An Upbeat Look at Nuclear with Rod Adams

Reposted from Climate Scepticism

Posted on  by MIKE DOMBROSKI

Robert Bryce’s Power Hungry podcast has a excellent interview with longtime nuclear energy blogger and podcaster Rod Adams. It’s almost two hours and has rather few views so I thought I’d post a little bit of background and highlights.

Rod Adams is a slightly gruff looking Annapolis graduate (a ring knocker as he calls himself) and former submarine nuclear officer. His voice sort of reminds me of the late great James Gandolfini. He’s certainly the world’s most prominent blogger and podcaster on nuclear energy. He cares very deeply about the importance of nuclear energy for human well being. His podcasts start with a catchy jingle, There’s a Better Way. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and his blog posts and podcast can get rather technical. Bryce does a great job of making this an accessible overview.

Lately, Michael Shellenberger has been getting a lot of attention promoting nuclear. He sort of gives the impression that too much attention is being paid to newer reactor designs and that large AP1000 type designs are the way to go, especially with Russia and China moving ahead. Shellenberger is admittedly not a STEM person, but he has educated himself and has a good overview of the basic concepts. Adams pretty much lives and breaths this stuff and follows the industry and new developments very closely. He’s excited about a new generation of driven people who see an opportunity to transform the future. BTW Adams has a great podcast interview with Shellenberger about his new book.

Adams is very optimistic about the potential of Nuscale’s upcoming small modular reactors. He’s very familiar with licensing and siting locations. Yes, they won’t be ready until 2027, but there are a lot of intriguing aspects. The biggest one is that they are designed to be meltdown proof. He has a recent post on economy of scale (republished from 1996) that has an interesting twist for light water reactors:

For example, one assumption explicitly stated in the economy of scale model is that the cost of auxiliary systems does not increase as rapidly as plant capacity. In at least one key area, that assumption is not true for nuclear plants.

Since the reactor core continues to produce heat after the plant is shutdown, and since a larger, more powerful core releases less of its heat to its immediate surroundings because of a smaller surface to volume ratio, it is more difficult to provide decay heat removal for higher capacity cores. It is also manifestly more difficult, time consuming and expensive to prove that the requirements for heat removal will be met under all postulated conditions without damaging the core. For emergency core cooling systems, overall costs, including regulatory burdens, seem to have increased more rapidly than plant capacity.

There are also a lot of intriguing prospects for siting. They will fit very nicely at existing coal plant sites. Coal plant sites are not likely to have gas pipelines and additional pipelines are being blocked. There should also be a lot more electricity demand coming with electric cars and gas heating being exchanged for heat pumps and such. One fascinating thing he points out is that nuclear costs have not actually gone up. It’s just that they have to deal with congested grid pricing from wind and solar.

One interesting new design is the Natrium from Terrapower and GE Hitachi. It will have a molten salt buffer between the core and the steam turbines. This will allow it to spool electricity generation up and down fast to deal with intermittent wind. Yes, nuclear power is so good it will enable the blight of wind turbines and stick us with them forever.

Adams sees a need for cutting CO2 emissions and says he thinks the best way to do it is with a carbon tax. He thinks this will help make prices more predictable and make planning easier for energy companies. He criticizes wind farm tax credits being the same for all locations, even where there’s already congestion. He credits Daniel Yergin’s book, The Prize, with showing how important it is to keep energy supply and demand balanced.

I’ve included a minute guide to help those interested to check out various parts without having to go through the whole thing, but it’s all worth listening to.

Minute Guide

4:00 to 5:00 – Why he prefers term ‘atomic’ to ‘nuclear’

