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We couldn’t have written a better headline ourselves: Nuclear power industry under seige, FirstEnergy exec warns.  Never mind the misspelling of “siege,” newspapers are having a hard enough time these days…

The article leads off: “The nuclear power industry finds itself buffeted by financial concerns, political pressure and increased scrutiny because of the Japanese disaster that could lead to the closures of more plants in the United States, a Western Pennsylvania utility executive said Tuesday.”

It then quotes FirstEnergy CEO Peter Sena III as warning of “rolling blackouts” if more nuclear reactors close. FirstEnergy owns the two-unit Perry reactors in Ohio and Beaver Valley reactors in western Pennsylvania. Later, Sena laments that no new reactors will be built in either Pennsylvania or Ohio because, as the article states, “utilities can’t recover the multibillion-dollar construction costs from ratepayers.”

Duh. In a deregulated marketplace, with far cheaper electricity sources readily available, multi-billion power plants of any kind can’t recover their construction costs–much as backwards utilities like FirstEnergy pine for the old days when they could spend billions of dollars on behemoth power plants and then charge ratepayers for them plus a hefty profit on their investment. And back then the bigger the investment the greater the profit. In most of the U.S., those days are gone.

The thing is, it was the utilities, especially nuclear utilities, that fought for this deregulated market in the first place. They wanted to be able to run their reactors as hard as they could, with as little ongoing maintenance and improvement investment as they could get away with, and reap the benefits of selling all that “low-cost” electricity. A lot of us were skeptical about deregulation back then, especially since the nuclear utilities asked for–and mostly received–billions of dollars in so-called “stranded costs” to pay for the nuclear construction costs they hadn’t yet recovered before deregulation began. In California alone, those stranded costs amounted to some $25 Billion added to everyone’s electricity bills, whether they chose to buy their electricity from a nuclear utility or a clean energy competitor.

It seemed to the nuclear utilities like a brilliant idea at the time. What they didn’t realize is that they were digging their own grave. They didn’t foresee a host of factors that have brought the industry to the knees, to the point where it is basically begging policymakers for help.

Those factors: the advent of natural gas fracking and the huge increase in gas supply, which drove down gas prices and is keeping them low (not that fracking is a good thing, it’s not); the plunging costs and increasing availability of renewables, especially wind and solar power, the latter of which, at the rooftop level, is enabling millions of homeowners to power their own homes more affordably than buying power from utilities; and Fukushima, which is increasing costs to nuclear utilities for upgrades and modifications (even if the NRC is doing its darnedest to keep those costs as low as possible for the utilities, far lower than is warranted from the NRC staff’s own safety analyses). Indeed, Sena warns that post-Fukushima safety efforts could themselves lead to more reactor closures.

But the point is, if the nuclear industry is indeed under siege, it’s the industry itself that led the charge to the barricades. And now that the barricades have fallen the industry suddenly realizes that its emperor (the deregulated marketplace) has brought the wrong clothes for the changing electricity climate. It’s no coincidence that the nuclear “renaissance” of a few years ago has dwindled to four reactors in still-regulated southeastern states where the regulators remain controlled by the utilities and ratepayers are held hostage to them both.

Now that the nuclear industry has understood it miscalculated, it’s full court pressure to somehow force ratepayers to subsidize it once again. That’s the point of articles like this one; part of a well-coordinated nuclear industry campaign to find new ways to rig the system (for other recent similar examples, see our April 1 post: You know the nuclear industry is desperate when…).

And that’s also why the industry has created the new front group Nuclear Matters, also mentioned in that April 1 GreenWorld article. Former Senators Evan Bayh of Indiana and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire were the first figureheads enticed to lead the charge (by how much nuclear green we don’t know); now Nuclear Matters has announced that former White House chief of staff Bill Daley (a lifelong friend of Exelon, one of the utilities with the most to lose in the current climate) and former DOE Secretary and Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham (who spent his time at DOE doing whatever the nuclear industry asked).

Exactly who is behind Nuclear Matters (www.nuclearmatters.com) isn’t clear. The group isn’t exactly transparent and doesn’t seem to have a physical address or actual staff; rather it appears to be largely a creation of the public relations firm Sloane and Company (www.sloanepr.com) which lists Exelon as its only utility/nuclear industry client.

