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Don’t Call It a Renaissance Until They’ve Shown You a Masterpiece

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Presentation on theme: "Don’t Call It a Renaissance Until They’ve Shown You a Masterpiece"— Presentation transcript:

1 Don’t Call It a Renaissance Until They’ve Shown You a Masterpiece
Peter A. Bradford, Vermont Law School Future Cities Panel Madison, November 6, 2009

2 Nuclear Energy Worldwide Today
16% global electricity demand 31 countries operating 439 reactors (371 GW) With a significant uranium enrichment 5 countries separating plutonium commercially 0 countries with geologic repositories for nuclear waste

3 Mycle Schneider Consulting


5 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle (MIT Report)


7 Do Everything or Prioritize Wisely
Do Everything or Prioritize Wisely? The Pacala/Socolow Wedges (Scientific American, 9/06)

8 A Wedge Prevent 1 billion tons carbon per year by 2054;
Scaling up only of technologies already deployed on an industrial scale; Seven needed to stabilize CO2 at 500ppm; More may be needed to get below 500ppm

9 Wedges 1-5 1)Doubling fuel efficiency of 2 billion cars from 30 to 60 mpg 2)Decreasing the number of car miles traveled by half 3)Using best efficiency practices in all residential and commercial buildings 4)Produce twice today’s coal power output at 60% instead of 40% efficiency (compared with 32% today) 5)Replacing 1400 coal electric plants with natural gas-powered facilities

10 Wedges 6-10 6) Capturing and storing emissions from 800 coal electric plants; 7) Producing hydrogen from coal at six times today's rate and storing the captured CO2; 8) Capturing carbon from 180 coal-to-synfuels plants and storing the CO2; 9)Adding double (i.e. tripling) the current global nuclear capacity to replace coal-based electricity; 10)Increasing wind electricity capacity by 50 times relative to today, for a total of 2 million large windmills;

11 Wedges 11-15 11) Installing 700 times the current capacity of solar electricity 12)Using 40,000 square kilometers of solar panels (or 4 million windmills) to produce hydrogen for fuel cell cars 13)Increasing ethanol production 50 times by creating biomass plantations with area equal to 1/6th of world cropland; 14)Eliminating tropical deforestation and creating new plantations on non-forested land to quintuple current plantation area: 15)Adopting conservation tillage in all agricultural soils worldwide

12 The Nuclear Wedge Doubling of nuclear power really requires tripling the existing capacity (372GW/438plants) because today’s plants must be replaced. Probably new plants needed worldwide to get 1100GW

13 Where Will Nuclear Energy Grow?(Sharon Squassoni)

14 Nuclear Power and Proliferation
Iran Direct connection to power program through fuel enrichment; Indirect connection through the A.Q. Kahn network; NPT signatory, but in possible violation North Korea No direct connection to power program; Indirect connection through the A.Q. Kahn network; Withdrew from NPT

15 Renaissance on the rocks
As of January 1, License applications pending at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 24 nuclear power plants, The reality is that none of the pending applications will be built without massive government support In 2009, the renaissance has hit a wall: Three plants cancelled, others suspended Several others delayed from one to five years Half a dozen cost overruns of a billion dollars or more Cost estimates three times higher than 2002

16 Choosing Wisely: Sensible Energy Policy that Might (or Might Not) Improve Nuclear Power’s Prospects
Implement climate change policy that recognizes value of all carbon reducing technologies, including carbon sequestration, energy efficiency and renewable energy Carbon caps and markets, or Carbon taxes Production tax credits Remove liability limitations for future projects Use neutral market mechanisms – i.e. auctions, integrated resource planning - to choose least costly approaches among these; Take the time to deal sensibly with waste and proliferation ; Rigorous prioritization of options for research purposes – effective, efficient, expeditious Avoid funding commericalization as “research” Avoid “pin the tale on the donkey” energy choices


18 Implications of Climate Change Policy
According to the 2003 MIT study, a carbon price of $50/ton of carbon would be consistent with reducing U.S. emissions by 1 billion tons of CO2/year. At this level, nuclear is only competitive if it achieves other substantial cost reductions. At carbon prices in the $ /ton range, new nuclear plants become competitive with conventional fossil fuels. However, in a fully functional market, nuclear would have to compete successfully with energy efficiency, with renewables and with carbon sequestration technologies Historically and probably well into the future, each billion dollars spent on energy efficiency buys more greenhouse gas mitigation (and other benefits) than would nuclear power.



21 U.S. Nuclear Output and Nuclear Capacity, 1973-2007
Gigawatts Gigawatt-hours

22 Some Recent Cost Estimates (Mark Cooper, 2009)
OVERNIGHT COSTS ($/kw) DELIVERED COSTS ($/kw) Study Low Mid High $ Date MIT 1000 2000 2002 DOE 1200 1500 1800 2003 Keystone 3600 4000 2007 S&P 3000 5000 AEP DOE Loan 8100 Moody's 6000 Harding 1 4300 4425 4550 CBO 2400 2008 Synapse 5500 Constellation 3500 4500 FPL Lazard 3750 5250 Harding 2 E.ON Duke 4900 Progress 6400 7600 2009 Severance 5800 Moody’s 6250

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