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  1. Good report. Only thing is that the major disadvantage for pro-nuke forces, which the media uses to diss and minimize support, is that most all of the pro-DC folks have a career or job stake in the game, which to the media colors their objectivity and fidelity. The pro-DC — or any pro-nuke group — needs to hit their local media to deliver their message direct. These are horse-has-left-the-barn sessions. You have to hit the public with your message long before then, and you reach them by hitting on their lens on the world, the media. The rally in front of Greenpeace instead the local TV and radio stations was futile and a laughing stock to them. Grab a reporter! Social activists sure know how!

  2. The most depressing part of the last photo (of Pica) is the president of PG&E standing by his side……

  3. Rod,
    Thanks for this interesting insight in the discussions about Diablo Canyon’s closing!

    Though your estimations at the end do not fit with experience here in NW-Europe:
    … the end result will not be cheaper, it will not be cleaner, it will not be as abundant and it will not be as reliable.
    E.g. Reliability:
    The increased reliability of electricity supply in countries with a migration towards an high share of wind+solar, shows that reliability will increase.

    1. @Bas

      No. Migration toward high share of wind and solar isn’t the cause of any increase in reliability for customers. It’s possible that German reliability statistics in terms of power outages for customers have improved slightly so far. They were already extremely good before the EnergieWende and had little room for improvement.

      However, that improvement during the transition proves only that it’s possible to keep the system reliable as long as you both invest large sums of money in additional grid infrastructure and control systems AND retain big chunks of reliable generation in the form of the still operating nuclear plants, the impressively modern new coal and lignite plants, and the ever reliable alternative of importing more power from neighbors at crucial times.

      It has yet to prove that it’s possible to retain reliable service once the large reliable power supplies have been completely removed from the grid. I’m pretty sure that situation will never actually be tested; Germans are far too smart to actually destroy the systems that keep them running. They will keep them ready and waiting with plenty of opportunities to practice start-up procedures and ensure the steam systems remain well maintained.

      As far as I know, even the 7 plants that were shut down in 2011 have not entered into any form of decommissioning other than the equivalent of SAFSTORE. If all else fails, Germany could most likely restore them to full operational status in a matter of months. Here in American, we’re not much for long range thinking, so we have actually destroyed the operational capacity of most of our shutdown nuclear plants.

      1. Germans are far too smart to actually destroy the systems that keep them running.
        Yes, agree.*)
        In the future P2G + cheap storage in earth cavities, will replace reserve power plants. Major P2G in development: http://www.powertogas.info/

        P2G will be competitive in 2025-2035. With the low whole sale prices (<2cnt/KWh), the relative low yield of the Power-to-Gas-seasonal storage-Gas-to-power process (then ~50%) won't make the process uncompetitive.
        ____
        *) They have a few fossil fuel plants in reserve as in 2011. Then they arranged to have 2 recently closed ff plants in reserve such that they could be restarted within a few days. One was ordered to become spinning reserve for a few weeks in winter 2011/2012 (no electricity delivered).

        **) Note that the whole sale price is now already <1cent/KWh during part of the time. Despite the adaptive loads such as the aluminum smelters which run only when the electricity price is low (those arranged a very flexible workforce).

  4. I listened to Matt Renner. It is kind of obvious that someone has been feeding him a breakfast of hooey. He is a prime example of the poor job that the nuclear industry has done at marketing.

    I guess it has been that way for some time.
    http://www.atomicengines.com/marketing.html

    It was stated that the Friends of the Earth has 100,000 members. I think over 100,000 people in this country could be found that support the retention and building of new nuclear power plants. Is there an organization out there that will support nukes? I found one, but it only has 10,000 members world wide. http://ecolo.org/ (The ANS seems ineffectual.)

    California has some of the toughest emission control rules in the country. Shutting down their nukes should be considered as heresy by their environmental groups and not applauded.

  5. Rod: Thank you for your reporting of the 28 June 2016 meeting. Here are my prepared remarks:
    CGNP’S Summary Objections to PG&E’s Plan to Close DCPP in 2025
    Gene A. Nelson, Ph.D. 27 June 2016
    1. PG&E’s current plan to replace DCPP’s emission-free, reasonably priced (4 cents/kWh) high capacity factor (>90%, 24/7, 365 days/year) annual power production is to expand the four following approaches to maintain its carbon emissions at the current level.

    A. Increase the use of solar power.
    B. Increase the use of wind power.
    C. Increase the use of electric power storage.
    D. Increase the use of Demand Reduction.

    2. All four of the above approaches require that PG&E expend substantial funds that will ultimately come from ratepayers. None of the above four approaches will allow PG&E to maintain its carbon emissions at the current level after 2025. Currently, PG&E generates about 18 TWh each year from DCPP, California’s largest power generator by far. DCPP generates about five times the annual output of Hoover Dam or about 13 times the annual output of the new Topaz Solar generating facility in eastern San Luis Obispo County.

    Topaz covers 9.5 square miles and was built at a cost of about $2.4 billion dollars. Thus, a solar-powered replacement to DCPP would cost approximately $31 billion and cover 123.5 square miles of precious California land. Costs for wind energy to replace DCPP would likely be higher, requiring more land. Solar and wind power levels are subject to harmful random fluctuations. In addition, the solar power is generated in the five hours centered around solar noon. California’s peak power demand period is in the late afternoon.

