1. I realized, upon re-reading my post, that I had a sort of incomplete thought in the third paragraph, so this post is a correction:
      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, as far as nuclear goes, we definitely want to keep the industry ‘alive’ to the point of viability, so that means at least making sure that every few years a couple plants are built. I don’t think there is enough consensus (at least in the U.S.) about Anthropogenic Climate Change from carbon emissions, to really truly clamp down on NatGas (or, to some extent, Coal, although as above, perhaps coal ‘growth’ will be kept in check by the *threat* of legislative carbon controls), to the point that the country would go in big for nuclear. It may be that the best we can hope for, is to keep the industry alive enough that it can be started up in a big way, easily, when the time comes, and also that the state of the art in design keeps progressing to make safer, cheaper, more practical plants.

      1. Cheaper and more practical, sure, but nuclear plants don’t need to be safer. They are safe.
        One of the major attractions of the current interest (long-time in Rod’s case) in smaller reactors is the chance of deploying them to remote locations, and of building incremental generation. And building them cheaper, because the safety is intrinsic so reduces complexity.
        Another challenge is to convince the regulator that safe enough is SAFE ENOUGH. One thing nuclear has been terrible at is accepting regulatory “enhancements” that have no benefit; traditionally because they could, and now because they did before.

  1. Exxon tried the nuclear fuel business and left (in fact the HTP fuel grid was developed on Exxon’s watch and is a big seller for Areva). As much of a fan of nuclear as I am, fossil fuels are easier to use. Nuclear is doing well in countries that either have limited access to pipeline gas or their electric demand growth is high enough to support nuclear plants. The greenhouse gas issue will help nuclear as well, but this may be a stone age where we have use most of the stones first (despite Sheik Yamani’s opinion).

  2. @Robert – are nuclear fuels easier to use from a physical point of view or do you think they are easier to use taking all obstacles – including those imposed by humans – into account?
    As a former nuclear plant operator – I would answer no to the first question and yes to the second question, but I would be interested in your opinion.

  3. How many pro-nuclear people here buy gasoline at Exxon Mobil gas stations?
    All this whining over fossil fuels is useless and pointless so long as you agree to purchase their product. Using the excuse “There’s no other way” doesn’t count. Put your principles into action and refuse to buy from fossil fuel.

    1. I do not buy gasoline at ExxonMobil gas stations, but I do buy diesel fuel there. As I described in my post, I have a great deal of respect for ExxonMobil – they know their business and sell a useful product.
      My issue is with the power company executives who do not think too deeply or do much research with regard to the future of fossil fuel prices. They have been convinced by a temporary dip in the market price of a fuel with a long history of volatility that is due partially to its physical volatility. Gas is hard to store, so you only extract what you need. That means that it does not take much of a change in the market for there to be either too little or too much. The total US gas storage capacity is about 3 months worth of normal consumption.
      As a matter of principle, I have nothing against using gasoline or diesel fuel. I do have a problem with using them as fast as the fossil fuel companies would like for me to use them. I also have a problem with using up natural gas at the rate that the gas suppliers would prefer. If we could reduce our consumption by a factor of 2, the gas would last twice as long.

  4. One other interesting piece of input on the future natural gas question came from the CEO of Shaw Group when he was interviewed on the Creamer (Mad Money) show.
    Shaw is an A-E that builds all types of generation. When Creamer asked him why they are specifically interested in nuclear, he spent much of his response specifically talking about the comparison of BTU-equivalent price between gas and oil. Right now, oil is several times as expensive as natural gas, on a per-heat-content basis. The CEO described this situation as uncommon. That is, it will probably not last.
    In many types of industrial facilities, either oil or gas could be used. They can also be interchangeable for space heating. Finally, if the spread stays high enough, for long enough, we can use gas for transportation, using natural gas power cars, or by converting the gas to a clean liquid fuel using a gas liquifaction process.
    For these reasons, as the cost of oil stays high (or get even higher), due to depletion, the price of oil will eventually drag up the price of gas, as gas starts to be used in place of oil for various applications. Also, as noted, gas will be used in place of coal for power generation. One other thing the Shaw CEO talked about was how (and why) oil rich Gulf nations, that have large gas a oil reserves, were “putting their money on nuclear” for power generation. More evidence of the expectation of increasing world market prices for oil and gas.

  5. @guest – I would say that nuclear fuels are not quite as convenient compared to fossil fuels (e.g., cannot use nuclear reactors to power cars or weedwhackers). Still they are competitive for baeload electricity. Certainly the regulatory barriers can be excessive, but countries without pipeline gas have similar regulations and yet build plants.

  6. I’m wondering why so much information is available about transactions. This company I can understand tthat this information is not so detailed but Constellation and EDP have a lot of details. Is there some law passed that makes there dealing publicly available?

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