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THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby sparky » Mon 24 Aug 2020, 22:20:46

.during a presidential election year , until the nomination , all the rhetoric is to appeal to the hard core membership
those people are invested in the party and support policies which are often on the far side of the national consciousness

after the nomination , all the rhetoric is to appeal to the middle ,
those people are not enthused with partisan policies and somewhat skittish about militancy ,they want broad consensus
the hard core militants are kept at the back until election day , afterward they are completely ignored
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby REAL Green » Fri 28 Aug 2020, 06:40:38

“Bill Gates' nuclear venture plans reactor to complement solar, wind power boom”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN25N2U8

“A nuclear energy venture founded by Bill Gates said Thursday it hopes to build small advanced nuclear power stations that can store electricity to supplement grids increasingly supplied by intermittent sources like solar and wind power…The 345-megawatt plants would be cooled by liquid sodium and cost about $1 billion each. Nuclear power is a top source of virtually emissions-free electricity, but many plants are shutting in the United States because of high costs and competition from solar and wind. Critics of advanced nuclear have also warned that smaller nuclear is even more expensive than conventional. The new plants, however, are designed to complement a renewable power because they will store the reactor power in tanks of molten salt during days when the grid is well supplied. The nuclear power could be used later when solar and wind power are low due to weather conditions. Molten salt power storage has been used at thermal solar plants in the past, but leaks have plagued some of the projects. Levesque said the Natrium design would provide more consistent temperatures than a solar plant, resulting in less wear and tear.”
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Fri 28 Aug 2020, 10:59:33

REAL Green wrote:“Bill Gates' nuclear venture plans reactor to complement solar, wind power boom”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN25N2U8

“A nuclear energy venture founded by Bill Gates said Thursday it hopes to build small advanced nuclear power stations that can store electricity to supplement grids increasingly supplied by intermittent sources like solar and wind power…The 345-megawatt plants would be cooled by liquid sodium and cost about $1 billion each. Nuclear power is a top source of virtually emissions-free electricity, but many plants are shutting in the United States because of high costs and competition from solar and wind. Critics of advanced nuclear have also warned that smaller nuclear is even more expensive than conventional. The new plants, however, are designed to complement a renewable power because they will store the reactor power in tanks of molten salt during days when the grid is well supplied. The nuclear power could be used later when solar and wind power are low due to weather conditions. Molten salt power storage has been used at thermal solar plants in the past, but leaks have plagued some of the projects. Levesque said the Natrium design would provide more consistent temperatures than a solar plant, resulting in less wear and tear.”


Looks like someone is smelling the coffee. But 345 MW class reactors for a billion does not appear to fit the economics. Building 1.2 GW plants makes more sense to replace existing coal plants and gas plants that will not have cheap gas for decades to come. Downsizing nuclear reactors and spreading them all over the place does not make them friendlier or safer.

Alt energy is lost in the wilderness of hype and unrealistic expectations. In its current form it dumps variable power supply onto a large grid maintained by coal, gas and nuclear with stable base-load. Take alt energy poster boy Denmark and its wind mills. Denmark actually exports its power onto the EU grid and then imports back (!) stable power. If it was such a big success at replacing stable load old power than it would not need to do this.

For some reason alt energy is not even trying to transition to a fuel carrier regime, which is the only thing that makes sense for variable power that does not deliver during peak loads. All those wind mills and solar panels should be used to create NH3 or even H2 for use when needed. Replacing fossil fuels for transport would be the ideal. Instead we have the most primitive approach and that is to leverage the existing old grid power as a way to hide the variability.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 28 Aug 2020, 12:37:50

I don't see the point of using a nuclear plant, large or small, to store energy in tanks of molten salt. Why not use the windmills and solar panels to store their excess energy in the salt and use the nuclear plants to provide base load flywheel stabilizing energy to the grid.
It has been known for quite a while the intermittent power becomes a problem once it becomes more then about fifteen percent of the supply. Denmark's export -re import program is one attempt to manage that problem. Large batteries at substations is another possibility being developed. I think storage in a large fleet of EVs hooked to smart two way chargers will also be developed once enough EVs are on the road.
It is a problem but not one without viable solutions but what needs to be done or coordinated is building out the solutions at the same pace as the renewable wind and solar are brought on line. I doubt a possible Biden administration has that one well in hand.
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Re: THE Nuclear Waste Thread (merged)

Unread postby REAL Green » Wed 30 Sep 2020, 06:02:50

“South Korean-Built Mini Nuclear Reactors That "Won't Melt Down" Approved For US”
https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/so ... pproved-us

