Re: Mook's quote about nuclear being a "low grade heat". Is it true?

From: william mook (
Date: 07/14/04

Date: 13 Jul 2004 17:40:02 -0700 (brianb) wrote in message news:<>...
> (william mook) wrote in message news:<>...
> >
> > > Current nuclear fuel prices are for the supply side of the cycle only.
> > > Disposal has not yet begun, but licensees are paying the federal
> > > govt. to create a disposal site.
> >
> > Spreading the costs to the government won't change the impact of those
> > costs on the economics of energy. An industrial economy must pay for
> > the energy it uses. Decreasing energy costs mean greater energy
> > > This funding is coming from the
> > > operating revenues of each plant.
> What in god's name are you talking about?

According to the White House through 2003 AD, $2,056 million has been
appropriated to *research* ways to dispose of nuclear waste. (no
suitable disposal method has been found as yet)

So, this makes any reasonable person to believe that actually
disposing of nuclear waste is likely to cost more than the initial R&D
budget to figure out how to do it.

Please note that $2,056 million is about 2.5 times larger than $800
million you quoted.

Page 24 of the 404 page document from the White House indicates that
over $15,000 million is set aside of which only $726 million comes
from industry. This indicates the disparity between what things
actually cost versus what we ask industry to pay.

Any cost the government pays on behalf of business, no matter how they
characterize it for political purposes is a subsidy - pure and simple.

> Last year nuclear power
> plants put in something like $800 million into the fund.

According to the White House $726 million - which added slightly to
the $15,000 million balance set aside for the eventual costs.

> Reasonable
> disposal costs wouldn't cost anywhere near this.

Nonsense. Many experts believe costs are vastly greater than $15,000
million available.

> "Spreading costs to
> the government"? No!

Rot. If business is asked to pay a trifling sum of $726 million
against a cost that is likely to cost more than $15,344 million -
clearly the government is subsidising the use of nuclear energy for
its own political and geopolitical reasons.

> The government is charging them, not vice
> versa.

If the government charges a business 1/20th the real cost (or less) of
doing a thing, the government can quite properly be said to be
subsidizing that thing. This is true in the case of nuclear energy.

> You keep asking for proof of a negative.


> You prove it costs
> more than $800 million per year.

Okay. The references I cited above prove that.

Please note, I'm an optimist when I say the total cost of a watt of
nuclear energy is $5... others less optimistic would disagree.

> > The total cost versus the total energy is what's important. At $5 per
> > watt or more, nuclear isn't a viable energy source in any context. At
> > $2.50 per watt or more nuclear cannot make synthetic fuels cheaply
> > enough to displace fossil fuels. At $0.60 per watt, nuclear could
> > displace fossil fuels with nuclear generated synthetic fuels.
> >
> > Comparable figures for solar, given solar energy's low utilization -
> > is roughly, $1 per watt for electrical displacement, $0.35 per watt
> > for synthetic fuels - and $0.15 per watt to displace fossil fuels with
> > synthetic fuels.
> >
> >
> > > I posted some numbers for fuel and O&M costs in another message.
> > > Unfortunately, my ISP's news-server doesn't show it, but I did see
> > > this message on google. So here are some numbers again...
> > >
> > > One plant (not a top performer) has an annual fuel cost of ~$22M -
> > > $23M. Their O&M costs are about $150M.
> >
> > The costs charged for nuclear fuels bear little relation to their
> > total cost of production, even so, I agree the fuel costs are a small
> > part of the total - capital costs are the largest.
> You have no basis for insisting that the fuel isn't fully charged.

Read the references I've given.

> None whatsoever.


> The public price for uranium reserves is usually
> listed in terms of "available at $40/kg" etc. "The costs charged
> bears little relation.."? Why? Because you say so? There's a hidden
> gov't subsidy in there? YOU PROVE IT!

I've done that already. See the references above.

> >
> > > With a capacity factor of 96%
> > > and net output of 850MWe. This works out to a yearly cost for fuel
> > > and operation of $173M and an annual output of 7.19e+9 kWh. About 2.4
> > > cents per kWh
> >
> > If all you were doing is paying the government set rates for nuclear
> > fuels, then nuclear would be golden. But you're not. You're paying
> > for all the costs of the nuclear fuels plus all the costs of
> > construction and maintenance, and all the costs of cleanup of both the
> > power plant the spent fuels, and the portion of the fuel production
> > infrastructure that supplied the fuels to your plant. Adding all this
> > in gets you something greater than $5.00 per watt and something that's
> > not competitive on a kWh basis.
> All the costs of construction and maintenace....yes and those are
> included in the price of construction as they would be for any plant.
> "Fuel production infrastructure"...more gibberish...

Wait a minute. We're talking about the production of nuclear fuel,
remember? Nuclear fuel is not created without the close supervision
and support of the government. Why? Because its a critical strategic

Fuel production needs to take place at any cost given its grave
strategic role. For this reason the government supports in all ways
needed the production of nuclear fuels. The fact that it collects a
small fee for the commercial fuels produced by government contractors
bears no relation to the real costs.

Its just that simple. The government doesn't want others to know its
capabilities with respect to important strategic capabilities - so of
course it is in the interest of governments to say any reasonable
analysis is gibberish.

> this is included
> in the price of fuel, which is very low. If you think it isn't, then

With respect to disposal costs I already have.

> It's like saying the cost of coal at 3c/kwh doesn't include
> the cost of mining the coal. Gibberish.

You're confusing and confabulating facts. Coal is not a strategic
resource in the sense that nuclear fuels are. Coal is routinely
produced commercially without much government intervention. Not so
for nuclear fuels. These are strategically important and their
production is maintained at any cost by the government. All those
costs will be covered lest the US fail to produce the nuclear fuels it
needs. Further, control of the distribution of fuels is of paramount
strategic importance. In any case, it is in the government's highest
interest to maintain strict control of many aspects of commercial
nuclear fuels. Clearly, for these reasons the cost industry pays for
nuclear fuels bears no relation to the actual cost of those fuels - as
careful analysis of the federal budget indicates.

> The ridiculous "$5.00 per watt" figure you keep citing is based on old
> plants that had ridiculous cost overruns.

You mischaractize the process I used to come up with what I know to be
a valid figure.

> It's not valid.

Prove it. Come up with a total cost that's less than $5.00 - I have
yet to see any data, just hot air, from you.

> Plants
> have been standardized and liscensing stream-lined.

Right, this reduction in cost is the main reason I break with others
and say we might some day achieve $5.00 per watt - all in cost.

> Since Daestrom
> actually works in the industry his idea of what a new plant would cost
> is much more valid than yours.

Why rely on an individual's opinion when public records exist that
show the total cost of the nuclear industry to the US?

> France built a plant of over 1000MW
> for 2 billion.

Great! Please provide a complete and full accounting of this
statement and you have proved that you can get below $2.00 per watt.
Until you do, its just so much hot air.

> Why would you keep insisting you're right when you
> don't have a clue.

Rot. A complete accounting of all costs indicate that a reasonably
optimistic figure for nuclear power - if its substantially less,
that's great - but you have yet to provide any important new data that
shows this is any more than a false hope of enthusiasts.

> Citing Shoreham? Shoreham never produced a
> watt..therefor the costs were infinite. Right?

Absolutely! But assuming it had produced at the rates folks hoped for
it (the optimists you know) it would still be more than $10 per watt!
Which suggests that $5 per watt is doubly optimistic.

I'm actually agreeing with you when you say that certain costs would
not be incurred in a well managed program when I say we might achieve
$5 per watt! Yet you insist, by citing biased and incomplete
information, that $2 per watt is achievable. Why should we stand for
such rot?

Even so, at $2.00 per watt, the cost of energy is too high to displace
Which still stands.

> Ridiculous.

Stuff and Nonsense.

> >
> > > A top performer that I know of had a capacity factor 96% last year, an
> > > O&M budget of $98M and annual fuel costs of $28M. This works out to
> > > 1.3 cents per kWh generated.
> >
> > But this is not the only cost and its not the largest cost. So, its
> > not a good predictor of real costs. Which is why folks who have
> > invested in nuclear power don't have the capital to invest more, or
> > the inclination to invest more.
> Nuclear plants aren't built b/c of public relations and b/c coal is
> cheaper. At $2/MBTU gas was cheaper, which is what gas was for the
> past 15 years.
> O&M is not the "largest cost"? Of course its not. Capital costs are.


> At $200M amortization for a $2B, 1000MW plant, that's 8B kwh for $200M
> or .025c/kwh. Simple. Plus fuel and operation and maintenace of
> 2c/kwh.

Going foward recurring costs rise exponentially as demand increases
exponentially and supply grows lineearly.

> 4.5c/kwh all costs included, including throwing $8M in there for
> disposal costs of 150 tons of spent fuel.

Supplies grow linearly at best. At worst, they decline. Look at the
problems of the Chilean energy markets. Now consider what this
implies for the global energy markets within the next decade or less.
> Gas capital is about 1/4 of that. Gas fuel at $2/MBTU and 60%
> efficiency was a little over 1c/kwh. Operation costs are low. Try to
> compete with that.

Talk about citing old data - sheez!
> >
> > > > > But these are construction/capital costs only. For a PV system, I'm sure
> > > > > the O&M costs are comparatively low, but for a nuc they are quite another
> > > > > matter. The exact $/kwh varies with the size of the plant and it's capacity
> > > > > factor of course, but a well run plant of typical size can have O&M costs of
> > > > > $0.017/kwh.
> > > >
> > > > That number is low. I'd like to see the breakdown on that to find out
> > > > where they've fudged it.
> > >
> > > See above. It isn't 'fudged' they are out of a plants internal
> > > budgeting report and such.
> >
> > Bull
> Public utilities disclose costs. But they're "Bull". You're
> ridiculous. YOU PROVE THEY'RE BULL.

Public utilities do disclose costs - which is why I said bull to your
statement. I gave references to public utilities who operate plants
like Shoreham that indicate clearly your costs are wildly optimistic.

> >
> > > The 'check' written to GNF is pretty
> > > straight accounting.
> >
> > Yet all the costs are not covered by that check.

Just wanted to note... the SILENCE here is STUNNING!

Absolutely STUNNING!

> >
> > > The O&M costs at a nuc are something on the
> > > order of 70% labor costs. With a staff between 500 and 750 (depending
> > > on the plant), you can 'ball park' the O&M as (700 people X
> > > $100000/yr)/0.70 => $100M.
> >
> > Why not look at DOE EIA figures, or the figures reported by NRC, or
> > even the 10ks reported by the publicly traded companies who own
> > nuclear plants?
> Figures I've seen are just as low. Prove otherwise.

Wait a minute, the cost per watt for Shoreham YOU just said was
INFINITE!!! That's higher than any finite number you can mention. So
figures you have seen are not that low - THEY'RE INFINITE! You've
already proven costs for nuclear are vastly higher than any finite
number you can think of. What are you asking me to prove then?

> >
> > > Plants in higher cost of living areas such
> > > as the northeast, the numbers are somewhat higher (~$130M)
> > >
> > > GNF (GE Nuclear Fuels) is one of the suppliers of nuclear fuel. You
> > > can be pretty sure they aren't selling fuel at a loss.
> >
> > Bull. GE is a large conglomerate. They could operate the GNF at a
> > loss forever and still make money - if they had a reason to.
> GE hides losses? Why? Out of the goodness of their heart? PROVE IT.

You act as if costs are not routinely hidden by major corporations.
What bullshit. Hell, there are even government reports that detail
how major industries, like GE hide expenditures. What proof? Check
this out;

As far as the hidden costs of nuclear power - check out the following

Plainly, GE routinely hides costs associated with things it does for
the government that benefit the government secretly. Why? Because GE
is a big government contractor and the government can exercise control
through that lever, and because GE is a big portion of the US economy
- and as the US goes, so goes GE. (GE is a good corporate citizen)

Clearly nothing is more strategically important to the US than nuclear
materials and their production and control.

Need we say more? Obviously GE hides costs (otherwise why would there
be reports on the subject?).

> >
> > They make huge distinctions between their nuclear and non-nuclear
> > components, and point out that the losses they suffer are due in large
> > measure to the massive losses they suffer from the operation of their
> > nuclear assets.
> Probably b/c they paid such a high amount in capital for their plants.

Duh. This is precisely the point we're discussing. This is precisely
the point I'm making. You want to discard cost overruns as being
immaterial and I want to include them.

