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NEI Vice President on C-Span

On Tuesday morning, Scott Peterson, NEI's Vice President of Communications, appeared on C-Span's Washington Journal program to talk about the nuclear energy industry. He was joined by Paul Gunter, director of the Reactor Watchdog Project at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

Click here for the video (42:36, Real Player required).

Best moment: Gunter mentioning a Forbes article critical of the industry from 1985 (way before Nirvana), and Peterson mentioning this article that appeared just this past January:
Marilyn Kray, an Exelon vice president, had gathered 11 executives from the largest nuclear operators and reactor vendors at a private room in Olives, a tony Washington, D.C. restaurant three blocks from the White House. As the dominant player, with 17 of the nation's 103 commercial reactors, Exelon of Chicago took the lead in discussing the future of the industry. (The company recently launched a $27 billion bid to buy PSE&G, a deal that would give it 3 more nuclear reactors and customers in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.) Sitting next to Kray was Dan R. Keuter, her counterpart at Entergy, the number two operator. As diners nibbled their salads, the two led them through a 23-page report. Kray asked, Why not band together to help each other build new plants--and usher in a new dawn of nuclear power?

1985? Did Gunter's subscription run out?

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Kelly L. Taylor said…
Here's a Paul Guther quote for us, from the show: "We've got to come to a new paradigm right now. Unlimited growth is a disaster. And that disaster is accelerating right now. So, to pursue a plan with unabated production that disregards nuclear waste, that disregards carbon emissions - this is really a dead end."

Do you suppose he really wants to build a popular mandate to limit electricity supplies? This nation's economics (and hence our security) are founded on cheap power. To limit growth, to limit power is to limit our future. Those most likely to suffer the earliest, the longest and the most, in such a vision for our great country's future, would be those least likely to afford high electricity prices: the poor, the children, and the sick. In my book, this is not a very compassionate visionary.
Norris McDonald said…
The video link does not work.

As a 26-year career environmentalist, I am often embarrassed by wildly illogical and completely inaccurate statements made by some of my environmentalist colleagues.

I do, however, know why they make these statements. They do not have to answer to anyone and they do not have to deliver a service or product. If you practice saying anything long enough, you will get good at it. And if there are no consequences for babbling, then why not keep on saying anything -- even though everything in America flies in the face of what you are saying.

If antinukers shut down all nuclear plants and if blackouts caused disruptions all over the country, my colleagues know that they will not be held responsible. If they actually had to provide electricity to America (in a global warming world) they would be out there advocating building more nuclear power plants (that is, if they have any sense).
Eric McErlain said…
Just tested the link, and it's working fine. Do you have Real Player installed?
Paul Gunter said…
Hi Kelly,

With regard to your question am I wanting to build a "popular mandate for limiting electricity supplies"?

Let's just say I don't support unfettered growth of excess electricity capacity just so the nuclear industry can get another turn to spin its wheel of fortune. Curious that there is never any mention of the excess capacity "problem" for new generation. Guess someone will just have to come up with more wasteful ways to use up electricity.

Energy efficiency and conservation are going to become more than just a novelty, but a necessity. Five national laboratories have concluded that an aggressive program of EE&C could cut 47% of current demand. Transfered into freeing up new capacity, that's cheape access to new capacity without new construction, hence a bounty of electicity for "poor, the children, and the sick" you claim I have dissed.

Now, you can call that a mandate or not.

Paul Gunter said…
BTW, you forgot to include the New York Times quote from Monday, May 02, 2005 that was laying in front of Connie on Washington Journal.
It includes a recent quote from Thomas Capps that if "I was to announce that we were going to build a new nuclear power plant, Standard and Poor's would have a heart attack. And so would my chief financial officer." She didnt have to reference it because I mention Capps quote from May 2004 that "Moody's and Standard and Poors would most assuredly drop your bonds to junk status and the hedge funds would be bumping into each other to short your stock." The Forbes 1985 article was just a reference point for the last days of construction of these dinosaurs.

Eric McErlain said…
Well, not everyone seems to feel that way. How do you explain some of the clips we've seen today regarding NuStart's cooperative agreement with DOE, or news that SCANA's CEO told his shareholders that his company has to consider new nuclear build?

All of this activity is going somewhere.
Kelly L. Taylor said…
Paul! It's great to see you here; I'm delighted you decided to join us in the blog.

The reason nobody talks about an excess capacity 'problem' is that there is no such thing. When capacity exceeds demand, then the market determines that only the cheapest power sources remain online. When the most expensive power sources sit idle too long, then they get permanently removed from service.

This is a good thing, since the more expensive power stations are generally the most polluting power sources (which makes sense, in accordance with the Clean Air Act, which increases the expense of pollutants). If we want to retire the old power stations, they have to be replaced with something. They don't come out of service until they get too expensive to operate.

Since you have given me permission, I will do so - a "mandate" to limit power supplies is a mandate to do two things - raise prices, and extend the life of the polluting stations that are already in service. Neither one gets my support.

It is a treat to 'see' you here, though!
I couldn't have said it better myself, Kelly. But I'll add my thoughts, anyway!

Peaking units are almost always the oldest and dirtiest plants of a generator's fleet. Such a fossil fuel burning plant usually has the highest production cost but has the capability to be online operating at its rated power quickly and reliably.

When demand nears or exceeds a generator's capacity, the peaking units run more often.

When capacity exceeds demand, these are the first units to be idled.
MKG said…

I am interested in your evaluation of Kelly and Lisa's comments regarding excess power reducing the use and operation of peaking units. It seems they have a very valid position.

I would appreciate your response.

Very civil for Paul Gunter to offer his views in this discussion. Curiously he insists repeating the caveat about excess electricity capacity, presumably generated via planned new nuclear stations.

We debate this issue as American citizens -all 300 million of us, at $42k/capita, GDP=+3.5%pa, consuming about 3kWh/day electric energy. The Chinese are x4.5 as many,making 1/6 as much, growing x3 as fast, using 1/6 of electricity; the Indians are x3.5, making 1/12 our income, growing twice as fast as we do, using 5% of our per capita electric energy. Neither the Indians nor the Chinese-40% of this planet- seem concerned about excess electric generating capacity; worst, such a state-side generated argument will be recognized in that part of the world as malodorous colonial paternalism.

Here at home, an excess electrical generating capacity will be equally welcome: optimally coupled to the anthropogenic circadian rythm of conventional electricity demand it can produce hydrogen in a centralized model and distributed it can run "smart" home appliances and charge my EDrive "tricked" Prius- at 6c/mile, magnet of green envy on the MassPike.

So, welcome, Paul.


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