Nuclear Power Counts As A Renewable? Arizona Senate Committee Says So…

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Who would ever consider nuclear power to be a “renewable” means of power generation?

Well, the Arizona Senate Committee on Water and Energy, for one — there might be someone else, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other person or entity….


The aforementioned bill that the Senate Committee on Water and Energy just passed (narrowly) is SB 1134 — a bill classifying “nuclear energy from sources fueled by uranium fuel rods that include 80% or more of recycled nuclear fuel, and natural thorium reactor resources under development” as renewable energy sources.

The approval is especially funny considering the fact that Arizona is fast approaching some serious water-sourcing issues, and nuclear power plants require huge quantities of water in order to function.

Someplace like coastal Texas or California, you could kind of understand (despite the other issues with nuclear — such as very long-lived, hard to clean up pollution), but Arizona? Right in the middle of a desert, and almost completely reliant on just a few small river systems and fossil groundwater laid down during the last ice age? Hmm…

Regardless of the water issues, though, how does one go about classifying nuclear power as a renewable energy source anyway?

This difficulty in conceptualizing nuclear power as a renewable power source was actually shared by many of the senators on the committee, though — which is why the bill passed by only one vote. One vote — that right there sums up one of the primary issues with democracy (to my eyes). All that it takes is a one-vote disparity to discount the opinions of the losing half of a near 50–50 split…


As far as the senators’ comments, here you go (Phoenix New Times):

Senator Lynne Pancrazi said she considers nuclear an “alternative energy,” but “can’t agree that nuclear is renewable;” Senator David Bradley said he “(appreciates) the fact that technology is allowing us to use rods a few times, but that doesn’t make it a renewable;” and Senator Sylvia Allen said they could argue back and forth about the definitions of renewable and recyclable, but that it isn’t the point of the bill.”

The senator behind the bill, Senator Steve Smith, didn’t really address these issues, having merely stated (while referencing “recycling” fuel rods): “Basically we just want to burn that energy twice.”

“Burn the energy twice” doesn’t sound to me like someone talking about a renewable energy resource. Perhaps that’s just me, though.

While the bill was passed by the committee, it still has to make its way through: the rules committee, the Senate, and the House of Representatives — which a similar bill last year was unable to do.

One last comment from the bill’s backer, Senator Smith, before ending this article: when asked about the differences between nuclear and renewables, he stated that when it comes to nuclear material, “we have so much that can be reused that it’s almost renewable.”

What? Do the bill’s supporters/backers really not have a better argument than that?

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

311 thoughts on “Nuclear Power Counts As A Renewable? Arizona Senate Committee Says So…

  • you did not mention the cost of nuclear decommission.
    and who is going to pay for it.
    follow Sellafield UK and see that 100 billion dollar is paid already for decommission and 2 billion taxpayer money a year is on the budget for decommission Sellafield and estimated decommission scedule is 100 years. would add another 200 billion dollars.
    dont believe me, find the facts on Google.
    so nuclear is no renewable.

    • If Arizona goes nuclear, it will drive up the cost of grid based electricity, pushing already alienated consumers who want to go solar further toward unplugging from the grid.

      I think we can use this state as a case study in how not to manage a renewable energy transition. What we can look forward to in Arizona is upheaval and conflict over the issue of renewable energy sources that keep falling in price and become easier and easier for consumers to go it on their own.

      The article makes good points in that renewable energy is added resiliency for a water poor state like Arizona. Nuclear suffers from being a resource hog in this area. But it is also worth noting that nuclear is vulnerable due to sea level rise. The energy source, in this respect is increasingly vulnerable and costly in world experiencing ramping impacts from climate change.

      • Arizona does not need power that requires more water. Neither does any place else in the South West ravished by drought.

        • Mexicali is near the Gulf of California close enough to Arizona to transmit power. You can put fast reactors there using sea water for cooling making fresh water for Imperial to grow food.

          • You could. Or you could stop wasteful growing high water intensive crops like cotton on the Carrizzo plains. And stop making even more expensive water from nuclear to grow wasteful cotton in a desert. Desalinisation is natures way of saying you have over shot natural resource extraction.

          • If we totally ignore the cost.

            Great solution but it would likely crash the economy. Those countries that move quickly to renewables are going to experience great competitive advantage.

          • Working with some fairly high water temps there.

            Probably makes far more sense to build solar farms and sell that power. Profits would be a lot, lot higher.

            Like everywhere else in the world….

        • A power plant to power the Central Arizona Project water pumps could use that water for cooling.

          And the thing is if Arizona builds nukes to replace coal, how do you figure that that is going to require more water? Haven’t you noticed that coal-fired power plants have cooling towers too.

          • You are so marvelously single minded. Can you think of any form of generation that does not require cooling?

        • Even Gas Turbine Combined Cycle have cooling towers.

          • Wind turbines and solar do not require cooling towers.

          • You mean solar PV. I don’t know what type of cooling solar thermal uses but they have to have some type of cooling.

      • Is sea level rise in Arizona a serious problem? I’d have thought not! I think RobMF needs to look at a map of the USA.

        That’s not the only paradox in RobMF’s post. On the one hand he promotes global warming by arguing for solar: because solar can only be made to work with fossil fuel backup to cover for it’s intermittency. On the other, RobMF uses global warming to scare us into doing what he wants!

        • Poor reading skills or a deliberate “misunderstanding”?

          BTW, you have a very poor understanding of how renewable grids will operate.

          • Well, I have a very good understanding of all of the problems that grids with a large amount of distributed wind and solar will have.

          • Yep. Germany and Denmark’s grids are crashing as they add renewables, aren’t they? South Dakota went to 30% wind and their grid augered in.
            Oh, wait. They’re doing fine….

          • I believe that you have created a Straw Man argument here which is a false dichotomy. This is not a binary proposition. Germany has had problems. I have read about some of them. And, 30% wind is below the level of serious issues. However, just because the grid isn’t crashing does not mean that they are not having problems integrating the renewables into the grid. The two are not mutually exclusive.

          • Straw man indeed. Its you with the straw stuffing the man. Unfortunately its all a hall of mirrors. First you say there are problems, ominously. The organ plays a mournful tone…
            What do we hear a little later… well its not so bad but….
            Its all a tempest in a teapot..
            You created the false dichotomy… Now you are undoing it…
            How many problems.. what kind.
            No information. No citations. All FUD.

          • You are still working on the same Straw Man argument. You are pretending that serious problems that are difficult for the grid operators to deal with but which have not been bad enough to bring down the grid don’t exist. Well, they do. And you have offered nothing to prove your point, just your nonsense ramblings.

            Two things that I recall are:

            Too much power and the solution to that was turn on all the streetlights in the daytime to try to absorb some of it. It was then necessary to retrofit all of the solar inverters in the country so that they could be linearly controlled because they could only be turned on and off and if they were turned off all at once it disrupted the grid.

            Probably as a result of too much power they have unstable frequency. It is usually high. As much as 2 or 3 tenths of a Hertz.

            Neither of these will crash the grid but they are not trivial. And, they will be very serious if they get worse.

          • I am not trying to prove anything. I am just listening to what you are saying and trying to imagine what you are ranting, er talking about with no references or citations.

            At this point, your ,,, uh,,,, diatribe,,,, is getting a little incomprehensible.

            Your scary warnings about

            “they will be very serious if they get worse.”

            are beginning to sound a little less scientific and a little more like someones got a problem.

          • Of course you are trying to prove something. You are trying to prove things which are not true. There is no point in that. So, goodbye.

          • What on earth are you rambling about now? FUD. I divine that it has something to do with solar and inverters. Its still tempest in a teapot time, tho.

            Turns out solar inverters actually enhance grid stability. And they can be updated on the fly with software in some cases.

            The report, titled Inverter Load Rejection Over-Voltage Testing: SolarCity CRADA Task 1a Final Report, sought to provide an insight into how to overcome such interconnection barriers. According to SolarCity, as a direct result of this testing Hawaiian Electric is now prepared to increase circuit thresholds on its grid from current levels of 120% daytime minimum load (DML) of DG, to 250% DML – more than doubling the amount of solar rooftop PV that can be safely fed to the grid.

            Read more:

          • A large number, perhaps all, of the solar inverters in Germany were programed to turn off when the frequency reached 50.2 Hertz [see the links that explain it]. So, it was necessary to change firmware or software in the inverters so that this shutdown would be gradual because having them all turn off at once is/was a serious problem because the sudden shock made the grid unstable and it lead to oscillation since the frequency would immediately drop when all of the solar inverters disconnected from the grid resulting in them all turning back on.

      • It is certainly true that nuclear will cost more than the coal that is now used in Arizona. However, it is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions. The cost of batteries to unplug from the grid is so high that I doubt that many people will do it.

        The Palo Verde nuclear plant currently uses sewage effluent from Phoenix for cooling water. This is an available resource unless Phoenix wants to use the water for irrigation or purified municipal water. CAP water might be available for possible once through use although this would require an artifical lake for cooling.

        Perhaps if Arizona adds more nuclear capacity, it will be High Temperature Reactors that do not require water cooling for the turbines — that use Rankine cycle gas or CO2 turbines.

      • Arizona has already gone nuclear. The Palo Verde plant produces 3.3 Gigawatts. The questing being asked is how to replace the Navajo coal-fired power plant that the EPA wants to close. Don’t say renewables because this plant produces 24/7 power to run the Central Arizona water project pumps.

        • You have some real misunderstandings about base load power. Nuclear and coal can take hours or days to start up. They ramp slowly, too. You have to operate the system with large amounts of reserves and peakers to do it with base load. Thats not the only way to operate a system.

          Fears of lack of base load are baseless.

          • Those are clever lies in the video. Anyone can make a video that says things which are not true or things which are so impractical that they might as well not be true. That video is talking about restricting the amount of electricity which is available based on what variable and intermittent sources of power are generating. If you listen closely, it proves my points, not yours.

            Then there are the false things which you said. You have again used Green and anti-nuke sites as your sources. Would you please read sources of real information. It would save other people the trouble of trying to correct you and if you were not mislead and misinformed you would probably change your opinions.

            You start with something that is true. If a coal or nuclear plant has been turned off, it could take days to start it. But, they are not turned off. So, you are using something which is true in order to lie. Or, did you read it someplace where it was used to mislead you.

            A coal plant can be turned up and down, even down to zero but it keeps burning enough coal to keep the boiler hot so that it can come back on line fairly quickly. The issue is that it costs more per unit power generated the less power it is generating.

            I said nothing about baseload. So, I wonder why you brought it up. The thing that you don’t appear to understand is that baseload is a load. It isn’t going away. It is the amount of load that is there 24/7. Power plants assigned to provide the power for that load are called baseload plants for obvious reasons. There is also intermediate load which is the load that is usually there except for the over night dip. Plants that supply this load are turned up and down once a day. They don’t load follow.

            Now contrary to what you say, the power output of nukes can ramp up and down. How quickly this is done depends on which plant you are talking about. There are new plants in France that can load follow. All plants in the US have to be able to stop generation of power almost immediately, but they do that using the turbine bypass. The reactor isn’t shut down that quickly. When the utility stages the amount of power that they output, it is planed ahead and usually done over an hour or two like a coal plant normally does. However, new nuclear plants will be able to load follow.

          • Ah yes. Paranoia strikes deep. Its all a clever plot. And you have scientific references for this.
            You know what. Your tropes are old and stale. Get some new ones. You are wasting your time.,

          • Yes, I probably could look up where I read about this. But, it would be better if you did your own research. You would find out that Google can find real sources of information for your.

            You need to realize that you are not an engineer. You have not studied engineering in college and it is you that are wasting our time.

          • I would have thought the reference to IEEE and SMRs was a clue.
            How is it that you don’t know what base load power is?

          • I said what baseload power was. It is the power that supplies the baseload.

          • Then how come you don’t understand that base load power is a myth.

          • The baseload is supplied with power so it must not be a myth.

          • I guess that went over your head.

          • No wonder you don’t know that what you are espousing is the myth of base load power. You don’t know what base load power is.

            The nuclear power plants in the US don’t ramp easily and so they don’t do it. They rules only allow them to ramp under operator control and they have only crude adjustments. So its a moot point whether they can or not. They don’t. Theoretically this and that, immaterial.

            Still on the circle the wagons nuclear paranoia I see.

          • You have totally lost it.

            They rules only allow them to ramp under operator control and they have only crude adjustments

            So, now your are a nuclear expert and an engineer?

            Perhaps you don’t understand this but the power output of all power plants is adjusted by the operator of the power plant. If you think that the operators of a nuclear reactor only have “crude adjustments” of the power output of the reactor, I would like to see a citation for where you obtained this misinformation. This is just insane.

          • Eat your heart out.

            “However, in some countries such as the USA, there are explicit regulatory prohibitions on manoeuvring in the automatic mode (that is, responding to primary and secondary frequency control), although this does not prohibit power load variations controlled by the operator”


            Oh no. Nuclear Engineering International has become an anti nuke.

            “All in all, a typical BWR, after it has been conditioned, will generally never ramp up more than 100 MWe per hour. Once power is above 65%, typically ramping is less than 50 MWe per hour, and once above 90% ramp rates typically are reduced to 10MWe per hour. However, these are not the only limits. As power is increased, especially if the increase is with control rods, the operators are required to run core monitoring cases between power steps to verify thermal limits and the PCI margin. If PCI margin or MCPR are closing in on their limits, that may limit the reactor’s ramp rate. I’ve seen ramp rates on an initial reactor startup as low 0.5% per hour, depending on the current core configuration.”


            There you have it. Plenty of limitations on existing US reactors.

            France and Germany, well not anymore, have some ability to vary, but France still keeps hydro in the works and uses its neighbors to follow daily load variation where nuclear can’t manage.

            Oh and France NPP can operate in automatic mode.

