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Duke Energy Scraps Plans For Florida Nuclear Plant, Forced To Delay Others

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the running-out-the-clock dept.

Power 233

mdsolar writes "According to the Associated Press, 'The largest utility in the U.S. is scuttling plans to build a $24.7 billion nuclear power plant in a small Gulf Coast county in Florida, the company announced Thursday. Duke Energy Corp. said it made the decision because of delays by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in issuing licenses for new plants, and because of recent legislative changes in Florida.' Meanwhile, 'Duke Energy's plans to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina have been delayed by federal regulators who say budget cuts and changes to the plans require more time. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Duke in a letter that a final hearing on plans to build the William S. Lee nuclear plant in Cherokee County would have to wait until 2016. The original target had been this past March."

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233 comments

DUKE HAS A BLUE DRESS ON !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456391)

Dance with the devil !!

Re: DUKE HAS A BLUE DRESS ON !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456719)

"Duke Energy", not "Duke Nuk'em"?! They must be renamed!

Do...or do not. There is no try. (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44456409)

Either these kinds of plants are ok or they are not. If not, ban them. If so, get the hell out of the way.

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44456673)

Either these kinds of plants are ok or they are not. If not, ban them. If so, get the hell out of the way.

Not a matter of them being OK. Dismiss that right off.

I lived for years in a city where a battle was waged by the NIMBYs and a regional power company, with the state and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sitting on a fence like so many crows and cawing in some change to regulations every now and then. It nearly bankrupted the power company, submitting, resubmitting, re-resubmitting construction plans, plant wiring, cooling system designs and plumbing, environmental impact, etc, etc, etc. Effectively they would spend months building reactor housing and then have to tear it all out and start again. After years of this the writing was on the wall, it would never become a nuclear plant (at least, most likely) The plant became a gas generating plant, though most of the structure could be converted to nuclear if the present owners feel like going to battle again. The designs were fine, but courts and red tape can kill any project.

There's more to it than that (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44456749)

Worth putting government money into it or not is another question that ends up being asked as well. Banks won't touch it.

So it's not about "get the hell out of the way" - it's about "get behind it in a huge way, or not".

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (2)

ssam (2723487) | about 9 months ago | (#44457023)

If we banned unsafe energy production we'd have to turn off all the coal and gas plants, drain all the hydro dams (those things are nasty when they break) and stop building any renewable that required construction work (especially at heights, like roofs and tall wind turbines).

Don't get me started on the explosive liquids we put in our cars or the explosive gas that's piped to my house for heating/cooking.

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457163)

There's "unsafe" at the personal level, and there's mutagenic stuff that will leave the next 15 generations with 6 toes and leukemia if it goes wrong. That's a WHOLE other level of "unsafe".

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457189)

There's "unsafe" at the personal level, and there's mutagenic stuff that will leave the next 15 generations with 6 toes and leukemia if it goes wrong.

Like fly ash?

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457359)

In your world is everything either safe or not. Is it really that binary? For instance do you think hand grenades and thermonuclear devices are both just unsafe weapons with the same thought and care required for each. Really, what's wrong with people?

Re:Do...or do not. There is no try. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457663)

If we banned unsafe energy production we'd have to turn off all the coal and gas plants, drain all the hydro dams (those things are nasty when they break) and stop building any renewable that required construction work (especially at heights, like roofs and tall wind turbines).

Don't get me started on the explosive liquids we put in our cars or the explosive gas that's piped to my house for heating/cooking.

Please read up on the differences between explosive, combustible, and flammable...

Not the best place (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#44456433)

I don't think the gulf coast is a good place for a nuke plant anyway what with hurricanes getting stronger and more frequent

Re:Not the best place (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44456535)

True, although other areas also have problems. Generally you need to be on a coast for the massive amount of cooling water needed, although Palo Verde [wikipedia.org] is an exception.

The Pacific coast was going to be the site of the first U.S. plant [wikipedia.org] , but public opposition forced its cancellation, and that doesn't seem too likely to change in the near future. Plus you trade hurricane problems for earthquake problems.

More plants on the Great Lakes might be a possibility. Illinois is already the top nuclear-power-producing state as it is.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456613)

More plants on the Great Lakes might be a possibility. Illinois is already the top nuclear-power-producing state as it is.

