1. Kennedy is a classic example of the nuclear opponent who only “researches” from other anti-nukes and has a set of catchphrases* that he takes as articles of faith.

    He’s the pre-investigation version of Stone.

    * “a stupid way to boil water” is now up there alongside “too cheap too meter” as a phrase indicative of a low-information anti-nuke.

  2. The insurance issue constantly brought forward by Kennedy has to have the following rebuttals:

    a) It is a government decision just like in the commercial jetliner industry where the international communities bear certain risks and not the airlines

    b) In Canada, we have no fault car insurance in BC and Québec. It is a government decision not to have the private insurance industry milk consumers. Insurance for physical property damages must still be born by drivers.

    1. Daniel
      Indeed government does that sometimes also regarding other industries, that also have a good lobby.

      That does not change the huge recurring liability subsidies for NPP’s to be carried by taxpayers and citizens in the surroundings.

      1. Yes reactors are complex and expensive.

        They last a long time. They are also the ONLY low carbon, pollution free dependable small footprint means of reliable electric production.

        In my opinion people need to get over it. Its what the future holds with technological advancement in large facilities. If we cant deal with large projects and complexity we probably are not going to make it.

        1. The French nuclear programme is rather aimless. Seems the main objective is to become a reactor physicist and then do numerical studies and write papers to suck up grants from the government. And for all the so-called outrage over regulations in the US, what else is there for nuclear engineers to do besides creating a mountain of paperwork for themselves?

          The only real success story in regards to nuclear evolution has been in russia but what is the purpose of very complex reactors that do nothing more than generate electricity that much less complex reactors can already do.

          1. France has the lowest electricity prices in western Europe, and because of that, is also the worlds largest exporter of electricity. Hell, France EXPORTs about as much electricity every year as every solar panel and wind turbine in Germany combined produces… Clean air is also a nice benefit as well. The French nuclear program has been a massive success by any measure.

          2. Zachf, seventh lowest electricity prices in Europe. It is self-defeating in the long run to make claims we can not back up. There are some small nations in Europe with access to so much hydroelectric power that they can beat Frances electricity prices. But only six nations.

            There is no nation in Europe, close to France’s scale, which can beat her electricity prices.

            Mr. Tucker, for a more eye-popping comparison, use the per KWHr carbon emissions for electricity production, rather than over-all carbon emissions. France is somewhere around 80g, while Germany is up in the 400+ region.

          3. There is no nation in Europe, close to France’s scale, which can beat her electricity prices.

            @John T Tucker, Zachf, Jeff Walther …

            How do you propose we follow the model of France?

            Electricity rates in France are not established on a competitive basis. Majority of nuclear plants are state owned, and it is well understood that electricity rates in country do not cover cost of production, or waste management and decommissioning.

            How do you get to cost competitiveness (or comparable rates to rest of EU) when reported costs for Flamanville exceed costs for onshore wind, or Hinkley strike price loses out to FIT rates in Germany (of all places)?

            The French are not uncertain about these costs, and well understand the need to scale back and reform (here, here, here, and elsewhere).

          4. France for the most part is over 20 y/o tech not installed for current environmental sensitivities. Still it shows what is completely tested and ENVIRONMENTALLY doable. No such long term example exists for significant wind and solar, in fact it is not working out.

            In fact even windy Denmark is 23.3% up on combustible fuels so far this year.

          5. “Zachf, seventh lowest electricity prices in Europe. It is self-defeating in the long run to make claims we can not back up. There are some small nations in Europe with access to so much hydroelectric power that they can beat Frances electricity prices. But only six nations. ”

            I said lowest prices in Western Europe.


            The countries which have lower household electricity prices are Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania… none of which are in Western Europe.

          6. @John Tucker

            Measuring it against one year difference or two? Looks pretty much the same as 2011.

            Pretty much tracks GDP, right? Looks like they had a slow 2012.

            Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy (10 member independent OECD scientific panel) recommends roadmap for being independent of fossil fuels by 2050. Energy storage provided from electric cars cited as key.

            The commission said it didn’t consider the use of nuclear power because “there is no indication that nuclear power will be economically competitive compared with offshore wind turbines, especially if the cost of storage of waste and decommissioning are included.” In addition, nuclear is not well-suited for a system that has other fluctuating energy supplies, as is expected in a system with a large proportion of wind energy, and it would require imports of technology and know-how, as Denmark has no experience operating nuclear plants.

          7. “I said lowest prices in Western Europe.”

            I apologize. I should have read more carefully. Thank you for the clarification.

          8. @John,
            French prices explain / tell little, as the business is state owned and they are clearly manipulate costs, etc.

            Using those, they have no issue regarding EU approval of the new EPR at Flamanville, while that would be impossible according to present EU rules.
            While approval of the EPR at Hinckley Point requires a change in the EU subsidy rules, which may become very difficult taken into account Angela’s saying (but may be UK can deliver her some substantial in return).

            Taken into account the real costs of Flamanville (similar or more than Hinckley Point C), and the vulnerable situation that a high share of nuclear brings (Japan had to bring all NPP’s down), the French decision to bring the share of nuclear down towards 50% is quite logical

        2. John,
          In my opinion people need to get over it.
          So people just have to subsidize those big insurance premiums. And take their loss if disaster strikes.
          While those subsidies do not bring any new development which is good for the energy related future!

