Friday, December 21, 2007

NEI's Nuclear Performance - November 2007

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

For November 2007, the average net capacity factor was 89.8 percent. This figure is 4.6 percentage points higher than November 2006. Monthly nuclear generation was 64.9 billion kilowatt-hours for November 2007, compared to 61.4 bkWh for November 2006.

For 2007, year-to-date nuclear generation was 734.8 billion kilowatt-hours, compared to 716.7 bkWh in 2006 (2.5 percent increase) and 719.9 bkWh in the record year of 2004.

It is fairly certain 2007 nuclear generation will break the 2004 record. With one month left, we project 2007 nuclear generation will end the year at slightly over 800 bkWh. In 2004, nuclear generation was 789.5 bkWh.

Fleet generation in 2007 benefited from the return of Browns Ferry 1 in May and a lower number of refueling outages this year. Browns Ferry 1, which returned to operating status in May 2007, is projected to add roughly 4.4 bkWh to the fleet's generation by year's end. In 2007, 10 fewer reactors undertook refueling outages than did last year (55 in 2007 and the record year of 2004, compared to 65 in 2006).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - December 10 - December 14, 2007

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

Electricity peak prices increased at all hubs except for PJM West. The NEPOOL hub rose another $11/MWh due to the wintry temperatures over the past two weeks. The PJM West hub fell $17/MWh after season temperatures returned to normal. The other four hubs modestly increased between $0.26-$9/MWh (Platts, see
pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub decreased $0.06 to $7.13/MMBtu. Gas futures prices for January 2008 averaged $7.15/MMBtu. EIA forecasts gas prices at $8.04/MMBtu for January 2008 (see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability rose to 95 percent last week. Pilgrim was at zero percent power for two days. Only four reactors remain in refueling outages (see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil prices fell nearly $4 to $88.71/barrel (see pages 1 and 3). Residential heating oil prices resumed their upward course for the season and reached a new record high during the period ending December 17, 2007. The average residential heating oil price increased by 3.5 cents last week to reach 329.4 cents per gallon, an increase of 85.0 cents from this time last year (EIA).

The spot price of uranium fell to $90/lb U3O8. According to UxC, spot activity remains limited, with more supply available than demand. A retreat in demand similar to that experienced over the summer has resulted in weakness in the spot price over the past two weeks. According to TradeTech, several sellers, prompted by cash requirements, have entered the market in recent weeks in an effort to place material before year-end resulting in lower prices.
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Despite Opposition to Yucca, Reid is "Cool with Nukes"

From newsreview.com:

Senator Harry Reid - “If I have a choice between coal and nuclear, it’s an easy choice to make,” Reid said.

Reid says he prefers renewable alternatives to coal rather than nuclear, and he’s skeptical of federal subsidies for the nuclear power industry. But between coal and nuclear, his choice is nuclear.

That's great to hear. Since we now have a Democratic Congress (which probably won't change for awhile) it is important for the Democratic leaders to recognize the benefits of nuclear power. You can't get much higher than the Senate's Majority Leader.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Loan Guarantees for New Nuclear Could Total $20.5B

That's what the Washington Post is reporting:

The report on the omnibus bill says the Energy Department should guarantee, among other things, $18.5 billion in loans for new nuclear plants, $10 billion for renewable energy and efficiency, $6 billion for carbon capture at coal plants and $2 billion for uranium enrichment.
The $18.5B would go towards the construction of potentially 3-5 new nuclear plants. Keep in mind, though, this is not actual money the industry is receiving. The monies are a "guarantee" the bankers (the ones who provide the loans for a new plant) receive their payments in case an electric company defaults on a new nuclear plant. Critics, though, don't seem to understand how the loan guarantee program works:
But Peter Bradford, a policy adviser and former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that the fees are "a pittance compared to the taxpayer exposure" and that "scoring the loan guarantees at zero is financial chicanery of a low order."

Bradford said electricity customers "spent tens of billions of dollars saving nuclear power plant owners from large losses, even bankruptcy" during the 1990s. "The loan guarantees arrange the next multibillion-dollar rescue before the fact and charge it to taxpayers instead of customers," he added.

Mr. Bradford obviously hasn't read the posts on loan guarantees by Richard Myers. Otherwise, he would know electric companies who build a nuclear plant are taking a greater risk with their shareholders' money then the government is with taxpayers' dollars. From Myers:

We can’t speak for the other nine technologies eligible for loan guarantees, but in the case of new nuclear plants the probability of default is pretty close to zero. Why? Because the companies building these new nuclear power plants will have one billion dollars or more of their own equity (actually, their shareholders’ money) invested in the project, side-by-side with the guaranteed debt. In the event of default, the company loses that investment: The government will seize it to help repay the loan. There’s not an electric power company in the United States that can sustain a billion-dollar loss on a single project. That’s why these projects are so well-planned. Why all necessary safety and regulatory approvals are obtained before construction begins. Why due diligence is so disciplined and exhaustive. Why successful completion and operation is (forgive the word) guaranteed.

This is one of those rare cases when the public interest and the private sector’s interest are perfectly aligned, when both parties have a single common interest in success.

That pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2008

The Energy Information Administration last Wednesday released it's AEO 2008 Overview (pdf). This is a preview to an annual report (due out in February) which studies and forecasts the energy supply and demand fundamentals out to 2030. Questions they attempt to answer each year are: how much energy will the U.S. be consuming in the future? how fast will the U.S. GDP grow? will renewables have an increased role to play? what happens to fossil fuels? etc.

One of the topics NEI pays close attention to, of course, is the role EIA sees nuclear power playing over the next several decades.
According to the report, by 2030, 20 GW of new nuclear capacity are projected to be built as well as 2.7 GW in uprates and 4.5 GW in retirements. Total nuclear capacity in 2030 is projected to increase to 118.8 GW from today's 100.3 GW. This year's nuclear projection is a step up from last year's report which forecasted nuclear will only increase to 112.6 GW by 2030.

Prior to 2006, nuclear power in the U.S. provided the second most amount of electricity behind coal. But in 2006, natural gas overtook nuclear's number two spot by the generation of about three nuclear plants. Well according to the
AEO 2008 (pdf), nuclear is projected to take back its number two spot after 2020.

Here are some other highlights from the report:

As result of higher energy prices and slower U.S. economic growth (gross domestic product grows at 2.6 percent per year between 2006 and 2030 in AEO2008 compared to 2.9 percent per year in AEO2007), total primary energy consumption in the AEO2008 reference case grows more slowly then in previous AEOs, increasing at an average rate of 0.9 percent per year, from 100.0 quadrillion Btu in 2006 to 123.8 quadrillion Btu in 2030-7.4 quadrillion Btu less than in the AEO2007 reference case.

Without changes in current carbon emissions policies that are not assumed in the AEO2008 reference case, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions grow sharply, but to lower levels than in AEO2007 because of lower primary energy consumption. Energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to grow by 25 percent in the AEO2008 between 2006 and 2030, compared to 35 percent in the AEO2007 reference case.

The projected average fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles in 2030 is 30.0 miles per gallon (mpg), or 4.7 mpg higher than the average in 2006.

Ethanol consumption grows from 5.6 billion gallons in 2006 to 13.5 billion gallons in 2012, far exceeding the required 7.5 billion gallons in 2012 in the Renewable Fuel Standard enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It grows to 17 billion gallons in 2030. Almost all of the ethanol is used in gasoline blending.

Total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, grows from 3,821 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2006 to 5,149 billion kWh in 2030, increasing at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent in the AEO2008 reference case.

The natural gas share of electricity generation (including generation in the end-use sectors) remains between 20 percent and 21 percent through 2018, before falling to 14 percent in 2030. The coal share declines slightly, from 49 percent in 2006 to 48 percent in 2017, before increasing to 55 percent in 2030.

Additions to coal-fired generating capacity in the AEO2008 reference case total 130 gigawatts from 2006 to 2030 (as compared with 156 gigawatts in the AEO2007 reference case), including 9 gigawatts at coal-to-liquid plants and 45 gigawatts at integrated gasification combined-cycle plants. Given the assumed continuation of current energy and environmental policies in the reference case, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology does not come into use during the projection period.

The total projected capacity additions by 2030 in AEO 2008 are 271.1 GW. In AEO 2007, the total was 292 GW.

Be sure to check out the rest of the AEO 2008 Overview (pdf).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why Am I Not Surprised?

From the New London Day, Parents Say Anti-Nuclear Group Exploited The Death Of Their Child.

