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US Approves Two New Nuclear Reactors

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the blue-moon-rising dept.

Earth 596

JoeRobe writes "For the first time in 30 years, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia. These are the first licenses to be issued since the Three Mile Island incident in 1979. The pair of facilities will cost $14 billion and produce 2.2 GW of power (able to power ~1 million homes). They will be Westinghouse AP1000 designs, which are the newest reactors approved by the NRC. These models passively cool their fuel rods using condensation and gravity, rather than electricity, preventing the possibility of another Fukushima Daiichi-type meltdown due to loss of power to cooling water pumps." Adds Unknown Lamer: "Expected to begin operation in 2016 or 2017, the pair of new AP1000 reactors will produce around 2GW of power for the southeast. This is the first of the new combined construction and operating licenses ever issued by the NRC; hopefully this bodes well for the many other pending applications."

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About time (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985265)

It's about time we did something to address our growing energy needs.

Now if we can get politicians to quit treating building more oil refining capacity as a political football, we might take another meaningful step toward energy independence.

Re:About time (-1, Flamebait)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985351)

Don't worry. We'll be out of oil soon and our civilization will be pulled kicking and screaming into the future. Type 1 civilization here we come!

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

Xupa (1313669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985763)

Yeah. That's definitely the most likely outcome of a rapid decline in the only source of cheap, dense, portable fuel.

because we learned nothing from Fukushima (-1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985593)

what could possibly go wrong. sigh

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985633)

You obviously didn't learn anything from it. Well, nothing that's true, at any rate.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (4, Interesting)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985713)

Yes much better to keep drilling in the gulf - that's never been a problem...

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985875)

You're right. It hasn't. Even with as much whining as there was with the BP spill it really wasn't as terrible of a problem as environmentalists wanted it to be.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985967)

Right and Global Warming is a myth. You just keep praying away the problems.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986079)

Actually the parent AC is right. The massive calamity turned out to be more of a tourist problem then an environmental one.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985783)

Per kilowatt nuclear is the safest when all things are taken into account. The problem with nuclear power is the worst case scenario: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima. So that is the balancing effect.

A crude analogy would be comparing cars to airplanes by mile traveled.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985805)

>what could possibly go wrong. sigh

Yellow bellied coward.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (5, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985823)

What we learned from Fukushima is that this is EXACTLY what we need to do - we need to start building modernized reactors that roll in decades of safety research and engineering into their design, as opposed to repeatedly service-life-extending old clunkers with ancient safety designs.

And if we don't go with nuclear - what's our other option? Gas, the industry which has contaminated more groundwater in the past five years with drilling activities than almost the entire history of civilian nuclear power?

The nuclear industry has an excellent track record - it took decades before the first incident of a civilian reactor letting out any measurable contamination, and that incident was triggered by a natural disaster that killed over 25,000 people instantly, hitting a reactor that was so old that it was originally scheduled for permanent shutdown prior to the earthquake.

(I don't consider Chernobyl to be a civilian reactor - even if the Soviets tried to claim it was "civilian", the only reason one builds graphite-moderated water-cooled reactors is to have the option of using it as a cheap source of weapons plutonium.)

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (2)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986073)

Nuclear is costing a fortune in legacy costs safeguarding the waste, and its only getting worse as more and more is generated. We should invest in deep drilling techniques for geothermal and put $$$$$$$$$$ into fusion research. The problem with saying "oh that was an old design, things are safe now", is that if you amortize the plants over a smaller lifespan, the cost skyrockets to even more than it is now (already the most expensive method of generation, and that doesn't even include legacy/cleanup costs). Guarentee when those "old" plants were originally proposed, the funding was looked at over a 40+ year lifespan. You can't expect to just rebuild the plants every 20 years because better designs have come along.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986075)

I'm not entirely sure if this is true for all new reactors, but new reactors do have passive protection. The old reactors were designed simply wrong to handle catastrophic failure in power supply.

Fukushima was certainly a PR nightmare and I do hope the Japanese government officials in charge of nuclear safety learn to control their corporations better now.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985917)

By "we learned nothing" do you mean we didn't learn to stop relying on 40 year-old nuclear power plants built using 50-60 year old designs? Because I'm pretty sure building new designs shows that we did, in fact, learn exactly that.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986009)

What you should have learned is how to read....

