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January 09, 2008

Comments

Stephen Boulet

Jim, just a note on units. A lowercase "m" means "milli" and an uppercase "M" means "mega".

1 mW = 1 milliwatt
1 MW = 1 megawatt

There is a factor of a billion difference between the two. ;)

Stephen

DaveMart

I much prefer this design to the one being built in Finland by Areva- they use far more passive safety features, and the simplifications they have made should reduce costs.
Here in the UK they are due to make an announcement about nuclear power tomorrow.
It will probably just confirm that they will go ahead, but my betting is that when they finally get around to building them it will be the French Areva design, simply because it is rated at 1.6GW, as against 1GW or so for the AP-1000.
If you are going to have a heck of a fight with anti-nuclear protesters, they will kick up just as much about 1GW as 1.6, so you might as well get as much power as possible for the hassle.
They will likely go for reactors in pairs at present reactor sites I would guess - they already have proposals to upgrade the transmission capabilities and perhaps also a couple more at other locations.

Sulu

Who is going to make an announcement in the UK? Cna you provide a link?

DaveMart

A Government announcement is to be made tomorrow - not that we don't already know what it will say, but the UK Government got taken to court by Greenpeace for prejudging an enquiry, so they have had to pretend for the last few months that they hadn't already decided to give the go ahead to nuclear:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/nuclear/article/0,,2237525,00.html

DaveMart

Here is a link to further info on the UK nuclear decision - they are also going to release the rest of their energy policy:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKL192861420080102?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true
As you can see from the linked article, the power lines to likely nuclear sites are already to be upgraded, not that anyone has made their minds up prior to the completion of the consultation exercise, of course! ;-)

Demesure

DaveMart,
I believe French Areva has won big contracts for their reactors in China too.
Do you know where we can find a technical comparison between French EPR and the AP-1000

DaveMart

You believe right! - I think they have four on order - they had some disputes initially because Areva did not want to transfer all the technology, but now they have negotiated a deal which includes uranium:
http://a4nr.org/library/economics/11.27.2007-heraldsun
China has difficulty getting the thick steel domes cast, and enough personnel trained:
http://asiacleantech.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/china%E2%80%99s-green-energy-gap/
I've had to split my post because of the anti-spam!

DaveMart

Here is the rest of the post:
Here are a couple of basic comparisons of the AP-1000 and the EBR:
http://www.virtualnucleartourist.com/
http://www.rsc.org/images/DesigningANuclearFuture_tcm18-102601.pdf
The last also shows all the designs submitted for consideration by the licensing board in the UK - the GE one has further to go in getting it licensed, and the CANDU one is a bit of an outsider as all the previous experience in Britain does not use heavy water as a moderator.
Here is the Areva design in more detail:
http://www.areva-np.com/common/liblocal/docs/Brochure/BROCHURE_EPR_US_2.pdf
And here is the AP-1000:
http://nuclearinfo.net/twiki/pub/Nuclearpower/WebHomeCostOfNuclearPower/AP1000Reactor.pdf

DaveMart

Just for completeness, here are links to comprehensive data on the other two contenders for nuclear power in the UK:
Here is the GE/Hitachi, which has got quite a lot of the licensing process to go through so is a bit of an outsider:
http://www.gehgenericdesignassessment.co.uk/document_download.jsp
And here is what is in a lot of respects my favourite design, the CANDU ACR 1000, not much chance of that being built with it's different fuel cycle, but it's a real good piece of design, and is relatively easily adapted to burn thorium:
http://www.aecl.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=88

Kit P

And not just to provide base load power.

“The EPR capability regarding maneuverability is a particularly well adapted response to scheduled and unscheduled power grid demands for load variations, managing of grid perturbations or
mitigation of grid failures.”

DaveMart

Wonder which design you like best, Kit?
I don't know too much about the GE design, and the greater passive safety aspects and the neat way they have upscaled the AP 600 to make the AP1000 incline me towards that - it might be easier to control costs than on the EPR.
The Candu is nice, but maybe more expensive and unlikely to be built in the UK

Kit P

DaveMart, I am an energy technology junkie. I like every thing that works and is not a con job. It looks to me like many of the design features are directed at the EU market. I have noticed the same thing about biomass equipment out of the EU. Expensive features that look good to PC regulators but add little to economics that may keep a project making energy without huge incentives.

