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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

samzenpus posted about 1 month ago | from the keeping-it-going dept.

EU 249

mdsolar writes with this story about the rising costs of keeping Europe's nuclear power plants safe and operational. Europe's aging nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars. Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union's electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc's 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years. And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds. Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation.

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Another Brilliant Revelation (3, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 1 month ago | (#47697115)

The cost of caring for elderly _____ is expected to rise;

1) Nuclear Plants
2) Houses
3) Windmills
4) Cars
5) Solar Installations
6) People
7) Factories
8) Roads
9) Bridges
...and the list goes on.

Another amazingly useful submission to slashdot.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697149)

This user mdsolar submits a lot of stories. All of them are negative about nuclear power.
Isn't that an interesting pattern?

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0, Troll)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 1 month ago | (#47697255)

And something positive about radiation is ... ?

Gee, maybe you want to trade places with the Fukushima residents? No? Thought so.

--
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only recycled. Black Holes = in, White Holes = out.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 1 month ago | (#47697311)

And something positive about radiation is ... ?

Spiderman, the Hulk and microwave ovens all come to mind... ;)

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 1 month ago | (#47698229)

Actually, I was thinking about the radioactive iodine isotope the doctors used to successfully treat my wife's thyroid cancer. That's something very positive about radiation.

Re: Another Brilliant Revelation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697387)

There are very few positives to radiation. There are, however, very many positives to nuclear power, which is what this article is about.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Interesting)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 1 month ago | (#47697415)

I'd love it if a nuke plant was built in my town. Would source a ton of decent paying jobs as well as bring some infrastructure improvements. But alas, Lane County (OR) is a designated "nuclear free zone". =/

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (2, Funny)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 1 month ago | (#47697607)

No need to worry, I have it on good authority from all the libertarians who frequent this site that you can easily move to a more nuclear friendly town. No need to stay in that oppressive communist hellhole where you live now.

-AndrewBuck

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 1 month ago | (#47698615)

Good-luck getting past: NIMBY.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 1 month ago | (#47698633)

Hmm... I wonder how much EWEB [wikipedia.org] would have to raise their rates to cover the cost of building a nuclear power plant?

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697425)

There's nothing positive about radiation, but even taking into account Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima & every other Nuclear accident on the books as a form of power it has caused far fewer deaths & far less ecological damage then any other power generation method. Hundreds if not thousands of people are constantly dying drilling for oil and digging for coal a year to fuel those plants, nuclear has maybe has a handful of deaths a year associated with it.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698023)

A mine collapses and kills people then you get a bang, some bodies, and the emergency is largely over save for the rescue effort.
A reactor goes bang then you've got bodies and an emergency that could go on for 10,000 years or more.

We're finding that the free energy of these nuclear reactors is far from free...

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 1 month ago | (#47697529)

Radiation? Radiation is almost, but not quite, a non concern.

Radioactivity? That's a potential problem.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (1)

brambus (3457531) | about 1 month ago | (#47697537)

Will happily do. Do you know of any attractive real estate trading at low prices there ATM?

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | about 1 month ago | (#47698111)

And something positive about radiation is ... ?

An alpha particle?

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (2, Insightful)

Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) | about 1 month ago | (#47697265)

mdsolar more like mdSHILLER

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697443)

It's almost as if Chris Dudley is a reseller for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and has a vested interest in scaring people away from nuclear power to buy his solar panels as if there's no way the two can co-exist.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697381)

Theory is he sells Solar shit.

This is just gorilla marketing.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698119)

This is just gorilla marketing.

Someone should contact the appropriate authorities - this man is located in the United States, and I'm pretty sure selling primates is illegal.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 1 month ago | (#47697547)

Yes! And note also that every insightful post in response to one of these is modded Troll. Nice Team Greenpeace they have going there.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697765)

Ever see the charts of deaths per terawatt for nuclear power? Nuke plants are off the scale compared to other energy generation technologies. It is no wonder why it is being decommissioned left and right.

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697821)

Ever see the charts of deaths per terawatt for nuclear power? Nuke plants are off the scale compared to other energy generation technologies. It is no wonder why it is being decommissioned left and right.

[citation needed - preferably from those alleged "charts of deaths" you're talking about]

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 1 month ago | (#47697913)

Sorry. Wrong.

Nuclear has by far the lowest deathprint.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja... [forbes.com]

Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (4, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 1 month ago | (#47697577)

The rational response to this situation is that when the cost of keeping some old X running gets too high, you replace it with a new and improved X. But in this one case, no.

