Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Foolish Economics of Nuclear Power

In the ongoing "discussion" on the exorbitant cost of nuclear power, here is yet another report not picked up by Fox news and its ilk....


I've been saying this for years...nice to start seeing some verification...just wait until 2016......the nuke industry is going to need way more subsidies to even build 5-10 reactors, let alone 100. Right now, those subsidies are about $18 billion to build three reactors. The industry is definitely pushing for more...$140 billion total nuclear subsidies in Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act.


We currently have some 100 nukes producing about 18% of the electricity in the US. These plants will reach their life's end in the next 10-30 years and will have to be decommissioned (very expensive...for a lot of the older plants, it's running more to dismantle them than it cost to build them; and it will cost even more if we extend their life)) and their wastes (both high level spent fuel..we really have no idea how to deal with this, let alone how much that will cost; and low level waste..maybe we will eventually dig up the entire state of Utah and bury it all there)

I cannot comprehend how the "fiscal conservatives" support nuclear power; just from an economic point of view it goes against everything they preach. I can see them not buying into the safety, proliferation, terrorist, and moral respect to future generations arguments. It's all about the money...big business buying and running our politicians (Democrats and Republicans) and using their wealth and control of the media to brainwash the public. The free market...get government out of regulating industry, let them do what they want! Right!

Great hypocrisies...don't help out the poor slobs with subsidized health care, but make sure you subsidize "cheap" electricity for them! And pass on the real costs to their future descendents.
Gee, we need nuclear power because it doesn't produce any CO2....not totally true... less than coal, oil, and natural gas, but not zero...lots produced in the massive construction and in fuel processing. But wait, aren't these the same people who don't believe that CO2 is causing climate change?????
We need the "base load" electricity that renewables can't produce...that's if you're stuck thinking like the old school dinosaur energy engineers. Study after study has shown that new technology, an upgraded electricity grid, and a diverse generation system will provide a more reliable grid than what we have today.
Conservation isn't an option...within five years, you won't be able to buy an incandescent light bulb...the new LED and compact florescents are 5-8x more efficient. New technology will let us use all the energy we need more efficiently...from residential use to transportation to industrial and commercial use.

In spite of the skeptics, the world is not flat, apples fall to the ground because of gravity, and yes, the wonderful sun does revolve around us all!

I stand firm on my prediction that by 2016, we may have 2-3 new nukes coming on line because you and I will have subsidized them in spite of their cost overruns; and their electricity will be so expensive (20-30 cents/kwh) that it will take even more subsidies to make anyone buy and use it...or we will really sock it to all the wonderful consumers in Georgia who are already paying higher rates for their construction today. We will be stuck with a few more partially built reactors shuttered up like the old ones at Satsop, WA because of bankruptcies, defaults, etc. We will still have no idea what to do with the 80,000 tons of spent fuel...we may politically decide to waste more of our money to study burying it in a hole in Nevada...but we probably will not have moved one single rod by then. Meanwhile the sun will shine, the wind will blow, hydrogen will be on the verge of being the new carrier of energy, and we will be making great strides towards being a more efficient and sustainable society.

Renewable power to the people!

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