These models passively cool their fuel rods using condensation and gravity, rather than electricity, preventing the possibility of another Fukushima Daiichi-type meltdown due to loss of power to cooling water pumps.

That doesn't mean they won't have another type of meltdown at some point, but what is your answer? We can't rely on coal and oil forever.

Re:because we learned nothing from Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38986023)

These are NEW designs that don't rely on power to cool the rods. Hardly a fukushima scenario.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000#Passive_Core_Cooling_System

Fuskushima used old reactor designs much like 3 mile island. In fact, it was months aways from being decommissioned.

Re:About time (-1, Troll)

kuleiana (629890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985607)

I fail to see how this article is "insightful". The point is not to address growing energy needs by possibly causing another environmental disaster. Experience has obviously proven useless in this case. I'm sure that the Congresspeople who were paid by their corporate owners at GE are overjoyed that they'll get their bonus, no matter what the residents who actually have to live next door to a freaking nuclear reactor will think.

Re:About time (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985701)

Look at it this way, if you save your oil for later, then in the far future the USA could be #1 in space! With space McDonalds and space fighter planes doing space airshows (spaceshows?) and fuckin' space fireworks! You want the Chinese laughing at you from space with their...space paper dragon parades?

Re:About time (1, Informative)

boorack (1345877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985829)

Seems that we didn't learn much (yet). [vimeo.com] AP1000 has its own set of flaws nobody in NRC cares about.

I'm not against nuclear power but we still have serious issues to be solved. Most serious one is corporate negligence (a.k.a. "cost cutting") and general corruption at NRC. In AP1000 case nobody addressed issues resulting from Fukushima fiasco.

Re:About time (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985853)

Don't start celebrating yet. I'm sure the greens will have something to say before it's up and running.

Re:About time (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985863)

It's about time we did something to address our growing energy needs.

Now if we can get politicians to quit treating building more oil refining capacity as a political football, we might take another meaningful step toward energy independence.

How about if we use less energy? Sound familiar?

I remember when I didn't have seven items in the same room needing an outlet - there was a TV, a lamp and maybe a small floor heater. Now I have a computer, with a monitor, a sound system and a laser printer, each with its own cord. The item in the room consuming the most power is the computer. Further, I have various wall-wart powered devices, which are on less frequently. I don't think my electric needs are unique, either. With 100 million people on computers, whether at home or work, we're chewing through the watts like crazy, even with energy saving lamps.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985937)

We shouldn't have to use less energy. That defeats the entire point of progress. Using more energy is a good thing because its a sign you are capable of things that require that much power. But we do need to make sure we can provide for our power needs.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985885)

Would the approval go faster if they were to build new Type III on a site that already has Type I in the USA? Take down old Type I and install new Type III. Could probably reuse the cooling tower.

Re:About time (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985951)

> building more oil refining capacity as a political football

The "political football" isn't going anywhere. It's nothing more than a bargaining point that Americans can understand when they see two candidates arguing on Fox News. It's an important piece of strategy and not going anywhere.

Typical (3, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985271)

They'll build them in the South and then send the power up North where the states refuse to allow them.

Re:Typical (5, Interesting)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985395)

The idea being the the South makes money from them by taking on the risk (perceived or otherwise) of running them in their backyard. Either in increased employment (so local growth) or increased tax revenue for the county, or cheaper electricity for the locals.

Just like France makes good money selling electricity to the UK and Germany (as those two countries have somewhat of a nuclear-phobia, that seems to be increasing). The electricity prices in France are 10% of what I pay in the UK, and I'm on a cheap UK tariff provided by a French electricity company! I'm sure the money goes somewhere...

UK doesn't seem nuclear-phobic to me (3, Interesting)

Krigl (1025293) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985975)

It generates about one sixth of electricity from nukes and plans to build a lot more of them within next 20 years, public support dropped after Fukushima, but has already recovered [ipsos-mori.com] . That's not too special, but it's completely different league than Germany with it's traditional over the top reaction to social wave du jour or Austria's hysteria (sorry, Austrians, there's no better name for it).

Re:Typical (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986015)

Not sure what you mean about the UK having a nuclear phobia - we just approved a new generation of power plants.

Re:Typical (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985443)

Well, just do what some of my compatriots did to the Austrians when some of the Austrians didn't want to import nuclear-generated electricity from my country: We started selling them wall plug filters for nuclear electricity, allowing only non-nuclear electricity to power their appliances. Some people here got rich on that. :) You can get rich, too, and you'll do a good deed to boot!

Re:Typical (4, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985463)

up North where the states refuse to allow them

Err... [sandia.gov]

Re:Typical (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985467)

Why would this be a problem? "The South", or more specifically some power company in the South would then make profits and create jobs.

Re:Typical (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985487)

There is a renaissance of manufacturing going on in the American south. Look at all the foreign auto makers that have built factories there. Wages are affordable for the company, there are no union entanglements like those which have ravaged Detroit, areas where good paying jobs are few and far between receive them - everyone wins.

Re:Typical (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985689)

Perhaps also important, you can go outside in a tshirt and jeans November - March, meaning that skilled manufacturing jobs (machining, etc) are less likely to make flight for warmer climates (see also: Los Angeles). Now that we import much of our steel, there's no reason to keep the manufacturing clustered in one of the most miserable parts of the continental United States.
 
Hey North, NEWSFLASH - we have air conditioning now, it's safe to come down here ;) You can enjoy hobbies like sailing in the winter. It's no wonder that southern cities are seeing double digit growth while great lakes industrial cities are collapsing.

Re:Typical (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985789)

From Minneapolis I sneer at you and say, I wouldn't trade my down comforter and mild summers for all the mosquitos in Mississippi. :)

Re:Typical (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985971)

I'm not sure what the situation is in MS, but here in TX mosquitoes only come out in the summer - same as they do in MN. Even then, they don't come out until dusk because it's too hot during the day. To top that off, we get an extra hour of daylight (well, 50 minutes) each day than you guys do in February. That's an extra day of daylight! December is the only month people here that people commute home from work in the dark.

Re:Typical (1, Troll)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985877)

Yay for the devaluation of labor! If cheap wages are "affordable" for the CEO's to continue their bonuses and golden parachutes, we should all get rid of unions! The south still has room for progress though, they still won't work as cheap as the Chinese.

No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1, Flamebait)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985277)

I'm so glad the problems in safely disposing of nuclear waste have been solved!

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985313)

Just build some bombs from it. I'm sure they're quite lethal. Not kidding, I think this is an excellent idea and a great way to mitigate nuclear waste.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

gregulator (756993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985371)

You could make a "dirty" bomb, that would give people radiation poisoning and cancer, but strapping the spent fuel rods to another explosive.

You could not build a traditional high-explosive nuke bomb or missle.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (5, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985353)

PRISM [wikipedia.org] / IFR designs [wikipedia.org] in general (and Molten salt breeders [wikipedia.org] , in theory) turn that "waste" into enough fuel to supply the earth ... forever, assuming we build pyroprocessing [wikipedia.org] facilities (PUREX generates a lot of waste ... no good).

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985509)

PRISM [wikipedia.org] / IFR designs [wikipedia.org] in general (and Molten salt breeders [wikipedia.org] , in theory) turn that "waste" into enough fuel to supply the earth ... forever, assuming we build pyroprocessing [wikipedia.org] facilities (PUREX generates a lot of waste ... no good).

"In theory". Aye, there's the rub.

We really need more active research in this area instead of relying on experiments conducted in the 1960's.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985851)

You do get that only 1 of the 3 methods listed were "in theory" right?

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (5, Insightful)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985355)

Sorry, but all the disposal problems have not been solved. There is one remaining issue of "environmentalist" obstructionism. I use quotes, because these people are damaging the environment, not protecting it.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (0)

schitso (2541028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985393)

whoosh

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985603)

whoosh

Is that the sound of the GP's post going over your head? Because he's absolutely right. There are many excellent technical solutions to the question of waste disposal, but all of them are rendered infeasible by political considerations.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985505)

There is one remaining issue of "environmentalist" obstructionism. I use quotes, because these people are damaging the environment, not protecting it.

This is true. If you oppose nuclear, a coal plant will be built in its place, which is far, far more dirty and dangerous.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985547)

This is true. If you oppose nuclear, a coal plant will be built in its place, which is far, far more dirty and dangerous.

Actually, nowadays it's more likely that a natural gas power plant will be built since the regulations around coal are pretty restrictive. Cleaner than coal ... but still pumping obscene amounts of CO_2 into the atmosphere.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985733)

That fracking stuff looks pretty questionable too. Pumping the ground full of mystery sauce...