DaveMart

What they went for Kit is a bit more than that - they aim to use the same design with very minor modifications in all markets in the world, to give them series economies.
I can't see the States being any more relaxed about standards than the EU if they ever get around to building anymore.
As I said, I have not looked at the GE proposals in any detail, but of the two front-runners would kind of agree that the French Areva design does add some complexity, sort of their previous model with knobs on, albeit in a larger size which should help to keep costs under control.
The Westinghouse design though is much more truly a Generation III+ design, and the reason I like it is that it improves standards whilst taking complexity out, instead of putting it in.
The use of passive safety is good in itself, I would much sooner rely on gravity than pumped systems, but also means that they can greatly reduce the number of valves and so on.
'the AP-1000 has 50% fewer valves, 83%less piping, 87% less control cables, 35% less pumps and 50% less seismic building volume' - this 'all adds up to a building half the size of Sizewell B'
Similarly the CANDU design reduces the use of expensive heavy water by two-thirds, as it uses it only as a moderator, not a coolant.

DaveMart

Fro fellow tech-heads, here is more data from the UK:
On costs:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39525.pdf
Basically, if you want to reduce carbon emissions and see the price of oil and so on anywhere above $55 a barrel, then nuclear seems a good option.
On waste from new nuclear build:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39386.pdf
If you allow it to cool for a while, then the amount you would add to current stockpiles in the UK would be fairly small - early reactors were very inefficient, the proposed new reactors are much more efficient.
Where they will be built:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39030.pdf
Scotland and Wales are out, due to devolution.
The final decisions would be made by the private companies - but you can bet it would be in close consultation with the government.
There are a couple of really good sites, and after that there are some difficulties about all of them.
What concerns me is that there is an energy gap due to appear around 2010, and the current generation of nuclear stations is likely to have their lives extended to cover - the pressure to do so will be immense, and safety considerations may be put a long way back in the order of priorities.
They would be a lot less safe than the new build, so paradoxically the opposition to new nuclear build may have the result of increasing risk, and by a substantial factor.

Kit P

Sorry to disappoint DaveMart but it looks to be like the different designs are a tie. The prospective owner of a new nuke should buy the design that best matches their requirements. Having many good choices is much better than having many bad choices. Try as a I might, I have not been able to find a design western design that is clearly superior to their rivals. What I have noticed, is a difference in management. Some management is very proactive empowering workers to achieve flawless performance, some are reactive requiring regulators to pound them into the ground before fixing problems that their workers identified over and over. The same clowns who do not budget enough for high tension line maintenance, do not budget enough for a corrosion monitoring program.

David Walters

I also prefer the AP1000. Keep in mind, to whom ever stated it, the AP600 was a design concept only, none were ever built.

But it is the simplicity and COSTS that make the AP1000, on a KW cost basis, the better choice for the cost-consious investor/utility/consumer.

The ONLY advantage I see for the EPR is the size. Certainly the economy of scale is much better and if, as someone above pointed out, one needs, say, 1600 instad of 1100 MWs, then this is something to consider.

Westinghouse is, at least on the napkin stage, secretly, quitly, talking about both a AP1300 and an AP1700. But this is totally unofficial.

Anyway, on a cost basis, per KW, SO FAR, the APs seem to come in way cheaper, under $2000 KW than than the EPR, well over, for now, this price.

David Walters

DaveMart

Kit, on that basis the French Areva is a good choice - the French record for running their reactors is exceptional.
I agree they all look like strong designs.

