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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the one-day dept.

Power 130

mdsolar writes with news about further delays to Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor. "Areva-Siemens, the consortium building Finland's biggest nuclear reactor, said on Monday the start date of the much delayed project will be pushed back to late 2018 — almost a decade later than originally planned. Areva-Siemens blamed disagreements with its client Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) over the plant's automation system, the latest blow for a project that has been hit by repeated delays, soaring costs and disputes. "The delays are because the planning of the plant has taken needlessly long," Jouni Silvennoinen, TVO's project head, told Reuters on Monday. "We haven't examined the supplier's detailed schedules yet, but our preliminary view is that we could do better (than 2018)."

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Oh dear (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804657)

It'll never be finnished.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804947)

Yeah, we Finns have never heard that joke before. Never!

Re:Oh dear (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805151)

I use that one all the time. If you have a problem with that, you can Suomi.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805279)

It'll be finnished one day. But what Areva didn't expect when they signed the delivery deal, was the amount of scrutiny from Finnish nuclear regulatory officials.

There has been countless construction errors made during the construction of the nuclear plant and fixing them to meet the tight standards has cost Areva big time.

Re:Oh dear (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805495)

> But what Areva didn't expect when they signed the delivery deal, was
> the amount of scrutiny from Finnish nuclear regulatory officials.
[snip]
> There has been countless construction errors made during the construction

So you're saying it's being delayed because they were *caught*.

Oh, that instils great confidence.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806923)

"Oh, that instils great confidence."

Depends on the "errors", if they're cutting corners the definitely should be forced to fix them. However I have seen (at least in residential/commercial) some inspectors who will fail people on the most innocuous things, I doubt it is much different for nuclear. If they're being failed for a lack of an emergency release valve on a high pressure line or an emergency lighting system with no backup power great, if they're being failed for having a model 493A door nob on an emergency exit instead of a model 493C then that's different.

Re:Oh dear (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805563)


*looks up at you*

Everything that has a beginning, has an end.

*Looks back down*

More bad nuclear news courtesy of mdsolar (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807347)

What he doesn't report is how the Chinese are manufacturing their AP1000s on schedule. The problems on Finland and France with EPR have been innumerable because of excessive bureaucracy and people who don't know how to manufacture nuclear reactors anymore getting the job. Not to mention continuous funding delays.

Really? China on schedule? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47808675)

China's state-owned reactor builder said the start-up of the country's first advanced nuclear project based on designs by U.S.-based Westinghouse has been delayed further until at least end of 2015 due to tougher safety checks. In an interview to official news agency Xinhua on Thursday, Guo Hongbo, a spokesman at China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC), blamed the delayed start of the "third-generation" AP1000 reactor on stringent safety inspections after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Originally set to start by end-2013, the project in Sanmen in eastern Zhejiang province was already delayed until December 2014. It has now been pushed back at least another year, after design changes and problems with some components. http://uk.reuters.com/article/... [reuters.com]

Indeed... (1)

courcoul (801052) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804671)

Unless it is a fast breeder or similar that can "burn" plutonium, by the time they get around to getting the fuel, there won't be much uranium left on sale, or suppliers willing to sell it.

Re:Indeed... (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804699)

While civilian nuclear has been in decline over the past few decades there's not likely to be any shortage of suppliers of uranium. In one large mine for example, Roxby Downs, it's really just a side product of copper, silver and gold which would be mined anyway if there wasn't uranium in that ore.

Re:Indeed... (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805479)

The number of reactors peaked in 2002 http://www.worldnuclearreport.... [worldnuclearreport.org] but the power produced peaked in 2006 http://www.worldnuclearreport.... [worldnuclearreport.org] so a few decades may be too long to count for a decline. Market share has declined for a while now, but that does not influence the rate of uranium consumption.

Re:Indeed... (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805551)

The Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine in south Australia is installing an experimental acid leach facility to process their spoil to extract residual uranium and copper.

"Olympic Dam currently produces close to 4000 tU3O8 per year and around 180,000 tonnes of copper. The planned [acid leach] expansion could lift annual uranium production to around 19,000 tonnes U3O8 and boost annual copper production by up to 515,000 tonnes." (From World Nuclear News)

The uranium market spot price has been depressed for a few years in part due to the "Megatons to Megawatts" project which put a lot of excess Russian weapons-grade uranium into the fuel pipeline, effectively subsidised by the US government as part of its non-proliferation efforts. Now that this project is complete it's expected the minehead price will rise again and mining operations are looking to expand their production now that it is expected to be more profitable in the near future.

Re:Indeed... (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804803)

Unless it is a fast breeder or similar that can "burn" plutonium, by the time they get around to getting the fuel, there won't be much uranium left on sale, or suppliers willing to sell it.

There is a glut of uranium on the market, with prices for yellowcake falling by more than 50% since Fukushima.

Re:Indeed... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804849)

Yes. A glut of unranium putting uranium producers out of business, closing mines, etc. The glut today may well lead to a shortage a few years out from now.

Re:Indeed... (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805049)

Yes. A glut of unranium putting uranium producers out of business, closing mines, etc. The glut today may well lead to a shortage a few years out from now.

No, because as soon as prices recover, the mines will reopen. There is enough uranium stockpiled to cover the transition. If prices ever go back to where they were in 2010, it will be cost effective to extract uranium from seawater [wikipedia.org] , where the supply is almost limitless. At current consumption rates, we will not run out of relatively cheap uranium for thousands of years. There are plenty of reasonable arguments against nuclear energy, but "we are running out of fuel" is not one of them.

Re:Indeed... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805275)

.. and if we do we can run on thorium for .. longer.

Re: Indeed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805375)

Or we could run the world on the hot air of thorium enthusiasts, forever.

Re: Indeed... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805503)

> Or we could run the world on the hot air of thorium enthusiasts, forever.

Just collect them together and sit them down under a horizontal wind turbine.

Re: Indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806121)

Or just chuck them into the spinning blades. Either one works for me.

Re: Indeed... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807829)

I have been advocating construction off wind turbines around Washington D.C for years for the same reason.

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805367)

be cost effective to extract uranium from seawater,

Two things about that. #1 It is horribly expensive at over 15 to 30x the cost of current uranium. #2 The extraction process requires absurd amounts of oil based 'net' to extract the atoms of uranium.

Nuclear is already an expensive method of electricity production. Saying that this method of extraction is 'cost effective' is highly misleading. in 2010 Uranium prices spiked, the ocean extraction process would still have been over 7 times more expensive, not to mention there are only prototypes and estimates of cost at this point. Some of the estimates have put the cost of extraction at well over 100x current uranium cost.

