Idaho nuclear power plant 'game changing' for Utah?

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  • uawolf1990 Huntsville, AL
    Aug. 30, 2018 5:20 p.m.

    @Missileer71, you weren't paying attention to your INRAD and ALARA training. Let me give you a recapitulation. 1) Alpha radiation (or alpha particles) are helium nuclei without their electrons (hence they are ionizing radiation). Unbroken human skin will block alpha radiation. 2) Beta radiation (or beta particles) are electrons (hence they are ionizing radiation) emitted as a result of radioactive decay. They are blocked by anything that will capture an electron (any anti-static poly-sheeting will do as will a few feet (as many as 12) of open air). 3) Gamma radiation .. yep, this guy is actually a wave (more or less in quantum mechanics terms). Gamma radiation is very penetrating and usually requires lead or concrete to stop it. That said, it doesn't carry a lot of energy so you have to be exposed to a lot and/or for a long time for it to really hurt you. 4) Neutron radiation ... tough to block. Usually use materials with a lot of hydrogen (like water or paraffin). In any event. none of them are the hysterically dangerous things you allude to.

  • Matt in MI Saline, MI
    Aug. 20, 2018 2:29 p.m.


    "The half life of nuclear radiation is not an exaggeration of mine, its and exaggeration of those who want to pretend that nuclear radiation is not hazardous for thousand of years."

    The two most important nuclides of concern for high level waste storage are Cs-137 with a half-life of about 30 years and Strontium-90 with a half-life of about 29 years.

    After those two decay, and if you remove the Pu-239 (it is fuel after all, so why not use it) what you're left with is less radioactive than the unburned Uranium you started with.

    That happens within about 1000 years.

    And although you seem to have rejected my first proposal to "check it out" here's another:

    Get a chart of the nuclides and a copy of Excel. Mathematically "split" 1,000,000,000 Uranium atoms and then, according to the laws of probability, find out what mixture of fission products remain, and their half-lives. Track those isotopes over time.

    After 1000 years, compare the activity of the pile of fission products to the activity of unburned Uranium.

    I've actually done this, which is how I know what I'm talking about.

    It's simple science.

  • Misseleer71 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 6:32 a.m.

    The half life of nuclear radiation is not an exaggeration of mine, its and exaggeration of those who want to pretend that nuclear radiation is not hazardous for thousand of years. Accumulative means every time you are exposed to nuclear or atomic radiation the exposure levels add to previous levels every time you are exposed. The accumulative amount of radiation anyone can receive I can't remember accurately but it is less than 500 roentgens then you cannot be allowed to be in proximity of any device that emits nuclear radiation.

    Every worker that is exposed to radiation has an assigned dosimeter they must wear every time they are in proximity of any radiation including that used in hospitals (x-ray, MRI, etc.), power plants, and dentist office are required by law to wear a dosimeter every day and measured monthly for accumulative affects.

    In my military service I worked in areas where we were trained and briefed and warned about the laws and regulations concerning radiation and it can penetrate 6 feet of concrete, 6-7 inches of lead, and the human body has a zero protection from Alpha, Beta, and gamma radiation. Alpha being particles at point of detonation or activation.

  • Karl Alex Pauls Liberty Lake, WA
    Aug. 16, 2018 9:12 a.m.

    I've been an environmentalist since the 90's but because of the terrible lack of progress I have finally come around to accept nuclear power. Today's reactors are millions of times more fuel efficient than any other generator and thousands of times more materials efficient than any renewable generator.

    It's been a long journey for me to challenge my irrational fears around nuclear waste. Despite having the perfect education to pursue a nuclear science degree I was too influenced by the propaganda of Ralph Nader to consider it a future energy source.

    Instead of listening to science fiction I urge everyone to look to science fact: NASA's James Hansen was the first scientist to tell Congress that we need to pay attention to our greenhouse emissions and now he's telling the world that we don't have time to fight GHG emissions without nuclear energy. The NuScale pilot project is incredibly important to help sustain America's nuclear generation since many states like California have a ban on new nuclear plants and are choosing to close their existing ones.

