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Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the i'm-sure-there's-a-duke-nukem-joke-here dept.

Power 142

mdsolar sends this news from the Associated Press: Expensive delays are piling up for the companies building new nuclear power plants, raising fresh questions about whether they can control the construction costs that crippled the industry years ago. The latest announcement came this week from executives at SCANA Corp., which has been warned by its builders the startup of the first of two new reactors in South Carolina could be delayed two years or more. ... That announcement may well foreshadow more delays for a sister project in eastern Georgia, and they have caught the attention of regulators and Wall Street. 'Delays generally cause cost increases, and the question becomes who's going to bear the costs?' said C. Dukes Scott, executive director of the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, a watchdog agency that monitors SCANA Corp.'s spending.

None of this is helpful for the nuclear power industry, which had hoped its newest generation of plants in Georgia and South Carolina would prove it could build without the delays and cost overruns so endemic years ago. When construction slows down, it costs more money to employ the thousands of workers needed to build a nuclear plant. Meanwhile, interest charges add up on the money borrowed to finance construction. A single day of delay in Georgia could cost $2 million, according to an analysis by utility regulators.

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Just red tape? (1, Interesting)

Elledan (582730) | about 2 months ago | (#47685819)

It always amazes me to hear about cost overruns and delays with new nuclear plants considering that in essence they're little more complex than coal plants, which keep popping up everywhere without any apparent issues.

So, is it just the red tape causing delays, or is it something else which make a nuclear plants so much more complex than a coal or gas plant?

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47685885)

To say such profoundly and monumentally stupid things, you *must* be a programmer.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47686407)

The article said absolutely nothing about the causes of delay. Since these are the standardized AP-1000 design, where is the delay coming from?

Re:Just red tape? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47686495)

It's Obama's fault.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686543)

Probably, but that still doesn't tell us what he actually did this time.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687069)

He stole 40 yellowcakes of Uranium.

And that's terrible.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687817)

I thought it was always Jimmy Carter's fault when it's something nuclear?

Re:Just red tape? (3, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47686631)

"setbacks stem from a delay in fabrication and delivery of modules from Chicago Bridge & Iron out of Lake Charles, La., SCE&G officials said. They said 100 out of 146 project milestones have been completed, but many of them are being delayed because of a large structural module called a CAO1 that has not been delivered by CB&I.

SCE&G officials said as many as half of the construction milestones could fall outside the 18-month construction window allowed by state regulators under the existing Summer guidelines.

The delay revealed last year was estimated by SCE&G to cost about $278 million. In April, the S.C. Energy Users Committee and the Sierra Club took SCE&G to the Supreme Court asking that those cost delays be borne by SCE&G, not ratepayers, after the PSC ruled the charges could be passed off to the public."

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/0... [thestate.com]

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47687365)

So all we're really talking about is it taking time for a long-unused precision manufacturing capability to come up to speed once more? The same thing happened in the early days of our entry into WW II.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47687513)

Except that this would be a way to lose the war, not win it. http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-C... [rmi.org] And, when nuclear builds were common, factor of three overruns were common as well.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686881)

Since these are the standardized AP-1000 design, where is the delay coming from?

The US nuclear power industry is deeply corrupt, venal, deceptive and hooked into the US government.

They cannot be trusted with anything, let alone constructing new power plants.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 months ago | (#47687199)

That "standardized" AP-1000 design is not actually running anywhere yet (must be any day soon though).

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687287)

That "standardized" AP-1000 design is not actually running anywhere yet (must be any day soon though).

China is building 4 x AP1000s. The first was built with a South Korean built pressure vessel, but the rest will use domestically produced pressure vessels and steam generators. The first unit will probably be the first AP1000 to go live.

Erm, not so much. (4, Informative)

stomv (80392) | about 2 months ago | (#47685887)

First of all, nuclear power plants are far more complex than coal plants. Sure, the steam to electric part is identical, but controlling a nuclear reaction requires far different parts than crushing and burning coal.

Secondly, coal fired power plants are not "popping up everywhere" in America. No new coal plants will be built anytime soon, because 111(b) prevents new sources of electric generation that emit more than ~1200 lbs CO2 per MWh (coal is ~2000 lbs). A few plants have opened in the past five years; we won't see any more.

Thirdly, it isn't "red tape" that caused this latest delay -- it's the inability for suppliers of key components of the power plant to deliver the materials on time. The parts are specialized, the vendors capable of building (some of) those parts few and far between, and the list of parts that must be assembled in order rather long. Any delay ripples through the project, and the loan (plus interest) needs to get paid back, even if the plant isn't operating yet.

The big risk in nuclear construction is a financial risk. It isn't until much later that the nuclear reaction itself becomes a challenge.

Re:Erm, not so much. (2)

Elledan (582730) | about 2 months ago | (#47686021)

True, the US kinda switched to natural gas and are now shipping coal to Europe :) Here in Germany we got 26 new coal plants built or under construction in the past few years alone.

So the problem in the end is largely a logistics problem which should become less of an issue if more nuclear plants were being built due to the parts becoming less specialized. That's good to know, I guess :)

Re:Erm, not so much. (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 2 months ago | (#47686507)

26? Do you have a source for that? According to:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

This this seems a bit unlikely to me.

Re:Erm, not so much. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47686613)

Maybe here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Erm, not so much. (1, Informative)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about 2 months ago | (#47686883)

The source for that claim is a BusinessWeek article from 2008. Here is some actual research: http://energytransition.de/2013/04/germany-builds-minus-six-coal-plants-after-nuclear-phaseout/ [energytransition.de]

Basically:
1. Since the nuclear shutdown 2 new plants have been completed and 8 are under construction. However all were planned since before the nuclear shutdown.
2. Since the nuclear shutodwn 0 new plants have been planned for consstruction. Additionally, 6 plants which were planned have been canceled.
3. So the total change in planned German coal capacity is -6 plants and don't hold your breath for more, coal is becomming uncompetitive in Germany.

The OP's claim that US coal exports have increased is not incorrect (http://energytransition.de/2013/04/german-reliance-on-coal-from-the-us/ [energytransition.de] ). However it is a substitution affect. Not an increase in German imports. Actual coal energy production in Germany has remained flat

P.S. Sorry for the bad formating. Slashdot butchered my attempt to add an <ol> list with superflous <p> tags

Re:Erm, not so much. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47687259)

One of the things that you are missing is that Germany's electricity use is actually declining because of the crappy economy and current demographics.

