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  1. Good Informative Article!

    A nice little quiz to give reporters and politicians is which caused more damage, Deepwater Horizon or Fukushima, and see where their vast knowledge and biases go.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. The market’s reaction is also noteworthy. I think that 1 year after the event, BP’s share were back to pre disaster level, or close to it.

      For Uranium stocks, almost 3 years into the ‘crisis that never was’ stocks are at their lowest levels in 8 years.

      1. For Uranium stocks, almost 3 years into the ‘crisis that never was’ stocks are at their lowest levels in 8 years.

        BP has dropped from second to fourth largest oil company. And commodity prices saw a $1 gallon spike after deepwater horizon.

        With production constant, low prices for uranium are a sign of stagnant demand. TEPCO has not recovered it’s stock value, and recent uptick is due to talk of nationalization (and liquidation of company) in run up to Olympics. The economic impacts of Fukushima (and the shuttering of some 50 plants) have been profound.

        1. BP is falling down the rankings mostly because the North Sea production graph is doing a Thelma and Louise impression.

        2. There have also been reports of significant supply increases.

          On another note I was reading a story that mentioned uranium mining :

          Niger migrants ‘die of thirst’ crossing the Sahara ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24713609 )

          I was kinda thinking that even though the area is desolate and environmental damage probably minimal they should only be doing uranium mining in areas that are more developed with higher environmental and safety standards.

          Thats really ignorant of course because looking closer at Niger we find malnutrition, as well as exceptionally high childhood mortality rates are major concerns, concerns only alleviated by development programs tied to international interests and investment, and uranium makes up 73 percent of their exports.

          Its nearly all they have.

  2. The first thing we have to do is claim that clean gas, fracking or natural gas is in fact methane.

    Methane is no better than coal for global warming and the environment.

    Dig it ?

    It is like putting the clean word in front of everything. Clean mercury, clean arsenic … Those are not radio active. That’s right they do not decay and stay there forever.

    Love my radio active and decaying stuff.

    1. Actually methane burns much more cleanly than coal and produces half the carbon dioxide as coal per BTU. That is what is mainly behind the US having lowered it carbon dioxide emissions in the last five years. Plus, it cost less.

      1. Wrong

        Methane leaks like a sieve during transport. At 100 times the GHG effect of CO2 those leaks make gas a worse GHG producer than coal. The EPA is paid off by Big Oil to ignore methane leakage.

        US GHG progress has little to do with gas and a lot to do with recession, offshoring and conservation.

        US GHG’s are set to rise as gas plants switch back to cheaper coal.

        1. Where is this cost advantage of coal going to come from … repeal of EPA greenhouse gas rules on stationary sources, production shortfalls from mine closings, coal plant retirements?

          http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-10-08/american-electric-ceo-sees-cheap-gas-and-volatile-coal-prices

          Driven by a glut in supply from shale formations, gas futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange reached a 10-year low of $1.927 per million British thermal units last year. Gas is averaging $3.681 per mmBtu this year. Akins said that even with gas prices at $7, the more efficient burn rate compared with coal would make it the cheaper option.

          Central Appalachian coal futures, the U.S. benchmark, have ranged from $43.75 a ton to $81.77 a ton during the past five years. The price has averaged $59.34 this year as producers announced mine closings that will cut output by millions of tons. Proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules restricting power plant carbon dioxide emissions mean no coal-fired units will be added, he said.

  3. I remember listening to a show on NPR in the summer of 2009, which is about the time that BP started winding down their “Beyond Petroleum” ad campaign. In fact, this was exactly what the show was about. As I recall, the whole “Beyond Petroleum” thing was brought in from the top by the CEO. The employees who worked in the petroleum part of the business — which produced almost all of the revenues and generated all of the profits (i.e., almost all of the company) — deeply resented that ad campaign, at least according to what I heard on that show. I forget who was being interviewed.

  4. Good point about fracking not being new technology. I happen to live in a town built by Exxon in the 1980s out on the western slope of Colorado. It was built to house all the workers who were going to be needed to extract and process the shale oil that the area is sitting on. When the price of oil fell back to “normal” levels, the town busted and basically became a retirement community.

    Some say that the whole project was just to bluff OPEC, but it is fairly clear that the economics of $100 oil are not the same as $50 oil. With $100 oil you can build towns overnight. With $50 oil you buy it from someone else. Of course now the same thing is happening with natural gas wells. They’re still drilling and running pipelines, but only enough to keep the pipes pressurized. They’re in no hurry to tap all that capacity, at least until the LNG terminals are in place.

  5. Rod, buried in the discussion of BP and petroleum is a great observation that I heartily endorse. And it’s inexpensive. All it takes is leadership guts.

    It would only take a modest set of rule changes and a reemphasis to the leaders of the NRC that their mission is to regulate “the Nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.”

    If read carefully, with a comprehensive understanding of our energy needs, it is hard to avoid the strong sense that the NRC is supposed to perform its regulatory assignment in a way that enables the use of radioactive materials so those energy dense isotopes can contribute as much as possible to providing a better life for us all.

    1. With the current self-imposed moratorium on approving any new COL applications until they straighten out the Waste Confidence Rule with the courts, it appears the leadership of the NRC doesn’t see any need to make it easier to use nuclear energy for “providing a better life for us all”.

      And isn’t that the reason they split up the AEC in the 1970s in the first place? Promotion of nuclear power needs to be completely separated from regulation. The Japanese nuclear power industry, in its own way, has recently learned that lesson.

      1. @Pete51

        There is a difference between promotion and enabling. Rules should be based on ensuring that the public is protected, but should also be balanced by the knowledge that radioactive material use is beneficial. Excessive costs and unpredictable delays stop use and result in less beneficial choices.

  6. The oil guys are correct, fracking is a very old technology. It is also very commonplace in other downhole activities. My father in law had his water well fracked to improve the pressure.

    The two enabling technologies for shale were directional drilling and 3D seismic sensing. These two technologies are where the magic happens. 3D seismic sensing is actually the most important enabling technology. The 3d sensing provides very accurate maps of the many many small pay zones in the shale. The maps are would be worthless without the ability to pilot the bit through and connect very skinny reservoirs.

    1. A funny thing is that an acquaintance of mine has worked on a municipal district heating project in The Netherlands that is based on deep geothermal energy extraction. During the well tests it appeared that the water did not flow as easily as expected out of and into the deep aquifer that was being tapped into. So much so that the COP (Coefficient Of Performance) was far too low. To solve this, several stimulation methods were used such as acid injection and detergent injection (to get rid of grease that was thought to have been accidentally pushed into the filters after testing of the christmas tree).

      When I heard this story, I asked my acquaintance whether they were going to frack the well. The response was surprising. He said that: “Yes, we have thought of fracking the well to improve the flow, but we don’t want to run the risk of becoming a target of the anti-fracking lobby!

