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A new campaign is forming to take on UniStar Nuclear and its plans to build giant new atomic reactors in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

UniStar Nuclear is half-owned by Constellation Energy and half by Electricite de France. It was created solely to build new reactors in the U.S. These reactors, called the EPR, are designed by the French company Areva and are 1600 Megawatts each, or nearly twice the size of the current average U.S. reactor. It might be worth noting that both Electricite de France and Areva are essentially arms of the French government, which owns more than 80% of each company.

According to sworn testimony before the Maryland Public Service Commission, UniStar chief George Vanderheyden said the cost of an EPR would be on the "upper end" of $4,500-$6,000/kw. That translates into about $9.6 billion for a single reactor. Similar costs are expected at all of the UniStar sites: Calvert Cliffs, MD; Nine Mile Point, NY; Callaway, MO and Big Bend, PA.

UniStar's business model calls for it to put up no money for these reactors themselves. Instead, UniStar wants U.S. taxpayer-backed loans for 80% of the cost, and it wants to get the French Export-Import Bank to pick up the other 20%. Yet the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that 50% of nuclear projects that get loan guarantees ultimately will fail--leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.

Ratepayers, of course, will feel the pain if and when these reactors go into service--at nearly $10 billion each their electricity wouldn't come cheap.

Like all reactors, the EPR design is not "inherently safe," rather, as its name suggests (Evolutionary Power Reactor) it is simply a small evolution from existing, unsafe reactor designs. These reactors would produce more radioactive waste, with no disposal means or site even being contemplated (Yucca Mountain, NV--if it is ever completed which seems less likely by the day--is prohibited by the laws of Congress and physics from accepting waste from new reactors; it's intended to handle waste from the existing nuclear plants only).

Spending nearly $40 billion on four new reactors means diverting a lot of resources that could be used for safe, clean energy technologies like energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and distributed generation that would more quickly and economically reduce carbon emissions while providing the electricity we will need in the future. Given that it takes 10 years or more to get a single reactor online, we could reduce a lot of carbon emissions with clean technologies in the meantime with that kind of money.

Recently the billionaire Warren Buffett and his MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company bought Constellation Energy, and picked up its 50% share of UniStar Nuclear in the process. There is reason to believe that Buffett is not as ideologically disposed toward nuclear power as the UniStar executives--MidAmerican already cancelled a reactor it considered in Idaho on the grounds that it simply wouldn't be economic.

That was a good call, and it's time for Buffett and MidAmerican to make another good call and shut down UniStar and its ill-conceived plans laid on the backs of American and French taxpayers.

Sign the petition to tell Warren Buffett to close UniStar Nuclear.

But if you can do more....

*Post a link to the petition on your organization's website

*We're also distributing paper copies of the petition. Contact us at nirsnet@nirs.org and we'll send you printed copies, or a file you can print yourself. You can use our logo or your own organization's logo.

The Stop EPR campaign is a collaborative effort among NIRS, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Beyond Nuclear, Public Citizen, grassroots groups in all of the EPR states, and, hopefully, you! Join us, but first sign the petition now.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Originally posted to nirsnet on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the more nukes the better (16+ / 0-)

    Sorry, dude, but the quicker we start building clean power the better. We've had one reactor accident a generation ago and other than that it's a relatively clean, relatively safe source of power as long as we execute like the French have.

    My only concern with this is that it'll turn into another welfare program for General Electric as they custom design every single system from the ground up. We need a simple, reproducible system that gets rolled out everywhere.

    •  more nukes (0+ / 0-)

      hmmm, you mean like the French nuclear program that spilled uranium all over the place this summer, cutting off water supplies to resorts, vineyards, etc? That one?

      Or the one whose reprocessing program leaked so much radiation into the Atlantic Ocean that radiation levels off the coast of Normandy were measured at 17 million times above background a few years back, closing Normandy beaches during the summer swimming season...

      yeah, good idea...

      •  The sad thing about debating nuclear (8+ / 0-)

        is that neither side seems able to stick to facts.

        The incidents from this summer come from old military installations, and were turned into a big thing because it was the media silly season, with journalists suddenly discovering that the French nuclear industry fully discloses even minor incidents as they happen, and minot incidents do happen, like in any large scale installation.

        So normal minor operational incidents that are, in this industry, reported to the public suddenly got turned into "series of failures" by lazy journalists.

        There is a better case against nuclear energy than the pseudo scare of last summer, which wa more an indictment of the MSM than anythign else.

        •  No - (0+ / 0-)

          Old military installations or not, they must be overseen with the strictest of ONGOING standards.  If Areva and the French government cannot manage sites that are only 40 years old, what does that say about managing them - let's say 1000 years from now?

          In addition, the "reporting" took quite some time (6 to 12 hours)- especially to local authorities who deal with those who have the most to lose - i.e. those living near nuclear facilities.  If it was only a media scare, why is the European Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, investigating the facility?

  •  Better come up with a better option... (5+ / 0-)

    The best way to convince someone is to give them a better option price / power. You need to do that before you can take any environmental stands, otherwise you aren't addressing the demand for power and no one will listen to you.

    "Invest In America, Instead of Iraq. Vote Democratic"

    by manumit on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:06:51 AM PDT

    •  Solar. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, IreGyre

      I am simply astounded by the trillions of dollars spent on making our energy problems worse (including illegal wars) when a fraction of that money could put solar cells on every house in America.

      A fraction of that money into better collectors and storage systems (whatever became of the silicon nanostrand research) and we could cut off the tap to the Middle East in a decade.

      We're still stuck on a centralized generation and distribution model that isn't necessarily the best solution any more.  But there is a lot of capital tied up there, and the energy companies want to keep their monopolies.

      Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

      by rb608 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:19:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  That's why we need wind as well. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608

          We need wind, wave, and geothermal. Here's a clue -- let's put a wind or solar farm in every town and city in this country and let's see how much of a handle we get on our energy problems. Then, if that is not enough, then we can consider other alternatives.

          •  Sounds Great on Paper... (0+ / 0-)

            But every source of energy damages the environment in some way.  And have interest groups that don't want that method used.

            It is a fallacy to think that any form of energy is enviromentaly friendly.  Each person has to pick what part of the environment they want to damage to produce the energy.

            •  Such as how? (0+ / 0-)

              How do wind and solar damage the environment?

              •  Wind is debatable, solar not so much (0+ / 0-)

                Nimbys regularly decry wind's impact on "scenery" (which is a cop out IMHO) and migrating birds and bats (I don't have the background to evaluate)

                Solar cells require a process called "cyanide acid leach" which anti-mining groups have been battling for years.

                •  Do all solar cells require that? (0+ / 0-)

                  Or just some?

                •  Bat Studies... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SteamPunkX, Blubba, IreGyre

                  apparently show that bats have lungs that are easily damaged by changes in air pressure such as that caused by wind turbines.

                  I personally don't give bats a lot of thought on a daily basis and I work in rural areas.  Someone that is involved in bat or wildlfe research probably has a much greater concern.  And small interest groups that find a species covered under the Endangered Species Act have successfully used the ESA to stop projects.

                  •  Well: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SteamPunkX

                    Wouldn't it make more sense, then, for the government to actively work to restore bat and other populations so that there would be less legal grounds for NIMBY groups to sue based on the ESA?

                    •  "Mitigation" has become a huge industry... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SteamPunkX

                      For this reason.  Has become a standard part of most big projects.  If a project is sued by a group to protect a certain species of bat, the project "donates" an amount of money to an approved group for habitat restoration or studies of the species.  

                      •  Well, that might be a good idea. (0+ / 0-)

                        The government could pay for habitat restoration in order to offset any impact from wind generation if more research finds that it is a problem. In other words, the government could make such outfits immune to lawsuits, but would also be required to pay for habitat restoration. But, how to quantify how much would be needed would be the next problem.

                  •  Bats EAT stupendous amounts of INSECTS (0+ / 0-)

                    Not all farmers in certain areas may realize how much they need bats to keep things in balance. And in desert regions a lot of plants rely on certain bat species for pollination. As we see with the current crash in bee populations agriculture as well as natural systems in general can be destabilized very easily if people do not take the time to do the environmental impact studies and general research into our effects on the earth.

                    A small example... somebody found that they could supply the French market for frog legs, I kid you not, by getting farmers in certain parts of India to catch a lot of frogs that were abundant in and around their fields. The amphibian treats were processed, flash frozen and flown to France. The farmer were paid hard cash and quickly got into the frog catching business in a big way and were so successful that there was a crash in the local frog population.

                    And then the poor farmers, who did not realize that they were dependent on the frogs to keep insect pests in check, found that the bugs overran the area and decimated the local crops for a while. Yes, the  poor farmers got lured by cash money for the frogs... but lost big time when they had not enough food to eat or sell. And some spent the money on insecticides to try and survive.... Which kind to took the gloss off the natural, no chemical selling point for the frogs in the first place. lose-lose all around for everybody.

                    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

                    by IreGyre on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:35:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, I'm all for impact studies. (0+ / 0-)

                      If it turns out that wind farms create problems with the bat populations, then we would need to do something that would offset the impact of wind farms, since they are a necessary component of any responsible energy plan.

                      •  ooh ooh ooh ... I know (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        David Bradish

                        If it turns out that wind farms create problems with the bat populations, then we would need to do something that would offset the impact of wind farms

                        Purchase "bat offsets," of course!

                        I've heard it works wonders for carbon. ;-)

                        Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
                        -- George Eliot

                        by bryfry on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:47:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  The study I read about (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Eternal Hope

                        mentioned studying whether bat alarm calls could be generated from each wind tower to scare them off.

                        Other low tech have been sucessfully used - noise makers or birds of prey to control birds at airports, Predator hawk outline decals keeping swallows and swifts from crashing into large windows on high rises... etc.

                        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

                        by IreGyre on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:21:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  All forms of energy require raw materials... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IreGyre

                The environment is always damaged when we take these raw materials and put them to use.  Every time that a structure, road, or power line is built the environment is damaged.

                And each method of producing energy takes some resource (oil, coal, wind, solar energy)away from the environment and converts it to energy we can use.

                The organism's that have thrived because of that resource are affected.

                Years ago the "snail darter" held up dam develpment in the South.  Some people might not consider it very important to protect minor species.  But others do.  Something as minor as plowing a field to plant a crop or abandoning a pasture to become a forest alters the environment.

                We will never get everyone to agree on which parts of the environment we should alter.

            •  Environmantal damage (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              IreGyre

              is, as you assert, a part of all alternatives.  But if a wind turbine malfunctions, the damage is local and repairable.  If a nuclear plant malfunctions, the damage will make entire regions uninhabitable.  That's a significant difference IMO.

              Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

              by rb608 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:42:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Environment and Safety... (0+ / 0-)

                are different issues with different advocacy groups.

                Safety can be looked at from many angles.  Should I fly?  Crashes sometimes kill 250 people at a time and in one location!  Or should I drive?  Accidents are small and deaths are spread over a large area.  Or should I use deaths per passenger mile?  Or per minute of traveling?  Will I get sick next week after flying because someone on the plane was sick?

                Or should I drive because flying may change the environment for my grandkids?

                •  You're begging the question. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rb608

                  The question is whether this particular project is inherently safe. But the problem is that there are too many unanswered questions about this project to conclude that it is safe.

                  •  If "Inherently Safe" is the Standard... (0+ / 0-)

                    Nearly every project of every kind would fail the test.

