The U.S. Nuclear Energy Dream Is Dying

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael McDonald via OilPrice.com,

The United States was once a projected leader in the nuclear energy race. In the 20th century, the world dreamed of finding a way to provide safe, cheap, and renewable energy, and nuclear power seemed to be the manifestation of those dreams. All of this, however, seems to be coming to an end.

This past week, Toshiba decided to sell its American nuclear power subsidiary at a $6 billion loss. Westinghouse Electric Company, an American company that Toshiba acquired 10 years ago, is in the business of building and constructing nuclear power facilities. This isn’t the first time that Toshiba attempted to offload controlling interest in Westinghouse – all previous efforts, however, have failed.

Many reasons have been cited for this sell-off. Firstly, demand for electricity has been slowing down as of late. Secondly, natural-gas prices have been declining, making it harder to justify the measures necessary to make nuclear power work – one of the primary motivators for these projects was the increasingly high cost of natural-gas. Finally, integration of renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar) have been becoming more prevalent. Again, this makes it harder to justify nuclear energy projects.

However, the biggest barrier to entry for nuclear energy providers is the trade-off between safety and cost. The production of this type of energy can be fast and cheap, but not if companies comply fully with the U.S. nuclear regulatory body. Nuclear energy in America is simply becoming an uneconomic option.

This is problematic on the global scene for a variety of reasons, chief of which is safety standards. The U.S. remains the exemplary model to follow when it comes to regulation of new technologies. If nuclear power in America slows down substantially, the influence the U.S. has over global safety standards wanes, and the world becomes less willing to comply with basic guidelines. Without that scale of market presence from the U.S., the industry can suffer.

This slowdown from the U.S. may be advantageous for state-owned nuclear facilities. Without America as an example, Russia, parts of Asia, and the Middle East become the example to follow – their lack of standards and regulation would be to the benefit of nuclear facilities owned by governments.

However, many privately owned nuclear facilities simply do not have the capital to sustain these plants, even when the government helps subsidize their operations. This is evidenced by Toshiba’s termination of their Westinghouse project. Projects on the private side take much longer to complete, so that safety concerns change along the way, locking them into a cycle of never ending regulation updates.

In the last 20 years, the U.S. has seen only one new nuclear reactor that is functional, constructed by a government entity – the Tennessee Valley Authority. Further, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows that there are only four reactors currently under construction in the entire country. Two would be at the Alvin W. Vogtle station in Georgia, and two at the Virgil C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

These projects are implementing reactors manufactured by Westinghouse. Construction on all four are currently delayed over three years and are billions over-budget. Westinghouse itself was one of the last private companies to be commissioned for the manufacture of nuclear reactors – before over-budget, inefficient projects such as these pushed them into ruin. Westinghouse has said that these four projects, as well as two more in China, will be completed. But it remains doubtful that the dozens of other projects it has been commissioned to complete – and yet to begin – will ever reach fruition.

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Bigly's picture

Good.

Fukushima

tmosley's picture

I somehow doubt they are building generation one reactors.

LFTR and other advanced intrinsically safe reactor designs are called for. Electricity should be too cheap to meter for residential customers, and should have been such for the last 60 years. Just a nominal connection fee, then all you can eat up to a very high point.

gigadeath's picture

Magna BSP sends its regards...

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) gigadeath Feb 25, 2017 7:30 PM

If we were Germany we could switch to ovens... and spiks burn even better than kikes, have lot of fat

Half-Empty Deportation Flight to Afghanistan Highlights Lack of Sound Strategy in Germany

http://dailywesterner.com/news/2017-02-25/half-empty-deportation-flight-...

CLEAN ENERGY .. 100% organic

TrollandDump's picture
TrollandDump (not verified) xythras Feb 25, 2017 7:33 PM

LOL. That would be something.

