Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

And thus the tragic legacy of Sam Randazzo and his push to keep Perry and Davis-Besse corruptly on line comes full circle. The biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history skates along the edge of an apocalypse made virtually certain by prolonging operations at two incredibly dangerous money sucking dinosaur nukes, and their 92 dying siblings around the US, 400+ worldwide.

We mourn Sam’s passing. We pray his corrupt atomic legacy does not kill the rest of us.

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Once again, China’s nuclear program barely added any capacity, only 1.2 GW, while wind and solar between them added about 278 GW. Even with the capacity factor difference, the nuclear additions only mean about 7 TWh of new low carbon generation per year, while wind and solar between them will contributed about 427 TWh annually, over 60 times as much low carbon electricity.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

This week I had an equivalent question from someone engaged by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The individual isn’t an industry insider and didn’t have a particular iron in the fire, but had been engaged to write a Bulletin piece on the perplexing enthusiasm small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) are seeing from an overlapping circle of advocates and firms.

This was, of course, in the week when NuScale inevitably imploded, a story I’ll return to as I unpack some of the motivations behind those thinking a bunch of lab technologies that have been around for decades that depend on uranium from Russia, that don’t have the physical characteristics for cheap nuclear generation and don’t have the conditions for success for nuclear generation will be the saviours of the nuclear industry and a key wedge in fighting climate change.

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The decommissioning costs for the UK’s nuclear generation are coming home to roost, and they are laying golden eggs for the firms that won the business. For UK citizens, not so much. Despite the very high costs of both the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Site C, the rapidly rising costs of clean up and the much cheaper alternatives available, the country’s current administration remains committed to the technology. Something is likely to give.
If there were no alternatives to nuclear generation, then this wouldn’t be a problem compared to global warming. But, of course, this is 2023 and there are proven, effective, efficient and reliable forms of low-carbon electrical generation that do compete with nuclear energy, wind and solar.

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Small modular nuclear reactor and hydrogen for energy proposals and trials are all zombie proposals sucking time, effort, and willpower away from the necessary decarbonization of our economy. This little roundup is just an appetizer course for the absurd feast of riches to come with canceled projects and crashing dreams.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

Ultimately, California will have to determine whether another five years of Diablo Canyon operations is a cost-effective solution to evolving reliability needs. The plant isn’t nimble enough to respond to the rapid ramping up and down requirements caused by the massive growth in solar generation. Like a light switch, it’s either on or off. And it’s designed to operate 90% of the time — 7,884 hours a year.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

The French nuclear programme was a great success, but the conditions to replicate it are gone, and there will be no new nuclear plants built because they cannot be financed, and there are cheaper alternatives (and baseload is not adapted to our new system).

Latest News

Georgia Power Co. announced Monday that Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle, southeast of Augusta, has completed testing and is now in commercial operation, seven years late and $17 billion over budget.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

n fact, the announcements by the Ford government of 4800MW in new build nuclear projects at the Bruce Nuclear site near Tiverton, and three additional new reactors at the Darlington site east of Toronto, committed Ontario to one of the largest nuclear construction programs in the world.

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Insightful analysis by an authority on wind energy and energy policy with extensive experience in the offshore wind sector.