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The Nukes of Hazard: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Power Remains Too Costly To Be A Major Climate Solution

By Joe Romm  

"The Nukes of Hazard: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Power Remains Too Costly To Be A Major Climate Solution"

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We need to start aggressively deploying all forms of carbon-free power if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming, starting with the lowest cost ones.

That’s what makes the events of March 12, 2011 so tragic. It (once again) shattered the myth that you can do nuclear power on the cheap.

Smoke rises from Fukushima Daiichi power plant’s Unit 1 in March 2011. Via AP

As CAP’s Richard Caperton and I wrote in a CNN piece 2 days after the tragedy:

New nuclear reactors are phenomenally expensive, costing up to $10 billion dollars apiece. Exelon CEO John Rowe said recently that the combination of low natural gas prices and failure of Congress to put a price on carbon dioxide pollution pushes back any significant nuclear renaissance by a “decade, maybe two.”

The U.S. nuclear industry has long argued that new reactors are prohibitively expensive because of an overly burdensome site selection and permitting process, which they say unnecessarily drives up costs. But, in fact, new nuclear plants have seen soaring prices not just in Florida, Texas and other states — but in Finland, Turkey and Canada.

New reactors are intrinsically expensive because they must be able to withstand virtually any risk that we can imagine, including human error and major disasters. Why? Because when the potential result of a disaster is the poisoning — and ultimately, death — of thousands of people, even the most remote threats must be eliminated.

Insurers know that the results of a nuclear catastrophe would be ruinous on a scale that would overwhelm any private company, which is why they won’t insure nuclear plants. Instead, the U.S. government — which is to say taxpayers — takes on the liability for nuclear reactors.

I have always included about one wedge of nuclear power in my “full global warming solution” for stabilizing at 350 to 450 ppm. Of course we need 12-14 of those wedges (and we need to deploy them in 4 decades not 5), so nuclear power is unlikely to be even 10% of the answer. That’s why I don’t put it in the “major climate solution” category, especially in the near term, which is what counts the most.

Based on a 2007 Keystone report, even one wedge of nukes by 2050 would require adding globally, an average of 17 plants each year, while building an average of 9 plants a year to replace those that will be retired, for a total of one nuclear plant every two weeks for four decades — plus 10 Yucca Mountains to store the waste. It is increasingly unlikely it will be among the cheaper options (see below). And the uranium supply and non-proliferation issues for even that scale of deployment are quite serious. See “An introduction to nuclear power.”

The Fukushima disaster, however, accelerated the phase out of nukes in Germany and “all but two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors have gone offline.” Given the need to keep climate forcings as low as possible, I wouldn’t shutter existing nukes until the clean energy replacements are online, and would prefer to spend big bucks to make them safer. But I can understand where the Germans and Japanese are coming from.

The UK Guardian reports, “Dramatic fall in new nuclear power stations after Fukushima,” noting “Italy and Switzerland have also voted against nuclear energy.” In this country, E&E News (subs. req’d) reports:

Seventy-two percent of those asked answered “no” to the question, “Do you think taxpayers should take on the risk for the construction of new nuclear power reactors in the United States through billions of dollars in new federal loan guarantees for new reactors?”

Again, I don’t think safety in and of itself is the issue, though that is clearly what the nuclear advocates want the debate to be about. The issue is cost — and the need to take the time and spend the money to ensure we don’t have another partial meltdown (or worse) in this country, the need to avoid turning a billion-dollar asset into a 10-billion-dollar liability.

Strikingly, the literature suggests that “nuclear power has a negative learning curve“:

Drawing on largely unknown public records, the paper reveals for the first time both absolute as well as yearly and specific reactor costs and their evolution over time. Its most significant finding is that even this most successful nuclear scale-up was characterized by a substantial escalation of real-term construction costs.

Fig. 13.  Average and min/max reactor construction costs per year of completion date for US and France versus cumulative capacity completed

We’ve known for a while that the cost of new nuclear power plants in this county have been soaring (see Nuclear power: The price is not right and Exclusive analysis: The staggering cost of new nuclear power).