DaveMart

David, you are correct, I misstated the case.
The previous experience Westinghouse refers to is that the AP 600 and AP 1000 are both evolutionary developments of their present reactors, and use some of the same components.
As regards reactor size, technically it would be easier for the UK to use 1100MW reactors, as if it went off-line it would not affect the system as much - the minimum base-load is only around 20GW.
For political reasons larger reactors might be better, but I rather doubt that Westinghouse would be able to get a new design authorised in time, which is the same weakness as in the GE/Hitachi design.

steve

DaveMart I really appreciate your ability to discuss things without starting with the personal attacks. I know you are British and was curious on how the Brits felt about nuclear energy as opposed to the Americans. Here I feel that most people would support it but environmental groups learned long ago that it is pretty simple to make it too expensive to build anything. I think that is one of the main reasons we have not built anything in years. (well that and really cheap oil) The company I work for has extensive holdings in nuclear, hydro, coal, natural gas, wind and solar. I know we would love to build some new nukes but unless we are offered some protections from lawsuits it is going to be pretty difficult. We also have some regions such as California that are pretty much opposed to both nukes and coal. It pretty much only leaves natural gas. Now I love combined cycle natural gas turbines but we simply don’t have enough available gas to keep building them forever without seriously driving up the cost of gas. Our own costs for gas have tripled in the last 5 years.

I agree with you about coal but unless the US has a serious change of heart about nukes it is going to be pretty hard to get away from it. We have huge amounts of it here and, especially in the Western United States, some of it is pretty high quality. They have done some pretty good work cleaning it up but it is expensive. I feel that coal gasification shows some promise but have to admit I am far from an expert on the whole process. For renewables to work we are pretty much going to have to develop some form of energy storage and I don’t believe that the proposed storage systems for solar thermal will even come close to what we would need. The one storage system that does not seem to be mentioned on here as much is stored hydro. We have been doing for over 100 years and some claim to be over 80% efficient. Seems like it might work well with both renewables and nukes. You could pretty much eliminate the need to build peaking plants also. Hydro can be very quick to respond to load changes. Also by overbuilding our nuke capability we may be able to make hydrogen with the excess. I feel that our biggest danger as a nation is not global warming but our inability to supply our energy needs. To have a sound economy we need to have a stable domestic energy source. It would also save a tremendous amount of money not trying to be the world policeman to protect our energy sources. I can only imagine how much we could have done with all the money we have blown in Iraq.

DaveMart

Steve, I find it interesting and informative that you don't see storage for solar thermal as being cost effective at the moment, at any rate for 24hour supply.
Pro and anti nuclear opinion here is divided almost evenly at the moment - most of 'polite society' - the BBC and the heavy papers are in the anti camp.
Court cases are not quite so easy here, although Greenpeace did manage to delay the Government officially admitting that is was in favour of nuclear for a few months, but obviously sit-ins and so on are the same.
Quite a lot of long-time nuclear opponents have now changed their minds though, and should oil and gas supplies get more expensive and limited public opinion could swing quite rapidly.
Once that occurs the Government has a lot of means to force things through, probably more than in the States.
This might happen fairly soon, as personally I have become convinced by the arguments of peak oil, although not it's more extreme fringes, and it seems to me that the rises in production which are hypothecated by 'the establishment', up to around 130bn barrels from the present 85bn or so, are unlikely to occur, and that it will be tough enough to prevent too steep a fall in production.
This will obviously mean a new look at all energy sources.

DaveMart

The state of the nuclear debate in Britain:
'In the year 2008 the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in England and said,

'Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.
Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.'

He gave Noah the CAD drawings, saying, 'You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.'

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard- but no Ark.

'Noah!' He roared, 'I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark ?'

Forgive me, Lord,' begged Noah, 'but things have changed. I needed Building Regulations Approval and I've been arguing with the Fire Brigade
about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbours claim that I should have obtained planning permission for building the Ark in my garden
because it is development of the site, even though in my view it is a temporary structure.

We had to then go to appeal to the Secretary of State for a decision.

Then the Department of Transport demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions to
clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. All the decent trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them and we live in a Site of Special Scientific Interest set
up in order to protect the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but no go!

When I started gathering the animals, the RSPCA sued me. ..........They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will.

They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

Then the County Council, the Environment Agency and the Rivers Authority ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental
impact study on your proposed flood.

I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many disabled carpenters I'm supposed to hire for my building team.

The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only accredited workers with Ark-building experience.

To make matters worse, Customs and Excise seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.

So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark. '

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, 'You mean you're not going to destroy the world?'

“No� said the Lord.

"The British government beat me to it."'

