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« High Grain Prices Threaten Viability of Ethanol | Main | London to Cut Carbon Emissions by 60% Within 20 Years »

February 26, 2007

Comments

Mouseplatterman

I don't get it... if Nuclear is so cheap, and the cost of natural gas is increasing, why are there more natural gas plants being built rather than signifigant jumps in the nuclear industry? NIMBY alone?

Engineer-Poet

The total cost of a nuclear plant is largely capital, while the total cost of a gas plant is largely fuel.  If you could get fuel, you could have a gas plant running in a couple of years; in contrast, the nuclear plants which applied for construction permits in 2005 and last year will fire up around 2016.

It takes a different view of the world to build a plant that won't start paying for itself for ten years.

Henrik

True that the main cost with nuclear power is capital cost not the cost of nuclear fuel. I bet that the reported 1.66 cents/kwh in 2006 is based on nuclear power plants that where build and finished decades ago and therefore do no longer include the cost of capital investments since they should by now be deducted almost entirely. The reported 1.66 cents/kwh in 2006 is most likely the operating cost of a nuclear power plant that has paid of all of its loans for capital. Furthermore, most existing nuclear power plants (globally) were originally financed using highly subsidised state loans. The more relevant price/kwh would be the one for a newly build nuclear plant financed at market cost (using the most safe technology). I do not have any precise estimates of this but I would guess it is between 6-10 cents/kwh in 2006. Right now natural gas and wind turbines (at suited locations with strong average annual winds) are the most economical alternatives. And indeed both natural gas and wind can be operational by as little as 18 months instead of 10 -14 years that normally is the case for nuclear power plants.

amazingdrx

Blah blah blah, more propaganda from the heavily taxpayer subsidized nuke-u-ler industry. The lobbying arm was first in junket private jet flights for congressmen.

What has nuclear proliferation cost US? What WILL it cost if Iran is the next target for invasion, occupation, and nation building?

Waste and disposal costs? Still not in. Disease and death from contamination, costs still to be determined.

What will even one more three mile island cost? not to mention another chernobyl?

It will cost anyone living near a nuke most of the value of their home and/or business. But the contractors won't pay for that, congress gave them a pass on liability.

Bde2200

A portion of the cost and time necessary to construct a nuclear plant is attributable to regulatory, legal and political foot-dragging and obstructionism. Eliminate those costs and the case for more nuclear power becomes even more compelling.

Gerry Wolff

Regarding "Record-Low Production Cost for Nuclear Power" (2007-02-26), there is absolutely no need for nuclear power in the US because there is a simple mature technology that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to anywhere in the US and Canada too. A recent report from the American Solar Energy Society says that CSP plants in the south western states of the US "could provide nearly 7,000 GW of capacity, or ***about seven times the current total US electric capacity***" (emphasis added).

In the 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk and www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote:

The more relevant price/kwh would be the one for a newly build nuclear plant financed at market cost [...] I do not have any precise estimates of this but I would guess it is between 6-10 cents/kwh in 2006.

Several cost-estimates for new nuclear are discussed here:
world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html

A 2004 report from the University of Chicago, funded by the US Department of Energy, compares the levelised power costs of future nuclear, coal, and gas-fired power generation in the USA. Various nuclear options are covered, and for ABWR or AP1000 they range from 4.3 to 5.0 c/kWh on the basis of overnight capital costs of $1200 to $1500/kW, 60 year plant life, 5 year construction and 90% capacity. Coal gives 3.5 - 4.1 c/kWh and gas (CCGT) 3.5 - 4.5 c/kWh, depending greatly on fuel price.

The levelised nuclear power cost figures include up to 29% of the overnight capital cost as interest, and the report notes that up to another 24% of the overnight capital cost needs to be added for the initial unit of a first-of-a-kind advanced design such as the AP1000, defining the high end of the range above.


Henrik wrote:

(using the most safe technology)

What does the most-safe technology mean?

amazingdrx
from 4.3 to 5.0 c/kWh on the basis of overnight capital costs of $1200 to $1500/kW, 60 year plant life, 5 year construction and 90% capacity.

The last plants in the US cost $6000/kw and took over a decade to complete. With total industry self (no) regulation.

90% capacity factor huh? Plants have been offline for a year due to maintenance, replacement of huge internal parts that leak after only a couple decades of use.

Wind is dropping to around 2 cents per kwh, with no waste or fuel costs ever. Recycling wind yields valuable metal. Decommisioning nukes has as yet unknown expensive problems that may last for 10,000 years.

Wind power will leave nothing behind after its useful life. Except a restored GHG balance.

Paul Dietz

The last plants in the US cost $6000/kw and took over a decade to complete.

The last plants were the last precisely because they were the most delayed. This is also why they were so expensive. Insinuating that this is predictive for the cost of new plants is dishonest of you.

Perhaps you could apply the same methodology to wind turbines? Find the most mismanaged installations and determine the cost/kW of averaged capacity. I suspect the number you get would not be very flattering for wind.

Nick

Nucbuddy, what interest rates were used in the DOE study

Nick

Nucbuddy, what interest rates were used in the DOE study?

Henrik

NucBuddy as you report from the 2004 report from the University of Chicago “Various nuclear options are covered, and for ABWR or AP1000 they range from 4.3 to 5.0 c/kWh on the basis of overnight capital costs of $1200 to $1500/kW, 60 year plant life, 5 year construction and 90% capacity.” It is easy to see that these premises are unrealistic and grossly biased apart from the 90% claim which is approximately true. Amazingdrx addresses most of these biases so I will just explain why the 60 year plant life is a gross error. This report use 60 years of plant life to justify a 60 year amortazation and depreciation plan for the capital cost. Sure the plant may last 60 years with proper care and maintenance but that is not relevant. No real world investor would ever give you a commercial loan for 60 years for such a high risk investment. They would give you at most 30 years from the first year of construction. The problem is that we live in a world where quite a lot can happen during 60 years. In particular, the power plant may not be able to sell its electricity at 5 c/kWh in just 10 years from now. As I mentioned wind turbines are already competitive today at the best wind locations in areas where setup cost are also inexpensive. Moreover, the wind turbine industry improves turbine cost efficiency by about 5-8% per year! In 3 to 5 years wind turbines can generate electricity below 5 c/kWh in the more average wind locations. Alternatively they can be installed competitively at sea or in mountainous areas (high construction cost but god wind conditions). In 10-15 years from now wind turbines can be set up at almost any location and still be able to produce electricity well below 5 c/kWh.

Here is another example of why time is a real risk factor that works against the commercial viability of nuclear power. In 1956 the first earth-orbiting satellite is powered by solar cells. Solar's cost/performance is at $500/watt but solar wins as the best electricity source for this application ( https://www.sunpowercorp.com/technology/solarhistory.php ). Today 2007 you can get solar power for about $5/W or a 100 times less in 50 Years (see https://www.solarbuzz.com/ for recent prices). Nuclear power could also get cheaper with further development of the technology but the realistic scope for improvements is more like 1% per year rather than the 5-8% for wind and 9-10% per year for solar power by PV cells.

On top of these economic arguments we should also consider that building more nuclear power plants (not just in the US but anywhere) will increase the global availability of nuclear engineers and nuclear material. The problem is that both can be used by the enemies of the free world to attack it in ways that will be more deadly and costly than any of us will find it easy to imagine. Is that really worth the risk?

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote:

This report use 60 years of plant life to justify a 60 year amortazation and depreciation plan for the capital cost.

Here is the report:
anl.gov/Special_Reports/NuclEconSumAug04.pdf

The depreciation term is 15 years (Table 5, Page S-7).


Henrik wrote:

No real world investor would ever give you a commercial loan for 60 years for such a high risk investment.


The debt term also is 15 years (ibidem).


Henrik wrote:

As I mentioned wind turbines are already competitive today

One factor in the construction-cost of wind turbines is the cost of energy. Replacing nuclear, coal, gas and hydro with wind and other types of solar power would cause the capital costs of solar mining machinery to increase exponentially. Instead of broad-class solar electrical energy costing only $1/kWh as it does today, it might cost $1000/kWh if nuclear and fossil fuels were to be completely phased out.

PowerPointSamurai

Mouseplatterman: The reason so many natural gas plants were built, as Engineer-poet put it, was because of how quickly they could be built, and also as Bde2200 put it, because of foot dragging legal obstructionism and FUD delayed construction and licensing for nuclear plants.

Besides that, natural gas prices less than a decade ago were 1/9 of what they are today, so natural gas was cheap to burn. This is kind of like the situation that corn ethanol plants are in now, where so many were built so quickly that the sudden demand, in part, made them far less economical than they were originally projected.

And amazingdrx: "90% capacity factor huh?". Yeah, that's the record, even with the downtime you portray with anecdotal evidence as the norm. "Plants have been offline for a year due to maintenance, replacement of huge internal parts that leak after only a couple decades of use." Gee, only a few decades? I'm pretty sure every wind turbine out there also has a routine maintenence regimen. I know the medium size turbines I recently evaluated specifically stated they required at least an annual oil change and other lubricative work for the gearbox.
"Decommisioning nukes has as yet unknown expensive problems that may last for 10,000 years." Many plants have been decommissioned to greenfield status and the records are out there. The waste issue is also the single most inflated problem touted by anti-nukes. There are reactor technologies that burn all the actinydes, leaving no long term waste, only fission products that are below background radiation in 300 years. Before you start with the proliferation mantra, these also handle the fuel in a way that you might as well be trying to extract your material from ore if you plan to use your reactor products for nefarious purposes.

Doug

Re. 10-15 year construction times, that's largely due to endless legal stalling tactics employed by anti-nuke activists. Nukes elsewhere in the world are being built in 3-5 years.

Re. subsidies, solar and wind power are directly subsidised with tax credits, nukes aren't. Nukes get some government backing to extent necessary partially negate the legal uncertainties created by anti-nuke legal stalling tactics.

Whether or not wind is on a trajectory to be cost-competitive with nuclear power, wind isn't ready to produce baseload power. The anti-nuke crowd never bothers to answer that question. Just how else are the coal-fired baseload plants ever going to be replaced with present technology?

Nick

"wind isn't ready to produce baseload power"

Do you have backup for that? There are plenty of studies that show that it can provide up to 20% of a system's power needs. I'm not aware of a thorough analysis of whether wind and solar could provide most of a grid's requirements. In it's absence, I don't see how you can make that claim.

"The anti-nuke crowd never bothers to answer that question."

Here's your answer: You'd need:

geographical diversity, including expanded long-distance transmission, perhaps with HVDC that has roughly 5% loss per 1000 miles);

demand management, similar to the kind of daytime demand charges that moved so much industrial/commercial consumption to the night time, thus creating what you call "baseload";

Storage, such as the Ludington, MI pumped storage facility that has time-shifted nuclear production for 30 years, or the Chevy Volt series hybrid that could be charged at night and during peak production periods; and

Backup generation capacity, such as inexpensive gas turbines for the rare extended outage, powered by gasified biomass (which is very efficient for power generation, even though very, very inefficient for liquid fuels).

This would be significantly cheaper than coal, once you added in coal's external costs. Whether it would be cheaper than nuclear depends on how you value nuclear's external costs, especially the Price-Anderson liability cap, weapons proliferation risk, and opportunity costs for foregone investment in renewables.

What some have described as irrational NIMBYism and unreasonable regulatory delay is really the political process, lurching about in an effort to put a value on those external costs.

Henrik

NucBuddy sorry for the mistake I made about the 60 years that were in fact 15 years. You stressed the premises was 60 year plant life so I jumped to conclude that you also meant 60 years of financing since you did not give any link to this report to begin with.

You make it sound that I believe solar power is viable/competitive today. That is not true. I know solar power does not pay for the time being. You say it cost $1/kWh (please provide a source). That was true several years ago but today it is about 37 cents /kWh for residential installations and 21 cents /kWh for industrial installations (se https://www.solarbuzz.com/SolarPrices.htm for a reliable source). Wind turbines produce electricity today at 5 cents /kWh which is competitive with fossil fuel or nuclear (see https://www.awea.org/faq/cost.html). In other words, your argument that those solar cells and wind turbine would cost more to produce if it was not for cheap electricity by fossils or nuclear is simply not true. It is an old argument that was valid years ago not anymore. Furthermore, the production of wind turbines is not associated with any important use of electricity or fossil fuel. This is not the case for PV cells were the necessary silicon requires a substantial use of electricity.

However, the key point to be made is that the cost of nuclear power is not improving at nearly the same high rates (1% per year) as wind (5-8%) or solar power (9-10%) and therefore it will only be a decade or two until it become obvious to everybody that nuclear power is among the more expensive ways to produce electricity. Coal power is not cost effective either. The source provided by NucBuddy at https://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html report a study that put the cost of coal power at about 3 euro cents / kWh plus external cost to society of about 4-8 euro cents. This is 7 – 11 euro cents /kWh. The amazing thing about these external costs of coal is that they do not include cost of carbon capture and storage. Indeed, if coal power were required to be carbon neutral their cost would probable be close to the 21 cents /kWh for industrial installations of today’s PV cells.

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote:

your argument that those solar cells and wind turbine would cost more to produce if it was not for cheap electricity by fossils or nuclear is simply not true.

Then wind power would have to cost less than coal power. Which wind turbines existing today have been made with no fossil or nuclear inputs? If there are no such wind turbines, why might that be the case?


Henrik wrote:

production of wind turbines is not associated with any important use of electricity or fossil fuel.

Then what are the energy inputs for wind turbine construction? Given that wind turbines are capital-intensive, and given that capital-intensiveness correlates highly with energy input, it follows that wind turbine construction could be expected to be energy intensive.

aweo.org/ProblemWithWind.html

As FPL (Florida Power & Light) Energy says, "a typical turbine site takes about a 42×42-foot-square graveled area." Each tower (and a site needs at least 15-20 towers to make investment worthwhile) requires a huge hole filled with steel rebar–reinforced concrete (e.g., 1,250 tons in each foundation at the facility in Lamar, Colo.). According to Country Guardian, the hole is large enough to fit three double-decker buses. At the 89-turbine Top of Iowa facility, the foundation of each 323-foot assembly is a 7-feet-deep 42-feet-diameter octagon filled with 25,713 pounds of reinforced steel and 181 cubic yards of concrete. The foundations at the Wild Horse project in Washington are 30 feet deep. At Buffalo Mountain in Tennessee, too, each foundation is at least 30 feet deep and may contain more than 3,500 cubic yards of concrete (production of which is a major source of CO2). On Cefn Croes in Wales the developer built a complete concrete factory on the site, which is not unusual, as well as opened quarries to provide rock for new roads [...] On many such mountain ridges as well as other locations, it would be necessary to blast into the bedrock, as Enxco's New England representative, John Zimmerman, has confirmed, possibly disrupting the water sources for wells downhill. At the Waymart plant in Pennsylvania, the foundations extend 30-40 feet into the bedrock. At Romney Marsh in southern England, foundation pillars will be sunk 110 feet. For each 6-feet-deep foundation at the Crescent Ridge facility in Illinois, another 24 feet was dug out and filled with sand. [...] FPL Energy also says, "although construction is temporary [a few months], it will require heavy equipment, including bulldozers, graders, trenching machines, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks, and large cranes." [...] Getting all the equipment, as well as the huge tower sections and rotor blades, into an undeveloped area requires the construction of wide straight strong roads. Many existing roads, particularly in hilly areas, are inadequate. For the Buffalo Mountain project, curves were widened, switchbacks were eliminated, and portions were repaved.