For its part, Exelon isn’t exactly staying in the background. An article yesterday on Fierce Energy cites an Exelon honcho complaining that “flawed market rules and the current patchwork of state and federal energy policies subsidizing renewable energy do not properly compensate nuclear for its reliability and 24/7 emissions-free energy.” The exec, Kenneth Cornew who heads Exelon’s generation unit, added, “The economic viability of these highly reliable, low-carbon generation sources [nuclear reactors] is at risk, not because they can’t compete in the marketplace, but because they can’t compete when the playing field is uneven,” he said

That last sentence is a subtle upgrade from their previous messaging in the argument that “the playing field is uneven.” In fact, if you take out that clause and the word “not” before “compete,” the statement is exactly correct: the plain and simple fact is that aging and expensive nuclear reactors increasingly cannot compete with lower-cost alternatives, and the disparity is only going to grow as nuclear faces increased safety costs and continually falling renewables prices and reliability. A new graph published on Businessinsider.com dramatically shows the plunging cost of solar power, which is now competitive with both gas and coal (nuclear isn't competitive with any of the three).

Neither Exelon, nor its other most-threatened colleague Entergy, nor Nuclear Matters have laid out publicly the policy prescriptions they would like to see–rather, they’ve just focused on the argument that the market they created somehow has to change to favor nuclear power. The details, we presume, they’re explaining to policymakers in back rooms. But the one thing that is certain is that if any of their policy ideas were to be adopted, the result would be higher electricity prices for ratepayers–and that’s never a popular move for elected officials. Their added conundrum is that those higher rates would lead to even faster adoption of rooftop solar, further accelerating the nuclear utilities’ decline.

Yes, the nuclear industry is indeed under siege–one they set upon themselves more than a decade ago. And, at this point, it appears the industry may have no way out.

Michael Mariotte

Note, a version of this post first appeared April 10, 2014 on GreenWorld, NIRS' daily blog chronicling the transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My only disappointment is... (3+ / 0-)

    ...that coal plants weren't closed, and not replaced by gas in Illinois, before sufficient wind power went online to retire our old nukes.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:47:34 AM PDT

  •  Well, if you ignore the stuff that escapes (8+ / 0-)

    when they vent at least once a day, and the stuff that escapes from faulty piping, and the accidents, and the leaking, and the waste, etc.

    24/7 emissions-free energy
    Here's the thing that's on my mind about nuclear lately: At this website listing US plants, active and inactive, commercial or otherwise I count 16 active plants on the Atlantic & Pacific oceans. (Haven' counted the inactive ones yet.)  

    The oceans are rising. So at some point, some, if not all of these plants, are going to have to be moved. Entirely, including the cores.

    So assuming that there's an intervention by the Nuclear Safety Fairy that makes such a thing even possible, who exactly is going to be responsible for doing that. Or dealing with the damages when we discover it can't be done? And paying for it all; economically and in health-risk.

    We all have a pretty good idea about 'who,' and we all know it ain't going to be the Utilities.


    When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

    by Jim P on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:52:07 AM PDT

    •  The irony in this statement (0+ / 0-)
      The oceans are rising. So at some point, some, if not all of these plants, are going to have to be moved.
      is as breathtaking as it is entirely unnoticed by most people here.
      •  the blinkered obtuseness of your comment (0+ / 0-)

        equally so.

        “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

        by ozsea1 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:31:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did you intend to insult Jim? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:09:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In the real world, we'd have to build a few (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1

        thousand plants, as little as two, as many as five, to have any meaningful impact on carbon. At the usual $10B each after overruns and delays, ... well, we'd be totally on Kinetic Energies in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost.

        The irony is how nuke supporters keep skipping over large swathes of reality.


        When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

        by Jim P on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:36:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  indeed. and in the end it won't help anyway-- (0+ / 0-)

          Nukes are no more of a lower carbon footprint than renewables are.

          They're simply not a magic bullet for global warming.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:39:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And, since people fantasizing they are scientists (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, patbahn

          like 'averages' so much since we're having 1 major accident every 10-12 years or so, with 2,000 plants we'd be having them every two or three years. With 4,000, a Fukushima, a Chernobyl, every year.

          And PS: the oceans ARE rising. What's the plan for moving the existing plants? Or any of the several thousand you wished had been built. What's the plan, now that we know that we're just barely learning the geophysics of earthquakes and faults can suddenly become active, and more powerful, than assumed when 'safety' was being calculated for these buildings?

          And last: The word 'hubris' has a definition, which can be found on the internet, if you don't have a dictionary at home.


          When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

          by Jim P on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:41:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  awesome diary! (5+ / 3-)

    the industry trolls/promoters/sycophants/fluffers will likely arrive soon....

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:10:16 PM PDT

    •  Will remove the HR.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarkangi, fcvaguy

      if you apologize for calling anyone who disagrees with you a "troll". It's not right.

      TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

      by Le Champignon on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:38:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I won't remove the HR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy

      as this behavior has been explicitly and officially called out as unacceptable.

      Many times.

    •  HR'd for accusation of shilling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ozy, Le Champignon

      I've been anti-nuke since 1979 (I lived near Three Mile Island, and worked for both Greenpeace and Sierra Club). But I'm fucking tired of seeing people at DKos making silly accusations like this against people who disagree with them--not just on the nuke issue, but also on things like GMOs, gunz, vaccines, and Fukushima. It seems as if "you're a shill for XY or Z industry!!!" is now the standard reply to anyone who criticizes anyone's pet issue.

      The ONLY purpose of that is to shut down discussion by delegitimizing criticism that one doesn't like. It is silly, stupid, and should not be tolerated by anyone on any side of any issue. And I will HR it any time I see it, no matter which side it comes from. I think it's long past the time when Kos should start bojo'ing people for it. Even if it's people from my side of the issue.

      There are plenty of good reasons to oppose nukes. But idiotic accusations like this one, just make us all look like petty childish morans.

      So stop doing it.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:31:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Le Champignon comment history (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      is mildly revealing:

      I completely disagree with you (1+ / 0-)

      Nuclear power is the safest viable form of mass electrical production if measured by deaths per kilowatt-hour produced. Despite all the hubbub about Fukushima, no one has died from the radiological aspect of the plant, and it's likely that very few will. Getting rid of 20% of our electrical grid is asinine, absurd, and beyond the pale. If we want to save hundreds of millions of lives from climate change, the very first thing I would do is convert most of our grid to nuclear power.

      I agree with Lenny Flank - Too many on the anti-nuke side do not understand basic science. It's sickening. We're supposed to be the reality-based community. Why aren't we on issues like this and GMO?
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Obviously Le Champignon is a proponent of nuclear fission, and as such should not be HR'ing comments posted by anti nuclear DK members. A clear violation of the FAQ, HR by disagreement.

      & Lenny joined in the HRing.

      Even more revealing is this anti renewable comment"

      There's not enough wind on Earth (1+ / 0-)

      We've "mined" all the good spots, or will soon. If we used the entirety of all the wind in the entire United States, coast to coast, it would provide three times what we use now.

      Trouble is, of course, you'd need a wind turbine occupying pretty much every square foot of America to get that power.

      Wind just isn't energy dense enough without ravaging our environment in other ways.
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory tells us that we can get 100% from renewables. Studies show that off the east coast there are 60 gigawatts available just in the 10 to 20 mile offshore range. Currently the US gets 4.18% from wind, the upgraded version of the Atlantic Wind Connection alone would supply over 40 gigawatts.
      Everything I've seen about the coming "renewable revolution" has turned out to be shoddy science.
      http://www.dailykos.com/...
      Waste doesn't grow legs (0+ / 1-)

      and walk out of deep mountain reservoirs. Plus, reprocessing.

      Fusion is not nuclear. It's nowhere even remotely close to nuclear. The anti-science brigade strikes again.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Thermonuclear fusion, ever heard of it? Thermonuclear fission, ever heard of it?

      Nuclear fission proponents HRing those in disagreement is clearly HR abuse. That is exactly what LC & Lenny have done.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 09:46:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  want to hear what I think about nukes, in my (0+ / 0-)

        own voice?

        Go here:

        http://www.wmnf.org/...

        Enter the dates "04/20/2012" and "12/16/2011" and download those shows.  Listen for the portions with "Occupy St Pete" and "Lenny Flank".  Enjoy. That is from a few years ago when I was fighting the nuclear industry in Florida.

        I've been anti-nuke since the 70's, and still am.  As any literate person who checks my comment history (or indeed reads my comments right here in this diary) can find out for themselves.

        And yes, many of the arguments given by people on my side are, alas, arguments that betray a basic lack of science understanding. (Such as "whales are fleeing to California to escape the radiation!!!") Such arguments do not help us; they only make us look like uninformed dolts, and hand the industry a big club to beat us all over the head with. So don't use them.

        I made my reasons for my HR clear.  And I stand by them.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:10:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm familiar with your history (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:11:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  apparently you're not (0+ / 0-)

            I am not, repeat not, as in N-O-T, a "nuclear fission proponent", as any literate person can tell by reading my comments. And by saying I am, you are simply full of shit. And apparently illiterate, as well.

            You owe me an apology.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:37:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  ps--if you want to accuse me of being a shill for (0+ / 0-)

        the nuclear industry, then have the balls to do it explicitly, so I can (1) laugh at you, (2) HR you for it, and (3) tell you to go fuck yourself.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:17:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You were not accused of being a shill (0+ / 0-)

          it's not about you; but you made it so by playing self-appointed diary police.

          And now you're being abusive toward Roger and displaying the very behavior that you decry.

          “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

          by ozsea1 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:50:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  bullshit (0+ / 0-)
            You were not accused of being a shill
            What the hell does THIS mean, then:
            Nuclear fission proponents HRing those in disagreement is clearly HR abuse. That is exactly what LC & Lenny have done.
            Roger is full of shit. I am not a "nuclear fission proponent", and I am on the same fucking side as the commenter (much to my chagrin, since the unsupported accusation made by the commenter not only is a bannable offense, but makes my side look like petulant fools). Period. Any literate person who reads my comments ought to be able to figure that out.

            He owes me an apology.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 02:41:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  we need idiot-proof technology (5+ / 0-)

    People who are greedy, corrupt, cheap, short-sighted, scientifically ignorant, or just plain careless can't fuck up solar power.  Short of physically damaging the photovoltaics or mirrors, the worst you can do is misalign them and all that does is lower your power output in proportion to the angle.  And photovoltaics are far less critical about even that than concentrators since they can use diffuse light (cloudy Northern European weather).

    We can argue physics and engineering and life cycle costs/carbon all day but nuclear power is always going to be vulnerable to human error.

    The US can meet all its electricity needs with solar power using only 7% of the land we've already built on (no greenfield projects necessary) ... just by putting photovoltaics on roofs.  How much would it cost Washington to pay to put PVs on every roof in the country?

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:56:53 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately it's not quite that simple. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      There are indeed ways to 'fuck up' solar power:

      http://arstechnica.com/...

      Solar panels don't grow on trees (well, they do, but not electricity generating ones). Making them involves lots of nasty stuff. Cancer-causing stuff. And if the corporations involved aren't safety-conscious enough, or if there aren't enough regulations, people will get sick and die.

      Now, that's not to claim they are more or less dangerous than nukes, but let's not fool ourselves and believe that there is no risk.

      Wind power is far cleaner, though there you still have rare earth mining that you have to deal with.

    •  it ain't technology that killed nukes, it's simple (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ozy, 6412093, Calamity Jean, nirsnet, Roger Fox

      economics.

      Back in the 70's the electric companies couldn't buy nukes fast enough. They thought nuclear energy would be cheap cheap cheap and they'd all be rolling in more money than they knew what to do with.

      Instead, nukes turned out to be expensive expensive expensive. Money pits.

      When Duke Energy recently cancelled the two nukes it was asking for in Florida, it wasn't because of technology or regulations or tree-huggers boo hoo hoo. It was because the price for the nukes had tripled in just the past few years, and they hadn't even stuck a shovel into the ground yet.

      Nukes simply can't compete economically.  That is what killed them decades ago, and that is what still kills them today.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:38:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LCOE @ 3.3 to 6.5 cents kwh for wind (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1

        & nuclear fission at 11-12 cents, you point is entirely on target.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 09:54:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why do they cost multibillions? (0+ / 0-)
    In a deregulated marketplace, with far cheaper electricity sources readily available, multi-billion power plants of any kind can’t recover their construction costs
    That's unacceptable from every direction.

    Templating power plants should vastly reduce the cost.

    Site preparation and licensing should be well enough understood that multi-year court battles should not be required.

    Reactor scale should be somewhat variable to be properly supported by site cooling and distribution lines.

    Maintenance should be transparent, well-understood, and executed to a high standard.

    It's possible to do nuclear right.  Do it.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 01:42:28 PM PDT

    •  Well, except for the every-decade or so accidents (4+ / 0-)

      which threaten vast swathes of the earth and life on it for generations. And now the plants are mostly past their designed lifespan so the materials 'containing' the radiation are degrading even further.

      It's as possible to 'do nuclear right' as it is to mate with unicorns. There's corruption, carelessness, and hubris, all up and down the line.


      When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

      by Jim P on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 03:07:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention the megatonnage (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Jim P, Calamity Jean

        of high level spent fuel (and lots of other) waste that they still can't even manage to store safely on a temporary basis (see: Hanford, WIPP). Nobody's buying anymore.