          While far less dangerous and more power producing alternative such as fusion is in development.

          While viable alternatives such as 100% renewable electricity generation are already realized in smaller countries & islands already (primarily using wind, solar, pumped storage / hydro). Bigger countries such as Denmark (~40% renewable now) will reach that situation in ~2040.

          While 100% nuclear is not desirable as government may be forced to close all nuclear if disaster strikes (as Japan showed). And nuclear miss the flexibility (no fast up/down regulation towards near zero) to operate in a high renewable environment.

          1. Bas

            I will ask you again. Please point out a single country with any significant industry that is 100% wind or solar. Or you could point out a single turbine or PV panel manufacturer that powers their facility purely with their own product.

            Fusion has been ‘in developement’ for well over 30 decades. Are you willing to go back to an early 1900’s lifestyle until fusion finally becomes viable?

            And wouldn’t low cost electricity (like nuclear France has compared to renewable Germany) encourage industry to build/relocate to your country?

            Nuclear can be just as flexibel as you want it to be. There have been well over 100 nuclear plants built, just in the US, that routinely and constantly regulate their power from near zero to 100% as needed.

            Also could you explain just how flexible a wind turbine or solar panel is? Can I ramp up a wind turbine or solar panel whenever my needs increase?

          2. @ddpailmer

            I feel obliged to interject one correction:
            “There have been well over 100 nuclear plants built, just in the US, that routinely and constantly regulate their power from near zero to 100% as needed.”

            Load following is not typically done with Gen II US plants, they are run at baseload. This is due to the fact that they are often the lowest marginal cost generators supplying the grid, but also due to complications from buildup or burnout of the fission product Xe135, a powerful neutron poison.

            That is not to say that it is impossible – in France they use their most recently refueled units, which have the highest installed reactivity, as cycling units. The excess reactivity helps them power through the Xe transients, much like the highly enriched Navy cores can do. Certain Next Gen designs will be much more adept at inherent load following.

            1. @atomicrabbit

              I don’t think ddpalmer was referring to commercial nuclear plants. I can testify that his statement is actually an underestimate of the number of flexible output nuclear plants built and operated by the United States. (Notice that I did not write “in” the United States.)

          3. @Atomikrabbit

            There was no correction needed. My statement as made was perfectly and totally correct.

            “much like the highly enriched Navy cores can do”

            And those were the exact plants I meant.

          4. The posting software really sucks today – third attempt:

            Your point is taken, with regard to the load-following capabilities of military vs commercial reactors, to which I alluded above.

            The regulatory hurdle for commercial use of HEU is currently such that these are not an immediate option. Politically powerful forces in the anti-proliferation industry are demanding that HEU even in research reactors be converted. The best path today for commercial load-following nuclear is probably through the SMRs specifically designed for that.

          5. I can’t speak about the others, but I know that the AP1000 plant is very capable of load following and is very similar to Westinghouse SMR in that regard.

            “The plant is designed to accept a step-load increase or decrease of 10 percent between 25 and 100 percent power without reactor trip or steam-dump system actuation, provided that the rated power level is not exceeded. Further, the AP1000 is designed to accept a 100 percent load rejection from full power to house loads without a reactor trip or operation of the pressurizer or steam generator safety valves.”

          6. I’ll also add:
            from: http://www.iepa.com%2FETAAC%2FETAAC%2520HANDOUTS%25207-2-07%2FLynn%2520Walters%2520nuclear.ppt

            The AP1000 is designed for a 24-hour load cycle with the following profile (subject to achieving full power fuel conditioning at the beginning of the fuel cycle):
            Starting at 100% power, power ramps down to 50% power in 2 hours

            Power remains at 50% for 2 to 4 hours

            Power ramps up to 100% in 2 hours

            Power remains at 100% for the remainder of the 24 hour cycle

            In terms of power output modulation, the AP1000 is capable of satisfying peak-to-peak power demand changes of 10% of the plant rating at 2% of the plant rating per minute.  This capability is provided within the power operating range of 15 to 100%.

        3. I live near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. I toured the plant. It is clean, organized, well run and working on safety continuously. Accident record in over three decades: zero.

          For over 30 years the plant has supplied clean, smokeless, noiseless, safe electrical power, day and night, to millions of nearby residents and businesses.

          Nobody could dislike this outcome except possibly fossil fuel companies, and I can understand why.

          1. @ William Gloege.

            Diablo Canyon has it’s fair share of operating incidents and unscheduled shutdowns: jellyfish, leaks, electrical disturbances, malfunction of feedwater pumps, accidental disabling of key emergency cooling and safety systems during 18 months of operation, and more. Added to longstanding concerns about it’s earthquake design standard and construction errors, which was found late in design process and after the plant was built (and are of a highly controversial nature).

            I say it’s pretty darn far from having an umblemished accident record in three decades of operation.

  3. Its kind of amusing to consider the message “nuclear power will provide unimaginable wealth to all 7 billion people” when in fact it can’t even provide a single solitary nuclear engineer job without becoming instantly “uncompetitive”.

    The nuclear engineers who hang around here are just as befuddled to explain this as the high school dropout. NNadir says we have to pass out physics books. But NNadir should look around and count the # of corporation job ads with ‘physicist’ as mandatory requirement. Basically zero.

    So the beat goes on…the nuclear industry has to get “efficient” like natural gas and renewables which is a joke because over 50 years they will spend at least 10x as much funny money as the current inefficient nuclear industry to generate electricity.

    1. Well sure. And if you are promoting fossil fuels, you are absolutely correct. Others, both pro and anti-nuclear – try to take a longer view. Wind energy is certainly a good deal when you can get it. And if you can use it when you do. But try to build it out above maybe 20 – 30% market penetration, and non-dispatchable intermittancy eventually bites you in the wallet. Please see Levelized Costs of New Electricity Generating Technologies:

      EIA warns against the direct comparison of the levelized costs across technologies as the sole measure of economic competitiveness because of differences in resource mix, capacity values, and utilization rates across regions. Rather, the agency suggests that the levelized avoided cost, which measures the cost to the grid to generate the electricity that is being displaced by the new generation project, also be used, but is not provided. According to EIA, “The economic decisions regarding capacity additions in EIA’s long-term projections reflect these concepts rather than simple comparisons of levelized project costs across technologies.”

      What EIA is expressing is that dispatchable technology costs should not be compared to non-dispatchable technology costs because the latter technologies only supply electricity generation when the resource (e.g. wind or sun) is available, but they do not supply capacity that can be relied on to provide electricity. IER reported on one analysis that attempts to measure the “levelized avoided cost” of wind, for example. In this paper, the hidden costs of wind (e.g. the cost of back-up power) added to the levelized cost of wind totals 15.1 cents per kilowatt-hour if natural gas is used as the back-up power and 19.2 cents per kilowatt-hour if coal is used as the back-up power.

      Emphasis added. Levelized cost of new nuclear is estimated at about 10.5 to 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Of low-carbon alternatives, that might eventually be beat by CCGT with CCS — or it might not, as CCS is an immature technology whose scalability remains in doubt.

      1. Ed,
        But try to build it out above maybe 20 – 30% market penetration, and non-dispatchable intermittancy eventually bites you in the wallet.
        Check Denmark; wind generates near 35-40% of their consumed electricity! They target more than 50% by 2020!

        Electricity supply is ~10 times more reliable than in USA. Though not as reliable as in Germany.

        Some SAIDI (=total outage duration per year per customer in minutes) figures of 2007:
        Germany: 23
        Denmark: 24
        NL: 33
        France: 62
        UK: 90
        USA: 240

        After 2007 renewable took steam in Germany and reliability improved ~40% (2012: 15)!
        In my country, NL, it stayed the same but we do not have a real renewable development. France stayed the same. UK improved also.

        I estimate the great German improvement came because everybody realized more advanced grid management is needed to accommodate lots of wind and solar.

        The bad performance of USA is probably also a culture issue.
        From the Galvin report: At GridWeek 2010, one utility executive
        said, “Utilities have a tradition of pursuing perfect employee
        safety, but we haven’t turned that thinking toward the customer experience.”

        1. Some SAIDI (=total outage duration per year per customer in minutes) figures of 2007:

          Bas – I tell you what … why don’t you revisit these numbers after the next time that Germany is hit by a hurricane. 😉

          Seriously, Bas, this is extremely stupid, even for you. You are trying so hard to imply that Germany has more reliable power generation, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Instead you are comparing apples to oranges and using the spurious result to imply something about grapefruit.

          Power outages in the US are almost always a result of failures in the transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure, not power plant reliability.

          Germany is a relatively small (it’s half the size of Texas alone) country with a high population density. It’s mostly land locked, and although it does experience cold winters, it doesn’t get hit by extreme storms very often.

          Meanwhile, the US is a large country, with a population that is rather spread out in many areas, which means many more miles of power lines per capita. The east coast is regularly battered by hurricanes, and every year, the central plains is plagued by tornadoes, which destroy power lines and trailer parks without mercy. Even places as far inland as where Rod and I live regularly get hit by storms from hurricanes that knock down trees and take out power lines, sometimes for days.

          In 2007, the Atlantic Coast of the US was hit by five hurricanes, which did over $80 million in reported damages. Also in that year, there were over 1300 reported tornadoes, making it the deadliest year for tornadoes in the US since 1999. (For comparison, Germany, on average, experiences less than 20 tornadoes a year.)

          1. @Brian,
            Your excuses imply that German industry should/will never move to Georgia, even if electricity is substantial cheaper (Georgia’s electricity is more expensive for big customers and will become more so)!

            Areas that do not have such weather problems score inferior compared to of course Germany, even compared to France. Just check the link in my post (diagrams at page 34). That is not strange:

            I still remember my amazement the first time I came in Linden, NJ.
            Telephone and electricity wires hanging around on poles or between houses. It was like arriving in a poor, underdeveloped country.
            I couldn’t imagine that such a mesh could result in reliable supply.

            Still I cannot! As high reliability has everything to do with order.
            Here and in Germany, etc. all is under the ground, so no vulnerability for storm, traffic accidents, etc. etc.
            That delivers also a nicer public space, which is worth a lot of money as everybody has to spend part of his live in it.

            You are trying … to imply that Germany has more reliable power generation
            No. Please read my post.
            I wrote about power delivery reliability to the customer, as that is the only important measure!
            My post shows that unreliable generation is not relevant at all regarding that only important touchstone!

