Should we build new nuclear reactors in Washington?

Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman talks pros and cons with legislative task force in Olympia.
Christie Todd Whitman

Christie Todd Whitman Credit: John Stang

Could our state build reactors again more than 30 years after it suffered through the plagued construction of Washington Public Power Supply System Reactors Nos. 1, 2 and 3?

That's one question a legislative task force will consider. The eight-member task force met for the first time Wednesday in Olympia. It is supposed to have recommendations for the full Legislature by Dec.1 on such questions as whether to create new reactors either to supply power to the state or to export mini-reactors elsewhere.

"This is more to gather information on should we have a nuclear policy," said task force member Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip.

The task force emerged from Gov. Jay inslee's push to reduce greenhouse gases. Their build up in the atmosphere lowers the pH of the oceans and raises temperatures, which threatens the snowpacks that provide the state's water. Inslee has mainly pushed various ideas to tackle existing carbon emissions sources. GOP legislators to consider want non-carbon-emitting nuclear reactors to be part of the solution. Enough Democrats agree, leading to the formation of the task force.

Washington has one functioning reactor: the Columbia Generating Station just north of Richland which is owned and operated by Energy Northwest. The station was originally called WPPSS Reactor No. 2. WPSS tried to build five reactors at Richland and Satsop in the 1970s and 1980s. Only Reactor No. 2 was finished. The partially completed Reactors 1 and 3 are now big concrete hulks. Massive cost overruns led WPPSS to default on its construction bonds in the 1980s. It was the largest bond default in American history at the time.

WPPSS, a consortium of 27 state utilities, renamed itself Energy Northwest in the 1990s. It renamed Reactor No. 2 the Columbia Generating Station in an effort to shed its "Whoops" nickname. "We have a larger challenge in this state with this history," said Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma and a task force member. "... There is going to be healthy skepticism because of the costs."

Construction of new nuclear reactors in the United States went on hiatus in the '80s. In recent years, the U.S. began building reactors again — two in Georgia, two in South Carolina and the revival of a long-dormant Tennessee Valley Authority project. The South Carolina and Georgia reactors are expected to be finished sometime from between 2016 and 2018. The U.S. currently has 104 power reactors; most are east of the Mississippi River.

A nationwide push to cut carbon emissions from power generators is a major factor in the renewed interest in nuclear power, according to Christine Todd Whitman, co-chair of the CASEnergy Coalition, an alliance exploring the revival of new nuclear power. Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, served as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003. She spoke to the task force Wednesday, and to Crosscut shortly afterward.

While alternatives such as wind and solar power are good, Whitman said they need a stable companion power source to smooth out their peaks and dips. At present, nuclear power provides 19 percent of the nation's electricity. Ideally, said Whitman, U.S. nuclear capacity should grow along with the nation's s population and industry so that it can continue to provide that 19 percent of the nation's power.

The cost overruns which plagued WPPSS are less likely to occur now, said Whitman, although she added that the current reactor projects in Georgia and South Carolina have had their budgetary ups and downs. The 104 reactors in operation represent more than 90 different designs, meaning that each construction project is typically a first-of-its-kind.

With today's four allowable reactor designs new reactors would have to follow conform to familiar construction plans, rather than being brainstormed from scratch. "It's not a learning process, a relearning process each time," Whitman said.

Construction of one of these reactors would likely take six to eight years and cost between $7 and $9 billion. Each project would create 3,000 to 5,000 construction jobs, with several hundred additional permanent jobs once the reactor goes on line.

Whitman said a new working reactor would produce electricity at $40 per megawatt. The Columbia Generating Station operates at 1,150 megawatts. Whitman noted that natural gas currently provides cheaper electricity, which will affect new reactor construction. Crosscut could not pin down an appropriate cost comparison of nuclear power to coal power, hydropower, solar and wind power.

While reactors don't produce carbon emissions, they do produce "spent fuel." Right now, almost every reactor stores its spent fuel on site because a proposed national nuclear fuel depository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain is stalled by opposition from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. Alternative sites might be considered, said Whitman, though she did not know where they are.

One proposal is to process spent fuel so it can be used again in the reactors. The technology exists; France and Japan already do reprocess their spent fuel. But Whitman noted that cost is a hurdle to adopting the practice stateside: mining new uranium is cheaper than processing the spent fuel for recycling.

Washington might also consider calling upon the nuclear expertise of the Tri-Cities to build Small Modular Reactors. These are tiny, prefab reactors whose parts are manufactured in one location then transported to the reactor site for final assembly. The U.S. Department of Energy and NuScale Power LLC, a Corvallis, Ore. company interested in building small modular reactors, are studying the feasibility.

The task force plans to visit the Columbia Generating Station and hold one or two a public meetings in Richland on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26. The task force is also thinking about visiting the NuScale operation in Corvallis.

Task force chair Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, is also on the executive board of Energy Northwest. Sheldon does not believe this presents a conflict of interest because he he is an "outside" board member charged with representing ratepayers in Energy Northwest matters. Plus, he is only one of eight task force members.

John Stang is a longtime Inland Northwest newspaper reporter who earned a Masters of Communications in Digital Media degree at the University of Washington. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 6:54 a.m. Inappropriate

Wind farms by themselves can't produce energy when the wind isn't blowing. But in combination with pumped storage, they can - just like a hydroelectric dam.

The cost of building a wind farm including an equivalent capacity of pumped storage is slightly more, per kW, than building a nuke. However, the operation is considerably less. In perhaps 5-10 years, the wind farm's overall cost is less than a nuke's and from then on substantially cheaper.

On top of that, disposing of nuclear waste is an unsolved problem. Mining uranium is ecologically horrible. Our region is riddled with fault lines.

The answer is clear. No more nukes.

pragmatic

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 8:15 a.m. Inappropriate

Why do you put out such nonsense?

The cost of wind itself is 12 cents a kwh (Ontario feed in tariff)

The cost of pumped hydro is $120/kwh. To provide enough backup to carry the state's common weeks long winter cold snaps with no wind, the cost of hydro backup adds a buck a kwh to the cost of wind.

That compares to the 4 cent a kwh cost of nukes built by public power.

Soon landfills will be filling with tens of cubic miles of discarded solar panels leaching their deadly toxic forever chemical waste into water tables everywhere while the world's football field of nuke waste is perfectly stored out of the environment awaiting reuse in Gen IV nukes.

Uranium mining is no more ecologically horrible than mining any other mineral especially the enormous qualities of filth used to build wind units. In any case with new Generation reactor like Russia's new BN-800 at 2 cents a kwh, we have already mined all the uranium we need to power the world for a thousand year.

No nuke has ever been damaged by earthquakes.

The answer is clear, stop wasting money on wind - build nukes.

sethdayal

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 7:58 a.m. Inappropriate

A few points:

- Nuclear power stations require a lot of water for cooling; with climate change forecasts, how realistic is it to assume that level of water use?

- Most credible scientists and engineers agree that given the rate of climate change and the trajectory of CO2 emissions, there isn't enough time or money for new nuclear power stations to make a difference

- Since the problem of nuclear waste continues to seriously plague the industry, how can Whitman so blithely say that new stations will cost $40/mw? And too, nuclear stations have to be shut down for weeks at a time for maintenance - lowering the cost effectiveness of the energy produced.

- It's also disingenuous to portray these plants as CO2 friendly - they require a lot of construction energy use and cement (a big CO2 source.)

- Would that this panel spend an equal amount of time and energy evaluating the potential for increased energy efficiency. As our regional history proves, energy efficiency continues to produce enormous cost and energy savings. (note that the panel chair - Sen Sheldon - consistently opposes even the simplest energy efficiency improvements such as adopting new standards for shower heads and battery chargers - standards already in place in Oregon and California.)

Saratoga

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 8:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Actually nukes don't use the water, they heat it up a few degrees then dump it back in the ocean. Lotsa salt water, big lakes, and municipal grey water supplies to use.

Actually like the 2% of scientists that are warming Deniers, a similar portion of scientist/engineers agree with that idiocy. France was able to go for zero to 75% nuke in a little over 10 years a few decades ago.

There are no problems with power plant nuke waste securely stored in specialized concrete containment awaiting reuse in Gen IV reactors, just military liquid waste stored in leaking barrels.

Yes that is why the nuke capacity factor is 95% or so not 100%.

sethdayal

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 9:03 a.m. Inappropriate

I remember the days when nuclear power was billed as the next great thing and would be "too cheap to meter." What a joke that turned out to be -- unfortunately a joke that includes nuclear waste that will be around for tens of thousands of years.

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 8:27 a.m. Inappropriate

Actually that comment was at a SciFi writers conference in the early fifties and referred to nuke fusion.

Soon landfills will be filling with tens of cubic miles of discarded solar panels leaching their deadly toxic forever chemical waste into water tables everywhere while the world's football field of nuke waste is perfectly stored out of the environment awaiting reuse in Gen IV nukes. Nuke waste on the other hand is perfectly safe after only a few hundred years as long as you don't eat it.

sethdayal

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 10:26 p.m. Inappropriate

No, the quote was from the nuclear industry itself.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/may/22/energy-nuclear-renewables

sarah90

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 9:04 a.m. Inappropriate

"Crosscut could not pin down an appropriate cost comparison of nuclear power to coal power, hydropower, solar and wind power."

You must not have tried.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

BlueLight

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 10:27 p.m. Inappropriate

You do know that Wikipedia articles are written by people as uninformed as you, don't you, BlueLight?

sarah90

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 9:31 a.m. Inappropriate

The issue of meeting future energy demands is not an either/or proposition, i.e. renewables or nuclear; renewables or natural gas. We will need it all. Wind energy has its place, just as hydro, nuclear, solar, natural gas, conservation and energy storage will play a role. A diverse mix.

The used nuclear fuel issue is entirely solvable. The used fuel storage fee collected by the Federal government has been $0.001/KwH. That fee has been suspended until real work begins on a national repository. The fuel can be recycled; depending on development of certain reactor designs, it could be used as a future fuel. The "tens of thousands of years" arguments may be made irrelevant in the next 50 years with innovation, though some long-term storage may still be necessary. The trade-off is storing a very small amount of stuff for a LOT of carbon-free energy.

Nuclear's life-cycle carbon emissions are comparable to wind and LESS than hydro, solar and biomass, according to a University of Wisconsin study.

Nuclear energy plants have the highest capacity factors of any energy resource: 90+ percent (even with refueling and maintenance outages).

CASEnergy, as the Governor pointed out, is about providing information to help people make informed, fact-based decisions about energy options. Visit their website, or visit ours, to find out more about nuclear energy's contributions to the power mix now and in the future.

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 10:01 a.m. Inappropriate

Take note who EnergyNorthwest is: they own and operate a mixture of energy plants, including solar, hydro, wind, and yes, nuclear. Kudos to them for being diversified.

But, even if the nuclear waste problem is solvable (and so far it's not been solved), there's no need to prolong its use.

Don't be misled by the vested industry. Wind with pumped storage is cheaper to build and operate after a few short years of amortization and has no waste, no mining, no chance of natural or terrorism hazards.

pragmatic

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 8:33 a.m. Inappropriate

Wrong again

The nuke waste issue has been long ago solved engineering wise with examples at Yucca, Finland, Sweden and France. Only Big Oil corrupted Democrats are blocking the US answer in Yucca.

As I've shown wind with pumped hydro storage is well over a buck a kwh. Waste, mining, and natural/terrorism hazards are far less of an issue with nukes than any other power source.

sethdayal

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 11:07 a.m. Inappropriate

All nuclear reactors are not created equal. The only one's we should be considering are Thorium Salt reactors. They were developed in the late 60's with 1940's knowledge but not used because the byproduct isn't plutonium. (ie bomb production sold to the public as power generation.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor

http://thoriummsr.com/intro/facts-about-thorium-molten-salt-reactors/

The other cool thing about them, is that the coal ash we have already generated has Thorium in it which could be recovered for these reactors.

GaryP

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 1:30 p.m. Inappropriate

What's next, a warning from you about chemtrails?

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 5:10 p.m. Inappropriate

There was clearly confusion among the committee and Whitman (and this article's author) about "the dollar cost" of a new nuclear plant, as Rep. Richard DeBolt put it -- it sounded like he was asking about how much it cost to build the plant per megawatt (the so-called "price per installed kilowatt," for example), but Whitman gave him a nominal price (cost?) for the generated electricity, which is dollars per megawatt-hour, not dollars per megawatt. And that seemed to be what DeBolt wanted.

rickadair

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 5:29 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't know if the following is accurate, but I'm curious. I was recently told the City Light's dams run only one of multiple turbines at a time, i.e., that they have all kinds of unused capacity. It wouldn't surprise me in the least.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 10:25 a.m. Inappropriate

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, go visit the site and take the dam tour and find out!... I suspect it has more to do with the water supply and the estimates for how much water they expect to fall and re-fill Ross Lake during the summer. (And the rates they get from selling power to California)

GaryP

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 8:26 a.m. Inappropriate

One word: "Shouldn't."

elemental

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 9:49 p.m. Inappropriate

The Germans are planning to get along without nukes.
Germany seems like a stable, democratic, prosperous, capitalist country.
Why not consider the German model? (as we should have been doing with health care as well.)

