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May 21, 2006

Comments

Mel.

I believe it's a necessary evil as far as reality's concerned. The upside is that renewables are now more fashionable than ever as far as state legislatures go; it seems like without the battle royal over global warming and PO, we'd simply swallow the nuke solution hardway and let the other possibilities fade into the background.

It doesn't seem as likely in today's market consciousness, at least to me. But I live in Washington, where all the POD freaks are migrating to open up breeding farms and cult compounds. Our mentality might be skewed towards the weirdly optimistic. ;)

Mitz

From wikipedia:
"A production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 6,000 megawatt-hours from new nuclear power plants for the first eight years of their operation, subject to a $125 million annual limit. The production tax credit places nuclear energy on equal footing with other sources of emission-free power, including wind and closed-loop biomass."

Since when does nuclear need subsidies to beat wind power?

Anyway, the Initiative only seems to include generation III and III+ reactors (variations of boiling water / pressurized water reactors). Why no mention of generation IV?

amazingdrx

"The decider" is still optimistic about the war in Iraq too, isn't he?

Why does nuke-you-ler (the decider's word for nuclear) power need subsidies to match the cost of wind, when industry claims it costs 1.7 cents per kwh?

Because they are lying? Just a guess,based on decades of lying, contamination, and corruption, hehey.

amazingdrx

"POD freaks are migrating to open up breeding farms and cult compounds"

What does this mean? Translation into english please?

On second thought don't bother. Hehey.

Merrill Davis

If he treats "nucular" like he treats everything else, he will be there for the
ribbon cutting, but when cleanup time comes, he will be hard to find !!

Mel.

It means whatever you need it to mean, son.

Whatever gets you through.

Robert McLeod

POD = peak oil doomer

Jeff Olney

("A production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 6,000 megawatt-hours from new nuclear power plants for the first eight years of their operation, subject to a $125 million annual limit. The production tax credit places nuclear energy on equal footing with other sources of emission-free power, including wind and closed-loop biomass."
Since when does nuclear need subsidies to beat wind power?)


Wind became that cheap, that fast. Even with a 1.8 cent credit, a 1000MW nuclear power plant is still more expensive over its lifetime than the lifetime of a 1000 MW wind farm. ("production cost?" you can't "produce" nuclear power without building a multi-billion dollar reactor, Mr. Bush.)

(Anyway, the Initiative only seems to include generation III and III+ reactors (variations of boiling water / pressurized water reactors). Why no mention of generation IV?)

Gen IV reactors won't hit the market until 2025. (And that's being optimistic.)


Mel.

POD = peak oil doomer

There's been an upswing of interest in rural properties around outlaying counties like Whatcom up here by Doomers, the majority of which are interested in setting up survivalist-style compounds and private farms. The authors of Surviving Peak Oil were rattling a donation cup so that they could buy some acreage up here, as well as a bunch of other goofy apocalypse nuts.

And I don't know who was posting under my name, but let's spare the flames. I can get all the snide responses I need at the Oil Drum. Thanks anyways. :)

Steve Aplin

If it takes a production tax credit to kick-start new "nu-cyuh-ler" projects, then give the industry a production tax credit. Why shouldn't nuclear power get another boost? The first ones paid off handsomely: nuclear out-generates wind by trillions of kWh per year, and, megawatt by megawatt, uses only a tiny fraction of wind's real estate and transmission infrastructure.

BTW: I work in the nuke industry. Lots of industry people, including physicists, pronounce it "nu-cyuh-ler." I even slip up sometimes myself.

JesseJenkins

"Industry-average production costs of 1.7 cents per kilowatt-hour remain the lowest among all forms of energy except for hydroelectric facilities"

Jeff already alluded to this, but that 1.7 cents/kWh figure is for production costs, not levelized costs - i.e. what really matters. Noone gives a shit what production costs are, except in how they impact levelized costs, or the amount of money you have to charge per unit sold to make a profit. Making a profit clearly requires you to pay of debt used to finance that multi-billion dollar nuclear reactor that's now producing that oh-so-cheap electricity. Levelized costs for nuclear still struggle to compete with coal and other baseload electricity sources and wind (and hydro) are far cheaper than nuclear in terms of actual levelized costs.

Don't be fooled by the 'lowest of the low' production cost figures oft-cited by the nuclear industry and proponents. Levelized costs determine actual costs to consumers and nuclear is nothing special there.

That's why the industry needs subsidies akin to those provided for the various renewables. Like you've all pointed out, nuclear can't be both dirt cheap and require a subsidy at the same time. They aren't lying, but they are being misleading using production costs instead of levelized costs.

Just a word to the wise...

amazingdrx

"they are being misleading using production costs instead of levelized costs."

Excellent unraveling of the propaganda Jesse, I'm gonna steal that! With full credit to you and Jim's blog of course, hehey.

Yep, more politick to use "misleading". Thanks.

Bde2200

If we are going to be honest about this, we must figure in the legal and regulatory costs of nuclear plant construction. It is extremely disingenuous for those from the anti side of the debate to complain about nuclear plant construction costs when they have done everything in their power to make plant construction as expensive as possible through litigation, legislation and regulatory obstructionism. The cost of construction of plants in France has been about half of what it is in the US, although their safety record is as good. I have nothing against wind or solar power, but as it stands today, nuclear is the safest, cleanest and cheapest option available. Check out this article in, of all places, The Guardian:

https://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/comment/0,,1781116,00.html

amazingdrx

Uhh right. It's the fault of opponents to nukes that the industry has contaminated, bribed, and corrupted all these decades.

We are supposed to sir back and let it continue rather than fight? Not a chance.

The hidden costs of nukes makes the power the most expensive of all sources. One Chernobyl like incident could make it the most expensive mistake in US history.

Solar, wind, and water power don't have those drawbacks. And wind is cheaper all around. No fuel ever. Nuclear fuel is expected to soar in price if new plants come on line.

Waste costs are incalbulable. An unknown catastrophy, financial and environmental.

Plants have already leaked tritium into the groundwater in many locations, that is practically inseparable from the water supply. Radioactively contaminating safe clean groundwater forever.

Steve Aplin

Amazingdrx,

Wind might not have nuke's drawbacks, but it has its own and they are formidable.

The blade diameter of a 1.5-mW wind turbine is slightly greater than the wing span of the largest-model Boeing 747. To replace, say, Tennessee's three operating nuclear reactors (combined capacity of 3,371 mW) with 1.5-mW wind turbines, you would have to build over 2,200 of them. That's over 2,200 747s up on poles.

And that is just comparing nameplate capacity, which as you know does not tell the whole story. On a capacity factor basis, you'd need between 6,000 and 7,000 wind machines to generate anything close to the kilowatt-hours that TVA's reactors generate in a year.

Where the heck would you put all these machines? Take every NIMBY battle over nuclear and multiply that number by hundreds or even thousands, and that's how many NIMBY battles you'd fight with communities that are opposed to wind farms. What would the wires cost? And what would it cost to re-jig the transmission/distribution system to handle wind's variability? And what backup capacity would you use when the wind isn't blowing? Coal-fired?

Your point about nuke waste is a bit exaggerated. Deep geologic storage solves the problem. Yucca Mountain is a political, not a technological, issue.

Will

We are running a poll on the Cutoilimports.org's alternative energy message that asks if you think nuclear power is a good "alternative" energy which is friendly to the environment or if you think that nuclear power is too dangerous. We hope you will come & vote.
https://boards.cutoilimports.org/groupee/forums

Jeff Olney

wingspan of a 747: 59.6m

GE 1.5MW turbine; 70.5m, 77m, and 82.5m sizes

Enercon 4.5 MW offshore turbine; 114m


turbines produce 30% to 40% of their maximum capacity--depending on where they're placed--compared to 90-99% for your standard nuclear or baseload coal plant.

Where would you put those machines? Where there's plenty of wind!!! :-)

Steve Aplin

Thanks Jeff.

Yes, when I said "slightly greater" I was comparing GE's 70.5m machine with Boeing's 747-400XQLR, which according to Aerospaceweb.org is 69m.

I'm not against wind power. I'm just very skeptical of the notion that it will play anything bigger than a marginal role in power generation.

Jeff Olney

Hmmm. I pulled my info from Boeing.com.

Wind will play a marginal role for the near future; today, it produces about 1% of the nation's electricity. Wind power will probably remain marginal until major strides are made in energy storage; A majority of the country's power has to be turned on and off at our choice.

In Tennessee, using turbines to replace some nuclear is a possibility; TVA has Raccoon Mountain for pumped storage.

Jeff Olney
GE Wind Energy

amazingdrx

"Wind power will probably remain marginal until major strides are made in energy storage"

This from an engineer who actually works for GE wind. It proves distributed storage and superconducting storage is not even on the radar of industry, even the wind energy industry itself.

There's a long distance to go from blog to actual energy policy change. But at least some progress is happening. Now if we could convince those who actually advise the capital allocators? Jeff, you and your colleagues are those people.

They are after all, engineers like Jim, and he is coming around. So maybe this hopeless cause is remotely possible? Hehey.

But I still think that only do-it-yourself type projects will do it. The spirit of Franklin and Edison is needed. That only exists outside of industry.

It is excluded from schools that train engineers and scientists early on.

Steve Aplin

I agree -- if wind generators charged utility-scale storage batteries, then this could play a role in displacing some fossil-fired peaking capacity. But baseload? I am skeptical, for the reasons I gave above.

One of two breakthroughs is needed: (1) some way of generating way more electrons using current-size (or smaller) wind machines, or (2) some standardized way of winning NIMBY fights.

Paul F. Dietz

Your point about nuke waste is a bit exaggerated. Deep geologic storage solves the problem.

Dry cask storage solves it also, even more cheaply. Sure, you're going to have to do something with the waste in a couple of centuries when the casks start to show some rust :), but the present value of that cost is very small, and the overall technology level will likely be extremely advanced by then.

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