Most all of the US nuclear plants have run well past their intended lifespans and ARE accidents waiting to happen.
Fukushima was built in 1967 by General Electric and started its operations in 1971. The Mark 1 reactors were deemed by some of GE’s own people as being unstable. That was back in the 1970’s. Forty one years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly convinced that the nuclear reactor design they were reviewing — the Mark 1 — was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident.
The mere fact that Fukushima is leaking 300,000 gallons of nuclear contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean EVRYDAY should be a damning enough factor to say that nuclear is not a clean energy source.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday (13 April 2015) that radiation in the primary containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 power station gets as high as 9.7 sieverts per hour — enough to kill a human within an hour. It’s so clean that humans can not even go there safely and clean up the mess.
Two scientists have claimed that 14,000 people have died in the US as a result of the Fukushima radioactive plume. Regardless of what you believe there has been a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer in the post FUKU world. Especially in the NW of the US and SE part of Canda.
There are leaking nuclear waste sites across the US and the world. Cancer rates have increased in the post nuclear bomb testing world. Claiming that nuclear energy is “clean” isn’t even just a shrilled position. It is one of outright willfull ignorance on the part of the person saying it.
“..Nuclear energy could make an increasing contribution to low carbon energy supply, but a variety of barriers and risks exist. Those include: operational risks, and the associated concerns, uranium mining risks, financial and regulatory risks, unresolved waste management issues, nuclear weapon proliferation concerns, and adverse public opinion. New fuel cycles and reactor technologies addressing some of these issues are being investigated and progress in research and development has been made concerning safety and waste disposal. [Source: IPCC, 2014: Summary for Policymakers, In: Climate Change 2014, Mitigation of Climate Change, pages 21-22]
Nuclear is small portion of global power generation. Nuclear power plants provide about 14% of electricity worldwide, and electricity is about 16% of total energy use. Calculating 14% of 16%, we find that nuclear power represents about 2.24% of total energy use in the world. See http://www.societalmetabolism.org/aes2010/Proceeds/DIGITAL%20PROCEEDINGS_files/PAPERS/O_118_Michael_… for an analysis of nuclear power as a possible solution of our need to stop burning fossil carbon.
“The first generation of nuclear power plants proved so costly to build that half of them were abandoned during construction. Those that were completed saw huge cost overruns, which were passed on to utility customers in the form of rate increases. By 1985, Forbes had labeled U.S. nuclear power “the largest managerial disaster in business history.”
The industry has failed to prove that things will be different this time around: soaring, uncertain costs continue to plague nuclear power in the 21st century. Between 2002 and 2008, for example, cost estimates for new nuclear plant construction rose from between $2 billion and $4 billion per unit to $9 billion per unit, according to a 2009 UCS report, while experience with new construction in Europe has seen costs continue to soar.”
World nuclear capacity is set to continue to grow, but the supply of uranium should meet predicted demand for the next several years according to the latest World Nuclear Association (WNA) report on the nuclear fuel market, released today at its Annual Symposium in London.
The World Nuclear Association (WNA) is the international organization that promotes nuclear power and supports the many companies that comprise the global nuclear industry. Its members come from all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium mining, uranium conversion, uranium enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, plant manufacture, transport, and the disposition of used nuclear fuel as well as electricity generation itself.
Together, WNA members are responsible for 70% of the world’s nuclear power as well as the vast majority of world uranium, conversion and enrichment production.
The WNA says it aims to fulfill a dual role for its members: Facilitating their interaction on technical, commercial and policy matters and promoting wider public understanding of nuclear technology. It has a secretariat of around 35 staff.
The WNA was founded in 2001 on the basis of the Uranium Institute, itself founded in 1975.
Nuclear power plants have actually been burning up the nuclear weapons in what’s called the Megatonnes to Megawatts project (see for example http://thebulletin.org/more-megatons-megawatts). According to NPR (http://www.npr.org/2013/12/11/250007526/megatons-to-megawatts-russian-warheads-fuel-u-s-power-plants) 10% of US electricity has come from Russian warheads.
For some information (from the Canadian Nuclear Association, which is an advocacy group, so you may not be willing to believe it, but it checks out as near as I can tell):
Or the US NEI (also an advocacy group, but the info seems to check out):
Not a single AP1000 nuclear reactor plant has gone into operation anywhere on the face of this planet, Stephen. Interminable delays and infernal costs keep escalating on AP1000 projects, even in communist controlled China.
“BEIJING: The debut of the world’s first third-generation AP1000 nuclear reactor will be delayed until 2016 following new problems in the construction process, an official with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology (SNPTC) said Thursday.
Startup of the reactor designed by US-based Westinghouse had already been delayed due to safety concerns and design changes, but it had been expected to go online in late 2015.” …
“Six projects expected to be approved late last year have been delayed, threatening to throw off China’s aim of having 58 gigawatts of nuclear power installed by 2020.
The AP1000 delay is a further setback for China’s nuclear power generation development plans, which have slowed since Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.”
The Flamanville reactor has cost the French government more than double its original $3.5 billion price tag, and is already five years behind schedule.“
Moreover, AREVA, the world’s largest nuclear company, is at great risk of going under from cost overruns and financial losses running in the multiple billions of euros.
“Areva is a French multinational group specializing in nuclear and renewable energy headquartered in Paris La Défense. It is the world’s largest nuclear company. Its nuclear technology business group was created by absorbing the nuclear business line of German company Siemens; it has developed the EPR, an advanced 3rd generation pressurized water nuclear reactor.“
“Areva’s financial situation is critical, the EPR is as crucial to them as the iPhone was to Apple. Their failure in Finland and now the problem in Flamanville [France] could prove fatal … In March, the company announced that last year it lost more than 4 billion euros.” …
“The scale of the net loss for 2014 illustrates the twofold challenge confronting Areva: continuing stagnation of the nuclear operations, lack of competitiveness and difficulties in managing the risks inherent in large projects. The group understands how serious the situation is.”
Sovacool B K, “Valuing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Nuclear Power: A Critical Survey,” Energy Policy 36(8) (August, 2008) 2940-2953
Abstract: This article screens 103 lifecycle studies of greenhouse gas-equivalent emissions for nuclear power
plants to identify a subset of the most current, original, and transparent studies.
It begins by briefly detailing the separate components of the nuclear fuel cycle before explaining the methodology of the survey and exploring the variance of lifecycle estimates. It calculates that while the range of emissions for nuclear energy over the lifetime of a plant, reported from qualified studies examined, is from 1.4g of carbon dioxide equivalent per kWh (gCO2e/kWh) to 288gCO2e/kWh, the mean value is 66gCO2e/kWh. The article then explains some of the factors responsible for the disparity in lifecycle estimates, in particular identifying errors in both the lowest estimates (not comprehensive) and the highest estimates (failure to consider co-products). It should be noted that nuclear power is not directly emitting greenhouse gas emissions, but rather that lifecycle emissions occur through plant construction, operation, uranium mining and milling, and plant decommissioning.
Beerten Jef, Laes Erik, Meskens Gaston, D’haeseleer William, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Nuclear Life Cycle: a Balanced Appraisal,” Energy Policy 37(12) (December, 2009) 5056-5068
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03014215/37 (paywall: Purchase PDF – $19.95)
Abstract: In order to combat global warming, a detailed knowledge of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with different energy conversion technologies is important. For nuclear energy, GHG emissions result from different process stages of the whole fuel cycle. A life-cycle assessment offers the possibility to properly calculate these emissions. In the past, both indirect energy use and GHG emissions were studied by many researchers. Most of the studies result in low indirect emissions comparable to wind turbines. However, some of the studies in the literature obtain high results adding up to a significant fraction of the direct emissions from a CCGT.
In this paper, the GHG emissions resulting from the overall nuclear fuel cycle are analyzed by making a detailed comparison of the results from three different life-cycle assessments. Hereby, the studies are chosen in order to reflect the range of results available in open literature. The studies under consideration result in indirect emissions of around 8 and 58 g CO2/kWhe and more than 110 g CO2/kWhe.
An explanation is given for these strongly varying results by analyzing the input data, assumptions and estimations made for different process steps.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified 5 reactors for factory production. More certifications for factory production are on the way.
“Design Certification Applications for New Reactors”
“By issuing a design certification, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves a nuclear power plant design, independent of an application to construct or operate a plant. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance, but can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years.
Which means: If you want a nuclear power plant in a short time, like under 3 years from signing to turn on, the US is open for business. Since these are factory built, turning on the factory means getting a lot of reactors, not just one.
5 more Design Certification Applications are Currently Under Review.