pay off the costs, proving be quite a substantial investment for everyone. While some will be quick to argue that such an act would leave the subterranean structures flooded with geeks oozing from radiation, the Army will soon discover that it has enough material to bottle up and send straight to Communist Russia.

Re:There is an alternative... (1)

AnonymousIslander (1603121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875237)

Lease the plants, specifically the plant's basements. In an year or two the required payment will more than pay off the costs, proving be quite a substantial investment for everyone. While some will be quick to argue that such an act would leave the subterranean structures flooded with geeks oozing from radiation, the Army will soon discover that it has enough material to bottle up and send straight to Communist Russia.

Damn straight, fuck regulation It's time to let new and innovating industried move in: all hail Tomacco [wikipedia.org] , that which will save us from this Great Recession!!!

Re:There is an alternative... (1)

AnonymousIslander (1603121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875295)

Lease the plants, specifically the plant's basements. In an year or two the required payment will more than pay off the costs, proving be quite a substantial investment for everyone. While some will be quick to argue that such an act would leave the subterranean structures flooded with geeks oozing from radiation, the Army will soon discover that it has enough material to bottle up and send straight to Communist Russia.

Damn straight, fuck regulation It's time to let new and innovating industried move in: all hail Tomacco [wikipedia.org] , that which will save us from this Great Recession!!!

See it will help us! Although the tomacco has ruined my spelling and grammar I no longer have the desire to smoke weed... or eat for that matter but who cares?! We can all have tomacco!

Re:There is an alternative... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875379)

Hmm, I could get superpowers or certain death. Its a win-win situation.

The NRC should build this into the cost. (0, Redundant)

wiggles (30088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875147)

The NRC should require the company to hold in trust sufficient funding to dismantle a plant in the event of the company going under, or to take out an insurance policy to guard against this event.

Re:The NRC should build this into the cost. (2, Insightful)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875445)

Good luck with the insurance policy. As AIG shows, what makes anybody think the insurance company will have the money - or even be around - in 60 years to cover the cost of dismantling a reactor?

The only way you can get nuclear power to pan out financially is if you have the government own and run all the reactors on what amounts to a non-profit basis (as in France, with EDF, which is something like 80% government-owned). You can't even get private insurance for the things (and I wouldn't trust private insurers to pay out in the event of a major incident, anyhow).

Even in France, EDF isn't in great financial shape. They don't have enough money to support their pension obligations and all decommissioning expenses, although presumably the French government has made enough money off EDF over the years they could pick up some of that tab and still ultimately leave taxpayers in the black.

The reality is, fission power never has and never will make much financial sense. When France went nuclear in the post WWII era there weren't any viable alternatives for them, but clearly that's no longer the case today for many nations, the United States included.

Re:The NRC should build this into the cost. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875593)

I recommend AIG, they will not poorly manage your insurance policy or tie it to any high risk financial activity.

the plant is the lesser problem (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875235)

With the demise of Yucca Mountain, the spent fuel [Radioactive Waste], which the US Government is supposed to accept, will remain stored on-site for the forseeable future.

Re:the plant is the lesser problem (4, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875673)

Not really, since burying the radioactive "waste" is a huge waste; more than 99% of the energy has yet to be extracted from it. (Which is also why it is so dangerous and long lived.) This "waste" can be burned in fast reactors though, and there is enough to supply them for hundreds of years before any further mining is necessary.

All that needs to be done is build the reactors. General Electric even has a design ready for a commercial reactor, called the S-PRISM. This is modeled after the Integral Fast Reactor, a modern design which addresses all of the concerns about nuclear power.

Half Life (1)

johnkennethhunter (1326527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875245)

Is everyone sure this is all about money and nothing to do with allowing activated products in the reactors to die down to an acceptable radioactive level for workers to go in and start ripping things apart?

Re:Half Life (1)

Nef (46782) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875939)

If it's activated material you're worried about, you'll be waiting a VERY long time for tear down. In most PWR (more common than BWR in the states) reactors, an hour is sufficient time to allow radiation levels to approach background. Obviously the longer the particular plant has been in operation, the higher the background will be, but you'll get more radiation from living in Denver, CO (or taking a lot of high altitude flights) for a year than you will in your time doing decommissioning on a nuclear plant.

Stock markets as savings? (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875271)

What idiot came up with *that* idea?

Hey, we got these huge savings that can help us when we need it. Let's put it into the stock market. Because that one is known for its century-long stability. And the value of our stocks will hold perfectly stable, even in the worst times.

Protip: USE SOME FREAKING REAL GOODS! Gold, silver, countries, or things that go *up* in bad times. (Like bank manager incomes!)