          2. Here and in Germany, etc. all is under the ground, so no vulnerability for storm, traffic accidents, etc. etc.

            No, it’s not. Your high-voltage power lines are above ground. So are your switch yards. All of that is vulnerable to weather.

            By the way, since you apparently don’t know, there are places in the US that have buried local power lines, but it’s mostly done for aesthetic reasons in high-end “planned” communities or in big cities, where suspended power lines would be impractical. It doesn’t make much sense economically.

            Suspended power lines are easier to install, easier to maintain, and allow much more flexibility. The US is a larger, less-population-dense, more dynamic country than the Netherlands or Germany.

        2. Yea no one would have thought they would use lignite backup. Like handing the kids a few cigarettes to pass the time.

          1. @EL : You conveniently forget that Germany did nothing in the previous month to help that decision, and actively blocked stringent CO2 requirements for car builders.
            For backloading, opposition was officially coming from Poland, but Germany would just have had to rise it’s eyebrows to get Poland to stop that earlier if they really wanted.

          2. @jmdesp

            Merkel campaigned on “blackloading” and much needed (and widely recognized) reforms to EU carbon trading scheme.

            They aren’t standing in the way of this.

    2. I think you think you’re making clever points, but your posts are coming off as disjointed and nonsensical… It’s hard to argue with you because I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make

    3. Nuclear power does not contribute to global warming. Zero contribution. Global warming has the almost certain ability to wipe life from the planet. All Academies of Science in all countries say this. In the End Permian time that almost happened millions of years ago.

      Will you see the planet destroyed for some short term “efficiency” from fossil fuel? It is just that people do not, perhaps cannot or will not, come to grips face the dire and certain final outcome of global warming. Ignoring these facts may give comfort. Denying them gives some satisfaction. But scientific facts are pesky things – they just won’t go away.

      1. blockquote>Nuclear power does not contribute to global warming. Zero contribution. Global warming has the almost certain ability to wipe life from the planet.

        AGW isn’t going to destroy life on the planet. And nuclear has lifecycle carbon emissions from fuel cycle, plant construction, decommissioning, and waste management, not zero carbon emissions.

        1. And nuclear has lifecycle carbon emissions from fuel cycle, plant construction, decommissioning, and waste management, not zero carbon emissions.

          And don’t forget the carbon emissions from respiration by the plant’s employees. And don’t forget the uncontrolled release of methane (a potent GHG) into the atmosphere from their flatulence.

          It’s absolutely horrible what these nuclear plants are doing to our atmosphere and our environment.

        2. @EL

          And nuclear has lifecycle carbon emissions from fuel cycle, plant construction, decommissioning, and waste management, not zero carbon emissions.

          To be absolutely accurate, you are correct, the emissions associated with the complete lifecycle of nuclear energy are not zero, but can be on the order of 5-15 grams per kilowatt hour in a reasonably modern system.

          Do you consider wind or solar to be “zero carbon emissions”?

          1. Do you consider wind or solar to be “zero carbon emissions”?

            Not on lifecycle basis. But most meta analyses suggest they are at least on par or less than nuclear on a lifecycle basis (and studies vary considerably). And certainly, we’ll stay mum on the trend towards lower ore grades and improving solar efficiencies.

      2. @William,
        Nuclear cannot expand as fast as wind+solar do all over the world.
        Even China is installing x-times more wind+solar than nuclear, and they do it at an x-times faster rate than nuclear.

        Installing 3GW of nuclear takes a lead time of more than 10years*). While wind+solar do that in a year or so.
        So installing 600GW of nuclear within next 20years is impossible.
        While wind+solar do x times more.

        While 3,000GW of wind+solar do not generate heat at all (converting existing solar heat), 600GW of nuclear add near 2,000GW of new heat to the earth!

        So if you think the global warming is urgent, the only method is to put all money to renewable!

        *) Except China, but there they build unsafe plants!
        Regarding the EPR leaving off the double dome (making it vulnerable for small aircraft attacks), no separate emergency control (which caused more than a year delay in Finland), etc.

        Regarding AP-1000 building the version that could not get approval from the British regulator. Only under condition of costly improvements about which Westinghouse decided to wait with development …

        1. @Bas
          x-times doesn’t mean anything, just like a lot of your comments, as ‘x’ could be less than 1. So if you are going to try and support your claims then please do it with facts and actual numbers not some unknown ‘x’ that you ‘claim’ supports your cause.

          “leaving off the double dome (making it vulnerable for small aircraft attacks),”
          I hear that they also aren’t putting meteor proof domes over them (making them vulnerable to rocks falling from the sky!!!!)

  4. He points out that we have been operating nuclear power plants for 50 years all around the world and that there have been only three significant accidents — Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — only one of which has resulted in any measurable fatalities.

    The operative hypocritical phrase here is just how much safer must nuclear prove itself over _countless_ fatal oil and gas and oil accidents that barely go reported or are hyped so long in the media, “Deepwater who??” asks the man on the street.

    1. You are right, but leave out the tens of thousands health organizations die from pollution of burning fossil fuels. Those killed at Chernobyl were fire fighters who sacrificed themselves knowingly going into a highly radioactive space. Nobody else died in those three accidents.

      Why are thousands and thousands dying yearly from fossil fuel pollution OK? What am I missing?

      1. @William
        OK? What am I missing?
        The million that died and especially will die through the low level radiation of Chernobyl.
        As shown by medical studies and the LSS (regarding the A-bombe victims), effects of low level radiation show after 20-50 years, just as with smoking and asbestos.

