Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Dec 14, 2017 11:34 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Jan 25, 2010 7:30 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 30, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 3351
Location: Alabama
Salt Lake Tribune: Green River nuclear power proposal sparks big questions

Act one: the EVEEEUULLL REPUBLICAN MORMON state legislator!

Quote:
Spent fuel » The spent fuel rods would remain at the proposed site, which is about 5 miles northwest of the small Emery County town that takes its name from the river that runs through it.

Should the Green River plant be built -- a fast-track scenario would put it online in 2020, although historically such projects have taken longer -- spent radioactive rods would be stored in dry casks on a 1.5-acre pad at the plant, said Blue Castle CEO Aaron Tilton.

Although the federal government has struggled for decades to establish a storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nev., it is questionable whether the controversial facility will ever open. The casks could be safely stored at the Green River plant for 100 years, say Blue Castle officials.


Act two: the righteous noble Earth-loving, planet-saving, Gaia-worshipping concerned environmentalist!

Quote:
Unlike some nuclear reactors, all the water that would be used annually by the plant -- equal to the capacity of East Canyon Reservoir -- would be given off as steam after cooling the nuclear reactor.

It's unknown as this point which of five reactor designs certified by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be built by Blue Castle. Some of those designs return heated water to its source.

John Flitton, an attorney representing HEAL Utah, an environmental organization protesting the state water application, argues that 50,000 acre feet is a significant amount for arid Utah and not the best of use of a resource that already may be over-allocated.

Flitton is among dozens of individuals and organizations, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the federal Bureau of Reclamation, that are protesting the proposed water diversion.

During 2002, the Green River's second-driest year on record, the proposed 50,000 acre feet would have been equivalent to 10 percent of the river's total flow. But in an average year, the volume required for the plant would be less than 2 percent of the river's water. (An acre foot --- 365,000 gallons -- is enough to supply two typical households for one year.)

During dry years, there may not be enough Green River water to go around, Flitton said. "For water users up and down the Green River, it's not a pretty picture."


Act three: the objective, intelligent, watchful newspaper utters its pronouncement--fear, uncertainty, and doubt:

Quote:
Paying for the plant » The decision hinges on criteria beyond how much of the Green River is already allocated for other water rights or potential environmental impacts. Among them, according to Utah law, is whether the project is economically feasible.

That goes to potential investors and where the electricity would be sold. Presently, Tilton concedes, none of the plant's $16 billion to $20 billion construction cost is in hand. Rather, Blue Castle plans to secure the Green River water, then obtain a license from the NRC before it begins to raise money to build the plant.

Nils Diaz, a former chairman of the NRC and a minor stake holder in Blue Castle, said the "step-by-step process" is necessary to reduce financial risk for investors. "No major financial commitments will be made without a [NRC] license."

The issue if further complicated, however, by the fact that Utah law disallows water diversions "for purposes of speculation." That means the state water engineer must determine whether Blue Castle's multi-faceted, 10- to 20-year business plan makes financial sense in a growing and shifting energy market.

"Some of this stuff is on the subjective side," Mann conceded.

But Jerry Olds, a former state water engineer who is now a consultant for Blue Castle, said the Division of Water Rights does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the nuclear plant is financially viable.

But rather, "Is it reasonable to believe the applicants have the ability to move the project forward?"

Blue Castle officials are optimistic, according to Diaz, because nuclear power plants "are big money makers" and a streamlined NRC licensing process makes them more advantageous for investors.

Supply and demand » The West will be in need of new power sources in the coming decades, Blue Castle officials say. They plan to sell up to 50 percent of the electricity in Utah.

Nuclear power will be at the forefront of the nation's power base, they say, because it doesn't put CO2 into the atmosphere, like coal-fired plants.

Nonetheless, Diaz conceded that the upfront capital cost has to be overcome.

Those construction costs could keep Blue Castle from becoming a reality, said Christopher Paine, nuclear program director at the National Resources Defense Council. Like other nuclear power projects, the huge expense and risks mean banks and other private investors likely won't buy in. That leaves taxpayers to underwrite the plant in federal loan guarantees.

Selling electricity in the West is competitive, Paine noted, because there are many sources, including hydro power. And the future will include power from wind, solar and geothermal plants.

"It sounds like a high-risk project if they're counting on [electricity] sales in a competitive market," he said of the Blue Castle project. "If federal loan guarantees are not available, it's going nowhere."


