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  1. This report is not very long. I’m unfortunately not surprised, however, that many in the media and several bloggers can’t read the report and have alarms going off in their heads that what they are reading is nonsense.

  2. The difference between the Miami Herald‘s article and the National Review‘s article could not be more stark. The Miami Herald parrots the reports conclusion; the National Review trashes it.

    1. Brian – the NRO post does question the report, but still accepts its assertion that with subsidies solar might be cheaper than nuclear. My point is that even after the subsidies, the cost published by the NC Warn sponsored report still results in a price that is far higher than what nuclear plants already achieve at a very substantial profit.
      This is not a political argument – it is simply the fact that the average cost of electricity generated in operating nuclear plants using ancient, 1960s vintage technology, is only a small fraction of the subsidized cost of solar electricity using the most modern panels available on the market today.

      1. Rod – Hmm … perhaps you didn’t read the National Review article very carefully. I don’t see where it accepts the assertion of the report. Here’s what I read:
        “there is no contest that nuclear power gives us the best bang for our buck. Rain or shine, we can split atoms.”
        and
        “So, before we throw photovoltaic panels a ticker-tape parade, let’s be mindful of the limitations of intermittent renewables that are “competitive” simply because U.S. taxpayers are forced to make them so.”
        Perhaps you missed the quotation marks used to denote an ironic use of a word. I take this to mean that the author doesn’t think that solar is competitive even with the generous subsidies.
        By the way, comparing the costs of running a fully amortized nuclear power plant to the cost of brand new solar panels is not comparing apples to apples.

    2. The problem is that antis dressed up non-factual opinion of activists, graduate students, and economics and law professors as news and some gullible reporters bought it. As was famously said by parties unknown, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with b***s***.” Reporters report the news, so non-technical people taking statements from “experts” at face value on complex topics like the technical and economic merits of various sources of electricity is to be expected unless we’re dealing with someone who specifically reports on energy. Still, the lack of checking the facts of statements by those experts opposed to nuclear energy with experts who support nuclear energy construction is not acceptable.
      Perhaps some wishful thinking on the reporters’ parts was also involved. For instance, the apparent story may have agreed with the reporters’ reality-construct, and they were eager to affirm their reality-construct even if their reality-construct was not in phase with objective reality.
      At least the Times was good enough to note the irregularities in the article after it was pointed out to them.
      Still, I cannot help but note that the Times followed up their correction with another vigorous attack several days later on their op-ed page against that b

  3. Solar kWh prices could be compared to nuclear kWh prices if we had a battery-powered economy. If every house, and every factory had a giant battery installed, similar to a heating oil tank, or every appliance had it’s own battery (battery powered washers, battery powered TVs, battery powered ACs) then an amount of kWhs supplied by an intermittent source would be just as valuable as kWhs from a reliable source.
    But since virtually all electricity consumers – with few exceptions like cell phones, electric cars – want “on demand” electricity, the comparison is deceptive. I’ve recently made an illustration that is trying to make that point easy to understand: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4732971&l=93f7387f00&id=753382824

    1. You *could* theoretically have air conditioners, washers, and TVs each with their own small engine or engine/generator combination unit. I have heard of diesel-powered air conditioning units (using a belt-drive), and Maytag once made a line of gas-engine powered washers. (They were popular before rural electrification. If you google “Maytag washer engine”, you’ll find a bunch of interesting videos of gas-powered washer engines of the rare hit-and-miss type.) But batteries are not gas tanks – I would hate to see a battery powered air conditioner, for instance. Even a forklift battery, say, 23kVA total at a 24 h rate of discharge, would only be able to power an air conditioner for a day (assuming the A/C was a 900 W load.) And forklift batteries weigh 1500 lbs (source as to batteries weight and density: Northern Arizona Wind and Sun).
      Heating oil contains around 23k BTU/lb, or around 14800 Wh/kg. (source: WP, web) Lithium batteries have an energy density of somewhere around 300 Wh/kg (source: memory), or around 50 times less energy density. Plus, I would guess – but don’t know – that lithium batteries cost at least 50 times as much per lb as heating oil does. Of course, they’re reusable, and once volume production of the new lithium phosphate batteries starts in earnest, electric cars – at least for commuting – will become practical.
      (For another comparison, according to WP, uranium has an energy density of 967,680,000 Wh/kg in a standard LWR in a once through fuel cycle.)
      Batteries are great, when you don’t mind weight, volume, cost, and maintenance. For everything else, there’s your electric utility.

  4. The NC Warn paper, and a lot of the reporting on it, remind me of some of the conclusions reached by Tom and Ray on Car Talk, which they freely admit are “unencumbered by the thought process.”

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