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985759)

and pumping proprietary trade secret chemicals deep into the ground to get the natgas in the first place.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

jcaplan (56979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985983)

Natural gas produces half the CO2 emissions of coal, so I guess that makes it half as obscene. Other advantages of natural gas are low fuel cost, low construction cost, no S02 and low NOx emissions and fast transition from idle to full power.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985389)

I'm so glad the problems in safely disposing of nuclear waste have been solved!

Agreed....we should stop using advanced power generation technologies until they are perfected.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985391)

There's no such thing as nuclear waste. There's just stuff you haven't configured your *other* fast breeder reactor to burn, yet.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985461)

It's been solved, the waste will be transported to Japan where the natives won't notice the increase compared to the status quo. ;)

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985529)

I know that the planned disposal facility at Yucca Mountain has been delayed by environmentalists for a long time.

Asking honestly: what do they feel the problem was with a disposal site that is 5 miles underground, and under the Nevada Test Site no less?

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985737)

Personally, I object to burying 95% perfectly good fuel just to dispose of 5% waste. Run that FUEL through an appropriately designed reactor first, then process out the waste and load the rest back in.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Informative)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985753)

Groundwater seepage and the active geology of the region... There are better places to store it than Yucca Mountain. Of course most of the attention was put on the transport of nuclear waste through the state, rather than issues with the long term storage.

All that said, as a native Nevadan I am not opposed to the Yucca Mountain project. It's gotta go somewhere and while there are better places, there are a whole lot worse. At some point you just need to make your decision and act on it. I am however opposed to the regulatory environment that has kept newer, more efficient nuclear designs from seeing the light of day in the US. Land of the Risk Averse!

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985567)

Like all energy sources nuclear has its share of trade offs. Wind/Solar still don't quite give the same output that Nuclear or Coal can, Hydroelectric can only be used in particular locations and then there are people complaining about the fishes that get shredded. Coal has a lot of pollution.
Nuclear energy when well maintained is a relativity good energy source. Its pollution for good or for bad is highly concentrated meaning the good means it can be captured and moved to a safer location, the bad is if a little bit leaks out it could be very deadly, and difficult to pick up again. However right now our pollution problem is in extra carbon. Nuclear energy can help reduce our carbon dependence, the combined risk of continued use of Coal even when treated well is worse then nuclear energy being properly respected and governed.

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985681)

So we either deal with Nuclear Waste, or Murcury in our waters.

Nuclear Waste not a problem. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985683)

Re:No More Nuclear Waste Siting Problem? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986033)

From the article: "Used fuel produced by the AP1000 can be stored indefinitely in water on the plant site."

Great news! (5, Insightful)

emeyer (30603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985311)

If we are going to adopt electric cars in a big way, we need this badly.

Glad to hear it.

-Eric

Re:Great news! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985411)

HA HA HA, this was going to be my comment. The new reactors would power 1,000,000 homes or 500,000 electric cars.

MOST people don't recognize the load that a mass switchover to electric cars would put on the power grid.

Re:Great news! (1, Interesting)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985449)

Which is why we should be investing in public transit.

Re:Great news! (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985931)

Which is why we should be investing in public transit.

What is annoying about this is that there are some fantastic ideas for expanding MARTA in Atlanta. One that I kept hoping would happen would be a smaller light rail connection along the beltline [wikipedia.org] . The most that has happened thus far is just some hiking trails along it. At least Marta has expanded the existing northeast train a bit, but not much compared to what the beltline could do for use.

Re:Great news! (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985571)

I know - we'll build some more of those windmills, and finance some solar panel companies with dubious business plans!

Re:Great news! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985657)

Private companies are building plenty of the former.

Nuclear power is great, but so far private companies have shown no interest. They even get insurance from the government and still no takers. Solar panel subsidies are never going to come near the amount of money the US govt has put into Nuclear power.

Re:Great news! (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985839)

Solar panel subsidies are never going to come near the amount of money the US govt has put into Nuclear power.

That's a lovely and very interesting point. Do you have a reference with actual numbers?

Liquid Floruide Thorium Reactors Please! (5, Interesting)

Xanny (2500844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985323)

We have tons of waste from the traditional uranium plants to use up, might as well start building some reactors that produce almost no leftovers.

