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Economy Puts US Nuclear Reactors Back In Doubt

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the boo-urns dept.

Power 392

eldavojohn writes "Remember those 30 new nuclear reactors the US was slated to build? Those plans have been halted. A few years ago, it seemed like a really good idea to build a bunch of nuclear reactors. The environmental impacts of other energy production methods were becoming well known and the economy was tanking. Well, natural gas is now much cheaper, and as a result it looks like building a single nuclear reactor in Maryland is such a risky venture that Constellation can't reach an agreement with the federal government for the loans it needs to build that reactor. The government wants Constellation to sign an agreement with a local energy provider to ensure they'll recoup at least some of the money on the loan, but Constellation doesn't like the terms. So, the first of those thirty reactors has officially stalled, with no resolution in sight. It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to trigger nuclear reactor production in the US."

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392 comments

Funny in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868010)

It will take an economic MELTDOWN to trigger nuclear reactor production
ha ha... good one subby

Re:Funny in summary (3, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868530)

What a completely bullshit, anti-nuke, trollish article.

So nuclear is in doubt because someone is asking for loans and subsidy the size of a small countries GDP, and with the banks ask for a guarantee, they baulk. This is really a story of a company demanding money and desire to run a sure thing into the ground. With these types of dollars, its hardly the least bit unreasonable to demand some protection of the loan. This seems to hint that they intended to do something insanely poor with the management of the project or the reactor.

Re:Funny in summary (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868898)

The problems with your theory:

#1 - Nuclear reactor production is put under more government scrutiny than any other energy production method. Not that it isn't justifiable in large degree, just that it increases the costs of running the reactor.

#2 - The US has no fuel recycling program. If we DID have a responsible fuel recycling program, we wouldn't have to worry about the whiny idiots going "but it produces nuclear waste", nor would we be having to dig up ore for fuel - reprocessed, recycled fuel can be extracted from "spent waste" over and over again, which would take care of 95% or greater of our current "nuclear waste" in storage.

#3 - Energy still isn't deregulated on the east coast. The government controls the pricing, therefore it makes sense that the people sticking their money out to build the reactor would want to have some guarantee in writing that the government isn't going to try to force them to operate at a loss.

The larger problem is that the idiot fringe currently in control of the Democrat Party - as evidenced by the current administration's reaction to basically everything energy-related - are a bunch of total morons who are so kooky that even the co-founder of Greenpeace [wired.com] recognized them for the wack-jobs that they are.

Of course, there are a number of other things that "could" be done on the energy conservation front. The US could outlaw residential air-conditioning/heating systems that don't incorporate a closed-loop ground heat pump, and require any legacy systems to be switched over at time of replacement. They could pass a national law protecting the right of all homeowners to implement "greywater" systems, rain cisterns, and solar collectors. They could focus in on outdated, inefficient "freeway flyer" bus routes and replace them all with electric train systems.

But then again, we live in a time when municipalities claim they are working for "safety" and put up red-light cameras and then shorten the yellow timing to get more tickets, despite every study out there showing that if you want to reduce accidents, lengthening the yellow time does much, much more than putting up a fucking camera. So I doubt the people would have any trust in their government that any of the other things I suggested earlier were done with the right motives...

Re:Funny in summary (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868926)

It will take an economic MELTDOWN to trigger nuclear reactor production

With peak oil and no nuclear power to compensate, we might just see one. Algae as a biofuel might work, and solar might work if they improve the tech enough. Most of the other oft-touted other alternatives are a load of crap.

Re:Funny in summary (2, Funny)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869208)

Most of the other oft-touted other alternatives are a load of crap.

Luckily dung-burning stoves are well-proven sources of energy

It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to... (5, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868018)

So in another words we only have to wait a few months for the project to resume.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (4, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868102)

Seriously though, this delay could be a good thing. They were going to build the wrong sort of reactors and perpetuate all the problems of the 1950s atom bomb production plants.

Thorium reactors, pebble beds..? Not on the shortlist. I'm guessing Westinghouse has plenty of lobbyists.

Not westinghouse (2, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868316)

I seriously doubt that westinghouse has anything to do with Thorium based reactors not being on the short list despite their many benefits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium#Key_benefits [wikipedia.org] ).
I would say it has far more to do with the lack of ability to produce weapons with their byproducts. The US would prefer to get a little something extra out of the deal.

Re:Not westinghouse (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868644)

Right, because with our trajectory of decommissioning atomic weapons and huge existing amount of fuel to extract weapons material from, hand wavy strategic concerns are at the top of the list.

And never mind that a purpose built reactor is a far better source of plutonium for weapons than one designed primarily to provide grid power.

Re:Not westinghouse (5, Interesting)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868686)

Sadly no commercial power reactor in the US has ever produced nuclear grade material.

The DOD after demanding we go uranium (over the cheaper and more plentiful thorium) to make weapons found it would be difficult to securely and covertly build bombs with commercial reactor output.

