James Conca, Geochemist, Contributor to Forbes, Consultant to industry and government on energy issues: Hurricane Harvey made land fall in Texas this week and the flooding was historic. What is shaping up to be the most costly natural disaster in American history, the storm has left refineries shut down, interrupted wind and solar generation, caused a constant worry about gas explosions, and caused a chain of events that led to explosions and fires at the Arkema chemical plant that is only the beginning. But the Texas nuclear power plants have been running smoothly. Anyone who knows anything about nuclear was not surprised. Nuclear is the only energy source immune to all extreme weather events – by design.
Reuters: Although no U.S. company now reuses its nuclear waste, the country has a long-running history with the technology. Following are timeline highlights of the U.S. inquiry into reprocessing and events that framed it.
U.S. Department of Energy: The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which Federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets. Markets recognize and compensate reliability, and must evolve to continue to compensatereliability, but more work is needed to address resilience. The biggest contributor to coal and nuclear plant retirements has been the advantaged economics of natural gas-fired generation.
Jeremy Carl, David Fedor, Hoover Institution: "Retaining America’s leading role in commercial nuclear energy is vital to our national security. Our leading position as a nuclear power generator allows us to also lead in shaping the non-proliferation order that protects our security.”
Duke Energy Carolinas announced today that it is abandoning plans to build the Lee Nuclear Station in light of the project's principal designer and contractor declaring bankruptcy. Duke's decision comes on the heels of SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper abandoning construction on the $18 billion V.C. Summer expansion plan having already spent $9 billion on the project. "With the availability of cost effective generation from natural gas and solar and other technologies we’re able to meet our customers needs in the near term." "But nuclear will continue to be important for the company in our diverse energy mix, now and in future."
Bryan Leyland, power systems design, mechanical engineer: We constantly hear that our present way of life is unsustainable because the world is running out of fossil fuels and other vital resources. People in developed countries are healthier and live longer than in the past. Abundant energy, engineering, technology and modern medicine have driven this transformation. We have progressed from eking out a living from subsistence agriculture to having plenty of time for recreation and relaxation and living better than a king 300 years ago. Nevertheless, billions of people are still living in poverty, and they and we need good governance and economic growth from using the best available technology to ensure that goods are supplied at the lowest cost and that energy is used efficiently and wisely.
James Conca, scientist in the field of earth and environmental sciences. Contributor to Forbes: China now has more wind and solar energy than the rest of the world - combined. But transmission bottlenecks, coal’s undue influence, and market set-up have prevented large amounts of renewable electricity from reaching the Chinese grid. Renewables are increasing faster than the infrastructure to support them. So it’s not surprising that China would keep building huge hydro plants as well as tripling their nuclear power over the next decade. The largest power plants are nearly all hydro dams and nuclear.
Anthony Watts, publisher of wattsupwiththat.com Watts Up With That? The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change: The entire rationale for wind turbines is to stop global warming by reducing the amount of CO2 being returned to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. In the picture recently taken in Sweden, freezing cold weather has caused the rotor blades of a wind turbine to ice up bringing the blades to a complete stop. To fix the “problem” a helicopter is employed (burning aviation fuel) to spray hot water (which is heated in the frigid temperatures using a truck equipped with a 260 kW oil burner) on the blades of the turbine to de-ice them.
Steven Mufson, Washington Post: The long quest to revive America’s nuclear power industry suffered a crippling setback when two South Carolina utilities halted construction on a pair of reactors that were once expected to showcase a modern design for a new age of nuclear power built at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The project has been plagued by billions of dollars of cost overuns, stagnant demand for electricity, competition from cheap natural gas plants ... ..., and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the lead contractor and the designer of the AP1000 reactor that was supposed to be the foundation of a smarter, cheaper generation of nuclear power plants.
Paul Driessen, Committee For A Constuctive Tomorrow: As an Australia-wide heat wave sent temperatures soaring above 105 degrees F (40.6 C) in early 2017, air conditioning demand skyrocketed. But Adelaide, South Australia is heavily dependent on wind turbines for electricity generation – and there was no wind. Regulators told the local natural gas-fired power plant to ramp up its output, but it couldn’t get enough gas to do so. To avoid a massive, widespread blackout, regulators shut off power to 90,000 homes, leaving angry families sweltering in the dark.