Nuclear Demands a share of Illinois Carbon Subsidies

Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station

Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Illinois nuclear plant operators have demanded more subsidies, to help keep unprofitable nuclear plants open, to prevent a surge of fossil fuel usage which they claim will occur if they are closed. If the British experience is any guide, this is just the beginning.

Nuclear Power Fights for a Spot in Illinois’ Clean Energy Future

State lawmakers are debating whether to keep ailing nuclear plants alive. The outcome will set a precedent for more states to come.

With hard times setting in for some nuclear power plants, Illinois state legislators are trying to decide whether they should put nuclear facilities on life support, or lay them to rest early.

A combination of market forces and policy choices has made the nuclear business tougher in recent years, and that’s the case at two facilities in Illinois operated by Exelon. The company is telling lawmakers that the money-losing reactors will have to be brought offline prematurely unless the state lends support. That would result in lost jobs and a big dip in the state’s capacity to produce electricity—one that could have dirty, carbon-burning power plants stepping up to close the gap. With jobs, tax dollars, and environmental quality at stake, it’s turned into a dramatic battle in the final days of the state’s legislative session.

Exelon is searching for a way to subsidize the struggling plants, arguing that the steady, zero-carbon energy source is a public good worthy of public support. One idea in particular is dividing environmental groups: Should nuclear plants, by virtue of being carbon-free, be grouped in with solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources in state initiatives to clean up the grid? It’s a dilemma that could soon spill over into other states as the business and policy landscapes change around clean energy.

Read more: http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/05/illinois-exelon-nuclear-power-plants-renewable-energy-portfolio/484046/

In Britain, heavy handed government intervention destroyed a once healthy energy market. The British market is now a patronage driven disaster, where everyone demands special treatment.

In the words of Amber Rudd, the British Government Energy Secretary;

The second phase of modern energy policy began when Tony Blair signed the Renewable Energy Target in 2007.

[Political content redacted]

What has this left us with?

We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention.

And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.

Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, hasn’t been reduced.

Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy

The problem is, renewables need huge government subsidies to attract investment. But subsidising renewables, and giving them priority access to the grid, makes other forms of energy uneconomical – if you have to keep cycling your gas, coal or nuclear plant up and down, depending on whether the wind is blowing, it is impossible to make a profit.

Renewables are too unreliable to replace other sources of energy. Politicians quickly learn that they cannot allow now unprofitable fossil fuel and nuclear power companies to fail.

Guess what happens next? As soon as energy companies catch on that the politicians have taken over, that it is no longer the job of energy companies to keep the grid stable, everyone gets into the government handout game, even coal plant operators. They all demand and receive their own slice of the subsidy cake.

British politicians thought they were in charge of energy policy. Instead they have been captured by energy companies, who have learned through experience that politicians have far more to lose when the electricity grid fails than they do.

If politicians don’t act fast, to restore sanity to US energy markets, the same thing will happen to America.

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172 thoughts on “Nuclear Demands a share of Illinois Carbon Subsidies

  1. If politicians don’t act fast, to restore sanity to US energy markets, the same thing will happen to America.
    ===
    First, what makes you think this isn’t their goal?

  2. They are merely playing the “carbon” game. Trouble is, they have to lie to do it. They are prostituting themselves to the CAGW ideology. No sense of morality.

    • We here in Australia have already seen what happens when you rely on “Bird-mincers”when South Australia had the “Inter-connector”that supplies most of their power,when the wind isn’t blowing(about 70%of the time)went on the “Fritz”A couple of hundred thousand people were in the dark,untill repairs could be made.And now the last “Coal”fired power station has just shut,which will just make it worse in the foreseeable future.

  3. When will they ever learn. Free market works best. Give no subsidies to anyone, and that includes ethanol, farmers and everyone in between. Let the most competitive and ingenious one win.

    • Never happen, Albert. Then there would be no opportunities to take a rake, kickback, or to steer contracts to friends and relatives.

      Politicians know free markets work best for the peasants. They just don’t work very well for the politicians.

      • Correct, it is all about power over others and industries. That is how they demand kickback, get favors, purchase influence, votes, etc.

      • They are no better than the leaders in Venezuela and don’t care about the average “joe” as long as they have the power.

      • The ethanol blending credit ended at the end of 2011. Crop price supports were replaced by direct farm payments and those have now been eliminated. The remaining farm subsidy is in the form of insurance.

        But don’t let that bother you, you’ve got a good meme going.

      • Chris4692 – You seem to have “forgotten” the mandates for ethanol. But don’t let that bother you, you’ve got a good meme going.

      • @ Chris4692

        Google for “Kevin Drum Renewable Fuel Standards.”

        The best subsidies are the ones no-one knows you receive.

      • As PJ O’Roarke said, when politicans control the buying and selling of things, the first thing bought and sold will be politicians.

    • Ethanol subsidies were removed years ago. The business is profitable and healthy. This was one government program that accually succeeded. 10% of each gallon of gas goes to the American farmer, not a Saudi prince.

      • 10% Ethanol treated gas has ruined more small engines and marine systems than you could ever imagine.
        For all my gasoline engines (including autos), I always use Shell premium gas and also add either PRI-G or Marine grade Stabil for any storage more than a week. The result is that these engines always start, even if they overwinter with a tank of gas. Before I started treating the gas, I would typically lose a chain saw to an early ethanol death or spend a day cleaning out a lawnmower or snowblower so it would start.

  4. “nuclear plants, by virtue of being carbon-free, be grouped in with solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources in state initiatives to clean up the grid”

    Not a Chance. The carbon emergency is so dire that living standards, what we eat, where we live, even procreation must be controlled. Yet the one source of energy that could mitigate most of this concern is also taboo.
    Sure there are risk, such as radiation from the Fukushima accident but the “radiation dose would still be more than 1,000 times less than that of a single dental X-ray”. Apparently any means to their end is acceptable, unless the means allows society to continue on as we currently are.

  5. One wonders if the adjective “dirty” in the report

    “one that could have dirty, carbon-burning power plants stepping up to close the gap.”

    means the backup plants are actually substandard relative to particulate emissions, or if it’s just another mindless slur that the author applies “by definition” to ALL coal fueled plants.
    My bet is on the latter.

    • If you’ll notice, the Sierra Club playbook always characterizes coal as “dirty,” no matter how well emissions are controlled. But I’ve noticed a new one, “dirty coal and natural gas.” Does the “dirty” only refer to the coal or are they also calling natural gas that? Guilt by association? Right out of the “beyond gas” campaign.

    • Agreed, I noticed that too. Emotional manipulation, nothing more. They are playing the greens at their own game, so maybe that counts for something. I’d love to see the anti-nuclear mob forced to accept nuclear because wind and solar just aren’t cutting it. :)

  6. The failures of socialism, social justice, environmentalism, climate change alarmism, etc., are all around us. At the same time, the people who are responsible for the problems manage to blame the other side and get credit for trying another government “fix” — ex. B. H. Obama. I’m nearly 80 . . . ‘just hope things hold together for a few more years, but I’m not optimistic.

    • Meanwhile:

      Crain’s Cleveland Business, May 27, 2016

      ‘Surprise LEDCo qualifies to receive $40 million for Lake Erie wind farm’

      “The nonprofit became eligible for the funding only after two other offshore wind projects in Virginia and Oregon recently fell short of benchmarks set by the agency, according to a news release.”

      The Plain dealer, May 27, 2016

      Cleveland business

      ‘Cleveland wind project awarded $40 million DOE grant to develop Lake wind farm’

      For a six turbine pilot wind farm in Lake Erie by the end of 2018 which is to be 8-10 miles offshore.

      http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2016/05/cleveland_wind_project_awarded.html

      The beginning of turning the Great Lakes into wind farms? More U.S. government funding than this amount has been spent to develop this fresh-water wind project over the past few years.

      • LEEDCo/Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio

        “LEEDCo is a regional non-profit and economic development organization building an offshore wind industry in Ohio.”

        http://www.leedco.org

        Internet information indicates that LEEDo received federal funding of $3 M in 2014, $4 M in 2012 and $3.7 M in May, 2016 in addition to the $40 just announced May 27, 2016.

        Installing wind turbines in the Great Lakes presents issues different from installing wind turbines in ocean waters. New research and development had to be done first to accomplish this.

      • The noise will definitely disturb the fish.

        During their workings lives, does a windmill save CO2? I can’t see how.

      • AIA Ohio

        ‘Brown, Strickland Outline Plans for Offshore Wind Turbine Projects’

        Scroll down to: State Efforts

        “Working with Case Western Reserve University, a designated ‘Ohio Center of Excellence’ in advanced energy, the state is working to solve the unique challenges of offshore wind in fresh water-something that has yet to be done anywhere in the world.”

        http://www.aiaohio.org/the-news/34-latest-aia-news/190-brown-strickland-outline-plans-for-offshore-wind-turbine-projects

        There is a lawsuit now pending in Ontario involving the right of the Ontario government to place a moratorium on offshore wind turbines pending further studies.

        To begin with, the party suing asked for a $2.2 billion settlement claiming damages for a lost offshore wind project due to the moratorium. Now the amount is down to $500 million for a settlement.

        There are also two NAFTA cases pending in Canada that involve this moratorium issue.

        With nothing known about the consequences of installing fresh water wind turbines, why was this case allowed to proceed in Ontario. Taxpayers could be on-the-hook for a very large sum of money?

  7. I once heard that the amount of paper produced to construct a nuclear power plant in the form of reports, building materials documentation, and studies actually outweighed the concrete required to build one. Now if you include the paper generated when in the end there is not even one built? Seems to me that artificially high overhead and start up costs are the real drivers of expense in the nuclear industry.