The most advanced materials, which can be reused several times, can draw between three and four milligrams of uranium per gram of plastic each time theyâ(TM)re used, says Costas Tsouris, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who is working on that system.

http://www.technologyreview.co... [technologyreview.com]

Uranium obtained using the traditional process today would cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per kilogramâ"about 10 to 20 times the current market price, says Schneider. (The price of uranium did rise to around $300 per kilogram as recently as 2007, however.) The new process could cut that cost significantly.

Current price is around $31 per pound ($68 a kilo).
http://www.mining.com/chart-ur... [mining.com]

A sharp spike in uranium prices in 2007 had many people scared in terms of the sustainability of the nuclear industry, [at $100 per lb]

So if the nuclear industry is unsustainable with mined uranium then it is completely unsustainable with ocean extracted uranium, which realistically costs around 20 times as much.

How's that nuclear waste problem coming along? Perhaps the mafia can help. [spiegel.de]

Just make sure that nuclear waste doesn't leak. Oops.
Radiation leaks force transfer of nuclear waste from New ... [rt.com]
Nuclear waste leaking at Hanford site in Washington, again ... [grist.org]
After $40 Billion , America's Biggest Nuclear Dump Is Still ... [whowhatwhy.com]
Radiation leak at nuclear waste dump raises questions ... [nypost.com]
Ocean disposal of radioactive waste - Wikipedia, the free ... [wikipedia.org]
Thousands of radioactive waste barrels rusting ... [greenpeace.org.uk]
Japan Times: Now 400 tons a day of toxic water is estimated ... [enenews.com]

Because nuclear accidents stopped happening after Chernobyl right? Nope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]

But hey, todays new breed of super-human won't make the same mistakes as those past humans / sarc

Re:Indeed... (1)

careysub (976506) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806713)

Your post would be considerably more persuasive if you showed the price of uranium at which it became "unsustainable", and if you didn't throw out a random "well over 100x current cost" figure when your linked source only documented a 10-20 times cost using older technologies now being superseded described in the article. (Your provide no analysis to show that the even the 2007 price spike made nuclear power "unsustainable" - proof by unsupported assertion does not work)

At $130/kg the cost of uranium mining comprises a cost of 0.32 cents per kwh [world-nuclear.org] . So at $1000/kg this cost rises to 2.5 cents per kwh. The additional 2.2 cents is less than the estimated cost difference [wikipedia.org] between advanced nuclear and more expensive future solar PV power, which I suspect you believe to be viable (I do). So the fearsome $1000/kg price still leaves nuclear power cheaper than solar. If more advanced technologies cut the cost (the normal pattern of things), and the topic of the Technology Review, this differential gets cut as well. A better article on seawater uranium extraction [ieee.org] indicates that technologies under development should cost $300/kg, a price that drops the differential to only 0.42 cents per kwh, and making it a very minor component of nuclear power cost

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807159)

All so wrong, the cost of solar panels has dropped 80% since 2008, the Wikipedia page is irrelevant due to the numbers being completely out of date and hence wrong.

The cost of solar panels has been dropping by about 40% per annum, that is set to continue.

Solar is cheaper than nuclear RIGHT NOW, any increase in the cost of uranium puts nuclear power further out of reach.

Just the generating cost of nuclear is 4.4c per kWh, the construction and decommissioning costs are a huge amount on top of that. There is also the storage cost of nuclear waste that has been spiraling upwards.

And the cost of nuclear reprocessing? Very expensive:
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvar... [harvard.edu]

Re:Indeed... (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805637)

I'm sure that the mining companies dynamite the entrances to the mine just as soon as they decide it's no longer profitable, and only mine Uranium and nothing else.

No, actually they just leave a hole in the ground that they can come back to any time they want to, or continue mining all the other ore in the same dirt, and just keep the Uranium around for when it's needed.

Re:Indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804945)

Unless it is a fast breeder or similar that can "burn" plutonium, by the time they get around to getting the fuel, there won't be much uranium left on sale, or suppliers willing to sell it.

Huh? Fenno-Scandinavia have huge amounts of uranium in the ground, to the extent that the background radiation there is three times that of most other places.
There haven't been a need to mine the uranium and once the Chernobyl incident happened it put a stop to any plans to start mining. (There still are a few defunct mines from more than a century ago when uranium was used in glass for decorative purposes.)
If Finland really needs uranium they can just dig it up. Heck, if they might even be able to extract enough uranium from the drinking water to power the nation.
Ironically the radioactive materials aren't filtered from the water since you would then end up with concentrated radioactive material that is legally problematic to handle.

Re:Indeed... (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805051)

This is quite not true. Resource availability is largely dictated by the price you're willing to pay for it - in typical scenarios a doubling of the price expands viable resources 10-fold. Moreover, even today's reactors are "breeders" in a sense, they just don't make 100% of their fuel (breeding ratio is typically somewhere around 0.3). There are some quite interesting businesses working towards "converter" or "burner" molten-salt reactors based on a combined thorium/uranium cycle which trades the breeding ratio for a massively simplified core design, single-fluid approach (plumbing problem gone), no need for in-line salt reprocessing (no more complex in-situ nuclear chemistry) and much better proliferation resistance (since it's running on LEU with no Pa separation). It also maintains the most attractive aspects of molten-salt, such as very high burnup, high temperature, a compact core, full passive safety, FP off-gassing and no need for fuel fabrication. You do need to periodically add in some 20% LEU fissile makeup to compensate for the '< 1' breeding ratio (<5% LEU when running with no Thorium), but it's still about 6x less than conventional light-water and the simplifications in the design are enormous. The design's main proponent, David LeBlanc, estimates that such a reactor would have fuel costs on the order of $0.1c/kWh and that even if the price of Uranium rose to $500/kg (4-5x what it's now), it'd still only be $0.2c/kWh and at that price we'd have essentially unlimited Uranium supplies (the world's oceans contain thousands upon thousands of years worth of Uranium recoverable at only $300-$400/kg).

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805463)

Nuclear generated electricity is expensive.
Thorium nuclear generated electricity is even more expensive due to the reactor design needing to be more robust.

Uranium recoverable at only $300-$400/kg.

Citation needed, the articles I've read claimed $1000 to $2000 per kilo.
http://www.technologyreview.co... [technologyreview.com]

If these new designs are so great then why does the nuclear industry keep going with the old designs?

Re:Indeed... (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805645)

If these new designs are so great then why does the nuclear industry keep going with the old designs?

Politics dude, politics.

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805731)

Cost dude cost. Nuclear is very expensive these days, decommissioning costs are far far higher than initial estimates.

Re:Indeed... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805993)

Not when coupled with inflation properly.

Re:Indeed... (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806027)

Cost dude cost. Nuclear is very expensive these days, decommissioning costs are far far higher than initial estimates.

Why did the costs go up? I think it was political interference and artificial price inflation. Why did the costs for renewables (aka unreliables) go down? Subsidies. Political interference.