        The harmful heredity effects (Down syndrome, stillbirth, malformations such as serious heart issues, serious limb issues, etc) that that low level of Chernobyl radiation (~0.5mSv/a) causes. Even in areas ~1000mile away!!

  5. I first saw the RFK jr quote about “These wind plants and solar plants are gas plants.” on the AtomicInsights website. I also saw that Stone included that clip in Pandora’s Promise. Perhaps this website is where Stone first saw that clip, too? Good job, Rod, at exposing the smoking guns, although it seems such evidence is difficult to find.

    1. That scene from the film royally ticked off RFK at the premier/debate in Pleasantville NY.

      The theatre was packed with Bobby’s enviro and Riverkeeper friends (his home is around the corner in Mt. Kiddo), and the scene showed him to be a methane flack just a few weeks after his crew had all self-righteously cheered the screening of the anti-fracking epic Gasland at the same venue.

  6. Im irritated when people claiming to environmentalists use the cost argument. Not that I think its an excuse for a blank check, but the anti nuke ones invariably leave the comparative cost of pollutants, land use, environmental disruption, infrastructure changes, safety and carbon investment out of the argument.

    As the toll from Super Typhoon Haiyan climbs into the tens of thousands, its pretty clear its strength, as these storms are basically heat and moisture engines, was related to near record temps in the region both to the north and south:

    Australia is on track for its warmest ever year, says study

    The report, drawn from Bureau of Meteorology data, states that the past 12 months have been, on average, 0.22C warmer than any other equivalent period prior to 2013, making it likely that 2013 will be Australia’s warmest ever calendar year.

    ( http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/10/australia-warmest-ever-calendar-year )

    Western japan had its hottest summer and the rest of japan’s regions were in the top 5 hottest. The highest temp ever reported in Japan as well as 143 daily highs were broken this summer. Precipitation rates also broke or were within the top 5 records:

    Extreme summer conditions in Japan in 2013 ( http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/news/press_20130902.pdf )

    1. For as devastating as the typhoon was, you may be premature in the death estimates. I say that not to diminish the tragic loss of life but to temper the reflexive response to declare this “the worst storm in X years/ever”. And as to cause of the typhoon, aren’t we wise to caution against relating single events or even warmer/colder/wetter/dryer seasons to carbon emissions that may contribute to climate variations? Japan is situated on the Ring of Fire and notorious fault linez. The Phillippines sits along a notorious storm path. Nothing mankind can do will change that reality.

      1. No, I dont think we need to be “cautious” anymore. One of the wost storms to ever make landfall if not the worst storm ever in the hottest year ever recorded in the region.

        The caution thing was really a fraud anyway. Climate is the sum of weather events and ours is changing globally. No one really disputes that.

  7. have a huge buildout of nuclear reactors right now when you don’t need them.

    then the other side waits two decades and builds out an improved nuclear reactor

    team 1’s entire investment is shot down.

    thats the problem with nuclear reactors today.

    1. In one year the average coal plant emits:

      Over 3 million tons of CO2
      Over 14 thousand tons of SO2
      Over 10 thousand tons of NOx
      Over 200 pounds of arsenic
      Over 100 pounds of lead.
      Anywhere from 50 to over a 1000 pounds of mercury each year
      Some 500 tons of small airborne particles.

      Natural gas

      1.5 million tons CO2 (totally forgetting leakage)
      Around over 3 thousand tons of NOx
      and in the hundreds of pounds of SO2

      Multiply all that times the 30 or so year lifetime of one of these plants.

      We need all the nuclear we can build and then some.

    2. So since Apple will assuredly come out with a better iPhone in the next year or so, nobody should buy the current one, right? And since the better one coming next year will then be surpassed by an even better one within a year or so after that, no one should buy the next one either, they should wait for the one after that, right?

      In fact what you are saying is that no one should ever buy any technology because there will always be a better one in the future, right?

      No wonder you are starving, with logic like that it is a wonder you remember to breathe on a regular basis.

    3. In two decades solar will be so cheap (~$30/MWh) that new nuclear lost all viability.

      As customers pay ~$150/MWh, they will put extra solar on their roof such that it is sure that they do not need electricity from the grid during the day. That implies a lot of feed-in (even if Feed-in-Tariff is only $10/MWh) during the day. So whole sale prices will go down to ~$30/MWh (below $20 during the day, often becoming near zero).

      That imply NPP’s can only earn profit during the night. But then they have to compete against cheap producing wind turbines…

      1. Again, without large scale cheap storage it doesn’t even matter if solar panels are free, if it costs 30c per kwh to store it.

        There isn’t enough lead in the world to store even ONE day of US energy consumption.

  8. It’s really frustrating to know that there are several on this site who would absolutely devastate these guys in a live debate if given the chance. I mean, Robert Stone and Shellenberger do an ok job, but even I could have put up 3x the fight they did.

    1. I gotta concur here. The Nuclear News blog mentioned above is going absolutely berserk with its anti-nuke rants and outright fabricated alarmist “news” reports. It behooves all interested in nukes and truth to drop by and cut their poison with some fact and reality to show the readers and especially schools dropping by there that the “reference” that they’re tapping is a tainted well.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  9. I notice that “solar plants are gas plants” Kennedy waves off the climate scientists because they are climate scientists, not nuclear energy experts.

