1. I found this Amory Lovins quote: “”It’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it”
    Lovins said this in “The Mother Earth?lowboy Interview”, Nov/Dec 1977, p. 22, which was quoted by Robin Mills in his book “The myth of the oil crisis” page 234. There is no footnote in the Mills book but Mills supplied the original source by email.
    Imagine if the nuclear renaissance bears fruit. The horror. The horror.

    1. David Lewis wrote:
      I found this Amory Lovins quote: “It’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it
      If you juxtapose that quote against the following Amory Lovins quote from a July 18, 2008 episode of Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, you will know all you need to know about his motivation and credibility:
      “You know, I?e worked for major oil companies for about thirty-five years, and they understand how expensive it is to drill for oil.”
      Just think how much less profit his employers would make if there was an abundant source of cheap energy that did not even produce any air pollution? Where would they get their revenue and political power in such a world? How in the world would they be able to invest the capital required to drill for oil in ecologically sensitive and remote areas?

    2. Here are similar statements from a couple of Amory Lovins’ friends.
      Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.
      Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University.
      The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the
      worst thing that could happen to the planet.
      Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

  2. I don’t understand why Richard Lester said “Lester Brown is right about the cost issue”. MIT might as well disband the nuke department and hand the nuclear power industry’s head to Brown on a platter.
    What is wrong with saying “Lester Brown is completely wrong about the cost issue, although we do feel the cost of nuclear can be brought down”.
    Lester Brown is allowed to state that nukes are too expensive as he criticizes the Finland plant which as Rod points out, Brown’s own figures indicate it is coming in for $4400 per installed kw. Then he touts wind, a non baseload source hence completely irrelevant and no one calls him on it.
    Brown has a book, “Plan B 4.0” which is a plan to save civilization which depends on wind, solar and geothermal, period. He actually touts solar thermal installations in North Africa because they could “supply half Europe’s electricity”. The promoters of this scheme, i.e. Desertec, admit their best case cost scenario for the future after the cost of building their plants has come down due to magic I suppose allows them to sell into the EU grid only during peak periods when the prices are highest. The cost of the recently completed Andasol 1 solar thermal plant with salt storage in Spain according to my calculations based on 50 MW nameplate 40% capacity 300 million euros capital cost worked out to $19,963 US dollars per available installed kw, and the designers themselves admit the electricity costs them 27 euro cents, or 36 US cents kWhr to produce.
    So what do you do with a clown like this in debate? Grizz Deal chimed in later saying “I completely agree with Lester Brown” Now Deal was agreeing that the big nuke plants are complex and this can be a problem, which his small plant solves, but he doesn’t have to bend over and hand Lester Brown an academy award, because if he thought about it, he doesn’t completely agree with Brown.
    Have pro nuke debaters been shooting themselves and their industry in the head in this way all along?

    1. David Lewis wrote:
      Have pro nuke debaters been shooting themselves and their industry in the head in this way all along?
      My answer – Yes.
      Part of my goal for Atomic Insights is to help change that reality. I think that the efforts of the pro-nuclear bloggers and podcasters – plus those of some other effective communicators – are having some effect. It is hard to change the momentum of a very large and diverse group, but it is happening.

  3. If the pro-nuclear presenters don’t attend these events with a well-defined counter-argument, easily explained then they are derelict in their obligation and duty at promoting the best answer to our energy needs. It should be obvious by now that the anti-nukes crowd will say anything, anywhere, anytime to cast FUD on nuclear power generation. You can’t “play nice” with an opponent like that. Answer a falsehood firmly, factually and unapologetically.(sp?)
    The arrogance of Amory Lovins and his fellow-travelers — thinking that the unwashed masses are too stupid to know what to do with affordable, abundant, reliable, on-demand power — is really breath-taking in its scope. That they would rather see the 2 billion people who don’t enjoy even the most basic of conveniences is a striking indictment of their attitude towards other humans. Vision of the Anointed, indeed.

  4. Just today on Treehugger – Lester Brown writes about China’s energy future yet completely leaves out nuclear:
    I went and had a look at the contents for the book “Plan B 4.0”. A lot of it makes perfect sense, if only there weren’t the lack of nuclear and agricultural biotechnology. These are critically important pieces of the solution.

  5. In your penultimate paragraph, you state that Lester Brown is affiliated with “the Earth Watch Institute.” Please note that neither Lester Brown nor the Earth Island Institute are affiliated with the Earthwatch Institute. Thanks!

    1. @Earthwatch Institute – My apologies. I have corrected the mistake. I got it right in the first paragraph; I cannot explain why my fingers wrote the wrong word in the second to last paragraph – the penultimate one.

  6. The 1.5 cents a kwh O&M cost is based on old reactors. The new ones should have a much better performance.
    Your 15% ROI is for inefficient American private power. The very efficient Canadian public power companies borrow at 4 to 5% and have a much more efficient regulatory system. They could make a fortune selling nuclear power to the US. In fact, don’t public power operations like TVA and Bonneville borrow at very low rates?
    How is that the Koreans are bidding 1.5 cents a kwh on a 60 year extension to the UAE deal. AECL did about the same on a recent 60 year bid for OPG.

  7. I don’t claim to understand the 30% Federal tax credit (ITC, or investment tax credit) and the 5 year MACRS (modified accelerated cost recovery system) write off rate that applies to utility scale solar thermal projects. So I would appreciate if someone could point me to a paper that could explain this to a financial moron.
    But, it it looks to me like these credits add up to a 20% – 30% federal refund on construction costs to anyone building a solar thermal plant. There is a whole lot of cash moving around, as there are some who say these US credits for “renewables”are better for the owners of the plants than the huge feed-in tariffs such as 37 US cents kWhr in Spain.
    As an example of what this might mean, I considered the Nevada Solar One solar thermal plant.
    NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab) data states that this is a 65 – 70 MW nameplate maximum output 134,000 MW/yr actual output plant, which cost $266 million when finished in June 2007. This makes the cost per average available kW $17,385. If this thing had a 30% subsidy, that means the US taxpayer is paying $5215 per available kW of the capital cost.
    I thought, the US should just hire the Korean consortium that signed with Abu Dhabi to build 6 GW of new nukes for $20 billion. These people say they can provide new nukes for $4000 per available kW (I assume 90% capacity). So instead of subsidizing the Gore/Lovins/Brown solar thermal dream the US could just pay for a fleet of big new nukes, give them to whoever, private operators, states, whatever, for nothing, i.e. absolutely free of charge, and still come out ahead with cheaper electricity.
    PS. The “independent study” comparing nuclear and wind costs that Lester referred to in this podcast is mentioned on his website. It was, naturally, done by that famous independent and unimpeachable analyst of nuclear power costs, Amory Lovins.
    Lester’s website claims, as of late 2008, that a mere two years ago, i.e. 2006, a new big nuke would have cost $2 to $4 billion as opposed to now. Now, “primarily [due to] the scarcity of essential engineering and construction skills in a fading industry” these costs have soared to $7 billion. Geez, I guess it is true that we could train up a few people, reinvigorate the industry and build a whole new generation of nukes for $4 billion a piece, and if anyone doubts us we quote Lester.

  8. I’m from Finland. A while ago I was listening to a presenteation of Steve Thomas.
    What he wanted to do was to prove that nuclear power is too expensive
    to be economical. He said that if nuclear power was necessary then it
    would be important to find a solution to make it economic, but there
    are better alternatives. He did not mention what they are.
    Here is the slide set Thomas used:
    Thomas was invited by the green party, Greenpeace and the Friends of Earth, so a biased wiev was now a suprise.
    Those prices for South Africa and Canada are still something I don’t understand. From $6000 to $10000 /kW.

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