  7. Great article. For me, energy sources are not “either/or” but a delicate balance of cost, reliability, security of supply, and environmentally friendly. Stacking all these up, I see the N. American market as woefully dependent on hydrocarbons at the exclusion of other forms, especially nuclear. Here’s a modest agenda for success:
    1. Change the tax and cost recovery laws in the U.S. to allow Utilities to do more long term supply planning. Nuclear ALWAYS looks better in the long run.
    2. Encourage closer energy cooperation between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Don’t let artificial borders reduce energy security.
    3. As Rod emphasizes, reform the NRC to focus on their true mission.

  8. All 9 judges from the US court of appeals refused to hear the Nevada appeal to Yucca.

    Now Reid is going to say that they were all bad choices for judges in the first place.

  9. ‘I expect that the investments are more likely to come from well capitalized energy consuming companies that are not so happy about the way that oil prices have increased by a factor of ten in the past 15 years.’

    I’m not very optimistic that the ‘market’ is going to get us there. Jordan selected Russia yesterday to build 2 VVER reactors, and Rosatom will pour the first nuclear concrete for the Belarus reactors before the end of the year.

    The reason Russia is winning these contracts is that the Russian state is financing these as an investment. If you have the complete supply-chain within the country, you can always do this (the Russian central bank can issue whatever number of rubles is required). The only question is, do you get real value back (basically goods/services from the client country), and they’ve decided they will.

    In the meantime China is building 30 reactors. The nuclear renaissance is going to be driven by national governments, Russia (internal and external), China (internal), and probably France (external).

    Our government just isn’t interested since the belief is:
    1) We don’t need a huge increase in electricity generation (maybe EV’s will change that),
    2) We have 1000 years of methane,
    3) Nuclear is dangerous,
    4) Wind and Solar are ‘clean’.

    And that is probably a good reflection of thinking in the nation as a whole. Logic is on the side of nuclear (and I do make the argument with everyone I know), but it will probably be around the time China is completing its 200th reactor, when it will be obvious to everyone.

    1. @SteveK9.

      Russia’s BOO model – Build Own Operate is starting to catch on. They take equity in a country’s infrastructure and will reap the benefits of financing for 60 years.

      All resource striken countries will love this.

      And the waste ? Mother Russia is kind and will take it back home and feed one of its breeder reactors.

      Now, we all know that before a US firm offers to a ‘take back home the waste’ deal is not going to happen.

      This is a differentiator for Russia and the US will have enormous problem to offer any sort of gambit to that move. Think the russians can’t play nuclear chess ? Your move.

      Now. China will follow. Korea. ANd one will ask: Who is afraid of the waste ?

          1. When plant construction is routinely halted indefinitely on the political whims of a DC politician, investor confidence tends to be destroyed.

          2. Where’s all this “risk”?? Oil and gas plants and facilities been crisping workers and blowing up neighborhoods for generations and that’s not “risk” enough to stop building them, but nuclear plants which haven’t hurt anyone or damaged property squat are, right? Is this Bizarro world?

          3. He’s talking about financial risks to investors, not risk of disasters. Shoreham, not Chernobyl…

          4. He’s talking about financial risks to investors, not risk of disasters. Shoreham, not Chernobyl…

            Energy Future Holdings, owner of Comanche Nuclear Plant in Texas, will likely to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. They bet on natural gas prices rising, and lost. They have $270 million in interest payments due Nov 01, and activist bond holders are pushing bankruptcy before coupon payments are due.

            Any buyers out there for Comanche (with operating licenses to 2030) … it may soon be on the auction block?

    2. All that natural gas being flared and totally wasted yet people here believe that nuclear reactors should generate electricity. Ridiculous.

      1. Natural gas is more valuable as motor fuel or chemical feedstock.  There are now small liquefaction plants ideally suited for capturing gas that’s now flared and making it a tanker-shippable, immediately salable commodity.

      2. There is tons of natural gas, but it wont last forever. They say a century of supply, but resource depletion doesn’t work that way, it follows a bell curve. If that century/2300tcf reserve base if true then we have about 25 years of growing production from 25tcf to 40tcf then a peak and decline. The NG production peak will be happening at about the same time our old nuke plants will be reaching the end of their lives. After that the only options are coal, nuclear, or poverty.

  10. David Eyton stated:
    We’re very much engaged in the debate with people about how to use these precious resources as efficiently as we can. And we also engage in the debate about a slow transition to a more sustainable energy system. But the world’s energy systems don’t change that fast. When we build assets they can last as long as 100 years in the case of one of our refineries.

    There is a lot here.
    First, “precious resources.” Precious resources are expensive due to their scacity. Energy should be abundant, not scarce. I am very much for the wise use of energy, but if energy is abundant, it may be wise to trade somewhat more energy use for less use of other, less abundant resources.
    Others have already commented on energy transistions.
    Interesting comment about refineries lasting up to 100 years. This is how we should be thinking about nuclear power plants as well, even to the point of replacing the reactor if necessary.

    Rod Adams wrote:
    It would only take a modest set of rule changes and a reemphasis to the leaders of the NRC that their mission is to regulate “the Nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.”

    If only the NRC were serious about the use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, and the environment. Presently, they are failing in this part of thier mission. By (supposedly) making nuclear energy as safe as possible, they are making it difficult and expensive to use. Because of this, electric utilties choose alternatives (i.e., coal and gas) that are less safe, have larger negative health consequences, and cause greater environmental damage. The narrow “nuclear safety” focus of the NRC decreases the safety of energy systems. This is regulatory failure, even if it is political success for some.

  11. Insightful, useful, and expertly written article, as usual.

    I guess BP really is back to the old ways.

    Somewhat related, check out this interesting speech by an oil company insider, on the hidden moral life of oil company executives:

    “Oil executive son’s powerful testimony at Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline joint review panel”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X3VynNZQaQ

  12. Jardinero1 (see above) gets an A+. Fracking is not new; it dates back to Eisenhower’s day, but the technology that made it a killer app is electronics, both sensing and computer control. Plus some really sexy material science (only to an engineer.) Man can now go seven miles down in solid rock, miles below the aquifers. Then he can sense where the good stuff is. and then the piping machine goes there, for miles, and collects it. A “similar” technology can run a TV cable under your driveway without digging it up. Machines are getting smarter. Men, maybe not.

    As with all industries, the cost of advanced technologies, must be repayed by the price in an open market. Al Gore today writes in the WSJ about regulation, prohibitions, taxing, subsidies, and mandated purchases as an alternative to an open market.

    It may shock the world, but BP does not love oil. They love money. If they sensed an opportunity to make energy from wound up rubber bands (an impossibility), the BP Department of Rubber Bands would exist tomorrow, completely staffed with Senior VPs, and attorneys. God help the one engineer who must make it profitable by Friday. After engineering a score of nukes, I am certain that regulation can make nukes cheap enough to use, or kill the entire industry, as the US did after Three Mile Island.

    The recent NRC Chairman has stated that there is no such thing as a safe nuclear power plant. The EPA’s stated goal is to outlaw coal combustion. Neither of those organizations considers the destructive consequences of their conduct. It will take a talented crew to weld out the spool of the Keystone XL pipeline that crosses the US – Canadian border. The earth will not run out of hydrocarbons, uranium, rocks, or dumb people, for centuries. My concern is that my nation may not exist then.

  13. Nuclear reactors have not provided France and Japan with a competitive advantage in manufacturing. The worlds manufacturing moved to a place which had no reactors, namely China. China today, and Russia are fossil fuel giants…hardly being driven by nuclear innovation.

    1. You can’t be serious.

      China and Russia each have robust, growing nuclear programs. China has at least 30 nuclear power plants in various stages of construction right now. Russia is planning to double its nuclear industry in the next decade.

      Japan and France are two of the strongest economies in the world; France exports a lot of its energy, and produces only a fraction of the CO2 of anti-nuclear Germany.

      Japan, however, has been under stress lately because it shut down most of its nuclear power. But there is “good” news for at least some people — gas, oil, and coal companies have made upwards of $100 billion more than they expected since 2011 by cashing in on post-Fukushima anti-nuclear fear mongering. ExxonMobil — just ONE company — reported a 41% increase in annual profits just this week due to “strongly increased demand” for its products. (From where, I wonder?)

      You wouldn’t happen to own stock in any fossil fuel companies, would you?

      Imagine! Environmentalists helping market fossil fuel, actively encouraging policies to contribute to global warming, right-wing politicians, and corporate profit! Who’d’a thunk it?

      1. And Korea also has a robust program …

        In 5 years, more than 30 new countries will join the nuclear community.

        You can’t fight the trend.

        And in Europe, Italy & Greece and Spain are electricicy challenged. The kind of poverty that is self imposed by ingnorance. Long live the anti nuclear greens …

        1. Italy uses nuclear power… It just imports it from France. Italy is one of the largest importers of electricity on Earth. France is the largest exporter of electricity on Earth, and has the lowest electricity prices in Europe.

      1. Clean air is lovely except my point is where are the decent common man jobs for nuclear powered electricity? even the nuclear community itself seems to be willing to sacrifice the dream job of nuclear engineer for so-called efficiency gains.

        Lots of stories coming out of France with strikes and closures of factories…

        Its the same old crap whether coal, nuclear, or gas. Worker wages continuously go down while the communist bankers shuffle them off into slavery.

        Frankly, I don’t understand who the pro-nuclear message is supposed to be directed at. I don’t sense any interest around here in manufacturing, simply the nuclear reactors themselves as if they are temples to be worshipped by fans of increased centralization of decision making and wealth.

        1. The common man is served by cheap, clean, no-nonsense, dependable electricity. Such electricity enables economic activity in which he can participate. Additionally, it help keep his energy bills small.

          Nuclear delivers that. Other options do not deliver, but instead either damage the environment, the common man’s health, or his pocketbook, while sluicing the revenues into the undeserving pockets of the happy few that own the various industries that thrive on damaging the environment, damaging the common man’s health and his pocketbook.

          That is why the common man should promote nuclear energy. It is in his direct interest to do so.

          The fight against nuclear electricity is a frontal assault on the interests of the common man.

        2. @StarvingLion
          “Clean air is lovely except my point is where are the decent common man jobs for nuclear powered electricity? even the nuclear community itself seems to be willing to sacrifice the dream job of nuclear engineer for so-called efficiency gains.”

          I was looking into the Russian KLT-40 reactor, thought I’d see if Rod had mentioned it, and found this reply from him to a post about the icebreaker that uses a modified KLT-40 reactor:

          “@Robert – I know that there will be people who do not like giving humans abundant energy. For the most part, those kinds of people do not actually like humans very much.
          I happen to rejoice in human creativity. I know we can do evil, but we also have the capacity for great good. I prefer to enable as much good as possible, hoping that it will outweigh the evil if spread around.”

          I think that just about sums it up. “They” don’t want us having abundant energy, it would lead to the masses no longer having to be be financial slaves to the few. Buckminster Fuller, in books like “Critical Path”, and “Utopia or Oblivion” explains a great deal about how things work in the world, banking, science, industry, the military, and on. No wonder his works have been buried by the establishment and he is all but unknown to most people now. So “where are the decent common man jobs” is really the wrong attitude, we should be asking what we could do with all the free time we’d have if we didn’t need to keep our noses to the grindstone just to earn a basic living. I think, as Rod says, we have the capacity to do a lot of good, for ourselves, others, and the planet, if we had the opportunity.

        3. @ Hungry-Lyin’

          Don’t look to Nuclear power itself for the jobs; Look instead to the foundries, manufacturers, and fabricators whom require reliable electrical energy. In our geography, we have 4 nearby Nuclear Plants. I pay ~15 cents /KWh *delivered*. We have a large Alcoa reducer smelter along the St Lawrence river north of here.

          We’re getting a huge expansion of our Novelis plant that also requires reliable electricity: <ahref="http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/200_million_expansion_at_novelis_aluminum_plant_in_oswego_creates_100_manufactur.html&quot; The Nuclear energy along Lake Ontario, and the power of the Saint Lawrence River make it all possible.

          Do you really think it's wise to perform a 200 Million dollar expansion for infrastructure centered around an Electric Arc furnace, Hall process reduction, or electric based fabrication in a political geography that is chosen to be dependent on steady wind and sunshine to keep the price of electricity down? We don't, but we're glad people in other geographies believe it'll have no effect; It keeps the business coming to our geography, and give us, our friends and neighbors plenty of career choices beside becoming Nuclear Engineers.

    2. Since Japan has shut it’s reactors down it’s trade deficit has ballooned (yep, for those of you who don’t know, Japan has a trade deficit now) . Heck as a percentage of GDP Japan’s trade deficit is almost larger than the US now.

      1. They are shipping their accumulated wealth to Big Oil and the green movement.

        Smart. Very smart.

      2. Gotta love Japan’s NRA. No public statement, no guidance as to when reactors will restart.

        Utilities could use this for their capacity planning.

  14. Flashback on why there are no nuclear plants in Antarctica: ‘Since before WWII nuclear energy has shown itself an inherently malevolent and belligerent technology. The U.N. recognizes that Antarctica is an international peace zone.’ (http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/) So anything nuclear is a warmonger now? Call the place Greenpeaceland!

  15. There is a video of Sec Moniz in Japan discussing nuclear power. He talks the talk. 2 things I will concede: he understands the fundamentals and he is so right in pointing out that the Voglte plants will have to signal to Wall Street fresh cost and timeline information on building new plants. Then it is either going to take off or not in the US. (The rest of the world is already on board)

    Here is the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmh9Pk8bor8&feature=youtu.be

    Note: Have you notice that Japan has demanded help from the DOE to help in decommissioning and not the NRC ? Dr J’s magistral screw up with the evacuation orders are still not appreciated at the highest sphere of the Japan government …

    1. An interesting point. At 18:40, he mentions that the regulatory regimes in the US will decide what is good for them on a regional basis.

