US risks losing clean electricity if nuclear plants keep closing, report says

Dec 11, 2013

Four nuclear power plants, sources of low-emissions electricity, have announced closings this year. If plants continue to shut down instead of extending operations the nation risks losing 60 percent of its clean electricity starting in 2030, according to a new report, Renewing Licenses for the Nation's Nuclear Power Plant by the American Physical Society.

Power plants across the country, including ones in California, Wisconsin, Florida and Vermont, are being shuttered as utility companies opt to build plants rather than extending operation of nuclear reactors. Operators of an additional 38 reactors in 23 states are facing decisions on whether to extend operating licenses. Currently, there are approximately 100 nuclear reactors in the United States.

"Nuclear provide the nation with a source of clean energy at a time when renewables such as solar and wind are not yet ready to fill the potential gap in the nation's base power needs created by the loss of . Utilities should consider extending the licenses of power plants, which unlike coal and natural gas plants, do not emit any major air pollutants as identified in the Clean Air Act," said Roy Schwitters, chair of the APS report.

Although natural gas is cheap, its future remains uncertain. Questions abound concerning the availability of the gas in the U.S. and infrastructure and environmental costs associated with fracked wells.

Four prominent climate and energy scientists recently released an open letter to world leaders, calling on them to support safer nuclear energy systems as a practical way to address global warming. "While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world, there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power," states the letter from Ken Caldeira (senior scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution); Kerry Emanuel (atmospheric scientist, MIT); James Hansen (climate scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute); and Tom Wigley (climate scientist, University of Adelaide and the National Center for Atmospheric Research).

Extending operating licenses for reactors in a safe and reliable way is a smart move, as they are a "near carbon-free source of energy," according to the APS report. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows power plants to operate up to 60 years, but extensions are available for an additional 20 years. The report finds that there are no technical show stoppers to running some plants for up to 80 years.

Furthermore, it urges utilities to consider the financial and environmental consequences of carbon emissions in their business decisions regarding nuclear and . Such considerations can also be factors for socially responsible investors who are concerned about increased carbon emissions in the U.S. Investors, with more than $3 trillion in assets and who use an environmental, social and governance criteria, have been effective at encouraging companies to consider environmental consequences in their business decisions.

The APS report specifically recommends the following:

  • An Enhanced Energy Strategy Pathway—As long as licenses can be safely renewed, U.S. energy strategies should make renewal a feasible choice. For example, for energy security and climate change reasons, the federal government or individual states could enact policies that support lowest-carbon sources; or, financial institutions could weigh environmental impact in valuating utilities and banks that finance utilities.
  • An Enhanced Research Pathway—A more substantial, fundamental research effort, with a long-term commitment, would better inform the assessments that will drive a decision whether to seek continued operation beyond the current license period. With additional resources, the current program at the U.S. Department of Energy would grow both deeper and broader, serving to reduce financial risks and uncertainties.
  • An Enhanced Leadership Pathway—The U.S. government should have a concentrated program to support the development, manufacturing and licensing of new nuclear reactors that can be built, operated and eventually decommissioned in a manner that is safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective.

Explore further: Experts say nuclear power needed to slow warming

More information: www.aps.org/policy/reports/pop… ad/nuclear-power.pdf

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Bob_Wallace
1.7 / 5 (14) Dec 11, 2013
Or we could save money and install renewables.

Nuclear at 15+c/kWh or wind and solar for ~ 5c/kWh, it that math difficult?

(Nuclear and wind/solar both require storage and backup.)
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (8) Dec 11, 2013
"US risks losing clean electricity if nuclear plants keep closing, report says"

US risks losing valuable citizens by barring suicide bombers from crossing its borders report might as well be saying.
Solon
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2013
Nuclear at 15+c/kWh

Yeah, when the NRC has its way. Chinas' AP-1000's will produce at 2 c/kWh.
Bob_Wallace
1.4 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2013
China is building a new reactor or two in the UK.

16 c/kWh.

ShotmanMaslo
4.8 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2013
Or we could save money and install renewables.

Nuclear at 15+c/kWh or wind and solar for ~ 5c/kWh, it that math difficult?

(Nuclear and wind/solar both require storage and backup.)


Nuclear does not require storage and it requires backup only rarely, you are being disingenius with this comparison. Intermittency is the biggest issue of renewables, even if the price per kw is zero that issue will still be here.

Also, your prices per kwh are weird, in reality the cost of renewables and nuclear is similar.

https://en.wikipe...y_source
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Dec 12, 2013
Or we could save money and install renewables.

Nuclear at 15+c/kWh or wind and solar for ~ 5c/kWh, it that math difficult?

(Nuclear and wind/solar both require storage and backup.)


Nuclear does not require storage and it requires backup only rarely (capacity factor 90% comapred to 30% for renewables), you are being disingenius with this comparison. Intermittency is the biggest issue of renewables, even if the price per kwh is zero that issue will still be here.

Also, your prices per kwh are weird, in reality the cost of renewables and nuclear is similar.

https://en.wikipe...y_source
Bob_Wallace
1.9 / 5 (9) Dec 12, 2013
Nuclear does not require storage and it requires backup only rarely,


You are correct. When nuclear is a small percentage of the grid supply and when nuclear is allowed to push other supply off the grid when demand is low.

We had to build quite a bit of storage to make nuclear 20% of the US grid.

Nuclear is a big problem for grids. It may not go down often, but when it does it leaves a great big hole. Fort Calhoun is about to come back on line. It had to be "backed up" for about two years.

Intermittency is the biggest issue of renewables, even if the price per kw is zero that issue will still be here.


