1. Regarding the graph of electricity production costs which you posted, please forgive me for getting a little off-topic and discuss the source of the information, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). First of all, that is a very powerful graphic. The problem is that NEI makes it difficult to be able to view it.

    I have tried , unsuccessfully, to convince someone at NEI that it is counter-productive to have so many xls and ppt files on their website that most people aren’t going to bother with. They should either put the graphs like the one you posted directly on the NEI website pages, or, at worst, make them pdf files. The general public, for the most part, just doesn’t want to deal with Powerpoint and Excel spreadsheet files when surfing around the web. Maybe I am being unrealistic, but I really think you should make the web-browsing experience as easy as possible if you are trying to educate the public, which I thought was part of the mission of NEI. Okay, I’m done with my beef, now.

    1. I agree with you Pete. One less click to information is important when you’re educating the public. I’d recommend that NEI use something akin to Slideshare, http://www.slideshare.net/, where they could embed the images as a slide show onto their website.

  2. Leave it to the LA Times to take the Politically Correct position, even if (or perhaps especially if) it is entirely self-contradictory.

    This type of cognitive dissonance is not uncommon with people who believe vehemently in the upcoming “mass migration, warfare, famine, disease, infrastructure loss and economic catastrophe” that will result from “unmitigated climate change.” (Are so many disasters absolutely necessary? Even the Book of Revelation limited itself to only four horsemen for its Apocalypse.)

    Note that if you read the editorial carefully, you’ll notice that fossil fuels are not the culprit, but rather “greenhouse gases resulting from industrialization are the cause” (emphasis mine).

    It makes you think: what are they trying to put an end to?

    1. I guess locusts and killer bees would fit in the “famine, disease” formulation?

      As Rod correctly questions, how journalists and their Editors can be so innumerate and incapable of tracking even basic scientific concepts – like energy density vs. diffuse(ness) – is a betrayal to their duty of passing information to the public. An editorial is, obviously, an opportunity for a biased opinion to be advanced but, as I’ve seen said before: You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      I, too, would like to know if there is a “clearing house” of reliable, factual, verified information to make it easier to refer to. There is much good info at bravenewclimate.com; masterresource.org; cleanenergyinsights.org, here with Rod, etc. Is NEI considered that source or clearing house?

      1. @Doc- You may be aware of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as a clearinghouse of all things related to energy. Quite often, you can look at their data in either html, pdf or xls formats. The html links are usually the best for just a quick glance, or if you want to post a link for others to refer to. Here is their data on electricity production costs, which is organized a bit differently than the NEI graph.

        EIA also has an excellent interactive database on international energy statistics.

        For information specific to nuclear energy, NEI is pretty good, as well as World-Nuclear .Org

        The NRC website has greatly improved over the years, and you can find a lot of good information on specific plants and regulations, if you look long enough.

        Just some ideas…

        1. @Pete – Thanks for pointing to the EIA chart of production costs. At first glance, I wondered why the numbers were slightly different from the ones published by the NEI, but then I realized that they were pulling from a different data set. The EIA chart comes from data reported by “major investor owned utilities”, while the NEI data includes reported information from all nuclear power plant operators. Some of the lowest cost nuclear plants in the US are run by “merchant” electricity vendors that are no longer considered to be utilities – like Exelon, NRG and Constellation.

  3. The growth of nuclear energy is likely to be profoundly impacted by the level of the regulatory burden placed on the introduction of new reactors and new reactor designs. Regulation can contribute to sustained higher quality from the nuclear industry and improve public safety. Beyond a certain level, imprudent regulation can reach a point where its effect is no longer to improve safety but on a practical basis just introduces project delays, produces higher costs, and over time tend to disincentivize the use of nuclear energy relative to more favorably regulated but technically inferior diffuse energy alternatives. NRC has recently opened a new website that solicits ideas regarding nuclear regulation as part of the Obama administration’s Open Government effort. I left the following suggestion to encourage better public understanding of NRC regulatory effort in a spirit of more open communication.

    “NRC is primarily funded by fees from current licensing and certification projects. I am interested in obtaining a view into the regulatory process to determine if there are areas where a disproportionate amount of time is spent while producing only a small (or negligible) safety improvements. Is it possible to invent a new tool that would allow decision makers and the public to figure out where the majority of regulator’s time is spent when certifying new reactor designs or when reviewing new COL license applications?”

    You can view my suggestion on the OPEN NRC website (if you join the website you can also vote up the suggestion that I put forward to the NRC regulators or alternatively you can leave your own penetrating suggestions and comments). You can find my suggestion at the following link:

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