This is exactly it (but forget Lake Erie, it's too shallow to soak up a lot of heat without ecological damage). The Ohio river and Mississippi river seem like good candidates, too, as long as the plants are built on a high grade to escape flooding.

Re:Not the best place (4, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 9 months ago | (#44456617)

The problem is that the Great lakes are infected with dangerous invasive species [wikipedia.org] that build up and block water intake systems. It's very expensive to stop a nuclear plant to clean the buildup of Canadians in the pipes. And you run the risk of the plant employees getting infected with ideas like universal healthcare.

MOD PARENT DOWN! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456735)

Idiot, could you cite something OTHER than wikipedia?

Re:Not the best place (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 9 months ago | (#44456861)

>> More plants on the Great Lakes might be a possibility

Doubt it. They just shut down one in Wisconsin: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kewaunee_Power_Station [wikipedia.org] ) . One near Chicago was shut down in the late 1990s ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_Nuclear_Power_Station [wikipedia.org] )

>> Illinois is already the top nuclear-power-producing state

The remaining plants are nowhere near Lake Michigan. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Illinois [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457045)

We have a few up here on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, and they work quite well. Our reactor design is much safer too. Just buy CANDU 2000s and quite your bitching.

Power Plants on Lake Michigan (1, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about 9 months ago | (#44457313)

The remaining plants are nowhere near Lake Michigan.

In Illinois there are active three nuclear power stations (Braidwood, Dresden, and LaSalle) not far from Chicago. A serious criticality incident on any one of those three would likely affect Lake Michigan. There also are Palisades Power Station (Michigan), Point Beach (Wisconsin), Donald Cook Power Station (Michigan) which are all on Lake Michigan.

Personally I wonder if having nuclear stations so close to 1/5 of the world's fresh water supply is a good idea. I'm not opposed to nuclear power but I think some locations might be more sensible than others. The Great Lakes are hugely important, have often been environmentally abused and some of the power stations (Palisades in particular) don't have the best operating records.

Re:Not the best place (2, Insightful)

JDevers (83155) | about 9 months ago | (#44457053)

True, although other areas also have problems. Generally you need to be on a coast for the massive amount of cooling water needed

Huh?
Might want to look at a map of US nuclear facilities.
http://www.greenpeace.orgusaennews-and-blogscampaign-blognew-maps-of-nuclear-power-plants-and-seismic-blog33826eicnt7ucmlxocrazoqgmagpsigafqjcnh-dk-ug9bf6fywq0-g_2ha_kiurgust1375544816089350/ [www.greenp...4816089350]

The majority are NOT on the coast, many are on relatively small lakes...plus we have these cool things like cooling towers, not all those plants pull cold water in and dump hot water into a water source directly. A nuclear power plant doesn't need any more access to deep, cold water than a coal plant of the same generating capacity.

Re:Not the best place (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 9 months ago | (#44456611)

Hurricanes there aren't any stronger than they are on the East Coast. I've lived through a fair number of hurricanes with a reactor barely ten miles away, and while I'm a Nuclear skeptic, I've never really doubted the strength of these structures and their ability to withstand nature's fury.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457057)

The physical structures are designed for foreseeable impact from a hurricane, but the loss of external power could be a concern. External power either from the grid or from backup generators is essential for reactor cooling as well as cooling of used fuel stored in on-site cooling pools. The other problem with hurricanes on the Florida coast is storm surge in a low elevation state.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456895)

Plus the whole state on average isn't that far above sea level and is riddled with underground passages in the limestone for any spills to quickly spread to the groundwater.

Re:Not the best place (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#44456965)

I don't think the gulf coast is a good place for a nuke plant anyway what with hurricanes getting stronger and more frequent

We're talking west coast of Florida here - the place least likely to be hit by a hurricane on the Gulf Coast.

Note also that Katrina hit a nuclear plant. No problems....

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457923)

Hurricanes are one of the most predictable natural disasters on earth. Unlike a tsunami, you can expect to have all of your crisis response ready to go when a hurricane hits.

Re:Not the best place (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 9 months ago | (#44456991)

Yeah, it's kinda pointless to build nuclear plants in an area where oil flows ashore by itself.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457131)

Thanks BP!

