Has Commercial Nuclear Power been "Regulated" Out of Existence in the U.S.?

Andylusion

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While it is never acknowledged by the political Left, the American Commercial Nuclear Power industry has the best safety record of any industry in all of human history. Since its inception in the early 1950's there has not been a single radiation-related fatality - or even sickness - in the entire industry. The safety precautions that are mandated and followed in nuclear power stations are SO thorough and SO all-encompassing that the cancer rate for nuclear power employees is lower than for the general population (same for the Nuclear Navy).

You might ask, "What about THREE MILE ISLAND???" Well, what about it? Not a single injury or fatality, not even a mild case of radiation sickness. Nothing. Just a lot of hysteria, largely fueled by the unfortunate coincidence of this relatively insignificant accident with the film, "The China Syndrome."

There is no doubt that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission takes great pride in this accomplishment, and in a sense it should. Many of the precautions that maintain this incredible safety record come directly from that august body.

But the NRC has, in its neurotic enthusiasm, created a situation where a new nuclear power plant is, for all practical purposes, infinitely expensive. Permitting alone can take ten years. Manufacturing and construction are so restrictively managed that they are at least 2-3 times more costly than would be building exactly the same facilities for some other normally-regulated purpose.

I worked in Purchasing for a nuclear power company for a few years, and imagine the cost impact of buying a normal commercial item - say a large industrial valve or pump - for which the warranty will not start for three or four years, and even that date is highly speculative, given the regulatory environment. We were paying 3-5 times the Catalog Price of standard commercial equipment, mainly so that the manufacturer could cover the expected warranty risk.

But this regulatory micro-management is not necessary. Even though the current designs are "new," they are all based on proven designs, and the improvements simply make them safer than the existing plants that have been in service - some of them - for more than thirty years. The latest major innovations render "meltdown" impossible, as the cooling water continues to flow even when the reactor is dormant (but still hot).

Having virtually given up on building a safe, proven nuclear power plant of conventional size, the industry pins its hopes on Small Modular Reactors ("SMR's") which can be pre-manufactured and delivered to a site, and combined with other similar reactors to meet the needs of that utility. Good luck with that.

But it represents the Industry just throwing up its hands and acknowledging that the regulatory framework makes building a nuclear power plant impossible, even though we have the technology to do it in an economically feasible manner - even with natural gas breathing down its figurative neck. The actual cost of nuclear power is microscopic; you are simply controlling a natural phenomenon and siphoning off the heat that it generates.

Mark it well: we have foolishly and neurotically regulated this industry out of existence at a time when "we" claim to need sources of energy that do not generate greenhouse gases.

We have met the enemy and...well, you know the rest.
The biggest problem with nuclear is the waste. You can not go near it for thousands of years. We are leaving a trap for our prodigy. Will they have any idea not to enter an area so full of nuclear waste? We have no idea.
The waste is usually manageable, and what is created per unit power generated is miniscule compared to other waste streams for other power sources. (remember combustion products from fossil fuel power generation is a waste stream).

The key is proper labelling, design of containment, and location of containment. If we get to a point where the labels aren't maintained or understood we are probably looking at a planet of the apes level collapse of civilization anyway.
Look back a couple thousand years what language was spoken here? What language was spoken in Italy? I don't seem to remember a planet of the apes style collapse in my history books.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to point out my lack of education on that matter?
How many cities have been discovered over the last hundred years that were unknown to us? Care to guess that it was more then one? If we can forget the location of even one city than how would it be such a stretch of the imagination to forget the location of even one depository?
They didn't have the level of technological ability we have, both with regards to the storage of, and dissemination of, information. Also you are talking about cities, not intentionally designed isolation facilities for nuclear waste. Waste Depositories would be placed in the middle of nowhere, probably buried deep inside a mountain, then re-enforced with tons of concrete and steel. Access would be limited, and multiple layers of warnings and control methods would be used for any access.

In a few thousand years one would hope anyone "stumbling" into something like this would still have the cognitive ability to recognize warning signs and giant radiation symbols all over the place if they decided to dig into one of these repositories.
So did recognize any of the languages spoken two thousand years ago at first sight? A lot of waste is being stored in an old salt mine. Remember the Washington state spill a few years back. If you really want to learn do a quick search of nuclear waste accidents.
If in 1000 years they are too dumb to ignore the visual warnings, and the fact they have to dig/cut/burn through several containment structures and vessels, i say fuck em.
That's assuming some one never makes a mistake or we don't have a leak into the ground water.
If you create impossible conditions for something you make it impossible. The concept is risk mitigation, not risk elimination.

The idea is to layer the defenses so just one or two mistakes or incidents don't lead to total failure.

If you look at most disasters, one bad thing isn't usually enough, it requires a sequence of bad events for the worst to happen.
Sometimes it isn't just layered defenses.
Love canal comes to mind.
The release of chemical gases in India.
Chernobyl, three mile island. Fukushima.
Numerous leaks of radioactive waste.
We have been lucky. Can we hope that we can continue with luck?
Even if it is not completely man made, nature has shown us that we are not masters of this world no matter what we think.
TMI doesn't belong with the other two, hell even Fukishima doesn't belong with chernobyl.

In all the cases, multiple mistakes had to be made before anything really bad happened.

If you are that afraid of everything I suggest you find some place in the woods and build a concrete cabin with 4 ft thick walls and hide until you die of old age.
The funny thing is you can argue until you are blue in the face but they were all problems at nuclear facilities or man made problems as in love canal.
Lol. Actually I am not afraid of much at all. I understand that you want to believe that you understand things but I think you are going to find out that there are others in the world that will put a halt to nuclear energy.
1 catastrophic accident caused by a shitty design, shitty management, and shitty culture. 1 bad accident caused by a 40 ft tall wall of water and incompetence, and one overblown accident caused by poor operational awareness.

I'll put my engineering degree up against whatever basketweaving education you have any day of the week.
And yet all three of those were nuclear accidents. Unless you want to try and call them home accidents.
Thats what we call "risk management". Chernobyl is at the one of the last places in the list of Ukrainian problems.
So if we have a choice - to raise nuclear industry, be wealthy and powerful, and have one another accident; or to be powerless and poor, lost Alaska but live in the "green" environment - what would you choose?
So give me an exact number of lives that your " risk management " is willing to sacrifice. A hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, a million? Give me a number.
How many lives do we risk each day letting people drive cars?
Well there you have me. The problem is there again we have human error involved
Unless we give everything we do over to robots (and that leads to terminator levels of risk) there will always be human error as a risk.

The question in the thread is why would we apply harder standards to human risk to nuclear power issues than other endeavors.
Let me put it this way. I am thinking that I need to make this extremely simple so that it is understood by you and others.

If a person wrecks a car that is human error. What is the maximum that can be killed in that single car accident. One, two or however many are in the car. How many can be killed if someone wrecks a nuclear power plant a hundred, a thousand perhaps more depending on where and the prevailing winds.
There is already evedince to suggest that incidents of cancer are higher for those in close proximity to reactors.
I noticed you didn't link that evidence.

You are misinterpreting the concept of risk, and the balance between high probability low damage, and low probability, high damage. You also don't really differentiate between risk at a personal level and risk at a regional level.
Lol. So you want to pretend that risk is less depending on how many are hurt.
The risk is less because of the level of regulation found in the Nuclear industry.
And yet again we deal with the word less. Is less meaning zero? Is it meaning a thousand? Is less meaning ten thousand?
Just because we have managed to only kill three people with nuclear power directly. And a possibly unknown number indirectly so far. Does not mean that we won't do it at some point.
Let me put it this way. If you have one car on a road the chance for that car having an accident is very low. You add another the chances go up. Add more and they go up exponentially. Add enough and you guarentee an accident.
Cars aren't designed like nuclear reactors are.

The equivalent car would be a 10 x 10 block of solid concrete encasing the driver in a foam suspension, and the car could only go 10 MPH.
I gather you really don't understand the word analogy.
Let's for one moment look at some of the engineering marvels that were touted as safe.
The titanic unsinkable.
Self driving cars. Driving under semi's.
Self driving taxi in a wreck within an hour of service.
To name just a few.
I know you don't want to talk about other nuclear disasters but there are plenty of them. Then we can add things like subs.
You talk about requlations how well did those work out for the missing fuel rods and the fuel rods that siting in casks still at the humbolt site? The rods have never been found but are "assumed" to be in the casks.

Look I get it that you think any amount of risk is acceptable. Any amount of problems is fine. But the simple fact of the matter is most are not as willing to have those risks sitting in their neighborhood, in geologically unstable areas, in areas which may be hit by natural disasters. Which pretty much says no where.
You apply more stringent risk management requirements only to Nuclear power because you are scared of it/don't like it. You ignore the many regulatory controls in place, the technological advances made from the examples of the previous accidents and incidents, and the proven track record of the US and Western European Nuclear Industries.

And Titanic was more of a failure in the handling of the results of the accident then in the accident itself.

Having lifeboat capacity for the entire ship's complement would have changed it from a disaster to a heroic rescue story.
So you are wanting to claim that a ship that was considered unsinkable and did not need lifeboats at all could have been great if there had been life boats.
Going by that logic imagine if nuclear reactors never had fuel rods added into them. Man would they be safe.