google.com/search?q=energy+portland+cement

In many cement plants, energy amounts to as much as 50 percent of variable costs.


concretethinker.com/Papers.aspx?DocId=324

The high temperature needed for cement manufacturing makes it an energy-intensive process. The average energy input required to make one ton of cement is 4.7 million Btu, the equivalent of about 345 pounds of coal [...] The U.S. cement industry uses energy equivalent to about 16 million tons of coal every year. According to the Department of Energy, U.S. cement production accounts for 0.33% of energy consumption—lower production levels than steel production at 1.8%
Engineer-Poet

The Amazingly Stupid proves it again with:

Decommisioning nukes has as yet unknown expensive problems that may last for 10,000 years.
Big Rock Point is completely decommissioned at a cost of around $350 million.  If we assume 35 years of operation at 60% capacity factor (it was an early plant), that would cost about 2.8¢/kWh.  Figure that a 1.1 GW unit built today would run for 50 years at 90% capacity factor and cost $1 billion to decommission, that's 0.2¢/kWh.

Kit P.

One thing for sure, no other sector of electricity generating industry can boast performance of 1.66 cents/kwh with a 89.9% capacity factor. This is an average of 103 nuke plants. Since all nuke plants in the US are exceeding their original economic, investors are confident they can beat LNG or coal imported from anti-American fascist.

One other factor, the availability of nuke plant when electricity is needed is 99%. This means that nuke plants are making money for investors and saving customers money.

The real problem is fossil fuel transported over large distances. It will be a monumental task for renewable energy and nuclear to reduce the amount of coal and LNG imported from distant places.

I did not even mention AGW. One problem at a time.

Ender

EP - "Big Rock Point is completely decommissioned at a cost of around $350 million. "

And where was the radioactive material put?

Kyle A

Hey Nucbuddy,

You've figured how much cement goes into the construction of a wind turbine, while making a lot of assumptions that all turbines will be built with the same concrete requirements, with no design alternatives being used. Fine. Now find out how much cement is required to build a nuclear plant. I'd would not be surprised at all given the terrorist-proof structures currently being specified to learn that a watt of nuclear takes a heckuva lot more cement than a watt of wind power. Even without the terrorist proofing I'm sure it would be a landslide.

amazingdrx

From your link insult comic:

Big Rock Point was a nuclear power plant in Charlevoix, Michigan. Big Rock operated from 1962 to 1997. It was owned and operated by Consumers Energy. Its boiling water reactor was made by General Electric (GE) and was capable of producing 67 megawatts of electricity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rock_Point

I believe contemporary plants are rated at 1200 megawatts? Instead of 67 megawatts? Might that not increase the decomissioning cost? If it scales with the power capacity it would be 6.2 billion. But who knows what it will really cost?

The 235,000-pound reactor vessel was shipped to Barnwell, South Carolina on October 7, 2003.

Hmm, this is a very problematic site!

The state-owned Barnwell site was proposed as a modest 10- to 20-acre landfill. Since 1971, it has accepted more commercial nuclear waste than any other facility in the nation, with 95 percent of waste generated and imported from outside of South Carolina. More than 27 million cubic feet of radioactive waste, mostly from nuclear power plants, is now buried under 100 acres there.

the Barnwell facility makes terrible sense from an environmental perspective. The site has already leaked radioactive tritium into Mary’s Branch Creek, which feeds into the Savannah River. And while the Barnwell facility is categorized as a “low-level” nuclear waste facility, that designation still allows it to accept highly radioactive and long-lived waste, including nuclear reactor filters and decommissioned reactor components.

https://www.thestate.com/mld/state/news/opinion/16744870.htm

How much will it cost to dig it all up and dispose of it properly? What portion of thast cost will be assigned to the Big Rock Point reactor? Who knows?

The fuel is stored in dry casks on the site, a temporary solution at best.

Maybe the insult comic ought to read his own links once in awhile? Hehey.


amazingdrx

And BTW, you can ship a 67 megawatt reactor vessel and hide it in an illegal leaking landfill in the southland. And it still cost 350 mill?

But try that with a 1200 megawatt reactor vessel. Might be kind of difficult. I believe it would need to be cut up somehow and shipped in smaller segments. Would that be done with robots?

Any way it IS done, will be an open endeed contract with a nuclear contractor. Hard to guesstimate the larceny involved in that until after the taxpayers are victimized. As we are seeing with Yucca Mountain, yuk yuk yuk.

amazingdrx

https://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/politics/16708943.htm

Unbelievable corruption! Waste placed in casks in unlined trenches.

