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Sun Dec 25, 2011, 08:42 AM

Nuclear Power Remains Key To America's Energy Future

Until the nuclear accident in Japan earlier this year, the press and blogosphere were replete with articles and discussions about an imminent "nuclear renaissance" in the U.S. President Barack Obama stated publicly that nuclear power was a major component of his "green energy" agenda, and he also called for an increase in the federal nuclear loan guarantee program to help jump-start new plant construction.
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Contrary to the conventional wisdom, and despite Fukushima, a solid majority of Americans still view nuclear energy favorably. According to a survey conducted in late September by Bisconti Research and GfK Roper, 62% of respondents say they approve the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States.

Those strongly favoring nuclear energy outnumber those strongly opposed by a 2-1 ratio. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that current operating licenses should be renewed when they expire, as long as the plants meet federal safety standards.

Fifty-nine percent agree: "We should definitely build more nuclear power plants in the future" while 67% of Americans say they would find a new reactor acceptable at the site of the nearest operating facility.
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(more)


http://news.investors.com/Article/595498/201112211804/nuclear-power-remains-viable-for-us.htm

I don't necessarily agree with this article's conclusion (I think conservation and renewables CAN meet a big chunk of our near-future energy needs) but I do think its true that most Americans are open to more nuclear power as a means of weaning us off of dirty fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, faster.

The sooner more coal and natural gas plants are taken off-line, the better, no matter how we do it.

And President Obama agrees.

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Arrow 83 replies Author Time Post
Reply Nuclear Power Remains Key To America's Energy Future (Original post)
LAGC Dec 2011 OP
kristopher Dec 2011 #1
LAGC Dec 2011 #2
kristopher Dec 2011 #3
Confusious Dec 2011 #5
kristopher Dec 2011 #6
madokie Dec 2011 #18
kristopher Dec 2011 #4
txlibdem Dec 2011 #8
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #10
txlibdem Dec 2011 #17
jpak Dec 2011 #20
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #21
txlibdem Dec 2011 #22
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #27
txlibdem Dec 2011 #29
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #30
txlibdem Dec 2011 #48
Nederland Dec 2011 #68
Starboard Tack Dec 2011 #9
GliderGuider Dec 2011 #11
kristopher Dec 2011 #12
GliderGuider Dec 2011 #13
PamW Dec 2011 #35
PamW Dec 2011 #36
jpak Dec 2011 #52
Kolesar Dec 2011 #56
waddirum Dec 2011 #15
diane in sf Dec 2011 #72
kristopher Dec 2011 #73
bananas Dec 2011 #7
jpak Dec 2011 #14
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #16
jpak Dec 2011 #19
txlibdem Dec 2011 #23
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #24
txlibdem Dec 2011 #25
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #26
txlibdem Dec 2011 #28
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #31
Nederland Dec 2011 #32
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #33
Nederland Dec 2011 #34
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #37
Nederland Dec 2011 #38
jpak Dec 2011 #43
Nederland Dec 2011 #61
kristopher Dec 2011 #39
Nederland Dec 2011 #40
kristopher Dec 2011 #41
Nederland Dec 2011 #42
kristopher Dec 2011 #44
Nederland Dec 2011 #46
kristopher Dec 2011 #51
Nederland Dec 2011 #59
kristopher Dec 2011 #60
Nederland Dec 2011 #62
kristopher Dec 2011 #63
Nederland Dec 2011 #64
kristopher Dec 2011 #65
Nederland Dec 2011 #66
kristopher Dec 2011 #67
Nederland Dec 2011 #69
kristopher Dec 2011 #70
Nederland Dec 2011 #71
FSSF Dec 2011 #74
Kolesar Dec 2011 #75
Kolesar Dec 2011 #45
Nederland Dec 2011 #47
Kolesar Dec 2011 #53
Nederland Dec 2011 #57
txlibdem Dec 2011 #49
txlibdem Dec 2011 #50
Kolesar Dec 2011 #54
txlibdem Dec 2011 #58
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #55
Maslo55 Dec 2011 #76
waddirum Dec 2011 #77
Maslo55 Dec 2011 #78
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #79
txlibdem Jan 2012 #80
Bob Wallace Jan 2012 #81
txlibdem Jan 2012 #82
Bob Wallace Jan 2012 #83

Response to LAGC (Original post)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 10:12 AM

1. Americans oppose building more nuclear power plants in the United States, by a margin of 2-1

From the polling press release:

"Opposition is not merely a not-in-my-back-yard phenomenon. The survey, conducted for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that 67 percent of Americans oppose construction of a nuclear plant within 50 miles of their home – not significantly different than the number who oppose it regardless of location."

“Strong” opposition outstrips strong support, 47-20 percent. Opposition is up from 53 percent in a 2008 poll, and strong opposition is up even more, by 24 points.

This ABC News-Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone April 14-17, 2011, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points....

Still, there are differences among groups; opposition is higher among Democrats (75 percent, vs. 59 percent of Republicans and independents combined), women (73 percent, vs. 53 percent of men) and liberals (74 percent, vs. 60 percent of moderates and conservatives).


http://texasvox.org/2011/04/21/nuclear-power-poll-shows-a-spike-in-u-s-opposition-after-fukushima

All Obama has done is give the industry enough economic rope to hang itself. He increased loan guarantees to 80% and the industry STILL can't find investors without states shifting all of the remaining risk to utility ratepayers.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 10:25 AM

2. I notice that poll you cite was taken clear back in April, back when Fukashima was fresh...

...on everyone's minds.

