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Old 02-15-2013, 01:10 AM   #1
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A sad day.
The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.

When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.

At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."

Keller's restaurant has been serving beef, pork ribs and chicken here for more than 40 years. When the Crystal River plant was operating, Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q could depend on regular takeout orders from the several hundred people who worked there.

But those days are gone. The plant shut down for maintenance in 2009 and last week, Duke Energy announced it would not reopen.

Citrus County is a largely rural area that's still struggling with the collapse of the housing market and the construction industry. Coming on top of that, Keller says, the plant's closure hurts.

"It's definitely going to trickle down. I mean, if it hurts the economy any more than it's already hurting," he says. "Because our biggest problem is our sales are down, and that's primarily because our biggest clientele can't afford to go out and eat."

For more than 40 years, the county's main economic engine was the nuclear plant. Outside the gates of the Crystal River facility, you can still see steam rising but that's from coal-fired power plants.

The company that owned the nuclear plant, Progress Energy, messed up in a big way. In an effort to upgrade the plant's steam turbines, company employees cracked the reactor's containment building. When they tried to fix it, they cracked it again.

Now, the plant's owners are saying they've decided to shut it down for good.

"We believe the decision to retire the nuclear plant is in the best interests of all of our customers, our investors, the state of Florida as a whole and our company," says Suzanne Grant, spokeswoman for Duke Energy, the company that took over Crystal River last year after merging with Progress Energy.

In looking at the cost and risks associated with repairing the damaged plant, Duke decided shutting it down was the most cost-effective option. But that leaves officials in Citrus County with some tough decisions to make.


Unfortunately, I suspect that we will see more and more of this in the years to come. Because construction of new reactors in the US was halted for decades after the 1979 TMI-II failure, the simple reality is that our nuclear power plants are aging. Like half of all US reactors, Crystal River (built in 1977) is well over 30 years old.

Can they be maintained and upgraded? Of course. But with only a few reactors presently under construction, the fleet as a whole will likely continue to shrink as apathy and attrition claim more and more old plants. So long as operators continue to fixate on the short-term capital costs of retrofitting and replacing equipment nearing the end of its design lifetime, and ignore the long-term consequences (both environmental and economic) of placing ever greater reliance upon fossil-fueled powerplants, we will be taking a great step backwards.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:50 AM   #2
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I see stuff like this, and I wonder where our world is going. Where is the concept of reason and understanding? Where is the thrust for scientific knowledge? San Onofre Nuclear power plant could be powering me right now...
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:52 AM   #3
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San Onofre Nuclear power plant could be powering me right now...
Don't you guys attack San Onofre once a year?
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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What did you do for me this quarter? What will you do for me next quarter? Wall Street is now a Casino rather than a capital engine for long-term growth and prosperity.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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What did you do for me this quarter? What will you do for me next quarter? Wall Street is now a Casino rather than a capital engine for long-term growth and prosperity.
Not that I am disagreeing with you RE: "Wall Street," but in what way is that related to Duke deciding that, after their engineers broke the thing they were trying to fix (twice), they would scrap the whole thing?
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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Someone would buy it. They would be stupid to not try to sell the facility.


And on the topic. We really need to get the thorium salt reactors approved. Basically no chance of proliferation, impossible to melt down, can use old nuclear waste as fuel, thorium is way more abundant than U235 or Pu239. And we had one that worked this one time in the 60's and 70's before the gov shut down the system because they couldnt be used for proliferation (making bombs for those who don't know what that word means). There's basically no downside besides the fact that the entire knowledge base has been mothballed for 40 years. Hell, most people who work at oak ridge national labs don't know that there used to be a reactor on site.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:07 PM   #7
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Not that I am disagreeing with you RE: "Wall Street," but in what way is that related to Duke deciding that, after their engineers broke the thing they were trying to fix (twice), they would scrap the whole thing?
Maybe I should not have spoken out of turn, but I'm assuming this is a public company and the pressures to make quarterly numbers to support a stock price may have played a deciding factor in the decision -- regardless of whether it would be better long-term to proceed with repairs.

Of course, we don't know any of the real numbers, but I have seen a lot of silly decisions made for extremely short-term gain (often tied to top-executive bonus terms).
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #8
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Don't you guys attack San Onofre once a year?
Negative. If we attacked it one year there would be no need to attack it the next year because it would already be destroyed beyond comprehension.

But seriously, if your talking about some sort of mock operation I'm not aware of it, probably something the AAV (amphibious assault vehicle), recon or security forces guys do. I'm in artillery so storming beaches isn't exactly what I do.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:45 PM   #9
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Negative. If we attacked it one year there would be no need to attack it the next year because it would already be destroyed beyond comprehension.
Haha. You know what I meant.

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But seriously, if your talking about some sort of mock operation I'm not aware of it, probably something the AAV (amphibious assault vehicle), recon or security forces guys do. I'm in artillery so storming beaches isn't exactly what I do.
Yeah, it's not the artillery, probably the LCAC folks just up the road. Somebody around there uses it as part of a mini war-game on a regular basis.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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I don't think concrete holds up so well to TID (net dose of radiation). Let's face it, nothing does. So stuff gets weaker. You could make a good case for planned obsolescence. I mean - decide ahead of time to build them, use them for 20 years, bulldoze and start over.

Certainly a big issue is what to do with money right now - building these aren't cheap. It's a long term investment - but a big one. Too many nervous nellies.

My opinion? Go to France or other countries where Nuclear is THE answer. See what they are doing, how do they deal with the waste, how do they make money at it.... Then let go of our own ridiculous national hangups (thousands of Arabs aren't going to drop from the sky in stealth attack helicopters, raid the place with precision maneuvers and night vision goggles and steal buckets of waste so they can make atomic bombs out of goat ****... Get over it), and get some cheap, low-environmental-impact power to a world which desperately needs it.

Also, build lots of wind farms nearby, so when it does blow up, we get to harvest that energy too.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:42 PM   #11
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Also, build lots of wind farms nearby, so when it does blow up, we get to harvest that energy too.
Genius!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:55 AM   #12
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I see stuff like this, and I wonder where our world is going. Where is the concept of reason and understanding? Where is the thrust for scientific knowledge? San Onofre Nuclear power plant could be powering me right now...

Could it be this is what students are "learning" in their quantum mechanics classes?

SEE IT: Columbia professor strips down to underwear in bizarre lesson to help baffled students learn quantum mechanics - NY Daily News

FroSci Gone Wild on Vimeo
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:48 PM   #13
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Huh.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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erxactly.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #15
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:14 PM   #16
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Not sure if serious?

"Entergy Arkansas says a worker was killed and three others injured when a heavy piece of equipment fell at a nuclear plant."

Sometimes, heavy pieces of equipment fall and kill people. Happens at powerplants, shipyards, warehouses, factories, steel mills, pretty much any place in which heavy objects are, from time to time, picked up and moved.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:14 PM   #17
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i mean it's pretty clear how dangerous they are...
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:17 PM   #18
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i mean it's pretty clear how dangerous they are...
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:30 PM   #19
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you cant just have nuclear plants that have things fall and kill people. this is a national threat.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #20
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Think of the children.
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