          • You now appear to be having a reasoning problem.

            You have a quote from an article in NEI Magazine that says that in the US that regulations do not allow the generator synchronizer at a NPP to automatically control the thermal power output of the reactor. So, what does that have to do with your stupid remark about “crude adjustments”.

            Then you quote something about the start up procedure for a BWR. Do you know what a BWR is. They are those very old design reactors like a Fukushima. They do not load follow at all. They do, however, as described, and as do all reactors, have to be able to cut back the power that they are supplying to the grid in an emergency.

            Neither of these references has anything to do with the ability of a modern Generation II reactor to adjust its power output once a day (mentioned in the NEI article) to conform to the load.

            Please give it up. You really don’t know what you are talking about. Catching me not saying exactly what I mean does not win an argument when I have the facts on my side.

          • Sorry. I forgot I need to explain it slower for you.

            The subject is existing US reactors.

            The issue is the reactor ability to adjust its power output “crudely”.

            Well don’t stumble too much on that. It means with quite a few limitations and rather slowly compared to other plants such as NG.

            “All in all, a typical BWR, after it has been conditioned, will generally never ramp up more than 100 MWe per hour. Once power is above 65%, typically ramping is less than 50 MWe per hour, and once above 90% ramp rates typically are reduced to 10MWe per hour. However, these are not the only limits. As power is increased, especially if the increase is with control rods, the operators are required to run core monitoring cases between power steps to verify thermal limits and the PCI margin. If PCI margin or MCPR are closing in on their limits, that may limit the reactor’s ramp rate. I’ve seen ramp rates on an initial reactor startup as low 0.5% per hour, depending on the current core configuration.”

            I know its a lot of reading comprehension and understanding, but try.

            Maybe I shouldn’t challenge your memory skills too much, but do you happen to remember this statement

            “You have totally lost it.

            They rules only allow them to ramp under operator control and they have only crude adjustments”

            I took that to mean that you doubted that automatic control was possible. But i didn’t reckon that you might not know automatic control existed. Thats where ramping and stability is done with a control system rather than an operator. But I didn’t think I needed to explain it to you,

            since you

            “inhabit the land of engineering”

            I supplied references to support the statement

            “The rules only allow them to ramp under operator control and they have only crude adjustments”

            operator control, not automatic

            crude adjustments

            Give it time. Eventually you will figure it out,.

          • No, I understand completely. You are a Leftist and therefore there is a defect in you thinking that means that you think that the fallacy of illicit distribution is the correct way to think and not a logical error.

            So, you talk about an old circa 1960s design GE BWR reactor and you think that somehow you have talked about reactors. It is a nuclear reactor. Isn’t that true?

            It is the same logic that concludes that Socrates Cat is a Dog if you have ever taken formal logic class.

            To put it symbolically:

            All S is P Does not imply that All P is S

            It only implies that Some P is S.

            Leftist are always making this mistake. They do it automatically without thinking.

            But to think that an old 1960s design BWR is representative of all US commercial nuclear power reactors is just incredible. How can you possibly think that anyone would accept that.

            And I have no idea what your definition of ‘crude’ is; you must be using Humpty Dumpty semantics

            Operator control does not mean that the adjustments are crude. Look the word up. The operators can make precise adjustments.

            I am reaching the conclusion that you are invincibly ignorant and there is no point of any further answers to your posts..

          • LOL. A leftist. You have really lost it now.

          • You are beginning to sound unhinged. Everyone who disagrees with you is a commie. Rambling about S and P and cats and dogs. You seem to have misplaced the topic completely.

          • Your failure to understand what I said and make an intelligent response proves my point. In case you are not familiar with it:

            Socrates’ Cat has Four paws.

            A Dog had Four paws.

            Therefore, Socrates’ Cat is a Dog.

            So in your case:

            A BWR is a nuclear reactor.

            You can finish the rest applying the same fallacy of illicit distribution. And come up with the false conclusion that all US nuclear reactors work like it does.

          • No kidding. Nuclear plants never turn off. Never. Like when there is a LOOP. Never. Ever. Ever.
            And we know this because you are an expert. Right.

          • No, they are not turned off when the power is not needed for a few hours. Just like the fire in a coal-fired power plant is not turned of if the power is not needed for a few hours. Neither on is turned off if it will be needed again in a few hours for exactly the reason that you stated. If they are stopped cold, it takes a while to start them up again.

            Are you having a reading comprehension problem?

          • Can you say LOOP? Do you know what LOOP is? Look it up. Google and inform yourself. After you do that, see if you can figure out if there any forms of power that don’t require cooling. Take a whole day. Think about it. Real hard.

          • LOOP (nuclear context) means Loss Of Offsite Power. That is an emergency that requires a reactor shutdown.

            All forms of power require cooling. If there was a book: “Thermodynamics for Dummies” you would need to read it.

            I think that what you mean is that most solar PV installations and wind turbines do not have external cooling. Solar cells do get hot and this reduces their efficiency. There have been experiments with water cooling them and using the energy in the hot water produced. A wind turbine most certainly needs cooling but its cooling system is self contained. We have seen video or photos of what happens when that cooling system fails. They catch on fire and burn up.

          • Its an emergency for a nuclear power plant yes. It might be as simple as changing a fuse for a household. But its days of restart for an NPP.
            Took you long enough to figure it out.

            All forms of power require cooling? This is earth shattering news. OK, so lets see if you can figure out which ones require large amounts of cooling, maybe even water.

            Can you figure out the quantitative and qualitative differences?

            When a turbine looses cooling, you get one kind of problem.

            When an NPP loses power, its quite another matter.

            No need to insult me. Just pick up your comprehension a bit to keep up.

          • Actually, a nuclear power plant shuts down when it loses off site power because there is no connection to the grid and without a connection to the grid there is no place for the output power to go. The operators could keep it running at idle but the regulations require that it be turned off.

            Now your lack of knowledge or the fact that you obtained your knowledge from anti-nuclear sites is starting to show:

            When a turbine looses [sic] cooling, you get one kind of problem.

            When an NPP loses power, its quite another matter.

            Aren’t your familiar with the “for Dummies” book series? That isn’t an insult, that is a joke.

            I am not sure that you understand about a NPP. I often see it on the net that people think that the cooling tower is to cool the reactor at a NPP. It isn’t. The cooling tower is to cool the turbine condenser.

            So, the turbine doesn’t need cooling, only the condenser needs cooling. When the reactor is shutdown or the turbine is throttled back and producing less power than the reactor, (some or all of the) steam goes through a bypass directly to the condenser.

            Yes, it is a serious problem if a LWR NPP looses electric power. They need electric power to operate the pumps that circulate the cooling water to keep the reactor cool until it cools off. That is why they have emergency Diesel generators.

            The new Generation III+ LWRs have passive cooling and can cool the shutdown reactor without the need for electric power. Other reactors have been upgraded with huge tanks of water that can be gravity fed into the reactor for use in an emergency.

          • So does this mean that you now know that NPP do turn off? LOL. You just contradicted yourself.

          • You changed the subject. This is another Leftist tactic.

          • You really are idiotic.

            Yes, they are turned off in an emergency. And what is the point. That doesn’t mean that they are turned off in normal operation which is what you were trying to say. And, you were wrong to say that nuclear plants are turned off in normal operation because they are not. In normal operation if their power is not needed they are let idle just like you let your car engine idle.

          • An emergency? What kind of emergency. You have not answered what a LOOP is.

        • OK, I won’t say “renewables”. I’ll say renewables and storage.

          No reason to waste money on nuclear.

          • Storage, now there is a way to really waste money.

            Compared to storage, nuclear at $6 a Watt is a bargain.

          • Then you can supply the math. By the way. No storage is needed yet and for a long time. Thats part of the myth of base load power you keep misunderstanding.

          • I am not misunderstanding anything. Green speak doesn’t change any thing. There is a baseload and the power that supplies the baseload is baseload power. It is not a myth. You are the one that misunderstands what baseload power is and what it means.

            The myth is the Green fairytale that wind and solar can provide all of our power with only a little hydro.

            I don’t want to change my usage of electricity unless it is transparent to me, however I will take steps to conserve if there is a plan to pay for it that doesn’t increase my total spending*. I don’t think that the average ratepayer wants to struggle to use electricity when it is available or have to purchase their own storage. That means that wind and solar PV cannot supply the power that we need. If it can’t even supply the baseload power, how is it going to supply the rest of the power that we need?

            *I will do things like installing a hyper efficient heat pump, a desuperheater, a solar water heater, some more insulation, new windows and a new front door.

          • “There is a baseload and the power that supplies the baseload is baseload power. ”

            If you didn’t insulate your mind with prejudice, you might understand whats wrong with that statement. But since you have protected your mind from reading anything that conflicts with your bias….

            You seem to have many myths in your head.

            Who said,

            “wind and solar can provide all of our power with only a little hydro.

            Not me.

            You are constructing a straw man.

            Read NREL Futures Study. 80% Renewables by 2050.

          • What is your trip. You said that the actual definition of baseload power is prejudice and wrong and indicates bias.

            Who said the Green fairytale. Unfortunately, a lot of people say it and believe it.

            No Straw Man. I am saying that those people are wrong. If you think that we can only get 80% of our electricity from renewables, I fail to see the difference.

            I have to say that I would presume that the NREL would produce a biased report. They aren’t going to produce an honest report like the Google RE<Coal project did.

            But, I start reading it and it is the same thing. Massive increases in the power grid, curtailment of electric supply when renewables aren't supplying enough power, along with grid level storage. This simply means that renewables cannot do the job the way that I said is acceptable to most people.

          • No you paraphrased what I said. Your comprehension is miserable. Learn how to be more precise. You seem to have a habit of doing that.

            Your prejudice is massive. Can you say Dunning Kruger?

            “I have to say that I would presume that the NREL would produce a biased report.”

            So tell us about the NREL Futures report.

            Tell us about solar and wind and hydro.

            How did all these scientists and industry professionals go so far wrong.

          • To start with, they don’t actually have industry professionals — power industry, that is. The second problem is that they are scientists, not engineers. Engineers have learned the engineering method and scientists have only learned science. The problem with all of these reports that say that we can run the country on wind and solar is that they are based on only science, not engineering. Engineering is based on what can go wrong, not on averages and presumptions of how it should work correctly. All of these rosey pictures are based on averages. Engineers make models and subject them to worst case scenarios. The result is that engineers know what won’t work and why while others continue to say that the same things will work fine. The conclusion from running worst case scenarios is that large amounts of backup power will be needed.

    • The cost of nuclear decommission is paid for by the reactor owners. Each year they set aside about 5% of gross profit, which goes into a decommissioning fund. This is mandated by law. Older reactors such as Magnox are not included because they are state owned. Magnox reactors are particularly difficult to decommission because they were not designed with that in mind. The last estimate for Magnox decommissioning was about £17 billion – for all Magnox worldwide. The OP’s £100 billion figure is nothing to do with commercial nuclear reactors; it relates to cleanup costs for Britain’s nuclear bomb programmes.

      • Really? There does seem to be uncertainty about whether enough has been set aside.

        “The International Energy Agency (IEA) said late last year that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $100 billion.

        But many experts view this figure as way too low, because it does not include the cost of nuclear waste disposal and long-term storage and because decommissioning costs – often a decade or more away – vary hugely per reactor and by country.”

        • The so-called “waste” will be recycled and reused or burned in new reactors. That isn’t part of the decommissioning costs. In the US there is a fund with more than $25 Billion in it to take care of the waste.

          • You seem to be skipping over the part about there being insufficient funds. Not all waste will be recycled. Its not that simple. Its a bit specious and artificial to ignore some costs and pay attention to others. Waste disposal is a cost. Its been deferred for a long time. What to do about waste? After all these years, it should be a done deal. Its not.

          • You forget that if the DOE starts doing something about the waste that there will be $750 Million coming in each year. If they build a reprocessing plant, they can sell the output from the plant. Even reactor grade Plutonium and Low grade Uranium are not inexpensive stuff.

          • You are dodging the issue. You said the funds were there. I supplied references questioning that. Now you changed arguments to waste is all valuable. But now your fallacy is that a reprocessing plant can be operated economically.

            Don’t think so. Reprocessing has never worked out. Uranium is too cheap by comparison. You keep on bringing up fairytales and dreams.

            “There is only one problem: commercial versions of such reactors have not worked despite efforts for at least 60 years to improve them. “We have spent $100 billion trying to make them commercial and they still have safety, proliferation and cost issues,” says physicist Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. And Hanson agrees: “Fast reactors are not ready for prime time.”


    • Sellafield, UK, was a military weapons site and so the taxpayers are going to have to pay for it just like the taxpayers in the US are paying to decontaminate and clean up Hanford. However, commercial nuclear power plants collect a fee of so much per kWh that they sell which goes into a decommissioning fund so that the money is there when the time comes to decommission the plant.

  • i have a feeling this story is going to pull in a high number of comments… 😛

    • Even very intelligent people still think nuclear is ‘cheap and reliable’. Neither are true.

      They simply do not want to listen to the cleantech facts. Nuclear energy has platued for a reason.

      • Even intelligent people sometimes have a hard time reading and understanding facts and statistics. Making some kind of ideologic choice for or against certain things instead of looking out for what is best for nature, the environment and the sakes of human lifes.

        • Charles Darwin said “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. I have looked closely at the evidence, and on balance, I think that nuclear power is the best option to prevent climate change. There are arguments on both sides. But if I Google [costs + nuclear site:edu] (this excludes both pro and anti-nuclear groups which tend to be .org or .com) I get a reasonable balance. Why don’t you try it, Shiggity & Zac?

          Nonetheless, if Bill Gates wishes to spend his own money on a nuclear reactor, what’s it to you? Calling or implying anyone who disagrees with you is stupid isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind. It also doesn’t alter the fact that the CGN Meiya (Nuclear) Power Holdings Co float was 500x oversubscribed. Not everyone agrees with you.

