Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy (Update)

Apr 17, 2014 by Lori Hinnant
In this photo taken on Monday, April 14, 2014, incoming Nuclear Energy Agency chief William Magwood gestures during an interview with The Associated Press, in Paris. Tiny nuclear power plants that could be far cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts could herald the future for an energy industry that has come under scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster. In the United States, Magwood hopes the modular reactors will replace outdated coal plants. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the incoming head of the Nuclear Energy Agency told The Associated Press.

Size is relative - the modular plants could be about as big as a couple of semi-trailers - easily fitting on the dimensions of coal plants they're ultimately intended to replace in the U.S. They would have factory-built parts that are slotted together like Lego blocks and hauled by train or truck - making assembly possible anywhere.

William Magwood, the incoming director of the Paris-based forum for nuclear energy countries, said the U.S. expects the first licensing applications to build one of the small, modular nuclear reactors in the second half of 2014, a key test to learn whether they can exist beyond the theoretical.

The Energy Department has sunk $450 million into a multi-year effort to persuade companies that the technology can be developed profitably, but companies have been drifting away from the project, citing funding and regulatory questions. It would be at least another six years before one could be built, Magwood said.

"Anything with nuclear takes a while, and that's appropriate when you're talking about a technology that has to be built correctly," Magwood said in an interview ahead of his formal introduction this week to his new post. "We haven't built one, so we don't know whether they're going to be financially successful."

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has offered enthusiastic support - and investment funds - for expanding nuclear technology he believes can provide affordable electricity to the world's poor and help combat climate change. But one of the most promising developers in the Energy Department effort, Babcock & Wilcox Co. owner of mPower, this week announced plans to scale back spending, citing the need for "significant additional investors." The other company in the running is NuScale.

And safety fears could cause even communities hungry for new sources of power to hesitate, just three years after the meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. In the United States, the untested technology is competing with a shale gas boom that upended the market.

A full-size reactor costs $6 billion to $8 billion and takes years to build - and decades to recoup the costs. It can produce enough to power more than 700,000 American homes, more than 10 times the output of its smaller counterpart.

"A small reactor ... can be built for a fraction of that cost," Magwood said, describing the proposed costs as about one-tenth of a smaller reactor. Companies pitching the projects say they could be built near population centers, but Magwood said that would need serious vetting.

They have, he later cautioned, "a possibility that's not yet proven."

Gates is a major investor in the reactor development firm TerraPower, which is among a small number of U.S. companies trying to make major changes in nuclear power. The company, which primarily deals with large-scale reactors that would make and consume their own fuel, is also developing steel alloys that could apply to the modular technology.

"If you could make nuclear really, really safe, and deal with the economics, deal with waste, then it becomes the nirvana you want: a cheaper solution with very little CO2 emissions," Gates told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview last month.

Japan's nuclear plants have been closed since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, causing meltdowns in three reactors. The disaster forced the evacuation of 100,000 residents in a 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the plant and prompted governments worldwide to rethink nuclear energy.

In the months that followed, Germany announced that it would phase out nuclear power by 2022 and construction plans were abandoned in several countries, including Italy, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The idea of reactors spread out throughout a country- even smaller ones - strikes fear in the hearts of critics.

After Fukushima, disaster plans that took years to put together were scrutinized with new urgency, leading to the realization that even neighboring countries might have very different ideas of what constitutes an emergency.

"A similar accident in Europe would involve several countries, and we are currently in a situation where our decision-making criteria are not the same, in terms of sheltering the population, evacuating, distributing iodine pills," said Pierre-Franck Chevet, president of France's Nuclear Safety Authority.

It's for that reason that Robert Rosner, a physicist at the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute, cautioned against seeing the new technology as the solution for the developing world. Rosner said the units are safer because they're protected underground against both internal accidents and external attacks, but the effects of nuclear meltdown are both far-ranging and long-lasting.

"The people that operate them have to know what they're doing and they have to mean it. They can't be complacent about safety and security," Rosner said.

