Nuclear Power looks dead

Nuclear Power looks dead

Solar, wind are safer, cheaper, more abundant and uranium mining is limited. Terrific cost overruns, 3 mile island, Fukushima disaster, Chernobyl, and many leaks.

Mike83 | April 8, 2017

In addition where to store SAFELY nuclear waste that lasts for 250,000 years. What does waste storage cost?

janendan | April 8, 2017

Would you tell the state of Florida. They just tripled the capacity at Turkeypoint.

redacted | April 8, 2017

I'll say "good riddance" to it. Seems like wind and solar are nimbler, with shorter timelines and far more granular investments. Faster cleanup. Also as @Mike83 points out, in 60 years we haven't figured out what to do with nuclear waste.

Mike83 | April 8, 2017

Florida should be cautious. Like Fukushima a problem could exist especially with Climate Change(of course don't mention it) and this:

Earl and Nagin ... | April 8, 2017

The saddest thing is that all that radioactive waste isn't actually necessary. US Navy nuclear reactors keep all of the radioactive elements in sterile stainless steel vessels touching only de-ionized water so they produce very little radioactive waste material compared with the filthy commercial power plants.
Of course, I suppose nuclear wouldn't be affordable if someone made the industry keep things clean and safe. Clearly, wind, solar, and hydro are the true, sustainable future.
After all, with solar, a fuel spill is called "a nice, sunny day" With wind, its just a "blustery day" :-)

tes-s | April 8, 2017

Wind, solar, and hydro can't replace fossil fuels, so I hope they are wrong. I'm holding out hope for fusion.

Earl and Nagin ... | April 8, 2017

I'm not so sure about that. A study by NREL took a look back at several year's data on real winds and solar flux across the US. It indicated that a combination of wind, solar, and hydro linked nationwide by high efficiency DC interconnect could actually provide the US's electric needs -- without the need for storage and at a price equivalent to today's grid mix. Storage, of course, can help improve the reliability.
For example, in places like CT with very poor local wind, solar, and hydro resources, can efficiently ship solar electricity in from the southwest US during the day and into the northeast evenings while west TX wind that blows strong across the prairies can provide at night. Surprisingly, the numbers actually would have made it work over the past few years!

brando | April 8, 2017

wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, (perhaps tidal) PLUS storage can and will replace fossil fuel.

Sadly the next 250,000 years maybe known as the Nuclear (waste) era.

And if our Military, Congressional, Homeland Security, Industrial complex keep current trends (started just after WWII) our atomic bomb threats will grow. Consider Obama started $1 trillion dollar atomic weapons program to include "small battle field sized weapons".

All previous empires have failed. In the last 600 years, no empire has thrived for more than, what, 100-200 years at most? US currently spends well over $600 billion per year on our war machine. State Department get less than $1 billion. When it comes to war and peace or when it comes to settling problems do you expect the war machine or diplomacy to be used? And sadly, we seldom see our State Department work for peace. Secretary of State talked at the UN and tried to convince the rest of the world to join our invasion of Iraq. Collin Powell lies failed to convince most, but this did not stop the US, UK and most of Nato to join in that ill-legal war. About 30 million people around the world demonstrated for peace. Wasn't enough. You get my drift.

I wish my fellow americans could wake up and change our government leaders. The system seem too well rigged to allow that. Ask Bernie Sanders, and he isn't exactly a peace monger.

ParklandFLMike | April 8, 2017

Bill Gates seems like a smart guy and is betting Nuclear will have a future by investing in Terrapower. Terrapowers reactor design uses depleted Uranium and spent fuel from other reactors eliminates the spent fuel storage problem. The gen IV design also needs no human intervention to shut down the reactor in an emergency. They are building the first plant in China and should be running in 5 years.

tes-s | April 9, 2017

@Earl - are you talking about this report?

It says by 2050, 80% of electricity could come from renewables with major investments in electrical infrastructure (transmission, storage) ASSUMING DEMAND STAYS FLAT.

They assume flat demand because it has been flat for the past decade due to increased efficiency, and that will continue. They assume moderate increase in electricity for transporation, and no increase for heating.

If we replace fossil fuels with electricity for all transporation (cars, trucks, ships, planes) and heating, I think that 80% number drops below 50%.

I think nuclear is the answer to replace fossil fuels. The best thing we can do for the environment is accelerate development of nuclear fusion energy (or other non-waste-producing nuclear energy) and leave as much fossil fuel in the ground as possible.

mjy | April 9, 2017

It's dead for most calculations except CO₂ emissions. Countries like Germany and others who are switching off their nuclear power plants, can't meet demands except with "dirty" gas and coal plants. This results in relatively high CO₂ per KWh emission figures:

Germany: 535g/KWh
Switzerland: 37g/KWh (due to 33% nuclear power)
France: 92g/KWh

The effect of this is that the total CO₂ emissions per Km (including car and fuel production) for electric cars are higher than for conventional cars in such countries, while in Switzerland, due to nuclear energy, they're much lower.

In the long run, solar/wind will fix this situation, but right now it's still a problem.

Riccor | April 9, 2017

The emphasis should have been placed on Thorium reactors years ago. Today the Federal regulations are so extreme that cost for any power plant with "nuclear" in the description becomes so absurdly costly as to make it prohibitive. Three-mile, Chernobyl and others would never have occurred if the reactors had been Thorium based, and the storage issue would be a small percentage of the whole package as well. As the "crotch-grabber-in-chief" would say... "So sad".

mike_f | April 9, 2017

"Nuclear Power looks dead" what does this topic have to do with Model S? From most of the responses (except possibly Riccor), its clear that those that have responded know nothing or at best next to nothing (except what they read in outdated and biased articles from Bloomberg and SciAm). about the principles of nuclear energy (my guess is no one has any clue how a nuclear reactor actually works) yet that does not stop them from spouting utter rubbish. Oh btw, in case anyone is interested I have a graduate degree in Nuclear Physics and Engineering so I know of what I speak.

eye.surgeon | April 9, 2017

This is the Model S forum.

thranx | April 9, 2017

eye.surgeon +1

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

Alternative Energy, Powerwalls, Powerpacks, Solar panels, EV's is all part of Tesla. You don't need to read this thread if you so choose. This is still the USA where you can even write the words Global Warming, Climate Disruption and the costs associated such a hazard. Although Florida and the Feds don't like it we still have free speech.

Bill_75D | April 9, 2017

I think he meant this belongs in the General section. I would agree.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

Opinions vary. But the connection between having a Model S or X or 3 and energy production is extremely important for many reasons. I myself have purchased 2 Model S Telsae and have solar panels which make driving them practically free compared to paying for electricity made with fossil fuels.
Also Tesla just announced new cool looking panels.

I think most people can see the connection of the Model S and making electrons to drive it.

stereoshopper | April 9, 2017

+1 Mike83. I think it's part and parcel to the EV conversation. Can't say we drive zero emission cars without considering the energy sources of the electricity.

mike_f | April 9, 2017

Mike83:totally agree you can discuss what you want, but first learn about what it is you are discussing. Clearly your ignorance on the subject is getting in the way of an intelligent discussion.

mike_f | April 9, 2017

2 Model S Telsae: Oh please stop....! I hope that is just a misspelling. (btw I have purchased 5 Teslas)


tesla m (plural teslas)


Earl and Nagin ... | April 9, 2017

I just dug out the paper again. It was from NOAA, not NREL - sorry if I sent you on a wild goose chase. The title is "Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions" by Alexander E. MacDonald and others. It was published in "nature climate change" magazine 25 January, 2016. A fellow EV driver whom I met at a charging station in Cedar Rapids, IA made me aware of it.

vp09 | April 9, 2017

Mark_g, I admit my ignorance and am asking you to educate us. I do know that Germany leads the world in solar power production (I think) but substituted its nuclear-powered electricity for French and Czech dirty electricity made by burning brown coal. So I believe what mjy said is correct, and I think that tes-s is correct in calling for clean fusion and leaving fossil fuels where they are: In the ground.

It's my (admittedly ignorant) opinion that America's bias against nuclear power is because they confuse it with nuclear weapons. I know that sounds stupid, but I really think it is true. Back in the 1970s there was a "nuclear freeze" movement, and it seemed to me when talking with those advocating the "freeze," that none of them were clear about the different between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. It was simply the word "nuclear" that set them off on condemning anything to do with fusion.

It is the case that we do have 500 or more nuclear power generating plants that have safely operated for decades, in close proximity to our citizens, with no problems--- those aboard that number of U.S. Navy ships?

vp09 | April 9, 2017

different >>> difference

It is the case ... ? >>>> Is it the case ... ?

