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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so basically I have two major issues with Obama. His stance on gun rights I understand and completely disagree with but as long as they don't pursueanti-gun legislation I can let that issue slide. What I cannot understand is the argument against nuclear. Today's nuclear technology is light years away from our current nuclear facilities. Without going into pages worth of details on the benefits of switching from coal to nuclear, what are the real world problems that keep us from getting off of coal. I agree that we need to find a way to effectively deal with the waste, but another 15-20 years of coal could destroy our planets ability to sustain human life. At the very least nuclear buys us some time to come up with a solution.
 

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The problem is waste disposal in an area where the people won't go nuts in opposition. But I do think that Obama is going to come around to nuke energy. In fact, in the latter part of the campaign he began to soften his tone on this. What I like about Obama is his penchant for listening to both sides and studying the issues. If he does this, then I expect that nukes will be back on the table in a big way. I suspect that he wants to push the coal industry to do its very best to find a workable CO2 sequestration sollution (if one exists), and the best way to do this is to give coal the competition that will cause it to have to either do this or die-out to nuke power. His choice of Sec Energy may be very telling about what direction he plans to go.

We also need to renew efforts to get more petrol and coal-fired plants refitted for natural gas, and step up efforts to do the same for the commercial truck and passenger bus fleet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm hoping he was open to nuke power all along and just playing the politics to get elected. It's my understanding that the new plants produce very little waste and store it on site.
 

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From the Sirrea Club
In the end, it's not environmentalists wearing "No Nukes" buttons who have prevented any new reactor from being ordered in this country since 1978; it's Wall Street. Even with enormous subsidies from the Department of Energy and a taxpayer-funded shield from liability for major accidents through the Price-Anderson Act, no private utility has committed to building a new plant. Why? Because virtually every other form of power is cheaper and less risky. As Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the New York Times: "The abiding lesson that Three Mile Island taught Wall Street was that a group of NRC-licensed reactor operators, as good as any others, could turn a $2 billion asset into a $1 billion cleanup job in about 90 minutes." So the government can continue to subsidize the industry, says Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, but the effect "will be the same as defibrillating a corpse: It will jump, but it will not revive."

I remember reading some where the start up cost are unreal to get thru all the commissions, regulatory agencies etc.... not to mention the NIMBY crowd. Constellation had talked about it and then decided to try to bring the French company in to assist for the UniStar program here is cut from the NY reactor attempt they were going to try to make

The NRC's application review process is expected to take 36-42 months, includes public access to project information, and provides opportunities for public comment. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Public Service Commission, along with other regulatory agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will be asked to review and approve various aspects of the project.
Vanderheyden said a final decision on whether to proceed will not be made until UniStar's expectations have been met for safety, cost, regulatory stability and bipartisan federal, state and local support. UniStar and its partners previously submitted COL applications for proposed U.S. EPRs next to the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in southern Maryland and at AmerenUE's Calloway plant near Fulton, Mo. UniStar also is supporting a fourth COL application, to be submitted in mid-October, for a potential new reactor in Pennsylvania

 

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USA Today
Democrat Barack Obama is more cautious. While he says nuclear power should be part of U.S. energy plans, Obama said Tuesday the nation must find "safer ways to use nuclear power and store nuclear waste." He said the focus should be finding new energy sources.

Caution when dealing with nuclear seems prudent and got my vote. PS "nuclear power should be a part of U.S. energy plans" is hardly being "against" nuclear power.
 

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From the Sirrea Club
In the end, it's not environmentalists wearing "No Nukes" buttons who have prevented any new reactor from being ordered in this country since 1978; it's Wall Street. Even with enormous subsidies from the Department of Energy and a taxpayer-funded shield from liability for major accidents through the Price-Anderson Act, no private utility has committed to building a new plant. Why? Because virtually every other form of power is cheaper and less risky. As Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the New York Times: "The abiding lesson that Three Mile Island taught Wall Street was that a group of NRC-licensed reactor operators, as good as any others, could turn a $2 billion asset into a $1 billion cleanup job in about 90 minutes." So the government can continue to subsidize the industry, says Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, but the effect "will be the same as defibrillating a corpse: It will jump, but it will not revive."

