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US To Build Nuclear Power Plants

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the doesn't-iran-want-to-do-that-too dept.

Power 622

An anonymous reader writes "President Barack Obama has announced more than $8bn in federal loan guarantees to begin building the first US nuclear power stations in 30 years. Two new plants are to be constructed in the state of Georgia by US electricity firm Southern Company."

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some facts about nuclear energy. (-1, Troll)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168234)

some facts about nuclear energy.
1/Nuclear energy does not make economic sense. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308 [ipsnews.net] (translation: it is expensive)
2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.
3/limited liability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E2%80%93Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act [wikipedia.org]
4/fuel-dependency

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (4, Informative)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168290)

>> 1/Nuclear energy does not make economic sense. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308 [ipsnews.net] (translation: it is expensive)
>> 2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.
>> 3/limited liability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E2%80%93Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act [wikipedia.org]
>> 4/fuel-dependency

5/If we don't use nuclear we'll be using *coal*, not wind or solar or unicorn farts. Those techs must be, and are being developed but we need power _today_.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1, Insightful)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168484)

we need power _today_.

Easy, stop wasting energy. Governments are too relaxed about "standby modes" on devices and general consumption. I bet you can "find" 10 Nuclear plants within the general consumptions if you wanted.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168522)

Read this.
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/sewtha.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

Seriously.
Actually read it.
It looks at all the options in a realistic manner.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (3, Funny)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168698)

All 383 pages of it? Could you summarize it in a post? How about an info-graphic?

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168970)

page 104 and before you declare "YAY WE CAN DO IT!" also page 107.
If you have any beef with his figures read the appropriate section in the book.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (4, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31169006)

Apropos of this, I'd summarize one of his points (he has many, all quite insightful) as: if we all do a little, we only accomplish a little.

Standby mode is a complete canard, and fixing it won't even come close to addressing our energy problems. Combine all of your standby mode power, and it would be dwarfed by the power taken up by your A/C, or your computer (how many of us have a 200-300W computer left on all the time?), or your TV. It would take hundreds of devices in standby mode to make up for the power taken up by a comparatively low-power computer that's left on 24/7. Fixing standby mode devices is fixing a problem that's almost an order of magnitude smaller than the real one.

The problem is, telling people to address the real problems involves asking them to use less (use less A/C, turn off your computers, watch less TV, buy a smaller/lower power TV), which is a complete non-starter in today's environment.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168932)

Read this. http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/sewtha.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

Seriously. Actually read it. It looks at all the options in a realistic manner.

I quote the whole parent to note that there's no summary at all. Good thing it's not posted by an AC otherwise I would think it's attempt at exploiting slashdotters [slashdot.org] . "Seriously" you should at least summarize what the hell it is you're posting.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31169032)

It looks at all the options in a realistic manner.

Ok.
I'll make a better summary.
It looks at pretty much all of the energy generation options in a realistic manner.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168504)

I think there are a lot of lobbyists that would happily tell you unicorn fart-based energy is the power source of the future.

I dislike lobbyists.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1, Interesting)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168722)

Ever hear of CO2 scrubbers? Burying CO2 is a hell of a lot more green than burying radioactive waste in containers that will eventually leak. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage [wikipedia.org]

There are already working plants using this method. That's why they are building new coal fired plants in Europe, which is a lot more environmentally conscious than we are. That's as here, now and possible as building nuclear plants.

These new plants being built prove we are behind the times. I'd rather have my kids deal with inert minerals containing CO2 than radioactive crap that will probably be our undoing.

"Finally, the produced carbonates are unarguably stable and thus re-release of CO2 into the atmosphere is not an issue. "

Ok now couple this development with a complete shutdown of the nuclear waste storage program at Yucca Mountain.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0201/Nuclear-waste-storage-in-limbo-as-Obama-axes-Yucca-Mountain-funds [csmonitor.com]

This administration amazes more every day with it's shortsightedness. This spending bill is a big fat FAIL. Cut spending on nuclear waste storage and use the money to create more nuclear waste. Brilliant!

I agree that you get more bang for the buck out of nuclear energy, but until the waste storage problem is handled, it's not a sustainable option. We can get by on coal until solar and wind is ready for prime time.

We are sitting on one of the biggest coal reserves in the world. We need to use it.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

TJamieson (218336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168844)

Carbon sequestration is a joke. For instance, there is a power plant in WV that recently started capturing CO2. You know how much they capture? Less than 1% of total CO2 emissions. Maybe in the future it will be better, but it is no solution now.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168296)

If by facts you mean falsehoods.

The facts:

1. If you only look at the construction of the plant. It makes perfect economic sense if you look out over 50 years, and can even be cheaper than coal.
2. Most of the waste we have could be used as fuel, but we're refusing to do so, partially because of the ban on new plants, partially because several of the methods create a lot of weapons-grade Plutonium. But we are making far more nuclear waste than necessary.
3. Repeal it. Anyway, coal plants have caused more health damage than nuclear, at least in the US.
4. That's not a fact. That's not even an opinion. You just said "fuel dependency."

