Skip to main content

Should America Build More Nuclear Power Plants?

That's the question that Patrick Kiger at the Science Channel is asking his readers:
So what do you think? Should we build more nuclear power plants? Or should we focus harder on energy conservation and developing solar, wind and geothermal technologies instead?
The short answer, of course, is that we're going to need to build all of those things in order to both meet future demand and to maintain a diverse energy mix that promotes security of supply. There's plenty more, and I encourage our readers to stop by and let Kiger and the Science Channel community know what we think about the issue.

Comments

Gunter said…
Well, maybe not...

AP reports the plan for an Idaho nuclear plant was scuttled based on the economics of building a nuclear plant--a cost projection that is steadily rising even before the first shovel goes in the ground.

Similarly, the same unpredictable cost tag of construction has put the screeching breaks on Scana Corp.'s (South Carolina Electric & Gas) plan to submit an application to NRC. Rather than needing to squirrel away $1.5 to $2.5 billion, the projected price tag has jumped to $6 to $9 billion per unit.

Again, Moody's is saying there is no way to predict the sticker shock.
David Bradish said…
Paul,

I guess you missed my post last week on how construction commodities such as steel and concrete have increased dramatically in price over the past several years. If you had read it you would have found that these price increases are affecting all new power plants and not just new nuclear plants.

According to Platts' Nuclear News Flash last Friday, here's SCANA's explanation for the cancellation:

"We're still very pro-nuclear," he said. "We're just taking a step back and pausing." He cited the rising costs of construction, particularly materials such as steel and concrete, as the reason for the company's hesitancy. He
acknowledged, however, that the increasing cost of materials was "going up across the industry."


Industry meaning power industry.
America should build more nuclear power plants, at the same time developing renewable power like wind and solar, for both of those will be needed if you want to keep the growing economy running.
Gunter said…
I guess Wall Street missed your post as well.
David Bradish said…
No they didn't. Check out page 9 from Moody's October 2007 report - New Nuclear Generation in the U.S.:

Dramatic increases in commodity prices over the recent past, exacerbated by a skilled labor shortage, have led to significant increases in the over-all cost estimates for major construction projects around the world. In the case of new nuclear, the very detailed specifications for forgings and other critical components for the construction process can add a new element of complexity and uncertainty. As noted previously, labor is in
short supply and commodity costs have been extremely volatile. Most importantly, the commodities and world wide supply chain network associated with new nuclear projects are also being called upon to build other generation facilities, including coal as well as nuclear, nationally and internationally. Nuclear operators are also competing with major oil, petrochemical and steel companies for access to these resources, and thus represent a challenge to all major construction projects.


NIRS is the only one who's missing it.
Gunter said…
To the contrary... you cite a few of the reasons why Wall Street is not bullish on "Should America Build More Nuclear Power Plants?"

Again, it takes governments, not markets to build nuclear power.
Anonymous said…
Wind will never be the answer to America's energy issues...neither will water....unless you are talking about the chemical reaction with water. Nuclear is the way to go. It provides the most power, the quickest, and most efficiently. We cant perdict steel and concrete prices. Build now ask questions later. Remember we nee Plutonium reactors at some point as the supply of uranium is limited as fossil fuels. Many people dont realize that some alternative energy sources produce WAY more CO2 than fossil fuels.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…