    Here is a cost analysis from Michael Cembalest, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, “Deep Decarbonization of German and Californian Electricity Grids,” October 19, 2015
    https://www.jpmorgan.com/jpmpdf/1320687247153.pdf
    Cembalest concludes that reducing emissions by increasing nuclear power in a “balanced” scheme of 40% renewables, 35% nuclear, and 25% natural gas makes the most economic sense in California.

    Solar (or wind) would require an unprecedented amount of energy storage, with storage power losses between 25-50%. The storage requirements are far in excess of the bulk power storage system that PG&E designed for use in conjunction with DCPP, namely Helms Pumped Storage located in the Sierra foothills to the east of Fresno. DCPP pumps water uphill at Helms during the night using DCPP’s surplus power. Then, in the late afternoon, Helms Pumped Storage releases the power equal to one of DCPP’s twin reactors. Thus, Californians in PG&E’s service territory use the equivalent of 3 DCPP reactors of emission-free power in the late afternoon, powering us through the period of peak demand with no brownouts or blackouts.

    As a consequence of California’s large projected population growth of more than 14 million new Californians by 2060, relative to the 2010 baseline of 37 million, (per the California Department of Finance) demand reduction schemes are doomed to failure. What about electric trains? What about electric cars?

    The dirty reality is that PG&E (and the power generating entities that it purchases power from) will increase the combustion of natural gas within California to generate the huge amount of missing power. In addition, increased importation of out-of-state electric power from the burning of dirty coal beyond the ~18 TWh/year now used is likely. These actions will exacerbate global warming. Instead, for the sake of clean air for our children, and for the benefit of our planet, DCPP should encouraged to continue to operate well beyond 2025.

  6. Gene Nelson, Ph.D. 07 27 16
    Here are the comments that I used during my two minute speech:

    CGNP’S Summary Objections to PG&E’s Plan to Close DCPP in 2025
    Gene A. Nelson, Ph.D. 27 June 2016

    1. PG&E’s current plan to replace DCPP’s emission-free, reasonably priced (4 cents/kWh) high capacity factor (>90%, 24/7, 365 days/year) annual power production is to expand the four following approaches to maintain its carbon emissions at the current level.

    A. Increase the use of solar power.
    B. Increase the use of wind power.
    C. Increase the use of electric power storage.
    D. Increase the use of Demand Reduction.

    2. All four of the above approaches require that PG&E expend substantial funds that will ultimately come from ratepayers. None of the above four approaches will allow PG&E to maintain its carbon emissions at the current level after 2025. Currently, PG&E generates about 18 TWh each year from DCPP, California’s largest power generator by far. DCPP generates about five times the annual output of Hoover Dam or about 13 times the annual output of the new Topaz Solar generating facility in eastern San Luis Obispo County.

    Topaz covers 9.5 square miles and was built at a cost of about $2.4 billion dollars. Thus, a solar-powered replacement to DCPP would cost approximately $31 billion and cover 123.5 square miles of precious California land. Costs for wind energy to replace DCPP would likely be higher, requiring more land. Solar and wind power levels are subject to harmful random fluctuations. In addition, the solar power is generated in the five hours centered around solar noon. California’s peak power demand period is in the late afternoon.

    Here is a cost analysis from Michael Cembalest, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, “Deep Decarbonization of German and Californian Electricity Grids,” October 19, 2015
    https://www.jpmorgan.com/jpmpdf/1320687247153.pdf
    Cembalest concludes that reducing emissions by increasing nuclear power in a “balanced” scheme of 40% renewables, 35% nuclear, and 25% natural gas makes the most economic sense in California.

    Solar (or wind) would require an unprecedented amount of energy storage, with storage power losses between 25-50%. The storage requirements are far in excess of the bulk power storage system that PG&E designed for use in conjunction with DCPP, namely Helms Pumped Storage located in the Sierra foothills to the east of Fresno. DCPP pumps water uphill at Helms during the night using DCPP’s surplus power. Then, in the late afternoon, Helms Pumped Storage releases the power equal to one of DCPP’s twin reactors. Thus, Californians in PG&E’s service territory use the equivalent of 3 DCPP reactors of emission-free power in the late afternoon, powering us through the period of peak demand with no brownouts or blackouts.

    As a consequence of California’s large projected population growth of more than 14 million new Californians by 2060, relative to the 2010 baseline of 37 million, per the California Department of Finance, demand reduction schemes are doomed to failure.

    The dirty reality is that PG&E (and the power generating entities that it purchases power from) will increase the combustion of natural gas within California to generate the huge amount of missing power. In addition, increased importation of out-of-state electric power from the burning of dirty coal beyond the ~18 TWh/year now used is likely. These actions will exacerbate global warming. Instead, for the sake of clean air for our children, and for the benefit of our planet, DCPP should encouraged to continue to operate well beyond 2025.

    Please see the Californians for Green Nuclear Power website at http://CGNP.org for additional details.