-pinched from a letter to 'The Times' today

DaveMart

Actually, things are moving forward:
'Areva, a French utilities company, indicated that it was interested in building six nuclear power plants in Britain capable of generating 15 per cent of the UK's electricity, at a cost of £13.4 billion.'
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3164191.ece
Both the Unions and business are also in favour.
Westinghouse are going to have to put in a strong bid if they are to match the French - the most favourable sites are at a premium:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39030.pdf
There are only about 7 sites which are in the most favourable group for building a reactor, and only tow for modern twin reactors.

steve

Dave the reason I don’t think the proposed storage is going to work for base load power is that the major difference between summer and winter production. Here in the Mojave there is about 4 hours difference between the amount of sunlight between winter and summer. (10 hours verses 14 hours) On its own that doesn’t sound so bad but the amount of solar radiation given off during the winter is much less too. Between the shortened days, less solar radiation, sun angle and general less perfectly clear days the total production in the winter is probably around 25% of the summer solar production. (I have never actually set down and ran the numbers) Both the Ausra and the Solel systems gather heat in approximately the same way so I would expect them to have similar performance. For storage to truly be effective you would need to be able to save some of the summer energy for the winter. Also the proposed system would have to be large enough to run for 7 to 10 days in the winter when storms occur. I know Ausra calls for “efficient” natural gas heaters for backup but in reality they use about twice as much gas as a combined cycle turbine and if used for base load power are going to be run quite often.

BTW funny story.

DaveMart

A bit more Brit news:
It seems the Government expects up to 10 reactors to be built by 2020:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml;jsessionid=4XSMFVRJNI3IPQFIQMGCFFWAVCBQUIV0?xml=/earth/2008/01/10/eanuclear110.xml
And that it reckons that nuclear is more economic than any low-carbon resource save on-shore wind.
It is also putting price cap guarantees into place on the cost of disposal of nuclear waste:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml;jsessionid=2RCF2I00UXUJ1QFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/earth/2008/01/10/earthlog110.xml
More here:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilities/article3165305.ece

DaveMart

Steve, there are so many scams and plain impracticalities around in the renewables industry that it is hard to keep track.
I must admit you've shocked me with that take on solar thermal storage.
I suppose I was thinking that solar incidence might be around 50% in the winter at the latitude of the Mohave, but really that just proves I wasn't thinking.

Kit P

“Now I love combined cycle natural gas turbines but we simply don’t have enough available gas to keep building them forever without seriously driving up the cost of gas.”

I am an old school kind of guy and like the adage that those who fail to learn the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them. When I went to college, it was suggested by many that making electricity with natural gas should be criminalized. The reason for this is that natural gas has many more important uses.

The same reason nuke plants are being built in China is the reason that nuke plants are being considered in the US. China has stopped exporting coal making high BTU eastern US coal more expensive and nuclear competitive.

“To have a sound economy we need to have a stable domestic energy source.”

Maybe Steve can explain why his company is also big in importing LNG. The GAO issued a report on today on maritime security related to energy sources. I am not sure how who Steve wants to be the policeman of the world. Maybe he likes Putin or he could longs for Saddam Hussein to be the policeman of the world the world.

DaveMart

By country in Europe, only nuclear and hydroelectricity reduce CO2 significantly:
'“Germany has spent billions of euros subsidising wind and solar, marching to the greens’ drum. They have not succeeded in reducing their CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, which remain among the highest per capita in Europe [10.4 tonnes/capita/ year, up from 9.5 in 2,000. That is because wind and solar are intermittent and unreliable. Every solar panel and every wind machine must be backed up by reliable power for when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing,” he said.

Moore said Sweden had the lowest per capita CO2 emissions in Europe (6.3 tonnes/capita/year) and France had the second lowest (6.8 tonnes/ person/year). Sweden is 50% hydroelectric and 50% nuclear. France is 80% nuclear, 10% hydroelectric and uses only 10% fossil fuel. Denmark has the highest CO2 per capita at 11.0 tonnes/capita/year “because their mix is 18% wind and 82% fossil fuel. It is clear to see that the more hydroelectric and nuclear in the mix the lower the carbon emissions will be. Wind has a minor role to play and solar is not even worth the investment,” said Moore. '
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article2982694.ece
That shocked me too - I thought wind power did better than that.
Solar in Germany was obviously an expensive waste of time.

