Guest opinion: How Utah is pioneering a future with clean nuclear energy

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  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Sept. 5, 2018 3:01 p.m.

    @Red Smith:

    Actually, NuScale is targeting $0.09/kwh total costs.

    While slightly more expensive than natural gas, if there's ever a tax on CO2 emissions, nuclear wins easily.

    And if the license gets extended, after the plant is paid for, then the cost to make electricity goes down to about $0.03/kwh production costs.

    And although solar is cheaper, there's need on the grid for sources that don't go away at night when the wind is calm. If you add in some sort of storage system to allow solar to fill that niche, the price rises substantially.

    Oh, and nuclear power's land use is much lower. This might not be much of an advantage in some areas, but a huge advantage in others.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Sept. 5, 2018 5:24 a.m.

    Nuke power costs 14 cents per kilowatt to make.
    Natural gas power costs 7 cents per killowatt to make.
    Solar over time costs 4 to 6 cents per killowatt to make.

    Nuke power is out dated and dangerous.

  • 8 in a row! Ogden, UT
    Sept. 2, 2018 8:53 p.m.

    Another engineer’s off the cuff opinion here:

    (1) all these different sources of electrical energy definitely have their place and beneficial use.

    (2) nuclear energy is the most subsidized ever in terms of real and future costs. See Japan’s recent nuclear meltdowns - no one ever talks about the true cost of that disater. No one wants to take the spent nuclear fuel rods/waste. The federal government can’t decide who’s back yard to put store them.

    (3) Utah is earthquake country with limited and small water resources. When a river is dammed or diverted there is no water to prevent nuclear meltdowns. See quake lake near Yellowstone (1960’s). See 1983 Thistle landslide.

    (4) contingencies, 3-5 deep, perhaps even more, have to be put in place to handle worst case senerio so that the cooling water is not interrupted.

    p.s. all manufacturing, mining and algriculture processes have ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ byproducts. It’s there job to maximize and minimize said byproducts. If nuclear energy producers were forced to store the undesirable byproducts in their own back yard that would be just wonderful.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2018 1:57 p.m.

    GaryO - Virginia Beach, VA

    "Are you joking? Nuclear reactors produce deadly, poisonous, radioactive toxins that remain lethal for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years."

    That's living in 1960's. Current nuclear technology negates those claims. Considering the damage to the environment by producing and disposing of lithium-cobalt batteries for electric vehicles and solar panels, nuclear power is very competitive.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 1, 2018 4:12 p.m.

    Hey Utah engineer -

    Re: "Nice hearing from the ludites!"

    You must be projecting again.

    You luddites are the ones who SHUN truly clean, non-polluting renewable energy sources.

    Why do you want to burden your own descendants with humanity-killing nuclear waste?

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Sept. 1, 2018 11:48 a.m.

    This past Monday, the Wall Street Journal (p. B4) had an extensive article about a South Carolina nuclear plant under construction that is -- wait for it -- way over budget and way behind in construction. The main investor has abandoned the project and the utility is asking rate payers for another increase in electricity rates to shoulder its $4.7 billion of expected finishing costs. Note that not one kilowatt of energy has been produced by this plant, but the facility requires massive government bailouts and ratepayer over-payments -- upfront -- before the switch is flipped.

    This is in addition to a Georgia nuclear plant that encountered massive cost overruns and the government subsidies just couldn't keep up with it, which led to bankruptcy of Westinghouse.

    The economics of nuclear are just not there. Yes, climate change is a problem, but we don't need TWO problems of climate and ridiculous outmoded technology that saddles both taxpayers or ratepayers (yes, they are the same people!) with nuclear builders' follies.

    Nukes had their day. And we're now stuck with subsidized nuke waste for time and eternity.

    Renewables and battery storage is the path forward.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2018 9:43 a.m.

    Nuclear power is just too darned expensive to compete with other forms of energy production.

    Mexico is producing large scale solar power for around 2 cents per kilowatt hour! Natural gas is in the range of 7 to 10 cents, and nuclear comes in at a whopping 15cents!

    Once we develop storage systems for solar electricity, its "game over" for coal, and nuclear!

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Sept. 1, 2018 8:50 a.m.

    A few decades ago Liberals/hippies protested building Nuclear power plants.

  • Swiss Price, UT
    Aug. 31, 2018 3:51 p.m.

    When UAMPS has clean electricity and the Wasatch Front doesnt the lemmings will have to move off the Wasatch Front.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Aug. 31, 2018 3:48 p.m.

    "...we haven’t been building many new nuclear power plants in recent years due to several factors, including relatively flat electricity demand, the high cost and long construction timelines for large nuclear plant designs, and the increasing availability of low-price natural gas."

    ... and this is the problem. Low cost/low risk alternatives exist right now to these plants. I don't disagree that they have a place in the portfolio of sources we have. New nuke should be developed. There is a lot of promise in the new pebbles designs. BUT, we can't ignore the fact that building these is a legacy project, and you don't just decommission one of these by razing them like they are doing with Coal right now. Making them easier to build only solves one of the many reasons why Nuke is struggling.

    You have to start somewhere, and if Utah wants to be that first to go... go for it. Especially since all the environmental risk will be born by Idaho. I am dubious but hopeful.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Aug. 31, 2018 3:50 p.m.

    "...we haven’t been building many new nuclear power plants in recent years due to several factors, including relatively flat electricity demand, the high cost and long construction timelines for large nuclear plant designs, and the increasing availability of low-price natural gas."

    ... and this is the problem. Low cost/low risk alternatives exist right now to these plants. I don't disagree that they have a place in the portfolio of sources we have. New nuke should be developed. There is a lot of promise in the new pebbles designs. BUT, we can't ignore the fact that building these is a legacy project, and you don't just decommission one of these by razing them like they are doing with Coal right now. Making them easier to build only solves one of the many reasons why Nuke is struggling.

    You have to start somewhere, and if Utah wants to be that first to go... go for it. Especially since all the environmental risk will be born by Idaho. I am dubious but hopeful.

  • UtahEngineer Sandy, UT
    Aug. 31, 2018 2:41 p.m.

    Nice hearing from the ludites!

    In fact, with the looming menace of GLOBAL WARMING, any energy producing technology that has done yoman duty in preventing the release of massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, is and should be welcome in Utah.

    FACTs:
    America's ~100 nuclear reactors have prevented the release of over ONE BILLION TONS OF CO2. Along with that, they have also prevented the release of hundreds of millions of tons of other health robbing and environment destroying pollutants like NOX, SOx, and mercury, compared to that same amount of energy produced by burning coal.

    Rational energy analysis includes Nuclear as the primary way to produce our energy without brownouts, production plant shutdowns, and massive damage to our economy.

    Yes, wind and solar technology advances and economy gains are amazing, but the complete energy package must have Nuclear.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 31, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    Re: "Guest opinion: How Utah is pioneering a future with clean nuclear energy"

    Clean?!

    Are you joking? Nuclear reactors produce deadly, poisonous, radioactive toxins that remain lethal for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.

    And that is "clean energy" in Utahspeak?

    Sorry, but that claim is just too ridiculous for words to describe.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 31, 2018 11:05 a.m.

    Does the D-News take fees for these weekly pieces from the nuclear industry? Utah is known for our naivety. Any other state, and these "ideas" wouldn't see the light of day.