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: Right on Masher
By Grast on 2/28/2007 11:55:10 AM , Rating: 2

You are correct dude. I believe that most people do not know that Three-Mile Island had two reactors and only one of the reactors had the accident. The other reactor has been running ever since.

The storage and safe handling of spent nuclear material has been successfully handled by the U.S. Navy for the last 30 years.

As to nuclear reactor design, the latest designs are a factor of 10 more safe than reactors built in the 80's. The latest reactor design do not need water pumps to move water from the reactor to the steam generators. The water moves via convection.

In the end if we want to stop using fossil fuels, nuclear is the only method which is viable at this time.


RE: Right on Masher
By masher2 on 2/28/2007 12:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
All excellent points, but I'd like to add a couple. First, the US Navy has actually been handling nuclear waste for 50 years...the first nuclear sub was commissioned in the mid-1950s.

Also, the nuclear reactors we built in the '80s are all based off designs from the 1960s. The technology has advanced far since then. You are correct in that there are far safer, cleaner, and more efficient designs on the books...but will we ever build them?

RE: Right on Masher
By JDub02 on 2/28/2007 2:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
The technology has advanced far since then. You are correct in that there are far safer, cleaner, and more efficient designs on the books...but will we ever build them?

The Navy is. There's a new reactor design that's going into the next class of carriers.

RE: Right on Masher
By Ringold on 2/28/2007 3:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
I came across an article stating FPL (or was it Progress Energy) was seeking sites to build two new reactors here in Florida. We've already got one; looks awesome driving by. Almost fools me in to thinking my local economy has solidly advanced beyond reliance on Disney world..

RE: Right on Masher
By Ringold on 2/28/2007 6:31:48 PM , Rating: 2

Half way down, says last April they submitted a notification that in 2009 they'll seek license to build another plant here in Florida. Along with disclaimers saying they will only be reviewing the option, they say it'd take 12 years from the start of the process to completion.

Progress Energy seems to want to build two new plants, probably in Citrus and Levy counties, but as of Dec 06 that hadn't been finalized yet. On top of that, they've recently finished adding 'units' (reactors?) to this..

And this seems to suggest FL encouraging all this nuclear expansion, but the site seems to be down for the moment.

So hopefully we will get some new plants built after all.

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