    [Interest rates. None of the billions spent from beginning planning and permits through design through parts building through construction through certification and testing earns a penny until the thing starts operating. 15-20 years later after the permits (er, lawyers and bureaucrats and politicians) start spending the owners’ money.

    • Oh and don’t forget litigation…must not forget the expense of court battles with every Tom, Dick, and Harry “community group” and national “environmentalist” organization to build the project and the looming court battle sometime when safety procedures preform the way they should and the incident is characterized as a “near melt down”

      • People who complain should be denied electricity from those producers they complained about. Denial os service would soon educate them!

    • I wonder if people have tried to precisely the amount of “carbon” (or anything else, really) induced by all the paper needed to do anything potentially polluting.

      A way to reduce energy use would be to suppress “environnemental” regulations.

    • I can believe that. As a co-op student in college I worked on a fairly minor upgrade to Plant Vogle’s control room. The system I worked on controlled nothing, it merely combined data that was currently being displayed as a large number of dials and indicators into graphical displays.
      I remember having to generate documents on E-paper that detailed the data path for each sensor. We documented the sensor number and it’s serial number. Noted which wiring block that sensor was connected to, and which pin on the wiring block. Then we recorded which wire in which cable carried that signal, and we documented this all the way up to our control panel. We ended up with at least 50 sheets of E-paper, hand written in fairly small print.
      I understand and agree with the need for such extensive documentation.
      The frustrating part for us, was that our module didn’t change any of that. We were tapping into the signals as they arrived at the control room.

  8. Actually, the UK has almost ended its dependence on coal for electricity. It has been replaced by gas turbines. These are running mainly on imported gas because the Greens refuse to allow us to use our plentiful shale gas resources. Meanwhile wind infrastructure, on which so much public money has been spent, typically provides less than 10% of our needs.

    http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk

  9. … if you have to keep cycling your … nuclear plant up and down …

    You can’t cycle a nuclear plant up and down. That’s why the Canadian province of Ontario has to pay other jurisdictions to take its surplus energy.

    • commiebob:

      I thought it was due to the wind blowing and the fact that wind power MUST be taken by contract:
      https://www.thestar.com/business/2011/08/29/ontario_pays_others_to_take_its_surplus_power.html
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ont-sometimes-gives-away-excess-power-1.1080001
      https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/01/20/ontario_paid_1_billion_to_dump_excess_electricity_in_2013_ndp.html

      (Alberta has the same foolish subsidized contract arrangements – wind power gets priority use and other suppliers must follow.)

      • You’re right. They have to take the wind power and they can’t easily turn off the nuclear.

        The blackout of 2003 demonstrated that the nuclear plants were hard to bring up again after being placed in ‘safe mode’.

        With the power fluctuations on the grid, power plants automatically went into “safe mode” to prevent damage in the case of an overload. This put much of the nuclear power offline until those plants could be slowly taken out of “safe mode”. wiki

        IIRC, it was about a week before everything was running properly again.

    • you can cycle a nuclear plant up and down but with all the costs in the plant and almost none in the fuel, you make no savings by not selling into a low priced oversupplied market. so nuclear runs flat out to sell at whatever price it can get. France modulates power a bit because at weekends and in summer they produce more power than the European grid can absorb.

      Dispatchability is a requirement for new UK nuclear. It requires some design work, and is not without issues but it can be done, is being done and will increasingly BE done.

    • “You can’t cycle a nuclear plant up and down”

      You can but only slowly and the range is usually limited.

      And you usually need to have a “schedule” in advance, then you do corrections.

      • How does a nuclear powered ship go from full stop to flank speed and back to full stop, in a matter of minutes if, as you say, it can only be cycled slowly?

        BTW, I was on board a US Navy nuclear ship for four years.

        Thanks

        jw

      • J Wurts says: May 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm

        How does a nuclear powered ship go from full stop to flank speed and back to full stop, in a matter of minutes if, as you say, it can only be cycled slowly?

        They are different. According to Leo Smith above, new land based plants can be built to cycle quickly. How they actually do it is beyond my pay grade. :-)

      • I was taught that Westinghouse and GE both adapted their designs from submarine and carrier power plants, hence the spent fuel cooling pool weakness. The commercial nukes are on a much larger scale so they have more heat dissipation problems when dropping load quickly, but are not hard to ramp up to meet surges. It’s all about gas turbines being the best suited to fly by the seat of the pants on the grid.

        Gas turbine plants are putting the ageing pulverized coal plants of southern IL out of business. The (Wood River) power plant I worked at in the 80’s is being closed next month (460 MW pulverized WY anthracite – Non-scrubbed).

        Most of the folks (still living) that I worked with are taking their retirement while it’s offered by Dynegy.

      • “I was taught that Westinghouse and GE both adapted their designs from submarine and carrier power plants, hence the spent fuel cooling pool weakness.”

        Spent fuel pool weakness? Submarines? Hence?

        I have no idea what you are trying to say!

      • Please let me add that gas plants are largely automated and require no on-site operator. Dispatchable maintenance by a contractor is the only direct human intervention required in day-to-day operation.
        Completely modular and automated with quick potential response to the current supply-demand scenario.

        This makes the base-load scrubbed coal plants best suited to third world countries. The cheapest form of energy is what will diffuse the population bomb and provide world-wide affluence. We could have already funded that with the $ we’ve given climate change alarmists.

      • Sorry, s-t. That was off topic. the pools are elevated and need constant circulation to prevent overheating and ignition of the spent fuel. Folks I still know in the industry tell me that’s the most likely source of a large radiation excursion. It’s what they are most concerned at Fukushima as another blow to the pool systems before the rods are moved to safer storage could cause an unquenchable fire and the largest excursion in history. Just talk I hear from folks I used to work with at Illinois Power Co.

      • “ignition of the spent fuel.”

        THE SFPs (SPENT FUEL POOLS) ARE ON FIRE! YOU MUST PANIC! said the NRC during the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

        Except they were not. This was a lie propagated by the usual bunch (Caldicott, etc.).

        Setting zirconium on fire isn’t easy at all. Only in the worst condition can decay heat ignite fuel rods.

      • Thanks, you made me look some of this hearsay up, here is the info on early plant designs based on the Shippingport reactor design used on the Nautilus and Enterprize: http://www.navalreactorshistorydb.info:8080/xtf/index.php

        You are right that stopping circulation will not cause a fire. This very interesting paper gives an abundant education on the subject. Sorry to have stretched this thread so long. http://www.riverkeeper.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Spent-Fuel-Information-ZIRCONIUM-FIRES-IN-POOLS-OF-SPENT-NUCLEAR-FUEL.pdf

  10. Atlas Shrugged has become historical document. This is playing exactly as the book describes. Venezuela being the prime example. Only power was one of the last to go in the book.

  11. From the original post;

    But subsidising renewables, and giving them priority access to the grid, makes other forms of energy uneconomical

    Why should the power (grid) owners be made to suffer, unless they own these renewable assets? Solar companies like Solar City in every state in the Union aren’t informing their customers that the Net Metering Agreements the power companies make them sign allow the power company to jack the rates (on everybody) or charge added fees for the operational load the Solar City customers represent. Why should the power companies pay full retail for the Solar City (example) customers’ excess capacity? That’s what the renewables are saying their customers are entitled to, but companies like Solar City are lying to their customers by omission.

    • Springfield, IL has a municipal coal-fired plant on the lake. There is a nuke built by Illinois Power Co. and licensed in 1987 that is located near Clinton, IL. It is 50 mi. from “Springpatch” and 30 miles from Champaign-Urbana (UIUC). It is currently owned by Exelon.

      The closest nuke to Springfield, MO is in Calloway county near Jefferson City, Columbia (UMC), and Fulton. Not a practical commute from Springfield.

      The Clinton nuke plant was the subject of a “60 Minutes” investigation while being constructed, so Matt Groening might have latched on to the Springfield location from the pseudo-news coverage.

  12. British Columbia is 100% renewable powered with dirt cheap hydro electric but allows heavily subsidized wind to be built and buys that power at a high cost. Funny thing is the government and greens only refer to the wind power as renewable. The loons running government.

    Oh wait speaking of birds, when a bird becomes a cropper because of some petro industry issue all hell breaks out in BC but the wind industry gets a pass.

    • Anybody that used to wear leather gloves when play fighting with his sisters alley cat, would know better than to enter a habitat holding one of the big cats.
      Once they hit the “wild” switch, there is no going back.

      • u.k(us),

        “…know better than to enter a habitat holding one of the big cats.”

        That man ought to have held perfectly still . . the arm movement was so “provocative” that it makes me think he was actually trying to get taken out . . suicide.

  13. Hello Eric.

    I enjoy your regular comments here, but I’d like to comment on this.

    The market cannot satisfy electricity demand for two main reasons.

    First, power supply is just too darned complex (by “supply”, I mean from generators to customers). The generation market is an intermingled mix of power stations and electricity networks. Balancing demand is not just a matter of pumping power onto the wires, but involves planning, judgement calls on different types of investments (power stations and network investments), and very high value investments. Operation is only achieved using a complex suite of ancillary services (voltage support, frequency response, constraints to resolve network limitations, operational reserve of several different forms, and the rest.

    Second, achieving security of supply means that the power system has to maintain a significant margin of redundancy in the network and generating capacity. Customers have come to expect reliability down to the level of potential interruption occurring once in a month of Sundays. An unfettered market wouldn’t deliver this – the free market would continuously test the value of supply, and it can only do this through supply disruption. The shared nature of supply would result in demand control by interruption over wide areas (rota disconnection involving thousands of customers at a time).

    During rota disconnection demand management actions, it is not possible to decide who should be interrupted and who gets priority, even if some customers have paid extra for security of their supply. The market would be fundamentally broken if the idea was to determine the value of supply because the market cannot tell how much individual customers have paid.

    When the supply interruptions commence, it takes several years to get new investments online. When supply disruptions come along, they don’t go away anytime soon. The market cannot respond quickly enough to react to even the sharpest short-term price signals.

    While it is happening, people suffer badly. The economy shrinks (can’t make stuff with no power) and some people might even die (freezing the infirm). And if things get really bad, matters quickly escalate into civil unrest and national security emergency. It becomes very political – politicians who let a country descend into civil emergency don’t get the popular vote.

    A free market for power supply can only exist in theory, if the practicalities are overlooked or ignored.

    • for sure you need some regulation, but energy markets are not centrally planned, and mechanisms exist to ensure supply reliabiliyt (e/g capacity auctions)

    • I agree there are some challenges, for example there is only one grid – you don’t have competing parallel grids able to pipe power to each household. But as Amber Rudd said, what they had before, however imperfect, was a lot better than what they have now.

      • Exactly, the hidden subsidy Eric W mentioned,
        ========================
        ” if you have to keep cycling your gas, coal or nuclear plant up and down, depending on whether the wind is blowing, it is impossible to make a profit.”
        ========================
        Perhaps not impossible, but much more expensive, and this right to sell 100 percent of what you are able to generate for solar or wind is a large hidden subsidy, well compounded by the hidden increase in cost to conventional selling less of what they are capable of generating far more consistently.

        Jordan’s recognizing the complexities of a grid, should recognize that solar and wind unnecessarily make those complexities exponentially worse, and effectively eliminate the fiscal benefit of the free market which is possible.

    • It never ceases to amaze me the way socialists have an infinite capacity to believe that government is better able to handle complex things than is the private market. Despite 100 years of practical evidence to the contrary.

      I agree with you that the power market is complex and rapidly changing, which is precisely why letting the government control it is a very bad idea.

      • MarkW.

        An unfettered free market for power supply will lead to very poor outcomes. Any attempt to leave power supply to the free market will ultimately fail. This is a familiar situation for economists: they call it a “market failure”.

        I have explained a couple of reasons in my post above. There is too much sharing of resources for the market to respond to individual choices, and it is just too darned complex to operate. And I could add more reasons for good measure.

        Given the choice, I would prefer just save the pain of pursuing an ideological dream of free market power supply because it is destined to end in tears. Better to just get to the ultimate conclusion of central planning. The best attempts we have at free market power supply are a poor shadow of a true free market: they are highly regulated with elaborate rules to join the market, including complex trading and settlement mechanisms to “socialise” (pool) resources and costs.

        All of this makes me a PRAGMATIST. You might one day learn that it is not only SOCIALISTS who have the capacity to be PRAGMATISTS.

      • “This is a familiar situation for economists: they call it a “market failure”.”

        People (not just those who claim “activists”) usually call “market failure” any outcome they don’t like. The expression is used so liberally these days, it’s also meaningless.

        Economists these days must embrace the “CO2 is bad” line or be ignored. So they assume the “science” is sound and CO2 is pollution, and then they call it a “negative externality”. But there is no (worldwide) CO2 market so even under these (false) assumptions, there is no “market failure”.

  14. From the article: “Should nuclear plants, by virtue of being carbon-free, be grouped in with solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources in state initiatives to clean up the grid?”

    Yes, nuclear plants should be included. If people are serious about eliminating air pollution, then nuclear is the way to go.

    Windmills are the worst! Chopping up the poor birds left and right. Who thinks that’s a good idea?

      • You’d have to chop down all the trees to get rid of VOC’s and ban deserts and dry ground because of the dust they produce.

      • I love it when trolls talk about China as if what is happening there is also happening here.
        China’s problems are due to the fact that they do not use the pollution control equipment that is common in the west.
        Anyone who brings up China when the subject is western style power plants has just demonstrated that they do not know what they are talking about and should be ignored.

      • MarkW May 31, 2016 at 8:08 am wrote: “I love it when trolls talk about China as if what is happening there is also happening here.”

        All I did was answer the person’s question. I don’t think that is the definition of a troll. Sounds like an inappropriate perjorative, on your part. You would agree that there is air pollution in China, wouldn’t you?

        MarkW: “China’s problems are due to the fact that they do not use the pollution control equipment that is common in the west.”

        Well, I guess I need to get up to speed on American coal-fired powerplants. I didnt’ realize they have been made pollution free.

        MarkW: “Anyone who brings up China when the subject is western style power plants”

        That wasn’t the subject of my post. You seem to be too eager to criticize, and have dreamed up a contradiction.

        MarkW: “has just demonstrated that they do not know what they are talking about and should be ignored.”

        Sounds to me like it’s a personal problem on your part, rather than a legitimate criticism.

    • It’s a leading question, and a trap. It’s like asking, should nuclear plants, by virtue of being an affordable, reliable form of electric energy be grouped in with gas and coal as a way to keep the grid both reliable and affordable?
      Of course, the answer to that one is a resounding YES!

    • @ TA:

      Found out recently that cell towers are far more deadly to birds than windmills (by total numbers).

      • Jeff Cagle May 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm wrote: “@ TA:

        “Found out recently that cell towers are far more deadly to birds than windmills (by total numbers).

        How does that work, Jeff? What kills them?

      • And this is why I love WUWT, where you can come and read several opinions and mostly facts concerning real problems facing our world.

        Where you can also read sentences from posters like Jeff Cagle knowing that once his horse hit the water, he drank before he tested it for pollution.

        Now where is that real photo of that cell tower that decapitated that raptor?? (or any bird)

        Decapitation of raptors and bird kills available via Wind Turbines, photos available, plus much, much more for your viewing pleasure !!.

        Now where is that real photo of a cat killing an Eagle or any type raptor?

        uhm… I would like a government grant to see what happens when I cage an eagle with….. lets go with 3 cats.
        we’ll make that cage 10′ by 10′.

        Placing bets at this moment……..

        Odds are presently at : Eagles = +107 Cats = – 3

      • How does that work, Jeff? What kills them?

        Well “DUH”, ……. everyone should know why Cell Phone towers kills those birds.

        It’s BBC (bird brain cancers), that’s what it is …… cause when those birds fly by or alight on those Cell towers they really get ZAPPED with THOUSANDS of Cell Phone transmissions every millisecond. That’s nuff to fry their brain, ya know.

        Yours truly,

        Eritas

      • There are 2 to 3 orders of magnitude more cell phone towers than there are windmills.
        Besides, cellphone towers provide a useful service.

    • “anthropogenic misalignments.”

      The next big thing is the “smart” metering and “smart” distribution network idea.

      And consumers aren’t even asking questions like “what is REALLY a smart meter?” and “why would a meter try to be smart?” and “what’s wrong with keeping meters as dumb as usual?” and “why wouldn’t a dumb counter be fitted with a transmitter?” and “what kind of programs will be able to run on my smart meter?”

      But then, many people believe they have a (desktop) computer AND a smartphone. They don’t protest when they are told “the first use of this website can’t be on a smartphone, only on a computer”.

      Are people as dumb as their meter?

    • And yet, socialists are still eager to hand more and more of the economy over to the government, because the economy is too complex for people who don’t work for the government to understand.

  15. “Politicians quickly learn that they cannot allow now unprofitable fossil fuel and nuclear power companies to fail.”

    I have to disagree. They are learning far too slowly. But politicians were quick to ignore people who told them the truth many years ago. They ignored the advice of competent advisors, and believed that environmental advocates had discovered something that competent engineers and scientists hadn’t.

    If you lie down with greenpeace then you will get mould and economic gangrene.

  16. evolution of the economy in the 20th and 21st century america:
    manufacturing >service>activist>subsidy>dead

  17. “The problem is, renewables need huge government subsidies ….”

    No, Eric is 100% wrong. The tail does not wag the dog. Since I worked at Quad Cities and Lasalle, the price of natural gas has increased from $2/MMBTU to $16 and back.

    At $5/MMBTU, all nuke plant are more economical than than gas. While gas fired plants have high fuel cost, the plants need a lot fewer workers. Some nuke run with 500-600 workers while a similar plants have 1000-1200 workers.

    When I worked at Quad Cities and Lasalle as a consultant in the 90s, the plants were regulated. Workers and management had no incentive to do a good job because cost were pasted on to the customers. Some utilities like the one I worked for, did a good job of running coal and nuke plants and the ratepayers had lower rates.

    So low gas prices hurt the nuclear industry, they are good for the economy and the country.

  18. Renewables already provide worthwhile power into a grid, as demonstrated on a daily basis in many states in the US. California routinely obtains 30 to 40 percent of grid power from renewables for several hours during mid-day. It is not true that renewables “need huge government subsidies to attract investment.” The wind subsidy in the US is only 1.5 cents per kWh sold, adjusted for inflation that is 2.3 cents in 2015. With wind energy Power Purchase Agreements with the utility at 3 cents per kWh, wind obtains effectively 5.3 cents per kWh. The subsidy works out to approximately $1 per month per residential household.

    The last few decades show that wind-turbines were developed, tested, and improved. These efforts were supported by modest government subsidies, typically 1.5 cents for every kWh produced as above, with the value adjusted for inflation. Surveys of US wind potential revealed that there is enormous untapped wind energy, both onshore and offshore.

    If a low-cost means to capture that wind energy could be found, and a means to store the energy then release it when needed, there would be no need to ever burn dirty coal or build dangerous nuclear plants again.

    Which brings us to today, where almost all of the requirements are in place. The wind industry has developed larger and more economic turbines, so that it is now common to see 3 MW turbines onshore. The first US offshore wind power project, Block Island offshore Rhode Island, is installing 6 MW turbines, which are on schedule to start up in fourth quarter 2016. There is an 8 MW turbine operating offshore in Europe. Onshore wind economics are such that 5.3 cents per kWh is sufficient to entice owners to build. Of that, 3 cents is from the utility and 2.3 cents is from government tax credits. With additional cost reductions occurring annually, the tax credits are reduced to zero over the next five years. Offshore economics are not as good as onshore, due to much higher costs to install the turbines in shallow ocean water. However, the offshore wind is stronger and more steady so each turbine is more productive.