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 10:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Germany seems to currently be the most rationally-run country in the world -- about the only one of the "western" countries not willfully marching itself off a cliff. We'd do well to consider their model.

sarah90

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 9:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Btw, take a look at solar maps at
http://solargis.info/doc/free-solar-radiation-maps-GHI
which are available for most countries.
Compare USA
http://solargis.info/doc/_pics/freemaps/1000px/ghi/SolarGIS-Solar-map-USA-en.png
with Germany
http://solargis.info/doc/_pics/freemaps/1000px/ghi/SolarGIS-Solar-map-Germany-en.png

Casual perusal suggests that if the Germans can do it (based on environmental conditions) why can't the USA? Did CrossCut ask Whitman that very question?

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 9:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Btw, take a look at solar maps at
http://solargis.info/doc/free-solar-radiation-maps-GHI
which are available for most countries.
Compare USA
http://solargis.info/doc/_pics/freemaps/1000px/ghi/SolarGIS-Solar-map-USA-en.png
with Germany
http://solargis.info/doc/_pics/freemaps/1000px/ghi/SolarGIS-Solar-map-Germany-en.png

Casual perusal suggests that if the Germans can do it (based on environmental conditions) why can't the USA? Did CrossCut ask Whitman that very question?

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 1:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Germany's electric rates are more than triple Seattle's. But then, like most of Seattle's "progressives," you're rich and couldn't care less about the working people who have to live on a budget.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 1:54 p.m. Inappropriate

NotFan

Seattle electric rates are relatively cheap because of old hydro power.
All new power will be more expensive.

But again, the big take-away is that somehow Germans live very well; I am not expert in how to compare USA v Germany in terms of standard of living but I am certain that they do quite well, all across the range of incomes.

So I ask, if Germany, as a democratic capitalist nations is able to establish a goal of getting rid of nukes and using other energy sources -- a lot of solar -- then why can't we in the USA study what they are doing?

As to inaccurate ad hominem statements, they aren't helpful to proving whatever point you are trying to make.

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 2 p.m. Inappropriate

Take a look this site:

http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/compare/US/DE

Again, I can't vouch for it since I lack the expertise.
But I hear the same story over & over: Germany is not third world and Germans live well well: cars, houses, skiing, restaurants, health care etc etc So looking to Germany as a model to lean from is quite reasonable to me.

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 4:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Well if you didn't waste your hard earned money on booze, cigars, gasoline for a low mpg pickup you'd be rich too.

GaryP

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 4:59 p.m. Inappropriate

Jimmy Carter was a necessary evil, that said. For a real live nuclear engineer he was wrong, very wrong, about nuclear energy. When will some one have the nerve it will take to say screw him? Neutron energy which he completely undermined is our best shot, why would some one claiming to be a scientist wish to shut down an entire field of inquiry? I used to think "at least he was honest" he wasn't. In fact the reversal of his energy policies is what made Reagan, and it is a return to his policies that defines Barry..

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 10:57 a.m. Inappropriate

To make an economic comparison, you have to put a price on Fukushima or Chernobyl, or the next major accident. Call in the actuaries and probability specialists and put a number on it. Nuclear power is always a high stakes risk by the numbers, that is hard to get away from.

Just look at Hanford, the cost, and the stories coming out of there and how safety of even clean up workers is compromised.

Hazrdous material ends up being expensive one way or another.

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 4:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Thorium Salt reactors being low pressure are way safer to operate. Plus while they do generate high level radio active byproducts, they remain in the reactor and are consumed. Check the links out before you tar all nuclear plants.

GaryP

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 5:20 p.m. Inappropriate

Sounds great GaryP.

How soon can we get those "Thorium Salt reactors" on-line and producing power?
Can we count on electricity in, say, 2018?
And what is the price for the electricity?

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 9:19 a.m. Inappropriate

In the USA... who knows. In India however they will have one online in 2016 with plans for 30% of their power by 2050.

http://www.itheo.org/articles/world%E2%80%99s-first-thorium-reactor-designed

The Chinese are also gearing up, but it looks like a 10 year project.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100026863/china-going-for-broke-on-thorium-nuclear-power-and-good-luck-to-them/

We had one going for research in the 50's but shut it down. (Oakridge)

For the USA it's a Political problem more than a technological problem.

GaryP

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 10:34 a.m. Inappropriate

GaryP:

For cultural reasons (i.e. democratic pluralistic capitalist) I'll go with the Germans.