                    I cannot think of any substantial project that doesn't have fatal accidents during construction or during use.  Human error is a part of our nature and sometimes results in catstrophic accidents.

                    And safety standards change over time.  Deaths were expected and accepted during bridge construction 100 years ago.

                    I think that some people are highly concerned about potential nuclear accidents and others are not.  

                    •  That's Tiller's standard. (0+ / 0-)

                      One of the fathers of nuclear energy. What he meant, by my understanding, is that you should not be able to pull all the rods out of the plant or crash a plane into it and kill thousands of people and contaminate the area for thousands of years. And you rightly point to human error; an inherently safe plant would be one that would not require operators who would have to make split-second decisions that, if wrong, would cost massive environmental damage.

                      •  Close but not quite. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Joffan, bryfry

                        What Edward Teller sought to do was design reactors with passive safety features such that if all of the control rods were instantaneously removed, natural forces like the Doppler effect would limit the transient and cause power levels to automatically reduce and stabilize without melting the fuel. All western reactors (unlike Chernobyl) are required to be inherently stable, that is, increasing power a small amount will not feedback on itself and lead to ever increasing power levels. Like a car accelerating down hill, causing the driver to constantly apply brakes to keep from speeding out of control. In western reactors, it is like a car driving up hill. A little gas is applied to speed it up some but it settles at stable higher power level. However, the current designs are not inherently safe in that they require active safety  systems to remove residual decay heat that continues to be generated even after the reactor is shut down. The designs currently being licensed by the NRC come closer to Teller's ideal and employ passive safety features (the GE ESBWR reactor in particular comes to mind).

                        Sorry, I couldn't contain the engineering geek in me.

          •  I'm all for an energy portfolio (0+ / 0-)

            I get nervous when people talk up any one generation source.

            But, to address your proposition, it wouldn't work.  Only a few parts of the US have sufficient wind or solar to mean anything and the SE is very low on both.

            Dark blue is useful levels of wind

            Orange to red is useful levels of solar

            So you need a portfolio.  

            Further, as in the Trees notes below, all resources have their glitches.  No one wants to talk about the cyanide acid leach process used to extract selenium for solar cells.

        •  That's also why I mentioned storage systems. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SteamPunkX

          Solar and storage must go hand-in-hand for the reason you mention.

          Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

          by rb608 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:39:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Solar and the north... (0+ / 0-)

        Solar has some great applications, and may even have some in the north. However even the biggest solar plants now being made output as much power as a small Nuke plant and that's in sunny areas.  I live in Florida and would love to see 8 major solar plants spread across the state. But as far as major urban areas in the North East,  Wind and Solar just aren't there for the needed output yet.

        "Invest In America, Instead of Iraq. Vote Democratic"

        by manumit on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:40:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  better option (0+ / 0-)

      There are many better options out there. For example, check out David Freeman's book, Winning our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How. Freeman is former chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority and also ran Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and has both built nuclear plants and closed them.

      Or try Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. It's thorough and I have yet to see a meaningful refutation of the numbers....www.ieer.org.

      We CAN achieve a clean, safe, sustainable energy future....

        •  Maybe you've discussed this before (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          but is appears, in European countries at least, that a given country will initially add wind capacity fairly rapidly but that it tends to taper off as it approaches a certain level. For example, Denmark was an early wind adopter but hasn't added much new capacity in awhile. That isn't to say that Europe overall doesn't have a long ways to go before it reaches a wind saturation level, if there is such a thing, but at some point I would expect substantial and expensive upgrades to the grid would be needed to allow the various wind regimes to be "coordinated" to allow potentially massive flows from the haves on one end of the grid to the have nots at the other on a scale that doesn't have to be planned for with conventional power plants.

          At the risk of sounding like a chicken, Europe seems ahead of the US in that regard and has, it would seem, an easier regulatory path to getting there than the US. Part of me would be content to trail a step behind Europe and see how you pull it off without experiencing frequent grid collapses.

  •  Between current load growth projections and (5+ / 0-)

    the need to drastically cut C02 emissions in the very near future, I don't see how we get around building more nukes.  At least EDF is a responsible company using relatively good technologies.

    The probable alternative will be cheap natural gas or dirty coal burners, not renewables, because of the intermittency problem.

  •  We should be building them in EVERY state. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Joffan, SteamPunkX

    The more the better.

    •  That's nice. (0+ / 0-)

      But we can't just speak these plants into existence. It's your idea; perhaps you have an idea for where to store all the waste for these particular plants.

      •  All the waste? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan

        How many cubic feet of waste does a 1000 Mw reactor generate in a year?  If you are convinced it is a flaw and are worried about it crowding you out of your home you must know the answer to the question.

        •  You tell me. (0+ / 0-)

          You're the one whose supporting this idea. You tell me how much waste these particular plants will produce and you tell me how/where we should store it. There are simply too many unanswered questions about these plants right now.

          •  Storage is currently onsite (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan

            The waste isn't overwhelming in mass.  It is currently stored on site in pools.  Looking at San Onofre NGS on Google Earth the perimeter of the site is roughly the same as it was in 1982 when I worked there.  Not very scientific but a good indicator that the volume is managable.

            Personally I would rather have a few dozen square miles with nuclear waste on/in it than live on a planet altered by climate change.  I like alternative sources of power but do not believe they will address all our needs.

            I gotta go but if you want to have an offline conversation I would welcome the chance to discuss this issue.

            •  That's nice. (0+ / 0-)

              But this outfit needs to explain where the waste is going to be stored. If they have a plan that is similar to San Onofre's, that's nice, but what about 30-50 years down the road when there is nowhere else to store the waste? If the waste is going to be stored onsite, I would want to know how long it would last, and what would happen when storage is exhausted.

