Saturday, August 7, 2010

Costly Repairs to Our Aging Nukes

We're going to see more and more very expensive repairs and actual early shut downs of our nuke fleet in the coming years....

Then comes decommissioning, and the waste management costs and issues ...cost effective???? Not anymore. It looks like we are turning the corner and beginning to look at all the true costs..not just the 1.5-3.5 cent/kwh operating costs the industry so proudly and misleadingly built their foundation on. Remember, the same O&M costs for wind and solar are way below 1 cent/kwh...the fuel is free; maintenance is almost nil in solar, and a bit more with wind turbines..but a whole hell of a lot cheaper because of no radioactivity to deal with. It's all so much common cents!
And I am so optimistic and happy that it is ultimately the financing and economics of all this that will be nukes downfall, and not the more difficult safety, moral, terrorist and national security arguments that are as big a piece of the puzzle.

Interesting article on wind...10,000MW put on line in 2009...the most of any generation technology in the US. How many nukes?? This year may not be as big because of "sagging power demand, falling electricity prices, and low natural gas prices." Electricity rates are going up in Georgia because of their commitment to building two new nukes mostly funded by the American taxpayer. It is all so interesting!

On a side note. an interesting discussion I read recently talked about High Level Waste management. In 1981, Ronald Reagan asked Congress to come up with the National Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. A committee was formed, and they recommended a repository..ultimately Yucca Mountain became the choice. Here we are almost 30 years later, and what do we have going for us...a $13 billion hole in the ground at Yucca Mountain, and a committee! There is NO solution to the disposal of spent fuel. The new committee will come up with some options to look for another geologic site, keep the stuff on site for another 50 years, ???? We, and all our generations to come in the next 100,000 years will be stuck monitoring this stuff, keeping from leaking out into the environment, and paying the bills to do all this! I hope someone on the committee (a minority report?) comes up with the cajones (to use Sarah Palin's new favorite word) to say that there is NO SOLUTION.

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