Sunday, July 27, 2008

McCain ; build 45 new nuclear power plants

Senator McCain was quoted as saying he support building 45 nuclear power plants. He even states the French can build one in five years. The French have basically one design. This makes construction easier. In the US, we have General Electric, Westinghouse and Babcock and Wilcox who were the major designers. Did the US have a basic design, no? Are the people who designed the US reactors still doing nuclear design work, no? These people have been dispersed, sought other positions or retired.

I worked for Babcock and Wilcox in both the Naval Nuclear Fuel division as well as the commercial side. The commercial side had no nuclear designers, but had many fuel designers. The companies are doing reloads only.

I supported nuclear power for a long time. I no longer support it for commercial purposes. The DOE was supposed to remove the spent fuel from the commercial sites starting years ago, but they have breached their contract to do so. YUCCA Mountain is not anywhere near complete so there is no repository for the spent fuel.

I worked for a couple of years in a High Radioactive Waste group. The problem is not that we do not know how to store the waste, but the cost of storing the waste above ground. Not only does a power company need real-estate, but the time it takes to move spent fuel from the spent fuel pool, to the storage container, evacuate and dry the container, draw a vacuum, seal the container, move the container and then monitor the container is immense. Of course this does not include the cost of the container. The one I worked on was called CONSTAR. It weighed about 100 tons.

What is a more viable, cheaper option? T. Bone Pickens has a plan that I support. His plan is better then my plan, but both use wind power. Pickens has put his money where his mouth is and I think that is just fantastic. He has invested $2 billion in wind power. His $2 billion will buy 4,000 megawatts. This is equal to two nuclear power plants, produces no waste, is environmentally friendly, is a cheaper source to produce electricity and does not tie up 700,000 people building and running nuclear power plants. Best of all, it won’t take five years to build, erect and bring on line as would a nuclear power plant. If McCain thinks he can get a nuclear power plant designed, permits obtained, built and on line in five years, he is greatly mistaken.


At 2:51 PM, Blogger RightDemocrat said...

Nuclear power alone is not the solution but an expanded role for atomic energy is critical to attaining energy independence. We Democrats cannot afford to miss the boat on energy issues. I am all for wind, solar, biofuels and other alternatives but nuclear energy is a proven reliable domestic source.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Bobby G. said...

The only thing that has bothered me from the beginning, is that ANY nuclear plant has a FINITE lifespan (I want to say somewhere around 30 years), then it is decommissioned (like a ship). If we could say without question that a place like Oyster Creek (NJ-owned by GPU Nuclear) could remain online much longer, then it would be worth it.


At 12:28 PM, Blogger William Larsen said...

Nuclear power plants are designed to last 40 years. The problem is the spent fuel pool that was built was not designed to hold 40 years worth of spent fuel plus what is in the core itself. The reason was the DOE was supposed to take it years ago. Now we have nuclear power plants shutting down not because they have reached end of life, but because they have run out of room to store the spent fuel.

Nuclear power is a bad idea until we do something with the nuclear waste. rightdemocrat is correct that we cannot afford to miss the boat on this one. I agree, but to jump onto a sinking ship is worse. Biofuels is not a viable alternative. I have read many studies on this and the only way they show even a slight positive is to extend energy credits for the bi-products. These by products are not worth as much and how much can you actually use?

Food is for food. There are other alternatives that are better than biofuels.


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