1. I lost a lot of my respect for a once-great newspaper, the New York Times, during the runup to the Iraq War. It’s a mixed bag these days, with very good reporting and some very sloppy reporting.

  2. Perhaps the author of the report should review “Outlook for Energy – A view to 2030” specifically, page 24.
    Read my comments on your post “Incredibly misleading headline from the European Wind Energy …” regarding how the power provided from generation sources is really measured by the utilities. In essence, I will sell the retailer my tomatoes at retail price, but when I need tomatoes I get to buy them at wholesale price! The contracted price for electricity to many of our large industries is around 3 cents per Kwh. So, the guy runs his control systems on $0.03 /Kwh (why would he run it on electricity he can “legally” sell for $0.25 when he can use $0.03???) and sells his produced electricity at $0.25, AND collects $0.19 subsidy from the government. (Previous numbers are at least a year old and will be different in your area.) That is why they are in the business.
    I believe they spell that S C A M

  3. Thanks for the careful deconstruction of this deceptive anti-nuclear advocacy document. I read it and found it lacking in basic honesty, which would have required the authors to disclose, up front, that the basic concept is that “if someone else pays most of the cost something, then it costa me much than it would have.” That this report was picked up and effectively repeated and expanded in the NY Times is probably a function of the anti-nuclear perspective of the article’s author, who seems to be using her position to advance an agenda, coupled with a fairly well developed plan of orchestrated disinformation from anti-nuclear advocates.
    The NY Times story reads like an anti-nuclear “hatchet job,” with the fig leaf of appearance-of-objectivity added by quoting a representative of the nuclear industry. Conducting an analysis to determine whether claims of anti-nuclear advocates is correct is beyond either the capability or interest of most reporters, and an anti-nuclear reporter like this one will likely cite that as beyond her job description if she is confronted.
    The nuclear industry spokespeople will not engage the fact issues and weaknesses of renewable energy in response to these articles because they cannot risk being seen as “anti-renewable.” That leaves it up to the grassroots nuclear advocates to try to correct mis-statements. As against the developed network of foundation-supported anti-nuclear advocacy, our resources are few.
    However, it is important to try.
    Since simply “preaching to the choir” (your blog readers) is not a very productive use of mind power, if productivity is gauged by potential to influence thinking, I hope you rework your thoughtful piece into a letter to the NY Times, and the author of the article. In doing so I would urge you to to make any challenge to the credentials of the individuals involved a minor element of the challenge. The key issues are not their anti-nuclear resum? but that they generate misleading analyses based on cherry-picked sources, and they and bury reference to key factors in parts of the document that few will read. I believe they do this soled to establish “plausible deniability” when their objectivity is challenged. Best to challenge the dishonesty, the cherry-picking, misrepresentation itself.
    There is value in keeping to the high road when engaging in forums where we may be able to reach people who are uncertain, and those are the people we want to engage. The value of debating with anti-nuclear advocates and anti-nuclear stories, lies not in changing the minds of the reflexive opponents of nuclear energy. Those minds seem absurdly closed and narrow to me, and, frankly, aren’t worth the effort. The value comes from the opportunity to articulate important truths about energy options to others in the audience.
    In fact, we should all be writing to the NY Times about this hatchet piece and sharing our letters with each other. Maybe we could all publish our letters somewhere, as they are unlikely to be published by the NY Times. Your blog?

    1. @Frank – I would certainly publish well written letters here.
      I acknowledge your tactical advice for taking the high road and not questioning credentials. However, I am tired of being nice and entering into a ring with nasty fighters with me following the rules and them feeling free to lie through their teeth. I have not questioned whether or not they are qualified to write in the sense of asking that they be silenced; I am merely pointing out their education, and work record along with using their own words to describe their agenda. If that causes uncommitted readers to think a little harder, or if it happens to feel like an insult to the authors, so be it. This is an open forum and they are free to come and correct the record. Unlike many of the blogs run by anti’s, I allow nearly all comments to be immediately visible for discussion.
      There are only a few people who have earned a ban from commenting here by constantly trying to move the discussion to their own pet discussions that have little to nothing to do with energy technology, policy and politics.
      I am a trained fighter and technologist. If a lawyer wants to engage in an implied character assassination of an entire profession by implying that we are too dumb to do a reasonable cost benefit analysis of energy choices, he deserves to be taken down – intellectually, of course.

      1. Rod, have you considered sending your response to the ombudsman at the NY Times and also as a letter to the editor? Worth doing. Cite your credentials when you submit. The Times will never print a retraction about any of the wrong things it publishes about nuclear power, but in the future the article editors might ask a bit more of their reporters in terms of checking the backgrounds of their sources.