> Has no bearing on plants today which are designed differently and
> would probably be 1/2 the cost if that.

Prove it with data from real operations. You have yet to do this.

> France has very low electricity costs for Europe and uses 80% nuclear.
> Let me guess: "there are hidden subsidies in there...prove there are
> not". No, you prove it.

You mischaracterize what I'm saying as a negative so that you are off
the hook. I'm asking you something quite different. Please show me
the total cost of nuclear energy anywhere that indicates costs are
substantially less than $5 per watt.

63 GWe at a cost of 400 billion FF (1993) - about $2.50 per watt
accounting for changes in currency value. (the FF no longer exists!)

Yet, the French spend an average of $32 billion per year on supporting
nuclear industry. Over the period the 63 GWe were built this amounts
to an additional $5 per watt!!! Now, not all of this can be laid at
the feet of the nuclear reactors (France has nuclear weapons as well)
but still, this suggests that the commercial side is not fully

> >
> > This suggests that no one is making money in nuclear energy at the
> > moment. Which suggests and explanation as to why no new nuclear
> > plants are being built.
> One possible explanation. Others are mentioned above, ie gas is (was)
> cheaper.

Right. Business wants to make the most money it can, not just a
trifling sum - this is why I put in 8% discount rate - the lowest that
may reaonsably be expected to gain industry support. Anything else is
a money loser in this context.
> >
> > > Their price
> > > includes their procurement, manufacturing, engineering analysis and
> > > shareholder ROI.
> >
> > You assume GE Nuclear Fuels division is making a profit counting only
> > income earned from the sale of nuclear fuels - without providing any
> > evidence whatever that this is so. Then, you go from this unwarranted
> > assumption to wide ranging conclusions without any analysis or data
> > whatever. Utter rot!
> Prove that it's not making a profit and that there is a hidden
> subsidy.

Well, I've already cited several documents that show that governments
routinely spend far more in nuclear energy than the private sector.
The commercial side is an afterthought and doesn't fully bear the
costs of this technology. Clearly the data shows this.

> Better yet, give a reason why there would be.

Because nuclear fuels are strategically important and their control
and use are of paramount importance to the government for strategic
> >
> > >
> >
> > Ha! Same reference. Did you read it? Where is the profit and loss
> > and cash flow statements for the nuclear fuels division alone? I
> > couldn't find any. Point me to them and show me they're complete and
> > so forth, and you have proven your point.
> Break me out GE's plastics division. See? They're really subsidizing
> it. It's a money loser.

Which says in part;


     Plastics (6.0%, 6.2% and 6.6% of consolidated revenues in 2000,
1999 and 1998, respectively) includes high-performance plastics used
by compounders, molders and major original equipment manufacturers for
use in a variety of applications, including fabrication of automotive
parts, computer enclosures, compact disks and optical-quality media,
major appliance parts and construction materials. Products also
include ABS resins, shapes, silicones, superabrasive industrial
diamonds and laminates. Market opportunities for many of these
products are created by substituting resins for other materials, which
provides customers with productivity through improved material
performance at lower cost. These materials are sold to a diverse
worldwide customer base, mainly manufacturers. The business has a
significant operating presence around the world and participates in
numerous manufacturing and distribution joint ventures. During 2000,
the business announced expansions of polycarbonate resin plants in
Cartagena, Spain and Burkville, Alabama, adding 400 million pounds of
new capacity. New compounding plants in Thailand and China were opened
in 2000 to support demand in Asia. Also in 2000, Plastics completed
the transition to a new Internet-based commercial model. The GE
Polymerland® model has been replicated in all businesses and Internet
sales grew from $5 million a week to $50 million weekly by the end of
2000. During 2000, GE Plastics acquired both Cadillac Plastics and
Commercial Plastics, global distributors of plastic sheet, rod, tube,
film and shapes. The Silicones business enhanced its growth trend by
acquiring Macklanburg-Duncan sealants and adhesives business. They
also signed an agreement with Toshiba, the joint venture partner in
Asia, and Shin-Etsu Chemical to build additional manufacturing
capacity in Thailand to serve anticipated demand.


