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Old 11-21-2012, 06:14 PM   #101
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IIRC, the operating licensing process was concurrent with design and construction,
That's true, but it was still a separate process from the construction license, and one which could not begin until after sizeable financial commitments have been made. That's still a lot of uncertainty.

With the new COL process, operators no longer have to roll the dice and hope that nothing will get in the way of the operating license process after they've already placed their orders and started construction. They can be assured ahead of time, before a single shovelful of dirt has been moved, that they already have a license to operate.

This can only be a good thing.




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My project (WPPSS 3 & 5 - we didn't call it "Whoops" for nothing) was set back severely. We went from something like 60% complete on unit 3 to 28% overnight due to NUREG changes; unit 5 went from 30% to around 15%. Retrofitting and redesign probably extended completion by 4 years and nearly doubled the final cost.
Indeed- changes in NUREG were certainly a major issue. Another, equally major issue were changes in design which occurred after construction had already begun. In the 1960s and 70s, we were still earning how to design these things, and if you look at a lot of the sites that were completed during that time, many of the cost overruns and delays are directly attributable to the design being revised mid-way through construction. (Obviously some of this is, in turn, re-attributable to regulatory changes- it's a bit of vicious circle.)


Fortunately, the combination of Design Certification and the COL process solves both of these issues. The reactor design is already finalized before construction ever begins, and the commission can't go changing the rules halfway through the construction process.


I'm not intimately familiar with the old Satsop sites (although WPPSS-2, to the best of my knowledge, has a near perfect operational record and is operating at a profit) so I can't speak intelligently to the history of units 3 & 5. I do know that Columbia (WPPSS 1 and 4) was a textbook example of how to mismanage a public-works project. There were too many fingers in the pie, an even though SCL wasn't totally incompetent, most of the managers, directors and contractors were. It wouldn't have mattered if they were building a reactor, paving a road or just digging an especially large hole- that project was doomed by its own management long before Babcock & Wilcox ever received the first purchase order.




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The foks in Washington, as a group, had no special problem with nukes, even after TMI.
The special problems started long before TMI-2.

First, the utility made a stupid decision to build 5 new plants at the same time, with zero experience in construction at that scale. They should have started small, gotten one plant up and generating, and applied the lessons learned from that to the next one. This is how successful nuclear projects are run. Instead, they provided the rope for their own hanging in the form of "You've spent $X (where X is five times what it would have cost to only screw up one plant) and you have nothing to show for it!"

Next, they shot themselves in the foot again by forgetting to read the tax code when issuing bonds. The IRS expressed its displeasure in 1973, and so the net-billing scam which was funding this whole fiasco came to a grinding halt.

Not to be defeated, they ramped up plans for "Phase 2" of the project, which seemed sufficiently not-insane that businesses in the Seattle area successfully convinced the City Council to throw its financial backing at the project, purchasing an option on 10% of the plant. Unfortunately, their accountants has apparently graduated by correspondence-course, because they might as well have produced the revised business plan by eating a bunch of Scrabble tiles and then shitting them out onto a page.

The Washington Environmental Council (a bigger bunch of hippies than greenpeace) then filed a lawsuit that promised to halt the project for at least five years to study whether the endangered spotted tree mold (or some such BS) was going to be harmed. SCL thought they could weasel out of this by opening the matter up to a Citizens Overview Committee (the so-called "Energy 1990" study), which in turn basically said "Nah, we'll pass on the nuclear option. We don't need electricity to be happy, we'll just burn our hemp clothing to stay warm." The City Council could have saved the day, but instead their ***** mysteriously fell off and they said "Sorry, we're pulling our support from this project. No more money for you."

But it gets better. A bunch of smart folks who know the difference between good **** and bad **** decided to go to DC to put together the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act which would, in part, have enabled funding to actually complete the WPPSS projects. But what the ****? They let the Northwest Conservation Act Coalition (more hippies) in on the action, and they subsequently turned the whole thing on its head by drafting a set of rules that totally ignored cost and instead gave preferential treatment to the development of "conservation" as an energy source. (Analogy: my car is a "source" of gasoline if I don't drive it. WTF^2?)