    Anyone with genuine questions about nuclear can find answers to them from a great volunteer org like Generation Atomic.

  • Matt in MI Saline, MI
    Aug. 16, 2018 5:46 a.m.


    "and 12,000 pages have been approved so far, Does anyone think those pages were actually read let alone approved?"

    If you ask google about "New Reactors Business Line Fee Estimates - NRC" you can find a nice little table which the NRC publishes to let prospective designers how much money they might need to spend to get a design certification.

    And if the NRC charges $34.6M to review a new design, they HAD BETTER read those pages.

    Furthermore, they issue these things called "RAI" or Requests for Additional Information.

    To me, that kind of shows they're reading, reviewing and thinking about the application.

    "less than a dollar"

    Within the past 20 years, natural gas has been about 6 times as expensive as today, and the average from 20 - 10 years ago is about 3 times more expensive. YMMV.

  • eigerjoe Sandy, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 5:13 p.m.

    Natural gas - yes. Solar, wind, coal - ok. Nukes - no! Nukes are a huge environmental disaster that will happen eventually.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 3:27 p.m.

    environmentalists love the science behind global warming but apparently have an issue with scientific advancements in nuclear power plant design. This seems to have great potential, I wonder if it will ever see the light of day.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 12:53 p.m.

    We live in 2018 not 1969. Technology of 1969 compared to 2018 is a light year leap. Nuclear power is the only power source that can produce the same wattage output of a coal plant minus all the coal emissions into the air. The technology of a 21 century nuclear power plant is light years ahead of its 1970 predecessors. It's like comparing the technology of a Saturn 5 rocket that first landed on the moon to our space vehicles today. The Saturn 5 computers fit into a large room and stored millions of bytes whereas today computers fit on a postage stamp and store trillions of bytes of data. Wind mills and solar are fine for small scale power for individual homes but for cities of 8 million people you would need a wind farm the size of the sun. In Nevada is Yucca Mountain which has been around since the late 1970's for the storage of nuclear waste. This incredible site has a safe-containment level of 10000 years. Yes we are ready for clean nuclear power. Way to lead the way Idaho!

  • Doug10 Roosevelt, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 12:11 p.m.

    changing natural gas prices?

    contracts can be bought to hedge those prices and for the past decade the price has fluctuated by less than a dollar for a thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

    supply is resplendent. If gas companies stopped drilling today there is enough natural gas in reserves to last another 90 years. And for some reason the gas and oil companies are not going to stop drilling.

    Economically more viable than nuclear big or small please explain why the nuclear?

    and 12,000 pages have been approved so far, Does anyone think those pages were actually read let alone approved?

    seems another hurry up and lets get this going.

    Lets fix real problems

    water shortages
    air pollution in Salt Lake Valley
    pond scum on Utah Lake (I mean really folks)
    high cost of health care

    lots of real world problems without looking under nuclear reactor rocks

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:37 a.m.

    Nobody can be serious about green energy without supporting nuclear power.

    We certainly need increased funding for fusion power generation. But until we get that working, fission provides abundent, safe energy with very small amounts of waste, and none of that discharged into the environment.

    Why is it when a bullet train crashes with massive fatalities, mass transit supporters are quick to tell us how statistically safe mass transit is. But when a rare problem at a nuclear power plant hits, these same folks ignore data and science, instead making emotional appeals to ancedotal occurances.

    Thousands die every year world wide mining coal. In most cases the environmentalists tell us tens of thousands more die from polluted air.

    Chernobyle and Fukishima combined have caused fewer total deaths than one year of coal.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:36 a.m.


    "Fukushima ? It's polluting the entire planet."

    Really? The ENTIRE planet?

    Fukushima is polluting the entire planet like sprinkling a teaspoon of sand over a baseball field pollutes the baseball field.

  • MikeVike66 St. George, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:28 a.m.

    I agree that nuclear is the only rational clean energy. I wish we were more like the Europeans (in this respect), that have been using nuclear for decades. Very safe the way they are built and run.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:56 a.m.

    @Strom "Too much hysteria around nuclear power."

    Fukushima ? It's polluting the entire planet. I wish with all my heart nuclear was the solution, but it just isn't.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:35 a.m.