“Now for the first time South Korean-built key nuclear components will be used in the United States as part of efforts to introduced further safeguards at US facilities. The cutting edge new 'miniature' design was previously described in Forbes as a reactor that "doesn’t need the complex back-up power systems that traditional reactors require" and which "won’t melt down or otherwise cause any of the nightmares people think about when imagining the worse for nuclear power." Nikkei Asian Review reports this week that "Miniature nuclear reactors that use key components from South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction have won first-of-its-kind certification for use in the U.S…Nikkei describes what's slated to be a 12-module plant: Each SMR unit is capable of producing 50 megawatts of power, or about 5% that of a conventional reactor. An SMR is considered a safer alternative since it can be cooled in a water tank, cutting out the risk of an accident due to problems with water pumps or the electrical source. Doosan's SMRs are designed to be placed in underground water tanks. There is only a minor risk of reactors losing cooling capabilities due to earthquakes or other external factors…As a 'faster' and 'cheaper' to install - but purportedly safer - reactor design, it could as Nikkie underscores, be "a promising antidote to the trend away from nuclear power in Western countries." The US Department of Energy deems Small Modular Reactors as "a key part of the Department’s goal to develop safe, clean, and affordable nuclear power options,"
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 02 Nov 2020, 08:51:43

Bill Gates is backing nuclear powered commercial ships.

I would feel better about this if his software didn't crash and ships didn't run into reefs and each other and such.

https://gcaptain.com/bill-gates-nuclear-ship-battery/

Maybe they consider the ocean a “water tank.”
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 02 Nov 2020, 09:56:15

Newfie wrote:Bill Gates is backing nuclear powered commercial ships.

I would feel better about this if his software didn't crash and ships didn't run into reefs and each other and such.

https://gcaptain.com/bill-gates-nuclear-ship-battery/

Maybe they consider the ocean a “water tank.”

I would see that as an acceptable risk compared to continuing to spew bunker fuel emissions into the air. The navy has a lot of experience with nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines and the Russians are now building aircraft carrier sized nuclear powered ice breakers. For one thing they always have cooling water close at hand.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Fri 06 Nov 2020, 18:40:21

Molten metal unpressurized fast neutron reactors are the prime choice for shipping. Keep the reactors running in port at all times and the issue of them naturally freezing solid will not be a problem. And that is their key advantage, during any crisis they just wind down and the coolant (e.g. lead-bismuth) solidifies. Using pressurized water reactors is always prone to have meltdown situations like at Fukushima since pressurized water is just too volatile for a safe coolant. The fast neutron reactors have passive cooling that no water cooled reactor could dream of.

If the concern is all the reactors littering the sea floor from all the deep sea, unrecoverable shipwrecks, then it is not such big of a deal. The reactors will become part of the sea floor over time. They will not dissolve into the ocean water.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby diemos » Sun 08 Nov 2020, 20:51:59

dissident wrote:They will not dissolve into the ocean water.


The ocean already has a 3 parts per billion of natural uranium dissolved in it, which is its equilibrium concentration. Dumping reactors into it will not change that.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby eclipse » Mon 21 Dec 2020, 22:12:49

dissident wrote:Molten metal unpressurized fast neutron reactors are the prime choice for shipping. Keep the reactors running in port at all times and the issue of them naturally freezing solid will not be a problem. And that is their key advantage, during any crisis they just wind down and the coolant (e.g. lead-bismuth) solidifies. Using pressurized water reactors is always prone to have meltdown situations like at Fukushima since pressurized water is just too volatile for a safe coolant. The fast neutron reactors have passive cooling that no water cooled reactor could dream of.

If the concern is all the reactors littering the sea floor from all the deep sea, unrecoverable shipwrecks, then it is not such big of a deal. The reactors will become part of the sea floor over time. They will not dissolve into the ocean water.


Good points. There's the Thorcon model of ultra cheap molten salt boat reactors that are floated into harbour, power that city for 10 years, and then are dragged away for decommissioning and recycling. When I first heard of that model I thought it was nuts. Like, how can that be competitive to reactors that last 80+ years? But it seems to be in the boatyard block construction, like an assembly line for boats. So many out so cheap and then recycled so easily apparently = cheap. I'm no engineer so I can't model that, but that's the claim.

Also, on nuclear powered boats to replace diesel? Once we have a clean renewable + nuclear grid and shut down fossil fuel use, 40% of world shipping disappears. That's only 60% of boats to replace or refit. Then there's the fact that nuclear powered boats are 50% faster. A 3 week trip just went down to 2 weeks, and so the same boats can be used more frequently. That also reduces the number of boats required - getting more money in per boat lifetime and possibly paying the difference if nuclear shipping costs more.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby eclipse » Fri 01 Jan 2021, 22:07:02

Help! My opinion seems to be changing and I don't like it! I'm a fan of nuclear power for Australia, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. Not because of any over-hyped problems with nuclear - but because of how cheap Wind and Solar Plants (WASPS) are becoming.