Ready to massively reinvest in new plants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697121)

Because the alternative is to piss away a shit tonne of capital on retrofitting dangerous known-flawed designs in perpetuity.

I hope it doesn't get too costly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697141)

We might see more elderly nuclear plants being put into homes.

Falling energy prices and weak demand? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697143)

Which imaginary world are you living in? Energy prices are high and evergy companies have been raking in massive profits for years.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697201)

Energy prices in Europe have been declining for a while now: http://www.platts.com/pressrel... [platts.com]

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 1 month ago | (#47697527)

Energy prices in Europe have been declining for a while now: http://www.platts.com/pressrel... [platts.com]

Electricity rates have been rising in America [inflationdata.com] . Perversely, this is because of falling demand. Electricity consumption peaked in 2007, and has been falling since then. Falling demand should mean lower prices, but most generators are protected monopolies that are guaranteed a profit. So falling demand means that fixed costs must be spread over fewer kwHrs.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697733)

If it makes you feel any better. My electricity rate here is 7 cents/kWh and dropps to 5 per kWh after 1000 kWh of usage. It's not time based.

I live in the northeast.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698295)

> Electricity rates have been rising in America [inflationdata.com].

Because there was no major CAPEX for about 30 years. Nothing says profit like doing nothing and getting paid for it.

As to the real costs of generation, they've continued falling throughout. Which is what you'd expect, as the tech gets better. Right now base load on the Ontario interconnects is selling for (checking as I type...) 2.37 cents/kWh. This is around the lowest is has *ever* been, NOT accounting for inflation (when you add that, it's WAY the lowest). Last night it was negative.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (4, Insightful)

brambus (3457531) | about 1 month ago | (#47697789)

Interesting article. Couple of important quotes from it:

“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24-GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke said.

Translation: we've overproduced by such an amount that we're paying for people take our crap.

If the legislative environment weren't such that grid operators were forced to take unneeded generation, wind & solar would have to be curtailed and you'd see the owners of those facilities cry bloody murder, because that's lost revenue and a big hit to ROI. What's funnier is that this situation isn't going to get less frequent with more wind & solar buildout, it's going to get more frequent. Much, much more. The politicians have essentially made grid operators pay for the unreliability of wind & solar, instead of the people who actually own the thing and earn money from it. It's like making a public transport company pay for the lost wages of people who continuously oversleep and show up late for work, despite the public transport running on time.

Contrary to many wind & solar advocates' claims, negative energy prices are not good - it means something's seriously messed up in the grid.

At continental Europe’s most liquid natural gas trading hub, the Dutch TTF, the average price of day-ahead natural gas was €22.76/MWh in March, down 4% on February and down 29% year-over-year.

“The decline has accelerated in recent days,” Richardson said. “TTF prompt delivery gas has dropped below €20/MWh in early April trade, the first time we’ve seen it this low since December 2011. Norwegian gas flows have been healthy and demand for heat and storage have been low.”

So a significant part of the cheap power price is also natural gas, which is most decidedly not renewable and not zero-CO2.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (4, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698301)

> Translation: we've overproduced by such an amount that we're paying for people take our crap.

Another translation: due to decreased economic activity as industry moves to China, along with improved efficiency in household consumption and in the market in general, the existing generation assets we have are no longer needed as overall demand lowers.

Example: Ontario has been decommissioning nukes and coal plants for 10 years now and still has negative pricing at night. Exact same reasons.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 1 month ago | (#47698623)

So a significant part of the cheap power price is also natural gas, which is most decidedly not renewable and not zero-CO2.

Things are a lot worse than you think. The fact is the electric power prices went down in Germany because coal prices are down. Why are they down? The US has a natural gas glut and has been exporting the excess coal, which is not required anymore, to countries like Germany.

Germany has been trying to get off natural gas because the major supplier to Central Europe is Russia and you know how they are. *cough* Ukraine *cough*.

The Wind and Solar are window dressing. Coal is used to generate 45.8% of the electricity used in Germany while Wind and Solar combined are 17.1%. As Germany is winding down its Nuclear power plants they are building new Coal power plants to replace them.

If the trend continues the US will actually reduce its CO2 emissions in the next decade while countries in Europe like Germany will increase CO2 emissions. If you care about that.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697207)

Come to Germany. Prices are falling below production cost, it's great!

At my home, (rural) we also produce, via solar, around 110% of we use.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (4, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 1 month ago | (#47697347)

Citation please?

