August 18, 2010

And here is how you do not do it - Canadian Nuclear Power

From The Energy Collective:
Is AECL down for the count?
Observers of the political turmoil now underway in Ontario over the media reports that AECL bid $26 billion to build two new ACR1000 reactors (2,220 MW) are in good company trying to make sense of these figures.

The news media, notably the Toronto Star, had a field day with the numbers sticking provincial politicians like they were morsels on a shish-ka-bob skewer. The problem with all the fire, smoke, and spit from the grill is that the numbers are undoubtedly wrong and wrongly reported in the news media.

First, $26 billion is an aggregate number that includes two reactors, turbines, transmission and distribution infrastructure (power lines or T&D), plant infrastructure, and nuclear fuel for 60 years as well as decommissioning costs. The most important number in the whole controversy has gone largely without notice and that is the delivered cost of electricity from the plants is in the range of five cents per kilowatt hour.
Emphasis mine -- yes, nuclear power is just that dirt cheap. Sure, $26Bn is a big scary number but when you take a look at the big picture, this is a pittance. AECL stands for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Fortunatly, there are cooler heads in Saskatchewan. From the Vancouver Sun:
Saskatchewan energy minister touts small nuclear reactors
The Saskatchewan government reiterated its position Monday that it hasn't closed the door to the nuclear energy option.

While large reactors might not be the best fit, said Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd, small-reactor technology could work well in Saskatchewan the world's second-largest producer of uranium.

"If there are export opportunities or emerging demand for electricity in the future, then we'll have to re-evaluate that, or perhaps look at small nuclear technology that can bring nuclear technology on in small increments," he said.

Speaking after a presentation at the Uranium 2010 conference an international conference discussing the element Boyd said he would like to see the province embrace nuclear energy technology. However, he added, the economics and demand base for a large reactor aren't yet at the level required to build in Saskatchewan.

"I'm pro-nuclear make no bones about it but it has to make economic sense," Boyd said.

Small reactor technology is still about five years away from being commercialized, said Jerry Grandey, CEO of Cameco Corp. Another decade or so, he added, would be required before any small reactor technology could be implemented in the province.

"To me, the 150- or 300-megawatt smaller reactors make eminent sense," Grandey said.
As for the smaller reactors, Toshiba has a nice design (their 4S) and Bill Gates is working with them to develop a new design. Here is a list of smaller reactors either in operation or under development. This is not new territory... Posted by DaveH at August 18, 2010 12:30 PM | TrackBack