          • Most discussions like these have many gray areas. Not everything about nuclear is evil, nor everything roses. The two largest issues I have with nuclear at the moment are:

            Cost and time: All of the research that I have done suggests that new nuclear will be more expensive than what we can do today with wind and solar. Plus, the fact that nuclear will take a minimum of 10 years to complete, add in storage to a solution being below nuclear by the time a reactor can get online. I don’t know how the nuclear folks can fix either of those issues.

            Location and water: The other two issues I have are with the location dilemma. You need a water source, but nobody wants a nuclear reactor in their backyard. Arizona has plenty of space, but not enough water.

            Those are all issues that would need to be addressed, and I don’t see how they can get by any of them based on the progress that true renewables have made just in the last few years.

          • Some of the first fully functional nuclear power plants, which operated admirably for decades harming nobody, build half a century ago, were completed within 3 or 4 years from the get go. Most have subsequently been safely and conscienciously decommissioned, for a pittance. Frances reactor program is still delivering great value for money (including what are seen as subsidies) as per repeated stern French Parlamentary enquiries.

            Is it likely that ‘the nuclear folks’ are most to blame, for failing to basically repeat what people like them (lacking access to modern science and technology) did admirably?

            Consider the extent of the radiophobia in our culture, media, politics and of course the Internet cult making machine.

            Nuclear technology implementation is kneecapped by antinuclearism, pure and simple, it seems me. Address that, and nuclear is likely to be even safer, cleaner and cheaper than it ever was. The ‘negative learning curve’ of nuclear is a gross misinterpretation of history intended to hide the role of decades of astroturf antinuclearism.

          • From the data I have I see that China built one reactor in 4.3 years and one in 4.5 years. But their average is 5.5 years.

            Do you have a list of reactors built in less than four years?

            “Frances reactor program is still delivering great value for money”

            Really? Is $0.08/kWh a great value in these days of new wind, solar and natural gas for considerably less?

            “Production costs from the existing fleet are heading higher over the medium-term,” France’s Cour des Comptes said in a report to parliament published today.

            The report, which updates findings in a January 2012 report, said that in 2012 the Court calculated the cost of production of the current fleet for 2010, which amounted to EUR 49.5 per megawatt-hour.

            Using the same method for the year 2013 the cost was EUR 59.8/MWh, an increase of 20.6 percent over three years.


            Nuclear energy is kneecapped by cost. Pure and simple. US reactor builds died out before TMI melted down and started the US anti-nuclear movement.

            France isn’t going to build new nuclear because it doesn’t make economic sense. In fact, France is going to be closing paid off reactors before their ‘expire date’ in order to get electricity prices down.

          • Please take your blinders off. I was specifically referring to early plants built half a century ago. This proves that building nukes rapidly and cheaply can be done. There is no denying this.

            Frankly I tired of your strawman tactics all the time Bob. Over the years, you have not changed one bit. Pity.

          • We’re not likely to go back and start building the type of reactors we once built. How about we stick with current century realities?

          • Yes, the NRC quadrupled the cost of building reactors and utilities the could canceled them.

          • That’s some word salad there.

            Got dressing?

          • I was shocked too when a friend showed me that chart.

          • That chart does not prove causality. Its faulty logic.

            It wouldn’t have anything to do with cost over runs would it?

            “By the mid-1970s it became clear that nuclear power would not grow nearly as quickly as once believed. Cost overruns were sometimes a factor of ten above original industry estimates, and became a major problem. For the 75 nuclear power reactors built from 1966 to 1977, cost overruns averaged 207 percent.”


            The over runs started in 1966, years before the NRC was formed.

            The NRC was formed because the AEC was anything but a regulatory agency. It was a promotional agency.

            “By 1974, the AEC’s regulatory programs had come under such strong attack that Congress decided to abolish the agency. Supporters and critics of nuclear power agreed that the promotional and regulatory duties of the AEC should be assigned to different agencies.”


            Certainly if you compare NRC to AEC , NRC had more safety in mind.

            But you are comparing the NRC to the AEC, the agency which intentionally released radioactive substances into the civilian population in the “Green Run” for experimental purposes.

            So really, there is no comparison at all.

            Now what was the topic? Oh yes. Nuclear power classified as a renewable.

            How did I know this is how the conversation would go.

          • Where is the Chart Bob?

          • Where is what chart?

          • NRC? Does the NRC operate in Europe? Japan? China?

            I had no idea they had so much influence. And yet reactors in China are behind schedule. The European EPR reactor is behind schedule and over budget in Flamanville and Olkiliuto. Those reactors are one reason Areva is in bad shape financially and EDF and the French government are bailing them.


            Meanwhile, the French government is planning on adding renewables, decreasing nuclear, and trying to find some way to pay for the increasingly staggering cost of decommissioning.



            Nuclear decommissioning costs are underestimated.


          • Actually they do have that much influence, the US, through the State Department, strongly encourages (diplomatic language here) that the NRC’s methods and practices be followed by other countries. The US also exerts strong influence over 2nd & 3rd World countries regarding their building reactors. This leaves basically only China and Russia out of the US’ sphere of influence on nuclear regulation except for the rogue nations Iran and North Korea. Most countries in the world are reluctant to build a reactor from a US company if it has not been approved by the NRC. France is the ‘odd man out’ here. Since they belong to the nuclear club, they have the tacit approval to export reactors.

            This has been loosening up since the fall of the USSR and the mergers of US nuclear companies with Japanese corporations. Russia and China are now building reactors outside of their spheres of influence and South Korea has started to export their reactors.

            China is building reactors fairly quickly but yes, they have been quite honest and stated that reactors that they had scheduled to be finished in what I thought was a short time will be delayed a few months. And yes, the Two Areva EPR reactors in China are behind schedule. Should we be surprised.

            Areva was very unwise to start selling their new EPR reactor before completion of the prototype at Flamanville. We shouldn’t be surprised that it is late or that there are problems with it. That is why prototypes are built. But, selling Three of them before it was finished was just stupid.

            And as far as I can see, the Green Party in France is nuts. I would predict that as soon as people see their power rates going up that they will be voted out of office.

            Have you also read about new methods that are going to reduce nuclear decommissioning costs. If I can find what I was reading I will add a link.

          • This is a typical anti-nuke tactic. Are you totally ignorant of all of the many other nuclear reactors that are currently being built world wide?

            Do you read anything besides the Green echo chamber? Do you know why the 4 AP1000 reactors in the US are behind schedule? If not, perhaps you might want to look into it.

            We know that Areva has screwed up on the Olkiliuto reactor. Are you complaining because they are late completing the prototype of the EPR. That is really stupid of you.

            Yes, even your Leftist (Soros funded) link is probably correct that cheap natural gas is the reason that large Light Water Reactors are not currently being built in the US. However, LWRs is not all of nuclear for all of the future.

            Cheap natural gas is also killing coal in the US. However, the grid costs of wind and solar must be considered as well as the fact that there is a limit to how much can be simply added to the grid.

          • Reason. Yes thats a common anti nuke tactic. Boy you sure have balanced perspective. You are the only one. Everyone who disagrees with you is anti nuke and all their facts are wrong because they come from anti nuke sites.

            Well there you are. Totally convincing. Its a commie plot.

            But there are no references in your rant, er response.

          • Another typical Leftist tactic. You have ignored the facts about your Cherry Picking.

            More false reasoning. If you use anti-nuclear tactics, I will presume that you are an anti-nuke.

          • Yes, something less than 60 are “under construction” around the globe. Some of those have been under construction for a long time.

            And it looks like more than 60 will be closed around the globe before the new ones come online. Nuclear will continue to fade away.

          • No, actually, Generation II nuclear power had stagnated and the new Generation III reactors didn’t make much difference. However, now with the new Generation III+ reactors, new builds are ramping up. However, in numbers of reactors they probably won’t beat out retiring reactors for while, although the 1+ GWatt reactors will mean an increase in power over the smaller reactors that are retiring.

          • The nuclear industry has been promising for decades that if we just let them build the next design they’ll get it right.

            The pebble bed was a pile of fail. The EPR design was a pile of fail. The AP1000 is turning out to be a big pile of fail.

            It’s time to admit that nuclear is just too damned expensive.

          • More lies from Bob.

            Do you really expect that the first prototypes of something like the Pebble Bed Reactor will work perfectly.

            Yes, the EPR prototype at Flamanville and I have to wonder about Areva’s competence. However, the Chinese have been doing better building Two of them considering that it is first of kind for them — you don’t expect the first one to be done on schedule. Yes, the ones in China are behind schedule but not a lot. The problems in Finland, if your read about it, were the the construction contractors were incompetent. This doesn’t have much to do with nuclear power, does it?

            Why are you saying that the AP1000 is a failure. How many have been built so far? And then there is the CAP1300 that China will be building. Yes, there are the Four in the US that are behind schedule due to the last minute NRC Aircraft Impact requirements. You do understand about that, don’t you? They all have the usual issues with the supply chain and other issues that are always there when the first one is built. This is to be expected. None of this is a failure. They are now making good progress and the construction is going well after a shaky start.

          • I lied when I said that pebble bed reactors haven’t worked? Germany almost had a disaster on their hands when they gave it a try. China could regulate the heat well enough to make theirs a functioning power plant.

            I lied when I said that the EPRs have been a failure? Not only have Olkiluoto 3 and Flamanville been massive screwups there are problems with other EPR builds which were not properly stress tested. Can you say “cracks”?

            I lied when I said the AP1000 has been a pile of fail? What do you call a two year over schedule for the Vogtle reactors and major overruns for the Sumner reactors? China has run into problems with their AP1000s as well.

            It’s the same old, same old.

            “Trust us, the next one will be problem free, on schedule, and will produce cheap electricity.”

            And the same old crap gets delivered.

            It’s Lucy holding the football, Charlie. Pay attention and don’t get suckered again.

          • ” the Four in the US that are behind schedule due to the last minute NRC Aircraft Impact requirements”

            Oh, bullshit. You aren’t honest to report the failure of subcontractors to make deliveries of working sub-assemblies on time.

            That’s it. Enough of your crap. I’m shutting this thread down. You’re wasting people’s time with your dishonesty.

          • China’s decision to build a lot of nuclear reactors came very recently. After they installed all that wind.

            Do you have the 2014 chart? The gap has narrowed, which is what will continue to happen as China builds more nuclear power.

          • This chart?

          • If you obtain misleading propaganda from anti-nuke sights, you will reach the wrong conclusion.

            Nuclear is not more expensive when you consider that it provides power 24/7 95% of the time and will last at least 60 years.

            Where did you get the idea that it will take a minimum of 10 years to build a nuclear power plant when actually, it will usually take 4 to 6 years to build a new one. Having more of the power plant factory produced can reduce this time.

            I really don’t understand this problem:

            storage to a solution being below nuclear by the time a reactor can get online

            You also appear to have picked up this implication that only nuclear power plants require water from an anti-nuke site. They say that nukes need water but fail to mention that coal-fired and natural gas GTCC power plants also require cooling water.

            So, if Arizona uses nuclear to replace coal, it won’t require any additional water.

            The only real progress that wind and solar have made is in price and small gains in efficiency. They still have the exact same issue with variability and intermittency and there is not solution for it.

            You appear to have been misinformed.

          • That is not a Forbes article it is an article written by an anti-nuke Green that was posted on the Forbes website.

            What part of CONTRIBUTOR Don’t you Understand?

            So, I will post Denmark again. I think that I have Germany somewhere; I will look for it. The Red is the wind, the Blue is demand, it Denmark wind looks very intermitent to me.

          • Its amazing. Every single bad news about nuclear is from an antinuclear person or agency. So I guess Citigroup is anti nuclear.


            How about John Rowe. Exelons nuclear guy. OMG, he’s a closet anti nuke. LOL. You are funny.


            But wait. Morningstar said new nuclear is dead not McMahon. The contributor doesn’t matter. The source does. It’s Morningstar. Address that.

            By your logic, if anyone quotes an official source, even a pro nuke one, with negatives about nuclear, it automatically becomes an anti nuke source.

            Circle the wagons. Paranoia is a comin.

            Dont cap. Its yelling. Doesn’t make what you are saying any more correct.

          • Morningstar evaluated nuclear as an investment. And considering the risk of regulation and the low price of natural gas, it isn’t a good investment if you want to make money in a hurry. You have to have a long horizon like a regulated utility.

          • Citigroup would only analyse nuclear as an investment. And, I agree that the long pay back means that it isn’t a good one except for regulated utilities especially with the low price for gas. You should also note that Citi is also talking about other renewables: ” biomass, geothermal, and hydro”. I think that enhanced geothermal shows great promise.

            Do I need to remind you of former Greenpeace leader that now are now pro-nuclear power?

            If nuclear is dead, you need to tell China and Russia. It is the US that has the cheap natural gas.

          • John Rowe was evaluating LWRs on the basis of economics. And so was Morningstar. They were not ideological anti-nukes like you are.

          • Replying to myself with a graph from Germany showing how much the wind output varies from day to day.

          • There is a very good solution for the variability issue of wind and solar. It is called Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting. The ERCOT team in Texas believe they can get a minimum of 30% to 35% from renewables with their smart meter technology that they are using today. Oncor is working on testing out storage to extend that out even farther.

            I work directly with Luminant in Texas. I asked the guys out there last year why they cancelled expanding out Comanche Peak. “Costs too much and takes too long.” More importantly they said that all of their skilled guys were retiring over the next five years. This is a big problem when you haven’t really built any new reactors (other than one in Tennessee and Georgia) in a few decades. You can’t exactly stick a new hire at a nuclear reactor site.

