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Also some of the fun "pre-paid" nuclear financing at work again.

Economist Files Opposition to Progress Energy Nuclear Reactors - St. Petersburg Times - 16 Jul 09

"Cooper told the Florida Public Service Commission that it is 'not prudent' to proceed with plans for building new Progress Energy nuclear reactors in Levy County and a similar Florida Power & Light project near Miami. Cooper estimated it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables."

Separately, the business-affiliated group Associated Industries of Florida intervened for the first time on a rate case, backing Florida Power and Light's base rate increase. Associated Industries did not take a stance 'at this time' on Progress Energy's filings. Progress is seeking to raise its base rates 30 percent and wants to add roughly $3 to the average monthly bill to help pay for its planned nuclear plant."


Clean Energy Group: 2 Leading Experts Argue New Nuclear Reactors in Florida Should Stop Now - Stockhouse.com - 16 Jun 09

"A leading national expert on the financing of nuclear power reactors filed testimony Wednesday with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) in which he warns that it is "not prudent" to proceed with plans for building new nuclear reactors at Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point nuclear plant near Miami and the proposed Progress Energy of Florida's Levy County site. Economist Dr. Mark Cooper filed testimony along with Mr. Arnie Gundersen on behalf of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an organization that has intervened in the case."

"Cooper's testimony states, 'The decision by the utilities to build nuclear reactors was based on several important assumptions that have been called into question in the past year and a half.' Some of these assumptions included that the utilities assumed a high rate of demand growth; they downplayed the contribution that efficiency and renewables can make to meet the need for electricity; and they used a low estimate of the cost of new nuclear reactors."

"Mr. Gundersen's testimony stated that it is likely that the proposed projects will experience construction delays and cost overruns in the future that will negatively impact Floridians, if these reactors are ever built. He also argued that these delays were not properly accounted for by either utility. Mr. Gundersen highlighted that these extra costs and scheduling slippages will be due to licensing delays, worldwide material shortages, a worldwide shortage of skilled personnel, and the fact that these nuclear reactors are extraordinarily complex to build.

He has a BS and ME cum laude in Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer (RPI), and was formerly licensed as a nuclear reactor operator. He was a Senior Vice President of a nuclear licensee before becoming an independent engineering consultant and now works with Fairewinds Associates in Vermont."
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Two really good reports recently in the news. First the Washington Monthly article on the dodgy economics of new nuclear.

Bad Reactors. Rethinking Your Opposition to Nuclear power? Rethink Again. - Washington Monthly - January/February 2009

"Initially, the industry had hoped to limit the number of reactor models to two or three. Instead, there are eight on offer, half of them certified, the rest awaiting approval (a process that takes years). What’s more, all but one of the seventeen companies that are planning to build new reactors have chosen designs that are either not yet certified or that will need to be recertified because they have been substantially redesigned. Even the one company that has picked a fully certified model, NRG of New Jersey, isn’t sticking to the original blueprints.

Rather than working with ready-made plans and a series of simple, modular components, engineers and designers working on Finland’s new reactor are scrambling to finish plans even as construction is under way. During my visit to Olkiluoto, I met Jouni Silvennoinen, the construction manager on the plant for the Finnish utility TVO. He told me that, in his view, projects as large and complex as reactors simply don’t lend themselves to cookie-cutter solutions. 'The basic design can be planned in advance,' he explained. 'But you still have to do the detailed design. Where exactly is the rebar? How thick are the walls? Where is the pinning for pipes? Those details have to be tailored to the individual project, and it takes a tremendous amount of work.'"


Here's a new report from Mark Cooper Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. The key findings of the study are noted. None of it is pretty.

The Economics of Nuclear Reactors: Renaissance or Relapse? - June 2009 [PDF]

"1. The initial cost projections put out early in today’s so-called 'nuclear renaissance' were about one-third of what one would have expected, based on the nuclear reactors completed in the 1990s.

2. The most recent cost projections for new nuclear reactors are, on average, over four times as high as the initial 'nuclear renaissance' projections.