  •  Taxpayers shouldn't fund power plants (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Roadbed Guy, rb608

    We need to fund research and development on alternatives energy. We need to support research on fusion.

    That said, coal power is very expensive when the externalities are included. The cost of drying up states from California to Georgia is in the trillions. Nuclear power is economically competitive in the present market when externalities are included.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:13:36 AM PDT

    •  Taxpayer Subsidized... not cheap (0+ / 0-)

      The scam is to allow the French Government to make back some of the money they subsidize their own Nuclear energy program by getting us to pay for most of the ones they want to build here which they will then make a profit on. Not to mention security that is needed for all the on site storage of waste for an indefinite time in the future. Half life of many thousands of years.... Our descendants, if we have any, will curse our short sightedness and all the waste they have to keep track of and keep safe. (unless they develop cheap super futuristic ways of neutralizing or using it yeah we can rely on someone pulling a technology miracle out of their hat).

      So how about dumping the waste in deep sea trenches.... weeel, There is an amazing amount we don't know about life down there and they keep finding more and more of it in even the deepest places... lets just pretend there is nothing down there and irradiate it all we do not know what the effects will be. Sure the stuff will supposedly get subducted eventually and it won't be a problem on land... but why go on creating dead zones in the ocean... we have done enough of that already.

      So lest assume the dead zone is not a problem... BUUUT consider this... people being people things can go wrong... the transportation costs after a while the expensive monitored process of getting the stuff to the right place through transport links where local government has been paid off or are too poor to get organized...

      Then eventually the process gets routine... they want to save costs, some clever company low bids... forms are falsified, stuff is subcontracted/outsourced no questions asked... and like excess munitions dumped in the ocean... some guys couldn't be bothered to actually go all the way to the right spot (save on fuel) or made a mistake or the ship sinks in the wrong place... it can and and will get messy 'cause shit happens.

      Too much in the wrong place... not baked into inert ceramic or whatever handling and storage units used that eventually get structurally compromised and maybe the radioactive material concentrates and goes critical... ya know stuff can get up to a pretty good speed plummeting to incredible depths ramming into a big pile already there.... Sure safeguards designed into the process to avoid all these things... but you have to know eventually bad luck and/or greed or ineptness will cause a BEEEG problem. So maybe all of this can be dealt with but the expense of just proving all the procedures and the science... with no telling if it will be approved.

      Maybe better to avoid it all in the first place. If ya just have to have nukes in some form, wait for Fusion power while going with a mix of all the other green sources in the meantime... even geo-thermal? less waste... and maybe by then we won't really need fusion anyway... unless it can pay it's own way and not leave a mess.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

      by IreGyre on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:09:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The inherent flaw in nuclear power (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    is still safety vs. cost.  Ideally, it can be a wonderfully inexpensive source of power; but it is so dangerous and permanent that redundancy after redundancy are needed to ensure operational safety.

    But safety costs money, and where there is greed, corners will be cut.  Maybe it's welding inspections, maybe it's material specs, maybe it's training, maybe it's waste disposal; but if $$$ can be put in somebody's pocket for doing it more cheaply, that's what's going to happen.

    Being within the danger zone for both Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom, I am damned well aware of the widespread death and contamination that can (and I daresay will) occur when it goes bad.

    Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

    by rb608 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:13:52 AM PDT

  •  More nukes= less heating oil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan

    Those nuke plants in the northeast can provide clean electricity to millions of homes that now rely on heating oil.  Government tax credits for buying electric heaters can reduce our emissions drastically.

    Sorry.. just saying something is "unsafe" doesn't make it so.  Try getting your facts straight.

    Maybe you should call your organization:

    Nuclear Dis-Information and Resource Service

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

    •  You have it all backwards. (0+ / 0-)

      I suggest you read the diary, which shows that this proposal has no means of storing the waste or making it 100% recyclable. You're the one that's pushing this idea; therefore, you're the one who has to prove that these plants will be safe. Maybe you should live up to your username.

      •  Storage is safe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan

        show me where it hasn't been in the US in the last 40 years.

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:37:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, that's not what I asked you. (0+ / 0-)

          I asked you what the plan was for storing the waste for this specific project. As far as I know, there is none.

        •  What about the next 4,000 + years (0+ / 0-)

          or 40,000? - you won't be around to worry about it but if we use all the estimated uranium ore reserves in a huge worldwide network of reactors how long will teh uranium last and how much waste will it add up to that will need to be watched and monitored and protected in how many sites for how long and by who?

          And should we be in a race to have the most reactors on line and also ensure we control the supply of uranium for at least our needs? At some point we will be in the same boat with Uranium as we are with oil - fighting over dwindling supplies... unless you think breeder reactors or creating abundant plutonium would solve that problem. But somehow having loads more plutonium around the world seems like a bad idea as well. We can't even keep track of or guarantee the stuff that may or may not already be out there. We seem to lose track of a fair amount just here in the USA let alone in former Soviet republics.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

          by IreGyre on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:21:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh Geeez Louise.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            We only need another generation of nuclear power plants to get us through the next 30 years or so.  Other technologies will be matured by then.

            The technology exists to turn nuclear waste into inert glass which is encased in concrete and stainless steel.  Storage is NOT a problem.

            But that aside.. do you have any freakin' idea how much waste coal plants produce?  Coal waste is also around for hundreds of thousands of years.. leaching mercury and other very nasty chemicals into the environment.  Coals plants produce 3 tons per second of it!  And that's not even mentioning all the crap they spew into the atmosphere, which is the whole point of getting rid of coal to begin with!

            Coal fired power is hundreds of times more dangerous to the environment than nuclear is.

            We really need to get some perspective.

