Print 57 comment(s) - last by Ringold.. on Mar 3 at 12:52 AM

Electricity production costs drop to the lowest point in the industry's history.

You won't hear this on CNN, but the U.S. nuclear power industry set a record last year.  Despite rising costs of fuel and regulation, the average production cost of electricity dropped to an astounding 1.66 cents per kilowatt-hour.  This is a figure well below the cost of coal-generated electricity, and a tiny fraction of the cost of solar or wind power.  Furthermore,  nuclear plants generated 36% more electricty than they did 15 years ago, without a single new plant being built.  The industry just keeps getting better and better.

Nuclear power is a true clean, green energy source, with zero CO2 emissions, and less environmental impact than solar or wind.  Those sources of energy are extremely diffuse--which means they must be collected and concentrated.  A 1,000 MW solar plant requires 2 million tons of concrete, 600,000 tons of steel, 75,000 tons of glass, 35,000 tons of aluminum, and a whole host of rare and exotic elements.   This is several hundred times the materials needed by a nuclear plant the same size.  And the nuclear plant will have much higher availability and require much less maintenance.  Most telling of all is the costs which, for solar power, currently average a painful 28.6 cents per kW-hour.

Other nations are wiser here than the US.  France  generates 76% of its power from nuclear, South Korea has several new plants on order, and Finland is building a new one, specifically to meet its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.

Expanding the US nuclear power industry would allow the US to dramatically reduce carbon emissions ... and to save money while doing so.  And it's a solution available today, without the need for years of additional research and development.  Its high time we pulled our heads out of the sand, and started using it to its full potential.

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RE: No argument here.
By Matty P on 2/28/2007 8:14:17 AM , Rating: 3
Nuclear power is a reasonably green energy source right up until you come to decommision your spent powerstation and fuel. Then it gets messy for several thousand years. That is what people worry about. We in Britain worry about it a bit more as we seem to process half of the rest of the worlds nuclear waste as well as our own!
From an actual power generation point of view, nuclear is not the ultimate solution. It is very good at providing baseline power needs but you can't turn it on or off, so you still need a form of power generation which can cope with the peaks and troughs of usage (ie. fossil fuels or hydro).

RE: No argument here.
By porkpie on 2/28/2007 10:27:51 AM , Rating: 5
the waste from every other industry except nuclear is dangerous forever. heavy metals like lead and mercury, chlorine, etc, never decay, and stay dangerous forever.

see the point?

RE: No argument here.
By Matty P on 2/28/2007 11:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
That'd be why we have laws in the UK about their use and disposal. Its a good point though, just not the one being discussed in this article.

RE: No argument here.
By porkpie on 2/28/2007 12:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
the point is that nuclear waste is easily dealt with. we solved all the problems of dealing with it decades ago, its not even an issue.

RE: No argument here.
By Matty P on 2/28/2007 2:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
Depends what you mean by solved. If you mean dig a big hole and surround the waste with concrete, then, yeah its solved. But surely thats just putting the problem off? And thats before you've even started to decommission the actual power station...

I agree that we need to replace the existing nuclear power station fleet but we need to factor in the cost etc of clean up after they cease to be useful. :)

RE: No argument here.
By porkpie on 2/28/2007 2:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, it puts the problem off till the waste has decayed, which is all you need to do. theres already ten billion times as much radioactivity in the ground anyway, this doesn't cause any new problems.

oh, and the article link above takes into account the costs of decommissioning too. it only raises the price to 2.5 cents/kw-hour.

RE: No argument here.
By Merry on 2/28/2007 10:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
process half of the rest of the worlds nuclear waste as well as our own!

I believe we process it then use it again.

(ie. fossil fuels or hydro).

or windpower and such

I'm a strong supporter of nuclear power, my family have worked , indeed one of them still is working in the industry. I think that as a source of power its now pretty safe and, when implemented properly, very cheap. Of course there is still a lot of negatives attached to it and the whole 'not in my backyard' thing ( a problem which is more apparent here in the UK). I really do hope that people 'see the light' with regards nuclear power as, from the UKs perspective the north sea oil is all but gone and importing gas from Russia leaves us open to huge price swings which isnt really conducive to having a stable economy.

RE: No argument here.
By Matty P on 2/28/2007 11:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, some of the waste can get used again but there is always some absoute waste that has to be stored, along with the materials used to clean up the useful waste.

or windpower and such

I'm all for wind power, the windfarms look cool!
While family was in the fossil fuel side of power production at privatisation, we do have a number of friends who are in the nuclear side :) Creates some fun debates anyway!

RE: No argument here.
By ElJefe69 on 2/28/2007 11:33:32 PM , Rating: 2
wow. perfect explanation.

it is greenish power when it is on. making it, producing the material and then disassembling it all is incredibly harmful for the environment.

RE: No argument here.
By glennpratt on 3/2/2007 11:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
Making PVA's is harmful to the environment. Making windmills is harmful to the environment. Hell, making most sorts of alloys is harmful and uses a truck load of electricity.

Making batteries for hybrid cars is harmful for the environment. Making cars period is harmful.

Most of these things need to be properly recycled or they can cause an environmental disaster.

Do you get my drift?

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