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Old 08-29-2018, 01:55 PM   #2609 (permalink)
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Your facts are incomplete.

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
You might want to look at the facts. The two reactors being built here in the US are wildly over budget and overdue, and the same goes for the reactor being built in the UK.

Pilgrim had FIVE unscheduled shutdowns in about a year - that sort of undependability costs a lot of money. The fund they have to decommission it is $1,000,000,000 dollars, and I'll bet that won't cover the costs, and it won't be done by 2028. The original plan was to take as long as SIXTY YEARS.

The same company Entergy, that owns Pilgrim, also owns Vermont Yankee, and that plant is already being decommissioned - and I doubt they have enough money to do it right.

Nuclear was promised to be too cheap to meter. HA!
As has been pointed out, regulatory and protestatory hurdles greatly increase costs of nuclear power plants as well as provide a highly uncertain financial situation increasing the costs of financing the project.

I was in MIT a couple years ago to visit with a nephew finishing his doctorates. Several people in the department had some insight on Pilgrim. The added costs were not because of original design failures or dangers. They were the added redundancies required by the powers that be forced by numerous special interests groups after the Fukashima disaster. The shutdowns are largely due to these added redundancies and an increase in the level of scrutiny. At no time was the plant a danger to its operators or the surrounding populace.

So it is with new reactor projects. These projects take decades to build largely because of the bureaucracy and protest. This results in a CUSTOM design for that particular local. Also, once construction is started, the powers that be can halt construction for any number of reasons. Construction halts are very expensive. I was part of a nuclear accelerator project in the 80s and our budget costs increased 50% simply because of the stoppages. Not design changes. Special interest groups in the community wanted more safety from the "nuclear" part of our work. It took numerous public meetings to help them understand that all of our "nuclear" material derived from simply taking the electrons away from our hydrogen gas stream.

The demands of bureaucracy result in custom designs that never are completed on time. This is a norm in the industry and has nothing to do with the actual design and construction of the plant. Should there be oversight? Of course! But there are ways to reduce costs greatly.

The nuclear power industry has the French Nuclear Power grid as a hint to move forward. Largely modular designs with standardized plans for construction and operation as well as fuel reprocessing and sequestration and proliferation security. Protests were allowed BEFORE the start of construction and largely disallowed after. This only makes sense in the scheme of things. The French Nuclear Power Grid is near its heat limit. Meaning, all the large mega-watt plants are on the good cooling sites. This makes sense as current nuclear power plants are only about 30% thermally efficient. However, there was room left in designs to allow co-generation technology to be added once they became viable and economically practical. There are also sites already identified for construction of newer more thermally efficient power plants in the future. All this is a simplification of course, gleaned from an animated Frenchman as we flew across the Atlantic. But, it underlines the fact we can safely and economically build nuclear power into our grids base-lining our renewables if we only had the will.

I am not an opponent of renewable energy. I believe we should use it if and when we can. However, using fossil fuels to largely baseline our renewables is standard practice at the moment. Power storage is going to be a gargantuan task in technology and time. Power transmission is another. Nuclear power can, and does, provide the baseline power a modern society needs.
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redpoint5 (08-29-2018)