1. Perhaps the correct approach is to use the same tactucs that finally brought the lucrative, but destructive, Tobacco industry into line.

    We need to convince some lawyers that there is a lot of money to be made via Class Action lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry for selling us products that they know are killing Americans by the thousands.

    How many US Citizens die each year of cancer that might be caused by burning coal, methane, and oil?

    1. I don’t see how that would work — energy is a necessity in a way that tobacco is not.

      1. Perhaps, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth investigating.
        Do you have a better idea?

        1. Perhaps a different line of reasoning may be to approach the health effects advantage of nuclear from the point of view of energy affordability of nuclear versus 100% renewables. For example, in my country (the Netherlands) we use about 100 TWh of electricity yearly. Each cent/kWh extra electricity costs therefore costs our society about 1 billion euro’s per year. In order to switch fully to renewable energy, the cost of electricity generation and transmission, distribution, etc, in the Netherlands would rise from about 8 cent/kWh today to about at least 30 ct/kWh (= 10 ct/kWh for electricity storage, +5 extra cents for transmission and distribution and + about 15 ct/kWh for a mix of 100% solar and wind power). So in the Netherlands, switching to renewable electricity would cost us about 20 billion euros per year extra. Since the ‘economic value’ of a human life is about 1 milion euro’s (I keep finding this figure in various economic literature on cost/benefit analyses of investments into health and safety), this means that 20 billion euro’s is equivalent to 20.000 Dutchmen being ‘lost’ yearly. In other words: by removing 20 billion per year from the Dutch budget due to increased spending on electricity costs, the equivalent of 20.000 Dutchmen cannot be saved from accidents/disease/ occupational safety, etc.

          So what I’m doing here is turning around the cost/benefit analysis of investments in health and safety. If such investments are analysed on the basis of the life of 1 Dutchman being equivalent to 1 million euro’s, then 20 billion euro’s of extra electricity costs to society per year is equivalent to the lives of 20.000 Dutchmen getting lost per year due to not having 20 billion euro’s per year to spend on improving their health and safety anymore (in whatever way).

          Incidentally, the cost advantage of fossils versus hypothetical 100% renewables electricity system is also about 20 billion euro’s per year in The Netherlands. And we have about 750 yearly deaths from fossil fuel energy air pollution in Holland. So this illustrates that although current air pollution from fossil fuels in The Netherlands causes hundreds of dead Dutchmen per year, the cost advantage of saving 20 billion euro’s per year far outweighs this cost, because the equivalent of 20.000 Dutchmen per year can be saved due to 20 B/year of investments into health and safety. So while advocates for 100% renewables like to claim that switching to 100% renewables would save hundreds of lives due to air pollution, the economic cost of doing that, in The Netherlands, doesn’t actually pay off. Not by a long shot!

          So what I’m trying to write is that the air pollution health cost of fossil fuels may seem high, certainly they are higher than nuclear or 100% renewables, but this is not the biggest reason by far of why we should switch to nuclear power. Rather, the biggest reason we should switch to nuclear is in order to keep energy costs low, which will allow us (in theory) to keep spending the saved money on improving health and safety which will keep saving far, far more lives than merely looking at avoided air pollution. Saying it another way, it also means that switching to 100% renewables will perhaps save some hundreds of people from air pollution, but the extra cost means we will lose many thousands more people to general avoidable health and safety matters which we cannot address anymore because we are spending so much money on 100% renewable energy.

  2. Not so fast with costs.

    France has had the ‘smarts’ to put an industrial model in place. Only a few reactor designs have to be supported in their portfolio.

    Training, maintenance learning curve, planning are all facilitated by having a few models.

    France has the lowest electricity cost in Europe. Enough said.

    With the new designs being mass produced (AP1000, EPR etc) we will reap those benefits with the current wave of reactors.

  3. I’ve said on a previous post that we live in an age of Macabre Indifference – sending one or two million people every year to early graves matters not a jot – we want energy 24/7 on demand and woe betide the politicians who jeopardise this.

    I fear that the abundance of natural gas in the USA, via fracking, will retard investment in nuclear power for a decade or two or three.

    Over here in the UK, I don’t think we will meet this complication and our commitments to carbon targets will hasten the adoption of more nuclear power. If only we could get the world’s first Gen IV reactor generating grid electricity, we would be up and running. Sadly we have the ineptitude of our Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to contend with: http://prismsuk.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. Colin,

      The USA’s infrastructure in terms of baseload electricity is pretty much established. We are now in a replacement phase.