    This, “they are climate scientists and thus unqualified to talk about energy,” is likely “the line” that has been prescribed from on high (organizations like NRDC) for use among anti-nuclear campaigners. You will see it everywhere from institutional environmental group-thinkers when asked to respond to the climate scientists. It probably was ordained in a conference call that was quickly assembled after the letter from climate scientists was issued November 3rd.

    The prescribed line carries the implication that those foolish climate scientists just don’t understand the wonder of renewable energy and efficiency, and should focus on those wonders. Instead of, for example, pesky numbers-based analyses that show the contribution of kWh from fossil fuel sources continues to outstrip and outgrow the favored industries.

    Are we are to presume that institutional environmentalists would respond differently if the letter asking them to reconsider their position, and support advanced nuclear, came from leading nuclear scientists, instead of climate scientists?

    Apparently, per the institutional environmental groups, the only experts worth listening to are professional anti-nuclear campaigners, who are safely within the echo chamber. Also, of course, certain musical recording artists and media personalities, who possess magical understanding nuclear issues that qualifies them to speak as authorities.

    Thus it has been, since the mid-1960’s, and thus it is likely to continue to be.

    The world needs a new, more thoughtful, environmental movement, as this one has miserably failed its ostensible purpose. Maybe Stone, the climate scientists, and other compatriots should start one. It would stand as a stark counterpoint to ossified institutional environmentalists who are stuck in some kind of 1970’s time warp.

    1. Frank,
      analyses that show the contribution of kWh from fossil fuel sources continues to outstrip and outgrow the favored industries.
      No longer outgrow!
      In all countries with some substantial renewable policy, renewable outgrows fossil by far. So the situation is changing fast!
      Nuclear cannot change the situation as fast, as a new NPP takes ~10years.

      In dozens of countries renewable outstrip fossil already!

  10. Frank,

    I like your adjective “institutional” environmentalism; Definitely a horse of another color from just plain environmentalism. For large institutional environmental organizations, their requirement to well cover their overhead with massive revenues and “charitable” expenditure,
    locks them in to monied interests. Also given that organizations like the NRDC spawned from the likes of NYU Law school patrons and graduates, they were already well familiar and involved with interests that produce large cash flows such as the Energy Industry.

  11. Oh god, thats right frank, I had forgot that was him:

    For all of these big utility scale power plants, whether it’s wind or solar, everybody is looking at gas as the supplementary fuel. The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants are gas plants. ( atomicinsights.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-tells-the-colorado-oil-and-gas-association-that-wind-and-solar-plants-are-gas-plants/ )

    No wonder he avoids discussing GGs. Why doesn’t anyone quote him on that.

  12. Robert Kennedy Jr – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat
    Andy Cuomo – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat (the son trying to shutdown IPEC)
    Mario Cuomo – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat (the father successfully shutdown Shoreham)
    Ed Markey – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat
    Barbara Boxer – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat
    Al Gore – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat
    Jackzo – anti-nuclear – liberal progressive Democrat

    George W. Bush – started GNEP, pro-nuclear – conservative Republican

    See a common theme?

    I am beyond disgusted.

    1. Liberal progressive Democrat here. Pro-nuclear for 25 years. Have only worked in the nuclear industry. Publish a newsletter on the nuclear fuel cycle.

      Thought GNEP was ridiculous because its premise was flawed. I just don’t agree that there the expansion of nuclear energy equals rogue fissile materials and weapons technology. In fact I think nonproliferation is often yet another red herring about “the problems” of nuclear energy.

      All the people in Pandora’s Promise are “liberal progressive Democrats,” too.

      As you well know, there are anti (uranium) mining Republicans in Southside Virginia. And all of the climate change skeptics I know are conservative.

      Stupidity isn’t limited to one party.

  13. I was watching some of the on-line coverage of the Philippine devastation on CNN and it was preceded by a extremely slick new Keystone XL ad. Simply unbelievable

  14. The ability of large commercial nuclear plants to load follow is not even arguable. All the B&W plants designed in the late ‘70s could do it by design basis, and in fact each probably demonstrated it in their startup testing cycle. So to say something can’t be done that has already been done is ignorant. A B&W plant, by design spec, could maneuver at 10%/minute (between 15% and 100%). A design basis transient was 100% to 15% with a return to 100% at peak Xe. It does not require a highly enriched core to do it. It requires a lot of excess positive reactivity tied up in soluble poison (boric acid) in the reactor coolant and the ability to rapidly change it. The design basis (sizing) of the Make-up and Purification System and Boric Acid System was based on such ability. What changed is pricing strategy. If you must drop load because of demand, you use the most expensive plant first, not the cheapest. These days cores are probably not loaded to accommodate such maneuvering rates, because of economics not capability. In the original B&W plant control system the Master Load Control station (the Unit load Demand) could also be put in auto at the plant, giving the company Load Dispatcher control of the plant. I believe it was actually tested at one of the Oconee Plants, to prove functionality of the design. I was a licensed SRO on one of these plants from back in the ‘70s so I know what they can do, and they can do it again if the need arises. These B&W plants can maneuver like a Ferrari. In fact we did a Load Rejection test from 100% power (down to 15% with the turbine-gen still supplying house load) with a successful plant runback without a reactor trip. I was in the control room. Things (rules) have changed, and the plants are older, but these plants did such things by original design. Mjd.