You are correct once more. Renewables are intermittent. However, probably a lot less intermittent than you think. It will take storage, load-shifting and dispatchable generation to fill in the gaps.

Renewables + storage are less expensive than nuclear. And nuclear requires storage.

Bob_Wallace
2.2 / 5 (6) Dec 12, 2013
Also, your prices per kwh are weird


No, my prices are real world prices. Those EIA prices are flawed.

Wind sold in 2011 and 2012 in the US for an average of 4c/kWh. Add in ~1.5c for subsidies.

http://www1.eere....port.pdf

Solar is selling in the US SW for 5c/kWh. Add in ~1.5c for subsidies.

http://renewecono...ts-75962

The UK has contracted for new nuclear for 16c/kWh.

http://www.renewa...7/74458/

You'll notice that the EIA projection for onshore in 2018 is 8.66c/kWh. And the EIA market report reports that wind is selling right now for 4c/kWh.

Then look at their PV projections (14.4/kWh) and compare them to the NREL data linked above (5c/kWh).

'splain that Lucy.
Egleton
1 / 5 (8) Dec 12, 2013
Well done gentlemen. Not a troll in sight.
It is not the 1950's anymore. Things move along. I do believe that Zero point Energy and Cold Fusion need to be brought out into the light.
Yes I know- your sense of propriety is offended- but we face some serious issues and personally I would be offended if I am denied cheap abundant energy, just because some organization is defending their interests. The Petro-dollar springs to mind.
Did I mention that burning coal is not a get-out-of-jail free card? It too has its negative effects. Can you name any? No? Then you probably have never worked down a mine.
Troll away- I shan't be back to see your response.
zorro6204
1.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2013
It's just a dream, thinking US operators will build ANY kind of new nuclear power plant. There's no way they would take that financial risk. Besides, what's worse, adding more greenhouse gasses, or even a small chance of another Chernobyl or Fukushima, something that has repercussions lasting thousands of years?
Bob_Wallace
3 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2013
Fusion, cold, warm and hot are somewhere out in the future. And "iffy". They will not be players in the next decade. If a working design was introduced today it would take at least a decade of testing, evaluation, and planning before the technology would be put into significant use.

Since fusion is not feasible today it is probably best we continue as if it will never be. If/when it is demonstrated we can adjust.

The US is building four new reactors at the moment and completing one that was 80% built years ago but not finished.

My guess is that these will be the last reactors built in the US, barring some unforeseen technological breakthrough. Already the company building the two reactors in Georgia have stated that building the reactors was a financial mistake.

Cheap renewables and natural gas make nuclear energy noncompetitive in the US.
mzso
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2013
It's just a dream, thinking US operators will build ANY kind of new nuclear power plant. There's no way they would take that financial risk. Besides, what's worse, adding more greenhouse gasses, or even a small chance of another Chernobyl or Fukushima, something that has repercussions lasting thousands of years?


Air pollution is worse... Search for "deaths per twh".
By the way Fukushima was nothing. It was an environmental catastrophy, a tsunami. No-one died or will die because of radiation. Some radioactive material got washed into the ocean...
Chernoblyl was a human error/ weak reactor design (Not even other reactors of the same design had problems). Also the effects were highly localized to Ukrain and Belarus mostly. Air pollution effects pretty much everyone.
Bob_Wallace
2.6 / 5 (9) Dec 12, 2013
And Three Mile Island was simply human error.

And K-19 K-19, K-11, K-27, K-140, K-429, K-222, K-314, and K-431 were only a submarines.

SL-1 was a long time ago.

The leaks from Hanford haven't yet reached the Columbia River.

None of it important. Simply dismiss it all with a wave of the hand....
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2013
None of it important. Simply dismiss it all with a wave of the hand.
Well certainly not in comparison to clean energy debacles such as this:

"The Banqiao dam and Shimantan Reservoir Dam are among 62 dams in Zhumadian that failed catastrophically or were intentionally destroyed in 1975 during Typhoon Nina.... The dam failures killed an estimated 171,000 people; 11 million people lost their homes. It also caused the sudden loss of 18 GW of power, the power output equivalent of roughly 9 very large modern coal-fired thermal power stations."

-No nuclear disaster short of war could ever approach this destruction.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2013
My guess is that these will be the last reactors built in the US, barring some unforeseen technological breakthrough. Already the company building the two reactors in Georgia have stated that building the reactors was a financial mistake
But worldwide is a little different.

"Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with over 60 reactors under construction in 13 countries... In all, about 160 power reactors with a total net capacity of some 177,000 MWe are planned and over 320 more are proposed."
http://www.world-...rldwide/
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2013
Nuclear power plants provide the nation with a source of clean energy at a time when renewables such as solar and wind are not yet ready to fill the potential gap in the nation's base power needs created by the loss of nuclear power.

What a weird sentence. And also wrong (as proven by at least a dozen nations accross the globe).

And what exactly is 'clean' about nuclear power? It doesbn't produce CO2 - but the stuff you have as waste is anything but clean.

That energy companies are opting to build gas powerplants instead of renewables is short sighted (or not. Gas powerplants actually are pretty good for stabilizing the grid when they DO choose to finally build alternative powerplants - as they can be rampedup/shut down very quickly...unlike nuclear... But somehow I have the feeling power companies aren't thinking in that direction.).
11791
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2013
I agree with you Bob. The insurance costs of nuclear fission are sky high too. Its time to retire nuclear power plants and replace them with cheaper safer forms of power. as solar and wind come down, Nuclear proponents are beating a dead horse.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2013
Dams can be dangerous. True.

That doesn't make nuclear energy safe.

Have you checked to see how fast nuclear is growing worldwide? There are 60 or so reactors being constructed but what's the total that will be closed while those are built? Are we seeing a net gain, holding even, or experiencing a net loss?

