Are Renewable Subsidies Killing Nuclear?

One argument is that renewable energy subsidies are killing off nuclear power, making nuclear plants close down even though nuclear is ultimately one of the cleanest power sources we can use. 

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It's the falling price of renewables that is killing nuclear plants. Subsidies are only anticipating the move a little bit.

But in the US cheap shale gas is another nuclear plant killer.

Another aspect is the increasing cost of new generation nuclear plants. As old nuclear plants are phased out they will be replaced by renewables or gas plants rather than new nuclear plants.

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On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 8:24 AM, Guillaume Albasini said:

It's the falling price of renewables that is killing nuclear plants. Subsidies are only anticipating the move a little bit.

But in the US cheap shale gas is another nuclear plant killer.

Another aspect is the increasing cost of new generation nuclear plants. As old nuclear plants are phased out they will be replaced by renewables or gas plants rather than new nuclear plants.

I can't wait to find out how cheap renewables are once their incentives are due to expire.

The entire Lobby is going to pirouette like the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

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1 hour ago, SLL said:

I can't wait to find out how cheap renewables are once their incentives are due to expire.

The entire Lobby is going to pirouette like the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

One can hope. I have a feeling more backdoor deals will be made to keep the industry propped up. If we want renewables to improve and be strong in the future we need less government assistance. The companies that have good products and are able to sell at a competitive price can only strengthen the economy and the energy industry as a whole.

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Renewables unsubsidized are cheaper than most fossil fuels already. Building a new solar plant is cheaper than running an exisisting coal plant.

By 2020 renewables will be cheaper than all fossil fuel alternatives all around, unsubsidized. It's not about the subsidies, it's just that the costs of the technology fall by something like 15% every year.

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On 5/24/2018 at 8:59 AM, dowmike said:

One argument is that renewable energy subsidies are killing off nuclear power, making nuclear plants close down even though nuclear is ultimately one of the cleanest power sources we can use. 

While it is an argument, it isn't a valid one. Natural gas is killing both coal and nuclear in the US. Nuclear is more expensive then coal, and especially in the US, the output isn't flexible. The reactor design was based on coal plant operation which coal up until the mid 70s, ran 24/7 and just cost averaged. It is cleaner but it was never cheaper, it was really propped up for energy security both from miner strikes, and truly running out of coal, which the main eastern vein in the US has been gone since the 80s.

Now that there are cheaper clean alternatives there is little sense in propping up nuclear. Wind is the cheapest form of power in the US right now. Solar is still coming down in price as well. NG and coal could easily go higher in price, whereas Renewables typically have fairly fixed price.

 

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(edited)

3 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Okay, unless I am reading this wrong, and I may be, that article is a bunch of malarkey.

.44 Euro's is "cheap?"

That is almost FIVE TIMES the average price of power in the U.S.

I wouldn't need a subsidy either at that rate.

Edited by SLL
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11 minutes ago, SLL said:

Okay, unless I am reading this wrong, and I may be, that article is a bunch of malarkey.

.44 Euro's is "cheap?"

That is almost FIVE TIMES the average price of power in the U.S.

In Michigan it's 12 cents per kilowatt hour, or about .10 euros. I think you are reading it correctly. Maybe it's low by European standards.

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(edited)

37 minutes ago, Rodent said:

In Michigan it's 12 cents per kilowatt hour, or about .10 euros. I think you are reading it correctly. Maybe it's low by European standards.

This is by far my biggest peave about this entire movement.  It's misleading.

Why not convert from Euros to USD?  I did it in less than 5 seconds. 

Why not state what the average kw-hr rate is in the United States?

Why not tell people how much a comparable nat-gas fired unit would cost?

When you are NOT presenting this information, that really leads me to believe you are hiding something.  Because you are.

All the average derp sees is a headline.  And if you don't give them the information, they will have no clue to the contrary.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SLL
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A lack of investment in progressing nuclear technologies is killing nuclear. Current plants are only using a small fraction of the energy in their fuel. We'd probably have truly "clean" and cheaper breeder reactors by now if it wasn't for the occasional nuclear catastrophe scaring the public. And probably safer. 

Public fear and the lack of investment that follows is what's killed nuclear energy.

Existing plants we're shutting down because they would be too expensive to fix up into safe condition. Concrete doesn't last forever and when the very backbone of your plant is falling apart, the price of maintenance increases exponentially over time.

Fun fact: solar energy IS nuclear energy. If you think about what the sun is.

Full disclosure: my job is dependent on nuclear power. I will shill for it whatever chance I get, but I'm realistic about what's really hurting it.

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(edited)

A recent study has found that the cost of building new nuclear power plants is nearly 20 % higher than expected due to delays :

 

Usually, as technologies mature and experience is gained in construction, costs come down. However, the team found that for nuclear, there has been a blip in the learning curve, with costs currently increasing, especially for projects since 2010.

Lead author Dr Joana Portugal Pereira, from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial, said: "Nuclear projects are actually becoming more complex to carry out, inducing delays and higher costs. Safety and regulatory considerations play heavily into this, particularly in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident in Japan."