      Is he pointing out that merchant states at going to ditch nuclear ?

    2. And you have to pick up on the green aristocrats new thing on local energy choices and democracy. (And Moniz belongs to that class)

      They insist that democratic choices must prevail. This way they can price the lower classes out of basic commodities. They can afford the high prices and this way, they make sure they stay on top of the heap.

      Let the lower income earners arbitrage their hard earned wages between transportation, medication, energy and food.

      This is the will of the few vocals à la Jane Fonda, who having plenty of time on their hands can go and attend gatherings to impose their will in a democratic fashion.

  16. It’s news to me but does this mean ANOTHER one is gone??

    http://michelekearneynuclearwire.blogspot.com/2011/09/nrc-critical-of-mass-nuke-plant-post.html

    That’s bad enough, but look at the rabid fear feedback to the following article:

    http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2013-08-25/empire-editorial-fukushima-tainting-one-alaskas-most-valuable-resources#.UnZRBhDBOAi

    Why isn’t the nuclear community pouncing to correct articles like this instead of letting the poison spread??

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. From the article:

      The amount they’ve found so far does not pose a risk to humans or marine life, they’ve said. That’s good news. But that’s what scientists said about Chernobyl before later finding they had gravely underestimated its negative effects.

      Um no they didn’t, there was no comparable situation. James when I lived in Alaska whenever an Alaskan made news or something we had a term we would speak aloud: “Typical Alaskan F U.” You can guess what the initials mean, and the Juneau Empire is run by them.

      On CNN today:

      Climate change warriors: It’s time to go nuclear ( http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 )

      Probably the beginning of the end for the mainstream anti-nuclear movement.

      1. I wish Prof Hawkins would step up to the plate.

        I wrote him 1 year ago. He says climate change is humanity’s biggest threat.

        Make the connection for God’s sake. He would give instant credibility to the cause.

        1. I think hes holding out for fusion. Thats decades or a century away. Fission will lead to technologies necessary for that as well as for the exploitation of space resources.

          Come to think of it im surprised he hasn’t come out more strongly for fission too.

          1. Hawkins associates nuclear with military weapons much in the same way the mentally challenged link electricity to the chair or petroleum jelly to napalm.

            No matter how smart, some will never get it.

          1. Revkin states that Moniz would go along with this. But Moniz talks the talk. He does not walk the walk.

            Moniz keeps lying about the loan guarantee for Vogtle saying that it is granted. Nothing is further from the truth and he is the one blocking the process.

            He is a liar.

          2. Yea Daniel I dont know about him. Climate Progress is completely ignoring the letter it appears! So are many “green” sites. Its really amazing.

          3. John Tucker
            November 4, 2013 at 11:15 AM
            Yea Daniel I dont know about him. Climate Progress is completely ignoring the letter it appears! So are many “green” sites. Its really amazing.

            Maddeningly sad more than “amazing!” What is this? Willful ignorance? Somebody should send these brilliant open-minded green sites a picture of those three monkeys — you know, pantomiming being deaf and dumb and blind?

          4. @John & Mitch

            Climate Progress is completely ignoring the letter it appears! So are many “green” sites.
            James Hansen is connected with the highly biased report about the millions of death that the application of nuclear would have avoided thanks to less GHG, etc. etc. emissions.

            So the letter is considered to be another piece of trash, probably not read, after his name was detected.

          5. James Hansen is connected with the highly biased report about the millions of death

            Yes. Goodness knows we should stay away from highly biased reports about millions of deaths!

            Speaking of which, isn’t it about the time that Bas Gresnigt is due, once again, to bring up the “NYAS report” by the three Russian crackpots, which claims millions of deaths from Chernobyl?

          6. Yea Daniel I dont know about him. Climate Progress is completely ignoring the letter it appears! So are many “green” sites. Its really amazing.

            Climate Progress article (here). Others too: Grist, HuffPo, Salon, etc.

  17. You might be asking yourself how the greens are doing in Europe in terms of anti nuclear culture control.

    Pretty well according to Robert Stone who could not find a single film distributor to push Pandora’s Promise on the old continent. (He was able to release the movie in the UK)

    Here is the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7_cnIHTo8I

    Robert has a few words at the end for the European distributors who do not want the current nuclear continental dogma challenged.

    The french translator did a very poor job of getting the gist of it.

  18. Well to his credit Joe Romm at least finally admitted the letter exists, and isnt going to take credit for being a hindrance to NPPs:

    If every major environmental group in this country stopped whatever objections to nuclear power they have been offering, I suspect the industry would be in pretty much the same exact shape it is now.

    One time I was being my usual charming persistent self on his site (when they still let me post there), continuously bringing up what a complete and utter environmental disaster Germany was for not keeping nuclear and he eventually jumped in and made clear he was not in favor of Germany’s abrupt abandonment of nuclear power and never had been.

    Romm is stubbornly pro renewable, but he is also far into alarmist territory and more stubborn when it comes to climate change and acidification. Unfortunately I think in that many of his fears are being realized. In the end id wager he will probably be a lot more accepting of NPPs or at least legislation that makes their existence more economically desirable.

    To Those Who Want To See Nuclear Power Play A Bigger Role In Climate Action ( http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/04/2882671/nuclear-power-climate/ )

    1. Oh I can post there. I wont be a nuisance I hope. Its more important to get it right anyway.

  19. Rod,
    Oil Age will end when we begin taking more advantage of actinide energy density to develop power systems that are economically superior to oil and gas in head to head competition.
    For that there are two major stumbling blocks.

    Costs
    The disappointing issue is that these fission power systems became ever more expensive, during the past 50years. Mainly due to the many upcoming reactor safety flaws,

    For now it is more likely that other options will end the oil age.
    E.g. a combine of new renewable technologies, including CHP, etc.
    This PDF gives a nice overview of such combine, handling all issues and solutions (incl. no wind, no solar) concerning reliable electricity supply. Those are already cheaper than nuclear and become more cheaper.

    Risks
    France now targets 50% for the share of nuclear in electricity generation (once 75%). I think the Fukushima disaster forced French government to do that.
    That disaster forced Japanese government to close all NPP’s. If similar happens in France, similar closure would disrupt French industry if nuclear then still generates more than 50%. As the loss of so much generating power cannot be compensated in the short term.

    So a real invention regarding nuclear is necessary to make your statement happen. That invention has to result in factors lower costs (~$20/MWh) and take away the present risks.
    I estimate only fusion can do that job.

    1. Hi Bas.

      Your two stumbling blocks are your recurrent tragically comical fixation that Fission must necessarily be expensive and unsafe. Here you go again.