Re:Stock markets as savings? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875301)

Clarification: "go *up*".
Not "blow *up*". (That's only for the times, when you have no savings left. ;)

Re:Stock markets as savings? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875459)

Like many other things that we've done as a nation over the last few decades, we laid our best hopes on something that was far too easy to create artificial value in.

And watch, it's going to happen again. With the Dow on the upswing we're going to see people dumping their interests into the hazard yet again but it is nothing more than a bubble based on employee cuts and assets sold for these businesses to stay afloat. The fat they gained in the last quarter will quickly be squandered if people buy into the idea that the economy is on the up and up.

Re:Stock markets as savings? (1, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875733)

What idiot came up with *that* idea?

Remember when our last President thought it would be a great idea to replace Social Security with individual investment accounts?

Remember the people who were championing it? Maybe not the same people as those running the nuke plants, but they wore similar clothes and have similar titles. Is it really that surprising they'd think this way?

Why Decomission?? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875313)

Unless the plants in question are simply too difficult/expensive to upgrade, nobody should be decommissioning any nuclear power plants!

Cripes! Here we are looking at Cap & Tax legislation allegedly attempting to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, and they want to decommission power plants that have among the lowest rates of CO2 emission?

Makes one wonder if the goal isn't so much to reduce CO2 emissions as it is to raise the cost of electricity and raise taxes, along with making certain politically-connected people and organizations tons of money from carbon credits while crippling the US private sector to make way for further government takeovers of the US economy.

"I don't want to run car companiH^H^H^H^H^ the nations' power generation."

Strat

Re:Why Decomission?? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875615)

Many of them are already on extended licenses. The issue is that steel gets weaker when exposed to radiation for decades, so to keep operating a plant, you have to rebuild much of it, which is pretty close to decommissioning it.

The Gundersens have been watching this (2, Informative)

thereimns (1110955) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875333)

For some background on the Gundersens' work on the Vermont Yankee plant, see this story from the Burlington weekly from a few years ago: http://www.7dvt.com/2007/fission-accomplished [7dvt.com]

Attention all Linux users (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875359)

Y'all suck dog cocks.

Too Dangerous to Fail (5, Insightful)

jon_cooper (746199) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875373)

Looks like the nuclear industry looked at the big bank "too big to fail" strategy and liked it. Why bother cleaning up the mess when they can just let the taxpayers pay for the clean-up.

Rods? (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875385)

Fuel rods are replaced about every 18 months, and there are already systems in place for dealing with them. I don't imagine they would be the hard part of decommissioning; all the neutron-bombarded steel, lead, and concrete are the problem.

Gosh (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875403)

if only we had a way to reprosses the waste until it has a short half-life~

Motive? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875495)

Owners of 19 nuclear plants have won approval to idle their reactors for as long as 60 years, presumably enough time to allow investments to recover and eventually pay for dismantling the plants and removing radioactive material.

What a ridiculous assertion of motive. That might be what is in the press releases, but the important part is that it is long enough for the current executives and boards of directors to not be adversely affected. With any luck, they'll get big bonuses for successfully kicking the can down the road.

Yawn. Nothing to see here. Move along. (5, Informative)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875561)

As the article says, nuclear power plants keep dedicated funds for decomissioning those plants. These funds are in the stock market.

The stock market took a beating.

Greenpeace and other anti-nuke wackos found an opportunity to say idiotic things like:
It's like a sitting time bomb. The notion that you can just walk away from these sites and everything will be hunky-dory is just not true."

Speaking as someone who works at a nuclear power plant, uh, yeah, for various definitions of 'walk away', you can do just that.

If by walk away you mean:
1) Defuel the reactor, offload all fuel into the spent fuel pool.
2) Drain all primary systems of water and process it (A daily occurance at any plant anyway)
3) Maintain enough staffing to secure the facility and watch the THREE relatively small pumps and TWO heat exchangers required to keep the fuel safe until it can be safely stored in a dry cask.
4) Store the dry casks on site until Yucca opens, or they can be re-processed.

(While they will be guarded, these dry casks are not a significant security risk. Terrorists aren't running around with the heavy rigging equipment required to handle these casks, and they most certainly will never control any facility for the hours required to get any nuclear material.)

That's the nuclear definition of 'walk away.' We take our jobs much more seriously than Greenpeace clowns take anything. They're a professional agitation group who currently only exists to generate enough attention to collect enough funds to continue to exist.

You might have to keep some fans running in contaminated areas until they're cleaned up, but compared to actually operating a nuclear power plant, the safe long term shutdown of a plant requires minimal resources.