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457095)

That's because you're dumb, you know who is in danger from a hurricane? People not in an over-built concrete box that is mostly metal inside and has very few windows.

Your average school is more of a deathtrap than a nuclear power plant when it comes to hurricanes.

Re:Not the best place (0)

ballpoint (192660) | about 9 months ago | (#44457207)

....what with hurricanes getting stronger and more frequent

Where did you pick up that misinformation ? I could post links to historical and actual data, but it is far more educating for you to go out and find them yourself.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457455)

I could post links to historical and actual data, but it is far more educating for you to go out and find them yourself.

This is really just another way of saying that you are firm in your view. I never trust someone who is confident in their knowledge. Confidence breeds ignorance. Maybe you should post your links since I find this [google.com] rather easily. You can argue about any of the sources but then you didn't really put any up of your own.

Re:Not the best place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457831)

And is there anything on the Florida Gulf Coast that needs that much power?

Thanks, NRC! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456445)

at a time when we need more power generating capacity, it's nice to see the relevant government agency doing its best to bottleneck the process!

Re:Thanks, NRC! (1)

alen (225700) | about 9 months ago | (#44456515)

i know people who's kids go to school within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. you have to sign waivers allowing the school to give your kids some kind of radiation treatment in case of a meltdown

Re:Thanks, NRC! (4, Insightful)

Talderas (1212466) | about 9 months ago | (#44456631)

That's a CYA policy. Parents have a nasty habit of making a ruckus if a school gives their kids anything they didn't agree to. It's probably a permission ship to be able to give iodine tablets to the students in the event of a meltdown. So even though those tablets would likely help keep the kids from getting thyroid cancer parents would bitch at the school for doing it without permission.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#44457499)

I'd argue it's more that lawyers have a nasty habit of convincing stupid people who are upset about something to pursue frivolous lawsuits. Schools can weather bitching and angry letters. What they're paranoid about is getting sued for things beyond their control, so they think a piece of paper with a signature will prevent that.

As someone who has been sued for $200K for giving someone a sore knee (trying to get money from my insurance provider), I'm convinced sometimes greedy lawsuits just happen and there's not much you can do to avoid it. In the case of a nuclear meltdown, parents would sue for not providing lead shields and rad-x.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456645)

It is almost certainly an iodine tablet. Radioactive iodine causes thyroid cancer. Taking a lot of non-radioactive iodine prevents your thyroid from picking up the radioactive iodine.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456705)

i know people who's kids go to school within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. you have to sign waivers allowing the school to give your kids some kind of radiation treatment in case of a meltdown

It's called an iodine tablet and it has pretty much no side effects. Add to that, that the rate of death by gunman far outpaces the rate of death by radiation exposure, AND the fact that the school would probably be a dilapidated shanty if not for the money the power plant brings into the area, and you can basically count those kids lucky.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (0)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44456561)

Do we actually need more power generating capacity? I think the main unfortunate thing with the U.S. reluctance to maintain or expand its nuclear power sector is that we need more clean power, i.e. not from coal, oil, and natural gas. But we are not actually at a shortage of power full-stop, if that's what you're worried about: there is a huge glut of cheap gas, and as shale-gas extraction expands that is only going to continue. Natural-gas power plants are very easy to flex with demand, too.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456853)

Yes, we do need more generating capacity. The population continues to grow. As for coal, check out the Cardinal coal-burning plants in Ohio. They invested millions upon millions of dollars in equipment to clean their emissions. They currently exceed EPA regulations...they really ARE "clean coal" plants. It takes cash, but it can be done. Unless we want to be underpowered, like California, and trying to force neighboring states to sell their electricity.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457815)

Growing population does not necessarily imply growth in electric power use. Over time the amount of power used to do many tasks has been declining due to improved technology and government regulation. This includes lighting, cooling, refrigeration, washing, and computing. (Consider lighting going from incandescent, to CFL, to LED or those nice new front-loading washers which happen to use a lot less hot water and leave cloths drier, making the electric dryer use less energy.)

Re:Thanks, NRC! (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#44456885)

Yes, short term, natural gas is cheap, easy to configure ("just" drag a couple of 30 foot tall turbines to the site), well understood. Unfortunately it's not really clean - TLDR but natural gas extraction and burning may produce just as much CO2 as coal - just think about what happens to nat gas when in oxidizes - it turns into - wait for it- CO2!. And unfortunately our glut of nat gas is likely to be relatively short lived (on the order of a few decades).

Now, nuc plants are not necessarily clean (Fukashima) but could be made to be fairly safe. And nuc plants aren't really long term (each plant lasts a couple of decades) and we still have to figure out what to do with the waste. That's a political, not a technical problem but anybody who doesn''t think that politics can be problematic needs to wake up a bit.\

So neither nucs nor nat gas (nor coal) can get you out of dealing with longer term issues but our current society doesn't seem to want to do any of the hard stuff (planning, conservation, planning) so yep, drag those turbines in....

Re:Thanks, NRC! (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 9 months ago | (#44457773)

The current designs of nuclear plants being built around the world have an initial design life of 60 years, not "a couple of decades". They may well go on operating for a century depending on maintenance, fuel costs etc.

The existing fleet of Gen II reactors built in the 70s and 80s are reaching the end of their initial licencing period of 40 years but after inspection and some upgrading here and there quite a few of them are getting a licence extension of ten years with the expectation that they could well get another 10-year operating extension on top of that.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457513)

Do we actually need more power generating capacity?

Has there ever been a point in human history where we didn't need more power. Whether is was horsepower or milling with water, our need for power has always moved in one direction.

Re:Thanks, NRC! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44457975)

America could very easily reduce it's power consumption significantly, and at the same time improve the quality of its citizen's lives. American houses are very inefficient, generally speaking. It is cheaper to make efficiency and quality improvements than to build more capacity.

Unfortunately it won't happen because when capacity is reached there are two options. A massive programme of improvements to citizen's homes and business premises could be undertaken. This would reduce energy bills and improve quality of life for individuals, but the government would have to get the money from somewhere. Alternatively a new power station could be built, paid for by a large corporation that can then turn it into a source or revenue and profit. Ordinary people end up paying more and putting up with pollution and accidents, but at least there was none of that socialist anti-American stuff that the first option involved.

Shame (1, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | about 9 months ago | (#44456453)

It's such a shame that the far left has put such a stigma on nuclear power. All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself. Oh well, I guess we can keep burning oil for the next hundred years.

Re:Shame (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456493)

You mean coal. FTFY

Re:Shame (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 9 months ago | (#44456509)

Oil, coal, we burn them both for power.

Re:Shame (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456713)

You absolutely right. http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

37% of our energy from coal
30% from gas.
1% from oil

Yep our usage of oil and coal for energy production are exactly equivalent.

 

Re:Shame (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44456721)

Unless you live in Hawaii very little oil is burned for power. It would be far too expensive. Natural gas and coal are far bigger. Even wind and solar are bigger than oil for electric generation in most states.

Many coal plants are now mostly natural gas anyway with the low prices on the stuff and they have preheaters that burn it anyway.

Re:Shame (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 9 months ago | (#44457187)

While that is true in a sense it is a gross oversimplification.

Oil is expensive compared to coal and natural gas. So oil based fuels are mostly used where the advantages of an easilly portable liquid fuel outweighs the higher cost, e.g. transportation and some industrial uses. Afaict most electricity in the US comes from coal, nuclear and natural gas. So new nuclear power plants would be mostly displacing coal and gas not oil.

Does this mater? it depends on what you consider important. If your aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emmisions then switching electricity generation from coal and gas to nuclear is a big win.

OTOH If you aim is to get away from relying on imported oil oil then building nuclear power plants won't help much by itself, you also need to either develop coal to liquids and gas to liquids conversion facilities or convince current users of liquid fuels to switch to electricity.

Re:Shame (0, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about 9 months ago | (#44456527)

nuke power has lots of environmental downsides. the waste disposal and needing river water to cool the reactor are two of them

Re:Shame (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44456731)

Waste disposal could be fixed with political will. Also there is no need for river water to cool a reactor. Man made cooling ponds have been used and have the advantage of no one caring how hot you make the water.

Re:Shame (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 9 months ago | (#44456819)

The need for water for cooling will be true with any other high efficiency thermal generation method. Every noticed coal power plants have much the same type of condensation towers?

Re:Shame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456921)

nuke power has lots of environmental downsides. the waste disposal and needing river water to cool the reactor are two of them

Wow. Clueless much?