  4. forgot to edit my comment through.
    My quote
    if someone else pays most of the cost something, then it costa me much than it would have.
    Should have read:
    if someone else pays most of the cost something, then it costs me much less than it would have without the subsidy.

  5. The tomato analogy is still too positive. The shop could put some of the tomatos in the frige and store them for some time. It’s more like a pizza restaurant having to buy fresh and steaming pizza from an “intermittent” bakery at retail price, whenever the intermittent source happens to deliver it. Any surplus of pizza is blamed on the restaurant, since it is so “inflexible” to have cooks employed permanently and the pizza oven fired up all the time.
    Basically there can only be two outcomes for the consumer: either much higher cost for permanent availability (full capacity backup generator, ready at all times, fully staffed etc., or a battery/storage system) OR less cost but intermittent availability “passed on” to the consumer under the name “demand response”.

  6. The NY Times has long-since lost its credibility, and much of its readership, by either employing starkly biased ‘news reporters’ (e.g. Blair) or printing poorly researched articles (e.g. Bob Herbert’s recent hatchet job on nuclear power). The advertisers recognize the demise of this paper and are making a market-driven choice to invest elsewhere.

  7. normally credible news source, the New York Times
    ROFLOL! About the only thing you can learn from reading the NYT is the agenda of ignorant journalists. If you think the NYT is a credible news source your questioning attitude is not as well developed as you think.
    I am a trained fighter..
    So Rod how does one handle smoke emitting diodes? If you read the guarantee for the devices to convert DC to AC you will find that they are only covered for 5 years. It costs about $5000 to replace one for a 3 kwe system.
    I am sure that Rod knows that an electrical fire can not be put out until the circuit is de-energized. How do de-energize PV panels during the day? What about fires caused by downed power lines?
    While every nuke plant and navy ship has a well trained fire brigade, how many how owners are knowledgeable enough on the PV generating system to assist the fire department when they arrive?
    This is not a trivial problem either. I have read about more than 50 PV induced home fires. I have only antidotal evidence about component failure.
    The bottom line is that the PV system will stop making electricity when there is a $5000 repair to produce $2000 in electricity. Not many will make it to 25 years.

    1. I had almost given up on you, Kit, but then you come along with a gem like this. Modern digital inverters do have a limited lifetime – unless you’re willing to risk doing some DIY repairs on them – hardly advisable. The ones that are capable of providing a reasonably modern existence are very expensive and the residential sized ones aren’t aren’t exactly “utility grade” or “commercial grade” – ABS plastic housing, cutesy backlit LCD display, ventilation ports easily blockable by dust or something covering them – all in all – a system that can easily fail if exposed to grid disturbances or a hostile environment.
      These snazzy home inverters often command up to several power resources. For instance, a large battery bank, a generator, a grid tie, and the photovoltaic array. They do it all digitally. The whole problem with distributed generation that has always worried me – a nightmare in the back of my head – is what if systems fail – or for some reason they aren’t on in the first place. Any grid-tied system that doesn’t provide guaranteed isolation from the grid in the event of grid failure is a public menace capable of killing linesmen – AND slowing the speed of restoration down – in general – as linesmen can’t be sure that a line is de-energized. Some of these inverters allow automatic grid connection and disconnection upon digital command. Eventually, one of these digital systems is going to fail, the distributed system is going to stay connected to the grid, and a linesman is going to get injured or killed.

  8. As a newspaper reporter for more than a decade, I can tell you this article showed substantial bias in sourcing. Anti-nuclear sources got most of the space, while a token pro-nuclear representative wasn’t allowed to address the specific issues against nuclear raised in the story. The story also showed an appalling lack of understanding about baseload power, reliability issues, intermittency and the far greater amounts of steel, concrete, replacement and land area (energy inputs) which are needed for intermittent sources. Either the reporter was ignorant of these, or chose not to include them. Saying the article was focused on the study alone would be a copout – the story sought to weave a broader indictment of nuclear power, and should therefore consider broader issues. Like most Americans, I’m an all-of-the-abover. We need clean baseload sources like nuclear and intermittent sources like wind and solar and I support appropriate subsidies for all of them. We also need competent journalism that discloses the motives of sources, considers unmentioned influences and includes diverse voices.
    I at least credit this story with having no anonymous sources. To maintain its mystique, I don’t think the NYT could issue a weather report without quoting a high-ranking government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying today will be sunny and warm. Anonymous sources dominate the tabloid press and large coastal media, but that’s another story.

