In the usa, safety precautions were sloppy because nuclear power would otherwise have been too expensive. That’s why there’s also increased investment in coal-fired power – a quandary
A few years ago, dick cheney complained that the u.S. Government had not approved an application to build a new nuclear power plant in decades. Cheney himself wanted to build dozens of new npps. But what cheney didn’t tell you is that the u.S. Government hasn’t rejected an application in decades. The last application was submitted in 1978, the year before the three mile island accident.
Since march, the first applications and permits are rolling again, but only so called "early site permits" (esp), which will make it possible to build a new nuclear power plant at least at the site applied for. This new type of license was ied as part of the nuclear power 2010 program launched in 2002"-program created to facilitate construction of new nuclear power plants. The program was spearheaded by spencer abraham, the current director of the u.S. Subsidiary of french nuclear power operator areva.
Entergy, which has now been granted an early site permit for another npp, is the second-largest operator of nuclear power plants in the u.S. And maintains, among others, the waterford npp near new orleans (see box "taft" (far left), which withstood storm katrina in 2005. However, the plant is located on the gulf side of the mississippi river. If the eye of a hurricane passed over the plant, it was allowed to flood. If it is hit by a hurricane several times in the next decades, it could be permanently in the gulf.
On 8.3.In 2007, the first esp was ied in illinois, on 5. In april, another esp was ied in the state of mississippi. The head of entergy mississippi explained that her company could reduce co2 emissions in this way. Up to 33 new nuclear power plants are under consideration in the u.S.
A new study by the university of berkeley (california) points out that the costs of nuclear power cannot be estimated at all. Historically, previous nuclear power plants have cost up to 500% more than originally planned, which, according to co-author prof. This is not the case with any other energy carrier. The industry argues that at that time experiments were still being carried out – each nuclear power plant was unique. This is in contrast to the new requirements that have been imposed on the industry since the accident in harrisburg (three mile island).
That these mandates can lead to high costs was seen again in 2007: in march, the u.S. Environmental protection agency (epa) fined the u.S. Department of energy (doe) $1.14 million, the largest such fine to date. Epa had found that an employee at the hanford interim storage facility logged the results of tests that had not been conducted at all. This wanton pre-exchange is said to date back to the time when the bechtel company operated the interim storage facility. Bechtel, as the largest engineering firm in the u.S., is closely intertwined with the bush family and the saudi royal family, and since 2003 has participated vigorously in the "building" iraq’s co-deserved.
How to cover the base load?
As is well known, nuclear power now sells itself as a clean alternative to coal power, the other main source of baseload electricity. As you can see from this list, most nuclear power plants are either running at 100% or not at all. It’s hard to ramp up and ramp down nuclear power plants.
The high cost of nuclear power, however, should not deter the coarse utilities, which are also operators of coal-fired power plants, because coal-fired power will also be sundrarily expensive if it is to become clean – possibly doubling the cost if the technology even works in the coarse format. Recently, however, this clean coal technology has become indispensable, because the usa has the largest coal reserves in the world and generates about half of its electricity from coal. Since the u.S. Supreme court decision, co2 emissions are considered air pollution in the u.S. And can therefore be regulated.
Nevertheless, the coal industry is booming in the usa, because coal can be used to make liquid fuels, and oil is not only expensive, but also dirty and has to be imported. Why not pollute the environment with the cheaper coal from the homeland? The ceo of peabody energy, for example, explained that his company relies on "coal-to-gas and coal-to-liquids" the company’s growth is expected to continue, as it announced in december that its profits had increased by 45%. For years, peabody itself has outperformed exxon in the stock market; while the stock price for exxon has more than doubled since early 2004, peabody now costs more than four times as much.
Either way, we have to be prepared for higher electricity prices if coal is to become clean and nuclear power is to meet the legal requirements. This should make the supporters of renewable energies rather happy, after all, the chairman of solarworld ag, germany’s largest solar company, is known for his statement that he would gladly give up subsidies if the conventional energy providers would also give up their subsidies. In order for the financially weaker to be able to cope with these higher prices, it is advisable to use intelligent energy networks, as propagated by the us energy expert jeffrey michel. If the electricity consumers are better adapted to the electricity suppliers, the problem of the base load will not arise so drastically. Because the base load does not exist, one makes it. And if demand was adjusted more flexibly, so many baseload power plants were no longer needed at all.