When they finally gave up and halted the project, it was a mercy-killing.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:17 PM   #102
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It's almost a little scary that you know so much about the project. It was indeed a textbook case in mismanagement. I was in charge of the ECN process for the AE on 3 & 5 for a few years - I think of it as getting an MBA in "How Not to Do Stuff."

To be fair, WPPSS was hamstrung by some state laws that doomed them from the start. E.g. - because there was participation in the consortium by some quasi-government agencies, contracting practices were subject to state open-bidding rules. No vendor pre-qualification - contracts were awarded based on bids. So, 3 years in when it became apparent that Perez Discount Plumbing could not,in fact, deliver and install 10,000 lineal feet of ASME large-bore piping with seismic hanger hardware, the contract bidding process had to be re-opened from the beginning. Even a small percentage of the hundreds of contracts could yield years of delays.

Of course, there was other stuff like awarding safety-related plumbing contracts for individual buildings to different contractors, while neglecting to specify who would actually coonect them to each other. When they realized this, they awarded another contract for the connection, but because there was no coordination originally, the plumbing didn't line up from one building to the other, leading to many more ECN's and DCN's and even further delays and costs.

Alas, **** like this cost me my cushy job, along with thousands of other folks. Unfortunately for us all, this collective world-class ineptitude pretty much finished new nuclear projects in the US. After the client defaulted on a couple billion dollars in bonds, nuclear-power investment became(rim-shot, please) radioactive.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:45 PM   #103
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*Paging Mr, Joe Perez, Mr Joe Perez, please pick up the white courtesy phone.*


Anyone happen to read about the joint venture company in San Diego that's making solar panels? They've got a contract to make a "power plant" of solar trackers that will generate 100megawatts. BTW, current total solar power generation is estimated to be just over 100megawatts, so this is big.

The grand opening of the plant in San Diego was this week. Soitec US is officially online. This is the company Orafol (formerly Reflexite, where I work) has partnered with to produce solar panels for power generation.

Those big panels, with the array of lenses? I designed all the tooling and fixturing to produce them. I will be directly responsible for the first large scale (100megawatt) solar power plant in the USA

New Solar Facility Looking to Hire 450 | San Diego 6 | Local News

Watch the video!




P.S. All those "green" Prius driving ******** can kiss my ***.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:53 PM   #104
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Anyone happen to read about the joint venture company in San Diego that's making solar panels? They've got a contract to make a "power plant" of solar trackers that will generate 100megawatts. BTW, current total solar power generation is estimated to be just over 100megawatts, so this is big.
That's pretty neat. If they can build 30 or 40 more sites exactly like that one, and devise a means to store the energy which they produce and re-release it onto the grid at night, we'll have something roughly equivalent to a single nuclear reactor.

Which brings me to a moment of sadness. As of today, Southern California has been without clean baseline energy for exactly one year, as this marks the anniversary of the first day after San Onofre was taken completely offline following the discovery of a steam generator defect in Unit 3.

Plans for a partial-power restart of Unit 2 are still being hotly debated and contested. What's most depressing is that there is now starting to be serious talk that Unit 3 may be scrapped altogether.

That said, progress continues at Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 and V.C. Summer 2 & 3.

Artists rendition of the completed Vogtle facility:

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Old 02-01-2013, 01:25 PM   #105
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Well, excuse us for making a start. Next time we'll be sure to use eminent domain laws to pave all of Nevada & New Mexico with solar panels just for you.

I got nearly the same statement from my brother. No it's not the last word in energy production, but someone has to get things rolling (as opposed to just blowing money like Solyndra), and we're doing it. Sorry it's not the perfect solution.

Yes, I'd like to see more nuke plants. The way things are, it's not gonna happen soon.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:35 PM   #106
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Tax dirty energy, stop subsidizing solar, watch the masses beg for cheap nuclear power.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:41 PM   #107
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Well, excuse us for making a start. Next time we'll be sure to use eminent domain laws to pave all of Nevada & New Mexico with solar panels just for you.
Didn't mean to attack what you were doing- please don't take it that way.