From what I've seen and heard, the only obstacles to nuclear energy have been man made. Rather than any truly insurmountable physical challenges that couldn't be engineered around, it's always been blocked by those with a vested interest in ensuring the failure of nuclear fission.

Just out of interest, why are you so anti-nuke? What makes you feel that it shouldn't succeed?

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806193)

Costs for renewables went down because of scientific and industrial/technological advances and yes political foresight helped. As for the subsidies, those won't be needed any longer, both wind and solar and viable without subsidy now.

As for "Why did the costs go up? I think it was political interference and artificial price inflation."

I don't feel the need to debate baseless assertions / guesses.

Why am I 'anti-nuke'? See 2nd half #47805367 [slashdot.org]

Re:Indeed... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806601)

Costs for renewables went down because of scientific and industrial/technological advances and yes political foresight helped. As for the subsidies, those won't be needed any longer, both wind and solar and viable without subsidy now.

Wind is close to viable, but still requires subsidies to get on par with Natural Gas (in the USA). Solar, hasn't a prayer of being viable in the near future. It generally runs 4 times the cost of Natural Gas (again in the USA).

You are wrong on both counts (in the USA), unless you define "viable" to mean something other than what most people think it means.. In other countries, Wind is at parity or better given the available options open to them (they lack the NG resources of the US), but this is not true in the USA yet, and I see no future scenarios where the costs of Natural Gas goes up and wind comes down enough to be at parity. Not to mention that Wind power suffers from one important problem, it only works when the wind blows, which is not all the time, so you have to build a fossil fueled plant to cover the load anyway.... Solar is so far out of the cost range it's not even funny. Even in the best conditions, solar is not a cost effective solution, even outside the USA. Solar's application is really for remote, off grid, low load use. It's not viable as a way to generate electricity on an industrial scale.

I don't always trust Wikipedia, but they have a fine article on this topic you should read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806853)

So I guess this never happened:
http://cleantechnica.com/2014/... [cleantechnica.com]

Why would I want to read information that is many years out of date when the cost of solar PV has been dropping by 40% per annum and has every reason to continue dropping. The EIA predictions are absurd to say the least. That page is pretty bad.

Even if all technological advances in solar panels stopped, the price of solar PV would drop further because most of the solar PV factories are being built right now, once the investment that put those factories in place is paid off, the price of solar PV will fall further.

Re:Indeed... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807529)

So I guess this never happened: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/... [cleantechnica.com]

Yea, that website doesn't have a dog in this hunt now does it.. The US Department of Energy's numbers are flat wrong then? In the USA, I don't think so.

Look, you can believe what you want and come up with links to "prove" your view, but if you are choosing to ignore the data provided by the US Department of Energy, you are going to have to endure the scorn you richly deserve. I'm not saying the government data is correct in all cases, only that the department of Energy is about as close as you can get to an unbiased opinion, at least for the costs of energy production in the USA.

PV Solar is not a viable solution and another 40% cost drop is not in the future. The DOE says that PV Solar is at least 4 times more expensive. This isn't going to change all that much for various reasons, chief of which is that it will only work when the sun shines. The sun never shines at night and during the day it can be hit and miss, which contributes to a "availability factor" of about 25% (in sunny areas) or much less (in cloudy areas). Try as you might, you cannot fix that with technology. Don't start down the path to thinking that we can just store excess then use it when we need it later, that drives the "cost" of solar up by another factor of 4 (or more) due to conversion losses, and makes your position logically even worse.

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807187)

If you removed the ITC (a federal tax credit for solar), the cost would probably be about 8c/kWh. Still, that's not bad. Austin Energy's 30-year LCOE estimate for natural gas was 7c/kWh, while the estimate for coal clocked in at 10c/kWh and the estimate for nuclear at 13c/kWh.
Only wind - 2.8c/kWh to 3.8c/kWh - was lower.

Re:Indeed... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806469)

Your parent was mot anti nuke, he stated a fact.
Also your claim renewables would be unreliable is wrong, the correct term is 'undispatchable', which is also only limited true.

(Yeah, now you will start yelling about mo wind and no sun, hint: we all know the sun is not shining at night, and all but you know: we don't need it at night as energy demand is less than half of the daytime demand. Now you shout 'but what about no wind' ... look on a weather map, or educate your self how 'wind is created' then you realize quickly: it is impossible that a country like Germany has "no wind", the same is true for every country that is bigger, and for many that are smaller)

Re:Indeed... (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807157)

Decommissioning costs are driven up by politics. For example by treating things that are mildly radioactive for a few years post shutdown as if they are still nuclear waste years after the last decay.

Re:Indeed... (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805713)

Nuclear generated electricity is expensive.

Depends on type, project and installation. The utilities building them seem quite content to keep going, as they see them being competitive with current baseload sources.

Thorium nuclear generated electricity is even more expensive due to the reactor design needing to be more robust.

Actually, in most Thorium molten-salt designs, the reactor is a lot less robust (in terms of raw materials, at least), because molten-salt isn't pressurized, so there's no need for a big heavy pressure vessel and an enormous containment building around it. But it really depends on the exact design you are talking about - perhaps clarify and we can have a more informed discussion. In any case, I'd contend your blanket statement of "Thorium nuclear generated electricity is even more expensive". That claim requires access to broad knowledge of the cost structure of Thorium power reactor designs and as far as I know, those aren't available yet.

Citation needed, the articles I've read claimed $1000 to $2000 per kilo.

You are correct, *at present* it is indeed pretty high (which would mean we'd just favor mining). The cost reduction into the $300/kg category would require some advances in the material properties of the absorbent used: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi... [tandfonline.com]
So consider ~$1500/kg the top-end estimate should uranium mining become completely unviable (we've again got thousands upon thousands of years of mineable Uranium at $500/kg, so I'm hopeful the absorbent properties can be sorted by then; or indeed we might finally crack fusion - that'd be the coolest of all prospects). In any case, thanks for the heads up on the present-day costs.

If these new designs are so great then why does the nuclear industry keep going with the old designs?

A few points to this:
1) Give them some time, they are slowly coming along. Anything nuclear is needs to be approached very carefully. If all goes well, we should see the pilot plants coming online in the early 2020s.
2) By and large the new nuclear construction projects are building Gen III units such as the AP1000, EPR, ABWR and VVER-1200, all of which have much improved on the light-water concept (though they aren't strictly revolutionary - well, perhaps the AP1000 is a bit closer to being a significant departure). 3) There is, in fact, one pilot Gen IV plant already built and about to be commissioned (the Beloyarsk 4 unit [wikipedia.org] ), running a BN-800 reactor, a pool-type liquid sodium-cooled fast breeder. I don't think it's the best design, but it's a step in the right direction. It will be a proving ground and a learning platform for their mass-production units (BN-1200). We'll have to wait and see.

