Sunday, October 15, 2017

SLB Reaches 250,000 Pageviews

Subtitle:  Blog Views Exceed 250,000 - top articles listed

A small event occurred in the past few days, when the view counter for this blog reached and surpassed 250,000 hits or pageviews (see screenshot at right).     That is not much in the internet world, but still is quite surprising to me that so many people would view what I write so many times.  

Below is a simple table with the most-viewed articles shown, with those having 1,000 or more views displayed.    These 41 articles account for just over 70,000 pageviews, or a bit less than one-third of all the pageviews.



TITLE
VIEWS
DATE
1
Warmists are Wrong; Cooling is Coming
        5,085
5/6/2012
2
Chemical Engineer Takes on Global Warming
        4,961
2/9/2009
3
From Man-made Global Warmist to Skeptic, My Journey
        4,810
9/11/2011
4
The Truth About Nuclear Power – Part 30 (Conclusion)
        3,320
8/3/2014
5
The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part 28 (Thorium)
        3,122
7/20/2014
6
The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part 13 (Subsidies)
        2,654
4/26/2014
7
NPRA Sues Air Resources Board over Biofuels
        1,831
2/9/2010
8
Tire Inflation Rule Causes Liability
        1,586
4/2/2009
9
Radiation Illness in Japan after Fukushima Meltdowns
        1,516
9/5/2016
10
California Worst Drought Ever - Myth or Fact
        1,506
9/4/2016
11
Driessen on Renewable Energy as Racism
        1,502
9/11/2016
12
US Accelerates Offshore Wind Power Development
        1,486
9/10/2016
13
CO2 Capture That Produces Electricity
        1,475
9/17/2016
14
Hinkley Point C Nuclear Plant Approved - For Now
        1,462
9/15/2016
15
A Few More Reasons To Oppose Nuclear Power Plants
        1,434
9/3/2016
16
Improved Solar Cell with Doubled Efficiency
        1,428
9/24/2016
17
Renewable Energy Saves California from Grid Blackouts
        1,410
10/1/2016
18
Aliso Canyon and Duck Curve Demand in SoCal
        1,409
9/4/2016
19
Nuclear Unreliable In A Hurricane - St. Lucie Shut Down
        1,390
10/9/2016
20
US Nuclear Reactors Shutdown - Operating Lifetime
        1,375
9/3/2016
21
Wind Power Facts and Trends 2015
        1,367
8/21/2016
22
Sun's Impact on Clouds via Cosmic Rays
        1,363
10/9/2016
23
Idiotic Claims About Carbon Capture Plant - CCS
        1,358
9/2/2016
24
Why California Electricity Costs More than US Average
        1,340
7/2/2016
25
Free Speech and Opus 400 - A Look Back at SLB
        1,340
9/3/2016
26
New Solar Power Record in California 2 Sept 2016
        1,326
9/3/2016
27
California Electricity Rates - Residential - Not That High
        1,319
6/30/2016
28
A Nuclear Nut Claims 90 Percent Cost Reduction
        1,319
8/30/2016
29
A Perfect Correlation - US Electricity Price v Consumption
        1,304
7/3/2016
30
US Still Has the Can-Do Attitude from the Apollo Program
        1,279
8/24/2016
31
Another Convert to the New Electrical Grid Paradigm
        1,272
8/30/2016
32
The Four By Sixteen Rule for Pipe Flow
        1,247
4/27/2014
33
Skeptics Wrangle While Cooling Is Coming
        1,240
8/21/2016
34
US Coal Supplies Dwindling Rapidly
        1,234
8/14/2016
35
Another Record for Solar Power in California
        1,212
8/7/2016
36
A Week That Was July 2016
        1,180
7/30/2016
37
President Trump and the Future of American Oil
        1,148
11/19/2016
38
Global Warming Laws at AIChE Meeting in Nashville
        1,126
11/12/2009
39
US Long-Term Temperature Trend from NCDC
        1,103
9/21/2011
40
Designing an Electrical Grid From Scratch
        1,084
6/27/2016
41
High Speed Rail in California Stuck At The Station
        1,017
6/30/2016
-->