100% renewable papers used to assume all this extra electricity storage from pumped hydro acting as big 'batteries'. But on-river pumped hydro is already over-used, doesn't have enough estimated resource to backup today's grids, and has serious ecological concerns with these dams destroying our last fisheries and intact ecosystems. Mark Jacobson infamously over-assumed the amount of on-river pumped hydro capacity in America by 100 fold! America's National Academy of Sciences spanked him for it! https://www.pnas.org/content/114/26/6722.full
Shellenberger had a real rant about Jacobson's lies. https://tinyurl.com/y3mq8fqh

BUT WHAT ABOUT OFF-RIVER PUMPED HYDRO 'BATTERIES'?
But what if we look at ANY hilly areas that might have the topography to run a pumped hydro dam - but are just not on a river? We can build the dam anyway. We could pump the water in from a nearby river. We could cover the dam in plastic to reduce evaporation by 90% and sometimes allow local rainfall to top up the dam. This increases the world's potential pumped-hydro several orders of magnitude. Indeed, satellite mapping for these sites has come up with 300 TIMES the grid storage required to take Australia 100% renewable. The cost? Pumped hydro = 1 GW storage capacity for 14 hours at $1.8 billion. https://tinyurl.com/yddkfp7r The global study concluded there was 100 TIMES the required topography - although had the huge disclaimer that this was from satellite data and while they had excluded urban areas, had not checked the other areas for land tenure and local environmental concerns. But even if you rule out 90% of the sites, there's still TEN TIMES the available resource if you want to develop it. http://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/global/index.php

Now, the punchline. Does the lower costs of WASPS + high availability of off-river pumped hydro sites mean we finally have an understanding of what a WASPS grid might look like? We have to build enough WASPS to both run the country and pump all that water uphill everyday for the night time grid. What happens in Northern Europe and America where ponds and dams freeze during winter? Would they build nukes, or import power from regions that don't freeze? But down here in Australia our dams don't freeze. So are WASPS so cheap now that we could really do it, and go mostly renewable? This paper from the CSIRO seems to say so - at least 90% renewable here in Australia. https://tinyurl.com/y8dyaxkg
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 01 Jan 2021, 22:39:51

eclipse wrote:Help! My opinion seems to be changing and I don't like it! I'm a fan of nuclear power for Australia, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. Not because of any over-hyped problems with nuclear - but because of how cheap Wind and Solar Plants (WASPS) are becoming.

100% renewable papers used to assume all this extra electricity storage from pumped hydro acting as big 'batteries'. But on-river pumped hydro is already over-used, doesn't have enough estimated resource to backup today's grids, and has serious ecological concerns with these dams destroying our last fisheries and intact ecosystems. Mark Jacobson infamously over-assumed the amount of on-river pumped hydro capacity in America by 100 fold! America's National Academy of Sciences spanked him for it! https://www.pnas.org/content/114/26/6722.full
Shellenberger had a real rant about Jacobson's lies. https://tinyurl.com/y3mq8fqh

BUT WHAT ABOUT OFF-RIVER PUMPED HYDRO 'BATTERIES'?
But what if we look at ANY hilly areas that might have the topography to run a pumped hydro dam - but are just not on a river? We can build the dam anyway. We could pump the water in from a nearby river. We could cover the dam in plastic to reduce evaporation by 90% and sometimes allow local rainfall to top up the dam. This increases the world's potential pumped-hydro several orders of magnitude. Indeed, satellite mapping for these sites has come up with 300 TIMES the grid storage required to take Australia 100% renewable. The cost? Pumped hydro = 1 GW storage capacity for 14 hours at $1.8 billion. https://tinyurl.com/yddkfp7r The global study concluded there was 100 TIMES the required topography - although had the huge disclaimer that this was from satellite data and while they had excluded urban areas, had not checked the other areas for land tenure and local environmental concerns. But even if you rule out 90% of the sites, there's still TEN TIMES the available resource if you want to develop it. http://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/global/index.php

Now, the punchline. Does the lower costs of WASPS + high availability of off-river pumped hydro sites mean we finally have an understanding of what a WASPS grid might look like? We have to build enough WASPS to both run the country and pump all that water uphill everyday for the night time grid. What happens in Northern Europe and America where ponds and dams freeze during winter? Would they build nukes, or import power from regions that don't freeze? But down here in Australia our dams don't freeze. So are WASPS so cheap now that we could really do it, and go mostly renewable? This paper from the CSIRO seems to say so - at least 90% renewable here in Australia. https://tinyurl.com/y8dyaxkg


So going by your numbers you can get 14 hours storage for 1GWe at 1.8 Billion dollars. For convenience say it takes you 10 hours to refill the reservoir so you can empty it once ever 24 hours time. You invest in 2 of these dams you could get 2GWe for 14 hours for 3.6 Billion dollars, or more likely 1 GWe for 24 hours with a 2 hour margin on the refill time. On the other hand you could invest that same cash into a 1.5 GWe fission power station that would run 24 hours a day and not need to be refilled 10 of every 24 hours.

That isn't even counting the costs of all the RE generation capacity needed to fill the reservoir for each 14/10 cycle. Also remember if the reservoir is only being filled in periods of excess capacity like noon on a day that is both sunny and windy but that same RE is being partnered with the draw down of the reservoir whenever it is cloudy, calm, or demand is spiking due to a weather event. The upshot being you are going to need a serious excess storage capacity just in case it is say January in Kentucky during a three day blizzard. The Solar PV are all blocked by snow and clouds during the short daylight period and the windmills are all shut in due to the high winds. In this scenario those folks in KY are going to be in trouble when the reservoir batteries run out because even after the blizzard passes it will take time for crews to clean off all the buried PV panels.

Enthusiasts usually get carried away doing their predictions based on ideal or moderate conditions, but in the real world you have to prepare for worst case conditions or real people will die and the law suits will multiply as a result.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby eclipse » Fri 01 Jan 2021, 23:49:24

I hear you! Wouldn't winter also freeze over many smallish local off-river hydro dams quicker than it freezes the big ones?

So 3.6 billion for a 1.5 GW nuke? Cool! That sounds like the figures Ed Pheil gave me for today's CAP1400 designs, let alone tomorrow's streamlined, super-efficient Molten Salt Reactors. But the problem is it requires a bulk build out for the economies of scale. I just cannot imagine that happening here in Australia in the current political climate where nukes are (sadly) ILLEGAL! Imagine that? There's no market argument for the technology if it's against the law!

Yeah but I really hear you! All that energy just pumping stupid water uphill all day because we can't trust nukes!
I'd feel much safer if we had say a half nuclear half renewable grid on the way - but Aussies hate nuclear. A few of us are trying to change that, but when they publish graphs like this and hand-wave away the costs of storage - Aussies are just going to lap it up.

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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby REAL Green » Sat 02 Jan 2021, 07:42:27

I doubt renewables will ever get long term and seasonal storage right. Renewables are going to struggle with the gathering appliances, grid upgrades, and short-term storage buildout which is mammoth and just getting meaningful. Then there is EV heavy transport and EV light transports needed infrastructure yet to be realized. We are talking lots of money and time all the while the civilization we know is in a wholistic decline for anyone honest with the many sciences that look at the planet and people. I am queasy about NUK power but let’s face it, NUK is really one of the few ready to apply sources that is out there that makes a good baseline power the grid is in need of with so much renewables scheduled to come online. The other strategy hardly ever discussed is managed degrowth of both production of things but also alternative lifestyles of less activity. Without these changes I doubt renewables can be what they could be.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Sat 02 Jan 2021, 12:45:18

At the end of the day a wind-down to modern consumerist excess is not negotiable. Unlike the imbecilic opinion of BAU reactionary politicians would have it.

Using gravity and water to store intermittent wind and solar power is limited by scale. Now you need to build storage reservoirs (vast amounts of concrete and steel) and deploy turbine generators (not cheap). The cost of solar and wind may be coming down, but not fast enough and the cost of these water reservoirs cannot be assumed without first building them. There is always sparkles in the eyes delusion as we see with geoengineering. The costs are pathologically underestimated and the impacts not even considered.

Even the H2 or NH3 storage option has not actually been commercially deployed so we do not know the economics.

A problem with nuclear power is the corruption associated with its deployment. The absurd costs of building new plants which have all the indicators of fraud, such substantial delays and cost overruns. This is true for western products and it is clear that this is not some natural cost of nuclear power.
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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Unread postby eclipse » Sat 02 Jan 2021, 20:11:20

dissident wrote:At the end of the day a wind-down to modern consumerist excess is not negotiable. Unlike the imbecilic opinion of BAU reactionary politicians would have it.