      I realize at this point there is no reasoning with you, despite your reasonable sounding tone. Nevertheless, your flawed thinking, if left alone, seems to pander successfully to the most naive. I still have hope you might someday develop a conscience.

      If your stubborn thought that fission must have the same cost structures across techniques were applied to combustion, your erroneous conclusion would have to be that a moonshiners wood burner, A pot bellied oil stove, a pellet stove, an anthracite burner and a bituminous burner with CCS etc would all have the same cost profile as a combined cycle gas turbine. Your parallel logical conclusion would clearly be nuts. By what logical system do you conclude that the cost profile for all Fission systems must have a high cost profile regardless of techniques used? Clearly your logical conclusion regarding Fission is nuts too.

      Safety: You crazy logic is at it again. The “disaster” at Fukushima was definitely a political and financial disaster, but lets be clear: No one died. No “extra” cancers or deaths will show up in the statistics either. You can probably agree on that. Fukushima disaster “made” no one leave the homes, the faulty politics did. The French political rhetoric is a result of their politics, Fukushima is much less of a factor than the political environment. You should see this, It’s pretty much tautological. If they want to shut down Nuclear plants and raise costs by instituting bizarre policies similar to Germany, God bless ’em. I do agree with your implication that bizarre government policies, such as adopting arbitrary policies to placate vocal but naive people are a danger.

      I’d like to thank you for your final sentence. In terms of bizarre logic, it is the icing on the cake. You can’t figure how costs may change in fission, yet you pick the most distant fossil fuel red herring as a solution. You think Fusion “can do the job”. How tragically comically bizarre, since no one can say what a fusion reactor might look like, or even if it can be done *at all*, but you conclude it’s the answer. I’m sure any given board member at Royal Dutch Shell would agree with you, smile at you, pat your back, then walk away in a full snicker.

      1. @John,
        By what logical system do you conclude that the cost profile for all Fission systems must have a high cost profile regardless of techniques used?
        I wrote: “it is more likely that other options…” and linked to a PDF that shows the viability of one option.

        The “more likely” is based on the assumption that e.g. UK chose the best available option for their new nuclear power plant (unsubsidized cost-price ~$170/MWh).
        And facts such as:
        – in US all commercial utilities considered investing in new nuclea not viable;
        – Same in all other countries;
        – Article showing that a much lower cost price for SMR is unlikely (50%?);

        – The flight/jump ahead towards LFTR that Ernest Moniz showed here. That implies he also doesn’t see a solution with existing reactors designs and SMR.
        – The Oak Ridge Thorium experimental results.
        – The long development time and cost for LFTR, so China had to sought cooperation with its enemy India (and UK). These last two points deliver indications that LFTR will only bring small (50%?) cost improvements. If at all successful.

        Note that ~8 times lower cost-price is needed for Rod’s dream to become true.

        But may be you can show a solution?

        Safety: … Fukushima … No one died. … You can probably agree … bizarre government policies …
        Glad to see that you agree that France may also be forced to stop all nuclear if similar happens. So their reduction of nuclear dependency is quite logical.

        Regarding the death of Fukushima, we do not agree. Especially since government now stimulate people to live in radiation environments near 20mSv/a. Only regarding heredity already, that will increase the number of Down and other serious malformations with at least a factor 10 as shown after Chernobyl (not sure whether that will show as it seems almost all young people refuse to go back into such area, despite financial incentives).

        In the last appendix of the BEIR VII report you can find some indications of the extra deaths among adults due to such low levels of radiation. There are other studies showing similar.

        You think Fusion “can do the job” … bizarre
        EU, France, Russia, Japan, China, India, USA invest ~$20billions in ITER, now in construction phase (~2027 ready).
        Target: Development of a viable fusion reactor..
        In addition there are national programs that also concern at least $20billions.

        1. And facts such as: – in US all commercial utilities considered investing in new nuclea not viable;

          Bas – These are your “facts”?

          Heh … So are Southern Company and South Carolina Electric & Gas not commercial or are they not utilities? Or what? Please explain.

          1. This comment does a pretty good job of explaining the behavior of Bas Gresnigt and other anti-nuclear trolls:

            There are a couple of substantive things to bear in mind when dealing with the manner in which modern liberals or progressives interact with political opponents.

            First of all, as we all realize, their view of “truth” is radically different from the traditional western viewpoint of what constitutes a true statement and what metaphysical meaning the term truth has. This incontestable relativism of theirs has several implications: one of which is that for the progressive, rhetoric becomes the means by which truth is shaped and brought into existence, rather than truth being a propositional description of the world or some portion of it, as it really is, and which is then rhetorically presented.

            This relativism then, tends to devalue logical analysis and careful exposition as tools of debate in favor of other kinds of verbal acts intended to influence social relations. Chief among these replacements for truth are the tools of ridicule and disruption. Talk, is conceived of as warfare – not figurative, but literal – by means other than overt physical violence. As such, all of the techniques and deceptions employed in all-out war are considered by leftists and progressives as properly pertaining to political argument.

            For the political progressive, silencing you through disruptive or annoying tactics, or discomfiting you emotionally, is just as good if not better than winning an argument on facts: since facts are always conceived as mere data points forensically ready to be deployed in the service of the world as they will dream it.

            The goal of the socialist or progressive is after all, not to arrive at the point of truth – which they think is impossible in life and meaningless in an ultimate sense – but, at solidarity, which they think is attainable with the proper methods of social pruning and affect management.

            1. @Engineer-Poet

              For the record, I consider myself a left-leaning progressive. I also engage in the use of rhetoric and semantics and enjoy a bit of verbal sparring. Carefully choosing my words and using appeals to emotion are part of the tools of my trade.

              That said, I also like verifiable facts, math, and physical truth.

          2. I also like verifiable facts, math, and physical truth.

            Don’t you know those are tools of racist oppression, and only one of them really exists?  Ask any humanities major in the Big Ten.

            1. @Engineer-Poet

              I guess it might be hard to earn a BS in English at a traditional university. Maybe it’s a good thing I went to a trade school.

              However, if we want to make progress, engineers and physical scientists need to learn how to communicate with the humanities majors. For better or worse, they are often the people who are making major decisions in the political world.

        2. And facts such as:
          – in US all commercial utilities considered investing in new nuclea not viable;
          – Same in all other countries;

          Bas lives in Bizarro World, where China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi (in the fossil-rich Middle East) do not exist.

          Either that, or Bas Gresnigt is simply a shameless liar.

        3. @Brian & Engineer-poet
          With commercial utilities deciding not to invest in nuclear, I mean that no utility decided to do so unless the normal commercial investment risks are taken away (which in the end can be called subsidies, worth lots of money)!

          EDF which brings up Hinckley Point C, gets loan guarantees, guarantee that all electricity is sold for an inflation corrected price >100% above the market price.