Re:Liquid Floruide Thorium Reactors Please! (4, Funny)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985591)

I submitted plans for a flow-through microcapillary array making use of liquefied and diluted fissile fuel to Battelle Memorial Institute while working there (2004-2005). Modern day reactor pebbles are rarely used to more than a quarter of their fissile capacity--primarily because there is so little fissile material in the bulk rock that, at that point, it fails to generate enough heat to be useful. By dissolving and diluting the material the fission reactions could be metered to near atomic identity (one for one, ensuring no unused fuel on the flow out end).

The primary design problem was operating close to absolute zero. Good luck pushing any liquid through an array of microcapillary tubes and through the fission chamber (filled with gamma radiation to creat the fission events) at that temperature.

The primary political problem was a ban on combining breeder reactors with actual production reactors. The design for the microcapillary flow-through chamber involved the generation of the liquid fuel (breeder) to be, more or less, on the lab bench adjacent to the electricity producing reaction chamber engine. Due to problems in the past, and concern over record-keeping and stolen fissile material, the generation of the fuel material must be in a seperate facility from the reactor which is attached to the electricity producing turbines.

All of that aside... nuclear reactors are really a method for human corpse disposal. The trees were much taller until you sinners began dropping out of that tower you were building, and those corposes have lots and lots of water in them. The Egyptians used to press the bodies into bricks--some bricks (eg. Methuseleh), would take hundreds of years to dry out and press together. Stonehenge and Woodhenge are the dregs and the froth from the tun when they began stewing the bodies together en masse. Nuclear reactors were developed in the attempt to dry and press the bodies without clogging up all of the world's real estate. A nuclear reactor is a crematorium array.

Re:Liquid Floruide Thorium Reactors Please! (2)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985755)

If I could, I would moderate you +1 'weird'.

wmod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985401)

need to 6oin ithe

That's all well and good, but... (3, Funny)

wernst (536414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985409)

...as soon as someone forgets to pay the gravity bill, it's Fukushima all over again!

Fairewind comments on AP1000 (3, Insightful)

Jerry (6400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985431)

"The NRC thinks the probability of three nuclear reactors having a meltdown within 3 days is ZERO. They chose this to minimize the cost of development of the AP1000 reactor."

That's because the NRC is a sock puppet for the Commercial Nuclear Industry.

https://plus.google.com/107839599438746451936/posts/gEhU26JjGWV [google.com]

And three, two, one... (5, Insightful)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985453)

Cue the environmentalists to come running out of the woodwork, filing every lawsuit they can find, protesting the work site, and in general trying to slow down and interfere with the construction of said nuclear power plant.

The level of public ignorance never ceases to amaze.

Re:And three, two, one... (5, Informative)

Loss_of_Coolant (2445450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985773)

Since the last reactors were built, the United States has upgraded its licensing procedure. With the Combined Operating License (COL) which just got approved, the time has passed for those who wish to object the construction/operation of the plant. A few months ago the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held an open forum to the public to review the AP1000 reactor for the site in question; that was the time to object. So it looks like Southern is a go for construction of this plant.

Re:And three, two, one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985815)

It's Georgia, they don't have enviromentalists there do they? (Sp intentional btw)

Re:And three, two, one... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985909)

Cue the environmentalists to come running out of the woodwork, filing every lawsuit they can find, protesting the work site, and in general trying to slow down and interfere with the construction of said nuclear power plant.

The level of public ignorance never ceases to amaze.

Meanwhile California now has 5% of its power needs met by Wind Generation. Considering the power needs of the most populous state, that's no small feat. And even wind has its foes, worrying the vanes will slice hawks to bits. You can't do anything to generate power without someone finding a complaint.

IN YOUR FACE GERMANY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985553)

USA rules !!

Big questions. (3, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985565)

Will they be built with standards and interchangeable parts, or by the lowest bidder using totally unique designes that ensure no personal or parts can be used on both?

$6.36 per Watt (5, Insightful)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985609)

(14G$ / 2.2GW) doesn't sound like a good price point to me, with the price of solar being at $3/watt and falling [solarcellcentral.com] (assuming "AC Watts" have the same energy as "DC Watts"). Why so pricey?

Re:$6.36 per Watt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985897)

Yeah, and after the first year price will be $0 per Watt?

No, no it won't. (4, Informative)

stomv (80392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986065)

Nuclear operating costs are far lower than fossil fuel plants... but they are higher than solar photovoltaic, wind, and hydro in almost all cases.

As for the "nuclear is always on" claims, that's true for the most part. The thing is, not every hour of electricity is worth the same. The Southeast (and most of tUSA) has surplus capacity even after the GWs of coal retirement hit 2016-2018. What we need in order to keep the price low is inexpensive *peaking* capacity. Guess when load is highest? Yip. When the sun is shining; more precisely, summer months on clear days at around 3pm M-F non-holidays. Guess when the cost of generating electricity with fossil fuel is the highest? Yip, during peak hours [thanks to economic dispatch, a good thing].

As for me, I'm not opposed to nuclear power, and I do believe that carbon emissions are the most important challenge of our generation. Nuclear waste is a real problem /. tends to gloss over [by either ignoring it in absolute terms or ignoring the foreign policy and transportation implications of reprocessing]. I'm opposed to the cost. Nuclear is far more expensive than renewables, we don't need the nighttime capacity, and if the First Nuclear Age is any indication, cost per MW will go up over time, not down.

Re:$6.36 per Watt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985921)

Because you can't devote the entire state of Nevada to solar power generation, that's why. Nuke plants are small and powerful. Solars are huge and measured in single-digit MW.

Dam all the rivers !!

Burn all the trash !!

Be green in the wallet !!

Re:$6.36 per Watt (1)

Loss_of_Coolant (2445450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985929)

The sun is only up 1/2 the time, my friend. Nuclear is baseload power generation while Solar is supplementary. Apples and oranges.

Re:$6.36 per Watt (1)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985935)

Note: I realize you can't use solar power for base load. Still, if nuclear costs twice as much as solar, it's hard to believe it's the best use of funds. It seems plausible that you could afford to build a huge solar plant with huge energy-storage capacity (batteries, molten salt, whatever) for less than the price of this plant.

I actually like nuclear energy, especially newer safe designs that "can't" melt down, but to me the main attraction of nuclear is the potential cost savings over other possibilities. Am I missing something, or does this project not save any money compared to the alternatives?

Re:$6.36 per Watt (3, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986001)

Because that is installed capacity (GW) and not actually energy production (GWh). So since your solar only produces power 1/2 of the day and reduces power based on latitude and season your actual costs $/GWh is much higher.

2.2 Gigawatts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985621)

The first thing we should do when we get it working, is hook it up to a DeLorean, send it back in time, and prevent Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Better analogy (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985631)

That amount of power is sufficient for approximately 1.81 time-travelling DeLoreans.

Re:Better analogy (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985911)

That amount of power is sufficient for approximately 1.81 time-travelling DeLoreans.

True, but you'd have to take the reactor with you if you wanted to come back to the present again (unless you invent some way of freezing the passenger so they can wait it out).

loss of gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985687)

It can still fail in case of the loss of gravity.

2.2 jigawatts? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985711)

Good, enough power to send Marty back twice.

AP1000 vs ? (1)

jimmifett (2434568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985785)

How does this design vary from say, Pebble Bed reactors?
I seem to be liking what i've read about Pebble Bed Reactors

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985865)

The won't be anywhere near ready for 2017 and they will cost much more than $14 billion.

Re:Prediction (1)

Loss_of_Coolant (2445450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985987)

Construction for the AP1000 is already underway in China at the Sanman site. Those will be the over-budget / over schedule "test mules."

Very welcome news (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985927)

As a resident of Georgia, all I can say is: good.

Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38985999)

WAIT!?! Why rods? I thought pebble beach reactors were the way to go now.

Not a big deal. (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38986027)

I am far more interested in seeing GE Prism and the micro thorium reactors be approved.

Now, we need NRC to push approval for the micro reactors. We have a large number of coal plants that are going to be shut down over the next 10 years. The choice is what to replace them with. Ideally, small thorium reactors are the ideal choice (though I also like the idea of adding thermal storage combined with a small natural gas boiler).

The other issue that we have, is that many of the nuke plants are old like Japan's. These plants are going to be closed down over the next 20-30 years. Right now, they are LOADED with large quantities of 'waste' fuel. That 'waste' will need to go to WIPP to be buried for 20K years or more. HOWEVER, if we get the GE PRISM reactor going, then we can drop these into place at each of these sites, and fuel them with the 'waste' fuel. The much smaller amount of output from it would then last only 200 years, of which the worst part is over in something like 50 years.

Seriously, all of the waste fuel that exists in America combined with thorium (which we have plenty of), combined with AE and Natural gas could fuel America for the next couple of centuries.
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