It has to be a fast crash, otherwise I see no reason why we couldn't shut down plants, let the fuel cool long enough to ship it "somewhere", and cut up the radioactive components for shipment to said dump. If the economy slowly declines at 3% per year then there's no reason to even discuss this... all the personnel, resources, time, etc. would be there to deal with the problem, prior to reverting to a primitive lifestyle. Am I missing something?
Yes. There are other people on this forum who are much better economists than I, but I reckon in a slow or fast crash the prices of fuel would increase due to PO demand shortages. All of the supporting industries become more and more expensive, cash leaves the housing sector as jobs are lost and commutes impossible. In a slow crash chances are you are still running your nukes and not decommissioning them as other energy becomes more expensive... eventually the crash worsens until you've hit the tipping point where there isn't enough cash in the economy to buy power, energy in the mining, fabrication and transportation sector, and fewer and fewer trained personnel showing up at work to keep the plants running. If it's a fast crash you just arrive at this problem sooner.
I assumed that at some point along the decline of oil, there would be a sort of threshold reached which would trigger a monetary crisis and global economic collapse, which would challenge the ability of the nuclear operator to even exist as a company. (That is pretty much the problem, right?)
It's hard to make that case with a low probability event.
I don't know how you arrive at this conclusion, as quite the opposite is true. It is quite probable that the US is facing a monetary crisis and economic collapse which will be brought on by peak oil. I suggest you read the economic threads. My supposition was assuming this was the scenario, what is the pro-nuke response.
I would guess that society was still operable at some level, and maybe the government (whatever it consists of at that point) would nationalize the power companies and fuel manufacturers, etc. The navy would likely train operators and other personnel through their existing programs, modified for civilian needs.
You forget that we would be operating post-crash low energy. How are you going to mine the uranium and fabricate the rods to feed the reactors, and all the other tasks I mentioned, in a low energy scenerio? Your plan doesn't address the fundamental issue - regardless of whether there is a functional government or the navy or whatever, where are you getting the energy to run the machines do all this?
If instead society opted to shut down the plants, I think we would have to just bite the bullet, lower our standards.
This does not help your case. How about we keep our standards high, don't build the new nukes at all put all the cash we'll save into something that will keep functioning in the low energy future and doesn't need a toxic fuel that could toxify our potato patches.
It's hard to make that case with a low probability event. I mean, I would say there may be an equal probability that someone would build an electric car that works and we would need a shitload of new baseload power (nuclear) for that. So, while fun to talk about, it's hard to make a good case either way.
You are admitting that there is a low probability that someone will build an electric car? Then how exactly do you think nuke is going to solve all our problems? If you think that it is a low probablity that alternative "replacement" technologies will be invented that are run by nuke why do we need it? If nuke won't solve our transportation issues then why are the pro-nukes recommending all these hundreds of plants? Besides, we disagree that a crash is a low probability event and once again you reveal that you have absolutely no clue as to the long-term implications of what you are advocating. It's not hard to make a case either way, your inept argument is making mine for me. A crash due to peak oil is inevitable and you pro-nukes have no plan how to deal with it - instead you advocate building more and letting God sort it out. Great.
As far as I can tell, it IS completely irresposnible and has no problem being completely irresponsible.
Ludi, it appears you are right here and what burns me is that these untenable positions are being bandied around this forum as if they were actually feasible. It would be funny if it didn't give people a sense that we can just 'plug and play'. But your next point is very chilling. I think you are right as well that they have "no problem being completely irresponsible" and are therefore completely untrustworthy. We've seen this time and again from the nuclear industry and is the reason that thinking people everywhere should take a very hard and skeptical view when considering what nuke advocates and employees like gt1370a say about the industry.