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Pandora's Promise

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by swaltner, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. swaltner

    swaltner Member

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    Any thoughts on the recently aired documentary Pandora's Promise? Pandora I had intended to watch it, forgot to program the TiVo, got tuned in late, so I picked something else to watch, and then when the TiVo reported it was airing again, it was actually a couple episodes of Morgon Spurlock's Inside Man, which is a good show, just not what I was wanting to watch.

    I guess it's coming to iTunes next month and eventually to Netflix. Just curious if I should make an effort to see it or not.
     
  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I think they focused too much on the "not broken" part... Yes, nuclear is safe, reliable and clean but it comes at a cost. Nuclear power is too expensive. Solar has been cheaper to install than nuclear is to build since 2010. Solar is expected to be ~$1.00/w by 2020 while nuclear (absent some miracle) will likely be ~$10/w. Even taking capacity factor into account (18% for solar and 90% for nuclear) it's still $5.55/w for solar vs $11.1/w for nuclear and that's just capital costs.
     
  3. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I thought the program is quite good and with over 70% of the world's energy coming from fossil fuels we need something radical to move away from this dependency and nuclear is one of the few ways we can make large and consistent power. All power generation has challenges and nuclear issues can be solved. And I think that would be an easier conversion than moving the masses to all electric drive.
     
  4. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Right behind you...
    A large part of that has to do with the permitting process and regulatory ratcheting due to ignorant and misguided opposition to nuclear power ...
     
  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    very true and add to that we were 80% done with a long term storage system in Yucca mt when they stopped with NO alternative.
     
  6. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I've worked in nuclear power for >10 years. First in the US Navy and now commercially. Of course there is going to be some level of excess regulation, when failure is not an option too much is always better than not enough.

    I would love to see nuclear power succeed but I can't see any path to success without massive government support. Absent some miraculous development nuclear power is unlikely to be driven by anything resembling the free-market. Not only is solar PV significantly more cost-effective but increased solar penetration will impact the 90% capacity factor nuclear power depends on to be operationally profitable since the vast majority of cost exist wether the plant is on-line or off-line.

    Since hitting grid parity Solar PV has taken off like a Falcon 9 rocket... 66% of currently installed solar was installed in the last 30 months. Last year 32GW of solar was installed globally compared to 3.7GW of nuclear. Taking Capacity Factor into account solar still edges out nuclear ~5.7GW to 3.3GW.

    I do agree that it's foolish to shutdown existing nuclear plants since they're relatively cheap to operate but it's equally foolish to build new ones. That money can be better spent expanding solar/wind and finding more effective ways to make our grid more compatible with variable sources.
     
  7. swaltner

    swaltner Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I've got the movie in my Netflix queue and will check it out once they have it available.
     
  8. macpacheco

    macpacheco Member

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    Nuclear isn't expensive everywhere. South Korea built reactors that are cheaper than similarly sized last generation coal/natural gas plants in USA.
    Brazil is building a 1350GWe reactor expected to cost US$ 4 billion. Sure you can build a natural gas plant for less than half that, but the cost of gas over the nuclear plan 40 year life makes the nuke cheaper.
    The reality is nuclear is expensive in most developed countries due to:
    1 - Overregulation by the government
    2 - Lack of scale
    3 - Monolithical designs that can't be factory produced, requiring over half of the total man hours to be consumed on site, further preventing economies of scale
    Finally, companies fully invested on nuclear have no interest in investing on something cheaper, most of them supply coal/natural gas plant equipment, wind turbines (very profitable nowadays), and make a bundle of money on solid uranium fuel fabrication contracts. One criticism of LFTR Thorium reactors is exactly that GE/Westinghouse/Areva would loose their uranium fuel cash cow !
     

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