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805897)

operating costs for 61 nuclear sites in 2012. The average came to $44/MWh

Add to that construction costs, decommissioning costs and nuclear fuel reprocessing / storage costs and you've got one very expensive method of producing electricity.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/i... [world-nuclear.org]

Why aren't there more nuclear fuel reprocessing plants? Because it's horrendously expensive.
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvar... [harvard.edu]

Cost of building maintaining, removing new Wind farms?
Less than $36.5 per MWh
Wind Technologies Market Report [energy.gov]

With the numerous ways of matching and storing wind energy,nuclear can not compete [wikipedia.org]

Wind power is continuously getting cheaper, solar power is continuously getting cheaper and there is good reason for that to continue. Storage technologies are also getting cheaper. Solar is set to become the 2nd cheapest form of energy, after Wind.
http://cleantechnica.com/2014/... [cleantechnica.com]

http://i1.wp.com/cleantechnica... [wp.com]

Re:Indeed... (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807521)

Add to that construction costs decommissioning costs and nuclear fuel reprocessing / storage costs

Oh my, reading comprehension fail: "The NEI presented figures from the Electric Utility Cost Group on generating costs comprising fuel, capital and operating costs for 61 nuclear sites in 2012.". Fuel costs typically include a fee that is set aside for decommissioning & storage (at least they do in the US - that's what paid for Yucca Mountain), and "construction costs" are a subset of capital costs. So $44/MWh is indeed the full figure.

Why aren't there more nuclear fuel reprocessing plants? Because it's horrendously expensive.

Of course it's expensive and everybody knows it's expensive, because of the oxide fuel and the complexity of the aqueous process. The prospects of cheap reprocessing are by cheaper processes such as pyroprocessing, or even getting rid of it altogether (TWR). If you're hoping for me to take the side of PUREX, then you're wrong, I don't think it's a good process.

Cost of building maintaining, removing new Wind farms? Less than $36.5 per MWh

Care to actually quote how you derived this number from the linked report? It doesn't appear in there, so you must have arrived at it by some other means. The closest I could find is mentioned on page 55 where they quote operating costs of EDPR at around $24/kWh for US installations, which seems about right. This does not factor in capital costs, only operating ones ("supplies and services, which includes O&M costs ($14.7/MWh); personnel costs ($3.7/MWh); and other operating costs, which mainly includes operating taxes, leases, and rents ($5.2/MWh).") or site cleanup after decommissioning (by my guess it's going to be pretty low, but remains to be seen). It also depends on long-term dependability of the mechanics of the wind turbine, mainly the gearbox, which remains to be seen (there is some wonkiness there, but not much).
It also does not include any cost of intermittency, which is going to become significant above about 20-30% of supply (even in Germany wind & solar only account for ~15%, the rest being "hard" renewables like hydro (maxed out) and biomass (problems with land use due to energy crop farming)).
The costs of wind power have also already pretty much leveled out because scaled up component production has been implemented and there's few learning curve benefits to be reaped going forward. A wind turbine is a dead simple system that hasn't substantially changed in 20-30 years. I happen to think that there is good reason to believe current wind turbine designs won't scale well beyond ~10MW because of a simple square-cube law that dictates that for every doubling of rotor diameter, you get a quadrupling of power produced (that's your income) and an octupling of the torque on the gearbox (that's your cost) - heavier gearbox, heavier dome, heavier tower, costlier tower. Moreover, increasing wages are also going to limit the reduction potential. Wind turbines are simply enormously labor intensive, so at some point, the cost of labor is going start to drive the cost of the system. In fact, the report you linked seems to show indications of this when you look at the graph on page 49 for years 2004 - 2009. I don't think all of that growth was natural, certainly there was room to combat it via some larger turbines with better $/kW economies, however, at least to some degree, labor costs were driving that, and they'll begin to do so again once wages in the US start to pick up again. Only time will tell, though.

With the numerous ways of matching and storing wind energy

Such as what ways? Oh right, you mean like running fossil fuel plants and emitting CO2. Like how Germany added ~18% of renewables from 2003 and only had a ~9% reduction in CO2 per capita [imgur.com] (and kWh per capita stayed pretty much flat [imgur.com] during that period).

In any case, I don't understand why this whole issue has to be an either-or situation. We can have both. Nuclear has been proved to able to scale to 70-80% of large national electrical production and of providing reliable baseload power. OTOH, it's not the holy grail of everything, as current nuclear plants have some trouble following the load. For those things, deploy large scale wind and dispatchable hydro with some pumped storage to capture the peaking market. And keept a few OCGTs around for some really bad seasons, just as a backup (they cost relatively little to build but a lot to run) and run them as infrequently as possible. Then we get a power mix that's comparable to France, 1/10 the CO2 per capita than the renewable powerhouse next door Germany and sustainable long-term. Fundamentally I'm just tired of this stupid infighting amongst zero-CO2 sources while the fossil fuel guys are laughing their asses off (especially natural gas - those guys love to be the only viable large-scale backup to wind).

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805509)

In 2013, investment advisers Morningstar, Inc. concluded that, in developed countries, "reactors are not a viable source of new power".[12] Even in developed nations where they make economic sense, they are not feasible because of nuclear's "enormous costs, political and popular opposition, and regulatory uncertainty".[12] This view echoes the statement of former Exelon CEO John Rowe, who said in 2012 that new nuclear plants in the US "don't make any sense right now" and won't be economically viable in the foreseeable future, because of low natural gas prices in the American market.[13] John Quiggin, an economics professor, says that the main problem with the nuclear option is that it is not economically viable. Former NRC member Peter Bradford and Professor Ian Lowe have recently made similar statements.[14][15] However, nuclear supporters continue to champion reactors, often with proposed new but largely untested designs, as a source of new power.[12][14][16][17][18][19][20]

Economics of nuclear power plants - Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Indeed... (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805737)

Ah, Wikipedia, that ever reliable source of unbiased and completely objective analysis on matters of significant nuance.

Re:Indeed... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805981)

Ah, don't like the message, attack the messenger. (note the number of sources).

I did the math on the amount of subsidies the UK govt idiots are offering EDF, it amounted to a stinking £36 billion just for the kWh price subsidy.

Le prix fixe - billions of pounds in subsidies on UK consumer energy bills

At £16bn and a decade to build, Hinkleyâ(TM)s up-front costs are too high to be viable without government support. The main subsidy is the 'contract for differenceâ(TM), guaranteeing EDFâ(TM)s revenues at a 'strike priceâ(TM) of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of power Hinkley generates over a 35-year contract.

When the market price is lower, EDF receives a âoetop-upâ paid for on all UK consumer energy bills. If the market price is higher, EDF pays back the difference. The certainty should help reduce EDFâ(TM)s borrowing costs; CF Partners say EDF can now bank on £83bn of revenue, in 'real termsâ(TM), undiscounted.

How much is subsidy depends on the power price but CF Partners estimates in 2023 the âoetop-upâ will be £700m or £7 a household.

Mr Davey says the impact on bills will be âoenegligibleâ but officials estimate the âoetop-upsâ could have a total 'net present valueâ(TM) of £3.5bn to £9bn, using a 3.5pc discount rate. If EDF builds Sizewell too, the Hinkley subsidy will fall to £89.50 as some of the initial design costs will be paid for through the Sizewell subsidy instead.

The contract guarantees the Hinkley price will be raised to protect EDF from windfall taxes or other law changes. EDF says it will bear the risk of cost over-runs but if Hinkley is cheaper than expected it will share the gain with consumers. The price can also be adjusted if operating costs rise or fall.

So, the govt has offered at least 15.35c per kWh for 35 years on top of other subsidies. You tell me, is that cheap?

Breeder cost (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805417)

Gen II Vermont Yankee is closing because it can't scare up a contract at $0.06/kWh. Gen III Hinkley C will charge $0.15/kWh, two and a half times as much. Going to Gen IV likely scales to $0.40/kWh. It is true that there is only about 85 years of uranium left at the current rate of use, but breeder reactors don't fix that.

Nuclear is dead on Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804675)

And banned in space. So, when the last nuclear plant closes, it will be gone. And this will happen on the day some new weapon development obsoletes the nukes.

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805211)

And banned in space. So, when the last nuclear plant closes, it will be gone. And this will happen on the day some new weapon development obsoletes the nukes.

I find that rather meaningless, the US at any rate has this habit of ignoring any bans/laws it finds 'inconvenient' to what it wants to do.

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805445)

yeah because Finland is TOTALLY gunning for the new reactor for use with nuclear bombs and not for having cheap power to power the steel industry or anything like that...

some people... some people.. PHEAR THE FINNISH NUCLEAR THREAT!!!

*) disclaimer, Finland, if given some realistic incentive, could make a bomb in a few years, partially due to before mentioned expertise in steel and other high technology needed to accomplish such a feat. so you better fear it! and since Finland is not in NATO it's obviously a ROGUE STATE and since it's not allied with Russia either it's a double rogue state! homebase of the SPECTRE!

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806173)

Wait a sec. Finland isn't aligned with either NATO/US/Western Europe, or with Russia?

That means Finland is a Third World Country.

This must be fixed. Someone think of the children.

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806665)

The definition of 'third world' you use is no longer in use since 30 or 40 years. I for my part only learned recently that indeed at some point in time it was First = NATO, Second = WP, third = the rest (which makes no sense at all, ad you simply can call them NATO, WP, and 'neutral' then ... ) I'm still wondering if someone invented that definition 'backward' and it never was true.
As I learned in in school: first world = highly industrialized, second world = medium industrialized and mainly agrarian, third world = very poor, no industrialization, starving and fourth world = stone age/prehistoric underdeveloped, no industry and lots of starvation. (I went to school from 1973 till 1987, so it definitely was no 'before and after the cold war' definition)

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806961)

I graduated in 1989 myself. I don't remember learning the definition of first/second/third world in school itself. But it may have been one of my history teachers. He covered many topics outside of the textbook, so could have mentioned it.

But I think I mainly just learned it from political discussions on websites/forums and talk radio back in the 90s.

Re:Nuclear is dead on Earth (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806733)

And banned in space.

Not exactly. It's only banned in ORBIT, not in space overall. The reasons for this is fairly logical. Objects in orbit tend to come back down. Having a hunk of radioactive material randomly dropping onto the earth is generally not a good idea. So, we've logically agreed not to fly such stuff where it might come back to haunt us.

Deep space and interplanetary missions though routinely fly with nuclear power. The latest Mars rover is such a mission. It is also powering the two Pioneer missions and a great number of other missions since then. The risks of doing this are limited in two ways. First, launch accidents will result in debris falling into known areas, so we can mitigate these risks by placing the launch paths over less populated areas and ocean. Second, the components of the reactor really are not that dangerous until after they have been used, so we generally don't start up the reactors until we know the craft is operating normally and not likely to return to earth.

Arevas failure (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804807)

What happend here is that Areva wanted the deal at any cost, so they agreed to build their prototype reactor cheap with Finnish safety standars (which are very high). the problems started in early stages when they could not produce complete plans to Finnish authorities as their plans were not even finished yet. When Areva got their plans ready they where already a few years late, it was thn discovered that the fail-safe/automation system were not separated well enough, many single-points of failure were discovered and caused further delays as they needed to fix the plans so that the systems fail-safe are autonomus from main systems.

Areva is trying to turn this on TVO (the buyer) by saying the delayes were caused by them not getting the approvals in time, when in reality Areva did not provide complete plans ever when they requested. Abosulte disaster prject and design from Arevas side.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804875)

You'd think expectations for "the plant's automation system" would be pinned down before the contracts were signed, let alone before construction started.

The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] leaves the impression that the actual problem has been shoddy workmanship and poor project management.

FWIW, In my experience with small-time contractors in the petrochemical industry (back in the day), common practice was bid an untenable price and make the profit by finding or "finding" problems that had to be fixed at great expense, and with little ability for the buyer to bargain on the price. (And sometimes the findings are real; I have seen the blueprints showing a foundation with an 8' radius for a tower with a 10' radius, the problem not discovered until the crane tried to lower the tower onto the bolts in the foundation.)

Re:Arevas failure (1)

polar red (215081) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804913)

the actual problem has been shoddy workmanship and poor project management.

This should be the main focus of distrust in nuclear power; an din my humble opinion the reason why we we shouldn't ever build nuclear power plants ever again.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804983)

Honestly, this is the worst defeatist attitude I can imagine. "We are bad at building stuff, so we shouldn't build stuff." How come the Chinese are building these very same reactors on-time and on-budget [world-nuclear-news.org] ? We in the west need to get off our collective lazy asses and start making stuff with our hands again.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

polar red (215081) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805031)

I take it you haven't had much experience with building contractors yet ? or managers ?

Re:Arevas failure (1)

polar red (215081) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805037)

and it isn't the building part which we are bad at, it's the managing, planning, ... part we are bad at. I truly wonder if those chines reactors are up to specs, are all millions of parts completely on spec (or are there sub-par components ?)

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805047)

Nuclear power plants are just glorified steam engines. It's just a few core components that needs to be completely on spec, for most of it sub-par components will work just as fine as the finest polished turd you can find.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805061)

like the reactor vats with cracks just discovered in a 20 yr old belgian reactor, which is installed in dozens others around the world ?

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805073)

You do not build a nuclear reactor with off-spec components in the first place. The tolerances and quality assurance are rigorous. Additionally, China has top-notch expertise on building various things so they have the skill to get it spot on.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805231)

You do not build a nuclear reactor with off-spec components in the first place.