Some, perhaps all of Japan's reactors are gone. That's over 50. US is down 5. Germany is down how many? Probably some others here and there that are reaching the end of their useful lives.

Want to work that math up for us?

Those planned and proposed numbers. They're largely not dependable. Some of those proposed plants have been in that state for 30 years.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2013
I found an interesting graph. It plots the number of reactors and total capacity by year from 1954 to July 2012.

Looks to me that the world peaked in terms of number of reactors in the mid-1990s and has dropped off a bit since then.

Capacity continued rise for another ten years or so and then has dropped a bit. I would assume that older, smaller plants were dropping out and being replaced by larger ones. Or it might have been 'overclocking' existing plants.

http://www.worldn...3-12.png

I'd say nuclear has been pretty much running in place for a while and might be falling off a little.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2013
I can't find a world electricity total graph that runs past 2009. The one I found clearly shows that total generation continues to increase past the mid-1990s when total number of nuclear plants stalls out and past the mid-2000s when total nuclear capacity stalls out.

I'd say that in terms of percentage of electricity produced nuclear has been dropping. Not a great big amount, but some. Nuclear standing still while other generation grew.

In the US nuclear is down 5% or so in terms of total generation from its peak. After this year's closures it will probably be down further.

http://energyforu...1-12.png
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2013
... 62 dams in Zhumadian that failed catastrophically or were intentionally destroyed in 1975 during Typhoon Nina.... The dam failures killed an estimated 171,000 people; 11 million people lost their homes.

-No nuclear disaster short of war could ever approach this destruction.


Just saw this. Fukushima came close. 13,230,000 people in Tokyo. If Fuku had gone really sour and the wind had been blowing in the other direction...

If we had a catastrophic meltdown at Indian Point it would probably produce something on that scale. We have no way of evacuating many of the people who live in the immediate area.

And if 62 reactors went mega-sour....
mzso
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2013
And what exactly is 'clean' about nuclear power? It doesbn't produce CO2 - but the stuff you have as waste is anything but clean.

It's clean because you get waste in containers and not in people's lungs.
mzso
2 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2013
And Three Mile Island was simply human error.

And K-19 K-19, K-11, K-27, K-140, K-429, K-222, K-314, and K-431 were only a submarines.

SL-1 was a long time ago.

The leaks from Hanford haven't yet reached the Columbia River.

None of it important. Simply dismiss it all with a wave of the hand....

Yes, they're insignificant. Mr. Fearmongering Zealot.
mzso
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2013
Dams can be dangerous. True.

That doesn't make nuclear energy safe.

Nice selective vision. So the dangers only matter if it's nuclear related...

Have you checked to see how fast nuclear is growing worldwide? There are 60 or so reactors being constructed but what's the total that will be closed while those are built? Are we seeing a net gain, holding even, or experiencing a net loss?

Some, perhaps all of Japan's reactors are gone. That's over 50. US is down 5. Germany is down how many? Probably some others here and there that are reaching the end of their useful lives.

Want to work that math up for us?

Those planned and proposed numbers. They're largely not dependable. Some of those proposed plants have been in that state for 30 years.

So what are trying to prove? That riffraff's noxius affect? Then you succeded.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2013
Have you checked to see how fast nuclear is growing worldwide... Want to work that math up for us?
Why would I want to do that when I know that these figures must be on the internet somewhere? If you have a point to make why would you ask others to do it for you? Are you lazy? Never use google?

Here let me help:
http://en.wikiped...reactors

-Here is one scenario:

"...nuclear generation is increased to 34% in 2050. Compared with the base 2DS, nuclear replaces fossil power plants with CCS and renewables, whose share in 2050 falls, in the case of CCS from 15% to 7%, and in the case of renewables from 57% to 49%. This scenario reflects a world with greater public acceptance of nuclear power. On the technical side, the average construction rate for nuclear power plants in the period 2011 to 2050 rises from 27 GW/yr in the base 2DS to 50 GW/yr."
http://www.world-...r-Power/
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2013
Just saw this. Fukushima came close. 13,230,000 people in Tokyo. If Fuku had gone really sour and the wind had been blowing in the other direction...
-Again what makes you think this hasn't been thoroughly studied?

"What was Fukushima's worst-case scenario? That question consumed the thoughts of millions of people in March 2011... releases from one or more reactors at Fukushima would not cross [the U.S. guidelines] in Tokyo even in the event of adverse weather," Holdren wrote. "Only with big releases from the spent-fuel pools, combined with even more perverse weather than [the scientists deemed realistic], could the [guidelines] be crossed in Tokyo, and even then, according to the modeling to date, not by much," so "even in these extreme circumstances, sheltering in place might be all you'd want to do."
http://www.slate....s.3.html

-No deaths, evacs and shelter in place.
Bob_Wallace
3 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2013
Otto - anyone can write any prediction they wish about the future. You are free to believe that for some reason countries will start building massively greater numbers of nuclear reactors than they now are. One shouldn't be surprised that the World Nuclear Association (your link) would predict a rosy nuclear future.

One fact is, up until now, nuclear builds have stalled. Nuclear is losing ground in terms of total market share.

The Nuclear Renaissance never materialized.

You apparently did not open this link -

http://www.worldn...3-12.png

Another fact is the costs of electricity from wind and solar have fallen from being more expensive than nuclear to be about one-third of nuclear. This is a massive, massive problem for nuclear financing. No one is going to want to loan money to a project which will never be able to repay that loan.

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2013
And what exactly is 'clean' about nuclear power? It doesbn't produce CO2 - but the stuff you have as waste is anything but clean.

It's clean because you get waste in containers and not in people's lungs.