I remember reading some where the start up cost are unreal to get thru all the commissions, regulatory agencies etc.... not to mention the NIMBY crowd. Constellation had talked about it and then decided to try to bring the French company in to assist for the UniStar program here is cut from the NY reactor attempt they were going to try to make

The NRC's application review process is expected to take 36-42 months, includes public access to project information, and provides opportunities for public comment. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Public Service Commission, along with other regulatory agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will be asked to review and approve various aspects of the project.
Vanderheyden said a final decision on whether to proceed will not be made until UniStar's expectations have been met for safety, cost, regulatory stability and bipartisan federal, state and local support. UniStar and its partners previously submitted COL applications for proposed U.S. EPRs next to the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in southern Maryland and at AmerenUE's Calloway plant near Fulton, Mo. UniStar also is supporting a fourth COL application, to be submitted in mid-October, for a potential new reactor in Pennsylvania

Requiring "clean coal" may change the cost-risk formula. So would tightening environmental regs, such as prohibitiing mountain-topping. So would liability caps for nuke plants, but I don't see this latter thing happening in a Dem congress.
 

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In the end, it's not environmentalists wearing "No Nukes" buttons who have prevented any new reactor from being ordered in this country since 1978; it's Wall Street. Even with enormous subsidies from the Department of Energy and a taxpayer-funded shield from liability for major accidents through the Price-Anderson Act, no private utility has committed to building a new plant. Why? Because virtually every other form of power is cheaper and less risky. As Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the New York Times: "The abiding lesson that Three Mile Island taught Wall Street was that a group of NRC-licensed reactor operators, as good as any others, could turn a $2 billion asset into a $1 billion cleanup job in about 90 minutes."
Well said. Nuclear power is a poor business risk. It is only successful when the government runs it, dumping endless tax dollars into it. Like in France or our own Dept. of Defense.
 

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Wow what a party man!



Cost Comparison for Nuclear vs. Coal To accurately compare the cost of nuclear against other energy sources, one must include the following costs:
1. Fuel costs
Costs associated with the fuel used in the production of energy.

For a nuclear plant, these tend to be lower even though the following steps occur in the production of the fuel assemblies used in the reactor:
  1. mining of the uranium ore,
  2. conversion to U3O8 (uranium oxide - yellowcake form),
  3. conversion to uranium hexafluoride,
  4. enrichment from 0.7% U235 to 2-5% U235,
  5. conversion to uranium dioxide (UO2) pellets,
  6. loading of the fellets into rods, then into fuel assemblies.
Transportation costs are high for coal because of the amount of material needed to generate the same energy as the nuclear fuel.
2. Capital costs
Costs associated with initial construction of the plant and the modifications. These end up as embedded costs.
For a nuclear plant these may be higher than for other energy forms because the buildings used for containment or for safety-related equipment must meet higher standards than the traditional structures. Also, safety-related systems are redundant. Such considerations are not important in other energy forms. On the other hand, coal plants are required to include scrubbers to remove airborne pollutants as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and particulates.

However, these costs are influenced by factors as:
  1. When the plant was built (capital costs for plants finished in the 80's were higher due to inflation. Following the Arab oil embargoes in 1973 and 1979, there was considerable emphasis on energy conservation. Also, energy costs rose which had a significant impact on inflation. Because of the drop in expected energy demand, utilities delayed plants under construction, many of which were nuclear and had long lead times for completion. The debt for the delayed plant still incurred interest charges in times when rates exceeded 15%. Short term interest rates in the 80-81 time-frame was 20%. As with the federal government debt, that total interest kept increasing so that when the plant went on-line, the total cost of the plant was higher than if the plant had been completed on time. Another related factor was that the delays resulted in higher labor costs - the plants were completed when wages had risen because of inflation. Also, following the Three Mile Island event in 1979, the NRC mandated a number of plant design changes for plants coming on line.
  2. Major equipment replacements. During the 1980's, many older BWRs replaced the recirculation system piping due to corrosion cracking. Some PWRs have had to replace steam generators. Eventually it is expected that most, if not all, PWRs will have to replace steam generators prior to the end of their NRC operating license. In some cases, plants have upgraded turbine generator units to improve power output.
Capital costs are usually amortized over a period of time as allowed by IRS regulations.
3. Operation and Maintenance costs

The day to day costs associated with operating the nuclear power plant. This includes the costs of:
  1. labor and overheads (e.g. medical and pension benefits),
  2. expendable materials,
  3. NRC (e.g. license changes, on-site and regional inspectors, and headquarters staff) and state (e.g. health department, emergency planning) fees,
  4. local property taxes (varies from state to state).
Labor costs in a nuclear plant include those for operators, maintenance personnel (electrical, mechanical, instrument and controls), health physics technicians, engineering personnel (mechanical, electrical, nuclear, chemical, radiological, computer).
Materials costs include replacement parts, computer parts, expendable office and other supplies.