(repeat) You don't have experience with building contractors do you?

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805293)

ISTM that Homo economicus is almost incapable of resisting the urge to cut corners in the design, construction, operation, and inspection of nuclear power plants. (And in non-nuclear projects as well, though few have the destructive potential of Cherynobyl.)

I wish the whole world was on nuclear powar, but our species simply isn't mature enough to "drink responsibly" when it comes to such things. And with the past few decades' huge increase in pressure to cut corners in order to maximize short-term profit, I suspect things will get worse before they get better.

As for the Chinese... have they hit on a better approach than capitalism, or are they practicing the Soviet-style corner-cutting that gave us Chernyobyl?

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805439)

ISTM that Homo economicus is almost incapable of resisting the urge to cut corners in the design, construction, operation, and inspection of nuclear power plants. (And in non-nuclear projects as well, though few have the destructive potential of Cherynobyl.)

Which is why we need a strong state-sponsored regulatory body which keeps the industry in check. There is of course a balance to be struck between overregulation and letting the industry run wild, where we encourage societal progress while keeping whacky ideas at bay. Most of all, we need a good open and transparent process. And finally we should help the population maintain a level-headed approach to danger assessment. Radiation is nothing to mess with for sure, but the actual destructive impact of even extremely messed up situations (such as Chernobyl) is vastly overblown by quite unfounded fears. By the logic that people will cut corners to save a buck we shouldn't be building hydroelectricity, since every so often a dam bursts and drowns people [wikipedia.org] , or some piping failure kills them [wikipedia.org] or the water flow destroys large tracts of land [wikipedia.org] .

And with the past few decades' huge increase in pressure to cut corners in order to maximize short-term profit, I suspect things will get worse before they get better.

Not necessarily, as modern digital simulation and modeling technology allows us to see in exquisite detail what reactor designers of old could only guess at. For all intents and purposes, it is night and day different and has the potential to transform the nuclear industry same as any other it has touched.

As for the Chinese... have they hit on a better approach than capitalism, or are they practicing the Soviet-style corner-cutting that gave us Chernyobyl?

No, but they have very strict project and schedule control and the can-do spirit that we've lost in the hippie 70s, which is why they're able to execute on the project much more efficiently. As for your insinuation that they might be doing "Soviet-style corner-cutting", the project at Taishan is 30% co-owned by Électricité de France, which is acutely aware that problems in China will cast a very negative light on them back home.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805529)

so often a dam bursts and drowns people

but that's the worst that can happen to a hydroelectric dam. a nuclear reactor can become a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org] spreading radioactive material in the complete food chain.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805555)

that we've lost in the hippie 70s, whi

right : cost cutting and other profit gaining strategies are hippie inventions

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807287)

that we've lost in the hippie 70s, whi

right : cost cutting and other profit gaining strategies are hippie inventions

Well, it's a fact that hippies didn't have any money.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806561)

The Chinese are practicing the raw form of capitalism. You are mixing up political system with economic system.
Also the Chernobyl accident was not due to corner cutting but man made by stupid 'scientists' running a bad planned experiment. They had a reactor in a deep Xenon/Boron poisoning state and believed by going 'full throttle' they could go back into a normal state. However for minutes nothing happened, except the burning away of the excess Boron and Xenon. Then in seconds the reactor went from nearly zero power to 'above the maximum' limit and the moderator, graphite, literally exploded. That was a layman explanation, I guess you can read up the exact events on wikipedia.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805385)

Chinese aren't building the very same reactors on-time and on-budget. The Taishan NPP your article is talking about is already two years behind the original schedule -- it was supposed to go online in 2013, but it won't at least until 2015. If that's the last word.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805553)

Fukushima put quite a kink in any new construction in China, as there was a construction approval halt [marketwatch.com] for near-sea reactors from April to at least October in 2011 (and Taishan is what you might call close to the sea [goo.gl] ) - half a year delay can easily get you some delay in onlining. You also need to keep in mind that 46 months was the planned construction time, not when it enters commercial service. With first concrete being poured in October 2009, construction should have been complete in about autumn 2013, but adding the half- to one-year delay due to Fukushima, we'd expect it to complete construction some time in 2014. And according to the WNN article I linked, startup should indeed happen this year and commissioning into commercial service, next year (you need to train people, run safety drills, test out all the maintenance and refueling equipment and failsafes, etc. - that takes some time after construction).
So if you consider the ripple that Fukushima sent into the world of nuclear reactor construction projects, Taishan is indeed roughly on schedule. I guess if you wanted to split hairs and talk about plus or minus a few months, sure, but I don't see it as much of a problem, especially when you compare it to the monumental management disaster that is Olkiluoto 3.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805609)

You also need to keep in mind that 46 months was the planned construction time, not when it enters commercial service.

Original Taishan NPP plan schedule called for entering commercial service in 2013, full stop.

So if you consider the ripple that Fukushima sent into the world of nuclear reactor construction projects, Taishan is indeed roughly on schedule.

Yes, if you don't consider the delays, any project will be 'roughly on schedule'.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805827)

Original Taishan NPP plan schedule called for entering commercial service in 2013, full stop.

Then that estimate was quite simply wrong. There's no way in hell that October 2009 + 4 years means you start commercial service in 2013. My guess is it was a neat little fairy tale told to reporters to keep up a nice face, while the project managers knew well that 2014 was more probable.

Yes, if you don't consider the delays, any project will be 'roughly on schedule'.

You can't honestly say that externally imposed unscheduled delays are to be blamed on the project's management. For example, blaming bad weather for not making your offshore wind farm construction schedules [wordpress.com] . Large projects can have unforeseen complications and first of their kind projects especially so. Cut the guys some slack, both the nuclear and wind ones, they've got a tough job. Design and manufacturing faults, though, (also mentioned in the linked article) are correct to blame on the project.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806005)

Then that estimate was quite simply wrong.

Yep. As I said above, you're wrong to think Chinese don't do things on-time and on-budget. As a matter of fact, you're even wronger, as they can't even make proper estimates. I don't want to contemplate how safe their plants will end up being. Of course, in the environmental mess that is China, a Chernobyl or two should not make much difference.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806017)

Chinese don't do

I mean to write "can do", obviously.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806835)

As I said above, you're wrong to think Chinese don't do things on-time and on-budget.

No, all it says is that the articles you linked had the wrong estimate in them. I think it was more of a fluff info piece to make them look good in the media.

as they can't even make proper estimates

You try to make it seem like they were pumping these reactors out by the dozens and got all of it wrong. The reactor was completely new with not a single unit completed at the time construction started, so it was a rough estimate at best. Areva themselves were still learning on the construction side of the EPR design. Once they have a few units built, you'll see the estimates stabilize.

I don't want to contemplate how safe their plants will end up being

Go ahead, contemplate. EDF has a 30% stake in the plant and they too are on the hook for any operational trouble, so you can be pretty sure they're watching the project with a microscope.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807181)

all it says is that the articles you linked had the wrong estimate in them

Like I said already, I do not refer to articles, but to the original plans of the Chinese operator and the contractors at the time of the start of the construction. For some reason, you keep denying the fact that Tianshan was supposed to enter service in 2013 and believe that it is still 'on schedule' although it isn't. Normally, this mental state is referred to as 'delusion'.

Once they have a few units built, you'll see the estimates stabilize.

In other words, they won't be able to do it "on-time" and "on-budget" until "estimates stabilize". Like I said, if you accept that delays are a part of the schedule, you'll always be on schedule. This is not how schedules work, though.

so you can be pretty sure they're watching the project with a microscope.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807635)

Like I said already, I do not refer to articles, but to the original plans of the Chinese operator and the contractors at the time of the start of the construction.

I assume you've got access to some internal planning documents then? If not, then you've only got news articles and press releases, same as everybody else.

For some reason, you keep denying the fact that Tianshan was supposed to enter service in 2013 and believe that it is still 'on schedule' although it isn't.

Construction schedules cannot account for unplanned construction halts due to unforeseen government interference, simple as that. When that happens, you have to adjust your original estimate. They have been delayed due to government action for about a year. They're starting up about a year later. Period.

In other words, they won't be able to do it "on-time" and "on-budget" until "estimates stabilize". Like I said, if you accept that delays are a part of the schedule, you'll always be on schedule. This is not how schedules work, though.

Construction schedule is not a train schedule. There are error bars on all parts of it, hence why it's called an "estimate". On first-of-a-kind projects, the error bars are going to be large. Besides, even a train schedule has error bars below which a train is not considered to be late.
This is all just word games, really. Their construction process was on-time, they just got an unplanned interrupt. Frankly, I won't hold it against them, just as I don't hold bad weather conditions at sea (which are actually a lot more predictable than government action) against offshore wind projects. You do whatever you want.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807801)

This is all just word games, really. Their construction process was on-time, they just got an unplanned interrupt.

Yes, yours are playing word games here, because you invent a new definition of 'schedule' and 'delay'. However, in the real world a 'schedule' is 'a plan of intended events and times' and a 'delay' is 'a period of time by which something is late or postponed'. We measure the 'delay' by comparing it to the 'intended times' that appear in the 'schedule'. According to these definitions we can observe the following two facts:

  • 1. The Tianshan plant is two years behind its original schedule
  • The Sanmen NPP, where a different type of reactor is being built, is also more than a year behind its original schedule.

I.e. you're wrong, and the Chinese experience the same problems building nuclear reactors as anyone else does. And the problems are massive delays and massive cost overruns. Incidentally, this has been a typical feature of the nuclear industry throughout its existence.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805585)

> How come the Chinese are building these very same reactors on-time and on-budget

Do you actually believe that? Really? When *every* other reactor out there is over-budget and over-time, you really think that China has magically figured all of this out? Either you believe the Chinese are smarter than all of us put together, or there's something fishy going on.

Let me illustrate what really goes on here, with an example I am most familiar with (and even then, only in passing), Qinshan Phase III's CANDU6's. AECL, while they still existed, proudly boasted that they were completed "Completed under budget and ahead of schedule":

http://www.candu.com/en/home/news/mediareleases/Celebrating10yearsofCANDUTechnologyinChina.aspx

Except that for one thing, "on budget" required the Canadian taxpayer to provide China with over $1.5 billion in interest-free loans. Why we should need to do that, when China has all of our money already from all of us buying Salad Shooters, is open to interpretation. That interpretation is "we paid them to take this white elephant off our hands". Secondly, this was during a period when the Yuan was clearly devalued by about 50% or more, meaning that the project was actually on or over budget if you use a reasonable exchange rate. Oh, and then there's the part where we leased them the heavy water basically for free, instead of selling it which would have broken the budget ($200/kg, 1,000,000 kg required).

Then there's the on-time part. To make that work, Cabinet met in 1996 to completely revoke the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for this project. Normally there would have to be a Canadian assessment of the project as well as meeting any Chinese regulations. There were apparently = few of the later (it was an existing site), so the Canadian one might delay construction. So they just didn't do it. Actual construction was apparently delayed several times, and it was only by re-definining the project start date that it was completed "on time".

And what did we get for all of this? Well the Chinese aren't building any more for their own use. In spite of AECL continually pointing to them and saying how happy they are with CANDU, all future builds use US technology. Meanwhile, CAEA gets to sell the tech anywhere it wants. Win win!

I want my $45 back.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

brambus (3457531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805997)

Except that for one thing, "on budget" required the Canadian taxpayer to provide China with over $1.5 billion in interest-free loans.

This is actually pretty common practice on large-scale projects that are going to benefit the local economy. The US, for example, gives out billions of dollars yearly in low-interest loans so that foreign entities purchase US-made goods (see http://www.exim.gov/ [exim.gov] ). Canada might have considered its sale to China to be of such strategic importance that it even went for an interest-free loan. So don't try and portray it as "the Canadian taxpayer" not getting their money's worth - overall, the Canadian economy most probably benefitted from it and that might warrant some investment from the exporting country.

Why we should need to do that, when China has all of our money already from all of us buying Salad Shooters, is open to interpretation. That interpretation is "we paid them to take this white elephant off our hands".

I love it how from a flawed premise ("China has all our money from exports, so why are we paying them!") come to a completely bogus conclusion ("they took it off our hands"). FYI, China had a bidding process where nuclear power construction companies submitted bids and China negotiated and picked the ones that looked best to it and if the Canadian government got involved and sweetened the deal to get some benefit back to Canadian industry, then that's a good thing - it's capitalism at work. Just because some portions of the Chinese manufacturing and export industry have high income from export, doesn't mean other parts of the Chinese economy needs to overpay for imported goods.

Oh, and then there's the part where we leased them the heavy water basically for free, instead of selling it which would have broken the budget ($200/kg, 1,000,000 kg required).

Can you get the actual value for the lease? I found the same Sierra Club article you probably got your figure from and it doesn't mention it. Besides a "basically for free" lease isn't entirely free, so overall it might be just another way to sweeten the deal to get a sale and extract value down the line.
And why would the Canadian government need to second-guess the environmental assessment of a construction site in China? It's the Chinese government's job.
I don't have the time to fact-check everything you say, but overall you seem extremely unhappy about a deal that's pretty standard, even beneficial to the Canadian economy. Could the Canadian government have gotten a better deal? Maybe. But to cry foul over what are in effect trivial problems seems nonsensical to me.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805767)

It's because China is completely free from corruption I think.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805535)

look man they had NOT DESIGNED the damn automation system by the time it was originally supposed to go online! they had plenty of time to design it but for some reason fucked up or didn't do it. plenty of time before 2008 that is.

that they fucked up many parts of the construction was another delay, possibly why they didn't finish the automation because they knew the construction was going slower than expected and maybe they didn't finish the construction on time because they knew the automation wasn't finished.. friggin frenchies.