3. There are numerous options available to meet the need for electricity in a carbon-constrained environment that are superior to building nuclear reactors. Indeed, nuclear reactors are the worst option from the point of view of the consumer and society.

4. The low carbon sources that are less costly than nuclear include efficiency, cogeneration, biomass, geothermal, wind, solar thermal and natural gas. Solar photovoltaics that are presently more costly than nuclear reactors are projected to decline dramatically in price in the next decade. Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, which are not presently available, are projected to be somewhat more costly than nuclear reactors.

5. Numerous studies by Wall Street and independent energy analysts estimate efficiency and renewable costs at an average of 6 cents per kilowatt hour, while the cost of electricity from nuclear reactors is estimated in the range of 12 to 20 cents per kWh.

6. The additional cost of building 100 new nuclear reactors, instead of pursuing a least cost efficiency-renewable strategy, would be in the range of $1.9-$4.4 trillion over the life the reactors."
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I'm still not sure what I think of this. Some of it is an attack by linking a position to one's enemies which is neither here nor there on the question itself and a bit dodgy in terms of style points. He dances around the EPA item in this way. Sounds to me that it's a lack of (political) will on the Obama EPA part rather than a lack of ability to implement things independently of congressional oversight.

That's certainly what many of the proponents of the "cap-and-trade" are saying to spur it's passage among non-believers and skeptics. "Don't let the evil scientific based EPA call the shots!"

He may be right that it's better than nothing but I'm still not completely convinced of that.

NASA's James Hansen Recycles Myths in His Pointless Attack on U.S. Climate Change - Huffington Post - 10 Jul 09

"The global economy is indeed a Ponzi scheme, but this is the first piece of legislation by any major country that makes a serious effort to end that Ponzi scheme. Hansen then lists 'a few of the bill's egregious flaws':

* It guts the Clean Air Act, removing EPA's ability to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.

No. The EPA doesn't have the 'ability to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.' EPA might well use its recent endangerment finding to get that ability (partially and eventually), but it hasn't asserted that regulatory capability yet.

More importantly, the CAA authority is most readily translated into regulating emissions from new power plants. Regulating CO2 emissions from existing power plants would take a long time, engendering a great deal of litigation. As John Podesta, former Clinton Administration Chief of Staff and now CEO of CAP, recently said, 'it would be difficult for the EPA to enact a CO2 cap and trade without congressional cooperation.'

Moreover, for a man who wants to 'phase out coal emissions over the next two decades,' as Hansen does, this is a pretty pointless complaint. The Obama EPA was certainly never going to use the endangerment finding to do anything like that.

This 'EPA can solve the problem on its own' myth is so commonplace that I will do separate post next week addressing it. I certainly agree with NRDC that the bill should be changed to allow EPA to retain its CAA authority, but I wouldn't list this among the bill's top 4 flaws, let alone put it first."
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This from the latest BBC report on the Finnish nuclear fiasco. More fun from France too. EDF the wonder utility that ate the universe is in debt? Imagine that. AREVA is trying to sell of chunks of itself too.

Nuclear Dawn Delayed in Finland - BBC News - 08 Jul 09

"The two sides are now fighting over compensation for the delays.

TVO is trying to claim back $3.3bn (2.4bn euros) from Areva for the soaring costs, not least to cover having to buy-in electricity to plug the gap until the plant is finished. On the other side Areva is claiming $1.4bn (1bn euros) from the Finns and the relationship on the Baltic has shown signs of icing.

'If Greenpeace had said at the start that after four years of construction its going to be three and a half years late and 60% over budget everybody would have laughed at them,' says Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy at Greenwich University in the UK who has been monitoring the project. 'But that's what has happened. It's hard to think of it going more wrong than it has.'"


EDF Presses Govt to Hike Power Price - The Peninsula On-Line (Qatar) - 10 Jul 09

"The group's chief executive Pierre Gadonneix revealed in a magazine interview on Wednesday that EDF was seeking permission from the government to raise the price of household electricity by 20 percent over three years, or slightly longer, so that the group could stop going deeper into debt."
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Nuclear trouble is brewing in Germany. Too bad the same can't be said for in the United States. The Obama people are looking to sell out to nuclear to get a climate deal that may not be worth having frankly.