So flat coal consumption is misleading - this would imply coal is growing as a percentage of energy mix given the economic situation.

Re:Erm, not so much. (2)

Idou (572394) | about 2 months ago | (#47687543)

So flat coal consumption is misleading - this would imply coal is growing as a percentage of energy mix given the economic situation.

Actually, I think it is more complicated than that. For instance, a small decrease in electricity demand would not prompt Germany to start dismantling plants. Some plants can easily be used less, while other may not. Older coal plants designed only for base load face significant challenges when trying to operate to accommodate turbulent demand [powermag.com] . Accordingly, a downturn in demand could result in a higher mix of coal vs gas, but only because the gas generators are more flexible than the coal plants.

Another point worth mentioning is that improved efficiency is also the cause of decreasing demand [platts.com] . Unfortunately I am not able to find an actual percentage breakout, but I would guess that it is not insignificant due to recent trends like LED lighting. Accordingly, I think it would be unfair to exclude the efficiency improvement portion from the mix and then say that Germany was getting less green because of an increased coal mix. We should be comparing the work accomplished by electricity, not just raw electricity production.

Re:Erm, not so much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687865)

Would be useful to know number of nuke plants being decommissioned and associated costs. San Onofre (SoCal) comes to mind.

Re:Erm, not so much. (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 2 months ago | (#47686899)

You mean where the citation is a broken link to a buisnessweek article from 2008?

Re:Erm, not so much. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47687439)

The problem with current reactor design is it is all based about getting huge amounts of power out in a short time, resulting in very high complexity and refuelling complications. This instead of pulsing the reaction and working to trickle the power out over the long term and avoiding refuelling and simplifying the design, many low output reactors rather than a few high output reactors.

Re:Just red tape? (4, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47685907)

It always amazes me to hear about cost overruns and delays with new nuclear plants considering that in essence they're little more complex than coal plants, which keep popping up everywhere without any apparent issues.

So, is it just the red tape causing delays, or is it something else which make a nuclear plants so much more complex than a coal or gas plant?

One reason is that they have a lot of quality control. If you have a stuck valve inside a reactor, you can't just go to Home Depot and get a replacement.

Reactors are even more critical than aircraft. If a commercial airliner goes down, 300 people die. If a reactor blows up, you've got Chernobyl.

The tight specifications are required not only for individual components, but also for the fault trees for the system as a whole. It's hard to eliminate the possibility of some unexpected failure along a pathway in the appendices of the safety documents that was assigned an insignificant probability. Like a tsunami overwhelming the system.

The nuclear industry will tell you that the slow regulatory approval, with lots of opportunities for nuclear opponents to slow things down, are another reason.

I don't have a conclusion about nuclear power myself. OTOH, 200 tons of uranium can cause a really bad day. OTOH, we've been running a couple of hundred nuclear power plants worldwide for, what, 40 years, and we've had only one major accident and a couple of minor ones. The health effects of coal power plant emissions are so horrible (50,000 deaths a year in the U.S., more in China) that coal makes nuclear look attractive. I've been waiting for affordable solar and wind power for a long time.

Re:Just red tape? (1, Troll)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47686139)

You never have 50,000 death per year in the US to coal.
Perhaps 5 to 10 in the long time average due to mining accidents. I really doubt the total number of workers mining coal is close to that number.
And: fix your damn mining safety issues instead of blaming it to 'coal', mining of uranium is only marginally more safe.

Re:Just red tape? (3, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47686215)

You never have 50,000 death per year in the US to coal.
Perhaps 5 to 10 in the long time average due to mining accidents. I really doubt the total number of workers mining coal is close to that number.

As you surely know, coal plants are huge polluters and pollution causes health issues, which in turn add up to early deaths, even if we ignore damage done to environment.

But then again, opposing nuclear power is not really about protecting humans or nature, now is it? It has long since turned into politics, where opposition is based more on identity than rational calculation of risks and rewards of various options. And who knows, perhaps being hit by the double-whammy of full-power climate change and energy crisis simultaneously will finally teach humanity to not treat important decisions as tribal identifiers. It's something we must learn before we venture beyond this planet, since the cost of irrational stupidity will continue getting higher. But I fear the lesson will be exremely painful, even by the scale of these things.

And: fix your damn mining safety issues instead of blaming it to 'coal', mining of uranium is only marginally more safe.

Thousandfold decrease in mining causes a thousandfold decrease in mining-related deaths, even before factoring in such details as coal being highly flammable and uranium being not. Also, unlike coal, uranium can be extracted from seawater, so with it we could theoretically eliminate mining altogether.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47686311)

As you surely know, coal plants are huge polluters and pollution causes health issues, which in turn add up to early deaths, even if we ignore damage done to environment.
As you surely know, coal plants exhaust is filtered to the extend that the exhaust is cleaner than the intake. At least that is so in germany.
As I have pointed this out often enough, I have plenty of answers here on /. which say: in USA it is just the same, coal plants are forced to filter the exhaust and deposit/recycle the 'ash'.

So, you want to tell me a first world country is not able to regulate exhaust of a mere coal plant?

Sig, as uranium (could) can be extracted from sea water, so can be coal, erm CO2, or other C holding chemical compound. Extracting minerals from the sea is a bit difficult as you usually get 'all of them' and have to separate them later.

However I agree with your cultural/decision making analysis about humans. it is a mess, right now, isn't it?

Re:Just red tape? (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 months ago | (#47686869)

As you surely know, coal plants exhaust is filtered to the extend that the exhaust is cleaner than the intake. At least that is so in germany

Accepting your premise...

It sounds like the Germans need to set up some big filter plants that do nothing but intake, filter, and exhaust the air, if their air is so shitty that running it through a coal fired power plant cleans it.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687247)

Uranium forms a +6 ion that is very soluble; it is the last thing to evaporate out along with phosphates, which is why it is currently mined in phosphate deposits. There is enough uranium in seawater that it could be extracted, but it costs a few times more than mining it, so it isn't.