    1. MJD
      Do I read correct; from 100% to 15% in 9 minutes?
      Is that for the reactor?
      Or for the NPP. Bringing electricity output down from 100% to 15% in 9 minutes and vice versa?

      The last one implies it has some competitive capability against circulating fluidized bed power plants regarding flexibility. It only fails regarding the lowest power level (should be 5%).

      1. bas, obviously you don’t read correct; i said “plant” not “reactor”. your math ain’t so hot either, as it’s 8.5 minutes. as to the “implies… competitive capability” thought, as usual you have it backwards, the B&W plant is currently demonstrated, operating technology from the ’70s where as your wet dream proposal might “imply”… oh, never mind. The B&W plant “fails” at nothing as you imply. The automatic control scheme reduces plant output to the stated target in 8.5 minutes. The operator can then manually direct the reactor power as the electric load demands it, for example by dumping 10% of the power using steam dumping to the condenser and 5% pushed out to the electric grid. So, no failure of anything (other than your logic)… in fact I’ll beat your 5%, I can go to 4% and dump 11% if the system Load Dispatcher asks me to. Do you get paid for this? mjd

  15. Wind turbines blamed in death of estimated 600,000 bats in 2012

    Wind turbines killed at least 600,000 — and possibly as many as 900,000 — bats in the United States in 2012, researchers say.

    Study author Mark Hayes of the University of Colorado notes that 600,000 is a conservative estimate — the true number could be 50 percent higher than that — and some areas of the country might experience much higher bat fatality rates at wind energy facilities than others.

    ( http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/11/08/Wind-turbines-blamed-in-death-of-estimated-600000-bats-in-2012/UPI-64421383946549/#ixzz2kNgjmr58 )

    Many people suspected as much. Bats are really having hard times as of late with fungal infections wiping out whole colonies. I remember the pro winders trying to downplay collision deaths with all kinds of misleading stories early on. Like house cats kill endangered condors or something equally ridiculous.

    1. I am actually more pro correctly installed wind and solar these days although here I sometimes might not seem like it. I posted a earlier version of this climate progress in response to one of those “distributed renewables for the people” arguments we also hear parroted here so often. I consider it to be a closer and a more correct and affirmative answer on the matter, although it, no doubt, could be said better. (thoughts?) :

      “Wind and solar are intermittent. They should have been marketed and sold as such. Not just as on site supplemental power to factories and office buildings but to people willing to alter their lifestyle to fit its efficient use and even enjoy energy independence.

      It is inefficient and has significant infrastructure and land use issues when sold as widespread base load power.

      If pro solar and pro wind people didn’t have such a chip on their shoulder about it they could have marketed this kind of energy better and done a lot more good”

      1. John,
        This is getting really weird :-).

        Using same approach, you expect that Ford tries to market and sell his cars as: “Nice car. It kills only few people (incl. you, the driver) via accidents, and only a few more via its exhaust as it brings only little amounts of cancer creating micro-particles in the air”.

        I like the second target of the Energiewende. Shortly: “power to the people”!
        And not to big corporations with boards that concentrate on how to fill their pockets more (create bigger bonus) at the expense of their customers, if needed.

        I showed elsewhere here that wind+solar use far less land than nuclear (per MWh).

          1. Zachf,
            Daniel posted that nuclear has a power densitiy of 1KW/m2 land.

            Offshore wind doesn’t use any land!
            Solar-panels on the roof do not use any land!
            If ~50% of all roofs are covered than more than enough electricity (so no land use at all)!

            Onshore wind; 8MW wind turbine has a footprint of ~100m2. That delivers a power density of 80KW/m2. Add some for access etc. then still a density of >20KW/m2!
            Note that the land between the turbines stays to be farmland, woods, etc.

            clean afterwards
            Nuclear industry leaves waste that stays dangerous for up to a million years. So it parasites on the thousands of generations after us that are forced to take care.
            Renewable is properly decommissioned in civilized states (if the owner doesn’t, government will do it and send the bill to the owner).

            So nuclear power density is far inferior.
            This is the third time I have to show it. Seems to be difficult to accept.

          2. Offshore wind doesn’t use any land!

            It’s just a navigation hazard and an eyesore. There are reasons why even eco-evangelists and former heroin users like Robert Kennedy, Jr., don’t want them in their back yard.

            If ~50% of all roofs are covered than more than enough electricity (so no land use at all)!

            The panels wouldn’t generate even enough electricity to power the houses and buildings they sit on, and that’s assuming that we cut down all of the trees that are near them, so that the panels are able to get the most sunlight that they can.

            Where I live, it makes more economic sense to have big deciduous trees around the house, which save on air-conditioning costs in the summer and heating costs in the winter. Such trees greatly limit the performance of solar panels on the roof, however.

            Onshore wind; 8MW wind turbine has a footprint of ~100m2.

            That number assumes that the land 6 meters from the center of the tower can be used for anything at all. It’s a vary naive assumption.

            What about its footprint in terms affecting weather radar? What about its footprint in terms of being a fire hazard. Nobody with any sense would put something valuable near one of those things.

            Note that the land between the turbines stays to be farmland, woods, …

            … roads for installation and maintenance of industrial-sized machinery.