But the essence of the technology is there already, in the reactors that power U.S. nuclear subs, Rosner said.

France's nuclear plants produce about three-quarters of its energy needs, more than any country in the world. Chevet said the country, which has 58 full-sized reactors, has no current plans to build modular version domestically. Nuclear engineering firm Areva and government-owned utility EDF have cautiously joined a development consortium, but Areva said the "market remains very limited" - largely because development costs and regulatory hurdles leave the question of profitability unanswered.

And that may point to one of the problems in turning theory into reality: Countries most able to make the investment have less incentive to do so. Both France and the U.S. are likely to extend the life of their aging plants to 60 or even 80 years.

"The fact that they are old doesn't necessarily mean that they are not safe," said Magwood, whose new post falls under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. With the exception of the containment and pressure vessels, parts can be swapped out.

"The analogy I often use is it's kind of like a car. You can replace many of the components in a car to keep it operating as long as you want."

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Scottingham
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2014
Put these modular nukes out to sea in oil-rig type platforms. Have them either desalinate water for export, create jet fuel for export, or have powerlines direct to land.

Away from people, way fewer issues with heating (access to water is one of France's biggest problems with their reactors). What's not to like?
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Apr 17, 2014
I remember reading a few years ago bout small units that were buried deep underground.
Found a link -
http://en.wikiped..._reactor
betterexists
1 / 5 (6) Apr 17, 2014
Look at this also: "Descending Into an Active Volcano" at discoverydotcom/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/yellowstone-super-eruptionsdothtm Website
Recently we had Volcanic Eruption in Ecuador.
There are so many Volcanoes on this Planet. Available Energy is not properly utilized.
Why Not use Volcanoes?
Why NOT shoot Appropriate objects from one end of the Volcano to reach the other end of it?
That Appropriate Object should be loaded with (Heat-Thermal) Energy by the time it reaches the other side.
If multiple objects are thrown constantly 24X7X365 ...We will have awful lot of energy free of cost!
Heat Energy thus obtained sure should beat the amount of energy input to shoot that object from the initial side! Robots can be used to take over the whole
process.We can use Drones to fly over Volcanoes to collect energy!They can drag a chain of energy capturing devices over the volcano!
When there is a will, then there is a way. Sure beats pulling fuel from beneath the oceans!
betterexists
1 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2014
Why do I suggest to throw the heat capturing objects?
If kept static, anything may melt & finally disappear at that heat!
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 18, 2014
I have yet to see any technology on that level of complexity that does not require maintenance over its (in this case considerable) lifetime.

And burying something like this all over the place is like putting something in the middle of nowhere, putting a chainlink fence around it and then declaring that "safe". Anyone who thinks that that is safety when it comes to someone who has even a passing interest in acquiring one for their purposes is a fool.

Additionally: Mass manufactured units WILL have some defective ones. Especially the ones that aren't detected until installed pose a problem. Then you can say goodbye to your groundwater for the next few decades.

Summary: Bad idea. REALLY bad idea.
Bob_Wallace
not rated yet Apr 18, 2014
SMRs - keep pleasuring that chicken....
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2014
I have yet to see any technology on that level of complexity that does not require maintenance over its (in this case considerable) lifetime.


And that's an argument....how exactly?

People hadn't seen planes before 1900, rockets before 1940. What is your point....other than just taking a contrary position to anything nuclear that is?
cjn
not rated yet Apr 18, 2014
What are the community thoughts on Liquid Fluoride Thorium (LTFR)/ Molten Salt Reactors? I've always liked them as a way to have lower-risk electricity generation.
Modernmystic
not rated yet Apr 18, 2014
What are the community thoughts on Liquid Fluoride Thorium (LTFR)/ Molten Salt Reactors? I've always liked them as a way to have lower-risk electricity generation.


I think they'd do just fine. One of the problems with molten salt is that it's corrosive and maintenance may be significantly higher than on a traditional LWR. Also any nickel and iron alloy components of the reactor are going to suffer under the high neutron flux of the design.