Instead they found it far more effective to build dedicated "bomb reactors". We build a dozen or so plutonium piles which dutifully converted uranium into plutonium under the optimum conditions to boost weapons grade yield. Those reactors ran for roughly 3 decades.. Today we have roughly 20,000 dismantled plutonium pits (from obsolete weapons) plus a couple metric tons of bulk plutonium. Once produced and refined the plutonium lasts very very very long time. The US could arm not just itself but the entire world w/ nuclear weapons just from our dismantled pits. There is no need for uranium reactors to produce weapons.

Sadly we are stuck w/ a different kind of legacy. Because of the DOD insistence (for the option they never used) ALL our expertise, knowledge, operateing experience, processes, and ancillary businesses are 100% focused on uranium. Going to thorium would be like starting all over. No company is going to take that kind of multi billion dollar risk without govt support.

If we want to make the switch to thorium it would require a $50 - $100B commitment from US govt to build the research reactors, the testing, the build out to commercial grade plants, then build a dozen or so plants so we get economies of scale plus the training, and the support businesses (fuel processing, etc).

You can't build a single nuclear reactor. The overhead is too large. You need a minimum critical mass of reactors to get economies of scale. There is no way to switch to thorium using free market principles (at least not at current energy prices). The risk vs reward simply isn't there.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (3, Insightful)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868340)

Not going to happen in the US. Licensing costs are too expensive to justify anything but the 1600 MWe behemoths using standard fuel cycles with proven technology.

I don't know how many lobbyists Westinghouse has, but I do have an idea of how many engineers they have working to satisfy the NRC's licensing requirements for their own designs. Likewise with Mitsubishi and General Electric.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868634)

I don't know how many lobbyists Westinghouse has

Typical corporate situation where a zillion corps own parts of a zillion other corps. However they seem to have blown about a couple million per year. So I'd guess a high single digit number of lobbyist equivalents, but probably dozens each working part time? Congressmen would see maybe fifty faces, but only get a handful of person-years of work out of the group (insert joke about sounding like where I work...)

https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/lookup.php?type=c&lname=Westinghouse&goButt2.x=0&goButt2.y=0&goButt2=Submit [opensecrets.org]

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868702)

Fast Breeders are proven. They produce their own fuel and consume waste products as part of the energy producing cycle, for pity's sake!

Moar finkin by smarts peepul plox, guvunmunt. kthxbai.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868916)

I thought Breeders were banned in the US because of some nonproliferation bs.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (2, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868942)

Jimmy Carter banned them by executive order.

Regan overturned the order but no one has tried to build one since then regardless.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868452)

You'd actually be able to solve the energy problem if you built nuclear reactors that output most of their energy as hydrocarbons [freepatentsonline.com] .

You could get some better economies of scale with larger reactors than we build now but it's hard to transmit and distribute electricity from anything much larger then what we build now.

Imagine that instead of building 1-2 GW reactors you built a 25-30 GW reactor that produce 1-2 GW of electricity for the grid and about 20,000 gallons of gasoline every hour.

LFTR would be an excellent way to do this since it runs at such a high temperature and could supply a large fraction of the energy required to synthesize gasoline in the form of heat instead of electricity.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868504)

30 GW! /Doc Brown

That is 10 times the thermal power of the largest reactors in operation today. Quite an engineering challenge!

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868576)

Quite an engineering challenge!

Not really - if you are using the LFTR design it would be much easier due to the unpressurized design. Adding thermal capacity is basically just a matter of using bigger piping.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868608)

The efficiency of this one is less than the efficiency of producing biofuel which is staggeringly low in the first place. Separating CO2 from the air requires a staggering amount of energy as you have to liquefy air first. We are looking at under 5% efficiency for the entire process end-to-end here if not even less - around 1%.

No thanks.

I'd rather invest into finding ways to transport, store and use electricity and/or "simple" hydrogen more efficiently.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868650)

Where you pulling those numbers from?

In the application Grumman claimed efficiency between 25 and 37 percent without even using high-temperature electrolysis.

Simple thermodynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33869036)

Simple thermodynamics. Claiming such efficiency is not attaining such efficiency: the patent doesn't fail to apply if the efficiency is overstated.

Re:Simple thermodynamics (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869120)

What laws of thermodynamics are being violated?

Extracting carbon dioxide from air required a negligible amount of energy compared to electrolysis and that process is known to be anywhere from 25% to 70% efficient.

Re:It looks like it'd take an economic meltdown to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868710)

Separating CO2 from the air requires a staggering amount of energy as you have to liquefy air first.

This is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

I guarantee you that places like submarines and space stations that need to remove CO2 from the air don't need to liquify it first. There are chemical means of doing so and they don't use all that much energy.

Nuclear Company Areva has Ausra Solar Trough Tech (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868604)

Ausra has the best method for capital solar production using troughs, it got bought out by Areva the leading nuclear company. A sample reactor is already under construction in Jordan called JOAN1 for 100mw. Soon we can cheaply take advantage of all the sun in the South West US using this effecient technology; just waiting for Areva to step up. the transmission of this power (what about hydrogen?) is a complicated story altogether. in the EU, Desertec is planning a hydrogen pipe (solar to hydrogen) for energy transfer...

Loan from government? (1)

aunt edna (924333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868034)

Why wouldn't Constellation get a loan from the banks?
Don't banks kind of do that by way of its being their business?

