Nov 292015

An interesting opinion piece:

The New Atomic Age We Need

The author suggests the crazy notion that maybe we aught to build us some reactors.

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
  • Nick P.

    I agree with most of the points he makes in the article.

    However the point that even a great many pro-nuclear cheerleaders including the op-ed author seem to miss is that ‘the high cost nuclear’ is mostly caused by the same strangulating over regulation that makes it so hard to build a nuclear reactor at all.

    Oh, to licence a new reactor you have to pay the NRC bureaucrats close to $300 per regulator man hour to review your application? And there is no upper limit to how long they can take to look over said application and how much they can charge you? By the way, even if you are planning to build 1, 10, or 100 of the exact same reactor it’s not like the design is approved once and you’re good! No no no! You have to have the same licencing process for every single one you’re going to build!

    Once you’ve jumped through all of these hoops and you’re paying your construction crew to actually start laying concrete and get on with things, Odin help you if the anti nukes catch wind of what you’re up to and decide to interrupt the process with frivolous lawsuits. Which they will, because of course they always will. While the lawsuit works itself out you have to stop construction, and that giant work crew you’re paying? Sure is a shame they’re sitting around not working but still getting paid. Once this all get resolved and work resumes then oops! Looks like we found something new to start suing you for!

    Hey, keep doing this and I bet we can drag out a two year construction project to five or more and make it cost ten times as much!

    While we’re at it the NRC itself might up and decide that hmm, no, this piping here we already approved the design of and you’ve already installed? We’ve changed our minds and find it to be no longer up to snuff for, you know, reasons, and it all has to be ripped out and replaced. Oh, we approved the old-style piping in 10 other reactors and they’ve been chugging along merrily with no problems? Too bad. Oh, there’s another reactor construction project going on elsewhere of the same design and we didn’t decide to tell them to do the same thing? Too bad. Oh, this will cost nearly a billion freaking dollars to do?

    Too bad, because Fuck You.

    And finally, because I could go on but this rant has to end at some point, the little dog-turd cherry on top:

    Small Modular Reactors that you want to stamp out in a factory? What a crackerjack idea! Too bad that all of the above already kind of strangles large reactors in the cradle and would be proportionally much, much worse for smaller reactors. But you’re willing to bravely forge ahead anyway? Then I hope you’re okay with paying your yearly reactor operating licence which runs somewhere in the ballpark of a million dollars a year.

    Per reactor, not per site, and is the same regardless of the power output of the reactor.

    A one gigawatt or more mondoreactor? No problem, a million dollars a year is pocket change, whatever, lost in the background noise. But your small factory built reactor? Well then I guess you can really only make it so small then, or else that yearly licence fee would make the whole thing hopelessly uneconomic even if one of the other issues doesn’t get you first.

    Oh, you wanted to do something cool like build thousands of little handful of megawatts reactors and pepper them around to distribute power generation? Well no way you could ever get those to pay for themselves, not licencing them for a million dollars a year each!

    And isn’t that just Too Bad For You.

    That’s enough raving for now, lets just say that for nuclear power to flourish in this country, for Fission to Become the New Fire, the NRC as it stands needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt.

    • Adam

      And people wonder why the Nuclear sector needs so many subsidies.

    • sferrin

      That depressing as hell. How often does a government (particularly a liberal one) DE-regulate something? Just read in AvWeek this week that the morons in DC want to make registration MANDATORY for TOY drones. For the children.

    • Peter Hanely

      There’s enough that can go horribly wrong with nuclear that I want new designs independently validated. A lot of that validation should concern what happens if the reactor is pushed off nominal operation conditions. How readily does it recover? Can it be pushed into an explosive condition like Chernobyl? But in a sane world a second reactor of the same type should have greatly streamlined paperwork. As for the frivolous lawsuits causing work-stop, there needs to be a threshold of evidence to issue the injunction, and cost to plaintiff should the action prove groundless.

  • Michel Van

    To build new nuklear reactors that something for Belgium
    That Absurd Kingdom had decided 15 year ago to shut down there Reactors in 2015
    now 15 year has passed and NOTHING happened !
    no renewable energy, no connection to German or main European Power grid
    Why ?
    The Belgium politician had other serious problem,
    To who belongs Brussel, the Capital of Belgium: the Flemish or the Walloons or to Brussels?
    While the National Greens push exit from Nuclear power
    The regional greens successful prevented build up of renewable energy power plants.

    last year the Belgium power grid almost collapse do sabotage
    Solution of Government ?
    “If needed we will shutdown the electric in residential ares during winter from 16:00 to 22:00”
    The public out cry was fierce “Are we like poorhouse Rumania ?!”

    Now the old Nuclear reactors will run to 2025 or 2035
    Only problem half of Reactors are fubar and are more public danger.
    despite warnings they went online this month.
    let see who long they run until they goes Harrisburg (similar type of reactor)

  • Jandanagger Laterobinson

    i worked with PWR’s on submarines . Put it inside a 42ft (or less) diameter hull, Subject it to all kinds of shock, pitch, roll and yaw – some quite violent – and they last for 40 years