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View Diary: New German Data Shows No End in Sight for Coal (230 comments)

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  •  it's not the environmentalists who killed nukes (6+ / 0-)

    It's the electric companies. They haven't wanted them since the 70's, and don't want them now.  Mostly because the economics of nuclear is crippling, even with massive government subsidies and insurance welfare.

    •  Isn't a lot of that due to the massive amount (0+ / 0-)

      of regulation?

      Heck, things are getting bad enough where we should seriously considering having the Government build and operate nuclear reactors...

    •  Um, no. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Capt Morgan

      Two new reactors are currently under construction (Vogtle 3 and 4) and a partially completed reactor (Bellefonte) is being completed. There are several other applications for new reactors with the NRC but I suspect many are waiting to see how Vogtle fairs and are factoring in the costs of cheap natural gas as an alternative.

      The "nuclear is subsidized" meme is repeated often but never put in its most relevant context. The facts are that for every MWh of electricity produced by nuclear power there are a little over $3 in subsidies, and most of that is in the form of federal R&D...very little is direct subsidies to the producer. In contrast, a MWh of wind gets on the order of $56 in subsidies all told. Natural gas and hydro get about $.60 and $.80 respectively.

      •  that's pretty funny, since Progress Energy here in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw, Egalitare, Lawrence

        Florida wants to build two nukes that are already triple their initial budget--and still haven't been permitted yet.  Oh, and they broke the nuke they already have (while trying to do their own work on it) and that'll cost at least $5 billion to fix.

        Oh, and guess what----thanks to the state legislature, Progress Energy gets to charge its customers NOW for the cost of both repairing the nuke they broke and building the two over-budget nukes they haven't even broken ground for yet----and if they never fix the broken one OR build the new ones, they don't have to give any of the money back.

        Not to mention that the government picks up the insurance tab because no private insurer wants to write a policy for a nuke plant.

        If it weren't for the massive welfare the nuke industry gets, they'd have died years ago.

        Oh wait--they DID die years ago.  (shrug)

        •  So what's your solution? (0+ / 0-)

          Seriously... what's the realistic answer?

          Nuclear is not perfect, but it's pretty clean and orders of magnitude better than coal.

          What other option is there to build us a bridge to renewables or maybe even fusion?

          Generating our baseline load is feasible with nuclear and I see no other option we can use that won't destroy the planet

          •  you're griping at the wrong person (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw, Egalitare

            As I noted before, it's not environmentalists who killed nukes---it was the electric industry itself. Economically, nukes are a nonstarter. They can't get any private investors to finance them, and they can't get any private insurance companies to cover their liability. If it weren't for all the corporate welfare, the game would have ended decades ago.

            Oh, and for those of us who are in love with the thorium vaporware, I simply point out that no electric company, anywhere, is even asking to build a thorium plant.  None.  Not a one. Once again it is the electric companies who are shooting you down, not the environmentalists.

            (BTW, uranium mining is one of the most destructive activities that humans do.)

            •  Wrong yet again. (0+ / 0-)

              Roughly a third of uranium world wide is mined in conjunction with other operations whose primary focus is extracting minerals like copper and gold such as the Olympic Dam mine in Australia. The incremental environmental effects of extracting the uranium (versus leaving it in the tailings) is all but nonexistent. Roughly a third is extracted through a technique called in situ leaching that involves drilling small wells to dissolve and extract the ore. Compared to conventional mining techniques used to obtain other minerals it is fairly benign. It is the primary method used in the US. Only about a third is mined conventionally world wide and it isn't any more damaging than equivalent operations used to mine copper or other ores.

          •  a big part of the solution would be for the US to (0+ / 0-)

            reduce its per capita electricity usage to the levels in Japan, France, Germany or the UK.

            As in everything else, the US is fat, wasteful, profligate and bloated.

          •  Clean coal-IGCC has the CO2 emissions of natural (0+ / 0-)

            gas by EPA fiat. Nuclear is a nightmare waiting to happen,
            not to mention the radioactive waste which Reagan thought you could put under a desk. The decommisioning cost of nuclear are huge.

        •  So you admit you are wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          You said utilities didn't want them yet you bring up an sample of a utility that does and apparently continues to despite the current price of natural gas.

          You said "the" nuke in Florida is broke but there are in fact five reactors in the state (Crystal River 3 and two each at St. Lucie and  Turkey Point). That the utility tried so hard to try to fix it implies it was a profitable plant for the company.

          It used to be common practice for utilities to be allowed to charge ratepayers while large capital projects like power plants and transmission lines were being built to lower the costs and save the customers in the long run. In my state local taxes have gone up to finance a new professional sports stadium whose construction hasn't begun yet.

          The government does't pay a dime in insurance for nuclear plants. It in fact passed a law requiring utilities to purchase the maximum amount of private insurance available (currently around $375 million through a consortium of the largest insurance companies in the US) and requires utilities enter into indemnity agreements that provide an additional $12 billion in coverage.

          You are just a fountain of misinformation aren't you?

          •  um, no . . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            splashy
            You said utilities didn't want them yet you bring up an sample of a utility that does and apparently continues to despite the current price of natural gas.
            As noted, Progress Energy wants the money.  Under Florida law, they are already charging their customers, and they get to keep the money whether the nukes get built or not (the widespread expectation being that the nukes will never be built, since they are already triple over-budget).
            You said "the" nuke in Florida is broke but there are in fact five reactors in the state (Crystal River 3 and two each at St. Lucie and  Turkey Point).
            Those we all built in the 70's. The industry is currently trying to extend their lifespan for another 40 years because they were so over-budget and expensive to run that the companies didn't make any money from them, and want to extend their planned lifespan to try and make up for some of that expense.  (That's how Progress Energy broke the nuke at Crystal River---they tried on their own to replace some of the equipment, and damaged the containment walls. That nuke will likely never be repaired or restarted)
            It used to be common practice for utilities to be allowed to charge ratepayers while large capital projects like power plants and transmission lines were being built to lower the costs and save the customers in the long run. In my state local taxes have gone up to finance a new professional sports stadium whose construction hasn't begun yet.
            The difference of course is that the nukes will probably never be built, and if they're not, the company doesn't have to give the money back.  The other difference is that Progress Energy is a privately-owned for-profit company with a legal monopoly. It's not a public utility.
            The government does't pay a dime in insurance for nuclear plants. It in fact passed a law requiring utilities to purchase the maximum amount of private insurance available (currently around $375 million through a consortium of the largest insurance companies in the US) and requires utilities enter into indemnity agreements that provide an additional $12 billion in coverage.
            Wrong.  First of all, there are NO private insurers anywhere who are willing to take liability for a nuke.  None.  The "consortium" you refer to is the nuclear companies themselves, who were forced to form their OWN insurance company after no private insurer would touch them. You brag about "they have to purchase the maximum insurance available" without noting that in the event of an accident, $375 million is an insignificant drop in the bucket--and the Federal government has stepped in to assume liability for anything above that amount (because, as noted, NO private insurance company anywhere will insure a nuke for full liability).
            •  That's a pretty dumb and cynical analysis. (0+ / 0-)

              Progress Energy would be incredibly stupid and short sighted to try to string the state public utilities commission and public along about building the plant. It would generate a lot of bad blood if it didn't voluntarily refund all money that wasn't prudently spent to obtain a NRC COL license. There would be a backlash.

              Is it part of the standard anti-nuclear activist handbook to obfuscate and blather in an attempt to distract from the fact that you are caught being wrong or did you just forget to take your Ritalin? What do the dates when the plants were built have to do with anything? You made a statement implying there is a single reactor in Florida. You are wrong. Admit it.

              Progress doesn't operate in Florida as a merchant electricity provider. It is a regulated utility which means the state sets the rates. Transmission lines are not publicly held either. There is no difference.

              As to whether there are private insurers willing to underwrite nuclear liability insurance, I would refer you to

              http://www.amnucins.com/

              It says prominently on its web site:

              "American Nuclear Insurers (ANI) is a joint underwriting association created by some of the largest insurance companies in the United States. Our purpose is to pool the financial assets pledged by our member companies to provide the significant amount of property and liability insurance required for nuclear power plants and related facilities throughout the world."

              The indemnification you are referring to provided by the utilities themselves is the secondary insurance. The primary insurance provided by ANI is underwritten by a pool of insurance companies that issue actual insurance policies providing $375 million in coverage and that the utilities pay annual premiums to just like anybody paying for their car or homeowners insurance. To date the primary insurance provided by these very real insurance companies has paid all liability claims associated with nuclear plants and incidents, including Three Mile Island. The secondary indemnity coverage provided by the utilities themselves has never been tapped into. Not even close. If your level of reading comprehension is up to it you might try the Wiki entry for the Price-Anderson Act, although to date you haven't given me reason to expect that you would get it.

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