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Informative)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168600)

There is no ban on building nuclear power plants. Where did you get that?

The problem is companies can't get loans from banks because it costs lots of money to build a nuclear power plant and loans that were provided were defaulted. That's why the US says it will guarantee them.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168638)

I would be stunned, stunned if every industry with the word "nuclear" in its name, even the nuclear weapons industry(including the crapfest that was the soviet unions nuclear program) has caused more cancers deaths, injuries and poisonings than the worldwide coal industry.

But coal isn't sexy.
Coal isn't scary.

If tomorrow we swapped every coal plant in the world for modern nuclear plants it would do vastly more good for the environment than every single accomplishment of every Greenpeace like organisation the world over combined has ever accomplished.

But no.
Atoms are scary.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168772)

The "no nukes" movement back in the '80's successfully confused nuclear weapons with nuclear power in the mind of the public. Nukes have been on the outs ever since. This is a step in the right direction, but the main issue with nuclear power remains unaddressed: what to do with the waste. I don't think loan guarantees alone are enough to induce industry to dive back into building nuke plants. If obama somehow manages to get harry reid to go fuck himself so yucca mountain can open, something of value will be accomplished.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (0)

corcoranp (892008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168866)

It was actually the incident at Three Mile Island that began the movement against nuclear energy in the US.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (2, Insightful)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168996)

It was actually the incident at Three Mile Island that began the movement against nuclear energy in the US.

Which caused a massive loss of life?

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31169000)

"We do not support construction of new nuclear reactors as a means of addressing the climate crisis. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power."

"We're getting a little tired hearing nuclear industry lobbyists and pro-nuclear politicians allege that environmentalists are now supporting nuclear power as a means of addressing the climate crisis. We know that's not true, and we're sure you do too. In fact, using nuclear power would be counterproductive at reducing carbon emissions. As Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute points out, "every dollar invested in nuclear expansion will worsen climate change by buying less solution per dollar..."

http://www.nirs.org/petition2/index.php?r=sb [nirs.org]

What are we going to do with the waste? Until I hear a good answer to that question, nuclear power just doesn't cut it from my standpoint. Obama's nuclear plan, just like the rest of his policy, and US government policy in general, is shortsighted and leaves the burden on our kids. If we put 8bln into real solutions, we'd be able to build one.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168326)

2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.

As opposed to dumping waste in the atmosphere, like fossil fuel plants do, yes, it *is* "green". Or as opposed to flooding huge areas of land, like hydroelectric power plants do. Or as opposed to covering huge areas with windmills.

What makes nuclear power "green" is how small a footprint the plants have. In a few hectares of land you can produce as much power as covering the whole state with river dams or windmills.

New Nuclear Technologies (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168336)

2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.

Well, a report from CNN covers something Bill Gates promoted at TED [cnn.com] about a new technology that essentially 'recycles' used uranium. The new strategy basically creates 'hyper-fast nuclear reactions able to eat away at the dangerous nuclear waste.'

If what they say is true, it looks promising:

The Uranium isotope that's food for the new nuclear reactors doesn't have to be enriched, which means it's less likely to be used in atomic weapons.

The fission reaction in the new process burns through the nuclear waste slowly, which makes the process safer. One supply of spent uranium could burn for 60 years.

The process creates a large amount of energy from relatively small amounts of uranium, which is important as global supplies run short.

The process generates uranium that can be burned again to create "effectively an infinite fuel supply."

Sounds promising, let's see what preliminary trials bring. I'm excited to have a local 'energy portfolio' of many options such as hydro electric, wind, solar and even advanced nuclear energy.

Re:New Nuclear Technologies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168488)

The tech to accomplish most of these (including the most important one - burning unenriched fuel) has been around since the 1960's. Read on CANDU reactors - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CANDU

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168362)

Let me sum up the first article "Some people say nuclear energy is somewhat difficult to do correctly, so we shouldn't bother."

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168624)

As opposed to "green" technologies that are difficult, and don't work....? This is one of the few good things Obama's gotten behind. At the same time, the regulatory red tape instituted over the last 50 years guarantee that none of this work will be completed by the time re-election rolls around.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168688)

Yeah, I'm all for nuclear energy as well. I'm not sure what part of my (erroneously downmodded) previous post led you to believe that I wasn't.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168828)

I understand yours....sarcasm was mine for the green alchemy jobs push so talked about in Washington these days. Corn Ethanol is a non-starter. Wind energy can't provide enough; yes, it can supplement, but not be a primary source. The prescribed solution for lighting, CFLs, are rapidly being overtaken by white LEDs developed by private sources. When I was in Sam's Club last week, there were all sorts of LED arrays on sale for just a few bucks more than the comparable CFLs.

Nuclear energy works. 2nd-generation hybrids (direct electric drive, with supplemental generator backup, like the Chevy Volt) will most likely work. Little of the other stuff does work, yet it's being touted as a revolutionary job-creator. Good luck with that.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (4, Insightful)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168372)

Given the things you listed above - how come the French seem to make it work for them?

