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‘A huge setback for, if not the end of, the American nuclear renaissance’

Written by Atheo | Aletho News | October 10, 2010

A cascade of insurmountable obstacles now stand in the path of development of the widely trumpeted new generation of nuclear power generating plants in the US despite generous federal loan guarantees offered by Obama’s Department of Energy.

Natural gas prices have fallen to a fraction of their peak as new extraction technology has more than doubled proven reserves. In many locations natural gas is less costly than coal, and new electrical power produced with gas runs about half the projected cost of new nuclear power even after factoring in multiple levels of government subsidy for nuclear power, including assumption of liability and waste disposal. Financiers are well aware of the historic cost over-runs for nuclear power plants which often double or triple original estimates.

Demand for electricity has been declining, due to both reduced economic activity as well as improved efficiency and conservation. Private investment capital is not attracted to making a bet on these factors reversing even in the intermediate term. The prospects are so bad that the only way that these facilities will be built is if the entire financial as well as environmental risk is borne by the public, even a 20% equity stake on the part of investors is deemed too risky. The Washington Post on Saturday reported the withdrawal of private , for profit, involvement in Maryland:

Constellation Energy has shelved its proposal to build a new reactor at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, Obama administration officials said Friday, even though the administration had decided to award the project a $7.5 billion loan guarantee.

There is one nuclear project currently slated to go forward, in Georgia, the difference being that regulators there allow rate payers to be billed for the cost of construction before the plant is in operation which allows the risks of cost over-runs to be carried by the public. So Georgians face risks on multiple levels; default, uncompetitive power prices and catastrophic environmental calamity.

The Baltimore Sun points out that the real trouble for the nuclear ‘renaissance’ lies with Congress’ failure to pass cap and trade legislation which would have made nuclear power competitive with carbon based fuels. The chances of this type of legislation passing evaporated with the exposure of the Climategate emails almost a year ago, which along with the exposure of IPCC claims that Himalayan Glaciers were to melt by 2035 as being fraudulent, reduced the chances of an international agreement on carbon emissions to nil.

While some nuclear projects have been underway for years and represent significant stranded investment, utilities and financiers are now cutting losses and calling it quits. The Baltimore Sun goes so far as to describe the recent abandonment of the Calvert Cliffs plant in Maryland as “a huge setback for, if not the end of, the American nuclear renaissance.”

Also by Atheo:

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Bush regime retread, Philip Zelikow, appointed to Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board

March 8, 2011

Investment bankers salivate over North Africa

January 2, 2011

Top Israel Lobby Senator Proposes Permanent US Air Bases For Afghanistan

July 5, 2010

Progressive ‘Green’ Counterinsurgency

February 25, 2010

Look out for the nuclear bomb coming with your electric bill

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The saturated fat scam: What’s the real story?

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December 19, 2009

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December 4, 2009

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October 10, 2010 - Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power

12 Comments »

  1. “a huge setback for, if not the end of, the American nuclear renaissance.”

    GOOD nulear energy is filhty and poisonous, and should never have been done in the first place.
    All it was for was for the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons–it never even paid for itself in the long run.

    \\][//

    Comment by hybridrogue1 | October 10, 2010 | Reply

    • I wasn’t arguing about cap and trade–I said nuclear energy is dangerous and filthy.
      I stand by that.

      If you want safe energy, enough to run the whole planet–a hemp economy is the best way to move–not only for energy but for all the other useful clean products it provides.
      ww

      Comment by hybridrogue1 | December 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hmmm

    Something is rotten in Demark as they say. I wonder just for a momemt given the worldwide destruction of the environment by fossil fuel production and consumption and run away costs to the consumer are really a better alternative than nuclear power. I am as anti-big/NWO government as any man alive. But I am beginning to wonder. technological andvances with small scale nuclear power production have reached the point where safety is not an issue. The technology now exists to render the the tiny amounts of radio active material inert. (yes people this technology has been in existence for decades) Funny no violent protests when the international banking cartel steals 40 trillion around the world. But massive violent resistence to technology that is a fraction of the cost, locally controlled and in the long run far more friendly to man. I wonder people…..millions slaughtered in the Middle East, Israeli nazis murdering women and children by the thousands……no protests minimal MSM coverage. People you are being conned.

    Comment by DDearborn | November 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Hmmm, DD, I wonder how it is that only you are aware of this great breakthrough in our ability to “render the the tiny amounts of radio active material inert”?

      If this technology exists, as you claim, why do you suppose that trainloads of highly radioactive waste are being transported across Europe and interred in an irresponsible manner?

      see – http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/german-people-in-unprecedented-rebellion-against-government/#comments

      The latest cost per kilowatt on new nuclear plants is more than double the cost of clean abundant natural gas.

      The con is the big endless push for nuclear power (which is a central component of the Military Industrial Complex) on the bogus pretexts of global warming or phony scarcity.

      Comment by aletho | November 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hmmm

    Lets see now, how many coal fired plants have been built in the US in the last 20 years in US alone? How many nuclear power plants built in the US in the last 20 years? zero nuke plants. If the “military industrial complex” had wanted them, we would have nuclear power plants in every state. The Processing issue of nuclear waste information is out there. And as far as costs go, there are so many associated costs related to the burning of fossil fuels I think you will find a detailed break down of costs shows burning fossil fuels is many many times more expensive when you include environmental polution and health costs.

    The bottom line is that nuclear power technology today offers a far more cost effective and environmentally sound alternative to burning fossil fuels. The problem is that it has gotten far to efficient. Simply put there is a lot more money in fossil fuels. I am not an advocate for nuclear power, no matter how my posts sound. But fossil fuel consumption is a con on par with the Federal reserve.

    Comment by DDearborn | November 11, 2010 | Reply

    • DD,

      Over the past half century the US has had plenty of nuclear power plants to fulfill the requirements of the MIC. There has been a hiatus in new plants largely because they are so uneconomic that only a central planning regime can impose them.

      The problems for the MIC are due when more of the current plants are shut down. This is why they have been pushing so hard for a new generation of nukes.

      The cost comparisons that show nuclear to be more than twice as costly as gas don’t factor the negligible environmental harm of emissions, however they also don’t factor the far, far higher liability created by nuclear waste.

      DD, you claim that “The Processing issue of nuclear waste information is out there”, however as far as I am aware you are the only person to know where “there” is.

      Your final paragraph is so contrary to the facts and illogical as to be risible. If nuclear were actually “more cost effective” then there would obviously be “more money” in producing nuclear than gas. The entire power generation industry seems to see it differently than you do.

      Comment by aletho | November 11, 2010 | Reply

  4. Correction: The U.S. has 11.4 times the population of Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia had to supply the U.S., solely, Saudi Arabia would run-out of oil in 5.72 years.

    Comment by Edward Gordon | December 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Edward,

      Saudi Arabia’s non-conventional reserves are at not at present quantified or even explored. Your claim is entirely baseless.

      Comment by aletho | December 20, 2010 | Reply

  5. I have a plan that fastens birds to windmill blades, to turn the generator when the wind don’t blow.
    This works best green windmills, but paint is expensive. Send money.

    Comment by IndianaJohn | January 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Please post an address for readers to mail checks to.

      Comment by aletho | January 7, 2011 | Reply

  6. Georgia is a disgusting state to live. The laws are UNBELIEVABLY barbaric. I swear you can get 3 years prison time for spitting on the sidewalk. If you have two cars, it will cost you $500 in tag fees. Yes, that’s right, $500 just in tag fees. Outrageous traffic jams because they lower the gas taxes and every truck in the country takes a detour thru Georgia. But the lower gas tax does not cover your tag fees, unless you drive 300,000 miles a year.

    Believe me, if you value your freedom, stay away from the hellhole.

    Comment by RipTorn | February 7, 2011 | Reply


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