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Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: pdq
Date: July 29, 2021 05:03PM
Heck, what’s another half-billion?

Quote

Just a few months ago, Atlanta-based Southern had been sticking by its predictions that the first reactor would be in operation this November, with the second a year later. Now, it projects the second quarter of 2022 for the first, and the first three months of 2023 for the last reactor. In each case that is three or four months later than what it had said in May and reasserted again last month.

The two new reactors were originally slated to be in operation in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The construction costs of the Vogtle expansion have not yet been rolled into the bills of Georgia Power customers. But for years, customers have paid fees for a portion of both the project’s financing costs and the company’s profits on it.

Chances of meeting the new dates not looking good. South Carolina is probably feeling better now about cutting their losses (at ~ $9B) and giving up on their similar white (and radioactive) elephants.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: kj
Date: July 29, 2021 05:27PM
This has been happening (carbon copy) since at least the early 80's so perhaps someone needs to learn. You'd think they could at least have some idea what the project is going to cost. I know it's cynical, but maybe they actually do know it will cost a lot more? Yeah, it's just a flat out scam.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: hal
Date: July 29, 2021 05:32PM
Our local plant was such a boondoggle, that a referendum shut it down

[en.wikipedia.org]
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Ca Bob
Date: July 29, 2021 05:36PM
It's too bad that we don't make better use of fission energy considering the need to minimize usage of fossil fuels. I'd like to see substantial research and development on alternative systems, in particular the ones that are safe after loss of power or loss of coolant etc.

I don't pretend any expertise on the subject, but I've seen various reviews of different reactor types that sort of make sense. I don't get why these projects get behind and over budget. Of all the reactors in this country, what fraction were completed on budget and on time, and what fraction were late and over priced?
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: kj
Date: July 29, 2021 06:03PM
Quote
Ca Bob
It's too bad that we don't make better use of fission energy considering the need to minimize usage of fossil fuels. I'd like to see substantial research and development on alternative systems, in particular the ones that are safe after loss of power or loss of coolant etc.

I don't pretend any expertise on the subject, but I've seen various reviews of different reactor types that sort of make sense. I don't get why these projects get behind and over budget. Of all the reactors in this country, what fraction were completed on budget and on time, and what fraction were late and over priced?

I'm pretty sure 100% have been late and over budget. Billions are being spent on research and development, and the contribution of nuclear to overall energy production has gone down. It's a big scam.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 29, 2021 06:03PM
Quote
Ca Bob
Of all the reactors in this country, what fraction were completed on budget and on time,

That would be 0%.

Quote

and what fraction were late and over priced?

That would be 100%.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 29, 2021 06:11PM
Quote
hal
Our local plant was such a boondoggle, that a referendum shut it down

[en.wikipedia.org]

“Opponents of the plant, including two members of the district's five-member board, argued that despite $400 million in new investment in the last three years, it would be far cheaper to retire it now, halfway through its expected life span, and buy power from neighboring utilities in the California market, which is glutted with electricity.”

My, oh my, how things have changed



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: sekker
Date: July 29, 2021 07:01PM
My uncle was a senior civil engineer on the last new nuclear power plant (New Jersey).

When they took over the job of finishing, it would have been far easier to tear it down and start from scratch because the initial company (lowest bidder) had no idea what it was doing. My uncle (WWII vet) had worked on $billions of projects including other nuclear plants, major bridges in CA etc.

Fast forward, I cannot imagine what it's like today - his generation that expanded the US after WWII are gone.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Acer
Date: July 29, 2021 08:26PM
I was told it was "government regulation" that makes nuclear power expensive. It has not been made clear to me specifically which regulations result in billions of cost over-runs--after the project was (or should have been) originally priced with those regulations in mind.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 29, 2021 09:32PM
Isn't it regulation that every outreached palm get greased?



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The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: pdq
Date: July 30, 2021 09:34AM
Quote
Racer X
Isn't it regulation that every outreached palm get greased?

If that were the case, why wouldn’t every new power plant - nat gas, coal, solar - have the same experience? (which they don’t).

While I can certainly appreciate the zero-carbon attributes of nuclear, it seems to have become little more than an immensely expensive scam in the US. Unlike other countries, we have no - zero - politically viable long-term plan for nuke waste, for instance. The latest scam wrinkle is small modular reactors.

These make all the waste of larger reactors, but are less efficient at producing electricity. Their only advantage is that (theoretically) they can be churned out much faster and less expensively than the recent normal-sized plants, which have had an abysmal cost and delay record.

The theory is that by standardizing a small design, they will avoid the problems of one-off plants. In reality, that was the very same theory as the Georgia Vogtle and SC plants - they were using a new, standardized design (the AP1000) that was supposed to make construction easy. In reality, it’s been a disaster which bankrupted Westinghouse and very nearly Toshiba as well, which owned the latter.

The proponents of the new small modular reactors envision kind of a manufactured housing approach, where they make these at some factory, and then just drive them out and set them up wherever they need energy - zillions of little nuke plants all over. What could possibly go wrong?

