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74 Comments

  1. Well Rod, I couldn’t agree more. I live in Ontario, Canada and just ONE nuclear facility on a small splotch of land (BRUCE) is currently providing 44% of our power (10PM EDT)- this is power for over 13.5 million people. It is dark and wind turbines (which cover HUGE swaths of land) are making about a few % of our power.

    Our current grid carbon intensity is 18 g/kwh. Germany’s average, the DARLING of renewables, is about 600g/kwh. Why the difference: we are now running 70% nuclear on the grid at this point in time.

    No wars are required to secure the resources. We don’t need to flood thousands of sq. mi. of flood plains to do this. Just one modest industrial site… providing almost 1/2 of what millions of people need to live, and with no emissions. Under any normal historical circumstances, this would be considered a miracle.

    Well, it is not a miracle in the biblical sense, but it could just as well be one… we only have to thank the previous generation of engineers who had the foresight to recognize the implications of fission.

    I am an engineer with kids… and I want future generations, THEIR generation, to receive the same miracle that we are receiving RIGHT NOW.

    I thank those engineers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s who gave this gift to us TODAY.

    Why is there any debate about nuclear power?

  2. Notable capacity to production of CLEAN energy too, with very little land use. Where the comparatively small footprint of ALL toxic and harmful wastes produced were carefully
    monitored and totally collected, and are also recyclable.

    1. Look at the upper L in this German lignite strip mine photo. Are these wind turbines ??!!! LOL! ( http://www.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/aef_ct_wire_image_lightbox/images/afp/photo_1378676062363-1-0.jpg?1379823740 )

      I checked in google earth and there is a wind farm on the SW corner of the site! Who is that fooling!?

      The photo is from :

      German coal mine turns village into ghost town ( http://www.france24.com/en/20130908-german-coal-mine-turns-village-ghost-town )

      At the end of the article they talk about a Chinese delegation sent there to observe and take notes on the German success at relocating whole villages for strip mines.

      You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    1. Daniel, I have to wonder too. The question I have is when someone owns a restaurant and they have a liquor license, the license shows up on their books as an asset. I would think that a license to operate a nuclear power station would be an asset too for a utility. As for having to employ people, why could they not shut down VY for awhile and then when time to restart, get trained people from other Entergy plants at least at the beginning? Is the 4.4 million cost to the NRC really all that much?

      1. @ BobinPgh

        Hi,

        This just out:

        Paul Scalise of Tokyo University says that a square metre (10.8 square feet) of land devoted to wind power generates just two watts of power. For solar power, the equivalent area generates 20W. Nuclear power generates about 1,000W a square metre.

        Now how is an economic guru at the University of Vermont not able to tally this for the US ?

        POWER PER SQUARE FEET …

        1. @Daniel,
          a square metre …of land devoted to …solar power, … generates 20W

          How is it possible that these PV-panels produce ~200W/m2:
          http://us.sunpowercorp.com/homes/products-services/solar-panels/x-series/
          And far higher power density than nuclear, as they take no land at all!
          (mounted on your roof)

          The figure for wind is only ~10times to low if you assume the land between the wind turbines is not used. But it is used (farming, etc).
          The actual footprint of a 8MW wind turbine is ~400m2. So power density ~20KW per square meter.
          Hence comparing with your 1,000W a square metre for nuclear, the power density of wind turbines surpass that of nuclear by a factor ~10!

          So the Vermont guru calculations are probably more correct than those of your Paul Scalise.

          Btw. Is he indeed from Toyo university?
          Taking into account his faulty figures and his non-japanese name, probably not.

          1. You assume that the 8MW Wind Turbine is producing Power all the time.

            In the real world…. not so much. Wind farms have very poor Capacity. As per a Wikipedia page on Capacity Factors, the Best On Shore power plant achieved about 46% :

            As of April 2011, the Danish wind farm Horns Rev 2[3] (the world’s largest when it was inaugurated in September 2009[4] comprising 91 Siemens SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines each of 2.3 MW) with a nominal total capacity of 209 MW, has the best capacity factor of any offshore wind farm at 46.7% having produced over 1.5 years 1,278 GW·h.[5]

            But they also note The Burton Wold Wind Farm that has a 25% capacity factor. This seems to be closer to what the average you could expect to get out of a Wind Plant.

            Your Wind Farms will NEVER produce at 20KW/m2. @ 25% capacity your down to 5KW/m2. Have a bad month and 2 is much easier to achieve than 20.

          2. You must hate nuclear with a passion to exaggerate and distort reality with those figures. There’s a great video somewhere showing the area of a wind farm vs one nuclear plant of equivalent output. There’s NO WAY a wind farm footprint is even light-years close to nuclear’s footprint/power density ratio. I think you should move your slobbering rants to a middle school. They’re more gullible about unchecked and unverified wish stats and figures than this hip crowd here.

          3. How is it possible that these PV-panels produce ~200W/m2

            Do they do it morning, evening and night?  In storm and in calm?

            Your idiocy is so blatant, I wonder how you manage to feed and clothe yourself.

          4. @Mitch
            I do not like it when nuclear people come with “facts” that are not correct.
            A pity they do that often, even at IAEA levels.

            It creates a distorted picture of reality.
            Many years of extreme mountain climbing learned me that an accurate view about reality is of utmost important to survive (lost >50% of my friends in the mountains).

            So I prefer to correct those distorted views.

            @Engineer-Poet
            The statement of BobinPgh is about the capacity per square meter.
            So I responded accordingly.

            You move the topic to continuous production per square meter.
            Regarding ‘continuous’, that is an issue of smart grid management, using other renewable such as hydro, wind, etc.
            NPP’s also do not produce sometimes, so with nuclear you need the same grid management.

            Anyway, as rooftop solar uses zero land, it is also far superior regarding production per square meter!

            @Curtis
            Even 5KW/m2 is superior compared to the nuclear figure BobinPgh stated.
            Note that the 400m2 that I assumed for the wind turbine is often only 100m2…

          5. “The actual footprint of a 8MW wind turbine is ~400m2. So power density ~20KW per square meter.”

            HAHAHA… what? you think the footprint of a 8MW turbine that is ~200m tall with a 164m diameter rotor only has a footprint the size of a large house? (20m x 20m = 400m2)?