Every power plant has cooling requirements.

And guess what? The radiation released upon a population from burning fossil fuels has greater impact than the radiation from power plant waste.

Nevermind the fact that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

You dumbass twit. Yes. You're a dumbass twit. You deserve that for regurgitating crap you know absolutely nothing about.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456983)

My PV solar plant has no cooling requirements and releases no greenhouse gasses other than those used during its manufacture.

You dumbass twit. Yes. You're a dumbass twit. You deserve that for regurgitating crap you know absolutely nothing about and for being such a douchebag in general.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457211)

My PV solar plant has no cooling requirements and releases no greenhouse gasses other than those used during its manufacture.

You dumbass twit. Yes. You're a dumbass twit. You deserve that for regurgitating crap you know absolutely nothing about and for being such a douchebag in general.

How's that solar plant work at night? Or when it's cloudy?

Yeah, it don't.

Grow a brain.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457927)

IT'S CONNECTED TO THE GRID.

So I buy power at night and sell it during the day. I don't pay for electricity anymore. I get paid to make it. Overall my system generates more than I use so I make a net profit.

I think we know who needs to grow a brain here, dumbass twit. Go back to polishing your AR15.

Re:Shame (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 9 months ago | (#44457849)

Add more units to Palo Verde (Phoenix) Because of our dry desert air, we don't need a river or a lake as our heat sink in Arizona. We tried burning Californians for power, but they wouldn't stay lit.

Obummer the Messiah will save us all! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456665)

More hope and change brought to you by Glorious Leader Obummer.

Re: Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456779)

You can't blame all nuclear accidents on 'poor oversight' then act all aggrieved when the government tries to provide oversight.

Maybe you have some specific complaint you'd like to register but as formulated your post sounds like it was written by a lobotomy patient.

Let's clarify that one (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44456797)

All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened by accident.

See how worthless the above post is when it's distilled down to it's true meaning?

Re:Let's clarify that one (1)

JDevers (83155) | about 9 months ago | (#44457115)

How about this version...all THREE major nuclear accidents have been accidents. In order of ability to prevent and damage caused: one by a complete and total incompetence, one by faulty equipment and poor training, and one by design standards that were inadequate to an incredible natural disaster.

Re:Let's clarify that one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457409)

Except.... the third one wasn't an accident. Fukushima Daiichi was designed to withstand tsunami's of X height. That was intended and part of the design. It's not an accident of mother nature that it threw a tsunami of X+1 height against it.

You're stretching the definition of "accident" to the breaking point. Stop that.

And like it or not, EVEN ONE accident, or design flaw, or unlucky coincidence, can have NATIONAL IMPACT and sway policy. And rightly so.

But yeah, in the end, it IS such a shame that the left has put such a stigma on nuclear power. I like nuclear just from an environmental standpoint. But you HAVE to cross your t's, dot the shit out of your i's, double and triple check if the design is a good idea and REGULATE THE PANTS off of nuclear power. It can't be done with the mindset that it's a business for profit. That way leads to nuclear catastrophe. And even then, sometimes you get unlucky and it all goes to hell.

Re:Let's clarify that one (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44457457)

There's been quite a few more than that although most have been military, which is conveniently beyond the goalposts of fans of 1970s style nuclear reactors. Wikipedia helpfully has a very long list.

Re:Let's clarify that one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457443)

That second it's should be its.

Re:Shame (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456875)

Like it or not, poor oversight can't be removed from a discussion of the technology. If you are building a nuclear plant, you need to be confident that you will be able to maintain responsible oversight/operations/maintenance of the facility for 60 plus years, with oversight/maintenance/storage of the waste for longer. You can have every confidence in the design, in the current owners and the operators when it begins operation, but they will likely be retired if not dead by the time the plant closes. All it takes is one few year period where bad management / operations / regulation comes in and a disaster can happen.

For the record, cheap natural gas and a general lack of growing electricity demand is making developing a nuclear plant pretty questionable at the moment. You have to spend (i.e. borrow) a ton of money up front, on the expectation you will need the energy in 5-10 or more years and that the price of power will have increased sufficiently. Alternatively you can wait it out, see what happens to demand and if needed throw up a gas-fired plant quickly for much less capital and a pretty reasonable operations costs.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457247)

It's such a shame that the far left has put such a stigma on nuclear power.