    As long as the nuclear waste is stored in San Juan County, Utah - I'm all for it.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:27 a.m.


    "So the advantage here is the small modular design that can produce small amounts of energy. How is this any different that small wind power projects (e.g., Spanish Fork) or solar plants with batteries? "

    They actually produce rational amounts of energy.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:23 a.m.

    Too much hysteria around nuclear power.

    Safety events are rarer than at other types (especially when you account for mining injuries).

    It is the only rational clean energy source.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 9:15 a.m.

    Excellent. Wind, Solar, and Nuclear are the future. We will continue to rely on natural gas while we make the transition. Coal is dead or dying. Sorry.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 15, 2018 9:13 a.m.


    Depleted uranium can't be used to build a nuclear weapon. Even before it's used, the purity is not high enough to cause an explosive chain reaction. Uranium has to be enriched before it can be used in a weapon (hence the term "weapons grade").

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:55 a.m.


    "how many centuries will it be toxic"

    About 7. It turns out that the stuff that is really radioactive is the stuff that has a 30 year half life. The stuff with half lives of 1000's or millions of years isn't toxic.

    "nuclear waste will remain securely contained and impervious to earthquakes, underground water, and terrorists?"

    Egyptians successfully stored wheat in clay pots for more than 1000 years in pyramids.

    A spent fuel cask is significantly more robust than a clay pot.

    That covers "earthquakes and water."

    Terrorists will have much better targets than spent nuclear fuel. Just imagine the resources needed to get access to, transport, and then open a spent fuel cask without killing yourself. Now imagine they used those resources to actually harm people instead of tilting at windmills.

    Frankly, I'd rather have them tilting at windmills. Safer for everybody.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:30 a.m.


    "Clean natural gas power plants produce power at half the cost of a nuke power plant '

    Not half of NuScale. Maybe 25% cheaper.

    Until of course a carbon tax is instituted.

    What do you think the chances are that a carbon tax is instituted in the next 60 years?

    And then there's price volatility. Natural gas prices are far more variable. It just makes sense to have a portfolio that is diverse. That way you're not crushed by demand or supply changes in one fuel type.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:14 a.m.


    "we are talking about thousands of roentgens of continuous nuclear radiation for at least 5,000 years in a mass of land the size of Idaho for each power plant melt down"

    This is exaggeration by about 5 orders of magnitude on the radiation level, and 2 orders of magnitude on the time.

    As it so happens, at a location very near to where the proposed NuScale plant is to be built, there's a site that had a very bad nuclear accident in early 1961. They literally blew the top off of the reactor due to an uncontrolled criticality, killing all three people who were working there that night.

    You can look at the location now in google maps, 43.518859N, 112.822864W. People drive by on highway 20 all of the time, about 1/2 mile from the site, getting no radiation exposure.

    But don't believe me. It's less than a 5 hour drive from your house. Go take a radiation meter and drive to the gate. It's a public road, and in a quick stop you can verify the truth of my words.

  • Utejb Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 6:45 a.m.

    Where will the nuclear waste be stored and for how many centuries will it be toxic? How will we ensure that centuries from now, toxic nuclear waste will remain securely contained and impervious to earthquakes, underground water, and terrorists? Until these questions are satisfactorily answered, nuclear energy is a bad idea. I am continually amazed at nuclear advocates’ ability to gloss over the fact that nuclear energy is a short-term solution that irrevocably spoils the nest in which we live.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 5:56 a.m.

    I happen to like CO2, but greens do not and think it causes warming. However even some big time environmentalists are beginning to realize belatedly that wind and solar won't cut it. They are not cost effective.

    Hydropower is fine and should be pursued.

    The best option now is the small nuclear power station. It has a nice advantage in that it can be transported by truck I believe. If only the uranium will hold out.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 5:49 a.m.

    Clean natural gas power plants produce power at half the cost of a nuke power plant with no radio active issues.

    So what is the point of creating a potential nuke mess for double priced power?

  • Misseleer71 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 3:45 a.m.

    I do not like nuclear power plants because of the remotest of chances that they have a melt down is more dangerous that breaking dams and hydro electric production. Nuclear failure turns millions of acres of land into 5,000 year half life that this land cannot be used or lived on our even grow basic food.

    Controlled by non human electronic devices, electronic failure is probable and we cannot trust future of this country and absolute chaos in a single failure of a single plant.

    When we have nuclear failure we are not talking about a few dozen roentgens of nuclear exposure like Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan, we are talking about thousands of roentgens of continuous nuclear radiation for at least 5,000 years in a mass of land the size of Idaho for each power plant melt down. Russia can testify to the seriousness of nuclear meltdown on a small nuclear failure does to a large land mass for hundreds of miles from the blast site. Russian workers also knew the risk and hazards of a nuclear power plant and most are now dead. So do we want to risk millions of square miles of US territory for cheap(?) electricity? Lost lives is inconceivable high.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 2:59 a.m.

    This is a great step forward. Clean carbon free power, Too bad we are still looking at almost six years before it starts producing, and that's assuming it doesn't get further delayed by frivolous lawsuits.

    The editorial page is full of letters calling for the end of fossil fuels, well these plants are the big step towards that goal.

  • utahute69 Laguna Niguel, CA
    Aug. 15, 2018 2:31 a.m.

    The environmentalist will argue against this plan based on the potential of contaminating underground water sources and the fact that there is no containment structure. But it sounds like a great plan for future development particularly when there is no large water requirements. Also, Arco has been in the business of nuclear research almost from the beginning. I can't think of better place for a test reactor.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 1:47 a.m.

    Carbon emissions vs. nuclear waste. Interesting comparison. I don't know that solar energy or wind or geothermal have much if any in the way the same problems as oil and gas and nuclear do.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 1:14 a.m.

    EVERY and I mean every source of energy has it's detractors. Assuming we don't want to go back to living as we did in the 1800's we need to push past the opposition.

    The latest was the Indians opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. I noticed though they showed up to the protests in cars and RV's which of course all use fuel that comes from oil.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 8:29 p.m.

    Hydro power plants are the most effective source of energy. Hoover dam for one. But there has been a lot of dans being demolished. How remembers Idaho's melt down,

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 14, 2018 7:31 p.m.

    There will be some who oppose this no matter what, but it has potential to be the most environmentally clean and economical and efficient of all forms of energy. This a very good step forward in meeting our energy demands.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 7:24 p.m.

    I'm skeptical.

    So the advantage here is the small modular design that can produce small amounts of energy. How is this any different that small wind power projects (e.g., Spanish Fork) or solar plants with batteries? Renewables have zero nuclear waste and less risk.

    Nuclear proponents don't talk about disposal of waste. Note that if Yucca Mountain is ever approved, all that waste will be railroaded through the Wasatch Front, through Ogden and Salt Lake City -- literally a couple of blocks away from the Temple. I seriously doubt if Utah citizens and the LDS Church saw that nuclear waste were to be shipped from Idaho (and across the nation) through Utah, it would approve.

    Image one terrorist attack or an accident of a nuclear waste spill near the sacred grounds of Temples, refineries, or Utah tourist sights. It would devastate the state's economy and panic would ensue.

    Renewables with battery storage is the future. What's sad is that UAMPS only has this option on the table, so it can't compare with a storage project. Select this, and UAMPS is then stuck with it for 60-plus years -- along with the waste security/terrorist risks and maintenance.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 6:48 p.m.

    "Many countries don't need a power plant that produces 2,000 megawatts of energy, so the smaller modular nuclear reactors provide smaller-scale options, he said."

    One of the many downsides to the current centrally-sourced, wide-distribution model is the fragility built into that kind of "all-the-eggs-in-one-basket" vulnerability. There is a good reason that fears of someone "hacking the grid" are so high on the worry list of the national security folks.

    If we could develop an energy system modeled on these smaller, more widely distributed sources of carbon-free nuclear power, especially ones that are inherently more robust and safe than the current nuclear power systems using designs from 60 years ago, such as the ones discussed here and several other more modern designs not mentioned, it would go a long way toward solving, or at least alleviating, all sorts of problems.