            No wonder you support renewables, you cant do basic math.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscoe_Wind_Farm

            The Roscoe wind farm (current largest in US) has 781.5MW and covers 400 square KILOMETERS, that’s 400,000,000m^2 (400 x 1000 x 1000)

            781,500,000w / 400,000,000 = 1.95w per m^2. That’s WITHOUT accounting for the 25% capacity factor, so now you’re down to less than half a watt per square meter!!! you need 200m^2 just to run your 100w light bulb! Or you need a full square kilometer of land to push out the power that a truck or sportscar (500kw = 374hp) can do!

          6. ..and at those levels of power density, to equal Bruce power in electricity production you’d need a wind farm about 12,000 square kilometers (~4,700 square miles) in size. That’s about half the size of my home state of New Hampshire! (~24,000sq km)

          7. I have to correct myself 500kw = 668hp, not 374… so *only* over a half of a square kilometer to equal a truck or sportscar’s power output.

          8. @ZachF
            My post states:”..if you assume the land between the wind turbines is not used. But it is used (farming, etc).
            Here in Europe mostly by farmers.

            May be your wind farm is in the desert. The desert between the 10x10m footprint (the pylon) is still ‘productive’.
            So no land used that somebody may want to use, except that small footprint..

            I regard that to be the same situation as a wind farm on the sea.
            The sea between the pylons is still productive (producing fish, etc)

            So indeed nuclear has a lower power density if you compare the capacity as well as production per square meter.

            Btw.
            I do not think that higher/lower power density is of any importance.
            I only decided to react because these ridiculous lies started to irritate.

          9. Btw. I do not think that higher/lower power density is of any importance.

            Bas – But perhaps you can appreciate that many people who are concerned about the environment would prefer to avoid massive amounts of “windustrial sprawl.”

            You can try to rationalize the “footprint” of these monstrosities with whatever ludicrous arguments you tell yourself to make yourself feel better, but in the end, a wind “farm” is a large industrial installation that requires many square kilometers to produce even a rather modest amount of power. In addition to the space occupied by the eyesores themselves, they also require significant infrastructure — wires to transfer the electricity, access roads for maintenance of on-shore turbines. All of this involves disruption to the local environment, including an impact on local wildlife.

            These totems that you raise for your Green quasi-religion do not come without a very real cost.

            Although I have no doubt that there are a handful of nuts out there who might be willing, I’ve never heard of anyone who has enthusiastically volunteered to live near a wind installation. In fact, I’m aware of several prominent so-called “environmentalists” (e.g., RFK Jr.) who have fought tooth and nail to prevent such an industrial facility from being built in their “backyard.” Perhaps you can explain to them how “small” the footprint will be.

            I only decided to react because these ridiculous lies started to irritate.

            Is it just me, or is anyone else laughing hilariously at this?

            What Bas lacks in intelligence, he more than makes up for in chutzpah.

          10. @Brian

            John T started this thread by stating “very land used” and “small footprint”.
            As a side step he made a post about wind turbines at a lignite mine and villages that are removed by the mine. The mine buys everybody out in a period of decades, hardly any complaint. Even Greenpeace does not complain as almost all the area is changed in nature areas (woods, etc).

            Daniel defined the issue more precise: Capacity per square meter land used.

            Curtis changed the definition towards production per squate meter when it showed that NPP have lower power density then wind turbines and solar on the roof.

            Engineer-Poet changed the definition further by claiming it should be continouos production. A little ridiculous as NPP’s have big long outages. E.g. the 2GW of San Onofre (20% of all electricity needed by S.California) had outage periods of ~a year. That is worse than the predictable nightly off of solar, which can be solved by short term storage, etc.

            Anyway, as including “continuous” makes any comparison fairly complicated, I propose we do “production” which is already more complicated to compare than the original definition “capacity”
            .
            Now you try to complicate comparison of power density far more.
            You introduce taste, disruption and wildlife.
            E.g. regarding e.g. transport lines. The lines of NPP are visible, hanging in the air, killing birds. Here the lines of almost all wind turbines are burried in the ground (or the seabed). A clear advantage of wind turbines and PV-panels on the roof.

            You also introduce the requirement that population should enthusiastic to live near the facility.
            Well, one of the reasons NPP’s are far off is the resistance of the population.
            For Solar on the roof (even off the roof) there is no resistance (never heard off here).
            For Wind turbines the issue is solved to everybodies satisfaction by making a cooperation, so the farmers own part of the wind turbine(s) and share (part of) the profit. They change in enthousiatic advocates.
            You find a fight only where the utility is so stupid not to involve the locals.
            For wind turbines at sea it is a non-issue.

            So even according to your criteria, renewable too score better.
            So you may start understanding why population (hence politicians in a democratic society) favor wind and solar.

            I propose to leave your criteria out when we discuss power density, as those make good comparison impossible.

            1. @Bas

              You wrote:

              E.g. regarding e.g. transport lines. The lines of NPP are visible, hanging in the air, killing birds.

              You obviously have no idea how the world works, even though you claim to have spent so much time bicycling in the outdoors. Birds have no problem avoiding power lines, they are stationary and are plenty thick enough to see. They often become excellent perches; I’ve seen huge flocks of small birds and plenty of individual birds sitting quite comfortably on them – both the residential distribution lines and the very large, high voltage transmission lines.

              In contrast, your favored huge wind turbines have blades whose tips move at a rate of hundreds of miles per hour to be able to complete their circumferential trip at a rate of a few revolutions per minute. Birds and bats have a great deal of difficulty avoiding those rapidly moving blades, especially since they are preferentially located in areas where captors and sea birds have evolved to take advantage of soaring on the breeze as an easy method of travel while hunting their prey.

          11. @Rod
            Yes, I also have seen birds sitting on high tension power lines, the pylons, etc.
            But also found one below the line (agree it was only one).

            There is a lot of rumor about the risk that blades of wind turbines imply for birds.

            In my experience both are exaggerated greatly.

            I do not expect that we will have less birds because of that, as other death causes are far more important.

            1. @Bas

              It is not the number of birds that concern me. It is the fact that wind turbines preferentially target raptors and fish hunting sea birds. They are located in areas where those increasingly rare and wonderful creatures have been hunting for millennia.

              http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/12/federal-study-highlights-spike-in-eagle-deaths-at-wind-farms/

              Many of the areas that are promising sources of wind energy unfortunately also overlap with eagle habitats, and eagles are at risk because their senses tend to be focused upon the ground as they look for prey, rather than staring ahead to see spinning blades. Dismemberment or blunt-force trauma from colliding with the turbines seems to be the most common fate for the eagles that fly into the facilities, though at least one eagle was electrocuted.

              I could not care less how many pigeons or swallows run into glass office towers.

          12. Rod,
            I cannot feel much empathy for these bird protectors.
            Most do not hesitate to eat beef, chicken, etc.

            Do not believe that raptors and fish hunting sea birds are at extinction.
            And those birds eat fish, my preferred food.

            May be my personal history plays a role.
            These are the arguments used to create a ban for para-gliders (one of my hobbies) to fly over the dunes at the coast.
            Wind from the sea goes upwards along the dunes, creating an upwards band in which you can fly long distance along the coast with your para-glider for hours. Now I have to drive at least an hour before I’m at a place where it is allowed to fly along the coast.

          13. Wow … me, me, me … I, I, I … my, my, my. Poor Bas. Are we supposed to feel pity now?

            Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed how utterly self-absorbed and selfish these “Green” types like Bas are. This is a perfect example. He reasons that power lines to a nuclear plant are a problem, because they “are visible, hanging in the air, killing birds.” Meanwhile, enormous wind turbines several times taller are somehow not “visible,” are not in the air, and as far as killing birds … well … Bas doesn’t like those birds anyway. So no problem.

            Huh?

            The late George Carlin had it right: “I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths … people trying to make the world safe for their Volvos.”

            This describes Bas to a tee, except that he’s desperately trying to make the world safe for his para-glider. Geez … the only thing that I can feel is disgust. The intellectual and moral bankruptcy is obscene.

          14. Brian,

            You changed ofter in personal attack mode, when you saw that the other person was right. So I assume the same now.

          15. Bas – Personal? Have you looked at your recent comments: “I regard that …”; “I do not think …”; “In my experience …”; “I cannot feel much empathy …”; “… my preferred …”; “Maybe my personal history …”; etc.

            I’m not the one who made this personal. You did when you switched from arguing from facts to flaunting your personal opinions. Of course, you are “right” when it comes to this. There is no way that I can reasonably argue that, no, you don’t think that some birds (those killed by powerlines) have much more value than other birds (raptors killed by wind turbines). It’s impossible. You are entitled to your opinion.

            Nevertheless, if you are so willing to put your opinions on display as a substitute for logical arguments, then there is nothing wrong in commenting on your opinions and the perverse value system that leads to such opinions. You were the first to bring up the topic. I’m merely following along.

          16. Brian,
            Sorry, I thought we were talking about the low power density of nuclear (capacity/production per square meter) compared to:
            – PV panels on the roof
            – Wind turbines

            1. @Bas

              You’ve got to be kidding me. Most honest, competent technical people would never attempt to compare a nuclear power plant facility to a PV panel on the roof or individual wind turbines.

              That would be roughly equivalent to comparing the transportation effectiveness of a TVG full of people to a push scooter. On some levels, there would be people who attempt to claim that the scooter is a far more efficient mode of transportation because it “does not consume any fuel”. That is, of course, only true if one ignores the fuel requirements of the human being providing the “push”.

          17. @Rod
            … competent technical people would never attempt to compare a nuclear power plant facility to a PV panel on the roof or individual wind turbines…
            The point is that nuclear people do compare with solar & wind quite often.

            While wind turbines and solar on the roof have higher power densities (=produced electricity per square meter land used), they state wrongly the opposite.

            While irrelevant, they state even that nuclear would be better because of higher power density. That is wrong, as wind and solar on the roof have clearly a much higher power density.

            Regarding your analogy. Understand you intent “energy used”. Indeed, I suspect that a TGV consumes less energy per passenger on longer distances than a biker.

          18. Rod,
            density should not be measured on per unit area, but on a per unit volume.

            Even noisy planes do not pay for their flying over, while lowering air quality with their engines.
            They don’t have to pay fuel tax (as cars), even no CO2 tax…

            So air is ‘free’, while land a valuable asset.
            Hence the relevant definition of power density is ‘produced electricity per square meter land used’.

      2. @BobinPgh
        …why could they not shut down VY for awhile and then when time to restart, get trained people …. the 4.4 million cost to the NRC really all that much?
        That money is only part. You also have to go on with part of the maintenance.

        That money is a full waste if you expect the economic situation of the NPP to become worse. So you may conclude that their planners are convinced that that will happen.

        I understand Vermont is migrating towards renewable (wind, solar). When that takes speed, the load factor of the NPP will go down as their is no need for their electricity when the wind goes and/or the sun shines…

        1. That money is a full waste if you expect the economic situation of the NPP to become worse. So you may conclude that their planners are convinced that that will happen.

          Why would the situation become worse?  There’s a subsidized surge in wind power and a financial bubble in natural gas.  The former will become unaffordable soon enough, and the latter will either pop or only be sustained by exports which raise North American prices near to world levels.  The latter appears inevitable, and will make nuclear wildly profitable.  Sadly, that’s going to take a dozen quarters or so, which puts it outside the planning horizon of today’s corporate executives.

          I understand Vermont is migrating towards renewable (wind, solar).

          “Renewable” is lucky to get a capacity factor of 30%.  Due to the rapidly-varying nature of the “renewables” (unreliables), the continued operability of the grid requires rapidly-responding plants as their backup.  This means gas-fired turbines.  The fuel for those turbines will soon be priced near world levels of $15/mmBTU, or 11¢/kWh in the most efficient simple-cycle gas turbine on the market (at its PEAK efficiency).  Power from Vermont Yankee costs around half that much.

          When that takes speed, the load factor of the NPP will go down as their is no need for their electricity when the wind goes and/or the sun shines…

          You have that backwards.  There’s no need for the wind and solar when the nuclear plants are sufficient to meet demand.  It’s crazy laws which require that the grid purchase power from the unreliables first.  Those laws may wind up collapsing the grid.  If that happens, it will be a humanitarian disaster… all created by fools like YOU.

          1. @Engineer-Poet

            We ask a business developer and analyst to consider the prospects.
            They write a report about all the alternatives (incl. temporary shut down, etc).
            Then you ask an external consultancy firm. If that delivers the same conclusions than you close a business.
            I suggest you talk to the concerned business analyst.