            Nuclear industry leaves waste that stays dangerous for up to a million years. So it parasites on the thousands of generations after us that are forced to take care.

            No, the nuclear industry today leaves a valuable asset and energy resource that can be used to produce many times more electricity than we currently get out of it. Our great-grandchildren will be thanking us. They will be the “parasites” that benefit from our efforts today.

            Renewable is properly decommissioned in civilized states (if the owner doesn’t, government will do it and send the bill to the owner).

            How do you send a bill to a company that went bankrupt and doesn’t exist anymore?

            This is the third time I have to show it. Seems to be difficult to accept.

            Many people here try to avoid accepting idiotic claims that are not even wrong, but utterly irrelevant.

          3. Ocean wind disrupts migratory patterns and wildlife have been observed avoiding the area. Who knows what else. There simply was not enough impact study done.

        1. How is this “weird”? Nuclear is observed being used for higher energy more reliable systems. Solar scales in the opposite direction. Yard lights and phone chargers for instance – tech with its storage capacity built in. Remembering how it really started with solar water heaters as well is nearly the same situation.

          Indeed Germany seems to be getting it. Although they still have the scale, installation and marketing completely wrong:

          Germany Finances Major Push Into Home Battery Storage For Solar
          ( http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/11/germany-finances-major-push-home-battery-storage-solar/#pak9cOzQ5cBBZK7G.99 )

          Sometimes the best answers are right in front of us. If we choose to look.

          1. And of course if a low voltage wiring standard could have been set up internationally a bit ago, with guidelines and thinks like a universal receptacle for low DC voltage modular appliances, newer solid state devises and electronics (which many of the things we already use run on) – solar and wind really could be a way to be independent and partially or totally off the grid with a minimal investment.

            It could have worked, reduced power demand and given people MORE options not to mention its value in accelerated and clean third world development. Thats the tragedy here.

    2. John,
      Seems to me that these numbers have little impact on the numbers of bats.
      If otherwise, the study author would have stated that.

      If it becomes a real issue, it seems to me relative easy to solve by installing ultrasonic sounds producing devices in the blades, which scare the bats off.

      1. Normally, were we not facing a disease induced catastrophe on US bat species id say you could be partially correct there.

  16. I’d like to ask about RKF’s “facts” that he spit out in that video about the Finish reactor costing $14Bn/GW vs Wind and Solar costing 3Bn per GW. First, other than the reactor cost (which I have heard that number reported elsewhere), does anyone know a source for his pricing info? Is it “accurate” (for a certain definition of accurate)?

    Second, do his prices adjust for capacity factor? We know nukes can run cap factors in excess of 90%. Wind and Solar, *at best* are 30% capacity factor. My first reaction is that he is purposely ignoring cap factors so that he can cherry pick numbers that sound good, and which are *technically* accurate if you just look at maximum power production, while ignoring the fact it won’t run at those values most of the time? But, before I tell anyone that, can anyone provide me any source which would confirm that those figures *don’t* account for capacity factor?

    Third, do his prices adjust for expected lifespan? A nuclear plant is expected to last longer than a wind turbine or solar panel, I believe?

    Would it be accurate to say for Wind and Solar prices that RFK recited above, that if you multiply by 3 or 4 (to account for capacity factor differences), and then multiply by 2 again to account for lifespan differences (that is, you’ll have to buy that “Gigawatt” of Wind or Solar *again* a second time during the lifespan of the reactor), that the *real* cost of Wind or Solar is:

    $3Bn * 3 * 2 = $18Bn

    1. 20% is a more realistic capacity factor for new wind. So multiply by 5, then multiply by (3 + 2) = 5 to account for the cost of transmission lines able to meet full demand capacity from remote areas and from multiple wind sites, and to account for the cost of back-up generation for when wind isn’t blowing, and the two is, of course, for the difference in lifetime.

      Then you have something close to the reality.

      So about 25 times the equivalent nameplate capacity cost. That $3 billion is more like $75 billion in the real world.

    2. @Jeff,
      Solar panels are now guaranteed for 25years including that the yield will degrade less than 15% (e.g. Sunpower). That imply that most will do at least 75years. As yield degradation is in the first years mainly, one can expect they still produce ~70% of their initial yield.

      Other than NPP’s, solar panels have no maintenance or other operational costs. The most important is cleaning the surface one a year (or once in 2years as my neighbor does).

      Depending on latitude and % sun shine, solar produces more/less. Here in NL (52 degrees latitude, no sunny climate, ~20km from the coast) they produce ~1,100KWh per KW name plate capacity.
      In the south of Italy far more. There grid parity is reached.
      But note that solar installations in the EU (based on same Chinese produced panels as in US) cost ~40% less due to distribution and installation inefficiencies in US.

      Regarding back-up. If they are in a grid with wind turbines covering substantial area, the combination requires ~50% of back-up, if sun and wind are somewhat over dimensioned (Germany use such rules). Solar produces during the day, when consumption peaks.
      Note that a grid with only normal power plants, often has almost similar backup capacity. of 20% already. As most backup will be used little, you should install capacities with low fixed costs.

      However often solar and wind is added to an existing grid. Than you only need to keep ~50% of the NP’s that became excessive due to the solar+wind. Some percent in hot-standby as production change with solar+wind is predicted many hours before (based on developing weather forecasts) and a break down of a few Wind turbines or solar panels has hardly any influence at all.

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