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William Mead inside BARRANCA MESA August 4, 2020, 9:34 AM
I attended the Aug. 3 town hall and was very disappointed with what I learned. Here are the factors that lead me to oppose carrying the project forward:
- No answer to the question of nuclear waste handling and disposal (I'll revise this if new information becomes available)
- Reactor design still being revised
- LA County would be paying RD&T costs
- Not a single nuclear-fueled test of existing design
- Engineering company has zero installation experience
- Cost estimates require 100% subscription; current level is 30% and no specific additional subscribers are known
- Nuclear power has a long history of cost overruns
This project appears to be highly speculative and I consider it unwise to proceed to the next phase.
Richard Nebel inside NORTH MESA August 3, 2020, 3:10 PM
I have a Phd in Nuclear Engineering and I am very skeptical about this project. I'm not worried about the safety or the nuclear waste, but I am worried about the cost.
One of our associates at Tibbar Plasma Technologies is Keith Moser, who used to be the head of innovation at Exelon Corporation (the largest nuclear utility in the US). Several years back Exelon expanded their nuclear generating capabilities by buying up operating reactors for 5 cents to 10 cents on the dollar of their original costs. They no longer have capital costs on these plants, but rather only operating costs.
This approach worked well for several years, but over the past 3 years the revenue from their generating facilities has dropped from $2,000,000,000/year to about $300,000,000/year. They have been talking about closing both the Clinton power plant and the Quad-Cities power plant. Both natural gas and wind power are eating up their backside on generating costs. On windy days, Exelon is selling power at a loss.
If Exelon can't make money when all they have is operating costs, how is NuScale going to do that when they have capital costs to pay off as well? Furthermore, if you have multiple reactors you are probably going to need multiple operating crews. That will proportionately increase your operating costs. On top of that, this is a first-of-a-kind facility. You aren't going to be able to take advantage of cost reductions from large volumes of reactors. Finally, to my knowledge there hasn't been a single nuclear power facility that has come in on time and on budget since the early 1970s. I think this project is going to be a mess. Let someone else take the risk, not our community.
Jason Gochanour inside DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL S July 29, 2020, 7:22 PM
Absolutely! The sooner the better!
Andrew Hunt inside ASPEN - WALNUT July 27, 2020, 7:31 PM
While I understand that nuclear has come a long way since Chernobyl it still demands a material which, once spent, is highly toxic to a human being and most other life forms. Why not use LANL’s prodigious scientific capacity to pursue other things? I have heard of generators using earth’s magnetic field or the spectacular power of the ocean tides. And the sun of course. It seems like a poor choice to continue with anything which is highly toxic and potentially explosive.
Galen Gisler inside WESTERN July 27, 2020, 5:12 PM
I am skeptical about the UAMPS proposal to supply Los Alamos County with electrical power generated at the Idaho National Laboratory with small modular reactors. Nuscale, the company currently on the hook to build the SMRs, has not yet fielded a single reactor, and it still has regulatory hurdles ahead of it that may take years to pass. This could add significantly to the cost of the power that is ultimately delivered to the County. A "Perspective" report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Morgan, Abdulla, Ford, & Rath, PNAS July 10, 2018 115 (28) 7184-7189; first published July 2, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804655115) is also highly skeptical of the ability of SMRs to contribute to the nation's energy portfolio in the coming decades, although they do see possibilities for non-power industrial uses for them. Moreover, and most telling for me, we live in a region of the country that has abundant sunshine and wind. The County has already committed to UNIPER's plans to supply a substantial amount of electrical energy from solar and wind plants in our region, and far more can yet be done. Coupled with battery storage systems currently under development that face far less hurdles than SMRs, these renewable energy sources could supply all our needs for the foreseeable future. Under these circumstances, it makes no sense for Los Alamos County to contract with an organization in Utah to bring us electrical power from an as-yet-unestablished source in Idaho when we have abundant energy resources in New Mexico.
Greg Kendall inside DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL S July 27, 2020, 1:48 PM
I think it is kinda insane for our little country to be shouldering responability for helping to developing this unproven technology. I would rather see Los Alamos develop more hydro and solar resources. I am not in favor of investing any county money in this project. There are too many risks and unknowns with this project.
Robert Cunningham inside BARRANCA MESA July 27, 2020, 1:18 PM
This is a worthwhile investment for the County. Nuclear power is perhaps the safest and most reliable source of energy at scale.
Donald Machen inside EASTERN AREA July 27, 2020, 12:59 PM
I urge the LAC County Council to approve staying with UAMPS and the CFPP. This has been my advice to the CC since our recommendation accompanied the FER Committee report initially. Donald Machen, PE member of the former FER Committee
Andrew Fraser inside BARRANCA MESA July 27, 2020, 10:50 AM
While I believe that the US should develop technology like this, the whole country should shoulder the risk. It is not an appropriate risk for a collection of small communities in Utah and New Mexico.
I've read the previous comments. Willard Wadt writes a well balanced argument in favor of continued participation. My brief statement in opposition is much like Chris Fischahs'. Aaron Walker's statement has credibility based on experience.
For the intermediate future, the best path for LA County is to pursue more conventional sources that reduce CO2 risk. The recent contract to buy renewable power backed by reciprocating CH4 generation seems ideal to me. Nuclear power is a bad match for varying power of wind and solar generation. Because of it's high capital cost, a nuclear plant should be run at full capacity once it's on line.
Sandra Kurtz outside Community Boundaries July 27, 2020, 9:34 AM
Small modular reactors are simply old nuclear technology dressed up in smaller outfits. They are no less dangerous as radioactive venting is still required not to mention a possible meltdown or explosion releasing deadly radiation and evacuations. Neither are they cheaper than renewable energy per kilowatt nor do they help with reducing climate change impacts given the length of time required to build them. Health and low-cost electricity for ratepayers should be among the goals for quality of life in the future. Moving ahead with SMRs seems like throwing money down a sinkhole.