I recognize the difference between base-load generating capacity and peak-load capacity. Of all of the available "green" technologies, solar arrays are the most ideally suited to peak-load generation in areas with warmer climates, since their output profile tends to perfectly track the load profile of all of the air-conditioners which they are helping to power.

I'm just a tad bitter right now about the situation at San Onofre, and the suggestions from some in our area that technologies such as solar are somehow a suitable replacement for base-load generating capacity.


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Yes, I'd like to see more nuke plants. The way things are, it's not gonna happen soon.
It's happening, just very slowly. Vogtle and V.C. Summer are both on track for criticality within 3-5 years (total of four new units, all AP-1000s.) It's my hope that they will serve as a model for other utilities.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:11 PM   #108
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Sorry, I'm a bit sensitive. Everyone claims to want cheap, clean energy (like solar), but it's never good/efficient enough. Like it's my fault I haven't revolutionized the entire industry. We are at least making progress.

As you said, it's not meant to replace anything, but just add to peak generation. Maybe someday it'll all be looked upon as a quaint novelty from the old days.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #109
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As you said, it's not meant to replace anything,
I wouldn't say that at all. Right now, we have a lot of fossil-fuel peakers (mostly NatGas) which vary their output to match the demand curve throughout the day. A lot of 'em are small turbine plants which shut down entirely at night.

Even though NatGas may be the "best" of the fossil fuel options, it still costs money, generates emissions, and depletes an energy source which could be re-directed to meet other needs (transportation, heating and cooking, etc.) Solar generation, be it photovoltaic or thermal, is an ideal replacement for this type of power plant in areas which receive full sun for a large percentage of the year. Such as right here in SoCal and the other, less important states to the right of us.

Where my jimmies start to rustle is when folks start claiming that energy sources such as wind and solar are somehow magically able to meet 100% of demand (if only the government / evil corporations would stop suppressing them), and are thus a viable alternative to nuclear and coal plants. Beyond the obvious problems of scale, these folks seem to forget that we still have electricity when the wind is calm and the sun is not shining. That power is generated by large plants which run at full capacity 24 hours a day, and plants in that category simply aren't going to be obsoleted any time in the foreseeable future. If anything, base-load energy demand (relative to peak demand) is only likely to increase over time, as the number of automobiles powered in whole or part by electric batteries (which tend, for the most part, to be recharged over-night in the garage at home) increases.

Until Mr. Fusion is available in stores or the process for harvesting dilithium crystals and producing antimatter on a commercial scale is perfected, the best that we can do is to select the baseload generating technology which has the lowest environmental impact and causes the least amount of depletion to available fossil-fuel reserves.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #110
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It's simple, Joe. You just put all the extra electrons you don't use in a tank to hold them for a rainy day.




Why can't you be more forward thinking?
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:10 PM   #111
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Actually, that's not too far off. Solar concentrators use liguid sodium and heat it to some very high temp (I can't be bothered to look it up). The sodium is then used to make steam, which turns the turbine. The sodium is at such a high temp, that it takes quite a while to cool, meaning you can still generate after the sun is down, at least for a while.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:18 PM   #112
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:59 AM   #113
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:14 PM   #114
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Arent those things near silent?

People need to be sent to Iraq to gather their own oil. Err i mean save their country.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:22 AM   #115
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snopes.com: Obama Bumper Sticker Layoff
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:35 AM   #116
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Arent those things near silent?

People need to be sent to Iraq to gather their own oil. Err i mean save their country.
no. they make tons of noise and kill tons of birds.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:13 PM   #117
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The local one by my house is silent (yes when running)
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:15 PM   #118
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Yes even while turning. Sorry ninja edited that into my post.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #119
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Damn you and your ninja-edits forcing me to ninja-delete what would otherwise have been an amusing (if pointless and stupid) quip.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #120
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I'll take 'em. They can put them on my hill. I've got wind out the wazoo!
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