A really great example of nuclear power in action versus the ideal situations envisioned by nuclear proponents.

As I have observed here over and over again, this facilty has passed from shell company to shell company to protect the contractors.

County representatives said they need the money the site produces. Witherspoon’s bill limits the volume of waste allowed at the landfill to current levels.

The landfill brings in about $2 million a year for Barnwell County and about $10 million a year for South Carolina schools, according to the State Budget and Control Board.

“If we do not sustain the facility’s economic viability, Barnwell County and Barnwell schools will be thrown into an economic crisis,’’ said Rep. Lonnie Hosey, D-Barnwell. “The facility is safe. We need it for jobs and economic growth, and it ought to be allowed to continue current operations.’’

“Basically, we’re saying that if there’s money involved, there is nothing we won’t do,’’ said Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter. “It really comes down to how much respect you have for yourself and your state.’’

Ann Timberlake, director of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, said her organization will fight to close the landfill as agreed upon in 2000. Money for schools generated by the landfill is a pittance compared to the state’s overall school budget, she and Leventis said.

The landfill, which places casks of nuclear waste in unlined trenches, once leaked radioactive tritium onto nearby property.

Each time the state has scheduled a closure date, the Legislature has abandoned the plan after heavy lobbying by Chem-Nuclear, the Barnwell site’s operator.

The landfill today is operated by Energy Solutions Inc., a Utah corporation that bought Chem-Nuclear and its parent company in 2006.

State records show Energy Solutions, under the name Chem-Nuclear, has hired 10 lobbyists, including former governor’s office aides Warren Tompkins and Will McCain and former state Rep. Mark Kelley of Myrtle Beach.

In the past six months, Energy Solutions also bought television ads and hired Tim Dangerfield, a former top-ranking S.C. Commerce Department official.

Is this the energy future we want? I guess the insult comic does.

Bill Hannahan

1.66 cents/kwh, not bad for first generation 1960’s slide rule designed reactors. Think how good it could be if we take advantage of the experience and knowledge gained since than to improve the designs and mass produce floating nuclear plants on an assembly line, dramatically reducing construction time, cost, man hours, and interest expenses.

https://www.atomicinsights.com/aug96/Offshore.html

The plants could be located offshore, in nobody’s back yard, taking up the space of just a few offshore windmills.

< However, the key point to be made is that the cost of nuclear power is not improving at nearly the same high rates (1% per year) as wind (5-8%) or solar power (9-10%)>


Actually wind mills and solar cells are already manufactured using modern industrial practices. The construction cost of nuclear plants leave a great deal of room for improvement.

Denmark has ideal wind conditions and has been pushing wind extremely hard since 1979. Denmark has the highest amount of wind power per person , 140 watts average (10% of US consumption), and the highest electrical prices in the world, 30 cents per kwh.

https://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/elecprih.html

If wind is so great why do the countries with the most wind have the highest electricity cost and rely heavily on fossil fuels?

Henrik

NucBuddy you are looking for an energy life cycle assessment for wind turbines. That is done by qualified experts on a regular basis and here is a link to these analyses:
https://www.vestas.com/vestas/global/en/Sustainability/environmental_impact_of_wind+turbines/Energy_balances.htm
As you can see the total energy used to manufacture, maintain and ultimately trash a wind turbine during its 20 years life cycle is about 1/35 of the energy it produces during the 20 years of operation.
That is what I meant when I said that the energy expense is an unimportant production factor for wind turbine electricity. Contrary to what you argue NucBuddy I can assure you that the production cost of a wind turbine is completely independent as to whether it uses nuclear electricity at 5 cents /kWh or it uses wind turbine electricity at 5 cents/kWh. To be sure, the same it true for the production cost of PV cells.

Henrik

Ups, the bloc system did not accept the link. Here it is again:
https://www.vestas.com/vestas/global/en/Sustainability/
environmental_impact_of_wind+turbines/
Energy_balances.htm

Henrik

Bill Hannahan it is true that Denmark has some of the highest household electricity prices in the world but the reason is solely due to the fact that Denmark likewise has some of the highest taxes on electricity in the world. The 30 c/kWh is due to about 20 c/kWh of taxes, 3,5 c/kWh for distribution, 6,5 c/kWh for the average power producer. Danish wind power producers get a 1,5 c/kWh subsidy to be sure (among the lowest in the world for wind power). Wind power produces 20% of the annual electricity in Denmark. The remaining production is made by coal, natural gas, trash/waste and biomass from mainly agricultural waste. Denmark is 5,1 million citizens and GDP per capita is $37,000 (2006 est.). The comparable US figure is $43,500 (2006 est.). The Danish wind power industry wants Denmark to do 50% of all electricity by wind mills by 2025. As in any country this would require political approval but technically and economically it is not a problem for Denmark or any other modern country to do 50% of the electricity by wind turbines. The industry is likely to get their wish satisfied because they are becoming more influential by every year. Denmark is the world’s largest producer of wind turbines and accounted for about 40% of the $23 billion market in 2006 which installed 15,197 megawatts of new wind turbines or what compares to 15 large nuclear power plants. The industry grows by 20% per year it will do about 100.000MW of new capacity per year globally in 2017. Do anybody seriously believe that you could build fifteen 1000MW nuclear power plants for about $23 billion in total? The fuel of wind turbines cost zero and it is not imported from any place. Wind turbines can’t be attacked by the enemies of the free world just remotely as easily as they can attack the nuclear power plants. And best of all it does not produce nuclear material and nuclear engineers that could be used by the enemy of the free world to create horror that would make 9/11 look minor in comparison. Think about it. I am sure everybody at this bloc will agree that we need to create a more secure and an economic better off future for our kids. To do this we do not need fossils nor do we need nuclear power. We can do it with a mix of wind, hydropower, solar, geothermal, waste and biomass.

