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The Almighty Buck Power

Central New York Nuclear Plants Struggle To Avoid Financial Meltdown 270

mdsolar writes "As recently as four years ago, nuclear power companies were planning to spend billions of dollars to build a new reactor in Oswego County, alongside three existing nuclear plants. Then the bottom fell out. Natural gas-burning power plants that benefit from a glut of cheap gas produced by hydrofracking cut wholesale electricity prices in half. Now the outlook for nuclear power plants is so bleak that Wall Street analysts say one or more Upstate nuclear plants could go out of business if conditions don't change. Two Upstate nukes in particular — the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County and the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in nearby Wayne County — are high on the watch list of plants that industry experts say are at risk of closing for economic reasons."
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Central New York Nuclear Plants Struggle To Avoid Financial Meltdown

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  • Two worlds collide (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlackPignouf ( 1017012 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:18AM (#44991215)

    Two worlds collide :

    In order to plan an energy strategy, you need to look 20-30 years ahead.
    In order to avoid financial meltdown, you need to make Wall Street happy before next quarter.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:45AM (#44991431) Journal

    Until, of course, you have a situation like Fukushima.

    Decentralized renewables are cheapest and safest, when all risks and external costs are factored in.

    You are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts. Do you know how I know you're making up facts completely? Because the fact you've made up is not true.

    It's very easy to check: google "deaths per kWh".

    Nuclear comes up as the safest even when including Chernobyl and Fukushima. Even safer than decentralized renewables.

    The thing with decentralised renewables is that they require construction on a vast scale because renewables are quite diffuse. Construction is inherently dangerous and that leads to more deaths.

  • Regulated monopolies (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:58AM (#44991543)

    Am I alone in wondering why the cost to the consumer remains the same?

    Power utilities are regulated and the prices they charge to consumers are typically regulated as well. Since in most areas they are a monopoly you should expect them to charge the highest amount permitted by the local regulating body and not a penny less. Not like you can go anywhere else. Where I live I have precisely one option for electricity and one option for natural gas. The power company knows this and behaves accordingly. Even in areas where there is more than one option they basically are an oligopoly which isn't much different from a pricing standpoint. They all know there is little incentive to compete.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:26AM (#44992431) Journal

    nuclear and other power plants should not be allowed construction without adequate consideration of cleanup cost. as it stands, superfund is a joke

    Superfund has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with cleaning up nuclear plants.
    I'm surprised there are so many people who modded up a fundamentally wrong post. []

    Decommissioning Funds

    Each nuclear power plant licensee must report to the NRC every two years the status of its decommissioning funding for each reactor or share of a reactor that it owns. The report must estimate the minimum amount needed for decommissioning by using the formulas found in 10 CFR 50.75(c). Licensees may alternatively determine a site-specific funding estimate, provided that amount is greater than the generic decommissioning estimate. Although there are many factors that affect reactor decommissioning costs, generally they range from $300 million to $400 million. Approximately 70 percent of licensees are authorized to accumulate decommissioning funds over the operating life of their plants. These owners -- generally traditional, rate-regulated electric utilities or indirectly regulated generation companies -- are not required today to have all of the funds needed for decommissioning. The remaining licensees must provide financial assurance through other methods such as prepaid decommissioning funds and/or a surety method or guarantee. The staff performs an independent analysis of each of these reports to determine whether licensees are providing reasonable "decommissioning funding assurance" for radiological decommissioning of the reactor at the permanent termination of operation.

    Before a nuclear power plant begins operations, the licensee must establish or obtain a financial mechanism -- such as a trust fund or a guarantee from its parent company -- to ensure that there will be sufficient money to pay for the ultimate decommissioning of the facility.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:57AM (#44992785) Journal

    So eating irradiated seafood, for possibly decades, is counted in that 'safest' statistic?

    If you actually looked at the deaths per kWh figures you would see that they include deaths due to externalities like pollution from the various power sources if applicable.

    The thing is nuclear is exceptioinally safe. Nuclear provides 12% of the entire electricity needs of the earth and there have been a handful of incidents. Of those a particularly notabli incident is Three Mile Island which despite being a severe accident resulting in a meltdown released almost nothing into the environment.

    So yes when you take into account all the externalities including direct deaths, construction and pollution, nuclear is still the safest in terms of number of deaths per unit of energy generated.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @12:43PM (#44993319) Journal

    Again, since you seem to miss the point, you can't actually calculate that when there's an entire generation that could be eating irradiated seafood. In the future.

    Science: it works, bitches!

    Turns out you can estimate these things. Who knew science had predictive power, eh?

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison