The Nuclear Power Thread

  • #251
Astronuc
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Nuclear Power Institute—Developing The Nuclear Industry Workforce
With eight new nuclear reactors approved for construction in Texas, the need for skilled workers is growing rapidly. NPI is meeting this challenge through a broad partnership with industry, community colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, science and math teachers, state government, Federal agencies, and elected and civic leaders.

Some 450 skilled workers needed for each new reactor being built in Texas.

nuclearpowerinstitute.org

I've known the director for 28 years. NPI is a recent creation.

A good industry journal for keeping up with nuclear power plants for and by those involved in NPP operation.
http://www.nuclearplantjournal.com/
 
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  • #252
gmax137
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It is tough to get images inside containment now.

How's this (this unit had been mothballed for many years at the time of the photo):

300-0378.jpg
 
  • #254
mheslep
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Nuclear Power Institute—Developing The Nuclear Industry Workforce

With eight new nuclear reactors approved for construction in Texas,
The NRC has not approved any eight new reactors in Texas. The NRC has not granted final approval to operate to any new reactors in the US.
 
  • #255
Astronuc
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The NRC has not approved any eight new reactors in Texas. The NRC has not granted final approval to operate to any new reactors in the US.
The approval is not necessarily from the NRC, although that is what counts. I suspect the approval is in the form of letters of intent or MOUs from utilities, although considering when that was written, applications for 4 units may have been withdrawn or put on hold.

The NRC has certified the ABWR, but the applications amended given the change in relationship between GE, Hitachi and Toshiba, which has been done. COL docketed.
http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert/amended-abwr.html

Meanwhile, certification of the Mitsubishi US-APWR is pending. COL docketed.
http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/comanche-peak.html

Exelon did have plans for two ESBWRs in Victoria, but I believe those have been deferred.
http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/victoria.html
June 14 NRC docketed Exelon's ESP application for Victoria County, originally submitted as a COLA.

There was a private group Amarillo Power (UniStar) looking at two unitsnear Amarillo, but I don't think that was serious.

Re: http://www.ne.doe.gov/np2010/neScorecard/neScorecard.html
 
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  • #256
gmax137
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The NRC has not approved any eight new reactors in Texas. The NRC has not granted final approval to operate to any new reactors in the US.

Also, the state public utility commission usually (typically?) has to approve new plant construction as being 'necessary' by some specific criteria. I don't know if that's the case in Texas, or if that approval was in fact in place there.
 
  • #257
Astronuc
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Major engineering contract for Bellefonte
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Areva_wins_Bellefonte_engineering_contract-0510107.html
05 October 2010
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has awarded Areva a contract for engineering and design work towards the completion of the Bellefonte nuclear power plant.

. . . . The NRC reinstated the construction permits for the reactors in 2009. Assuming TVA's board decides to proceed with the completion of unit 1, the plant would be expected to start up around 2018-2019.
 
  • #258
Astronuc
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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-calvert-cliffs-20101011,0,4652014.story
Development of a new nuclear power plant in Maryland suffered a major setback last week with the disclosure that Constellation Energy Group has withdrawn from the federal loan guarantee program. Without those guarantees, it would appear unlikely that Calvert Cliffs 3 will be developed by Constellation and its partner in the project, Electricite de France.

. . . .
The cost of $880 million on a $7.5 billion loan (for a plant currently estimated to cost $9.6 billion) was too great of a burden for the company to take on. The company, and the nuclear industry, feel that the OMB over-estimates the risk.
 
  • #260
Astronuc
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That is yet more nuclear development stopped by government imposed costs.
As opposed to bank or investor imposed costs?! Note that banks and investment funds are not chomping at the bit on 'high risk' nuclear power plants, and I'm sure they'd want a hefty premium up front, and high interest rates.
 
  • #261
mheslep
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As opposed to bank or investor imposed costs?! Note that banks and investment funds are not chomping at the bit on 'high risk' nuclear power plants, and I'm sure they'd want a hefty premium up front, and high interest rates.
Eh? As I understood the article, OMB was setting higher than reasonable, ie forcing higher interest rates than even private capital would have charged. That, and OMB was forcing additional guarantees. So, all above and beyond what would happen without federal involvement, say in China where total plant costs are much lower even though they are exposed to essentially the same world wide cost of capital.
 
