Friday, September 29, 2006

Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Rounds Six, Seven and Eight

We’re going to speed things up in this post and hit the next three chapters. The main reason is because chapters 7 and 8 deal primarily with nuclear weapons, and since NEI is the policy organization of the commercial nuclear energy and technologies industry, I would like to stay focused on nuclear power.

Chapter 6 – Generation IV Nuclear Reactors

Other than the cynical tone throughout this chapter, nothing really stuck out for me to comment on. Dr. Caldicott did cite David Lochbaum from the Union of Concerned Scientists as saying (p. 127):


It is inappropriate for the industry to talk about Generation IV reactors when neither the United States nor the rest of the world has a Generation I high-level waste disposal site.
That’s a good point. We should be focusing on what we are going to do with the used fuel. And that’s what NEI has been doing. Over the past month there has been much activity with Congress, such as hearings and legislation, to support the safe disposal of used fuel.

The great thing with used fuel, as stated by our President and CEO Skip Bowman, is that:


Used nuclear fuel is stored safely today at nuclear plant sites, either in pool storage or in dry casks. It could remain in storage at nuclear plant sites, posing no threat to the public health and safety or to the environment, for an indefinite period of time. From an operational and technical perspective, and from a health and safety perspective, there is no immediate need to move used nuclear fuel to centralized interim storage facilities.
But since the United States and the world are looking at a “nuclear renaissance” (our CEO again):
it is absolutely essential to public and state policymaker confidence that the federal government identify and develop sites for centralized interim storage, ideally linked to future reprocessing facilities, and begin the process of moving used nuclear fuel to these interim storage facilities, in order to demonstrate its ability and willingness to meet its statutory and contractual obligation to move used fuel away from operating nuclear plants and decommissioned reactors.
This is our primary focus but given that the used fuel is fine where it’s at, I think many would find it perfectly acceptable to design and build even better and even safer nuclear reactors for the future.

Chapter 7 – Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
and
Chapter 8 – Nuclear Power and “Rogue Nations”


It is unfortunate that the nuclear power industry is stuck with the stigma of being connected to nuclear weapons. Everyone needs to recognize that whatever governments do with nuclear weapons should not be a reflection of commercial nuclear power. What we can and should always do is push our governments to use nuclear only for peaceful purposes and to get as far away from nuclear weapons as possible. And we have seen that happen between Russia and the United States.

The good that came out of the production of nuclear weapons was the ability to harness the atom for power. And as a result, the consumption of electricity has increased our standards of living and life expectancies.

And while proliferation is a concern, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership is a program that addresses it. Unless I missed it, neither GNEP nor the Megatons to Megawatts program were mentioned at all in Dr. Caldicott’s book.

Enough on weapons. Stay tuned for the last post, which will sum up the last two chapters about Dr. Caldicott’s solutions and alternatives to nuclear power.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Rounds Four and Five

Since we are only on chapter four out of 10 chapters I’m going to speed things up and do two chapters for each post.

Chapter 4 – Accidental and Terrorist-Induced Meltdowns

Caldicott, p. 83:

In a thirteen month period from March 7, 2000, to April 2, 2001, eight nuclear power plants were forced to shut down because of potentially serious equipment failures associated with aging of their mechanical parts – one shut down on average every sixty days. The NRC aging-management programs are thus failing to head off the equipment failures these programs are designed to prevent.
I don’t know about “potentially serious” but nuclear plants shut down quite frequently. Actually, more than every 60 days. If you ever follow my Energy Markets Reports (PDF) you can find a table on page 3 of the power status of each reactor during each day of the week. About once every week or two a reactor will scram automatically or the operators will decide to take a reactor down for maintenance. Most of the time, reactors are only down for several days.

But what many don’t seem to understand is that maintenance on plants is always needed. They are not perfect and you need to constantly maintain them especially since they are baseload plants running 24/7.

Here’s the thing. Nuclear reactors are billion dollar assets. Does it makes sense that a company will risk destroying them for a few extra megawatts? No. Companies value them so much that they spend millions of dollars to upgrade and replace expensive parts such as steam generators and reactor vessel heads.

On to terrorism. The issue of terrorism and nuclear plants is something we can go a hundred rounds on and still not come to an agreement. So let me cite a few things and we’ll move on.

First, here’s a picture of a containment wall which a plane or bomb would have to get through to get to the reactor.

Second, here’s a picture of the inside of a boiling water reactor with several more barriers which a plane or bomb would have to get through. And don't forget these barriers protect from things getting out as well.

Third, here’s a comparative size of targets of a nuclear reactor versus the pentagon and the world trade center.

And four, here’s a graphic that shows that nuclear plants have beefed up their security spending and personnel since 9/11.

Chapter 5 – Yucca Mountain and the Nuclear Waste Disaster

This issue is where she spent the least amount of time in her book. Caldicott, p. 107:
Never in its sixty-five-year history has the nuclear industry taken responsibility for the massive amounts of profoundly lethal radioactive waste that it has continued to produce at an ever-increasing pace.
Far from it. The used fuel is still on all the nuclear plant sites in the U.S. and we’re actually trying to get the Department of Energy to take responsibility for it. The nuclear utilities pay for all the used fuel and are also paying one-tenth of a cent per kWh produced from nuclear to build and store the used fuel at a repository. To date, there are more than $28B (PDF) in commitments for a repository.

Caldicott, p. 114 on discussing transportation of used fuel to Yucca Mountain:
And it is predicted that there could be fifty accidents a year, three of them serious, with radioactive releases. All eleven of the casks currently used by the DOE for radioactive transport have been found to be defective.
I guess she hasn’t seen these videos testing the strength and durability of the casks. If anyone has questions about the integrity of dry casks watch these videos.

According to the NRC’s Safety of Spent Fuel Transportation report, p. 6:
More than 1,300 spent fuel shipments regulated by the NRC have been completed safely in the U.S. during the past 25 years. Although there have been four accidents involving those shipments, none have resulted in a release of radioactive material.