With fluorides they are highly water soluble so any escaping radioactive material will be carried more easily into the water supply.

There are pros and cons to any reactor design, certainly they'd be better than the gen II technology that pervades the market today. Thanks to political reactionaries we're using 1960 tech in our reactors and then getting blamed when a fricken tidal wave happens to overwhelm the design they insisted we use.

I like pebble bed reactors, but virtually all Gen III Gen IV designs are viable and passively safe.
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2014
Also as to Fukushima it's well to note that NO ONE died there, NO ONE is going to get cancer from the accident (read the WHO report if you don't believe me) and the radiation levels at the containment building are already BELOW those of some beaches in Brazil or the streets of NYC.

Bob_Wallace
2.7 / 5 (3) Apr 18, 2014
Also as to Fukushima it's well to note that NO ONE died there, NO ONE is going to get cancer from the accident (read the WHO report if you don't believe me) and the radiation levels at the containment building are already BELOW those of some beaches in Brazil or the streets of NYC.



You can shout all you like, but people died in the evacuation. Hindsight tells us that they could have safely stayed where they were, but when things are looking very grim we can't phone out for a hindsight delivery.

No one is going to get cancer? Perhaps you have figured out how to access information from the future....
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 18, 2014

You can shout all you like, but people died in the evacuation.


If they did it was because of media hysteria, political activist reactionaries, and general ignorance on the subject.

No one is going to get cancer? Perhaps you have figured out how to access information from the future...


According to science, nope. I would say it's less about predicting the future and knowing that no one was exposed to a dose of radiation that is above the background to the extent that it will give them cancer.

Read it yourself just do a search for the 2013 WHO risk assessment related to Fukushima.

tekram
4 / 5 (4) Apr 18, 2014
Also as to Fukushima it's well to note that NO ONE died there, NO ONE is going to get cancer from the accident .
This is BS. You are welcome to live in an area such as Fukushima after a melt down. The fact is the suicide rate by May of 2011 increased by 300% in Fukushima and death by suicide in all of Japan increased by 593 people. As to the uninformed statement that "NO ONE is going to get cancer", you should read the UN report that you just cited. Let me quote the report:
" For the 12 workers whose exposure data were scrutinized by the Committee and who were estimated to have received absorbed doses to the thyroid from iodine-131 intake alone in the range of 2 to 12 Gy, an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer and other thyroid disorders can be inferred. More than 160 additional workers received effective doses...Among this group, an increased risk of cancer would be expected in the future. "
http://www.unscea...ex_A.pdf
Caliban
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 18, 2014
Also as to Fukushima it's well to note that NO ONE died there, NO ONE is going to get cancer from the accident (read the WHO report if you don't believe me) and the radiation levels at the containment building are already BELOW those of some beaches in Brazil or the streets of NYC.


Yeah, I've seen you post such nukebooster hogwash before, concerning both Fukushima and Chernyobl, regarding the harmlessness of these radiation/radionuclide releases.

I am astonished that you haven't yet choked upon this lie, which is so huge that it can't even fit past your teeth...

Let's have a quick look at the state of affairs in dear old Ukraine:

http://www.beyond...l-w.html

Maybe you could emigrate there and start up a freemarket ranch. I understand that the land is dirt-cheap, and there is very little governmental interference against the operation of the holy market's invisible hand.

Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2014
LOL!!!

A link from an anti-nuke site. Mmmmmmkay. I cited you facts from a reputable source. Continue to believe what you want Caliban....you're certainly entitled to your OPINION, but not your own facts. Mine stand.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 18, 2014
People hadn't seen planes before 1900, rockets before 1940. What is your point.

The point is that if you show me a plane that works for 20 years without maintenance (or a rocket that works for one without maintenance) while operating 24/7 then I might consider this a viable "fire an forget" technology.
(And planes/rockets are considerably more mature -and considerably less complex- than this tech.)
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2014
LOL!!!

A link from an anti-nuke site. Mmmmmmkay. I cited you facts from a reputable source. Continue to believe what you want Caliban....you're certainly entitled to your OPINION, but not your own facts. Mine stand.


Mmmmmmmmmmmmkay. Try following the links in the article and maybe even searching for some of the other papers published by the researchers mentioned, and you will discover that _your_own _facts_ don't stand.

They are squarely refuted by the available published science. Your radiation uber alles utopia is the very worst kind of willful disunderstanding.

LOL, indeed.

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2014
LOL!!!

A link from an anti-nuke site. Mmmmmmkay. I cited you facts from a reputable source. Continue to believe what you want Caliban....you're certainly entitled to your OPINION, but not your own facts. Mine stand.


Mmmmmmmmmmmmkay. Try following the links in the article and maybe even searching for some of the other papers published by the researchers mentioned, and you will discover that _your_own _facts_ don't stand.

They are squarely refuted by the available published science. Your radiation uber alles utopia is the very worst kind of willful disunderstanding.

LOL, indeed.



You still haven't cited a credible source to refute anything I said about Fukushima. It was all media hype. Most of the damage done was by hysterical news reporters or plain dishonest ones bilking the "horrible nuclear accident" for all it was worth to feed the news cycle. Again, believe what you will, there's no reasoning with anti-nuke hysterics...much like AGW deniers.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2014

You still haven't cited a credible source to refute anything I said about Fukushima. It was all media hype. Most of the damage[...] accident" for all it was worth to feed the news cycle. Again, believe what you will, there's no reasoning with anti-nuke hysterics...much like AGW deniers.


Ah, so.

Trying to avoid making answer to the facts surrounding the long-lived radiological effects of the Chernyobl disaster by suddenly making this about Fukushima, eh?

Well, in this regard, one case pretty much proves the rule, and it won't be long before there is ample evidence to the contrary of your glib assertions aboutFukushima, as well.

Meanwhile, there's this to consider:

http://www.psr.or...ima.html

This:

http://www.ippnw....aper.pdf

Also, you might try the excellent nirs.org for frequent updates about Fukushima.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 18, 2014
And burying something like this all over the place is like putting something in the middle of nowhere, putting a chainlink fence around it and then declaring that "safe". Anyone who thinks that that is safety when it comes to someone who has even a passing interest in acquiring one for their purposes is a fool
#1 You're a dimwit.

#2 There have been 1000s of ICBMs sitting in silos around the world since the 1950s. Lots of them are sitting in the middle of nowhere with a fence around them. They are probably more complex and finicky than these little reactors. And they all require considerable maintenance.

Ever hear of one blowing up? Ever hear of one getting stolen? Please let me know when you do ok?
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
The point is that if you show me a plane that works for 20 years without maintenance (or a rocket that works for one without maintenance) while operating 24/7 then I might consider this a viable "fire an forget" technology.


Just because they're underground doesn't mean the reactors are completely inaccessible.

Of course they require maintenance, and they will be.

Additionally: Mass manufactured units WILL have some defective ones.


This is such a stupid complaint it boggles the mind. Do you not think they would at least inspect the reactors before putting them to use instead of, "let's install it, fire it up and see if it goes boom"?
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2014
Do you not think they would at least inspect the reactors before putting them to use

You've obviously never worked with any complicated tech. No matter how much you test there are always defects that slip by your testing regime an occur in the field. Material defects or manufacturing lapses that don't show up but lead to increased wear. Software bugs not found during testing. Damage that occurs during installation. Third party parts that are later found not to be up to spec.
The list is endless
If you're following any kind of news at all about patch rollouts, recall actions, planes being grounded and the like... of industries tasked with doing VERY thorough testing... you could have spared yourself the comment

Consider your 'mind' unboggled.

Of course they require maintenance, and they will be.