NRC 1998 fee structure (PR 98-45, April 1, 1998) is:
  1. $2,980,000 per unit for power reactor licensees
  2. $57,300 for nonpower (research and test) reactor licensees
  3. $2,607,000 for high-enriched uranium fuel licensees
  4. $1,280,000 for low-enriched fuel fabrication licensees which manufacture fuel for nuclear power plants
  5. $14,100 for radiographers
  6. $23,500 for broad scope medical licensees
In addition, the NRC assesses for license reviews.
Property taxes can result in a plant paying up to $ 15-20 million per year in property taxes.
4. Waste-Related Costs
The costs associated with the byproduct waste. For a coal plant this is ash. For a nuclear plant, these costs include the surcharge levied by the Department of Energy for ultimate storage of the high level waste. The DOE charge is a flat fee based on energy use.
5. Decommissioning Costs
The costs associated with restoration of the plant site back to "greenfield" status. Usually restoration would occur over a long period of time, e.g. 20 years. Parts of the plant could be used for energy generation by other sources.
Illustrative cost comparison. The table below compares nuclear versus coal specific item costs for similar age and size plants on a $ per Megawatt-hour (10 $/Mw-hr = 1 cent/kw-hr):

ItemCost ElementNuclearCoal
$/Mw-hr​

$/Mw-hr​

1Fuel5.011.02Operating & Maintenance - Labor & Materials6.05.03Pensions, Insurance, Taxes1.01.04Regulatory Fees1.00.15Property Taxes2.02.06Capital9.09.07Decommissioning & DOE waste costs5.00.08Administrative / overheads1.01.0Total 30.029.1​

Cost Comparison - Nuclear vs. Coal

A number of factors can affect the annual costs during any given year:
  1. How many outages does the plant have - usually 1 per 12 to 24 months. Outages usually mean a lot of maintenance and high labor costs due to working around the clock.
  2. How quickly a plant is being depreciated-usually 35 to 40 years
  3. When the plant was built
  4. NRC regulatory costs are a pass-through from the federal government.
  5. Number of capital projects or modifications being done.
For other specific costs and comparisons, please check out the following:
  1. Nuclear Energy Institute - Cost and Performance
  2. Uranium Exchange (Ux) Company - Prices
  3. New York & Washington Nuclear Comporations - Nuclear Fuel Prices
  4. Jeffrey Lacruz' Technical Background Report - Discussion of various plant types and cost comparison (partial report)
  5. NRC Cost Comparison (note-NRC costs do not reflect decommissioning, capital, waste costs)
  6. Comparison of Fuel, Operations & Maintenance, and Capital Costs as a function of Unit Capacity Factor
Of course this doesn't factor in the messiahs "bankrupt them" factor.
 

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I am not aware that" mountain topping" has been allowed.

I believe full restoration is required in most cases.
After a decade or two of toxic runoff, yes. Of course, that all depends on your definition of restoration.
 

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Generally EPA required "restoration" to be better than original .

Of course I worked for EPA years ago.

Maybe we outta read up.

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement - Home page - http://www.osmre.gov

Mid-Atlantic Mountaintop Mining | US EPA

I didn't include the sierra club site figuring you already had it.
Wasn't the EPA another one of those communist/socialist/Democratic regularatory agencies...my my it attempted to stop surface mining or to allow it with reclamation. What a low down communist trick....sort of like cleaning up the Potomac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well said. Nuclear power is a poor business risk. It is only successful when the government runs it, dumping endless tax dollars into it. Like in France or our own Dept. of Defense.
So it's just like the stock market? Actually I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a little more confused than I was when I started this thread, but atleast a good discussion has erupted.
 

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The liability issues alone are enormous.
I can't see any energy company building without assurances from the government that they will not be liable in case of accident.
 

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So it's just like the stock market? Actually I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a little more confused than I was when I started this thread, but atleast a good discussion has erupted.
I have to agree that this is the best thread we've had on B.S. in ages. I'm learning a fair amount.
 

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Baloney.
They are still building new reactors and refueling old ones.

It is a business decision, pure and simple.
People who think it is the answer need to ask themselves when was the last time that a private company even applied for a license.
Folks keep thinking that it is getting beaten down by tree huggers and stuff. Anyone want to guess when the last protest was held in the USA?
 

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I have to agree that this is the best thread we've had on B.S. in ages. I'm learning a fair amount.
Really good on article on the future of Nuclear power and diffrent generations of new reactors planned

C&EN: COVER STORY - NUCLEAR POWER FOR THE FUTURE

The saftey factor of Nuclear energy is just so high than any other type of energy generators due to the high consequences. Not to mention no private firm could get all the hands greased to get a reactor started without Goverment involvement. Who is gonna share the risk of the what if??? Eventaully Raw Materials will be an issues but it seems like each Generation of reactor can use fuel more efficently than the next.
 
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