            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

            by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 03:02:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  More Education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, dgone36

    I don't know much about nuclear energy detail to say much. However, I will sleep well knowing that this plant is in Buffets hand than most of the wing nuts out there. If warren sells someone else will buy it. That is how the wing nut controls everything and run everything with less regard to public concern.
    You said he acquire the company recently and already cancel a project with fault feasibility.
    I will suggest you educate us on this issue first, tell us all the available alternatives and then show us the pros and cons of these alternatives
    I share your concern but forcing Warren Buffet to sell is not a solution . It will only be a change of ownership

    •  more education (0+ / 0-)

      We're not encouraging Buffett to sell UniStar (which is a small subsidiary of the larger company he bought, Constellation Energy); we're encouraging him to close it and instead pursue a clean, sustainable energy path....

      That will, in the long run, work out better economically for both Buffett as well as taxpayers and ratepayers.

      •  Well, if that's the case (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, David Bradish

        Why do you, Michael, have to tell Warren Buffet anything? Is Buffet an idiot or a child?

        If it's not economical, then won't he close it himself, without your help? Again, why do you have to tell him anything?

        Oh ... that's right ... it's your job. You're a pro. You're paid to write here.

        God ... doesn't this tactic just reek of desperation on your part?

        What's the matter, Michael?  Trying to make one last desperate attempt to keep the "nuclear renaissance" from happening?

        Poor Michael. In spite of all your lies and all of your propaganda, it's going forward anyway. And we, the Democratic Party, have a presidential candidate that's fine with it.

        Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
        -- George Eliot

        by bryfry on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:19:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look, these appeals to authority do no good. (0+ / 0-)

          If the plan is a crock of shit, then it doesn't matter who is supporting it. The problem is that there are too many unanswered questions about this particular plan.

          •  Oh please (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan

            Appeal to authority? Hardly.

            It's Warren's money. Who am I to tell him what to do with it? Who are you? Who is NIRS?

            I'm not the one trying to tell someone what to do.

            If there are "unanswered questions" then that's Buffet's business, isn't it?

            Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
            -- George Eliot

            by bryfry on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:43:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're the one pushing this plan. (0+ / 0-)

              Not me. So you have to explain what kind of plan these people have for storing the waste. As far as I know, there is none whatsoever.

              •  Well that's the problem, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

                As far as I know, there is none whatsoever.

                That's just it. You don't know, don't want to know, and nothing that anybody says will change that. It doesn't matter how many times anybody explains this too you.

                This "waste" is currently being safely "stored" at dozens of sites around the US. Your personal ignorance and stupidity does nothing to change that.

                Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
                -- George Eliot

                by bryfry on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 03:23:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Except, I don't know that to be true. (0+ / 0-)

                  In this particular case. That may be true for dozens of other sites, but we don't know that to be true for this site. Where is the waste going to be stored, and what are they going to do with it when the storage is full? It shouldn't be that hard to answer.

                  •  What the devil? (0+ / 0-)

                    What are you talking about? What is "this site"?

                    Do you even know what this diary is about?

                    Unistar is a company that hopes to build and operate new nuclear reactors (specifically, ones based on the EPR design that was developed in France and Germany and is currently being built in Europe) for utilities. They are in the business of selling reactors, not owning them.

                    Go reread the first two paragraphs of the diary.

                    Mariotte just wants Unistar to not sell reactors, which is a little silly, since that was the whole purpose of this (very small) company in the first place.

                    Even if NIRS is successful (which I highly doubt) and Unistar closes shop and goes out of the reactor-selling business. The company that actually makes the reactors, AREVA, will probably just go partner with another company to build the plants, possibly again with Electricite de France in the venture, because it is clear that EdF really, really wants to get into the US energy market.

                    Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
                    -- George Eliot

                    by bryfry on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 09:50:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  You have your logical fallacies wrong. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            Bryfry wasn't arguing that Warren Buffet knows the truth (that WOULD have been an appeal to authority). He was asking Michael Marriotte why he thinks Mr. Buffet would be be persuaded by his petition (Marriotte was making an Appeal to Popularity).

            Besides, in the absence of perfect information, you could do a lot worse than appeal to authority. We rely on the consensus of experts to made decisions and get things done. Society pretty much wouldn't function if we waited for all the answers before taking action (the movement to combat global warming is based on the appeal of a collective authority). In this case, if there is authority to be meted out, I'd confer authority for investing on Mr. Buffet as his past record has earned him that. As to whether or not building nuclear plants makes good policy, I would not bestow authority on either of them.

            •  kudos, etc.... (0+ / 0-)

              UniStar is not in the business of selling nuclear reactors, that's what Areva--the French reactor manufacturer does. UniStar is composed 1/2 of Constellation Energy and 1/2 of Electricite de France--both utilities--and UniStar exists to build and operate nuclear reactors (except that they want to do that through a further corporate shield from their parent companies, so UniStar begets Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project LLC, and presumably other LLCs at their other sites, so the parent companies can never be liable for whatever failures/problems might occur....)

              We are appealing to Warren Buffett because he had the good sense to cancel a reactor in Idaho earlier this year because he felt it would be uneconomic and not beneficial for Idaho ratepayers. We believe that if he takes an honest look at the UniStar proposals and business models he will realize that they are intending to place all risk on the taxpayer rather than shareholder, are undercapitalized and therefore present even more risk to the taxpayer, and the need for the reactors themselves is shaky, meaning Buffett could be stuck with billions of dollars in loans that the taxpayers would have to bail out....

              The sleazoids who created UniStar may have believed this is in appropriate way to behave as a corporation, but we are hopeful Warren Buffett doesn't do business this way.....

              •  Wrong. Shame on you for your ignorance or (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bryfry

                deceit or both, whichever is applicable. An "expert" on nuclear matters should know better.

                ...so the parent companies can never be liable for whatever failures/problems might occur....

                The NRC has strict rules regarding liability. Regardless of the form of the corporate structure, the NRC will not grant a license unless the entity can demonstrate it has the annual cash flows or otherwise has the wherewithal to pay the primary liability insurance premiums and make good on the secondary coverage in the form of retrospective premiums required under Price-Anderson. American Nuclear Insurers also requires that limited liability companies provide a letter of guarantee from their parent companies to pay the retrospective premiums for the secondary coverage required under Price-Anderson. Unistar may spread the potential financial burden for meeting those liability requirements, but it doesn't eliminate them. This question was dealt with years ago in aGovernment Accounting Office report. A real "expert" would have known that. A naive person signing your petition probably would not.

                Which still leaves the question posed by Bryfry. Why do you think Warren Buffet would be persuaded by appeals from an ignorant mob that signed a sheet of paper? Petitions strike me as low probability vehicles to affect change. Is the real purpose to generate a list of dupes who with a little work would have a higher probability of becoming donors?  

                •  Well of course (0+ / 0-)

                  who wouldn't give money to NIRS to fight the "sleazoids"?

                  The language that NIRS chooses to use is so telling sometimes.

                  Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
                  -- George Eliot

                  by bryfry on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 06:14:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Well this is where I have to disagree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, dgone36

    Nuclear power is going to have to be part of our energy portfolio if we are really going to both deal with climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  It's clean, and it has absolutely no carbon emissions.  Now it does need to be safe, and there should be a ton of government oversight, which is why we need a Democrat in the Whitehouse to make sure the regulators are doing their job, but the notion that we can deal without using nuclear power is absurd.  It is going to have to be one of our alternatives to fossil fuels, at least in the short term.  

    •  We don't know that. (0+ / 0-)

      Wind and Solar are inherently safe. There is no nuclear plant in the world that is inherently safe as of yet. And this one doesn't even have a plan for the safe disposal of the waste afterwards.

      •  If Wind and Solar are Safe... (0+ / 0-)

        Why are so many proposed projects being sued?

        Apparently safety is not a very important componet to the groups suing.

      •  Wind and solar may be safe, but those sources of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan

        energy are not going to allow us to solve both the climate crisis and the problem with our dependence on foreign oil on their own.  Those sources of energy simply aren't yet efficient enough to do so, and it will take years of R & D to make them efficient.  We have to have a stop gap in the near term, and nuclear is the best available stop gap IMHO.  

        •  How do you know? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader

          We don't know that unless we put wind and solar in every town in this country and we see what kind of a handle we get on climate change and oil dependence.

          •  For decades, the notion of producing local energy (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eternal Hope, IreGyre

            not even city-sized, but building and even housing unit-sized, has been a small noise in the grand hallway of our massive, under-maintained power grid.

            As you note, local generation has yet to be proven - and yet, we find many businesses popping up with roof and wall-based solar units even in this four seasons area of the country.  For our own purposes, I can invest less than it took to build our garage and practically power my entire house - with battery backup and reverse metering - while getting my investment back in 5-10 years, easy.  And, that's with the less efficient solar consumer panels still being used, rather than the next generations coming out now.

            We'll only know by smartly calculating, growing pieces at a time and moving ahead based on our experiences.  But, it should be supported by the government (credits, mandates, building codes, etc.) to some extent - energy is a national security and health of the economy issue, even before environmental.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:24:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, here's part of the problem: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wader

              The problem is that a lot of solar panels involve a process known as cyanide acid leach, so that more research is needed before we start producing these things on a commercial scale. But what we can do is create refundable tax credits for local generation and throw money into research on solar panels that don't require cyanide acid leach. In other words, it is urgent, but we can't be in such a big hurry that we wind up using stuff that might be worse than the problems they were designed to solve.

    •  The amount of carbon released in BUILDING (0+ / 0-)

      the reactors is substantial and that is often overlooked. Making the steel and the concrete and the transportation fuel all all up to a very large carbon footprint that will take a lot of years of the "Clean" operation to pay back. So the total carbon has to include the construction carbon. AND don't forget possibly transportation carbon to take the waste somewhere else if a non on-site solution is chosen. I have read claims that for all the CO2 saved... an equal amount is still created to be able to save that much... if true maybe it would be cheaper to just burn the fossil fuel directly for energy production rather than go to all the trouble of building the reactor in the first place.

      Forgetting these other related carbon components is like ignoring the huge amount of methane that flooded valleys produce when a dam is built for a hydro-electric project. That can be prevented with a lot of labor and more carbon emissions by clearing the whole area to be flooded in advance and thus prevent large amounts of plant material rotting and producing the methane which as you know is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

      No free lunch and no free rides for energy. It has to pay it's own way. Massive ongoing subsidies like those that Nuclear power requires adds an additional burden to every country that goes that route. Does it all add up? Maybe there can instead be a mix of green non Nuclear options like the Gore plan or others that make sense economically as well as working. There may still be room for Nuclear with advanced, safer but cheaper to build which can be in a mix of other non fossil solutions - Call it Nuclear light - maybe it can  work synergisticly with the others to get us off the Carbon treadmill.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

      by IreGyre on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:43:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas release (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        is not trivial for any power generation system, but you should at least be aware that wind and (surprisingly) solar require more steel and wind requires more concrete than the equivalent nucler power generation capability.

        The exercise of determining the relative greenhouse costs of the various power options was undertaken for the ExternE project. The results are in top line of the table on page 17 of this pdf. Nuclear has about 5g of CO2 equivalent per kWh, hydro 4g, solar PV 35g (when favorable), wind 11g, and all fossil fuels above 500gCO2e/kWh, even in cogeneration.

        This is not a sig-line.

        by Joffan on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 12:31:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  lifecycle assessment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre

          There have been literally hundreds of studies done over the years on carbon emissions from different energy sources. You mention one. Most such studies have found that while nuclear is a low-carbon energy source, it is not carbon-free, and in fact, is a higher carbon emitter than renewable technologies and energy efficiency.

          Here is a recent study, published in Energy Policy, that has examined most of the studies out there and found most lacking (some saying nukes are high emitters, some baselessly low emitters), and attempts to come up with a better answer.

          •  Storm van Leeuwen (0+ / 0-)

            invalidates the trustworthiness of any study that takes his results seriously; and it is clearly fallacious to use a mean value that includes such patently false results.

            I don't know what the author was attempting to show, but his method is certainly not "better".

            This is not a sig-line.

            by Joffan on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 04:17:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Storm (0+ / 0-)

              I very clearly was not citing Storm van Leeuwen.....I was citing a completely different study.....

              •  Have you read the paper you cite? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                David Bradish

                Because the only way that your response makes any sense is if you have not read Sovacool's "study", which lends great weight to SvL.

                This is not a sig-line.

                by Joffan on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:05:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joffan, David Bradish

                  SvL seems to be referred to in the text more than any other author. Certainly he has, not one, but three publications in the list of "qualified" studies. Each of these papers gives a substantially higher estimate than the other studies and brings up the average. Since this is an unweighted average (as far as I can tell), SvL gets three times the weight than any other paper does.

                  To be fair, the report does take issue with SvL's methods at a couple of points, but in my opinion, the author does not go far enough with some of SvL's assumptions, which to put it bluntly are ridiculous when considering modern nuclear reactors.

                  Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
                  -- George Eliot

                  by bryfry on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 11:14:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I regret to inform you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    DKos isn't fertile ground for criticizing the nuclear power industry.

    But, I agree with your position, at least in part.  I don't feel we're ready to build new nukes until we've fixed the problems with the old ones. Even more than the waste issues, my complaint, as a former insider, is that the regulatory system has deteriorated.  Those who try to report safety issues risk threats, blacklisting and public humiliation.  Do we really want to reward that kind of risky behavior?  Hopefully not.

    There's also the fact that it's not a sustainable energy source, can be perverted into nuclear weapons, and keeps control (and energy costs) in the hands of a few. Solar, in contrast, gives individual homeowners control of the system and costs. That feature also makes solar better than nuclear from an emergency preparedness standpoint:  It's easier to knock out a grid powered by one or two central plants than a million individually run power systems.  Add to these, the fact that the nuclear industry donates millions to Congressional campaign coffers, to the detriment of democratic aspects of our government.

  •  Loan guarantee mis-information (0+ / 0-)

    Mariotte said:

    UniStar's business model calls for it to put up no money for these reactors themselves. Instead, UniStar wants U.S. taxpayer-backed loans for 80% of the cost, and it wants to get the French Export-Import Bank to pick up the other 20%.

    Loan guarantees are only guarantees, not loans from the government. So where's Unistar getting the money then? From investors and ratepayers, not taxpayers.

    Yet the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that 50% of nuclear projects that get loan guarantees ultimately will fail--leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.

    This is so garbage. The CBO study you're referring to was based on legislation that never passed. As well, the study is dated from 2003, much has changed since then.

    Here's some more information on why the default rate is bogus:

    Nuclear power plants are multibillion-dollar projects that will require an equity investment of about 20 percent – roughly $1 billion or so – in order to qualify for a loan guarantee. This large amount of capital investment ensures that companies will proceed cautiously and prudently make sure that projects are completed successfully. If the 50 percent default rate quoted by Friends (which is based largely on an outdated Congressional Budget Office forecast of a high failure rate on loans for nuclear projects) were realistic, companies would not proceed with nuclear projects. And since the default rate is baked into the fee a company will pay to receive a loan guarantee, taxpayers will not be required to "bailout" any projects, regardless of the risk of default.

    In fact, the program actually has the potential to generate revenues to the federal Treasury. In addition to the cost paid by companies to cover default risk (which the federal government keeps if there is no default), project sponsors qualifying for a federal loan guarantee must also pay a fee to the Department of Energy for costs associated with the program. That fee will likely be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Mariotte said:

    Ratepayers, of course, will feel the pain if and when these reactors go into service--at nearly $10 billion each their electricity wouldn't come cheap.

    I could somewhat agree with this statement. Tell me, though, what sources of energy are going to be cheaper and provide the same amount of energy (numbers and sources are preferable). According to FPL, Progress Energy and SCE&G (pdf), nuclear plants are the best bet in the long run.

    •  loan guarantee (0+ / 0-)

      You are missing the fact, which I stated in the original article, that there is no private money available for new nuclear reactors and that the DOE regulations require utilities wanting the full 80% of reactor costs in loan guarantees to get their money from the federal treasury through the Federal Financing Bank.

      True, if every utility that gets guarantees pays them back, then there will be no harm to the Treasury.

      But the 2003 CBO study--and CBO continues to stand by that estimate, and earlier studies of the costs of nuclear plant construction (average plant in the 1970-80s had a cost overrun of 207% according to DOE) hold true, then taxpayers will be left with billions of dollars in defaults. Not exactly the best time for taxpayers to pick up extra billions in deficits.....

      Moreover, nuclear power is supposedly a mature technology--why should it even need taxpayer loan guarantees, which are typically reserved, in relatively small dollar amounts, for new technologies that need further development, not those that already provide 20% of our power.

      The answer is simple: no one outside the govt is going to build a nuclear reactor because it makes no economic sense whatsoever. That's true in the U.S., it's true in Europe, it's true in Asia. Every single reactor under construction or even contemplated in the world today relies on some form of government spending. If you like socialism, you should love nuclear power...

      Private capital is going to renewables and energy efficiency, and, since prices for those are staying steady or even falling, will continue to do so.

