Scientific American: “Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030”

Guest “just a bit outside” by David Middleton

When I saw this headline on RealClearEnergy, I thought it might be an article by Ted Nordhaus or Michael Schellenberger… But it went in a whole other direction…

Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030
Originally published in May 1967

June 22, 2020

“By the year 2030 the electric power requirement will be 10 times the present capacity. Because of the expected decline in fossil-fuel resources, and in the absence of any other large source of energy at reasonable cost, fission power would be counted on to supply about 85 percent of this need.

[…]

Scientific American, May 1967

More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our anniversary archive page.

Scientific American

Just a bit outside!

“Because of the expected decline in fossil-fuel resources, and in the absence of any other large source of energy at reasonable cost”… Half right. The only large source of energy at reasonable cost, apart from fossil-fuel resources is nuclear power. Regarding the “fossil-fuel resources”…

BP 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy

According to BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy the reserves to production ratios (R/P) for fossil fuels are:

Reserves ConsumptionR/P Ratio (yrs)
Oil (billion barrels)         1,734                 35                   50
Gas (trillion cubic feet)         7,019               141                   50
Coal (million tonnes)  1,069,636            8,099                 132

At our current consumption rate, the current reserves of oil, natural gas and coal would last 50, 50 and 132 years respectively. And reserves are just a fraction of the total resources.

“Because of the expected decline in fossil-fuel resources“… Mr. Data is laughing his @$$ off.

I think we can park the “expected decline in fossil-fuel resources” next to the flying car.

150 thoughts on “Scientific American: “Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030”

  1. “Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030
    Originally published in May 1967. “By the year 2030 the electric power requirement will be 10 times the present capacity. Because of the expected decline in fossil-fuel resources, and in the absence of any other large source of energy at reasonable cost, fission power would be counted on to supply about 85 percent of this need”

    Yes sir
    Back to the ’60s again

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/03/23/anti-fossil-fuel-activism-disguised-as-climate-science/

    Also this

    https://youtu.be/uHD4kGY7tbs

  2. Hey, they have 9 1/2 more years. Could happen.
    Sorta like catastrophic SLR claims, that pretty steep ramp function needs to start soon though.

    • Nah, couldn’t happen. It would take at least 10 years to go through all the regulatory hurdles and fight the lawsuits from native bands and environmentalists before they even start construction of the first one.

      • I agree – the same marching brooms that are trying to destroy any kind of cheap power – but particularly fossil fuels – all originally got started banning Nukes. It a constant state of sabotage – no way it would be allowed to happen.

  3. Being now at 2020.5, I don’t think a new nuclear facility – at least in the USA, can be proposed, financed, permitted, and built before the end of 2030.

    Back in 1967 I thought of Scientific American as a good magazine. The September issues were usually focused.
    Plate tectonics was being introduced by Isacks, Oliver, Sykes, and others. Specialists journals had the research papers, but Scientific American made the information widely available.
    I don’t remember the “Nuclear Power” article and would have considered the time-frame as far in the future. Thus, not too serious.

    Things got worse, and about 10 years ago we did not renew.

    • John F. Hultquist, also add to your list of time-line issues “fighting off stop work orders given by judges aligned with looney causes”! There will not be any major nuclear (or fossil fuel) facility being constructed from now until 2030 that doesn’t get hit repeatedly with bogus orders from certain activist judges. The only help I can envision is a plunge into a Little Ice Age, wait for it.

    • Flying cars exist today. They just carry more people. We call them aeroplanes for short!

      I’d rather 3 -4 highly skilled people driving that “sky car” for 400 – 600 people than 400- 600 people flying a “sky car” for themselves.

      • You clearly don’t get the whole flying car concept. It really took hold in the late ’30s thru ’40s, when training as pilots was quite prevalent. After WW11 there were literally 1000’s of pilots, mechanics and engineers flooding not only America but every other country. The rapid advances in aviation during that time was hard to resist. Yet the economic retractions and mass destruction of aircraft and other equipment coupled with the demob of all those trained personnel kinda killed the “flying car” in its cradle.

        • I do understand the concept however, given more people die in road crashes than heart attacks etc, I don’t want to see the concept realised. One example would be running out of fuel. In a ground based car, you don’t fall out of the sky when you run out of fuel. I am pretty sure re-fuelling in air would not be an option.

  4. Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030“.
    By the year 2030 the electric power requirement will be 10 times the present capacity.“.
    Well, there’s a disconnect if ever there was one. Oil is very rarely used for electric power.

  5. Scientific American: “Nuclear Power Will Replace Oil By 2030

    The statement does not understand electricity generation. When electricity demand increases (Especially night & morning) A turbine has to work harder. It requires more say water or steam pressure to be applied to keep the turbine rotating at a constant speed as required by law to produce an exact 50/60Hz energy as required by law. This variation, controlling, ramping up and down is a continuous operation 24/7

    By comparison a nuclear plant is either on or off. They cannot be ramped up and down. They are on the whole time and hydro or coal fired do the ramping up and down. Nuclear therefore is at the very bottom of base load.

    Wind turbines of course are a hoax and produce nothing except useless harmonics. Not synchronous and cannot be controlled.
    PV solar not much better. Not scalable. Not synchronous and cannot be controlled.

    • “By comparison a nuclear plant is either on or off.”

      Ahem … No. It doesn’t do fine load control. But like a large coal fired plant its output can be modulated. It can run at less than 100% And while it’s overall costs are fairly high, it’s fuel cost are quite low. It’s perfectly OK economically to simply discard part of the power output or to use the power for some inefficient process just to get rid of it.

      “Wind turbines … Not synchronous and cannot be controlled.”

      They are bursty and therefore require big (and expensive) buffers like Elon Musk’s overhyped battery in Australia if one puts too many of them on the grid. But with a suitable buffer, they don’t need to be synchronous. A bigger problem is that on a longer time scale than minutes, they aren’t very reliable and therefore require either infinite battery backup or 100% backup from more reliable sources like hydro, fossil fuels, and/or nuclear.

      “PV solar not much better. Not scalable.”

      Solar PV is quite scalable. It’s just that at large scale, it’s not terribly attractive. It’s possibly the best of all bad options for some remote locations. But you’ll probably end up tuning your life to its limitations. OK perhaps for a hermit on an otherwise uninhabited Pacific Island. Not so good for a major metropolitan area where people want reliable power.

      • Yes, Brain keeps posting these silly uninformed comments like “produce nothing except useless harmonics”. Never links to any real information so probably just based on something he read once and fitted his personal bias.

    • re: “When electricity demand increases (Especially night & morning) ”

      24 hour ‘demand curves’ displayed by ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) on their website DOES NOT IN ANY WAY bear this out.

      http://www.ercot.com/

    • You say…

      “By comparison a nuclear plant is either on or off. They cannot be ramped up and down”

      How the hell do nuclear powered navy ships operate? Steam driven main engine speeds go from 20 RPM to 250 RPM (reactor power output from ~15% to ~80%) within a few minutes and then back down again.

      Been there, done that.

      Jack

  6. Notice that these morons don’t realize that an advanced form of nuclear power, specifically molten salt nuclear power will prevail. This technology has it all over conventional nuclear power in every single characteristic – economically conventional hasn’t a prayer of competing against molten salt, which costs about half that of conventional. And it will just a surely kill renewable technologies

      • Your guess/prediction is an uneducated hope for failure.

        Terrestrial Energy is on track to secure first industrial customers in North America in the early 2020s, with first plants operating in the late 2020s. Canadian site approved. This US/Canadian company is headed by a past Canadian regulatory head.

        Fission optimized beats hydrocarbon/carbon burning. The problem is PWR is not fission optimized. That explains why fission power has not taken over from particularly carbon burning.

        There is political/engineering wind (all levels of government) developing in Canada to push the first Molten Salt fission reactor into commercial operation.

        The real reason, why there was a 50 year delay, from the US building and testing the optimum fission reactor design, the molten salt reactor, to the first commercial molten salt fission reactor to be placed in commercial service…

        … Is the unsolvable marketing crisis for the PWR ‘industry’, the pressure water reactor design cannot compete with the Molten Salt fission reactor design.

        Terrestrial Energy has a truck to site, mass producible, no water, no containment building, operates at atmospheric pressure, fail safe, wake away safe design, molten salt fission reactor design…

        The Terrestrial Molten Salt reactor is six times more fuel efficient and roughly a fourth the cost of a pressure water fission reactors (same output) and it produces heat at 600C, rather than 315C. It also produces 1/9 th amount of transuranic waste as a pressure water reactor. The molten salt reactor has no catastrophic failure modes. No possible hydrogen explosion. No possible melt downs. Electrical power is not required for emergency shutdown. Operates at atmospheric pressure rather than 130 atmospheres. It is revolutionarily safer, more efficient, smaller, cheaper to build, and so on. All good.

        The Terrestrial Energy molten salt fission reactor design is currently being jointly reviewed by the Canadian and US nuclear regulatory agencies…. and is on track to have two to four operating sites by the end of 2029.

        https://www.terrestrialenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/TEI-2-Page-Brief-200211.pdf

        • Hahahahahahahahahahahah,,,,,no, wait, let me read more of your stupidity,,,,,Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Please stop, my diaphragm is hurting. I would ask if you are really this stupid, then you typed it blahblahblahblah. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

    • This technology has it all over conventional nuclear power in every single characteristic … it will just a surely kill renewable technologies
      Yes, like BetaMax killed VHS.
      But BetaMax worked, was produced, was sold.

    • How far had the research gotten on molten salt reactors in 1967???

      Regardless, these molten salt reactors remind me of fusion power. It’s the power source of the future, and always will be.

  7. reserves?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-23/shale-oil-stocks-investors-question-industry-s-performance

    “Interviews with five current and former engineers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describe an ongoing culture that rewards happy talk. Two of the engineers say executives explicitly told them to inflate reserves. Others say the requests were implied, with only engineers who produced aggressive estimates landing promotions. Some say they were fired or saw their coworkers let go because they were reluctant to fudge key metrics.”

    oh Go texas!!

    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/public-health/2020/06/23/spread-is-so-rampant-texas-hits-all-time-high-of-more-than-5k-new-covid-19-cases-gov-greg-abbott-says/

    • Herd immunity… Texas will show the mosh sheep the path to living again.
      Some f’n weeny-ass Chicomm virus can’t stop Texas.
      Don’t mess with Texas.

    • Are reserves sometimes overstated or misclassified? For sure. Lots of con men in the energy business. In places where reserves are taxed I imagine reserves are understated or misclassified in the other direction.

      But overall I think David is correct. Fossil fuel reserves are vast. I expect humanity will burn through them faster than anyone currently thinks likely. But there really are a lot of them. Furthermore, as technology improves, a lot of fossil fuel resource that currently seems quite uneconomic will prove to be exploitable.

      But … climate change? Like many other religions, folks of weak mind and/or poor character believe or claim to believe in every literal word it. And it’s surely not all nonsense. But AFAICS, the current predictions of “climate science” are about as credible as the Book of Revelation. Climate modeling makes economic modeling look prescient and no one has actually trusted economic modelling for half a century or more. “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable” J. K. Galbraith (well, OK, actually Ezra Solomon if you want to be picky).

      In practice, attempts to achieve low or zero-emissions seem somewhat like trying to legislate virtue. Lots of pontification and lip service. Behind the scenes, not really taken very seriously.

      Personally, I’ve nothing against nuclear power. But first show me a nuclear power technology that is inexpensive, reliable, and that a scumbag with an MBA can’t blow up through systematic mismanagement.

      • re: ” But first show me a nuclear power technology that is inexpensive, reliable, and that a scumbag with an MBA can’t blow up through systematic mismanagement.”