[Could use an editing function ... ]

brando | April 9, 2017

Fission product wastes[edit]
Nuclear fission produces radioactive fission products which can have half-lives from days to greater than 200,000 years. According to some toxicity studies,[16] the thorium cycle can fully recycle actinide wastes and only emit fission product wastes, and after a few hundred years, the waste from a thorium reactor can be less toxic than the uranium ore that would have been used to produce low enriched uranium fuel for a light water reactor of the same power. Other studies assume some actinide losses and find that actinide wastes dominate thorium cycle waste radioactivity at some future periods.[17]

https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle

Sadly, just more BS from the Atomic Energy industry. Only a few hundred years (our country hasn't even been a world power for a few hundred years) and less toxic. Really? Just how less toxic?

Most have no idea how many radionuclides are created in Atomic Reactors (of ALL types).
Here is a short list of some of the radionuclides. They mostly won't hurt you unless you eat foods or drink water that contains them. There in is the problem. Just try to find fish that don't have Mg, which we know about. Now radionuclides aren't even being monitored in our foods nor much of our water.

Try and research how much tritium is going into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima alone. Much like climate change, we don't know much. But it is one hell of an experiment to find out just how dangerous it may be.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017


References really mean more than opinions. Please show your immense knowledge with some scientific backing otherwise statements are inappropriate.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

Here is a link on 3H.

I don't believe there is much data on 3H in humans but the alpha emissions are difficult to measure. Ingestion of 3H could cause cancer as ionizing radiation damages DNA and RNA causing mutations since its half life is 12.3 years.
Biomedical studies might be appropriate in vivo. Unfortunately the radiation badges they use only detect gamma and some beta radiation.
My opinion is don't drink 3H.

Boonedocks | April 9, 2017

I am all for desalination!

We can write anything we want in the Model S forum :-/

johndoeeyed | April 9, 2017

New nuclear power is more expensive than new solar/wind, and has been for a while. Given that solar/wind is already cheaper, that nuclear costs go up in time whereas solar/wind goes down, given that battery storage is now economically viable at the grid level and is rapidly declining, given that nuclear takes many years to build, no new nuclear should be built for simple economic reasons, never mind the plethora of other reasons.

vp09 | April 9, 2017

Brando, let's talk fusion, not fission.

Downside of nuclear power has been vastly exaggerated. Wildlife returned to Chernobyl in a few years, even formerly extinct native species. I read that in National Geographic.

It's not "is it potentially dangerous?" rather "how dangerous is it compared to our other choices?" Like pulling petroleum out of the ground and setting it on fire. Now that is dangerous.

Most Americans don't know the difference between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. I propose an empirical assessment of that claim: Ask your neighbor down the street (not your Tesla-owning electrical engineer friends) to tell you why nuclear energy is a bad idea. While they are spouting the usual reasons, ask yourself if you can tell whether the content of their conversation reveals an awareness that nuclear power is not the same as nuclear weapons. A kind of Turing test, if you will.

vp09 | April 9, 2017

I googled "Is nuclear power dangerous?" Among the top results on the screen was the Greenpeace link, which mentioned nuclear weapons and nuclear power in the same sentence. Like they didn't know the difference, or maybe that they thought there was no difference.

Sort of like not knowing the difference between using water to drink and using it to drown someone.

Another top hit gave evidence that coal is 4000 x more dangerous than nuclear power.

I can move this to the General Forum, with an empirical test suggested and detailed for the hypothesis that Americans are simply too stupid to know the difference between the dangers of nuclear power and the dangers of nuclear weapons. And a justification for discussing this issue at all.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

Fission is the reaction. I believe most Americans know the difference. A meltdown can occur and may have already occurred.

Again. Solar Photovoltaic supplying electrons LOCALLY to your car is most efficient. Nuclear or fossil fuel power plants don't work in that manner.

I have to agree with John that the costs for Nuclear are ridiculously high.

tes-s | April 9, 2017

@Earl - that article is based on the same research, same assumptions, same conclusions.

If electricity demand stays the same for the next 40 years (as it has for the past 20) due to increased efficiency, then renewables could provide 80% of that electricity. Still leaves 20% gap, and does not address replacing fossil fuels used for transportation and heating.

Same conclusion - we need a lot more energy than renewables (wind, solar, hydro) can provide.

tes-s | April 9, 2017

And if we need energy for desalinzation, does not address that either.

I'm hoping for some form of nuclear energy. The sooner we figure it out, the more fossil fuel will be left in the gorund.

tes-s | April 9, 2017

@Mike83 - nuclear is expensive and possibly dangerous. What alternative do we have to bridge the gap between demand and what renewables can provide other than fossil fuels (which are finite) and nuclear?

I guess we could work on reducing demand. Perhaps reduce population by 50% and maintain it there - then renewables would be sufficient.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

An old study in 2008 shows that 0,6% land area is needed to supply the entire USA. No need to dig for drill.
Direct solar energy is clean, cheap and easily deployable.

But now we have Photo voltaic panels that are more efficient, Tesla's are around 21%. so less land is needed.
In addition Powerpaks and Powerwalls can store all the energy needs which has already been deployed.
There is no reason to use expensive and dangerous Nuclear Power.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

I must have posted the same time you did.
I should add that EV's, Trucks, etc. are becoming more efficient. I know that the D version of my Tesla has much improved kWh/miles and with the AP an even better number. For example I used to use 310 kWh/mile in my P85 whereas the D gets 280 kWh/mile doing the same trips. Maybe they can get it down to 150? Lighter batteries and other technological advancements may be in the future in countries that are working on it.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

I just found a video that is a year old done by the former SolarCity. They use the 0.6 % number also.

UnshodBob | April 9, 2017

I think George W Bush pronounced it nucular, not nuclear. Like libary, febuary, and jewlery. :)

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) north of San Diego CA has been completely shut down, but I believe all the spent fuel from the three units that existed there is still on-site, and will be for the foreseeable future. Not In My BackYard (NIMBY) prevents any other location in the US from being used for storage of all the spent nuclear fuel from our country's nuclear plants. I worked for Southern California Edison at Unit 1 back in the early 1980s when Unit 1 was being seismically upgraded due to Three Mile Island regulatory changes, and Units 2 & 3 were still under construction.

That is the one thing I don't like about nuclear power plants - what to do with the spent fuel. It was never addressed, always "we'll figure that out later." As Trump would tweet, Sad! Seems to me hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, etc. are much less environmentally damaging than nuclear, but I don't know enough about them to say that for a fact.

Mike83 | April 9, 2017

I remember driving down I-5 by Camp Pendleton and viewing the 2 big domes right on the ocean. I understand the water warms up their and some exotic fish were showing up like Seahorses.
They were so worried about blackouts but with all the Solar Panels going up there was no problem. Indeed they seem to be producing much more power than needed. Of course the rate payers have to pay for the decommissioning in their electric bills.
UnshodBob. It is a shame there is no responsibility for the nuclear waste. Pretty shocking to realize how lame that is.

tes-s | April 9, 2017

It seems Solar City thinks all the energy used in the US is electricity, and show it comes from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables. About 4 million GWH annually.

I guess they don't realize the we also use oil for energy, and natural gas for energy other than electricity generation. The 7 billion barrels of oil would take another 12 million GWH annually plus whatever energy from natural gas that is used for non-power (about 2/3 of annual consumption).

So, if we cover an area equal to 20% of the cropland in the US with solar panels, we could generate enough electricity. How many solar panels would that be to generate 20 million GWH annually? We generate about 60 thousand GWH annually with solar today. We would just have to increase that by 300x.

To install panels to generation 20 million GWH annually would cost about $20 trillion.

dborn | April 9, 2017

What happens when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow?
You do need a reliable source of baseload power. If hydro and geothermal are not available what do you do? Regrettably wave and tidal seems a long way away as does fusion. So, back to fossil fuels of one or other type or biogas?

johndoeeyed | April 10, 2017

It no longer matters how dangerous one considers nuclear, as it is now cheaper to use wind/solar/storage.

johndoeeyed | April 10, 2017

Do some research.
You can start by researching what Elon and Tesla have said on the subject.

Ross1 | April 10, 2017

I did a long post and lost it due to random request to LOGIN.


murphyS90D | April 10, 2017

You can protect your self from that problem by doing the following before you click on Save.

Windows PC
type ctrl-A followed by ctrl-C

Apple PC
type Comand-A followed by Command-C

If you get sent to the login screen return to the thread after you log in.
Put the cursor in the comment box and type ctrl-V or Command-V depending on your OS.

I expect it can also be done with a tablet but I never learned how.

Mike83 | April 10, 2017

I use a tablet with autocorrect sometimes and it needs re-logging in once in awhile using Chrome browser. But I like it except the autocorrect uses an incorrect word once in awhile mostly when i use the mic. to text.

Mike83 | April 10, 2017

Holly smokes. Electricity cost goes NEGATIVE in California.

Ross1 | April 10, 2017

Thanks murphy!

tes-s | April 10, 2017

CA is making excellent progress on renewables.

With 10x their current solar, they can eliminate fossil fuels for electricity generation. 12x they can also eliminate nuclear.