Is it possible that attitudes have shifted back towards pro-nuclear now that Fukashima has been contained and isn't a serious threat any more?

I'm not saying I disagree with you, I'd just be interested in seeing more current polling data.

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Response to LAGC (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 11:19 AM

3. Your OP is using polling commissioned by the nuclear industry lobbying group NEI, isn't it?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:01 PM

5. Looks like there were a lot of polls


Not just this one (Which BTW, you haven't provided proof of. It only mentions a polling company in the article):

http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/publicationsandmedia/insight/insightsummer2011/polls-show-continued-support-for-nuclear-energy/

Most supported nuclear power

The only information that counts is the information that supports your argument, and if it doesn't, you can spin it to sound that way.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:20 PM

6. Here is the nuclear industry spin clearly identified for you

Globalscan questions:

01
We should use the nuclear power plants that we already have, but we should not build new ones.

02
Nuclear power is dangerous and we should close down all operating nuclear power plants as soon as possible.

03
Nuclear power is relatively safe and an important source of electricity, and we should build new nuclear power plants.


Nuclear industry reporting
01 + 03 = Level of strong support for nuclear power.

Reality
03 = Level of strong support for nuclear power.


The question facing us is where do we spend our money going forward. An overwhelming majority of both experts and the public say renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 09:05 AM

18. I'll be protesting the resumption of building any new nuke plants

Hell I came into my politics by protesting a nuke plant up wind of me that was already started that we stopped, I guess 'going out' the same way would be fitting for me.

I thought we were past this but I guess if one was to follow the money they'd find that the nuclear beast was sure to rise its ugly head again. Should'a known that, damn, I should'a

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Response to LAGC (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 11:49 AM

4. Your OP author is "creatively framing" the issue of support.

Perhaps it is habit of the Nuclear Energy Institute when it spins anything related to nuclear that is swaying the author, who knows? But the fact is that no where in the world does support for building more nuclear rise to a majority. Recent international polling finds that among the nations of the world, support for new build in the US is among the highest, placing us right there with the UK, Nigeria and Pakistan.

However those numbers tend to confirm the ABC/Washington Post polling results with 58% explicitly opposing building more nuclear and 39% in favor.






The globalscan poll is simple and clear.

Poll wording
http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/bbc2011_energy/demoquest.html#quest

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 01:28 PM

8. Only 2 countries favor building new nuclear power plants more than the USA

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:13 PM

10. No countries favor building reactors...

Not a single 51% in favor.

Not a single place in the world where the majority of citizens support new nuclear....

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 07:58 AM

17. 100% of Americans want reliable electric service

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 11:27 AM

20. And nuclear plants don't trip unexpectedly?

Yes they do - all the time

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 12:48 PM

21. Let's see...

Two reactors in Virginia went down last fall due to an earthquake. They were off line for a few months.

Davis-Bessie has been offline for stuck valves, lack of water input, and then for a couple of years because the containment dome was almost corroded through.

Chrystal River is down now because the concrete containment dome has crumbled.

At least one reactor had to be shut down during the spring floods.

A SoCal reactor suddenly went off line a couple months ago due to a blip in grid voltage.

That's a small part of the list of unexpected loss of reactors.

How long was Browns Ferry off line after its fire?

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 08:43 PM

22. You've only listed the reasons why we need to build NEW nuclear power plants to REPLACE old.

Thanks for helping my argument.

I don't want those old nuclear power plants to be relicensed; I want to shut down ALL the old nuke plants -- but replace them with the newer design plants such as SMRs and LFTRs that are passively safe and don't need to be shut down for refueling (the cause of most nuclear plants going offline).

Those old plants are more dangerous than even you know. But we need reliable 24/7/365 electrical power... especially if we are going to remove our necks from the strangle hold of fossil fuels. That means that newly designed nuclear reactors --factory built under strict quality control, mass produced to reduce costs.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #22)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 11:54 PM

27. OK, give us some data...

What will power from a new nuclear reactor cost? What are the current power costs from SMRs and LFTRs?

How long will it take to build one?

How many can we build at the same time?

Who will finance them?

Where are the locations where we can build? Make sure you've got a reliable source of cooling water along with a OKIMBY community.

Explain how new reactors will not be subject to floods, loss of grid power, earthquakes, and stupid moves by Homer.



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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 09:06 AM

29. Ridiculous questions, unanswerable about DVD players, the XBOX, etc.

Boeing makes large airplanes and uses a partial mass production.

How long does it take to build one?

How many can they build at the same time?

Who will finance them?

Where are the locations where air carriers will purchase them (Emirates Air just purchased a boat-load of the new 777).

Explain how new (insert anything, including solar, wind and any other type of renewable energy) will not be subject to floods, loss of grid power, earthquakes, and stupid moves by cartoon characters.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 12:26 PM

30. Your inability to provide a single answer...

Tells us that you argue for nuclear energy devoid of facts.

Anyone can determine the price of a DVD player, XBOx, or any other item that is in production and being sold.

No one can tell you the price of power from a SMR because one has never been built. All we have is speculation. The folks who want to see them built speculate the price will be cheap. Those who know about manufacturing and economies of scale speculate that they will not be cheap.

History tells us that the nuclear industry promises cheap but delivers very expensive.



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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:03 PM

48. Anyone can determine the price of a DVD player???

Was that always true? Did Nero listen to a Violin concerto on his DVD player as Rome burned?