Experience with past shipments confirms that the fundamental safety system is sound. The question becomes, "What might happen if there are thousands of future shipments?" The NRC continuously evaluates risks associated with spent fuel transport in a methodical and scientific way. To provide additional confidence, the NRC has sponsored several risk studies related to spent fuel transportation on highways and railroads.

... snip ...

On the basis of these studies, operational experience, and its own technical reviews, the NRC concluded that the shipment of spent fuel is safe at projected shipment levels. The NRC is continuing to follow developments in spent fuel shipping, including the performance of additional analyses and testing of spent fuel casks, to ensure that the risks remain low.

Enough for now. The next two chapters are on Generation IV reactors and proliferation.

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Postcards from a Nuclear-Free Zone, Part 2

As I was looking through my notes from Helen Caldicott's book-signing last night, I remembered how many times she said the nuclear industry tells lies. She said, "In science, you can't lie" and "You can't use propaganda when it comes to people's health."

I agree wholeheartedly, which is why her book and last night's event stun me so.

One of the things that shocked me was her assertion that an incident in Sweden this past summer was "two minutes from meltdown."

That is patently untrue. As explained in the post linked above, two of the four emergency diesel generators failed to start automatically and had to be started manually after the unit was disconnected from the grid. Similar to U.S. designs, each generator is capable of providing at least 50 percent of the power to run the usual safety systems. And this is in addition to the other redundant safety systems that, when all else fails, can prevent the core from damage.

Through my activities with International Youth Nuclear Congress, I know several engineers and other professionals who work in the Swedish nuclear industry. Were they close to a meltdown? Absolutely not.

In fact, the only person who even suggested such a dire scenario was not a "former plant manager" as early media reports referenced him, but rather a fellow who had a beef with Forsmark over some contracts.

From Sweden, Caldicott took us to the hills of Pennsylvania and spent most of the rest of her time reading from pages 65-72 of her book. These pages cover her assessment of the Three Mile Island accident. We also took a detour through Ukraine to talk about Chernobyl.

I don't even know where to begin in correcting the misinformation. It is so vast that a line-by-line rebuttal would take years. For anyone who takes the time to read the propaganda and conjecture, I urge you to look carefully at some of the sources Caldicott cites for her more outrageous claims. Among others, she cites her own previous books, Paul Gunter of NIRS, David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Joseph Mangano of the Tooth Fairy studies, all of whom are well-known for their anti-nuclear bias. From there, read NEI's information here and here and look carefully at those references (more below).

Citing dubious sources, she claims that thousands of people suffered acute radiation sickness and that there is a marked increase in cancer in Pennsylvania from TMI and 8,000 people have thyroid cancer from Chernobyl.

Let me make a non-exhaustive list of some of the people and organizations that directly counter Caldicott's claims of the effects of TMI and Chernobyl: The Pennsylvania Department of Health (with studies in 1981, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991), the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health (whose study in 2002, 23 years after the TMI event, covered the latency period of cancers associated with radiation exposure), Dr. Maureen Hatch (associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s School of Public Health), Dr. Mervyn Susser (Professor of Epidemiology, also at Columbia), Dr. Jan Beyea (a nuclear physicist in the New York office of the National Audubon Society), U.S. Federal Appeals Court, the International Chernobyl Project (an advisory group of international experts including representatives of the Commission of the European Communities, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Labor Organization), the WHO, the European Union, UNSCEAR, and the Chernobyl Forum (which is composed of experts from eight U.N. agencies and the governments of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine).

Now I know that Caldicott doesn't trust NEI, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Bush administration or the Pennsylvania Health Department, but doesn't it strain good sense to think that all of the abovementioned independent people and organizations are in a grand conspiracy with the nuclear industry?

I should add that when I asked Caldicott why she would choose to recognize such discredited sources as Mangano, she said that she didn't agree with him on his studies of baby teeth, but she liked his reports about TMI. If I had time to follow up (I wasn't allowed to ask more than one question) I would have asked her how one can trust any of the work of a person that so deliberately distorts facts and data.

More to come if my hands don't get too tired.

Postcards from a Nuclear-Free Zone, Part 1

David Bradish and I attended Helen Caldicott's book signing last night in Washington, DC at Busboys and Poets (I'm not Zagat, but I liked the place; good food, nice space, decent red wine).

There were a little over 30 people there and the event was co-sponsored by NIRS and the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee.

The event began with an introduction by Linda Gunter of NIRS. She asked for donations for NIRS because they are there to help "you and people around the world" end nuclear power. She said that despite the propaganda their side is winning. She also mentioned that she was proud to be in Nuclear-Free Takoma Park. A lovely woman that I spoke to after the event pointed out to a person on that Committee that they really aren't nuclear free if they have smoke detectors, lighted exit signs and the like. The fellow from the Committee said, "Yes, we aren't unreasonable about it." Well, that's good to know!

In introducing Helen Caldicott, Gunter said that she has committed her life's work to children. Now I find that a much more compelling introduction than the constant referral to her as a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Does she know that Joseph Stalin was also nominated?

On to Caldicott's presentation. I can't possibly go through everything she said, or everything I disagreed with, so I'll start off with impressions and then try to hit the most important points.

First, Caldicott is a passionate and witty woman and I can see how she has been so effective over the years at rounding up antinuclear groups.

But the amount of hyperbole, misinformation, and questionable sources she uses is shocking. And its scary because it is repeated so often that it becomes urban legend. I'll get to specifics later but I wonder how, as a trained physician, she can ignore the preponderance of evidence from reputable and objective sources (and I'm not even talking NEI or nuclear industry sources because I realize most people won't consider them objective) and instead latch on to fringe analyses and reports that are so often clearly biased.

Caldicott began by saying that when she started writing her new book to update her previous book, Nuclear Madness, she needed help to make sure it was accurate. She praised the staff at NIRS saying that "they know everything" about nuclear and the book is accurate because of their assistance. I would argue with that statement, but not at this time.

She also said that NIRS is responsible for "holding the nuclear power industry at bay" and for that reason everyone needs to give them all the money they can afford.

Next, Caldicott specifically denounced NEI and mentioned this blog. She said that Paul Gunter (Hi Paul!) told her that NEI is "tearing apart" her book, but only used information on NEI's website to counter her claims. Then she said that we were arguing with her on the issue of strontium. I have to think that she hasn't actually read what we've written because 1)she would see that we have used plenty of sources beyond NEI reports and that the data NEI does provide is clearly referenced--often to objective sources like the International Energy Agency and 2)that there are no references to strontium in our review of her recent book. There was a post in 2005 about the latest in the Tooth Fairy study that challenged Joseph Mangano, but Caldicott was only mentioned as another example of an antinuclear activist.

Caldicott then ranted (and I mean ranted) about how the nuclear industry is supported by socialism and that it just lies. She went on and on about "the lies" including a foray into the medical effects of nuclear war and how generals love their weapons...I never really figured out the connection to commercial power, but it doesn't really matter when there is that much emotion, does it?

Then she said that if you want to destroy the US "all you have to do" is meltdown Indian Point which would destroy New York. She said that the 9/11 terrorists had the plant as a target and "she didn't know why" they didn't hit it instead of the World Trade Center. Perhaps because they had objectively studied the design of nuclear power plants and realized that they are heavily fortified and protected and that flying a plane into one wouldn't result in the kind of death and destruction they could get from so many other targets?

I was amazed when she went on to say that the nuclear industry hasn't improved security at all since 9/11. This statement is either a blatant lie or shockingly ignorant. It's a matter of public record that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued new, tighter security requirements since 9/11 and that all power plants have met them. Even antinuclear groups like Public Citizen acknowledge that security has increased even if they don't believe that it is enough. And on that topic, I refer you to this fact sheet. Yes, it is an NEI document, but the evaluations of nuclear power plant security come from independent sources such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.

Ok, that's all the time I have right now but I'll try to post more later.

NEI Nuclear Performance Report (August 2006)

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month:

For August 2006, NEI estimates the average net capacity factor reached 97.8 percent. This figure is 0.4 percentage points higher than the same one month period in 2005. NEI estimates monthly nuclear generation at 72.2 billion kilowatt-hours for August 2006 compared to 71.6 BkWh for the same one month period in 2005.

For 2006, NEI estimates year to date nuclear generation at 532.0 billion kilowatt-hours compared to 520.3 BkWh in 2005 (2.2 percent increase).

For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Round Three

Chapter 3 – Nuclear Power, Radiation and Disease

This chapter appears to be where Dr. Caldicott spent the most time writing her book. Caldicott, p. 39:

Routine and accidental radioactive releases at nuclear power plants as well as the inevitable leakage of radioactive waste will contaminate water and food chains and expose humans and animals now and for generations to come.
What do you mean “inevitable leakage”? I wonder if she’s aware that in Gabon, West Africa, a natural nuclear reaction occurred 2 billion years ago in which all the radioactive waste was contained. And that's with a nuclear reaction. It's more evidence that nature and humans will be able to contain and store waste for thousands of years.

Caldicott, p. 44:
However, no dose of radiation is safe, and all radiation is cumulative.
A great basic understanding of radiation can be found in Dr. Max Carbon's book, "Nuclear Power: Villain or Victim?" On page 29, you can read that:
radiation doses in the range of a few times our yearly background level are either harmless or are actually beneficial.
And on page 30, five studies are mentioned that prove this statement is true, contrary to Dr. Caldicott's assertion.

Caldicott, p. 44:
We are exposed to a background radiation dose of about 100 millirems per year from the earth and sun.
That’s not what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says. It says we receive about 360 millirems per year from the earth and sun.

Caldicott, p. 45:
The rules are even more lenient for nuclear workers, who are allowed doses of 5 rems per year (5,000 millirems).
Five rems may be the rule; however, page 4-8 of the NRC's report on Occupational Radiation Exposure at Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors and Other Facilities (PDF), say that the average measurable dose per worker in 2004 was 150 millirems -- 3 percent of the allowable dose.

Caldicott, p. 45:
Because most nuclear workers are men, mutated genes in their sperm will be inherited by their offspring and passed on to future generations.
The idea that high doses of radiation caused genetic mutations -- an idea based on experiments with fruit flies -- was popular about 70 years ago. Not anymore. The best sources of study for genetic effects were the two nuclear bombs released at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

Carbon, p. 26:
…extensive studies of 30,000 children born to parents who were exposed to radiation in the blasts have found no evidence of genetic effects.
Caldicott, p. 59:
By contrast, coal plants release some uranium and uranium daughter products in their smoke but very little radiation compared to atomic plants, and certainly no fission products.
Not according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you want to calculate the radiation dose where you live, you will find a coal-fired plant emits about .03 mrem of radiation versus nuclear’s .009 mrem.

On page 73 of Dr. Caldicott’s book, Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) was sourced for information on the health effects of Three Mile Island. Surprise, surprise. We have dealt with him and the RPHP numerous times on his claims with the “tooth fairy project.”
Scientifically-based reviews continually show these claims to be false. The claims of the “tooth fairy project” have not been supported by mainstream scientists, the majority of whom have accused RPHP of using “junk science” and manipulated data to support a pre-set agenda based on inciting fear in the public.
There is much more we can discuss here in this post, but I’ll leave it at this. If readers would like some great information on radiation and its health effects, start on page 23 of Carbon’s book.

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Domenici Introduces Yucca Mountain Bill

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) today introduced legislation designed to enhance the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs at a geologic repository planned for Yucca Mountain, Nev.