Re:Loan from government? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868068)

It's a long-term loan. The interest rate of a bank over long terms is crippling. Governments can do special low-interest rates if they want to.

Re:Loan from government? (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868152)

Everyone else manages to take a loan and roll it over. Sure there's a risk interest rates go up, but if you think that's the case then those bank rates aren't "crippling" they are just factoring that in.

If you need a government guarantee on your loan in order to afford it then whatever you are doing isn't viable. Whether it's building a nuclear reactor, buying a house, or going to college.

Re:Loan from government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868370)

Nuclear construction has higher financing costs (loans have higher interest rates) than other energy projects. This is because of the higher risk, which is political risk created by state and local governments. The market correctly fears another Shoreham and accordingly punishes nuclear projects. Financing costs are only the symptom; abusive licensing and regulation is the root cause. Federal loan guarantees are a poorly conceived bandage; what they do is just shift the regulatory risk onto taxpayers.

Re:Loan from government? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868398)

Everyone else manages to take a loan and roll it over.

Not reactor operators. Their income is controlled 100% by the govt. Not remotely a free market. Probably appropriate for that kind of technology.

If you need a government guarantee on your loan in order to afford it then whatever you are doing isn't viable. Whether it's building a nuclear reactor, buying a house, or going to college.

Ah but only a nuke has its revenue controlled 100% by the govt, both by regulation, enviroloonie protest suits, and monopoly public utilities commission defining what they charge.

A bit unfair to make the bank liable for the NRC's and PUC's decisions.

Re:Loan from government? (2, Informative)

Muckluck (759718) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868574)

When a utiltiy builds a nuclear power plant, they are not only funding the cost of the plant itself, they are also funding 100% of your fuel cost up front plus containment and future disposal costs. See http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html [world-nuclear.org] for the basis for some realistic cost estimates.

While it is cheaper for the consumer in the long run to run nuclear, there is a huge up front cost associated. Most banks will not accept the risks without an expensive reward. Governments can finance these types of needed infrastructure loans at a much better rate and reap the rewards (cheaper energy for the masses). If given the choice for the utilities to use an expensive bank loan or a cheap government loan, I am going to hope they choose cheap government loan. All of the costs of producing power are passed on to the customer in the rates paid by the customer. Utilities are regulated entities, and as such, are entitled to recoup the cost of providing service to the customer in the rate charged.

Cost Is Always A Factor (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868054)

Reactors are always going to be expensive. At some point the cost will make the power generated by the plant to be not profitable enough to sustain the operation - and maintenance - of the plant. This isn't all that surprising al all. If other sources of power can be built less, and produce power for less, then reactors are going to sit and wait their turn again. Unfortunately for the nuclear industry the approval process takes longer than the economic swings that make their product desirable.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868186)

Don't forget that even nuclear power do produce a large amount of emissions and waste. If you include the whole process from mining, transport, enrichment and then the waste produced by the process you will end up in a situation where you find that you have a relatively dirty process.

And building a reactor takes a huge amount of material, advanced alloys and extra thick concrete to keep radiation on the inside. The control equipment is also very expensive due to all failsafes. The designs also have to be enhanced in a newly built reactor compared to what was in previous generations of reactors in order to contain any spills if they do occur. This will both affect the construction cost - making the construction more expensive, but also the operational cost making it more expensive to run the reactor.

Some of us actually remembers Harrisburg [wikipedia.org] and Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] , both are indications of things that can go wrong. There are other examples too that can be found in A Review of [orau.org]
Criticality Accidents.

Most of the accidents are caused by neglect and ignorance but a nuclear failure is causing trouble for a long time since it contaminates the area affected for so long. It's a question of decades and the contaminants are often invisible. Oil spills are visible to the naked eye and are of course not good either but the time that they are really causing any dangers is short compared to nuclear spills.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Minderbinder106 (663468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868330)

...you have a relatively dirty process.

Relative to what?

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868360)

Yep I fully agree.... If this were the 1980s anyway. But actually it's not, it is 2010. Reactor designs have changed and improved, process industries have changed and improved. The Chernobyl disaster flat out wouldn't happen with any half modern reactor design, and definitely not in America where the ability to override a SCRAM system is quite out of the question. Disasters from the likes of Harrisburg would be eliminated in the first round of your basic run of the mill HAZOP (HAZard and OPerability Study) something that industry in general has taken up in the last 20 years to identify all sorts of issues including what the impacts of RVs jamming open would have.

As for the emissions and waste, what is enrichment? Is that another relic from the 1980s? Because there's several reactor designs that not only run of unenriched uranium but could also run of the waste sitting in containers inside your mountains, and generate less waste than pretty much every other non-renewable powersource in the world. But I guess you didn't get that far into reading Wikipedia, just get to the Greenpeace propaganda and research no further.

Do us all a favour and take your 1980s opinions back to the 1980s where they belong. Some of us are trying to embrace technological advancements.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868418)

Chernobyl wasn't a case of neglect or ignorance. It was the equivalent of drinking a fifth of vodka, cutting your brake lines and e-brake cable, anchoring the gas pedal to the floor, and driving your schoolbus full of children down a mountain road in the middle of a snowstorm.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868586)

Chernobyl was a South Park episode??