            Just a few points the analysts will have considered:
            – Price for wind goes down all the time. Germany now pays ~8cent/KWh for electricity produced by wind turbines on land.

            – PV-panels will become the big competitor in Vermont (being a lot more south than Germany)…
            Now the same imported Chines installIation cost twice in USA compared to Germany (US import duties, inefficiencies).
            I think that will fade away. Germany now pays ~10cent/KWh for solar.
            Price will go down during at least the next 10 years with 8%/year. I estimate that it will end in the range ~2 cent / KWh.

            …Those laws may wind up collapsing the grid. If that happens, it will be a humanitarian disaster..
            Don’t be afraid. Assume Vermont management is not crazy and looks to German grid management as they can learn a lot.
            Despite all renewable German grid stays ~10 times more reliable than in US.

            ..no need for the wind and solar…
            Now solar and wind on land are already cheaper than a new NPP here!

            Especially if you take all subsidy and taxes away for both.
            While nuclear cost price time go up, renewable prices go down.

          2. Engineer-Poet
            September 24, 2013 at 12:56 AM
            There’s no need for the wind and solar when the nuclear plants are sufficient to meet demand. It’s crazy laws which require that the grid purchase power from the unreliables first. Those laws may wind up collapsing the grid. If that happens, it will be a humanitarian disaster… all created by fools like YOU.

            If the nonsense Bas spews were just confined his bedroom I wouldn’t give a damn. But with thousands of his ilk going out of their way blocking peoples from reliable clean power and water by delaying and defaming and demonizing it just because they don’t like it, it becomes a moral issue whose reality is killing far more people by starvation and disease than the worst nuclear’s ever done. To quote, Bas’s rabid hypocritical biases has blood on its hands.

          3. “PV-panels will become the big competitor in Vermont”

            Uhhh, no…. Only if the government mandates their usage. I’m in NH, it’s cloudy winter here 5-6 months out of the year. You’ll be luck to get capacity factors in the double digits. Meaning your $2/watt total capital costs balloon into $20/watt.

            Germany now pays more for electricity than any other industrialized nation outside of Denmark (another RE paradise) and tiny islands who get all their electricity from imported diesel.

            Germany Pays 17c per KWh for industrial electricity, and 38c(!!) for residential consumers. Twelve years ago industrial power used to be 4.8c/KWh in Germany, LESS than the United States at the time, and about equal to France! The US has gone from 5c in 2001 to 7.2c now. RE has TRIPLED the cost of electricity in places like Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Germany while doing virtually nothing to reduce emissions. Renewable energy adds no new capacity, and only produces grid-destabilizing junk power that if government didn’t mandate it’s purchase at RETAIL prices, would be completely worthless.

          4. @ZachF
            Suggest that you check more reliable and recent updated sites for the German electricity prices. Industry and households pay far less.

            In Netherlands we have hardly any renewable policy (we will not catch the EU targets).
            Our industry complained recently that they cannot compete against the Germans because their industry has much lower electricity prices. The EU found enough to start an investigation, which implies that the complains of our industry are true.

            These prices also have a lot to do with the energy tax situation (which are high, but in NL and Germany quite similar).

          5. @ZachF
            The energiewende has been an abject failure by any objective metric…

            For the Germans it is a clear success!
            Looking at last weeks election results, voters punished the only party (FDP) that wanted to slow the Energiewende (not stop; as that would be political suicide).
            Now FDP is even out of parliament (where it always was)!
            Merkel gained and can make a coalition with the socialists and/or the greens. Both favor the Energiewende more then Merkel’s own party (CDU/CSU).

            For the economy it is a success too. According to their experts the Energiewende is the most important contributor to the fact that Germany is by far the most successful economy in the EU.
            Very low unemployment, almost no budget deficit, growing all the time while almost all EU countries have long recession periods with high unemployment…

            So you must have real strange criteria in order to reach that conclusion.

      3. But it doesn’t answer the question: Is a license that much and could the company not find trained people when it is time to restart the place? Surely there must be some operators who are willing to be on call if something like that happens.

        If I ran a utility I would be reluctant to give up a license. Its kind of like if I were a hairdresser and for some reason did not work in the beauty industry I don’t think I would give up a cosmetology license, just in case you have to work in the industry again.

        1. BobinPgh
          If I ran a utility I would be reluctant to give up a license.
          It shows the decision makers are totally convinced that the NPP will stay a money loosing business in the future.

          1. @Bas
            I disagree. What it actually shows is that utility decision makers see the $500 million to $2 billion decommissioning fund as a piggy bank that they cannot touch until the plant is being decommissioned AND they know that reducing the supply of electricity is a sure way to drive up the price. In the case of San Onofre, I believe that the state government made a deal with the utility to provide them more profit by building new gas fired capacity. That deal would benefit some powerful political contributors – at the expense of the general (but too often apathetic) public.

          2. Rod,
            Are such deals, you think the owners of SONGS made, not criminal in the US?

            I find the story about rising electricity prices after the closure of SONGS curious, as the plant was down during long periods before the closure announcement and then no such stories.

            Though I saw hardly any wind turbine or solar panel when I traveled through California last year (?), it seems that the state migrates towards it. That implies that power plants need to be flexible.
            Assume that the need to become more flexible, drove the owners of SONGS towards a heat exchange design with more and thinner pipes, which vibrate more easy…

            Vermont: Do they not get the decommissioning money when the Vermont NPP is closed in e.g. 2030?
            Of course prices will go up slightly, but assume that other states will then fill the gap via the (long distance) grid. After all Vermont is fairly small.

            1. @Bas

              Are such deals, you think the owners of SONGS made, not criminal in the US?

              Maybe. However, it is unlikely that anyone would ever be indicted or prosecuted for making a deal like the one I described. They are often done behind closed doors and with an excellent cover story that obscures the actual motives and effects.

              Vermont: Do they not get the decommissioning money when the Vermont NPP is closed in e.g. 2030?

              Vermont Yankee’s owners would have access to the decommissioning fund in 2030. For most business leaders, that is an eternity from now and has no impact on the current decision making process.

