According to a Thursday July 17 article in the Baltimore Business Journal titled Clean energy advocates rally against Constellation Energy’s proposed nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs the Maryland Public Interest Research Group and the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition are advocating a focus on energy conservation and non-nuclear renewable electricity sources instead of investing in the new nuclear plant.
Just the title of the article and its publication source helps to reinforce my admonition to people who support new nuclear plant development to be ready to fight hard to make the renaissance a reality. When a business journal buys into the propaganda that anti-nuclear activists are “clean energy advocates”, it shows that we have our work cut out for us.
Since the Baltimore Business Journal takes comments, I put my 1.72 cents worth in. (Inside joke.)
As a resident of Annapolis and a long time lover of the Chesapeake Bay, I am enthusiastic about the prospects that we will soon have another clean, reliable, moderately priced electrical power plant at Calvert Cliffs. When the new plant starts up, it will displace the need to burn approximately 17,000 tons of coal per day.
Instead of a plant like the 1,500 MW plant in Morgantown at the north end of the Nice Bridge on 301, which produces more than 60,000 tons of CO2 every day that it is running, the new plant at Calvert Cliffs will produce 1,600 MW of emissions-free electricity.
The average cost to operate one of the 104 nuclear power plants that are running today in the US is about 1.72 cents per kilowatt-hour. Of course, that ignores the initial cost of the plant, but it does include all fuel costs, waste storage fees, regulatory license fees, operator salaries (about 400-600 good jobs per plant), engineering support costs, repairs, maintenance, and a set aside for plant decommissioning.
Compared to the 8-10 cents per kilowatt-hour that it now costs just to buy fuel for a modern, efficient natural gas plant, nuclear power is quite a bargain. Of course, when one talks about pennies, it does not sound terribly impressive, so lets translate that to dollars.
If the new plant at Calvert Cliffs operates like an average nuclear plant, it will produce about 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours each year. It will cost about $214 million to operate the plant if it is just an average plant (since it will use modern technology vice 1960s technology it might be a bit cheaper.)
If we decide to burn gas instead, and natural gas prices do not go up during the 40-60 years that the plant would be operating, Maryland residents would be paying at least $1 BILLION per year just to buy fuel for the gas plants that will be built instead.
I agree with C. Garger – attend the public meetings and learn about the project. If you have knowledge about the plant or the technology, share it. Hope to see you there.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Host, The Atomic Show
(former Engineer Officer, USS Von Steuben, SSBN 632)
I am going to plan to attend as many of the three public meetings about Calvert Cliffs scheduled this summer as possible. For some odd reason, my Googling skills are letting me down right now and I cannot come up with the near term schedule for those meetings, but I seem to recall that the first one is scheduled for August 4, 2008 at 6:00 pm. If anyone can post the schedule or a link to the schedule in the comments, it would be much appreciated.