If it's accessible then that negates the (non existent) 'security' aspect of burying them.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
they could be built near population centers,
- insane (Magwood)

Bad idea. REALLY bad idea.
- sane (AA)

Out of context perhaps but appropriate.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
"From 1963 to 1994, a Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was implanted there, buried some three stories belowground in a silo, a concrete shell hardened... The small plot of land required for the missile— just two acres—was protected from the world with an eight-foot-tall chain-link fence.

Inside the fence the land was barely distinguishable from the surrounding plains—a few antennas, level ground, and a concrete silo lid were the only markers of Armageddon."

"Between 1961 and 1967 the U.S. Air Force buried 1,000 Minuteman missiles across tens of thousands of square miles of the Great Plains."

-You'll note in the pic on the wiki page maintenance workers on platforms in the silo. As these are cryogenic-fueled rockers they are supported by complex systems requiring much maintenance. Certainly more than the small reactors envisioned in the article.
http://en.wikiped...e_Museum
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
You've obviously never worked with any complicated tech. No matter how much you test there are always defects that slip by your testing regime an occur in the field
And you're apparently oblivious to the outstanding safety record of conventional nukes.

"WASHINGTON—The nation's nuclear power plants remained at the zenith of efficiency levels in 2007 with a median unit capability factor for 104 reactors in 31 states hitting 91.5 percent. For the eighth consecutive year, unit capability factor—a plant's ability to stay on-line and produce electricity—topped 90 percent, according to performance indicators compiled by the World Association of Nuclear Operators."

"Forty years ago, Patrick Moore helped found Greenpeace as an anti-nuclear group... Now he's a paid ambassador for the nuclear industry... "nuclear power has been one of the safest technologies we have invented... In the US 104 nuclear reactors operating now for 50 years — no member of the public has been harmed by them."
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
If you're following any kind of news at all about patch rollouts, recall actions, planes being grounded and the like... of industries tasked with doing VERY thorough testing... you could have spared yourself the comment
"There have been three major reactor accidents... Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. One was contained without harm to anyone, the next involved an intense fire without provision for containment, and the third severely tested the containment, allowing some release of radioactivity.

"These are the only major civilian accidents to have occurred in over 14,500 cumulative reactor-years of commercial nuclear power operation in 33 countries... Apart from Chernobyl, no nuclear workers or members of the public have ever died as a result of exposure to radiation due to a commercial nuclear reactor incident."

-Re your concerns about maintenance access, of course engrs would design the enclosures to provide required access whether above ground or below.
Tom327Cat
5 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
The voyager probe is fairly complex and has run maintenance free for years. I have a question, why must a nuclear power plant be held to a higher safety standard than everything else. I understand why the the construction and quality control standards should be higher, but I am not grasping how a coal plant is preferable to even a breeder reactor. (in terms of potential harm)
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
You've obviously never worked with any complicated tech. No matter how much you test there are always defects that slip by your testing regime an occur in the field.


That complaint applies the same to all technology, mass-manufactured or not. Whether you make a single one or many, you still have to test for flaws. Why do you think the Areva EPR is years late? Because they've cocked it up so much they've had to essentially re-do it over and over

What do you think mass-manufacturing even entails in this context?

If it's accessible then that negates the (non existent) 'security' aspect of burying them.


I don't know what sort of security you're thinking there. Are you worried someone might sneak in and steal a fuel rod from a working reactor?

The point of burying them underground is that you can't crash airplanes on them, and if there is a serious accident, the pollution is better contained in the hole in the ground rather than being blown around by the wind and rain
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
why must a nuclear power plant be held to a higher safety standard than everything else


Norway and Sweden(?) are the only western countries that have unified standards for dealing with radioactive waste, which is why it's possible to recycle e.g. reclaimed metals from reactors there.

Everywhere else in Europe and in the Americas, if the piece of metal that contains the same amount of radioactive elements comes from, say and oil rig, you can recycle it - if it comes from a nuclear powerplant it somehow turns into horrible everlasting poison that has to be buried underground because the standards for nuclear power are 30 times stricter than for absolutely everything else.