Decades ago, during the years when the possibility of a DVD player was being discussed, did they know that it would eventually be on sale at Walmart for $29.99??? Absolutely not: they had no idea if anyone would even want one, they had no idea how much it would cost to manufacture nor how much customers would be willing to pay for one. The only thing they knew is that it was superior to existing technology and that it would be mass produced... thus, prices would go down as mass production ramped up.

You pose an impossible question and expect an attempt to answer it... in short, ridiculous.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #21)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 03:50 PM

68. After you are done cherrypicking...

...perhaps you could present us the data for all 100+ reactors in the US instead of just 7.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:08 PM

9. Interesting to note that Iran is missing. Probably not easy to poll there.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:14 PM

11. Interesting. According to that poll the USA is strongly pro-nuke.

Only one country shows a lower level of outright opposition to nuclear power - USA 14%; China 13%.
Only two countries show a higher level of support for building more nuclear power: USA 39%; Nigeria 41% and China 42%.
Only two countries show a higher level of support for the continuing use of nuclear power: USA 44%; Japan 57% and France 58%.

In that last category it's easy to understand France and Japan because of their dependency on nuclear.

Over all, the USA shows 83% in favour of continued use and/or building more. As I interpret it, that makes the USA the most pro-nuclear nation in the poll.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:48 PM

12. 1) Most don't want more nukes; 2) We spend more on national defense than everyone else combined.

You can keep pressing that we rank highest but that ranking is still almost 2-1 against more nuclear.

Also, judging by the fact that we spend more on "defense" than all other nations combined, it is fair to say we are the most war loving nation out there by a huge margin.

Perhaps the two are related and should be taken together as evidence of severe social dysfunction.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 04:00 PM

13. Oh, the USA has more dysfunctions than just nukes and war.

The sun is setting on the American version of Empire just in time.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:05 PM

35. Wrong as usual....

You can keep pressing that we rank highest but that ranking is still almost 2-1 against more nuclear.
------------------------------

Wrong as usual. In fact, it's not 2-1 against, it more like 2-1 for.

Rather than made up numbers from the UCS or other anti-nuke groups, let's go with the numbers from a legitimate polling organization; the Gallup organization:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/146939/majority-americans-say-nuclear-power-plants-safe.aspx

PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite concerns about a possible nuclear disaster in the U.S., 58% of Americans think nuclear power plants in the U.S. are safe, while 36% say they are not. Americans are divided on the issue of increasing the number of nuclear power plants in this country, but these attitudes have not changed from 10 years ago.

PamW

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:11 PM

36. Typical flotsam from the left

Also, judging by the fact that we spend more on "defense" than all other nations combined, it is fair to say we are the most war loving nation out there by a huge margin.

Perhaps the two are related and should be taken together as evidence of severe social dysfunction.
---------------------------------

The above is the typical flotsam from the left.

The motto of the US Air Force is "Peace is our Profession". We spend more on defense so nobody in their right mind would challenge us. That's how we maintain peace. Our defense spending is not due to a love of war, but a love of peace.

The equating of defense spending and "loving war" is just a way to slander our defense spending by claiming it is ignoble, that it is "war loving". Again, we have the best military so that no other military power can challenge us militarily. Sneak attacks by sub-national groups are not what the military deters.

I'm proud that we have the best defense forces in the world.

PamW


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Response to PamW (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:31 PM

52. Nonsense from the right

yup

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Response to PamW (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 09:05 PM

56. Our defense spending is ignoble, and it is "war loving"

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Response to LAGC (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 07:40 PM

15. Wait... when did that happen?

"now that Fukashima has been contained and isn't a serious threat any more?"

I don't think anyone can claim that any of the 4 Fukushima reactor cores are "contained", when they don't even know their precise location. Not to mention all of the spent fuel pools which may or may not be intact.

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Response to LAGC (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 02:02 AM

72. ???!!! "Fukishima isn't a serious threat anymore" what planet do you live on?

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #72)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 02:04 AM

73. Welcome back stranger.

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Response to LAGC (Original post)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:30 PM

7. It's not key now, so it can't remain key.

Nuclear has never been "key" and it never will be,
the CEO of Exelon said there's no reason to build new reactors for at least the next ten years,
the CEO of Entergy said "the numbers just don't work" for new nuclear,
those are two of the largest nuclear power companies in the country.

None of the major environmental groups support nuclear as a solution for global warming and most are opposed to it.

The Nuclear Energy Institute hired Hill & Knowlton to do PR. H&K is infamous for representing the tobacco industry and for selling the first Gulf War to Congress and the American people. They hired scientists to lie about the dangers of smoking, and they hired the Kuwait Ambassadors daughter to lie to Congress on live National TV, pretending she was a nurse named Nayirah and telling the outrageous lie that she saw Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of incubators.

Almost forgot - H&K also represented BCCI - Bank of Crooks and Criminals International.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_(testimony)
http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_%26_Knowlton

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Response to LAGC (Original post)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 04:01 PM

14. Well then, investors should be funding these plants

oh wait

they ain't

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 07:55 PM

16. Suckers in the Southeast...

Are pre-paying for new reactors. Utility companies have managed to get permission to raise their rates years before they plan to start construction. That extra profit is then set aside as a "gift" from their customers to be used to offset the cost of new construction.

The increased rate has a second function aside from fleecing their customers. When the new reactor comes on line and prices have to be raised due to the cost of producing power the rate increase will be made from a higher previous rate - there will be less sticker shock.

Some Florida customers have figured out the fact that they are getting screwed and are fighting back....

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 10:20 AM

19. yup - ratepayers in FL are paying ~$10 a month per household and there's $50 billion in gov't loan

guarantees - but who's counting?