Leave the grossly over-simplified and partisan left-right nonsense out of this; NIMBYs come in all shapes and sizes.

Oversight can't be separated out (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 9 months ago | (#44457417)

All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself.

The oversight IS a part of the technology. If the technology were flawless and relatively safe then extensive regulation and oversight would not be needed. I'm not opposed to nuclear power but pretending that the oversight can be separated from the equipment is naive.

Re:Shame (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44457783)

All of the nuclear accidents in history have happened because of poor oversight, not to the fault of the technology itself.

So what you are saying is that we need to solve the oversight problem. What progress has been made towards doing that? I don't see any really... In my own country the nuclear industry seems to be just as cock-up prone as ever. Still no plan to deal with waste either.

The only solution on offer seems to be to make nuclear power cheaper for companies to operate and then they will... Actually I'm not sure what the rest of the plan is, I just keep hearing people moaning about the cost due to regulation.

I think I played this one (1)

Stargoat (658863) | about 9 months ago | (#44456501)

I think I played this one. It's the one where the power company turns everyone into mutants and a blond haired Bruce Campbell goes around cracking wise and blowing up the mutants.

Where'd the money go? (3, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 9 months ago | (#44456505)

It's been paid for since... 7ish years ago. Higher taxes to pay for something that the tax payers didn't get so... Can we have the money back for the nuke plant we paid for but didn't get? No? I see. Again, where's the money?

Re:Where'd the money go? (-1, Flamebait)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 9 months ago | (#44456641)

In some other universe that could be called stealing....

Perhaps the lesson here is when local governments make deals like this they put into the contract a payback clause if the company pulls out. Duke made Billions on this deal and has no requirement to remit for lack of services rendered?

Amerika, what a country :-/

Global Warming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456541)

I wish environmentalists could decide if they really wanted to get serious about global warming. They should be out picketing the White House over this.

Boy oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456583)

We're lucky that Solaren is putting a solar panel array in space then eh?

What's that? Not a single washer is in space yet? Well I'm sure it'll happen just in time.

Blame the government when the real cause is... (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 9 months ago | (#44456697)

Yeah, never miss an opportunity to blame the government and the bureaucracy. All that fracking and all that cheap natural gas flooding the market has no bearing on the decision. Most energy experts predicting USA to become a net exporter of petroleum products in the coming years did not affect the decision. 25 billion dollars is a pittance for Duke Energy and the only reason they scuttled the project was because of bureaucracy and regulation and delays.

Expect the same thing to be repeated in West Virginia and South Western Pennsylvania coal belts. They will blame the government, onerous regulations, etc etc and claim "clean coal" was killed by enviro nazis. All the while the natural gas is getting cheaper than even the dirty coal. If you spend more money on cleaning up dirty coal how can you compete with another thing that burns more easily, transports more easily and costs less?

We may disagree whether this boom in fracking and natural gas abundance is a good or bad. But one thing we can be sure is, these entrenched interests would blame the government at every opportunity even when the true cause is thumping its chest like an 800 lb gorilla right on their faces.

Re:Blame the government when the real cause is... (0)

JDevers (83155) | about 9 months ago | (#44457143)

To be fair, with zero regulation, oversight, and no delays as well as only minimal safety procedures, nuclear would be the cheapest (but most dangerous) of all our energy options. Duke isn't really LYING, so much as stating the obvious truth and hoping everyone misunderstands...

Fracking bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457985)

Cheap gas good. Polluting ground water bad. Fracking bad. Destroying bedrock? Who knows?

I hate to break it to you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456723)

but without nuclear power in the U.S, there would be rolling blackouts everywhere. We would be no better than Venezuela.

Obama clearly stated he wants more $$$$ energy (3, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | about 9 months ago | (#44456727)

Youtube [youtube.com]

So, why is anyone surprised his executive agencies are putting up more roadblocks to building power plants? I mean, he said it in plain english.

Re:Obama clearly stated he wants more $$$$ energy (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44457881)

I mean, he said it in plain english.

And yet you still misunderstood it. He was talking about dirty forms of energy like coal and gas. Clean energy is getting cheaper all the time, but the market has failed and is screwed up so badly companies just want to keep producing coal plants. Therefore he wants to force them to clean up by making dirty energy cost more.

