Resurgence of nuclear power not likely to happen

Full story: Chicago Tribune

After the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, years passed before anyone took seriously the idea of a nuclear revival.

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Patrick Arnesen

Kelowna, Canada

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#1
Aug 3, 2009
 
Our current reactors - water cooled, solid core reactors are hopeless dinosaurs. LFTR reactors solve all the problems - See comparison between LFTR and conventional reactors here: http://bit.ly/p3ca5
Nuke

Yorkville, IL

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#2
Aug 3, 2009
 
Terrible article, if your going to write an article about the high capital costs of nuclear power then do it correctly. Yes, construction costs are high but once the initial capital is invested running costs for a nuclear power plant are cheaper than coal and gas. The part of this article that really "grinds my gears" though is the fear mongering of Chernobyl. Read up on it and you will realize that it is impossible for what happened in Russia to happen to the plants here in the US they are completely different designs.
RChambers

Palo Alto, CA

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#3
Aug 3, 2009
 
Your article is misleading; has a hint of anti-nuclear sentiment seeping out. Real facts are that nuclear is costly to build, but the payback is a safe, long term, stable producers of base load power that is environmentally compatible. Time to drop the scare tactics, all the typically anti-nuclear touted problems have long sent been overcome by nations that sensibly retained nuclear in their mixes. I just read a Reuters article about Japan now producing 68% of their total power needs from nuclear. America needs this base load option, as well as base load coal generation using up-to-date clean air technologies, and hydroelectric. Renewables need to be reviewed for use where practical, as they are highly reactive to wind availability or solar conditions. Costs per installed megawatt are far greater due to the small size and huge number needed. Eventually the current administration will no longer be capable of continuing the myth that wind and conservation can replace the megawatts to be displaced by the short-sighted carbon tax and lack of loan guarantees for nuclear. The lack of base load generation has the potential of creating the next great economic collapse in the next 5 to 10 years if we don’t get the plan moving fast.
Bryan Kelly

Alpharetta, GA

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#4
Aug 3, 2009
 
Balderdash!

American Energy Act H.R. 2828 [111th]

From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Edited for space:

"...The American Energy Act establishes a national goal of licensing 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. With 31 announced reactor applications already in the pipeline, this goal can be achieved -- and it will revitalize an entire manufacturing sector, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The bill also streamlines a cumbersome regulatory process by offering a two-year, fast-track approval program for power-plant applications that employ safe reactor designs already approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission..."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1244676042173...

----------
The simple "Contact Congress" page below enables readers to quickly find and open a window directly to their US Representative, and then cut and paste a simple letter of support.

Please visit and pass it on as you see appropriate.

http://www.suretyinsider.com/american-energy-...

or, Twitter-sized:

http://tinyurl.com/ljesvp
GRLCowan

Port Hope, Canada

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#5
Aug 3, 2009
 
In the USA, nuclear production has been surging all along, so can hardly resurge.

There is no difficulty recruiting on-site government inspectors for American nuclear plants, none of which has ever harmed any neighbour at all. But it is very hard to get through the paper chase to build a new one, and very easy to get a new natural gas plant approved.(Natural gas plants burn about $400 million worth of gas per year, and government gets tens of millions in special revenues, in addition to the usual share it would take of any deal, on that. Nuclear plants replace that $400 million of gas with about $20 million of uranium.)

The ease of licensing the more tax-lucrative option and the difficulty of licensing the less lucrative one will change. It will change when Americans start to require regulators to live at gas plants, and near gas pipelines, the same way nuclear inspectors live near nuclear stuff.

(Remember the New Mexico pipeline disaster of 2000; the resulting loss of imports to CA was a big part of its power difficulties in that year.)
liner

Elmont, NY

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#6
Aug 3, 2009
 
Patrick Arnesen wrote:
Our current reactors - water cooled, solid core reactors are hopeless dinosaurs. LFTR reactors solve all the problems - See comparison between LFTR and conventional reactors here: http://bit.ly/p3ca5
Solved ALL the problems? Not the one concerning nuclear fear.
Karl Marx-I oughtta know

Oak Park, IL

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#7
Aug 3, 2009
 
We don't need nuclear power.

We will get rid of coal and have solar panels and generators on stationary bicycles at home giving us all we need.

Obama will take care of us. He is all knowing and and has our best interests at heart.