      With Obama’s climate change policy due out soon, coal generating plants will have to be replaced fast.

      Gas is not going to be able to absorb it all as it will expose the market to fluctuations of the commodity down the road.

      The GOP dominated House will not go along with bio fuels, wind and solar all across the board. Nuclear plants will have their fair share, I am sure.

      But we have to remind ourselves that the need for electricity comes from outside the western civilized world. This revolution is happening.

    2. Colin, I think you might have fallen victim to gas marketing and the hype around fracking. This is an environmentally polluting and very expensive process. I’ve seen credible estimates placing the cost of fracked gas wells north of $8 / MMBTU (i.e. double current prices). There is added trouble that these wells deplete *very* fast, meaning that one must drill faster and faster just to keep up with depletion rates of previously completed wells. A peak-production situation on steroids.

      I know this was at its core a BS marketing campaign started by the Business Press the second I saw all kinds of claims in the media that this was “new”, proof of the almighty power of technological advances that can make oil and gas appear out of nothing, “proving” the Peak Oilers are just another bunch of doubters and misinformed malcontents. That PR campaign is a fraud because I know that fracking technology, horizontal drilling and tight shale gas formations have been known for more than 30 fracking years!!! It is not new at all!

      What is new is oil at $100/bbl, which made poor resources like shale oil economic to develop. These high prices are high *because of the peak-oil dynamics of mature, depleting, low-cost fields rolling over*!!!! We see shale-oil BECAUSE of peak oil, and this is being sold as proof that peak oil is dead. Wow, Soviet Pravda couldn’t do better!

      It is arguably the case that the rush for shale oil/gas via horizontal drilling was more about booking new reserves thereby goosing stock prices, soaking up some of that excess liquidity in markets thanks to Federal Reserve policy. That led to a bubble mentality with over-drilling followed by a crash in gas prices as that new supply hit markets while industrial demand softened at the same time due to economic conditions.

      Since we have now an inventory of fast-depleting shale-gas wells, with drilling activity still contracting, I predict there is going to be a nasty price shock as the oscillation between new drilling, supply and price can only become more unstable.

      In short, I think the conventional wisdom of gas-abundance-for-decades thanks to the miracle of fracking is the product of an aggressive propaganda campaign. Reality of the situation should make itself known within a couple of years as the gas glut dries up and the economics of fracked wells in tight formations becomes harder to deny with happy talk.

      1. Completely agree with you. Shale gas prices will rise. There are external costs which are only now being realised. Not pollution by the way, but the damage caused to roads used by the huge amounts of heavy trucks needed to keep the shalegas ‘miracle’ going. These costs are not even covered by the royalties paid by the shale gas drillers. But this will change. As the ‘sweet spots’ for shale gas drilling become depleted (already happening) and as local authorities learn how to calculate the costs of shale gas development to their infrastructure (roads and water sources) the cost of chale gas will go to the $8/mmBTU as you say.

        Besides, even at $4/mmBTU, shale gas already cannot compete with Chinese new build nuclear. Arguably, allowing for learning curve, even European and US nuclear new build will – if pursued – end up being far less expensive than gas at $4/mmBTU, let alone $8/mmBTU or beyond, IMHO.

  4. We have recognized the very high capital costs of nuclear for a long time. But, with the competition from cheap (at this time, but it can change quickly as we know) natural gas, we’re going to have to look at bringing operational costs down as well. I truly believe that Kewaunee could have been saved if the owner at least made an attempt to reduce operational costs. I know that means cutting people and/or salaries, but we’ve faced these challenges before. I remember a time when capacity factors were a lot lower and outage times were measured in months. But the industry took on that challenge and we are reaping the benefits today in the form of 90% capacity factors and outage times measured in a few weeks. I know you can only cut so far and we’re never going to get down into the range of gas turbines with 10-20 people running them, but we should at least take a look at how personnel requirements could be changed to realize some savings on that side. I’m afraid the days of running a plant with 800-900 people on site per reactor at any given time may have to go the way of 3-4 month refueling outages.

    1. Keep in mind that no gas plant could compete with kewaunee’s 3 cent a kwh cost.

      However, that gas plant can be turned off when the wind starts dumping power on the grid, feed by subsidies creating massive profits for wind providers while the nuke had to just keep on chugging.

  5. I also wonder here about the lack of mass production in the nuclear power plant industry. If you built a house or god forbid a safe car form scratch, bottom up, with many custom parts I think it would be quite expensive as well. I imagine the low numbers of plants in operation has itself led to very significant cost issues.

    Of course the more reactors that come into production means, to me, decommissioning recycling and decontamination technologies would also advance towards higher efficiency/ lower costs as well.

  6. You know… It strikes me that we had a real opportunity with these first new ap1000 builds and that it was VITALLY important to have Westinghouse and the contractors do everything they can do to:

    1. Get it right the first time

    2. Keeps costs low and productivity high

    3. Come in ahead of schedule and under budget

    Even if they recouped the money on later builds it was so important to show that it could be done and that these new plants were not money quagmires like the plants from the late 70s and 80s that hugely ballooned their budgets. Look at the 60’s and the turn key plants while they were not winners for the manufacturer on a plant by plant basis they fueled a large building boom.

    Instead they are over budget, behind schedule, fighting each other, and making costly errors (concrete pours etc…) I feel like they blew the big opportunity and I often wonder if it was done on purpose sometimes or if it was just shortsightedness?

    It is terrible when you are your own worst enemy and sometimes it feels like the nuclear power industry is.

    1. Sean,

      Let’s keep in mind the prevailing interest rates at the time when addressing the 70s and 80s.

      Different macro economic environment. I have seen 20 % intertest rates. I did.

      Budgeting and planning mistakes take a nasty turn in a second.

    2. Im sure in the financing there is a stipulation that local/state contractors be used. How many people are still out there alive that managed a NPP’s construction? Or even a large construction project/pour? Much less that are available in that location.

      I think the people that exploit issues related to local employment/venders are reprehensible. To be honest.

  7. Actually despite delays VC Summer costs are holding.

    The first of kind Candu 6 came in at $2.7B/Gw, somewhat over budget and somewhat delayed. Further delays and costs were due to poor decisions by politicians.

    All subsequent 7 Candu 6’s were on time on budget at $2B/GW

    Nuke plants while more expensive in the US/Europe than they need be, are still cheaper than any other alternative on a LCOE basis. They are much cheaper than any alternative by far elsewhere.

    VC SUmmer now somewhere around 30% complete costs in today at around $4.5B a GW. Its owner SCANA certified under oath to its regulator that its LCOE at its regulator certified discount rate was 7.5 cents a kwh, the same as gas.

    Gas at the time was $3/Mcf – it’s now $4 and according to Forbes due to rise rapidly to its cost at $8. SCANA is by the way a gas utility.

    If built by the much more efficient TVA with its low cost of capital that would come in 4 cents a kwh same as the public owned Columbia Generating Station and the cheapest cost of electricity available in the US. Note that the same plants almost 90% complete in China cost half as much – a similar cost to Candu’s and ABWR’s built in the last 20 years.

    Today’s business interests would rather spend a small amount of capital on gas plant and collect a lucrative gratuity on future fuel sales paid for by the taxpayer, than a large amount of capital and no gratuities on nukes. They pay a lot of graft to our corrupt politicians and media to keep that scam going. If they had to guarantee their prices for the next sixty years like nukes in effect do, not a gas plant would ever be built.

    1. If they had to guarantee their prices for the next sixty years like nukes in effect do, not a gas plant would ever be built.

      That is a point which merits repetition unto infinity until Congress finally Gets It.

      I don’t expect this until Harry Reid and Edmund Markey are tossed out by popular vote.

    2. I have a hard time following seth. Nothing he says is accurate. And he provides no links for anything that anybody can verify.

      Completion date on first unit has been pushed back a year. SCANA has revised it’s cost estimate several times (but is still under approved cost for AFUDC financing in 2007). I have no idea what a “regulator certified discount rate” might be. Are you talking about approved rate increases of 6.61% (and proposed 10.95% ROE) in a recent funding request by SCANA with South Carolina Public Service Commission to generate $151.5 million funds for the project (Platts Electric Utility Week behind a paywall, Nov. 12, 2012 and August 06, 2012). This is in addition to a 6.06% rate increase previously approved. Maybe seth wants to show us projections for TVA nuclear LCOE estimates (including financing, grid connect, etc.)? EIA has estimated LCOE costs for units entering into service in 2018 at $10.8 cents/kWh. Something tells me, seth has a few tricks under his sleeve to make up numbers so low: skeleton crew of unskilled workers, free money, operating lifetime of 80 years? TVA has been entirely self financed since 1959, so I’m curious what he means by low cost of capital at TVA?

      1. Actually EL everything I print is accurate in contrast to just about all of your illiterate spew. I always back up when asked but 99% of my claims are easily backed by a simple internet search something you are generally too lazy or incapable of doing.

        Yes the project is behind schedule caused by the anti nuclear control of the NRC by Obama’s appointees. However the cost implications are small. The first Candu 6 was over budget about a third and significantly delayed by antinuclear government activity but all 7 subsequent units were on time and on budget.

        I would think that by now anybody would realize that the passively antinuclear Obama administration is owned by Big Oil including the DOE and EIA.. It is not possible to get at the source of the assumptions that go into their biased output.

        By contrast gas company SCANA has to justify it’s numbers to a skeptical regulator.

        “Why Nuclear?” If you look at the chart at the top right of the slide below, SCANA provided their all-in cost estimates for nuclear ($76/MWh), natural gas ($81/MWh), coal ($117/MWh), offshore wind
        ($292/MWh) and solar ($437/MWh). For them, “new nuclear continues to be the low cost alternativ”


        When you begin to learn about the energy business you will find the most large utilities today have discount rates of around 10% a combination of debt and equity. TVA being publicly owned has no equity and borrows money long term at bond rates hovering at 3%. I’ll leave it to you and your teacher as a learning exercise to figure out what the effect of cheaper capital is on LCOE

        1. 99% of my claims are easily backed by a simple internet search

          Instead of posting indignant defenses of yourself, why don’t you pre-empt the objections by providing hyperlinks in the original?  That way everyone, including the vast population of lurkers and those who find these discussions through search engines, can just click through to your sources.

          1. Er, because a lot of sites don’t like, delay or allow link posting. It clutters up the commentary with junk – easily searchable by the literate. c

        2. … my claims are easily backed by a simple internet search …

          And when they aren’t what are supposed to do then?

          DOE and EIA … It is not possible to get at the source of the assumptions that go into their biased output … If you look at the chart at the top right of the slide below, SCANA provided their all-in cost estimates for nuclear ($76/MWh)

          And so you admit to cherry picking your results … and not demanding the same level of accountability from pro-nuclear investor relations documents from 2010 (as DOE or EIA studies).

          Yes the project is behind schedule caused by the anti nuclear control of the NRC by Obama’s appointees.

          I thought it had to do with numerous license amendments and significant delays from vendors of prefabricated modules (Chicago Bridge & Iron and Shaw Power Group). Developers have dealt with these obstacles and delays, and their potential impact on rising costs, by laying off workers on the site, and pushing back completion date for a year. Which Obama Commissioners do you have a problem with on the NRC: Svinicki, Magwood, Ostendorff, or Apostolakis?

          If built by the much more efficient TVA with its low cost of capital that would come in 4 cents a kwh same as the public owned Columbia Generating Station and the cheapest cost of electricity available in the US.

          Yes, we all need to see these numbers. TVA issues it’s own bonds, and has both credit and default risk, and are typically offered above US 30 year Treasuries. Their current debt is $26 billion, and exceeds the value of their coal and nuclear plants (here). Have you looked at the bond market lately. It’s getting pummeled. Making up numbers, in a market that is an historical “anomaly” to begin with, and for nuclear vendors as well as TVA, does not make a strong case for market competitiveness (public or private sector). Sleuthing on the internet for these numbers (for an asset lasting 40 – 60 years) isn’t going to change this.

          Even at 4%, your numbers don’t add up: 40 years, 4% discount, $4700 capital, 93% capacity, 150 Fixed, 0.005 variable, 10,000 heat rate, fuel 1, LCOE 6.3 cents/kWh.

          1. “And when they aren’t ”

            For the average commenter who has a grade school level of innernet literacy that’s seldom a problem, and having some smarts they are at least capable of asking.

            Actually the SCANA data is backed up by sworn testimony to its regulator under penalty of perjury that’s so far has been pretty close to bang on accurate and $billions in capital. The EIA is backed by$ tens of millions of donations by lobbyists to Obama. I can see why you’d prefer the latter.

            Oh my goodness aren’t we illiterate -. Its shameful. The two largest delays by far were licensing delays caused by Harry Reid’s Chairman Jackass and the reluctance to accept modern ISO rebar standard over the ancient ones in the original AP1000 specs caused by Harry Reid’s replacement NRC head geologist and Chairman McFarlane.

            More illiteracy.

            Yes after years of stability it has had a bad week. Next week much better and yes historically an excellent time to borrow on infrastructure projects.

            You are obviously new to the energy industry so have never heard of Hydro Quebec, another big public power company with very low finance rates, and the winner last year of the best power utility in North America award.

            You are no doubt unaware but TVA generally raises money for longer periods than Treasuries paying a higher but still low price.

