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PostPosted: Jun 16, 2013 5:49 am 
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KitemanSA wrote:
Lars wrote:
The issue really was killing fish larvae with the pumps so an arced fountain won't change that.
So they are sucking in and killing recently hatched eggs? Were the eggs there because of the warmer water?


The eggs are everywhere really, most of the water around California is really cold, but fish have this mindless reproductive strategy of spawning endless eggs, most don't hatch in the first place, and almost all those that do hatch get killed. The ocean's a heartless place to be living in.

Of course, anti-nukes don't mention that, they just mention all the fish larvae that get killed by the plant. A single fishing ship kills a lot more fish than the nuclear plant, yet the state of California hasn't prohibited fishing ships yet. If we wanted to save fish, taking a single fishing ship out of operation is just as effective as spending billions on plant upgrades (for the life of me, I can't imagine how you could spend 5000 million dollars on simple cooling towers, but that's another point).

A thorough life cycle analysis would consider the environmental impact of increased fossil fuel burning due to the lower efficiency of cooling towers. Apparently the situation in California is sufficiently deranged that a good debate on this is impossible.


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PostPosted: Jun 16, 2013 11:20 am 
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In essence we have a single party system here. Environmental concerns block new transmission lines, shutdown nuclear power plants, of course we have no coal plants in the state. We have decided to gradually phase out purchasing electricity from coal plants outside the state. Used to be even natural gas power plants were unpopular - until we got serious threats of black outs and built a whole bunch of them in a rush. I hope the voters figure out that there is a connection between policies that drive out the industry and an increase in unemployment.


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PostPosted: Jun 16, 2013 9:04 pm 
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The connection they will make is that industy is evil and it is better to be without them. Victory, we drove them out. No job? Sell pot.

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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 8:14 pm 
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The People's Republic of California will soon learn what happens when you drive baseload power out of your state.


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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 8:43 pm 
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I'm of two minds. FIrst, it's crazy for the nuclear industry to be designing and installing one-off steam generators into these monstrous, expensive plants. Mitsubishi made a multi-billion mistake with a software error that did not propertly model the fluid flow in the steam generator. In some sense, Mitsubishi and SoCal deserve their financial loss. We need smaller reactors with standardized designs and factory production. [from another source] Similarly the Crystal River Nuclear Plant commenced operations in 1977 at a build cost of $400 million. It was shut down in 2009 for refueling and for a 20% power uprating of the reactor’s electricity output through replacing the existing steam generators with larger ones. Taking in the new generators through the existing equipment hatch was not an option. A larger hole was made in the plant’s reinforced steel and concrete containment structure, but this caused part of the concrete to delaminate 10 inches into the 3 feet, 8” thick containment wall – right along the horizontal ribs. When this delamination was repaired and the concrete re-tensioned, similar cracks occurred in other sections of the containment wall. Subsequently, it was determined that all these delaminations were caused by workers applying more pressure as they cut through the containment wall than the reinforced concrete could handle. etc etc It's a total loss.

Second, the people of California are crazy. They will stop importing coal power? Vermont stopped buying power from Vermont Yankee nuclear power station; they buy it from the "grid". The grid buys it from Vermont Yankee. Sooner or later this crisis will be worse than Enron.


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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2013 8:45 pm 
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I would not hold my breath. This is same state that deregulated electric power and allowed the utilities to do their plant maintenance at the same time. The result was the governor got recalled and Arnold Schwarzenegger got elected.


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2013 12:06 am 
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Location: Orem, Utah, USA
There is a silver lining. Just a few companies moving from CA to Utah is keeping the unemployment rate here rather low and keeping my kids employed.


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2013 12:12 am 
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I have a theory about how regulated utilities work which explains the decision to close San Onofre aka SONGS.

Remember that essentially every time the cost of electricity goes up, the utilities are making more money. You can follow the money here. Closing SONGS is going to require making extensive capital investments to replace the lost capacity. Utilities make money by deploying capital assets. The CPUC guarantees an (extraordinary in these financial times) income of about 11% on capital asset deployments. The trick is to get the CPUC to agree that a particular investment is sensible/required. What better way to make new investments required than to be suffering a shortage of generation capacity? And, what better way to deploy even more assets than to deploy things that are intermittent and require backup assets to cover the times when they aren't working? You get to deploy twice as many new assets (on which you make 11% ROI) than the ones you closed down. Superb financial strategy!

When offered the question, "How much money would you like to invest at a guaranteed return of 11%/yr?" the answer is, "As much as you'll allow me, thank-you very much!"

Utilities are obligated to get their customers to reduce consumption of their product. In such an environment, how do you grow your business? Answer: increase prices. It turns out that utility executives and economic analysts are smarter than politicians and regulators. Look who has the larger financial incentive and can hire the most creative people.


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2013 11:24 am 
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chris.uhlik wrote:
I have a theory about how regulated utilities work which explains the decision to close San Onofre aka SONGS.

Remember that essentially every time the cost of electricity goes up, the utilities are making more money. You can follow the money here. Closing SONGS is going to require making extensive capital investments to replace the lost capacity. Utilities make money by deploying capital assets. The CPUC guarantees an (extraordinary in these financial times) income of about 11% on capital asset deployments. The trick is to get the CPUC to agree that a particular investment is sensible/required. What better way to make new investments required than to be suffering a shortage of generation capacity? And, what better way to deploy even more assets than to deploy things that are intermittent and require backup assets to cover the times when they aren't working? You get to deploy twice as many new assets (on which you make 11% ROI) than the ones you closed down. Superb financial strategy!

When offered the question, "How much money would you like to invest at a guaranteed return of 11%/yr?" the answer is, "As much as you'll allow me, thank-you very much!"

Utilities are obligated to get their customers to reduce consumption of their product. In such an environment, how do you grow your business? Answer: increase prices. It turns out that utility executives and economic analysts are smarter than politicians and regulators. Look who has the larger financial incentive and can hire the most creative people.


The general insight is right, but SDG&E/SoCalEd would benefit most from continued operation of SONGS, excluding extreme repairs. They're losing a lot more through lost capacity than they'll gain through higher rates.

SoCalEdison's capacity in the area excluding SONGS:

HYDRO - 847 MW (fixed)
OIL/GAS - 180 MW (flexible)
SOLAR - 13 MW (unreliable)

SDG&E:

OIL/GAS - 562 MW

Here are the real winners...

BEAR ENERGY (a unit of JP Morgan Chase, formerly Bear Sterns):
OIL/GAS - 3,313 MW

RELIANT ENERGY (now CenterPoint Energy Inc):
OIL/GAS - 3,119 MW

NRG ENERGY:
OIL/GAS - 1,895 MW

data from: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/powerplants/Power_Plants.xlsx

Eventually natural gas prices will rise, most likely once LNG export terminals are complete and we can sell at global prices. Maybe sooner if NG fracking wells decrease in price-productivity, but I wouldn't count on it. It probably makes more sense to build nuclear in Arizona or Nevada than anywhere else now, where they can sell to California at premium rates but enjoy a more favorable regulatory environment.


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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Mexico has a good history of running nuclear power plants.

If I were a government official in Mexico right now, I'd be favorably disposed towards a group of investors with a plan to put a pair of ocean cooled AP1000s somewhere between Tijuana and Ensenada, along with power lines to export that power across the border to San Diego.

I'd buy enough real estate to have room for an array of 8 reactors, but build two. If California energy prices threaten to get large enough to cause sufficient voter outrage that they might fix their problems, add another two reactors. Gas-fed electricity prices will stay high because gas in California will eventually be exported to Japan, where it's really valuable.

Lots of white collar jobs, lots of high-end blue collar jobs, job security for 60 years, $2B/year positive balance of payments, and cheap, dependable local power for new industry.


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PostPosted: Jun 25, 2013 7:39 pm 
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By using LFTRs they could make fresh water too, which is also quite valuable in that area.

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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2013 11:11 am 
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robert.hargraves wrote:
Similarly the Crystal River Nuclear Plant


From what I read this is actually one of the great management blunders of all time. I haven't gone back to the article but ...They needed to replace steam generators. There were 2 or 3 firms that had done this many times with no failures. The management of Progress decided they could do it cheaper themselves and hired an engineering contractor, that had never done it before, to plan the work. In turn, they hired a 3rd contractor to carry out the work. This was to cut the cost from, if I remember, from ~ $20M to ~ $15M.

They did not control the tension on the reinforcement properly when they cut into the containment. The needed repairs after the blunder were estimated at > $1B. So now they are junking the plant. Good decisions guys.


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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2013 11:14 am 
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iain wrote:
Mexico has a good history of running nuclear power plants.

If I were a government official in Mexico right now, I'd be favorably disposed towards a group of investors with a plan to put a pair of ocean cooled AP1000s somewhere between Tijuana and Ensenada, along with power lines to export that power across the border to San Diego.

I'd buy enough real estate to have room for an array of 8 reactors, but build two. If California energy prices threaten to get large enough to cause sufficient voter outrage that they might fix their problems, add another two reactors. Gas-fed electricity prices will stay high because gas in California will eventually be exported to Japan, where it's really valuable.

Lots of white collar jobs, lots of high-end blue collar jobs, job security for 60 years, $2B/year positive balance of payments, and cheap, dependable local power for new industry.


Drove past San Onofre last week on my way from visiting my wife's friends/relatives in SD to Catalina Island. It really is depressing. Actually our friends in SD do have concerns about SO shutting down. Anyway, your plan would be a fantastic one for Mexico.


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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2013 5:52 pm 
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If Mexico wasn't so corrupt I'll bet it would have been built by now. 2 billion is a lot to invest where the cartels cut peoples heads off.


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PostPosted: Jun 30, 2013 1:15 am 
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It was mentioned in another group that it was the Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) that kept the one SONGS reactor from restarting at 70% and was making them go out for public comment. And the NRC was unhappy with the ASLBs actions. I have not confirmed this.


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