I disagree profoundly. I=PAT means our environmental IMPACT = Population * Affluence (Consumption) * Technology. Have too many Hunter Gatherers in an area, and you drive the Wooly Mammoth to extinction. But if you had modern people using modern farming techniques living a modern lifestyle with the RIGHT technology - and you might have saved the Mammoths in a National Park!

Basically I=PAT means Technology can be either a multiplier of harm or divider of harm. Compare city designs like car dependent suburbia that requires everyone drive cars everywhere on oil, or building New Urban Ecocities that house people on 10% of the land, don't require as many cars in the first place, and those vehicles that DO drive run on clean electrons from nukes and renewables. Compare feeding 10 billion people on Hunter Gatherer and you'd eat through every ecosystem on earth and then the global human race and resulting ecocide would crash the world into the worst Mad Max episode ever! But feed 10 billion on 3d seaweed & shellfish farms - a technology that could probably feed 100 billion people all the protein they need - and the ocean ecosystem is actually stimulated by all the extra seaweed. And some of that seaweed could be snipped off to sequester carbon at the bottom of the ocean for millennia to help solve ocean acidification and climate change! Then there's also low or zero till farming, insect burgers, and electric-food or 'ferming' that grows bacteria for protein from solar PV and water in a desert!
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Using gravity and water to store intermittent wind and solar power is limited by scale. Now you need to build storage reservoirs (vast amounts of concrete and steel)

Good locations will not need a big concrete bathtub - maybe a little earthmoving equipment to dig basically an oversized farm dam. The tunnels and turbines are costed. While as a fan of nuclear power I question the wisdom of trying to generate reliable power from renewables, I don't really question these authors on the cost of off-river pumped hydro dams.

The cost of solar and wind may be coming down, but not fast enough

Cheaper than coal already = WASPS are now the majority of new power coming online each year around the world.

and the cost of these water reservoirs cannot be assumed without first building them.

If we can't assume the average cost per reservoir with an old off the shelf technology - then we can't measure anything! They've studied the costs and they are considerable - I'd just build nukes that PRODUCED power instead of silly dams that only STORE power and require even more WASPS to charge them up each day. But the costs are known.

Indicative cost
Most of the costs of off-river and conventional (on-river) pumped hydro energy storage are similar. The main difference is that off-river pumped hydro energy storage uses relatively tiny and low-cost reservoirs that have a much larger head and do not require expensive flood control. Costs of off-river pumped hydro energy storage systems are relatively predictable because each off-river pumped hydro energy storage site looks much like another, whereas river valleys vary greatly. Power costs (pipe, pump, turbine, generator, transformer, control, transmission) comprise most of the costs and amount to around $800 per kilowatt for a good site. The energy cost (the reservoirs) amount to about $70 per kilowatt hour. Thus, the expected cost of a 1,000 megawatt pumped hydro energy storage system with a head of 600 m and 14 hours of storage is about $1.8 billion. https://tinyurl.com/yddkfp7r

There is always sparkles in the eyes delusion as we see with geoengineering. The costs are pathologically underestimated and the impacts not even considered.

They claim 100 TIMES the sites available worldwide to construct a WASP grid - 300 TIMES the potential in Australia. So run the strictest environmental studies, social justice concerns with indigenous peoples, what have you. You only have to select your best 1% of available sites to have enough storage.

A problem with nuclear power is the corruption associated with its deployment. The absurd costs of building new plants which have all the indicators of fraud, such substantial delays and cost overruns. This is true for western products and it is clear that this is not some natural cost of nuclear power.

AGREED! I'm so glad you put it that way! There have been legislative delays and various government interruptions to nuclear constructions with anti-nuclear activists alarming some politicians. There have been all kinds of terrible delays in the build outs - and anti-nukes (anties) often cherrypick the worst modern individual First-Of-A-Kind builds to back up Amory Lovins' claim that "Nuclear power has died of an acute attack of the marketplace!"

To which I think, market shmarket. I'm not convinced the electricity grid really is a market. Dr James Hansen's nuclear activist colleague Tom Blees makes a good argument that American States show that State government run grids are cheaper and more reliable than privatised grids. Enron anyone?
"Electricity is really different from everything else. It cannot be stored, it cannot be seen, and we cannot do without it… It is a public good that must be protected from private abuse."
S. David Freeman,
Chair of the California Power Authority 2001
P 281, Prescription for the Planet by Tom Blees - Free PDF here.
http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/pdfs/P4TP4U.pdf

Basically, if we want to build nukes we should standardise the best model and safety systems like a good CAP1400, and have the government just nationalise energy and whack those nukes on the production line like the French did in the 1970's Mesmer plan. At one stage they were building 15 nukes a year! Man that brought the price down!
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