The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The real problem of the nuclear industry is simply that it’s unaffordable

scrutiny-on-costsThe Real Problem with Nuclear Power, Fortune Justin Worland Feb 17, 2017 “……Today, the biggest downside to building new nuclear power plants in many developed countries is sheer cost. Data from the Energy Information Administration shows that building a new plant costs more than $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity compared to around $2,100 for the primary type of solar power plants and less than $1,000 for the most common type of natural gas plant. (These figures vary by region within the U.S.). A nuclear power plant also requires six years of lead time while a solar plant can operate in as little as two years.

Nuclear power plants do provide some advantages over other sources, namely that it provides consistent baseload energy that provides a consistent power source at any time of day or night. But because of the costs the debate over nuclear has shifted from whether to keep old nuclear power plants operating to whether to build new ones.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A financially viable nuclear power station looks increasingly like a mirage

burial NUCLEAR INDUSTRYflag-UKDash for gas — and move on from nuclear power folly If an industry cannot finance itself after decades, it’s time to try another industry
Inside London FEBRUARY 17, 2017 by: Neil Collins Remember “Nuclear power? No thanks”? That sunny, smiling sticker which was almost standard on the back of every Citroen Deux-Chevaux? How we smiled at such naivety. Nuclear power was the future! The fume-belching little 2CV may have gone the way of the Trabant but, after another grim week for the nuclear industry, it seems those stickers may have been right after all.

A financially viable nuclear power station looks increasingly like a mirage. Even the eye-watering guarantee from the UK taxpayer for Hinkley Point C is not enough to cover the risk that building it will bankrupt EDF. Toshiba’s woes have claimed the scalp of its chairman. Hitachi is signalling that its project in Anglesey needs government backing to proceed. It’s telling that after 60 years of mostly successful operation, commercial viability still eludes the nuclear power industry. Perhaps we have been lucky to have avoided serious accidents and the decommissioning costs were hugely underestimated — but the combination of ever-rising safety demands and cheap hydrocarbons has destroyed its economics. Appealing for fresh state aid looks like a desperate last throw of the nuclear dice. If an industry cannot finance its own projects after half a century of development, it may be time to try another industry.
Fortunately, other industries are available. The cheapest and quickest fix is to build gas-fired power stations, to tap into worldwide abundance and increasingly diverse supply, even before domestic fracking gets going in the UK. Unfortunately, the artificial barriers imposed by today’s energy policy are preventing this subsidy-free solution. For the longer term, the price of solar energy continues to fall and smart meters that really are smart will start managing the demand side of the equation. Even offshore wind looks a better bet than nuclear as battery technology evolves. 

February 20, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Cheap and Clean Nuclear Power is Becoming a Dream More than the Reality,

Trend In Tech By Natalie Brown February 18, 2017 “………Apart from safety, another major reason why people have backed away from nuclear power projects is down to the cost. Building a nuclear power plant is no cheap task. It’s estimated to cost around $9 billion to build a nuclear power plant in the United States which is more than Apple Inc borrowed in the whole of 2016. That’s also more than 1,000 times the cost of a new fracking well and more than 3,000 times the cost of the world’s largest solar plant.

So it’s not just that all of a sudden nuclear power has become really bad, it’s just that many other forms of energy harvesting are far more efficient. One day we may have nuclear fission reactors that could change things again, but for now, at least, nuclear power will be taking a step back as other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar come shining through.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A glimpse inside a defunct East German nuclear plant — and what it says about the future of energy in Europe

 PRI, February 08, 2017 ·By Anja Krieger and Daniel A. Gross   An hour north of Berlin, in the middle of a German nature reserve, a narrow smokestack rises into the air from a defunct nuclear power plant. The Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant, which came online in 1966, was the first of its kind built in East Germany. Inside, there’s a mint-green room with huge control panels.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The Rising Threat of a Nuclear North Korea  Council on Foreign Relations 

Watch this event live on February 9, 2017 at 12:45 p.m. ET

Robert L. GallucciDistinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Mary Beth LongCofounder and Principal, Global Alliance Advisors, LLC; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense (via videoconference)

Sue Mi TerryManaging Director, Korea, Bower Group Asia; Former National Intelligence Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, National Intelligence Council

Mitchel B. WallersteinPresident, Baruch College; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterproliferation Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

February 8, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Vested interests hold climate policy hostage, in USA and Australia

Turnbull climate 2 facedIn Australia and the US, sound climate policy is being held hostage by vested interests

We must shift away from a culture of politically motivated climate change denialism to an acceptance of the truly existential threat now facing humanity, Guardian,  and , 7 Feb 17           It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the world’s climate and environment. The inauguration of billionaire property developer and reality TV star Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has presaged a new Dark Age of climate politics.