  • #262
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As opposed to bank or investor imposed costs?! Note that banks and investment funds are not chomping at the bit on 'high risk' nuclear power plants, and I'm sure they'd want a hefty premium up front, and high interest rates.

But the risks are created by the government. We have had two nuclear reactors that the government refused to issue operating licenses. The companies spent billions of dollars and the government wouldn't let them operate the plants. That doesn't even include all the costs imposed by the insane NRC licensing procedures. The Chinese are building reactors using our designs in less time that it takes the NRC to issue a license to start construction in the United States.

Remember we are talking about reactor designs that the NRC has already approved. There is a whole other process for getting a new design approved.

It really bugs me that opponents of nuclear power say that is too risky when they are the ones that create the risk.
 
  • #263
mheslep
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But the risks are created by the government. We have had two nuclear reactors that the government refused to issue operating licenses. The companies spent billions of dollars and the government wouldn't let them operate the plants. That doesn't even include all the costs imposed by the insane NRC licensing procedures.
Yes! Exactly.

The Chinese are building reactors using our designs in less time that it takes the NRC to issue a license to start construction in the United States.

Remember we are talking about reactor designs that the NRC has already approved. There is a whole other process for getting a new design approved.

It really bugs me that opponents of nuclear power say that is too risky when they are the ones that create the risk.
Hmm, two different types of risk here. Financial and accident/proliferation safety.
 
  • #264
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Yes! Exactly.

Hmm, two different types of risk here. Financial and accident/proliferation safety.

Yes, but we are talking about designs that NRC has already approved. The important job for the NRC is to make sure the contractors and subcontractors are building the reactor to the design they approved. They can't do that job until construction starts, so the extra delay provides no extra safety.

I don't mean sitting at a desk in Washington checking paperwork. I mean actual eyeballs at the construction site. The Ap1000 is a modular design, where most of the reactor is built in factories, which should make it easier to control the quality. I wouldn't be surprised, when we start building AP1000 reactors, if we end up buying components from the Chinese.
 
  • #265
Astronuc
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Eh? As I understood the article, OMB was setting higher than reasonable, ie forcing higher interest rates than even private capital would have charged. That, and OMB was forcing additional guarantees. So, all above and beyond what would happen without federal involvement, say in China where total plant costs are much lower even though they are exposed to essentially the same world wide cost of capital.

Um the Chinese government is involved in the building of those reactors in China, and they are flush with cash. In the US, we have public utilities or mechant power producers who have to go to the capital markets. The reason for the government loan guarantees is that the utilities could not get financing from the financial markets.

It could very well be that the government is over-estimating the risk of default on the $7.5 billion loan.


The Chinese government can also accept less stingent safety standards since they are will to accept the loss of life that would be unacceptable in the US (unless one lives in New Orleans :rolleyes:). And the Chinese people cannot sue the government or companies they way its done in the US.

Large forgings have so far been ordered from Japan until shops can be established in the US.

joelupchurch said:
But the risks are created by the government. We have had two nuclear reactors that the government refused to issue operating licenses. The companies spent billions of dollars and the government wouldn't let them operate the plants.
Which two nuclear reactors? Usually the government has a very good reason not to issue a license. There are two sites under construction - South Texas and Vogtle. The rest are either slowly moving along or have been suspended or deferred for various reasons.
 
  • #266
mheslep
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Um the Chinese government is involved in the building of those reactors in China,
Yes of course, but the point is the government there apparently does not act to drive up the cost, relatively speaking.
and they are flush with cash.
What does this have to do keeping plant cost down?

In the US, we have public utilities or mechant power producers who have to go to the capital markets. The reason for the government loan guarantees is that the utilities could not get financing from the financial markets.
That's curious. Do you have a source for that? I would think the case more likely is that the utility could get financing, but just not at a rate acceptable to them.