Nuclear is very expensive, for a variety of reasons. Rewewables are somewhat expensive but getting cheaper, the problems are that they require investment in the grid as well and that they can reduce energy company profits. Coal is cheap, not least because much of the cost is externalized. Blow the pollution and carbon into the air, don't pay to clean it up.

He wasn't saying that energy prices in general would skyrocket, he was saying that the cost of coal energy would get more expensive and thus consumers would demand cheaper, greener energy. Power companies would be obliged to provide it.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to learn there's gambling (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 9 months ago | (#44456817)

Is this one of those cases where the state allowed them to put a surcharge [orlandosentinel.com] on customers' bills for years before they even built the plant?

I don't suppose we'll ever see that money back, will we?

Building a nuke plant doesn't make economic sense (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456873)

Assuming an industry standard 92.1% uptime for the plant, an industry standard 0.85 CENTS per KWH operating & refueling cost and a 60 year lifespan, this plant with its two AP1000 reactors would generate 19.6 Billion KWH per year for 60 years. That works out to an installed cost of $6.91 per KWH of capacity.

Meanwhile, I just installed a 6.2 KWH solar array for $24,000, (before any tax rebates and including all engineering, labor and other parts like inverters). Factoring in its 30 year life span (meaning factoring in that I'd need to buy TWO systems to equal the 60 year lifespan of the reactor) and factoring in average solar availability here in Florida, my cost per installed KWH is $4.00.

Those are real numbers, not speculative. And they DON'T INCLUDE any transmission losses, which average 7% nationwide.

So it is cheaper for us as a nation to put solar panels on every roof than it is to build nuke plants.

Re:Building a nuke plant doesn't make economic sen (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#44456979)

Factoring in its 30 year life span

Are you really expecting to go 30 years with absolutely no maintenance or breakdowns on your shiny new system?

Re:Building a nuke plant doesn't make economic sen (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457033)

Abso-fucking-lutely. Other than hosing off the panels a few times a year, there is no maintenance at all. It is an entirely solid state system with no moving parts.

What if something fails? The inverters and panels all have non pro-rated 30 year warranties. Real-time monitoring software lets me know if a panel or inverter fails. When, or if it does, it is replaced, for free as covered by the warranty---all of those costs are already included in the price.

Also you seem to think I am the first person in the world to install solar panels...there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of existing installations which have been installed for decades....this is not rocket science. It's good, proven, cost-effective technology.

Re:Building a nuke plant doesn't make economic sen (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457151)

Also the 42% lower price for solar vs nuke would indicate there's a little wiggle room for a higher failure rate than expected--and remember my numbers already include paying for the entire system TWICE. If I had to buy THREE systems in 60 years instead of TWO, my cost per KWH would still be $6 vs $6.90 for nuke (really $7.39 for nuke when you factor in transmission losses).

ALSO--the price of solar PV cells has steadily been dropping due to research and develpment. My replacement cost in 30 (or even 20) years for new panels will likely be significantly lower than $24,000. And the icing on the cake is that it's the panels and inverters that wear out, not the interconnect wiring, racks or engineering. Panels and inverters make up about 50-60% of the total installed cost. The upgrade I install 30 years from now when I'm in my 70s will likely be half the price of what I paid this year. The system after that one...I probably won't be around to see.

nuclear regs are crazy strict (0)

ssam (2723487) | about 9 months ago | (#44456967)

You could cut nuclear regulation in half and it would still be the safest way to generate power. (as a bonus you would cut the price and time to build).

They are strict because the consequences are bad (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 9 months ago | (#44457683)

You could cut nuclear regulation in half and it would still be the safest way to generate power.

The relationship between quantity of regulation and safety is not a linear one. There are three things to consider when evaluating risk: likelihood of occurrence, chance of detection, and severity of the problem. What makes nuclear power scary is that the severity of many problems can be extremely high so one has to be very careful to keep the other two factors (likelihood and detection) as low as possible. That is the purpose of the regulations. You cannot simply say that cutting the regulations in half would double the number of problems. The real world is more complicated than that.

