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Comment: Re:That's Because No New Ones Have Been Built (Score 1) 236

by Maury Markowitz (#47702249) Attached to: The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

> Wow! Facts!

Sort of, I cut off the entire bottom of the post somehow. Here's the status of the other Gen III and similar systems that are not currently on the market:

GE/Hitachi ABWR:
The first Gen III design to be built.
Two successful starts in Japan, another four delayed. Very *very* bad startup CF due to problems on the turbine side, but suspect that will improve somewhat. It had better, or these will be cash disasters on the Darlington A scale. All turned off following Fukishima, not helping their CF at all.
Taiwan reactor hopelessly delayed.
US reactors delayed and then cancelled.
Further sales appear extremely unlikely.

System 80+
Not really a Gen III design according to some, but on the list for completeness. Three S80's (not the 80+) built at Palo Verde. No further sales prospects. Team and design purchased by GE, Combustion Engineering left the industry.

Mitsubishi APWR:
Built to compete with ABWR in Japan and US. No sales, effort cancelled. Misubishi is likely out of the industry, but who knows now.

AECL EC-6 and ACR-1000:
Only real sales prospect was for a ACR-1000 at Darlington B. Rumors of a second plant for industrial steam for oil sand production turned out to be a mistake. Darlington cancelled in 2013 after price came in way higher than the government could afford ($26 billion was the low estimate).
AECL was immediately broken up and the reactor design department sold off to a Quebec engineering firm for a few million dollars, along with a massive tax write-down that was more than they paid for the company.

Out of the industry. Part of EPR, but managed to avoid that nightmare just in time.

B&W mPower:
B&W has essentially closed their reactor division.

All of UK:
Out of the industry. Considering purchase of EPR for Hinkley, but given their experiences with that design it's anyone's guess what will happen.

Comment: Re:Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (Score 1) 236

> The major reason for the large capital expenditure of nuclear power is that a lot
> of reactors are quite large and need expensive containment.

Too true.

> There are proposals to build modular reactors

Proposals. When someone bends metal, let be know.

> Hydropower also is a large capital expenditure

Not even close. Excluding China for the simple reason that I don't believe either their accounting or their exchange rates, the last two hydro super-projects were Itaipu and La Grande, which both came in just over $1 a watt, ~$1.20 for Itaipu and a little less for La Grande. This is no small feat considering the locations of both. Of course they were built before concrete doubled in price, but even considering that they would be *far far* less expensive than any Gen III reactor. Grand Inga is budgeted at $80 billion, around $2/W, based on the latest materials costs.

Comment: Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (Score 1) 236

> It is uncompetitive to manufacture steel in Germany at current prices

It is uncompetitive to manufacture steel anywhere that has any sort of realistic exchange rates.

What, you didn't notice that steel companies in the US, Canada, England, France and Japan are also shutting down?

Comment: Re:That's Because No New Ones Have Been Built (Score 2) 236

> we really should have built new cheaper and safer reactors

Newer designs are not cheaper. In fact, in spite of herculean efforts on the part of the industry, they're generally more expensive.

There are basically three "newer" designs that are actually available on the market, the EPR, AP1000 and ABWR. Other designs like the APWR, ACR-1000 and similar are dead, while others like the VVER are unlikely to be sold outside Russian client states, who get them basically for free.

Here's a current report on all of the ones that are still standing:

EPR, four under construction, one approved for short-term:
Olkiluoto's EPR is currently billed at E8.5 billion, about three times the original estimate. Construction is halted.
Flamanville's EPR has gone even higher.
Taishan's EPR's are both at least two years behind schedule (they were supposed to be on the grid last year, now they're scheduled for next year). I don't know what that does on the cost side in China.
Hinkley Point C is, well, no one really knows what's going on any more

AP1000, four under construction in China, four in the US, several others approved:
Summer's two AP1000s are both delayed at least 18 months, leading to a credit rating drop for the companies involved.
Vogtle's two AP1000 reactors are already billions over budget, and have just announced another series of delays. Delays cost $2 million a day.
Sanmen and Haiyang are both at least a year behind schedule. Haiyang 1 was last updated to begin operation in May,
Levy County's two AP1000 last accounting put it over $11 a Watt, at which point Duke gave up and kept everyone's money.

That's not to say this is universal, nor the fault of the designs. Spiralling material costs account for much of this. But having your costs controlled by time of construction on one hand and materials costs on the other is a bad place to be, they often conflict. If you want to get the materials cheaper you have to wait, which drives up soft costs, if you try to get it quicker to help there you drive up materials costs. And when interest rates are at historical lows and materials costs are skyrocketing, these sorts of things are going to happen.

Comment: Re:Article tries to condemn nuclear, fails (Score 2) 236

> While nuclear isn't perfect, the paranoia about potential nuclear accidents means it isn't commercially viable.

That, or maybe...

1) the $7.60/W CAPEX, which is over seven times that of wind or natural gas
2) the multi-year lead times which means significant economic risk in an era of they-can-only-go-up interest rates
3) construction costs that invariably go very very wrong and leave the investors holding the bag
4) banks which have been watching all of this for 40 years and consider it to be a toxic investment

Yeah, or maybe it's a bunch of patchouli scented long-hairs that are keeping the industry down. Like they way they kept down hi way construction, urban sprawl and whale hunting. Its a sad comment on an industry who's own supporters claim it's been brought to its knees by a group that can't get a job at Starbucks.

Comment: Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (Score 1) 236

> You obviously don't live in Ontario.

Wholesale prices in Ontario have been falling for several years. You can track them in realtime here:

I think you're confusing wholesale and retail. Retail rates have been rising. That's because Ontario Hydro didn't spend a dime on the network for 45 years and the entire grid needs replacement, while running up about $20 billion in debts due to Darlington and Ernie Eave's brilliant "keep the price low" plan which really meant "run up Hydro's debt". As both of these effects are addressed, you get to pay more. We're nowhere near finished, so get used to it.

The same is true for practically every other north american jurisdiction, I don't know enough about europe to say.

Comment: Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (Score 4, Interesting) 236

> Translation: we've overproduced by such an amount that we're paying for people take our crap.

Another translation: due to decreased economic activity as industry moves to China, along with improved efficiency in household consumption and in the market in general, the existing generation assets we have are no longer needed as overall demand lowers.

Example: Ontario has been decommissioning nukes and coal plants for 10 years now and still has negative pricing at night. Exact same reasons.

Comment: Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (Score 1) 236

> Electricity rates have been rising in America [].

Because there was no major CAPEX for about 30 years. Nothing says profit like doing nothing and getting paid for it.

As to the real costs of generation, they've continued falling throughout. Which is what you'd expect, as the tech gets better. Right now base load on the Ontario interconnects is selling for (checking as I type...) 2.37 cents/kWh. This is around the lowest is has *ever* been, NOT accounting for inflation (when you add that, it's WAY the lowest). Last night it was negative.

Comment: Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (Score 1) 140

by Maury Markowitz (#47653965) Attached to: Google's Satellites Could Soon See Your Face From Space

> Not specially. It depends on the satellite altitude

If it's anywhere above the atmosphere, which, being a satellite, it is, then the limit is at about five times that due to atmospheric diffraction. You need multiple times the limit in order to process the results into something near your diffraction limit. That's why WorldView-2 had an aperture about 2m to get 50cm resolution. Plus it was launched sun-sync at ~700 km, which I suspect is where WV-3 will sit too.

Comment: Well that's no indication (Score 1) 390

by Maury Markowitz (#47653915) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

> hacking Nasa at age 13

He's currently 39, which means this took place in the 1980s. A dog could "hack" NASA in the 1980s. Hell, they were already so far back down the other side of that bell curve of interest, they were talking about it as passé in "Out of the Inner Circle" which was published in 85.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears