Tuesday :: Jan 3, 2006

Put The Boiling Kettles Out To Pasture

by pessimist

As of October 31, 2005, there are 104 commercial nuclear generating units that are fully licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to operate in the United States. The addresses for every one can be found here, and then Mapquested to get the exact information. If you only want to see where the plants are in your state, you can look here of here - and this site has more specific plant information.

You know Al Qaeda already knows all of this! But that isn't the point of this post.

This is:

Cost of cleaning up after nuclear power stations are closed down rises to £70bn
03 January 2006

One of the biggest decisions facing the [British] Government in 2006 is whether to order the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations, as the last of the old state-owned plants goes out of action. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), set up last April to supervise state-owned nuclear plants, said it was "almost certain" that its initial estimate of £56bn [$96.88 billion US] - itself the equivalent of a charge of £800 [$1384 US] for every adult and child in the [UK] - would have to be revised upwards.

Dig deep! That new lower wage and higher benefit out-of-pocket expense can wait a little longer!

The £56bn figure is itself only an estimate of the costs of clearing up the former state-run civil nuclear programme. Inflation alone is likely to push the costs up to almost £58bn [$100.34 billion US] - but a closer look at conditions in some of the older nuclear sites, particularly Sellafield and Dounreay, has convinced inspectors the figure published in the NDA's strategy document last year was too low.
It does not include the weapons establishment at Aldermaston, run by the Ministry of Defence, or privately-owned nuclear plants such as Sizewell B.
The projected cost of cleaning up the sites of Britain's old nuclear power stations is likely to leap to more than £70bn [$121.1 billion US] when new figures are published early this year. Previously unpublished figures for individual sites, supplied by the NDA, show that Sellafield, Britain's largest nuclear complex, is currently estimated to cost another £31bn [$53.63 billion US] before it is finally closed down - a figure that is likely to increase drastically. Commercial operations at the site are due to end in 2016, but it will be another 134 years before the site is finally made safe.

Are you willing to live next door to something like this for 134 years? I'm not!

[O]pponents say that building new power stations does not make economic sense. "The cost is just absolutely astronomical," the former environment minister Michael Meacher said yesterday. "I wouldn't be surprised if it was somewhere of the order of £70bn [$121.1 billion US] or £80bn [$138.4 billion US].

"It's financially insane, unless there is absolutely no alternative - and the truth is that the alternative is there. It is renewable energy, like wind, and solar energy and tidal power. People talk about this as if it is something a bit exotic and marginal, but that is because it has not had investment anything like the amount that has been poured into nuclear power."

Let's be generous and take the lowest figure for plant retirement. At approximately $53 billion constant dollars each, retiring 104 nuclear power plants would cost $724 billion - an amount equal to less than half of the $1.7 trillion in Treasury notes held by Japan as of May 2005.

I have to ask just where these sums are going to come from - much less pay for whatever replacements are installed - if George's tax cuts aren't repealed. We already can't afford the tax cuts without taking this power generation issue into account.

Conversion figures from trustnet.com as of 03-Jan-06: $1.73 = £1.

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