    The grid-scale storage problem is also solved. Many will scoff at that statement, but the reality is that technology has improved dramatically. The four leading technologies for grid-scale energy storage are high-speed flywheels, pumped storage hydroelectric, advanced batteries, and rail gravity storage. The first three are already installed in grid-scale service. Pumped storage hydroelectric has been used for decades. Batteries are in use on Santa Catalina Island offshore California. There are better batteries forth-coming, an example of which is the halogenated polyacetylene battery from BioSolar Inc. Finally, the low-tech gravity storage by ARES, at 50 MW, is under construction in Nevada. There, electricity is drawn from the grid during periods of excess, such as with wind power at night, to send heavy electric trains up an incline of a few miles length. The electricity is produced when needed by sending the heavy trains down the incline with the brakes on, where the brakes are wheel-motor/generators operating in generator mode. The efficiency is high, at better than 80 percent.

    Finally, pumped storage hydroelectric is no longer limited to those few locations with an elevated lake and a low-level lake within a few miles of each other. Instead, engineers at MIT developed underwater hollow spheres to be positioned in the shallow ocean and near wind-turbine projects. Electricity is used to pump sea water out of the spheres during night-time excess electricity production. During the day when demand increases, water from the ocean flows through conventional hydroelectric systems into the spheres, producing power on-demand and in load-following mode.

    The result, for now, is what we see happening today. Nuclear plants are shutting down due to the inability to compete in the wholesale electricity markets. Very efficient natural gas power plants that use combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), and low-cost wind power production have driven the price of electricity down below the point where nuclear power is profitable. Several nuclear plants have announced closures due to this.

    Coal-fired plants are shutting down because they cannot afford the costs of air pollution control systems, again with low wholesale prices. Coal also has the problem of limited resources, where low prices for coal have limited the economically recoverable reserves to less than 50 years worldwide, and approximately 25 years in the US. One might wonder if this is a false shortage, as was the prediction related to oil and gas in the 1970s. There are significant differences between coal reserves, and oil and gas reserves. The primary difference is the cost to extract. If a huge oil reserve is discovered, perhaps thousands of feet deep and offshore a few miles, it will be economic to drill and produce the oil. ExxonMobil is doing exactly that with their huge oil field offshore Russia’s east coast, the Sakhalin Island field. This oil field required drilling more than 7 miles deep and with the drilling rig located on the island, more than 7 miles horizontally under the seabed.

    Coal cannot be economically mined under such conditions. Per USGS experts, deep coal mines are uneconomic at more than 4000 feet from the surface. Also, for surface mines, or near-surface mines, no more than 10 tons of overburden can be removed for each ton of coal mined. This limits coal production to far less than the known amount of coal in the world.

    Coal miners world-wide have a serious problem. If they use efficient means of mass production, they mine through their reserves quickly. Also, the efficient production reduces the cost of the coal, which reduces the amount of coal they can recover. The best thing that could happen to coal miners is for natural gas to run short and its price skyrocket. That may have seemed likely before the oil and gas industry perfected precision directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing. From now on, the era of natural gas with low prices is here. Coal mines are shutting down.

    Even more importantly, wind power reduces the amount of natural gas required in the gas-fired power plants. As the saying goes, When the wind blows the power flows. This reduces the demand for natural gas and reduces the demand-driven price. Wind power also extends the lifetime of natural gas reserves.

    In a perverse way, the same holds true for nuclear power plants. The more nuclear power that is installed, the less natural gas is burned in gas-fired power plants. This, like wind power, reduces the demand for, and price of natural gas. Nuclear power plants simply cannot compete with low-price natural gas.

    Even worse for nuclear power, there are now technologies to produce synthetic natural gas from carbonaceous waste products, such as the process developed and patented by Professor Chan Park of University of California at Riverside.

    Over the next few years, most of the nuclear power plants in the US will shut down due to unprofitable operations. Also, more and more coal-fired power plants will close as they refuse to install costly pollution controls while knowing that their coal supply is limited to a few years. CCGT power plants will be installed in great numbers, along with larger and more efficient wind-power projects across the great heartland of America where the wind is strong and free, from north Texas to the Canadian border.

    Offshore wind power projects will also increase, as the Block Island project offshore Rhode Island is but the first of many. The success of the ARES gravity rail storage system in Nevada will open that technology to every place that has a suitable slope. The planners in UK would do well to ponder how to capture the wind there, store it in heavy trains on suitable slopes, and re-capture the power on-demand.

    For more on this, see http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/05/coal-wind-and-us-energy.html

    • A perfect energy storage solution might make a difference, but such a solution simply doesn’t exist at the moment, or in the foreseeable future.

      Gravity storage systems simply aren’t energy intensive enough to make a significant difference. For example, how much water (or weight of train carriages) does it take to keep one household 2Kw heater going for a day?

      Assume a drop of 30m (~ 100ft).

      2Kw x 1 day = 2000w x 86400 seconds = 172,800,000 joules.
      Energy = force x distance
      = mass x acceleration x distance.

      We know the energy and acceleration (gravity = 9.8m/s^2), so lets solve for mass.

      172,800,000 joules = mass x 9.8m/s^2 * 30m
      mass = 172,800,000 joules / (9.8m/s^2 * 30m) = 587,755kg of water.

      You need 500 tons of water to fall over that dam, to keep ONE household heater running for one day.

      This is why hydro schemes are enormous, and why hydro will never meet the energy storage needs of America.

      As for other forms of energy storage, a problem you quickly hit is that putting a lot of energy in one place can be really dangerous.

      For example, imagine you developed a super capacitor with unprecedented energy density.

      To store the output of a 1Gw power station for a day (24 hours with insufficient wind, a real possibility), the device would have to store:

      1GW x 24 hours = 1000,000,000 watts x 86400 seconds = 8.64 x 10^13 joules of energy.

      By a coincidence, this is around the energy released by Little Boy, the nuclear bomb which destroyed Hiroshima ( 6.3 x 10^13 joules – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boy ).

      If your super capacitors ever suffered sudden catastrophic dielectric failure, which highly stressed capacitors sometimes do, the resulting release of energy would be indistinguishable from a 10 kiloton nuclear explosion.

      Energy storage is not an easy problem to solve. Nobody should be building loads of renewables until someone solves it.

      • Eric,
        You’re using facts and math and logic on Roger Sowell.
        Well some good may come of it as people other than Roger will read it.

        I’m curious though, since the subsidy is “only” $1 per household per month, why he doesn’t propose building 100X of it? Then it would “only” be $100 per household per month. Aw, to heck with it, let’s go for 1000X….
        D*mnation, that annoying math thing again!

        He’s still pushing the MIT underwater spheres too. The mind boggles.

      • For Eric Worrall, The ARES rail gravity energy storage system, as clearly stated on their website, uses an electric train with several rail cars loaded each with a heavy concrete weight. The average incline, or slope, is 6 to 8 percent. The rail length for the initial project is 5.5 miles. The instantaneous power consumption is 50 MW, and power stored is 12.5 MWh. A bit of simple math shows that the train will run for one-quarter hour. Scale up is easy and cheap. The cost per MWh is less than that of pumped storage hydroelectric.

        The system has all environmental and other permits, and is under construction on a mountain slope near Pahrump, Nevada, which is very near Las Vegas.

        The system is scheduled for startup in the next few months. No need to believe, or dis-believe me, simply have a look and watch the news reports. http://www.aresnorthamerica.com/about-ares-north-america

        It’s ok to be skeptical of the gravity energy storage system. Others will invest and make their fortunes while the scoffers keep hoping for a nuclear plant.

        For grid-scale batteries, the BioSolar halogenated polyacetylene batteries are indeed a game-changer. Again, one can be as skeptical as one would like. The engineers, especially electrical engineers, know that these are the batteries everyone has hoped for. The chemical engineers, like me, know that these batteries have cheap components that are easily sustainable. The raw material, acetylene, can be made from oil, coal, or natural gas.

        Anthony posted my article on the batteries earlier. As before, one can hide and watch, or enjoy the ride and reap the benefits.

        The MIT undersea pumped storage hydroelectric systems are simply waiting on offshore wind installations, and construction permits to issue. There is zero high technology, zero unproven technology, it is merely a matter of construction cost.

      • Roger Sowell
        The cost per MWh is less than that of pumped storage hydroelectric.

        Classic Roger. Compare one uneconomical system to another uneconomical system and declare one of them good by comparison.

        From your own link Roger, your 12.5 MWh system has a capital cost of $55 million and you say it runs a whole 15 minutes. To cover a 24 hour period (you know, a length of time long enough to be practical) you’d need 96 of these rail lines built for a cost of over $5 Billion. Scale up is cheap and easy?

        Not only that Roger, how much is 12.5 MWh of electricity at $0.05 per KWh worth? How many thousands of times would the train have to run one end of the track to the other to cycle enough electricity to pay for itself? Would it last that many cycles?

        Roger Sowell;
        It’s ok to be skeptical of the gravity energy storage system. Others will invest and make their fortunes.

        Do the math Roger. Show us how this is economical using actual costs and practical run times. Yeah, there will be investors who will make their fortunes, but only by skimming from the tax payer through negotiated subsidies that let’s the smart money get out before the shovels go in the ground.

    • “These efforts were supported by modest government subsidies, typically 1.5 cents for every kWh produced as above”

      Are you seriously claiming that priority access isn’t a subsidy, and that neither is the right to kill protected wildlife?