7:00 to 14:00 – AP1000

13:00 to 15:00 – Natural gas availability

15:00 to 25:00 – Nuscale

25:00 to 29:00 – General Electric boiling water reactors

29:00 to 32:00 – Westinghouse

33:00 to 37:00 – Oklo

37:00 to 45:00 – Terrestrial Energy, Thoricon — molten salt reactors

45:00 to 46:00 – Nuclear powered ships

46:00 to 50:00 – Advanced reactor projects

50:00 to 1:00:00 – Prospects for nuclear in US

1:01:00 to 1:02:00 – Natrium with molten salt buffer

1:03:00 to 1:04:00 – Regulation and policy

1:04:00 to 1:07:00 – New reactors and sites

1:07:00 to 1:08:00 – Rod is now a venture capitalist

1:08:00 to 1:10:00 – Existing fleet

1:10:00 to 1:13:00 – Congested pricing due to wind

1:13:00 to 1:17:00 – Getting nuclear to work

1:17:00 to 1:23:00 – Navy, Rickover

1:24:00 to 1:26:00 – Waste

1:27:00 to 1:29:00 – Jimmy Carter

1:29:00 to 1:31:00 – Waste issue as strategy

1:31:00 to 1:35:00 – Rod’s motivation

1:34:00 to 1:40:00 – Oppostion to nuclear

1:41:00 to 1:44:00 – Books

1:45:00 to 1:49:00 – Concluding optimism

Interesting Points

56:00 – Nuclear plant costs have not increased

58:00, 1:13:00 – Carbon price

1:04:00 – 2027 should be interesting year

1:20:00 – Navy expertice should be declassified and utilized

1:38:00 – Coal interests fought against nuclear

1:43:00 – Praise for Daniel Yergin’s The Prize

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Joel O'Bryan
December 25, 2020 10:35 pm

The fundamental reason both the wind-solar scammers and the pro-nuclear communities can agree is that a carbon-tax on natural gas will level the economics playing field for both.
Without imposed SEVERE carbon taxes on natural gas, nuclear power and wind power are just not economically viable for the next 100 years without massive government subsidies.

Cheap natural gas (due to fracking Marcellus shale in the East US – Pennsylvania), and the Permian (in Texas-New Mexico) in the US has been the proverbial “wooden stake thru the heart” of unholy renewables in the last decade. Without massive government tax credits wind and solar in the US would have died completely since 2010-2011 as nat gas wholesale prices plummeted from 2008 highs.
Natural gas is cheaper now than in 1998 when most of our electricity was coal generated. Th demand has skyrocketed because the supply of nat gas is there to make it affordable and viable for electricity generators to add it to the grids, even as wind and solar have been a destabilizing force.

So similar to the wind power scam, nuclear power needs a hefty carbon tax on natural gas to make it viable… because we have so much abundant natural gas now. The problem is the wind lobby is stronger than the nuclear power lobby, thanks to moron-idiots like Michael Bloomberg.

Last edited 4 months ago by joelobryan
Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 25, 2020 11:04 pm

Need a tax?

MarkW
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 25, 2020 11:37 pm

Wind and solar will never be economically viable.
Nuclear is economically viable now, even with all the regulatory roadblocks the rabid environmentalists put up.

willem post
Reply to  MarkW
December 26, 2020 6:29 am

Korea, Russia and China do not have these regulatory and ANGST roadblocks.

They are moving very rapidly to implement advanced power reactors at very low cost.

They are the Tesla’s of the nuclear sector.

The hand-wringing, angst-driven, scare-mongering Western World will never catch up, without changing mindsets.

We just had a most fraudulent election, which puts in place people who are the opposite of what is needed!!

The legacy US Media, in survival mode, beholden/infested by Dem/Progs, are at fault.

Kevin
Reply to  willem post
December 26, 2020 10:34 am

You can build a prototype electric car in your garage. Elon Musk can weld steel plates together for his Starship prototypes. The regulatory hurdles for anything similar in nuclear power are, relatively speaking, astronomical.

saveenergy
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 26, 2020 12:06 am

“Natural gas is cheaper now than in 1998 when most of our electricity was coal generated”

We shouldn’t be burning Natural Gas, Coal or Oil just because its there & cheap !!

Horses for courses.

Natural Gas, Coal & Oil are a cornucopia of precious chemical feedstock, why waste all that & pollute (& before anyone jumps down my throat, CO2 is NOT a pollutant ) the ground, atmosphere & seas in the process just to get some heat energy ?
(as granny used to say “don’t $hit in your nest”)

Atomic / Nuclear is so much better at delivering the heat energy required for generating electricity & desalination, but not much use as a chemical feedstock.

Wind & solar have their place… for low-power remote applications (with oil based backup), but not for driving industrial economy’s.

Reply to  saveenergy
December 27, 2020 8:22 am

Actually marrying a small Gen IV reactor with a GTL / CTL operation would be a good way to provide chemical feedstock. Final step in manufacturing a CTL / GTL product is chopping the long carbon molecule and adding hydrogen atoms to what you want out the back end of the operation. Means you need excess hydrogen, which can easily be produced out of local water by a small reactor. Nice combo. Cheers –

Walter Horsting
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 26, 2020 7:52 am

The Case for the Good Reactor https://spark.adobe.com/page/1nzbgqE9xtUZF/

Jerry
December 25, 2020 11:09 pm

It seems to me that most articles on energy supply suggest that the only problem to solve is replacing fossil fuels. Maintaining current energy capacity (with normal growth) seems to be what we are going for.

However, the world has many problems such clean water supply, trash disposal, and sewage disposal to name a few. With sufficient energy all those and other problems could be addressed. All our waste could be returned to its elemental state. Fuel could be manufactured from CO2 from the atmosphere and water from the ocean.

Perhaps our goal should be a ten-fold increase in available energy, and not just replacing current capacity.

saveenergy
Reply to  Jerry
December 26, 2020 12:25 am

“However, the world has many problems such clean water supply, trash disposal, and sewage disposal to name a few. With sufficient energy all those and other problems could be addressed. All our waste could be returned to its elemental state”

Totally agree.

“Fuel could be manufactured from CO2 from the atmosphere and water from the ocean.”

Why would you want to ?

1 – CO2 is doing a wonderful job feeding us.
2 – that requires colossal amounts of energy & nature does it for us (the carbon cycle) in its own good time.

Don’t fight nature/physics… go with it. (we seem to want to run up the down escalator .. why ?)

Last edited 4 months ago by saveenergy
Doug Huffman
Reply to  Jerry
December 26, 2020 6:14 am

I believe CVN ‘burn’ all waste in a plasma torch. My USN rating covered sanitary systems long after I qualified nuclear operator.

Walter Horsting
Reply to  Doug Huffman
December 26, 2020 7:54 am

Bio Carbon Fuels solves Municipal Waste while generating clean fuels. Don’t let the World go to Waste:
 
https://spark.adobe.com/page/LwhyCHQhvsnhw/

saveenergy
Reply to  Walter Horsting
December 26, 2020 3:56 pm

laudable aims but, low on detail, high on gloss, high on monetary contributions; sounds like they are selling more indulgences !!

Fred
December 25, 2020 11:10 pm

1:20:00 – Navy expertice should be declassified and utilized

Hmmm, you think? How long has the US Navy built high-quality, small and effective nuclear reactors for SSNs, SSBNs and CVNs? Maybe that would be a good place to start and finish the search.

Bill T
Reply to  Fred
December 26, 2020 4:12 am

You will find that out when you declassify the “expertise”. Actually there is a lot of R&D going on, including small reactors.

John Tillman
Reply to  Bill T
December 26, 2020 6:03 am

The advanced A1B reactor on CVN Ford was designed by Bechtel, responsible for some 80% of large US commercial power reactors.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Fred
December 26, 2020 6:16 am

Adams and I and our peers have the expertise declassified or not. The problem comes when appeal to (classified) authority is a premise.

Kevin
Reply to  Fred
December 26, 2020 10:36 am

The navy doesn’t have to operate at a profit.

MarkW
Reply to  Kevin
December 26, 2020 2:42 pm

But they do have to operate under a budget.

Doug Huffman
December 26, 2020 6:09 am

It is good to see Rod Adams and his atomic insights here on WUWT. They’re long needed.

Merry Christmas Engineer Rod, from your favorite STE test engineer – such good memories.

Walter Horsting
December 26, 2020 7:50 am

Left off the subjects are Seaborg.co Seaborg.co

Coach Springer
December 26, 2020 8:02 am

There are a number of people working in the industry in the U.S. that don’t think that nuclear is dying. They think, based on everything they are seeing, including disappearing personnel and physical support industry in addition to the unswerving political and economic pressures against it, that it is already dead. I think that it will be reborn in a couple of decades – barring a major radiation catastrophe like a storage meltdown near a populated area or a dirty bomb by a terrorist / mostly peaceful or religion of peace protestor of one sort or another.

Thus far, we have the luxury of fear over the need for expedience.

Nick Schroeder
December 26, 2020 8:03 am

Nuclear and other electricity based solutions to the climate change non-problem are futile unless and until the transportation sector gets electricated – and the mess and expense of that means – never!!!!!!!!!

EIA Total Energy.jpg
Nick Schroeder
December 26, 2020 8:04 am

Getting used to this new format that now allows posting of images.

So, here’s one of my favorites.

From Bastardi.

WUWT Bastardi loop.jpg
John Doran
December 26, 2020 8:26 am

Read nuclear PhD engineer Robert Zubrin’s great book: Merchants Of Despair. Excellent , if grim in places covering depopulation.

griff
December 26, 2020 8:26 am

‘Yes, they won’t be ready until 2027’ I’d like to believe that, but really there’s no evidence. The Chinese are pushing hard too on the Thorium thing, but I’ve seen their lead scientist say that there won’t even be a prototype ‘commercial’ model till the early 2030s.

So what do we do for the next decade? Coal power is steadily declining: every year existing plans get trimmed back and cancelled. Meanwhile more and more wind and solar get installed and new technologies are being trialled. After 10 years of progress, I wonder what demand there might still be for an SMR?

Meab
Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 9:09 am

The Chinese are building 300 coal plants in the next decade around the world and the Indians are expanding coal at a fast rate. Even the Germans were forced to build about two dozen lignite (dirty coal) burning plants in the last 20 years to back up unreliable wind and solar and provide power in the winter when solar does not work. In many areas where coal use is declining, it’s because cheap (and cleaner) natural gas has taken over as the main source of baseload and backup power for unreliable renewables. If you really want to get rid of coal and natural gas, it cannot be done with wind and solar. Claiming that it can is either ignorant or dishonest.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Meab
December 26, 2020 9:28 am

Seems to me it’s ignorant AND dishonest
The basis of alarmist climate Scientology

Reply to  Meab
December 26, 2020 3:50 pm

Meab
In Germany they have just shut down a GW coal plant that was only 5 years old.

They must be hoping that godfather Pompeo and his Neanderthals can’t stop Nordstream 2 from being completed, which it now seems will happen.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 9:26 am

If we spend a decade building wind and solar and decommissioning coal and gas, people will be screaming for nuclear to save us from wind and solar

MarkW
Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 10:33 am

The only place where coal is declining is in countries where the government has made it all but illegal. In China and Africa it’s growing fast, very fast.

Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 1:08 pm

Uh, griff, what is an SMR? Aren’t you confusing what the UK is doing versus the rest of the world? Who is “we”?

Paul C
Reply to  Anti-griff
December 26, 2020 2:28 pm

Small Modular Reactors would appear to overcome some of the regulatory hurdles which inhibit construction of new nuclear plants. Factory built modules and standardised construction allow for type approval instead of each plant having to go through an entire planning and regulatory approval process taking years/decades, and costing millions.

fred250
Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 2:19 pm

“Coal power is steadily declining:”

ROFLMAO.

There goes that little FANTASY trip griff is ALWAYS on.

Just the INCREASE in China’s coal fired fleet is FIVE TIMES the TOTAL of wind estimated by 2030.

Reply to  griff
December 26, 2020 4:00 pm

Meanwhile more and more wind and solar get installed and new technologies are being trialled. After 10 years of progress, I wonder what demand there might still be for an SMR?

Power technologies all seem wonderful when they’re still shiny and new. But renewables in the field lose vale at a spectacular rate. In a decade or two a Martian landscape red with rusting wind and solar plant will be one in which nuclear SMRs will be extraordinarily desirable.

And you will wear your eyes out looking for the big battery cavalry to ride to the rescue. There will be no deliverance from that direction.

Kevin
December 26, 2020 10:12 am

I worked on the cancelled AP1000 project in South Carolina. In my judgement, the project failed for mainly the following reasons:

  1. The design was not complete when construction commenced.
  2. Companies with no nuclear experience were selected to supply critical components which had trouble meeting quality requirements and were significantly delayed. One of the companies had to be bought to prevent creditors from seizing its assets which included a vital component.
  3. There were not enough nuclear-qualified workers such as welders, electricians, ironworkers etc. We were competing for such workers with a similar project in Georgia (which looks like it will be completed, but much delayed and considerably more costly than originally planned). Many of these workers were drawn from as far away as the Alaska Pipeline and were in their 50s or older. I was on a committee that looked at all the problems and non-compliances in design and construction including worker safety. While I did not conduct a statistical analysis, it seemed that these older workers were frequently getting injured, suffering heart attacks etc. Even when you could find younger workers, getting them past the drug tests and putting up with with nuclear requirements was an uphill struggle.

No private company will build a large nuclear plant in the US without massive financial assistance from the government for at least two decades.

You can talk about thorium reactors or traveling wave reactors but these still remain artist conceptions and computer models. Unlike the high technology industries or aerospace, nobody is even building prototypes except for NuScale (which was on the ropes about 10 years ago). What was done at Oak Ridge in the 1960s was a necessary but not sufficient demonstration for commercial and operational viability.

The NuScale SMR is the only game in town for nuclear for the foreseeable future.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Kevin
December 26, 2020 1:15 pm

In 2006 China State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation acquired AP1000 technology with the intent of supplying components despite concerns with political interference and inexperience with economics of nuclear power. So, yes, Plant Vogtle proceeds apace.

Epidemiologist G. Matanoski has suggested in the Eighties if I recall correctly that nuclear workers enjoyed better health than the general population. Her subjects are retired now, data then for her Nuclear Shipyard Worker Study.

Last edited 4 months ago by Doug Huffman
Kevin
Reply to  Doug Huffman
December 27, 2020 5:07 pm

Vogtle is likely to be the only AP1000 built outside of China.

Westinghouse was bought by a private equity firm in 2018. I doubt a PE firm would be enthusiastic about providing technical support for a product line of one. That is if the PE firm doesn’t milk Westinghouse dry and flip it.

TomR
Reply to  Kevin
January 2, 2021 9:19 pm

Westinghouse reactors are expected to be the preferred choice for 6 reactors planned in Poland.

Reply to  Kevin
December 26, 2020 4:31 pm

Kevin
The NuScale SMR is the only game in town for nuclear for the foreseeable future.

In the US that is. In the UK it’s Rolls Royce. Many countries are now getting in on SMRs. In Russia they don’t need them, they’ve already got 4th generation working such as fast breeders. They’re half a century ahead of the west that allowed themselves to be lobotomised by left wing anti-nuclear media. They have a population intelligent enough to support nuclear. We don’t.

Last edited 4 months ago by Phil Salmon
Paul Penrose
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 28, 2020 9:57 am

Since when have the Russian people had much of a say in what their government does? Intelligence of their general population has little to do with their nuclear power policies.

Robert of Texas
December 26, 2020 10:42 am

A carbon tax…right there I have no more respect for his opinions.

Nuclear can be good enough to make wind turbines work reasonably well, but once you know you have a steady base source of power you no longer NEED the wind turbines. That is the entire point. Nuclear does not improve wind power it replaces it.

Until advanced nuclear is an option, you go with what you have – natural gas. And again, if you build the backup power facilities using gas, you don’t NEED wind. It’s a complete waste of taxpayer money.

Kevin
Reply to  Robert of Texas
December 27, 2020 5:10 pm

Unfortunately, many in the nuclear power industry jumped on the climate change bandwagon. Few greens embraced nuclear. Another case of unrequited love.

December 26, 2020 11:28 am

The technical argument for nuclear is unquestionable and unanswerable. It’s obvious – to some.

But the obstacle to nuclear is political, not technical, and it relates to popular nooclear dread mythology that the left wing press have spent half a century cultivating.

The core problem with the nuclear-phobic electorate was summed up by George Carlin:

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 26, 2020 1:18 pm

The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.

Tom
December 26, 2020 1:46 pm

I listened to the entire interview, which was informative and interesting. Towards the end, Mr. Adams asserted that the seeds of the anti-nuclear movement had been planted by the fossil fuel industry (he seems somewhat anti-fossil fuel himself). I guess I can understand why the coal industry may have had an interest in opposing nuclear, but it’s hard to imagine that people in the oil and gas industry saw nuclear energy as much of a threat. In any case, the anti-nuclear campaign is now fully embraced by most environmental organizations. Any historical connection to the fossil fuel industry is of little importance. We would have anti-nuclear groups in any case.

Kevin
Reply to  Tom
December 27, 2020 5:22 pm

At first, the fossil fuel industry seemed to embrace nuclear. Gulf bought General Atomics. Exxon was heavily into the nuclear fuel business as was Kerr-McGee. But they all exited. If it wasn’t profitable, it’s hard to see why they viewed nuclear power as a threat.