You can tell I'm no fan of this rag.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 25, 2010 8:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Apr 24, 2008 4:54 am
Posts: 491
Location: Columbia, SC
Whenever I see this crap:

Quote:
Those construction costs could keep Blue Castle from becoming a reality, said Christopher Paine, nuclear program director at the National Resources Defense Council. Like other nuclear power projects, the huge expense and risks mean banks and other private investors likely won't buy in. That leaves taxpayers to underwrite the plant in federal loan guarantees.


I get pissed off.

Loan garuanteees are just that, garuantees. NOT actual loans. You STILL have to get an investor or bank to loan you money. Granted it will be easier because the bank has a lowered risk. BUT it is still private money NOT taxpayer money.

They state it like it is money transferred from the US Treasury. That is a straight up LIE.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 25, 2010 9:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 08, 2009 6:07 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Albuquerque NM USA
I don't quite understand the water problems.

Obviously if cooling towers are used, the cooling occurs mostly from evaporation and water is used. But why are cooling towers so common? It used to be that water would be taken from a lake, river, or whatever, used to cool the condensers, and returned to the body of water, just a few degrees warmer. Thus, except for the slight increase in evaporation resulting from the minor increase in temperature of the body of water, there was no water actually used since it was returned to the source from whence it came.

If a plant cannot be located close to a body of water, then cooling towers make sense, but I don't quite understand why they are used otherwise.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 26, 2010 8:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Jan 10, 2007 5:09 pm
Posts: 501
Location: Los Altos, California
It turns out that increasing the temperature of a lake or river by several degrees F is actually not okay for the stuff living in there.

What surprises me is that enforcement of this issue is rigid enough in France (and elsewhere, I suppose), that they actually had nuclear reactors shut down during a heat wave a few years back because they would otherwise have caused some sort of fish kill. The reactor shutdowns caused many people to lose air conditioning, and that caused some number of deaths. If I understand correctly, they actually had more than one human death that was directly attributable to this cause chain, which means that it can be proved that someone chose to preserve the life of some (perhaps many) fish over some (perhaps few) humans.

Obviously the French made a mistake in siting their reactors primarily on rivers, and would have done better to get them near the sea, but still... I'm amazed. You would think someone would put their foot down and say, look, there's obviously a case for building new reactors near the sea, but until that's done, screw the fish.

-Iain


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 26, 2010 9:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Aug 29, 2008 4:55 pm
Posts: 496
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Water politics in the western United states is a subject that is taken very seriously. Many a fight has been fought by neighbors steeling water during the night and letting their neighbors fields go dry. That part of Utah is very dry. Any new consumption of water is viewed by down stream users as a threat to their livelihood. It is used by the anti nukes as another road block. This was and is being tried with the Area's new enrichment plant under consideration in Idaho. Even though the Areva plant will use less water then the farm it is replacing. The idea is to scare downstream users. People who would normally not be affected far from the plant considered will fight it hard if they think their farms/cities will go dry.

Many a political career in Idaho for example has been won by keeping, or at least saying they are keeping California from steeling water from Idaho. I am sure it is the same in Utah.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 26, 2010 10:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 30, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 3351
Location: Alabama
iain wrote:
It turns out that increasing the temperature of a lake or river by several degrees F is actually not okay for the stuff living in there.


Screw the fish. In that case, building all the big dams on the Colorado was a bad idea because all of the water sucked off the bottom that flows out the river below is many degrees colder than it would have been if no dam was there. I can tell you from rafting the Green River right below Flaming Gorge Dam that it is COLD! Putting a reactor on the river would probably put the river closer in temperature to what it was before the dam was built. If you used cooling towers the change in river temperature would probably be negligible anyway.

Anyway, one fish species dies out another fills the niche. That's what's happened on the Green and Colorado rivers anyway. I'm not going to get all wee-weed up about fish when coal miners ACTUALLY die in Utah on a regular basis mining that filth out of the ground to provide 5 GWe to the state. If the Green River project can produce 3 GWe of that instead of coal, I think it's a great idea. Screw the fish. There's plenty of warm-water species that will take their place. There's not many native fish populations in Utah anymore, and nothing has changed the temperature of the Green River like building Flaming Gorge Dam.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 5:56 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 5:01 am
Posts: 462
Location: Teesside, UK
iain wrote:
It turns out that increasing the temperature of a lake or river by several degrees F is actually not okay for the stuff living in there.