Very true, and unless you're America and had an executive order from Jimmy Carter in the 70s to the contrary you reprocess your "waste"....
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2013
Nuclear has a lifetime CO2 footprint similar to wind and solar.

Were it not for cost, time to install and the associated dangers nuclear would be a good way to replace fossil fuels.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2013
USA spent $8trillion to Guard Gulf Oil. For that $ the country could be 100% solar and wind powered

http://www.juanco...ion.html
Bob_Wallace
3 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2013
$8 trillion / 250 million =~ $31,000.

We could have bought every car owner in the US an EV or PHEV and cut our personal oil use by 90+%.

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
Otto - anyone can write any prediction they wish about the future
Yeah but there are 100s of very capable experts in think tanks around the world who are making predictions we can trust.
You are free to believe that for some reason countries will start building massively greater numbers of nuclear reactors than they now are... One fact is, up until now, nuclear builds have stalled
NO they haven't. I guess you missed this?

"over 60 reactors under construction in 13 countries... In all, about 160 power reactors with a total net capacity of some 177,000 MWe are planned and over 320 more are proposed."

-I see why you don't research. You seem to have little regard for facts.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
$8 trillion / 250 million =~ $31,000.

We could have bought every car owner in the US an EV or PHEV and cut our personal oil use by 90+%.
-While gas station owners across the country, car manufacturers and their parts suppliers. and the petrol industry all go bankrupt, and power grids collapse due to demand? And where do all these EVs come from? Where does all the lithium come from??

Are you sure you've thought this idea of yours through bob?
Another fact is the costs of electricity from wind and solar have fallen from being more expensive than nuclear to be about one-third of nuclear. This is a massive, massive problem for nuclear financing
Well apparently not in those countries where all those new reactors are being planned and built. Right?
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 14, 2013
@Ghost And where do all these EVs come from? Where does all the lithium come from??
$8trillion can buy a lot of lithium
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
@Ghost And where do all these EVs come from? Where does all the lithium come from??
$8trillion can buy a lot of lithium
And who do you propose buying it from? Venusians?
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2013
over 60 reactors under construction in 13 countries... In all, about 160 power reactors with a total net capacity of some 177,000 MWe are planned and over 320 more are proposed.

I see why you don't research. You seem to have little regard for facts.


Otto - do you simply not read what others have posted? I dealt with the '60 reactor under construction' issue earlier.

Bob_Wallace
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2013
-While gas station owners across the country, car manufacturers and their parts suppliers. and the petrol industry all go bankrupt, and power grids collapse due to demand? And where do all these EVs come from? Where does all the lithium come from??

Are you sure you've thought this idea of yours through bob?


When we moved to automobiles a lot of livery stables went out of business. Computers killed the typewriter industry. Some manufacturers will morph, some will be replaced.

We have enough surplus off-peak capacity to charge 70% of all US cars were they electric.

The EVs come from the same place as ICEVs. Car manufacturers.

Lithium is absolutely no problem. We have significant lithium in the US. We could extract lithium from sea water and add only modest additional cost to EVs.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2013
@Ghost And where do all these EVs come from? Where does all the lithium come from??
$8trillion can buy a lot of lithium
And who do you propose buying it from? Venusians?
If they look as good as Venus and they ship cost, insurance and freight why not? There would be enough $ in change to colonize a planet
Bob_Wallace
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2013
The 100 mile Nissan Leaf uses 4kg of lithium in its batteries. With bulk purchases there is between $24 and $35 worth of lithium in a Leaf battery. A really solid "200 mile range in worst of conditions" EV might need 3x as much. $75 to $100.

Extracting lithium from sea water costs about 5x as from lithium salts.

Worst case, $500 per EV for lithium. First time around. And then we start recycling the lithium from used batteries.

There are approximately 230,000,000,000 tons of lithium in seawater.

But before we start extracting from seawater Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Portugal and Zimbabwe have roughly 13,000,000 metric tons of lithium that can be extracted. That's a billion plus EVs.

Afghanistan has large deposits which are yet to be measured.

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
Otto - do you simply not read what others have posted? I dealt with the '60 reactor under construction' issue earlier
And I showed you you were WRONG.
We have enough surplus off-peak capacity to charge 70% of all US cars were they electric
-And is this another one of those facts you didnt bother to look up? Source please. And the source must include how taking this much capacity off the grid does not affect supply to other consumers.
Extracting lithium from sea water costs about 5x as from lithium salts
Source.
230,000,000,000 tons of lithium in seawater
Source. And also source how long and how much $$ it would take to extract and process this, and fabricate the batteries, so that you could
have bought every car owner in the US an EV or PHEV and cut our personal oil use by 90+%
-'HAVE bought' is what you said... was this some period in the recent past which was in actuality the far distant future maybe? You get past and future mixed up often do you?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
But before we start extracting from seawater Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Portugal and Zimbabwe have roughly 13,000,000 metric tons of lithium that can be extracted. That's a billion plus EVs
Source. Also source for all the existing infrastructure necessary to extract, transport, process, and fabricate all those batteries for all those EV cars you wanted to give out last year, in order to save
$8trillion
Give up 'bob' youre embarrassing yourself.
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2013
You are asking for a source for the 13,000,000 metric tons of lithium?

http://en.wikiped...restrial

The data comes from a 2012 US Geological Survey report. You can follow the links on the Wikipedia page.

Now as for sourcing the rest of the stuff - what? You want a list of companies that will be producing/supplying bulk lithium and manufacturing batteries years from now?

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
list of companies that will be producing/supplying bulk lithium and manufacturing batteries years from now?
Let me break it down for ya bob. You claimed
We could have bought every car owner in the US an EV or PHEV and cut our personal oil use by 90+%
You failed to say where those EV cars or their batteries were coming from. You failed to explain how the existing grid could handle the increased capacity. And you failed to say how the industries I mentioned would cope with the immense shifts in capacity in such a short time.