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869176)

Sit down and shut up!

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868442)

Oil spills are visible to the naked eye and are of course not good either but the time that they are really causing any dangers is short compared to nuclear spills.

Seriously? An ex-roommate of mine became a geologist and researched the effects of arsenic leaching out of coal mine tailings. So... lets both agree a reactor fuel rod is harmless after X million years. Are you seriously trying to tell me that the arsenic in the mine tailings magically disappears in a similar interval of time?

Oil spills are a VERY special case because what came from living things can easily be eaten and broken down by living things. Arsenic and other heavy metals from coal mining don't disappear the same way.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869194)

Umm he didn't say anything about coal.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868490)

Don't forget that even nuclear power do produce a large amount of emissions and waste.

So stop building the stone-age reactors than we've been building since the 50s and step it up to ultra-modern mid-1960s technology [youtube.com] that produces 97% less waste.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868864)

Still - you have a lot of waste when producing the fuel, don't forget that. The large amount of waste that nobody speaks of is created during the mining and enrichment processes. It may be low active but toxic anyway.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868918)

Still - you have a lot of waste when producing the fuel, don't forget that.

Not true for LFTR. There is no fuel production - you just dump pure thorium powder directly into the reactor.

Thorium is a waste product produced my other forms of mining so there's no extra waste generated to use it. It just gets thrown away otherwise.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868620)

Nuclear power doesn't HAVE to produce anywhere near as much toxic crap as it currently does. If you overcome the cold war era BS about "nuclear proliferation" and allow spent-fuel reprocessing and use the right reactor designs (including breeder reactors) the total amount of waste left after you have extracted all the usefully-extractable energy from the nuclear fuel is significantly smaller and remains radioactive for less time.

If you use fuels like Thorium that dont require pre-enrichment, you can get even lower amounts of waste.

Chernobyl happened because they turned all the safety systems off and ran the reactor in ways it wasnt designed to. And then acted all surprised when it blew up. Also, the reactor design was flawed from day one (because it had a positive void coefficient)

Modern reactor designs (i.e. not the 70s era PWRs and BWRs that are all anyone in the US is even thinking about building) can be (and have been) built such that even total failure of every mechanical component of the reactor system wont lead to a meltdown.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868732)

The ultimate "Hold my beer and watch this" moment.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869092)

"Chernobyl happened because they turned all the safety systems off and ran the reactor in ways it wasnt designed to. And then acted all surprised when it blew up. Also, the reactor design was flawed from day one (because it had a positive void coefficient)"
Not just that, but in addition the reactor had no containment building and the core was full of flammable graphite.

There are at least 3-4 reactor design differences and 3-4 procedural differences between even "dinosaur" domestic PWR/BWR designs and the Chernobyl reactor, any single one of them could have prevented the disaster, or at least in the case of a containment building, greatly reduced its impact.

I like the other poster's analogy to drunk-driving a school bus through a blizzard with the brakes cut. Although I think that's not quite as bad as the utter stupidity that led to Chernobyl.

There are known reactor designs (such as the IFR) that could actually burn what is currently created by existing reactors as waste. I think I saw at one point a claim (may not be true) that if given enough IFRs, they could supply the entirety of the United States electrical demand for 100 years using only the waste from existing reactors so far. The waste from IFRs was much more dangerous in the short term, but easier to manage due to significantly shorter lifetime. (all of the long-life transuranics get burned). The IFR got killed because it relied on a form of reprocessing, and most politicians don't realize there are other reprocessing technologies than PUREX (which is a pretty significant proliferation risk, however, most other countries are using it now so we should start doing it too.)

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868774)

Chernobyl is the worst possible example to illustrate the risk of Western style nuclear reactors.

Chernobyl is positive void coefficient reactor. Simply put as it gets hotter, the water turns to steam and that INCREASES the rate of fission (which leads to more heat -> more steam -> more fission).

Everyone knew Chernobyl was unsafe even the Soviets. They didn't build a containment dome because it costs money. The same country was intentionally starving its own people by the millions (the "famine" in Ukraine). The risks were well known. For years western powers asked/begged/pleaded for the Soviets to shutdown Chernobyl or build a containment dome. They simply didn't care.

Positive void coefficient reactors are prohibited for power generation in the United States.

The Chernobyl equivalent of a auto would be one that once it goes out of control it can only go faster. Literally physics would prevent the car from slowing no matter what is done. The only possible outcome is a highspeed impact. Actually the auto equivalent of Chernobyl is a Toyota.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868888)

And it was also triggered by a human error.

Stupidity will always take care of any kind of existing or non-existing security measures.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868244)

Any power plant is a big investment and is built to last at least 30 years. Therefore the construction of one must be justified by a macroeconomical perspective, not only based on current needs.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868388)

Sovereign governments get to emit credit. If they cannot, in these days, what you have is a financier dictatorship. The usual phrase is a bankers dictatorship.

You are right on the approval process. You want to build a nuke,then you take out a loan. If it takes ten years to start getting revenue, then you are screwed. However, approval,and forced design changes, are a politiical thing, not a property of nukes. Indeed, other countries have been able to build quickly. And now we ar getting barge-based factory-built reactors and I suppose there is a sense in which construction time would be zero.