What surprises me is that enforcement of this issue is rigid enough in France (and elsewhere, I suppose), that they actually had nuclear reactors shut down during a heat wave a few years back because they would otherwise have caused some sort of fish kill. The reactor shutdowns caused many people to lose air conditioning, and that caused some number of deaths. If I understand correctly, they actually had more than one human death that was directly attributable to this cause chain, which means that it can be proved that someone chose to preserve the life of some (perhaps many) fish over some (perhaps few) humans.
I've seen this reported a few times, but I think it is an urban myth. Contemporary articles and papers that quote sources make no mention of it, and this London Times article specifically states that the rules on discharge temperatures were relaxed in 2003. France can import electricity from the UK and Germany, which are both winter peak nations for electricity, with spare capacity in the summer. It also has a lot of non-nuclear plants - nukes are 63 GW of a total of 116 GW (54%) of capacity, but produce ~80% of the supply as much of the capacity is old fossil plants that cost a fortune to run. The deaths in 2003 were of old people, mostly poor, in old/cheap housing with no air con installed. The grid was stressed, but coped. The scandal was because other things (social services, healthcare, families/neighbours checking on the elderly....) that could have reduced the death toll failed. I'm not sure where the 'failing nukes caused thousands to die in France' story comes from, and I certainly don't claim to have proved it false, but it makes such great antinuke propaganda it might have been written for that purpose.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Vermont Yankee cooling
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 6:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sep 10, 2008 7:40 pm
Posts: 297
Interestingly, at Vermont Yankee the reactor is cooled by rivers water during the cooler months. To avoid overheating the river (and fish) the cooling towers are used during the summer.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 11:53 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Jan 10, 2007 5:09 pm
Posts: 501
Location: Los Altos, California
Thanks for that, Luke. It's never a good thing to be carrying around urban myths.

-Iain


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 12:26 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 30, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 3351
Location: Alabama
Wikipedia: Flaming Gorge Dam

Quote:
Construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam began in 1958 under the direction of the Bureau of Reclamation, and ended in 1964 with the completion of its three generators, each rated at 36,000 kilowatts. The town of Dutch John, with a population of three thousand at the peak of construction,[7] was a company town built to house construction workers. The reservoir first filled to its highest capacity in August 1974. The construction of the dam resulted in permanent changes to the ecosystem of the Green River. 91 miles (146 km) of the river was flooded to become Flaming Gorge Reservoir.[1] Prior to the construction of the dam, the Green was a highly seasonal, silty and warm river, with greatly fluctuating flows throughout the year. After the dam was built, the river temperature dropped and silt was trapped in the reservoir. Sandbars downstream of the dam ceased to replenish and the habitat of native fish disappeared, in similar fashion to the Grand Canyon when Glen Canyon Dam was built. Despite the lower Green being a "Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery", many native fish have been lost.[8]

Massive thermal discharges from 3 GWe of LWRs into the Green River would probably bring it closer to its "native" state than the state it's in now.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 1:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3070
In the 2003 heat wave in France did their electricity consumption go up - that is were they able to turn on fossil fuel power plants and buy enough from Germany and England to cover for the nuclear reactors that were shut down? If so, then this is simply an economics question - would it have been less expensive to build more cooling towers to cover this rare weather event than what they did?

France did request their people to reduce electricity consumption saving an estimated 200-300 MW.
From http://clients.rte-france.com/lang/an/v ... o_inst.jsp
The peak hourly power consumption in France for the years 2003 and 2002
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2003 83539 80526 69514 69160 57127 58115 57706 53559 55675 71767 72798 77675
2002 78269 70945 66979 62013 58623 56410 56704 53614 57713 63104 71375 79734

From this it looks like France was able to provide the electricity needed using their backup sources.
They also allowed several power plants to output discharge water 1 degree C higher than the normal limits.

If nuclear becomes THE source of electricity then it looks like we will need to spend extra for extreme cooling days - though it will be a long time before nuclear goes over 80% of the supply in general.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2010 8:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 5:01 am
Posts: 462
Location: Teesside, UK
Another article, from the New York Times. The 2003 heatwave caused electricity spot prices to spike to €1/kwhr, over 10 times normal, and cost EDF €300 million. That could buy some cooling towers, but their actual response has been to bribe major users to move to interruptible contracts, try to plan better, and start building EPR's - seawater cooled version!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group