        Boiler explosions; industry used to be RIFE with them (including military ships; in the beginning particularly, and continues even unto ‘modern times’ although much more infrequently) … so what changed*?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boiler_explosions
        .
        .
        * Rhetorical question.

      • You don’t specify what you mean by “blow up”.
        If you are talking economically, that is true for every industry.
        If you are talking about steam explosions, that is true for any industry that uses steam.
        If you are talking about a nuclear explosion, that is physically impossible in western reactors. Newer reactors are even safer than the ones built 30 and 40 years ago.

      • Commercial power has been mass produced for about sixty years….military uses in ships and subs, too. In the Western world there have been no mass casualty events in all those years. Chernobyl was a classic communist screw up all around and should not be used to slander nuclear energy as we use it.

        Using more recent designs that are “intrinsically safe” with some form of passive shutdown system can put a greater barrier between ordinary operation and catastrophe. Much of nuclear energy’s famous high costs are related to government regulations. Hopefully we get four more years of Trump and rewriting those regs with serious balancing of costs and risks will occur, including on spent fuel storage.

        It is time for our society to put anti-nuke hysteria behind us and start on a path toward increasing the use of nuclear in the mix of energies we use.

    • Reserve reports are audited. Engineers who falsify reserve reports and auditors who approve them risk going to jail.

      “Interviews with five current and former engineers, who spoke on condition of anonymity…”

      Finding five disgruntled engineers, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of about 80,000 professional petroleum engineers is certainly Pulitzer Prize worthy.

      https://www.spe.org/en/about/demographics/

      Texas Tests vs New Cases…

      https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/

    • I think Mosher believes all talk down the pub as long as it pushes his argument, he has been caught doing it a number of times. As David Middleton correctly stated this stuff is audited and the claim is the old unnamed anonymous sources … apparently it was just after aliens abducted them as well.

      There are at least 3 mechanisms open to report US company fraud not least of which to the DOJ and if true they are costing innocent shareholders a lot of money. So there are two choices for the anonymous sources

      1.) They are gutless sycophants who are complicit in the fraud and big noting themselves to some reporter.

      2.) They have no proof of anything but can smell a conspiracy because they need a shrink. Yeah I stole all the gold from Fort Knox and it was so big the US government dare not report it.

    • A couple of disgruntled employees proves that the entire industry is corrupt.

      It doesn’t take much to convince Steve, does it.

  8. Fossil fuel resources are declining, there is no arguing against that. And the observation of Sheik Yamani : The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone and the Oil age will not end for lack of oil has some appeal. France manages to have low power cost with a major share of nuclear. Nuclear has been neglected for decades mainly for fear of terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons and the terrible nuclear waste myth.

    • *In place* fossil fuel resources are declining. *recoverable* fossil fuel resources are increasing.

    • Are we using the stuff faster than nature is making it? Yes.
      Are we using the stuff faster than the oil companies are finding it? No.

        • He had them exactly correct.

          Every oil reservoir ever drilled, exhibits a decline curve. If nature was making oil faster than we used it, there would be no decline curves.

          Proved oil reserves have steadily risen along with production. If we were using it faster than oil companies were finding it, proved oil reserves would be declining.

        • I came close to saying that the earth isn’t making any, but I suppose their could be some basins were organic material is being trapped under sedimentary layers where small amounts are being made.

          • Oil and gas are being made and migrating through the subsurface all the time. It’s just not happening fast enough, with very few exceptions, to be noticeable.

  9. I don’t know about declines and reserves, but peak crude oil took place in 2018
    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Was-2018-The-Peak-For-Crude-Oil-Production.html
    And it doesn’t look like it is going to be replaced by anything except less energy.
    http://peakoilbarrel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/World-3.png
    C+C crude oil extraction in November 2018 was 84,644 kb/d
    We know that record won’t be broken in years if ever.
    The question never was how much oil is in the ground, but how much our economy is able to pull out since over time the oil left becomes costlier to extract and the law of diminishing returns applies. As our economy is long term damaged by excess debt, ZIRP, and permanent QE, a deflationary affordability crisis affects consumers reducing demand. Low consumer demand and low economic performance are a double whammy on oil extraction.
    Peak oil was in 2018, two years before COVID. Historically it is quite rare that oil production is lower during two years and it has never happened outside of a recession before. COVID did not cause it, but it is going to make it worse.
    We have started life at the other side of peak oil. I hope we like it.

    • The first link asks the question but never answers it. It can’t. Your conclusion is simply based based on a prediction that oil production will not rise above 2018 levels.

      This is the same story that we have heard over and over for decades. It could be true, but based on the failure of previous predictions, it is probably not.

      • based on the failure of previous predictions

        And how do previous predictions affect the chances of a new prediction being right?

        The chances of this prediction being right depend solely on economical factors, as we all know there’s plenty of oil down there. Now ask yourself your reaction if somebody would have told you 15 years ago that debt levels would explode to current levels, central banks would be pumping money continuously like there’s no tomorrow, and interest rates would be stuck at zero. You would also have thought that it was not probably going to happen. We didn’t need a virus for what is going to happen next, but it helps.

        • And how do previous predictions affect the chances of a new prediction being right?

          It entirely depends on the nature of the prediction. If there’s a pattern of missed predictions in a specific direction, there is a systematic problem with how the data are being analyzed.

          A prediction can only be evaluated based on the data and methods that were used to make the prediction. In the case of Hubbert, his methods were sound. However, his knowledge of the recoverable resource base was inadequate. In 1956, he couldn’t possibly know that his estimate of recoverable resources was far too low.

          We still don’t know what the total recoverable resource is. If it’s roughly twice as large as our cumulative production so far, we’re at or near “Peak Oil.” But we won’t know this for decades.

          • In the case of Hubbert, his methods were sound. However, his knowledge of the recoverable resource base was inadequate.

