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  1. Congrats a good step, though WCBS-Newsradio (Shoreham killer and Indian Point butchers like WCBS-TV) here in NYC in a curt news blurb asserts is that the commissioners simply recognized that we are “currently stuck” with our (NY’s) NPPs to “temporarily” comply with emissions standards and that they’ll be phased out soon as new gas lines are in play and because the voted standard doesn’t exempt closing NPPs just from the “unsettled” waste issue. WCBS-Newsradio also smugly implies that the vote in no way implies any new NPPs will “ever” be built in NY and NJ just like CT due local county and prefecture NPP operation bans like what’s happening in Japan. The thing here is that the press knows it has fear on its side to exploit. So be interesting to see how this hurtle is tackled.

    Good work!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. James,

      That hurdle is education. The concept of intermittents not being capable of replacing base load is fairly easy to explain to lay folks but it takes a few sentences and unfortunately the public’s attention span is limited to the number of characters in twitter.

      Getting the media on board, and surprisingly the NY Times was on this issue, to explain that wind/solar require giant jet engines (nat gas plants) ramping up and down as the wind blows may help.

      Be prepared for the new buzz word defense for intermittents, “Storage”. I’ve already encountered it and can easily debunk it but it takes more than a twitter reply.

      1. Need to show the land area required by Pumped Storage, i.e., water, then air in underground caverns or even bladders in the bottom of the ocean/Great Lakes. Then Batteries. How many warehouses for the state-of-art batteries for just 10% of the NYC load? Storage for several days, rather than just fluctuation balancing like those facilities that presently exist. To my knowledge all of the Duke Energy PS facilities will only provide backup over night and not much longer. Www industcards com/ps-usa will provide you with examples/

          1. Have read several of his “Do-the-Math” blogs and found most of them revealing the truth about the absurdity of Renewables.

            Not mentioned about PS is that many (all?) of the PS reservoirs are either restricted from recreational use or in areas making access prohibited. Lived near a small one that allowed fishing on the reservoir and downstream of the dam. Took my boys there for bass fishing one day and towards evening heard the warning siren. Had parked a little closer to the outfall stream (river) than I should have. By the time I got the kids in the Jeep, remembered to engage the front wheels and got out of the grassy area that got flooded from out fall just made it out in the nick of time. Several years later the power company fenced off the lower area completely.

            The idea of many dams will have the same problem as the Columbia River EPA restrictions. Flow is limited to historical pre dam flows and is restricted or even dumped to meet these flow goals. Causes Columbia Nuclear Station to cut back and limit when they doe refueling outages – thus the reason for their lower than average Power Factor for a NPP – wasting 10 -20% of their fuel costs. Can’t do a refueling outage during flow restriction months. Thus they need to do it when the Hydro plant can dump water through the turbines.

      2. @Rich,
        …intermittents not being capable of replacing base load…
        Considering the developments in Germany, >1GW P2G in 2022 with fast further expansion thereafter, that is wrong.

        Especially since US also has enough cavities in the earth to store the gas for winter or years.

        Pumped-storage facilities cannot compete in Germany though they may still be competitive in the US market, for the time being.

  2. Good news. At this point getting a level playing field or at least sort of with wind/solar is the only strategy that has any hope.

    And it will only be effective at the moment at the state level.

  3. It would be better that the NAFTA countries agree on a CO2 tax. I believe Canada is thinking of doing so.

    This is where the nuclear industry should be lobbying hardest.

    1. The “social cost” of CO2 has recently been estimated at $220/ton.  Taxed at that price, power from a NG plant emitting 500 gCO2/kWh would cost an extra 11¢/kWH; power from a CCGT emitting 330 g/kWh would go up by 6.6¢/kWh.

      How many nuclear plants would start construction ASAP if power from NG went up a minimum of 6.6¢/kWh?

  4. The bill introduces some SERIOUS subsidies for renewables. I’m kind of wondering what the further manipulated market will look like in 5 years? Is it cleverly written to exert significant financial pressure on Indian Point in the near future?

    1. @Cory Stansbury

      I cannot see any hope of having enough renewables, whether subsidized or not, built inside of the grid constraints associated with the NY metro area to threaten the profitability of Indian Point.

      There isn’t much available land, the resources are poor and what land is available is far more expensive than land in the Mohave desert, Iowa, West Texas or upstate New York.

      The inside scoop I received while in New York was that pressure from the governor on Indian Point will subside. He probably won’t start saying he supports its continued operation, but he will stop claiming that it is unsafe and that it needs to be shutdown as soon as possible. It will be interesting to continue tracking the plant’s relicensing proceedings.

      My wild and unsubstantiated prediction is that Exelon and other competitors will seek to purchase the plant once it has received its licensing renewal. Entergy has announced that it is returning to being a pure regulated monopoly utility and exiting the merchant plant ownership business.