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 04:48:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  None of those factors.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Calamity Jean

      have succeeded in reducing nuclear costs. The licensing process already has been reformed; the reactors now being built in SC and GA are standardized designs; etc etc....and yet these reactors are over budget (not as dramatically as those in Europe, but they're not close to finished yet either) and even their budgeted cost is no longer competitive with gas, and renewables are dropping so fast in cost that in most parts of the country, nuclear costs aren't competitive with those either.

      But this post is more about existing reactors--which already have been paid for--than new ones. The point is that even those paid-for existing reactors can't compete economically in the very marketplace that the utilities wanted. Now that they can't compete, those same utilities want to rig the marketplace to favor nuclear. But that will just accelerate the transition to renewables, especially the rooftop solar kind.

      •  when Progress Energy first proposed building two (0+ / 0-)

        new nukes in Levy County, Fl, they were originally budgeted at $2.5 billion each.

        Just a few years later, when Duke Energy bought Progress Energy, the cost had more than tripled--and the plants hadn't even gotten their permits yet. That is why Duke cancelled both plants.

        But this post is more about existing reactors--which already have been paid for--than new ones. The point is that even those paid-for existing reactors can't compete economically in the very marketplace that the utilities wanted.
        Indeed, the reason the industry is trying so hard now to extend their operating permits for the existing plants is because they lost their shirts on them all, and the only way they can recoup some of their money is to keep the plants running now that they are paid for.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:16:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is only one working unit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, nirsnet, Roger Fox

    at the Perry Nuclear Plant in Ohio.

  •  ratepayers don't pay? tell it to Florida. (3+ / 0-)

    Here we have the policy of "Nuclear Cost Recovery". That means that the electric companies get to raise their rates to pay for their planned nuke--and if their planned nuke never gets built (such as the two they cancelled in Levy County), they don't have to give a nickel of that money back.  

    Oh, and there's a built-in guaranteed "return on investment". Which they also don't have to give back.

    The funniest part came when Progress Energy (now owned by Duke Energy) decided to save themselves a few bucks by upgrading their Crystal River nuke on their own, using a non-standard process--and ended up breaking their nuke to an estimated $2 billion repair cost. Which of course they passed on to consumers through a rate hike ("cost recovery", ya know). Well, until there was talk of lawsuits and such (did I mention they broke their own nuke?), when the state cut a deal with them (customers will pay for the nukes that were never built, but not for the broken nuke).

    IIRC, North Carolina has a "cost recovery" policy too.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:21:39 PM PDT

    •  I actually may want to correct myself here--the (0+ / 0-)

      funniest part may actually have been when Progress Energy's own insurance company told them they weren't paying for any of the repairs, since it was Progress Energy who broke their own nuke.  It was only after THAT when Progress went crying to the Public Service Commission to raise customer rates to pay for the repairs.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:20:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I regret (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    that  nukes make such a poor case for themselves.  I am for nukes as a carbon-free, firm energy generation source.

    However, their vast construction expense, and long lead time, renders nukes barely practical.

    Oh, and there are the wastes, intended and unintended.

    I opposed nukes until this global warming/carbon emissions problem arose.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:30:22 PM PDT

    •  alas, when one looks at the entire process, from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, Roger Fox, Ozy

      ore mining to construction and then waste disposal, nukes have no smaller carbon footprint than renewables do (though of course both nukes and renewables have much smaller carbon footprints than coal does).

      A recent article in "Nature" discussed this:

      While it's understood that an operating nuclear power plant has near-zero carbon emissions (the only outputs are heat and radioactive waste), it's the other steps involved in the provision of nuclear energy that can increase its carbon footprint. Nuclear plants have to be constructed, uranium has to be mined, processed and transported, waste has to be stored, and eventually the plant has to be decommissioned. All these actions produce carbon emissions.

      According to Sovacool's analysis, nuclear power, at 66 gCO2e/kWh emissions is well below scrubbed coal-fired plants, which emit 960 gCO2e/kWh, and natural gas-fired plants, at 443 gCO2e/kWh. However, nuclear emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaic, at 32 gCO2e/kWh, and six times as much as onshore wind farms, at 10 gCO2e/kWh. "A number in the 60s puts it well below natural gas, oil, coal and even clean-coal technologies. On the other hand, things like energy efficiency, and some of the cheaper renewables are a factor of six better. So for every dollar you spend on nuclear, you could have saved five or six times as much carbon with efficiency, or wind farms," Sovacool says.

      http://www.nature.com/...

      Nukes are not the "magic bullet" that would kill global warming.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 04:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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