          I understood that your 2 utilities in US also get such subsidies & guarantees that they have hardly any normal commercial risk on the investment.
          Such as a law that allow a levy on the electricity price such that the investment money comes back to the utility before the NPP even starts, etc.

          Sorry, for not expressing myself more accurate.

          @Engineer-poet
          Just check the strong government involvement in the countries you state.
          No normal commercial undertaking.

          1. With commercial utilities deciding not to invest in nuclear, I mean that no utility decided to do so unless the normal commercial investment risks are taken away …

            Bas – Sheesh! Even your attempts to recover from your own stupid comments are pathetic. If your intention in participating here is to demonstrate just how ignorant and misinformed you are, then congratulations!! Your attempt has been a smashing success.

            For your information — since you obviously don’t know — South Carolina Electric & Gas does not have a loan guarantee for the new nuclear units at V. C. Summer, yet it proceeded with construction anyway, assuming the “normal commercial investment risks.”

            Even the loan guarantee that was offered for the new Vogtle units in Georgia has not yet been finalized — and might never fully materialize — yet construction is still goes on, without any guarantee.

            Sorry, for not expressing myself more accurate.

            I’m sorry for you that you continue to embarrass yourself, but it’s clear that you have no shame. Anyone with any pride left would just go away and crawl back under the bridge from which he came.

          2. @Bas

            In my home region of the United States – the southeast – we have democratically agreed that electric utility companies are not normal commercial enterprises. It has been this way for about 70 or more years and we worked hard to keep it that way when much of the rest of the nation was following other lemmings off of a rather absurdly conceived cliff.

            We have a “regulatory compact” with our power companies here. We allow them to make a modest, but steady profit. We ask them to make sensible, long term investments to ensure that we have plenty of reliable electricity to power our lights, air conditioners, hospitals, office buildings, factories, refineries, chemical processing plants, and other key portions of our infrastructure. We ask those companies to hire hard working, high integrity technicians who will happily grab their rubber boots and gloves and venture out immediately after storms to restore downed power lines. We ask them to hire well trained engineers that can keep the plants running and the wires properly balanced.

            Yes, Southern Company and SCANA operate in southeastern US states that have construction work in progress – with careful public utility commission oversight – payments that reduce the risk premium that might otherwise be charged to their capital intensive construction projects.

            So what. We made the choice and we are actually kind of proud that the environment we created is resulting in the construction of four large, emission free power stations that will be providing affordable, reliable power to our grandchildren’s children.

          3. @Rod,
            In NL we had the same. But Brussels decided in the nineties to change that (stimulated by US?).
            In each NW-European country we now have one responsible state (owned) regulator that supervises all.
            Further competing power producing utilities, one or a few grid operating companies (which command the power plants at operational level, and get modest profit by regulated transport tariffs), and quite a number of utilities that sell electricity to consumers (incl factories, etc).

            An utility does not need to produce electricity, it can buy all on the whole sale market.
            In general grid operators do not produce or sell electricity, as that contravenes with the grid operator tasks (honest distribution). The grid operator is responsible for supply reliability at operational level. The state regulator supervises and creates rules.

            E.g. any utility that wants to switch off or decommission a power plant has to ask the regulator 6 months in advance. The regulator can refuse that, but then has to arrange compensating (capacity) payments for the utility.

            This structure was created in the nineties in order to have more flexibility and lower costs.
            While it brought more flexibility, I doubt whether it brought lower costs.

            So now we have utilities in NL that sell only (100%) renewable produced electricity. As the public likes that, they have to buy additional renewable electricity at Norway. One of the reasons we install an additional power line to Norway.
            So now public here consumes almost all Norwegian renewable electricity and the Norwegians themselves consume ‘dirty’ imported electricity (reason you didn’t find Norway on my list of near 100% renewable electricity countries).
            While nice flexible, it is a somewhat ridiculous situation!

            ___

            @Brian,
            I cite from the CNN site (link posted by El): “No American utility today would consider building a new nuclear power plant without massive government support. Of 29 power plants on the drawing boards in 2009, only a handful are going forward, with government help, and even those are experiencing delays and cost overruns.”

            Would be nice if you could explain the details of the government regulated help those utilities get.

          4. I cite from the CNN site (link posted by El)

            Bas – EL’s link is not to anything written by CNN. It’s to an Op-Ed piece written by a couple of idiots from the NRDC, who either don’t know what their talking about or are blatantly lying to promote their misanthropic “environmentalist” agenda. They are clearly wrong, as I point out above.

            Currently, V. C. Summer is under construction, without even the standard “massive government support” that is offered “renewables” in the US.

            Seriously, how can you support renewable energy by fiat in Germany and scoff at government support for any other form of energy anywhere else and still keep a straight face? Perhaps you are too dim to realize how foolish you look?

            Would be nice if you could explain the details of the government regulated help those utilities get.

            It would be nice if you would stop being a lazy bastard and would explain what this “massive government support” is. Please provide something better than an unsubstantiated (and frankly, wrong) opinion piece. Thank you.

          5. Currently, V. C. Summer is under construction, without even the standard “massive government support” that is offered “renewables” in the US.

            They’ll be getting a PTC (just like renewables). They are also getting a clean break on financing costs (through CWIP) … free money from the ratepayer. When you get free money (which renewable companies don’t get), why go to private bond markets or seek low interest funds from the government? They have access to a slush fund to build these plants, and consumers have little recourse over these companies when things go wrong. For projects that take this long to build, it’s a horrible and corrupt way to build power plants. Many lawsuits are challenging the process (more are coming), and there’s no way this represents a feasible plan for the future (except in regions where the public gets no voice in utility planning and rate decisions).

            BTW, how do you think things are going at VC Summer? Five years from completion of first unit, they already have a delay of one year. For the last four years, Santee Cooper (owning 45% of the project) has been looking for a buyer for much of it’s shares. Conceived in the days before the recession, they simply no longer need the energy. They have yet to find a buyer. Our friend Mark Cooper has done an analysis of the situation: “Public Risk, Private Profit: Ratepayer Cost, Utility Imprudence.” Things are not looking good. “Either pull the plug now and ‘eat’ an average cost per reactor of one or two billion dollars already sunk into each reactor … or let the reactors proceed and pay $10 billion or more per project in excess costs over the life of the reactors.”

            Ratepayers are getting squeezed for a power plant that is not needed (and won’t benefit them with lower rates). Expect many more delays and many more lawsuits, long before you expect any electricity from these plants. Doubts are mounting, and projects are not on solid “standard” financial footing. CWIP isn’t going to expand the industry, it’s merely the next bad idea for a company with serious financing and risk management headaches and nowhere else to turn.

          6. As usual, EL, you are your typical eristic self.

            They’ll be getting a PTC (just like renewables).

            No, not just like renewables. The EPA of 2005 provides limited funds for PTC’s for nuclear, whereas “renewables” get to feed at the government trough without limit. Furthermore, the government is rather stingy with credits for nuclear — providing them for only the first eight years of operation. So-called “renewables” get them for the first 10 — 25% longer than nuclear and a much much larger portion of their expected operational lifetime.