The analysis is one of the first to assess full financial costs of building nuclear projects throughout time, and not just the 'overnight' costs. It also looked at projects around the world, including newer nuclear builders like China, India, and the UAE, rather than just the traditional builders in Europe, the USA and Japan.

They say that while nuclear projects can help bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewable energy, they could hinder progress if projects stall.

Dr Portugal Pereira said: "If we want to decarbonise our energy system, nuclear may not be the best choice for a primary strategy. Nuclear power is better late than never, but to really address climate change, it would be best if they were not late at all, as technologies like wind and solar rarely are."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180529132032.htm

 

Another study,  Lazard’s annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, shows also that the cost of nuclear energy is increasing . Since 2013 nuclear is more expensive than solar and wind energy and the gap is widening.

https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-2017/

 

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Edited by Guillaume Albasini
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Those rising costs are to calm a frightened public. Which in a way, I'm OK with. If you believe in Nuclear energy as a power source, you want the public to trust it too. That means doing everything necessary to prevent terrifying incidents

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Nuclear's biggest problem is not renewables or gas, its nuclear.

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(edited)

Nuclear reactors, even those of the pressurized-water type, are cheap to construct and cheap to run - in their primary-function format.  What makes the plants expensive is the irrational requirement(s) for add-ons, which in turn are irrationally driven by people illiterate in physics, chemistry, and engineering.  What happens is that the reactor core is required to be placed into a "containment dome" which in turn is hugely expensive.  Then the locals demand that the operator provide and man a dedicated fire department, again at huge expense.  The operator in turn has to provide a site security even greater than the most top-secret of top-secret government installation; that leads to a perpetually-manned police department and security fencing to put Marion Penitentiary to shame.  

OK, now all the stuff costs beaucoup bucks.  And the response of the generator operator is: "Well, if I have to pay for all those extras, and all that costs the same whether the plant produces 50 MW or 1,600 MW, then I might as well go as big as possible to spread the overhead."  And that is exactly why you never see small nukes; they are all these monster plants.

But remember this truism about manufacturing:  building a "one-off" is always acutely expensive.  Your cost per unit very rapidly comes down when you build lots of them.  And this is precisely why the US Navy builds a specific size of reactor for its ships and subs, and when it needs more power, then they install units in parallel.  And when you build these things in modular form, eventually you get to the point where they can be built on a unibody shell and dropped in place, even down to the size of one for a decent-size factory, say that uses 20 MW.  When it needs work, the manufacturer brings another down on a truck and they get swapped out, so all repair and rebuild is done at the manufacturer's building site, where a team of experts do that sort of work. 

The result of the "go big" protocol in the USA has led to the result that no two reactors are the same;  the country is littered with all these one-off units, so there is no industry learning curve flowing from the construct of reactors.  And that continues to make nukes an expensive power source. 

New nuke designs, particularly the Thorium Reactor, hold lots of promise for cheap power.  You don't need the coolant circuit to regulate the core from runaway, the molten-salt system is self-regulating, and you can fuel the beast with the spent fuel rods and pieces of dismantled submarine reactors and even decommissioned warheads, to burn up all the stuff now sitting in containment casks around the country. 

So why are the "new nukes," the Thorium reactors, not being built?  A good part of the reason is the hysteria whipped up by self-promoters, those sanctimonious clowns that show up at those town meetings held by the nuclear people, grab the mikes, and make huge pests of themselves.  They craft these scenarios of nuclear doom and stridently attack the operators, all with the specific intent of driving the operators out of town. And they push other leftist institutions, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, to go file lawsuits by the shipload against the plant operators, litigating them literally to oblivion. So the operators simply give up. 

Nukes can easily give you power for fractions of a cent per kwhr.  I can see a marginal cost of production of 0.1 cents/kwh.  But then you have to let those plants get built as real power plants, not some NSA security operation.  

Edited by Jan van Eck
scrivener error
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On 5/30/2018 at 1:10 PM, SLL said:

I can't wait to find out how cheap renewables are once their incentives are due to expire.

The entire Lobby is going to pirouette like the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Research what the costs are for utility scale solar awards, no incentives applied. A state of the art combined cycle gas plant edges solar but coal and nuclear are more than solar. Bigger issue is how to integrate solar if it’s a large % of the overall production. If you aren’t careful you’ll create a inexpensive base renewable load, and a very expensive backup/surge capability. 

The best bang for your buck is efficiency, and a smart grid with some demand flexing. 

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On 6/9/2018 at 5:32 PM, Jan van Eck said:

Nuclear reactors, even those of the pressurized-water type, are cheap to construct and cheap to run - in their primary-function format.  What makes the plants expensive is the irrational requirement(s) for add-ons, which in turn are irrationally driven by people illiterate in physics, chemistry, and engineering.  What happens is that the reactor core is required to be placed into a "containment dome" which in turn is hugely expensive.  Then the locals demand that the operator provide and man a dedicated fire department, again at huge expense.  The operator in turn has to provide a site security even greater than the most top-secret of top-secret government installation; that leads to a perpetually-manned police department and security fencing to put Marion Penitentiary to shame.  

OK, now all the stuff costs beaucoup bucks.  And the response of the generator operator is: "Well, if I have to pay for all those extras, and all that costs the same whether the plant produces 50 MW or 1,600 MW, then I might as well go as big as possible to spread the overhead."  And that is exactly why you never see small nukes; they are all these monster plants.

But remember this truism about manufacturing:  building a "one-off" is always acutely expensive.  Your cost per unit very rapidly comes down when you build lots of them.  And this is precisely why the US Navy builds a specific size of reactor for its ships and subs, and when it needs more power, then they install units in parallel.  And when you build these things in modular form, eventually you get to the point where they can be built on a unibody shell and dropped in place, even down to the size of one for a decent-size factory, say that uses 20 MW.  When it needs work, the manufacturer brings another down on a truck and they get swapped out, so all repair and rebuild is done at the manufacturer's building site, where a team of experts do that sort of work. 

The result of the "go big" protocol in the USA has led to the result that no two reactors are the same;  the country is littered with all these one-off units, so there is no industry learning curve flowing from the construct of reactors.  And that continues to make nukes an expensive power source. 

New nuke designs, particularly the Thorium Reactor, hold lots of promise for cheap power.  You don't need the coolant circuit to regulate the core from runaway, the molten-salt system is self-regulating, and you can fuel the beast with the spent fuel rods and pieces of dismantled submarine reactors and even decommissioned warheads, to burn up all the stuff now sitting in containment casks around the country. 

So why are the "new nukes," the Thorium reactors, not being built?  A good part of the reason is the hysteria whipped up by self-promoters, those sanctimonious clowns that show up at those town meetings held by the nuclear people, grab the mikes, and make huge pests of themselves.  They craft these scenarios of nuclear doom and stridently attack the operators, all with the specific intent of driving the operators out of town. And they push other leftist institutions, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, to go file lawsuits by the shipload against the plant operators, litigating them literally to oblivion. So the operators simply give up. 

Nukes can easily give you power for fractions of a cent per kwhr.  I can see a marginal cost of production of 0.1 cents/kwh.  But then you have to let those plants get built as real power plants, not some NSA security operation.  

Yeah, you aren't getting rid of the security. You brought up the navy. You know what a navy fuel movement looks like? If looks like the ground once a marine pins you down with a gun to your head because you had no business being there and were deemed a potential threat.

 

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1 minute ago, Jouhou said:

Yeah, you aren't getting rid of the security. You brought up the navy. You know what a navy fuel movement looks like? If looks like the ground once a marine pins you down with a gun to your head because you had no business being there and were deemed a potential threat.

 

I know exactly what a navy fuel movement looks like.  I have seen plenty of them.

 

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10 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I know exactly what a navy fuel movement looks like.  I have seen plenty of them.

 

Probably because you had a reason to be there. Then you're also aware then of the differences that make the navy's reactors difficult to apply to civilian uses.

but regardless, you aren't going to get the public's approval by vilifying them for their concerns. Rather you should provide maximum reasonable assurance that their concerns have been addressed.

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2 minutes ago, Jouhou said:

Probably because you had a reason to be there. Then you're also aware then of the differences that make the navy's reactors difficult to apply to civilian uses.

but regardless, you aren't going to get the public's approval by vilifying them for their concerns. Rather you should provide maximum reasonable assurance that their concerns have been addressed.

I never stated that navy reactors should be used or modified for civilian uses.  Indeed, I view that as silly.  Rather, I suggest that Thorium Fuel Reactors using molten salt are the future, or more accurately, one of the future, designs that would, if left alone from the clutches of the eco-lunatics and other social extortionists, prove to be a huge power boon.  

"The public" has no concerns.  The public is not even thinking about any of it.  What you hear are the claims of distortionists, the eco-lunatics. Those people are best ignored.  And no, a molten-salt reactor needs no heavy "security."  What are you going to do, try to steal molten salt at 750 degrees?  What, reach in there and scoop it out?  

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(edited)

12 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I never stated that navy reactors should be used or modified for civilian uses.  Indeed, I view that as silly.  Rather, I suggest that Thorium Fuel Reactors using molten salt are the future, or more accurately, one of the future, designs that would, if left alone from the clutches of the eco-lunatics and other social extortionists, prove to be a huge power boon.  

"The public" has no concerns.  The public is not even thinking about any of it.  What you hear are the claims of distortionists, the eco-lunatics. Those people are best ignored.  And no, a molten-salt reactor needs no heavy "security."  What are you going to do, try to steal molten salt at 750 degrees?  What, reach in there and scoop it out?  

Well I agree that we should be embracing the nuclear technologies of the future, but considering some of the silly questions I get from, let's say, family members, in regards to my job tells me the public as a whole is somewhat fearful.

Also my primary security concern with a civilian facility would be someone smuggling in malicious code on a memory stick. So, it would be malicious actors on behalf of a foreign government that would worry me. We already know Russia has penetrated quite a bit in our lower security power infrastructure as it is. They should all have improved cyber defenses.

Edited by Jouhou

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