Does the U.S. have native coal and oil supplies that make these other sources more viable?

I'm just curious as to what the big difference is that allows one country to produce almost 75% [world-nuclear.org] of it's energy needs but elsewhere it's not possible?

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168694)

Does the U.S. have native coal and oil supplies that make these other sources more viable?

Enough coal to last 200 years last I checked.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168892)

Ah ok fair enough (to both of you who replied - thanks).

I must confess to being pro-nuclear - but that's my techno-uptopian leanings really, not based on real insight into the options.

What is interesting is that predictions say we have about 200 years of reactor fuel at current consumption rates too, so it's a bit of a toss up between the two for countries with a supply of both (The U.S. is the middle east of nuclear fuel).

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (4, Informative)

brian23059 (1747580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168418)

Facts? It would be a surprise to the 67 utilities operating 103 nuclear reactors in the US that nuclear energy isn't economical. Spent nuclear fuel decays. Coal ash is forever. The Price Anderson coverage kicks in after the utilities insurance pool of several hundred million dollars. It's never been used, even after Three Mile Island. Fuel dependency? The US is the Middle East of uranium! We buy it from other countries because it's been cheaper, but it's all over the mid-West and even Virginia.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Funny)

bmajik (96670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168452)

I hope they let me drive the bulldozer at the ground breaking for the new plants. Because when I drive it over the inevitable protesters, erasing those people will do more good for the country than actually building the power plant will.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (2, Informative)

Rhys (96510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168470)

1) Conveniently ignoring the external costs (read: pollution) that traditional fossil fuel plants have. Further their units looks highly questionable: $88 bucks per Mwh isn't far off 8 cents per kwh. That isn't far off the national average over here in the US. That they try to disguise it with strange units makes me suspicious.

2) You don't have to store it, but we would have to man up about the nukes problem. Waste = fuel to a breeder, but that means plutonium.

3) Limited liability can be a good thing. Given that (practically) everyone in the country benefits from having electric power, using the taxpayers as insurance isn't strictly a bad thing. Note that they'd be paying it anyway either in increased pollution from fossil fuels (if no nukes) or in their electric rate (with nukes but no limited liability) then you're paying it anyway.

4) See 2. Also see oil. Really wind and solar too. You may be depending on the Sun, but it isn't truely renewable. It'll go out in a few billion years.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (2, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168490)

some facts about nuclear energy.
1/Nuclear energy does not make economic sense. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308 [ipsnews.net] (translation: it is expensive)
2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.
3/limited liability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E2%80%93Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act [wikipedia.org]
4/fuel-dependency

Storing spent nuclear plant fuel (byproducts) is a headache, but:
a) do you prefer to pump it into the atmosphere, like coal plants do? Oh yeah, because you might want to know that coal plants pump into the atmosphere way more radioactive materials ALONG WITH OTHER NASTY SUBSTANCES, than nuclear plants.
b) we could re-use those byproducts, or drastically reduce their amount, if we built breeder reactors.

Sadly, Obama didn't mention either of these. Vision's too limited, I guess?

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168586)

I think spent nuclear fuel should be stored in the U.S. Capitol.

Cornwallis high five bro (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168642)

that was hilarious

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168978)

We could re-use those byproducts, or drastically reduce their amount, if we built breeder reactors.

I think experiments into subcritical reactors would be valuable. Since they "burn" the fuel using an external beam, they can also force fission or transmutation in substances where that doesn't happen naturally. In other words, they can reduce nuclear waste like breeders do, but further, and the output is too mixed to be used for bomb-making purposes - for instance, the plutonium contains Pu-240 which makes a bomb fizzle. They're also less choosy - can use uranium, plutonium, or thorium.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168668)

>> 2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.

Some people argue that having the waste in a solid transportable form is an advantage.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (3, Interesting)

mitchell_pgh (536538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168752)

>> 1/Nuclear energy does not make economic sense. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308sp?idnews=50308 [ipsnews.net] [ipsnews.net] (translation: it is expensive)

It makes PERFECT economic sense when you consider that we will be transferring our transportation grid to electricity. It is a more difficult sell when you are simply replace coal power with nuclear power. We have plenty of coal, but dolling out billions of dollars a month in foreign oil doesn't make economic sense.

>> 2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.

We have no idea how long we will need to store the spent fuel. With 2010 technology (ie: put it in a box and wait), it is ~100000 years. But what new technologies will we have in the year 2050, 2100 or 2200.

>> 3/limited liability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E2%80%93Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

Without limited liability, insurance companies could not offer insurance to the companies building/maintaining the systems.

>> 4/fuel-dependency
Fuel dependency? Errr, I don't follow you. We, as a country, should try to be as fuel independent as possible. This isn't a macho "GO USA!!!" kind of rant. Being fuel independent is key to the national security of any country. We are currently over extended in the worst possible way. Nuclear is ONE way to get us where we need to go. Ideally, we would use wind, solar, etc. etc. but as others have said, until that day, nuclear is a great option. I like the idea of (literally) sitting on our coal reserves... "just in case."

