A barrel of oil has hit $35, making the ROI for alternative energy sources negative. But, interest continues in Nuclear. Shut down Nuclear plants are threatened to be turned on in Eastern Europe to address natural gas supplies from Russia.
The push by Bulgaria and Slovakia highlights the EU’s need to diversify its gas supply routes. “Preparations … must begin immediately,” said Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov shortly after Russia cut supplies to Europe. He was referring to reactors three and four of the Kozloduy power plant. The closure of the reactors was a prerequisite to Bulgaria’s entry into the EU.
Puranov recently said that under the treaty that allowed Bulgaria to join the EU, his country has “the right to resume the operation of the two reactors in a critical situation, and a more critical situation is hardly possible,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Bulgarian News Agency. “If the situation does not normalize,” he added referring to Russian gas cuts, “I expect our European partners to show understanding and not to object to such a move," Purvanov said.
Barrons has an article about Nuclear Energy.
The Blossoming of Nuclear Power
By ROBIN GOLDWYN BLUMENTHAL | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR
Exelon, Entergy and other nuclear-power giants are set to surge, thanks to the Obama administration's plans for heavy investment in clean energy.
THE U.S. STANDS AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT for the advancement of nuclear energy.
President-elect Barack Obama has put forth a goal to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. by 80% by 2050, using $150 billion over 10 years to create a "clean-energy" future. Nuclear plants are the biggest producers of energy that doesn't emit any greenhouse gases.
Scott Pollack for Barron's
Plans are afoot to build 26 nuclear plants. No new plants have been built in the U.S. for 30 years.
"Nuclear power is in a renaissance," says Tom Neff, a physicist and research affiliate at MIT's Center for International Studies. In fact, 17 applicants are seeking government approval to build 26 nuclear plants, meeting a Dec. 31 deadline for federal tax credits and potentially ending a 30-year hiatus in the construction of new U.S. nuke facilities.
That adds up to a big investment opportunity. Even if it takes 10 years for the first of the new crop to be built -- a distinct possibility -- some of the power companies operating the 104 existing nuclear plants look tempting right now. Their stocks are cheap and their competitive advantages are many. They have lower costs than rivals such as coal-fired facilities, putting them in a better position to ride out the recession. They'll come out much better than the competition if a carbon tax is imposed. And they're better-prepared for the long haul in the new era of nuclear power.
As there is more interest in Carbon Cap and Trade, data center carbon emissions will eventually be reported. And, nuclear plants are the next best thing to hydroelectric for 24 hour carbon free dependable power supplies at scale and cost required for a data center.
I am waiting for the anti-nuclear crowd to require a radioactivity emissions to battle nuclear plants. But, what few people know is coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. See this Scientific American article.
Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation
By Mara Hvistendahl
CONCENTRATED RADIATION: By burning coal into ash, power plants concentrate the trace amounts of radioactive elements within the black rock.
The popular conception of nuclear power is straight out of The Simpsons: Springfield abounds with signs of radioactivity, from the strange glow surrounding Mr. Burn's nuclear power plant workers to Homer's low sperm count. Then there's the local superhero, Radioactive Man, who fires beams of "nuclear heat" from his eyes. Nuclear power, many people think, is inseparable from a volatile, invariably lime-green, mutant-making radioactivity.
Coal, meanwhile, is believed responsible for a host of more quotidian problems, such as mining accidents, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions. But it isn't supposed to spawn three-eyed fish like Blinky.
Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. * [See Editor's Note at end of page 2]
At issue is coal's content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or "whole," coal that they aren't a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.