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  1. The depletion of New England’s oil stocks from 68% to 19% (down 49%) in a matter of days is frightening.  A little longer and the system would have run below minimum operating levels and TSHTF.

    This problem will be greatly exacerbated by the scheduled closures of Pilgrim and Indian Point (especially the latter).  If Pilgrim is equivalent to 9300 bbl/d, then Indian Point is equivalent to roughly 3x as much.  Adding 37,000 bbl/d of oil demand during periods of gas network congestion would burn through reserves at lightning speed.  Had those closures already occurred, the system would have had to go to rolling blackouts.

    The necessity of the 90 day on-site fuel rule proposal is suddenly laid out in stark relief.  It is time for the FERC to reconsider its rejection.  It is also time to reconsider all pending nuclear closures and immediately change NRC rules to allow recommissioning of closed plants under their original license terms.

    Last, am I the only one who noticed that there were wind-power curtailments due to transmission constraints despite the dire situation at ISO-NE?  Those curtailments reached 200 MW at times.  That’s power that was literally left on the table and could probably have been scooped up for next to nothing.  There’s got to be some way to make productive use of it.

    1. Now imagine that the “reserve stocks” were composed of storage batteries (assuming such is possible for grid-scale applications, which has not been demonstrated) charged from solar panels and windmills, instead of oil in tanks somewhere. Depletion would occur overnight instead of over days. Bring on the rolling blackouts. I’d put Diane Turco and her friends at the head of the list for load shedding. Maybe put a mimic of the amp-hour battery reserves meter online for all to monitor. When it reaches zero, their computer shuts down.

      1. Computer?  Shut down her heat, lights and water too.  Make her endure the conditions she wants to inflict on everyone.

        Given the capabilities of smart meters you could actually do this to her electricity.  It would be funny to see how long she held out before saying uncle.

  2. Wonder if the Envirowhackos have taken the data above and calculated how many Wind Turbines and Solar panels will be needed to provide the needed electricity? I have lived through at least four winter storms in the NE over a period of ten years that were very similar to that storm with similar energy problems.

    I lived in Connecticut for five years and New Jersey for another five years after that. Both of my homes were heated by fuel oil, as it was much cheaper than NG. But I learned my very first winter that at the first report of an approaching winter storm to call the fuel oil company and have them top off the tank. There were two major reasons for this. If you wait till the tank is low and needs filled, if it happens to be in the middle of the storm you could pay near twice as much for the oil. Second reason is that once I was told that they had no oil for at least three days. However, I had a family with three young children. While growing up on the farm we would use the fuel oi in our tractor when the tank was empty. So thinking they were the same I drove to the gas station and got several five gallon cans of diesel fuel. Although it burned, it did not have near the heat output of the fuel oil, but at least kept the house livable – with sweaters and extra blankets! My neighbors that had NG had to buy a Kerosene heater and kerosene the keep their home warm – which were selling for a premium during the storm, if you could find them.

      1. Bet you never thought you’d see the day they’d get 500-800 MW from wind for sustained periods. Have to admit if they triple the wind capacity, oil, gas, and coal could more easily fill the gaps.

    1. Sanmen has been done since late summer. It’s been all politics since then as to when they’d fuel and start up. Very frustrating for those of us who worked on it. I think we’re getting close though.

      1. @Cory Stansbury

        Not terribly shocking to hear that there are politics associated with obtaining the final permissions to start up a nuclear power plant. Especially when it is an FOAK model of an imported, competitive technology to domestically available models.

        I’ve never had a lot of trust in the Chinese government; I would not put it past them to exaggerate the challenges faced in building, starting and operating Westinghouse AP1000 reactors.

        All the more reason for customers to select CAP1000 or Hualong One instead.

  3. Nitpick: You’ve got the date of Senator Murkowski’s hearing written as 2918. Pretty cool, if you can peer 1000 years into the future. A little surprising that Murkowski is still alive 1000 years hence, but encouraging. If she can hang on that long, perhaps I can as well… 🙂

    Thank you for continuing to bring the facts out into the light. Unfortunately, those paid to oppose nuclear will continue to be immune to facts. Is there any chance of getting a guest editorial or article in some of the regional papers? Get the residents’ peril written somewhere they might read about it?

    1. @Jeff:

      You can lead a man to wonder, but you can’t make him think. Facts don’t change our minds. I’ve been in this area only since April. There’s a mind-set. I don’t know how universal, as I’ve only a sample of two. Both intelligent science-types. Both can do math.

      But they don’t. Over lunch one overcast day in an overcast week in overcast Bedford, discussing energy. Pointing out the deli window one asked, “So what is the solar Cf weeks like this?”

      “Not much. Doesn’t need to be. Plenty of sun in the desert southwest. 90% of the days are sunny. Just get it from there.”

      The other was an online discussion on a technical site, the question being from where the clean energy would come after Pilgrim went south? This was after having cited what had happened after Kewaunee closed, SONGS shuttered, and Vermont Yankee yanked:

      “Local microgrids. Don’t worry, it will all work out.”

      Pretty much by fiat: New England says no to natural gas, yes to renewables. (E&E News, October 2016.) Seriously.

      1. Should we accept that these people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard?

        Or is this matter too important to let them serve as examples to the rest of us?

      2. Problem I have with these “fairy dust” “Micro Grids” is that they increase the need, more than doubling the number of new transmission lines than presently existing transmission infrastructure. Reviewing the ISO-NE report they mentions several multiple events in neighboring areas, Next time you drive around look at where the transmission lines are. Notice that there are often two or three sets of transmission lines running parallel for long distances, I recall in particular three 500Kv transmission lines running from Joliet to Chicago. A “Micro Grid” is going to require almost a spiderweb like system of transmission lines. This will mean many lower voltage transmission lines on essentially every major street and highway throughout your community. And that means many millions of dollars building those lines and more millions on “Mini Substations” to protect and switch the power to where it need to go.
        The present lines and substations are also designed for delivering power in one direction and one direction only. Thus many more $millions will be expended to direct this power where it need to go and not dump highly destructive amounts of current onto a failure that “appears” to only be a sudden increase in needed power because of the loss of a PV network from a cloud passing over, when in reality it is a downed line.

      3. @E-P
        It’s far too important. I doesn’t serve as example to you, or me, or to essentially all other Rod’s readers. Or James Conca (mostly).

        I’m always impressed at the patience and equanimity with which Conca answers his critics. Rod and Meridith Angwin as well. Michael Shellenberger and Ben Heard. Why is Heard often considered the most dangerous enemy of the anti-nuclear movement? Watch his videos, listen to him talk. Or The Atomic Show. James Hansen is dispassionate as well, but its not the same. He may as well be invisible. Facts don’t change our minds.

        What does? I’ve backed off a bit while pondering that one. I’ve read and re-read Rod’s letter to Ms. Turco, searching for question marks.

        Didn’t find one; suspect there’s a reason. Could it have been better? The Monday-morning quarterback within suggests it might. Though NAS was well-covered, perhaps a brief sentence to the effect

        (f) In general, increases in the incidence of health effects in populations
        cannot be attributed reliably to chronic exposure to radiation at levels that are typical of the global average background levels of radiation. This is because of the uncertainties associated with the assessment of risks at low doses, the current absence of radiation-specific biomarkers for health effects and the insufficient statistical power of epidemiological studies. Therefore, the Scientific Committee does not recommend multiplying very low doses by large numbers of individuals to estimate numbers of radiation-induced health effects within a population exposed to incremental doses at levels equivalent to or lower than natural background levels.

        Report of the United Nations
        Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation,
        Fifty-ninth session (21-25 May 2012)
        pg. 10.

        In other words, there is a threshold.

        But wait! That’s not very brief! Coach reminds me attention spans are short, time had run out, and Rod was our man on the field.

        I should shut up and tend my own backlog.

      4. @Ed Leaver

        A “brief sentence to the effect”, eh? As you imply, the laboriously precise language of the UNSCEAR report isn’t exactly that. Such language has its place, but not in speaking to ordinary people. I’ve tried to get it down a bit:

        (f) In general, increases in the incidence of health effects in populations
        cannot be attributed reliably to chronic exposure to radiation at levels that are typical of the global average background levels of radiation.
        This is because of the uncertainties associated with the assessment of risks at low doses, the current absence of radiation-specific biomarkers for health effects and the insufficient statistical power of epidemiological studies.

        Translation: Radiation is all around us in nature. We have never been able to measure any bad health effects from it, even where the levels are high (up to 100mSv per annum). There are too many other real and worse causes of bad health.

        Therefore, the Scientific Committee does not recommend multiplying very low doses by large numbers of individuals to estimate numbers of radiation-induced health effects within a population exposed to incremental doses at levels equivalent to or lower than natural background levels.

        Translation: And so it’s nonsense to fabricate an alarming-sounding problem about radiation at these low levels, when there isn’t one.

        Does that sound about right? Short enough not to get a TL;DR response?

      5. So 90% of the days in the desert southwest are sunny. That’s probably true. But there is this natural phenomenon called night, which happens at least once a day for about half the day. Last I checked, PV solar output was pretty limited during that time.

        I had a pixie dust-type make the same argument with me, just get the solar PV from the desert. When I told him of the night effect, all I got was a blank stare. Another whacko type told me he had figured out that he could get all his electric car recharging from the PV panels he was going to put on his garage roof. I knew he worked during the day so I asked him if he planned to drive his electric to work. He did. But that was no big deal because he was going to recharge his EV overnight from the PV panels.

        Doncha just love these people? They’re so pathetic sometimes, its almost funny.

      6. @Ed Leaver
        ““Local microgrids. Don’t worry, it will all work out.””

        You gotta love your faith based energy systems…

        It’s kind of like when I point out that logically, automation is going to reduce the needed work force to a shrinking fraction of the number of people who need jobs, and someone invariably points at the agricultural/industrial revolution and states that new jobs will appear. Faith based economics.

        Sigh. These people were presumably trained to do analysis and should know that not checking the actual numbers is a recipe for disaster.

    1. Sanmen has not received permission to start the nuclear fuel loading process. No specific reason. Chinese Nuclear Regulatory Board demanded additional tests, which Sanmen passed, but still no decision from the Board.

      China is traditionally very bureaucratic, and sadly delays like this is not uncommon in any sector.

      1. Thanks
        It is interesting to speculate about upcoming months. The 2nd AP1000 should be finished now and 6 months from now 2 more should be finished. I would start one up each 6 months.

  4. It certainly sounds like there may be some cold days without furnaces in the new England area in the next few years. When the outage happens, this may be the time to send Dianne Turco a letter simply asking her if this ever happened when the nukes were operation. Then ask her which is more dangerous a minuscule amount of radiation or becoming a human popsicle.

  5. The term “steam leak” lacks detail of severity.
    As a BWR Operator, I know that plants are equipped with High Energy Line Break (HELB) Isolation functions that are designed to protect Safety Related Structures, Systems, and Components from the effects of a substantial “steam leak”. Operators can evaluate the severity of a steam leak in a HELB instrumented system by parameters approaching an alarm or isolation set point. We monitor system flows and delta flows from one end of a system to another, ambient temperature and delta temperature (within a space or ambient to cooling water dT). The instrumentation is set to trigger isolations to prevent ambient conditions violating Environmental Qualifications (EQ). Some leaks just happen to be easier to find when at low power or shut down due to Heater Bay access restrictions at high power.
    There are leaks. And then there are LEAKS requiring a Secondary Containment EOP entry – which may eventually require a shut down. Insufficient detail in the press to judge if startup delay was warranted. Pilgrim is ran by sharp operators. I will implicitly trust their judgement.