Now all this is interesting and important, but there is a conceptual issue. If you build something, and it is going to be economically valuable for a real long time, when you are doing the financial feasabilty study, as a private corporation, the long time part does not count. The present value of a return 200 years out is zero from an accounting point of view. So what happens is a government builds the project somehow or other. And if you re going to get the right economic returns to the society as a whole, then emitting credit is not inflationary.

At one point, the banks were in to us for, hmm, 23.4 trillion, hmm, 2009 government report to Congress. This includes loan guarantees and is not part of the usual budget numbers anyway. Of course, keeping speculators happy is exactly the soul of negative economic return, so we are on the edge of hyperinflation, while the fake speculative assets are deflating. Getting rid of the fake assets is about what you can identify as good about a big depression. Hyper inflation can be part of this. Weimar got to a trillion percent inflation in about half a year.

Can we put a number on the fake assets? World-wide, I hear 1.4 quadrillion usd.

Re:Cost Is Always A Factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868476)

Fortunately for the environment and humanity the approval process takes longer than the economic swings that make their product desirable.

I fixed that for 'ya.

Sustainable energy? (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868056)

Umm...

Wasn't sustainable energy supposed to be the really expensive one? Wasn't nuclear supposed to save us while the real sustainable energy is being developed?

It's funny how the costs of nuclear energy are structurally underestimated, while sustainable energy (wind/solar) continuously has to fight the image of being expensive.
It says enough that all 28 business plans for nuclear reactors are halted, partially because a regulatory system for greenhouse gases (the "cap and trade" system) was not put into effect.

So... public perception in summary:
- sustainable energy: requires too much subsidies, too expensive
- nuclear energy: financially more interesting, needs no subsidies

Reality:
- sustainable energy: growing market, although expensive
- nuclear energy: market stagnation, too expensive

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Informative)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868154)

It's much harder (note I said harder, not impossible) to create base load generation for a grid from solar/wind than from nuclear. It requires some sort of energy storage (either a battery, or pumped reservoir, etc) to do so from wind and solar, and if a long enough period of time with the wrong kind of weather happens that base vanishes. If we had *tons* of solar and wind, all over the country balancing load, and very efficient transmission from coast to coast I suppose it would solve that problem, but it's both a technical problem and a chicken/egg problem.

Re:Sustainable energy? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868178)

All you have to do is look at who supports each respective technology more (i.e. Republicans or Democrats), and you'll have your answer as to why they each have the public perception that they do.

Re:Sustainable energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868196)

All you have to do is look at who supports each respective technology more (i.e. guys in suits or dirty hippies), and you'll have your answer as to why they each have the public perception that they do.

FTFY

Re:Sustainable energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868486)

mark parent redundant, that is repeating what the gp said "suits or dirty hippies" are the same as "Republicans or Democrats"

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868204)

A major cost of nuclear reactors is the bickering of the NIMBYs. Construction can take fifteen years (ten for bickering, five for construction). An investor could be investing in something else which makes money during that time so to convince him to invest in your plant you have to garantee massive returns in the future.

Wikipedia has a page on the economics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868208)

You talk in such absolutes. The real reality is the entire market for resources is quite volatile. For instance I'm happy to hear you Americans have cheap natural gas. Our company built an on-site gas co-generation plant here 10 years ago to take advantages of low gas prices too. At the time the cost of gas energy compared to coal energy was at parity. For several years we we ran our gas generators at max capacity and exported power back to the grid. Fast forward to now, coal is still cheap, but gas prices have sky rocketed, and our cheap natrual gas generators are kept running just enough to generate some steam we use because it is no longer viable to run them.

If a carbon price is introduced here the natgas will likely be put to good use again. When the coal-seam gasification projects go live gas prices will likely get a kick in the supply and demand curve yet again. The price of oil should give you a good indication of how screwed up the energy market in general is. So yes while nuclear energy right now is too expensive it wasn't a few years ago when the plans were announced, and it may not be again in a few years down the road.

Re:Sustainable energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868278)

Don't leave out the enormous government support for "sustainable" energy, both subsides and purchase mandates (government forces utilities to buy X amount of renewables at any price). Your "growing market" is an unsustainable government project and has no meaningful future.

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868280)

Part of the reason nuclear plants are so expensive is that any time the word "nuclear" is mentioned, a bunch of people go "ZOMG NUCLEAR!!! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE LIKE THREE CHERNOBYL ISLAND!!1!!ONE!" And then they demand study after study after study after study after study, supposedly to make sure the native grasshopper population isn't inconvenienced or trying to prove that the reactor won't be damaged if a rock the size of Bobby Dodd stadium falls on it, but really just intended to ramp the legal costs up and delay the build so long that it doesn't happen. It's kind of like running a filibuster in Congress, or filing a bunch of groundless patent suits against a competitor--the goal is to stall long enough that the other guy gives up.

Well, that and the way we custom-design every single plant instead of standardizing on one reactor and layout (economy of scale and all that).