If there ARE sources to back up your implications that any of this were possible, you certainly didn't present them. Titanium is more abundant that aluminum. So why aren't we making window frames out of it?

In short, you were blowing wind out your ass. Why wouldn't you expect to receive some flack for that?

kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 14, 2013
You failed to say where those EV cars or their batteries were coming from.
Tesla
You failed to explain how the existing grid could handle the increased capacity.
From the solar panels on the roof. No extra capacity required
And you failed to say how the industries I mentioned would cope with the immense shifts in capacity in such a short time.
Kick the useless Gulf soldiers out of the desert and put them to work fixing your rotting infrastructure
Bob_Wallace
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2013
Ah, I got it Otto.

Yes, you are correct. We could not have purchased an EV or PHEV for every US driver when we invaded Kuwait because we had failed to advance that technology at the time.

We could have been building EVs and PHEVs but we chose to stay with oil and ended up spending trillions of dollars and wasting thousands of lives.

But now we have the technology. We don't need to keep making the petroleum mistake.

I should have said that we could now buy every driver an EV or PHEV with $8 trillion. Thanks for catching my error.

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
Contrition. How refreshing.
Tesla
Tesla cars are expensive aren't they?
solar panels on the roof
The roof of your yurt? To charge your portable yak milking device?
Kick the useless Gulf soldiers out of the desert and put them to work fixing your rotting infrastructure
Those soldiers are busy protecting our sources of petroleum which, as bob has revealed, we are going to need for awhile yet.
11791
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
whats worse than the greenhouse effect? fukusimna and Chernobyl type meltdowns. dont call nuclear fission clean energy.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
The roof of your yurt? To charge your portable yak milking device?


Actually solar panels on poles beside yurts in Mongolia are becoming quite common.

As for protecting "our sources of petroleum", we are currently producing more oil than we import. We're busy protecting other people's sources of petroleum.

Before we use up our present oil windfall we should get ourselves off oil. Makes no sense to put ourselves in the position of having to fight over something we can easily do without.

With a concerted push we could cut our oil use to a very small percentage of what we now use as well as get most fossil fuel off our grids in the next 20 years by installing a lot of wind and solar and switching out our ICEVs with EVs and PHEVs.

We'd get CO2 under control, reduce our pollution-related health costs and cut our electricity/"fuel" bills. We'd have a much stronger economy.
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 14, 2013
@Ghost Those soldiers are busy protecting our sources of petroleum which, as bob has revealed, we are going to need for awhile yet.
Only 9% of the oil there goes to the US. Most goes to japan and China, which buy the FED debt bonds to keep the US empire and petrodollar operating. So the real reason for Gulf presence along the Straight of Hormuz is to keep the US dollar as the world reserve currency

Switch to bitcoin and Middle East is not such concern
Tesla cars are expensive aren't they?
Given the ongoing bankster destruction of the middle class I imagine Tesla is perfectly positioned for the "new economy"
Actually solar panels on poles beside yurts in Mongolia are becoming quite common.
Makes sense. Being without a phone there would be hell
11791
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2013
The cost of renewables is going down tremendously. They are going to be cheaper than coal everywhere by 2020. LENR cold fusion has been proved in industrial sized plants and power plants. In a few years that will replace nuclear fission. Dont build more fission plants they are dangerous dinosaurs! Low energy nuclear fusion will have all of the advantages of nuclear fission and produce no radioactivity.
davidivad
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2013
I guess what this all boils down to is that there is no real good solution. if there was we would not have the issues we do now. point blank, there is always a trade-off.
11791
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2013
wind and solar are the most practical solutions. wind farms are the biggest growing source of power in the untied states. Solar will soon be so cheap that every house will have them on their roof.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2013
As for protecting "our sources of petroleum", we are currently producing more oil than we import. We're busy protecting other people's sources of petroleum... Only 9% of the oil there goes to the US. Most goes to japan and China
All petroleum goes into a commodity 'pool'. It is a myth that the US could or would consume its own petroleum at the expense of world commodity markets.

We strive to ensure free markets for the world.
Makes no sense to put ourselves in the position of having to fight over something we can easily do without
But as you admitted we can't easily do without at the moment. And why would we want to give up our influence in a region of the world which is on the brink of collapse into a nuclear-armed Islamist empire?

The west needs to maintain an uninterrupted flow of petrodollars to the regimes which are resisting this, until the threat goes away.
Newbeak
3 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2013
What bothers me about free sites like this one is that commenters a quick to go off-topic with personal attacks on other commenters.The result is one has to plow though pages of drivel to read constructive comments.I was a paying subscriber to New Scientist online (unfortunately,they have canceled their comments feature,which prompted me to cancel my subscription),and the comments published were mostly on topic,and personal attacks were almost unknown.
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2013
It is a major problem with open discussion sites. It's pretty much impossible to find a place where people in a topic can discuss without it being disrupted. (Going off-topic is sort of natural, within limits.)

What is probably needed are sites with very clear and strong community rules and strong moderation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2013
It is a major problem with open discussion sites. It's pretty much impossible to find a place where people in a topic can discuss without it being disrupted. (Going off-topic is sort of natural, within limits.)

What is probably needed are sites with very clear and strong community rules and strong moderation.
Those sites already exist. Heres one
http://www.physic....php?f=9

-Why dont you go there instead of staying here and whining that you dont like it? I see they even have a box full of links toward the top of this page.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2013
If every new car sold today was an electric/hybrid, it would still take 20 years to replace most of the entire fleet because the average age of a vehicle is around 11 years, and older still for heavy transports vehicles. People aren't going to ditch the cars they just bought for an electric car, and most people won't even buy new cars because they're expensive.

Nuclear at 15+c/kWh


Bob, you're still spreading that propaganda that is based on artifically restricting the operating lisence of a nuclear powerplant to 22 years instead of 40-60 years as is common in the industry. The subsidies the British are paying for the new nuclear plant are based on unusually short investment return time.

As nuclear power is about 90% capital and investment costs, extending the life of a reactor to 60-80 years automatically reduces the costs to about 4-5 cents/kWh.
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 16, 2013
@Eikka As nuclear power is about 90% capital and investment costs, extending the life of a reactor to 60-80 years automatically reduces the costs to about 4-5 cents/kWh.
Only because the costs of storing waste for 100,000 years and the costs of catastrophic failures like Fukushima are externalized onto the population

Also nuke plants make easy terror targets
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
or wind and solar for ~ 5c/kWh, it that math difficult?

Wind and solar with subsidies counted in are closer to 7-8 c/kWh

(Nuclear and wind/solar both require storage and backup.)


Renewable energy requires orders of magnitude more storage capacity AND heavier distribution infrastructure to facilitate large capacity transfers over longer distances. Current grid systems work with couple dozen GWh across the entire grid in pumped hydro storage and hydroelectric dams. Renewable power needs energy storage in the Terawatt-hour scale, or 100-1000 times more.

How the grid market works, 50% of the demand is typically static demand that is well served by nuclear power, and the rest is variable depending on time of day and day of year that is serviced by variable production and storage systems.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Only because the costs of storing waste for 100,000 years and the costs of catastrophic failures like Fukushima are externalized onto the population


Which is mostly because recycling nuclear fuel and breeder reactors etc. are practically outlawed, and aging ill-designed and ill-built reactors aren't being replaced with safer types due to public and political opposition to nuclear power.

The vast majority of the "dangerous everlasting nuclear waste" is actually low level waste like old hazmat jumpsuits and plain old rubbish that has been in a nuclear powerplant, because here too the laws are much stricter than for non-nuclear industries.

It's difficult to recycle e.g. steel from a nuclear powerplant because the radiation limits are 30 times stricter than for steel coming from elsewhere. The only place in Europe for example that doesn't have these silly restrictions is Norway, which doesn't belong to the EU bloc and is thus not forced to follow the same regulations.
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
This company is promoting a solution to the energy storage problem-

VULVOX ENERGY STORAGE DEVICES
Vulvox's innovation will enable energy storage of intermittent photovoltaic and wind power. The patent pending Vulvox system is expected to cost 7.69% as much as pumped hydroelectric storage, its least expensive competitor and 2.7% as much as compressed air storage. Cheap electrcity storage systems are desired by the renewable power industry and government smart grid programs. It will stabilize the electricity grid and help prevent blackouts and brownouts. It can store intermittent renewable energy including wind power, solar power and tidal energy, and later release the electrcity when it is desirable, such as at peak periods when air conditioner use rises on hot summer days. It can store electrcity for vehicle battery recharging stations. http://vulvox.tri...d28.html
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Also nuke plants make easy terror targets


So do pumped hydroelectric dams, and large reservoirs of liquid hydrogen.

A grid that depends on high power long distance interconnects to transmit renewable power across entire continents is a much better target for terrorism. Severing key interconnects would send the entire system into chaos, because it cannot function if isolated into smaller islands.

Flying a plane into a nuclear powerplant could cause a local disaster. Flying a plane into a HVDC transforming station could black out the entire nations, as evidenced in 2006 in Germany where cutting one interconnect across a river sent cascading power failures all over Europe due to the other lines being overloaded by wind power in northern Germany not being able to transmit power southwards.

Terrorism is a risk better managed by better foreign policy rather than compromizing your own energy security in fear of attack.
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
A local nuclear disaster in fukushima shrank the Japanese economy by 50%! It affected the nation.
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 16, 2013
Which is mostly because recycling nuclear fuel and breeder reactors etc. are practically outlawed, and aging ill-designed and ill-built reactors aren't being replaced with safer types due to public and political opposition to nuclear power.
That is the "newer is better" argument which asks to try new, untested designs as the old designs have been proven failures. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result
Also nuke plants make easy terror targets
So do pumped hydroelectric dams, and large reservoirs of liquid hydrogen.
The threat from a dam can be remedied by climbing uphill I don't know many stores of liquid hydrogen, but their instability would vary greatly depending upon the storage media. Whereas in a nuke attack, the technological terror would cover an area the size of Europe and last for centuries
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
It would take plane loads of conventional bombs to break open the aswan high dam
as an example. i dont belive they are realistic targets of terrorists
Bob_Wallace
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2013
Yes, it will take 20 years or so to convert our personal vehicle fleet from ICEV to EV once we have affordable EVs at decent prices. However it would be cheaper to put every driver in an EV or PHEV at today's prices rather than fight another round of oil wars.

I've said nothing about restricting reactor life. I've simply reported average lifespan and the fact that no reactor has gone much more than 40 years to date. We've never seen a reactor hold together for 60 years, much less longer.

Let's assume a reactor can last 60 - 80 years and that brings its electricity down to 5 cents. That 5 cents is higher than the cost of wind or solar. Wind is already at 5 cents without counting the 10-20 years of almost free electricity we get after the farm is paid off. Solar is reading 5 cents with a 20 year pay off and 20+ years of continued almost free output.

You can't tip the scale in favor of one side and end up with a reasonable argument.

Bob_Wallace
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
A cascading outage can turn a lot of a country black. That's why were redesigning our grids to reduce the probability and control the area. But we get over those problems in a few hours to a few days.

Grids with nuclear reactors take longer to get back up. Restart times for reactors can be days.

Flying a plane into a reactor would be the sort of event that would cause a cascading outage.

Then the grid would have to be stood back up using backup power to replace the missing reactor.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Grids have an absolute minimum demand. We could fill that with nuclear. Let's use use some small numbers for illustration and say there's a grid that never dips below a 100 MW demand.

We could build a 100 MW reactor and supply that need.

But the grid at times will need 300 MW (1:3, off-peak:peak is common). Now, how do we supply that variable load with nuclear?

We could build a second 100 MW reactor that also ran all the time, store its power when demand is 100 MW, use its power when demand is 200 MW, and use its power plus what we've stored when demand is 300 MW.

Any significant penetration by nuclear would require a lot of storage (or other dispatchable supply).

With wind and solar it's the same thing. Use their output direct as much as we can. Generate extra and store it away for when demand exceeds supply.

The only question is whether nuclear + storage or wind/solar + storage is cheaper.

(Ignoring safety and waste issues.)

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Flying a plane into a reactor would be the sort of event that would cause a cascading outage.


Whereas with solar or wind simply having a week of bad weather in the wrong area could be a problem couldn't it?

"Waste" isn't really a problem if we're ALLOWED to modernize our reactors and process the fuel correctly and we get rid of Mr. Peanut's EO saying we have to shove it in mountains rather than reprocess it. Safety as already been addressed at great length, nuclear is extraordinarily safe. It's not as safe as solar or wind, but it's far more safe than anything else.
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Dont assume reactors can last twice as long or even 50% longer. They were designed to last 40 years and they are in danger of meltdowns if they are pressed into service longer periods.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 16, 2013
It would take plane loads of conventional bombs to break open the aswan high dam
as an example.

Here's a video of what a truck exploding looks like.
http://www.youtub...GbgfAqF8
Now imagine someone flying a plane loaded with this stuff into a dam (or into a nuclear powerplant...or just the cooling cycle part of it). Not a pretty picture.

Centralized systems are always susceptible to being knocked out with far reaching consequences. If that system contains uncontainable toxic substances it's all the worse.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Whereas with solar or wind simply having a week of bad weather in the wrong area could be a problem couldn't it?


Yes, but prolonged periods of no wind or solar over an entire grid is much less of an issue than some assume.

Pushing a reactor past its design date probably wouldn't cause a meltdown. That's assuming proper inspections and maintenance are performed.

What's more likely is broken steam pipes, possibly radioactive water leaks, that sort of stuff. As reactors get older they need more repairs (like everything else). That drives up the cost of electricity.

The 30 year old wind turbines at Altamont Pass were still making electricity. It's just that maintenance costs were rising and it made more sense to replace them than to repair them.

11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
To destroy a big dam you might have to explode 20 trucks full of explosives or who knows how many bomb bays full of bombs.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Yes, but prolonged periods of no wind or solar over an entire grid is much less of an issue than some assume.


I agree. Look all of this really boils down to what kind of problems do you want to have. We're going to have issues no matter which way we go with this. I'd prefer nuclear. Some would prefer solar/wind.

No one would be more pleased than me if solar and wind pan out. I'm far from convinced that they will and that the cost/benefit goes in that direction.

I think the one thing we all agree on (or most of us) is that we do need to be phasing out oil, coal, and gas....

I say we do both and see which is working better (which we will probably do).

What this requires is much more funding for R&D for solar and nuclear to make them more efficient and affordable and some serious removal of red tape for new reactors to come online and getting legal and political roadblocks put up by radicals out of the picture on both sides so we can go forward.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
Now imagine someone flying a plane loaded with this stuff into a dam (or into a nuclear powerplant...or just the cooling cycle part of it). Not a pretty picture
Yeah with a dam like Banqiao Dam that "killed an estimated 171,000 people; 11 million people lost their homes..." [which by the way youve seen before remember?]

-While "nuclear power plants must be built to ensure that a strike by a commercial airplane won't result in a radioactive release, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said."

-And fukushima didnt kill anyone, and the banqaio region is still not reoccupied after 40 years because the infrastructure has still not been replaced.

Youre getting as willfully dense as ryggysoggin.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
On edit
What this requires is much more funding for R&D for solar and nuclear


Should read
What this requires is much more funding for R&D for solar and WIND
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
I agree. Look all of this really boils down to what kind of problems do you want to have. We're going to have issues no matter which way we go with this. I'd prefer nuclear. Some would prefer solar/wind.


I've spent a lot of time researching both approaches. I'm convinced that there are fewer 'problems' going the renewable route. And with the rapidly falling price of wind/solar it's not likely we'll see much nuclear get built. Multiple countries will have to build a new reactor or two in order to remind them how expensive nuclear is.

We're building four new reactors right now in the US. Unless they produce electricity significantly cheaper than 15c/kWh I doubt any more will be built. Renewables are half to one-third as expensive.

We've been working for over a half century to make nuclear cheaper but its only gotten more expensive. I'm doubtful there's a way to reverse that and make nuclear competitive.

Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
What this requires is much more funding for R&D for solar and WIND


Not really.

Onshore wind is now under 5c/kWh in the US. After the 20 year payoff the cost drops to about 1c for another 10 to 20 years. There's plenty of profit in wind turbines to keep driving research toward lowering costs more.

Solar has dropped to 5c/kWh in the US SW. And our installation prices are still higher than Europe and China. Solar will go well under 5c as we lower our BoS costs. Like wind, after the 20 year payoff the cost drops to ~1c for a few decades. And like wind, there's enough money being made that research is well funded.

What we need is better storage. But the cost of storage impacts wind/solar and nuclear about the same. We need storage to make either work as significant grid supplies. I wouldn't be surprised if a 100% wind/solar grid would take about the same amount of storage as a 100% nuclear grid.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Not really.


Yeah really.

If I could put up a 5kwh solar panel array on my house for 1k I'd do it tomorrow. It costs about six times that. We need more R&D for durability, storage, longevity, and several other things I'm not thinking of right at the moment.

We're not there yet....
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
As the electric car and truck fleet grows there will be a demand for storage no matter what the source of electricity.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
A "5kWh" for $1k.

If you live in a sunny place like the US SW that gets about 5 solar hours avg then you could buy the equipment. Labor and permits would cost extra.

Retail solar can be purchased for under $3/watt in the US. Average is $3.43 (IIRC).

But I'm not talking about end-user solar. The costs I'm using are utility scale costs - both wind and solar.

When a utility can sign a 20 year PPA that gives them solar for 4c/kWh (happening, right now) and avoid using more expensive gas peakers during sunny hours, as well as lowering their merit order ceiling, we have arrived.

Utilities that use merit order pricing end up paying very high prices for all their electricity when gas peakers have to be called on. The wholesale cost of electricity can easily exceed 30c/kWh and every supplier gets that price.

Even adding a couple of pennies for the less sunny parts of the US makes solar a very good buy as a way to avoid high peak prices.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
As the electric car and truck fleet grows there will be a demand for storage no matter what the source of electricity.


Probably the opposite.

The average EV will need to be charged less than 2 hours per day (240 vac). That and smart meters/chargers will create a great dispatchable load for utilities. They will be able to add a lot more wind on the grid and dump high supply into waiting EV batteries.

And that means more wind-electricity for other grid uses other hours. It would work as well for nuclear - a place to put unneeded electricity other than storing it for later grid use.

All that means less storage needed.
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
Batteries that recharge in minutes or under minute are on the horizon. Still there is no way to make every car owner plug in and sell electricity to the grid on nights when more than an average number of people want to take a trip. There might be special occasions- weather emergencies or something else that cause unexpected surges of demand.
Bob_Wallace
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
I doubt that storing grid power in EV batteries is going to be a big player.

EV batteries are likely to cost more than utility batteries. They need to be smaller/lighter. Utilities don't need to worry about weight/size to any real extent and can use storage technologies which would never be usable for EVs (pump-up, CAES, liquid metal, vanadium redox flow, .....)

And they would have to pay EV owners some sort of profit (over and above wear and tear on their batteries) to get them to sign up. It's more likely utilities will use cheaper batteries and keep the profits rather than sharing.

What EVs will be is dispatchable load. There's a lot of value to grid operators of having a demand they need to fill but a lot of flexibility when it has to be supplied. Right now they pay companies that use a lot of power to shut down when supply is low.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
-While "nuclear power plants must be built to ensure that a strike by a commercial airplane won't result in a radioactive release, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said."
Isn't that what they said about the WTC towers? How did that work out for you?
-And fukushima didnt kill anyone
It hasn't killed anyone you KNOW. It's given thousands cancer or tumors, and cancer can be fatal if I remember correctly. This is the standard industry line that statistical deaths aren't deaths

And the top investigator did jump out a hotel window or had a control shot in the head, but you're right he didn't die from radiation
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2013
How suicides did the hit to the Japanese economy cost? Fukushima cost them half of their GDP.
A lot of stockbrokers jumped out the window after back Friday in 1929.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
So now it's safe but expensive to clean up? It's always something isn't it. It's like trying to have a discussion about the color of the sky with someone who's absolutely terrified the color blue will eat them....

Suicides? Jesus.....
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
That's really expensive HALF THEIR GNP!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2013
Isn't that what they said about the WTC towers? How did that work out for you?
They? WTC was built with flimsy steel joists that deformed in fire , covered with insulation which easily blew off. It's vertical shafts were protected with drywall instead of masonry. It's exterior skin was built as a funnel for limiting the spread of debris.

The towers were built as targets for planes.
It hasn't killed anyone you KNOW
I don't know most of the people in the world. So what?
It's given thousands cancer or tumors, and cancer can be fatal if I remember correctly
You remember incorrectly and bullshit incorrectly. No deaths, no sickness, no cancer, no tumors. Banqaio dam however was unparalleled death and destruction.

Fossil fuels spew far more radiation than nukes ever will. Granite used in buildings and radon in basements exposes more people to radiation than nukes ever will.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2013
So now it's safe but expensive to clean up? It's always something isn't it
Banqaio cost far more to clean up than Fukushima. The radioactive material spread worldwide by fossil fuel combustion is impossible to clean up. Coal strip mines consume far more land each year than Chernobyl and Fukushima combined.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
That's really expensive HALF THEIR GNP!


Here's something to consider.

When you break a glass in your house you sweep it up and put it in the trash. Depending on how much you earn at your current job that costs very little money.

Now if you want to hire a professional cleaning service to make sure you get EVERY shard of glass over say a millimeter it's going to cost more money.

Now again, if you want to hire a contractor to rip out your floor and replace it with a new one to make sure that there isn't a single trace of the glass on your floor it might cost you (again depending on how much you earn) half a month's salary.

Still further, if you want a contractor to tear down your house and build you a new one to make COMPLETELY sure you haven't contaminated any other area of your house with said glass that's going to cost you more than your personal GNP for a year.

How clean do you want it? Before you answer look up the standards. Buildings with granite in them are unsafe.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
Alternatively you could use plastic cups, but your neighbors are so terrified of you breaking glass cups they won't let you try them out...
11791
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2013
I get it and give em plastic spoons for his own safety.