The only angle I can think of is that the charitable foundations set up by the founders of the fossil fuel industry such as Rockefeller and Pew saw a threat to their stock portfolio. The Rockefeller Foundation funded much of Hermann Mueller’s research into the medical effects of radiation. Mueller’s left wing inclinations likely lead him to conclude that radiation was extremely dangerous to negate a US nuclear weapon advantage over the Soviets.

I would agree that the present day natural gas industry would like to see current nuclear plants closed and why they jumped in the renewable bandwagon. Nuclear is the only threat to natural gas for base load power. And renewables are not feasible without natural gas.

December 26, 2020 1:50 pm

Rod seems a bit biased due to Navy background. The development of nuclear power was very distorted in the USA because of nuclear bomb development. The shutdown of the molten salts reactor at Oak Ridge was a huge mistake. MSR’s are the way to go for civilian power. The petroleum industry and coal industries have always been mostly separate. The electric utility industry made man made errors that gave the industry a bad reputation….the public remembers Three-Mile Island…Fukushima….the Hollywood movie “China Syndrome”. We don’t need these huge white elephant built on site uranium fueled reactors. He made no mention of the mid-east and Russia as reasons for developing cheap abundant electric power so that the bad actors cannot have as much influence. Fifty years of development of molten salts thorium powered reactors have been wasted…past time to get back on track.

Kevin
Reply to  T. C. Clark
December 27, 2020 5:28 pm

It’s hard to think of government research directly producing commercially viable technology. While the ITER may demonstrate net fusion energy gain, I doubt it will lead to a commercially practical design of a fusion power plant.

December 26, 2020 3:27 pm

In the UK Rolls Royce are making SMRs and say they can have some installs by 2030.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54703204

The UK might be realising that this is their last chance to have any kind of technology based industry in the future. They gave their car industry to Europe and Asia. They gave aerospace and IT to the USA. They gave shipbuilding to Asia.

Nuclear SMRs in a world with a predicted growing market for low carbon energy gives old Blighty one last chance of a technology based export industry. Someone in Whitehall must have received a revelation that the country can’t just rely on the square mile in London and put the rest of the country out to tourism. Or just collectively pretend that shoddy drafty crumbling houses are made of gold bricks 🧱 .

Kit P
December 26, 2020 5:52 pm

While Rod is biased because of his brief navy nuclear experience, at least he has some experience compared to those with no experience who talk about mistakes. Rod’s mistake is talking about commercial power production.

What nuclear power plants do so well is produce huge amounts of power without concern about the supply of fossil fuels.

The reason I know a lot about naval PWRs, and commercial PWR and BWRs is that I was paid to know about that them. My first commercial start up was twin BWRs upgraded to 1350 MWe and extended to 60 years operation. Replaced an oil fired power plant for baseload.

Last was a two 1600 MWe EPRs in China. Just read about blackout in that area because of coal supply issues, coal weather, and high industrial demand.

The most expensive MW of power is the one that is needed and can not be produced. Reactors that are at the paper stage do not produce power.

UzUrBrain
December 27, 2020 11:44 am

The problem that all of the purveyors of “Distributed Generation” and Wind/Solar generation are ignoring is the fact that that power has to be DISTRIBURED. This distribution will not fit on existing distribution lines and can not be protected by the protection circuits in the substations. That creates numerous localized outages – like CA.

Look at the maps for the power distribution in your state. Notice how the existing power distribution looks like a spider web with the center at the existing NPP, Coal or NG power plant. That power then goes out to the customer through dozens of high voltage distribution power lines and multi dozen substations, all designed for sending power from the power plant toward the customer. This system will require a massive overhaul to be turned on its head and send power in the opposite direction.
Then there are the very high voltage transmission lines, like the one from the St Lawrence Seaway to NYC. This ether needs to be abandoned or factored into this distribution. And there are thousands of very high voltage transmission lines like that in the USA. You can not drive across Interstate 80 or 94 around Chicago with out traveling under three or four of these lines.

Here are just two examples. Either of which cost 10’s of billions a year just to maintain.

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/maps-and-diagrams/
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/04/f30/Panel%201%20Remarks%20by%20Gil%20Quiniones%2C%20President%20and%20Chief%20Executive%20Officer%2C%20New%20York%20Power%20Authority.pdf

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