        1. @poa

          Apparently the line between mojave and mohave is quite a bit further west than your comment implies.

          http://arizonaoddities.com/2009/06/mojaves-vs-mohaves-which-is-correct/

          While the desert in California is, indeed, the Mojave Desert so I was guilty of misspelling, there are places in Arizona like Mohave County, Mohave Mountains and Mohave Valley. That excuses my online spell checker; it isn’t designed to verify proper use of words that exist in its underlying dictionaries.

      1. “It will be interesting to continue tracking the plant’s relicensing proceedings.”

        What will be more interesting is seeing how the mainstream media treats this development. Will they ignore it? Treat it as a betrayal of the people’s health and environmental security? (Thats my bet.) One thing you can count on, is that it will not be reported on using scientific facts as the basis of the reporting. My prediction is that if it is addressed at all, it will be on the opinion pages, and some of the usual suspects, NE’s adversaries, will be doing the writing.

        1. Maybe so, but the science is getting out there, slowly, and the anti-science zealots have been either distracted or OD’ed on something.
          Explaining the benefits of advanced nuclear technology minus the geek speak has done a tremendous amount of good.

  5. While policies which give nuclear tangible credit for it’s non-emitting nature are clearly the right thing to do, I find the statement that these *existing* nuclear plants need 56 $/MW-hr to operate to be alarming. I’d always been taught that nuclear is cheap to operate, once built, and that the cost was more like ~20 $/MW-hr. How much of that cost is the taxes that Rod mentioned? If true, this is a sign that while fair policies are clearly justified, they may not be enough. The industry needs to do something about ever-escalating costs. Yes, it will involve fighting back, on the regulatory front.

    “The commissioners….. recognized that they were not going to win any popularity contests no matter what they decided to do.”

    This statement points to one of the reasons why our speaking out and becoming politically involved is so important. It lets these agencies know that there are dedicated, politically active people on the pro-nuclear side as well. Not too long ago, the above statement was NOT true. The knew that they would “win the popularity contest” (and face no measurable backlash) if they went with the anti-nuclear side. This would often cloud/bias their decisions. Now, we are balancing out the anti-nuclear forces. Who knows, if the agencies know they will face political backlash whichever way they rule, they might do something completely different and make their rulings based on what’s the right thing to do. Or at worst, they will tend to take “compromise” positions.

    1. @Jim Hopf

      Plant owners have not made their full financial computations public. However, the $56 per MWh number certainly includes continuing to pay the full accessed tax burden. The school systems and public agencies in the local community that benefit from those tax payments were strong supporters of the proposal.

      I’m sure that it also provides some profit margin; that is not only necessary to make it worth the executive management time required to continue operating a nuclear plant, but also to provide resources to cover unexpected expenditures.

      1. OK, so it’s just the typical local taxes that such industrial facilities pay, not some special nuclear tax (ala Sweden). I think I’ve heard such special nuclear (or spent fuel) taxes being proposed in New England as well.

        1. @Jim Hopf

          As far as I know, it’s the typical local property and business taxes. They might be a bit higher than average in the US because the facilities are in New York, not because they are nuclear.

    2. $56/MWhr is pretty high. I’ve seen the internal numbers for all of Exelon’s sites, but the specifics are confidential. This article’s numbers jive with everything I’ve seen internally … http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150822/ISSUE01/150829956/exelons-case-for-how-poorly-its-nukes-are-doing

      ~$35/MWhr total to generate for a well performing dual unit site. ~$15/MWhr for fuel according to a very basic back of the envelope (80-100 million / yr for fuel). Most of the remaining costs are driven by maintenance, long term capital improvements, and operating staff. A dual unit site is likely to have 700-1000 people working with average salaries in the high 5 figures. The security force is going to be a large part of that staff and capital burden, which is rough because they aren’t really adding appreciable value to the core business, just increasing overhead (not to say they aren’t necessary or whathaveyou, I’ll let Rod make those sweeping statements!). Maintenance costs don’t really need explanation. Capital costs I could get into, but basically replacing obsolete parts is a big expensive enterprise and Nuclear is feeling the withdrawals as we work through replacing 70s-80s era equipment with ‘modern’ equivalents because spare parts are increasingly not manufactured, or don’t meet today’s standards for reliability.

      All of that cost is prior to congestion pricing which is a big deal in the Midwest, but not as problematic in New York. Congestion fees are adding $9-$10 / MWhr to the basic price to generate.

  6. we gathered in the plaza area of the state office complex for photos and a toast with non-alcoholic champagne.

    Hmph.  Real pain for sham friends, and sham champagne for real friends?  Someone missed the memo.

    1. @EP

      Among real friends, fake champagne can be a celebratory beverage. It’s the fellowship and the shared sentiments of the toasts that count, not the buzz from the beverage.

      Besides, as the grape growers in the Champagne region aggressively remind competitors, there is only one place in the world where true Champagne can be produced. Almost all of what most people call “champagne” is fake.