I love this part too:
Last week, British officials reported on a 2007 leak in a cooling tank at the decommissioned Sizewell-A nuclear plant. If the leak had not been promptly discovered, officials said, nuclear fuel rods could have caught fire and sent airborne radioactive waste along the English coast, harming plant operators or the public.

The job of the people there is to promptly discover these sorts of things. There are loud alarms available to help them with just that. It's not a lucky happenstance that the leak was promptly discovered.

What else?
Sixteen more are being reviewed, and the commission expects to receive 21 more applications in the next several years. To date, the NRC hasn't turned down any license extensions.

In case anyone was wondering, the reason the NRC hasn't turned down any license extension applications is two fold:
1) The standards the plants have to meet are published, and not a secret.
2) The NRC bills maybe $250 a man-hour for the thousands of hours required to review these applications.

No utility is going to pay the NRC millions of dollars to review their application unless they're sure they meet the published NRC standards.

and one more:
Plant operators appear to benefit from NRC rules that don't require them to set aside money to store old nuclear fuel...

because nuclear power plants pay ongoing fees to the federal government to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. $25 billion dollars have been paid so far pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 [cbo.gov] and the federal government only has the Yucca Mountain debacle to show for it.

Re:Yawn. Nothing to see here. Move along. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875745)

Last week, British officials reported on a 2007 leak in a cooling tank at the decommissioned Sizewell-A nuclear plant. If the leak had not been promptly discovered, officials said, nuclear fuel rods could have caught fire and sent airborne radioactive waste along the English coast, harming plant operators or the public.

The job of the people there is to promptly discover these sorts of things. There are loud alarms available to help them with just that. It's not a lucky happenstance that the leak was promptly discovered.

Actually, it was a lucky happenstance that the leak was found:

Normally, a leak as large as the one that occurred at Sizewell would have triggered an alarm, but the alarm was not working, causing some to believe the site should have been prosecuted which the HM inspection team suggested, however no action was taken.

In fact, the only reason an explosion did not occur is because a worker in the laundry room noticed water was leaking into the room and told engineers.

Source [fairhome.co.uk] . Another source [guardian.co.uk] .

Re:Yawn. Nothing to see here. Move along. (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875757)

Fair enough. We do pass these sorts of incidents around in the nuclear industry to prevent recurrance, though I confess I don't recall reading this particular one.

Re:Yawn. Nothing to see here. Move along. (2, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875915)

What is the 60 year cost of maintaining these operations at a typical decommissioned site? I mean salaries, taxes, expendables, equipment maintenance, amortization, and renewal, land use, security, utilities, insurance, finance costs, etc.

Re:Yawn. Nothing to see here. Move along. (5, Informative)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876363)

That's a fair question. I'm not a finance guy but I'll answer to the best of my ability.

Finance cost: 0. Everthing should be paid for. Capital costs required to maintain or even replace three pumps, two heat exchangers, and the associated piping should be minimal.

Land use & taxes: ~$100,000 (guess) Whatever property taxes are. Varies from zero to millions for an active nuclear power plant. The facility would not generate any profits, so property taxes would be the only ones applicable.

Utilities: less than $325,000 / year (Assuming 1,000 hp in total pump power, based on the required pumps installed in my plant. In reality, much smaller pumps would be required to cool just the fuel, and would be installed as the first-year savings would pay for them entirely.)

Staffing: ~$1.6 million per year. (assuming 3 technicians at all times, 5 crews required for 24 hr coverage, $80,000 a year salary, + 1/3 for benefits & taxes.)

Security: ~$1.6 million per year. (more people would be required than staffing, but Security guards are paid less than technicians, and the required number would vary with the plant layout. I'm assuming the high security area would be relatively small compared to the area required for an operating plant.)

Equipment replacement & expendables: ~$100,000 a year, average, high side guess.

Insurance: $250,000 a year, Wild-ass guess. Everything is so over-built, and the insurance companies visit us frequently to evaluate their risk, so I doubt it would be much more than that.

That adds up to about $4 million. As per the nuclear industry standard, I've probably vastly overestimated everything.

If you use a time value of money calculation ending 60 years out, given a 6% rate of return (from the article), assume $0 value at the end, paid quarterly, then about $64 million dollars should do the job.
(calculator here. [zenwealth.com] )

That doesn't account for inflation, but since i've probably guessed high on everything I'm not going to feel too bad about that.

Further, after two decades, all your fuel can go into dry cask storage, changing your yearly utility cost down to maybe $10,000 a year for lights and air conditioning.

This would also reduce the staffing required on site even further. Purchasing the canisters and the concrete bunkers to store them in will be expensive, but let's assume that the savings on utilities and personel for the remaining 40 years will cover this as well.

So, there's a rough answer for you: A $64 million dollar fund should be sufficient to maintain a nuclear power plant safely shut down for 60 years.

Now if you want to wipe the power plant from the site completely, that will cost you hundreds of millions of dollars, and the article talks about that. Simply shutting it down and maintaining the fuel safely won't cost nearly as much.

This article's author is behind the times. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28875613)

I currently work for a company that is under contract to decommission the Hanford Site KE Reactor by Sept. 31st, 2011. The money DOE is paying us with? The $1B Obama set aside in the ARRA specifically for this problem. If our company is successful/safe in the decommissioning of this first reactor, we will get contracts for a minimum of 9 more.

The author has an agenda.

Besides, it was in the DESIGN PLAN for the rectors to idle for 75 years after they are shut down, this is so the unspent plutonium has a chance to decay into something more stable. The only reason decommissioning is all of the sudden become a big deal is because of the change in perception of security that has come this decade.

Hold on Folks! There's no Problem! (3, Informative)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875637)

Always remember: Nuclear energy generation is the cleanest and least polluting energy source, so this is a non-issue! Ask anyone here on Slashdot, they'll be more than happy to enlighten you. For example, just put the entire site into a breeder reactor and voila!. Not only is it cleaned up and recycled but it generates even more clean nuclear fuel to generate even more energy! Lather, rinse, repeat! Forever!

Capitalism is like any other tool.... (2, Interesting)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875761)

Capitalism is like any other tool in that in the hands of idiots it can be deadly.

When I read articles like this SlashDot entry - or just look around me at America - I can only conclude that our corporate culture's reliance upon "networking" and "interpersonal skills" (i.e., office politics) to select leaders is flawed in that it yields an overabundance of idiots.

Re:Capitalism is like any other tool.... (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875835)

Capitalism is like any other tool in that in the hands of idiots it can be deadly.

As we found out last year, Capitalism in the hands of very smart people can cause worldwide havoc. So, in summary, Capitalism in the hands of both idiots and very smart people can be deadly. So, why are we using it again?

Re:Capitalism is like any other tool.... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875935)

I would tend to say that they only look smart on paper.

As it turned out they weren't smart enough modify their actions to reflect - in Alan Greenspan's words - "enlightened self-interest". That is such a common sense concept that it is embedded in folklore; e.g., don't bite the hand that feeds you, don't crap in your own backyard, etc. etc. etc.

Yet, they still pissed in their own well. Hence, they were and are idiots.

Re:Capitalism is like any other tool.... (2, Informative)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876113)

You are mistaken. They (the people who created the instruments that caused the disaster) sold them on down the line and made a great deal of money. Even the people in the bucket brigade that bought and sold the stuff were smart by any reasonable measure, including those who ended up holding the bad assets at the end. Part of American Capitalism is the glorification of risk taking, and these people took risks. Ultimately, many or most of the big players were bailed out with public money, or with fiat money from the Fed which will ultimately be paid for one way or another by the general public. One can only wonder if there was an expectation of bailout, which emboldened them even more. They were smart alright. The idiots are the people who borrowed money they couldn't possibly pay back.

If I may, I would politely suggest that you not view Capitalism or any other model of political economy as an ideology that needs to be defended against some other ideology, as if it were a religion.

Capitalism per se has serious flaws, as do all other alternatives, and the variant that is practiced in the U.S. is flawed to the point of barbarism.

I son't understand something. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28875989)

How can the "investments recover" on a project that currently has, and will continue to have, negative revenue? Who is investing in it?

Or do they mean that nuclear plant money is invested in other stocks (which would be irresponsible as hell)?

easy, just wait 10,000 years (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28876001)

and the problem will clean itself up
i just hope US citizens don't mind picking up the tab for 10,000 years its not as if they have choice (other than die from radiation poisoning or become a nation of horribly disfigured humans....lets hope obesity isn't a sign)

Money-making machine. (3, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876247)

Hey, I have this machine that boils water for free, and makes money.

If I turn it on.

Which I'm not going to do - instead, I'm determined to dismantle it, but it costs too much to do so. ...

Anyone else not see how fucked up the idea of dismantling nuclear plants is?

Re:Money-making machine. (1)

weirdo557 (959623) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876335)

IANANPO (nuclear power plant operator) but im pretty sure that power plants are far from free when you consider the cost of all the staff that has to take care of it and operate it.

Can someone explain to me? (2, Interesting)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28876263)

When coal is such a no-no that our president has said he wants to "necessarily" bankrupt them with red tape and taxes, why would we de-com any nuclear power plants?

I don't have to tell most of the audience here that it's carbon-free (as if that mattered) and that the waste trail has been cleaned up significantly, as well as being just about the cheapest form of electricity we can find.

And there is ****19**** of them shut down now?

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