You see this stuff happen with "green" energy plants, too; there are protests and studies because solar plants crowd out the native desert life and disrup the ecosystem, wind turbines kill birds and bats, hydroelectric and tidal kill fish, and so on, according to them. It's not as bad with these projects because the only people filing the objections to these tend to be super eco-nuts who basically oppose any kind of energy use or technology and would rather have everyone go back to being hunter-gatherers^W^W vegetarian farmers living in harmony with nature in mud-cake thatch huts.

Re:Sustainable energy? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868776)

And since the majority of these people are probably anti-gun nuts, they would just be gatherers.

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868292)

Reality:
- sustainable energy: growing market, although expensive
- nuclear energy: market stagnation, too expensive

First of all the article is about competition with natural gas, the cheapest form of electricity generation currently available. The reason nuclear has issues compeeting is the same that renewables don't cut it, the fossil fuels are getting a free pass emitting pollutants and greenhosue gases which would be very expensive to sequester and dealt with properly.

Secondly when it comes to replacing fossil fuels it's not a question of nuclear OR renewables, we will need both. Even MITs somewhat optimistic forecast of nuclear growth will not displace the fossil fuels within several decades, and the situation is similar for energy conservation and the renewables. It is however quite possible to get rid of teh fossil fuels if you are willing to use ALL of these techniques in combination.

So in summary, if we are to have any realistic hope of getting rid of the fossil fuels within any foreseeable future we will need a strong combination of nuclear , renewables and energy conserving technology. There's no silver bullets for this problem, and it sure as hell won't be solved by people like you trying to sound smug by deliberately misinterpreting the problem.

Natural gas is one of the more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868740)

Natural gas is one of the more expensive. About 14p/kWh. But it responds to demand quickly (less than a minute, easy enough for spinning overload to even out). Coal is the cheapest absent externalities, but Wind is now equal and on a downward trend, unlike the price of coal...

Re:Sustainable energy? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868876)

Even MITs somewhat optimistic forecast of nuclear growth will not displace the fossil fuels within several decades, and the situation is similar for energy conservation and the renewables. It is however quite possible to get rid of teh fossil fuels if you are willing to use ALL of these techniques in combination.

Yes, because it's always been much more efficient to build dozens of different products which all do essentially the same job, instead of coming up with one good design and then popping it out like an assembly-line.

Oh wait ...

Nuclear is burdened with regulations and lawsuits (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868304)

because every leaf you turn over will provide a new group to challenge the building of a nuclear plant. Wind is not a competitor to Nuclear, it cannot fulfill the same role. Nuclear is base load, Wind can do peak. Wind is starting to feel the regulation and lawsuit issues Nuclear has, not to the same extent. It will, there are enough loons to oppose anything.

Look up how many "studies" are needed to put up a new reactor, even on a site with them, then compare it to the willingness to look to look the other way when putting up any power generation associated with "green". Then go read the stories where people can't stand the noise of wind farms and ask yourself, how long before that study increases costs to the point people think twice, three times, or more. Then to top it off, you can have your windfarms, provided only the poor are afflicted with them, and pretty soon no coast will be safe because of sight pollution concerns.

Bypass them (1)

nten (709128) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868602)

Some rich bored guy should build a full up super-modern reactor (thorium, pebble bed, fast breeder, I have no clue), and put it near a city, where ever they feel like. Don't do any studies, don't ask anyone if its ok. Just put it there. The catch being that they don't put any fuel in it, and never have any intent of doing so. Its not really a nuclear reactor, so I don't see how it can violate any regulations. And it will just sit there with a website detailing its budget, schedule, and design as a lesson to us all.

Re:Sustainable energy? (2, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868462)

You actually make one of the mistakes that always occurs in this discussion by using the term "sustainable energy". The discussion should be about wind power, solar power, nuclear power, natural gas, oil, coal, etc.. All of these sources of energy have different benefits and costs. Wind power and solar power are not equally good or bad ideas. Whether either one is a good or bad idea depends on where one is talking about putting them.
The perception of the two that I have seen is this:
wind/solar power: safe, expensive, but prices falling, the future of energy
nuclear power: "scary", proven technology, lots of dangerous byproducts

the reality:
wind/solar power: unreliable (it isn't always sunny/the wind doesn't always blow), requires large amounts of acreage to generate significant quantities
nuclear power: lots of ideas for improved plants that have not been fully developed (including ways to significantly reduce the amount of dangerous byproducts)

Nuclear would do fine too ... (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868820)

Nuclear would do fine too if it go an utterly unsustainable "renewable energy" credit of 1.25 cent per kWh wholesale.

That is roughly 25% of wholesale power price. Many wind farms sell power in middle of a night at a loss (litterally pay people to take power) because if they don't they lose the 1.25 cent per kWh credit.

Let me know when wind/solar can produce 100 GW of power without a 25% subsidy.

Reality:
- sustainable energy: growing market only with an unsustainable 25% wholesale power subsidy.

Breeder reactors please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868084)

Could we please build some breeder reactors to reprocess our spent fuel before we put it under the rug.

old designs? (2, Interesting)

vmaldia (1846072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868088)

Its possible that all calculations use normal light water reactor designs. I bet the economics would be much better if you used advanced designs like thorium reactors or travelling wave reactors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_wave_reactor [wikipedia.org]

Re:old designs? (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868262)

I doubt it. Any project can be made arbitrarily expensive by political maneuvering, and selling a township or even a state on "Hey, we've got a brand new type of nuclear fission reactor we'd like to try out in your area" suffers from serious NIMBY effects, and thus politicians will try to be seen opposing it.