            Of course, these were executives who are responsible for the financials of electrical energy generation in Texas where they actually own a pair of reactors, so what do they know…

            In Texas, wind accounted for 6.2% of electrical energy generation while nuclear was at 13.6% in 2009. In 2014, five years later, wind and solar came in at 11.3% while nuclear decreased to 11.6%.

            The financials don’t work for nuclear. You know that, and more importantly the folks that are making the decisions know it, too.

          • Smart meters don’t produce power. They only tell ratepayers when they can’t use electricity.

            Figure the real capital cost of electric power plants per unit of Capacity per year of lifetime and compare that.

          • I never suggested that smart meters will produce any power, but they provide the ability for each home and business to provide specific data back to the distributors for forecasting minute by minute. This is huge when you have the capability to feed in all of this data along with weather forecasting and individual power production of a solar panel or wind turbine.

            Smart meters also provide the capability of charging for certain rates when usage is low or high. They will have many additional abilities to further balance out loads when peak becomes high or low.

            It is a way of moving past the monolithic belief that you need one big power plant running full bore 24 hours a day.

            You are hoping that an overpriced centralized nuclear power plant can compete in this new software controlled, distributed energy system. Sorry, but it can’t.

          • Smart meters are over hyped by people that don’t really understand how electricity distribution works. They continue to think that smart meters can do things that are actually done by ohm’s law. There is no way that smart meters can “balance out loads”. The only controls on the grids that aren’t on/off switches are at the power generation stations. This will include very smart solar inverters, but they are not smart meters.

          • I was going to let it go, but your original comment was that smart meters “only tell ratepayers when they can’t use electricity.” Really? That is your understanding of where the technology can go?

            You simply do not have an appreciation for the value of data. The problem with the industry is that the large power plant supporter simply can not see into the future for a different landscape.

            I’m sure you have difficulty envisioning autopilot cars and other advanced innovations outside your comfort zone. The good news is that the youth will shepherd you through these transitions.

            I believe you do not really have an understanding on what technologies like Watson or data analytics will be able to achieve in a “distributed” electrical distribution environment.

          • I fully realize that a so-called smart meter can provide a lot of data, but that has nothing to do with it being “smart”. That is only due to the fact that it is electronic and remote readable in real time. This isn’t smart, no intelligence is involved. So, please do not bother insulting my intelligence. This is a lot of data and the utility can mine it. However, I have yet to see what they are going to do with it other than future planning.

            The smart grid advocates make claims and I simply do not, based on a knowledge of Electrical Engineering, know what they are talking about. Since you are talking down to a retired EE, I presume that you think that you know a lot about this. So, just exactly what is it that you think that the smart part of smart meters can do except for telling the ratepayer when they should use electric power?

          • “Nuclear is not more expensive when you consider that it provides power 24/7 95% of the time and will last at least 60 years.”

            That’s wrong.

            New nuclear in the US will cost more than 11c for the 30 years that it takes to pay off the capex and finex. Then we’d get a decade of 1-2 c power. Following that we’d need to spend $1 billion to $5 billion to refurbish for another 20 year run (based on current costs). I’m just going to guess 2-3 cents.

            So (30 * 12) + (10 * 1) + (20 * 2). Averages out to 6.8c/kWh.

            (Notice I used the lower estimates and didn’t include subsidies?)

            Wind should soon be a 3 c/kWh for the first 20 years during payoff. 1 c/kWh for the next 10 to 30 years. But let’s assume the turbine lasts only 30 years and it takes a new build for the second 30.

            So (20 * 3) + (10 * 1) + (20 * 3) + (10 * 1) = 2.3 c/kWh.

            (That’s an unsubsidized price.)

            2.3 < 6.8.

            The math for solar is going to be even better….

            "Where did you get the idea that it will take a minimum of 10 years to build a nuclear power plant when actually, it will usually take 4 to 6 years to build a new one."

            Remind us. What's the build time of:

            Olkiluoto 3?
            Vogtle 3 & 4?
            Sumner 2 & 3?

            Got numbers?

          • Yes, I have capital cost numbers per unit of Capacity Factor per unit of Lifetime.

            And don’t cherry pick the long build times. That is an anti-nuke trick. And you should know why Vogtle 3 & 4 and Sumner 2 & 3 have been delayed by the NRC unless your are living under a rock.

          • Oh, I totally agree with you. My comment was rather directed toward the fundamentalist who have renewable energy as their religion and their main commandment being “Thou shalt have no other sources of energy before me”.

            Nuclear is one of the absolut best sources to fight climate change, reduce emissions (local as global) and basically both the safest, cleanest and most reliable source of energy.

            Combine that with hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal and measures for increased efficiency and we might have a chance.

          • interesting. With wind currently under 4 cents and solar on the way to join it (both non-subsidized costs) while new nuclear is around 15 cents (with some subsidies) the people who favor renewables are “fundamentalists”.

            What does that make people who want to spend multiple times the necessary cost for electricity? Do you have a name for them?

            (Nuclear is the safest and cleanest? Seems like it would take someone out of touch with reality to believe that.)

          • Stating these subsidized prices for wind and/or solar and these totally made up FALSE prices for nuclear only shows everybody that you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • “both the safest, cleanest and most reliable source of energy”
            The last catastrophe was only 4 years ago and you’re already forgetting it 🙁

            P.S.: Some of our mushrooms in Bavaria are still radioactive because of Chernobyl. So I am still affected by something that happened before I was even born…

          • I’m not forgetting. But it doesn’t make my statement any less true. But your sentiments are common, letting irrational fear guide you instead of statistics and facts.
            And it’s especially sad in Germany were massmurdering coal plants are still thriving and the backbone of electricity.

          • Germany has a large number of coal plants sitting in queue waiting for final permission to close.

            Germany hit a record for low fossil fuel use in 2014.

            That small three year uptick following the Fukushima disaster? That’s how much Germany’s path off fossil fuels was interrupted. They’re now back on track – with lower danger of a nuclear meltdown.

            There is nothing irrational about deciding to not tolerate a low probability, high cost disaster risk if there is an acceptable zero risk option.

          • Do I fear nuclear? Yes. Is it irrational? No. Do I fear coal? Hell yes.
            I would have kept nuclear online until all coal plants are closed. But new nuclear still doesn’t make sense. The only one who is irrational about that is you.

          • What type of instrument does it take to detect the radiation? You remember that Pacific Tuna scare? It turns out that scientists used a Mass Spectrometer to measure the Fukushima radionuclides in the Tuna.

          • People die from coal-fired power plants every day. Natural gas is not nearly as bad as coal, however the air pollution from natural gas fueled power plants does kill people. And some people apparently die from wind and solar.

          • I thought thinking people had given up the tired old “at least nuclear is not bad as coal” argument.

            I guess not….

          • It appears to be slightly better than solar and wind too.

            Two people died in this wind incident. That is 2 more than died at 3MI.

          • Whats the preoccupation with deaths while ignoring everything else? Officially, they are both low. And some studies say more birds die due to nuclear than wind.
            But wind doesn’t have an exclusion zone or an evacuation plan. Nor does it have huge swaths of land made into an inhospitable zone that creates thousands of refugees.
            Just thought you might notice that.

          • No, but hydroelectric dams have.

          • And far fewer that died at Fukushima.

            No one claims that wind and solar don’t carry some risk.

            Nuclear advocates try to claim that nuclear is safe by defining away the “inconvenient events” and ignoring the non-radiation deaths associated with nuclear energy.

          • We know that there were Hydrogen deflagrations (called explosions in the press) at the Dai-Ichi reactors. This happened because the GE upgrades to the reactors were not installed.

            The Chernobyl children’s aid fraud is a very unfortunate situation which has been condemned by international aid organizations. The Chernobyl RBMK reactor explosion is not the cause of these childhood disabilities.

          • No, Greens aren’t stupid. They believe in the fairytale of wind and solar providing all of our electric power because they have been mislead and misinformed. The question that I have no answer to is: why people are spreading this propaganda. Maybe Bob can explain to us why he is doing it.

          • Whoa pardner. You got your knickers in a bunch over a myth.

            NREL doesn’t say all renewables will come from wind and solar. Come to think of it nobody does. Except nuclear nut cases who are busy trashing renewables to save their dying love for nuclear.

            What NREL says is 50% variable renewables, 30% dispatch able renewables, and 20% conventional with about 10% storage to get 80% renewables by 2050.

            Its a paper tiger.

            You have misled and misinformed yourself by circling the wagons in paranoid fashion nuclear style.


          • The Sierra club does, for one.

            And what are this dispatchable renewables? Can’t they be used for baseload?

            But, what I am really interested in is how the NREL model will respond to worst case scenarios.

          • Looks to me as if your are starting to fray at the edges….

          • I am having problems with my cat, actually.

      • Those who advocate a role for nuclear power tend to understand cleantech facts better than those who advocate only ‘cleantech’.

        An increasing number of people is appreciating that nuclear power has properties which they were never told about, and which fit marvelously with our ever more apparent, urgent need for available, appropriate, inexhaustible, reliable, independent, clean, unobtrusive, materials-efficient, energy-efficient, walk-away safe, transparent and cost-effective energy.

        • Are you kidding me?

          I see nothing but ignorance about renewable energy posted by nuclear advocates. They don’t have even the basics, including current prices, under control.

          And here you are trying to tell us that nuclear can meet our “urgent” needs when we all know that it takes many years to develop and build a new reactor while wind and solar are brought online in months.

          And you obviously are one of the nuclear advocates who has no knowledge of the current cost of nuclear, solar and wind generated electricity.

          Now. Are you someone who is interested and willing to learn new facts or are you one of the “My mind is made up, facts don’t sway me” types?

          • “Are you someone who is interested and willing to learn new facts or are you one of the “My mind is made up, facts don’t sway me” types?”

            That would be you Bob.

            I happen to know fairly everything there is to know about renewable energy, since that has been my job. I know so much that I have become pro-nuclear.

            You, on the other hand, have yet to learn that the sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow all the time, and that these issues cannot be wished away or ignored. Not in the real world of engineering which I inhabit and which you clearly have no grasp of.

          • Joris, when you post silly comments you lose any credibility you might have had.

          • BTW, Joris, I’ve been off the grid using solar panels for my electricity. I have a very good grasp on how the Sun rises and sets. And how clouds sometimes blocks the Sun.

            I’m also a long time sailor. I have a lot of knowledge about how the wind does not always blow. I’ve been becalmed far offshore a few times as well as hanging around on anchor for a few days waiting on a breeze I could ride.

          • I suppose someone who is wealthy enough to be a sailor and own an off-grid solar home can be forgiven for failing to understand – let alone appreciate – the importance of energy cost-effectiveness. What you are peddling all these years is still the same boring old elitist hubris. Meanwhile, average annual global energy demand growth is still greater than the total annual contribution of non-hydro, non-biomass renewable energy, which has cost nearly two trillion dollars to implement, much of that money being taken from precious public resources.

            For that matter, would you care to disclose how much public money was used to provide you with your solar power installation? Do you walk the talk and return the subsidy you got back to the State, or to some charity? You may not care, but I only have respect for solar owners if they calculate (correctly) the subsidies they enjoy, and then return that money back to society in full like the good wealthy citizens they claim to be. Please think about that before posting another boring comment.

          • “I suppose someone who is wealthy enough to be a sailor and own an off-grid solar home can be forgiven for failing to understand – let alone appreciate – the importance of energy cost-effectiveness.”

            That’s some world class bad supposing on your part.

            “For that matter, would you care to disclose h ow much public money was used to provide you with your solar power installation?”

            Not at all. Zero.

            ” Please think about that before posting another boring comment.”

            Thinking completed. Time to post another comment that puts a twist in your knickers.

          • But, that doesn’t mean that you have an EE’s knowledge of wind and solar devices.

          • You must be that last bastion of open minded ness in the world. I am so grateful for your keen insight and vast modesty. Since you,

            ” happen to know fairly everything there is to know about renewable energy”

            please do tell us all. We don’t know a thing. Please explain about the sun at night, oh wise guy.

            And tell us about,

            ” the real world of engineering which I inhabit”

          • You don’t appear to understand that in the US we still have only 5% of our electricity coming from wind and solar and that there are manufacturing capacity limitations on how rapidly that can be increased despite the fact that individual units can be installed in a short time if they are available.

            You appear to be defining knowledge of costs as believing your incorrect figures which do not include all of the costs and are based on subsidies and tax shelter economics.

            It doesn’t take many years to develop and build a reactor. The current system is based on standard designs. No development is needed except for the siting. I don’t know what Areva is doing but Westinghouse, Rosatom, or the Koreans can build one in 5 years if the NRC doesn’t throw in last minute Aircraft impact requirements like has delayed the 4 AP1000 reactors currently under construction in the US.

          • No, he is not kidding you. I am certain that I know more about renewables than you do.

        • Walk away safe. Is that like walking away from Fukushima and leaving all your possessions behind you? LOL. Yes, its that kind of walk away safe.

          • I presume that you know what walk-away safe means. It means that there is no further measures needed for a safe shutdown of the reactor.

            The EBR-II was tested by simply turning off the power and it achieved a safe shutdown with no further action by the operators.

      • Nuclear is cheap (capital cost) when the Capacity Factor and expected Lifetime are considered. New nuclear plants have a Capacity factor of about 95%. They stop only for maintenance and refueling every 18 months.

        So, what are these facts that we should listen to?

        The reason that nuclear power plateaued was regulation by the NRC and other regulators that followed their lead. Solving this issue required a new generation of reactors. Generation III reactors didn’t seem to make much impact on the market but the new Generation III+ reactors with passive safety are starting to be built. Also, Rosatom is starting to mass produce their VVER reactor in Russia.

      • You apparently don’t listen to the facts about nuclear. When you consider the Capacity Factor and the Lifetime, the capital cost of nuclear is much less than wind and solar. And with a up time of over 90% for newer nuclear plants — many operate all of the time except fore the planned 18 month stops for refueling and maintenance checks — they are quite reliable.