  3. I notice Fort Calhoun is still not on. Rod, if you could, what would you do about the place? They seem to have so much trouble with the other ones do not. It’s supposed to be the next to close, but can it be saved or is it too far gone?

    1. Nuclear plants have a curious stigma other fossil plants don’t. If a oil or gas plant goes on the blink or breaks down, it was mostly all the fault of THAT plant. When a nuclear plant has maintenance issues and has to shut down, then ALL nuclear plants MUST be prone that same problem!

      1. Re: Mitch: “Nuclear plants have a curious stigma other fossil plants don’t.”

        If there’s any media perpetuated stigma it’s that all nuke plants WILL , not maybe or perhaps or might, but WILL eventually screw up and fail catastrophically unless shut down before they do. Simply broadcasting the life-time records of nukes would dispel this general public assumption but the nuclear education just isn’t out there. There are Congresspeople taking the idea of 5 nukes down in one year as an omen and are withdrawing their public support — if any — back even more and tossing in with the greens. It’s REALLY crazy! As one poster said here, nuclear has all the environmental/footprint/reliability advantages and safety/accident records any energy source could wish for yet it’s in the doghouse in the U.S. where it was born! We just don’t have PR reps in the nuclear industry or nuclear community (companies, research labs, manufacturing, engineering schools, publishing) with the fire in their bellies to hit back anti-nukes and the MEDIA with sauce and passion it takes to reverse all the lies and slander and FUD. How many more nukes must go down next year before the Titanic’s crew wakes up??

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

      2. @Mitch

        That “stigma” is one more piece of evidence supporting my theory that the media is antinuclear because they are paid a lot more money by coal, oil and gas companies and organizations. They are much bigger advertisers than the “nuclear industry.”

        1. Rod,
          That point may also be the driver behind the remarkable publications of Bloomberg and Der Spiegel regarding renewable.
          While their facts are often not wrong, they chose and interpret in such a way that it delivers a bad picture regarding renewable almost all the time.

          It is a pity that people farther away, then indeed get a distorted view of reality.

          I often wonder how much that is also the situation regarding other subjects and countries…

    2. Ft. Calhoun is making progress. They have fuel in the pot, and are trying to get permission to heat up. They are still finding small things with the plant. The main issue isn’t the safety culture or procedures, its all the deficient stuff they are finding with the plant design basis.

      They aren’t down and out yet.

      1. But why was the plant so bad off in the first place? Didn’t the owner ever update it with new parts? I was wondering if it was like a high school in our area. The old one was built in 1959 and never updated and by 2010 it was a craphole (actually, it was pretty bad off in the 70s). The architects inpected it and decided that it would be less expensive to just build a whole new building, which is what happened. And why is it Kewaunee with nothing wrong with it gets shut when Ft. Calhoun has so much trouble and getting so much attention?

  4. Rod, your capacity factors are misleading. The only reason the numbers improved was because the fleet dropped from 104 to 100 reactors in 2013 before July.

    1. The only reason the numbers improved was because the fleet dropped from 104 to 100 reactors in 2013 before July.

      No, that’s simply not true.

        1. The capacity factor increase by almost 5%, yet the generation increased only 2%.

          Yes, that’s what the numbers quoted above indicate, but carefully parse the claim that was made (emphasis mine): “The only reason the numbers improved was because the fleet dropped from 104 to 100 reactors in 2013 before July.”

          So the 2% increase in generation had nothing to do with it?!

          That’s why I said that the claim is not true, and personally, I wouldn’t say that the capacity factor statistics are misleading at all. The fleet should be proud of its performance last month.

          1. The 2% is within the “noise” of monthly performance. Simply by shifting a couple of reactors’ refuel/maint/unsched outages start/end dates by a couple of days between month starts and ends alters the cap factors for any particular month. That’s why the numbers show no improvement – actually a deterioration as the fleet decays. The “5%” is an artifact of sketchy bookkeeping.

            August 2008 – 96.9%
            August 2009 – 96.4%
            August 2010 – 95.5%
            August 2011 – 94.6%
            August 2012 – 92.0% (San Onofre 1 & 2 and CR3 dead but in “operational”
            August 2013 – 97.4 The three reactors pull from listing as “operational”
            AUGUST 2013 94.4 – ACTUAL Cap Factor

            1. @YLS

              You have missed the whole point of the post. It was not at all about showing any kind of dramatic improvement; nuclear plants in the US have been operating near the theoretical limit of reliability for at least two decades.

              The point was to highlight a fairly common occurrence for the month of August, one of the months of the year during which people really appreciate the value of electricity as a means of keeping comfortable. While wind often disappears for days at a time over very large swaths of inhabited land as high pressure areas bring hot, muggy days and nights, nuclear plants keep chugging away, providing life giving juice and allowing us all to sleep a little more comfortably. At the same time, the nuclear plants are doing nothing that increases the chances that muggy Augusts might get worse in the future.

              Is there any other energy technology that can make that claim?

          2. @Rod,
            I don’t agree I missed your point. What did you say?:

            “I may be accused of cherry-picking a particularly good month for US nuclear power plants”… This quote comes from the Nuclear Performance Report of August, 2013…
            Estimated U.S. nuclear generation in August 2013 was 71.0 billion kWh, compared to 69.6 billion kWh for the same period in 2012. The average estimated capacity factor for August 2013 was 97.4 percent compared to 92.7 percent in August 2012. Total nuclear generation for the first eight months of 2013 was 0.7 percent higher than the same period in 2012.”..

            “How can anyone fail to recognize the value of a technology where a fleet of 100 operating units produced 97.2 of their theoretical maximum output around the clock for a solid month?”

            Well, I pointed out that your great month wasn’t so great. That in fact it illuminated a common bookkeeping trick to conceal quite poor performance both in net generation and in capacity factor as the fleet decays.