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote:

it is true that Denmark has some of the highest household electricity prices in the world but the reason is solely due to the fact that Denmark likewise has some of the highest taxes on electricity in the world. The 30 c/kWh is due to about 20 c/kWh of taxes


Why might Denmark have such high taxes on its electricity? What do those tax receipts get spent on? Perhaps this January 29, 2007 Copenhagen Post article provides relevant clues:
cphpost.dk/get/100188.html

Wind energy costly for consumers

Overproduction and price guarantees for wind turbine owners add up to a costly electric bill for consumers

The government's plan to increase the nation's reliance on green power could expand a black hole that already sucks nearly two billion kroner out of consumers' pockets annually.

In order to promote construction of wind turbines, the government has agreed to purchase the electricity they generate at a minimum price. The guarantee has had the desired effect: some 5300 wind turbines dot the Danish countryside, producing 18.5 percent of all electricity generated.

The practice has its downside, however. The guaranteed prices for wind power results in an overproduction that costs the state an excess DKK 21.6 billion between 2001 and 2005, according to figures from the National Audit Agency.

Due to the uncertainty of whether the wind will blow, Energinet.dk, the organisation responsible for ensuring that the country can meet its electricity demand, has to keep a reserve of conventionally produced electricity in case the wind dies down. The extra cost is typically passed on to consumers in the form of higher electric bills.

Maintaining that safety net results in a near constant overproduction of energy, reducing wind power's share of the total amount actually used to power Danish homes and factories to 8.3 percent. The unneeded electricity is exported, normally at a lower price than that paid to windmill owners.

In 2005 alone, the difference amounted to a DKK 1.7 billion loss, according to the National Energy Authority.

By 2025, the government expects to increase renewables' share of the power supply to 30 percent. By then wind turbines are projected to contribute three times as much energy as they do now, accounting for 60 percent of all power generated in Denmark.

Relying more on renewables will help the nation to meet its' CO2 emission obligations, but the green ambitions could prove costly, with some calculations putting the economic costs of the package at DKK 5.2 billion annually.

During the presentation of the plan earlier this month the energy minister, Flemming Hansen, said the price was one the government was willing to pay: 'We don't know how much this is going to add up to, but we are willing to pay it, no matter how much it costs.'

Energinet.dk expects to invest DKK 3.4 billion to connect new wind turbines to the power grid, with consumers again likely to foot the bill.

'Right now it's difficult to put a price tag on this, but it will be something electricity users will notice,' said Energinet.dk chief executive Peder Ø Andreasen.


Is it perhaps true that that 20 c/kWh tax you mentioned, Henrik, is used to subsidize windpower? DKK 1.7 billion (the 2005 Danish windpower production-subsidy) is USD 0.3 billion.
x-rates.com/calculator.html

Denmark had a GDP-PPP of about $200 billion in 2006.
cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/da.html#Econ

It is interesting that even at an electricity cost as high as 30 cents/kWh, Danes are expected to "notice" the increased cost of electricity that will be due to increased windpower reliance. Given that more than 9/10ths of the electricity used in Denmark (to build windmills and other value-added commodities for export) comes in the form of inexpensive domestic coal and gas and inexpensive imported nuclear, hydro and coal power, apparently in Denmark windpower is costs about $1/kWh -- roughly the same as it costs everywhere else. Perhaps if Denmark were to attempt to rely entirely on windpower, inter-related economic factors that all ultimately rely upon the cost of electricity would cause that cost of electricity to jump to the neighborhood of $1,000/kWh -- just as it likely would anywhere else in the world.

Henrik

NutBuddy you have done the amazing thing of talking yourselves into believing that the easily verifiable cost of 5 US cents / kWh for a state of the art wind turbine anno 2007 set up in a good windy location is a lie (or perhaps a conspiracy of the evil big wind) and that in fact wind turbines produces electricity at $1000/kWh. God have mercy on you. The world we live in may not.

jlw

So, why is it that nuclear advocates have to make the wildest claims about the performance of other energy sources? I mean, I don't think wind is the end-all and be-all, nor do I think nuclear power ought to be banned, but Nucbuddy's foaming at the mouth would make me question the real viability of nukes if I didn't have other sources of information.