        • Another one that doesn’t understand finance. How much does it cost to borrow money to build an NPP and then wait 10 years for power?

          Nuclear capital cost. Source?

          According to EIA as far back as 2013, nuclear overnite costs was about $5,500 per kw. Wind was under 2k. Since then, nuclear is up, wind is lower.

          Thats overnight costs. Even including capacity factor, nuclear isn’t cheaper. O and M is higher, too.
          Much less, don’t think so.

          But the real whammy is the long construction times. At 7%, a 10 year build will double the capital cost.

          Take the blinders off.

          • In 2013 the installed – not overnight, but installed – cost of wind was $1.63/watt. $1,630/kW

            DOE 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report.

          • Yup. In some cases now its even lower. But new nuclear is over 6000 now and who knows how high it really is. We have to wait for some reactors to finally get built. Or get cancelled.

          • We don’t know how much indemnity that the Government will pay on Sumner and Vogtle until they are finished either. We also don’t know exactly how much it will cost the utilities because the contractors may be financially responsible for some of the delays that they caused.

            You might remember that when you keep bringing up the EPR reactor in Finland. Areva and their contractors are responsible for all of the cost overruns. It is Areva that is taking a financial bath on it.

          • Regardless of who pays the bill – utilities, rate payers, governments, or the construction company the cost of nuclear remains the same.

            The money is coming out of someone’s pocket.


          • Lets do the math with the overnight cost of wind and nuclear. You can then change it a bit for various factors if you want but it isn’t going to change the results.

            EIA figures are: Wind: $1,980 Nuke: 5,366.

            Now we divide by the Capacity factors.
            Wind 35% Nuke 90% which gives us:
            Wind $5,657.14 Nuke: 5,962.22

            Then we divide by the lifetimes.
            Wind: 20 years, Nuke: 60 years which gives us:

            Wind: $282.86 Nuke: $99.37

            So, as I said, Nuclear is a lot cheaper in capital cost when you consider the Capacity Factor and Lifetime. If you want to do your own math, you are welcome to do so.

            I note that an increase in the capacity factor of wind to 50% will only bring the cost down to $198.00.

          • Bullshit numbers.

            Where the cost of financing?

            BTW, we have yet to see a reactor make it past 50 years. And our first wind turbines at Altamont Pass are now being replaced after 30 years.

          • You are using the phony anti-nuke time to build of 10 years when it actually takes half that long to build a modern plant. And you don’t borrow all of the money for that long.

            You need to rate for both the Capacity Factor and the Lifetime to compare the two capital costs. That is 95% vs 35% and 20 years vs 60 years. Do the math.

        • Nuclear electricity costs 11 c/kWh and higher. (Actually no one has been able to bring any 11 c to market and won’t be with this round of builds.)
          Wind is now under 4c. Solar is around 6c in the SW.

          You can pull all sorts of comparisons out from under the table but it’s the cost of electricity than matters.

          • You just keep using the same made up numbers with no citations to substantiate your wild claims.

      • Both are true. Nuclear is even safe.

      • A new plant is cheap if you consider the Capacity Factor and the Lifetime. Most new plants run 24/7 except for scheduled shutdowns for refueling and maintenance at 18 month intervals.

        What is it that makes you think that they are not cheap and reliable?

    • Yes, but 6 months later?

      • It was linked to Facebook this week.

  • If they called it ‘low-carbon’ that would probably be true.

    Whether or not it is ‘low-carbon’ or ‘renewable’ does seem slightly different than whether or not it is polluting or difficult to decommission.

    Calling it low-carbon does of course not mean it is good – as the article mentions water use being a key factor even if you were persuaded that modern plants were safe and relatively easy to decommission.

    • In theory, you could use dry cooling. It hasn’t been used for nuclear plants, but is in widespread use for coal fired power stations that use the same operating principles.

      The problem is that new nuclear power is already terribly expensive. Dry cooling further adds to the cost and the extra safety measures that need to be taken to ensure that the dry cooling can also operate passively will drive the bill up even further.

      I just don’t get anti-nuclear activists. New nuclear is all but dead because of its cost. Existing nuclear power stations are a wonderful bridge fuel that buys us the time we need to transition to renewables (I’d rather kill coal now and nuclear tommorow than vice-versa, given the vastly bigger impact of coal on health and climate).

      It’s the strategy followed by countries like Switzerland and Sweden and the results are excellent. Keeping existing plants online as long as possible results in a faster drop in carbon emissions than the likes of Germany will see in the coming decades and because the transition to renewables is gradual, the extra cost is pretty much zero.

      • Just as fossil fuel companies, nuclear proponents also have very negative attitude towards renewables.

        Some of anti-nuclear feelings may be just a response against repetead nonsensical attacks on renewables.

        • 7 years ago when the biggest Swiss utility wanted new nuclear power plants, it ran lots of adds against renewable energies. Instead of promoting nuclear power, it illustrated that renewable energies suck and are of no use instead. In these costly adds the coach of the national soccer team was always playing a part in it.
          Below is one example. It shows a crazy esoteric guy with a solar watch which is apparently not working and his trying to charge it, while it’s raining:

        • Just mention a nuclear accident or anything negative about an NPP and watch how long it takes for the negative comments about wind… and solar. Even when the topic is nuclear, for no apparent reason, the topic changes to wind and bird deaths. WTH?

          Its turning people off, that otherwise are reasonable.

          “That used to be my position. Your and your allies’ attacks on renewable were the main reason I changed it (neutral on nuclear now):

          – See more at:

          • Do you consider that actual issues of wind and solar such as how to integrate them into the grid, an attack? So, is it an attack to say that the power that they produce is intermittent and variable? What if I say that there are problems when a lot of induction generators are connected in parallel and they are not all being driven at the same shaft speed or even at constant shaft speeds, is that an attack? Or, if I mention that there are problems trying to synchronize a lot of PWM inverters when the amount of grid power on the line is less than that being supplied by the inverters, is that an attack. And then there is the Duck Curve. When there is a lot of solar power on the grid and as the sun goes down it all drops off of the grid just when the non-A/C use starts to peak. This is already starting to happen in California and the ISO is starting to worry about it. Is pointing that out an attack?

            I will say nothing that I consider an attack on wind and solar. I will even say nice things about enhanced geothermal power but I will also point out problems with it. And, I will try to be objective about nuclear power.

            In short, I don’t attack things. I am just a rather blunt engineer that was taught to find the problems with things. I hope that you can understand that difference.

          • Do you consider that actual issues of wind and solar such as how to integrate them into the grid, an attack? So, is it an attack to say that the power that they produce is intermittent and variable? What if I say that there are problems when a lot of induction generators are connected in parallel and they are not all being driven at the same shaft speed or even at constant shaft speeds, is that an attack? Or, if I mention that there are problems trying to synchronize a lot of PWM inverters when the amount of grid power on the line is less than that being supplied by the inverters, is that an attack. And then there is the Duck Curve. When there is a lot of solar power on the grid and as the sun goes down it all drops off of the grid just when the non-A/C use starts to peak. This is already starting to happen in California and the ISO is starting to worry about it. Is pointing that out an attack?

            I will say nothing that I consider an attack on wind and solar. I will even say nice things about enhanced geothermal power but I will also point out problems with it. And, I will try to be objective about nuclear power.

            In short, I don’t attack things. I am just a rather blunt engineer that was taught to find the problems with things. I hope that you can understand that difference.

          • Thats a nice laundry list of issues that are already being addressed. Denmark is already dealing with wind integration at high levels. Germany, California, Hawaii, and Australia with high levels of solar integration. The sky has not fallen, chicken little.

            You are biased. Quit trying to hide it. Its pointless to discuss problems in a vacuum as if they were all equal. Nuclear has a big problem. Its uneconomic. And its going nowhere.

            Nuclear is in decline globally. Be the engineer you claim to be. Or maybe you need to be a finance analyst. Face the music.

            Responding to a six month old blog with gab and nuclear wishful thinking is not going to revive a dying industry or convince financiers to dump money into a losing cause. They are just not that gullible.




          • We know why nuclear is currently uneconomic.

            1. NRC regulation.

            2. Cheap natural gas.

            These are the reasons that investors don’t want to invest in nuclear at the present time.

            Neither of these things helps solve the real problems of integrating wind and solar into the grid. The sky has not fallen for wind and solar but these things all cost money and add to the cost of wind and solar. And, these problems don’t go away, they just get worse as the percentage of wind and solar on the grid increase.

            What engineers know is that it would be less expensive in the long run to use nuclear. The price of natural gas will go up. Then what will we do with all of those natural gas power plants. Congress will have to act to reform the NRC when it sees that wind and solar can’t fix climate change and that ocean chemistry is a more immediate problem.

            It is also good to remember that regulation quadrupled the price of LWRs. If this doesn’t happen for Generation IV reactors or if SMR LWRs can reduce some of that, it will make a large difference in your claim that nuclear is uneconomic.

            I have become convinced that I am not talking to an amatuer. You are too good at rhetoric and sophistry. You are obviously an anti-nuke plant. It is most unfortunate that people like you spoil discussion boards for the rest of us. I just don’t understand the anti-nuke professionals. Do you really work for the oil and coal companies?

            What does biased mean in this context when it is applied to me. I am biased like James Hansen is biased. I have looked at the facts and reached a conclusion based on reasoning. I now believe in that conclusion. Do you call that bias? I know why nuclear is a better choice than wind and solar. That isn’t bias, that is fact.

      • I think there are a couple other problems with dry cooling. The stacks are a lot larger/higher and the noise level is elevated.

        That can create more siting issues.

        • Our dry cooling is not completely dry. At the Kogan Creek coal power station in Queensland it cuts water use by about 90%. Eliminating the remaining water use would be pricey. Dry cooling would of course be more expensive for nuclear which is less thermally efficient than coal.

          • Use the final cooling sections for making sea water into fresh.

          • The Abbott Govenment has been working hard to bring sea water to Kogan Creek, but you’ll have to wait for sea levels to rise that high.

        • We are talking about Arizona. Do you know where Palo Verde is? Also, I note that science had developed better fans.

          • No, I don’t know where Palo Verde is. What does that have to do with dry cooling requiring taller stacks and being noisier?

            Do people living around Palo Verde have low aesthetic standards?

            And what does Palo Verde have to do with the rest of the country?

          • Do you mean the Jackrabbits and Cottontails? It is out in the desert.

          • So your solution is to stick all reactors out in the desert so that people don’t complain about air cooling. And then pay to ship the power to market.
            Power that is made more expensive by using dry cooling.

            Got it….

      • It would be better to bring carbon free replacements on line before NPP are shut down. A carbon tax or carbon trading might help keep existing, safe reactors alive, and spur carbon free responses, even efficiency and demand management. Germany is using efficiency for example to meet their carbon goals.

        There are many old NPP and they are becoming unprofitable. Germany is not just getting out of the NPP market because of choice. Some of the utilities are requesting to shut them and coal plants down because of lack of profitability. New nuclear are not replacing aging NPP fast enough. They don’t seem to be able to.

        Japan is different. That was never a good place for NPP.

        Japan and Germany are spilled milk. NPP accidents don’t help. You can’t blame those people for not wanting NPP. That would be like telling Chinese that pollution is the necessary price of electricity. After failures, people want improvement.

      • The dry cooling is for the steam turbine condenser. That is not part of the passive emergency cooling system for the reactor. If the reactor can still be cooled using the steam generators and the turbine condenser after an emergency shutdown, that is fine. If not, the emergency cooling system starts doing it. Dry cooling couldn’t be passive because radiators need fans. At least I think that they would still need fans. Certainly not as much fan power but the feed water still has to be condensed and that usually means 200℉. It has to be liquid water because the feedwater pumps cant pump vapor.

  • I agree that it’s pointless to argue – when you get down to it, solar power comes from nuclear reactions in the sun. What matters is sustainability, economics and externalities. The same criteria should be used to evaluate every source of power.

  • I suppose they want to say “energy production based on fuel without constraints”.
    I should be desmostrated on real use, but it is supposed that breaders use the fuel with enough efficiency to allow the use of uranium from low concentrations, like sea water with a possitive balance.
    If that proposal is true, then this kind of nuclear fission could produce amounts of energy so huge that could meet our needs for millenia with a plain use based on today consumption or one order of magnitude more. So, it is, in fact “without near constraints”.
    In physical sense, no energy is unlimited. Solar and wind is moved by the sun, fueled by its hydrogen, which it’s consumed on a time scale of billions of years.

    The cost and waste of nuclear is apart. I think that today, on most places of Earth, nuclear energy is not competitive with solar and wind even adding the needed storage.

    • Just one word …”Yuma”… Arizona. The very best spot on this beautiful blue- green Earth for solar. 4000 hours per year of sun. Even the Sahara desert can’t compete. And here are these famously right wingers talking about nuclear.

    • However, the uranium constraints are real. link, link

    • One problem: breeder reactors are costly and have a poor track record.

      While they are indeed renewable in a technical sense, they are so costly that they cannot compete with traditional nuclear plants, let alone with renewables like wind or geothermal (and solar in a few years time).

      • Or solar now.

      • Besides that breeder reactors are not commercially available and too expensive: They only get a breeding ratio of 1 or little above 1. link That’s not renewable in a technical sense.

      • Not just costly. Dangerous. Molten Sodium fires. Then there are the reprocessing plants. They have failed and cost money to clean up.
        Reprocessing is worse than breeders. Really, fuel costs are low for nuclear and there is not much economics to drive breeders. Nuclear is not expanding so much that fuel reserves is an issue.

        • They don’t have to use sodium, they can be gas cooled. Using metal fuel allows pyroprocessing which just plates out the actinides then uses them for more fuel.