Before 2007, price estimates of $4000/kw for new U.S. nukes were common, but by October 2007 Moody’s Investors Service report, “New Nuclear Generation in the United States,” concluded, “Moody’s believes the all-in cost of a nuclear generating facility could come in at between $5,000 – $6,000/kw.”  That same month, Florida Power and Light, “a leader in nuclear power generation,” presented its detailed cost estimate for new nukes to the Florida Public Service Commission. It concluded that two units totaling 2,200 megawatts would cost from $5,500 to $8,100 per kilowatt – $12 billion to $18 billion total!  In 2008, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intended to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” That would be more than $6,400 a kilowatt.  (And that didn’t even count the 200-mile $3 billion transmission system utility needs, which would bring the price up to a staggering $7,700 a kilowatt).

It is worth noting that renewable energy technologies have classic learning curves.  Here is solar:

Wind power looks similar.

Yes, supply bottle-necks and other factors can temporarily slow or slightly reverse the trends in the short-term, but increased deployment has clearly  lead to staggering price drops.

The trend in nuclear, however, has been in the reverse direction for decades.  Indeed, the cost of new nuclear power plant have continued to escalate in the United States, France, and other countries since 2000:

Bill Gates explained last year the reason he invests so much in nuclear power R&D: “The good news about nuclear is that there has hardly been any innovation.” Talk about magical thinking.

One can hope that next generation nukes come down in price and are scalable enough to make a difference, say, post-2030. But the bad news is we can’t wait. As International Energy Agency explained last year in its 2011 World Energy Outlook [WEO]

“On planned policies, rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change”….

Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”

The time to act is now (see “Study Confirms Optimal Climate Strategy: Deploy, Deploy, Deploy, Research and Develop, Deploy, Deploy, Deploy“ —and yes we need to do those  simultaneously, the repetition is meant to represent the relative spending levels).

‹ Clean Energy Opponents Attack Super-Efficient Light Bulb Because The Washington Post Can’t Do Math

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41 Responses to The Nukes of Hazard: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Power Remains Too Costly To Be A Major Climate Solution

  1. fj says:

    Ten billion dollars per nuclear reactor, builds lots dramatic efficiency improvements including bike lanes and all sorts of advanced net zero vehicles and transit systems; also new net zero buildings and retrofits, and wide spread solar and wind energy deployments, rapidly eliminating the need for fossil fuels, lessening needs for huge amounts of mandatory clean energy build-outs and the devastating infrastructures supporting wasteful legacy technologies.

  2. Tom King says:

    Nuclear should only be an option after every roof has gone solar. Since there is still lots of tar facing heavenward, we should gather the low hanging fruit first.

  3. ArneJ says:

    Good analysis, but I miss the conclusion, Joe. With the costs described above, nuclear is not only NOT in the category of “major climate solution”. Every Dollar of subsidy to build new nuclear would be a waste of scarce financial resources to fundamentally transform the way we produce and use energy.

    What seems, however, more relevant: nuclear is an obstacle to a renewable energy system. Nukes and renewables don’t go together, neither technically, nor economically. Just take a look at Germany where 20% of renewables in the grid jeopardize the business model of any baseload power: http://boell.org/web/index-902.html

    If the goal is to aggressively transform the energy system to low-carbon, efficiency and renewables must be deployed as rapidly as possible. Old nuclear plants are in the way of this and should be phased out over time; new nuclear are a major obstacle for this and should not even be considered.

    • John Tucker says:

      It is sounding like we have slowed greenhouse gas emissions, installed close reasonable amount of renewables for the period and GG are on the decrease.

      (all of that is the opposite of what has occurred)

      By my math the single Fukushima daiichi complex produced more low carbon/clean power in a year than all of Germany’s solar power, which although not the best place for it is huge.

      Incorporating the needed amount of reactors listed in the above where does that put us then in the renewable install scheme?

      Also everyone is assuming no desirable higher energy technology is on the way. That our overall needs will decrease. Wishful thinking at best.

    • Paul Magnus says:

      Yes. Spot on…..

      UK wants 2030 renewable energy target scrapped
      11 Mar 2012: Fledgling green industries could be hit as document reveals move to rebrand nuclear power as a renewable form of energy

  4. John Tucker says:

    Its not cheap. Its not for the faint hearted. Its high energy, scary on demand power.

    It cant be done on a cheap small scale and every particle needs to be collected up and stored.

    It has no relation to current fuel technologies and isnt suited to supplement simpler and cheaper solutions.

    And those are also part of why am liking it more now.

    So after this negative assessment of the cuddly value of nuclear power, where exactly are we on conversion to renewables and the move away from fossil fuels?

    We must be just about there if something that makes us FEEL uncomfortable can be sidelined.

    Build time doesnt bother me. After a decade of “bridges”, weve arguably embarked on a 100 year gas plan.

    Also deployable nuclear power is not a singular option. ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/02/nuclear-reactors-consume-radioactive-waste ) And we are going to have to do something with the weaponized stuff too.

    I wish it was different. But thank you for at least approaching it.

  5. AA says:

    Some rough side by side comparisons:

    You say nuclear costs $4,000-8,100/kW. Let’s say that nuclear has a 90% capacity factor, so let’s make it $9000/kW.

    But what about wind? Wind capacity costs about $1600/kW for onshore and $2600/kW for offshore. Figuring a capacity factor of 30% for onshore and 40% for offshore, that gives costs of $5300/kW, and $6500/kW, respectively. Less than nuclear? Yes, but we’re effectively in the same ballpark, especially when you consider that a.) we’re using the best wind sites first, and b.) the storage required to run a grid on renewables will impose capital and energy costs as well.

    Solar? At $2000/kW and a 20% capacity factor, we’re already more than nuclear.

    Building 30-60GW of nuclear per year is certainly ambitious, but there’s nothing easy about building 30-60GW of renewables per year either (how long has Cape Wind been under development?).

    As Joe points out, arguments based in construction cost or lead time argue for keeping nukes running, not prematurely shutting them down.

  6. Tim Laporte says:

    Can somebody help me understand how we can get our low-carbon baseload requirements met without (significant) additional nuclear? This is not a snarky or rhetorical question. I want to understand what I’m missing, if indeed I am missing something.

    • The concept of “baseload” is something people need to rethink. As Amory Lovins points out, system reliability is not a function of the characteristics of any one power plant, but an aggregate of the characteristics of all the plants working together over the year. That means that a well operated system (especially one with lots of flexible resources and real time pricing, to make load flexible in the face of real-time operating needs) need not have any plants running at 80 or 90% capacity factor to remain reliable.

      Lovins explored this briefly in his take down of Stewart Brand’s book “Whole Earth Discipline”, and I believe RMI laid things out more clearly in their most recent book Reinventing Fire. Start here: http://grist.org/climate-energy/2009-10-13-stewart-brands-nuclear-enthusiasm-falls-short-on-facts-and-logic/

      • Leif says:

        The price of power should represent the cost of that power to produce. Otherwise “We the People” end up holding the bag for the difference. That money “We” are spending could otherwise be spent on socially positive things. Health care, education, green energy, etc. But no, “we” are held hostage to damage control that is again dominated by Corporate America. (They also appear to heavily fund the denier sphere!) Price green energy the same as fossil and spend the difference on tax deductions and social programs. That would instantly quadruple+ the value of efficiency and my PV system, and all green endeavors. Take the profits out of Pollution. NOW!

        Want to burn 50gal/hr. in your bimbo yacht, fine if you are paying @15+/gal and the majority to social improvement.

        • Tim Laporte says:

          Yes, exactly. Place a strong, clear, and increasing price on CO2 emissions, and the market will take care of many of the details. Carbon pricing needs to be the CENTRAL demand of democrats in the year-end budget negotiations. Carbon pricing can go a long way toward balancing the budget, too.

          • Leif says:

            Because a large portion of the deficit is from imported oil as well as the wars and military costs to keep the oil flowing are now passed to “We the People,” and the interest on the national debt is payed for by “We the People,” those costs absolutely must be incorporated into the cost of black gold and reflected in the cost of energy. Cash on the barrel head. I would think even the GOP would like that. Of course a large number of the GOP are holding the paper on the same National debt and like the dividends now covered by “We the People.” Go figure… Mean while: Stop the profits from polluting the commons!

      • wili says:

        Well put. “Base load” from the beginning was primarily discussed as a major problem with conventional power plants, not some kind of fundamental necessity. It is a problem because every watt that is generated has to be consumed somewhere. So if you can’t rapidly shut down plants at night when demand goes way down, you have to find some way to suck up all that extra “base load.” Hence ubiquitous over-lighting in all of our cities.

    • sailrick says:

      Tim Laporte

      Solar thermal power (or CSP) plants with heat storage can provide base load power, though not at as high a capacity factor as nuclear.

      Power tower plants can have up to 70%
      Solar troughs up to 50%

      And improvements in efficieny are likely.

      gleaned from the NREL website:

      This is just one scenario. A utility with different needs can vary this.
      Here’s how a CSP plant with 3.5 hours heat storage on typical summer day in Nevada would run.

      The plant would start saving heat at sunrise. A few hours later, it would start generating electricity and continue storing heat in the salt. By 1pm when the sun peaks, it would be at full rated power, say 1250 MW. It would continue to put out at least it’s full rated power, while increasing output and peaking at about 3,000 MW at 5pm, exactly when demand in the grid peaks in the southwest. It would continue putting out steady but declining power until midnight. No fluctuation when clouds pass by.
      Cloudy periods, which are rare in the southwest can be planned for by the plant manager and utility, from weather forecasts. In the daytime in what the NREL calls Premium Solar Resource areas, there is sunshine all but about 4% of the time.

      3.5 hours heat storage means enough to provide 3.5 hours at full rated power, without any input from the sun.

      The first plant with molten salt heat storage in the U.S. is being built in Arizona. It will have 6 hours heat storage.

      In the winter there is less solar resource due to the angle of the sun mostly, but demand falls even faster than output in non summer months. Air conditioning is the biggest demand, in the southwest. A plant would run about the same as described ,though at lower output.

      HVDC tranmission lines would enable solar thermal in this area to feed power into other regions.

    • John Tucker says:

      Do you like how not only has no one answered your question but has also basically avoided the topic.

      There is no way ive seen put forth. And probably real reductions in GGs will have to wait until the ant nuclear contingents can be removed from environmental movements.

      At least until there is an urge to deal with climate change and acidification matters seriously and above the fears related to nuclear power. Reasonable or not.

  7. QDP says:

    Joe, the problem is our grid industry. So over-leveraged, so implicitly connected to the DoD for weapons production, our nuclear industry is NOT addressing the real problems. We do not need new massively subsidized mammoth Gigawatt nuke plants augmenting our grid. I agree with Tim that A nuke solution MAY be viable…

    What we do need are the much smaller, localized, buried new gen plants which support small villages (@17,000 homes) and are almost autonomous in their operation. Thorium reactors cannot melt down, the same goes for liquid salt and pebble bed configurations. These will not produce weapons grade uranium, strontium or plutonium in the quantities required for manufacture of nuke bombs.

    Decentralization will augment our national energy grid and aid in the proliferation of other green energy development resources.
    The first reactors of this kind have no human input over control, operate fully autonomously and cannot melt down. These new reactors have a minimum of nuclear high radioactivity waste material. This is what we should be proposing, however with the indecency of the nuclear lobby bias, it is highly unlikely we will see such low carbon emission developments for our grid needs. It just isn’t profitable enough and we refuse to learn from past mistakes.

    • wili says:

      As “undertow” recently pointed out over at TOD:

      What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that most of the thorium literature they quote from are effectively sales-pitches. Not unbiased examinations.

      Let’s take a look at the much mentioned Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) at Oak Ridge (ORNL).

      http://www.ornl.gov/info/ridgelines/nov12/msre.htm

      The reactor facility, called “Ole Salty” by some, was converted to lab and office space as the reactor lay in stand-by status. Then, in March 1994, samples of the off-gases in the process lines unexpectedly revealed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and fluorine, a highly reactive gas. Where surveyors expected to find part-per-million concentrations, they found concentrations of UF6 of up to 8 percent and fluorine of 50 percent.

      …“We discovered a highly hazardous situation in 1994,” Rushton says. “The uranium in the charcoal beds was in an unfavorable geometry that could have led to a chain reaction. If the system had burped, the contamination would have been dispersed over a wide area.

      “The more studies we did, the more they showed that it could happen. There was a significant potential for disaster.”

      So 25 years after it was shut down, it almost blew up! And that reactor is somehow often held up as an example of an “inherently safe” design.

      Even the name “Thorium” misleads as you can’t start a reactor with Thorium. You need typically U-233, U-235 or Pu-239. And you always need many critical masses to start the reactor which then converts Thorium into fissile Uranium-233 over time.

      However despite my doubts I’d like to seem some more research. Maybe, just maybe we can do it “safe enough”. I don’t think we come anywhere near “safe enough” with current reactor designs.

      And we must seriously address proliferation concerns. Any marketed design must really make it as hard and time-consuming as possible to obtain weapons usable material in actuality – not just because the sales team says it is “resistant”. A few more bomb expert “Red Teams” need to be tasked to look at any proposed designs and any significant worries not ignored, if they cannot be addressed.