            Notice the drop in generation essentially year by year with 8/13 down to 9th place:
            Net generation Million KwHr
            2007 August 72751
            2008 August 72617
            2009 August 72245
            2006 August 72016
            2010 August 71574
            2005 August 71382
            2011 August 71339
            2004 August 71068
            2013 August 71000
            2002 August 70778
            2012 August 69602

            Notice the Capacity factor (both before then after correcting taken multiple reactors off the books that they previously were included) year/#of reactors/capfact:

            2007 August 104 97.5
            2013 August 100 97.4 Bookkeeping game
            2008 August 104 96.9
            2006 August 104 96.5
            2002 August 104 96.4
            2009 August 104 96.1
            2005 August 104 96
            2004 August 104 95.9
            2010 August 104 95.2
            2013 August 100 94.7 Corrected
            2011 August 104 94.6
            1999 August 104 94.1
            2000 August 104 93.8
            2001 August 104 93.7
            2003 August 104 93.5
            2012 August 104 92
            1998 August 104 83.6
            1995 August 109 83.3
            1997 August 107 82.3
            1996 August 110 81.9

    2. In other words, three of the four reactors that haven’t been operating for more than a year (SONGS and CR3) have been holding down the industry capacity factor.

      1. Correct. SONGS and crystal river were “operating” until mid-year even tho cold and dead. These counted in the performance ratings until then – as they should. Checking a box made them “N/A” by June nicely making performance look better.
        There were 112 reactors. By checking the boxes 12 of those don’t count in performance stats. Same school of accounting that the banking industry used in TARP. Your toxic assets magically disappears, the ledgers look sweet, and all’s swell in the world.

  5. Yls,
    Question:
    Normal machines (incl. electronic equipment) start with a period of less availability.
    Ailments have to be corrected, operating staff learns curious characteristics of it, misses experience, etc.

    Then the system operates a number of years optimal, reaching highest availability.

    Then the system (usually the machine) gets more and more ailments. Hence availability goes downwards.
    So you decide in the end it is better to install a new or do a major upgrade (which usually delivers less than new, but costs less).

    If you analyze the availability figures of the ~100 NPP’s in US, what is then the optimal availability period of a NPP? First 5 years teething problems, then 30 years optimal, then gradually going down with 0.5%/year?

      1. Mitch
        I’m amazed.
        Why is wanting to know performance characteristics of NPP’s
        “illogic … wish-facts …ranting” ??

    1. Bas, the IAEA information database is dedicated to collecting and sharing about that, in addition to security, and helping the operators keep the unit in the best state possible.

      The US reactor as a whole have reached a very high level of availability, above 90% and unexpected shutdown is less frequent than with other fossil technologies, like coal and gas. Worldwide, the Unplanned Capability Loss Factor is stable, and maybe somewhat lower than in 1995 :
      http://www.iaea.org/PRIS/WorldStatistics/WorldTrendinUnplannedCapabilityLossFactor.aspx

      There has not really been any significant increase in “ailments” of NPP recently.
      In the case of SONGS, the faulty component was brand new, and not aging. it was therefore a case of failure in the initial phase, when trying to introduce an updated technology in this reactor. In the case of Belgium, the cracks have been determined to have been there since the construction of the RPV, and not caused by aging.

      1. @jmdesp

        It is not exactly the info I meant, but it clearly implies that “availability” is rising gradually!
        (if “availability” is defined as availability minus projected down time).
        Assuming that the average age of the ~400 reactors since 1995 is growing, it implies that in general ‘things’ are getting better! A good development.

        I actually wanted to know (on average):
        – after how many years, decline in availability is observed / to be expected.
        – how many years the in swing period / teething troubles of a reactor normally take.
        Realize those may be difficult to answer questions, as it may require a lot of data mining.

  6. Fully agree Rod.

    Nuclear power plants are like fine wine, in that they get better over time. They produce more reliable electricity as more efficient (faster) refuelling and maintence is done by experience from previous refuelling and maintenance. Plus, optimizing the plants pumps and turbines with the advent of digital systems allows increasing the power output over time.

    Compare this to an oil well or gas well or geothermal powerplant. All those generate less energy over time as their sources become depleted or degraded, and it happens in just years, whereas nuclear plants keep making more electricity more and more reliably over many decades.

  7. @ZachF
    … energiewende has been an abject failure by any objective metric.

    German population and voters consider it a big success.
    FDP was the only party that wanted to slow the Energiewende.
    FDP lost all its seats in parliament at last week German elections (had ~15%).

    Merkel won and can now only make a coalition with the socialists or/and the greens. Both are more positive regarding the Energiewende then Merkel’s own party.

    Since the Energiewende took steam, Germany is the most successful economy in the EU: Low unemployment (Energiewende = jobs), little budget deficit, growing all the time while other EU countries are in recession…
    German experts consider the Energiewende the biggest contributor to Germany’s economic success.

    PS
    Response in the thread itself seems not possible, may to many reactions.

  8. You all complain about how nuclear power is promoted but you don’t answer a question from someone like me. Rod, I know I probably made you mad but why be so stuck up you don’t respond to people?

    1. BobinPgh, the blog is quite busy with comments at the moment, and they don’t all get an answer. So nobody is deliberately not willing to answer to your questions. And you did get several answers earlier, so I’m not too sure which one you feel wasn’t answered at all.

      Rod did answer 2 messages down to your question about why the utility would give up their license, that’s because the decommissioning fund is a huge sum of money that they can touch only if if they give up the license. Actually in financial terms, they become more profitable as soon as they can use it. As it’s also difficult and expensive to restart a nuclear plant, since they would have to incorporate all the security updates that happened in between, keeping the license becomes a lot less interesting.

  9. JMdesp, one question I had was about training. One of the expenses of keeping the license is constant training of the reactor operators. But that happens in other professions too. Why not have a team of operators who can be trained and when a VY or a Kewaunee decides to restart send them out there? Could they not be trained at other Entergy facilities? As for the decomissioning fund, do they get all of the money at once? If not, then what if the decomissioning fund it not enough, do they just leave the partly-demolished hulk there, like a nuisance bar that is shut down, decaying (yes we have a bar that lost its license near our neighborhood and it is decaying)?

    I always thought the reason Crystal River and San Onofre were shut down were because the owners were fed up with the aggravation.

    And the other question never answered is why is it Kewaunee and VY get shut down and Fort Calhoun with so much trouble doesn’t? It seems to be giving a lot of aggravation and if any would shut down that one would be.

    As for communicating, it might help to answer peoples questions, it would make you nuclear professionals a lot less stuck up.

    1. @BobinPgh

      As for communicating, it might help to answer peoples questions, it would make you nuclear professionals a lot less stuck up.

      You would have a lot easier time getting your questions addressed if you would stop insulting the people that you want to answer the question.

      You asked a complicated question at a time when I have been quite busy. It has nothing to do with being “stuck up”. I am planning a post that addresses a number of issues facing the US fleet of reactors; I will include the information that I have gathered about Fort Calhoun in that post.

      1. Rod

        Thank you for the information you share with us ~ when you can. Your technology along with Flibe Energy’s Mr. Sorensen and Mr. Dorius is vital and will be so in the near future. I’m not a nuclear trained expert, honestly, not even novice. But I’ve learned from patenting a water filtration pipe system in 1984 what it is worth through the years, and what the timing does when it catches up to you, because of things we learn that nothing but time can teach us.

        “Sustainability” is a foolish word in if can’t meet demand. Our world electric demand can not rely on ideal weather. In the search for final energy solutions where you look matters enough to save a lifetime searching elsewhere.

        The truth? The U.S. consumed 4,100,656,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in 2011, 2012 data will not be available until after February of 2014. There were also 17,622,134,654 megawatthours that were consumed in equivalent fuels converted from trillions of btu’s as megawatthour equivalents. And gasoline is equivalent to 36.8 kwh. To assume (some EV’s) vehicles @ 38kwh p/100 miles would cost me $4.18 form my local Circle-K store to Tampa from Sebring. Otherwise, it’s $13.60 in the gas tank today, minimum.

        The biggest problem is access to oil and the time remaining on the clock to utter depletion. We all know the stretch across industries way beyond combustion fuels distress. In 2011 the EIA, CIA and others know that we have; 1.48 trillion barrels of Known Proved Reserves. Canada claims to have 1.7 trillion barrels in shale and sands. However, the government of Alberta claims they can recover approximately 10% of that at current economical prices and current best available technology. The media suggest that there’s a miscalculation of 978 billion barrels of available oil. It isn’t that 978 billion barrels of oil is not in the earth, that’s not the point, we had 43 years of known remaining Known Proven Reserves, worldwide, in 2011 based on our current consumptive use rate and our known proved actual recoverable reserves. As TECO did with the first IGCC plant in Polk County, FL your technology with a FLIBE process finishes that utter depletion timing distress. And, final… Especially with advanced synthetics but that’s a whole other issue.

        Solar is an ideal afterthought – an “Inconvenient Truth.” And wind is much worse.

        There are tens-of-millions of people worldwide who would scour the Earth through felled trees, vegetation, arid lands and deserts to displace inadequate solar darkness for ground based solar energy, creating worldwide deforestation and other consumed lands never before imagined.

        “In June 2008, eSolar, a Pasadena, CA-based company founded by Idealab CEO Bill Gross with funding from Google, announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the utility Southern California Edison to produce 245 megawatts of power. Also, in February 2009, eSolar announced it had licensed its technology to two development partners, the Princeton, N.J.-based NRG Energy, Inc., and the India-based ACME Group. In the deal with NRG, the companies announced plans to jointly build 500 megawatts of concentrating solar thermal plants throughout the United States. The target goal for the ACME Group was nearly double; ACME plans to start construction on its first eSolar power plant this year, and will build a total of 1 gigawatt over the next 10 years.”

        “eSolar’s proprietary sun-tracking software (in the state of absolute art) coordinates the movement of 24,000 1 meter-square mirrors per 1 tower using optical sensors to adjust and calibrate the mirrors in real time. This allows for a high density of reflective material which enables the development of modular concentrating solar thermal (CSP) power plants in 46 megawatt (MW) units on approximately π square mile parcels of land, resulting in a land-to-power ratio of 44 acres (180,000 m2) per 1 megawatt.” source – wikipedia published from eSolar

        If solar thermal power towers were consistent with the above example electric generation, and had to replace all of the U.S. consumed fuels converted to electricity, it would require 1 acre in every 20.75 acres of the entire United States, excluding surface water acreage. Or, of the 2,264,076,800 land acres of the United States, not including U.S. territories and surface water acreage, it would require 30.84 acres of every square mile of U.S. land acreage, and ideal averaged weather conditions. This is approximately 2,479,782 megawatts at-load on the grid every hour. 59,514,768 megawatts on the grid every day, and 21,722,890,654 megawatts per year – delivered. With the moderate exception of HVDC they also lose approx 10% per miles in voltage drop.

        The U.S. consumed 4,100,656,000 megawatt- hours of electricity in 2011, 2012 data will not be available until after February of 2014. There were also 17,622,134,654 megawatthours that were consumed in equivalent fuels converted from trillions of btu’s as megawatthour equivalents.

        If solar PV generation had to replace all of the U.S. consumed fuels converted to electricity it would require 1 acre in every 22 acres of the entire United States, excluding surface water acreage. Or, of the 2,264,076,800 land acres of the United States, not including U.S. territories and surface water acreage, it would require 29.06 acres of every square mile of U.S. land acreage, and ideal average weather conditions. The average adequate daily solar hours available nationally is 6.9 hours under the best averaged operating conditions. In addition, in most areas of the United States the average voltage drop, line loss due to the resistance of electricity transmission, is about 10% per 100 miles.

        No one would attempt to build a standard fire combustion power plant to replace a standard fire combustion power plant because of less than ideal weather. This is exactly what solar PV and wind turbines have to do. And standard combustion beyond hydro ramped for wildly fluctuating weather outages. People claim you can place the electric and energy into storage, not if your drawing it all off to replace standard combustion and nuclear at-load. You’d have to build way more acreage than demand. Elementary students are learning this, batteries don’t generate electricity they simply store it.

        And for political sources; Washington DC: Net Acres; 39,296 excluding surface water. Exclusive PV solar to replace all other consumed DC fuels would require at least 72,770 acres. In addition to the 199,858 megawatts of electricity Washington DC generated and consumed for 2010, 16,195,990 megawatts of other equivalent fuels. As you can see, Washington DC could not support its energy demand with our current solar or wind technologies whatsoever. And, any other public suggestion that they could convert their energy demand to solar and wind would be just plain silly. Especially, if elected officials considered future public humility to be a tradeoff for current popular energy assertions for entertainment, rather than public energy integrity. In other words, public/political energy humiliation is timeless.

        The catch? If anyone can produce electricity cheaper than a utility company’s “Avoided Fuel & Avoided Energy costs power utilities will buy it from you. Fuel is easy, the price they pay for it. The Avoided Energy cost is all the other costs that go into operating their utility. Unlike the NAVY, which is nobodies public audit business, their budgets deal with it.

        The advantage of your technology, with a company like Flibe Energy, you’d win the game in high utility energy and electricity delivery costs. Because you don’t have to pay for replacements, displacements, with the other operating costs of a utility, i.e., men in field, personnel, retirement of facilities, equipment, and the biggies, return on shareholder equity, pensions, and the list goes on and on in the form of the future capital margins of electric utilities. And normally when your good, utilities will pay you early to build your plant in the form of early levelized payments. Example, 3 years in advance at the rates that are on your electric bill, and, a bank, as an example, Bank of America would put up 80% for a construction loan against the Power Sales Agreement, negotiated or standard boilerplate power sale agreement PPA, with a lean against your power sale agreement. (That’s their security agreement if you fail, because if you do the bank owns that power sales agreement. That’s a whole other world in terms of replacement alternatives, and lawyers.. Another example of what the government can do for you; TECO was given an up-front grant for $275 million to build the IGCC plant in Polk county, again, for the first U.S. IGCC R&D and demonstration pilot to scaled up to a commercial IGCC plant.

        Not withstanding the cost of a particular FLIBE and combustion turbine system, at Duke Energy rates, today, a 2,000 MW Liquid-Floride Reactor scaled up would generate $7.9 billion in 20 years without a single rate increase, although you would not need to be that generous. Can a plant be built at that price and operate at under $7.9 billion for twenty years. Companies like GE and Westinghouse would want to cash you out with their combustion plans (pretty much taken from your ideas because that’s how big players play. Example, $7 million at first closing and $27 million at second closing, and you go away and they own the power island. I’ve been there and it wasn’t worth it. Licensing and Certification is everything if you want to duplicate the process elsewhere into the future. That’s the huge corporate money after proof of concept. Without them the electric would own the wheeled electricity from you (interconnected), and you & Flibe Energy (if that’s possible) would own the difference between their utility cost (avoided energy cost) and your operating costs without all of the overhead that a Duke Energy incurs. That’s billions over 20 years in added costs you don’t have as a utility.

        Generation IV nuclear commercial installs is scheduled at about 2030. We can’t wait that long. If I were a prince and knew I was selling out all of my oil in 40 years, I’d close the tap off right now if no one had the technology to replace it. Because I wouldn’t want to meet you in a war in 20 years. Unless of course, you were to tell me you don’t need the oil.

        There are “363,459” known oil wells in the United States, published below (on Lithor.com), and “127,734” of these oil wells produce less than one barrel of oil per day.

        As you know the your combustion turbine (with the modifications you may want now) and low pressure LiTR in the future can not be beat, at-load on the grid, period.

        It has taken 100 years to build the refueling motor transportation infrastructure of the U.S. to “118,756 gas stations.”

        “The USA had 118,756 filling stations (gas stations) in 2007 according to the Census. “wikipedia.org filling stations”

        interesting background:
        “The increase in automobile ownership after Henry Ford started to sell automobiles that the middle class could afford resulted in a greater demand for filling stations. The world’s first purpose built gas station was constructed in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905 at 420 S. Theresa Avenue. The second gas station was constructed in 1907 by Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) in Seattle, Washington at what is now Pier 32. Reighard’s Gas Station in Altoona, Pennsylvania claims that it dates from 1909 and is the oldest existing gas station in the United States.”

        Energy infrastructure is everything in the future growth EV business. Either some one puts out the most efficient energy at the most cost effective price or they become a dinosaur. We have 2 decades to get it on the ground. Nothing else is more important in the transportation world and oil depletion send off resistance. And if people like me don’t get the nuclear full picture don’t wait on us.

        I don’t mind getting 100 miles in an EV and have to stop for a 15 minute 80% recharge or a quick battery change-out. Oil companies may hesitate because of the efficiency, at-cost loss delays, but if they into the near decades were selling the electricity at avoided fuel and avoided energy cost into their financial models, at recharge or battery displacement, for a return on their investment as well they’d have nothing to lose into the dying depletion state, and they, more than likely, would avoid WWIII. For our children.

        And extreme liberals who want Cap & Trade – The Chicago Climate Exchange CCX i.e., Gore and Sandor whom sold CCX to ICE, who say they have $40 trillion at [on-hold] investors (worldwide) to drop into that derivatives market, 25% into the U.S. would place $10 trillion against the total operating electric utility income of $34 billion from the $397 billion in U.S. sold electricity from all of the U.S. electric utilities in 2011. Who would trade $10 trillion for $34 billion in operating income. Well that’s easy. The $10 trillion is paid to the U.S. government. Then, the U.S. government would owe Gore and the investors $10 trillion plus interest at market rates. The biggest scam in energy history. We all know who has to the U.S. Federal Government. And, if new tech like yours and LiTR came to replace fuels booted they’d have no business in the fuels exchange to offset. btw; when CCX was positioned before the ICE buyout Gore was the 5th largest shareholder. He envisioned a return on his continuing equity of $5 billion selling emission derivatives the very first year of carbon and other emission offsets and credits. Some have suggested his actual returns could have been between $9 and $15 billion, and it After all the investors worldwide want to dump $10 trillion (U.S. 25% of emissions) while Goldman Sachs was estimated (or is) ? to earn $300+ billion operating the trading platform clearing house.

        One last note regarding their silly algae scheme:

        This petro algae producer has published that they produce approximately 14,000 gallons of oil per-year per-acre. Once again, to replace the U.S. consumption of approximately 19.5 million barrels of oil per day, or, 819,000,000 gallons of oil per day, would require 21,352,500 acres of U.S. land surface, excluding surface water, while actually delivering 38 gallons of oil per-day per-acre. Of the 2,264,076,800 U.S. land acreage, that would be 1 acre in every 106 acres of the U.S. land surface, or, 6.03 acres of every sq mile of U.S. land surface. This is, of course, before any net energy loss or internal energy required through production and transportation. Without intending a complete transfer of this similar organic, compared to the other organics of gasoline and oil as the sole source for all transportation needs, this may certainly fuel vast heavy vehicle markets, and, timely.

        PetroAlgae, Inc. http://www.petroalgae.com/
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wECYL5QCfxc&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL7D98C84BAF453EE7

        Thank you, Rod.

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