Skip to main content

The Keystone Report on Nuclear Energy

From the NEI newsroom:
Capping a year-long evaluation of nuclear energy by a diverse group of experts, The Keystone Center today issued a report that details the group’s consensus that U.S. nuclear power plants are safer today with an improved safety culture; that climate change policies will improve nuclear energy’s relative economics, and that options are available today to safely manage used fuel.

The report, a “joint fact-finding on nuclear power,” was undertaken to provide an “assessment” of nuclear energy amid growing discussion – in policy circles and among the general public – of the technology’s appropriate role in the nation’s energy future.

“Nuclear technology is re-emerging as a power generation option in the face of concerns about climate change, energy demand growth, and the relative cost of competing technologies,” the report states.
For a copy of the final report, click here.

Comments

Muckerheide said…
The Congressional Quarterly reports on this at:

http://public.cq.com/docs/gs/greensheets110-000002532359.html

CQ sees the report as saying that nuclear power (GNEP specifically), can not significantly contribute to the global warming problem. It presents current conditions and historical problems as insoluble - that plants can't be built fast enough (that it would not be possible for the industry to maintain 1981-1990 growth for 40 years), plants will cost too much, and be uneconomic for the industry, and that we can't manage the wastes (we would need multiple repositories). They also find that proliferation risks would be significantly enhanced. (The CQ article presenting the report is titled: "Proliferation Threat Seen in Nuclear Power Expansion")

A fair reading of the actual report reaches these same conclusions.

This report, substantially repeats the Bob Alvarez (anti-nuclear) Insitute of Science Policy report. It sees "facts" that are "ancient history," and arbitrary regulatory and legislative conditions, as demonstrating fatal factors, without indicating that there are new solutions or conditions, or corrective actions, that apply!

The industry should substantially comment on this report, or at least on how it is being presented. We should identify the changed conditions that discount the identified current and past conditions that are used here to clearly indicate that future reliance on nuclear power is misplaced.

Regards, Jim
JimHopf said…
The thing that bothers me about the proliferation drumbeat is that it fails to distinguish between the potential effects of new nuclear programs in several new (developing) countries and the effects of increasing nuclear power here in the US. It should be clear to any one that increased nuclear in the US will have absolutely no impact on proliferation, whether or not we reprocess. But they try to blur the issue and paint all nuclear power with the same brush.

It isn't the proliferation stuff, however, that bothered me most about the report. It's the cost projection table that appears right near the front of the report. This table states that nuclear's estimated overall cost will be 8-11 cents/kW-hr. Even more amazing, it states that even the operating (non-capital) costs will be 3.7 cents/kW-hr!! Don't we have solid data (e.g., from the Utility Data Institute) showing that current reactors (right now) are achieving operating costs of ~1.7 cents/kW-hr? This is not a matter of calculation or projection. It is established, observable fact, w/ no uncertainty. So what gives?

I've also been told that nuclear utility people, and even NEI contributed to this report. How can NEI sign its name to any document that states that new nuclear's overall costs will be 8-11 cents/kW-hr, and that even its operating costs are 3.7 cents?

The fact that the "official" capital cost estimates for new reactors has been going up, oh, about 50% per year for several years now is annoying enough ($1000/kW ~7 years ago, then $1500/kW, then $2000, then $2500, and now I'm even hearing about $3000-$4000). Am I being lied to now or was I being lied to then? Inflation and materials cost escalation is nowhere near enough to explain this. Weren't reactors supposed to be cheaper this time around ("50% fewer valves....", etc..).

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…