Bottom line: Nuclear power does have a future, but I don't think we'll be seeing a full-scale build-out in the U.S. The technology is by necessity complicated and requires a level of dilligence that is hard to maintain over the long term. I mean, if a technology can't be maintained and operated by a person of average intelligence with a high school degree, it is probably too complicated to stake an economy on.

Nucbuddy

JLW wrote:

if a technology can't be maintained and operated by a person of average intelligence with a high school degree, it is probably too complicated to stake an economy on.

That might describe every known energy technology, including that which might enable time-shifting schemes such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G).

Please show your math.

Paul Dietz

the easily verifiable cost of 5 US cents / kWh for a state of the art wind turbine anno 2007 set up in a good windy location is a lie

EPRI certainly thinks it's not accurate. Their projected levelized cost for new wind in the US in 2010 is closer to $.08/kWh. Perhaps you are not properly including the cost of accomodating the variability in output or are using unrepresentatively favorable wind conditions?

PowerPointSamurai

Amazingdrx again brings up the "waste" issue when talking about the decommissioning costs for nuclear plants. That's *not* waste, that is still 95% fuel! Build at least one Gen IV plant with the mixed oxide recycling facility and there is no more waste.

Then KyleA griped about the amount of concrete required for a wind turbine vs. a "terrorist proof" nuclear facility. There is a famous video on the net of a concrete reactor building being hit by an F-4 fighter. You might quibble about the amount of mass of an F-4 vs, say, a 747, but the F-4 is a much more concentrated mass. It's kind of like being hit with a bullet vs. a Nerf football. That says nothing of the insane level of security on the ground around a nuke plant. I have no idea why people think this is a problem.

As for the greenhouse gas emissions from the concrete, for both the wind turbines and the nuke plants, that's all been calculated out as part of their carbon emissions somewhere. The difference is negligible.

It's time for the renewable camp and the nuclear camp to stop the fratricide and start working together. Face it. We can't produce all the power we need with one or the other alone because of the scale of the problem--especially if you want coal plants out of the game.

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote:

the easily verifiable cost of 5 US cents / kWh for a state of the art wind turbine anno 2007 set up in a good windy location is a lie (or perhaps a conspiracy of the evil big wind)


...Or perhaps it is a result of a simple conflict-of-interest.
gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/2/25/65336/7434/#comment61

This report that is being offered, the Danish 8 years study, is produced by a country whose Trade Council reports annual energy sector exports by this country in wind turbines as $1.5 billion. It is produced by wind energy interests.

The Dane's have $1.5 [billion] reasons to trumpet "no impact." They want us to buy their wind towers.

An analogy...If you walk into a camera store and ask the clerk, "Do your cameras work?" You're like to hear the clerk respond, "Why, of course our cameras work."


Henrik

Paul Dietz I did a little digging at EPRI and maybe I was just lucky but the first source I found on the issue confirmed the 5 c/kWh cost for wind turbines. I quote the EPRI journal 2006 summer issue page 36. “the cost of wind energy itself is now roughly $50/MWh without a production tax credit”.
Journal download is here
https://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt?space=CommunityPage&cached
=true&parentname=ObjMgr&parentid=2&control=SetCommunity&CommunityID
=277&PageID=0&RaiseDocID=000000000001013720&RaiseDocType=Product_id
They also say that grid integration for wind turbines could cost an additional $2 to $10 /MWh. The location of a wind turbine is very influential on the final cost/kWh. This is one reason it is almost impossible to find kWh cost estimates at the web pages of the wind producers. The 8 c / kWh you mention is probably true for some specific situation mentioned in your source. I won’t argue with that. However, I do not believe that any utility anywhere globally today set up wind turbines at locations if they result in cost above 10 cents /kWh every expense included.

Nucbuddy

Henrik wrote: Ups, the bloc system did not accept the link.

This weblog software accepts HTML links.

Engineer-Poet

Henrik:  That's what the preview is for.

PPS:  If you check that F4 test, I believe you'll find that it was just an airframe, no engines.  The engine cores would probably have done considerably more damage to the concrete than the rest of the aircraft combined.

Brian Wang

JLW

> to complicated to stake an economy on [nuclear]

France (6th largest economy) has 78.5% of its electricity from nuclear

Lithuania 69% of its electricity

Slovakia 56.1%

Belgium (17th largest economy) 55% of its electricity from nuclear

Ukraine 48.5%

South Korea (11th largest economy) 44.7%
S korea is building 8 more reactors (up from 20 now.) Will go over 50% electrical power

Bulgaria 44%

Japan (2nd largest economy) has 55 reactors in operation, one under construction, and plans to add 10 reactors by 2014,increasing nuclear power’s share of electricity to more than 40%

India, China and Russia are building a lot of nuclear reactors

For wind Denmark has the most with 20%
Spain with 8% and Germany with 6%

Henrik

Have not done any blocking before so still need to learn all the possibilities. The mentioned journal download link is here.

Link

PS the India, China link above also appears to be broken.

Nucboddy thank you for the link to show me how it is done.

Thomas Pedersen

Henrik, it's called a blog (short for weblog), not a bloc...