There are a number of nuclear plants which are not being kept in operation due to the advent of cheap, clean, natural gas. Fracking has increased the production of old wells and opened up new areas to energy production. So much that wholesale electricity prices have been falling (along with retail prices). This has hammered the nuclear industry (along with solar and wind power) who are facing rising costs (due to inflation, as well as plant age), not to mention other fuel sources such as coal are suffering too. This low natural gas price is not expected to rise for at least the next decade.

So, electric power has NOT been an industry to rack in billions of ill-gotten profits. They make profits, but many are facing the cold hard fact that their current set of generation capacity fueled by nuclear or coal is not going to be financially viable in short order. They are currently on a natural gas fired plant building binge, while shuttering their existing plants. I don't see this trend changing anytime soon.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697843)

The reason why natural gas is dirt cheap and putting baseload plants out of business is largely because the gas cannot be stored, if it is not used where it is generated it is wasted. My guess is more pipeline infrastructure and gas liquification plants will come online over the next 10 years or so to stabilize the market.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 1 month ago | (#47698517)

The reason why natural gas is dirt cheap and putting baseload plants out of business is largely because the gas cannot be stored, if it is not used where it is generated it is wasted. My guess is more pipeline infrastructure and gas liquification plants will come online over the next 10 years or so to stabilize the market.

I don't know where you live, but storing natural gas is routinely done here, even without converting it to liquid. It is also routinely piped long distances, including to my home, for use. It is not just wasted at the point of production.

So I'm not sure what you are talking about. If you are talking about shipping it to foreign markets, then LNG is required, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about domestic production and use.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698219)

> So much that wholesale electricity prices have been falling (along with retail prices).

You obviously don't live in Ontario.

Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698315)

> You obviously don't live in Ontario.

Wholesale prices in Ontario have been falling for several years. You can track them in realtime here:

http://www.ieso.ca

I think you're confusing wholesale and retail. Retail rates have been rising. That's because Ontario Hydro didn't spend a dime on the network for 45 years and the entire grid needs replacement, while running up about $20 billion in debts due to Darlington and Ernie Eave's brilliant "keep the price low" plan which really meant "run up Hydro's debt". As both of these effects are addressed, you get to pay more. We're nowhere near finished, so get used to it.

The same is true for practically every other north american jurisdiction, I don't know enough about europe to say.

Which? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697209)

And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand

Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch

Wait, which is it, is there too much electricity or not enough?

Re:Which? (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 1 month ago | (#47697321)

I read it as "as other types of plants (i.e. Coal) are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation".

i.e. "there's not enough clean energy being produced and some of the older other (non-nuclear) types of plants are as dirty/dirtier than nuclear"?

Which? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697517)

Both, there is too little demand because of years of energy saving campaigns (energy saving appliances, CLF/LED lights, etc) and too little power because they've been shutting down plants. Same thing has been going on there in the US, utilities arguing they have to raise their prices because of lower demand from energy savings & solar/wind integration after years of arguing that they had to impose smart metering & higher prices because the grid was being overloaded by too much power usage.

Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 1 month ago | (#47697223)

"Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation."

In short: While nuclear isn't perfect, it currently sucks less than any other alternative available.

(Renewables just aren't scalable enough yet.)

Re:Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (2, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 1 month ago | (#47697959)

No. Let me correct that bit of foolishness on your part.

While nuclear isn't perfect, the paranoia about potential nuclear accidents means it isn't commercially viable.

In fact, coal processing has killed more humans from radioactivity than nuclear power in the United States and also in the world.

Also, hydro electric dams destroy and threaten to destroy a greater ecological area than nuclear power plants do.

The problem with nuclear power is simple ignorance. Most people don't understand it, and basically just think: Nuclear? as in the bombs? I don't want that in my back yard.

Coal is a far worse fuel. But it's deaths are spread out over the entire world and over decades, rather than all together in one lump sum. Moreover, when we have a coal accident, it kills the wildlife, while when we have a nuclear accident, it creates a wildlife preserve that the animals love: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05... [nytimes.com]

Re:Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (2)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698339)

> While nuclear isn't perfect, the paranoia about potential nuclear accidents means it isn't commercially viable.

That, or maybe...

1) the $7.60/W CAPEX, which is over seven times that of wind or natural gas
2) the multi-year lead times which means significant economic risk in an era of they-can-only-go-up interest rates
3) construction costs that invariably go very very wrong and leave the investors holding the bag
4) banks which have been watching all of this for 40 years and consider it to be a toxic investment

Yeah, or maybe it's a bunch of patchouli scented long-hairs that are keeping the industry down. Like they way they kept down hi way construction, urban sprawl and whale hunting. Its a sad comment on an industry who's own supporters claim it's been brought to its knees by a group that can't get a job at Starbucks.

Elderly Nuclear Plants? (4, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 1 month ago | (#47697261)

I didn't know nuclear plants were powered by the elderly. They told me grandma passed, and was in a better place. No one said that was inside a reactor.

Re:Elderly Nuclear Plants? (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 1 month ago | (#47697343)

Soylent voltage?

Re:Elderly Nuclear Plants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697719)

Hear, Hear, Grandmapocalypse is near!
Don't click the cookie! Close your portals to the cookie dimension!

Re:Elderly Nuclear Plants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697797)

No, you idiot Elderly Nuclear Plants are radiative house plants that the elderly own. The elderly get them out of spite knowing if they get cancer it won't really matter to them, but they can ruin things for the younger generation. Once they pass away, someone has to care for these plants. It's a serious problem.

Re: Elderly Nuclear Plants? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 1 month ago | (#47698625)

Only if you're in a nuclear family.

mdsolar has posted another anti-nuke submission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697277)

Let's keep this in perspective. It was submitted by mdsolar.

How is this anti-nuke? (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 1 month ago | (#47697483)

I see nothing on there that makes it anti-nuke. I DO see him pointing out a REAL problem, which is that many of the old reactors are being extend past their lifetimes and NEED to be taken down. BUT, they really need to be replaced by new ones, not other forms of energy.

Oh look, it's mdsolar (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697309)

Either this is a "true believer" who worships and genuflects on PV panels, or a fossil fuel industry astroturfer. Did we really need another fact free FUD fest on this subject? In either case, his claims need to be taken very critically. I don't see any reasonable hope that mankind's energy needs can be met with only PV and other "renewable" sources. The numbers do not add up. Look up the French Revolution for an example of pretending that politics > math.

Bottom line: Until the last coal plant is shuttered, nuclear power needs to be a major, perhaps THE major, source of electricity if we care to preserve a global ecosystem even faintly resembling that of pre-industrial times.

Re:Oh look, it's mdsolar (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 1 month ago | (#47697463)

Although I largely agree with your skepticism (and am intrigued by the sentence "Look up the French Revolution for an example of pretending that politics > math",would you care to expound on that?), I think your view lacks the perspective of the vast improvements that can be achieved with efficiency/ economy/ frugality.
http://www.energyrealities.org/chapter/meeting-our-needs/item/per-capita-energy-consumption/erp327B7C729A3B31D2B [energyrealities.org]
A relatively simple ten percent reduction in the top ten energy using countries would alleviate a massive amount of necessary production.

Re:Oh look, it's mdsolar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697997)

See here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Oh look, it's mdsolar (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 1 month ago | (#47697593)

The reason why the west is in trouble is because we became dependent on singular sources of energy. America at one time was at 75% dependant on Coal, though we are now, below 40% coal and dropping (America will be below 25% coal by 2020).
Europe, as a whole, actually hit over 80% coal, and still remains over 50% coal. However, with the situation with Russia, coal is expected to jump again.
China is currently at around 80% coal (and it is GROWING, not shrinking).

What these show, is that when you make a SINGULAR source be your energy, you do not have the capability to remove it fast.
What is needed is a diversified energy matrix, in which no singular source is above 33%, if not 25%.

Better than building new ones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697337)

Yes, operating and maintaining old nuclear reactors with outdated designs prone to meltdown is certainly safer than building new ones using better designs with more fault tolerance, and everything we've learned about nuclear disasters in the last 30 years. /sarcasm

Re: Better than building new ones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697453)

There's no such thing as a meltdown prone nuclear reactor. We've had 4 or 5 meltdowns in the last 45 years, and there are hundreds of reactors.

Re:Better than building new ones! (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698373)

It is if the cost of the raw materials has doubled in the last couple of years.

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/WPU132?data_tool=XGtable
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/WPU1321?data_tool=XGtable
http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/copper/all/

Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movement (5, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 1 month ago | (#47697355)

For all of the laudable successes of the Environmental Movement in the late 20th Century (e.g. bans on DDT and chlorofluorocarbons, regulations to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions, habitat preservation), the anti-nuclear movement has to count as one of its great failures. These old plants are dangerous, and becoming increasingly so. Knee-jerk opposition to the construction of new nuclear facilities has made all of us less safe by encouraging obsolete plants (like Fukushima) to be patched together for another few decades because there is no alternative to meet power demand. Knee-jerk opposition to any waste respository has resulted in the highly dangerous on-site storage of spent fuel.

Environmental opposition to nuclear power has made nuclear power vastly more dangerous than it needs to be, which appears to be a deliberate strategy: if you are convinced beyond any reasoning that something is too dangerous to be used at all, then it becomes paradoxically sensible to work to make it as dangerous as possible so that other people will agree with your preconceived notions about the hazards. I'm not sure if this effect has a name yet. Proof by suicide?

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 1 month ago | (#47697467)

Darn it. After I posted, I realized that I had moderation power. I would have modded you up.
I consider my an environmentalists, but a sane one. Hell, the primary reason why I became Libertarian was because both dems and pubs are responsible for so much destruction.
We desperately need an energy mix, not depending on just ONE TYPE of energy. Right now the greenies push wind/solar. Yet, BOTH depend on the sun, which means that if say yellowstone erupts, or China attacks and uses clouds over America first (China is working very hard on weather control and they DO consider it a form of military weaponary), then we would lose much of our power at the very moment that we need it the most.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698383)

> I consider my an environmentalists, but a sane one.

Perhaps you might want to stop referring to yourself in the multiple when telling us how sane you are.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

WindBourne (631190) | about 1 month ago | (#47698521)

yeah, I wish that we had editing on /. at times.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698621)

We ALL do.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697497)

Follow the money. Who benefits from nuclear failure? That would be traditional energy sources (oil/ng). So who was funding the anti-nuclear movement?

Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697715)

Yup, that's the problem with not building any new nuclear plants. You left with only OLD ones !

re: nuclear waste (1, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | about 1 month ago | (#47697865)

Agree completely with your comments, although the nuclear waste issue still strikes me as one that few people are taking seriously enough. The reaction is always the same, "Don't load that stuff on a train that travels through MY city!" "Don't bury that stuff anywhere near MY place!" So it winds up sitting right where it started, on-site at the plant, where it's, to say the least, not an ideal storage location.

We've seen a lot of technical innovation in the last 50 years or so, which makes me question why we can't seriously look into developing a new type of power generator that can use all of this "spent" radioactive waste as fuel? Even if the costs to construct it were prohibitive in the sense of it generating enough electricity to be profitable? It would seem to be a cheap solution as a place to put waste coming from the existing reactors.

As long as the nuclear waste contains so much energy, it's this dangerous to handle or store -- that means there's got to be untapped potential left in it.

Re: nuclear waste (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 1 month ago | (#47698209)

We have already done that. But the anti-nuke fear mongers are holding that technology back, by preventing funding for new power plants. You can read more about it here: http://transatomicpower.com/ [transatomicpower.com]

Re: nuclear waste (0)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 1 month ago | (#47698287)

Thank Jimmy Carter for that one.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 1 month ago | (#47698019)

The "Environmental Movement" is not one homogeneous group of people. There are tons of sensible, evidence-based people like myself that have always been pro-nuclear. Then there are the non-evidence based folks who are terrified of "radiation" and rub crystals of themselves to cleanse their chakra.

I would like to think that I'm in the mainstream and they're the fringe.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698061)

And what makes you think the solution to old, creaky, leaky, explodey reactors is to build more new reactors? Did you think the new reactors would 'replace' the old reactors? That's a bit naive. What these new reactors guarantee is that there'll be twice as many old, creaky, leaky, explodey reactors in 30 years time. We're fantastically bad at decommissioning old reactors that'll we'll be happy to extend our 50 year design to 100 years or 200 years and beyond.

Creating a bigger problem is not a solution.

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

Medievalist (16032) | about 1 month ago | (#47698371)

Ah, Rush Limbaugh's famous "Greenies made nuclear power unsafe" meme. A darling here on slashdot, despite so many annoying facts that tend to discredit it.

In the Real World ®, American Greens are the most ineffective political movement since the vegetarians. They have accomplished pretty much nothing since Nixon signed the Clean Air Act. The real actors are the majority of hard-headed average Americans (who are hardly "green", but who are sensible enough to know they don't want or need nuclear power) and the simple realities of market economics.

The cold hard truth is that no private entity has ever made an economically viable terrestrial nuclear fission power plant. Ever. [psr.org] Only socialist and totalitarian regimes can do it, because they can effectively ignore insurance costs, which the USA shouldn't (and although the Price-Andersen subsidies do exactly that, US plants still aren't cost-effective). In a truly free and fair market it would cost far more money for construction, insurance, and decommissioning than an operator could ever possibly recoup. Even the ultra-right wing Cato Institute admits this [reason.com] !

But terrestrial fission power plants are a masturbatory fantasy akin to Steampunkery, only with less whimsical charm. A fever dream of a world that never was, full of steam engines and glowing rocks. They are an obsolete and unnecessary technology fetishized by aficionados, who often seem to be quite willing to give up any form of representative government or free market if only they can have their beloved nuke plants. No tax burden is too high! Because it's not a reasoned argument for them, it's an obsession. So blaming the failings of their fellow travelers on their opposition fits their mindset perfectly - it couldn't possibly be the fault of the nuclear operators that they purposely built the cheapest, least safe designs allowed by law! It must have been those devil-greens! It's their fault!

Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698451)

>In a truly free and fair market it would cost far more money for construction, insurance, and decommissioning than an operator could ever possibly recoup. Even the ultra-right wing Cato Institute admits this [reason.com]!

In a truly free and fair market, you'd be able to sue for the air pollution coming out of your neighbour's car, for the air pollution from the refinery, and for the pollution generated from various electricity manufacturing (assuming you live close enough to prove it makes it to your property). This is all the way from solar tiles, the manufacture of which is incredibly dirty, up to and including coal plants (for the obvious).

Nuclear is only expensive if you can download the costs of other tech onto others... socialism at work, my friend.

Operating Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697365)

Every power plant, whether it's fueled by oil, natural gas, coal, hydro or nuclear costs more to maintain as it gets older. Why is this news?Does the submitter think that only Nuclear power plants cost more to maintain as they age?

Re:Operating Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697709)

Every power plant, whether it's fueled by oil, natural gas, coal, hydro or nuclear costs more to maintain as it gets older. Why is this news?Does the submitter think that only Nuclear power plants cost more to maintain as they age?

Because if you want to shutter an old coal plant, you take it apart and recycle the metal, clean up some old spills and start over. Nucs are a tad harder to recycle.

And, until we get our heads our of our respective asses and deal with the nuclear waste issue, it's going to get harder and harder.

Meanwhile in Russia (0)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 1 month ago | (#47697379)

Putin is rubbing his hands together in glee. His money pit is almost finished, letting him finally go swimming in Rubles like Scrooge McDuck.

If the cost of energy continues to fall would that potentially entice the EU into forgoing improvements/maintenance on domestic (is it still considered domestic in this case?) production -- wouldn't that pretty much necessitate importing from Russia? And who is to say the current dip in prices is anything more than a blip on the radar?

That's Because No New Ones Have Been Built (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697433)

Instead of spending more keeping the old ones running, we really should have built new cheaper and safer reactors. Instead vast amounts of money have been wasted on renewable energy while nothing has been spent on nuclear.

In the UK £120billion has been spent in the last five years on renewable energy (mostly wind) and yet we're facing the prospects of blackouts and brownouts. To make up for the shortcomings of renewables we'll have to burn more fissile fuels. Furthermore energy costs are rising to absurd levels to pay for these obscenely inefficient forms of power generation.

Had that £120billion been spent on nuclear we would have a cheap supply of energy that would more than meet our needs.

Re:That's Because No New Ones Have Been Built (2)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 1 month ago | (#47698597)

> we really should have built new cheaper and safer reactors

Newer designs are not cheaper. In fact, in spite of herculean efforts on the part of the industry, they're generally more expensive.

There are basically three "newer" designs that are actually available on the market, the EPR, AP1000 and ABWR. Other designs like the APWR, ACR-1000 and similar are dead, while others like the VVER are unlikely to be sold outside Russian client states, who get them basically for free.

Here's a current report on all of the ones that are still standing:

EPR, four under construction, one approved for short-term:
Olkiluoto's EPR is currently billed at E8.5 billion, about three times the original estimate. Construction is halted.
Flamanville's EPR has gone even higher.
Taishan's EPR's are both at least two years behind schedule (they were supposed to be on the grid last year, now they're scheduled for next year). I don't know what that does on the cost side in China.
Hinkley Point C is, well, no one really knows what's going on any more

AP1000, four under construction in China, four in the US, several others approved:
Summer's two AP1000s are both delayed at least 18 months, leading to a credit rating drop for the companies involved.
Vogtle's two AP1000 reactors are already billions over budget, and have just announced another series of delays. Delays cost $2 million a day.
Sanmen and Haiyang are both at least a year behind schedule. Haiyang 1 was last updated to begin operation in May,
Levy County's two AP1000 last accounting put it over $11 a Watt, at which point Duke gave up and kept everyone's money.

That's not to say this is universal, nor the fault of the designs. Spiralling material costs account for much of this. But having your costs controlled by time of construction on one hand and materials costs on the other is a bad place to be, they often conflict. If you want to get the materials cheaper you have to wait, which drives up soft costs, if you try to get it quicker to help there you drive up materials costs. And when interest rates are at historical lows and materials costs are skyrocketing, these sorts of things are going to happen.

We are SOO doing this wrong (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 1 month ago | (#47697435)

These sites have land close to cities (efficient), cooling, transmission lines, generators, etc. Basically, the problem with the old reactors is that they are old and are second generation.
What should be happening is that we should put on-site NEW multiple small 3+ gen reactors, such as mPower, to handle the loads, providing power/money for the company, while they take down the OLD reactors.

At the same time, we need to do a 4th gen reactor that will burn up the 'nuclear waste', and leave only 5% of the volume as well leave it safe in under 200 years (as opposed to 20,000+ years).

The true cost of nuclear power (-1, Redundant)

jgotts (2785) | about 1 month ago | (#47697455)

The true cost of nuclear power is practically infinite, because we have to insure that highly concentrated and deadly waste must not come into contact with people's bodies for somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 years into the future, depending upon the waste.

We have only had a writing system for 5,200 years (roughly speaking, the length of recorded history). How many people on Earth today could read a radiation warning written in cuneiform 5,200 years ago (or today)? Many civilizations on Earth have had periods of scientific and technological decline, and we've all read articles about knowledge from Ancient Rome or, more recently, the Renaissance being rediscovered today. How can we guarantee persistence of any scientific or technical knowledge?

How are we supposed to convey the message: "Don't touch any of this, or pass it around. You and anyone who touches this will die not instantly but within months of a painful death, perhaps after you have traveled a great distance" for 200x the length of recorded history?

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697509)

Spread that FUD some more.

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697565)

Nope. Horribly misinformed you are. Not worth discussing with you until you are educated on what currently available technology can accomplish, let alone near-future tech requiring only a handful of years of dedicated research.

Because I usually have to spell this out - I do NOT want you to change your opinion. I only want you informed so you stop spouting entirely incorrect information. There can be no discussion without agreement upon the basic science being discussed.

Start with just these two examples (out of many) and then let's talk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candu

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697591)

Sensationalism bullshit. Highly concentrated and deadly waste can be consumed by a molten salt reactor reducing the half life to ~300 years. Deep Geological Depositories such as Yucca Mountain could store the waste for that 300 years.

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698129)

Surprise! The government doesn't want to eliminate the waste because it can be used to make bombs. Those fast breeder reactors we keep hearing about? Yeah...they'll NEVER happen.

Anyway, the nuclear waste will have naturally eroded to nothing before Yucca Mountain ever opens so we have nothing to worry about. Actually, the entire universe will have collapsed and recycled into a brand new universe before Yucca Mountain ever opens. Actually, that would solve our nuclear waste problem nicely...

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698189)

The government has had a surplus of weapons grade materials for years, hell the number of nuclear warheads in the US has been declining since the 1960s! They currently have a SURPLUS of materials, not a shortage. But don't let facts stop your sensationalism.

Will Yucca ever open? Who knows, but the more FUD and sensationalism decreases it's chances. But that's for political reasons, not technical ones.

Re: The true cost of nuclear power (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698215)

"A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a class of nuclear fission reactors in which the primary coolant, or even the fuel itself, is a molten salt mixture. MSRs run at higher temperatures than water-cooled reactors for higher thermodynamic efficiency, while staying at low vapor pressure.

The nuclear fuel may be solid or dissolved in the coolant itself." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor

A design which allows double duty of a substance as both coolant AND fuel... What could possibly go wrong?

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697643)

If it's too radioactive to be dangerous, then it's still can be used...

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (1, Informative)

digsbo (1292334) | about 1 month ago | (#47697683)

No. Get past your fear, embrace salt reactors, and use that "Waste" as fuel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 1 month ago | (#47697687)

That's the strategy, folks: prevent nuclear reprocessing plants from getting built, so you can complain about the long-term nature of the spent fuel that reprocessing would have consumed.

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (4, Interesting)

brambus (3457531) | about 1 month ago | (#47697853)

Reprocessing is just one step. In order to achieve a true closed cycle, we'll need fast neutron waste burners. We've built them [wikipedia.org] . We've got designs ready to go [gehitachiprism.com] . Some pilot commercial plants have already been built [wikipedia.org] . And we've got refinements in the pipeline that will make them even better [terrapower.com] . Unfortunately, the modern environmental movement has turned into a religion and some of them are mistaking Slashdot for their soap box.

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697745)

Why the great concern about killing a handful of people thousands of years from now? More people have died in the world in the time it took me to write this than would likely die from exposure digging a thousand foot deep shaft thousands of years from now. Think about it:

You dig a shaft and no one that goes down it ever comes back up, how soon is it before you stop sending people down it and fill it in?

The true cost of coal power (4, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | about 1 month ago | (#47697849)

The true cost of nuclear power is practically infinite, because we have to insure that highly concentrated and deadly waste must not come into contact with people's bodies for somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 years into the future, depending upon the waste.

The true cost of coal power is practically infinite, because we have to insure that highly dispersed and deadly waste must not come into contact with people's bodies for somewhere between 10,000,000,000 and over 10^33 years into the future, depending upon the waste. (the latter is the lower limits on the half-life of mercury)

We have only had a writing system for 5,200 years (roughly speaking, the length of recorded history). How many people on Earth today could read a radiation warning written in cuneiform 5,200 years ago (or today)? Many civilizations on Earth have had periods of scientific and technological decline, and we've all read articles about knowledge from Ancient Rome or, more recently, the Renaissance being rediscovered today. How can we guarantee persistence of any scientific or technical knowledge?

How are we supposed to convey the message: "Don't touch any of this, or pass it around. You and anyone who touches this will die not instantly but within months of a painful death, perhaps after you have traveled a great distance" for 200x the length of recorded history?

How are we supposed to convey the message: Um, could you guys put all this mercury, uranium, and greenhouse gases from our coal power plants back into the ground for us? We were too lazy to do it ourselves, we were hoping you guys wouldn't mind. Also don't eat any fish from the ocean, they're full of poisonous mercury, sorry about that.

Re:The true cost of nuclear power (1)

cjestel (788399) | about 1 month ago | (#47697859)

How are we supposed to convey the message: "Don't touch any of this, or pass it around. You and anyone who touches this will die not instantly but within months of a painful death, perhaps after you have traveled a great distance" for 200x the length of recorded history?

It's simple, you label it as being cursed. Worked so well for all the tombs we've found....

How is this suprising? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47697551)

How is this in any way suprising? Putting it in car terms:

The Cost of Caring For Elderly Model T Fords Expected To Rise.

The fact that new plants have been banned for many years, we don't have anything in the US to compare the costs to. New technology would probably be much less expensive to maintain, but they are not permitted such updates for fear of a nuclear explosion. No companies are doing much development for new plants that are not going to be built.

We could probably be waving bye to the Middle East if the anti-nuke idiots didn't have such clout. But, they prefer burning oil and coal (and global warming) to nuclear power.

It' does make a nice political platform to garner votes from the usefull idiots the Democrats favor.

Alternate headline (4, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | about 1 month ago | (#47697747)

Nuclear power plants have greater value than first anticipated, so we're keeping them for longer than originally planned.

Both a supply crunch and falling prices? (2)

Atmchicago (555403) | about 1 month ago | (#47697887)

How is there simultaneously a supply crunch and drop in prices? If there is a crunch, then prices will be raised until demand drops to an appropriate level, or more capacity will be built... unless major market distortions are in play which disrupt this relationship. I don't get it.

Re:Both a supply crunch and falling prices? (1)

man bear nerd (3610943) | about 1 month ago | (#47698265)

So the fear of radiation from a failing nuculer power plant is keeping America from building new plants to replace the old ones? what is the cutoff date for these old plants the day after they fail. btw if fukushima is your reason for not building a new power plant remember it took a mag.9.0 earthquake and a tsunami and failed later do to a fuel safety issue. chernobyl is no reason as it was the soviets they cared nothing for the environment or it's own people oh shit bad example just like america

Weak demand vs. capacity crunch (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 1 month ago | (#47698157)

"[E]nergy companies [are feeling] the pinch from...weak demand..."

"[M]any EU countries...are facing an energy capacity crunch"

The above two quotes contradict each other. The first says there's weak demand, but the second says there's a "capacity crunch" (a shortage) which means there's too much demand. So which is it, a surplus of energy or a shortage of energy? It can't be both.

Resolving this contradiction will lead to the real problem. Then we can think about ways to solve it.

Hanford is WHOSE fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47698481)

Maybe the educated nuclear aficionados out there can explain why the cost overruns and sloppy disposal work are the fault of greenpeace members.

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