You can literally build a concrete house that radiates 30 times more than the material that is classified as low level nuclear waste if it comes out of an old nuclear powerplant. And it is perfectly safe to do so, because it's less than the ambient radiation levels.
Returners
2 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2014
Small reactors don't make sense logistically due to the concerns of protecting them from terrorists.

However, i see the point, because I think we're likely going there anyway in a few decades for container ships, when oil becomes too expensive for shipping.

I figure there'll be a platoon of troops stationed on every container ship once they make the transition to nuclear.
visionar
not rated yet Apr 19, 2014
Weinberg, co-patent holder for the LWR and head of ORNL wanted a safer reactor design and test for 20,000 hours the molten salt reactor. In 1962 the AEC recommended to JFK that Civilian power be based upon the MSR and Th-MSR, beta cause of safety, efficiency and magnitudes less waste. Problem was it wasn't useful for making bombs and the Navy had its LWRs, which were never intended for scaling up to utility scale plants. With MSRs walk away safe features, freeze plug gravity drain to safety tanks, load following nature, TMI and Fukushima could not have happened. Fluoride-Be salt is very inert, doesn't react to air or water, if a pipe broke the molten salt would freeze in place. As the design is low pressure and high heat, there can be no explosions, as it isn't water cooled, the there is no water to break down to hydrogen for the Fukushima explosive events. As it is so walk away safe, there are no needs for two water cooling systems, pressure dome, backup generators;
visionar
5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
Globally the climate and green energy spend is about $1 Billion a day, that is enough to buy 600 MWs of MSR daily for emission free 24x7 hyper dense energy. Green Energy's waste stream of rare earth elements tosses away enough of the super fuel Thorium yearly, to power the entire planet using MSRs. 6600 tons of Thorium has the energy density = 5B tons coal+31 Billion barrels oil+3 Trillion meters gas+ 75,000 tons Uranium in LWRs
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
Small reactors don't make sense logistically due to the concerns of protecting them from terrorists.
Why Lrrkrr did you miss my excellent posts?

"This is how some Americans lived the Cold War. Never before had the military permanently implanted its weapons amidst the population and expected life to go on as usual. People living in the missile fields were to pretend that they did not notice the chainlink fences, the high-frequency antennas, or the lumbering Air Force trucks. With a few exceptions, they were not asked to move or relocate.

"On the contrary, they were told that living a half mile from a missile silo was no big deal, that their cattle could graze on pastures nearby, that they could get close to the fence. One of the missile silos was a few hundred yards from a school."

- Unmanned... Unguarded... Unassailable.

"In fact, of the 1,000 Minuteman missiles deployed in the 1960s, nearly half of them remain."

-Sleep tight.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
I figure there'll be a platoon of troops stationed on every container ship once they make the transition to nuclear.
"The German-built Otto Hahn, a cargo ship and research facility, sailed some 650,000 nautical miles (1,200,000 km) on 126 voyages over 10 years without any technical problems."

-Germans?!??

"Nuclear propulsion has proven both technically and economically feasible for nuclear-powered icebreakers in the Soviet Arctic. Nuclear-fuelled ships operate for years without refueling, and the vessels have powerful engines, well-suited to the task of icebreaking."

-Here is a list of civilian nuclear-powered ships.
http://en.wikiped...ar_ships
dvdrushton
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 19, 2014
China is an interesting situation - a country desperately needing to expand it's power grid - but choking to death on coal dust. One would think that the authoritarian nature of China's government would mean that they would be pedal to the metal with nukes. In fact in 2013 - they added 2.2 GW of nukes, and 55 GW of water wind and solar. http://cleantechn...cations/

If small scale modular nukes pan out - I would say that it was $450 million of tax payer money well spent. I suspect that the economics are going to favor water, wind and solar.

Interesting quote from the article " It would be at least another six years before one could be built, Magwood said."