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (5, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168754)

I've spent several hundred hours researching this issue. Frankly, you're wron.g

>>1/Nuclear energy does not make economic sense. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308 [ipsnews.net] (translation: it is expensive)

The actual cost of the plants they're building in the south are half this. And a lot of the cost has to do with NIMBYs and (ironically enough) environmentalists, who ought to all be very pro-nuclear. The actual cost of nuclear per KWH is the only source comparable to coal. Dirty coal. CC Coal Plants are 2x to 3x the cost per KWH of dirty coal.

You want to know what doesn't make economic sense? Anything that costs more than double or triple the current cost of energy. Guess what that includes? All green technologies. Solar costs roughly 6x to 150x the cost of coal.

Look up the costs yourself, and become educated. This is a mix of government, industry, and hippie cost estimates:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity.html [doe.gov]
http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/eiaenergy2016.png [wordpress.com]
http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/nuclear-costs-2009.pdf [climateprogress.org]
http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007publications/CEC-200-2007-011/CEC-200-2007-011-SD.PDF [ca.gov]
http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/ocean_policy/documents/te_workshop_cost_compare.pdf [nh.gov]

>>2/Having to store waste for over 100000 years is not what someone with any common sense would call 'green'.

The waste problem is a social construct, not a technical one.

>>3/limited liability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E2%80%93Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act [wikipedia.org]

It's a good thing. Because of idiot movies like the China Syndrome, people think that nuclear power is dangerous, when nuclear plants are actually quite safe. Even left-wing France produces the lion's share of its power through nuclear, and has done so very safely for the last 30 years. Compare this with the huge numbers of people killed every year in coal mining accidents and indirectly through the radiation released into the atmosphere by coal.

>>4/fuel-dependency

There's plenty.

Re:some facts about nuclear energy. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168896)

Well, I think the "troll" moderation is pretty unfair, but I don't agree with your points, which seem to envision a program to solve all our problems by building lots and lots of nukes of the same design we were using forty years ago. I agree that's a really bad idea.

If you look forward to America's future energy needs and supplies, we're going to have a tough slog as global oil demand rises and supplies fall, but it's not going to be like shutting off the spigot. Keeping our head above the water is going to be a matter of margins. Diversifying our energy sources will protect us from fuel dependency of any sort, and buy us time to develop the energy technologies (both production and conservation) we'll need to continue to grow.

An Apollo style crash program to build hundreds of nukes would be a really bad idea, that might saddle us with a lot of problematic, outdated plants. If there are serious problems with the program or the technology it will be politically impossible to change anything due to the sunk costs and political investment.

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168236)

He's still just a nigger in a white man's suit.

w00t! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168238)

More power to ya!

That will help us in 2060 (4, Insightful)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168266)

Cause that's how long it will take them to get through all the red tape.

Re:That will help us in 2060 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168410)

In related news. The Obama Administration created a video to help publicize this event with a movie show casing an engineer dressing up for work in a power plant stating. Hell, its about time.

Re:That will help us in 2060 (4, Informative)

fprintf (82740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168566)

Not quite true. One of the most storied, protested nuclear power plants is Seabrook Station in New Hampshire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabrook_Station_Nuclear_Power_Plant [wikipedia.org]

The first permit was granted in 1976. It took 14 years to get to full power, due to a lot of red tape and a ton of protests. I can recall being in high school at the time construction was nearing an end and there were a ton of protests even then, mostly centered around the evacuation plan or lack thereof.

So the date will probably be 2025, given that it will take at least 10 years to build the thing.

Not to be a grammar nazi, (-1, Offtopic)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168278)

I know the rules of grammar have gone by the wayside lately, but come ON!

The word "US" is an object, and everybody knows you can't begin a sentence with an object!

The headline should read: "WE To Build Nuclear Power Plants"

Is it that hard, people?

Re:Not to be a grammar nazi, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168366)

The word "US" is an object, and everybody knows you can't begin a sentence with an object!

I am an object and I begin many sentences. Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Re:Not to be a grammar nazi, (2)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168728)

WE???

I know Slashdot is hosted in the US & is developed by US guys, but please, won't you think of the international community reading this website?
Does "WE" mean "submitters", "posters", "US", "North America", "Nerds" ?
Also, why can't "US" be a subject?

*long pause*

Oh! Please don't tell me you read "US" as "us" (as in "us and them") and not "U.S." (as in "United States")

Grammar nazi + dumbass = Epic fail!

Re:Not to be a grammar nazi, (1)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168778)

Oh! Please don't tell me you read "US" as "us" (as in "us and them") and not "U.S." (as in "United States")

Grammar nazi + dumbass = Epic fail!

Yeah, jeez, what a moran! He didn't even notice that "We to build nuclear power plants" isn't even grammatically correct!

Good! Burning Oil is an ECOcrime... (2, Interesting)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168286)

And we still need power so... not much choices left.

Re:Good! Burning Oil is an ECOcrime... (-1, Flamebait)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168472)

The dirty hippies will argue that reducing consumption is the real alternative.

OK, fine, but where are the... (3, Funny)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168304)

nuclear wessels?

(come on, it had to be said)

That's good (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168306)

But where are we going to store the waste? I'm all for nuclear power. It's clean and not nearly as dangerous as a lot of people think, but the waste is a big political deal. No one wants the storage facilities in their back yard.

Re:That's good (1, Informative)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168368)

Very simplified, but should work:
  1. Find a mountain
  2. Create a tunnel deep into it
  3. Build chambers inside the tunnel
  4. Fill chambers with waste
  5. Fill chamber with concrete

Re:That's good (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168666)

Its not easy and it costs _allot_ of money, in Sweden there is a research organization with the sole purpose to find a secure way to store the wast created by Swedens reactors.

http://www.skb.se/Templates/Standard____24109.aspx [www.skb.se]

Re:That's good (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168814)

It should probably be somewhere out in the middle of the desert too, maybe in a place like Nevada.

Re:That's good (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168840)

Credits:
SA Forums user: grover

Has anyone suggested simply eating it? It would unfortunately then collect and concentrate in sewage treatment plants and septic tanks, and so would defeat the purpose, but I'm curious...

12,000 metric tons of high-level waste (mostly spent reactor fuel rods) is produced worldwide each year. If that waste was let age for a few years like fine whiskey, split up into tiny 1.6mg portions encapsulated in glass, and then one fed to every person in the world...

a) Spent nuclear fuel rods, clad or declad, from commercial electricity generating reactors; average radioactivity being more than 2.5 million curies per cubic meter.
        b) Semi-liquid sludge from nuclear bomb fabrication waste processing residue - average radioactivity being about 3500 curies per cubic meter.

        All this waste contains five shorter lived and longer lived radionuclides of main concern. The shorter lived are strontium-90 whose half life, t1/2, is 28.5 years, and cesium-137 whose half life, t1/2, is 30 years. See Ref. 1 for the half-life values used in this study. The radioactivity of these shorter lived nuclides is approximately 95% of the total radioactivity of the nuclides of concern. Total hazardous life for these shorter lived nuclides is considered to be between 600 years and 1000 years depending upon one's point of view.

        The longer lived isotopes are plutonium-239 whose t1/2 is 24,110 years, plutonium-240 whose t1/2 is 6,540 years, and curium-245 whose t1/2 is 8,500 years. Plutonium-238 whose t1/2is 88 years will have essentially disappeared after several thousand years, so in storage terms of the longer lived elements this isotope is not of concern as long as it will have been successfully contained for the next several thousand years. As for the life of these longer lived materials, the NRC considers 10,000 years as the storage time required; however, some people consider a lifetime as long as 100,000 years to 500,000 years as more appropriate.
Sr-90 is a beta emitter, and the radiation won't penetrate the glass capsule.
C-137 is a beta and gamma emitter, with 75% the energy released as beta, and the rest as 33keV and 662keV gamma.

1 cubic meter of waste: 2.5 million curies
% radiation in short-lived Sr-90/C-137 isotopes: appx 95%
% radiation capable of penetrating capsule: appx 13%
World population: 6.70 Billion
Average mass of a human: 70kg
Time for complete digestion: 24hr

1 Ci = 37GBq
1 rad = 0.01J/kg of absorbed radiation
1 rem = rule of thumb is 1 rad, but it's actually a lot more complicated
Q for gamma, external = 1
Q for alpha, external = 0
Q for beta, external = 0
1 Sv = Q x 100rem
1keV = 1.60217646 × 10-16 joules
Density of fuel rods: 11.0g/cc

Volume of fuel per capsule: 1.6mg/11.0g/cc= 0.145nm^2

"Dangerous" radiation emitted from 1m^2: 2.5MCi * .95 * .13 = 308kCi = 1.14*10^16Bq
"Dangerous" radiation emitted from 0.145nm^2: 1.14*10^16Bq/6.7G/3=567kBq/meal
% of gamma rays striking human body absorbed by human body: appx 15%
Radiation absorbed by the body: 85kBq
Energy absorbed: 85kBq X (33keV/Bq+662keV/Bq)/2 * 1.60217646*10^-16 J/keV * 24*60*60s= 41mJ.
Energy absorbed per kg: 41mJ/70kg/0.01J/kg = 0.6mrad
Radiation exposure: 0.6mrem per meal
Radiation exposure: 639mrem per year, or appx 255SWW.

Conclusion: we could quite literally eat all the nuclear waste generated worldwide and barely double our annual exposure to natural radiation. Not that I'd advocate this, but jesus christ, there's nothing wrong with burying it all in a hole in the ground!

Alternately, I could just go around the nation beating people with spent fuel rods until they gain some perspective in the matter.

Re:That's good (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168986)

Of course, most people are more concerned with getting a concentrated dose than they are about getting a perfectly distributed dose.

(I think nuclear is a great idea, and it might take until the coal starts to run out, but we will start using it)

Re:That's good (1)

corcoranp (892008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168956)

It's called Yucca Mountain [wikipedia.org] and that idea dates back to 1957!!!

Re:That's good (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168378)

Reprocess it.

Stuff you can't reprocess put at bottom of an oceanic trench. Subduction zones are MomNature's ultimate recycle bin.

--
BMO

Re:That's good (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168964)

That would work only if the barrels/containers don't leak or rupture while in the process of being "recycled". That's precisely why we don't launch it into the sun or heave it into a volcano or any of the other plausible-yet-we're-all-doomed-if-anything-goes-wrong suggestions for processing the waste.

Re:That's good (2, Insightful)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168380)

I have an acre here in Arkansas, I don't mind storing it in my back yard. Its on a hill, and not really very usable for me anyhow. Where do I sign up?

Re:That's good (4, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168446)

Ok, everyone complains about nuclear waste storage. But has anyone considered how convenient it is that we actually have the OPTION of storing it-- that it comes prepackaged in nice containers, rather than being spewed into the atmosphere where its a heck of a lot more difficult to get at (as with coal)?

Plus, unlike coal emissions, we can actually USE the waste material and reduce it by reusing it in reactors-- if it is radioactive, that means it is emitting radiation, which can either be used in additional reactors, or worst case in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (not very efficient, but its an option). With smog and CO2 emissions, we can do....what again? Bury it so that it can leak back into the atmosphere after a while?

Seems to me, if youre going to have a fuel source that has a waste product, the BEST thing you can ask for is that it deliver it in a prepackaged, stable, reusable form rather than as a useless aerosol.

Re:That's good (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168492)

If it's still radioactive enough to be dangerous. It's still radioactive enough to be used for electricity.

We just have retarded 'recycling laws'. Imagine if the US outlawed Aluminum recycling because at some point in the process you could use it as Thermite. That's how stupid our nuclear rules are.

Re:That's good (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168542)

Imagine if the US outlawed Aluminum recycling because at some point in the process you could use it as Thermite.

Otherwise homeless people picking up cans from trash would have been put on the terrorist watch list.

Re:That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168854)

They need to be Thorium reactors.

Re:That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168526)

Afghanistan.

The rule is; if we can't dig valuable stuff out of landscape, we should be able to dump dangerous stuff in the landscape.

Re:That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168872)

But where are we going to store the waste?

I would like to suggest my neighbor's front lawn. Since he isn't talking to me, technically he wouldn't reject the idea if I asked him, and that's good enough for me.

Good. Its about time (4, Insightful)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168320)

What a great thing -- lots of reliably generated power that is greener than burning fossil fuels. The only bad thing about this is that it has taken 30 years for more people to realize that safe nuclear power generation is possible.

This is one step closer towards reducing the amount of our dollars that go to the middle east while also stimulating the US economy. This also moves us closer to our goal of having electric vehicles that really are green. Wind/solar are not as reliable as nuclear because you only have wind when the wind blows, and solar when the sun is shining.

Re:Good. Its about time (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168506)

you are correct.

I wish to remind everyone that all power source have their effect. Coal puts out radiation, mercury, co2 and other emissions.
there is NO clean energy, zero zip. none.

Coal destroys mountains in West Virginia,

Oil is dirty and the spills enourmous ugly.

Natural gas, is heavy, and a large leak would cause a huge explosion. ( that is why nobody is willing to build a tanker to transport
Liquified natural gas).

The US has to have this power

What plant design? (4, Insightful)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168340)

I've been hearing about this for the past few days, but I have yet to see what kind of nuclear plant they're talking about building.

I'm really hoping we take a cue from France (yeah yeah, cheese eating surrender monkeys and all that... Fact is, they've been doing nuclear power a lot, and doing it much more recently than us), and standardize a reactor design or three to hopefully avoid some of that red tape.

Re:What plant design? (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168640)

First Article I read said AP1000 reactors.

Also, this is going in at a site of 2 other reactors, so there will be alot less NIMBYism than if it was a new location.

Re:What plant design? (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168808)

Nuclear fusion, anyone? I was promised this by the Omni Future Almanac (pub. 1982) no later than 2010. Should I ask for my money back?

Re:What plant design? (1)

corcoranp (892008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31169042)

Technically they are not talking about building a nuclear power PLANT. They are talking about building 2 nuclear power UNITS

Article is a complete fabrication (3, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168398)

They don't have electricity in Georgia.

Re:Article is a complete fabrication (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168870)

No, the rest of the state has it. Your mother just didn't have the heart to tell you she can't afford it.