Just the usual tactics of disbarred Connecticut attorney Nancy Burton. Despicable.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Duke Energy Submits COL Application

From Duke Energy:

Duke Energy today submitted a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a proposed two-unit nuclear station in Cherokee County, S.C.

...

Duke Energy Carolinas’ resource needs are expected to increase by 10,700 megawatts by 2027. The proposed two-unit William States Lee III Nuclear Station will have a capacity of 2,234 megawatts.

...

Duke Energy is the fourth company to submit a COL application to the NRC under the revised licensing process, and the first to submit an application for a greenfield site. The Duke Energy application uses TVA’s Bellefonte COL application as the Westinghouse AP1000 reference application.
Congratulations. The Carolinas' population is projected to increase by about 4.5 million people by 2030 (Table 6). The Southern states will definitely be needing a substantial amount of power especially in the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia region.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - December 3 - December 7, 2007

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

Electricity peak prices varied across the country last week. The NEPOOL and PJM West hubs rose $34-40/MWh due to unseasonably cold temperatures. The ERCOT and Entergy hubs increased only $4-6/MWh and the Palo Verde and SP 15 hubs fell $4-7/MWh (Platts, see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased only one cent to $7.19/MMBtu. Colder temperatures and greater electricity demand kept prices nearly static at the Henry Hub last week (EIA, see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability rose to 93 percent last week. One reactor finished a refueling outage, and two reactors finished maintenance outages (see pages 2 and 4).

By 2011, the following amounts of new generating capacity are expected to start up: 26,000 MW of coal; 52,000 MW of natural gas; and 39,000 MW of wind (see page 5).

EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook (see pages 2 and 5)

Total U.S. electricity consumption in 2007 is projected to increase by 1.9 percent over last year. The assumed return to near-normal temperatures should keep residential electricity sales growth relatively flat at a rate of 0.2 percent next year. Slow macroeconomic growth in 2008 will also limit growth in electricity sales to the commercial and industrial sectors.

Total U.S. natural gas consumption is expected to increase by 5.0 percent in 2007, largely driven by increases in the residential, commercial, and electric power sectors that occurred earlier this year.

WTI prices are projected to increase from an average of $66.02 per barrel in 2006 to $72.05 per barrel in 2007 and to nearly $85 per barrel in 2008. Slower U.S. economic growth of 2.1 percent is projected for 2007 and 1.8 percent for 2008, compared with 2.9 percent in 2006, which may be a mitigating factor for even higher crude oil prices.
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Total Wants Into the Nuclear Energy Business

So says the company's CEO. Details from the AP.

On Chalk River

For the most part, we concentrate on the news coming out of the commercial nuclear energy industry, but there's an incredibly important story affecting nuclear medicine taking place right now in Canada. Click here and here for coverage from We Support Lee on the events at the National Universal Research reactor at Chalk River.

For a basic overview of the medical and research applications of nuclear energy, click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dispelling Myths About Nuclear Energy and Total Lifecycle Emissions. Again.

Once again, the global anti-nuclear lobby has found a reporter willing to parrot its lies and distortions regarding nuclear energy and CO2 emissions. Stepping to the plate this time is Reuters reporter Nick Trevethan:

Nuclear power's claim to be the answer to global warming is being questioned by reports suggesting mining and processing of uranium is carbon intensive.
While nuclear power produces only one 50th of the carbon produced by many fossil fuels, its carbon footprint is rising, making wind power and other renewable energies increasingly attractive, according to environmental groups and some official reports.

[...]

"Nuclear is a climate change red herring," said Ben Ayliffe, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace. "There are safer, more reliable alternatives, like energy efficiency and renewables as part of a super-efficient decentralised energy system."
What an utter hunk of baloney. Rather than explain things in detail again, here are the links to some previous posts and other relevant information:

The total life-cycle emissions of nuclear energy are comparable to renewables.

Setting the Record Straight on Nuclear Energy and Total Life-Cycle Emissions. Again.

Is Nuclear Too Hot to Handle?

Why Oxford Research is Wrong on Nuclear Energy and Total Lifecycle Emissions

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit The Poliblogs.

Bob Geldof: "To really help the planet, we have to go nuclear, fast."