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 08:57 PM

23. The world got screwed by misguided anti-nuke activists

They wanted to save us from the danger of radiation but shutting down nuclear power plants just caused the utility companies to build more coal power plants.

Every coal plant puts out 5.2 TONS of Uranium each year (per 1 GW)... 57,000 pounds of which is U-235: nuclear bomb material.

What do you think these anti-nuke activists would say if they clearly understood that THEY were personally responsible for poisoning our domestic fish with mercury and releasing thousands of TONS of Uranium into the environment.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 09:13 PM

24. Misleading...

A very misleading post.

We quit building nuclear plants because of their cost. Pure and simple. Many plants were abandoned during construction because it was obvious that they would cost too much to complete.

The age of nuclear in the US was coming to an end before Three Mile Island because costs had risen past what was reasonable.

We built coal plants because they were cheaper.

Finances largely drive the decision. That's why we are currently making the poor decision to install a lot of natural gas generation rather than going straight to renewables.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #24)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 09:47 PM

25. Nothing misleading in my post... deflecting much are we?

The cost of nuclear power plants rose in part because of the unlimited lawsuits, protesters, legal maneuverings, etc., of the anti-nukers.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 10:51 PM

26. In part, in very small part...

The fact is, companies bid low and delivered high, when they delivered. Reactors turned out to be very expensive to build and a lot of people lost a lot of money when many reactors were abandoned....

p. 10

"From the first fixed price turnkey reactors in the 1960s to the May 2009 cost projection of
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the claim that nuclear power is or could be cost
competitive with alternative technologies for generating electricity has been based on hope and
hype. In the 1960s and 1970s, the hope and hype analyses prepared by reactor vendors and parroted
by government officials helped to create what came to be known as the “great bandwagon market.”
In about a decade utilities ordered over 200 nuclear reactors of increasing size.

Unfortunately, reality did not deliver on the hope and the hype. Half of the reactors ordered
in the 1960s and 1970s were cancelled, with abandoned costs in the tens of billions of dollars. Those
reactors that were completed suffered dramatic cost overruns (see Figure ES-1). On average, the
final cohort of great bandwagon market reactors cost seven times as much as the cost projection for
the first reactor of the great bandwagon market. The great bandwagon market ended in fierce
debates in the press and regulatory proceedings throughout the 1980s and 1990s over how such a
huge mistake could have been made and who should pay for it."

http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/Cooper%20Report%20on%20Nuclear%20Economics%20FINAL%5B1%5D.pdf

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:38 AM

28. You're on the periphery of the truth. Too bad close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Ask yourself why would they just up and abandon an expensive project like a nuclear power plant. Did they not like the color?

Nope. Anti-nukers made it too expensive with their frivolous lawsuits/paid off or jelly spined city council members/etc. Some investors couldn't bring in extra cash in time and the deal fell through. That is how Capitalism works and the anti-nukers used the very forces of Capitalism against nuclear power... but never ONCE tried to do the same for coal.

I wonder why...

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 12:29 PM

31. Provide some proof...

I'm now suspecting that you pull stuff out of thin air and fling it at the screen.

Show us some numbers that indicate how much of the cost overruns for nuclear were caused by "frivolous lawsuits/paid off or jelly spined city council members/etc. "

You need to step up with some facts.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 01:15 PM

32. Here you go

BTW, this analysis does not exactly support what txlibdem is saying, but it is still interesting...

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

There are two major parts to this analysis, one is fact, the other opinion. The fact is that the cost of building a nuclear plant increased 10-20 fold from around 1970 to 1983. You can argue about lots of things in this analysis, but you cannot argue with this fact. It is indisputable that the cost of building a nuclear plant increased much more than the rate of inflation, much more than the increases in the material costs involved, and much more than the increases in labor costs involved. The numbers make this clear.

So, why did costs increase so much? That is the real question. The author of this piece proposes an answer, an answer that you probably do not agree with. That's fine, provided that you can come up with an alternative answer to why the cost of building a nuclear plant increased 10-20 fold. I'd be interested in hearing what you come up with.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 01:46 PM

33. It depends on how you read the analysis...

Here's the objective part...

Costs rose some because there were safety issues raised, initial plans were judged not safe enough.

There weren't enough inspectors and that held up completion.

Adequate planning for safety zones and evacuation had not been done in advance.

Inflation drove up material and labor costs.

Financing played a major role in increasing costs.

--

The author brings up the issue of protesters slowing Seabrook and Shoreham but those are only two of a large number of plants which were started and dozens of the plants started were never completed.

Now, if you and txlibdem want to argue that we should have gone ahead and built unsafe reactors, carry on with your arguments.

If you want to argue that we quit building reactors because of NIMBY protesters you need to bring some data to prove your point.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #33)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 01:56 PM

34. Provide some proof...

If you want to argue that we quit building reactors because of NIMBY protesters...

I'm not making that claim, txlibdem is. My claim is that we stopped building reactors because increased regulation increased the costs to the point that nuclear became noncompetitive. Your response seems to be that the increased regulation was necessary to address safety concerns. I'd like some evidence that this is true.

You asked for proof, and I gave you a link. You may disagree with what is in the link, but at least I provided something. I therefore think it is fair for you to do the same. Provide some evidence that US plants built after 1972 are safer than plants built before then. Thanks.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:16 PM

37. No.

I'm not going to play a game of moving goal posts.

If you or tx believe that protesters drove reactors into bankruptcy and caused us to build coal plants then back up your claims with something of substance.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #37)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:25 PM

38. Put up or shut up

I'm not moving the goal posts: I disagree with txlibdem on this matter, plain and simple.