You would know this if you cared to find out, but there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Pork politics vs the rest (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 months ago | (#47687243)

It was politics to force nuclear as pork projects so other politics responded. An interesting thing to ponder is the lobbying from nuclear industry groups against thorium research - it had the potential to threaten their installed base and allow new players into the game. Also ponder lobbying against taking naval designs onto the civilian nuclear scene. The US nuclear industry ate it's own children. It's a slow slide down with dead cat bounces like the AP-1000 from when Westinghouse brought in some 1970s Japanese technology, and it's not going anywhere but down. Even South Africa put more effort into civilian nuclear than the US has for decades. If you want anything other than green paint on TMI you are going to have to wait and get something from China or India.

Re:Just red tape? (4, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47686405)

You never have 50,000 death per year in the US to coal.
Perhaps 5 to 10 in the long time average due to mining accidents. I really doubt the total number of workers mining coal is close to that number.
And: fix your damn mining safety issues instead of blaming it to 'coal', mining of uranium is only marginally more safe.

You can never calculate exactly how many people die from coal emissions, so I used an estimate that would be in the neighborhood. There are lots of people dying of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis. They're going to die eventually, when their lung function goes down below a certain threshold, and coal emissions brings their lung function down a little sooner. Another vulnerable group is people with heart failure.

Here's an estimate of 24,000 lives a year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] In the 1980s I used to work on the same floor as a bunch of energy industry magazines, and they had reports floating around from different organizations, which I would pick up occasionally. I remember reading some surprising number like 50,000. I don't have those reports around any more so I can't easily check. It might have been 50,000 in the 1980s, because that was around the time coal plants were installing pollution control equipment. The pollution control equipment was fairly expensive, particularly because it cut the power output by about 10%. You can make coal emissions as clean as you want, if you can spend a sufficient amount of money. There were debates during the Reagan era about things like, "How much should society spend to save the life of a 4-year-old girl with asthma?" (The economists said $220,000.)

The best-documented and highest estimates of the number of deaths from coal power that I saw came from the nuclear power industry. The worse coal looks, the better nuclear looks. They were fond of saying that coal plants had higher emissions of uranium and radium than nuclear plants did (barring catastrophe). Those guys are pretty good engineers. I hope they know what they're doing. The American Lung Association also had some similar figures.

Coal mining used to be one of the most dangerous occupations in America, but it's gotten safer because (1) open pit mining is safer (2) even underground mining can be safe if they follow safety rules with the same diligence that the nuclear or airline industry does. There are a few companies that have a, shall we say, investor-centered approach to safety, and they have most of the accidents. The Wall Street Journal used to love to run stories about mine accidents on the front page, and look up the mine owner's records of safety violations, injuries and deaths with MSHA. In the last big US mine accident, there was strong evidence that the supervisors were deliberately violating safety rules about ventilation etc. In some countries, that would be a crime and they would go to jail.

Uranium mining has some problems with the radioactive dust and gas in the air. I don't know if they can filter it out. You can filter anything, but you might not be able to breathe for more than 10 minutes with a filter that traps the very smallest particles, and you couldn't do any heavy work. But at least uranium mines don't have coal damp.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 months ago | (#47686617)

I've always seen the "deaths due to..." as being difficult to really make sense of, unless they deaths are somehow gruesome, unusually painful, or immediate.

The way to look at this is to set a goal: all people in a certain area should be able to live to 90 years of age with nothing more than effects of aging. Then you start determining what are the lowest hanging fruits for obstacles to hitting that target. Is it coal plant exhaust? Fatty foods? Not enough sex? Simply genetics? Whatever it is, get a list and figure it out statistically based on what is actually happening in death statistics and diagnoses of chronic illnesses.

Generate a plan to deal with the low hanging fruits. If it IS coal, then the death argument starts to become immediate and less abstract.

"You will probably not live to a healthy 90 years old if we use coal or nuclear," is something people can grasp. As long as the true low hanging fruits are unveiled, people will start seeing this list makes sense because people are now living to 90 years old and mostly healthy when they get there. If coal is on that list, it WILL be removed from use.

On the other hand, if coal or nuclear is not the problem, and it was something else entirely (like a certain gene or a behavior like smoking), then perhaps all the frantic arm waving about coal or nuclear plants should be reconsidered. Money and investment (and political action) should be diverted to ending smoking or gene therapy, perhaps.

The worst part of these debates is the fact that I can so rarely get some numbers that I can attach to outcomes. Yeah, we know it's bad to suck in some coal or uranium on a daily basis, but does that extend all the way out to the parts per million amount of residue that I get anywhere that is not actually a mine or plant?

Re:Just red tape? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47687033)

I've always seen the "deaths due to..." as being difficult to really make sense of, unless they deaths are somehow gruesome, unusually painful, or immediate.

The way to look at this is to set a goal: all people in a certain area should be able to live to 90 years of age with nothing more than effects of aging. Then you start determining what are the lowest hanging fruits for obstacles to hitting that target. Is it coal plant exhaust? Fatty foods? Not enough sex? Simply genetics? Whatever it is, get a list and figure it out statistically based on what is actually happening in death statistics and diagnoses of chronic illnesses.

I read a lot of the medical literature every week. In general, it's difficult to tell whether something like fatty foods is responsible for deaths, and it's more difficult to figure out the magnitude of the effect. For the most part, all we have are associational studies, and associational studies are wrong as often as they're right. There's still no consensus on the effects of salt.

Most of those factors have very low magnitudes of effect and very wide confidence intervals. So fatty foods might turn out to be responsible for a 1% increase in mortality. Except that nobody can give you an accurate number.

Some of the coal emissions studies measure the incidence of different diseases, such as lung disease, among people who live near coal plants and people who live far away. So you might get a 10% increase in deaths among people with asthma, and a 0.1% increase in overall mortality. The confidence interval of the 10% increase would be much greater than the confidence of the 0.1% increase, and the 0.1% increase might not be statistically significant.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47687595)

The problem with looking at people with asthma who die from coal emissions is that you're not looking at people who die due to energy being too expensive. When energy is too expensive, people might stay in the cold house with stiff joints not getting enough exercise. They might forego medication or food to keep the heater going. How many lives does coal save because of the cheaper energy?

I'm not entirely disagreeing with you... it's just that when you start down the path of indirect analysis, you have to do ALL the indirect analysis. The "direct" deaths are easily and indisputably measured. The "indirect" deaths require pulling all kinds of other statistics, and if you don't have a very good imagination, or if you have some kind of bias, then you might not pull in all the stats and do it properly.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 months ago | (#47687765)

Don't forget the mercury output as well. It's largely thanks to coal that a few pounds of swordfish steaks now contain (on average) as much mercury as a typical CFL bulb, and the level of mercury in our oceans continues to slowly increase over time.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

danlip (737336) | about 2 months ago | (#47686155)

Your classifying Fukushima as a minor accident? It's classified as level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the highest level possible. I agree that it is not as bad as Chernobyl, but hardly minor.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47686517)

Your classifying Fukushima as a minor accident? It's classified as level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the highest level possible. I agree that it is not as bad as Chernobyl, but hardly minor.

I was counting the number of immediate deaths, which were zero for Fukushima and 56 for Chernobyl. I wasn't familiar with the INES. As people say, the INES isn't suited for all purposes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

I was also trying to bend over backwards to be generous to the nuclear power industry. The Japanese really fucked up at the most important time, before the accident, but at least they had a few layers of defenses left. Chernobyl blew the roof off. If I had to choose between being the plant manager of Fukushima or the plant manager of Chernobyl, I'd pick Fukushima.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 months ago | (#47687023)

The health effects of coal power plant emissions are so horrible (50,000 deaths a year in the U.S., more in China)

No, you're thinking of second-hand smoke [lung.org] .

Re:Just red tape? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47687059)

The health effects of coal power plant emissions are so horrible (50,000 deaths a year in the U.S., more in China)

No, you're thinking of second-hand smoke [lung.org] .

Notice that they say "22,700 to 69,600 deaths from heart disease each year." That's because there's a wide confidence interval. That page has a very important lesson -- none of these numbers are exact, and they all have a range. That's because it's difficult to figure out what the effects are. When I talk to these people, one of the questions I ask is, "Where did you get those numbers from?" They use good methods, but they'll be the first to acknowledge in their papers that their methods and results aren't exact.

As to the coal power deaths, Wikipedia gave 24,000 a year, and there are reasonable grounds to disagree.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 months ago | (#47687555)

Actually, I was just chuckling over the fact that "50,000 people a year die from second hand smoke" and "50,000 people a year die from coal power plant emissions" and 50,000 people a year die from prolonged seizures [cureepilepsy.org] and 50,000 people a year die from alcohol poisoning [norml.org] .

Handy that these happen in blocks of 50,000.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 2 months ago | (#47687999)

Reactors are even more critical than aircraft. If a commercial airliner goes down, 300 people die. If a reactor blows up, you've got Chernobyl.

Comparing Chernobyl to MH17 or Fukushima to JAL123 dosn't really support that conclusion though.

Re:Just red tape? (3, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47685929)

Part of the problem is that the infrastructure and supply paths for constructing nuclear plants has to be re-constituted as no plants have been built for quite some time. In the case of the Westinghouse plants, their 'modular' assembly facilities had to be built as well and put into production. Nuclear plants require large metal components on a scale that isn't commonly needed. It also requires meticulous tracking of materials and manufacturing activities for quality assurance. Once the supply lines are re-established, it all gets a lot easier and more predictable. Its not a technology issue, its an infrastructure one. We just need to start building more.

Even with higher than predicted costs, its still quite economic. Like any large capital project, getting it going is the hard part.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47686005)

Part of the problem is that the infrastructure and supply paths for constructing nuclear plants has to be re-constituted as no plants have been built for quite some time.

Not really, the first two AP1000 are basically finished in China, only about 9 months behind the original schedule whereas these US plants are looking to be about 4 years behind the original schedule. I have to assume it's the typical contractor issue where there's plenty of money to be made being part of the problem.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47686121)

The infrastructure in China is actually further ahead than that in the US. You can 'assume' it is something else if you want.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 months ago | (#47686629)

In certain categories, yes. I would hesitate to make a blanket statement to that effect about the entire infrastructure.

It does have the benefit of being newer, mostly because they've had to either build it for the first time, or replace the crap they used before. However, that issue is not fully remedied all over China and not in all sectors.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47687235)

The AP1000 is a worldwide design, and Westinghouse is going to use parts of the supply chain from China for plants around the world (like just about everything else more complicated than a bread box). My point was that they've managed to supply all of the parts for the Chinese facilities very close to on time so the delays are not with Westinghouse, they're with the US based construction contractors.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47688037)

China sources much of their reactor equipment locally. There is a lot more to the supply chain than just the primary system components, which Westinghouse supplies. The large modular sections for the Chinese reactors are not produced in the US, they are produced in China. The large modular sections for the US plants are produced in the US.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47686169)

First of all lets look at this picture, and absorb what it means http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi... [wikimedia.org]

There is a similar picture for the Ewing Family of the classic TV series Dallas, with Larry Hagman, Victoria Principal, etc, but I'm not gonna post that, because it's more depressing. But this is the situation is similar with all fossils, they are nonrenewable, though we do have like 200 years worth of coal in the US, as opposed to almost none in the rest of the world, except Russia, and some other places. Coal is dirty, especially the mercury in it. If they could find a way to not reprocess it, or postprocess it, but preprocess it, as in, use process heat to hydrogenate it, convert it to low molecular mass liquid fuels, then get the mercury out of it with things that really love mercury, like selenium, then mix it with a whole lot of air, and burn it, because once it's really high temperature and really high volume stack gas, it's difficult to scrub. Plus it's a CO2 emission, greenhouse gas, so even pure CO2 emitted is not that great.

So let's look at the carbon neutral alternatives at http://mff.dsisd.net/Biomass/B... [dsisd.net]

As you can see fossil fuels make up a whole lot of the pie chart - oil, coal, natural gas are fossil. The remainder are the good stuff. Out of the remainder nuclear is the only high potential suddenly increasable energy source to compensate for the loss of others, as hydro is great, but anything dammable is already dammed, it's like 99% utilized and it gives nowhere enough to meet everyone's basic energy needs, next there are wind and solar but they are not very energy rich, though more terrorist safe, but cannot be used in a centralized concentrated location, unlike nuclear, and if the yeoman farmers each have a windmill and a solar plant, they could use the free electric they get unmonitored to make well dried and packaged chlorate salt + charcoal - like Oklahoma city bombs against the feds, from plain road deicing salt, something the authorities don't really want, plus they lose the micromanagement tools to the population, that lets them keep everyone on a tight leash. For biofuels, every drop of biofuel comes at the expense of food on the table, and agriculture is already pushed to pretty max (except ocean farming, there is a lot of unutilized "arable in a plastic bag" sea area - hello Japan), and without Haber Bosch nitrogen it would not be able to support the world population already, let alone take away arable area from it for biofuels. Wind can coexist with food farming, but solar blocks the sunshine from food crops on a farm (well, most of it, there might be ways to create semitransparent greenhouses, that both let through enough light for the crops, but harvest a decent amount of electric too.) But the energy density of renewables sucks, compared to high profit nuclear, the only issue being nuclear proliferation around the world and terrorists. But the powers that be might want to create an energy pinch on purpose, as starving the population will create a stop to the population explosion, and set in a competitive environment of the old days, Old World Order, with princes, private armies, and constant non-nuclear feuding between them. And, someone smart said somewhere, it does not comes up on Google as if it were blocked, but it seems that human knowledge, science technology so far have advanced much faster in the footsteps of the sword than the plow. Unfortunately. But bringing back the nobility and Old World system could be a reason for not fixing the energy issue on purpose for now, because that will fix the overpopulation issues, but also bring back mass starvation, similar to the likes of the Irish Potato Famine, where, because of private property rights, the British crown could export grain from Ireland in massive quantities, yet leave the private farmers, the bulk of the subject population, starving.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47686435)

By the way Haber Bosch comes from the fossil fuels, so taking away fossils you also have to be careful to keep providing that to the biomass, or biofuel sector. In essence some %-age of a biofuel's heat value has been paid for by fossil heat value through the fertilizers. And plowing diesel tractors, and train locomotive transportation, etc., etc. So whatever biomass we make today, as food or fuel, in absence of fossils or a good replacement energy source, so in absence of nitrogen fertilizer may automatically drop, and you'd have to budget the future for that.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47685933)

So, is it just the red tape causing delays, or is it something else which make a nuclear plants so much more complex than a coal or gas plant?

Neither. Both. And more! A lot of it is accounting. Power companies don't want cheap, clean, electric power. They may have no professional objection to clean electric power, but cheap? Cheap makes them have fits. They'd rather bleed us for more if they could.

Re:Just red tape? (3, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 months ago | (#47685955)

The links provided in the story are the usual, information free sort one expects from mdsolar as he plies his anti-nook trade around Slashdot. There are better news stories written about this and the bottom line is a subcontractor is falling behind making "submodules." This [heraldindependent.com] story from yesterday points the finger at Chicago Bridge & Iron in Louisiana, and this story [powermag.com] actually provides a little detail about the submodules that CB&I are trying to make. The builders are moving some of this work to other facilities and contractors because of CB&I failures. Another story [reuters.com] a year ago also names CB&I as the culprit for delays.

So it's a manufacturing problem and not a regulator hold up. Manufacturing problems are solvable (we've built stuff like this many times) and not as appealing to mdsolar as a nasty regulatory tangle, so he deliberately avoided stories with specifics.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47686447)

Let's not hamstring projects with a feelgood but impractical "Buy American" requirement. That's the main reason for military gear being so overpriced. If Korea, Japan or China can get components to us faster, more power to them.

Re:Just red tape? (3, Insightful)

laird (2705) | about 2 months ago | (#47687617)

Having your military supply chain depend on countries that you might be fighting against is a terrible plan. It's also in the national interest for the US to retain engineering and manufacturing capabilities. And, of course there's the possibility that they embed controls into the devices that they sell us, the way the NSA pre-hacked hardware being sold by US companies only in the other direction.

So really, it kinda does matter.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47686003)

Money schmoney. Funny money. Forget about money, do the right thing. Build secure nuclear plants. Security is the biggest cost with them, compared to a coal plant. Not pollution or waste, and if anything, coal plants pollute more mercury than anything in the world. The purpose of money is to make sure everyone got food on the table first, then a roof over the head second, and electric to the home third. Whatever you gotta do to make that happen, without nuclear accidents and terrorists of course, and hopefully without non-carbon-neutral emissions.

Re:Just red tape? (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47686017)

Or to put it another way, the mercury in the can of tuna or seafood you buy in the store comes from the electric that powers your WIFI devices, through the coal that was burnt to get it. A large fraction of it at least.

Re:Just red tape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686027)

The superstructure is not much more complex than a coal plant (the reactor building is slightly more complex), but the complexity of the things like the reactor vessel and pipework is vastly more complex. The complexity of the individual welds on the pipework alone is mind-boggling. You're talking about welds that have to withstand neutron bombardment and require x-rays to validate each one. And there are thousands of them.

That doesn't even touch on the complexity of the reactor control systems...

Re:Just red tape? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 months ago | (#47687195)

It always amazes me to hear about cost overruns and delays with new nuclear plants considering that in essence they're little more complex than coal plants

It astonishes me outright that you've come to that conclusion. I suggest starting with wikipedia since your education let you down so badly.

So, is it just the red tape causing delays, or is it something else which make a nuclear plants so much more complex than a coal or gas plant?

There are some specialised reactor parts that take a long time to fabricate and there is a waiting list for the few places that can do it. However they also like to be paid up front and that's most likely the longest delay. Banks don't like investments that take a long time to build.

It'll be better next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47685883)

It's the nuclear industry, after all. The problems are all going away next time.

Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (4, Interesting)

McGruber (1417641) | about 2 months ago | (#47685895)

Since 2009, Georgia electric customers have been paying a "Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery” fee to fund the building of the Plant Vogle reactors. This tax currently adds 7.6% to a customer's electric monthly bill.

Here is an October 2013 article about a protest against the tax: Georgia Power Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery Tariff Excites Local Protest [dadesentinel.com]

And here's an organization that is protesting the tax: STOPCWIP.COM, which is short for STOP Construction Work In Progress [stopcwip.com]

They point out that the Nuke owners are guaranteed a 11.5% return no matter how late the plant is:

In 2009, the Georgia General Assembly passed “Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act,” making it legal for Georgia electric utilities to charge customers in advance to construct the nuclear reactors. The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) subsequently approved Georgia Power and other owners of Plant Vogtle to charge the CWIP tax which will be collected during the whole construction period, no matter how long it will take, and allow Georgia Power and the other Vogtle owners a guaranteed profit with a protected return on investment of 11.15%.

