A new group “Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota” ought to be renamed “Stupid Energy Solutions for Minnesota” for proposing to build nuclear power plants that would start producing just when the demands for uranium would outpace the the supplies of uranium. The costs of that nuclear power would then be skyrocketing!
To make this easier I have added the red lines on the original graph of supply and demand of uranium from Oil Drum. Ten years is a reasonable timeframe for building a nuclear plant. At that time, the top red arrow showing demand is now way above the lower red arrow showing supply. The various other lines and hills show that no matter how optimistic, that the new nuclear plants would start operating right when the costs for nuclear power source of uranium starts soaring!
The time estimate of ten years to build a nuclear plant is a compromise. There are claims of 36 months for the new Westinghouse AP600/AP1000. The last reactor unit to come online in the United States took 25 years to build. A accelerated reasonable guess would be five years, which leads me to a normal expectation of ten years. This is right at the point in the timeline of the beginning of peak nuclear, where the costs of uranium go up dramatically.
The sensitivity of uranium supply and demand to price has already been demonstrated by this graph.
The defense to peak scenarios is that we can explore and find more uranium. The trick of it is that we are unlikely to find more uranium where it costs less energy to get the uranium out than the energy that the uranium provides!
So economically, nuclear energy makes no sense. Then add the high upfront building costs, the lack of places to store wasted fuel forever, the risk of Chernobyl type disaster and the possible terrorist risk of nuclear plant, and one wonders who could recommend such an idea?
A clue comes from the very word “sensible” which has been used for public relations efforts for energy interests before.
The only people who would possibly benefit from Minnesota building nuclear energy plants are people who have invested their money in the few uranium reserves left. So I would ask all the people in the Sensible Energy group to make all of their finances totally public before I trusted them!
Update: Just so you don’t think that I am overbilling Sensible energy, here is a copy of a press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 13, 2009
POWERFUL COALITION AIMS TO SECURE MINNESOTA’S ENERGY, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC FUTURE
Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota (SESM) Pushing for Repeal of State’s
Moratorium on Constructing Nuclear Energy Facilities
(Saint Paul, Minn.) – Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota (SESM), a newly formed non-profit group advocating repeal of the state’s moratorium on constructing nuclear energy facilities, today named a distinguished, bipartisan group of labor, business and environmental leaders to its board of advisors. Organizers recently filed paperwork with the Minnesota Secretary of State and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to operate as a 501(c)(4) non-profit.
The broad-based coalition underscored the safe, clean and reliable nature of nuclear energy, coupled with its indisputable job-creating potential, as key reasons for repeal. In calling on the state legislature to reverse the moratorium, SESM also pointed out that President Obama, Senator Klobuchar, Governor Pawlenty and many other key leaders consider nuclear energy to be an important part of the solution in addressing global climate change and reducing our reliance on foreign oil.
“While states from South Carolina to Maryland are looking forward and considering 21st century designs and other new nuclear power technologies, Minnesota is marching steadily toward a shortage of base-load electricity,” said Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President and SESM Board Member David Olson. “As we look ahead, we must put nuclear power – the most sensible and carbon-free base-load electricity source in existence – back on the table as an energy option.”
“Currently, there are more than twenty applications with the Department of Energy for construction of nuclear power plants in the United States,” said Minnesota Pipe Trades Association President and SESM Board Member Carl Crimmins. “These plants would supply carbon-free, low-cost, base-load power for the energy grid, as well as offer good-paying jobs during the construction phase and during day-to-day operations. Each plant would stimulate the local economy and spur economic growth around the plant in supporting workers, their families, the state and local municipalities.”
A November 2008 national public opinion survey by Bisconti Research, Inc. found that 69 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should build more nuclear power plants. An unscientific poll taken at the 2008 Minnesota State Fair found that more than 60 percent of respondents believe the state’s ban on new nuclear power facilities should be lifted.
“SESM’s mission is simple: ‘To help secure Minnesota’s energy, environmental and economic future by urging repeal of the antiquated moratorium on constructing nuclear power facilities within the state,'”
said Scott Melbye, president of Cameco, Inc. and SESM board member. “As the diversity of our board shows, this issue transcends traditional political divides. It is not merely a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s a Minnesota issue.”
SESM Board of Advisors:
· Carl Crimmins, president, Minnesota Pipe Trades Association, Saint Paul, Minn.
· Cynthia “Cyndi” Lesher, retired president and CEO, Northern States Power Company
· Harry Melander, executive secretary, Saint Paul Building & Construction Trades Council
· Scott Melbye, president, Cameco, Inc.
· David Olson, president, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
· Richard J. Vetter, Ph.D., Professor of Biophysics
· Dr. Don McMillan, president, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance
· Dan Puhl, CPA
Lesher said, “Nuclear power is a safe, proven technology that keeps energy prices competitive, while protecting our environment for future generations. This discussionand considering viable options, not partisan politics. Now is the time to remove hurdles standing between our state and a secure energy future.
Now is the time to act.”
McMillan said, “Hunters, Fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts believe in conserving and protecting our wildlife and environment. We also believe that nuclear energy is the most environmentally friendly source of energy on this planet. We encourage the Minnesota Legislature to lift the moratorium on building nuclear energy plants in Minnesota to help save and conserve our environment.”
Vetter said, “Nuclear power does not produce carbon dioxide emissions, a key greenhouse gas tied to global warming. In addition, nuclear power is one of the world’s safest sources of energy, and it doesn’t produce mercury emissions, another harmful pollutant. Nuclear power needs to be included in our future armamentarium of energy sources. This requires Minnesota to overturn the moratorium on nuclear power plant construction, which currently hinders our utilities from developing options that don’t contribute to global warming.”
SESM expects to ramp up in the months leading up to the 2010 state legislative session, conducting an aggressive grassroots campaign to push for the moratorium’s repeal. Minnesotans interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit SESM online, www.EnergySolutionsMN.org.
SESM is also on Facebook and Twitter.
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING ARE BELOW:
* “How Did Lawmakers Vote? Summary of Previous Votes on Repealing Moratorium”
* “Nuclear Energy Quick Facts”
* “What They’re Saying About Nuclear Energy”
HOW DID LAWMAKERS VOTE? SUMMARY OF PREVIOUS VOTES ON REPEALING MORATORIUM
NUCLEAR ENERGY QUICK FACTS
In 2007, Minnesota’s existing nuclear power plants prevented the emission of:
o 46,300 tons of SO2 (Acid Rain)
o 13.8 million metric tons of CO2 (Global Warming)
o 25,100 tons of NOx (Ground-level Ozone and Smog)
The NOx emissions prevented is equal to that produced by 1.3 million cars. Minnesota has about 2.5 million registered cars. (Source: NEI/EPA)
* Annually, the average nuclear plant generates approximately $430 million in sales of goods and services in the local community and nearly $40 million in total labor income.
* The average nuclear plant generates total state and local tax revenue of nearly $20 million each year. These tax dollars benefit
schools, roads, and other state and local infrastructure. Federal tax payments of approximately $75 million annually are also generated
* Approximately 2,400 workers will be needed at a single site during peak periods of new nuclear plant construction. Once new plants are
built, 400 to 700 people will be needed to run each plant.
* The U.S. Department of Energy projects the United States will need 21 percent more electricity by 2030.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT NUCLEAR ENERGY
President Barack Obama: “We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance peace and opportunity for all people.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered)
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): “Our energy future must be based on a combination of renewable energy resources, advanced clean-energy technology and high-efficiency vehicles,buildings and appliances, along with safe nuclear energy…”(http://klobuchar.senate.gov/energy.cfm)
Rep. Erik Paulson (D-Minn.): “If we’re going to be serious aboutsecuring our energy future, we need to focus on having nuclear energy be a part of that.”
(http://www.edenprairienews.com/Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.): “We need to get our hands on all the
energy that we can. From my standpoint, we need to have more nuclear power…”
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.): “In Minnesota, we unfortunately have a law that prohibits the expansion of nuclear energy in our state. I support repealing that law.” (University of Wisconsin news conference, 8/18/09)
U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio): “Nuclear energy is the best source that we have available to serve our energy needs while also curbing greenhouse gas emissions.”
John Sweeney, president, AFL-CIO: “To achieve a balanced energy policy and promote investments in technologies and reduce greenhouse emissions, we believe Congress should make loan guarantees to the construction of nuclear power plants.”
National Association of Manufacturers: “Nuclear energy helps stabilize the price of electricity…As the demand for electricity in the United States continues to grow, the National Association of Manufacturers supports the construction of additional nuclear power plants that have been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to maintain a diverse portfolio of generating resources.” http://www.nei.org/newsandeven…
Ron Ault, president, AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department: “This isn’t a Republican issue. It isn’t a Democratic issue. It’s an American issue.”
Glen Casey, legislative director, International Brotherhood of Electric Workers: “Let’s face it: We need the low-cost power and environmental benefits that nuclear power provides.”(http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/businessleaders/businessleadersextended)
Patrick Moore, co-founder, Greenpeace: “A more diverse mix of voices are taking a positive second look at nuclear energy-environmentalists, scientists, the media, prominent Republicans and Democrats and progressive think tanks. They are all coming to a similar conclusion: If we are to meet the growing electricity needs in this country and also address global climate change, nuclear energy has a crucial role to play.”