      • Of course wind energy has a subsidy, that is one legitimate purpose of government, to encourage an industry with tax breaks, subsidies, or market access. The nuclear power industry has enjoyed at least six forms of subsidy, as documented in my blog on Truth About Nuclear Power – Article 13. The coal power industry has enjoyed a decades-long subsidy in the form of exemptions from the Clean Air Act of 1973, and the revision to the CAA in 1990.

        None of this is deniable, it is all hard fact.

        Wind, along with a number of other power generating technologies, qualifies under the PURPA, Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. Under PURPA, electricity generated by several means is given priority, that is, the utility must take the power except under a few circumstances.

        However, nuclear and coal are also given priority under the fuel diversity requirements in Federal law. Would you consider those requirements a subsidy? Explain why or why not.

        The wildlife kills are greatly exaggerated, as even the Audubon has stated.

      • It’s very deniable, in fact it’s completely wrong. There are no nuclear subsidies, only a regulator with an antinuclear agenda.

        Can you describe one case where nuclear wasn’t unfairly disadvantaged?

      • …that is one legitimate purpose of government, to encourage an industry with tax breaks, subsidies, or market access.

        Not in my book it’s not. I realize that role now exists (lots of corruption in our system of lawmaking, marketplace favoritism, etc.) and the perverse role of federal government in our capitalist system has metastasized into the cancer we have presently. However, the purpose of all the commerce portions of the US Constitution were originally envisioned to ensure property rights, and a level, fair playing field between the states–nothing more. I admit this cancer started pretty quickly in US history, but it has taken on gargantuan proportions over the last couple of decades and will likely doom this country if not stopped. The role of government should be to legally enumerate property rights (for ALL citizens), put in place a legal system that protects these property rights vigorously, and ensure equal rules for everyone in the market place–no more, no less. Government bureaucrats should NOT be picking winners and losers. Every time they do, we all lose.

      • Roger Sowell

        May 30, 2016 at 6:47 pm

        The wildlife kills are greatly exaggerated, as even the Audubon has stated.

        A set of cameras on every wind turbine installation would prove that right or wrong, only problem is they won’t do that because it would prove that right, or wrong.

      • I love it when socialists declare that the subsidizing of their toys is one of the legitimate businesses of government.
        No Roger, when government picks winners and losers, the consumer always loses.

      • Of course wind energy has a subsidy, that is one legitimate purpose of government, to encourage an industry with tax breaks, subsidies, or market access. @Roger Sowell

        I might agree with market access, but the primary purpose of Government is to protect the people from coercive influences such as tax breaks for the select, subsidies for the privileged, or artificial barriers to market access.

    • wow- so much that WILL happen that hasn’t.
      “Block Island offshore Rhode Island, is installing” but hasn’t – so you should use the subjunctive tense.

      The four leading technologies for grid-scale energy storage are high-speed flywheels, pumped storage hydroelectric, advanced batteries, and rail gravity storage.

      high-speed flywheels” – oh yeah- wasn’t there a gofundme campaign for that? oh, no? didn’t think so.
      they didn’t do so well on automobiles either

      there is no gravity rail system that works – “The efficiency is high, at better than 80 percent.”
      except it isn’t because there isn’t anything except on paper – was that a greenpeace flyer?

      “Electricity is used to pump sea water out of the spheres during night-time excess electricity production.”
      except that it isn’t because there are none except in the land of fantasy – the map of which you are describing as if it were real – which it is not.

      ” Nuclear plants are shutting down due to the inability to compete in the wholesale electricity markets.”
      orly? because fantasylandia captured the market, right?

      when you’re hungry, do you eat a picture of tofu? is that the tao for you?

      faaa… it’s not even good fiction, this homeopathic energy crap

      • For gnomish,

        It is apparent you have not kept up. Block Island has already installed much of the equipment and has a startup planned for 4Q 2016.

        High Speed flywheels are already installed in several countries. You might inquire about the 400 MW flywheel in the UK (started up in 2006), and the 387 MW flywheel in Germany (1987 startup), and the two 20 MW each flywheels in the US (2011 and 2014 startup). Or you could be in denial over flywheels. There are many smaller ones, too.

        See above comment for the rail energy storage system, under construction at this time.

        Pumping water out of storage systems underwater is a long-honored practice in submarines, this is not new technology. Generating power as water flows into a lower-pressure chamber is also not a new technology. As in my earlier comment, there are zero technical hurdles to this, only obtaining permits and financial support.

        Nuclear plants are shutting down, not because of anything I eat (or don’t eat), but because by their own admission before regulatory boards, news reporters, and government entities, they cannot compete in the wholesale electricity markets. You could look it up. Or be a denier, your choice.

      • Roger Sowell;
        400 MW flywheel in the UK (started up in 2006)

        Well no link in this comment. Are you tired of getting pummeled when people actually follow your links and see what the numbers are?

        In this case, I presume you are talking about the 400 MW flywheel at JET?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_European_Torus

        If so, well folks, I have to report that this thing is real, and it works.
        For 22 seconds.
        Hands up everyone who thinks a 22 second run time is practical for the power grid.
        What? No hands?
        Oh wait…. there’s one.
        Your vote is noted Roger, you can put your hand down.

      • thanks davidhoffer.
        now i’m surprised roger didn’t mention the jigawatts of fusion energy from all the plans because plans are a very powerful source of energy- especially when they are fusion plans.
        why offshore plans, underwater plans, hillside railroad plans, batteries to rival the pyramids plans-
        scwha…
        malnourishing the zombies again…

    • For all of you that are sloppy liars, study how a really good liar like Roger does it.

      “Renewables already provide worthwhile power into a grid,….”

      You start with a carefully worded true statement. If a gas fired power plant is available to produce power at 5 cent per kwh, your 4 kw PV panels produced 20 cents of power at midday for an hour. That is assuming the marine layer had burned off, all the system components are working, and your roof faces the right direction.

      Yes, there is worth there. I am in favor of subsidies and modest portfolio standards because renewables would not get built. You learn by doing. We have learned that renewable is not worth very much, does not work very, and therefore has higher environmental that even coal.

      So after the initial true statement, Roger comes out with the whopper lie.

      “If a low-cost means to capture that wind energy could be found, and a means to store the energy then release it when needed, there would be no need to ever burn dirty coal or build dangerous nuclear plants again.”

      If we violate the laws of physics it will still be very expensive. Coal plants are not dirty as measured by air quality and nuke plants in the US are safe as measured by no one being hurt.

      “Which brings us to today, where almost all of the requirements are in place. ”

      Roger tells a wonderful story. I would love to believe it. Wow an 8 MWe wind turbine, cool. What is the mean time to failure?

      Of course not as cool a 600 MWe turbine at a nuke plant that is being shutdown or the 1600 MWe turbines that are being built.

      “Batteries are in use ….”

      Yes, in my motorhome, 1 kw. I want to see how big the batteries will be that replace a nuke plant.

      “Nuclear power plants simply cannot compete with low-price natural gas.”

      Of course, slightly higher priced natural gas CCGT can not compete with either coal or nuclear.

      • Yep, you can always trust good ol’ Roger to put his lawyer skills to good effect in fabricating arguments against nuclear power and for renewables.

        Too bad the physical world is not a courtroom with a jury to pass judgement – only nature can adjudicate physics and engineering and poor ol’ Roger is doomed to be flat out wrong.

      • Ah, here is Retired Kit P, again making statements that are well, shall we say “amusing.”

        Renewables do indeed provide worthwhile power into a grid, as several states in the US enjoy not only substantial wind energy, but also low electricity prices. Iowa is but one case in point. There are others.

        There are no violations of the laws of physics with renewables, as adequately demonstrated on a daily basis in California. Here, we have six forms of renewables that provide energy on a daily basis: wind, solar (PV and thermal), bio-gas, bio-mass, geothermal, and small hydroelectric. If any laws of physics were violated, there would be no electricity flowing from the offender. Clearly, you grasp at straws to make an argument.

        You say that coal plants are not dirty, yet they are shutting down in record numbers rather than install pollution abatement equipment. If they are so clean, why the shutdowns? No answer, as one would expect.

        If nuclear plants are “safe as measured by no one being hurt,” to use your words, why then are there so many incidents of radiation-associated cancers and other diseases among the populace that live, or have lived, near nuclear plants? Here are some facts for you:

        –Cancer rates near Sacramento, CA decreased significantly after the Rancho Seco nuclear plant was shut down.

        –Medics from Fukushima Medical University tested children’s thyroid glands because they are very sensitive to such chemicals as iodine. Thyroid cancer among children is very rare, but 72 children with suspected thyroid cancer have already been identified.

        –the US NRC has cancelled a study that would have determined, then published, the statistics on greater-than-normal incidences of diseases among persons, especially children, living within close distances of nuclear power plants. The technology and data is available for the study, but NRC chose not to allocate funding to the study.

        You don’t have to believe what I write. Just sit and watch. The nuclear plants are shutting down. The coal plants are shutting down. The wind turbines are being built in record numbers and providing substantial portions of the US electricity. In late 2015, wind power produced as much electricity in the US as hydroelectric did. As the number of wind turbines increases, wind power will exceed hydroelectric power in absolute MWh delivered.

        Yes, batteries are already in use. The energy storage database reports more than 500 installations worldwide with 37 and 40 MW batteries at the upper end of sizes. Please don’t install one of those in your “motorhome.”

        As in my above comment, the nuclear plants are shutting down because they just cannot compete, as stated by their own officials in public statements to various media and agencies.

      • For analytik, stating “only nature can adjudicate physics and engineering and poor ol’ Roger is doomed to be flat out wrong.”

        You are somewhat correct about physics and engineering, but you forgot to add economics and government policy. I may be wrong, and will be the first to admit when I am. However, it is a solid fact that coal is in shorter supply in the US than most people would believe, and the coal power industry’s long run of exemptions from reducing pollution is now over. They are closing down in record numbers. That is a matter of engineering, economics, and government policy. If there were a way to keep the coal power plants running, those owners would be running the plants. There isn’t so they don’t.

