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Prospect for Nuclear Power Industry in US

by ohwilleke
Tags: industry, nuclear, power, prospect
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Morbius
#55
Jun14-05, 09:25 AM
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Quote Quote by theCandyman
On Fox News yesterday there was a short segment about nuclear plant security and terrorism. It was discussed a bit in here, so I want to ask, in a realistic sense, what is the most damage terrorists could do? Destroy the containment building?
Candyman,

I'd find it hard to believe that they could destroy the containment building.

If you had a tank or a howitzer - you'd have to pound away at the building
all day to destroy it. Basically, nothing short of a nuclear weapon is going
to destroy a containment building in a single blow - and that includes
crashing airliners.

With all the improvements to the reactor control systems that were
instituted in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident to prevent the
operators from doing something stupid that could lead to an accident -
those same systems which prevent the operator from damaging the
plant out of stupidity - will prevent a terrorist from damaging the
plant out of malice.

Conjectures about what terrorists could do to a nuclear plant are
great "scare stories" - which is why "journalists" like them.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
Astronuc
#56
Sep26-05, 01:12 PM
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Energy Group Plans to Build Nuclear Plants in Gulf States
by Matthew Wald, NY Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 - A consortium of eight companies said on Thursday that it would spend about $100 million to prepare applications to build two nuclear reactors, in Mississippi and Alabama, a step that seems to move the industry closer to its first new reactor order since the 1970's.

The announcement was made by NuStart Energy, a consortium of companies that has substantial government financing. The consortium selected a site in Claiborne County, Miss., adjacent to Entergy Nuclear's Grand Gulf reactor, and another in northern Alabama, next to the Tennessee Valley Authority's long-abandoned Bellefonte nuclear construction project.

The Energy Department is committed to sharing costs to develop the two applications, and has agreed to pay the application fee, about $30 million, for one of them; the consortium is asking the department for money for the other. At the same time, Entergy announced that it would act on its own to develop an application for a reactor at a site next to its Waterford plant, in Louisiana.

The government, the reactor manufacturers and companies that own and operate existing reactors are testing a reformed licensing procedure, established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the 1990's to avoid the pitfalls of the 1970's and 80's, when several reactors were ordered and construction begun before design was completed or regulatory approval obtained.

Under the program, designs for the Grand Gulf reactor, to be made by General Electric, and the Bellefonte reactor, to be made by Westinghouse, will be mostly completed and also approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before substantial work is done at the sites.
http://www.nustartenergy.com/
NUSTART NEWS RELEASE — Washington — The nation’s largest consortium of nuclear power companies today selected Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and Bellefonte Nuclear Plant as the sites it will use on applications for combined construction and operating licenses for new nuclear plants, the first in 30 years.

Grand Gulf, owned by an Entergy subsidiary, is near Port Gibson, Miss. Bellefonte, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is near Scottsboro, Ala.

. . . . , but a new nuclear plant would bring considerable economic benefits – about 2,000 construction jobs for a four-year period, then 250-400 professional permanent jobs to operate and maintain the new plant.

Ms. Kray said NuStart will prepare two COL applications, one for the GE design and one for the Westinghouse design, but is currently funded by DOE to submit to NRC only one of the two. NuStart has a request pending at DOE that would permit NuStart to submit both applications. “We want competition and some selectivity,” she said.

The next step is for NuStart to begin detailed engineering and environmental work of the two respective reactor technologies at their designated sites in support of the applications for a combined COL which NuStart will file with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in late 2007 or early 2008.

After an estimated two-year review, the NRC could issue in 2010 its first COL for a new nuclear power plant in 30 years. Then any NuStart member company or group of companies could take over the approved NuStart license in 2010 and use it to build that reactor. Construction is expected to take four years so the earliest that the first new nuclear plant could startup would be about 2014.

The NuStart work is being funded under the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Power 2010 program to kickstart new nuclear energy construction. The federal government is sharing 50-50 the cost of the detailed engineering with NuStart.
http://www.nustartenergy.com/Display...?ID=20050922-1
Astronuc
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Sep27-05, 07:56 PM
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NuStart Selects Grand Gulf, Bellefonte For Advanced Nuclear Plant Licenses

http://www.entergy-nuclear.com/Nucle...ar&List=Region

WASHINGTON - The nation's largest consortium of nuclear power companies today selected Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and Bellefonte Nuclear Plant as the sites it will use on applications for combined construction and operating licenses for new nuclear plants, the first in 30 years.

Grand Gulf, owned by an Entergy subsidiary, is near Port Gibson, Miss. Bellefonte, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is near Scottsboro, Ala.
Astronuc
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Feb27-06, 12:02 PM
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http://nuclear.gov/nerac/reports1.html

Also in the news, Toshiba has purchased Westinghouse Electric from BNFL.

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Toshiba Corp., Japan's largest maker of nuclear power plant equipment, will pay $5.4 billion to buy 100 percent of Westinghouse Electric Co. to expand in atomic energy amid renewed interest in countries such as the U.S. and China.
"The time for nuclear is right," said British Nuclear Fuels Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael Parker said today in an interview in London. British Nuclear Fuels is a U.K. state-owned maker of reactors.

Toshiba, based in Tokyo, is seeking to expand its power plant operations as earnings from chips and consumer electronics slow amid increased competition. Westinghouse would give Toshiba the pressurized water reactor technology preferred by China, which may spend as much as $54 billion by 2020 building nuclear plants.

Toshiba plans to sell a minority stake in Westinghouse to several investors, the company said today in a statement. The nuclear power-generation market is expected to grow by 50 percent by 2020, the statement said.

Marubeni Corp., Japan's fifth-largest trading company, is in talks with Toshiba to invest in Westinghouse, Takashi Hashimoto, a spokesman at Tokyo-based Marubeni, said earlier today. Mitsui & Co. and Shaw Group Inc. were identified as possible partners, according to the Nihon Keizai newspaper last month.
http://www.irnnews.com/news.asp?acti...&article=10616

BNFL, Toshiba Agree to Sale of Westinghouse
http://www.bnfl.com/content.php?pageID=69&newsID=248

Ah, the fun never stops in our industry.
Chronos
#59
Mar2-06, 12:40 AM
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Nuclear energy will rise from the dead again someday. Think modular fast gas, or pebble bed reactors for now. Middle east oil reserves will be nearly depleted by 2050, IMO. A few countries, like the US, will be able to milk their domestic reserves for a decade or two.
jhe1984
#60
Mar2-06, 02:43 PM
P: 154
We had to watch a documentary about nuclear energy (and how its dangers are perceived much higher than in reality) and I remember some very interesting facts in the film - though I've forgotten the science behind them (yall will have to help with that).

In one experiment, this guy set outside for a period of time (like 3 hours or so) of a NY or NJ reactor with a geiger counter and measured the radiation. Then, he took that same geiger counter (yeah, it was pre-9/11) on an airplane and found that the amount of radiation exposure a person receives during a one-way airplane trip something like triples the amount of radiation received sitting outside a reactor for the same period (or longer).

He then took a geiger counter inside some lady's home and found that the building materials (I think granite and other rocks) that were inside her home were emitting TONS of radiation. Then he followed that lady's husband, who worked at a nuclear plant, from there home into the nuke plant and he set off the detectors (which I guess they have going into and coming out of) going INTO the nuke plant. Ha.

Then he went to one of those pill-shaped concrete cylinders of nuclear waste (I forget where) sitting somewhere in the US and sat outside of those for awhile. Again, negligible radiation.

Finally, he went to a coal extraction plant (or some type of stripmine) and found that the radiation exposure coming from the surrounding rocks that they had to dig through to get coal (apparently some fairly normal rocks are pretty radioactive, I think) were many multiples the amount of the emitted radiation of a nuke plant.

Basically, the film showed how effective nuclear energy can be (they showed how 70% of France is powered by it - and is thus an electricity EXPORTER) and also how overblown and fear-mongering the attacks against it could be.

And what was really frustrating was that the groups most vehemently opposed to nuclear energy were the environmental lobbies (the reactionist-type ones) and that, unwittingly, all they had accomplished for their 30-plus years of operation were to increase the market share of coal and petroleum plants - which are the ones that have really been hurting the environment with carbon emissions, etc.

Also, my teacher said that the only by-product of a nuke plant (apart from the waste - which he said is only not recycled in US, unlike France et al) was steam. Is that correct?

All mistakes in my accounting of this film were mine, please poke around with questions.
jhe1984
#61
Mar2-06, 03:04 PM
P: 154
It's really frustrating how candidates who run on a pro-environment platform (at least comparatively) at the same time bash nuclear energy and, whether they want to or not, only increase the fossil fuel-based market share - which they also rant against constantly.

My family is in the oil business and has been for some time (so financially it's no particular sweat to us if the nuke industry tanks) but each one of us sympathizes with the nuclear industry for two reasons. First, every sane person - especially in the exploration business - knows that it's getting harder to find new reserves. In fact, iirc, the ratio of new reserve discoveries-to-oil and gas consumption has been negative (more new demand, less new oil) since something like 1975. The ones we have found are harder to get to -deep sea/artic reserves - and less profitable, making the whole thing enormously more speculative (a risk which gets passed on to the consumer). The market economics of the oil and gas industry are extremely complex and very interesting, but would require an entire thread to fully introduce.

But the second reason the oil and gas exploration industry is sympathetic to the plight of the nuclear energy industry is that they are having to face, in a less vicious but more pervasive way, the attacks from folks who seem to always be critical and never constructive (generally, under the 'environmentalist' nom-de-guerre) when it comes to energy supply and demand. For example, there is simply no logic (rooted in understanding of economics or conservation for that matter) in opposing - across the board - drilling in ANWR, middle east oil dependence, AND, at the same time, nuclear energy generation. For whatever reason, there is little compromising on their side, except semantically, with unsubstianted or unreasonable pleas toward things like solar energy, which, right now, simply can't supply (in an economically reasonable manner) the massive mW that nations demand.

(And also because the attacks can get pretty personal and vicious. When I tell people my family's in the oil industry, they immediately think and sometimes accuse crazy things like being imperialist propogaters of war in the middle east, drilling in ANWR, destroyer-of-rare algae (yes, that ones real) etc. all the while overlooking the simple fact that, the more the US actually gets cheap oil, the less profitable our industry becomes. Crazy, I tell ya..)

I've got shares - which have been tanking, btw - in some nuke energy businesses, simply cause I think they're the real future in energy production.
Astronuc
#62
Mar2-06, 03:44 PM
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Quote Quote by jhe1984
Also, my teacher said that the only by-product of a nuke plant (apart from the waste - which he said is only not recycled in US, unlike France et al) was steam. Is that correct?
Not quite.

Nuclear plants generate low, moderate and high level waste, which are ranked by radioactivity.

The high level waste consists of spent fuel, which having operated in the core for 4-6 years, contains fission products. The spent fuel is stored in the spent fuel pool until it cools sufficiently to then put it in dry storage. In theory, the spent fuel is supposed to go to a final repository (once-through fuel cycle plan), which is supposed to be Yucca Mountain, NV. That hasn't happened yet, so the spent fuel continues to accumulate at each reactor/plant site.

In the normal course of operation, corrosion products in the cooling system become radioactive. This material (several 10's of kg) is collected on filters, which ultimately must be disposed. This waste is sent to special sites which dispose of low or moderate radioactive waste.

Other low-level waste accumulates during normal maintenance. Workers clothing, even with very low levels of radioactivity must be disposed of according to strict rules.
Astronuc
#63
Mar2-06, 03:46 PM
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Quote Quote by jhe1984
I've got shares - which have been tanking, btw - in some nuke energy businesses, simply cause I think they're the real future in energy production.
You mean utility shares?
jhe1984
#64
Mar2-06, 07:43 PM
P: 154
Yep. Two utilities within the NuStart Consortium. Had 'em for about a year now. Hopefully they'll pick up.

I've only got a limited number of shares currently because 1) it doesn't seem like the nuclear power industry is a particularly nimble creature (with application and building restrictions and all) and 2) I have yet to really understand the innerworkings of nuclear energy consortiums.

Mainly I'm banking on the DoE incentives coming to fruition between '08 and 2011. If the next Congress (or President for that matter) does an abrupt about-face - which apparently can happen [thinking of that Cuomo story] - then I guess I'm s.o.l.

But like I said, this is more me owning em cause I believe in their practicality (apart from the market). <--- why idealists make bad floor traders...
Astronuc
#65
Mar3-06, 08:04 AM
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DOE will be tight on money.

The time to buy ETR was a year ago, but they are doing reasonably.

It it prudent to do one's research.
vanesch
#66
Mar3-06, 08:25 AM
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Quote Quote by hitssquad
Would neutron-radiation embrittlement of the steel rebar in older containment buildings also be an important factor, Astronuc?
I would say that if the neutron flux is high enough to damage the building, I wouldn't want to be standing just outside of it !
Morbius
#67
Mar3-06, 05:22 PM
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Quote Quote by vanesch
I would say that if the neutron flux is high enough to damage the building, I wouldn't want to be standing just outside of it !
vanesch,

You are very correct. The rebar in the walls of the containment doesn't get the hefty
neutron dose.

Embrittlement by neutrons is limited only to those parts of the plant that get a
direct exposure to neutrons - namely the reactor vessel and its internals.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
Astronuc
#68
Apr2-06, 12:04 PM
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National Geographic Article -
http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/n...re2/index.html

It's scary. It's controversial. It's expensive. And it might just save the Earth.
Presently in the US, there are 12 (Combined Operating License) COL's in various stages of preparation.

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-lice...sign-cert.html
Astronuc
#69
Apr8-06, 11:00 PM
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Just adding in something from the European Nuclear Society -

http://www.euronuclear.org/library/p...ue-6-print.htm

The bottom of the page contains websites for many societies and companies in the European nuclear industry.

http://www.euronuclear.org/library/public/enews/

Current news
Astronuc
#70
Jun19-06, 07:56 PM
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Today I heard a rumor (news which I cannot yet substantiate), that two pressure vessels have been ordered by a US utility(s) for two ABWRs - in the US of course.

Stay tuned.

Adding to this -

New Nukes for North America
http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.ht...24&segmentID=1
Air Date: Week of June 16, 2006

Ontario, Canada plans to build two new nuclear reactors in the province to meet increasing demand for electricity.. At the same time, the government has delayed closing its existing coal plants as promised. Host Steve Curwood talks with Bob Carty, of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, about the controversial plan.

. . . .

Nuclear power is set to make a major comeback in North America. The Bush administration recently pushed a plan through Congress that grants as much as 15 billion dollars in federal aid, to jumpstart nuclear power plant construction, in the United States. And now in Canada the provincial government of Ontario has just announced it will spend 40 billion dollars to upgrade old atomic power stations and build some new ones.
Morbius
#71
Jun20-06, 03:16 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc
New Nukes for North America
http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.ht...24&segmentID=1
Air Date: Week of June 16, 2006
Astronuc,

One part of the above "Living on Earth" segment advises one look to how California
is dealing with its energy policy, as to how to be "environmentally sensitive".

California's power supply is anything but robust - which was why it was so easy for
energy companies to "game the system" a few years ago when California was having
blackouts and brownouts.

California gets a good chunk of its electricity from the two nuclear power stations
that are in the State; Diablo Canyon and San Onofre. In addition, the Los Angeles
Dept. of Water and Power is a partial owner the largest nuclear power plant in the
USA, Palo Verde in Arizona.

As for how "environmentally friendly" California is going to meet its future needs?

The California Energy Commission has plans for the building of new transmission
lines to the Rocky Mountain States where California's future electric power needs
will be provided by fossil-fueled power plants burning coal. [ For the CEC, it doesn't
count as pollution if the pollution isn't sourced in California. ]

California has a law on the books that there can be no new nuclear power plants
built in California until the Yucca Mountain Repository or its equivalent opens.

PG&E wants to do some upgrades on the steam turbo-generator portion of the
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Those changes to the steam cycle will
increase the efficiency of the plant - so California will get more electricity from
a given amount of heat from the reactors.

However, the California Energy Commission ruled that to increase the efficiency of
Diablo Canyon and get more electrical energy from the same amount of heat at
Diablo Canyon would be the functional equivalent of building a new nuclear power
plant - and hence would be illegal under state law.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
Astronuc
#72
Jun20-06, 05:05 PM
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Quote Quote by Morbius
PG&E wants to do some upgrades on the steam turbo-generator portion of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Those changes to the steam cycle will increase the efficiency of the plant - so California will get more electricity from a given amount of heat from the reactors.
Sounds reasonable - convert more of the thermal energy to mechanical energy, by increasing turbine efficiency. Many plants have done that in US and Europe reducing the need to build additional units.

Quote Quote by Morbius
However, the California Energy Commission ruled that to increase the efficiency of Diablo Canyon and get more electrical energy from the same amount of heat at Diablo Canyon would be the functional equivalent of building a new nuclear power plant - and hence would be illegal under state law.
- Shocked, not surprised. Idiots! Those people should be removed from the CEC for being stupid to the point of absurdity. What are they smoking?


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