[...]The Chinese government can also accept less stingent safety standards since they are will to accept the loss of life that would be unacceptable in the US (unless one lives in New Orleans :rolleyes:).
I agree, and I support a higher safety standard. However I'm far from convinced that standards and regulatory environments imposed by the US bureaucracy are all supportable on the basis of safety, versus bureaucratic inertia.

And the Chinese people cannot sue the government or companies they way its done in the US.
Again because of the legal system imposed by the US government in the last ~century or so.
 
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  • #267
Astronuc
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What does this have to do keeping plant cost down?
Low financing costs, low overhead down the supply chain, and they subsidize their industries. Also, the average person in China (per capita GDP ~ $3,744 (World Bank)) has a lower standard of living than the average person in the US (per capita GDP ~ $46,436 (World Bank)).

That's curious. Do you have a source for that? I would think the case more likely is that the utility could get financing, but just not at a rate acceptable to them.
Just what I hear in the industry, but I'll try to get more information from the appropriate sources.

Again because of the legal system imposed by the US government in the last ~century or so.
And there is a good reason for that. Corporations used to make unsafe (harmful) products or provide unsafe (harmful) working conditions. Over time, the role of government has evolved to protect the consumer and worker, which is consistent with " . . . establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . , promote the general Welfare, . . . ." BTW - the "people" elected the governments that determined those policies.
 
  • #268
mheslep
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.

Which two nuclear reactors? Usually the government has a very good reason not to issue a license. There are two sites under construction - South Texas and Vogtle. The rest are either slowly moving along or have been suspended or deferred for various reasons.
I think he means historically - Byron for at least one of them. License refused in 1984 after 9 years of construction. License eventually granted; the delay no doubt cost a fortune.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_Nuclear_Generating_Station
 
  • #269
mheslep
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Low financing costs, low overhead down the supply chain, and they subsidize their industries. Also, the average person in China (per capita GDP ~ $3,744 (World Bank)) has a lower standard of living than the average person in the US (per capita GDP ~ $46,436 (World Bank)).
??? I don't follow how that all connects to being "flush with cash"? Anyway ...
And there is a good reason for that. Corporations used to make unsafe (harmful) products or provide unsafe (harmful) working conditions.
Corporations? All kinds of business entities, including mom&pop shops have made unsafe products, and they still do, though not as much. I think you'd find it hard to prove the US version of government regulation is responsible for all of that improvement.

Over time, the role of government has evolved to protect the consumer and worker,
Again, I think you'd find it hard to prove that it actually does those things.
which is consistent with " . . . establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . , promote the general Welfare, . . . ."
So are many things. Like, for instance, having access to inexpensive, clean energy, which allows those with out means a chance to prosper.
BTW - the "people" elected the governments that determined those policies.
Yes, unfortunately that does not mean "people" desired everything those governments have done, or certainly not as much as the trial lawyers desired it.
 
  • #270
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Which two nuclear reactors? Usually the government has a very good reason not to issue a license. There are two sites under construction - South Texas and Vogtle. The rest are either slowly moving along or have been suspended or deferred for various reasons.

The infamous case was Shoreham. It was complete, but it couldn't get an operating license because Governor Mario Cuomo wouldn't sign off on a Emergency Evacuation Plan. Governor Dukakis used similar tactics to keep Seabrook from opening for years. The delays drove the major shareholder of the plant into bankruptcy.

It doesn't look like the apple falls far from the tree. Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo has been trying to get Indian Point shut down by getting their environmental permits revoked.
 
  • #271
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The Chinese government can also accept less stingent safety standards since they are will to accept the loss of life that would be unacceptable in the US (unless one lives in New Orleans :rolleyes:). And the Chinese people cannot sue the government or companies they way its done in the US.

Large forgings have so far been ordered from Japan until shops can be established in the US.

Here is an update on large forging capabilities. China has leapfrogged Japan and the US isn't even in the running.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf122_heavy_manufacturing_of_power_plants.html" [Broken]

From a public safety perspective, I'm not sure it matters what value the Chinese Government places on human life. All it takes is a desire not to have multibillion dollar investments turned into puddles of radioactive slag. If anything, it might help, since I suspect any subcontractor that is caught cutting corners on reactor construction will end up with a bullet in the back of the head. They may not care if they are shipping toys painted with lead paint to American children, but they care very about protecting their investments.
 
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  • #272
russ_watters
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I don't think it would be hard at all. One need only look at a small handful of incidents from our not-too-distant past to realize that such things as boiler explosions and fires that engulf a large part of a city have gone from somewhat common to exceedingly rare.

Now, of course, it is possible for regulation to go too far, but it is very difficult to identify what "too far" is.

For nuclear, though, you can mostly ignore the safety regulation itself and focus on the application of it. The examples given of politicians arbitrarily holding up plant construction are examples of people being able to game the process for political purposes and to the detrement of the plant. So what I'm most interested in seeing is a regulatory process put in place that eliminates such abuse, shortens timelines for approvals, etc.
 
  • #273
mheslep
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I don't think it would be hard at all. One need only look at a small handful of incidents from our not-too-distant past to realize that such things as boiler explosions and fires that engulf a large part of a city have gone from somewhat common to exceedingly rare.

Now, of course, it is possible for regulation to go too far, but it is very difficult to identify what "too far" is.
Yes difficult to establish "too far", because it is easy to show correlation, but not to prove causality - my point.
The alternative argument to improving safety and decreasing accidents relies on the rise of the middle class and technological improvements. As people become more affluent and expect more from life, they are less and less likely to value their lives cheaply and thus won't take highly dangerous jobs, nor tolerate a boiler design that burns down the neighborhood every ten years; government regulation happens along for the ride, taking credit. I can not prove the alternative, but it is a plausible theory, correlating well with the record.

See for example this history of declining mining deaths since 1901. The Federal Coal Mine act did not come along until 1969; OSHA 1970.
M822A1F5.GIF
 
  • #274
t92
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A couple of questions. I was reading up a tiny bit on reactors and I was introduced to pool-type reactors and research reactors (often used to provide medical isotopes).

Now, I read about some low temperature non boiling lwr that were built to provide process heat and even some papers on low temp organic rankine cycle power reactors.

It got me wondering why we don't just chill a bit on the efficiency obsession and just build massive pool-type ORC power reactors. Like DIY geothermal plants. How hard can it be to build something like this?, and wouldn't the increase in plant engineering simplicity pay for the lack of thermodynamic efficiency? Well they clearly don't exist, so I wonder if anyone knows of any references to any papers, blogs, or other info that analyses why this idea isn't practical?

Or is it that we are like an ant-eating monkey with his hand stuck around a banana (sexy molten lead fast breeder super efficient mega reactor) in a bottle he cant get out because his fist is too big, but that there are some tasty v. large dead beatles (low hanging fruit nuclear) in the bottle that he could tweazer out between his fingers that are far less of an arse to attain than the usual ants (fossil fuels)?

In the same vein (but far more speculatively), what would be the practicality of having two separate types of reactors; one to produce radioisotopes by neutron activation, and the second to use these radioisotopes in massively scaled up radioisotope thermal power plants? Again any references as to why this is not practical would be great!
 
  • #275
Astronuc
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There are such systems as district heating plants, which can be nuclear. These provide heating to businesses or residential areas. In NY City, the local utility provides steam to some buildings.

With such systems, there is always the concern of liability in the event a hot water/steam line ruptures and injures or kills people or damages property.

Nuclear power plants have typically been built in areas removed from population concentrations, primarily because of the Emergency Protection Zone (EPZ), which can be a large area. It's easier to do that in rural areas, which also pay much lower property taxes. In addition, large power plants need a lot of cooling water - either sea, lake (reservoir), river, cooling tower, or in other words the heat is passed into water or air.

Low power density nuclear plants could possible be viable if they can have a small EPZ, and provide electricity and district heating. Using a Rankine cycle, plants may develop up to ~36% thermal efficiency, but low temperature (and lower pressure) plants are less efficient. It would be ideal (if not practical) to provide heating from the hot water discharge of the power system. Otherwise, the heat is just dumped to the environment.

There are a number of small reactors generating radioisotopes for medicine. And one commercial nuclear power plant in the US is being used to produce Co-60 for medical applications.
 

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