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Fri Oct 26, 2012, 10:32 AM

Harvey Wasserman - The rust-bucket nuclear reactors start to fall

The US fleet of 104 deteriorating atomic reactors is starting to fall. The much-hyped "nuclear renaissance" is now definitively headed in reverse.

The announcement that Wisconsin's Kewaunee will shut next year will be remembered as a critical dam break. Opened in 1974, Kewaunee has fallen victim to low gas prices, declining performance, unsolved technical problems and escalating public resistance.

Many old US reactors are still profitable only because their capital costs were forced down the public throat during deregulation, through other manipulations of the public treasury, and because lax regulation lets them operate cheaply while threatening the public health.

But even that's no longer enough. Dominion Energy wanted a whole fleet of reactors, then backed down and couldn't even find a buyer for Kewaunee. As the company put it: "the decision" to shut Kewaunee "was based purely on economics. Dominion was not able to move forward with our plan to grow our nuclear fleet in the Midwest to take advantage of economies of scale". Ironically, Kewaunee was recently given a license extension by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
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http://freepress.org/columns/display/7/2012/1948

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Reply Harvey Wasserman - The rust-bucket nuclear reactors start to fall (Original post)
limpyhobbler Oct 2012 OP
Throckmorton Nov 2012 #1
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #2

Response to limpyhobbler (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 05:19 AM

1. Also note that Dominion has abandoned their "Maine to Main" strategy from the last decade.

They are dumping lots of their plants (all types) outside of their traditional service area.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:36 AM

2. How the heck do you get economies of scale by operating multiple reactors in a region?

Sharing a small pool of engineers between sites? Sharing a pool of emergency response materials between sites?

I can think of no 'economy of scale' here (aside from building NEW reactors, and building identical reactors, so you get some EOS from the foundry for the pressure vessels or something) that wouldn't be some kind of crazy trade-off on safety.

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