I am a realist. If nuclear reactors were perfectly safe there would be no need of requlations calling for fuel rods to be accounted for. There would be no need for dosage meters. There would be no need for emergency procedures.
They still required 1/2 lifeboats on the "unsinkable" ship, and you do realize the whole "unsinkable" thing has been blown out of proportion over the decades due to the whole "Titanic legend" thing?

Your allusion does not apply.

And the soviets showed us what happens when a reactor doesn't have containment, which all US reactors have not because of a RESPONSE to an accident, but due to proactive regulatory requirements.
So they never claimed it was unsinkable and the latest in technology? You do realize that you are wrong?

The Japanese also showed us that you can design a reactor to be fully enclosed and still be taken out by nature.

Look I get that no matter how many are sacrificed you think that anything can be made to take all the problems out. The only problem is no one wants one in their neighborhood nor in areas that are affected by nature. Most don't trust that with continued rolling of the dice nothing will go wrong. So you can sit here and pretend that everything and everyone should be happy. But Only two are currently under construction while something like 37 have been shut down.
That will change.
The moment we have more brown outs, or black outs, and people are faced with either nuclear or reverting to living in caves, they'll accept nuclear power.
Good luck on convincing everyone.
Mark it well: we have foolishly and neurotically regulated this industry out of existence at a time when "we" claim to need sources of energy that do not generate greenhouse gases.

We have met the enemy and...well, you know the rest.
Here's the thing. Nobody wants one of these things in their neighborhood... that's why we aren't building new ones.

yes, there have been no accidents here that have been that bad, but as we've seen from Chernobyl and Fukushima, they have been really bad in other places.
And I'm fine with that. I understand people don't want a nuclear power plant right built five feet from their child's elementary school.

Fine. However, here's the reality... as the population of the world goes up, as technology advanced, we will need more power.

As things stand right now.... NOW.... green energy is a pathetic, but expensively pathetic joke.

After hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars spent here in Ohio on renewable power.... if you combine all renewable power from all sources across the state, the total combined power out put of all of them, is less than half the power output of one single nuclear power plant.

Renewable is not a solution. And it won't be a solution for the foreseeable future.

So you have basically 3 total options. Natural gas, which is fine, but will only go so far. Coal when the left-wing seems to be against. And Nuclear.

That's it. Or we can all have mass deaths from the chaos of having our cities max out the power grids and going black.
You mean like California is doing now? Without maxing out the power grid.
Are you kidding? California is exactly the example I would point to. They completely wrecked their power production, put all their energy sources into nat.gas, and when the price spiked, the public utilities were all on the verge of bankruptcy, prompting rolling black outs, which forced the state to assume the cost, which tanked their credit rating.

California's bonds have been downgraded 3 times since the start of 2019, and part of that is the massive cost they are still paying to keep the electricity on.

You can't possibly point to California as a model to follow, if you are rational. Their energy plan has been terrible.
Their biggest problem has been the fact they have almost two trillion in state backed retirement that they have failed to even attempt to fund. But that is for another discussion.

I was only pointing it out as the fact that they shut off electricity when the wind blows. They decommissioned a nuclear reactor and can not find some of the fuel rods. The fuel rods are still sitting on site. Waiting for something to happen to them.

And yet they worry more about plastic and straws more then they do about nuclear fuel rods. As you pointed out their taxes of public utilities have bankrupted PG&E. I believe that the state has since taken them over in at least part. So that means that IF they were to build more nuclear power plants. We would have a company that has proven they don't have a plan for housing spent fuel rods. They have proven that they can not properly track them. They would be building ing a known unstable area. And they are either on the edge of bankruptcy or they actually are. So that may mean that they would be willing to cut costs or might be willing to forgo proper maintenance.

What exactly in all that inspires confidence?
What exactly in all that inspires confidence?

Again, it doesn't matter. The demand for power will continue to rise, with population. Without energy, millions will die.

So the question isn't "What inspires confidence?"... the question is "How are we going to meet the energy needs of the future?"

As I said before, renewables are not a viable option. All the clear documented evidence, shows that Solar, Wind, and Biofuels, are simply not going to fill the need for energy.

That leaves us with Coal, Nat.Gas and Nuclear.

We already covered Hydro, it doesn't provide enough power, and due to left-wing regulations, it is nearly impossible to build a dam anyway. All the dams of the past, would never have been built under today's regulations.

Now, last I checked we had about 200 years worth of coal in the US, and that's just known coal reserves. But people don't want that, because supposedly we're destroying the entire planet with coal.

So that leaves us with Nat.Gas, and Nuclear. Nat.Gas is fine, but there are limits.

As best I can determine, we simply can't get all the power we need from Natural Gas alone. If that changes in the future, great.

But the only viable option for nearly unlimited relatively cheap power, is nuclear.

They decommissioned a nuclear reactor and can not find some of the fuel rods. The fuel rods are still sitting on site. Waiting for something to happen to them.

So to start with, I flat out don't believe that. Yes, I believe that someone might have mis-counted how many fuel rods there were to begin with, or mis-counted how many fuel rods were shipped to a storage facility.

But to say they are still sitting around on the site? Do you have evidence of that? Or are you making assumptions?

When a spent fuel rod is removed from a reactor, it goes into a cooling pool, and then goes to dry storage.

View attachment 337797

Does it seem even remotely likely, that a 12 foot tall stack of fuel rods in pool only this big, is going to be somehow missed by inspectors? No. It does not.

After removed from the cooling pool, they are put in dry storage.

View attachment 337799

Again, does it seem likely that a container that large, which still has low levels of detectable radiation, is somehow going to be 'lost'? No, it does not.

And lastly, if there is a fuel rod that is neither in the cooling pool, nor in dry storage, then it would be leaking enough radiation to be detectable from space, if I remember right. And you are saying they wouldn't be able to find it?

No, I don't believe that. Could I be wrong? Sure. But you need to prove it. You need to prove there are fuel rods laying around a site, that magically no one can find. More likely, someone with a public education failed a math test, and was assigned to count the number of fuel rods on hand.

Waiting for something to happen to them? Like what? Uranium is a solid. Not only it is it a solid, but it is encased in zirconium. Not only that, but it is air sealed with helium. Not only that, but it encased in concrete.

You guys have been watching too many movies, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and green glowing ooze that leaks out and wreaks havoc across the world.

That's not how things really are.

We would have a company that has proven they don't have a plan for housing spent fuel rods. They have proven that they can not properly track them. They would be building ing a known unstable area. And they are either on the edge of bankruptcy or they actually are. So that may mean that they would be willing to cut costs or might be willing to forgo proper maintenance.

So there is a bunch of stuff here.

First, deregulate the energy industry in California. All of the problems you list with the power companies in California, can be traced back to regulations.

The regulations are what caused the utilities to be incompetent and bankrupt.

There is a reason, the power companies in Ohio and elsewhere, have never had the problems the power companies in California have. It's basically the failure of Democracy in action. That's why the founding fathers were against Democracy.

Second, there is a more specific reason companies have no plans for dealing with nuclear waste.

Government. Federal Government is the reason. The left-wingers hate it when you say the cause of the problem is government, but the vast majority of the time, that's the truth.

In one of the few policies of Ronald Reagan that I completely disagree with, the Federal Government under the Democrats, signed into law by Reagan, was the The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.


In short, very. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 created a tax on electricity generated by nuclear power plants. This tax would accumulate into the Nuclear Waste Fund for us to build a geologic repository — a mined facility deep within the earth — to safely dispose of the waste. What’s happened to that?​
The fund has a balance of more than $40 billion. It’s controlled by Congress on an annual basis, and congressional budget rules make it very difficult to use those funds. It’s not a lockbox where the money goes and waits to be spent. Instead, it’s been applied against our national debt, so even though the fees have been collected, they haven’t been used for their intended purpose.​
This again, is why I am against regulations. Regulations cause problems, rather than solve them.

In this case, the Federal Government specifically told nuclear plant operators that they didn't have to worry about nuclear waste. That rather the Federal government would handle dealing with nuclear waste.

The Federal Government caused the entire problem.

SOLUTION:

As I have said on this thread before, the solution is rather simple, even if difficult.

All we have to do, is repeal the law that bans the reprocessing of spent fuel rods.

Then.... reprocess all those spent fuel rods.

So if you don't know how this works, I'll explain. Uranium when used in a reactor becomes 'polluted' with non-fissile material. As the inert material grows in the Uranium, the production of heat declines until it is no longer efficient. We call those fuel rods "spent".

However, what we can do is reprocess them. Removing the inert non-fissile material, will make the Uranium 'burnable' again. We can use it again.

Now there is one catch, and that is that you end up with a mix of fissile metals, like Americium, Plutonium, and Curium and a bunch of other 'iums'. So you can't burn these in a regular Uranium reactor, because it isn't just Uranium you are burning.

You need a MOX, or Mixed Oxides reactor. Then you can burn these reprocessed fuel rods, and produce more power.

Again, the French and Russians have been doing this for decades. We haven't... because we're stupid. De-regulate the nuclear power industry, and we can eliminate 90% of the "waste" by reprocessing them into usable power producing fuel again.

In fact, I've read that reprocessing will actually reduce waste by 97%.

Lastly, I have also read that the newer generation of MOX reactors, can reduce the radioactive waste to such a low level, that after just a day, you can handle the spent fuel with your hands.

But even if not, we could very easily eliminate the vast majority of spent fuel rods, and produce usable power with them. It's just a matter of government not strangling the industry with regulations anymore, that will fix this.
Lol. Let me just point out that no one wants these built in their neighborhood nor in areas that are affected by nature. That leaves very little places to put them.
We can pretend that rolling the dice will never come up with a bad result but the truth is it could.
You can set there pretending that it is the only way forward but the truth of the matter is onlt two reactors are being built while something like 37 are no longer in use.
We might look at that and say that not many people are excited with your idea.
When the power went out across California, people went insane. They demanded government do whatever it had to, to keep the lights on again.

If the government of California had said to the public, the only way to do that is to open some nuclear power plants, they would have opened some nuclear power plants.

We've seen where your ideology leads. Venezuela had the most green power grid in the world, and they had nation wide power outages, some that last days or months.

Our public will embrace nuclear power, when the time comes. I guarantee it. No question in my mind.

Anyone who denies that, is just a science denier, that wants to go back to living in caves. As soon as that generation of incompetence dies off, we'll have nuclear power.


Thankfully not everyone is so backward thinking.
Lol good for you rah rah rah.
You seem oblivious to the fact, that support for nuclear power has dramatically grown already.

Screenshot_2020-05-18 Bisconti-image-1_0 png webp (WEBP Image, 669 × 410 pixels).png


Already, the support for nuclear power is overwhelmingly in favor.

Screenshot_2020-05-18 Bisconti-image-4 png webp (WEBP Image, 662 × 394 pixels).png


Even more telling, is that people who live near nuclear power plants, actually have a higher favorable view of nuclear power, than the people who do not live near nuclear power plants.

Your ideology is already losing this battle. It's just a matter of time now.
 

JoeB131

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Yeah, because they didn't. That's BS crap by politicians to dupe the stupid, so they can avoid blame for their screw ups.
Did you miss the part where Enron caused blackouts to jack up prices? Gramdma Millie sitting in the dark the Enron guys would chuckle... The rest of us remember that.
 

Andylusion

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Yeah, because they didn't. That's BS crap by politicians to dupe the stupid, so they can avoid blame for their screw ups.
Did you miss the part where Enron caused blackouts to jack up prices? Gramdma Millie sitting in the dark the Enron guys would chuckle... The rest of us remember that.
Sorry, you can repeat unsupportable lies all you want, but you are still just repeating lies.

Enron did not cause the problems in California. That BS crap, made up by politicians to dupe stupid people into blaming someone else.

You can repeat that garbage as many times as you want, but you can't support it, or prove it, because it's not true. You cite others that claim it's true, but you can't actually provide direct evidence that it is true.

Even the public utilities of California, did not blame Enron. Only the blame shifting politicians did.

And here's the other side of this... Hey sparky... how did Enron even get control of the only source of energy in California?

Because of California's government. They shut down all their coal burning power plants, making Natural Gas the only source of energy.

They locked down the building of new gas pipelines from alternative suppliers. They could have had pipelines for natural gas going to Canada even, or elsewhere. Instead only (if I remember right) three pipelines coming from Texas.

So it's still the California governments fault.

If you deny that, then you are just denying reality, to live in your socialist bubble of stupidity. Just another duped loser left-winger, blindly following the elites in power, that know you are too stupid to think for yourself.
 

JoeB131

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Sorry, you can repeat unsupportable lies all you want, but you are still just repeating lies.

Enron did not cause the problems in California. That BS crap, made up by politicians to dupe stupid people into blaming someone else.

You can repeat that garbage as many times as you want, but you can't support it, or prove it, because it's not true. You cite others that claim it's true, but you can't actually provide direct evidence that it is true.

Even the public utilities of California, did not blame Enron. Only the blame shifting politicians did.
Of course, they didn't blame Enron, they'd be admitting their own criminal culpability. But funny thing. Lay, Skilling and Fastow were all convicted...

And here's the other side of this... Hey sparky... how did Enron even get control of the only source of energy in California?

Because of California's government. They shut down all their coal burning power plants, making Natural Gas the only source of energy.
Um, yeah... California needed to control air quality... that's why they did that. Heellllllooooo. Remember when LA was covered in blankets of smog?

Point was, Enron abused the system, not government.
 

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