According to handouts at a press briefing Domenici held this morning, the bill:

  • authorizes the Department of Energy to permanently withdraw 147,000 acres for purposes related to used fuel storage, in addition to land required for rail transportation
  • repeals the 70,000-metric-ton statutory limit on emplacement of radioactive material at Yucca Mountain (the capacity of the mountain should be determined by scientific and technical analysis)
  • gives DOE authority to begin construction of infrastructure for the repository and surface storage facilities as soon as DOE completes an environmental impact statement that evaluates these activities
  • requires DOE to issue contracts for used fuel and high-level waste acceptance by DOE from new nuclear plants no later than 25 years after the new nuclear plant begins commercial operation
  • takes the Nuclear Waste Fund “off budget”
  • requires the NRC to consider the provisions of this legislation and DOE's obligation to develop a repository as grounds for "waste confidence" with regard to building new nuclear plants.
  • The bill also requires DOE to file for a license with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a surface storage facility at the Nevada Test Site at the same time it files its application for a construction authorization for a repository at Yucca Mountain.

    The licensing of the storage facility would be carried out under NRC’s storage regulations (10 CFR Part 72). As soon as DOE receives the license for the surface storage facilities from the NRC, DOE may begin moving defense fuel and waste to the Nevada Test Site. According to Domenici, this accelerates defense fuel and waste shipments by a full 88 months, as compared to waiting for the repository to be licensed under DOE’s current schedule.

    As a policy matter, under the Domenici bill, commercial used fuel can be moved to the licensed storage facility only after DOE receives the construction authorization for the repository. According to Domenici, this accelerates commercial used fuel shipments, as compared to waiting for the repository to be operational. The exisiting requirement that nothing be placed underground in the repository until DOE receives the repository operating license remains in place.

    In addition, DOE is limited in moving only “legacy” commercial fuel to Yucca Mountain. Legacy fuel is defined as fuel that the Secretary of Energy determines is not eligible for recycling under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), based on recycling capacity.

    "This measure provides DOE with the authorities needed to execute the Yucca Mountain project, and to begin long-term emplacement, while the GNEP program will reduce the volume of material to be emplaced in the mountain, eliminating the need for a second repository program," Domenici said at the press briefing.

    NEI President and CEO Skip Bowman called the legislation "a positive step forward," adding:

    "The provisions contained in this legislative proposal will help achieve the opening of the state-of-the-art repository planned for Yucca Mountain and allow for more timely movement of defense waste and civilian used fuel. This will help fulfill our duty to future generations to be responsible environmental stewards. Although the federal government is investigating used-fuel recycling, there will be some byproducts of the nuclear energy cycle that require geologic disposal. This makes the timely commencement of operations near the Yucca Mountain repository imperative."

    UPDATE: Click here for Sen. Domenici's speech on the Senate floor, and here for a news release from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Environment, Energy, Politics, Technology, Economics, Yucca Mountain, Dominici, Used Nuclear Fuel

    EIA's Natural Gas and Oil Reserves' Annual Report

    The Energy Information Administration recently released an Advance Summary of U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves - 2005 Annual Report (PDF). Here's are some highlights:

    Reserves additions replaced 164 percent of 2005 dry natural gas production as U.S. natural gas proved reserves increased for the seventh year in a row according to estimates released today by the Energy Information Administration. The 6 percent increase in 2005 was the largest annual increase in natural gas proved reserves since 1970.

    Reserves additions of crude oil replaced 122 percent of the 2005 production. Crude oil proved reserves went up in 2005 for the first time in 3 years, increasing by 2 percent. Two of the four largest U.S. oil-producing areas, Texas and California, reported increases in proved crude oil reserves in 2005 while the Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore and Alaska reported declines.

    U.S. crude oil production declined in 2005 due to lower production in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The Rocky Mountain States, however, generally increased their crude oil production in 2005 with Montana showing the largest increase at 36 percent owing to development of the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin.

    Gas reserves additions onshore in the lower 48 States were large enough to overcome a 10 percent drop in gas reserves reported for the Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore. The majority of natural gas reserves additions in 2005 were extensions of existing gas fields rather than new field or reservoir discoveries.

    Total U.S. natural gas production declined 4 percent in 2005 due to the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita which cut natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico (which had accounted for 20 percent of U.S. dry gas production in 2004) by 80 percent at the peak of hurricane-related curtailments. Gulf of Mexico production slowly returned and is expected to reach roughly 90 percent of 2005's pre-hurricane production rate in September 2006. Gas production from the Gulf had been declining at about 10 percent per year prior to the hurricanes.

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    NEI Energy Markets Report (September 18th - 22nd)

    Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

    Electricity prices were again mostly decreasing throughout the country last week (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices continued to fall at the Henry Hub declining $.47 to $4.70/MMBtu (see page 4).

    Gas and oil futures dropped quite a bit for the winter months (see page 6) while uranium prices rose $.75 to $54/lb U3O8 according to UxC and remained at $53/lb U3O8 according to TradeTech (see page 7).

    Nuclear capacity availability was at 90% last week. Eight reactors were down for refueling and three were offline for maintenance (see pages 2&3).

    For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Round Two

    Chapter Two – Paying for Nuclear Energy

    Caldicott, p. 19:

    The nuclear industry myth says that nuclear power costs only 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour, whereas coal costs 2 cents and gas-fired power costs 5.7 cents.
    What I find irritating about this statement is that Dr. Caldicott didn't even source NEI for the numbers. These came from us, and if she’s going to dog us, we at least want the recognition. The numbers were the 2004 production costs found here (PDF, now includes 2005 figures, which the production costs of coal and gas have increased.)

    On the same page, she cites a report from the New Economics Foundation that concluded “that the cost of nuclear power has been underestimated by almost a factor of three.” Here’s a previous blog done on the NEF report about a year ago.

    Caldicott, p. 19:
    Indeed, the nuclear industry baldly provides false estimates of the financial cost of nuclear electricity, failing to account for the total nuclear fuel cycle, basing their numbers on incomplete data.
    Come on. This tells me two things: 1) she didn’t take the time to explore our Web site, where she can find a link to costs here, or 2) she did find it but wanted to paint the picture of false estimates based on one chart.

    Caldicott, p. 24:
    If the economics of nuclear power look so dismal, why is there suddenly a huge push by the nuclear industry for new reactor construction?
    Maybe it’s that the figures are not as “dismal” as she believes. Markets are always changing, and have changed more and more in favor of nuclear power. Fossil fuels, particularly natural gas and oil, have experienced higher prices and increased volatility (PDF).

    CO2 emissions are coming under more and more scrutiny by governments, and it is only a matter of time before CO2 regulations are in place in the United States.

    In addition, the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2006, projects that the United States is going to need about 170 gigawatts of coal capacity by 2030. That’s equal to about 170 average-sized nuclear plants.

    What these projections tell us is that the country is going to return to building baseload capacity. After about 15 to 20 years of building peaker plants (natural gas capacity), the United States will need baseload again by the middle of next decade. And what are the two options for baseload? Coal and nuclear. Perfect timing for nuclear.

    Coal technology is becoming increasingly cleaner, especially with the latest technology -- the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle coal plant. So far only a handful of IGCC plants have been built in the world, including two in the United States. According to a Wisconsin Public Service Commission draft report (PDF, p. 1):
    As there is limited construction and operating experience with IGCC, there is a range of uncertainty in determining costs for IGCC.

    Page 19 of the report details the projected capital costs for the technology. It’s about the same range of some estimates for new nuclear plants. And this is without CO2 sequestration.

    I’m not trying to rail on the new coal technology because, in my opinion, it’s the advancement of technology that will reduce emissions eventually to nil. My point is to show that new coal and nuclear plants are in the same boat with regards to capital costs and uncertainty. And these are the two large-scale generating technologies that will be built over the next several decades.

    Back to Caldicott. Since we are discussing economics, you can imagine that subsidies soaked up quite a bit of ink in this chapter. Particularly regarding the latest energy bill. The only problem I have with this is that she does not show what incentives other energies received in the bill as well. Energy bills have not been passed without something for everyone.

    According to slide 6 of an Entergy presentation (PDF), a pie chart shows the incentives received by all energy sources, as well as how much R&D funding has been received over the past decade. Nuclear was right smack in the middle of the pack for incentives received.











    Economics is key to a sustained “nuclear renaissance.” The primary costs of concern are the construction costs due to the substantial amount of money needed to build a reactor. And of course, escalating costs are primarily what halted new-plant construction in the past.

    Much has changed since then. Standardized designs, a one-step licensing process and simpler reactor technologies, to name a few factors, should make nukes much easier and faster to build. The key is getting over the uncertainties and hurdles of the first few new plants.

    But it can be done and will be done, and we have confidence that the next generation of nuclear plants will be popping out on an assembly line over the next several decades.

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    Cool Stuff for Nuclear Nerds

    Since I'm not doing engineering work on a day-to-day basis anymore, sometimes I don't hear about what kind of cool research is going on. For instance, at MIT engineers are doing some fascinating work to improve the performance of PWRs.

    First, they are playing around with fuel pellet design.

    They changed the shape of the fuel from solid cylinders to hollow tubes. This added surface area that allows water to flow inside and outside the pellets, increasing heat transfer. The new fuel turned out even better than Hejzlar dared hope. It proved to be easy to manufacture and capable of boosting the plant power output of PWRs by 50 percent.
    They are also looking at improving the overall efficiency of the plant. Some of you may remember my tongue-in-cheek suggestion about improving on the efficiency of the thermodynamic cycle in a post last month.

    Well, color me red and call me jolly--that's exactly what they are trying to do!
    [Buongiorno's] laboratory works on nanofluids - base fluids such as water interspersed with tiny particles of oxides and metals only billionths of a meter in diameter. Buongiorno's nano-spiked water, transparent but somewhat murky, can remove up to two times more heat than ordinary water, making it an ideal substance for nuclear plants.
    Gosh. It almost makes me want to go back to MIT, lock myself in a lab for 16 hours a day and get in on some of this research...Ok, those of you that know me are probably breaking out in gales of laughter, but it IS exciting, isn't it?

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    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Round One

    During the course of this week I plan to tackle each chapter of Dr. Caldicott’s book and battle the claims made against the nuclear industry. I can probably predict who’s going to win round one, as it is an issue we have beaten to death on this blog and others. But let’s see what I come up with before we declare a winner.

    Chapter 1 – The Energetic Costs of Nuclear Power

    The first sentence of Chapter 1 starts with:

    The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the propaganda wing and trade group for the American nuclear industry, spends millions of dollars annually to engineer public opinion.
    Don’t we feel special? I guess we should take it as a compliment that we’re mentioned right off the bat because that means we’ve been doing our job of getting nuclear industry messages out to the public.

    But according to the author, our clean-air messages are “fallacious and misleading.” If you can guess what the topic of the first chapter is, you’re probably right -- the lifecycle emissions of nuclear power. And the source of hers and every anti’s claims on this issue is none other then Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith.

    Last year we began to tackle this issue and have since accumulated more and more data that conflict with the two authors' conclusions. Here’s a post from earlier this month that includes five sources analyzing nuclear’s lifecycle CO2 emissions. Unlike van Leeuwen and Smith, who only compare nuclear to gas, these sources compare nuclear’s results to other fuels, and they reach roughly the same conclusions. And I should note that three of these five sources are non-nuclear.

    Just to give you some numbers in this post, van Leeuwen and Smith’s analysis concludes that nuclear emits (Caldicott, Chapter 1, p.6):
    one-third as much CO2 emission as gas-fired electricity production. The rich uranium ores required to achieve this reduction are, however, so limited that if the entire present world electricity demand were to be provided by nuclear power, these ores would be exhausted within nine years. Use of the remaining poorer ores in nuclear reactors would produce more CO2 emission than burning fossil fuels directly.
    Two points: one is that the sources to which I reference conclude that nuclear’s lifecycle emissions are about 2 percent to 6 percent that of natural gas-fired plants, not 33 percent. And two, rich uranium ores are expected to be around in the “foreseeable future.” According to the World Nuclear Association, the UK Energy Review, the OECD’s “Red Book” and our own Dr. Clifton Farrell to name a few, there’s plenty of uranium to go around, to sustain a “nuclear renaissance” and then some.

    Caldicott, Chapter 1, p.17:
    With the knowledge about these topics that is now available, however, clearly the nuclear industry is running a public relations scam of massive proportions.
    I don’t think so. Numerous sources have been provided here to back up our claims contrary to the only source Dr. Caldicott cites. And our sources reach the same conclusion, independent of each other. Coincidence?

    If she thinks we are running a PR scam, I would be curious to hear what she thinks about the Metrobuses in DC that say "This bus is running on clean natural gas."

    Stay close for round two; it's on one of my favorite issues -- economics.

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    Interesting Point...

    Kristen Nelson at 20/20 Energy makes a good point, and Dr. Helen Caldicott should take notice as she tours the country with her new book, "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer."

    The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that a person typically gets about 1 millirem of radiation for every thousand miles of jet travel. By that calculation, Dr. C. will pick up about 4 millirems on her book tour. (Even more if she has a layover someplace and spends time watching TV in the airport bar.)

    The American Nuclear Society figures it out by hours in the air. ANS says she'll get about 0.5 millirems per hour in the air. Helen's flights should take at least 13 hours -- please don't keep her in a holding pattern -- so, by ANS's method, she's actually getting about 6.5 millirems.

    ANS also adds another .002 millirems every time you go through airport security. Assuming that she's going to be flying in and out of eight or nine major cities, she'll pick up another .016 or so millirems.

    ...

    If only Helen would retire to a nice neighborhood with a nuclear power plant, where her radiation exposure would fall to a much more reasonable .01 millirems per year.


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    News from the North

    The Ottawa Business Journal reports that ...

    Ontario Power Generation has taken the first step toward construction of a new nuclear generating station at Darlington, east of Toronto.
    ... by submitting an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The next step is for the CNSC to complete an environmental review.

    OPG's current energy portfolio is 41% nuclear and 30% hydro so that a whopping 71% of its electricity production is emission-free. The province as a whole is over 50% nuclear and 22% hydro.

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    Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

    In anticipation of the separation of its gas and electric operations into two stand-alone companies, Duke Energy has named the future executive leadership team for its electric business. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, James Rogers, president CEO of Duke Energy, is expected to become chairman of the board as well. As previously announced, David Hauser will continue in his role as group executive and chief financial officer. In addition:

    • Henry “Brew” Barron Jr., currently group vice president of nuclear generation and chief nuclear officer, will become group executive and chief nuclear officer.
    • Bryan Dolan will be managing director of nuclear projects.
    • Dhiaa Jamil will be group vice president of nuclear support.
    • Ronald Jones will be group vice president of nuclear operations.

    Aon Corp. has named Scott Malchow vice president and head of investor relations. Malchow joins Aon Corp. from Andrew Corp., where he was director of investor relations.

    Black & Veatch has appointed Paul Weida vice president of government affairs. It also has named Mark Prenni director and vice president of corporate safety services. Weida has been with Black & Veatch since 1982, and Prenni since 1994.

    The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has named Chuck Meyer executive vice president of the new planning and governance organization at the federal agency. Meyer has been with BPA since 1976, most recently as vice president of transmission marketing and sales.

    Stephen Gomersall (PDF), Hitachi Ltd.’s chief executive for Europe, will maintain his current title and take on the additional role of senior vice president and executive officer, effective Oct. 1.

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers re-elected Edwin Hill to a second five-year term as international president. Jon Walters was elected to his first full term as international secretary-treasurer.

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    Please Irradiate My Spinach

    While we tend to focus here on commercial power, we shouldn't forget to mention other beneficial uses of nuclear science and technology. My colleague Todd Flowers recently wrote about food irradiation and the role it could play in preventing food-bourne illnesses related to bacteria like E.Coli in a letter-to-the-editor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    For more information about food irradiation visit this page by the American Nuclear Society, this page from the Centers for Disease Control, and this page from the the USDA Food Safety Research Information Office. Here are a couple of quotes from that last link:

    Currently irradiation is the only known method to eliminate E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in raw meat. Irradiation also significantly reduces levels of other pathogenic organisms including Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter and the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondi on raw products.
    and
    Extensive studies have been performed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to determine the safety and quality of irradiated foods. It has been determined that there is no harm in the food itself or risk to the consumers, that the disease-causing germs are dramatically reduced or even possibly eliminated, and the food itself does not become radioactive.
    The way I've explained it to people is that just like having an X-ray does not make a person radioactive, neither does food irradiation make what we eat radioactive.

    Let's continue to spread the word!

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    “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer”

    I’m sure many of the readers of NEI Nuclear Notes already know what I’m going to discuss just by reading the title of this post. For those who don’t know, I plan to take time this week to bore in and give my thoughts on Helen Caldicott’s new book, “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.” This is great timing because she will be in D.C. this week for part of her book tour.

    To start off her book, she acknowledged many of the usual anti-nuclear suspects. Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith are two whom we have discussed many times on this blog with regards to their lifecycle emissions analysis. David Lochbaum was cited many times throughout the book, as he has been critical of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear industry. Amory Lovins was all over this book with his solutions of using energy efficiency, renewables and decentralization. And of course, we can’t forget one of our favorite anti-nuclear critics who occasionally stirs up debate on this blog, Paul Gunter, of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

    Let me begin this series of posts with some general thoughts I’ve had about the book. First, this book could almost convince uninformed readers that nuclear power really is not the answer. There were several times in the book that if I didn’t know anything about the situation I would want to take a stick to the nuclear industry, beat it down and blame it for everything.

    However, that was far from what I felt. As I read through it, I kept red sticky notes on every page that I had a problem with. As you can imagine, by the end of the book it was filled with red.