Vattenfall's Nuclear Plants in Hot Water - Deutsche Welle - 09 Jul 09

"Sweden's government-owned electric utility, Vattenfall, has admitted that fuel rods may have been damaged when one of its German nuclear power plants underwent an emergency shutdown last Saturday. The company said it discovered that 'possibly a few' of the 80,000 uranium fuel rods inside the reactor were 'defective.' Vattenfall has blamed the plant manager for failing to install discharge detectors on a transformer as promised to German authorities."

Vattenfall Says Kruemmel’s Halt Was 'Bitter Setback' (Update2) - Bloomberg - 09 Jul 09

"Vattenfall will lose about 1 million euros ($1.4 million) of operating income a day from the halt of its two reactors in the country, Hatakka said today in an interview. 'It’s also a hit for nuclear power in Germany,' said Christian Kleindienst, a Munich-based analyst with Unicredit SpA who has a 'market weight' rating on the company’s senior notes. Kleindienst said 10 percent of Vattenfall’s operating income may be affected by the outages."

Obama Makes Nuclear Compromise to Pass Clean Energy Bill - Guardian (UK) - 08 Jul 09

"The Obama administration endorsed a revival of America's nuclear industry yesterday in an effort to build forward momentum for climate change legislation before the Senate. The seal of approval for nuclear power – a cause embraced by Republican senators – came on day one of a full-on lobbying effort by the White House for one of Obama's signature issues."

G-8 Failure Reflects U.S. Failure on Climate Change by Dr. James Hansen - Huffington Post - 09 Jul 09

"With a workable climate bill in his pocket, President Obama might have been able to begin building that global consensus in Italy. Instead, it looks as if the delegates from other nations may have done what 219 U.S. House members who voted up Waxman-Markey last month did not: critically read the 1,400-page American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 and deduce that it's no more fit to rescue our climate than a V-2 rocket was to land a man on the moon."

"For all its 'green' aura, Waxman-Markey locks in fossil fuel business-as-usual and garlands it with a Ponzi-like 'cap-and-trade' scheme. Here are a few of the bill's egregious flaws:

* It guts the Clean Air Act, removing EPA's ability to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.

* It sets meager targets -- 2020 emissions are to be a paltry 13% less than this year's level -- and sabotages even these by permitting fictitious 'offsets,' by which other nations are paid to preserve forests - while logging and food production will simply move elsewhere to meet market demand.

* Its cap-and-trade system, reports former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs Robert Shapiro, 'has no provisions to prevent insider trading by utilities and energy companies or a financial meltdown from speculators trading frantically in the permits and their derivatives.'

* It fails to set predictable prices for carbon, without which, Shapiro notes, 'businesses and households won't be able to calculate whether developing and using less carbon-intensive energy and technologies makes economic sense,' thus ensuring that millions of carbon-critical decisions fall short.

There is an alternative, of course, and that is a carbon fee, applied at the source (mine or port of entry) that rises continually. I prefer the 'fee-and-dividend' version of this approach in which all revenues are returned to the public on an equal, per capita basis, so those with below-average carbon footprints come out ahead."
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With thanks to [personal profile] gordonzola.

I forgot how funny Roseanne Barr could be on occasion. Jenna Elfman plays the riot grrrl hitcher.

YouTube clip ahead... )
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I've been a bit slack on posting things here on LJ and have been posting most things on Facebook.   Since I like having them in an archivable form and I know some folks like reading them here on LJ, I decided to do some cut-and-paste business to sync the two sites a bit.  It's a long list so I've put it all behind a cut for those who might not be so interested.

And away we go.... )

Too Funny

Jun. 26th, 2009 11:19 am
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Puking and Babbling Babies.

I almost lost my breath laughing on the puking one.
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Mind boggling. Yes, let's build more please.