          • Yes. Gas cooled has some preferable properties. I think there was a context in there having to do with breeding. Sodium is the only material that supports that well. The waste burn up thing depends on many things. I see no one doing it, for a few reasons. Cost is one.

          • You can breed with gas cooled, gas cooled is not higher cost.

          • There is also the molten Lead IFR but it is still in the development stage although the USSR used them on some submarines.

        • The Liquid Sodium is at the bottom of a cylinder filled with Argon which keeps it isolated from the air.

          Reprocessing for the PRISM [above] will not be the PUREX system which is commonly used to reprocess LWR spent fuel to separate out the Uranium and Plutonium, but rather the new ‘Pyro’ processing developed by Argonne National Laboratory and for which there is a pilot plant at the Idaho National Laboratory. This process is electrochemical using molten salt and only removes the waste.

          The economics that will drive the PRISM is that once factory production ramps up they should be less expensive and they will run on depleted Uranium and spent LWR fuel, both of which we really don’t know what to do with.

          • Well you better talk to the only sodium reactor operators in Russia and tell them to quit having sodium fires.

            “. The International Panel on Fissile Materials says, “A large fraction of the liquid-sodium cooled reactors that have been built have been shut down for long periods by sodium fires. Russia’s BN-350 had a huge sodium fire. The follow-on BN-600 reactor was designed with its steam generators in separate bunkers to contain sodium-water fires and with an extra steam generator so a firedamaged steam generator can be repaired while the reactor continues to operate using the extra steam generator . Between 1980 and 1997, the BN-600 had 27 sodium leaks, 14 of which resulted in sodium fires… Leaks from pipes into the air have also resulted in serious fires. In 1995, Japan’s prototype fast reactor, Monju, experienced a major sodiumair fire. Restart has been repeatedly delayed, and, as of the end of 2009, the reactor was still shut down.”


            Sodium fires in breeders are old hat, my friend. Study up.

          • Reasoning based on the fallacy of illicit distribution again. You are unable to understand what I am talking about because as a Leftist, you presume that thinking that way is normal.

            Your quote says “[a] large fraction”. I guess that you missed that because it didn’t fit in with the way that you think.

            So, tell me things that I don’t know. Tell me about the Sodium fires at the US EBR-II at the Idaho National Laboratory. Yes, designing a Liquid Sodium Fast Reactor is not a simple task.

      • In Australia solar already provides electricity at a lower cost than any utility scale generating capacity.

      • Fast breeders turn all fissile into fission products, so they are not sustainable. However, if they use all the depleted uranium then start using thorium, they would provide power for the rest of this millennium.
        As a point of fact, Russia has a breeder that has been on line producing electricity and fresh water for more than 30 years. China and India will bring their reactors on line this year, with many more to come. .

        • Fresh water? Is the Pyshma River salty? Or do you just mean they use it to melt the ice during the five months of the year it is frozen over? The BN-600 breeder reactor has operated since 1980 and, though it “burns” uranium rather than MOX. It was supposed to be shutdown in 2010 but its replacement was still in its 23rd year of construction at that point. The BN-600 manages to operate nearly three quarters of the time and with only 29+ sodium fires appears to have averaged less than one fire a year!

          It’s replacement, the BN-800 is being shaken down now, and currently it uses 75% uranium 25% MOX, thought that might increase if it survives longer than the Japanese $10 billion fast reactor that only managed to operate for about a year and a half. Estimates for the cost of the BN-800 range from $2 billion last year, which I guess would now be $4 billion what with the fall in the ruble, to $15 billion, which is a month and a half’s oil exports at current prices. Using the $4 billion figure that’s about $4,500 a kilowatt after 27 years of construction and delays.

          • The BN-350 was used for desalinization on the Caspian, not the BN-600, my mistake.

          • You should give them some slack here. The BN-600 was built as an experimental prototype. It is expected that such projects will have problems. We should actually congratulate them that it is still running and generating power after all this time.

        • No, an Integral Fast Reactor burns fertile material. This first converts it to fissile material and then to fission products. So, they use all of the Uranium, not just the U-235.

  • The biggest radiation falling on earth is considered a renewable resource, even technically it is not, so why not the radioactive minerals? They all burn and are never renewed, only that the life span is well beyond our civilization. So if you consider solar as a renewable resource, so do too, some of the radioactive minerals.

    So who really cares if some group of monkeys out there classified nuclear fission power as renewable when it is not a viable business (include the cost of waste disposal and decommisioning) compared to the existing competition with the true and clean renewable energy such as solar and wind?

    • Sustainable – ” a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged ”

      “Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.”

      • The thing is that if you apply that definition then enhanced geothermal power doesn’t 100% meet it because it only lasts for about a century or less in a given well. It is mining heat.

        • That’s wrong. It doesn’t do that if the heat removed is balanced against that removed. Fishing and all natural ecosystems can be depleted if overused. That doesn’t mean they are not renewable. It’s about rates.

          • if the heat removed is balanced against that removed


            So, you are a geologist now too. If not, I will continue to take the word of what geologists say on the subject.

    • “So who really cares if some group of monkeys out there classified nuclear fission power as renewable…”

      This is a big deal because this is one of the ways ALEC is weakening state renewable energy standards for their Koch Bro bosses. And when the threat of renewables is removed, the people who own those money-sucking reactors don’t have to worry about as much competition.

      • Is it important because you would still rather have coal-fired electric power than nuclear power?

  • follow the money…who gains from this?

  • Why are they wasting time on this when they could be passing a law declaring Pluto to be a planet again? After all, do we really want our children to grow up in a solar system with only eight planets? Of course, whether or not we call Pluto a planet or makes no actual physical difference to the universe, just the same as whether or not nuclear is called renewable. But I guess calling it renewable might make some people feel good inside, instead of how I would feel, which is stupid inside. But it is nice to know that they have so few problems left to deal with and are so wealthy they can afford to spend taxpayer’s money on doing stupid things that have no actual bearing on reality. Arizona must be one of the most civilised places on earth.

    • I guessing it has to do with RE requirements in the state. If ALEC gets junk like this passed in a bunch of states it lets them delete the requirements in practice.

    • Where the fuel comes from, or even where the power is generated, has no impact on whether it’s renewable. Hydro power that’s imported from Canada is still renewable energy.

      Aside from that, the prominence of Russia as a US uranium source was mainly due to the Megatons to Megawatts program, which ended in 2013.

      • In that case, good luck trying to import hydro power from Australia, Namibia, Kazakhastan or Russia.

        “US uranium sources was mainly due to the Megatons to Megawatts program, which ended in 2013.”
        This is also the case for the US and is even worse, because uranium mining was paid for with the cold war budget (and not by the utilities.).

        • Not sure what your point is, since importing renewable energy from Canada and Mexico would be much easier. In the case of Arizona, selling solar and buying hydro from Mexico could arguably be a useful way to balance daily demand and supply. If domestic dispatchable capacity is lacking, that is.

          • Sure, and energy independence is a decent argument to make. However, saying “since [uranium is imported] it can definitely not be considered a renewable energy” is as much of a fallacy as “rods are recycled once so it’s renewable”.

          • Ok I change my statement to: Uranium can definitely not be considered a renewable energy because Uranium235 is definitely gone forever once it has been split to produce energy.

            (It’s actually worse than coal in that sense, because CO2 from coal power plants can turn into forests which can turn into coal in a few dozen million years from now. Uranium 235 on the other hand will never transmute back into Uranium 235. At least not before its fission products don’t end up in another super nova, mind you a state which our sun won’t even reach.)

          • Yep, though worse than coal would rely on the assumption that increased CO2 levels would help us grow more biomass, for which there is little evidence. Both burning coal and splitting uranium are one-way from the point of view of energy balance, because of the second law of thermodynamics.

            I suppose you could argue nuclear is better, because that uranium would be decaying naturally anyway, but that’s not really a useful argument. In the end, what matters for the society is cost, externalities and how long the fuel lasts.

    • That Uranium coming from Russia is coming from the decommissioning of their nuclear weapons. Tell me how that is a bad thing.

    • However, if we build IFRs and the TransAtomic reactors we have all of our spent fuel plus the depleted Uranium.

  • Nothing about the Republican-led Arizona State Legislature surprises me any longer. What surprises me is they didn’t manage tack on a few riders to this bill that didn’t also make handguns more plentiful, abortion less legal, school kids poorer and immigrants more illegal.

  • This is coming from the party that has now voted to repeal Obamacare 51 times.

    Perhaps it’s time to rename them the Batshit Crazy Party. I’ll take that up with Jon Stewart the next time we have dinner.

    • This past fall’s election in Arizona was very depressing. The good candidates for the Corporation Commission got blown away and the state legislature remained in Republican hands, as did the governorship. But, as noted in the article, the vote on this bill was a squeaker.

      The good news is that the Republicans now have a smaller majority in the legislature than they did during the 2012-14 cycle. The demographics of the state are slowly shifting and it’s been predicted we’ll be “purple” down here by 2016. There are also a group of clearer thinking (at least on energy policy) Republicans, Barry Goldwater Jr’s TUSK group, who are publicly shaming all the anti-solar idiocy that’s now so prevalent in the rest of their party.

  • It is not renewable but it is low-carbon.

  • This is kind of a big nothingburger of a story. We don’t even use 1% recycled fuel in this country let alone anything close to 80%. To do so, we’d either have to import reprocessed fuel from France or Russia (not likely) or we’d have to reverse Jimmy Carter’s prohibition against nuclear reprocessing that has stood for over 35 years. And even if the decision was reversed tomorrow, we’d need years to get reprocessing back up and running, test the new fuel and confirm it was safe for commercial use. By that time, renewable portfolio standards will hopefully not be necessary, especially in a place as sunny as Arizona.

    I think this was just some legislator’s well-meaning but not well-informed attempt to do something meaningful. Just a quick review of all the pro-nuclear blogs out there could convince a politician (most likely somebody that didn’t get a technical degree and the only things they know about electricity markets are what the lobbyists tell them) that nuclear power is the best thing since sliced bread. Now, the reprocessed fuel requirement could get stripped out later, and then we’ll have another attempt to gut renewable portfolio standards just like ALEC has been trying for across the country. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one just to be sure.

    • The first commercial reactor at Shippingport bred U233 with light water cooling. Turning thorium into U233 then using the U233 in fast reators using U238 depleted uranium as fuel would provide 1000 years of power with no CO2.

      • “would provide 1000 years of power with no CO2”

        But with 10 tons of plutonium per day.

        • Fast reactors use plutonium as fuel, they produce much less waste than light water reactors with very little long lived actinides.

          • “much less waste”

            Scale that to global levels.

          • I would rather have a reactor producing 10 pounds of 100 year waste each day than a coal plant producing 1000 tons of coal ash. If you think you will provide power for 10 billion people on 1% solar, thnk again.

          • 70-80% of people live in tropical/subtropical band, where insolation is high all year round. Yes, I think solar is better (and cheaper) choice than nuclear.

          • I’ve thought and thought and thought again.

            I still find it absolutely believable that solar can provide power for 10 billion people. Of course that will not be how we power our grids. We will use a mix of renewables.

            We’ll have all the electricity we want. And it will be cheaper and safer than going the nuclear route.

            Now, if we’re smart we’ll get busy and bring peak population down from 10 billion.

          • Well, lets see the Capacity Factor of solar is a maximum of 25% for fixed PV panels and typical wind has a Capacity Factor of less than 40%. So, even if you could add them together, which you can’t because there is some overlap, you only get 75%. So, what do you do if your electric demand is more than is being produced that extra 25% + of the time (integrated)?

            And what does NUCOR do if they want to make a batch of steel? That is 90 Megawatts.


          • Actually, US onshore wind CF is running above 40% these days with some wind farms reporting over 50% CFs.

            “So, what do you do if your electric demand is more than is being produced that extra 25% + of the time (integrated)?”

            You design your grid to deliver what is needed, when it is needed. You do that with a combination of overbuilding, storage, and dispatchable supply.

            Exactly as we do now. And exactly how we would build a grid with high nuclear penetration.

            “And what does NUCOR do if they want to make a batch of steel?”

            They turn on their plant. Machines and smelters are not picky about how the electricity gets generated.

          • I have to tell you that this is not what most people such as the NREL are saying. There plans for curtailing electric supply and requiring that ratepayers store it or reduce demand on request is what makes me wonder what a steel mill that needs 90 MW, or more for one furnace would do.

            I know what storage is. Either pumped hydro, batteries that are too expensive, or science fiction. And, is there any dispatchable renewable other than hydroelectric dams that have additional generation capacity added or burning something that couldn’t also be used for baseload?

          • You call adding capacity factors together an analysis? Good lord.

          • Are ;you having that reading comprehension problem again? What did I write:

            even if you could add them together, which you can’t because there is some overlap

            Was there something about that that you didn’t understand?

  • Please don’t drop naked links. Give people an idea of what you’re linking and perhaps why.

    Just copying a sentence or two will generally tell people if they want to bother looking or not. Something like –

    “Claims that nuclear power is a ‘low carbon’ energy source fall apart under scrutiny, writes Keith Barnham. Far from coming in at six grams of CO2 per unit of electricity for Hinkley C, as the Climate Change Committee believes, the true figure is probably well above 50 grams – breaching the CCC’s recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030.”

    But thanks for sharing. I saw that article mentioned earlier but hadn’t taken the time to read it.

    • your welcome

  • Throwing in thorium vapourware is delicious. My cold fusion reactor is also 125% sustainable.

    • We have water, it is the Phoenix sewage effluent.

      But, maybe someone will build High Temperature Gas cooled Reactors that use a Brayton cycle (gas) turbine that doesn’t really need water cooling or needs a lot less water cooling.

      • You do hang out in “Maybe-Someday” Land, don’t you?