DaveMart

Apparently the licensing process in the UK will last at least 3 and a half years.
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/eon-uk-supports-areva-westinghouse/story.aspx?guid=%7BD4E45147-31B8-4B2C-B314-25C56DD45C6C%7D
They are trying to make it a generic licence so that the same issues can't be brought up each time a new reactor is built.

steve

Kit you do amuse me. Not quite sure what you are talking about other than I seemed to get under your skin with my little sideswipe at your hero. Don’t worry Kit I am just as much to blame as you for the little mess he has gotten us into. I voted for him in 2000 too. The only thing is I learn from my mistakes. Hmm I can’t think of any reason why we would be importing LNG.... other than maybe there is not enough of it domestically DOH. Another thing you may or may not be aware of is many of the peaking turbines are capable of running on NG or fuel oil and on the East Coast are pretty much using fuel oil.

Dave there are some interesting things in that report. I have to admit I had to laugh when I heard about Germany’s solar. If I remember right they were paying something like $.50 a KW? (probably a heck of a lot more than that now with the dollar down the tubes) Seems pretty crazy to me to try and use solar in Northern Europe. About your earlier comment on “peak oil” I am not completely convinced it has happened yet but with the world demand for oil going up it is only a matter of time. Really there is little incentive for the world’s oil producers to increase supply anyway. I am a fairly frequent visitor to South East Asia and I am amazed how much it has changed the last few years. There is a huge demand out there for the worlds resources and only getting bigger.

DaveMart

Steve, apparently the term 'peak oil' carries a load of baggage I was unaware of in my innocence, and indeed the forums for it are pretty heavily populated by survivalists and such, some of them even stranger than some here! ;-)
However, whether we have actually and literally reached peak or not, the critical thing is that the projections being made for 'business as usual' oil are simply not credible in my view.
Here is one example of a pretty conservative source's evaluation:
http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/290582
If you go back over the last few years, the track record of prediction of the 'industry standard' sources of information has been horrible - they have continually predicted more production which has not happened.
The time schedules for the development of major new fields now are optimistic, to say the least.
The major producers are also keeping oil cheap internally, and using more and more of what they produce, and they can afford to with the price they get for the rest of it.
The announcement today of that $2500 car from Tata shows what is happening to demand.
On your other point on the price Europe is paying for renewables, what really shocked me was how little benefit Denmark was getting from it's very expensive wind power.
Wind turbines seem to just consolidate the use of coal and gas, as they are so variable, just as you were discussing for solar thermal using less efficient gas boilers to make up for it's intermittencies.
Denmark has achieved nothing which would not have been better done with just one nuclear plant! (pop. Denmark around 5m, i8% of power generated by wind)

steve

Dave I agree that the worlds ability to produce oil has diminished greatly. I started out in college to be a petroleum engineer but that was in the mid eighties and they just were not in the demand they are today. I am kicking myself for changing my major. I have a natural love of travel and these guys can pretty much write their own tickets. With the higher prices we are now able to go back and get some of the oil that we were not able to before. My main reason for wanting to go to other sources of energy is pretty much national defense and all the problems foreign oil is causing us now. We are basically at the mercy of any little crackpot that has oil. I am pretty sure you could enlighten us on how most Europeans view us right now. Things have gotten so bad that I am half tempted to tell everyone I am Canadian when I travel. lol

In my humble opinion I don’t think renewables will be ever be able to compete with nuclear or coal for price in the foreseeable future. Now if we make coal plants near zero emissions or tax them on greenhouse gasses then I think there is a good chance renewables may get close. I feel with proper storage wind can be useful. Solar is much easier to predict and tends to follow load (especially with limited storage that would extend run time a few hours) and utilities seem to like it better. I do think we need to spend money developing these technologies but anyone who thinks we are ready to run the country with wind or solar today is dreaming.

I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to nukes. There are the only way we have today to produce a huge amount of electricity that is reliable, cheap and clean. If it were up to me we would start building these things and not stop until we had totally broken our dependence on foreign energy sources.

Kit P

“Areva, a French utilities company ...”

EDF is the French electric utility that will operate the EPR now being built in France by AREVA. From what I read EDF will also be participating with AREVA in the China project.

These days you need a score card to figure out who is who in the US when it comes to making electricity. Scottish Power was even over here for a while. Some of the EU utilities that are big in wind power are buying up wind power. Then there are the Wall Street bankers who are buying up the electricity generating industry.

The point here is that the old business models are now only part of the picture.

The generalities that steve is stating are outdated. The US electricity industry is currently 99% independent of foreign (not counting Canada). The nuclear power plants that came on line in the 70s & 80s shifted oil to a backup source of generation. Steve works for a company and lives in a state that want to change that by turning to importing LNG. The lesson of histrory have been learned by some. There are many communities in the US that welcome new coal and nuke plants because they are good neighbors and pay lots of taxes. The lawsuits that steve talks about actually help nukes. Case law is settled for nukes.

DaveMart

Steve,
It's pretty hard to say how something as diverse as 'the Europeans' feel about that equally diverse entity 'the Americans', but in general opinion does not differ that much from that in America, save that most Northern European countries at least do not have the demographic of the fundamentalist right - we have had to import our religious nuts, but the governments in the EU are doing that pretty ably, so we should catch up shortly!
In general, the 'smart and sophisticated' (their evaluation) are pretty much Washington Post type people, with a visceral hatred of the same things, and many are foolish enough to identify that with their notion of America, and are as doubtful of what they conceive that stands for as The Washington Post.
Th general population though tends to be more rational.

Roger Brown

For storage to truly be effective you would need to be able to save some of the summer energy for the winter.

By 'truly effective' you mean effective to supply the baseload year round power to which we have become accustomed. Before the fossil fuel age people were using flowing water, wind, and even tidal power for economic production in spite of their variable nature because they were superior to doing everything by hand. If we run out of our huge store of fossil energy, then having reliable solar energy for half the year for key high energy manufacturing tasks may be a lot better than depending strictly on biomass. Maybe nuclear will take over as the stored energy of choice, but unlike you, I do not make the assumption that the way of life that is considered normal in the OECD countries is necessarily going to continue forever.

steve

Kit I read many of your posts and just can’t seem to figure you out. Are you saying that lawsuits are good for the nuclear industry or they just don’t matter? You give such few reasons for your beliefs that I sometimes have a hard time taking you seriously. I am the first to admit I am not always right but give me something more than you said so. The simple truth is given enough time anyone can google enough to make them look like an expert and can pretty much defend any position. Now I will agree with you that many communities would love to have a new coal or nuke plant in them but this is just simply not always their decision.

Now I am not sure you know who I work for or even really what state I live in. Should be pretty easy to figure out but your last post has me confused. I am curious on your opinion on natural gas imports. Are you saying we have plenty of gas and we should not be doing it? Now you seem to be an expert on everything so I am sure you know the reason utilities like to build natural gas turbines. They are one of the few technologies that meet strict environmental standards, are relatively cheap and fast to build. Kit you will get no argument from me that traditional coal plants can supply all of our electricity needs. I just don’t believe that is the way the US and the world are heading.

Now about my employer. First off I am far from being a spokesman for them and my opinions are definitely my own. Funny thing is you are bashing them but only recently they proposed building a “clean” coal plant and the plan was denied. They have also proposed expanding their nuke plants but this will take years, if it is even accepted. Now in your opinion what do you think they should do?

Roger I read your post several times. I know I am tired but I just can’t figure out what you are trying to say.

Clee

Steve wrote:
Another thing you may or may not be aware of is many of the peaking turbines are capable of running on NG or fuel oil and on the East Coast are pretty much using fuel oil.

Really? I'm surprised. I was under the impression that only Hawaii currently uses much oil for electricity generation in the US. I've been hearing lately that the price of oil is so high these days that NG is very cheap compared with oil in terms of $/BTU. Why would they be using oil? Does it have something to do with that winter when the NG pressure in the pipelines were unusually low?

steve

Clee the way I stated that was poorly written and somewhat misleading. You are very much correct that natural gas is cheaper to run and used much more often. It is also more reliable to run a turbine with natural gas than fuel oil. (basically diesel) The reason it is often done with peaker plants is they don’t often have long term NG contracts and there is not always enough spare capacity in the lines to supply the huge amount of gas many of the plants need when they come up. Now with plants that basically run everyday the gas is usually purchased on long term contracts and is available. Our company has guys who’s only job it is to purchase NG and the price they pay often determines how much some plants will run.

Kit P

Clee, you may want to consider reading the National Energy Policy, May 2001 if you want a better understand of the US energy situation.

The price of oil and natural gas are about the same but varies and is very volatile with interruption is the supply system. The key is watching the amount of natural gas in storage. Earlier this the price of natural gas was high while filling storage for winter. With storage above average, no hurricanes, and mild winter, the price of gas will be stable and less oil will be used. However, there is only a limited number of generating facilities with dual fuel capability.

Clee, what goes around comes around. I lived in Pennsylvania in the early 80s down the road from a big oil fired power plant that had been converted from coal when oil was cheap and clean (?). The local utility finally got their nuke in line but the PUC would not let it in the rate base because it was not needed. My electric bill came with two bottom lines. The bill that I had to pay for oil generated electricity. Then there was the lower bill if the nuclear generated electricity at the higher base rate without a fuel adjustment factor. The PUC got the message.

In 2006 (2005?), that oil fired plant set a new generating record selling power to New Yorkers. If the dems in New York succeed with their plan to close down Indian Point more oil and gas will be needed. That may be why a new LNG terminal is being licensed for Long Island.

California primary plan to meet increasing electricity demand is with LNG tankers. Using a small amount of oil and LNG as a contingency is a good idea. Depending on imported energy to make our electricity is a really bad idea.

DaveMart

Steve, I think you are wise to be cautious on the prospects for utility scale solar thermal production.
To my mind the article in Scientific American advocating massive solar thermal and a super-grid to carry the power from the South-West to the rest of the States together with compressed air storage succeeded only in demolishing the case.
They were looking for $420bn! in subsidies, and by 2050 you end up with electricity at 11ckwh!
And this is from the proponents of the idea - the Lord only knows what it's enemies would say.
If anyone is interested here is a link to some of the discussion on the project:
http://science-community.sciam.com/thread.jspa?threadID=300005617&start=330

Kit P

I was surprised to find a picture of the nuke construction at Olkiluoto using Google Earth:

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/998267

Roger Brown

Steve wrote:

Roger I read your post several times. I know I am tired but I just can’t figure out what you are trying to say.

In a large section of the American southwest a cloudy day is a rare an unusual event for six month’s out of the year. If supplies of energy sources such a fossil fuels and fissionable elements were low then we would probably better off extracting useful economic work from this energy resource than not doing so (by useful economic work I do not mean attempting to power a nationwide grid). The seasonal variation of this resource does indeed reduce its economic quality. However, we currently exploit land for food production which has little to no output during the winter because that is the resource that nature has provided us with. If your nuclear optimism is justified, then we will not have to live with the limitations of the solar resource. I am just pointing out that there are intermediate possibilities between nuclear energy and the stone age.

Nucbuddy

Roger Brown wrote: If your nuclear optimism is justified

Optimism is a doctrine. Why are you using that word?

Kit P

Steve is having trouble understanding. The reason may be that my carefully researched facts conflict with his “beliefs” or “feelings” but if he hangs in there he will discover a world that is not based on being politically correct.

Steve should also read the National Energy Policy, May 2001.

Steve wrote,

“Are you saying we have plenty of gas and we should not be doing it?”

Yes, see page 5-10 of National Energy Policy, May 2001. The US has huge reserves of natural including off the California coast.

Steve wrote,

“Now you seem to be an expert on everything so I am sure you know the reason utilities like to build natural gas turbines. They are one of the few technologies that meet strict environmental standards, are relatively cheap and fast to build.”

No utilities builds turbines, GE does. What standards is Steve talking about? Of course he means regulations. Any regulation that allows gas fired power plants is not very strict. If people in California really cared about air quality and AGW, they would be building nuke plants. Steve talks about the speed of building gas plants in the same breath as talking about his company trying to build a coal plant.

“Now in your opinion what do you think they should do?” They should fire some people maybe starting with the CEO. What no one at your company knew the licensing process takes years and could involve lawsuits? Maybe Steve your company should have provided leadership to pick a course that did not create national security issues while creating expensive and unreliable electricity.