Over in the U.K., former rocker Bob Geldof isn't shying away from sporting his pro-nuclear energy credentials at a blog sponsored by Lexus on hybrid vehicles. From The Guardian:

Luxury car maker Lexus may have got more than it bargained for when it signed up Bob Geldof to take part in a blog debate about the green credentials of its hybrid models.

Geldof, as well as talking about hybrid cars, airs his views on climate change, branding renewable energy initiatives such as wind farms "Mickey Mouse" and insisting "to really help the planet, we have to go nuclear, fast".

[...]

On the wider question of making an impact on climate change he said: "We may mess around with wind and waves and other renewable energy sources, trying to make them sustainable, but they're not. They're Mickey Mouse ... but to really help the planet, we have to go nuclear, fast."

Geldof added: "In the UK, we'll soon have to scramble for more nuclear power. On this issue, I don't care what anyone says: we're going to go with it, big time."
After taking a look at Geldof's entries at the blog, it's clear he's done plenty of reading on his own -- including a bit of time reviewing the work of James Lovelock. For his entry where he endorses nuclear energy, click here. For all of his entries, click here. For the main page of the Lexus blog, click here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

GE Hitachi Signs Deal with Exelon

From the AP:

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy said Tuesday it has received a tentative multimillion-dollar order from power plant operator Exelon Corp. to provide parts for two possible nuclear reactors.

The deal for steam turbine generators and other components depends on whether Exelon's nuclear division decides to continue with plans for a plant in Texas. GE Hitachi said Exelon needs to have plans in place ahead of time to make sure the parts are available.
And the hits keep on coming.

John McCain on the Stump on Nuclear Energy

From the AP:

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain says the United States needs to reduce its dependence on troubled parts of the world for oil.

McCain told about 200 people at the Center for Hydrogen Research in Aiken Monday the United States should look to hydrogen and nuclear power as alternatives.

The Arizona senator says more nuclear power has been stymied by politics. He says an endless political fight over the storage of old nuclear fuel has made it virtually impossible to build a new plant.

McCain called nuclear energy safe and non-polluting.

Nuclear Energy Means 350 Jobs for Chattanooga

From Reuters:

French industrial power and transport systems group Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) on Tuesday said it would invest over $200 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States.

The site will manufacture steam turbines, gas turbines, generators and related equipment for use in U.S. power generation facilities and create 350 jobs at a time that the dollar/euro exchange rate makes it more attractive for European groups to produce in North America.
Alstom will be manufacturing those components for UniStar.

New Nuclear Blog

Please welcome Nuclear Green to the public debate.

Moore Piece Sparks Debate Down Under

In yesterday's edition of The Melbourne Age, Dr. Patrick Moore called on his old compatriots at Greenpeace to drop their long-standing opposition to nuclear power in light of the threat posed by climate change.

In response, Australian columnist Andrew Bolt is hosting quite a debate over at the Herald Sun. Check it out.

Doubts About Euro Wind

Spiked is on the case.

10 Years With Helen Caldicott

Physical Insights is wondering why anyone still listens to her.

State Approves FP&L Uprate Plan

From the Palm Beach Post:

Florida Power & Light Co. got approval from utility regulators Monday to add more nuclear power to the electricity grid.

FPL will do so by upgrading each of its four nuclear reactors: two at the St. Lucie plant on Hutchinson Island and two at the Turkey Point plant near Miami.

The move would add 414 megawatts of power between 2011 and 2012.

The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously signed off on FPL's proposal without taking testimony Monday morning.
Something to keep in mind the next time your hear an anti-nuke say nuclear capacity can't be added quickly enough to make a difference.

For more information on power uprates in the American nuclear energy industry, click here.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Hooda Thunk?.

What's the Difference Between a Civilian and Military Nuclear Program?

Click here for an explanation from Danger Room.

Kiplinger on the Nuclear Renaissance



Click here for a companion article.

Monday, December 10, 2007

When it Comes to Indian Point, Think Before You Leap

As we're all aware, a bevy of local and state politicians in New York have jumped on the anti-Indian Point bandwagon. But for Westchester County resident Peter Applebome, the answers to questions about energy and the environment aren't so obvious:

[C]losing Indian Point raises its share of vexing questions.

For starters: Is New York prepared to increase carbon emissions and perhaps flunk its goals under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to close Indian Point? In whose neighborhoods in Westchester or Rockland Counties is it prepared to build the power plants that would replace it? Is the possibility of more expensive and less reliable electricity an acceptable trade-off for not having to worry about Indian Point? If Indian Point poses an unacceptable risk, shouldn’t the dozens of nuclear plants in metropolitan areas around the country and the world close as well? And we’re comfortable with those carbon trade-offs too?

In the end, they come down to this: Do the forever-green, antinuke politics of the 1970s hold up in the global warming era of 2007? Think before you answer.
Can it actually be that somebody is thinking about this question like an adult for a change?
As it is, we don’t want windmills off Long Island, and we don’t want the proposed Broadwater floating natural gas plant in Long Island Sound. We almost certainly don’t want a tunnel under the Sound. We don’t want Indian Point, and we sure as heck wouldn’t want a substantial plant to replace it. We want our bloated S.U.V.s and Hummers and the energy-hogging McMansions that the banks haven’t taken back. yet.

Maybe Santa is out there 365 days a year, and maybe we can turn all of Wyoming into a windmill farm that will solve everyone’s problems. Or maybe getting to a sane energy future is a lot more complicated than scaring people to death about Indian Point.
Wow. Read the rest right now.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

After reading an article about Gwyneth Cravens and her public about face on nuclear energy, Glenn Reynolds had this to say:

Just think how much better-off the planet would be if people had been smart enough to ignore the no-nukes crowd 30 years ago.
Indeed, just imagine.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit What About Clients?.

Please Build that Nuclear Power Plant Here

That's the message the folks in Matagorda County, Texas are trying to send to Exelon:

Matagorda County officials are stepping up their efforts to inform Exelon Nuclear of the county’s positive attributes and why it is a better fit for the new nuclear power plant than the company’s alternative site near Victoria.

Recent news that Victoria County has formed “Team Exelon,” a group of representatives from the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Victoria County, City of Victoria and the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, to tout Victoria County has prompted local officials to reconsider their actions, said County Judge Nate McDonald.

Victoria County is “treating this project just like we would treat any industrial project, to make sure our community attributes are highlighted,” said Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corporation in a telephone interview.

“We’re pretty aggressive about getting in front of industry and talking about what this county has to offer,” Fowler said.
And you thought governments only fought over sports teams. Why fight so hard to attract a new nuclear power plant? To get a better idea, take a look at some of the economic benefits studies that NEI has produced over the years.

Wired News on Gwyneth Cravens

In the midst of promoting her new book, The Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy, Gwyneth Cravens sat down for an interview with Wired News ...

WN: You have an interesting statistic comparing the waste levels produced by individuals over a lifetime.

Cravens: A family in four in France, where they reprocess nuclear fuel, would produce only enough waste to fit in a coffee cup over a whole lifetime. A lifetime of getting all your electricity from coal-fired plants would make a single person's share of solid waste (in the United States) 68 tons, which would require six 12-ton railroad cars to haul away. Your share of CO2 would be 77 tons.
Wow. Very neat.

For our entire archive of entries on Cravens, click here.

Another Look at Indian Point ...

... From our friends at NAM Blog.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

If Maine Won't Build New Energy Infrastructure ...

... Then New Brunswick will.

That also means they'll get the jobs and economic benefits too.

Kyoto, GNEP and the Asia-Pacific Partnership

Some thoughts from Steven Aplin.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - November 26 - November 30, 2007

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

Electricity peak prices soared with price increases ranging from $10-21/MWh. A cold snap throughout the country last week helped send prices back to the average norms from the depressed prices two weeks ago (Platts, see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased from $6.96/MMBtu to $7.18/MMBtu. Colder temperatures were also considered the reason for the price increases at the Henry hub last week (EIA, see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability remained at 92 percent last week. One reactor finished a refueling outage, one reactor began refueling and three reactors were down for maintenance (see pages 2 and 4).

Uranium spot prices remained unchanged for the third week in a row at $93/lb U3O8 according to TradeTech and UxConsulting (see pages 1 and 3).

Crude oil prices rose more than $4/barrel to $97.93/barrel. Looking ahead into 2008, both crude prices and refinery constraints should ease somewhat according to EIA. Today’s very high crude prices are expected to fall back to average close to $80 per barrel in 2008 (see pages 1 and 3).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Defending Indian Point

From LoHud.com:

The future of Indian Point is scheduled to be the topic on Journal News/LoHud.com columnist Phil Reisman's radio show today at noon on WVOX 1460 AM.