            That was also the case of Thomas Malthus. His methods were sound but only for Agrarian Societies until his time, not for Industrial Societies from his time. He couldn’t possibly know that.

            Total recoverable resource also depends on a lot of “ifs” and it is not necessarily what we will get out of the ground, so it is not very useful to determine when peak oil is/has going to take/taken place.

          • When I was an undergrad in geology in the early 1970’s plate tectonics was the new and exciting paradigm – but there were still a few professors who did not agree. That was exciting and interesting. Another thing I remember is that in Economic Geology we were taught that throughout the history of finding oil, every decade (I guess since 1900 or so) there would be analyses that we would run out of exploitable oil soon and a peak had surely been reached- but that every decade these predictions were wrong due to better technology and recovery methodology. That has held up (although the resource is obviously finite).

          • Alfred Wegener proposed the Continental Drift theory in 1920 and was ridiculed despite ample evidence from geology, biology, geography and paleontology supporting it. He disappeared in an expedition to Greenland without ever knowing that decades later he was to be vindicated.

            People will not accept something that is evident if it contradicts their beliefs. And beliefs tend to be wrong more often than not, particularly when they are not based on solid evidence.

            every decade these predictions were wrong due to better technology and recovery methodology

            Most people, and particularly geologists, tend to believe peak oil is a geological thing. It is not. Geology plays an important role but peak oil is primarily an economical thing. I had to study lots of economy to understand that what we are doing to the economy is what has caused peak oil at this particular time.

            Most people can’t accept something that contradicts their livelong experiences. However we are seeing many things that we thought were not possible. Interest rates stuck at zero. Central banks printing like crazy. Getting into a recession ten years after a previous one without having fully recovered. A preventable pandemic with a 1% mortality rate running wild through the world destroying the economy. Scientists massively believing in an imaginary climate crisis. A cult with a teenage girl prophet addressing the UN and the Davos economical forum. We are going to see lots and lots more things we wouldn’t have believed a couple of decades ago. Joseph Tainter and Peter Turchin are the authors to read to understand what is going on.

        • It’s always possible that after 20 to 30 false predictions, the next one will be accurate.
          However that’s not the way to bet.

          • You can bet 20 times on a coin toss being tails and fail, yet the 21st is still a 50 % chance.

            I have not made 20 predictions for peak oil that have turned out false, so that bad record does not reflect on me.

            When people want to believe on something they don’t need a reason, whether it is that peak oil is coming or that it is not. Then most people look to reaffirm their belief. I have no particular interest in being right, quite the contrary, I rather be wrong. I am one of the few people in the world that believes peak oil has already happened and that climate emergency is a dud. I could be wrong on both, but my technique is the same. I just follow the data doing complex analysis of system dynamics. I am not right all the time, but often enough to think it is a better way than most. For example I called for what was going to happen with COVID pandemic and put it on writing by February 25th:
            https://www.rankia.com/blog/game-over/4494417-coronavirus-escenario-2-enemigo-puertas
            I was already following the epidemic in my blog by late January. Had my government followed my advice my country could have avoided over 90 % of casualties.

            You can see how the method works in one of my climate articles about the next glaciation.
            https://judithcurry.com/2018/08/14/nature-unbound-x-the-next-glaciation/
            There the method also yielded an opposite result to what most scientists believe. The end of the Holocene is in my opinion just 1500-2500 years away. Of course that prediction is going to require a lot of patience. The method to reach that conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of reasoning that converge on that timeline, some of them pretty complex. It is not just opinion.

          • If a coin flip lands one way 20 times in a row, the odds are you are dealing with a dishonest coin.
            Anyone who bets that the 21st flip will be different from the first 20 is just a sucker asking to have his money taken.
            Pretty much what has been happening to those who believe the peak oil shysters.

          • re: “If a coin flip lands one way 20 times in a row, the odds are you are dealing with a dishonest coin.”

            How about 10? Here is the “special case” where it occurred 10 times in a row (and ONLY a bit of ‘trickery’ involved, and no, it did not involve an altered coin):

            “Derren Brown – 10 Heads in a Row (explanation)”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1SJ-Tn3bcQ

            I leave it to the student to draw the lesson from the above vid.

          • Someone who believes in hydrinos has already demonstrated that he will believe in anything.

        • “And how do previous predictions affect the chances of a new prediction being right?” Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! Oh, my, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Yea, whatever.

          • Time will tell who’s right and who’s wrong. But for the first time we are predicting peak oil in the past, not in the future.

    • 2018 might have had more crude production than 2019 but the later actually had higher consumption. Consumption was actually higher than production in 2019 and most are predicting that consumption levels will be back to pre covid levels by the end of 2021.

      • most are predicting that consumption levels will be back to pre covid levels by the end of 2021

        Those are the predictions that aren’t worth a dime. The world can’t consume what is not extracted.

        US tight oil has represented 71 % of crude oil growth since 2005, and 98 % of 2018 crude oil growth. The world is completely dependent on US tight oil for growth. US tight oil peaked in November 2019 and was already going down when the coronavirus happened. It was in pretty bad shape due to low prices and low investment, with the number of companies going busted increasing. Now is being decimated. A rebound is a sure thing, but given the background situation, and that oil prices are sure to continue depressed by a global recession it will take years for US tight oil to recover and during that time depletion continues, mainly at sweetspots, making it a lot more difficult to recover lost production.

        The only question remaining is how long for most people to accept that 2018 was Peak Oil: 5 years? 10 years? never?

        Unlike climate predictions this one is based on fact (there was a peak in production in 2018 so far), and should be easy to check by anybody how it is going.

          • If the demand is there, it will be extracted.

            That is exactly the question. We are in the midst of a long-term affordability crisis manifested by lack of growth of salaries, growing inequality, labor force contraction, weak consumer demand, deglobalization, and so on.
            Demand is when you have the money to buy something and you actually go and buy it. Demand is not when you want something but you don’t buy it (because you lack the money or prefer other products).