But as you say, problem is political. So for that very reason, there is no point in trying pie-in-sky projects which will face massive resistance.

Nothing is perfect but we know (based on actual German experience -- not hopes & prayers) that solar can be implemented NOW across a very broad geography of USA. I consider myself a practical person and do not aim for perfect solution but what actually works NOW.

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 1:13 p.m. Inappropriate

DMS, I'm also pro solar & Wind power as well. The experience in Queensland AU shows that you can generate more than enough power via solar. It just seems like we need some backup sources and a few Thorium Salt reactors would do the trick. What I really want is an end to burning coal & natural gas as the source of electricity.

GaryP

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 8:59 p.m. Inappropriate

GP from your perch on high tell us, what is the half life this contained radiation in case of any unforeseen contingency as happened at Fukushima? in the case of neutron radiation it is slightly less than twenty years. the same with waste products. for some reason burying Chernobyl for twenty years is more appealing than hundreds. if for some reason you doubt me ask Jimmy why he stopped the research "the shortness of the fallout makes the risk of nuclear far more likely" why don't we ask the folks in Yuka or Hanford what the term half life means. nuclear energy is not a viable resource with out a major commitment, ask the French they made that commitment and exposed the nuclear power source short coming..

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 9:25 a.m. Inappropriate

Fukushima and Chernobyl all have the same high pressure containment problem of using water to keep the temperatures cool. Using moltan salt, which is required for the reaction to continue is much safer as in the event of a power outage, you stop cooling the salt plug in the bottom of the reactor, let the liquid salt drain out, which stops the reaction. No backup generator pumps are necessary.

If you really want to read about the mess that the current plants are, go to www.gregpalast.com he's got a lot of indept stuff on the cr*p the power companies pulled.

But mostly remember, nuclear power using U235 is a really a bomb production desguised as civilian power production. And that answers most of the rest of the questions as to why the gov. insures the plants.

GaryP

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 8:07 a.m. Inappropriate

Who is going to want to invest in a nuclear plant? Solar, wind and storage costs are dropping rapidly. Solar passed nuclear on the downward cost curve several years back.

"Renewable Energy is Much More Cost Effective than Nuclear in the Fight Against Climate Change
CO2-Free Power Generation in Europe: Wind and Solar Power Are Already Cheaper than Nuclear – Even When Considering the Power Plants Needed for Reserve Capacity"
http://www.agora-energiewende.org/topics/optimisation-of-the-overall-system/detail-view/article/klimaschutz-wird-mit-erneuerbaren-deutlich-preiswerter-als-mit-atomkraft/

"Biggest risk to utility stocks: You going solar" http://www.cnbc.com/id/101699075
"Today the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) for solar is about 11 cents for utility-scale solar projects, according to the Department of Energy. It's still more expensive than using natural gas, which sells for about 6 cents/kWh, but the price has come down from 21 cents/kWh in just three years. The Department of Energy's "SunShot" program predicts the 6-cent goal will be reached by 2020. That would allow 14 percent of all U.S. electricity generation to be provided by solar. Wind and hydroelectric power are almost as cheap as natural gas—both cost about 8 cents/kWh."

What about storage?
http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/16/costs-small-scale-battery-storage-drop/
“Four years ago it was predicted that the prices for battery cells, if you buy large quantities as car manufacturers do, would go below €200/kWh for cells by 2020,” said Sauer. “What you see today is that prices are well below this. Tesla is probably buying battery cells from Japanese manufacturers for US$150/kWh.”
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/18/utility-scale-battery-storage-costs-dropping/
"The cost of battery storage is falling quicker than most analysts presume and could be competitive with gas-fired generation – even in the US, where gas prices are low – within the next 18 months."

So what's going on in Georgia and South Carolina? First, the federal government put $25 billion of nuke subsidies on the table in the mid-2000s. But it required a private share. Nobody would take up the offer until the states put all risks on ratepayer's backs. They will have to pay cost overruns, and they will pay during construction. You can't get Wall St. to finance these things unless all risk is taken out. They may be able to get away with that in Dixie. Energy Northwest harbors nuclear true believers, but try to get that deal through the state utility commissions in OR or WA.