            Yes the TVA has a borrowing limit because Wall Street utilities and their pet politicians don’t like to compete against it. It can raise rates – still amongst the best in the nation – as needs be to cover financing shortfalls.

            And finally repeating numbers you don’t understand, or how they are used in a calculator that you have no idea how it works or is properly used reveals your innumeracy. Typical of the neophyte. Let’s make it simple so a friend at home is able to help.

            $4500/Gw (all in project cost) 4 % capital 40 years 93% comes to 1.4 cents a kwh. The operating cost of American nukes with older enrichment technology is 2 cents a kwh.

            Total 3.4 cents a kwh.

          2. @seth.

            Are you 14 years old?

            Nothing you say adds up, and your personal attacks are tiresome and childish. Gross construction costs for V.C. Summer currently stand at $10.5 billion (excluding financing and transmission). What the heck is $4500/Gw … 2 cents a kwh … and anything else you say.

            If illiteracy and innumeracy are faults … I can’t figure out know how YOU would be able to tell?

          3. So you have nothing left but adhoms – thought so.

            The current budget of $9.8B is considered at risk of $200M but it is likely this can be made up easily.

            I particularly enjoyed thrashing your NREL calculator link. I’ve done that for you before. Do you even have the slightest clue what the word’s “Engineering Economics” mean. How about PWAC, or NPV. – No didn’t think so.

          4. @seth.

            Scana has gone to rate payers a third time (for lower than interest rate handouts), and they’ve lowered rising costs by firing people. You appear see these things as a sign of strength rather than weakness.

            “Plant Summer in South Carolina, expected to cost around $10.5 billion, has seen costs jump by $670 million; but with lower interest rates and cheaper-than-expected labor; the owners assert the project is still on or under budget. A deadline to put the first new reactor online has been delayed from 2016 to 2017; the second reactor is now eight months ahead of schedule, targeted for early 2018” (here). Here too..

            I particularly enjoyed thrashing your NREL calculator link.

            With what … nonsense! You are free to give independent and verifiable facts anytime you want. Indeed, we are eager to receive them.

  8. Wow. They need to do a better job of getting the facts out.

    I am 100% pro nuclear power and even I was under the impression these new plants were over budget.

    Good point on the l

  9. Here is a graph of the cost of nuclear power plants over time –

    You may notice that the most rapid increase in cost of new nuclear plants took place in the five years following the Three Mile Island incident, and the regulatory overshoot that occurred at NRC following that event.

    Nuclear regulation and the mandatory delays imposed by NRC drive the cost of new nuclear.
    Dr. Bernard Cohen, “Cost of Nuclear Power Plants – What went wrong?” –
    (Regulatory ratcheting, quite aside from the effects of inflation, quadrupled the cost of a nuclear power plant).

  10. Seth, tell me more about 7 CANDU 6 reactors being built for $2/watt. That should produce energy cheaper than coal. What’s the $/kWh? What’s the reason CANDUs are not in the US? Slow positive thermal reactivity coefficient? Tritium?

    1. Actually with the current cost of coal approaching $100 a ton and the cost of new cleaner coal plants costing approaching nuclear capital cost ranges, coal is already more expensive than new nuclear SCANA has coal at 11.7/kwh, gas at 8.1 and nukes at 7.6 in the US.

      Real as built cost of some new Candu’s reactors built in China at Qinshan is $2.0 /Gw or 1.0 cents a kwh for the reactors. While labor is a small portion of nuclear costs, the cost of importing and shipping from Canada balanced the lower labor cost. AECL had built so many Candu’s they’ve got new construction down to almost factory efficiency. SInce all Candu’s are build so far by public power the capital cost is about a penny and the operating cost around the US rate of 2 cents a kwh despite the lack of need to enrich.


      http://www.candu.com/site/media/Parent/EC6%20Technical%20Summary_2012-04.pdf pg 33

      AECL was wise enough not to waste the time and effort necessary to get past the failed US regulatory system. In that it appears Bill Gates agrees.

      By the by, when looking to build Gen IV machines it seems Canada is the place with Toshiba putting its 4S up for approval with the CNSC.

      Google “Toshiba nuclear tar sands”

  11. Hi,

    I know that in Pandora’s Promise, radio active readings from around the world are compared to Fukushima.

    I think this is key to the entire movie like James said.

    I cannot get the exact list and measurements of places in the world that are shown in the movie and it is killing me.

    Does anyone have the info. I only get parts of the story here and there. For example what is the current reading at Fukushima ?

    Here is my list of what I could gather from the movie, expressed in millisieverts (mSv) per hour:

    New York’s Central Park registers 0.13 mSv
    Rio de Janiero, 0.25 mSv
    The cabin of an airliner at cruising altitude over the Pacific reads 2.20 mSv
    Chernobyl, less than three decades after the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history? Just 3.74 mSv.

    I would like the entire list if possible … Can anyone help ?

    1. Though it’s like a educational opportunity after the horse has left the barn, I think the key to this are readings made in common places; grammar schools and museums, Bus and Rail terminals, subway stations, farmers markets, public parks. casinos and hiking trails. Plaster the readings on flyers at all these places. Show people that you just CAN’T run and hide from radiation — and even places higher than Fukushima and modern Chernobyl. Great PP II plot! Second — just as important and too often overlooks, STOP using public-arcane sci terms like millisieverts! Somehow break it down and translate it into an equivalent health effect that the layman can get a grip on! Passing by someone’s puff of cigarette smoke is sievert-equivalent to what in health impact? What’s the equivalent sievert health impact to sitting in a traffic job with stalled fuming cars? What’s the sievert-health impact equivalent in eating fruits? (yes, we all know the banana potassium deal, but break it down in health effect– is eating a banana equivalent in sievert-health impact to smoking 1/100th of a cigarette? Etc…

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  12. How to control the cost of new nuclear plants?

    If you want nuclear power to be dirt cheap
    you should consider building your new reactors out of dirt.

    The world needs 10,000 1 GWe power plants by 2050 in order to provide everyone on the planet fair access to energy [1] and to eliminate grinding poverty and shortened lifespans inevitably associated with lack of access to energy. Underground Mounted Fission Ignited Fusion power plants [2] could be safely, rapidly, and economically built out of dirt, particularly in areas with underground salt deposits or granite.

    LANL and LLNL Field Test divisions demonstrated over 800 times under the Nevada Desert that they could produce nice spherical shaped glass lined melt caverns on demand (first-time every-time – proper job).

    A combination of conventional explosives and peaceful small ultra-clean radiation enhanced peaceful nuclear fusion devices that maximize the yield from fusion while minimizing radiation associated with fission products could construct a cavern to hold a practical fusion reactor in less than three days. Using underground peaceful explosive nuclear construction, the rate you could build new 1 GWe nuclear power plants would be determined by how rapidly you could construct turbine halls on the surface above the Fission Ignited Fusion reactors buried 100 meters below.

    Note: If we were to build one nuclear reactor a day, it would take 27.4 years (until about 2040) before you completed 10,000 new 1 GWe reactors to provide the planet with 10 TW of new power generating capacity. The only technology that actually permits economical construction of that number of new reactors at sufficient rate is explosively constructed underground mounted Fission Ignited Fusion reactors. With volume manufacture, the Peaceful Nuclear Explosives used for explosive construction of the reactor cavity would cost only about $2,000 each (not including nuclear fuels – Deuterium & U-233 or Pu-239).

    [1] – Richard E. Smalley, “Future Global Energy Prosperity: The Terawatt Challenge”
    [2] – A professionally designed Fission Ignited Fusion power plant – http://www.ralphmoir.com/pacer/

    1. Actually, France went from 0 to 80% nuke in a little over 10 years without any problem. Presumably the rest of the world can do the same.

      1. EDF debt has always been a problem. Why do you think France has some of the highest electricity consumption rates in Europe (and EDF among the highest debt levels too). They’ve done everything they can to get people to buy the stuff, and they still can’t pay off their obligations without massive levels of government support.


        Have you followed public polling or opposition to waste storage plans in the country? Most recent election, or reduced exports (further cutting into revenues).

        1. Sorry you are having so much trouble with what should be simple concepts.

          Once again let me direct you and with any luck a friend at home who can s’plain things for you, to a study of Hydro Quebec, voted last year the best utility in North America.

          The highest electricity consumption – excellent since it’s all clean a green energy it shows why France has such a small amount of GHG production per capita.

          Yes when you are public power company like Star Hydro Quebec your debt equity ratio is damn big but so what its guaranteed by the state and the debt cost is very low. Makes for Frances relatively low power rates.

          Yup all of Frances nuke waste fits under the floor in a building in leHavre perfecty contained in little glass blocks. Sounds pretty good to me. Of course as you so very well demonstrate there are whiners.

          Obviously with your illiteracy you hadn’t heard but Europe is in a depression.

          1. A friendly reminder that France has amongst the lowest electricity cost in Europe. It’s time for EL to wake up. And Seriously.