Good start, but we need more (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168422)

I'm not an Obama fan, but when he does something right he deserves credit for it, so good job Mr. President. I just hope this doesn't get bogged down in too much bureaucracy and lawsuits by "environmentalists." Note how "environmentalists" is in quotes because anyone rational who claims to care about air pollution, global warming, deforestation, etc. etc. should love the idea of new, very safe nuclear power plants. A back of the napkin calculation means a 1.1 Gigawatt reactor can put out the peak energy of 110 of the big 10 Megawatt wind turbine... and the wind turbine can't output at peak energy all the time. Take into account the fact that the land footprint for a nuclear power plant is tiny compared to wind or solar and you have a solution that is a very good thing for the environment.
    As for nuclear waste, it's a political problem not a technological problem. Despite the fear-mongering you hear about "10,000 years of waste" the truly nasty stuff actually has a much shorter half-life, and the stuff that is radioactive for 10,000 years is dangerous... but not any more dangerous than the chemicals that get spewed from Coal-fired plants or the chemicals that are used in manufacturing photo-voltaic solar panels. One other thing.. if reprocessing were actually used in the US the amount of this nasty waste would be much much lower to boot. Once again, politics trumps technology in preventing solutions to problems from actually being implemented.

Re:Good start, but we need more (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168512)

I'm not an Obama fan, but when he does something right he deserves credit for it, so good job Mr. President. I just hope this doesn't get bogged down in too much bureaucracy and lawsuits by "environmentalists." Note how "environmentalists" is in quotes because anyone rational who claims to care about air pollution, global warming, deforestation, etc. etc. should love the idea of new, very safe nuclear power plants. A back of the napkin calculation means a 1.1 Gigawatt reactor can put out the peak energy of 110 of the big 10 Megawatt wind turbine... and the wind turbine can't output at peak energy all the time. Take into account the fact that the land footprint for a nuclear power plant is tiny compared to wind or solar and you have a solution that is a very good thing for the environment.
        As for nuclear waste, it's a political problem not a technological problem. Despite the fear-mongering you hear about "10,000 years of waste" the truly nasty stuff actually has a much shorter half-life, and the stuff that is radioactive for 10,000 years is dangerous... but not any more dangerous than the chemicals that get spewed from Coal-fired plants or the chemicals that are used in manufacturing photo-voltaic solar panels. One other thing.. if reprocessing were actually used in the US the amount of this nasty waste would be much much lower to boot. Once again, politics trumps technology in preventing solutions to problems from actually being implemented.

I completely agree with you, on every point. However, 8 bn$ in loan guarantees is very little.

Re:Good start, but we need more (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168950)

I completely agree with you, on every point. However, 8 bn$ in loan guarantees is very little.

It's $8 billion more than a bunch of capitalists should require from the government to build something incredibly profitable.

Re:Good start, but we need more (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168648)

I hope the administration really makes a PR push on nuclear energy. With Obama being a darling of the left and environmental types, his advocacy could go a long way in dispelling some of the hippie anti-nuclear horseshit and hysteria that has put us so far behind Europe in the last several decades. It might also finally get enough public support to break the Yucca Mountain logjam and finally implement a sensible storage solution.

What about Yucca Mountain? (4, Interesting)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168450)

Where is all the waste going? The political horse trading by the Obama administration promised to shut down Yucca Mountain, toileting over $9 billion.

Is anyone doing the math??

One man's trash is another man's treasure. . . (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168712)

Nuclear waste isn't a problem, it's an opportunity. That nuclear waste, is in fact, valuable fuel in some types of reactor designs. Notably, the Integral Fast Reactor-style of design (and, I believe there are some other design concepts being researched along similar lines). I've heard estimates (though I don't really know if they are true or not, but I've no current knowledge to contradict it) that the current 'reserves' of nuclear waste could power reactors for something like 500 years or 1000 years without mining any 'new' uranium.

However, I think the Obama administration is making a bit of a mistake. It's my understanding that the reactor designs they are getting built are still based upon the once-through concept, which will need 'new' uranium to be mined and enriched, and produce more 'waste'. Seems to me we should really be pushing to the 'recycling' types of reactor designs, and maybe put a moratorium on importing any more uranium into the country. We should be trying to phase out the old style, once-through reactors.

Re:One man's trash is another man's treasure. . . (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168940)

Seems to me we should really be pushing to the 'recycling' types of reactor designs

Hmm. The purpose of a politician is to use the public's resources, to get money from special interests, to lie to and bribe voters.

Given that background, lets consider two plans here:

Non-recycled: New U costs about $25/lb long term, and the USA mined almost 17 kilotons in the peak year. That would be a bit less than a billion dollars. That'll buy a lot of votes, plus you can skim off a thousandth or so for re-election campaigns/bribes. Then you get to spend nine billion and counting on a waste facility that'll probably never be used, which will buy a lot of support and votes. Spending tax money is a loss to taxpayers, but a gain to politicians, and guess whom is in charge of how much to spend?

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

Recycled: No one in a position of power benefits either thru bribes, jobs, or control. Back in the cold war era, processors basically ignored all EPA and common sense rules, with threats of "security" etc. I'm sure the security theater and scare mongering would be more intense now, so the environmental devastation would be worse. So the general public also does not benefit.

Hmm. I wonder which solution our politicians will choose?

Re:What about Yucca Mountain? (1)

Mr_Perl (142164) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168718)

Yucca Mountain is in Harry Reid's home state. Guess we now know why that was scrapped. Hopefully when he's kicked out of office shortly they'll go back to it.

Real solutions to foreign energy dependence (4, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168466)

This is a pragmatic solution to the problems of global warming and foreign energy dependence. There's nothing magically evil about nuclear power. Environmentalists should applaud this move.

Suggested tag... (2) (0, Troll)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168468)

Can I also [slashdot.org] tag this story "what-could-possibly-go-wrong" ?

Small vs. Large problems (4, Insightful)

Halo- (175936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168536)

No one will say nuclear is without serious drawbacks, but modern reactor design has pretty much reduced those to a single large "what do we do with the waste?" issue. I would rather have a comparatively small amount of containable waste and eons of time to figure out how to make it "go away"(TM) then have much larger environmental impacts which aren't so simple. It's reasonable to expect the human race to come up with a way to render a few hundred tons of radioactive waste inert in the semi-near future. It's much less reasonable to expect us to figure out how to scrub (billions/trillions/quadrillions?) tons of CO2 and other nasties out of the atmosphere, and deal with the other larger scale issues coal/oil/gas produce.

South Texas Project (2, Informative)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168594)

The South Texas Project [stpnoc.com] is building two new units at its existing facilities near Matagorda Bay.

-l

It's a pity ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168610)

... that we aren't pumping money into thorium reactors. Their advantages are enormous. Waste storage time is reduced and you can use one to "burn" old nuclear waste. They cannot suffer from China Syndrome, since they need a sustained beam of neutrons to keep the reaction at critical. And in terms of proliferation, they don't lend themselves easily to building nuclear weapons, whereas conventional uranium reactor technology isn't too hard to adapt to building of simple atomic weapons ("enrich more and build a donut and plug bomb.")

finally (5, Insightful)

agentultra (1090039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168628)

It's about time some common sense was applied to the issue.

Does anyone realize that you and I will each produce about a coke-can worth of nuclear waste in our lifetime (a TED speaker mentioned this, can't find the source atm)? I think that's pretty easy to store. At least compared to the thousands of tonnes of coal that would have to be burned in its place.

You say the air is polluted and we have to stop burning coal; but you helped keep that industry alive because you protested nuclear energy into the dark ages for the past thirty years. Our modern lives don't exist without electricity and generating it is no easy task. There are trade-offs. I think we would have been better off if nuclear energy development had continued: we'd have thirty years more experience building, developing, and maintaining it.

Good on this Obama guy for having a little common sense.

$7/Watt for Now (1, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168750)

The apparent cost of the project is $7/Watt http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/02/17/17climatewire-doe-delivers-its-first-long-awaited-nuclear-71731.html [nytimes.com] with Japan providing other loan guarantees. Since Japan has been escalating pricing for the South Texas project, we can guess the same will happen in this case. I'd guess that $14/Watt is about where this will end up, completely uneconomical. The loans will default and the taxpayers will pay.

Nuclear waste (3, Insightful)

adenied (120700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168770)

All the anti-nuke people make claims of thousands of years of nuclear waste storage blah blah. Does anyone take into account the speed at which science accelerates? Isn't it likely that in 20-50 years we'll have tech that can just deal with the waste? Or hell, even 200 years if you want to take a pessimistic view of tech growth. Even if it was 1000 years I'd be pretty happy to have nuclear power than nasty coal that is actively poisoning things.

what kind of reactor? (4, Interesting)

happyjack27 (1219574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168846)

is it breeder reactor? liquid thorium blanket? what generation reactor? the article say nothing on that. i'd like to see some progress in reactor tech being implemented by the US.

Georgia's in Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31168886)

Hopefully these are not the plants foretold of in Idiocracy...

Made in Japan. . ? (2, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168906)

He did not give details on how Southern planned to divide its 30 percent share between debt and equity but said his company was not looking for financial backing from Japan. Toshiba of Japan is majority owner of Westinghouse, whose AP1000 reactor has been selected for the Vogtle plant's expansion and is under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Okay. That's just pathetic.

You know the U.S. is a fading empire when they need to turn to Japan to build their own infrastructure. What's next? The automotive industry?

-FL

Nuclear Power Uranium (1)

kyuubiunl (1747574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168930)

100000 year half life? You're assuming uranium. There are others, books are a good thing. Thorium is your friend

Rut Roh (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168938)

Aww man, I know how this plays out. First they build the nuclear power plants, then they start enriching uranium and making crazy statements to the rest of the world. Next thing you know we'll have to deal with some fucking insane nuclear-armed state!

Oh... wait...

Who will build them? (3, Interesting)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31168944)

There's a critical shortage of nuclear engineers. Very few engineers have joined the industry in recent decades, and those who joined during the industry's heyday are retiring.

Schools including MIT are spinning up their programs, but however talented the students, they'll be inexperienced. These fine young men and women may know how to optimize a reaction, but will they know that valve X in location Y needs to be easily replaceable because it tends to corrode after 5 years? Do you want the plant in your town to be designed by a recent grad? Likewise, even the experienced engineers have been maintaining old plants, not designing new ones using the latest technology.

Add in time for siting battles and regulatory approvals, and I wouldn't expect to see too many new plants open until 10-20 years from now.

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