    Throughout the book, the main topic Caldicott seemed really bent on was the relationship of nuclear power to nuclear weapons. It does make sense, as she has spent much of her time fighting against nuclear weapons, for which she should be commended.

    One thing that kept popping up in my mind was that I couldn’t find one mention of a positive aspect of nuclear power. If I were undecided about nuclear power, I would want to see the pros and cons of every issue. Instead, this book offers only the cons. If Dr. Caldicott is trying to appeal to the undecideds, I’m sure many of them became much more skeptical of the anti-nuclear movement after this book. It is more of a reference for those who already are against nuclear power.

    During the series of posts this week, I plan to get into to all of those red sticky notes, offer my thoughts and ask readers for their thoughts. I do ask one thing, though, and that is that we debate the issues and keep it clean. Stay tuned for more.

    UPDATE FROM THE EDITOR: Welcome to readers of Tim Blair. David has been continuing his series all this week. His followup posts are linked below:

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power – Round One

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power - Round Two

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power - Round Three

    Dr. Caldicott vs. Nuclear Power - Rounds Four and Five

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    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Taking a Break ...

    I'm going on vacation next week, so this will be my last post for about 10 days. I'm headed for North Carolina with my golf clubs.

    In the meantime, Janice, David, Lisa and all of the guest bloggers will be able to take care of you. I'm interested to see what they come up with.

    Go nukes! See you all again in October.

    Progress Applies for Crystal River Uprate

    Off the wire from Progress Energy:

    Progress Energy Florida (PEF) has asked state regulators to approve increasing the output of the utility's Crystal River nuclear plant, a proposal that is expected to save billions of dollars for customers.

    Increasing the plant's gross output from 900 megawatts (MW) to 1,080 MW will be enough to serve an additional 110,700 homes. (Based on approximately 615 homes per MW, the higher-output plant could serve about 664,200 homes.) Because nuclear energy is the most cost-effective way to generate electricity, the uprate is expected to save customers more than $2.6 billion in gross fuel costs through 2036.
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    Anti-Nukes on Patrol at Shearon Harris

    We Support Lee took a look at some of the recent anti-nuke activity around Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, and came back less than impressed.

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    NEI Energy Markets Report (September 11th - 15th)

    Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

    Electricity prices were again decreasing throughout the country last week (see pages 1 & 2). Gas prices continued to fall at the Henry Hub declining $.21 to $5.17/MMBtu (see page 4).

    Electricity consumption is expected to increase by 0.9 percent in 2006 and by 1.2 percent in 2007. Electric power sector consumption of coal is projected to grow by a modest 0.3 percent in 2006, and then increase by another 2.0 percent in 2007. Barring extreme weather for the rest of the year, we expect the Henry Hub spot price to increase to an average of almost $10 per mcf by this January and then fall back to an average $7 per mcf by next summer. The Henry Hub price, which averaged $8.86 per mcf in 2005, is expected to average $7.51 per mcf in 2006 and $8.30 per mcf in 2007 (see page 8).

    For the report click here (pdf). It is also located on NEI's Nuclear Statistics webpage.

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    IBEW Passes Pro-Nuclear Resolution

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) adopted a resolution in support of nuclear energy at its annual international convention Sept. 15.

    The resolution (PDF) encourages “legislation that creates an integrated, environmentally sound, secure high-level radioactive waste system that ensures timely central storage, safe transportation and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuels and nuclear byproducts.” The resolution also urged the siting, construction and operation of low-level radioactive waste facilities.

    The IBEW also called on the federal government to continue to partner with private industry on research and development of “standardized advanced reactor designs which will improve safety, economy and performance to help meet increasing electricity demand.” Partnerships also should focus on providing the nuclear energy industry with a well-trained work force, the resolution said.

    Finally, the IBEW supported regulatory reform to make the regulatory process “more objective and efficient, while ensuring safety and maintaining production.”

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    CASEnergy's Whitman on E&E TV

    On the latest edition of E&E TV's On Point, CASEnergy Coaltion co-Chair Christie Todd Whitman talks with Mary O'Driscoll about the work of the coalition and how expanding the use of nuclear energy can help boost energy diversity and security. Click here for a transcript.

    To join the CASE Coalition, click here. Both individuals and organizations can become members.

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    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    More Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy

    If I had to come up with a short list of pro-nuclear blogs, I'm pretty sure TreeHugger wouldn't make the list. In general, I think it's safe to say that most of their contributors range from neutral to overtly hostile when it comes to the question of nuclear energy.

    The readers, however, seem to be a different story. Because whenever somebody attacks nuclear energy, supporters of the technology manage to chime in and fight the good fight. Take a look at just a few of the comments that were inspired to respond to a post at TreeHugger on the recent UCS report:

    This report seems to focus only on older plants. So what about the Third and Fourth Generation nuclear plants being developed to replace the old? And "Chernobyl Like Disaster"? Please spare me the scare tactics.

    [ ... ]

    This article seems designed to turn up the FUD factor on nuclear power. Read the PM (Popular Mechanics) articles on new reactor designs.

    [ ... ]

    AS I have posted here before nuclear is no more expensive than other methods of energy production. The info is out there.
    This is not the first time we've seen this, and it won't be the last. I know this evidence is simply anecdotal, but when combined with the public opinion data that NEI has been tracking for years, it's clear that something different is going on in the environmental movement today.

    If you're out there, know that we're ready to talk. And we're ready right now.

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    Duke Energy CEO: Nuclear Energy Headed for the Carolinas

    Over and over again, we've heard nuclear critics say that any company that announced plans for new nuclear build would get clobbered by Wall Street. I wonder what those folks would have to say about this story:

    North Carolina or South Carolina are the likely sites for the rebirth of nuclear power plants in the United States, Duke Energy Corp. (DUK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive James Rogers said on Wednesday.

    Rogers, speaking at a Bank of America investment conference in San Francisco, said in response to a question that if a new nuclear plant is built in the United States, "it will be in the South and it will be in the Carolinas."
    Short of an actual announcement that Duke is ordering components, I don't know what else you might want to hear. As always, the place to hang if you want to talk nuclear energy in the Carolinas is We Support Lee. For more discussion, check out The Liberty Lounge.

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    Aussies to Gear Up Uranium Production

    With massive Asian economies needing ever larger supplies of energy, Australia is getting ready to export more uranium.

    I know I've mentioned this issue before, but I think it bears repeating: I sleep well at night knowing that one of America's closest allies -- and one with rock solid political stability -- holds the world's largest reserves of uranium. The map on the left displays just how extensive the Australian uranium industry really is. It's good news for America and it's good news for the world.

    As always, to keep up with the latest developments on the Aussie nuclear industry, check in with Robert Merkel.

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    Sniffing Out Greenpeace on Uranium Reserves

    Keep passing along the same bad research over and over again -- say about uranium reserves -- and eventually somebody is going to figure it out. Thanks to Energy from Thorium for the pointer.

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    A Look at Generation IV Reactors With Popular Mechanics


    Popular Mechanics -- which is rapidly proving to be a reliable source on technology issues in a world where plenty of folks seek to take advantage of technological illiteracy -- has just completed an excellent primer on Generation IV nuclear reactors. And if case you missed it, here's their latest podcast (MP3), where they deal with a bunch of nuclear energy issues. All good stuff. Thanks to our friends at NAM Blog for the pointer.

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    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Why Al Gore Downplays Nuclear Energy

    Roger Pielke, Jr. has read Al Gore's latest speech on climate change, and thinks he knows why the former Vice President continually downplays the role nuclear energy could play in reducing future carbon emissions:

    Gore'’s technological optimism on just about every other area of climate change policy does not square with his technological pessimism about nuclear power. My guess --– and it is only an uninformed guess -- is that Gore's views on nuclear power provide the strongest signal that he is positioning himself for a run at the Presidency in 2008. His views on nuclear power seem carefully crafted so as not to offend his base of political support. Otherwise, why wouldn'’t he call in grand fashion (as he has in every other area) for solving the problems of nuclear power that accompany its abundant carbon free energy? If we can freeze carbon dioxide levels we can sure keep nuclear material safe.
    Gary Jones builds on that thought over at Back40:
    True, but far too gentle. Let's face it, Gore is stuck on stupid, pandering to a base that is stuck on stupid. I think it's a blunder because the trend is for that S.O.S. base to be ever more open to nuclear power as the strident disinformation of paleo-environmentalists (like Gore) is publicly questioned, and even some old time environmentalists are changing their stance. They are getting unstuck.
    Let's hope so.

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    The New Reality of Reactor Safety

    In response to the UCS report on reactor safety, A Musing Environment takes a closer look at what's really been happening when it comes to reactor safety:

    An important theme in Jared Diamond’s Collapse is how often people won’t change behavior that gives status; the Easter Island example is cutting down trees for statues. There are many examples today, such as how and how often we drive and fly.

    Another way we can get into trouble is by not changing our views with changing realities. Union of Concerned Scientists has just produced a report on the dangers of nuclear power. The report is new, but the data are mostly old, excepting for the Davis-Besse plant.
    There's more. Please read it right now.

    POSTSCRIPT:I don't think the Jared Diamond reference is a conincidence.

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    Wind Power Fails Test During California Heat Wave

    The next time somebody tells you that we can replace nuclear energy with renewables, you might want to pass along this article from Energy Pulse by David Dixon of the Department of Energy. He took a look at the performance of California's 2,500 MWe of wind capacity during this Summer's heat wave.

    The results? Well, I'll let Dixon tell you himself:

    So what happened in California during the mid-July heat storm when that electric grid was put to the test, and California avoided rolling blackouts amid a Level 1 Emergency in which Californian’s were asked to raise their thermostats to 77 and many manufactures and business voluntarily shutdown? By most people’s analysis, wind’s performance was disappointing. Specifically during this period of peak demand, statewide wind often operated at only 5% of capacity, or less. The specific data is plotted in the attached graph. The upper line shows the peak daily electric demand as recorded by the California Independent System Operator, CASIO, during the heat storm. Daily peak power usage increased fairly steadily in mid July, reaching its peak on July 24 at 50,270 MW. Wind’s availability during this same period is presented in the lower line. Specifically this is the percent of the CASIO available wind capacity, 2,500MW, which was actually putting electricity into the CASIO grid at the time of peak demand on each day plotted.

    By most measures these numbers are disappointing. On the day of peak demand, August 24, 2006, wind power produced at 254.6 MW at the time of peak demand. 254.6 MW represents only 10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW. Another perspective on the data, over the preceding seven days, August 17 to 23, wind produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
    Disappointing? How about disastrous? More often than not, we quote the rated capacity of wind in the U.S. at 33%. That's compared to nuclear industry's average industry-wide capacity factor of 90%.

    Want more? Take a look at this graph that Dixon included with his article:

    Dixon1.gif

    That's right, as demand grew during the heat wave, wind's performance slid off a cliff. If the state's nuclear reactors at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon had slid to 4% of capacity during the heat wave, I don't want to think about what would have happened to the electrical grid. But for wind power, that sort of performance is just another day at the office.

    Does this mean that wind doesn't have a place on the electrical grid? No, and we've said that over and over again. But what it does mean is that wind can't hope to replace baseload capacity, and the presence of baseload supply from nuclear and coal are the only things that make wind's existence on the grid possible in the first place.

    One more time: Wind has a place on the electric grid, both today and tomorrow. But suggesting that wind can replace baseload capacity on the grid is irresponsible and dangerous.

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    Crunching The Numbers on Reactor Safety

    Joseph Somsel from takes a look at the problem of public perception when it comes to nuclear safety over at Energy Pulse. An interesting read.

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    NTI Creates $50 Million Fund for Nuclear Fuel Bank

    Details from the New York Times. Click here for more from the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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