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47685931)

They point out that the Nuke owners are guaranteed a 11.5% return no matter how late the plant is:

Unless that plan gets canceled or scaled back in a variety of ways. Substantial construction delays make it more likely that they're not going to get that guarantee.

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47685937)

There in Georgia, you have been paying lower than national average electric rates for many years, largely due to the existing nuclear fleet that was also paid for by "the people", as any source is in one way or another.

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47686113)

I guess for americans it is always easier to complain about 'subsidizes' in other countries for wind and solar than for 'taxes' in their own country on nuclear. But well, that is Georgia, the state, not the country ... perhaps no one cares?

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 2 months ago | (#47686799)

Arg..... a "cost plus" contract, they are always a bad idea when not dealing with bleeding edge tech or extremely critical projects. They give companies a significant incentive to milk a project for as long and for as much as possible. Bid projects out at a fixed price, companies don't get a dime until they reach concrete milestones. If they don't reach those milestones on time and on budget they eat the costs and that part of the project is rebid. It should also be noted that the bill giving them the extra taxing authority was rushed through with disturbing speed and with rather blatant palm greasing, $14,000 dollars was used to wine and dine government officials in the three months leading up to the vote in addition to copious amounts of lobbying.

http://www.troutmansandersstra... [troutmansa...tegies.com]

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

Zxern (766543) | about 2 months ago | (#47687081)

The only problem with that method is that incentives cutting corners to meet the deadlines. Not a good idea to sacrifice quality for timeliness in a nuclear power plant.

Re:Georgia customers billed for it since 2009 (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 2 months ago | (#47687411)

Recent history has shown that even if you throw massive amounts of money at something (Constellation program, Healthcare.gov, F35, VA/DoD Health Database, etc) you don't necessarily get a decent product. One of the reasons why I mentioned "concrete milestones", which would be independently verified by government auditors & engineers. The biggest difficulty of course would be keeping the lobbyists & lawyers for the companies in question from getting the power to designate those auditors & engineers.

Brand new designs (3, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47685899)

The AP-1000 is a brand new design and apparently they are having troubles building many of the components, as well as with the in place fabrication techniques. In theory, once they fix those problems follow on plants should be able to be built faster because the teething problems would be solved. the reality is it will be hard to convince people to build them because of the delays.

Re:Brand new designs (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47686143)

If it's not a road-tested design, one should factor in delays.

Re:Brand new designs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686815)

I do not understand why this was not expected. You cannot not build something for ~40 years and expect it to restart without a hitch. Most of the national expertise in constructing these things is gone, so we are forced to recreate it (assuming it's not being imported from the likes of AREVA).

I really just hope that we don't make the same mistakes because of it, but we all know that we will because no one will know them all. Fortunately, having worked in the industry, the reactor designs have been constantly improved by a surprisingly persistent workforce.

Not entirely new (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 months ago | (#47687257)

There's some AP-1000s about to go online any day now in China. I know I've been writing that for about 3 years but the expected commissioning date in the press has always been vague.

Re:Not entirely new (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47688029)

There's some AP-1000s about to go online any day now in China. I know I've been writing that for about 3 years but the expected commissioning date in the press has always been vague.

It'll be interesting to see how they do. They started as the AP-600 design but were uprated for China while the US market always had the 1000 as it's target.

Not just on the 'industry' (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#47686007)

But also on the consumers of electricity.. Just as the feds want. Bleed us dry.

It all trickles down to the 'guy on the street in the end, and we are the ones that pay..

The question should be, what is causing delays? (2, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 2 months ago | (#47686009)

Typically the endless lawsuits and anti-nuclear activism are the source of delays for nuclear construction. Even if not directly, then by proxy of the NRC, which is ineffective thanks to regulations based on ALARA [wikipedia.org] and pseudo-science (LNT [wikipedia.org] ). If the NRC regulated based on solid science and legitimate safely concerns, it would be tremendously less expensive to meet nuclear safety standards. Unfortunately, our presidents have had a habit of appointing unqualified and nuclear-hostile people like Gregory Jackzo [atomicinsights.com] to lead the NRC, so the result is no surprise.

Another source of delay, is the lack of nuclear construction for decades, leaving the construction industry and supply chains to languish. Neither cost is inherent in nuclear construction, and both can be corrected. Delays of any large construction project are very expensive, and this is the primary means employed by anti-nuclear ideologues to drive up the cost. The submitter (mdsolar) may or may not have participated, but clearly has an axe to grind and the willingness to exploit the situation to peddle his ideology

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47686243)

Problem is we can't trust the operators to stick to the regulations and not cut every single corner they possibly can to reduce cost. Even with such heavy regulations we see regular problems and environmental damage.

By the way, can you cite any of these lawsuits or regulatory issues? I have a feeling most of the cost is just due to the usual incompetence and some wildly optimistic estimates designed to get the state to agree subsidies for the plant, such as the construction surcharge that has been in place since 2009.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686337)

Problem is we can't trust the operators to stick to the regulations and not cut every single corner they possibly can to reduce cost. Even with such heavy regulations we see regular problems and environmental damage.

Might as well get the navy to build them. They have a proven track record and they might as well be doing something good with all the money they get.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 2 months ago | (#47686891)

Do you have a citation for this "environmental damage"? Real damage, not caused by nuclear weapons manufacturing, and not the "OMG, three atoms of tritium escaped, we're all going to die!" sort of "damage".

The costs of the plants are a matter of record, so have a look [depletedcranium.com] . The NRC opened the door for litigation, and otherwise mired the nuclear industry. The AEC was an effective regulatory agency with an excellent safety record and reasonable costs. Under the NRC, costs skyrocketed and a number of reactors were even partially built yet never operated [depletedcranium.com] . Abundant examples are no further than your nearest search engine.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#47686279)

So the solution to this is to build nuclear plants where we can get minimum regulations and avoid lawsuits. These location should be where no one really wants to live, so that people are not going to effected and need to file lawsuits to protect themselves. I have often thought that the states from Washington to Minnesota, which taken together from a significant net drain on the national budget, should be asked to secede and form a country that exemplify conservative values such as an aggressive free market, very limited regulations, and the like. In such a place nuclear power plants could be built in, say, North Dakota, without any of the pesky useless safety issues that now make nuclear power an unreasonable solution.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47686609)

"Located at the geographic center of North America, North Dakota has a continental climate characterized by large temperature variations, irregular precipitation, plentiful sunshine, low humidity, and nearly continuous wind. Serious flooding caused by heavy rainfall occurs occasionally." http://www.eia.gov/state/analy... [eia.gov]

Not ideal for nuclear power with the flooding risk.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686837)

right, but the point is, who cares. With lawsuits and regulation the nuclear power plant would never be built. But in an environment without such regulation and liberal whiners, the free market would surely find a solution.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47687465)

The rivers have low flow a lot of the time so you'd need a cooling pond in a flood plain which would get washed away fairly regularly. Not a good environment for nuclear.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47686487)

Typically the endless lawsuits and anti-nuclear activism are the source of delays for nuclear construction.

True, but the idea behind the combined operation license was to allow construction and operation to continue while license issues are litigated. The delays in plant Vogtle and in SC are from the challenges with actually building the plant since much of the equipment has never been built before so they must building, testing, and constructing while they are trying to create a commercial plant on a tight schedule.

Another source of delay, is the lack of nuclear construction for decades, leaving the construction industry and supply chains to languish. Neither cost is inherent in nuclear construction, and both can be corrected. Delays of any large construction project are very expensive, and this is the primary means employed by anti-nuclear ideologues to drive up the cost. The submitter (mdsolar) may or may not have participated, but clearly has an axe to grind and the willingness to exploit the situation to peddle his ideology

While there are very real concerns about the lack of construction experience as well as longer term engineering and operational support, these delays seem to be self inflicted, from issues with concrete pours to assuming brand new designs can be built on a very tight schedule where many of the components have never been built or used before.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 2 months ago | (#47686811)

True, but the idea behind the combined operation license was to allow construction and operation to continue while license issues are litigated. The delays in plant Vogtle and in SC are from the challenges with actually building the plant since much of the equipment has never been built before so they must building, testing, and constructing while they are trying to create a commercial plant on a tight schedule.

While there are very real concerns about the lack of construction experience as well as longer term engineering and operational support, these delays seem to be self inflicted, from issues with concrete pours to assuming brand new designs can be built on a very tight schedule where many of the components have never been built or used before.

Read more about the the Vogtle rebar issue [atomicinsights.com] . It is not fair to dismiss it as self-inflicted, when the regulator insists upon perfection and is unresponsive to circumstances. The rebar was installed to current building standards, rather than those in place when the design was approved. It was a small deviation and eventually the NRC allowed it with minor modifications. The problem is that such a minor issue can introduce a 6+ month delay when interaction with the NRC are required.

Regulations should be focused on safe designs, not on libraries of paperwork certifying safety. It is silly to require an N-stamp on every last nut and bolt (even in non-safety related systems) rather than using off the shelf parts where suitable. Certificates can be forged, and even if they are genuine, nothing is perfect. Safe designs make allowances for imperfect materials. Such a “cost is no object” approach is not useful in the real world, The oppressive regulatory regime only mires any progress and ensure that we are burdened with ancient, yet "approved" designs.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

Mspangler (770054) | about 2 months ago | (#47687293)

"It is silly to require an N-stamp on every last nut and bolt (even in non-safety related systems) rather than using off the shelf parts where suitable."

That is a legacy of the Thresher. You don't always know what part is really critical until it fails.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

As far as "Regulations should be focused on safe designs, not on libraries of paperwork certifying safety" I wholeheartedly agree. But OSHA does not. They want an auditable full documentation paper trial of every change, no matter how minor. We have several people at work who only track paperwork. You might look up the 14 point Management Of Change program sometime.

And I do not work in the nuclear industry. They are an order of magnitude worse.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47688013)

True, but the idea behind the combined operation license was to allow construction and operation to continue while license issues are litigated. The delays in plant Vogtle and in SC are from the challenges with actually building the plant since much of the equipment has never been built before so they must building, testing, and constructing while they are trying to create a commercial plant on a tight schedule.

While there are very real concerns about the lack of construction experience as well as longer term engineering and operational support, these delays seem to be self inflicted, from issues with concrete pours to assuming brand new designs can be built on a very tight schedule where many of the components have never been built or used before.

Read more about the the Vogtle rebar issue [atomicinsights.com] . It is not fair to dismiss it as self-inflicted, when the regulator insists upon perfection and is unresponsive to circumstances. The rebar was installed to current building standards, rather than those in place when the design was approved. It was a small deviation and eventually the NRC allowed it with minor modifications. The problem is that such a minor issue can introduce a 6+ month delay when interaction with the NRC are required.

While all I know about the bear issue is from the news I'd still lay most of the responsibility on the licensee and architect engineer. The regulator is not insisting on perfection but rather on the licensee complying with the COL. The COL was intended to limit delays through litigation so it is important to ensure you meet all the requirements to the letter lest you get sued later on the grounds you are not compliant with the COL. While many deviations truly are trivial, the NRC still must ensure it follows the law to avoid problems later. As a result, engineering analysis is needed to ensure the design provides the same level of safety as the original. Since the licensee failed to meet the COL or take actions to amend it prior to pouring concrete then it is pretty much, IMHO, a self inflicted wound.

Regulations should be focused on safe designs, not on libraries of paperwork certifying safety. It is silly to require an N-stamp on every last nut and bolt (even in non-safety related systems) rather than using off the shelf parts where suitable. Certificates can be forged, and even if they are genuine, nothing is perfect. Safe designs make allowances for imperfect materials. Such a “cost is no object” approach is not useful in the real world, The oppressive regulatory regime only mires any progress and ensure that we are burdened with ancient, yet "approved" designs.

The question then becomes, what is a safety related system and at what level of defense in depth do you switch to commercial grade components? I can see an argument being made for systems on the secondary loop but not on the primary side. Of course, many secondary systems do not need an N-stamp anyway under current regulations.

Concurrent with that is what level of testing is sufficient to ensure a safety system will respond when needed?You can test so much the testing degrades reliability and drives up maintenance costs as a result. Since AP-1000 is designed for passive cooling in the event of an accident are annual DG tests appropriate, for example.

Nuclear fanbois (1, Troll)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47686747)

Getting the facts completely wrong seems to be the main defining feature of nuclear fanbois. These delays are self-inflicted. http://www.thestate.com/2014/0... [thestate.com]

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 months ago | (#47686893)

I guess you didn't read the article (or the posts above) which said the delays are caused by manufacturers of structural components not delivering on time... or perhaps that doesn't fit into your ideological rant against "gummt regulation and the environmental weenies".

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47687551)

The submitter (mdsolar) may or may not have participated, but clearly has an axe to grind and the willingness to exploit the situation to peddle his ideology

mdsolar is, if you've followed nuclear and alternative power stories on /. for the past couple of years, seriously anti-nuclear - to the point of mendaciousness.

Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47688149)

I support nuclear propulsion in naval applications. Commercial nuclear power is rather obviously a poor technology choice with a high catastrophic accident rate, no waste disposal solution and is way too expensive.

No wonder Americans are in trouble, financially (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 months ago | (#47686015)

Meanwhile, interest charges add up on the money borrowed to finance construction. A single day of delay in Georgia could cost $2 million, according to an analysis by utility regulators.

This help explain why a good 35% [theweek.com] of adult Americans' debt is in collections.

But then, we go ahead and brag about how good a standard of living we enjoy as compared to those other world citizens, conveniently refusing to mention that most of that standard of living is financed by borrowed cash!

Re:No wonder Americans are in trouble, financially (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47687001)

But then, we go ahead and brag about how good a standard of living we enjoy as compared to those other world citizens, conveniently refusing to mention that most of that standard of living is financed by borrowed cash!

Read up on fractional lending, then realise that everything you see was built on debt. For better or worse, this is the economic system we have created.

Re:No wonder Americans are in trouble, financially (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47688135)

This help explain why a good 35% [theweek.com] of adult Americans' debt is in collections.

The article you linked to does not say that. It does put a few numbers close to each other in way that seems to intentionally mislead a person to that conclusion though.

What it does say is that roughly 35% of people with debt (not all Americans) have a bill (not all of their debt) that is at least 180 days overdue.

That's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686079)

They went wrong before operating. It's better not to build them, but not starting them at least avoid the cleaning costs, when things go wrong.

And things will go wrong, become there must be a need to upgrade to the next, "now really 100% secure" new technology.

Delays... anything new? (0)

matbury (3458347) | about 2 months ago | (#47686149)

Can anyone cite a case where a nuclear power station was brought on line in time and on budget? OK, even only a little bit late and a little bit over budget? Oh alright, not too late and not rediculously over budget?

The only reason I can see for building them is to make more fissile materials for nuclear warheads. Why do you think Washington and various other countries are so upset about Iran's nuclear energy programme? What's more, the design of all the world's nuclear power plants are scaled up versions of a nuclear submarine's reactor, not particularly safe or efficient, and there's been little to no research into developing safer, more efficient ones in the past half a century. Nuclear reactors are and always have been built on a foundation of misleading information, misdirection, and bare-faced lies. Did you know that the very first large scale British nuclear reactor wasn't designed to generate a single watt of electricity? It was purely to produce fissile materials for warheads, nothing else. Generating electricity is an afterthought.

Re:Delays... anything new? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686385)

China seems to be doing a good job constructing the same plants. The US plants are many years behind schedule. The Chinese plants are months behind schedule, and they plan to construct 100 of them, as opposed to 4 in the US.

Don't mistake US dysfunction for an intrinsic problem of the powerplant.

Re:Delays... anything new? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 2 months ago | (#47686583)

"in 2002 two CANDU 6 reactors at Qinshan in China were completed on-schedule and on-budget, an achievement attributed to tight control over scope and schedule."

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Delays... anything new? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 months ago | (#47687273)

The only reason I can see for building them is to make more fissile materials for nuclear warheads

The world has moved on - now, in the US at least, it's about truly epic levels of pork and comfortable sinecures. If they were serious there would be more commerical R&D instead of Westinghouse basing their AP-1000 design on work paid for by the Japanese taxpayer.

Boycott? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47686289)

Power companies should give up on nuclear completely and refuse to build new plants of any sort unless regulations are loosened to make construction affordable.

If the government want emission-free power plants, the government should build them.

More details (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#47686541)

SCE&G, which is building the plants with state-owned utility Santee Cooper and has a 55 percent stake in the project, won regulatory approval to raise rates annually for its current customers to help pay for the construction of the nuclear power plants. SCE&G ratepayers already have ponied up numerous increases for the nuclear project, the latest one approved in May. “We have warned from the start of this risky project that it would face significant delays and cost increases, so there is unfortunately no big surprise in SCE&G’s stunning news,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch). “SCE&G ratepayers, already facing seven rate increases to pay in advance for the nuclear project, will likely take it on the chin by the cost increases due to the announced delays.” Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/0... [thestate.com]

Problems with solid fuel reactors. (1, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47687471)

Honestly. This is just going to continue being a problem for these overly complex, Rube Goldberg device solid fuel, pressurized water reactors.

Creating the fission reaction is the EASY part. Even keeping it under control is fairly brain-dead simple. The problem is that a psychotic amount of over-engineering goes into a complex, heavily layered disaster shutdown system. And, because the engineering is so complex, and the tolerances so exacting, even marginal variances explode the project from expensive to "snorting cash like a 50,000hp vacuum" boondoggle in negative three seconds.

This is one of the big reasons I'm a huge fan of molten salt reactors. In an emergency, you dump the reactor vessel, separating the fuel from the catalyst.
The reaction stops. And the system cools off. PLUS, there's no water under high temperature and pressure looking to explode and turn your powerplant into the Oz Scarecrow (they tore my legs off and they threw them over there, and then they tore my chest out and threw it over THERE!).

Re:Problems with solid fuel reactors. (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about 2 months ago | (#47688109)

What catalyst are you referring to? The purpose of the salt dump is to disperse the fuel into a subcritical geometry.

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