Reisman's show, "High Noon," airs from noon to 1 p.m. every Thursday. Listen online at www.wvox.com or check back at LoHud.com during the show for a link.

Federal officials are preparing to review a request to extend the operation of the nuclear power plants in Buchanan for an additional 20 years beyond their current license expiration dates of 2013 and 2015.
To listen, click here, and then click the Listen Live button in the upper left hand corner of the Web page.

If you'd like to participate, call the studio line at 914-636-0110.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dispelling Myths About Nuclear Energy

Over at the Heritage Foundation, Jack Spencer and Nick Loris wrote an excellent nuclear myth-busting piece on topics about proliferation, terrorism, waste, lifecycle emissions, and economics just to name a few. Enjoy.

MYTH: There is no solution to the problem of nuclear waste.

FACT: The nuclear industry solved the nuclear waste problem decades ago.

Spent nuclear fuel can be removed from the reac­tor, reprocessed to separate unused fuel, and then used again. The remaining waste could then be placed in either interim or long-term storage, such as in the Yucca Mountain repository. France and other countries carry out some version of this pro­cess safely every day. Furthermore, technology ad­vances could yield greater efficiencies and improve the process. The argument that there is no solution to the waste problem is simply wrong.

...

MYTH: Incidents at Davis-Besse, Vermont Yankee, and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa demonstrate that continued use of nuclear power will lead to another Chernobyl.

FACT: The real consequences of these three inci­dents demonstrate that nuclear power is safe.

Perhaps the greatest myths surrounding nuclear power concern the consequences of past accidents and their association with current risks. All of these myths depend on a basic construct of flawed logic and misrepresentations that is riddled with logical and factual errors.

...

MYTH: Nuclear energy is not economically viable.

FACT: Nuclear energy already provides about 20 percent of America's electricity.

Investors are not averse to nuclear power. Utility companies with nuclear experience have sought to purchase existing plants, are upgrading their exist­ing power plants, and are extending their operating licenses so that they can produce more energy for a longer time. Indeed, nuclear energy is so economi­cally viable that it provides about 20 percent of America's electricity despite the incredibly high reg­ulatory burden.

...

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

From Another Pundit:

If we are ever to break our dependence on foreign energy supplies we are going to have to switch to Nuclear electricity generation and utilize hydrogen in place of gasoline and get away from bio-fuels.

Environmentalists Mobilize to Stop Texas Wind Farm

In New York, they want to shut down a nuclear power plant. In Texas, they want to stop a wind farm dead in its tracks:

The famed King Ranch and a coalition of environmental groups sued Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in federal court Tuesday, seeking to require extensive environmental review and public comment on two planned wind power projects along the Gulf Coast in Kenedy County.

The coalition, the Coastal Habitat Alliance, also sued over the wind project in state District Court in Travis County. That suit claims that the state's Public Utility Commission illegally denied the alliance's request to participate in permit hearings for the wind project's transmission line.

The lawsuits threaten to delay or stop the two massive wind projects, which could place more than 600 turbines on 60,000 acres near Laguna Madre, south of Corpus Christi. Part of the wind projects would place about 250 turbines just east of a portion of the sprawling King Ranch.

John McCain on Nuclear Energy and Yucca Mountain

Senator John McCain is on the campaign trail in New Hampshire talking about energy and the environment:

A key way to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, he said, would be to increase the use of nuclear power.

When asked after the forum how he proposed to dispose of high level nuclear waste, McCain said, "My preference is that we store it. I always thought that Yucca Mountain was the right place to do it."

"It's not a problem of technology. It's a problem of political will. We have now the worst of all worlds, because we have nuclear waste sites around every nuclear power plant in America, which provides us with the greatest challenge to our security," he said. "So I would try and resolve it and I would try to go back and revisit the Yucca Mountain issue, but I would do everything in my power to resolve it."
The Senator has been pretty consistent on this issue for some time now:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mitt Romney on Energy Policy

Czech President Klaus on Nuclear Energy

From CeskeNoviny.cz:

Prague- The dream of endless lowering of energy consumption is nonsense and this should be said aloud, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said at the reopening of the VR-1 training reactor at Czech Technical University (CVUT) today.

"I cannot imagine the development of this country without nuclear energy," Klaus said.

Klaus said he considered it his duty to contribute with all of his forces to place the heated debate over atomic energy back from the heaven to the earth.

No economic development will be possible without energy, he added.

British Tories Rethink Nuclear Energy Policy

Details from the Guardian.

Buffet Company to Build Nuclear Power Plant?

That's the news out of Idaho. Check it out.

Spitzer, Cuomo Rachet Up Fight on Indian Point

From the New York Sun:

To the alarm of business and energy groups, the Spitzer administration is cranking up its effort to shut down the Indian Point nuclear reactors by demanding that the federal government reject the plant's license renewal application because of safety reasons.

Governor Spitzer, along with Attorney General Cuomo, yesterday submitted a petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission claiming that the Hudson River plant is too old and susceptible to terrorist attacks and natural disasters to be granted a 20-year extension of its license.

"The presence of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in our midst is untenable," the petition states.

The legal filing is the governor's most significant action against the plant since taking office, and the latest sign of a political shift among local government officials toward shutting it down.
Here's the official NEI response from CNO Marv Fertel:
“The position taken today by the governor and the attorney general pre-judges the facts concerning the Indian Point license renewal application.

“Before deciding whether to extend a nuclear power plant’s operating license, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviews a license renewal application for more than 22 months – nearly two years. In comparison, fewer than eight months have passed since Entergy filed its license renewal application for the Indian Point power station.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s independent review is comprehensive so that it is assured that the company seeking to extend the operation of a nuclear power plant has in place the programs to monitor and manage safety systems and components like the reactor pressure vessel during the renewal period. This is above and beyond monitoring and improvements made to the plant on a daily basis to ensure that it is operating safely every day. In addition to the review of Entergy’s license renewal application, the NRC applies a minimum of 2,200 hours of oversight annually – including resident inspectors who are at the power station around the clock and supplemented by NRC officials at the regional and national levels.

“While state officials certainly should identify issues that they consider relevant to the safe operations of Indian Point going forward, they also have a responsibility, once they have done so, to let the deliberative regulatory processes function as intended.”
As you might imagine, we're not the only ones who have a problem with the state's two highest elected officials trying their level best to shut down New York City's most reliable source of emission-free electricity. Here's a statement from our friends at NAM:
In addition to the direct economic benefits provided by Indian Point, the plant generates 15.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity -- approximately 11 percent of New York state's electricity needs. A 2002 study estimated that if Indian Point were shut down, wholesale electricity prices in the downstate New York area would increase between 13 percent and 25 percent

“As utility workers lay high-capacity cables under the Hudson River to extract power from New Jersey utilities to help power New York, restricting or closing power generating facilities is akin to turning a blind eye to the electricity need of businesses and citizens,” said NAM President John Engler. “The New York region needs more reliable electricity, not less. The Indian Point facility is a critical element of New York’s power grid.”

“As countries like France, Japan, Russia and China continue to build nuclear energy capacity to meet their energy needs, New York officials are trying to create less capacity and drive up costs, Engler said.

Depending on seasonal demand, the 2000 megawatts of electricity produced by Indian Point supplies between 18 percent 38 percent of the region’s energy needs, including power for the New York City subways and the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Metro North trains.
Though she might be out of the Indian Point zip code, Ruth Sponsler is right on target with this assessment of the anti-Indian Point effort:
Cuomo, Spitzer, and Spano have no responsible plan to replace Indian Point's electricity. They are trying to make a divisive political issue out of a facility that has been operating safely for a number of years. They are also demonstrating a glaring ignorance and refusal to address the issue of fossil fuel emissions and all their ramifications from asthma to climate change.
Rod Adams:
If they are successful, natural gas suppliers in the Northeast will be loving life - Indian Point has a capacity of 2200 MWe. It has been running at an average annual capacity factor of about 93%. If that power is replaced by very efficient gas turbine combined cycle plants running at an average heat rate of 7,000 BTU per kilowatt hour, and if the price of natural gas is a well behaved $7.00 per million BTU, it will cost New York residents about $900 million per year to pay for the fuel for the yet to be built plants.

People who understand a bit more about the law of supply and demand and who understand the pipeline constraints that currently exist will know that a more likely price for natural gas for the plants needed to replace Indian Point would be a bit higher most of the time and a whole lot higher during peak demand periods in both summer and winter. It might very well cost residents in excess of $1.5 billion per year in fuel and capital recovery costs to shut down Indian Point. Most of that money will be spent buying fuel from someplace else since NY is not a gas producing state.