If this seems harsh, many utilities provide power without getting out lobbied by the Sierra Club.

Roger Brown

Nucbuddy wrote:

Optimism is a doctrine. Why are you using that word?

I take back the expression your nuclear optimism and replace by the expression your evaluation of the economic potential of nuclear energy

Roger Brown

Nucbuddy wrote:

Optimism is a doctrine. Why are you using that word?

I take back the expression your nuclear optimism and replace by the expression your evaluation of the economic potential of nuclear energy

steve

Kit I have a feeling that anyone who does not fall at the feet of the Republican Party and is not a card carrying member of the NRA is considered politically correct to you. Your “carefully researched facts” are little more than you surfing the net to justify your beliefs and your beliefs only. Mostly your posts are just personal attacks with little real substance but every once in a while you do bring up something interesting. You read an article or post and only pick up what you want to hear. Here are a few things you missed while trying to attack instead of having a discussion. I have said I support the use of nuclear power and you totally ignored that. I have said that I feel that coal will be used be used in the future in the United States, you totally ignored that. I have pointed out many of the problems with the use of solar energy and again you totally ignored that. Ok now lets break down your post to see where you stretched the truth to conform to your view of the world.

Ok your first comment about natural gas. In a previous post you said you were taught using NG for power is stupid. I was actually going to agree with you that using imported fuel for producing power is not very good idea. Hmm I never said that California did not have gas reserves but until they decide to go after them on both a State and Federal level they are effectively not there. I don’t make the rules and you don’t make the rules. I do believe at some point they will start drilling for them but for now it is as if they are not there. Neither you nor I can change that. There is also the argument of using up the rest of the worlds resources before you burn yours. California has worked itself into one hell of a pickle by mandating the use of a large number of renewables and not wanting to build anymore nuke plants. Again I don’t make the rules.

Ok the statement that utilities don’t build gas turbines is one of your most pathetic and childish things you have said on here. I realize you are just lashing out but by your rational if I buy the land, get the permits, pay the taxes and decide on the design, but hired a contractor I did not build a house. Yes the designs are GE, GE tech support is used but they are owned and operated by us. Now many utilities don’t build their own projects. They often buy power from other companies with PPA‘s. The company I work for does both. We have both our own projects we build and operate for consumers and we also have projects all over the country that sell power to various utilities. Oh and who cares if the word standard or regulation is used. They are still rules the utility or power plant owner must follow.

Kit now I am pretty sure you don’t know who I work for. Which is surprising because it would not take a rocket scientist to figure it out. The funny thing is you mentioned them earlier as being one of the better operators in the industry. Got any ideas now? Hmm you would fire the CCO? Who should we hire? You seem to know everything I guess it should be you. I really doubt he is in any danger with the stock going threw the roof and being considered one of the best run utilities in the nation by many annalists. Oh and just for a little background the coal plant that was recently rejected was not in California.

You seem to be contradicting yourself on the ease of building nukes. Earlier you said there was no problems getting them licensed or built because that had already been settled. I would love to see a link or two to back up your statement. Not saying you are wrong but again more than I am right because I am always right would be nice. And now you are saying we should fire our CCO because he does not know the process takes years and there might be lawsuits. Pretty sure they know this but getting State approval and spending the huge amount of money this would entail is a huge issue. Since you seem to know everything when was the last nuclear plant started being built and how much are the projected costs for building a new one? I guess we need to fire every CCO in the country.

steve

Ok in times like this I really wish I had an edit button. CCO should have been CEO. :) I have been around the power industry too long. CCO is a control room operator. Guess I need to proof read my posts.

Kit P

Westinghouse and AREVA have been invited by South Africa to build 5+ reactors.

“Eskom spokesman Tony Stott confirmed that late last year the company asked French firm Areva, which built Koeberg, and American company Westinghouse to submit bids. The reactors will be the EPR design from Areva or the AP1000 design from Westinghouse.”

Account Deleted

That’s really great to hear, this project will surely help people in a big way. At the same time managing such big construction projects is not that easy, having a proper construction quality control plan will make lot of difference.

dentist west hollywood

I like this passive technology, it seems like it works well.

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