        Sometime take a moment and ask yourself why, if all these wonderful ideas exist, are there no corporations building Gen III+/GenIV reactors and raking in the profits.

        Don’t allow yourself to brush the question aside with a “It’s the guvment” because the US government’s regulations to do not extend past the US borders.

        All of this thorium/small modular/molten salt/Brayton cycle stuff is old ideas. They’ve been out there for years waiting for someone to give them a try.

        A company like GE could build a reactor using less than 10% of the cash they have on hand. They could have jumped into the UK and bid in at 14 cents and, if you are right, made a fortune.

        But they didn’t. Neither GE or any other large and rich engineering/building company has made the leap. There must be some logical reason for that. Ask yourself if it is possible that they worked through the details and realized that there’s no “there” there?

        • Actually Generation III+ reactors are what is currently being built.

          There is a very simple reason why this stuff isn’t being build. It has to obtain NRC approval first. And, the people at the NRC can’t understand a reactor that doesn’t have a liquid water cooled core.

          You keep forgetting that simple fact.

          GE-Hitachi started in the 1990s and they have basically gotten nowhere gaining design certification for the PRISM IFR and they have DOE helping them. I hate to think how much money has been spent on it. And now the NRC has demanded a new safety study like the ones for LWRs. So, Argonne National Labratory is going to write one and DOE will pay for it. DOE was also sponsoring the General Atomics GT-MHR, but General Atomics has basically given up on it.

  • The great Midwestern Energy News has an interesting take on why nuclear fears renewables (wind mostly) over natural gas. NG seems to be a bigger concern given its market penetration past nuke over the last 10 years or so. The article mentions that to utilities power is “nuclear, coal and gas.” Anyway, an interesting read on the crazy stupid politics going on here in the US:

    I wouldn’t put too much weight on definitions coming from Arizona. The state is inhabited by conservative Fox News viewing retirees from Chicago. Arizona has no water and lots of sun. It’s groundwater is in pretty bad shape given the years of Silicon Valley industries spilling chlorinated hydrocarbons into the ground from circuit board manufacturing plants. Colorado River is already a future site of state versus state water wars. Arizona will try to find every reason not to deploy solar until it’s just completely freaking obvious.

    • No water, means no hydro backup for solar. Either upgraded existing dams or pumped storage hydro, they both need water to work and it is becoming rather scarce. So, without the hydro backup there is a limit to how much solar that Arizona can use. It is very useful for taking the edge off of the daytime peak, but too much of it causes serious trouble with grid stability at sunset if there is no backup or storage.

      • There’s no shortage of water for closed loop pump-up.

        There may be a few places in the world that PuHS isn’t feasible but there are no places that can’t be reached with HVDC.

        • The dams in the Colorado could be used for pumped storage hydro but there isn’t enough water in the damn river. So, yes, there can be a shortage of water for closed loop PuHS. In the hot dry desert, a lake loses a lot of water.

      • Show us serious grid stability issues. Really. Go ahead and cite it. Show real world instances of grid crashes due to solar.

        • What CAISO is specifically worried about is that part of the graph labeled “increased ramp”. Some source of power will have to ramp up rapidly enough to make up for that increase in load as the solar power supply is lost at sunset and to make it worse, the actual load starts to increase in the non-A/C season.

          But, you can read about it. Just Google “Duck Curve”.

          • I thought you said go away? Make it a promise. Here. I will end it for you. You are the horse with the blinders on. You are so narrow and contrary in your thinking that you had to be reminded that there are generators that don’t require massive amounts of water for cooling. Not that you didn’t know that. But you didn’t .. think .. of it before you were reminded.
            You also make serious underestimations of the people you talk with and seriously overestimate your own abilities. Look up Dunning-Kruger.
            And you seldom use references.
            So you see a reference to base load power plants and say base loads need base load power plants. Same blinkers.
            The whole load could be driven by a gas peaker plant. Or gas peakers and solar and wind. Or geothermal and hydro and….

            Combinations of these have been proved to work in the field in many areas in the world already and studies have shown how to do it in many areas of the world including the US, Australia, and Europe. China has its own plan for 86% renewables. All these you dismiss with the wave of prejudicial ad hominem.

            Bye Bye.

            This time make your promise stick. Go away.

          • “Dunning-Kruger”, no, I don’t think that people in the top 1% of IQ, like me, have that problem. However, I did have a minor stroke in the Left Parietal Lobe and do have some problems with communicating which you should be careful not to confuse with a lack of intelligence.

  • Step 2: The amount of carbon on earth has basically been constant since it formed. However, there is now only half the uranium and only about 1% of the U235 that was originally prescent because it has simply decayed away. Since carbon is more stable than elements used for nuclear fuel and nuclear power is renewable, it is only logical to reclassify coal, oil, and natural gas as renewable. After all, after 10 billion years the earth will still have all the carbon it started with while the sun will only have about three quarters of its original complement of hydrogen. Which seems more renewable to you?

    Thank you, and god bless the United States of Antarctica.

    • Technically speaking you’re exactly right. Fossil fuel is derived from life forms ranging from microscopic organisms, algae to plants. Settling along shallow water areas and getting compressed and biological and thermally enhanced. No, oil is not from dinosaurs and there’s no such thing as abiotic oil. (That was directed to someone else.) Abiotic oil was a thing not too long ago. Abiotic meaning non biologically derived. It had a lot to do with god fearing bible literalist who didn’t like the timeline that gas, oil and coal took anywhere from a couple million to several hundred million years to form. This is easily solved by not taking the bible word for word, but instead, enjoy the metaphor and parable. The US and other countries were trying to prove that wells drilled into precambrian rock produced hydrocarbons. Millions was spent on this. This was also an issue when peak oil peaked. So all we need to do is wait for the excess carbon in the atmosphere and oceans to be uptaken by future life forms adapted to this environment. Allow the dead life to settle to shallow oceans and bogs. Apply heat and pressure. And voila – oil, gas and coal will be renewed. Your 10 billion year timeframe is long. It should be about 5 to 500 million years.

    • The confusion of carbon dioxide with carbon is just the result of sloppy thinking and lazy use of the language. The increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans is a problem. Carbon is not a problem until you burn it.
      “Renewable” is a legally defined term for the purpose of favoring some technologies over others. It is no longer closely associated with the dictionary meaning of the word. “Sustainable” is a much better word for the concept. Nuclear power from fission is sustainable for a very long time and if we presume that fusion will become practical before we run out of fertile and fissionable materials, nuclear power could still be viable even after the Sun grows into a red giant and destroys the Earth. We will need to move deeper into space by then.We’d better hurry. We only have 3 or 4 billion years to prepare.

      • You contradicted yourself. Nuclear is not sustainable if we will run out of fuel. Sustainable does not mean “for a while”.

        • You are right if we do not advance beyond using solid fuel reactors, which are horribly inefficient, using less than 5% of the available energy. There is enough energy remaining in the the partially used spent fuel rods in storage to last for centuries. Fertile Thorium that is already being produced and discarded as a byproduct of rare earths mining is sufficient for thousands of years and it is likely that fusion will become practical before that runs out. And that can sustain civilization until the Sun grows into a red giant.
          Meanwhile, the solar energy arriving on earth is already being used or consumed by somebody or something. Who are you going to steal it from?

        • We will not run out of fuel for nuclear reactors until after the Sun burns out. That means that nuclear is more sustainable than solar and wind, which are called “renewable” because they tap into an existing flow of energy from my favorite fusion reactor in the sky.
          I think that having enough fuel to last for billions of years qualifies as “sustainable” even though it does fall short of infinite.

        • Bob: A star is only “for a while”.

          When we start building PRISM power plants, which the NRC appears to be going to put off till next decade, we aren’t going to be mining Uranium to fuel them for a long time.

          • PRISM. The next great hope.

            Get back to us if a PRISM delivers affordable electricity and we can talk. Until then the safe assumption is that more money will be tossed down the nuclear energy rat hole.

  • Having lived in AZ for the past 43+ years, here’s my two cents. The main point about water is a little different than using ground water. Palo Verde nuclear generation station uses water from Phoenix that was initially used by households. The water goes through primary and secondary purification and is then sent to Palo Verde. A good portion of that water comes from the Central AZ project. That is water that is taken from the Colorado River and sent to Phoenix via canals. There is another issue in that the apportioning of that water favors California. Those portions were set up a long time ago when Phoenix was not nearly the size it is today. Los Angeles was much bigger. Thus, it may make more sense for California to invest heavily in desalinization of ocean water than for AZ to reach into the Gulf of California.

    There is also a program that takes excess water and pumps it back into the aquifer. But, I must admit that Phoenix and the surrounding area use a tremendous amounts of water for golf courses that are 100% grass while at the same time homeowners are encouraged to conserve water by having desert landscaping in front of their homes. Maybe the golf course fairways should all be sand traps. 😉

    Also, I agree that nuclear with all of its attendant issues should not be classified as “renewable”.

    • Make the fairways some form of AstroTurf. Product development would like create an artificial surface with roughly the same characteristics as grass.

      • Or, use naive grass.

  • hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The bill supports nuclear. But it should. Nuclear is expensive because of public perception. The added expense is punitive. That needs to change. This is a first step. The thorium reactors by the way don’t need water. The design is maybe 8 or 9 years away. At least 4 companies are planing them over the next decade. They will do more good by using up old nuclear waste as fuel. It is within reach. Why not call it renewable.

    The power you get back is way more than other renewable sources. Nuclear will last. Wind mills and solar plants have much shorter lives. The ROI is much better too. So nuclear investment and nuclear fuel is actually more renewable because it outperforms intermittent wind and solar.

    Sorry if that ruins your definition but you green folk are the ones who won’t admit that fossil emitting natural gas is what will replace the wind that does not blow or the sun that does not shine. You call that renewable? It’s dishonest. It’s not even sustainable. Economically nuclear energy is superior. Remove some of the fees and over regulation and the costs will be very competitive.

    • You know, Rick, when you refer to wind turbines as “wind mills” you signal your bias.

      Nuclear is not expensive because of public perception. Nuclear is expensive because 1) nuclear has a high overnight cost and 2) it takes a long time to build nuclear reactors so the cost of financing adds a lot to the installed price.

      Will thorium/molten salt/small modular reactors make nuclear affordable? Let’s try to reason that out.

      All these ideas have been around for quite a while. Some of them have been tried. The big question is “Why are there no corporations building them?”
      It’s not because they can’t get permission to build new nuclear. The UK, Turkey, and several other countries are very interested in new reactors and some of them have very low safety regulations.

      If these ideas were actually promising then why wouldn’t one of the companies that builds reactors not be building them and getting ready to rake in the cash?

      Now, please do not insult our intelligence by trying to call uranium renewable simply because it is possible to squeeze some more energy out of it before it turns into a hazard for mankind for the next several hundred thousand years.

      And don’t give us that better ROI stuff. Nuclear reactors are going bankrupt. Paid off reactors. One shut down just a couple of years ago and Exelon has six that have been losing money for over five years. There is probably no industry in the history of the planet that has cost investors and taxpayers as much money in non-completion and disaster loss.

      Now let me ask you a question that I have never been able to get a nuclear advocate to answer. You say “Remove some of the fees and over regulation and the costs will be very competitive.”

      Which fees, Rick? Would you like the taxpayers to pick up the costs of plan reviews and inspections? Did you have different fees in mine? If so, what are they and how much would be saved? Who would end up paying the fees for the nuclear reactor?

      Please list the regulations that you feel we could eliminate and tell us how much dropping each would save. Want to drop requirements for seismic studies? How about for security? Strength of containment vessel? Material qualities? What regs should we drop, Rick?

      • I definitely am biased and calling them turbines is just an attempt to make them seem like they’ve matured. The costs for the nuclear application to build is $100 million and they still have the right to say no while charging you the full amount.

        The time they take to build has been complicated by the constant need to perfect the safety based on public perception of their dangers. There is no standardization because new upgrade keep being added to regulations.

        So the question “Why are there no corporations building them?” is answered by the expensive application process and the additional licensing fees that make profits delayed too long for the typical company to wait. And yes permission is a big factor.

        Thorium is not yet legalized. But small modular is a way to lower the costs and standardize the industry just like Boeing has done with commercial airlines.

        The other countries do not have low safety standards. You are misinformed.

        And I already mentioned that companies exist. There’s Flibe, Terrestrial Energy, Thorcon, Transatomic and Terrapower all building 4th Generation reactors. They all will be able to burn nuclear waste.

        I will insult your lack of inquiry not your intelligence. But possibly also your moral integrity because you need to study the science. Energy is too important to get it wrong. And how is this idea of waste around for 1000s of years still a problem if you can burn the waste?

        Nuclear reactors are not going bankrupt but they are closing down for lack of profits. Yes paid off reactors and that is doubly stupid because they had a lot of life left to give emission free energy.They can’t afford to compete with natural gas. The natural gas is cheap because they have very few regulations and the big companies who run them can afford to artificially lower the price. It’s called cornering the market to keep the advantage.

        I already named two of the fees $100 Million for the application and then the licensing which I don’t have the figures for. The fees I’m talking about are not applied equally among the different energy sources such as coal and natural gas. It they were those companies would also need to close down for lack of profits.

        Nuclear plants are built to withstand major crashes from airplanes, trucks what have you so why would earthquakes be a problem? Security has not been a big issue. Containment vessels work that’s why nobody died from Fukushima or Three Mile Island.

        The levels of radiation that are permitted are too low. Those regulation can change.

        Hope you are ready to do your homework now. Because I did all of this off the top of my head and you might not trust everything I said. So check it out. It is the responsible thing to do.


        • Wind turbines are not totally perfected. But they already are our least expensive way to bring new capacity on line. Their unsubsidized price is now under 4c/kWh. Approximately 1/3rd that of subsidized nuclear.

          BTW, China started building nuclear reactors long before they initiated their wind farm program. In 2013 China produced more electricity with wind turbines than with nuclear reactors. In 2014 they widened the gap. (Below)

          There has to be a fee for reviewing nuclear plans. You think $100 million too high, but there’s no ability for the government to make a profit over plan reviews and the nuclear industry has said that the review/permitting process is as good as it could be. Remember, a few years back the permitting process was streamlined in consultation with the nuclear industry.

          You think we should spend taxpayer dollars reviewing crappy plans that have to be rejected and only charge for the ones that pass inspection?

          Nuclear energy is dangerous. That is an established fact. We have seen multiple reactors melt down and people die. Don’t even try to pull that nuclear is safe crap here. You will be shown the door.

          If small modular reactors would be cheap then why is no one building them? Perhaps you don’t understand economies of scale and how they don’t kick in until manufacturing levels are fairly high.

          This is another old idea that, had it merit, would have been taken up by big business in order to make money.

          They haven’t.

          Your argument for why no corporations are building reactors simply does not hold water. GE/Toshiba/whomever could be building right now in any number of Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asian or African countries. There are plenty of countries that don’t have US style regulations and would love for someone to come into their countries, build reactors, and sell them cheap electricity.

          Thorium is not legalized? Document that claim.

          You have to ask why earthquakes might be a problem? Have you not heard about Fukushima? How about Humboldt Bay reactor that was built over an active fault and in a tsunami zone?

          I’m not impressed what you found on top of your head, Rick. It’s just more poorly informed nuclear fanboi drivel.

          • Clearly you’re a snob who thinks you have studied all you need. I have said all I want to say. Not for lack of answers. Certainly a lot to say about it. I’m writing a book. But you have accepted a few lies into your thinking and that is where I need to stop. I’ll never convince you otherwise.

          • Make sure you make the lines nice and wide so the kids know where to color….

            (Why do so many people buy into the nuclear myth? A lot of them are bright enough to put words into sentences, yet they simply believe the junk the nuclear industry feeds them.)

          • Why do you believe in the Green fairytale that we can run our country on wind and solar with a small amount of hydro?

          • I don’t.

            I’m very sure (99.9%) that we can run the world on wind + solar + geothermal + tidal + biomass/gas + (maybe) wave + storage.

            Mark and his crew have done a sweet job of figuring out the best mix of renewables for each state (based on today’s technology).


          • Actually I am using big font. Your grandchildren will be cursing your grave for letting tragedy happen. The renewable path to self destruction is inevitable with people like you. It’s the emperor’s clothes only this time there won’t be a second chance to fix it.

          • Rick, please just go away.

            We don’t need your FUD.

          • Who made you the spokesperson for this group. It must be quite a group of people who would let you be spokesperson. All getting wealthy off the feel good technology and taking those government subsidies while the country goes into debt making you all rich. So many in the dark accepting your holy statements. Fear Uncertainty and Doubt are usually the stuff the ant-nukes dole out. I like how you reverse it as if I’m the fear monger. Yes good riddance.

          • Poof….

        • Glad you understand you are biased. Now try to understand how your bias warps your reasoning. Start with your classification “green”. Judging people by categories has a name. We call it prejudice. It robs people of the ability to be seen or thought of as an individual.

          You see the matter of nuclear safety as a just a scare and an unnecessary economic burden. But there are real economic burdens. Nuclear wasn’t even cheap when it was less safe. The economic consequences of meltdowns is catastrophic.

          Whenever I hear ” nobody ever died”, I know I am dealing with someone ignorant of the biological effects of ionizing radiation. You would do better to examine your own ignorance and bias and spread less accusations of others.

          Kewaunee was shut down because the older reactor O and M made it uneconomic, not safety. That and Wisconsin has a power glut. There is another reactor not far away. Other power plants are shut down, not just nuclear. When demand falters, all base load plants suffer when capacity is underutilized. That’s how it works.

          Several reactors in Illinois and in other states are threatening to shut down because they are losing money. Their operators are blaming cheap natural gas, not safety costs.
          I do my homework, too. Cut the attitude. Insult no one. This phenomena is not just safety. Competition is pushing nuclear to the brink.

      • Please list the regulations that you feel we could eliminate and tell us how much dropping each would save. Want to drop requirements for seismic studies? How about for security? Strength of containment vessel? Material qualities? What regs should we drop,

        Your usual false challenge indicates that you have absolutely no idea how the process of certifying a design or granting a COL works at the NRC. That is part of the problem, it is rather strange — almost Kafkaesque.

        • Certifying a design involves making sure the designed product complies with all regulations plus makes engineering sense.

          Dropping regulations would, therefore, lower cost. I assume you don’t think we should quit looking at designs to see if the make engineering sense?

          Therefore, if you want to see cheaper reactors and hold that nuclear is expensive due to government regulations just list out the ones you feel unnecessary and let us know how much savings would be realized.

          It’s kind of simple. Either you know what you’re talking about or you don’t….

          • Bob: If you would please cite the references that are the basis for what you wrote about the NRC design certification process, I would greatly appreciate it. So, that I could read them.

            My contention is that the certification process is not as you have stated it.

            Th potential savings from making less complex but just as safe reactors is 25% to 75%.

          • You are only saying what you think that the NRC does. However you don’t know what they do. And you are basically wrong about what they do.

          • List it out.

            List those regs and their costs. Otherwise you’re just blowing smoke.

      • Did you ever consider that the corporations didn’t want to put up maybe $10 Billion to develop, license, and build the first commercial working power plant?

        And stop it with your petty fogging Straw Man. Excessive regulation isn’t individual regulations, it is a whole system. If you understood how the NRC approval process based only on safety worked you wouldn’t be making these foolish statements.

        • Until someone can list the unnecessary regulations which, if eliminated, would make nuclear energy competitive I’m simply going to call “Bogus!” on the blame it on regs game.

          Country after country can’t build cheap nuclear.

  • Of course nuclear is renewable. Uranium and Thorium exist in sufficient quantities on Earth that we literally cannot run out of them in the time the Earth remains habitable to lifeforms like us. That is the definition of renewable.

    • For people that want more detail. There is Uranium and Thorium in the world’s oceans. This is replenished from the large amount of Uranium and Thorium in the Earth’s core through tecktonik expansion and subduction zones.

  • Molten salt reactors use no water at all. And they run so hot that mid-summer Arizona air is like an Arctic winter to them. A perfectly-suited reactor for deserts, or anyplace undergoing drought, since they’re also a carbon-free power source for desalination.

  • Those guys were just pouring out their sour grapes. Google put them to work on fringe ideas that had little chance of success and they didn’t succeed.

    What you’ve got is the opinion of two disenchanted engineers vs. thousands upon thousands of engineers, scientists and energy experts who fully understand that it is fully possible to run the world on renewable energy plus storage.

    You just have to use the technology that works and not try to rely on the stuff that doesn’t.

    • Might want to check that word: “disenchanted” in the dictionary. What you are saying is that they learned the truth and no longer believe in the Green fairytale.

      Show me thousands of engineers that will say that we can run the world on renewable (wind and solar energy without fossil fuel. I know of only one and he isn’t really an engineer. That would be: Mark Z. Jacobsen, and he is a sub rosa anti-nuke.

      • Disenchanted –
        “disappointed by someone or something previously respected or admired; disillusioned”

        When one waves aside Jacobson’s huge body of work then it’s pretty clear that they are devoid of objectivity.

      • A sub rosa anti nuke? Can you say ad hominem? Stick with facts and reliable cited references. Your bias is showing.

        • “sub rosa” is not an insult. It is just an analytic description of my opinion of his motivations regarding his questionable papers on renewables.

    • These engineers all say the same things — that we will have to make major changes in the way that we use electric power. That does not meet the definition of “fully possible” to me.

  • “Your phony prices do not represent knowledge of anything. I have no idea of where you obtained them but based on several sources, I know that they are wrong or represent subsidized prices.”

    You document the correct prices. Show proof how the prices I present are incorrect.

    Posting that “so and so says they are” is not proof.

    “To equal the electricity produced by one of the two sets of Two AP1000 reactors being built in the Southern US, it would take 100 square miles of Silicon PV panels.”

    Doesn’t matter. The electricity coming from those panels will be affordable. The power from the reactors will not be.

    “Now, are you saying that an installation that large could be brought on line in only a few months?”

    It is technologically possible. It would mean taking a lot of our workers off other construction projects and letting them install solar. We could do that because installing large solar arrays is fairly simple construction.

    ” There is no reason that the US couldn’t start Four, or more, reactors each month once the supply line got up to speed.”

    Yes, there is. We don’t have the trained specialists to build that many reactors at one time.

    But all of this time stuff is irrelevant. Nuclear is priced off the table. The cost spread between wind/solar is wide and widening.

    If a PRISM reactor is ever built then we can look at the cost and, if needed, reevaluate the future role of nuclear.

  • Again, build one. Show us the cost.

    Until then you are just speculating.

    I don’t know about you, but I have grown up with nuclear energy. I’ve lived through generations of “this new design is the one that makes nuclear energy cheap”. And each time the nuclear industry hands us a great big pile of fail.

    • I do not have the money to build a PRISM reactor. Warren Buffet said that he wouldn’t because of the high risk due to NRC regulation. However, GE-Hitachi and the DOE are trying to get it approved and get one built.

      I am not speculating. I am listening to the speculation of others that I presume to be knowledgeable.

      No, what you would have seen if you had looked with a careful eye was not failure but rather was gradual improvement of the product.

      We started out with that old USSR modified military RBMK reactor that was just plain dangerous. Some idiots didn’t know how to run it or the possible dangers and they blew it up. Yes, an actual small atomic explosion that no other commercial power reactor design could ever cause.

      Old GE BWRs circa 1960s at Fukushima melted down and spread radionuclides over a substantial area. The Japanese were very cautious and this made it look worse than it is but it isn’t good.

      At Three Mile Island there was a serious Loss of Coolant incident and a partial melt down of a newer Generation II reactor. The result was that the reactor was totaled and enough radiation was released to cause 2 cases of cancer.

      This appears to be a great improvement to me.

      And now we are building the Generation III+ reactors that in theory, and we hope that they are never tested in actual use, if subjected to either problem will not have any melt down at all and no radionuclides will be released from the airtight sealed containment.

      The product has been improved. You just didn’t look close enough.

      • News flash, bud. Those same old BWRs that you malign are operating in the US. And you are talking out of both sides arguing for continued operation of older reactors while demeaning them. If you were straight you would argue that all existing US BWRs and RBMKs shut down immediately. But that will never happen.

        • You are going at it with the sophistic rhetoric again. Why should the BWRs be shut down just because the reactors that we are currently building are an improvement? You do know that this is a disingenuous demand from the anti-nuke cabal, don’t you? However, you should note that the ones in the US have all had upgrades that would prevent the problems that occurred with the reactors at Fukushima with venting and water injection. Unfortunately, there are still RBMKs operating in Russia. These have been modified but still have the positive void coefficient for the cooling water.

          There is no danger from the BWRs unless they lose electrical power and do not receive outside aid. The same problem exists for other old reactors. I don’t expect a tsunami that large in the US. The RBMKs are still potentially dangerous if improperly operated by idiots that don’t know what they are doing.

    • The cost of the power from new nuclear is more expensive than wind or natural gas at today’s prices. That is what the EIA data says. The advantage is that nuclear runs 24/7 and wind is variable in output. The issue with gas is that the price will increase with time since the cost of gas is mostly the uele. The cost of nuclear is mostly the plant so the price will not increase much in the future. Wind is only expected to last 20 years without major repairs or possibly replacement.

      I don’t know how Citi did their math. EIA has a lot more data to work with so I put more trust in their figures.

      • Running all the time is both a plus and a minus.

        Running all the time means that nuclear is limited to the minimum demand or has to resort to storage or load-following to move above minimum demand. Both storage and load-following make expensive nuclear even more expensive.
        Nuclear’s real problem is its cost. There are no reactors which have been bid or built in Europe, the US or Canada in recent times which have priced out at less than 13c/kWh. And that is with subsidies.

        With unsubsidized wind at 4c, unsubsidized solar at about 7.5c a combination of wind, solar and even expensive storage easily beats nuclear.

  • Perhaps you should read another IEEE article of favorite hope, SMRs.

    You are giving engineers a bad name. Do more research and critical thinking.

    You also made a common logical error by assuming what someone else thinks. Work on the basis of whats in evidence, not what you believe is there.

    You don’t get information about energy futures from an opinion piece article. You get it from peer reviewed papers.

    At least I hope you don’t design from opinion articles.

    Try NREL for example. For some silly reason they seem to think that renewables can provide 80% of electricity in US by 2050.

    • I have to say that I also question whether Light Water SMRs will be a success. However, that article is about early designs that failed. That is really old news. What we have to consider is how new designs will be cost efficient.

      We need to remember that starting with the anti-nuke movement that the great regulation push and the start of the NRC resulted in a quadrupling of the cost of nuclear power plants in the US (in constant Dollars adjusted for inflation).

      The Generation III+ reactors got some of that back with simplification of design and that was a hard fight with the NRC for the AP1000 and the ESBWR.

      However, besides the possible savings serial line production in a factory (like large aircraft) there is still at least a possible savings of at least 50% savings from reduction of regulations costs that that Spectrum article appears to have failed to considered.

  • Then if the NRC formation is directly causally linked with the number of nuclear reactors, it couldn’t explain that big dip that happened before the NRC.
    You still have not explained about all the nuclear reactor cancellations and cost over runs prior to NRC. Just dodging, thats all. You still have not made a case for causality.
    You just ignore any data that doesn’t fit your bias.

    • Does it matter what the regulatory agency was called at the time? As the link clearly states, there was a great increase in regulation by the AEC/NRC.

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