I received a notice of a new MIT study entitled “The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World” which looks at the technological, regulatory and economic changes required to make nuclear power viable again. A summary states
The findings are that new policy models and cost-cutting technologies would help nuclear play vital role in climate solutions. Progress in reducing carbon emissions requires a broad range of actions to effectively leverage nuclear energy.
However, nothing in the summary reveals the paradigm-shattering innovation that will be required to make nuclear power competitive with a diverse fleet of renewables plus storage that would achieve the same goals. The cost of a solar plant plus storage with today’s technology still costs less than a current technology nuclear plant. That alternative fleet would also provide better reliability by diversifying the generation sources through smaller plants and avoid any radiation contamination risk.
The nuclear industry must clearly demonstrate that it can get past the many hurdles that led to the recent cancellation of two projects in the southeast U.S. Reviving nuclear power will require more than fantasies about what might be.
Alison Silverstein, who drafted the technical portions of the DOE grid study, says its summary and recommendations missed key points on grid reliability and resilience.
Source: Silverstein: If I’d written the DOE grid study recommendations | Utility Dive
The Vogtle nuclear power plant cost is projected to balloon to more than $12,000 per megawatt. In a study we did for the California Energy Commission in 2009, even at $4,000 per megawatt, nuclear power was uneconomic. This explains why nuclear power is not taken seriously as a solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Source: Vogtle nuke cost could top $25B as decision time looms | Utility Dive
GTM compiles the studies done over the last month in anticipation of the release of the study ordered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to examine how increased renewable energy threatens grid reliability.
Source: The Rising Tide of Evidence Against Blaming Wind and Solar for Grid Instability | Greentech Media
Germany reached 85% renewable of total energy production on April 30.
Source: Germany’s clean energy holiday weekend
Westinghouse has a long history, rivaling General Electric for decades. The two nuclear plants its constructing are overbudget and behind schedule (which was already nearly a decade to completion.) Hard to believe any firm will want to take on these risks in the future.
Reports: Nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric to file for bankruptcy next week | Utility Dive
Utilities are already preparing for potential fallout if the engineering firm overseeing construction of the Vogtle and VC Summer nuclear units goes under.
Source: Reports: Nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric to file for bankruptcy next week | Utility Dive