Re:old designs? (2, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868274)

Yes of course, unproven reactor designs will certainly be cheaper!

Re:old designs? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869000)

Mexican wave reactors would be way better.

creators' newclear power plan(t) still on (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868098)

see you there? megasloth et al already has a more than sufficient replacement for our endless power needs, butt they have determined that it would not be good for them...., to tell US, as it might interfere with financing the glowbull warmongering crusades, if all of a sudden, we weren't paying by the mile/gallon etc....

'vote' (walk instead of drive, etc...) with (what's left in) your wallet. ignorance is...... dangerous? sanity is.... properly applied military/industrial/political hypenosys/espionage/terrorism? literally killing the opposition?

you have the right to remain silent.

the search continues;
google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+oil+freemason+blair+obama+weather+authors

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati (remember, (we have been told) we came from monkeys, & 'they' believe they DIDN'T), continues to demand that we learn to live on less/nothing while they continue to consume/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff/life, & feast on nubile virgins with their self/evile worshipping 'friends'. they're always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

Re:creators' newclear power plan(t) still on (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868808)

And this is why you shouldn't post while on Meth.

Solar Roofing (0)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868104)

How about a government-sponsored plan or tax-incentive to put solar panels or shingles on all businesses and homes like they are doing for efficient windows and appliances?
It is time to move away from burning and nuking things for energy.

A simple, efficient and totally clean answer to our renewable energy needs. I am ready to go solar and so are many people I know.

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868124)

>> nuking things for energy

42% of Americans heat their homes by making continuous batches of microwave tater-tots. That's why we're all so fat.

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

claudia_t (1919718) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868158)

In Australia they are talking about offering an electricity buyback scheme for solar electricity users. You basically sell the electricity from the solar panels back to the electricity companies. If it eventuates, im in!

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868188)

Most providers in the US will do that now, the problem is that panels are still expensive enough it takes something like 20 years to make your money back, even if you live somewhere sunny and have a good sized roof

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

claudia_t (1919718) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868260)

Ah that is indeed a problem. Looks like a government initiative is needed to drive solar panel prices lower. Larger scale production will surely bring the price of them down.

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868480)

Especially if you assume constant or dropping energy prices. Unlikely.

Re:Solar Roofing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868194)

Most places in the U.S. can already do that.

Re:Solar Roofing (2, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868688)

They have had that in Victoria, Australia for about a year now [vic.gov.au] . I haven't checked the other states.

In Victoria, the scheme is useless. While the power companies must offer a standard feed-in tariff for excess power, they are entitled to have different packages or terms and conditions than their usual accounts. In practice, that means that they charge more for the power consumed to offset what they pay back to the household. You don't go solar to save money in this country.

You can see why there is a trend towards voting for the Greens.

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868564)

Pardon me in advance for daring to question the the prevailing hipster wisdom that wind and solar are going to save the world. But why should my tax dollars be going to put solar panels on YOUR roof (or wind turbines in your yard, for that matter), when you're almost certainly going to use 100% of the power generated and reap all the economic benefits for yourself? Are you going to pay back the difference it makes in your electric bill to the government until that loan is repaid? Nope.

If solar and wind are the great things they're cracked up to be, you shouldn't NEED a government incentive. After all, it pays for itself in 50 years, right? So why should I as a taxpayer subsidize you to save you money? The tiny benefit that I might reap in an insignificant carbon emission reduction would pale in comparison to the cost of your handout. And if I wanted to support solar as a taxpayer, I would be a lot better off support building solar power plants (which the government would pay for and also OWN at the end of the day).

And BTW, solar defenders, why not consider actually addressing these points instead of just hitting the mod down button that I know you're reaching for right now?

Re:Solar Roofing (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869056)

How about a government-sponsored plan or tax-incentive to put solar panels or shingles on all businesses and homes like they are doing for efficient windows and appliances?

Small local generators make little sense, since we can simply supply the power generated in specialist facilities over the power grid. Replacing or upgrading local generators and keeping them running efficiently would be a very costly operation. By contrast, upgrading or even replacing a few large facilities and supplying power to the same existing grid would be much simpler. You'd have to be losing a lot of efficiency on the grid itself to make a local solution worthwhile.

It's a bit like using money instead of barter. The alternative just isn't sensible these days.

Costs or Fees? (2, Insightful)

glatiak (617813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868122)

Back when nuclear reactors were falling out of fashion I ran into a study that showed a huge percentage of the cost of a nuclear plant in the US was the legal fees for all the government submissions and approvals. The number that sticks in my head was 90% but I hope this was wrong. I suspect what ever it was it is probably worse now due to the lingering induced paranoia about anything 'nuclear'. And the approval process for any project going through the entrails of government is probably vast. Remembering the Manhatten project, Hoover Dam and the Transcontinental Railway as examples of huge projects that were at the edge of capability (and affordability) and yet were done in a period of a few years. And yet building a nuclear plant takes decades... I think we have just lost our will to survive.