            Subsidized by the government ? Maybe. But they do have an industrial model that made sure that only 3 to 4 reactor models are operating. Economies of scale for training, learning curve, maintenance, etc.

            Now that is planning. And look no further as to why France has cost control. It is a design issue.

            When Vermont Yankee was on the verge of potentially closing due to legal proceedings, I remember that the plant has ordered a fresh load of fuel. I said to myself, what’s the beef they have a plant that is similar to others in the US so the fuel will be compatible and they can sell it to another utility.

            Well heck no. Even if it was of a similar model, the Vermont Yankee fuel was not compatible. This is an example of why the next batch of AP1000, EPR etc will rock the bottom line. There will be economies of scale.

          2. A friendly reminder that France has amongst the lowest electricity cost in Europe.


            Yes. Exactly what I said. In a quasi monopoly with a regulated tariff structure, rates can be kept very low as a matter of policy. EDF has been very slow to recoup their costs as a result (and has focused on boosting very high levels consumption and taxpayer backstops for debt to stay in business). They’ve been slowly deregulating their market since 1999 and rates are rising (and many participants are looking elsewhere for lower cost electricity). France became a net importer of electricity in 2012.

          3. @EL : This time you are starting to get your facts seriously wrong.
            As usual, EDF earned around 2 billions euros from electricity exports in 2012. France was a net exporter 11 month out of 12, and yes was importing during the cold snap of February, and commercially was an importer from Germany over the year opposite to 2011. However physically the electric lines between France and Germany were almost constantly exporting power all over the year. This might sound a bit strange, but there’s various things explaining that
            including the fact a third of the electricity of Fessenheim near the frontier is commercially owned by Germany and Switzerland, and a part of the export that ultimately go to Switzerland cross Germany first.

            In 2012, the financial gains increased and the higher dividends brought around 2 billions euro to the French government which own 84% of the shares. Yes the debt is high, but as it’s financed at 3.5% there’s little gain in trying to reduce it too fast, and the value of asset are much higher.

            For financiers, EDF is a poor investment, the government owns too much of it and doesn’t let it rise the bill enough to do big, fat profits which means it’s recouping it’s costs much too slowly for them. Are you sure their logic is the one you want to do your own ?

            What gain would there be in doing the deregulation faster, everyone agrees it will just increase prices for the same service.

            I can demonstrate the rising rates are directly linked to the increase in renewable production (as well as a bit to more and more costly grid enhancements), everything included around 4.1 billions Euro will be spent as surplus cost for it in 2013 in the CSPE electricity tax (only around 1,1 billion of the whole CSPE cost is not directly renewable or subsidized co-generation related), with 2 billions of debt that should be reimbursed, but won’t be, therefore growing because of interests.

            Not that I’m fully anti-renewable. If the promised costs were respected, it could make sense to have some of them. But actually what the report of the CRE commission show is that in 2013 the average price paid for 1 MWh of PV will an astounding 459 €, instead of the around 100€ frequently put forward by proponents. And in average every MWh of wind power will be paid 88,6€, and not the official 82€ (nobody ever talks about the fact they are inflation indexation clauses for the actual price paid).

          4. Oh and I forgot what I wanted to say about that *high* electricity consumption, which is actually much lower than in the US.

            Because of electric heating, France uses ~0.8 toe/person of electricity instead of only ~0.6 toe in Germany. Ugly France ? Well not really since the heating in Germany is done with gas instead, and the result is ~0.9 toe/person of gas in Germany against ~0.6 toe. At the end, energy consumption for both is at 1.4 toe in France against 1.5 toe in Germany. So actually lower, since using electricity to heat actually pushes you to limit the heating to what is really necessary instead of wasting gas. People who use gas for heating in France in average use two time more energy to heat themselves, it’s cheap so you don’t try hard to insulate better.

          5. France was a net exporter 11 month out of 12, and yes was importing during the cold snap of February …


            Thanks … I read this wrong, and conflated the two. Net importer in February, and net importer from Germany every month of 2012. And drop of 21% in exports for 2012.

            Yes the debt is high, but as it’s financed at 3.5% there’s little gain in trying to reduce it too fast, and the value of asset are much higher.

            They appear to be significantly constrained in their expansion plans due to their high debt levels. Despite major asset sales over last several years.

            At the end, energy consumption for both is at 1.4 toe in France against 1.5 toe in Germany.

            Again. Thanks for pointing that out. I always thought it was much higher in France (and I would be interested in knowing more about consumption shifts, efficiency measures, success of policy approaches, etc.). To my mind, matching low carbon technologies with high efficiency standards, better demand management, and modern and flexible grid are a real game changer: consistent with current market trends, and good for the environment, consumers, investors, long term national security, sustainability … and a great deal more.