As you can tell, I’m skeptical.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: numbered
Date: July 30, 2021 10:42AM
Someone might also point out that without the evil "government regulation" providing loan guarantees and liability caps there would be no nuclear plants.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: kj
Date: July 30, 2021 01:41PM
From what I understand the tech for this new type of nuclear doesn't yet exist. The guy I read about was good friends with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who put up tons of money to start with, but who have grown tired of seeing no gains, causing this dude to go to the government asking for money. Apparently tax payers are more tolerant of just giving away money for nothing in return.

Fwiw, my impression is that Nuclear hasn't been any less scammy in other countries (I think the same companies are often involved).
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: July 30, 2021 06:47PM
Quote
pdq
What could possibly go wrong?

One of the big economic problems of pressurized water reactors, the design commonly chosen for light water SMRs, including the NuScale design, which has received conditional certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was the need to prematurely replace the steam generators – the massive, expensive heat exchangers where the high-pressure hot water from the reactor is converted to the steam that drives the turbine-generators. In the last decade, such problems led to the permanent shutdown of two reactors at San Onofre, in Southern California, and one reactor at Crystal River, in Florida.

Who wrote this crap?

SONGs had MASSIVE steam generators. Probably the biggest of any nuke plant. NuScale is a natural circulation plant. Much different, and not at all similar to the SGs at SONGs. That's like comparing the engine from a a 787 to a turbo prop engine.

And Crystal River shut down because of a containment building defect.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: pdq
Date: July 31, 2021 08:59AM
Quote
Lux Interior

One of the big economic problems of pressurized water reactors, the design commonly chosen for light water SMRs, including the NuScale design, which has received conditional certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was the need to prematurely replace the steam generators – the massive, expensive heat exchangers where the high-pressure hot water from the reactor is converted to the steam that drives the turbine-generators. In the last decade, such problems led to the permanent shutdown of two reactors at San Onofre, in Southern California, and one reactor at Crystal River, in Florida.

Who wrote this crap?

SONGs had MASSIVE steam generators. Probably the biggest of any nuke plant. NuScale is a natural circulation plant. Much different, and not at all similar to the SGs at SONGs. That's like comparing the engine from a a 787 to a turbo prop engine.

And Crystal River shut down because of a containment building defect.

Are you confusing steam generators with cooling towers/mechanisms? They’re two different things, I think.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: July 31, 2021 09:40AM
Quote
pdq
Are you confusing steam generators with cooling towers/mechanisms? They’re two different things, I think.

No. SONGs was cooled by the Pacific and didn't have cooling towers.

Steam generators are the primary-secondary heat transfer mechanism.

Cooling towers (or the ocean/spray ponds) are the ultimate heat sink.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: pdq
Date: July 31, 2021 01:05PM
Then I don't quite understand your objection. I think the point the article is making is that if the steam generator functionality is where early failure is often observed, then you've got to take apart the NuScale modular reactor, since it's inside the module:



I'm not a nuclear engineer, so maybe I'm not understanding, but what I take from this is that the NuScale design isn't inherently any more reliable at this particular failure point.

Smaller, cheaper and easier to manufacture, yet less efficient, with all of the waste (and more, since it's less efficient) and as of yet unproven.

To me, the real attraction anyone sees in these small modular reactors is the "cheaper" part, since conventional nukes have lately been in the prohibitive ~$10B range.
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: July 31, 2021 10:55PM
I am a little surprised that after 60 (70?) years of cost overruns, that they haven't figured out how to grease palms in an economical fashion.

Maybe we should just accept a Republican Fascist/Socialist state to get construction costs under control... RollingEyesSmiley5 smiley-laughing001



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Surprise! (Not.) Georgia nuke plants delayed *again*, with more cost overruns
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: August 01, 2021 08:33AM
Quote
pdq
Then I don't quite understand your objection. I think the point the article is making is that if the steam generator functionality is where early failure is often observed, then you've got to take apart the NuScale modular reactor, since it's inside the module:

I'm not a nuclear engineer, so maybe I'm not understanding, but what I take from this is that the NuScale design isn't inherently any more reliable at this particular failure point.

Smaller, cheaper and easier to manufacture, yet less efficient, with all of the waste (and more, since it's less efficient) and as of yet unproven.

To me, the real attraction anyone sees in these small modular reactors is the "cheaper" part, since conventional nukes have lately been in the prohibitive ~$10B range.

The SONGs issue was a manufacturing defect that killed the plant financially because they had just replaced the SGs and they turned out to be, well, defective.

The SGs being so massive* they killed the plant. A single unit of an SMR, while being expensive, wouldn't be an extinction level event.

And that's just the case with the unit being defective. That is unlikely. SGs wear out and are replaced all the time. They leak and their tubes are plugged as a matter of course in a refueling outage. The SMR SGs will be under much less stress (pressure & temperature) than a big PWR's SGs, so it will be less of an issue.

This is similar to the O-ring hysteria after the space shuttle exploded. Anything with O-rings was suspect for no good reason. In fact, I remember the anti-nukes using the "nuclear plants have O-rings!" argument at the time.

*this design only has two, versus a comparable in power Westinghouse (older designs) having four. So the SONGs SGs were twice as big as a typical W SG. This older W design is the predominant one in the US & France today. The newer W design (AP-1000) is similar to the SONGs CE design (2x4 loops with only 2 SGs).
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