Re:Costs or Fees? (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868248)

Not our will to survive. More our will to accept large human cost in major projects. Dunno about the US examples cited but the UK railways were created at a cost of people(mostly Irish) per mile, and I know the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme (Australia's Hoover) cost 121 lives. Having said all that, I think all western governments could do with a healthy cleanout of self serving bureaucrats who do less to ensure safety of the environment/mankind than protect their own jobs.

Well? (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868148)

Well, natural gas is now much cheaper, and as a result it looks like building a single nuclear reactor in Maryland is such a risky venture

Natural gas is only cheaper because we are using less of it. As soon as the economy rebounds the price will increase. This is the short sighted view that has gotten us into this mess over the last 30 years.

This is what the bailout should have gone to (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868168)

Only about 10% of the bailout money actually went to building things America needs rather than maintaining the illusion of prosperity in a number of states.

Imagine if the federal government had spent all $700B on infrastructure development. That would probably have put a few hundred thousand people back to work temporarily and gotten us at least the majority of those 30 nuclear reactors funded fully.

The federal government could easily then assign ownership of the loans to a corporation modeled on the Resolution Trust Corporation [wikipedia.org] which was the federal corporation that liquidated the assets of the S&Ls.

Re:This is what the bailout should have gone to (0, Troll)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868524)

Yes, but not enough of those people put back to work would have been reliable votes for the Democratic Party. It was much more productive to use that stimulus to give money to Democratic donors (unions and others) who could then plow that money back into the Democratic Party's capmaign coffers and lobby the government to get the government to bail out their pension plans (which are underfunded in part because the unions spent millions of dollars getting Democrats elected rather than in funding their pension plans).

Re:This is what the bailout should have gone to (3, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868704)

Imagine if the federal government had spent all $700B on infrastructure development.

But that'd be socialism, and that's bad! Glen Beck told me!

Re:This is what the bailout should have gone to (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868998)

Imagine if the federal government had spent all $700B on infrastructure development.

But that'd be socialism, and that's bad! Glen Beck told me!

It's not like Glen Beck supported the bailouts either. The point is that if we were going to create a huge bill for our grandchildren to pay off, we should at least have spent them money on something of value.

Re:This is what the bailout should have gone to (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33869070)

The point is that if we were going to create a huge bill for our grandchildren to pay off, we should at least have spent them money on something of value.

And that's really the problem with central planning.

It's not that it's impossible for government to do the right thing - it's that when you give that much money and power to a bunch of politicians they make decisions based on politics rather than objective technical criteria.

Everyone thinks they could do a job of it if only they had absolute power but in reality the process you need to go through to get that kind of power forces you to become a politician.

Mission Accomplished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868218)

The goal early on was to make the cost of meeting regulations so high that no nuclear power plants could be built. Looks like that goal, achieved several years ago, is still successful.

Ah, so endemic security failures are forgotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868354)

Ah, so endemic security failures are forgotten. Such failsafes and regulations are needed to ensure that safety is not forgotten in the short term profit.

See BP and the Deepwater Horizon disaster for what happens when regulations do not say "put this secondary failsafe in".

But, for you, the problem is that government is making it too expensive...

cheaper gas my a$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868268)

Well, natural gas is now much cheaper

Oh? If that's the case, then why the hell isn't my heating bill cheaper hmm?

10 year bond yield 0.25% & dropping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868282)

fortifying the notion that if you take their mammon away, they'll be MUCH easier to herd.

never a better time to investigate the creators' newclear power plan/planet/population rescue/mandate. it cannot be any less successful that what we have now, which is no plan/power/peace.

First Plant? (1)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868582)

I wasn't aware that the Calvert Cliffs plant was ever scheduled to be the first new design plant to be built in the US. At one time that label was applied to the South Texas Project, and I believe that the two new reactors at Vogtle are now in the lead. The Vogtle reactors use the Westinghouse AP1000 design, and the latest revision to that design is nearing presentation to the NRC for certification. (An earlier revision has already been certified.) The Calvert Cliffs reactor was an Areva EPR, which is still a ways from having US approval of its design.

At Vogtle there has already been a lot of dirt moved, and parts of the containment are already being delivered to the site.

Natural gas much cheaper - but for how much longer (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33868658)

In the aftermath of gas drilling micro-disasters (the nature of gas drilling results in localized environmental damage, but when it happens it is a disaster for those nearby), I'm guessing increasing regulation is going to increase the costs of gas drilling.

There's a moratorium on shale gas drilling (specifically on well stimulation by hydrofracturing, but no one is going to drill a well they can't frack) in New York State after the rampant water contamination incidents all over Pennsylvania. For example, the groundwater in Dimock, PA became undrinkable within a year or so of the commencement of drilling. People can actually light their tap water on fire now.

Gas is not a long-term option, and in fact, it looks like the way it is being drilled now is going to have severe long-term environmental consequences (it already has in many drilling areas). Nuclear is a long-term investment.

The people in charge.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33868748)

Of this country.... Are morons, crooks, liars, thieves, and crappy humans.

That's pretty obvious by now... I wonder why we keep electing them...

Gotta be because the people are also morons...

Gee. That's depressing.

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