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finland Nuclear Plant Fiasco

Subtitle:  Huge Delays and Cost Overrun are Nuclear's New Normal

The new nuclear plant in Finland at Olkiluoto, known as Olkiluoto 3, is finally nearing completion and perhaps a startup.   This is a 1600 MWe single-reactor, pressurized water design using the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) by Areva, the French company.   If completed as now contemplated, the construction will have taken 14 years start to finish.  That's a big IF.   The cost has soared to almost triple the original amount, from €3.2 billion to  €8.5 billion.  In US terms, that is $10 billion for a cost/kW of $6,300.    One can be confident that the stated costs do not include interest on construction funds. 

The Financial Times article, "Nuclear plant nears completion after huge delays," has this to say:  see link

"Areva, the French reactor manufacturer, began building Olkiluoto in 2005 with a target for completion by 2009 at a cost of €3.2bn. The latest timetable would see it open almost a decade late at the end of 2018 and nearly three times over budget at €8.5bn.

The project is the most extreme example of the delays and cost overruns which have become commonplace in the nuclear industry, plunging reactor companies such as Areva and Toshiba’s Westinghouse subsidiary into financial crisis.


Areva’s ability to complete Olkiluoto over the next year and learn lessons from the fiasco as it presses ahead with similar projects in France and the UK will go a long way to determining the industry’s chances of recovery."


The financial impact of the long delays and huge costs is that power price that must be obtained is in the $120 per MWh range.  Of that, $80 is for capital recovery and $40 is for operating costs.   That presumes, of course, that the plant actually runs every year at an average of 90 percent of nameplate capacity.   If the output slips to just 85 percent, the power sales price must increase to $127-130 per MWh.  

Nuclear power via these new, supposedly safe and efficient plants is some of the most expensive power on the planet.   This EPR design is also under construction in France, and was selected in a twin-reactor design for the UK at Hinkley Point C.   

Meanwhile, electricity via offshore wind power, supplemented by onshore natural gas load-following plants, is far more cost-effective, much safer, and has zero chance of a reactor meltdown. 



Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Wisdom of Nuclear Plant Operating in a Flood

Subtitle: Very Risky Activity to Operate A Nuclear Plant with No Evacuations Possible

Very recently, a Category 4 Hurricane, Harvey 2017, came ashore on 25 August near Corpus Christi, Texas in the United States.   The weather fronts were such that the hurricane moved inland only approximately 50 miles, stalled there, then moved southward back over the Gulf of Mexico on 28 August.   The weather front north of the hurricane weakened, such that the hurricane or tropical storm system then moved parallel to the Texas coast in a north-easterly direction before crossing the shore near the Texas-Louisiana border and moving northward up the Mississippi River valley.   
Figure 1.  Location of South Texas Nuclear Plant and Houston
source: google maps


The slow movement over land and over water for the second time resulted in heavy rains over much of southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana.  In many Texas locations, records for rainfall in one storm event were broken.   Just over 50 inches of rain fell in at least one location.   Rivers swelled, overflowed, and many set new records for high levels.  Property was flooded in thousands of locations.   A set of two artificial dams just to the west of Houston, Texas (Barker and Addicks dams) were filled to the danger point.  The water operating authorities chose to release water from the reservoirs behind the dams to prevent catastrophic dam failures.   That water release flooded thousands more homes. 

Many roads were underwater in Houston and surrounding areas, including major freeways.  

No evacuation order was issued for the large, populous city of Houston, Texas.  Instead, the mayor advised the residents to shelter in place.   There were, however, a number of mandatory and voluntary evacuations ordered in other smaller cities and towns.    

The mayor stated publicly that it was impossible to safely evacuate 3-4 million people in such short time, citing the recent failed evacuation attempt for Hurricane Rita.   There were also many deaths on the highways in that failed evacuation attempt. 

Meanwhile, with all the flooding over such a widespread area, the 2,700 MW twin-reactor nuclear power plant located only 70 miles southeast of Houston's downtown area, kept running at full power.  (see figure 1)  The South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company chose to keep running, at least in part to further their reputation as the nuclear plant with the highest on-stream factor in the US. 

The question explored here is, was it wise to keep the STP (South Texas Project) operating at all during the flooding period of several days, when it would be impossible to evacuate the population located downwind of the plant if a massive radiation release event occurred. 

The fundamental issue is that nuclear plants certainly can meltdown, as at least five have done so in the past.  (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and three each at Fukushima-Dai-ichi).   All nuclear plants must have an evacuation plan, per government requirements.  That evacuation plan is predicated on the affected population having the means to evacuate.  

Clearly, the huge area in south and east Texas had no means to evacuate after the flooding began.  

It appears that the STP made it through the flooding and high winds, but were they simply lucky this time?   A look at the events that cause nuclear plants to shut down suddenly, without warning, shows that even the smallest problem can result in a shutdown.   A pump can breakdown, a valve can stick, a steam generator tube can rupture, just to list a few. 

It is also necessary to consider whether the electricity grid was or would be stressed if the STP shut down.  The Texas grid operator is ERCOT, for Electric Reliability Council of Texas.  It certainly appears that ERCOT did not need the power from the nuclear plant, with so much of the service area without power due to the winds and flooding.  

Instead, it appears the nuclear plant owners and operators placed their reputation for onstream days, for high onstream factor, above the safety of the public in the fourth largest metropolis in the country.  Knowing the city could not evacuate even if they tried, they kept running the reactors, pumping electricity into the grid when nearly one-fourth or more of the state's electric customers could not take power even though they wanted to. 

And, why would a business take such a risk?  In this case, it is entirely due to the federal government taking almost all the financial liability from harm and damage created by a radiation incident.    The Price-Anderson Act pays for all damages above a stated amount.  The nuclear plant itself would not pay for much, at all.  (see link to SLB articles on nuclear and Price-Anderson Act)

Surely the entire liability scheme must be re-examined in light of these events.   

For anyone other than a nuclear plant that is protected by the Price-Anderson Act provisions, operating with reckless disregard for human life, or operating in a normal manner that is reckless in the circumstances, can be a criminal act. 

The nuclear power plants must be shut down, and as soon as possible.   Millions of lives are at stake, or damaged forever for those that survive a nuclear meltdown with high winds that blow the radioactive particles into their homes, their businesses, and their very lungs.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved




Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 



Societal Benefits from Government Subsidy

Subtitle:  Subsidy Programs Can Have Great Benefits

On this Labor Day holiday in the US, below is a partial list of government projects and programs that contribute greatly to the ease of life in the US.   Our labors and our lives are much easier due to these. 

Interstate Highway System -- entirely government funded, more than 20 years duration; saved countless lives in fewer automobile collisions, saved countless gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel as cars and trucks no longer were required to stop and creep through every small town.  Efficiencies in transportation are ongoing; savings in travel time also. 
Figure 1.   Union Pacific Railroad land grant map
Library of Congress


Rural Electrification Act - brought electricity to almost all of America's farms and ranches over a few decades.   Utilities could not afford to build the transmission and distribution lines; the government stepped up with the money. 

Hoover Dam - entirely built with government funds and materials; the dam is still providing water storage, boating and other recreation, flood control, and hydroelectric power at very low prices.  

Bonneville Power Administration - BPA built dams and hydroelectric power plants in Washington State; providing decades of low-cost electricity.  

TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority - Like the BPA above, the TVA built a number of dams in the Tennessee River Valley to control flooding, store water, and generate hydroelectric power at very low costs. 

Land-Grant Railroads - the US government made free land one of the incentives for railroad companies to build tracks across the US in the late 1800s; the railroads received 10 square miles of land for every mile of track they installed.   Connecting the country by rail coast-to-coast had enormous economic benefits that endure to this day.   See Figure 1. 

Land-Grant Universities - the government granted land to each state to build a college or university; approximately 20 million graduates have and had better opportunities with their college degrees. 

GI Bill - Government paid for college costs for military veterans under the GI Bill program; similar versions still exist; many thousands of veterans have better lives due to this program.


Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved




Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here