Sizewell Nuclear Disaster Averted by Dirty Laundry, Says Official Report - Guardian (UK) - 11 Jun 09

"A nuclear leak, which could have caused a major disaster, was only averted by a chance decision to wash some dirty clothes, according to a newly obtained official report.

On the morning of Sunday 7 January 2007, one of the contractors working on decommissioning the Sizewell A nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast was in the laundry room when he noticed cooling water leaking on to the floor from the pond that holds the reactor's highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

As much as 40,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled out of a 15ft long split in a pipe, some leaking into the North Sea. The pond water level had dropped by more than a foot (330mm) – yet none of the sophisticated alarms in the plant sounded in the main control room. By the time of the next scheduled safety patrol, the pond level would have dipped far enough to expose the nuclear fuel rods – potentially causing them to overheat and catch fire sending a plume of radioactive contamination along the coastline."
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Another one of those little problems that the nuclear industry hasn't been able to handle after some 60 years of business.

Funds to Shut Nuclear Plants Fall Short - Salt Lake Tribune - 19 Jun 09

"The companies that own almost half the nation's nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle them, and many may sit idle for decades and pose safety and security risks as a result, an Associated Press investigation has found."

"During the past two years, estimates of dismantling costs have soared by more than $4.6 billion because rising energy and labor costs, while the investment funds that are supposed to pay for shutting plants down have lost $4.4 billion in the battered stock market."

"Federal regulators are expected to release letters later this week that will describe shortfalls at 30 of the nation's 104 nuclear plants and ask operators for details about how they plan to resolve the problem. The amount of money set aside for dismantling the plants has decreased at nearly four of every five reactors, according to an AP analysis of financial records provided every other year to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

"'No one at the NRC wants to acknowledge what is absolutely obvious to us, that the funds are inadequate and that the industry has bare assets,' said Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive and decommissioning expert. Those critics say the industry is making assumptions about their investments that do not account for another market collapse, political obstacles to getting the licenses renewed and unforeseen safety problems that could make nuclear power less palatable.

Last week, British officials reported on a 2007 leak in a cooling tank at the decommissioned Sizewell-A nuclear plant. If the leak had not been promptly discovered, officials said, nuclear fuel rods could have caught fire and sent airborne radioactive waste along the English coast, harming plant operators or the public."
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From theory into practice at last.

Denmark to Power Electric Cars by Wind in Vehicle-to-Grid Experiment - Guardian (UK) - 19 Jun 09

"Currently 20% of the island's electricity comes from wind, even though it has enough turbines installed to meet 40% of its needs. The reason it cannot use the entire capacity is the intermittency of the wind: many turbines are needed to harness sufficient power in breezes, but when gales blow the grid would overload, so some turbines are disconnected.

So the aim of the awkwardly named Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks Project – Edison for short – is to use V2G to allow more turbines to be built and provide up to 50% of the island's supply without making the grid crash."


IBM Joins EDISON Project to Build Smart Grid for Electric Cars - Science Centric - 19 Mar 09

"Within the project, researchers from IBM Denmark and from IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory will develop smart technologies that synchronise the charging of the electric vehicles with the availability of wind in the grid. IBM has also contributed a hardware platform to the Technical University of Denmark that will be used for large-scale real-time simulations of the energy system and the impact of electric vehicles. When completed, the project will contribute to reaching the political objective of increasing the share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption."
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I really enjoy watching Rachel Maddow. She's smart and fair and funny. Not much more can this observer ask for in political commentary.

She had a brief blurb on the GOP's latest fantasy energy policy that included a call for 100 new nukes in our future.

This inspired me to write her show a little note. All to be found behind the cut.

The note starts here... )
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With thanks to [profile] maryrobinette. Science fictional prognostication at its best.

Warning. YouTube ahead... )
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Several new tidbits...the audio link at the end is quite good.