Or making compost as both mexicans and jews are full of shit

Not Too Important's picture

It is a mistake to lump Mexicans or Jews into one lump sum. There were Jews helping Hitler pick other Jews for elimination. There are Jews that want another kind of Jew to go to Israel, so they can all be destroyed at once. I've heard about this from Jews for decades. Think for a minute, if all the Jews in Israel were incinerated in a nuke attack, which group of Jews would be left in other parts of the world to dominate world Jewry?

And most Mexicans are hard-working sons a' bitches that just want to be left alone. They got fucked in Mexico by the Castillians, so they came to the US to fill jobs no one else wanted. Now they're all getting lumped in with the gang-bangers.

This racist shit isn't going to fix anything, and things need fixing bad.

AVmaster's picture

This must be another pre-trump doc...

kochevnik's picture

Most Mexicans have gang tattoos and are affiliated with crime syndicates.  They will steal your things when you look away one second.  They stay on good behavior out of fear.  I have never seen people who give less of a shit about anything but beer and making more Mexicans.  They drop trash on the ground, too lazy to collect it

I had the fortune to attend a lunch cooking with employees of Mexican embassy in Moscow.  All of us were poisoned by their complete lack of sanitation

The hard-working Mexican is one without connections to a desk job where he can grow fat.  Illiterate people must work harder until they can make enough future gangsters to live on government benefits.  I know in USA they want nine children, which pays for the rent and a stupid tonne pickup truck

Mexicans are not a race.  They call themselves mescladods, or mutts in English.  They are the direct descentants of 10.000 years of raping

Joe Mama 3's picture

You aint lying !!!!! These yuppie jerkoffs crybabies who have never worked a hard day in their life have never seen a construction site where lots of messicans work !!!! wetbacks will wipe their ass and throw the paper on the floor of the portapotty for everyone to have to see!!  They will pay for all the supplies for their taco trucks with food stamps, and no sink or hand washing in a roach coach either !!! I work for an electrical company that is subbing out some work to some messicans. all electrical work in texas must be licensed unless industrial, like chem plant or refinery, chicken plant, etc. or the homeowner. Im thinking about dropping TDLR a dime !!!!!!!

brianshell's picture

TMSR power is safe. It is clean. It is cheap. It will last a thousand years. It can burn all the current waste stockpiles. It burns 99% and the remaining by-products are almost entirely usable. The tiny amount remaining has a half life of two hundred years only. Thorium can't be used for nuclear weapons. The plants can be located most anywhere. They can solve so many problems around the world such as desalinization and will be cheaper than coal to operate. Countries won't be at the mercy of other countries for energy sourcing. It is the true green energy of the future.

If the USA doesn't act quickly, the patents for TMSR plants will be owned by the Chinese, as they are working hard to complete the development.

East Indian's picture

There was an Indian scientist, who laid down a Thorium cycle path for India. And the first steps were also taken. Subsequently, thanks to Manmohan Singh, all those have been shelved away, and India has been indirectly brought under NPT.

waist-down-naked's picture

You want some Thorium? ~ 400 tons available right now.

And guess what? No-one has wanted it for roughly 30 (thirty) years - neither for energy generation, nor caries prevention, nor anything else. Like you, I once was enthusing about thorium, praticularly after reading about it in the Trends Journal by Gerald C. But further research revealed, that there are very objective reasons for Th reactors not becoming popular and solving "so many problems", that TJ's analysis omitted completely.

Naturally, after I got through this Thorium thing it by itself became an objective reason not to trust Gerald C's analysis anymore.

Let me know if Th is what you want!

qwertyFUBAR's picture

"Let me know if Th is what you want!"

Yes, but.

At this point it's easier to declare you an intellectual write-down than labor in vain to explain it. By the efforts of myself and others you can expect to be hearing more about molten salts, first Uranium burners then Thorium breeders.

zeronetwork's picture

You can't fight with nature. One day things have to go fukushima.

brianshell's picture

Blame the problem on DOE, that is AEC. They, under duress, declared Th under the same class as Plutonium. However TH is not fissle. It is largely found in the tailings of rare earth ores. Solving the simple classification error made by AEC can open up our rare earth mining industy as well as TMSR production. Did you know that the radioactivity in coal is greater than Th? Do you know what we currently do with rare earth ore now? We send it to China where they separate the TH and are storing it for their future TMSR plants.