      Solar and wind power don't need loan guarantees or any govt support other than the same production tax credits new nuclear power already gets...fortunately those credits have been extended now (tho not long enough for wind).

      Nuclear power wants it all: they want us to provide their loans, guarantee their loans--even to companies like UniStar, which have no assets--pay for their waste disposal, pay for their insurance against accidents, etc....

      There is no more socialized industry than nuclear power, there is no energy industry less effective than nuclear power per taxpayer dollar spent....

      But if you'd prefer to believe companies like UniStar and General Electric over every environmental organization in the country, that's your problem, not mine.....

      •  Hmm ... More lies (0+ / 0-)

        Just because you keep repeating the same things over and over (like a mantra), doesn't make them so.

        Solar and wind power don't need loan guarantees or any govt support other than the same production tax credits new nuclear power already gets...fortunately those credits have been extended now (tho not long enough for wind).

        Well if the extension is not long enough for wind then that just means that wind is not economical by itself and apparently never will be, no?

        So are you saying that you advocate that solar and wind pass up the 80% loan guarantee that they have as well?

        How about renewable portfolio standards? Are you ready to give them up too? Nuclear has never benefited from any kind of "portfolio-standard"-based edict to force it to be built. Utilities are forced by these laws to build "renewable" generation, whether it is economical or not (hint, normally it is not).

        The Production Tax Credit of 1.9 cents per kWh that wind and solar enjoy without limit is restricted to only the first 6000 megawatts of new nuclear capacity. It's not really fair to say that nuclear gets the "same" production tax credits. They don't get the whole deal that inefficient, uneconomic technologies like wind and solar enjoy.

        More lies:

        The nuclear industry in the US does pay for its "waste." Not only does it pay to store it today, but it is required (by law, for over two decades now) to pay for final disposal through a fee charged on the electricity produced. In fact, it has been paying so much and getting so little in return, that various utilities have been suing the government to get some of their money back, and they have been winning in court. So much for "not paying."

        The industry also pays for its own insurance, which amounts to about $300 million per plant and up to almost $10 billion for the secondary pooled insurance system. The government has never paid for the insurance of privately owned nuclear plants. But you know this already, Michael, and yet you still lie about it. Shame!

        Show me a wind turbine anywhere in the world that wasn't funded by public money, whether through tax credits or feed-in tariffs or any other devices that governments come up with to support politically popular, but highly uneconomic forms of electricity production.

        Large solar plants in Spain? Please tell me that they were completely funded by private capital with no subsidies.

        Compared to nuclear the subsidies that "renewables" get are at least equal or quite possibly larger.

        I realize that it's your full-time job to lie about nuclear, but I also find your recent attacks based on the economics of energy production to be quite curious. By your standards of requiring "private money" to make something worthwhile, the only generation technology that is acceptable is coal and natural gas. There is still plenty of private money flowing into these parts of the energy sector, in spite of Gore's multi-million-dollar ad campaign.

        Perhaps that was your original goal to begin with. I'm sure that the coal companies and the natural gas companies are pleased with your work. Keep it up. You're making all of their talking points for them -- points that they are not able to make these days because of their sagging public image. Whether or not this is your intention, you and other "environmental" organizations are doing the dirty work for them by taking on their competitors. Hekuvajob there Michael!

        Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
        -- George Eliot

        by bryfry on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 08:17:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Untrue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        Moreover, nuclear power is supposedly a mature technology--why should it even need taxpayer loan guarantees,

        Operating nuclear plants is a mature industry in the US, building nuclear plants is a lost art. How many thousands of wind turbines do we need to build before it is a mature technology and we can stop giving it healthy production tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and state renewable energy mandates?

        But the 2003 CBO study--and CBO continues to stand by that estimate, and earlier studies of the costs of nuclear plant construction (average plant in the 1970-80s had a cost overrun of 207% according to DOE) hold true, then taxpayers will be left with billions of dollars in defaults. Not exactly the best time for taxpayers to pick up extra billions in deficits.....

        I appreciate that antinuclear groups can no longer keep up their revenue streams by crying "Meltdown!" alone. The number of people that still flinch at that one is declining. When the younger generation hears "TMI" they think "too much information" not "Three Mile Island". But you might fool some addled baby boomers into believing the new reactors will be built the same way they were in the '70s and '80s. To be honest, I do expect the first couple plants may experience modest overruns as the architect/engineers perfect their construction skills to do it efficiently, although I expect lessons learned from Olkiluoto and Flamanville will be internalized to minimize the learning curve. I also expect antinuclear groups will file last gasp lawsuits that could delay operation to try to make overruns a self-fulfilling prediction.  

        Solar and wind power don't need loan guarantees or any govt support other than the same production tax credits new nuclear power already gets...fortunately those credits have been extended now (tho not long enough for wind).

        Not the same. The production tax credits extended to nuclear plants is specifically limited to the first few to be built and is only 1.8 cents per kwh. The PCT for wind applies to all turbines, is 2 cents per kwh and is indexed for inflation. By the time the first nuclear plants come on line the PCT for wind will be much higher.

      •  As you have seen in the (0+ / 0-)

        comments below this one, nirsent, there is a LOT of private money going into nuclear power plants. The load guarantees (as distinguished from the limited 1.8 KW for nuclear, unlimited for solar and wind) are not "public money going into nuclear". ALL the money for the plants come out of utility coffers and/or their rate base. None of it, except for some of the first 8GWs (or, about 5 to 6 NPPs), is "private".

        But the best things often are public...like France's excellent nuclear grid. Like most big infrastructure projects. Right now public money is pouring into the private coffers of the big wind and solar producers (companies like...Alstrom, GE, Westinghouse!). This is a choice, supposedly, being made by society. It would be nice if nuclear was offered the same incentives (to the same companies, as it happens). Nuclear is, after all, superior to the...alternatives.

        David

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