In an opening fortnight of controversial executive orders, President Trump has decreed the expansion of major fossil fuel developments including the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, and the neutering of long-standing environmental protections. In addition, he and his leadership team have made it plain they intend to dismantle many of the Obama administration’s climate initiatives and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. All this runs in direct counterpoint to the rapid decarbonisation required to avoid dangerous climate change.

For Australian fossil fuel interests, President Trump’s war on climate appears particularly opportune. Just last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his senior ministers floated the idea of government backing for new coal-fired power stations as part of the government’s response to Australia’s “energy security” and expressed reticence over the country’s Renewable Energy Target.

For a country that has nurtured world-leading innovations in solar photovoltaic and other renewable energy technologies and that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change – be it in the form of record heat, devastating floods, more widespread drought, coastal inundation from sea level rise combined with stronger tropical storms, or the demise of the Great Barrier Reef – doubling down on the traditional fossil fuel energy path is particularly short-sighted.

Like big tobacco before them, fossil fuel advocates have attacked mainstream climate science to confuse the public and policymakers about the reality and threat of human-caused climate change. As a result, we have seen a full-scale assault on a century and half of established science. For many climate scientists this has involved attacks from conservative politicians and rightwing lobby groups, orchestrated campaigns of harassment via mainstream and social media, challenges to job security and careers, and in some cases, death threats. Indeed, as recounted in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, one of us (Michael Mann) has been subject to all of those things……….

February 8, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment


Decarbonising Australia’s Energy Sector Within One Generation The transition to a 100% renewable energy system by 2050 is both technically possible and economically viable in the long term. This re…


February 5, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Climate Change should worry us all. #auspol #science #resist

Climate challenge should worry us all Section of land that was covered by water. (Photo: Maarufu Mohammed/Standard) To my shame, I realise I might just have grown up a climate change denialist. &nb…

Source: Climate Change should worry us all. #auspol #science #resist

February 5, 2017 Posted by | general | Comments Off on Climate Change should worry us all. #auspol #science #resist

American nuclear electric companies watching Toshiba Corp. with dismay

Toshiba nuclear write-off spooks Southeast power companies                                          Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter, February 3, 2017

February 4, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Cheap Nuclear Power? – that dream is FINISHED !

nuclear-costs3The dream of cheap nuclear power is over, Crains, By: NOAH SMITH, January 31, 2017  For much of my text-relevantlife, I loved the idea of nuclear power. The science was so cool, futuristic and complicated, the power plants so vast and majestic. I devoured science-fiction novels like “Lucifer’s Hammer,” where a plucky nuclear entrepreneur restarts civilization after a comet almost wipes us out. I thought of accidents like Three Mile Island and even Chernobyl as stumbling blocks to a nuclear future.

Then, in 2011, two things happened. First, a tsunami knocked out the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, forcing a mass evacuation and costing Japan hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, I learned that progress in solar power had been a lot faster and steadier than I had realized. I started taking a closer look at whether nuclear was really the future of energy. Now I’m pretty convinced that my youthful fantasies of a nuclear world won’t come true anytime soon.

Safety is part of the problem — but a much smaller part than most people realize…….

The biggest problem with nuclear isn’t safety — it’s cost. The economics of nuclear are almost certain to keep it a marginal part of the energy mix, especially in the U.S.

Many energy sources involve relatively small upfront costs. To increase solar power, just build more panels. Fracking also has lower fixed costs than traditional oil drilling. But nuclear’s fixed costs are enormous. A new nuclear plant in the U.S. costs about $9 billion to build — more than 1,000 times as much as a new fracking well, and more than 3,000 times as much as the world’s biggest solar plant.

Raising $9 billion is a daunting obstacle. It’s more money than Apple Inc., the U.S.’s most valuable company, borrowed in 2016.The plucky young entrepreneur raising enough money to build his own nuclear plant in “Lucifer’s Hammer” was pure fantasy; in reality, nuclear plants get build by giant corporations such as General Electric Co. and Toshiba Corp., with huge assistance from the government in the form of loan guarantees.

It’s hard to raise money for projects with giant fixed costs and long horizons for repayment, because they’re inherently risky. If something goes badly wrong with the project, all of that up-front money is lost. If competition makes a project un-economical in five or 10 years in the future, the financiers will take a big loss. It’s very hard to make predictions of more than a few years, especially about competing technologies.

For nuclear power, that’s the main risk — rapid advances in competing technologies. Solar power is already cheap and is plunging in price, while energy storage is also becoming much more affordable. If these trends continue, a nuclear power plant that’s economical today will be out-competed in a few years. In other words, there will be no way the owner could recover the fixed costs.