I'm guessing from your name and vast knowledge about Danish energy production that you are Danish like me :-)

I admire you perseverence in this debate. Personally, I no longer have the strength for this kind "throwing biased numbers at each other". Furthermore, I hate to see these two CO2-free forms of production in such staunch opposition when the future energy production cake is big enough for both technologies to get a big bite.

The merits of wind (and solar) and nuclear are so different that it's like comparing apples with oranges - it's very difficult to get a result that everybody can agree on...

When comparing wind to nuclear, please remember to factor in the capacity factor of both technologies.

Whether 5 cents/kWh or 8 cents/kWh is the true number, by the time a new reactor has been built, the value will surely be below 5 (see, now I'm throwing numbers as well...)

Anyway, for the Danish population, which generally accepts the added cost of wind compared to dirty coal, 2-3 cents/kWh higher production costs matters nothing when 20-25 cents/kWh of tax is added subsequently!

amazingdrx

How does this wind debate look from your perspective in Denmark.


Brian Wang

Link to the info on India and China and other countries plans for reactors. Some extra junk got into the last link.

Brian Wang

Thomas I agree with you that more wind and more nuclear and more anything else for power is better than coal.

British columbia is starting a ban on coal that is not non-carbon sequestering cleaner coal

I have also written extensively about the specifics of coal I think in the practical near term because coal is 50% of US power and 85% of China that we have to first retrofit the older coal plants and shut down the smallest and dirtiest coal plants. Install DOE developed devices that combine the best features of both a baghouse and an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) in the same compact enclosure. This device removes at least 99.99% of the solid particles in the flue gas of coal-fired power plants. This is better than the previously mandated 99%. Although that mandate did not get to some grandfathered older plants. All coal plants need to have that device installed. These measures would save 22000 lives per year in the USA and close to a million lives around the world (most in China and India). Invest more in wind, solar, renewables and nuclear. Allow nuclear to be up-powered and build more nuclear plants. Combined the renewables and nuclear can start reducing coal power and possibly eliminate coal in 20-30 years.

Paul Dietz

Paul Dietz I did a little digging at EPRI and maybe I was just lucky but the first source I found on the issue confirmed the 5 c/kWh cost for wind turbines. I quote the EPRI journal 2006 summer issue page 36. “the cost of wind energy itself is now roughly $50/MWh without a production tax credit”.

And now look at the previous page, where the chart gives the levelized cost of wind in 2010 as around $.075/kWh. The levelized cost of nuclear (given earlier, in a chart on page 31) is around $.047/kWh (assuming $1,700/kWh capital cost).

What explains the difference in the two wind numbers? The caption for the chart on page 35 says the average capacity factor for wind in the US is 29%, while the best sites are around 43%. (.29/.43)*.075 is around .05. So, your figure is for the best sites, not sites representative of where wind will actually be installed, particularly as capacity expands.

Mouseplatterman

From what I've seen here, from links provided here, and several other sources, it seems to me that wind energy has several advantages over nuclear power--and vice versa. Wind power has a limited capacity (esp. when factoring in NIMBYs) and Nuclear power would become much more effecient when standardized/mass produced (I dont support floating reactors though, for security reasons) so what's wrong with a largely nuclear-based economy (complete with reprocessing and intelligent waste disposal etc) supplemented with wind and some IGCC or other clean-technology coal? Of course hydropower, limited solar, geothermal, etc should be continued as well.

Any blaring problems with a plan like this (other than my incredible run-on sentences--sorry about that)

Paul Dietz

so what's wrong with a largely nuclear-based economy (complete with reprocessing and intelligent waste disposal etc) supplemented with wind and some IGCC or other clean-technology coal?

Wind basically saves you fuel cost on the other powerplants. The fuel cost for nuclear is very low. So combining wind and nuclear doesn't make much sense. It makes a bit more with coal, but not much.

If you have baseload plants burning natural gas, displacing some of their output with wind turbines would save you money. But replacing them with cheaper baseload plants would save you even more.

If you have some amount of dispatchable demand, you could use that to store wind energy, but you could use it to move generation from peaking to baseload plants. See previous arguments.

Harvey D.

Could nuclear power plants be built in the middle of the desert, hundreds of miles from any residence? If similar areas were good enough to test A-bombs, how could anybody object to install nuke power plants there?

Water availability may be a problem to be solved. Transporting the power, in all directions, with existing technology high voltage power lines is not much of a challenge.

Local sunshine + large storage units could supply some of the electrical energy required for the plant on-going operation.

Nucbuddy

Amazingdrx wrote:

you can ship a 67 megawatt reactor vessel [...] try that with a 1200 megawatt reactor vessel. Might be kind of difficult. I believe it would need to be cut up somehow and shipped in smaller segments.


The Trojan reactor vessel was rated at 1130-megawatts. Many photos of its 1999 transport and burial are at this link:
nucleartourist.com/systems/rv_trip.htm

After much preparation the Trojan reactor vessel was transported from the Trojan plant's location near Rainier, Oregon to its final disposal site at the US Ecology low level radioactive waste facility on the Hanford site near Richland, Washington.

Photos and Graphics- Courtesy PGE (photos taken by Craig Cunningham and Tim Parks)


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