Which also reports that;


     As previously reported, the directors serving on the Board in
1991 and certain officers are defendants in a civil suit purportedly
brought on behalf of the Company as a shareholder derivative action by
Leslie McNeil, Harold Sachs, Arun Shingala and Paul and Harriet Luts
(the McNeil action) in New York State Supreme Court on November 19,
1991. The suit alleges the Company was negligent and engaged in fraud
in connection with the design and construction of containment systems
for nuclear power plants and contends that, as a result, GE has
incurred significant financial liabilities and is potentially exposed
to additional liabilities from claims brought by the Company's
customers. The suit alleges breach of fiduciary duty by the defendants
and seeks unspecified compensatory damages and other relief. On March
31, 1992, the defendants filed motions to dismiss the suit. On
September 28, 1992, the court denied the motions as premature but
ruled that they may be renewed after the completion of limited
discovery. Defendants moved for reconsideration of that order, and on
April 3, 1993, the court granted defendants' motion for
reconsideration and directed that discovery be stayed pending the
filing of an amended complaint. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint
on March 18, 1994, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, waste and
indemnification claims. On June 5, 2000, the court dismissed the
amended complaint, and on July 11, 2000, the plaintiffs filed a notice
of appeal. The Company and the defendants believe the plaintiffs'
claims are without merit.


And also


Power Systems

     Power Systems (11.4%, 9.0% and 8.5% of consolidated revenues in
2000, 1999 and 1998, respectively) serves utility, industrial and
governmental customers worldwide with electricity generating products,
services and energy management systems. Gas turbines are used
principally in power plants for generation of electricity and for
industrial cogeneration and mechanical drive applications. The
business acquired several key European businesses in 2000, including
the hydro power generation and gas turbine divisions of Kvaerner,
Smallworld energy management solutions and Thermodyn's centrifugal
compressor and steam turbine operations. These acquisitions continue
to improve the ability of the business to serve its global customers.
In 1999, the business acquired the heavy duty gas turbine division at
Alstom with manufacturing facilities in France and Germany. In 1998,
the business acquired the gas turbine division of Stewart and
Stevenson Services, Inc., which further expands its product and
product services offerings to the industrial power generation market.
Power Systems also packages aircraft engine derivatives for use as
industrial power sources. This activity is also reported in the
Aircraft Engines segment. Centrifugal compressors are sold for
application in gas reinjection, pipeline services and such process
applications as refineries and ammonia plants. Steam
turbine-generators are sold to the electric utility industry and to
private industrial customers for cogeneration applications. Nuclear
reactors, fuel and support services for both new and installed boiling
water reactors are also a part of this segment. There have been no
nuclear power plant orders in the United States since the mid-1970's.
However, the business is currently participating in the construction
of nuclear power plants in Taiwan. The business continues to invest in
advanced technology development and to focus its resources in
refueling and servicing its installed boiling-water reactors.


Clearly, if GE is supporting a nuclear plant production infrastructure
in the face of ZERO demand, its LOSING MONEY!

Why is it doing so? Because the US government wants them to do so,
that's why!


> >
> >
> >
> > Note, that the 2002 Annual report from GE highlights the work of Steve
> > Zwolinski and Steve Ramsey - but doesn't say a word about its nuclear
> > fuels and the liabilities of those.
> >
> >
> >
> > > > We're presently less than $0.03
> Look if you can produce power than cheaply, why don't you?

I do.

> What's all
> this nonsense about "negotiating with governments for large amount of
> land", etc.

???? What are you talking about?

> It sounds like a fantasy.


> If you could do what you say
> you can do, all you'd need is a demonstration product, some patents,
> and a decent lawyer.


> Demonstrate the project and sign up liscensees.

Well, that wouldn't get you to the greatest revenue for your
investment. But its sort of what we're doing.

> They'll do all the investing and heavy lifting, you'll just sit back
> and collect checks.

I don't mind doing *some* work, especially when the payoff is so

> You've been on here for a couple years with a
> project that could change the world...and your website looks like it
> was designed by a jr. high school student.

I guess I'm not in the website business. Although my website
administrator might take offense at your characterization.

> Something isn't right.


> You're obviously very smart. Why don't you do this? Why insist on
> doing all the work yourself? It makes it seem like you're delusional
> and maybe the whole thing is a fraud.

Absolute nonsense.
> > > >