Friday, September 30, 2011
In an ever-growing list of countries that either are building, or plan to build, nuclear-powered electric power plants, none are building at an affordable cost. The USA, Finland, China, now Saudi Arabia all publish numbers that indicate a new, 1,000 MW reactor costs anywhere from $7 to $11 billion. China is building a six-reactor plant for $66 billion, or $11 billion apiece. The recently-cancelled South Texas Nuclear Project Expansion in the USA was to cost $17 billion, but that was just a dream; no shovel had been turned and no delays had yet started, with the inevitable increase in financing costs. Fully costed, the STNP expansion would be at least $22 billion, more likely $25 billion.
At these price levels, electricity must be sold for at least 35 cents per kWh, just to pay for the investment and provide a reasonable return.
The Saudis indicated that their growing economy requires a 7 percent per year increase in electric power production. They don't want to burn oil for making power, they would rather sell the oil. Thus, the need for nuclear power plants. The Saudis are smart, as I've written before, but they are mistaken on this one. No economy grows, nor can it grow, at much above 3 percent per year for very long. A temporary growth spurt might occur of 7 or 8 percent for a year or two, but this is not sustainable.
Thus, there is no need for the nuclear power plants. The Saudis should, instead, do what the rest of the world does where economics are important: build combined-cycle gas turbine power plants (CCGT). The Saudis have access to natural gas in the Middle East, and could easily purchase what they don't self-produce. These CCGT power plants are much more efficient than conventional steam-based power plants, at 59 percent compared to approximately 35 percent. They also do not use nearly as much water, which is a huge consideration for nuclear power plants. Where, and how, will the Saudis obtain sufficient cooling water for 16 nuclear power plants? Nuclear plants require at least twice as much water for cooling, compared to the CCGT plants. Of course, the nuclear power plants could be built on the coast and use seawater. This greatly increases the cost of the plant because seawater is more corrosive than fresh water.
Perhaps the Saudis have another motive, from watching what the Iranians have done in the past several years with their nuclear "power" program. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Saudis are in a race for parity and do not want the Iranians to have the upper hand, even in nuclear power plants.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
- A) Could have a potential impact of more than $500 million in anyyear on either the public or private sector, orB) Is novel, controversial, or precedent setting, or has significantinteragency interest.”
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This is a problem. If the NCDC cannot get it right, how much of their data is wrong, and how many other statements issuing from there are also wrong?
Below (Figure 1) is a simple table, listing each of the contiguous 48 states in the US, alphabetically, with the temperature trend next to each state, in degrees F per century.
United States Surface Temperature Trends
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Several of my friends have asked me lately how I can be so positive that CO2 is not the evil, planet-killing pollutant that the science community insists that it is. This missive is a partial response to those friends. I will have more to add, likely some figures, charts, graphs, links to other sites and such. But, here is the first effort. Fair warning: this is a long, long piece. It covers a lot of ground. It is as accurate as I can make it. I haven't delved into the "why", but concentrated on the "what" and some of the "how." There are a few "whos" in here, also. Most of this has been covered by me in one or several earlier posts on SLB.
Yet, here was a data set of monthly averages for about a thousand cities. I decided to look at what was there, for the USA. There were 87 records, all in the lower 48 states. The data were for cities all across the USA, not in every state, but in most states, and were fairly evenly distributed. Some were in great cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, some in mid-sized cities like St. Louis, Spokane, and Fresno. Others were in small cities or large towns, like Abilene, Texas, and Meridian, Mississippi. I loaded the data for each city into a popular spreadsheet and made graphs of the monthly temperature versus time. I included a moving average to see what trends were apparent, if any, then added a linear best-fit trend line. The results were so fascinating that I uploaded all the graphs onto my blog, with some commentary. What I found confirmed what I had suspected all along. CO2 cannot do what the scientists claim it does.
One possibility that explains the heating versus cooling or no trend is what I learned was called the Urban Heat Island effect, or UHI. At first I thought this referred to the University of Hawaii until I finally found what the acronym spelled out. UHI is a phenomenon that causes cities, or large urban areas, to be hotter during the day, and warmer during the night, compared to more rural areas nearby. The UHI effect is small for small cities, but grows larger for large cities. The UHI is due to several factors, including expanses of asphalt and concrete paving, stone or brick or glass-and-steel buildings, great consumption of electricity to heat or cool the buildings, industrial heat from factories and other heavy industries, and large numbers of cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes that consume great quantities of fossil fuel.
First-part B, Sierra Nevada snowpack and snow-water-equivalent (SWE) have not changed significantly in almost 100 years. Dr. John Christy of University of Alabama, Huntsville, published a paper on this in 2010. His data ended in 2009. Since then, there have been near-record snowfalls in the Sierras. His key graph is shown below, normalized to show deviation from the average. From his paper, HL refers to a key snow measuring station, Huntington Lake. The paper is at this link.