U.K. Expert: U.S. Not Losing Nuclear Power 'Race' - Environmental Protection - 01 June 09

"The U.K. energy expert said that, not only is nuclear power in France, Finland, and Great Britain now plagued with problems, but almost nothing that is positive about the experiences in those nations would translate to the United States. Thomas is the author of 'Areva and EDF: Business Prospects and Risks in Nuclear Energy' (March 2009) and the co-author of 'The Financial Crisis and Nuclear Power' (February 2009).

Thomas said: 'We've been waiting in vain on a 'Nuclear Renaissance' in Europe since the early 1990s. Even before the recent collapse in energy prices and the financial downturn, it was clear that all of the talk of a new resurgence in the prospects for nuclear reactors was just that: talk. It is for this reason that I find it so odd that the case for more nuclear power is being built in the United States on an entirely mythical notion of some kind of international 'race' that the U.S. supposedly is losing. In reality, the nuclear power industry in Europe is in the midst of the same kind regulatory and financial uncertainty that makes the future of the industry murky at best in this nation.

'For example, the mistaken notion that the United States need only copy the 'French model' on nuclear power is particularly bizarre. The two main French entities in nuclear power—Areva and EDF—originally were and remain today largely branches of the French government. They are directed as a matter of state policy and have benefited from extremely favorable government financing and credit assurances. To duplicate this experience in the United States, you would essentially have to nationalize your electric utilities and have all new power plant siting decisions emanate from the White House.'"


A Global Nuclear Renaissance: Is the United States Missing Out? - Environmental and Energy Study Institute

"On May 21, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing to examine the renewed interest in nuclear power globally and its prospects in the United States. Demand for energy coupled with the need to develop low-carbon sources has led some nations to focus on nuclear power. But even before the recent financial crisis, issues dealing with material shortages, untested designs and high default rates made nuclear energy a risky undertaking for private investors. This briefing addressed developments in the nuclear industry in Europe, projections for new nuclear power in the United States, and the financial risks associated with investing in nuclear power to address the urgent climate situation.

Speakers for this event included:

* Stephen Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy, Public Services International Research Unit in the Business School of the University of Greenwich, UK, Presentation (pdf format)

* Peter Bradford, Adjunct Professor, Vermont Law School; former Chair, New York State Public Service Commission and Maine Public Utilities Commission; former Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Presentation (pdf format)

Click here to read EESI's 2007 issue brief Loan Guarantee Provisions in the 2007 Energy Bills: Does Nuclear Power Pose Significant Taxpayer Risk and Liability?

Streaming video of the briefing"


And the audio of an on-line press conference titled "The Myth of the European 'Nuclear Renaissance'" held by the Physicians for Social Responsibility

"ABOUT PROFESSOR THOMAS

Professor Thomas has been a researcher in energy policy for more than 25 years. He writes particularly on economics and policy towards nuclear power, liberalization and privatization of the electricity and gas industries and trade policy on network energy industries. He is a member of the editorial boards of: Energy Policy, Utility Policy, Energy and Environment, and International Journal of Regulation and Governance.

CONTACT: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or landerson@hastingsgroup.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio recording of the news event is available here: http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/psr/052009Thomastelenewsevent.wma "
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This is the saddest part of how this new nuclear saga may play out in countries that REALLY can't afford the "advance" of nuclear power. Nuclear France, Inc. must be providing some serious sweeteners on this deal given the turn around in policy.

Eskom to Bankrupt SA [South Africa]? - iAfrica.com - 27 May 09

"By pushing ahead with its nuclear plans, South African power utility Eskom will bankrupt this country, environmental lobbyists Earthlife Africa said on Wednesday. Accusing Eskom of an 'uneconomic U-turn' on its nuclear plans, Earthlife Africa questioned the utility's ability to fund its R1.3-trillion capital expenditure programme."

""In just over six months, Eskom has changed its mind on nuclear power. In December 2008, Eskom considered nuclear power to be too expensive. In May 2009, Eskom released plans to build [4000MW of]nuclear plants," said Earthlife Africa energy policy officer Tristen Taylor."