I believe that nuclear plants became too expensive to build because of increased regulation. You believe that increased regulation was necessary, but so far have produced no evidence that this is true.

Time to produce some evidence...

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Response to Nederland (Reply #38)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 03:32 PM

43. More reactors (110) were canceled than actually built and operated in the US

The stranded costs exceeded $100 billion.

Those costs were paid by rate payers - not plant owners, not investors.

This is why no new nuclear plants were ordered in the US from 1973 until recently - and the only reason they are being built today is because the taxpayers are footing the bill for $50 billion in loan guarantees.

sometimes socialism is not a good thing...

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #43)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 12:05 PM

61. I agree

Utilities no longer order nuclear plants because at some point in the late 1970's they became too expensive. The question I am asking is why. Why did costs increase so dramatically during the mid 70's and early 80's? The only answer I have seen is regulatory ratcheting, but I am open to other explanations...

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Response to Nederland (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:26 PM

39. What do you make of this

The facts do not support blaming cost escalation on environmental protests. The trend for cost escalation was established from the very beginning and continued throughout the bandwagon market.

History of Cost Overruns
It is more than legend that the original wave of U.S. nuclear power plants ordered in the 1960's and 1970's experienced massive cost overruns compared to original estimates.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) studied the record of this generation of plants (but did not include the worst cases such as Comanche Peak, Seabrook, and Vogtle), breaking up the results into two-year periods. EIA set out to compare original estimates to actual costs (levelized to constant dollars), and the results were dramatic. It was not a few isolated cases, but a clear pattern of an industry that regularly and catastrophically underestimated its costs:

The EIA found average actual realized nuclear construction costs were 209% - 380% , to almost 4 times, the estimates originally presented at start of construction:

Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power
Craig A. Severance

A far better explanation - and one that is consistent with observed cost estimates vs reality in today's extremely favorable regulatory climate - is that the nuclear industry engaged in a common unethical business practice: They lowballed the price estimates and it caught up with them.

So those wanting to blame environmental opposition need to explain both the early estimate/actual cost trends and the recent estimate/actual cost trends.


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Response to kristopher (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:45 PM

40. I agree

The facts do not support blaming cost escalation on environmental protests.

Once again (and I do not know how many times I need to say this), I agree with this assertion.

You point out that the nuclear industry "regularly and catastrophically underestimated its costs". Once again, I agree. The question I think you need to ask is why. Why did costs increased so dramatically? Why is it that the nuclear industry was able to accurately estimate its costs prior to 1972, but afterwards suddenly lost the ability to do so? Why is it that the same companies and the same people that were able to build nuclear plants at competitive prices prior to 1972 suddenly became incapable of doing so 15 years later?

The answer is that the cost of building a nuclear plant increased dramatically because of increased regulation.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #40)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 02:52 PM

41. That red herring explains neither early nor recent cost escalations.

The practice of "lowballing" does.

See data in post above.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 03:16 PM

42. You have it backwards

Are you saying that because the nuclear industry underestimated costs, its costs increased? That make absolutely no sense. The cost of something does not increase 10-20 fold because somebody low balls a bid.

Clearly you have the cause and effect backwards. Costs did not increase because the industry started to under estimate costs. The industry started to under estimate costs because their costs suddenly and unexpectedly increased dramatically.

Just look at your own chart. The price of a nuclear power plant that started construction in the 1960's and early 1970's was fairly stable, moving up pretty close to the rate of inflation. Then suddenly prices skyrocketed. It makes perfect sense that industry estimates went haywire. Their estimates were based upon their experience from the previous decade. They had no idea that starting in the early to mid 1970's that they would face a rush of new regulation that they did not experience during their previous projects.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #42)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 03:36 PM

44. No the price in the 60s and early 70s wasn't stable. Look at the table.

That is why I posted it - the nuclear industry myth hides behind the ambiguity of poorly presented data. We were seeing dramatic cost escalations before the first plants were even 25% completed.




Your claim that I "have it backwards" has no foundation. Lowballing is a practice that is used to procure a business commitment when the nature of the contract allows for later price escalation. That is why "turnkey" contracts are a deal killer for nuclear vendors. A point you went to great lengths to avoid addressing here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x262189

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Response to kristopher (Reply #44)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 04:07 PM

46. There are two issues here

Let me start by saying that I was mistaken. Cost estimates have clearly always been off in the nuclear industry. Taking a look at your chart shows that. See, I can admit when I make a mistake...

(However, I do not think this situation is unique to the nuclear industry. Cost overruns are common for ALL large construction projects, especially when government and/or complex technology is involved. It is very common for the projected cost of building roads, bridges, aircraft carriers, etc. to be way off.)

However, there are two different issues here. One is why cost estimates for nuclear plants are so inaccurate, and the other is why costs increased dramatically for plants that started construction after 1970. I will continue to maintain that the two issues have no connection. A company does not say to itself, hey, we estimated that this thing would cost 200 million dollars, so we better try real hard to make it cost 10 times that much. A low estimated cost does not cause a high actual cost.

Let me put it another way. The actual cost of a nuclear plant increased 10-20 fold from 1972-1985. Are you actually saying that if the industry had produced accurate estimates, the price of a nuclear power plant would NOT have increased so dramatically?

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Response to Nederland (Reply #46)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:20 PM

51. "A low estimated cost does not cause a high actual cost"

Duh.

A low estimated cost HIDES a high actual cost in order to obtain a contract under what amounts to fraudulent terms.

The nuclear industry's method is to get a contract with a lowball estimate, spend several hundred million and then raise the price. The sunk cost is the hook that keeps the sucker on the line through a series of similar incremental price escalations.

It has nothing to do with "regulatory ratcheting", it has to do with fraud and a negative learning curve.

Read this thread from 2006
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x54089

Then this:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2468399.ece

And this:
http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/10/problems_seen_in_olkiluoto-type_project_in_china_2930807.html

"Regulatory ratcheting" my ass.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #51)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:23 AM

59. I'm glad we agree

And that you now admit that high estimates did not cause the dramatic increase in costs.

However, since you clearly disagree with my assertion regarding regulatory ratcheting, what is your explanation for the dramatic increase in costs that occurred during the period in question?

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Response to Nederland (Reply #59)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:41 AM

60. So you accept that fraud and a negative learning curve are the problems?

I wrote, "A low estimated cost HIDES a high actual cost in order to obtain a contract under what amounts to fraudulent terms.

The nuclear industry's method is to get a contract with a lowball estimate, spend several hundred million and then raise the price. The sunk cost is the hook that keeps the sucker on the line through a series of similar incremental price escalations.

It has nothing to do with "regulatory ratcheting", it has to do with fraud and a negative learning curve.

Read this thread from 2006
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x54089

Then this:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2468399.ece

And this:
http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/10/problems_seen_in_olkiluoto-type_project_in_china_2930807.html

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Response to kristopher (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 12:25 PM

62. No

Even if fraud did occur is can only account for the difference between the estimated cost and the actual cost. Fraud cannot explain why costs increased dramatically.

As for a negative learning curve, I also disagree. The nuclear industry has demonstrated the ability to build nuclear plants in 4 to 5 years in places like France, Japan and China. If a negative learning curve was at work this would not be the case--you would see longer build times across the globe. When we see that a single company like Westinghouse can build a reactor in Japan in 5 years but for some reason cannot build the exact same reactor in the US in under 7 years the only possible explanation must be the different regulatory environment.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #62)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 12:39 PM

63. Apparently you can't be bothered to consider the totality of an argument.

I twice gave you links demonstrating the same problem in France, Finland, and China. It is a negative learning curve. Every facility they build reveals problems that have to be addressed and that create more problems. It is the complexity of the system. You've said it yourself - attempts to make it more safe result in compounding problems. That isn't a regulatory issue that is a problem related to the fundamentally *unsafe* nature of the the technology at its most basic configuration,

Each project is a learning experience. Compare it to automobiles, TVs or computers in their early days of development. What was the learning curve yielding when in the world less than 1000 of each of those pieces of technology had been built?


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Response to kristopher (Reply #63)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 12:57 PM

64. Apparently you can't be bothered to consider the totality of an industry.

Yes, the French are having some major problems with the EPR. That proves nothing about whether the industry as a whole is suffering from a negative learning curve. Your assertion is like saying that the entire semiconductor industry suffers from a negative learning curve because the Itanium processor was a clusterfuck that cost Intel tens of billions of dollars.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #64)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 01:08 PM

65. Your case has been demolished.

You claimed a trend in cost increases proved your point.
That trend does not exist. The trend that does exist supports a negative learning curve and fraud.

I supported that interpretation by providing an example of a reactor design that is going through the same negative learning curve in multiple different regulatory environments.

You have no reply of substance.

Your argument is disproved.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #65)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 03:11 PM

66. Really?

You claimed a trend in cost increases proved your point. That trend does not exist.

Are you seriously going to claim that there was no dramatic increase in costs for plants that began in the mid 1970's and completed after 1981? Seriously? Look at your own fucking graph kristopher:





You have no reply of substance.

Your argument is disproved.


I think you are projecting.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #66)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 03:49 PM

67. Look at the table.

All you are seeing is the accumulated effect of repeated doubling and tripling over the years.

Perhaps this will help you:
One Grain of Rice
One Grain of Rice is a mathematical folktale from India that covers the concept of doubling.
http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/3695

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Response to kristopher (Reply #67)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 03:57 PM

69. Your table's data conveniently stops at 1977

Just when costs take off.

Just give up, kristopher. Even you have to realize you made a mistake. It's not like it destroys your entire argument--just admit you got one minor thing wrong and adjust your argument appropriately. It would go a long way toward curing you of the reputation you have around here of being unable to admit when you are wrong about something.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #69)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 04:14 PM

70. The data goes to completion of plants started through 1977.



Here is another source discussing the same table as published by CBO
"Nuclear Power Plant Construction Costs"

Thus, the average cost overrun for these 75 nuclear units was 207 percent. In other words, the actual average cost of the plants was about triple their estimated costs.

In fact, the data in the previous table understates the cost overruns experienced by the U.S. nuclear industry because (1) the cost figures do not reflect escalation and financing costs and (2) the database does not include some of the most expensive nuclear power plants built in the U.S. – e.g., Comanche Peak, South Texas, Seabrook, and Vogtle. For example, the cost of the two unit Vogtle plant in Georgia increased from $660 million to $8.7 billion in nominal dollars – a 1,200 percent overrun.

There were a number of significant consequences as a result of these cost overruns. First, only one-half of the nuclear power plants that were proposed were actually built and ratepayers frequently had to bear many millions of dollars of sunk costs for abandoned projects. Second, the cost of power from completed nuclear power plants became much more expensive for ratepayers than the proponents had claimed. In some instances this led to rate increases so large that they spawned the term “rate shock.”.

http://www.synapse-energy.com/Downloads/SynapsePaper.2008-07.0.Nuclear-Plant-Construction-Costs.A0022.pdf

You can't get the guarantees and the contracts they got by telling the truth about economics like this.