  8. Domenick says:

    I’m curious what is included in the cost of producing nuclear power here. Is it just the construction costs, or does it include the running and maintenance costs. How about expensive decommissioning? How about long term waste storage and treatment?

    It would be nice to see values expressed as cost of energy over time and then compared that with renewables. So, if a nuclear plant has a life span of 50 years, what is the total cost of each MW it produces within that time frame (and cost of waste storage after the period) and how much would energy produced by solar and wind cost in a similar time frame.

    • AA says:

      Costs presented in Joe’s post are upfront construction cost. Estimates of cost per generated unit of electricity vary widely (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source), but some trends appear:

      (Summarizing:)onshore wind and nuclear are about even in terms of cost/MWh. Offshore wind is usually more expensive. Solar (PV and thermal) is much more expensive.

      In USA, waste storage is paid for with a tax on nuclear energy production.

      If renewables are a major part of your grid, you need to buy either storage or backup generation as well (or learn to live with an intermittent electric supply).

      How well will all of these estimates hold up in the future? I think it’s hard to say… we’re so far from where we need to be, who knows what challenges or opportunities lie ahead? To meet current demand on nuclear alone, we would have to scale it up by a factor of 7.5. To meet current demand with non-hydro renewables, we would have to scale them up by a factor of 68 (probably more due to intermittency issues, actually). At those scales, things that aren’t major issues now (rare earths availability, uranium supply, locations for wind farms) could be huge problems.

    • wili says:

      Good points.

      And does “cost” include the cost of relocating thousands to millions or tens of millions of people and setting them up in new homes and jobs…after the next inevitable major accident?

      • Paul Magnus says:

        Yes, the costs of previous nuke accidents (and probable ones ?) should be factored in.

        Insurance cost? What is this when they are effectively uninsurable. A figure should be used in any case to give reasonable comparison to renewables.

    • quokka says:

      The most commonly used measure of electrcity generation cost is the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). It is calculated by taking into account the capital cost, operations and maintenance cost, fuel cost (where applicable) and in the case of nuclear power the spent fuel management and decommissiong cost. It is normally quoted in cents/kWh or dollars/MWh.

      The IEA 2010 Projected Costs of Generating Electricity summary may be found here. It shows nuclear is be at least competative and in Asia, cheaper than other options.

      http://www.iea.org/Textbase/npsum/ElecCost2010SUM.pdf

      These days any credible cource (such as the IEA) includes the cost of spent fuel management and unlike other technologies, the cost of decommissioning in their LCOE for nuclear power.

  9. Tim Laporte says:

    Thank you for the link, Jonathan. I understand the concept, but I’m still not really clear about the details. I’ll have to look into Reinventing Fire. Thanks.

  10. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    One of the problems with nuclear is that it is a big ticket “sexy” item. So Governments want the “biggest and bestest”. An off the shelf system just will not do.

    Consquently they, as regulators, then have too much of an invested interest in the outcome. No one is allowed to be critical of the pet project.

    Does anyone have any idea of the costs of GE Hotachi’s prism system? This has the potential to answer many of the problems I have with nuclear power. Oversight is much more likely to be effective when the decision makers do not have so much personal investment (by way of reputation)

  11. wili says:

    We are entering increasingly uncertain times.

    A number of further degrees C increase in global temperatures are essentially locked in at this point. This alone will cause unimaginable disruptions in the years to come.

    Meanwhile, one way or the other, we will be leaving most fossil fuel use. This is not looking like it will be a smooth ride, since we have waited so long to start seriously transitioning to alternatives.

    Also meanwhile, the financial fragility that was revealed by the ’08 crash has not gone away–the same players are in the same places making the same crooked deals that rake in money for them but that destabilize the entire system for all of us.

    So looking forward at an increasingly less stable future, is it really wise to invest massive funds to build hundreds nuclear of plants and their required waste repositories that require essentially perfectly stable conditions to go on essentially forever for them not to go Fukushima (or worse)?

    The inevitability of future instability at some point essentially insures that every nuclear plant on the planet will at some point suffer a Fukushima-like event (again–or worse) insuring that vast tracts of prime land will be rendered uninhabitable for decades at least.