"Three nuclear plants, each with a generation capacity of 4000MW, would be brought into operation every two years starting July 2018 through to July 2022. Eskom currently operates Africa's sole nuclear power plant with a total capacity of 1800 MW. "


Press Release: Eskom's Uneconomic Nuclear U-Turn - Earthlife Africa Jhb - 27 May 09

"Press Release: Eskom’s Uneconomic Nuclear U-turn
Earthlife Africa Jhb
27th of May 2009

In just over six months, Eskom has changed its mind on nuclear power. In December 2008, Eskom considered nuclear power to be too expensive. In May 2009, Eskom released plans to build nuclear plants. What changed?

From the financial point of view…nothing. Nuclear power remains the most expensive form of electricity generation, comes with inherent safety risks, and produces highly radioactive waste that must be dealt with for hundreds, if not thousands, of generations. The costs of generating electricity from nuclear power exceed that of coal, natural gas, geothermal, wind, solar thermal, and landfill gas.

Where Eskom hopes to find the money for this expensive project is beyond comprehension. Currently, Eskom does not have a funding model to support its current CAPEX programme of R340 billion. Eskom’s recent application to NERSA is about seeking a 34% tariff increase to meet rising primary energy and maintenance costs; covering the R1.3 trillion CAPEX programme is not included in current electricity tariffs.

Recent reports suggest that Eskom will be seeking funding from the Government for its nuclear programme. Ordinary citizens will have to pay for an industry that produces radioactive waste, creates fewer jobs than any other form of electricity generation, and is the most expensive form of electricity generation.

By pushing ahead its nuclear plans, Eskom will bankrupt this country.

Key Facts on Nuclear Power:

* Estimated Capital Cost of New Nuclear Power Plant: R1.82/kWh [1]
* Estimated Total Cost per kWh for New Nuclear Power Plant: R2.46/kWh [2]
* Current Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs (which include profit for companies and capital costs) as Approved by NERSA:
** Wind: R1.25/kWh
** Landfill Gas: R0.90/kWh
** Small Hydro: R0.94/kWh
** Concentrated Solar: R2.10/kWh

For more information, please contact:

Tristen Taylor
Energy Policy Officer
Earthlife Africa-Johannesburg Branch
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Fax: +27 11 339 3270
Cell: +27 84 250 2434
www.earthlife.org.za

[1] This assumes no cost overruns. However, cost overruns of nuclear power are legendary. Areva, who built Koeburg and is bidding to build additional reactors in the Cape, is trying to build a new pressurised reactor in Finland. In Nov. 2008, Areva announced that costs for that reactor have soared from €3 billion to €4.5 billion and the finish date has been pushed back from 2009 to 2011. The recurring trend within the industry in considerable cost overruns; in the USA, 75 reactors had combined initial construction budgets of US$45 billion, actual construction costs ran to US$145 billion. In India, the last ten reactors built averaged construction cost of 300% above budgeted costs.

[2] Please see “Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power”, pg. 31, http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/nuclear-costs-2009.pdf
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I decided that it might be a wise idea to mirror my LiveJournal site on Dreamwidth and got the files successfully transferred in just a couple minute operation. For security purposes, I changed my LJ password before using it and then changed it back after the migration was successful.

If LiveJournal ends up with serious problems at some point in the future, I feel like I now have my bases covered. Also I've been able to archive the site with ljArchive which is a very handy free utility. Makes it easy to search for certain key words in earlier posts.

Fortunately, I got a free invite from a friend so I didn't have to pay the small fee for signing up on Dreamwidth.

Also found that I can post to both blogs at the same time using the Semagic editor (which is open source but only for Windows afaik). What didn't work (unsurprisingly) is the friends transfer. So I'm picking folks off manually to build up that network again. Those with the same name and icons are easy to match up of course. Others, not so much. I'm using webfarmer over there too if anyone wants to friend me.
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This is a fun one.

Nuclear: Atomic Power Has Favorable Reaction - Financial Times - 26 May 09

"A western energy executive who has been studying China’s nuclear programme tells a story about looking at pictures of the site being cleared for construction. 'Before, there was a mountain there. Then they bring the army in and a few months later the mountain has gone, and they have the space to build six reactors.'