Anyhow, Areva was also on the hook for paying for delays but I don't know how that has worked out, but that's what was on the finnish press some I think five+ years ago.

the fuckup by TVO was buying from these fuckups in the first place... now they're lucky if Areva doesn't go bankrupt before delivery.

Re: Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805205)

Apparently they got it âoeat any cost,â though.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

anorlunda (311253) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805357)

I worked on a competing bid for this plant from a Swedish supplier that had a track record of completing nuclear plants ahead of schedule and under budget. After loosing thst bid, the nuclear department of that company was shut down.

The same company and the Finns were also set to sign the contract for a downtown district heating nuke for Helsinki. It would have been a major success for nuclear technology. The day before the signing press conference, Chernobyl happened.

My point is that the process of bidding and bid evaluation on high priced projects is so burdened by politics, marketing hype, and luck that we might as well just flip a coin. It happens all the time that the contract is awarded to someone who can't fulfill it, while more capable suppliers are sidelined.

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805607)

> My point is that the process of bidding and bid evaluation on high priced projects is so burdened by politics,
> marketing hype, and luck that we might as well just flip a coin

One of the problems for nuclear, the other being the cost of concrete these days, is the long time lines. The longer the time line, the more chances you have for "shit happens" that kills the project.

In Germany you can go from paperwork to PV panels spinning the meter in two weeks. This greatly increases the chance that it actually happens. So when you scratch your head and wonder why all this low-density intermittent power is being built out - that.

Re:Arevas failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47805855)

Did the slide kit for selling that thing include a case study of the amazing success of heating Farsta with nuclear power (before that little incident)?

Re:Arevas failure (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805537)

There are more problems that just the constructor at play. Finnish requirements have changed during the process, and local sourcing that was required by Fins has had a series of issues as well as the issues you mentioned.

It been quite some time since a green field nuclear build has started, particularly with a new design. They are large and complex projects, and the ability to build them efficiently has to be re-established. There are a several units being constructed around the globe and we will see a variety of results. There were challenges when the first round of plants were built as well, and those units completed have proven to be stalwarts of generation for the last half century.

oui, nein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804825)

The frogs and ze germans "working" together to get every last penny out of the project.

Re:oui, nein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47804871)

Les frogs and die zermans, you language-insensitive clod.

But the good news is (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804889)

It's not just software projects that that can't be completed in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Re:But the good news is (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805663)

I put a software system into a nuclear plant in, oh, 1978. It was a pair of PDP-11 machines, had graphic colour monitors, multiple terminals, and a host of monitoring software, mostly written in FORTRAN, if I remember correctly.
It went in more or less on time, and seemingly behaved well.
This was in Holland - and the plant was the cleanest place I have ever seen (a lot cleaner than the hot strip steel mill I worked in some years later).
The project lasted about 6 months.

Why are they taking so long? The reactors are pretty much the same, the software is much more sophisticated, and the people are just the same.

You need more project managers (2)

felixrising (1135205) | about a month and a half ago | (#47804961)

As everyone knows, when it comes to planning, you need someone to manage those plans, you need more project managers.. the more you hire the more planning will happen.. almost in direct proportion. You probably don't need experienced engineers as much as you need project managers... in fact, you might want to add a program manager to manage the managers who manage the projects.. this way many plans will be made, planning projects will be finished and the projects will happen because of gant charts. no real self respecting project can be accomplished unless you have gant charts.. and recently there have been some amazing developments in gant charts, for instance, they don't need to be waterfall.. they can in fact be other shapes too.. we're not sure what shapes they really can be, but to be safe, lets make it a waterfall so project coordinators can follow them without too much management overhead. Oh, I forgot to mention we need project coordinators under the project managers, and program managers on top of the project managers.. you know, like a waterfall.. like a gant chart that looks like a waterfall. I can feel the synergy from here.

Gen III $0.15/kWh (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805369)

All of these delays are teaching us how Gen III reactors work. At this point, a reactor can be built slowly if the buyer is willing to pay $0.15/kWh. http://www.westernmorningnews.... [westernmorningnews.co.uk]

Re:Gen III $0.15/kWh (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805635)

From your article I see the current CAPEX is £16 billion, or about $26 billion USD. That's for a 3.2 GWe plant. That means the CAPEX is 26 billion / 3.2 billion = $8.125/W. These numbers are typical. Darlington B was quoted at exactly the same price, although there are rumours it was actually higher. Because of the high cost, Darlington B was cancelled. Same with Levy County and lots of others.

For comparison, click here and turn to page 8:

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/ce17780900c3d223633ecfa59/files/Lazard_Levelized_Cost_of_Energy_v7.0.1.pdf

Hinkley is on the high-end of the bar for nuclear, but I'm not sure that is the high-end because every reactor recently quoted is between 7 and $11, much higher than this report. Nevertheless, taking it at face value, one can compare it to, say, wind turbines at around $1.75, almost five times less expensive.

And that is basically that. When someone figures out how to get CAPEX down around $4 you'll start seeing lots and lots of new reactors. At $8, not so much.

Re:Gen III $0.15/kWh (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806207)

And, every effort put into nuclear power soaks up funds that could cut carbon emissions faster and deeper by other means. http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-C... [rmi.org]

Re:Gen III $0.15/kWh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47808425)

I didn't get to page 8. THis paragraph was enough to stop me:

U.S. federal tax subsidies remain an important component of the economics of Alternative Energy generation technologies (and government incentives are, generally, currently important in all regions); future cost reductions in technologies such as solar PV have the potential to enable these technologies to approach “grid parity” without tax subsidies and may currently reach “grid parity” under certain conditions (albeit such observation does not take into account issues such as dispatch characteristics, the cost of incremental transmission and back-up generation/system reliability costs or other factors)

Scope Creep (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about a month and a half ago | (#47805755)

...disagreements with its client Teollisuuden Voima over the plant's automation system.

Could also be that technology changed or "improved" over the years that the plant has been in engineering. At one point in some of these type of projects you can get to where the client ends up very involved in the design process and that can blur lines of responsibility ("who does what", not accountability).

With 3D CAD plant modelling [spedweb.com] many more people can be involved in design review meetings, and sometimes that causes...issues. In the old days [spedweb.com] only those who could read technical drawings would be commenting.

Needlessly long? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806237)

Because, yeah, planning for things like nuclear plants is obviously a needless extravagance.
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