Nuclear Power Usage: Hear What Others Know.

In summary, nuclear power is a very important source of energy that has many benefits, but there are some risks involved. It is important to be aware of these risks so that the right decision can be made about whether or not to use nuclear power.
  • #1
AndrewAndrew
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I have just completed a paper in my English class about nuclear energy and I would like to hear about other peoples interest of the topic of using nuclear energy. I would like to come out and say I have found a lot of information regarding how safe they really are and how efficient the plants are and was wanting to hear from other people about what they know!
 
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  • #2
AndrewAndrew said:
I have just completed a paper in my English class about nuclear energy and I would like to hear about other peoples interest of the topic of using nuclear energy. I would like to come out and say I have found a lot of information regarding how safe they really are and how efficient the plants are and was wanting to hear from other people about what they know!
Thanks for your interest! This is a bit free-form(you didn't ask a question), so is there anything specific about nuclear power you'd like to know more about/discuss?
 
  • #3
I would like to hear the thoughts on the use of plants around the world? Are they a good thing? Is there some restrictions or adjustments that need to be made? etc.
 
  • #4
Well, I think that on this site and amongst scientists/engineers in general you will find much higher support for nuclear power than in the general public. The general public isn't usually very good at understanding the true risk of very damaging/expensive but exceptionally rare events such as nuclear accidents. And the issues around nuclear are so political that much of the discussion is charged with low quality arguments.

But where the rubber meets the road, we basically have no other option for the majority of our baseload power if we want to deal with climate change. The recent shutdown of Indian Point #2 and startup of a natural gas plant to replace (discussed in another thread) it is a good case-in-point of the problem.

Renewable advocates who oppose nuclear will argue that it is possible to replace baseload nuclear (and coal and natural gas) with solar, wind and storage. In theory it is, but in reality most nuclear and coal power that is being shut down is being replaced with natural gas. But political/activist opposition to nuclear power remains high and as a result we are not on a path that leads to a mostly carbon-free grid (in the US or most other developed nations). But France is the exception - they showed in the '70s and '80s that if a government wants a mostly carbon-free grid it can simply choose to build a bunch of nuclear plants itself and in 15-20 years have it.

There are of course new technologies in the works for nuclear power, but the primary thing that needs to change in order to broaden its implementation is the politics.
 
  • #5
I have always thought the Thorium based liquid salt reactors seemed like the most promising path and yet they do not seem to gain traction. I am interested in your thoughts.
 
  • #6
hutchphd said:
I have always thought the Thorium based liquid salt reactors seemed like the most promising path and yet they do not seem to gain traction.
Thorium reactors seem interesting and I agree we should put some effort into researching them. But near-term climate change mitigation is not a research project, it is a construction project. We need to be building the clean power plants now that will come online over the next 30 years (gradually phasing out coal, old nuclear plants and baseload natural gas plants). If a research reactor comes online in 10 years that provides a commercially viable solution in 20 years, it's nice for the later future, but it doesn't factor into a 30 year transition timeline.
 
  • #7
hutchphd said:
I have always thought the Thorium based liquid salt reactors seemed like the most promising path and yet they do not seem to gain traction. I am interested in your thoughts.
Who cares what the fuel is? It takes private investors to make nuclear power real. The main obstacle to them is regulatory uncertainty. A big investment in a 40 year life plant is threatened by uncertainty. Public opinion can shift. Politics can shift. Technology can shift. Public preferences on energy use can shift. All those raise the prospect that the investment may turn sour.

It is much less risk to build something that returns the investment in 5 years rather than 40 years. So, financial and risk considerations weigh heavier than choice of technology, choice of fuel, fission versus fusion.

The only way for public policy to change that is to give a guarantee. Guarantee the future income to the investors regardless of what may happen to the power plant. But that's unpopular because it socializes costs and privatizes profits.
 
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  • #8
russ_watters said:
But political/activist opposition to nuclear power remains high and as a result we are not on a path that leads to a mostly carbon-free grid (in the US or most other developed nations). But France is the exception - they showed in the '70s and '80s that if a government wants a mostly carbon-free grid it can simply choose to build a bunch of nuclear plants itself and in 15-20 years have it.
2019 was the last point I could find data on it but in 2019 France was getting three fourths of their total energy from nuclear plants along with Slovakia and Ukraine well over half. So far it is working but I see a concern in the long term stability. Not so much of the stability of the plant itself but the stability of the amount of energy being formed.
Also I have concerns about the potential lack of usable uranium. As I am under the impression you already know, generally the plants use U-235 and sometimes U-238 being the isotopes of Uranium. I worry about what happens to all of these countries that rely heavily on nuclear power when the amount of those atoms either gets low enough that we decide to conserve the rest or when we can't find anymore being that it is an nonrenewable resource. One pound of uranium is the same as 3 million pounds of coal but eventually it will run out.
 
  • #9
anorlunda said:
Who cares what the fuel is? It takes private investors to make nuclear power real. The main obstacle to them is regulatory uncertainty...

The only way for public policy to change that is to give a guarantee. Guarantee the future income to the investors regardless of what may happen to the power plant. But that's unpopular because it socializes costs and privatizes profits.
I think subsidies always socialize costs and privatize profits. If we want to eliminate that, we'd have to have the government build the plants themselves (a la France). I'm not usually a fan of that, but governments can exempt themselves from their own red tape, so it may eliminate some hurdles.
 
  • #10
AndrewAndrew said:
I worry about what happens to all of these countries that rely heavily on nuclear power when the amount of those atoms either gets low enough that we decide to conserve the rest or when we can't find anymore being that it is an nonrenewable resource. One pound of uranium is the same as 3 million pounds of coal but eventually it will run out.
We're not really sure how much uranium there is in the world so we don't know when it will run it. It's cheap so we're not really looking for new sources. But in the near-term, if you build a plant that you expect to run for 50 years you don't have to worry about whether we will run out of fuel in 100 years.
 
  • #11
russ_watters said:
governments can exempt themselves from their own red tape, so it may eliminate some hurdles.
Another advantage to government ownership of the plants, at least in the US, is that the government has a cadre of well-trained operators and maintainers of nuclear plants, from the US Navy submarine force. The US Navy's safety record for operating nuclear plants is much, much better than that of any civilian operator, which could help to address public concern about safety.

It could even end up being cost neutral to taxpayers. For example, suppose the US were to build a nuclear reactor to supply power to every US military base in every state (except possibly Hawaii since space is so constrained there). Then the US government would sell any excess power generated by the plants (which I think would typically be a lot) to the commercial grid, either at current market rates or at a slight discount.
 
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  • #12
russ_watters said:
We're not really sure how much uranium there is in the world so we don't know when it will run it. It's cheap so we're not really looking for new sources. But in the near-term, if you build a plant that you expect to run for 50 years you don't have to worry about whether we will run out of fuel in 100 years.
That's part of my concern though, we don't know how much there may be. We may never find anymore starting next year or something like that too. I know that they don't expect the plants to be up kept and running forever but with over 400 of them in the world, that's a lot of energy that is now not being produces would we happen to suddenly run out/low of uranium. Also in 2019, the operable reactors (396 of them) produced over 390,000 Megawatts of energy being 10% of the entire worlds energy. That would be a lot of energy that would just dispensary would we go scarce on uranium.
 
  • #13
PeterDonis said:
Another advantage to government ownership of the plants, at least in the US, is that the government has a cadre of well-trained operators and maintainers of nuclear plants, from the US Navy submarine force. The US Navy's safety record for operating nuclear plants is much, much better than that of any civilian operator, which could help to address public concern about safety.
I agree with this as a possibility at least. Being that the Chernobyl incident was blamed on lack of training as well as a lack of proper testing, it caused a backlash of fear from citizens about the possibility of other untrained employees in the plants.
 
  • #14
AndrewAndrew said:
That's part of my concern though, we don't know how much there may be. We may never find anymore starting next year or something like that too.
No, it's not that tight. People who mine/sell uranium know what the market is right now and is likely to be for the next few decades. So they've explored and found enough uranium to provide that. It's possible that they won't find enough to fuel a massive expansion of nuclear power, but it is unlikely. Consider that people have been saying for many decades that we could run out of oil in 20 years. It's typically true based on "current" known reserves. But decade after decade we still have 20 years. In 20 years, we will likely still have 20 years of known reserves. Heck, if anything the reserves have increased.

Also, right now the fuel is cheap, so we're using it very wastefully. There are ways to get much more life out of the same fuel, and if the fuel starts to become scarce we'll start doing that (re-processing).
 
  • #15
russ_watters said:
If we want to eliminate that, we'd have to have the government build the plants themselves (a la France).
I can't speak for France, but in the USA there's a problem hidden in that. Our governments rely on selling bonds to private investors to finance projects. And in 1982, they let the genie out of the bottle.

In 1982, WPPS (Washington Public Power System) defaulted on the bonds for Satsop Nuclear Power Plant which was 75% complete. The investors were stiffed not only on the interest but on their entire principal. That genie can never go back into the bottle. Solemn promises to pay from government are no better than promises from private sources.

So the reality is that when it comes to financing, the differences between public projects and private projects are less than you might think. It would be different if governments satisfied all their obligations from this year's tax income, but don't hold your breath.
 
  • #16
anorlunda said:
Our governments rely on selling bonds to private investors to finance projects.
State and local governments do, but not the Federal government.
 
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  • #17
PeterDonis said:
State and local governments do, but not the Federal government.
The Treasury still issues a variety Saving Bonds, but I believe they are used for the general funds rather than specific programs.

There are also Treasury bill, notes and other instruments.
https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/products.htm

WPPSS (Washington Public Power Supply System) was a quasi-government (municipal utility) organization.

https://www.historylink.org/File/5482
Planners expected that the demand for electricity in the Northwest would double every 10 years, beyond the capacity of hydropower. WPPSS made plans for a nuclear plant at Hanford, called Plant 2, and in 1971 utilities signed up to share costs and benefits. Plant 1, also at Hanford and Plant 3 near Satsop, Grays Harbor County, were proposed the following year. The costs of all these plants would be repaid through the sale of the power that they produced. WPPSS planned Plant 4 at Hanford and 5 at Satsop which would be "twinned" with 1 and 3. In this way, system planners thought, the experience and resources from the first plants would benefit the twin plants.
https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/a-northwest-distaste-for-nuclear-power/
Units 1 and 4 in Richland were B&W-205 units (similar to TVA's Bellefonte and RWE's Mülheim-Kärlich), Unit 2 was a GE BWR4/5 and Units 3 and 5 were CE System 80 units (similar to APS Palo Verde). That lead to significant costs because of the different designs. Adding to the woes was the TMI-2 accident and partial core meltdown, which certainly affects B&W units, but also all NPPs in terms of redesigns to ensure more resiliency in Emergency Core Cooling Systems (ECCSs) and emergency procedures, particularly for various LOCAs. I started my undergraduate program in nuclear engineering 5 months after the TMI accident. Professionally, I've worked on projects with both WNP-2 and TMI, as well as most LWRs in US, Europe and Asia (expect for Russia and China).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNP-1_and_WNP-4 (Site construction began 1975) "Labor disputes at Hanford halted construction on WNP-1, -2 and -4 in 1980 and the forecast electric demand had failed to materialize, prompting WPPSS to install new management and re-evaluate the cost and schedule for all five nuclear projects."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellefonte_Nuclear_Plant
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mülheim-Kärlich_Nuclear_Power_Plant

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNP-3_and_WNP-5 "WPPSS applied for a construction and operation permit in 1973, and both WNP-3 and WNP-5 started construction in 1977."

The Supply System was approaching financial hell in the early 1980s. The disastrous brew of construction delays, cost overruns, public suspicion and declining demand put the agency in an untenable position. The plants, initially slated to cost about $4.5 billion, were estimated in 1981 at $23.9 billion. In 1982, bowing to the inevitable, the agency terminated Projects 4 and 5, the ones without Bonneville’s financial backing.

Now the participating utilities faced economic disaster. To pay bondholders would require huge leaps in electric rates. Customers were fuming. Some utilities looked to the courts to escape the “hell or high water.” When the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in June 1983 that utilities had lacked the authority to contract to buy “project capability,” default was unavoidable. It occurred in a legally choreographed series of moves in July and August.

Almost immediately, bondholders — some 80,000 of them — sued the Supply System, the 88 utilities and virtually everyone else associated with the terminated projects. They charged fraud and misrepresentation in the sale of bonds. The case that followed default was enormous, with hundreds of attorneys, thousands of motions and submissions, and perhaps 100 million pages of paper.

https://www.nytimes.com/1983/08/14/business/the-lessons-of-a-bond-failure.html

https://networks.h-net.org/node/192...losions-rise-and-fall-washington-public-power
 
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  • #18
Astronuc said:
The Treasury still issues a variety Saving Bonds, but I believe they are used for the general funds rather than specific programs.

There are also Treasury bill, notes and other instruments.
https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/products.htm
Yes, money paid for US savings bonds just goes into the general fund, it's not targeted for particular programs.

T-bills and the other instruments are mainly just fancy ways of printing more money. Yes, private investors can buy them, but the biggest buyer is usually the Fed, which pays for them using printed money in order to increase the money supply. (Conversely, when the Fed wants to decrease the money supply, which is very rare, it sells T-bills and other instruments and retires the dollars it gets in return.)
 
  • #19
anorlunda said:
Who cares what the fuel is? It takes private investors to make nuclear power real. The main obstacle to them is regulatory uncertainty
It was my understanding at one point that the Chinese were putting effort into several forms of nuclear including Thorium. Do the same short term market forces drive their decisions?
 
  • #20
hutchphd said:
Do the same short term market forces drive their decisions?
No. The Chinese government is not driven by short term market forces. They basically control the market.

Bloomberg - "For the full year, the trade surplus reached $535 billion, a 27% increase from 2019 and the highest since 2015," and "For the full year, the trade surplus with the U.S. was $317 billion, 7% higher than in 2019." In other words, they are flush with cash.

In terms of nuclear energy, they are looking at everything, however the bulk of commercial plants are LWRs based on US, Canadian, European and Russian technologies, that they then modify. They have invested in fast reactors and other types.
https://world-nuclear.org/informati...ofiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx
 
  • #21
But are their nuclear dollars (or yuan) being allocated differently because of that?
 
  • #22
PeterDonis said:
State and local governments do, but not the Federal government.

Not on point, but irony from a press release just 3 hours ago:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/treasury-unsure-of-how-long-it-can-stave-off-default-without-debt-limit-hike/ar-BB1goamn

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it is unable to predict how long it could stave off a default on the national debt if the federal debt limit isn't suspended or increased this summer because of the COVID-19 recession.

hutchphd said:
Do the same short term market forces drive their decisions?

Short term?! that really misses the point.

Not directly. China has much more authority. But presumably China aspires to a free economy, not a planned economy. In a free economy, investors have influence.
 
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  • #23
hutchphd said:
But are their nuclear dollars (or yuan) being allocated differently because of that?
Please elaborate on one's question. To what 'that' are you referring?

China has a series of 5 year plans, but also some long term plans that look out decades. The invest in infrastructure (aerospace/airlines, railways, highways, manufacturing, power plants, . . . . ) that will lift many out of poverty, while at the the same time, there are millions of people whose labor is exploited.

Please refer to the world-nuclear article on the Chinese nuclear energy program. They are constructing plants that have a proven design, while they are also looking at advanced reactor concepts, but on a limited scale in order to 'prove' a given technology. For example, they are apparently working on a molten salt system, a liquid metal fast reactor, as well as fusion.

"China initiated a thorium molten-salt reactor research project in January 2011."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor#China
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/sci...-play-leading-role-developing-next-generation

More generally, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor
https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/new...ors-for-a-sustainable-clean-energy-transition

Fast reactor in China
https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Chinese-fast-reactor-begins-high-power-operation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Experimental_Fast_Reactor
https://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/784/

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/ne...uction-of-second-cfr-600-fast-reactor-8435608

Fusion research in China
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Fusion_Engineering_Test_Reactor
https://www.neimagazine.com/features/featurefusion-projects-make-progress-in-2020-8492724/
 
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  • #24
PeterDonis said:
Yes, money paid for US savings bonds just goes into the general fund, it's not targeted for particular programs.
And on the other side of the coin, the federal government doesn't really have to get funding for particular programs if it doesn't want to. For example, if it can simply decide to send everyone in the USA checks totaling half a trillion dollars without any funding source it could just as easily send those checks to construction companies to build a hundred new nuclear reactors.

For that matter, the total the US government has spent on COVID stimulus without a funding source is about $4 trillion. For half that money (and spent over 10-20 years instead of one) it could build about 400 nuclear reactors, replacing the 100 ageing reactors and adding 300 new ones, and have an entirely carbon free grid. Who's in!?!
 
  • #25
AndrewAndrew said:
Being that the Chernobyl incident was blamed on lack of training as well as a lack of proper testing, it caused a backlash of fear from citizens about the possibility of other untrained employees in the plants.
That's not accurate. The incident at Chernobyl unit 4 was the result of a dangerous experiment that took the reactor well outside of it's design envelop, compounded by a lack of some fundamental understanding of the design and physics involved. I don't believe the experiment was approved, or rather, it was conducted in way that did not conform to the original plan.

`The lack of reinforced concrete containment surrounding the reactor was another deficiency. RBMKs and VVER-440s are considered too risky by the industrialized and developed nations due to lack of containment.

AndrewAndrew said:
That's part of my concern though, we don't know how much there may be. We may never find anymore starting next year or something like that too. I know that they don't expect the plants to be up kept and running forever but with over 400 of them in the world, that's a lot of energy that is now not being produces would we happen to suddenly run out/low of uranium. Also in 2019, the operable reactors (396 of them) produced over 390,000 Megawatts of energy being 10% of the entire worlds energy. That would be a lot of energy that would just dispensary would we go scarce on uranium.

In the US, there are currently 93 licensed to operate nuclear power plants in the United States (62 PWRs and 31 BWRs). When I joined the industry, there were 106 operating reactors. Germany has 6 operating reactors currently, down from 30+ reactors.
https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-g-n/germany.aspx

In Japan, all reactors were shutdown following the event at Fukushima Daiichi, in which 4 reactors were destroyed. "The first two reactors restarted in August and October 2015, with a further seven having restarted since. 16 reactors are currently in the process of restart approval."
https://world-nuclear.org/informati...ofiles/countries-g-n/japan-nuclear-power.aspx

Japan currently has one of the most conservative/restrictive policies on nuclear energy. The event at Fukushima made clear the deficiencies in the utility's safety program and the federal regulatory program.

On the other hand, South Korea has a fairly aggressive nuclear energy program. They mostly build PWRs with some CANDU (or PHWR).
https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-o-s/south-korea.aspx

China has a very aggressive program in nuclear energy, out of necessity. They are also aggressive in wind and solar power, and hydro-power. They also have a poor record with respect to protecting the environment.

There is plenty of uranium in the world, and the uranium reserves could be supplemented by thorium if necessary. It is a matter of economics. In the long term, there should be consideration of the fact that uranium and thorium reserves are limited.

As to what makes sense, one would have to look at all the energy sources in conjunction with the population's demand for energy and the environmental consequences. What should be the balance between large central stations (1.0-1.7 GWe/unit, with multiple reactors) and smaller modular systems (0.05 - 0.5 GWe/unit), with other sources, such as wind farms, hydroelectric plants, solar plants, and particularly solar power systems that are decentralized (every house or building having its individual solar plant)? How much of transportation will be converted from fossil fuel to electric (either direct or battery)?

Consideration must be given to the supply chains from the development of raw materials (usually extracted from the earth) through to the final product, including the plant, its fuel and its waste. Final disposition of the spent/used fuel remains a challenge, as does reprocessing. Fuel using recycled uranium and plutonium from reprocessed fuel is expensive, due to the necessity of remote handling.
 
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  • #26
Astronuc said:
To what 'that' are you referring?
Sorry. It was @anorlunda saying "It takes private investors to make nuclear power real. The main obstacle to them is regulatory uncertainty". My supposition is that such issues are less controlling in China and I wonder whether that changes the outline of their nuclear plans.

I note in passing that our (US) experience with the Liquid Sodium Breeder was less than confidence building. And there was Windscale in UK and a long list of screwups that folks generally try to ignore.

