Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nuclear Power status at the end of 2012

With a lot going on to comment on, I’ll limit myself to a short update on the “nuclear renaissance.”  And again, the focus is on economics.

The big news is the delay of the completion of the only nuclear power plant under construction in the US.
First conceived in 2005 as part of a nuclear renewal of 100+, then 30, then 12, then 5 new plants, and now just this one, the prediction of huge budget overruns and delays continue to loom…again I say that if and when this one begins operation, it’s electricity will be so expensive that it won’t be able to compete on the open market without even more federal government subsidies.
Meanwhile, the industry remains locked in its ignorance and greed.
In Florida, the utility continues to charge consumers for future nuke plants that will never be built.  Sounds like a tax hike to me!
The old nukes are running out of steam…nobody wants to buy them at their “cheap” sale price, and license extension is now on hold.
Decommissioning costs are now beginning to become obvious not only here but in the rest of the world.  (Our Humboldt Bay nuke is now up to $800m+, with seven more years of work to go.)  Nuclear wastes are piling up everywhere around the world, and the costs of storing them is just starting to be understood.  Cleanup work in Fukushima and Chernobyl is running into countless billions of dollars, with no end in site.
The new small modular reactors will probably never be deployed due to economics, as well as nuclear materials concerns; and the next big accident will really put a halt to all this nonsense.

Meanwhile, in spite of everything and all the money the anti-renewable folks have put forth to stop wind, solar, and biofuels, those industries are doing fairly well.  It is amazing to understand the potential renewables has in terms of energy supply and security, job creation and wealth, and environmental benefits, and see the ignorance and greed by the 1%ers who control our energy policy.

A very interesting summary of where we are, and where we can go is available from Bloomberg.

It all boils down to money…and policy (which usually is controlled by money.)  But, the times they are a-changing!

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