            They are also getting a clean break on financing costs (through CWIP) free money from the ratepayer.

            I wouldn’t describe CWIP as a “clean break.” We’ve been over this point before. In a heavily regulated environment, like in South Carolina, CWIP ultimately saves the rate payers’ money. It’s not my fault that you are too frigging stupid to understand this. Frankly, I’m somewhat surprised that you stopped there. Why didn’t you point out that government gives the utilities a monopoly on selling electricity in the region?! That’s what government regulated utilities are all about.

            Rather than rehash all of my arguments that you are too obtuse to comprehend (whether delibirately or not), let’s just agree to disagree on this point.

            When you get free money (which renewable companies don’t get) …

            Who needs “free money” (which is not “free” — see what I have written above) when you have heavy subsidies and “renewable” power mandates (a.k.a., “portfolios”) by government? Forcing a utility to buy a certain product (cost be damned) is essentially “free money” to the vendors of that product.

            BTW, how do you think things are going at VC Summer?

            To quote a (late) famous and fairly successful, politician, “there you go again.” Once again, only nuclear power is required to be perfect every time. Meanwhile, worthless renewables (ahem … Solyndra) are given a free pass again and again.

            EL, you seem to specialize in double standards — it’s like a calling card for you.

            Anyone who expects a first-of-a-kind project on a new generation of technology that hasn’t been constructed in the US since I was a schoolkid to go off without a hitch or two at first is a complete idiot. And yes, that includes you, EL.

            Ratepayers are getting squeezed for a power plant that is not needed (and won t benefit them with lower rates).

            Thank you for your endorsement of the continued operations of old, grandfathered, dirty coal plants. That’s right … as you say, their replacement is “not needed.”

            It seems that you’re satisfied with a pitifully sluggish economy and business as usual. No surprises there.

          7. No, not just like renewables. The EPA of 2005 provides limited funds for PTC’s for nuclear, whereas “renewables” get to feed at the government trough without limit. Furthermore, the government is rather stingy with credits for nuclear — providing them for only the first eight years of operation. So-called “renewables” get them for the first 10 — 25% longer than nuclear and a much much larger portion of their expected operational lifetime.

            So, yes. In other words. They do receive massive government support, which is not the same as no government support (as you mentioned in your comment).

            I wouldn’t describe CWIP as a “clean break.” We’ve been over this point before. In a heavily regulated environment, like in South Carolina, CWIP ultimately saves the rate payers’ money.

            You must be trying to win the award for best non-sequitur here. Yes, we have talked about these issues before. And no, there are no cost savings for current ratepayers. And there are only cost savings for future ratepayers if a great number of things go their way (which is highly unlikely). I guess you missed the part about projected cost increases should these plants go through (on the order of $10 billion per plant over the operating lifetime of those plants above the cost of available, easier to build, more secure to finance, and more affordable alternatives).

            Once again, only nuclear power is required to be perfect every time. Meanwhile, worthless renewables (ahem … Solyndra) are given a free pass again and again.

            Really … Solyndra? That is the best you got. Have you had a look at another US solar company that received DOE funds: SunPower (SPWR). One of the great momentum stocks over the last year (gaining 600%), leaping over earning estimates each quarter, expanding into new markets with some of the most efficient panels out there. They’ve made a lot of money and a lot of jobs for a lot of people over the last several years. Clearly, you don’t seem to be one of them.

            Anyone who expects a first-of-a-kind project on a new generation of technology that hasn’t been constructed in the US since I was a schoolkid to go off without a hitch or two at first is a complete idiot. And yes, that includes you, EL.

            It is amazes to me you said this! Ratepayers are putting up the funds for these projects (and they only stand to benefit if everything goes well). Do you think utility commissions did their proper due diligence on this issue (and on the uncertainty of new generation technologies as you have described it). Rhetorical question, obviously. It sounds to me that they did not. Based on what you have said, the ratepayer should never be put on the hook for this (certain risks that lead to excessive and uncertain rising costs). As you said, even “idiots” should have known better.

            1. @EL

              There are substantial differences between the support offered to nuclear energy in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the support offered to unreliables in that same act plus the various additional acts that have been passed, including state Renewable Portfolio Standards and the Recovery Act (aka bailout).

              When the President started looking for jobs programs that were “shovel ready” he and his friends — Van Jones, Steven Chu and a number of pork hungry Congressman — found a lot of projects classified as “renewable” or “green” energy that were ready to accept shovels full of money. In one year, I think the DOE budget was nearly doubled, giving a $25 billion or so slush fund for wind and solar, with just a few scraps that could be used to fund anything related to nuclear energy. (The national labs got some money that could be spent on nuclear related R&D.)

              Here are a few examples:

              Due to the financial collapse, there was little or no market left for Production Tax Credits because most of the firms that could actually use them no longer had any profits to offset. So Congress and the unreliables lobbies came up with a very popular replacement program that became known as section 1603 grants in lieu of the PTC. Instead of getting paid a fixed amount for every kilowatt hour generated over a 10 year period, unreliables could qualify for a cash grant of 30% of the capital cost of a project, payable within one year of completion. Nuclear was specifically excluded from section 1603.

              Loan guarantees were also offered. Solyndra was just one of many that was awarded a loan guarantee. The program SOUNDS a lot like the one offered to nuclear in 2005, but there was a key difference that is not often discussed. Even though many of the recipients were new companies without much of a track record and no other sources of income since they were still in the technology development phase, the government did not require them to pay a credit subsidy fee. That fee was picked up by the taxpayers. You might not recall, but when Constellation Energy was “offered” a loan guarantee for its Calvert Cliffs 3 project, the Office of Management and Budget determined that the $7 billion dollar loan carried such a high risk of default that it needed to charge Constellation an $880 million, non-refundable, CSC up front. OMB refused to reconsider; Constellation walked away from that extremely expensive offer of “support” for the project. That fee, by itself, would have added several cents to the eventual cost of electricity over the life of the project when you include the time value of money.

              Here’s one of the articles I wrote about that absurd determination that nuclear was so much more risky than unreliables that the backers needed to bear additional burdens, not support, imposed by the government.

              https://atomicinsights.com/loan-guarantee-foolishness-by-the-folks-with-green-eyeshades/

              As another note, the PTC for nuclear has substantial differences from the one for unreliables. One detail that many forget is that the nuclear PTC is fixed at 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. The unreliables PTC is indexed for inflation, so it is currently 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. By the time Vogtle and Summer start getting any support, the difference between the unreliables PTC and the nuclear PTC will have grown even larger.