        If nuclear power designers had a safer, cheaper way to build and operate nuclear power plants, they would bring them forth. They don’t, so they have not. The looming fiasco in the UK at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is evidence of the best the nuclear industry can do. It is not only costly in absolute dollars (or pounds or euros or whatever they spend), it is in the running for the most costly on a MWh delivered basis, too. Once the inevitable cost over-runs and delays occur, it will be the leader by a wide margin in costly power.

      • Roger:

        “You are somewhat correct about physics and engineering, but you forgot to add economics and government policy. I may be wrong, and will be the first to admit when I am. However, it is a solid fact that coal is in shorter supply in the US than most people would believe, and the coal power industry’s long run of exemptions from reducing pollution is now over. They are closing down in record numbers. That is a matter of engineering, economics, and government policy. If there were a way to keep the coal power plants running, those owners would be running the plants. There isn’t so they don’t. ”

        This paragraph is confused.

        Coal power is all about economics.
        Coal power is all about physics.
        Coal power is being destroyed as an active government policy in the sense that the EPA is doing it on behalf of a portion of the government, opposed by another portion.

        Coal is not ins short supply anywhere in the world. It is energy-dense and easily transported from surfeit to shortage regions.

        The coal power industry has been given onerous burdens of pollution regulation. They are not ‘exempt’. They were in fact the primary target of regulations. The regulations where not put they for ‘others’ and coal power plats just happened to be covered, so they needed exemptions. An example of an industry with exemptions for environmental damage from day 1 is wind power and their exemption from penalties for killing rare and endangered species.

        Coal-fires power plants are closing down because the risk of being hit by stupid and excessive regulation is so great, that there is no one willing to take the risk any more. Some are being converted to natural gas plants. Others are just closing down at their scheduled end of service life. Each one taken off the grid makes the grid less stable and less reliable. Power imported from large hydro schemes in Canada is taking up some of the slack, but ‘greens’ will oppose building more of them on the basis that they are not ‘renewable’ sources of energy. Micro-hydro is, but big hydro like Niagara Falls is not. Too bad my father wasted his time building it. I thought it was working pretty well for the past 60 years.

        I challenge your notion that coal is ‘dirty’. Maybe you are thinking of coal mining in the 1940’s.

        I challenge your notion that nuclear power plants are unsafe and ‘kill people’. Your story about ‘clusters of deaths and cancers’ aligns with the stories: ‘my cell phone gave me brain cancer’ and ‘high voltage power lines caused a case of leukemia in a child in Sweden.’

        Do you believe that there is only one type of nuclear reactor to they are all = bad? If you are so wrong about coal I think you might be as wrong about nuclear power, something we in Ontario understand very well.

      • Roger Sowell;
        The energy storage database reports more than 500 installations worldwide with 37 and 40 MW batteries at the upper end

        What? Another claim with no link? Repeat of the 22 second fly wheel?

        Well, there is such a database, and there are 40 MW batteries

        http://www.energystorageexchange.org/projects

        What Roger forgot in his comment was to note that the vast majority of these are used for grid stabilization, not grid storage (they are rather different animals). If unstable wind and solar weren’t being injected into the grid, most of these would never have been built. So he’s talking up a use case which would for the most part not exist except to paper over the short comings of the wind and solar he advocates for.

        And the run time of these massive batteries? 7 to 15 minutes. LOL

      • Roger Sowell;
        You don’t have to believe what I write.

        There’s the thing Roger. Nearly every time I check into the things that you write, I find d*mn good reason not to.

      • “72 children with suspected thyroid cancer have already been identified”

        Compared to what number?

        Oh no, there is no known normal background number.

        As usual, your argument amounts to nothing.

      • Any 8 years old kid with a access to the WWW would be able to debunk myths such as “Chernobyl” (the Lenin plant accident) caused a spike of thyroid cancer in France, as most contamination was the East border (clearly seen in Cs radiation maps) and thyroid cancer cases are mostly on the West. Any false colors maps will do.

        For the radon scare in Bretagne, the colors on the card tell the same story: does not compute.

        Nothing matches. Nothing computes. It’s all wrong. It’s clearly wrong.

        Nothing here demands high academic training. No need to understand statistics or p-values. (It’s probably best to not be trained with those as most people vaguely trained with p-values express extreme gullibility, stupidity, or plain mental illness, when presented with contradicting facts, as most vaccine hysterical defenders.) (Does anyone here knows how many teachers in academia understand statistics?)

        To be educated about the horrible, horrible, side effects of Chernobyl on integrity, just read the “proofs” of the “disaster” in Western Europe: no decrease (no increase either) in child mortality! (just like before 1986) That’s the “awful” stuff they got: nothing, literally.

        And yet these guys are taken seriously by the mainstream media.

        And see how BEIR, American Cancer Society and the CDC are taken seriously and Cohen was attacked by “settled” academics!

        I feel like many academics are deranged, or escaped from an asylum, or something.

    • So sayeth ….. Roger Sowell – May 30, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Over the next few years, most of the nuclear power plants in the US will shut down due to unprofitable operations.

      Roger, does that include the “most-of” several hundred nuclear power plants (generators) that are currently being operated by the US Military?

      Which will it be, ….. wind or solar, …… that replaces all those dastardly dangerous nuke generators?

  19. The white smoke (sorry, condensed water vapor) emanating from the left tower is united in the higher atmosphere with the white smoke (sorry, condensed water vapor) emanating from the right tower. Look again and wait, something will happen.

  20. Several insane public policies derive from the acceptance by the ruling clique of the pseudo-scientific claim that dangerous greenhouse warming is on the way. Among them is the belief that they can “mitigate” this coming disaster simply by lowering carbon dioxide production, at whatever cost.

    Some of these crazies have gone so far as to demand a complete stoppage of burning fossil fuels. James Hansen himself has publicly advocated it. He would like to see this, and he was the boss of NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS). If you check how he got to such high position you find political influence of senator Tim Wirth behind it. The phobia of such people to fossil fuels also includes a phobia to nuclear energy, the only conceivable replacement for energy lost by a no fossil fuels economy.

    When I speak of a pseudo-scientific claims I mean deceptive use of scientific language to convince you of wrong ideas. It is practiced by members of a global warming movement associated with the UN and their academic allies who control the scientific establishment . They are part of the ruling clique along with their political allies who craft the irrational laws based on the Copenhagen and Paris conference reports. The validity of all such mitigation projects costing billions as well as manipulation of electricity supplies all rests on the belief that the pseudo-scientific future caused by the greenhouse effect is true. But it is FALSE, not TRUE, as we shall see below.

    First we take a look at a commonly available NOAA global temperature graph from the eighties till now. It shows the existence of a thirty year warming period that extends from 1910 to 1940. The extended Keeling curve for it shows that there was no corresponding increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide for this period.This would be required if it were a greenhouse warming. In addition, it is followed by a severe cold spell that inaugurates World War II.

    It is impossible to stop any greenhouse warming without removing every absorbing carbon dioxide molecule from the air. The fact that this thirty year warming was followed by a cooling proves that it could not possibly have been a greenhouse warming. That takes care of a third of the twentieth century. There is no particular reason to think that this warming was unique because other similar situations exist. This is sufficient to deny the validity of the claim that a dangerous greenhouse warming is on the way. With that, all mitigation projects intended to stop this alleged greenhouse effect are proven FALSE, and they all must be defunded as a waste of public resources.

  21. Wow! They are subsidizing Wind and Solar, but not Nuclear? It is a no brainier that this money should go to Nuclear Power. Nuclear trumps wind and solar in every way. How about nuclear power for 24 and 7 days a week compared to wind and solar. Hey no CO2 – whatever that means. I would cancel the money going into wind and solar and put it into keeping the nuclear plants running, or even building new ones with up-to-date technology.
    As Forrest Gump said: “Stupid is what stupid does”.

    • J Philip

      Up to date technology? Whatever for! Nukes are supposed to be inherently unsafe and dangerous, so let’s give them what they ask for: some copies of Chernobyl.

      Most people have no idea where their power comes from.

      There is a large gas turbine power station at the waterfront in San Francisco built by Bechtel. It is very cleverly hidden and most SF’ers don’t even know it is there, ‘spewing CO2’ all over the downtown area.

  22. Nuclear plants are not uneconomical when the are operated as they were intended – running as base load generators and at (or above) capacity. But when grid operators are required to accept wind and solar whenever it is available, then nuclear plant power is not being bought and the plants income drops below operating expenses,since they cannot be ramped down and up quickly to save fuel, and fuel costs are almost insignificant for a nuclear plant anyway, so saving fuel, even if possible, would have no ability to reduce operating costs significantly. That is the situation anywhere that large amounts of solar or wind power rob nuclear plants of sales. But,of course, the nuclear plant owners have a trump card – they can shut down the nuclear plants and remove the reliable power that wind and solar can’t live without, leading to fossil fuel plants as a substitute for the departed nuclear plants. Nuclear plants can produce power more cheaply than just about any technology, but to do so the plants have to operate at their designed capacities, which are the highest of any power plants, often at or above 100%

    • Exactly, just add that large amounts of solar and wind rob every conventional power producer and increase ALL electricity prices. California electricity is actual quite expensive and going up. (Just make sure you include 2nd and third tier prices and the low usage that gets you into those levels)

  23. New Scientist comes clean on clean energy – at least this time…

    Why cheap green energy could derail the renewable revolution

    New ideas needed
    We can’t keep subsidising forever. The UK is already slashing subsidies because they cost so much – and wind and solar only supply around 3 per cent of the country’s energy. Globally, it’s 1 per cent. It would be exorbitantly expensive to keep subsidising as that figure rises, says Varun Sivaram at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank based in Washington DC.

    See the whole article at
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2088303-why-cheap-green-energy-could-derail-the-renewable-revolution/

    It is not cheaper if it has to be subsidised and you need nukes to keep the lights on.

  24. The clean power plan lb CO2/MWh targets are heavily slanted towards crippling any coal generation, 1,350 lbCO2 /MWh, impossible without CCS. Natural gas steam, 1,100 lb CO2/MWh, and NG CCPP, 700 lb CO2/MWh, were basically unaffected. Most CCPP would have credits to trade. Existing hydro was not included in calculating the targets, only new hydro. However, the states can include all fossil generation within its jurisdiction in figuring its various lb CO2/ MWh targets. Could be any combination of fuel switching, CCPP, retirements, dispatching, etc.

    Environmental Protection Agency
    40 CFR Part 60
    Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources:
    Electric Utility Generating Units; Final Rule

    pg 58/304

    “The principal changes are the exclusion from the BSER of emission reductions achievable through demand-side EE and through nuclear generation;…..”

    So both nuclear and hydro prior to 2012 don’t count in figuring the state’s lb CO2/MWh standards.

    The anti-coal agenda is pretty obvious. Not exactly equal treatment under the law.

    And what is CPP supposed to accomplish? A 32% reduction in CO2 output from US power generation (not just coal). The US is responsible for about 16% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 output (anthro CO2 is 2/3rd fossil fuel and 1/3rd land use changes). Power generation represents about 31% of US CO2 production. Therefore – 16% * 31% * 32% = 1.6%. CPP will reduce the global anthropogenic CO2 output by 1.6%. China and India will cancel that out with their next dozen coal fired power plants.

  25. We talk about creeping socialism on the back of the “green”movement but this is starting to look like a build up into rampart communism. Esp the description of the UK debacle.

    Take note who runs the means of production, not who nominally owns them!

    Roger

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

  26. I am back from my evening sail. Had to motor back, dead calm on the Columbia River. No wind but a beautiful sunset as the colors reflect off the water.

    I am for all means of making electricity. It the false arguments that I am against. The wind may always be blowing someplace but I have gasoline engine on my boat because if the wind is not blowing where I am.

    One of the debating tactics is to make a long list to be refuted.

    “substantial wind energy, but also low electricity prices. ”

    The PNW is one of those places. Long before the first wind farms we had lots of hydro, two big coal plants, one large nuke, natural gas, and a bunch of cogens. We have low electric rates and wind did not ruin that. We are doing a good job of ripping off California and US taxpayers.

    Making electricity is a public service. If people want wind, let them pay for it.

    Another tactic is of asking questions. “If they are so clean, why the shutdowns? ”

    Gosh Roger, if the air quality is good, they are not shutting down because they are dirty.

    “Here are some facts for you:”

    Apparently Roger does not know the difference between lies.

    “Cancer rates near Sacramento, CA decreased significantly after the Rancho Seco nuclear plant was shut down.”

    I worked at Rancho Seco and responsible for systems to prevent exposing people to radiation. If there there was a change in cancer rates it had nothing to do with the nuke plant.

    “Medics from Fukushima Medical University tested children’s thyroid glands because they are very sensitive to such chemicals as iodine. ”

    Yes, and no exposure to I-131 was found.

    I said no was hurt and Roger counters with dubious ‘facts’.

  27. Please don’t anyone give Amber Rudd a free pass. She is the one who plans to shut all coal-fired power stations by 2025 at the latest without having any kind of plan in place to make up for the hole in the market.

    This is the Amber Rudd who is a strong supporter of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, designed so as to shut down much of the UK’s remaining industry. Oh, and the Amber Rudd who has come out with such hysterical gems as her claim that energy prices for consumers would “rocket” if the UK voted to leave the EU. This stuff is not surprising given that her brother is an active campaigner for the UK to remain. Such sisterly loyalty.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/03/listen-justin-webb-takes-amber-rudd-to-task-on-today-over-her-plague-of-frogs-brexit-claims/

    The only reason why she is not the worst Secretary of State for Energy etc. since Ed Milliband is that in between the two we had convicted criminal and proven liar Chris Huhne. Come to think of it, there is actually little to choose between Milliband, Huhne, Ed Davey and Rudd, except, of course, that Huhne served time for perverting the course of justice which makes him leader in the corruption stakes.

  28. The green utopians with the willing support of politicians and a compliant press sold the idea of a social cost of carbon. Every AP news story now expresses that neatly with the words “dirty” or “carbon polluting”.

    No mention is made about the compensating “value” of an electric grid that responds to instantaneous demand 99.99% of the time.

  29. Source……………Share…..GWh…..lb/CO2/MWh……lb/CO2
    Coal…………………40%……..800…………..2,200……..1,760,000
    NG Steam……..…..15%……..300…………..1,100………..330,000
    NG CCPP………….10%……..200 …………….650…………130,000
    NG Brayton………..10%……..200…………..1,100………..220,000
    Hydro………………10%……..200………………0…………………0
    Nuclear……………15%……..300………………0…………………0
    Total………………100%…..2,000…………………………..2,440,000
    Fossil Only, lb/CO2/MWh…………………..1,627
    All Generation, lb/CO2/MWh..……………..1,220

    This table is for illustration purposes only. Every state must go through this exercise for the utility (not private who will tell EPA to KMA) power generation under their jurisdiction and prepare a plan for meeting the interim and 2030 standards of performance.

    Considering only fossil fuels the existing model produces about 1,627 lb CO2/MWH. This certainly exceeds the EPA’s 2030 standards and requires plans and actions by the state and utility power generators.

    Including hydro and nuclear this model is below the EPA’s 2030 standards and requires no action on the part of the state or utility power generators. Not the intended result.

    Some argue that the US should set an example for the world. Some example: irresponsible, inefficient use of resources and increasing electric rates for the poor and fixed income while achieving a pretty much meaningless goal.

    Seems to me the historical track record of centralized economic planning by assorted communist/socialist systems have proven abysmal failures. Why is another example needed?

  30. The anti-nuke, anti-coal pro-“renewable” clan do have a knack for loudly proclaiming what amounts to propaganda, with plenty of partial-truths, and lots of red herrings. The plain truth about so-called renewables is that they provide little energy which is actually useful, requiring base load power to be ramped down or off, which is expensive. The ugly truth about “renewables” is that they do way more harm than good, in addition to being costly. But Believers just blithely go on believing the positive lies about them, and the negative lies about nuclear and coal power. The truth is that without the completely bogus “carbon” scare, “renewables” would hardly be talked about, much less used.

    • Unfortunately this is what happens when one starts feeding subsidy farms. Before very long nobody knows the true cost of anything. Roger quotes his factoids, someone else quotes their (anti) factoids. Truth to be told though … Nobody has any idea what anything ‘costs’. It’s called ‘socialism’. Rob ‘Peter’ to pay ‘Paul’. We know how it all ends … Collapse (of eg The USSR).

      To fish around and quote von Mises and those who have promoted his work …

      If it [Government] does not want to admit defeat [in the production of eg Milk] and to abstain from any meddling with prices, it must push further and fix the prices of those factors of production which are needed for the production of the factors necessary for the production of [milk]. Thus the government is forced to go further and further, fixing step by step the prices of all consumers’ goods and of all factors of production-both human, i.e., labor, and material – and to order every entrepreneur and every worker to continue work at these prices and wages.

      The twentieth century has witnessed the beginning, development, and end of the most tragic experiment in human history: Socialism. The experiment resulted in tremendous human losses, destruction of potentially rich economies, and colossal ecological disasters. The experiment has ended, but the devastation will affect the lives and health of generations to come.

      A Socialist management of production would simply not know whether or not what it plans and executes is the most appropriate means to attain the ends sought. It will operate in the dark, as it were. It will squander the scarce factors of production both material and human (labour). Chaos and poverty for all will unavoidably result.

      Most of this was written, or derived from writings of the 1920’s … Sounds more than a bit familiar now though? I, for one, cannot believe that people born after the collapse of Communism are now attempting to try it again. fzkin Idiots.

    • “…requiring base load power to be ramped down or off, which is expensive.”

      Not true Bruce. You may want to post on subjects that you do not get your information from the internet.

      • Oh dear. You disagree, and therefore I must just “get my information from the internet”.
        Logic indeed.

  31. How can any sanity be restored when the inmates have completely taken over the asylum?

    • @ J. Keith Johnson …
      How can any sanity be restored when the inmates have completely taken over the asylum?

      In a ‘democratic’ system, a mess created by either too much ‘left’ or too much ‘right’ can be counter balanced quite quickly.

      I would consider (not being a US voter) DT as being a sign of the times in that respect. A prolonged period of ‘leftism’ must lead to a sharp move to the ‘right’. It’s a requirement of a Democracy.

      • 3×2 you are undoubtedly correct. However, a knee-jerk reaction by the voters typically does not result in a solution that is workable in the long term. If my memory serves me correctly, this is what the German voters did in 1933.

  32. Nuclear plants and cancer?

    “Nope. There’s No Thyroid Cancer Epidemic in Fukushima…The Tsuda study’s conclusions are the product of bad methodology, flawed reasoning and egregious obfuscation of evidence….Hayashida’s uncontaminated control group had a somewhat higher thyroid cancer incidence rate than did Fukushima kids.”

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/nuclear/nopetheres-no-thyroid-cancer-epidemic-in-fukushima

    California has only one nuclear plant yet CALIFORNIA HAS HIGHER NUMBER OF THYROID CANCER CASES THAN NATIONAL AVERAGE

    http://abc7.com/health/california-sees-high-number-of-thyroid-cancer-cases/1159674/

    Cancer incidence in California is 3x higher than in Ukraine where the Chernobyl nuclear disaster took place
    (398 vs. 132 per 100,000)

    http://www.cancer-rates.info/ca/
    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/country-health-profile/ukraine

    • The US has about 110 operating nuclear generating units. What did the study say about those? Coincidence isn’t cause.

    • Dr S, can I bust your chops?

      The bad actor for nuclear power plants is I-131 because children are very sensitive. The evil empire proved that at Chernobyl.

      So looking at adult thyroid cancer rates is incorrect.

      Fortunately, it is easy to protect children because of the chemical nature Iodine and the short half life of I-131.

      Ironically, the treatment for thyroid cancer is a large dose of I-31 to kill the cancer.

    • Does it make any difference that the Ukraine was largely upwind at the time of the disaster?

    • What about Nagasaki & Hiroshima? They sure turned into barren, apocalyptic, death zones. NOT!

  33. Build Roger Sowell an all electric car that is covered in high tech solar panels to power it, complete with flywheel, windmill on top and pumped water balls plus halogenated polyacetylene batteries and he’ll beat a path to your door. Just that he’ll want his Gummint to provide a fossil fuelled cab at night at his beck and call when the wind don’t blow and the headlights don’t glow. Roger explains to the surly, ingrate cabby why he must work long hours and pay more taxes because he’s not clean and Green like Roger.

  34. Logic would support nuclear power. Rhetoric would oppose it. The outcome is foreseeable as soon as it is determined whether logic or rhetoric will determine policy.

  35. “They are different. According to Leo Smith above, new land based plants can be built to cycle quickly. How they actually do it is beyond my pay grade. :-)”

    It was my pay grade.

    Light water (moderated) reactors (LWR) have a negative temperature coefficient because the density of water changes with temperature. This means that increasing steam demand cools the reactor causing the reactor to increase power to match demand. Decreasing demand is the opposite. This is just reactor physics.

    The navy used pressurized LWR. In my day, a throttleman would open the throttle valves with the ability to go from all stop to ahead full to back emergency very fast. The reactor operator just watched power change.

    Most (all?) modern commercial reactors use LWR that are either pressurized (PWR) or allow water to boil (BRW) in the core to directly make steam.

    Commercial PWRs use boric acid and control rods to control power by absorbing neutrons. To load follow, control rods are shimmed and the concentration of boric acid in the coolant is changed. I was the design and system engineer for this system. Load following was not the limiting design factor.

    BWRs have an additional term in reactor physics called the void coefficient. Since water boils directly in the the bubbles or voids reduce the ability of the water to act as a moderator (slow down neutrons) . Control rods are used to compensate for fuel burn up. To ramp up power, reactor recirculation flow is increased to sweep more bubbles out of the core. I was also the design and system engineer for this system but that was 20 years ago. Load following was not the limiting design factor.

    The ability to ramp up power is a function of core design. For a given fuel assemble configuration, reactor engineers tell how fast we can increase power.

    For all those worried about power matching demand on the US grid, stop worrying. We do it everyday 24/7.

  36. “They are different. According to Leo Smith above, new land based plants can be built to cycle quickly. How they actually do it is beyond my pay grade. :-)”

    It was my pay grade.

    Light water (moderated) reactors (LWR) have a negative temperature coefficient because the density of water changes with temperature. This means that increasing steam demand cools the reactor causing the reactor to increase power to match demand. Decreasing demand is the opposite. This is just reactor physics.

    The navy used pressurized LWR. In my day, a throttleman would open the throttle valves with the ability to go from all stop to ahead full to back emergency very fast. The reactor operator just watched power change.

    See next post

    • Commercial PWRs use boric acid and control rods to control power by absorbing neutrons. To load follow, control rods are shimmed and the concentration of boric acid in the coolant is changed. I was the design and system engineer for this system. Load following was not the limiting design factor.

      BWRs have an additional term in reactor physics called the void coefficient. Since water boils directly in the the bubbles or voids reduce the ability of the water to act as a moderator (slow down neutrons) . Control rods are used to compensate for fuel burn up. To ramp up power, reactor recirculation flow is increased to sweep more bubbles out of the core. I was also the design and system engineer for this system but that was 20 years ago. Load following was not the limiting design factor.

      The ability to ramp up power is a function of core design. For a given fuel assemble configuration, reactor engineers tell how fast we can increase power.

      For all those worried about power matching demand on the US grid, stop worrying. We do it everyday 24/7.

    • Kit, remember that the naval reactor operator has lots of seawater to discharge the excess heat into when load is dropped from the reactor, until it actually reduces it’s heat output. That is money spent on cooling water circulation and extra heat into the cooling lake or towers, as the case may be in the private sector.

      • Pop, remember that navy ships operate at low power away from people. Stationary power plants operate at high power and have lots of people around.

        Admiral Rickover developed LWR to fit in the hull of a submarine. Commercial LWR are small enough to fit inside a containment building. Expensive but that is how we protect human life.

  37. “Oh dear. You disagree, and therefore I must just “get my information from the internet”.
    Logic indeed.”

    So Bruce where do you get your wrong information from? It is certainly not experience running a power plant.

    • THere you go again, Kit, with your total Logic Fail, by using your Argument from Authority gambit.

      • If you are an authority it is not a gambit. Bruce did not answer the question, where did hid information? Bruce thinks he is right because he said so.

  38. ”…. the pools are elevated …”
    @pop
    Only on some older BWR and it is not a problem.

    “and need constant circulation to prevent overheating and ignition of the spent fuel.”

    Ridiculous! Spent fuel pools can go days without circulation and even then water can be added with a fire truck.

    “Folks I still know in the industry tell me that’s the most likely source of a large radiation excursion.”

    Who? I know some in the anti-nuke industry who make a living fear mongering.

    “It’s what they are most concerned at Fukushima as another blow to the pool systems before the rods are moved to safer storage could cause an unquenchable fire and the largest excursion in history. Just talk I hear from folks I used to work with at Illinois Power Co.”

    What did your friends do at nuke plants, sweep floors? Lots of clueless like to impress friends with BS they read on the internet. They did not read the FSAR which explains the safety features.

    I have lots of plant and design experience with spent fuel pools. I many of the responses to NRC request for additional information (RAI). These become public record. I get the sense that somer asking the questions at the NRC have never seen a spent fuel pool. It has cost the industry lots of money.

    Let me try common sense approach. If an earthquake damages a spent fuel pool radiation will not kill anyone. The will already be dead buried in the rubble of building that are not designed to the criteria of the spent fuel building.

    Chicken little has never been right. The mother of all earthquakes hit Japan. About 20k died but no spent fuel pools failed to keep the fuel cooled.

    • Retired Kit P

      “and need constant circulation to prevent overheating and ignition of the spent fuel.”

      Ridiculous! Spent fuel pools can go days without circulation and even then water can be added with a fire truck.

      Funny you mentioned that. After many pages of calculations estimating exactly how far down a spent fuel pool would go at certain atmospheric conditions and pressures and temperatures before damage would occur based on the given fuel mix, fuel history core power history and initial water temperatures…. My final answer to the problem on my PE exam was exactly that; “But, before it gets to level 12.345 feet ABL, refill the fuel pool from a fire truck.”

  39. “Been to China lately?”

    Yes, and there was a 5000 MWe coal plant two miles down the road from the nuke plants being built. It had modern pollution controls and air quality was good.

    The problem with air quality which is exaggerated by the press (who knew) is caused by the abundance of old POS cars and motorcycles, and home heating with coal.

    MarkW is fast to call folks trolls based on his vast experience reading the internet and a total lack of skepticism when it suits his agenda.

    • Retired Kit P wrote: “The problem with air quality which is exaggerated by the press (who knew) is caused by the abundance of old POS cars and motorcycles, and home heating with coal.”

      That makes sense. Los Angeles, back in the 1970’s used to look a lot like China does today, and that wasn’t caused by coal-fired powerplants.

  40. “said the NRC during the Fukushima Daiichi accident.”

    S-T let me clear this up. First, the US NRC does not regulate Japan. Second, it was not the NRC is was an anti-nuke political appointee to the as head NRC commissioner by Obama. His conduct was irresponsible and international fearmongering.

    The policies concerning spent fuel storage of that commissioner, Obama, DOE, and the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have reject by Federal Courts with a strong rebuke that the president is not above the law.

    • It was the NRC, not a director, that estimated that a least some SFP were empty, when the people at Fukushima Daiichi were telling them there was no urgent SFP problem. It was the NRC, not a director, gave the 50 miles exclusion zone advice (now widely cited by antinuc propagandists) to US citizen living in Japan.

      The antinuc loons obtained (via FOIA) the transcript of the NRC discussions. The guys seem particularly clueless. (There was an admiral in that group of people in charge of crisis management.)

      What does it tell us about the leadership of the US, including its military?

      • S-T

        That is not how I remember it and I was watching it very closely, so if you you can provide some links I would look at them.

        As far as the navy is concerned, I had my fair share of shouting matches with the brass. Never lost one either but it helps to be right. I once put a spanner wrench in my back pocket. I had picked it up to knock out a senior officer who pulled rank but thought better of it and put it in my back pocket. At the critique, I dropped the wrench on the table in front of the other officer. The captain did not say a thing.

        When my concerns was finally accepted, it was oh sh*t we got to fix this. Dissent is an important part of American society especially in nuclear power.

        That was in the nuclear navy, the rest of the navy is as clueless as those in general society about nuclear power. The nuclear navy is clueless about BWRs and the NRC needs lots of education because the NRC has no practical experience at BWRs.

        There are two ways for elevated BWR spent fuels to lose all the water. It can boil off but it takes days and the steam plume would be hard to miss. Second, it could structurally fail at the bottom. Flooding of lower levels would be impossible to miss.

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