        2. Ha, I could guess who that expert was just reading the title. Please, Mycle Schneider is just an anti-nuclear, and nothing else. Since he co-funded the WISE-Paris agency in 1983 he’s been for 30 years busy telling the nuclear industry is only one step away from it’s ultimate demise. His strategy is simple, in all the information about nuclear only selectively consider the bad news, and ignore anything positive happening, or find a way to twist it so that it looks negative instead. If he has 10 information sources, only select the most negative one, and consider it the absolute truth.

          Actually the strategy he uses is very similar to yours, never directly lying, but always distorting the information in a negative way.

  13. When I heard that (House and Senate Energy Committee leaders) Upton and Vitter were questioning NRC about whether NRC’s new cesium vent requirements passed cost/benefit analysis, I wrote to them (and their committee staff), pointing out that most NRC requirements don’t even come close to passing any kind of cost/benefit analyses. Many of them amount to billions or tens of billions per life saved, I’m sure. Meanwhile, even though EPA’s proposed soot rule would only cost on the order of ~$10,000 per life saved (apparently) it may not go through due to vehement Republican opposition. Anyway, haven’t heard back…….

    Then I learned that Vitter has asked MacFarlane 126 questions as part of her re-confirmation process. The list can be found at:


    Note the following NRC statement just before Question #27, and Vitter’s response that he applaud’s the NRC’s finding!

    “The Commission finds that economic consequences should not be treated as equivalent in regulatory character to matters of adequate protection of public health and safety.”

    Also see NRC’s response after Question #31 which also basically says that cost is no object. They reserve the right to pass requirements that they deem “adequate to protect public health and safety”, regardless of cost, or whether it would pass any kind of cost benefit analysis. And of course, their view of what’s adequate is getting even more strict, after Fukushima, despite the fact that Fukushima showed that the consequences of a worst case accident are vastly smaller than the originally assumed consequences, that previous (absurdly stringent) NRC requirements were based upon.

    Isn’t it also nice to see the REPUBLICAN politician agreeing with the premise that cost is no object, but ONLY for the nuclear industry. Meanwhile, with fossil fuels (which is what they really support) not only are cost/benefit analyses required before regulations are even considered, but they (the fossil industry and their bought politicians) reserve the right to block any proposed regulations no matter what the cost/benefit analyses say (even if it’s only ~$10,000 per life saved!!). This all makes it hard to dismiss or even refute Rod’s position that the fossil industry is running things, setting the regulatory playing field, and basically (successfully) blocking nuclear development. No help from either side of the aisle…..

    I wrote to Vitter and Upton that what’s really needed is a law that requires ALL NRC regulations and requirements to be subject to full, objective, cost/benefit analyses and that all requirements that don’t pass should be scrapped. We need to do a bottoms up review of all requirements to sort out which ones are least cost-effective and should be removed. I believe that such a house cleaning could substantially reduce nuclear’s costs (I’m thinking, like, a factor of two). Again, I’m not expecting much help (or even a reponse) given what I heard in the MacFarlane questioning.

    Another policy I just thought of would be to not allow NRC to keep a nuclear plant shut (while some issue is being sorted out or some improvement is being made) unless it can prove that the generation that will be used to replace the lost nuclear generation will not have public health risks or environmental impacts that are greater than that of keeping the nuke operating. Given how much worse fossil fuels are (especially the oldest, dirtiest fossil plants in the region, which are what will be fired up when a nuke is shut down), NRC would almost never be allowed to order a plant offline. It would be able to order improvements, or evaluation of some situation, but those improvments or evaluations would occur while the plant is still running.

  14. The cost fo electricity from “Old Nukes” beats every other technology currently available by a huge margin.

    The USA has chosen to make “New Nukes” expensive. Something like what Jack Nicklaus did for golf course construction. That is why China, Russia and India will soon have a fleet of shiny “New Nukes” while the USA clings to its decaying fleet of shabby (but very profitable) “Old Nukes”.

    Poor decisions have consequences. If you want to understand “Why Nations Fail” here is a link that will help you understand the dangers of concentrating power into the hands of fewer and fewer people:

    Energy companies are marionettes guided by politicians dangling slush funds. Just one such corporation (Next Era Energy) received $2.5 billion over four years, making Solyndra look like pocket change. When it comes to corruption and “Corporate Welfare” there is nothing to match the Obama and Bush (junior) administrations.

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