2005 Energy Act (5, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | about 9 months ago | (#44457001)

The breakdown of U.S energy research and development subsidies reported by the US DOE is roughly 60% for nuclear, 25% to fossil fuels and 15% to sustainable energy sources.

Half a billion dollars worth of subsidies are available for procuring companies (i.e oil companies) proposing "pre-approved" reactor designs, even if they don't build it, and a 1.8 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit if they do.

In addition the 2005 U.S energy bill provided another $13 billion dollars worth of subsidies and revocation of the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (PUHCA, by George.W.Bush), put into law in 1935 to stop a re-occurrence of the 1929 stock market crash. It is this economic mechanism which allows the owners of nuclear power stations to syphon money from ratepayers in the same way utilities companies did in the 1920s.

For anyone whos says this is a problem of the "NIMBYs" (or the ratepayer) protesting the construction, it's not. Constructs in the law governing the location and construction of Nuclear Reactors specifically exclude ratepayer concerns in the consideration for approval. Utilities companies withdraw for their own reasons, usually insurance and liability as, even with the provisions of thePrice Anderson Act [wikipedia.org] Nuclear power plants are too risky to operate.

The reality is if the Nuclear power industry was forced to cover it's own liability and fund itself it would cease to exist.

Re:2005 Energy Act (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 9 months ago | (#44457937)

Keep in mind California has a $3 billion solar subsidy, and there is the $18 billion in incentives for clean and renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency improvements from the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

You may want to look at a historical perspective [cornerstonemag.net] on US energy subsidies.

Since 1950, renewable energy (solar, hydro power, and geothermal) has received the second-largest subsidy - $171 billion (21%), compared to $121 billion (14%) for natural gas, $104 billion (12%) for coal, and $73 billion (9%) for nuclear power.

Duke [Nukem] Energy Corp. (5, Funny)

baKanale (830108) | about 9 months ago | (#44457215)

I'm here to build nuclear power plants and chew bubblegum... and I'm all out of patience for the plant construction licensing process.

Will we get our money back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457295)

FL residents have been paying for this new plant in our power bills, even though the project didn't get planning permission. I never understood how a private company was legally allowed to increase customer costs purely to charge people for something that didn't exist, and wasn't going to exist for decades, and without giving any ownership %age to those that were paying for it.

This should be a violation of due process (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#44457395)

The government is effectively denying nuke plants it doesn't have a right to deny by delaying hearings indefinitely.

In criminal trials, if the prosecution fails to make their case in a speedy manner the case is dismissed by default.

Likewise, these planning commissions should function like trials before an impartial judge concerned only with the law. The planning commission should have the ability to approve plans without a trial or if they wish to reject a plan they should bring it before a judge in a timely manner. If they fail to do so then they should wave their ability to stop the project.

A major problem with the US government at this point is that the checks and balances between executive, legislative, and judicial have broken down to some extent. Especially in these regulatory agencies, various departments are given the authority to be judge, jury, and executioner. In some cases literally. This is all a violation of due process.

These regulatory bodies are effectively members of the executive. They're cops. They have every right to respond to a situation but they do not have the right to pass judgement, set policy, or carry out a sentence without judicial review on a case by case basis.

Obviously people that are against the nuclear plant will say this is good and the executive should just do whatever it wants indifferent to judicial review because the executive is doing what they want at that time. That's fine. However, what happens when the executive does something you disagree with...? You have no recourse if the regulators are absolute.

It is in everyone's interest that this stop and that the system be held to some account. If the feds want to stall permits that's fine... they forfeit a right to contest projects in that event. If they want a say they can approve or deny permits AND offer reasons for doing so before an impartial judge.

Short of that... its a violation of our rights. End of story.

Probably for the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457605)

I'm all for nuclear energy...but I want the most stringent regulations in place. I want those plants to be able to withstand earthquakes, missiles from cuba, etc.

Not necessarily wanting them to stay operational after such catastrophes. I just want to make sure they don't ever ever leak.

In other words, no-one really cares about CO2 (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44457885)

If human CO2 emissions were really any kind of issue, we'd green-light new reactors as fast as possible.

The fact that the current administration tries to block construction of them shows all too clearly how the talk about CO2 reduction is all political posturing with motives that have nothing to do with CO2 reduction.

Obviously building nuclear plants is not helping Democratic donors enough financially.

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