  12. John Tucker says:

    critical points:

    Here is a table showing capacity factor and cost from the EIA. – Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2016. ( http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/2016levelized_costs_aeo2010.pdf )

    It needs to be noted that even if we tried to install the correct amount of rnewables needed there is a shortage of rare earths that would make it difficult if not impossible without first expanding mining operations: – Rare-earth shortage to hamper clean energy: EU study ( http://www.euractiv.com/sustainability/rare-earth-shortage-hamper-clean-energy-eu-study-news-508967 )

    Also it should be noted that all life cycle carbon emissions projections are made from American and European manufacturing practice. [not Chinese where substantial pollution issues exist] ( http://www.nirs.org/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf ) [table 8]

    • John Tucker says:

      Also it should be pointed out again nuclear power is not a single monolithic device; that even with the older reactors things like installing safety devices, reformulating the fuel cladding could lead to huge reductions in risk should emergencies arise.

  13. Oakden Wolf says:

    Where there’s money, there’s nuclear. The major oil producing countries are all building new nuclear power plants, because they know that they only way to keep their growing populations energized (and for that matter, hydrated) is with the only established alternative to fossil fuels that can supply comparable energy. And, yes, magical thinking – simpler, safer designs, and the same amount of power as it takes to run a nuclear power submarine or aircraft carrier. Magical thinking is to think that enough wind turbines or solar panels can be built and deployed to fill the fossil fuel gap. Unless the governments of the world put their citizenry on a war footing, where their efforts are devoted to massive energy efficiency investments, major retrofitting of existing structures, and an overhaul of the transportation/supply system, pie-in-the-sky renewables don’t stand a chance.

  14. David B. Benson says:

    If one wants a reliable, on demand, low carbon electric grid (I do) then the most economic way to do so requires a substantial portion provided by NPPs except where it is possible to sacrifice river systems to build hydro dams.

    I’ve taken the time to understand how an electicity grid must be operated [the laws of physics require it be operated so]. I’ve looked into schemes such as massive transmission between windy and sunny locations to demand centers. I’ve studied what balancing agents are required to backup both wind and solar. At current prices, without production credits, wind doesn’t make the grade and neither does solar thermal. Individual solar PV installations might be economic, but those alone will not provide an on demand electricity supply.

    VC Sumner’s two new NPPs are currently under construction; the all in LCOE is US$0.076/kWh for the energy delivered to Atlanta. That looks economically viable to me; it ain’t too expensive as the low carbon alternatives are considerably more expensive. Briefly, around the world there are over 40 NPPs under construction with more planned. For example, tiny Vietnam’s current power plan calls for 10 NPPs. More generally, somehow I seriously doubt that all the various power engineers and economists in all those countries are misreading the facts.

    Of course, if you want to go 100% off grid, be my guest. Most people vastly prefer to live with the grid.

  15. Paul Magnus says:

    Some other againsts for nukes….Footprint of new nuke; Impact of worsening climate an accelerated sea and land flooding and drought and seismic activity;  Also coming break down of structured society means can’t have human capability to manage technology now and in future.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/11/nuclear-sites-sea-rise-tsunamis?mobile-redirect=false

    It seems clear that nuclear facilities will be vulnerable to the effects of global warming (Nuclear power sites face flood and erosion risks, 8 March). As the Institution of Mechanical Engineers stated in a 2009 report: “Nuclear sites, such as Sizewell, based on the coastline, may need considerable investment to protect them against rising sea levels, or even abandonment/relocation in the long term.”

  16. Raul M. says:

    Good points Joe,
    First up is if they (we) can afford it.
    Next up is the industry history.
    No mention of the riches made on the market bets of the industry loss.
    Never the less.
    Money to be invested on the doable and the land of opportunity.

  17. John Tucker says:

    Merkel Defends Germany’s Nuclear Power Deadline

    Werner Faymann, the Austrian chancellor, said in an interview published on Monday that he expected to see a push beginning this year in at least six European Union countries to phase out nuclear energy.

    “The goal is a Europe-wide exit from nuclear energy,” Mr. Faymann told the newspaper Österreich. “I expect the petition drive will start in at least six EU countries in autumn.” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/world/europe/merkel-offers-defense-of-her-policy-on-energy.html )

    • Joris van Dorp says:

      The German nuclear exit and the fact that it’s original creator, Gerhard Schroeder, is on the payroll of major Russian fossil fuel firms, are the the fishiest things to come out of the so-called and much-hyped Fukushima ‘nuclear disaster’ yet.