Tag Archives: capacity

Harris nuke flaw “fixed” that wasn’t found for a year

Less than 500 miles from here in NC, what else haven’t they found if ‘Duke Energy’s examination a year ago “was supposed to have found that problem then and fixed it”‘? This was a ‘a quarter-inch spot the NRC and the company describe as a “flaw” in the reactor vessel head, which contains heat and pressure produced by the nuclear core’s energy.’ When a solar panel has a quarter-inch flaw, you get a tiny percentage less electricity, not the risk of radiation leak or worse. Would you rather have two more nukes at the same site, run by the same company that can’t run the one it’s got safely, or solar power instead?

Plus where is the advantage of baseload capacity when Harris 1 has only been up 27.41% for the past month (NRC data), which is hardly better than the approximately 20% sun hours per day for solar power in North Carolina this time of year. Given the low and continually-dropping cost of solar panels, Duke could simply over-provision distributed solar panels and get way more than 20% or 27.41% effective power, and get that on budget and on time.

Harris 1 7% last 27.41% for the month

Emery P. Dalesio wrote for AP yesterday, Harris nuclear plant in U.S. is safe to restart after reactor problem found, Continue reading

Nuclear reactor percent power from NRC data

Do nuclear reactors really deliver dependable baseload capacity? I hear industry execs say 99.99% uptime. The real average from seven years of NRC data for 104 reactors is 88.13%.

Vogtle 1 According to Power Reactor Status Reports posted online by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, here are the actual percent power percentages over time for the 104 listed nuclear power reactors. The timeframe is 31 March 2006 through today, 21 May 2013. (The NRC data appears to go back to 1999, but seven years is a good sample to start with.) The computation for each reactor is the sum of the uptime percentages for each day divided by the number of days. The total uptime is the sum of the reactor uptimes divided by the number of reactors. Here’s the list, sorted two ways:

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FERC Chairman: baseload outdated; no new nukes needed; go sun and wind

Power companies’ main stated objection to solar or wind is that they are not “capacity” or “baseload” generation because sometimes the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. And those utilities are required by various state, regional Energy Regulatory Commissions right up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to supply capacity or baseload power. That’s their main excuse for coal and nuclear plants. Well, the Chairman of FERC thinks we may not need baseload, nor any new coal nor nuclear plants, either.

Noelle Straub and Peter Behr wrote for ScientificAmerican 22 April 2009, Will the U.S. Ever Need to Build Another Coal or Nuclear Power Plant? The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t think so

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today.

“We may not need any, ever,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.

So what will we need?

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2/3 of new European electrical capacity comes from solar and wind

If Europe can deploy mostly solar and wind for new electricity, we can do the same here, especially in sunny south Georgia.

Stephen Lacey wrote for Climate Progress 12 Feb 2012, More than 68% of New European Electricity Capacity Came From Wind and Solar in 2011,

That’s almost a 10-fold increase over deployment in 2000, when only 3.5 GW of renewable energy projects were installed. Last year, 32 GW of renewables — mostly wind and solar — were deployed across European countries.
If Europe can change its energy strategy that quickly, so can we.


PS: Owed to William House.

Transparency is key —Steve Kalland of NCSC

The earth receives enough energy from the sun in one hour to power the whole world for a year, reminded Steve Kalland of the North Carolina Solar Center (NCSC) at the Southern Solar Summit. So how do we get solar energy deployed? Kalland said transparency is key.

Other speakers had said you could have too much transparency, but Kalland pointed out that it was only through a hearing that North Carolina found out a major power company was going to use up its solar energy credits years ahead of schedule, and without transparency there couldn’t be real competition because the customers wouldn’t know who had which prices.

What else does it take to make a state competitive in solar? Kalland discussed this table (reformatted here from the copy of his presentation he gave me):

Foundational Steps to Focus on Solar

Installed Capacity Manufacturing
Interconnection Standards

Base Resources (economic or voices)

Early Adopters
Military or Large Federal
High Tech Firms
Corporate Greens
University Partnership Opportunities

Existing presence of businesses in multiple fields (diversification)
He said a lot more, but that’s a very interesting table to consider not only for a state, but for a region, like south Georgia, or a small metro area, like Valdosta MSA.

I know some people will react with: “but VSU is not a research university!” Nope, but this could be a way to add some research capacity to VSU.