Skip to main content

23rd Carnival of Nuclear Energy: Uphill Battles and Spaghetti Regulations

Vogtle nuclear construction For the third time since the nuclear carnivals began, we have the privilege of hosting this week’s highlights of the pro nuclear blogs.

In no particular order, we start with Ted Rockwell at Learning About Energy who contributed a thought-provoking essay on the topsy-turvy world of nuclear energy. Here’s his synopsis:

Nuclear means being special. That brings special favors, but we soon learn that it also brings a curse that is hard to shake: no solution that would otherwise be quite adequate is ever good enough for nuclear. People are ready to believe that our competitors’ problems will soon be solved, but for nuclear, we have to promise that we’ll make each succeeding plant safer than its predecessors.

Rod Adams at Atomic Insights has been racking up the comments after challenging the regulatory system on excessive costs due to the extremely conservative linear no threshold theory:

The regulatory system in the US for nuclear energy is based on the assumption that all radiation, no matter how small the dose represents an avoidable risk. The rules push nuclear facility operators to keep doses as low as reasonably achievable, but the regulators assume a broad definition of a "reasonable" cost for reducing radiation doses.

Nuclear costs would fall if regulators recognized the science showing that there is no harm from doses that are within the normal variations in natural background radiation.

Brian Wang at Next Big Future noted how fast India is increasing its nuclear generation and exceeding its projected targets.

Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat reported on the delay for two new nuclear units in the Czech Republic due to lower electricity demand and possibly Germany’s decision to keep their reactors running longer.

Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk liked the World Nuclear Association’s idea of building more attractive nuclear facilities for a “less-intrusive profile”:

There is no reason why much of our infrastructure needs to be quite as unattractive as some of it is. If designed right from the beginning, many facilities could be made more attractive for minimal additional cost.

Margaret Harding at ANS Nuclear Cafe explained the spaghetti of regulations among five different departments regarding nuclear export control. In order to reduce this complexity, Margaret referenced Defense Secretary Gates’ proposal to create a single list, single agency and single IT infrastructure to manage the process.

Charles Barton at Nuclear Green pointed out the number of cost savings that can be achieved from small and advanced reactors.

Steve Aplin at Canadian Energy Issues discussed another go at building new nuclear at Darlington in order to replace 6,000 MW of coal. Aplin pointed out how history has proved that when decision-makers take bogus ideas like Amory Lovins’ ‘negawatts’ seriously, the result is skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions and a stagnant job market.

Areva’s blog took on Climate Action Progress’ Joe Romm and Richard Caperton’s statements regarding the loan guarantee program:

As the details of all loan guarantees are proprietary, Caperton has no knowledge of the financial protections included in any given transactions, and thus no basis to evaluate whether a credit subsidy cost is “correct”.

Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee wasn’t shy to discuss the Vermont gubernatorial politics. In a debate between anti Vermont Yankee Senator Shumlin and pro VY Lt. Governor Dubie, Meredith took issue with Shumlin’s tactic of describing Vermont Yankee as Entergy Louisiana.

And here at NEI Nuclear Notes, Mark Flanagan pointed out that Constellation’s decision to withdraw from the Calvert Cliffs 3 project doesn’t mean the end of new nuclear.

Picture of the assembly modular building for Vogtle units 3 and 4 with units 1 and 2 in background.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Rod Adams at Atomic Insights has been racking up the comments after challenging the regulatory system on excessive costs due to the extremely conservative linear no threshold theory

Will NEI be calling for abandonment of the linear-no threshold model when NRC asks for comments on the latest ICRP radiation guidelines?
David Bradish said…
NEI will be commenting to the NRC but it won't be for the abandonment of LNT. The ICRP hasn't changed its view of LNT so it's not like we can ask the NRC to deviate from the ICRP. In the first round of comments we submitted earlier this year, according to one of our health physicists, we agreed with the Commission that the current regulatory framework provides adequate protection of public health and safety. We also commented that the NRC should reform their standards (not just revise them), in order to establish a uniform, consolidated set of regulations. We'll be at the upcoming workshops and commenting more as this update is implemented.

Popular posts from this blog

An Ohio School Board Is Working to Save Nuclear Plants

Ohio faces a decision soon about its two nuclear reactors, Davis-Besse and Perry, and on Wednesday, neighbors of one of those plants issued a cry for help. The reactors’ problem is that the price of electricity they sell on the high-voltage grid is depressed, mostly because of a surplus of natural gas. And the reactors do not get any revenue for the other benefits they provide. Some of those benefits are regional – emissions-free electricity, reliability with months of fuel on-site, and diversity in case of problems or price spikes with gas or coal, state and federal payroll taxes, and national economic stimulus as the plants buy fuel, supplies and services. Some of the benefits are highly localized, including employment and property taxes. One locality is already feeling the pinch: Oak Harbor on Lake Erie, home to Davis-Besse. The town has a middle school in a building that is 106 years old, and an elementary school from the 1950s, and on May 2 was scheduled to have a referendu

Why Ex-Im Bank Board Nominations Will Turn the Page on a Dysfunctional Chapter in Washington

In our present era of political discord, could Washington agree to support an agency that creates thousands of American jobs by enabling U.S. companies of all sizes to compete in foreign markets? What if that agency generated nearly billions of dollars more in revenue than the cost of its operations and returned that money – $7 billion over the past two decades – to U.S. taxpayers? In fact, that agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), was reauthorized by a large majority of Congress in 2015. To be sure, the matter was not without controversy. A bipartisan House coalition resorted to a rarely-used parliamentary maneuver in order to force a vote. But when Congress voted, Ex-Im Bank won a supermajority in the House and a large majority in the Senate. For almost two years, however, Ex-Im Bank has been unable to function fully because a single Senate committee chairman prevented the confirmation of nominees to its Board of Directors. Without a quorum

Critical American Jobs: Vacancies President Trump and the Senate Need to Fill ASAP

When a new president takes office, there is always a lot on the White House’s plate. But recently 93 members of the House of Representatives sent President Trump a letter asking him to move one particular issue higher on the list: picking new members for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, so that body can resume its crucial work of overseeing energy infrastructure. The members of Congress are correct about that agency, known as FERC, but it is not the only part of government that is short-handed. FERC is supposed to have five members, but the number had dwindled to three, and recently one of the three quit, so FERC is not able to muster a quorum . FERC does many jobs. The one most important to the nuclear industry is oversight of the Independent System Operators, the non-profit companies that run the electricity markets and operate the electric grid over most of the country. Those markets have serious problems but, with FERC out of action, proposed reforms will have to wa