What’s worse, nuclear doesn’t look like it’s getting any cheaper. A recent paper by the Breakthrough Institute shows that in most countries, nuclear costs haven’t changed much in recent decades: Constant or rising nuclear construction costs, matched with dramatically falling solar and storage costs, mean that anyone who ponies up the $9 billion to build a nuclear plant today is taking a gargantuan risk.

Another source of risk is safety — not the well-known threats of accidents and storage leaks, but the unknown unknowns. If terrorists figure out how to bomb nuclear plants, or hackers find ways to invade their software and cause them to melt down, the destruction could be catastrophic. But no one really knows how likely or remote those threats will be a decade from now. And even if those risks can be prevented, doing so will probably will cause large unanticipated costs.

So nuclear power hasn’t become the futuristic dream technology the old science-fiction novels envisioned. Instead, it’s a huge, risky government-subsidized corporate boondoggle. Someday we may have fusion power or small, cheap fission reactors, and the old dream of nuclear will be realized. But unless one of those breakthrough technologies comes to fruition, nuclear isn’t the power of tomorrow.

Noah Smith writes for Bloomberg View.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Global and regional sea level rise scenarios for the United States NOAA Technical Report NOS CO -OPS 083

27 January 2017

Executive summary

The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Hazard Scenarios and Tools Interagency Task Force, jointly convened by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the National Ocean Council (NOC), began its work in August 2015. The Task Force has focused its efforts on three primary tasks: updating scenarios of global mean sea level (GMSL) rise, 2) integrating the global scenarios with regional factors contributing to sea level change for the entire U.S. coastline, and 3) incorporating these regionally appropriate scenarios within coastal risk management tools and capabilities deployed by individual agencies in support of the needs of specific stakeholder groups and user communities. This technical report focuses on the first two of these tasks and reports on the production of gridded relative sea level (RSL, which includes both ocean-level change and vertical land motion) projections for the United States associated with an updated set of GMSL scenarios. In addition to supporting the longer-term Task Force effort, this new product will be an important input into the USGCRP Sustained Assessment process and upcoming Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) due in 2018. This report also serves as a key technical input into the in-progress USGCRP Climate Science Special Report (CSSR).

Publication Details

Resource Type: Text  Report
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February 1, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

America’s 2 new nuclear projects might never be completed, as Toshiba exits nuclear construction

radiation-sign-sadFlag-USAToshiba Likely To Exit Nuclear Plant Construction Business, Forbes,  Rod Adams ,  29 Jan 17 
Westinghouse is “unlikely to carry out actual construction work for the future nuclear power plant projects to eliminate risk.”

Satoshi Tsunakawa, President and CEO of Toshiba, the Japanese company that owns Westinghouse and its CB&I Stone Webster subsidiary, made that statement during a recent press conference. The event, held on January 27, was called to provide a status report for restructuring actions first announced on December 27, 2016.

Computing Magnitude Of Lost Goodwill

The restructuring is required as a result of the growing realization that the value of Westinghouse’s CB&I Stone and Webster subsidiary is probably several hundred billion yen (several billion dollars) less than its current book value. Adjusting the company’s stated value with its real value will require taking a write off of “goodwill.”

The reduction in goodwill value is based on CB&I’s existing and predicted future liabilities associated with completing four nuclear plant construction projects, two at Plant Vogtle in northeast Georgia and two at the V.C. Summer site in northwest South Carolina. ……..

There is even a significant possibility that the projects will fail to be completed at all.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Trump versus Prince Charles in the climate change wars?

Trump and Charles in climate row.  President ‘won’t take lecture’ from prince Tim Shipman and Roya Nikkhah January 29 2017, The Sunday Times Donald Trump is engaged in an extraordinary diplomatic row with the Prince of Wales over climate change that threatens to disrupt his state visit to the UK.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Is nuclear power worth the risks? Is it really a response to global w arming

Dissecting Trump: Is Nuclear Energy The Best Response To Global Warming?, Paste, By Tom Burson  |  January 27, 2017   The nuclear energy debate has long been a bane of politicians. Some energy experts consider nuclear power as the great alternative energy source next to fossil fuels; whereas, environmentalists, though they embrace the green footprint, remain wary about the practice’s overall safety. Even global leaders are split. President Donald Trump hopes to expand nuclear power and the nation’s energy supply—though this expansion certainly curtails some of nuclear power’s benefits when he also hopes to expand fracking and oil drilling. Contrarily, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel completely halted the production of nuclear energy and instituted the Energiewende, which will close all nuclear plants………

January 28, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The world’s 14,900 nuclear weapons, and the countries that have them

14,900 nukes: All the nations armed with atomic weapons and how many they have Business Insider  SKYE GOULDDAVE MOSHER JAN 28, 2017 The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has advanced its symbolic Doomsday Clock by 30 seconds, suggesting humanity is an alarming 2 minutes and 30 seconds away from the brink of an apocalypse.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment