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Old 10 April 2017, 14:53
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Nuclear Power In The US

What would it take to get the US to use nuclear power? I am thinking along the lines of powering homes, offices, businesses.

I know nothing of this option and I don't know the proper vernacular. I was about 11 when 3 Mile Island happened, and about 18 when Chernobyl occurred. I am only somewhat aware of the dangers because of those 2 incidents.

Is it worth exploring?

How would you get lawmakers and special interest groups on board?

How long does it take to get a facility built from foundation to turn-key?

Based on my VERY limited knowledge, it seems like it is worth looking at.

ET1/ss Nuke, Xenonburnout?
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Last edited by Expatmedic; 10 April 2017 at 15:06. Reason: Grammar
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:11
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I think it scares too many people.

I'd also have to think that no system would be fail-safe.

I was a coal miner and most of us, then, thought that nuclear was much better than what we were doing.
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:13
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20% of our electricity portfolio already comes from nuclear power. 61 Nuclear plants, 90-something nuclear reactors.

The biggest detractor is what OCB stated: it scares people out of ignorance. NIMBY, whatever you want to call it.
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:18
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Originally Posted by Ole crusty bastard View Post
I think it scares too many people.

I'd also have to think that no system would be fail-safe.

I was a coal miner and most of us, then, thought that nuclear was much better than what we were doing.
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a FAIL SAFE reactor...
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:19
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I work for the power company here in town, and we just shut down our nuclear plant. It was costing us more money per megawatt to produce then what we could charge for it.
In the 80's and 90's it was a money maker for us, but under President Obama and his draconian EPA standards, it started a domino effect, that we finally couldn't maintain it efficiently.
The sad thing is, nuclear power is clean and efficient, but as said above, dredges up visions of Hiroshima or Three Mile Island.
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:22
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A real national energy plan could be useful. Nuke energy out in the sticks, powering bio-fuel conversion, could mitigate a lot of the NIMBY'ism. Electric vehicles are just dumb from an energy density perspective, let alone the strain they put on the grid. S/F.....Ken M
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:24
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Small, distributed, submarine sized reactors is the answer...
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidA View Post
20% of our electricity portfolio already comes from nuclear power. 61 Nuclear plants, 90-something nuclear reactors.

The biggest detractor is what OCB stated: it scares people out of ignorance. NIMBY, whatever you want to call it.
How difficult would it be to expand/build-upon what we have in place?

Again, forgive my ignorance, but is it cleaner than how we are powering homes, businesses now?

To me it seems safe enough, yet kind of like a plane crash. Safe enough but when something happens it happens in a big way, and even a small crash is dangerous.

Personally, I would like to see it on the table as a real option.
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatmedic View Post
What would it take to get the US to use nuclear power? I am thinking along the lines of powering homes, offices, businesses.

I know nothing of this option and I don't know the proper vernacular. I was about 11 when 3 Mile Island happened, and about 18 when Chernobyl occurred. I am only somewhat aware of the dangers because of those 2 incidents.

Is it worth exploring?

How would it get lawmakers and special interest groups on board?

How long does it take to get a facility built from foundation to turn-key?

Based on my VERY limited knowledge, it seems like it is worth looking at.

ET1/ss Nuke, Xenonburnout?
I think it would take an act of God.
Here's why:
I am reading your inquiry as one that is proposing residential and business owned nuclear power plants locally on site. With that in mind is why I say an act of God. The control and regulations on nuclear fuel is extremely tight. As it should be. To be able to support just the regulating arm of this proposal would make NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) effectively the largest branch in Fed.gov and even far less competent than they can be at times.
In this age of "because the terrorists" real and imagined, imagine the logistical nightmare of said agency(ies) attempting to keep fuel out of the hands of the bad guys.
I have been in the Military/Commercial power industry since 1982. I am not an expert but I am familiar with the costs of licensing nuclear facilities. It ain't cheap. And it is rigorous and thorough process. Did I mention that It ain't cheap.
Because of the tight controls and regulations the engineered safety feature and designs to build costs are a huge risk to most large utilities in a group owned venture. Imagine similar costs being absorbed by a single private or commercial interested party. These are only a few reasons that come to mind off the top of my head.
Some others that would need to be addressed:
I don't see big oil letting this happen without a fight if the idea were to get legs.
I certainly don't see elected officials allowing radioactive fuel and components being dispersed throughout their districts as private or commercial use.
Nuclear Power has suffered severe negative public image with the 3 major accidents of the last almost 50 years. Each accident setting the industry back decades in public acceptance and hence industry advancement. Rightfully so.
There are some new design inherently safe reactors being designed and built with a more standardized approach (same design, size and builder). This is a move in the direction of where I believe would eventually lead us to smaller nuclear power plants and cheaper costs. But the control, storage and disposal of radioactive material/fuel is a major obstacle.

That is my quick rundown. There is much I didn't cover but my friend the Twidget (ET1SS) and others may add something I failed to.
EDIT TO ADD:
The idea of smaller standardized power plants evenly dispersed across the country is in my view the best scenario. One or two designers and builders to a standard prototype style plant would drive down costs in many different areas and make the initial investment risk a bit less. Easier to regulate, train the operations staff, maintenance practices would all be the same and repairs would all be from a smaller pool of vendors.
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Last edited by Xenonburnout; 10 April 2017 at 15:46.
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatmedic View Post
How difficult would it be to expand/build-upon what we have in place?
You need a lot of water to run a nuke plant. Since they have to be near water they tend to be near populated areas...and then people freak out (maybe rightly so?).

And what xenonburnout said.

And because Yucca Mountain isn't open. The law is you have to store spent fuel in the approved US Spent Nuke Fuel facility - which is Yucca Mountain. But Yucca isn't open, because: politics...so it's a catch 22. (We actually pay the fines for companies because they can't ship that shit to Yucca -- or you do rather, through taxes).
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Old 10 April 2017, 15:42
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Originally Posted by sixgun View Post
Small, distributed, submarine sized reactors is the answer...
I was thinking the same thing, but for use in Expeditionary Force base camps. Think Bagram with a pocket nuke running instead of that awful generator field.
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Old 10 April 2017, 16:00
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FWIU - the way to go is "Pocket sized" Thorium powering individual neighborhoods/cities/etc. Or just straight up Fusion. Both of which suffer from technological shortfalls.

Either way, Fission is obsolete and has PR problems. The other end is that they do not allow for the re-enrichment of spend rods. They have to manufacture NEW rods and shitcan the old ones at places like Yucca. I'm sure Raytheon or Lockheed, or whoever makes those things, spent a lot of money bribing a Senator/Gov Crony to get that regulation through.
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Old 10 April 2017, 18:02
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GA is a go for nuclear.

https://www.georgiapower.com/about-e...verview.cshtml
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Old 10 April 2017, 18:19
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Florida has Turkey Point; my BIL was an architectural engineer there until last year (retirement). Lots of water, in closed canals for cooling...

https://www.fpl.com/landing/turkey-point-facts.html
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Old 10 April 2017, 18:35
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Why nuclear? Vegas is solar powered now; that is the future. It's unlimited. it would take less than 1/4 the state of AZ blanketed in solar panels to power the US.
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Old 10 April 2017, 18:54
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The subject of lots of water is a valid point. Palo Verde has an agreement with municipalities of the Phoenix area to receive the treated sewage water from the metro area. I don't know the specifics of the contract. The treated sewage water is pumped out to the water treatment plant out near the site where it is further treated for tertiary cooling water. The other treatment of water comes from well water out of the underground water tables. The use of treated water greatly lowers the use of ground water. The old saying for the staff to valley residents was "flush twice cuz it's a long way to Palo Verde." Most of the water use is evaporation from the cooling towers and making up to the tertiary cooling system when units are at power. Coastal and river based units have a different set of issues but usually not a shortage of water. Sea grass, seaweed and marine life can clog rakes and screens and cause power reductions or outages also.
Point is using treated water from the surrounding water/sewage municipalities can greatly reduce depleting the water tables in the area. We actually had procedures to eventually shutdown when the water treatment facility lost power and couldn't be restarted within a certain time. Most Plants especially inland one in desert areas utilize water quite efficiently and engineering and operations work very closely to reduce the volume wasted.
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Old 10 April 2017, 18:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poison View Post
Why nuclear? Vegas is solar powered now; that is the future. It's unlimited. it would take less than 1/4 the state of AZ blanketed in solar panels to power the US.
Because it works at night and on cloudy days.


I think you're referring to the Vegas City Government being 100% solar. I understand that there is a method to use molten salt to generate steam for nighttime generation; does this scale and can it be used in other locations?






The EIA thinks NG is still the biggest source of energy, at least for the state of Nevada.

Last edited by 'MisterWhite'; 10 April 2017 at 18:59. Reason: Proper punctuation
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Old 10 April 2017, 19:01
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Originally Posted by poison View Post
Why nuclear? Vegas is solar powered now; that is the future. It's unlimited. it would take less than 1/4 the state of AZ blanketed in solar panels to power the US.
You need base loaded units and other quick start units to makeup for the loss of sun/wind events to keep from having brown/blackouts in areas. The increased presence of renewables on the grid is causing a whole different set of challenges the primary being having available generation to quickly makeup for the sudden loss of a solar/wind unit. I am all for residential solar panels on rooftops to the customer but utilities want their cut and the deals to install solar in some areas is a tricky endeavor to actually payoff long term to the end user (you and me).
EDIT TO ADD:
There is an inertia issue as well. Imagine all the generators and turbines in the western interconnection all magnetically in synchronization at 60 Hz. That is a lot of mass turning and thus a lot of stability when a couple of units suddenly trip offline and the other spinning units act to "holdup" or maintain frequency. With more renewables, especially solar this makes the grid a bit less stable from an inertia standpoint. This issue alone is causing many to at least rethink the amount of renewable sources in balance with the legacy generators.
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Last edited by Xenonburnout; 10 April 2017 at 19:16. Reason: Adding to post
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Old 10 April 2017, 20:33
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Why nuclear? Vegas is solar powered now; that is the future. It's unlimited. it would take less than 1/4 the state of AZ blanketed in solar panels to power the US.
Lol, until the states that aren't in the west run out of sun... Also, you couldn't make AZ all solar panels and transmit the power because there is power loss over transmission. So, like for everything, its geographically dependent.
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Old 10 April 2017, 21:35
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your posts...
Fantastic posts!

...

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