Right?
Karl Marx-I oughtta know

Oak Park, IL

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#8
Aug 3, 2009
 
Interesting to call Three Mile Island a disaster but nobudy died there and people die every day at Hydro, wind , coal and gas plants.

I bet you believe in the porkulus plan too.
WHM

Columbia, MO

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#9
Aug 3, 2009
 
In the beginning of this commentary, nuclear power plants are much to expensive to build to be economically viable. But near the end, existing plants are called "cash cows." Which is it? Yes, new ones are expensive to build as were the existing ones when they were built. But as the current generation of nuclear plants (which produce 20% of our electricity) shows, they are economically very viable.
John Busby

Kirkby Lonsdale, UK

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#10
Aug 3, 2009
 
Its amazing that the "near-miss" at the Besse-Davis reactor in Ohio has escaped public scrutiny. It was a "near-miss" because an 8" hole was eaten out of the outer shell of the reactor vessel head by escaping cooling water containing boric acid. The thin inner shell fortunately held the pressure.

See NRC reports from 2002.

The plant personnel ignored white streaks of boron salt trailing down the side of the reactor. The plant was fined for a breach of safety procedures every bit as bad as the Chernobyl incident.

Like TMI it was "near-miss" from disaster.

“The Buybull is innerrrent.”

Since: Jun 08

Doylestown, PA

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#11
Aug 3, 2009
 
RChambers wrote:
I just read a Reuters article about Japan now producing 68% of their total power needs from nuclear.
Where's the nuclear waste? Utah? Cos I wanna make sure that when seismic nightmare Japan suffers a bout of radiation poison this time that they won't accuse the US of another war crime.

Nuclear probably will have a role, but naturally no one will mention nuclear's hefty government subsidy in being excused from paying its liability insurance. The gubberment did that. I mean, since we're being forthright and all....

“The Buybull is innerrrent.”

Since: Jun 08

Doylestown, PA

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#12
Aug 3, 2009
 
John Busby wrote:
Like TMI it was "near-miss" from disaster.
I don't know anything about that, but you'd think right after the financial meltdown that people would understand risk can be realized in a drip, drip, drip manner, or be quiescent until striking all at once in a meltdown, financial or otherwise.(And we haven't reached the marginal, ongoing problems from ingesting radioactive materials - different from getting a chest x ray.)

The business about people dying in gas fired plants every year, therefore, is more of the usual inane dissembling. I mean, since we're being upfront and everything....
Burn Coal

Chicago, IL

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#13
Aug 3, 2009
 
Sure, nukes put out basically none of the so-called "pollutant" carbon dioxide (the same gas we as all exhale)... but with no answer for nuclear waste, which for all basic discussions is radioactive forever ... why should we risk splitting the atom and creating this radioactive waste just to reduce carbon dioxide output of burning US-mined coal (which might reduce the ambient tempurature by 0.1 degrees over our lifetimes)?
Brent

United States

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#14
Aug 3, 2009
 
Each Coal plant releases tons of uranium and thorium every year. The stuff is everywhere in the earth's crust. Not to mention other heavy metals such as Mercury. That's if oyu do not think the co2 is a problem.

Nuclear waste is a problem because we choose to make it one. The best use for the waste is to burn it in another type of reactor such as a Liquid Fluoride thorium reactor(LFTR). The spent fuel if used in one of these reactor transmutates the waste down into elements that have 3-5 hundred years 1/2 life
JK August

Jacksonville, FL

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#15
Aug 3, 2009
 
This article is so totally random, what's the point? Resurgence of nuclear power is happening as we speak. Twenty-eight plants under construction, worldwide, two units in the U.S. Eighteen more license requests in the U.S., four more on the verge of starting. Major components ordered. China, India, and even the UAR (United Arad Emirates) are onboard.

Fact is the resurgence is here. What kind of reporting is this? Ignorance from Mars?
GRLCowan

Port Hope, Canada

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#16
Aug 3, 2009
 
Interesting hypothetical: what if salt had a half-life? And were an inexpensive substitute for something that government and industry make huge money on?

They'd hire legions of astroturfers, and perhaps inspire one or two unpaid amateurs, to express concern about the fate of the oceans if the saltshakers in the Titanic someday fail, and release their deadly cargo into the Atlantic. It could get salty ... if the half-life were 30 years, that saltiness wouldn't go away very quickly.

Meanwhile, the sea is already salt. Similarly, it is already radioactive. All the nuclear waste in the world could only fractionally increase its level of radioactivity.

So dumping the stuff in the ocean might not be the best way to deal with it, but it would be plenty good enough. It is so small a problem that there is plenty of room for error.

Keep that in mind when coal and gas promoters say the "problem" is unsolved. They are not, perhaps, referring to the problem of where they'll get their next $5.
Social Justice

West Chester, PA

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#17
Aug 3, 2009
 
Karl Marx-I oughtta know wrote:
We don't need nuclear power.
We will get rid of coal and have solar panels and generators on stationary bicycles at home giving us all we need.
Obama will take care of us. He is all knowing and and has our best interests at heart.
Right?
Yes, Obama's plan is to reduce the economy back to the Stone Age. His healthcare plan will introduce assisted suicide for expensive medical procedures. Once the population is small enough and the internal combustion engine has been banned, our energy needs will be so small that a couple of windmills will be all we need.
Only nuclear will work

Springfield, OR

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#18
Aug 4, 2009
 
The article's line or reasoning is that electricity from gas or even wind are "probably" cheaper, and nuclear is unsafe since a chernobyl accident could occur. This is flat out not true. Wind is vastly more expensive because the wind only blows 27% of the time on average, even in the windiest spots! So 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity would produce just 270 megawatts of output. Even worse, nuclear plants, once built, produce cheap electricity for 60-100 years, while wind turbines wear out in just 15-20 years. Wind is very expensive indeed. If it only works a quarter of the time, and only lasts a quarter as long, that is a 16-fold cost increase. Gas plants are cheap to build, but natural gas prices are too volatile. Also, they produce millions of tons of CO2 per gigawatt, and usually some methane leaks. As it turns out, gas is itself a potent greenhouse gas. Gas contributes to climate change about as much as dirty coal, since methane leaks when mined and is such a potent greenhouse gas. As for this chernobyl argument, that reactor was an RBMK graphite-moderated reactor with a positive void coefficient-- if it overheats, the reaction speeds up. Our reactors are light water reactors-- they can't blow up and burn in the same way. Generation IV reactors like the integral fast reactor are 160 times as fuel efficient and embody passive safety features.
liner

Elmont, NY

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#19
Aug 4, 2009
 
Brent wrote:
Each Coal plant releases tons of uranium and thorium every year. The stuff is everywhere in the earth's crust. Not to mention other heavy metals such as Mercury. That's if oyu do not think the co2 is a problem.
Nuclear waste is a problem because we choose to make it one. The best use for the waste is to burn it in another type of reactor such as a Liquid Fluoride thorium reactor(LFTR). The spent fuel if used in one of these reactor transmutates the waste down into elements that have 3-5 hundred years 1/2 life
DOH!
jfarmer9

Salt Lake City, UT

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#20
Aug 4, 2009
 
Greg Burns,

Your true colors as Exelon’s boy are showing through. You should remember that you are employed by the Tribune and not Exelon. Exelon has its own agenda. Exelon is in a unique situation. They are the market leader in nuclear facilities. They are also expected to “up-rate” these facilities increasing their market dominance as a carbon free power producer. In a nut shell they have all the carbon free power and they don’t want anyone else to have any. In the future having the only carbon free power sources in the Midwest will allow Exelon to make money hand over fist. Currently the company feels that it has too much carbon free power. This is why they want to decommission Zion. Zion is a perfectly fine plant that would easily receive an NRC licenses extension. However, the laws of supply and demand say it is better now not to flood the market with cheap carbon free power.

The fact is Greg a new nuclear plant will have a plant life of 75 years plus. To understand the cost of a new nuclear plant you need to divide 75 years with the cost of financing, building, insuring, running, and decommissioning of a new nuke plant. After doing this you see that nuclear ends up being cheaper on cost per kilowatt basses than coal.

Hey, I realize that it is easy to be mislead by a large corporation especially when dealing with the highly complicated world of energy. I suggest reading William Tukers book Terrestrial Energy to give your self the correct background when writing about nuclear power. In the future when writing about nuclear power I hope you remember your old college motto Quaecumque sunt vera ‘whatsoever things are true.'

Viva the Nuclear Renaissance

Jfarmer9

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