Not only will that increased expense be borne by NY residents, but the increased demand for natural gas will also cause price increases throughout the northeast US. A lot of people who are already struggling with heating bills are going to be hurt by a decision to prematurely close an operating reactor.

Of course, there is also the environmental impact to consider. This plant is not going to be replaced by windmills or solar panels; the most friendly replacement choice is natural gas but it might also be partly replaced by increased coal burning. I will leave the computation of that effect to someone else.
No worries, Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News did the math:
If the state were to replace that power by burning fossil fuel - which is the only realistic alternative - an extra 14 million tons per year of CO2 would billow into the atmosphere. That's the equivalent of putting 2.7 million more cars on the road. Or clear-cutting 10 million acres of forest, which is almost 1-1/2 Adirondack Parks.
Further ...
When it comes to combating global warming, Gov. Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo showed yesterday that they're full of hot air. At a White Plains press conference, Spitzer and Cuomo announced that the State of New York will seek to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plants when their federal licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.

But that is probably the single most counterproductive thing the state could do about climate change. And, for good measure, it would compound New York City's smog problem, aggravate its asthma epidemic, drive electric rates further into the stratosphere, invite blackouts and crater the economy.

Not bad for a day's work by two Democrats who call themselves environmentalists.
Prairie Pundit:
So the Democrats think that the cost of energy is too high and there solution is to further restrict supply? We need to be building more nuclear plants and making sure that the ones we have are run properly not shutting them down. This is just another example of how unserious Democrats are about energy policies.
Interesting. Of course, yesterday's dog and pony show by the folks in New York is just the start of what should prove to be an interesting process. Stick with us as we follow all the developments.

One last note: Despite the unified press release from opponents of the plant, there was anything but unity behind the scenes. Makes one wonder what their real motivations are, doesn't it?

Actually, somebody else has already thought about that ...
Eliot Spitzer's party is the reason why the United States has not built a new oil refinery in thirty years. Eliot Spitzer's party opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, there is likely not a single, solitary square foot in the United States and our coastal waters where the party of Eliot Spitzer would drill for oil.

Eliot Spitzer's party opposes the excavation of coal. Eliot Spitzer's party opposes the construction of wind farms because the Kennedys and other wealthy families believe they're eye-sores. If it were up to the Luddites in Eliot Spitzer's party, New Yorkers would be rubbing two wooden sticks together to stay warm.

This announcement has nothing to do with terrorism or nuclear power. It's about raw politics. Governor Spitzer continues to grovel before the hard Democrat left as his character and competence are questioned in the wake of using the State Police in an attempt to destroy the career of Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

Govenor Spitzer's ethics, or lack thereof, and the sleazy behavior of his top aides will be in the public spotlight for at least another year, at a minimum. The Governor needs to create as many distractions as possible. Attacking Indian Point is one distraction among many to come.
Nice to have that local perspective.

Other Links:
State Urges Indian Point Closure (Albany Times-Union)
Spitzer moves to block Indian Point relicensing (The Buzz)
Spitzer and Cuomo "Haggling" on Indian Point (Newsday's Spin Cycle)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Germany's Biblis-B to Restart

Details from Reuters.

Remembering Dixy Lee Ray

Lou Guzzo thinks about what might have been.

On Ireland and Uranium Mining

Ireland's minister of energy and natural resources is working to shut down potential uranium mining there, saying it would be hypocritical for a country that doesn't use nuclear power to do so.

Dave's Rants responds with some inconvenient truths.

Water Consumption and Nuclear Power Plants

Over the past few weeks, we've seen a lot of stories concerning water consumption and nuclear power plants, which means plenty of anti-nukes are trying to take advantage by spreading plenty of FUD about the issue. To get the real deal on what's going on, check out this fact sheet NEI recently published on the topic:

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, thermoelectric power generation accounts for only 3.3 percent of freshwater consumption in this country, the same percentage as industrial use and raising livestock. Residential use accounts for 7.1 percent of water consumption, while commercial use and mining are the least at 1.2 percent each. The largest consumption of water is for irrigation, at 80.6 percent.
Keep those numbers in mind.