    1. I work in the nuclear industry and also an “all-of-the-abover” assuming it meets standards for safety and environmental impact. Having a reliable and affordable electricity supply is important to preclude bad things from happening.
      I also agree that is good to document sources with something other than anonymous. Journalists love to report on “secrets” but how secret is it if a reader like me can find the ?ecret report?in less than a minute? After reading the source materials, I have to wonder if the part of the brain that writes is different than the part that reads. Some reporters are too lazy to read past the first paragraph. Other reporters make the extra effort to take information out of context. I do not know what they call in journalism school, but in public schools it is call lying.
      To be fair, the reading public has some responsibility that has been made a whole lot easier with the internet. In my mind, reporting is about the five w’s. If the reader wants to know more, dig deeper. In this case Rod has provided enough links to do just that.

  9. There is another glaring omission in the referenced NC-Warn report.
    Look at it this way. How many of you saw your electric rate go up over the last year or so even though the industrial use of electricity, and yours, has gone down? Why did the cost of electricity go up if the use (demand) went down? Even though the utility I retired from gave no pay raise for the last two years, their rates went up! The problem is they still have the same number of power plants capable of producing the same amount of power that they are now not selling. To meet expenses they have to raise the price of the electricity that they sell.
    Now put a solar collector on every home/business roof. These solar collectors can only make electricity when there is Sun. no sun – no electricity. All public utilities are required by state and federal regulations to be able to produce, at any given time, 10% more than the projected peak demand for that day. That is why power plant outages are in the spring and fall, lower demand gives them the ability to not have a plant operating. If everyone in your area has a solar collector the utility will still need to provide this peak projected load capability AND they will need to factor in the fact that the sun may not shine for several days making all of those solar panels useless. They will base the solar outage period based upon historical weather data and obtain concurrence from the local public utility commission. That means that your electric bill will reflect the fact that you are paying for a power station that is not producing any power, but is fully staffed and ready to produce power.
    Of course you can eliminate paying for “standby” unused power plants by getting the PUC to remove this requirement and significantly reduce your power bill. Probably even cut the price in half, but, then where will you get electricity when there are several days of no sunshine and the local utility has shuttered that old coal plant (no longer required by regulations) to save “Carbon Credits”? The gasoline powered generator you bought at Lowes/Home Depot?
    These same problems apply to wind.

  10. The preposterous Warn article references ‘publically” available Nuclear plant “cost” data that is neither accurate or representative of what plants will cost. The fact is that plants in progress are still refining their contratcs and costs to get them into the lowest range possible with fair risk assumption by owner and EPC contractors. Their table showing nuclear costs is misleading, in that it includes total cost including “owner costs” which in some projects includes-requies huge transmission buildouts. Additionally their replacement assumptions are generically wrong because ‘renewables” will not be applicable to all areas that are now planning baseload nuclear like Florida, southeastern states , and mid atlantic!
    It is interestin to watch the “Interventionista’s” play their cards, relying on a relic like Cooper in Vermont for supposed “facts” on something he has no “primary experience” in or knowledge of….
    Myth Lore and Legend….

  11. I thought the Times motto was “All The News That’s Fit To Print”, not “One Sided Opinions from Questionable Sources Passed Off As News And Printed”.
    Anyone who doesn’t discuss the cost of intermittency – and inherent unreliability (and yes, it does have a cost) lacks credibility in comparing wind and solar to nuclear.

  12. Does the author of the report account for having to store nuclear waste material for thousands of years?

    1. This cost is already included in the present cost of electricity – twice. Once to pay for Yucca MT., which they can’t use and again to pay for the temporary storage they need because they can’t use Yucca. His data is worthless. My utility sells electricity for $0.03/Kwh to several large industral firms (multi megawatts, about 1/2 the nuclear power plant output) and is not losing money.

    2. You don’t have bury used fuel, or watch it for thousands of years. You can reduce – use Generation III+ reactors, very fuel efficient – reuse – use spent fuel directly in a DUPIC cycle through a CANDU – and recycle – using advanced reprocessing systems – separating out the various waste components.
      The nasty stuff only has a short lifetime, probably could be reduced using accelerator driven systems powered by the extraordinary quantity of clean energy produced by a fission reactor.
      The ideal green solution.

  13. Does this include the cost of disaster clean up. Lets be real here, there have been 3 nuclear accidents in the recent years with very high loss associated. Realistically not only should that be included in the figures but the cost of losing that land and life for generations to come as nuclear waste can when things go wrong. This study is before Fukushima Japan but just look to their cost to get a more realistic view of the true cost of a nuclear future. Life is precious and too costly a price to pay, people, animal, land and sea.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts