Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by Dopefish on Sunday February 23 2014, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the all-hail-the-almighty-atom dept.

CyberB0B39 writes: "The Department of Energy is set to approve $6.5B for a Georgia nuclear power plant, the first such plant in more than 3 decades. While other nuclear plants are shutting down due to competition from natural gas, Atlanta-based Southern Company is forging ahead with its planned construction of the plant."

[ED Note: "For those that are wondering, the new nuclear plant will be based on the AP1000 design by Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, a company based in Pittsburgh, PA and a subsidiary of Toshiba."]

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by evilviper on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:06AM

    by evilviper (1760) on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:06AM (#5068) Homepage Journal

    That $6.5 billion could instead put rooftop solar installations on half a million homes, making them net-neutral energy consumers with zero emissions for the next half a century.

    I imagine most homeowners can already get a $13,000 loan, so those "half a million" probably don't NEED a government "loan guarantee" to put up solar panels in the first place. Most of them *could* start doing that now, if they chose. FORCING them to do so would be something else, entirely...

    And all those solar installations will only give you a fraction of the 2x1117MW these nuke plants will supply.

    put iron Edison-style batteries in each of the homes

    Considering that those cost several times more than lead-acid batteries, it doesn't seem like they're a good deal, even in the very long-term.

    plants that would only have to run at greatly reduced capacity, thus extending their lifetimes and reducing maintenance and operations costs.

    No. It really doesn't work that way...

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +4  
       Insightful=2, Interesting=2, Total=4
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by lgw on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:15AM

    by lgw (2836) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:15AM (#5107)

    Well put! I think solar + batteries on ever roof is the future, but it's sadly not the present. We're nearly there - it's tantalizing - but current tech still doesn't cut it. Top-quality photoelectric panels are bottlenecked on rare materials, and price would go through the roof if demand picked up. Batteries aren't quite there yet to allow the base load capacity to actually be reduced in cities.

    We've come far enough that the idea isn't fantasy any more - it's near future SF. But it's still fiction right now, and I'm eager to see a modern nuclear plant get built and see how it compares to what advocates like myself have been claiming. In theory new plants should be very safe and much more cost effective, but they're as vulnerable as ever to corruption and shortcuts while being built.

    If we can build one in the Deep South and not have it become a boondoggle and hidden safety menace (due to low quality parts sneaking in and cash sneaking out), that will be a great sign for America.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by evilviper on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:56AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:56AM (#5127) Homepage Journal

      Batteries don't make much sense if you're connected to the grid. They will always have SOME losses, even if they're reduced from the current level, in addition to the up-front investment.

      Meanwhile, running wind turbines all night, cranking-up hydro off-peak, and using solar-thermal with heat storage, etc., doesn't have the chemical conversion storage losses, nor the extra inverter losses. And if you do need storage, in the event of occasional excessive supply, pumped hydro is a far better option for grid-scale applications, and is extremely cheap to add-on to any existing dams.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by mojo chan on Sunday February 23 2014, @10:52AM

    by mojo chan (266) on Sunday February 23 2014, @10:52AM (#5145)

    I imagine most homeowners can already get a $13,000 loan

    I don't know about the US but a $13,000 loan is not small thing for most people where I live. The government here has a scheme where you are loaned the money but all the repayments go onto your energy bills, the idea being that the panels reduce the bills by more than the repayments. After 10 years it is all profit for you.

    I don't think anyone would suggest forcing people to have solar panels, but if given the opportunity most people would take them up for free. Zero electricity bills is a rather attractive proposition. The problem is that the US is not very good at funding stuff like that, where the benefit is only to the electorate and not to some corporation that is bankrolling the local politicians. Look at the number of places that have banned municipal broadband.

    And all those solar installations will only give you a fraction of the 2x1117MW these nuke plants will supply.

    Doesn't matter. It is always cheaper to reduce demand by installing solar and improving homes than it is to build new capacity. Plus, it reduces emissions far more, and you get rid of the network losses by having power generated close to where it is used. There are knock-on effects too, like the fact that everyone's energy bill goes down and they can charge their electric vehicles very cheaply or for free, further reducing emissions. It also creates a lot more employment installing and maintaining a large number of panels, rather than just one nuclear plant.

    Considering that those cost several times more than lead-acid batteries, it doesn't seem like they're a good deal, even in the very long-term.

    I agree. The Japanese have developed low temperature sodium sulphur batteries that are an ideal fit. There are some 50MW range installations up and running already to back up wind farms. They can be installed at residences too. It is also possible to recycle used NiMH or lithium cells for this application.

    --
    const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday February 24 2014, @12:14AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:14AM (#5392) Homepage Journal

      I don't know about the US but a $13,000 loan is not small thing for most people where I live.

      It's a pretty modest expense in the US. For some context:

      2010, USA new home prices - Median: $221,800 Average: $272,900

      "The 2011 Median Income of US households was $50,054 per annum"

      So $13k is just 6% of the median home value, and just 26% of the annual household income (though a loan would typically allow 15-30 years to repay).

      It is always cheaper to reduce demand by installing solar and improving homes than it is to build new capacity.

      It's already clear that just installing solar panels won't do it. What were your other ideas for "improving homes"? If you're talking about extra insulation or similar, that probably won't help much with ELECTRICAL demand, because home heating dominates domestic energy usage in the US, and that's generally via natural gas, NOT electricity. I can see how it would help in tropical climates.

      Plus, it reduces emissions far more, and you get rid of the network losses by having power generated close to where it is used.

      I would agree if we were talking about coal power plants, but these nuclear power plants will have almost zero emissions. Also, grid losses in the US only average 7%... Not a substantial amount, and certainly not enough to change the math in favor of 1/5 as much solar capacity.

      The Japanese have developed low temperature sodium sulphur batteries

      Thanks for the tip, I'll look those up some time.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 1) by TheRaven on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:33PM

    by TheRaven (270) on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:33PM (#5175) Journal

    The other problem with deploying solar is that the technology is advancing quite quickly. Fourth generation nuclear power plants have a planned lifetime of 50 or so years and have been around for a couple of decades. Unless there's some unexpected LENR or fusion breakthrough, you're better off building a nuclear power plant now and starting to use it than you are waiting for a few years and then building it.

    For solar, the value proposition is quite different. It has a large up-front cost with around a 10-year ROI, but within five years you're likely to be able to get panels that are either much more efficient or much cheaper (or both), making a five-year ROI feasible. Or, to put it another way, you can either spend that $13K now and be energy neutral and paid off in ten years, or spend it in five years and be energy neutral and paid off in ten years. Which makes more financial sense?

    --
    sudo mod me up