            Demand is not going to be there. That is the core of the prediction. Lack of demand will fuel a feedback loop of production destruction that will result in more economical damage and less demand.

  10. I’m all for nuclear power but we’ve got to get our sh#t together on this people.

    The Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant produced 18.9 TWh in 2005, which amounted to 4% of the electricity production in France.
    Fantastic.

    ….but….

    A third reactor at the site was envisaged, an EPR unit, which began construction in 2007, and EDF estimated the cost at €3.3 billion and stated it would start commercial operations in 2012.
    Great, couldn’t be happier.

    ….but…

    On 29 June 2019, it was announced that the start-up was once again being pushed back, making it unlikely it could be started before the end of 2022. The cost of all this now knocking on the door of €12.4 billion.

    WTF! come on, this is just unacceptable. 10 years late and 9 billion over budget.

    • Could it be that the French government declare new restrictions all along, and keeping complaint delays the project? – I would not be surprised.

  11. At our current consumption rate, the current reserves of oil, natural gas and coal would last 50, 50 and 132 years respectively. And reserves are just a fraction of the total resources.

    Okay, fine. But for all their virtues over the last century, fossil fuels still generate a lot of pollution—real pollution. Nuclear fission is the most efficient, non-polluting energy production technology yet discovered. And there’s a lot of room for improvement. Recent pilot projects demonstrating the feasibility of extracting uranium from seawater now make nuclear virtually limitless. In other words “sustainable” in the jargon of the green huggers. There’s enough in the oceans to last a billion years. That’s a 1 followed by 9 zeroes, which is a lot more than a 1 followed by 2 zeroes. We just need cost-effective electrical power storage for transportation. We’ve already got the electric motors which are drastically more efficient and lighter than internal combustion engines. Storage is a tall order but there are a lot of bright people making progress on it.

    • re: “Nuclear fission is the most efficient, non-polluting energy production technology yet discovered.”

      If you insist on limiting your “discoveries” to before the year 1950, or the early 1990’s even.

    • “We’ve already got the electric motors which are drastically more efficient and lighter than internal combustion engines. Storage is a tall order but there are a lot of bright people making progress on it.”

      The problem is not the motor, the problem is the battery. Not much real progress has been made on the battery front for a decade. The current Telsla is anywhere from 500lbs to 1000lbs heavier than an equivalent fossil-fueled automobile. That extra weight makes it less manueverable , a more effective missile in an accident, and less effective transportation in snowy or icy weather.

      • Why is everyone hung up on batteries? Just put a gasoline or LP gas engine run generator in the vehicle and be about your business.

        • “Just put a gasoline or LP gas engine run generator in the vehicle and be about your business.”

          That’s called a hybrid. e.g. the Toyota-Prius. And the concept seems to work reasonably well although US consumers aren’t beating down dealer doors to buy them.

          • Yea, I wonder why? Perhaps an actual American should start building a vehicle with ICE run generator and 1 ton cargo capacity, maybe even in a F 150. Americans might, maybe, sort of be interested in that. Calling it a hybrid pretty much dooms it from the start. Americans want real, reliable and useful vehicles, not tinkertoys.

          • I think the Internet claims the Ford will have a hybrid F150 in the 2021 model year. Chrysler has had a hybrid Pacifica van for a few years. I don’t think it’s rated for 2000 lbs of cargo, but I don’t think it’s too far under that. There are probably others. It’s not a topic of much interest to me so I don’t have a lot of data internalized.

        • Sort of like a hybrid. Not a bad idea. Maybe even consider running locomotives similarly.

      • We just need cost-effective electrical power storage for transportation. We’ve already got the electric motors which are drastically more efficient and lighter than internal combustion engines. Storage is a tall order but there are a lot of bright people making progress on it.

        I used “storage” rather than “battery” on purpose. There are many ways to store power: batteries, capacitors, gravity storage, flywheels, fuel cells, etc., each suited to different purposes.

        Though it’s a monumentally bad idea for governments to compel the transition to technologies that aren’t cost-effective, reliable, or ready for widespread adoption, it’s also a bad idea to simply disparage or dismiss those technologies when it’s clear that they are rapidly improving and in some cases already outperforming older technologies. For example, electric motors are hugely more efficient, powerful, simpler, and less expensive than internal combustion engines. A little more improvement in power storage and electric cars could be cheaper to manufacture, buy, and maintain than internal combustion cars, which is why every automotive company is developing electric vehicles.

        Frankly, I can hardly wait until electrical power storage becomes cost-effective enough that I can buy an all-electric car and install PV panels at home to generate power for off-grid use with the utility company mainly for backup. I happen to live in a sunny place and my air conditioning costs drive me crazy. What also induces head-scratching is the fact that most home solar panel installations right now (“grid-connected”) won’t generate power if there is a utility outage—how stupid is that? And I’ve never been excited about the exhaust emissions of internal combustion engines. Undoubtedly, clean and green is the future. It’s just a matter of how soon it will be practical for widespread adoption. I wouldn’t be surprised if my PV-panel/electric-car dream becomes reality in the next 10 to 15 years. And modular nuclear reactors for inexpensive utility-scale power? The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

        Now if someone would just get to work on Mr. Fusion…

        • Capacitors, many claims, no actual products. They suffer from huge internal losses and failure modes that make Lithium fires look like a girl scout picnic.
          Gravity storage, for cars? Really? For power systems, they suffer from a lack of power density that makes solar and wind look dense.
          Fly Wheels, once again, their failure modes make capacitors look safe. Beyond that there is the insurmountable problems regarding the gyroscopic affect.

        • re: “Frankly, I can hardly wait until electrical power storage becomes cost-effective

          This is fraught with its OWN set of intrinsic safety issues even, for you CAN’T simply “turn off” the ‘creation’ of the energy as with any sort of ‘fueled’ engine (where the fuel source can easily be cut off)!

          CAN you imagine a utility-scale battery storage plant in ‘fault’ or a thermal run-away situation (where, say the ‘active cooling’ system failed)? Have you seen what occurs when this happens in a Tesla battery pack?

          (The fireworks start about 3 mins in)
          https://youtu.be/WdDi1haA71Q?t=178

    • “But for all their virtues over the last century, fossil fuels still generate a lot of pollution—real pollution. ”

      No they don’t. Not modern plants.

    • “Storage is a tall order but there are a lot of bright people making progress on it.”

      They’ve been working on it for 100 years. Batteries are limited by chemistry. They aren’t making any new atoms, so the ones we have now are the best we’re going to get.

      Further improvements may tweak storage, but any major breakthroughs just aren’t going to happen.

      • You appear to have limited imagination. Or you just love fossil fuels so much you can’t imagine an alternative. They’ve been a boon to mankind for a century, but they aren’t the only game in town and won’t remain the dominant one indefinitely, or for much longer.

        They’ve been working on it (batteries) for 100 years.

        Yeah, but the huge investment in R&D hasn’t been there for 100 years. It’s only in the last couple decades that investment has rapidly expanded. The lithium ion battery was commercialized just 29 years ago.

        Batteries are limited by chemistry.

        Yep, and so is petrol. There is no way to turn it into useful power more efficiently than an electric motor does with electricity, or do it without producing noxious pollutants, even in the most modern power plants and cars.

        Energy density is only part of the equation. Because turning petrol into useful power is relatively inefficient, pairing a highly-efficient electric motor with a heavy battery with low energy density can be more efficient overall than an internal combustion engine vehicle. And it doesn’t take much more improvement in battery chemistry to outpace ICE vehicles.

        Interestingly, petrol and lithium-air batteries have similar theoretical energy density, which is why there’s so much research into improving lithium batteries. Sony is releasing the first lithium-sulfur batteries to market this year. Lithium-sulfur has significantly higher power density than lithium-ion batteries. And hydrogen is much more energy-dense than petrol, which is why there’s so much interest in developing a hydrogen economy. Toyota introduced the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Mirai in 2014 which gets 66 mpg. I doubt the innovation will stop there, whereas ICE technology is about as mature as it’s going to get with only marginal improvements.

        Then there’s the inescapable problem of a relatively limited supply of fossil fuel. Nuclear fission on the other hand can theoretically power the world for a billion years. The trick to taking advantage of that for transportation is storing power. Right now batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are the leading contenders and they are improving rapidly. It won’t be long before they are more cost-effective than ICE vehicles.

      • You appear to be so used to fossil fuels that you can’t imagine an alternative. Coal has been widely used for about 200 years, and petrol a little over 100 years. They’ve been a boon to mankind but they aren’t the only game in town and won’t remain the dominant one indefinitely, or for much longer.

        They’ve been working on it (batteries) for 100 years.

        Yeah, but the huge investment in R&D hasn’t been there for 100 years. It’s only in the last couple decades that investment has rapidly expanded. The lithium ion battery was commercialized just 29 years ago.

        Batteries are limited by chemistry.

        Yep, and so is petrol. There is no way to turn it into useful power more efficiently than an electric motor does with electricity, or do it without producing noxious pollutants, even in the most modern power plants and cars.

        Energy density is only part of the equation. Because turning petrol into useful power is relatively inefficient, pairing a highly-efficient electric motor with a heavy battery with low energy density can be more efficient overall than an internal combustion engine vehicle. And it doesn’t take much more improvement in battery chemistry to outpace ICE vehicles.

        Interestingly, petrol and lithium-air batteries have similar theoretical energy density, which is why there’s so much research into improving lithium batteries. Sony is releasing the first lithium-sulfur batteries to market this year. Lithium-sulfur has significantly higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries. And hydrogen is much more energy-dense than petrol. There’s a lot of R&D in developing a hydrogen economy. Toyota introduced the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Mirai in 2014 which gets 66 mpg. I doubt the innovation will stop there, whereas ICE technology is about as mature as it’s going to get with only marginal improvements.

        Then there’s the inescapable problem of a relatively limited supply of fossil fuel. Nuclear fission on the other hand can theoretically power the world for a billion years. The trick to taking advantage of that for transportation is storing power. Right now batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are the leading contenders and they are improving rapidly. It won’t be long before they are more cost-effective than ICE vehicles.

        • OK, you live your life without coal, gas, petroleum, hydro and nuclear. Exactly how are you here spewing stupidity? Oh, yea. Blow me.

      • It’s ok to have an active imagination. I can also imagine unicorns and pink dragons. However I don’t anticipate either of them powering cars any time soon.

        BTW, if the only thing you can do to defend your opinion is insult those who don’t share it, then that’s pretty good evidence that even you know you can’t defend the stuff you are trying to sell.

        BTW, I don’t see actually trying to refute anything I’ve written. Just empty claims.

      • History has clearly demonstrated the new technologies are rarely predicted and/or their application is rarely envisioned.
        Who originally thought Faraday’s and Maxwell’s work was anything other than a lab curiosity and a mathematical physics problem?
        Even in the late 1940s, the world’s greatest minds, when asked to envision the technology of the future, never mentioned the computer. It literally was not on anybody’s radar screen.

        I have zero idea about how/when /what form of power/electrical storage will become available in the future.
        If you say battery storage is limited by chemistry, I’ll take your word for it; I haven’t a clue.
        But who says electrical storage of the future has to be confined by anything that remotely resembles today’s batteries?
        Maybe somebody in his garage will come up with a totally new way to do this that does not involve techniques presently available.
        That has always been the nature of technological progress; it’s unknowable.

        As an aside, somebody commented above about the predictions of Hubbard.
        Where he went totally wrong was assuming that the oil finding and extraction methods – the technologies extant in, say 1960 – were never going to change. He assumed ZERO technological progress in these fields.
        By this sort of reasoning, we would all have a horse and buggy in our garage and resort to “bleeding” to cure our ailments.

        As for nuclear power, we can forget about it. The enviro wackos and their political allies will never let it get off the ground.
        Even pipelines planned to carry natural gas into the greater NYC regional area – where new supply is desperately needed – can’t be constructed because of the enviro wackos.
        Their power is so influential that they have many (most?) folks convinced that a trace gas in the atmosphere totally controls the climate.

        The politics of nuclear power will determine its outcome and use; everything else is meaningless.

        • Star Trek tech looks great on film. However if you are counting on it solving our energy problems you are going to have to wait at least 500 years.

          • re: “Star Trek tech looks great on film.”

            Communicators: . . . . . . Check
            3D printing of things: . . Check
            Teletransportation: . . . . Didn’t we have a demo of that using Quantum something?
            21st Century energy source: Under development (on at least one front, and maybe even two or three)

        • re: “Even in the late 1940s, the world’s greatest minds, when asked to envision the technology of the future, never mentioned the computer. It literally was not on anybody’s radar screen.

          Babbage- Charles_Babbage. 1791 thru 1871. Babbage is known for originating the concept of a “digital programmable computer”.

          So, the concept was “out there” already … sometimes we just have to wait for ‘technology’ to catch up before economical, large-scale implementation is possible …

    • Thinking that we could build enough power nuclear plants to run entire country in just 10 years, is not sane.

      • Really? Start shooting obstructionists in their hypocritical heads and you would be amazed. The Black Lies Matter looting&burning festival is certainly waking up the people of America. I just don’t see their “revolution” ending in any manner they will like. Oh. Yea. F***k them.

        • Even if every legal and regulatory restriction were to be eliminated, and even if we were to start building today, the production capacity needed to build all of the equipment needed by nuclear plants just isn’t there. It would have to be built up first.

          • Sounds like an excellent job and education program. Should have started it back in 1950. We would not be in the mess we are now. Oop, there it is.

  12. I understood that one of the benefits of Col Mosby’s Amazing Contraptions was that they will happily run on spent uranium from a proper (read: expensive) primary reactor. This strikes me as better than putting partially-depleted uranium back in the ground, which seems very silly.

    This is I suppose, akin to a triple-expansion steam engine.

    Perhaps if we’d have spent all the money wasted on kiddies’ beach-windmills on New Killer (thank you Bush) reactors, we could be looking at mass-produced cheapies in the nearer future.

    It all seems so bleedin’ o’vious to me.

    Then, electrified transportation will sort itself out, without givermentalist boondoggles.

  13. I understood that one of the benefits of Col Mosby’s Amazing Contraptions was that they will happily run on spent uranium from a proper (read: expensive) primary reactor. This strikes me as better than putting partially-depleted uranium back in the ground, which seems very silly.

    This is I suppose, akin to a triple-expansion steam engine.

    Perhaps if we’d have spent all the money wasted on kiddies’ beach-windmills on New K!ller (thank you Bush) reactors, we could be looking at mass-produced cheapies in the nearer future.

    It all seems so bleedin’ o’vious to me.

    Then, electrified transportation will sort itself out, without givermentalist boondoggles.

    EDIT: double-post due to using non-woke spelling in a wordplay resulting in moderation.

    I’ve never believed in moderation; too much is rarely enough.

    • “This strikes me as better than putting partially-depleted uranium back in the ground, which seems very silly.”

      As I understand it, the nuclear waste problem isn’t the Uranium. It’s that when fissionable isotopes U233(Thorium), U235, Pu-239 split, they produce an assortment of fragments. Some are stable. Not much of a waste problem. Some are very radioactive and have a short half life. Those can be dumped in a pool of water for cooling then disposed of once they’ve cooked themselves down to something less troublesome. Just make sure the water doesn’t boil off. The problem is a handful of longer lifetime radioactive materials — things like Strontium-90 and cesium-137. You can’t just dump them in a corner of the parking lot. Burial is generally thought to be the best alternative.

        • Byproduct of uranium enrichment – to get a reasonable amount of highly-enriched uranium for things like bombs and naval reactors, a _lot_ of natural uranium needs to be processed.

          Yooper? As in the UP of Michigan?

  14. So, they figured out how to make plastics and other petroleum based products out of spent fuel rods? Thats fantastic! These guys are brilliant!

  15. Ha!

    Yes, the oil-ape’s uses of squirt go waay beyond the 350 Small-block.

    MSR’s are easy – transmutation of uranium might take a little longer.

  16. if it does, does that mean hollywood and the sierra club will bear responsibility for all the extinctions that have occurred due to climate change?

  17. How’s this: establish a National Nuclear Power Authority, like the TVA, and build big nuclear plants on military bases to “provide reliable power for national security ” and then sell the 80% surplus to the grid? Wouldn’t that trump any environmental lawfare ?

  18. I stopped reading Scientific American when the editor in chief advocated that, because for one year the Kansas school board mandated teaching of intelligent design, that universities should discriminate against all Kansas H.S. graduates who apply to college.
    That is the sort of group punishment for wrongthink that would make any totalitarian proud. Imagine, just being EXPOSED to wrongthink makes you culpable. That explains why so many people are afraid to even hear dissenting views.

    • Even worse, it’s a belief that exposing kids to theories that you disagree with, contaminates them to the point that the only solution is to lock them away from the non-contaminated kids.

  19. A) I am in favor of Nuclear power ( I am an all of the above energy advocate) B) a Biden administration with AOC as Energy Czar and a leftist Congress would shut down the fossil fuel industry and would not even allow nuclear power as Jane Fonda China syndrome hangover has infected many. This is not business as usual with the pendulum swing theory of politics. It may swings so far the other way that it simply does not return. Dont mean to be a Debbie Downer, but by 2030 if these people get in, and I have to take them at their word (it is about time people do, you can see what is going on in other things now) then fossil fuel ( including fracking) and nuclear power are likely gone. We should understand what these people are really about

    • 100% agree. Nuclear is great. If the Alarmists were serious about reducing carbon emissions, they would be all on board with natural gas and nuclear power.
      Wind and solar even work OK, where they work. But they don’t work in most places.

      Biden would be AOC’s sock puppet.

      • Mr Middleton said “Biden would be AOC’s sock puppet.”

        Indeed, and it looks like the crazy beeatch is about to level up. What is happening to the USA?

        From USA today:
        Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet. “So from the start, tonight’s race was important to me. Tonight we are proving that the people’s movement in NY isn’t an accident. It‘s a mandate.”

        God help us all……

        • A majority of people actually believe that they have a right to take stuff that other people have earned, is a mandate.

          The lunatics are running the asylum.

    • It is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims, 1620.
      No MSM coverage of course, but the British Empire, in infancy then, sees it’s chance now to undo the entire project. Flynn’s case dismissal sure happened on such a day!
      That’s what “these people” are really all about.

      A country ruled by rogues, a wealthy “Davos Man” oligarchy, funding chaos?
      Or the endless pursuit of progress?
      Back in Scotland, Robert Burns put it :
      A PARCEL O’ ROGUES
      Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
      Fareweel our ancient glory!
      Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name.
      Sae famed in martial story!
      Now Sark rins over Salway sands,
      An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
      To mark where England’s province stands —
      O, would, or I had seen the day
      That Treason thus could sell us,
      My auld grey head had lien in clay
      Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
      But pith and power, till my last hour
      I’ll mak this declaration :-
      ‘We’re bought and sold for English gold’–
      Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    • beng135
      The engineering of the jet-pack is not all that challenging. The problem is that without adequate, light shielding, any use would be one time only. 🙂

    • As others have pointed out previously, it has been quite a while since Scientific American has been either scientific or American 🙂

  20. Scientific American made a reasonable [prediction — and it SHOULD have come to pass.

    Only anti-nuclear madness prevented it — and continues today with nations and states closing functioning and safe existing nuclear plants.

    The nuclear power industry is undaunted — and there are over 40 players in various stages development of the Small Modular Reactor which are the future of electrical production for the world.

    “Burning stuff” to boil water to make electricity is just plain primitive.

    • I agree that SMRs are the future.
      But don’t they also drive steam turbines?
      Just saying…

    • And yet when you are freezing your azz off in the woods it is quite satisfactory and comforting!

    • Primitive is in the eye of the beholder.
      Dual phase natural gas plants are pretty sophisticated.

      Using whatever is the most economical may not give the tech junkies goosebumps, but it sure does give the economy a boost, which makes us all richer.

      • re: “Primitive is in the eye of the beholder.
        Dual phase natural gas plants are pretty sophisticated.

        “pretty sophisticated”? IC is still IC (internal combustion or ‘burning’ of a fuel) for instance even if (as an example) it now uses:

        a) electronic port fuel injection and electronic ignition (BOTH under computer control)

        rather than:

        b) a down-draft carburetor and a ‘point’ ignition system (with mechanical centrifugal and vacuum advance) .

  21. The next nuclear plant in the USA will be a NuScale small modular reactor. When that happens is anyone’s guess, but it’s unimaginable that any other proposal can get ahead of it.
    NRC/gov
    Due to NuScale’s design change and proposed schedule for submitting the revised supporting documentation, the Phase 5 milestone of 06/23/20 could not be met. This milestone will be revised upon receipt of the final design change package (Refer to NRC letter to NuScale of May 1, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20112F455)

  22. Chris Colbert, chief strategy officer at NuScale, said the project plans and the regulatory approvals needed to build it are moving forward at a good pace, though the plant isn’t scheduled to be operational until 2026 — even if everything goes according to plan.

    “The first one is always the challenging one,” he said. “Once we get that first one done I think there’s going to be a huge demand for it.”

  23. Thank you David M for your clickbait headline as an excuse to beat the drum for the oil industry.

    So SA say something stupid about nuclear power. Is that a signal for contest where almost all of the rest comments to say stupid things about nuclear power?

    Even David M (If the Alarmists were serious about reducing carbon emissions, they would be all on board with natural gas and nuclear power.)

    If you plot carbon emissions you will find nuclear near the zero axis and natural gas up there with coal.

    For those who missed it, nuclear power replaced oil for submarines, super aircraft carriers, and making electricity. Nuclear power has a large market share in countries with little coal and a history of being invaded by countries who sell them coal.

    Been there done that so do not make teach history.

    The energy and raw material to feed refineries can be produced by fission. I am not predicting it will happen for economic reasons.

    It is cheaper to grow soybeans.

    • Let me see if I have this right.
      Nuclear power works on ships and submarines, therefore it is the best technology for powering cities?

      Nothing to say about the unique requirements of ships and subs?
      Nothing to say about the damn the costs attitude among many in the military?

      “Nuclear power has a large market share in countries with little coal and a history of being invaded by countries who sell them coal.”

      Neither of which apply to the US.

      • I’m not knocking the military for not putting cost as the first criteria.
        When people are shooting at me, I wouldn’t want to rely on equipment that was selected based solely on cost either.

      • No you did not get it right.

        I provided examples of where fission has replaced oil.

        For cities the ‘best’ choice is usually a combination of fuel sources depending on location. Many large power companies are also have subdivisions that are in the transportation of coal and natural gas business.

        When power companies are making choices to build power plants they consider where the fossil fuel will come from and what it will cost. Not too long ago the NRC had been notifies that applications for 36 new nuke plants were coming.

        I was working on 7 for the US and 2 in China. The increase supply of natural gas as a result of fracking put on hold the US plants. My last job before retiring was at the 2 nuke plants in China under construction.

        Just down the road was a huge coal plant. China does not like buying coal from the west/

Comments are closed.