The Nuclear Power Dilemma

More than one-third of the United States’ nuclear power fleet—21 of 60 facilities that provide low-carbon electricity—will be or could be shuttered in the next decade before their operating licenses expire and replaced primarily by natural gas and coal, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists that assessed the economic viability of the U.S. nuclear power industry.

Cheap natural gas and renewable energy, diminished demand, rising operational costs, and safety and performance problems are all threatening the profitability of nuclear power plants and increasing the likelihood that reactors might close.

Their earlier shutdowns will not threaten the reliability of U.S. electricity, but could result in more emissions because zero-emission nuclear power will likely be replaced by fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, scientists warn. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NRC renews plant licenses by 20 Years, confirming safe, secure, reliable operations.

 

https://www.entergynewsroom.com/news/entergy-nuclear-plants-contribute-louisiana-s-bright-future/#.XDQzf_VIupY.twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think coal will be used to replace nuclear, maybe some gas but mainly solar and wind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, DA? said:

I don't think coal will be used to replace nuclear, maybe some gas but mainly solar and wind.

Do you have any links to confirm this please?  I can't see that much wind/solar being rolled out that quickly.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Kit Moore said:

Do you have any links to confirm this please?  I can't see that much wind/solar being rolled out that quickly.

Just take a look round at new prices on the market, nuclear is far to expensive, takes ages to build, gets cocked up and isn't very versatile. Were as wind and solar come in nice and cheap and easily rampable as required. I've worked in the nuclear industry and don't have any issue about nuclear energy as long as decent reactors are built (the ones in the west aren't, can't say for the others), safety issues sorted and waste, as long as it's economic, which in the next decade or so there is zero percent chance of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, mthebold said:

The issue at hand isn't building new reactors; it's extending the life of older ones.  The economics of existing reactors are quite different from the economics of new builds.  IIRC, an existing nuke plant in the US can make money close to $0.02/kWh - far below what any renewable has achieved. 

However, that only works if prices stay steady.  When subsidized wind entered the market, the periodic price dips they cause made nuclear economics less viable - not because renewables were cheaper overall, but because they produced when no power was needed.  And because they were heavily subsidized.  If these nuclear plants are allowed to close w/o fossil fuel replacements, market prices will spike above historical levels, and grid stability will suffer.  In other words, we'll find ourselves in the same crappy situation Australia is in. 

If that doesn't make sense, consider the concepts of "local minimums" and "global minimum" in optimization.  Existing nuclear plants represent the global minimum for power generation cost, while intermittent renewables represent a local minimum.  If you add enough instability to the system (subsidized renewables), you can throw it out of the global minimum, after which it will settle into a less-optimal local minimum. 

I.e. with enough fearmongering and junk science, you can convince people to install incredibly stupid technologies that result in them paying more for electricity.  Renewables are effectively a flat tax paid to the financial industry. 

Extending the life span of some reactors is doable for some but has to be done carefully, parts grow old, we had a major leak of the cooling pond water due to a pipe breaking. As I said I have no problems with nuclear if it's safe.

It's funny when people involved in the nuclear industry go on about renewables been subsidised, nuclear is massively subsidised, my wages used to come basically from the government. Nuclear is a base load producer if you have to much you basically have the same issues as many renewables but costing far more. Australia has old shitty coal generators that course most of the problems, luckily renewables with storage is beginning to easy this issue.

Nuclear is just more expensive full stop. Renewables are a new technology that is rapidly maturing into the cheapest form of electricity, that just a fact. Yes it's taken subsidises to get here and will take a bit more, but that is a dam good investment. Nuclear has been a bottomless pit for tax payers money and that figure of $0.02kW/hr is misleading as it acts as if the all previous and future expenses are ignorable, they have to be added on. We have no clue how much the real cost of the electricity produced by reactors in the past has cost us as those costs are still been added to and until the waste is completely sorted it will continue to rise. The only reason I've seen for having a nuclear program for electricity is it makes the defence nuclear viable.

It's always amazes me the rubbish I hear about renewables and how they can't compete. Face it they are the cheapest in many markets and given the rate of improvement in a few years they will be unbeatable in nearly all markets, with all costs added in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DA? said:

Were as wind and solar come in nice and cheap and easily rampable as required.

DA? - where do these delusions come from? As has been pointed out many times, solar and wind are cheap only when network costs are not counted. All the instances of what you imagine to be cheap power from those sources occur when they are heavily subsidised/mandated by legislation. They all have to be backed up by conventional power sources, not just storage. There is now considerable operational experiences with these devices, and that's now the consensus. I dunno where the "easily rampable" reference comes from - I think you mean, more capacity can be built. Sure it can, for it all to stop producing at the same time. Save the fantasies for green party meetings. Too many people on these sites know the reality.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0