Nuclear power has a long history of deception and downright human error. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima all showed that humans are just not smart enough or honest enough to operate nuclear power plants. Consider Fukushima. Anyone would know a big quake would shut down the reactor automatically. Anyone would know that cooling would have to be maintained by the diesel backup or the plant would suffer catastrophic overheating. Anyone would know a big quake would roll a tsunami over the plant site. Anyone would know that you couldn't have a diesel genset in the tsunami zone or it would be knocked out. Anyone that is but Tokyo Electric Power, which by the way has a history of lying and cover-ups that have been documented, and Fukushima has the most documented deceptions in record-keeping.

By the way, France is deemphasizing nuclear power in favor of renewables.
http://seti-alliance.org/en/node/194
"The French government has unveiled its latest energy plan, which includes a goal of increasing renewable energy consumption to 32% of the country's total by 2030. That's up from the current goal of 23% renewables by 2020. . . On the controversial issue of nuclear power, the new plan, which was announced on 18 June, calls for no more than 50% of the country's electricity to come from nuclear sources by 2025. France currently relies on nuclear power for 75% of its electricity needs, the highest rate in the world."

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 7:30 p.m. Inappropriate

fooling yourself

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 12:37 p.m. Inappropriate

Hard to justify the cost in Washington State, where about 80% of our electricity is from existing dams. http://www.wpuda.org/hydropower.cfm

But no reason not to build the technology here for other lcoations. there is also Bill gates' startup:

http://terrapower.com/

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 1:09 p.m. Inappropriate

The Terra Power design is a close cousin to the Thorium Salt reactors. And there is a case to be made for building a couple of these to dispose of the waste from the current generation nuclear power plants but long term it's like building an incenerator for your garbage, you tend to grow the garbage to feed the beast which is 100% the opposite of what we want, ie no more U235 reactors.

GaryP

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 3:35 p.m. Inappropriate

Your understanding on molten salt reactors ~ confirmed about five paragraphs from the bottom of this interesting report:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10957292/Fossil-industry-is-the-subprime-danger-of-this-cycle.html

afreeman

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 5:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Crosscut Editors:
I was disappointed that John Stang did not follow the stated obligation of the Crosscut banner's journalistic philosophy to cover the 'politics, history and culture' with his July 10th article, "Should We Build New Nuclear Reactors in Washington?" Specifically, he apparently did no research into Whitman's major abuses during her appointment to head the EPA under the Bush Administration. Two days after 9.11.2001, she announced on national TV, "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink." The Union of Concerned Scientists on their website under the topic of 'Abuses in Science', mention that the city of New York City Department of Health has a database of 71,000 people exposed to dust and debris at Ground Zero. They also quote EPA scientist Cate Jenkins that the EPA knew "this dust was highly caustic, in some cases as caustic and alkaline as Drano." Mr. Stang should have researched some of Gov. Whitman's high profile misrepresentations of health impacts, before she is quoted as being a spokesperson for the "pro's and cons"of 'new' Nuclear Power with a WA state legislative task force in Olympia and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. We also should question her overall co-chair role in the national non-profit CASEnergy Coalition, where "Nuclear Energy is America's Clean and Safe Energy Solution."

clrtom

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 7:32 p.m. Inappropriate

at WHAT point do YOU people look at FACTS..

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 7:24 p.m. Inappropriate

I LOVE THE MISINFORMED..stupid is cute..NO ONE has addressed my original point..slag heaps fall down..half life can not be ignored nuclear power has A MAJOR FAULT that no one hear is SMART enough to acknowledge..cute is like a tiger cub..death in a week or two..why is France dismantling the major investment it has made in nuclear? come on tell me..

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 10:41 p.m. Inappropriate

Please do yourself a favor and read your comments before you send them. The misspellings and unintelligibility derail whatever points you want to make.

sarah90

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 11:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Absolutely not! Every step of the nuclear fuel cycle is fraught with problems, from uranium mining, to refinement, to operations, to disposal. If nuclear power plants were "safe" we wouldn't be spending so much time and effort trying to keep Iran from getting some.

Although Oregon's poorly constructed Trojan Nuclear Plant was finally shutdown, it still has all its nuclear waste siting on site near the Columbia River. Nuclear power plants are simply one of the most expensive and inelegant way of boiling water.

Hard to explain why Christine Todd Whitman would have ANY credibility on this issue.

To conclude: Absolutely not!

Posted Tue, Jul 15, 4:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Guess we just don't know what's good for us. We will get what the rich and powerful want.

Thank you sir may I have another?

I really love eating nuclear waste for 2000 years!

Maybe we should pass a law that no nuclear plants can be built in the US until Fukushima is TOTALLY cleaned up. Sound reasonable?

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