The dishonesty of the arguments you are making is becoming more pronounced the longer this goes on. Since I find that repellent, we are done.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #70)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 04:45 PM

71. It also excludes the most expensive plants

The table only includes cost data for 75 of the 100+ nuclear plants in the US. Did you even read the paragraph you just posted?

In fact, the data in the previous table understates the cost overruns experienced by the U.S. nuclear industry because (1) the cost figures do not reflect escalation and financing costs and (2) the database does not include some of the most expensive nuclear power plants built in the U.S. – e.g., Comanche Peak, South Texas, Seabrook, and Vogtle.

In other words, the table does not accurately reflect the average costs of the reactors in a given year. That is why you can't see the dramatic increase in reactor costs--the most expensive ones were excluded.

The dishonesty of the arguments you are making is becoming more pronounced the longer this goes on.

Projecting again I see.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #62)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:58 AM

74. The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421510003526

First, while the nuclear industry is often quick to point at public opposition and regulatory uncertainty as reasons for real cost escalation, it may be more productive to start asking whether these trends are not intrinsic to the very nature of the technology itself: large-scale, lumpy, and requiring a formidable ability to manage complexity in both construction and operation. These intrinsic characteristics of the technology limit essentially all classical mechanisms of cost improvements—standardization, large series, and a large number of quasi-identical experiences that can lead to technological learning and ultimate cost reductions—except one: increases in unit size, i.e., economies of scale. In the history of steam electricity generation, these indeed led initially to substantial cost reductions, but after the late 1960s that option has failed invariably due to continued design changes (leading to higher material requirements per kW – the current EPR design being the most “heavy”) and also increases in technological complexity.
...
Lastly, the French nuclear case has also demonstrated the limits of the learning paradigm: the assumption that costs invariably decrease with accumulated technology deployment. The French example serves as a useful reminder of the limits of the generalizability of simplistic learning/experience curve models. Not only do nuclear reactors across all countries with significant programs invariably exhibit negative learning, i.e., cost increase rather than decline, but the pattern is also quite variable, defying approximations by simple learning-curve models.

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Response to FSSF (Reply #74)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 07:33 AM

75. Welcome to our forum

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Response to Nederland (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 03:39 PM

45. Do you agree with Professor Cohen?

" Thus, regulatory ratcheting, quite aside from the effects of inflation, quadrupled the cost of a nuclear power plant.

What has all this bought in the way of safety? One point of view often expressed privately by those involved in design and construction is that it has bought nothing. A nuclear power plant is a very complex system, and adding to its complexity involves a risk in its own right. If there are more pipes, there are more ways to have pipe breaks, which are one of the most dangerous failures in reactors. With more complexity in electrical wiring, the chance for a short circuit or for an error in hook-ups increases, and there is less chance for such an error to be discovered. On the other hand, each new safety measure is aimed at reducing a particular safety shortcoming and undoubtedly does achieve that limited objective. It is difficult to determine whether or not reducing a particular safety problem improves safety more than the added complexity reduces safety."
=======-========
They are engineering professionals. They should be able to model the risk that they are assessing and quantify the reduction in risk.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 04:18 PM

47. Yes

Regulatory ratcheting is the primary cause of increased costs.

I would also agree that the increased costs have bought us nothing in terms of increased safety. In fact, there is considerable evidence that regulatory ratcheting has had a negative impact on safety. According to the NRC, the six most serious commercial nuclear incidents in the US occurred at the following plants:

Plant (completion date)

Three Mile Island (TMI-1: 1974, TMI-2: 1978)*
Davis-Besse nuclear reactor (1978)
Brunswick (Southport) nuclear reactor (1977)
Shearon Harris nuclear reactor (1987)
Wolf Creek nuclear reactor (1985)
Catawba nuclear reactor (1986)

(source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6062933/ns/us_news-environment/t/ohio-nuclear-scare-ranked-serious/#.Tvo1-dRuBMU)

* The Three Mile Island accident occurred in the newer reactor, TMI-2.

As you can see, the six most serious accidents in US history all occurred in plants finished after the regulatory ratcheting that Professor Cohen describes took effect.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #47)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:57 PM

53. No, do you agree with Cohen that Cohen doesn't know jack shit about risk analysis?

Apparently, you needed me to put a finer point on it since you didn't get the point of the text that I bolded in my post.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #53)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:26 AM

57. Yes

I agree with Cohen regarding the difficulty of accurately determining the aggregate impact of making a change. You seem to think that such a calculation should be possible, but you are wrong. Risk assessments of nuclear power plants cannot account for the indirect, non-linear, and feedback relationships that characterize many accidents in complex systems. That is just a fact.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 07:23 PM

49. Here's an anti-nuke bragging that they did just that, and more. Facts.

    In Citizen Lawmakers, David Schmidt summarized the results of 15 years of antinuclear initiatives: “Consumer and environmental groups won only 1 of the 14 state initiative campaigns on utility regulation issues held nationwide in the years between 1972 and 1976. From 1977 to 1987, however, as a result of more thoughtfully drafted initiatives, better planning, and more experienced leadership, they won 14 of 29, despite the spending advantages of the utility companies.”

    And, “the more citizens throughout the nation joined the effort to wrest control of their energy future from the nuclear industry, the more risky any future investment in that industry became. By threatening nuclear power and by forcing government and industry to pay more attention to safety problems, the initiatives of the 1970s and early 1980s delayed the spread of nuclear power. When the threat of the initiatives had passed, the cost of nuclear power had risen so high that starting new plants from scratch was no longer a viable option. By the mid-1980s several utility companies were forced to abandon half-built plants costing billions of dollars.”

    ...

    NOTE: This overview covers only a small part of what the anti-nuclear-power movement has done, and accomplished, over the past 35 years. In addition to initiatives, strategies included civil disobedience and attempted occupation of plant sites; legislative action at the state and federal levels; and lawsuits and citizen intervention before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    http://www.initiativeforchange.org/Anti-NuclearPowerBallotInitiativesStopped.htm


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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 07:55 PM

50. No so-called activists mobilizing against coal

They are only now starting, after Dick Cheney's secret meetings with energy companies which produced 150 proposed new coal plants.

    Although few new coal plants have been built since 1990, more than 600 large coal plants continue to generate power, and the pollution produced by those plants exacts a sickening toll in damaged health and lost lives. Coal emissions are the largest industrial source of mercury pollution, which, according to the EPA, produces an increased risk of learning disabilities in 15.7 percent of newborns. Another health effect related to the burning of coal is the emission of fine particulates. According to a study released by the Clean Air Task Force, particulates from coal plants result in 23,600 heart and respiratory fatalities per year. But just as coal itself is no longer an obvious part of everyday life, the death toll from coal emissions remains largely hidden from sight, buried in statistics. Until recently, neither environmental nor health-oriented citizen groups devoted major attention to the issue.

    http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/ready_to_rumble/


Proof that anti-nuke activists are DIRECTLY responsible for at least a portion of global climate change.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:59 PM

54. Sitting on your chunk posting on a message board doesn't count as "activism" either, Tex

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #54)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 10:53 AM

58. If I wasn't 100% disabled I'd be on the picket lines as we speak

As it is, I cannot leave my house without my wife's help.

I understand your snipe, however, and I somewhat agree. As Thom Hartmann says, "tag - you're it; go out and occupy something."

FYI, Texas attempted to build 11 new coal plants but public opposition here stopped all but 3:
http://www.stopthecoalplant.org/news/news_nytimes_040508.php

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 09:05 PM

55. Help me out here...

Are you a junior high school student, young person?

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Response to LAGC (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 08:23 AM

76. Factory produced small (>500 MW) modular reactors

offer many technical and economic advantages over huge centralised plants, especially in an environment where finance cost and red tape cost is getting higher. This is where nuclear industry should head to not only stay important part of our energy mix, but help displace fossil energy ASAP.

As for NIMBYism, regulation and red tape, it has indeed become a major bottleneck in nuclear industry development and innovation since the 70s, all due to irrational public nucleophobia mainly caused by Chernobyl (old soviet military reactor design completely unrelated to civilian western ones, and the meltdown was caused by experiments, not normal operation) - exactly after this event the costs began to climb and reactors began to get cancelled. The assertion that nuclear power plant costs rose 10-20x over the course of 15 years only due to actually needed and justifiable safety regulations is ridiculous - no technical or operational changes were done which would cause such cost increase.

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Response to Maslo55 (Reply #76)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 12:16 PM

77. yup... keep waiting for that nuclear renaissance

It's gonna happen someday.

This next design will be safe... we promise... it won't melt down like the last one.

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Response to waddirum (Reply #77)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 01:04 PM

78. indeed it will happen

Current opposition to nuclear energy is fueled by cheap abundant fossil energy (which negative effects are far greater, but less immidiately obvious), but that will not last long. After fossil fuels start to run out, and renewables fail to deliver in enough magnitudes to replace all fossil power without issues, people would scream for nuclear energy, because the alternative - reduction of quality of life, which inevitably comes with less energy available, is unacceptable for majority of people.

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Response to Maslo55 (Reply #78)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 02:12 PM

79. Cheap fossil fuel is going away...

It's being replaced with cheap renewable energy.

If you believe that we can't build enough renewable infrastructure to provide our energy needs then you have to believe that we also can not build enough nuclear infrastructure to provide our energy needs.

We've got got lots of plants cranking out wind turbines and solar panels. We have no firms who have demonstrated the ability to build a nuclear reactor at budget and on time.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #79)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 04:43 PM

80. We need ALL of the zero-carbon energy sources, not just 2

Gen IV nuclear power plants, mass produced in factories can play a part in getting rid of deadly fossil fuels.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #80)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 05:02 PM

81. There are no Gen IV nuclear power plants...

There are no mass produced reactors.

There are no turbines spun by unicorn farts.

We do have wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass, biogas, tidal and wave technology now working. By my count that is more than two.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #81)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 05:49 PM

82. Let's absolutely start with what we have (wind and solar)

But to ignore technologies that will be coming online by 2020 or 2030 is just plain wrongheaded.

What about geothermal power generation which won't provide significant amounts of power till 2020 or later. Are you going to poo-poo that as well?

Wave and tidal power will take over a decade to build up... should we discount that as fantasy farts as well?

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #82)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 06:14 PM

83. If something emerges in 2020 or 2030 or 2040 or 2050...

Then we can add it to the mix. If it makes sense. But not simply because it's a bang-whizz technology.

Geothermal - it's already on line. It's growing fairly rapidly, especially in some parts of the world such as Indonesia. Geothermal is here now.

Tidal is already connected to the grid. Tidal is here now. We've got some major corporations such a Siemans and Rolls-Royce in the game. It's pretty much build-out time.

Wave is looking promising. It might turn out to be fantasy farts, we'll see.



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