I wonder what the cost of solar will be 6 years from now.
dvdrushton
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
I was curious about why the Otto Hahn was in service for such a short period. A little googling brought up this interesting quote "By the mid-1970s, studies showed that it was not possible to operate nuclear-powered freighters in an economically efficient manner." From - http://www.hzg.de....html.en

Time will tell - I sense that while technically doable, nukes are going to prove out to be to costly - and other renewables are going to rule the day. It may be that their energy density will give them an advantage - and decisions will not be purely based on economics.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2014
China is an interesting situation - a country desperately needing to expand it's power grid - but choking to death on coal dust. One would think that the authoritarian nature of China's government would mean that they would be pedal to the metal with nukes. In fact in 2013 - they added 2.2 GW of nukes, and 55 GW of water wind and solar. http://cleantechn...cations/


China is building lots of nukes and plans to build a lot more.

http://www.world-...r-Power/

https://en.wikipe...in_China

As of April 2014, the People's Republic of China has 21 nuclear power reactors operating on 6 separate sites and 28 under construction.[1][2][3] Additional reactors are planned, providing 58 GWe of capacity by 2020.


Dont forget that nuclear GW is worth many times more than renewable GW due to capacity factors.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2014
Yesssss Billy Gates - guilty of spying on everyone one in the world who ever hooked a windoze PC to the net....

Everything on the machine, everything you ever said, up loaded, down loaded, emailed, - everything - Billy Gates made it available to whoever wanted it.

And releasing all that buggy shitty software - from the American Globalist Corrupt Software Co.?

Now this idiot is pushing the cause of mini-nuke plants?

The best thing this guy can do for humanity is die.
dvdrushton
3 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2014
China is building lots of nukes and plans to build a lot more.


Your source has China increasing it's nuke capacity 3 fold - to 58 GW by 2020. Say 6 GW per year.

They are also planning to install 28 GW of wind and solar in the next year. http://www.powere...lan.html

If you take 25% as a reasonable average for renewable capacity factor - (understanding that nukes do not have 100% capacity factor either). That is a comparable amount of power. Saudi Arabia has recently announced they are going to invest $100 billion in both renewables, and nukes. We have an interesting experiment going on right before us. My money says that the renewables will win out hands down on cost - but we still keep building nukes. Energy price deflation may be a disruptive occurence. http://www.greent...eflation
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2014
"By the mid-1970s, studies showed that it was not possible to operate nuclear-powered freighters in an economically efficient manner."
No doubt due to the economies of scale. It's hard to believe that ships like these
http://en.wikiped...a_Mærsk

-wouldn't operate more cheaply and efficiently and cleanly with nukes.
dvdrushton
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2014
It's hard to believe that ships like these wouldn't operate more cheaply, efficiently and cleanly with nukes


I would think so too especially burning 36,000 gallons of heavy oil per hour - that is some hefty fuel bill. Of course - I am not a marine engineer. I imagine someone had enough foresight to crunch the numbers - and decided that diesel was the way to go. Perhaps the development of the small modular plants mentioned in this article will increase our engineering knowledge of nukes - and we will see them being put in cargo ships. Time will tell. Still waiting for the e-cat right otto?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2014
Ecat - waiting to see if it's pass or fail.
http://www.e-catw...-thread/

"The environmental impact of shipping includes greenhouse gas emissions, acoustic, and oil pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping is estimated to be 4 to 5 percent of the global total, and estimated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to rise by as much as 72 percent by 2020 if no action is taken."
dvdrushton
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
Correction - 3,600 gals of fuel per hour.

Ecat - waiting to see if it's pass or fail.


" the report should be published by the end of June."

That is not long - we wait with baited breath.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2014
It's "BATED" breath.

Not "baited".

Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
A good thing on nukes in the battle field... or should I say, "The americans pulling another armed robbery" - is this docco:

"Beyond Treason" https://www.youtu...8nUDbVXU

If it has USA / NATO / US Dept of Energy etc., etc., etc., written on it - shoot them.

Shoot them all.

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