              Also, there is an annual, per 1000 MWe of capacity limit on the fee of $125 million. If a plant achieves a CF of 100% in a given year, which is not really all that unusual, its PTC will only be about 1.4 cents per kilowatt hour. A plant would have to stop generating at an 80% CF to make sure that it gets the full 1.8 cents for every kilowatt-hour generated. (Of course, it is unlikely that an operator would do that, but it shows a subtle difference in the PTC rules that discriminates against nuclear to the potential tune of about $22 million per year.)

              The 2005 Energy Policy Act also puts a limit on the total number of megawatts (6,000) of nuclear that can qualify, requires that the technology must have been licensed later than 1995 (specifically leaving out the Watts Bar and Bellefonte projects), and requires that the projects be completed and in commercial service by January 1, 2021, which means that there could be imposed delays that are long enough so that Vogtle and Summer MIGHT not get their promised PTC after all. That adds a little more risk to the projects that must be accounted for, generally by increasing the interest rate a bit more.

              http://www.felj.org/docs/655-672.pdf

              This comment is already too long, so I will only mention the difference between state renewable portfolio standards and state prohibitions on new nuclear until such time as there is an operating nuclear waste repository. Those moratoriums would have disappeared by now without the manipulation of the license review process by Harry Reid’s boy.

              I am not claiming that nuclear energy does not get any support, but the support that it gets is substantially less than that offered to other energy sources that have similar emissions characteristics. Those sources have less beneficial reliability characteristics and are unlikely to last as long as well built, well maintained nuclear plants. I agree with your statement that today’s ratepayers do not necessarily get the full benefits of their investments, but I am okay with programs that give the advantages to future generations. I am also comfortable with the government picking winners and losers, as long as they do it well. In my opinion, the Recovery Act funds could have been spent in many more beneficial ways, more like the New Deal funds were. I still get regular enjoyment out of cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking on trails built by the CCC, and viewing art commissioned as part of a Depression era public arts program .

              You will not find me touting the “free market” as the source of all wisdom; there is no such thing as a free market in today’s America. There are plenty of hand engaged in the process of rigging the market in favor of the rich and powerful. We have the best government money can buy. Adam Smith might have referred to “invisible hands” but the manipulation is only invisible if one refuses to look for it.

          8. So, yes. In other words. They do receive massive government support, which is not the same as no government support (as you mentioned in your comment).

            EL – No, read again, and try to comprehend this time. I said that the projects did not receive the same support that is offered to renewable projects. (Then again, given your ability to construct a proper sentence, I’m not surprised that your reading comprehension skills are equally as poor.)

            While you’re at it, perhaps you can provide an example of a significant energy source that does not receive “government support.” Any at all? We’re waiting …

            So it’s clear we’re arguing over the meaning of the term “massive.” Compared to “renewables” and fossil fuels, nuclear receives very little support at all — certainly not “massive” amounts.

            Really Solyndra? That is the best you got.

            No, it was just an off-hand comment and an irresistible cheap shot, I admit. Nevertheless, can you point me to a nuclear company that blew through half a billion dollars of taxpayer money and then went belly up in a year or two? Any at all? We’re waiting …

            Have you had a look at another US solar company that received DOE funds: SunPower (SPWR). One of the great momentum stocks over the last year (gaining 600%), leaping over earning estimates each quarter, expanding into new markets with some of the most efficient panels out there. They’ve made a lot of money …

            And I’m sure that this company is not receiving any “massive government support.” (/sarcasm) Seriously, however, I’m sure that they’ve “made a lot of money” … but the pertinent question is: who is paying for it?

            Do you think utility commissions did their proper due diligence on this issue (and on the uncertainty of new generation technologies as you have described it). Rhetorical question, obviously.

            Questions usually end in question marks, even rhetorical ones. Your punctuation is as sloppy as your thinking.

            It sounds to me that they did not.

            Based on what? Your personal opinion? Sorry, but I wipe my bottom with stuff that I consider more valuable than that.

            If the utility commission is doing a bad job, then it should be replaced. Or perhaps you are a staunch advocate of deregulation and free markets? (Rhetorical question, obviously.)

          9. EL – No, read again, and try to comprehend this time. I said that the projects did not receive the same support that is offered to renewable projects.

            New nuclear receives a PTC in the US. It’s a major deal (or else why would it be on the books). We’re giving useless federal subsidies to nuclear these days (and nobody is asking for it and it is not needed)?

            Please CC us your letter recommending the government repeal this tax credit, since you feel it is not needed (and that these projects can be funded all well and good without it).

            Nevertheless, can you point me to a nuclear company that blew through half a billion dollars of taxpayer money and then went belly up in a year or two?

            From very low credit ratings to very high credit subsidy fees, nuclear has it’s fair share of boondoggles, bankruptcies, and bailouts. Shoreham blew through $6 billion, and passed on the costs to ratepayers in a 3% surcharge for 30 years (here). Rural Electric Administration attempted to bail out Public Service Company of New Hampshire, principal owner of Seabrook, resulting in fourth largest bankruptcy in US corporate history (here). “Similar debacles pushed utilities into bankruptcy, triggered the largest municipal bond default in US history [as of 2010], and helped cause a sixfold increase in wholesale electricity prices. The total cost to the public, in rate hikes and taxpayer bailouts, was more than $300 billion (in 2006 dollars) …” (here).

            While you’re at it, perhaps you can provide an example of a significant energy source that does not receive “government support.” Any at all? We’re waiting …

            If subsidies are doing their work, I’m all for them. Renewable energy markets are maturing, technology innovation is keeping apace, and costs are dropping. How is nuclear doing by comparison (see Hinkley strike price and FIT rates for renewables in Germany).

            If the utility commission is doing a bad job, then it should be replaced.

            Long standing legal bans against CWIP in many States don’t count, and legal challenges to existing programs are not a threat? Yes, ratepayers are upset. Utility commissions and those who support such programs are taking the brunt of the blame.

  20. El,
    Very the point:
    Ratepayers are getting squeezed for a power plant that is not needed (and won t benefit them with lower rates).
    These new NPP’s would operate roughly in the 2020 – 2080 period. Due to the continued falling prices of Solar and Wind, average whole sale prices will sink further that period.
    And wholesale prices are now already far below the cost price of these NPP’s!

    Writing down all investment to zero (big loss for the rate payers), only the operating costs of these NPP’s will become higher than whole sale prices long before 2060. So rate payers have to absorb those losses also.

    The continued decreasing solar costs will lead to whole sale prices of ~$20/MWh at ~2050.
    Together with wind expansion, it delivers wholesale markets with prices often below $10/MWh. At those levels continued delivery is still profitable for solar and wind owners as their operating costs are near zero.
    But not for these NPP’s!

    Due to their inflexibility regarding fast up- and down (towards e.g.. 5%) regulation, these NPP’s are forced to deliver lots of electricity far below their operating costs.
    That will deliver such a bad picture that they will be closed at the moment some costly repair/revision is inevitable…
    Just as you see now with Vermont Yankee, etc. (more will come according to Forbes).

    This explains also why no ‘normal’ commercial investment!

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