I don't know about Gerald Celente's narrative about thorium. You might search Kirk Sorenson and Flibe Energy.

Bigly's picture

Yes. I know that they are the older ones and have new specs now.

BUT, my issue is I am jaded and no longer believe any bs spin from people who have biases, including hidden.

I am sure they are safer but...... coal plants do not pollute for 10000+ years.

If there was a 100% safe nuke, i would be a cheerleader.

No Zbig Deal's picture

Fuck, he led you to water. A LFTR (or other MSR) design is pretty fucking safe. Most of the technology is decades old, and proven. You just need a 1 and 1/2 fluid design, lots of experience making graphite pebbles, and a shitload of Hastelloy-N. Besides these latter difficulties, most actinides produced would have a half-life of a few centuries. Needs more money for further refinement in burning and breeding capabilites. Makes constructing nuclear weapons cost-prohibitive too. Hugely scalable, would be great for hydrogen generation and desalination, oh, and cant melt down. The reactive stuff is already liquid. Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor

Chief Wonder Bread's picture

Don't know when don't know how but someday... someday

people are not going to freeze and starve to death in the dark

BrownCoat's picture

For the record, nuclear power failures abound. Some highlights: United States - Three Mile Island, Soviet Union - Chernobyl, Japan - Fukushima. Fukushima is still leaking nuclear waste into the ocean!

For the record, they don't decommission the older plants because they don't want to deal with the cleanup. Even the broke Illinois government authorized a bailout to ComEd to keep the nukes running.

For the record, there is NO DATA !  The nuclear industry keeps such a tight lid on information that it is impossible to make a rational decision concerning nuclear power. This "gag order" on information even prevents those in the industry from knowing the truth; thus, making it very hard to learn from mistakes.

Silverlok's picture

"...

For the record, nuclear power failures abound. Some highlights: United States - Three Mile Island, Soviet Union - Chernobyl, Japan - Fukushima. Fukushima is still leaking nuclear waste into the ocean!

For the record, they don't decommission the older plants because they don't want to deal with the cleanup (sic) costs..."

Agreed, in addition;

The mean failure rate for nuclear reactors currently stands at one critical ( meltdown/out ) every ten years. Given the degrading infrastructures ( world wide ) and the LARGE number of 20-30+ year old reactors still in service ( and being re-licsenced after their '30-year-life span' ) the prognosis of this average getting better in the next twenty years is not good.

The German government comissioned a study on the cost of decomissioning a reactor meltdown, the study indicated costs between 45 and 100 billion dollars per reactor, Fukushima is steadily proving that study correct. The real cost of decomissioning a plain jane tired old non-metled nuker is estimated at between 500 million and 1 billion dollars. Instead of factoring in that cost, they spin off old reactors as independant companies that then declare insolvencyleaving the cost on taxpayers backs.

Thorium is not the answer as it still produces (as the kids say:) shit tons of waste just like uranium/plutonium(mox) does.

Waste is more toxic and deadly than it's parents and currently being stored outside of any kind of protective containment at the top of  reactor buildings in pools of water. Further more the waste MUST BE COOLED ( from decay heat ) for 200 years. Dry casks that cost a million bucks a piece and are suppose to last fifty years have actually life spans of less than ten years and for the rest of the waste piling up ...ther ARE NO PLANS IN PLACE FOR WHAT TO DO WITH IT OR HOW TO SAFELY STORE IT FOR THE NEXT 200 years, so it just keeps building up.

If you would like to see How badly the industry has handled the waste management side of the nuker racket just look to Hanford ( http://koin.com/2014/04/24/6-things-know-hanfords-nuclear-waste/ ), or WIPP ( https://www.abqjournal.com/364795/leak-never-supposed-to-happen.html  ), and that end of things isn't getting better any time soon as we have DECADES of waste back logged at almost every reactor...how is thorium going to change that?

The French government has something like 45% of it's investment dollars tied to AREVA ( maker of fuel rods ), and world wide the manufacture of nuclear weapons would be prohibitively expensive if it were not for a MASSIVE commercial use of nuclear materials keeping mining and refining costs down. Given just that tip of the iceberg would throium see and end to the collusion?

Also, the nuclear industry when making the saftey standards and "failsafe" containment designs ( yes even newer ones ) for these super expensive ways to boil water used calculations and simulations that NEVER TOOK SURFACE INTERACTION INTO ACCOUNT. Fukushima proved this to be quite a horrible oversite, as surface boiling releases radioactive fuel straight into solution ( which means once any core mass(corium )  is melted out of it's cladding, trying to cool it with water creates extremely toxic waste in the form of concentrated solution ) . Which means EVERY CURRENT REACTOR IN EXISTENCE is vunerable.

Areva tried to keep this on the down-low and payed M.I.T. a million bucks (http://news.mit.edu/2013/finding-the-keys-to-boiling-heat-transfer-0716 )  to try to find a way to mitigate this threat , but they failed.

Just think, if Japan, one of the most technologically advanced nations with one of the highest standards of living can't clean and contain a melt down, what happens when someplace like India, or Afghanistan gets one?

kochevnik's picture

Dark matter reactors make fission seem barbarian

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) kochevnik Feb 26, 2017 2:05 AM

Now all we need to do is prove the existence of dark matter.

land_of_the_few's picture

Absolutely. We should remember the US trying to push its meltdown-prone PWRs on everyone during the cold war and trying to squash any safe gas-cooled or other variants made by their *allies* like Canada and UK. Now they have nearly destroyed Toshiba, just as Ferranti was destroyed by a worthless US company ISC with fake balance sheet they took over. Accounts signed off by one of the Big Four, like Satyam was, of course.

mickrussom's picture

We could have had fusion done by now.

i.imgur dot com 3vYLQmm.png

Search for the Ultimate Energy Source: A History of the U.S. Fusion Energy ... By Stephen O. Dean

The calculated disregard for fusion.

1980XLS's picture

We could solve all that Nuclear waste problem by just dumping all that shit in California.

Not Too Important's picture

Most of the US nuclear waste is going to Texas now, for surface storage in a tornado zone. Think about that for a minute...

WCS.

Dragon HAwk's picture

While they were building Limerick, they had a visitors center, the info graph inside said that all the Nuclear waste would only be the size of a golf ball and would be very easy to dispose of.. I was So Relieved.

Posa's picture

"Nuclear waste would only be the size of a golf ball" which is true if the waste is recycled... but if depraved pols like Jimmy Carter shut down nuclear reprocessing facilities, then there indeed is a big problem... if sewage treatment plants were banned by politicians there would be a big problem with human waste disposal too...

BrownCoat's picture

What about low level radioactive waste. Stuff that is no longer useful, but irradiated. Lots of bulky trash.

Elliott Eldrich's picture

Maybe, just maybe, after being lied to endlessly about things like safety, cost of operation, cost of decommissioning, and cost of storing the waste produced, people are finally wising up to the simple, provable fact that the nuclear industry LIES? I remember well the arguments I had with pro-nukers back in the 70's and 80's, listening to them say things like "these designs are so safe they can NEVER melt down" and "anyone who opposes the nuclear industry is an idiot alarmist who is probably in the pocket of the Kremlin." I'd like to find some of those apologists now, and have them "volunteer" to clean up the meltdown at Fukushima. 

Posa's picture

Nuclear eneregy still remains exteremely safe. but unforgiving for jack-ass stunts (such as at the non-commercial Chernobyl reactor) or cutting corners (such as Fukushima ... an aging reactor that TEPCO would not upgrade despite warnings)...

Thank Jimmy Carter for nuclear waste.. he closed down the Savannah River recycling plant... so now we're stuck wth reactor waste...

Anyway, the demand for new power plants in the deindustrialized and Depressed US economy is too low to obtain economies of scale... though down the road current plants will need to be replaced somehow.

The good news is that new concepts and designs for nuclear fusion energy are not far away. Close than most people realize.

https://vimeo.com/89943033

Fusion is Closer than most people realize.

My favorite fusion firm is a micro outfit called LPPFusion in New Jersey. Operating on a shoe string budget they have the most powerful privately funded fusion reactor  in the world and haven't even loaded in the reactor ultimate  pB11 fuel or deployed the final reactor materials...

See LPPFusion.com

 

 

Bigly's picture

Sorry, but I downvoted you because it is safe ...UNTIL IT IS NOT. And then it is full on retard.

We need a bulletproof safe way to harness it or we need to step away from the table.

I truly wish it were safe but catastrophe is just not the right word when it melts....

Posa's picture

Wrong. Even in nuclear "disasters" such as TMI and Fukishima no one died. Not sure how much safer you want. As stated, there's no room for cutting corners, so that's why strict regulation is mandatory.

 

Besides, 747s, LNG tankers, pipelines, you name it are similarly "safe until they aren't"... we know how to keep these technologies safe ... If you want absolute safty live in the forest (and hope you don't get hit by lightening)...

AGuy's picture

"Wrong. Even in nuclear "disasters" such as TMI and Fukishima no one died. "

People died from Fukishima, Japan's gov't has a gag order on releasing deaths and people that got sick.

Not Too Important's picture

SRS is shut down because it doesn't work. Same with the Monju facility in Japan.

Engineering designs that were as useful as the F-35.

Areeva is the only company that figured out how to make it work - sort of.

The bigger issue is NPP's running MOX fuel that weren't built for it, such as Unit #3 at Fukushima, which blew plutonium reactor fuel across the planet, which will kill billions. It's interesting that no government will post which NPP's are running MOX. Talk about 'license to kill'.

Posa's picture

Nuclear waste reprocessing is routine in Europe, Japan and Russia. It works and is being expanded.

indygo55's picture

They won't admit that the Liquid Floride Throium Reactor can easly take the place of Uranium reactors with none of the waste and 10,000 years of fuel for all humanity. No meltdowns and no high temperature pressure vessels. It would make energy nearly free and that would end the Supreme Masters control over the people.

Read up and learn about Thorium and how it is a total game changer.

This is one of many and it is gaining traction all over the world. Its been around since the 60s. There are many Youtube videos on the web that are much more modern. 

They are trying to silence it.

http://www.thoriumenergyworld.com/

SethDavis's picture

Thorium reactors are definitely the future....this company is doing some amazing work: http://www.transatomicpower.com ....could basically turn all our radioactive waste into energy....and as a by product use the electricity in off peak hours to produce liquid hydrogen for vehicles etc.

brianshell's picture

Contact Kirk Sorenson at Flibe Energy.

Bigly's picture

If this is bulletproof safe then this is the way to go.

And if we are not, you know just by this not being the standard  that the current industry is in the bag with massive conflicts of interest.

whoisjg's picture

The problem with LFT reactors is that the extraction technologies do not exist yet. Micro-pebble Flouride reactors might be a next start on the approach, as these can be sieved out. but finding a robust enough neutron permeable shell that wont shatter over time is again, a limmiting factor. The valves and plumbing to operate at such high temperatures are also experimental.

The spider arm reactor design has none of these problems. It cannot fail in the event of pwer loss and uses no water for cooling. 

Not Too Important's picture

Let's cut to the chase.

Japan has about 5 years before the radiogenic mass die-off commences. North America about 10. Very few children born in NA after 3/11/11 will see 20.

So, all these 'new and improved' reactor designs, when will they be ready to operate? 10 years? 20 years? As they are deployed across the planet - other than Japan and NA since those populations will all be dying and no one will be moving in to take their place - the money they cost will cut into or eliminate the funds necessary to protect those populations from the existing NPP's that will continue to fail to atmosphere.

Here's one for y'all. I don't believe in shutting down any NPP's in Japan or North America. Turn them all back on, run them full tilt. The damage is done, so why not let all these hundreds of millions of people die with the lights on, with some dignity? Look at all the yen Japan is spending on importing oil and nat gas. Turn the nukes back on, and use that money to prepare for hospice for 126,000,000 Japanese.

Most of the NPP's in the US have received extended operating licenses for 30+ years, so they'll either fail to atmosphere or continue running well past the last human dying on the continent. If the money's there, build more. Build more coal plants. Doesn't matter now. Cheap power for the dying, all 350,000,000 of us.

Think of the scene in 'On The Beach', when they go looking for the sign of life at the still-running power plant - everyone is long gone but the plant still works.

Europe is next, but at this point, I'm too tired of reading about all this shit to care much about who and how many will die next after North America. If you live here, you and your kids are fucked. If you don't live here, don't come. If you live south of the equator, you'll live longer, unless you become a victim of the global violence that will explode once Japan and the US die.

Our only real choice going forward is peaceful hospice, or ultra-violence of the worst kind. Trump is trying to get this point across in his own way - Lord knows what he's up against behind the scenes - but he wants what's best for his family, and by extension us and our families. He's trying to tell us without causing a worldwide panic, which will shortly be unavoidable if the Satanists get the ultra-violence they seek.

Some people want peace, some people want ultra-violence, and they each pray to the gods that will give it to them. But either way, all our DNA is melting.

It's time to wrap up the circus tent and put everything away, there aren't going to be any more shows.

May God bless those that want peace, and may the Devil take the rest.

 

 

BrownCoat's picture

"been around since the 60s"

Name one running commercial LFT power plant. Cat got your tongue?

It may be a future technology. Maybe once stupid has been genetically removed from humans nuclear power will be safe.

 

 

AGuy's picture

"been around since the 60s"

Name one running commercial LFT power plant. Cat got your tongue?"

FWIW: They still haven't fully decontaminated the Experimental reactor from the 60's, after it was shutdown.

As far as Thorium, I don't see any of the promoters willing to work in Thorium mines. Ask any Thorium Reactor support if they are willing to sacrifice themselves mining Thorium.

PitBullsRule's picture

China is building 35 nukes, the US doesn't use as much electricity now because the current generation doesn't build anything.

PitBullsRule's picture

France has 58 nukes, they get 76% of their electric power from nuclear.  The US used to be the leader in nuclear power, and just like space travel, it will be one of the last soon.  The deplorables have declared that global warming doesn't exist, so there is no need for nuclear power, per the deplorables.  If they are wrong, then there will be a world wide crisis and we will be mostly guilty of causing it, but we'll all be dead so just the kids are fucked, and in the words of the deplorables, "who cares?".  Its very convenient being deplorable, it kind of grows on you after awhile, I don't have any kids, so its great...   If the deplorables are right, we can keep burning coal and nat gas and it will have been a prudent decision.  So for us, its a "win-win"! 

Ms No's picture

That was awesome.  Carbon is going to kill us so we must have nuclear energy everywhere!  I am going to assume that you are willing to allow us to dispose of all the old rods in your backyard, as well as fund this disposal yourself, which is not accounted for in the cost of nuke energy.... because carbon!

We are re-glaciating now.  Good luck covering that up.  Your eyelashes will fry off long before you live in 160 degrees.  You guys will believe anything.

Good day, Freezing in Phoenix.

 

 

AGuy's picture

"I am going to assume that you are willing to allow us to dispose of all the old rods in your backyard, as well as fund this disposal yourself,"

Better yet, he should volunteer to clean up the mess left over. He shoukd go work on decommissioning a reactor, then come and tell us if he still thinks Nuclear power is the answer.

BrownCoat's picture

"France has 58 nukes, they get 76% of their electric power from nuclear"

France also built ISDN to every phone in its country. Too bad that technology was superceded by something better. Just because something can be done, does not mean it should be done.

In theory, all the problems of nuclear power and nuclear waste have been solved. In practice, it's is catastrophe and accidents waiting to happen.

Why does background radiation go up year after year? Hmmm. Maybe the nuclear industry is run by idiots, liars and con artists.