He tells the story with a slightly wistful air. If only – he must be thinking – building reactors in the west were that easy.
"

"Stephen Thomas, professor of energy studies at the University of Greenwich, argues: 'The two main French entities in nuclear power – Areva and EDF – originally were, and remain today, largely branches of the French government. They are directed as a matter of state policy and have benefited from extremely favourable government financing and credit assurances.

'To duplicate this experience in the US, you would essentially have to nationalise your electric utilities and have all new power plant siting decisions emanate from the White House.'


Although issues of safety, nuclear proliferation and waste disposal often dominate the political debate about nuclear power, the central issue for companies thinking of investing in nuclear power is simply cost. New nuclear plants are hugely expensive. EDF estimates about €4bn-€5bn ($5bn-$7bn) for one of its 1,600 megawatt reactors."


Consider that this single reactor cost is a huge portion of the book value of even the larger utilities. Duke Energy, for example, is just north of $20 billion. How big of a bet do taxpayers and ratepayers really want to place on this unproven new technology? Recall, no prototypes are being built, they are jumping straight to full and enormous scale.

It's clear that Wall Street still finds it radioactive. Thus the continuing industry calls for federal loan guarantees by the billions and state approvals of "pre-paid", by the ratepayer, nuclear plant financing.
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Love it when things work out right for the good guys.

Petraeus Endorses Obama's Plans to Close GITMO, End Torture - Huffington Post - 26 May 09

"'I think, on balance, that those moves help [us],' said the chief of U.S. Central Command. 'In fact, I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines.

'With respect to Guantanamo,' Petraeus added, 'I think that the closure in a responsible manner, obviously one that is certainly being worked out now by the Department of Justice -- I talked to the Attorney General the other day [and] they have a very intensive effort ongoing to determine, indeed, what to do with the detainees who are left, how to deal with them in a legal way, and if continued incarceration is necessary -- again, how to take that forward. But doing that in a responsible manner, I think, sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.'"
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This time in Maryland which seems to be a key state in the "renaissance".

Opponents Saving Fire on Calvert Cliffs 3 - Maryland Daily Record - 19 May 09

"Stephen Thomas, a professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich in London, said Tuesday in an interview at The Daily Record that banks may find these projects to be low-risk propositions because the government will repay the loans if the companies cannot. Thomas was in Maryland to speak about nuclear energy. 'My main concern is the risk to taxpayers and consumers,' he said. 'They will end up taking on the risks.'

The design proposed by UniStar is a nuclear model being built in Finland and France by Areva, which is 85 percent controlled by the French government. Both projects are behind schedule and will end up costing far more than initially estimated. 'The experience [in Finland] has been astonishingly bad,' Thomas said.

'In fact, within a month of the start of construction there was a problem, and the problems have continued,' he said. Areva’s reactor in Finland was supposed to come on line this month after four years of construction; Thomas said the most recent estimate suggests the plant will be finished at the end of 2012, at more than $2 billion over budget.

Areva’s problems illustrate why federal loan guarantees have become more important than ever for building new reactors, Thomas said. Construction of a new plant has been estimated at roughly $9 billion, and as credit markets have tightened, interest rates on loans have gone up.

Instead of building the new reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Thomas recommends that Constellation drops its plans. 'Give it up,' he said. 'Walk away. There are much cheaper, easier ways to get electricity.'

But a deal for EDF to buy 49.9 percent of Constellation’s nuclear business hinges on bringing French nuclear technology to the United States. The PSC is also reviewing how that deal would influence Constellation’s regulated subsidiary, Baltimore Gas & Electric Co."
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The first use of of a wind-electric system was in Scotland in the 1880s. I'd previously thought that the first wind-electric was built in Cleveland but Professor James Blyth beat electrical industrialist Charles Brush by a few months and at a far more modest cost. A nice item from The Minnesota Engineer on the state of the art in for wind-electrics in 1896 can be found here.
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