I am a firm believer that nuclear power could be produced in an environmentally benign fashion. Whether it can be so produced in the world we inhabit is a much more difficult question. I think Thorium molten salt is the most likely candidate.
 
  • #27
anorlunda said:
It takes private investors to make nuclear power real.
Most projects require a liability waiver (= free liability insurance) and a guarantee to purchase the power at a fixed price.
 
  • #28
hutchphd said:
The main obstacle to them is regulatory uncertainty". My supposition is that such issues are less controlling in China and I wonder whether that changes the outline of their nuclear plans.
The Chinese government is the driving force in the development of nuclear power through their state-owned corporations. So the dynamic in China is different than in the US, where nuclear plants are owned and operated by public utilities, with regulation by the government (US NRC).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Nuclear_Corporation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_General_Nuclear_Power_Group
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-owned_Assets_Supervision_and_Administration_Commission

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Nuclear_International_Uranium_Corporation

hutchphd said:
I note in passing that our (US) experience with the Liquid Sodium Breeder was less than confidence building. And there was Windscale in UK and a long list of screwups that folks generally try to ignore.
Yeah, I'm familiar with the US FR program.

Windscale was a different beast, but it's catastrophic fire put the damper on the acceptance of nuclear power in the UK.

hutchphd said:
I think Thorium molten salt is the most likely candidate.
MSRs are problematic since such a plant would have to incorporate an on-site chemical processing facility to separate the fission products from the molten-salt. There remain some unresolved materials issues, although there has been some development in some advanced materials, yet a viable system has yet to be demonstrated (assuming that is possible).
 
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  • #29
hutchphd said:
I am a firm believer that nuclear power could be produced in an environmentally benign fashion. Whether it can be so produced in the world we inhabit is a much more difficult question.
What does that mean? Didn't this already happen?
 
  • #30
I was trying to say that it is not simply an engineering question. In a stable and civilized milieu (like France) it seems to work as designed. In the US the result is more mixed: for instance we still have not managed to actually store high level waste in a reasonable fashion. In the USSR there certainly is a legacy that is difficult to know, but Ukraine paid a nontrivial price as did some of the weapons centers What level of traffic in spent (and reprocessed ) fuel will be untenable in a more and more chaotic world?
In the best of all possible worlds it makes engineering sense. Perhaps less so in the one we've got...I am truly agnostic. It may be the only viable solution. I still think the local reprocessing required by the molten salt Thorium reactors represents a plus in this context.
 
  • #31
PeterDonis said:
... the government has a cadre of well-trained operators and maintainers of nuclear plants, from the US Navy ...
I know that's right. While getting my degree in Physics at the University of Kansas, many of my classmates were from the US Navy, particularly in nuclear lab courses. Those guys were really smart and dedicated; most doing submarine duty.
 
  • #32
hutchphd said:
I was trying to say that it is not simply an engineering question. In a stable and civilized milieu (like France) it seems to work as designed. In the US the result is more mixed: for instance we still have not managed to actually store high level waste in a reasonable fashion.
That's an odd framing to me. To me, "environmentally benign" is a purely technical judgement and I don't see how negligible pollution and no deaths associated with radioactive release could be considered anything but completely environmentally benign. To me that's not a mixed result, it's a spectacular success. More broadly, the fight against global warming isn't going to be won or lost based on political victories it's going to be won or lost based on if we produce enough zero-carbon energy.

hutchphd said:
In the USSR there certainly is a legacy that is difficult to know, but Ukraine paid a nontrivial price as did some of the weapons centers What level of traffic in spent (and reprocessed ) fuel will be untenable...
Understood, but I don't think that's all that relevant to the current discussion. Whatever the risk is of Russian nuclear power (and I agree that they remain untrustworthy) we don't have any direct influence over what they do and what they do has no bearing whatsoever on whether we as Americans (or Canadians, Germans, French, etc.) can be trusted with nuclear power and should/shouldn't implement more of it.
hutchphd said:
in a more and more chaotic world?
Not totally sure what you mean there or if it is really relevant based on the above, but but if "increasingly chaotic world" is a prediction about the future it is one I don't share based on the recent past. If it's a statement about recent history and current trajectory, it's inaccurate. Since WWII we've been on a trajectory of declining war and expanding peace unheard of in world history. What's changed is that instead of big nations fighting other big nations we have asymmetrical threats rising...or maybe we just never bothered with them before when we had bigger fish to fry.
 
  • #33
https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/content/assets/images/energy/us/Energy_US_2020.png

For more information - https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news.../28/tvplans-phase-out-coal-power-2035/545960/ (requires registration to read article)
TVA plans to phase out coal power by 2035 as utility turns to more gas, nuclear and renewable energy

https://www.powermag.com/tva-eyeing-coal-phaseout-by-2035-will-rely-on-nuclear/

While TVA began its coal-fired construction program in the 1940s, the majority of its coal units were placed in service between 1951 and 1973. Just 10 years ago, TVA produced 74,583 GWh—or about 52% of its total generation—from 53 active units at 11 coal plants. Increasingly stringent regulatory requirements over the past decade, along with environmental agreements with several states and environmental groups, forced the company to retire 18 coal units by 2017.

As of September 2020, TVA had just five coal-fired plants consisting of 25 active units. Its most recent retirement is Paradise Unit 3, a 1,080-MW unit. Future retirements slated for now only include the 865-MW, 1967-built Bull Run Fossil Plant by December 2023.

When Bull Run closes, its still-operating coal fleet will include the 2.5-GW, two-unit Cumberland station in Tennessee; four units at the 976-MW Gallatin plant in Tennessee; the 1.4-GW, nine-unit Kingston plant, also in Tennessee; and the 1.2-GW, nine-unit Shawnee plant in Kentucky. However, as Lyash noted on Wednesday, all four plants will have reached the end of their lifetime by 2035. Gallatin, Kingston, and Shawnee were built in the mid-to-late-1950s, while Cumberland was placed in service in 1973.

Currently, TVA operates three nuclear plants: the three-unit 3.3-GW Browns Ferry plant in Alabama; the two-unit 2.3-GW Sequoyah plant in Tennessee; and the two-unit 2.3-GW Watts Bar plant in Tennessee. All its units were placed in service between 1974 and 1982, except Watts Bar’s, which came online in 1996 and 2016. Watts Bar Unit 2 was POWER’s 2018 Plant of the Year. Sequoyah 1 is licensed through 2040, and Unit 2, through 2041. Watts Bar 1 is licensed through 2035.

Apparently, they are seriously considering SMRs. There is noise about a nuclear plant at the Bellefonte site, which has a partially built nuclear plant. The site was licensed for nuclear units.

Edit/update:
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is to provide engineering, operations and licensing support to help Kairos Power deploy its Hermes low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee under a newly announced collaboration agreement between the two companies.
https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/TVA-and-Kairos-Power-to-collaborate-on-demonstrati
https://www.powermag.com/tva-kairos-partner-to-deploy-molten-salt-nuclear-reactor-demonstration/
 
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  • #34
AndrewAndrew said:
I have just completed a paper in my English class about nuclear energy and I would like to hear about other peoples interest of the topic of using nuclear energy. I would like to come out and say I have found a lot of information regarding how safe they really are and how efficient the plants are and was wanting to hear from other people about what they know!
Hello Andrew! First of all,nuclear power plants do not create any active pollution.Only problem is where to dump all the nuclear waste they produce. Also,they are one of the most efficient ways of making energy. In fact,1 kg of uranium fuel is equivalent to 1 ton of coal. And yes,we had two major nuclear incidents,Chernobyl and Fukushima.Of course,many people died in those disasters,but still more people die from air pollution!
 
  • #35
If my memory serves, there is an episode of Star Trek where the usual gang are down on a deserted planet with signs of an ancient civilisation.

Kirk asks Spock, idling through records he is scanning on his tricorder, what happened. Spock remarks that they discovered nuclear power but decided not to use it, and thus eventually ran out of energy to keep the civilisation going.

I'm not sure if I made that up, I recall that from some similarly 'ancient' childhood memory of watching those things in the 70s.

Whether my pro-nuclear brain made it up or not, I think it sums the situation up.
 

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